Jen’s Favorite Books of 2015

It’s hard to believe we’re leaving another great year of reading behind us. In 2015, I found it more difficult to find books that suit my taste. I don’t care to read about billionaire bachelors, rock stars, step-brothers, biker gangs, or BDSM. Take a minute and think about how many titles fell into those categories last year.  I did a lot of backlist reading to fill in the gaps.

There were some really good new releases that I did enjoy; they were just more scarce. Here’s a look at some of the 2015 releases that really satisfied. [Read more…]

Review: Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

sweet ruinReviewed by Jen

I know a lot of people were disappointed by Kresley Cole’s decision to feature two new characters in this book. They want Furie and Kristoff. Or Nix and… somebody. Cole has created such a vast landscape of characters already, we’re all greedy to get their stories. But this book does something important. It broadens the scope of the series and –in my opinion– ramps up the Ascension more than any book that’s come before it. It also introduces the guy who I think will be Nix’s HEA, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. [Read more…]

Review: The Master by Kresley Cole

masterReviewed by Jen

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I had mixed feelings about The Professional but I am a huge Kresley Cole fan, so I decided to give the series another go. While I did have a couple of issues, I enjoyed it overall in guilty-pleasure, super sexy way.

The hero is Maksimilian,  Sevastyan’s middle brother. He is a Russian politician with ties to the mafiya, but honestly, there was very little that his connections had to do with the story. For this book, Maks is visiting Miami on a business trip. As always, he orders up a blonde from a high class escort service to fulfill his needs while he is in town. But the girl he ordered couldn’t make it. Instead, she sent her friend, a fiery Latina, named Cat. [Read more…]

Jen’s Favorite Books of 2014

2014

Another great year of reading is drawing to a close and looking back on some of the awesome titles, I am tempted to go back and read some of them again.  Now that I have put this list together, I realize that just about every one is part of a series. Some of them can stand alone. Others are better read after enjoying earlier installments.  But either way, for me, they are the cream of the crop from the year 2014. [Read more…]

Review: Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

dark skyeReviewed by Jen

Not all Kresley Cole books are created equal.  The last three books didn’t wow me like some of the earlier books in the series, but THIS book reminded me of why I love this series so much.  Like so many Immortals After Dark readers, I have been anxiously awaiting Thronos and Lanthe’s book since Kiss of a Demon King.  Cole does such a great job of planting the seeds of a romance, then stepping back and waiting for our anticipation to grow for their story.  Sometimes, the payoff has been less than stellar (like Regin & Aidan/Declan in Dreams of a Dark Warrior.)  But other times –like here– she makes the years of waiting worth it. [Read more…]

Review: The Professional Part 3 by Kresley Cole

professional 3Reviewed by Jen

Well, no one can call Kresley Cole a light-weight when it comes to love scenes.  Not that she ever disappointed me before.  But here she takes it to an entirely different level.  It’s not my brand of kink, but I can recognize hot sex when I see it. This is H-O-T. But the sex aside, I had some issues. [Read more…]

Review: The Professional Part 2 by Kresley Cole

professional 2Reviewed by Jen

Why in the name of all that is holy did I try to read a serial?  Clearly, I must have been influenced by my memories of Kresley Cole’s sexy Russian vampires. (I mean, who can resist those sexy Russian murmurs of endearment like milaya moya?) Yet for all the deliciousness of Sevastyan, his dirty needs, his stony exterior and his hidden vulnerability, I found this story to be an excruciating tease.  It barely started before it stopped.  (And believe me… it stopped. It didn’t end.) The lesson here: I should never read a serial until all the installments are ready for purchase. [Read more…]

Joint Review: The Professional Part 1 by Kresley Cole

professionalReviewed by Carrie & Jen

Carrie: When I heard that Kresley Cole was writing a serial, I quickly dismissed it, despite the fact that Cole is one of my favorite authors, because I am not a good reader of the short form.  A few months later, when early advance copies began to come out, it was noted that this would be an erotic romantic suspense.  Then, when I heard it featured a Russian assassin, I threw up my hands and downloaded the copy.  Buckle your seatbelts and prepare to suspend disbelief, this story will satisfy and leave you begging for more. [Read more…]

Review: MacRieve by Kresley Cole

Reviewed by Jen
 

I have to admit that I wasn’t overcome with excitement with the idea of Ulleam MacRieve as the next IAD hero.  True, the MacRieve Lykae are sexy to be sure, but Ulleam never did much for me –and frankly, I was itching for a Lanthe and Thronos book.  I love this series, though, so I figured any book was going to be a win one way or another –and for the most part, it was.

Basically, it’s your standard Immortals After Dark book. The hero has a dark past.  He wants the heroine, but he doesn’t WANT to want the heroine.  He is strong; she is vulnerable. Nix is funny…  It’s comfortable. Pretty predictable.  But mostly enjoyable.

From the very beginning of the story, we find out the root of MacRieve’s suffering. He was sexually abused by a succubus for years as a child.  The culmination of the abuse destroyed his family and warped him sexually.  It’s been hundreds of years, but he still hasn’t gotten over it.  His torture on the island featured in Carrow & Regin’s books only made it worse.  He is ready to just end it all with a one-way trip to the place where immortals go to die.  Until Nix manipulates him into finding his mate.

Chloe grew up believing herself to be a human. She has no idea that her father is the evil man behind those island experiments.  She doesn’t even know the Lore exists until she starts to exhibit signs of impending immortality. Her dad tosses her a book on the Lore and disappears, clearing the path for some very unhappy immortals to snatch her away.

Once MacRieve wrests her from the bad guys, their connection is instantaneous. The change in him is immediate and everything is so wonderful, you have no doubt it’s all about to go to hell.  And it’s obvious how it’s going to happen.  In some ways after that, it’s a lot like Bowen’s story… where the hero’s instinct tells him one thing, but his past and his personal damage tells him another.  Frankly, he is pretty mean to poor Chloe.  But unlike Lothaire, I had the chance to know him as a good guy first. I got to see what he went through. So I was able to muster some sympathy for him.  Chloe had a lot to handle in a short time and I thought she handled it extremely well (almost too well.)  When all was said and done, you had to root for them to work it all out.

Overall, I liked it.  There wasn’t as much overlap with other characters in the series as usual.  The broad landscape of the world is one of the things I like most about the series, so I missed that. It was pretty much just Ulleam, Munro, and Nix (with a cameo from Malkom.)  It felt like a periphery story, more than one built into the main series arc.  I would have liked to see a surprise or two in there, but I left the book feeling satisfied… in a comfortable and familiar way.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
MacRieve
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books

Review: Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole

Reviewed by Jen

I am a huge fan of Kresley Cole and her Immortals After Dark world.  This may be the first in a set of spinoff books, but it fits in perfectly along with the other installments in the existing series.  In fact, it reminded me quite a bit of an earlier book, but I’ll get back to that in just a minute.

The Dacian series centers on the vampire sect we met in Lothaire’s book. They are an ancient and secluded sect which many among the Lore basically consider to be a myth.  Trehan is one of their princes, a killer who serves as the sword of their people. And as the story begins, he is on the hunt for Castion, a demon who somehow sneaked into his lands and left.  No one is allowed to visit Dacia and leave, because of the risk they’ll tell others about the secret society.  So Cas is marked for death.

Bettina is the princess of Abbadon, a demon realm. She is a demon-Sorceri hybrid and considered weak for it.  Unfortunately, her physical vulnerabilities were exploited by a group of men from her people’s enemies and she was attacked. Bett was beaten within an inch of her life and her power was stolen. As a result, her family decided she needed a protector and devised a tournament to find her a husband.

The only man Bettina wants is her childhood friend Castion, but he loves her only as a friend.  It’s during Trehan’s hunt for Cas that he is drawn to Bettina and recognizes her as his Bride.  From that point on, his mission is twofold: win the tournament and make Bettina love him more than she thinks she loves Castion.

This story reminded me a lot of No Rest for the Wicked. A lot. That was the one where the vampire Sebastian entered the Hie tournament to win the love of Kaderin the Cold.  The heroes in both books are very similar –and while the details of the tournaments are different– the whole “I must win for her” vibe is the same.  Kaderin and Bettina are nothing alike, though.  While Kaderin was cold and ruthless, Bettina is starry-eyed and needs to find her inner strength.  The similarities in the books didn’t bother me, per se, but it kept it from feeling fresh.

It has all the Kresley Cole markers: snarky, powerful women (in this case the Sorceri Morgana;) powerful, broody men who have gone too long without the love of a good woman; hot sex; humor; and a Nix sighting.  I think fans will enjoy it.  We’ve even got little tie-ins with the MacRieve’s and the Lanthe-Thronos story (ie. the book I’ve been waiting for since Kiss of a Demon King back in the beginning of ’09.)  My patience wears thin, Kresley.

Anyway, if you’re wondering where this fits into the IAD timeline, it starts before the events of Lothaire and ends after that book’s conclusion.  I point this out only because I spent the first few chapters wondering where the heck the Enemy of Old was.  For what it’s worth, I liked this book better than that one.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
Shadow’s Claim
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books