Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: When You Wish Upon a Duke

Reviewed by Jen
 
I had high hopes for this book. It started strong.  The hero and the heroine are crazy about each other right off the bat.  They want the same things; their path to happiness is clear.  But as they move forward in what seemed like a pretty straightforward love story, they completely screw themselves up.

After the death of her father, Charlotte grew up in the country with her mother and sisters.  She had no idea he had arranged a marriage for her until a solicitor arrived from the Duke of Marchbourne, ready to bring her back to London.  Fortunately, March ends up being more than she had ever dreamed she would find in a match.  He is handsome and kind and he wants her every bit as much as she wants him.  In fact, he is so excited about marrying her, they move up the wedding and tie the knot right away.

They are blissfully happy at first. But then, March's neurosis kicks in.  Way back in the family tree, his great-grandmother was a mistress to the king.  It was the start of what he considers his base bloodline.  His father frequented whores.  March is terrified that somehow his bloodline will affect him in similar fashion.  So he resolves to treat Charlotte as nothing less than an impeccable lady.  His heart is in the right place, in that he is trying to honor her.  But he stops treating her as a true lover, as a partner.  And of course, she has no idea what is behind the change. She thinks she somehow screwed up. 

Around and around these two go, taking a step forward and two steps back... worrying about propriety and ideals when they have real love already in their grasps.  It was very frustrating. There is essentially no external conflict or secondary plot at all.  Just Charlotte and March getting caught up in what they think they should be doing and forgetting what made them happy in the first place.

I liked Charlotte. She is innocent without being an idiot and she would really be quite competent if March gave her the chance.  As for March, he is a good man at his core, but his hang-ups are serious.  We do find in the course of the book there is more to his issues than it first appears, and that helps to explain his behavior a bit more.  But all in all, it just kind of fizzled.

Rating: C-

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
When You Wish Upon a Duke
by Isabella Bradford
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Ballantine Books
 

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Review: Shadow Rising

Reviewed by Jen
 
Kendra Leigh Castle delivers yet again with her latest installment in the Dark Dynasties series. I love her heroes and their struggle for self-worth. I love her tortured Cait-Sith race, reviled for centuries and now finally coming into their own. I love the world building, the romance... the sex. Yes, I know I'm gushing, but I did not want to put this book down.

Damien is a Cait Sith, but also a Shade... an assassin for the House of Shadows. His latest mission is to find Sammael, a member of the mysterious Gregori race, who has gone missing. It's an exciting job, because no one knows much about the Gregori and because there is also a missing female that her people want back as well.

Ariane is an outcast among the Gregori. The ancient, winged vampires consider themselves watchers. They study others in the world and they don't interfere. They shun emotion and Ariane has never been able to truly clamp her feelings down. When her only friend, Sammael, goes missing, she ignores the rules and rushes out on her own to find him and bring him home.

It's only a matter of time before Ariane and Damien cross paths in their search. Though they each reject the idea at first, they eventually realize that it's in both of their best interests to work together. And of course, that provides the opportunity for the attraction between them to grow.

Damien is a hard man. Like many Cait-Sith, he considers himself the low-blood he's been branded by others. He's never known comfort or love. He has only found happiness in money and the thrill of the hunt. But he is taken by Ariane's innocence, her honesty, and her inner strength. She doesn't play games and it makes her easy to root for. It was so satisfying to watch him succumb to her goodness and acceptance of who and what he is. The romance is really quite sweet and the sex is very good too.

As much as the romance was a hit for me, I found I enjoyed the story as well. It was cool seeing the Gregori mysteries unfold and learning how it all fits in the broader picture of the series. Each one of the vampire houses is interesting and unique. Castle has created such a rich canvas with her supernatural world and continues to build on it with each book.

This is book three in the Dark Dynasties series, and while we get references to events and characters from other books, I think this would still work as a standalone. The story is loaded with great secondary characters who are practically screaming to get a book of their own one day. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Rating : A-

*ARC Provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Shadow Rising
by Kendra Leigh Castle
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Thirteen

Reviewed by Jen
 
I've been a fan of the Otherworld series ever since I picked up Bitten and fell in love with the hot, complicated and largely dysfunctional romance between Clay Danvers and Elena Michaels.  Over the years, I have liked some stories more than others. Some had better narrators, others had a stronger story arc, and yet others appealed more to the romance lover in me.  But these last two Otherworld books took the series to an entirely different level.  Thirteen was everything I wanted... everything I needed... for a fitting farewell to these characters I have come to care so much about.

I will do my very best to keep from spoiling you on the particulars.  In broad strokes, I can tell you that the story picks up where Spell Bound left off.  It follows Savannah on her journey to recover her powers and stop the faction of supernaturals trying to out themselves to the human world. This, of course, as she tries to finally snag the man she has loved all her life.

But while Savannah is the anchor of the story, this book belongs in part to everyone we have come to know in the Otherworld universe. We spend time with Elena, Paige, Eve, Hope, Jaime, Cassandra and the men who love them.  We get bits and pieces in their POVs --enough for me to remember who I love and why.  We see how far everyone has come, the evolution of their lives, but all folded seamlessly into the framework of this current crisis.

And it is a crisis.  The action is almost non-stop. The danger is very real.  In fact, there is one heart stopping moment, where I felt like Kelley Armstrong stabbed me in the heart with a rusty butterknife. It was that wrenching.  It's also a testament to how deeply connected I feel to these characters and their lives.

Armstrong weaves together so many threads from so many of her previous books. We see (or at least hear about) all the major players that have shaped the series.  Some, I never thought we would ever see. Some I thought we had seen the last of.  They're all connected by our core cast of characters either by blood, by friendship or by feud.  It's brilliant.

I wouldn't change a thing.  Well, that's not entirely true. I would have liked to see a page or two of payoff on the relationship we have waited on between Savannah and Adam.  I didn't need (or even want) the romance to take over the story, but I felt robbed with a love scene that fades to black.  Armstrong has given us good love scenes in the past, but here, for whatever reason, she opts not to.

When all is said and done, our characters lives are still a work in progress.  But we have enough closure that I was very satisfied. And a little sad. I will miss this series... but at least it went out with a bang instead of a whimper.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provided by Dutton

Click to purchase: Amazon
Thirteen
by Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Dutton

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Review: Moonglow


Reviewed by Jen
 
I loved Firelight.  When I found out it was the first in a series, I wondered how Kristen Callihan could possibly duplicate such an arresting and unique story in a sequel.  The short answer is: she doesn't try to.  Yes, Moonglow is set in the same world, with overlapping characters.  But Daisy has a decidedly different story to tell than her sister did.  And Ian is nothing like Archer.  Their story is singular, and that is a good thing.

As the book opens, Daisy is coming out of mourning from the death of her horrible husband. She is finally free to find happiness and passion.  She is just getting started, by trysting with a handsome man outside of a party, when she witnesses a werewolf attack.  Her companion is killed and she is injured.  That's when Ian swoops in and brings her to his home.

Ian is Lycan, but he lives apart from others of his kind. He recognizes the scent of wolf at the scene of the attack and must make sure that Daisy does not spread the word of what she has seen.  As she recovers, the two pick up a flirtatious banter --that is, until he realizes she is Miranda's sister and she figures out that he is the oaf who tried to interfere with Miranda's relationship with Archer.  They plan to go their separate ways, but when it's revealed the rogue wolf is targeting women who share Daisy's scent, Ian realizes she'll only be safe in his care until he can track down the killer.

Ian carries the tragedies of his past like a boulder on his back.  A failed romance.  A lost child.  They make him afraid to open himself to love.  Beyond that, there are pack politics at play, which put him and Daisy both in danger.

Callihan has taken the world she built in Firelight and expanded it, introducing new supernatural creatures to mingle with the old.  At first, I wondered why she was introducing so many threads, but then she wove them all together, showing they were relevant from the beginning.  There was nothing predictable.  She surprised me and excited me with the werewolf arc... and still managed to answer old questions and reveal new truths about Daisy and her sisters.

The tone and the atmosphere is very similar to the last book, which I was happy about. It's still got that wonderful dark, gothic feel.  A London that is a contrast of rich lushness and dank grime. The environment was almost like its own character in the book.

I enjoyed the romance between Ian and Daisy. It was really nice to watch them overcome their old hurts to let each other in.  The sexual tension was good and the love scenes were steamy.  The resolution was unexpected and satisfying.  Plus, we've got the set up for Poppy's story.  I'm curious to see how that will play out, since she is already married to her hero and so much has already happened between them.

Very good.

Rating: A-


*ARC Provided by Grand Central Publishing


Click to purchase: Amazon
Moonglow
by Kristen Callihan
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: The Warrior Laird

Reviewed by Jen
 
Dugan MacMillan has only a few weeks to come up with a huge some of money to pay an unexpected rent on his clan's property.  His plan: to use the portion of a treasure map left behind by his grandfather to find a cache of gold coins.  He really doesn't have any clue where he is going, but he does have an idea of where to find another piece of the map.

It's just after Dugan finds the second scrap that he runs in Maura.  She is a woman on the run from her betrothal to a horrible old man.  Coincidentally, she holds a third piece to the treasure map.  And when she hears Dugan's men talking about the gold, she steals their two parts and takes off.  It's not that she's a bad person, but she figures she could use the gold to help take care of her beloved sister Rosie.  Young Rosie is disabled and was cast out by their father. Maura wants only to rescue the child from the distant Loch where she was abandoned, and take care of her.

It takes very little time for Dugan to catch up with her, though.  Once he does, he realizes he has two possible paths to get the money he needs. One possibility is for him to find the treasure. But even if he can't, he can ransom Maura back to her fiance.  It's cold, but he figures that his greatest responsibility is to take care of his clan, and without the money, they'll have no home.

Of course, Dugan and Maura fall for each other as they journey to the place where they'll meet up with her betrothed.  But I can't say that I loved their romance.  Maura was earnest enough.  Her attraction to Dugan were the first feelings she has ever had for a man. But Dugan makes his moves on her with every intention of selling her off.  Even when he comes to care for her... even when there is real hope of finding the gold.. he holds on to the ransom plan.  I understand his loyalties, but this made it hard for me to root for them to fall in love.

Then there's the sex.  Something just didn't click for me there.  The scenes felt rushed and incomplete.  I was disappointed.

The book isn't bad. We've got a treasure-seeking adventure and a sexy brogue.  And Maura inspired my sympathy, though it was hard to watch her be so powerless to her fate.  It was just frustrating at times and I  didn't feel the love.

Rating: C-

*ARC Provided by Avon 

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Warrior Laird
by Margo Maguire
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Avon

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: A Scandalous Affair


Reviewed by Jen
 
Daphne is a widow, enjoying the freedom that her new life has to offer, when at a masquerade ball, a man catches her eye.  She boldly asks him to dance, not even knowing who he is.  She is so taken with him, she makes it her mission to figure out his identity in order to pursue more time in his company.

Camden is a man who is very shy and works to hide his terrible stutter from the ton. He can't believe that Daphne is interested in him and he is quite enamored of her as well.  But just because the attraction is there, doesn't mean the shyness completely goes away. Daphne must be bold and relentless in order to get them where they both want to be.

I like heroes with problems.  I enjoy watching them learn their own value through the eyes of their heroine and this does, indeed, happen here.  The romance is sweet and I was satisfied with the sexy time. My only concern is that Camden's stutter makes very little of an appearance in the book.  He says his comfort with Daphne makes it easier to speak, but that was tough for me to buy, especially since he was so crazy about her.  I think I would have like to see him struggle more with the stutter on page and in front of Daphne to give it more impact.  I also thought the love happened kind of fast.

But I enjoyed it for the most part. I like Karen Erickson's writing and I like the premise of the Merry Widows books.  It's cool to have Historical Romance heroines who are not virgins and who are willing to reach and grab what they want.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by NetGalley


Click to purchase: Amazon
A Scandalous Affair
by Karen Erickson
Release Date: July 30, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Merrick's Destiny

Reviewed by Jen
 
When you're working with half as many pages, you can't give the reader everything you would give them in a longer story.  Fortunately, Moira Rogers doesn't scrimp on the good stuff.

This novella doesn't have the same kind of story arc and action featured in Wilder's Mate, but it had plenty of heat.  Our hero, Merrick, is a Bloodhound who wakes from an aircraft accident with holes in his memories and a new mate at his side.  Paralee was the only other survivor in the crash and she has no idea how Merrick feels about her.

The two of them are in hostile vampire territory and must find their way to safety. And wouldn't you know it? They must also face the new moon --and the unbridled sexual hunger that brings out in Merrick.  Of course, Merrick's attraction to Paralee isn't one sided, so these two are on each other like white on rice.

The sex is as scorching hot as I have come to expect from this series.  Merrick is gruff and tough, but he treats Paralee with equal parts raging lust and gentle tenderness.  It's such an attractive combination! I only had one little beef.  I get that the mating thing kind of blind-sides the Bloodhounds. It can happen in an instant. But I thought Paralee's, er,  enthusiasm and commitment happened really fast. After all, she is a regular human. It was just one of those things you have to take in stride, I guess.

Really, the whole story was about these few days they spent together. I did miss the external plot a little, but the heat factor helped me get over it.

Rating: B-

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: All Romance
Merrick's Destiny
by Moira Rogers
Release Date: February 12, 2012
Publisher: ARe


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5 for Friday - July 27

An article from author & blogger Roni Loren is prompting big changes in the blogosphere.  Roni was sued over a copyrighted image she posted on her blog and her story has become a cautionary tale.  You've probably noticed the absence of Man Candy photos on many of your favorite sites... and this one is not immune.  The Man Candy slideshow is gone, along with my Free Pass List (which, by the way, was my most popular blog post of all time.) There will be no more Tumblr Photos of the Week, though you can still enjoy hot men on the Tumblr site any time you need your fix.  I will work to find creative solutions, nowhere more so than here at 5 for Friday. Let's see what we can do.

5. With all the excitement surrounding Lover At Last, I feel like I've been neglecting JR Ward's next Fallen Angel release, Rapture.  I'm really excited about this one, especially to see the aftermath of the Bad Thing that happened with Eddie in the last book. She has put up a little video teaser on her Facebook page, which I have tried valiantly --an unsuccessfully-- to embed for the past hour.  If you want to see, click the screen grab and it will link you out.

 

Rapture releases September 25.

P.S. Ward has now posted the first line of Lover At Last: "Now THAT is a motherf**kin' whip!" Be still my heart.

4. I know I have been bombarding you with squee about the upcoming Styxx book for weeks now --and I swear this is the last time I am going to talk about it (until I talk about it again.) The book blurb is out!!


Just when you thought doomsday was over…

Centuries ago Acheron protected the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.

As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life for Acheron’s.

Bethany was born to set right the wrong that left her family imprisoned for eternity. Now that she’s out, nothing will stop her from fulfilling the bargain that freed them. She must take the life of the last remaining Atlantean and she will not fail. But things are never what they seem and Acheron is no longer the last of his line.

Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.

Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul? 

I love, love, love that Kenyon is writing this book. Even if I have to wait until next year.  In the meantime, for League fans, SK has posted an excerpt to Cloak & Silence on her website.  That's out in December.

3. I'm sad to say that I am late to the Moira Rogers party.  I just read my first book from them a few weeks ago, and now I must make up for lost time. I am almost finished with the Bloodhounds series and I have Impulse and Wild Card loaded on the Nook, ready to read.  If you, too, want to get your Moira Rogers fix, it's a great time.  Wild Card is free on Amazon! Anyone want to do a read-along?



Free + hot sex = Happiness  (Words to live by, my friends.)

2. NBC has ordered 10 episodes of a new Dracula drama, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Generally, this would be the time I would trot out one of those pictures I am not supposed to post.  Instead, let's watch Jonny-boy on YouTube together.


Now let's pretend he has fangs. It's being produced by Carnival Films & Television... the folks behind Downtown Abbey.  I am intrigued.  Which means it will no doubt be canceled in about five minutes.

1. For a minute, it looked like Matt Bomer was the man for the 50 Shades movie. At least, this Entertainment Weekly cover seemed to be the real deal.  (I am crying over the fact that I can't post it right here.) However, the photo has been debunked as a hoax.


I have to admit... they had me convinced. I am so easy.  I think I would watch it if Bomber were cast.

XOXO,
Jen

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah

Reviewed by Jen
 
Deborah is a widow, who still has not recovered from her terrible marriage.  Though it has been two years since her husband died, his rejection of her haunts her and she blames herself for their inability to find happiness.  She finds her only solace in writing racy romance novels.

She is visiting her late husband's horrible cousin when she stumbles across a thief who is making his escape.  Rather than fear or revulsion, Deborah feels excited and curious about the housebreaker who steals a kiss before he makes his getaway.   And when she passes him on the street weeks later, an unlikely friendship is born.

Elliot has been leading a double life as the notorious Peacock for some time now.  No one realizes it, but the thefts he orchestrates have a greater purpose.  As a former soldier who lost a dear friend over the ignorance and tight purse string of those in charge, he wants justice.  He steals items that were misbegotten in war, from people who were less than honorable.  Then he sells those items to help the veterans who society now ignores.

When Deborah demands that he take her along on a job, it gives his adventures an entirely new rush. And it's in the aftermath that their mutual attraction really begins to take off. It's also where it hits its first roadblock.  For as much as Deborah wants Elliot, she can't get over her insecurities brought on by her husband's revulsion of her.  She runs away from Elliot. They circle back to each other. She runs again... and so goes the cycle.

I liked Elliot. He's a good guy and he is inordinately patient and forgiving of Deborah's seemingly bipolar behavior.  She wants him, she gets hot and heavy for him, then she slaps him down... over and over again.  And he keeps taking her back. I know I was supposed to feel sorry for Deborah, but I really felt more sorry for him. She didn't treat him very well.

I had a hard time liking Deborah. She is supposed to be smart, but even I figured out what the deal was with her husband early on... and after seven years, she is still clueless?  There are times when she has potential, like in her attempts to bring attention to Elliot's cause. But then she would freak out and push him away or shut down on him again. It just got old.

I did like their adventures together, both in the housebreaking and, later, with the veterans.  I also liked the elements of the story surrounding Deborah's writing and how it helped her cope.  I just kind of felt like Deborah's issues were overblown and I just wanted her to hurry up and get over it already.

Rating: C


*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah
by Marguerite Kaye
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Fun With Buster and Other Short Stories


Reviewed by Shelly
 
This is a very quick read, about 20 pages, with 4 stories.

1. Fun with Buster (m/f/male sex doll)
2. Worship the cock (oral only)
3. Fantasy (m/f)
4. Day One (f/f/m)

Fun with Buster follows a couple who both lost their jobs two years prior and have now decided that the best way to make money is to do videos for a porn site. The story is told in first person from the husband’s POV and no one ever called his name so I don’t know what that is so I just called him Dude. There's quite a bit of sex between Dude and his wife Veronica - did ya know you can squeeze in two sex scenes in a 4 ½ page story. WTF! The part that really did me in though was when Dude had the nerve to say that when they uploaded their video to the distributor’s server, the amount of viewers was so high that they crashed the server. You’ve got to me shitting me, right?

Worship the cock is a single page story about the title. Not much to say there.

Fantasy is role playing about a Nurse taking the 'temperature' of her male patient. I can't tell you how the temperature is taken because that would just ruin the surprise now won't it.

Oh, finally a plot (don’t get excited – it ain’t all that). ‘Day One’ tells the story of a world taken over by alien ‘Pirates’. On the run after the death of Emily, her college roommate and lover, Jessica has been on her own. While in hiding, she’s found by fellow survivors including Peter and Marianne. When she’s taken back to Peter and Marianne’s tent, Marianne gives her a bath. Why the hell is a grown woman giving another grown woman a bath unless she’s looking for some? Come on, even I can see that one coming. Lot of things happen in day two, Jessica turns into Zena, Princess Warrior just slicing through ‘Pirates’ like they’re water on her blade and even better she’s agreed to be the second wife to Peter and bear his children. That’s believable right? This story had such potential, I was so excited when I read the first couple of paragraphs then it just seem to go downhill. Oh and by the way – I have never liked f/f and I don’t think I ever will and I really don’t like it when I’m not warned that the story contains that coupling.

Overall, they're short and over very quickly so don't blink because you might miss it. I don't know what to tell you folks other than this – the first three are what they are and the last one disappointed me and even pissed me off a little.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: F

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Fun With Buster and Other Short Stories
by Tiffany Rose
Release Date: May 11, 2012

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Review: The Covert Wolf

Reviewed by Jen
 
Matthew is a Draicon wolf who serves in an elite Navy SEAL team of supernatural soldiers.  Their existence is a secret, but their service is invaluable, as they help fight demons and other evil entities bent on chaos and destruction.

The story begins with the death of Matt's best friend Adam.  Someone used a powerful orb to pinpoint the team's location and send fire-wielding demons to ambush them.  Now, Matt is on the hunt for the orb and whoever orchestrated Adam's death. His boss forces him to pair with Sienna, a Draicon-Fae hybrid, who wants to bring the object back to her people.  The SEALs have different plans for the orb, but they keep that to themselves.

Sienna thinks if she recovers the orb, she'll be accepted by the Fae who cast her out when she came of age.  Her Draicon heritage made her an outcast and all she wants is for the loneliness to end.  She despises the Draicons, because she was told her wolfen father raped her Fae mother and was ultimately responsible for her death.  She considers the shifters to be nothing more than animals, which makes her very unhappy to have Matt as a partner.  He's not much happier with the arrangement, since the Dark Fae killed Adam.

But despite their initial disdain for one another, an attraction builds between them over the course of their investigation.  It's a slow build, with a lot of sexual tension, which I appreciate. I also thought the sex was great, once it finally came to pass.  My biggest problem with the relationship is that neither one of them wanted a future with the other.  All the way until the very end, Matt is determined that he is going to leave Sienna and wipe her memories so he can get back to his job. And she is so anti-wolf that she can't see past the blinders that the Fae is her whole world.  It's hard to get behind a relationship when it's so devalued by both the hero and the heroine.  Even when it was obvious that only the other person could make them happy, they stubbornly stuck to their old ways of thinking. It was frustrating.

The orb arc was kind of convoluted.  I had a hard time making a connection between Adam's death and the end-game for the bad guys.  All the scheming and plotting was complicated, with big reveals at the end.

The book is tied to Bonnie Vanak's Draicon series, but it has a decidedly different feel.  It's the first in a spinoff series surrounding Matt's SEAL unit, so it would be easy for a new reader to jump in.  Honestly, I enjoyed the last couple of Draicon books a bit more than I liked this one.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Covert Wolf
by Bonnie Vanak
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Giveaway: Gunmetal Magic

You guys know I think Ilona Andrews is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Her latest book, Gunmetal Magic, releases July 31st. And to share the love, I am giving away a copy!

Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea's former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate ... and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world ..

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! 


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Review: Seduced by Blood

Reviewed by Jen
 
Not every book in this series has been created equal, but I think this is definitely one of the strongest installments.

The story features Santiago, regional commander of the vampire Guardians. (And for those of you following along from the previous books, the boss of Dominic, Lily and Jackson.)  He's gruff and impatient. He's domineering and prone to outbursts.  But there is much more to him than that.  He's also a man full of angst and self-loathing for his own failings. He tortures himself (literally) over his perceived shortcomings.  And he believes himself to be incapable of treating a woman any better than his adulterous father treated his mother.

Santiago's life gets turned on its ear when Roxy enters the picture.  She is a woman who knows her own mind and heart. He's not her boss, so she doesn't have to take his crap... and he barely knows what to do with himself when his tantrums and orders fall on deaf ears.

Roxy was a Guardian long ago, but now she is a teacher to those who need to learn to scent-track. She agrees to teach a course for her old student and friend, Lily, which is what puts her in Santiago's orbit.  But once he realizes there may be a traitor in his organization, he realizes he can use her special gifts to sniff them out. The two end up posing as lovers as a cover for her internal investigation. From there, it's only a hop, skip, and a jump until their ruse turns into reality.

I liked Roxy a lot. She has issues, sure, but for the most part, she really has her act together.  For all of his swagger and bluster, Santiago is really kind of a basket case.  I enjoyed watching him come to terms with his problems and accept the gifts Roxy is giving.

We didn't have to wait terribly long for the sex, which was gratifying ('cause the sex was good.)  But I really appreciated the fact that the tender feelings between Roxy and Santiago grew over the course of the book. It felt like their relationship was an evolution and that helped me invest more. --I also thought the Darkblood plot was well-done.  The pacing was good and I liked that the resolution was neither obvious, nor tied in a perfectly neat bow.

The internal conflict was a little heavy on assumptions and misunderstandings, but I've seen worse.

This is book four in the Sweetblood series and I think it would work as a standalone, though longtime readers will no doubt enjoy seeing the couples featured in previous books.  I loved seeing how far Dominic and Mackenzie have come!

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Seduced by Blood
by Laurie London
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HQN

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Sight Unseen

Reviewed by Jen
 
Ever since a car accident killed his lover and stole his vision two years ago, Daniel has been able to see ghosts.  It hasn't been an easy gift to bear.  Each spirit wants his help with something, but he can't hear them --he can only see them.  Recently, he has been working with the local police, leading them to bodies and helping them solve crimes involving his ghosts.  His work has drawn the attention of the media and a publishing house that wants to do a biography.

Logan is the ghostwriter assigned to convince Daniel to do the book.  He thinks Daniel is a con man and he makes it his mission to expose the truth.  He's in for a rude awakening when he discovers that not only are the ghosts real, but he is being haunted by the ghost of Sophie, his own late wife.

Sophie's spirit quickly goes from benign to malevolent, when an attraction sparks between Logan and Daniel.  And she makes no secret of her displeasure.  The story follows Daniel and Logan as their feelings evolve and as Sophie finds a way to exert her will in the physical world.

I liked the concept of the book and both male leads interested me.  Unfortunately, things progress far, far too quickly between them.  I believe in a quick sexual attraction, but Logan is inviting himself to live with Daniel after knowing each other less than a day. Even worse, Daniel considers it.  They are proclaiming their love for each other inside of a week.  And while I did like the cool scene in which Logan makes his declaration, it was just too soon.  My other peeve in the book is how easily and frequently people discuss Daniel and Logan's sex life.  I understand it was supposed to be relevant to the haunting, but Who does that? 

I enjoyed exploring the perspective of a blind main character.  It was different and, I thought, handled well.  I also liked the sexual tension between Daniel and Logan --and their final love scene was really hot.  I thought the epilogue was good too. I just wish their relationship had not been so rushed. It really stunted the believability of their emotional connection.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Sight Unseen
by Hunter Raines
Release Date: July 23, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: The Concubine's Gift

Reviewed by Shelly
 
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did.

Valentine, Nevada, local Bernice Babbitt is socially reserved and sexually repressed but that's all about to change when she gets a make-up case containing a secret that will open her eyes and her world. Living in a town that was founded for the sole purpose of housing prostitutes, it's no wonder that many of the locals (including Bernice's mother) want to distance both themselves and the town from such a sordid past. Except Bernice. She doesn't really believe that the town should distance itself, she's actually quite happy that the it continues in its deep tradition of prostitution. 

Innocent and childlike in her outlook on life, Bernice thinks all problems can be fixed with a 'smile, laughter or a willingness to over-please'. She loves her family and the inn they own and if she can keep both her family and her customers happy then she's happy too.  And although Bernice likes the simple things in life, she's hidden away quite a collection of female erotic memorabilia. One of her new purchases is a makeup case housing a jar of powder that when applied allows the wearer to have visions of the true sexual desires of certain people around them. 

It's through these visions that Bernice starts realizing what's important to her. She has visions of the town locals and guests at the inn, all culminating when she has a vision of her only daughter. This is when the story gets really interesting to me, because up to now Bernice has lived her life according to her mother's teachings - judge yourself based on the way others see you and not what you believe to be the right way. Bernice has it so bad, she hasn't even told her husband of twenty years about her secret stash. 

There's plenty of secondary characters who keep this story moving along at a very nice and even clip, like Mrs. Lin the local antique seller, who Bernice gets her erotica from. Mrs. Lin cracked me up, she's Asian in ancestry and ethnicity but is absolutely convinced that in a former life she was Italian royalty. And so there's a whole story around her and her husband's love of all things European. 

There's Harold, who's just moved from San Francisco and wants to open a sex shop store in Valentine. Trinket, a waitress at a cafe across the street from Bernice's inn. Trinket's a bit free with her sexuality. It's actually quite rare if she's without a sexual partner. And of course, the town bully Lawrence Charles who's so greedy that he wants to close the local whorehouse, The Honey Bunny Ranch, so he can build his retirement community for the wealthy.  These were all really fun people to get to know, some more than I wanted to, but it totally worked and kept the story moving along. 

Although there's no sexually explicit scenes with Bernice and her husband there's one vision that she had with herself and another character that I thought was pretty hot after I got over the shock of it. Most, if not all of the visions were sexual in nature and so for me it was a little hard to find them exciting as I didn't see them as real.

I completely enjoyed this story of Bernice and her evolution from what I would consider mousy and timid into a strong and determined woman, it left me with a big smile.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this story and look forward to other novels from this author - keep  'em coming.
Happy reading folks!


Rating: A


*Book provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
The Concubine's Gift
by K Ford K
Release Date: January 29, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

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Review: Forever a Lady

Reviewed by Jen
 
Life has not been kind to Matthew Milton.  An unscrupulous businessman tumbled his father's newspaper into bankruptcy, pushing them into the slums of Five Points, New York.  There, an attack from a thug stole the vision from one eye and taught him a value lesson about the kind of man he would need to become in order to survive.  Matthew toughens up and forms an Irish-American gang, one that tries to protect the neighborhood, even if they have to stoop to illegal means to do it.

After a hit is put out on his life, Matthew journeys with his best friend to London, where he meets Lady Bernadette for the first time.  They are instantly drawn to one another, despite their vast difference in station. Bernadette has lived a life of pleasing others for too long. As a widow, she is now free from both her father and the old man she was forced to marry. In Matthew, she sees what she wants and she takes it.

After a night in each other's arms, Matthew knows he wants more than a fling with Bernadette.  But the odds are stacked against him.  She has no desire to marry again.  And to make matters worse, he makes a whopper of a mistake that almost ends things for good.  The story follows the ins and outs of their love affair as they return to New York and Matthew struggles to become worthy of the woman he has fallen in love with.

I liked Matthew. He was sexy and damaged, but he was solid hero material.  He always puts the needs of others before himself. Even as a ruffian, he is very good man.  Bernadette is understandably gun-shy.  Being a widow of means, she sees marriage as a trap to avoid and I can't blame her.  --Oh and did I mention she is mid-30s?  About six years older than the hero.  I loved that.  She is mature and she knows what she wants, but I didn't find her jaded.  She was still genuine and passionate despite the bindings of her earlier life.

I really felt like I witnessed a true journey in this relationship --and especially one for Matthew.  I liked that I got to see these two really fall in love over time. It felt authentic.  The sex was hot. (And pushed the envelope more than I expected.)  The plot was interesting. And the backdrop was very Gangs of New York. It was gritty and dark, especially when juxtaposed to London culture.

This is book two in The Rumor series, but works just fine as a standalone. I liked it a lot.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by NetGalley


Click to purchase: Amazon
Forever a Lady
by Delilah Marvelle
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HQN Books





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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Blood Moon

Reviewed by Jen
 
I have to be honest with you. I wanted this book to be something different. I wanted it to be a romance. It wasn't. There was sex. There were relationships... of a fashion. But there wasn't a drop of romance to be had.

This is book two in the Mythic series and as the story began, I was still smarting from the ending of the last book. If you haven't read Mythic, before you start this book, you need to know that Gianna is a rare human-vampire hybrid. She hated the vampire Mattias because she thought he killed her parents. She fell in love with another vampire, Nicolas. They were going to be together until she found out Mattias actually saved her parents and has protected them for years. Then Mattias gave her an ultimatum: be with him or he kills Nicolas. So out of gratitude for her parents and out of concern for her lover, she agrees to become Mattias' woman.

Obviously, as this book started, I was still firmly in the Nicolas camp. And Gianna does still love him, but she's attracted to Mattias like a moth to a flame. A nymphomaniac moth. It was very hard to accept her relationship with this man who practically forced her into it. But moving on... the story is actually about a THIRD guy. Dante is Mattias' second in command. He, too, is in love with Gianna. He knows he can't beat Mattias for her in a fair fight, so he leaves the coven to go to Greece so he can perform some ritual to embody the power of the Greek pantheon. He plans to rule as a God, with Gianna as his queen.

Mattias catches wind of this and sends Gianna to Greece to try to steal the book Dante needs to perform the ritual. Gianna has to go mighty far to convince Dante of her loyalty, and she actually gets turned on by the sexy times she has with him. If that weren't enough for me to consider her a total ho-bag, then she has more dirty sexy times with a brand new random shifter guy. Or was it a dream? It doesn't freaking matter, because I have lost all respect for her by this point. Why does every man want to sleep with her? Why does she want to get naked with every man? Remember you're supposed to be in love with Nicolas? Where the hell is Nicolas, anyway?

In the meantime, Dante has a human chick in love with him. He treats her like crap, but taking it proves her love, right?

"Remember who it is you serve Allyn. You'll do as I command whether it is to nourish me with your blood or place your tongue between Gianna's legs while I bury my cock in other parts of her body. You won't refuse or you'll be dealt the punishment of death for your defiance. Understood? Because I'd hate to repeat myself, he said.
A single tear trailed over her cheek. "After all this time, you still don't understand, do you? Threaten me all you'd like Dante. Because the truth be told, I love the way you touch me, how your hands feel on my body as you take what you wish. Even now, with such harsh words, I ache so terribly for you to fill me, I could die."

I'm sorry. I could not get on board with any of the pairings in this book. And I couldn't relate to any of the characters. Mythic had a couple I could root for. This one just doesn't. The sex was hot, but I couldn't enjoy it because I didn't understand why any of these people wanted each other... much less had any more tender feelings.

It just didn't work for me.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Blood Moon
by Jae Lynne Davies
Release Date: June 16, 2012
Publisher: Tease Publishing

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Wilder's Mate

Reviewed by Jen
 
Moira Rogers had seamlessly blended multiple genres to create a really cool series with the Bloodhounds.  It's got elements of steampunk, paranormal romance, and even the Old West.  And somehow, it works.  Amidst the vampires and shifters, steam-powered devices, horseback riding and really hot sex, I found a story I didn't want to put down.

Satira grew up the sort-of adopted daughter of a Bloodhound.  Once he was gone, she became an apprentice to an inventor named Nathaniel... and he became her family.  Now someone has kidnapped him and all that matters to Satira is getting him back.  When the Guild sends Wilder to help search for him, she refuses to remain on the sidelines and offers her help on the hunt.

Wilder is no ordinary man. He is a Bloodhound, and if you're wondering what that means, suffice it to say that he is an enhanced human. (Getting into more specifics would only spoil it for you as it all plays out.)   There is an attraction between him and Satira right away.  The story follows the two of them as they work together to rescue Nathaniel and eventually give into their desire to be together.

I really enjoyed this book. You'd think with so many different genres mishmashed together, it could overwhelm the story, but it doesn't. The world-building unfolds over the course of the book, but I didn't ever feel lost in the process. I was very much in the moment with Wilder and Satira.  There were times the heroine felt a little desperate, which made me cringe a bit. But thankfully, her attraction was not one sided.

The sexual tension was great and the sex was even better. It was hot and raw and Wilder was deliciously Alpha in the sack. He has all this barely leashed power and still a sweet vulnerability which makes him downright irresistible.

When she isn't emotionally needy, Satira is a pretty good heroine.  Her history with Bloodhounds allows her to understand Wilder in a way that not every woman could. She is loyal, determined and capable, despite the fact that society devalues her because she is woman.  And when all is said and done, she really delivers.

In the course of the story, we meet some intriguing secondary characters who will go on star in their own books in the series. But make no mistake, this is Wilder's book. He stole the show and blew me away.

Rating: B+

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Wilder's Mate
by Moira Rogers
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Samhain

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5 for Friday - July 20

Happy Friday!  Today's the day I go down in history as either the Best Mother in the World or the Worst.  For an early 7th birthday present, I bought my son tickets to go see WWE Raw.  I only bought two, so he can go with the hubs but they allegedly have some autograph signings or something for the kids first, so I am tagging along for that.  Some of these dudes are built like shit-brick-houses, so I'll let you know if I see anything worth reporting.

5. I am getting more and more excited about this upcoming Styxx book from Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Photo Source: Sherrilyn Kenyon's Facebook Page

2013 is so far away!!

4. Which brings me to that other book I am waiting for with baited breath... Lover At Last.  JR Ward posted the following on her Facebook page:


What does this MEAN?? Is he losing his heart? His sock? His cherry as a bottom?? (I could be down with that, by the way.)  Ward is trying to keeel me!

3. Speaking of hot m/m action, Jennifer at The Book Nympho tipped me off to this fabulous article on straight girls and gay porn


I know it doesn't wet everyone's whistle, but it's nice to see I'm in such good company!



2. We've all got our guilty pleasure reads, and mine are Christine Feehan's Carpathian books.  I can do no other than to keep reading them. (Only other Feehan readers will get that joke.)  Christine has posted the first chapter of Dark Storm on her website.  Here are the deets:

Return to the seductive world of Christine Feehan's New York Times bestselling Carpathian novels as roiling passions collide in a perfect storm of dangerous desire that only a precious few can hope to outrun . . .

Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change.

His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man - and beast. Even his friends and family weren't safe from Mitro's bloodlust. Neither was Mitro's lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun - one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.

Who the hell are these people?  I want Skylar and Dmitri. (*whine font*) Feehan jumped ahead 50 years between the first two books. She can jump another 5 years for this one!!  Patience is not my greatest strength.

1. And finally, Penguin is giving away a copy of Fury's Kiss before you can buy it!  

   Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. But so far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing... 
   Dory is used to fighting hard and nasty. So when she wakes up in a strange scientific lab with astrange man standing over her, her first instinct is to take his head off. Luckily, the man is actually the master vampire Louis-Cesare, so he’s not an easy kill.
   It turns out that Dory had been working with a Vampire Senate task force on the smuggling of magical items and weaponry out of Faerie when she was captured and brought to the lab. But when Louis-Cesare rescues her, she has no memory of what happened to her.
   To find out what was done to her—and who is behind it—Dory will have to face off with fallen angels, the maddest of mad scientists, and a new breed of vampires that are far worse than undead…

Fury's Kiss is out October 2nd. The contest runs through August 3rd.

XOXO,
Jen

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Freya's Journey

Reviewed by Shelly
 
This is a very quick read, about 19 – 24 pages (according to your font setting) in an ePub file.

***Warning – read the blurb folks, when Ms. Rose says that “Freya seeks out her consort and ‘step-brother’ Frey for his knowledge on how to please her” – that’s code for they have sex. So if you’re not into siblings/step-siblings having sex (aka incest), don’t read this story. You’ve been warned.

Freya, the goddess of sex, love and fertility is missing her husband Od, the god of sun something fierce. She decides that the only way to assuage her desires is to go find him herself.  I’m not sure how long he’s been missing or why his/her guards couldn’t go looking for him but hey I’ll suspend my thinking abilities for now. So off she goes to find Od but decides to make a quick overnight stop at her step-brother’s, Frey, house to get information on Od’s whereabouts and to have sex.  I am NOT a fan of incest, no matter how much it’s dressed up or what it’s dressed up as.

Hold on, I’m not done yet. I kept reading because I was sure the story could only go up from here. Oh, how wrong I was. Once Freya left her step-brother’s house she meets four dwarf brothers in a cave with whom she has sex with (as a trade for a necklace and information about her husband’s whereabouts). At this point, I’m kinda wondering what kind of goddess this woman is because she’s going around having sex with all kinds of folks in order to quench her thirst? Doesn’t she have goddess powers to help with that?

Anyway, Freya finally meets up with Od and the end happened so quickly, I had to read it twice because here I am reading through an incest scene and I get a quickie ending. Dog-gone-it, I was hot but not in a good way. I’m taking points off for the sibling sex, the abrupt ending, and Freya telling the dwarfs that she’ll trade her two daughters for the necklace (that ain’t cool.)

Not-Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: F

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Freya's Journey
by Tiffany Rose
Release Date: May 27, 2012

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Review: Night of Fire

Reviewed by Jen
 
It's been three years since Tom left Rosa, running out of town in the middle of the night on a stolen horse. After her parents threatened him, he felt like he couldn't have a future with her, so he made a new life for himself in the Army. He never forgot her though, and now that he has finally been granted leave, the only thing he can think of doing, is getting back to her.

When he arrives back home, Rosa is a changed woman.  She's the new sheriff of Thornville and she's tough as nails.  It's obvious she has been holding her own, but Tom couldn't have picked a better time to come back. Outlaws are targeting her, and even worse, they seem to be simply paving the way for an even bigger threat to both Rosa and the town.

They have to work with one another to fight off the danger.  But together, their old sparks fly again. Can she ever forgive him for leaving her the way he did? And will they survive long enough to find out?

The story is a combination of steampunk, old west, and romance.  And it is set in the same world as Skies of Fire, though they are each completely stand-alone stories.  There is a similar thread, though, in that both books feature a couple reunited three years after one lover deserted the other.

It's hard to sympathize with a hero who unceremoniously dumped his heroine.  He's got a lot to atone for and despite his heroism in fighting off the bad guys, I felt like Rosa forgave him awfully fast.  The whole story takes place over just a couple of days.  The romance is at the center, but there is a lot of action as well. Maybe a little too much. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed by all the descriptions of the equipment and choreography of the fight scenes.

But I found myself interested in the setting.  The world building is clear and easy to understand --and the plot is pretty straightforward.  I liked that the authors changed things up so much from the last book.  I think steampunk fans looking for an action-packed ride will enjoy it.

Rating: C

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Nights of Fire
by Nico Rosso
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Avon Impulse

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Skies of Fire

Reviewed by Jen
 
Zoe Archer sets up an interesting, alternative steampunk world in this first installment of The Ether Chronicles.

Our hero is Christopher, captain of an ether-powered flying ship for the British Navy.  He's also a Man-O-War. Now part man and part machine, he is connected to his ship. A special metal fused to his flesh and bone allows the energies in his body to create the ether.  It's a job he loves. But as much as he revels in the skies, he still mourns the loss of Louisa, woman who got away... the woman who left him without a word, years ago.

Imagine his surprise when an SOS from behind enemy lines turns out to be from Louisa, herself.  Once he rescues her, he gets pulled into her spy-work, all the while battling the overwhelming emotions coming from being with her again.

I really liked Christopher and the concept behind the Man-O-War.  He is powerful and larger than life, yet emotionally scarred by his past with Louisa. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like I got much of a chance to invest in their feelings for one another.  We're only told about the depth of their relationship, but didn't really get to see it.  Because it's telling versus showing, I didn't get the build-up necessary to feel what I needed to between them.  Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, I just didn't care all that deeply.

The history between Christopher and Louisa does make it easy to believe the speed of their relationship development.   The world-building is laid out quickly and efficiently. And the pacing is good. It's a fun adventure with a second-chance love story.

Rating: B-

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Skies of Fire
by Zoe Archer
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Avon Impulse

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Feature & Giveaway: Blade Song

In just two weeks, Shiloh Walker --aka JC Daniels-- is releasing her new Urban Fantasy, Blade Song. Check out the details.
 
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.

So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.

Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.

If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee.

Here is an excerpt:

    “Stop it,” I whispered, pointing the blade at him, leveled at his throat. “I'm tired of this, do you hear me?”
“You should put that thing away before you hurt yourself.”
    I leaned in enough that it was pressed against his throat, watched as the tip pierced his skin. As smoke drifted from his wound to curl in the air, I glared at him.
    “How did you get it past me this time?”
    “And you keep calling me the idiot.” Blood stained the tip of my sword red now. The blade liked it. She wanted more. A lot more. “You saw me lock the damn thing up in the lockers upstairs, cat. Or are you blind?”
    His nostrils flared, a growl rumbling through his throat.
    “The two of us need to come to an understanding,” I said flatly. I twisted the blade, watched as it pushed a little deeper into his throat. “I'm dead if I don't find this kid. If he's down there on a slab, I'm dead, all because your crazed queen needs to blame somebody and it doesn't matter if he's been dead for ten minutes or ten days.”
    His lashes flickered.
    “Now I'm not going to whine about how unfair that is. Nor am I going to bitch about the fact that if you all had been doing your job by that boy, maybe he wouldn't have run,” I added. “The bottom line is...he did run. And I've got a soft spot for kids. This is a well-known fact, a card your Alpha knew and worked to her advantage. Now...if that's not him, we've still got a job to do. If it is him...well, I'll deal some other way. But nevertheless, there's a job to do and it's not going to get any easier with us at each other's throats.”
    He snarled and pushed himself closer, driving the blade a quarter of an inch into his throat. “You think I want to be working with some crazy little bitch who can't control her emotions?”
    “Well, you worked with your Alpha,” I pointed out with a polite smile. “Face the facts. I'm not were. I respond to fear, anger, grief and all the other emotions. Those are my shortcomings, having human blood. You should have been prepared for that. If you're not equipped to deal with it? That's your shortcoming as one of the more alpha cats in the damned clan.” I smirked at him. “I keep hearing about your vaunted control. All the shifters are supposed to be in control. It's what guides them through the spiking, adolescence. If you can get through that and not lose your marbles, it's supposed to be smooth sailing.”
Damon glared at me.
    “It seems to be a myth, if you ask me.” I twisted the blade and watched as blood trickled down. Flesh continued to burn and he just stood there. Oh, he had control, all right. He had it in spades.
    “Is there a point to this or are you just really into having me wring your neck?”
    His voice was a growl too deep. The storm clouds in his eyes had changed, too—shifting to that eerie luminescence singular to felines. The pupils were changing.
    Pushing too far, damn it. Oh, well.
    “The point is...if you want this job done, you have got to get off my ass. I can't do it with you growling at me. I can't do it with thunderclouds over my head and I can't do it if I'm worrying about an ax falling on my head at the first wrong move, if I'm worried about anything other than doing this damn job.”
Those eyes flashed again, and then, to my surprise, that eerie, flickering glow melted away and he stared at me with a human gaze. “Are you done?”
    “Possibly.” I twisted the blade once more. Maybe I really was crazy. “Are we going to keep doing this or are you going to let me work?”
    He reached up and closed a hand around the blade.
    Shifter flesh met the enchanted silver and started to smoke. As he pushed it away, he leaned in and said, “You can work, little girl. But sooner or later, you and I are going to have a reckoning.”
    “I can't wait.”

Sounds awesome, right?  Want to win a copy?  Enter the Rafflecopter form below. For more information on the giveaway or Blade Song, check out Shiloh's website.

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Hot Summer Nights Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Hot Summer Nights Giveaway Hop! Thanks to The Book Nympho and Bona Fide Reflections for hosting!  For this stop on the hop, you have your choice of books by Karina Cooper.

When the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.

As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she's been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.

A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him tot he witch he has to kill: her brother. Silas doesn't know that Jessie's his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her... and must protect her until his final breath.
 

Naomi West was plucked from one prison and placed undercover in another: the gilded cage that is Timeless, New Seattle's premier spa and resort, where owner Phinneas Clarke—the most seductive man Naomi has ever met—may be hiding a killer. She's an agent of the Holy Order, trained to hunt the guilty and render justice. But while she's tracking down a rogue agent on a killing spree, Phin is determined to uncover her most damning—and dangerous—secrets. Whatever the cost.

 

Juliet Carpenter thought of the coven as family, but when she falls for a man who betrays them all, she’s left alone and desperately searching for a reason why. Caleb Leigh has spent the past year in hiding, unable to escape his demons. When Juliet finds him again, her need for vengeance clashes with the hunger still burning between them.

It’s a fight born from the embers of a half-forgotten attraction and the wounds of a past too raw to ignore. With enemies circling and secrets threatening to consume them, Caleb has no choice but to fulfill a promise made long ago—protect her, save her. Even if it costs him his blood, his body . . . and what’s left of his mind.

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his--for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.
 


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