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Currently Browsing: Rating B
Jun
2

Review: Queen of the Summer Stars

Review: Queen of the Summer Stars Queen of the Summer Stars Author: Persia Woolley Release Date: 1 June 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark Guinevere Trilogy book # 2 ISBN: #978-1402246401 Genre: Historical Fiction Format(s): Paperback (512 pages), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: In a country still reeling from the collapse of the Roman Empire, the young King Arthur and his wife Guinevere struggle to keep the barbarians at bay even as they establish the Fellowship of the Round Table. The spirited and outspoken Guinevere skillfully combats an accusation of planning to poison Arthur in a country simmering with unrest and scandal. But Guinevere’s greatest battles are dangers Arthur cannot see-ones she’ll have to fight on her own. And all the while, she must reconcile her thirst for freedom with her duties as queen, and her growing love for Lancelot with her loyalty to her husband. Vibrantly human and touchingly real, Guinevere reigns as a woman poised to discover the true peril and promise of the human heart. What Gikany & Una are talking about: Queen of the Summer Stars is the second novel in the Guinevere Trilogy. The book opens with Guinevere being summoned to Arthur’s dying mother’s side. The novel follows Arthur’s and Guinevere’s lives from shortly after their wedding until Mordred comes to live with them. Included within this story, are the stories of Tristen and Insolde as well as the story of Arthur’s parents told from Guinevere’s point of view. Una mistakenly volunteered to read this book for Twimom (volunteering Gikany along with her) thinking that it was a historical romance. Let us be very clear, it is not. This is definitely historical fiction. When we looked at Amazon to verify the genre, it is strangely not listed. We discovered the genre by looking up the author on the Wikipedia. Sadly, Una felt it read like a textbook, one with really interesting antidotes, but a history textbook nonetheless. Was the story interesting? Yes, however, this is not our type of escapism reading. We thought it was going to be something it is not and were disappointed. The blame is solely ours. We felt that the book started out a bit slow but livened up in the second half. True historical fiction lovers and true Arthurian legend fans would really enjoy Queen of the Summer Stars. There are a couple of character points that were a little...
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Jun
1

Review: Heart of the Highland Wolf

Review: Heart of the Highland Wolf Heart of the Highland Wolf Author: Terry Spear  Release Date: June 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Werewolf series, Book 7 ISBN: #978-1402245527 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): paperback (416 pgs) ebook         I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:       Ian McNeill, laird of Argent Castle finds his capital squandered through unwise investments and the wolf clan’s home that has been theirs for centuries is in danger of being forfeit for nonpayment of taxes. When a movie producer contacts him with the notion of using his castle to produce a movie, Ian abhors the idea, but it’s his only salvation. Even worse, his people become extras in this epic Highland movie. But when one American werewolf romance author, Julia Wildthorn, slips into the castle under the guise of being with the movie company, except she is trying to jumpstart her muse with writing a book set in old-world Scotland–specifically about his castle and his people as the characters in her newest book venture–she and Ian tangle. What B is talking about:       Despite her Scottish roots, Julia MacPherson has been building a successful career in America as a writer of werewolf romance novels under the penname “Julia Wildthorn,” and with little wonder. She herself is a lupus garou: a werewolf. Unfortunately, she’s got a novel due but is having a nasty case of writer’s block. So, when her friend Maria heads to a genuine Scottish castle as part of a movie production crew, Julia tags along for inspiration. It should be easy, except that the very same castle holds a family secret: one she’s been ordered by her grandfather to steal and return.       Ian McNeill has given up on finding a mate after the disastrous first attempt he made long ago. Instead, he now devotes himself fully to his responsibilities as laird of his clan, a task that’s become increasingly difficult since an investment scheme left the clan nearly bankrupt. When an American film crew negotiates to use his estate as the location for their movie, he knows he has no choice for the sake of his people but to accept their offer. But he doesn’t have to like it. He intends to fight them all the way, until a beautiful redheaded American changes his mind.       Having read a lot of novels with Weres/shifters of varying sorts, I was prepared for a fairly predictable...
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May
30

Quickie Reviews: Island Heat & Wicked Games

Quickie Reviews: Island Heat & Wicked Games Today I am doing quickie reviews for 2 of Jill Myles self-published titles. The books are available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Romance for next to nothing… so what are you waiting for? I received an e-copy of these books from Jill for the purposes of an honest review. Island Heat  Release Date: February 28, 2011 Publisher: self-published Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book From the author’s website: On a business trip to Bermuda, realtor Diana Holcomb’s small plane goes down over the ocean, a victim of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Diana wakes up to find herself on a deserted island…that really isn’t all that deserted. First, a gigantic dinosaur tries to eat her. Then she’s captured by cavemen, and just when things are looking their worst, she’s rescued by none other than a gorgeous man with the body of an Adonis and the jungle skills of Tarzan. Salvador’s been stranded on the island for a very, very long time without a woman. A very, very long time. And now that he has Diana, he intends to claim her for his own… What I’m talking about: Poor Diana… always looking for the next commission, this realtor has her hands full with her latest client. When he invites Diana on a business trip to the Bermuda Triangle, she didn’t realize it would be for funny business.  But once the plane crashes, Diana has to forget all she knows and embrace island life. This story is Jurassic Park meets LOST.  There are dinosaurs, cavemen, and remnants of past (??) survivors that date back centuries. Salvador is generous, adorable and alpha… just how I like my men! Diana is a bit whiny, needs help managing her anger, and slaps and swats Salvador entirely too often.  But I suppose I could cut her a break since she’s just been dropped onto this crazy island.  There are some great moments of humor in the book. Island Heat is a cute story with a fairly substantial plot line and character development.  There are some enjoyable twists and turns, and the ending, while predicable, was satisfying. My Rating:  Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B) Wicked Games   Release Date: March 2011 Publisher: self-published Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book From the author’s website: Abby Lewis never pictured herself on the survival game show, Endurance Island. She’s just not the ‘survival’ type. But when her boss offers her a spot on the show and the opportunity of...
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May
27

Review: Flying Blind

Review: Flying Blind Flying Blind Author: Deborah Cooke Release Date: June 7, 2011 Publisher: NAL Trade The Dragon Diaries #1 ISBN: 978-0451233882 Genre: Young Adult Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Zoë is the Wyvern of the Pyr – the one female dragon shape shifter with special powers. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr, and her powers are AWOL. Worse, there’s no reference book to consult, and the last Wyvern is dead…. Everything changes when Zoë’s best friend is bullied and Zoë reacts. Before she can blink twice, her inner dragon is loose, and she’s suspended from school and headed to a shape shifter boot camp with guys she’s known all her life. But soon she’s doubting her powers – and even some of her friendships. Zoë quickly realizes she has to master her powers yesterday – there’s danger ahead and boot camp is a trap. A secretive group, the Mages, want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line – unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work together to save their own kind… What Gikany & Una are talking about: Flying Blind is the debut novel in the Dragon Diaries. This series seems to be a spin-off her adult Dragonfire series. Although neither of us have read this series (however it is on our TBR list), you do not need to have read it to enjoy this book. The premise is intriguing with the mythology of the existence of dragon shape-shifters. Within this group known as Pyr they are all male, except for a single female Pyr called the Wyvern. She has similar abilities to the men; superior senses, shape shifting, and longevity, but she also has additional powers. We found the world-building to be pretty good. Like most first books in a series, there are always, what Una likes to refer to as, growing pains. This book felt a bit jumpy, the continuity was not smooth between the chapters. Occasionally it felt as if it skipped or glanced over matters. The main character, at first, was quite annoying. However, if you are junior high school age, maybe you can identify better with her than an adult can. We felt she was a bit whiny, although this lessened through the course of the book. Flying...
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May
19

Review: Wickedly Charming

Review: Wickedly Charming Wickedly Charming Author: Kristine Grayson Release Date: May 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: #978-1402248481 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pages) I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: He’s given up on happily-ever-after… Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead end. The new owner of a bookstore, Charming has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.That is, until he meets up with Mellie… But she may be the key to happily-right-now… Mellie is sick and tired of stepmothers being misunderstood. Vampires have redeemed their reputation, why shouldn’t stepmothers do the same? Then she runs into the handsomest, most charming man she’s ever met and discovers she’s going about her mission all wrong… It’s only natural that sparks fly and magic ensues when these two fairy tale refugees put their heads-and vulnerable hearts-together… What B is talking about: This novel has one of the more interesting premises I’ve seen in a long time: how fairy tales got it all wrong. Grayson does a wonderful job of ripping up fairy tale stereotypes and stomping on them a few times for good measure. The evil stepmother? Beautiful and misunderstood. Prince Charming? Slightly paunchy…but still charming. Snow White? Malicious and vindictive. Cinderella? Borderline psychotic. Which I really liked! Both of the main characters in Wickedly Charming are “middle aged,” even though they’re both stunners of the highest order. Prince Charming and Mellie have both had their share of shattered dreams and have given up on ever finding happiness with another person. Until they meet each other at a book fair, of course (he’s there to grab as many books as he can for his bookstore, and she’s there protesting the unfairness of fairy tales). I had a difficult time getting into this story at first. It was hard for me to accept these characters as flawed, while so much is made about their beauty. The beginning seems to go in circles a fair bit of the time as well. Then, almost mid-way through the book, the main characters become involved in a three person barb-tossing contest in a coffee shop, complete with funny commentary from the other patrons, and suddenly the novel came alive. By then, the blending of the two worlds in the story was comfortable and the characters were quickly earning my support. Grayson has a lot of unconventional things...
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May
18

Review: A Lifetime to Find Love

Review: A Lifetime to Find Love A Lifetime to Find Love Author: Ava Riley Release Date: April 6, 2011 Publisher: LazyDay Publishing ISBN: # 978-1612580234 Genre: contemporary romance Format(s): e-book I received a copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Tessa has no desire to spend another Friday night alone. Inviting her brother’s best friend, Cade, to hang out with her at a local club was nothing more than a night out with a friend. At least that’s what she thought. When unexpected advances are made, they are both forced to evaluate their life-long friendship and newly revealed feelings for each other. Can Tessa accept that someone as sexy and successful as Cade could want her for more than sex? Will their friendship continue on as it was or will these two find a love that lasts a lifetime? What I’m talking about: Tessa and Cade have known each other her whole life. Cade is best friend is best friends with Tess’ older brother, Rowan, and he has watched Tessa grow up – teasing her along the way as any big brother’s best friend would do. One night when Rowan was busy he suggests Tessa and Cade hang out – go to the bar together. Little do any of them know that night will change their lives. When Cade takes an inebriated Tessa home, she hikes up her skirt and straddles his lap, confessing her desire for him. Nothing happens that night, but when Rowan finds Cade’s wallet and an unused condom on Tessa’s living room floor the next day, the “what ifs” start to play in both Cade and Tessa’s minds. This kicks off a courtship dance that leads Cade and Tessa to reconsider their views on relationships and love. A Lifetime to Find Love is a sweet love story. It’s a quick and easy read, with little conflict and lots of hot romance. Cade is a considerate, consummate bachelor – never finding a woman that he wants to spend the night with after an evening of hot sex. Likewise, Tessa has never dated a man that makes her heart race with desire for a long-term relationship. Neither had ever looked at each other in a sexual way until Tessa makes her move. I have to admit, I kept waiting for something to go “wrong” with Cade. First, as you all know, I never read contemporary romance and I didn’t realize that this...
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May
11

Review: Here’s Blood In Your Eye

Review: Here’s Blood In Your Eye Here’s Blood In Your Eye Author: Kami Cummings  Release Date: April 2011 Publisher: Smashwords (self-published) Genre: Erotic Romance Format(s): ebook (short story) I received a copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Fame, fortune and females are the life for Russell Schmidt! However, reaching rock-star status through his self-published vampire novels isn’t enough. Trailing after a mysterious woman in red leads to heights of ecstasy he’s never known. But Russ soon finds the tables turned, and his next one-night stand may be to die for! What B is talking about: Russell Schmidt has accomplished the seemingly impossible in the world of self-publishing. Thanks to a generous inheritance, a knack for writing, and a lot of self-confidence, he’s attained “rock star” status with his vampire novels, and isn’t shy about taking full advantage.  I have to say, I didn’t like Russell. He’s spoiled and arrogant, and has no remorse whatsoever for his womanizing. He’s an unapologetic liar and scam artist, for the most part, and his fictitious persona is absolutely over-the-top. But, that’s part of the fun of Here’s Blood In Your Eye. At just twenty-two pages on my e-reader, Cummings packs a lot of undesirable details into very few pages. At some point, I realized I was enjoying my dislike of Russell. That the entire story is told as a vaguely remorseful flashback from Russell’s current unfortunate situation makes his unhappy ending a guarantee (which, in turn, gave me a measure of satisfaction about the whole thing).  Warning: if depictions of explicit sex in your reading don’t interest you, this short story will not appeal. So, don’t read this one if graphic sexual scenes, including anal sex between a man and woman, offend you. Having said that, there’s really only one sex scene in the story, but it’s a highly compressed one, given all the maneuvers involved. There are a few editing issues I noticed, but Here’s Blood In Your Eye is a fairly well written short story. It’s not very thought provoking or insightful, but it doesn’t need to be. Cummings has written a quick, naughty story with an unexpected twist where the main character is less-than-lovable and seeing the tables get turned proves to be fairly enjoyable after all. My Rating:  Liked it, but had some issues – Recommend...
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May
5

Review: Awaken The Highland Warrior

Review: Awaken The Highland Warrior Awaken The Highland Warrior Author: Anita Clenney  Release Date: May 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Highland Warrior Series # 1 ISBN: #978-1402251238 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: He’s had centuries to dream of her… Mis-adventurous historian Bree Kirkland discovers a one hundred fifty year old warrior buried in a crypt behind her house. But Faelan, the warrior, isn’t dead. When this chauvinistic Scottish Warrior awakes, he has no choice but accept the help of this modern-day woman who’s rescued him, but she’s more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him. If he’s not careful, she’ll uncover every secret his clan has bled and died to protect.  What B is talking about:      Bree Kirkland is a born adventurer specializing in collecting Civil War artifacts who has just inherited her family estate. The house currently has an archaeological dig going on in the yard, and borders a cemetery and crypt, but the history and unsolved mysteries it holds make it perfect for Bree. When she uncovers a 177-year-old Highland warrior in the crypt, she does what any strong-willed woman would do: she takes him in and feeds him, of course. That he’s been frozen in time for 150 of those years, and is gorgeous (and in a kilt!) is just a bonus.      Faelan Connor was single-handedly trying to defeat the demon he was assigned to lock away in a “time vault” when he was betrayed, ambushed, and locked in the vault himself. Now he’s resuming his quest with a woman he can’t resist, but doesn’t fully trust. He’s got quite a learning curve to contend with, along with the grief of losing his family so suddenly, and Bree’s self-sufficiency completely baffles him. Faelan, for all he’s going through, is an entertaining hero. He second-guesses himself throughout the novel, especially where Bree is concerned, and some of his realizations while he’s coming to terms with the modern world are just funny.      I think with any sort of anachronistic tale, there are certain factors that remain constant, regardless of the author or purpose. More specifically, the familiar “fish-out-of-water” theme, complete with “where am I?” bewilderment, necessary adjustments to a new environment, as well as how the hero comes to terms with the inherent loss of his or her present to the past. What distinguishes one...
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May
4

Review: The Legend of Michael

Review: The Legend of Michael The Legend of Michael Author: Lisa Renee Jones Release Date: May 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Zodius Series Book # 1 ISBN: # 978-1402251566 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): paperback (382 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: HE IS A LETHAL WEAPON… One of an army of human soldiers injected with alien DNA, Michael is a legend within this new race, split between good and evil. Untamable, he has walked on the dark side and returned to the light. Feared and misunderstood, he leaves everything behind, including the one woman destined to be his mate. HE IS HER ENEMY…AND HER DESTINY… Fate leads Michael back to Cassandra Powell, for she holds the key to defending his comrades. With their loyalties divided between duty and the people they love, only together can Cassandra and Michael overcome insurmountable odds to save humanity from the wrath of a madman. But no ordinary woman can control a creature such as Michael, and only one thing is clear—the world will never be the same… What Gikany is talking about: Cassandra Powell is a psychologist brought into Area 51 to evaluate the soldiers created in the Project Zodius GTECH Super Soldier Program.  These soldiers have been created through the injection of alien DNA.  The more mundane changes seen in the GTECH soldiers are increased strength and speed and immunity to human diseases.  “Wind-walking”, the ability to travel quickly and invisibly using the wind, is one of the unexpected abilities seen in the GTECHs.  Cassandra’s job is to evaluate the GTECHs to determine why some of them have begun to exhibit strange behavioral changes, especially increased aggression, along with their new gifts.  One mutation in particular, X2, has been linked to increased aggression and unprovoked violence in animals.  When Cassandra learns that Michael Taylor, the GTECH soldier she loves, is X2 positive, she decides not to tell him. When General Powell, Cassandra’s father and the man responsible for creating the GTECHs, decides to cage all of the GTECH soldiers who test positive for the X2 mutation, the GTECH soldiers rebel.  The rebels quickly split into two factions: the Zodius and the Renegades.  The Zodius are the more radical of the two factions and are working toward world domination.  The Renegades seek to protect humans from the  Zodius but no longer trust them after General Powell’s betrayal.  Michael, stung by Cassandra’s...
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Apr
28

ARC Review: Bite Club

ARC Review: Bite Club Bite Club Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: May 3, 2011 Publisher: New American Library The Morganville Vampires series #10 ISBN: #978-0451233189 Genre: Young Adult Format(s): Hardcover (352 pages), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:        After discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble. There’s a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare- knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other-or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire- accompanied by her friends and frenemies-to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville… What Una is talking about:       I started reading the Morganville Vampire Series after discovering it via a short story.  When I read it, I didn’t realize it was young adult, and it wouldn’t matter anyway. Out of the many YA series I read, The Morganville Vampires series is one I truly enjoy.       One of my favorite things about The Morganville Vampires is that the main characters have teenage angst without being overly annoying to the reader.  It helps characterize them and give them a young feel while not alienating adult readers.  The teenage characters also are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.  I enjoy the authentic feel of these kids.  Sometimes, like most teenagers, they are quite intelligent while other times can be completely clueless.  Ms. Caine accomplishes this without making the characters seem like they are bi-polar.       The flow and pace of Bite Club is steady while gripping.  I found myself wanting to yell at the characters about the clues I saw along the way that they just didn’t quite grasp.  It reminded me of watching a stereotypical horror movie, but does so without being cliché.  In this story, the main characters are pitted against each other while dealing with very real elements of prejudice, which I found educational.  As the town struggles to rebuild itself after a thwarted coup in the previous story Ghost Town, it is remaking social policies and infrastructure.  This process mimics that seen in the civil rights movement in the United States, all marauding vampires aside.       I thoroughly enjoy the on-going adventures of Claire, Eve, Michael and Shane, especially now with them dealing with this very real...
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