Although Beast Master is a novella, and only about 90 pages, it proved to be a very good read. I wish, of course, that the book had been longer, so th...moreAlthough Beast Master is a novella, and only about 90 pages, it proved to be a very good read. I wish, of course, that the book had been longer, so that Luann and Ber's story could have blossomed out a bit more. However, all things considered, I wasn't disappointed too much. Yes, the ending was a bit too quick, and left me wanting more, but the pages up till then were great-- spicy, erotic, and with a good touch of true romance hidden beneath.
I thought Beast Master had so much potential, considering the paranormal world Vonna Harper created. True, it's basically just another shapeshifter society, or at least that's how it seems on the surface. But after reading the book, there was just something more there, something that I would love to read more about. I can't place my finger on what exactly it is that helped to set it apart for me, but whatever it was, it sure captured my attention, something that can be difficult during a time when paranormals practically flood the bookshelves. I'd love to read future books by Harper, especially if she decides to continue with a series for this paranormal setting.
Besides the interesting setting and paranormal theme, Beast Master has a lot to offer-- beyond the obvious hot and spicy erotic scenes, which there were plenty of! Beneath all the heavy lust between Ber and Luann, there was also a real connection, and the beginning of love. Unlike some erotica novels, this book did not just read as straight up porn. It wasn't just hot sex, but much more than that. As the story drew on, I could see how Ber was starting to have feelings for Luann, more than just the lust, and even though it could have been developed a bit more (hence my wish for a full length novel), it was there, and I think the reader can easily see it.
Anyone can write explicit scenes, but a truly talented author can effortlessly combine the hot and heavy with the sweet and romantic. And if Beast Master, as short as it is, is any inclination, I believe that Harper may very well be on her way to becoming such an author!
4 STARS! The writing was good, the story was interesting, and the characters grabbed my attention. Over all, a perfect book to read late at night, when you want something quick and sexy!
Thanks to Night Owl Romance, where I received this e-book for free in exchange for reviewing the book. (Free book does not equal biased review, however!) This review is the property of NOR.
During a time when paranormals flood the bookshelves, Heather Webber's Truly, Madly provides a refreshing, and sweet, take on the popular genre-- and...moreDuring a time when paranormals flood the bookshelves, Heather Webber's Truly, Madly provides a refreshing, and sweet, take on the popular genre-- and one you won't want to miss!
Between the psychic abilities and Cupid's Curse, Truly, Madly has just the right amount of paranormal themes going on. Not too heavy, and with just enough of a tease to make you want the next book to find out what will happen. I'd describe this as a paranormal chick-lit. A bit on the softer side, but just as entertaining, even romantic, as the more explicit ones on the market.
I really enjoyed reading this novel, and I found myself quickly connecting to the characters. Each one was unique and fairly well developed. I do wish that Webber had showed a bit more insight on Sean's character, especially his past. A bit more information about the Cupid's Curse that had been cast on the Valentines, and their powers, would have been great, too, but all in all, it was nothing that completely took away from the enjoyment of the novel. Lucy was easy to relate to. After a lightning accident when she was younger, which gave her the current psychic power she's got instead of the usual matchmaking ones that runs in her blood, her life is doomed to be anything but normal. She's been pressured over the years to go into the family business (matching people up with their one true love), but instead decided to rebel a bit and switched between a half a dozen odd end jobs, trying to find the one that's right for her. In reality, she's also trying to find herself, not just a stable job. And quiet possibly true love to break her family curse...
Needless to say, when she is suddenly pushed into taking over Valentine, INC. for a few weeks while her dad recovers from a heart attack, she's not exactly giddy with excitement. But she soon finds out that maybe this is the right job for her after all. Through the struggles along the way, the suspense and mystery, and of course a bit of drama, Lucy finds her place in the family company-- and even a bit of romance in the air for herself!
I smiled at the funny scenes, sighed during the romantic ones, and even found myself trying to figure out the big mystery before the truth was revealed. It may seem like just another chick-lit book based on the cover, but it's more than that. As they say, don't judge a book by its cover!
The one thing I didn't like in the book was the ending. Just when we're about to see the "happily ever after", the book ends abruptly, and we must wait until fall of next year for the sequel, Deeply, Desperately! Otherwise, the story was unique, the characters enjoyable, and the writing nicely done. In other words, a wonderful book to curl up with and read during the month of February!
4.5 Stars! A wonderful first book in a new series, by an author I plan on keeping my eye on. A combination of witty and charming, with surprises at every turn, Truly, Madly should be on your wish list for next year! Light and fun, it's the perfect book to read during the "month of love".
Although it was a bit slow to start out, and at times I almost (though not quite) got lost in the flow of the story, The Historian is a truly thrillin...moreAlthough it was a bit slow to start out, and at times I almost (though not quite) got lost in the flow of the story, The Historian is a truly thrilling ride, and one I would highly suggest to anyone looking for something new to read!
Despite the fact that this book is about vampires, I can honestly say it's not like any of the other books out there on this subject. Different, unique, and one-of-a-kind are great words to describe this novel. You'll find no romanticized vampires in this novel!
I enjoyed how Elizabeth Kostova managed to tell this captivating story, weaving together not only the story from Paul and Helen's point of view (through letters and some of it though story telling on Paul's part), but also from the point of view of Paul's daughter. While switching from the two POV's may, at first, seem a bit confusing, Kostova did a magnificent job at it, and I can honestly say that there was only one or two spots where I was momentarily confused.
Since the novel was told in such a unique way, and done well, I really felt the connection to not only the story but the characters as well. They were not just words on a page, but honestly seemed like they were real. This was partly due to the lush details provided and partly due to the talent of the author. Not every author can pull this off, but fortunately Kostova did because, to be quiet honest, if she had not managed this, this story would have been drastically different, and a great deal harder to get through without losing interest.
4 STARS! A seamless twist of history and myth, The Historian is a great read for anyone that enjoys a good mystery. Mystery, suspense, a bit of historical accuracy, and even a dash of romance--- really, who wouldn't be interested in reading it? And don't let the vampire plot turn you away, I promise, it's nothing like any vampire story you've read before!
My first impression of this novel upon beginning it was "average". From the characters to the story line, nothing really stood out to me--- it sounded...moreMy first impression of this novel upon beginning it was "average". From the characters to the story line, nothing really stood out to me--- it sounded like something we've heard countless times, both in books and real life.
Kristy, our heroine for Love Is a Battlefield, has your average life. She's been in her dream job for most of her life, and loves it. She falls for the 'perfect' man, only to later find out he's the wrong guy for her-- after being left at the alter and broken up with through a note, of all things. Now her life isn't so perfect, she's been replaced at work by the good-looking new guy, and her mother's trying to play match maker already.
Haven't we seen this before? And if not, doesn't it seem like the sort of thing you'd see in your own town? Personally, when I pick up a book, I want to escape from the real world, not jump into the slightly fictionalized version of the same thing! Then again, I've always had trouble getting into contemporary fiction/romance, especially Christian Fiction such as this. But no matter my own genre preferences, I simply felt like this book needed something more, something new.
All the characters seemed a bit common, not particularly strong in development. Despite being the main character, Kristy almost seemed to take a back seat to Ace at times, and even he wasn't as forward of a character as I would have liked. Plus, for more than 3/4 of the book, we knew next to nothing about him-- he just kept eluding to some "to be announced" reason why he came to take this new job, and I was hoping it would be something good that added to the plot, but in the end, when you find out, it's a big let down. I won't ruin it, but let's just say it adds about as much excitement to the book as watching grass grow.
From the conversations between the characters to the flow of the story line, everything just seemed a bit too predictable and bland to me. Honestly, I could practically tell you what the characters were going to say even before it came up-- it should not be that easy to predict! It wasn't a horribly written novel, but it didn't have any real "pop!" to it either.
And then there was the fact that, despite this being a Christian Fiction, I couldn't see, nor appreciate, the romance that was suppose to be in it. I know, it's suppose to be chaste-- but must it be invisible and fake too? That's my one problem with CF novels--- it's not that there may be the occasional undertone of religion in the novel (though, at times, that too can get annoying), but the fact that most authors in this genre seem to think that the romance must be as clean as the new snow! Come on, even the most strict of religious couples are not that boring in their relationships! Is there anything wrong with a bit of lust, a kiss or two? Unresolved sexual tension, when written well, can be just as sexy as the most erotic romance scenes!
3 STARS! Despite the mediocre story behind this novel, I can't say I hated the book-- not by any means. However, it was lacking in excitement, and romance, which are my only real criticisms. Otherwise, the book was a quick, and at times charming, read-- not too heavy, but a very light fiction novel. If you don't mind the brief mention of religious beliefs in your fiction (aka, Christian Fiction), then by all means, pick this one up when you get some spare time, but don't move it to the top of your wish list. (less)
Considering the fact that this is not my usual genre of choice (fiction, yes, but usually more along the fantasy, romantic, or YA categories), The Pos...moreConsidering the fact that this is not my usual genre of choice (fiction, yes, but usually more along the fantasy, romantic, or YA categories), The Postmistress was an enjoyable novel, and one that I would probably have picked up myself, had I seen in on the shelf. Sarah Blake is truly a gifted author, writing with a clean, fresh voice. Original and touching are two very good words to describe her work-- and this novel. It wasn't one of those books where you're constantly reminded of another book while reading it.
I've not read many novels set in this time period (World War II era), and although I know my history, this story still opened my eyes even more to war, and everything it contributes to in our daily lives. The way Blake wrote the novel, described the settings and actions, you're almost prepared to look up from the book and find yourself transported back to 1941, running for the bomb shelters.
However, my one complaint about her writing was that, at times, it was almost too much. Details upon details, piled up and slowing the story down. Description is great, and very much needed for the story, but too much of a good thing can also hinder a novel.
Also, there were a few spots where I had to flip back a few pages, trying to figure out which character's POV the story was being told from. For the most part, the changes in perspectives flowed smoothly, but there were a few that didn't. Then again, this could easily be due to the fact that this was an ARC, and in the final version it's fixed.
Blake also created wonderful characters, all of whom left an impression even after the final page was turned. They were real, and although it was hard to watch them struggle through this period of history, it was needed, and added to the enjoyment of the story being told. Depth of character is always a plus, and being able to accomplish that with more than just the hero/heroine of a story is remarkable. Well done Ms. Blake!
4 STARS! Despite these few flaws, the book was still very good. A "curl-up-in-front-of-a-fire-with-it-on-a-cool-fall-evening" kind of novel! Although it's not a short novel, the pages flew by, carrying the reader through an eye-opening journey set during a war that changed our world's history--forever.(less)
For a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered the...moreFor a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered the rating for me was the lack of connection between the characters. I know, this is an 'erotica' novel, not straight romance. But, for me at least, romance is still a key part of erotica novels as well. Maybe the sex takes a front seat for a while, and it's much more explicit, but the romance should still be there. Right?
Despite this flaw, the writing in general was good. Howell does a nice job at describing the setting, allowing the writing to flow, et cetera. However, the one thing I would have liked a bit more detail on is the magical world this was set in. I wanted to know so much more about the 'Watchers', what they are, and especially a bit more about Luca's past. There's so much potential with this plot line, but it was like we only got a skim from the surface of it, when I wanted to submerge myself in the world instead. If this part of the book had been expanded a bit more, with a lot more details -- and characters too (really, I don't remember any besides h/hr!) -- I'm sure my rating would have gone up more.
Even though it was a novella (short novel), I felt like the basic plot for the book was a bit too rushed. The build up, the back ground information, it didn't quiet flow as smoothly as I would have liked. Maybe it would have worked out much better if this had been a full length novel instead.
BUT, I still liked the book, and I'll still look for Howell's future books. A few flaws here and there won't throw me off the author for good. And it could be that I was looking forward to more of a romance novel at the time that I picked this up-- it's an opinion only, so I can't say the problems I had with the book are completely the author's fault.
3 STARS! If you like to read erotica novels, then maybe you should put this one on your next wish list. A nice, quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt manages to tease your interest, but in the end, it leaves you wanting more-- maybe a future book about the Watchers introduced in this one? If only Halloween wasn't over, I'd suggest this as a good one to read that night.
I don't usually throw the words "Spell-binding", "Luscious", or "Amazing!" around lightly-- so when you see all three of them, plus many more similar...moreI don't usually throw the words "Spell-binding", "Luscious", or "Amazing!" around lightly-- so when you see all three of them, plus many more similar ones, in my review, you know you're in for one heck of a book!
First off, Magic Under Glass is a wonderful example of fantasy and fairy tale combined-- it reminds me of the (early) Disney movies, not because it's "childish" (far from it) but because of Jackie's ability to weave the story around the reader, completely emerging us into Nimira's world, and combining a great romantic element to it as well. Much like "Beauty and the Beast" enchants the romantic/fantasy lover in young girls, this book rekindles that same feeling, even for those of us that thought we had long since grown out of this stage!
Speaking of movies, Magic Under Glass is one of the few books I wouldn't mind seeing turned into a movie, which isn't something I usually want to happen to my favorite books. However, no movie is needed, since Dolamore paints such a beautiful and lush portrayal of the novel, characters, and pretty much every element that made the story so wonderful! Spell-binding is putting it lightly-- once you pick this book up, you won't want to stop, so be prepared to set everything else aside for a day!
I really enjoyed reading the interaction between Nimira and Erris, their friendship (and later, their love) was easy to see, and nicely done. And Erris... well, he's an interesting character, since he's neither the automaton that everyone believes, nor human, but, in fact, the long lost Prince of the fairies. He's such a sweet, and slightly tortured, young man, that I can see how Nimira falls for him. By the end of the novel, I too had developed a bit of a crush on Erris.
The details, both in the characters, the setting, and the story itself, are, simply put, spectacular! I can find no real fault in any of Dolamore's writing, except for I wish I could get my hands on the sequel now, so I can find out more about Nimira and Erris! Otherwise, she manages to capture the readers attention from the very beginning, and right away you'll find yourself entangled in the magic and whimsy aura of Nimira's world, not wishing to leave, even when the story comes to a close.
4.5 STARS! For a debut novel, Jackie Dolamore does a truly magical job at creating a world that will leave the readers breathless, craving more of strong-willed Nimira's story. A heavy dash of magic, a touch of mystery and suspense, and to round it all out, a lush dose of romance combines almost effortlessly into a one of a kind book that I have no doubt anyone will love. Don't even let the "YA" genre fool you-- I would recommend this to older readers just as easily as I will the younger. Everyone loves a good fairy tale, and Magic Under Glass definitely fits the requirements for a good classic!
First off, Ms. Snyder has an amazing talent at weaving a story together. The writing, the characters, everything that made Poison Study possible is am...moreFirst off, Ms. Snyder has an amazing talent at weaving a story together. The writing, the characters, everything that made Poison Study possible is amazingly done. Word choice, structure, descriptions, everything that makes this story more than just a story, but actually seem like a real world, one that the readers will wish to jump right into! And what better way to start off a fantasy novel than with painting a perfect picture for the readers, and making them wish to dive right in?
As a last chance to save herself from being hung for murder, Yelena agrees to take up the duty of food taster for the Commander. Who wouldn't want to stand around all day eating the finest foods for your betters, right? Except the job of a food taster is very.... deadly. Literally. Poison, of which is given to you the very first day in order to keep you from running off (without the daily antidote, it's said you will die a slow and painful death...), becomes an every day thing for you. Sounds like a wonderful job...
...But it's made better by her tasting mentor, Valek, who's trying so hard to not fall for the one girl that he knows he shouldn't have... That's right, on top of the amazing fantasy story and writing, there's also a nice dose of romance in it as well! Valek is a great hero, and the perfect match for strong willed Yelena. I enjoyed watching their interaction play out, and I cannot wait to read the following books in this series in order to see where their relationship goes.
As for the rest of the characters, they all left their impressions-- from Janco and Ari, who had me laughing a few times, to the mean old housekeeper, who, though evil, did provide us with someone to hate. All in all, a great batch, and I'm anxious to read more about them all, not just Yelena and Valek!
4.5 STARS! Amazingly written, perfectly told, Poison Study is a spell-binding first book in a series that promises romance, fantasy, magic, suspense, and action all bundled together in one lush package, waiting for you to unwrap and enjoy!(less)
Anyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the poi...moreAnyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the point of having an anthology, it's still hard to tell a story, develop it, and end it well. This one flaw is most of the reason behind my over all rating for this book.
The Healing Spell and Other Stories is a collection of Kiki Howell's short stories and novellas that have been published before in other anthologies. The nice thing about this anthology is you get to see what her writing it like (wonderful, but more on that later). The only down fall is that the romance story itself doesn't get to develop and pull through as strongly as in a full length novel. But, despite the page constraints, Howell does do a good job at telling a story... especially the sex, since this is an erotic novel!
Howell has a wonderful way of blending the words together, weaving them into a story, and really, she can easily 'paint a picture' in your mind, as they say. I had no problem with the writing style, the word choices, etc. In fact, I thought this was very well done, and it did grab my attention and help pull me into the stories....
...Only until the story was suddenly over, and it was time for the next one. But again, this is a problem you'll always find in an anthology. You want the story to keep going, but in reality, it's time for it to end and the next one to begin. Because of the shortness of the stories, I'm even more interesting in reading more from Howell-- I want to know if a full length novel from her will be just as amazing as I picture after reading this.
The story lines were interesting enough, and I wish we could have learned more about the characters, their stories and world-- especially the Wicca theme in the stories. I would have loved to hear more about the culture in the stories themselves.
3.5 STARS! Over all, a great introduction to a new to me author, and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good erotica novel. The Healing Spell and Other Stories is quick, but fairly satisfying, and leaves you wanting to read more! Always a good thing in a book, right? Fantastic, flowing writing, Howell has a gift for describing the scene to viewers-- I only hope that we'll get to see more of the description in her future novels, hopefully a full length one? (less)
I'm not usually one for contemporaries, unless it's from an author I already know and love. But when I saw Menu for Romance on the ER list for August,...moreI'm not usually one for contemporaries, unless it's from an author I already know and love. But when I saw Menu for Romance on the ER list for August, I was interested enough to request it. And while this wasn't my favorite book of all times, it was a pleasant enough read that I may try other books from Ms. Dacus in the future.
I did enjoy the lite, fluffy romance in the story, and it was a welcome reprieve from all the other books I've been reading. It had it's 'ah, cute' type of moments, along with a few witty ones. In other words, a sweet, and fairly quick read.
However, the one main thing that I didn't like was the complete lack of sexual tension---of any sort! Only a few little pecks on the lips were even mentioned in the book. Now, I know, this is technically a 'Christian Fiction', and that means that it's no where near the erotica level, but does it have to mean no sexual tension, too? Come on, sometimes the build up and teasing along the way is far more interesting than the actual 'event'! If the author doesn't want to put sex scenes in the book before the h/hr are married, that's fine with me-- but what's so harmful in a few slightly heady scenes between a couple that you know will end up married in the end?
Despite the lack of, well, passion, between the hero and heroine of the story, the characters themselves weren't too bad. They could have had a bit more depth at times, but over all, I didn't mind them-- and I have to say, Major's mother was by far the most unique out of the group. I only wish the author had played up interaction between them all a bit more, since at times I almost didn't really see the connection between them. It was more like a fine line than the strong one you usually want in a book, especially a romance. Christian Fiction or not, you still need that connection, that growth and development from the characters.
3/5 STARS! An enjoyable romance novel, which I would recommend to anyone, even a teenage girl. With an interesting (and not too common) story plot, which only added to the appeal, plus characters and events that are realisitc, Menu for Romance shouldn't be passed over just because of its genre. Try it, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed in it either! (less)