Archives for December 2011

Review: Vengeful Bounty

Reviewed by Jen

It’s 2053 in Dallas, Texas. Mina is a bounty hunter, who is just one step away from a major milestone in her field. If she can just make it to 25 captures, she can take her profession global. But she underestimates one of her marks, and she quickly goes from the hunter to the hunted as he tries to get even.

Mina is pretty good at her job, but her personal life is a mess. She’s holding on to a torch for an ex-boyfriend who abandoned her. But as the book progresses, she finally starts to question whether it’s time to let go and move on… perhaps even find new love with her sexy friend Justin (who also happens to be a successful and famous musician.)

The action of the story is pretty good. It’s fast paced and the danger Mina faces is palpable. The future-world building that the author creates is well-crafted and easy to understand, though in the beginning the “oldies” references to the 21st century were a little heavy-handed. Mina is a strong, yet believably flawed, first-person heroine. She is likable and easy to root for.

My only real complaint about the book was an ending that felt abrupt. I felt like the story was unfinished. That I was robbed of seeing a love connection for Mina play out –or a better resolution for her stinker of an ex-boyfriend. (Perhaps he could get that penis cancer she wished on him at one point… or at a bare minimum, give an accounting for his behavior.) The external conflict was firmly resolved, but with Mina’s personal stuff… it just seemed like the book just stopped more than really ended. I did like the writing, the action, and the humor, though, and would read from this author again. Almost 4 stars.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Vengeful Bounty
by Jullian Kidd
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Publisher: Untreed Reads

A Holiday Gift: Free Kate Daniels Novella

The amazing Ilona Andrews is giving fans a wonderful holiday surprise: a free Kate Daniels novella. It’s called “Magic Gifts” and it’s about 100 pages long. Ilona says the story takes place at the same time as Andrea’s book, right after Magic Slays, and the two stories intersect.

Here’s a blurb:

A dinner date after a hard day at work sounds heavenly. Of course, when that date is between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels, things don’t go as planned. Before you know it, undead are running amok, heads are being chopped off, lawyers are deployed and used with extreme prejudice, and drunk vikings are calling people out.

Awesome, right? The story is available for download for the next two weeks as an .epub, .pdf, or Kindle document.  Just click here to get it from Ilona Andrews’ blog.  A big thank you to one (ok, two) of my favorite writers! Happy holidays!

Review: Leading Her to Heaven

Reviewed by Jen

The king is forcing Lady Susanna into a political marriage with a Scottish laird. Susanna isn’t happy about leaving her home, or her father –an English earl– but she is willing to do her duty. She sets off on her long to journey to meet her betrothed, but he party is attacked on the road. She was just moments away from being raped when Blair comes to her rescue.

Susanna has no idea that her savior is actually her fiance. And he is in no hurry to tell her. Blair is captivated by his future bride and wants to get to know her before revealing his true identity. His deception is a double edged sword, because on one hand, the two do fall for each other as they travel to Scotland. But on the other hand, when Susanna finds out the truth, the shite hits the proverbial fan.

There is some action and obstacles in the backdrop (like Susanna’s ambush and a long-standing clan war)… but at its core, this is a fiery, passionate love story. Our hero and heroine are both strong, stubborn and occasionally stupid, but when they come together, they set the page on fire. It wasn’t perfect. They fell in Love way too fast and Susanna made a monumentally idiotic move to punish Blair. But all in all, it was a solid and sexy Highlander story.

You know I’m a sucker for a good brogue and some hot sex, people. 4 stars.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Leading Her to Heaven
by Kayleigh Jamison
Release Date: February 15, 2008
Publisher: Tease Publishing LLC

Series Reading Order: Dirk & Steele

This is the reading order for the Dirk & Steele series by Marjorie M Liu:

  • Tiger Eye
  • Shadow Touch
  • The Red Heart of Jade
  • *A Dream of Stone & Shadow (Dark Dreamers)
  •  Eye of Heaven
  • Soul Song
  • The Last Twilight
  • The Wild Road
  • The Fire King
  • In the Dark of Dreams
  • Within the Flames

*Denotes short story/ novella

Review: The Price of Temptation

Reviewed by Jen

Evelyn has become a social pariah since her husband Phillip went missing amidst allegations of treason. The men and women of the ton whisper that she may have been complicit in her husband’s misdeeds. She’s constantly being watched, both by her peers and even the crown… for some sign that she has done wrong or that she may know where Phillip is hiding.

Sinjon is a fallen army captain, accused of crimes he didn’t commit. He’s an honorable man: he even saves Evelyn from assault one morning in the park. Shortly after, an agent of the crown agrees to help him prove his innocence, if Sin agrees to infiltrate Evelyn’s home as a spy. He poses as a footman to gain entrance, but it’s a struggle for her to see her one time hero as a servant. The two slowly begin a friendship, which blossoms into an affair.

It takes awhile for things to heat up between Sin and Evelyn. But when these two are together, the book is at its best. Unfortunately, Sin’s deceptions hang over their relationship like the Sword of Damocles from the very beginning of the book. We have to wait and watch for the inevitable moment it will drop, and destroy what they have created. I liked the element of the class difference between them –and the moments Sin stands as Evelyn’s stalwart protector and confidante were warming. But the progression of their relationship was a little more predictable than I would like.

The external conflicts, centering on Phillip’s disappearance, a missing artifact, and the man who framed Sin, kept the story moving along fairly well. But nothing really knocked my socks off. It was a pretty standard Regency romance. 3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Price of Temptation
by Lecia Cornwall
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Avon

Review: My Ruthless Prince

Reviewed by Jen

What a delicious tortured hero. Drake has spent his entire adult life, fighting on the side of good, as part of the Order. But the evil cult of Prometheus took him captive and tortured him senseless. He was released and nursed back to health by his childhood best-friend Emily. But once he was well, he ran… back into the clutches of Prometheus. Now, his brethren at the Order think he is a traitor. But Emily knows better. She follows Drake to the Prometheus stronghold, on a mission to bring him back home.

Of course Drake is no traitor. He is a man on a mission to destroy the organization that nearly destroyed him. He has loved Emily for as long as he can remember, but he doesn’t want her innocence touched by the cruel organization. He tries to convince her to leave, but she refuses… forcing him to take her in as his servant in the castle, so he can keep an eye on her.

Emily is such a steadfast heroine. She loves Drake so much, she is willing to dive into the abyss with him. She’ll do essentially anything for him. And as broken as he his, it’s her love that slowly begins to rekindle his humanity. Their love story is tender and lovely. But what’s cool about the book is that there are moments that are so dark for Drake, you really begin to question just how damaged he truly is. Can he really find redemption or has he fallen too far from his path? Usually a question like that is obviously rhetorical, but here, there are times that I just wasn’t sure. Kudos to Gaelen Foley!

This is book four in the Inferno Club series and while there is obvious backstory, I never felt lost nor did I feel like I was missing something. I liked it a lot. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
My Ruthless Prince
by Gaelen Foley
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Avon

Series Reading Order: Pennyroyal Green

This is the reading order for the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long:

Review: The Demon Lover

Reviewed by Jen

I’m going to start this review by telling you what I wish I knew when I started this book. It’s the first in a series and the ending is horrible. It’s a cliffhanger; there is no HEA; and frankly, as annoyed as I am, I am having a hard time remembering the things I actually liked about this book. But I’m going to try, because I really was pretty into it, until the last 25 pages or so.

Callie is a published author and is something of an expert in the folklore surrounding demon lovers and gothic literature. As the story begins, she is offered a job in a quaint little New York town, with a small private college. She’s hesitant to accept at first, thinking she’d hold out for an offer from NYU, but she is drawn to an amazing old house. A famous author named Dahlia lived there before her death… and that, coupled with an intangible attraction, compel Callie to buy the place.

It’s revealed that in her childhood, Callie would often be visited by a shadowy prince in her dreams. Well, now he’s back and he wants to do more than talk. He visits her every night in her dreams and sexes her up. She spends her days at the college –and going through old papers that Dahlia left in the house. Now, even though Callie is an expert on the study of the incubus and Dahlia’s journals detail her encounters with the same being… it takes forever for Callie to realize exactly what she’s dealing with.

Once she does, the book really reeled me in. We find out all manner of supernatural beings inhabit the town. Callie is exposed to an entirely different world and learns alot about herself as well. She gets a new love interest whose identity is pretty transparent, but I found myself really drawn to him anyway. I enjoyed watching Callie grow into her new identity and fall in love (whether she acknowledges that’s what’s happening or not.) There’s even a mystery that pops up as several members of the community grow ill.

I could forgive the ease is which I saw through Liam; I could even forgive the thoroughly obvious nature of the villain. What I couldn’t forgive was the ending. I need a happy ending. This was not that. Will I read the second book? Yes. Am I still pissed? Yes. Would a different ending have given this book a higher rating? (Say it with me:) Yes. Grrr. 3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Demon Lover
by Juliet Dark (Carol Goodman)
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Random House

AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: BA Tortuga

She shamelessly enjoys the shallow side of life: from hot tubs and margaritas –to ogling hot guys at the beach. But her real passion is writing. BA Tortuga has more than 100 distinct works on Goodreads… and she’s not done yet.  Please help me welcome her to the blog!

 
Jen: You really write such a wide range of romance books –from cowboys to the paranormal– what is your favorite to write? And do you think you’ll ever “settle down” into one kind of genre?

 

BA: Oh, I doubt I’ll ever light in one spot forever. I have the attention span of a gnat on crack and more voices in my head wanting stories than I have time!

Jen: Many of your books are m/m. As a woman, how do you prepare yourself to write sex scenes between two men?

BA: Well, the best part about writing romance is that making love is making love, no matter what bodies do. It’s the emotion that matters. After that, it’s all fun research! Also, I live with a m/m writer, my best friend in all the world is a m/m writer. There’s lots of inspiration.

Jen: I read on your bio, you watch a lot of porn for “research.” I love that! Is it true?

BA: Sure! I admit that I’m a dork and I prefer to watch it on fast forward, but I do watch. Chris Owen has sent me some hilarious stuff from the Great White North and Sean Michael bought me one featuring a forest ranger who stood around getting oral sex the entire movie while announcing, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire!”

Jen: Most of your Roughstock series features m/m relationships. What made you decide to throw some m/f into the mix?
 
BA: Honestly, there’s only so many gay men in a professional organization. I’m in love with the whole universe, so the other players wanted their stories told.

Jen: What kind of reaction did you get to that decision?

BA: Oh, so far folks have been luscious. My m/m readers have been very receptive. I’ve gained some amazing m/f readers, and it’s been an all around good thing. 😀

There’s a m/m/f coming from that universe next…

Jen: You have several different series. Can you give new readers the lowdown on some of them?

BA: Roughstock is an ongoing series featuring the men and women in a bull riding league. Honestly, this is my heart’s story, where I get to play with the people that are the folks I grew up with/ around.

Stormy Weather is my first series, featuring Shane and Galen, two men that live in the Keys and try to figure out how their very different lives fit together.

The Road Trip series… Lord, how to describe them… Explosions, ridge running, assassins, psychics, government conspiracies, hot sex, yachts, fast cars, drugs, booze, a thermodynamics specialist, and a lot of chocolate.

Shifting Streams is an ongoing paranormal series featuring werewolves in Montana. The first book, Climbing the Ladder, introduces Mesa, the Aspen Clan’s Alpha, his beta mate, Kody, and… Kody’s human wife, Sammy. The second book, tentatively titled “Triad” features Canyon, Mesa’s twin brother, and two albino wolves that are causing trouble all over.

I do have a new series, the Witchy Women series, coming in February, that is about three best friends from Dripping Springs, Texas, who promise upon graduation that, no matter how far they traveled, they’ll always show up with one of the other’s needs her. When Lily’s grandmother passes away and leaves her Cowbells, Books and Candles and she starts unpacking the boxes in the back, Lily discovers how much she needs her friends back. 😉

Jen: When looking at your backlist, I was blown away by just how many books you have written! How long have you been writing? About how long does it take you to write a book?

BA: I published my first piece in the mid-70s. I have been writing for a living for a long, long time, but I have been writing romance professionally since 2004. 😀 Honestly, I write 5-7 pieces at a time, moving from one to the other, so it’s really hard to tell, from start to finish.

Jen: What other authors do you like to read?

BA: Oh, lord. Yes. 😀 I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Tess Gerritsen, Marilyn French, Sean Michael, Leah Brooks, Tasha Alexander, Chelsea Cain, Kiernan Kelly, Bronwyn Green, Maya Banks, TA Chase, Carol Lynne, Jim Butcher, Dean Koontz, Guillermo del Toro, and of course, my partner, Julia Talbot. And that’s just off the top of my head. I loved the last Lydia Nyx story I read. Then there’s Alice Hoffman and Douglas Clegg…

Jen: What are you looking forward to most from AAD in New Orleans this summer?

BA: I made *so* many good friends last year in Philly that I can’t wait for those in-person hugs. 😀

Jen: Thank you so much for sharing your work with me and taking the time to answer my questions. I’m looking forward to meeting you in NOLA!

BA: Thank you. I’m so tickled to be participating.

You can find out more about BA on her website, Goodreads, and Twitter.  And for one lucky follower, BA is giving away a $10 gift certificate to Torquere Press.  Just enter the Rafflecopter form below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Bedeviled

Reviewed by Jen

If you liked Ascension, I really think you’ll love Bedeviled. It picks up right where the last book left off, and takes readers on a fast paced ride filled with action, mythology, great character evolution… and sex. What more could an Urban Fantasy fan ask for?

When we first met Kyana, she was a reviled Half Breed, part Vampyre, part Lychen. But she used her powerful skills to help the Order protect humanity, and fight the threat that the ancient God Cronus will rise again and wreak havoc on the world. But as this story begins, Ky’s identity is changing. She is evolving into the new Goddess of the Hunt, which means she is developing new powers, while losing the attributes of her other species. It’s a very difficult time for her. Ky’s entire sense of self has been wrapped up in being a half-breed for centuries. The change is shaking her foundation.

Add to that, Kyana is searching for her best friend, Haven. The former witch is now a mixed breed, since Kyana changed her over to save her life. But Haven isn’t just a powerful, unstable hybrid… she is also now possessed by Cronus, who is using her abilities to help resurrect his body. Haven is a huge target for all the Gods and tracers of the Order, but only Ky is interested in saving her life.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The world-building stays true to the first book… and it’s a fun mix of demonology, Greek gods, and various supernaturals –ranging from vamps and shifters to witches and zombies. Ky is a very damaged and complex character. And often, her internal struggle is her greatest weakness. I liked watching Ryker continue to break down her walls. Their relationship is changing and growing… and I really like them together. There’s also a great cast of secondary characters that could easily support stories of their own, like Haven, Geoff, and even Silas.

Thankfully, this book didn’t end on the same kind of cliffhanger the last one did, but there is clearly more to explore in this story. And I want to read it. If the Dark Breeds series is new to you, I strongly suggest you pick up Ascension first to get the most out of this book. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Bedeviled
by Sable Grace
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Avon