Archive | December, 2011

Review: Kiss of Twilight by Lorribelle Hunt

30 Dec

Kiss of Twilight by Lorribelle Hunt
Carina Press (Dec. 2011)
ebook: $5.99 (88,000 words)
ISBN: 9781426892936

Favorite Line: “Part of her really wanted to stay to help, but she knew she’d be pretty useless until she went through the merging ceremony.” (p. 28, egalley)

Dupree Jackson is everything a senior soldier of the Order of Templar should be. Cold. Unbreakable. A master at arms in the fight against demons. But as a hybrid, Dupree is beginning to lose himself to the demon half of his soul. One woman has the power to save him. If he lets her.

Kara Stone wants two things in life: to be merged with a demon so that she can become a full member of the Order; and Dupree Jackson. She knows they are meant to be together, if only Dupree would love her back.

Though his desire for Kara is undeniable, Dupree’s need to protect her is stronger. Not wanting to see her merge, to face the internal struggle he deals with every day, he refuses to bond with her. But when Kara becomes a target and uncovers a dark secret about her past, Dupree may no longer have a choice…

Kiss of Twilight is book two in Loribelle Hunt’s Dark Bonds series. Beginning after the events of Kiss of Darkness, it is told from the third person POV and focuses on Dupree and Kara. The story is set in a world where humanity is unknowingly surrounded by paranormal creatures battling demons. However, one of the groups fighting are humans who have merged with demons to become a hybrid. It’s dangerous, but after the human wrestles the demon into complacency the human is stronger, faster and heals from potentially life threatening wounds. It’s not a simple battle as the hybrids constantly wage war with their demons who threaten to take over the hybrid.

Kiss of Twilight continues plot lines introduced in book one, so I don’t recommend beginning the series with it. We meet Kara and Dupree in book one. We learn about the villain in book one. And we are introduced to the epic battle in book one. But back to Kiss of Twilight.

The hero in Kiss of Twilight does not want the woman he loves to turn into a hybrid. Dupree is terrified that Kara will die, but she is just as petrified that if she does not participate in the ceremony which will transform her into a hybrid she will die. Throughout the story the two look within themselves for a compromise, but before they do anything they must deal with their pasts which haunt them.

My feelings while reading about the couple fluctuated between excitement and irritation. I read the first book and knew how badly Kara wanted Dupree. I also knew how hard Dupree fought to keep his distance. It got old really fast. He wanted her to cave, she wanted him to understand her need to fully join the Order and battle demons. Neither feels a compromise is possible, but that doesn’t affect their desire for the other; the sexual tension is sharp and hot.

While Kiss of Twilight didn’t blow my mind, it is an enjoyable book despite the lack of surprises or epic revelations. It was a nice paranormal romance story. Because it’s part of a series not all of the plot lines are clearly wrapped up. It’s not a cliffhanger or anything, but it will pique the curiosity about a few secondary characters.


Review: Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

28 Dec

Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
Kensington (Dec. 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781420111804

Favorite Line: “Whatever decisions I made, however, would be because I chose them.” (p. 390, ARC)

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land’s prophecy-haunted queen, there’s no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld.

Book four in Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series is supposedly the final installment, but it leaves room for so much more. The events of books one through three are finally ready to unfold and Eugenie has some major decisions to make.

While dealing with her major life issues, namely her babies and trying to stay alive, Eugenie is confronted with a blight that is threatening the land of the fae. The entire story is a personal journey. Sure Eugenie has to protect her people, but she also has to protect her children and grow as a ruler and mother.

Dorian has plenty of page play in Shadow Heir. I loved every minute of it. In addition to Dorian are other secondary characters who just might surprise you. Heck when some of the facts come out I think y’all will be just as shocked as I was. Oh yeah, if you wanted to know more about Volusion your wish has been granted.

I thoroughly enjoyed most of the story…until I got to the end. I’ll admit that Eugenie stayed true to character. She showed the character that I hated in book three. You know the character who made me swear to not read book four because she made silly decisions that weren’t fair to those around her. It took a year, but I overcame my anger from book three and devoured Shadow HeirWarning!!! Don’t expect a clean ending to the story. Expect an ending which will most likely anger you with its spin to the worst traditional romance plot line ever. Despite its ending, I did like most of the story.

Do yourself a favor and cave like I did. Pick up Shadow Heir and conclude the series you started in Storm Born. Most of the plot lines are explored and closed. It’s no where near the story I fell in love with in book two, Thorn Queen, but it is IMMENSELY better than book three. After you’ve read Shadow Heir come back and let me know what you think.

Review: Claimed by Rebecca Zanetti

27 Dec

Claimed by Rebecca Zanetti
Kesington (2011)
Trade: $14.00; ebook: $8.69
ISBN: 9780758259257

Favorite Lines: “Then what? Well…then I’m going to bend you over this desk and fuck you till you scream my name.” (p.66)

Emma Paulsen is a geneticist driven by science. But she’s also a psychic, so when a dark, good-hearted vampire frees her from the clutches of the evil Kurjans, she realizes he must be the man who’s been haunting her dreams. But with a virus threatening vampires’ mates, Emma may discover a whole new meaning of “lovesick”…

As King of the Realm, Dage Kayres has learned to practice diplomacy. Still, it’s taken three hundred years to find his mate, so he’ll stop at nothing to protect her–even if it means turning his back on his own kind…

Rebecca Zanetti introduced the world of her Dark Protector series in book one, Fated. I did not read that book and it was detrimental to my enjoyment of Claimed, which is book two in the series. I was confused from page one because the story begins in the middle of an action scene that I’m assuming began toward the end of book one.

I eventually caught up with the action, but I never really connected with the heroine, Emma. There is a reason for that. Emma has been dreaming of her death for years. She wants to avoid it and works hard to combat her future relationship with Dage in hopes of preventing her predestined future from occurring. Her behavior was nerve-wracking and irritating and killed the compassion I had for her.

Dage, Emma’s hero, is the ultimate alpha vampire. He is all about protecting his woman and God help any being who gets in his way. Dage also has the welfare of the Realm to consider. (Consider him as king of the good vampires.) Every one of his actions is calculated, but he cannot calculate everything—like the love and sexual attraction he feels for his mate. The woman he’s been waiting for over 300 years.

There are several things taking place in Claimed. It’s first and foremost a love story. People who read the first book will be pleased to know it includes an update on the romance introduced in Fated. It also continues an overall story arc involving Emma’s niece and book one’s daughter. Most interesting is the blistering sex. Whew, it’s good stuff.

Claimed is extremely erotic. It is a continuation of a plot introduced in the book Fated and leaves several plot lines open to be explored in future books. A novella, Tempted, will be released in March 2012, and book three, Hunted, will be released in May 2012. According to Zanetti’s website there are five full length novels and one short story scheduled for the series.

Review: The Real Werewives of Vampire County An Anthology

26 Dec

The Real Werewives of Vampire County an Anthology
Kensington (Nov. 2011)
Trade: $15.00; ebook: $8.99 (Amazon)
ISBN: 9780758261588

Where Darkness Lives by Alexandra Ivy

No one’s more surprised than Sophia when she’s struck by an unfamiliar maternal urge to move near her daughters. But instead of being greeted by a welcome committee, she’s targeted by kidnappers…and saddled with a gorgeous bodyguard on a mission to protect–and seduce…

Favorite Line: “It’s all that testosterone rotting your brain.” (p. 28)

If you are unfamiliar with Alexandra Ivy’s Guardian’s of Eternity series you may have difficulty connecting to the characters in Where Darkness Lives. Four of the key characters in the Guardian’s of Eternity series are Sophia’s (the heroine of Where Darkness Lives) daughters. I’ve read most of the eight full length books and one of the two (other) anthologies set in the Guardian world, and I still felt disconnected from the characters.

I’m not sure there is any way Ivy could have made me like Sophia. Sophia gave birth to quadruplets as part of an experiment to save the werewolf race. She is regarded as an ice queen and that characterization followed her into this short story about her finding love. Sophia is a hot number. She dresses in low cut tops, high heals and miniskirts. She also runs a male strip club. Her love interest Luc is an alpha male who’s not afraid to express his desire for Sophia.

The attraction is instant and page burning, but the story is light-hearted despite the attempts to murder Sophia. I was surprised by plot beneath the would-be assassination story line, but overall I felt BLAH about the novella.

Murder on Mysteria Lane by Angie Fox

When a werewolf trophy wife is found dead in Vampire County, Heather McPhee goes undercover to investigate. Heather’s never been a mascara-and-manicures sort of girl, but she’s willing to learn. Especially with sexy vampire detective Lucian Meade posing as her husband…

Favorite Lines: “What did the guy want? I’d kept my red thong. God, I couldn’t wait to get back to the pack where I could run around naked in peace.” (p. 127)

Murder on Mysteria Lane is the best short story included in the anthology. It’s quick to anger heroine Heather is hilarious. She acts/reacts so honestly there is little doubt on how she feels about those surrounding her. For a woman blessed/cursed with such an awesome ability (in addition to being a werewolf) it was surprising to see how innocent she was.

Her hero Lucian is described as a beautiful piece of eye candy, but he’s also a man who knows what he wants and with the patience to wait for it. He didn’t steal the novella. Nope, it was a secondary character named Vinny. Vinny is irreverent and capable of great feats. (Ha, wait till you see what he can do. Consider him the X-Man of the group.)

Murder on Mysteria Lane is a paranormal romance that made me laugh. I didn’t know who the murderer was right away, as those women in the gated community were pretty much all vicious manipulators. It was a cute story that ended with not true love or mates for life, but hope of a happily ever after. *Happy sigh*

Werewolves in Chic Clothing by Tami Dane

Ever since Christine Price moved in with her fiance, Jonathan, and his twelve-year-old son, she’s worked hard to fit in with a cadre of local women whose lives seem picture-perfect. Except no one in Jon’s upscale neighborhood is quite who they appear to be. Least of all Jon…

Favorite Lines: “I just want to have sex. Who would have thought that would be such a problem.” (p. 204)

I was not impressed with Werewolves in Chic Clothing. It’s a paranormal mystery with a hint of romance. The couple was already in love via the Internet. They spent plenty of time together prior to sharing a home, but the heroine was not told about the paranormal ties until the very end. The reader knows it’s a paranormal story despite the story being told in the first person from the heroine’s POV. The heroine never considers the paranormal until she is told about the paranormal. I don’t think it adds to the story. This is a story that could have easily had the paranormal removed without losing much.

Werewolves in Chic Clothing is slightly entertaining, but the conclusion felt forced and left me wondering why I wasted my time reading it. I didn’t like any of the secondary characters and the hero had so little page time that there was never a chance of my connecting with him. I’d skip it if I were you.

What’s Yours is Mine by Jess Haines

Still Waters is like many other exclusive gated communities–except that it’s home to one of the largest werewolf packs in the state. But Tiffany Winters isn’t frightened of her big, bad new neighbors. In fact, she intends to take her place among the pack…

Favorite Lines: “So did I. Until he started telling me how much I reminded him of his sister.” (p. 315)

What’s Yours is Mine is in no way, shape or form a romance. It’s a piece of fiction filled with paranormal creatures or an urban fantasy without any hint of romance. I didn’t particularly care for it because it confused me. The blurb made me think it’d be a short story focused on Tiffany, and in a way it was.

However, What’s Yours is Mine is told in the third person and follows the machinations of several different characters. It never focuses on just one person. The actions of all the characters culminates in an ironic ending which may be funny to some people, but left me irritated. I bought into the idea of a paranormal romance anthology and this story is not a romance. I won’t be re-reading it.

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I'm exhausted, how about you?

Trylle Series Book Trailer

22 Dec

Review: The Sinner by Margaret Mallory

21 Dec

The Sinner by Margaret Mallory
Grand Central Publising (Nov. 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780446583107

Favorite Lines: “A pinch earns a man either a slap or a wink, and ye gave me neither.” (p. 26, egalley)

Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can’t prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.


Alex MacDonald is known for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife. But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice: wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty-and defiant ways.

Familiar with heartbreak, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex’s past sins force an unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife. Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?

Book two in Margaret Mallory‘s Return of the Highlander series can be read as a stand alone; that’s how I read it. Having done so, I can’t wait to read the first book, The Guardian, as well as the final two books: The Warrior and The Chieftain.

The Sinner is a historical romance which involves Scottish highlanders and pirates. Not something I normally mix, but Mallory makes it work. For the most part the story takes place on land, but there’s a small portion which takes place in the pirate’s domain.

The story introduces the completely unrepentant, womanizing Alex MacDonald, a man known for sexin’ up every woman he meets. He and his three friends (two of which are his cousins) have returned to Scotland after warring in France to find themselves in a sticky situation. As usual there are issues between people fighting for the Scottish throne. In order to survive they will need to remain neutral, but that’s not easy. So tricky highlanders that they are, they hatch a plan which involves schmoozing with players on both side of the issue. Alex is sent to meet with MacNeil family and if he happens to marry a MacNeil, all the better.

Enter Glynis, a MacNeil daughter. She walked away from her marriage and her father is ready to marry her off. She’ll have nothing to do with entering another marriage and manages to out smart each potential suitor. She doesn’t have to work hard to keep Alex away. He is not husband material despite her father’s opinion otherwise. The two quickly form a friendship which leads to much more.

Formed by their families and in spite of their families, only together will Alex and Glynis find hope and love.

The Sinner is filled with passion and action. It’s a quick and enchanting read that isn’t challenging, but managed to worm its way into my heart. It was clear who the villains and villainess were for the most part, although I must admit to one scene involving a Frenchman that threw me for a second. Paired with the historical setting it makes sense, but I wasn’t expecting it. I see myself rereading the book yearly. Why? Because Mallory showed me a side of Alex which made him a worthy hero and I loved the plucky heroine.

What others are saying about The Sinner:

Book Savvy Babe
My House of Books
Love to Read for Fun
The Bookaholic Cat

Review: Tool Belt Defender by Carla Cassidy

20 Dec

Tool Belt Defender by Carla Cassidy
Harlequin (Dec. 20, 2011)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99 (electronic copy not available until 1/1/2012)
ISBN: 9780373277575

Favorite Lines: “”Larry Norwood is dead, but somebody was outside my window, somebody wearing a ski mask just like Larry used to do when he came into the shed.”

She got up from the sofa and walked over to her brother. “Somebody is after me, Tom. I feel it. I know it in the very depth of my being. It’s not over yet for me and I’m afraid.”

Tom hesitated a moment and then released a deep sigh. “Maybe you should talk to somebody about post-traumatic stress.”

“I’m not crazy. I saw what I saw,” she exclaimed with rising anger in her voice.” (p. 77, egalley)

It’s Party Time…

That’s the “invitation” shoved under her door. It’s got Brittany Grayson fearing for her life…and her sanity. She’s sure the monster who once held her captive for months is dead, so why his chilling words in the note? His menacing face in the window? And why won’t anyone —even her lawmen brothers—believe that somehow he’s after her again?

Brittany just wants a normal, independent life in Black Rock. Romance is out of the question… although she’s okay as friends-with-benefits with Alex Crawford, her hunky, marriage-phobic contractor. Alex, a single dad, has his own good reasons not to fall for Brittany. But none of them matter when the race is on to find the killer who’s kidnapped her!

Tool Belt Defender is book five in Carla Cassidy‘s Lawmen of Black Rock series. It’s a romantic suspense that will keep you guessing to the end. It’s not necessary to read the previous four books to get a grip on the story. I’ve only read Tool Belt Defender and I was not confused, but I do believe I’d have been more emotionally involved had I at least read book four, Special Agent’s Surrender prior to attempting the book. A look at the trauma as it occurred instead of watching the result of the trauma.

We are introduced to a woman still in recovery after being held by a madman. She was never raped, but the psychological terror has remained. Now someone has decided to finish what the first man failed to accomplish and no one but Brittany, the original victim feels him coming.

There is nothing worse than knowing danger is stalking you and trying to get help but no one believes you. That, in addition to Brittany’s determination to build a “normal” life, pulled me into Tool Belt Defender. I never thought she was losing her grip on reality, but it was easy to see how those surrounding her might be concerned. How? Well, Cassidy writes the story like an average romance. Girl meets boy and they begin the possible dating dance. Their setting, small town America, shows its face, good and bad and they simply put one foot in front of the other. Until you least expect it and then something happens. So the story moves from slow to fast, then returns to slow before jumping to fast. Some readers may not enjoy the pacing. I did. I think it added to the suspense because the reader is kept on edge waiting for something to happen.

The heroine’s love interest, Alex, was rather ho-hum. He was, however, exactly what the heroine needed steady. You knew exactly what you were getting with him: a widower parenting a little girl. His only concern was the effect Brittany could have on his child. Alex was friendly, compassionate and caring. He was a strong man, but not a lawman which is perfect as Brittany was a deputy before her abduction. I had no fear she would be yanked back into law enforcement before she was ready, if that day were to ever arrive. And Alex’s daughter was the best. She was funny and likeable. One of my favorite moments during the story involved her anger at her father.

Want to know more? Pick up Tool Belt Defender if you are looking for a feel good, romantic suspense. It’s not overly long. It’s not complicated. It’s story about a survivor finding her happily ever after.

Review: The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred

19 Dec

The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred
Entangled Publishing (Dec. 2011)
Paperback: $15.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781937044534

Favorite Lines: “Fear and instinct propelled me to flight. If not for the violent downpour, I might have lost myself in the glorious feeling of riding the wind, but the rain beat down against me with tiny fists.” (p. 73)

First, I’ve gotta tell y’all I’m not a fan of the cover. It catches the eye, but based on the cover alone I would not have purchased this book. I was given a copy to review.

Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

I was expecting book one of Jane Kindred’s House of Arkhangelsk series to be racy. I thought it might have a menage type feel, but I was wrong. The Fallen Queen is not what I imagined, nor is it the type of book I normally read. I was uncomfortable with much of the book which involved BDSM, a gay couple and a 17-year-old getting it on with a much older man. If I had known any of those themes were included in the story, I would not have read it.

As it was, I almost stopped reading the book several times. It was interesting enough that I wanted to know where it was going, but the themes–oh, the themes–about drove me mad.

The story is told in first and third person. I was never confused with the POV switch; it was clear and well written. One of the biggest obstacles to my enjoyment of the story was the words used. For example, the names of people, places and items were hard to pronounce, define and keep clear. Words like: Belphagor, Paimon, Raqia, Anazakia Helisonovna, Arkhangel’sk, perferans, Elysium, Omeliea, Aravoth, Pyriphlegethon, Empyrean, Aeval and aeth. The Russian words which were interspersed within the text didn’t help.

I’m extremely uncomfortable with BDSM and I’m not interested in gay or lesbian themed stories. I don’t mind as much if there’s a scene involving male-male or female-female. I still feel awkward and prefer to read about heterosexual couples, but I can choke it down. In The Fallen Queen, the two main male characters have a romantic history together. They participate in a BDSM lifestyle and begin to rekindle it (along with oral sex) while on their journey with Anazakia, the heroine. There are many undertones that I’m unfamiliar with in the book and they all revolve around BDSM and the gay and lesbian world.

The underaged heroine’s head is shaved and she is dressed to look like a man. She is called “boy” and has her breasts bound. At different points, she is interested in both of the men. Because she only interacts with the gay couple and is sexually attracted to a clearly gay man (although later she is attracted to the gay man who considers himself bi-sexual), I think the gay community would call her a “fag hag.” I don’t know. It was too much.

Add to that the scene where the male couple is enjoying whipping and being whipped, prison rape and forced degradation and I was pushed too far. I’m sure there are other things. So, yeah, the story is about fallen angels and demons and a fight to control heaven. In the end I was so distracted by the details that I lost track of the actual point of the story.

When push comes to shove I read for enjoyment. I don’t want to be depressed  when I finish reading a book. I don’t want to feel conflicted. I have enough problems in life that when I finish reading a book I want to know that someone–even an imaginary someone–can have a happy conclusion. Now there’s room in that for a lot of leeway. But at the end of The Fallen Queen I never felt that there was hope of any type of satisfactory ending. SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***DON’T READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ A SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER

I watched him go, reluctant to relinquish the elemental stirring his touch sparked in me, but pleased at the new pride in his step. Though I couldn’t be what Belphagor was to him, I’d given him something the demon could not. I kissed the top of Ola’s head. Whatever bond I had with Vasily, I was on the outside of a relationship so intense I could only admire it from afar, like the Aurora Borealis. It left an emptiness inside me, a longing for that sense of wholeness they had in one another.–p. 328

I’m Dying to Buy

14 Dec

a new book in Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series. It is one of my absolute favorites. After scouring Feehan’s site I found this great tidbit about book 10, Samurai Game which is slated to be released in July 2012. (There is no cover image available at this time.)

I’m currently working on Samurai Game, a very exciting action/thriller/romance. My heroine, Thorn, was taken from an orphanage in Japan, enhanced by Dr. Whitney and when he couldn’t find exactly what her psychic ability was, he deemed her useless for anything other than experimentation. His experiments were brutal and at age eight, he threw her away, back to the streets of Japan, in the worst neighborhood, forgetting all about her. Thorn never forgot about him.

Team One is back in full force, and the story is action packed. The chemistry between Thorn and Sam Johnson sizzle. Sam is brilliant and has the most amazing psychic abilities. With his enhancements he and Thorn make a formidable team to fight an unexpected enemy and take out the lifeline between Dr. Whitney and the White House.