Currently Browsing: Rating C

Quickie Review: A Convenient Bride by Cheryl Ann Smith

Quickie Review: A Convenient Bride by Cheryl Ann Smith A Convenient Bride Author: Cheryl Ann Smith  Release Date: Dec. 31, 2012 Publisher: Berkley School for Brides #4 ISBN: #978-0425260654 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: On the hunt for his runaway sister, Lord Richard Ellerby stops a suspicious carriage at gunpoint and is shocked to be mistaken for a thieving highwayman. When the attractive woman inside makes him an offer to court her for pay, Richard refuses and sends her on her way. But the determined lady soon finds him again and proposes an even more outrageous offer: wedding her in a marriage of convenience. Desperate to find love with a man of her own choosing, Lady Brenna Harrington will do anything to hold on to her freedom, even if it means propositioning a dangerous highwayman. If she can distract her father with a prospective husband who only wants to marry her for her fortune, Brenna will have time to do things her way. While her plan may be just crazy enough to work, her unsuitable suitor has other more pleasurable strategies in mind. What Ang is talking about: Newton says the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, and I feel Ms. Smith should have taken this law into account when writing this book. Although I can respect her effort with A Convenient Bride and her desire to add adventure to the romance story by giving us a mystery to solve, I feel like the effort fell flat–especially since the villain was so easy to figure out. And I’m not a even a mystery reader. Add to this the lack character’s lack of depth and the novel’s inability to grip me at any point in the story line, and I feel like you are left with just another romance novel in a sea of romance novels. Although Richard and Brenna did have some good dialogue, and it was interesting watching their relationship evolve, I felt like we lose the intensity of their romance to a variety of averagely written secondary characters. I’d much rather follow Richard and Brenna’s story than read about everyone else. Like I said earlier, I respect the effort of the novel but don’t feel I can rate it any better than a ‘C.’ To me, a ‘C’ represents average work, and for me, that is what A Convenient Bride was, average. Ang’s Rating: Finished it – take it or leave it (C)    ...
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Review: My Lord Immortality by Alexandra Ivy

Review: My Lord Immortality by Alexandra Ivy My Lord Immortality Author: Alexandra Ivy  Release Date: Dec. 24, 2012 (reissue) Publisher: Zebra Immortal Rogues #3 ISBN: #978-1420128215 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (224 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Amelia Hadwell has no time for London’s nightlife. Not when her beloved brother’s odd ways have their family threatening to institutionalize him. And not when she is questioning her own sanity after being confronted by a murderous shadow creature—then being saved by a captivating stranger, a man who belongs to a world she cannot imagine.  Reserved and scholarly, Sebastian St.Ives has been content without human desires—until they are reawakened by the delicate, brave Amelia, whom he is meant to protect. For the young woman has no idea she possesses the key to a ravenous vampire’s dark victory. Now Sebastian must shield her from both a killer and his own growing attraction—or bond with her completely, and forever… What I’m talking about: Our story begins with a Prologue outlining the history of vampires in the world – and that the greatest vampire, Nefri, created a veil to hide their race from humans. This put an end to bloodlust and created a docile, intellectual vampire race. However, there are some that do not agree with Nefri’s rule and have entered the human world to recover the Medallion which gives Nefri her power. The primary antagonist, Drake, is one such vampire, and he hunts down Amelia, keeper of one-third of the Medallion. My Lord Immortality is set in roughly Regency England, and has a definite historical feel. Amelia and her mentally/emotionally handicapped brother, William, live mostly on their own after their parents decided they’d rather not have anything to do with William. Unfortunately, women are being brutally murdered near their home, and William appears to be at the center of the investigation due to his childlike ways and misunderstood manner. This is where our hero, Sebastian St.Ives, comes in as Amelia’s protector. He was sent from the veil by Nefri to protect Amelia and her piece of the Medallion. Before getting further in my review, I feel it necessary to note that it wasn’t until after I started reading My Lord Immortality, that I discovered 1) the book is a reissue, 2) it is the third story in a trilogy and 3) this trilogy is the precursor to a much larger, fuller series by Ms. Ivy. Knowing this, and having read this story, I would not recommend anyone pick...
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Review: At the Dungeon Master’s Hand by Jennifer Cole

Review: At the Dungeon Master’s Hand by Jennifer Cole At the Dungeon Master’s Hand Author: Jennifer Cole  Release Date: Aug. 4, 2008 Publisher: Lyrical Press Le Club d’Esclavage #1 Genre: Erotic Romance, BDSM, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Fantasies begin at the threshold of Le Club d’Esclavage Natalie Buchanan has been working non-stop for six weeks. Determined to enjoy a rare weekend off, she winds up at the mysterious Le Club d’Esclavage. Natalie had read about the bondage club, and although she’d been mildly curious about submissive pleasures, she never imagined she’d set foot inside. And now that she has, the erotic atmosphere of domination and submission sends her scrambling for the exit. Before she can escape, she’s approached by a leather-hooded, bare-chested man who whispers a deep, sultry, “You are mine…” What I’m talking about: After working too hard for too long, Natalie’s two best friends promise her a night on the town. Much to Natalie’s surprise, they end up at Le Club d’Esclavage, the local BDSM club everyone is talking about. Shortly after arriving, both of Natalie’s friends abandon her for their own fun, and before she has a chance to escape, Natalie’s coworker, Max, shows up. Natalie has longed for Max for a while, but never made a move because he always seemed uninterested. However, before she has the chance to possibly initiate something, Max excuses himself and instead of his return, a mysterious hooded man approaches Natalie and will not let her leave. The premise behind At the Dungeon Master’s Hand, although not entirely original, is solid and exciting. We may not know a lot about Natalie, but we learn quickly that she has certain unfulfilled fantasies, especially ones involving hunky coworker, Max. And since the novella shifts between character POVs, we find out that Max feels much the same way. The story had many sensual and erotic scenes. The sex acts are pretty explicit, including some bondage and toy play. The initial chemistry between Natalie and Max played well in the story. Although the story is written to make Natalie wonder who her masked lover is, based on the shifting POVs, it’s very obvious the author intends the mystery man to be Max. Although there are some entertaining parts in the story, I found too many little issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the novella. For example, when Max first approaches Natalie, her inner dialogue told us that she knew who Max was just from his voice,...
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Review: Night of Fire by Nico Rosso

Review: Night of Fire by Nico Rosso Night of Fire Author: Nico Rosso  Release Date: July 10, 2012 Publisher: Avon Impulse The Ether Chronicles #2 ISBN: #978-0062201089 Genre: Steampunk Romance, Western Format(s): Paperback (256 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/Edelweiss About the book: US Army Upland Ranger Tom Knox trades the front lines for a different conflict as he returns home to California on his ether-borne mechanical horse. Three years ago, he skipped town, leaving the one girl who ever mattered. Rosa Campos.  He thinks she’ll be settled down but discovers Rosa’s the town sheriff, caught in a battle with a mining company’s five-story, rock-eating machine. Tom’s the last person Rosa expects to see riding out of the sky to her aid, and seeing him again reignites a flame more dangerous than the enemy threatening to destroy them both. What I’m talking about: Our hero, Tom Knox, left his small coastal hometown of Thornville three years ago, leaving behind his love, Rosa Campos. He joined the service and has been fighting against the Hapsburg soldiers here on US soil – or in Tom’s case, in the sky as an Upland Ranger. Before Tom left, he wasn’t much of a hero or a man worthy of Rosa, and her parents were certain to remind him of that often. He returns now, uncertain of how he’ll be received, yet certain that Rosa has settled down and moved on. To his surprise, Rosa is a changed woman – now the sheriff of Thornville, and she’s never forgiven Tom for abandoning her those three long years ago. Unfortunately, as soon as Tom arrives, there are serious problems for Thornville. The Crandall Mining Company, unhappy that no one would sell land in Thornville, is heading towards town in a massive monstrosity of a machine that destroys everything in its path. It’s up to Tom and Rosa to overcome their past and work together to save the town. Although this is the second story in The Ether Chronicles, the opening of Night of Fire is almost the complete opposite of the first book, Skies of Fire. Instead of jumping right into the action as in Skies, this book takes its time and introduces the reader to the surrounding landscape. We take a stroll down memory lane with Tom as he flies his way back to his childhood homestead and the woman he left behind. The beginning focuses on world-building and filling the reader in on the environment of the times. Another change from...
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Review: Double Dragon Seduction by Kali Willows

Review: Double Dragon Seduction by Kali Willows Double Dragon Seduction Author: Kali Willows  Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Decadent  1 Night Stand Series Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Gwen Trembley is disturbed by the upcoming wedding of her reprehensible ex, and coping with her emerging fiery talent. Gwen seeks the services of 1NS for a night where new carnal knowledge will revive her damaged soul. Madame Eve has the perfect arrangements, but perhaps twice what she bargained for. Twin brothers Tatsu and Yong Li, are in desperate need of a unique woman who can accept them as inseparable. They carry not one, but two secrets. These exotic brothers can’t be with just any woman, and if Gwen is willing to try, she will face the most passionate, lust-filled night of her life, but will she survive? Will they? 1NS finds a match they never expected possible. What I’m talking about: The story opens with our heroine, Gwen, reading the society pages of the paper, where she discovers that her ex is getting remarried on her birthday. Obviously the news is upsetting to Gwen, because she causes the newspaper to spontaneously combust. Best friend Cindy helps console Gwen over a bottle of amaretto, and we discover that although Gwen and Jamison spent 10 years together, things weren’t all that great, and Gwen doesn’t want Jamison back. But in order to move on, Gwen has enlisted the help of Madame Eve’s 1 Night Stand service, where she has request a m/f/m menage.  Twin brothers Tatsu and Yong have sought out the help of Madame Eve because their lives depend on it. No spoilers here, but let’s just say that the brothers, descendants of dragon shifters, are under a time constraint to find a date – sex – and Madame Eve assured them Gwen is their match. The trio agree to meet at Niagara Falls for their special rendez-vous at the same time (and same hotel) as Jameson’s wedding. I have mixed feelings about this story. The first half to three-quarters was a good mix of story-telling, action and plot development. Jameson is an abusive bully, which we get to witness first hand. I really like how bold Gwen is after 10 years of abuse. She’s not a meek woman. She is a fighter. She’s a take charge woman. We also learn about the twin’s dragon heritage and why sex is critical to them at this juncture. It’s not an easy story to digest for any...
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Review: One Hot Night by Tatum Throne

Review: One Hot Night by Tatum Throne One Hot Night Author: Tatum Throne  Release Date: May 31, 2012 Publisher: Siren Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Exactly one year ago, Samantha “Sam” Emery was nearly killed by her ex-lover. Now as an executive chef for Kalen Industries in New York, Sam has struggled to move on. At K.I.’s annual party, Sam is seduced to the dance floor by a man she only met once in passing. Passions ignite, and one dance leads to a fiery one-night stand with a man she thinks she will never see again. Sam is pursued by Austin, a man who knows something about her troubled past. Caught by Austin and the physical scars of her past, will Sam realize she has something worth fighting for before it’s too late? What VampBard’s talking about: One Hot Night, a slim novella (PDF said 83 pages) that takes on a difficult topic, was pretty much ‘sexy time’ from the beginning.  There’s a lot of makin’ whoopie in this title.   Samantha has been through a lot.  Her near-death experience has left her shaken and lacking the ability to trust in relationships.    She is ashamed of her body – the scarring that remains as a constant reminder of the trauma.  Beyond the body image issues, Sam seemed to be mentally working through the entire thing, still.  I felt that Sam was definitely a wishy-washy lead female character.  I want him…I don’t want him.  The guy isn’t a daisy from which petals are being plucked.  Since Sam is a chef, I was hoping to see more than powdered sugar ‘in the sack’ scenes.   Austin is a pretty primal, sexual, testosterone-laden male.  In the novella, he’s described as a predator when he looks at Samantha.    Several times.  Despite this description, I actually liked Austin.  He seems to have a heart that is full of passion and COMpassion.  I felt sorry for Austin, because I felt that Sam treated him horribly.   I’m not sure whether the PDF I read is the same as those that will be sold…  I hope this title went through another edit or two prior to release.  In general, this IS a good story arc.  I simply felt that there could have been more done with the story, and that the language used – especially during sexual acts – was predictable.  I didn’t enjoy the self-defeating attitude of Samantha, and I didn’t like parts of...
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Review: Colters’ Promise by Maya Banks

Review: Colters’ Promise by Maya Banks Colters’ Promise Author: Maya Banks  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Colters’ Legacy Book #3 ISBN: 978-0425258620 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s):  Paperback (256 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When it came to overcoming the odds of a tragic past, Lily was determined to move on. The three Colter brothers helped her do it. They taught her new ways to love, new dreams to share, and offered her a new life that she never thought possible. Now is a time for celebration, and what better way than with a long-awaited family reunion, a homecoming that will bring together the entire Colter family and a few surprises no one anticipated. But first, there’s still something from Lily’s past she still needs to reconcile–even when all the while she is holding close to her heart a newfound secret that will change her future, forever enrich the Colter legacy, and make every promise come true. What VampBard’s talking about: While I haven’t read the first two books in Ms. Banks’ Colters’ Legacy series, I must admit that Ms. Banks did a pretty decent job filling in the blanks for readers new to her series.  I didn’t feel too lost, but there are some remaining questions.   I **really** liked Holly, Lily and Callie.  The appear to be strong female characters, and y’all know how I like the strong women!  Seems as though each of them have struggled through a rough time in their lives, they’ve come out no worse for wear on the other side.  Looks like they’re pretty competent at pulling others through rough times, as well.  It also looks as though they really like to take care of their men.  That’s where it gets a bit non-traditional.   The Colter brothers – senior – appear to completely dote on Holly.    They seem to be totally OK with the lifestyle they’ve chosen, which happens to be three brothers sharing one wife.  Hrm.  OK.  Interestingly enough, their SONS share one wife as well.  The Colter brothers – junior – also dote on their wife, Lily.  These husbands seem to be very intuitive and nurturing when it comes to their wives.   So.  The plot.  The conflict seemed to center around Lily finding out she was pregnant, Holly’s appendicitis, and Callie dealing with her sister-in-law’s abuse at the hands of someone she loved.  Nothing earth-shattering.  Nothing that isn’t normal, every-day life.    I can relate to every one of...
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Review: Under the Same Sky

Review: Under the Same Sky Under the Same Sky Author: Genevieve Graham  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade ISBN: 978-0425245233 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       The year is 1746. A young woman from South Carolina and a Scottish Highlander share an intimacy and devotion beyond their understanding. They’ve known each other their entire lives.  And yet they have never met.        Maggie Johnson has been gifted with “the Sight” ever since she was a child. Her dreams bring her visions of the future, and of a presence she knows is real. She calls him Wolf, and has seen him grow alongside her from a careless young boy into a fearsome warrior. And when her life is torn asunder by unspeakable tragedy, he is her only hope.       Andrew MacDonnell is entranced by the vision of a beautiful woman who has always dwelt in his dreams. When war ravages his land and all he has ever known, he leaves the Scottish Highlands on a perilous journey to the New World to find her, knowing that their only chance of survival is with one another.       Their quest to find each other across a treacherous wilderness will test the limits of courage and endurance, guided only by their dreams–and by the belief in the true love they share. What VampBard’s talking about:       Under the Same Sky didn’t really feel like historical fiction.  There was actually a paranormal element that drew me in, kept me guessing.  Normally, I’m not one for historical romance.  However, Ms. Graham chose to use a Scottish Highlander as her hero.  I never turn down a man in a kilt!       Maggie was a strong heroine.  Warning:  she goes through some tough situations that can trigger emotional responses.  I liked the way she bounced back from some terrible stuff.  I also enjoyed the way she integrated with her special ‘skills’ into the Cherokee lifestyle.       Andrew was one helluva Highlander Warrior.  The battle scenes were well-described, and I felt as though I could hear the clash of swords and the smell of blood.       I think Ms. Graham did a great job with description.  Sometimes, however, I felt she went beyond what was necessary for the reader to understand where the characters were physically & emotionally.  For my tastes, there was too much side story...
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Review: Arrow to the Heart

Review: Arrow to the Heart Arrow to the Heart Author: Arlene Webb  Release Date: Feb. 8, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Genre: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Dr. Cu has no doubt that love at first sight happens only in fairytales. He knows intimately that it takes a unique blend of chemicals to force two hearts to beat as one. A world-renowned player, he’s accepted his fate. As a God of Love, he’s doomed to remain lonely. But when he opens his eyes and his gaze takes in a woman in need of assistance, he’s shocked to find himself falling, exactly like his many victims. Naturally, when an arrogant legend is smitten, happiness comes at a price. Cu must fight the powerful Goddess of Love, his controlling mother, in order to protect the mortal who’s captured his fancy. When his love betrays him, Cu learns how hard a God can hit rock bottom. If he can’t put down the bow and wrap his hand around humility and forgiveness, his destined love will remain a myth. What I’m talking about: Dr. Cu is an renowned psychologist with an uncanny knack for bringing two people together and finding love. The story opens with Dr. Cu interviewing a female police officer who has killed off one too many bad guys when not necessary. It is evident from her reactions upon seeing his identity that not only is Dr. Cu infamous, but so is his socialite mother. What no one seems to know is that Dr. Cu is also apparently Cupid, and he uses a bow and arrow to make his perfect matches. However, the one perfect match he can never make is his own. The premise of Cupid as a psychologist and matchmaker in the real world is fun. His parents – Goddess of Love and God of War, are equality notorious, but for what I’m not entirely certain. What is unclear (and I guess not that important) is if the humans around them know there are “fallen” gods, or if they just think these people are wealthy, famous celebrities. The story was a take-it-or-leave-it for me. Since it is a novella, I read the whole thing; however, had it been a full-length novel, I probably would have DNF. The premise of the story is entertaining – Cupid sets up couples all of the time, but is destined to never have a love for himself. Of course, he finally finds the...
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Review: The House on Butterfly Way

Review: The House on Butterfly Way Please welcome Angela, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  The House on Butterfly Way Author: Elizabeth Bevarly  Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade ISBN: #978-0425245347 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Once upon a time, in Manitou Hills, there was a home so radiant and vivacious it was christened with its own name: Fleurissant. Now it’s in ruins, forgotten and neglected-except by a woman who sees her own life reflected in the broken windows of that house on Butterfly Way…  As a child, from afar, Eugenie Dashner loved Fleurissant and the elegant, youthful fantasies it provided. Now, with a failed marriage behind her, a troubled son at her side, and a contentious and bitter mother to care for, Eugenie returns to the Louisville neighborhood of Manitou Hills to fulfill a dream: buy and renovate the house that once meant so much to her, and maybe, in the process, rebuild her own life.  Day by day, as the house reveals more and more of its forgotten beauty, Eugenie sees her dream come to fruition-especially when the attentions of two men help to reawaken in her feelings of romance and passion she thought were gone forever. As she navigates her rediscovered emotions, Eugenie comes to realize that there is no such thing as irreparable damage-not in herself, not in the house on Butterfly Way, and not in the family who now calls it home…  What Ang is talking about: I wanted to love this book. The title had me intrigued, the write up on the back cover sounded promising, and the prologue totally pulled me in with its picturesque description and sweet reminiscence. The first chapter started strong continuing with its strong visual descriptions. I enjoyed the emotion that we felt with the various characters, but like in many races the strongest start does not mean a big finish. Such was the case with The House on Butterfly Way. The characters are likable enough, slightly flawed as all the best characters are, but their strengths never completely make up for those flaws. Eugenie is at best wishy-washy. She begins the novel totally enraptured with the high schools feelings for her brother’s best friend, but when given the opportunity to take the relationship to the next level she leaves him, sitting on the porch swing alone. Something I could totally understand if it had been addressed, but it never is. They have one date and then ice cubes. There isn’t even any internal dialogue telling us how she gets from “oh...
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