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Favorite Scenes Friday: Justice

16 Nov

A loud noise boomed and wood split in the living room. It sounded as if someone had kicked down the front door. She grabbed Justice’s hand to shove over his injury.

“Press here, hold it tight and don’t move. I love you.”

She grabbed the empty gun and reached into her shirt. Her hand smeared Justice’s blood all over her vest, shirt and breasts as she yanked out the clip. She slammed it into the empty chamber as she rose to her feet. She gripped both guns in her fists and spread her feed apart to plant them on both sides of Justice’s hips.

It was a bad place to be as far as tactical advantages went. Windows were all around them–a huge glass slider and the open archway that led to the living room. There was no cover. Justice was too heavy and too hurt to move. The fifth male would strike and she hoped he’d come from the archway since that’s where she’d heard the house breached.

Her eyes scanned the room frantically.–Justice by Laurann Dohner

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Review: Impulse by Moira Rogers

28 Aug

Impulse by Moira Rogers
Samhain (Sept. 4, 2012)
ebook: $5.50
ISBN: 9781609287672
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “One more thing, I don’t break, okay? I bend. The rest of you stand strong until you shatter, but I ride the rough spots so I can get back up when they’re over. But sometimes that means I don’t learn, because I never get hurt badly enough to teach me a lesson.” (p. 94)

Sera Sinclaire is a New Orleans rarity: a submissive coyote trapped in a town overrun by dominant shapeshifters. Worse, she lacks the willpower to deny the alphas-in-shining-armor who need her soothing presence, even when their protectiveness threatens to crush her hard-won self-reliance.

The only shifter she doesn’t want to push away is Julio Mendoza, a wolf so dominant he’s earned a place on the Southeast council.

Julio doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in the vacation his psychic shrink insists he needs. He can’t turn his back on responsibilities he’s beginning to wish he’d never shouldered. When an obsessive ex endangers Sera, though, instinct drives him to get her out of town. Watching her come to life outside the city makes him feel like he’s finally done something right, and her touch ignites desire he doesn’t want to ignore.

But soon, lighthearted flirting becomes a dangerous game of seduction, where every day spent falling into each other is another day avoiding the truth. Sera’s ex isn’t the only one who’d disapprove of their relationship. There are wolves who would kill to get Sera out of Julio’s life—starting with his own blood kin.

Book five (Impulse) in the writing duo Moira Rogers’ Southern Arcana series can be read as a stand alone, but you may want to read the previous books to get a feel for the world and its secondary characters. I read book five, then went back and read book one, Crux. I don’t think that was a good idea because they have too many similarities and while I liked Impulse, I didn’t like Crux because of those similarities. (Both have a thread about a male shifter chasing a female shifter to breed.)

But let’s talk about Impulse. It features a submissive fox shifter named Sera who is attracted to a dominate wolf shifter named Julio. Both are traumatized from past events. I think I’d have a clearer understanding of those things had I read book four. Rogers gives enough information that I was able to understand the damage done to both Sera and Julio without reading those events as they occurred. Those events are important because they set up the situation which leads to Sera and Julio to need a vacation.

Impulse is a character driven romance. Both Julio and Sera have emotional issues that they need to work out and a lazy vacation is their route to happiness.  Of course along the way there are speed bumps, but what kept bringing me back were the dynamics between Julio and Sera. Sera was more than a woman who liked to be dominated. She wanted to be seen as an asset who could fight when she needed too, but liked to offer comfort. She is capable of bending which is something an alpha can’t do. She’s a survivor who eventually learns to be confident in herself while living in a world in which many paranormal shifters consider her to be scum.

Julio is hard on himself. He feels guilty about not stepping up in the supernatural world while his father and uncle bullied and ran shifters into the ground. We meet him as he deals with his guilty conscience which forces him to accept all forms of responsibility. Sera doesn’t want to be his responsibility. She wants to be his lover and later–his partner. Once she gets through to him, the possibilities seem endless. It’s the paranormal world’s prejudice that affects them.

Julio is a good guy and I love it when the good guy wins. That’s especially true when he’s paired with a woman who fits him the way Sera fits Julio. She’s the grass to his wind. He blows hard and she bends to fit him no matter where he needs to go.

The plot lines were less interesting to me. There was a fear of Sera’s ex-husband showing up and worry that Julio’s family would make a violent move that never really reached the level I expected. I like my bad guys really bad, but the bad guys in Rogers’ world didn’t feel evil. I actually felt kind of bad for one of them.

The joy to be found in Impulse came from the interactions between Sera and Julio. Their sex scenes were hot, but their ability to just “be” while together were even better. I felt their attraction turn from lust to love and that made me happy with the romance.

Review: Kansas City Cowboy by Julie Miller

5 Aug

Kansas City Cowboy by Julie Miller
Harlequin/Intrigue (Aug. 7, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99 (I saw it listed at B&N for $3.82 on 8/5/12)
ISBN: 9780373696345

Favorite Lines: “He knew he’d surprised her, knew he was taking liberties with a woman he barely knew. But he needed human contact right now. He needed the reassurance of a beating heart. he needed something strong to hold on to, something soft to absorb the pain and the rage and the grief rolling inside him that threatened to drag him down to his knees and bring him to tears.” (p. 31, e-galley)

For small-town sheriff Boone Harrison, the investigation into a serial rapist turned killer is painfully personal. Boone’s priority is to find the coward who murdered his sister. But to accomplish that, he’ll have to work with Dr. Kate Kilpatrick, a secretive woman whose striking beauty and kind heart just may be the lawman’s undoing….

Forensic psychologist Kate Kilpatrick was wrong about Sheriff Harrison. He’s smarter and more resourceful than she’d given him credit for—and entirely too attractive. In their combined grief, Kate finds something she didn’t even know she needed: protection. Because when the Rose Red Rapist sets his sights on Kate, she’ll need more than the power of the badge to save her. She’ll need her very own cowboy.

Does it get much sexier than a smart cowboy? Well, I figured I find out by reading Julie Miller’s Kansas City Cowboy.

If you’re unfamiliar with Harlequin’s Intrigue line all you need to know is that it is the line that promotes romantic suspense stories. One of the good things about it is at the beginning of each novel the reader is given a list of characters. The cast list includes the hero, heroine, important secondary characters and the villain. It’s a great way to know exactly what is going on before turning the first page of the book. So, let’s get back to Kansas City Cowboy.

Heroine: Dr. Kate Kilpatrick is intelligent woman who was betrayed by her husband and best friend. She copes with it by not allowing people to get close to her. Until Sheriff Boone Harrison appears and pulls her into a bear hug. She doesn’t have time to strictly focus on him though. An escalating rapist has her in his sights and with all the risks she takes, she just might end up dead.

Hero: Sheriff Boone Harrison’s sister was raped and murdered. As her oldest sibling, Boone plans to find his sister’s killer and leaves his jurisdiction for that of Kansas City. Once there he meets Dr. Kate and feels a spark of attraction. He isn’t ready to follow-up on it though. He needs to bury his sister and see her killer brought to justice.

Villain: The Rose Red Rapist has been taking what he wants and leaving women behind. The reader is given glimpses of him, but never gets to really see him. Eventually it becomes clear that there may be more than one bad guy making the rounds in Kansas City Cowboy. Unfortunately, we find out many things SPOILER but never the identity of the rapist. END SPOILER

Suspense, Romance and Sex: The suspense builds as Dr. Kate is stalked. Classic stalker techniques are used: text messages, break ins and the sound of footsteps. At the same time Boone and Kate are spending more time together with a slow burning attraction. There is sex, but not only does it relieve the tension, but it also leads the heroine to feelings of self-empowerment.

End Thoughts: I was bored with Kansas City Cowboy. The conflict didn’t feel like it was between the rapist and the main characters. I felt more internal battles fought inside Kate’s mind with herself and her former best friend, than I felt between the rapist/stalker and the police. The mystery aspect of the story was alright, but it never sucked me in. I felt semi-cheated when I finished reading the book. (Read the spoiler.) There were moments when I wanted to shake the heroine for being TSTL. I guess it just wasn’t the book for me. Maybe you’ll feel different. Did you read it? What are your thoughts?

Review: Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

9 Jul

Originally posted at Fiction Vixen as a guest review on July 5. Follow the link to read comments. I was given this book to review.

Samurai Game by Christine Feehan
Penguin/JOVE (July 3, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780515151541

Favorite Lines: “You’re so easy to want, Azami, so easy to love, but you still reject who and what you are. You are Thorn, that incredibly brave girl who has grown into a remarkable woman.” (p. 244)

Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. I love it so much that I rarely review the books out of fear that I’ll over think them and ruin the experience. Samurai Game, book 10 in the series, is one that needs some type of warning for readers though, so here I am. You may want to read the previous books to get a grasp on the Ghostwalkers’ world before reading Samurai Game.

The blurb on the back of the book is misleading. It says:

In an underground club, a high-ranking public official spends his secret nights indulging in fantasies as exciting as they are depraved. For a seductive employee of the Dungeon, it’s her job to fulfill them. But she’s playing a far more dangerous game—one of blackmail, politics, and murder that reaches into the shadow world of the Ghostwalkers, and the creation of a spectacular, one-of-a-kind new weapon of defense.

But when a dictator makes his own catastrophic moves, the Ghostwalkers have no choice but to bring in two major players—a man and woman both driven by passion and revenge. Both expendable. Both with nothing left to lose.

The first paragraph refers to a secondary character who is killed by page four and the second paragraph is a vague reference to an event at the end of the book. For the most part the blurb is not a great overview of what you’re getting if you purchase the novel. In reality, as with each Ghostwalker book, we are given a genetically altered man and woman who fall in love amidst the chaos of war-like conditions.

The heroine is an Asian woman named Azami, aka Thorn, who was discarded by a monster as a child. She was taken in and raised by a loving father. She is not a member of a sex club, but a samurai warrior who works with her two adopted brothers to cut off  Dr. Whitney’s political support system. She is secretive, but finds solace in tradition and honor. She sees herself as expendable.

Sam “Knight” Johnson is not considered expendable by his friends or family. He is an intellectual man with several degrees to his name, as well as a good soldier who knows how to follow orders. He isn’t willing to ignore the diminutive, but stunning Azami though, no matter who tells him to. He is deadly to his enemies and loving when it comes to his family.

The villain may find one or both of them expendable, but neither Sam or Azami will let danger touch the other. Plus they have a huge extended family of genetically altered “brothers and sisters” to have their backs. Those siblings are the characters from previous books and include the Norton brothers, Gator and Ryland, along with their wives.

In some ways Samurai Game is exactly what I expect to read when I pick up a Ghostwakers’ book. The passion and sex I  associate with Feehan novels are present, as is the severely damaged heroine who realizes she is worthy of love. However, one thing that makes Samurai Game different from previous books is the time spent observing the enemy’s actions.  Series readers know that Dr. Whitney has eyes everywhere, but Samurai Game shows a glimpse at the expansiveness of his spy network. We see the way the network runs before watching a silent adversary take out those greedy spies as battle is waged the samurai way.

I liked Samurai Game, but it’s only fair to mention there are unnecessary repetitive passages which slowed the story. I was also bored a few times like when characters discussed nanotechnology and their weaponry. I was entertained by Samurai Game, but it isn’t my favorite book in the series. That is still a tie between Ruthless Game and Deadly Game.

Review: The Darkest Day by Britt Bury

28 Jun

The Darkest Day by Britt Bury
Grand Central Publishing/Forever Yours(June 28, 2012)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781455523290

Favorite Lines: “I love you, Izel. You are the most precious thing ta me. Above all else, it’s you.” (p. 218, e-galley)

ALL-CONSUMING DESIRE . . .

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe-and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.

BURNS BRIGHTEST . . .

A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

Debut author Britt Bury has created a new world in which no pure humans exist in her soon-to-be released paranormal romance story The Darkest Day. It has all the amenities of modern society, ie. cell phones and cars, but is manned by vampires, witches and shapeshifters to name only a few of the supernatural creatures. What sucked me into the world though was the Scottish pookah who spoke with a burr. That burr made me so happy. But it didn’t make me happy enough to ignore the dumb ass heroine.

Izel, the heroine, is not new to the supernatural world. She is new to the idea of being one of the extinct humans. This irritated me because she acted like she was ignorant of the supernatural. She kept putting herself in dangerous situations and acting out like a child. I’m understanding of some of it, hell, she felt no emotion for 25 years, but I’m not willing to overlook Izel’s reactions to her emotions. I wish I could give you examples, but I don’t want to give away anything and will let you find (or not find) those scenes.

What I liked:

  1. I liked the idea of pure humans not existing. A place where humans are the minority was exciting because so often I read about paranormals hiding or living in human society where humans are the majority.
  2. Getting a hero who was a pookah was a nice change from vampires (Don’t worry, I still love my vampire heroes).  The hero also knew how to apologize and admit wrongdoing.
  3. The sexual tension was great. It was instant, but slow burning. When Kelvin turned alpha on the prowl for sex, whew! Good stuff. He was about pleasuring her and not acting on his animal urges…for a while. 🙂
  4. The Scottish burr…

What I didn’t like:

  1. The TSTL heroine.
  2. The predictability of the story.

Overall opinion: I liked The Darkest Day. No, it’s not perfect but I had to have it after reading the blurb. It’s reasonably priced and book one in The Immortal Heat series. It’s a sensuous book that hints at the events to come in future books. I think the series will stay focused on romance while getting more violent. I’ll be reading the next book in the series.

Review: Hunted by Rebecca Zanetti

1 May

Hunted by Rebecca Zanetti
Kennsington (May 1, 2012)
Trade: $14; ebook: $11.99
ISBN: 9780758259271
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “As he wrapped his hand around hers, something shifted inside him. He loosened his hold, careful not to bruise. No hint flowed from her of the possibility she was an enhanced female, a possible mate. No whisper of psychic ability. Yet, as she tangled her small fingers more securely with his, he angled his body to protect her from the rain. He’d follow her anywhere.” (p. 97-98, eARC)

Ready Or Not
Moira Dunne is a witch—the quantum physics kind. Time and space are her playthings. Which might explain why her one-night stand from a hundred years ago has turned up to “claim” her—and request her family’s assistance with the war he’s brewing. But the more she learns about Connlan Kayrs, the more she comes to think this is normal behavior for him…

There’s Nowhere To Hide
When Conn and Moira tumbled on the moonlit grass, Conn hadn’t meant to mark her as his mate for all time. She was only twenty! But it wasn’t easy to wait for her. It was even harder to forget her. So when he finally returns for his wicked-hot witch, he’s ready to let the sparks flying. Even if he burns up in flames…

Hunted is book three in Rebecca Zanetti’s Dark Protectors’ series. It follows one of the vampire king’s brothers’ journey to love and happiness. The book works as a stand alone, but you may want to read previous books to get a strong foothold in the paranormal world and a firm grasp on the relationships already in place.

Moira is a strong woman who didn’t understand why her mate left her over a hundred of years before the events of this book. She feels like he should have wanted her enough to come sooner. However, her time spent apart from her mate allowed her to practice and perfect her magic, as well as take up lessons in fighting. Her attraction toward Conn has not dimmed over time, but her need to protect him from her family has only increased. Moira is a strong, sexual woman who is determined to give her all in a relationship with Conn. She is extremely likeable.

Conn is an alpha hero. He is respectful of his mate and willing to let Moira handle situations. That doesn’t mean he will let her go off on her own. He wants to be present to protect her, even when it means he could die. I enjoyed watching him verbally spar with Moira and his determination to find a happily ever after with her despite all the political machinations taking place around them. As much as I liked Conn and Moira, I’ve got to admit that my favorite story line  followed a secondary character long ago introduced: Kalin.

Kalin is a 15-year-old bad ass. He is a vampire, but not part of the Realm (good guys team). Kalin is always looking for a way to cause chaos and likes preying on people. In Hunted, the reader is introduced to a possible alter-Kalin. He has come to a fork in a path. He can continue on the path he has been traveling and end in the darkness of evil. Or he can choose a new way. A path toward redemption. I loved every aspect of the young vamps’ journey. I can’t tell you what happens, but you’ll want to read and find out.

Hunted is full of love, betrayal, and both fulfilled and unfulfilled desires. The sex is hot. The ripple effects of events: long reaching. It’s an entertaining escape to an alternate world which is slightly above average. It’s not my favorite book, but I don’t regret setting aside the time to read it.

GoodReads states that book four in the series will be called Consumed and that it will be released in June 2012. I looked on Amazon and B&N, but found no listing for it. Zanetti’s website confirmed the title of the book, but did not list a release date.

Review: Deadly is the Kiss by Rhyannon Byrd

13 Mar

Deadly is the Kiss by Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin (March 27, 2012)
Mass Market $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9780373776801
Excerpt

Favorite Line: “One more glimpse of her clutching that throw against the front of her naked body and he’d have her on the floor, his cock buried a mile inside her, before she even realized he’d crossed the room.” (p. 104, egalley)

Tasked with protecting humanity from harm, the last thing Ashe Granger was searching for on his mission was his destined mate. Then, a mysterious darkeyed beauty reluctantly offered him shelter. A spark of danger—and a soul-deep recognition—ignited a burning, carnal need…

Since her family’s exile, Juliana Sabin had borne full responsibility for their safety. So when evil struck, she
had no choice but to ally herself with the sexy guardian vampire. Now, months later, Ashe is back and tempting Juliana to reveal her darkest secrets…and desires. For the killer stalking the shadows isn’t acting alone—andhe won’t rest until his deadly cravings are fulfilled.

I’ve got a secret to admit. Book nine (Deadly is the Kiss) is the first book in Rhyannon Byrd’s Primal Instinct series that I’ve read. I’ve been missing out on some good reading material if the previous books in the series are anything like the one I read. I’m sure I would have felt entrenched in the vampire world had I read those books, too. As it is I can’t complain; enough back story is given to prevent the first time reader from being confused.

Warning: The hero is an alpha male who you will either love or hate. I was attracted to the aggressive side of Ashe, but I wanted to punch him in the face a few times. He is stuck in a shitty situation: his fated mate is an outlaw. Ashe has other issues, but as a lawman he cannot trust Juliana which is a fundamental relationship stopper.

Juliana is an enigma. She is hiding and trying to atone for events which occurred in her mysterious past. It’s quite a while before those events are brought to light. Once they are…WOW…I never saw it coming. The tension built along with my need to know Juliana’s secret. I felt compelled to read the book because I had to know what Juliana was hiding.

The passion between the hero and heroine was never a problem so there are a lot of well-written sex scenes.  My only issue with the book was that I didn’t feel like the hero truly loved the heroine until the very end. I guess that’s a huge problem, but by the final page of the story I was content with the knowledge that they would succeed as a couple. Maybe Ashe’s hesitation toward Juliana helped me believe that. While there was a connection it wasn’t until Ashe and Juliana knew one another that love kicked in.

Deadly is the Kiss is an action filled paranormal romance. It is part of a series, but you should be able to read it as a stand alone. I’m sure you’d understand the world better if you read the previous eight books. It’s a sexual book about vampires and has a few dark scenes. It’s definitely worth checking out.