Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: The Mane Squeeze

Reviewed by Jen
 
Just when I feared every single shifter in the world of the Pride series was an over-the-top, bizarre, or arrogant joke, Shelly Laurenston proves me wrong.  Only HALF of this couple fits the bill.  Yes, tigon shifter Gwen is violent, bawdy and a bit, er, low class.  But the hero, Lock, is actually kind of normal.  At least, as normal as a guy who shifts into a grizzly bear can be.  This is progress.

You may remember Gwen from the earlier books in the series. She is Mitch's half-sister from Philly. I mention her hometown, because it's brought up so often in the book, it must be very, very important. Anyhoo, she is now moving to New York to join a business venture with best friend --and fellow hybrid outcast-- Blayne.  As the story begins, the two women are attacked by some vicious wolves --and they run to Lock for cover.  Gwen remember him from a friend's  wedding (Smitty & Jess from The Beast in Him) where he stepped in to save her from a fight. She figures he could save her again... and he does, but she is still injured in the skirmish.

The two forge a connection that day, but it's not until months later that their relationship is rekindled, thanks in no small part to some friendly meddling by Blayne.  These two are so different, yet they strike a real chord with each other.  I liked Lock much more than any of the other heroes we have met in the series.  He is humble and unassuming, even though he is one of the biggest and baddest shifters out there.  He is earnest and genuine in his feelings for Gwen and he doesn't take shortcuts in their relationship.

Gwen is somewhat less appealing. She's not all that different from Ronnie, Sissy May, or the other farcical characters we have met already.  She's always spoiling for a fight; she loves to talk trash; blah blah.  Just instead of making her hillbilly, the author makes her "street."  She does soften around Lock, though, and that is probably her saving grace.

There's a bit of an external conflict going on with a family feud, but the romance is the real draw.  Gwen and Lock really work in an "opposites attract" sort of way.  The series' trademark humor is still present; so is the smoking hot sex.  And I feel like we got a pretty good set-up for a Dee and Ric story, which intrigues me.

I think this has been my favorite installment so far.

Rating: B


Click to purchase: Amazon
The Mane Squeeze
by Shelly Laurenston
Release Date: November 1, 2009
Publisher: Kensington



Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: The Trouble With Sin


Reviewed by Shelly
 
Continuing with the story of Ludovic DeVere and his friends, Vane’s latest is a prequel vignette (about 40 pages) to the story of Simon “Sin” Singleton and his adventures. Just the name, Sin, tantalizes the senses doesn’t it? This is also a prequel to Jewel of the East (book #5 in the Devil Devere series)

Simon loves his parents, his mom is a bit tyrannical, but that’s okay because she’s got his best interest at heart. His father rightfully thinks that Simon’s best friend DeVere is a bad influence and makes a slight adjustment in Simon’s allowance, while his mother thinks that the best thing for him is the priesthood. It’s too bad that Simon loves the ladies too much to let little things like money and his mother hold him back. After a night of drinking, Simon has found a way to do the things he loves best – poetry and whores.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott ‘Oh!‘what a tangled web we weave when we […] practice to deceive’. Simon’s interactions with his mother are absolutely brilliant! If any other man was caught in those situations I don’t know how they would be able to face themselves in the mirror but, oh no, not our Simon. He’s one part mischievous and one part naïve and gets himself in some very interesting positions all in pursuit of his two passions. I’m really looking forward to reading more about him and catching up on Ned and Ludovic.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Trouble With Sin
by Victoria Vane
Release Date: March 11, 2013

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Her Lucky Love

Reviewed by Shelly
 
What a pleasurable read - quick, fun and left me wanting more. Even though I didn’t read the first three stories in the series, I honestly didn’t feel left out or uninformed. I might even have to dig up some of Ryan’s other work, I enjoyed this read so much.

Set in the small town of Holiday, Montana, where the Cooper brothers live, this story tells the tale of heartache, redemption and true love. Brayden Cooper's special gift is that he’s lucky. This luck has brought him a good and loving family, a successful and thriving business, and a significant amount of wealth from smart investments. Even through her wreck of a marriage, Brayden has been in love with Allison Malone. What I found admirable about that was that even though Brayden felt this way, he never left town and he never revealed his feelings to anyone, including Allison, because he was convinced that Allison didn’t need him. Awwwh, so sweet. Allison dang near turned me into a sniveling idiot --- she’s a widowed, working mother of three, fighting for the safety of her young children because her dead husband’s family has decided that they want her kids. She’s proud of her children and she’s determined to raise and protect them on her own. Is there anything or anyone more tenacious than a mother protecting her young?

This story had me from the first paragraph. The writing sucked me in and wouldn’t let go. Allison is that mom who, even though she made some bad decisions in her past (like staying with her abuser of a husband,) puts her children first. She’s raising them to be better than she could hope to be, and that in itself tells me that she’s much smarter than she gives herself credit for. The writing for her was spot on.

What can I say about Brayden? Although he doesn’t need to, he’s a hardworking mechanic and knows the joy of a good day’s work. It’s this simple enjoyment of life and family that allows him to fall in love with Allison. Brayden also knows the delight of loving Allison’s children and being that father figure to them – and for me that was a true joy to read. Most kids bounce back from tragedy so quickly and Allison’s were no exception. The interaction between Brayden and especially the youngest and only girl, Lacey was sweet and adorable. There were moments where the oldest son’s character really shined and played in nicely to the dynamics of this blended family.

Brayden’s love for Allison jumps off the page and made me believe. The sex was pretty hot too. Together these two were a lovely couple and I couldn’t have wished for them a better ending than they got. My only complaint is that the conflict was resolved a little too quickly, but it was still a nice ride. Well done Ryan – you’ve got a new fan.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Her Lucky Love
by Carrie Anne Ryan
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Fated Desires Publishing

Labels: , , ,

Review: With This Kiss

Reviewed by Jen
 
This is my first experience with a serial romance.  I opted to read all three installments back to back, but I will break down the review by the three parts.

Part One:  Grace was only 10 years old when she realized something was special about Colin.  Their families were close and they grew up visiting each other over the years.  But like with everyone else, she was practically invisible to him.  No one ever paid attention to her when her sister Lily took the spotlight.   But as they all grew older, and Colin joined the Navy, Grace carved out a special place in his life by writing him letters.  So when he comes home, will he finally see her or will he only have eyes for Lily?

I was surprised at how quickly I grew to care about Grace.  She is thoughtful and loyal; and she is amazingly understanding of how people ignore her in favor of her sister.  The events of the story actually brought tears to my eyes, which I consider pretty remarkable, considering how short it was.  I really enjoyed it and it made me very excited for part two.


Part Two:  Grace is doing her best to move on from Colin. She is even planning to marry another man, but she doesn't realize that Colin has finally realized what she means to him. He plans to tell her, but he is injured before he can do it. He comes home with an infirmity that both thrusts them together and leads to even more confusion and misunderstandings between them.

This installment took my emotions on a bit of a roller coaster.  There were too many misunderstandings, though.  It was hard watching these two go through the wringer, when we know how they feel about each other. The circumstances of the sex were a little too convenient and a bit unrealistic.  But it was hot, nonetheless.  (*fans self*) The cliffhanger definitely serves to get make you anxious for the last installment.

Part Three: It's time for Colin and Grace to lay all of their cards on the table.  Colin doesn't know how to convince her that she is really the woman he loves, but he is determined to do it.  Grace wants to believe Colin shares her feelings, but it's hard to put aside her hurt over feeling second place to her sister once again.

I enjoyed watching Colin prove himself. This third installment is almost entirely written as payoff for the heartbreak and longing of parts one and two.  And as a lover of the happy ending, I reveled in it. Again, the sex is great!  There aren't any surprises or anything; it's a pretty standard HR HEA.  But the resolution is satisfying.  I enjoyed it.

Overall, I liked the serial.  I think it would have been frustrating, though, if I would have had to wait between installments.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: With This Kiss Part 1
Click to purchase: With This Kiss Part 2
Click to purchase: With This Kiss Part 3
With This Kiss
by Eloisa James
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Secret Desire

Reviewed by Shelly
 
I’m usually excited when I read about new (to me) authors and this was no different. When I read the blurb I immediately thought – oh yeah, this will be some sweet Young and the Restless drama. Well, I didn’t get what I was expecting.

I like twin stories as much as the next person, as there’s usually a bond that binds that most of us don’t understand, but we can still identify. This set of identical twins was the antithesis of that. Mild mannered staff writer by day and writer of erotica at night, Claire Robertson’s parents were killed in a car accident (that’s not a spoiler – it happens way too early to be one) and she’s the twin who’s left with going home to pick up the pieces.

Having left home years earlier, Claire is leery of returning because she still has a lot of feelings left for the boy next door, Dustin Murray. It turns out that Dustin dated her twin sister Fran while they were all still in high school and Claire has not forgiven either of them. Dustin has always regretted the decision he made to date Fran, because he’s always been in love with Claire. He’s determined that once Claire arrives home, she’s not leaving without him.

I’m not sure why, but I never felt vested in either Claire, Dustin or their relationship. Claire just came across as a bit of a whiner and she never seemed willing to stand up to either her sister, or even Dustin for that matte,r for the way they both hurt her with their teenage relationship. Dustin was an average guy who had the potential to be so much more. And of course, because there’s the twin relationship, the dynamic between Fran and Claire was really off and kinda weird, actually – talk about the bad seed -- Fran was a straight up bitch.

This story has so much potential, but I found that I had too many unanswered questions. Claire and Fran’s relationship was so fractured and heartbreaking. Fran’s selfish need for recognition, separate from her sister, came at the price of Claire’s peace which I didn’t understand at all, as no background information was offered from either sister to clue me in. The past relationship between Dustin and Fran wasn’t explained either, which left me really frustrated because I thought that let Fran off the hook. For as many pages that this book had, I was expecting more of a well-rounded story.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*ARC provided by author for review 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Secret Desire
by Susan Taylor
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Etopia Press

Labels: , , ,

Review: Immortal Trust

Reviewed by Jen
 
One of the things I like about The Curse of the Templar series is that each hero is deliciously tortured and alpha. Though admittedly, Lucan doesn't come off as quite as tortured as Merrick and Farran, he made up for it with earnestness and charm.

This installment in the series is actually different in a few ways. Not only is our hero a bit less miserable than his predecessors, unlike them, he knows who his seraph is from the start. As the story begins, he is already seeking Chloe out at the archaeological dig she is leading in France.  Chloe doesn't know it, but she is about to uncover a vital artifact to the Templars, the Veil of Veronica.  Not only do the Templars want the items, but so do the evil minions of Azazel.  The dark lord has infected her brother in order to get to the item by any means necessary.

Lucan is determined to handle his mating better than his brothers did. He is resolved to take things slowly, and to court Chloe properly.  It's not that easy, though. Chloe has been plagued by demons for years. Between that, and a bad relationship in her past, she is dead set against a future with the man she sees as a representative from the Church at her dig.  Her brother's negative influence makes it even harder for Lucan to gain any ground. But, of course, it's only a matter of time until destiny becomes a reality.

I liked Lucan a lot. He is gentle and loving with Chloe and takes great care with her emotions. It's nice to see a hero who isn't so dominating that he loses sight of his woman's wants and needs. It is frustrating at times to see the hesitation he has --as it will so clearly burn him in the end.  You see, both Lucan and Chloe hide the truth from each other for most of the story. Chloe keeps her demons a secret because she doesn't think Lucan will believe her. And Lucan keeps the Templar truths quiet, because he fears Chloe may already be compromised by Azazel.  Secrets, as always, lead to misunderstandings, which can drive you crazy when you see them coming a mile away.

However, the romance is sweet, and I like that this is a bit different from the previous books, because that keeps the series from getting stale. The sexual tension is great and the bedroom action is definitely worth the wait!

We're still keeping up with some of the other familiar knights... but I am coming to think Claire Ashgrove is only giving me glimpses of Declan and Tane to torment me. When will they get their books, for crying out loud???

Overall, it was sexy and sweet, though a little predictable.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Tor


Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Trust
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Lover at Last

Reviewed by Jen
 
I feel like I have been waiting for this book forever, and I have to wonder how much my hopes and expectations played a part in how I felt reading it.  There were parts of it I really enjoyed; other parts left me frustrated; still others, left me scratching my head.

Anyone who has kept up with the series knows that Blay and Qhuinn are both completely in love with each other; and both feel like a relationship is completely impossible.  After all, as the book begins, Blay is in a long-term relationship with Qhuinn's cousin Saxton. And Qhuinn has just gotten Layla pregnant.  Not exactly a clear path to happiness.  But Layla's pregnancy is a rocky one, and surprisingly, this is what begins to clear the path to a Qhuay pairing.

I don't want to spoil too much about the book, but I'll give you some broad strokes.  I'll start with what didn't work for me.  The biggest problem was the nature of the conflict between our heroes.  Yes, there actually were some obstacles there at the beginning. But as the book progressed, I felt like the biggest thing standing between Qhuinn and Blay were... Qhuinn and Blay.  If the two of them had been honest with each other in, say, Chapter 5 or so, there would have been little need for all of the angst that followed.  Blay could have --and should have-- come clean about what was happening with Sax.  Just as Qhuinn should have stopped playing the martyr and copped to his real feelings. (Just so you know, I blame Blay more than Qhuinn here.)  It was overly prolonged and at times, even felt contrived.

Big issue number two: all the cut-scenes.  I forgot how much these drove me crazy in the earlier books.  Back then, it was all Lesser POV.  Now, the scenes are divvied up between Assail, Trez, and --to a lesser extent-- the Band of Bastards.  Just when we would get some movement on Qhuay, Ward would yank us into something else.  And it took everything in me to actually read the pages instead of skipping back to the Qhuay action.  Assail's sidestory took up the bulk of the cutaways and it didn't get interesting until the very, very end.

Final issue: the sex.  Don't get me wrong, it's hot sex. Ward doesn't pull any punches. Unfortunately, she doesn't use any lube either. The sex is often angry and raw, and I kept getting pulled from the moment, when all I could think about was... "ouch."

Now, for what did work.  Of course, seeing Qhuinn and Blay finally together, in the moments they let themselves revel in each other. These times were great.  I also loved delving more into their backstory and what they have meant to each other over the years; seeing their families and learning what has shaped them into the males they are.  Really good stuff.

I was also, surprisingly, a big fan of Layla.  I have actively hated her for... well, forever.  But I couldn't believe how much I grew to like her in this book.  She has grown so much.  And I'll be honest with you, there is a scene with her and Xcor which was probably my favorite scene in the entire book.  I re-read it three times.  --Now THAT is a real relationship with obstacles.  Such a great star-crossed lover story --and I cannot wait to read that one.

And finally, I have to say I loved the way Qhuinn's life finally comes together. With Blay, of course, but in so many other ways as well.  He is such a damaged person, but with a good heart and an honor of his own.  It made me really happy to see him get everything he deserves.

All in all, the book was a little bit of a mixed bag.  I think that if the story had focused more on our heroes and had their obstacles felt less of their own making, I would have crossed over from liking it --to loving it.  

Rating: B


Click to purchase: Amazon
Lover at Last
by JR Ward
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: NAL

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Twice Tempted

Reviewed by Jen
 
As much as I enjoyed Once Burned, I really think this sequel delivers just as much! It's sexy; it's heartfelt; and it's got just enough intrigue and action to keep me glued to the page, without ever detracting from the romance.

I hate to say it, but as the story began, I wasn't really happy with Vlad. If you'll recall, he is determined that love will never play a part in his life again. This is a real problem, since Leila is head over heels for him.  The great thing about her, though, is that she refuses to settle for anything less than his heart.  And while it shreds her to do it, she walks away from the only man she's ever loved.  And he lets her go.

Of course, they don't stay apart.  Someone targets Leila and that brings her back into Vlad's life faster than you blink.  But who is out to kill her and why?  Where does the sexy and eager Maximus fall into her life?  Can she ever break Vlad's cool exterior and find his feelings underneath?  Can the sex surpass the infamous chapter 32?

I won't spoil the answers... OK... I'll answer that last one with a resounding yes.  The sex was molten hot here.  Scorching.  Wow.  Thank you, Jeaniene Frost.

I've loved Vlad since he first entered the Cat and Bones world and he grows so much in this book. I never thought I could love him more, but now I do. He is violent and tyrannical and controlling; but once we end up exposed to the emotions he works so hard to tamp down, we also see the fierce love and loyalty in him.  Meanwhile, I respected the heck out of Leila for not settling.  She manages to hold on to her backbone without being bitchy or diminishing her love for Vlad.  And Frost does a great job showing us that it's the real man she loves, not an idealized version of him.  Sometimes it's messy; sometimes it's hard; but it's real.  And I totally believed it.

Really good.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Twice Tempted
by Jeaniene Frost
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Deadly Sting

Reviewed by Jen
 
I still love you, Jennifer Estep.  And I still love the Elemental Assassin series.  But Owen... I feel like my longstanding and overwhelming love for Owen Grayson has suffered irreparable damage with this book. Which makes me both a little bit angry --and sad.

The following will contain spoilers for anyone who has not already read Widow's Web.

As the story begins, Owen and Gin are still apart, as he deals with the fact that she killed his ex-fiance.  Nevermind the fact that Selina tried to kill his sister. Nevermind the fact that she was going to kill Gin and was obsessed with the idea of getting him back.  Oh yeah --and let's not forget her big evil plan to kill all those folks with her big revenge plot.  But still, he's off "thinking about things." For three months now.  Gin is hurting (which I hate) but she is trying to soldier on.

Finn gets the bright idea to drag Gin to a huge party to showcase all of Mab Monroe's treasures at an art museum.  He even talks her into getting a fancy new dress. But nothing is ever simple for Gin.  First of all, Owen is there. With a date.  Then the party turns into a huge hold-up as a group of giants plot to steal Mab's fortune for themselves.  And Gin must find a way to take them all down before any harm comes to her loved ones who have been taken hostage.  Kind of like Die Hard. In a red dress.

As always, the action was great. I love that Jennifer Estep is always coming up with new ways for Gin to kill people.   While many of the last books focused on her ice magic, this book was more focused on the stone.  There were tons of cool fight sequences and big stuff with Jonah MacAllister.  Plus --a great setup for where the series is likely headed next.

If you're anything like me, however, what you really care about is what's happening with Owen.  Sadly, this was the only part of the story that I didn't enjoy.  Owen was one of my favorite characters in a series filled with amazing characters. He came around on the heels of weenie-toad Donovan Caine, who made Gin feel damaged and unworthy --and he loved her for who she is.  He accepted her. And now, HE is making Gin feel small. And alone.  He is indecisive. He is a wuss.  And a stupid-head.  And honestly, no matter what happens in future books, I question whether I can ever see him the same way again.  Scratch that.  I know I can't.... which really stinks.

Where do they end up?  You'll have to read the book, of course.  I will tell you, though, that it is not a fun ride.  At least, it wasn't for me.

This all leaves me with mixed feelings at the end of the book.  The parts that weren't about Owen were everything I have come to love about the series.  I liked the plot, the villain, and the growing overall arc.  But the romance.... fail.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books


Click to purchase: Amazon
Deadly Sting
by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: The Mane Attraction

Reviewed by Jen
 
Who says you can't go home again?  Sure, most of the folks in Smithtown would be thrilled never to see Sissy Mae Smith ever again; also true: the feeling is mutual.  But when the bounty on Mitch's head nearly gets him killed, Sissy can't think of a safer place to take her dear friend to recuperate.

The friendship between these two is really the core of the book.  Sissy and Mitch are two characters who are larger than life.  They both need to control everything around them. They both swim in self-confidence.  And in each other, they have found kindred spirits. They can talk to each other like no one else can: they tease, they mock, and they cut straight through the niceties.

While both swear nothing romantic or physical can ever happen between them, the sexual tension is present all the time.  Often, it's couched in a joke, but it's still there nonetheless.

"I've had a near death experience, Sissy... and I'm really horny. Uh... think we can--"
"No. We can't. And you couldn't even feed yourself too long ago."
"It was all that chicken soup. It cured me."
"Yeah. Right. And stop touching!" She slapped his hand away again.
"Oh come on Sissy. I almost died. Can't you help me out?"
"You did not and I'm not having sex with you 'cause you almost died."
"Fine. Hand job?" 

This was pretty much the dynamic between them for most of the book.  Mitch is charming, and over the top lazy and hungry... which means he is constantly telling Sissy how she should be pampering and feeding him.  It should be utterly obnoxious, but with Mitch, it's not.  He is funny and it's clear he thinks the world of Sissy Mae.  She feels the same way.

It actually took longer than I expected for these two to leave the strictly-friends zone, but once they did, they were going at it like rabbits until the end of the book.   The only times they weren't doing it were when Mitch was eating, playing football, or trying not to get killed; or when Sissy was trying to protect herself from her crazy family members and stupid ex-boyfriend.

Yeah, there is some other stuff going on outside of the relationship.  Surprisingly, little of it had to do with the hit on Mitch. Most of it was family drama among the members of the Smith clan... Sissy being out of control and larger than life... and Mitch being hungry, horny, and more than a little full of himself.

The book is funny and light. The characters are likeable and entertaining.  This entire series is that way.   They all kind of feel alike and there's not really much depth.  But they're kind of charming and they make me laugh.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Mane Attraction
by Shelly Laurenston
Release Date: November 1, 2008
Publisher: Brava

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: Permanent Marker

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Although this is a series with recurring characters, I paid no heed and didn’t read them in order, I read #2 after reading #3. To the author’s credit, the stories were written with story lines that, even though connected, could be read independently. Not my usual genre of choice (a bit heavy for me,) I appreciate the writing style of Angel Payne. She is believable at giving the point of view from both the newbie and the experienced; at least that’s the way it seems to me. (I’m thinking the book’s dedication has something to do with this.)

Do-gooder Rosalind Fabian wants to create a better world. One way she wants to do that is by going on a feel-good-about-you company sponsored trip over to the Middle East. But before she goes, she must attend a corporate training meeting on the isle of Nassau. When I read that it was a destination based story, I was sure that I would hear all those flowery words to describe the scenery. Thank goodness, absolutely no flowery words were used – at least in reference to that.

Consultant and former military Mark Moore is the teacher for this training. He’s also an ex-Senator (by choice) and from some small inferences I gather he can be a bit of a tool. Mark is also a widower. He’s got a lot going on doesn’t he? He and his dead wife were both in the BDSM lifestyle; he misses both the relationship and the routine that established itself with the practices and routines of the lifestyle. Once he sees Rose, things start perking up in his world.

Can an experienced Dom ‘cure’ a newbie sub’s painful past while finding their own brand of happiness? I had my doubts.

Rose is a veritable hot mess - full of insecurities and constant self-degradation. She’s got a family that proves that money doesn’t buy happiness or love – actually they’re about as mean spirited as you can get, especially that brother of hers. But I digress. I’m still not sure that I like Rose. From her past experiences both in and outside of her family, I didn’t see the kind of sub that Mark wanted in her. I know I was told that she’s submissive, but I just didn’t feel her need to ‘serve’ her Dom. The other thing I had trouble with was Rose’s idea that she was ‘trouble’ and has no ability to control her actions. She’s 31 years old. When do you stop listening to other people and go life your own life?

What can I tell you about Mark other than he was a Dom? Not a lot, to be truthful. He was a complete alpha – but the kind I don’t really care for. The progression of the relationship between Rose and Mark happened quickly; he even recognized that it was speedy. This was another troubling part of me – you’re telling me that this is speedy, you’ve got a woman who’s never subbed before – i.e. doesn’t know the rules or the protocol – with just those two things Mark still treated her physically like she’s got experience? I had trouble with that.

The sex between them was hot, heavy and frequent of course, a lot of it from Mark’s angle. Unfortunately, the ending seemed a bit rushed to me and the I love you flowed pretty early in the relationship. It might seem like I didn’t like this story but that isn’t it – I think that Payne’s writing is actually quite brilliant. For me, this story would be so much more if it was flushed out and paced a bit more evenly.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by publisher 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Permanent Marker
by Angel Payne
Release Date: November 12, 2012
Publisher: Loose ID
 

Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Lady of Pleasure

Reviewed by Jen
 
A deliciously angsty hero; a heroine who is steadfast, loyal and knows her own heart. Fabulous sexual tension and a love story to pull on the heartstrings.  Simply put, this book rocked my socks off.  In her letter to readers at the before the story begins, Delilah Marvelle says the publishing industry has no place for a book like this one.  Perhaps the industry needs its head examined, because this book gave me absolutely everything I want in a historical romance.

Still need convincing?  Let me give you the setup.

Lady Caroline knew she was in love with Ronan, the Marquess of Caldwell, when she was only 13 years-old.  The dashing 24 year-old was her brother's friend, but he quickly made a special place in his life just for her.  They had a standing weekly card game for years.  They talked; they valued one another; they were friends in the truest sense of the world.  But circumstances forced Caroline to move away at 16.  She professed her love before she left, but it was clear he still saw her as a child.

Fast forward three years.  When she returns, Caroline is most definitely grown, and ready to pursue Caldwell's hand.  And when he sees her, he can't help but react as any man would to her beauty. The problem is, he doesn't want to soil the one true and good thing in his life.  He has a dark secret that keeps him from forming real relationships.  I won't spoil it, but suffice it to say, it leaves him feeling unworthy of Caroline and unwilling to pursue anything beyond friendship.  But fate and the interference of others won't let that be enough.

Ah, I loved Caldwell so.  Marvelle has constructed such a marvelous tortured hero in him.  He is so sure he isn't good enough for Caroline; so unaware of his own feelings; so... good.  And Caroline!  It would have been so easy to make her naive or weak-willed because of her age or her consuming devotion.  But she respects herself too much to be walked on; and at the same time is so unwavering and true. I loved her almost as much as I loved him.  There is great chemistry. And most importantly, I believed in their feelings for one another 100%.

My only small complaint is that Caldwell's issues resolved a little faster than I would have liked, and much of it, off page.  I would have liked to see more of his "education" at the school of gallantry, but perhaps, some of the events there happened in previous books.  I must go and read the backlist to find out. If books one and two are anywhere as good as this one, they will definitely be worth the read. I couldn't put this one down.

Rating: A- 

*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
Lady of Pleasure
by Delilah Marvelle
Release Date: March 15, 2013

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Night Demon

Reviewed by Jen
 
Lukas wants nothing more than to end his immortal existence. He never wanted to be a Night Walker; he was turned centuries ago, by accident.  Ever since then, he's barely been able to contain his hunger.  And he is plagued by the times he has failed at control.

Now he is working to decipher some ancient Mayan text, hoping to unlock the secrets to his kind, and eventually to find a way to die.  But somehow, despite his best intentions, he has fallen for Gretchen, the beautiful translator who he's been working with all of these months.  He wants her, but he refuses to expose her to his world, so he pushes her away.

Unfortunately, Gretchen is getting a healthy dose of the Night Walker world anyway.  Someone has unleashed a powerful demon on the world, very close to the Mayan site where Gretchen and Lukas are working.  It feeds on death, prompting a string of suicides, and nearly taking Gretchen's life as well.  Only the four original Night Walkers can return the demon to her prison.

This sets the stage for several things.  Gretchen and Lukas are thrust further together. Calisto --Lukas's maker and the hero of book 1-- is drawn into the storyline, along with his mate, Kate.  We get to meet the oldest Night Walkers and learn their origin story.  And we get a front row seat to the dangerous mission to best the demon, hellbent on destroying humanity.

I liked both Gretchen and Lukas, though perhaps my biggest complaint about the book is that their romance felt overshadowed by the other events of the story. Sometimes, it felt like too much was going on.  I was frustrated over and over by how many times we cut away from our couple to the stuff going on with the ancient ones.  There was a strong sexual tension and great build-up, but I wish we would have had more time to enjoy them together.

I loved seeing Calisto and Kate again, as well as Kane and Rita. And I was intrigued by the Guardian. The world building is cool --and more involved her than in the previous books.  It wasn't too hard to follow until the reincarnation element came in force.  At that point, I got lost. It was explained eventually, but it all ended up a little... convenient.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, though probably not as much as I liked Night Walker.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Entangled 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Demon
by Lisa Kessler
Release Date: March 18, 2013
Publisher: Entangled

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: No Regrets, No Surrender

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Picking up about a year after Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here (Always a Marine #2), Jasmine Winters, Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans return with a longer look at how their happily ever after happens. When I saw this story, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was significantly longer than the others that I read in the series.

Logan and Zach have patiently waited for Jazz’s return. They’ve met her at a couple overseas locations where she was able to meet them. At this point, my big questions were – how would this ménage work if Logan and Zach are having exclusively individual relationships with Jazz? I mean, how would it work when they’re all living in the same household if a pattern of two and not three had been practiced?

I gotta tell ya folks, I don’t know Long’s background with the military or if she’s just done a ton of research, but she’ll make a you cry like a two year old throwing a tantrum. When Jazz has to come back from her assignment after an IED explosion, I had no clue how I would handle it and folks I didn’t handle it well. When Jazz meets the guys at the airport and she’s in uniform in a wheelchair with her escorts, I had to take a break, go get a glass of water and a box of tissues. I could go on about how war is hell, but we all know that, and that’s not what this story is about. Instead it’s about Jazz letting Logan and Zach into her heart and letting them help her overcome her challenges.

For such a sensitive topic, it’s a relatively short read, but Long gets a lot done. She doesn’t mince words with the description of the wounds and the subsequent traumas (strokes, seizures) that happen. Jazz - a marine you are - had a lot to go through to get her mind right so the body can follow and lucky girl, the good news is that Logan and Zach had her back 110% of the way. Even in the bedroom, the dynamics had to change because of Jazz’s injuries but the way Long handled the limitations was well done.

Of the two guys, Logan was the one with the physical injuries from his time in active duty, and he had more than enough patience, love and support to offer Jazz. And Zach, oh my, what a man - he was my favorite. He doesn’t have the physical restrictions that Jazz or Logan have and I think that put him on the back burner more than he should be, but when he feels the need to express himself he does it quite well. Oorah!

If there was a way to have a prequel for Logan and Zach’s story I would love to read that. But that would be hard to do because these guys are straight and that really wouldn’t make for fun reading or would it? Never say never.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon
No Regrets, No Surrender
by Heather Long
Release Date: November 17, 2012
Publisher: Decadent Publishing

Labels: , ,

Review: What Happened at Midnight


Reviewed by Jen
 
Mary's life as a proper lady came to a crashing halt when she discovered her father not only had embezzled from his company, but he killed himself in shame.  She could do nothing about the embezzlement, but she made it her mission to keep the suicide a secret, so that he could receive a proper burial.  Unfortunately, her quick escape to hide the body only served to make her look complicit in the crime.

Fast forward a year and a half, and Mary is living in misery. She is a companion to a woman trapped by a domineering husband.  And Mary is trapped too.  Her employer withholds her wages and keeps her from leaving.  She holds out little hope for anything better.  Until John walks back into her life.  He was her fiance when the disaster happened with her dad and she walked away from him, thinking never to see him again; thinking he never really loved her at all.

Meanwhile, John believes it was Mary who never really loved him; and that she is hiding the money her father stole, money that was supposed to go toward his nephew's inheritance.  He tries to cozy up to her, in the hopes of convincing her to reveal her secrets. But their time together only serves to rekindle the feelings between them.

It's easy to sympathize with both Mary and John. Courtney Milan does a great job showing how each of them truly believes they are the only one to love the other.  Both characters are afraid to risk their hearts, but it makes it that much sweeter when they stop fighting their own feelings.  Their love story is heartfelt, easy to root for, and totally emotionally believable.

This was originally published in the Midnight Scandals anthology.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review  

Click to purchase: Amazon
What Happened at Midnight
by Courtney Milan
Release Date: March 14, 2013

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: The Lady Always Wins

Reviewed by Jen
 
Whenever I am looking for a historical romance novella, Courtney Milan always hits the spot.  This second-chance love story was no exception.

It's been seven years since Ginny broke Simon's heart. She refused to marry him, instead marrying another man. But now her husband is dead and Simon sees his chance to reclaim the only woman he has ever loved.  When Ginny turned him down years ago, it was because his parents threatened to disown him. He had no trade and she didn't want to live in poverty.  Now, he is independently wealthy, at least for now.  But a looming business calamity threatens to take all that away, so he figures he must seduce Ginny quickly and secure her hand before he is financially destroyed and she has a reason to turn him down again.

It's amazing that in less than 70 pages, Milan can make me feel so invested in her characters.  At first glance, you might think Ginny is the lesser member of the relationship... after all, she chose her husband for money. But we see she is so much more than that; and Simon bears his own responsibility for their separation. Ginny is practical and pragmatic, but she also loves Simon utterly and completely --even after seven years apart. Just as he loves her.  There are some books three times as long that don't make me feel connected to the characters and their feelings even half as much.

I really enjoyed the romance --and the surprise twist at the end.  Good stuff.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
The Lady Always Wins
by Courtney Milan
Release Date: February 22, 2013

Labels: , , ,

Review: The Story of Rachel

Reviewed by Shelly
 
When I saw the blurb for this story, I was pleasantly intrigued. I was even more titillated when I started reading. This is the debut story by McLean and after reading her blogsit,e I found the answers for some of the little nagging questions I had. One of course was – it there such a place called Pandora? I knew what the answer was going to be, but there’s always a 50/50 chance, right?

Rachel Collin's story starts off with a bang, there’s no downtime or pondering of ‘what shall I do’? She’s a go-getter (not aggressively so, thank goodness) and knew what she didn’t want in a man (especially after the disaster that her marriage turned into.) It was just a matter of time before she found what she did want. After trying the online dating sites and the occasional blind date, Rachel finally meets her man -- out of all the popular pick up places, it certainly wasn’t where I would ever think the magic would strike.

Like Rachel, Michael Evans is a writer. He’s a tad bit older than her, but he’s well preserved and pulls off the rower’s body quite well. After their initial get together, the conversation gets turned up with phrases like BDSM. I had many moments of laughing out loud reading Rachel’s response. If some dude, no matter how nice, smart or good looking, who I just met, brought that up to me, I would like to think that my reactions would have been similar to Rachel’s.

Michael is completely and totally attracted to Rachel – but he’s convinced that she’s only going to last three months, just like his past relationship have. It’s amazing how people pray and wish for a thing and when they get it, some will subconsciously sabotage it. To me that was the big difference between Rachel and Michael -- both of them got what they most desired/wanted/prayed for but the way they separately handled it was really well done.

I kinda sorta felt bad for Michael because I just knew that he had more to give and I could see him really putting forth the effort by giving and doing for Rachel without expecting any reciprocity. But like a lot of people, when they’re given what they want, they tend to freak out. To his credit, other than Rachel, he’s got some things burning on the fire – writing a book, interviewing with the NY Times – he’s hoping to be in the movers and shakers crowd.

Together these two had tons of chemistry, even outside of the bedroom. Now that doesn’t mean that their sexy times were anything tame, because that would be so wrong. Michael knows how to turn it up and on for Rachel. And I loved, loved that Rachel was so willing to try new things – first because that would make Michael happy and then because it made her happy. Isn’t that how we find out what we like, by trial and error?

When Rachel gets to Club Pandora there are some interesting characters there -- if there wasn’t, I would’ve been so disappointed because, really, it’s a sex club! Because I just couldn’t help myself, I found out from McLean’s site that a couple of the characters will have their own stories in the series. I eagerly await Annik’s story – that should be an interesting tale of redemption.

In the end, I liked both Michael and Rachel and wished a happily ever after for them. Maybe they’ll be some of the upcoming stories in the ‘Tales of Pandora’ series. Good stuff so far.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review


Click to purchase: Amazon
The Story of Rachel
by KD McLean
Release Date: January 15, 2013

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here

Reviewed by Shelly
 
Stories about female Marines are few and far between. As a matter of fact, Long is the only one I can find who writes about active Marines who are female. I recently read another one of these series and couldn’t help but look for more and --yeah for me-- I found this one.

While on leave, GySgt Jasmine ‘Jazz’ Winters has been set up for a One Night Stand, by of all people – her own mother. She’s requested not just one man but two (not sure Mom knows about that) because why not?  It’s a fantasy night! Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans are former Marines themselves. Logan was wounded during their last tour and was discharged on permanent disability because of his injuries. Zach goes where Logan goes. He's the light to Logan's dark and what a great contrast he is - yummy.

Theses three really electrify the pages, so by the time the sex scene came around, I was on pins and needles to see how that would turn out. Oh, my goodness Logan you are the man!

The only thing missing for me in this short story was finding out the back story to Logan and Zach's relationship. My curiosity is still high, so now I'm gonna find their follow up story - 'No Regrets, No Surrender (Always a Marine, #6)'.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here
by Heather Long
Release Date: April 21, 2012
Publisher: Decadent Publishing

Labels: , , ,

Review: The Sweetest Shorts

Reviewed by Jen
 
I love Amanda Bonilla's Shaede Assassin series, so I was very excited when I discovered there was more from her that I had not read yet.   These Sweetest Shorts are very different.  Instead of UF, they are PNR and they are very short: about 45 pages a piece.  I flew through them pretty fast, so rather than review them in three separate posts, let me break them all down here.

The Sweetest Torture - I'll give Bonilla this: she can definitely do sexual tension and hot bedroom action. (Not that any of the sex happens in the bedroom, but I digress.)  This story features Cait, a cougar shifter who is being forced to mate with the man who broke her heart 30 years ago.  Back then, she caught him in bed with another woman. And though he swore he had no idea how he ended up naked with a stranger, she couldn't forgive him and walked out.  Now, her father has offered her up to make peace with his fellow Alpha, and she has no choice but to do as instructed.

The thing is, as angry and as hurt as she is, she can't ignore that she still wants Logan.  And despite his anger over how she left and her subsequent attempts to have him ruined, he still wants her too.

I got invested in Cait and Logan very quickly.  As with all of her work, Bonilla does a great job with characterization.  I understood them and you could cut the tension between them with a knife.  I enjoyed their sparring and the heat between them.

I only had two gripes.  One, it confused me that she used the words cougar and lion interchangeably.  True, a cougar is a mountain lion, but that is not the same thing and I actually had to wikipedia it.  I don't like to Google during a romance novel.  And two, due to the length of the story, the external conflict felt abrupt and like it came out of nowhere, spinning into a rushed resolution.   True, it was only 43 pages, but I think the front half was better fleshed out than the back half.

The Sweetest Temptation - OMG. This one was hotter than the last one!  But then, what would you expect when the heroine is a nymph?   Someone has kidnapped Erica's sister and tipped off police that Andrew is the man who snatched her.  But Erica knows she can use her nymph abilities to get more information than the cops can --so she takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps him from police custody.  It doesn't take long, though, before the pull of the moon awakens her sexual hunger, and she focuses her desires on Drew.  She quickly figures out that he is innocent and that gives her the green light to act on the attraction.

The sexual dynamic between Andrew and Erica is off the charts.  Their supernatural quirks made the speed of their physical pairing acceptable for me. (I thought her throwing around the prospect of a relationship came around rather quickly, but at least they weren't spouting the L-word.)

I liked that the story tied in with The Sweetest Torture, with Andrew being Logan's brother and some other references.  I think this would hold up as a stand-alone, but I the ending would resonate a little better for folks who have already read the first story.

The Sweetest Mercy - Another really hot read.  I think this one was my favorite.  It focuses on the rescue effort for Erica's sister, Kiera.  Carter is Logan and Andrew's best tracker and he sets off, not only to find the missing nymph, but also to bring her kidnapper back to the Pride for justice.

Carter has been celibate for decades, since the death of his mate.  But when he makes it to Kiera, her nymph mojo and her glaring need are too much to ignore.  What starts as a quickie to take the edge off, turns into something much more between these two people who had lost hope of ever finding an HEA.  Yes, it's an uber fast connection, but the sex was super hot and I really felt for the characters. Carter, especially, was so wounded (both physically and emotionally.)  A satisfying end to the trilogy. I am glad I read them all back-to-back.

Overall Rating: B

*ARCs provided by author for review


Click to purchase: The Sweetest Torture
Click to purchase: The Sweetest Temptation
Click to purchase: The Sweetest Mercy

The Sweetest Torture
The Sweetest Temptation
The Sweetest Mercy
by Amanda Bonilla

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: The Beast in Him

Reviewed by Jen
 
After kind of lukewarm feelings toward the first installment in this series, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue on with these books, but I am glad I did.  I found that I enjoyed this story.  The things that were good in The Mane Event were good here as well: the humor and the delectable sexy times.  But in this case, with a full length book I got a chance to know the characters a bit better and get more excited about their romance.

Our hero is Smitty, also known as Bobby Ray, Alpha of the New York branch of the Smith pack. (You may remember him as Mace's best friend and business partner.)  The storyline is actually pretty similar to Mace's in that it's a second chance love story with the teenage crush who never turned into more.  In this case, Smitty's lost girl is Jessie Ann.  She grew up around his father's pack, but unlike the Smiths, she was not a wolf, but an African Wild Dog. She was bullied by the wolf girls and Smitty was always trying to protect her... until he left to join the Navy.

Now it's 16 years later and Jessie is no longer that meek girl he left behind. She is now very successful and alpha of her own dog pack.  He wants her, but she rejects him at every turn.  She doesn't want to give him the chance to hurt her again. But the chase makes her even more attractive to Smitty and he pursues her relentlessly.

Much like in the last book, the whole Southern stereotype and the two part names got a little old.  But it wasn't beat quite as far into the ground.  I loved watching Jessie hold her own under Smitty's onslaught.  She put up such a great fight!  I loved that despite their differences, she was still strong in her own way and that she refused to settle for anything less than what she wanted.

As I mentioned, the sex was great.  We had some pretty good sexual tension, but once these two got in the bed... well, they wanted to stay there a lot.  And I enjoyed every minute of it.

I also laughed out loud with great little gems like:

He had her right where he wanted her. In his lap, on his cock, feeding him chicken. A man, any man, couldn't ask for much more.

I loved that chicken scene.

Overall, I'd say it was an entertaining story and I'll definitely be back for The Mane Attraction.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Beast in Him
by Shelly Laurenston
Release Date: April 1, 2008
Publisher: Kensington

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Scar

Reviewed by Shelly
 
So, wha' had happened was - I wanted to take a short break and read a novella just for a change of pace. And that is how I ended up reading this little ditty from Sugar and Spice Publishing. There were a few things that I had a problem with, but before I get ahead of myself... Rhys Blaidd is the alpha of the Volkshire Pack, he’s also a single dad. Nefertiti ‘Fre’ Niles is the stripper who unknowingly rescues his son from would-be kidnappers bent on destroying Rhys. Concept sounds like a fun read right?

This story was jam packed with syntax errors. What's worse is the editing; it could do with a serious overhaul when it comes to that. I found myself reading about the most nonsensical things when I should be reading about the development of the storyline. They felt like fillers that would be used when the word count was low.

This story should have definitely come with a warning for erotic asphyxiation. I can stand a lot of things in a sex scene but if they’re out of the norm and I’m not warned – well let’s just say I don’t take to kindly to those. One top of that, Fre has known Rhys for maybe 36 hours when they have their first sexual encounter and he does that to her, not once but twice --- WTF?

I wish I could focus on the other parts of the story but those got me so discombobulated, my interest waned at the halfway point in the story. From then on, the story line just gets more ridiculous. Rhys is a jerk throughout. Fre is a stripper – that’s it, no more -- no future aspirations that we know of, but then again, we didn't find out a lot about any of the characters. My absolute favorite is the Epilogue, it reads "Epilogue - Later that night." Really? An epilogue is later in the same day that the story just ended??

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: D

Click to purchase: Amazon
Scar
by Kassanna
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Combat Barbie

Reviewed by Shelly
 
What a nice change of pace! The title piqued my initial interest and the cover isn’t bad either. Even though this is the 11th installment in the ‘Always a Marine’ series, I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on anything by not reading the first few books. This was a very satisfying read, but make no mistake – I do want more.

Marine, Mary ‘Stormer’ Phillips is home on leave. It’s been ten years since high school and while she loves her parents and wants to be the good daughter, she takes a break to go for a run. During her run she sees her favorite Coffee Shop, so an interlude is a must. While in line Mary runs into an old school friend, Kyle Stewart. Kyle is all grown up and has shed the nerd-look he had going on in high school. Never having the nerve to ask Mary out while in school, Kyle is bound and determined to not let her get away this time around.

I absolutely enjoyed both Mary and Kyle. Mary’s past as a beauty queen is truly fascinating and at first glance seems so contradictory to her military career. Though a short story, the reasons behind Mary’s decisions are well conveyed. She’s career military and until she’s unable to do that she will continue to improve lives and make real changes where she can. There’s a scene where she’s talking with Kyle about part of her time overseas and the dialogue is so clear and heartfelt, I couldn’t help but be moved.

Kyle is a guy who’s has done very well for himself. You can always tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother, and Kyle is good man. He’s a good foil for Mary -- not overly aggressive and not in any way passive. I liked these two a lot and I’m hoping I read more of this couple in future stories.

I’m off to find more of this series.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
Combat Barbie
by Heather Long
Release Date: February 25, 2013
Publisher: Decadent Publishing

Labels: , , ,

Review: Eternal Beast

Reviewed by Jen
 
I had high hopes for this book. The romance between Gray and Dillon has been teasing me for ages.  Both main characters have a great tortured history, so I expected angst, passion, and a whopping dose of sexual tension.  What I got was... a bit of disappointment.

As the story begins, Dillon is stuck in her beast form of a jaguar.  She thinks the only way she will be able to return to her vampire form is to kill the senator behind the beating that prompted her change. Instead, Gray ends up killing him and she is furious.  The thing is, though, she quickly discovers another way to alter her form... with Gray's touch.  She reaches out to him to help her, and for me, this is where the story went downhill.

I understand that Dillon has been the one to shut Gray down in the past, but that did not excuse the way he lorded his control over her.  He tried to force her to be submissive to him in order for him to give her what she needed.  It was unsettling to see this woman with a history of abuse have to kowtow to a man who supposedly has feelings for her.  Why? Because he is trying to get even? Make a point?  Granted, he didn't know what happened to her, but he had an idea.  And when he pulled out a leash and collar, I was ready to throw rotten tomatoes at him.

Not that Dillon was much better.  Even knowing about her baggage, she was difficult to like.  She was single-mindedly focused on herself, just like Gray was obsessed with his mission to save the Impures.  Neither seemed remotely capable of making the other a priority.  Most of the time, they weren't even nice to each other.  Basically, I found that didn't like either one of them, which made it really hard to root for their romance.

On top of that, the sex scenes didn't do it for me.  Gray's attempts at talking dirty were just over the top and not at all sexy.

"The other fingers are getting lonely, D," he groaned, his voice rabid and raw.  "They want to be together. They want to fuck you too. They want inside your silky wet pussy so badly. Can they all come to the party baby?"
...
When all five of his fingers entered her, Gray cursed. "The way your cunt took me in, inch by inch of drenched heat. Fuck and the way it's suckling my fingers."
...
"God baby, you're so beautiful. So wet, so tight. The way your pussy sucks me in." He cursed, moaned. "Oh shit. I knew you would feel like this. The perfect fit, your candy walls fisting around me."  

I think you get the idea.  If a guy talked to me like that in bed... ok, never mind. Suffice it to say, this did not do it for me.

I am still interested in the world.  Specifically, I am very intrigued by Dillon's brothers. Erion, in particular, was a real scene stealer.  The story that served as the backdrop for the romance was pretty cool and I like that series may be turning toward the mutore brothers.  I really liked the last book, so between that, and the big cliffhanger epilogue, I will be back for Eternal Demon.  This one, however, was a miss for me.

I should note that most of the reviews for this book have been very positive.  I know I am in the minority.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon
Eternal Beast
by Laura Wright
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Signet

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Exclusive: Ty POV & Crave the Darkness Giveaway

Guys, I am so psyched to share this amazing post with you. In celebration of the release of Crave the Darkness, Amanda Bonilla wrote a special Ty POV from a scene in the book.  And you can only read it here.  Check it out and be sure to enter below for your chance to win your own copy of the book (US Only.)

Political functions make me want to gnaw my own arm off. I wouldn’t be at this damned PNT dignitary ball at all if she wasn’t here. The distance between us now is suffocating, and I wonder, how much longer will I be able to bear the separation.

Adira is with me tonight, probably not the best idea considering the circumstances, but I don’t have a choice. She can’t be left alone, because if Kade manages to get his hands on her, I doubt she’ll live through the encounter. Adira found me in the desert, moments after I came into existence. She was my companion for centuries. It would be unconscionable to abandon her now, when she truly needs me. She’s addicted to Kade’s deadly touch. If I leave her alone for even a second, she’ll go to him. I’m all that stands between Adira and suicide. Because isn’t it suicide to allow yourself to indulge in something that will surely kill you? And if addiction truly is a means of self-extinction, then what does it say about me? Don’t I crave Darian like a drug? Will she be the death of me?

I catch a glimpse of her across the crowded ballroom and I swear my heart stops beating for a minute. She’s so beautiful, just looking at her makes me ache. Her gaze is cast downward, her shoulders slightly hunched as if protecting herself from something and I wonder if that asshole Xander even notices how uncomfortable she is. How scrutinized she feels. Completely exposed. I doubt Xander sees anything past the emerald green dress that’s hugging every soft curve of her body. The only thing he’s concerned with is the enticing swell of her breasts just above the bodice. He’s damned near humping her leg like a horny mutt. In fact, he hasn’t taken his eyes—or his hands—off her since they walked in the door. The King of Shaedes isn’t a fool. He knows I’m here. Our gazes locked the minute I arrived. And he’s kept one arm hooked around Darian’s ever since. He’s threatened by me, and he should be. Darian is mine. She’ll always be mine, and no amount of courting by the high king will change that fact.

I feel her apprehension through our bond. It’s killing me to know that she’s uncomfortable, and I’m sure it’s killing her to stand around, chatting about nothing at all, when there’s work to be done. Darian won’t rest until Kade is dead, and it terrifies me. He’s dangerous prey, more than she realizes. If he so much as lays a finger on her with intent, she won’t be able to help herself. She’ll go to him willingly. Just like Anya. Just like Adira. And if that happens, I’ll kill him with my bare hands.

My eyes are glued to Darian and my body goes rigid as she leans in toward Xander. He lowers his face to hers, so close her lips brush his cheek as she whispers something close to his ear. Jealousy rages, an inferno burning me from the inside out. I can almost feel the softness of her mouth, the feather light touch of her lips. I down the bourbon in my hand in a single swallow, enjoying the way it ignites a path down my throat. Yeah, I’m drunk, but I don’t give a fuck. If I wasn’t, I would have brought the building down around me an hour or so ago. My senses—not to mention my emotions—aren’t numb, but I’m a hell of a lot calmer than I’d be sober.

Darian pulls away from the Shaede King and my heart pounds against my ribcage. His touch lingers, his fingers trailing down her arm, desperate to keep any sort of contact with her skin, and I can feel the enamel grinding on my teeth, my jaw is clenched so hard. She turns and walks away from him, through the entrance of the ballroom and into the foyer.

Now’s my chance. I deliver Adira into the hands of a group of delegates and murmur in her ear that I’ll be back soon. She gives me a reassuring smile and returns her attention to the conversation. I won’t leave her alone for long. But I have to see Darian. I have to inhale her scent. Revel in the fiery touch of her soft skin. Look into those luminescent green eyes that reflect the depth of her soul. One moment with her—no matter how fleeting—is a soothing balm, and if I don’t go to her now, I’ll lose my fucking mind.

Darian is mine. And it’s about damned time I made her realize it.

OMG!!! To enter the giveaway, just comment below! Be sure to include your email address.

This contest is closed. The winners are Rebe and Jess1.

Labels: , ,

Review: Rapture

Reviewed by Jen
 
I liked it, but I didn't love it.  It's always a sad day when I say that about a JR Ward book.  I know this lady has the juice to knock my socks off, but this fourth installment in her Fallen Angel series left me feeling lukewarm.  It was even more disappointing on the heels of that big shocker in the last book, but I digress...

The hero in this story is a familiar face.  Matthias was the soul Team Angel lost to the bad guys in Crave.  They're getting a second chance to guide him on the righteous path, however, as the Almighty is punishing Devina for breaking the rules of the Game.  If none of this makes any sense to you, that means you are a new reader and this book is not for you.  Go back to the beginning and start with Covet or much of ongoing plot will be lost on you.

Anyway, as Matthias is returned to earth, he has the good fortune of stumbling in front of a car driven by newspaper reporter Mels Carmichael.  The accident gives him amnesia and draws Mels into his life.  At first, he turns to her to help him figure out who he is, but then he quickly falls for her.  As his memories trickle back, he is horrified by what he once was, and he must work along with Jim and Adrian to skirt both assassins and the demons who want to have him back in hell.

The book felt overly long, but love happens way too fast. Two days, I think.  Both Mels and Matthias want each other from the get-go, but unfortunately his suicide attempt with an IED has left him impotent, forcing an unsatisfying sexual relationship.  (By unsatisfying, I mean, for me.)

Also unsatisfying: no progression on the Eddie storyline.  I really hoped Ward would fix this, but it's barely addressed outside of Adrian's angst.  Jim continues to obsess over Sissy to epic levels, yet makes a huge out-of-character move with Davina which left me scratching my head.

I dunno. It wasn't bad, but it was tepid.  And starting to feel formulaic.  And at the end, I wanted to smack Jim in the face with a dead fish.

Rating: B-


 Click to purchase: Amazon 
Rapture
by JR Ward
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: NAL

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Nice Girl

Reviewed by Allison
 
Grace Locke is looking for a change of pace in her life; she isn't satisfied. When she moves to New York City to complete her Master's in Criminology, she doesn't know just how much of a change she'll get.

While scoping out the neighborhood after settling into her new grad dorm, she stumbles into a private investigating firm and after a conversation with the co-founder, gets hired on as their secretary. This works out perfectly because she can watch how the cases unfold, which interests her, particularly because she's studying criminology.  Maybe more importantly, she can surround herself with alpha males in order to practice confidence with men in hopes of changing her luck with them.

At first all is well...until she meets Vinnie. Ex-hit man gone straight, Vinnie is the very definition of bad boy. He is mean, aggressive, and even tried to fire her! But once they get through the first couple of hurdles, they find they can't stop thinking of each other. Vinnie grows protective of Grace and something begins to develop that takes them a while to even acknowledge.

The romance in this story is definitely more of a slow burn, but that doesn't make it any less hot. Vinnie is sexy, sweet but tough, and a great wounded hero for those of you who enjoy reading them. While it took me a while longer to warm up to Grace (she talks about her BFFs a lot, but they never really drew me in,) eventually you feel proud of her evolution as a character and person.

Nice Girl was a solid good girl gets the bad boy story and will definitely steam your windows - enjoy!

Rating: C+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Nice Girl
by Kate Baum
Release Date: December 5, 2012

Labels: , , ,