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Currently Browsing: Rating B
Oct
17

Review: Primal by Sasha White

Review: Primal by Sasha White Primal Author: Sasha White Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Adam Kessler doesn’t want to be anyone’s hero, yet he finds himself as a part-time vigilante for hire, and one evening when out for a run, he rescues Olivia Hamilton from being mugged and raped. Afraid her desires for him are caused by the adrenaline of the moment, Adam rejects Olivia’s welcome arms the night of her attack, waiting to see if she’d call him after she comes to her senses. Dr. Olivia Hamilton is a well-established psychologist and a very independent woman. She realizes her feelings for Adam are textbook knight-in-shining armor reactions, but somehow, she knows Adam means more to her than any man she’s meet before. Taking a chance, Olivia calls Adam and discovers a whole new side to herself in the process. Primal is the second story in Ms. White’s Overwatch series featuring the owner and members of a private BDSM club. As the owner of Overwatch, Adam feels the need to protect each one of its members. His protective streak doesn’t end there, as witnessed by his drive to keep Olivia safe from harm after meeting her just once. Adam doesn’t view himself as the good guy, yet his every thought and action exudes his innate honor and high ethical code. The book opens with a serious, albeit short, attack on Olivia, which honestly ends before it begins. While the scene is not difficult or graphic, the nature of the assault created some discomfort on my end when Olivia started coming on to Adam. Thankfully, Adam recognizes what is going on and backs away, leaving my concerns behind. I appreciate the author’s thoughtful handling of what could have been a major issue for me. Adam and Olivia have an immediate, intense connection, full of steamy chemistry and smokin’ smex. The pair’s amazing rapport was carried throughout the book, both in and out of the bedroom, and I appreciated that both are smart, well-adjusted characters. Adam introduces Olivia to his Dominant side and the possibility of a D/s (Dominant/submissive) relationship. While this, and a couple of scenes at the club, classifies the title as “BDSM,” the nature of the play is BDSM-lite and suitable for anyone who may have an interest in the genre. While Primal is not a long story and is relatively drama-free, there are a couple of small conflicts which cause some commotion for the pair. I like that...
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Oct
16

Review: Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade

Review: Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade Gray Bishop Author: Kelly Meade (Kelly Meding) Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: Gray Bishop is the second novel in the Cornerstone Run trilogy.  This trilogy has a nice balance of reality with aspects of fantasy.  The characters are three dimensional and fascinating, even though some fall to the ax of the author’s pen.  Gikany and Una are enjoying this urban fantasy trilogy. The story begins where the previous novel, Black Rook, left off.  Since this book is mainly from the point of view of Bishop and Jillian, we are able to see the strength of their connection.  They almost feel like Romeo and Juliet – star-crossed lovers who can never be.  Both are the alphas to be of their respective runs, and neither can deny the attraction and connection they feel to each other, nor the loyalty and responsibility they feel for their runs. However as the story progresses, what seems impossible may become possible. Jillian intrigued us from the first novel.  We loved her intelligence and her strength.  Some novels soften the heroine’s strength as she joins with the hero for the HEA.  We were happy to see that was not the case in Gray Bishop.  Jillian’s strength is an asset and one that is encouraged and cherished by Bishop.  They work well as a team and embrace the strengths of each other as they work together. Bishop, for all that he is an alpha male, isn’t just strong, aggressive, and powerful.  He is tempered by an incredible core of loyalty and compassion.  Bishop knows what he wants and is not afraid of working hard to earn it.  He doesn’t take anything for granted, choosing to continue to keep that which he has earned. This dedication is admirable. Both Jillian and Bishop will do anything for their people, including sacrificing themselves, their own happiness, and even risk friends and family if necessary. This foundation of loyalty they possess allows them to make hard, sacrificing choices.  But it also shows the depth of the love they have. So much occurs in this novel and we do not want give any of it away.  There is great sacrifice and loss but through it comes great joy and hope.  The realism that Ms. Meade has imbued in this world gives the trilogy an excellent foundation.  She is not afraid to kill off characters, but does so with purpose and meaning.  The emotions portrayed through these events...
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Oct
14

Review: Caressed by Shadows by Amanda J. Greene

Review: Caressed by Shadows by Amanda J. Greene Caressed by Shadows Author: Amanda J. Greene Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: The Rulers of Darkness series is one of my favorites. I stay up late reading them All. The. Time. And I must admit I have eagerly awaited Falcon and Sonya’s story. Theirs is a story of love that cannot be. They’ve longed for one another for centuries. Falcon to Sonya at the beginning, when Sonya says they can have one night – no one will know: “No. I refuse because one night wouldn’t be enough.” The huge problem is that Falcon would be beheaded and Sonya would be cast out. Not cool in the slightest. Falcon is the guy that does everything by the book. What I love the most about him is that he is willing to deny his feelings for Sonya because of his pledge to Hadrian. Throughout the first 60% of this title, Falcon was all deny, deny, deny. Then, something happened that caused him to change his tune. The thought of losing Sonya – again – was more than he could really handle. Sonya is the strong, sassy woman that could work so well with Falcon. If he’d chill out long enough to let things happen. And, Sonya happens to be the Queen of her people. There’s no way she’d step down to be with Falcon. Ultimately, she is a slave to her emotions. And when her emotions win, it’s a beautiful thing. Here’s the thing about Falcon and Sonya together: they’re natural. They fit. I feel a connection to them, a kinship. The bumps – whether mountains or mole hills – are surmountable for them. I really found myself rolling my eyes a little, waiting for them to hook up. But once they did, I knew they’d stick. Through thick or thin. It’s really hard to write about Caressed by Shadows because I don’t want to spill the beans about the really cool conflicts Ms. Greene wove for her readers. I think they’re best experienced fresh and unspoiled. I still adore this series, and I can’t wait for the next installment. My Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: Black Knight, Falcon Kenwrec is powerful, relentless, and fiercely loyal, his only allegiance – to his king. But he is torn between duty and desire when the war between the vampire clans and the Red Order hunters escalates and the enemy captures the one woman he longs to claim as...
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Oct
7

Review: A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian

Review: A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian A Vault of Sins Author: Sarah Harian Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: A Vault of Sins is the sequel to The Wicked We Have Done.  This second book had Gikany and Una feeling a little lost, though it was gripping. We liked it but it was not anything that we were expecting. When we left off, Valerie, Evalyn, and Casey had escaped the Compass Room through great pain and sacrifice.  We thought that this second novel would be about the lawsuit the survivors of the Compass Room brought against its engineers, but surprisingly this is not a courtroom drama.  The trial is over in the blink of an eye and we are left with the aftermath.  Evalyn finds herself drowning in emotions as one trial concludes and she awaits retrial for her original crime.  But she isn’t the only one suffering.  Valerie and Casey are struggling as well and it seems only time will show if they buckle under the pressure.  Evalyn finds herself being teased by someone who seems to know who she is.  Someone who knows more of what went on in the Compass Room and that it is corrupt.  However, as Evalyn follows the clues, she ends up in a place she never would have expected. Without completely giving away the plot, A Vault of Sins was a complicated sequel.  In the first novel, the main questions were whether or not Evalyn was guilty, and was she truly evil or not?  These questions were answered by the end of the novel.  For this second story, the biggest question is: what is the true purpose of the Compass Room?  In some ways, this novel felt like a retread of the first book.  There were a lot of relived moments.  But through all of this, we continued to wonder where it was all going and what they would ultimately find out. The answer to this we hope is in the next book because we are only given a glimpse of it and it is not enough to be sure of what we witnessed. It was a little frustrating. Despite that, A Vault of Sins was still a gripping read.  This novel is full of emotions: heartbreak and hope, pain and sacrifice, forgiveness and friendship.  In spite of a weak plot, the characters kept us grounded.  This series continues to be strongly character driven, and we eagerly and earnestly want to know what happens...
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Oct
6

Quickie Review: Rock Courtship by Nalini Singh

Quickie Review: Rock Courtship by Nalini Singh Rock Courtship Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Rock Courtship is a novella in the Rock Kiss series which parallels in time to the first book of the series, Rock Addiction. It tells the behind-the-scenes love story of School Boy Choir drummer, David, and the band’s publicist, Thea. The pair were introduced and in the peripheral of Molly (Thea’s sister) and Fox’s story. David has LONG lusted after and pined for Thea from afar. He sat and waited through her horrible engagement to her ex, and gave her time to grieve. The pair were close friends, and David has always wanted more. After the appropriate amount of time, he asked Thea out for dinner and she turned him down COLD. Thea never dates rocks stars or her clients, even though David means so very much to her. But when he emails her an intellectual memo of reasons she should date him, Thea feels her barriers breaking for this man who holds the power to crush her heart. The novella is sweet and mostly void of lengthy conflict. It fills in the details about a few incidents that were brushed over in Rock Addiction. We see how David and Thea deal with their own ghosts and work as a team to fight for their mutual love. Although the conflicts are not plentiful, the author uses them to help the pair grow closer together, rather than drive them further apart. In the end, Rock Courtship is a quick, sweet love story with a smallish, yet decent conflict and resolution. The romance is hot and there are a couple of smokin’ smex scenes. Like its counterpart, it is not necessarily realistic, but I enjoyed Thea and David’s tale and my return to the Rock Kiss world. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: What happens when the Gentleman of Rock decides to play dirty? A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move. Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients–or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots. What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with...
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Sep
26

Review: Hope Burns by Jaci Burton

Review: Hope Burns by Jaci Burton Hope Burns Author: Jaci Burton Reviewer: Nima Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Hope Flames, book one in the Hope series, brings Emma Burnett and Luke McCormack together in a romance that introduces us to the little town of Hope.  The time for the wedding has come and Emma’s little sister Molly is expected, finally, home for the festivities.  Hope Burns, book three, follows Molly’s journey through the healing of old wounds as she returns from a twelve year absence from family and friends to participate in the wedding.  Molly loves her sister, but does not want to return to Hope because it will mean seeing her ex-high school sweetheart, Carter Richards, and that’s just too painful to think about.  So painful, in fact, that even though she’s the Maid of Honor, she shirks nearly all of her duties and crawls into town, almost literally because her car is dying and slow death, at the last possible moment.  Her plan is to get in, smile, and get out. I think stories of redemption and growth are my favorite stories.  I hate stagnate, one dimensional characters that can’t see past themselves.  Unfortunately, Molly is so defined by her past relationship with Carter and the suffering accompanying it, that she comes off this way initially.  We spend several chapters enduring her pain, old pain.  After twelve years, it felt like she should have been able to share it, deal with it, and move on rather than moving constantly from place to place in a futile effort to run away from an ache that she can never shake.  As a result, she came off as whiney more than hurt.  It takes nearly the first third of the book to get the hostility of twelve years out of her system and we the readers have to endure it. Carter, unlike Molly, did get on with his life even though he undoubtedly endured some injury from their separation as well.  He grew up, opened several successful auto repair shops, bought a house, and continued to date.  It’s no surprise when it’s he who chooses to be the grown-up and tries to fix what was broken between himself and Molly all those years ago.  Molly’s plan was just to continue trying to avoid him. An incident comes up that requires Molly to stay on much longer than the weekend of the wedding, and I was pleased to see her rise to the occasion.  My only...
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Sep
25

Quickie Review: Frozen by Meljean Brook

Quickie Review: Frozen by Meljean Brook Frozen Author: Meljean Brook Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: On way to visit her parents for the holiday vacation, Olivia Martin makes a supposedly quick detour to drop off important documents to her coworker (and boss’s son), Erik Gulbrandr. At one time, Olivia thought there could be something special between the two, but now Erik makes it perfectly clear that he does not want Olivia in his life. However, when a dangerous enemy decides to attack Erik through Olivia, Erik turns blue, grows claws, and protects her! Erik is cursed and therefore doomed to go after Olivia; however, he can’t get her to safety because of the moonhound sons who are attacking the pair. Now Olivia and Erik are stuck together for what could be the most treacherous few days of their lives. The primary focus of Frozen deals with one’s internal struggles and demons which dance along a fine line between desire and something darker. Since the story is told solely from Olivia’s point-of-view, the reader only understands clearly Olivia’s trials; however, based on Olivia’s observations and desire to uncover the truth of the curse, one can piece together Erik’s struggles as well. I like that Olivia is extremely intelligent and uses her mind to riddle out not only what is happening, but how best to deal with the dangerous situation. However, it does seem that the pair may have been able to address some of the pain and hurt if they had only opened up and talked ahead of time! But with that said, there are a couple moments that truly tugged on my heartstrings. In the end, I found Frozen to be an enjoyable short novel (longer than a novella). Based loosely on Norse mythology, it is a paranormal romance with one of the more unique worlds I’ve read. I was wrapped up in the story and although the origins of the curse were fairly obvious, it was fun watching Olivia trying to figure it out. I did get frustrated with the serious lack of communication and felt that much of the hurt feelings could have been resolved before things got out of hand. This is a fun, stand alone story with minimal world-building, but excellent character creation. Potential Spoiler Warning: The author cautions that the book contains what may be a trigger item for some, and the story does feature a curse that causes Erik to lose control. Per the author: “This...
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Sep
25

Review: This Time Now by KT Grant

Review: This Time Now by KT Grant This Time Now Author: KT Grant Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Regret is never an easy thing to live with, but coming face-to-face with its source when you least expect it can be heartbreaking. Amanda Barkley and Billie Layne had big plans together before tragedy and circumstance tore them apart. Now, six years later, Billie is back and Amanda is still angry and hurting. While forgiveness isn’t a simple thing, second chances don’t happen often, and both women are about to learn that holding on to the past too tightly could cost them the very happiness they’ve been looking for. In This Time Now, Ms. Grant makes good use of the notion that opposites attract when telling Amanda and Billie’s story. From the beginning, I thought Amanda was a very likable character. At a little more than five feet tall, blonde, sweet, and pretty, she’s well liked by those around her. Despite the fact that she seems to be fairly independent, she’s surrounded by some well-meaning people who have her best interests at heart. She has sacrificed a great deal for those who need her, but has managed to build a life for herself that works. It’s not how she imagined things would be; yet she seems content to look ahead from where she is. I couldn’t help but want her to be happy, my reservations over her former girlfriend’s intentions aside. Billie, on the other hand, I didn’t care for at first. Her initial arrogance and presumptuousness did nothing to help me see her as a sympathetic character. Billie returns home after attaining the fame she left to pursue six years ago, as well as having a major health scare, with the notion that she can just reinsert herself into Amanda’s life and that they’ll pick right back up where they left off. Thankfully, it didn’t win Amanda over any more than it did me, and while I felt sorry for what Billie had been through, I was glad that Amanda resisted for as long as she did. It isn’t until Billie realizes she can’t bulldoze past Amanda’s resistance, and experiences a real dose of fear and potential loss over the situation that she begins to be honest with Amanda, as well as herself, making the inevitable ending much easier to accept. This Time Now is a very short tale of regret, forgiveness, love, and new beginnings. While I think Billie should have had to...
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Sep
23

Review: To Love a King by Shona Husk

Review: To Love a King by Shona Husk To Love a King Author: Shona Husk Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: To Love a King is the third novel in the interesting Court of Annwyn series.  Although this novel is the culmination of the previous books, and major story arc is resolved, the series is far from over.  We wonder what is in store for the future of Annwyn. NOTE: If you have not read the previous two books, there may be mild spoilers for you in this review.  The books in this series build upon each other, even though a different couple is the focal point of each novel.  Read this review at your risk. It is winter in Annwyn.  With the Queen imprisoned and the King dying, it is time for Prince Felan to take the throne.  But to do so he requires a human queen and heir.  Felan does not want the fate his father had – a queen he does not love.  Unless he can win back Jacquie, he will either be in the same predicament, or killed by a rival to the throne. Gikany and Una have been intrigued by Prince Felan since we met him in the first novel.  He was aloof and kept much to himself.  In the Faerie Court, he could only confide in those he absolutely trusted if he was to survive… and everyone knows you cannot trust a faerie.  However, in To Love a King, we finally get to see behind Felan’s façade to the real person he is. Jacquie has every reason not to trust Felan.  Neither Jacquie nor Felan fully recovered from the painful ending of their relationship.  There is a great deal pain and resentment between the two.  We admired the strength of both characters.  What was frustrating was the lack of communication.  So much is riding on them working things out, especially for Felan, and yet instead of laying it all out, Felan slowly reveals what he wants and needs, and the price to Jacquie will have to pay.  It was frustrating, but considering who Felan is and especially his upbringing, it isn’t surprising. What is sweet about their journey is that they both know that they cannot be happy without the other.  It is this core belief that allows us to cheer for them as they come together.  Although Jacquie has everything to sacrifice, Felan has everything to lose.  The juxtaposition is fascinating.  Watching them finally open up...
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Sep
19

Review: House Immortal by Devon Monk

Review: House Immortal by Devon Monk House Immortal Author: Devon Monk Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: House Immortal is the first book in the new House Immortal series by Devon Monk.  As fans of her Allie Beckstrom and Broken Magic series, we eagerly awaited this new science fiction series.  Gikany and Una liked it and hope to see more in the next novel. First, we liked this new world.  It has an altered history from our own and takes place in the future.  The world is an interesting mixture of technology coupled with complications from a meteor strike, giving it some fascinating quirks.  The most noticeable are the Galvanized.  Twelve indestructible people who are not considered human and are therefore property owned, traded, and bartered between the eleven ruling Houses.  There are no countries, just the Houses and what territory they claim.  There is also an unofficial twelfth House that was founded by people who rebelled against the other eleven Houses.  It is the weakest of the Houses and struggles to maintain its independence. For the most part we really liked the characters.  Matilda (Tilly) is an enchanting woman.  She is her own person and will do anything to protect her family’s farm and especially her grandmother, even if it means sacrificing herself by joining House Gray.  Although she can be brash, she is also loyal and steadfast.  Sadly, she is not quite cut out for the political machinations that seem to be the standard operating procedures of the Houses. The supporting characters are just as interesting.  We loved Tilly’s grandmother and wonder if her dementia isn’t partly faked. Neds, the farm hand with two heads, is another complex supporting character.  We found it odd that though he has two heads (each with his own distinct personality) both are named Ned.  Why didn’t each head get his own name?  We wonder if there is more to Neds’ story and if we will know more as the series progresses. Then there is Abraham, the seventh Galvanized.  He is breathtaking.  At first he comes across as a typical alpha male, but there is much more hiding behind his intimidating facade.  It is hard to not have a crush on this fictional character.  By the end of the novel, we were caught up in his plight.  In fact, as the novel ended, it is obvious that the Galvanized are feared as much as they are loved.  They are in a unique and precarious...
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