Archives for May 2013

RT Giveaway. Better Late Than Never

Yes. I know it’s been almost a month since RT, but in my defense, it has taken me almost this long to realign my life from being away for a week. That being said, you’ve probably heard from all the other attendees by now about how many books were just there for the taking. I tried not to go crazy in accepting the freebies, but some came in handout bags. Others are literally put in your hands by authors.  And still others, I have no idea how I ended up with.

So, fabulous people, I am sharing some of my bounty with you.  I’ll post a few giveaways this week to spread out the goodies. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form if you want to enter to win. This is US/ CAN only, though, due to shipping costs.

The first two books I am giving away are Immortally Yours by Angie Fox and For Her Pleasure by Maya Banks. Check out the deets.

IN THE WAR BETWEEN THE GODS… 

No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx,vegetarian werewolf, and otherparanormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally). But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…

NOTHING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOVE

Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophecy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…

Three novellas. Two interlocking stories. One sizzling read.

Nice set up: one spirited woman in Kit Townsend, and two hot buddies, Ryder and Mac, who take turns giving Kit what she needs. It’s the perfect no-strings triangle and while it doesn’t exactly follow the rules, neither does Kit. But when love unexpectedly throws these three friends for a loop, can they still have a happy ending?

And then there’s Mia Malone, a sweet Dallas girl who had big dreams for the future when she first met Texas Ranger Logan Kincaid. That fairy tale was a lifetime ago. Today, framed for drug possession, she’s forced to work undercover at a strip joint where several working girls have disappeared. Then in walks Logan-her protector, savior, and lover.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Series Reading Order: Dark Protectors

This is the reading order for the Dark Protectors series by Rebecca Zanetti:

*Denotes short story/ novella

Review: Fated

Reviewed by Jen

Ever since I read Rebecca Zanetti’s Consumed (the fourth book in this series) more than a year ago, I’ve been dying to pick up the backlist.  The world-building was so great in that book (and then in book 5, Provoked) that I really wanted to see where it all began before continuing with the series.  I waited, though, because I thought $12 was a bit too pricey to pay for a two year-old ebook.  Thankfully, a sale, coupled with a Kobo coupon, put this in a more reasonable price range –and I finally got to reading.

I’m glad I didn’t pay full price.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that I finally got the chance to learn more about the history of the series.  This book lays all the foundation for what lies ahead. Unfortunately, I had issues with the romance that kept me from enjoying this installment as much as I have the others I’ve read in the series.

Cara is a scientist and single mother with a special psychic ability.  As the story begins, she and her daughter Janie are kidnapped by a sexy vampire named Talen.  It seems the bad vampires, the Kurjans, are aware of Cara’s gifts and they want to kidnap her and her child to force them into mating with their warriors.  Instead, she is forced to mate with Talen to ensure their safety.  –It’s not rape or anything. Cara and Talen are physically attracted, but things have to progress much further and faster than she wants.

In short order, Cara goes from knowing nothing about the supernatural world to learning all about the vamps, shifters, and their age old wars. And we, too, learn it all along with her.  We find out what the Kurjans are plotting and see their plan as it all begins to unfold –and meet some of the fantastic characters that will feature heavily in future books.  All good stuff. Lots of action, hot sex too.

But I had a serious problem with the balance of power between Cara and Talen –or the lack thereof. There is a certain expectation of “alpha” in most paranormal romance, but in the successful ones (for me) the heroine manages to find her own power in the relationships.  Yes, it’s usually more subtle than the hero’s power, but they each have a chance to win some of the battles. Here, Cara never gets to win.  It’s all Talen’s way and he never gives an inch.  I appreciate that he loves her and she holds his heart or whatever, but he controls everything, including, at times, her body and her will.  He orders her around. He “punishes” her.  I’m just not down with that dynamic.  It’s also got some of the more eye-rolling PNR tropes, like the heroine having an orgasm on demand –and sex so good she blacks out.

I’m glad I didn’t read this book first because I likely would not have continued with the series.  But I know I liked the later installments, so I will keep reading. I know they get better.

Rating: C-

Click to purchase: Amazon
Fated
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Brava

Series Reading Order: Breeds

The reading order for the Breeds series by Lora Leigh is kind of hard to pin down. Leigh provides a reading order list, which I will give your here. But keep in mind, these books were initially distributed my multiple publishers and were only later incorporated into one big series.  For example, the “Wolf Breeds” and the “Feline Breeds” were done separately and later merged together under Ellora’s Cave. When Berkley picked them up, they became just “Breeds.”  The original order for the Wolf shifter books was different than they are now listed as part of the overall series.  As a result of the merger, there are some timeline disparities.  I’ll try to share the original order as well as the overall order and you can decide what works best for you as a reader.

  • *Creation (Breeds 0.5)
  • Tempting the Beast (Breeds #1) (Feline #1)
  • The Man Within (Breeds #2) (Feline #2)
  • Elizabeth’s Wolf (Breeds #3) (Wolf #4)
  • Kiss of Heat (Breeds #4) (Feline #3)
  • Soul Deep (Breeds #5) (Feline #4)
  • *The Breed Next Door (Breeds #6)
  • Megan’s Mark (Breeds #7)
  • Harmony’s Way  (Breeds #8)
  • Tanner’s Scheme (Breeds #9)
  • *Wolf’s Hope (Breeds #10) (Wolf #1)
  • Jacob’s Faith (Breeds #11) (Wolf #2)
  • Aiden’s Charity (Breeds #12) (Wolf #3)
  • *In a Wolf’s Embrace (Breeds #13)
  • Dawn’s Awakening (Breeds #14)
  • A Jaguar’s Kiss (Breeds #15)
  • Mercury’s War (Breeds #16)
  • *Christmas Heat (Breeds #17)
  • Coyote’s Mate (Breeds #18)
  • Bengal’s Heart (Breeds #19)
  • *A Christmas Kiss (Breeds #20)
  • Lion’s Heat (Breeds #21)
  • Styx’s Storm (Breeds #22)
  • *Primal Kiss (Breeds #23)
  • Navaro’s Promise (Breeds #24)
  • *An Inconvenient Mate (Breeds #25)
  • Lawe’s Justice (Breeds #26)
  • Stygian’s Honor (Breeds #27)
  • *The Devil’s Due (Breeds #28)
  • Rule Breaker (Breeds #29)
  • Bengal’s Quest (Breeds, #30)

*Denotes short story/ novella

Review: Their Taydelaan

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve read quite a few of Clark’s stories and although I have been content with them in the past, this story left me with this feeling of ‘wait, wait, where’s the rest of it?’ This is part of a series, but it’s not promoted that way. The blurb didn’t hint of that either, but it was interesting enough that I took the plunge. While reading this, I felt that I missed too much to really understand the world or the characters.

This is a pretty short read (about 20K or about 40 pages ePub version). During a visit to see her sister in the hospital, Jade literally bumps into a man, Mitchell, who’s her Taydelaan – a genetically matched mate. I’m not sure how the matched genetics came into play because they’re from two different planets. Mitchell is Zachary’s husband and they’ve been waiting for their Taydelaan for quite some time. Three months after the hospital incident, Jade continues to dream of Mitchell and Zach but doesn’t understand why. After agreeing to go to the christening of her sister’s daughter, Jade, she can physically reconnect with Mitchell, meet Zachary, and finally find out the meaning behind her dreams.

Jade is hard and a little cold. I think she’s been through some things, but I’m not sure what. I was hoping to find out and that would have probably help in making her a more likable character. I definitely saw something I liked in her, but it didn’t all come to fruition. Surprising to me, even though this was a quick read (and maybe because it was) I expected to see more interaction between the three but to my dismay, there was more between the guys and not enough about Jade. Jade’s strained relationship with her sister might have explained some things, but I’m not sure because it wasn’t explained.  Maybe the reason for the tension was in another story.

Mitchell and Zachary were nice guys but I didn’t see why Jade ended up with them because she didn’t like them. That back story was missing and Jade going from ‘I don’t like you’ to ‘I want to have sex with you’ was so hurried it left me unable to enjoy the story. I felt so rushed, but that’s nothing new with my feelings with reading this author. I’ve forgiven it in the past because the premises were good for some of the stories.  But this one just felt flat for me.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: D

Click to purchase: Amazon
Their Taydelaan
by Rachel Clark
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Siren

Review: Harley on the Rocks

Reviewed by Shelly

I was going through my TBR list and decided to give this one a go. It turns out that I should have read this one way sooner that I did, because it was good. After meeting her new neighbors (Davis and Koijirou), Harley’s develops a growing friendship with them. Davis and Koi are two fellas in love and happily committed to each other. There are no car chases or run away bad guys, just a very sweet story about friends with benefits.

The way that Harley meets Koi had me cracking up – what falls out of her bag is almost as embarrassing as female products falling out. What a great ground-breaker it was! After finding out that Davis and Koi are married and technically ‘safe’, Harley finds a comfort in their friendship that rivals any friendship she could have with a girl. After some time passes in their relationship, the guys jokingly suggest that they could be friends with benefits and Harley enthusiastically decides that’s a great idea. She forgot the rule about being careful what you wish for because then she has to decide which is more important – the friendship or the sex. Oh yeah, the angst begins.

I liked all three of these characters, but my favorite was Koi. Not that he was the glue, because I think that Harley did a fine job with that. He just seemed to pop off the page a bit more to me. He works at a dojo as an instructor (not sure which martial art form he specialized in) but the contrast between structure and poise and the boyish enthusiasm that he exhibits around Harley was infectious and sweet.

Davis is the muscle of the two; he’s a redhead with the temper to match and very much a joy to get to know. Although he’s bigger than Koi he still can’t beat him in a fight and the exchanges about that are some of the funniest moments in the story. What I liked a lot about this story was that the focus was primarily on Harley and the issues and hurdles she needed to get over to make all three of them a family. The guys were already ‘out’ per se so Harley was the wild card. One of those hurdles was her family, especially her mother – oh what a waste of human flesh she was. Her grandmother was completely adorable and provided the driving force for Harley’s upbringing and, in turn, her morals and sense of being comfortable in her own skin. Well done there.

The chemistry and sex between these three was definitely present. Actually there wasn’t a lot of action between the two guys — it was largely between the three. The only complaint I had was that the end seemed a bit rushed, but thank goodness that didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment I had reading this.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon
Harley on the Rocks
by Zenobia Renquist
Release Date: February 3, 2011
Publisher: Changeling Press

Review: Online Menage

Reviewed by Shelly

This is my first Kingston story and it was an okay read. I’m starting to question my sanity for reading these shorter stories because the majority of the time, I feel like I’m getting half a story. This is an m/m/f where the attraction started online. Alexis Thompson works as a graphic artist and for the past six months, she’s developed a crush on one of her company’s clients, Tyler Daniel. Tyler is in a gay relationship with Ryan Cooper. Unknowingly, Alexis and Ryan are online friends (supposed BFFs, but I don’t know how that can be if you don’t know each other’s real names). Finding out that the love of his life, Tyler, has kissed someone named Alex, Ryan is just beside himself with the what-if’s that could happen. Interesting idea, but I just didn’t feel it… neither the chemistry nor even vested in any of these characters.

A little new to me and a different way to deliver dialogue was done through texting and IM’s — which I’m not fond of because I think that’s fine to say ‘hello’ and a quick ‘how ya doing’ but it’s no way for a couple or three to communicate.  It just kinda seems like an easy way out to have a misunderstanding between one or more characters. I’ll take the old school way of in-person, thanks.

I can’t give you too much, but it’s a cute read about a couple of guys who’re in a committed relationship and after so many years of ‘missing something’ they decide that the something is Alexis. Alexis is actually a pleasant and likable character, but I did have a problem with her breaking up with one boyfriend one day and jumped in bed with these two by the next. Just sayin’.

Ryan ‘Big Red’ was a nice guy and although the more physically imposing of the two, he was the softer hearted one. Tyler, although still likable, was more gruff and domineering. I think the story line left me with too many open questions about Ryan and Tyler’s background and how they got together. Also, there were some timeline questions between Ryan and Alexis online friendship that were confusing to me and threw me enough to make me re-read.

Overall, this was an okay story, not anything great, but not bad either. So if you’re wanting a little sexting in your m/m/f story – this might do the trick.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

Click to purchase: Amazon
Online Menage
by Sara Kingston
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Siren

Review: Buried Bones

Reviewed by Jen

I really enjoyed Good Bones and had no idea a sequel was in the works… so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about this book.  It picks up where the last story left off, following the relationship between neighbors Chris and Dylan.  The feel stays very true to the first book, though the men have new challenges to face.

Chris has come to terms very well with finding out Dylan is a werewolf and accepts his lover as he is.  Dylan has concerns about Chris’ safety around him in his other form, but we learn quickly that is really not what they have to be worried about.  It seems there is a ghost haunting Dylan’s house.   The guys have to figure out who the specter is and what he wants while they try to put their relationship on more permanent ground.

In the meantime, both guys have some issues they have to work on within themselves.  Chris has to come to terms with his difficult childhood and the father who abandoned him. Dylan has to figure out how being a werewolf fits in his life –and whether he can share his secret with others.  This, as he struggles with a big new project at his architectural firm.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about a ghost coming in to the story. Yes, these books are supernatural in nature. But Good Bones was much, much less a werewolf story than a love story.  The wolf thing played a part, but it was secondary to what was happening between Dylan and Chris emotionally.  The supernatural does have a bigger role here, but I am happy to say that at the heart, Buried Bones is a relationship story too.

Things between Dylan and Chris are still pretty new.  Both guys have some insecurities about their future and how to ensure they stay together.  Chris is still the more vulnerable of the two, but I found that it presented itself a little differently in this installment. He was so sure he wasn’t good enough before; that he was unworthy of Dylan.  Now, I think he is more emotionally invested. He has opened his heart and allowed himself to believe that Dylan loves him.  But instead of the heartbreaking statements he made in the past, now he makes a jab or a dig about it; his words are less desolate and more barbed.  I feel like he still doesn’t see the worth in himself that Dylan sees, but he is moving away from being the wounded bird we first met.  He is trying to stand up for himself, instead of offering to take anything Dylan will give him.

I enjoyed watching these two move their relationship to a deeper level.  And Lord knows, the sex is hot. But with Chris’ growth in the relationship, I didn’t have the same gut-punched feeling that made me want to jump in the last book and give him a hug. It is a good journey, though.  I’m glad I got a chance to revisit these characters and see them take things to the next level.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Dreamspinner Press

Click to purchase: Amazon
Buried Bones
by Kim Fielding
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Review: Saved by His Submissive

Reviewed by Shelly

Where should I begin? This story is centered around a group of Doms who happen to be Special Forces, or is it a group of Special Forces who happen to be Doms? I’m not really sure, but I don’t think it matters much in the end. Garrett Wyatt is a tormented man. Since his fiancé’s kidnapping and subsequent death, Garrett has hidden beneath his devil may care attitude. Sage Weston is a tortured woman. She was kidnapped by human traffickers and has been held in captivity for the past year. During what he thinks is a routine rescue mission, Garrett is unexpectedly reunited with Sage. Can these two find each other in spite of the trials and tribulations of their time apart?

This was a slower paced story than I would have liked. I felt like I was learning more about the couple’s individual internal shenanigans and about Sage being held captive than I was about Garrett and Sage as a couple. A majority of the story happens while someone is under duress. That probably shouldn’t be an issue, but this story isn’t long – about 145 pages (pdf version).

Garrett was way too alpha for me – I can take a modicum of grunting, snarling and growling, but jiminy crickets – use your words, man. The relationship between he and Sage was strained to say the least, and I can’t say that I was invested in them as a couple. By the time it was for the sex scene to roll around, I was over it. There were a few things that didn’t add up for me. But if I go into them, I’ll give spoilers and I don’t want to do that.

Sage is a very strong woman. She’s a survivor. Her stubborn nature does what it takes, mentally and physically, to survive so she can fight another day. But surprisingly, that’s not what I most liked about her. The most important thing about Sage is her smarts. You can be many things, but if you know how to use your brain, you’re bigger and better than your opponent, be they friend or foe. And here’s where I had a problem. Sage is a very smart person, she’s an RN, she’s a Sergeant, and she went through basic and survived. Heck, she survived over a year as a captive and despite all of that, Garrett treats her with kid gloves when the bad guy comes knocking. She’s not weak, why treat her like she is?

One of the other unsettling things for me was that the majority of the story felt dragged out and blasé. There’s only so much internal shenanigans from both Sage and Garret that I can tolerate. Last but not least, I have a golden rule that’s not negotiable, I don’t like cheating. This is not a spoiler because it happens on page 36, Garrett gives his affection away to someone not Sage. Dressing it up as role playing is not cool with me because Sage didn’t know about it.

Even with all that, the story is good enough that I’m looking forward to the next story… only if it’s Zeke and Rayna, I really liked her.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Saved by His Submissive
by Angel Payne
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Review: Erica’s Choice

Reviewed by Shelly

I’m not sure where to start because I’m still amazed that I was so captivated by this story. This was a good book. Lee’s brilliant usage of dialogue worked to not only move this story along, but also to provide just enough kink to entertain the average gal. The majority of the m/m/f stories that I’ve read have an established relationship where a couple is looking for a third. That couple could be either m/m or m/f, this story is different in that these three are not involved in any relationship and they have to make it up as they go along. Sweet!

Reserved and conservative Erica Shannon discovers something that rocks her world. She’s not sure how she’s going to manage that, but she also realizes that it’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines watching life pass her by. Visiting the local bar, Erica walks in and sees her two dream men who she’s been checking out (on the sly of course) for the past several months. Firefighter Corey Wachawski has had his eyes on Erica for a while too, but it’s not until his friend and fellow co-worker Dale Griffin threatens to make a move on Erica, does Corey finally man up and introduces himself to the woman of his dreams; to add more spice, little does Corey know that Griff has his eyes on both Erica and his fellow firefighter. Oh my goodness, it’s already soap-opera-ish and I’m just at the beginning – could this read get any sweeter? I thought, for sure, probably not. But do not fear folks, it does get that much better.

I found this book as I was looking for a story that would capture my interest without any flash and this one did the trick. It’s a simple story of three people who choose to be in a relationship. There’s no grand design with hidden agendas (other than some hot sex and sweaty bodies) and complicated storylines, instead it’s a story of falling in love and the angst and heartache that finding your forever-after entails. I found myself drawn to and rooting for each of them for different reasons. Lee does a remarkable job of finding and conveying the strengths and insecurities of her characters.

Erica has a past filled with heartache and abandonment. Even though Corey and Griff treated her like she’s best thing since sliced bread, her fears kept her from making them the family that Corey dreamed and wishing for. The relationship between the three was sweet, yet complicated, and definitely endearing. Like Erica, Griff had his own demons to bear. As the only one with experience as part of a triad, Griff was my favorite not because of his history but because he knew the bad that could happen and he still tried. There’s some really good stuff there.

The chemistry among the three was hot and heavy, the sex scenes plentiful and passionate. I don’t know if Lee’s got anything more in her arsenal like this but I can definitely say that this one is a winner.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon
Erica’s Choice
by Sami Lee
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Samhain