Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amber's Wedding by Sara Wood

A wedding to remember

The bride was resplendent, the groom was handsome, the location was grand and the cream of society was there. It was a glorious affair--with just a few small hitches.

The groom was behaving both jealously and possessively, yet strangely Jake Cavendish and Amber Fraser were friends but not lovers. Amber, however. was pregnant--with another man's child. All in all, it wasn't your average wedding, and the best was yet to come: Jake was about to reveal to Amber a secret about her past, her family. It was a revelation that would change her life and uncover Jake's true motives for marrying her. It was all happening at Amber's wedding.

TRUE COLOURS: Three women are looking for their family--what they truly seek is love. Things are rarely as they seem, in Sara Wood's intriguing family trilogy.

Reviewer: Fashionta 
Amber’s Wedding is the conclusion to the True Colour series and ties up most of the loose ends from the previous two books.

I liked this book the best as I actually read this first before knowing it was a series and it was enjoyable book. However, the way it played out at the end with only the heroine finding her mother and the truth revealed. It was a let down, as we have three connected books  about the girls who are trying to find out about their mothers and in the end we only get one satisfying conclusion with Amber even though there is mention that her mother knew the other girls birth mothers.

So for those reasons I give it only 3 stars.

See the original review on goodreads

The Station by Keira Andrews

Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster secretly watched stable master Patrick Callahan mastering the groundskeeper, he's longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death, Colin speaks up in his defense, announcing that he, too, is guilty of "the love that dare not speak its name." Soon they're both condemned as convicts and shipped off to the faraway prison colony of Australia. Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale and is determined that no one will scale the wall he's built around his heart. Yet he's inexorably drawn to the charismatic Colin despite his best efforts to keep him at bay. As their journey extends from the cramped and miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must build new lives for themselves. They'll have to tame each other to find happiness in this wild new land.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
This is a breathtaking story taking place in the mid 1800's, beginning in England and ending in the Australian Outback.

The two main characters are as different as it can be. Colin Lancaster is a very young man, over protected by his wealthy parents, who is rather shy and appears fragile. Patrick, the stable master, is an Irish, independent older man who has become hard and bitter. Somebody broke his heart when he was a young lad.
Colin has a crush on him, since he was a boy. At that time, he witnessed him and another young man having sex. From that moment on Colin is unable to forget it and only tries to deny the obvious, terrifying by his feelings. To his horror he wishes it could have been him. After that he does everything to avoid the stable master.

Some years later Patrick is caught in the act with somebody else. Colin does a very brave but a very foolish thing to save him, he tells family and friends he is himself a sodomite. They are both condemned to transportation. After that, begins a great adventure!

The long journey in the convicts ship is extremely well depicted from the horrible lack of privacy, to the danger and diseases. Against all odds, Colin doesn't collapse under that appalling situation. Little by little they are even able to bond during this ordeal.

In Australia they are both allocated to a young widow who lost her husband during the crossing. After that we can see Colin and Patrick relationship develop, despite Patrick reluctance. As Colin grows into manhood, hopeful and courageous, Patrick will have to let go of the past and embrace the present.

There is an interesting plot behind their story and another love story between the widow and an Australian guide who joined the little group on the road later. There is lots of dust, sun, unfriendly insects and animals, hardship and hard work for them all and a final twist... before a very satisfying happy ending.

I really loved this book. I give it a 5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades 1) by E L James

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Reviewer: avidscribe
That last line is no tease, it's true. I can't say when I have enjoyed a book more. I read voraciously and have consumed a huge diet of the classics, sci-fi, horror, thrillers and erotica. I'm a writer myself and know how important the right word is to lift a sentence and make it resonate and render it sublime. This writer has talent to spare and I would read a cereal box if she wrote the blurb for it.

A friend recommended the book to me, saying she'd read it and thought I would enjoy it, given the list of books I've been referring her to for the past year or so. The two of us are devout readers and I've been suggesting authors and titles to her every month or so as I find things I like. This was tit for tat and, intrigued, I picked it up immediately to begin to read.

As I read, in the back of my mind the story became an itch, reminding me of something that had been raved about by a group of friends online a year or so ago. Something about its storyline made me wonder if it was originally a TWILIGHT fanfic and I pursued this, asking if anyone recognized the story. It was indeed a TWI fanfic, originally called MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE and is a giant of a tale that I understand is being broken down into a trilogy for professional publication. Names are changed to protect the innocent sort of thing and there's some editing involved as well.

It is a phenomenal work, a magnum opus, though I hope to see what this author might write next. Five stars isn't enough, this needs a whole new classification. Its fresh first person POV is a fusion of tender, erotic, tragic, harrowing, thrilling, suspenseful, hilarious and real. Above all, real. The writer's dialog is spot on. These are people you feel, that you could know, that you'd want to know. The heroine is a very young, unworldly police chief's daughter who is graduating from college when she meets Seattle's most eligible bachelor via an awkward and unprepared interview she does for her best friend who is too sick to do it herself. The fateful meeting has Grey fascinated with the shy beauty and he pursues her.

Some writers are comfortable with description or their forte is great dialog. Some unravel an amazing story that compels you to miss meals, not answer phones, turn inward with a dark glee. Some can do great erotica. I rarely find a writer who can do ALL of it with such élan as E L James has pulled off.

Anastasia's POV is intelligent, believable, and I utterly fell in love with this author's use of her subconscious and inner goddess who always seem to be reacting to the moment in a more visceral way than Anastasia is capable of. Anastasia stands on a sexual precipice, an innocent who is shocked to feel all those delicious igneous jolts of awakening, while her subconscious comments dryly on the moment, or looks down at her from the top of her half moon glasses and tuts at her foibles or makes profane gestures at those who offend her sensibilities. Her conscious is the intellectual side while the inner goddess makes all the earthier moves. Every woman should have one—a flamboyant, emotional, free spirit who sways in gentle sambas, pirouettes, sits in lotus positions with sly self-congratulatory smiles on her face, or jumps up and down clapping her hands with glee.

Anastasia is in Grey's sexual thrall and troubled by his demands of her as his submissive. Unfortunately, her only spheres of reference are her roommate who won't take shit from men because she's beautiful and never had to and the rest are all fictional: Elizabeth Bennett would be outraged, Jane Eyre too frightened and Tess D'Urberville would succumb.

I have read this four times, the latest taking the fanfic and placing it next to the published ebook together to see the differences. The author appears to be UK in origin and the alterations taking the book professional are mainly honing it to an American audience. The feel is still there as is the wonderful hilarity of the heroine's inner dialog.

I applaud smart, witty writing:

• "my heartbeat has picked up and my medulla oblongata has neglected to fire any synapses to make me breathe …"
• "Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe."
• "I needed time to think," I whisper and I'm all rabbit/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake … and he knows exactly what he's doing to me."
• " ... Desire—acute, liquid and smoldering ... "
• "the mouth to brain filter is broken again ... "
and there is SO much more that makes me grin from ear to ear because the writing snaps and sizzles with intelligence and mastery.

The email banter between Anastasia and Grey is so hilarious, so real and made me wish my own significant other was as cosmopolitan, seductive and yeah, even possessive. Grey's musical interludes sent me scurrying repeatedly to youtube in hopes of hearing these pieces which I've heard but didn't know the names of. They added to the rich tonal quality of the story. I've gained so much by the reading of this.

Beyond everything, there's a real story here. This isn't just erotica and BDSM. Grey is an extremely fractured individual who walks the line between dominance and sadism. He behaves in a bipolar manner to Anastasia that she finds confusing and distancing. He is mercurial—jealous, intense, demanding, uptight and suspicious on the one hand and passionate, generous, needy, giving and wholly devoted on the other. He's used to calling the shots and his money has bought him power in both his business dealings and with women. Anastasia alters that. She's not a submissive, she won't train for him, she mouths off, he finds her defiant and she breaks through much of his layering he's built up to protect the haunted abused child who has never gotten past the trauma. He is drawn to her, to her spirit and innocence, and together they share many firsts together. Her first sexual experience marks the first time he has ever had sex in his own bed or slept with a woman he's brought home. It's the first time a woman has been introduced to his mother or taken for a ride in his helicopter. The world opens for both of them, giving them an understanding that it's so much more than controlled and monochromatic.

She wants a relationship with a man who doesn't demand a NDA, a flogger or carabiners in the ceiling. He is only comfortable with the distance created by D/S. It all comes to a head one evening where she forces him to be aware that he is hurting her and she won't submit any longer. She always knew she was Icarus flying too close to his sun.

The story picks up with the second in this trilogy, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, which turns the story on its head introducing a deadly element to the erotic drama—a threat to both their lives. It is not shoehorned in, it feels like a natural extension to the story and I was amazed to see that 300+ pages into a story such a storyline can be added and feel believable.

I have heard some gripes about the length and have to say I am not put off by a serious read. I look forward to the immersion and E L James did not disappoint. This writer kept me in her thrall start to finish. Sheer brilliance.

See the original review on goodreads

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Highland Arms by Cathie Dunn

Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her Edinburgh home to her godmother’s remote manor in the Highlands. While her father ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble--and into the arms of a notorious Highlander. Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause--until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now Rory is faced with a decision that could save their lives or destroy them both.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
This novel has two components I like very much: Highlanders and smugglers! Luckily for me it is an interesting and entertaining book as well. You won't get any rest, which is good and you won't be able to wait to know what is going to happen next. This a story full of romance, suspense and intrigue.

The author has a wonderful way of describing the highlands. I really could imagine myself in the wilderness and feel the gust of sleet on my cheeks or see the rugged landscape ahead of me. In my opinion it is a very important character in itself. Later in the book she describes, with the same vivid way, a slummy part of Edinburgh that you don't want to discover more; all you want to do is hold your nose and get away.

The heroine Catriona MacKenzie is a lowland, spirited, and innocent young woman unjustly banished from her home for something that was not her fault. But instead of feeling abandoned, she discovers that for once in her life she can be free, at least much more than she could ever be at home. She is very curious and excited to explore which is going to complicate the situation very much.

Rory Cameron is everything that you can hope for in a Highlander, rough, heated, and impatient. He is also a smuggler and his only goal is raising money and arms for the Jacobite's cause, until Catriona arrives on the scene.

Their attraction is evident early in the story, but they both fight it for different reasons. Both characters develop in a very interesting and positive way in the end.

There are two splendid villains. Catriona's brother who is a gambler, and a womanizer. He is selfish, self-centered, and has no love for her. She is only a tool in his hands. And there is her former betrothed and brother's friend, John Henderson who is also a nasty piece of work.

This book was fun to read from start to finish. I give it a 4/5.

See the original review on goodreads

The Broken by Stella Notecor

James guards his secrets.

Uncertain as to whom he can trust with his family’s secrets, James Bradford has lived a lonely life since becoming Baron of Riverside. When he meets an equally enigmatic violinist named Sheamus, he begins to wonder if he’s found someone with whom he can share everything.

Sheamus guards his body.

No one has ever shown Sheamus Flynn affection except his mother. That changes when he meets James, but Sheamus cannot trust him. Sheamus has been used by his master, Cade Edward, and he knows better than to believe James could ever love a mere servant.

They both guard their hearts.

Over the course of the 1876 Social Season they cautiously fall in love, only to be violently ripped apart by Edward. Defeating Edward’s deceptions will require both of them to share long guarded secrets.

Can they trust each other?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
It is such a beautiful story, but I won't recommend it if you are depressed because it will not improve your mood. In my opinion it certainly is worthy of Dickens. The atmosphere is dark and bleak enough. It goes from very bad to worst before it gets better. There is a whirl of emotions and feelings here, good and bad. It will definitely move you!

Sheamus is a young man who has an incredible gift for music. He plays violin like a god. He has been quiet literally in the power of Sir Edward since he was twelve years old. His parents were travelers fleeing the great famine in Ireland, barely surviving with their music. After they died, Edward kept him and he was able to become the violinist he is now. But it was certainly not from the goodness of his heart. The young boy became his slave toy, utterly and completely at his mercy. Seventeen years later, things have not changed.

Edward is the worst despicable villain I have ever seen. He is such a hypocrite, a vicious and sadistic animal. He will not take no for an answer and will stop at nothing to obtain what he wants, not even murder! Shaemus is in hell but luckily enough he learned a long time ago to let the music in his head envelop him, removing himself from the outside world and Edward in particular.

Then one day he meets James, Baron of Riverside and their lives will never again be the same. Jame falls in love both with the man and the artist. He is the complete opposite of Edward. The only thing they have in common is that they like men. At first Sheamus won't able to trust him or even less hope. He had never known tenderness or even love before, only with his mother but it was in another life. After a lot more hardship he will be able in the end to rescue him from his last and nearly deadly ordeal. Because of James Sheamus, he will be able to become just himself. The monstrous Edward will pay for his numerous crimes. Hallelujah! sometime God is good. How many times have I wanted to kill him myself?!

The author provides us with a good description and understanding of Victorian society, "all rules and all hypocrisy". There are several minor young characters who have each one their own story that add a lot to the book. Not forgetting a murder mystery that began years ago in India and concern James' family. We discover at the end when the plot is revealed that Edward, who was also in India at the same time was a big part of it.

It's a very good book I just couldn't put it down last night! I give it a 4.5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Earl's Reluctant Captive by Matilda Madison

Effie Musgrove refuses to marry a brooding, fortune seeking, and arrogant peer. Especially one she doesn’t know. When her father demands that she marry the Earl of Aston, there’s only one thing Effie can do… run away.

Edmond Dent, Earl of Aston isn’t pleased to find his future bride missing. Bothered by the possibility that his heritage is the cause for her fleeing, Edmond goes after her only to find a spirited woman who doesn’t care about his mixed blood. She does care, however, about marrying a man she doesn’t love.

Can Effie find love as his captive?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I anticipated this novel with excitement as the subject is very rare. Indeed, a peer with mixed blood is completely unconventional in Regency England and I was very much looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, before reaching the end of the book I found myself completely let down by the author.

How can a writer who is supposed to have plenty of imagination, only able to produce such a tepid story when the subject had so much potential.

There was definitively not enough background on Edmond Dent, Earl of Aston and his parents. We know that he never tried to deny his heritage (being half Portuguese on his mother's side), but that it made life difficult for him in England and that is why he left for Portugal after finishing school. He worked with his uncle and his cousin there. Then he returned to England after the death of his father, hopeful that he would salvage his home and erase his father's debts.

There are touches here and there of the relationship between his parents which deteriorated rapidly. Nothing about their lives is really done in depth. The same can be said about the Heiress Effie Musgrove. We are aware that her father is an inventor and that since his wife died he is not himself anymore. Their stories, past and present should have been an important part of the book!

The subject of prejudice in society about mixed blood at the time is never developed. The only thing we learn is that when he returned to London society he was hunted by wives of peers looking to add exoticism to their boring lives. And that being a half-breed makes him a foreigner both in Portugal and in England.

Maybe it is just me and this novel was only meant to be what it is, a nice little story with no great ambition, but in my opinion I can only call it a missed opportunity.

I give it a 2/5.


I recently went through my goodreads account and saw that I have been mainly reading Mills and Boon/Harlequin. And before that, I was reading Lynn Hagen, who become a favourite amongst the MM community, just to see what the fuss was about. But it got me to thinking. Why do I read these books? Yes, some of these books can be good reads but honestly, I finish these books very fast and then I get bored as it's not satisfying as a good read. So why waste time when I could be reading something from the New York bestseller list or a favourite author. It's the hype. Lynn Hagen has been constantly topping Bookstrand's list each week. And Mills and Boon has always been popular, they have been in the game so long. Honestly hype isn’t always the best way to chose a book. It can backfire. As an avid reader since childhood, I have seen authors promoted and touted as the next so and so but then fall short of the high expectations. Then there are the surprise authors who out of no where became popular. Hype has become a key tool in the book industry and it's said that publishers are loosing ground in this area as bookstores are closing around the world (Borders closing down in America, Australia and other countries).


Alien's Daughter by Nora-Jean Perkin

When rebel warrior Konr kidnaps an Earthling half-breed, his only purpose is to discover what his Elite oppressors are plotting. But from the moment he captures psychologist Starr Berenger, he is fascinated by the humanity he should hate and drawn by a destiny he shouldn't have. When it turns out the Earthling has the coveted birthmark - the key to stealing the Elite's battle plans - he is forced to team up with her on a dangerous mission and confront the human genes that have destroyed his life.

Starr has spent a lifetime running from the truth. But when she is kidnapped to a far-off planet, she must accept that she is part alien or be doomed to never return home. She bargains with the alien rebels to use her birthmark to help fight their oppressors in return for being sent back to Earth. But she doesn't bargain for the tug of a destiny she doesn't want or for the unearthly attraction to the rebel warrior who despises her and everything human.

Reviewer: Fashionta
I'm a sucker for alien books. So Alien’s Daughter was on TBR (to be read) list. I was hopeful this would be good despite being a Blush book. It was a let down. In the first twenty pages the book jumped around too quickly. The heroine Starr, ironically named, is waiting in a hospital in Chicago, the next minute she in a different galaxy. Finally, she arrives on the planet Zura home of her father’s people. From there in a couple of pages she go from elite headquarters to rebel headquarters. This is when the real story starts and we only get to meet the hero Konor in present times. This is when we see Starr really brought to life with her interactions. The interactions before seemed mundane, like she was focusing on the main plot of the story. For those reasons, I gave Alien’s Daughter three and half stars.

See the original review on goodreads

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Muffled Drum by Erastes

Bohemia, 1866

They met in a port-side tavern, their lust-filled moments stolen from days of marching and madness. After eighteen months, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann have decided to run away from everything they hold dear. Resigning their commissions is social suicide, but there's no other choice. Someone will eventually see Rudolph's partiality toward Mathias.

Now their plans have gone horribly awry... When Mathias goes to Rudolph's tent after their last battle, his lover looks at him without a hint of recognition. Mathias can hardly believe the man he knew is gone. He wants to fill in so many of Rudolph's missing memories, but the doctor says a shock could result in permanent damage. The pain of seeing Rudolph on a daily basis, when Rudolph doesn't remember their love, is excruciating. Now Mathias must decide whether he wants to fight for the man he loves or forget him completely...

Reviewer: BlackTulip
When I choose to read a book by this author I know that I will have a very good time. And even more interesting, the action takes place in Bohemia where my father's roots are ...

What can I say, she has a way with words when it comes to description. It is unique, you can feel the cold of the battlefield, you can smell the mixture of sweat of both men and horses, you can hear the hooves and the shouts all around, you're nearly a part of the action! Touch after touch, with subtlety she paints us a picture.

This is a story of two soldiers, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hoffman, best friends and secret lovers who intend to start a life together, far from society, its obligations and demands, unfortunately something terrible happens. Rudolph becomes partially amnesic and looses the last two years of his life and Mathias looses the only part of his life that matters to him and he doesn't know how he will coop. Between confusion for one and despair for the other the situation becomes more complicated when Rudolph old lover reappears on the scene using the situation to his advantage.

After a lot of hardship, in the end, they will have a second chance and will be able to build new memories together.

It is a book full of noises, full of emotions and full of life. I loved it. Erastes knows how to tell us a story! No doubt I will read it again. I give it a 5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Claimed (Bride of the Kindred 1) by Evangeline Anderson

Olivia Waterhouse has just graduated from nursing school and has her whole life ahead of her-until she gets drafted. Problem is, she isn't being forced into the Army, she's been chosen as a Kindred bride.

The Kindred are huge alien warriors-a race of genetic traders whose population is ninety-five percent male. After saving Earth from the threat of invasion they demand a reward-the right to find brides among the population. The chances of being chosen are about the same as those of winning the lottery-guess it's just Liv's lucky day.

Baird is a Beast Kindred who recently escaped imprisonment and torture at the hands of the malevolent Scourge. Through the torment and pain only one thing kept him sane-the thought of finding and claiming his bride-Olivia. His need to possess her is a burning intensity that threatens to consume them both.

Angry at having her future and her family taken away from her, Liv vows to fight back the only way she can-by resisting. She has one month on the Kindred Mothership with Baird-their claiming period. If she can keep from having bonding sex with him during that time, she can go home and get on with her life on Earth.

But Baird isn't going to make it easy for her. Every week he is allowed to touch Liv more and more intimately and according to the contract she signed, she has to let him. She's determined to resist him but his touch sets her on fire. And just as she thinks she knows what she wants, a twist of fate and an attack by the faceless Scourge AllFather changes everything...

Reviewer: avidscribe
Evangeline Anderson starts her BRIDES OF THE KINDRED series with Claimed, the story of Beast Kindred, Baird, and his unwilling human bride, Olivia. This is erotic sci-fi at some of its best. He’s totally alpha and she's everything in the world to him.

The story opens with Olivia having breakfast with her sister Sophia (who is the heroine in the second KINDRED book) and their best friend Kat (book 3 is her story). It’s a tense time for Earth. The evil Scourge have tried to take over the planet and been thwarted by the peace keeping Kindred warriors and are locked in battle in our Sun’s pull. Were it not for the Kindred, all mankind would have succumbed. The Kindred ask only one thing in return—the right to take Earth brides for themselves in a kind of draft they’ve created with the cooperation of Earth’s government.

Because of a mutation in their genes, the Kindred race is 95% male. The draft is necessary to ensure the continuation of their species and a patriotic duty for all women between the age of 19 and 35. There is a 1 in 10,000 chance of ever getting called to do your duty and the three women live their days pretending the Kindred don’t exist because it’s unusual to actually know a person who’s been drafted with the great odds.

A knock at the door changes all that.

Olivia is taken and claimed via ceremony in the blink of an eye, doomed to be separated forevermore from her ‘womb-mate’ twin Sophia. Both women despair because they’ve never been separated for more than a day in their whole lives. Liv is swept away to the Kindred’s mothership and all communication back to Earth is cut off. She must endure a 30 day period of habitat with Baird, by order of the trade agreement. The first week she must at least sleep with him. The second bathe. The third involves tasting. The fourth ... She can hardly believe this. Beast Kindred are known as Ragers, tall and dominant with berserker-like rages when protecting their women, filled with animalistic lust with a sexual stamina unequaled by anyone.

And she’s complaining? LOL

From that standpoint, it’s formulaic. “Oh no! No! You hot, handsome, tall, impossibly hung man you! Don’t you dare touch me!” while she pants every moment he’s near her.

He will do anything and everything short of force to convince her to be his bride in all ways and the book is largely the push-pull of the sexual chemistry between these two. He has a period of 30 days to try to seduce her before she can walk away from the contract with no reprecussions. 30 days of deepening physical contact.

We learn Baird has recently escaped imprisonment from the Scourge mothership, where men his equal have been killed or mentally destroyed doing so. Dreams of Olivia kept him sane, kept him going, kept him believing she was his one true soulmate. He is desperate to make her see that she needs him as much as he needs her but Olivia is bound and determined to return to Earth and her sister. Their parents are dead, they’ve only got each other and the thought of life apart from her anathema. She will resist him even if it kills her.

Of course, within five minutes of entering his apartment, he's got his mouth on hers and she is swooning against him. His scent drives her to distraction as she writhes wantonly in his arms and all thought has fled her head. It is Baird who pulls away, telling her she's not ready for him. And so the game begins.

Beyond the formula, it’s sheer fun. Evangeline has gone to great efforts to enrich the story with some wild imaginings. If you have never made a pizza but you know your bride enjoys them, what kind of Earth toppings might you throw onto the crust? Fruit cocktail pizza with lima beans and chunks of salmon, anyone? If you've never tasted cheese or milk, how would you react hearing it comes from a squeeze bag that hangs between the legs of some farm animal? "Cow squeezings" becomes a running joke between the two as Baird comes to enjoy gooey cheese on top of a pizza Olivia makes with the leavings.

Olivia initially has trouble maneuvering around Baird's apartment when he steps out to collect himself and she stumbles in the dark onto a mat that grabs her, drinks a white liquid thinking it's milk which turns out to be 90 proof, runs into a living teddy bear with three rows of razor sharp teeth and gets trapped on Baird's massage table she unwittingly sets on eroticize. There are lots of these hilarious moments throughout the series and for these alone I'd recommend the books. It's both their takes on the strangeness of their worlds that makes this engaging and an entertaining read while you recognize viscerally it will be the attraction between them that will overlook all differences and have them come together.

The eroticism is hot, explicit and immersive. I respect this writer's work enormously. She has fine comedic chops and writes an engaging story I couldn't put down. This is the shortest book of the series so far and sets the exposition needed to explain the scifi drama that continues with each additional story.

The only reason I don't give this 5 stars is the push/pull becomes so overdone it's hackneyed. Olivia is at once looking for distance as she is rubbing herself all over him and Baird is groveling for her love. I like my alphas more confident and sure of themselves. There were moments I wanted to slap her down and talk sense into her squirrel brain. In that regard, all three novels in the series so far use the same dynamics of the woman feigning disinterest (even while enjoying the eye candy and attention of their pursuer) and the man jumping hoops to get a favorable nod from the woman (literally) of their dreams. In each book, the woman doesn't come to admit like-feelings for her man (plural in book 3) until one or both is near death and the excuses she's thrown up as barriers to intimacy are shown to be flimsy and irrelevant.

If you have never read anything from this writer, this is a nice starting point to her strong library of stories. I'd give this 4 1/2 stars.

See the original review on goodreads

A Wicked Encounter by Sammy Jo Hunt

Christopher Allwyne, Duke of Bellwood, stood to inherit a vast fortune. Still reeling from the loss of his parents and most recently, his Aunt Polly, the Duchess of Bellwood, the young noble found himself traveling in the dark of night to oversee Her Grace's funeral proceedings and to attend the reading of his aunt's will. Along the way, his carriage suffers a devastating accident, and a dark stranger comes to his aid and rescue. The Marquis Evan de Lombard, rich French nobleman, takes an instant interest in the handsome Christopher. Sharing a wicked encounter shortly after meeting, things look promising as love blooms between them. That is, until the Marquis reveals his true identity and purpose. Once Christopher knows the truth, will he ever be able to forgive Evan and love him, despite the man's indiscretions? Torn apart by dishonesty, can love win out over betrayal and rise to the occasion, reuniting them for a lifetime of happiness? The cost for true love could be a price neither one is willing to pay.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I was very curious to read this mm/historical book because the author decided to put aside two very important factors. First, that being homosexual was unthinkable and punished by death and second that a man born out of wedlock could inherit a title. A kind of alternate Georgian time period.

Well in my opinion it was a big mistake ! It led to the most flat and boring story I have ever read. I am not saying that it is badly written, only that it robbed this story of any danger, excitement or interest.

Another major problem is that I didn't feel any true chemistry between the two men, lust for sure, and if you add the fact that they jumped into bed much too early, bad beginning. The story was very predictable from start to finish, no surprises at all.

The character of the Marquis Evan de Lombard was not so bad and rather believable, but Christopher Allwyne, Duke of Bellwood, was spineless, unable to decide anything and I couldn't imagine him, for one minute, working as an attorney. Many times I thought he could have been replaced by a female character; once or twice his reactions and behavior felt simply wrong for a man. The fact that Evan could put a claim to the title despite his birth made the story much too easy.

I give this book a 2/5.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Heartkeeper by Christine M. Taylor

. . . Beyond time, and death, and hope have I loved you . . . So writes a soldier of the Nameless Guard, a halfblood who serves the vampire nobility. He is the son of two warring worlds-- half-vampire, half-werewolf-- an immortal outcast. As a vampire, he is a true immortal, but as a werewolf, he loves only once: instantly and forever. But the one who holds his heart is Ravienne Nightborn, heiress to the vampire throne. Bound to her for all time by a despairing love he can neither deny nor escape, he writes the words he cannot speak.
This is his love letter.

Reviewer: Dolce Amore 
What can I say about this book? The vampire princess is an arrogant, cold, proud, and egotistical young woman and the half-blood a stupid man obsessed with her. He was so weak that when faced with his punishment (he is to be banished), he asks her to kill him. And the story was not as interesting as I thought in the beginning. It seemed to be set in the past, though only in one scene I could tell it with certainty, the rest was a more or less nebulous vampire fantasy.

The book shouldn’t have been engaging, but something caught me. I was sad when the princess rejected the hero, angry when she asked him to take her virginity, knowing that after that, he would have to leave. I felt sorry for him when he became a drunk because only the alcohol could make him forget about her. And just for a little time. By the end, I liked it. And I’d give it 3.5/5 stars.

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Sought (Bride of the Kindred 3) by Evangeline Anderson

Kat O’Connor is no pushover. She’s a no nonsense girl with a commonsense approach to life. But there’s nothing common about what’s happening to her lately…

First she was forced to have a kinky mind ménage with two of the hottest and most irritating men in the galaxy—Twin Kindred warriors, Deep and Lock—in order to locate her kidnapped friend. Then she couldn’t get their feelings out of her head. And now she’s on her way to their home planet, Twin Moons, to find a cure for the debilitating illness their unorthodox joining caused, when all she really wants to do is go home.

Locks Tight, the light twin of the two, is already in love with Kat. Her curvy plus-sized body is the epitome of beauty on his home planet and her sharp mind makes her doubly attractive. But though he fell for her the moment he saw her, Twin Kindred are unable to mate a woman alone. Lock knows nothing can happen between them without his brother…

Stabs Deep. The dark twin has a secret agony in his past—a tragedy he feels he and he alone is to blame for. He too, hungers for Kat, but he hides his fear of rejection behind an impenetrable wall of angry sarcasm. For if he lets anyone get too close, the unbearable pain he has already endured once may happen again.

Now Kat and her twin warriors are on a quest—but they’re all looking for different things. Kat wants to find a way to dissolve the half-formed bond between them so she can be alone in her own head again. Lock wants to convince both her and his brother to complete the bond which will keep them together forever. And Deep is trying to protect his heart and love Kat from afar…though it grows more and more difficult to deny the hunger he feels for her growing inside him.

Their travels will take them from the uncharted wilds of Twin Moons to the Deadworld of the Scourge home planet. Will Kat find a cure for having other people’s emotions crowding her mind? Will Lock convince his brother and the woman they both love that they’re all meant to be together forever? And will Deep ever unshield his heart long enough to let Kat in?

You’ll have to read Sought, the third book in the Brides of the Kindred series, to find out…

Reviewer: avidscribe
This series is a compulsive read. While erotic, there is a strong storyline at its base. Earth is under attack from the Scourge and were it not for the Kindred warriors who have come to the planet's aid, the human population would have been enslaved. The Kindred ask for one thing in return—Earth females to mate and marry as their own genetic pool is 95% male.

Book one, Claimed, is the story of Olivia Waterhouse who is claimed by a Beast Warrior named Baird. The Kindred 'claim' their brides as part of the alliance pact they've created with Earth to continue to keep it safe. She goes very unwillingly (she's just graduated from nursing school and doesn't want to be separated from her twin sister Sophia or best friend Kat) and his fight to seduce her is the core of the story.

Book two, Hunted, picks up when Olivia's sister, Sophia, attends the wedding of her sister to Baird and finds herself forced into a ceremonial kiss with Baird's brother Sylvan, a Tranq Kindred. Tranqs (or Blood Kindreds) have fangs that drop down in sexual excitement. Unfortunately for Sophia, who is attracted to the tall blond warrior, she's phobic about needles and wants nothing to do with him or his vampiric teeth even though she feels an undeniable pull of sexual attraction between them.

Book three, Sought, is the best of the three. I believe a fourth is planned. Kat, the dear friend of both sisters, has managed to attract the attention of Twin Kindred, Deep and Lock. She's a pint sized zaftig attorney who, in book two, is forced to have a mind menage with the Twin Kindred in order to find Sophia when she is kidnapped by the Scourge. Unbeknownst to any of them, the mind sharing has created a half formed bond between them and in book three she goes with the twins to their home world to find a way to dissolve the bond. The bond has the side effect of massive headaches and strong sexual feelings for both men and the sooner it's dissolved, the happier she will be. She doesn't want the complication of men in her life and certainly not Twin Kindred who marry as a pair taking one woman between them.

She is everything the twins have ever wanted in a female and they certainly do not wish to end the bond, but instead to see it through to its completion. On their planet, a plus-sized woman is revered and highly desired (everywhere but here, right?!). They frequently refer to her as an 'Elite.' Kat can't get out of her own way to realize she isn't in Kansas anymore and needs to trust these men who desire her above all else. But there's a problem—Deep is dark and sarcastic and appears to do everything he can to create friction between them. Kat, raised in a fractious home, struggles with memories of her own parents bickering and is terrified of winding up in a relationship that might mirror their's. Deep's sullenness and biting sarcasm keep her on edge and unable to see that he's hiding a secret from their past that he blames himself for, thus striking out verbally to keep the distance he thinks he needs. He feels innately unlovable. Kat could love Lock easily—he's the light to Deep's dark, but the verbal battles with Deep make hope of a threesome impossible. Unfortunately, she can't have one without the other. But Deep thinks he's found a way ...

As with the other stories in this series, I have an issue with strong alpha males being so weak around the women they are lusting for. None of them have confidence. Warriors all, but it's hard to read about these impossibly gorgeous men so grateful for the least bit of affection thrown their way. Perhaps it's their emotionalism which I find too fantastic. In a way, they lack balls. There is a stalkerish quality to their pursuit of the women they desire as bond mates, while the women perpetually throw up walls to prevent real intimacy till the very end.

While I loved the detail, the descriptives, the richness of this particular story. I was frustrated that Kat spent more than half of the book terrified of sex with Lock and Deep in a Twin bonding sense because of her absurd belief in what three-way sex would involve with men so endowed. Why didn't she simply ASK?

This book is much longer than the other two and provides so much more story to the ongoing battle with the Scourge. Characters from the previous books weave through this story as well which makes it a very satisfying read. As with the other two books, this contained lots and LOTS of merry moments I found myself laughing out loud about. Evangeline paints a very believable sci-fi world and fills it with wonderful nuance.

5 stars. I couldn't put it down.

See the original review on goodreads

Hunted (Bride of the Kindred 2) by Evangeline Anderson

Sophia Waterhouse has always been afraid of needles and vampires so there’s no way she wants anything to do with a modern day Count Dracula—even if he does come wrapped in the package of a huge Kindred warrior with blond hair and ice blue eyes. She’s only on the Kindred Mothership to participate in her sister Liv’s wedding and that’s all.

Sylvan is a Tranq Kindred who has made a sacred vow never to call a bride. After a devastating rejection on his home planet, his heart is a block of ice no one can melt—or so he thinks until he meets Sophia.

When their ship is forced down in the middle of a rugged mountain range Sophia and Sylvan are stranded. Running for their lives they have only each other to depend on. Will they give in to the intense attraction between them or will the evil hunting Sophia take its toll? You’ll have to read Brides of the Kindred Book 2—Hunted to find out.

Reviewer: avidscribe
This series is a compulsive read. While erotic, there is a strong storyline at its base. Earth is under attack from an enemy called the Scourge and were it not for the Kindred warriors, who have come to the planet's aid, the human population would have been enslaved. The Kindred ask for one thing in return—Earth females to mate and marry, as their own genetic pool is 95% male.

Book one, Claimed, is the story of Olivia Waterhouse who is claimed by a Beast Warrior named Baird. The Kindred 'claim' their brides as part of the alliance pact they've created with Earth to continue to keep it safe. She goes very unwillingly (she's just graduated from nursing school and doesn't want to be separated from her twin sister Sophia or best friend Kat) and his fight to seduce her is the core of the story.

Book two, Hunted, picks up when Olivia's sister, Sophia, attends the wedding of her sister to Baird and finds herself forced into a ceremonial kiss with Baird's brother Sylvan, a Tranq Kindred. Tranqs (or Blood Kindreds) have fangs that drop down in sexual excitement. Unfortunately for Sophia, who is attracted to the tall blond warrior, she's phobic about needles and wants nothing to do with him or his vampiric teeth even though she feels an undeniable pull of sexual attraction between them.

I found the book very engaging. It's longer than the first and filled with wry moments as Sophia is equal parts surprised, frustrated and embarrassed discovering how different the Kindred and their technology are to an earthbound girl who never thought she'd step off terra firma.

The romance is formulaic. Two broken people come together and eventually are made whole but it's how these characters are broken that is the crux of the story and certainly how they overcome great odds to trust and love one another, its a satisfying ending. We also have the additional formulaic of the blushing virginal woman and the super well endowed alpha male who has learned every art of pleasuring a woman ... I have no problem there. I knew it was erotic going in to the read and it didn't disappoint. However, there were times I wanted to thump Sophia on her head with the constant fear of his teeth even while Sylvan is showing her in every manner he knows how that he would love and care for her up to his death. There were more times I wanted to take Sylvan aside and help him grow a set of balls. The sex is hot, descriptive and immersing. I found the sci-fi involving and often wry (book 1 has Baird making a pizza for Olivia with fruit cocktail on it. And then there's the massage table Olivia accidentally stumbles across. And the adjustable animal conveyance. Book 2 has a thwarp, a living article of clothing, that gives Sophia a lot of embarrassment at a function Sylvan takes her to.) Lots of fun sharing Evangeline Anderson's imagination. It's these nuances that make the series better than others attempting the same angle.

I'd give this 4 stars out of a possible 5.

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Blood Rights (House of Comarré 1) by Kristen Painter

The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Reviewer: Amlyt
I’m still of two minds about this book which is disappointing because I was determined to like it. What’s not to like about a vampire story with an original twist and well developed secondary world – AND ever-increasing cast of different supernatural beings? Written in a good prose, no less. Usually it'd be just the kind of story I gobble down and ask for more. But this one didn’t quite live up to its promise.

The most original premise of Blood Rights is presenting the vampire blood servants (comarre) not as glorified slaves, but as a secret society with a hidden agenda. This idea really warms my little human heart. Their real purpose remains unknown, but it won’t do to show all the cards in the first part of a trilogy either. The plot doesn’t really start up until about Chapter 6, but once it does you barely have time to register the new places and faces. Which is actually a pity, because they were the most interesting thing about the book, besides the main premise. Lots of different fae species you’ve never met in mythology, a ghost that’s haunting a vampire and can turn corporeal, a vampire who was yakuza boss’ widow before, a Christian vampire who turned himself on his own by mistake. Too bad this delightfully rich imagination deserts the author when it comes to the relationships and feelings.

The most frustrating part for me as a reader was that the heroes never became quite alive. If we don’t count their different abilities and/or curses, there’s nothing to tell them apart – no personal characteristics, no quirks, no typical behavior or figures of speech (the only attempt at the latter was made with the shifter). The main heroine was probably the main disappointment. And there were long pages with descriptions how they all feel about this or that – enough for character building, I’d think. And how many clichéd, mentally unbalanced, minion-kicking villains with snakes for pets could there be? Apparently, not enough, because the author saw fit to create yet another one, and give her pages of text so we could better understand this one-dimensional character’s motives and tribulations. But to read about Tatiana was frankly boring.

Finally, I never understood why the book had to be set in the future (2067) when this future world really didn’t differ from the present one. Granted, remarks about Islamic Republic of France and microchip implants were found but none of these “different” details had any impact on the plot. Lifts, cars, planes, cellphones – the usual kind of technology only, and the Paradise City looked like your average American city in any contemporary criminal story. Moreover, the heroes mostly used downright medieval weapons – swords and daggers and good old magic, not even a pistol with silver bullets in sight. Normally, I don’t have problem with sword-wielding in fantasy, but it didn’t do much for the supposedly futuristic setting either. I’ve read on and on, hoping to find the clue – nope, nothing.

So, a story with a great potential, but I felt more frustration than enjoyment while reading it. However, I treasure new ideas in a pretty worn-out genre too much too give the book less than 3 stars.

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Mary Had a Little Problem by Destiny Blaine

Mary Worthington is a widow, or at least, she should’ve been. A former Navy Seals wife, Mary has a difficult time accepting the fact her husband isn’t coming home. Without a body to bury or witnesses to explain what happened, there’s no way Mary can put the past to sleep until someone provides her with the truth about her husband’s final hours.

Trying to step out and socialize once again while gathering facts about her husband’s death, Mary is introduced to Brock Taylor, a hard-core ladies man dedicated to the Marines and sharing himself with any woman who wants a piece of one. That is, until he meets Mary, a woman he's heard about through a man they both know well.

Mary and Brock fall in love, plan a wedding in the Great Smoky Mountains, and well, things could’ve been headed toward a happy ending only six months after Brock finally wins Mary’s hand, but Mary’s missing husband reappears. And Mary isn’t sure she can give up one man in exchange for another.

Reviewer: PurpleRose
The plot of the book really interested me, because it's something that could have happened. What if a solider believed to be dead, wasn't, and came home only to find his 'widow' about to get married.

I liked all the characters, how their feelings and emotions were expressed, and how the plot evolved. Her love for both men was convincing, one being the love of her life and the other her soul mate.

But, there were too many things left unanswered. Like why did it take him 6 months after being rescued to come back, there was no mention of a hospital stay or illness, one paragraph he was found, then it was 6 months later and he was home. It was pointed out that she and her husband (the not dead one) couldn't allow any outward appearance of being into BDSM, like her wearing a collar or even visiting a BDSM club, because it won't be accepted by the military. So how would her living with two husbands work?

In the end, I was left thinking more about what was missing. If the book had been longer or at least had an epilogue to wrap things up, I'd definitely rate it higher than the 3 I give it.

See the original review on goodreads

Lady Thief by Rizzo Rosko

To get back at the man who insulted and refused her, Marianne Holton kidnaps him and forces him to marry her before she's sold off to someone much more cruel...

Spirited and virginal Lady Marianne Holton seeks revenge on Lord Blaise Gray, a man she has never met, for insulting her by letter and refusing to wed her. She plans to force his hand before she is married off to Sir Ferdinand, a much older man known for his cruelty towards women. Her plan for a forced marriage goes well, but she forced the wrong man. Instead of marrying Blaise, she married his handsome, thirty-six year old father, Lord William Gray, Earl of Graystone.

...To her delight the plan works, but to her horror she married the wrong man.

William, a lord who had previously given up on life, is enraged to have had his hand forced by a woman who had the audacity to not even know his true identity until it was too late, and he vows to make use of his new bride as soon as possible. However, he finds himself unable to destroy the fiery spirit that took charge of her own destiny, and makes a new vow to protect her from Ferdinand, and make her his true wife.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I wanted to like this new medieval romance but I couldn't. The major flaw is that it is lacking any medieval atmosphere and that there is nothing really inventive in it.

The character of Marianne is interesting enough; she is independent and definitely knows what she wants and I liked that. On the other hand Lord William Gray is a rather boring man who has no personality.

It was a nice enough idea to force the hand of the man who jilted the heroine by adbucting him and it began rather well. However, the fact that Lord Gray accepts the bargain with not enough fight or spirit is already difficult to swallow but when his reasons are, "oh well, why not, I could have a wife and children again" - I am sorry, but I don't buy it.

More confusing is that, after the kidnapping, we understand that William has no idea who she was, he has only a vague recollection that his son Blaise had jilted somebody . The problem is that at the time there was generally an understanding between families when it came to marriage, so the parents were well aware who was engaged to whom. It made no sense!

Moreover, in my opinion the jilting simply couldn't have been done by a letter, it's not how the things worked at the time. The story around this refusal was rather weak. I would have liked to have much more insight into the main characters' upbringing, it would have added more depth to the story.

In short I was never drawn to anything or anybody at any time. I give it a 2/5.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beginning of Time by Dirk Hessian

A profoundly moving story of primeval survival and love.

Beginning of Time chronicles the sexual awakening and fulfillment of a young man struggling to learn how to fit into his hostile, primitive environment. As he moves from an almost animal existence to an ancient civilization to a slightly more advanced ancient civilization-not always by choice-his resilience is taxed. But he survives, as does his innocent vulnerability, until he is saved by reaching his protector and ultimate lover, and their love story is depicted on a cave wall for future generations to discover, decipher, and appreciate.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
When I read the blurb I thought instantly of the movie Quest for Fire and I remembered how I had loved it at the time. I was really curious and excited to read it, this subject being such a rarity and I wasn't disappointed.

The author made a wonderful job with the re-creation of the beginning of time. It is a fascinating tale about discovery, courage and love. It is the journey of a young man who learns that the world can be hostile and brutal when he is kidnapped from his home and later is captured another time and used as a slave. Fortunately he will see another side of it with another tribe where he is offered knowledge and is accepted as a part of the community.

At one time he finds himself injured and is rescued by a man who will become his future. This same man will, day after day, draw their life and love story on the wall of their cave!

It seems a simple enough story to tell given the fact that the goal at the time was only to survive another day. But I think it takes a skillful author to make it rings so true.

This book is a wonderful and moving short story. I give it a 4.5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Recently I've been reading books and noticing more than ever the inaccuracies the authors are making. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the author does this on purpose and provides a comment saying so. But now there are more authors than ever, forgetting when they write to check important details. Recently, I read an example of this. The heroine was a young English girl with financial difficulties due to the downturn of the market. The hero was a rich Greek tycoon who meets the heroine to pay her not to cause problems for his sister. It was a wonderful light romance read, but what got me thinking was there was no mention of the GFC affecting the Greeks. If you hadn’t heard, Greece has been bailed out twice as they couldn’t afford to pay off their debts . The book was released this year and assuming that it was written in the last year or so, these events should have an impact on the story as they travel to Greece . So I did some research to see what the trend is currently and I found this . The blog is run by the Ellora Cave editors and according to them the trend is American regency is written by non – America authors. Now I loved regency and went through a period reading any good regency book that I could get my hands on. But this worries me. How many of them are actually going to do the research , because there are small differences that can affect your novel. People seem to forgot that we are highly educated people. We do notice your mistakes and make comments on them . So to the authors, whether they be mf or mm when writing your book make sure you research your setting and events if you are going to mention them . Don’t leave it lopsided and only make one character affected by it. Everyone gets affected whether you like or not.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Half a Man by Scarlet Blackwell

Traumatised by the nightmare of trench warfare in France, Robert Blake turns to rent boy Jack Anderson for solace. Neither man expects their business relationship to go quite so far. 

It is 1919, less than a year after the end of the First World War with a recovering Britain in the grip of the influenza pandemic. Crippled veteran of the Somme battle, Robert Blake, is looking for someone to ease his nightmares of France and his guilt over what happened to his commanding officer. He turns to educated rent boy Jack Anderson for physical solace, not expecting how deeply the two soon become immersed in each other's lives.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
Robert is a man who went through the mill fighting this dirty war in the trenches in France, trying to stay alive in the mud and the blood of his fellow companions. He is left severely handicapped in his body as well as in his mind.

Two years later, he is a lonely man who still suffers, in a wheelchair, with no life, no hope and no one to care for, having lost his lover during the war and feeling guilty about it. He needs to fill a gap ... So he rents a young man as a sexual companion who happens to be quiet different from expected ... He is as lonely and lost as Robert.

Little by little we can see them becoming addicted to one another in a very subtle and fragile equilibrium not even aware of that themselves.

The building of these two characters is quiet good, the first encounter, their hesitations, their hopes, their doubts... we can feel it, as well as a large range of emotions, shyness, frustration, fear, tenderness, passion ...

Despite the fact that I liked the book, I found a flaw in Robert's character. I was expecting somebody with more depth, more tortured, desperate and on the edge and I didn't feel it. I felt only sadness, frustration, hopelessness, not enough strong feelings for a man who went through hell. Another thing is that not enough is said about his nightmares and I would have liked to hear a bit more about his lost lover too.

It is a book nonetheless that I recommend. I give a note of 3.5/5.

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Crusade Knights by Rexana McCormack

During a dinner at the home of the Emperor, a bastard knight catches the eye of the Emperor’s cousin. Alexius is a lover of men, something that isn’t a problem in his world. Although Walter isn’t the type of man he usually has sex with, he still wants to have him for a night.

Walter has lived his life by the code of his Christian religion. He lives by his sword and has no attachments, drifting where his King bids.

Alexius opens a whole new world of sensations and pleasure beyond anything Walter has ever known. Water raises possessive feelings in Alexius, a new experience for him. Can a man who grew up believing that loving a man is wrong and against the word of God embrace what he really wants? How far will Alexius go to hold on to the man who now holds his heart.

Do believe in love at first sight? I don’t. I believe in recognition.

Since before we had language, before we walked upright, before recorded history, we have been together. We have loved, and fought and died together. No matter what the distance between our births, we find each other.

In the pages of these journals you will read our stories. We hope you are entertained.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I am, most of the time, disappointed when I read a short story. Well, this time I wasn't. I think the author did a very good job with the development of the story that takes place in Constantinople in medieval times.

We have two main characters who are poles apart. On one side we have a knight, Sir Walter of Normandy, a widower who was born a bastard, tall, broad, and accustomed to live the life of a soldier, fighting in the name of God on the battlefields. On the other side we have Alexius the Emperor's cousin, a sophisticated noble man, with a delicate face and striking green eyes, accustomed to living in luxury and always having his way, particularly, with men. As soon as Alexius sees him at the banquet given by his cousin and despite the fact that he is not at all his type he wants him, even for a night.

Against all odds those two men who never were meant to be with each other, will discover the hard way that fate has decided otherwise.

The only criticism I will make is that I didn't see Walter struggle with himself when he realizes he's attracted to a MAN and is going to succumb to him. He reacts strongly only afterward - by leaving the city to fight for six months!

This is a good book and I give it a 4/5.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Summoning by Tatiana Caldwell

Gailyn Bridges is a psychic who is ready to end her troublesome career as a private investigator. For the last time, she summons a powerful spirit to help her close a final case.

However, the mysterious entity who answers, Malak, is no ordinary spirit. He's more than willing to help Gailyn save the would-be victim of a violent crime.

But who's going to save Gailyn when Malak returns to collect payment for lending her his power?

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
Well, after I read the plot, I wasn't sure what to expect. But a few days before I had bought one of her books and I liked her style, so I decided to try it. I loved the main concept, about the demon, incubus, who was just a lost soul because he was feeling guilty for all the lives he took many years ago, in World War I, that he was suffering because of his own conscience and that’s why he was in Hell.

What I disliked was the idea of stealing the body from a person so he can live again. Also, I disliked the idea of killing Oliver Marks’s girlfriend just because she was pregnant. A normal person won’t take risks if he wasn't ready to give what the baby needed. I think this part was a little too “fiction” for me.

So, I’d give The Summoning just three stars.

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Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie's Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn't experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn't long before craving gives in to need.

In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She's scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She's convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she's not one of the O-positive set, and can't believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.

When the witch who's been plaguing Parker's life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie's Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

Reviewer: Fashionta
Dana Marie Bell's new series Maple Grove  doesn't disappoint. Blood of the Maple  is the first installment of the series about  Maple Grove, the only fully supernatural town in America. Bell has written a cast of quirky supernatural characters that don't quite fit the mold. A vegetarian vampire, a gay witch ghost, human sensitive and  a dryad - these are some of the heroes you will meet in this novel and grow to love.

It was refreshing to see that Bell can write flawed charcters too, which is quite different  from her usual run of paranormal books. Don't get me wrong, I love her other books too, but this one was of the best, that's why  I gave it four stars. The one star I took off was due to sometimes ill-placed humor. Otherwise  it was perfect and worth re-reading on a rainy day.

See the original review on goodreads

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tycoon's Tots by Stella Bagwell

When Houston oil tycoon Wyatt Sanders got the belated letter from his sister Belinda, telling him that she'd had twins that she couldn't raise because she was in prison, he was devastated. He further learned that she'd married a man old enough to be her father and that man was responsible for her predicament, responsible for her death. Her last wish was for him to find and raise her children. Chloe Murdock lives on the Bar M ranch in New Mexico with her sisters and the twin babies who are her half sister and half brother. She hates the memory of Belinda Sandars, who seduced their aging father away from their invalid mother, bilked him out of all their money, then abandoned the twins when she blew town. Chole didn't shed a tear when Belinda died. Good riddance as far as she was concerned. So when Wyatt Sanders shows up one day out of the blue, saying it's his intention to take and raise the twins, he's in for the kind of fight he never could have imagined. But for some reason Chloe just seems to be taking that fight right out of him. And to her chagrin, Chloe is attracted to this city dude, despite all her efforts to keep him out of her mind.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Stella Bagwell has written a fitting conclusion to the Murdock sisters series with the youngest sister Chloe's story told in this book. The main concept of this book was fanastic, notably the issue of the woman's infertillity which  isn't commonly talked about in romance novels. However, I would love to see this book extended in certain parts as it seems to go too quickly while the issue of infertillity is being dealt with. Also Wyatt's background should have been further developed in terms of his relationship with his sister Belinda who was frequently mentioned in all of the Murdock sisters books.

I gave it three stars as it should have been clearly mentioned there were previous interrelated stories, and the characters need more developing in certain areas.

See the original review on goodreads