This is still a favorite of mine. While I think Christopher is a bit too squishy for my tastes, as Ms. Kurland has a tendency to mak...moreRe-Read July 2011.
This is still a favorite of mine. While I think Christopher is a bit too squishy for my tastes, as Ms. Kurland has a tendency to make her terrifyingly powerful warriors have an incredibly soft underbelly. As such Christopher (and Colin both lol) tend to tear up a bit more than is to my preferences.
I still love how Gillian overcomes the horrible physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, as well as how Christopher finally comes to terms with the fact that his disability does not make him less of a man in truth.
Gillian's actions during her fever still feel unrealistic -- that sick and she's going to hold an entire (and rather lucid) conversation and not remember it? I could go with some incoherent babbling, but nowhere near the extent of conversation she holds with "blanket" during her recovery. Plus, I'm not certain how one can be burning up with fever but also be so cold that someone has to get into bed with you to warm you up before you freeze to death *shrugs*
A few unrealistic bits aside, this is still a favorite of mine, and highly recommended for fans of abused heroines in their historicals. 4.5/5 Stars
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the Full Review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.oliviaparker.net/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Devine & Friends Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
**Reviewer's Note** The version of the book that I received was an Uncorrected Advanced Reader Copy, and therefore some issues may have been resolved by the time of final printing.
When I first started reading this book, I knew that the author, Olivia Parker, sounded familiar, but I couldn't really place her. It wasn't until I was preparing the information for this review that I realized that she's the author of one of my favorite light-hearted historical romances, At the Bride Hunt Ball, which is a delightful historical version of The Bachelor.
This is technically Book 3 in the series of interconnected characters, with both At the Bride Hunt Ball and To Wed a Wicked Earl having taken place previously, but it works very well as a standalone.
Lady Rosalind is a romantic at heart, and has rather made a reputation for herself as a successful matchmaker amongst the ton. While her brother Gabriel is away on his wedding trip with his new wife, he knows better than to leave his sister unattended, so he asks his friend, Nicholas, to watch over and protect her while he's away. The catch, of course, is that he doesn't want Rosalind to be aware of the identity of her guardian, as he knows she will simply try to find away to subvert his protection if she figures out his identity.
Nicholas has known Rosalind (and her family) for years, and agrees to both the secrecy and the protection in order to repay a debt of honor to Gabriel -- and because he can't seem to stay away from Rosalind no matter how hard he may try.
Overall, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wasn't completely blown away. I can't quite put my finger on what the issue was, but if I had to say something, it would be that perhaps the tone changed too often. One moment it was funny and light-hearted, then the next it was darker and more serious, and then the next it was sexy beyond belief, only to be thrown back into being frivolous and light again.
Despite that, I loved the characters, and especially enjoyed the torture of silent, unrequited love on Rosalind's side. Both Rosalind and Nicholas managed to lead each other on quite the merry chase, and in the end, they truly were perfect for each other.
I admit, as well, that I am greatly looking forward to Tristan's book, which is up next. Fans of the series will recognize him as the "bachelor" from the first novel, and should enjoy seeing him finally get leg-shackled and smacked upside the head with love.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Kensington Imprint: Brava...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Kensington Imprint: Brava Author’s Website: http://www.lucymonroe.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5 of The Goddard Project series Series Best Read In Order: Yes, but works well as a standalone. Steam Level: Hot
Yes, I know, I’m on a Lucy Monroe kick. I can’t help it! I just love her writing. This is Book 5 in The Goddard Project series, which is a wonderful series full of Special Ops super soldiers who are the best of the best. One thing I love about this series is that her characters aren’t just soldiers — they’re almost all brilliant scientists and technophiles as well, which the geek in me really loves.
Overall, it was classic Lucy Monroe. There was a hero unwilling to let emotions rule him, a heroine who gave herself over to the hero without recognizing that she was in deeper than he was, and some lovely alpha-male groveling. The heat level was just right, the mystery of the conspiracy and treason was intriguing, and there was a very satisfying secondary romance to boot. A very solid 4/5 Stars.(less)
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Av...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://josswarebooks.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4, Envy Chronicles Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
Picking up where Abandon the Night left off, Theo has been shot and apparently left for dead. Discovered by some locals, he’s brought to Selena so that she can care for him as he dies. Known as The Death Lady, Selena has the ability to foretell a person’s death, and to ease their transition into the next world.
I do believe that this book would not stand very well on its own. While a lot of the concepts were very well reiterated without feeling like infodump, there is so much information that was presented in the first three books that it would’ve been impossible to include every single thing of import without rehashing the entire series. As such, I would strongly urge readers to start from the beginning to understand everything they can about the gangas, the Strangers, Bounty Hunters, the Change, Envy, and the Resistance, as well as to get used to some of the newer slang.
Overall, I did enjoy it. It was a nice change to have an older heroine with all the baggage that comes from having lived a full life past your early 20′s. Theo is delicious as always, and I loved the new tidbits about the overall story arc.
Recommended for previous fans of the series, those who love post-apocalyptic dystopian tales, and fans of age differences in their romances. 4/5 Stars(less)
Life is crazy right now, so full review to follow, but I just have to ask: Did Nalini Singh get paid $20 everytime she use the word "consort"? I swear...moreLife is crazy right now, so full review to follow, but I just have to ask: Did Nalini Singh get paid $20 everytime she use the word "consort"? I swear she used that word 40 times or more.. Seriously, we get that she's his consort, that it matches the title of the book, that it's more than just a "husband/wife" or "mate" relationship, but still. STFU WE GET IT ALREADY.
That said, I've enjoyed this series since its conception, and this was no exception. So despite my annoyance with the overuse of the title, 5 Stars.
What worked for me: * Oh Em Gee if I hadn't been Team Rhyzkahl before (which, I mean, of course I was), this book wou...moreBy far the best in the series yet!
What worked for me: * Oh Em Gee if I hadn't been Team Rhyzkahl before (which, I mean, of course I was), this book would've solidified it for me. So yeah, we can't forget he's a scary-as-all-getout DEMON LORD for crying out loud, but we get to see so many more sides to him in this one, including one where he's (dare I say it?)... truly affectionate? *swoon!* Gah. And! AND! That bit in Kara's room after Kara had summoned Rhyskahl (not the dream, but the other time) *squee*
* I really liked that there was no info-dump. The author's note actually suggests reading the books in order, because while she tries to make each book a standalone, you really do need the background. However, as a devoted reader, it's been literally hundreds of books since I last read anything in the Kara Gillian series, so I have to say that there was just enough background/refresher information that I didn't feel lost. New readers should indeed read the first two books first, however, because it was just that -- a refresher. I was reminded of events that had happened previously without being forced to relive them.
* I loved the bit about the Golem, and the aftermath of the confrontation. Loved loved loved seeing a different "side" to the demons there.
* There were quite a few "Oh Shiz!" moments, where I literally gasped in reading. :D I would expound on that (because there was quite a bit of fangirly squealing in some parts), but I don't want to spoil this since it just came out.
What didn't work for me: * The cover. I know, I know, it's NOT the author's fault -- she changed publishers and the cover was out of her control. As such, it isn't counting against the rating. I had to mention it though, because the covers of the first two books, Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon, were gorgeous, and this one is... well.. not.
* ARG! There are still so many unanswered questions it's driving me INSANE! :D Again, this isn't counting against the rating because, der, this just makes me want to continue reading, which IMHO is the mark of good writing ;)
This book is like hot macaroni and cheese. It's like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It's like an ice cream sundae with extra fudge and whipped cream. In other words, this book is literary comfort food. *contented sigh*
This book has so many of the things I love in a romance novel. There's a tom-boy, downtrodden heroine, a forced marriage, a love triangle, hard decisions, and a love that builds so slowly that by the end you can't help but want to give the book a hug.
Overall, this is one of my favorite historical Westerns of all time. Both Max and Louise rank at the top of my "favorite hero/heroine list", and even further, I've read this book at least four times, and each time I love it just as much as the first. A very solid 5 Stars.
It all started for me when I was poking around the other day on Catherin...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
It all started for me when I was poking around the other day on Catherine Anderson’s website and stumbled across the excerpt for this story (which can be found here for those interested). I had never heard of such a thing as “miniature guide horses”, and so after reading the excerpt, and performing a bit of Googlefu on the subject, I knew I had to read this one.
n the end, I enjoyed this novel, but wasn’t completely blown away. I thoroughly enjoyed the animals, as well as Mandy’s dysfunctional relationship with her brother, but was a bit put off by a few of Ms. Anderson’s “trends”. However, to be fair, there were several twists that I hadn’t been expecting, and at least one occasion where I was actually surprised because I was expecting a certain cliche to result and quite the opposite happened.
Overall, a very solid read, recommended especially to animal lovers, readers who enjoy heroines with an abused past, and fans of heroes who want a more committed relationship than the heroine.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Harper Collins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.karenhawkins.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1 Rogues series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
I first read this book in July of last year, and at that time, placed it firmly on my Keeper Shelf. I just re-read it, and I am happy to say that my feelings are unchanged. Even though it's not free of problems, it's still one of my favorite go-to stories when I feel like a re-read.
Despite the problems with this book, it's still a highly enjoyable, easy historical to read, and was exactly what I was in the mood for. 4.5/5 Stars, and I look forward to picking up the rest of the books in the series.(less)
This is a Quickie Review. For the full (and shockingly enough, spoiler free review), please visit The Romanceaholic.
I’m going to say this, and trust m...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full (and shockingly enough, spoiler free review), please visit The Romanceaholic.
I’m going to say this, and trust me, I don’t say this lightly: BEST BOOK OF THE SERIES SO FAR.
Was it perfect? Of course not. Did I care (or even really notice)? Notsomuch.
Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to begin. I am going to do my best to be spoiler-free with this, so it’s going to be rather short and sweet.
Overall, I of course adored it. I think fans of the series are truly going to enjoy this one, though alas, newcomers to the series really should skip this one and instead begin at the beginning, as I don’t think they’d really be able to make heads or tails of Caldwell. That said, I do think that it’s more of a standalone than the previous few novels, so the brave few who aren’t really interested in wading through 8 books in order to begin this one may stand a chance of at least enjoying the relationship between Manny and Payne. And hey, at least those readers will be able to empathize with Manny and his “say what?” reaction to being introduced into the BDB world.
A very cheerfully solid 5/5 Stars, and I’m anxiously awaiting whatever else the dear WARDen decides to grace us with.(less)
Okay, first off, is that not an absolutely gorgeous cover? The painter i...moreThis is a Quickie review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Okay, first off, is that not an absolutely gorgeous cover? The painter in me is completely in love with it!
I had previously read the first two books in the series, The Accidental Countess and Lessons in Seduction respectively, both of which got a 4.5/5 Star rating from me here on Goodreads. It has been over a year, however, since I’d read either of them, so while I was vaguely familiar with the characters, I was a bit fuzzy on the back story for this novel. As such, I am reviewing this as though I were reading it as a standalone rather than the final installment of a trilogy.
I was happy to find that there was just enough detail to not only move the story forward, but to whet the reader’s appetite for the previous novels had they not already read them. Because of this, I would say that it worked well as a standalone novel, though it will be obvious to new readers that it is part of a previously established series. Regardless of its workability as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the series simply because I enjoyed the other books so much.
This novel was very consistent with Melissa Schroeder’s previous books in the series, and as such earns the same rating. 4.5/5 Stars
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Self Published Author’s W...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Self Published Author’s Website: http://kaitnolan.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1.5 Mirus Series Best Read In Order: Yes, but would work well as a standalone Steam Level: Warm
I hate myself a little right now. You see, I bought this short story in December, when it was a new release, and somehow it got shoved to the back of my TBR pile on my Kindle and I just now realized I hadn’t read it.
What a fool I was.
Devil’s Eye is book 1.5 in the Mirus series, which started with Forsaken By Shadow (which was a 4-star book by itself, actually), and continues to flesh out the world of the Mirus. That said, it has been quite a while since I’ve read Forsaken by Shadow, and I still felt that I had all of the pertinent information without having to review the previous book.
Mick is the wolf-shifter owner of Le Loup Garou (literally, “The Werewolf”), a bar in New Orleans where both humans and Mirus mix without the humans ever being aware of the Mirus’ existence. In the middle of a “Hurricane Party”, with the storm raging outside, he realizes that one of his waitresses, Liza, never showed up for work.
Before Mick can further investigate Liza’s whereabouts, he’s interrupted by the lovely Sophie, a gorgeous stranger who not only emanates a sense of power, but who is also asking questions about Liza. When he discovers that she’s a member of the IED — the Investigation and Enforcement Division whose job it is to make sure that humans never become aware of the Mirus’ existence — he immediately goes on the defensive, because human or not, Liza is Pack.
I had (ashamedly) forgotten just how much I enjoy Kait Nolan’s writing. She has a way of taking “the same old same old” of paranormal romance and completely setting it on its head, and I adore her for it.
While I would suggest reading Forsaken By Shadow first (and c’mon, it’s only $2.99 at Amazon, and free on her website if you want to read the serialization there) simply because the Mirus world is so entertaining, I do think that Devil’s Eye works beautifully as a standalone.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. While I wish that it had been a full-length novel, simply so that I would know what was to become of Nick and Sophie, it ended at a good stopping point and didn’t feel like a complete cliff-hanger which I liked. Given the space constraint of a $0.99 novella, however, I think Ms. Nolan did an absolutely fantastic job of keeping the action going, of creating characters that a reader could care about, and the beginnings of what I would imagine will be a beautiful relationship. I sincerely hope any PNR fans reading this will pick this one up in support of a fantastic indie author; a very solid 4/5 Stars(less)
Expected Release Date: July 13, 2010 Publisher: Omnilit Publishing Imp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: July 13, 2010 Publisher: Omnilit Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://jenniferlanebooks.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, CONduct Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Overall, despite its flaws, this book was highly entertaining. With romance, family drama, the struggle to reintegrate with society after spenigng time behind bars, and having to face tough personal issues in order to grow as a person, I found that I couldn’t put it down.
It’s unusual to have both the hero and heroine of a romance novel be ex-convicts, but Ms. Lane pulled it off beautifully. She illustrated not only the struggles that those with felony convictions face when reentering the “real world”, but also took two very broken people and allowed them an enormous amount of personal growth over the course of the novel.
Her ability to make the reader care for even the minor characters is what kept me turning the pages, despite the daunting word count, and I was practically cheering for Sophie and Grant by the time the closing chapter rolled around.
While certainly not without its issues, I am definitely looking forward to Bad Behavior, which continues the story of Sophie and Grant, and I would definitely recommend this book to fans of tortured heroes and heroines, of intense character building, and of fresh takes on contemporary romance novels.
A solid 4/5 Stars, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Grant and Sophie, as well as the rest of the characters I’ve grown to love.(less)
Expected Release Date: Available now! Publisher: Penguin Imprint: Berkley A...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available now! Publisher: Penguin Imprint: Berkley Author’s Website: www.nalinisingh.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 10, Psy-Changeling Series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Hot
*Happy Sigh* I have been anxiously awaiting Hawke’s story since the very first Psy-Changeling novel back in 2006, and I will say right now, that this was hands down worth the wait.
Because the Psy/Changeling world is so intricate, and because this book marks the beginning of a long-coming war between the Psy and the Changelings, I will say straight out that this is a series that is best read in order. While some of the previous novels were not my favorites, it is certainly important to understand the general story arc before trying to tackle this book, or readers will likely be very lost outside of the relationship between Hawke and Sienna.
There are three species of people in this world — the Psy, the Changelings, and Humans.
The Psy are a race of very powerful psychics, with their abilities varying widely in both type and strength. The most powerful of any of the Psy are those who are Cardinals — scoring extremely high on the power scale, Cardinals are immediately recognizable by their eyes which are solid black, including the sclera as well as the iris.
Unfortunately, in the past, the Psy were often victims of madness and violence, due to some of their uncontrollable powers. In the late 1970′s they undertook a radical social change called Silence, which basically allows all members to have incredible control over their powers by effectively removing all emotions. Unfortunately, while Silence was the answer to many Psy’s prayers, it is not perfect, and there is plenty of room for corruption and abuse under its regime. Physically the weakest of the three species, they are the most mentally powerful, and often defend themselves with their psychic abilities. The Psy are ruled by the Council — a group of men and women who tend to be self-serving at best, and psychotic at worst. The Psy are also incredibly dependent on PsyNet, a psychic network that links each of their minds together (though they are taught at a young age to shield themselves for protection), and which also provides important biofeedback that they require to function.
The Changelings are a race of shapeshifters, with a large variety of different species. The main packs in the Psy/Changeling novels are SnowDancer (wolves) and DarkRiver (leopards), but many other species make appearances, including deer, rats, various birds, and aquatic creatures. Changelings are the strongest physically of the three species, with limited psychic powers such as the ability to partially shield themselves, and to form varying degrees of psychic bonds within their packs.
Humans are the weakest of the species, both physically and in psychic ability, but the one thing they do have to their advantage is that the other two species tend to underestimate them. Humans play only a small part in the series in general.
Hawke is the Alpha of the SnowDancer pack. A victim of an insidious attack on his pack at a young age by a group of Psy, Hawke also lost the woman his wolf recognized as his mate while he was still a child. Wolves mate for life, and having lost the female that his wolf recognized as his mate at such an early age, Hawke knows that he will never be able to give a woman a full mating-bond like the others in his pack. Like all Changelings, Hawke is a very sensual being with a very strong sexual drive. However, as an honorable man, he always makes certain that all of his lovers understand that he can never take them fully as a mate, and that they are not looking for something that he can never give them.
Sienna has been half in love with Hawke since she was sixteen — the day he first showed her kindness as a defector from the Psy. Now almost 20, she is no longer a young girl who is entirely off-limits as a woman, and has begun to prove herself as a powerful and valuable member of the SnowDancer pack. Sienna, however, is more than just the woman that Hawke refuses to admit his attraction to — she’s a Cardinal X-Psy, a designation so rare that less than ten exist at any given time in the entire world, with Sienna being the only Cardinal of that designation in known history. We’ve heard about the X-Psy in previous novels, but with no real explanation of the power other than it’s deadly both to others and the wielder, and that if Sienna were to ever completely break Silence, she’d almost certainly die — and take out everyone around her in the process.
Overall, I adored it. The sexual tension was so thick, you could cut it with a knife, and the angst of their relationship was absolutely gut-wrenching. Add to that the fact that the events leading up to war have finally come to a head, and the glimpses into the lives of some of the more important players from previous novels, and I truly couldn’t be happier with this book.
While the price point may put off some readers (the ebook is $12.99 as this is a hardcover release), I will gladly tell you that if you are at all a fan of the series, it will be worth every single penny.
Recommended for fans of the series, stubborn alpha heroes with incredible sexual tension and chemistry, unrequited love, seemingly insurmountable odds, and a kick-ass heroine finally allowed to come into her own, all liberally sprinkled with political intrigue, family issues, and pulse-pounding action.
I would rate this a 10 if I could, but as it is, I will have to settle with a very enthusiastic 5/5 Stars. (less)
This is a Quickie Review. For the (much longer, and shockingly, spoiler free) full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: No...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the (much longer, and shockingly, spoiler free) full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Penguin Imprint: Berkley Trade Author’s Website: http://meljeanbrook.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Iron Seas Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
I do recommend that new readers go back and pick up The Iron Duke before reading this one, as both Yasmeen and Archimedes play a solid role in that story. That said, however, I do think that this one did a very admirable job of “filling in” for both new readers and those of us who have read a bajillion books while waiting for Heart of Steel to come out after completing The Iron Duke, and would likely stand well on its own to new readers.
As much as it pains me to admit, this book started off incredibly, but lost a bit of its steam (no pun intended) by the end. There were a few plot twists that really did nothing for me, and the final confrontation with the Big Bad was a bit disappointing. Luckily, the delightfully delicious relationship between Yasmeen and Archimedes made up for a lot of it — the chemistry between them, as well as the push-and-pull of their entire relationship kept me glued to the pages, and of course, the hotness factor didn’t hurt.
Despite a few tiny missteps, this book was absolutely worth every penny. The world that Ms. Brook has created with this series is incredibly fascinating, with a wonderfully intricate alternate history that adds such depth to the story.* Archimedes is one of my absolute favorite heroes, and he and Yasmeen were truly perfect for each other.
Recommended for fans of incredible steampunk, of adventuresome heroes with a truly romantic nature, and of kick-ass heroines who keep their awesomeness long after their hearts are engaged.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmill...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Press Author’s Website: sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: Yes, Book 20, Dark Hunter Series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
I think that this book is going to be a make it or break it for fans of the series. Those readers who have stuck with the story over the course of the five billion books in the series (obviously an exaggeration, but there’s a lot) because of their love of Acheron, the Greek pantheon, and the Daimons, are likely to be quite disappointed. While many of the other beloved Dark Hunters make brief appearances, including Zarek, Sin, and even an epilogue with Acheron, Tory, and several others, the main characters are all new to us, and I think that some long-time fans are going to be quite disgruntled with this.
For me, however, I found it quite refreshing. While yes of course I love the characters who have been main players for so long, it was getting to the point that I only read the new books in this series because I’ve invested so much time into the series as a whole that I want to see how the overall story arc plays out. So for me, it was a nice change of pace to include an entirely new pantheon into the mix and focus on unfamiliar-to-me legends.
While it wasn’t a very steamy read, with only one real love scene, I think the action made up for lack of sexy times. Abigail’s actions have unleashed several deadly plagues, and the entire cast is forced into some fairly interesting and even epic battles to contend with them.
Overall, this was a solid entry into the series. While I was far from blown away, since by this point most of Ms. Kenyon’s heroes and heroines are pretty much recycled from earlier characters, I still found great enjoyment in the Cherokee legends and the huge part they played in the story. Even so, it was pretty average for a Kenyon read. The epilogue was intriguing, and I of course will read whatever comes next.
Expected Release Date: April 25, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Impri...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 25, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Imprint: Grand Central Publishing Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, The League Series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
When I saw that Netgalley had a copy of Born of Shadows up for grab, I literally squeed. Loudly :D
I’ve read almost all of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s novels, and I’m a huge fangirl. While that doesn’t make me blind to the faults of the novel, I wasn’t disappointed.
Born of Shadows is classic Kenyon. Both Caillen and Desideria had pretty lousy childhoods, and both have been betrayed over and over during their lives, making it hard for them to trust anyone.
Caillen has been a favorite of mine ever since he was introduced into the series. Unashamedly a thief and a smuggler who lives by the seat of his pants, Caillen has always appealed to the Hans Solo fan in me. He’s a rogue and a scoundrel, and an unrepentant womanizer to boot, yet he’s also incredibly intelligent and resourceful, and intensely loyal to those few that he counts as family.
Desideria is a warrior princess from a matriarchal world where every honor must be earned, including that of being recognized as an adult. At 26 years old, she’s still completely innocent as far as interactions with the opposite sex, since in her culture, a female must have earned her adult status and have proved herself for a year before being allowed to fight for a consort. Thankfully, however, she didn’t come across as one of those ignorant virgins who freaks out at the slightest hint of physical desire, so there was none of that “OMG what’s happening?!” reaction to any of Caillen’s touches, which was refreshing.
While I do think that new readers would benefit from reading the entire League series before nabbing Born of Shadows, it’s been long enough since I’ve read the last one that I feel confident that those unfamiliar with the series wouldn’t be completely lost. As a previous reader, it was nice to get a few snippets of some of my favorite past characters, including Syn and Nykerian as well as Caillen’s sisters.
There were one or two instances where I was forced to pause for a moment and re-read as I had forgotten that certain technology existed in this world (such as teleporting), so that sort of thing may be a slight jolt for new readers as well. Overall, I have to say I think it would work fine as a standalone, though as with any series, it is important to read all of the novels to fully appreciate all of the characters and their relationships.
Despite my disappointment with some of the plot twists, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Crappy childhoods, messed-up families, loads of backstabbing, tons of chemistry and plenty of twists make this a story that should appeal to any Kenyon fan. 4/5 Stars (less)
Expected Release Date: July 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand Cen...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author's Website: http://www.vickydreiling.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2 Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Lady Julianne Gatewick has always harbored a tendre for her brother's best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield. When he's asked by her brother to be her guardian for the season, and then whisks her around the ballroom in a borderline scandalous waltz, she's ecstatic -- that is, until he informs everyone within earshot that she's like a sister to him and therefor in no danger.
Heartbroken and humiliated, she turns to her friends and her (rather wild) aunt and after a few tears and a lot of advice, she decides to write a pamphlet for other women in her situation to give advice on how to even a social playing field where women are expected to be chaste and charming and marry very young, while men are expected to be rakes and wait until the last possible minute to fall into the parson's mousetrap. Called "The Secrets of Seduction", her anonymously penned pamphlet creates a storm of scandal among the ton, and soon everyone is trying to discover her identity, including Marc. Fed up with Marc's admonishments to avoid other rakes, and determined to finally make him see her as a woman rather than an annoying little sister, she asks Marc to teach her the tricks that rakes use for seduction, so that she will be better equipped to recognize and avoid them in others in the future. Little does she know that Marc has been doing everything in his power to avoid his attraction to Julianne, and when you play with fire, you just might get burned...
Overall, this was quite enjoyable. While quite different from the first book in the series, Ms. Dreiling's voice as a writer remains as strong as ever, so that the angst and chemistry between our hero and heroine is everything we've come to expect.
The beautiful pain that Julianne's unrequited love of Marc brings was absolutely wonderful, and the forbidden aspect of their relationship just added to the fun.
Recommended for fans of childhood friends secretly pining for each other, of heroes with pasts so scandalous that they avoid love altogether, and of discovering that together, anything can be overcome.
What worked for me: *The worldbuilding is simply breathtaking; it's so beautifully descriptive without making the story feel bogged down. There's a certain earthiness to her writing that engages all of your senses while reading. *The sensuality was amazing. It was incredibly sensual, sexy, and erotic, without being vulgar. At one point in reading, I thought to myself that this novel is the high-priced courtesan to the common street prostitutes that so many other erotic novels seem to be these days.
What didn't work for me: *I admit that I occasionally got confused on the character names. There were, I think, slightly too many characters to keep things flowing properly in my mind. I have a feeling, however, that this was more a failing on my end than on the author's. *I think, if anything, it was almost too rich. Rather like eating a decadent piece of gourmet chocolate, the incredible earthiness and richness of the writing was better savored in small doses, and as such it took me much longer to finish this book than it normally does for this length of novel.
Overall, however, the writing was amazing, the characters drew me in, and I am left breathlessly awaiting the next installment to the series. This is my first Charlotte Featherstone novel, but it absolutely will not be my last. 4.5 Stars(less)
What worked for me: *Spunky MC, but spunky in an I'm-a-New-Yorker way, not in the I'm-a-fiercely-sassy-one-dimensio...moreI keep floundering on my rating lol
What worked for me: *Spunky MC, but spunky in an I'm-a-New-Yorker way, not in the I'm-a-fiercely-sassy-one-dimensional-fluff-character way *I rather like that the MC remains unnamed. It makes it possible to place yourself into her shoes (whether or not you might actually go around in such awesome footwear) *The tension keeps you on the edge of your seat from the opening line until the very end. *Yes it was short, but a LOT happened so you felt the same urgency of the MC and no part of it caused the story to drag or felt like mere set dressing.
What didn't work for me: *Reeeeeally short. I mean, der, I knew it was a short story going in, and frankly it was a case of mea culpa in that I've been reading novellas more than short stories lately and so it took me a bit by surprise to have such a low word count. See point three above for the "on the other hand" to this
*This goes back to Point 1, but it felt more like a prologue to me than a short story. This wouldn't be a negative point except for the fact that a)I had to buy it (since you don't typically purchase prologues) and b)there's no continuation of the story as of yet.
Now, why the rating wavering? Simple. While it's true that it was über-short, and I'm more than a wee bit disgruntled that there's no sequel/continuation available or seemingly planned (hence the possibility for a lower rating), it was also very well-written, attention-grabbing, and just flat-out enjoyable to read.
Final verdict? 4 Stars (and I'll probably change it to 5 in the future if there's ever a longer sequel announced lol)
**UPDATE January 5, 2011** See? I wasn't lying lol I was just told by the author that there is indeed a sequel forthcoming, and as such, I have changed my rating to a 5 ;)(less)
The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously await...more The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously awaiting her 21st birthday, still two years off, when she will gain access to a trust fund that will finally allow her to live. She wants to travel the world, have an adventure, and most decidedly not turn into her boring, staid, proper mother.
All of those dreams are shattered when it's announced that her father has sold her into marriage to an English Earl she's only met once -- without even asking her!
It's simply too much to be borne, so Winnifred hatches a plan to shock the Earl's sensibilities so that he won't have her!
Unfortunately for her, Sir David Knightsbridge, Earl of Wolshingham, desperately needs her money to pull the family estates back from the bankruptcy his scapegrace father has almost forced them into. When Winn tries to shock the Earl, he informs her in no uncertain terms that even if she is the whore she is acting like, there's no escaping the bargain made between David and her father, so she'd better get used to it!
Realizing her plan is foiled, she reveals that she was only trying to drive him away, and that her biggest fears are turning into a Proper Society Matron like her mother. David, however, surprises her by encouraging her to enjoy life, so long as he's the one by her side when she does it.
Just when the young lovers think that things will work themselves out, gossip turns to scandal, threatening to ruin the love they've only just begun to discover.
What worked for me: *I'm a big fan of arranged marriages in romance. Something about being forced to be together and yet working things out for a happy ending greatly appeals to me.
*I adored Margaret. :D
*I liked that Winn's father was very much in love with his wife, and never partook of the pleasures offered at the brothel run by one of his biggest clients. That was quite refreshing, especially since he was one of the "bad guys" so to speak in the story.
*I literally laughed out loud when Winn read the naughty French diary to David while her mother was in the room (never fear -- her mother couldn't understand a word of French)
What didn't work for me:
*I'm not a big fan of crude sexual language in my romance, even in erotic romance. It's just not my thing. Kitty cats, roosters, words that rhyme with "punt" all abound in this story, and I personally could've done without it.
*I really did not like David in the beginning. He comes across less like an "alpha male" and more like a big bully. I don't like when heroes grope the heroine the first time they meet, especially when it's a case of asserting their authority rather than both of them being overcome with lust.
My view of him did change, however, as he began to become entranced by Winn and when he decided that he wanted her to be happy with him.
*There was at least one (I say two, really) Too Stupid To Live moments that really annoyed me. The first is how one of the rumors got started and the last was right before the end.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the story. It was a fun time period to be set in, what with Coney Island, "horseless carriages", and crank telephones. I haven't read many stories set during this time period and found it to be quite enjoyable. As I mentioned, I could've done without David's initial bullying, and without the crude language, but I did feel as though the characters were well-developed and that there was genuine caring and chemistry between them, especially towards the end.
This book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "struggling with inner demons".
Around sixty years ago, Winter became a hybrid -- that is, a human wh...moreThis book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "struggling with inner demons".
Around sixty years ago, Winter became a hybrid -- that is, a human who has willfully merged her soul with a demon in order to gain the physical and mental power to battle against full-blooded demons. Now, her time is running out. The longer a hybrid exists without becoming bonded to a mate, the more powerful their demon side becomes, until finally the demon takes over. Once this happens, there's no coming back, and the other hybrids are forced to hunt down these monsters and kill them.
Now, at this time when she struggles the most with the blood-lust and battle-hunger within her, Winter's entire world is in uproar. Full blooded demons, who, in the past, have been too animalistic and unorganized to ever become a unified force are suddenly attacking the Hybrid ranks en masse, leaving behind untold carnage and confusion.
Forced to team up with both Lupines and Nightwalkers ("werewolves" and "vampires", respectively), Winter must now lead her people, hunt down a rogue, fight her demon, and, oh yeah, try to resist an impossibly sexy, incredibly powerful Nightwalker Lord who is suddenly convinced that she's his fated mate. Can't a girl catch a break?
What worked for me: *I really liked the mythology in this story. The hybrids started out as Templars, and the Lupines and Nightwalkers actually used to be the same until there was a (for lack of a better term) civil war that resulted in their numbers being split -- one side retaining the ability to shift and the other side with the telepathic abilities. I also liked that the Nightwalkers didn't drink blood but rather fed off of the energy and excess emotions of other people, and that they didn't typically kill to feed. This was an interesting twist on an old genre, and helped to breathe a new life into the story.
*I was as surprised as anyone about the identity of the Big Bad, and really enjoyed the cat-and-mouse game that was played.
*I'm a big fan of fated-to-be-mated stories, and I really enjoyed Marcus having to adjust to a warrior mate. Nightwalker females are cosseted and protected (and basically steamrolled), so it's completely against Marcus' nature to allow Winter the freedom to be who she is -- a strong warrior and strong leader.
*I also enjoyed the idea of an uneasy alliance between three opposing factions; the Nightwalkers, the Hybrids, and the Lupines. The politics involved as well as the innate battle for dominance amongst the alphas was highly enjoyable.
*I also enjoyed the secondary romances in this story -- one that was resolved and one that left us hanging.
What didn't work for me: *While not a cliff-hanger ending, I did feel that it ended a bit abruptly. I am desperately hoping for a sequel, as I'm anxious to find out what happens with the couple who did not yet get their HEA
Overall, a highly enjoyable read, and I am very ardently hoping for a sequel. 4 1/2 Stars(less)
Winter Wishes is an anthology including three amazing authors of Paranormal Romance, each with a Christmas or winter theme. Out of the three authors i...moreWinter Wishes is an anthology including three amazing authors of Paranormal Romance, each with a Christmas or winter theme. Out of the three authors included, I'd only ever read anything by Moira Rogers, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that she was well-matched in talent and creativity by the other two authors.
Tangled in Tinsel by Vivian Arend 4/5 Stars Five miles of leather-clad leg is all it takes to lure Kyle Branegan out from his carefully hidden lifestyle as part of the Cougar Corp, a secret branch of the Shifter Enforcer League. He's hoping for a night of fun and frolic, cat-style, no strings attached. With a sultry swing of her hips, Eloise Scott tangles him up in her ball of tricks, and just when he thinks he's about to get lucky, she cuffs him—naked—to her bed.
An undercover cop in the human police force, El's been given a top-secret mission to keep the big cat under her paw until he's needed to testify in court in the New Year. Her decision to take him home for a quiet Christmas in her sleepy hometown turns out to be far more interesting than she expected. Her parents are suddenly rich, her old boyfriend is sniffing around and all six-feet-plus of sexy cougar male is sleeping in her bed.
And that's before they announce their fake engagement...
What worked for me: *The UST in this story was SCORCHING. Vivian Arend is apparently the Mistress of Tease, because just when you think things are coming together for the couple, *BAM*, something happens to throw you off.
*I really liked the idea of not only shifters being known about and accepted in society (if a bit begrudgingly), but of the identity crisis of sorts that some shifters go through trying to balance their Beast and Human sides, especially when it comes to working with humans. This felt realistic to me, and made for an interesting read as we watched El struggle to embrace her cat while remaining a cop on a human-dominated force.
What didn't work for me: *The underlying plot was a bit "out there" for me. A single female shifter is assigned to keep a male shifter in "protective custody", and is allowed by her supervisors to bring him home to her family for the holidays? That seemed a little too implausible for my tastes.
*I didn't feel as though El and Kyle got a Happily Ever After, but rather ended up with a Happily For Now ending. El is a bit of a commitment-phobe, so the ending fit with her personality, but was a bit unsatisfying for this citizen of Romancelandia.
Overall? A solid 4/5 Stars
No Angel by Vivi Andrews 5/5 Stars When Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha's been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa's naughty list, Sasha can't believe she's anyone's idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn't save Jay, he'll be stuck in Hell forever!
Jay—aka Jevroth—isn't surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he's been ignoring his mother's demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.
Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving...
I will admit, I didn't really want to read this story when I read the blurb, and the only reason I did was because I wanted to be able to review the entire anthology honestly. Let me tell you -- I'm SO glad that I did! Believe it or not, this almost ended up being my favorite story in the anthology! Had the Moira Rogers story not been so good, this one would've justified my 5-Star rating by itself. It was quirky, funny, surprisingly action-packed, romantic, and sweet.
What worked for me: *I adore stories where "Others" are a recognized part of society rather than hanging on the fringes. Rather than vampires and werewolves, however, this world is populated by Angels (also referred to as the Heavenly Host) and Demons. The Angels made themselves known in the Dark Ages and brought about the Renaissance, and the Demons got the short end of the stick and were banished back to hell. As Sasha says, neither side is purely Good or Evil, but rather the Angels had a better PR agent. I love that the angels are just as likely to walk the streets of L.A. in designer jeans and cowboy boots as they are to wield a flaming sword and dress in the full toga-and-sandals regalia.
*While I found his behavior a bit implausible, I really liked Luc.
*The little twist as to why Sasha was the one who was chosen as the Champion of Virtue.
What didn't work for me: *As mentioned, Luc's behavior seemed a bit out of character to me. I can't see the devil actually acting like that, an in a way, it seemed a bit anticlimactic.
A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line. He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people—and her magic—in the south.
Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but she's been drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it's foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he's her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia's no longer sure she wants him to.
This story is the entire reason I requested this anthology. I'm a Moira Rogers fangirl to begin with, so I was fairly certain that I'd enjoy it, and I wasn't disappointed.
What worked for me: *Tortured hero, who had been unwillingly turned into a werewolf during an attack that killed his lover, rescues a warrior witch from freezing to death after she escaped torture by scientists who had kidnapped her and dragged her to the frozen north, where the earth is asleep and magic doesn't work. Greatly weakened, Nadia literally depends on Shane for her survival despite not knowing if she can trust him.
*For some crazy reason, I do love self-loathing in a man. Shane despises the fact that he's a werewolf, and in fact lives so far north of the freeze line because that is where earth sleeps there and his wolf slumbers with it. Were he to live in the south, his beast would be given to rise, and he fears that he wouldn't be able to control it and would either hurt someone, or would become hunted as a monster.
*I really enjoyed the fact that Nadia wasn't weak. Certainly, she was wounded when Shane first came upon her, but as they move south, she regains her strength and proves herself to be a not only a capable warrior but a powerful witch as well. I like that even as her powers and strength return, however, she remains real -- a woman of deep emotions and integrity.
*I absolutely adored how the earth actually spoke to Nadia when she reconnected with her magic
What didn't work for me: *Honestly, there wasn't much that I didn't like about this story. If I had to list something, it would be the fact that there wasn't much information given on "the scientists" other than their fear and abuse of the witches. I would've enjoyed reading more about their movement as well as about other witches that had survived (or not, as it were) their experiments, but of course that couldn't be thoroughly explored in a short story or novella.
Overall, I was very pleased with this anthology. I would suggest that anyone reading not skip any of the stories based on the synopsis alone -- I almost made that mistake with the second story and am very glad that I forced myself to start it.
I highly recommend this anthology for any fan of paranormal romance. A very solid 4.5/5 Stars. (less)