Lenni Reviews: “A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate” (Being(s) in Love #3) by R. Cooper

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

When they were teenagers, Zeki had a crush on the most popular werewolf in high school, Theo Greenleaf but left town before anything could happen due to being bullied for being human in a werewolf school. Now returning to the werewolf sanctuary/tourist town of Wolf’s Paw as an adult, Zeki is an accomplished wizard looking to show his high school bullies how far he’s come but hears Theo is nearly broken from his mate rejecting him years ago. Now, Theo buries his emotions in baking and volunteering for the local fire department. Zeki unknowingly seeks to reconnect with Theo not knowing he was the mate who rejected him so long ago.

So far, this is the best of the series. I love how it goes into how weres don’t need words to make themselves understood and how frustrating it can be for a human to understand what any of them are feeling since we lack those senses. I think they took WAY too fucking long to finally let Zeki in on the idea; leaving him fumbling as to why everyone is mad at him. The chemistry between Zeki and Theo is fantastic and in place of the long back and forth of the previous book, there’s some real growth and understanding that needs to take place for our pair to finally come together. And in the end, I was happy with the ending. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Boy and His Dragon (Being(s) in Love #2) by R. Cooper

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Arthur MacArthur is in dire need of a job, wanting to get out of debt and perhaps go back to school when his recovering alcoholic sister is in a better place. One of his former professors sets him up with a job being an assistant to Philbert Jones, a historian, and writer but also a dragon with a horde of books. Not fully understanding dragons, Arthur learns about his new boss and the pair have a connection but Arthur doesn’t want to ruin his chances at this job.

While the writing if this book in the series is improved over the first, this book spends WAY too much time on the will they/won’t they back and forth where I found wanted to jump into the book and just scream “UGH! Just kiss already!” Then once they get to the point, Arthur and Philbert have great chemistry and I enjoyed their journey! Then it screeches to a halt. It’s just done. I would have liked a more rounded conclusion but I enjoyed this overall. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Some Kind of Magic” (Being(s) in Love #1) by R. Cooper

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Detective Ray Branigan knows Cal is his mate but believes fairies (even half fairies like Cal Parker) are too flighty for a long term commitment like mating. So, when they’re paired together on a case involving some mysterious and vicious murders, Ray’s restraint is tested as Cal is too tempting to resist.

This had all the hallmarks of something I’d enjoy and it did me the honor of not dropping the mystery part (unlike the Isle of series did). The problem here is with the writing. I found myself often confused as to who was who and critical details that would have helped me understand things, people, and places better – and enjoy the book more – were missing. In the end, I was left feeling like I missed something. Cal and Ray were cute and all but I feel like I never got immersed and I was left wanting. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Isle of Waves” by Sue Brown

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

In the third book of the Isle of series, (one and two here), a string of vandalism to their restaurant has Nibs thinking of closing up shop. But with a huge storm on the way and the death of a dear friend, the stress of being forced to close puts a strain on Nibs and Wig’s relationship.

I know the plot synopsis says it focusses on the stress of possibly having to move under homophobic pressure putting them out of business, but it doesn’t feel like it. This meanders through a bunch of slice-of-life scenes without going anywhere. Wig and Nibs should be the main focus but they are frequently put to the side, making me wonder when it was gonna get to the point already. And some plot points are left dangling so it was all unsatisfying. If you don’t read the previous two books, you’re gonna end up lost because those previous characters have prominent places in this book. 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Isle of Wishes” by Sue Brown

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

In the second book in the Isle of series (first one here), Liam goes missing so Paul Owens, Sam’s brother, heads to the US to find him. When a hit and run puts a John Doe in the hospital that could be Liam, Paul meets Olaf Skandik in his search, and the pair hit it off but can the flightly Paul convince the closeted Olaf to take a chance on love; even if it is long distance?

I thought the hit and run and a later shooting would lead up to something but it just got glossed over. I wasn’t expecting a romantic thriller but to have all that wrapped up in some throwaway sentences was severely disappointing. Even Olaf being closeted wasn’t that big a deal. It made me wonder why they were plot points at all. Unfortunately, all that disappointment did impact my enjoyment of the book. I felt a bit cheated. 2.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Isle of… Where?” by Sue Brown

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

As this is a bundle, I decided to review the books in separate blog posts so I don’t end up not posting for a while then dropping this block of text that I bet nobody will read. So, here we go with book one in the series.

Liam Marshall arrives on the Isle of Wight because as per his best friend’s last wish, he will scatter the ashes of his friend into the water. While fumbling with the box, Sam Owens approaches him to keep him from flinging the ashes in his face and the two become fast friends. And even faster, they become more. But Liam hasn’t been in a relationship since his friend was diagnosed with cancer and he became a caregiver; not to mention he lives in America and Sam lives in the UK. Even if Liam believed in love at first sight, could he take a chance on such a long-distance relationship when he is already so emotionally vulnerable?

This book is a bit rushed but ok. I think it was a good call to skip some of the sex scenes as they would have gotten boring and repetitive. The chemistry between our main leads is alright… But it’s all fluff. I didn’t feel too deeply connected to anything. It would have been nice to dig deeper into the caregiver aspect with Liam and how lost one can feel after being in that role for so long. But, I do enjoy a bit of fluff, though so I can forgive that omission. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Saving Hannah” by J.P. Barnaby

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Thomas Aberthol has been searching desperately for a job after serving time in jail for hacking. His daughter, Hannah, is struggling with leukemia and Thomas is running out of time and options to save her. After making a public crowdfunding plea, his old college roommate Aleksander Sanna tracks Thomas down and offers him a deal: Marry him for the health insurance for Hannah in exchange for using his hacking skills to uncover the secrets behind Aleksander’s father’s murder.

This book went places I did not expect for one of those “fake marriage” books. I almost wish the thriller elements kept going beyond the end of the book; which I won’t spoil, but I can see why it ended the way it did.

Why I couldn’t quite give it 4 stars is because Thomas and Aleksander’s relationship jumps from hesitant to “I love you” way too fast. Practically within the turn of a page. It didn’t let me get invested in their relationship so I found my focus staying on the hacking plot which I enjoyed very much. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Charlatan’s Conquest” by Vivien Dean

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rates 18+

Brody Weber is a man of science so when his father is willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a ghost hunter, Brody is livid and hot to prove the man a fraud. But, when Cruz Guthrie digs into the investigation, Brody comes face to face with things he never knew existed.

What made me interested in this book was how both Brody and Cruz are men of science; Brody is a neurological researcher and Cruz is a software engineer who moonlights as a ghost hunters assistant. Neither one of them expects real paranormal activity on this case so they get to know one another and we get to know them as the investigation takes place.

Given its short length, the story does a decent job developing our main leads and the threat they’re facing. You don’t get as much as say, the Storm and Winter books, but it does the job. I think it would have been more memorable with some length, giving more of a chance for the ghosts to be scarier but overall a good short story! 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “When Dachshunds Ruled the Serengeti” by Michael Murphy

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Phillip is an only child from a wealthy New York City family. José is the oldest of nine children of Mexican migrant workers. When the two meet at college, José is unwilling to form any closer attachments, lest anyone find out how poor he really is. But Phillip isn’t easily fooled and the pair do form a friendship that turns into much more. But can such a mismatched pair find true happiness?

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be “simple.” The writing is simple, the relationship is simple, the conclusion is simple; it’s all simple. I kept waiting for some real conflict to happen and it never did. They fall in love so deeply so quickly, I found it barely believable for a romance novel! It’s great for newbies to the genre but more seasoned readers may find this contrived.

The only real conflict we get here is when Philip, seemingly at random, flips a previously unheard of asshole switch and it’s completely out of his character. On the whole, way too sappy for me. 2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “No Way Out” by Julie Lynn Hayes

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

While house-sitting for a friend of his mentor, Wyatt Findley sees Shylor Lind washing a car across the street and is immediately attracted. The problem is Shylor is a slave to Randy Grant; an abusive dom who keeps Shy as a broken prisoner to his every twisted whim and has done so since Shylor was a child. In the sparse moments they meet, Shy comes to care for Wyatt but does he possess the strength to defy his awful master?

This is another book I’ve read lately that comes with a smattering of trigger warnings; although most of the really icky non-consensual elements are done “off screen.” You’re still dealing with a damaged man who is not willingly consenting to his dom.

Mild spoilers but while I may have enjoyed Shylor’s story arch and his relationship with Wyatt, it was odd for me to have such a dark story culminate in a such a neat and tidy ending. I expected Randy to exact terrible revenge but nope! He storms off never to be seen again. Shylor and Wyatt’s chemistry makes up for it though. 3.5 out of 5.

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