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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
31

Review: The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper

Review: The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire Author: Molly Harper Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I can always count on Molly Harper to bring a smile to my face and joy to my soul; her stories are clever and characters always charming. Following the events left hanging in the holiday-themed novella, I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, it is summer and Gigi Scanlon is working at a summer internship with the local Vampire Council. While it is her geek’s heart dream job, filled with off-the-chart perks for Gigi, big sister Iris wants to keep her away from the dangerous vampires and shady council, especially after Gigi is attacked in the parking lot after work. However, Gigi has a secret history with her assailant and knows Nik is under a spell that compels him to attack her. Now she won’t rest until she figures out how to break the spell. Although one could probably enjoy The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire as a standalone, I feel the book is more rewarding having read the previous stories. Gigi’s world is filled with her quirky vampire extended family, whose bonds have developed over time, starting with the first book. Reading about Half-Moon Hollow and learning about its denizens prior to starting the book makes for a richer, more satisfying read. With that said, I do feel that reading the Christmas novella is critical setup for this book. The romance between Gigi and Nik is fast-paced and a bit steamier than I recall from the earlier titles in the series. And even though things develop quickly between the pair, I’m okay with it because of the light-hearted tone and humorous feel of the book. Their banter is both silly and clever, playing off one another like long-time friends and lovers, which keeps the story moving forward and focused on the going-ons, rather than causing worry over if they will or won’t become a couple. Returning characters add humor and depth to the book. Additionally, new characters, like Gigi’s coworkers, provide dimension and fun to the mix. If you are unfamiliar with the series you may get a bit lost trying to keep straight all of the players and their the crazy antics. For those who are readers of the series, you may be a bit surprised at the actions of some of the characters. I for one, was a little shocked as the events of the story played...
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Mar
27

Review: The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent

Review: The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent The Mourning Bells Author: Christine Trent Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: The Mourning Bells, the fourth installment in the Lady of Ashes Mysteries, is haunting and gripping.  Though Violet seemed a bit slow on the uptake on some of the clues in this novel, she continues to be a gripping, unique, sensitive, and unconventional sleuth. First off, I continue to love Violet.  She is a fairly down-to-earth woman, for the Victorian era.  I love that she fusses over her appearance (and the extra pounds she seems to be fighting).  These qualities help to humanize her and allow me to truly connect to her.  Despite her insecurities, she possesses determination and steadfastness for the dead and those under her care.  Her worry over Inspector Hurst’s interest in Mary, the bit of lackluster in Susanna’s personality as of late, and her husband Sam’s continued attempts to secure a loan for his coal mining venture all distract her while she tries to figure out why such strange things seem to be occurring.  Though she seemed to be slow at picking up what seemed to be to be fairly obvious clues, she does eventually catch on. Even though the clues were there, seemly obvious, the main villain wasn’t.  I enjoyed how clues were strung so plainly but the path connecting them was so twisted and hazy.  I seriously thought I had it all figured out only to be thwarted at the end when I realized how wrong I was.  This is what I truly love about this series, no matter how the clues fit together, there is always something minute I miss that turns it all around.  The nemesis in The Mourning Bells was very clever, extremely greedy, and very secretive as it turns out.  His unveiling was captivating and excruciatingly nail-biting. There are several things going on when the novel concludes.  These threads leave me wondering what is next for Violet.  I worry about Susanna and how she will do once she returns to Colorado.  Sam’s venture and the Queen’s request for Violet and Sam to join her for the opening of the canal loom in the future.  Not to mention Hurst’s continued pursuit of Mary – there is much I am anticipating in the next Lady of Ashes Mystery.  Whatever it is, you can bet I will be reading it. If you haven’t tried this series and enjoy historical mysteries with unconventional sleuths, pick up the first book,...
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Mar
24

Review: London Bound by Jessica Jarman

Review: London Bound by Jessica Jarman London Bound Author: Jessica Jarman Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: 40-year-old Meg Stevens has been widow for six years. Since her beloved husband passed, she’s spent the time raising her children, working, and being alone. Knowing she needs a break, her near-adult children and family send Meg on a six week trip to London, where she meets Nathan Harris, her sexy, younger neighbor. After a night of conversation and a few drinks at the local pub, the pair explore their strong attraction and realize they can give each other exactly what the other needs… and more. London Bound is a lovely erotic romance that hit all the right buttons for me. The author explores a healthy D/s relationship between two consenting adults without making the sex about a troubled up-bringing or the need to cleanse a damaged soul. Meg is a grieving woman who isn’t quite ready to give up on life. Nathan is able to bring her out of her dormant shell and teach her she can love again. Their chemistry is hot and the love feels genuine. Early in the story, I had a few issues with Meg. While her nervousness and uncertainty are warranted, especially given the time she’s been alone and her age difference with Nathan, I found that at first she comes across almost immature or too young when she is with Nathan. It isn’t her submissiveness, but rather that she is overly needy and unsure. However, soon enough Meg finds her footing and those traits seem to disappear. She stands as an equal to Nathan; a submissive to his Dominant, and I was able to forget my earlier issues. I appreciated her real-life concerns and worries of why things wouldn’t work once her vacation is over. Over the course of the book, Meg became very real to me-her struggles authentic-and I wanted to hug and reassure her. Nathan is perfect. Seriously. Pretty much too perfect. He’s healthy, well-built, handsome, well-off, and he’s head-over-heels for Meg. His firm but gentle ways of caring for and loving Meg are ideal, and he holds nothing back. It’s easy to see why Meg feels it’s all too good to be true, because I felt the same way. But as Meg gives herself over and immerses herself into the situation, determined to enjoy her short time with Nathan, I too was able to enjoy and indulge in his perfection regardless of how “real” he may or may...
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Mar
20

Review: The Darkling Lord by Shona Husk

Review: The Darkling Lord by Shona Husk The Darkling Lord Author: Shona Husk Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: After the conclusion of the last novel, To Love a King, Gikany and Una didn’t know what to expect.  The Darkling Lord was a fascinating surprise and an intriguing beginning for both worlds now that winter has ended in Annwyn. In this novel we follow Darah, a forgiven shadow servant and loyal court fairy to Felan, the new king of Annwyn.  Her whole life has been consumed with earning a post on the King’s Council.  If she completes this mission for Felan, she’ll achieve her long fought-for dream.  But the mission, spying on the darkling in the mortal world, may prove to be more difficult that she ever imagined. Henry isn’t like most darklings.  Although he does have to take a new soul every year on his birthday to survive, he has learned that the guilt for killing a human is high.  After the devastation that the war for the throne has wrought in the human realm, Henry is working at helping to rebuild the city of Detroit from the devastation caused by winter in Annwyn.  The main issue that Felan has with Henry is that many greys have flocked to him.  Henry gives them purpose and a feeling of belonging to a Court again.  When Darah shows up, Henry knows she is a spy for Felan, but the draw of having a woman who is at no risk of losing a soul to him is too much to resist. We enjoyed Darah and Henry’s dance.  Their romance was a journey of individual personal growth.  Darah, being a true court fairy, views love as an ultimate weakness and a vulnerability that leaves you open to attack.  Henry, being raised in the mortal world, doesn’t understand the fear Darah has and does not recognize the gestures of burgeoning live that Darah expresses. Their story was captivating and unique. Through The Darkling Lord we see Felan as King. He is unique among fairies, and the opposite of his power hungry mother.  We respect him and like the changes he is instigating and inspiring. We look forward to seeing more. The Court of Annwyn series is a very different take on paranormal romance, one we enjoy. It has a very strong backbone of reality and it is refreshing in this character driven paranormal romance. If you haven’t picked it up, please do and we hope you...
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Mar
17

Review: Tempest by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

Review: Tempest by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock Tempest Authors: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Picking up right where Merchant of Death left off, Tempest begins at a sprint and doesn’t slow down for the duration of the story. Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness, not quite formerly of the FBI, and Henry Page (aka too many aliases to list), along with Henry’s twin sister, Viola, are running for their lives and heading to the only safe place Mac can think of: his parents’ farm in Altona. Again. But, with few allies and even fewer clues as to who is setting them up, getting their happy ending will take more than even the most fitting Shakespeare references can do. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories in the Playing the Fool series, I definitely liked Tempest best. It has just the right amount of everything I appreciate about the quirkier tales I’ve had the opportunity to read. Suspenseful and exciting, Tempest makes good use of simultaneous, yet disparate, scenes that put relatively pleasant happenings on a collision course with those filled with tension or danger, resulting in a fast-paced chain of events that kept me turning pages as quickly as I could. Each main character has evolved a great deal since the first story, and, while not as obvious as Henry’s, I think that Mac’s transformation has been just as pronounced. Having admitted his feelings for the other man, at least to himself, he seems warmer and more balanced, even though his life has erupted in utter chaos with the addition of Henry. Now that Mac’s a fugitive, too, he’s become more empathetic about Henry’s circumstances, which, in turn, lends him more credibility with the very reluctant con man. Extra kudos also go to Mac for wanting to truly understand Henry, a development that provides more frustration for Henry, but, in general, is a better situation for them both. Henry continues to be an ever more winsome and fascinating character, even more so than in the first two stories. Caring about Mac is a mixed bag for Henry, but the relationship really is exactly what he needs, no matter how much he wants to run from it sometimes. Tempest is precisely that for Henry, with threats and losses hitting him from all sides; the life he’d fought to build for himself crumbling down around him. I found it impossible not to ache for him. Even though this is an understandably more somber...
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Mar
16

Review: Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima

Review: Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima Celtic Moon Author: Jan DeLima Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: It’s been a long time since I’ve been so captivated with a paranormal romance. Starting with a bang, Celtic Moon offers readers a unique take on the werewolf mythology coupled with an engrossing storyline. Relying heavily on Celtic origins, the story integrates shifters, malevolent Guardians, and even gods. But now I’m getting ahead of myself… Celtic Moon is simply a good story and wonderful romance. Having discovered the true nature of her lover and father of her unborn child, Sophie ran from Dylan and kept herself and their son hidden for 16 years. However, now that Joshua is showing signs that he inherited more than his father’s good looks and charming smile, Sophie realizes she must return to Dylan and his people for help. What she does not realize is that the real danger comes not from Dylan, but those who seek to destroy what he has made for himself. The tale of reunited lovers who remained faithful to one another despite the odds they’d be together again was touching, steamy, and emotionally satisfying. I enjoyed seeing the changes in both characters, as they have matured and learned to be more accepting. Toss in the fierce love for their son, Sophie and Dylan have wonderful chemistry and their tale is exciting to read. Ms. DeLima does an excellent job building her world without overwhelming the reader. The storytelling has just the right balance of fast-paced action and quieter, reflective moments. While the romance is probably my favorite part of the book, the story of the Guardians and Dylan’s attempts to keep his people safe is gripping and engrossing. I was immediately drawn in and excited to find out what will happen next. Overall, Celtic Moon is a highly enjoyable and entertaining story. Ms. DeLima is weaves a wonderful tale and interesting world. The characters are interesting and the romance is sweet yet sexy. While the book is a complete story, it sets up conflict for future titles, and I for one am looking forward to reading it! My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Like father, like son… Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can...
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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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Mar
12

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Holter Graham Audio Speed: 1x Series: Alpha and Omega #4 Source: borrowed Having recently devoured the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs, I found myself anxiously awaiting the release of Dead Heat over the past couple of months. Werewolf mates Anna and Charles Cornick have become one of my favorite book couples because of their well-balanced and loving relationship. The urban fantasy series, set in a world filled with dangerous Fae and newly outed werewolves, splits time between an action-filled paranormal/UF plot and the emotionally satisfying love story of Charles and Anna. For the second book in a row, the story takes place outside the normal pack setting. Anna and Charles find themselves in Scottsdale, AZ visiting Joseph, Charles’ longtime friend who is near death, and to purchase a horse from Joseph’s family for Anna’s birthday. Unfortunately Charles and Anna’s getaway is cut short when Joseph’s daughter-in-law and grandchildren are the target of a Fae attack. Soon the pair are reunited with FBI Special Agent Fisher (Fair Game) and the hunt begins for a deadly Fae with a taste for young children. Like its predecessors, Dead Heat is a marvelous mix of action-filled conflict and thoughtful character interactions. The storyline following the malevolent Fae and its horrific actions is suspenseful and well-written, leaving readers guessing who is behind the attacks and what are the motivating factors. Ms. Briggs excels at laying out clues and feeding bits to readers a little at a time, which kept me glued to the pages and in a hurry to find out what was happening. While the storyline behind Dead Heat is all of the above, I was a little disappointed that more was not discussed regarding the significant events occurring at the close of the previous book. I want to know what motivates the Fae and what is going on with their self-imposed exile. Maybe this storyline will play out more in its sister series, the Mercy Thompson series. One thing that I did appreciate is that there seemed to be a great percentage of the book spent on the personal interactions of Charles and Anna. Readers learn more about the mysterious Charles, including some of what motivates him and makes him the stoic man he is in present day. Through the process of horse shopping, we see a new side to both Anna and Charles, and I enjoyed following along...
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