Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Unsafe Haven

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Arriving in the isolated village of Staamat, Alaska, Kendall Martin is ready to start over. On the run from her ex-fiancé, she’s there to reinvent herself as the new owner of a souvenir and sportsman trading post. While there she meets Denn Nulo, Staamat’s Chief of Police and resident good guy.

Kendall and Denn click immediately. That doesn’t mean they jump into bed or anything like that - just that they recognize their mutual attraction. Even though she thinks that Denn seems to be a nice guy, it’s because of her prior abusive relationship that Kendall is very untrusting of her feelings for him. Kendall comes from a home with great parents and wonderful childhood memories, which made her easy to identify with as someone who has had a run of bad things happening in a small, yet defining, time in her life. I loved how although her time with Conroy was bad, it didn’t turn her into a bitter or mean person. Yes, she was more cautious of those around her but her personality remained as a caring person. I really liked Kendall. I thought her character was smart, sweet, vulnerable, and oh so gratifyingly unwilling to play the woe-is-me card. I like that a lot.

Denn is a great character. He’s that everyday hero you would read about in your local paper. He’s a go-getter, intelligent, and yes, very good-looking; very much the boy next door. After going away to college in Anchorage with the plan to become a lawyer, he has to come back home because of his mother’s sudden death and to take care of his thirteen year-old sister, Luna. Luna is absolutely precious: she’s diabetic and her ‘rebellion’ is eating junk food at the local eatery owned by old man Fake (what an awesome name). It’s because of Luna’s sweetness and inherent love of her brother (and him for her) that Kendall sees Denn as a caring and patient person.

There are a lot of characters that make up the small town. Jo, Denn’s best friend who has five boys and is pregnant with her sixth and seventh – yep you got it – twins. She keeps telling this story of her mother’s pregnancy and giving birth that make me laugh out loud. Wendy, the owner of the inn where Kendall first stays has some secrets that probably should have stayed locked up. There’s a plethora of others that I enjoyed getting to know. Oh yeah, let me tell you about Kendall’s ex-fiancé. Conroy Herington was the culmination of what happens when not only power corrupts but when one parent over compensates for the other parent and the kid grows up to be Ted Bundy. Conroy was evil incarnate and I wanted --no, needed-- all bad things to happen to him. I really enjoyed this book a lot. The writing is fresh and clever and very well done.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: A+

*ARC provided by author for review 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Unsafe Haven
by Char Chaffin
Release Date: September 5, 2012
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Highlander Reborn

Reviewed by Jen
 
Laura Hunsaker takes two of my favorite genres and blends them together with this vampire Highlander novella.  I was little worried about how these two could go together, but it actually worked.

Nevin is a Highland warrior who began hunting vampires after they killed his wife.  He even went so far as to hunt the Vampire Queen herself, but his honor would not allow him to kill her unless she attacked first.  That intrigued Amalia and from then on, she developed feelings for him.  When Nevin was nearly killed on the battlefield, Amalia stepped in, turning him into one of her kind.  He fled after that, and for seven centuries, they stayed apart.

Now Nevin is a bounty hunter and he has never forgiven Amalia for changing him. But she has never let go of her feelings for him.  When she approaches him to help her track down a traitor, sparks fly. And Nevin must quickly decide what he truly feels for the beautiful queen.

I liked it.  It was a short story... less than 50 pages... but fast paced and verra sexy.  I enjoyed the vampire, Highlander fusion. Nevin is uber-hot. And the sex is great.  A few nitpicks though... I thought his about-face happened really fast. He went from hating Amalia to being her mate in the blink of an eye.  And even worse, they were throwing around the L-word after just a day or two in each other's company.  (My Number One Romance Pet Peeve.)

If you are looking for a fast, sexy PNR short, though, this one fits the bill.  Just right for a lunch break read or hot afternoon diversion. (Plus, the door is open for the story to continue.)

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Highlander Reborn
by Laura Hunsaker
Release Date: October 2, 2012
   

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Liv's Journey


Reviewed by Shelly
 
While doing a photo shot on the Journey ranch, former supermodel Liv Aune meets Army officer Trey Journey. At first glance these two feel the attraction, but Liv is hesitant because of her weight. Trey is a dominant who’s looking for a submissive, not a doormat, and he thinks that he might have found something in Liv.

I really didn’t understand Liv – for a 24 year-old supermodel, she’s got the biggest case of insecurity over her body and how much she eats. She used to be a size zero until a couple year prior, when one day she decided that she’s going to start eating ‘cause she’s hungry (huh?) and didn’t want to be malnourished anymore. I would assume that’s a hard decision to make, but what’s puzzling is that I didn’t understand Liv’s personal journey and the transition of her weight and its relationship to her chosen career. She’s been modeling since age twelve when her mother put her into modeling to help pay for college, except that Liv didn’t go to college (not yet anyway).

On one of their first dates, Liv says something that Trey didn’t like and thought as disrespectful – so he sends her out to the truck to wait for him. When he gets there and begins her punishment there’s an incident where someone catches them red-handed (pun intended), quickly captures the images and flees. There’s a whole blackmail story behind that. However, the conflict didn’t seem to be the photograph taken but of Liv’s ongoing ordeal with her weight and whether Trey would think she’s a ‘pig’ (she said it, I didn’t) when he sees how much she eats.

In addition to all that, Liv’s a bit of a brat and would say things that just asked for something to happen and Trey would bring it every time. I’m didn’t really understand the reason for the spankings either. Some seemed a bit harsh – there’s a scene with a looped belt that I’m not sure how that was pleasing to Liv. She and Trey did seem to have a spark and I think that he liked her quite a bit, but I didn’t like the head games that he played with her about being in the BDSM lifestyle that he’s into.

This is a short read, about 39K words so I can’t give too much away. I will say that if you like spankings in your stories, give this one a try. I’d like to read the others in the series to see who’s up next, because there were some other interesting characters, mainly Ace, Trey’s older brother who I wouldn’t mind getting to know a little bit more (if you know what I mean – insert wink).

Happy reading folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Liv's Journey
by Patricia Green
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Publisher: Blushing Books

Labels: , ,

5 for Friday - September 28

It is Friday, September 27... three days after the release of JR Ward's Rapture. I still have not read it.  I fail at both fandom and blogging.  But we have tons to talk about this week!

5. I know this is a week old, but Jennifer Estep revealed the cover for Deadly Sting, the next book in the Elemental Assassin series.  Check it out:

Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me — Gin Blanco, aka the Spider — it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’ priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

It's a stepback cover and I love that we see Gin's face, but... Did you guys notice the one word missing from that blurb?? I'll give you a hint. It starts with an "O" and ends with a "wen."  I pray that we get some happy news on the romance front with this next book.  Deadly Sting is out March 26.

4. Lord's Fall is just weeks away and Thea Harrison is giving out advanced copies of her newest Elder Races book.


This is another Dragos & Pia book!  You can win a copy at Thea's blog or pre-order now.  It's out November 6th.

3. If you don't read Stacia Kane's Downside books, you may not understand the pure moment of squee I had when she tweeted the following:


That was followed by:


I don't know anything else. But whatever this turns out to be.... I will buy it. I love Terrible so hard.

2. Two big announcements from Ilona Andrews.  First, the spectacular writing duo announced the name for the next Kate Daniels book.  MAGIC RISES will be out in July or August of next year.

In the meantime, they are putting out a free serial on their blog.  It's called Clean Sweep. You can link to it HERE and they will likely release it as an ebook when they are done.  Help spread the word.  I love these two.

1. And finally... I promised you some big news last week! I've got a huge feature coming in the month of October. It's called Favorites From My Favorites.


Every weekday in the month, I'll have a guest post from one of my favorite authors, offering up recommendations of their favorite books for you to try. We'll have great giveaways, thanks to the amazing folks at Penguin, Harper Collins, Grand Central, Kensington and St Martin's Press.  And some of the authors are sharing their own work as well.  I could not be more excited about the lineup.  We've got such a great variety of authors from Urban Fantasy to PNR, fantasy and HR.  From NYT bestsellers to debut authors and some you may not even be familiar with.  But each one of them is a favorite of mine!  So please give them all a warm welcome.  Be sure to enter the giveaways and leave lots of comments.  Our first guest is Jennifer Estep --and her post will up first thing Monday morning.

I hope you love it!

XOXO,
Jen   

*"Favorites from..." photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos  

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: From the Ashes

Reviewed by Shelly
 
I fell in like with this book because of the cover – the geometrical shapes of the skin wrapped in wire just fascinated me. The blurb got me further, how interesting and different would it be to have an anti-hero as the main character? How promising a concept that someone could rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains’? Pretty on the outside doesn’t fix the inside…

Twenty-five year old, aberrant Tobias Rutherford, aka Spark, masquerades as a graduate student at UC Berkeley while he’s on a mission from his father, Michael Cornelius Rutherford aka Lord High General Infernus Blaze -- aka Blaze. Unfortunately, that name doesn’t lend credence to this being a non-comic book or manga style story. But moving on…part of Tobias mission is to prevent the advancement of a biogenetics research being conducted by Professor Langdon at the college. While Tobias is there, he meets professor Sean Archer who had some secrets of his own.

Tobias is convinced that he’s a killer by nature, and nurture has no impact on his ability to make a choice, be it good or bad. There are some morality and ethics thoughts/concepts/dialogue that I wasn’t sure of their purpose within the story line, so I kept reading. Known as an aberrant by society’s standards – aberrant genetics, aberrant psychology – Tobias talents lie in his ability to control and manipulate electricity.

I had a lot of trouble with this story. Tobias is a straight up killer – he didn’t kill a few people, he killed a whole lotta people. He proudly acknowledges himself as his father’s son. He’s killed three million people, half the population of Laos, when he was younger. This is just one example of his killing. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic or empathetic towards this guy? Am I supposed to feel for him because his mother was killed when he was younger? Ummm – hell no, I’m not. Folks, when I read a story, for me to have enjoyment I expect to care about the character(s). Sadly, I found myself completely dispassionate about Tobias, Sean, or the LHGIB.

Sean was lacking in development. I don’t know what made him tick. I don’t know what made him like Tobias. I didn’t know anything about him except he’s got to have something going on to like somebody like Tobias. LHGIB was just some voice on a phone that I knew through the thoughts of Tobias. I thought there was a moment when the story line would have given more about him but that didn’t happen. So I kept reading. When his father contacts him with a change in mission, Tobias has to make the decision if he will continue to follow in his father’s footsteps or become the hero.

The end was quick, forced and make me a bit uncomfortable because I was sure that Tobias would redeem himself. I’m not okay with the killing folks especially because they’re human and they’ve done you no harm. If I saw evidence of cruelty and inhumanity, I might have a different thought to that but I didn’t. (*spoilers*) I absolutely did not see how the killing of Congress progressed this story line. How do you go from killings millions without mercy or impunity and claiming that you have no feelings for three fourths of the book to falling in love and all is right with the world? WTF?

Overall I didn’t like this story, it felt more like a comic book read primarily because of Tobias’s complete lack of remorse.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: D

*ARC Provided by Entangled for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
From the Ashes
by Adrien-Luc Sanders
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Publisher: Entangled

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Feature & Giveaway: The Night Beat

Thanks for stopping by on the Necropolis Enforcement Blog Tour of 2012! If you haven’t read the first chapter of The Night Beat, hit Deathless Prose over at my website and check it out. Then, hit each stop along the way to get more of the story. Missed a stop? Check the website for the Tour Page http://www.ginikoch.com/blogtour.htm and get caught up.

And don’t forget to get entered to win a copy of The Night Beat at EVERY blog tour stop along the way! Plus, follow the Tour ‘til the end and get entered for a mega-prize! So, grab your badge -- it’s time to join Necropolis Enforcement!

The majority of Prosaic City’s residents don’t know that their town exists on top of another place -- Necropolis, City of the Undead. For the most part, the two planes of existence manage to remain separate. And when they don’t, Necropolis Enforcement has beings in place to ensure the general human population remains blithely clueless.

Victoria Wolfe is more than just a policewoman. She’s an undercover werewolf assigned by Necropolis Enforcement to work Prosaic City Police’s Night Beat. Victoria’s comfortable working the shift where all the weird comes out to play, especially since her partner is also her perfect man. Or would be, if Victoria could ever work up the nerve to tell him she isn’t like other girls.

It’s hard enough being a werewolf in disguise, but when a creature from the Depths of Hell shows up in an alley preferred by junkies, bums, and hookers, it’s going to take more than just Victoria’s special gun and werewolf skills to subdue the ancient Sumerian demon. Especially when the demon is merely the start of what appears to be a major takeover attempt by the Prince of Darkness.

Soon all of Necropolis Enforcement’s Undead Brigade is involved in the fight to stop the Prince’s Major Minions from taking over Prosaic City and the rest of the human plane. But it’s Victoria who has to face the Adversary and figure out what intricate plan Lucifer has up his wings before everyone she cares about is destroyed. In other words, it’s just another day on the Night Beat.

Check out an excerpt:

“There’s no way Vic can go back to human right now,” Ken said briskly. “She can barely stand upright.”

“But I’m supposed to be one of the detectives on the scene.”

“I’ll handle it,” Jack said. “I’d like one of the vampires to stay with me, though, just in case.”

“I will,” Ken offered. “Maurice, you take Vic back to Headquarters and get her taken care of. Amanda, can you carry the others?”

“Monty’s done with cleanup and he’s taking Dirt Corps back the way they came,” Amanda said. “So I’ll only have to worry about H.P.” Ken shook his head. “Nope. We have a new succubus and zombie that need to go with you.”

Amanda sighed. “No problem.” Vamps were strong and Amanda worked out. Not that she was the vampire equivalent of a body builder or something, but she was stronger than the average vamp. She was at least as strong as Monty.

“I’d take one, but Vicki squirms,” Maurice said. Sadly, he was right. Werewolves don’t like to fly all that much. And Maurice loved to fly fast and wild. It was all I could do to not claw him and jump for the illusion of safety when I wasn’t hurt. When I was it took all my concentration and his to keep me from freaking out, even if he flew slowly.

“You need to get moving,” Ken said.

“I’ll see you later, partner,” Jack said as he handed me to Maurice.

“Behave and don’t bite someone’s head off.”

“Funny. See you later.”

Maurice snorted, Amanda picked up H.P., our new zombie and our new succubus, and we all took off.

“Slow down!”

“Vicki, Vic, Vicster, Vicarino…you freak at granddaddy speeds, you freak at NASCAR speeds. I’m a formula vehicle and since it makes no difference, I’m going to get us there faster so I get clawed less.”

Maurice had a point. I shut up, closed my eyes, and tried to relax.

Didn’t help. I could feel the air moving past us, smell everything we whizzed by, hear the noises that showed me our speed.

“What happened?” This question came from the succubus.

“Well, an ancient Sumerian demon manifested and they always come out hungry,” H.P. began. I could recognize a lecture starting. I opened my eyes, did my best to drown out the lecture by humming “Werewolves of London”, and tried to enjoy the view.

All things considered, Prosaic City looked pretty good from the air. Like all big American cities it had a variety of business and high-rise sections, older stately buildings surrounded by newer, sleeker ones, scattered suburban sections filled with every kind of tract home from simple to McMansion, a lot of streets and highways, an old downtown nice people didn’t want to be in after dark, a newer downtown where they did, and a variety of uptown and other higher class, hot spot, and trendy areas. Unlike many cities, it had a variety of rivers running through it and an impressive bridge system.

And unlike every other city in this hemisphere, it had an underground like you wouldn’t believe.

Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series for Night Shade Books. She also writes under a variety of other pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. She can be reached through her website at www.ginikoch.com

Would you like to win your own copy? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:


Read more »

Labels: ,

Review: Lord of Temptation

Reviewed by Jen
 
Forced to run from his old life to escape a murderous uncle, Tristan was pushed into a life at sea from the young age of 14. He never had a chance to be the man of nobility he was bred for. Instead, he grew to embrace his destiny on the open water. He shed his old persona and became Crimson Jack. Eventually he became captain of his own ship. And though as an adult, he and his brothers were finally able to reclaim their names and inheritance, he never again felt comfortable in the skin of a Lord.

Anne is a woman in mourning for her dead fiance. He has been gone for years, but to find closure, she feels she must travel to the distant land where he died at war --and make her peace with his memory. She hires Tristan to take her there.

From the moment he sees her, Tristan is taken by Anne. He only agrees to bring her to her destination for the payment of a kiss.  He figures he'll seduce her and get her out of his system during the voyage.  After all, he believes she has a real, live fiance waiting for her on the other side of the journey.  He's wrong on all counts.

I enjoyed watching Anne and Tristan push each other's buttons.  The sexual tension between them is good and though we had to wait a while for that kiss, once the ball got rolling between these two, it was impossible to keep them apart.  The sex is great and the emotional aspects of the relationship are solid. 

The biggest hurdle between them is Tristan's inability to embrace love and a stable future.  Anne wants a marriage and family, but Tristan makes no secret of the fact that his life is at sea... Or is it?  The story starts going round and round in the second half with these two together, then pushing each other away. I can't tell you how many times they had their "last time together."  It's very apparent to the reader how these two feel about each other, even if they can't see it themselves. So I did find myself growing a little impatient waiting for Tristan to have his big revelation.

Overall, though, I really did like the story.  Our hero and heroine are honest with each other and their feelings are genuine and true.  The secondary character were fleshed out and interesting too.  I'm really a fan of the whole premise of this series. (And I liked the book about Tristan's twin, though this book works well as a standalone.) These poor brothers have been through so much!   I can't wait for Rafe's story.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon


Click to purchase: Amazon
Lord of Temptation
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Labels: , , ,

Chat & Giveaway with Faith Hunter


The newest installment in the Jane Yellowrock series is just a week away! And Faith Hunter is joining us today to answer the questions fans want to know and to share a copy of Death's Rival. Please help me welcome her to the blog.

Q. Why hasn’t Jane gotten with Bruiser?

A. Rick and Bruiser and Leo. What a conundrum. Jane is a healthy, unrepressed female, who respects her body and her souls, so she will eventually pick at least one guy, but even I don’t know which guy(s) yet.

All the men are a big part of her life. Jane likes one guy (Rick) but she can’t have him. Her Beast likes another guy or two (Bruiser and Leo) so it’s hard to pick. And Beast assures Jane that, “Big-cats do not mate for life.” However, at this stage in her life, Jane doesn’t sleep around. She’s a little too uptight and reserved for that. But she is a sexual being. And men like her.

Q. What about Rick LaFleur is attractive to Jane?

A. Rick is free (or was until recently) and he is human (or was until recently) and he could have given his all to Jane, in a relationship where she would not have been used (as she surely would be with Leo) and will be first in his life (unlike with Bruiser who would be loyal to Leo). She wants to be first in a man’s life. Rick fights crime and understands the fact that Jane does so, as well, even if she is going about it via different route. They have a lot in common. 

Q. You have graphic violence, but avoid graphic sex and cursing, an unusual choice that makes the books widely accessible. Why?

A. Oy. Lots of reasons. In no particular order: Emotional, but also physical violence, were part of my young home life. Dad taught me to shoot guns at age 12 in an outbreak of rabies in our rural county. As eldest I had to be ready to protect my brothers from rabid animals as well as human predators. Also, I was bullied in school because I was a Christian and had to stand up, without violence, to the bullies. In my heart-of-hearts, I wanted to bash the bullies, but I couldn’t, so I do on the pages I write. I have internal demons (my own spiritual but evil Beast) that I want to kill, and I kill it over and over on the page. 

As to sex? LKH writes great sex. Never ever boring. And she never uses crass or popular names for body parts, making her sex read like poetry. Most written sex is boring after a while, IMHO, and hers is never boring! When I write sex it makes me laugh. Not what I wanted. I do however write good sexual tension, so I write to my strengths. 

As to language: Language is a tool. If it brings in more readers then it is a good tool. If it pushes away even one reader then it is a bad tool. I can just as easily say, she cursed, or she swore. As long as I don’t overdo, no one misses the actual cuss words. And readers who would be offended by the words themselves are not offended and buy my books. It’s good business. And yes, I do cuss myself. But I am sparing with the use. It’s a tool to be wielded, not a crutch.

Q. Vampires, New Orleans. It’s been done before. How do you keep it fresh?

A. New Orleans is amazing. Every time I drive through I see something new that has been there all along. I literally ride with my head hanging out the window to capture the sights and smells, camera in hand. How can anyone not love NOLA? It is amazing! And it reinvents itself yearly, so fresh is easy.

Q. Will there be more books in this series?

A. After DEATH’S RIVAL, I have two more books under contract. After that, well, it all depends on the readers and how faithful they are to the series. Fans make or break books, and writers live on their joy and love of books. If fans buy books and tell their friends to buy books, then a writer gets contracts. So far, Jane Yellowrock is selling, If I do my job well and the fans like it well enough to do theirs, then yes. I can only hope!

So here are the deets on the new book:

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Want to give it a try?  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. US only please. In the meantime, you can find Faith online and on social media:


Website:  http://www.faithhunter.net
Twitter:   http://twitter.com/HunterFaith
Facebook page for Faith:    http://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter


And if you haven't tried the Jane Yellowrock series before, check out my review of book one: Skinwalker.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Blue Violet

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Ellinore ‘Ellie’ Audrey is not just another high school student; she’s a girl with a secret that only her twin Griffin knows. In this first book of the series, both of these siblings have moved to Colorado from Texas in pursuit of what they believe to be more of their own kind. Once in Colorado, Ellie’s disguises herself as a high school student, allowing her to get close to the Jenners and the Pierces, who are undiscovered members of the Svatura. The Svatura are a ravaged and decimated group of gypsies who have some pretty cool, spectacular supernatural powers. While she’s doing some surveillance work at the high school, Ellie meets fellow Svatura, hunkalicious Alex Jenner.

Ellie’s power is that she’s able to morph into some inherent creatures (wolf, falcon, etc.) and use her twin brother’s, Griffin, mind reading ability. If you’re a fan of the X-Men series, Ellie’s powers remind me of Rogue’s ‘touch’ powers. When I started reading, I was a little nervous that this would be too similar in plot and I would have to give Owens the big what-for but I was pleasantly surprised to say that the premise was the only similarity that I found, thank goodness. And another prop – thanks for staying away from the formulaic werewolf plot (who doesn’t love a wolf pack?), so refreshing - but I digress. Once Ellie sets eyes on Alex she’s really intrigued and drawn to him but doesn’t see a future there because of what/who she is and who she believes Alex is. Alex’s ability to freeze objects from the miniscule to the ginormous is pretty awesome too. Again, he reminds me of the powers of X-Men’s Iceman, but like Ellie and Rogue, that’s where the similarities end. Alex and Ellie were a great couple, when they really get together and are able to get out of that teenager mentality. They’re going to rock the sheets, trust me on this.

The development of this story was precise and carefully done. There were a few places where I felt a lull but they were few and far between. I really liked Griffin. He seems to be a practical foil for Ellie’s sometimes hot-headedness. Even better, he’s got a few secrets that he’s been keeping from his twin. I’m hoping those will get flushed out in the upcoming novel (hopefully with Selene huh? insert plea). Oh, please! please! please! Tell me that Ramsey and Lila get together – I could feel the heat on my iPad. Owens has written this story so that many of our new friends can have their own story – very exciting there. Gabriel was in interesting character, I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him.

Overall, I thought this story was well done and captivating. I found myself emotionally invested in each character, especially Ellie and Alex, but that’s because Owen has not written about Griffin, Selene, Adelaide, Nate, Ramsey and Lila and I can’t wait until she does.

Although there’s no sex --it’s pretty much a young adult theme-- there was enough tension that I felt that Ellie and Alex were sexually compatible.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
Blue Violet
by Abigail Owen
Release Date: August 19, 2012

Labels: , , ,

Review: Immortal Surrender


Reviewed by Jen
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It's the second in Claire Ashgrove's Curse of the Templars series.  And one of the things that I like best about these books is that each one features a tortured hero with a heroine who can save his soul.

In this case, our hero is Farran. Like Merrick before him, he doesn't want a seraph. He thinks he is too far gone. He wants one of his brothers to receive the gift. Beyond that, though, he is still nursing a 900 year-old heartbreak brought on by a treacherous and unfaithful wife.

Noelle is an unlikely choice for a seraph. She doesn't even believe in God, which makes the whole immortal Templar thing sound all the more insane to her.  She does, however, trust in science. She dates and authenticates ancient relics for a living.  She doesn't have much of a life beyond her work. Apparently, Noelle is plain and flat chested and no man has ever really been interested in her.

Once the angel Gabriel does his thing and orchestrates a meeting between Farran and Noelle, he realizes immediately that she is his fated match. He decides he must speak his oath to bind with her, in order to honor his duty, but he will never allow anything real to grow between them.  He essentially kidnaps her, drags her back to the Temple and spends the rest of the book trying to force her to speak the oath back to him while he fights he growing feelings for her.

I like the world-building and the story is rich with great secondary characters. It gives the entire book such a great canvas.  I enjoyed the tender moments between Farran and Noelle, but he also frustrated me at times with his thoughtless comments designed to put emotional distance between them.  He wasn't a bad guy, but he was thick-headed. And 900 years is a long time to hold a grudge against women.  As for Noelle, it kind of stretches credulity to think that any functional 29 year-old woman can be that innocent in 2012.  Beyond that, I liked her well enough. She has a sharp mind and demands the kind of proof that most rational people would need.  I just hated to see her feelings hurt so often.

When the walls finally start to come down between these two, the heat factor was fantastic.  The love scenes were great and there was a fair amount of action worked in --as well as enough intrigue to keep me guessing.  --Not everything is tied up neatly. There are definitely loose ends that will branch over to the next book. But the ending gives good closure on the relationship, so it's by no means a cliffhanger.

I liked it. And I'll read the next one when it comes out.  I'm hoping for Sophie's story... with Tane perhaps? Or maybe Declan?  I'm looking forward to it.

Rating: B



*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Surrender
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Tor

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed

Reviewed by Jen
 
I love a good Beauty and the Beast story --and this one delivered in every way.  My only complaint is that it's over.

Sidonie's sister Roberta has amassed an enormous gambling debt and the man she owes it to, is her husband's greatest enemy, Jonas Merrick.  There is no way Roberta will be able to pay back the money, so Jonas agrees to let her repay him in trade.  What better way to get revenge on his horrible cousin, than to cuckold him?

The thing is, Roberta's husband is violently abusive and if he were catch wind of any of this, Roberta's life could be forfeit. So Sidonie agrees to take her place in Merrick's bed.  When she arrives at the castle, she is expecting a monster. After all, Merrick is horribly scarred and must be a brute to have put her sister in such a position.  But she finds that she barely notices his scars. In fact, she is even drawn to him, and he, to her.

Merrick doesn't force Sidonie into his bed.  Instead, he makes a deal with her.  She'll give him one week to seduce her.  It will be her choice whether they make love.  And from there begins a seduction that is only partly of the flesh.  Because while Sidonie does fall captive to his body, she also ends up connecting to the broken, lonely man within.

The development of the story was a bit predictable, but I absolutely 100% did not care.  I loved watching their journey.  Merrick is so damaged both physically and emotionally.  He has been branded a bastard, which has ostracized him, and Roberta's horrible husband --his cousin-- has the title that should have been his.  The peerage rejects him, but he holds himself away as well, refusing to let them hurt him. Yet he falls so hard for Sidonie and her innocence, her goodness.  He begins to feel his broken heart growing whole again --and I just wanted to climb inside the book and give him a hug.

I liked Sidonie. She is practical and loyal.  And she has to make some tough choices, with one that you know is going to come back and bite her when it comes out.  When it all comes crashing down, it's hard to bear, but it's riveting. I couldn't put it down.

Anna Campbell gave me two main characters I truly cared about and a villain easy to hate. The plot was interesting.  And the sex was just right. It was hot and plentiful, but it never overshadowed the story. I just... loved it.

Rating: A

*ARC Provided by Forever via NetGalley


Click to purchase: Amazon
Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed
by Anna Campbell
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)


Labels: , , ,

Chat & Giveaway with Thea Harrison

Thea Harrison's Elder Races books are an auto-buy for me. Her latest novella, Hunter's Season, released this month and she is here chatting with me today.  Welcome, Thea!

Thea: Hi Jen! Thanks so much for having me on Red Hot Books. It’s a pleasure to visit with you again!

Jen: Tell us a little about Hunter's Season.

Thea: Hunter’s Season is the fourth of the Elder Races novellas. It closes the story arc of the mysterious Tarot deck that began in True Colors (novella #1, Dec 2011, Samhain).


In Hunter’s Season, the story follows a secondary character from Devil’s Gate (novella #3, June 2012, Samhain), a Dark Fae assassin named Xanthe who works for the crown—who is Niniane Lorelle, Dark Fae Queen and the heroine of book two Storm’s Heart. More specifically, Xanthe works for Niniane’s lover and mate, Tiago, who heads Niniane’s security.

Xanthe has been in love with the Dark Fae Chancellor Aubrey Riordan for a long time. When he is severely injured in an assassination attempt, he and Xanthe are thrown together as Niniane orders her to look after and guard him while Tiago hunts down the would-be killers.

Hunter’s Season is an intimate story that focuses on two people who have each had a difficult time in their lives. It was very satisfying to give them a chance at happiness together.

Jen: You've said this is the last Elder Races novella. Talk to me about why you started writing these and what is prompting you to stop.

Thea: I have loved writing the Elder Races novellas because it has given me a chance to flesh out a very big world that I’ve been building, and to tell the stories of characters who wouldn’t otherwise get their own novel.

The novellas range from 26,000 – 35,000 words, which is a standard novella length for a mass market paperback collection, and I hope to see the stories distributed in print form at some point. (I’ll be sure to post about it if/when this occurs!)

The response has been really terrific, but I have noted that there have been several complaints about the novella length in readers’ reviews. Since the last thing that I want to do is foster reader frustration, I’ve decided to back off from writing more Elder Races novellas for now.

Jen: We're getting closer to Lord's Fall too! What made you decide to revisit Pia and Dragos?


Thea: I’m very excited at the Lord’s Fall upcoming November release. There’s so much of Pia and Dragos’s story to tell, so many unresolved issues that have built up over the last several books, AND more world building. When I pitched the idea to my editor Cindy Hwang, she was all for the idea! I hope to possibly follow Pia and Dragos again in later books as well. Hopefully I’ll get the chance!

Jen: Is it easier or more difficult to write for a couple with an established romantic history?

Thea: I don’t know that it’s easier or more difficult, but it is certainly different. When I started Lord’s Fall, putting Pia and Dragos back on felt like coming back to old friends. The characters were there and alive, and very much ready to have their moment again on center stage.

Jen: The love scenes in these books really knock it out of the park. What is your writing process like for hot sex? Is it hard to plot out the mechanics? And how do you pick your, er, terminology? LOL.

Thea: I do not know this terminology of which you speak. *blink blink*

More seriously, what I try to do with the sex scenes is the same thing that I try to do with every scene—write to the very best of my ability, infuse it with sincerity and emotion, and avoid clichés and overused terminology. I hope I manage to do that.


Sometimes plotting out the mechanics for the love scenes can be challenging. I can remember when I wrote the first love scene for Oracle’s Moon, I was quite excited at the opportunities for creativity that those two characters gave me.

Jen: How many more full length novels are you contracted for in the series? Is it still six? When would you know if we can have more?

Thea: Right now I am contracted for six, although my editor and I have talked about future story ideas. I’ll certainly post on my blog when I have any concrete news that I can share!

Jen: Which character intrigues you most in the Elder Races universe and why?

Thea: Okay, this answer is NOT a cop out, because it’s the truth. The characters that I’m writing at any given time intrigue me the most. I get to dig inside them and figure out how they tick, and share that with readers. It’s awesome fun.

Jen: Which character gets the most fan requests for his/her own book? Do you have a path for him/her in mind?

Thea: To date, the harpy Aryal has been getting the most fan requests for her book. (I’m finishing that story up now.) The runner up for fan requests is Graydon.

Jen: What is your number 1 most hated romance trope?

Thea: A hero who is such a dickhead to the heroine throughout most of the book, but then they end up together anyway. I can’t read that type of story.

Jen: Finally, who is the sexiest male PNR/UF hero (not one of yours) in your opinion? And what is the appeal?

Thea: Oh wow, there are so many great sexy heroes! I think my current favorite (I switch them out from time to time) is Lilith Saintcrow’s Tierce Japhrimel from her Dante Valentine series. Japhrimel has such power and devotion, and he shows genuine caring for the heroine.

Jen: Thanks so much for visiting the blog!!

Thea: Thank you again for having me!

~~~

For readers, who is the sexiest male PNR/UF hero (not one of mine) in your opinion?

Comment for a chance to the ebook of your choice from my Samhain backlist! If you already have the three novellas on my backlist, you can always give your prize to a friend!

Thea Harrison http://theaharrison.com/
Twitter @TheaHarrison
www.facebook.com|TheaHarrison

This contest is closed. The winner is Danielle.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Sacrifice the Wicked


Reviewed by Jen

If you still have a copy of All Things Wicked sitting on your bookshelf, heed my advice and reacquaint yourself with it before you pick up this book.  I didn't and I wish I had.  If you've never read a Dark Mission book before, I suggest you start with Blood of the Wicked. Otherwise, you'll have no idea what is going on here.

This book draws heavily on the events of the previous installment and while there is a little bit of recap, there is not much.  So I spent a little too much time, straining my brain to remember who, for instance, Nadia Parrish was, and where the hero fit in to the Eve project.  The book assumes a working knowledge of the world-building and of past events.

All that being said, I think this is my favorite book in the series.  The romance was smoking hot.  Phenomenal sexual tension and sweltering bedroom action. (*fans self*)

Simon Wells is an agent for the mission, but he is also a genetically engineered witch.  He's been placed in the mission as a spy for another sector of the Order.  There are, in fact, other witches who have been placed in similar positions.  But their DNA is degenerating. And it's Simon's job to take them out cleanly, before they die an ugly death and expose the program.

Parker is the Mission's director and she takes her job seriously. She knows there is something amiss with Simon and Sector Three, but she has no idea how deep it goes.  The fact that she is wildly attracted to Simon only makes matters worse.

When Parker's name appears on Simon's hit list, he decides enough is enough. He won't kill this loyal, amazing and dedicated woman, just because she is getting too close to the truth. So the two of them go on the run... trying to get one step ahead of Sector Three and the timebomb of Simon's faulty DNA that's ready to blow at any moment.

Parker is this amazingly put together woman, who maintains absolute control at all times. Except with Simon.  There is a sinful dominating quality about him that simply makes her melt.  (And me too!!) He reduces her to her most feminine and pliant... and he is so sexy and growly and... It's just really hot.  She fights it and fights it, which makes it all the more satisfying when they finally get together. Rraw!

I'm not going to say too much more except to warn you that there is a big, wet, sticky cliffhanger.  None of the other books ended this way, so when I got to the last page, I was unprepared for the story to end without resolution.  Boo!!!!  Clearly, I will be reading book 5 to see what the hell happens next.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon


Click to purchase: Amazon
Sacrifice the Wicked
by Karina Cooper
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Turn to Darkness


Reviewed by Jen

This novella in the Offspring series serves as a companion piece to The Darkness Within.  It features the same band of characters and picks up shortly after that story left off.

Shea has recently moved out of the house she shared with a makeshift family of other Offspring, nicknamed D'Rats.  She was starting to have feelings for Greer (one of the men there) but she couldn't deal with the mutual attraction because of a sexual assault in her past.  Now, Darius, another one of the D'Rats, is seeking her out in her new home. He wants a relationship with her, and is oblivious to the fact that she is not interested.

It turns out one of the men who raped Shea has been killed and her connection to him makes her a person of interest in the case. It also alerts her father and the others of his kind to her existence.   The otherworldly beings are trying to kill off their Offspring and now she is in danger.

In the meantime, Greer wants to protect Shea, both from Darius's unwanted advances and from the threat to her life.  He also wants to help her heal from her rape.  The story follows their tentative relationship as both Darius and Shea's father cause trouble.

I liked the story. Greer is sexy and patient and quite wonderful with Shea.  Darius makes a suitable creepy villain. And I liked that Shea's dad wasn't all bad.  The love story was tender and the sex was pretty good.  I thought Shea's acceptance of physical love was a little abrupt, but otherwise I enjoyed the romance.

I also like how simplified the concepts of Darkness and Offspring are presented here. Sometimes, the world-building is a little confusing in this series. But in this story, I thought it worked well.

I hope we see the D'Rats again in the future.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Turn to Darkness
by Jaime Rush
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Avon



Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Prince, Bewitched

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Sylvia dreams of opening her own hair salon, but as a household maid, she has no way of being able to afford it. Until one day when she hears that Prince Xavier is not only sick, but the royal family is offering a reward of £1 million to whoever cures him. The best doctors, soothsayers and herbalists have been completely befuddled by what aches the Prince.

Sylvia is convinced that the reason for the Prince’s illness is the Faeries. Although only young children are supposed to be able to see Fae, for some unknown reason, Sylvia can still see them. So off she goes to find a cure for the Prince and gain her reward.

There were a few things that weren’t believable to me: when Sylvie breaks into the palace to go to Xavier’s room, there were no guards (it’s a palace for goodness sake); the ease with which Xavier and his sister accepted Sylvie (after a single conversation); and the big one – why would Sylvia have sex with people she neither knew or could identify their species? Even in supernatural worlds, things still have to make sense to me.

Here’s what I really liked. I thought Sylvie was a very likeable character. She was adorable and made quite a few witty references that made me giggle (and even laugh out loud). She still has a ways to go before I understand her but from what I’ve read so far, she is more than meets the eye. I thought Xavier had some redeemable qualities but he’s got a long way to go to show me he’s deserving of Sylvia. Now Xavier’s best friend, Richard, is a straight up freak who’s hiding something and I can’t wait to find out what that is in the next one (ya hear me Tula?) There were a couple of other secondary characters who also have a lot of promise to make this a good series.

Overall, while there were moments when I had to say to myself – Nah, she wouldn’t do that! Oh dang it, yes she did! I really enjoyed this story and I really liked Sylvie and I’m rooting for her to have both her Prince and her HEA.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
Prince, Bewitched
by Tula Neal
Release Date: September 7, 2012

Labels: , , ,

5 for Friday - September 21

A sick husband and a sick kid this week.  Plus the other kid had a birthday. Throw in a cheerleading/ football game event, various sports practices, cupcake making, and school projects --and I am desperately in need of some "me-time." I have no idea when it will happen, but I can dream.  Let's talk about fun stuff.

5. I have been stalking Sherrilyn Kenyon forever since I found she was planning this Styxx book.  Now she's got more deets about him on her website. She says, in part:


...(I)n many ways, it's another story of Acheron. You will see events that weren't in his book and I know Styxx will win you over. In all honesty, he was done wrong and it will break your heart.  Misjudged, condemned, betrayed and abandoned... There is a whole side of him that no one knows.


I am so anxious!! Only 11 months to go.

4. Shiloh Walker, aka JC Daniels, has revealed the cover for book two in her Colbana Files series.  Take a look at Night Blade:

Kit Colbana is always biting off more than she can chew. She has a knack for finding trouble. This time, though, trouble finds her. Someone from her past drops a case into her lap that she just can’t refuse…literally.

People on the Council are dying left and right and she’s been requested to investigate the deaths. The number one suspect? Her lover, Damon. If she doesn’t clear his name, he gets a death sentence. Even if she succeeds? They still might try to execute him. Oh, and she’s not allowed to tell him about the case, either.

The stakes are high this time around, higher than they’ve ever been. Kit may be forced to pay the ultimate price to save her lover’s life…a price that could destroy her and everything she loves.

I really enjoyed Blade Song so I have high hopes for this one.

3. JR Ward is sharing tidbits on the next Fallen Angel book, Rapture. Every day, she is releasing a new little video on her Facebook page, which is evil and refuses to allow me to embed her clips. However, you can click on the pretend video player below and it will take you to the clip where she is talking about the heroine.


Rapture is out Tuesday.  Please, JR, you must fix this Eddie thing.

2. I really loved the ARC of Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell. It's a Beauty & the Beast type of historical romance (also out Tuesday.)


Forever is giving away seven copies. You can win it before you can buy it. Check out the giveaway here.

1. And finally, Karen Marie Moning is answering some of the big questions about the next book in her Fever series, ICED.  If I wasn't nervous before, I definitely am now. (I was totally nervous before, but now it's worse.)

Here are some of the high points:
  • The next three books will be Fever #6-8
  • The titles are ICED, BURNED & FLAYED
  • They will be Dani POV
  • She will be 14 at the beginning of her 3 book arc and 17 when it's over
  • Dani will have sex with one of the guys who is in ICED
  • Books #9-10 will be Mac POV
  • These are not teen fiction
  • ICED will not end in a cliffhanger
Without crossing the line into too much information, I know all too well that teens Dani's age have sex.  But if it's with a being who is hundreds (or thousands) of years old, I'm out.

I loved the Fever books. Loved.  But I am scared. Somebody needs to read this for me and give me the all clear.

I've got big news coming next week!  I can't wait to share.  Until then... stay to the light!

XOXO,
Jen

 

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Sugar Rush

Reviewed by Allison

Dulcie Carter grew up tasting, creating, and surrounded by candy. So it only made sense to keep her mother's legacy and dream alive by taking over Candy Land Confections, her mother's homemade candy store, when she passed away. The only thing is, dreams don't come cheap. Between rent, supplies, and lukewarm patronage, Dulcie has some hard decisions she has to make about the future of the store.

Nick Sugarman (yes, that really is his last name!) is the heir to the throne of How Sweet It Is - Dulcie's competition. However, as much as Nick enjoys eating candy, he doesn't feel all that inspired to make it. He prefers the complex textures and tastes of the cupcakes (where can I get one of him?!) that he loves to bake all the time. However, he feels set on taking over the family business and is willing to do what it takes to prove to his father he is worthy of the store. No matter how automated and impersonal it has become.

When Dulcie goes out for a jazz concert and drinks with her bestie, Nick catches her eye and they start to chat. It's a crazy cute scene...until they find out just who the other is. Nick ends up baiting her about a contest, the Assembly of Chocolatiers yearly competition, something that Candy Land has always entered and done well in until the year she did it alone. In which she failed miserably. Another is coming up and he can't help but tell her all about how amazing his entry (that he hasn't come up with yet) is bound to be. The gauntlet is thrown! After much thought and trepidation, Dulcie decides that she's willing to do anything to save her mother's shop...including swallow her fear in hopes that she might have a chance at winning the prize money in the Chocolatiers competition.

I loved all the characters in this book, they were so well done. From the crazy but fun Grandma, the supportive but wacky best friend, to the savvy homeless girl out back who ends up saving the day. And Nick! He was adorably endearing - he wasn't some cool hot guy that knew all the right things to say to get into a girls pants. He was the sexy guy who knows it, but doesn't have a clue how to use it. He would say something out loud then curse himself silently for being the opposite of smooth. He was such a good guy! You can't help but hope he gets the girl.

Chemistry-wise there was nothing more than a few kisses, but the plot surrounding the characters and the competition more than make up for it - I got so wrapped up in the story that I hardly noticed.

It was incredibly sweet and I'm glad I read it! When you finish the book you'll have "I want candy" playing in your head, a smile on your face, and a hardcore itch to eat chocolate! Now to go try those recipes she tortured me with at the end...

Grade: B+


Click to purchase: Amazon
Sugar Rush
by Rachel Astor
Release Date: August 25, 2012
Publisher: Bliss

Labels: , ,

Review: The Burning Bush

Reviewed by Jen

I didn't love every single thing about this book. But I still thought it was very, very good.  I really like the series. The world building fascinates me. It's dark and disturbing, but very compelling.  The main character is a contradiction, but one that makes sense. She is flawed but powerful; maligned yet idolized; loyal but conflicted.  I like her. I want her to be happy. I want her to beat the odds. (I want her to be with Zulu.  --But we'll get to that later.)

Basically, the story picks up where Fire Baptized left off.  Lanore is in a relationship with Zulu and helping him with the MFE.  MeShack is still a part of her life, as they raise little Ben together.  But he opposes how she and Zulu are fighting the war against the vampire Dante.  MFE is working with a more radical organization and they've bombed one of Dante's factories.

The bombing gives a crooked cop ammunition against Lanore, to force her to help him solve a murder case.  Someone has killed a shifter and a Mixie, and hung each body on a magically burning bush. Either Lanore figures out the identity of the killer or the cop fingers her for the bombing.  The story follows Lanore as she works to solve the case.

Of course, there is much more going on. There is the dangerous feud with Dante... a wealth of strong secondary characters.  And the love triangle.  The damn love triangle is killing me.  I am firmly and completely Team Zulu.  MeShack is a whore. He is unapologetic. He doesn't hide it. He simply blames the biology of his "season" and expects Lenore to be there waiting for him when he gets tired of humping every female in a 50 mile radius.  It bothers me tremendously that even as we see Lanore move forward with Zulu, it feels like a foregone conclusion that MeShack is the endgame.  And I DO NOT WANT that.  I could go on and on about this, but I'll spare you.

What you can tell about my small rant is that I actually care about these characters a lot.  There is no way I could say that this book is "meh." Even when I yelled at it (and I did,) I was completely engrossed in it. Invested.  And not just in the relationships --though that part gave me the most angst.  I was wrapped up in the murder mystery.  And the politics. And the horrible racist (species-ist?) atmosphere in which the story is set.  I can see Lenore becoming something so much more than what her society relegates her to. It all just... speaks to me. It affects me.

Then there is the ending.  To call it a cliffhanger would be kind.  I read the Epilogue and said out loud, "What the actual fuck was that?"  I don't know what the hell happened to two of the major characters.  I think I would have preferred if there had been no Epilogue at all. We would still have the same questions unanswered, but I wouldn't feel so confused.

That aside, this is a book (and a series) I would wholeheartedly recommend.  It's just captivating. And different.  Worth a read.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Burning Bush
by Kenya Wright
Release Date: September 19, 2012
Publisher: Dragonfairy Press

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Feature & Giveaway: Charmaine



Can romance develop between a Heavenly Light-Bearer and a Hellish Vampire Blood-Hunter? 

Charmeine, the First Novel in The Light-Bearer series, was released January 2012.

Tabbruis is a Blood-Hunter, he drinks blood to survive. Over millennia Tabbruis has wandered the Earth alone aimlessly living through many historical events.

Charmeine just came to the Earth in 1997, unable to remember anything.

When Tabbruis meets Charmeine the attraction is immediate and passionate. They are polar opposites and clash together in a strongly romantic and dramatic way. When she meets Tabbruis, Charmeine’s powers as a Light-Bearer, one who throws lightning, is triggered and grows exponentially.

Will Charmeine and Tabbruis fulfill their destinies? Will they realize their importance in both the Blood-Hunter and Light-Bearer world?

Read more »

Labels: ,

Review: Charmeine (Books 1-3)

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Whoosh...

This was a very interesting read. The premise of Light-Bearers (the natural enemies of Blood-Hunters and vice-versa) was refreshingly new and I couldn’t wait to read how that would play out. Tabbruis ‘Tab’ is a Blood-Hunter, while Charmeine, a Light-Bearer, is his long forgotten love.

There were a few things that I didn’t like about this story. One was the dialogue. I’m not sure why certain words in the dialogue had contractions and modern vernacular while others didn’t. For example – “Well, you can’t get your meals at the A&P, so not at all, if I eat, you must also”. Huh?? That happened quite a bit through the story and I found myself having to stop and re-read because I wasn’t sure if I understood what was going on. Another was paragraph structure. In a given paragraph there could be multiple conversations going on – between two characters and internal dialogue for each character. Again, I had to re-read to make sure I knew who was having the conversation.

What I liked about this book was the love story and growing relationship between Tab and Charmeine. These two characters had honorable traits that were admirable. I like them individually and I really wanted them to get together --and stay together-- as a couple. I liked how, despite all things, they fought for each other. Now don’t get me wrong, Tab definitely had some things that he had to work out, because by nature he’s a blood hunter who kills for food. However, there’s no mention of him doing that after he had a life altering moment pretty early in his earthly existence.

There’s a lot of action that goes on, a lot of obstacles, namely the Elder Council who did not want these two together. Along with some good friends made along the way, this couple kept fighting through it all and that was the main reason why I was on their side, because who wouldn’t want to have the chance to be with their chosen one?

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re in the mood for something different but don’t expect any sex scenes because there aren’t any.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B-

*
This review actually encompasses Books 1-3 in the Light Bearer series: Charmeine, Mactus, and Accendo.  They were provided together --as a single volume-- by the author. 

Click to purchase: Amazon or Enter to Win
Charmaine
by Emily Guido
Release Date: January 12, 2012

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Hunter's Season

Reviewed by Jen

This is, by far, my favorite of Thea Harrison's three Elder Races novella and I'll tell you why: this is all the about the romance.  And Harrison knows how to write romance.  --That's not to say her action and adventure tales aren't fun, but in the love stories, she truly shines.

Our hero and our heroine both come from the Dark Fae world we got to know in Storm's Heart. Xanthe is an assassin for the Fae court.  Queen Niniane dispatched her to America to find and dispatch the last of the traitors to the throne.  We saw that mission play out in the last novella. Now she is home, but her identity is compromised. No longer able to work covertly, she becomes a guard for the Queen herself.

Aubrey is the chancellor who would have been king, had Niniane not stepped forward and claimed the crown. His power-hungry wife was behind the plot to have her killed, but she lost her own life in the process.  He is a good man, but blames himself for failing to see his wife's treachery.  He is also clueless to the fact that the Queen's new guard is completely crazy about him.

Xanthe thinks Aubrey is totally out of her league. But an attempt on his life leaves him in her custody while the Queen investigates.  She slowly nurses him back to health and falls deeper and deeper in love with him the more time they spend together. So, too, does Aubrey grow to care for the loyal, strong, and unassuming woman who has taken him into her home.

The love story here is sooo good.  Xanthe thinks herself so beneath Aubrey that he could never return her feelings, but it's such a joy to watch him prove her wrong.  Both characters are incredibly likable and I was rooting for them from the very beginning.  The sex is fabulous (as always in this series.) And the ending is very satisfying.

Really good.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Samhain


Click to purchase: Amazon
Hunter's Season
by Thea Harrison
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Samhain

Labels: , , , ,

Review: The Matchmaker

Reviewed by Shelly
 
I’ve ready Thayer King’s work in the past and I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t too keen on her writing. I’m just not a fan of the over-sexed male. This story was a pleasant surprise and a good read.

Bliss Barnes is the quintessential friend who can’t keep a man and is also the ‘big’ girl of the group. She’s known as the matchmaker in her circle of girlfriends because whoever she’s dating will end up married to one of her girlfriends. (Can you really call those people friends?).

During Bliss’s last disaster of a date, one of her so-called friends rudely interrupts and even worse – flirts with the guy and accepts a ride home from him. (Arghh, you know the word I wanna call her friend.) Bliss decides she’s just done with the whole dating thing. I couldn’t agree with her more, but I was more on the side of losing some of those ‘friends’.

After agreeing to --and being set up on-- a blind date by one of her friends, Bliss meets Aric Ericson who she thinks is gay after seeing him in an intimate scene at a restaurant during her last ill-fated date. I think this misunderstanding allows Bliss and Aric to really get to know each other. They’re both interested, but won’t make a move for their own personal reasons. There’s no quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am here, and that allows an actual development of a friendship. Although Bliss thinks he’s gay, Aric thinks she’s sexy and he’s doing everything in his power to get her to agree to something more than friendship. After agreeing to accompany Bliss on an out of town trip to attend a wedding (remember Bliss’s last bad date and the rudus interruptus friend – yep, their wedding) Aric decides that this will be the place for his big seduction. Aric is very cute if you like ‘em big, blonde, icy blues and handsome – umm, did I already say big, yeah he’s that too.

I really enjoyed the emotional growth of Bliss, she needed to grow up especially with those piranhas for friends she’s got; and she does finally show maturity and common sense when she has something of her own that’s worth fighting for. I loved the confrontation between her and Shantelle. I’m not a big fan of unnecessary violence in story, but, Shantelle, you know you had that coming.

I thought the ending was a bit too quick and convenient, but that didn’t take away from the story for me at all. In fact, this was a really good read and I’ll definitely read more from this author if the quality of the story is as good as this one. And just because – I left this part for last, Aric is packing some serious heat in the bedroom for which Bliss will tell you she’s eternally grateful.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Matchmaker
by Thayer King
Release Date: August 15, 2012
Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press

Labels: , , , ,