I realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but just...moreI realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but just in case there are still some readers holding out for the surprise, I'm making this a spoiler-free review. As such, it will be noticeably shorter than it would be were I allowing myself to give away their identities.
One thing I really liked about this one was the fact that even though it would certainly be helpful to have read at least the most recent installments of the Psy-Changeling series, I think that it's focused enough on our main couple and the civil war brewing amongst the Psy, that newcomers might be able to get through it without issue.
Similarly, I really enjoyed the focus on the couple. I've been anticipating this particular pairing for years now, and I was very glad that so much time was put into developing their characters and their relationship, rather than focusing too much on many of the past couples from previous books.
The chemistry was wonderful, and I've always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for dangerous, almost frightening heroes, especially when they come with both murderous tendencies as well as intense protectiveness over a woman they have claimed as their own.
The ending was perfect, and I sincerely hope that there will be many more installments to this series to come.
Expected Release Date: May 23, 2012 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprin...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 23, 2012 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: Ever Afters Author’s Website: http://dianealberts.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Take A Chance series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
While I'm not a huge fan of contemporary romance in general, I have to admit that this sweet and angsty little novella was exactly what I needed right now. While Jeremy's tendency to dwell on his feelings of worthlessness grated my nerves a bit, the delicious chemistry and angst between him and Erica certainly helped to make up for it.
With unrequited love, low feelings of self-worth from both the hero and the heroine, secrets, past hurt and betrayal, and a bleak outlook for any future between them, this quick and easy read packed quite a bit of emotional punch for such a small word count. Not to mention that yummy cover!
Expected Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Hachette Imprint: Grand Cent...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Hachette Imprint: Grand Central Publishing Author’s Website: sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, The League Series Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the series in order. Steam Level: Steamy
I'm devastated. Simply devastated. I have been anxiously awaiting this book since before it was actually written. Darling is one of my absolute favorite characters in the League Series, and I had such high hopes for his book.
Let me start off by saying that my disappointment is not based on the fact that Darling is actually heterosexual. While I admit I was very annoyed by that revelation in the epilogue of the last book, and in the blurb for this one, I've had a long time to get used to the idea, so that wasn't even a negative point for me. (Besides, it appears there are plans to unite Maris and Ture in their own novel, which makes up for any allegations that may or may not have been thrown around about Ms. Kenyon "selling-out" with making Darling "straight".)
Instead, it was the torture. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good tortured protagonist! I possess a very high degree of schadenfreude when it comes to fictional characters, and I admit that I just love seeing them suffer at the hands of others. Brutal physical torture? Horrific personal betrayal? Terrible childhood? Abuse that leave the protagonist scarred and suffering? I eat those things up with a spoon when it comes to my favorite protagonists! Beat 'em, rape 'em, lull them into a false sense of security and then rip the rug out from under them with heartless betrayal, leave them permanently scarred both physically and emotionally -- I love it all!
This book, however, crossed that line from using a horrific past and terrible suffering to make a character sympathetic and to illustrate inner strength and what-not, and instead delved into torture for titillation -- "torture porn" as some people call it -- once it crosses that line it's impossible to come back. Nobody, and I mean nobody could have survived what Darling suffered in the early chapters of this book, and the very weak explanation of how he did so that was thrown in towards the end did nothing towards making me believe it was anything other than ridiculous that he was still alive long enough to be rescued. Then on top of the horrific torture in the beginning, we're informed of all of the other abuses, rapes, attacks, indignities, humiliations, and betrayals he's suffered over the course of his life. It got to the point where I'd skim over any new "revelation" of something bad that he'd gone through.
There were so many things I couldn't stand in this book, from pet peeve tropes (forced nudity, overuse of certain terms, GaryStu syndrome), to continuity errors, long-winded dialogue, unrealistic physical fortitude, torture for titillation, and what felt like last-minute character developments thrown in to explain things done earlier. I'm so horribly disappointed, and honestly, I had to force myself to finish this, which has never happened with a Kenyon book, not even Retribution, which was only a 3.5 for me.
To be completely honest, this is very likely my last Kenyon novel, at least unless I get future ones for free from the library.*
*That's a big fat lie -- Hauk's book is next, and I know very well I'm going to end up pre-ordering it no matter how bad this one was. But still.
The League Series Reading Order: Born of Night Born of Fire Born of Ice Fire & Ice (Novella, in the In Other Worlds Anthology) Born of Shadows Born of Silence (less)
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A Author...moreThis 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.
I really only read this for Angels' Dance, but I also read Angels' Judgement (I'd read the other two stories when they were previously published).
I wa...moreI really only read this for Angels' Dance, but I also read Angels' Judgement (I'd read the other two stories when they were previously published).
I was shocked to discover that I enjoyed Angels' Judgement more than Angels' Dance, though they were both very solid entries into the series.
(and honestly? I didn't realize Galen and Jessamy were already a couple in the series -- I thought they'd just been attracted to each other, not that they'd been together for several centuries. Oops! Some fan I am, huh? :-/)
I still thing Angel's Wolf is my favorite, even without having re-read it (Noel -- *swoon*)
Expected Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: Random House Imprint: Del Rey Author’s Website: staciakane.net My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4, Downside Ghosts series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
This book broke my heart. It did. Broke it into tiny little pieces, scattering on the ground as I read. And yet, I loved it, just as I’ve loved the first three books in the series. It was thrilling. It was emotional. It was completely devastating, and the ending changed everything.
Chess is even more emotionally damaged than she has been in previous novels and it shows, with a very noticeable increase in her drug use, her self-sabotage, and her trust issues. There was one moment in the middle of the story where I was literally saying “no no no no no no NO!” out loud, and I admit, that sentiment returned several times over the course of the novel.
While not what I would consider to be a “steamy” read, I’ve always felt that the heat in this series is far higher than it would be with an identical scene in any other story, simply due to the emotions behind the love scenes.
I definitely think that newcomers to the series would be doing themselves a disservice by starting with this book, because while enough information was given to be a good refresher, there’s so much nuance and important history between all of the major players that a newcomer would miss having not experienced the previous novels. That, and I love this series so much that I think everyone should read it anyway.
Overall, I of course adored it. Chess’ self-hatred and self-sabotage did start to grate on me towards the end, which I admit almost kept it from being a 5-star read, but the ending was absolutely amazing and the setup for the next story has me frothing at the mouth at the thought of having to wait until June to read it, which more than made up for any irritation I might have had with Chess.
Expected Release Date: February 28, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: February 28, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://macleanspace.com/ My Source for This Book: Edelweiss Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Rules of Scoundrels Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Oh, how I love a childhood friends to lovers story, especially when full of estrangement, revenge, and unrequited love. As one of my favorite historical romance authors, Sarah MacLean definitely lives up to the title with this one. While it’s true that Michael’s cruelty towards Penelope often walked the fine line between creating a tortured relationship that just might be worth saving and making this reader want to smash his face with a hammer, the fact that Penelope seemed to have a similar reaction was what kept it from pulling down the rating.
Ms. MacLean has a way of writing that simply draws you into the story and won’t let you go; I read this book in one sitting because I absolutely could not put it down.
Recommended for fans of forced marriage to avoid scandal, unrequited love, estranged friends, and revenge plots.
An enthusiastic 5/5 Stars, and I am already dying to read the sequel.(less)
This was actually my favorite in the series so far (yes, yes, I know, I read them out of order, bad Jess)..
Full of the whole "enemies to lovers" vibe...moreThis was actually my favorite in the series so far (yes, yes, I know, I read them out of order, bad Jess)..
Full of the whole "enemies to lovers" vibe, there was plenty of action, some HAWT smexin' (which, though quite plentiful, never got truly kinky or involved anything taboo), was a fairly quick read and was a great introduction to the series.
I did get irritated after a while because everyone and their cousin was constantly accusing Fury of having forced himself on Ellie, when in reality, there was only one instance where that would've been the logical conclusion.
As always with this author, there was far too much telling instead of showing, but that's one of those things where you learn to skim the stilted dialogue and just move on to what happens next.
I will admit, Laurann Dohner is my TOTAL Guilty Pleasure read, and yeah, I'll almost certainly be reading Wrath when it comes out ;)
Princess Katharine of Austrich has always known that she was destine...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Princess Katharine of Austrich has always known that she was destined to have an arranged, political marriage. Having been seen as nothing more than a commodity by her cold father, she’s always striven for her every action to matter – attending parties brings rich tourists to her country, agreeing to a political marriage cements trade agreements and gives protection to her people, and remaining a virgin to appease the traditional rulers of other countries ensures that she always has a bargaining chip if the original agreement falls through. Cold blooded, true, but Katharine knows that since a female can never rule her country, she must do whatever is necessary to make sure that she can contribute in any way to the well-being of her people.
When her intended husband and his family are killed by insurgents of his country, leaving only the younger son Zahir to rule, Katharine is saddened by the loss but not heartbroken — after all, while she certainly liked Malik, theirs was by no means a love match.
Now several years later, with her father quickly approaching his deathbed and her younger brother too young to ascend the throne, Katharine must approach Malik’s younger brother and convince him to enter into a political marriage with her, or else her beloved country would be placed under the rule of a power-hungry man who would surely destroy everything her family has worked for.
Sheikh Zahir of Hajar is as reclusive as a monarch could ever be — choosing to address his people via radio from the security of his palace walls, and delegating whenever possible. Horribly scarred, both physically and emotionally, by the attack that took the lives of his entire family, Zahir has well earned his reputation as The Beast of Hajar.
When the lovely Katharine first approaches him with the idea of their marriage, Zahir expects her to flee in terror when faced with both his scars and his temper, but the beauty surprises him with both her tenacity and her pleas for him to think of the good of both their countries.
Reluctantly agreeing to a temporary marriage to protect Austrich until Katharine’s brother reaches the age at which he can legally rule, Zahir waits for Katharine to turn from him, but the infuriating woman not only refuses to be intimidated, but insists on trying to break him out of his self-imposed isolation.
Having agreed that their marriage will be a temporary one, both Zahir and Katharine soon discover a blistering attraction that has the power to leave them both burned…
Anyone who knows me already realizes that I am a Maisey Yates fangirl, so I pretty much fell over with joy when this arrived in the mail, and I was so happy to discover that it more than lived up to the hype.
Ms. Yates has such a talent for writing heroes who can be ruthless jerks and yet we readers cheerfully forgive them for their behavior because they’re so beautifully damaged. Zahir was absolutely delicious, even with his physical imperfections, and Katharine proved that even a perfect outer appearance doesn’t always protect one from internal scars.
Perfect for fans of tortured and scarred heroes, arranged marriages, and of finding that sometimes protecting those you care about just means loving them with all your heart.
Expected Release Date: September 12, 2011 Publisher: Self Published Imp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: September 12, 2011 Publisher: Self Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.cynthiaeden.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Bound series Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
This was a fast paced, action packed, sexy little paranormal novella, and I loved it. Cade was absolutely delicious, and Allison was likable as well. The chemistry was sizzling, and the actual storyline about the witch and other assassins, as well as the vampires on Allison’s trail kept the story moving.
I loved the hints at Cade’s background, as well as his protective instincts, and Allison’s determination to keep from becoming an “evil” vampire made me love her as well.
Recommended for fans of sexy as sin shifters, starcrossed lovers, and finding out you shouldn’t try to mess with fate. 5/5 Stars.(less)
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: M...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Paperback’s Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 21, Dark-Hunter Series (Book 5, Dream-Hunter Series) Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked okay as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Any fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon is going to be madly in love with this story. With her trademark horribly abused hero, and her snarky heroine (with a tendency to overreact) whose sincerity, loyalty, and love are able to prove to the hero that the world isn’t all a bad place, she made this a very solid entry into the series.
Seth was delicious, with everything from his unconventional looks (how many non-kilt-wearing heroes do you know who have curly red hair?) to his utter belief that there wasn’t a single being on the planet who wouldn’t intentionally cause him pain.
While I didn’t really bond as well with Lydia as a heroine, I still admit she was the perfect foil for Seth — not only did she introduce him to the concept of affection and tenderness, but she was also snarky and her tendency to speak without thinking helped to add quite a bit of tension to the story.
Overall, this was a very solid entry into one of my favorite long-standing series of all time. Newcomers to the series may be slightly confused with some of the cameos, but in general I do think that new readers will be able to keep up, and fans of the series are going to find plenty to love.
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: G...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author’s Website: http://www.jamialden.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Trilogy Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone, but would suggest reading in order Steam Level: Steamy
SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the first book in the series, BEG FOR MERCY.
Sean Flynn spent two years on death row for a murder he did not commit -- a murder he was framed for by his own closest friend. Now out of prison, but still suffering daily as a result of his wrongful incarceration, all Sean wants is to find some peace and quiet. The last thing he wants is to have the woman who pushed so hard for his conviction -- Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Krista Slater -- butting back into his life.
Unfortunately for Sean, Krista is determined to follow the trail left behind by the real killer, and to bring down those who had possibly hired him for the brutal murders. Coming up against a wall with the police department and the DA office, she seeks Sean out to see if he can shed light on his former friend's secret lifestyle.
When Krista's investigation draws attention from the wrong people, she's thrown into a world that completely destroys her faith in the system -- one filled with corruption on every level of government and law enforcement, and one where nothing is black and white. Dragged unwillingly into the hornet's nest that Krista has stirred up, Sean focuses on getting them both to safety, but safety may be a pipedream when there's no one left you can trust.
Together, Sean and Krista struggle to stay one step ahead of their pursuers. and to ignore the sizzling attraction blossoming between them.
Sensitive readers should be aware that there is a fairly graphic scene detailing an attempted sexual assault.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, BEG FOR MERCY, and am very happy to say that I enjoyed this one even more. While Beg For Mercy was more about rebuilding trust between estranged lovers, Hide From Evil was much more focused on the suspense. The mystery element was not quite as strong, as the "villains" of the story were revealed to the reader fairly early on, but the necessary paranoia for Sean and Krista more than made up for it.
In addition, the sexual tension and chemistry between them was absolutely delicious, especially when compounded by their previous bad history together.
Overall, I adored this one. While I do think that this one would work just fine as a standalone, I would still suggest that newcomers still read Beg For Mercy first, simply because it gives a lot of insight to the depths of betrayal that Sean suffered, but also gives quite a bit of insight into his psyche as his execution date approached.
Recommended for fans of damaged yet honorable heroes who have been dragged into danger against their will, of naive heroines battling not only for their lives but also a strong sense of disillusionment, and of realizing that sometimes the deepest betrayals can lead to the happiest endings.
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Pengu...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Penguin Imprint: Berkley Sensation Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: Yes, Spinoff of Guild Hunter’s series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
When Archangel Raphael is away, the mice will play…. Someone is not only killing vampires in New York, but they’re taunting Raphael’s right hand man by dropping them in the heart of Raphael’s territory.
Cunning, vicious, and loyal to the bone, Dmitri will not stand for the threat to Raphael’s rule, and vows to find the beings behind these attacks — and make them wish they’d never been born.
Utilizing Guild skill sets, Dmitri partners with Honor, a woman who was been raped and tortured at the hands of vampires for a very long time. Desperate to keep Dmitri at arm’s length, she is blindsided by his ability to understand that what she needs is not coddling, but revenge on those who hurt her.
Together, they use Honor’s hunter skills and Dmitri’s pitiless cruelty to unravel the secrets behind not only the vampire murders in New York, but also the conspiracy that led to Honor’s torture.
I am very likely going to be skinned alive for this, but, I didn’t really like this one.
I know, I know, I’m usually so over-the-top giddy after reading one of Singh’s creations, and I’ve even had this book featured on my Waiting On Wednesday spot several weeks ago. However, I just didn’t feel as though it lived up to the hype.
The casual violence, instead of reinforcing how intense and scary and intimidating and whatever Dmitri was supposed to be, actually became rather boring and repetitive. Perhaps it’s because he’s so similar to Raphael from the original Guild Hunter novels, but I didn’t get the feeling that he was dark and scary because he was a sympathetic character, but more that he was just a bit of, well, an asshat.
There was also my feelings about the ending — not only did it feel quite rushed, but it also felt very much like a cop-out.
Overall, while I hate to say it, this one just did not live up to my expectations from Ms. Singh. She has such a talent for dark and dangerous heroes, but I think Dmitri was just too similar to Raphael to feel as though I were reading something new.
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Enta...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://rosalielario.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Demons of Infernum Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
Maya Flores, mild-mannered librarian by day, demon-hunter by night. So, that may be overstating the matter a bit, but Maya can see what others around her cannot — demons really exist and walk the earth next to humans every single day. Being able to see what other humans cannot may sound like the starts of a grand adventure, but it led to a tragedy in Maya’s family when she was just a little girl, and ever since, Maya has lived and breathed solely to take revenge on the creatures who so violently ended her childhood.
When Taeg, a powerful half-demon, notices her revulsion to him and another demon, he realizes that she has the incredibly rare ability to see through the glamour that protects the creatures of the Otherworlds by shielding their true forms from human eyes. Desperately needing her help to find an ancient enchanted sword that holds the only hope of breaking a spell that puts a target on his pregnant sister-in-law’s head, Taeg will do whatever it takes to get Maya to comply, even if it means forcing the beautiful librarian to face her greatest fears.
While a particular erotic element or two made me frown, and I wanted to shake Taeg for a silly mistake that exacerbated all of his troubles with Maya, the romance was done beautifully, as was the transformation of Maya’s ignorance and prejudices into acceptance and loyalty.
This book definitely stands well on its own, without having to read the first book in the series, so while newcomers may not quite fully appreciate the roles of Brynn and Keegan (the heroine and hero from the first novel), the story is still easily followed and focused on Taeg and Maya’s relationship more than the backstory.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I ended up reading this book in one sitting, which honestly doesn’t happen that often around here any more. Maya was just kick-ass enough to be able to compete with Taeg and other demons, but was also vulnerable and just frankly human enough to keep her from being totally unrelatable. Taeg’s own narrow focus on his mission also balanced perfectly with his growing attraction to and affection for Maya, and I tell you, the scene in the fae realm was wonderful.
Recommended for fans of tortured (and fierce!) heroines having to rethink their entire realities, of heroes willing to sacrifice anything for those they love, and of delicious romance with just tiny touch of the forbidden.
Expected Release Date: September 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://jennybrown.net/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Astrology series Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked well as a standalone. Steam Level: Steamy
Back in England after a long stint in India, Captain Mile Trevelyan must do his duty and find a proper bride and quickly get her with child before he returns to India at the end of his leave. Determined to enjoy himself a bit before throwing himself into the marriage mart, he is accompanying a friend to a local brothel when his pocket is picked by a beautiful woman. Rescuing her from being turned in to the Watch, he can’t resist kissing her — and soon finds himself with his pants around his ankles and the lovely robber nowhere in sight.
Smart and manipulative, Temperance Smith was not about to let this handsome officer — an officer of the dragoons who symbolize everything she stands against — get the better of her, no matter how delicious his kisses. However, her Scorpio nature prevents her from resisting a challenge when it becomes apparent that he has taken possession of her locket, the locket holding the image of her dear, departed Randall.
It soon seems, however, that not only was Randall not who Temperance thought he was, but that Miles himself is much more than meets the eye.
While I enjoyed this book, especially the second half, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something a bit “off” about it. Perhaps it was the unusual verbage, or the speed at which Miles and Temperance’s relationship moved once they’d agreed she’d be his mistress, but more than that, I could simply be that the overall tone of the book was darker than I’d originally expected.
Regardless of the reason, I did enjoy Temperance’s character, and greatly warmed up to Miles about halfway through, and the level of importance put on astrology was a very interesting and frankly refreshing take on historical romance.
With political plots, distrustful lovers, and a seemingly hopeless future, this book grabbed my attention from the very beginning, despite any issues I may have had.
Therefore, in the end, recommended for fans of shady heroines, mistrustful (and not entirely gentlemanly) heroes, and relying on your wits to get out of a seemingly impossible situation.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self Pu...moreThis 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 29, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmilla...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: March 29, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin's Paperbacks Author’s Website: http://www.janelledenison.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Reliance Group Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Nathan Fox is a former Marine, and a washed-up vice cop. Having lost everything, including his fiance, after his last case went sour, he's now a recovering alcoholic leading the security team for the Onyx Casino in Las Vegas. Behind the scenes, however, he works for the Reliance Group, a private organization that utilizes the unique skills of its team to accomplish things that sometimes law enforcement simply can't get done.
When a new case comes along that bears startling similarities to the case that ended Nathan's career as a vice cop, he knows that no matter how reluctant he may be to revisit the ghosts of his past, he's the only thing standing between a young girl and a life of forced depravity.
Things get complicated, however, when pushy reporter Nicole Hutton also goes undercover to bust Preston Sloane, a seemingly untouchable pedophile and member of the illegal skin-trade -- the same man responsible for the disappearance of the girl Nathan is searching for.
Knowing that he has no choice but to work with her lest she expose his true identity, Nathan is determined to keep Nicole out of harm's way. But Nicole has personal reasons to expose Sloane, and nothing, not even the explosive chemistry between her and Nathan is going to keep her from doing everything she can to prevent Sloane's girls from living a life that was once almost her own.
To be honest, this one started off pretty slow for me. While Nathan was interesting to me, with his undercover work for the Reliance Group, his history as a vice-cop, and his devastation over a girl he couldn't save, which had led to alcoholism and the loss of his fiance.
Nicole, on the other hand, didn't really appeal to me. She was a strong, confident, modern woman, who was also an ambitious reporter, willing to bend the rules on occasion to get out of the rut of "fluff pieces" for her paper and move on to something bigger. However, she felt more.. obnoxious to me rather than interesting. I don't know if it was her overtly aggressive sexuality (which truly just isn't my thing), or the fact that she was pushy, conceited, and frankly a bit dishonest that made her unappealing at first.
Definitely don't let that put you off, however, because only a few chapters in, Nicole's facade begins to crack, and you begin to glimpse the woman she really is -- one who has worked so hard to rebuild her life after literally almost losing everything, and who hides behind her strong, independent persona.
There's also no denying that this book was incredibly hot, and the tension between Nathan and Nicole was absolutely decadent. The love scenes were plentiful without taking away from the rescue mission, and I for one absolutely adored the ending.
There was also a slight touch of the paranormal, as one of the female members of the Reliance Group has psychic powers, but they were severely downplayed and seemed more to be included as a setup for future books than a major part of the plot for this one.
In the end, I actually enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would at first. The villain is believable, the suspense involved in undercover work jacked up the tension all around, and the romance was steamy and satisfying.
A perfect introduction into the Reliance Group series as a whole, this book was a perfect blend of sex and suspense. Recommended for fans of realistic (yet incredibly hot) heroes trying to claw their way back into the action after a horrible incident, of heroines forced to break down the walls that have served as protection for almost a lifetime, and of pulse-pounding suspense, all doused liberally with delicious chemistry and some wonderfully hot lovemaking.
Expected Release Date: July 15, 2011 (UK), August 1(US-iBooks) Publisher:...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 15, 2011 (UK), August 1(US-iBooks) Publisher: Mills & Boon Imprint: Modern Author’s Website: maiseyyates.com My Source for This Book: Won in a contest Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Ella is a talented fashion designer, determined to find success with her own line and small boutique. Though technically an “heiress” of a famous family, she relies only on her own talent and perseverance to make something of herself with her line. Unfortunately, fashion is a very expensive business, and she’s accumulated massive debt with her business. When her loans are purchased by Blaise Chevalier, a man well known for both his playboy lifestyle and his ruthless business acumen, she sees all of her dreams going down the drain.
However, Blaise has seen Ella’s potential, and knows that with the right connections, he can make them both incredibly rich off of her work. All she has to do is give up control of her precious company to a man whose reputation paints him as heartless.
Even knowing that it’s unwise to mix business and pleasure, both are unable to resist the attraction crackling between them, despite the fact they each know they have nothing to offer each other…
To be absolutely fair, I have to start off any review of a Maisey Yates book by saying this: I am a Maisey Yates fangirl. I have, thus far, absolutely adored everything that I have read by her, and was incredibly upset to learn that at the time of its publishing in the UK, there were no plans for a U.S. release, and that it was therefore unavailable to me. When I found out I’d won this book through a contest on the SEVEN SASSY SISTERS blog, my husband can attest to the fact that I quite literally squealed like a little schoolgirl and probably frightened my neighbors. Never fear, they’ve recovered, but my excitement about this book never faded.
Overall, I of course loved it. Two tortured people hiding their vulnerabilities behind a public mask of indifference, they were absolutely perfect for each other. Ella used her smaller, more visible burn scars to erect a sort of armor around her, flaunting them to satisfy the morbid curiosity of the masses. Blaise, on the other hand, fell into his role of heartless womanizer, ensuring that he’d never fall vulnerable to the traitorous and disasterous emotion of love. Together, however, neither could resist both the physical attraction between them, nor the lure of finding out just what was hiding behind each others’ masks.
The love scenes were tasty, but more than that, this book was romantic. The scene on the yacht with the rose just blew me away — I literally re-read it three times before moving on, because the incredible tenderness and respect that Blaise showed Ella completely decimated her resistance to him.
Recommended for fans of tortured heroes, stubborn and physically damaged (and therefore insecure) heroines, and of finding someone to love you in spite of all of your flaws.
Expected Release Date: September 5, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing I...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 5, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.sarahgilmanbooks.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Return to Sanctuary Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
I really, really wanted to love this book. It started off wonderfully. The universe that Ms. Gilman created was fascinating, with fallen angels and demons exist in full view of the public, and while the public at large is both fearful or and prejudiced against each group, both are protected by law and congregate together in what is similar to our Indian Reservations. Poachers hunt archangels in order to sell their feathers for insanely high prices, and the public looks the other way because of their prejudices. Demons have formed an alliance with the archangels, where the demons protect the archangels as sort of a demonic Secret Service group, and the archangels in turn share their psychic gifts (such as healing) with the demons.
All of this was incredibly intriguing, and the plot itself grabbed hold of me from the opening sentence and simply refused to let go. Add in Wren, the tortured hero whose parents had been brutally betrayed and murdered by the demon Guardian charged with protecting them, and Ginger, the orphaned heroine raised by a demon Guardian, who discovers quite by accident the plan to capture Wren and dashes off to save him, and this should’ve been the most spectacular book that I’ve read all year.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case.
This book could’ve been amazing. Instead, while the premise was absolutely fantastic, and I myself fell a bit in love with the characters, the multiple issues with the novel kept it from being a favorite of mine. That said, I did enjoy the storyline, and will almost certainly pick up any sequels simply because I want to know both what has happened to the characters, and as much detail as I can about this world. I also think that with experience, Ms. Gilman has the potential to be an absolutely incredible writer, and I look forward to watching her skill mature as she grows into herself as an author. She’s already proven that her imagination is an incredibly powerful thing, and I think with a few tweaks to her writing style, she will definitely be an author to watch.
For that reason, in the end, I’m going to recommend this one for fans of angels and demons, of revenge plots and betrayal, and of discovering love long after you’d given up on that dream. 3.5/5 Stars.(less)
Expected Release Date: September 15, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: Sam...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 15, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: Samhain Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: www.alisharai.com My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Not that it actually pertains to anything important, but I had to laugh because I read this book immediately following What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long, and the hero and heroine in that book were named Alex and Genevieve as well. Before we continue, I’d like for you to just pause and ponder for a second what a total mind melt that can be when going from a historical romance to a contemporary PNR.
Now onto the actual book :)
Genevieve Boden is a witch. Having inherited her mother’s abilities, she learned at an early age that wielding great power can also come with a great price, and after a horrible incident in her youth, she’s now living in her mother’s old cabin deep in the woods of backwater West Virginia. Despised and feared by the townspeople, despite the fact that she has actually lost her powers, she has little contact with the outside world until on the eve of a major blizzard, a horribly wounded man collapses on her front porch.
While tending him, she discovers that her faded powers have returned enough to heal him, and aided by her restorative powers, she nurses him back to health.
Alex Riviera has recently moved to West Virginia after the fatal shooting of his partner in New York. Plagued by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he’s hidden his condition from his superiors and shrinks, and hopes that the quiet life of a small-town police chief will help him settle down. Uncertain of who shot him, or whether or not they could still be out there, Alex is stunned to awaken to a beautiful voluptuous angel — one he soon discovers possesses a sharp tongue, a shotgun, and a very real dislike of the police.
Forced to remain in each others’ company both by the blizzard outside and by Alex’s injury, Genevieve slowly warms towards Alex, and his powerful presence combined with his obvious attraction to her plump body soon break down her defenses and they give in to the powerful attraction crackling between them.
However, the person who shot Alex is still out there, and just as determined to see him fall as ever…
I admit, I’ve never read Alisha Rai’s books before — actually, I’m ashamed to say that I’d never even heard of her until someone on my Twitter stream wished her a Happy Birthday yesterday — I will absolutely be reading more (just as soon as I can decide which ones — they all sound so good!)
Genevieve was carrying around some horrendous guilt, and the fact that living in seclusion and paranoia was a bit of personal penance really made me feel for her character. Alex was simply delicious, from his looks to his personality to his protectiveness and his sensuality, I simply couldn’t get enough of him. I adored how open-minded he was about her powers after he got over the initial shock, and how real he seemed with his troubles with PTSD after the death of his partner.
Recommended for fans of curvy heroines who let guilt force them to retreat from life, of injured heroes who would gladly put their life on the line for the ones they love, and deliciously sexy ways to pass the time during a snowstorm, all sprinkled with a hint of the paranormal.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequ...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Presents Author’s Website: http://www.lynnegraham.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Volakis Vow Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot Years ago, Tally’s mother tried to trap a tycoon into marriage by intentionally getting pregnant. Unfortunately for her, he didn’t succumb to her machinations, and instead merely provided for Tally, whom he considers to be his dirty little secret. When he asks her for the favor of watching out for her half sister at a house party, she reluctantly goes along, even though the 17-year old resents her presence, and refuses to acknowledge her as family. Instead, Tally is forced to pose as her sister’s “assistant”, and is treated as little better than a servant amongst her sister’s rich friends.
Sander Volakis is an independent man. His older brother was the apple of his parents’ eye, and nothing he could do ever compared to his paragon sibling. When his brother dies, Sander is forced back into the family fold to help with the business that is floundering under his late brother’s control, and when his father insists that he attend a house party thrown by the family of his deceased brother’s fiance, he can do little but simply go along with the plan.
As soon as Tally sees Sander, she’s mesmerized. His physique and presence awaken dormant feelings of desire for the first time in her life, and the fact that he seems taken by her is a huge ego boost as well. Despite the fact that she has never been with a man, she begins to feel a connection to Sander, and gives herself to him in what turns out to be a very dissatisfying and even humiliating experience.
Put off of physical intimacy completely by that horrible experience, she walks away from Sander and never intends to look back. Unfortunately for her, he is intrigued by the woman who refuses to be enraptured by him, and sets out to seduce her. When she bluntly informs him that she expects exclusivity from any man that she has a relationship with, he’s furious because he thinks she’s just like other women who try to pin him down. He quickly realizes though, that if he wants to pursue their attraction, he’ll have to make concessions, and agrees that so long as he’s still interested in her, he will remain exclusive.
Their relationship progresses until one night, Tally catches him kissing and caressing another (more beautiful and sophisticated) woman and walks out on him. Of course, things are never that simple, as she soon discovers that he’s left behind more than just her broken heart — she’s pregnant! I was a little surprised as to just how much I enjoyed this one. The angst was absolutely delicious and the love scenes were incredibly hot. You could feel the chemistry between the two of them, and their explosive liaisons never disappointed. I really adored how the fact that she was a powerful man’s daughter came into play, and how her having hidden that fact initially made things that much worse in Sander’s eyes.
It is absolutely killing me that this book is actually part of a duet, because it ended on such a happy note that I felt that the story was complete. Instead, the next book (due out in August in the US) opens with Tally and Sander getting a divorce! This knowledge detracted greatly from my satisfaction with the ending, and while I’m sure that Bride For Real will end in a HEA, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to trust it when it comes.
Overall, however, this was a delightful read. Full of melodramatic angst and misunderstandings just like all of my favorite Harlequin Presents novels, I would highly recommend this one for fans of accidental pregnancies, heroes who are blackmailed into marriage, and affairs that end on a sour note yet turn into a sweet love.
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequ...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Presents Author’s Website: My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Notorious Wolfes Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Nathaniel Wolfe is the Hollywood Hunk. Handsome, wealthy, and talented, he’s what many a woman (and man) dreams of. He’s also a coward. Nathaniel hides behind his acting, and has been running from his horrible childhood as soon as he was old enough to escape.
Katie is just an ordinary woman, with ordinary concerns and insecurities, who is working as a costume designer in a London theater. She’s an absolute genius with design, and is hoping that this job will help to launch her career and bring in some desperately needed income.
When we meet Nathaniel, he’s about to take the stage in a theater production of Shakespeare’s Richard II, where Katie has been working as costume designer. Just as he’s about to say his opening lines, however, he spies someone in the audience from his past — a past he’d long since hoped was buried and forgotten.
Flustered and furious, he storms off stage where he runs into Katie, and demands that she help him find a way out that doesn’t involve the paparazzi. When it seems there is nowhere to hide but Katie’s tiny apartment, they head there only to have the media show up the next morning, determined to get their slice of the pie.
Knowing that the super-talkative Katie would never be able to hold her own against the press, he whisks her off to a private island, free from the prying eyes of the world…
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Nathaniel had a truly nasty childhood, and used his acting as an escape. Even though he was incredibly successful, it wasn’t until he met Katie that he realized how much he was truly missing in life. Katie’s obsession over her figure was a bit annoying at times, especially since she wasn’t exactly overweight, but her talkativeness and determination to get Nathaniel to open up really endeared her to me.
There are 8 scheduled novels in this continuity, meaning it will be a series of interconnected books by different authors, so I’m curious to see where the series goes.
In the end this was a satisfying summer read, recommended for fans of tortured heroes, talkative and mildly insecure everyday heroines, and touch of celebrity and Hollywood glitz. 4/5 Stars(less)