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Feb
4

Review: Anna and the Vampire Prince by Jeanne C. Stein

Review: Anna and the Vampire Prince by Jeanne C. Stein Anna and the Vampire Prince Author: Jeanne C. Stein Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: For fans of the Anna Strong Chronicles, you will not want to miss the latest novella, Anna and the Vampire Prince.  Gikany and Una liked this glimpse of Anna in transition as she mourns her mother.  It was another chance to see Vlad and gave these two readers something to ponder about what may be next in this world. ****If you haven’t read the series, this novella is not the place to start.  We strongly recommend you read the series from the beginning.**** Anna’s story has had some closure.  Her mother has passed, she is happily married to Frey, and things have settled down.  As much as they can settle down for the vampire who is the Chosen One.  This novella resolves the issue of some renegade vampires and shows how Anna and her family are doing as they continue to mourn.  Although it moves quickly, it was a fun read. What we really enjoyed though, was that this novella gave us another opportunity to see Vlad, the legendary vampire.  He was very intriguing in the previous novel and it was fantastic to see him in action again.  At the close of this novella, we were hopeful that maybe there may be more in store for Vlad.  We would love to see a spin-off following him.  A lot has changed for Vlad and he seems to be in transition. With Anna’s story being nicely tied up (for the moment) it would be great to follow Vlad as he embarks on a new path. All in all, Anna and the Vampire Prince is a treat for Anna Strong fans.  Although it is short, it was a sweet and nail-biting read as we watched Anna save her niece’s friend.  We hope that this is a prequel that will start a new series in this world.  We are going to keep our fingers crossed! Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Saving her family means saving the world. Vampire Anna Strong should be enjoying life with her new husband, Frey, but she’s too devastated by the loss of her mother to focus on much else. That is, until her niece’s best friend is kidnapped, and Anna leaps into action. Angry citizens blame the recent rash of kidnappings on France’s immigrant population and threaten retribution that could upset the economy of the entire...
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Feb
4

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Claimed Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: C S E Cooney Audio Speed: 1x and 1.25x Series: Outlaws #1 Genre: Futuristic Fantasy, Erotic Romance Source: Tantor media Forty years ago, the world went to war with itself, releasing bombs and destroying much of the planet. After the chaos, The Global Council took charge, creating mandatory communes, making everyone equal. Those who live outside the cities are outlaws, and are either assimilated or killed. Connor and his men are an outlaws, living day-to-day, enjoying what they can when they can. But Connor wants to find and destroy the head Global Council enforcer, Dominick, the man responsible for killing his family. Hudson escaped the city and Dominick to become an outlaw. When a group of bandits attack, she convinces Connor to give her protection. Although he says it will only be for one night, Hudson will do anything to convince him to let her stay longer. And using her sexuality to get into his bed is just one way she’ll convince Connor. I have very mixed feelings about Claimed. The futuristic world and concepts were interesting and engaging. I found that by the end, I wanted to know how the world will deal with the obvious problems within the World Council. But… I didn’t care much at all for the characters and their stories until the last quarter of the book. After listening through the end of Chapter 8 (49%), I had to stop the book, and I almost DNF’d it. The combination of the narrator’s soft-spoken, laid back voice for Connor and his asinine dialogue got to me. Connor is a strong, dominant man, and the voice selected just didn’t fit. Also, the entire plot for the first half revolved around constantly thinking about, having, or complaining that they aren’t having sex, and it was beyond annoying. I mean… they were on an important and dangerous mission, and Connor starts messing around with Hudson. It was ridiculous. Yet about Chapter 15 or so, the sex wasn’t as frequent, allowing the story to pick up and finally move forward. At this point, I actually began to care what was going on. The narration is a huge part of the problem I had with the story. I started listening to the book at 1x speed, but after the halfway point, I picked up the pace and listened at 1.25x speed. It didn’t help much. C S E Cooney’s...
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Feb
3

Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin The Brimstone Deception Author: Lisa Shearin Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Picking up immediately after the conclusion of the previous book, The Brimstone Deception opens with Mak on a date with Rake and Ian on date with Kylie. At the same restaurant. Were Ian is convinced that Mak is only with Rake because the gorgeous goblin enthralled her. However, before anyone can enjoy themselves, another patron suddenly realizes he can see monsters all around him. This puts SPI into action, discovering there is a new drug called Brimstone being circulated around town, and it’s leaving a path of dead dealers in its wake. Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files is a wonderfully adventurous series, pairing dangerous mystery-solving with the bizarre and supernatural. The Brimstone Deception starts with a jolt and the action is nearly non-stop as SPI seer Mak and her partner, Ian, try to find the open hellpit in New York before it destroys the city. I loved trying to piece together the clues as Mak and Ian uncover them bit by bit. While the series is by no means a romance, I found myself hoping for a Mak-Ian pairing because the two make such a great team. However, Ms. Shearin makes it clear from the get go that they are strictly partners, and Mak has eyes for Rake. While I was personally bummed by this, I will admit that by the conclusion of the book, Rake was winning me over. Just a little. Having listened to the audiobook of the first two titles in the series, I felt like I was missing something by reading this one. (I have already purchased the audiobook and will be listening to it soon.) I don’t know if it was that, or the fact that I read the book over the Christmas holidays, and it was difficult to carve out a solid block of time to read, but I never really got into the overall story. It was interesting, but I failed to connect with the tale on an emotional level. One of the things that bothered me was the fact that this book takes place only one day after the prior book, and the SPI agents didn’t have anytime to recover, yet they were ready to go for another round of crime-solving. Additionally, Mak discovers a new aspect to her seer-abilities, and it was never really explained why it happened. It almost felt contrived, but not quite. I suppose...
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Feb
2

Review: SEAL Wolf In Too Deep by Terry Spear

Review: SEAL Wolf In Too Deep by Terry Spear SEAL Wolf In Too Deep Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Allan Rappaport knows the importance of rules. As part of a close-knit wolf pack, he learned early on the need to keep their kind a secret from humans that would hunt them down and destroy them. Being a Navy SEAL taught him how to get the job done in the face danger and keep his cool under pressure. But, nothing could have prepared him for the beautiful, spirited woman he can’t stop thinking about. Leaving her troubled upbringing behind, Debbie Renaud found happiness and purpose as a diver for the police department in her small, northern Montana town. And, after her last breakup, she’d convinced herself that the job was enough. At least, until she was partnered with a sexy, warm-hearted SEAL who fascinates her on every level. They would make a perfect team—if only he didn’t have so many secrets. Although I’ve said it before, I can’t help but enjoy the strong women Ms. Spear continues to create for this series. Debbie is tough, determined, compassionate, and too clever for the pack’s (or her) own good. Between her quick thinking, her skills as both a diver and investigator, as well as Allan’s understandable inability to resist her, I liked her very much. Debbie is extremely swoony over Allan, but no more so than he is for her, and, by halfway through the narrative, I couldn’t imagine them with anyone but each other. Allan is likewise reminiscent of many of the alpha males in this series, though his role in SEAL Wolf in Too Deep was certainly an enjoyable one. He is highly skilled, completely devoted to his pack, and endearingly thoughtful. He also has all the control in the world in every other aspect of his life, but when his heart gets in the way, he’s a fairly glorious mess. Which, of course, just made him even more attractive. To Ms. Spears’ credit, she gives equal consideration to both main characters when it comes to the frustrating, awkward, pratfall-plagued nature of their own inadvisable attraction. In fact, Allan’s inability to hold Debbie at arm’s length has far greater consequences, due to the secrets he’s obliged to keep. By turns, Debbie’s plausible anger with Allan crumbles as quickly as her determination to resist him, making the outcome of the story pleasantly inevitable. Yet another characteristic of the Heart of the Wolf books that...
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Feb
2

Spotlight + Giveaway: Hot Dudes Coloring Book by D.C. Taylor

Spotlight + Giveaway: Hot Dudes Coloring Book by D.C. Taylor For all lovers of washboard abs, bad boys and… crayons—there’s a new group of hotties in town and they are ready to get graphic (artistically, that is!). Berkley Publishing presents the HOT DUDES COLORING BOOK (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; February 2, 2016; $9.99) by D.C. Taylor in conjunction with Valentine’s Day this February. Inside this steamy book you will find a swoon-worthy collection of 60 scantily-clad heartthrobs for your coloring pleasure. With sexy cops, cowboys, lumberjacks and a plethora of other fantasy beaus to choose from, every artist is sure to find their muse. Hitting stores just shy of the most amorous holiday of the year, this entertaining book prompts one to ask the question: who needs to choose one valentine when you can have them all? Giveaway: Berkley is generously donating one (1) copy of the HOT DUDES COLORING BOOK to give to one (1) lucky commenter. To enter, please leave a comment telling us which fictional character you most would like to color. Additionally, please leave an email address or twitter handle so I may contact the winner. The giveaway is open until Monday February 8, 2016 at 12:00 noon EST. Winner(s) chosen at random from all eligible entries. This contest is open to U.S. mailing addresses only, where not prohibited by law. Open to participants, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the publisher. This blog, its reviewers, and the owner are not responsible for items lost in the mail. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to abide by these terms. My Review: When I first heard that Berkley was jumping in to the “adult” coloring book craze, I was super excited… I mean who wouldn’t want to color sexy romance cover dudes?! After receiving my review copy from the publisher, I took time to look through it and even selected a couple images to color. I used colored pencils for this one, which reminded me of one of my favorite book covers! I also colored this image with my daughter’s “skinny” crayons. I liked using crayons more than the colored pencils. While the coloring was fun, and the book is highly entertaining, it’s not what I had hoped for or expected in an “adult”...
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Feb
1

Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me The Master Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I’m a big fan of Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series. While I may not have raved about every single title, they all have a special place in my heart because each book has some poignant lesson I can apply to my own life. The Master is no exception. While many people read for specific purposes (predominantly, to escape reality), a single title can fill several roles. It’s always fun to immerse myself in some well-crafted characters and a substantial plot. But the books that make me think and reflect on my own life are those I’ll keep on the back-burner for a good ol’ fashioned comfort read when life just gets too overwhelming. The Master is going on that list. Readers of the Submissive series have already met Sasha and Cole, our main characters for this title. As Sasha’s plot line wove through previous books, I was really curious as to how she would get her HEA. Stop. Rewind. If you *haven’t* read the previous books, The Master could be read as a stand-alone. However, I think there’s deeper meaning and understanding as a reader with the more in-depth background information supplied in previous titles of the series. The author does a great job of ‘reminders’ throughout the book, but it’s surely no substitute for actually reading the prior six novels. For readers of the series, and actually, the blurb, Sasha is re-entering the BDSM world after a play session with her Dom went horrifically of-the-rails. She is re-joining the Partners-in-Play BDSM group, and she requires retraining in order to overcome the abuse she sustained. She needs to learn to trust herself again, while playing, after such a traumatic experience. Here, the parallels with life overwhelmed me, to be honest. So many people are involved in either physically or emotionally abusive relationships—it made my heart hurt just thinking about it. How do those people manage to find the yin to their yang? Someone that simply *gets* them, even if they’re really broken? That’s today’s society, unfortunately. Everyone has baggage, and seeing Sasha’s baggage laid before us, the readers, drove home exactly how fortunate I am to have Mr. VampBard. As we watch Sasha go through her ‘process’, it gave me hope. Hope that someday, I’ll be able to put behind me the rest of the baggage I brought into my marriage. Hope that other people—still...
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Feb
1

Review: A Fighting Chance by Shannon Stacey

Review: A Fighting Chance by Shannon Stacey A Fighting Chance Author: Shannon Stacey Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Adeline (Del) Kendrick is looking forward to a long weekend of fun and shopping with her best friends. Arriving at the casino resort one day early, she plans to put on her new flannel PJs, order room service, and watch Netflix. Yet everything changes when she runs into Brendan Quinn, the love of her life who walked out on her six years ago. Brendan Quinn is overcome with emotion when he runs into Del at the same casino where he is scheduled to fight. Although he left her six years ago, doing what he thought was the “right thing,” not a day passes that he doesn’t think of Del. Now that he’s found her again, he hopes maybe they can catch up, but what he doesn’t expect is to end up back in her bed. A Fighting Chance is a delightful, fast-paced romance that relies on the couple’s previous history to tug at heartstrings and create all the warm-fuzzies. Ms. Stacey does an excellent job creating their off-page past, allowing the reader to feel connected to the couple right from the start. The alternating POVs provided insight as to how much both Del and Brendan still loved one another. Both of these things, coupled with excellent storytelling, gives this shorter-length book the rich feel of a full-length story. Overall, I enjoyed the chemistry between Del and Brendan. Although their story is easy and things wrap up neatly, it is entertaining and heartfelt. Once again, Ms. Stacey combines all the right ingredients for a wonderful contemporary romance. P.S. Big props to Angela James and Carina Press for putting a note in the front of the book that the story ends at about the 70% mark because of the inclusion of a long excerpt at the end. I wish more publishers did this. It made the reading experience so much more delightful! My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: All work and no play makes Adeline Kendrick a dull girl, so when she heads to a casino resort for a friend’s bachelorette weekend, she’s ready to have a good time. Until she runs into Brendan Quinn, professional fighter and the one who got away—the one her family drove away—and things take a turn for the interesting. Running into his ex won’t shake Brendan. Even if it brings up the old pain of loving her...
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Jan
29

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter Blood in Her Veins Author: Faith Hunter Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Although my initial experience with the Jane Yellowrock series was something of a challenge, it has since become one of my all-time favorites. As much as the series has grown, novel by novel, there has always been room for more: the personal history of the characters, the addition of a curtain call for some of the stories, contributions to other anthologies, and so on. With the publication of Blood in Her Veins, Ms. Hunter has been remarkably generous in her willingness to give her readers what they’ve asked for by gathering all of these glimpses into Jane’s world in one place. Having already seen some of these short stories, I was very excited to be able to read them all together. Each one serves a specific purpose, including giving fans of the series the opportunity to witness events from other characters’ perspectives, providing background information and clues to why they are the way they are, as well as offering insight into Jane’s own emotions and development, thereby making her even more intriguing. While plenty of Ms. Hunter’s characters take the stage in Blood in Her Veins, I was particularly fond of the scenes told from Bruiser’s point of view. As a long-term Bruiser supporter, I found these to be an especially nice treat. Not just another compilation, Blood in Her Veins showcases two new stories by Ms. Hunter, Cat Fight and Bound No More. In Cat Fight, Jane is once again obligated to visit Bayou Oiseau, Louisiana to broker another agreement between the local witches and vampires (since the first one apparently didn’t stick). I found nearly all of these characters to be highly entertaining, especially given their collective ability to shift between humorous and a little terrifying with whiplash-inducing rapidity. Throw in a disturbingly adept mud demon—thing—and this story was a lot of fun. In Bound No More, Jane’s beloved god-daughter, “Angie Baby,” proves that she’s much more powerful than anyone has ever suspected, and far too powerful for her own good. Although Jane & Co. have a monster to fight, I found the true horror to be Jane and Molly’s easily justifiable fear of the predatory groups would seek to use Angelina’s gifts for their own purposes. This story has quite a few sweet moments as well, however, and might be one of my favorites to date. Blood in Her Veins is...
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Jan
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Mistake Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: Lorelei Avalon Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Off-Campus #2 Genre: NA Contemporary Romance Source: purchased After devouring the first Off-Campus title, I couldn’t wait to start The Mistake. This time around, the story focuses on Briar College junior, John Logan, aka Logan. Watching is best friend Garrett fall in love with the perfect woman (The Deal) has been difficult for Logan because he wants Hannah for himself. He can’t shake his desire for his best friend’s girl and tries to forgot about her by non-stop drinking and hook-ups. But one night, in his efforts to escape Hannah and Garrett, Logan ends up mistakenly at freshman Grace Iver’s dorm door. Grace is a successful freshman at Briar, but now that the school year is almost over, she realizes that she’s not really done much socially her first year at college. She’s still hanging out with her complete opposite high school BFF, letting Ramona dictate Grace’s social calendar. So when the hottest guy on campus, hockey stud John Logan, shows up at her door, Grace decides to throw caution to the wind and invite him inside. The Mistake is another wonderful first love/forever love NA story from Ms. Kennedy. While Logan and Grace appear to be complete opposites, their individuality and uniqueness fit together like two puzzle pieces. They share scorching chemistry, even though Grace is a virgin and Logan is a player. And this is the start of their initial issues. When Logan realizes that he’s “using” Grace to “forget about Hannah,” he tries to do the right thing, which just blows up in his face. Cue summer vacation and months apart. When school starts back up in the fall, Grace is a changed woman. She’s still the wonderful, quirky individual from the previous year, but she’s realized that she needs to branch out on her own and make new friends. However, Logan isn’t willing to give up on Grace, and let’s just say, the lengths he goes to get her to go on a date with him are laugh-out-loud funny. Logan is a bit confused at times, but he’s adorably sweet and genuine. It just takes him a while to figure things out. The story evolves slowly as the pair comes together without preconceived notions or past relationship baggage. I adored watching each push and pull, bringing out the best in the other. Although these are...
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Jan
27

Review: Dreamwalker by Allyson James

Review: Dreamwalker by Allyson James Dreamwalker Author: Allyson James Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: After waiting for over three years, I’m so excited to report that Janet and Mick are back! The fifth Stormwalker book opens with Janet and Mick on a date. Their fortune cookies contain dire messages that Janet must go help her half-sister (same evil goddess mother), Gabrielle. From there, things only get more chaotic and dangerous as Emmett Smith, the evil mage from the previous book, is back. As the Ununculous – the most powerful mage in existence – he kills anyone who would be his competition, and he desperately wants Janet and Mick’s magic mirror. Dreamwalker is a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series. Although it’s been a while since the previous book, I was able to submerse myself completely into the world without feeling like I forgot anything. Ms. James does a great job tying in important facts without it feeling like a rehash of the entire series. One of the best things about the Stormwalker series is the ensemble cast of characters who surround the protagonist, Janet. From the love of her life, dragon shifter Mick, to her powerful sister. From her wiccan hotel manager to the vampire resident. From her watchful grandmother to her loving father. From the contrary, mysterious Coyote god to the magically null police officer. The list goes on and on. Each character adds so much to the setting of the story and helps create a home for Janet, as well as the reader. Each person has his/her place in the overall tale; no superfluous fillers. Through flashbacks and present day actions, we learn more about several of the cast, as they in turn learn more about themselves. This time around, Janet spends quite a bit of time in her own past as she dreamwalks, which is different from dreaming. In her dreams, she relives parts of her life, while maintaining knowledge of her current self. At first, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, to a time before the series began. But after a while, the dreams began to feel like filler to me, and I would have preferred more time in the present. Overall, Dreamwalker is an enjoyable story. I love this series and have missed it greatly. While the book was entertaining, it was lacking the “big mystery to solve” that has accompanied the previous titles. Dreamwalker felt almost like a transitional tale, yet...
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