Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Season's Change: Summer (Book One) by Mandy Harbin

Season Crete isn’t one for surprises, but at her surprise seventeenth birthday party, she gets a big one. She learns her mother isn’t really dead. Not only that, her guardian gives her a cryptic message about her mother’s return on her next birthday, mentioning something about mysterious changes she’ll be going through up until then. Seasons’ confusion takes a solemn turn when she discovers a death certificate with her name on it dated for her eighteenth birthday.

While desperately wanting to discover the truth about her mom and these so-called changes, Season is plagued with dreams about the weather, which she cannot explain. But she also finds herself focusing on a budding romance with the hottest guy in town, Don Davis, while trying to enjoy her summer vacation, knowing it may be her last.

When Season strikes up a friendship with newcomer Chrys Gorge, she soon discovers everything isn’t always as it seems as he explains the reality of mythical gods and the danger surrounding how she fits it. He holds the key to unlocking her family secrets, but he’s interested in more than just a friendship with her . . . . And he has the power of a prophesy on his side.

Can Season discover the truth about her heritage without losing the guy she’s falling in love with?

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
I must say I never thought I would read a Young Adult book but was pleasantly surprised to find I actually liked it and I eagerly await for the next installment to the series.

It was refreshing to find the normal teenage angst of body issues, peer pressure to teenage crushes despite the paranormal aspect to the book.

My only problem with it was while the book was very descriptive on most aspectives of Season's life, it seemed to drop in important details and drag out others. I love Greek mythology and would have loved to hear more about it than just the glimpses I got.

Due to this I rate this book 3.5 stars.

Publisher: Noble Young Adult
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Shattered by Cassandre Dayne

Movie star Hunter Reynolds knew a thing or two about the ladies but he didn’t crave them. Instead, he enjoyed the company of men and while he adored Taylor, his live in lover and best friend, they weren’t in love and Hunter refused to be seen in public with him. After all, Hunter's fans believed he was straight. When he was brutally attacked, he was uncertain he would ever work in Hollywood again and his doctors weren’t sure they could repair the damage. Angry and bitter, Hunter pushed everyone out of his life including Taylor. Sadly, Hunter was merely the latest victim in a series of horrific crimes targeting gay entertainers.

Macgyver Donovich was a reporter for the LA Times who’d written stories on each one of the victims and was anxious to talk with Hunter. From the moment he met the rough-hewn man who exuded sexuality along with chocking self loathing, MacGyver was fascinated. Determined to get to the bottom of the attacks, Mac wrote a series of edgy columns in an attempt to egg on the perpetrator.

Entering into a pact to fight back, both Mac and Hunter realized it was only a matter of time before the assailant struck again. As they grew closer by their respective haunted pasts, a series of new threats were issued and both men were forced to confront their demons. As the race to find the attacker continued, Mac and Hunter finally discovered what they’d been missing in life--love. But was it simply too late?

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
I really wanted to love this book but I just couldn't get into the relationship between Mac and Hunter. I didn't feel any romantic connection between them until the very end and that wasn't much either. To me, this book was more a suspense mystery. That aspect of the book I really enjoyed and it kept me guessing until the very end of the book.

What I really didn't like about the book was Hunter aka Morgan Reynolds (he had his name changed due to his father, who was a senator). Hunter was one big old mess, from being in the closet, to not really knowing himself. He had self-esteem issues because his face was shattered, which had been his ticket as an actor (he was known as a pretty boy). He also had huge daddy issues, due to his father letting him get raped and him being an all around jerk. We don't really see Hunter grow any stronger until the very end; when he has to face his demons and help save Mac from his stalker. Also, once his face was fixed back to normal, he seemed to have healed and even asked Mac to marry him. I really didn't like that part, it felt like once he was pretty again he was fixed, which I don't really think is a good message. But I guess his change did start before that, when he stood up for himself and saved Mac, but that was only a few pages before he had his face fixed, so you don't really feel it.

There were also many spelling mistakes in this book. For example just some of them - form was for, then was the, not sure if it was just because it was a review copy or if it was just not edited correctly, but they were on every few pages.

Besides the mystery of this book, I also really liked Mac. When the book was from his point of view, I felt more drawn into the story and I enjoyed his voice. He was always a very positive person and really wanted to help Hunter. I also liked that Mac was always the strong one for Hunter (even if he had his own issues) until the very end when Hunter saved his life. I felt like that helped make them more equals. I also liked that at the very end Hunter decided to start going by Morgan again, and how Mac said you could see Hunter disappear and Morgan surface.

Even with all the flaws I would still recommend this story, it was nice and parts were enjoyable, it just wasn't amazing like I was hoping for. I'm giving Shattered 3.5 stars.

Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Love Hurt: The Killing of Rose by Holly Hood

In a world forever obsessed with the idea of love lurk creatures straight out of legend—mythical beings that really do go bump in the night.

In a small town located in rural Arizona there are two brothers that are not quite human. They have a deep, dark secret.

For Sam and Frankie life is a constant battle. Love for these two is more than long walks on the beach and those butterflies in your stomach—it’s a blood bath. Sons of an incubus father, they are destined to a life of self-destruction, and staying one step ahead of the law is about all they have to be thankful for. That is, until one of them thinks they’ve finally found a love worth fighting for.
Sam believes he has found his true soul mate. Only problem, if Sam can’t control his urges, being with her just might kill her.

Then there’s Frankie, Sam’s brother, who lives a life of destruction. Women are nothing more than a pastime for him. Life is nothing more than drinking and finding his next victim. In order for Sam to save his soul mate, he must find the strength to overcome his adversity…or no one will come out alive.

How far do you go for the ones you love when love can destroy everything?

Reviewer: Fashionta
This is the darkest book by Holly Hood that I've read. It's about two brothers who are incubus and their adventures. I didn’t like the male characters, I didn’t like the angle she took with them. Their father was an incubus but they have a human aspect due to their mother. One of the boys fell in love with a girl called Rose, but when he proposed, she rejected him and his demon tendances took over. A few years later, he's engaged to another girl, who happens to be the best friend of Rose.

I couldn’t get into this book, as much as her other books but as usual the book is well written and planned out. I love her writing style overall and the cute two to three words chapter names instead of the usual chapter one, etc. I have to give this book 4 stars and note this YA 18+ because of the themes in this book.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nanny Dearest by Shawn Bailey

Late for an important Hollywood event and stood up by his usual babysitter, Hunter Monroe hires a sitter sight unseen to watch his son. The last person he expects to find when he opens the door is a twenty-three year old man with long black hair, a gorgeous face, beautiful blue eyes and flawless skin.

Terry Rayburn isn’t sure what to make of Hunter Monroe or the strange feelings that he get whenever the man looks at him. He’s never had a real family before but feels right at home whenever he visits the Monroe mansion to care for Hunter’s infant son Chase. Chase is adorable but he seems to have an unusual attachment to Terry from day one. Is it just his imagination, or does baby has plans of his own?

Reviewer: TigerLily
I’ve only read one other Shawn Bailey book Cherish, which I really enjoyed. So I was excited to hear about Nanny Dearest…Who doesn’t love a story about a little one bringing 2 people together!

Hunter is a big time cosmetologist, and in a major bind, his babysitter has up and left without much notice…and he’s late for an important event! So he takes the advice of good friend and coworker, and hires Terry to come watch his infant son Chase. Chase it seems latches on to Terry immediately!

Terry in the mean time, is just finishing up college, studying to be a child psychologist and nutritionist. To help pay his way through college he’s been babysitting for as long as he can remember. Upon meeting Hunter, he feels an attraction pull, that leaves him uncertain, yet he’s pretty much wrapped around Chases little fingers! *which is so cute and adorable!*

This started out cute, and pretty much remained cute through out. Chase you can’t help but love, he loves to keep his Daddy Hunter on his toes, yet is unusually clingy to Terry. The chemistry with Hunter and Terry though, were not so fulfilling, they were a little blah for me at some points. It felt like it needed more time to work out a few kinks? Certain areas were a let down, but than there were still moments that I liked and found it sweet. In all it was a good read.

I give this 3 stars…for the cute adorable Chase moments!

Publisher: Silver Publishing

All Systems Optimal by Angela Daniels

Tage is facing banishment from the planet he calls home, and the only two humans who call him friend. He’s not suppose to care. It’s not part of his programming. But as his departure gets closer he’s plagued with unfamiliar sensations and thoughts that can only be described as erotic. All aimed at Sean and Lolly. On his last night with them will he discover he’s capable of love, only to have to say goodbye?

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
Although it was a short story, I devoured it like chocolate. Very well written, full of emotions, I love Ms. Angela Daniels' style.

Tage is a droid and he has to leave his planet, and his best friend, Ian, behind. However, several days before, he started to feel weird. Tage thinks that is something wrong with him, until Lolly, Ian’s girlfriend tells him that he is in love with Ian.

Still, he has also feelings for her and slowly understands that he loves them both. Finally, after a night of passion, they decide to leave the planet together.

I give it 4 stars, it was just too short.

Publisher: New Dawning International Bookfair
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Marsh Hawk by Dawn Mactavish

It was to be a gala three-day event at Moorhaven Manor, the rambling country estate of Lady Jenna Hollingsworth's betrothed, Viscount Rupert Marner. To be attended by half the Cornish nobility, not to mention a host of peers from London, it would be a diversion of picnicking, riding, archery, and shooting. it would end in Jenna marrying another.

But was her new husband the same man who had killed her father? After one night of passion, she began to wonder. The jarring aroma of leather, tobacco and recently drunk wine drifting toward her on the breeze--she remembered it so well, as well as the tall, muscular shape beneath the multi-caped greatcoat, and those eye of blue fire through the holes in his mask. Oh yes, she remembered the man with whom she shared a secret past. He was the highwayman known as...The Marsh Hawk....

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I thought after reading the blurb that it would be a good and entertaining story ... Regency, Cornwall, and Highwaymen are appealing and exciting elements ... Well I think that I have never read such a crazy story as this one! I felt completely overwhelmed by that book. There was too much of everything.

I'm generally the kind of person who likes descriptions but very quickly I felt that I was drowning. As a result, I skipped a lot of them. I found the writing and style rather heavy and exaggerated.

Love at first sight is alright with me but to marry in such a hasty way, without knowing each other like they did was too much, in my opinion it was not believable . And then it got worse, the more they were in love, the worst their actions and reactions were.

At twenty two years old, Lady Jenna seemed to me at first a sensible and determined young lady but she turned out to be ridiculously stubborn and immature. She couldn't stop crying for anything and everything. Simon Rutherford, The Earl of Kevernwood was not better. He was far too stubborn and proud. The whole book is a big miscommunication between the two main characters, Jenna and Simon. It was exhausting and irritating.

Even the end has a double layer. But when you think it's over, at last, it's not. I can only give 2/5 !

Publisher: Leisure Books

Blue Notes (Blue Notes 1) by Shira Anthony

Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.

Reviewer: TigerLily
After reading Shira Anthony’s The Dream of a Thousand Nights and loving it! I knew this was an author to keep an eye on, and that I would be reading this…and I’m so happy I did! I really liked this, a lot! I love the whole idea behind it.

Jason or Jaz as everyone calls him ( which I believe fits him perfectly! ), has come to Paris feeling lost, after he found his fiancée cheated on him. Jaz is also lawyer, and a very good one at that. Paris being the city of love, what more would you expect than for Jaz to maybe find happiness and fall in love? First though he needs to figure a few things out…

Jaz, has always seemed to have this feeling he couldn’t quite understand…his attraction to guys, and when he meets Jules *sighs* he feels a connection. He is drawn to Jules, you could say Jules captivates him, and he struggles with though feelings, almost pushing Jules away!

Jules is a jazz violinist, doing his best to just get his band mates to even show up for practice! On the night Jaz first arrives in Paris, he shows up at the place Jules and his band mates are playing. Jules makes his way over to Jaz, deciding he must have him! Jason not fully being able to let go of this growing attraction to Jules, feels a course of friendly sightseeing is a good way to feel around. Only he never intended to fall in love!

I pretty much loved this whole book! From the beginning, the story was sweet, just enough detail to keep you wanting more, and there was captivating warmth between the characters. The chemistry was lovely, slowly growing but heartfelt and sweet. The only thing I was a bit iffy on was the build up for the ending…at first I was a little disappointed, but I thought about it for a while, I realized it worked for the story and the characters.

I give this 4.5 stars… Definitely recommend this! Can’t wait for more in the Blue Notes Series!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Amethyst Moon (Prides of the Moon 5) by Ann Mayburn

Noah Braxton's world has been turned inside out and upside down ever since the fateful moment six months ago when he was turned into a shifter by a dying college girl. She made him promise to look after her sister, Giselle, and in an effort to sooth the dying girl he promised her that he would, not realizing the sacrifices he would have to make to keep that promise. Bound by his oath, Noah struggles to fulfill his role of beta to Giselle, an Alpha female, but he can't be everything she needs. He's gay and in order to bond properly with his Alpha female they would have to have sex. Without that bond with an Alpha he is slowly going crazy but he can't force himself to be attracted to a woman. His last hope at saving his mind and his soul lies with Madame Eve of the 1 Night Stand matchmaking service being able to find him a male Alpha that can bridge the gap between himself and Giselle.

Marcus and Vashan have come to Morgantown, WV in the hopes of finding an Alpha female to complete their Pride. Instead they find Noah, a man on the edge of insanity who is also a natural dominant. Despite this both men are instantly drawn to Noah and decide to help him. Marcus will have to use all his strength as an Alpha to dominate Noah and show him that submission to his Alpha doesn't make him weak.

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
To fully enjoy this series you must have at least read Oynx Moon or all previous books in the Prides of the Moon series. I am not sure I like how the males meet and bond in 1 book and then join with their Alpha female in another. Though in this book the Alpha and Beta males join with Beta Noah, a human who's been turned and must bond in order to survive.

Marcus and Vashan are back and clearly are looking for a Alpha female as biology demands they have a female mate to produce children with, so it was surprising they chose to bond with another Beta who is male. While this has been my favorite so far in the series, I would have liked to have known more about the rogue shaman alluded to in the previous book and if he/she will be around in future books.

Will we hear if Giselle chooses Marcus and Vashan as mates in another book or will it be another shifter couple? I patiently wait to find out. I give this book 3.5 stars.

Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Author Interview #1 Sommer Madsen

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Sommer Marsden, a paranormal and contemporary erotica writer to the blog and for the first edition of Interview Monday.

Hi Sommer, Welcome to Booked Up Reviews
Hi there! Thanks so much for having me

In preparation for this interview, I went to your website and goodreads page and I saw that you have written over 100 short stories. You must have been a very creative child.
I was pretty creative. During summer breaks, I’d rather sit in the nice air conditioned basement  making my own books or writing my own stories than ride bikes in the sweltering heat. I was no fool.

How do you stay focused to write? Do you have a work room you enter and work in for a specific amount of time? Do you use a computer as your sole base for writing or do you work from notes you may have created by hand?
I do not stay focused. That is my secret! (LOL). I do what another writer friend, Alison Tyler, once referred to as ‘layering’. I write a page, I do the dishes, I write a page, I talk to the dog, I write a page, I bake some cookies...I do this all day long and usually end up with anywhere from 1500-5000 words in a day. However, I just started homeschooling one of my kids again, so I’m curious to see what that does to my word count and my layering technique.
As for notes, I make frantic notes on anything I can, including my hands but I work mostly on a laptop that travels the house with me and iPad that travels the house and out and about with me.

Your new book Restless Spirit is about Tuesday’s journey as she settles down in her new life and her story is about scary leaps. This story will resonate with a lot of your readers, is there any special reason you choose to write about this big leap.
My youth was spent in an insane series of bold leaps. Some would say crazy. The final insane leap was deciding to get married and have the family I said I never wanted. But it turned out I did want it when given the opportunity to stare it in the face. The thing is, if you’re that kind of person, which I think life circumstances made me, you never lose your urge to make those scary leaps. They just translate differently as you age. It’s a popular theme for me. Fresh starts, bold moves, embracing your true desires—even if they scare you to death.

Do you have specific people in mind when you create your characters? Meaning, does it help you to imagine a character as a real person you may know or have seen?
Not at all. My characters are very much themselves in my mind from the get-go. They aren’t stars or famous folk or people in my life. Very rarely do I have a specific ‘model’ in mind for a character visual. One day, I swear I’m going to find a good sketch artist and describe my characters to them so I can see what they really look like!

If your book Restless Spirit was optioned for a film, who would you cast as the main characters?
Tuesday: I have zero idea for this one. I do think that Ksenia Solo  from the new show LOST GIRL would work great. If she wore her blonde wig!
Shepherd: Brent Sexton
Reed: Matthew Gray Gubler
Adrian: Jeffrey Donovan

Thanks for stopping by Sommer.
Thanks for having me!

Sommer has kindly offered to giveaway Restless Spirit and it is not too late to enter here.  The giveaway will end this Friday.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Treasure Chest #2 Enid Blyton

Reviewer: QueenBee
I’d like to share one of my favorite authors of children’s literature I highly esteem, having grown up with them and the Treasure Chest feature on this blogsite is a perfect vehicle to spotlight these timeless writers. Most adults can name an author that touched their lives as a child and made their world a little richer for the doing. Good books find their way into a child’s heart in many ways. Maybe we had a parent or teacher who read to us; maybe a librarian recommended an author or a series; maybe they were a gift from a distant relative who wanted to be impactful; maybe a friend turned us on to what they were reading. It’s a blessed kid who has found a book so involving they read it by flashlight under the covers after bedtime because they just couldn’t put the book down. Enid Blyton was that kind of author for me.

British author Enid Blyton, now deceased, also wrote under the penname Mary Pollock (her middle and married name combined). Her books have sold more than 600 million copies and her work has been translated into 90 different languages. I grew up with her books and must admit I still occasionally read material authorized by her estate that moved to complete such beloved series as Mallory Towers and St. Clares. Some of her work has enjoyed modernization as many titles are dated and a product of the times they were written in. While at some later date I may explore the modernized works, I am going to focus on two of her original series for the purpose of this review.

With over 1700 works of Enid Blyton recognized on Goodreads (please note this includes books written by others who have received permission from the estate), I wish to focus on two series that I have read over and over and are my personal favorites, The Secret Seven and Famous Five. Both are set in England in an undisclosed period. The Famous Five consists of 21 novels where four children and their dog have adventures with minimal adult help.

Famous Five features the holiday adventures of a group of young children. The first book introduces us to Julian, Anne, and Dick when they go to spend a summer at their Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin’s house at the seaside village of Kirrin. The adults have a daughter, Georgina and her dog Timmy rounds out the fifth member of the Famous Five.

Rough and tumble Georgina, who goes by George the tomboy, hates her cousins when she first meets them. The story begins with her portrayed as a lonely girl whose only friend is Timmy, the dog who is a secret she must keep from her parents who don’t like the dog. It’s interesting to note Enid admitted in later years that she based George on herself.

George’s cousins visit for the summer and at first bossy “George” doesn’t like the changes that accompany their arrival. Quick to temper and somewhat scatterbrained like her scientist dad, the 11 year old firebrand loves her rural life and roaming the private island her family owns. The setting is perfect for adventures and the simple joys to be had in picnics, lemonade, bike trips, and exploring sea shores and old creaky homes with secret passageways and smugglers’ tunnels.

At 12 yrs of age, Julian is the oldest of the group and its natural leader. Level headed and fair, he is often found sorting out arguments Dick and George are having and maintaining group calm in tricky situations. He plans their adventures they all follow. 11 year old Dick is cheeky and quick witted and often butts heads with George, enjoying winding her up to a frenzy. 10 year old Anne is the baby of the group, easily frightened and pulled into adventures she doesn’t enjoy like the others. She is the planner and organizer, pulling domestic duties during the Five’s camping holidays. Both Julian and Dick are protective of their little sister and she becomes a strong, resourceful character in her own right.

Timmy the dog is a mutt George adopts in the first book who fiercely protects all the children on all their holidays. While initially ‘her’ dog and only friend, Timmy soon becomes beloved to all and a character in his own right. He is very loyal, clever and affectionate and allowed to become part of the household by the end of the first novel.

Adults have little presence in these children driven stories, although George’s parents figure into each book. There is Aunt Fanny, mother of George and maternal figure for all of the children, who has lived on Kirrin Bay for years, although she has sold off a lot of land to maintain her beloved island. She spends her days worrying after the children and their adventures and makes sure that the Five don’t get into any real trouble. She is written as dotingly looking after her husband who has either lost something or his temper. Uncle Quentin, George’s scatterbrained but world-famous scientist father, is usually portrayed as often losing his patience with lost paperwork that set back his experimentation. He is kidnapped or held hostage in several of the books and one book, too, involves his preoccupation with an invention so important he won’t let the children visit Kirrin Island for fear they might interfere with his concentrative study. He is actually a good sort when he is not busy and he arranges holidays at some interesting locales throughout the scientific community.

In short order, George and her cousins become fast friends and, as the series progresses, the girls even end up at the same boarding school. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, has the children searching for lost gold from a sunken ship a bad storm brings to the surface. There’s a treasure map they find inside a black box pointing to a hidden dungeon on the island. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones interested in finding the gold ...

What I don’t like about Enid’s books is that the characters are described with very limited words and it is only by guesswork a reader figures out the children’s ages. It’s believed, however, Enid’s fast paced writing style grabs children’s attention and fuels their imagination by encouraging them to fill in the gaps left by the very limited descriptions of scenes.

Since some words have become politically incorrect and part of the lexicon of the era she wrote them in, subsequent editions have changed. It would be nice to see a release published with the original format intact and notations calling out the differences. These books should be seen as historical pieces as they speak of the nature of the times they were written. It’d be nice too to have once more the original art for her covers. Enid Blyton wrote messages on them to children.

There is an expanded series written in the 70’s and 80’s by a French author named Claude Voilier and most of these have been translated into English. These are further adventures that use the same core characters featured in the original series and a few brought in by this new writer. Unfortunately, the series was retired after its initial publication and is no longer available.

There is a second generation of Famous Five which features each of the original kids' offspring as well as a descendent of Timmy. It is set at Kirrin Cottage which is now home to an adult George and her husband and daughter. This is a perfect vehicle for younger readers whose parents want to introduce them to the magical world this author has created. There has even been a couple of TV adaptations of the book series. An anmated TV series followed and there have been several films and even a musical released on DVD in 1997. Not to leave any stone unturned, the series has also made its way into video games, gamebooks, and comics.

The second series of Enid Blyton’s I want to recommend is The Secret Seven which stands out as the only series that she set during school term as each child goes to day school. The Secret Seven is a group of child detectives who get to solve various mysteries presented in each book. The group consists of Peter, Janet, George, Collin, Jack, Pam, and Barbara. The girls all go to one school while the boys to another. Outside of Peter and Janet being siblings, none of the others are related to each other.

Peter is the leader of the group and we find these children always seem to be at the right place at the right time as far as mysteries go. His adherence for protocol can be wearing and unwittingly he reduces some of the girls to tears on more than one occasion. Janet, is his brave second in command and her attention to detail makes her good for following up clues. Jack is Peter’s best friend and the only one who stands up to Peter when he thinks he’s behaving unreasonably. In one book, he walks out on the group before affecting a reconcilliation later and his sister Susie takes advantage of his absence. Susie is Jack’s sister and featured heavily with some of her friends as a form of comic relief; she is always hanging around the group, humiliating and tormenting them because they won’t let her into the group. Binkle is her friend who, like her, causes a lot of mischief which is a constant source of irritation for The Secret Seven while providing the reader a laugh.

Colin has a big family that help unravel a mystery in one of the books and plays an important part in others. George, Collins’ best friend, is forced to leave the society in one of the books by his father who later rescinds his ban and allows him to rejoin. Barbara and Pam are best friends at Janet’s school and both girls don’t take the society seriously all the time and get reduced to silliness with giggling and nonsensical suggestions. Scamper is Peter and Janet’s dog, a golden spaniel who is an unofficial member of The Secret Seven and temporarily replaces members in the series when they leave the group for any reason.

With 15 books to the original series, the stories feature more core characters as the school setting brought about the potential for more child involvement.

Adults include the Inspector who the children become great friends with and turn to when they find something mysterious going on or need help. The Inspector encourages the children to help him do detective work, much to their delight, even if these children are often running around getting locked up and put in imminent danger and any responsible adult should not be encouraging them! Other adult characters in the series include Peter and Janet’s mother and father and Jack and Susie's mother who appear multiple times in the series. The Secret Seven series, like the Famous Five series, focus more on the children who act independently of the adults.

The series starts out with Peter deciding to form the Secret Seven after friend Jack sees a group of men haul a prisoner to an empty old house. A mystery is afoot and Jack and Peter find the prisoner with the help of the other five children and hand over the villains to a very satisfied Inspector.

Evelyne Lallemand, a French author, wrote an additional 12 books in the series in the mid ‘70s to mid ‘80s which were translated into English and occcasionally pop up on secondary markets. It’s a shame more isn’t done to get these republished and back into more children’s hands. A final note should probably include that while Enid writes in birthday parties, the kids don’t really age in the series. Otherwise, I don’t have problem because they are children books and I don’t want the magic formula changed.

One of the best English children writers, Enid Blyton is still regarded highly today. For me her work serves as a kind of family heritage as my parents grew up with her stories as well. It's interesting to note that her books served as some of the earliest examples of child detectives in England. She also known for her magical stories featuring pixies, fairies, animals and school houses.

Spliced by Robin Leigh Miller

For ten years, Avery Easton has quietly lusted after her twin brother’s best friend, Ridge Gates. When the cruel, cold hand of fate takes her brother’s life, Avery and Ridge turn to each other in grief and share a night of ecstasy. But mind-blowing sex with the man of her dreams can’t push away Avery’s reality.

Violent and terrifying events have followed her brother’s body home and introduced Avery to another man…one who’s willing to give her everything she needs. And then there’s the secret she harbors that could tear her and Ridge apart even as it connects them for the rest of their lives.

A promise on the battlefield led Ridge straight into the arms of the woman he knows he has no business being with, but can’t stay away from. If he fails to come to terms with his broken body and Avery’s revelations, he could lose her forever—if not to another man, then to the violence that brought Ridge and Avery together.

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
I can't say anything bad about this book... in fact it's one of the best books I've read in awhile. I haven't read any other works of Ms. Robin Leigh Miller but I'm definitely checking out her previous books.

I also haven't read many returning solider stories but I could feel the emotions of Ridge's last mission, to the guilt of surviving while other members of his unit didn't.

One thing please tell me that Kevin Stone is getting his own book? After reading how he helped Avery out and the mysterious hints to his background, I would so love to know more about him. I rate this book 5 stars.

Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Saturday, February 25, 2012


In the last couple of months, I've seen terrible attacks against bloggers and authors on Goodreads and other sites. I think everyone who's in the book community has probably heard about or knows someone who has been bullied. I had a friend on Goodreads go through this and thankfully they decided to stay but I know of others who left Goodreads or disappeared from the community.

So, I thought it was time to take a stand and promote love not hate in the community. I'm starting a new group on Goodreads called Blogger Loving. We have placed the shiny new button which links to the group on our blog and implore you to join this group and sign the pact.


The Cowboy And The Rose by Tess Quinn

A bond from the past, desire steeped in magic, love forged in passion... Gabe Burdock has two weeks to bond his power with April Willow or lose his magic. As a witch, his control over the earth contributes to the success of his vineyard, and he'll sacrifice anything to keep it...anything except his heart.

To escape her abusive father's control, April is ready to bond with Gabe, even if it means tying herself to a cowboy who claims he can't love her. But when Gabe and April touch, their passion explodes, and their magical bond cannot be denied. Can they put aside their fears and risk everything for love? Or will two witches lose their chance at happiness?

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
The last three years of the life of April Willow were traumatic, because after the death of her mother, her father turned into a drunk. Now she's discovered that if she doesn’t bond with a man she doesn’t know during the two weeks after she turns twenty-five, she will die. That’s why she goes to Burdock vineyard, to meet Gabriel Burdock, the man she must bond to.

Gabriel doesn’t want a woman; he still loves Jamie, his ex-fiancée. The woman who left him because he didn’t agree to choose her above Burdock vineyard, the family business.

But the magic that links them and the attraction between them turns out to be too strong to resist. However, now Jamie wants Gabriel back…

I must confess that I’ve read Ms. Tess Quinn’s first book, The Bewitched Cowboy (related to this book and soon to be republished under the title Cowboy's Destiny), a year or so ago and I enjoyed it. So when I saw her name on this book, I grabbed it. And I can say the book and the writer didn’t disappoint me.

I loved the story and the concept too. After all the books I’ve read about witches, I considered this one unique. We have a man and a woman linked… so far nothing new, but they have two weeks to bond to one another or she will die and he will lose his powers. Wonderful!!!

I also loved the characters, they are lovely and credible. So, I can't rate this book less than 5 stars. And I’ll wait for the next book from this author.

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices 2) by Cassandra Clare

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Reviewer: TigerLily
There is nothing negative I can say about this book, it is absolutely in every way possible amazing! It is easily one of my all time favorite books; if not favorite, I just have a hard time saying the middle book in a trilogy is my favorite, when it can't be a stand alone novel. This novel had everything you could ask for in a book. It had a great plot that had drama, action, and suspense. It had heaps of love (and not just romantic love but love between brothers, friends, and family), and wow the love triangle. Oh man was that done so beautifully you could feel the love that each had for each other and it just pulls your heart strings knowing that someone might end up heart broken.

In Clockwork Angel, I liked both Jem and Will and wouldn't have cared who Tessa ended up with, but after Clockwork Prince I am now 110% team Will. Don't get me wrong, I still love Jem and think any girl would be lucky to have him, but my goodness Will's love for Tessa is just something people dream about but never find. There were two scenes that had me just melting into a puddle for that poor boy, the scene when he tells Magnus Bane about his curse and his sister's death and he slips and says he loves Tessa. And the scene where he believes he can finally be with Tessa and he tells her about his love only to find out that she has picked Jem. Also, the love scenes are beyond steamy it's like reading an erotic novel just without any clothing being removed or any sex involved. You can feel the emotions in this book like they are your own and you can't help but loving all the characters and even feeling sorry for some of the villains. Tessa's brother death scene is a great example of this.
I can't wait for Clockwork Princess and I'm very sad to know that it will be the last of the series, I just hope she changes her mind, like with Mortal Instruments and adds another trilogy to it.

I'm giving this novel 5 stars. I wish I could give it 5.5, because that's how amazing it is!

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Friday, February 24, 2012

Valentine's Day Giveaway Winner

Entry #2 Sheri C791 by Eve Langlais

Valentine's Day Giveaway Winner has been notified via email.

The Husband Hunt (Madison Sisters 3) by Lynsay Sands

Let the hunt begin…

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was—even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly…charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it’s Robert who comes to the rescue…only to announce his affections are not of the romantic variety!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents’ union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he’ll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can give in to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks threatening to destroy them both.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Lisa Madison wasted two years trying to show Robert Langley, a neighbor and family friend, that she is now all grown up. Now ready for the Season, she was visiting Mrs. Morgan with her maid Bet, when she was drugged. But Mrs. Morgan wasn’t the friend Lisa thought, because she was going to sell Bet’s virginity to the highest bidder and give Lisa to a suitor.

The next morning, Lisa helps Bet escape and tells her to ask Robert for help. And this is Bet’s explanation of what happened to them:
“It’s awful, my lord. The tea was drugged and we was locked up and I escaped out the window, but Miss Lisa had to remain behind because the bed wasn’t heavy enough and we must get to her and get her out of there!” Bet cried.
“Please!” Bet moaned, rushing forward to clutch at his arm and urge him toward the door. “I’ll never forgive meself if Miss Lisa is ravished and ruined because I went out the window first. I should have made her go first. I should have—”
I couldn’t stop laughing.

At first, Robert thinks that Lisa, in some last ditch effort to gain his attention, has come up with a wild tale until Bet speaks Mrs. Morgan’s name.

When Robert finds Lisa, she's been drugged again and is wearing almost nothing; seeing her like this, he finally realizes that she is not a child anymore, but a young woman. I love what she tells him while he was carrying her to his carriage:
“You’re so brave and clever. And strong and handsome too,” she added with a pleased little sigh. “You will make beautiful babies.”

And once in the carriage, they have a wonderful and entertaining conversation that will for sure make you laugh. However, in the end, Robert is lying to himself and Lisa, that to him she still just a little sister. Then, she decides that if Robert is not interested in her, she will find another husband. And she thinks Charles Findlay could be the answer.
“It’s just perfectly obvious that his feelings for me don’t reach beyond filial and I’ve decided that neither do mine. He is far too stupid a man for me. Our children would be dunces. So I am turning my attention to more likely, intelligent game.”
“I am ready to find a husband, have children, and start my life.”

With the excuse of having renovations done to his London home, Robert moves in with Richard, Lisa’s brother-in-law and starts to look after her. But after two more kidnapping attempts and the revelation of Robert’s past, Lisa decides to seduce him.
Seducing Robert. Good Lord, she didn’t have a clue what she was going to do. How was she supposed to seduce him? It wasn’t exactly something she’d been trained in. Did they even have training in that? Was there a school for Birds-of-Paradise and other light skirts? Classes on kissing? Caressing? Or on how to not scream like an idiot when he tore through your maidenhead and sent the blood gushing?
She was planning to seduce a man, compromise herself and force him into marriage.

However, she doesn’t want to marry a man who doesn’t trust her. Soon after, she discovers the identity of the kidnapper and Robert, once again, comes to rescue her.

From the moment I started to read romance books, I've kept a few authors near to my heart, and Lynsay Sands is one of them. I consider her one of the best historical and paranormal writers and I always tried to read all her books, each one better than other. Her stories are pure magic, keeping the attention of the reader from the first page until the very end.

With love declarations like this one, who could ever dare to avoid reading her books?
“I do love you, Lisa Madison. I love your dreamy-eyed romanticism, your undaunted loyalty, your quirky sense of humor, your courage, your passion, your intelligence, and even your occasional naivety. I trust you with my heart, my name, and my very life.

And wow, what comes next is one of the best samples of humor I've ever read:
“What did you say after the part about loving my quirky sense of humor? Was it courage or passion?”
Robert’s mouth dropped, and then he asked with amazement, “Are you writing down everything I said?”
“I am trying to, but I can’t remember what came after my sense of humor,” she said, sounding vexed.
“Now what came after ‘humor’? I want to write it down so I never forget what you said.”
He was just relaxing, a smile curving his lips when she added, “I have long wanted to try my hand at writing and what you said was beautiful. I should like the hero in my tale to say exactly that to the heroine at the end.”

I will also add that this book is the third of the Madison Sisters series and could be read as a stand-alone one, although I recommend you read the previous books in order to aquaint yourself with this wonderful writer and the characters. So, 5 stars for this amazing book, as it's one of the best I've ever read.

Publisher: Avon
Review Courtesy Of: Edelweiss

The Witch's Mark by Daisy Banks

Reviled and exiled from her home, Nin finds her powers when she meets her Mage. Their love is one writ in the stars, but he can only be hers if she has the courage to journey with him.

Reviewer: Fashionta
If you think this book isn't for you because it's about hexs, spells, and stuff; then you'll be surprised like I was. The story revolves around a girl called Nim, who has a mark on her hand that makes her an outcast by the village and is sent to the mage nearby. But there is trouble lurking and we are taken on a journey as Nim discovers her true self.

I loved the concept of this book. Because of the local wise woman Agatha, the mark is considered as a bad sign by the village and this is what the story revolves around. The story is mostly about potions and basic spells; there's really only one heavy scene which would be classified as witchy stuff. Honestly, I was more wrapped up in the story, that I didn’t focus too much on it, because I was more interested in the sex part.

Fours stars for such an engaging book and for not being what I expected it to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Ms. Daisy Banks’ work.

Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Winning in a Landslide (Change 1.5) by JM Cartwright

Sheriff Grissom has just won re-election, but the campaign got nasty. Johnny and Grissom are at odds with each other, the reality of their world sinking in for both men. Johnny's frustrated and Grissom's patience is stretched to the limit.

Johnny's come to understand exactly what their relationship could cost Grissom, and he's having second thoughts. But the two men have established a family, and a life together -- a good life, despite their differences. Plus, it's almost Christmas, and they're breaking in a new housekeeper. How will she like working for two daddies?

Can they really make it work in small-town West Virginia? Join the boys from A Change of Tune and find out.

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
Sheriff Grissom has won the re-election, only to hear that the runner up has filed a challenge, believing not all was handled as it should have been. Johnny has been trying to keep on the downlow, not wanting to make waves. It seems the stress has found it’s way home for Johnny and Grissom, and patience’s are running thin…and Christmas is just around the corner.

They are back! Woohoo! So nice to see Grissom and Johnny again, and to see how their family is doing! Loved the little kids, and how they interacted with them. Would have loved to see more family time with the little ones though!

I give this 3.5… Definitely a good holiday story.

Publisher: Torquere Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Giveaway #1

I'm very excited to start this new feature with the one and only Sommer Marsden who kindly offered her new book Restless Spirits as a giveaway.

Tuesday Cane walks out on her life and her abusive man when she inherits her grandmother’s house at Allister Lake.

There she finds plenty of distractions to take her mind off her loss with her sexy neighbour and handyman Shepherd, former TV star Reed and her old flame Adrian.

But , as time passes, she senses that something is not quite right with her new life. And no amount of steamy sexual encounters can hide her anxiety.

Surrounded by so many interesting men and erotic enticements, Tuesday has no intention of committing to one man ever again. But the more she insists she's nobody's girl, the more she wants to be somebody's girl. Will she continue to be a restless spirit and run from love or will she be won over?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned 1) by Andrea Speed

Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot. Still, he likes to think he can roll with things. Sure, the zombies make a mess sometimes, but at least they never reach for anything more threatening than frozen burritos.

Besides, it’s not all lizard-monsters and the walking dead. There’s also the mysterious hottie with the sly red lips and a taste for sweets.

Josh has had the hots for Hot Guy since the moment he laid eyes on him, and it seems Hot Guy might be sweet on Josh too. Now if only Josh could figure out whether that’s a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between. After all, with a hell vortex just a stone’s throw away, Josh has learned to take nothing at face value—even if it’s a very, very pretty face.

Reviewer: Fashionta
When I picked up the first book in this series, I thought it was going to be an ongoing story developing the relationship between Josh and his love interest Colin. Turns out that Colin was only in a couple of pages of it and we got to know nothing about him (I didn't even know if he was undead and if he wasn't, what he was). The story actually is more comedy and just happens to have a gay lead character. It revolves around Josh working at a Quik-Mart, that happens to be right next to a demon portal, so most of his customers are undead (ranging from zombies, werewolves, lizard men, etc.).

As far as the comedy of this short goes, I was laughing out loud the entire book, Josh's personality and thoughts are great and he would be a funny person to know in real life. The only problem I had was I thought it was going to be a romance so that made it off a little for me. I was also hoping for more development in Colin.

I'm giving Pretty Monsters 3.5 stars because it was enjoyable for such a short story and it was well written, but I just wanted more.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Perfectly Hopeless by Holly Hood

Every summer, when the willow trees blow lazily in the breeze Maven Wilder goes back to Portwood. At one time she was sure she knew what love was. She thought she was in it, but not anymore.

Maven never expected to meet Henri Levitt that summer. A brown-haired, brown-eyed guy that keeps to himself and is always working odd jobs, Henri lives with relatives and comes off a bit depressed. He’s happy to stay busy, and if that means little social life, that is fine by him.

Nobody in Portwood thinks twice about Henri. And it’s only after an embarrassing accident happens at The Yogurt Hut that Maven even notices him. After meeting Henri that day, Maven’s life changes in ways she never counted on.

Spending the summer with Henri shows Maven there is more to life than heartbreak, and that some people do change you for the better. Maven learns a lot over the summer. And after meeting Henri, her life will never be the same.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Summer in Portwood is tradition for the Wilder family, along with most of their town but for Mavern, the middle child, she'd rather be at home. However, things are about to change. She meets Herni and things start to look up, but there's a secret that could tear them apart.

What can I say for this book? I loved it! It's an enchanting book and I loved the little three word descriptions instead of chapters to describe what's happening next. It's an interesting book and refreshing to see a YA book that has a romance that's sweet, rather than all about the sex, which today’s culture has made a huge thing out of. The book is a magical journey that must end but it will leave you with hope.

Fans of A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks will fall in love with this bitter-sweet YA romance story from Ms. Holly Hood. I couldn’t put it down until I read the last page. I have to give this book 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Best friends Lani and Erin couldn?'t be more different. Lani'?s reserved and thoughtful; Erin'?s bubbly and outgoing. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. There'?s no possible way they could be interested in the same guy.
So when Erin starts dating Jason, Lani can?'t believe she feels such a deep connection with him? and it may be mutual. The more Lani fights it, the more certain she feels that it?'s her fate to be with Jason. But what do you do when the love of your life is the one person you can?'t have?

Reviewer: TigerLily
This is only the second book by Ms. Susane Colasanti that I've read but I did find this book a little more enjoyable than the other, which I honestly can't even remember the name of. I found this book to be a good, funny read but it seemed to be lacking in character depth; so I had I hard time falling in love with the characters. Another thing I noticed about this book was that it's pretty much the same book as The Unwritten Rule by E. Scott that came out about the same time. I believe this was just chance, but I think because both books are so similar, they will be hard to tell the difference between when I try to remember both of them in the future.

Like I stated above, this book lacked character depth. I felt like both Jason and Blake were both very one dimensional and we never got to know them. With Blake, I can understand that being ok because he wasn't as predominant a character as Jason, but Jason was one of two main characters and we never really got to know him. Sure, we knew a few of the things he liked but there was never any depth to him.

The writing was easy and flowed well but because of the lack of character depth I'm giving this book 3.5 stars.

Publisher: Kindle Edition

Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton

For anyone obsessed with Pride & Prejudice, it's Darcy and Elizabeth like you've never see them before

This modern take introduces us to the wealthy philanthropist Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and brooding bachelor who yearns for love but doubts any woman could handle his obsessive tendencies. Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet has her own intimacy issues that ensure her terrible luck with men.

When the two meet up in the emergency room after Darcy's best friend, Charles Bingley, gets into an accident, Elizabeth thinks the two men are a couple. As Darcy and Elizabeth unravel their misconceptions about each other, they have to decide just how far they're willing to go to accept each other's quirky ways...

Reviewer: Fashionta
What if Pride and Prejudice was written for modern times and set in America and Asia and Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley where mistaken as a gay couple. Elizabeth Bennet is a doctor and Bingley has two sisters. That's just the tip of the iceberg, as a classic story is re-evented so that a new audiences can fall in love with the story of Mr. Darcy and Miss Benett.

I have to give this book three stars. This idea has already been tried in the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice where a modern twist was taken. There Mr. Darcy was moody and eccentric. This goes a little further with developing Darcy and the other characters. Mr. Bingley has ADHD, Mr. Darcy is now called Will, and Elizabeth is Lizzie. It’s a book that will keep you entertained but not a new idea.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley

Beautiful Tears (House of DeDe 2) by Sharon E. Mamolo

Bethany Boudreaux doesn’t regret becoming a Lady. She adores the toys all her newfound money can buy. She likes watching the fear in others when she enters a room. When she thinks about her boys, the two most powerful bachelors in the country, she becomes giddy enough to kill. Life is definitely good, until a chance encounter.

Now Beth is desperately trying to help others in difficult circumstances. Philanthropy is not her forte. She devises a plan and waits for the right moment to make her move. It wouldn’t be so hard, a piece of cake really, if her boys cooperated … no questions asked. Yet her boys are becoming difficult with every breath they take while her determination to get what she wants grows to the point of urgency. Failure is something she isn’t use to and she’ll obtain their cooperation, at any price.

Reviewer: QueenBee
Nothing ever stays the same and the twist and turns in this book will leave you frustrated at the end at the author because you want to know what happens next. Five years have passed and Beth is now settled into her role as Lady Beth of the House of De De but still up to her old tricks.

This story keeps the same characteristic of the first novel but we have more of a paranormal angle and get ready for some shockers that will leave you wondering what really happened. The author is a master storyteller and once again I implore lovers of paranormal to read this series as it's truly a masterpiece. Her style and her words are magical. It's a pleasure to see an indie book that is well edited. If that has made you stay away from indie books, this is one you don’t want to miss.

I have to give this book 5 stars because I can’t get enough of this author’s work. She's one of the best Indie authors I've had the pleasure of reading. I’m waiting in anticipation for her third book in this series, which will be released this summer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alien Slave (Clans of Kalquor 5) by Tracy St John

Dani Watson is a sex slave on the planet of Dantovon. Having escaped post-Armageddon Earth, she’s resigned to spending several years working in a brothel to pay off her slave contract. Her one consolation is that she avoided being captured and enslaved by the Kalquorians.
When a Kalquorian clan buys her contract, Dani attempts escape. Crashing on a remote moon gets her puts her life in jeopardy, leaving her and the clan of Gelan, Wynhod, and Krijero fighting for survival in a hostile environment. Worse still, they’re being hunted by a group of brutal Tragooms who are determined to capture Dani and subject her to a fate worse than mere slavery.

Reviewer: Fashionta
I've been waiting for this book and I must say this is probably the best of the series so far. In this one, we revisit a familiar place and race that has been featured in previous books. We have a woman, who's sexually free and not totally brain-washed by the futuristic Earth government.

It's refreshing to read this and it's the change the series needed. There was other interesting additions in the series with the conclusion of book three, when Earth was turned into Armageddon. In that book, we saw more liberated women but nothing like this. In fact, we get the total opposite. The girl is willing to have sex with them straight away; once she gets past the fact the owner’s sister of the brothel broke the contract.

I have to give this book 4.5 stars. This one is similar to the previous books in the series but it has an extra element that makes it special.

Publisher: New Concepts Publishing

C791 (Cyborgs: More Than Machines 1) by Eve Langlais

Machines aren’t supposed to feel, but this cyborg can’t help falling in love.

Assigned as a specimen collector for a captured cyborg, Chloe is intrigued by the machine disguised as a man. Kidnapped during his daring escape, he shows her that despite the chip in his brain, his humanity is not completely lost.

Formerly known as unit X109GI, Joe is on a quest to discover his origin. While he doesn’t find the answers he’s looking for, he does discover that affection and lust aren’t just for humans. But when it comes to a battle between logic and love, which side will the cybernetic organism—once a man—choose?

Evaluating his feelings will have to wait though because the military isn’t done with Joe. But their threats against him pale in comparison before the shocking discovery of project C791, the revelation of which stuns the rebel cyborgs—and ignites a fury for vengeance.


Reviewer: Dolce Amore
The captain orders to the corporal are to terminate all the cyborgs on board, they were over a hundred, and Unit X109GI overheard the conversation. He knows that:
Cyborgs were machines. Robots, like the captain said. Tools for human use. They might have started as flawed or damaged humans, but science and technology changed them. Changed them and stole their memories — along with their humanity — to make them into something the government could use to fight its battles, an almost indestructible army that could explore dangerous new worlds or force militant order on an overgrown population chafing for freedom. Most of all, cyborgs were expendable, in human eyes at least.
X109GI thought otherwise, which, in and of itself, was an anomaly his internal processor couldn’t resolve. Cyborgs weren’t designed to think. Their very programming prevented it. Their only will was supposed to be that of the human voices that gave them audible orders or the wireless commands transmitted to their neural nets. What his superiors didn’t know was since the EMP pulses on Gamma 15 some of his embedded computer controls no longer reacted to the imprinted human override. In other words, he controlled himself. He lived.

I think that from all the books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen with cyborgs, this is the most realistic and complete description of what and who is a cyborg.

With the help of Unit Y999SK, Unit X109GI saves all the cyborgs and he sends this message:
“Cyborgs, form squads of four and break off into flanks. New mission: control the ship and subdue the opposition.” Become, once again, the men we used to be — even if mechanically enhanced…
…and they took control of the spacecraft — and their lives.

Several years later, when Joe, the name X109GI has chosen for himself, is caught by the military who are trying to find a way to destroy them, Chloe, a lab technician, is paid to enter in the cage with him to take samples from him. Nobody knows that Joe was there because he wanted to find the secret of their creation. So, although he feels attraction for her, he has to finish his task.
So, despite how innocent the female appeared, no matter how she woke the nerves in his cock or made his mouth water, he would resist her obvious charms and discover her true purpose — which he doubted involved soothing his rebellious prick.

The first example of Ms. Eve Langlais’s humor is this phase said by Joe when Chloe rejects kissing him in order to get a sample of his saliva:
“I didn’t realize the rumors of my sexual exploits had travelled so far. I guess I should be flattered that you would think I could cause so much havoc with my tongue and lips. Although, for full effect, it’s not the lips on your face you should kiss me with.”

Chloe distracted him enough to get what she came for and after she leaves, he decides that he will take her with him when he leaves.
In her next visit to get samples, Chloe discovers that what the military told them was a lie. They told everyone that the cyborgs were created and not transformed and Joe tells her the truth:
We are human. Or were until the military experimented on us. For a long time we were also slaves until we threw rebelled and retook our freedom. Since our revolution, some of my kind have remembered fragments of their pasts, and what we couldn’t recall, we taught ourselves again.
She also finds out that the order to kill came before the cyborgs revolted and not after.

When Joe’s guard attacks her, he decides that is the time to escape and take her with him.

I love the scene when, after Chloe sleeps with Joe, she asks for his name:
“Don’t you want to tell something now?” She arched a brow at him expectantly.
“Such as?”
“Your name.”
“Why do you wish to know it?”
“Because we just slept together.”
“I wouldn’t call that sleeping.”
“Now you’re being deliberately obtuse, just like a man,” she huffed.
Insult thrown, he reacted. In a flash, he’d pinned her under him. “I am not a man. I am cyborg. Much better than any pathetic male you’ve ever known. And my name is Joe.”
“About time you told me.” Her lips curved into a smile that did strange things to his heart. “Hi, Joe.”
“Hello, Chloe.” He smiled when she giggled.
“Okay, introductions over, now what?” she asked.

And when they finally realized that they were in love with each other, they found out the truth about Chloe’s past.

I loved the interaction between Chloe and Joe, it's full of humor, intensity, and passion. I already added too many secrets from the book so I will let you discover the funny, full of humor, and hot scenes Ms. Eve Langlais has created. And like her previous books, it has wonderful characters, outstanding storyline, charming dialog, and amazing humor. Everything a good book should have. I give it 5 stars and I will be waiting for her next release.

Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dances With Wolves (Highland Wolves 1) by Mandy Monroe

Jada had lived so long in an emotional desert, mostly of her own making, that she discovered it was hard to resist the invitation Larissa sent, even though she wasn't completely comfortable with the idea. Nevertheless, Larissa's appeals didn't fall on deaf ears. She had needs she'd ignored way too long-and she was still a nervous wreck when she arrived in Scotland!

She'd thought she would be lucky to find one man she found reasonably attractive. Finding three she found completely irresistible was just a little overwhelming-fun-but still hard to handle-and that was before she discovered the wolf masks really hid the true men behind them! They weren't just wolf-like. They were wolves!

Reviewer: QueenBee
I was disappointed with this book, in terms of content. It didn’t deliver what the author was conveying through her characters. The book mentions the heroine going to a masquerade, but the heroine knows it’s really going to be an orgy, as she knows what her best friend is like. Then, we only see hints of it. The author is more focused on the relationship between the main characters.

I have to give this book three stars, it’s nothing outstanding and special like her other stories, which I have enjoyed.

Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Thyme: Brave and True by Jenna Jones


Thyme is the herb for courage, something Patrick has been lacking ever since he was publicly humiliated on a national cooking competition. For the past sixteen years, he's been content to be the personal assistant to celebrity chef Dix and love him in silence.

Between the end of Dix's long-running television show and accusations of fraud within Dix's charity, Dix's world is changing and Patrick doesn't know his place in it anymore. As secrets come to light, can Patrick find the courage to trust Dix as he once did, and to believe that he deserves it?

Reviewer: RedDragonfly
In ancient herb lore, Thyme was used for courage. It now seems Patrick is in need of some much needed courage, so bring on the Thyme! Patrick has been working for Dix ever since he was humiliated, publicly on a national cooking competition, which was around 16 years ago. Since then, he has been Dix’s personal assistant and closest friend, not to mention head over heals in love with him. But now Patrick is unsure of whether Dix is going to need him anymore…

Dix’s life has become complicated lately, his ever popular cooking show is coming to an end, then you add on the accusations of fraud thrown at him for his own charity. So when Nicholas and Harry from Herbs de Provence pop in for a visit, they couldn’t have come at a better time! Can they help bring Dix and Patrick together?

Aside from being a little jumbled, it was a very nice read. I loved reading about the herb lore and ways to put it to use. Kinda makes you look at your herb and spice shelf a bit differently! Hehe.

I give this 3.5 stars… definitely a fun and enjoyable read!

Publisher: Torquere Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

In The Service Of The King (Vampire Warrior Kings 1) by Laura Kaye

Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires, loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn't enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate centuries ago. Kael doesn't want a new companion, yet his resolve is tested when he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon. He is drawn to Shayla's beauty and poise...and the submission she offers. She is eager to give him anything he wishes, including her innocence, to please him. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire--even if it means risking Shayla's life?

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
Kael the Fair, Warrior King of the Vampires, Chieftain of Clan MacQuillan needs to drink a virgin’s blood or his mate’s blood in order to keep his immortality. However, he doesn’t want another mate after he lost his first one in a battle against the Soul Eaters; they are a vampire type that kills their prey while taking their blood, consuming their souls along with their bodies.

And because Kael doesn’t want a mate, he uses the virgin’s blood of a Proffered, a group of virgin girls trained to offer their blood to vampires. The Proffered is a branch of Electorate Council, human families around the world in alliance with the vampires. Yet, this night he finds his mate and he has to choose… his mate or a life of unhappiness.

Ms. Laura Kaye created a wonderful and torrid scene, when Kael claimed Shayla’s virginity; Shayla is the Proffered who turned out to be his mate. The scene was full of emotion, sentiment, and sizzling hot. However, I must admit I was expecting more action… they were fighting against the Soul Eaters, so I was assuming that there would at least be a fight between the two sides; but there was no fight. I will rate the book just 4 stars because of that; but, I will check Ms. Laura Kaye’s next book in this series, because I like her style.

Publisher: Harlequin Silhouette Nocturne
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Smoke Screen by Stevie Woods

Julian has a secret. He's infatuated with his best friend, Richard, and always has been. The trouble is that Richard is married to the toast of London society, a belle of the ball that Julian knows he can't compete with.

Just about the time Julian decides it's hopeless to dream about Richard, though, he finds out that the happy couple might not be so perfect for each other. Richard and his lady wife have some secrets of their own, secrets that might just destroy all of them. Can Julian convince Richard that the web of deception, smoke and mirrors might just work in their favor?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
At first, I was very optimistic about this book but quickly I found that something wasn't working and at the end, I remained utterly unsatisfied.

There is nothing original with the storyline, two best friends that love each other but think that their being together is something that can never happen. They don't even try to address the issue. One of them marries, believing that it will solve his problem, but of course it doesn't, it becomes even worse.

There is too much thinking and not enough action. They are wasting their time having fantasies about each other and there is too much pointless angst, when it could have been resolved quickly and simply. The wife could have had a more important and interesting part in that story. What a waste.

Another thing that bothers me is that there is no precision as to the period when the story is supposed to happen. And mostly, I really can't say that I felt any connection with the two protagonists. Apart from all this, it was not badly written at all. I very much liked, Beyond The Veil, an older book by this author and I intend to read Stone by Stone. This one just didn't work for me. I give 2/5.

Were Blood (Were Legends 3) by Lia Slater

Blanca Reble has been captured, yet again, to be used as some Vamp’s blood slave. Now she’s determined to escape her captor’s hold. But Worth isn’t who he seems and the way her body and mind react to his touch isn’t what she’s used to. It should be only a matter of time before their blood bond wears off, but what replaces it is an undeniable connection that Blanca’s never experienced.

Worth Sinclaire has never wanted a blood slave; he never had use for one. But when he sees the injured Were femme shackled in his cousin’s cellar, he purchases her for his own to protect her from a worse fate. Now he has to decide what’s more important—his loyalty to his own kind, or his growing love for a woman his people will never accept.

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
Hate or hate him not? Blanca Reble has been captured for the second time by vampires and she remembers what she suffered the first time. But the vampire, who bought her, is not typical, he didn’t hurt her, instead he provoked her desire.

Worth Sinclaire doesn’t agree with blood slaves and a lot more of the vampires laws, but when he sees Blanca for the first time, he swears to do whatever it takes to protect her, and later, when he starts to fall in love with her, to love her.

Vampires and Weres shouldn’t be together, but love is stronger than hate.

Third in the Were Legends series, it left me with the expectation of what's to come next. I fell for Blanca and Worth, they should be enemies, but they aren’t. Worth is a strong vampire who knows what is right and wrong. Powerful, passionate, and soooooo hot, he is every women’s dream, and my favorite of Ms. Lia Slater’s masculine characters. I give the book 4.5 stars.

Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Variation by Toni V. Sweeney

What happens when the girl of your dreams is also the man from your waking life?

Federation agent Gabriel Marsh finds himself asking just that question when he’s teamed with Aleksandr Karanov. Lexei’s pretty as a picture and deadly as a cobra; he’s also a variant, a mutant who can change sex at will, something which just may come in handy on their new assignment. Marsh, however, has some adjusting to do where his new partner’s concerned—both morally and emotionally. His association with Lexei is ambivalent at best, prejudicial at worst, and the way he’s beginning to feel about Deirdre, Lexei’s female Other Self doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
The first meeting between Gabriel Marsh and Aleksandr Karanov, Lexei, is explosive and I enjoyed it as it was very well written. Gabriel doesn’t want a partner who looks like Lexei: slight and with a feminine beauty. Gabriel describes Lexei as
delicately but perfectly formed, like one of those antique Cybis figurines he’d seen in that museum when he’d been stationed on Antilla.
But Lexei was supposed to be a Third Classification student of Jai-Kin...and an expert on weapons, including ancient ones such as the crossbow and the automatic revolver, and the latest like the finger-laser.

However, the next day he discovers that Lexei was a Variant, a human who could not only change physical appearance at will, but sex as well; that comes as a shock to Gabriel… he is an Angelus, and they all share a high moral standards and rigid ethics.

What Gabriel starts to find out about his new partner is against of all his family taught him. Lexei has used all the women in his life, including his Other… the women he turns into... Deirdre Karanov. She is a real woman, with desires and hopes, the little time Lexei allows her to take control. I loved this contrast between the two partners: one behaving as an angel and the other as a jerk. And I must say I loved how Ms. Toni V. Sweeney slowly adds the attraction between Gabriel and Deirdre to the story.

However, the wicked wasn’t as wicked and the good as good as when Lexei dies on a mission, Ms. Toni V. Sweeney takes us beyond any imagination, to an end no one could possibly conceive. Praise for her, she leaves me thinking about a lot of “what if…?”

I recommend this book for all the people who want something different, something special. In a world where too many book's storylines are similar, this is a pleasant surprise to read something so unique. 5 stars.

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders