Review: For Crown and Kingdom by Grace Draven and Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve really enjoyed Jeffe Kennedy’s Twelve Kingdom books, and it was an anthology that led me to it. Imagine how excited I was to see this story nestled in another anthology with one of the same authors who took part in Amid the Winter Snow! I was already a Grace Draven fan, thanks to Wraith King series, so I’m always down to read something else from her.

Let’s start with the Kennedy short. The Crown of the Queen is a novella told from Dafne’s point of view, but be forewarned, this is not a romance. (I think that comes in the next book.) Instead, this is like an extended epilogue to The Talon of the Hawk. It takes place immediately after Ursula took the life of her father, the king. Dafne has been hanging out in Annfwn for the past few weeks, but when she gets to Ordnung, Ursula still has not been crowned High Queen. The entire story follows Dafne’s efforts to guide Ursula through the process of taking the throne. [Read more…]

Sara’s Favorites of 2017

2017 felt like a good year to hide under the covers with a good book. Here’s what did it for me this past year.

UF/Romantic Fantasy

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
The last (contracted) book in Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series hit it out of the park. Everything from the smoldering romance between Nevada and Rogan to the revelations of series secrets were flawless.
If you like detailed worldbuilding and original plots you should totally read this series. [Read more…]

Ronelle’s Favorites of 2017

This list was a little hard to put together because, to be frank, I read a lot of not-so-red-hot books this year. BUT there were a few that stuck out and that I enjoyed enough to put on my 2017 list! Here they are, in no particular order:

Poison and Mercy by EC Elvedeane
Not, in fact, a safe read for “girls”, but a really good choice for adults of either gender who enjoy strong heroines, steampunk, and erotica.

Golden by RL Mosswood
I finally took the plunge into M/M romance this year and my first attempt was not a good one. I won’t name names, but let’s just say the constant use of adjectives making it sound like characters are being electrocuted is not sexy.

But I digress.

“Golden” was novella-length, yet it still managed to develop a compelling relationship and intriguing plot. The reverse-harem was surprising and The Dragon managed to be pretty intimidating even though she isn’t physically present for the vast majority of the story. [Read more…]

Review: Amid the Winter Snow by Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter & Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology was a great mix of new worlds and familiar favorites for me.

In the Darkest Midnight is set loosely in the world of Grace Draven’s Wraith Kings, though this story stands up completely on its own. It follows young Jahna, a nobleman’s daughter with a sizable birthmark, who falls head over heels for her brother Sodrin’s instructor in swordsmanship. Radamir is a swordmaster of Ilinfan, a line renowned for its skill. He has committed to four years training Sodrin, but he is quickly taken by the intelligence and fortitude of the young woman derided by others for her appearance. It isn’t romantic between them, at first, as Jahna is only 15, but over time, they form a friendship and much later, it develops into something more. This is a very slow burn and I was a little put off at first by how long Jahna was too young for their relationship to take off. But Draven does a fantastic job crafting the longing Jahna feels for Radamir. By the time they got together, not only did I want it, I needed it to happen. Now that’s over, I’m still wanting more. [Read more…]

Review: The Undying King by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Ronelle

Tineroth and her immortal king have long since passed into legends. Few now believe the tales, though they are still told in fearful whispers. But for Imogen, the Undying King is her only hope of breaking a curse that has isolated her from the world since birth. When her foster mother dies after leaving her the map and key to Tineroth, Imogen will seek out the unknown in hopes of having a normal life.

Trapped in time and between worlds, Cededa is languishing in his immortality. Haunted by the revenants of his past and damned to be the guardian-prisoner of Tineroth, he’s given up hope of ever being free or finding the sweet relief of death. He must live with the passing millennia—and their ever-present regrets. But when the daughter of a woman who once helped him comes striding across the bridge to his city, his existence will change forever. [Read more…]

Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Ronelle

As a Bonekeeper, Nathaniel Gordon haunts the borders of two worlds, acting as guardian for the dead and deterrent for grave robbers. Hideous experiments have rendered him barely human and society shrinks in horror from what he has become. The life he once led is over, the woman he once loved beyond his grasp…or so he thinks.

Standing at her father’s graveside, Lenore Kenward knows that from this day forward, her life will never be the same. Grave robbing runs rampant in London, so when the mysterious Guardian of Highgate appears at her side, she doesn’t hesitate to beg his protection of her father’s remains. But there’s something about this stranger…something achingly familiar. [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorites of 2016

What an amazing year for romance. I read some really good ones this year including a couple historicals.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Kleypas’s historicals and haven’t read her Ravenels series, you’re missing out. This was a new to me author and I couldn’t have been more pleased with Marrying Winterborne, book 2 in the series. Rhys and Helen’s romance was a sweet, fun and well told story about choosing what’s good for you in spite of what society says.

Each of the past few years, M.Q. Barber’s put out a story that I’ve really liked and this year was no exception. Finding their Balance is book 5 in her Neighborly Affection series and continues the story of Henry, Jay and Alice. Well worth the read in you’ve followed that series but I wouldn’t recommend as a stand alone.

I waited for Grace Draven’s book 2 in the Wraith Kings series, Eidolon, patiently. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it because I’ve been disappointed before but this one was absolutely worth the wait. Jen loved it too.

If SEALs are your thing, Embattled Road should be right up your alley. It’s the prequel to JM Madden’s Lost and Found series and it’s good short but good.

I’ve read everything put out by Christine Wenrick and when Leaving Lily Behind came out I was never so happy. It’s book 3 of the Men of Brahm Hills series continuing the saga of good versus evil, Dhampirs, vampires, humans and all things that go bump in the night. It’s tightly woven with the series just in case you’re tempted to read as a standalone.

One of my favorite writers is Allyn Lesley. She’s one of these authors who can pen a tale about an anti-hero and make you fall in love with him. Deeper, book 2 in her Descent series is no exception to that. Noah is no saint and Avi knows it.

Happy reading folks!

Honorable mention goes to:

Angel 6.0 – Concubine by Travis Luedke
A Bad Bit Nice by Josie Kerr
Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Frost
The Devil’s Bedpost by Lena Hart
Falling by Allyn Lesley
Sucker Punched by Kelley Martin

Ronelle’s Favorites of 2016

I can’t believe we’re already looking at the closing act of 2016! It feels like just yesterday I was lamenting my lack of suitable swimwear and then the literal yesterday, I was dressing up as The Grim Reaper and escorting a Witch Doctor, Mavis from Hotel Transylvania, and a little Rainbow Dash around the neighborhood to collect candy. As for books, it’s been an…interesting year; I joined the ladies here at Red Hot Books, published my first novel, started my own blog, and got a whole new perspective on the weirdness that exists in the literary world. I found some new authors I’ll be following and read some passages that were just downright strange.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Favorites of 2016:

Master of Crows by Grace Draven
Adult Gothic/Dark Fantasy Romance

No, this isn’t a new release and no, I didn’t just read it for the first time this year, so why is it on this list? Because if it were a human man, I’d put my husband out on his ass and marry it in a heartbeat!

I love everything about this book and have lost track of how many times I’ve reread it. Ms. Draven has penned an epically beautiful dark fantasy romance that has all the elements of a masterpiece. Silhara, Martise, and Gurn were complex and had the depth of actual, real-life people. The world jumped off the page and the plot had me hooked from the jump. Silhara and Martise have become one of my favorite fantasy couples of all time.

Click to purchase: Master of Crows

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Adult Paranormal Fantasy Romance

I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance. A little slow to start and occasionally bogged down in world-building, what emerged was an excellent start to what I hope will become a favorite series. I loved Ellysetta’s strength and determination to have what her heart desired, in spite of all the cultural obstacles. As for Rain Tairen Soul, I don’t normally go for the tortured, broody type, but he did it so well and his character evolved so much that I couldn’t help but love him.

And the scene towards the end? *fans self* Not intended for young audiences and reader discretion is advised.

Click to purchase: Lord of the Fading Lands

Fletcher by AJ Adams
Adult Dark Erotic Fantasy

Here is another one I’d leave my husband for if it were a person. Ware and Lind set fire to the pages from their very first meeting and I simply could not put this down to do functional adult things, like eating, sleeping, and interacting with others. (Apparently, “Go ‘way, reading!” doesn’t count as functional interaction.) This is very much erotica rather than romance, but the plot was solid and just as enthralling as the sex—and that isn’t something I can normally say about the genre.

Read it. Right now. No, seriously, put down whatever you’re doing and get this book. You can thank me later in the comment section.

Click to purchase: Fletcher

Her Demigod Complex by Abigail Owen
Adult Paranormal Romance (Shifters)

When I saw the first line of the description “In love with her demigod billionaire boss”, I was pretty sure I was about to read some 50 Shades of Grey knock-off. I went into this expecting plotless, mindless, cotton-candy fluff, but since I was looking for a literary palate-cleanser before going on to something more serious, I figured that might not be so bad.

Wow, did I get so much more than I was anticipating!

There was a surprising amount of plot here and the characters were quite likable. So much so, that other books in this collection are on my TBR list.

Click to purchase: Her Demigod Complex

Red Winter by Annette Marie
YA Fantasy Romance

This is one of those books that will leave you breathless, hopeful, and completely devastated in the best possible way. You’ll be yelling at the author to just “hurry up and finish the next one already!” so you can find out what happens to Shiro and Emi. Or at least, I did. This book ripped my heart out at times, but then somehow managed to kiss it better and put it back. I do not usually enjoy YA, but Red Winter is very much an exception to that rule. I highly recommend this to lovers of contemporary romance with a realistic fantasy setting (you think that’s an oxymoron now, but just wait). Actually, scratch that. I just highly recommend it.

Click to purchase: Red Winter

Here are a few more ‘favorites’:
Favorite squicky line: “Today, Dugald’s cock was like a tasty roasted sausage, hot and thick in her mouth. Would it steam if she withdrew?” –Alice Derwent’s ponderings in Desire in Tartan
Favorite squee line: “Lie with me, Martise.” –Silhara of Neith
Favorite expletive by a character: Pretty much everything out of Lind’s mouth, but “Go lick Tyr’s hairy balls, fat-gut!” stands out.
Favorite couple: This one was a tie between Silhara/Martise and Ware/Lind. Both have chemistry that’s almost electric and the sparks fly from their first meetings.
Favorite cover: Challenging Destiny by Cherie Colver

Review: Eidolon by Grace Draven

eidolonReviewed by Jen

Radiance was one of my favorite books of 2015, and I have been eagerly awaiting more of Brishen and Ildiko’s story since the moment I finished this series’ first installment. This sequel is a little different, but it has to be. This is no longer a story of two members of vastly different species falling in love. That’s already happened. Now it’s the story of what comes next for them. It’s still a fantastic book, though, and it continues the thread of how this Kai man and human woman not only manage to love one another through their differences, but how their union is accepted among their people.

If you haven’t read Radiance, by the way, go do it now. [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorite Books of 2015

I had a very good read from a new to me author, Serena Akeroyd. Menage Material, is the first in her La Belle sans Le bete series and was an absolute winner. It’s a menage (m/m/f) erotica set in France and tells the tale of a CEO, his botanist American wife and their cancer curing scientist lover.

Click to purchase: Menage Material
[Read more…]