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Dec
5

Review: Fate’s Edge

Review: Fate’s Edge Fate’s Edge Author: Ilona Andrews  Release Date: Nov. 29, 2011 Publisher: Ace The Edge #3 ISBN: #978-0441020867 Genre: Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (372 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades…        Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he’s going to need Audrey’s help… What Una is talking about:       There are a few authors that are on my “must read” list.  No matter what it is they publish, I will read it.  These are authors who have never disappointed me; who always write stories with characters that stay with me long after I have finished reading them and write books that are forever on my rereading list.  Ilona Andrews is one of them.  This writing team is unbelievable (if you check out their website listed above you’ll find it’s a husband and wife writing team).  Fate’s Edge in the imaginative world of The Edge series is no exception – it is fabulous!       If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend that you start at the beginning with On the Edge.  Not that you couldn’t just jump in, but you would miss the introduction of the characters if you don’t start from the beginning.  The novel is richer and just better if you understand the connections between the characters and the back-story.       The overall story of Fate’s Edge was just fantastic.  The on-going war against the Hand and the intimate war between Kaldar and Audrey were beautifully woven together.  With several subplots going on, the transitions felt seamless and were easy to follow.  I absolutely loved seeing more of George and Jack; they were enthralling as children in On the Edge and I was ecstatic to see so much of them in Fate’s Edge.  The richness and idiosyncrasies of the three worlds just adds to the overall enjoyment of the series.       However the most...
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Dec
1

Review: Immortal Rider

Review: Immortal Rider Immortal Rider Author: Larissa Ione  Release Date: Nov. 22, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Lords of Deliverance #2 ISBN: #978-0446574471 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (414 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Arik Wagner, a soldier with the U.S. Army’s paranormal unit, the R-XR, kissed a girl and liked it. And then he went to hell as punishment. Where he’s spent weeks being tortured…and plotting revenge.       Limos, Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, isn’t your average girl. She’s immortal, dangerous, and her fiancé is Satan himself. In a moment of weakness, she gave in to her desire and kissed Arik, triggering her fiancé’s wrath – and his claim on her. In order to save Arik, and the world, Limos must make a dangerous pact with her recently turned evil brother, Pestilence. A deal that might just cost her her soul…and her heart. What I’m talking about:       Immortal Rider is the second book of Ms. Ione’s Demonica Series spin-off series, Lords of Deliverance. This series tells of the pending apocalypse by following the Four Horsemen as they struggle to maintain a balance between good and evil. Each is cursed with carrying one of the four Seals of Armageddon (if all four break… hell on earth). Immortal Rider focuses on the only female rider, Limos, aka Famine. Limos is betrothed to the evil Lord Satan, who can claim her if she ever gives in to lust for another. In a moment of weakness she does just that – kissing Arik as she never has any other. This sends Arik to the demon realm to be tortured, and sets of a chain of events which ultimately could break Limos’ seal, setting free Famine.       As events unfold and our hero and heroine are brought together, I am amazed at the intricacy of the storyline and richness of the characters. Ms. Ione has added a whole new level onto her already amazing Demonica world. And unlike the first book, Eternal Rider (review HERE), there isn’t a steep learning curve in Immortal Rider, so the book is less confusing and a smoother read.       One thing I love about this story is that the players are gritty and raw – even the heroes/heroines aren’t always good. This gives the   characters complexity and intensity. Limos is a prime example. As a horsewoman raised by demons in the underworld, she longed to marry Satan...
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Nov
30

Review: A Touch of Crimson

Review: A Touch of Crimson A Touch of Crimson Author: Sylvia Day  Release Date: Oct 4, 2011 Publisher: Signet Renegade Angels #1 ISBN: #978-0451234995 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (356 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Can a love that transcends death survive a war between angels, vampires, and lycans? An angel with immense power and insatiable desire, Adrian Mitchell leads an elite Special Ops unit of the seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen–angels who have become vampires–and command a restless pack of indentured lycans. But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals–losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her: Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body that doesn’t remember him. This time he won’t let her go. With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson knows only that she can’t help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There’s more at stake than her love and her life–she could lose her very soul… What G & U are talking about: A Touch of Crimson is the debut novel in the new Renegade Angels series.  Gikany and Una jumped at the chance to read something different a bit ago, and this novel was included in that leap of faith.  We are eager to report that this novel and series did not let us down, it was overall exciting, fresh and enthralling. A Touch of Crimson takes place during our time, but angels, vampires and lycans exist alongside us, invisible to mere mortals.  The world and mythology in the Renegade Angels is intriguing.  The role of the lycans and the creation of the vampires are fascinating.  The angels, a sect of warriors from the Judeo-Christian religion, are engaged in a battle with a group of fallen angels who have become vampires.  Although the religious aspects are not forthright, it is basis of the mythology from where the story and characters unfold.   One element that Una had difficulty with is that angel Adrian, the leader of the elite group of angels, is often blasphemous.  It was rather odd since he is working for God to be taking his master’s name in vain.  This, combined with other elements, reinforces the old adage...
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Nov
25

Quickie Review: A Karma Girl Christmas

Quickie Review: A Karma Girl Christmas A Karma Girl Christmas Author: Jennifer Estep  Release Date: Available now Bigtime Superheroes Series (Short Story) Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: It’s Christmas time in Bigtime, New York, but society reporter Carmen Cole isn’t in the mood to celebrate since her husband, Sam, has to go on a business trip and might not make it home for the holiday. But Carmen has plenty to keep her busy, since she moonlights as Karma Girl, a member of the Fearless Five superhero team.  >On Christmas Eve, Carmen, as Karma Girl, is assigned to guard toys, clothes, food, and more that are intended for needy children and their families. But an ubervillain also has his eye on the toys and plans to steal and then sell them to the highest bidder. Carmen will have to use all her empathic powers just to stay alive, not to mention make sure Christmas is a happy one for all the kids who are counting on her. It’s all in a night’s work for a superhero … Note: This is a 14,000-word story that takes place after the events of Jinx, the third book in the Bigtime series. It can also be read as a stand-alone holiday story. What G & U are talking about: A Karma Girl Christmas is a short story, as stated on the author’s website, from the Bigtime series.  Gikany and Una have not read this series, but it did not detract from the book at all.  It can definitely be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone story. This delightfully short and sweet story is a wonderful light-hearted read.  We enjoyed the characters and the fun little world that Ms. Estep has created.  It feels a little like Gotham but without all the dark fog and brooding people.  Karma Girl, for a superhero, feels so much like the girl next-door and the characters are quite charming in their own unique way.  Reading this short story was simply a fun little romp. Feel free to download A Karma Girl Christmas to read after you’ve set the tree up, and are looking to relax.  We suggest enjoying it in front of a fire with a steaming cup of tea (Una’s preference) or cocoa. At only $0.99, how can you go wrong? Their Rating: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)         Books in the Series: Karma Girl (Bigtime superhero series, Book 1)  Hot Mama (Bigtime superhero series, Book...
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Nov
23

Review: Bloodstone

Review: Bloodstone Bloodstone Author: Nancy Holzner  Release Date: Sept. 27, 2011 Publisher: ACE Fantasy Deadtown #3 ISBN: #978-0441021000 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Boston’s diverse South End is known for its architecture and great restaurants, not its body count. So when mutilated human corpses begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. The killer—dubbed the South End Reaper—uses a curved blade for his grisly work. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining the already-tense relations between Boston’s human and inhuman residents.       As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood…. What I’m talking about:       Once again, demon-hunter Victory (Vicky) Vaughn, finds herself involved with the darker side of Boston’s paranormal scene. She has a day job – demon-slayer for hire, but it’s the extra-curricular hunting that’s putting her life – and those she loves – in danger.       Bloodstone takes place shortly after the conclusion of Hellforged (review HERE). Once again, Ms. Holzner does an amazing job of creating a stand-alone story within the context of a larger story arc. You don’t have to have read the earlier books to enjoy Bloodstone, but I highly recommend it because the stories are so good.       The story opens with Vicky just “doing her job” of killing off unwanted nuisance demons – this time a “7 deadly sins” demon has created too much sloth and gluttony in a gym. Ms. Holzner’s sense of humor shines here and for the duration the story.  Vicky has a snarky side – a dry wit that made me smile several times.       After completing her job, Vicky and her werewolf boyfriend, Kane, visit Vicky’s “normal” sister and family in the suburbs. I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this scene, as well as throughout the book. Every interaction Vicky has with her sister Gwen, niece Maria and the mysterious Aunt Mab allows the reader to see more depth in our kick-ass heroine. We learn more about why Vicky’s sister gave up her paranormal powers and witness Gwen’s struggle watching her own daughter begin to develop shape-shifting abilities. In addition, Vicky’s relationship with Kane seems to have deepened and...
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Nov
22

Review: Mountain Claiming

Review: Mountain Claiming Mountain Claiming Author: L. C. Dean  Release Date: July 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing 1 Night Stand Series Genre: GLBT, M/M Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/Author About the book: When Madame Eve and her 1 Night Stand offer a chance at escape, Daniel Long drops the yoke of submission and runs to the Castillo Resort, Grand Turk and the hope of a future without repression. Everything on the island steals his breath including the gorgeous hotel owner, Jagger Castillo. Daniel quickly discovers he’s out of bondage and way out of his comfort zone. Jagger isn’t expecting the gift Madame Eve drops on his doorstep, but once he realizes how precious the present is, he won’t let go without a fight. The only question is, can he claim Daniel before the night slips away and cheats them both of paradise. What B is talking about: Shy, haunted Daniel Long knows he doesn’t fit in among the happy guests at the Castillo Resort, but the lure of escape and possibility offered by the mysterious Madame Eve was just too hard to resist. His one hope is that a 1 Night Stand may be the very thing he needs to begin a whole new life. Jagger Castillo loves his life in a resort by the sea, but has given up on the idea of his own happily ever after. One look at Daniel, though, and his opinion is decidedly altered. If only he could break through the wall the beautiful mountain of a man is hiding behind and discover the desires he keeps so well hidden. Mountain Claiming is a quick, easy-to-read short, with a big story to tell. Dean packs a lot of emotional tension in a relatively few pages. Daniel is easy to fall in love with and he and Jagger are wonderful together as they try to find their way to true happiness.  The idea of having only one night to forever change the course of a life and find true love guarantees that there’s little time for potentially burdensome details, but in this case I’d have happily read any additional particulars Dean might have offered. There seems to be so much more to these two characters than can be explored in such a short tale, but, as Jagger so neatly puts it, “Dusk to dawn is not much time for a fresh start, so quit worrying about me and get on with discovering what gives you joy.” Dean...
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Nov
17

Review: Infinite Betrayal

Review: Infinite Betrayal Infinite Betrayal Author: Gayle Donnelly & Robyn Mackenzie  Release Date: March 22, 2011 Publisher: Liquid Silver Books The Infinity Series #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: He would protect her with his life… Mathias has been ordered to protect Mina Roarke at all costs while keeping her Father’s secrets concealed.  But from the moment he sees her, the hunger he’s desperately tried to bury, roars to life.  The beast within is awakened and wants only one thing…Mina.  But when his enemies target her life, Mina and Mathias become caught in a lethal game of revenge.   To save her, Mathias must not only expose the truth…but also what lies deep within him. She was just looking for answers… Mina had always been told she was special. In what way, she never fully understood until her life and everything she thought she knew and believed in was turned completely upside down. After the unexpected death of her mother, Mina finds clues about her past that trigger more questions than answers. Her quest to find those answers thrusts Mina deep into the Black Forest of Germany and into the arms of a man who tests her control…in more ways than one.  She is wrenched from her own reality into a world filled with adrenaline-charged danger, blazing sexual heat, and the answers that have been hidden her entire life.  Mina alone holds the power to change her future but when she comes face to face with ultimate betrayal, can she still trust in the one man that has captured her heart?  What VampBard is talking about: Infinite Betrayal is the first in what could be a powerhouse series by Gayle Donnelly and Robyn Mackenzie.  To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement.  I devoured it in a day.  The authors artistically crafted a world wherein they created a race to act as liaison between the human population and the natural world without humans being aware of their existence.  Me likey 🙂  Additionally, this race – the Coteri – are a strong, gentle presence.  Although, a faction – the Valta – are wreaking havoc in the human world, and the Coteri, through their King’s leadership, are trying to squelch the chaos. Where to begin… ah, yes… our hero, Mathias.  Strong, stubborn and driven to complete his mission.  Too bad he didn’t factor in falling in love with Mina, the King’s daughter.  Kinda complicates his position...
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Nov
14

Review: Magic on the Line

Review: Magic on the Line Magic on the Line Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher: Roc Allie Beckstrom Novel #7 ISBN: #978-0451464286 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (356 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Allison Beckstrom has willingly paid the price of pain to use magic and has obeyed the rules of the Authority, the clandestine organization that makes–and enforces–all magic policy. But when the Authority’s new boss, Bartholomew Wray, refuses to believe that the sudden rash of deaths in Portland could be caused by magic, Allie must choose whether to follow the Authority’s rules or to turn against the very people for whom she’s risked her life.       To stop the plague of dark magic spreading through the city, Allie must put all that she values on the line: her memories, her life. As dead magic users rise to feed upon the innocent and the people closest to her begin to fall, Allie is about to run out of options… What Una is talking about:       I discovered the Allie Beckstrom series by accident.  While pursing another author’s website, she had a cartoon/comic, for lack of better word, describing the release of a new book.  I looked through it, thinking it was some joke of hers or something.  I then realized it wasn’t a silly post, but something Devon Monk had put together to tease her fans about the upcoming release in this series.  Intrigued, I went to her website and read what this series is about.  Instantly I had to get my hands on it, so I requested it from the library and have been hooked ever since.       This is a gritty and dark (at times) urban fantasy.  Warning: it is not a romance.  It is more of a paranormal adventure… our world, but add magic to the mix.  I absolutely love it!  The part that got me was: Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy-tale hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got. … But while magic made the average Joe pay one painful price each time he used it, sometimes magic double dipped on me. I’d get the expected migraine, flu, roaring fever, or whatever, and then, just for fun, magic would kick a few holes in my memories. It didn’t happen every time, and it didn’t...
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Nov
10

Review: Genie Knows Best

Review: Genie Knows Best Genie Knows Best Author: Judi Fennell  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Bottled Magic #2 ISBN: #978-1402241901 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Be careful what you wish for… Samantha Blaine is about to make a fateful discovery. A tall, dark, handsome, ohmygosh kind of fateful discovery… Kal is very pleased to meet his attractive new master–especially since he intends to seduce her into granting him freedom.  But when seriously dark magic spells trouble for both of them, Kal can’t help himself from falling for the woman who holds his fate in her hands… What I’m talking about: Samantha is mourning the death of her father, when she overhears her boyfriend/fiance on the phone talking about how useless she is that she doesn’t even have a clue what he’s up to. When Sam discovers that Albert intends to “get his hands on the contents of the safe,” she quickly goes to find out for herself what is hidden. Little did she expect a genie in a lamp, but after the initial shock of it all, Sam embraces her new genie and a world she never dreamed to exist. Kal (aka the hottie genie) has long admired Sam from afar when he served her father. Now Sam is his final master and soon his wrongful punishment will be over. Kal struggles to maintain a balance between his personal ambitions and his growing feelings for Sam.   Sam and Kal start their adventure in Izaaz, hidden home to many mythological creatures. There Sam unselfishly uses several wishes to help rejuvenate this rundown town. Unfortunately, so many of the denizens cannot get a long and chaos reigns. Although the book jumps to a quick start, I felt this part went on a bit too long.  Sam attempts to start an urban renewal while refereeing waring dragons, leprechauns and gnomes. For someone just tossed into this world (and who is not only grieving her father, but also found out her fiance is a total a$$), she has no problems adjusting to this foreign land.  Once Sam and Kal leave the fighting behind and move on to finding Albert (he’s up to no good), the story moves much more quickly for me. The adventure is entertaining, but it’s the characters’ humor that kept me engrossed. Ms. Fennell’s writing is punctuated with pop culture puns and snarky characters. The story reads like a light-hearted sitcom, full...
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Nov
9

Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Baby It’s Cold Outside Author:  Addison Fox  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher:  Signet Alaskan Nights #1 ISBN: #978-0451235213 Genre:  Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pages), e-book Book Source:  Publisher About the book: After a frantic call from her best friend Grier, Sloan McKinley travels to the heart of the frozen Alaskan wilderness.  Grier’s at her wit’s end, sorting through an inheritance from her estranged father, and the residents of small-town Indigo haven’t exactly welcomed her with open arms. The last thing she expects is to be won over by Indigo’s town matriarchs: three feisty grandmothers who’ve created an annual contest in an attempt to get their grandsons married off.  Although initially shocked by the Great Bachelor Competition, Sloan can’t deny the appeal of the rugged local men—particularly Walker Montgomery, a town lawyer and one of the eligible grandsons. Before Sloan can help her friend and hightail it out of the clutches of the matchmaking matriarchs, she finds herself falling in love with the wild outdoors…and with one of the indigo’s most beloved residents.  There’s just one question that remains: is the town’s most confirmed bachelor ready to get caught? What Nima’s talking about: Baby It’s Cold Outside is the first book in Addison Fox’s contemporary romance Alaskan Nights series.  It’s tough being the first book in any series because you have to spend a lot of time introducing characters, building and painting the sets of our minds’ stages, and somehow manage to tell a good story that sets us up for all the books to follow.  Sadly many times the first book is the best in the series, never quite capturing the same magic or charm in the books that come after it.  Even more frequent, however, the first book is a weak read, trying to be too many things all at the same time.  I am happy to report that Fox’s first foray into contemporary romance was not a disappointment.  Coming in at nearly 400 pages, there was plenty of description, but I never felt burdened by it.  In fact, I finished the book in only two days.  I just liked these characters enough to want to hang-out with them on a Saturday afternoon. Set in the fictional town of Indigo, Alaska, city girls and best friends Sloan McKinley and Grier Thompson find themselves, at first, clearly as fish out of water.  While all of us have probably had that experience at least once in our lives and...
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