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Currently Browsing: Rating B
Jan
27

Review: Seducing Liberty

Review: Seducing Liberty Seducing Liberty Author: D.L. Jackson  Release Date: Nov. 7, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing One Night Stand Series ISBN: #978-1613331521 Genre: Erotic Romance, time travel, historical/contemporary Format(s): e-book (12k wds.) Book Source: Publisher About the book: Out of the mists of time, rides a story of espionage, love, and a 1Night Stand. When Ryann Summers, an actress playing the role of Lady Liberty, an Agent in Washington’s Culper spy ring, asks Madame Eve of 1Night Stand for a date, a night she’ll never forget—where her identity is kept secret—she gets more than she bargained for. Now she’s caught in the middle of the American Revolution and between two of the sexiest men she’s ever set eyes on. If she can survive the musketballs and the invading British forces, she just might find everything she’s been searching for—sex hot enough to set the sea on fire. What B is talking about: Seducing Liberty begins with a history lesson, and Jackson has clearly done her homework. One of the most well kept secrets of the Revolutionary War was the Culper Spy Ring, which operated in New York for General George Washington. Underneath the big clashes and key players in the war, these men and women fought another, equally perilous, battle for information that could be used against the British.  Madelyn Summers, recently betrothed and the daughter of a staunch British loyalist, refuses to accept her fate as a “brood mare,” and instead decides to help the rebels by passing them any military secrets she overhears. With tempting curves and a figure described as “lush,” Madelyn would be a dream come true for any man of the day. If only she weren’t so willful, of course. But a series of mishaps soon reveals that she’s not the only spy under her father’s roof.  The story then shifts to New Hampshire in the year 2011. Ryann Summers is a well-known movie actress portraying a Revolutionary spy. Unfortunately, being a star with curves in an age when chivalry seems dead isn’t pleasant, especially when working with two hot, but unavailable costars has given her a hunger for a ménage a trois.  From here on, Jackson tosses the rules out the window. Ryann thinks what she wants is impossible, given her status as an A-list actress. Luckily for her, with Madame Eve and her 1 Night Stand dating service, anything is possible. Ryann takes the reader through two more time shifts and a lot of sexy...
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Jan
20

Review: The Bitter Seed of Magic

Review: The Bitter Seed of Magic The Bitter Seed of Magic Author: Suzanne McLeod  Release Date: Dec. 27, 2011 Publisher: Ace Spellcrackers #3 ISBN: #978-1937007201 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (357 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: On the surface, Genny’s life seems ripple-free right now. Finn, her sexy boss and — well, Genny’s not sure what else she wants him to be — has stopped pushing for a decision on their relationship. The seductive vampire Malik al-Khan has vanished back into the shadows. And the witches have declared her no longer a threat. But unless Genny can find a way to break the fertility curse afflicting London’s fae, she knows this is just the lull before the magical storm. Then a faeling — a teenage girl — is fished out of the River Thames, dead and bound with magic, and Genny is called into investigate. As she digs through the clues, her search takes a sinister and dangerous turn, exposing age-old secrets that might be better left buried. Then another faeling disappears, and Genny finds herself in a race against time to save the faeling and stop the curse from claiming its next victim — herself! What G & U are talking about: The Bitter Seed of Magic is the third installment in the Spellcrackers novels.  As usual, Genny is up to her eyeballs in fae issues, curse issues, vampire issues and all important relationship issues.  By the end of this novel it seems everything is resolved.  Almost. This is a difficult review to write.  Now that we have read two of these books, one of our main issues with these novels is something that seems to be characteristic of the author’s writing style.  The first half of The Bitter Seed of Magic is slow…Genny agonizes about past events and continues to be torn about on-going issues (see the list above).  However, as the murder mystery develops, the last half is gripping and exciting.  The ending is so sudden that it feels like “poof” here’s the ending.  The build-up to the end is too long and the ending is more summarized than experienced by the reader. Genny is an interesting character.  She tries to be very independent and strong but she isn’t…and she can be incredibly dense at times.  It was very refreshing to watch her ask and plan for help in this novel.  She didn’t try to do it all herself.  She was much more open and worked well with others. ...
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Jan
19

Review: Dreaming Awake

Review: Dreaming Awake Dreaming Awake Author: Gwen Hayes  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: NAL Falling Under #2 ISBN: #978-0451235541 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions. Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own. And still the nighttime realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start… What B is talking about: One week after her return from Under, Theia is trying to rejoin her old life again, but she’s not the human girl she was before. After her blood oath with the nightmare queen, Mara, she finds she’s changing more every day. But what is it, exactly, that she’s turning into? With a growing hunger she can’t fully control, a list of questions that keeps getting longer, and dark desires that grow more difficult to resist by the day, Theia is terrified of what she may become.  Theia and Hayden are still undeniably perfect for one another, but after the resistance they both cling to in the first novel of the series, Falling Under, their continuing dance of self-denial is almost too much. Theia wants to give herself to Hayden thoroughly and eternally, but if he takes what she’s offering, he’ll not only ruin himself, but the sacrifice of her own humanity to save him will mean nothing. If they refuse to accept their mutual desire, they’ll fall apart anyway. Each is determined to sacrifice everything to save the other. It’s a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” and while I thought it was sweet, after a while it became difficult to maintain a consistently high level of investment in their story.  I particularly enjoyed Theia’s friends in Dreaming Awake. They steal the spotlight several times throughout the novel,...
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Jan
11

Review: High Above

Review: High Above High Above Author: Mari Freeman  Release Date: March 16, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Dragons annihilated civilization some ten generations ago. A few Crossbreeds, humans born with dragon-like characteristics, now lead opposing tribes who still battle for dwindling resources. Rhone’s wings have been stripped from his body by the Lax tribe, his family killed, and his hopes of leading the Mountain people away from the constant threat of marauders destroyed. Ketta’s life has been full of pain and anguish. Her brother rules her and the Lax tribe with a bloody fist. Tired of the violence, Ketta takes a stand and rescues Rhone from the brink of execution. Armed with knowledge from Ketta’s somewhat addled grandfather, the unlikely pair embarks on a quest to heal Rhone’s wings. Along the way, the couple struggles to find the truth beneath hatred and lies. Desire and a mutual enemy bring them together; mistrust and secrets tear them apart. These lifelong foes will have to fly high above their differences to defeat a deadly dragon and save what’s left of both their tribes. What I’m talking about: The prologue of this short story read like a fantastic action movie – the kind that are labeled “summer blockbuster.” I LOVED the concept of dragons coming forth and decimating civilization. This created a post-apocalyptic setting without the usual politcal causes. Fast-forward several generations and civilization is bleak. Humans and Crossbreeds tribes live in primitive settings built from what is left in the greater-Los Angles area. We don’t have much time to learn about Rhone and his tribe, because right from the beginning he is captured and tortured by rival tribe leader Nyx.  Nyx is simply a cruel, power-hungry Crossbreed. He rules with an iron fist, fostering fear among his own tribe. Ketta, Nyx’s sister (a rare Crossbreed female), is tired of her brother’s evil and believes Rhone was sent to free them all and bring peace. She helps him escape and the pair get help from Ketta’s grandfather, Arwin. In spite of its shortened length, High Above is packed with action and excitement. It was fairly entertaining throughout, and the romance was passionate. The story had all the moving parts you’d expect – interesting plot, exciting setting, evil bad guy you love to hate, romance, action, and a happy ending. There were no major moral conflicts or overly dramatic moments to incite a deep emotional...
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Jan
9

Review & Giveaway: Dangerous Ally

Review & Giveaway: Dangerous Ally Dangerous Ally Author: Jessica Lauryn Release Date: July 6, 2011 Publisher: BookStrand Publishing The Pinnacles of Power Series ISBN: #978-1610346979 Genre: Contemporary Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (334 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: For five lonely years, diamond smuggling kingpin Lucas Ramone has hidden himself from the world. With a father who has baited him all his life, made a game of trying to trip him up at every turn, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to protect what is rightfully his. What he isn’t prepared for is Lilah Benson… Upon accepting a job in the home of her sister’s maniacal ex-fiancé, reporter Lilah Benson believes she has finally found the perfect way to make her mark on the world. Exposing the criminal endeavors of Lucas Ramone won’t soon be forgotten. But as she comes to know the man who was supposed to be her adversary, Lilah is tempted by a passion far stronger than the desire to see her name in print… Power and control are tools of survival, critical in a world of thievery and deception. Lilah, an innocent in a land of criminals, may be the one person capable of bringing Lucas to his knees. But Lucas will stop at nothing to keep his empire secure. He will have it all: His Fortune, His Legacy, and Lilah Benson in his bed… What VampBard’s talking about: I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon reading Jessica Lauryn’s Dangerous Ally.  I really enjoyed the story.  Filled with espionage and HOT bow-chicka-wow-wow, it was overall a great read.  The plot arc was action-packed (and not just with the HOT scenes – get your mind out of the gutter!) and had several twists.  While it wasn’t a completely unpredictable story, I found it to be quite telling of unhealthy relationships across the world.  Kudos to Lauryn for showing readers that men are capable of overcoming adversity at the hands of abuse.   Bad Dad was quite the villain in this story.  Raphael hopefully gets what he deserves in the long run.  Mr. Power-Hungry-Cold-As-Iceberg-That-Sunk-the-Titanic was the worst parent imaginable for young Lucas as he was growing up.  I can’t even give a comparison to a movie character/star for this dude… he’s so negative and hideous with regard to his behavior, he must be hideous.   Lilah, our heroine, originally entered the life of Lucas to expose his diamond smuggling endeavors.  BUT… she fell for him and that kinda never happened.   *snap*  The NYT...
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Dec
20

Review: Spells & Stitches

Review: Spells & Stitches Spells & Stitches Author: Barbara Bretton  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkeley Trade Sugar Maple Chronicles #4 ISBN: 978-0425241059 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sugar Maple, Vermont, knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs couldn’t be happier about her pregnancy. But with the arrival of the town’s newest resident, things are about to get a lot more magical. Baby Laria is six pounds, eleven ounces of perfect, and Chloe and Luke are over the moon. But when they learn that Laria takes after her mom in the sorcery department, it becomes clear that their baby might have more power than even a pro like Chloe can handle… What Nima’s talking about: Spells and Stitches is the fourth book in the Sugar Maple Chronicles, by best-selling author Barbara Bretton. The book doesn’t read or even really feel like a romance.  It’s not a narration of how two people came together in love.  Rather, it’s the story of what happens after the “happily ever after” of the romance that developed in the first three books of the Sugar Maple Chronicles between Chloe Hobbs, sorceress, and Luke MacKenzie, police chief and only 100% human resident of Sugar Maple.  After a lengthy and tumultuous pregnancy full of some very funny magical mishaps, we finally have the arrival of their daughter Laria—pronounced like “Mariah” but with an “L”—Hobbs MacKenzie.  Her birth is no small event and germinates the overall theme of the book, “family.” In this set-up for the mysteries to come, there are still romantic elements.  It is definitely romantic to be cared for and anticipated by the man you love.  When baby Laria has cause to be seen at the local human hospital, Chloe is grateful that Luke has provided for medical insurance, something that it never occurred to her she or her daughter would need in their protected, magical community.  While they’re waiting on doctors, Luke thoughtfully brings Chloe her knitting bag with a simple, “I thought you might want this.”  Chloe notes, “At that moment those socks-in-progress were all that stood between me and utter panic.”  The book changes narrating voices between Chloe, Luke, and Luke’s sister Meghan.  Even as a mother myself, I thought it was incredibly romantic not when Chloe reflected on the experience of childbirth, but when Luke did.   The lump in my throat was the size of a hubcap.  The rush of love I felt for Chloe...
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Dec
19

Review: Lawe’s Justice

Review: Lawe’s Justice Lawe’s Justice Author: Lora Leigh  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Breeds #26 ISBN: #978-0425243954 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:       Diane Broen’s lived to protect her younger sister Rachel from harm. But now that Rachel has been mated off, Diane’s occupied herself with less fulfilling tasks at the Genetics Council–until she’s paired with a new team member, a Breed male notorious for his attitude, and a touch that makes her recoil.       Lawe isn’t thrilled with her either. A lion at heart, he prefers a lair of solitude. When it comes to females, he’d rather snarl than purr. And while fate may have paired them to fight on the same team, neither is willing to admit to the obvious: the mating heat between them is positively incinerating.       It’s only when danger threatens that they make a hotter-than-hell connection–one so explosive it could destroy them. Or, as providence reveals, bind them together, forever. What I’m talking about:       Lawe’s Justice opens with a horrifying memory of the Breed Lab where Lawe and his brother Rule grew up – a memory of their mother being cut open and studied while alive. The story then jumps to present day where Breed Director Jonas is investigating a rogue Breed who is killing human researchers who were involved with similar experimentations. Meanwhile, we meet Diane, a human mercenary hired to find three individuals (victims) that fled from the lab. Jonas, the perpetual interfering manipulator, sends Lawe in to debrief Diane, knowing that she is Lawe’s mate.       Diane and Lawe have lived the past several months trying to avoid one another, knowing they were mates and not yet ready to deal with the commitment that comes along with being mated. Once together, they realize they can no longer fight their attraction. However, Diane refuses to be protected and “placed on a shelf,” and fights to continue as a warrior and solider in the fight to protect all Breeds.       The story was a bit tough to follow at first – all these names tossed at the reader without much detail to back up the action. All I could figure out for the first few chapters is that the rouge Breed, Gideon, was chasing after the same people Diane was looking for. I’d say it wasn’t...
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Dec
16

Review: Hot Zone

Review: Hot Zone Hot Zone Author: Catherine Mann  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Elite Forces series #2 ISBN: #978-1402244988 Genre: Military Romance Format(s): Paperback (316 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Days full of danger… For Pararescueman Master Sergeant Hugh Franco, it’s all about saving other people’s lives. Then he moves on. But when he pulls beautiful Amelia Bailey and her adopted nephew from the rubble of a catastrophic earthquake, he finds himself entangled in their lives in ways he could never have imagined… And desire-filled nights… Amelia’s trip to the Bahamas to help with an international adoption has been no vacation, but the hardest part is yet to come. As Amelia and Hugh are pulled unawares into a deadly smuggling scheme, simmering beneath their growing need to protect each other is a compelling attraction they’re both determined to deny… What G & U are talking about: Hot Zone is the second novel in the new Elite Forces series by Catherine Mann.  Although contemporary is not Gikany and Una’s typical cup of tea, we found Hot Zone to be a wild and enjoyable action-adventure-romance. This story revolves around Sergeant Hugh Franco, a PJ who takes terrible risks since losing his wife and child in a horrific plane crash.  He lives only for his job and for those that he saves.  However, when he meets Amelia while rescuing her from a collapsed building, he thinks that maybe he could have a second chance at a real life. We enjoyed the interplay between Amelia and Hugh.  Although she doesn’t think of herself as courageous, Amelia is able to do what is necessary.  She has a very earthly and realistic feel in some aspects.  However, she comes across a little stronger than we expected from the pictures that her job and flashes of her life in Alabama gave.  The contrast was interesting as it shows you can’t truly know yourself until you are truly tested.  We feel the pairing of Hugh and Amelia was a good one; they balance each other and are very respectful of each other. What truly enthralled us, however, was the plot line.  The story of the earthquake and those who take advantage of the most vulnerable at a time like that sucks you in.  We just wished there was a little more to it.  This seems to be a reoccurring sticking point for us: the romance is good and woven pretty well into the main plot...
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Dec
16

Review: Destined Mate

Review: Destined Mate Destined Mate Author: Katie Reus Release Date: Oct. 1, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne Cravings Genre: Paranormal Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Almost a century ago, Angela Lavigne and Alpha werewolf Knox had a shared passion neither could control. Then Angela was turned into a vampire and disappeared.       The last thing Knox expects is for Angela to show up on his doorstep on a rescue mission, as sexy and irresistible as ever. And he can sense how much she still wants him, too. She’s gone against both their species’ rules and trespassed on his land. By law he can keep her as long as he wants—and Knox doesn’t intend to let her go ever again.       As their desire explodes once again, Knox is more sure than ever that he must claim her forever. But as vampire and werewolf, they are natural born enemies. Can she truly be his destined mate? What I’m talking about:       The story opens with our vampire heroine, Angela, infiltrating a werewolf stronghold to rescue her BFF just weeks before a historic peace accord between the two species. Angela is cunning and quick, but once she makes it to the mansion where she knows her friend is being held, she receives a shock: her once lover is this pack’s Alpha. Angela had run from Knox almost a century ago when she was turned into a vampire because she knew how much he and his kind detested vampires.       Knox is immediately attracted to his lost love. He gets all Alpha on her and forces her to stay after she finds out her friend snuck away from their coven when their leader forbade her to mate with a werewolf. He tries to balance his lust for Angela and taking the time to tell her how he really feels.       Destined Mate is an enjoyable novella-length, stand alone story. (If it’s attached to a series, I couldn’t find it.) Due to the shortened length, there isn’t much background on the two primary species: werewolves and vampires. However, Ms. Reus sprinkles the story with facts about her creations (like Angela is a daywalker, which is rare, or Knox heals faster than his pack, which is partly why he is the alpha), giving the tale a enough complexity to keep up interest and feed my curiosity. Of course with that...
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Dec
15

Review: Ginger Snaps for Two

Review: Ginger Snaps for Two Ginger Snaps For Two Author: L.C. Dean  Release Date: Nov. 13, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Genre: GLBT Romance, Erotic Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Ginger Burke considers herself a hard-assed bitch. She micromanages every aspect of her world, including the subs she controls as a part time, professional Domme. No one has ever been foolish enough to think she has a soft side. Selleck Mathews knows what it’s like to hide behind what others expect, letting down his guard only around the gentle compassion of his partner, Neil Trygstad, who wants nothing more than to love and be loved. Together they are nearly content except they long for someone to laugh at Neil’s jokes and crave Selleck’s gentle dominance. Ginger’s needs ring in her voice and shimmer in her expressive blue eyes. Once the guys decide to break through her shell and find the sweet center, they have no intention of letting up until her control snaps and she settles in their arms for the ideal holiday, perhaps even the perfect forever. What B is talking about: Warning: this e-book contains graphic sexual situations and language, including pressured intimacy.  There’s nothing soft about Ginger Burke. She’s spent all of her adult life making sure of it. Dubbed the “Fire Queen” by the employees at her father’s firm where she’s a partner, Ginger is all business, and Heaven help anyone who gets in her way.  Selleck and Neil are lovers and partners, and entirely devoted to one another. But something is still missing between them, and they long for the love of another to make them feel complete. Neil is fun loving and gentle, and needs someone who can meet him on both counts. Selleck, a natural dominant, wants a woman who is both strong and in need of his sometimes heavy-handed guidance. Once they meet Ginger, they know they’ve found exactly what they’ve been looking for. Some parts of Ginger Snaps for Two I found a difficult to get past at first. A couple of the earlier encounters between the three begin in a semi-forced manner, and although all the scenes end with Ginger’s recognition and acceptance of her desires, the “damsel in denial” angle took some adjustments on my part. What Ginger Snaps for Two really seems to be about is Ginger’s path to her own sexual self-discovery and breaking free of the expectations that seem to come from the pressures of the life...
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