MinnChica: I have been chomping at the bit for Travis’ story since the first Six Pack Ranch book. I couldn’t wait to find out what the deal was with this sexy and mysterious cowboy. Arend has been so secretive about his kink, his sexual preferences, that we’ve all been left to wonder what exactly Travis’ deal is! I have to say, I loved it!!! I loved him with both Cassidy and Ashley, I loved getting to see what really drives him, and the sex scenes were OMG HOT!
E: I have to say that Arend really kept me waiting for Travis’ story. I have wondered and suspected so many different things about him throughout this series. Some things he enjoyed Arend shared but it was only bits and pieces not the complete picture. I am very glad to say that his story made up for the excruciatingly long wait. Watching him deal with both his demons and desires as he struggled to find a balance that satisfied his needs yet did not continually alarm those who cared about him was such an emotional ride. I also agree with MinnChica about the sex scenes. Very intense and smoking hot!
MinnChica: I just want to say that I am usually not a fan of menage stories, especially m/f/m ones. But, since Travis and Cassidy were just as interested in each other as they were in Ashley, I found that I was able to believe in their happily ever after more than with other stories. One of my favorite aspects of their relationship was watching Cassidy and Travis fight themselves and their desires to be together, especially Cassidy. He was so scared of losing Travis as a friend, that he feared acting on any of his desires, even after he knew they were returned. Both Travis and Ashley had to almost coax Cassidy into a relationship with them, but once the three were together, they were so perfect for one another. I adored their relationship, and just how willing they were to fight for their triad once they left the seclusion of their camp.
E: Reluctant Cassidy was so much fun. The way he kept himself separate despite their urging and his own desires. I also liked how he agreed to help Travis because he cared so deeply about him and Ashley. He would have preferred to deal with emotional pain than to see Ashley hurt. Even though he seemed self-sacrificing at times he also knew what he wanted and was willing to fight for it once he knew it was welcomed. In some ways I think Ashley had a harder time believing that what she wanted was possible and that she did not have to be ashamed of it. I liked how she relaxed during their time out at the camp but she also had some unfortunately valid fears for their return to town.
MinnChica: Yes, poor Ashley seemed to be the one who was most hurt by their unconventional relationship, especially once they returned to town. I was so glad to see her strong spirit come out though, because she was such a good fit for both Travis and Cassidy. I always love when unconventional romance books deal with the aftermath of their relationship, not just the getting there and the sex scenes. Watching Travis, Cassidy and Ashley ALL deal with the fall out of their friends and the town was so great. I loved getting to see not just the good aspects of their menage, but the bad as well. Plus, seeing the Coleman crew surround Cassidy and Ashley with their awesomeness was a total bonus!!
E: Oh I loved seeing the Coleman’s pull together around Travis, Cassidy and Ashley. It really showed how they grew as a family from the first installment through Rocky Mountain Freedom. While I felt horrible for what happened I think it also cemented their commitment to their relationship and made me buy into the HEA since it wasn’t all flowers and rainbows. Once again Arend had demonstrated why I eagerly await each new release. She just keeps getting better. I give Rocky Mountain Freedom an A.
MinnChica: All in all I adored finally getting to read all about Travis! I loved that he had not only a secret regarding his bisexuality, but also a big secret regarding the way he deals with stress, pain, and the day-to-day bull shit. It was wonderful to see the way Cassidy and Ashley and Travis were all able to close ranks around each other, and provide for one another in ways they never expected. Again, I am super anxious to read more and more of the Coleman family books! I give Rocky Mountain Freedom an A(less)
I loved this new series by Ione. I loved the vampires (even though I'm kinda over vamps), and the characters were all incredible. I'm so excited to re...moreI loved this new series by Ione. I loved the vampires (even though I'm kinda over vamps), and the characters were all incredible. I'm so excited to read the next one, and then the next one, and hopefully another after that, and then more and more and more!
MinnChica: Ever since I picked up my first Ione book, I’ve been hooked. I’ll admit I was a little leery about the new vampire series (because I’m just a little burnt out on vampires), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. I picked it up after I put the baby to bed, and found myself shutting down my eReader at 1 in the morning. The characters were so engaging, the world was so unique, and the romance was tumultuous, to say the least! I can’t wait for more in this series!
E: I have been addicted to reading about vampires since elementary school or junior high. I was attracted to the danger, the menace, the air of the forbidden, the subtle or overt sensuality, extra senses coming into play during “critical moments”, paranormal powers, and I could keep going but lately vampires appear watered down, missing their umph. I still have my favorite authors whose vampires still inspire the combination of fear and attraction but I have become increasingly wary of trying new ones out of disappointment. I have read her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and really enjoyed the spin she placed on demons, shifters, angels and the like so when I found out that she was starting a new series and that it involved vampires I had to give it a try. I am so glad that I did because Ione brought back everything that was missing and then some! I was so engrossed in the story that anyone who wanted my attention had to physically touch me because I didn’t hear or see anything that was going on around me. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2.
Has: When I heard that Larissa Ione has started a new PNR series featuring vampires, I was very intrigued. I think she’s one of the best authors who writes in the genre and like E I was feeling a bit tired on Vampires. But I loved the rich and gritty tone of the Demonica series, I knew BOUND BY NIGHT would hopefully live to my expectations and it certainly did! The setting and premise behind the vampire mythos that Larissa Ione created was different and fresh and I loved how she set up a world where vampires were enslaved due to their abilities by humans. I felt this brought a fresh take to the mythos and I really liked how that was developed throughout the book, especially how it tied in with Native American mythology.
MinnChica: I absolutely adored Riker. He was strong and sexy and yet totally vulnerable at the same time. Dealing with the guilt surrounding his mate’s death was so wonderful to see, especially as Nicole had to deal with some of the same issues. I loved the way they started as enemies, that they were hesitant around each other, and gradually started a friendship, a partnership, and then so much more. The romance was absolutely brilliant, and the characters fabulous. Plus, Ione knocked it out of the park with the secondary characters. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
E: Riker was a lot of fun. His thoughts, memories, guilt, and how he punished himself for years was very intriguing. I also liked how Nicole had her thoughts, memories, guilt, and fear of him personally not to mention as a species to deal with. Their interactions together were never quiet and peaceful yet each had a reluctance to permanently damage the other. I loved the scenes when Nicole decided to step up and either take what she wanted or to make a stand once and for all. One of my favorites was the “Thank you” scene. Like MinnChica I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Not only am I looking forward to the next book but I really want Myne’s story. He was such an ass in the beginning but by the end of the book I was cheering for him.
Has: Oh man that scene *fans self* it was definitely up there in my favourite scenes in the book! I also really liked Riker, he stood out for me as a hero and I liked he didn’t have the hole element in the alphahole. Even though he was on opposing sides with Nicole, who was human and the company that she owned was responsible for the enslavement and torture of the vampire race – Riker never became unlikeable or overbearing when he interacted with her. And I liked how loyal and protective towards his clan but still hung-up over the death of his mate. It was a nice twist on the tables with Nicole who chases him and I really liked the scenes when she unapologetic seduces him and is open with her sexuality. That was so refreshing!
Nicole also really surprised me because I thought she would be more passive in dealing with the aftermath of her abduction. But I loved how defiant and smart she became especially when she learned of the truth of her family’s involvement with the company and its secret experimentation towards the vampires. She never fell into the TSTL pitfalls or being too whiny with the fate she ends up with. She focuses on the things she could change especially when she learns how badly the vampires are faring due to humans and helps them with her scientific background.
One of my favourite scenes in the book, is when she took charge in the lab where they were torturing the captured vampires and surprised Riker who let her lead. It cemented the romance for me because even though it was early days in their relationship, but I liked how Riker admired Nicole which helped to overcome his suspicious feelings about her and her past. Although I do think they fell in love a bit too quickly, their sexual and emotional chemistry was sizzling and vivid! And their love scenes – and I have to salute Larissa Ione over the Thank You scene was very very memorable!
MinnChica: All in all I thought this was such a wonderful and fabulous new series by Ione. I loved the world, the different take on vampires, and the cast of characters are so vibrant, that I can’t wait to read more. While I love all the Demonica books, I think this new series may have surpassed it in my mind. The world building is so fun and unique and I’m anxious to see how the clan resolves all their ongoing issues. The romance was so well done, each and every character was one I fell in love with even more, and I think I’ve found a new series that I’m going to be chomping at the bit to get! I give Bound by Night an A
E: I really enjoyed reading Bound by Night. Ione’s vampires had their share of suitable evilness, menacing ability, and sexuality yet they also had a caring side. I also enjoyed how the humans were portrayed from the vampire perspective. Both sides had some preconceived notions about the other which were in turn reinforced by behavior on both sides. As mentioned earlier I enjoyed the interaction between not just Nicole and Riker but also between the secondary characters. Ione has created a very fascinating world and characters that I am excited to continue exploring. I give Bound by Night an A.
Has: The supporting characters were also vibrant and colourful, such Myne and Hunter, as well as the eerie and scary leader of the ShadowSpawn clan who gave me the chills. The world that Larissa Ione was gritty and dark, and I loved the idea of the enslaved vampires and the conflict it brings when they try to break free from their enslavement. But the rich characters and mythology especially on the origins of the vampires made this a fantastic start to the series. I was left wanting more especially towards the end which promises to be a fun followup with Hunter, the leader of the vampire clan as the main lead.
Bound by Night for me was a great start for a brand new series. I felt that Larissa Ione’s take on vampires in this book, was different and added a new twist to the genre. But it had her trademarks of fast paced action, memorable characters, sexy chemistry and rich world-building. This is a new winner of a series for me!
The last NA book I read left a really bad taste in my mouth, but I like the genre more than I disliked that book. When I saw the cover and blurb for this book, I was intrigued enough to ask around, and decided to take a chance.
Hailey was a star before she could walk or talk. She sings, dances, acts, and absolutely hates being famous. She leaves it all behind for the chance to go to college. She is alienated by her best friend, and cursed by her money-grubbing mother. But college is the place she wants to be, so she finally takes a chance on doing something for herself.
Caleb never treats Hailey like the superstar she is, instead takes a chance to get to know the girl she wants to be. He supports her, brings her into his trustworthy group of friends, and helps her discover exactly who she is in this brand new world. But Hailey is keeping secrets, and she worries that she may not be able to keep Caleb once he hears it all.
I really liked Hailey’s character. I’ve been a fan of famous heroes and heroines for a long time, and I thought Patrick’s portrayal of Hailey was wonderful. She was a reluctant star, pushed into Hollywood by her crazy, overbearing bitch of a mother. I liked watching Hailey have to deal with the backlash of being famous. Watching her hide from young, cocky college jerks try and “bag THE Hailey Bloom.” I liked that once she finally was taken under Caleb’s wing, that she had the chance to make some real and genuine friends. Friends who wanted to get to know the girl behind the persona.
I really liked Caleb, I thought he was the perfect hero for Hailey. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to fight for it. I liked that he didn’t pressure anything from Hailey, and instead gave her the chance to take the reins completely. It really showed a level of maturity that I expect to see in my NA books. The relationship that Caleb had with his friends and his sister also showcased what a great guy he was, and I loved all the different dynamics between everyone in the book.
Another key point to this book, for me at least, was the lack of overly drawn out angst. Yes, Hailey had a secret that was pretty shameful to her, and she feared it would implode her life. She was shocked to see that the people who mattered to her most didn’t really react to it as expected. Caleb and Daphne stood behind her, and kept the drama to a minimum. I thought it was an amazing way of showcasing just how much growth Hailey’s character was allowed to go through in order to really claim the life she wanted so desperately.
One of the things that I wish Patrick would have explored more was the relationship between Hailey and her mother. It was clear as day the woman was bat-shit crazy, but we never got to see any kind of confrontation between the two. I would have liked to see Hailey stand up to her mother and really claim her own life as part of her maturity. Hopefully we can see that in future books to come.
All in all I really enjoyed my first Patrick read. I thought the relationship between Hailey and Caleb was so well done. The romance was a combination of sweet and innocent and sexy and hot. While the supporting cast of characters is pretty large, I’m excited by the prospect of many books to come with this group of friends. I’m anxious to read more! I give Stay With Me a B+(less)
MinnChica: What to say about Hunter? I was intrigued by the scarred man when he first appeared in Stranded with a Billionaire, especially once his attraction to Gretchen became evident. I think that Clare does an incredible job writing virgin heroes (read her Sims book Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter for another goodie) and I loved how shy and insecure Hunter was about it. At the same time, Hunter kinda came across as an alphahole. He was so flustered that he was short and gruff and at times a jerk to Gretchen. Toward the end when he screwed up with her big time, I wanted to beat him silly for some of the hateful things he said. But the way that Gretchen asked him to “grovel” was so amazing, and I loved watching that change in him.
Has: I loved that double aspect to Hunter’s character, he was so vulnerable and unsure of himself but at the same time he was the typical alphahole. I especially loved how flustered and frustrated he became when he tried to interact with Gretchen who saw through his bluster. But it was so refreshing to read a hero who was so socially cutoff but finding his way to communicate with a woman who is attracted to. I really liked how Hunter was in a position of power who tried to control the wooing of Gretchen. But I liked that it was Gretchen who turned the tables on him and very insightful that she saw through his brusque and aloof demeanor. And can I say I adore the fact he was a virgin hero to boot! That really gave the story and romance another sweet element because instead of Hunter setting out to seduce Gretchen which was his original intention – it was Gretchen instead who chased him.
I also loved that Jessica Clare managed to capture the elements from the Beauty and the Beast fairytale so well because Hunter really fits that role well, especially with his hobby in growing roses.
E: I had a blast with Hunter. He was so socially inept yet he really wanted a relationship with Gretchen. While I thought his methods were rather underhanded especially given his double standards he was still a very fun character. As his back story came out I could completely understand why he had a very hard time relating to people and the reason for his scars was something I never would have guessed. I also enjoyed how Hunter made up for lost time once he relaxed enough around Gretchen to discover some additional benefits of life. I will admit that he could certainly be an arrogant ass but he could also grovel when necessary.
2. Thoughts on the Heroine
MinnChica: I really liked Gretchen. She was wild and fun and carefree. It was kinda nice to read a book about an author who hated to write, it’s not a typical theme to find in romance books, and added another dimension to Gretchen’s character. I liked the way she had to really coax Hunter into becoming friends and then lovers. I think the only thing about Gretchen that kinda upset me was the way she didn’t immediately jump to Hunter’s defense during the horrible dinner party they hosted. While I understand how it all went down, I expected a little more from her.
Has: Gretchen was the perfect heroine for Hunter, while he was the loner and vulnerable because of his scars – Gretchen was much more social and outspoken. I loved how honest she was even though it did get into trouble at times. But I also liked the fact she was so sensitive and empathic to the people she was close to. I think the chemistry that she sparked off with Hunter, worked so well between them and I loved their interaction and the slow build up with the tension was amazing. I also liked her interaction with Hunter’s butler who disliked her but it helped to create some amusing scenes in the book with Gretchen’s snarky comments. I also loved that he helped to fit the gothic overtones of the story of the huge foreboding manor house and that really added another aspect to the story.
E: Gretchen was an intriguing character. She was spunky, snarky, and vulnerable. Watching her seduce Hunter was very enjoyable as she gradually worked within the bounds of his comfort zone yet would also push at the edges. She was good at thinking on her feet except when it came to her sisters. They were her weakness and almost ruined her chance at happiness. I also had an issue with how she approached her ghost writing and thought it didn’t look good for her professionalism even though I completely sympathized with her boredom. However, I liked her enthusiasm as she tackled the letter project and a few other things. I also enjoyed how sometimes things she said sounded much cooler in her head than out loud. That trait humanized her character and made her a lot easier to relate to.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica: Oh man… what to pick, what to pick. I think, because it’s Clare, I need to pick a sorta naughty scene, so I’m going to go with the scene where Gretchen asks Hunter to help her act out the letters. It was Gretchen’s way of coercing Hunter into becoming more intimate with her, and yet still keeping it light and fun and sexy. I loved the way Hunter really let himself go at first, let himself get into the game of it, and enjoy the touch and fell of Gretchen’s body and his own. I loved that it showed how fat Gretchen was willing to go to reach out to him, and how desperate Hunter was for human contact, while first showing his own playful side.
Has: Like MinnChica said, that was one of my favourite scenes in the book as well. But I also loved the scene detailing Hunter’s love with growing and hybridizing roses, who he would place a vase every day in the library for Gretchen. When he explained to Gretchen about the process, and asking her which species of roses she loved the best. I felt that was the moment in their relationship overcame a hurdle and I also love the nod to the Beauty and the Beast. There is another scene which I really loved when Gretchen was on Hunter’s lap and was teasing him and what happened next was very very sexy. But the lead up to it was funny but sexy and so fun to see Hunter starting to open up more and exploring sexuality.
E: I think since Has and MinnChica took two great smexy scenes I am going to go with the grovel scene. This was really an extended scene that I loved. Once Hunter figured out that he had screwed up he really put time and effort into trying to show that not only had he learned his lesson but that he was serious about making changes. To me watching what he did over time was so touching especially since it screamed that he had listened to Gretchen and thought what she said/did had merit. I love a good grovel scene and this was was superb.
4. Dislike about book
MinnChica: Oh man… there wasn’t anything huge that I disliked about this book, other than Gretchen not doing a better job of standing up for Hunter at the disaster dinner party. There were a few characters that I didn’t really like, specifically Gretchen’s agent and Hunter’s stuck-up butler. I thought they both sucked as people, but I liked the value they added to the story, despite their crappy personalities. :)
Has: I really don’t have any bad comments about this book either, the pacing, the story was great and the characters, even the ones I disliked, like MinnChica stated – they all added to the story and it was a delicious one!
E: I had the same dislike of the two characters that MinnChica did and I didn’t like what her sisters did at the dinner party. I thought Audrey was a bit too concerned with catering to their famous sister even though both of them knew what was likely to happen. That was actually my least favorite scene. I felt so awkward and bad for both Hunter and Gretchen initially and then I got mad at them both as well. However, as much as I didn’t enjoy that particular scene I have to admit it was well written and it served as a great yardstick for their HEA (happily ever after).
5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
MinnChica: All in all I thought Clare really knocked it out of the park again with this book. I am loving this series so much, and am super excited for the next installment. I love all the characters; the guys have such a fun and interesting dynamic between them, and it’s great getting to know the ladies who are winning them over. I am so excited to see how things play out with Gretchen’s twin sisters, and anxiously awaiting Audrey’s book. I adored the relationship between Hunter and Gretchen, and getting to know them as individuals as they came together was a wild and fun ride.
I give Beauty and the Billionaire an A-
Has: I know there has been a slew of brooding billionaire heroes at the moment, but this series has been a pure and utter delight. I loved that Jessica Clare has made the character much more relatable and likeable. Even though Hunter started off as this closed off man, his romance with Gretchen slowly unveils him to be a hero who has insecurity and emotional and physical scars. I loved that both Gretchen and Hunter both learned about other aspects in their lives which they changed as well as falling for each other. There was real growth and development, and I loved its take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. This was a romance filled with humour, passion and real passion and I totally fell in love with it.
I give Beauty and the Billionaire an A!
E: I loved this story. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite tales and I enjoy reading different retellings. I thought Clare did a great job here down to incorporating the roses. This was a great installment in her Billionaire Boys Club series which really stands out from all of the other billionaire stories that exist. The connection between the billionaires, how they screw up but make up for it, the women they end up with and their connections. The humor and how it seems as if the monetary imbalance is countered by the fierce independence of the women keep me from feeling that the hero has all of the power. I am looking forward to the next one and I want to see if/how Clare is going to redeem Gretchen’s two sisters in my eyes.
This book absolutely gutted me!! I cried for Kit and Damon, and I am so excited for the next installment, I can't even begin to tell you what I would...moreThis book absolutely gutted me!! I cried for Kit and Damon, and I am so excited for the next installment, I can't even begin to tell you what I would do to get my hands on the next book. Kit has absolutely restored my love of urban fantasy! (less)
E: If Nalini Singh writes it I will read it. I have been waiting for this book for years it seems but at least since the hints first started coming out I have anticipated this just as much as I did Kiss of Snow. I am very happy to say that this was well worth the wait and the serious book hangover I am experiencing today! Singh took her trademark skill at connecting the dots and pulled threads stretching from the very first book through this one to provide both a satisfying release to a certain amount of the tension while continuing to raise the stakes for this entire overall story arc. I am in awe at how much information she provided throughout the series to date without giving anything away but looking back the hints are there.
MinnChica: Ever since I first picked up the Psy-Changeling Series I have been addicted to this cast of characters, this world, and this ongoing story arc. This book is probably one of my most anticipated books ever, and I was so excited to see all the secrets revealed that we’ve been waiting twelve books for! Like E, I am totally in awe of how amazing Singh did of tying up loose ends, making sure everything made sense, and putting together not only an amazing story, but also a wonderful conclusion to the current plot arc.
E: When Tangle of Need ended things were at a very tense point. For all practical purposes the Council was nonexistent, dead members had not been replaced. DarkRiver and SnowDancer helped save the psy population of San Francisco and the surrounding areas from a sudden brutal death by defeating a Pure Psy plot. This open cooperation between Psy, Changeling and human spotlighted the shocking changes that have occurred in the world since Sasha’s defection and made other Psy question the actions and motives of Pure Psy’s insistence on Silence. We also learned that Kaleb’s search had ended successfully. On top of all of that Singh was able to both answer lingering questions and spotlight others. A lot was at stake between Pure Psy, the Ghost, Kaleb, the Human Alliance, and the Changeling packs so it was wonderful to see the tension and not always mutually trusting groups of people working towards a different future.
MinnChica: I was so anxious to see where things would go now that Pure Psy seemed to be on a rampage. I was so so excited to see how that whole aspect of the story wrapped up, and how the Ghost and our hero and heroine played into it. I never seem to know where Singh is going in her stories, and I was a little surprised – pleasantly so – to see how the hero and heroine of this story were so profound in bringing about change to the Psy race as a whole. I loved the aspect of Silence, and how it was seen as the saving grace of the Psy race, and yet over time it was seen as something that was hindering the people. I loved the ending and how Singh was able to resolve that aspect of the plot arc. So imaginative and well thought out!
E: Yes! Singh has made every single hero and heroine play a key role in the changes from the current to the future. I also like how all of their various skills were needed at different times and sometimes needed together to protect others. One of the other things I love about Singh’s writing is while the most outwardly drastic changes involve the Psy, she changes the foundations that have separated and confined all three branches of humanity because none of them are truly isolated from the others.
MinnChica: I really liked the romance in this story as well. I thought our hero was so incredible. While I liked Judd and Walker, those two Psy heroes couldn’t hold a candle to this one. He was romantic in his own way, he was thoughtful, caring, passionate. and all around fabulous, all while spoiling his heroine rotten with meeting and fulfilling her every need. As a couple, I adored these two together, and think they might give Riley & Mercy and Nate & Tammy a run for their money in regards to favorite couples in the series.
E: The romance, passion, intensity, and depth of feeling between this particular couple was just amazing. I would have to change my answer to one of the pre-release party questions we asked Monday because WOW. The growth between them. The building connection between them that had its fair share of ups and downs and then some. I have to say that when the men in Singh’s books fall they are just absolutely wonderful to watch because while they compromise they never lose themselves. To me that is just amazing because they are all so strong, respect the strength their heroines’ have and the heroines respect the strength of the heroes. I absolutely love seeing that.
I think this has become my favorite story in the Psy-Changeling series so far. The fact that it was so difficult to write this without spoilers because I just want everyone to enjoy the goodness says a lot. The hero and heroine were great seperately and together. I also enjoyed seeing the inclusion of individuals who have been relatively silent in the last few books. So many things became clear but so many other things are now in question. I can sit and re-read this entire series and each time I spot new connections. Singh has certainly provided a story that was well worth waiting for. I give Heart of Obsidian an A+
MinnChica: All in all I think this is probably one of the best books in the series. The hero and heroine are so fabulous as both individuals, and as a couple. The overall plot of both this book and the series arc was so incredible, in both execution and thought. I loved everything about this book, and can’t wait to see what Singh does next within this world. This series has become one of my favorite of all the paranormal romances series out there. Singh is such an incredible author with the forethought to create some of the most magical characters and settings I’ve ever read. Anyone who has yet to read this series is missing out! I give Heart of Obsidian an A+(less)
Kayla is hoping that her new role on daytime’s hottest soap opera will help her expand her acting portfolio and give her a chance to be taken a bit more seriously. When she finds out she might be partnered with Sean, only the hottest man in daytime TV and the best actor on the show, she is alternately scared, nervous and excited for the opportunity. Her only wish is that she could get control over her hormones before she and Sean have to get hot and heavy.
Sean loves his job as the hottest man on daytime TV, and his role is one he’s become comfortable with. But that’s about the only thing right in his life – his relationship with his father is strained at best and he is scared to trust any woman after getting burned by them over and over again. Being paired with Kayla on set is something he never wanted, yet after only one scene together he’s drawn to her. When Sean finds out about the threatening letters Kayla’s been receiving, his protective instincts roar to the surface and Sean finds himself sucked into a life he never imagined he wanted.
I think that this may be my favorite debut novel of 2012! There was so much to enjoy with this story, and I was immediately sucked in by sweet and caring Kayla was. I stayed up until 2 am finishing this book, and couldn’t put it down. I can’t even recommend this book enough for fans of contemporary romance. Anyone who likes Jill Shalvis, Carly Phillips, Susan Mallery or Victoria Dahl will probably fall in love with this book as much as I did!!
I adored Kayla. She was so sweet and honest and caring and loving and genuine. She came across as almost too perfect at times, but there was enough vulnerability to her as well that she also seemed to be the kind of woman I would want to be friends with. I could somewhat understand why she didn’t take the threatening letters more seriously at first, and was glad to see that once her friends pointed out how stupid she was for ignoring them, she didn’t do the typical TSTL heroine thing and ignore it all even more.
Sean was one of those heroes that I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with. I wanted to smack him upside the head for judging Kayla before getting to know her. Then once he did and started falling head over heels he became such a real character and person to me that I started to fall for him along with Kayla. But then he had to go and be a stubborn dick about his father, and he went right back to being a bit of a douche-canoe. However, I really thought he did a damn good job of redeeming himself in the end, and the way he went about winning back Kayla was super sweet.
I think the thing I adored the most about this book was the romance between Sean and Kayla. Not only were they both hesitant to get involved personally, but they also had to go along with their soap and their characters involvement on-screen. The fact that Sean fought with the show for a slow buildup in romance on-screen just added to the sexual chemistry they had both in front of the camera and off. Watching them get to know one another both as their characters as well as themselves just added to the intensity of their relationship – it gave their relationship and romance so much more.
I thought the stalker plot was fairly solid. It wasn’t a super intense suspense plot with lots of twists and turns, but it worked well within the story. I was pretty sure I knew who the bad guy would end up being, and while I wasn’t surprised on one front, I was a bit on another. So I count that as being a well done story line by Packard.
All in all I think Packard has become a new favorite contemporary romance author for me. If she can write another set of incredible hero and heroine as well and secondary characters that keep the book engaging and moving, I’ll forever be a fan. I loved the romance and the sexual tension between Sean and Kayla and hope that we can get to see more from this world that Packard has created. Like I said before, I think that this book is probably my favorite debut novel of 2012. I give Love in the Afternoon an A.(less)
From the moment I picked up the first in the Fatal series – Fatal Affair – for free, I’ve been OBSESSED with Force and the Fatal series. I went and purchased books 2 – 5 over the course of a weekend, and am SO glad I found this series. For those of you who have not yet read or started this series, Fatal Affair will be free from all ebook retailers until December 31st. Go out and get your copy now!
Beware that this review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series!
Sam is on a roll of high profile cases solved, and when she catches the murder of the White House deputy chief of staff’s wife (and good friend of Nick), she knows this might be the biggest and most complicated case she’s had to date. Between the missing child and clues that are leading Sam on a wild goose chase, this case is one that is puzzling even to her.
Alongside the confusion of Sam’s case, things with Nick’s career in the Senate are heating up as well. His career is progressing faster and further than he or Sam ever expected, and it’s both thrilling and scary at the same time. Add in the stress of wanting to start a family and this time Sam and Nick might fall under the pressure of their lives.
I am seriously so in love with this series. Although I’ve only read the first 3 or 4 In Death books, there are so many similarities between the two that any Robb fan will be guaranteed to love this series. I especially love that we get the chance to follow Sam and Nick through all the ups and downs, trials and tribulations of a relationship. One of my favorite aspects of ongoing Urban Fantasy series is that we usually get the chance to follow the same couple through thick and thin, and the fact that a romantic suspense series has taken on the same theme has me doing a happy dance every time I crack open one of these books.
The murder in this story was so unique and different. The twists and turns behind the victim and the conspiracy and everything else was such a mind trip. I kept turning each page and thinking… OMG, OMG, where is Force going to go next?! I love – absolutely LOVE – when an author can do that to me. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it makes for a reading experience that is so completely out of this world that I’m in a book high for days afterwards.
I think in regards to the romance between Sam and Nick, this book is also one of my favorites in the series. Although they’ve already married and settled into their lives together, they make some big relationship decisions in this book. I love that despite their differences in the way they were raised and their ideas about relationships, these two are still so desperately in love. But Nick and Sam don’t just make an even deeper emotional connection in this book… Force wrote the sexiest (IMO) scene in the series so far in this book. Holy.Smutty.Awesomesauce. Love. Absolutely love love love!
I can’t even put into words how much I adore this series so far. Everything about it is so fabulous. From the ongoing romance between Nick and Sam to their individual characters, careers and situations there isn’t much I don’t love about this series. The secondary characters are all amazing, from the other detectives that work with Sam to Nick’s employees to Sam’s family, every character has made a huge impact on the series and me personally. I love the mystery in each book. Although Sam seems to catch every high-profile case in the DC area, each one feels different. I have yet to pick up one of the Fatal books and be bored. I can’t recommend this series enough!
All in all I absolutely loved this book. I think it might be my favorite in the series so far! The romance, the mystery, the ongoing story lines… everything about these books has me sitting on the edge of my seat and begging for more. I am anxiously awaiting the next in the series. I give Fatal Deception an A(less)
E: Jasper was incredible. He was a very tough man who had no weaknesses. His fierce yet loyal nature coupled with his skill at enforcing his words with his actions sometimes violently placed him as the second in command to the O’Kane gang. While the gang had no mercy for those who tried to interrupt their business or threatened their area they also had a sense of decency and strict rule enforcement. When Jas spots Noelle staggering and weaving along the street obviously out of place and notices some scum following her he comes to her rescue and takes her back to the O’Kane headquarters. That started my heart melting. His very strength and control as he waited patiently to get what he wanted and needed from Noelle was absolutely incredible. He refused to take Noelle until she understood what getting involved with him really meant and could decide if that is what she wanted not out of fear but out of desire. While he did act on their mutual sexual attraction, and man did he know what he was doing, he made sure that she was ready for each step. Jas also didn’t shy away from showing Noelle some of the harsh realities of life in Sector Four as an O’Kane and pushed Noelle to stand up for herself. His dedication, patience, strength, intensity and sexuality made for a truly wonderful alpha type who wasn’t too overbearing or protective.
MinnChica: What to say about Jasper… He was Alpha to the core, and a little rough around the edges. But despite that, he was also caring and considerate in his own ways. When he first found Noelle, he wanted nothing more than to protect her. Keep her out of danger. Then the attraction bloomed and he was desperate to claim her as his own. But for a man with morals and values like Jasper had in spades, he also wanted to make sure that when he did make her his own, he did it with her full understanding and desire to be just as committed to him as he was to her. That in and of itself was so incredibly sexy. Add in all the dirty stuff he taught Noelle and wow… Jasper was one sexy hero!
Has: I also loved Jasper! I liked how gruff tenderness towards Noelle especially in the first scene when she’s cast out of Eden. While the other characters in the book, was much more blatant, I liked how subtle and calm but oh so very alpha. I also agree that his chemistry with Noelle was palpable, and striking and their encounters with each other was sexually charged. I also enjoyed his relationships with the other cast of characters such us Dallas, the leader of the O’Kane gang and Ace. There was a great sense of their gang being a family, albeit a nuanced one with lots of subtle power plays which sometimes plays out in a sexual way.
2. Thoughts on the Heroine
E: Noelle went from a slightly rebellious mostly innocent girl to a confident woman in charge of her sexuality and willing to do what it took to live life to the fullest. I really loved how she was strong enough even in the very beginning to decide that she was not only going to survive but to live. Yes she was innocent but she was also willing to try new things and didn’t seem caught up in societies trappings of what types of relationships are “right.” At the same time things did sometimes seem to overwhelm her, which added to the three-dimensionality of her character. I was worried at first that Noelle wouldn’t hold her own against the large personalities of the other characters but she did. I ended up thinking she was the perfect foil to the O’Kane rough edges without getting lost. I also loved seeing how she was able to tie Jas in knots as she discovered what she liked.
MinnChica: I adored Noelle. She had this quiet and sweet disposition, all while hiding an inner vixen that could wrap just about any man around her little finger. When she left Eden she wasn’t nearly as disappointed as she expected, and she fit into life in Sector Four better than anyone thought possible. I liked that about her. She had a fighting spirit that proved she wanted more from life than she was getting before, and she was willing to take the risk and grab at the life she wanted with everything she had. Then, watching her explore not only her new surroundings, but also her new sexuality was smokin’ hot. Despite the innate shyness, she embraced the kinky and wild side of life that comes along with the O’Kane gang.
Has: I have to say the opening line to this book, with Noelle being kicked out of the city. became one of my favourite openings ever and it really summed up the whole tone of the book, and the sexual and independent awakening of Noelle. I loved that we saw through her eyes on how the O’Kane’s ran their their sector and the gang’s inner relationships. I also enjoyed how she started to explore her sexuality with the other members of the gang and most especially with Lex and Dallas. In a lot of ways, I felt her pairing with Jasper and with Dallas and Lex was much more integrally tied together and I loved how it developed throughout the book and definitely looking forward to see how it is in the sequel. But I thought it was fitting that it would focus on Noelle because she was a perfect character to introduce the reader to this dark, sexually charged and intense world where sexual politics and sexuality is so different to what we are accustomed to.
3. Favorite Scene
E: Oh man, there were so many scenes that I enjoyed. I think I will say her first time in Ace’s tattoo chair. That scene made me want to get a tattoo and I prefer to avoid needles if at all possible. It was intense, sweet, caring, ritualistic and said so much about the essence of both Noelle and Jas. It also talked about the conscious choice to give control to another person instead of having control just taken away without consent.
MinnChica: I always hate trying to pick my favorite scene. Do I go with my favorite smutty scene, or my favorite sentimental scene, or what? There are so many great ones to choose from that it’s hard to narrow down to just one. I think I might have to go with a scene toward the end – in which Noelle and Lex were taunting the men with the sensual strip-tease. It showed Noelle stepping out of her comfort zone and taking the lead in a sexual situation, it tormented all the O’Kane men and had them screaming for more. It was sexy and hot and mostly told from Jasper’s perspective, so it made the scene that much more intense.
Has: I have to say the tattoo scene as well when she was getting her cuffs as well. This was Noelle’s introduction and acceptance into the gang and it was the first time, she was really pushed to open up her boundaries sexually. But I think the best scene in the book, was towards the end when Jasper gives her second gift to her. I totally melted reading that scene, because Jasper understood and realised what Noelle wanted in their relationship and he was willing to give her that. And you got to love the image that presented especially with this hard-arsed biker alpha male doing something so sweet and considerate, you know its true love!
4. Dislike about book
E: I really didn’t have anything that I disliked or any complaints.
MinnChica: I find myself saying this with each and every Moira Rogers/Kit Rocha book I pick up, and that is: the only I disliked is that it ended. Please Bree and Donna, can’t you just write something that never ends?!
Has: For me, I wanted more on the world-building especially on the different sectors and how did Eden City fell to a morally authoritative government and what happened to the wider world. I also felt the ending was a bit too abrupt and wanted to see more of Jasper and Noelle’s relationship, because it felt like it just got going for me especially with their commitment and how that would affect the wider gang and Lex and Dallas. I really hope we get to see more of them in later books, because it feels that this is definitely not a conventional romance even with multiple partners.
5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
E: Given that I enjoy their work as Moira Rogers I felt pretty strongly that I was going to enjoy this new voice and I wasn’t wrong. . I tend to prefer my erotica to have a plot and characterization and that is exactly what Kit Rocha delivered. As I tweeted when I finished reading this after staying up late the night before and getting up early to finish reading that this made me want a cigarette and I don’t smoke. Beyond Shame also took care of my need for coffee that morning which was saying a lot. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next in this thoroughly engrossing world. If you enjoy erotica I highly recommend that you take a look at Beyond Shame. As I also said on twitter when recommending this to another person it is wonderfully durrrty – with plot! I give Beyond Shame an A+
MinnChica: All in all I knew this book would be amazing. For as much as I love Moira Rogers, I knew that their diversion into smutty dystopian would be incredible, and I was right. From what little we’ve seen of the world-building, it’s both simplistic and incredible all at once. The characters we’ve been introduced to so far have been engaging, exciting, and the typical characters of Rogers – ones that I can’t WAIT to read more about. The sexy times were hot and absolutely sexy without being off-putting, and for a lot of erotica these days, that’s an incredible feat. I give Beyond Shame an A
Has: I had described this book as Sons of Anarchy meets The Hunger Games meets hot smoking erotica. I adored the world-building and setting, it was unique and refreshing and really pushed the boundaries on sexuality and its politics, which was full of nuance and character and although it definitely pushed my own boundaries because I usually do prefer established and monogomous pairings. With Beyond Shame the sexuality and pairings being explored gelled well with its world-building, and I loved it especially since it also explored Female to Female relationships which isn’t a popular trope in erotic romance, but Noelle and Lex’s pairing was one of the highlight and strengths of the book. I also found this bloody refreshing especially since the popular tropes right now in erotic romance is the tortured billionaire into BDSM which I am getting burned out right now. Beyond Shame is a wonderfully, well thought out erotic dystopian with a fantastic cast of characters.
This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012, so you can imagine how excited I was to get it a week early. Ty and Zane are two of my favorite fictional characters, and probably one of my favorite series of all times, and this installment was AMAZING.
Ty and Zane have had a few months of leisure, but a phone call from Texas and Zane’s family throws off their balance. After a pit stop in West Virginia, Ty and Zane both head down to Texas to see what they can do to help Zane’s dad after he’d been shot and find out what is going on at the ranch. With the shooting, multiple trespassing violations, and missing exotic animals, Ty and Zane are quickly plunged into a case that hits way too close to home.
I don’t want to give too much away, although I’m sure most die-hard fans have already read this book, but I am going to try and keep this one as spoiler free as possible.
Let me start with the one thing that was somewhat of a letdown for me, and that was the overall ‘case’ of the book. I liked how the big-cat sanctuary came into play, and we got to see Ty face his fears of big exotic cats (literally). However, for me it really felt as if the case took a bit of a back seat to the rest of the story, which has a different feel than the other books in this series. So much of the first five books is solely focused on the mystery aspect, and the lives and romance of Ty and Zane usually take a more back-seat role. In this installment, that is flip-flopped and the case takes more of a back-seat to the romance. Not that I didn’t like it, it just set a very different tone to this book, and I like the high-stakes, lots of action of previous books. I even kind of missed the intensity of the previous books.
That being said, the romance and peek at Ty and Zane’s day-to-day life was so incredible. We got to spend a small amount of time in West Virginia with Ty’s family, and I forgot just how hilarious they are. Between Chester and Ty’s parents, I spent most of that trip home with them in stitches. MOST. Again, without giving too much away, something big happens between Ty and his father and for a few seconds, I hated Earl. I’ve always been with Zane in that I didn’t have a good understanding of the relationship between Ty and his dad, but I’ve never outright hated the guy until that one moment.
The highlight of this book for me was finally getting to meet Zane’s family. His sister Anne was so sweet and funny, and she has probably the second best line in the whole book. She was so supportive of Zane, and was willing to stand up to their horrible mother at every turn. Zane’s dad was probably one of the best secondary characters ever written. He had the all time best line of the book, and from the first moment we met him, I fell in love with him. He truly loved Zane, was glad to see that Ty was helping Zane get his life back together, and did everything he could to help run interference between Zane and his mom. Speaking of Zane’s mom, she was a piece of work. The woman was cold and rude and nasty and an all around bitch. She wasn’t supportive of Zane’s career choice or anything in his life for that matter. I could see a lot of Zane in her, but was also so glad to see all the ways that Ty was helping him break those bad habits and become a better person.
A lot of stuff happens in this book that help Ty and Zane really move forward with their relationship. Again, without giving away any spoilers, I can’t give specifics here, but there tons of conversations and small (and big) decisions that really helped propel their relationship forward and onto the next level of commitment and intensity. These two together are one of my all time favorite couples.
All in all I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. I absolutely loved the relationship progression for Ty and Zane. So many spoiler-ish things happened that made me laugh and giggle and cry and scream. Getting to see an inside look at Zane’s family was so special and explained so much, and I can’t wait to see more of them. I give Stars & Stripes an A-(less)
MinnChica: I’m probably the one bookpusher who doesn’t read that much fantasy. I have a few authors I’ve enjoyed, but it’s not my go-to genre. I have no idea when, but at some point, I picked up Warprize and bought it. It sat on my shelves for who-knows-how-long and when the girls as if I wanted to join them in this joint review, I jumped on the chance to finally get around to reading it. And boy am I glad I did. I absolutely adored the world that Vaughan created with Lara and Kier. As the story unfolded I found myself more and more enchanted with each and every character, so much so that I went and purchased the 2nd book on my nook the moment I finished this!
Has: Oh I am so glad you finally got to read it! This is one of my all time favourite books and it has become a comfort reread for me because this book is the epitome of magic and romance -- even though there is hardly any magical elements in the story. The romance, the setting, and the premise is nothing new but Elizabeth Vaughan adds such a unique twist with the details and the emotions in the romance and story that it does feel refreshing. I remember reading Warprize for the first time, and it was a book which I inhaled. Keir and Lara and their differences as well as being from two contrasting cultures was explored beautifully and with such rich and vivid details which really stood out for me from other similar books.
Lou: I can remember Has recommending me Warprize, and it was when we met online. I remember Has telling me you have GOT to read this series. So I bought the first book, and oh my goodness. Waprize had everything that I had been waiting for -- which sounds weird, but I’ll explain. I’ve always been a fan of fantasy, but I’ve always wanted romance to be the central focus of the story but without losing any impact of the fantasy and world building. Warprize did this in spades and so much more. Lara’s and Keir’s relationship I believe will be remembered as one of those never forget reads. It had the epic scope of a fantasy with a sweeping romance, a world that was built strong with different factions and tribes. And even though it does lack magical tendencies, it doesn’t suffer.
MinnChica: I’ll admit that I felt a little letdown at first when I realized there would be no magic in this story, and then I got so swept up with Lara, her desire to heal, her kind heart and her never wavering sense self and worth. Add in Keir who was a strong leader, but a kind and caring man. Their love story was so sweet and epic. I loved that they were both so open to learning each other’s customs and ways, and how open they were to integrating their lives. I hoped that Lara would work up the courage to ask for further explanation on word translations though... although that was part of the fun of reading their story.
Has: I think this sums up what was so magical about their romance; it never falls into cliched pitfalls of an angsty misunderstanding which can feel forced. But there is a core conflict about their differing cultures and trying to compromise and to cement an understanding. However their romance which is so integral to the story was fantastic, I love the idea behind the Warprize and the meaning it has - especially when Lara learns of what it truly means to be one and her realisation of what that entails for her being as a healer and a lover. I ADORED that scene so much!
Lou: I think the conflict between the two of them was very realistic with Lara and her healing nature, and Kier with his warring ways. Lara’s healing was a great contrast to Kier, and it becomes a factor in their relationship when Kier realises just how much Lara risks by doing so. Not only does Lara have to deal with her brother giving her away, she has to deal with a new culture of people and try to understand where she fits in amongst it all -- along with her growing attraction and closeness to Kier. The romance is so strong and I loved that it stood up in a Fantasy book. Just makes me fall in love with the Fantasy genre again because there is no limits and restrictions.
MinnChica: All in all I am so glad I was pushed into reading this book. The world Vaughan created was absolutely magical in its charm and characters. There are so many secondary characters to love, and the romance between Lara and Keir was just so incredible well done I melted throughout the entire book. I’ve already got (and read) book two, so now it’s onto book three for me! I give Warprize an A
Has: I have recced this book countless of times and I will continue to do so because I know most people will adore this book even if they aren’t fans of epic fantasy. The contrasting cultures, and characters from opposing sides is a great premise and Warprize definitely delivers that element. But for me, the love story is what is truly engrossing and magical. Keir and Lara’s romance is really an epic love story which really conveys wonderfully to the reader, I was enthralled when I first read the book and because of this - it has remained to be one of my all time favourite romances. I give Warprize an A+
Lou: When we decided on doing a Fantasy feature, Warprize was one of thee first books to come to mind. A romantic sweeping tale of a hero and heroine from different cultures who have to deal with an attraction that just gets stronger and stronger as they spend more time together. For those who are not huge fans of Fantasy reads, I would recommend this book for the romance alone because it’s so memorable and it gets better with each book in the trilogy. It also doesn’t shy away from hard realities which makes it that much more realistic. I give Warprize and A(less)
In the fairness of full disclosure, I read this story in a previous draft as well. While I liked it back then, I love and adore it now.
Andrea is incr...moreIn the fairness of full disclosure, I read this story in a previous draft as well. While I liked it back then, I love and adore it now.
Andrea is incredible in this book. She kicks ass, takes names, and is a total bad ass. I love her, best side-kick. Ever. Raphael has some total d-bag moments, but I love him. He more than makes up for it with some groveling and hilarious shifter pranks. Asciano gets some great page time, and I love that little kid!! A few moments with Kate and Curran, and they are a blast. BUT WAIT - the novella Magic Gifts that Ilona had for free on her website during christmas, is added to the end of this book. *CHEER* As always, Ilona delivers an incredible story wrapped around myth and folklore that leaves me desperate for more! (less)
This book killed me. Absolutely, positively killed me. It’s been a week since I finished it and I’m still reeling. The romance aspect of this book flayed me open and literally squeezed my heart till it hurt. There were twists and turns that Andrews sprinkled in the book that had me both laughing and crying. The end had me sobbing, literal tears streaming down my face as one of my favorite characters in the series sacrificed their live to safe the others. There were so many different emotions packed within every moment, every scene, every word. I am so excited about the way this series has progressed, and I love the way that Andrews had made it possible for the world and characters to stay true to themselves. I love the journey that Kate is on, and I am so excited and sad with each book that comes out, because it means that Kate’s journey will soon be coming to an end.
This series remains my all time favorite. The romance, the action, the drama, it is all the perfect blend of harsh and unforgiving and loving and sweet. Never before has a book cut me open as much as this did!(less)
Publisher: Berkley Publish Date: Out Now! How we got this book: ARC from Publisher
When The Book Pushers were offered an advanced copy of Storm’s Heart we all raised our hands at wanting to get this book. When the ARC arrived at my door, I was so excited I read it that night. The book than made it’s way down the state to E. Across the pond to Has, over to Lou and back to Ying. This is really the ARC that made it around the world.
Instead of our usual back and forth chat style joint-review, we changed it up a bit. Because really, we could all go on and on about this book. Enjoy!
**WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the first book in the series: Dragon Bound.**
Thoughts on Tiago
MinnChica – Oh Tiago… You stormed onto the pages of DRAGON BOUND pissed and moody and deliciously sexy. You kept up the tortured and complete Alpha hero tendencies till the very end. I personally loved it. Everyone knows I love my heroes with a lot of caveman, and Tiago embodies that! Sure he can be an overprotective jerk, but for me, it’s just part of his charm!
E – Uncivilized. Yummy. Loyal. Unstoppable. Honorable. Alpha. Oh wait this is supposed to be a review, which means I am required to write complete sentences. Ok let me try again *clears throat.* I was actually having a discussion on twitter the other night about thunderstorms and how much I like them along with their pyrotechnic shows, and that reminded me of Tiago Black Eagle and how he wields thunder and lightening. Sometimes on purpose and other times as a side effect of losing his temper which appears to be something Tricks can cause almost effortlessly, but more on her later. Tiago freely admits that he is not suited to any sort of diplomatic mission unless it involves the diplomacy of destroying the enemy through battle. Yet despite his reluctance to behave in a civilized manner once you have his loyalty or he believes that you are part of his inner circle then he will do everything possible to protect you — even from yourself if he deems it necessary. Watching him struggle to behave and not undermine Tricks’ appearance of strength and authority while she plays the political Dark Fae game as she takes control of her throne under constant threat of assassination was very entertaining. I think it demonstrated just how much he cared about Tricks when he didn’t just wrap her in cotton and drag her back to Dragos’ building.
Ying - He is hot, he is raw and he understands her shoes and chocolate needs. What more can you ask for? Oh, and he knows when to step back and be supportive. I think the T-bird power associated with thunderstorm is really cool. He reminds me of Dragos in his grouchy/tender way.
Lou: Tiago was definitely a force of nature, and compared to the other dragons, much more in tune with his natural form. For me though, I found Tiago to be too forceful, abrasive, and I really found his bullish ways to be irritating and he grated on me with his rude behaviour towards others.
Has: *Fans self* I loved Tiago, although I have to say Drago is still my favourite hero so far from this series. I think Thea Harrison has a wonderful grasp of portraying alpha males in a colourful and vivid way without crossing the line into alphahole territory. There was times I thought he became too forceful, but I loved how Tricks outwitted him. I think over the course of the book he realised that pushing Tricks into doing something she’s not happy with wasn’t going to work even for her own protection, and he learned from that which I liked.
Thoughts on Tricks
MinnChica – Tricks will always be Tricks to me. She was one of my favorite secondary characters in DRAGON BOUND, and with her hilarious drunken moments and soft heart she spoke to me. I loved that she really came into herself, really came into her role, and learned to kick some serious ass along the way!
E – Tricks is something else. A Dark Fae, she escaped the massacre of her family by her uncle when he seized the throne and basically grew up amongst the Wyr that Dragos rules and becomes Dragos’ Public Relations representative. Mild spoiler for Dragon Bound — Dragos and the former Dark Fae ruler (Tricks’ uncle) really didn’t get along. Living with a multitude of Alpha men she had to devise different methods of keeping them in check or at least holding her own. When Tricks departs to take over the throne following the death of her uncle, she thinks that she has to cut all ties with Dragos and his men, one of which happens to be Tiago. I found it interesting watching Tricks deal with the Dark Fae political game based on her memories as a child, an unknown behind the assassination attempts, mistrust planted between her and certain members of Dragos’ empire, and then actions of a few other people of interest — one of which I think will be front and center in SERPENT’S KISS (Oct 2011). Tricks grows as a character throughout this book and learns some interesting lessons.
Ying – Again, Trick’s (a.k.a. Niniane) personality reminds me of Pia. She is scared yet courageous. She knows her limits and utilised her best assets. She is cute, spunky and charming. I find her political situation very interesting. I like it that she stays true to herself and she is kind to others and really make time and effort to acknowledge and thanks those who have help her no matter how tired she feels or when she had a terrible day.
Lou – Ahh, I loved Tricks. I really found her to be engaging, and I think Thea Harrison’s heroines are much stronger than her heroes. They are much more relatable, and like Pia, I was routing for Tricks all the way. I liked that she didn’t cave into Tiago, and that she very much held her own against him. The only thing that I wasn’t keen on — which is more of a pet peeve of mine — is when the hero marvels and is attracted to the much more smaller type of heroine, and describes her in those terms. I just find it off-putting, and it puts in mind of a child.
Has: I totally adored Tricks! Her sense of humour and character was so fresh and so funny and I loved that she was an underpowererd heroine but she uses her wits and humour to outwit her enemies. I am also glad we got real depth and emotional development with her character in this book, especially on how she dealt with the political wrangling and her past. I love characters who can outwit and make people underestimate them in this way, and Tricks was pretty savvy!
MinnChica – I think the scene that has actually stuck with me the most since reading is the scene where Tricks meets with the Vampyre Queen. While there wasn’t any overtly sexy moments, it was suspenseful and really told me so much about both Tricks and Tiago. To me that was one of the moments when Tricks really shone through, she accepted her new position, and rocked at it hard core! Tiago proved he was willing to take on anything or anyone to keep Tricks safe, to protect her at all costs. *melt*
E – I am torn between two scenes. The first is when Tricks drives away leaving Tiago at the scene of a failed assassination attempt and then just like a bolt of lightening he appears in front of her. The second is with Tiago and the leader of the Dark Fae guard, Arthusa, decide to start working together.
Ying – I’m with E. My favourite scene is when Trick drives Tiago away. It set the scene in term of political plays. How the Dark Fae tries to have one up the Wyr. Also, I admire the fact that Tiago left when Trick asked him to. He gave her space she needed. My second favourite scene is when Tiago asks Cameron to go shopping for Niniane. He is very cute about it all! I love it when he asked her to gift wrapped some of the stuff and to get her a box of chocolate. <3
Lou – I think my favourite scene is also when Tricks goes up against the Vampyre Queen, and holds her own against a woman who is 100x stronger than Tricks, and doesn’t show any fear, but treats her as if she was her equal. I also loved the scene where Tricks is swigging from a bubble gum flavoured vodka, and puffing away on a cigarette. Too funny *grins*.
Has: I have to say the same with my favourite scenes too; the bubble gum flavoured vodka (especially when Tiago found what flavour!) and outwitting him was hilarious and I was giggling throughout those scenes. I also loved her meeting with Carlise the Queen, and agree that it was great to see that although she wasn’t that powerful she was aware of the power play that was going on.
MinnChica – There were a few parts that dragged a little for me in the middle of the book. And there wasn’t nearly as much naked time as there was in DRAGON BOUND (right – or was that my imagination??). But the tension was awesome!
E – The one thing I dislike, well it really isn’t a dislike about the book it is more of a “I wish this didn’t happen but I think I understand why it happened and it fits but I still wish it didn’t have to happen,” is the death of a certain individual (SPOILER so I can’t divulge the name). I think that particular event helped cement a potential price of ruling for Tricks and highlighted what kind of ruler she would be. Ok, so I really didn’t have any dislikes *sighs*
Ying – For me, it’s the romance at the beginning. I don’t know, it didn’t click for me. Tiago and Trick know each other for 200 years. They trust each other but yet they have only seen each other a handful of times during those years. They hardly knew about each other. Then suddenly the romance was moving very quickly. I think it has to do with my impression from Dragon Bound, the way they were arguing. I thought that the tension was there all along and this book would be friends to lovers rather than trusted acquaintances to lovers.
Lou – I think for me, the scene I disliked the most was when Tricks’ good friends — such as Rune and Arya — totally turned against her for being with Tiago. It seemed so out of tune with how they treated her before, and I felt it was a unnecessary storyline that create more tension when there wasn’t need for it. I also hated that a really good character died. I had high hopes that the person would perhaps have a book of their own. What’s missing for me is a human character in this world. Will all these super powerful beings, I’m finding it hard to relate to the characters — especially the heroes. Another thing I disliked was Tiago’s contempt for the humans — especially how he treated the people in the hotel.
Has: I wished there was more action in the book. With Dragon Bound, the pace and the tension was almost hectic and although I enjoyed the political intrigue and wrangling that was going on, I did felt that the pace was much slower especially in the middle of the book. I wasn’t that keen on that scene with Arya and Rune too, and I couldn’t understand why Rune was so against Tiago and Tricks being together.
MinnChica – One of my favorite things about this series is that Harrison writes about so many different paranormal creatures. We aren’t just limited to werewolves, vampires and witches. She breaches out to Thunderbirds and Dragons and light and dark fae and elves and everything else. It’s fun and engaging to read about so many different legends. This series is one of my favorite PNR series ever.
E – I really enjoyed the foreshadowing about the next book and I am extremely curious about Ms Harrison’s vampyres.
Ying – Me too! I can’t wait to read more about the vampyres. I hope to learn more about the elves too. Also, Arya the harpy really grows on me. It would be interesting to read about a tomboy heroine after the cute one.
Lou – Despite some of the problems I had with Storm’s Heart, Thea Harrison is such an exciting author that has brought something new to the paranormal genre which I found to be pretty stagnated. I can’t wait to see what else she brings!
Has: I really enjoyed Storm’s Heart and I loved we got a deeper look into fae politics and the wider world of the other supernatural beings like the vampyres. Although it was much slower paced compared to Dragon Bound this was a solid and enjoyable followup and I loved the romance with Tiago and Tricks. I need a Tardis because I want the next book, Serpent’s Kiss!
Publisher: Berkley Publish Date: Out Now How we got this book: Purchased
Has: I have heard so much early buzz about Dragon Bound that I had to pre-order it because it sounded so good. And for once the hype really lived up to the reality when I read the book.
MinnChica: I couldn’t agree more. Mandi sent me an extra copy of this book, and I was so psyched to actually read it. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Amazing!
Has: I adored this book; it had everything I loved and wanted in a romance, such as great characters, world-building, diaglogue and sensual tension. I couldn’t stop reading it because I literally inhaled the whole book and had a very late night due to it.
MinnChica: This was probably one of the best paranormal romance books I’ve read in a long time! It had all the right elements!
Has: Definitely! It really felt that Thea Harrison who has put so much thought and imagination into her world-building that it actually made the whole setting feel fresh and fun. I have to admit before I read Dragon Bound, I was pretty burned out on PNR and UF because so many books felt so samey and tired. But the elements that she combined in Dragon Bound was so engaging that I actually feel more open now to those genres.
MinnChica: I think the one of the things I loved best about this was the main characters. Between Pia and Dragos, I was in love by page 5!
Has: Oh the book had me at hello when Pia is introduced in the beginning turning the tables for her ex aka The Shit and does it with style. But I was totally truly and evocatively in love when Dragos has his taste test with cherry slurpees and twizzlers.
MinnChica: That was one of my favorite parts. There were so many great scenes where Dragos tried to act like the times, and had me cracking up. Pia trying to bring him up to date. All their conversations and interactions were classic. Their banter was just so fantastic! At one point Pia had me cracking up saying:
So is that your long, scaly, reptilian tail, or are you just happy to see me?”
Has: And their tension was fantastic! It was so palpable right from the get-go and I loved how it evolved, with Pia really showing that she is Drago’s equal even though he is much more powerful and older than her. I also liked how the mating trope was used without diminishing their issues or problems which is one of my gripes about this plot point.
Thea Harrison really had a great grasp in conveying Drago’s otherness and contrasting it with Pia’s more human-like and vulnerable aspects and I liked how they brought out each other’s hidden quirks of personality. It really made their romance come alive. It was truly sparkling and the dialogue? I can go on all day how magical that was. It is so hard to write great diaglogue but this was fantastic and one of the factors of the book. This extract really sums up what Dragos was really like:
‘He rested his cheek against her head and rubbed her back. “I am cursed with a terminal case of curiosity,” he said. “I am jealous, selfish, acquisitive, territorial and possessive. I have a terrible temper, and I know I can be a cruel son of a bitch.” He cocked his head. “I used to eat people, you know.” ‘
MinnChica: Definitely! That was one of the things I liked too, that even though they were thrust together as “mates” they still chose to be together. Plus, the dialogue in whole between all the characters, was amazing! Rune, Tricks, Graydon, Tiago….loved them all. The scenes between the guys were great as well. I love the friendship between them, full of snark.
“I said you wouldn’t like it. “So you did.” He slam-dunked the Slupree. “Apparently you will be watching the tapes for someone with no taste.”
Has: I think that was due to the focus on the relationship and the fact they were both different types of shifters. The dichotomy of the vegan shifter being mated with a predator one was brilliant and showed how much of a difference there was. Which again shows the attention to world-building but also how that brings out the fun aspects as well conflict and tension. I loved the beginning especially when Dragos who is initially hunting her for being a thief which soon morphs into hunting and stalking his potential mate. Love it!
MinnChica: Yes! The shift between him being obsessed with her for being the only person to steal from him, to being obsessed with her for HER.
Has: Exactly! And it was an effortless shift from that viewpoint. I think it really added to the sexual tension. I know I keep harping on it but it was wonderful and I loved how protective he was with her but without molly-coddling her. There is a key scene where she is helpless when they are captured by goblins and lays it out straight that he is unable to get them out and potentially she may get hurt but wants her to remain cool and calm. But he promises that he will get them out when he gets his strength back. I loved that part! It was realistic and showed that she was resourceful and helpful to their predicament because she also helps their escape.
MinnChica: That was great. Although my favorite scene was the one where Pia and Tricks get drunk together. The way they bonded over all the craziness that is their life. I just adored it!
Has: That scene was wonderful! The touches of humor was pure fun! It made a good book into a standout one and Dragon Bound is a fantastic debut *sigh*.
MinnChica: Agreed! I think that Dragon Bound is probably my favorite debut of 2011, as well as one of my favorite books of the year. There were just so many elements that made this a book that everyone can enjoy, regardless of what kind of genre is your typical read.
Has: Same here. Although I do have a very minor gripe about the ending which I felt for all the buildup, the problem was easily diminished. But I don’t think this really detracted from the story. In fact for a first book of a series especially one with a complex world. It was damn well perfect.
MinnChica: All in all, I thought that Dragon Bound was absolutely fabulous. It was funny and sexy, fast paced and engaging, and probably one of the best paranormal reads of 2011. I think that Harrison created an incredible series with The Elder Games, and I personally can’t wait to read more.
I give Dragon Bound an A.
Has: Dragon Bound is so definitely on my top ten list – scratch that make that top five – for best book I read this year. For me it was a book that gives you the giddy sensation in your tummy that is a great read and with a well thought out and imaginative world, sparkling dialogue and a great romance. I predict that Dragon Bound and its sequels will be a series that will become a firm fan fave and will also top other reader’s lists of books this year. Dragon Bound has sucked me in from the start and I am eagerly awaiting for its sequels!
Publisher: Forever Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: NetGalley
I’m a big fan of the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis, and I was really looking forward to the youngest sister Chloe getting her HEA with the one and only sexy Sheriff Sawyer. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
Chloe has always lived on the road, going from place to place and never needing a home base. But now that she and her sisters have the B&B, and her sisters are settling down, Chloe realizes that a place to call home might not be such a bad thing. With her asthma (and the sexy sheriff) constantly giving her grief, Chloe tries to find a way to make Lucky Harbor her more permanent home.
Sawyer has been trying to make up for his bad-boy childish mistakes his entire life. His father still thinks of him as the screwed up little kid, and the bad crowd he ran with as a teen is still running amok in town. Although Sawyer doesn’t want it, something about Chloe’s wild nature calls to him. He’ll do just about anything to keep her on the straight and narrow, and comfortable in his arms.
Ok, where to start… There were so many awesome things I loved about this book! Let’s start with Chloe. I absolutely adored her. She was wild and free spirited and so strong in her desire to live life to the fullest. But at the same time she was vulnerable and skittish, especially when it comes to expressing any kind of love. The fact that she was both scared of her feelings for her sisters, as well as those towards Sawyer just made her entire character that more believable and loveable. I also LOVED the fact that Chloe was asthmatic, and some of the many jokes she made regarding her asthma. Having been diagnosed with asthma about two years ago, I found myself relating to her on so many more levels than I did with any of the other sisters.
And Sawyer, damn he such a great hero: reformed bad boy who thinks that he still needs to prove to everyone around him that he’s changed. I loved that Sawyer was somewhat oblivious to the fact that almost everyone had already forgiven him, and that many people in town did everything in their power to protect his reputation as one of the best Sheriff’s around. I thought he was so sweet and caring and loving and the perfect match for Chloe.
I thought that the romance in this one was superb. Chloe and Sawyer dance around each other for a good portion of the book. Their sexual tension is so well done and I love the struggles they each have about being with the other. I was also really glad that there was no big fight or breakup or heartache. I think I would have been disappointed with that, instead they really worked at communicating and making it work.
I’m sad to see that the sister’s all have their stories done now, but can’t wait to hear more about the other people in Lucky Harbor. This series has been and probably will continue to be a favorite of mine.
All in all I adored this book. Chloe and Sawyer were so perfect for each other. They were both wonderful characters that pulled me in and had me loving them immediately. I think this might even be my favorite of the series so far. I give Head Over Heels an A+(less)
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
I seriously can not say enough wonderful things about this book. I absolutely loved and adored it, I don’t think there was one thing about it I didn’t like. Please note that the following review will probably consist of one huge fangirl SQUEE!!
Jackson Savor has always had a thing for Alani, so when he wakes up in bed next to her, he should feel like all his dreams come true, EXCEPT for the fact that he’s been drugged and can’t remember what was sure to have been the best night of his life. Then, a misunderstanding leads Alani to believe that Jackson had second thoughts about her, and she is devastated.
But when someone seems out to get Jackson and Alani, the two must stick together like glue. Jackson is happy with the plan because that means he gets the chance to work out the problems between them. While danger surrounds them, things heat up quickly both in the bedroom and outside the bedroom. Will they be able to keep their cool and stay alive long enough to enjoy each other?
Let me just start by saying that I have a new favorite book hero, and Jackson is it. He is funny, caring, possessive, sexy, everything a girl could want in her alpha hero. Don’t judge this book by the cover, while that model is good lookin’, he doesn’t do Jackson justice! I loved his struggle with trying to remember his and Alani’s night together, his desire to win her over in any way possible and his willingness to keep her in the loop always. He was one hundred percent dedicated to her and it showed in every word, action and thought. I think my husband might actually have to be worried…
I adored Alani from the moment we met her in When You Dare. Her past experience with being kidnapped for the slave trade was horrific and scary. Getting to see more of her, watch her grow and blossom under Jackson’s care was just the perfect ending to her story. I liked that she knew her limits; was able to admit to herself and Jackson that she didn’t know much about his world, and didn’t do anything to make her one of those TSTL heroines. She was strong when she needed to be, soft in Jackson’s arms and one of the better heroines I’ve read this year. I was a little surprised when she admitted certain details about her sexual history to Jackson, but it all made perfect sense to me, and I loved it.
I thought the romance between Jackson and Alani was so well done. They both complimented each other perfectly. I loved that Jackson really brought Alani out of her shell – helped her get on with her life, even after the horrible kidnapping experience. For Jackson, Alani really seemed to bring him into the land of the living. He seemed to just be coasting through life, and she really gave him a purpose, a family, a reason to be happy and live life for something other than the job. They really were perfect. And the fact that they were so compatible in the bedroom had my glasses fogging at certain points! *wink*
We got to see plenty of Dare and Trace in this as well. Seeing them take on more of a big brother role with Alani was a fun and different side to them both. There were some hilarious scenes as well with Dare and Trace trying to intimidate Jackson with their big bother glares, and Jackson telling them both off. There were quite a few times I found myself laughing out loud at the dialogue and situations Jackson and Alani found themselves in.
The suspense part of the book was also great. I love that Foster is using this series to bring about awareness to human trafficking, and doesn’t sugar coat anything for her readers. I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering who the big bad villain of this story was, and was surprised at who it turned out to be. I also enjoyed that Foster introduced and used the secondary characters of Spencer and Jackson’s pseudo-little sister so much. They added a lot, and I hope their story will come next, I just know the two of them will have a great romance to tell.
All in all I absolutely positively LOVED everything about this book. I am definitely adding it to my list of 2011 favorite reads. Everything about it was spot on: the romance, the sexy times, the plot, the characters. I honestly can’t think of one thing I didn’t like. I think this is one of those books that romantic suspense fans MUST add to the book list as soon as possible!
The Hero: After Andrew Callaghan was turned in a vicious attack, he distanced himself from Kat. He was out of control and dangerous and he spent their time apart training trying to adjust to his new shifter nature. He worked hard to learn control and skills to be able to protect the woman he loves. Now he has begun to find his place in his new life as a shifter and he has never stopped loving Kat.
The Heroine: Kat is a powerful empath. When Andrew was attacked and nearly killed she lost control of her powers and destroyed Andrew’s attackers. She was totally devastated and felt responsible for what happened to Andrew. When he left her broken hearted she focused on learning how to control her empath powers and trying to make sense of her life. Now she has received information about her mother and the cult she was involved in and Kat has called on Andrew to help her investigate.
Summary: A year ago, Andrew and Kat had feelings for each other – they wanted a relationship. But that was until the one fateful night Kat lost control of her empath abilities, and as a result, Andrew was turned into a shapeshifter. Both in a bad place, they drifted apart. Kat went to her mentor Callum, to learn control and discipline with her extremely strong empath abilities. Andrew went to fellow shapeshifter , Alec to learn how to lead his new life. How to protect the ones he loves, and use his shifter abilities to take down those that try to hurt his friends.
Now a year later, these two have awkward, stilted conversations. They both feel it is their fault for what happened all those months ago. When Kat learns of information about her mother and the cult she was involved in years ago, the only person around she can turn to is Andrew. Forced to take a road trip, they have lots of time to be together, and talk about the past. As Kat digs deeper into the psychic world her mother tried to protect her from, she discovers there are those that want to harm her, and now Andrew and herself are put to the test.
Nicole: I always love the friends to lovers stories, and the fact that after EVERYTHING Kat and Andrew had been through, they were finally able to put aside their fears and guilt and just be together, as they always wanted to be… *sigh*
Honestly, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book. The plot moved quickly and advanced the overall story arc, the sexy times were smokin’ hot and I thought the romance was on par given their history. I guess the only thing that grated on my nerves was the fact that they both had such a hard time forgiving themselves (and honestly, each other) for that “dreadful night”
Publisher: Berkely Publish Date: 9/7/10 How I got this book: Won ARC from author
Wow, just wow. This book is definitely on my list of Top Books to read f...morePublisher: Berkely Publish Date: 9/7/10 How I got this book: Won ARC from author
Wow, just wow. This book is definitely on my list of Top Books to read for 2010!! We start The Darkest Hour with Ethan, as he mourns the death of his wife on the one year anniversary. He is overwhelmed with guilt, and does his best to shut out the world. When he receives a FedEx package with proof his wife is still alive, his life does a complete 180.
Ethan turns to his brothers who run a contract military like company for help in rescuing Rachel. Together they raid the jungle in search for her, only to find that she has been so doped up on drugs, she has lost most of her memory. The only thing she can remember is the face of an angel she knows as Ethan.
When they return home and begin weaning Rachel off the drugs, her memory slowly returns. Together, Rachel and Ethan must rebuild their marriage, find their place amongst their family, and find out why a threat against Rachel still exists. But when her memories start to come back clearer and clearer, will they be able to move past some of the more ugly places in their marriage, or will they part ways forever?
I am a huge sucker for stories about couples who are married, or already share a past. And Maya Banks has taken the gold! The Darkest Hour is a perfect mix of action, romance, suspense, and passion.
I loved that the book was packed with action. The entire trip into the jungle to rescue Rachel was fast paced, fun to read, and great to imagine. It was like a Bourne movie playing in my mind; however it wasn’t too over the top. It was exactly what I image would take place in an isolated jungle camp overrun with cartel grunts.
The romance was perfect for me as well. I love that Ethan had to deal with both his guilt over the way he treated Rachel before she disappeared, his joy at having her back, and his fears of losing her all over again. I love my alpha heroes full of angst, and Ethan does not disappoint. The small worries and gestures he showers on Rachel were enough to win even me over.
Having read a few books where a character was given amnesia, and having it fail miserably, I was a little hesitant about it. However, Banks scores again with having the perfect amount of confusion, frustration, and restoration with Rachel’s memory loss. It was done so well with Rachel having sporadic flashes of memory; working to both secure and alarm her about her past. I loved that she had insecurities about Ethan’s family, and that she struggled with overcoming them.
I don’t think there was one thing about this book I didn’t like, besides the fact that it had to end. I can’t wait for additional stories in the KGI world, and can only hope they are as awesome as this one was!
All in all I give The Darkest Hour 5 out of 5 salvaged marriages!
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publish Date: Out Now! How we got this book: Purchased
Has: It’s no secret that I am a huge huge fan of Ann Aguirre, I have been eagerly awaiting this book for a long time, especially when it was a dystopian YA – and I was interested in Ann’s take of a dark and dangerous future and she sure delivered!
MinnChica: I just want to say that I am not usually a fan of YA. Most YA books tend to grate on my nerves and I just can’t seem to ever get into them. But I’m a huge Ann Aguirre fan as well, so I figured if anyone can do it well, she could. I have absolutely nothing but positive and glowing things to say about this book!
Has: I think with the problem with some of the recent YA that is out now – the world building and the characterisation sometimes has no real depth or fleshed out universe. Enclave had a believable setting and premise and well drawn out characters. I really felt that Ann Aguirre transitioned from adult fiction to YA really well and without toning down any of the elements of her trademark gritty style. I think this is what works for me.
MinnChica: Yes! I loved the fact that I didn’t feel like I was reading a book geared towards kids. The characters were still gritty and deep, the situations were still dark and suspenseful. Even the little bit of romance was exciting without being too juvenile.
Has: I LOVED THE ROMANCE!!! It was realistic and engaging and there was no false emo wangsting. Even the hint of the prospective other suitor later in the book, which I think may progress to a love triangle gave me tingles. This was how to do a YA romance.
MinnChica: Exactly (although I have to say if Deuce doesn’t end up with Fade, I might have to go hunt down a certain author… I’m talking to you Ann Aguirre!)
I loved how gritty and dark it was too, but still with the prospect of hope on the horizon. With the look into all the different ways humanity had found a way to survive the end of the world? It was so fabulous I got shivers throughout the entire book! It reminded me a little of Joss Ware’s Envy Chronicles series in just how complex and well done the world building was.
Has: Fade was a fantastic character! I loved how intense he was (I love intense heroes!). From the tentative beginnings of their romance to the more overt feelings at the end of the book was well fleshed out. Deuce’s confusion about her feelings was conveyed well. Especially in contrast to how she was brought up. Her world is stark and hopeless and I loved how she had to cope with facing up to these emotions. I really like Stalker – in a lot of ways he is like Fade but a harder edged character. He has to be – to survive the world he lives in.
MinnChica: I thought all four main characters were just so incredibly well done. I loved watching Deuce’s eyes open to the way things were in the Enclave, and how she really came into her own and was able to form her own ideas and opinions. Fade really was so Alpha, and I always love a good Alpha male. Stalker took awhile to grow on me, but he really had a way of getting under my skin and staying there; in a good way. Also Tegan was great. She really started coming out of her shell towards the end. She was a great balance of innocence to the other more gruff and jaded characters
Has: Yes! Each character really brought something different to the story and they all shared great chemistry. I really felt the story just got going before it ended although so much happened in the book.
The world-building was great and I think this was the strongest highlight of the book. The underground enclaves and how Deuce’s society lived was so realistic and detailed.
MinnChica: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. And I think the only let down for me was the ending. The story was just going and going and so engaging. It ended at a great stopping point, but also a bit of a cliffy (not as bad as the Fever books, but enough…) I just wanted to keep on reading more and more! Plus, we had just gotten to another major world building point, and I was so excited for answers!
Has: Even the freaks (looks like mutated cannibalistic humans) also added a scary and creepy edge and tension to the story.
MinnChica: They really did! And I love the little tidbit we got as far as how the freaks came to be. I really hope that Aguirre goes into that more in upcoming books. Such a neat and interesting twist!
Has: Even the freaks (looks like mutated cannibalistic humans) also added a scary and creepy edge and tension to the story. agree! Although this is currently a trilogy of books, and this felt like establishing and setting up a big story. I definitely agree about that the freaks will play a big role in the second book, Outpost. And I suspect that it may not be as easy as living in the Outpost than living in the Enclaves.
MinnChica: Oh I agree completely! I’m also really looking forward to how Aguirre handles the characters going from being grown up adults in the Enclaves, to having to be kids again in the Outposts. I can’t wait to see how that is handled!!
Has: I don’t think they will be regarded as kids – although they will have to face adults and their rules which is definitely going to be interesting.
MinnChica: I loved the descriptions of everything as well. With Deuce being so new to the world as we know it, having her experience everything for the first time, explain things as it was the first time she was seeing things… It was so neat! I loved trying to guess what things were too!
Has: Yes! Those little details really made the book alive for me and showed how much of the little things can lose meanings over time. I think this is one of the best dystopian books I read because of those elements. I have read a few books in this genre and details like this was missing. Another thing was the fact that Ann never shied away from darker subjects. I especially liked how she explored gang culture and how that evolved in a world like this.
MinnChica: Absolutely! I would even go so far as to say that this is by far the best Young Adult book I’ve ever read, along with one of the best dystopian books ever.
Exactly! That aspect of her world building was so incredible and everything about the subculture and mob type mentality was just… WOW. I don’t remember the last time I was so invested and interested in the world building in a first series book. (Oh wait, I do, The Kate Daniels Series…)
Has: For her first Dystopian YA book – I definitely concur! I loved this book and I literally inhaled it while I read the book. Everything from the characters, setting and the plot. Enclave is one of the starkest and grittiest YA stories I’ve read, but Ann really balances it out with vulnerability and fleshed out emotions. That factor is missing in a few of the dystopian books I have read – we need some soul to make things hopeful and we got this in Enclave! I give Enclave an A+ – Its definitely made my top ten list of this year!
MinnChica: I have to agree, I think that Enclave came out of the gates swinging! Powerful and strong characters, a fast moving and exciting plot, and the right mixture of dark and gritty new world order with a sprinkle of hope everlasting. I have a feeling that Enclave with be one of the top reads of 2011!
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: Pima County Public Library
This past year I've become more and more excit...morePublisher: Grand Central Publishing Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: Pima County Public Library
This past year I've become more and more excited about romantic suspense books. I've read some of Eden's paranormal work, and really liked her writing style, so when I was browsing my library website and found her new suspense series, I reserved it right away. I was not disappointed.
Monica Davenport is an FBI agent with a knack for getting into a serial killer's mind, with a very dark secret. She serves on the FBI's newest elite team of agents who investigate serial killers, and has a steamy history with the newest member of their team, Luke Dante.
Luke's fantasy woman is none other than Monica, and after their one scorching night together long ago, he can't get her out of his mind. When they are assigned to a team together to chase down a killer who uses someone's fears as a way to kill them, their passion ignites, and the stakes get raised. But will they be able to catch a killer, who might just know each of their fears?
Again, Eden absolutely blew me away with the first installment of the Deadly Series. I haven't read a ton of suspense books, and the few I have read have mostly been about military men. So this was new to me, and I was absolutely amazed. Eden creates some amazing characters, including a hero and heroine who each have their flaws and strengths, and a villain that gave me the creeps.
The relationship between Monica and Luke was complicated, hot and filled with secrets. As we found out more and more about Monica and Luke's history both as individuals and as a couple. The way that each of them had overcome the many obstacles in their lives and come out on top. I loved the background stories about each of their fears, and how the killer turned out to be connected with both her past and her present.
I also really enjoyed the side characters within the FBI team. I know that this will be a great series, and I'm really excited for Deadly Heat and Deadly Lies, out February and March respectively. I'm really excited to read about Agent Samantha, who was a victim of a traumatic event, and how she deals with the fall out. I can only imagine how powerful that one is going to be!
For those of you who are faint of heart. Please think carefully before picking p this book. Eden does an amazing job of describing the setting and events of this book. There were a few scenes that were so incredibly powerful they gave me chills, goosebumps and a twinge of fear all out once. While this is a compliment to Eden's writing styles, for those of you with queasy stomach’s, you might be a little shaken at some parts.
But, that being said, this book was absolutely fabulous. I was so impressed with the intricacies of the plot, the back stories and the overall flow of the book. Deadly Fear is probably one of my favorite Romantic Suspense books of all time!
All in all, I give Deadly Fear 5 out of 5 super creepy serial killers!!(less)
Publisher: Dell Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: Purchased
Keri Arthur has been one of my favorite paranormal romance authors since I first picked up the Riley Jensen series from my local library. When she released her first in the Myths & Magic series, I officially became a huge fan girl. Love. LOVE LOVE LOVE
Mercy is on a mission: save her best friend’s soul within 5 days. She needs to find the killers, all while continuing to work on a case involving the mass killing of a few Nevada draman towns. With the negative view of dramans (half dragon, half human) within the dragon subculture, Mercy is on her own in her investigation, until she runs into Death.
Damon (aka Death) is a trained council assassin. He is working on the same case as Mercy, trying to help out a friend who lost someone during the cleansing. The passion between Mercy and Damon burns hot, but Mercy’s draman status is a huge roadblock between them. While Damon is willing to work the case with her, and take her to his bed, anything above and beyond that is seemingly out of reach. The fire between them burns hot, but will it be enough to break down those barriers for a chance at forever?
I honestly can’t think of one thing I didn’t love about this book: the characters, the plot, the romance. Everything was amazing and perfect for me.
I thought Mercy was an incredible character. She was strong, set in her values, and outwardly confident. I loved getting to see her vulnerabilities as well, her upbringing as a draman and how that really influenced the woman she became. Her strong conviction to fight for the rights of the dramans was filled with passion and intensity, and I loved it. She knew what she wanted, and wasn’t afraid to reach for it with both hands. I loved her drive to run in head first, even when it occasionally got her into loads of trouble.
I have to say, I definitely want a Damon of my own. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome, with a dose of danger on top. I loved that everyone but Mercy would quake in their books when he was around. At the same time, he wasn’t afraid to show a little bit of vulnerability towards Mercy, admit where his thinking might be at fault, and showing her that death did in fact have a little bit of a soft side.
The constant conflict between them, especially with regards to the drama issue constantly pulled at my heart strings. I was rooting for them and wanted more than anything for Damon to see the errors of his thinking, to come forward with the times and get out of the dark age. His grand gesture at the end of the book was (in my opinion) a perfect display of his feelings and commitment to Mercy, both in a relationship and as a partner who supported her cause for equal draman rights.
I am so disappointed to report that Arthur told me via twitter that there will probably NOT be any additional books in this world. I’ll admit that when I saw that, I cried a little. The world building in this series is so... perfect. I love the dragon and draman subculture. I love the differences between the sea dragons and the air dragons. I love the backstabbing and subplots between the dragon kings, even though it was only touched on briefly. Fans of dragon shifters need to pick up this series (Destiny Kills & Mercy Burns), and treat them as MUST READS.
All in all, I really just can’t say enough great things about Mercy Burns and the Myths & Magic Series. Everything that PNR fans love are featured and done with excellence: intricate world building, smokin’ romance, well developed characters, and an amazing plot.
Julie James is back with another fabulous novel about the FBI field office in Chicago. A Lot Like Love features FBI agent Nick McCall, the leading undercover agent in his office, and the sexy heiress Jordan Rhodes. Nick gets called in to assist with a junior agent’s undercover assignment. But in order to get what they need, they enlist civilian Jordan Rhodes by dangling the release of her brother from prison over her head.
When things get dicey, the one night undercover operation turns into a week long ordeal, and Nick and Jordan must continue their “relationship” in order for the FBI to obtain their evidence. But when jealous ex’s and creepy private investigators get involved, things take an unexpected turn that no one saw coming!
I absolutely love James’s books, and A Lot Like Love might be my favorite so far. Nick is such a classic guys guy at the beginning of the book, and as a long time undercover operative, a little hardened with normal life. He is used to stringing women along, only being available when not working undercover. He isn’t used to having friends, and his family usually gets put onto the back burner for the job. But once he is placed in the role of loving and doting boyfriend, he really takes to Jordan. His jokes about wine and Jordan’s heiress lifestyle are hilarious and keep the story moving quickly.
I’ve always loved James’s heroines. They are strong independent women with great values and self confidence. Jordan is no exception! Although she is an heiress, she is also a dedicated business woman who wants to make her own way and devoted sister and daughter. I enjoyed the way that she helped Nick grow into his own, and stood up for what was right and wrong.
Their relationship was great as well, filled with sexual tension and innuendo that sparked up the pages. Their conversations about wine always carried playful undertones, and even though I’m a total beer girl, it was fun and flirty and sexy all the same. The dialogue was absolutely fabulous. James is always witty and sarcastic and fun to read, it’s one thing about her writing that always stands out to me.
We also get to see some more of Cameron and Jack, the hero and heroine from Something About You. And this investigation continues on a little with what Cameron and Jack unraveled in the last book. While I was a little disappointed that we deviated from the norm of having a female lawyer lead, I liked the theme of staying with the FBI office and agents we met briefly in the last book.
I think that one of James strengths is her ability to really bring to life her secondary characters. Jordan’s genius twin brother Kyle was an absolute doll and so fun to read. I cracked up every time he made an appearance, and his back story of being the “Twitter Terrorist!” Absolutely hysterical. Junior Agent Huxley also stood out for me, as I tend to have a love for all things nerds, and he was the quintessential pocket protector type. I can only hope that James continues to stick with characters we know, and we can see more of these guys in the future. (There was a small note that the next book should be featuring Jordan’s brother Kyle!)