Lenni Reviews: “The Unmentionables” by Megan McFerren & Val Prozorova

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

James and Henry have tried to keep their relationship secret not only from their wives but from the scrutiny of the FBI; as the organization will happily blacklist a homosexual man as a deviant. But their secret is exposed and James is thrown into a psychiatric facility where they attempt aversion therapy to cure him. Henry risks his job and reputation to save his lover or whatever may be left of him.

This is hardly a feel-good read, but it is uplifting to see Henry and James do whatever it takes to be with each other in the 1950’s when it was much more dangerous to even try. Touching, heartbreaking, and unflinchingly real, this is an incredible read. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crossing in Time” by D.L. Orton and Micah McDonald

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

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks

Geneticist Isabel is given a once in a lifetime chance; to go back in time and get a second chance with her lover, Diego. But this is for much more than just love as their relationship may hold the key to saving humanity from mass extinction.

Now, I know one would think that knowing me and my other reviews; a “time travel, dystopian romance” would not only have my eyes rolling out of my head but send me into Serena’s Plight levels of anger. Neither of these happened. I LOVED this book.

Isabel and Diego are both whip-smart, strong brave characters and there were precious few moments in the plot where I doubted they were anything else. And while their relationship takes center stage, supporting characters like Matt are quick witted, kind, and funny. All of them have such chemistry I didn’t want to leave them (and I will be getting the next books in the series).

The time travel bits can get confusing and part of me doesn’t want to believe anyone could accidentally set off a nuke (but with how things are with a president who tweets unintelligible typos, it seems sadly likely) but overall, this story had even a cynic like me believing that one relationship could mean saving the world. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Claimed by the Elven King Part One” by Cristina Rayne

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Emily Ford is shocked awake in the middle of the night by strangers carrying her away. She wakes up in bed with Sethian, an elven king, to be his queen and bear his children.

This 39 page intro to whatever the rest of this plot line will be is pure smutty fluff. Emily is whisked away, transformed into a gorgeous creature to make smexy times with a perfect man and has nothing of note to leave behind in the human world so she has no more troubles. She is totally ok that she’s been kidnapped, bones a stranger, and her new job is to pump out babies for this stranger who is now her husband. Emily is the perfect empty waif for the reader to project themselves onto but I found her so dull and stupid, I just wanted it to be over.

There’s something about some of these short, free, intro reads that can be really intriguing or fail so hard you not only don’t want to bother reading part two and beyond, you’re sorry you invested the precious minutes in the first one. This falls into the latter category. Flat and stereotypical, I give this a 2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Oria’s Gambit” by Jeffe Kennedy

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

With her kingdom, Bara, captured by the Destrye, Oria gambles on a marriage with the conquering leader; Lonen. Since Bara is ruled by magic, the highly powerful and sensitive Oria takes a huge risk in marrying Lonen since he cannot use magic and Bara has never had a non-magic using ruler. The main reason for this gamble is Oria’s cruel and despotic brother, Yar; who may likely begin another war despite the peace her kingdom has just attained.

Having not read the first part, there is enough here to make you understand there was a brutal war and that our main pair would like to spare their respective kingdoms any further bloodshed. Oria and Lonen are well developed enough and the writing is competent enough for you to get emotionally invested enough to want them to succeed. But the book does spend a great deal of time meandering around Lonen and Oria’s obvious attraction to one another and their hope to overcome Oria’s inability to even touch Lonen without her magic causing her pain. The pacing lost it’s sense of urgency when the book spends so much time on the romance. The love story didn’t distract from the major fantasy elements but once Yar came back into the picture, I felt the characters should have spent less time making gooily eyes and more time getting ready.

Don’t get me wrong; Lonen and Oria have good chemistry and the overall story kept me interested enough to not only finish it but to want to know what happens in the next installment. If you like fantasy in your romance, this isn’t a bad offering despite being pretty short and ending on a cliffhanger. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Stealing His Heart” by Ella Jade

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**I purchased this book from All Romance Ebooks.**

Good girl Sophia Ball is three years out of a terrible relationship; choosing instead to focus on becoming a teacher. Now a music teacher at a local private school, her friend suggests she get back in the game. When she’s out for a jog before work one day, she bumps into Paxton Hughes; a pitcher for the local baseball team: The Kingston Crushers. The pair meet again at a party and hit it off very well. But Paxton has a reputation as a playboy. Can this smitten bad boy settle down and will Sophie take the chance?

So, I’m reading this book and it’s enjoyable enough. The characters are interesting and seem happy once they’re together but by this time I was only 40% or so through the book. The rest is mostly the pair just dealing with Pax being on the road so much before the inevitable misunderstanding comes into play; which is that Sohpia’s car breaks down and she misses a game. I gotta say, it pissed me off SO bad when everybody just piles on Sophia for her car breaking down. They all – INCLUDING PAXTON – treat her like she missed the game on purpose and she’s instantly on the outs. I know the story needed conflict but, yikes. They really vilify her.

Overall, this story is sappy but not bad. I get these types of stories are supposed to be sappy but this overdid it for me. A decently written 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Her Forbidden Alpha” by Tabitha Conall

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I purchased this book for free from All Romance Ebooks. Mature audiences only.

Aislinn Cavett is the daughter of the leader of a human supremacy group that has begrudgingly accepted peace talks with Darius Bishop; the alpha of the North American werewolf pack. When Darius sees Aislinn serving food at this meeting, he recognizes her as his mate and she is intrigued by Darius despite her father being a complete bigot. When the talks break down and it looks like there’s gonna be a massacre, Darius ends up taking Aislinn as a hostage. They grow closer as she with him and they both have to decide if their love is worth risking all-out war between humans and werewolves.\

This is a well written forbidden love story. Darius and Aislinn make a good couple, they make rational decisions despite the whirlwind romance, and I give major props to Conall for writing Aislinn as a strong character. She doesn’t kick ass but when the chips are down, she’s no damsel. You also get your happy ending but there is still an overarching conflict in the world that’s been built. I give this a 4 out of 5 for being fun and unexpectedly practical in some ways.

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Lenni Reviews: Red Moon by Elizabeth Kelly

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 After the “Great War” has destroyed a good chunk of the world’s population, humans and supernaturals are trying to live alongside one another. One day Lycan Tristan Williams and his daughter Sophia are out shopping for some new slaves and she guilts him into purchasing Avery Hendrin and her sister. The rub here is that Avery is a Red: red hair and  has magical healing powers. People hate them because they’re witches, blah blah slave, blah blah fairies, what the hell ever.

If I sound disinterested it’s because this story is so blandly typical of a paranormal romance yet hardly believable as even with all the standard tropes; for the couple to be so attracted in less than a day when they have zero chemistry was ridiculous. As Avery is painted as this rebellious woman in one second then a sex crazed, submissive nymph the next. Yeah, I know you have less than 200 pages to get this couple together and work the “scared of magic people” angle but Avery has literally one line of token resistance (that smacks of the creepy “no means yes” vibe) then, BOOM! Panties are off!

Wait, were there panties? *checks* No… No, of course there weren’t.

It’s like this story wants to hit all the beats of a paranormal romance but can’t quite get them in the right order to make it believable or entertaining. Avery is the typical damsel, Tristan is the typical brooder with a secret but it gets super creepy when the concept of Avery’s healing ability working according to how intimate she is with the person she’s healing. Hey! Ever wanted to read a book where the male lead has to watch the woman he wants to bone make out and get felt up by his BROTHER because he’s wounded? Well, shit, here ya go!

I found that concept creepy and I gave up halfway through. Every character is such a flat caricature fulfilling their standard role in this genre, I was bored when I wasn’t squicked out. It was like watching bad porn where they try to shoehorn a plot in. If I wanted that, I’d go borrow Zombie Strippers again (UGH!!). I give this book a 1.5 because I got it for free from Barnes and Noble for my Nook. If I had spent money on this, I would have been really upset.