Expected Release Date: September 3, 2013 Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St.This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 3, 2013 Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Press Author’s Website: http://sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: Yes, Book 23, Dark-Hunter Series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy Pet Peeves: Torture Porn Favorite Tropes: Physically Imperfect or Scarred
Despite my discomfort and disgust at not only the explicit details of Styxx’s ordeals but also the sheer volume of incidents (which in the end cost the book a half-star in the rating), I still found myself thoroughly enjoying this one, which I admit, surprised me. I was very hesitant to even read this, because of my experience with the author’s penchant for torture porn as well as my relative dislike of the last two novels in the Dark-Hunter series.
I always have a problem rating the newer Sherrilyn Kenyon books because to me, they very often cross the line of creating a sympathetic, tortured protagonist (usually the hero) and instead fall firmly into the realm of torture porn, which is just not my thing.
I ran into this in Born of Silence (the League Series), in Acheron, and again in this book.
While all of the Very Bad Things that happen to Styxx as a youth do indeed make him a sympathetic character, I think it also does him the disservice of making him fairly unbelievable in the idea that he could still be humble and selfless to the point that he should be nominated for Sainthood.
Though I tried to take the forward from the author to heart, where she says (I paraphrase) that sometimes horrible things happening to someone can make them a horrible person, so can it instead make their inner strength and goodness shine. To me, though, so much happened to Styxx that it simply made it very difficult for me to believe that his Inner Good Guy would have survived.
That said, I have to say that Bethany was the perfect counter-balance to all of the very explicit horrible things that Styxx was put through.
I think that (view spoiler)[having Bethany and Styxx meet and fall in love in his relative youth, rather than making having him meet her and falling in love thousands of years after the abuse that he went through (hide spoiler)] made it much more believable that he would have had the inner strength to get through everything he was subjected to.
(view spoiler)[I was, however, very thankful that Ms. Kenyon found a way around Bethany being reincarnated. (hide spoiler)] That’s a trope I struggled with in an earlier book from this series, and was thrilled that it wasn’t an issue in this one.
As a bit of a side note, I would not recommend this book to those not already familiar with the series. I think it would be okay for those who had for whatever reason skipped Acheron, but once the book reached modern times, it moves very quickly with a lot of characters and events that you really need to be familiar with beforehand, else you could easily become hopelessly lost.
That said, for any fan of the original Dark-Hunter series, and definitely for fans of Acheron, I can say with all confidence that this is a must-read.
Expected Release Date: March 25, 2013 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: CarinaThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: March 25, 2013 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://alyssaeverett.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy Pet Peeves: Hopelessly Naive Heroine Favorite Tropes: Marriage of Convenience, Heroine Thinks She’s Undesirable (Husband Refuses to Consummate Marriage)
While I won’t give spoilers, readers should be aware that there are some pretty sensitive issues addressed in this book, and though they are handled quite well, they may be hard for some readers.
I love a good, angsty story that involves a heroine who thinks she’s unattractive because her husband avoids intimate encounters. Even though I figured out the “secret” pretty early on, and I on occasion wanted to smack the heroine for her naiveté and somewhat obnoxious optimism, I loved this one.
The heartbreak surrounding David’s tragic past was revealed in stages, and by the time the reader learns the full extent of the events that have twisted David’s own self worth into a ball of hatred and self-loathing, we are already as hopelessly in love with him as Rosalie has found herself.
Rosalie’s own journey from almost overwhelming self-sacrificing optimism to having her eyes ripped opened to the realities of the world was almost as painful as David’s journey, and though her behavior originally irritated me, I found that in the end, had her character been any less optimistic, or had she been any less, well, Rosalie, she would not have been strong enough to pull either herself nor David out of the mess that resulted from the mess of an impulsive marriage between two people who, on the surface, were never meant for each other.
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarlequiThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://www.jblynn.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Fifteen years ago, Emily Wright was kidnapped by a serial killer. Barely managing to escape with her life, she has put her past behind her, refusing to return to the small town where she was abducted -- and where her father and younger sister still live. When her father is hospitalized in a serious boating accident, she returns home to take care of her sister, never quite able to put aside her feelings of unease at returning to the place of so many horrible memories.
Soon, her sister's friend is killed and left in front of Emily's house for her to discover. Shocked and horrified to realize that this killer may be after her and her sister as well, she turns to the one man who has always been able to make her feel safe -- Bailey O'Neil, her best friend from "before".
A deputy for the small town's Sheriff's Department, Bailey's father has just been killed in a traffic accident when Emily returns to town. Having always harbored a secret crush on her, Bailey knows that Emily is meant for so much more than their small town, and he, can offer. Discovering that Emily's life could once again be in danger, he calls in some favors from the FBI, and joins with Emily to discover the identity of the killer before anyone else gets hurt.
The whole time I was reading this, I couldn't help thinking that this book would translate very well onto the big screen. There was something for everyone -- romance, action, murder, and mystery, and at the end, I was literally reading it with my jaw open saying "NO WAY!". Beautifully, beautifully done. The solution to the mystery wasn't an obvious one like so many are these days, and the romance itself was both sweet and delicious. I adored the small-town dynamics, with gossip and secrets both confusing the investigation, and the climax of the book was full of heart-pounding excitement.
Recommended for fans of small-town romantic suspense that keeps you guessing until the end, childhood friends who later become lovers, and of dysfunctional families finally coming full circle. A very enthusiastic 4.5/5 Stars
In a post-apocolyptic dystopia, civilization has fallen and Beaters, mindless flesh-eating zombies created by a disease originallyThat was... intense.
In a post-apocolyptic dystopia, civilization has fallen and Beaters, mindless flesh-eating zombies created by a disease originally spread by a plant dispersed through biological warfare, threaten the lives of everyone in existence.
Cass was captured by the Beaters only to awaken two months later with no memory of what had happened to her, and wounds that indicated that not only had she been a victim of the Beaters, but that she herself had been infected and had recovered.
The only thing driving her on is finding her young daughter, whom she had only just gotten back (after having lost custody of her due to her alcoholism) for a single day before being taken by the Beaters.
What follows is a horrifying, heart-stopping, gory narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat, gasping for air, as Cass tries desperately to find her daughter while navigating this dangerous new world where the Beaters are not the only threat to the weak.
What worked for me: * Deliciously gory, parts of this story were like a bad car wreck, where you want to look away but can't tear your horrified gaze from the action.
* I loved the Beaters -- the progression of the infection from euphoria to a horrific new existence, was terrifyingly plausible.
* The pacing was amazing, and there wasn't a single time that I was tempted to skim.
* I loved the little "extra" glimpses into human nature -- things like piling rocks outside of houses where the dead had been found, or leaving an empty pot outside of a building to signal to other raiders that there was nothing left worth salvaging at that location. Add to that the inevitable power struggles, how the powerful took advantage of the weak, and how everyday people found courage that they never imagined they possessed, and it's easy to imagine that this is a future that could actually happen.
What didn't work for me: * It felt as if the connection between Cass and Smoke was one of convenience rather than love, destiny, or even chemistry. Cass had been molested as a child and turned to sex and alcohol to both mask her pain and give herself a false sense of control over her life. Her relationship with Smoke felt like a continuation of this self-flagellation, and Littlefield told us, rather than showed us of the existence of deeper feelings on her part (and really none at all on his).
* The ending was most definitely a "Happily For Now" rather than a "Happily Ever After". There were no ILY's at all in the story, both of which contributed to the feeling that the connection between Cass and Smoke was one of convenience rather than anything deeper.
* There was an astounding lack of explanation for what was really going on. While it's true that this could've very easily been a device used by Littlefield to help the reader place themselves in this world, since neither the reader nor the characters ever really understood what the hell had happened, I found this to be disappointing. It would've been nice to know more of Smoke's history (as I got a distinct feeling that he somehow contributed to all the crap that had happened), and I wish that there had been some hint as to what was really going on in the rest of the world. Had the blueleaf spread to the rest of the country? To the rest of the world? Or was this a situation similar to 28 Days Later, where (spoiler alert for the movie here), the world hadn't fallen to the disease but rather had quarantined the infected areas waiting for the disease to die out before offering assistance? Is Cass a carrier? Has she somehow infected Smoke? Will poor Ruthie be "normal" again after her traumatizing experience? What was really the deal behind The Convent? All of these questions are left completely unanswered, leaving a distinct sense of dissatisfaction in this reader.
In the end, I feel exhausted. It's a good exhausted, however, rather like the kind you feel after a long run, or after accomplishing a hard task that you'd set out for yourself. I think one redeeming fact to this story is that I do know that it's the beginning of a series, and as such, the missing answers to those questions I mentioned are hopefully forthcoming. I really hope that both Smoke and Cass are the stars of the next novel, as I am dying to know what will become of them. 4/5 Stars...more
Holy cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy litHoly cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy little package.
What worked for me: *Male prostitute hero and a spinster heroine. Oh yeah, I'm a sucker for stuff like that *I would liken Michel/Michael to an Anne Stuart hero -- tortured, earthy, at times very cruel, while at the same time both resistant and deliciously befuddled by the feelings elicited by the heroine. I was especially reminded of an AS hero by the hatpin bit. *Gabriel. Oh my word. I'm reading his story next, and I hope it lives up to my expectations because WOWZA is he a tortured man or WHAT? *The sex. Holeeshizz there was some hot loving in this book! *The murder mystery. I can honestly say the whole bit with "the man" was very intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story, and I didn't even guess the twist until it was revealed.
What didn't work for me: *Technical language is a turn-off for me in erotica/romance. Vagina, clitoris, penis, and so forth get old after a while. Not saying that it should be all "purple-headed warriors" and "quivering mounds of love pudding" or anything (10 points to anyone who gets the reference on that btw), but still, I tend to go for euphemisms in general with a light sprinkling of technical/crude speak *One trend I'm noticing with her books is a tendency to have the servants be two-faced and easily bribed, to the great detriment of the main characters. While I'm sure this is quite accurate historically, it's still depressing as hell to think you're not even safe from the people you live with. *The gore, specifically in descriptions about Michael's childhood. Seriously y'all, don't read that chapter while eating *gag* *The banana. All I could think was "wow, that's an infection just WAITING to happen!" LOL
Other minor points of note: *There's a tiny bit of backdoor luvin, but with hands only and a bit of talk about the possibility of more. *There is a lot of talk of child abuse, child molestation and child prostitutes (by modern definitions). The point is made in the book that back then, the age of consent was 13, but that doesn't lessen what actually happened.
Overall, I really liked it. Be warned this is NOT a straight-up erotica story. It's very dark, very earthy, and very angsty, but overall, I'm going to have to say 4 Stars....more
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylu**spoiler alert** Guh.
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylum for "nymphomania" just because she wanted to experience passion and *gasp* orgasms. *The UST. Oh holy HELL the UST *falls over* So yeah, this is erotica. There's a looooot of explicit sex. However, the whole first half of the book is positively dripping with UST (yes, that pun was intended lol) *The smexin once it did get started. I liked that it was definitely erotica without resorting to a lot of the just plain gross words and descriptions that a lot of other stories do. While technical words (such as the one that starts with a V and rhymes with angina) abound, there's no seeyounexttuesday's or kitty cat references, which was a nice change of pace. *It was a love story!!! So much erotica is pure smut (which hey! it has its place!), but this story was, in the end, two lost, hurt, and unfulfilled people finding completion (not a pun!) in one another.
What I didn't like: *Infidelity. I know, I know, it's almost different when it's justified (and boy howdy, if adultery was ever justified, I think this would be the case), but it still squicks me. I'm able to forgive it, though, because there's no other premise that would actually have thrown these two together for these "lessons" unless it turned into some strange The Story of O type deal *I think I would love a sequel. There are several loose ends that I would love to have tied up (heh. tied up.) Specifically, I would love to see a reconciliation between our hero and his father, or maybe even better, a reconciliation between the hero's parents. *Not really comfortable with the whole "bathing with the future mother-in-law" thing lol *What happened to Richard. I understand fully why it was included, but that broke my heart.
Review to follow (I have WAY too much to type to do it tonight), but GAH! I thought Here There Be Monsters from TheOMFG I LOVE THIS BOOK *falls over*
Review to follow (I have WAY too much to type to do it tonight), but GAH! I thought Here There Be Monsters from The Burning Up Anthology was fantastic, but holy cow, this one just blew that out of the water :D
10 Stars (because dangit, it was better than just 5)...more
I agree with the other reviewer who said it felt more like UF than PNR, because there's no definite HEA at the end. I meaThis book was... interesting.
I agree with the other reviewer who said it felt more like UF than PNR, because there's no definite HEA at the end. I mean, yeah, there's the ILY's, but things didn't feel resolved between the H/h at the end. Which, considering there's a bunch of books in the series, really isn't that big of a problem.. Though honestly, while the UST was nice and thick between Alex and Michael, I never really felt her falling in love with him. It was kind of like "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I wanna bang you, I hate you, I hate you, ahh crap I love you"... Sure, they had the physical chemistry, but it almost felt as if the "love" between them was a pure result of the whole I'm-the-one-who-turned-you bond rather than a true building of grudging affection.
I was also surprised that nobody addressed Michael's tendency to muck with Alex's memories (I would have expected Alex to at least tell him that if he did it again, she'd cut off important parts of his anatomy...
Quite a bit of the smexin made me a bit uncomfortable as well. The thing in South America for one, the whole thing with Galina, and Michael's forced seduction of Alex (which still felt more like some sort of buried compulsion rather than surrender to hidden/suppressed desire like most forced seductions in romance are).
I'm about to start the second one, Private Demon, which I hope to enjoy because the hero was one of my favorite characters from this book.
Overall, I liked the Darkyn mythology, as well as the interesting bits of medical science that LV kept throwing in.
I keep wavering between 3 1/2 and 4 Stars. 3 1/2 because I was bothered by the relationship between the H/h, and 4 because I'm really looking forward to reading more of the Darkyn mythology, especially in regards to the virus/innoculation theory.
**spoiler alert** I've only ever (attempted to) read one Evangeline Anderson book before, and I couldn't even finish that one because it couldn't hold**spoiler alert** I've only ever (attempted to) read one Evangeline Anderson book before, and I couldn't even finish that one because it couldn't hold my attention.
I should have waited for this one.
The tension and encounters between Jude and Luz were hottt *fans self vigorously* How can you not adore an alpha-vampire who loves to.. ah.. go downtown? *fans self some more*
While at times, Jude was a bit Mary Sue-ish (despite his "deep dark secret", and the fact that he was, of course, a blood-thirsty vampire), I really liked him and his devotion to Luz.
Luz, on the other hand, needed several years of therapy to get over her past traumas. I enjoyed how Jude was willing to go slowly with her (outside of their first encounter, which really did make me roll my eyes at how he managed to talk her out of her panties :P), and how he was determined to keep her safe even when she was too stubborn to talk to him and instead kept running.
I swear though, I was very annoyed with the whole "didn't you get my call?!" thing between Luz and her brother, Diego. For pity's sake folks, get texting. Or something. She kept missing these super important messages from her brother, and then she'd call him and he'd freak right out on her about how he'd called and tried to warn her and blah blah blah, which was such a cheesy tension-building device and got on my nerves something fierce.
This novel had a strong focus on child molestation and sexual abuse/rape, so sensitive readers should be aware. There is no actual rape, but holy moly is there a lot of attempting, so some readers (myself included) might get a bit squicked about it. That said, it was handled as tastefully as I think it could have been, given that it was a necessary plot device.
Overall it was a nice, (hot), easy read. Solid 3 1/2 Stars
**spoiler alert** *whew!* What a crazy ride this book was!!
I'm going to try hard not to spoil anything but I'm putting the warning up in case I get ca**spoiler alert** *whew!* What a crazy ride this book was!!
I'm going to try hard not to spoil anything but I'm putting the warning up in case I get carried away lol
Carrow, powerful witch mercenary slash party animal extraordinaire, gets kidnapped by a secret human group hell bent (no pun intended) on capturing, torturing, and subsequently exterminating all members of the Lore. Once there, she discovers that not only have these humans captured several of her friends, but they've also captured her young (8 year old) cousin, Ruby.. Ruby is now an orphan because her mother was murdered by this organization, and according to how things are done in the witch community, as her closest living relative, Carrow finds herself thrust into the position of adoptive parent.
Talk about a culture shock -- Carrow is a party chick, intent on living it up while she's still young, so to suddenly have the responsibility of caring for a young girl, as well as being the one who has to try to help get her free from the members of this organization is enough to make anyone's head spin.
Sooooo this evil organization bargains with Carrow to go and seduce, beguile, threaten, or otherwise fetch, this big bad mofo known as Malkom, who is, in fact, a vemon (vampire demon).
Malkom, being a vemon (which is considered to be an abomination in both the demon and vampire communities), is a complete loner, living in a cave in the realm of Oblivion (the name of which totally makes me want to pull out the XBOX, but I digress), which is a really nasty desert hell plane full of all sorts of nasty critters and other random enemies...
Carrow is sent to Oblivion and has 5 days to convince Malkom to return with her or the organization will abandon her there and, well, vivisect Ruby. Ew.
What worked for me: * Good bloody hell I adored Malkom. That poor bastard had been through so much in his life, and y'all know how much I adore a tortured hero *dreamy sigh*
* I loved that Carrow the party chick was thrown into the role of surrogate parent, and wholeheartedly embraced it. She could've gone all sulky and woe-is-me or even refused to accept her responsibility, but instead was determined not to be the neglectful C U Next TuesdayS that her own parents had been to her
* Loved loved loved loved loved the language barrier between Malkom (who hadn't spoken anything but Demonish and a wee bit of Latin for a looooong time), and Carrow, who only spoke English and a few *ahem* choice phrases of Demonish that some of her party friends had taught her. I also enjoyed the difference in social mores that resulted from two people from very different worlds trying to overcome communication issues, such as the misunderstanding about the ghoul head..
* As with the other books in the series, the humor is such a wonderful bonus. I quite literally LOL'd at several points in the novel; for instance Carrow's description of one of the nasty critters in Oblivion as "ManBearPig" :P Some readers not up on pop culture might find a few of the references a bit confusing, but I say just like with J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you may just want to keep Urban Dictionary on hand.
* The angst! Oh the angst!!!! Arg! Bad childhoods, abuse, neglect, social disdain, physical and emotional torture, trust issues, and catch 22's abound. There were actually several points during reading that I got teary eyed, which really threw me for a loop because I associate Kresley Cole with humor, action, hot smexin, and a bit of good old fashioned angst, but never before have I ever dreaded what was coming next because I knew how heartbreaking it would be for everyone involved.
What didn't work for me: * ........... gimme a second, I'm thinking ..... Okay I got one -- new readers to the series might be completely lost on some points, such as what the deal is with La Dorada and Lothaire, and the history/relationships between some of the more minor characters who've starred in previous books... I'll be honest though -- I'm not so sure that's really too bad of an issue, because with the exception of keeping straight which Wroth brother ended up with which female, I can't say I was all that confused (though I did have to stop and remember who the eff La Dorada was even though that was from the last book -- oops!), and it's been quite a while since I've read the previous novels in the series.
* Another thing that might give some readers pause is the squick value... While most of the horror and gore is off-screen, there are multiple references to vivisection, torture, sexual abuse of a minor, and a few cases of gory retribution. And keep in mind I said "most" -- there are definitely a few scenes that involve quite a bit of gore and ick factor. Like I said, it's not like it's in the realm of Stephen King or anything, but definitely not for some of the more sensitive readers.
Yeah. That's all I got lol I think some fans of her earlier stories might think it a bit too smutty, but while it's most definitely not a YA read, it's not like it's delved into the erotica genre either.. I, for one, thought it was just the right level of hotness (and can I just say *guh* at the tattoos and body piercings? *swoons*)
**spoiler alert** So if you pay attention to all the bookshelves I used to label this book, you'll probably end up mightily confused if I don't mentio**spoiler alert** So if you pay attention to all the bookshelves I used to label this book, you'll probably end up mightily confused if I don't mention that they pertain to two main characters -- Lucie and Sarah both. Each gets almost half of the storyline to themselves, and so I felt it appropriate to label accordingly.
I loved the romance between Sarah and Tom. There was understandable bitterness on both sides, and it was heartbreaking to think of all the lies and misconceptions that caused them to be apart for so long.
However, my reasoning for not giving it a higher rating is that I didn't care for how Lucie's story ended up.
I admit it. I liked Eagle Dancer. I realize that Lucie'd been kidnapped, and I realize that horrid things were done to her by various members of the tribe, but I was so hoping that they'd find a HEA together... Yes, the age difference squicked me (he was "nearly twenty" and she was 14 almost 15), and yes I wish he'd waited to marry her and therefore delaying their consummation (which, for the record, is done completely "off-camera" so to speak -- they're married in a tribal ceremony then a while later someone mentions that they'd lain together, but there's no kiddie porn in here so nobody freak okay?). However, I do think it's important to remember, as even Lucie notes in the story, that it wasn't uncommon for girls to wed that young in those days. Nowadays, uber creepy. Those days, barely raised eyebrows.
Unfortunately, theirs was not a true "secondary romance", despite the fact that Eagle Dancer obviously cared for and treasured Lucie (possibly even loved her? His reaction to the bread thing kind of hints to that you know..).
In light of that fact, while I know it was necessary to detail Lucie's experiences with the tribe, it made the book feel cluttered. There were several times, I admit, that I read very quickly over the portions relating to Tom and Sarah (whom are the main characters here, mind you) just to find out what was going to happen next with Lucie and Eagle Dancer. I almost felt like Kernan needed to choose one couple or the other, especially since it wasn't a situation where both couples ended up in a romantically HEA...
Because of that, my final rating is going to be 3.75 Stars....more
The one thing that kept this from being 5 stars is the fact that I don't think the hero ever actually told the heroine that he loved her... If he did,The one thing that kept this from being 5 stars is the fact that I don't think the hero ever actually told the heroine that he loved her... If he did, I missed it :(...more
Originally a fan-fiction story for a very popular fandom, this novel is a coming-of-age story about two previously abused teens who find healing and sOriginally a fan-fiction story for a very popular fandom, this novel is a coming-of-age story about two previously abused teens who find healing and sanctuary in each other.