Expected Release Date: January 21, 2013 Publisher: Entangled Publishing ImThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 21, 2013 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: Scandalous Author’s Website: http://www.authormichellemclean.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Chaste Pet Peeves: Too Stupid To Live Moment(s), Love Triangle Favorite Tropes: Clumsy Heroine, Physically Imperfect or Scarred, Serious Illness or Injury
Though I can’t deny that the book was highly entertaining overall, my final rating would have been higher had it not been for an incredibly too stupid to live moment on the heroine’s part that resulted in a majorly tragic disaster towards the end.
That said, even with the fact that a major event in the end left a sour taste in my mouth, this book was, quite simply, fun. I think partly due to the fact that this was a “sweet” romance, with nothing more than a few kisses and a bit of wandering hands, the main focus was on the escapades of Min and Bryant as they planned and plotted both with and against each other in search for the necklace. It was quite an adventure, when all was said and done, and despite having several of my pet peeves, I still enjoyed it.
Recommended for fans of clumsy heroines whose plans often outshine their abilities, of heroes with tarnished pasts yet golden hearts, and of tons of mischievous adventure, sprinkled with a good dose of chemistry and seasoned with a dash of good old-fashioned romance.
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A AuthorThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://haileyedwards.net/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Araneae Nation Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
While I admit that I probably would’ve fared better had I had a map of the clans or perhaps a glossary with my copy, I absolutely adored this story. Had it not been for the multiple instances where poor Lourdes’ bosom was exposed to all and sundry, this would have been rated higher, but even with the abundance of that major pet peeve of mine, this was a very solid read.
The originality of the universe Ms. Edwards has created along with the multi-faceted characters grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. I know it sounds cliche, but I quite literally couldn’t put it down. Rhys is easily a favorite hero of mine, and the well-paced developing romance between him and Lourdes had just the right hint of steam.
Recommended for fans of dangerous (yet awesome) heroes, headstrong heroines, and fantasy adventure with just a dash of heat.
Expected Release Date: September 12, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://wendysoliman.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Lord Adam Fitzroy wants nothing more than to escape the realities of war and return home for a much deserved furlough before returning to the ravages of war. When his solitude at the inn is interrupted by a beautiful woman looking to hide, his protective instincts are aroused, as are his more earthy inclinations. Playing the gentleman, however, he assists the woman and continues on about his business. He's startled, and more than a little annoyed, to discover her later that same night in a bawdy house. Putting his annoyance at her deception behind him, he enjoys a night of the abbess' services but is shocked the next day to discover that the courtesan he encountered the night before is masquerading as a respectable woman, in the position of his very own mother's paid companion.
Furious that someone of such loose morals would impose herself on his mother's household, he surprises himself when he offers to keep her secret -- in exchange for her carnal services as a courtesan.
Florentina Grantley was desperate when she perpetrated her initial deception against Adam, and once he's seen her in her friend's brothel, she knows there is no changing his opinion of her. When he proposes to keep her secret in exchange for a place in her bed, she's scandalized -- and a little tempted. Having only ever lain with one man in her entire life, a husband she loved dearly, she's lacking in the skills that Adam is clearly expecting, and yet she cannot help but be aroused by the idea of allowing this virile man unfettered access to her body.
Knowing that lives are at stake if her secret activities are made public, she reluctantly agrees to Adam's proposition. Both of them, however, are unprepared for the intensity of their affair, however, and when Florentina's secret becomes impossible to keep, things take a dangerous turn...
Overall, this book surprised me in both positive and negative ways. On one hand, I think this book and I got off on the wrong foot with Adam's visit to the brothel, which prevented me from truly enjoying the rest of the novel, since that was always in the back of my head. On the other hand, however, the sensuality was incredible, the characters were interesting, and the plot involving Florentina's secret activities was not only interesting but was something I haven't often read about before, adding a new level of enjoyment to the novel.
In the end, however, my dissatisfaction with the resolution of the situation with Phillipa, coupled with my distaste for the hero's behavior at the very beginning, kept this book from being a total win for me, and resulted in the loss of an entire star.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self PuThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self Published Imprint: N/A My Source for This Book: Amazon.com
The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook
Author’s Website: http://meljeanbrook.com/ Part of a Series: Yes, Iron Seas 1.5 Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
Contable Edward Newberry and his wife, Temperance, are "bounders", people whose ancestors fled England when the Horde first attacked, and now that the threat are over, are returning to England. In this universe, while the New World still follows the social mores of what we would call the Regency era (ie a woman's reputation is everything, and any kind of contact between the sexes is frowned upon without a proper chaperone), but England is much more relaxed and practical about such matters.
Temperance was a governess in Manhattan City, and formed a very sweet (and very chaste) friendship with Constable Newberry, whose blushes never failed to charm her. However, she fell very ill with consumption and made the decision to invest the small inheritance she'd gained from her grandfather into a quiet hospice setting at a sanatorium. As she was about to leave, she realized Edward had come to say goodbye to her, only, Edward had different ideas. He kissed her, of all things, which immediately set into motion a hasty marriage and banishment to the awful and filthy city of London.
Temperance might have been able to forgive him, had he merely been overcome by passion, but when she asked him shortly following his marriage if he had planned all of this -- their marriage, his receiving her inheritance, and their move to London -- he confirmed that it had indeed been his plan.
Now dying and miserable, Temperance despises her new husband (though she can't help but to notice the nice fit of his trousers or the way his broad shoulders fill a doorway every now and again), and she merely wants to find some quiet enjoyment before she dies.
Things are never as simple as that, however, because Temperance witnesses a murder in the alley below her bedroom window, and worse, the murderer got a good look at her as well.
Willing to do absolutely anything to protect the woman he adores, Edward puts both his life, and his heart, on the line.
Overall, I of course loved it. In fact, the entire reason that I bought this anthology was I read the EXCERPT ON MELJEAN BROOK'S WEBSITE and got sucked right back into the world of The Iron Seas. While I think that new readers might be fairly lost, any fan of the series will definitely appreciate the cameos and references to other characters, as well as the insights as to the lives and attitudes of bounders.
That said, however, this story could also serve as an admirable intro into the world of The Iron Seas for readers who haven't had the opportunity to read earlier works. Of course, I personally think new readers should immediately go out and read both Here There Be Monsters and The Iron Duke instead, but I'm a bit biased on that front because I enjoyed both of those stories so much.
Recommended for fans of steampunk done the right way, of being forced into a marriage of convenience, and of allowing yourself to finally embrace the love that's been waiting for you all along.
Keywords: Meljean Brook, Steampunk, Steam Level: Steamy Forced Marriage, Marriage to Avoid Scandal, Plain Heroine, Spinster Heroine, Serious Illness or Injury, Series Best Read In Order, Virgin Hero, Virgin Heroine
Vixen by Jill Myles
Author’s Website: http://jillmyles.com/ Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Miko is a were-fox, or, as her mother Japanese mother prefers, kitsune. Just like vixens in the wild, were-fox females tend to be extremely promiscuous, needing more than one mate to satisfy their needs.
Determined to avoid mimicking her mother's harem of men, Miko lives in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Her theory? Since she can't control herself around men, the best thing to do is to avoid men altogether.
However, when a local (and illegal) fox-hunting group forms, her mother sends along two very sexy cat-shifters to protect her until the hunters can be stopped. Now, forced to live in close quarters with not one but two extremely desirable men, Miko knows that she can't choose between the delectable Sam and Jeremiah, and luckily for her, she might not have to.
Overall, this one was a lot more enjoyable than I'd anticipated. I'm not typically a fan of polyamory simply because I don't find it realistic, but the fact that Jere and Sam had previously been in a polyamorous relationship made things much more believable to me. Add to that the danger of the fox hunters, and the delicious sexual tension throughout, and this one gets a solid 4/5 from me.
Author’s Website: http://authorcarolyncrane.com/ Part of a Series: Yes, Disillusionist Trilogy 2.5 Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Sophia Sidway is a memory revisionist. She has the ability to remove a person's memory from up to a day prior, and to replace them with very realistic memories of her choosing. While she cannot replace emotion, she's become a master of designing replacement memories to coincide with the emotions of the original memory, making her talent both amazing and incredibly dangerous. The daughter of a notorious mob boss, Sophia has used her powers for all sorts of evil over the years, including ruining the life of her one true love, Robert.
Now, she's so very tired of it all, and seeks the Monk, a mysterious and dangerous Disillusionist, known for being able to "reboot" criminals and send them on their way as productive citizens.
Unfortunately for Sophia, the only man who knows how to contact the Monk turns out to be the one man she thought she'd lost forever. Facing Robert is one of the most painful things that Sophia has ever had to do, but she is willing to do absolutely anything to put an end to her life as a revisionist, even if it means opening up old wounds.
WOW. Simply. Wow. While I purchased this book solely for Meljean Brook's story, The Blushing Bounder from the Iron Seas universe, I have to say that this story would've made the purchase worth every penny. I have never had the pleasure of reading Ms. Crane's Disillusionist trilogy (an oversight I intend to rectify as soon as possible), but this story was able to grab me and draw me into a world of dark crime, incredible powers, harrowing danger, and lost love.
An incredibly solid 5/5 Stars, and no joke, I would rate it higher if possible.
Keywords: Carolyn Crane, Estranged Lovers, Serious Illness or Injury, Steam Level: Steamy, Urban Fantasy, Part of a Series, Secret Identity, Tortured Hero, Tortured Heroine.
Overall, this anthology is a must-have for fans of paranormal romance. It literally has something for everyone: steampunk, shapeshifters, urban fantasy, polyamory, forced marriages, and estranged lovers. It runs the gamut from a virgin hero and heroine to a rather promiscuous heroine and everywhere in between.
Only $2.99 at Amazon, I would gladly have paid that price for any one of these novellas by themselves, so for all three, this is an incredible bargain, that fans of PNR would be fools not to purchase.
Expected Release Date: March 1, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: OrchardThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: March 1, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: Orchard Books Author’s Website: http://macleanspace.com/ My Source for This Book: Used Bookstore Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Official Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford is strong-willed and sharp-tongued and not interested in marriage. Unfortunately, her mother is determined to marry her off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.
Between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor’s father is mysteriously killed in a riding accident, Alex helps his son, the devilishly handsome Gavin, to discover the truth. It’s a mystery brimming with espionage, murder, suspicion, and true love.
Romance and danger fill the air, as this year’s Season begins!
To be honest, the official blurb does an excellent job of summarizing, so I won’t be adding my own version for once :P
As a Young Adult book, there is of course very little sensuality. I found that I didn't actually miss it. I think this may be owed to both Alexandra and Gavin's ages -- despite common social mores at the time, I've never really warmed to the whole marriage-at-17 thing for women.
While I was annoyed with Gavin's courtship of Penelope in the beginning, and his hypocritical dislike of Stanhope, I did rather appreciate the ease that Alexandra and Gavin clearly felt with each other, and their obviously deepening feelings for one another.
In the end, however, while I enjoyed it, I didn't feel that it was anything exceptional. I admit, part of my dissatisfaction likely stems from the fact that I recently read a much-anticipated 5-Star book (that would be Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh, btw) and so frankly, nothing quite compares to the Book High I got while reading that one. Another problem could probably be the fact that I read three books in quick succession that had a similar plot -- that of childhood friends turned to lovers -- and none of the three books actually seemed to really stand out from the other.
Even so, however, the romance fell a little flat for me. I expected there to be a little more resistance between the two, but instead declarations were fast coming. Add to that a very predictable murder mystery, and I wasn't very impressed.
Recommended for fans of childhood friends who fall in love, and of intrepid 17 year olds who buck societal conventions to do what they feel is right, both sprinkled with murder, betrayal, and of course, love.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: AvThis 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://www.lynsaysands.net/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Madison Sisters Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Hot
Ever since reading The Countess, I’d been anxious to find out what was going to happen between Suzette and Daniel.
Suzette is an heiress. She and her two sisters have inherited an extensive dower that they will be able to access once they are married. At the insistence of their family, however, they’ve kept it a secret to help keep them safe from fortune hunters. Suzette’s older sister, Christina, married a man in what she thought was a love match, only to discover that he was really only after her money. And to make matters worse, their father has once again gambled away their estate, and the only way to save the family from scandal and ruin is for Suzette to marry immediately so that she may access her dower.
Suzette has learned a lesson from her sister’s unhappy marriage however. Since you cannot count on a love match, the only way Suzette sees to retain power in any marriage is to make her husband dependent on her. She decides to seek out a man desperately in need of her money, who will in turn allow her to keep half of her extensive fortune, and to retain her freedom.
Daniel grew up in poverty. Unlike most people in the same situation, however, his mother insisted on pretending to have a fortune, so society never really suspected. Now, with the help of his best friend Richard, he has gained a true fortune through investments, and yet knows that his fortune is the most attractive feature amongst the marriage-minded mamas determined to marry him off to their daughters.
When Suzette meets Daniel and begins to explain her need for a hasty marriage, she asks him outright if he has money. Thinking that she’s only out for his fortune, and that the quickest way to scare her off is to tell her he is poor, he bends the truth and tells her about his childhood without mentioning his reversal of fortunes. He’s shocked when not only is Suzette thrilled by his apparent poverty, but when she immediately proposed marriage. Even more surprising than that though, is the intense physical attraction and chemistry between them when they end up kissing in the garden after she basically insinuates that he’s no good at kissing (and so of course he has to prove her wrong).
While the first half of the novel being basically a recap from the last story in a different POV would likely help newcomers to the series know what was going on, I still suggest reading The Countess before picking this one up. I thought to myself several times that I was glad that I’d read the first one or else I’d be well and truly lost, since Dicky’s actual death was pretty much glossed over, as was a lot of the plot that Dicky had made (not to mention the fact that the real murderer was never mentioned in this book even though it was revealed in the first).
There were also a few Too Stupid To Live moments on Suzette’s part, but I mostly forgave that simply because the UST was so delicious between the two. Plus, their courtship is pretty much a comedy of errors, which was greatly entertaining, even when you wanted to shake some sense into Suzette.
Overall, the hotness of this story helped to overcome the fact that the first half of it was mainly a recap of the first book and Suzette needed to be smacked on occasion. Recommended for fans of whirlwind romances, tiny lies that spin out of control, and evil plots by villains determined to keep the hero and heroine apart.
Expected Release: Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group ImprThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release: Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Imprint: Grand Central Publishing Author’s Website: http://www.margaretmallory.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Return of the Highlanders Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Just what fans of Scottish Romance have been craving!
Ian has been Sìleas' keeper since she was just a small child. Awkward looking and rather gangly, Sìleas is the furthest thing from Ian's ideal woman as could possibly be, and he sees her as more of a baby sister than of someone he'd ever want to share his life with, let alone his bed.
When Sìleas runs away from her abusive step-father, who intends to wed her to his own horrible son in order to control the lands she's inherited, she begs Ian to help her, which he does. When he is discovered the next morning sleeping (clothed) next to (an also clothed) Sìleas, his family saw a way to gain control of Sìleas' lands and forced the two to marry under the guise of "protecting her virtue". Ian, furious at being forced to wed, abandons both his family and his new bride for four long years, before returning with the intent of finally ending his farce of a marriage to Sìleas.
I think that Ian rather ruined this one for me. The fact that he did his best to "forget his vows" while in France for four years, completely ignoring what Sìleas might be going through due to his abandonment, and then came home expecting her to be happy that he'd finally returned quite literally made me want to strangle him. I greatly dislike infidelity in my romance novels, and while it's almost maybe sort of understandable in Ian's case, it still left such a bad taste in my mouth that I really couldn't enjoy the rest of the story. I suppose I just feel that if honor and responsibility are so important to him, why on earth would he abandon both his family and his vows? *shakes head*
To be fair, the storyline and writing was fantastic. Four best friends, all having received a prophecy of sorts regarding their future loves from the local seer, return home from battle to find the clan in political uproar and having to work past intrigue and treachery in order to unite the clan and have the rightful heir take power. The love scenes were very hot, and the historical elements, such as the Infant King, trial marriages, traveling priests, and so forth added a ton of flavor to the story.
Overall, I personally never warmed up to Ian, which pulled my rating down by a full star. Readers who are not bothered by infidelity, especially as occurs before the marriage is ever actually consummated, will almost certainly rate it higher. As it is, 3.5/5 Stars...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 await 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.
Since this is an ARC, I will do my best to avoid spoilers, including in my shelf tags, so please keep in mind that this book would be categorized in at least three extra shelves than are listed (and yes, it's killing me to do that because I know I'll forget to come back after the novel has been released and fix them) :P
What worked for me: *As the back cover says "Her methods may be scandalous" -- scandalous, perhaps, but hilarious. It reminded me in ways of At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker (which is an under-appreciated novel in and of itself). I also loved the push and pull between Tristan and Tessa as each attempted to keep the upper hand in the proceedings.
*The UST between the two was delicious, and the carriage scene was smoking!
*I thoroughly enjoyed the girls that Tessa had chosen to vie for Tristan's hand, and especially enjoyed how several of them ended up being much more developed characters rather than the caricatures that Ms. Dreiling could have turned them into.
*The Duchess was awesome! I always enjoy the scheming old "dragons" of the ton, and I also liked how multi-dimensional she was. Ms. Dreiling could've easily played her off as a caricature as well, but chose to give her many sides to her personality rather than the requisite "disapproving relative".
What didn't work for me: *There is indeed a TSTL moment, though not nearly as big a one as some stories might have. Let's just say the heroine is a bit too independent for her own good at times.
*I did figure out what Tessa was keeping from her friends fairly early on, though I suspect with the vast amount of clues given, that was intentional on the author's part.
*The obligatory consummation scene felt just that -- obligatory. It felt like a quicky -- all main event and no foreplay lol As a reader, I like to drowned in UST before a couple gives into their passions, but the final love scene felt much more like Ms. Dreiling was re-reading an edit and said "Hmmm. They're together now officially, so I guess I have to make them scrump." I almost feel as though it would've been more appropriate to have lowered the sensuality rating a wee bit and done everything fade-to-black, though I admit I would've missed the **CENSORED FOR SPOILER** scene had that been the case. ;)
*There were a few instances where Tessa seemed much more experienced or knowledgeable than she should have. Specifically, in one instance, we'll just say she seemed to know a bit more about the mechanics of things than I would've expected from her.
Anything else of note that don't really fall into the "worked/didn't work" categories *The ball at the end was a bit syrupy and almost over-the-top. On the other hand, however, who doesn't dream of a "grand gesture" from their beloved? And I admit, the very last paragraph of the novel made me grin and say "Awwwwww" out loud. Yes, my family thinks I'm insane now :P
*I kid you not, Tristan mentally referred to his wang as "the bad boy in his drawers" (page 255 if you don't believe me lmao). Now, I'm all for creative euphemisms, because I'll be the first to admit that reading the word "penis" in a romance novel makes me twitchy (and not in a good way), but really? Bad Boy?
There were several moments that had me chuckling such as the quote I mentioned in my status update where he chalked the fluttery feeling he got when touching her hand up to indigestion, or when he waved the white flag in the drawing room.
Overall? A very enjoyable, light and easy read. I was actually smiling when I finished the book, and therefore I give it a solid 5 Stars....more
**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*)
I admit it threw me off that they consummated their marriage so early in the book -- most of the Anne Gracie novels I've read usually have more UST thI admit it threw me off that they consummated their marriage so early in the book -- most of the Anne Gracie novels I've read usually have more UST than that and wait until close to the end to consummate it. There's nothing wrong with this -- like I said it just threw me off a bit. In this story, it definitely fit, and while there were a few PG-13 or possibly R-rated moments, most of the smexin was implied or fade-to-black, so at least it didn't get bogged down with the smut.
I wanted to shake my head at Faith's obliviousness though -- I figured out the "mission" waaaaaaaaaay early on, which may have been the author's intent, idk.
Not my favorite of the Merridew series, but overall a nice read.
I'm always pleasantly surprised when a debut novel is good, and this book was no exception.
What worked for me: Loved loved loved the sea talking and plI'm always pleasantly surprised when a debut novel is good, and this book was no exception.
What worked for me: Loved loved loved the sea talking and playing with Blue :) That was incredibly cool
Really enjoyed the Mad Max/Thunderdome vibe of the post-apocalyptic world that existed after a series of tsunamis wiped out civilization as we know it.
Max was awesome, and I loved the card game with Aubrey :)
The tattoo? Epic Win as well.
I for one also liked the toughness of Blue resulting from her being raised by pirates and having had a really crappy childhood, at odds with her vulnerable/naive/sheltered personality from having been away from "civilization" for so long... I know some reviewers have said it put them off, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that a girl who could filet you with a bowie knife also blushed whenever faced with the slightest bit of attraction to another human being :) It was sweet.
There are more things, but honestly I don't want this review to have too many spoilers, so let's just say it was a lot of little things that kept making me smile :)
What didn't work for me: I'm not sure I ever really felt the love/attraction between Gabriel and Blue... Yes, she had a party in her pants around him because he was incredibly easy on the eyes and she was a 24 year old virgin, and it was obvious he was attracted to her, but even though the backstory as to why he was interested in her outside of her physical appearance was explained, I still didn't quite feel it as deeply as I think I was intended to.
Gabriel seeing Blue naked and/or half naked outside of sexual situations all the bloody time was annoying! Pet peeve of mine, I know, but authors, don't try to make your heroine vulnerable by having people see her naked unless it's some kind of exhibitionist fetish that you're gratifying for an erotica story. It's not sexy, it's embarrassing.
The vagueness of the ending (not the epilogue, the ending)... I think I know what the message was, but I'm a bit thick sometimes and wish it'd been spelled out a bit more
In the end, I was very happy with this story :) I'm very glad that Book 2 has been sold, even though it'll deal with different characters rather than being a continuation of Blue and Gabriel's life
This is my first Monica Burns book, and whoooo mama *fans self* I wasn't expecting it to be quite so hot! There was a LOT of delicious UST (which I adThis is my first Monica Burns book, and whoooo mama *fans self* I wasn't expecting it to be quite so hot! There was a LOT of delicious UST (which I admit, is often lacking these days), and when they finally came together *cough* pun intended *cough*... Yeah, niiiiiiice :)
I need to start reading more standalone novels, or at the very least, pick books that already have a few out in the series already, because these cliff-hanger endings are killing me :P The relationship between Aries and Emma was wrapped up nicely enough, and I was glad he got back a certain item at the end.. But it was definitely open-ended which often annoys me.
I'm DYING waiting for the next book, Assassin's Heart (which for some reason the Goodreads linking thing isn't working for me at the moment or I'd link it), which stars Lysander and Phaedra *thud*
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it.. It lost half a star because the "oh but s/he doesn't love me" angst got a bit tiring after a while, along with Emma's stubbornness getting them into trouble and her constantly blaming Ares for all her woes.
In the tradition of the other Banning Sisters books, this novel was full of secret plots, spies, and intrigGood Lord this book was a long time coming!
In the tradition of the other Banning Sisters books, this novel was full of secret plots, spies, and intrigues.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was really never a dull moment, and every time it seemed that progress had been made, something else jumped forth to cause problems between them (just like I like it lol)
Sensitive readers should be aware that this novel contains attempted rape, kidnapping, and a sexual assault (some would call it "forced seduction", but honestly I think it may have crossed the line a bit).
It also has the dreaded "hero sees the heroine naked without her consent" thing which drives me NUTS in romance novels. Attention Authors: THAT'S NOT SEXY.
Despite that, however, it was a wonderful way to end the Banning Sisters Trilogy which started with Scandalous followed by Irresistible. Gabby/Nick and Claire/Hugh play a big part, as does their wonderfully meddlesome aunt.
I absolutely adored Neil, however. I know I may be alone in this, but one of the things I loved about him was that he actually, honest to goodness considered killing Beth -- just snapping her neck. Usually in romance novels (outside of Anne Stuart's creations of course lol), even the most hardened assassin hero would never consider killing an innocent woman who'd gotten in his way. I liked that he was all like "Man that sucks I'm gonna have to snap her neck. Oh well." (paraphrased of course :P)
The only thing keeping it from being 5 stars is the fact that the ending seemed really abrupt to me. Everything got wrapped up in a nice little HEA mind you; it's just that there was some fade-to-black smexin that seemed a bit out of place, followed by a short bit of action and then cut to what was practically an epilogue where Robards told us, rather than showed us how the rest of the stumbling blocks to Neil and Beth's HEA were quickly and tidily swept away. Knowing how long it's been since this book was supposed to come out (what is it, an 8 year wait?), it almost feels like Robards took the old dusty, unfinished manuscript off the shelf and spent a few days quickly whipping up an ending and sent if off to her editors so that she could just be done with it.
Still, despite that, it was a highly satisfying and attention-grabbing novel that I would highly recommend to any fan of the Banning Sisters novels (which, I admit, I suggest reading in order before picking up this novel, even though it could easily stand alone).
Very typical of Michele Hauf's novels, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
Personally, it just didn't do it forVery typical of Michele Hauf's novels, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
Personally, it just didn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, the love story was great, and the us vs. them mentality that they ended up with was just delicious.
I just had a lot of trouble identifying with our heroine. A supah hottie werewolf princess with an attitude problem, a psycho ex-boyfriend, and a penchant for colorful wigs -- not really my thing.
Had everything that all the Hauf novels I've read have had -- starcrossed lovers, tons of (annoying) grudges being held by pretty much everyone, wild sex with shape shifters and/or magick all over the place, a good chunk (no pun intended) of violence, and at least one TSTL moment.
Overall not a bad way to pass an afternoon, but I'll likely pass it on rather than keep it.
**spoiler alert** First things first, can I just say how much I love the cover??
I'd actually never heard of this book until the other day when perusi**spoiler alert** First things first, can I just say how much I love the cover??
I'd actually never heard of this book until the other day when perusing the DABWAHA website and saw that it was actually the finalist against Larissa Ione's Ecstasy Unveiled (which is a fantabulous book itself btw).
Now let me go ahead and say it – I'm not usually that into same-sex romance. I've nothing against it (in fact, some of my favorite fanfiction is slash), but it's not typically something I actively seek out on my own.
That said, I LOVED THIS BOOK!
It had everything I love in a contemporary, action-filled romance: a tortured hit man with a conscience, a hot target who slowly breaks through said hitman's tough shell, and just enough action (er.. that is.. fighting) to keep things exciting.
Add on top of that the whole “ahh crap I guess I'm gay, huh?” bit (which I admit, I found more amusing than anything – does that make me mean?) and you've got tons of delicious angst.
D doesn't want to get close to Jack. In fact, he does everything he can to continously push him away, especially once he starts to develop feelings for him. But dear Jack just won't let him keep running, and very gently starts to pull him out of his shell.
And the love scenes? HOTTT *fans self* *wipes drool* *licks lips*
*clears throat* Er. Sorry. What were we talking about?
D and Jack make a wonderful couple. Jack's not all effeminite, which I think would have definitely put D off, but he's not some super badass either. He's... human. I really like that about him. Sure, he's a little braver than I would have been had I come home to find a hitman calmly sitting on my couch with a shiny gun (complete with silencer) sitting in his lap, but then again he's also used to dealing with high-pressure situations in his career as a surgeon. And his reaction to seeing D kill for the first time felt really true to how I think most “average” people would react.
I had to snicker when someone referred to him as a “twink” and he didn't get the reference ;) Sure he was a bit preppy, but I wasn't getting the twink vibe from him.
I really felt like his courage overlaying his natural vulnerability is what attracted D to him in the first place, and made it impossible for D to walk away.
Jack knew from the beginning of the novel that he was homosexual, and had had prior sexual relationships with men. D, on the other hand, was deeeeep in the closet. He knew he had these “feelings” but he denied himself for so long that it was a difficult path to get him to recognize and act on his attractions and affections for Jack.
The angst of D trying to stay away from Jack for his own good was just gut wrenching. As a reader, I agonized with him because I knew his logic was sound, but at the same time I just wanted to shake him and tell him to go to him and end both their suffering.
One of my absolute favorite parts of the book was right after D had kidnapped Jack , and Jack was thinking the whole situation was like a cheesy TNT movie... At one point he thinks to himself “Actually, if this were a movie, you’d be a beautiful woman and you’d be sleeping with HAL by the second act.” This made me snort when I read it, because obviously I knew from the description that they would be hooking up and they were both so oblivious to it at that point (side note – the “HAL” reference is because D hadn't actually introduced himself, so Jack started calling him HAL in his head due to the resemblance between his sunglasses and the HAL computer from 2001: A Space Oddessy)
Now, it's not all rainbows and sunshine here – there are several times in the book where D's internal monologue prompted a bit of eye-rolling on my part. I understand why it was there though – there were little tidbits hinting at his past, and why he felt the way he did that were very important to character development, and the internal monologue was truly the best way for JS to put that across without bogging us down with awkward and untimely conversations or true flashbacks. Knowing that didn't make it any less irritating though, which is why I mention it.
Did I mention that I like D's accent too? I'm not sure exactly what sort of accent it's supposed to be (it might have been mentioned but honestly I missed it), but for once I enjoyed phoenetic typing to emphasize accent. That sort of thing normally drives me bonkers (re: Diana Galbaldon's Outlander series. I went crosseyed from all the verra's and ya ken's in that series .lol)
The part right after they've discovered the identity of the villain (which, btw, I totally guessed beforehand) was simply heartbreaking – when they realized that their dreams of being together were practically pipe dreams, and that the reality was that one (or both) of them was going to die. Heartbreaking.
And Dear Lawd, the separation just about killed me. Christmas litrerally had me all choked up *sniffle* Gah.
Their reunion though, was worth it. It was very satisfying (er. No pun intended there) because it wasn't just a “and the lovers were reunited and lived happily ever after The End” – instead it had them work through some issues that felt real, rather than just jumping to the glossy HEA that so many other romances end up with in the final chapters.
I also like that she left it open-ended for future sequels, without giving it the whole unresolved/cliff-hanger vibe that so many debut books have these days.
Being that it's a same-sex romance, I realize that this book won't be for everyone. The sex scenes are well done, but are just as explicit as a typical heterosexual romance, and as such might put a few readers off. However if that sort of thing bothers you, I still recommend reading it and just skipping/skimming the sex scenes, because the romance and the suspense/action is so gut-wrenchingly fantastic that it's not to be missed.
Also, be sure that once you've read the book, you head on over to Jane Seville's website – she's got several outtakes and epilogue short stories posted for free (but, yeah, don't read them until you've read the book lol)
I recently discovered Shiloh Walker as an author, and let me tell you, she's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Even though Broken is a sequel to FrI recently discovered Shiloh Walker as an author, and let me tell you, she's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Even though Broken is a sequel to Fragile, I do think it would stand well on its own.
Quinn is just delicious. I do adore my tortured heroes *swoon* I also really liked Sara, and how hard it was for her knowing she shouldn't stay but desperately wanting to anyway.
The romance was sizzling. The chemistry between Quinn and Sara was simply to die for. However, sensitive readers should be aware that there is a scene involving explicit back door action. I do hope, however, that even those who don't like that sort of thing in novels will just skip over that part, because the rest of the book is truly worth it.
I was very pleasantly surprised at the twisty end. I had it partially figured out but not completely, and when the truth was revealed, I truly smacked my forehead because looking back, Ms. Walker had done such a fantastic job of planting the clues all along and yet my mind still failed to come to the correct conclusion.
**spoiler alert** I'm mildly ashamed to admit that I liked this book lol
First things first, let's get the major point of contention out of the way.
The**spoiler alert** I'm mildly ashamed to admit that I liked this book lol
First things first, let's get the major point of contention out of the way.
Their first sexual encounter, if not strictly "rape", was most definitely "dubious consent"... Honestly I'm leaning towards the "rape" designation, as seen in my keywords. He doesn't physically force her, but when a man tells you to get naked and get in the bed or else he'll have his men come and forcibly undress you, that's rape.
I still liked the book *hangs head in shame*
It was nice to find out that while Alex hadn't been a saint, that a lot of his previous reputation was exaggerated, and it was plain to see that he was actually devoted to Natasha...
Of course, it earned a spot on my notorious "oh noes u saw me nekkid" shelf, which is, as some of you may know, a pet peeve of mine... I can't stand when a hero sees a heroine naked without her knowledge or consent -- drives me bonkers but it seems to be so popular in romances for some reason. Get a clue authors -- that's not sexy!
*clears throat* Er. Sorry. Soapbox issue and all that..
Anyway, Natasha earned a place on the TSTL shelf because she actually went along with her brothers' scheme to begin with *facepalm* Yeah sooooo wouldn't have happened in real life, but hey, it's an HP -- that's why we read them, true?
And yeah, I guessed what the sister's deal was waaaaaaaay back in the beginning, though I didn't have the specifics quite worked out in my head.
Yes, it was contrived. Yes, it was melodramatic, and yes, the ending was way too neat and pretty, but that's all part of being an HP. You wouldn't read them if you didn't enjoy a bit of a literary soap opera, now would you? :D
So despite all the negatives, I have to say that overall it was an enjoyable read.