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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Apr
25

Review: Once Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia Eden

Review: Once Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia Eden Once Bitten, Twice Burned Author: Cynthia Eden Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: The second book in the Phoenix Fire series, Once Bitten, Twice Burned, overlaps chronologically with its predecessor, Burn for Me. The story begins with Ryder, a powerful vampire we met in the first book, still captive at the Genesis Laboratories. Unlike the first book, Once Bitten, Twice Burned does not spend much time explaining what Genesis is or go into the details of Richard Wyatt, the ruthless, evil head of Genesis, which allows for more action and direct conflict – giving the story a better overall flow. We also meet Sabine Acadia, a female captive who is unaware of her paranormal nature. As the story opens, Wyatt has denied Ryder of blood for months. When Wyatt tosses Sabine in Ryder’s cell as one of his sadistic experiments, Ryder can’t help but take blood from Sabine and immediately recognizes her blood as different than any other he’s ever had. It is addictive to him–he can’t get enough–killing her in the process. But since Sabine is a phoenix, she burns and rises from the ashes, which is a complete shock to her. Now it’s up to Ryder to figure out how to save Sabine and escape the hell in which they are trapped. Once Bitten, Twice Burned is an exciting and engrossing paranormal romance. I found that I was completely drawn in right from the start, even though the beginning held some repeat from the first book. Ryder and Sabine have incredible chemistry: a palatable, aching needed that continually brings them together. Their sex scenes are some of the hottest I’ve read in a while, and they also share some honest, tender moments, creating a deeper connection. I found Sabine to be a solid female lead, and her struggle to let go of her human upbringing is a compelling supporting storyline. And although at first I thought that Sabine was going to be a repeat of Eve (from Burn for Me) when she didn’t want to kill the bad guys, she quickly matures and grows into a well-rounded female lead.  Ryder is equally as engaging and a strong lead in his own rights. During the previous book, Ryder came across as a selfish jerk; however, this time around when we view his actions in context and through his own perspective, his character shines. I enjoyed learning more about his history, and his journey to uncover...
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Apr
22

Review: The Fallen by Keri Lake

Review: The Fallen by Keri Lake The Fallen Author: Keri Lake  Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: I just finished reading The Fallen. The first thing I did was post on Twitter: “I just finished reading The Fallen by @kerilake. Someone hold me. #Xander4evah #ReadThisNow”. Seriously. I wasn’t kidding. This full-length novel (short in comparison to the other Sons of Wrath titles) makes me want to read the first two titles in the series again. I’m not going to discuss the plot; the blurb does a great job of giving an overview of this title. I do, however, want to talk about all the emotional stuff. Oh, and emotional baggage? These two had it in spades! Karinna has lost so much in her life. After all the losses, she’s turned herself around and wants nothing more than vengeance. OK. I get that. Hurt what’s mine? Suffer the consequences. I’d do anything necessary to exact retribution. But wow! It was like Karinna was deep under cover for the police or something throughout this story. I loved how tough and no-nonsense she was, and how she clung to her beliefs until the end. I kind-of identified with Karinna. Or I wanted to be like her. I’m not sure which. Either way, she’s a relatable character that is totally kick-arse, and able to take care of herself. Even facing adversity, she remained strong. I admire that. And Xander? *swoon* This alpha Dominant actually got totally under my skin (like most of Ms. Lake’s alphas do…I think she gets me…). I had fallen in serious lust for this alpha Sentinel by the time I made it to the twenty percent mark. He had me swooning by the mid-point, and I actually shed tears near the end for him. I can’t believe his commitment to Karinna throughout the title. Xander’s inner conflict was evident from the beginning. I couldn’t believe how connected he was to Karinna, and to what lengths he was willing to go, to ensure her safety. I think what I like the most about this title is the fact that while both characters are seriously damaged, they find one another, and that’s enough. There’s secrets and a bunch of totally f’ed up stuff in this book. It’s MUCH MUCH MUCH darker and more graphic than Ms. Lake’s previous titles. Which I dig. There’s BDSM elements that go to extremes even considering the content of mainstream fiction. While I love this book, and I want all...
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Apr
21

Review & Giveaway: Survive to Dawn by PJ Schnyder

Review & Giveaway: Survive to Dawn by PJ Schnyder Survive to Dawn Author: PJ Schnyder Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: London was ground zero for the zombie plague, and it is now home to the few survivors, a wolf shifter pack, and the various tourists and hunters that come for a shot at the world’s deadliest game. In Survive to Dawn, a team of scientists want to gain entrance into the quarantined zone to capture and study a zombie, hoping to test an inoculation. Danny, pack medic and advisor to its alpha, is immediately attracted to one of the scientists, Deanna. Seth, the alpha of the ruling wolf pack, will not allow cages into the town and refuses to grant the team pack protection. However, sensing Danny’s immediate attachment to Deanna, he allows Danny to watch over and protect only her. Survive to Dawn is the enjoyable third tale from PJ Schnyder’s London Undead series. I found it to be very entertaining and a fun love story. Danny and Deanna share an immediate attraction, and it is enhanced by the fact that both are very rational and logical. Both freely admits attraction–there are no games–and watching each evaluate his/her emotions and reactions to the attraction is a lot of fun. I appreciate that both characters are open and honest, never laying blame and always taking responsibility for their actions. Both are independent and strong, but respectful and recognize when compromise is best. I just loved how the story focused on external conflict, such as the fight with zombies and other paranormals, rather than creating it within the couple. Danny recognizes that Deanne is more than she appears on the surface, and that is when Deanne entrusts Danny with the “whole truth” of who she is and why she’s in London. Just in case you don’t know what that “truth” is, I won’t share any spoilers; however, this leads to an exciting journey through London, and it involves some nasty vampires. And wow! is there a wonderful twist that pops up when I least expected it. Not only is the story itself a good one, but Ms. Schnyder is able to wrap up some open-ended pieces of the overall mythology. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Another thing for which I want to applaud the author is how she addresses the fact that Danny is a shifter, with a long life span, and Deanne is a human. What I appreciate, and simultaneously pulls at my...
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Apr
15

Review: Immortal Hunter by Kait Ballenger

Review: Immortal Hunter by Kait Ballenger Immortal Hunter Author: Kait Ballenger Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: David Aronowitz is a first class demon hunter with Execution Underground, a secretive organization that polices the paranormal beings hidden among humans. In the previous book, Twilight Hunter, David discovered that his once love, Allsún O’Hare, has been hiding out among a wolf shifter pack. Allsún, a half-Fae (pixie) and the only Fae outside of the Isle of Apples, was kidnapped and tortured before David and the rest of the EU team could save her. After spending the past few weeks in a coma, Allsún wakes to a burning need to stop a rampaging demon. Unfortunately, now that she’s been discovered, every demon on earth will want to track her down and stop her. So the once lovers must team up to stop the demons and hope that neither one gets killed in the process. Immortal Hunter is an emotionally satisfying, action-filled tale that I throughly enjoyed. It is evident when reading the book that the author put her heart into this tale, and it is a better story because of it. Overall, it is a much stronger, more cohesive tale when compared to the first two books in the series. Immortal Hunter can be read as stand alone, even though Allsún and David’s story started briefly in the prior book. Gaining perspective from both David and Allsún’s point-of-views, the reader learns about the demons roaming the earth, as well as the history of the Fae. In addition, there are a number of flashbacks that allow the reader to connect with both characters on a deeper level. The flashbacks are not disruptive to the flow of the story, but rather enhance the overall reading experience. Learning how David and Allsún once loved each other – and never stopped – allows for a more immediate and natural connection between the pair. Throughout the story and up until we learn the full truth, Allsún leaves the readers hints that there is way more to the story of why she left David five years prior. As the somewhat predictable truth is uncovered, I became engrossed with the book and attached to the couple. I wanted them to get past their past so that their love could move them forward. It is evident that Ms. Ballenger gave a lot of herself to these characters, allowing them to blossom and grow. I was deeply touched by their journey. David is...
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Apr
8

Review: Turned by Virna DePaul

Review: Turned by Virna DePaul Turned Author: Virna DePaul Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: In Turned, Virna DePaul introduces readers to the Belladonna Agency, a top secret section of the FBI that knows all about (born) vampires and uses rogue vampires to turn human agents to made vampires. Special Agent Ty Duncan is one such agent that was turned against his will by a group of rogues who captured and tortured him, along with his sister Naomi, Peter Lancaster and Ben Porter. Ty is now helping to recruit human females who will help the Belladonna Agency bring down the renegade rogues. Ana Martin grew up on the streets, protected by the Sangre gang. She and her sister had a rough life until one night when everything went wrong. After spending some time in jail, Ana escaped her past and made a new, anonymous life for herself as the owner of a Seattle coffee shop. Yet she yearns to know what happened to her sister, and after meeting Ty, she realizes that maybe her life isn’t as wonderful as she makes it out to be. Taking a big chance, Ana agrees to join Ty and the Belladonna Agency. Like many first books of a new series, Turned is packed full of new characters, complex backgrounds and intensive world building. I appreciated the idea that the FBI is keeping the vampire secret from humans while simultaneously using the vampires and double crossing their queen. Unfortunately, sometimes the story becomes weighed down by the sheer volume of information. At times, I got characters confused, and I had to take detailed notes to understand the different layers behind both the FBI’s and vampire’s plans. In addition, part of the problem for me was how the information is doled out in bits and pieces. Often the reader is only privy to a part of the bigger picture with hints of “more,” and it isn’t until much later that we discover the whole story. It was the constant reminders that I didn’t know the whole truth, which really began to wear on me. Yet, the world is an interesting one, and I throughly enjoyed the concept at the core of the series. I’m hoping that the next book will be a bit more streamlined now that we have the basics of the world. Right from the get go, we find out that Ty has an insatiable attraction for Ana, yet he doesn’t even understand why, only...
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Apr
7

Review: The King by JR Ward

Review: The King by JR Ward The King Author: JR Ward Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: JR Ward’s twelfth endeavor in her extremely popular Black Dagger Brotherhood, The King, is the ambitious tale covering the lives of several key characters: most notably Vampire King Wrath and his lovely Queen, Beth. The pair was the focus of the first book, Dark Lover, and they have played central rolls in a number of the subsequent stories. However, this time around we get up close with Wrath and Beth as they deal with the pressures placed on the monarchy, Beth’s desire to have a child, the snobby glymera, and rival vampire, Xcor along with his Band of Bastards. Wrath and Beth’s current predicaments started back about three or four books ago, so I highly suggest making sure you are current with the series prior to starting The King. The book is another long one – close to 600 pages – so it is should be no surprise that there is too much happening for me to give an adequate summary of events or to touch upon all I would like. The story is primarily that of Wrath and Beth, told from their alternating point-of-views. In addition, we are treated to wonderful flashbacks that share the story of Wrath’s parents: Wrath and Anha. Readers of the series know very little of Wrath’s heritage, and I enjoyed reading these sections. Not only did we learn more about what makes Wrath tick, but the story is eerily parallel to Wrath and Beth’s current day lives. In addition, the book continues forward the storylines of Xcor, his Band of Bastards, and the Chosen Layla. Xcor craves the power of Wrath’s kingship and is willing to sacrifice most anything – play any dirty game – to get rid of Wrath. The wrinkle comes from “sweet, naive” Layla, who continues to secretly pine for the dangerous warrior. I have to say, I felt this was the weakest part of the entire book. I find that the more I get to know Xcor and see Xcor and Layla together- the more I can do without. Although Layla does step it up in some respects, I still have little empathy for the pair and see no reason why she would be attracted to Xcor. Another continuing story from the previous book(s) is that of Vampire drug dealer Assail and human thief Sola. The pair shared some intense chemistry in the previous book,...
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Apr
2

Review: Drowning in Fire by Hanna Martine

Review: Drowning in Fire by Hanna Martine Drowning in Fire Author: Hannah Martine  Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: Drowning in Fire is the third novel in The Elementals series.  After much discussion, Gikany and Una liked this offering, but with one strong reservation. First, we love this world that Ms. Martine has created. This sizzling mix of paranormal romance with a hint of science fiction is thoroughly fascinating.  The different Secondaries (Primaries being those from Earth) with their own abilities linked to the elements are intriguing.  With Drowning in Fire we are finally able to see each of these secondary groups: the Children of the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  There is one other group, Spirit, but they are absent during the course of this novel.  We hope to learn more about that elemental group in future books.  There is much that transpires in the other elemental groups, most notably the Air and Children of the Earth.  We eagerly wait to see what happens with Aya and Jase. However, Gikany and Una did have an issue.  Keko, our heroine, was just the type of personality that we could not relate to.  She is a perfect product of the Chimeran people – a strict caste warrior-like culture.  This is not a compliment.  We found her for most of the novel to be selfish, brash, and quick to action without any thought of consequences or circumstances.  It is not until over halfway through the novel, and some serious introspective growth on her part, that we began to stop disliking her.  By the end, we would still never be buddies with her, but she was at least palatable.  As much as we love Griffin, we just could not see the connection between the pair.  We understand that it must be one of those soul-deep opposites attract and find balance connections, but it is just not something that we were able to connect with as readers. As Drowning in Fire concluded, we were pleased to see that some of what created and fueled those aspects of Keko we disliked, are the elements that faced major changes.  We are happy to report that it does seem like Griffin and Keko will have a happily ever after, although we are still wondering if Griffin still has his job as this conflict was not resolved by the end of the book.  In The Elementals series, each book has a different couple as the focal point and the ending...
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Mar
31

Review: Dangerous Angel by Stacy Gail

Review: Dangerous Angel by Stacy Gail Dangerous Angel Author: Stacy Gail Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Nikita Tesoro and Kyle Beaudecker are two of Miami’s top bounty hunters. They’ve worked in the same circles and been associates for years, but Kyle has always wanted more. Now that the evil demon lord, Dantalion, has set his sights on Nikita, Kyle may have to reveal his hidden secret – that his is a human descended from the biblical Nephilim, and he has the power to control lightning. Dangerous Angel is the fourth and final story in the Earth Angels series by Stacy Gail. While each story is a stand alone romance, the book concludes the over-arching plot that involves a demon who has been targeting the Nephilim descendants. For this reason, and the fact that this is an highly entertaining series, I suggest reading each story in order prior to picking up this title. One thing I adored most is that Kyle and Nikita share an intense and immediate chemistry. They have known each other for a few years, and their shared history comes helps foster a more powerful relationship. Right from the start, their play is highly sensual and attractive. What makes their dynamic so explosive is that Kyle and Nikita both are full of pent-up passion, yet both keep their emotions under tight control. When they are together, they each tempt that control, and together they are an explosion ready to detonate. So hot! Although I felt that the pair make a great couple, I had misgivings with a particular circumstance, which brought the pair together. NOTE: POTENTIAL SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH Kyle, determined to uncover information that Nikita was leery of sharing, uses sex to pry that information from her. By no means is it rape, but using Nikita’s own body’s sexual response to his touch, and then not telling her the truth right away, made me uneasy. I didn’t like the idea of mixing her horrible memories and mental/emotional anguish with sexual pleasure. At least once it is over, they discuss the fact that he shouldn’t have tortured her like that; however, the quasi apology rang hollow with me. It also frustrated me that I had to wait until the near conclusion of the book for Kyle to realize how much of a jerk he’s been. END OF POTENTIAL SPOILERS Unfortunately, I feel that these actions created some apathy towards the couple. The mystery of where Dantalion would strike...
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Mar
14

Review: Cole’s Redemption by JD Tyler

Review: Cole’s Redemption by JD Tyler Cole’s Redemption Author: J. D. Tyler Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Cole’s Redemption is the fifth offering in the Alpha Pack series.  In this novel, the healer, Zander, finally meets his mate, and the main plot arc of the secret government official who is trying to destroy the pack is resolved. Firstly, Gikany and Una enjoy the Alpha Pack series.  It’s a sensual blend of military and paranormal romance.  We also enjoy the balance of romance to action and drama.  The mythology is varied and fascinating.  Seriously, how could you go wrong with a shape-shifting alpha man in uniform?  (We are swooning). The men that make up this elite force of shifters are tough, insightful and varied – even in their alpha male tendencies.  Zander Cole is one who had caught our eye.  Wounded in previous battle, he is a healer and will risk his own life to help those of his alpha pack brethren.  We have been keeping our fingers crossed, waiting for his Bondmate who we hoped would help to heal him. Suffice to say, we were captivated by Zan. It should be no surprise that his mate also has some serious baggage.  Selene is Nick’s (the Alpha Pack’s leader) estranged daughter.  She has sworn to seek revenge on Nick for killing her mother and abandoning her.  When she tries to carry out her plan, she is thwarted by Zan and in the process becomes his Bondmate.  At first Una felt that their relationship was too heavily weighted towards the bedroom – they had just met.  However, Gikany pointed out that they were in fact giving into their inner wolves.  It was, in a sense, a way for their inner wolves (who knew they were mated) to bring the human halves together. Although the book is somewhat divided between Zan and Selene’s mating and adjustment and hunting down a band of rogue vampires, the story does flow well.  Selene’s growth through the novel is inspiring considering the dark place she comes from.  Through Zan, she is able to step outside of herself and really evaluate what she sees and decide the truth for herself.  It was heartbreaking at time to watch the painful healing Selene and Zan undergo as they both struggle with their own demons. Cole’s Redemption does appear to be a somewhat transitional novel in that the plot arc of the evil high government official is resolved along with Nick’s...
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Mar
12

Review: Spirited by Mary Behre

Review: Spirited by Mary Behre Spirited  Author: Mary Behre  Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: Spirited is the debut novel in the Tidewaters series.  It is a paranormal romance with a detective drama twist.  Overall, Gikany and Una liked Spirited, but we did have a few small issues. The novel mainly follows Jules, our ghost whisperer, who has returned home to start over after a messy divorce.  Jules is hoping to get back to working at the family flower shop and pretend that she doesn’t see, hear, or get pulled into awkward situations by ghosts.  Try as she might, she is not home long before a pesky spirit kicks her into the adjacent apartment.  But this isn’t just any apartment: it’s the apartment of Seth, a local detective who mistakes Jules as a prostitute.  Yup, we have to admit, it’s a funny way to start a novel! The humor and light-heartedness of Spirited was refreshing.  The banter between Seth and Jules was pretty humorous.  Jules’ personality lends itself well to keeping things unexpected and light.  We enjoyed her character.  Although Seth seemed to lack a bit of depth and was a tad black and white, we can see how these unlikely two are drawn together.  However, it was disturbing near the end when Jules bares a little of herself only to be repudiated by Seth.  He seemed overly harsh and not quite keeping with what we had seen building over the novel.  Yet, we do understand that Jules and Seth both come together with quite some serious baggage.  Watching them work through those issues inspired hope and had us rooting for them. Gikany and Una enjoyed the flow of the novel and how everything seemed to move and progress.  Although the mystery of the murders, the ghost, and the robberies is dark, it is lightened by the people and the absurd situations that Jules finds herself in.  Some aspects of the story were foreshadowed, but we were pleased that some twists and turns did take us by surprise.  The story was not super easy to figure out. One aspect that seemed to glare was the police procedures.  Gikany and Una enjoy a good police procedural, and we felt that the practices that Seth and some of the other officers employed were not by the book.  In fact, there are several instances that just didn’t seem in keeping with standard police procedure.  These moments interrupted the authenticity of the novel and...
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