Monday, October 31, 2011

Dreaming of the Wolf (Heart of the Wolf 8) by Terry Spear

Terry Spear's debut Heart of the Wolf was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.
Known for her research into how wolves live in nature, Spear writes her werewolves as they would behave realistically, including pack dynamics, mating behavior, and hierarchies.

Werewolf pack leader Jake Silver is an acclaimed photographer. He sees a beautiful woman at the art gallery where his photos are on display, and his intrigue turns into wolfish protectiveness. Alicia Greiston has never met anyone like Jake–he's sexy, alpha, and totally irresistible, and he calls to something primal in her soul.

Reviewer: Fashionta
The Heart of the Wolf is the eighth book in an ongoing werewolf saga by Terry Spear. The good news is it can be read completely as a stand-alone. The various pack and family members make an appearance but you don’t have to know them to understand what’s going on. So, good for you if you’ve read previous books and have a particular fondness for some of the heroes, and good for you if you haven’t. The bad news is, well…

Let’s start with the plot. Alicia the heroine is a bounty hunter, she apprehends bail skippers and handles them back to the police for a living. Her last mark, not incidentally, are the men she suspects to be responsible for her mother’s death. The hero, Jake Silver, is the brother of the pack leader and second-in-command in a werewolf-controlled town of Silver. They meet, have fabulous-this-must-be-love sex, Alicia has a couple of run-ins with the bad guys, Jake repeatedly saves her, they mate and have the first wedding in werewolf history, werewolves being not big on human ceremonies. So far so good, I’ve read dozens of similar paranormal romances and enjoyed them.

The problem lies with the characters who, especially the main couple, display an irritating tendency to read each others’ minds, not even because they are supernaturally geared like that, but just… I don’t know why. Maybe it was supposed to be romantic – it’s not, it’s just dead boring. This is what’s going on all the time, and often in convoluted sentences as that one:
"He suggestively waggled his brows, noting that she was having a hard time keeping her gaze focused on his, her eyes considering his physique as if she was amused he was having trouble keeping his bodily reactions under control".
Things pick up when the heroine goes off to tackle the mafia bail jumpers on her own (yes, she’s the TSTL kind) and the fast-paced action begins. It’s quite enjoyable until the lovers reunite and continue their mind tricks, aided by the pack members who also display similar abilities. Made me almost like the bad guys, because, firstly, they missed out on the telepathy, and secondly, their appearance usually heralded the beginning of a new action scene.

But the author’s forte definitely is describing the werewolf nature, what it means for a human mind to have all those additional animal senses at its disposal, how it enriches and at the same time complicates one’s life. This aspect is often glossed over in paranormals, the characters are nominally part-animals but you never get to see it, except in overblown “mine, mine” episodes. Here you have your chance to experience what it feels like to be in werewolf’s skin. Unfortunately, these episodes are few and far between and the biggest part of the book is a dull and bland romance with insta-bonding and no development between uninteresting characters, one of whom – the heroine - is not very bright too boot.

But I’d be definitely interested if the author ever decides to write a book with an action based plot, a lot of werewolf psychology and slight romantic line thrown in. 2.5 stars

Expected Publishing Date: Dec. 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dangerous Magic by Alix Rickloff

Cornwall, 1812

Gwenyth Killigrew, the Witch of Kerrow, has seen the tragic fate that awaits any man she's foolish enough to fall in love with. Yet she yearns for a daughter to carry on her healer's wisdom and otherworldly gifts of Sight. When Rafe Fleming, a notorious smuggler, washes ashore near her home, she thinks she's found the man to father that child.

Rafe knew his time as an outlaw was coming to an end. He just hadn't realized it would be on the dangerous Cornwall coast, in the home of an alluring witch. After Gwenyth saves him, they strike a bargain: he'll give her a child, and she'll help him find a proper wife so he can reenter society and pick up the pieces of his shattered life.

But the more time Rafe spends with Gwenyth—in and out of bed—the more he questions what he thinks he wants. He must choose between the wife he needs and the woman he desires...if falling for Gwenyth doesn't kill him first.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Gwenyth is the local witch and healer in the Cornish village of Kerrow. She’s more than that – she’s a woman of Sight that gives her ability to read others’ emotions and sometimes predict the future. It is in one of these visions that she’s seen the death of her lover so she’s careful not to fall in love in order to avoid the disaster. However, she comes from a long line of wise women and it’s her duty to carry on that line and produce a child of her own. She’s already 28, good and ready for motherhood, the only problem is to find a suitable man – and not to fall in love. Luckily in her family a woman doesn’t have to marry the father of her children – witches’ ways are not the same as the common folks’.

Rafe wouldn’t marry her anyway – even if he is a smuggler and an outcast, he’s still noble born. And now that he has amassed enough money by his trade he’s determined to take back his place in society. He’s been betrayed before so he makes a bargain with Gwenyth – a child of his body for her help. But of course by the time they make that bargain they are inn too deep with each other to think rationally.

It is a pretty original plot for a Regency romance – even if the falsely accused prodigal son is common, a village witch helping him is not. But it’s been problematic for me to accept Gwenyth at face value so I just don’t know what I think of her. She’s supposed to be a “peasant” (and a Cornish one, at that) in respect to Rafe’s noble family, but neither her speech nor her habits are much different. To me she looks more like an impoverished gentlewoman – not used to servants and luxury, but well acquainted with the rules of the society. That’s right, I can believe in reading emotions, past and future (I read a lot of paranormal books), but supernatural abilities that can compensate for a lifetime of education – no way. And the reading emotions part didn’t endear me much to the heroine either. The author did a good job of describing The Sight, how it’s mostly uncontrollable, coming and going, not always there for Gwenyth to navigate her way in the world of not-so-gifted humans, how she’s always sick after “reading” someone. It’s not that perfect a life to have it. Still, I find myself unable to relate to the heroine who always knows what people around her feel about her and each other. And it deprives the plot of much of the tension and the action.

Can’t say I felt much more for Rafe – he was okay, but I didn’t fall for him. For the most part I felt distanced from the heroes, maybe because the first third of the book was extremely slow paced. I understand the need to set up the characters and the intrigue, but the plot didn’t move at all and I got very restless, even stopped reading a couple of times. Luckily it got going once they reached Rafe’s family home but by then I already resigned myself to the role of an observer.

That said, I would never call Dangerous Magic a bad book. It is beautifully written, more so than many a historical romance. The author has a flair for describing places, you literally feel the salty air of Cornwall coast and hear the leafy language the Sussex forest speaks, even if you’d never been there, like me. Usually I’m not a fan of landscape descriptions, but Alix Rickloff knows a trick to make them interesting. I also spied two intriguing male characters I’d like to read more about – one a war-crippled nobleman-spy and the other an Irish assassin our witch felt could be a better man. So I’d definitely keep an eye for a possible series involving them, even if this book wasn’t quite to my taste. 3 stars

Publishing Date: Oct. 31, 2011
Publisher: Carina Press
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I profess to not knowing a lot on publishing. But I do know one thing: publishing is evolving and the traditional method is not the only means now available for releasing a book. These days, it is not uncommon for an author’s book not only to be published in paperback but also as an eBook. Sometimes the eBook comes out first followed by the paperback because the publisher's roots were as an e-publisher and, as they developed the financial means to do so, they capitalized on the traditional market.

With this technology, authors have an additional avenue to reach readers: self publishing. I don’t know whether to be excited about this or not. On the one hand, books will be inexpensive to buy but the quality of the book may suffer. Already we have seen a slew of poorly executed books hit the market. Bad formatting, misspelling, syntax—you name the problem and there is a likelihood there's a published eBook suffers from it. So which method of delivery is the best?

I think every author needs to explore his or her options before sending off a manuscript to a publisher. If they are unpublished, they should avail themselves of alternative venues. There are, for instance, some high-profile writing contests run by established publishing houses seen as vehicles to get work before the eyes of the major players. Even some established authors hold pitch contests so a new author should keep a lookout for these opportunities as well. There is also the Authonomy ( run by Harper Collins, one of many such sites, where unpublished authors can share books and publishers are known to keep tabs on the site always searching for new talent.

Even an established published author doesn’t need to commit to one publisher. We are seeing increasing activity in old books being republished at new homes. Take for example the writer Nora Roberts; some of her most beloved series are being published as eBooks by Berkeley next year. A writer needs to explore his or her options; there are many publishers out there willing to do to business if a writer is established in the field.

Self-publishing levels the publishing field. Money is no longer a consideration to getting a book published and book profits do not need to be shared with a publication house. Smashwords, a fantastic publication tool for these kinds of authors, accepts any book for publication based on their easy criteria and distributes to some of the major players in the eBook market. Friends can help to increase the return on the book as well. However, a codicil: with self-publishing, a writer needs to be scrupulous about the use of a spellchecker combined with the help of friends or betas to weed out the words a simple spellchecker would not catch. A self-published tome need not read unprofessionally.

When choosing an option, a writer needs to choose what is best for them and not be pressured because a publisher is insistent that they know best. Writers must thoroughly research their options before they commit their book to any publisher.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Devil You Know by Helen Brooks

When her father died, Carina Kirkton was left with nothing, she even would have to sell the house he was born to pay their debts... Then came Steed and made her an offer that she could not refuse. Steed pay its creditors in exchange for she belonged to him entirely. It was a very high price and in addition, Nina was sure he would make sure that she paid with interest.

Reviewer: QueenBee
This book is clichéd from the start what with the title The Devil You Know which is also conveniently a part of the proverb and right until the end. The main theme "first kiss equals true love" is also a time-honored trope. I was hoping the author would find a way to embellish it, apply some individual touches that make up for a good Harlequin romance. But my hope was in vain.

So, Nina's first kiss is given to a man she later grows to hate, they lose touch and then meet again. Both have secrets they feel very protective about and the game of cat an mouse begins.

Those who have a special fondness for May-December romances would probably find this novel quite agreeable. The plot manages to keep the reader intrigued as the couple's secrets gradually peel away and they discover the partner's other side. What spoiled it for me was the clichéd beginning - and, well, the fact that it's not the best first kiss, true love story I have read. 2.5 stars

See the original review on goodreads

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Jinx by D. F. Lamont

The Jinx is the story of Stephen Grayson, a 13-year old whose run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down.

Reviewer: QueenBee
The Jinx is a fantasy adventure intended for preteens and early teens and while this age group is notorious for NOT being avid readers I think this book has what it takes to engage and hold their attention.

The main hero, Stephen, is a boy all young readers can relate to - just an average kid who knows there’s something wrong with him. Bad things just keep happening with and around him since his first day at school when he crashed and broke his brother’s bike. He just seems to bring destruction into everything he does, so the time comes when he’s fed up and decides to investigate what it’s all about.

From this moment on the plot picks up speed and becomes a fast paced adventure. Stephen finds out he has Chaos powers which among other things means he can control Chaons, creatures made of Chaos, part flesh and part stone. He becomes embroiled in the conflict between a cult intent on using his Chaon controlling abilities and a mysterious man called Daedalus, former disciple and traitor to their cause. Stephen doesn’t know who to trust and must make difficult choices on his own.

My reservations stem mostly from the feeling that the book wasn’t always sure which audience it’s supposed to address. For example, my favorite parts of the book were Chaos mythology and all the speculations around it, but I’m not sure the philosophical explanations and all those ancient Greeks won’t sail over the kids’ head. And it’s rather too fast paced for preteens too. On the other hand, the hero is too young and the conflict and moral dilemmas too simple for more crossover audience.

However, considering this is the author’s first published fiction book it’s definitely a success. Then again, after 20 years of writing professionally he can hardly be called a novice, and it shows. The plot is well thought out, the story flows and the new spin on mythology is worth of note. 3.5 stars

Readers can read the first chapter free - and get links to purchase ebooks (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad) as well as softcover versions at:

See the original review on goodreads

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

India Was One by an Indian

…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India…

Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.

How will they get together? Will India become one again?

Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.

Reviewer: QueenBee
India Was One explores rich Indian culture while the author weaves the dramatic love story of one couple against the backdrop of Indian history.

Jai the hero meets Kaahi and falls in love their first day at college. The feeling is mutual, they are happy – and the first few chapters are that, too, describing their time at college, their interaction with their friends and so forth. There’s also a lot of information on the local culture thrown in. The first chapter in particular is devoted to cricket – it may be quite a revelation for a reader not familiar with modern India how much excitement this game can inspire. To understand it better one should think football – or even baseball, as the heroes and the plotline move to the USA.

But shortly before the move the heroes marry, and I particularly liked the description of the wedding itself, abundant with carefully researched detail and explanations about religious differences. The author clearly takes into account that the general audience won’t know much about such things and even has the American guests act as their mouthpiece when they’re comparing the wedding to lush ancient Roman ceremonies one reads about in history books.

The newlyweds continue their happy life in America but this idyll doesn’t last long. Actually, the first inklings of disasters to come are given already in the first chapter where the hero observes barbed wires separating the two countries. So the politics catch up with them, they rush back home to find out about their respective family - and what appeared to be a relationship story suddenly turns into a political thriller as the heroes navigate their separate (separated) ways in the chaos of the newly divided India. I must say I was disconcerted by such turnabout - I somehow wanted more in the way of the relationship development. It really looked too perfect to stay like that indefinitely but instead of some personal conflicts we got a big political based drama. Maybe it was the author’s intention but I felt it was sprung upon me.

The author tests the boundaries of traditional fiction by incorporating lots of non-fictional elements – cricket rules, descriptions of religious and caste norms etc., and while this is a great way to introduce much needed factual information sometimes it feels overdone. When these facts take over a page in italics – well, the attention of most readers would stray. Actually, to cut out superfluous stuff should be an editor’s job, but I’m not sure the book had one. There were also annoying misspellings like f0rgot instead of forgot. So, basically a good novel but could have done with some improvement. 4 stars.

See the original review on goodreads

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fever in the Blood by Anne Mather

Cass fled to Italy, and to Ben.

He was the one person in the world who could help her. And help she desperately needed.

So it was a shock to find that she'd only added to her problems instead of solving them. She was a grown woman now. She had four years of marriage and a great many daunting experiences behind her. And yet the attraction between them flared up again

It was an attractio that had to be denied at all costs - because there was just no way that Ben and Cassandra could be happy together.

Reviewer: QueenBee
I'm a fan of Anne Mather but this book had me comparing it to the movie Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone. There the main character Cher had a relationship with her (former) step-sibling and here we have the same. Cass and Ben are half-siblings who were close until four years ago, the last summer they spent together. That summer Cass had become a woman and shared a kiss that set off a series of unpleasant events. Now Cass is back in Ben’s life after running away from her abusive husband whom she married on the rebound after she went back to her family.

From the first page when Cass appears at Ben’s apartment the tension in the room is so obvious it made me acutely uncomfortable. The characters behave in such a manner that makes you scream incest, especially when they become romantically involved. For the rest of the novel the relationship that never was supposed to be is treated like it’s perfectly normal in their eyes. Yet only Ben’s mother, who discovered them the first time when they kissed and sent Cass packing four years ago, makes a fuss.

When we are confronted with the truth it was too late for me to change my opinion. There were hints about it in the blurb but the author waited too long with her great revelation. I have to give it half a star - it's probably the worst Harlequin I've ever read. The relationship the way it was described and the plot both made me cringe. Anne Mather usually writes better than this.

See the original review on goodreads

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she's certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected -- a young and handsome English lord.

Reviewer: Fashionta 
I am a big fan of Carla Kelly's novels which are usually very interesting reads. But this time I finished the book with mixed feelings.

The first half of the novel is a classical and delightful Christmas story but the second turns into a dangerous adventure involving diplomatic secrets!

The holiday season has come again but this year it is different for the Wynswiches. It could well be the last Christmas they spend in their home because Sir Bertram Wynswich recently died and left the family with an enormous amount of gambling debts.

The only thing that could save them is a lucrative marriage offer for Ariadne, the eldest daughter of the family and also a very proper and beautiful young woman. A few days before Christmas Percy, the eldest brother who is in diplomatic service, comes back home with two gentlemen, Sir William Clinghorn and Lord Gilbert Ingraham.

Sir William is rich and looking for a wife but he turns out to be a very unpleasant man. Miss Marian Wynswich, the younger sister, is going to do everything in her power to save Ariadne from a horrible fate. Trust her to come up with a most outrageous idea!

Marian is very young, not even seventeen, she is outspoken and impetuous but she has a loving heart and her family means the world to her.

Gilbert is drawn to Marian and her carefree spirit. Very quickly and with ease they become good friends. Surprisingly they discover that they have a lot in common. It is a real pleasure to see them interact with each other.

The first half is definitely brilliant and very funny, you cannot but laugh despite the family's uncertain future.

On the other hand I have some reservations about the last half. In my opinion it "kills" somehow the spirit of the beginning. Don't get me wrong, it is as well written as the rest but you are literally snatched from a cozy Christmas family gathering and are thrown into deadly thriller without warning! This sudden change is awkward, but nonetheless there is an entertaining plot and a lot of action to follow.

Because of this oddity I give 3.5/5.

Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Duke's Blackmailed Bride by Leigh D'Ansey

Vanessa Fitzwilliam is in dire straits. Her father’s death a year ago left her with a crumbling manor and a handful of old retainers relying on her for support. When the Duke of Northbridge sweeps into her life with a surprise proposal, Vanessa is tempted—but the arrogant duke believes her to be something she’s not.

Hardened by the ravages of war, Northbridge seeks a wife who will provide him with an heir but make no demands on his emotions. The scandalously experienced Vanessa, neither clinging nor innocent, seems the perfect choice. But Northbridge isn’t prepared for her reluctance to accept him, or his own fierce reaction to her beauty.

To fulfill his desires, Northbridge is prepared to be ruthless, but can he bend Vanessa to his will? Or has the Duke met his match?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I was rather unsure about this book because it is a very short story. But at the end I had no doubts anymore, I liked it a lot.

Vanessa Fitzwilliam was used to a carefree life, never really thinking about the consequences of her actions. She was often impetuous which is not something a young lady should show the world.

After the sudden death of her father she finds herself in an impossible predicament. She needs to marry if she doesn't want to lose her home, but she will not accept just anyone. So she is left with a decaying manor, a few remaining servants and no money!

From the very first moment Vanessa and the Duke of Northbridge meet, you are able to feel a very palpable tension building. When I think about them, I can see two fencers crossing swords.

Vanessa is a very lively and headstrong young woman but she's not callous, she knows that she has responsibilities towards the few loyal servants that remain with her. The Duke is an aloof man, never showing any kind of emotion and years of war have left him rather grim. But he is a man with a plan - and he believes there are things worth fighting for. But first Miss Vanessa Fitzwilliam will have to accept his very straightforward and unemotional proposal of marriage. After years of practice they both keep their feelings and thoughts to themselves in order to protect their hearts but it only makes their lives more difficult.

Towards the end of the story we learn that they have a past together. It happened when they were children, they secretly met one time. This distant memory remained forever with him and it kept him alive and strong enough to be able to come back from the war. In my opinion this is the one thing that makes the story credible. Otherwise, it wouldn't have worked.

It was a good read. I give it 4/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taming Rowan by Suzanne Barrett

Karin Williams' devastatingly handsome project officer has a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. Rowan Marsden expected a male engineer and he's not giving Karin an inch. Working conditions are...tense. Even...worse, she must share on-site accommodations with the sexy Brit who she fears will break her heart. What's a girl to do? If Rowan had his way, he'd never work with a woman. Yet as Karin demonstrates her expertise on the job, he cannot deny his growing respect for her—or his desire. He wants the passion she offers, but not the commitment. Until a horrendous accident at the project site threatens Karin's life, and proves that even a wounded man is destined to love....

Reviewer: QueenBee
There aren’t many romances out there whose main heroine is an engineer. What makes Taming Rowan even more unique is the fact that the author herself worked as one so we are sure to get all the details right.

Karin is an American who is sent to England as an expert in satellite antenna installation. Rowan is the British project manager she’d be working under. He’s mistrustful of women after a bad marriage and deeply resents having to accept a female engineer on his all-male crew, Karin is intent to prove her worth. Both of them are taken aback by the sizzling attraction they feel at first sight - or rather at first fight.

It isn’t always easy to explore this attraction in an isolated location with the crew around them and under a lot of pressure from work (which is indeed described in loving detail). In addition Rowan is stubborn and severely burned by his previous experience at commitment. It takes a life-threatening situation and a very difficult decision on Karin's part to set one's priorities straight - and then it's not about taming Rowan anymore.

However, there are things that are difficult to swallow for a non-American reader. For example, Rowan's family being idle landed gentry and owning a castle. For one thing, the days when the English aristocracy could live off their land are long past. Now it's the other way round - if you want to hold on to your lands you have to find a really lucrative job because the taxes are sky high. For another, the gentry are not the same as nobility, they never owned castles, and a house admittedly built in 19 century would hardly be called one. A manor - yes, but castle? I sometimes got the feeling that the English and their customs are as foreign and exotic to the author as the Arabian sheiks to the rest of us. I was also put off by the heroine's apparently obvious physical resemblance to the hero's ex-wife and how everybody who knew the woman were compelled to comment upon it.

I did enjoy the story despite all that. Ms. Barrett used her own experience to give us insight into a profession still dominated by men, then, when it was first published and now as well. I'm really looking forward to reading more of her work. 4 stars

Release Date: May 2011
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press

See the original review on goodreads

Friday, October 21, 2011


So recently I came across these links that someone posted on the smartbitch blog. It made me laugh. Somebody actually had a go reinventing some of those horrible covers that we've all seen and made fun of because they just don't look right.

Check them out for yourself:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Found (Brides of the Kindred 4) by Evangeline Anderson

A warrior with a scarred heart who doesn’t know how to love. And the woman who must teach him how before it’s too late…

The son of the evil AllFather, Xairn is filled with conflicting emotions. On one hand, he has finally gained his freedom and cut the ties that bound him to his race and the sadistic male who is his father. But doing so has unleashed feelings in him Xairn would rather keep buried. Desires that he prayed would never manifest now rage through him and they are centered on one woman alone…

Lauren Jakes is the long lost cousin Liv and Sophie never knew they had. Abducted by the Scourge, she formed a connection with Xairn more meaningful than any other in his life. But though Lauren thinks she knows him, there is more to the huge Scourge warrior than she comprehends. A nightmare childhood and a cruel father have scarred Xairn’s heart almost past the point of healing. But that is nothing to the secret inside him—the forbidden desires coded into his very DNA itself, which urge him to commit unspeakable acts in order to sate his newly awakened hunger.

Now a conflict is brewing—both in Xairn’s soul, and aboard the Fathership where the twisted AllFather has hatched a new, malicious plot to bring his estranged son home. Can Xairn resist the brutal lust growing within him? Can he fight against his very nature which urges him to dominate and control any female he mates? Can Lauren heal his heart before the AllFather’s trap closes on both of them? And can she teach him how to love before it’s too late?

Reviewer: avidscribe
(Contains Spoilers)
This needs to be read in succession to be understood. The first book in this series is entitled Claimed. The second is Hunted, the third is Sought. Evangeline has included an author’s note in this latest saying she is now planning two additional books but not until 2012.

I enjoyed the first three books but the fourth now feels labored. It’s the same outline. Beast Kindred; no, Blood Kindred; no, Twin Kindred; no Scourge has an issue showing the woman of his dreams all that he is because he doesn’t believe she will accept him. So this time it isn’t a mating fist or razor sharp fangs or a menage the Earth female is fearful of but a Dominant man with a double penis and a need for a submissive.

It has become like a Doris Day comedy with the man preserving his sanctity and the woman pulling out every trick to seduce him. Four times and this now feels overdone. Also note that the BDSM elements were mild and involved only a light spanking and restraint. "Forbidden desires"? "Unspeakable acts"? Huh? What book was this describing? We don't even get rough sex here. It's whitewashed and wholesome with Xairn apologizing every time he becomes sexually aroused around Lauren.

I've said it before—Evangeline’s males lack the balls and confidence that is needed for an alpha male in this kind of situation to be believable. They are protective, fierce warriors but around their women in private, they cower.

I was excited to catch up with the characters from the past books but it’s the women who we read more of as we find Olivia continuing her pregnancy and dealing with stomach churning food cravings, Sophie morose about not being pregnant too and Kat starting to plan her wedding to Deep and Lock. The detective working on Lauren's disappearance case for her mother has more time devoted to him and the hint he may also be carrying Kindred blood and not know it. He will be figuring in the next book as his relationship with Sylvan's cousin, Nadiah, is developed. I guess I wanted to see more interaction of the Kindred men with their mates. The men are mostly thrown into this book to stand up with Xairn in the end as he confronts his father.

And there’s where the story fell apart for me. For three books, we’ve been worked up to the promise of a climatic moment. It's Luke fighting Darth Vader. It's Inigo Montoya ("You killed my mother, prepare to die!"). It's payback and we waited impatiently for it.

The AllFather is a monster who drains captives dry of their emotions, who has the awful technology to create warriors in a vat to build his army, who thrills at his son's pain and harvests human suffering and trauma to maintain his existence. He is possessed of a terrible omniscient power that can scour the galaxy for his runaway son and the human female he is protecting and pull them back. Lauren is part of a prophecy that would restore the Scourge's race by mating with the AllFather and bearing only daughters to rejuvenate the race.

To have the AllFather taken down and destroyed very quickly is not satisfying. It is, in fact, very anticlimatic. Egregiously so after a long wait where the expectation grew with each successive book. Surely he would pay for his crimes. Surely he would suffer. We've been thirsting for retribution and we are denied it. Add to that the discovery and then loss of Xairn’s mother that is so unnecessary and needlessly cruel to the storyline and I felt horribly deflated. What would it have taken to have given Xairn something loving of his past and let her live?

There were some wonderful moments. I was happy to see Xairn adopt a puppy, to give him back the loving moments he had with Sanja who had been malevolently torn from him by his father but I enjoyed most the chapters involving Lauren and Xairn on the planet O’ah where trusting Lauren is exploited by one of the locals who intends to keep her for the skin trade there.

I will read the final two books even though I'd give this one only 2 stars. I remain hopeful because I think Evangeline puts a lot of effort into making her scifi atmospherics intriguing, involving and often hilarious. This book did not contain the hilarity of Kat's story, though. It's more sobering with Lauren lookalikes being kidnapped and abused by the AllFather in an attempt to lure his son back to the ship for a final confrontation he thinks he will win.

Finally, I understand this was self published. It should have been beta’d. The mistakes are not the sort, for the most part, that can be found in a spell check. They are relationally based to the text. She needs to run her book past a few good grammarians before she releases it. (Hand raised) I find this situation increasingly common to ebooks and it’s a shame more effort isn’t being made to make a book error free.

See the original review on goodreads

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe

Even with her gift of the Sight, never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a darkhaired stranger charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together–body, breath, and soul. Or both will be made to pay for the Sins of the Highlander.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Connie Mason has always been a wonderful storyteller and her collaboration with Mia Marlowe is definitely a success! The plot of a bride's abduction at the altar is not very original but nonetheless they were able to write a very entertaining and intriguing story from start to finish.

Elspeth Stewart is snatched from the church during her wedding by "Mad Rob" MacLaren who wants to take revenge on Lachlan Drummond, her intended. We discover later that Lachlan is responsible for his wife's tragic death and there is even more to it. The abduction briskly happens under everyone's noses and is only the beginning of a long, arduous and very exciting chase.

There is a wealth of details during this tumultuous journey that gives this novel tremendous depth and quality. The attack on Elspeth and Rob by a pack of howling wolves is quite gripping and very realistic. Along the road we discover dark, damp, and forgotten caves. We cross forests, lochs, and at one time we even meet a witch, who is more of a healer. But this is not the end, far from it, there are many more twists and turns to come...

The two main characters are very appealing and they vigorously fight their attraction at first. The poor innocent Elspeth doesn't know what is happening to her. She should hate him, not react to him in such a strange and unusual way. She is so angry and humiliated. The fact that she has The Sight doesn't seem to help her much when she needs it most.

Rob is tormented by guilt and regrets. He was not there to protect his lovely wife and he just cannot forgive himself. He wants revenge and at the beginning of the book Elspeth is just a means to an end.

Most of the action takes place on the road and it's a very good idea. It gives the two main characters an opportunity to get to know and understand each other even if they don't want to. There is a lot of tension and emotions caused by this explosive situation. Little by little they open themselves to each other and in the process they have to listen to their hearts. Only then will they be able to decide what kind of life they want to live.

You cannot but be caught up by the nonstop action and you only want to know what will happen next!

It was a very good read. I give it a 5/5.

Expected Publishing Date: Jan. 01, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Good Student by Elliot Mabeuse

When passionate Professor Conner Devlin meets oversexed student Emma Fiore, the sparks ignite: he'll train her to be his classroom sex slave, carrying out his every desire, while she gets to experience the forbidden pleasure of submissive love before her marriage to a dull and unfeeling man. But Emma's sizzling and insatiable desires soon overwhelm Conner and he finds himself hopelessly in love with his young submissive. Emma accepts him as her sexual Master, but will she have him as her real-life lover?

Through the means of BDSM and the demands of extreme sex, Conner tries to break down the barriers between them and make Emma acknowledge her feelings, until one night things become too real and the games are forgotten. Conner takes Emma prisoner for real and their passions erupt in a cataclysm of raw emotion that rocks them both and fuses them in a transcendent love.

Told with intense honesty from the dominant's point of view, A Good Student gives a rare and searing look inside a man-s heart as he's caught in the throes of a compelling and overwhelming love and passion, all his thoughts and feelings exposed. Listening to Conner's confessions is like having your own personal Master tell you everything he feels, with a poet's skill and a therapist's insight. You-ll never look at the dynamics of D/s and a man's sexuality the same way again.

Reviewer: avidscribe
For me, there is nothing more arousing than finding a writer who mines ways to convey moments that thrust his work to a whole new elevation in so doing. Elliot writes what everyone has been saying for years—since erotica has been written—but he seduces by the surprising and bold turn of a phrase, the salty taste of sweat from his character’s angst, the reveal of a tortured dark craving that has you reveling for more.

And he gives it.

Propelled by a first person male Dom POV, the sheer emotion of this story is so astoundingly raw, involving and carnal it left me breathless.

In A Good Student, you get the naked fury of a man’s lust for a kindred soul, his quest for a woman to give it all to. His story isn’t dressed up in frippery but naked and unrepentantly male—saturated with pheromones, dripping in testosterone ... and I couldn’t put it down.

I’ve swooned over a few writers in my time but this read compelled me to track down the author on Facebook and gushingly ask him to friend me, as if the Six Degrees of Separation would somehow bring me closer to the majesty of his pen. I felt ridiculous doing so, invading his personal space as it was, but I needed the connection like I needed my next breath of air.

Ever have a book that takes up real estate in your head, that holds you in its arms and murmurs heatedly into your hair as it takes you to depths you hadn’t conceived of before? This book sparked whole new synapses in my brain and its flawless execution is going to make the search for an equal impossible, I feel it will be a fruitless quest to find another author who comes close to this writer’s brilliance. His words catapult the genre to a whole new class.

Five stars out of five and one for good measure. I did not want it to end.

See the original review on goodreads

Almost An Equal (The Hunt Club Chronicles 1) by Heather Boyd

When Nathan Shern, Duke of Byworth's, empty sham of a marriage is threatened by a fellow duke he is naturally aggrieved. He cannot allow the potentially damaging contents of his wife's diary to reveal the depths of their estrangement because exposure of his secret dalliances with other men would taint his innocent children's lives. Not to mention end his life. So, without revealing his mission to his steward, Henry Stackpool, a man he trusts for everything else, Nathan undertakes to steal the diary back alone.

Former pickpocket and molly house whore, Henry Stackpool, works hard to keep his position as right hand to a moral man, the Duke of Byworth, but he fears his kind hearted employer is ill-equipped for a confrontation with his unstable opponent. Yet Henry cannot reveal his knowledge of the threat without exposing the secrets of his past or his keen interest in Byworth's safety. So when fate places Henry in harms way, he risks his hard won reputation to retrieve the diary. Yet he too is held captive, and when Byworth comes to his rescue his lies are revealed.

Can Byworth forgive him for his deception and will Henry keep the country life he's grown to love?

Reviwer: BlackTulip
I've never read anything by Heather Boyd before and I'm happy to say that I loved this novella.

The two main characters are as different as can be. Henry Stackpool is lucky enough to have secured a job as the steward of Nathan Shern, Duke of Byworth's. Something he thought he could never obtain, being a former pickpocket and a molly house whore. This is why he worked so hard and definitely earned the trust of his employer.

Deep, deep in their hearts they both hope and imagine something that can never be or so they think. They both hold back and struggle, too afraid to lose that trust and respect that exist between them.

Nathan has a lot on his shoulders and the responsibility of his good name and his children is paramount. So when everything seems in peril because of the carelessness and the irresponsibility of his wife he has to act alone because there is too much at stake.

The thing that characterize them both is the loneliness and the goodness in them. Henry has a knack with children, and Nathan's are very fond of him. Nathan is rather uneasy with them, he loves them of course but he doesn't really know how to show it.
The Duchess doesn't care at all about them; she is shallow and selfish and only thinks about her own pleasures.

One dreadful night causes their carefully arranged lives to collapse. They drop their masks and openly show what they feel for each other. Together they will be strong enough to fight whatever enemy there is to fight.

It is a beautiful love story, written with finesse and taste. The only criticism I have is that I would have liked to know more about Henry's past life. That being said it was a good read and I give a 4/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sinful Treats (Club Velvet Ice 1) by Violet Summers

Ever wonder about the people who work at, and the customers who frequent, the sex club Velvet Ice?

Kendra came to the club to help her best friend celebrate her 21st birthday, on Halloween no less. Her curvy body dressed as a she-devil, her normally sane self agrees to try and gain access to the third floor. With security distracted, she makes it into the forbidden and mysterious playground.

Sinclair is ready to drag the woman back down the stairs where she belongs, but finds himself drawn to her. The fascination on her face as she explores the scenes going on around her enthralls Sin. He knows she's a born Submissive and his attraction to an obvious novice is a big no-no.

Kendra gets herself into trouble with a more experenced Dom and its up to Sin to come to her rescue, but he isn't about to let her go. She came to explore a night of wild fantasy and Sin is the person to show her exactly what it means to belong to a man like him.

Contains: BDSM, spanking, sex club

Reviewer: avidscribe
Derivative, hackneyed, zzzz.

Sorry, but it’s true. It’s BDSM where the Dom falls for the young, voluptuous, innocent sub who doesn’t know she’s a sub and he instantly falls for everything about her, even though he’s been around for years and knows better. He loses control and reacts to her, drowns in her and she gives him the best orgasm of his life, the best kiss, the best tonguing ... oh give me a break!

How many authors? How many times? A writer needs to find a new way into this field now heavy with submissions in order to get a rise from her readers and this writer didn’t even try. There is no new material here, not even the effort to step up to the plate. This is simply an abbreviated contemporary romance with a ridiculous accelerated timeline to get the two players together. I want believability. She adds in a double orgasm for the man (!), the girl’s reticience to return to the BDSM club the next day (naturally) and a trumped up excuse to get her there. There is zilch for character development.

Whether the fault is the editor’s or the writer’s, this story also came with bad grammar and that riles me too as more and more material comes to “market” without being adequately reviewed. [The world was full of Dom’s ...] Beta anyone?

If you want to read a great series of books with a BDSM club theme, try Cherise Sinclair’s MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series where a man can be written masculine without the necessity of falling back on describing his every reaction as ‘fucking this’ or ‘fucking that.’ That’s just a writer’s hack when she doesn’t want to spend the effort to develop a believable male.

I read Elliot Mabeuse’s A GOOD STUDENT this past week and the man has set a new standard in my eyes for truly great erotic writing that doesn’t pander, that shocks with its raw visceral words and first person (male) thinking. He’s spoiled me with blazing imagery and his strength of words. I immersed inside the world he spun and didn’t want to leave when it ended. Writers should have him on their must-read list before they submit their own work. Readers need to be aware that once you read a truly well written story like A GOOD STUDENT that works like SINFUL TREATS are going to be little more than an enervating, intolerable swill afterwards.

I give this half a star.

See the original review on goodreads

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rose's Pledge (Harwood House 1) by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity

A gentlewoman sold to the highest bidder. . .

A frontiersman looking for love outside of marriage. . .

And the vast, untamed wilderness and peoples that threaten their survival.

To save her father from debtors’ prison in England, gently bred Rose Harwood indentures herself to the highest bidder in the far away American Colonies. Her new owner, a grubby trader, takes her deep into Indian Territory, and when hostilities erupt at the start of the French and Indian War, Rose finds herself in more need of rescue than her father ever was.

Frontiersman Nate Kinyon is eager to save Rose, but he has strayed from his childhood beliefs and is far from being the man God called him to be. And Rose is reluctant to sacrifice her faith to secure the charming but worldly longhunter’s protection.

As the two struggle amid danger for survival, they have a lot to learn—from each other and from God. Will they discover that the only true and lasting love comes from God, the Author of their destiny?

Reviewer: Fashionta
Rose's Pledge is the first book in the Harwood House series set mainly in Colonial America of the mid-eighteenth century. In the city of Bath, Rose Harwood, a 25-year old spinster, is considered to be firmly on the shelf. So when her family finds itself in dire straits and faces the prospect of a debtors' prison, she's the first to be sacrificed. Rose indentures herself to the highest bidder and soon leaves England for the servant's life in the colonies.

At first she is repelled by the grubby looks and abrasive manner of her new master, a tradesman by the name of Smith. She is further horrified by the news that she'd be living in an Indian settlement. However, appearances are deceiving and Rose soon gets to know and appreciate both him and her new surroundings. What's more, one of her fellow travellers Nate Kinyon, moved by her plight followed her to her destination just to make sure she'd be OK. He's far cry from being the man Rose's ever envisioned to fall for, but something in him calls to her.

This peace and contentment doesn't last long. The life in the colonies is unstable, the English and the French are fighting to increase their holdings, embroiling the Indians in their hostilities as well. Suddenly, Rose finds herself a sole white person in the settlement and has to survive on her own, waiting for Nate to return.

The novel is well researched, rich with details of the period. We get insight into the events that lead to French and Indian wars and even see George Washington, the future first president of the United States, as a brave officer in the beginning of his illustrous career. Convincing and likable characters and easy writing style make for a very enjoyable read. Since we are told that Rose's sisters shared her fate, each of them going as indentured servant to America, I'm eagery awaiting the next installment in this promising series.  5 stars.

Expected Publishing Date: Jan. 01, 2012
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Fly Boy by Eric Walters

Robbie's father is a spitfire pilot who was shot down during World War II and is now a POW. At only seventeen, Robbie lies about his identity to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force under the guise of going to a boarding school so that his mother doesn't find out. He starts training in Brandon, Manitoba, but after acing all his classes, he's dealt a disappointing blow when he's assigned to be a navigator on a Lancaster. He wanted to be a pilot, just like his father, but the commanders of the air force have other ideas. Robbie is soon on his way to England, where he completes his training on missions bombing German targets in enemy territory. It is during one of these missions that his Lancaster is fired upon and the pilot and many of the crew are shot. It's up to Robbie and his limited piloting experience to save the crew...and himself.

Reviewer: QueenBee
This book caught my attention as soon as it was out - after all, there aren't many novels out there that shows WW2 through the eyes of a seventeen year old navigator.

That's right, he was fighting in the war in 1943 before he was even eligible to be enlisted. The book tells us how it came about and more as we follow the adventures of Robert aka David McWilliam described both as he takes part in them and through the letters he sends to his friend Chip.

Robert is desperate to do the things the grown-ups are supposed to do. It certainly reminds the adult reader what it felt like at his age... but while we risked driving without a licence and underage drinking - and how cool was that! - Robert wanted to join the fighting.

The book starts as he and his friend Chip leave their small sleepy Canadian town to start school in Toronto. Only Robert is finished with the school. He's a man who wants to do a man's job, to fight in the war against the Germans. And so begins his journey across the continent while the loyal Chip stays in Toronto and supports the deception of Robert's family. Finally Robert's dream comes true, he reaches England and finally joins the air forces as a navigator. The reality of the war is far from his dreams of heroical deeds, however.

The book is well researched and describes the pilots' routine, fighting, life and death with brutal honesty. My only objection is that the end is too abrupt, it leaves the reader wondering about too many things that are left unsaid. 4.5 stars

See the original review on goodreads

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Falke's Captive by Madison Layle and Anna Leigh Keaton

A graduate student working in animal genetics, Beth Coldwell is in town to track and tag big cats in the wild. Her prospects for the summer only improve when she meets Kelan and Reidar Falke and decides the sexy brothers are the right pair to fulfill her other, less than scientific, desires...

But her research is a threat to the Falke family secret. When Kelan, in cougar form, is captured, that secret comes closer than ever to being revealed. He escapes, but not before Beth draws a blood sample, and analysis shows this is no ordinary mountain lion.

Kelan and Reidar cannot deny the powerful attraction they feel toward Beth. She might just be their destined mate. But if they reveal themselves to her, will she embrace who they are or see them as just another science experiment?

Reviewer: Fashionta
Beth Coldwell loves all big cats and wants to make a difference by helping them. So when she's offered to take part in tracking and tagging pumas in the wild she jumps at the opportunity. The night she arrives in the small town she'll be living in, Beth meets Kelan and Reidar Falke who seem to be just the right men to fulfill her other desires, sexual ones.

Her first day at work she is excited to catch a puma - she has no idea it is Kelan in his animal form. Kelan escapes but not before Beth manages to take a blood sample from him and the DNA analysis shows he's not a common mountain lion. After all the brothers' attempts to retrieve the sample fail, they come clean and let Beth decide what's more precious to her - fame or the men she's grown attracted to. None of them realizes there are other forces who are willing to kill in order to discover the secrets of Kelan's blood.

I adore paranormal stuff, especially the shapeshifter stories. I was sure I would love this book and so I did! Kelan and Reidar are great guys, so alike and yet so different. While Reidar is ready to admit he's found his mate, Kelan tries to deny it which gives necessary depth to the menage plot. The character of Beth, so serene and yet so passionate, is very appealing too, she really looks like the perfect match for her pumas.

I give this highly entertaining story 4/5 stars and I strongly recommend it. The book is so good you can’t put it down until you finish it.

Expected Release Date: Oct. 10, 2011
Publisher: Carina Press
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to Worship a Goddess by Stephanie Julian

Lucy is the Etruscan goddess of the moon, hunted by a powerful demon. One misstep and he will trap and consume her in his bid to escape the underworld. Lucy has stayed one step ahead of him, but she didn't count on falling for minor league hockey player Brandon Stevenson. Brandon's not one of her worshippers, but he is determined to win over the gorgeous woman who watches him at every game and won't give her up without a fight–even if it means releasing the beast he holds inside.

Reviewer: Fashionta

Stephanie Julian's second book about Forgotten Goddesses tells the story of Lucy. Ever since becoming a Forgotten Goddess, Lucy Aster also known as Lucan the Moon Goddess has concentrated on helping her people, lucani shifters. However the book is not about them, but more about finding true love and yourself, although the lucani politics do add a nice element to it.

Sex and secrets keep the plot moving until the very last page, making it hard to put the book down. That said, I would really wish the sex scenes were spread more evenly throughout the novel, their amount in the beginning seem a bit staggering. The sex was hot and satisfying though the hero's ability to always anticipate her every wish did make me roll my eyes from time to time.

Another disappointment was that we don't get to know more about Brendon, the hero's mysterious background. At one point he decides to quit his hockey career and go back to his parents... but stays with Lucy instead. Commendable, but I so hoped the author would introduce another supernatural race on par with the one we met in the previous book. I felt it would have taken the story to a new level, not just that of a good but conventional paranormal romance. She does introduce a new Goddess, though. It was a welcome twist to the story... that makes me wonder where this series would go next.

All in all, I give this story 3.5 stars.

Expected Release Date: Dec. 1,  2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

See the original review on goodreads

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner


It was him. Serena couldn't breathe. She'd been looking for him for years—the man who'd lifted her out of the dregs of London's underworld. She remembered that he'd looked like an angel. But either she'd embellished or he'd grown up. Because he didn't look like an angel now. He looked like a man, solid and broad, and taller than she'd thought. And now he needed her help.


Solomon recognized her as soon as they were alone in the dark. He'd not forgotten that night five years ago either. But Serena had changed. She was stronger, fiercely independent and, though it hardly seemed possible, even more beautiful. She was also neck-deep in trouble. Yet he'd help cook a feast for the Prince Regent, take on a ring of spies, love her well into the night—anything to convince her that this time he was here to stay.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I loved the first book of this series so much but to my great astonishment I didn't like this book.

I was intrigued by the storyline as it looked very original. But quickly I became bored and really wanted to quit halfway. Still I managed to finish it because I wanted to know how it ended.

The plot in my opinion became too complex too soon and I started losing interest.

I never could get into the story and as a result I was never able to appreciate the two main characters and their interaction. It's a pity really, because I liked the idea of these two uncommon personalities and the unusual story of a courtesan and a gentleman. I'm always very interested in class differences and constraints of society.

For all that, it doesn't make it a bad book at all. It was very well written and there was humor in the dialogues. I will read the next one, but I can only give this one 2.5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Gift of the Heart by Suzanne Barrett

Amy Wilson struggles to make a home for herself and her small son in the Northern California town of Riverton. Widowed and alone, and saddled with debt from her husband’s failed business, she vows to pay off his creditors herself and remain independent from her overbearing in-laws.
Shay McHugh is dissatisfied with his life. At thirty-three, he has a home on the river which he has just remodeled, a white Porsche, a powerboat, and a position as manager of Riverton’s ValuKing Supermarket. But lately he finds life doesn’t offer the fulfillment he craves. Something is lacking. When he meets Amy, he has an overwhelming desire to protect her, which is exactly the thing Amy has been escaping. Can the two set aside their differences and make room for love?

Reviewer: Fashionta
Where do I start? I love this novella! This is the first time I have read something by Suzanne Barrett and I fell in love with her writing style. She has written a Christmas novella that we can all relate to in one way or another.

Amy is a struggling mother of one, who is scarred by her past marriage. Shay dreams of having a family similar to his friend Peter's. They meet when Amy ends up stranded in Riverton and with the help of Amy’s son Josh, romance occurs between them. It’s a rocky road however, as Amy is resistant to falling in love again because of those scars. However, love prevails and we get a satisfying conclusion.

It’s disappointing that more people haven’t read Suzanne Barrett's books. She has become a favourite author of mine and have added her to my must read authors list for future releases. I give it 5 stars, as I couldn’t find any fault with this novella.

Release: October 10, 2011
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press (TMP)
Price: $1.99 Digital
Retailer Availability: TMP website; Amazon and affiliates; Amazon Kindle; Smashwords and Affiliates; Digibooks Café; All Romance Ebooks/Omnilit; Coffee Time Romance;; Barnes & Noble
eBook Distribution: Smashwords (Sony, Diesel eBooks, Apple, Kobo, ScrollMotion)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Wishing Cup by J M Gryffyn

Orphaned as a boy and brought up by the crusty, disapproving Edward Collins, Dr. David Jameson may not know much about love, but he makes up for it with an encyclopedic knowledge of Egyptian history and language. Too bad his job as linguist for a team excavating in the Valley of the Kings puts him right under Edward’s nose. When the discovery of a rare artifact leads to a disagreement between guardian and ward, Jeremiah McKee, the team’s American benefactor, sends no-nonsense Jake Tanner to protect his investment.

David’s disappointment at not meeting McKee fades quickly in the heat of his intense desire for Tanner, who seems to be the only member of the team to give credence to his ideas. Push comes to shove when Edward discovers the burgeoning romance between David and Jake, but not everything is as it seems. Will David and Jake find more in Egypt than sand and strife? Something that, like the pyramids at Giza, will stand the test of time?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
As long as I can remember, the early 1900s' combined with Egyptian archaeology have always fascinated me.

This novella is a romantic and passionate love story. It was very entertaining to read but it could have been better if it were a little bit longer.

The plot is rather simple but not uninteresting and I found the writing style quite satisfying. On the other hand I would have liked more descriptions about the site itself, a bit more history too; it would had given this book more substance.

The two main characters David and Jack are both very appealing. David is a brilliant young Egyptologist but rather underappreciated, in particular by his guardian, a stiff and cold bully of a man who is in charge of the dig. Jake Tanner is overseeing it on the behalf of American philantropist McKee who's funding it. Very quickly Jake develops protective feelings for David. Their interaction is convincing enough but again it lacks depth.

At one point Jake has to leave but there is a surprising little twist when he comes back.

Overall The Wishing Cup was an interesting read that was able to give a good idea of what it must have been like...

I give it a 3.5/5.

See the original review on goodreads

Can't Bear It by Celia Kyle

Meg is a lioness on the run. After being used and semi-abused by her pride for more years than she cares to count, she's leaving the pride life behind and heading to Strange Hollow. A new life, a new home, awaits her there and she can't wait to begin anew and settle down to make little lions of her own. Only, the one man who qualifies for the job also has a tiny little problem. He's a man-slut.

Jacob loves his slutastic behavior and wouldn't have it any other way. Men, women, either, both, they all do it for him. Until he meets a certain curvaceous lioness who changes the rules and makes his bear want something he's never wanted... a mate.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Jacob, the hero of  Can't Bear It (yes, it is a pun, so be ready to meet a bear shifter in an unbearable situation) is a man slut. That's how the blurb describes him, never mind that you'd rarely come across such a word in a m/f romance. A man who likes women can be called a playboy, but a slut? In our case, Jacob is bisexual. He just cann't get enough sex and is willing to have it any way the opportunity presents itself. He lives in Strange Hollow, a town of supernatural misfits similar to the one Dana Marie Bell created, though with even more variety.

Meg, the heroine, is a lioness who seeks to escape the boredom the life of a closeted shapeshifter entails, so she comes to Strange Hollow. She also wishes to turn over a new leaf and start a meaningful relationship. You’d think Jacob would be the wrong man for it, but not to a determined lioness shapeshifter.

It is a short, quick read but it is jam packed. Sometimes, I had to cringe at the hoops Meg made Jacob jump through to bring him to heel. The road to monogamy can be rocky indeed. The character of Meg is well defined and it seems the story is more about her than anything else. On the other hand Jacob needs more development, maybe if the novella were a little longer and I’d been given a little more insight into the characters I’d give it half a star more. Anyway, I feel it earned 4 out of 5 stars from me and I hope for more books in similar style from Ms. Kyle.

See the original review on goodreads

House of Mirrors by Bonnie Dee, Summer Devon

Driven from his family when his sexuality is exposed, Jonah discovers drama, passion, and intrigue in a traveling carnival--and in the enigmatic owner, Rafe Grimstone. The preacher’s son and the lord who’s rejected his former life in England feel the heat of attraction from the moment they meet. Open-hearted Jonah is willing to risk hellfire and damnation for brief moments of pleasure with Rafe, but the older man is frozen in a past he can’t escape no matter how far he runs.

As Rafe struggles to choose between responsibilities of his present and his past, mysterious accidents assail the close-knit community of the carnival. Will the perpetrator be revealed before the traveling show is ruined, and will Rafe finally reveal his true self to Jonah or continue to mask his identity like the changing images in a house of mirrors?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
Two main characters, two men, one of them will be the key to unlock the other's heart.

The story takes place in a circus in the early 1900s and we follow the heroes from Southern Ohio all the way to Kentucky.

We are first introduced to young Jonas with his face bloody and battered and his body aching after the beating he has taken. He is forced to leave his home and seek a job, any job. Then we meet Rafe, a tall dark-haired man, the owner of the Carnival who hires him - temporarily.

There's an undeniable attraction between them from the first but in the beginning it's only lust. It will take some time for them to realize and accept that what they share has developed into something else. Rafe is definitely the most stubborn of the two.

He has a dark secret in his past that catches up with him before the end. At this point it becomes a great complication in their relationship. There is also an interesting mystery that takes place behind the scenes. But let's not forget all those wonderful and colorful minor characters who added so much liveliness to this book, each having their own unusual story. Because of them there was always something happening, either happy or sad.

Although I'm not particulary interested in neither the period nor the location the novel's set in, I really liked the authors' previous books and the story was unusual enough for me to give it a try. Now that I have, I can say without a shadow of doubt that it was very engrossing and I don't regret my choice.

I found this novel a great read. I give it a 4/5.

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All Jacked Up by Desiree Holt

On his fortieth birthday Jack Manning had his own private pity party until a pixie showed up and he was soon "all jacked up".

Jack Manning had carried an image with him all of his adult life of the woman he planned to marry. She’d be every man’s ideal-slender with masses of blonde curls and sapphire blue eyes.

Darcy O’Connor has been the odd-girl-out all her life. Barely five feet tall, she wears outrageous clothes, styles her short black hair in spikes and has developed a smart mouth to cover her insecurities.

When she walks into Eli’s, the favoured neighbourhood hangout, and meets Jack on his birthday, it’s like a collision of the planets. Instantly they rub each other the wrong way. But very hot sex keeps drawing them together.

Will they burn each other out before they realise what their feelings really are?

Reviewer: avidscribe
Jack Manning is facing down turning 40 years of age having a personal pity party at the end of a glass of Bourbon in his favorite neighborhood bar. He’s a good looking enough guy, lean and muscular but shy the inches he thinks he needs to attract the kind of woman he’s been pining for all his life. His dream woman is 5’6” tall, full breasted, lithe, professional and polished with a mane of long golden blond hair. You know—a Barbie doll.

Successful in business, he is embarrassed to find he’s become a project to the wife of his best friend who is determined to hook him up with the right woman ... if she can only get him to stop glaring at every woman who comes in range. Hyper critical with hyper expectations, uptight and feeling the death knell of his youth, he looks around at all his friends now coupled up and wonders if he will ever find the kind of happiness that has so far eluded him.

Darcy O’Connor is the antithesis of everything he considers attractive in a woman standing at 5’ tall with her spikey short jet black hair, heavily made up eyes and plump curves. When the pixie sits down next to him at the bar and starts to snark at him, he is shocked and defensive ... shocked at the surge of sexual attraction he feels towards her and defensive towards her ribbing.

Darcy O'Connor is a woman with a lot of anger simmering just below the surface. She’s tired of being the butt of jokes about her size which she feels has held her back professionally as a technical director at a TV production company. She could be more if she were taken seriously by her boss who only sees her as a sweet little thing. She’s come for a drink at the end of another debilitating day, needing to decompress. She sees Jack in his suit looking officious and uptight and she stabs out at him teasingly, mockingly, pointedly.

When Jack goes to put a hand on her arm to tell her to back off, electricity shoots through him with the force of a thunderbolt. There’s an instant connection there, a strong live current of sexual tension he is confused and wary over.

Two hours later the bar is closing and they’re still at it, sparring with each other and downing drinks. Wanting one more drink for the road, Jack suddenly finds himself face down on the barroom floor, too inebriated to neatly get himself home. The bartender and pixie manage to get him into her car and she drives him home. Coming up through his alcoholic fog, he finds himself being hauled out of her car and up the stairs to his home by the tiny woman. Two things slice through his brain at once—she feels pretty damn good against his body and he has the mother of all boners.

It’s an adorable short story that is minus the angst and extraneous character development you would expect from a longer read. Two headstrong individuals who are so not each other’s types, they insist, can’t keep their hands off each other as they combust in bed. Nothing has ever felt so intense or so right, but it’s all so wrong!

It’s well written and a pleasurable read. The dialog is snappy and real, the morning after their first tumble has all the requisite sober embarrassment that is intermixed with humor and you know they’re going to run into each other soon again and all that incendiary heat is going to flame up despite their protestations. They can’t resist the other’s pull. It’s the resistance that makes it fun, the giving in that makes it memorable. It's brevity makes it something you can knock off in an evening, as I did. If you're looking for froth and fluff, this is perfect  and as such, I'd give it a 5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Warlord's Promise by Alyssa Morgan

Kate is a young widow, left alone, having no children of her own, and would do anything to see that her youngest sister, Alison, gets a chance at a happy life. When Alison is taken hostage by an evil warlord who intends to wed her, Kate offers to trade herself to the warlord in place of her sister.

Ethan MacGregor has spent his life fighting among the clans of the Scottish Highlands, trying desperately to bring peace to his territory. Finally ready to settle down and establish a household, he only needs a beautiful young highland lass to share his bed. When he takes the youngest sister of the woman he truly desires, Kate, she falls right into his hands by offering herself in exchange for her sister's freedom.

And though Ethan has promised to release Kate's sister in exchange for a night of passion, he has no intention of letting Kate go.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
Many times I have been disappointed by short stories, but I was pleasantly surprised  this time. I think Alyssa Morgan was quite successful in creating two characters both of whom are very genuine and attractive personalities.

The main problem is that you only see a glimpse into their life. Which is a shame because you can feel that there is much more to them. For example, the depth of Ethan's personality is there somewhere, you are able to perceive it, but unfortunately you cannot access it. It is obvious when you read the book that he is not a simple man and I would have liked to know more about him. It is very frustrating.

The interaction between Ethan and Kate is very well built, very realistic. The love scenes are beautiful, a lot of heat and passion but also a lot of tenderness.

Another unfortunate thing is that we have no opportunity to see the wilds of the Highlands.... too bad!

I only wish it could have been longer, but I liked it. I give it a 3.5.

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Love Finds a Way by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Three stories of light-hearted romance from bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter prove Love Finds a Way. Widow Lorna Patterson returns to college looking for education not romance. Then she meets fellow student and culinary novice Evan Bailey. Will his persistence have her re-thinking love? When Shelia Nickels searches for her grandmother’s doll her hunt leads to antique dealer Dwaine Woods’s door. But will she find love instead of a lost treasure? Wendy Campbell doesn’t want a relationship, but her father does. . .for her. Will his matchmaking end with an unexpected romance for Wendy and paramedic Kyle Rogers?

Reviewer: Fashionta
If you have read Burnstetter's books before you'll know that she normally writes historical books about the Amish people. The three contemporary stories that compose this anthology make a nice change. These novellas are cleverly named after a theme that each of them is centered around.

The first Blueberry Surprise is set in a Christian College where two lonely mature students meet and eventually fall in love,even though the heroine does her best to hold back, believing she's not ready for a relationship. The hero tries to win her heart with his hilarious attempts at baking which get him into more trouble. That's also how the novella came by its name. Lorna buried her husband only a year ago and isn't looking for romance. However, she decided to do something for herself and went back to college. Ethan is the character that makes you want to laugh. He's interested in Lorna but there are two things against him. He's younger than her and she's not interested. Ethan tries to impress her with his baking skills, following recipes he gets from a blog. Problem is, he just can't get them right - and so the fun begins.

Grandma’s Doll, the second novella, brings memories of my grandma and her special mementos. In this story, the heroine is set on a doll that she has loved since she was a child and wants as her keepsake from her grandma. In her search for the doll she comes in contact with the hero and while they are seeking to fulfill her wish they inadverently fall in love.

Wendy has time only for her father and the barber shop she runs. So when her father takes to the heart the advice from one of their customers and decides to find a man for her, she's in trouble. Kyle doesn't have time for a relationship but he doesn’t mind playing matchmaker for Wendy's father. Wendy agrees with him on both counts and while the three stubborn people pursue their own matchmaking agendas, a lot of confusion occurs. Not surprisingly, the novella is called Matchmaker 911.

I give it 4.5 stars. I took half off as I didn’t like the last story Matchmaker 911 and I was skipping pages when I was reading it. It didn’t engage me as much as the other two did despite the character having an interesting job.

Expected Publishing Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

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Ishbel's Party by Stacy Absalom

Once she'd dreamed of being his wife

While Bethan was recovering from injuries she'd suffered while nursing in Beirut, her job with Mrs. Ruston in a peaceful Suffolk village seemed just what the doctor had ordered--plenty of fresh air and no stress.

Instead Bethan was strained to the limit. She met Fraser again, and was reminded of the guilt she'd carried with her since his sister Ishbel's party ten years ago. But seeing Fraser with the woman he intended to marry was what really hurt.

She'd loved Fraser as a young girl, and she loved him still--with a depth and power that was shattering.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Ever felt like everyone remembers you for one mistake in your life? And that you can't shake the mistake no matter how hard you try. Ishbel's Party is about a mistake that happened a number of years ago that has come back to haunt Bethan when she revisits her past and meets the title character's brother. The book moves between present and past as past and present feelings between the two families are explored. The fact that Bethan feels like an outsider ever since she was adopted by her stepfather is key to the story, as they believe she is like her mother. Bethan's mother, who abandoned her,  is a source of pain for her and she's hated by her step brother because his father took a special interest in her.

This revolves around the party where the incident happened and the end is satisfying when the natural son of her stepfather and her best friend were revealed as the cause of the friction. The only let down was that there was no confrontation between Bethan and Mark, her stepbrother, who's current circumstances are mentioned by the hero. For those reasons I gave Ishbel's Party 4 stars.

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