Review: One With You by Sylvia Day

one with youReviewed by Jen

The Crossfire series is now one of those polarizing collections where most people either gush uncontrollably about the books or spew buckets of hate over them. With this book, as with the last, I fall somewhere in the realm of meh. It has its moments. It gave me some of what I wanted. But it’s also meandering and self-indulgent. It manages to go both too fast and too slow at the same time, and in the end left me feeling… incomplete. [Read more…]

Review: Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

captivated by youReviewed by Jen

There is a reason this book has such mixed reviews. Whether you enjoy it will depend almost entirely on what you want from it. If you are looking for any kind of plot advancement, you will be very disappointed. Very little actually happens in this book, which is why some people consider it pointless filler. If you are looking for more Gideon, more Eva, and more of their inexhaustible reserves of angst and sexual stamina, you will love it. [Read more…]

Review: Entwined With You by Sylvia Day

entwined with youReviewed by Jen

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Expectations can matter so much in how I feel about a book.  I walked into this one, basically with no excitement at all. I was put off by the decision to expand the series from three books into five.  I thought it would be either boring filler or unnecessary added misery for this couple that has already been to hell and back.  I bought it and in my pique, let it sit on my shelf for more than a year, only to consider it again now that book 4 is out. With so much time and distance, my slate was basically wiped clean.  And I actually ended up enjoying it. [Read more…]

Review: A Passion for Him by Sylvia Day

Reviewed by Jen
 

I feel very torn about this book. There were some things I really liked here… others, not so much. Let me get you up to speed:

Amelia is betrothed to her dear friend, the Earl of Wane.  She doesn’t love him, but he is ok with that. It would be a marriage based on friendship and respect.  Amelia has never gotten over her first love, Colin, who was a Gypsy and family servant in her youth.  As teenagers, they had a passionate and amazing bond, despite their difference in class.  Sadly, Colin was shot and killed years ago, and part of Amelia’s heart died with him.

Only, Colin didn’t actually die.  He went abroad to remake himself… to earn a fortune in order to make a future possible for himself and Amelia.  Now that he has achieved that end, he is ready to come back and claim her. Unfortunately, he gets caught up in a murder plot and is now being hunted. That doesn’t stop him from seeking Amelia out at a masked ball.

Of course, Amelia doesn’t know who he is, but she is attracted to him immediately.  He takes on a false name and keeps on the mask every time they meet. And in spite of the mystery, or maybe even because of it, the passion between them reaches a fever pitch.  But once Amelia learns of his deception, can she forgive him?  Or is her sure and steady friend Ware the better choice for her future?  All these questions play out, as a dangerous killer continues to track Colin.

So here’s what was really good.  Sylvia Day does a fantastic job carving out these characters and investing me in their emotions.  I felt the raw heartbreak from Amelia, the insecurity and longing from Colin.  And the passion… wow.  The sex is fantastic and very, very satisfying. (The line about the “slick, humid paradise of her glistening sex” aside.) But… perhaps Day did too good of a job with making me empathize with Amelia.  Because, frankly, I had a very hard time forgiving Colin, and it bothered me how easily he got what he wanted. I wanted them together, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like he deserved her after he abandoned her.  He gets off too easy.  Not to mention the scores of women he boned while he was allegedly pining for his lost love. This, while Amelia stayed a virgin, even though she thought he was dead.  Fail, fail, fail.

Would I call it a pretty good book? Yes.  But it also frustrated me, made me angry, and hurt my heart a little bit.  I like to feel a little bit happier about my happy endings.

Rating: B-

*Book Provided by Kensington via NetGalley

 Click to purchase: Amazon
A Passion for Him
by Sylvia Day
Original Release Date: November 1, 2007
Re-Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Bravia

5 for Friday – October 19

It’s my last day of working overnights and I have to tell you that I have really missed you guys.  Sleeping when everyone else is awake has seriously cut back on my Twitter time, and more changes at work are ahead.  A promotion (yay!) is moving me to a permanent 4am-1pm shift.  I’ll be able to sleep close to human hours, but I am going to have to find a new time to troll my dirty Tumblr.  Don’t worry! I won’t abandon my sexy men.

5. I am crying on the inside as I tell you that the release of book three in the Crossfire series is delayed.  (*sobs*) That means we now have to wait an extra five months to see if Gideon and Eva can sort through their crazy-cakes and make it work between them. Reflected in You definitely left me wanting more.

Entwined With You (theoretically) ends my suffering May 7th.

4. My girl Amanda Bonilla has a new novella out, called The Sweetest Torture.

Thirty years ago, when the sultry and headstrong Cait left Logan Paige, the Alpha cougar shapeshifter of his Montana pride, his entire world came crashing down. He couldn’t explain where he’d been the previous night or why there was a strange woman in his bed…because he had no memory of the night before. Wounded and betrayed, Cait refused to listen to Logan’s excuses and walked straight out of his life…determined to exact her revenge on the sexy cougar who had crushed her heart. With a little help from her influential father, she made sure that Logan’s business, as well as his life, crumbled into ruins. Hell hath no fury, indeed.

But now it’s thirty years later and two of Montana’s most powerful cougar prides are on the brink of war. A tenuous peace is reached, but it’s dependent on Cait and Logan marrying on All Hallow’s Eve. Spitfire Cait has her own plans of revenge…using her feminine wiles to turn Logan into a purring kitty lapping cream at her feet. And Logan has his schemes to regain control and dominate like the Alpha he is…

When they realize that the erotic passion between them is still so intense, Logan and Cait will have to decide if dwelling in the past is worth sacrificing the future…

It’s a freebie at ARe.

3. An update on the Chronicles of Nick movie.  Sherrilyn Kenyon now has the script for it in her hands and is working on it with the producers.

What I am really waiting for is info on the Dark Hunters series. Bring on Acheron!!!

2.  Charlaine Harris has released the cover for Dead Ever After, the next (and final) book in her Sookie Stackhouse series.

I will be shocked if Sookie ends up with anyone but Sam, but I suppose only time will tell. Dead Ever After is out May 7th.

1. Is there a Twilight tv-show in the works?  Maybe. There’s talk of “TV show or film spin-off, merely set in the same world as the one in the movies but not featuring the main trio.”

Maybe they’ll focus on the wolf pack. What do you guys think? Are you down for more Twilight or should the franchise call it quits?

Gotta run!

XOXO,
Jen

Review: Hot in Handcuffs

Reviewed by Allison

Arresting Desire
Shayla Black

When FBI Agent Jon Bocelli went undercover in the mafia, he met and never forgot the beautiful Lucia DiStefano. When his brother ends up in jail and won’t talk to get out or save his life, Jon decides he has to come calling to his old “family” contacts to make sure his brother gets out alive. After spotting Lucia across the club, he decides that since she’s waited this long to save herself, he would be the one to finally deflower her. Aggressively. After much “protesting.” There was a mystery surrounding her father and somehow it all tied back to Jon’s case when he was undercover but to be honest, it wasn’t all that interesting. Definitely hot, but pretty underwhelming otherwise.

Grade: C
On Fire
Sylvia Day

Deputy Marshal Jared Cameron blows into Fire Inspector Darcy Michaels’ small town in order to aid an investigation of a series of arson attacks destroying their community. The chemistry between these two is explosive & immediate. It starts as just an itch to scratch, but quickly (and I do mean quickly) moves to much more. Even though I’m not usually a fan of the “we’re meant to be” after 24 hours in bed, for some reason it totally worked with these two. You could just feel it, you were swept up in the passion and knew that there was no one else who could answer the others needs like they could for each other.

“Good.”
The rush of relief he felt almost made him dizzy.
“So we make it work.”
“It’s going to be work. A lot of it. We’re too volatile. Too…greedy.”
“Like a thirst you can’t quite quench,” he agreed softly.
“The flip side being that every time you take a drink, it’s the best fucking thing you’ve ever tasted. If that’s not worth working for, what is?”

Right?! (*sigh*) The on-the-job chemistry worked really well, too, as Jared and Darcy worked together to figure out who was behind the fire and another mystery that pops up. I had an inkling who the culprit was but she definitely surprised me! I definitely enjoyed this short story and look forward to reading more by Ms. Day!

Rating: B+

The Unwilling
Shiloh Walker

Mica Greer is a cop trying to solve a strange series of brutal murders of women when her ex-FBI ex-boyfriend, Colby Mathis, gets called in to consult on the case. He is “psychic” and probably their last chance at finding the bastard before he hits again. As they work together to find whom they’re coming to believe is a fellow cop, the passion they once shared is reignited in their search for the truth.

The psychic twist to this one didn’t really float my boat. I love paranormal stories but this one didn’t seem to add to the story much.

Ms. Walker is an incredibly talented writer, but this story was too graphic and creepy for me to find it the least bit sexy. If you like to get in the killer’s head, be steeped in the mystery, and get creeped out, then this story is for you. It most assuredly wasn’t for me.

Grade: C (This is based on the fact that it wasn’t my cup of tea, because it really was well written and constructed.)

Click to purchase: Amazon
Hot in Handcuffs
by Shayla Black, Shiloh Walker, Sylvia Day
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Berkley

Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Reviewed by Jen
 

This book really put me through the wringer.  It made me hot. It made me angry… and sad. Hopeful. Emotional. Confused. Frustrated. And I mentioned hot, right?  After I finished the story, I jumped on Twitter in need of social-media therapy and someone asked me if I liked it.  I found that question hard to answer, because it wasn’t as simple as that.  There were parts that were hard to like because they hurt.  But I can say without hesitation that I was completely engrossed.  I sat down, started reading, and didn’t stop until it was over.  I couldn’t stop.  I had to see how it would all play out.

So what happens?  It seems like a lot and not very much at the same time.  The book picks up the day after the events of Bared to You.  Eva and Gideon are trying to make their obsessive relationship work, but they face all the same stumbling blocks: their individual histories of abuse, Gideon’s secrets, his jealousy & possessiveness, and Eva’s epic insecurities.

The sex is, simply put, amazing.  It manages to hit just the right notes for me – dirty but not gratuitous; a little d/s without being BDSM; frequent without being repetitious.  The fact that Sylvia Day does such a good job with this is incredibly important, since the sex is such a huge part of interaction between Gideon and Eva.  The other part –the part that involves their hearts and minds– is much messier.

It would be easy to say that Gideon is the screwed up one here. After all, he basically stalks Eva… tries to control every aspect of her life.  He makes choices that hurt her. He doesn’t communicate.  But the thing is — she takes it.  She stays with him; she craves him; she welcomes his sexual overtures like an eager puppy whose master has been away for a week. All this, even as he wounds her with his behavior and his secrets. It was very hard to read at times, as each of them made destructive decisions and impetuous choices.  With Eva’s first person narrative, I hurt when she hurt.  Yet even with insights into her thoughts and feelings, I just couldn’t understand how she held on for so long.  Even more confusing and disturbing, though, were Gideon’s actions, especially in the second half.

I didn’t like many of the things they did, but it was all in keeping with how damaged these two people are.  They are at sea –and grasp at each other like life preservers.  Even through all the dysfunction, though, I couldn’t look away. I had to know where it would all lead.

I said at the beginning that a lot happens –and by that I mean, we finally learn what happened to Gideon in his youth.  Something big happens with Cary.  Something even bigger happens with a pivotal person from Eva’s past.  Oh yeah, and my heart broke.  But I also said it seems like not very much happens at the same time.  That’s because despite all they go through, I don’t know if Eva and Gideon end up in a much better place than they started.

The ending is a pretty big deal. I don’t think I would call it a cliffhanger, but I think it’s the beginning of the end of Eva and Gideon’s journey.  A journey I will, no doubt, see through until the last page of the last book.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Penguin

Click to purchase: Amazon
Reflected in You
by Sylvia Day
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA

Review: Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day

Reviewed by Jen**This review contains strong sexual content**
 

Sylvia Day has said that the characters in this book helped inspire her to write Bared to You.  So I thought the books might have a similar feel. They don’t.  Both are very sexual, to be sure, but beyond that I didn’t feel anything in this book that reminded me of that one.

Lady Jessica is a paragon of propriety.  She didn’t have much choice. Her father beat it into her at a young age.  She married a good man, a kind man. But he died young, leaving her a widow at 25.  She mourns him, but she comes to learn that he was not the love of the her life.  It’s actually the rakish Alistair who changes her life forever.

Before she ever married, Jessica witnessed Alistair in the middle of a tryst with a married woman.  She couldn’t stop herself from watching and during the act, he caught her eye.  The event never left either of them.  In fact, once Alistair learns of a trip Jess plans after her husband’s death, he makes sure to be aboard that ship.  He plans to seduce her and he wastes no time getting started.

I couldn’t really get in to the book at the beginning. Maybe it’s all time it takes to get the relationship set up. Perhaps it is simply that Jessica falls for Alistair’s charms too quickly and too easily once they are thrown together.  Maybe it was the sex.

I am down for some dirty loving. And I know Day can write some great sex. I’ve seen it in her other books. But I found the love scenes here to be over the top.  Let me give you some examples. (These are not entire scenes, just snippets.)

Jess sucked in a sharp breath, staring down at the magnificent penis thrusting so hungrily toward her…  …Notching the thick crest into her tiny slit, he pushed through the token resistance of tightness caused by her year of abstinence…  He bit back an animal sound of pleasure and fought the urge to fall upon her with a hard, deep thrust that pierced her to the womb…. That would be too quickly done, robbing her of the full awareness of his possession… It was a primitive act, one goaded by the feel of her greedy cunt pulling and sucking at the head of his cock, luring him to sink home…

[br]
Or later:
[br]

His penis was a brutal instrument of pleasure… Like a liberally oiled apparatus, tireless, his hips smoothly pistoned, shafting her tender sex with his iron-hard cock.”I can feel my semen in you. You’re soaked with it. But I have more to give you…. If only they could see you as I do,” he purred, “sprawled across a carriage squab with your skirts around your waist and your sweet, slick cunt drenched in my ejaculate and crammed full of my cock.”

[br]
I just couldn’t quite connect with it. A guy telling you that he feels you soaked with his semen? Drenched in his ejaculate? Greedy cunt? Brutal instrument of pleasure? Is it just me??? –Moving on…

I did enjoy the book a bit more in the second half, once our hero and heroine actually have feelings for each other. And I really enjoyed the secondary story involving Jessica’s sister, Hester.  I thought the abuse angle was done well… as well as the aftermath of it for both Jess and Hester.  I liked the loyalty and steadfastness between Jessica and Alistair. And I really appreciated that Day did not take the easy way out and rewrite history in the Epilogue for the HEA.

So this one was kind of a mixed bag for me.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by Kensington Brava via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Seven Years to Sin
by Sylvia Day
Original Release Date: August 30, 2011
Re-Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Brava

"OMG, It’s Kelly Meding" & other AAD stories

Yesterday, I talked a little about the larger than life authors I fell head-over-heels with at AAD last week. But love comes in many forms. I met many charming, sweet, and (even shy) authors, who didn’t have to get big laughs to be memorable.

Let me tell you a little story about Kelly Meding. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s an Urban Fantasy author who writes the Dreg City books and the MetaWars series. Anyway, I was trying to find Dakota Cassidy’s table to stalk her at lunch Saturday, when I passed Kelly sitting quietly at her table. I enjoy her books, so I decided to sit with her instead. Joining us at our table were several other readers and authors, including Andrew Grey, who writes m/m. We talked and ate some surprisingly good mystery-meat (I still don’t know what the hell that was.)

Back when Kelly didn’t run from me

 

I recounted the story of running into Jeaniene Frost at the coffee shop and how proud I was that I didn’t pounce on the poor woman as she tried to buy her fruit salad. Andrew told me that most authors don’t mind being approached if the reader is respectful. He then went on to tell me about his worst fan experience, where two girls trapped him in an elevator during a con, jumping up and down, screaming “Oh my God, you’re Andrew Grey.” That’s when Kelly somberly said, “I wish someone would jump up and down for me.”

This was before I screamed her name.

 

I’ll bet you can guess what happened next. The entire table started jumping up and down in our seats, screaming, “Oh my God, it’s Kelly Meding.” I also did it at the book signing. In the lobby outside of the bar. And I told friends to do it randomly throughout the day. I never knew anyone could turn that particular shade of burgundy. Suffice it to say, Kelly is a blusher…. And she probably hates me now.

Jess, Allison, & PJ

 

For Thursday’s lunch, I sat next to Allison Pang. She teased me by showing me the eARC of Trace of Moonlight on her i-thingie.  (I’m still waiting for that .pdf, Allison!!)

The nicest, most personable author I met was probably Cynthia Eden. She and Katie Reus just came up and started talking to me in the lobby.  Later, Cynthia and I went on an expedition trying to find a poorly labeled meeting room.  She was just so genuine and sweet. (And super pretty.)

I spent some time chatting with the awesome Carolyn Crane, who was very down to Earth… and Amanda Carlson –who I always seemed to find in the hotel bar or on the way to it.

Me with Amanda Carlson

OOOoooh. I met Sylvia Day, who says she is still writing her next Crossfire book and even planned on working on it in her room.  And Jeaniene Frost, who was just as nice as could be. She even talked about a 10 inch cock in her UF panel. (That’s my kind of girl!)

There were more. Authors were everywhere.  I was drunk on them (or maybe I was drunk on those free vodka/ cranberries from Mel’s open bar.)  But you get the idea.  What blew me away is that some of them actually knew who I was.  That was a really strange feeling.  Cool, but strange.

More NOLA happenings, including my fun times with fellow bloggers, still to come…

Review: A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day

Reviewed by Jen
 

For about five seconds, I considered reading this book without reading A Touch of Crimson.  I’m so glad I didn’t. While I probably would have eventually figured out what was going on, I can’t imagine that I would have found it nearly as good if I were not so familiar with the world-building or invested in the characters.  So before I get too far into this, let me recommend that if you haven’t read the first book in this series, you should do so before you start this one.

This is Elijah’s story.  He is the reluctant Alpha of the lycans who recently rose up from the indentured servitude of the warrior angels. His life has been turned on its ear by the rebellion. Hunting vampires for the Seraphim has been all he has ever known. Now the vampires are coming to him, asking for an alliance. It’s an offer too good to refuse with the lycans’ limited resources and the angels breathing down their backs.

The vampires’ ambassador is Vashti, the beautiful sexy vamp he wanted so much when he saw her in the last book.  Of course, it’s not so simple as to just getting her into bed.  She is the vampire who killed his friend Micah.  His sense of honor demands justice as does Micah’s mate, but the alliance is more important than revenge. He must put aside his anger and grief to work with Vashti long enough to figure out what is causing the illness sweeping through vampire minions. Then he plans to kill her.

Vashti is no fan of the lycans. After all, they brutally killed her mate decades ago. But even her hatred can’t dull the fiery passion she feels for Elijah.  A passion they have for one another, despite everything else.

It was hard for me relate to these two wanting to screw each other’s brains out when they wished each other dead.  Thankfully, they start to like each other quickly and that is not an issue for very long.  There are other issues that take its place, though, mostly on Vashti’s end.  She doesn’t want to want Elijah and she certainly doesn’t want to have feelings for him. Her reasons why become clearer the more we read, but I never really did warm up to her.  She’s too reluctant of a love interest and she is a very hard woman.

Elijah, on the other hand, is a great hero.  He is alpha and strong without ever being power-hungry or a jerk. He is thoughtful and patient. He knows what he wants and he will settle for nothing less, both in his pack and in his relationship with Vashti.

There’s a lot going on here beyond the relationship. We learn more about the vamp-sickness and the master-plan against the angels and the vampires.  We get more from Adrian and Lindsay –and even follow up on the two novellas.  There is good mix of action and “the bigger picture” which kept me on the edge of my seat. And the sex is really hot, even if the very first love scene was somewhat disturbing.

The ending made it clear what would happen between our hero and heroine, but so much is still left undone.  I am beside myself that I must wait until next year to get the answers to all my questions, but that just shows how much I have become invested in this world.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Hunger So Wild
by Sylvia Day
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Signet