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Nov
1

Review & Giveaway: Embrace the Highland Warrior

Review & Giveaway: Embrace the Highland Warrior Embrace the Highland Warrior Author: Anita Clenney  Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Highland Warrior Series #2 ISBN: #978-1402251269 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can’t fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse. What B is talking about:      Having fled to Scotland after learning that everything about her past was a lie, Shay Logan has returned to her home in Virginia with a stalker tracking her every move. There’s also the matter of her childhood friend and crush, who’s now all grown up and more irresistible than ever. Now, she just needs to figure out why a demon and a group of vampires are after her, too, and maybe things can get back to normal.      Cody MacBain thought he’d lost the woman who was destined to be his years ago, and has done his best to move on with his life. He is a warrior: pledged to saving humanity from the demons who would destroy it and take the earth for their own. He’s sacrificed everything for his clan and their destiny, but when Shay comes back, in danger and alone, he’s determined he’ll never lose her again. Whatever the cost.      I very much enjoyed the first novel in Clenney’s Highland Warrior series, Awaken The Highland Warrior, I had high hopes for this second book. I was not disappointed! In fact, I enjoyed it so much I read it twice, back-to-back. Embrace The Highland Warrior has everything I love in a novel: suspense, humor, romance, sensuality, unflinching heroes, strong female leads, and so on.      Shay and Cody are perfect for each other. That they are destined for one another is clear, not just because they’re “supposed” to be, but their connection to one another feels so pure and right. The flashbacks to their childhood games, and especially the events that happened later on to drive them apart, seem so true to their characters, that I had no trouble accepting that they are fated to be together.      All the returning characters are...
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Oct
31

Review: Haunting Embrace

Review: Haunting Embrace Haunting Embrace Author: Erin Quinn  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Mists of Ireland #4 ISBN: #978-0425243138 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: ENDLESS LOVE Within Meaghan Ballagh surges the blood of an ancient sorceress whose long ago love for the druid Áedán ended in treachery—a fate that ensnares Meaghan herself when she is thrust into the past. She can feel the desire between the sorceress and the handsome druid rise inside her. To ensure her survival, she must piece together the history of the woman who haunts her and the man who needs her.  ETERNAL BETRAYAL Áedán recognizes Meaghan. He always will. For the spirit of his one true love—and immortal enemy—is in her. A woman for whom Áedán once risked everything he ever had only to be repaid with betrayal and eternal damnation. This time, he’s not going to let Meaghan escape—because together they have the power to change their destiny.  As the passion between them grows, so do their fears of arousing an ancient, haunted, and forbidden love, and for changing a past that could irrevocably destroy the future. What VampBard’s talking about: Haunting Embrace, the fourth in this series by Quinn, was an excellent read! Even though I’ve not read the prior three books in the series, I felt perfectly at-home in the beautifully crafted paranormal world the author created. Confession time: I participated in an author chat with Erin Quinn, and found her to be very forthcoming about her writing process, as well as down-to-earth. Yup. I wanna meet her for coffee on a weekly basis! Even her responses to the questions posed were well-written and thoughtful! What to gush about first… the BAD GUY!!!! Cathan MacGrath is the original bad-seed-turned-evil. Just because he was born in the right place at the right time, he was destined to be SOMETHING… and the plot of the story portrayed him as Mr. Overcome-With-Evil-And-Power-Because-He-Was-Compensating-For-Other-Shortcomings. Sucked into the Book of Fennore because of his compulsive desire to be powerful, Cathan managed to boot a powerful Druid out of the Book, and usurped his power – and then some. Towards the end of the story, I really loved how Quinn described Cathan as the spitting image of his father, Brion. The malevolent spirit that chased down the main characters – derived from Cathan and his quest for power – kind-of had Invasion of the Body Snatchers written all over...
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Oct
27

Review: Heart of Steel

Review: Heart of Steel Heart of Steel Author: Meljean Brook  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Iron Seas #2 ISBN: #978-0425243305 Genre: Steampunk Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control.       Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair — he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she’s no easy conquest.      When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco — and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves and a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart… What I’m talking about:      Book #1 of The Iron Seas series, The Iron Duke (review HERE) was hands down the best book I read last year, so it was with great anticipation that I opened the cover of Heart of Steel. I can tell you right now, I was NOT disappointed!      Although it takes place in the same intricately-crafted, alternate world as Duke, Heart has its own feel and rhythm, primarily due to the differences in the main characters (who were introduced in the first book). Yasmeen and Archimedes are not Mina and Rhys, and this story is a reflection of their uniqueness.  One could easily read Heart of Steel as a stand alone – but this series is SO incredible, I don’t suggest you skip the first book.      The story opens shortly after the conclusion of The Iron Duke, with Yasmeen seeking out the sister of the famed adventurer, Archimedes Fox, to inform her of her brother’s death.  However, when Yasmeen arrives, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the home and plans to rob Yasmeen of the expensive da Vinci sketch she stole from Fox.  Soon after that, she is taken captive by the not-so-dead Fox himself...
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Oct
26

ARC Review: Last Breath

ARC Review: Last Breath Last Breath Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher: NAL Morganville Vampires #11 ISBN: #978-0451234872 Genre: Young Adult Format(s): Hardcover (352 pgs), Paperback (4/2012), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       With her boss preoccupied researching the Founder Houses in Morganville, student Claire Danvers is left to her own devices when she learns that three vampires have vanished without a trace.        She soon discovers that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is someone new to town-a mysterious individual named Magnus. After an uneasy encounter with Morganville’s latest resident, Claire is certain Magnus isn’t merely human. But is he a vampire-or something else entirely? What Una is talking about:       I picked up the Morganville Vampires by accident.  There was a short story in an anthology and it really piqued my interest.  Last Breath is the eleventh book in the Morganville Vampire series and the world continues to fascinate me while the characters continue to enthrall me.  Ms. Caine has expanded on the departure we saw in her last book and it only enriched the experience.       Last Breath finds the residents in the Glass house in the center of scrutiny.  Without spoiling anyone who has missed reading the previous book (Bite Club – review HERE), we begin with the ramifications of our cliffhanger.  Sides are once again being drawn between the vampires and humans with our heroes – the Glass House residents – Michael, Eve, Shane and Claire, once again caught in the middle.  There is a new evil that has infiltrated the town and it puts the last nemesis, Bishop, to shame.  However, I will say that the book summary (see above) does not seem to match my feeling or personal understanding of the actual book plot.  Or more to the point, I feel that it was a little misleading.  I did read an uncorrected proof so maybe this is the reason.  That being said, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel.       I admit, this is a young adult novel that does have the young adult aspects – language, slang, angst, but it does so in a way that allows adults like me to relate to the reality and not be irritated by it.  Ms. Caine does an expert job in crafting this series.  In the previous book, she allowed us to glimpse portions of the story from Shane’s perspective (up until then, the stories were...
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Oct
24

Review: Sins of the Angels

Review: Sins of the Angels Sins of the Angels Author: Linda Poitevin  Release Date: Sept. 27, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books The Grigori Legacy #1 ISBN: #978-0441020911 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (325 pp), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…  Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case-a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell.  Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels.  A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.  Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days. What G & U are talking about: Gikany and Una jumped at the chance to read something a little different in the urban fantasy realm.  Sins of the Angels, the first book in the new Grigori Legacy, is definitely that.  This new world, mostly based in Christian angel mythology, is dark, fresh and intriguing. Ms. Poitevin has crafted an enthralling world full of intrigue, plot twists and engaging characters.  We found this story to be a quick read simply because it is difficult to put down.  It is easy to step into this alternate reality because it can so easily exist within one’s own personal beliefs.  Her world-building was seamless and did not slow down the story in any way.  It was woven in with the plot, which we must say, twisted and turned right up until the end.  We didn’t expect the ending and in fact, Una was quite surprised by the way things are left.   We found ourselves completely draw into the plight of Alex and Aramael.  The struggle they face and the complete hopelessness of their fates seems to grow the more they are together.  Even with the way the story concludes…it isn’t over.  So much is left and we just cannot wait to find out what is next.  Hopefully we will...
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Oct
20

Review: Night Moves

Review: Night Moves Night Moves Author: Stephanie Tyler  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Dell Shadow Force #4 ISBN: #978-0440423058 Genre: Military Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Kell Roberts has walked the thin line between life and death for so long that it now feels like home. He is a soldier, a survivor, and a loner. Still, Kell cannot turn his back on the beautiful woman caught in his firefight against the drug lords of Mexico. She says her name is Teddie, but Kell senses there’s much more to her story—and it’s about to pull him into a mission he didn’t sign on for: keeping her alive.       Teddie Lassiter knows this lean, mean rescuer just saved her life, but the steel glint behind those soft gray eyes seem to be hiding something deep. The men after Teddie are deadly, but the man who holds her life in his hands and tempts her with his wicked touch is even more dangerous. He could make her dream about living and loving again. And if they can survive, maybe, just maybe, they can stop fighting the world and each other—and simply surrender. What I’m talking about:       Welcome to the high-stakes, fast-paced world of the Shadow Force! Ms. Tyler’s fourth installment is an exciting suspense mystery with multiple layers that all feed into one fantastic ride!       The story picks up not long after “band of brothers” that compromise “Shadow Force” (some current and some ex-military) are finally reunited in upstate New York. Their adventures thus far were chronicled in the first three books; however, you could easily pick up this story and read it on its own merits. The men and their women have been through some rough times, but things are about to get worse when a dangerous enemy of their leader, Dylan, resurfaces, vowing to destroy all that Dylan holds dear. Meanwhile, Kell and his best friend/partner, Reid, are on a covert operation in Mexico to assassinate a drug lord. Things go haywire when a near-death Teddie runs into the middle of their operation.       Teddie has her own problems to overcome. A runaway from the Witness Protection Program, she went to Mexico to find the men who murdered her family and prove her deceased father is innocent of the heinous crimes he is suspected of committing. When she is saved by...
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Oct
19

Review and Giveaway: Spell Bound

Review and Giveaway: Spell Bound Spell Bound Author: Stephanie Julian  Release Date: September 22, 2011 Publisher: Moonlit Night Publishing Darkly Enchanted #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      She’s running from fate…      Shea Tedaldi is the only thing standing between her six-year-old brother and the men who killed their parents. Descendants of the ancient Etruscan magical race, Shea and her brother keep powerful secrets that make them the targets of the evil Malandante. They’ve been looking for a safe haven but the bad guys are gaining on them and Shea needs a hero, a guardian who won’t falter in the face of danger…      He’s looking for the key to break the spell…      Gabriel Borelli is a warrior born to protect the Etruscan witches living under a curse. He’s dedicated to breaking the spell and avenging the murder of his father by the Malandante. He won’t let anything—or anyone—get in his way. Not even the one woman who may hold the key to his quest…and his heart. What B is talking about:      Working in a strip club wasn’t the kind of dancing Shea Tedaldi thought she’d be doing to pay the bills, but she made enough money to take care of her little brother, Leo, and that’s all that matters. But when the men chasing them get too close, she’s forced to reach out to one of the fabled grigorio for help. Whether she’d end up kissing or kicking the arrogant warrior is the real question. Gabriel Borelli doesn’t need the frustration of a young woman and the small child with her showing up on his doorstep asking for help. Sure, as a grigorio, he’s bound to assist them, but he’s got a mission of his own to deal with: killing the man who murdered his father and brother. A man who has also been hunting down and killing the members of a group of cursed witches for 500 years.      I was very pleased to find that Julian’s latest novel centers on the streghe, or witches, of her Etruscan community. Typically, holding a peripheral role to the shifters, these amazing women are seers and healers, as well as possessing other “Goddess Gifts” which they use to help those in need. Shea is born to an especially secretive group of streghe, and the more she learns about her family’s history, the more she realizes her own time is running out....
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Oct
12

Review: Ghost of a Smile

Review: Ghost of a Smile Ghost of a Smile Author: Simon R. Green  Release Date: August 30, 2011 Publisher: Ace Ghost Finders #2 ISBN: #978-0441020751 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (279 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       The Ghost Finders answer a distress call from the private research centre of one of the biggest drug companies in the world, where a team of police enforcement agents have vanished. They have no idea what they’re facing-except a deadline that threatens to remove the entire building from existence if they fail to get to the bottom of the mystery. What G & U are talking about:       Gikany and Una were first introduced to Simon R. Green through his book For Heaven’s Eyes Only in his Secret History’s series (review HERE).  So when the opportunity came to review Ghost of a Smile in his latest Ghost Finders series, we jumped for it.  We were hoping for another story that would have wonderful banter, engaging plot and fascinating world.  We got more than we hoped for!       Since this is only the second book in the series, Gikany and Una went ahead and read the first book, Ghost of a Chance.  There is quite a bit of world-building and set up in the first book so we recommend that you grab it and read it first.  We will say we found the Ghost of a Smile much stronger, but we did enjoy the first novel.      The story begins with our fearless (well, except for Happy) ghost finders of the famous Carnaki Institute up to their usual antics.  As their beginning mission ends, they are, again, thrust into a serious situation they must deal with (even though there are better teams the “higher” ups would rather send in, they are stuck with JC, Melody and Happy).  Mr. Green’s characters are absolutely charismatic and fun. The banter is wonderful and the plot flows well. “Come on, Happy,” JC said cheerfully.  “Where’s your sense of adventure? “I had it surgically removed,” Happy said coldly.  “It was endangering my life.” “It’s true,” said Melody.  “He did.  I’ve got it in a jar at home, on the mantelpiece.”      This was just an incredibly fun and engaging story.  The plot moves well, the writing is splendidly woven with humor and character development all while keeping the mystery moving and plot thickening up until the end.  There just are not that...
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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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