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Mar
17

Review: Vampires Never Cry Wolf by Sara Humphreys

Review: Vampires Never Cry Wolf by Sara Humphreys Vampires Never Cry Wolf Author: Sara Humphreys Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Vampires Never Cry Wolf is the third novel in the Dead in the City series.  Gikany and Una liked the story of Killian and Sadie and we look forward to more in the series. The Dead in the City series has an uncomplicated mythology and character driven stories.  It is filled with light but engaging paranormal romances.  This series is a delightful spin-off from the Amoveo series, and we have really enjoyed it.  We like how these two series are blended together despite with the slightly different mythologies between these two paranormal groups.  Well, three with the introduction of werewolves in the previous book, Vampire Trouble. We liked the journey of Sadie and Killian.  Killian is a sensual and captivating alpha male who is also incredibly honorable and determined.  We enjoyed his playfulness.  What we truly loved about the couple was their open communication, even with its foibles.  In one scene, after Killian swears to not touch Sadie unless she asks, they find themselves in peril.  Sadie tells Killian to take her hand – which must have been enough because he touched her freely after that.  We liked seeing Sadie firmly in the role of the Coven Club owner. Seeing her grow out of her contented stagnant state to reach for a new reality was beautiful. The banter and playfulness between Sadie and Killian was fun, and watching them drive each other crazy was entertaining. The advantage of the simpler mythology is that there is flexibility within it.  The mating between a wolf and vampire seems impossible, but Ms. Humphreys makes it work while also keeping in believable in this mythology.  Though the ending conflict seemed to come out of nowhere, we liked how it was resolved. It was touching to see that the open-mindedness of Killian and Sadie’s families made the over-thinking and worrying they had done unnecessary. We especially loved Killian’s father and we would have liked to see Sadie meet Killian’s mother and sister. Vampires Never Cry Wolf was a fun and quick read.  We liked Killian and Sadies’s journey.  Although we would have liked to see more of their happily ever after, we look forward to the next novel in the entertaining and enjoyable Dead in the City series. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Sadie Pemberton is the DJ at the hottest vampire club in...
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Mar
9

Review: What a Woman by Judi Fennell

Review: What a Woman by Judi Fennell What a Woman Author: Judi Fennell Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B/B- What I’m Talking About: After reading how Mary-Alice Catherine Manley, aka Mac, and her grandmother managed to find perfect matches for the three Manley brothers in the previous books of this enjoyable series, this time around it’s Mac’s turn to discover romance and love. As owner of her own cleaning/maid service (Manley Maids), Mac schemed with her grandmother to get her three attractive (and well-known in one case) brothers to work for her company to help promote the Manley Maid name. Now Grandma tells Mac she must clean the house of a dear friend, who happens to be the grandmother of Mac’s childhood crush (and her brother Liam’s BFF), professional baseball player Jared Nolan. Mac will never forget how he teased her in their youth and how on the night of her 17th birthday, made it all too clear he wasn’t interested in her. Jared is living at his grandmother’s home, recuperating from an accident caused by his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend. After he fell for Camille and let her move in to his condo, he found out she was still with her boyfriend and using Jared for fame and fortune. When Mac blusters like a tornado into his life again, Jared realizes the younger sister of his best friend has grown into a remarkable and sexy woman. But he can’t ask out his best friend’s sister… can he? After witnessing Mac and Grandma push her brothers in the right direction to find love, I was excited to see how Mac would get her HEA, and I was mostly pleased with her story. As in the previous books, there is some overlap with scenes from and references made in the first three titles; however, What a Woman can be easily enjoyed as a standalone story. Mac and Jared share a history from childhood and watching the pair work through past perceptions and hang ups was rewarding. Right from the start, Mac and Jared sizzle together. For Mac, time has only added to the teenage crush she felt for Jared, one that she would rather forget. But for Jared, he’s seeing Mac anew, and the more time he spends with her, the more he realizes what a woman she truly is. Reading the romance from the alternating POVs of Jared and Mac, I was able to fully understand how much each enjoyed being around the other regardless of their outward...
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Mar
5

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop Author: Anne Bishop Narrator: Alexandra Harris Audio Speed: 1x Series: The Others #3 Source: Penguin Audio Vision in Silver is the third book in and continuation of the Others series by Anne Bishop. The books outline with great detail an alternate world populated by the terra indigene, or Others, top predators with the ability to shape shift into forms such as wolves, crows, bears, and even vampires. After befriending Meg Corbyn, a special human known as a cassandra sangue, the Others in the Lakeside Courtyard are learning to adjust to having a “human pack” within their own, and even learning to trust and care about these humans. The books are all interrelated and build upon one other, making it important to start with the first book in the series, Written in Red. Due to the nature of the series, this review will have spoilers from the previous books. As with the previous books, Vision in Silver showcases several plotlines, all occurring simultaneously, most of which are tied together before the end of the book. Of key interest this time around are stories focusing on Lakeside Police Officer Montgomery and his concerns over his daughter Lizzie, the outfall from the attack on and subsequent closing of the institutions that house the cassandra sangue, the relationship between the Lakeside humans and Others, and the growing power of the HFL (Humans First and Last) movement. And while not covering as much of the page time as it did in the second book, we witness Simon Wolfgard and Meg continue to explore and stretch the boundaries of their unique friendship. While one strength of the series is the intricate world-building and well-developed characters, at times this is also part of its weakness. I enjoy how the author takes the time to share some of the everyday details and going-ons of the courtyard and its denizens; however at times, I felt like the book took too much time meandering though insignificant minutia when I wanted more meat and to move forward with the overall storyline. I did enjoy the deepening look at the cassandra sangue, especially finding another girl who is learning how to live outside the specialized compounds. I also liked that while Meg has made a successful transition without much difficulty, she isn’t perfect and will make mistakes. Luckily she learns from them, which gives the reader more insight into Meg’s character, as well as those around...
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Mar
2

Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid! Anthology

Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid! Anthology Lights, Camera, Cupid! Anthology Authors: SE Jakes, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Anne Tenino, L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Revisiting Carter Samuels and Levi Pritchard, the couple whose story kicked off the Bluewater Bay series, was a great way to begin this anthology. In Just Another Day, Carter and Levi discover that, even though they’ve been together for a while now, they still have a lot to learn about one another, including how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. While he’s not a fan of the commercialization of the holiday, Carter maintains a romantic optimism about the occasion—which, naturally, clashes horribly with Levi’s stubborn cynicism. While the resulting impasse threatens to ruin everything, it also forces both men to be more honest with themselves and each other. Of course, the best thing about fighting is making up, and Levi comes up with a gesture that is guaranteed to win Carter’s heart all over again. Nascha, by Amy Lane, was the most unique of the stories included, and probably my favorite, as well. I’ve read a few stories by Ms. Lane, and Nascha was certainly one of the most memorable. As a community elder with Alzheimer’s, Nascha spends most of his time in this story drifting between the past and present, and, through these memories, we see the events that have shaped his life to this point. Ms. Lane’s addition to the anthology is no light-hearted affair, but is, instead, one of intolerance, loss, duty, longing, and love. Nascha gave me a lot to think about, and I feel that it is the deepest, richest story in the collection. I was excited to see that SE Jakes had written No Easy Way for this anthology since I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time now. Six years ago, Cary Teijan’s world fell apart when his boyfriend ran off to enlist in the Army. Now, Dylan James is back in Bluewater Bay, and he’s determined to reconnect with the man he never stopped loving. While both of the main characters have bad memories that must be dealt with before they can begin again, this is still one of the more light-hearted tales in the collection. No Easy Way is a sweet, sexy read and fits in with the other stories extremely well. In Helping Hand, by Anne Tenino, we meet Lucas Wilder, high school senior and local misfit. Bluewater Bay might be the home of a popular television...
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Feb
27

Review: Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin

Review: Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin Rising Fire Author: Terri Brisbin Reviewer: Una Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Rising Fire is the debut novel in a new fantasy romance series, Stone Circles.  Although it was slow to start, it blossomed into a promising first installment, and I look forward to the next one. The beginning of this novel was like the start of a good chess match: slow to start as the players move their pieces into their battle positions, then once all the pieces are on the board, the excitement begins.  This is how Rising Fire started to me.  It needed some world-building, and pieces needed to evolve and be maneuvered into place.  Although the pace felt sluggish, the tension was slowly ratcheting up. The slowly burning romance between William and Brienne was intriguing and added to the slowly increasing tension. I really enjoyed William and Brienne’s journey.  They both found themselves in roles they didn’t expect and in the midst of trying to do what is right, found each other.  I enjoyed how they danced about each other and then finally came together.  Though compelled by the supernatural forces at work, they still got to take some time to know each other.  William is overwhelming but also tries to be a gentleman, even with the compulsion he feels.  I love how innately good and loyal he is.  Brienne is also innately good, even with the blood of her ancestors in her.  I really enjoyed watching her chose what is good, to not be defined by genetics but by environment.  Her journey of self-discovery was touching within the realms of the impending conflict. Though our heroes were able to thwart evil at this first circle, we are left with knowing they are behind on the next one.  I found the mythology of the lost gods fascinating.  The awakening of those blessed by the gods was intriguing since most of the history of these gods is lost.  It was really enthralling to watch, especially William, come to peace with who and what he is.  It will be interesting to see how the next couple fairs with this knowledge and the impending conflict. If you enjoy a well-balanced fantasy romance, you may just want to pick up Rising Fire.  Though it does require a bit of patience as the novel opens, it does pick up, and I found myself lost in the world and beautiful journey of William and Brienne.  I look forward to the...
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Feb
24

Review: One Kiss More by Mandy Baxter

Review: One Kiss More by Mandy Baxter One Kiss More Author: Mandy Baxter Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Landon McCabe is a U.S. Marshal who enjoys excitement, risks, and adrenaline. He’s not particularly happy with his latest assignment, babysitting Emma Ruiz, the socialite daughter of federal Judge Javier Ruiz who was arrested and put into custody of government six years ago because of extortion and bribes for verdicts. Landon recalls the hard-core party girl, who liked to pull pranks on Landon and his team all those years ago. But he also remembers his attraction to the beautiful woman and realizes that his attraction hasn’t diminish over the past six years. Now that the cancer-ridden Javier has escaped federal custody, Emma is the government’s only link to finding the man. Although tied to the preceding U.S. Marshals book, One Kiss More is an enjoyable standalone story. The author does a great job bringing readers into the story by developing a detailed history around and between Landon and Emma. Ms. Baxter peels apart their stories, giving readers one layer at a time until all of the pieces fit together. Emma is a fabulous character; a joyful balance of brains, wit, and beauty. While she may not have anticipated the danger she brought upon herself in her actions to prove her father innocent, she has a big heart and strong nature that makes her such a likable lead. Due to the nature of their relationship – Landon a government officer and Emma a potential witness and/or suspect – the couple spends a LOT of time longing for one another in secret. While there are a few sizzling moments when Landon actually makes a move on Emma, for the majority of the book, the only action occurs during long, lustful inner monologues. While this added tremendous sexual tension to the story, it started to irritate and frustrate me after a while. A similar situation happened in the first book, One Night More, I had hoped the second book would kick up the chemistry a notch. Unfortunately, their first, full-on sexual encounter doesn’t occur until nearly two-thirds of the book is finished. However, it’s not just a matter of sex, but more the fact that Landon is so hot and cold with his emotions as he struggles to deal with his attraction to Emma. If the couple would have just talk things out instead of hiding behind their respective rolls, I would have been much happier. It...
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Feb
17

Reviews: The First Kiss + Kiss Me Hello by Grace Burrowes

Reviews: The First Kiss + Kiss Me Hello by Grace Burrowes The First Kiss Kiss Me Hello Author: Grace Burrowes Reviewer: Nima Rating: B and B+ What I’m Talking About: The First Kiss and Kiss Me Hello are the second and third books in the Sweetest Kisses series.  The First Kiss tells the story of two damaged people, concert pianist Vera Waltham and contract attorney James Knightly. James is the youngest of three brothers who partner together in a family law firm.  He has been damaged by too much life experience.  Vera has been damaged by a lack of it.  From an early age, her career came first and the people around her worked tirelessly to keep her sheltered so she could concentrate on her music.  Together Vera and James attempt to heal each other. Unfortunately, most of the effort came from James.  Once he acknowledged his feelings for Vera, the man wore his heart on his sleeve. James ruffled Vera’s feathers as she felt true love for the first time, but wasn’t sure what to do about it.  She was fearful and cautious.  This brought out an unattractive side of her personality.  I didn’t like her and found her unjustifiably petty and stand-offish.  Thankfully, James was there, being his perfect, vulnerable self. It took me a few chapters, but I did come to like Vera and, eventually, her actions came to have meaning in hindsight.  Burrowes does bring us around to a satisfying conclusion.  The First Kiss then sets us up for Kiss Me Hello. Kiss Me Hello is the third full-length book in the Sweetest Kisses series, taking on the love story of MacKenzie Knightly, oldest of the three Knightly brothers and Sidone Lindstrom. While each book can stand on its own, common characters in the three books and two novellas come and go throughout the series.  There is an overlap between books two and three that confused me until a specific event that occurred in The First Kiss solidified the timeline for me in Kiss Me Hello. I liked Kiss Me Hello better than The First Kiss.  Burrowes uses her personal experience as a family law attorney to bring believability to the Knightly brothers’ law firm of Hartman and Whitney. She really shines in this plot, however, driven not so much by MacKenzie and Sid’s romance, but rather by Sid’s desire to adopt her teenage foster son, Luis.  The climactic courtroom scene was a pager-turner. Both books have explicit intimate scenes that are both sweet and steamy. ...
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Feb
16

Review: Personal Geography + Intimate Geography by Tamsen Parker

Review: Personal Geography + Intimate Geography by Tamsen Parker Personal Geography Intimate Geography Author: Tamsen Parker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Okay, ladies & gentlemen. These are some seriously smokin’ hot books. However, if you *just* pick up book 1, you’re going to kick yourself, or need to one-click as soon as you finish the first title. I read ‘em back-to-back, and I’m not ashamed to say I devoured them. The Compass series, of which Personal Geography & Intimate Geography are the first two titles, is purported to tell all of Cris & India’s story. This is super important to me, because as I reached the end, it *felt* like the end of their story. I wouldn’t mind seeing them in other titles, just to catch-up, but I’m glad we got to HEA territory. So, India is this powerhouse business chick that is identified as an ice queen in her business circles. She’s calm, cool, and collected in everything business. However, she needs a break from all the control she exerts in her every-day life. She’s a submissive. But, with her background—involving (at least) emotional abuse, she uses her bestie, Reyes, to broker her intimate encounters. With contracts in place, she takes off for long weekends to reset herself…as often as possible. These resets are purely physical, with no emotional commitment whatsoever. And her weekend in Hawaii with Cris (no ‘h’) was to be no exception. Until it wasn’t. Little by little, Cris nudged his way under/over/through India’s defenses. After some seriously hot BDSM, with a majorly attentive Dom that just keeps getting better and better over time, India is forced to choose between her career and the man she knows she loves, but is afraid to tell about her feelings. If we look at these powerful characters, Crispin is definitely the most stable of the two. He seems to have had wonderful role models, and had some decent relationships in his past. I fell for Cris during aftercare. It’s a weakness I have. The fact that he lives in Hawaii and that he surfs doesn’t hurt a bit, either. Heh Heh Heh. Initially, I thought this was going to be one of those billionaire stories, but it’s not. One of the things that I couldn’t wrap my head around was how Cris had all his money—how he could afford to fly in India as many times as he did. Airfare to Hawaii isn’t cheap. I’ve checked in the past. There were a couple little...
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Feb
13

Review: Deadeye by William C. Dietz

Review: Deadeye by William C. Dietz Deadeye Author: William C. Dietz Reviewer: Una Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I love finding new and interesting mythologies.  Deadeye is the start of what could be a really awesome series.  This futuristic post-apocalyptic detective drama was gripping and intriguing. First off, the world is really interesting.  It’s our world after a terrorist has unleashed a deadly bioweapon.  This infectious bacterium has decimated populations.  There are three groups of survivors: carriers, mutants, and “norms”.  There is some overlap between the first two groups as some of the mutants are also carriers.  In order to protect the norms, the infected were placed into camps.  There are now “norm-run” states and there are the mutant run areas.  The borders are militantly guarded to try to prevent the bacteria from infecting the norm states.  The ramifications from the decimation of populations and the loss of certain areas to mutants were interesting to see.  Though technology seems the same, certain industries suffered greatly.  New cars are uncommon, but there are still cell phones and computers.  It was an interesting mix of what survives and thrives versus what did not. The mix of characters was just as intriguing.  I liked our heroine, Cassandra Lee, nicknamed Deadeye.  She is fierce and loyal but mostly stubborn and determined.  I admired her grit.  Her emotions are bottled up, but she deeply cares about people and justice.  You see that drive as she works as a detective for the norm-state of Pacifica.  I found Omo to be truly fascinating as well.  As a mutant and a deputy from the Republic of Texas (a mutant run area), he added an interesting contrast to Lee and a source of knowledge.  His cowboy-esque style was endearing.  There are several other characters we meet that help to add to the richness of the world – good and bad. The only drawback with the novel was the multiple points of view.  The majority of the story is told from the points of view of Lee and Omo.  However, there may have been as many as ten other points of view (I lost count after eight).  That is a lot of different heads to be in, and it takes time to transition from one character to another.  I felt it interrupted the flow of the novel having so many points of view.  Some of them were very short snippets and were not really necessary in the overall scheme of things.  Unless the characters...
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Feb
12

Listen Up! Alpha & Omega Series, part 1

Listen Up! Alpha & Omega Series, part 1 Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook reviews: Alpha & Omega Series Books 0.5-1 After picking up and blazing through the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs on audiobook, someone encouraged me to listen to the spinoff series, Alpha & Omega. I was more than a little frustrated with the Mercy series (possibly another Listen Up! post), and I was told by a number of people that they, in fact, enjoy Alpha & Omega more than Mercy. After finishing the first two stories, I can whole heartedly agree! Overall, the Alpha & Omega series has a balanced feel, sharing equal time between romance and action, as well as male and female characters. Whereas Mercy is told from the first person point-of-view of the heroine, the Alpha & Omega stories have multiple points-of-view, adding to that sense of balance. Today I’m sharing my reviews of the prequel novella and first book, and be sure to come back next week for my reviews of books 2 and 3. Note: This series can be read independently from the Mercy Thompson series, but the two series are somewhat intertwined. For more information on chronological reading order, please visit Hurog forum website. Due to the building nature of the series, each review may contain spoilers from previous books. Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Holter Graham Audio Speed: 1x Series: Alpha & Omega 0.5, 1 Alpha & Omega, Book 0.5 The series opens with this novella, sharing the story of how Charles and Anna meet. For those unfamiliar with the Mercy Thompson world, Charles is her adoptive brother of sorts – the son of Bran, head of all werewolves, the man that helped raise Mercy. This story takes place during the same time as the first Mercy book, Moon Called.Anna is an emotionally and physically abused female werewolf, who didn’t ask to be turned (a big no-no in this world). She knows little about her own kind except darkness and cruelty. When she realizes something isn’t quite right with her pack, she contacts Bran and shares her concerns. Charles is Bran’s second and executioner. He arrives in Chicago to discover what is wrong with the local pack, but finds himself inexplicably drawn to the timid female wolf, Anna. Anna and Charles are special right from the start. There is a huge gap in their experiences, ages, and knowledge, yet the pair click immediately – even through Anna’s fear. What I love is that instead of this being explained away...
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