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: “Mer” by Joelle Sellner and Abby Boeh

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After her mother’s death, Aryn’s father moves her and her sister out to Connecticut. With a new school surrounded bu a bunch of rich snobs and also forced to help her father with his new catering business, Aryn isn’t having the easiest time fitting in. But the oddest kids in the school who keep mainly to themselves have taken an interest in her.

In this sadly rushed supernatural romance, the real star is the art. The blue and green color pallate is on point and I enjoy the art style. But we don’t get enough time here. It’s hard to suspend belief for the romance between Aryn and Adrian, the mythology can get clunky, then in a whirl it’s all over. Maybe there was a page limit? I was left with feeling of only hearing the backbone to a bigger story. Given more time, I think I’d rate it highter but I have to give it a 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “More Things in Heaven and Earth” by Paul Comeau

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

*This review is crossposted to Otakus and Geeks.

Danny Crawford’s religious father decided to stop him from being gay by dumping the boy into conversion therapy. Desperate to escape the abuse in his home at the hands of his homophobic father, Danny is willing to die. While in the hospital recovering from his botched suicide attempt, his plight moves Damien; a vampire pretending to be a priest in order to feed on terminal patients. Damien decides to take the boy in but Danny’s father is determined to fix the ’embarrassment’ that is his son.

I had such high hopes for this given the premise but my overall impression is that of reading a textbook. The POV will switch, the prose seems to talk AT you, and the whole thing comes off as a methodical checklist of what a gay paranormal romance is supposed to contain without the heart other stories have. Damien switches back and forth between contemporary vampire and old world vampire in his language and that knocked me right out of the book. I couldn’t get fully immersed.

This book feels like a missed opportunity. It could have been a really touching, beautiful story that brought up the very real horrors of conversion therapy but I feel like I got a particularly detailed wiki entry. It isn’t even very smutty as the sex scenes are all fade to black. I have to give this a 2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Bonfire” (Hours of the Night #1.5) by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt

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

Thaddeus – a vampire – and his assistant/boyfriend, Sarasija live together in the bayou. While Thaddeus begrudgingly indulges Sarasija’s enthusiasm for Chirstmas decorations, strange lights are seen in the darkness which lure people away. To avoid being scapegoated as the cause Thaddeus goes to investigate while trying to keep Sarasija safe.

I found it very difficult to get into this and the blame can be squarely put on the fact I haven’t read any other books in this series. Bonfire is one of those in-between books that’s more of a side story for fans. You get the most from it if you are already familiar with the characters and the world they live in. As a result, how Thaddeus and Sarasija spend their holidays means nothing to me.

That being said, the mystery of the swamp lights did keep me reading to the end. The POV shifts from time to time, Thaddeus can be overly guilt-ridden to the point of being tiresome, and without the books I had trouble feeling the connection to the couple of the towns people around them. Still an interesting enough diversion. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Lord Griffin’s Prize”(Emerald Isle Fantasies) by Katalina Leon

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

Griffin shifter Ronan O’Griofa has been trapped in limbo for centuries. He’s given the chance to become human again when the soul of his wife is reborn and returns to Tullamore Castle to break the curse. He will have one day to convince this woman he is her true love. Maeve de’Burgo shows up at the castle fresh from a divorce and looking to do some genealogy research and have an adventure to shake her out of her sadness. Of course, she begins to see a griffin roaming the halls at night and having flashbacks to what appears to be another life as Lord O’Giofa’s wife.

I understand that Ronan has  just one day to convince Maeve she’s the reincarnation of his wife but even knowing that setup, it seems unrealistically fast how Maeve decides what she’s seeing is all real and the couple gets together for good. I wasn’t able to get to know either of them so I found it hard to care. Maeve is nice enough and Ronan is your classic enigmatic gentleman but I didn’t connect with either of them. I went into this because griffin shifters aren’t usually the subject of these types of romances and since I expected more to come of that, I felt disappointed at the end. But, that expectation was my fault so I gotta rate this as slightly above average for the writing. The descriptions of Tullamore were awesome. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “His Omega” by A. C. Katt

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

Sean Quinn is having a tough go of it these days. Not only did his abusive drunkard of a father toss him out for being gay; leaving him homeless and desperate enough to consider selling his body for money, his best friend, Leroy, is stabbed and killed trying to protect Sean. In trying to escape the killer, Sean barrels into the car of Armand La Marche; local Alpha to the North American werewolf counsel. Recognizing Sean has his mate, Armand takes the boy in and vows to keep him save from the murderer.

As fun as this concept is, the characters in it don’t so much as talk or have conversations so much as dump exposition; so all the dialogue comes off as stilted or unnatural. If done well, large amounts of story laden dialogue can be interesting but here, it feels like a lecture. There are some questionable word choices (using ‘gut wrenching’ to describe what I’m assuming is a pleasurable kiss doesn’t sound quite right) and multiple typos made is difficult to get through the book. It’s a shame too because the set up is interesting but the characters and writing are so flat and bland, I gotta give this one a 2 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: “Cruel to be Kind” by Kim Dare

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I purchased this book from All Romance Ebooks and is intended for 18+.

Xander, a human, has wanted to belong to Malone, a vampire, for a long time. As they are friends and business partners. In a last desperate effort, Xander offers himself to Malone knowing if a human offers themselves to a vampire, the vampire has 24 hours to do whatever they want with the offering. Xander is determined to show Malone he can endure anything Malone can throw at him but Malone is equally determined to show Xander how bad it can get so he never does it again; believing if he is cruel to Xander now it will spare him future pain. Will Xander be able to take it? Will Malone even be able to bring himself to hurt a man he loves for his own good?

This story isn’t bad as far as BDSM paranormal M/M erotica goes. As it is so short (35 pages) if you’re looking for long sessions between the two main characters, you won’t get them. It’s more about whether or not they will reach an understanding. You do get some interesting insight into the mindset of a submissive and Kim Dare is a good writer, but I give this story a solid 3. But if BDSM isn’t your thing, don’t read this one. And this is obviously for grownups only.

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Lenni Reviews: Ridden by the Werestallion by Heather Silver

I purchased this book for free from All Romance Ebooks.

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Ya see the title? Gee, guess what happens in the book?

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Lance Kingley is the new ranch hand at the Lucky Day Ranch. His first task is to breed a high-strung Arabian horse to a thoroughbred mare in heat. During this task, what happens can only be described as surprise butt-sex.

Reading this was like reading a court stenographer’s transcript of a really cheap porn. The setup, the unrealistic boning that isn’t even erotic, then the unrealistic conclusion. It had me questioning what I am doing with my life in reviewing these things but then I remember it’s to warn people against things that waste their time. Like this.

This is the kind of story that makes erotica look bad. I am so glad this story was free as it was barely a story. You don’t learn anything about any of the characters expect for these guys are all horse shifters who fuck and have big dicks. What even happened to the mare? Does she shift too or do they leave the poor thing in the field to suffer in heat alone? And of course, Lance takes all this strange news like it’s Tuesday.

I’d say save your money but since it was free, just save your time and pick something with more story. 1.5 out of 5 is generous since I found it empty but it didn’t incite my rage.

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