Monday, May 11, 2015

Romance Reviews: Midnight's Kiss and Grave Phantoms

MIDNIGHT'S KISS
Elder Races #8
Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
290 pages
Berkley Romance
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two souls who have long buried their passions are about to be consumed…

Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them—and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances…

Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won’t be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine’s captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?


MY THOUGHTS
Midnight’s Kiss is a romance that could have easily been more frustrating than swoon-worthy given the longstanding history between Melly and Julian, accusations of cheating creating a roadblock with the possibility that neither will find their way around. The two of them were at each other’s throats in the previous book, making us equal parts nervous and excited as we wonder how that animosity will play out once they graduate from secondary to main characters. What we quickly learn, however, is that Melly and Julian have no plans to spend majority of their story sniping at one another and nursing old wounds, instead they bring a smile to our faces when they set aside their shared pain in favor of solving the more immediate problems before going back and talking everything out.

Melly is a spitfire, full of fight and vigor and completely unafraid of Julian’s flash of fangs when he gets upset, but she’s not so blindingly independent that she doesn’t know when following an order from Julian is the best course of action. She gives and takes in equal measure as Julian does, the pair of them are a force to be reckoned with while at the same time riddled with enough vulnerabilities to ensure they find an empathetic audience in us.

Julian, despite being utterly convinced Melly was unfaithful to him years ago, does an impressive job of not holding it against her when it matters, able to set aside his feelings in order to focus on the task at hand. When it comes time to confront the past, he does so intelligently rather than emotionally, finally allowing Melly’s vehement denials to penetrate and giving her the benefit of the doubt he wasn’t able to give twenty years prior. They both work to make sure their relationship survives the second time around, and the two of them are as beautifully fun and sexy as all the couples who came before them.

Overall, Midnight’s Kiss is yet another check in the plus column of a series already decorated with such marks, and while our time with Melly and Julian is thoroughly enjoyable, we can’t help but be excited about a return to Dragos’s Sentinels with Graydon’s story next.

Rating: 4/5
 

Find Thea:


GRAVE PHANTOMS
Roaring Twenties #3
Jenn Bennett
Paranormal/Historical Romance
320 pages
Berkley Sensation
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.
  


MY THOUGHTS
While possible to read as a standalone, Grave Phantoms will be infinitely more satisfying for those who have watched Astrid and Bo dance around one through the two previous books, our desire to see them together at a fever pitch by the time we're finally able to dive into their story in its entirety. The two of them don't disappoint, the tension between them in the first third of the book so thick our hands feel like they're moving in slow motion as we turn the pages, hearts in our throats as their feelings for one another are continually silenced by nerves and rampant prejudice. Luckily for us though, Astrid and Bo don't make us wait with bated breath too long before they decide their love for one another trumps anyone else's thoughts on the rightness of their relationship, and we then get to glory in that love while the pair of them further embroils themselves in a well-executed paranormal mystery.

Though Astrid and Bo's complicated feelings for one another (as well as her young age and the fact that Bo works for her brother) are what has kept them from voicing their mutual attraction, the main hurdle this pair faces is the fact that Bo is Chinese in a time and place that assigns little worth to anyone other than white, wealthy men. While neither Bo nor Astrid spend an enormous amount of time dwelling on that fact as they face far more pressing paranormal problems, it does give their romance a very real obstacle to overcome and has us rooting for them to say “screw it” to society's disdain for interracial couples.

The romance is of course as delightful as the previous two in this series, but equally as satisfying is the supernatural mystery surrounding a recovered yacht with a handful of amnesic survivors. The entire Magnusson clan is a magnet for all things ghostly and strange, and Astrid proves herself a Magnusson through and through when she finds herself plagued by visions of the sinister deeds done on the deck of the Plumed Serpent. Ms. Bennett always does an outstanding job of perfectly balancing the romance and suspense in this series, giving us just enough of both to keep us glancing at the clock to determine if we can fit in another chapter before bed.

Overall, Grave Phantoms is as enjoyable as its predecessors, highly recommended for those who love strong couples that give as good as they get, and paranormal happenings just creepy enough to inspire chills in the dark of night.


Rating: 4/5

Find Jenn:


These books were sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

55 comments:

  1. Do you know that I have the first two books of the Thea series and that I haven't read any yet? I really should try! I even bought the UK version as they were more beautiful. I'm reading Grave Phantoms so I'm curious to see how it is! thanks for the reviews!

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    1. Ooo you should read them for sure Melliane, you need to meet Dragos. DRAGON SHIFTER FOR THE WIN!!! :)

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  2. I had a copy of a Thea Harrison book sent to me too. But they sent me one in the middle of the typically and to this day I haven't reached to buy or look at the first ones. But I really must think I need a good Paranormal Romance. Great reviews. :)

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    1. I highly recommend both of these series Emma, such great characters!

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  3. Both series are new to me, but sadly both already have too many books for me to pick them up right now. I'm lazy when it comes to catching up as I already have so many series that I need to finish. Anyhow I'm glad you enjoyed both. Great review, Jenny :)

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    1. You could start in the middle, they work as standalones:)

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  4. Oh I'm intrigued by the MCs on Midnight Kiss. Eight books in ... that sounds good to me. I like a good cushion so I don't have to wait between books.

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    1. Lots of books for you to dive into then Christy! I love both of these series and I will always read whatever these ladies write:)

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  5. Man, both series I need to catch up on. Totally need to get back into the Roaring Twenties series. Because historical! Paranormal! What's not to love?

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    1. Exactly! So much to love with both of these:)

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  6. Two series I've heard great things about and really want to catch up on! I especially want to give Jenn's series a try, I keep seeing rave reviews for each of the books. It's great to hear Grave Phantoms can be read as a standalone, but I do think I'll read them in order to see all the buildup between Astrid and Bo. :-) Lovely review!

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    1. Yes! It's fun to see them in the periphery of the first two books and build up lots of tension for when it's finally their time in the spotlight:)

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  7. Glad the first one turned out way better than you expected and it was lower on the drama. ;)

    I love the Roaring Twenties series, well, I loved the first book at any rate so I'm glad the last one was just as good. I need to read the second and this one soon!
    Great reviews Jenny!

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    1. You just never know if a couple with their kind of history is going to move past it quickly or if it's going to drag through the whole story. I liked how it was handled in this one!

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  8. Gosh, I need to catch up on the Thea Harrison series. I'm so glad to hear that the two of them actually talk through their issues! I would certainly be frustrated if they continued to hurl accusations at each other throughout most of the book. I'm glad that I'm not going to have to deal with that.

    I have the first book in the Roaring Twenties series and I'm excited to get to it soon. I adore the sound of the characters in this book and I have to say, I really like that the author tackled an interracial couple in this one and not have unnecessary drama be the source of the obstacle. I'll have to get to these books sooner rather than later, Jenny.

    Beautiful reviews! :)

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    1. Yes! I will say that I figured out exactly what happened years ago and was surprised neither of them thought of it as a possibility, but I liked how they handled everything:)

      And yay for outside drama rather than relationship drama! That's more of what I like in my romances - where the couple has to tackle obstacles outside the relationship instead of from within.

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  9. I'm one of those poor souls who've been waiting for Astrid and Bo to get together since the dawn of time. I love Jenn for tackling racial issues in this book, but never making a huge deal out of it. Not many authors go there, especially in historical AND paranormal, but I'm glad she did and I fully trust her in that and everything else.

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    1. YAY ASTRID AND BO!!!! Love them Maja!

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  10. A series that it's still going strong after 8 books and that managed to resolve without too much drama something that could have been a reason for me to stop reading and a cause of too much angst! Glad to hear that you loved both these books!
    Great reviews Jenny!

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    1. I think series where each book is a different couple can easily go longer than a series where it's the same couple facing one problem after another (though I can think of several exceptions to that!). One of the characters I've been waiting forever for is up next and I couldn't be more excited Pili!

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  11. I am happy to see that you enjoyed Grave Phantoms. I have read two other reviews and the reveiwers weren't as satsified with this one. I really need to finish the series, so I am more inclined now.

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    1. I was a fan Heidi! I just like the balance of the romance the paranormal, I think it's really well done:)

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  12. I can't wait to get to Grave Phantoms, just need to finish book two on my kindle. Astrid and Bo's romance and feelings have been hinted at/growing and I just can't wait to read how it all goes. So glad you enjoyed it, Jenny :)

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    1. Oooo can't wait to see what you think of book 2 and this one Kim!

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  13. So this means I really need to start the Elder Races book that I have in my possession. AND to hurry up to where you are in the series! This sounds like a great addition to the series.

    Oh and as far as Jenn Bennett. I've wanted to read this series since I heard of that first book. This sounds like a fabulous end to the trilogy! Can't wait to dive in!

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    1. READ ALL THE ELDER RACES BOOKS MELISSA!!!! They're all so good:) And I need to read Jenn's other series, I've heard amazing things about it.

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  14. The Elder Races is a series I've been meaning to start. I think I got the first one too. The other series I read the first and enjoyed it so I really need to catch up!

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    1. Read it Candace! Dragos is waiting for you:)

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  15. I am curious about that second one...

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    1. All three books in this series have been great:)

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  16. Both of these books sound fantastic Jenny, although I think Grave Phantoms will be more sort of my read, especially as the romance sounds right up my street! Lovely reviews Jenny!

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    1. I hope you give it a try Jasprit!

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  17. Okay. I haven't given adult romance a try in a while, so your reviews are timely. :) I don't know about the frustrating tone of Midnight's Kiss. Probably enjoy the second book a bit more.

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  18. Dude. Jenny. I MUST read the Roaring Twenties series - I'm such a sucker for that kind of romance! Eeeep! So excited to check it out at the library now. Thanks for the awesome review. :D

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  19. I've only read the first in the Elder Races series, but I definitely want to continue. Glad to hear you're still enjoying it on book 8!

    I loved Grave Phantoms as well, and I was happy that there wasn't any back and forth over whether Astrid and Bo would be together considering their hefty obstacles, but rather they were determined to be together whatever the cost. The book was hot, right?! I loved the epilogue ten years into the future! Wonderful reviews, Jenny! :)

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  20. I really enjoyed the Roaring Twenties series and I am sad it has come to an end. I need to check out the paranormal series.

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  21. They both sound interesting and I've been meaning to read Thea for a while. Maybe this is where I start. Exciting reviews :)

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  22. You know I love Thea and this series of hers. Yeah. And the Roaring 20's...that series is something I need to try (for some reason, I've been reluctant. Not sure why but, yeah.).

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