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Currently Browsing: 3.5 stars
Nov
13

Review: Unbreakable by Stephanie Tyler

Review: Unbreakable by Stephanie Tyler Unbreakable Author: Stephanie Tyler Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: After killing off the bad guy (Rip) and making it back to New Orleans in the first Section 8 novel, Avery insists that everyone leave town to relax and think about what the future holds for the Section 8 team. Finally left alone with Gunner, Avery gets up the courage to tell him how she feels, and that’s when everything falls apart. James, aka Gunner, knew the moment he stepped onto Rip’s Island that his identity would be discovered. Gunner doesn’t want to return to the life he escaped: doing the bidding of crime lord Drew Landon, but he refuses to endanger his new Section 8 family, so he cuts ties and takes off. Now it’s up to Avery and the others to find Gunner and make him whole again. Welcome to the high-octane, crazy ride that is Section 8. This group of loosely connected individuals found their way together after each was impacted by an evil man (Rip). They are a second generation group, and at the start of Unbreakable, they are contemplating the merits of staying together to make the world safer by running covert black ops missions off the grid. The story is told from multiple points-of-view, which can be a little confusing at times. I recommend reading the precursor story before picking up Unbreakable for a better understanding of the group and what’s going on. Typical of Ms. Tyler’s military-suspense romances, our hero is a tough-guy, bad-boy. A man of few words, he’s rough around the edges and better at action than heart-to-heart talks. As the story unfolds, we learn that Gunner has lived a pretty miserable and unfortunate life. Briefly escaping once before, he was taken in by a warm couple and fell in love with their daughter. But after she was killed, he realized that a “normal life” was not for him. Gunner really works for me. He’s unapologetic when it comes to the choices he makes, which gives him a raw honesty. He is equally passionate when it comes to loving Avery. Although he puts distance between the pair to protect her, he loves her with a powerful intensity that makes me blush. I enjoy seeing Avery though Gunner’s eyes. Avery is young, but not completely innocent. Her childhood, while better than Gunner’s by far, wasn’t all sunshine and roses. But she isn’t jaded like Gunner, which...
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Nov
8

Review & Giveaway: Sing for the Dead by PJ Schnyder

Review & Giveaway: Sing for the Dead by PJ Schnyder Sing for the Dead Author: PJ Schnyder Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: After thoroughly enjoying the first book in the London Undead series, I was excited to pick up the second book, Sing for the Dead. Ms. Schnyder has created an interesting new world plagued by flesh eating zombies. London is a shell of its former self, with individuals quarantined inside and “zombie hunter tourists” enjoying the hunt. Unfortunately, someone or something is creating a newer, faster, smarter zombie, and it’s up to the local werewolf pack to figure out what’s going on. Sing for the Dead, showcases two individuals who are invested in finding out the truth. First up is Sorcha who is sent by the Fae Court of Light to London to find out why Fae are disappearing. Sorcha is half Baen Sidhe (banshee)–a peaceful Fae. Yet Sorcha craves violence, death, and the fight. Although her mother was peaceful, her father was a berserker, and Sorcha considers herself an aberration. Next we have Kayden, a were-leopard, which is very rare. Since leopards do not live in packs, he has allied himself with the local werewolves, but remains solo/solitary. The story takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first book, and the reader is treated to a few scenes featuring the main characters from that story. After fighting off a pack of Zombies, Sorcha tends to a wounded Brownie. Kayden comes across Sorcha and her patient, and he takes her to Maisie and Brian’s clinic, where we also meet up with Maisie’s mate, Seth (Bite Me). Sorcha is an interesting character. I love the dichotomy between her peaceful nature and the bloodlust of her berserker side. She is sweet, yet full of strength. I enjoy that she is respectful, but stays true to her own reasons for being in London. Although she agrees to work with Kayden and the wolf pack, she lets them know in no uncertain terms that she will not be pushed to the side or follow behind. There was an entertaining scene between Seth (alpha werewolf pack leader) and Kayden, who have a tenuous partnership. Kayden is too dominant and solitary to integrate into the wolf pack. As Sorcha picks up on this fact, part of her wants to see bloodshed between the two. The bloodlust is strong in her, giving her an edge we don’t normally see in romance heroines. I also enjoy Kayden’s honest and sometimes blunt...
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Oct
18

Review: Sins of the Lost by Linda Poitevin

Review: Sins of the Lost by Linda Poitevin Sins of the Lost Author: Linda Poitevin Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What We’re Talking About: ***Note: this review contains mild spoilers if you have not read the previous novels! This IS a series you MUST read from the beginning! Sins of the Lost is the third installment in the Grigori Legacy.  Gikany and Una are a bit disappointed with it.  It’s nothing we can truly point a finger at but an overall feeling as we came to the end of this novel.  This is partly due to a significant loss of character (why, oh why did this character have to die!?!?!?) but also because someone we thought highly of didn’t turn out to be who we thought they were.  Not to mention…the war that was about to commence…yeah, we are still waiting – gives the anticipation a raw edge. Our rating may seem a bit high to some after reading our general summary above.  However it is not.  In some ways, we believe what we are feeling should be natural considering the culmination of Sins of the Lost.  Gikany and Una feel a bit betrayed by Seth – someone for whom we had such hope and who let us down in a big way.  Seth had been a beacon of hope to us – someone who could have the power to stop the war between Lucifer and the One.  However, in the previous novel, Sins of the Son, Seth makes his choice – Alex.  However, by choosing Alex, in Sins of the Lost, he becomes obsessed with her.  It turns out that Seth is selfish – something we didn’t see in the previous novel.  Because of that selfishness, he forces choices and his will.  In fact, he becomes the over bearing boyfriend turned stalker that you just can’t get rid of.  This was very sad to us. Alex on the other hand continues to surprise us.  The apocalypse is pending and instead of shutting it all out and cocooning herself with just Seth until the end, she fights.  She fights and sacrifices to try to stave off the war.  Although mortal and horribly outgunned (and horribly manipulated by the immortals) she doesn’t give up.  We admire her courage and her stamina (and her stubbornness).  There are moments when she herself questions her own sanity about not giving up – those moments are poignant and powerful. But in her stubbornness she does make a choice that...
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Oct
3

Review: Cursed by S.J. Harper

Review: Cursed by S.J. Harper Cursed Author: S.J. Harper  Reviewer: B. Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Having the best track record around for resolving missing persons cases for the FBI sounds great, but it still isn’t enough to free Federal Agent Emma Monroe from the vengeance of an angry goddess. Demeter has a bad temper and a long memory, and until she’s satisfied that the Sirens have suffered enough for the loss of her daughter, Emma must endure her fate alone. But, when her new partner turns out to be the one man she can’t keep at a distance, she may have to give up everything to save them both. Trained to kill and duped into doing so with lies borne of corruption, Zach Armstrong is seeking an absolution of his own. Joining the FBI seems like a good way to atone for some of the hurt he’s caused, especially after the politics of life in his former pack lead him to start over on his own in San Diego. That his new partner has one of the highest success rates in the department, as well as the fact that she calls to him like no other woman ever has, makes the entire situation as close to perfect as he could have hoped for. As S.J. Harper, Ms. Stein and Ms. Sommersby have crafted a solid Urban Fantasy novel with Cursed, giving their main characters an intriguing mystery to solve in the midst of their internal struggles. Emma and Zach seem to be in motion the entire story, even their few moments of respite and introspection positively buzzing with the need to decipher the trouble surrounding them. It takes a good, long while to get to the bottom of the mystery, stretching the suspense out for the length of the story. Emma and Zach are extremely well paired as partners, their true natures, and the need to keep them hidden, creating sensual tension alongside the easy rapport they establish fairly quickly. They play off one another nicely and are adept at filling in the blanks the other might not see. Sexually, they can’t resist one another for long, and the attention the authors give to the chemistry between them outside of the bedroom makes their encounters more meaningful and believable for it. As much as I’m fascinated by various mythologies, stories that involve the associated deities (usually Greek and Roman) hardly ever fail to make said gods rather loathsome on some...
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Sep
25

Quickie Review: Strange Soul Mates by C.L. Gordon

Quickie Review: Strange Soul Mates by C.L. Gordon Strange Soul Mates Author: C.L. Gordon  Reviewer: Nima Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Strange Soul Mates has been out a year, but only recently came to my attention. The story begins with Steven, an unsympathetic character, who is getting drunker and angrier by the minute.  He suspects that his girlfriend Emily is cheating since she is frequently gone, doesn’t answer his texts or calls, and often comes home smelling of alcohol. While in this tenuous state of mind, Steven is approached by an odd man, George, claiming to have invented a machine which will allow him to keep tabs on Emily by linking them together in an unconventional way.  Steven is as curious as he is desperate. The machine’s description is more like a 1950’s sci-fi movie in a world with smart phones and smart houses.  Perhaps he was intentionally giving a nod to those who came before.  Someone compared Gordon to Philip K. Dick, and I just don’t see it.  I think this story reminds me more of Rod Serling’s work in the Twilight Zone television show from the early 1960’s.  In particular, I’m reminded of the episodes Dead Man’s Shoes and Penny For Your Thoughts.  Many of Serling’s characters weren’t especially likable either, often depicting common, but less admirable parts of everyone’s personalities.  Many of Serling’s efforts left the viewer feeling unsettled because of their thought provoking nature. Gordon’s short story is slightly unsettling, but doesn’t quite rise to Serling’s level.  While working within the confines of a short story, I felt the writing could have used just a little more polish. Nevertheless, it’s a good little piece and I liked it. 3.5 stars: Liked it – recommend (B+) About the Book: Steven has some serious trust issues and has done some serious drinking at the bar.  Emily, his girlfriend, has unknown whereabouts and won’t respond to any of Steven’s alcohol-fueled and accusatory texts. George Packard, an ex-government engineer and fellow bar patron, claims to have the solution: a machine that promises to link the couple in a permanent, unconventional way.  Steven isn’t sure that Emily will agree to his selfish designs. Though, if they truly are soul mates, Steven’s sure he’s allowed to take some liberties … Release Date: June 26, 2012 Publisher: Xenotransplant Press Genre: Sci-Fi, Short Story Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author Purchase Info: Strange Soul Mates: A Short...
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Sep
17

Review: Rush by Joan Swan

Review: Rush by Joan Swan Rush Author: Joan Swan Reviewer: Twimom227 Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Jessica Fury was a new wife when her husband, Quaid Legend, was brutally burned and killed in warehouse fire five years ago. This is the same fire where a mysterious chemical exploded, giving fellow firefighters interesting paranormal-ish powers. After a tough five years, which included drug and alcohol addiction, Jessica works as a lobbyist in Washington, DC, where she has distanced herself from her former teammates and friends. These same friends reach out to Jessica when they discover a man known as Q, who has been a prisoner for five years and has no memories of his life before captivity. Quaid’s former teammates are certain that Q is Quaid, and begin the process of rescuing him from his captors. Rush opens immediately after the explosive conclusion of book two, Blaze, where the team of ex-firefighters made a daring rescue and caused a massive explosion at a Department of Defense compound known as the Castle. Unknown to the general public, the DARPA division of DoD is using the site to investigate the properties of a chemical and its effects on humans… The same chemical that changed the team, enhancing them with “powers” five years ago. As with the previous two books in the Phoenix Rising series, I was immediately sucked into the fast-paced story. And once again, it took me a while to figure out and recall who is who. Part of this is due to the number of key players, but also, sometimes characters are referred to by their first names, while other times; their last names. (I recommend a character list with first and last names, plus brief description.) I was able to get past the confusion, but it does make for difficult reading for the first quarter-to-third of the story. Jess is a strong woman that has finally put her past behind her. I like that she is tarnished and worn, and sometimes just barely holding on to her sanity. It gives her a sense of vulnerability and makes her feel more “real.” We learn that Jess has the ability to astral project–something that she has tried to suppress and blames on her drug trips. But now that she is being connected to Q, her “powers” flare up, allow the team to track down Q and save him. Q is an interesting character. I really like how he was written differently, depending on...
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Sep
11

Review: Hunter’s Heart by JD Tyler

Review: Hunter’s Heart by JD Tyler Hunter’s Heart Author: J.D. Tyler  Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B+, 3.5 stars What We’re Talking About: Hunter’s Heart is the fourth novel in the Alpha Pack series. After the close of Black Moon, Gikany and Una wondered what was in store for our sexy wolf shifters.  Hunter’s Heart is the answer.  It is a transitional novel designed to set up the new overall story arc – the mystery that these shifters were targeted and not just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ryon and Daria’s courtship is completely unique from the others we have witnessed in the Alpha Pack series.  They become mates before they meet for the first time (Ryon turns Daria in an effort to save her life).  Gikany and Una debated whether Ryon was right or wrong in easing her into his world and her new reality rather than ripping off the Band-Aid and telling her all at once.  On one hand, it did help Daria to accept the pieces of her new life as each part was revealed, but it bred a sense of mistrust for Ryon, as she sensed that Ryon was holding something back.  However, if Ryon had laid it all at Daria’s feet, would it have been too overwhelming causing her to reject Ryon as her mate?  All in all, they are able to bridge the gaps allowing Daria to accept her new life and giving us a satisfying conclusion to their journey. Something that never seemed clear to us during the course of Hunter’s Heart is why Ryon finds peace from the ghosts that normally plague him whenever Daria is near.  What is it about her that causes the spirits to leave him be or repel them?  In addition, the relationships between both Daria and the latest Alpha Pack foe, and Daria and the rogue who was butchering people were a tad too convenient.  It was just too much coincidence.  However, the information and questions they discover in the end were well worth it! The identity of the enigmatic white wolf remains a mystery.  At the end of the novel, we realize she is there for a purpose, but must wait until the next novel to learn who is really is.  We eagerly look forward to finding out why she is stalking the Alpha Pack and what her motives are.  The white wolf seems to be seeking revenge, but her unknown back-story fascinates us. The Alpha Pack...
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Sep
4

Review: Twilight Hunter by Kait Ballenger

Review: Twilight Hunter by Kait Ballenger Twilight Hunter Author: Kait Ballenger Reviewer: Twimom227 Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Jace is a were-hunter employed by the Execution Underground in their Rochester, NY region. The EU is a group of genetically enhanced men that function as supernatural experts and police. The Rochester team is on edge due to the presence of a supernatural serial killer who cannot be caught. Jace is the focus of much animosity from the region leader, Damon (who was introduced in the prequel novella, Shadow Hunter) since it appears that the killer is a werewolf. Frankie Amato is Alpha of the Rochester Pack of werewolves. In an attempt to protect her pack, she also is searching for this serial killer who is raping his victims and tearing them open, leaving them for dead. After discovering yet another victim, Jace and Frankie engage one another in battle, which leaves them entangled in so many ways. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Jace and Frankie, their respective histories and the ins and outs of pack life. The world-building is informative yet smooth. I was able to take in each bit of information without feeling cluttered or overwhelmed. It was interesting to find out more about Jace and the secrets he holds. Jace and Frankie make a pretty hot couple. Fueled by the fact that Frankie is in her estrus (heat), the pair’s natural attraction for one another immediately kicked into high-gear. This is then doubled by the intense feelings generated by longtime fears and stereotypes. Ms. Ballenger writes some smokin’ scenes for the pair. Overall I really liked the mythology and world-building; however, I did have a few issues that were bothersome to me. First are the extensive pack rules. They are overly complex and inflexible. For example, even though she is the packleader, the entire pack had to vote on whether or not Jace could work with Frankie hunting the killer. This happened again when an associate pack member is kidnapped–the pack took too much time fighting and voting over who was to go look for and save her. I felt that nothing would ever be accomplished with such backwards and outrageous rules. Secondly, I found the lack of camaraderie and loyalty among characters distressing. Jace is completely betrayed by several members of his EU team and even the ones that seem to have his back. He is also treated viciously by leader Damon. It was disturbing the level...
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Aug
30

Review: Stone Kissed by Keri Stevens

Review: Stone Kissed by Keri Stevens Stone Kissed Author: Keri Stevens Reviewer: Twimom227 Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Delia Forrest, a Steward Witch, is the fastest and best stone conservator in the DC area because of her secret: she can talk to sculptures. However, when her father, Vernon Forrest, is caught in a fire at his house and remains in ICU back home in Stewardsville, NC, Delia decides to move back to help him recover. Antique dealer and art hunter Grant Wolverton has long coveted the Steward House and decides to seize the moment now that his longtime competitor, Vernon, is out of commission. He offers Delia over a million dollars to buy out the home and stock. Left without any options, Delia accepts the offer, but stays around to help restore the House. Stone Kissed is an enjoyable story with a wonderfully original mythology. Delia’s “gift” of talking with stone sculptures is unique and entertaining. Her mom (who was not a witch) died young and her father was too interested in his work to be bothered with his “odd” daughter. So Delia created a family among the statues and stonework in her life. Going back home after being gone for many years was a bit heartbreaking and provided the story with several emotional and poignant moments. Similarly, making the decision to stay, to nurse her father back to health, to forgive him, gave Delia heart and the book depth. Delia has been crushing on the handsome and successful Grant Wolverton since she was a teenager (their brief history is recounted in a flashback). Her feelings towards him only grow as she gets to know the real man behind her long-held fantasies. I admire that she doesn’t keep those fantasy close, and she faces reality straight on. The course of her love seems to develop organically from admiration and friendship. On the other hand, Grant is a demanding control freak! He and his sister, Randi, experienced an abusive childhood, so he does everything to protect his sister and his life. He firmly believes that Delia is a liar and thief, even as he gets to know and befriends her. While I would expect that at first, it really bothered me that at the 77% mark of the book he still believed that although she’s “harmless,” she’s somehow out for herself or to get him. And the lengths he goes in the name of protecting his sister is a little creepy. Yet he...
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Aug
28

Quickie Review: Wolf Bond by Mina Carter

Quickie Review: Wolf Bond by Mina Carter Wolf Bond Author: Mina Carter Reviewer: B. Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: One of my favorite things about the 1Night Stand series is that each story is designed to tell a whole story in one sitting. Wolf Bond does just that while trying to cover a lot of territory. It is at once a shifter story, but also includes the military, lost loves, deceit, and revenge. While the connection between Barrett and Saxon was very sweet, and their sexy reunion was definitely enjoyable to read, the story as a whole might have benefitted from a little extra breathing room for all the elements to come together more smoothly. Still, this is a fun story that moves fast with main characters that are easy to cheer for. The 1Night Stand series is an impressive undertaking, bringing many different authors and interests together in one place, and offering quick, erotic shorts that are just the thing when reading time is limited. Wolf Bond fits those requirements perfectly, tying everything together in a happy ending worthy of its two heroes. In fact, the characters are some of the strongest points of the story, and the brief glimpse Ms. Carter gives us of the rest of the band in the beginning of Wolf Bond has made me extremely curious to know what else she might have in store for this series, and I hope to see more of them soon. 3.5 stars: Liked it – recommend (B+) About the Book: Barrett Simmons, head of security for the famous rock band, Lyric Hounds, has managed to avoid the band members’ less-than-subtle matchmaking attempts. Since the woman he loved was killed in action, his heart has been as dry and dusty as the sands she fell on. He doesn’t want to date, in fact he can’t think of anything worse. But he didn’t count on his sister, Melody, making a call to Madame Eve…. A car crash to two years ago left werewolf Saxon Reeves with amnesia and nightmares—but the nightmares aren’t of the crash. Instead she dreams of a soldier. A human soldier she can’t get out of her head. When her family pushes her to mate with a wolf from a neighboring pack, she decides to take one night, just for herself, and contacts 1Night Stand. The last thing she expects when she walks through the door is to come face to face with her soldier…. Release Date: July 2, 2013...
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