Review: Werewolves Be Damned

Reviewed by Jen

Nexi thought she was just a regular human woman.  She didn’t even know supernatural creatures existed… until werewolves attacked her home and killed her parents. That’s when her life changed forever.  The Guardians who arrived on the scene filled her in on the missing pieces.  Not only are there paranormal beings; she is one, herself.

Nexi is actually part Guardian, part witch.  When her mother was killed, her father opted to bind her abilities and have her raised in the human world.  But once the secret is exposed, Nexi opts to embrace her true heritage –her gifts and her magic– so she can wreak vengeance on the wolves who killed the couple who raised her.

Kyden is one of the Guardians who rushed to save Nexi that fateful night. And ever since, he has been drawn to her iron will and take-no-prisoners attitude.  When the opportunity arises for him to train her, he jumps at the chance. Suddenly, their cantankerous relationship turns into something more fiery.

As Nexi trains and gets stronger, we learn about some malevolent force rallying supernaturals to great violence.  Nexi’s parents were only the beginning. She must work with Kyden to figure out who is behind it all –and why it feels like it all has something to do with her.

I had mixed feelings about the book. I thought the world-building was interesting and I liked the premise.  Stacey Kennedy does a good job setting up the Otherworld and its various factions.  I found some of the secondary characters intriguing and I’d like to see more of them… (Valor, anyone?)  The sexual tension between Nexi and Kyden is hot… and though it took forever for them to seal the deal, the sex is pretty good.

However, I never felt a deep connection to the main character.  Nexi seems kind of one-note throughout the book: revenge at all costs… which eventually morphs into the two-notes of revenge at all costs plus I love Kyden.  I know there is more to her than that; and I would have liked to see it. On top of that, I felt like her relationship with Kyden progressed really fast, making the depth of their connection hard for me to believe entirely.  In fact, a lot of things seemed to develop quickly or easily, like Nexi’s ability to accept the supernatural; her ability to fight; and her friendships and connections to other members of the Otherworld.

There were obviously some sexual developments that happened between Nexi and Kyden off-page, which were alluded to when we jumped from their initial contact to even more intimate terrain. And while we’re talking sex… I never got a satisfying explanation on why Nexi was a 25 year-old virgin.  She’s hot and there’s nothing apparently wrong with her; plus she doesn’t have any moral or religious reasons we know of.  I just don’t buy it.

Overall, I found the book a pretty good read.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  I’m curious if future books in the series will continue to focus on Nexi or on other characters in the Otherworld.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Entangled 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Werewolves Be Damned
by Stacey Kennedy
Release Date: April 15, 2013
Publisher: Entangled

Review: Beg For It

Reviewed by Shelly
Blurb: The Pact of Seduction has one rule—fulfill your ultimate fantasy. Bella’s problem, she can’t live up to her vow. But her failure spins events that lead her into unknown territory. Kole, a Dom at the sex club Castle Dolce Vita, wasn’t part of her fantasy, but he’s about to show her he should have been.
Kole is more than willing to introduce Bella to BDSM since he’s held an interest in her for some time. But the feisty woman isn’t easily tamed and her strong personality proves to be difficult. While she might be determined to keep him at a distance, Kole has other ideas. He won’t allow her to shut him out.
A pact between best friends brought them together, emotional barriers tear them apart. Kole skillfully reminds Bella through pleasure and punishment that she is now his submissive, and her place is under his command.

Review: Having not read the first in the series I didn’t feel cheated or left out by jumping right into this one. The primary reason being the characters (Reed, Marley, Kyra and Sadie) from Bind Me (Book One) continue to play a part.  I might be going out on a limb here (don’t think so though) the other roomies will eventually have their turn.

Kole and Bella rocked my world big time, especially that Kole. What a hunk of mantastic he is, yummy! Their short but fulfilling story starts out quick and doesn’t take a breather anywhere through out. After their first ‘scene’ I was worried that Bella was going to turn out to be a simpering idiot but she make a valiant comeback with the help of Kole of course (did I already mention that he’s kinda deliciously awesome).  And oh my goodness, the sex scenes were rocking – yes, the don’t come aknocking kind. Bella better be thankful to the many subs before her for all pleasures and not so painful punishments in her future.

If BDSM floats your boat, I know you’re going to enjoy this ride. And if it doesn’t, this might be a good one to try, as there is nothing too far-fetched that would invite the ewww factor. I’m totally looking forward to Book Three.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: A-

*Book provided by author for review

Beg for It
by Stacey Kennedy
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Loose ID

5 for Friday – June 1

Happy Friday, everybody!  I’ve had a great reading week.  Moonglow was awesome!  Different from Firelight, but I liked that Kristen Callihan didn’t try to write the same book again.  I also read the two Shaede Assassin books by Amanda Bonilla.  Loved!  The first installment, Shaedes of Gray (no relation to the 50 variety) came out in December. Book two, Blood Before Sunrise is out in July. I was so sad when I was finished, but then weeeeee! I found out there is going to be a novella out this week.

5.  Tuesday is apparently Day of the Novella.  “Finding Magic,” the Downside prequel from Stacia Kane, is coming out.  So is “Devil’s Gate,” an Elder Races offering from Thea Harrison.  And as I just mentioned, Amanda Bonilla has “When Shadows Call.”

The envy of 1900s society, Darian is the rich, beautiful wife of a prominent Californian doctor—but her life is far from perfect. For years, Darian has suffered at the hand of her cruel husband and yearned for an escape—one that she knows to be all but impossible.

But when an enigmatic stranger comes to call, Darian finds herself charmed by his seductive smile and the inexplicable connection she feels. And when he makes her a thrilling—yet frightening—proposition, Darian must decide if she’s strong enough to abandon the mortal world she knows and answer the shadow’s call…

If you’re a UF or PNR fan, I happily recommend all of these series.  Very good stuff.

4. The countdown continues to the release of Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost. (It’s just 26 days away!) To torture help us with the wait, we’ve now got a book trailer:

It’s getting close!!

3. Two cover reveals to share with you. Here’s the new one from Stacey Kennedy’s Frostbite series:

The other is the next Abby Sinclair book by Allison Pang:

Mystically Bound is out in October.  And all I can say is that Kip and Tess better have some real-life sex in that book. Not almost-sex or fantasy-sex. Not dream-sex or ghost-sex.  REAL SEX, Stacey Kennedy.  Are you listening?

A Trace of Moonlight is also out in October.  And after the cliffhanger from A Sliver of Shadow, I am already super-excited to see what happens next. I have faith that Allison Pang will not disappoint.

2. You may or may not know this about me, but I love zombies.

I was so excited when The Walking Dead made it’s debut on AMC.  I watched the first four episodes. I liked them.  And then the show went on hiatus for, like, a year.  And I never went back.  Should I?  I need input, guys.  AMC is doing a marathon of all the episodes July 7-8, and if it’s worth it, I can catch up. In the meantime, check out this behind-the-scenes clip from filming of Season 3.

1. And it wouldn’t be Friday without the Tumblr Photo(s) of the Week:

(**Photo removed to prevent copyright infringement**)

OK. That’s it for now. The Shameless Summer Hop starts next Friday, which also happens to be my birthday.  Remember, real friends send friends dirty man-candy photos as birthday gifts.

XOXO
Jen

Review: Demonically Tempted

Reviewed by Jen

This second installment in Stacey Kennedy’s Frostbite series picks up a few weeks after the point which Supernaturally Kissed left off. I had a hard time connecting with it right off the bat and I’m not 100% sure why.  Maybe it’s because everyone has settled in so much to the idea that Tess and Kipp are a couple now.  For new readers, Tess is a woman who can see ghosts and Kipp is, well, a ghost.  The problems with such a relationship are obvious.  But Tess considers Kipp her man –and even calls him her lover– despite the fact he’s just a disembodied spirit.

Tess is part of the police force now, helping the department investigate cold cases.  And again, I felt that disconnect.  Yes, she proved herself in the last book, but there is no lingering doubts or skepticism or even discomfort from anybody about what she can do.  It bothers me to see the ease in which everyone has come to accept her supernatural gifts –to say nothing of the boyfriend that no one else can see or hear.

Tess is working a cold case surrounding an apparent suicide, where the victim’s sister is convinced there was more to it.  Working with her is Dane, an FBI medium who is there to help her better understand her gift. It’s obvious there is something dubious about him right off the bat. Kipp can’t stand him… but with Dane’s help, Tess learns there is much more to the supernatural world than she ever knew existed.

The author expands the paranormal scope of the world-building to include witches, demons, and perhaps even angels.  But as much as that ups the ante, the real heart of the series is the relationship between Tess and Kipp.  The two of them get put through the wringer here and it’s when their angst kicks up that the story hits its stride.

I really enjoyed the second half of the book.  Dane is a great love-to-hate character and I feel like there is much more to him beneath the surface.  He’s a total prick at times, but he gives voice to the concerns about Tess and Kipp’s relationship that I thought were so noticeably absent from everyone else at the beginning.  I don’t like what he did, but I’m not willing to write him off, either.  I found the new character Gretchen to be very interesting.  And I liked the journey of personal growth that Tess goes on here.  She has always considered her gift to be a curse and now she is learning that with it, she can make a real difference.

The climax of the romance arc is very good.  Kennedy opens the door for a real possibility of an HEA at the same time she puts it in terrible jeopardy.  And she leaves us with a great/ horrible/ wonderful/ terrible cliffhanger.  I am anxiously looking forward to see what she does in the third book –and I pray we get some sex in the flesh. Fantasies can only sustain a girl for so long…  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Demonically Tempted
by Stacey Kennedy
Release Date: April 13, 2012

AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Stacey Kennedy

“Witty characters, dominant men, danger, action, romance and hot sex―oh my!”  You’ll find that tag line on Stacey Kennedy’s website and it’s what you can expect when you crack open one of her books.  Please help me welcome her to the blog today.

Jen: My first book of yours was Supernaturally Kissed, which I really enjoyed. Would you tell new readers a bit about the Frostbite series?

Stacey: Simply put, it’s about a woman who has the gift to see ghosts, and has been given the task to help them crossover. This doesn’t always come easy since Tess is pulled into the police force and has to solve cold cases. Things get even more crazy when Kipp—a ghost—enters her life, and not only is she trying to solve his case, but she’s trying to fight the attraction between them. Lots of fun!

Jen: Can you give us any hints about what’s coming in Demonically Tempted?

Stacey: Answers and lots of them! I enjoy reading reviews of Supernaturally Kissed and hearing all the theories people have about what will happen next. I always planned to make book two give all the answers to questions in Supernaturally Kissed, and that’s exactly what happened. But doesn’t life always get difficult and when one question is answered, another one appears.
Demonically Tempted shifts a bit more into fantasy, which will lead into the next two books in the series. Tess starts to learn more of her abilities and just all the trouble that comes along with that. Poor Tess, things are never easy for her!
Jen: These aren’t too racy, sexually. But some of your other books are a bit more erotic. Tell me about your process for writing some of your hotter love scene.
Stacey: Two things – depth and frank language. That’s the only difference between my urban fantasy romances and erotic romances. The scenes are always HOT, but in erotic romance you lengthen them. Every single detail is shown, each sexy moment, visuals, feelings, sensations, and body parts are given those naughty. LOL!
Jen: What about BDSM? Did you have to do a lot of research to portray this kind of relationship?
Stacey: Honestly, BDSM is the hardest thing for me to write. It’s getting easier as time goes on because I learn more. And yes, I have to do lots of research since I don’t live the lifestyle.
Making the transition to write BDSM wasn’t a huge leap for me because I tend to write dominate men, so it was pretty natural. But there’s so much to know about the lifestyle. Do I get it wrong? All the time. But I have a fantastic critique partner who knows more about BDSM than I do and always guides my way.
I’ll admit too that it’s the most draining. I’ve just written a 90K BDSM erotic romance, Sweet Submissive, and after that story I was done in for a few weeks. My brain was complete mush! They tend to be very emotional, character driven stories and that can be exhausting to write. But the outcome is awesome and I can hardly wait to get this story out there.

Jen: BDSM romance is getting alot of press these days with the whole 50 Shades hoopla in the media. Is there anything you feel like the talking heads (like Dr Drew) are getting wrong –or something you would like to clarify as an author in the genre?

Stacey: Yes, I’ve seen the buzz and read 50 Shades because of it. Loved it, by the way! You know, I can understand where Dr. Drew is coming from. He’s allowed his opinion. But the truth is what two consenting adults do in their personal life isn’t anyone else’s concern. BDSM isn’t for everyone and that’s why the stories come with warning labels.
Truth is, I love writing BDSM because of the emotional element that comes in this kind of lifestyle. I find it sexy and playing on the sensations a submissive feels makes even my cheeks warm. So while I think it’s acceptable for someone to have an opinion, it really drives me to the moon when I see things like, this book is wrong, or this book is terrible. While it might not be for everyone, there are readers and people like me who love taking time out of their busy, screaming kids day, and sit down with a naughty book to get my blood pumping!
My rule is if you don’t like something, don’t read it and leave it to the rest of us who do!
Jen: The first in your Magic and Mayhem series is coming soon, right?  What can you tell us about Werewolves Be Damned?
Stacey:  WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED is actually not coming out until Summer 2013 because it’s going mass market. So, while it seems like forever from now, I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it.
This series started out as ebooks published with Liquid Silver Books, The Magical Sword series. They were short novels, but I’ve rewritten the books and now they’re full lengths. Honestly, I don’t even recognize them anymore, and that just makes it more fantastic because they’ve developed into stories I never dreamed possible. I’ve always had a soft spot for these books because they were the first ones I’d ever written, and now I’m just floored by the outcome. My editor has taken my babies and brought out the best in them. It’s really exciting and I can hardly wait for them to release.
Click here to learn more –or check out the trailer below:
Jen: Any chance we can score a little snippet?
Stacey: It’s still in edits so I can’t share too much because who knows if it’ll remain in the book, but here’s a little sneak peek!
I’d come to my willow for as long as I could remember. I’d never seen a wolf in this forest before. And when had wolves become so bold to approach a human? Unless this one was rabid or starving…in which case, my odds of survival were looking less likely.
I scooted further along the grass, but was stopped when my back pressed against the trunk of my willow. “Dear God, the time to help me would be now.”
The wolf stopped a foot in front of me and sniffed the air. His dark eyes studied me. No fear held in their depths. Wet dog mixed with a rich aftershave filled my nostrils.
“I’m scary. I’m big. Get out of here,” I screamed and waved my arms in the air to frighten him.
He shook his head.
I stared, mouth agape.
“Did you just…answer me?”
He nodded.
What. In. The. Hell?
“How can you understand me, you’re a wolf. Oh my god, did you just shrug?”
He bared his teeth.
Jen: What is your favorite kind of supernatural and why?
Stacey: I love them all. Really, I do! Each supernatural is fun to write in its own way. I enjoy writing witches because of the magical element, but I also love writing werewolves. There’s just something so special about the mate bond that tugs at my heart.
Jen: Who is your favorite character created by another author?
Stacey: Jeaniene Frost’s, Vlad. I adore him, lust over him, and want him as my own!! He has a certain “something” that speaks to the very woman in me. I love his humor, but then he has this strength that makes me drool! Yes, Vlad is my book crush!
Jen: Do you get to make it to many fan/ author events?
Stacey: Sadly, no. I have two small children who keep me on my toes, so making long trips to the U.S. just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. And that’s why I’m so excited to go to AAD. It’s my first conference, so yeah…I’m thrilled to be going! Plus, it’s in New Orleans and I’ve always wanted to go there so that just ROCKS!
Jen: What are you looking forward to most from AAD in New Orleans?
Stacey: Everything single darn thing! The tours, chatting with other authors, meeting all my book blogger friends…and the party! I love to have fun, so if there is fun happening, I’ll be there!
Jen: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I can’t wait to meet you in New Orleans… it’s going to be a blast!
Stacey: Thanks for the chat! I’m really looking forward to meeting you too!!

Stacey is giving away a copy of Supernaturally Kissed.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  To learn more about Stacey Kennedy, you can check out her website or follow her on Twitter.  


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Review: Supernaturally Kissed

Reviewed by Jen

Ever since a car accident that nearly killed her as a teen, Tess has been able to see ghosts. She pretends like they’re not there, for the most part. But the sexy ghost of Officer Kip McGowan won’t be ignored. He flirts with her shamelessly… talks dirty… and turns on the charm until she just can’t take it anymore.

Kip was killed investigating a cold case murder. And he has a lead he wants to share with his old partner. So he convinces Tess to go visit the police station and share the information. That drags her into the case and pulls Kip even more firmly into her life.

The longer Kip and Tess are around each other, the harder it becomes to pretend that there is nothing between them. It starts as just attraction, but quickly moves into a more emotional attachment. I kept trying to figure out ways that the author could make things work between them. Like he’s not really dead… or he can possess someone else’s body… or she can take ghost form… or something. (Shut up! When you read it, you’ll be grasping at straws too.) I won’t tell you how it ends between them, because it will spoil the whole thing. But suffice it to say, the author does plan to write more in this series with these characters.

The mystery surrounding the cold case and Kip’s murder was pretty good. But I’d be lying if I said that romance wasn’t the main event. By necessity, it’s a book heavy on sexual tension and quite a bit of angst. The couple fell in Love a little bit too fast for my taste and I wasn’t totally satisfied with the ending. But I still liked it quite a bit and I’m holding onto hope for the ending I want as the series progresses. 4 stars.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Supernaturally Kissed
by Stacey Kennedy
Release Date: December 29, 2011
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave