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Hidden in Smoke

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My nightmares have started closing in. Now I’m just trying to survive them. When my past comes back to haunt me, I find myself relying on the men I’ve come to care so much about. With their help, and the help of my best friend, I’m trying to navigate the threats—old and new. When I’m summoned to go before the Council, I have no idea what to expect. Thrust into a world of p My nightmares have started closing in. Now I’m just trying to survive them. When my past comes back to haunt me, I find myself relying on the men I’ve come to care so much about. With their help, and the help of my best friend, I’m trying to navigate the threats—old and new. When I’m summoned to go before the Council, I have no idea what to expect. Thrust into a world of politics and status I’m not sure I agree with, my unease grows as I struggle to find my place. When my powers develop with the help of my Phoenix, I feel more prepared to take on the unknowns stacking up against me. Will my guys and I be able to face the trials in our path, or will the secrets of a world that's Hidden in Smoke destroy us before we’ve even started? *18+ Reverse Harem Romance. Warning this book contains scenes and references of abuse that some readers may find triggering. This book also contains some m/m themes.*


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My nightmares have started closing in. Now I’m just trying to survive them. When my past comes back to haunt me, I find myself relying on the men I’ve come to care so much about. With their help, and the help of my best friend, I’m trying to navigate the threats—old and new. When I’m summoned to go before the Council, I have no idea what to expect. Thrust into a world of p My nightmares have started closing in. Now I’m just trying to survive them. When my past comes back to haunt me, I find myself relying on the men I’ve come to care so much about. With their help, and the help of my best friend, I’m trying to navigate the threats—old and new. When I’m summoned to go before the Council, I have no idea what to expect. Thrust into a world of politics and status I’m not sure I agree with, my unease grows as I struggle to find my place. When my powers develop with the help of my Phoenix, I feel more prepared to take on the unknowns stacking up against me. Will my guys and I be able to face the trials in our path, or will the secrets of a world that's Hidden in Smoke destroy us before we’ve even started? *18+ Reverse Harem Romance. Warning this book contains scenes and references of abuse that some readers may find triggering. This book also contains some m/m themes.*

30 review for Hidden in Smoke

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tinu

    Where was the story? Felt like I was reading the diary of a “Tweenager”. Likes: that we got to read more about the feelings of the guys and how much they want Nix. I also liked the veiled tone of acceptance such as Killian’s Puca and Theo’s Kraken. Dislikes: I don’t know how people finished this book in hours. I normally read quickly but this took forever. I cringed whenever I had to pick it up to continue. Glad it’s through though. The pacing was lacking. It didn’t feel like a complete story. We Where was the story? Felt like I was reading the diary of a “Tweenager”. Likes: that we got to read more about the feelings of the guys and how much they want Nix. I also liked the veiled tone of acceptance such as Killian’s Puca and Theo’s Kraken. Dislikes: I don’t know how people finished this book in hours. I normally read quickly but this took forever. I cringed whenever I had to pick it up to continue. Glad it’s through though. The pacing was lacking. It didn’t feel like a complete story. We already had some background and a cliffhanger from book 1 so we had an idea of the plot. However, this felt like we got the daily happenings in the life of Annika Coxx as written in her diary. There was no real drama, no climax, no resolution (due to the lack of a climax) and there wasn’t even a real cliffie this time (hallelujah for that). These are things you expect from a novel. They only had the regular drama that you would see from a high school teenager: Mean Girl style...eye roll! Being a series, what did we learn this time around to justify it being called book 2? Nothing significant! Book 1 = you are a shifter and this is what it looks & feels like to shift. Book 2 = oh danger...umm, I like you; why am I being picked on by my school for seeming like I’m suddenly acting “withdrawn”; that girl is a bitch; you’re hot-he’s hot-she’s hot...blah, blah, blah! Book 2 should have been about Michael, the threat he posed, young ppl learning how to survive on their own, realizing that sometimes, adults might know what to do, asking the council for help when they realized that it’s too big/dangerous for them, and it should have ended with her seeing what council justice looks like and giving us a glimpse of what life under their thumb would look like. That would have been a good way to end the book = Michael’s arc closed and next we’ll see how depraved the council and their class system’s really like this leaving us to eagerly await the next book in the series or Phoenix saga based on something like changing the system or a bigger “bad”. Additionally, of course it’s a problem when you aren’t mixing with classmates or staying in the dorm room that was paid for. Are we supposed to be upset at the guidance counselor? The situation looks like she’s either on drugs, working for 5 “pimps” or has been brainwashed. Plus, she thinks she’s okay with the friendships she’s developed but Rini seemed like an afterthought in this book mainly used to drive along the “lust” plot point. Also, what’s with all the alcohol consumption? I can understand a teen party but it made no sense with the bears who are normally so protective. It felt out of character that it was allowed. Being that the US age for legal alcohol consumption is 21, this just felt like a cheap way to push the lust button as well as force celibacy...eye roll!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dyantha Bogerd

    SPOILERS : I am crushing hard on 5 fictional male characters can my life be anymore pathetic! Damn those sexy scenes! I do wish and I have that with more books that there was a little "previously" at the beginning of the book, considering that it could take a while between books , and I had a little trouble remembering what happend at the ending of book 1. I found this book to be better than the first, maybe because Nix and her guys are getting more and more comfortable together, and because for SPOILERS : I am crushing hard on 5 fictional male characters can my life be anymore pathetic! Damn those sexy scenes! I do wish and I have that with more books that there was a little "previously" at the beginning of the book, considering that it could take a while between books , and I had a little trouble remembering what happend at the ending of book 1. I found this book to be better than the first, maybe because Nix and her guys are getting more and more comfortable together, and because for me there was more suspense. Now that Nix has been outed to the council, and myself am guessing it had to do with that bitchy jealous kitsune of an psycho ex of Hiro, because hello Damien's granddad knew of a new shifter, it is a rollercoaster of emotions. While the guys have repeatedly and shown Nix that she is theirs and no matter what it stays that way, I cant help but think that they will want to break them up, Also the whole breeding issue bothers me. Also Damien's dad knew Michael so what is that all about. ? I did love how the relationship between the guys and Nix progressed and lets not talk about all those sexual interactions... TWISTER anyone? I had fun reading that scene! and Nix gave a good as she got. That seperate bedroom scenes though Holy Smokes, I am not afraid to say I needed to change my panties after that! I love that there is some MM scenes in there and I do hope that it will go beyond just Hiro and Ryder, I mean who doesnt. I cant wait for book 3!!! although I am nervous about what the council will do and what Drama will come to haunt them, expecially in the form of an ex.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica *The Lovely Books*

    So damn good! Annnnnd...first book read of 2019!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sakina Carter

    I don't even know. It wasn't horrible and it wasn't great. I get that the main mc is being introduced into this new world and of course she has "triggers" but I am going to need them to pick it up. I think what gets me with this book is the issue with the ex girlfriend who of course can't go away and makes unnecessary problems, not only does it make females look crazy, but that plot is getting annoying. Still i will read the next book. I don't even know. It wasn't horrible and it wasn't great. I get that the main mc is being introduced into this new world and of course she has "triggers" but I am going to need them to pick it up. I think what gets me with this book is the issue with the ex girlfriend who of course can't go away and makes unnecessary problems, not only does it make females look crazy, but that plot is getting annoying. Still i will read the next book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jodie

    Reverse haram skimming. I actually don’t mind the writing or characters though. I wouldn’t mind reading something else from these authors. I was here purely for Hiro and Ryder.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather Gilbert

    4.5 rounded up A great continuation of an intriguing series. The bonds are growing, mysteries are being laid out and the truth of the council is tickling through the pages. Very slow burn, first person, multiple POV RH, MMMMMF (m/m themes present) PNR

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amara

    The guys are great. They are different enough they don't blend and become interchangeable. They are devoted. Nix is learning more about herself. The guys are great. They are different enough they don't blend and become interchangeable. They are devoted. Nix is learning more about herself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Soo

    Mini-Review: Finally managed to read the rest of this book. I really like the ideas of rare shifters and the unique characteristics/abilities they may have due to their other form. That's the best part of the series. The rest of it is a high school drama full of desire and hot scenes but no penetration. The game of twister was a hoot. It made me grin. Overall pacing is lopsided to the extreme. The next book of the series is not out and I don't think I care. While I like the characters and the pot Mini-Review: Finally managed to read the rest of this book. I really like the ideas of rare shifters and the unique characteristics/abilities they may have due to their other form. That's the best part of the series. The rest of it is a high school drama full of desire and hot scenes but no penetration. The game of twister was a hoot. It made me grin. Overall pacing is lopsided to the extreme. The next book of the series is not out and I don't think I care. While I like the characters and the potential, I'm not in love with the plot. Kinda fun, fluffy reading. But if you're looking for resolutions on the relationships or a lot of sex, this isn't it. It's a slow, awkward burn. Which would be fine if the books were paced better. Not terrible, but not good enough to chase after immediately. If you like reverse harem stories with shifters, I suggest that you wait for the whole series to be released and then try it out. Waiting for a so-so story is not as enticing as a story that gets you totally involved.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tiffiny

    This series is losing stars each book we go, it seems. While I can get behind the concept of a book concentrating on building relationships of all characters, I like it to be done logically. So what wasn’t logical? A girl who grew up with a raging alcoholic who would kill her repeatedly whilst intoxicated being okay getting piss ass drunk then begging her men to screw her. It made absolutely no sense. None! Another thing not making sense is in book 1 we were made to believe mythological shifters This series is losing stars each book we go, it seems. While I can get behind the concept of a book concentrating on building relationships of all characters, I like it to be done logically. So what wasn’t logical? A girl who grew up with a raging alcoholic who would kill her repeatedly whilst intoxicated being okay getting piss ass drunk then begging her men to screw her. It made absolutely no sense. None! Another thing not making sense is in book 1 we were made to believe mythological shifters were super rare....yet now it has changed to “well they’re rare but still a whole bunch but some are more rare than others but they’re all rare and there’s enough of them to have a huge party for only mythologicals BUT DONT FORGET THEY ARE RARE SOMEHOW”. This series had potential but I think poor execution and lack of planning plot points has really lowered its chance of success. Still I’m not at 1 star quality yet so I will continue on to book 3 and see if it’s been redeemed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Runningrabbit

    Hidden KU This was an enoyable read with cleary defined characters, but without some idea of a release montn or date for to put in my calendar for the next novel I’ll no doubt miss it, therefore finishing off the series here, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Irestia

    This book was a bit all over the place for me, as I had mixed feelings about almost everything. I thought the MC’s PTSD was incredibly inconsistent, and the authors didn’t develop the guys’ relationships as much as they seem to think that they did. The writing itself also had lots of issues. I considered dropping the series while reading this, but I ultimately finished it and book 3. I don’t think I’ll read further than that though, because these issues don’t get better. The MC, Nix, is one of my This book was a bit all over the place for me, as I had mixed feelings about almost everything. I thought the MC’s PTSD was incredibly inconsistent, and the authors didn’t develop the guys’ relationships as much as they seem to think that they did. The writing itself also had lots of issues. I considered dropping the series while reading this, but I ultimately finished it and book 3. I don’t think I’ll read further than that though, because these issues don’t get better. The MC, Nix, is one of my biggest complaints about this series after book 1. She seems to imply that she was somehow reborn with less trauma, as if many of her triggers are lessened or nonexistent. That seemed lazy to me, as if the authors liked the idea of having a traumatized character but didn’t like that she kept getting in the way of their smut scenes. Even then, I might have been able to accept that explanation and move on, except she still gets triggered every now and then. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer her when she still has her traumas, and I love the rare scenes that have realistic reactions. I just need consistency above all. At times, she honestly feels like a different character from what we had in book 1. On the one hand, we sometimes got really nice insights into how mental illnesses such as depression or PTSD often work—“It felt good to be held; I just needed to make my brain understand what my heart was feeling”—and I loved her panic attack over the idea that someone might be behind the shower curtain, even while she acknowledges that she’s being ridiculous and no one is behind the shower curtain. I loved these acknowledgments that people with these issues often know that they’re being irrational but can’t stop their reactions. Similarly, part of me enjoyed it when she made the distinction that she fantasizes about having rough sex though she knows she wouldn’t actually be able to go through with it. On the other hand, the other part of me thinks it’s odd that this character would fantasize about it in the first place. In fact, she often says and does things that a character with her history would never do. For example, she apparently enjoys it when Hiro slaps her ass. She sometimes still has problems when they raise their voices or move too quickly, but actually slapping her (even with no ill intent) is fine? No way. Same thing goes for when she describes enjoying it when they surround her on all sides and close in on her in sexual situations, especially because book 3 actually shows her freak out in some positions with just one guy. I cringed hard when she said, “Yes, take me home boys, and show me who I belong to.” I’m not trying to kink shame anyone here (as Damien says, “As long as we all kink responsibly”), and I know some people are into that kind of submission. I just sincerely can’t picture a character with this history being ok with it. Nix’s newfound “healing” (happens way too quickly for it to be real healing) at least seems limited to the guys and Rini, and I’m glad she still finches away from others. However, even that’s not quite consistent. At one point, Nix turns her back on the room of powerful men whom she feels threatened by. There’s no way in hell that a character with these issues would do that. She describes her Phoenix’s dislike of that move, but her human should have been even more opposed to it. Similarly, I thought it was too convenient that Nix was immediately comfortable around the guys’ friend, who was responsible for walking her to class when they were unavailable. It was as if the authors just didn’t want her to be uncomfortable with her guard, but I don’t see why that would have really been a problem. Her insecurities in this book were also super annoying. I get it to an extent. She’s never really dated before, and she has an extremely negative history with men. However, Damien literally allows her to feel exactly what the guys feel for her. I can understand being wary of lip service, but there’s no faking or exaggerating what he did. And yet we still get scenes of, for example, Nix acting surprised when Rini says Theo likes Nix. Duh. At one point near the end, Nix narrates, “The fact that I wasn’t skeeved out that they were both here with me told me how much I was warming to the concept of multiple mates like Rini and I had talked about.” She is so past warmed up to the idea that it’s ridiculous. It’s basically a done deal that they’re all going to end up together, so it was super annoying when she acted like she was still hesitant or trying to make up her mind. I hated Nix’s squeamishness at the end of this book and thoughts about how being relieved by the violence would make her as bad as Michael. No. He enjoys pain and does it for fun or profit. Relief at the elimination of a threat is not the same thing, and I hate when books treat those feelings as the same. I was torn between horror and amusement when she met Kill’s alter (shifted form) for the first time because this girl immediately put him in her pocket and walked off with him, talking about getting him a ribbon to wear around his neck. The alter loved it, Kill less so. It’s hilarious on the surface, but he’s a person not a pet. Still, it was one of the most interesting things she does in this book. I mentioned in my review of book 1 (link below) that I like how the alters have separate personalities from the humans, and this is a good example of that. Similarly, I also like when the humans inadvertently hurt the alters’ feelings. As for the guys, they were once again my favorite part of this series. I melted when one of them said, “We protected what was ours, and we had already claimed Nix as our own, no matter whether that meant as friends or more.” A lot of RH books seems to gloss over the friends thing, so I liked seeing it here. I also thought it was cute how they would play rock-paper-scissors or arm wrestle to decide who would spend time with Nix, and I really wish the guys had gotten behind Ryder’s idea of having a dance off. The Twister game was fun, and it was nice to see them bonding. Also, this book had one of the most unique kinky scenes that I’ve seen in awhile. Still, the guys aren’t perfect. For example, Ryder holds off on kissing Nix because he wants their “first kiss to mean something special,” directly suggesting that it wouldn’t mean anything if it didn’t happen in some over-the-top situation. If he has feelings for her, then the kiss will mean something; it’s as simple as that. Ryder also made me gag with an ever-nauseating trope: “‘Thank you, Hiro. It’s beautiful.’ ‘You’re beautiful.’ Ryder’s voice interrupted.” It’s almost 2019. It’s time to move past this. Also, this shifter culture is blatantly sexist and classist, among other things, but the guys don’t react more than feeling “uncomfortable” about it until it affects them, and I thought that was pretty selfish. That misogyny in the culture actually turns about to be a pretty big part of this series, as the council apparently wants to use all female shifters as broodmares. The guys like to think that they’re better than that, and they are to a large degree, but they aren’t perfect. For example, Rini’s and Nix’s guys are supposed to be examples of good shifter boyfriends, but I sure saw an awful lot of talk of the guys “letting” them do something. However, the portrayals of the guys’ attitudes on pregnancy were the most important. For example, Hiro thinks, “I’d try to give Nix as much time to live her life before she settled down and became a mother,” but he’s never asked her whether she would ever want to be a mother. He thinks he’s better than the council because he would give her time, but it’s the expectation that’s the problem. Rini describes something similar with her guys: “They respect me enough to give me time after mating before we make babies. Not all women are so lucky, especially mythologicals.” It’s as if she’s saying "They respect me enough to let me decide when I do what they want me to as long as I do it at some point." It seems that the authors are trying to make this seem like less of a big deal by having Nix think things like “a part of me did want children one day.” That’s not really the point. I mentioned earlier that I thought the guys were pretty selfish about their reactions to this culture, and that comes into play here. They act as if they’d be willing to stand up to the council if it tried to get in the way of them being with the girl whom they chose, but if that girl doesn’t want to have kids as the council wants her to, well, then she should just consider herself lucky for being able to choose her timing. This is a bit of a side note because it isn’t really about misogyny, but it doesn’t really go anywhere else in this review. We got a semi-entertaining scene about the guys’ reactions to Nix’s period. Maybe I’m just lucky to have more scientific-minded guys in my close circle, but some of these reactions seemed weird to me. I can understand the embarrassment, but Kill was apparently close to throwing up (at the thought of her pain?), and I didn’t get that at all. Maybe some guys actually react that way, but like I said, that seemed weird to me. Anyway, I enjoyed the mm dynamic in book 1 mainly for its potential for development; unfortunately, it let me down here, as I didn’t get that development. I was excited in the beginning of the book because we got a scene of Hiro and Ryder being sweet with just the two of them, but that was the only time that we got something like that. I honestly spend a lot of this book trying to figure out what was happening here. At times, it almost seemed like the author was going to have all the guys hooking up. At one point, Nix thinks about how Hiro is almost close enough to kiss Theo. Hiro later thinks about how handsome Theo is, and talks about how he wants to keep that relaxed look on his face. That seems a bit more than platonic, though I do love the general closeness in the harem. Later, Killian feels saved by Ryder and thinks, “I wanted to kiss the dude. Ryder threw a wink in my direction and puckered his lips, blowing kisses in my direction. Damn you, D. I wasn’t being fucking serious.” I’ll admit to shipping Killian with Theo for a bit in book 1, so I had to wonder whether the author was laying the groundwork for bi Kill here as well. Later, Ryder checks out Damien and calls him “a beautiful specimen” and says that his “appreciation bordered on attraction.” Basically, all of this made the relationship between Hiro and Ryder seem less special. We saw them being sweet with each other at the beginning of the book, but that was it, and the guys are all sweet with each other to an extent. I thought this was especially a problem because Ryder admits that he hadn’t realized he was bi before kissing Hiro, so he certainly didn't have feelings for Hiro before that. As such, it bothers me that they don’t seem to really deepen their connection after finding this new dynamic to their relationship. I got the feels when Hiro mentioned his heart squeezing when Ryder uses Greek for the first time since his sister disappeared, and Ryder mentions that he was “deep feelings” for Hiro, but I just don’t see their connection as deeper than their connections with the other guys. Apparently the main difference is that they're attracted to each other, but that's not really a difference because they check out the other guys too. I was disappointed with Rini in this book. She didn’t know that Nix was a phoenix and could regenerate before she saw Nix die, so I really wanted more of a reaction to that. Instead, she apparently just dropped of some of Nix’s clothes at the guys’ house and waited for Nix to get in touch. I would have been calling for updates nonstop and visited as soon as she was awake. As for the plot itself, not much happened after the first chapter. It was just a lot of scenes of the guys and Nix bonding, which is important but come on. I actually considered dropping the series. There was no sense of danger, and even though this is a shifter book, the shifters almost never shift. When they do, it’s only for a few minutes. The book also had some inconsistencies. For example, Killian mentions being glad that he and Damien were over their earlier tiff, but they didn’t have a tiff. Damien teased him, he cursed him out, and that was it. Even though Nix repeatedly talks about how much she doesn’t like the way the council treats nonmythologicals, she still says, “I hadn’t expected the shifter world to have such a clear division of class like that” when she sees their housing. Why the hell not? Also, the council tells her about galas, but then she later says, “I wasn’t sure what was so crucial about the Gala.” These inconsistencies just make Nix seem like an idiot, tbh. It also bothered me when Nix talks about rubbing her forearm as a nervous tic that she developed in the past because we’d never seen that tic before and I don’t remember her doing it again. Her nervous tic is that she bites her lip. The most annoying one, however, occurred when Nix mentions holding her mental barriers with all her effort because she isn’t sure who else is around to hear her, but Damien answers her thoughts, and she doesn’t react at all. He shouldn’t have been able to hear her in the first place, but she definitely should have reacted if he could. When we first meet Kill, we learn that he has apparently useless visions, but those aren’t mentioned again in book 1. We don’t hear about them again until about 93% into this book. They become slightly more important in book 3, so I hate they’re just treated like “oh btw he can do this too.” The writing itself also had some issues. For example, in the scene in which Nix wakes up, I had no idea who all was in the room, so it was a bit disorienting when people started talking. Also, the narrator randomly shifted in the middle of a chapter; Nix had been narrating, but then one of the guys (not Hiro) started talking about how he knew that Hiro wished he could spend more time with Nix. The mechanics also had some problems. I saw some recurring issues in the form of spaces that were missing after commas and spaces between the final word in the sentence and the period. I also saw some problems with verb tense in the dialogue, missing words, and missing apostrophes. Furthermore, this book had several spelling issues and malapropisms: for example, “door jam” instead of “door jamb,” “per say” instead of “per se,” “rebel rouser” instead of “rabble rouser,” “to” instead of “too,” and “deep seeded” instead of “deep seated.” As I said, I don’t know if I’ll read past book 3. I might have caved and kept going if book 4 was out, but I doubt I’ll bother waiting for it. The problems with the MC and the guys don’t get better in book 3, though the action does finally pick up and we get an awesome new character, so the same problems just keep sort of piling onto each other. PROGRESS UPDATES 17% "Killian was my brooding bunny" I adore how literally true that is Here are my review and rating of the previous book in the series: Born of Embers ★★★★

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    2.5 stars maybe? Uncertain. I don't like it, I don't hate it. I think I read this one mostly to get past the cliffhanger from the 1st one. So I guess that proves the gimmick does work. A bit better than the first in that there was more show, less tell. The past is now established, so we move on to the relationship building and intro to shifter society, with a few school subplots thrown in to remind us where we are and of course dealing with the abuser. There was still quite a lot of internalised c 2.5 stars maybe? Uncertain. I don't like it, I don't hate it. I think I read this one mostly to get past the cliffhanger from the 1st one. So I guess that proves the gimmick does work. A bit better than the first in that there was more show, less tell. The past is now established, so we move on to the relationship building and intro to shifter society, with a few school subplots thrown in to remind us where we are and of course dealing with the abuser. There was still quite a lot of internalised commentary and it seemed to drag on in the middle a bit. I skimmed here and there. Still lots of mistakes. Still liking the mythological shifters concept, but they don't get let out enough. They're almost entirely just occupying space in the human form's head and I really want them to be more active (BTW I've kinda always wondered how they perform physical actions without bodies... I mean, I can imagine hearing them in your head, but how do they move e.g. spreading wings? Does the human feel it somehow? Like ghost pains or limbs... But then I'm reading fantasy after all, so happy to suspend disbelief in some things). The unusual variations that must come from other culture's mythologies are extremely cool, even if they are creepy critters. Not sure whether to laugh or cringe over the fluffy bunny scene. Still not overly fond of Nix, which is a problem since she's our heroine. There are too many inconsistencies in her behaviour and I can't reconcile her degree of trauma and PTSD with her willingness to be vulnerable or sassy/raunchy. Even if only with her guys and friend, I would think it would take more than a couple of weeks to feel safe, especially while He's still Out There. Yet there are other times when she's panicking and the portrayal seems very believeable. It's a bit of a split personality ("aha, maybe that's her phoenix's influence!" Seems a bit too convenient). Mood swings. 'Nuff said. The guys are okay. We see lots more flirting, lustiness and friendship development, a couple of hot encounters/sweet moments advancing the relationships, a little bit more insight into their personalities. Nix is their new centre kinda stuff. Some actions/scenes seemed inevitably stupid, especially for supposedly intelligent characters. Why would you incapacitate someone and not check them for weapons before healing/waking them, especially after being warned? Because the author needs him to escape of course! As well as the added drama resulting... I actually wondered where the hell the other students and responsible adults were during most of the first book, so it was a bit of a relief to see they do exist... but then they're the evil schemers trying to butt in or otherwise ruin our poor heroine's newfound happiness... yeah, the initial meeting with the counsellor came across as more of a sullen teen throwing a fit of the sulks over someone trying to do their job and actually check up on her, rather than genuine persecution. Her reaction was a tad unreasonable. The second encounter now, that was pushy and objectionable. And still with the mean ex subplot, only now she has an influential daddy. Just get rid of her already! This one at least doesn't have a mid-action cliffhanger. There was an actual resolution to at least one problem, so yay! that's probably worth a half star in itself... Ended with a sense of the characters dreading upcoming events. So am I. I'm not really liking where the story's heading. It seems clear that they're being set to go up against the Council to fight for the right to be together and equal rights in general and I'm just not in the right frame of mind to be interested. Maybe I'll pick up the next book sometime, but no rush.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer G

    Dying and rebirth. Nix is overly familiar with both but it's never been like this. She can't get back into her body, she can't help her guys with Michael, she's being consumed by fire from the inside and surrounded by darkness. Nix and her Phoenix fight their way back to her guys. Now as she recovers physically and emotionally from her death and her past abuse, Nix is beginning to really live even with the lingering fear of Michael. She's attending college, she has a best friend, she's learning Dying and rebirth. Nix is overly familiar with both but it's never been like this. She can't get back into her body, she can't help her guys with Michael, she's being consumed by fire from the inside and surrounded by darkness. Nix and her Phoenix fight their way back to her guys. Now as she recovers physically and emotionally from her death and her past abuse, Nix is beginning to really live even with the lingering fear of Michael. She's attending college, she has a best friend, she's learning how to let people touch her, and she is falling for the mythologicals. Ther are also new complications. The Council knows about her and she has been summoned. This world of politics and class status is unfamiliar and unappealing but it's too dangerous to go against the council's requests. As one danger is put to rest, new ones surface. Hopefully, Nix can navigate this new world with the support of her men. Hidden in Smoke picks back up immediately where book one left off. It's told in multiple POV's, always in a clear voice. Nix is still suffering from PTSD but she makes great strides facing and overcoming her fears and aversion to touch in this book. Her abilities are starting to surface but I feel that there is still much more to learn about her Phoenix. I did take issue with her in this book. She insists on total honesty and gets upset when she feels that the guys are anything less than transparent with her, yet she kept secrets from them. Unacceptable double standard. These guys have gone over and above for her since day one. They have been supportive, understanding, gentle, loving. Trust, openness must go both ways. The guys continue to be hot, fun perfection. The slow burn picked up a little; there were a couple truly hot scenes but they stayed true to the characters and the story. This book has a nice blend of political tension, sexual tension, danger, humor, and entertainment. There's paranormal stress but it also takes into account the character's ages, so there is also teenage angst. It's wonderfully absurd to have a world where one minute you have Council members stressing your duty to reproduce and save your line and the next you are dealing with a mean girl trying to steal your men. Considering her upbringing, Nix is handling her new life remarkably well. The story arc for this book wraps up but there are still unresolved issues and much story to be told.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Searcy

    2.5 stars I am trying to figure out how to articulate my thoughts about this book, and I'm not finding it easy. Yes, I think, overall, this book is better than the first book in the series. It moves a bit more, slightly better pacing (though that definitely still needs some work), and more dialogue (less info-dump). But I am left, after reading it, dissatisfied and disappointed. I think, maybe, this is because so much of the conflict and angst in the book stems from miscommunications/misunderstandi 2.5 stars I am trying to figure out how to articulate my thoughts about this book, and I'm not finding it easy. Yes, I think, overall, this book is better than the first book in the series. It moves a bit more, slightly better pacing (though that definitely still needs some work), and more dialogue (less info-dump). But I am left, after reading it, dissatisfied and disappointed. I think, maybe, this is because so much of the conflict and angst in the book stems from miscommunications/misunderstandings/secrets or poor decision-making (stoopid moves). The authors were trying for suspense, I think, but I only got angst from it. Not enough really happened for there to be suspense. More importantly, it's hard to build suspense when the reader Can. Predict. Every. Bloody. Thing. Happening! The entire plot is extremely predictable, if you have ever read paranormal romance. Hell, if you've ever read. Period. Don't get me wrong. I have loved plenty of romances that were pretty predictable. I don't have to be surprised to enjoy a book (though nearly all those beloved by me have surprised me). But I do have to love the story and the characters and not feel continually frustrated while reading. And I'm not talking about lady blue balls here...I just mean frustration at stoopid moves, forced plot devices, etc. So my reason for not loving this book was that what happens in the book with the characters didn't outweigh the frustrations. For me anyway. I will say... I love Damien and Hiro. They are a surprising dichotomy - caring and gentle and protective, yet dominant and kinky. Yum. And I really did like the rest of the harem guys. So the book has that going for it. I also found the big, explicit love scene in this book to be interesting. A rather creative way for the authors to get one into the series this soon, knowing that anything really happening that in-depth would push the reader's boundaries as far as believability with the MC's PTSD. I'm not saying it didn't still stretch the bounds of credibility...but at least it didn't break them, so I was willing to go with it. More or less. And it was all pretty hot ;) Once again, this book ended on a cliffhanger, though not as egregious as the last book. The authors better hope they get the next one out in pretty short order. All in all, far from the worst read, and far from the best. Middle of the read and not a wasted read, I don't think. I still ADORE the mythologicals concept. I'm loving all these cool shifter concepts (phoenix, alicorn, pooka, kraken, several types of kitsune, gargoyle, thunderbird, manananggal, basilisk, you name it...COOOOOL!!) UPDATE NOTES: 88.0% "Sigh..I hate it when hot scenes like this happen (especially for the very first time) in a dangerous location they all know they should be fully alert in. It means I cannot really enjoy what is going on because I am angsting the whole time about what is about to shatter it and make everything go to hell." 86.0% "This has been one of those crazy frustrating reads where you are constantly on edge because the characters are doing really dumb things. So you are just waiting for it to all go to shite and the idiocy to catch up with them. HATE THAT!" 85.0% "OMG...how did I never notice this before? I just kept trying to figure out how Annika became Nix. Never made the phoenix/Nix connection. But that is an odd connection given she didn't KNOW she was a phoenix back when she got the nickname. Strange." 56.0% "There is no such thing as a tenuous mood (..."The mood from the ride over had grown more tenuous the closer..."" 38.0% "I don't know that these authors cook either... who the hell makes scrambled eggs before making waffles if you are making a bunch of different things? The waffles take longer and keep better being warmed than eggs do. Another research issue that impacted the suspension of disbelief." 38.0% "So many damn POVs in this book, I can't keep track of who the "I" is in each chapter. It's extremely frustrating. (The guys' voices are not always differentiated enough to be able to tell easily)" 29.0% "Why the FUCK do authors insist on the goddamn stupid "secret keeping" plot device? It is not only forced and artificial 90% of the time, it is FUCKING ANNOYING!" 27.0% "Longest 20 minutes in history! (She thought after the shower how she had 20 mins until class, and since then has finished getting ready, eaten eggs for breakfast, joked around with the guys, and still hasn't driven to campus! Not to mention she is just said "We need to leave in ten." So all that other took place in less than 10 mins? 5 mins? LMAO Not sure these authors demonstrate a complete grasp of how time flows.)" 27.0% "WTF is with these authors and 'russet'? Now we have "gorgeous russet eyes". *groan* (not to mention, who HAS russet eyes? Reddish-brown eyes do NOT sound gorgeous to me. Kinda creepy actually. Unless maybe they were a vampire. But still creepy." 19.0% "She's gone a week without eating anything but toast, once. They couldn't have fed her and THEN filled her in on everything?? really?" 16.0% "You know, all these "dudes" sprinkled throughout Nix's dialogue are just...OFF. Not sure why it throws me each time she drops one...clunk." 11.0% "Annie girl. Stupid nickname! And too close to Asher's "Ally girl". Not a fan, hope it doesn't stick." 8.0% "I am okay with m/m happening off camera. I am okay with it happening WITH the MC/heroine. I am okay with it happening when that is the relationship in the book (as in the two males are in a relationship). But somehow, I find it a little squidgy in this context. I prefer the RH to be focused on the female in the center, and any interactions between the male members to be WITH the female involved too. Not to mention, I am struggling with so much male harem POV in this series. I prefer a more female-centric POV, sprinkled with the guys as seasoning. So reading this scene in the bathroom between Ryder and Hiro...a little squicky somehow. Just didn't work for me. YMMV"

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    I adored the first one. This one? Hmm At some point I’ll give both books a read back to back but I kept putting this one down despite my enthusiasm for its arrival. I wanted to love it but I just liked it. I’m hoping I’ll change my mind about the series. The second instalment seemed to just draw out the Michael being the big bad story arc and not much else. Also KRAKEN!!! Release it already! I wanna see that suckers...suckers? I loved the hot and heavy scene at the party, I’m just not sure where I adored the first one. This one? Hmm At some point I’ll give both books a read back to back but I kept putting this one down despite my enthusiasm for its arrival. I wanted to love it but I just liked it. I’m hoping I’ll change my mind about the series. The second instalment seemed to just draw out the Michael being the big bad story arc and not much else. Also KRAKEN!!! Release it already! I wanna see that suckers...suckers? I loved the hot and heavy scene at the party, I’m just not sure where they were exactly. To have a build up like that and then devolve it into a mental masturbation scene!?! 🤦‍♀️

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Brinkman

    Hidden in Smoke Another good story in this series. I would definitely recommend you to read this series. The female character is strong, both emotionally and physically and I love the boys. So yummy!! I’m ready for the next book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Yup I didn't expect to enjoy this series as much as I have I was very pleasantly surprised and I can't wait for more. Yup I didn't expect to enjoy this series as much as I have I was very pleasantly surprised and I can't wait for more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Wolfe

    Great series! I really like this series so far. The mythological shifters are such a fun take on the shifter world. The slow burn in this one is so painfully teasing. Ugh need more but love it. The ending was exciting. I’m glad there wasn’t a huge cliffhanger but still nervous about what is going to happen in the next book with the guys and the council.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janee

    Bigger tease Again a big tease. There was so much more to the effect that you start to understand what Nix is, and what the guys are coming to mean to her.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vikki

    Five stars If I couldn't read at work, this book would have been the cause of a major lack of sleep as I couldn't put it down! I am eagerly waiting (already!) for the next one. Five stars If I couldn't read at work, this book would have been the cause of a major lack of sleep as I couldn't put it down! I am eagerly waiting (already!) for the next one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    So we start the story right in the thick of all the action, which was kind of jarring at first, but I managed to adjust pretty quickly. Again, both the book and the writing were unbelievably compelling and I had an instant connection with the characters, as though no time has past since the first book. There were a lot of funny and cute moments and I adore the dynamic Nix has with the guys. The way the guys treat Nix just makes them all the more endearing to me and I cannot imagine anyone being So we start the story right in the thick of all the action, which was kind of jarring at first, but I managed to adjust pretty quickly. Again, both the book and the writing were unbelievably compelling and I had an instant connection with the characters, as though no time has past since the first book. There were a lot of funny and cute moments and I adore the dynamic Nix has with the guys. The way the guys treat Nix just makes them all the more endearing to me and I cannot imagine anyone being able to standing between them. There were things I did not feel comfortable with, like Damien sometimes intruding on Nix's very private thoughts and then projecting them to the rest of the guys. That was incredible invasive and I'm not sure I'll ever be okey with that. But aside from that, everything else was peachy. And that slow sexual burn situation that Nix has going on with her men is just killing me. In a good way, but still. Can we get on with the action? Now. I (like every other reader out there, I'm sure) has been dreading the moment the Council would be made aware of Nix. And that moment has arrived and I've been right to be dreading it. Those fucking judgmental, bigoted pricks. Can we kill them? And can Ahmya go down with them? That bitch. And then the ending rolled around and I was like : “What. The. Fuck. It was ridiculous; and sad, and I was pissed as fuck.” I don't know how to feel about the ending and I don't have the slightest idea about what will happen next, but I'm sure as hell will be waiting for the next book to come out and provide all the answers. Just hurry up with it, please.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)

    ✨ Read for the 2019 KU Shitathon™ challenge - [Halfsies Vol.2: July-December] - over at Maraya's Cave Of Freaking Wonders ✨ ◼ Plan A - Book: #3 of 13 ◼ #1. Uhm..Fire I Guess? ★★★ #3. Fucking Dumpster Fire. Nope ★ 1.5 Stars This sadly isn't getting better? *sigh* ✨ Read for the 2019 KU Shitathon™ challenge - [Halfsies Vol.2: July-December] - over at Maraya's Cave Of Freaking Wonders ✨ ◼ Plan A - Book: #3 of 13 ◼ #1. Uhm..Fire I Guess? ★★★ #3. Fucking Dumpster Fire. Nope ★ 1.5 Stars This sadly isn't getting better? *sigh*

  23. 4 out of 5

    lauren

    Mah I'm giving this 3 stars only because of Nix, I had it up to here with her inner carp. I was so ready for the strong nix I seen in book one, and was very disappointed when I had to read 85% of " it's all my fault" "will they reject me" ugh. I've been pulling my freaking hair out. anyways I love all the guys still, definitely delicious and smoking hot moments. Can't wait to see where this story is going, and see Nix grow a pair and get her some yummy loving. I will definitely finish this series Mah I'm giving this 3 stars only because of Nix, I had it up to here with her inner carp. I was so ready for the strong nix I seen in book one, and was very disappointed when I had to read 85% of " it's all my fault" "will they reject me" ugh. I've been pulling my freaking hair out. anyways I love all the guys still, definitely delicious and smoking hot moments. Can't wait to see where this story is going, and see Nix grow a pair and get her some yummy loving. I will definitely finish this series, and I'm hoping for a badass Phoenix to rise.

  24. 4 out of 5

    C.J.

    Wow! The heat level in this book shot right up. This was a far more adult read than the first one. It was more character driven than plot driven and it was great to get to know Nix and all the guys better. Can’t wait for the next book. Recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Penwell

    The series is heating up Wow this is getting alot more intense. I absolutely love all the guys. Kill puca is amazing and I love how she puts him in her pocket can't wait to read the next one. The series is heating up Wow this is getting alot more intense. I absolutely love all the guys. Kill puca is amazing and I love how she puts him in her pocket can't wait to read the next one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Absolutely loved this one just like the book before. Hope time flies because i need book 3 now!

  27. 4 out of 5

    JC02

    Ramping up The book started off as we waited with baited breath to find out the outcome of the cliffhanger in book 1. No I’m not going to tell you, but there’s lots of healing, both psychologically and physically that needed to happen. The remainder of the book dove into the ever strengthening bond between Nix and the guys, and putting more of a label on their relationship. There was sexual tension. Politicking. Familial ties explained and threats eradicated. And that wretched mean girl Ahmaya sk Ramping up The book started off as we waited with baited breath to find out the outcome of the cliffhanger in book 1. No I’m not going to tell you, but there’s lots of healing, both psychologically and physically that needed to happen. The remainder of the book dove into the ever strengthening bond between Nix and the guys, and putting more of a label on their relationship. There was sexual tension. Politicking. Familial ties explained and threats eradicated. And that wretched mean girl Ahmaya skulking around. Nix is trying to figure out her new situation both with the guys and implications of the council. Particularly with the barely veiled threats that they can control her life. Yeah, our girl doesn’t roll like that, does she? Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the sexy sext.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Shelton

    Well then I was definitely not ready for this one to end. It snuck on me, so much so that I thought my phone is app had glitched and I didn’t have the whole book! But alas, it was the whole book, and here I sit, twirling my thumbs, waiting (im)patiently for the next one to make it out. So far, in just the span of a few weeks, Nix’s life has been turned topsy turvery, inside out, and shifted three inches to the left. The plot line is still strong, if a bit predictable in that whole “the counsel i Well then I was definitely not ready for this one to end. It snuck on me, so much so that I thought my phone is app had glitched and I didn’t have the whole book! But alas, it was the whole book, and here I sit, twirling my thumbs, waiting (im)patiently for the next one to make it out. So far, in just the span of a few weeks, Nix’s life has been turned topsy turvery, inside out, and shifted three inches to the left. The plot line is still strong, if a bit predictable in that whole “the counsel is so good, they’re actually evil” way. The scenes between Nix and her men (and they are HERS) are steamy af. And I just cannot wait to read the next installment, of which I hope will be the next of so so many. Seriously, read this series. You will never regret it* * unless you have triggers associated with extreme physical abuse or rape.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dharia Scarab

    Incomplete series. Catching up on reviews. Didn’t realize kindle wasn’t marking these completed. Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books... 1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future. 2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author. 3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way Incomplete series. Catching up on reviews. Didn’t realize kindle wasn’t marking these completed. Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books... 1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future. 2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author. 3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I find another book by the author for under a dollar I'd pick it up. 4 stars... I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be on the look out to pick up more from the series/author. 5 stars... I loved this book! It has earned a permanent home in my collection and I'll be picking up the rest of the series and other books from the author ASAP.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lis jouvin

    ok book two ... mmmm so wow another cliffhanger , in this book we know more of nix powers and what really happened with her mother ( well some no all ) and that she was "stolen" i think that is something else in there, i also think that her ptsd is no consistent, and i love that the guys are now more united, also i was surprise with hiro and ryder evolvement in they relationship, when we met ryder in the first book he mention that hiro alway check on killiam so that wasnt a surprise when the " k ok book two ... mmmm so wow another cliffhanger , in this book we know more of nix powers and what really happened with her mother ( well some no all ) and that she was "stolen" i think that is something else in there, i also think that her ptsd is no consistent, and i love that the guys are now more united, also i was surprise with hiro and ryder evolvement in they relationship, when we met ryder in the first book he mention that hiro alway check on killiam so that wasnt a surprise when the " kiss" happened but omg now they are a item ? and the rest of the group doesnt had a issue like that happened all the time ?? rini and the bears are great, and what is with that counselor why she insist that nix spend some time with this mason guy ?? i feel like is some much secrets and questions with this council ...

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