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May
3

Review: Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

Review: Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel Authors: Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Harper Voyager Publishing Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1 ISBN: #978-0062049766 Genre: Steampunk Format(s): paperback (416 pgs), e-book   I received a copy of this book from the NETGALLEY for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:      These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s top-secret organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest…and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.      For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot…or see England fall to the Phoenix! What I’m talking about:      Agent Eliza Braun is one of those secret agents that always gives 100 percent, lives for the thrill, and always uses a bit more dynamite than necessary.  After completing a mission to save the Ministry’s Archivist, dashing Wellington Books, she is sent to work with Agent Books in the Archives. There she discovers countless abandoned and unsolved cases, including one that lead to the downfall of her previous partner.  Soon Ms. Braun has dragged the prim-and-proper Agent Books into the middle of a far-reaching, diabolical plot against Her Majesty.      Phoenix Rising is a well-written amazing adventure. The plot unfolds at just the right pace, leaving me at the edge of my seat throughout much of the tale. The story is smart and the characters witty. The steampunk world created in this tale is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes or the movie The Prestige. (For those still unfamiliar with “steampunk,” the authors have a wonderful post you can read HERE.)      Agents Eliza Braun and Wellington Books are the perfect duo. With her field experience, fighting capabilities and feisty attitude and his vast knowledge, keen interest in mechanisms and upper-crust breeding, they complement each other. They may not run like a...
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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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Apr
25

Review: Moonlight Temptation

Review: Moonlight Temptation Moonlight Temptation Author: Stephanie Julian  Release Date: January 2011 Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Lucani Lovers, Book 4 ISBN: #978-1419932885 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotica Format(s): E-book   I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:      Evie Simmons has magical powers she can’t control and her best friend is a 17-year-old werewolf. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t just so damn depressing. Add in the sexy shifter she can’t keep out of her mind and his hot-as-hell friend and it’s a recipe for disaster.      Dr. Dane Dimitriou knows Evie has had a hard time adjusting to her new life in the Etruscan magical community—as difficult as his denial of his feelings for her have been. But he’s got the perfect cure. His best friend, easygoing Ryan Maguire, is the complete opposite of stick-up-his-ass Dane. He can act as a buffer. Dane can get close, but not too close. Yeah, right.      These sexy men may be just what the doctor ordered.  What B is talking about:      Having been kidnapped, experimented on, and then acquiring some dangerous new powers she can’t control, Evangeline Simmons feels like she’s barely hanging on. To top that off, she’s got a serious crush on the Lucani doctor whose first encounter with her was extraordinarily unfortunate. While she’s sure he can’t stand her, her heart seems determined to want only him.      Ryan Maguire and Dane Dimitriou have been friends for years, and know each other better than anyone else ever could. But Dane’s plan to get Ryan to help Evie adjust to her new life, one in which he can deny how hard he’s fallen for her, backfires when both men realize she’s the only woman they’ll ever desire.      Moonlight Temptation was the most enjoyable of the Lucani Lovers series. I really liked Evie, and enjoyed seeing things work out so well for her. She too has had a difficult past and recent trauma, and she reminds me somewhat of Tamra from the first book in the series, Kiss of Moonlight. Rather than allow herself to be incapacitated by what she’s been through, Evie faces her new challenges and confronts her demons, and, ultimately, proves she’s someone others can depend on. Watching Evie get fierce was a lot of fun.      Dane and Ryan were good characters, too. They each have their own...
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Apr
23

Review: Navarro’s Promise

Review: Navarro’s Promise Navarro’s Promise Author: Lora Leigh  Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Breeds Series #24 ISBN: #978-0425239780 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book I purchased a copy of the book for my own reading pleasure. From the author’s website: In the wolf breed novel, NAVARRO’S PROMISE, Mica Toler’s best friend is the wolf/coyote hybrid breed, Cassie Sinclair. And now Mica is being drawn into her world in ways she had prayed she never would be when the charming wolf breed Navarro makes good on the promise he made her on a dark, explosive night.The Breeds guaranteed that no harm would come to Micah Toler but they never allowed for her sensual fascination with Navarro Blaine. Aloof, cool, and mysterious, he draws her in as no man ever has. But Micah never wanted this. She had her own dreams, her own desires, and being stalked and seduced by a wolf breed wasn’t part of that plan. Now she knows her life is in danger. What Navarro knows is that she’s his mate and that the breeding and training that created him is being peeled away in his desperation to claim a woman that refuses to be claimed. He has her body. She craves his touch. And as the breeds converge the past will rise up to haunt Navarro in ways he never expected. What I’m talking about:       Once again, I stress to you all… The Breeds Series is my guilty pleasure. You can read about my love in my recent review of the novella “Primal Kiss” HERE.       Chronologically, this story takes place after Styx’s Storm and the recent novella “Primal Kiss.”  The story focuses on Breed Enforcer, Navarro Blaine and human Mica Toler.  Mica grew up among the Breeds and is best friends with one of the Breed protected children, Cassie Sinclair.  Mica is now an adult, but has dreamed of and loved Navarro since she was 16. She guarded her emotions from him for years, but when the evil Phillip Brandenmore threatens her life, Mica and Navarro are thrown together in a dangerous fight for survival.       NOTE: due to some technical issues with the book, I have described a scene that may be slightly spoilerish. In addition, I have mentioned some things about the conclusion of the book that are spoilers.       I’m going to say right up front that this book was a...
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Apr
19

Quickie Review: "Primal Kiss"

Quickie Review: "Primal Kiss" “Primal Kiss” from the Anthology Primal Author: Lora Leigh  Release Date: February 1, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Breeds Series #23 ISBN: #978-0425239056 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Format(s): paperback, e-book I borrowed a copy of the book for my own reading pleasure. (thanks Mandi!) From the author’s website: When the bad boy lion breed, Creed Raines, crashes the family cabin while Pharmaceutical CEO Horace Engalls’ daughter is vacationing, it sets off a series of events that even Creed couldn’t have imagined beginning. Mating Heat blows sky high, hot and overwhelming, and reminding him of all the reasons he had fought to avoid it. Especially with the shy, though incredibly stubborn decidedly willful, much loved and cherished Engalls Princess, Kita Engalls. But for Jonas Wyatt it could be a blessing in disguise, because only Horace Engalls knows the true scope of Phillip Brandenmore’s evil. And only by holding Kita hostage to the truth Jonas demands, will it ever come to light. But can mating heat bloom and became the fiery tendrils of love when Kita suspects her breed has betrayed her? What I’m talking about:       Once again, I stress to you all… The Breeds Series is my guilty pleasure. Ms. Leigh writes some of the hottest erotic paranormal stories out there, and this novella is no exception! As an avid reader of this series, my review may not make sense to those of you that have not YET picked up this delicious series.       Chronologically, this story takes place after Styx’s Storm and prior to the recently released Navarro’s Promise (review later this week).  As with most of Ms. Leigh’s novellas, “Primal Kiss” contains key plot development for the overall story arc.  In this case, we find out more about Phillip Brandenmore and his evil plot to create a “fountain of youth” serum from mating Breed pairs. At risk, his niece, Kita Engalls, the unknown (at the time) mate of Breed Enforcer Creed Raines.  She is wanted by both the Breeds and purest-human groups as leverage to get knowledge from Brandenmore.       The pace of this story is quick. There are few bumps in the road and both Kita and Creed readily accept their lot as mates including all of the complications that come with the Breed mating hormone. The primary focus of the story is the romance between Kita and Creed, which is erotic and sensual. The story climaxes with a showdown between...
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Apr
11

Review: The Darkest Secret

Review: The Darkest Secret The Darkest Secret Author: Gena Showalter Release Date: March 29, 2011 Publisher: HQN Books Lords of the Underworld #7 ISBN: #978-0373335491 Genre: paranormal romance Format(s): paperback (416 pgs), e-book I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading pleasure.   From the author’s website:       Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when new demons possess him, the immortal warrior must be chained and isolated to protect those he loves. Death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty….        Haidee is an infamous demon assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her. What I’m talking about:       Well, I have been living in a hole for the past several months AND I have been avoiding snippets and reviews of The Darkest Secret, so I was FLOORED when I found out that Amun’s mate is Haidee – I thought for sure she was Strider’s girl after the conclusion of the sixth LotU book, The Darkest Lie. Okay… so if you haven’t read the series, that means nothing to you, but I had to get that out there! (For a brief tutorial on this series, please see THIS POST I wrote last year.)       The Darkest Secret opens shortly after (a few weeks?) the conclusion of The Darkest Lie, with the Keeper of Defeat, Strider, bringing home his “prize,” Hunter Haidee – the same woman that decapitated the Lords’ friend and fellow demon, Baden. When Strider returns to the stronghold, he is shocked to find his home overrun with Angels and that his friend, Amun, Keeper of Secrets, has been possessed by numerous minion demons while on a recent trip to hell (again, see the previous book). Amun is so far gone, that he  is hurting himself and contaminates the space around him with an evil presence.       While Amun is trapped by the demons in his own mind, he senses a sweetness that calms him – Haidee. He knows all about her (his demon, Secrets, uncovers the truth) and mentally calls out to her. Once they are together, the...
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Apr
6

Review: Lover Unleashed

Review: Lover Unleashed Lover Unleashed Author: JR Ward  Release Date: March 29, 2011 Publisher: NAL Hardcover Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book #9 ISBN: # 978-0451233165 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Hardcover (512 pgs), e-book   G & U purchased a copy of this book for the purposes of their own enjoyment. Twimom borrowed the book from her local library. From the author’s website:      Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother:  A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.        When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world.  Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.      As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy. What Gikany & Una are talking about:      Gikany and Una were waiting with baited breath for this latest installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  The “WARDen” did not disappoint in Payne’s book, Lover Unleashed.      Gikany loved the introduction of Xcor (pronounced in her head as “Score”).  Unlike the introduction of Lash, the Omega, Mr. X, etc, as the antagonist, he appears, for lack of better term, human.  He is complicated and not just evil, being capable of change.  Xcor’s interactions with Payne highlighted his honor and his ability to hold to a set of moral beliefs.  However, Una still can’t believe his name is Xcor (pronounced in her head as “Core”) after it seems the WARDen received so much grief about her overuse of the word core in her previous novels.  Just like the controversy over the pronunciation of Xhex (as the WARDen says, “Hex” and the rest of us that thought “Sex” until an interview with her on the web cleared this up).      Una enjoyed the pace of the novel.  Unlike in John Matthew’s book...
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Mar
28

ARC Review: Eternal Rider

ARC Review: Eternal Rider Eternal Rider Author: Larissa Ione  Release Date: March 29, 2011 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Lords of Deliverance Book #1 ISBN: #978-0446574495 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): paperback (432 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:       They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.       His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.       Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can’t-or won’t-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman’s safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara’s life. What I’m talking about:       Although new, the Lords of Deliverance series is set in Ms. Ione’s amazing DEMONICA world.  Many of the characters and locations from her previous series are present and active participants of this new book. The mythology and rules follow suit.  It’s a great continuation for fans of the Demonica series, but it’s also a wonderful place to “jump in” if you are new to Ms. Ione’s work.       The series centers around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill retelling.  Ms. Ione creates here own version of these biblical characters, two of which made an appearance in Larissa’s fifth Demonica Series book, Sin Undone. In fact, this book takes place shortly after the conclusion of Sin Undone.        Eternal Rider features the second horseman, Ares aka “War.” He is over 5,000 years old and has been living a fairly quite existence along side his sister and brothers after being cursed to carry the Seals of Armageddon. In Sin Undone, the Seal of the first horseman, Pestilence, broke, turing Ares’ fun-loving brother into a pure evil demon hell-bent on breaking the Seals of his siblings, therefore bringing about the end of days.  Each horseman has an “Achilles heel” that can cause his/her Seal to break. For Ares, it happens...
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Mar
25

Review: Edge of Moonlight

Review: Edge of Moonlight Edge of Moonlight Author: Stephanie Julian Release Date: May, 2010 Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing Lucani Lovers Series Book 3 ISBN: #978-1419927911 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotica Format(s): Ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:      Etruscan wolf shifter Kaine Giliati has longed for John Simmons since he willingly agreed to wipe all memory of her from his mind. The pain in her heart is only magnified by terror—the ability to call her wolf appears to have deserted her, as well.      For months after he and his sister escaped a crazed kidnapper, John has been dreaming about a beautiful woman he’s never met but who seems so familiar. A woman he’s shocked to find in a dark bar one night. A woman who agrees to come back to his apartment for raw, passionate sex.      One erotic, stolen night reopens old wounds, uncovers buried memories and sets Kaine and John on a path filled with danger, magic and potential heartbreak. What B is talking about:      Kaine Gillati is supposed to be one of the strongest of her kind. She is “Sicari”—an elite assassin for the king of the Lucani himself. Now she’s faced with a new discovery about her family that could cost her the only home she’s ever known. John Simmons is determined to protect and shelter his sister and avenge her kidnapping. But when the woman of his dreams becomes real, he learns that nothing is as it seems, and the fight to hold on to her may be his toughest yet.      Edge of Moonlight is another enjoyable installment in the Lucani Lovers series. The stories continue to build on one another as the plot becomes more engaging. Julian stays with what has worked in the other books in the series and uses the conflict, and eventual resolution, Kaine and John face as part of the larger story, while keeping the other characters she’s introduced relevant in the process.      Kaine and John have several very sexy encounters during the course of Edge of Moonlight. Rather than making their sexual discovery one of delicate appreciation turned to passion, or the acceptance of multiple partners, as in the first two novels in the series, these two practically collide with one another in near frenzies, both unable and unwilling to miss any opportunity they find to connect...
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Mar
22

ARC Review: Magic on the Hunt

ARC Review: Magic on the Hunt Magic on the Hunt Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Roc Allie Beckstrom Series #6  ISBN: #978-0451463913 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book I received a ARC copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:       There aren’t many girls who can say they’ve gone into the realm of death and lived to tell the tale. But to restore her lover Zayvion’s soul, Allison Beckstrom had to pay a bitter price–and things are about to get worse….       It turns out the leader of the Authority, the council that decides what can–and can’t–be done with magic, is being held hostage. But when the trail leads Allie and Zayvion to the secret prison where the Authority locks away magical criminals who are too dangerous to be held anywhere else, they find more than they bargained for. An undead magic user has possessed one of the prisoners, and he wants his freedom–and then some. Now Allie and Zayvion are the first line of defense against the chaos he’s about to unleash on the city of Portland…. What Una is talking about:       Sadly, I am writing this review on my own.  Poor Gikany is ONLY on book 2 and will not, hmmm, corrupt herself by skipping ahead to read this one.  So it is my pleasure to read and review this book for all of you (and Gikany) because she has already been sucked into this refreshing series and it’s driving her nuts that I know what’s happening….*grins evilly* ***Please note that if you haven’t read the whole series, there may be spoilers in the following review.  You have been WARNED!       After finishing book 5, Magic at the Gate, I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of this book.  Ms. Monk does not disappoint with this fascinating urban fantasy.  We pick up a few days after the previous book ends.  It seems that Zay and Allie have had a much deserved break and rest.  However, that break is short lived once Dane enters her home, knocks out Zay and shoots Allie.  He does this to force her father, whose soul still stubbornly resides in her body, to reveal where Sedra is being held by Jingo Jingo.       Magic on the Hunt has an explosive beginning and a faster pace than the previous novels.  I was completely...
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