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Monday, August 30, 2021

Series Review! Bound Series by Jennifer Dean








 Bound (Bound #1) by Jennifer Dean
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
First Published: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Little Fish Publishing 



When fate leads Emma Morgan back to her small hometown of Washington, she learns that the life she knew three years ago has changed once she meets the charmingly, mysterious Liam Alexander. But when her brother Sean, voices his disapproval, Emma finds her loyalty in the way of her newfound curiosity of the youngest Alexander. Only the more she tries to avoid Liam the more she finds him in her constant company.

A risk that leads down a dangerous path once Emma begins to discover a secret about the Alexanders that no human should ever know.

Bound is the first book in the Bound series by Jennifer Dean. You could easily say this was a Twilight retelling. There were sooooo many similarities. No one is sparkling yet, and you don't really have Vampires per say, but these creatures can be pretty darn close. I do like the characters, and the storyline kept my attention all the way through. I'm a bit anxious to get started on book 2, but I sure hope the Twilight similarities stop, and this series becomes its own. There is a lot of potential here for a great story.

Bound by Jennifer Dean was kindly provided to me by Silver Dagger Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

I had woken early Saturday morning with a panic plaguing my mind. I must have checked the Daily Washington News five times, front to back. I even watched two early morning news editions before my dad had even gotten out of bed. It felt excessive and I realized it must have looked that way too as the corner of my eye caught sight of my mother’s many worried glances. But I was almost certain I would find one of the horrid reports that had haunted my dreams most of the night before. Teenage Boy Found Dead or Local Boy Presumed Missing. But nothing stood out among the articles of birth announcements, city budget cuts, and girls’ basketball playoffs. Not even in the obituaries. It was the same on Sunday too.

By Monday I felt nauseous from the tightened nerves of my stomach. My mind was utterly useless in my first five periods. Luckily, for my sanity, as I entered the cafeteria for lunch I caught sight of both Ross and Nick almost instantly at a corner table. The tension in my shoulders dropped. Even though I knew I would never see them the same, it was comforting to know they would live another day. At least this way they would have a chance at redemption.

Wait, I thought. My eyes shifted back to notice something strange about the two boys. They weren’t in their usual seats, which was always on either side of Sean at the left corner table, in the back of the cafeteria. In fact, they weren’t even near his table at all. They sat in the front left corner of the room as if they had been shunned from popularity.

What was worse was catching Ross’s remorseful gaze as I walked toward the lunch line. I couldn’t stand the uncomfortable melancholy that his slumped body held. Nick, on the other hand, couldn’t even find enough courage to look up from his thumbs. Had they shunned themselves from guilt?

I forced my eyes away so that I could grab some tea. My stomach was settling but still against the idea of food. I pursed my lips at the cause of my loss of appetite. The sight of them only brought back memories I hoped to soon forget, and hopefully that would be sooner rather than later.

But if I had felt the nerves at lunch, it was nothing compared to the way the anxiety of walking into English made them jump around. Once I had spotted Liam in his assigned seat I felt a dizzy spin from my stomach. I sat looking at my books, suddenly dissatisfied with the placement of my seat. Why did I have to be next to him?

I looked up at the overhead slides and back at my paper with determination when class began. It was a blessing that today’s notes gave my hands and mind something to do.

I was so anxious to leave when the bell sounded that I elbowed my pens right off my desk with annoyance. Just as my body swiveled, I found myself face to face with Liam. My eyes froze on his as I inhaled with the awareness of the increased pace of my heart. I felt the slight gulp from my throat as a shiver traveled down my arms and into my fingers. Just like the memories of Ross and Nick, seeing Liam had flashed the images of what he had done to them. When I woke this morning I knew how foolish I was to dismiss, or deny, it all, especially after the weekend had left me with nothing but time to relive the night. But maybe it was easier that way. At least until I saw his face to remind me that I was merely lying to myself.

“What are you?”

I was still, watching as he leaned his neck closer. I wasn’t sure where my courage had come from to ask. I certainly had none Friday night.

“A high school student,” he said.

I narrowed my eyes, forgetting that I was even slightly terrified of him. As if I hadn’t been plagued with nightmares over the weekend. As if the slightest unfamiliar sound didn’t make me jump, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind as proof. As if I hadn’t asked Sean, like a child, to come over Saturday and Sunday night. No, right now I was only led by my curiosity.

“I wasn’t under the impression that most high-schoolers could move things with their minds.”

“I didn’t,” he said.

My eyes squinted as I leaned in closer with my whisper. “I saw him floating. It was like magic or something.”

“Did you actually see me doing that?” Liam asked.

“Yes. Well….” I scrunched my lips as I took a minute to remember. He was right. I had never actually seen him lift Nick because I was too shocked to look away.

Liam’s lips were straight as he stood. I followed his movement. “Okay, no I didn’t see you doing it.” He nodded, making it clear that was his point. “But you did move me away from getting hit by the truck. I know that.”

He opened his mouth, ready to speak, but said nothing. In his eyes, I thought I could see, the conflict, the same I had seen before. I didn’t like to see him that way. Finally, he closed his mouth and gathered his books before turning his back to me.

“Thank you,” I said.

It was impulsive but needed.

“For what?” Liam said. His back was still facing me but his neck had turned at my words.

The shock of being so frightened by Liam had overshadowed my gratefulness for his presence Friday night. I watched as he turned back to face me.

“I realized that I never thanked you for what you did. I don’t know what would have happened if you had not been there.”

I looked down with the lie, or maybe it was a realization. It was pretty clear what would have happened if he hadn’t been there. The shame of what felt like stupidity led my eyes to rest on the ground because of this. When I finally let myself look back up at him, I noticed he had moved back to stand at his desk. It was good to know a few students were occupying Mrs. Anderson, keeping her from awkwardly watching our encounter.

Liam leaned in with the gaze of his bright eyes. “If fate were to rewind us to the same moment, I wouldn’t hesitate to be there again.”

My eyes bounced back with his, like a tennis match. Suddenly the fright of what he was had begun to melt. In its place was a warmth of safety. Uh-oh.

I grinned involuntarily. “Can I ask you something?” He nodded with an approved patience.

“I know what I saw can’t be normal. I mean, I’ve never heard of such a thing in a human.”

“I don’t believe that sentence was a question.”

I tried to resist the roll of my eyes as I walked past the desks, parallel with him. He seemed to keep more with my pace than I did with his as we exited the classroom.

“All right, what are you?” I asked again. He gazed at me like I was an intruder inside a security vault. “I’m not going to tell anyone. I didn’t even tell my brother about what happened, and I tell him everything.”

Really it was more oddly like I couldn’t tell Sean. Part of me was protective of what I had seen. I still didn’t understand that. All I knew was every time I tried, I remained silent. When we stopped at my locker, I watched as Liam’s chin lifted with surprise. He leaned his lips a few inches away from my ear. “I wish that I could say.”

“Can’t you?” I asked.

He leaned back to see my lifted brow. “I wish for so many things.”

I squinted with confusion, watching him shake his head once before turning to walk down the hall. I was almost certain there was a small grin on his lips. I didn’t know what person would be able to resist the need to solve the mystery of it. He had just silently confessed that what I saw Friday night was true. How was I supposed to ignore that?

I was smiling almost too much, when Sean walked around the corner. He had a narrowed gaze that wasn’t happy but not quite upset either.

“I know,” he said.

My eyebrows lifted with guilt. Had he watched secretly as Liam once again walked me to my locker? I looked toward the ground.

“Why didn’t you tell me about what they did?”

They did? Suddenly my eyes flashed up to meet his gaze. He wasn’t talking about just now, how I had technically broken my own promise to stay away from Liam—a task I thought would be so easy. No, that wasn’t it.

My mouth felt dry as my eyes darted away from him. The image of Ross over me had filtered through my mind again. I was sure that Sean could see my small grimace.

“Tell you what?” I said innocently.

“Emma, please, I can see it written in your eyes as much as I could that night.” It wasn’t an easy thing to relive, and now more than ever I was grateful for Liam. “Em?”

I finally moved my eyes back to meet the patient gaze of his own. I gulped. “How did you even know?”

“They confessed to me this morning.” I cocked my head back in surprise.

“Why?”

He narrowed his eyes to question my inquiry.

I shook my head in defense. “I just mean I didn’t think that would be something to confess to you of all people.”

“I wouldn’t say they were exactly willing,” he said. “It was almost like they were overcome by some pint up guilt.”

“Then what made them?”

“Liam Alexander.”

So he did know about Liam, or at least that he had been there. “Really?”

“Well not physically. All he did was walk by us before Nick sudden spit out…”

Sean exhaled with anger with the small shake of his head. It seemed as if he couldn’t even finish the thought of what had happened. I waited for more anxiously but nothing. So it appeared that Sean didn’t know everything about Friday night, just that Liam had been there to rescue me. He knew nothing of how he rescued me.

“So, that’s why they weren’t sitting with you at lunch?”

It all made sense now. They hadn’t shunned themselves because of the guilt. They had been shunned. I was actually grateful I wasn’t around when they told Sean. They were lucky they were still able to be in the cafeteria at all.

“They won’t ever be sitting at any table that I’m at again.”

I felt guilty about him losing the friendship that had been ongoing for fifteen years. Because of me it had abruptly and permanently ended. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not.” Though his voice was stern, I could see in his now angered eyes that he was lying. Ross and Nick had grown up with him, and now that bond was broken with betrayal. It would be like Lauren or Erika hatching a plan to kidnap and kill Sean. Though I held a bond with my friends, their act would naturally sever any care I previously held for them. I didn’t want to think about it. “I’m just sorry that I wasn’t there to protect you,” Sean said.

“And that Liam was.” I paused, unsure whether I was saying this as a serious or sarcastic thing. Sean’s gaze had previously been halfway between me and the space in front of him, but I had his full attention now.

“I can’t say that I’m ungrateful, but it doesn’t change how I feel about him. I question why he was even there.”

“Does it matter?” I said.

Sean only glared to my question. His golden honey eyes almost brightening, with each new second that passed.

“Has your promise changed?”

I sighed. “No.” I wasn’t sure how much I meant that.

On the way home, I was terribly grateful that Sean hadn’t asked for details, details like why, if Liam had saved me, did I come home willing to stay away from him.

Funny how I asked myself the same question as I hopped into bed that night. A question I was made to contemplate once my head hit the pillow and my eyes shut.

Instantly, I found myself surrounded by a forest of trees in a cloud of darkness, but I could see that I wasn’t alone. Liam Alexander stood beside me, looking toward the space directly in front of us.

There I caught sight of Ross and Nick, charging at me with an angered vengeance. It wasn’t lust but anger in their eyes. I was to blame for their ending friendship and they were going to make me pay for that. I instinctively readied my arms to swing, when both of Liam’s hands rose forward, flinging both boys backward and out of sight, without a single touch. The swift control of their speed was like a stunt man being pulled back on a harness.

“Thanks,” I said.

He nodded before looking behind me. I followed the gaze over my right shoulder to find Sean. He was furious and running right at us like an enraged bull. But as he got closer I could tell it wasn’t me he targeted, it was Liam. I tried to stand in between, but Liam gently pushed me behind him protectively. Sean had his fist out, ready to swipe at Liam as he ran with hatred in his eyes.

“Stop!” I yelled.

But my voice was drowned out with Sean’s continued charge. No amount of sound that came from me would catch his attention. I was left to watch helplessly as Liam’s hand instinctively moved in front of him to force Sean’s body to fly back and out of sight, just as he had minutes before with the other two boys. I turned back to see Liam’s eyes glowing with a bright emerald green of unnatural beauty.

Suddenly my eyes flashed open and my torso flung upward. I looked around my dark room, laying my hand across my chest, feeling the increased beating of my heart. I only had one thought that crossed my mind now that I was awake.

Just what the hell was Liam Alexander?



Blinded (Bound #2) by Jennifer Dean
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
First Published: February 14, 2015
Publisher: Little Fish Publishing 



Despite the constant nightmares that remind her of the attack that almost took her life, Emma Morgan has come to accept the risk that comes from being a human in love with an immortal. Unfortunately, it’s Sean who still continues to struggle with his sister’s presence in the world of his new life.

A struggle that inevitably leaves him distracted long enough to go missing on his watch. But Emma learns that finding her brother may come at a high price.
Blinded is the second book in The Bound series by Jennifer Dean. This series is still feeling very Twilighty to me. Where book one followed many of the same patterns as Twilight, Blinded followed New Moon closely too. No wolves yet, but there are so many similarities and even some of the same names are used. I do enjoy the story and the characters still. I just wish it would follow its own path more, and it easily could. The potential is there. I really wanted harsher reactions from Emma. Especially after everything that had been done... I mean I would have thrown some major fits. One punch definitely wasn't enough.

Blinded by Jennifer Dean was kindly provided to me by Silver Dagger Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Within seconds we were on highway 264, heading toward the Alexander mansion—or Goose Creek Park to those unaware of the Alexander’s true residence.


“Now are you going to tell me why we had to fake an illness to escape me from school grounds?” I looked down at our hands with a gulp before finding the courage to look back at up him.

“Time is of the essence,” Liam said.

“Why?”

With my stubbornness beginning to surface, Liam looked at me with prideful satisfaction while the same hesitation I had seen in the school hallway lingered within his eyes. I was going to have to drag it out of him. It would have been convenient to have Sean’s ability right now.

“Liam…” I paused with a frustrated sigh to his silence as he looked back out the windshield. “What is so bad that you had to ask me to leave school? Your face doesn’t exactly look as if you got the urge to head out on vacation.”

“Would you go with me if I asked?”

Liam turned his neck to gaze at me with eyes so bright they almost frightened me. How could someone look so hopeful and saddened at the same time?

“Anywhere. Anytime,” I said.

“Maybe when I…”

He stopped himself with his words, gripping his knuckles tightly on the steering wheel.

“Maybe when you what?” I closed my eyes as I spoke his name aloud as if it were a password. “Liam…” They opened back to gaze upon his dirty blonde hair. “Please just tell me. What’s wrong?”

I sat in silence shifting my eyes around his face as if they were a plane and I was trying to find a safe place to land. I waited in continued silence as I caught sight of the road that lead to the Alexander Mansion. Just when the white of the mansion peeked through the trees Liam finally spoke without looking at me.

“Something’s happened.”

I ignored my desire to be angry with his silence up to this point.

He was ready to tell, so I was ready to listen.

“What has?”

Liam pulled swiftly into the curved drive before putting it in park and turning his body completely to face me. He closed his eyes with a sigh for only a second’s composure before opening them with an exhale. My heart beat faster, afraid of his next words.

“Sean didn’t come back from his watch this morning.”

At the sound of Sean’s name I grabbed instinctively at the door handle for support. My stomach barrel rolled with a fear, and a shiver ran up my spine, leaving me dizzy. Liam’s hand moved to gently hold my face level with his own, forcing me to concentrate on him. My eyes desperately wanted to shift down in panic as I thought about Sean’s fate, but the emerald glow of Liam’s eyes were enough to hold me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop the dark thoughts from circling my mind. Where is he? Was he distracted from last night? This is my fault.

“Oh God, that was something important when Grace called. Was that when they knew…and we waited the whole period…what do we–”

The last time I had been this jumbled was when I had discovered Sean was immortal. Each thought ran wildly in every direction, spreading panic in its path. I felt my deep breaths become shorter upon each inhale.

“Emma?”

Liam’s gentle tone brought my focus back enough to voice my fears.

“He’s missing?” I said.

“Yes,” Liam said.

I could feel the sweat glisten my palms as my heart beat even faster. I slowly reached my right hand up to lay on top of Liam’s left as my lips pulled together.

“But he’s not de—”

“No.”

I breathed out a small sigh of relief at his interruption. I dropped my hands into my lap, grateful because I didn’t think I could have even finished the last word of my question.

“Come on,” Liam said.

He dropped his hands from my face and reached for the door handle. I quickly followed him out of the car, meeting at the end of his car’s hood. We held onto each other’s hands as we ran–at my pace–up the curved porch stairs. Despite my lack of concentration to each step, I was impressed that I hadn’t tripped.

Once reaching the porch we slowed, not stopping as Patrick opened the door, ushering us inside. Once in the living room, my eyes bounced from left to right, shocked to see every member of the Alexander clan. Well, everyone except my brother.

Liam and I dropped hands as I gazed at the right side of the room to see Grace next to William. She was talking on the phone to someone while William looked at a map. Liam began heading in their direction. I followed him on auto-pilot, my mind still processing the situation. As I got closer, I could hear Grace.

“Yes, Kallie. The scent goes north before dropping off completely.”

As Grace listened to Kallie’s reply on the other end, I gazed up to see her withdrawn cheeks and brightened sapphire eyes. Grace looked back at me for only a few seconds before looking back at the map.

“I understand,” Grace said.

She stood listening to Kallie before letting her eyes close for only a second’s need of composure.

“Thank you,” Grace said before ending the call with her thumb, and placing the cell phone into her pocket.

Whatever Kallie had said it must have been about Sean. My stomach tensed as I watched Grace lower her finger to the map.

“Liam, you head south while Will and I head past the northern border,” Grace said.

There were so many things happening it was hard to know what to ask first.

“You’re going?” I said.

I turned my head to meet Liam’s already waiting eyes. They weren’t the only pair that gazed back at me.

“There’s a better chance of finding him if the three of us go,” Liam said.

I nodded with my small exhale. The voice in my mind told me to shut up. It wasn’t my business to question how immortals tracked. I guess it was just human nature to worry about those you love. I was torn between the uneasiness of Liam leaving and the gratefulness of his selfless search to find my brother.

“You’re right,” I said choosing the latter.

If only I had the gift to see into Sean’s thoughts the way he had read mine after Henry had taken me. I could end this search immediately and send them to get him. But I couldn’t. I could do nothing.

I sighed, focusing my eyes on the ground before they suddenly froze in place with a new thought. No, I couldn’t peek within Sean’s mind but he could always hear what was in mine. Sean. If you’re still alive—god I didn’t mean that—I just mean if you are hearing me now then I want you to know one thing. They’re going to find you. They are going to bring you back to me so that I can see you one last time. And once I see you are okay, I promise I will give you your wish and let you move on with your new life. I promise, big brother. I love you.



Baited (Bound #3) by Jennifer Dean
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: August 3, 2021
Publisher: Little Fish Publishing

Normal seniors worry about if they will get rejected from their dream school, what they are going to wear to their last prom, or if it’s possible to stay close with the friends they grew up with after high school.

But Emma Morgan has come to learn that normality is a thing of the past. Especially when her eighteenth birthday is a mere reminder of the newly accepted deal she has made to lure a vengeful immortal named Thomas back into Alexander territory. A plan that will certainly make the humans of her world safer but comes with the risk of not living to see graduation.

Baited is the third book in the Bound Series by Jennifer Dean. Alright guys, this one is moving away from Twilight. There were little twists here and there. Bad guys seemed to be hopping out of the woodwork at times, and it kept me on my toes wondering who or what might happen next. I don’t know about you guys, but I think there’s more to Michael than we know. Something is definitely going on with him. 

This one ends on a pretty harsh cliffhanger, which really scared me, because I thought this was a trilogy. So, I had one of those “Nooooooo!” moments. So, I stalked the author’s website, and while I couldn’t find info about the next book yet, this book was referred to as the “third installment”, which tells me there is more to come. Whew! Don’t scare me like that! Speaking of the author, she’s from Nashville! So, big shout out to another Tennessee gal!

As a side note, have you checked out the covers in this series? Simple and beautiful. I love them!

Baited by Jennifer Dean was kindly provided to me by Silver Dagger Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Hours later, we all sat chuckling as Pamela mocked her boyfriend, Kyle Bellmen. The smile I held was finally genuine, as I’d been granted my wish: to revel in the normality of my old life without the tense spotlight of talking about my new one.

The laughter in the cabin was at its loudest of the night. Even Heather was joining in with us. Then a thud drew our attention to the starboard side of the boat.
“What was that?” Heather asked.
Without a need for a command, Erika turned down the music. She stood silent, listening as she stared at the ground. After a few seconds of silence, she looked back at the group with a shrug.
“Something probably fell that wasn’t secure on deck. I’ll check it out to be sure.”
She jogged up the steps and creaked open the door hatch to make her way onto the deck. We all sat silent, waiting for news of what she would discover.
“Oh my god,” Erika whined out.
I was out of my seat and up the steps before any of the others had moved. When I reached the doorway I stepped onto the deck only to be met with a darkness that forced me to blink excessively to adjust to the sight.
But my stomach tensed, as I knew that it was taking too long to adjust to the dark when we were so close to the docks. I turned to use the lampposts from the boardwalk as a guide only to realize there were none. My eyes had finally begun to adjust enough to stiffen at the sight.
There were no lampposts because we weren’t near the docks. There was no light except for the cabin lights from below deck. And just as the other girls began to shout out, “What the hell,” and “Oh my god,” I felt my own unease. We were stranded in the middle of the Pamlico River.
I looked to Erika, who seemed to be pleading with me for an explanation—one that I didn’t have.
“I swear the boat was securely tied up to the dock. And even then, it would be impossible without the engine on, right?”
She was scratching her head while looking in all directions, clearly panicking, as most would. But glancing beyond her toward the bow, my eyes caught sight of the problem. Shit.
So much for being normal.



author
Jennifer has studied Creative Writing and Literature and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 

To learn more about Jennifer Dean and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Release Day Review! Wolf Untamed by Alexis Calder





Wolf Untamed: Moon Cursed by Alexis Calder
Genre:  New Adult Fiction (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: August 26, 2021
Publisher: Self

You can only trust yourself.

They say it’s more dangerous being a lone wolf. I say having friends isn’t worth the pain. Everyone I’ve ever known has betrayed me. You’d think by now, I’d learn not to trust anyone.

My old pack wants me dead. My true mate wants to break the bond. My inner wolf is a no-show. The decks are stacked against me and if I survive this, I have no idea where to go next.

I’m out of tricks and out of allies but there’s one path I haven’t tried: finding my father. My mom warned me against him but at this point, how can my life get any worse?


Wolf Untamed is the second book in a trilogy. It is intended for readers 17+ due to steamy situations and dark themes. This book ends on a cliffhanger and is not a standalone.

Wolf Untamed is the sequel to Wolf Marked by Alexis Calder. I'm kinda hooked on the whole rejected mate aspect of this story. I can't stand Tyler, and you're supposed to hate him, but the fact that the mate bond keeps trying to pull these two together against their will is interesting to me. It's like they have no say in their own life, but they keep fighting it as it gets harder and harder to resist. It's both frustrating and thrilling to read. When it comes to Alec, I want to forgive him. I do. And, the chemistry between him and Lola is undeniable, but it's so stinking hard to forget what he did.. no matter the intentions. I adore Lola’s little team though. I love how they've come together. This was an excellent second book, and I am sooo anxious for the next one!

The ARC of Untamed Wolf by Alexis Calder was kindly provided to me by Lady Amber's Reviews & PR for review. The opinions are my own.

Check out my review of the first book!

author
Alexis Calder writes sassy heroines and sexy heroes with a sprinkle of sarcasm. She lives in the Rockies and drinks far too much coffee and just the right amount of wine. 

To learn more about Alexis Calder and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, Facebook Reader GroupTwitter, and BookBub.


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