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Apr
26

Review: Silent Witness

Review: Silent Witness Silent Witness Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: March 5, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #3 Genre: Mystery/Suspense Format(s): e-book, audio Book Source: Author About the book:       After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.       Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to peruse the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect – the victim’s second husband – has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.       The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did? What I’m talking about:       Dylan Scott, ex-police officer and current private investigator, is looking into the murder of Carly Walsingham. Currently, her ex-husband, Alek Kaminski is serving time for her death, but he claims innocence. Alek’s parents (along with current wife, Sue) have hired Dylan to discover the truth and get Alek out of jail. Among the list of suspects: Carly’s second husband: Dr. Neil Walsingham, Jamie Tinsley: a vet at Sue’s animal shelter, Neil’s current mistress: Megan Cole and Neil’s former mistress: Sonia Trueman. Although all evidence points to Alek’s guilt, Dylan Scott is compelled to take the case.       This is my second Dylan Scott Mystery and once again, I am captivated! Ms. Wells has a knack for story-telling that keeps me on my toes and fully engaged until the very end! One of the best things about this story (and series) is that it is told from multiple points of view. This not only gives the reader insight into Dylan’s sleuthing, but paints a different portrait of the victim and events depending on who’s doing the thinking. I never really knew who was guilty until the very end. It is a very effective and suspenseful way to present the story.       Second, I adore Dylan Scott. He is a reluctant “hero,” who is human and flawed, but a good...
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Apr
25

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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Apr
21

Spoilers Beware!

Spoilers Beware! I normally like to run a spoiler-free blog here at THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. We try to tell you what we think about a book without giving away key plot points. Recently I read a book that I enjoyed, but something happened near the end that bothered me. I want to talk about it, but it would be giving away MAJOR spoilers if I did. I saw over at SMEXYBOOKS a cool little plug in that allowed Mandi to write about key plot points that each reader could choose to read or not read. I loved it! After digging around on google I found something similar. I wanted to try it out and see if it works. Can you please let me know what you think? If you were reading a review on my site and I wanted to have a spoiler text I would do like so… This is where I hide text that would be considered spoilers. So you *SHOULD* only see it if you WANT to see it and can skip it otherwise. Did it work for you? Did you see this text without hitting the spoiler button? Or was it visible all the time? Spoilers So did it work for you? I need feedback before I use it live! I would love your feedback. ALSO What do you think about spoilers in reviews? Do you read them? Do you like them? Do you avoid reviews with spoilers? I found this code for a spoiler button HERE. ETA: So we discovered that this does NOT work with RSS feeds – if I put a big warning at the top of the post *BEWARE* if you are reading from an RSS feed you will see spoilers – would that be sufficient? Or would you get upset if you were reading from a feed reader? Also – what about those who subscribe via email… what do you...
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Apr
12

Review: Shadow’s Fall

Review: Shadow’s Fall Shadow’s Fall Author: Dianne Sylvan  Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: Ace Novel of the Shadow World #3 ISBN: #978-1937007386 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (325 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      For three years, Miranda Grey-Solomon has kept her role as vampire Queen of the South separate from her Grammy-winning music career. But now, her dual lives are starting to collide, threatening everything Miranda and David, her Prime, have worked for.      To make matters worse, the entire Signet Council has descended upon Austin for its ten-year summit, bringing with it Prime James Hart of the Northeast, a sworn enemy come to take his revenge on those who defied him. As Hart’s machinations lead to outbreaks of violence across the South, Miranda and David receive an unexpected offer of help from David’s sire, an ancient and powerful vampire with knowledge that may be their salvation – or their doom. What G & U are talking about:      Shadow’s Fall is the third book in the Shadow World series. There is so much that happens in this book, well in the later half, that Gikany and Una are still stunned.      We start off three years after the previous book, Shadowflame, ended.  Miranda and David have been working on their relationship and Miranda’s career has started to take off.  In this book, her two lives – Queen of the Shadows and Rock Star start to pull her apart.  There are those who oppose Miranda’s very public career and are trying to stop her.  All of this is overshadowed by an old prophecy that could bring a new beginning or an end to the reign of the primes.      Let’s start off by saying we love this world.  We enjoy the politics and the main characters.  Miranda, David, Jonathon, Deven, Cora and Faith are a great group of people.  It’s wonderful to see them and watch them interact.  The cliffhanger ending has us both gnawing our fingernails off.  It is so abrupt and filled with such vague and vital consequences that we just HAVE to KNOW what happens next!      The novel starts out a bit slow. The book is separated into two parts: part one is the setup and part two is truly the meat of the book. We kept waiting for something to happen but we had to wait until we hit part two.  The novel seems to have...
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Apr
11

Review: Want

Review: Want Want Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: Jan. 16, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing 1 Night Stand Series ISBN: #978-1613331966 Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, M/M Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Construction foreman Cody McPherson always considered himself as straight as they come. That is until he finds himself falling for the handsome stonemason, Sam Denham, who constantly occupies his thoughts. He wants Sam, badly, and can’t get the man out of his mind. Worse yet, he isn’t even sure if Sam is gay. When he finds out that Sam has signed up with a dating service searching for a guy who looks exactly like him Cody is even more eager, and confused than before.      Sam can’t believe that he’s developed a huge crush on his obviously straight co-worker. Even worse, the job that allowed him to see Cody on an almost daily basis has ended and he desperately misses his buddy in a way that goes far beyond just friendship. In an effort to soothe his aching heart and body, he tries to get a blind date with someone like Cody so he can pretend for just one night that he holds Cody in his arms.      When Cody himself shows up as Sam’s blind date, he is at once elated and afraid of having his heart broken by just another straight guy looking to sample the gay life. He wants to be so much more than Cody’s 1Night Stand and if he’s given the chance, Sam will do anything to prove that love doesn’t discriminate based on gender. What B is talking about:      Want is a sweet, delightfully erotic short story that is a perfect addition to the 1 Night Stand series. I absolutely adored reading about Sam and Cody. Both are grown, successful, down-to-earth men who are strong enough to pursue what they want, yet have lived enough to doubt that they will find it. While both have had experiences with the opposite sex (to vastly different degrees), they want each other and no one else.      Sexually, Sam and Cody are hot. Despite a somewhat awkward walk to the elevator in the beginning, Mayburn doesn’t waste much time with a drawn out learning curve for these men. Instead, she gives their mutual desire, curiosity, and enthusiasm free reign. They are well matched and willing, the attraction they feel for one another having already built to roar during...
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Apr
11

Review: A Hint of Frost

Review: A Hint of Frost A Hint of Frost Author: Hailey Edwards   Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Publishing Araneae Nation, Book #1 ISBN: (ASIN) B0065TF8Q6 Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.       Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.       Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.        Warning: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold. What VampBard’s talking about:       A Hint of Frost, the newest title in Ms. Edward’s catalogue, begins the Aranea Nation series.  Lots of great world-building going on in this title. If you’re into conspiracy theories, dragons, and alternate universe beings, this is a series you’ll want to get into from square one!       Spider people.  Whoda thunk…  I wasn’t even the slightest bit creeped out, either!  When Lourdes, the new ‘Queen’ of Araneidae learns of the death of her parents, she snaps into action.  She seems to be one of those people that’s able to compartmentalize and get done what needs doing.  No matter what the cost is to herself.  After all, she’s the leader of her people, and she needs to do whatever she can...
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Apr
6

Review: Protector’s Mate

Review: Protector’s Mate Protector’s Mate Author: Katie Reus  Release Date: April 1, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Nocturnal Cravings Genre: Paranormal Romance, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       After two years in a war zone, werewolf Felicia Serna has finally returned to find another pack has taken over her territory…and the new second-in-command is the very man who haunts her fantasies.       Alaric has wanted Felicia from the moment he laid eyes on her, and now he’s ready to claim her. When a threatening shifter begins stalking them, he’s determined to protect her…even if it means putting his seduction on hold. But even in the heat of danger, their red-hot passion cannot be denied. What I’m talking about:       Felicia is a wolf shifter that was betrayed and hurt by her own pack. She fled overseas to use her nursing skills in a war zone. After her service is up, she sneaks back home, hoping to make a quiet life for herself. Alaric, second command of Felicia’s new pack, has lusted after Felicia for years – always keeping a distance since she was too young to commit to the mating call. (We meet Alaric in the first book, Destined Mate.) Knowing that he cannot live without Felicia, he picks her up at the airport, and the pair come under attack.       This second novella in Ms. Reus’s unnamed shifter series starts of with a bang and keeps going. Without the need of much world-building (although you don’t need to read first novella), Protector’s Mate jumps right into the romance between Alaric and Felicia. We learn about the current situation and the characters’ pasts organically – either through scene building or since we are privy to both Alaric and Felicia’s point-of-view, we get insight into their pasts via internal thought process. The story flows smoothly, which is critical for a novella-length story.       Basically they both lust for the other. I love that Alaric has known from the moment he met Felicia that she was his mate, but he held off claiming her or bringing her to his pack because of her age (19). He didn’t trust himself not to claim her, so gave her space. So swoon-worthy. I was instantly invested in the couple and enjoyed reading how they let go of their pasts to move forward together.       The couple comes together so perfectly. Their first kiss...
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Apr
4

Review: Untouched

Review: Untouched Untouched Author: Sara Humphreys   Release Date: April 3, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Amoveo Legend #2 ISBN: #9781402258466 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       From the outside, Kerry Smithson appears to have it all — beauty, brains, money, and fame. However, Kerry harbors a crippling secret. One touch will tell her your deepest secrets and cause her mind-numbing pain. Adept at avoiding even the lightest of touches, isolation and loneliness has become her way of life. However, her world is turned upside down from the moment she encounters the disarmingly handsome Dante Coltari. Little does she know that Dante harbors a secret of his own. One that would change the course of their lives and intertwine their fates, forever. What G & U are talking about:       Untouched was a well-woven and nicely paced story.  Gikany and Una enjoyed this second novel in the Amoveo Legacy.  It has some humor and very touching moments.  The action and mystery were a pleasant addition to the romance and we are already discussing whose story is next.       Dante and Kerry make a wonderful couple.  They are able to laugh at not only themselves but also each other.  There is only one moment that we found frustrating: Dante goes through the mating ceremony without telling Kerry.  Once complete, she asks him what he said…and she finds out they are mated.  This really bothered us. It does, however, go with her snarky comments throughout the story that refer to Dante as a Neanderthal.  We just felt that Kerry should have been a little more upset, or angry about his actions.       We enjoyed seeing Malcom and Sam again and enjoyed their part in this story.  Although we are not sure of the next pairing, we hope to see more of Malcom, Sam, Kerry and Dante in the next book.  We would love to see Kerry meet Dante’s family.  We would have enjoyed seeing it here, but can understand that it wouldn’t have been able to be inserted seamlessly.       While looking back at the overall story arc, we thought it may have dragged a little, but we still enjoyed the story.  The twist of the “big bad” and the involvement of some of the new characters were interesting.  The mythology is still very fascinating and enjoyable.  Although the ending is a bit vague and wide open,...
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Mar
30

Review: Lover Reborn

Review: Lover Reborn Lover Reborn Author: J.R. Ward   Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: NAL Hardcover Black Dagger Brotherhood #10 ISBN: 0451235843 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Hardcover (592 pgs), e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:      Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been unrecognizable from the vampire leader he once was. Physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair, he has been brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel. Now, fighting once again with ruthless vengeance, he is unprepared to face a new kind of tragedy.      When Tohr begins to see his beloved in his dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld far from the peace and tranquillity of the Fade—he turns to the angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. But because Lassiter tells him he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed….                  Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past and a very hot, passion-filled future…but can his heart let go and set all of them free? What VampBard’s talking about:      Lover Reborn, J.R. Ward’s anxiously awaited title in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series was well worth the wait.  I was on pins-and-needles throughout this title.  Expertly crafted plot, with so many highs and highers, I felt as though I was on a roller coaster.  By the time I’d reached the end, ask Mr. VampBard… I’d cursed Ms. Ward several times and threatened to write her hate mail.  ‘S all good, though.  Feel me?      The first thing that I’d like to mention about Lover Reborn is that it’s a painful title to read.  It churned up a lot of emotions for me, and required Kleenex.  Prolly Puffs Plus with Aloe.  Watching the Brother, Tohrment, stuck in his grief, was even more difficult than in past BDB titles.      Lassiter continues to be a key player in Tohr’s existence.  There’s a bit of an important factoid that comes out in this title:  Wellsie isn’t in the Fade… she, and the unborn child, are in the In Between.  This place, where Lassiter was prior to his Maker giving him the option...
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Mar
28

Review: Magic Without Mercy

Review: Magic Without Mercy Magic Without Mercy Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: April 3, 2012 Publisher: ROC Allie Beckstrom series #8 ISBN: #978-0451464484 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (358 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       We knew as soon as we stepped out on those streets, we were walking blind into a war. All of us were going to bear the pain for the magic we called upon. And I was going to have to bear the pain for carrying a weapon that made me face what I had become. A killer.        Allison Beckstrom’s talent for tracking spells has put her up against some of the darkest elements in the world of magic, but she’s never faced anything like this.       Magic itself has been poisoned, and Allie’s undead father may have left the only cure in the hands of a madman. Hunted by the Authority–the secret council that enforces magic’s laws–wanted by the police, and unable to use magic, she’s got to find the cure before the sickness spreads beyond any power to stop it.       But when a Death magic user seeks to destroy the only antidote, Allie and her fellow renegades must stand and fight to defend the innocent and save all magic… What Una is talking about:       I am hooked on the Allie Beckstrom series.  It is really great gritty urban fantasy.  Life isn’t pretty; sometimes decisions are hard and have long lasting consequences.  Ms. Monk does not disappoint in her latest installment — Magic Without Mercy is another nail-biting thriller.       Please note that if you haven’t read the previous novels, there will be spoilers in this review.  This is a series that really needs to be started from the beginning.  Each subsequent novel builds on the last and much will be lost if you try to jump in.       Allie is on the run from both the police — after being framed for embezzlement, and from the Authority — for killing Bartholomew.  However, she is not without friends or support.  Zayvion and Shame, along with others who realize the Authority has turned its back on its mission, are working with Allie to find out how magic has been poisoned and how to fix it – if that is even possible.  With the continuing support of the hounds, Allie works to try to find out what is going on,...
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