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Aug
27

Review + #Giveaway : Broken Play by Samantha Kane

Review + #Giveaway : Broken Play by Samantha Kane Broken Play Author: Samantha Kane Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C What I’m Talking About: Broken Play is the first book in a new erotic romance series by Samantha Kane. The series follows the players of the fictional Birmingham Rebels NFL expansion team. Cass Zielinski, captain of the Rebels, leads this team full of misfits and has-beens who know this is their last chance to make it. Beau Perez, Cass’s best friend, is a recovering addict. Cass will do anything to protect his friend, and the pair do EVERYTHING together. The final piece of Broken Play’s menage is Marian Treadwell, the Rebels new female assistant coach. Marian has many secrets, including the fact that her father is a famous college coach. While Broken Play holds a lot of promise, it was more about hot and erotic sex scenes than a lot of substance. It is a menage romance, and there is some emotional growth and development between Cass, Beau, and Marian, but it’s mostly framed by sex. There are promising external dynamics… like a last-chance football team looking to make its mark and a female coach in a male-dominated profession. However these side stories get little attention, and there is no plot development to go along with them. Additionally, conflict in the form of a homophobic player comes up once, yet is never addressed again. If these aspects of the book had been developed more, I think the book would have been stronger. What the book does have going for it are super erotic, multi-partner sex scenes. However, I feel it necessary to give a small warning to those “no lube” critics, lube is never once mentioned during the rear-entrance scenes. Additionally, the mention of condom use is sporadic and inconsistent. Regardless of the condom and lube issues, the scenes are very hot, and while they are going on, I can mostly forget my concerns over the professional relationship aspect. However, the fact is these people are teammates and she is a coach, so it did bother me. My biggest issue with the entire book is the portrayal of Marian as a coach. I get that she has massive demons to exorcise. I understand that she’s non-conventional and has spent her whole like suppressing who she is. I have no issues with her desires and applaud her journey of self-discovery and acceptance. However, she is one of the team’s assistant coaches, which should come with job standards and an expectation...
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May
19

Review + Giveaway: Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane

Review + Giveaway: Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane Behind the Mask Author: Carolyn Crane Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: As a former CIA agent and co-founder of The Associates, Zelda knows she has no choice but to step in on behalf of her twin sister Liza, who is going to be “loaned to” a Mexican drug cartel for the weekend. Although she hasn’t been undercover in six years, since the mission that broke her, she understands that getting into Brujos’ territory would save countless lives. However, when things go horribly wrong and Zelda is further traded to the dangerous El Gorrion cartel, she realizes that she may have to break cover and escape. Hugo is a loaner, but enjoys his isolated life outside of Buena Vista, Valencia. However, when El Gorrion’s men threaten the town and its rare savincas crop, Hugo knows he must resurrect a dangerous ghost from his past. When he finds an American prostitute among the men he goes after, he decides to take her captive to help him around the house, seeing something more in her eyes that the woman she claims to be. I absolutely love The Associates series, and think Behind the Mask may be my favorite title of the series. I love how the author parcels out clues and information, while the reader waits to see how it will all play out. The suspenseful storyline is intelligent and exciting. And Ms. Crane’s story makes me feel. There were parts when I was afraid to read the book because I knew it would have to get bad before it got good. Bringing me into the world and keeping me so emotionally and mentally engaged made for a very rewarding read. Additionally, there are some intense scenes between Zelda and her co-founder, Dax, that are all the more powerful for those who’ve read the series from the beginning. I completely adored both main characters. Even though she’s one of the Associates’ founders, we’ve never really known anything about Zelda, so she felt like a fresh, new character to me. She is haunted, and this journey is very cathartic. Since part of the story is shared from her POV, the reader is privy to the wide array of emotions and steps she must go through to begin to heal. Her passion and inner-fire were a complete joy to read. Likewise, Hugo had his own path of self-discovery, realizing that the ghosts he’d laid to rest are still under the...
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May
4

Review + Snippet + Giveaway: Busted by Shiloh Walker

Review + Snippet + Giveaway: Busted by Shiloh Walker Busted Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: It’s no secret I love Shiloh Walker’s books. I have this ongoing ‘thing’ with her writing. I have to be ready, prepared to read about the situations her characters survive. But it’s not just about the tortured alpha males, nor the strong and tenacious women that turn them into puddles of quivering man-candy. It’s about the interaction between characters. I’m totally invested in the Barnes Brothers series, but I’m pretty sure I’ve found my new book boyfriend. I may be ruined for other hot and angsty dudes because of Trey Barnes. I think I was drawn in from the very beginning. I’ll admit I savored Busted. I re-read passages. I felt like I knew Trey and Ressa—like they’re my besties or something. I tried to read every spare moment. I found myself rolling over plot points in my head when I wasn’t reading, trying to figure out how everything would happen before I finished the book. Mmmhm. Once again, Ms. Walker managed to surprise me. I shouldn’t be shocked by this. Ever. I should know better, Walker does this to me ALL the time. Trey Barnes lost his wife, and nearly lost his son. We pick up five years later, and learn the heartbreaking backstory of Trey and Clayton. No one should believe me if I say ‘nah, I didn’t cry’. Losing my spouse is one of my biggest fears, and Ms. Walker pushes that button well. I feel whole because of Mr. VampBard, and I don’t think I could ever recover. Watching Trey find Ressa was beautiful, and the route they traveled to be together was inspiring. From the sly glances to the hoping-for-chance-meetings, Trey himself reminded me a lot of my own alpha male, which was touching and anchored me to him as a character in a way I never thought possible. His character traits and his personal guilt over the events surrounding and following the death of his wife completely wiped me out emotionally. What WAS refreshing, however, was his change in thinking. How Trey decided it was time to move forward, and he wouldn’t let anything stop him in attaining his goal: Ressa Bliss. I’d say Trey decided early on that Ressa was going to be his ‘rebound’, but that wasn’t the case, ultimately. Ressa, guardian for her cousin’s daughter, was definitely a lioness. Fiercely protective of her younger cousin, Ressa also had...
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Apr
22

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett Cursed by Fire Author: Danielle Annett Release Date: January 28, 2015 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Designer: Mae I Design About the Book: It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems. Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined. When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life. Purchase links: Amazon : B&N Behind the scenes look at how Cursed by Fire’s cover came to be: http://youtu.be/0NpvNlsUzCI About the Author: Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series. Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention. Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads Excerpt: The light began to fade from his eyes as I crawled across the floor in an effort to reach my father. My nails were raw and bloody as I struggled to carry myself closer to him, digging into the rough wooden floors with each drag of my body. “I’m coming,” I panted in between breaths. “Just hang on, Papa, I’m coming.” I woke gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat, clutching the hilt of my dagger as if my life depended on it. I frantically looked around the room in search of our attacker while also taking stock of any injuries. I was perfectly whole. “It was just a nightmare,” I told myself, though that did little to ease the ache in my chest over the remembered pain. I miss you so much. Rubbing my hands over my face, I pushed back the...
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Apr
13

Blog Tour + Review: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino

Blog Tour + Review: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino Wedding Favors Author: Anne Tenino Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Twelve years is a long time to wait for anything, even if you don’t know exactly what it is you’re waiting for, but Lucas Wilder and Gabe Savage have inadvertently been doing that very thing. Despite building different lives filled with experiences that appeared to have little, if anything, to do with one another, neither man was truly able to forget the intensity and hurt of their first encounter. But, when Lucas returns to Bluewater Bay to be Man of Honor at his best friend’s wedding, he and Gabe discover that they just might get a second chance—if they can manage to talk to each other, rather than guess at each other’s intentions. When I first found out that there would be a follow-up to Helping Hand from the Lights, Camera, Cupid! anthology, I was very excited. Of all the stories I read in the collection, that one seemed the most unfinished to me, and not knowing what happened to Lucas and Gabe was a bit of a letdown. Thankfully, Ms. Tenino tells the rest of their wonderful story in Wedding Favors. This time, we are reintroduced to Lucas and Gabe as adults: a little more cynical, with more scars, and a shared, but differently remembered, history. They also seem to be completely incompatible. Lucas, an artist to his marrow, is fairly rootless and slightly, yet unintentionally, self-absorbed, but is also kind and quick to reprimand himself when he focuses too much on his own situation. Gabe, on the other hand, has never been interested in doing anything but keeping his family’s land and timber business viable. Most of the relationships he’s had have been about convenience above anything else, but he is always honest about the fact, and is generally content. Except when it comes to Lucas. As it turns out, the two are more ideal for one another than I could have hoped for. Gabe’s easy manner and patience are a perfect counterbalance for Lucas’s mood shifts and mental wanderings. Alternatively, Lucas acts as a lens through which Gabe can explore the world beyond Bluewater Bay, learn about art, and see what his life could be in an entirely new way. Sexually, they’re likewise well matched, Lucas’s more interesting predilections and Gabe’s appetites fitting seamlessly together in every intimate scene they share. Though I really liked Gabe and Lucas, especially as they grew closer,...
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Apr
8

Review + Exclusive Excerpt: Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

Review + Exclusive Excerpt: Dark Heir by Faith Hunter Thank you for joining us as we help celebrate the release of Dark Heir by Faith Hunter. On today’s blog tour stop, we have B.’s review, followed by an exclusive excerpt from Dark Heir. To read more excerpts and reviews, be sure to follow along on all the tour stops. B’s Review: Jane Yellowrock is back in Dark Heir, the ninth book in the Jane Yellowrock series. Although Jane is still dealing primarily with vampire politics and the resulting fallout, she’s grown and evolved a great deal and is finally able to accept that she isn’t nearly as alone as she always thought she was. With her two business partners and friends, the Younger brothers, and a few other allies on her side, Jane has become a smarter, stronger version of herself. Which is a very good thing, if she intends to remain capable of fighting the seemingly endless battles that her affiliation with the supernatural elements of the series brings to her doorstep. As has been proven repeatedly in this series, the vampire world is bafflingly frustrating in many ways. While it was a relief to see that Leo Pellisier, the MOC of New Orleans, wasn’t quite as treacherous has he has been in the past, it wasn’t clear whether he was going to try to kill Jane or merely converse with her on several occasions–an unfortunate standard for him, as of late. The overall chaos that seems to be a mainstay of vampire existence continues to worsen in Dark Heir, however, the intrigue and machinations set in motion by the (nearly) immortal Mithrans playing out in a chain of inevitable consequences. Arrogance, greed, and longevity are clearly a very bad mix in Jane’s world, and most of the vampires are guilty of all three. I’ve always liked Jane, and felt that she was a unique and strong presence in the genre, but I’ve come to appreciate her more and more as this series progresses. Now that she is moving past a lot of her “I am an island”/”living on borrowed time” point of view, she’s become a richer, deeper character, a development that has added much to the series as a whole. I don’t think I’ve seen Jane as capable as she is in Dark Heir, or as vulnerable. But, Jane isn’t naïve, nor is she the callous assassin she might have been. Opening herself up to others is a risk, but one she’s now willing to take, and, so far,...
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Apr
1

Blog Tour + Review: Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux

Blog Tour + Review: Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux From the Author: Hello and thank you for joining me as I bid a fond farewell to Ty and Zane on the Crash & Burn virtual tour! For the next five days, join me on my virtual stops to help me say goodbye to the Cut & Run series with cut scenes, playlists, behind the scenes looks at the process of writing this last book, and a peek at the original plan for the series and the twists and turns it took on its journey to the end. Did I mention the prizes? I have incredible prizes for two winners; a go-bag put together by one B. Tyler Grady. Each bag has over $370 worth of goodies in it. For more detail on the contents, you can click the link at the end of this post! Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing to win one of these bags. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 1, and winners will be announced on April 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide. B.’s Review: Every so often, I’ve been lucky enough to find a book, author, or series that gets so far under my skin and into my heart that I can’t imagine how I ever existed without it/them. These stories are the ones I purchase in paperback or hard cover (if available) as well as digital. They’re the ones that are given places of prominence and permanence on the bookshelves around my desk, so that they’ll be handy when I need to feel closer to the characters for some reason or relive a particular scene. The ones it’s completely okay, and sometimes necessary, to lose sleep over. The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux has been among the foremost of that group of books since it was first suggested to me several years ago. The final book in the series, Crash & Burn, reinforces each one of the reasons for that opinion all over again and then some. In the interest of trying not to ruin the story, this review will be as spoiler-free as possible. Crash & Burn covers a tremendous amount of ground, tying up loose ends and answering questions that have been building throughout the series. While there was a great deal of clarity provided during the course of the narrative, I was utterly blindsided by other revelations (a fact that already has me twitchy to reread the entire series from the...
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Mar
13

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh Rock Hard Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Gabriel Bishop, former pro-Rugby player, was hired as CEO of Saxon & Archer to turn around the failing department store chain. He’s very good at what he does and always gets what he wants. Charlotte Baird, long time Saxon & Archer employee, continually allows her supervisor, Anya, to use her talents for her own gain. So when the new CEO fires Anya and offers Charlotte a promotion, Charlotte must learn to get over her fears and work with Gabriel, aka. T-Rex. Rock Hard is the second full-length romance in Ms. Singh’s Rock Kiss series (and third overall story). Although there is overlap with the earlier titles, this book can be enjoyed as a standalone. Charlotte and Gabriel have a tough road, both professionally and romantically. While turning around Saxon & Archer is Gabriel’s primary focus when at work, he cannot stop thinking about Charlotte. Recognizing she’s been hurt in the past, and the fact that he’s her boss, Gabriel takes things slowly in an effort to woo Charlotte. This translates into a slow start to the book, and for a bit, I did wish for things to pick up, all the while wondering how they would hookup without it backfiring on them. Generally, Gabriel and Charlotte’s romance is both sweet and sexy. Charlotte has a messy history, so I am thankful at how Ms. Singh takes time with pair, and why, in the long run, the slow start didn’t bother me. I also appreciate the pair’s openness and honesty with one another. Having the luxury of “hearing” both character’s POVs allows the reader to embrace the larger picture. And while their path had a few bumps that caused a sniffle or two, I love how they got to their HEA. Their first time together (sexually) was completely sweet and yet erotic. I appreciated how Gabriel listened to Charlotte and was able to pick up her non-verbal cues and signals. In the end, I’m glad it took time. In addition to the romance, both characters have issues from their pasts that must be addressed in order for the pair to move forward. While I enjoyed the complexity each matter brought to the story, I felt in both cases, things were resolved a bit too easily. And in the case of Charlotte, I was a bit disappointed at how predictable the matter became over the course of the...
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Feb
6

Author Guest Post: Sharon Lynn Fisher

Author Guest Post: Sharon Lynn Fisher Sharon Lynn Fisher Originally I had planned to write about what women bring to sci-fi, but the more I thought about that, the more I thought it would be easy to fall into the trap of stereotypes and generalizations. We’ve all heard it said that female-penned sci-fi focuses more on so-called soft science than the hard science preferred by their male counterparts. Whenever I hear this, I think about the sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land (author Robert Heinlein), considered by some to be the greatest sci-fi novel ever written. I recall that book mostly being about relationships and culture and sex. In contrast, one of my favorite recent sci-fi romance reads (written by a woman), a story I judged for a contest, was the grittiest, techiest thing I’ve ever read. I’ve also heard it said that female authors’ characters have more depth. I had a much easier time identifying with Wool characters (author Hugh Howey) than with the protagonist of The Left Hand of Darkness (author Ursula K. Le Guin), who by the end I still didn’t feel like I understood on a personal level. And if you want to bring relationships into the discussion, whether romantic or platonic, Howey’s are of a far kinder, gentler variety than those written by literary sci-fi great Margaret Atwood. After pondering all this for a while, I came to the conclusion that people write how people write, and saying male authors are one way and females are another is not particularly useful because we either enjoy their storytelling or we don’t. I love Atwood’s writing, but if I’m looking for something uplifting it’s the last thing I’m going to pick up. But if we tweak this question a little bit I think it gets more interesting. What do romance writers, male or female, bring to sci-fi? How are their stories different than those classified as pure sci-fi? This I think I can speak to a little bit. Sci-fi romances are character-driven by their very nature. For a book to be characterized as sci-fi romance, the romance has to be central. Its development has to move the plot forward. External factors have a role as well — often a strong role; my own stories are about half and half — but the story is always moving toward a satisfying relationship outcome. While there can be a lot of variation in how strong the romantic tone of the book is, they all...
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Feb
2

Blog Tour: Edged Blade by J.C. Daniels

Blog Tour: Edged Blade by J.C. Daniels Edged Blade Amazon | BN | iBooks About the Book: In the year since her life was torn apart, Kit Colbana has slowly rebuilt herself. There’s a promise of hope in the relationship with the alpha of the local shapeshifters and she no longer comes screaming into wakefulness. Life’s not perfect but then again, when was it ever? When her best friend Justin comes to her for help, there’s little question as to what her answer will be. Witches are disappearing and Justin won’t rest until he has answers. Soon, they learn that it’s not just witches who’ve gone missing, but vampires and shifters, too. Unlikely alliances are forged as Kit and Justin found themselves drawn into a twisted web of lies and betrayal. As the clock counts down and the culprit behind recent disappearances is revealed, those Kit loves the most become the target of somebody who will kill to protect an ugly secret. Read on for a chance to win either a Kindle Fire or a tea set and some of the loose leaf tea that Kit would drink…if she was real. 😉 About the Author: J.C. Daniels is the alter ego of author Shiloh Walker and was created basically because Shiloh writes like a hyperactive bunny and an intervention was necessary.  J.C. is the intervention.  The name… J.C. Daniels is a play off of the three people who pretty much run Shiloh’s life. Professional Bio J.C./Shiloh Walker has been writing since she was a kid. She fell in love with vampires with the book Bunnicula and has worked her way up to the more…ah…serious works of fiction. She loves reading and writing just about every kind of romance. Once upon a time she worked as a nurse, but now she writes full time and lives with her family in the Midwest.  She writes urban fantasy, romantic suspense and paranormal romance, among other things.  You can learn more and connect with JC here website|  Facebook | twitter  and Goodreads  Excerpt: It had been almost two weeks since the Halloween party and I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since then. Now, a dark pool of oblivion awaited me, beckoned to me. I stumbled toward my bed, water still dripping off me from my shower, more exhausted than I could recall feeling in a very long time. All I wanted was my bed. Okay, Damon lounging in my bed—naked—would be better, but as long as I had my bed and silence for the next...
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