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Oct
10

Review: Blood Eternal

Review: Blood Eternal Blood Eternal Author: Marie Treanor  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Signet Awakened by Blood #3 ISBN: #978-0451234728 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: Secrets don’t disappear after seduction… Elizabeth Silk is struggling to reconcile her passion for the vampire overlord Saloman and her allegiance to the vampire hunters. When a shocking vampire revolt calls Saloman away from her, she refuses to follow him. To make matters worse, Saloman’s beloved cousin Luk has beenfound and awakened by one of his greatest enemies. Frenziedwith bloodlust, Luk embarks on a killing spree and prepares toexpose Saloman’s biggest vulnerability: Elizabeth. But under Saloman’s regime, vampires have become less concerned with secrecy, no longer willing to hide their power. Rumors are swirling about attacks on humans. After Saloman joins forces with the vampire hunters to consolidate his power, Elizabeth begins to understand her role in the inevitable collision of the two worlds. She could bring resolution between vampires and humans—if she can manage to stay alive long enough to play both sides…. What VampBard is talking about: Book three of the Awakened by Blood series by Marie Treanor was a welcome vacation for the brain. It had JUST the right amount of all the things that make paranormal romance my favorite genre to make me itch to pick up my book every spare moment. Bravo, Ms. Treanor! So. What makes this such an awesome read? Hmm… Where to begin… Our heroine, Dr. Elizabeth Silk, is pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yeah, yeah, yeah… all heroines are…that’s what creates conflict… blah blah blah. Seriously though. Treanor fabulously crafted Elizabeth as a strong female lead. She is independent, and has the ability to maintain her own life, whether she’s with her HEA or not. Who doesn’t love an educated woman that can tell off a hottie vamp that is powerful as all get-out? Can I please grow up to be Elizabeth? I think she will appeal to a wide-range of readers – those that ARE Elizabeth as well as those that want to be her. Saloman. Mmmmmmm. I don’t actually recall ever having an EXPLICIT description of our hottie hero. We know he has long, dark hair that falls over his shoulders. We know he has dark eyes that flash amber when he’s amorous. I do, however, have a distinctive image in my head of what Saloman would look like. I’m thinking...
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Oct
7

Review and Giveaway: Angels Of Darkness

Review and Giveaway: Angels Of Darkness Angels Of Darkness Authors: Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Sharon Shinn, Meljean Brook     Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: #978-0425243121 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Anthology Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher “Angel’s Wolf” by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunters Story) Summary: Noel was a vampire of power and position within Archangel Raphael elite team. After an unspeakable act of violence left Noel shattered, he recovered physically, but not emotionally. He is sent to work for angel Nimra, who has a traitor in her midst. Once together, the two develop a close friendship and maybe something more. Twimom’s Take: Noel and Nimra are both strong (and feared) individuals who hide emotional scars from the world around them. I enjoyed watching their romance develop – it was very sweet for such fierce characters. There is great plot movement and character development, with a mystery at the core of the story. “Angel’s Wolf” is a lovely romance and a great introduction to Ms. Singh’s Guild Hunters for anyone that has yet to pick up the books. The characters are not part of the other stories, and there are no spoilers for the primary storyline. Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-) “Alphas: Origins” by Ilona Andrews Summary: A woman is kidnapped into a world divided by a superhuman civil war.  As the captive of an irresistibly dangerous male, she has two choices: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny. Una’s Take:  This is a new world that Ms. Andrews has created and it is completely, mind-bogglingly outstanding and wonderfully woven.  It’s science-fiction for paranormals or vice versa and either way you look at it, the story is mesmerizing.  I found myself lost in Karina’s plight and the choices before her.  This story was a completely and thoroughly gripping page-turner.  I truly hope that there will be more stories to be told from this exciting and fresh new world.  If my assumptions are true, this would be a fabulous “prequel’ into a new series. (I hope!!) Rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it! – enthusiastically recommend (A) “Nocturne” by Sharon Shinns (Samaria series) Summary:  Accepting a position in a secluded and whispered-about mansion, a woman soon discovers the source of its mystery: the blind, tormented angel who lives there, and whose secrets could now destroy them both. Una’s Take:  I was a little surprised when I started reading the story.  It didn’t quite match in my head the...
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Oct
6

Review: Crossroads

Review: Crossroads Crossroads Author: Jeanne C. Stein  Release Date: August 30, 2011 Publisher: Ace Anna Strong Chronicles #7 ISBN: #978-0441020775 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (296 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       As a bounty hunter, Anna Strong knew how to find trouble. But now that she’s a vampire, trouble seems to have a knack for finding her…        The death of Anna’s old vampire mentor is causing ripples in the mortal world. His forensic report has brought up some anomalies and people are asking questions-questions that no vampire wants to answer. Anna needs to lie low, but the sudden discovery of a slew of drained bodies near the Mexican border brings an old flame back into her life and with him, a new challenge. Then, some stunning news from an unexpected source sends Anna and her friend Daniel Frey on a journey that may change both their lives-forever.  What G & U are talking about:       Crossroads is the seventh novel in the Anna Strong Chronicles.  Neither Gikany nor Una have read any previously released stories from this series, and after reading Crossroads, we recommend the series.  If you don’t mind missing out on a few things (including investment in characters) then feel free to jump in with Crossroads.       Even though we did not have the emotional connection to the characters others may have when reading the series from the first book, we did enjoy the novel.  Crossroads was a thrilling urban fantasy ride.  Anna Strong, our heroine and narrator, is a complicated woman who is doing the best she can with the circumstances she has found herself in.  As Gikany and Una assume from the previous book blurbs, the series begins with Anna becoming a vampire and then each story chronicles her “new” life.  Although we’re sure the tension with the choices that Anna faces in this book would have deeper meaning for long-term fans, the experiences and decisions she makes in this novel were not lost on us.       The relationship between Anna and Frey was a little puzzling as we did not have the whole back-story, but we enjoyed their friendship and the connection they must have forged during her short time as a vampire.  The unraveling of Frey’s past was thoroughly interesting and the “mystery” was gripping.  Gikany and Una especially enjoyed the richness that the Native American element added to the...
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Oct
2

Review: The Renfield Syndrome

Review: The Renfield Syndrome The Renfield Syndrome Author: J.A. Saare  Release Date: August 23, 2011 Publisher: Mundania Press Rhiannon’s Laws #2 ISBN: #978-1606592663 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (212 pgs), e-book Book Source: KLB Virtual Events About the book: Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better. Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried. After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul. What I’m talking about: After I finished reading the first book in the Rhiannon’s Law series, Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (review HERE), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Renfield Syndrome. Book 1 ended with a MAJOR cliff-hanger, taking our heroine, Rhiannon over 100 years into the future where a disease has wiped out much of the human population and vampires live out in the open.  Renfield picks up immediately after the conclusion of Dead. Due to the drastic changes between book 1 and 2, you can read Renfield as a stand-alone story, but I suggest starting with the first book to give you more background about the main characters. The story begins with Rhiannon trying to get her bearings after learning she has been thrust into the future as the result of making a deal with an evil demon. She is quickly captured by a group claiming to protect her from the vampires. Their leader, Carter, takes an immediate liking to Rhiannon and tries to convince her why she can’t be around the vampires. Carter’s compound seems more like a cult hideout. Everyone wears the same military uniform and there are strict rules governing their lives. Rhiannon tries to learn as much as possible without telling anyone...
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Sep
23

Review: The Darkest Surrender

Review: The Darkest Surrender The Darkest Surrender Author: Gena Showalter Release Date: September 27, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin HQN Lords of the Underworld #8 ISBN: #978-0373775811 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (432 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain.  For him, nothing stands in the way of victory.  Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor’s edge of surrender. Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die.  Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he as an agenda of his own – steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named.  But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter – the love neither had thought possible… What I’m talking about:      Ms. Showalter kicks off her eight full-length Lords of the Underworld (LotU) book with a little history of harpy, Kaia. We’ve seen Kaia around – twin sister to Bianca (Lysander’s mate) and big sister of Gwen (Sabin’s mate). (For my LORDS primer post, click HERE). When she was only 14 years old and full of untested confidence, Kaia unknowingly released a prisoner who decimated a large percent of the Harpy population. He also happened to be the consort of a fellow harpy who to this date, waits to seek her revenge on Kaia.  Kaia was named “The Disappointment,” and while she never let it show, she was deeply hurt. Now Kaia and her sisters have the opportunity to prove their worth at the Harpy Games, a deadly “warrior Olympics” of sorts. The first thing I want to say about The Darkest Surrender is WOO-HOO!! I am a huge fan of LotU, and felt the last two books have been mediocre. So it is with great pleasure for me to say GENA IS BACK! Surrender gets back to the basics, and showcases all that I adore about this great series. HUMOR, check. SEXY HERO, check. KICK-ASS HEROINE, check. FUN PLOT, check. LOTS OF ACTION & SMEX, check, check! Fans of this series will not be disappointed! Kaia and Strider are perfect for each other! Both are egotistical and funny, each thinks that they are at the top of the food chain, and both have the skills to prove it. Right from the start, I was chuckling out loud at Kaia’s wit and humor. She knows fun....
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Sep
23

Review: To Seduce An Angel

Review: To Seduce An Angel To Seduce An Angel Author: Kate Moore  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Son of Sins #3 ISBN: #978-0425243695 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: In book three Kit has become Daventry, a warrior angel trapped in a gilded cage who wants to free his family with a decisive defeat of the old duke. In a daring move that breaks all the rules of his safe life, he hires Emma Portland. Everything about Emma is a lie except her love. Alone, pursued by spies, falsely accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Emma must spy for the Duke of Wenlocke against Daventry. If she doesn’t play by Wenlocke’s rules, she dies. Emma passes herself off as a tutor to Daventry’s lost boys as she plans her next escape. What she doesn’t plan on is falling in love. To Seduce an Angel is the story of two lovers caught between the deadly pull of their past lives and the demands of the future. What VampBard’s talking about: What’s not to love about the title ‘To Seduce an Angel‘?  I’m thinking to myself, “ok, maybe I’ll find me a lil’ paranormal in here among what seems to be historical romance…”  Nope.  BUT… this was a GREAT story!  Murder, espionage, and just plain bad guys doing bad things surround the beautifully crafted story about Emma finding her way, through a web of deceit, to Dav.  As a group of boys learn to trust their trial teacher, it gives their guardian time to figure out his true feelings for her.   I seriously loved Emma, our heroine.  She was strong and willing to do what was necessary for the happiness of those she loved.  Yeah, martyr.  But it’s cool.  What I think drew me the most to her was the fact that she was teaching the boys, and yet she was still so drawn to Dav in the most caring, yet sexual way.   The boys in the story created a bit of comic relief and additional action, as well as assisting with plot movement.  I don’t think that the plot would have worked as effectively without them. As for Dav… I picture him as a bulkier John Stamos (back when he was doing Full House).  Jus’ sayin’.  While Dav is doing battle to prove he ‘deserves’ his title as Daventry, he really doesn’t feel worthy of the job.  Some of his life experiences when...
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Sep
20

Review: Midnight

Review: Midnight Midnight Author: Ellen Connor   Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Dark Age Dawning #2 ISBN: #978-0425242995 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (327 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Their desire destroys her defenses.Their love gives him a reason to live. Three years of wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of humanity and hope. He’s a dangerous man now, full of dark energy and yen for violence. A harrowing loss drove him from his home, and he hasn’t stopped moving since. Grim and sardonic, he never found anything worth sticking around for–until now.  Rosa Cortez runs Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders directly from her–the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing she needs is a feral loner upsetting the town’s tentative balance. However, for the good of her people, she lets the sexy doctor stay. He evokes a delicious new longing, but she won’t submit to any man. Tension rises as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, bent on possessing Valle and its resources. Together Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting desperate attraction. To save them, love must overcome the pain of the past–and build a future in this brutal Dark Age…  What G & U are talking about: Midnight is the second novel in one of the best new series this year, Dark Age Dawning.  Gikany read the first book, Nightfall while Una did not.  We do recommend that you read the first book due to the fact that it sets this new world up.  Plus, Gikany says the first book is awesome.  Una is going to go back and read it because she loved Midnight and wants the back-story she knows she is missing (since it is alluded to in this book). This story begins in Valle de Bravo with our heroine, Rosa Cortez.  We loved her.  She is a no nonsense woman who works very hard to keep herself and those she “adopts” safe.  She has taken an abandoned town and turned it into one of the few safe havens left in what was the United States.  Rosa maintains order by walking a tightrope between being the unattainable and stoic “la jefa” and the Madonna.  Everything is going fine; she is able, with the strength and loyalty of her bravos, men who have pledged themselves to her service, to hold back the...
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Sep
19

Review: Romancing the Countess

Review: Romancing the Countess Please welcome my guest, Angela, who brings you today’s review of… Romancing the Countess Author: Ashley March  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Signet Romancing #1 ISBN: #978-0451234513 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he’d married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend’s widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets… Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband’s affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there’s only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other’s arms…. What Ang is talking about: I love a good romance one in which there is foreplay, intelligent conversations, witty banter and an opportunity to get to know the characters. Ashley March did a fabulous job of giving me all these elements in her book Romancing the Countess. Leah and Sebastian are strong willed, determined people who dealing with the rules of Victorian England and their spouse’s deaths and affair in very different ways.  Ways that could cost them both everything unless something drastic happens. It is on this path to the drastic that we watch them fall in love. March captures the pain of self realization and of learning to give oneself wholly to another beautifully and she does it with wit and banter reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice. The people surrounding our characters are the perfect accent, the scenery is wonderful and sets the perfect backdrop for our characters and their story, the verbal foreplay is delicious and the lovemaking well worth the wait. My only complaints are that I wish we would have gotten to know more of Sebastian and his inner workings as we did Leah. In addition, I felt that the language at the...
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Sep
15

Review: Aftermath

Review: Aftermath Aftermath Author: Ann Aguirre  Release Date: August 30, 2011 Publisher: ACE Sirantha Jax #5 ISBN: #978-0441020782 Genre: Science Fiction Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       DEAD HEROES GET MONUMENTS. LIVE ONES GET TRIALS. Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history…       During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.       Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals… What Nima’s talking about:       I finished Ann Aguirre’s Aftermath with a long sigh; a sigh that was contentment, a sigh that wished for more, a sigh that was a wish I had read the first four books in the series!  The aptly named book is all about “what happens next.”  Like Paul Harvey’s famed radio broadcast And Now For the Rest of the Story, Aftermath follows main character Sirantha Jax as she faces the consequences of choices she’s made throughout the series to this point.       As book five in Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series begins, Aguirre doesn’t waste time or space   retelling the first four books.  There is enough detail present to follow the action and catch on to the rules of her universe, but the reader has to work for it when coming in cold.  The author honors those who have kept up with series by making no apologies for diving straight into the “aftermath”.  It is possible to pick it up here as I did, but I would recommend starting with book one, Grimspace.       I like science fiction and read a fair amount of it.  It allows me the luxury of escaping to another world when I mentally leave the one to which I’m bound.  Aftermath is not casual science fiction.  In my opinion, this series is on par with Frank Herbert’s...
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Sep
14

Review: Tempted

Review: Tempted Tempted Author: Elisabeth Naughton  Release Date: September, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Eternal Guardians Series #3 ISBN: #978-1402260469 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (416 pp.), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length. Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she’s gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned. As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both. What B is talking about: Isadora is the heir to the throne of Argolea, her father is on his deathbed, and she’s just awakened to find herself in the clutches of the enemy. As if she needed more bad news, her captors intend to use her as a pawn in an evil goddess’s plan to rule the world, and her best hope of survival is a warrior who seems to hate everything about her. Lucky for her, the feeling is mutual. Demetrius is the darkest of the Argonauts, untouchable and solitary. But he’s chosen his path for a reason, one he can’t bear for anyone else to know. Especially the princess he publicly refused to be bound to, who, in his opinion, thinks only of herself. She’s also the one woman he can’t stop thinking about, and if he’s right, she’s not only his curse, but also his one chance at love.  Combining paranormal romance and Greek mythology, Tempted has a lot going for it from the start. As the third in the Eternal Guardians series, I got the impression that some of the missing back-story would have been helpful to have more familiarity with the main characters. The story was very easy to get into, however, so aside from that, I had no trouble immersing myself in Naughton’s world. Being familiar with the myths is a plus, but not necessary, as she uses her characters’ dialog and inner thoughts to fill in any blanks.  Having said that, I am very happy to have had the...
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