Archive | September, 2012

Review: Last Vamp Standing Kristin Miller

30 Sep

4 out of 5 scoopers

Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller
HarperCollins (Aug. 28, 2012)
Mass market: $6.99; ebook: $3.99
ISBN: 9780062207845

Favorite Lines: “Ariana, I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve tried resisting the urges, but I’ve never made it long. In fact, resisting them seems to make things worse. I’ve blocked out and woken up in pools of blood, unsure where I am or what I’ve done.” (p. 203, e-galley)

Tortured by demonic voices, Dante’s soul is as black as they come. But when he meets Ariana—an innocent vampire fighting demons of her own—he second-guesses everything he’s ever known about sacrifice, passion, and soul-scorching love.

Before Dante wages war against Crimson Bay’s greatest threat, he must make a choice: love Ariana the way she deserves, risking her life in the process—or fight to protect her, unleashing the monster he’s determined to bury.

I’ve been enjoying Kristin Miller‘s Vampires of Crimson Bay series and couldn’t wait to read book three, Last Vamp Standing. In the previous book, Vamped Up, we got to know a little bit about Dante. Enough that I knew his story would be good.

Last Vamp Standing is the final book in Miller’s Crimson Bay trilogy. Do not read it as a stand alone. It is where all the previous stories have been leading and to a final show down with the series’ bad guy Savage. It takes place primarily in the secret land of the hidden vampire haven Black Moon. Living inside the walls of Black Moon are elders, but surrounding the haven are a mysterious people.

The heroine, Ariana, takes on a huge roll in her haven. She is revered by those around her but that leaves her alone. She doesn’t feel part of the elders living there as they all seem to defer to her. Her haven has an exclusive “elders only” rule so when  her love interest Dante tells her of the Crimson Bay area vampires’ needs she doesn’t see how she can help. Ariana also doesn’t know that she’s part of an elaborate scheme which affected her past and affects all of the vampires’ futures.

Dante is our tortured hero. Dude has some serious issues, but can’t hide his fascination of Ariana. He is a protector so expect him to fight his base urges in hopes of saving her from himself. In previous books the reader was able to see Dante in action and read of other vampires’ reactions to his unvampire-like abilities. By the end of the trilogy expect to have a clear understanding of where Dante comes from and where he belongs.

It took me a while to get into Last Vamp Standing. I think if I’d have been able to put down book two, Vamped Up, I’d have had an easier time slipping back into the world. However, once I reestablished myself in Crimson Bay I couldn’t put Last Vamp Standing down. I like knowing books having a clear ending and that is exactly what Miller gives with this installment. All my questions have been answered and I’m ready to move on to Miller’s newest work.


Interview with Cassi Carver and a Giveaway!

28 Sep

Last year I was happy to meet Cassi Carver online and review her debut book, Slayer’s Kiss. I was taken into a dark world where women rule and sexy, alpha men serve them. It was filled with action and fan worthy sex. So when Carver asked me if I wanted a review copy of book two in the series, Shadow Rising, I jumped at the chance. I also asked if I could interview her for y’all. Carver said yes and sweetened the acceptance with the offer of a giveaway.

Scooper: How would you market the Shadow Slayers series to romance and urban fantasy lovers? What makes it different or stand out from other books?

Cassie: Hi, Stacy! Thanks for having me! I love reading both romance and urban fantasy, but sometimes when I’m reading urban fantasy I get frustrated when the heroines have little or no love life. I mean, what’s the point of saving the world if you can’t come home at night, kick off your shoes, and snuggle up with a warm and welcoming body? So when I came up with the concept for the Shadow Slayers series, I was trying to do something that hadn’t been overdone in urban fantasy: action-packed UF, full of romance, relationships, and plenty of hot sex!

Scooper: Yep. That is so true. Nothing wrong with a little nookie. lol One thing I really want to know is how many books will be in the series?

Cassie: Great question! I’m not sure at this point, but it won’t be never-ending as some seem to be. My agent and editor also give me input into this, and for now, everyone is eagerly awaiting more books in the Shadow Slayers series. BUT I can tell you this, I’m currently writing book 3.0 (the fourth book including novella 2.5) , and after I turn this book in on November 15th, I’m going to start working on another project my agent is excited about!

Scooper: That is good news. One of my pet peeves is getting into a series only to have it stop being published before the full story has been told. I like knowing the number of books in a series. On a different topic–have you or will you consider self-publishing your work? Why?

Cassie: I’m not considering self-publishing at this point—even though I have friends who are really enjoying it—and that’s mostly because I really love working with my current publisher, Samhain Publishing! They’ve been wonderful to me, so I’m eager to send more manuscripts their way. And the other reason I’m not considering self-publishing quite yet is that my writing schedule is fully booked in the near future. I don’t know when I’d find the time! But it’s definitely something I’m planning to try someday.

Scooper: Congratulations. I’m sure that has to feel awesome. Let’s have a bit of fun at your expense. 🙂 Do you have any writing rituals?

Cassie: Big-picture writing rituals for me are brainstorming and plotting a book before I get into the second chapter. I allow myself to play for chapter one, but then I need to know what’s going to happen. But as for rituals when I sit down at my computer…I’m neurotic, I think. I have to have everything just right. I keep supplies within arm’s reach, like Chap Stick and hand lotion, and I can’t write unless my all my supplies are present. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this! LOL

Scooper: I appreciate you taking the time to visit. I’ll even let you in on a ritual of my own. Every time I interview an author I end by asking the author one question. Do you eat while you write? What’s your go-to snack?

Cassie: This is the other weird thing for me…I don’t eat while I write. (And I mean I really don’t eat. I forget!) When a deadline is approaching and I’m heavy into the world, it can be hard for me to transition back into this one, and I’m not willing to get up to cook something no matter how grumbly my stomach gets. To help, the hubby encourages me to keep protein bars near my supplies so when I get to the “Wow. Am I going to pass out?” stage, I have food nearby. I’m pretty sure I could completely solve this problem by getting a mini-fridge for my office and stocking it with diet Dr. Pepper and raspberry cheesecake. I would never go hungry again! Christmas is coming, right? I think I’m going to put that on my list!

Thank you for having me, Stacy! I’m thrilled to share book two of the Shadow Slayers with the world this week, and I hope you all enjoy it! I’d love to give away the first two books in the series as a set—book one, Slayer’s Kiss, and book two, Shadow Rising—to a winner who comments below. Even saying hello is good enough, but what I really want to know is…what would you stock in your mini fridge?

Scooper: Check out Cassie’s Shadow Slayers series. Before you leave make sure to comment or ask a question to be entered in the giveaway. One entry per person and I’ll use a random number generator to select a winner on Oct. 5. I’ll post the winner on Oct. 6 and send an email to the winner.

I’m Reading Gini Koch’s Kitty Kat Series

27 Sep

I’ve seen the series posted sporadically and finally decided to try it. Luckily my local library had all five books and I was able to borrow them. I probably won’t post reviews of the books, but here’s what I’m reading.

Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the “agency” to perform crowd control. He’s Kitty’s kind of guy, no matter what planet he’s from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Alien Tango

It’s been five months since marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s high school boyfriend. And that’s all before evil masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital.

Alien in the Family

Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt and the Alpha Centaurian she loves, Jeff Martini, should be finalizing their wedding plans. But that was before she discovers Jeff is in line to become Emperor back on his home world. Kitty knows she is everything a royal family wouldn’t approve of, and is bracing herself for the worst. As it turns out, the royal family is just the beginning. Especially when extraterrestrial Amazonian terrorists are determined to start and end Kitty and Jeff’s nuptial festivities with a bang.

Alien Proliferation

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who’s behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty’s secret agent mom and what caused Kitty’s transformation into a superhuman-and they’ve got to do it all before the baby shower…

Alien Diplomacy

Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But Jeff and Kitty Martini are also giving up their roles as super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division while mastering the political landscape as the new heads of Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps. Enter a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators, and nothing will ever be the same…

Alien Vs. Alien (coming December 2012)

Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.

Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a Senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.

Then new trouble arrives in old packages and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.

Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.

There are supposed to be at least 3 more books in the series released according to GoodReads. What are you reading?

Review: Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker

26 Sep

3 out of 5 scoopers

Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker
Sourcebooks (Oct. 2, 2012)
Mass market: $6.99; ebook: $6.99 (Pre-order for the best price)
ISBN: 9781402267185

Favorite Lines: “And she desperately missed her husband, her friend, during times like this when she needed a strong shoulder to lean. Steven had been her rock, her savior, and he’d deserved so much more than she’d been able to give him. Oh, she’d loved him, there was no doubt about that. But it was the kind of love she’d felt for many of the boys in Bravo Platoon. And then he’d died before she got the chance to give him her whole heart…” (p. 230-31, e-galley)

Jake “The Snake” Sommers has spent most of his black-ops military career fulfilling a promise he made more than a decade ago. Now he’s finally free to pursue the woman he sacrificed…but hates the very ground he walks on. Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to “love her and leave her.” But when unknown enemies threaten everything she loves, she must do the unimaginable: place her life — and that of her son’s — into Jake’s seductive hands.

Keeping her and her son safe is his final mission. Keeping her heart to herself just might prove futile…

Rev It Up is book three in Julie Ann Walker‘s romantic suspense Black Knights Inc. series. It follows the sister of the Black Knights Inc. head honcho as she finds a happily ever after with a man from her past. This is a hard review for me to write because I didn’t love or hate the book.

Characters: Michelle is a single mother dealing with childhood scars. She married her best friend, but became a widow after a mission in which her former lover lived and her husband died. Like most mothers, she feels guilty about everything whether it’s her fault or not. She’s attracted to Jake, but will always put her child first as every action she takes has an effect on her son. Jake knows he made a mistake by pushing Michelle away in the past. After years of suffering from survivor’s guilt he can’t resist the one woman he’s never forgotten.

Action: Rev It Up doesn’t have as much action as its predecessor In Rides Trouble, but that’s okay because the book is solidly focused on the relationship between Michelle and Jake. People die. Guns are fired. However those things are secondary to Michelle and Jake overcoming the obstacles which have kept them separated and prevent them from being happy. I will say the end of the book is like the grand finale of an action movie. Yes, that much takes place.

Final Thoughts: I expected more from Rev It Up than I got. I had hoped to be taken on a ride with great characters. What I got was wagon ride with characters I felt nothing for. I didn’t feel the attraction or want anything for either character. When the zinger secret came out I cringed. It’s a romance pet-peeve of mine. I hate that storyline. No, I’m not going to ruin it for you by telling spoilers. I’m not saying Rev It Up was a bad book. I’m saying it didn’t hook me or leave an impression on me like In Rides Trouble.

Review: The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy

25 Sep

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy
Lusios Publishing (Oct. 1, 2012; Available on Amazon)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780985418502

Favorite Lines: “I am very attracted to you, Meri, despite all the times you’ve lied to me and called me a bastard. I see someone with tremendous potential and a tenacity to match my own. I won’t take advantage of your binding. If you want things to continue as before, it’s up to you. I’ll follow your lead.” (p. 138)

Meriwether Storm discovered the grisly remains of her parents on their living room floor when she was only fourteen, the result of a failed daemon summoning. Meri immediately swore vengeance on the daemon who’d killed her parents, but there was only one problem–she had no idea which one had committed the atrocity.

Before their untimely deaths her parents had trained her intensively in the arts, and Meri used her skills to follow in their footsteps, ever seeking the daemon’s name. Now, despite her years of searching, she’s no closer to the truth and her time is running out. Will she accept a deal from a daemon if it means finally learning the truth? When retribution is the only thing that drives you, how much are you willing to sacrifice before you lose yourself to the cause?

My thanks to the author, Candice Bundy, for sending me a copy of The Daemon Whisperer to review.

The idea behind The Daemon Whisperer is a good one. In the future society is controlled by different corporations instead of governments. In this world live people who can summon daemons from Sheol (their world). Usually daemon summoners are short lived. Daemons are violent, demanding and tricky. Summoners must be careful with the wording they use and always be a step ahead or they will die in a painful manner. After every summoning the summoner is left with a new tattoo from the daemon dealt with. No one know what will happen if the summoner runs out of bare skin to be tattooed.

Meriwether has been summoning daemons for years. She is careful, but doesn’t expect to live out the year as she’s running out of bare skin. Early on in the book she is contacted by a handsome daemon who looks nothing like those she has dealt with in the past. He offers her an opportunity she can’t resist, assassinate an arch daemon and in return he will give her the name of the daemon wo murdered her parents. This prospect pulls her from all she’s ever known and introduces her to a world she never dreamed she’d be part of.

For the most part I enjoyed reading The Daemon Whisperer. Meriwether was straightforward. She knew what she wanted and went after it. She had realistic thoughts about the world and didn’t allow moral issues to prevent her from moving forward. She was ruled by a need to get revenge on the daemon who destroyed her family. As the book progressed she transformed from being a person who only relied on herself to trusting others to assist her. It was nice to see her grow.

The Daemon Whisperer is an urban fantasy novel with a strong romance storyline. The heroine finds love and companionship, as well as a completely new life and outlook on life. I only have a few criticisms to voice. One, toward the end of the book the editing is off. Extra words are used erroneously. For example, “Once of the other daemon hunters were incapacitated…”. That happens a few times.

I also felt like the story went on a few chapters too long. Instead of wrapping up the story it was like reading the first few chapters of a new book. We’re given a possibly life altering dilemma and a new violent situation, but not time to follow up. Had the story ended before those new things were introduced I would have been satisfied. Instead I felt like I missed something. The originality of The Daemon Whisperer kept me flipping pages and interested enough to pick up book two, The Madness Path, when it’s released. I’m hoping it will expand on some parts of the world building which are mentioned, but not explored.

Review: The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

24 Sep

3 out of 5 scoopers

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James
Carina Press (Sept. 3)
ebook: $4.99 (On sale right now for $1.99)
ISBN: 9781426894305

Favorite Lines: “Rebecca Massee was no longer the kindergarten teacher who had been abandoned at the alter. She was no longer the one who looked to others for her self-esteem. And she was no longer the woman who was afraid to take the lead, to charge to the front. Rebecca Massee was an Amazon. She was Earth. And she was here to save humanity.” (p. 224, egalley)

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers—but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

When I read the premise for The Reluctant Amazon it sounded different from what I’d been reading and piqued my interest. Usually when I’m into a book I can read it in a day, but that’s not what happened with the story. I began reading it, disliked the heroine and put it down. I waited a while and tried again with the same result. Finally, yesterday I decided it was time to woman up and pound through the book. At the midpoint of the story, I began getting into it. By the last quarter, I was happy and quickly flipped through the remaining pages.

See it’s all about characters with me sometimes. I absolutely couldn’t stand the heroine Rebecca. She worked my last nerve. The same day she meets the hero she is looking at him with “hope and trust in her eyes” causing the hero to feel “humbled” that she “could offer him those gifts after the way he’d manhandled her all day.” Seriously? It was too much, way too fast. It was superficial and the main reason I wanted to put the book down. However, I’m glad I gave the book another chance because I’d have missed a great hero had I not finished.

Artair is a manly man who’s been training Amazons for four goddesses for over 300 years. He is tired of war and watching the people he loves die so he tenders his resignation in hopes of becoming a mortal capable of settling down with a wife and raising a family. That’s all before he meets the Amazon who slightly changes his mind. He sees the strength underneath the weak front Rebecca wears. She’s a nurturer, beautiful and the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Artair is caring, intelligent and stubborn. I love that he is able to step back and let his woman lead the way. Time is allowed to pass before he acts on his feelings toward the woman he calls “Becca-mine.”

I liked the romance because it meant Artair would be happy and it evolved with a more mature Rebecca than we are initially introduced to. The growth made Rebecca a strong heroine capable of giving her hero the balance he needed in order to have a happily ever after. The passion is secondary to the action and mystery surrounding the characters, so when it shows up it feels realistic and not forced.

It’s not one I’ll be reading again, but I’m glad I took the time to finish The Reluctant Amazon.

Books I Want: October 2012

23 Sep

A Jaguar’s Kiss by Katie Reus (Oct. 1)

Owen Wright, alpha of his wolf pack, hasn’t seen jaguar shifter Gabriela Segura in nearly ten years. She was his first love—until he did something to drive her away just as their relationship was heating up. Now Gabriela has returned to Montana, and his craving for her is stronger than ever….

But a recent string of brutal attacks on humans have the wolves suspicious of the jaguars, threatening the tenuous peace between the packs. Before he can claim Gabriela as his mate, they must join forces to prove her family’s innocence and track down the true predator.

The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy (Oct. 1; I was provided an author copy)

Meriwether Storm discovered the grisly remains of her parents on their living room floor when she was only fourteen, the result of a failed daemon summoning. Meri immediately swore vengeance on the daemon who’d killed her parents, but there was only one problem–she had no idea which one had committed the atrocity.

Before their untimely deaths her parents had trained her intensively in the arts, and Meri used her skills to follow in their footsteps, ever seeking the daemon’s name. Now, despite her years of searching, she’s no closer to the truth and her time is running out. Will she accept a deal from a daemon if it means finally learning the truth? When retribution is the only thing that drives you, how much are you willing to sacrifice before you lose yourself to the cause?

Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey (Oct. 2)

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.

Dark Storm by Christine Feehan (Oct. 2)

Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries.

But there are some things that never change.

His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man—and beast. Even his friends and family weren’t safe from Mitro’s bloodlust. Neither was Mitro’s lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts.

But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun—one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.

Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter (Oct. 2)

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

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

Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance (Oct. 2)

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

Ironskin by Tina Connolly (Oct. 2; I received a copy from Netgalley)

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

Mate Claimed by Jennifer Ashly (Oct. 2; received egalley from Edelweiss)

Collared and controlled, Shifters are outcast from humanity, forced to live in Shiftertowns. But waiting within are passions that no Collar can contain…

As a wildcat Shifter and leader of his Shiftertown, Eric Warden knows his own kind. When he sees Iona Duncan, he realizes that although she appears human she is a half-Shifter wildcat living without a Collar—and that if she doesn’t acknowledge her true nature and her mating hunger, it may kill her…

Iona finds the mysterious and powerful Eric alluring, even though she has vowed never to reveal her Shifter side, lest her mother pay the price for hiding her all these years. But her mating hunger is rising, and with Eric so close, she may not be able to resist…and her desire may lead to the very doom they are fighting to deny…

Rev it Up by Julie Ann Walker (Oct. 2; received egalley from Netgalley)

He Never Misses A Target

Jake “the Snake” Sommers earned his SEAL code name by striking quickly and quietly-and with lethal force. That’s also how he broke Michelle Carter’s heart. It was the only way to keep her safe-from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle’s loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow…

She Aims To Make Him Beg

Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to “love her and leave her.” But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake’s hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he’s wrapped around her heat, he’ll never let her go…

Undenied by Sara Humphreys (Oct. 2)

Enjoy a taste of The Amoveo Legend in Sara Humphreys’ riveting paranormal romance short story expanding on the world of the Amoveo—beautiful, secretive shapeshifters whose very existence is threatened by an age-old enemy and warring factions within the clans.

In this free promotional tale, Boris Zankoff is a shapeshifter from the Tiger Clan who wants no part of the burgeoning civil war among the Amoveo, But when his human mate lands on his doorstep in desperate need of his help, apathy is no longer an option.

Running in the Dark by Regan Summers (Oct. 29; trying to get from Netgalley)

Santiago, Chile

After surviving a vampire turf war in Alaska, vampire courier Sydney Kildare is back behind the wheel and working under an assumed name in Chile. She doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the city and—worst of all—has to drive a crappy car.

What she does have is Malcolm Kelly, her sort-of boyfriend and manager of the city’s vampire population. But with Malcolm preoccupied by bloodsucker business—and a gorgeous vampiress from his past—Sydney feels more alone than ever.

But Sydney has more than her love life to worry about. She’s got vamps on her tail, mysterious deliveries that leave death in their wake, and old enemies targeting her to get to Malcolm. Turns out he’s got a history more deadly than she ever imagined, and she’ll have to use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive…

A Trace of Moonlight by Allison Pang (Oct. 30)

Drinking from the waters of lethe and offering herself up as Faerie’s sacrificial Tithe . . . these just might be the least of Abby Sinclair’s problems.

Abby’s pact with a daemon—whether or not she remembers making it—is binding, so she’d better count herself lucky that (in the words of a daemon who knows better) there’s nearly always a loophole. But her friends’ reckless attempts to free her, well intentioned though they may be, set off a disastrous chain of events. In no time at all, Abby turns her incubus lover mortal, then gets herself killed, cursed, and married to an elven prince whose mother wants her dead. On top of everything else, she’s lost the Key to the CrossRoads to her mortal enemy, who promptly uses his restored power to wreak havoc on the OtherWorld and put its very existence in jeopardy. Only one person can make things right again, but to find her, Abby must place her trust in allies of mixed loyalties, and conquer her nightmares once and for all.

Black Lament by Christina Henry (Oct. 30)

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black deals with loss every day. But when tragedy touches her own life, Maddy will have to find the strength within to carry on…

Devastated and grieving, Maddy unexpectedly finds hope with the discovery that she is pregnant. But Maddy’s joy is short lived when Lucifer informs her that he wants the baby, hoping to draw on the combined power of two of his bloodlines. Maddy is determined that her grandfather will never have her child, but she’s not sure what she can do to stop him.

Being pregnant is stressful enough, but Maddy suddenly finds herself at odds with the Agency—forbidden from meddling in the affairs of the supernatural courts. When a few of her soul collections go awry, Maddy begins to suspect that the Agency wants to terminate her employment. They should know by now that she isn’t the sort to give up without a fight…

The Warrior by Margaret Mallory (Oct. 30; received copy from Netgalley)

From the Isle of Skye to the battlefields of France, Duncan MacDonald has never escaped the memory of the true love he left behind. Deemed unworthy of a chieftain’s daughter, Duncan abandoned the lovely Moira to prove his worth in battle. Now, when called upon to rescue her from a rival clan, one thing is certain: Moira’s pull on his heart is stronger than ever.

Bartered away in marriage to a violent man, Moira will do anything to ensure she and her son survive. When a rugged warrior arrives to save her, the desperate beauty thinks her prayers have been answered-until she realizes it’s Duncan. The man who once broke her heart is now her only hope. Moira vows never again to give herself-or reveal her secrets-to the fierce warrior, but as they race across the sea, danger and desire draw them ever closer.

Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Oct. 30)

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones (Oct. 30)

In Darynda Jones’s Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.

The Shattered Dark by Sandy Williams (Oct. 30)

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…

McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war between the fae.

With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

Kensington Sweepstakes Sept. 21

21 Sep

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any type of publisher or author sweepstakes so I looked up Kensington Publishing and compiled a list so you don’t have to. 🙂

  1. In honor of book nine, Fear the Darkness, of Alexandra Ivy’s Guardian’s of Eternity Kensington’s Facebook page has posted a sweepstakes where you fill in your information for a chance to win $150 Sephora gift card.
  2. Book four in Fern Michael’s Godmothers series (Deadline) was released in January of this year, but the publisher has posted a sweepstake which expires soon in which you can try to win a Harry & David Fall Tower of Treats and copies of the Godmothers series. You can also pop by the author’s website and enter for a chance to win a copy of Breaking News.
  3. If you liked the spicy stories written by Sylvia Day Kensington is offering you a chance to look like one of the heroines by giving away a $100 Victoria Secret gift card.
  4. Love your ereader? Check out the sweepstake sponsored by Kensington in which you can win a designer ereader case.
  5. Take a shot at winning copies of Shannon McKenna’s books by filling out the short entry form. McKenna is also sponsoring a Kindle Touch giveaway on her website.
  6. Think ahead to Christmas by entering the Kensington Christmas giveaway. You’ll have a chance to win Christmas romance books and a 2012 limited edition Lennox Christmas ornament.

This could be you when you win. But to win you have to enter!

Review: Boyfriend from Hell by Jaime Quaid

20 Sep

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

Boyfriend from Hell by Jaime Quaid
Pocket Books (Sept. 25, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781451656350

Favorite Lines: “I didn’t like being chastised for defending someone against a rapist. If violence wasn’t the answer, what should I have done, polished his nails.” (p. 198, e-galley)

They say justice is blind. But Justine isn’t.

Justine (Tina) Clancy is just an ordinary law student with a faulty arrest record, a part-time job in Baltimore’s radioactive Zone, and a family secret so bizarre even she doesn’t believe it. That is, until in a fit of fury she damns her boyfriend to hell—and it’s exactly where he ends up.

Much to her surprise, Tina is apparently one of Saturn’s daughters, with the power to wield vigilante justice. But poor Max didn’t deserve to go up in flames, even if he did almost run her over with her own car. Tina’s convinced someone cut the brakes—and now a relentless nemesis is stalking her through the Zone’s back alleys, where buildings glow, statues move, and chemical waste exposure comes with interesting consequences. Tina’s usually a loner, but now she needs a posse like no other: a shape-shifting kitten, an invisible thief, a biker gang, a snake-charming private detective, a well-meaning cop, and her sleazy, sexy boss. But in between freeing Max from hell, saving her own neck, and solving a mystery that threatens the Zone and her newfound friends, how is she ever going to study for finals?

A new series that takes on the mythology Saturn, Boyfriend from Hell introduces us to Jaime Quaid‘s Saturn’s Daughter series. It takes a while to find out what Saturn’s daughter really means, but by the end of the book I had a pretty clear picture of the world and many of its different aspects. There is still much that will need to be fleshed out in following books, but enough is given to make me close the book satisfied.

Setting: Most of the book is set in a radioactive industrial neighborhood filled with “freaks”. The Boston area is called the Zone. The people there live under the radar as much as possible until Justine, aka Tina, begins to change bringing unwanted attention to the area.

Heroine: Tina has had a rough past. She isn’t beautiful, but she is intelligent and is trying to become a layer. This is hard because she has a blemish on her record which could prevent her from ever practicing law. A run in with a bad cop has left her with a noticeable limp and a desire to remain far away from police. Her wishes never come true until she makes a remark about a boyfriend in a fit of anger.

Action: Boyfriend from Hell is packed with action. Right away a hit and run occurs, the heroine is almost killed by her boyfriend and a bank is hit by a car. From there the action just keeps picking up. Seemingly random acts happen; unfortunately the heroine is almost always in the thick of it.

Secondary characters: Tina’s mysterious employer Andre tops my list of get to know characters. I want more of him. We’re teased with small scenes including him that only whet my appetite for more information. The other inhabitants of the Zone range from monkey-like to an invisible guy. They hang out where Tina works and remind me of a paranormal Cheers which is kind of funny seeing as how Cheers is set in Boston too. Finally, I’ve got to mention Tina’s damned boyfriend Max who is a mass of contradictions. I’ll be interested to see how future books portray him.

In the end: There were moments during Boyfriend from Hell that I was really invested in the story. There were also slow moments when I wanted to punch Tina for being a hot head. She is a character who reacts. I guess it’s a gut reaction with her but for me it wasn’t always a rational decision. Despite my ambivalent feelings toward the heroine I enjoyed Quaid’s first book in the Saturn’s Daughter series.

Review: Shadow Rising by Cassi Carver

19 Sep

4 out of 5 scoopers

Shadow Rising by Cassi Carver
Samhain (Sept. 25, 2012)
ebook: $5.50
ISBN: 9781619211056

Favorite Lines: “No, she wouldn’t be pathetic and call Alden just because she was lonely and scared. She had her pride–and a hell of a right hook. As long as she had those, she could handle whatever came her way.” (p. 31)

When Kara Reed learns her bondmate, Julian, is truly dead, and that Gavin has seemingly skipped town, she figures things have hit rock bottom. But soon, a string of bizarre accidents has her doubting those closest to her. And to make matters worse, the demon-king’s brand carved into her best friend Abbey’s stomach is deteriorating by the day.

Then a powerful coven of witches issues Kara an ultimatum. Bring them the blood of a true fallen angel—the only thing that will heal Abbey—or die. Kara would do anything to help her friend. Problem is, the only fallen angel she’s seen lately is the disoriented black-wing who attacked her scouts. One who looks suspiciously like Julian. Getting his blood might be easier if he was more interested in kissing her than killing her.

Caught between a coven of vengeful witches and a murderous dead lover, Kara must deliver the blood, heal the slow poison of Abbey’s brand, and save Julian from being consumed by the Abyss. But to do this, she may need the help of the one man she swore never to trust again…Gavin.

Readers who loved Slayer’s Kiss are going to have a great time with Shadow Rising.

Book two in Cassi Carver’s Shadow Slayer series picks up after the events of book one, Slayer’s Kiss. If you haven’t read it, don’t start the series with Shadow Rising.

At the end of Slayer’s Kiss the reader is left reeling from devastating blows which stripped apart Kara and Julian. We also have a type of hope that Kara will find comfort in the arms of their friend Gavin. Unfortunately what we get in Shadow Rising is Cassi on her own with no Julian or Gavin. For a while.

I had such hope for Gavin. I thought he’d bond with Kara and together they’d work on saving Julian. I had no idea I’d end up despising Gavin. Yes. Others may see him as sacrificing himself for Kara, but I see him as someone who will have to work his ass off to get any “Yay, Gavins” from me. Honestly I don’t know how Carver will redeem Gavin. I’m hoping there will be another heroine for Gavin, because I’m not really feeling more than a friendship between Gavin and Kara.

Those who felt like there was too much smexiness in book one will be pleased to hear there is much less in Shadow Rising. The passion is still there, it just is spaced farther apart and centers around Kara and Julian. Yes, there are other sex scenes, but the drawn out love fests surround Kara and Julian. Those scenes are as fiery as those in Slayer’s Kiss.

So much takes place over the 218 pages which make up the story that I’m only going to highlight a few reasons why you should read Shadow Rising.

5.     Shadow lands. We get a closer look at the way the shadow lands work. You know like who’s in charge and what it means to be beneath those in charge.

4.     Tray. You will never believe how far this secondary has come from his small role in book one to the end of book two. I knew something was up with him, but WOW. You won’t see this coming.

3.     Witches. Those witches are all over the place. Are they good? Are they bad? Whose side are they on? Who do they want to help?

2.     Betrayals. They come in many forms, from many places and not all of them are aimed at the heroine.

1.     Dark Julian. Oh my God! HOT. HOT. HOT.