Review: Bride (Ali Hazelwood)

Author: Ali Hazelwood

Publication Date: February 6, 2024
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½


A dangerous alliance between a Vampyre bride and an Alpha Werewolf becomes a love deep enough to sink your teeth into in this new paranormal romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love, Theoretically and The Love Hypothesis.

Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. Her days of living in anonymity among the Humans are over: she has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres, and she sees little choice but to surrender herself in the exchange—again…

Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority, but not without justice. And, unlike the Vampyre Council, not without feeling. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was….

Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances, and everything to do with the only thing she’s ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory…alone with the wolf.

I don’t normally reach for vampire or shifter romances, but I made an exception for Bride because Ali Hazelwood wrote it. I’m so glad I did. I loved the Vampyre/Were/Human world Hazelwood created. Misery was almost as much in the dark as I was about it all, so it was fun to experience the wonder and trepidation she had when she was thrust into Lowe’s part of the world. The first scene of the book really hooked me and set the stage in a way that kept my curiosity going.

At first, I found Misery kind of annoying. It was mostly her focus on finding Serena. As she adjusted to her new life, she grew on me. Like I said before, I loved discovering her world through her eyes. Lowe’s POV isn’t included, so I did a lot of guessing where he was concerned. I loved him, though. He may have been THE Alpha, but he was kind and considerate. The way he treated Misery and what he was willing to do for her was special. I also adored his relationship with little Ana.

Misery’s marriage, connection, and relationship with Lowe was very interesting. I wondered how a marriage between a Were and a Vampyre would work out, like they did themselves. It was fun finding out. Their romance was slow burn goodness. I adored the bond they built with each other.

While that slow burn was burning, there was a big mystery going on. I loved how Misery and Lowe worked together to figure out what happened to Serena and who was after Ana. There were some fun surprises along the way to finding out the truth.

All of the side characters were a lot of fun. I especially loved Ana. She was a cute and fun character. I loved the lightness she brought to the book and how Misery bonded with her. I also liked the Weres Misery got to know and Serena.

Overall, this was another great book from Hazelwood. I loved that she tried something new, and it worked out well. I would read more books set in this world. It would have been a great fall release, but it will be just as fun to read this winter.

Review: The Fake Mate (Lana Ferguson)

The Fake Mate
Author: Lana Ferguson

Publication Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Shifter Romance, Fantasy
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Two wolf shifters agree to be fake mates but unexpectedly find something real in this steamy paranormal romantic comedy by Lana Ferguson.

Mackenzie Carter has had some very bad dates lately. Model train experts, mansplainers, guys weirdly obsessed with her tail—she hasn’t had a successful date in months. Only a year out of residency, her grandmother’s obsession with Mackenzie finding the perfect mate to settle down with threatens to drive Mackenzie barking mad. Out of options, it feels like a small thing to tell her grandmother that she’s met someone. That is, until she blurts out the name of the first man she sees and the last man she would ever date: Noah Taylor, the big bad wolf of Denver General.

Noah Taylor, interventional cardiologist and all around grump, has spent his entire life hiding what he is. With outdated stigmas surrounding unmated alphas that have people wondering if they still howl at the moon, Noah has been careful to keep his designation under wraps. It’s worked for years, until an anonymous tip has everything coming to light. Noah is left with two options: come clean to the board and risk his career—or find himself a mate. The chatty, overly friendly ER doctor asking him to be her fake boyfriend on the same day he’s called to meet the board has to be kismet, right?

Mackenzie will keep her grandmother off her back, and Noah will get a chance to prove he can continue to work without a real mate—a mutually beneficial business transaction, they both rationalize. But when the fake-mate act turns into a very real friends-with-benefits arrangement, lines start to blur, and they quickly realize love is a whole different kind of animal.

The Fake Mate proves that I will happily and willingly read any book Lana Furgeson writes no matter what the genre. I didn’t read the synopsis when I decided to read this book. I saw Ferguson’s name as author and was sold because I loved her debut The Nanny. Later, I read the blurb and wondered what I had gotten myself into. I probably should have guessed by “Mate” in the title, but it didn’t occur to me. I am pretty vocal about avoiding shifter romances. They are just not books I’m into normally. I mean, I’ve read a few. I’m just not interested in the genre. That’s all. BUT. I loved this book. I had to get used to all of the alpha, omega, knot, heat, and neck sniffing talk at first, but the writing and romance was so much fun!

My favorite thing about this book was the characters and their developing romance. Mackenzie was smart, bubbly, and well-liked by her friends and peers. Noah was smart, highly regarded in his profession, kind of a grump, and very frowny. People were a bit intimidated by him. They had medicine in common but were opposites otherwise. When they end up in a mutually benefiting fake relationship, it’s no surprise that people have a hard believing these two have been hiding a relationship. Their intense chemistry and developing like for each other even surprises them. There’s a ton of sweet, caring, extremely passionate (Don’t let that cute cover mislead you!), and fun moments between them in this book. Mackenzie and Noah were adorable together. I absolutely loved every minute I spent with them. So much so, that if Ferguson wrote another shifter romance, or maybe one about an alien or vampire, I would read that, too.