Review: Wanted: Wild Thing by Jessica Sims

wanted wild thing by jessica simsFormat read: paperback provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Midnight Liaisons, #4
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date Released: August 26, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Ryder is hiding a dark secret from her coworkers at Midnight Liaisons. Every time she’s sexually attracted to a man, her dragon side breaks through. Not exactly man-bait! But she needs to lose her virginity before her twenty-fifth birthday, or she’ll become a dragon forever.

Her solution? Big, hunky Hugh, the appointed guardian of her chastity. He’s clearly hot for her, but he has powerful reasons to resist Ryder. Can temptation—and love—possibly find a way?

My Review:

This is kind of a “fish out of water” story. Actually there are multiple fishies out of multiple waters by the time this story (and the series?) is wrapped. As wild and crazy as the universe of Midnight Liaisons is, it turns out there are plenty of creatures and problems that they still have to discover.

beauty dates the beastBeauty Dates the Beast introduced Midnight Liaisons, a dating agency for supernaturals. It turns out that the things that go bump in the night really do exist, and they have just as much trouble finding someone to bump in the night with as us normals.

The crew at Midnight Liaisons started out as human, while the clientele they serve is anything but. However, by this point in the series, we’ve watched as human Bathsheba became the mate of an alpha were-cougar; her sister Sara is discovered to be a forceably turned werewolf, and assistant Savannah is a werewolf who exposed the dark side of the gender imbalance between males and females in the werewolf and other supernatural populations.

We always guessed that Ryder was something other than human, but Ryder has done an excellent job of concealing her true nature, partly because she isn’t sure of it herself. All she knows is that whatever she turns into is nasty, messy and ugly, and it comes out every time a guy touches her with lustful intent. Which makes Ryder a 24 year old virgin with a huge problem–if she doesn’t lose her virginity by her 25th birthday, she thinks she’ll be stuck as her ugly self forever.

Everything Ryder knows about herself is wrong. The truth is mostly worse.The story is in the path Ryder takes as she fumbles her way into finding a future for herself that she wants, in spite of her “issues”.

Ryder is a changeling, which throws the Fae into this story in a big way. Changelings are bred, like pets, in the Fae realm. But the Fae realm is pretty lethal to anything not Fae, so Changelings are farmed out to human families who are none the wiser that their child has been substituted.

Ryder thinks she’s a human who changes into an ugly gargoyle. In fact, the change is her natural form, and the closer she gets to her 25th birthday, the more beautiful her supposedly ugly (and slightly draconic) form gets. Except she’s too convinced that she’s ugly to see the changes.

The Fae responsible for her origin comes to claim her, and she finally discovers bits of the truth about herself. The Fae is planning to take her back to his realm and breed her like a poodle, but he has to wait until her 25th birthday for her transformation to be complete.

She needs to lose her virginity before that same 25th birthday, or the Fae will take her away. With threats, blackmail or magic, whatever works. Her Fae “master” leaves a guard with her to make sure she stays virgin until the appointed day.

Of course she falls for the bodyguard, and vice-versa. But the Fae are blackmailing him, too, and with a prize that she can’t compete with; but only if the Fae are telling the truth. Do they ever?

Escape Rating B: I enjoyed this story, even though there were more than a few times I wanted to slap Ryder upside the head and tell her to get a clue. And to hit Hugh upside the head with a clue-by-four while she was at it.

Ryder’s human parents died when she was young, so she doesn’t know whether she got whatever she’s got from them or not. She feels she has a horrible ugly secret, and she’s been keeping it completely secret from everyone since her first period.

Because she thinks her secret is so ugly, she spends her life and her very considerable energy in complete denial. Everything she has or does is overly cute to make up for the ugliness she hides.

She’s also a sucker for anyone who will give her a scrap of information, even if it’s mostly a lie. But as a sucker, she’s in good company with her unwilling bodyguard, Hugh.

She thinks he’s a shifter. While she’s correct, he doesn’t shift into any animal that’s been seen in the wild since before the last Ice Age. He and his people have been kept isolated from the rest of the universe(s) by Fae magic, and only brought out to do Fae dirty work.

That he and his people have also been lied to by the Fae is obvious to the reader fairly early on.

Once you get past their belief in the lies, the reaction of Hugh and his people to 21st century life on Earth is often hilarious. His confusion about the way the world works is something that Ryder is able to exploit to the fullest extent.

These are two innocents, wandering lost together trying to find a way forward that eliminates the threat to their independence and happiness. It’s almost surprisingly that they actually manage to find it.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Must Love Fangs by Jessica Sims

Must Love Fangs by Jessica SimsFormat read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Midnight Liaisons, #3
Length: 369 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date Released: August 27, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

From the supernatural dating capital of the world, it’s the Midnight Liaisons Dating Game!

Let’s meet our eligible bachelors . . .

“Cold hands, warm heart” applies to Bachelor #1. He believes that nighttime is the right time. Welcome, Bert the vampire!

Bachelor #2 is an old soul—four hundred years old, to be exact. If you want someone to spend eternity with, choose Andre the vampire!

Dying to snuggle up with a strong, sexy were-cougar? Bachelor #3 is a real cat(ch) who will tail the woman of his dreams until his irresistible charm melts her heart. He’s Joshua Russell!

Who’s our lucky bachelorette?

Professional matchmaker Marie Bellavance has hooked up hundreds of were-things, harpies, faeries, and vamps. Now it’s her turn. This alluring human’s not afraid to break the rules. But when nature takes over, a forbidden romance could be her only chance to live a full, healthy life. If there’s a trick to getting turned, she needs to find it . . . fast.

My Review:

I picked this one up for pure fun. The whole concept of the supernatural dating agency was explored to marvelously snarky effect in Beauty Dates the Beast (reviewed here), and I keep following the series to see where it goes. The second book, Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter was still good, but didn’t quite match the sparkling banter of the first book. While there were story reasons why that happened, I missed the banter.

Midnight Liaisons is a dating agency for supernaturals. Since the shifters and the vamps haven’t come out of the coffin (or whatever) yet, everything about the agency is super secret. It was intended to be staffed by humans, but first the owner gets mated to a were-cougar, and her supposedly human sister turns out to secretly be a werewolf.

Marie-Pierre Bellavance may be human, but she’s a dying human, and no one knows about it. Marie suffers from Fatal Familial Insomnia, which really does exist, no matter how crazy it sounds. The short version is that the sufferer is incapable of sleeping, which eventually leads to panic attacks, hallucinations, dementia and death in just a couple of years. It’s also hereditary, but usually doesn’t strike until middle age, so Marie’s mother didn’t find out that she was a carrier until she herself was struck down, well into Marie’s teens.

Marie’s extreme anxiety seems to be bringing it on early, but Marie has a plan. She works at Midnight Liaisons, and it finally dawns on her that neither vampires nor shifters get diseases. All she has to do is convince one of the supes to turn her, and she’ll be cured.

Unfortunately, there’s a big scandal in the shifter community because some young idiot broke secrecy and turned his girlfriend against her will. Then he fell out of love with her, and she threatened to go to the newspapers. (As I said, he was a young idiot)

Marie starts secretly looking for a vampire. This is a problem. Vampires are secretive and dangerous, and Marie can’t afford to be picky. Even more troubling, Marie’s nemesis, the serial dater Josh Russell, keeps showing up at the agency and trying to get her to go out with him. Or treat him as anything other than an annoying brother. Or simply notice him in a positive way (other than checking out his gorgeous ass).

Josh is clearly panting after Marie for more than just possibly sex. No matter how much the two of them snark at each other, there’s real caring under the surface. So much real caring that when Marie finally confesses the reasons for her vampire pursuit, Josh helps her anyway. Even though the only thing he wants to do with Marie is take her for his mate.

And even though successfully turning her could result in a one-way exile to Greenland–for both of them. Josh has his work cut out for him to convince Marie to trust him; before she dies or is beyond his reach.

Escape Rating B-: This story felt like it had a slow middle. It starts out strong, with the sharp-tongued banter between Josh and Marie, but after Marie’s illness is revealed, it wallows in her increasing symptoms and incredibly desperate attempts to find someone to turn her a bit too long.

It isn’t obvious at the beginning that Josh really has a heart of gold under his playboy exterior. He dates tons of women, but only once. When he starts showing Marie that his playfulness hides a major white knight complex. the reader still ends up wondering about the hordes he’s run through on his way to true love. (I’d seriously doubt him too)

After Josh introduces Marie to just some of the people that he helps, most of them older women who enjoy his bad-boy charm, it’s still not 100% certain whether Josh is falling for her or just feels the need to save her, too. Some vamps are extremely shady characters, even (or especially) with each other. Marie definitely needs saving, or at least a bodyguard once she sets herself out as vampire bait.

In the last quarter of the book, when Josh has to rescue Marie from the inevitable vampire trap she falls into, the action moves fast and furious. Not just because they finally manage to admit that they love each other, but because Marie finally breaks the rules she should have all along, and then they have to deal with the messy fallout.

I see big changes for the shifter community on the horizon. I hope we have more fun along the way.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Beauty Dates the Beast

I’ll be honest. I read Beauty Dates the Beast for pure fun. And it absolutely totally was. Pure fun. In the middle of moving it was exactly what I was looking for.

Jessica Sims’ Beauty Dates the Beast is about an escort service. But this isn’t your usual sleazy escort service. This isn’t even your usual swanky escort service, although it is very expensive and has a very select list of clients, and an even more select list of escorts. This agency caters to the fanged, furry and finny among the population. Talk about special requests! Vampires, werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night apparently aren’t willing to do the old bump and grind with just anyone. At least the high-rollers among them aren’t.

Bathsheba Ward works for Midnight Liaisons. Bathsheba is a human, so she is not one of the escorts. She only arranges the liaisons, she doesn’t go out on them. Until Beauregard Russell gets stood up by his escort. Beau Russell is head of one of the cat-shifter clans, and Bath doesn’t have a substitute she can send, so she goes in person to apologize. When Beau wants her for herself, human frailties and all, Bathsheba’s world starts to unravel.

Beau is in town for more than just a date, and Bathsheba has way, way more problems than just keeping her boss from discovering that she’s interested in a client. When a member of Beau’s clan is kidnapped, and Bath’s secrets are exposed, she’s not sure who she should trust with her secrets. Because when Beau learns what Bath has been keeping from him, she’s afraid he might have to make a bargain that she can’t live with.

Will love conquer all?

Escape Rating B+: This was a great escape read. I was looking for something to take me out of the middle of moving, and this was absolutely terrific for that. The only problem was the whole move was still waiting for me when the book was done. I would definitely recommend Beauty Dates the Beast for anyone looking to get whisked away for a few hours!