Archives for October 2012

Review: The Warrior

Reviewed by Jen

Ever since I read The Guardian, I have been waiting for poor Duncan’s story. The man has been utterly miserable since he was separated from his true love seven years ago. She is married to another –far from his reach– and no other woman will do.  I am happy to say that our wounded warrior is finally being reunited with his lost love and not a moment too soon.

Contrary to what Duncan has long believed, Moira is not living a happy life.  She has no idea that her father forced Duncan to leave her all those years ago. She thought her beloved abandoned her.  And then she realized she was pregnant –and she had to marry the man her father forced on her.  That man, Sean, was an abusive beast.  Thankfully, he never realized that her child was not his, but he made Moira’s life miserable all the same.  And he sent little Ragnall to foster with Moira’s clan’s enemy.

When a seer alerts Duncan that Moira is in danger, he quickly journeys to her husband’s keep.  One look at Duncan and Sean realizes Moira’s deception. He beats her nearly to death, but she manages to best him and Duncan spirits her away to safety.  The rest of the story follows the resurgence of their relationship and the efforts to rescue Ragnall.

Neither Duncan nor Moira has ever stopped loving the, but each feels like they were abandoned. Moira thinks Duncan left her and Duncan thinks he was easily replaced when she married two weeks after he was sent away.  They’re both right and they’re both wrong. And even though they are reunited fairly quickly, the angst and hurt feelings persist throughout the book.  There are a lot of misunderstandings and bad information between these two, which was frustrating at times, because they are so obviously in love and they have been through so much.

I had to remind myself more than once how much Moira has endured, because otherwise her behavior with Duncan would have alienated me.  He is such a good guy, it’s impossible to not be in his corner.  She castigates him for not giving her enough credit, but when I see her trying to punish him for the past –or lashing out at him– it’s hard to sympathize.

Overall, I liked it.  I don’t know that I ended up loving it quite as much as I thought I would, but I am still glad I read it.  Now, onto Connor’s story.  He has to end up with Ilysa, right?

Rating: B

*ARC provided by Forever

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Warrior
by Margaret Mallory
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)

Favorites From… Carolyn Crane

Carolyn Crane
Hey Jen!!

Thanks so much for having me over to your recommending event! And how fun to do this.

Okay, a little background: I didn’t grow up reading romance, a fact I see as totally pathetic and sad. Oh, how my teen years would’ve been improved by some good romances.

But, oh well, I’m one of those people who came to romance later in life, entering through the door of urban fantasy and fantasy, which led me to paranormal romance, and then my ultimate love historical romance, which is what I read for pleasure, but would never be able to write in a million years.

Anyway, since my historical romance reading life started in 2008, I missed out on the great 1990’s Fabio era of books, these books people swoon over when you say their name on Twitter. But little by little I’ve been digging back and trying them out. Some of the oldies leave me thinking wtf!! (The Windflower, for example.)

Others have left me breathless. Panting for more. Amazed out of my head!

One of these amazing books is Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. Is the greatness of this book old news to everyone here? Is posting about this like announcing George W. Bush won an election? Are there other people like me who haven’t read it? Because it was just startling to me.

First published in 1992, the tale begins when the brilliant, dashing, rakish math genius, the scandalous Duke of Jervaulx, captures the eye (and pious disapproval because he’s a yummalicious rake) of sheltered Maddy, a Quaker goody two-shoes who assists her mathematician father.

Nothing comes of the brief interaction, but then Jervaulx is struck by an illness that leaves him unable to speak. People think he’s crazy and throw him into a horrible asylum. His mother thinks he’s being punished for his wicked ways.

The Duke of Jervaulx is alone in the world.

Maddy, who so looked down on him, is the only one who realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is. She alone understands him, she alone can rescue the super-hot and damaged duke from the clutches of evil people. OMG, if you haven’t read this book, don’t even listen to my sucky description. It is so exciting and good.

Honestly, when I was reading this, I would often exclaim to my husband, OMG, I can’t believe how amazing this book is!!

He, of course, gave me massive crap for the Fabio-esque cover – yes, this is the edition I found at my trusty USB. Well, it was worth it. I can’t remember the last time I was so heart-racingly compelled by a plot and a hero and heroine.

So that is my recommend. A blast from the past. I hope, if you pick it up, that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks so much to Caroline Crane for sharing her flashback recommendation! I asked Caroline to be a part of this feature because I loved her Disillusionist trilogy. They are original and engaging and they shocked me with great plot twists. The story follows a hypochondriac heroine who ends up using her illness as a weapon. Plus, a great love triangle develops.  If you haven’t read these books, I strongly suggest you give Mind Games a try. I’ll bet you can’t stop there.

So, do you want a blast from the past?   I’m giving away an ecopy of Flowers from the Storm via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  If you can receive an ebook from them, you are eligible to win. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.

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*”Favorites from…” photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos  

Review: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

Reviewed by Jen

I really do love the Charley Davidson series.  These books are funny and action packed. They’re sexy with great characters.  And the world-building just gets more and more interesting with every book.

I’ll admit, I had a little trouble reconnecting at the start of this book. Third Grave ended with a major betrayal by Charley’s father and while there were emotional repercussions, I felt like we skipped over something. A couple of weeks have passed and there seemed to be no real consequences for Charley getting arrested. It was like her dad’s actions were for nothing.

Also, there was a schism between Charley and Reyes that didn’t really make sense to me.  It’s so clear how they feel about each other, so why the distance? It felt forced.

BUT it got better.  As with all Charley Davidson books, there are two layers to the book. One is the PI case that Charley needs to solve. The other deals with the larger story arc of Reyes and the demons who want to get their hands on Charley and her heavenly portal.  (tee hee) Both threads are well done.

The case in this book involves a woman who has been stalked and harassed her entire life. She hires Charley to find out who is doing it.  (There is cool twist on this at the end!)

The “bigger picture” part of the story is even better.  We get a closer look at the demons that are coming after Charley. And we learn more about the higher powers that schemed to throw Charley and Reyes into each other’s path. Lord have mercy, we also get more exquisitely terrible/ wonderful sexual tension between these two.  For the first time, all of their interactions are in the flesh. No more incorporeal interactions.  It gives things a fresh (hot) layer in their relationship.  I wish there was just a little less angst there.  Even when there’s progress, there is also regression.  But Reyes is so hot, I want to spread him on a cracker and eat him whole.

Where was I?

Charley is changing, both emotionally and physically. I feel like her trademark humor is becoming more of a crutch to deal with the horror she’s lived through. And her powers are growing.  The people around her are changing too. These books have such a great cast of characters and I love that they are not stagnant.  I also love that everything seems to happen for a reason.  Even if it’s not evident right away.

There are many questions answered and just as many new ones posed. (Like that whole spiel about the key of darkness and the locket of light.  Darynda needs to explain that one, stat.)   I was really satisfied with the ending this time around, but still… Fifth Grave Past the Light can’t get here soon enough.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by St Martin’s Press

Click to purchase: Amazon
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
by Darynda Jones
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Guest Post & Giveaway: Abigail Roux

Thanks for joining us on the Riptide Publishing First Anniversary Blog Hop Bash! All month long, we’re bringing you guest posts and interviews from your favorite authors, artists, and Riptide staff. As a thank you for helping us celebrate, we’re also giving away $10 in Riptide store credit to one lucky commenter at every stop! Simply leave a comment below by 11:59pm on Sunday, November 4th to enter. Be sure to check out our complete tour schedule to find out where else you can enter to win—one Grand Prize winner drawn from commenters at all the stops will also win a Kindle that we’ll load with every book we publish in 2013!

 Plus, check out our anniversary sale—All October long, backlist titles are 15%-50% off! Today, we have a special Halloween post from Abigail Roux, author of The Gravedigger’s Brawl and the Cut & Run series.

Going All Out for Halloween 
by Abigail Roux

October has always been my favorite time of year. The encroaching chill in the air, the changing colors, the creepiness of Halloween looming at the end of the month. My daughter’s birthday. The World Series and high school State playoffs, but we’ll not talk about either here.

But I’ll be honest, the spooky Halloween vibe of October is my favorite thing ever. I love people that love Halloween. I love to drive by a house that has gone all out to decorate. Graveyard by the driveway, cobwebs in the windows (mine are legit because I’m not touching those spider nests), flashing eyeball lights in the bushes. I remember trick-or-treating as a child and walking past a scarecrow on a porch that reached out and grabbed me, and it was awesome! That guy sat there all night with straw stuck up in his collar, all because he loved the spirit of the season. That’s dedication.

I love people who will dress up and don’t care if others think they’re idiots. Come to my daughter’s birthday party in a cow suit? I’ll love you forever. Have a very large dog that likes to jump the fence and chase people? Put him in a superman cape. Itty bitty baby born in October? Bring her home in a pumpkin suit!

I always swore I’d be that house when I got older. I’d be that kickass adult who dressed up just to make Halloween a little more magical for a neighborhood of kids. My American Bulldog really did wear a superman cape one year, and my baby girl did come home from the hospital in a pumpkin outfit. But my house is in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t get trick-or-treaters. My knee and shoulders have gone haywire, so I can’t dress up and be the life of any party.

For the last few years, the only way for me to get into the spirit of my most favorite time of year was to sit and watch Ghost Hunters in the middle of the night, or to write. I chose to write. I tried to capture that undefinable essence that hangs in the air as Fall descends, the mixture of vintage for the past and unknown for the future. I wrote a ghost story called Seeing Is Believing. It was short, barely long enough to put in an anthology, and I wrote it all in one day.

It was my version of trick-or-treat, and the next year I wanted to do it again. Only this time, the story was longer. It was deeper, and it managed to catch that eerie mixture of vintage and creepy. It was fun like someone sitting in a scarecrow costume, but it was also scary like the feeling you get when that scarecrow grabs you. It took about five years for me to work The Gravedigger’s Brawl into something worth publishing, but I’m glad it made itself into a Halloween treat. I’m finally able to share that mixture of anticipation, fear, and utter unholy glee the month of October always manages to instill in me.

Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix. Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.

Buy link: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/gravedigger’s-brawl

Bio: Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year. Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head. To learn more about Abigail, please visit http://www.abigailroux.com

Favorites From… Michelle Willingham

Michelle Willingham

I think all authors are also book-hoarders. I have a closet with bookshelves from ceiling to floor and both are stuffed to the brim and overflowing. Some are books I’ve kept since I was in high school, others are research books, and some are new authors I’ve discovered through word of mouth. I tend to read a little of everything, and when I’m working on my own historical romances, I like to read paranormal romance.

The first romance I ever devoured was The Maiden by Jude Deveraux. It was medieval, set in a fictional country, and I was completely hooked from page one. I went on to read all of Jude’s books, and spent many happy hours reading and re-reading her historical romances.

While Jude’s stories were the ones that hooked me on romance, it was LaVyrle Spencer who held me in awe. The emotional complexity of her stories held me spellbound, and I’ve read her books so many times, they are falling apart. Favorites include: Morning Glory, a WWII-set story about an ex-con and a pregnant widow who shuns the town; The Endearment, a mail-order bride story; and Vows, which featured a heroine who wanted to be a veterinarian. Even now, I can re-read these books and find something new to savor. If LaVyrle ever comes out of retirement to write a new book, I’ll be first in line to buy it.

There are two series in the paranormal world that I adore. First, JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and in particular, Lover Awakened is my all-time favorite. It’s a Beauty and the Beast story, but with a paranormal twist. And as far as tortured heroes go, Zsadist is one messed-up hero….which makes it all the more delicious when he earns his happy ending.

The second paranormal series I’ve enjoyed is Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. The first book, Dark Fever, featured a heroine who reminded me of Elle from Legally Blonde. When MacKayla tries to find out who murdered her sister, she discovers an apocalyptic world of things that go bump in the night¬—and her manicure will never be the same. It’s a funny, suspenseful series that grabs you by the throat and the transformation of MacKayla is amazing. I loved every minute of it, and was thankful I hadn’t started the series until Moning had finished the last book. I read all of them in a week.

These are some of my favorite books, and I hope you’ll try some of them!

Thanks so much to Michelle Willingham for sharing these fantastic recommendations. I asked Michelle to particpate in this feature because her tortured hero in Tempted by the Highland Warrior really hit my sweet spot.  The guy was so tortured he lost the ability to speak!! It was a great love story and a Highlander book and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you check it out.

In the meantime, I must say that I am also a huge fan of Karen Marie Moning. So much so that I invited her to participate here as well. Unfortunately, she is crazy-busy with the upcoming Iced release. But she offered to provide a signed copy of Fever Moon to give away to one of you! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win.  US/CAN only.

Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.

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Review: A Trace of Moonlight

Reviewed by Jen

I have mixed feeling about this book. After the massive cliffhanger on A Sliver of Shadow, I was practically foaming at the mouth to see what would happen to Abby once she lost her memory.  But I was put on edge from the very beginning.  I felt like Abby developed real feelings for Talivar in the last book, but here it seemed like he was set up to lose from the very start.

As the story begins, Abby doesn’t remember anything, but she is betrothed to Talivar.  She views him warmly, but when she overhears him talking with Moira about her memory loss and her true identity, she feels betrayed. She runs… straight into Maurice… who does Something Really Bad to her and steals her amulet. She tries to leave the Fairy Court, but the Queen stops her, putting a geas on her that keeps her away from the Crossroads.  To escape her, Abby agrees to marry Talivar on the spot and escape with him.

In the meantime, Brystion has visited her in her dreams, leaving her with a special gift that makes her more powerful. It’s also a massive sacrifice on his part. Abby can’t get to him, though. She remains with Talivar as he takes over the Unseelie Court and continues his pursuit of Maurice who is now using Abby’s amulet to further his nefarious schemes.  When an attack from his mercenaries clears the way for Brystion to pull Abby through the veil, it also nearly kills the Tree of Life that feeds the Crossroads.  And from then on out, it’s a race to both track down Maurice and save the tree before it is gone forever.

I liked the action arc of the story. The part with the Fae and the scheming. The fighting, the tree, the subsequent search for Melanie.  All of that is very cool. But the love triangle is a different story. I felt like Abby strung me these two men along for virtually the entire book.  She says she loves Talivar. She sleeps with Talivar.  She sleeps with Brystion. She loves Brystion.  At first, it seems like Ion has it in the bag, due to the nature of his sacrifice. Then those circumstances change and we go round and round. She “can’t” choose between them. Poor Talivar even offers to share.  And then, it feels like an external factor solidifies her choice. Is that why she picked who she did? She did pick someone, right?

Oh, and don’t get me started on the ending!! Not the resolution to the Maurice/ tree/ Fairy thing. That was good.  But the relationship ending… I really didn’t like it.  I’m not going to spoil it, but it felt so out of place in the story.  Not to mention, I was left with so many questions. What really happened to the character who returns at the very end?  Will they have a future together? What kind of future will it be?  I can’t even list all the questions without spoiling the plot, but if this is the end of the series, I want clear resolution.  Don’t ask me to draw my own conclusions. Especially since Abby’s heart was so hard to read throughout.

It felt… unfinished.  I understand that Allison Pang could end up with more books in the series. And if she gets them, I will keep reading.  But if this ends up being the end of Abby Sinclair, I am just not satisfied with how she left things.

I would, however, love a book on Melanie and Nobu.

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Trace of Moonlight
by Allison Pang
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

Favorites From… Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long

I read constantly and across all genres, but I read far fewer historicals than I used to (and I used to wallow in them), in part because I’ve learned that my muse needs to be fed something very different from what I’m writing—it’s a sort of flint for my creativity to strike against, if that makes sense. And my first responsibility to my readers is to write a great book, so when I’m starting work on a new book, I fish around for a book or two to read that’ll help prime my creative pump.

First off, I want the writing to be fabulous. And by that I don’t mean…oh, lyrical descriptions of s manor houses or what have you. For me, prose is utterly secondary to (or rather—I should say it should only be the delivery medium for) a voice and vision and world view that creates a reading experience so immersive that I feel a little disoriented, almost drunk, when I lift my head from the book, as if I’m surfacing from a deep sea dive or a vivid dream. I don’t really need a happy ending, but I like the ending to feel right. And I may or may not want to read a particular amazing book again. Some pack such a visceral wallop I may never read them again, because I never want to risk altering the way I felt when I first read it. Others I’ll read a half dozen or so times or more. I might critically parse books as I read them, questioning a plot direction, for instance, but I ultimately judge a book on its net impact: was I entertained throughout? Was I moved? Does the story linger? What ultimate feeling was I left with? I’m a pretty egalitarian reader—I don’t really think a “light” book has fewer merits than a “heavy” one, and I don’t believe one genre is superior to another. A good book is a good book; a dull book is a dull book. If it takes you away, it’s done its job. If it transforms you, better still. Reading is a GOOD thing.

YA Author John Green’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS just…blew me away. And if you haven’t read it, and if you don’t think reading about two teenagers who meet in a support group for terminal cancer is something you want to read…well, start reading and try to stop. It’s gorgeously romantic—a true love story in every sense of the word—but it’s very witty, a bit dark, compassionate, tragic, profound, philosophical, intelligent, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting. John Green accomplishes all of this with a deceptively light touch. I know better than to use the word “effortless” to describe anyone’s book—even if a writer is propelled by instinct and hard pressed to dissect his or her process, so is, say, a panther when it leaps. I suspect little chunks of the author’s heart and soul are the kindling for a book like this. But it’s utterly effortless to read. Fair warning: it’ll likely wreck you, but in the best way.

David Mitchell is a writer that leaves me kind of blinking and drop-jawed, very, “How…HOW…the HELL does he do THAT??” Again there’s that temptation to pull out the word “effortless”—CLOUD ATLAS is a set of linked stories that leap from genre to genre, from era to era, from voice to voice, absolutely seamlessly, with wit, skill, depth, enormous intelligence and grace without ever losing the narrative thread or my attention. The writing is quite simply astonishing. They’ve made a movie of it (Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, among many others are in the cast), and I can’t wait to see how they try to pull it off. And if you’re a child of the 80’s, I’d recommend Mitchell’s BLACK SWAN GREEN, a story of a boy growing up in England in that era, his challenges at school, his parent’s disintegrating marriage, so much more. It’s lovely, funny, wrenching and gorgeous, and a bit more traditional in format that CLOUD ATLAS.

Irish author Marian Keyes has been a longtime favorite of mine. She began her career classified as a Chick Lit author—she in fact may have been one of the pioneers of the genre, along with Helen Fielding—but to me, she reads more like…oh, maybe more like a female Nick Hornby: she’s a literate, nuanced, writer with a marvelous emotional intelligence who again employs that deceptively light touch even as she navigates some darker themes, like addiction or domestic abuse or grave illness. But basically, she writes about life: friends, family, romance, betrayals, beginnings, endings, transformation. And she is HILARIOUS— one of the few authors who can force me put the book down because I’m laughing so hard. She started out a great writer and has simply gotten better with every book. I’ve read everything she’s written several times, but I’m a little too old now for some of the issues in her earlier books (e.g., girls with low self esteem navigating the dating world), but I suspect she is, too, because her themes have also matured. If you haven’t yet read her, I’d recommend THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY (hated to see that book end) or IS ANYBODY OUT THERE, my favorite so far of the Walsh sister books, and another book that’ll wreck you, in a good way.

Other books that I devour: M.C. Beaton’s light and addictive Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth cozies; anything written by Alexander McCall Smith, who writes with such compassion and intelligence and humor and has a fabulous sense of place—his wit is a little edgier and more satirical in his Scotland Street series, and I love it; Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell books—excellent writing, some dense history, wonderful characterizations; I’ve been on an noire kick lately, gobbling up Raymond Chandler and Vera Caspary, both brilliant and unique writers; I love Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti mysteries set in Venice; and lately I’m catching up on David Sedaris books I’ve missed.

Thanks so much to Julie Anne Long for sharing these recommendations. I asked Julie to be a part of the feature because her Pennyroyal Green series finds just the right blend of romance and humor.  I always laugh when I’m reading these books, but the love stories really deliver as well. My favorite is probably How the Marquess Was Won, but What I Did for a Duke was a huge fan favorite as well.

Would you like to try one of Julie Anne Long’s recommendations?  This seems like a great time to remind you that you can enter to win ANY book recommended in the entire Favorites feature, valued up to $15. We’ve got an ongoing international giveaway (anywhere The Book Deposity will ship to.)  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.
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Favorites From My Favorites: Winners – Week 3

Here’s a breakdown for the winners of the week 3 giveaways:

Thief of Shadows – Lisa Jay
Angels’ Blood – Ileana
Beyond the Night – Marlene
The Dragon Who Loved Me – Yadria

We’ve got three more days of the feature. Remember, you still have a chance to win any recommended book (valued up to $15) by entering here.

This week’s giveaways were provided by Elizabeth Hoyt, Nalini Singh, Harper Collins and Kensington.

Review: A Notorious Countess Confesses

Reviewed by Jen

Julie Anne Long continues to impress me with her Pennyroyal Green series.  These books are charming, witty, and difficult to put down.  And in this particular installment, it has a slightly inexperienced, yet thoroughly swoon-worthy vicar hero.

Adam Sylvaine is part of the Eversea extended family and has the requisite good looks of the bloodline.  He takes his job as vicar very seriously, though it’s often made more challenging by the number of young ladies who pursue his affections.  He’s not exactly an innocent, but he has thrown himself into his work and has really had no time or inclination to pursue any dalliance.  He first lays eyes on our heroine when she falls asleep during one of his sermons.

Eve has moved to Pennyroyal Green, hoping to make a new life for herself.  Her reputation in London is in tatters.  Once a much sought-after actress, she was later mistress to two men, and after that, may have cut her new husband’s life short by being too vigorous in the bedroom.  Dubbed the “Black Widow” by the ton, she prays that the moniker won’t follow her to her new home.  In fact, she starts trying to recreate herself, by attending church.  Of course, it was never her intention to drift off to the melody of the handsome vicar’s rich voice.

Sadly, Eve cannot escape her past. She is essentially shunned before she ever really has a chance to make an impression in Pennyroyal Green.  She reaches out to Adam for help.  Adam, who seems immune to her beauty, her flirtations, and manipulations.  Adam… who is honest, stoic, and frank.  He reluctantly agrees and helps to lay the groundwork for her social acceptance in town.  And somehow, they slowly make their marks on each other’s hearts.

The romance is a really slow build here.  Both Adam and Eve fight any real feelings of substance.  Eve has pulled herself up from nothing and fears ceding control to a man. At the same time, Adam must think of his position as vicar and how precarious a relationship with a fallen woman could be.  The sexual tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  By the time Adam finally put his mouth on her, I was ready to jump out of my seat.  And once things started getting physical, it was smoking hot.

There’s a great cast of secondary characters and a lot going on with the Pennyroyal Green community –and how they all interact with both Eve and Adam.  Eve is a tough cookie and I liked her. But Adam really stole the show for me. I loved his quiet strength. He has all this tightly contained passion, that –when unleashed– rocked my socks off.

There’s also a little movement on the Olivia and Lyon arc.  Good gravy, I want their book so much!  Please, please, give it to me, Julie Anne Long. I need it.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Notorious Countess Confesses
by Julie Anne Long
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: To Hell and Back

Reviewed by Jen

 

I know. I know. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but before I start talking about the pages inside, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the absolutely gorgeous cover art for this book. . . . Wow.

Moving to the actual story, To Hell and Back is a companion novella to Wrong Side of Hell. It continues the story of the tortured heroine Kira — and Logan, the hellhound who loves her.  The story picks up right on the heels of the last one. Logan is trying to get Kira to safety after having rescued her from Purgatory.  They are happy together, but the odds are stacked against them. And it’s only a matter of time before they can no longer outrun the monsters that are chasing them.

Logan is kidnapped and dragged back to hell. There, he must finally face his past and his enemies.  He must find a way vanquish them if he ever hopes to have a real future with the woman he loves. In the meantime, Kira is offered help from some familiar faces from the League. But can she trust them?

The story is pretty fast paced and our couple must fight their battles separately for most of the book.  There are a few love scenes, but this is really a story about these two fighting to get back to one another.  I liked it. I was glad to see more of Kira and Logan. These are two people who complete one another. Both have endured horrific pasts.  But in each other, they have found the peace and happiness that they never believed existed for themselves.

We do get cameos from Priest and Cale, in addition to Lillith, Seth the Golden, and Samael. This book could be read as a standalone, but you are really better off reading Wrong Side of Hell first, so you can see how these two fell in love.

I enjoyed it. I hope there will be a third story for these two one day.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
To Hell and Back
by Juliana Stone
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Avon