Archives for February 2013

Review: Perpetual

Reviewed by Shelly

This is my second novel for this author and I couldn’t wait to read her latest creation.

Mercy Green is immortal. You would think that’s enough to keep her out of the limelight and away from getting discovered but no, not her. Mercy doesn’t really mind being immortal because she’s had enough time to come to grip with that means. What really keeps Mercy from enjoying life is that she just doesn’t care anymore. After many long years – centuries of living a boring and unvaried life, she’s become jaded and apathetic towards humans. She has no interest in finding any other immortals such as herself either. How long can she go one not caring about anything or anyone? Anyone except Adam, that is.

Adam is a just another human who Mercy works with at the local Birchwood Creek animal shelter. With his appreciative and optimistic love of the world around him, Mercy finds herself drawn to the unfettered kindness that Adam projects. He’s a nice guy who does what he had to do so he can also spend time doing his real passion – painting.

This was a hard read for me. It’s told in first person, and for me that always poses a challenge because of the limited view that I get into other characters. Along with that, I thought the first half of this book was slow. It’s Mercy and only Mercy. Due to the choices she’s made you would think it would be hard to feel pity for her, but I found myself doing exactly that. She’s led an extremely lonely life in a world where there are many people around her. What a hard thing to impose on oneself.

Adam is a great guy who seems genuine in his affection for Mercy. But he’s had a troubled past and I wonder how much influence his past will have on his relationship with Mercy. Maybe the second book will answer that question for me.

It’s not until Mercy is attacked at her home do things finally start getting interesting and worth the read. She finds herself the pawn in a game where she doesn’t understand the rules or even the participants. While going about her business one day, in walks some other immortals, like Nick. What a character he is – looks like a teenager but has the mouth of an 80 year-old man in a room full of candy stripers ready to give a sponge bath – total perv. I thought the secondary characters were really interesting and fun to get to know. There’s Emily, the 1980’s teenager with the strength of Goliath; and Ben the leader of the pack. They provided a good rounding to the story. The bad buy is totally awesome and does some things that made my jaw drop in awe.

In the end, the story was a good one and I can’t wait to see what the second story has in store.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Perpetual
by Michaela Debelius
Release Date: January 7, 2013

Review: Night Resurrected

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t really want this book.  I didn’t like the idea of Remy with Wyatt, and frankly, I wasn’t ready for him to move on from his wife and kids.  I started grumbling about it when I saw the writing on the wall in the last book.  But while I did have some problems with the romance, I did eventually get to the point where I was ok with Wyatt moving on from his old life.  That doesn’t mean I still didn’t have some issues, but I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.

The story begins with Wyatt tracking down Remy, who is making her way to Envy.  The stone her grandfather gave her is becoming a beacon for the zombies, so their journey is difficult.  The problems are exacerbated when Dantes the dog gets hurt and Ian the bounty hunter joins their party.  The story follows their trip as well as the continuing efforts of the Strangers as they try to get their hands on Remy and what we learn is the so called “mother stone.”

Let’s talk first about what I liked about the book.  It felt like a real return to the old vibe of the series.  It was more about the post-apocalyptic and zombie stuff than the dolphins and cultists and the Atlantis mythology that were so prevalent in the later installments.  I LIKE the zombies and the apocalypse stuff so that was a definite win.  It reminded me of the early books of the series in that way.  I also really liked revisiting the couples from the early books.

What I didn’t like… in a word… was Wyatt. I understand his angst. I really do. But he was such a dick to Remy.  It was not her fault that he was attracted to her, but he sure did make her pay for it.  Every time he felt a connection to her, every time he gave in to the temptation to touch her or kiss her, he would slap her down.  And that went a long way to sapping the large pool of sympathy I had amassed for him from the loss of his wife and kids.

Joss Ware did give me a great surprise that went a long way helping both him (and me) move on from his loss.  I liked how she helped ease his pain… and I liked the the emergence of his gift.  I thought Remy was a fairly good heroine, though even with the healing mojo she received, I felt like she got over her abuse a little easily.

The overall story arc is moving along, but it feels like it is drawing to a close. I am just hoping we get an Ian book before it’s all said and done. I still feel like there is a redemption story in there, even if it’s not with the woman I had envisioned.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Resurrected
by Joss Ware (Colleen Gleason)
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Review: Ascending Hearts

Reviewed by Shelly

I enjoy fairy tales as much as a fat kid loves cake. I can’t get enough of them because they inevitably make you use your imagination and the lessons they teach aren’t a bad perk either. This story tackles ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ where Jack is still a young lad, Jack’s mom loves him and the Giant is super mean – ah, the good ole days.

‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, 
I smell the blood of an Englishman, 
Be he live, or be he dead 
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread’.

The differences (outside of the m/m content) in these stories are vast, so be prepared. Jack lives in a town that thinks he’s the devil incarnate because of his red hair. It’s so bad that his father left his mother because of it – or so his mother would have Jack believe. I think it was because of her ‘sparkling’ personality but hey, who really knows? One day, Jack comes home to find that his precocious cow and only friend had been sold by his mother to the local butcher. So Jack makes a deal with the butcher for his cow but to repay this debt, Jack will need money and he doesn’t have any. The only thing left to do is climb the beanstalk because that’s where the treasure is – at the castle high above.

At the top of the beanstalk lives Rion, who isn’t a giant by any stretch of the imagination. Instead he’s just a guy who’s the guardian of his family’s treasure. It’s a lonely existence for him but as he’s chosen this as his duty. What can he do but to stay the course and protect what his siblings have chosen not to?

All of this sounds like an interesting story, and I’m not sure why all the pieces didn’t connect for me. I liked Jack just fine, but I just couldn’t get into his plight. I also had a problem with his past sexual relationship with his sister’s husband. After having grown up so close to his sister, what made that relationship go so south? There’s always a reason for someone’s actions and I didn’t know a lot of Jack’s whys. Lots of questions.

Rion was a likable kinda a guy. Just trying to keep his word to his father and do what he believes is the right thing. I didn’t understand Jack’s insistence to not listen to that, and actually I started to resent Jack for being so uncompromising in his desire to ‘get away’.

I didn’t feel the chemistry between Jack and Rion. I know that they liked each other.  I could tell they did by the amount of sex they had, but I just couldn’t feel it.

In the end, it was an okay story for me, but it certainly didn’t make me want to read further in the series.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Ascending Hearts
by Keira Andrews & Leta Blake
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Review & Giveaway: The Naked Truth

Reviewed by Shelly

Single mom Abigail Reese is working at a strip club to provide for her young daughter. One night while she’s working, she sees her one and only one night stand, Josh Carter, in the audience. It turns out that Josh remembers her too. Josh doesn’t waste any time reacquainting himself to Abigail but he inexcusably gets her fired while he’s at it. This is a very nice and sweet short story about accidentally finding the one who got away and all the good things that could happen.

While in law school Abigail got pregnant and didn’t finish in order to raise her child. I liked Abigail; I admired her dedication to her daughter and always putting her first. I would have liked to know a little bit more about her especially why she chose a private pre-school when she didn’t have the funds to support the tuition.

Billionaire Josh Carter, although he could have any woman he never forgot Abigail and after their unconventional reunion was focused solely on her. I would have liked to know a little bit more about his thinking when he first met Abigail.

Because this is a short story, I can’t give away too much but I will say that if you’re looking for a short read this would be a good choice. It’s mentioned that they have sex but we don’t get to read about it which I was okay with because of the short time frame.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B-

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Naked Truth
by Lacey Wolfe
Release Date: January 18, 2013

The winner of the giveaway is Erin!

Review: Beautiful Bastard

Reviewed by Allison

Chloe Mills works for the most frustrating, expectant, gorgeous man ever, Bennett Ryan. He is a beautiful bastard. He should be grateful as she’s the only assistant who has stuck around for over a week. Even as she tries to climb the corporate ladder, he makes life hell for her day after day.

And then it gets worse.

One day while presenting a project, Bennett can’t take it any more and completely ravishes her – not that you’ll find her complaining. Until she gets back to her desk that is. She berates herself over and over and swears it was a one time thing. Until the next day…up against a window… in his office… where anyone could look up while walking on the street and see. HOT. However, after this one, he’s such a bastard and so smug that she swears up, down, and sideways that this is IT. No more.

Needless to say, as much as these two hate the lustful control they have over each other, they absolutely cannot keep their hands off each other. In the car, at the office, in the elevator, you name it. But it all changes when they head to a business conference together – it’s certainly not all business and the tone of their relationship begins to change as they realize what’s between them is not just their white hot passion.

Not only were these two burning up the pages, but I absolutely loved how they came into themselves growing as people and accepting the inevitable fate of their love. He was definitely an ass, but isn’t it better when they realize they don’t have to be? That she loves him anyway?

Between the panty hoarding, the whenever/wherever sex, their sweet, developing relationship and the reality of the still existent corporate “glass ceiling”, this book was hot AND kept my interest all the way until the end.

Rating: A

*ARC Provided by Gallery Books via Netgalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Beautiful Bastard
by Christina Lauren
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books

Review: The Djinn’s Dilemma

Reviewed by Jen

This story started out really strong for me.  I am pretty sure it had a lot to do with the hero.  Rukh is a sexy half-djinn assassin who ends up falling for his mark.  Sarah is nothing like the scum he is usually hired to kill.  She is a good person with a bright aura. And he realizes that he must figure out why she has been targeted if he going to be able to save her life.

Ruhk is very, very sexy. He’s also broody, with just the right amount of angst.  I like that Sarah is willing and able to not only accept her attraction to him, but to reach out and grab what she wants.  The sexual element between these two burns up the page and I was 100% on board until a little past the half way point of the story.  That’s when I felt like it kicked into overdrive.

Once Rukh decided to come clean, the pacing started to feel too rushed. Sarah accepted everything so quickly and made arrangements so fast it made my head spin.  Then, the climax happened without nearly enough build.  And the big reveal on Sarah’s heritage felt like it came out of nowhere.  I felt like this story could have been so much better if it had been more developed, especially in the second half.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did.  Especially the sexy times. I just think a little more of a build toward the events in the conclusion could have gone a long way to making it better.

Rating: B-

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Djinn’s Dilemma
by Mina Khan
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne

Review: Changes In Autumn

Reviewed by Shelly

As an ex-cop working in animal control, Autumn Reynolds is used to some strange animal situations. But when one of those animals, a werewolf, shows up at her secluded mountain cabin with a gun shot wound, all of Autumn’s training and instincts are put to the test. Connor Grayson is Alpha of his pack but after suffering a life threatening injury he finds himself on the run from one of his own.

This novella is my first from Charles and although I liked it enough, I’m still left wondering about a lot of the ‘whys’? It felt like a day in the life of Autumn and Connor.

Autumn is a no-nonsense ex-cop who values animals and had to give up her career because of an on the job injury. Now she’s recouping and trying to come to grip with the changes in her life. I enjoyed the promise of what Autumn’s character could be, but I was disappointed because I didn’t know more about her. I didn’t buy that she could be a good cop with the qualifications that cops have and not question more of what was happening to her.

Like Autumn, I though that Connor’s character had such great promise, but I felt short-changed in finding out more about him and his pack. The sex between these two was early and frequent.

Overall, I liked this novella but I just didn’t think it was the complete story of the individuals that made up this couple.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Changes in Autumn
by Renee Charles
Release Date: October 24, 2012
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Review: Dark Secrets

Reviewed by Jen

Haidyn thought he had what it takes to be part of the Arcane Guild. His gifts lie with magic, but when he first tried to join the Guild, he just was not strong enough. Too ashamed to return home a failure, he struck out on his own, and eventually ended up using his abilities to become a prostitute.  That was six years ago.

His life isn’t exactly happy now, but he has become wealthy in his trade.  Things are… passably ok, until he finds out his long lost love has married one of his most depraved clients.  He wants desperately to save her from the misery he knows the lawman will inflict. But does he have the power to help her?  And will she even want him in her life once she finds out what he has become?

This book is hard to read at times. While Haidyn does not actually have sex with his clients, he must endure some demeaning and disturbing things to get the job done.  And while the lawman does not physically get to act out his sick fantasies on him, seeing their sessions play out on the page is uncomfortable reading.

This is book two in Shona Husk’s Arcane series, though the only thing it has in common with book one is the world building, which is pretty interesting. It has that alternate-world fantasy feel that seems both futuristic and distant past at the same time.   Unfortunately, the romance element doesn’t hold up.  Haidyn and Anisa have a history, but nothing in their present shows me any feeling between them.  It’s more like she has no other choice to get away from a horrible situation.  That’s not much of a love story.  They’re not even together very much at all.  Anisa is the real victim in the story. First Haidyn abandoned her, then she got married off to a monster.  At least Haidyn chose his own path.

It was ok.  I preferred Dark Vow to this one.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by Carina Press via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Dark Secrets
by Shona Husk
Release Date: February 18, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Kiss of Snow

Reviewed by Jen

I really hoped this book would be good.  There was so much build-up. What has it been, nine books??? Book after book of a snarly Hawke and an equally snarly Sienna.  Sexual tension.  A forbidden relationship.  After all of the teasing, it could have been so anticlimactic.  But it wasn’t. (*Swoon*) I loved this story.  It met all of my expectations, kept me glued to the pages, and left me feeling utterly and completely satisfied.  Need more convincing? Keep reading.

As the story begins, Hawke is at his breaking point.  He needs sexual release, but there is only one woman he wants.  Unfortunately, he is still convinced that Sienna is too young for him. She’s got other ideas.  She decides to go for broke and demands that he fish or cut bait. She shows him what he’s missing, hoping that he finally decides to take what he wants.  And boy, does he.

Hawke still struggles with his feeling throughout the book.  He still feels a bit like a dirty old man for pursuing a 19 year-old (though I was never really clear on how old HE is. I’m thinking early 30s?)  Beyond that, he feels like she deserves things he can’t give her. He is convinced he met and lost his mate as a child and that there is no hope he’ll find that connection again.  In the meantime, Sienna is struggling with her growing powers. We finally learn what it means to be an X-Psy and why she is so dangerous –to both herself and others.

The dance between these two is just so great. I’m not usually a fan of a big age difference, but the tension and delivery on this romance pushed that aside.  It’s so sexy and exciting and emotional.  I love Hawke.  He tried so hard to do the right thing, denying himself what he wanted.  But when he finally let himself have it –have her– it was Sofa King hot to watch his passion unleash.  Sienna is a completely worthy heroine.  So full of fire (*snicker*).  The pairing is just made of awesome.

In the meantime, in true Psy-Changeling fashion, there is plenty of other conflict afoot.  Members of the Psy council are trying to crush the changelings.  We have to figure out, along with the Changelings, who the real enemies are.  In addition to a great battle, there’s a sweet b-romance between Sienna’s uncle Walker and Snow Dancer healer, Lara. (I would have liked a little novella or even a book on these two.) And! We rule out one of my contenders for the identity of the Ghost.

This is my new favorite in the series.  I don’t know how Nalini Singh will top it, but I am happy to keep reading to see how she will try.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon
Kiss of Snow
by Nalini Singh
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Berkley

Review: Captured

Reviewed by Jen

Kenya Wright continues her Vampire Kings series with this second installment that feels just a little dirtier than the last.  It picks up right where the story left off in Escape.  Brie has discovered that her family has moved on and she has left with Samuel, determined that their relationship is only temporary.  But he has other ideas. Her blood is changing him from a Prince into a King and she is the only queen he wants.  He can’t imagine letting her leave him.

The decision gets put on hold, however, when the Silent King sends out his guard in force to search for Brie. They almost kill Samuel’s adopted mother in the process. From then, Samuel and Brie only grow closer and closer as they work side by side to evade the King’s men and figure out why they want her so much.  Of course there is more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away any of the big reveals.

I don’t know that I enjoyed this installment quite as much as the first. I think my biggest hiccup came with Samuel’s uncle Ian and the way he sits on the fringe of the sexual element of Samuel and Brie’s relationship.  There is definitely a voyeuristic thing going on there more than once. And while that might wet somebody’s whistle, it squicked me out a bit.  It also bothered me some that the story went on to villainize Brie’s husband.  I felt like this was done to “make it ok” that she moved on. But I was already ok with it.  This just made it too easy, belittling the struggle she has already faced in letting him go.

I did enjoy learning more of the backstory of the Silent King, Ian, and even Samuel’s mother.  Plus, we get a bit of an origin story on Brie and those who share her bloodline.  The book is surprisingly dark in places,  which gives it a little more depth, as well.

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, which always frustrates me a bit. But I am interested enough to want to keep reading and see where it goes from here.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Captured
by Kenya Wright
Release Date: February 6, 2013