Beloved Healer by Bonnie Dee

*Note – I generally try to avoid spoilers when writing reviews, but this one is chock full of them.  There were some things that bothered me that couldn’t be discussed without a full synopsis.  So, read at your own risk.

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Grade: C
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Published: 7/28/14
Reviewed by Anne
185 pages

I just read Beloved Healer by Bonnie Dee.  I’ve read books by her before and liked them.  They’ve always been on subjects that are just a bit off the beaten path, but I like that.

In Beloved Healer, Mason has healing powers, but they, and people’s demands on him exhaust him, so he takes a break, hiding out in a small town, working as a dishwasher at a local diner.

Ava works there, too.  She’s got and alcoholic drug addicted and probably depressed mother.  and she’s got a 12 year old brother (12 years younger than her) who she’s been raising since her mom fell off the wagon when her dad died, back when her brother was 2.  Are you still with me? Because there’s one more thing.  Ava’s brother has muscular dystrophy.  He walks with crutches and he’s doing ok, but it’s a downward slide for him.

So, Ava and Mason start to date.  Then there’s an accident at work and it comes out that Mason is a healer when he helps a co-worker.  That starts the rumor mill and people start showing up asking Mason for help.  He has a hard time saying no.  Ava hears about Mason’s healing ability, but she takes it in stride.  She decides not to ask him to help her brother, because she sees that everyone wants a piece of him and that he’s really tired.  Eventually they do talk about her brother though, and Mason explains that some things are just too big and can’t be healed.  This is especially true with things that start at the gene level, like her brother’s MD.

Mason goes on to explain that his mother died of cancer when he was in his late teens.  His two older sisters were both very angry with him that he couldn’t help his mom.  After she died he ran away from home and has been drifting ever since.  Ava encourages him to reach out to his sisters.  He does and they make peace.

Meanwhile, the people of the small town keep asking for healing and Mason is feeling trapped, like it’s time to move on.  So he explains to Ava why he has to go and they break up amicably.  Ava really wants to ask him to stay because she loves him, but it feels really selfish to her.

On the way out of town, he stops by a revival healer tent show where he used to work and gets conned into working just a few more shows.  Ava’s brother has an acute illness, and on the way to the urgent care center she decides to pull into the revival instead.  (And at this point I’m mentally screaming “What in the hell are you doing????”)  Mason is exhausted but goes ahead and heals her brother’s developing pneumonia anyway.  Then he decides, what the heck, he’ll try to heal the MD because he loves Ava so much he wants to do this for her.  He does his healing mojo until he passes out, and he thinks to himself that he may have died.

But, Ava and Mason have some sort of woo-woo connection they hadn’t realized was there, and she brings Mason back by willing energy into him.

So, that’s pretty much the story.  It’s the epilogue that I really have issue with (other than the idiot-ness of taking her brother to be healed by Mason when he’d already told her he couldn’t do it.)  So here’s the epilogue.  Mason is getting along with his sisters.  Ava’s brother is totally cured.  Ava’s mom is in rehab.  Mason no longer has healing abilities.  Apparently the deal with her brother just got rid of them.

And here’s my issue.  And it’s totally personal, and it’s because of where I’m at in life right now.  Why did everything have to be so perfect?  I wanted to see a story where the kid brother was still suffering/dying slowly, and life went on and the hero helped the heroine cope.  Despite the book being about a healer, I wanted them to have to work with the reality of NOT being able to heal everything.  I guess I’m kind of offended that they took the easy out on the healing.

And the situation with Ava’s mom was messy, but it just magically resolves itself.  Not only is she in rehab, it’s happening out of town, so they don’t even have to deal with her, other than phone calls.

And Mason losing his healing powers… throughout the story I thought he needed to learn some boundaries.  Get to the point that he could say no to people once in a while.  But no.  He just loses the powers.

And Ava needed to learn to stand up for herself and ask for what she needed.  But she never really did.  And all her issues were solved magically anyway.

So, all in all, the magical, easy way out, happy endings annoyed the heck out of me and ruined what could have been a good story.

How about you?  Have you ever read a book where the ending ruined the whole thing?

 

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Hidden Ecstasy by Setta Jay

Hidden Ecstasy (Guardians Of The Realms, #0.5)            

           

Grade-C
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-No Kink
Series-Guardians of the Realms #0.5
Genre-Paranormal
Reviewed by Kay
35 pages

What do you get when you take a son of the goddess Athena and a Guardian of the Realm? It could be a new paranormal series for me to read.

Vane, the son of Athena is a Demi-god trying to stay hidden in the human world. You see, the Gods were put to sleep for their sins in the immortal realm. He and his siblings fight for humans, to keep them safe and hide out. He’s been enjoying a very sexual relationship with Brianne, who is a Guardian for centuries. Neither view the other as their mate but definitely enjoy each other’s company. Their protection of the humans is in the form of fighting human trafficking. This is a purpose very near and dear to his sister’s heart.

In this short snippet of a story, Vane and his siblings are trying to rescue a young girl who was kidnapped because of her father’s wrong doings. They track her down and rescue her and I think this will set the scene for the other books in the series. I enjoyed this story. It was easy to follow, a little exciting and a whole lotta steamy. Vane is an alpha male who’s just hot as can be. There’s not a whole lot of story regarding Brianne but I’m hoping for more as the series goes on. I’d love to really get into another paranormal series and I’m kind of excited this might be one.

Joint Review: Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)       
Grade-C+(Kay) B(Anne)
Hotness Level-Blaze
Kink Level-No Kink
Series-Pride #9
Genre-Paranormal
Reviewed by Kay & Anne
384 pages

From Kay:I got approved to read this book from NetGalley and was so excited. I’m a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series and have enjoyed most of them. I love the humor she brings into every story. Yes, sometimes it’s over the top and ridiculous but that just seems to endear it to me even more. This installment is about Vic, a tiger/bear mix and Livy, a honey badger. I know what those of you that haven’t read a Laurenston novel are thinking. Wtf?

In this book you get love, suspense and as I mentioned before, hilarious humor. I belly laughed quite a bit as I always do. Livy’s fight to be accepted for who she is and the career she wants was very fun to read about. I mean, she’s from a crime syndicate family and could probably lead that family but no, she wants to be an artist.

Vic has a law enforcement past and is an all around nice guy. His reactions to Livy are very sweet. He’s very much the calm to her storm.  He dives right into helping her with no prodding. I loved the behavior description of Vic in the story. He’s laid back, like a bear, until he can’t be anymore. He has feline moments where he’s kind of a hot mess.  Now, Livy is a hot mess all the time.

There were a couple of creep factor moments for me in the story though. They both had to do with during or after their lovemaking and his tail would pet her. Eww, I don’t like mid-shift love scenes. That was my big complaint with this novel. If I had to pick the main reason for my lower than normal review rating for a Laurenston book, I just didn’t warm to the characters as much as I have to other ones in this series.

I don’t want to give too much away because this author can really tell a story and fans of this series want to savor every word from her. I am so very sad that she is going to take a break from this series for a while. What will I do without an update on my favorite characters from her other books? Mace, Dez, Smitty, Sissy Mae, Ronnie Lee, those Reed boys, Gwen, Cella, Irene, the Van Holtz family, Blayne, Toni and her siblings? Or my very favorites, the Shaw brothers, DeeAnn Smith and Bo Novikov? I’m already in mourning.

Side note- Anne, I will not get over my mourning by reading this author’s Dragon Kin series, so don’t even suggest it yet. I’ll get there eventually.  (Note from Anne: you read my mind!  But I’ll keep my mouth shut!)

In close, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from this series.

“You just carry around piles of condoms?”-Vic“In case I feel like taking on the hockey team one night. You know, when I’m bored.”-Livy

“I can see it in your big, dumb cat eyes.”“Well, that was unnecessarily mean.”

“I don’t ask the hyenas to do it.”“No. But you associate with the Smith Pack, Demon dogs of the Underworld.”

From Anne:I was also really looking forward to reading this book.  Shelly Laurenston is one of my favorite authors, in my top ten for sure.  This was certainly not the best book in the Pride series, but I really liked it.  Usually Kay and I text Laurenston quotes back and forth to each other as we read.  It’s taught me to be very careful about texting.  It’s a little awkward when you text your 20 year old son a line from a Laurenston book.  So, yeah, my Laurenston reading time is generally punctuated by careful texting.  That didn’t happen so much in this story.  It was really funny, but not so many of the one liners we text to each other.

For me the weakest part of the story was the romance between Vic and Livy.  The sex was hot, but their romance wasn’t really memorable.  I did have the same issues with Vic’s tail as Kay did.  I don’t have have half-shifter issues, but a tail with it’s own mind… yeah, that didn’t work for me.

I did really enjoy Bo having a decent role in this book.  And the panda shifter, Shen was the best new character introduced to the series since Bo.  Well, Livy, too.  Best new character since Livy.  His panda ways really kept me laughing!

Even though we didn’t text about it, we did share some emails, so here’s our conversation:

AnneI thought Bite Me read more like a Sci Fi book with a romance sub plot.  I mean, their relationship is clearly the focus of the book, I guess it just wan’t really romantic for me.  What did you think, Kay?

KayI felt something was missing from the book. I was left wanting more. The humor was there but not in the over the top way it usually is. I have commented before about her heat level declining from earlier books in the series but now the humor is too. I read somewhere that she was taking a break from this series and maybe that’s a good thing. Get some fresh ideas. Write about the Reed boys but include the Smith pack. Write about Marisa’s Shaw or Mace’s sister. Or Irene’s kids. 

This is still worth reading but for the level of excitement I had, I couldn’t help feeling let down.

AnneWas there anything you really liked?  For me it was the relationship between Bo and Vic.  It just cracked me up!  I also really liked how she was always hiding in the cupboards.   

Anything you didn’t like?  For me it was Vic’s tail.  The thought that it had a mind of it’s own, even jokingly, pretty much squicked me out!

Kay

I did like the relationship between Bo and Vic. Also the cabinet hiding was great and I totally agree about the tail. Ewwww.

I liked Toni’s part a lot, she made me laugh. The Panda was hilarious too.

In closing, we both enjoyed the story and would recommend you read it.  If what Kay heard about Laurenston taking a break is true, I’m sad!  But I’ve always got G.A. Aiken books to read, so I’ll survive!