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Jul
24

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews Gunmetal Magic Author: Ilona Andrews  Release Date: July 31, 2012 Publisher: ACE Kate Daniels #5.5 ISBN: #978-0425256138 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs*), e-book *includes novella, Magic Gifts Book Source: Publisher About the book:      After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.      When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world… What I’m talking about:      Note: although the book is 434 pages, Gunmetal Magic is only 326 pages, and the rest of the book (108 pages) is the novella, “Magic Gifts”, which is told from Kate’s POV and overlaps in time with some of Gunmetal Magic. “Magic Gifts” was offered as a free novella on the authors’ website in December 2011, and our review is HERE.      When I found out that Ilona Andrews was going to write a book in her Kate Daniels series from the POV of Kate’s best friend, Andrea, I was SOOOOO excited. Andrea and Raphael were my introduction to the Kate Daniels world via the novella, “Magic Mourns” found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. I’ve held a soft spot in my heart for the couple since the start, and boy have they had some tough times lately.      Andrea is a hyena-shifter (bouda), but she had a father that was an animal who turned human, making her a “beastkin.” Most beastkins are killed immediately; however, Andrea was kept around to be tortured for entertainment purposes by her sadistic pack. Once she escaped her clan, she dedicated her life to the Order – protecting mankind from the magic that has taken over the Earth. The only thing – she had to hide her true self, so when the Order discovered Andrea was a shifter, she was “retired.” Andrea went into hiding, and Raphael apparently moved on. Let’s just say the opening of this book not only...
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Jul
17

Review: Opal Moon by Ann Mayburn

Review: Opal Moon by Ann Mayburn Opal Moon Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: June 6, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Prides of the Moon #6 1 Night Stand Series ISBN: #978-1613333129 Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book:      Burdened by heartache, werepuma Alpha Giselle seeks the complete release only offered by a night of sexual abandonment in the arms of a couple selected by the 1 Night Stand matchmaking service. Unable to fully bond with her gay male beta, Noah, she has been starved for affection and hopes that the mysterious couple can keep up with her sensual demands.      Inara and her husband of over a thousand years, Theron, are traveling through the human world, seeking out those that are in need of Inara’s special fay gift. Inara is a sorrow eater. She takes the grief of others and replaces it with joy. Giselle is in desperate need of Inara’s healing touch after the death of her sister and the rejection of her beta. Together they will try to fill each other’s needs and desires, but only if Giselle will once again open her heart to the greatest force in the universe, love. What B is talking about:      Giselle is a strong, sexy werepuma who knows what she wants in a lover. But her heart aches for a connection she can’t have, and being linked to her beta’s happiness when she can’t share it is threatening them both. They have one chance to find a way to make their bond work, or they’ll have to part ways forever, leaving her on her own again. Being an Alpha shouldn’t be so hard.      Inara and Theron are ancient fay who travel the human world seeking out those who are lonely and in pain so that Inara can help them with her special gift. As a “sorrow eater” she is able to feed from the suffering of others and turn it into joy. With a sexual hunger to match the werepuma Alpha’s head on, she and Theron are exactly what Giselle needs to help her feel love again.      I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of Ms. Mayburn’s 1 Night Stand contributions, and her “Cat” titles are among my favorites in the series. The werepumas are highly sexual creatures, often seeking out pleasure in pairs or more, as is the case with Opal Moon. Sex is an essential component of their makeup, so Giselle’s...
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Jul
13

Review: My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan

Review: My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan My Lady Mage Author: Alexis Morgan  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Warriors of the Mist #1 ISBN: #978-0451237446 Genre: Fantasy, Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.      It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist-cursed by the gods-can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption-lest they face an eternity of damnation.      Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river’s edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear-including her heart. What I’m talking about:      Lady Merewen’s family possesses a good magic that allows them to “communicate” with and care for the horses of the land. This gift provides the family and keep with a secure financial status. Their talent is passed to one member of each generation, and that family member is head of the household. However, when Merewen’s father passed away, her evil Uncle Fagan stepped in and was awarded custody over the keep. His greed and desire for power has corrupted many men in the keep, and Fagan’s neglect as all but broken the manor. After finding an ancient text that promises the help of the Warriors of the Mist, Merewen dares a trip to the River of the Damned to call upon the gods. And the gods answer her call by sending the fabled warriors to aid her.      The mythology of My Lady Mage isn’t one hundred percent original, however it’s different enough to make the story interesting. The world-building is subtle yet complete, drawing me in over the course of the book. The setting is similar to the historical lands of England, with god-sent immortal warriors in a river instead of a Lady in the Lake and King Arthur. Each of the five warriors have secrets and stories to share that will be divulged as the series progresses.    ...
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Jul
12

Review: Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine

Review: Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine Liquid Lies Author: Hanna Martine  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Series: Elementals #1 ISBN: #978-0425257241 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Magic is Corporate America’s best-kept secret       Gwen possesses the unique ability to pick up any language in an instant—a power that will globally expand the profitable family business. As dutiful future leader of her race of water elementals, she’ll do anything to protect her people’s secrets and bloodlines—including enter an arranged marriage. Inside, however, she yearns for forbidden human men.       Reed is a mercenary addicted to the money and adrenaline rush of his work. After he inadvertently saves Gwen’s life, he ignites her taboo desire for men without magic—and with bodies of gods. Just as things heat up, Reed discovers that Gwen is exactly who he’s been hired to kidnap. He resolves to put work before lust, yet her luscious beauty and fiery spirit unravel him…       But there is a terrible truth behind Gwen’s family business—and now, caught between the kinsmen she no longer trusts and an enemy bent on vengeance, the only ally she has is her abductor…  What G & U are talking about:      Liquid Lies is the debut novel not only in the new Elementals series but for Ms. Hanna Martine as well. This new world is fascinating and thoroughly intriguing.      Ms. Martine combines elements of the paranormal with science fiction and weave it seamless into a romance simply titled, Liquid Lies.  This is a new and fascinating world.  The existence of the Secondaries (those not native to the Earth) among the Primaries (native humans) and their elemental abilities are interesting.  The complicated hierarchy of their secret society and how they have blended into the modern world is truly captivating.  The history of Gwen’s people is intriguing including the war between her people, the Ofarians, and their sworn enemy, the Tedrans.  Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of layers to this world, but the talent is in how Ms. Martine has been able to weave it together into something so completely fresh and new.      Gikany and Una enjoyed the chemistry between Gwen and Reed.  Their attraction was fiery. The give and take in Liquid Lies and the ever-breathing overshadowing of deceit added wonderful elements to enrich the plot. Their situation was unique and we enjoyed the character development that...
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Jul
10

Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price Grave Memory Author: Kalayna Price  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Roc Alex Craft #3 ISBN: #978-0451464590 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen… As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.  But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all… What G & U are talking about: The third book in the Alex Craft series, Grave Memory continues to thicken the tension in poor Alex’s love life and showcases her ever-changing identity.  Ms. Price did not disappoint, and upon finishing this latest installment, Gikany and Una are simply writhing with the implications of the ending! As the novel opens, Alex is trying to fulfill her young dream of opening an office with her best friend, Rianna, Tongues of the Dead Investigations.  Alex is trying to come to terms with the ramifications revealed at the completion of the last novel, Grave Dance, and with it, the distance that now exists not only between her and Death, but also with Falin Andrews.  If you thought Alex’s love life could not get more complicated and confusing…just you wait!  Ms. Price proves that anything, absolutely anything, is possible. Although some secrets come to life through the course of Grave Memory, not all mysteries about Alex and her friends are revealed or resolved.  Gikany and Una were transfixed with the course of the plot.  Ms. Price wove a spell-bounding tale that is gripping,...
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Jul
6

Quickie Review: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells

Quickie Review: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells Dead Calm Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: June 4, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #4 ISBN: #978-1426893889 Genre: Mystery, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.       Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun—a killer who may strike again… What I’m talking about:       The story opens with our reluctant hero, Dylan Scott, having a late night run in with the irritable woman staying in the cabin next to his aboard the cruise ship, Midnight Sun. Much to his (and everyone else) surprise, the miserable old woman, Hanna Larsen, is found dead the next morning in her cabin. Everyone assumes it was her heart problems and the stress of traveling that caused her death, but Dylan’s inner private eye sees it differently, especially after he knows he heard someone leaving her cabin at 3:00 AM. Soon Dylan has a fairly long list of suspects and is determined to prove there is more going on than appears.       Once again, Ms. Wells offers a wonderful whodunit with the most lovable Dylan Scott. Dead Calm has all of the ingredients that make each of the full-length Dylan Scott Mysteries engrossing and exciting. Even in this shortened format, the mystery is packed with viable suspects, multiple points-of-view, and a few surprising twists.       I have really grown to love Dylan over the course of reading three (of four) of his stories. He is truly a likable guy – he’s an average “joe,” complete with his own flaws and bad habits. He is annoyed by his mother, doesn’t want to be on this trip, and is obsessed with a dead woman, yet we know he loves his family and does what he can to make them happy. I enjoy reading his point-of-view and seeing how he works out the mystery. I find that I am always trying to solve the case before he does. And...
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Jul
3

Review: Goddess in the Middle by Stephanie Julian

Review: Goddess in the Middle by Stephanie Julian Goddess in the Middle Author: Stephanie Julian  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Forgotten Goddesses #3 ISBN: #978-1402251535 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Romance, m-f-m Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      TOGETHER. THEY CREATE THE MOST POWERFUL MAGIC OF ALL …      Romulus and Remus are sexy werewolf cousins with an unbreakable bond. When they meet beautiful goddess Amity and save her from an encroaching demon, they discover that the three of them together are way more powerful than any of them could ever have imagined.  And they’re going to need that power to overcome the forces that are determined to steal Amity’s magic and destroy the two men.      As different as night and day, and each an amazing man in his own right, Rom and Remy make all of Amity’s deepest fantasies come true … What I’m talking about:      The third book in Ms. Julian’s Forgotten Goddesses series opens with Amity Monroe letting off some steam with a coworker at a local bar. Amity is also known by some as Munthukh, the Etruscan Goddess of Health. Amity continues to use her dwindling powers for healing as a medical aesthetician – helping cancer patients and burn victims regain some of their physical appearance. It’s at this bar that cousins Rom and Remy catch the eye of Amity, and she decides it’s time to have some fun.      Rom and Remy are magical lucani – wolf shifters – on the run for years ever since their families were killed by the evil Mal (think paranormal crime family). While they are meant to fulfill some sort of prophecy, Rom and Remy only want revenge and the opportunity to kill the demon that murdered their families. Knowing that the demon is after Amity, they decide to spend time with her, hoping for a chance to avenge their family.      First of all, I want to say that Goddess in the Middle is not only the HOTTEST book in Ms. Julian’s series to date, but also the best. It is an exciting and sexy romance, full of action, emotion, and danger. I breezed through this story – hardly putting it down.      The sexual chemistry between Amity, Remy and Rom was spectacular. But it was more than that… not only was their relationship incredibly hot–from m/f pairings to full-on menage sex–it was more than sex… it was emotion....
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Jun
29

Review: Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine

Review: Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine Hunter and Fox Author: Philippa Ballantine  Release Date: June 26, 2012 Publisher: Pyr Shifted World #1 ISBN: #978-1616146238 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (340 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plains, and then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power. However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it.      Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength. Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret. He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn. He knows the danger and is yet drawn to her. Their fates will be bound together.      Meanwhile, the Hunter’s lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli. He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn. The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne. What I’m talking about:      Hunter and Fox is a true fantasy and with that comes a complex new world full of magic and inhabited by beings with an array of abilities. Key to the story are are: 1) the primary heroine, Talyn the Dark (think Xena).  She is Caisah’s bounty hunter. She is Vaerli, a once powerful race with seven magical gifts, to include the ability to “move and see” through time.  2) The bad guy, Caisah, ruler of Conhaero. His power is supreme and his sanity borders on madness. He has broken the once powerful Vaerli, stealing their powers and making Talyn his killer.  3) The understated hero, Finbarr (Finn) the Fox. He is a talespinner with a gift for storytelling. He follows Talyn with love in his heart, telling others the stories of the Vaerli, hoping to make a difference. 4) The...
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Jun
27

Review: For Your Eyes Only by Ann Mayburn

Review: For Your Eyes Only by Ann Mayburn For Your Eyes Only Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: May 24, 2012 Publisher: Honey Mountain Publishing Tales From the IWSS Book 1 ISBN: #978-1476097404 Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Amanda accepts an invite by the prestigious Institute for Women’s Sexual Satisfaction. Volunteering for their study means she must divulge her deepest, naughtiest fantasies and then act on them. But one wicked fantasy involves watching her boyfriend do something so intimate, so forbidden that she’s afraid he will refuse and may even break off their relationship.       Jared can’t believe his gorgeous girlfriend wants to see another woman take his anal virginity. But he wants to make her wildest fantasies come true, and maybe finally engage in some secret fantasies of his own…       Warning: This story contains a loving couple indulging in some very steamy fantasies including F/F kissing and light touching along with a deliciously naughty F/M/F pegging scene. What B is talking about:       What would it be like to make your hottest sexual fantasy come true in a safe environment, with no risks, and without hurting anyone? What if, even better, that fantasy was part of an experiment that would benefit women everywhere? Welcome to the Institute for Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, or the IWSS, for short.       The IWSS is an interesting home for these fantasies, mostly because its objective is so basic: to help a significant portion of the female population achieve sexual fulfillment through the exploration of individual fantasies. I think it’s much like the benefit the genre as a whole has the potential to provide, depending on the reader’s response.       Amanda and Jared are already devoted to one another, but she wants to push the edges of Jared’s comfort zone to include one particular fantasy she can’t let go of. He’s everything she could possibly want in a man, and definitely a “keeper,” but she’s convinced there’s room in their sexual relationship for more. Although, technically, For Your Eyes Only is about Amanda’s fantasy, both she and Jared get what they want from the endeavor.       The enactment of the fantasy itself is brief but extremely steamy, and Amanda ends up pushing her own boundaries, as well as putting Jared’s to the test. Ms. Mayburn doesn’t try to make the story more complicated than the exploration of a fantasy, leaving...
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Jun
25

Review: Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter

Review: Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter Wicked Nights Author: Gena Showalter  Release Date: June 26, 2012 Publisher: HQN Angels of the Dark #1 ISBN: #978-0373776986 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed too dangerous, too ruthless, and if he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his wings.  But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred… until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he’s never before known. Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her.  Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation—or her ultimate d***ation? What I’m talking about:      Wicked Nights is the first book in Ms. Showalter’s new Angels of the Dark series – a spin off from her wickedly delightful Lords of the Underworld series. The new series follows a group of desperate and dangerous angels, each whose status with the heavenly plane is in serious jeopardy. This “Army of Disgrace” is lead by Zacharel – a cold and unfeeling warrior angel we met in the LotU books. Due to his lack of compassion for life, Zacharel has displeased his Deity and has been assigned to lead this band of misfits – sharing their fate as his own. A true “all for one and one for all” situation.      Wicked Nights opens with sweet Annabelle waking from a wonderful dream on her eighteenth birthday, only to feel her eyes burning (and changing color) and witness her parents’ murder by a demon. She spends four years locked away, being horribly mistreated by both the demon and human population.      Zacharel’s army is charged with ridding the institution where Annabelle is locked up of the demons trying to break in. Curious to understand why the demons are there, he follows one to Annabelle. We learn that Annabelle is a high demon lord’s consort, and soon Zacharel cannot stop himself from wanting to help her.      This book throws the reader right into the thick of things. The opening chapters are raw and not for the light-hearted. When it appears Zacharel leaves Annabelle to be abused by her human doctors, I thought I couldn’t take...
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