Friday Favorites – 4/16/21

It’s been a couple of weeks since I dropped in on a Friday to share some favorites with you. It’s not that I don’t have plenty of favorites, it’s more about time. So this week I’m actually sharing something I was going to share last week.

My beautiful, wonderful, lovely immediate family all have their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of last Friday! Yay! I cannot tell you how much that means to me. All but one of us got the Pfizer shot, the other got Moderna. Not that we really had a choice of which we got, and that’s okay. I feels like such a step in the right direction.

But this is what I want to know, how come my husband got a sticker and I didn’t? He told me he’d share.

I got my vaccine at Ford Field along with our youngest son who happened to get an appointment the same day about 15 minutes apart. So we all went drove to Detroit (I say that like it’s far when it’s like a 10 minute drive) and my husband and daughter-in-law took the munchkin for a walk around the stadium and over to Comerica Park to get a picture with the big tiger out front. That was 2 weeks ago now.

Hazel & Kirsten

A few days later our oldest got the call and was able to get an appointment for Tuesday at Ford Field. While my husband and daughter-in-law were both also signed up to go to Ford Field, we were checking other avenues since they hadn’t gotten an appointment yet. Basically clicking away at the county health department website until a slot opened up and hoping we were faster than the others to get said appointment. Whew! We both lucked out and I got my hubby an appointment for that Thursday and she got one for last Friday. And now we’re all 50% vaccinated! Yay!

Kirsten & Griffin showing off their vaccine cards last week.

It’s also great the my nearby family, mom and brother’s family, all have been vaccinated (other than the little kids, of course). My sister-in-law got her first dose a few days before I did and my mom and brother are both fully vaccinated. I really feel lucky that we have the privilege to live in an area that the vaccine is accessible. We had to wait our turn, and that’s okay. But we were able to get the vaccine once it was our turn.

Here are some resources if you live in Michigan. And please note that if you do not have transportation, there are resources for that also. They want to make sure everyone is able to get vaccinated.

Ford Field/Meijer

State of Michigan Covid Vaccine finder

You can easily look up your local county health department no matter what state you’re in, most will have links to follow to get signed up for the vaccine. I’m very serious when I say you are having a hard time figuring it out, send me a message and I will do whatever I can to help you out.

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Hero’s Haven (Dark Protectors)

Hero’s Haven
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher:  Lyrical Press
Book #11 in the Dark Protectors series
Number of pages:  306
Kindle edition
Source: MCL
Paranormal Romance M/F
Rating: XXX
Read 3/20/21 to 3/21/21

He’s her darkest fantasy. . .
After years of struggling, Haven Daly has finally accepted that she’s nuttier than a fruitcake. Why else would she see visions of a beautiful but tormented male every night . . . and actually believe she can talk to him, even feel his touch?  But thanks to those dream journeys, she can paint images nobody else on earth can duplicate. In each brush stroke, she captures the blatant masculinity and raw desire in his eyes that promise he’s coming for her…and soon.

She’s the light that keeps him going. . .
Quade Kayrs has already suffered a lifetime of pain and torture. Completely isolated, he kept his sanity  thanks to one beautiful female, a vision with kind emerald eyes. In the end, her soft voice led him out of hell. Now, naked and alone, he’s in a strange world that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind. All he knows is Haven.  All he wants is Haven.  His final mission? To protect her from the evil hunting them both—whether she likes it or not . . .

This is one of those stories I imagine most fans of the Dark Protectors series have been waiting for since this series has been picked back up. It certainly didn’t disappoint, either.  I adore Haven, her strength and grit after all she’s been through and all the things she’s believed about herself. And, although Quade is drastically out of his time, he adapts quickly even while resistant to some of the changes he has to make.

Haven and Quade are meant for each other, there’s no denying that. How could they not be after the connection they’ve forged through the years.  Even though Haven didn’t realize it was reality, she always felt a link to Quade.

There are so many things that start coming together in this story. The wheels are turning fast and furious. There are some answers we’ve been waiting for and more questions have come up. I’m so anxious to find out where this all going while loving the ride.

One of the things I really appreciate about this series is the humor. Seriously, as grim and crazy as things get in the world of the Dark Protectors, the author always finds humor. There is a vein throughout this book that has to do with toothpaste and it is gold! It really endeared Quade to me even more while making me giggle every time. I may have said this in a previous review of a Rebecca Zanetti book, but even my husband knows when I’m reading when of her books because of the reactions I have while reading. Laughing, gasping, yelling, and telling the characters what to do. I get very animated when reading these stories, that’s for sure.

I never want this series to end while also wanting everyone to find peace and their HEA.

5 stars

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The Evolution of Fae and Gods (Chronicles of the Stone Veil)

The Evolution of Fae and Gods
by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date:  March 23, 2021
Publisher:  Big Dog Books, LLC
Book #3 in the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series
Number of pages:  269
Kindle Edition
Source: Amazon Purchase
Paranormal Romance M/F
Rating: R
Read 3/24/21 to 3/27/21

Evil is coming.
A dark malevolence the likes of which this world has never seen, and it comes straight from the depths of Hell. Darkness meant to destroy. A prophecy I am fated to fulfill but will most likely not survive.

Through it all, Carrick Byrne has stood strong by my side. Something has deeply changed between me and the man I once despised, and all it took was a kiss of provocation for both of us to feel it. I know deep in my soul we’re being guided by destiny, but I don’t know if I can trust it. Carrick is holding something back, and I fear the consequences could be deadly once his truth is revealed.

We’re not ready, but calamity waits for no woman. I have discovered a power within myself I must learn to master. A new connection in the Underworld has been revealed to me, one that I hope is friend but is just as likely foe. We are in a race against time as we try to figure out how to stop the end of the world from occurring. The battle is coming, and I can only hope we’re prepared for what happens next.

The Evolution of Fae and Gods is book three of the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series and is best enjoyed if read in series order.

Just as with my reviews of the previous stories in this series, there will be no spoilers from this book in this review. But there may be spoilers for the previous books in this review. So only proceed if you have read the first books in this series.

I knew I was going to love Carrick eventually. This part of the series really cemented that fact, I adore that demi-god. Now, if only I could say the same for Finley. The more this story progresses, the more her actions come across as childish and immature. Emotions are high, that is understandable. But time and time again Finley takes stupid chances and makes stupid decisions she knows are wrong, otherwise she wouldn’t try hiding what she’s doing.

While Finley drove me crazy at times, I didn’t really dislike her. I just wanted to give her a good old-fashioned talking to. And she did start to make better decisions about halfway through the book. It wasn’t lost on me that the relationship between Carrick and Finley seemed to grow stronger and deeper after she gave up her shenanigans and started really listening to the warnings she was given.

Not only does Finley get closer to Carrick, but she also starts seeing some results with her goal in getting Zaid to like her…or at least tolerate her. Things are coming together. This ragtag team that is tasked with saving the world is heading in the right direction and starting to mesh in all the right ways.

There are so many things I enjoyed about this story, but I was still not as engrossed in this one as I was in the previous books. I kind of chalk that up to middle child syndrome. At least, that’s what I’m calling it (and I can since I am a middle child myself). I’ve often noticed that the middle story in a series such as this one is a bit less exciting for me. It’s not the book’s fault. It is needed in order to give lots of information and pivot the story as things are ready to explode. And though I find these stories less than exciting, they are often the most important. They are the books where we learn the most about what will be needed in the future. Trust me when I say there is a lot that happens in this story. And yes, some of it is even thrilling. It’s the in between parts that lost me a bit.

3.5 stars

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Untouchable (Immortals After Dark)

Untouchable
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Publisher: Pocket Books
Book #7 in the Immortals After Dark series
Number of Pages:  256
Hardcover
Source:  Warren Public Library
Paranormal Romance M/F
Rating:  XXX
Read 3/17/21 to 3/19/21

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR KRESLEY COLE delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time… and a Valkyrie aching for his touch.

Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela – the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can’t be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Can they conquer an agony of frustration and slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

I had a hard time finding this as a solo book as it was first published in a book called Deep Kiss of Winter, touted as A Holiday Collection with Bite. That book has this story and a story by Gena Showalter from her Alien Huntress series, which I haven’t read yet. As much as I love Gena Showalter, I knew I wasn’t going to be reading her contribution at this time. Alas, I couldn’t find just the Kresley Cole contribution as a standalone. (It can be found in The Brothers Wroth, a compilation of all of the Wroth brother’s books.) No biggie. Just really an observation for those interested in reading this story.

Let me start off saying that you REALLY should read A Warlord Wants Forever just before reading this story. (See my review on that book for notes on the series numerical order vs the series read order.) The two stories tie together. That being said, do NOT read this book if you haven’t read books 1-6 in this series unless you don’t mind spoilers.

Man, I wanted to dislike Murdoch. So misogynistic and egotistical! But I just couldn’t. There is a vulnerability about Murdoch that I didn’t expect and that really endeared him to me. Sure, I got ticked off at him a time or five. Yet I still couldn’t outright dislike the beast.

Danii is amazing. While I wish she would have shared more with Murdoch so he could understand where she was coming from, I also couldn’t blame her for her reticence to do so. She truly broke my heart with all she has carried with her through thousands of years. Imagine not being touched or able to touch another. As much as I love the Valkyries, I hate that there personalities lent them to not noticing how much Danii needed that she wasn’t getting. Be it sympathy, the correct living environment, or to be told she is enough.

This is another couple with amazing chemistry, which was just amped up by their inability to touch one another. They found their ways, as the story progressed, by thinking outside of the box. This just jacked the heat level up to inferno while they were trying to keep things on ice.

I am a sucker for a snowed in story, but this book definitely didn’t follow the typical rules of that trope. It was like the anti-snowed in story. I wanted them to get out of the situation because I knew they wouldn’t fully reach their potential while hiding away in that place.

It’s a beautiful thing to see all of the Wroth brothers find their HEA. All with such strong-minded women, too. I have loved to read about the connection these brothers have. They’ve been through the ringer, and it sounds like they could potentially see more strife in the future. But now that they’re together with each other and their mates, I have no doubt they’ll prevail.

4 stars

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The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark)

The Warlord Wants Forever
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: February 7, 2006
Publisher: Pocket Star
Book #0.5 in the Immortals After Dark series
Number of Pages:  185
Kindle
Source:  Amazon Purchase
Paranormal Romance M/F
Rating:  XXX
Read 3/15/21

The Warlord
Nikolai Wroth, a ruthless Vampire general, will stop at nothing to find his Bride, the one woman who can “blood” him, making his heart beat and filling him with strength. Coldly interested only in the power his Bride will bring, he can hardly believe when Myst the Coveted awakens him body—and soul.

The Seductress
Famed throughout the world as the most beautiful Valkyrie, Myst has devoted her life to protecting a magical jewel and to fighting the vampires. Wroth provides her with the perfect opportunity to torment her sworn enemy—for with his new heartbeat comes a consuming sexual desire that can only be slaked by her. Denying him, she flees, struggling to forget his searing, possessive kiss.

The Hunt is on…
She eludes him for five years, but he has finally chased her to ground and stolen her enchanted jewel, giving him absolute power over her. Now that she’s his for the taking, he intends to make her experience first-hand the agonizing, unending lust she subjected him to for half a decade. Yet when Nikolai realizes he wants far more than vengeance from Myst and frees her, will she come back to him?

This is the introductory novella to the Immortals After Dark series. I know what you’re thinking. Why am I reading the introductory story of a series AFTER I’ve already read the next six stories in the series when I’m such a “read in order” type of person? Well, I’m following the advice of experts. You may remember me saying in my review of the first book in this series, A Hunger Like No Other, that I had really gotten interested in reading these books when hearing about the Fated Mates podcast. These women actually started a podcast to discuss these books and recommended you not start with this story, but with book one instead. If they are that invested in this series, I think their advice holds some weight. And trust me when I tell you that I am absolutely glad I waited on this one. As usual, they were right.

I really hate spoilers. Although this story doesn’t have spoilers in the typical sense, there are some hints that could have given some things away about future books in the series. Plus, I absolutely would not have wanted to read what I consider this book’s mate with too much time between. But we’ll get to that later.

Nikolai and Myst have off the charts chemistry. There is no denying their connection, so it threw me for a loop when Myst was acting as though this was just another mission for her. And even more so when her sisters arrived for her “rescue” and she continued to play the aloof heroine. To be fair, she had every reason to mistrust and even taunt Nikolai given what his plans had been for her. But she sure gave good face to her act of not caring she was leaving Nikolai behind.

There is so much mistrust between Myst and Nikolai that it is a wonder they ever spoke their thoughts aloud to one another. Of course, not the thoughts they should have been speaking. As usual, so many things in this relationship could have been resolved with an open and frank conversation. But what fun would that be?

This is going to sound crazy since I’m talking about a 300 year old vampire, but there is a certain innocence to Nikolai. That’s because the rest of the lore mistrusts the vampires and the Forbearers are humans turned vampire so have no prior knowledge of the lore. Nobody is sharing information with them. It’s not only Nikolai’s ignorance of the lore, but the fact that he hasn’t moved on with the times. In other words, he still acts as though he’s in the 1700’s at times.

It was fun to see strong, beautiful, unshakable Myst find her match. As much fun as it was to see Nikolai learn the real way of the world while finding his own flaws and trying to fix them.

This book ties directly into book 7 of this series, Untouchable. I strongly recommend you have that book ready to go when you finish this one. I found I wanted to read Murdoch’s story as soon as I finished this book. (Look for my review on that one tomorrow!)

4.5 stars

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