Favorite Quote: “Fuck the guy, take the girl, save a soul”
Raze is a medic for Underworld General and a supernatural night club. He is also a seminus demon (sex demon) who has a bit of a problem. He’s gay. Unfortunately, he can only obtain the sexual release he needs to survive with females. 30 years ago he met a succubus, Fayle, who saved his life and now services him when he needs relief. Raze appreciates what Fayle does for him but neither are interested in each other and her possessiveness is beginning to wear on him. Raze has accepted his fate but when he meets a sexy man, he wonders if it’s possible for him to not only have what he needs…but who he wants.
Slake is an assassin for a demon run law firm. He escaped his violent homeland and made a deal with the devil (or someone pretty close to Satan) in order to survive but now finds himself on a deadline. He needs to retrieve a succubus and deliver her pronto or he forfeits his soul forever. The stunning medic he recently met has all his engines firing at full throttle but when he discovers his target, Fayle, is the only thing keeping the Raze alive, he finds himself caught in a trap of his own making.
As Raze and Slake look to find some middle ground, Fayle’s jealousy turns deadly, and suddenly Raze and Slake are fighting for more than their right to love. Now they’re fighting for their lives.
If you are anything like me, you glom Larissa Ione’s Demonica series with an unholy passion. I continue to wait breathlessly for each little niblet Ione releases in this world. When I heard she was writing an MM romance…my grabby hands went into hyper drive. As always, this wickedly dark and gritty paranormal world continues to thrive with it’s dynamic characters, devious plots lines, steamy sexually intense romances, and engaging often humorous dialogue.
Raze and Slake are a delightful addition to this world. Both are intelligent, gorgeous, honorable men who haven’t had the easiest of times. Ione weaves a sensual “lust at first sight” romance and divulges just enough into their backgrounds to help fan the flames of desire and attraction. Delicious love scenes and some unusual but well plotted twists helps these boys towards their happily ever after. Fans will delight in seeing cameos of various beloved characters who pop in and out to help Raze and Slake. My only qualm is the blurb claims Fayle and Raze are best friends but the storyline doesn’t support that. Their relationship is anything but friendly and decidedly one sided.
Once again Ione has given us a much desired and sexy glimpse back into her world and reaffirms that in the PNR genre, she is definitely royalty.
I put off reading this for awhile even though I was told repeatedly I would enjoy it. Frankly, I thought it would be lowbrow cheesy soft porn masqueraI put off reading this for awhile even though I was told repeatedly I would enjoy it. Frankly, I thought it would be lowbrow cheesy soft porn masquerading as sci fi erotic romance. Imagine my surprise that it is a well written story with developed characters, viable plotlines, and some steamy hawt action. The hero is a sweetie and I loved the heroine with her snark and ability to adapt to any situation. ...more
A spin-off of Wright’s popular Phoenix Pack series; this new series focuses on the Mercury Pack which is led by Nick and Shayla -from Carnal Secrets. Just as with her other PNRs, Wright builds an engaging story featuring strong men and women, humor, action, suspense, and some steamy hot love scenes. Smooth writing and strong dialogue keeps the story flowing fast and able to handle the multiple plot lines. Fans will love seeing plenty of old faces from The Phoenix Pack and getting some updates on previous couples. ...more
I was super excited when Molly Harper told me at CMC2015 she was co authoring a new pnr series based on a Russian mob family who just happen to be wolf shifters. So I stalked her until I got a copy. GO ME! A strong, intelligent, sexually free alpha heroine takes the stage front and center as she fights to save the family business from her insane brother and her right to live and love on her own terms in a world where women are nothing more than pretty decorations. Humor and horror go hand in hand as Conrad and Corona build an engaging world that straddles the line between the mundane and the supernatural. Dynamic characters and witty dialogue keep the story moving along at a steady pace. Overall, I enjoyed though there were issues that stood out for me. A bit too much repetition (heroine constantly repeats that she can’t be with the hero due to his family) and there are some plot holes that defied explanation. Regardless, I look forward to reading more of this world.
A fun fast PNR that gives us a kick arse heroine and a sexist hero who keeps getting his arse and ego kicked by heroine. Action packed, with plenty ofA fun fast PNR that gives us a kick arse heroine and a sexist hero who keeps getting his arse and ego kicked by heroine. Action packed, with plenty of humor and some very nice smexytimes. Story ends on a high note and while conflict is resolved, the romance is just beginning. My only issue was the author's overuse of giggle. Everyone only giggles and it's constant. ...more
An enjoyable erotic pnr/urban fantasy filled with humor, crazy characters, steamy sex scenes, and well plotted romance, and a wee bit of action. I wouAn enjoyable erotic pnr/urban fantasy filled with humor, crazy characters, steamy sex scenes, and well plotted romance, and a wee bit of action. I would have liked a more solid approach to the various plot lines concerning Harper and who/why she was being targeted but otherwise an engaging fast read. ...more
When I first saw came across this book-the title, cover, and blurb demanded I read it. A supernatural motorcycle club with a suspenseful storyline? Sign me up.
The storyline focuses heavily on the characters with light introductions to the Inked Menace club members and dual backstories on our protagonists-Cecelia Marks and Lucky Miller. Cecelia is in the witness protection program after she turned her husband in to the Feds for illegal arms dealing. An impromptu decision to get a tattoo leads her to Lucky. Lucky Miller is a wolf shifter. A patched member of a secret shifter motorcycle club- Inked Menace- he went nomad when his girlfriend was murdered. Lucky and Cecelia connect instantly but their collective issues keeps them from making any moves in that direction. When he hears Cecelia has a bounty on her head and two rival gangs are thinking of trying to collect on it, he throws caution to the wind and decides he and his club are going to protect Cecelia no matter what.
Unfortunately what I expected to read and what I read were two different things.
Weak characterization and storyline takes potentially strong, interesting protagonists and makes them clichés. This is a result of the author choosing to use a multitude of plot devices to force the characters into the direction she wants them to go rather than building on the base she initially sets up. Can’t pursue a relationship due to past issues? Then we’ll slap in a situation to make it possible. Unsure sexually where you stand? The mate bond is a surefire way to bypass having to work through all those pesky emotions. Can’t figure out how to address the supernatural elephant in the room? No worries. We’ll just make the other person magical too. So on and so on. There was no real work in developing the story. Rather the reader is manipulated by flash and awe before noticing there is nothing behind the smoke screen.
Awkward dialogue and some odd phrasing made me laugh but not in a good way; knocking me out of story multiple times. The losing of one’s head is referred to as getting you’re neck hacked from your body. The heroine refers to her and the hero having sex as sating their baser desires. Dirty talk from the hero consists of, “you’re so tight that when we’re done you’re gonna squeak when you walk.” *blinks*
The story rushes to the end with almost no time devoted to the main conflict beyond introducing and off the wall resolution. I wished the villain would have played a more active role. The relationship issues are resolved with sex and a single conversation and everything else is “magically” wrapped up with a happy ending for all.
Feehan’s Sisters of the Heart series is a spin off her Drake Sisters series. We are introduced to five “sisters” who have settled in Sea Haven; each burdened with a past that has them in need of healing. Earth Bound is the fourth in the series and focuses on the youngest “sister”-Lexi. Though each previous installment in this series has in some way played off and expanded on the events that happened in the last Drake book-Hidden Currents-this one doesn’t as much. The focus here is solely on the hero and heroine and expands on an ongoing arc concerning the Prakenskii brothers. You do not need to read the Drake Sisters series in order to understand this series as each storyline is self-contained with a resolvable conflict but the characters and arc do overlap.
Earth Bound is an action based storyline filled with intrigue, magic, romance and a healthy dose of humor that blends well with the dark aspects of the story. An even steady flow and engaging characters takes me back to why I originally started reading Feehan. Feehan does a fabulous job of introducing us the protagonists and integrating their backstories into the main plot in order to give us a well rounded informative base on which to begin our adventure. Multiple storylines run simultaneously, weaving in and out but never overwhelming the reader.
I have always had love/hate relationship with Feehan’s works. Either her couples are perfect matches or the heroes are so alpha they completely overshadow the heroine and I find myself wanting to slap them silly. Luckily, Earth Bound is of the former. While there is no denying Gavrill is the quintessential over protective alpha, Lexi is more than able to hold her own with him. She has been alone for a long time and her strength, intelligence, gift and quiet stubbornness invokes respect from him and he instinctively understands when to push forward and when to pull back.
While Gavrill and Lexi aren’t similar or complementary in references to their gifts, they are well matched personality wise. They click in both a physical and emotional sense. Lexi is an earth elemental, able to command the earth and plants to her will. Gavrill, like his brothers, was taken as a child and made into an assassin though he is not one to follow anyone blindly. His ability is blending into the shadows-a blade that strikes with no mercy. He has a strong moral base and consequence though he will take out ANYONE (including friends and family) should they come between him and what he wants.
“What the hell are you doing” Levi demanded. “Gavrill, there is no way you’d fall asleep in the middle of this group. Don’t play her. She’s off limits.”
“Go to hell, Levi.” He didn’t lift his lashes or look at this brother. His voice said it all.
They are the flip sides of a coin. Gavrill is a trained killer while Lexi is a pacifist. The chemistry between them is instantly noticeable, becoming more substantial as they get to know each other better. Lexi’s innate need to nurture and heal grounds Gavrill more volatile nature and allows her to envelope him in her protective embrace. Due to their violent childhoods, the romance is slow to develop. The love scenes are emotionally intense and add plenty of spice to the story. Feehan doesn’t rush into their lovemaking, which makes it all the more tantalizing and sensual when they decide to go that final step.
“He was… extraordinary. She hadn’t know how extraordinary until this moment.”
There are multiple plotlines weave and wind their way through out the main story. I liked that Feehan seems to have put a more human stamp on this installment, addressing mundane issues that only an outsider (Gavrill) would see. Watching Gavrill acquaint himself with his brothers, especially the baby- Ilya- is heartwarming. Feehan does a fabulous job of showing us the duality of Gavrill’s personality. He is so alpha and scary to others yet quite the closet romantic with Lexi.
“The earth moved for me the moment I laid eyes on you.”
Things are still up in the air with Ellie Drake and I can’t WAIT to see what happens when she and Jackson return to Sea Haven. Gavrill has thrown down the gauntlet on that situations and it will be interesting to see his and Jackson’s first meeting. Once again Feehan allows us to see the sisters drop their masks of pacifism and the danger these five can wrought when they and their loved ones are threatened and clues are dropped to whose story will come next. Lissa is definitely a conundrum and I have a feeling her hero will have to work extra hard for her. Past faces from both series are seen and I like the effortless flow that exists here. Fans of this series will not be disappointed by Earth Bound and I for one am ready for book five-title and release date to be announced.
Favorite Quote: Like my mom said, we all got talent.
Siren’s Call is the fourth installment in Ms. Castle’s Rainshadow series. A spin-off of her popular Harmony series, Rainshadow is an island that has become a refuge of sorts to those who don’t fit in with Harmony’s upper class society. People with unusual or dangerous psi talents gravitate to the island, knowing the island tends to protect its inhabitants from outsiders. The island, a hot bed of unexplored alien energy areas, keeps the local talent on their toes. Dry witty humor and a suspenseful mystery go hand in hand to create a well developed storyline that tends to revolve around two “misfits” who band together to investigate the island’s unusual alien infrastructure. Personable characters, intriguing plot lines, and vivid world building makes each installment a fun engaging read. Though each book can be read as a stand alone, this series does interact with her Harmony and Arcane series as the three series follow specific families through time.
Rafe Coppersmith met Ella Morgan in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Ella followed a wayward dust bunny into the catacombs only to find herself caught in the middle of an alien artifact smuggling ring. Rafe appears and saves her life, but in order for his cover not to be blown, she has to leave before the cops show up. He promises to call her on her afterwards but was unable to do so when he is badly psi burned on another job. His family places him on lock down, only letting him leave when they feel he isn’t a danger to himself or others.
The first place he goes is to Ella and wants to hire her for a job. His family is excavating a preserve on the Rainshadow island called Wonderland. Problem is some nasty creatures are trying to eat them. Rafe knows Ella has just the talent they need to defeat these creatures and is willing to do anything to get her help.
Ella Morgan has an unusual and dangerous gift that she keeps hidden in order to not be placed on the FBPI (Federal Bureau of Paranormal Investigations) list. She is a Siren; her gift being she can sing people to sleep and even death if she so chooses. People who get on the FBPI’s list are often made to disappear or placed under lock and key for the protection of society. She chooses to use her gift as a dream counselor where she helps guide people to understanding and utilizing their dreams. Because of her gift, she has convinced herself that she will never have a real relationship much less marry and has made peace with this. Sort of.
When Rafe never called she wasn’t surprised. The Morgan family motto has always been either men will become obsessed with you or run straight into hell to escape a siren. When he suddenly reappears offering her a job, she is hurt and angry but realistic enough to see that having the Coppersmith name as a client will do wonders for her budding business so she accepts his proposal and agrees to go to Rainshadow Island.
Ella and Rafe are fun, intriguing leads. Intelligent, strong, and loyal. The class struggle theme is subtle-Ella have been forced to hide her gifts, twisting and shifting them into a plausible career objective. Growing up knowing she had to be very careful not to give herself away. Ella clings to her independence, has strong emotional walls, and very little trust outside her family. Fired from her last job for a situation not of her doing only reinforces these walls.
There are no fairy tale endings for women like her. When it came to identifying monsters the old saying held true. It takes one to know one.
Rafe Copperfield is at an impasse. A member of a rich and well respected family, his recent burn out leaves him feeling a failure. He’s never had to struggle to be accepted; every door in society has always been held wide open for him. But now the gift he used for the family business is gone and he isn’t sure what it’s being replaced with. Though he screwed up with Ella through no fault of his own, now he needs her more than ever. Not just for his family business but for his own sanity.
“She had greeted him with the same beautiful voice he heard in his dreams, the voice that pulled him out of his worst nightmares.”
The romance is very slow to start though the chemistry is apparent from their first meeting. The sparks and snark fly with abandonment. Ella doesn’t trust easily and she resists all of Rafe’s attempts to make this attraction more than a simple fling. Rafe wasn’t prepared for the strength of his attraction to her and has his own problems that are playing heavily with his life though he knows deep down she is the woman for him. And he’s not afraid to push her into admitting it.
“How dare you accuse me of inventing an excuse not to get married. If I didn’t want to get married, I would just come straight out and say I didn’t want to get married. Have I ever said that? Have I?”
“Well, now that I think about it, maybe not in so many words. However-”
One aspect of all Castle’s writing that is most appealing to me is the strength of her relationships. Though overly protective and pushy at times, her heroes aren’t jerks. Castle matches them expertly with strong women who can more than hold their own in any situation; providing some humorous scenes. The sex is satisfying towards solidifying the attraction and romance though not overly explicit.
The ending is climatic and action packed resolution of the main conflict. Some plot threads are left open as the arc continues to grow and solidify. Castle continues to expand and evolve her world and draws on an engaging cast of characters to make it come further alive for her readers.
Castle’s Siren’s Call definitely called to me in more ways than one. Though it contains a formulaic base and the usual assorted mass of heroes and villains, the romantic escapism it offers will to appeal to new and old fans of this series.
Favorite Quote: “Oh soldier, how did we come to such a place?”
Midnight’s Kiss picks up right where Night’s Honor left off. The Nightkind (vampyres) demesne is currently engaged in a battle over the throne, with Julian Regillus, the reigning king, and Justine, a powerful council member, at it’s center. Melisandre (Melly), heir to the Light Fae throne, is kidnapped by Justine in hopes of bringing Julian to heel when he hears his former lover is in trouble.
Julian and Melly had an explosive three month affair over twenty years ago that was destroyed when Julian accused Melly of betrayal. Unwilling to believe her innocence, Julian breaks it off and never speaks to her again unless absolutely necessary. Over the years they have danced around their pain, trying to get over their love for one another and move on with their lives.
Melly is convinced Julian will not be rushing in to save her anytime soon, so she is shocked when he appears in the neighboring cell. Now both he and Melly are prisoners with no hope of rescue in sight. Forced to work together to escape, they find their past intrudes on their present when the passion they thought long dead flares to life. But can Julian forgive Melly’s betrayal? And if so…will Melly forgive his?
I have wanted to learn more about Julian since Serpent’s Kiss. His appearances so far has painted a picture of a ruthless, arrogant, unfeeling man who would do anything to secure his absolute rule over the Nightkind. In here we finally get Julian’s backstory, learning everything there is to know about his life, his turning, his broken affair with Melly, and the true reasons behind his push for the throne. Harrison gives us Julian’s side of the story, which paints a very different picture of the events that surrounded Julian and his past actions.
Suspense, mystery, humor, and dramatic romances makes for a delightful series that continues to engage and intrigue with each new installment.The smooth storyline and personable characters immediately drag you back into Harrison’s supernatural world as though you never left. Heavily character driven, the world building continues to expand and evolve though Harrison tends to set boundaries; evolving certain sub worlds within the ongoing storyline in a series of installments. Right now we are fully submerged in the Nightkind demesne and its ongoing political upheaval.
Midnight’s Kiss embodies a trope I enjoy-second chance love with a bite. Two former lovers who have turned enemies. Pain, sorrow, anger, and distrust are the emotions that brew between Melly and Julian. I love when two seemingly indomitable wills meet and clash. Watching the hero and heroine go from antagonists to lovers is a delicious storyline; made only better when there is a volatile history that precedes it.
“I shouldn’t care so much. I shouldn’t care at all.”
In Night’s Honor, Melly came off as a bit of a diva. An actress and Light Fae princess, you got the feeling she was a pampered, spoiled, self entitled, brat who got what she deserved when Julian left her. Only Melly isn’t any of those things. She is intelligent, down to earth, loyal, strong, and very resourceful. Kidnapped and terrorized, Melly instantly takes stock of her surroundings and begins to plan her escape. She has a great sense of humor and a formidable arsenal filled with snarky goodness. Seeing Julian has actually come to her aid is a shock to her emotional grid. She still loves him but the pain he left her with keeps her from falling into his arms and begging for a reconciliation.
“You are delusional if you think I would ever let you take me again, after the way you treated me. You see this?” With her free hand she waved her fingers in the air down the length of her torso as she shook her head. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re neeevvver getting this goodness again.”
Julian is centuries old and his attitude reflects that. Born during the Roman Empire, this former battle horned soldier is an uber alpha wrapped in a thin veneer of civility. Sexy, morose, sarcastic, and a wee bit inclined to drama, he rules the demesne with an iron fist, hiding his emotions behind a mask of supposed indifference and boredom. Only two people have been able to see behind his mask-Carling and Melly. Melly was the first woman for whom he was willing to change his life for. Willing to give up his throne and whatever else was needed to keep her in his life. Her betrayal devastated him. Already feeling he wasn’t even close to being good enough for her, discovering proof of that broke something crucial inside of him.
Before her, he hadn’t known that he had been slowly expiring of thirst over the centuries. No matter how many people he tasted or how many lovers he had taken, he’d been dying inside. Dying. Then she had lit everything up inside of him-only to snatch it all away again, leaving him bereft and alone…
The reconciliation blends gently with the on going conflict. Being trapped in a prison isn’t conducive to any smexy times, it does however allow them to spend time together with no outside interference. Their chemistry is as strong as ever and the scenes drip with sweaty bare-chested alpha male posturing and some reluctant internal swooning on the heroine’s side.
She made another sound that was purely sexual, husky and needy, and the warmth of her body nestled against him. The soft curve of her breasts pressed against his bare chest, her hips brushed against his painfully hardening cock. […] The ravenous hunter in him took fierce note. All the signs were there. She would be his for the taking, all his again.
Non stop action speeds the story along as Harrison reveals each new subplot. As each scene unfolds, we watch Melly and Julian face their fears and overcome obstacles while dealing with the external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
It does take some time for our hero and heroine to make nice and finally discuss what occurred 20 years ago, which I found a little strange. I will admit I guessed early on what had happened and was put out by how easily Melly and Julian forgive the situation. Harrison gives a reasonable explanation for the choices they make but I still wanted to see something besides perfuctionary understanding and forgiveness. It fell flat considering the build up that received.
The ending is a dramatic undertaking as a series of events lead us to an admirable conclusion. Harrison gives us a brief look in to Graydon’s story-Shadow’s End (Elder Races, #9), set to release December 1, 2015-that had me bouncing in my chair. I am SUPER PSYCHED FOR THIS BOOK!!
Harrison continues to write stories that any paranormal romance fan who loves action, suspense, humor, and a sizzling romance is sure to enjoy.
A fantastic installment that proves once again that when it comes to PNR-Aiken/Laurenston is one of the reigning queens. I laughed and giggled so hardA fantastic installment that proves once again that when it comes to PNR-Aiken/Laurenston is one of the reigning queens. I laughed and giggled so hard throughout this book. Though the humor reigns supreme; the action, intrigue, and suspense blend well with the continued evolution of the world, characters, and arc. More to come closer to release date. ...more
Molly Harper keeps on delivering in her newest Half Moon Hollow installment. Snarky humans, overly protective vampires, and the most dysfunctional famMolly Harper keeps on delivering in her newest Half Moon Hollow installment. Snarky humans, overly protective vampires, and the most dysfunctional family around will keep readers in stitches when a young woman meets the vampire of her dreams only to discover he doesn’t remember her at all. Hijinks and mayhem rule the day as Gigi sets out to find her man’s memory while trying to keep her family from taking him out of her life permanently....more
Rosa Alban comes to Dylan Black for the favor he owes her . Rosa was forced into marriage at a young age, she needs Dylan’s help to free her people anRosa Alban comes to Dylan Black for the favor he owes her . Rosa was forced into marriage at a young age, she needs Dylan’s help to free her people and castle from those who seek to control her. Luc Black, Dylan’s brother, jumps at the chance to help for he is ready for his own territory and Rosa intrigues him. As Luc and Rosa fight for her freedom, the bonds between them tighten until a decision must be made to either let go of the past or lose their future.
Book two was so much better than one. Still well written and action packed, DeLima expands the world building, giving readers more in depth background and hints towards what to come. The romance demands more page space as we watch two alphas struggle to overcome their pasts in order to have a future together. Smoking hot love scenes balance well against the conflict. I look forward to book three....more
Favorite Quote: ”How you got not one but two gorgeous vampires to fall for you is beyond me.”
“They’re old fashioned. I just smiled and nodded a lot.”
Cherry thought being a vampire was frightening enough until her newly turned vampire boyfriend, Alex, utters the scariest sentence ever…I want to meet your parents.
When Cherry’s ex is quick to agree to the meeting, Cherry knows he is once again keeping things from her. She quickly learns that her family history plays a far larger role in and it’s not only affecting her present but also her future.
If that wasn’t enough to deal with, Alex is beginning to act strange. A former enemy is back and determined to end Cherry once and for all, using the people who mean the most to Cherry. As she gears up to fight for her family, friends, and lover…she learns once again that the road to happiness is littered with sharpened stakes.
Cherry, a former almost porn star and unwillingly turned vampire, is back and still rocking her bad hair choices in Sotia Lazu’s second installment-Cherry Blossom. Fun, snarky, and intelligent as ever, Cherry and her newly turned lover, Alex, now live with her ex boyfriend, Constantine, a menage of nubile female vampires, a butler, and Cherry’s former agent. Cherry’s maker is still out there gunning for her and Alex and Cherry feels hiding with Constance is their best bet. Though she and Constantine have been over since she found him in bed with his maker and he used the old, “vampires live too long to be faithful,” excuse, there is still a small part of her that remembers the good times, making their living situation a tad uncomfortable at times. Constantine, for all intents and purposes, is being a good boy and respecting the fact Cherry is in love with Alex. He is trying to help them but there is some lingering feelings on his end, also.
“Why couldn’t Alex and Constantine settle in their respective roles as doting boyfriend and calculating former lover, and stop messing with my head.”
Lazu takes a different approach in this installment, giving readers a darker suspense filled mystery along with some romance troubles. Well written with engaging dialogue and smooth pacing continues to make this series a fast read. Lazu cleverly interjects bits and pieces of the last book into the current storyline line, allowing new readers to catch on quickly while giving fans a small refresher.
Alex and Cherry have overcome some serious odds in order to be together but not all is well in romancelandia. Smoking hot chemistry and strong sexual desire still reigns supreme between them though Cherry’s stranger danger radar is pinging all over the place. Alex is resisting his vampire nature and when his already erratic behavior becomes dark and menacing, Cherry finds herself wondering if she really knows Alex.
Vampires aren’t people-people. Our dietary means aren’t the only thing telling us apart from humans. Alex still didn’t understand that. He thought we could place house indefinitely.
Because of this, the romance is does a 180 and the relationship suffers. Certain situations may some uncomfortable.
The conflict and storyline are far more solid in this installment. Lazu uses Alex’s behavior to further expand the ongoing arc and provides some much needed explanations from book one. Cherry’s lingering feeling for Constantine only adds to the tension filled story. If I had any qualms, it’s this particular installment is so heavily entrenched in Cherry’s point of view, I didn’t get the same feelings of equality from Alex and Constantine in their presentations. Character development is a minimum, the focus remaining almost solely on the storyline.
An action packed ending gives us the resolution we need but keeps the door open for book three. Cherry finds herself in a new position with some decisions to make and I don’t envy her. Even with the darker tone and subject matter, Lazu keeps us hooked as she takes our favorite vampire into a world of intrigue, suspense, and sexy hi-jinks.
Favorite Quote: “My mom always told me not to play with my food […] She never told me not to let my food play with me.”
Cherry Stem was involuntarily turned into a vampire. A former model and rising adult film star, her now undead status has stymied her career and left her hustling for food and rent. When her normal trolling hooks her up with the gorgeous detective, Alex Marsden, Cherry figures she’ll let him wine and dine her, get what she needs, erase their memories together, and everyone will be happy. Except plans change when she falls asleep at Alex’s house and he discovers his one night stand is actually a vampire.
“So it’s Bram Stoker more than Stephenie Meyer?”
I couldn’t contain a very eloquent, “Huh?”
“Your hand.” As if that explained everything. “Stoker had the vampire thing down better than Meyer, right?”
He sounded like he really wanted to know the answer.
Only a dead and buried person would have missed the buzz the latter’s works had caused, and the former was a legend. “Stoker’s definitely closer—I mean, sparkling? Seriously? Neither is completely right, though.”
One steamy passion filled night leads to many more when Alex makes the connection between Cherry’s turning and a series of unsolved cases involving other young females. When Cherry finds out the man who turned her may be involved, she is forced to contact her ex boyfriend, the man who broke her heart, for help in convincing the vampire council of her fears. As the clues mount up, Cherry begins to realise that everything that happened to her was for a reason. Now she just needs to discover what that reason was.
Fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Michele Bardsley will enjoy the snarky humor, steamy hot romance, and intriguing paranormal storyline that Sotia Lazu employs in the first book of her new vampire series. Lazu takes readers on a light hearted journey that leaves you giggling while giving you a couple of mysteries to solve. Well written with engaging dialogue and smooth steady pacing made for a quick fun read. Lazu produces a vampire romance that sticks close to the legends but adds her own twists that modernizes it. While the old adage of sunlight kills is still in effect, garlic and religious artifacts don’t bother them at all.
Cherry Stem (giggle) is an amusing heroine with her witty monologues and no-nonsense attitude. Lazu gives us a supernatural who isn’t warrior trained or self hating. She isn’t stunning beautiful, all powerful, or a special snowflake that everyone adores. Cherry is a normal 23 year old woman, with normal issues, who happens to be immortal. And she has problems with that.
The main reason I’d been pissed off for the better part of six years was that I’d been turned before getting the lipo and boob job I’d planned on pampering myself with for my twenty-fourth birthday. Now I was doomed to go through eternity without the perfectly flat belly and double D breasts Dr. King had promised me.
Alex Marsden is the perfect match for Cherry. As a homicide detective, he rocks the whole knight in shining armor personae, but with a hint of vulnerability and little boy charm. He wears his heart on his sleeve, is overly protective, cooks a mean omelet, and makes love like a veteran porn star. Funny and smart, he is everything Cherry could ever want…except his human. Cherry doesn’t date humans due to their less than stellar life spans but when she meets Alex, he makes her want to stay wrapped in his arms forever.
The romance comes at the readers fast. Sex on the first “date” and it’s rinse, lather, and repeat from there. Combustible chemistry and plausible attraction made this easier to swallow than normal. Steamy love scenes with a dominant Alex in the bedroom also helps. *wink* Cherry rightly questions her relationship with Alex in that it could be dangerous for him to be with her and of course, that fact his life span doesn’t even come close to matching hers. Though…SEXY RACY love making makes up for a lot of things in mine and Cherry’s book.
And Alex doesn’t disappoint.
“Do you want me?” he asked. I barely had time to raise an eyebrow in question before he pushed two fingers inside me. “Do you want me, Cherry?”
I swallowed. “You know I do, but—” We were outside his mom’s house, on top of his car. Even I knew that wasn’t right.
“Because I want you. All the time.” He withdrew his fingers slowly and made a show of licking them clean.
Hell, it wasn’t my neighborhood.
“Show me,” I whispered, pushing my hips upward. I wanted more of him. I tried to sit up, reached for him, but he held me down.
I did, and waited for his next move.
It didn’t disappoint.
The conflict is interesting though not as well defined or evenly balanced as the romance. Certain aspects are fleshed out but over all I felt the reasons behind the main conflict were weak and not executed clearly. Various characters come into play to help expand the plot lines but their scenes and development also remains weak as the narrative is from Cherry’s pov so we miss seeing their thoughts behind their actions. The only character who was on par developmentally with Cherry and Alex is Cherry’s ex-Constantine. A overly confident and narcissistic vampire who mentored Cherry after her turning and betrayed her in the most basic of ways. His somewhat ruthless manners are offset by the visible love he still holds for Cherry and his willingness to step aside for Alex. I do hope he gets his own book.
Lazu ends the book with a conclusion of sorts, wrapping up some issues but leaving a door open for the arc to continue. Sadly though she uses an deus ex machina to achieve her happy ending. Regardless of the contrived ending, Cherry Stem is a light hearted fun and sexy paranormal romance that is sure to appeal to fans who love their heroes sexy, their heroines funny, and their romance steamy. The second book, Cherry Blossom, is currently available.
Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire brings a long running storyline to a close as our hero, Russell Hankleburg, solidifies his revenge against Master Han, the evil vampire who changed him and then left him in a coma for 39 years, with the help of a were-tiger who has her own reasons for wanting Han dead.
Jia, our heroine, is a royal were-tiger princess whose parents and siblings were slaughtered by Master Han. She has vowed revenge but is stymied by her cousin, Rivja, the Grand Tiger of her village. She escapes her guards and while hunting Han on her own, inadvertently ruins Russell’s killing shot. Russell grabs her and takes her back to his hideout in order to discover who she is and why she interfered with his plans. Upon discovering her identity, he instantly takes her back to Tiger Town and from there, a somewhat controversial relationship begins between them. The romance is slow to start but builds in balance with the conflict.
Though well written (in terms of mechanics) and fast paced, I couldn’t help but feel rather underwhelmed with the story overall. I have followed this series on and off since the beginning. Interesting dynamic characters, silly tongue in cheek humor, and some steamy romance is what made this series fun but in this installment there was a faint mocking and moronic quality to the characters and the storyline. Dialogue flips from funny and mature to juvenile and imbecile in a heartbeat. Formulaic to the point of redundancy, it follows a noticeable groove worn track and stays one-dimensional. The emotional conduits seem to be missing. We are told more than shown. Russell constantly waxes on how attracted he is to Jia but I never felt the chemistry between them. Jia comes off strong and smart in regards to their mission but naive and somewhat stupid in the affairs of the heart. The romance and the conflict are streamlined and whittled down to the bare bones. No anticipation. No real heart stopping moments or genuine feelings that something bad will happen. It’s all very circumspect.
Almost every couple from the series makes an appearance, bringing some humor as they help wrap up the multiple story lines and close the series out. I did enjoy seeing many old faces and of course seeing where they have all ended up. I admit the angel squad was a bit strange and visiting Hell left me rolling my eyes. The one liners and character caricatures over reached at times and fell flat. The coup de grace concerning Master Han came out of left field and was almost annoyingly easy to figure out. I do wish more time had been spent on the little boy-dragon hostage. His story was rather good and there was a wonderful area to expand there that wasn’t taken.
Overall I think that Sparks was right to wrap it all up and end it here. The stories have become repetitive. The last few installments, this one in particular, have lacked the “spark” that drew me to the series to begin with. While I’m sure die hard fans of the series will be thrilled with the couple and route Sparks chose for this bon voyage, this one just wasn’t for me.
The eighth installment of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, Eighth Grave After Dark, picks up right where the seventh book left off. Charley Davidson-Grim Reaper, P.I. extraordinaire, and a possible God, is married to the son of Satan and about to give birth to the savor of the world. No pressure there. Living on consecrated grounds offers her some protection from the hell hounds who have been stalking her every move but Charley isn’t one to sit down and knit booties while awaiting motherhood. She has a full plate with trying to find a missing teen, deal with Reyes’ adoptive parents, getting rid of the wailing lawyer in her closet, and is trying to figure out who killed the nun that haunts the church.
This series has shown growth and progression since book one. Charley started out an immature, somewhat flighty young lady whose need for parental love and guidance led her to take some dangerous chances with her life. Since meeting her husband, Reyes, Charley had matured considerably though she is still quite childish and self centered at times. Still one to jump in to the fire from the frying pan for a friend or loved one, she has more confidence in herself and in her love for Reyes and vice versa. That’s not to say she still doesn’t still have her moments of craziness.
Charley is far more somber than normal. Impending birth and being held hostage is wearing on her. We see less snark and avoidance on her end. It’s all rather low key in some aspects as this installment begins to prepare us for the end. Jones’ finally gives us the answers to some long standing questions and begins to tighten up ongoing storylines. Key players are being placed in their position as the fight between heaven and hell begins…on earth. Cookie, Uncle Ubie, Amber, Quentin, Mr. Wong, ect…just about everyone seen throughout the series has a special place in the overall picture and that picture is starting to become clear for the reader.
Reyes is also more mellow than usual. His love for Charley and his unborn child results in some very sweet and touching moments in the series. I enjoyed their easy camaraderie and the lack of tension that used to follow their every interaction. Of course, Reyes wouldn’t be Reyes if he wasn’t keeping things from her but as she does the same to him, it’s hard to get angry with him. A large part of the storyline is devoted to this and when we finally learn the reasons, I wasn’t impressed with his silence. I do wish this aspect of the storyline would disappear. It’s been an ongoing plot device that I feel has run it’s course.
Jones plies her magic and in a series of dramatic undertakings; leads us to a climactic finale that may leave some readers shocked and dismayed by the end. Others will applaud Jones’ bold and risky conclusion but will bemoan the fact they will have to wait till 2016 for book nine-The Dirt on Ninth Grave- which is scheduled to release January 6, 2016. While at the RT Convention, Jones’ did inform readers that the series is scheduled through eleven books.
Eighth Grave After Dark is altogether a fast and easy read though somewhat bland overall. It feels like nothing more than a bridge in which to end one major storyline while opening up a new one. I do feel that the lack of action and usual humor hurt the story overall and I am not sure how the new story arc will reveal in order to read fresh and new and not like a rehash from the beginning of the series.
Binding Ties, #9 in Shannon K. Butcher’s Sentinel Wars, picks up a subplot from a previous installment and blasts it wide open. A urban fantasy/paranormal hybrid, Butcher expands her world building and character base while bringing a couple together in each new installment. Butcher intertwines new and past plotlines and stories to allow a smooth flowing time line and series progression. For this reason alone I recommend you start the series at the beginning.
Set on modern Earth, a raging battle reigns between good and evil is being fought right under our noses. Violence and romance go hand in hand as warriors called Sentinels (Theronai) and their allies fight to save mankind against Synestryns (demons) while struggling to locate their soul mates before they die. Add in some vampires, aliens, and what nots and you have an alternate Earth world storyline that engages and defies some boundaries.
This installment revolves around Lyka and Joseph; two characters whose story I’ve wanted for awhile. Lyka Phelan is a human Slayer (enemy to the Theronai) who was traded as a hostage in order to secure a peace treaty. A warrior all her life, she now resides in a gilded cage and resents every minute of it. She fights her bonds every second of the day, refusing to intermingle with the residents of the Theronai compound-especially its leader, Joseph.
Joseph, leader of the Theronai, spends more time behind a desk then in battle with his men. His daughter was part of the trade/peace agreement with the Slayers so he is extra careful with Lyka’s life. Though he is massively attracted between to Lyka, he knows nothing can come of it. He, like his men, is dying and only a Theronai woman can save him. When Lyka’s brother and a group of children are captured by the Synestryns, Lyka reveals a huge secret which opens the door to a whole new set of problems for her, Joseph, and the war at hand.
I wish I could say I loved this couple and the romance but I didn’t. Both are strong, loyal, intelligent people who feel their way is the best way. Compromise is not a word they seem to understand. I felt Butcher over reached on developing both characters, creating and dragging out unnecessary friction. Lyka’s stubbornness and need for independence blinds her to what’s around her. She comes off petty and juvenile at times; making stupid mistakes that almost kill them both repeatedly. Joseph, on the other hand, was so perfect, he was a caricature of the ruthless man portrayed in earlier books. Their push/pull relationship drags the story down. Though the intense chemistry is apparent from first meeting, Butcher uses a multitude of plot devices to keep them apart until the time is right for them.
The action packed scenes gave the story the edge it needed from becoming a total loss for me. Butcher takes some necessary action concerning the demons; expanding on their end game. A more in depth look at their world is given but I was dismayed a little by the path Butcher appears to be taking concerning their behavior. One aspect of this series that has kept me coming back is the gray area the different factions walk in. Every group has an agenda and each will do whatever is necessary for their group to triumph. The hints at humanization of the supernaturals is disappointing and I’m hoping it’s merely a glitch. Past character interactions and clues to future couples let us know book ten will definitely be unique. I did miss the light humor that has been a frequent asset to the series as it is always a nice buffer against the overall seriousness of this series.
The ending is the usual dramatic undertaking that resolves the main conflict and smashes through the last romance barrier. Our couple begrudgingly takes the clear shot to their HEA but I wasn’t impressed. Butcher never convinced me that Lyka and Joseph actually grew to care for one another outside the “mating bond.” While I have always enjoyed this series, I think it may be time for us to part ways. I find it becoming repetitive over all, conflicts introduced for no other reason then arc advancement, and the characters, especially the heroines, more and more unlikable.
Favorite Quote: The stars are always shining even if we can’t see them.
Merit and Ethan are back and their drama is as intense as ever. The past comes back to haunt Ethan when his maker, Balthazar, shows up in Chicago. As Merit and Ethan race to discover exactly what Balthazar wants, the Navarre house is experiencing its own troubles.
Morgan, the master of Navarre, is shocked to learn the previous Master left the house in massive debt to The Circle, a shadow mafia group who want a favor in return for an extension on the loans. This favor inadvertently drags Merit and Ethan into the fray when they are forced to stop an assassination attempt at ball hosted by a mysterious businessman whose end game may spell disaster for them all.
Dark Debt, the eleventh installment in Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series, starts out with a saucy dramatic unveiling as Neill reintroduces a painful reminder from Ethan’s past. Fear, surprise, and a sense of vulnerability sets the stage. Steady pacing, and Neill’s ever present energy and humor keeps the story flowing nicely as we learn of the new challenges Merit, Ethan, and the rest of Chicago are now facing.
Ethan has survived his battle with the GP (General Presidium) and a new consortium has emerged from the ashes-the AMM (Assembly of American Masters). While this was a substantial plotline in Blood Games, it runs silently in the background here as Merit, Ethan, and their supernatural posse has bigger issues to focus on.
Balthazar, Ethan’s maker, seems to have reappeared from the dead…a cause for grave concern. Ethan ran from Balthazar when he assaulted and killed a young lady Ethan cared for. Ethan insured Balthazar would pay for his evil deeds and had since assumed he was dead. Now it seem he is alive and well and his main target is Merit.
This particular installment is heavily character driven with as Neill begins a new long reaching story arc. Per usual, an amount of the book revolves around Ethan and Merit; using the inclusion of new adversaries to showcase the strides they have made in their relationship. While there are sure to be more bumpy rides in their road to happily ever after (both are entirely too Alpha for there to not be) they have settled into a comfortable routine that shows us they are both committed and in it for the long haul. Their sexy chemistry still burns hot and bright between them. I enjoyed seeing them handle problems without one of them pushing the other away as seen repeatedly in the past.
“Are you wooing me?”
“I’ve been wooing you since the moment our eyes locked on the first floor of this house.”
The action is rather low-key, sparking at appropriate moments, as the seemingly separate issues facing the respective houses are investigated. More time is spent in this installment on theories, research, and strategies then the usual slice and dice.The mystery(s) and investigation avenues taken are interesting and strong in suspense. Various subplots push towards resolution easily though Neill leaves enough open to ensure readers will definitely want the next book. We receive some eyebrow raising clues towards the future and I for one am interested in seeing where Neill goes with them. As always, I wished for more inclusion of Gabriel Keene and his pack. The friend based chemistry between Keene and Merit is phenom and always fun to see.
Engaging secondary characters and their sustainable relationships remains a strong aspect in the overall enjoyment of this series. Neill continues to update readers on the aspects of their lives with flare and drama. Catcher and Mallory have reached a pivotal place in their relationship and I was happily shocked by the road Neill takes concerning them. Jonah and Merit are experiencing some rocky times; decisions will have to made soon. Morgan is beginning to grow up and finally seeing the big picture rather than continuing focusing on slights of the past. As always, the dialogue remains sharp and witty, keeping you laughing at some inappropriate times.
“Ah. you must not know about executive order two hundred eleven.”
“Basically we are required to keep sack lunches ready for you. Ethan thinks you get hangry.“
Dark Debt reminded me why I enjoyed this series so much. Neill has allowed her characters to grow at their own pace while keeping the storylines fresh and unique. This series remains a dark humorous Urban Fantasy/PNR with plenty of action, suspense, romance, and snark. This is not a standalone though and I do not recommend starting the series here. Convoluted; the series that builds upon itself with each new book.
Adam, King of the GIMs, was cursed by the Queen of the Fairies, Mab, and given 700 years to find his soul mate to break the curse or his soul would be hers for eternity. When Adam meets Eliza May, he knows she is the other half of his soul but in his haste to break the curse, he alienates her and any hope of help she may have given him. When Eliza is rescued from Adam, Adam’s time runs out and he is taken prisoner by Mab.
Eliza May is half human and half fae. Discovered to be a niece of Mab’s, she finds refuge in with her Aunt when she is freed from Adam only to discover that she has escaped one cage for another. Finding Adam in the basement, a victim of torture and abuse, only reinforces Eliza’s feelings that she is once again being used as a pawn in someone else’s end game. Eliza helps Adam escape and soon they are running for their lives, looking for a legendary weapon that Mab is willing to kill them all to possess.
Tempers flare as do passions when Adam sets his mind to courting Eliza and proving to her that they are meant for one another. Eliza isn’t sure if Adam truly loves for her or if it’s the fact she is the only one who can free him from Mab’s clutches forever, but when the end draws near, love may not be enough to save any of them.
Soulbound is the sixth book in Callihan’s Darkest London series and brings a long and convoluted storyline to an end while opening the door to new adventures. I wouldn’t recommend starting the series here as each book is a building block, referencing previous scenes and characters, using them to further expand the world and the long standing arc. Taut suspense, delicious deception, and dangerous antagonists continue to create fascinating reads that capture me from page one. Strong complicated characters drive this series, each installment using the exploration of one couples’ romantic and dramatic journey to love as the key element on which this series is built.
Callihan expands on the subplot that was introduced in Evernight. Similar in the set up in Shadowdance, Callihan used Evernight to introduce an antagonistic relationship then proceeds to examine the reasons why, setting the stage for a reconciliation. Callihan does a fine job of intertwining the conflict with the romance, using the protagonists’ individual stories to further the arc and tie up loosely threaded storylines.
Fans will remember that Eliza May came to London find her cousins, the Evernights, and was the victim of a fatal mugging. She was found by Mary and Daisy and given the choice to die free or live under Adam’s rule. She choose life and found herself bound by chains to Adam’s side. Literally. Soon her independent nature chafed at her bonds and her gratitude turned to hate. Given the chance to escape leaves her free but within the sights of someone far more dangerous. Eliza is forced to reconnect with Adam and this is where the story truly begins.
“He felt her pain. He felt everything. Finally. Freedom. Finally, it was in his grasp. All he had to do was keep Miss Eliza May by his side. Forever.”
Adam has a lot to atone for to Eliza. He ruthlessly chained her to his side with no explanations when he discovered she was the key to his freedom. Determined to use her break his curse, he tricked her of her free will and was left with an angry, uncooperative woman who uses her wits and stubbornness to thwart him at every turn. When Adam’s backstory is revealed, you understand his impetuous reasoning but, like Eliza, are not very forgiving. Weak and brutally hobbled by Mab, Adam gets a nasty taste of what Eliza felt. Adam is genuinely remorseful for what he did and wants to begin anew.
“I want my peace, Eliza. To feel whole, happy, and free. That is all I’ve ever wanted. Seven hundred years, I’ve searched for it. And if there is even the slightest possibility that you can give it to me, then I am willing to risk everything to get it.”
Eliza is not one to forgive and forget. Already having been taken advantage of by others and by Adam himself, all Eliza wants is to be free to live her own life without being forced to depend or answer to anyone. She doesn’t believe in soulmates or everlasting love which causes even more of a riff between her and Adam. Yet she is intelligent enough to know that without Adam’s help, she will never be free of her Aunt and her machinations. Though it takes awhile, Eliza is able to eventually open her mind and heart to the possibilities of what could be.
“A heated dizziness threatened to send her crashing down. He claimed to be her other half. She, who’d crept through life, escaping the notice of everyone.”
Adam and Eliza have a love/hate relationship; both needing the other and parts of them resenting that need. Their chemistry is as explosive as gasoline and dynamite. Bright, hot, and burning everything that stands in its flames. As they work to stay one step ahead of Mab and find the weapon she desperately wants, they take the time to get to know one another without the ever present antagonism. Adam’s sexual innuendos and volatile nature is the perfect foil against Eliza’s more reserved and cynical nature; adding humor to this otherwise dark tale of betrayal and heartbreak.
“Ah my lovely, it’s been far too long.”
“Shall I leave you to alone then?” Eliza’s lips twitched. She had never seen such a look of reverence mixed with old familiarity. It was nearly indecent.
Adam spared her a glance. “Quiet woman, a man’s relationship with his sword is a sacred thing.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Callihan blends the conflict of the story with the emotionally intense journey of Eliza and Adam; using external subplots to heighten the danger and suspense that surrounds them. Steady pacing and plentiful action speeds the story along as the big picture begins to reveal itself with the addition of new storylines. With each scene we watch Adam and Eliza face and overcome their fears while dealing with the external factors that try to defeat them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire story; merging together towards the climatic and arc twisting ending.
“I’ve always wanted you. I always will.”
As always, the supporting characters are intense, well developed, and intertwine with our protagonists to give us a rich, full-bodied story. Much that played out behind the scenes continues to be revealed, offering even more insight into this rich, intriguing world and its inhabitants. Sin (St. John Evernight) plays a larger role in here as do the reasons for what he has done. We also see more of Augustus and learn just how far reaching his power actually is. I look forward to book seven-title and release date to be announced-which looks to be Sin’s book.
Callihan continues to engage readers with her strong characters, intriguing storylines, fantastical world, and romantic journeys whose rough starts lead to incredible rewards.
Favorite Quote: “Is this part of your motivational speaking? Or can we call this nagging?”
Torin, host of the demon Disease, is forbidden from any humaFavorite Quote: “Is this part of your motivational speaking? Or can we call this nagging?”
Torin, host of the demon Disease, is forbidden from any human contact. His touch only brings sickness and eventual death. When he “accidently” kills a young woman who chose to ignore his warnings, he finds himself targeted by The Red Queen.
The Red Queen has spent centuries locked away in a dungeon. Extremely powerful and more than a little crazy, she vows to kill Torin for taking away her only friend.
The chemistry between The Red Queen and Torin sparks an out of control blaze as they escape from their prison and fight their way towards freedom. Torin needs her to help him find his friends but his iron clad control slips the more time he spends with her. He must resist her if he wants her to live but nothing has ever prepared him for this woman.
Fans of this series have waited impatiently for Torin’s story. As the host of the demon Disease, Torin is prohibited from any sort of human contact…meaning…wait for it…
HE’S A VIRGIN, PEOPLES!
The Darkest Touch is the eleventh book in this wickedly funny and dark paranormal romance series that borrows from Greek, Roman, and religious mythology and legend. Gods, goddesses, angels, demons, and a little of everything else all come together to form an engaging world and character base that continues to expand and evolve. Showalter’s trademark snark and humor entertains readers with it’s fast paced dialogue and scenes while she explores the ongoing arc and begins to tie up open story lines as we head towards the end of the series.
The story starts out slow and at times tedious; continuing in that fashion until about the halfway point. A majority of it is spent watching Keeley and Torin get to know one another, learn each other’s backstories, and engage in a strangely passive aggressive style of foreplay. The story opens with Torin, who is currently residing in a cell courtesy of Cronus due to breaking his self-imposed “no touchy” rule. When he once again causes someone to sicken and die, a voice that has invaded his dreams and every waking minute since being imprisoned starts screaming vengeance for his actions.
“You’ll experience agony in ways you’ve never dreamed possible. for I’ll do to you what I’ve done to so many others. I will skin you with a cheese grater and stuff your organs into a blender to make a smoothie. I will donkey punch your skull so hard your brain will ooze out of your eye sockets.”
Keeleycael aka The Red Queen is an extremely powerful woman whose origins trace back to the heavens. Rejected and exploited by everyone she has ever loved, her final humiliation was being chained and held captive by her ex fiance because he couldn’t accept she was far more powerful than he was. Lost, angry, hurt, and insane…Keeley had only one friend and now that friend is dead.
The Red Queen. No wonder the immortals in the skies had merely whispered about her. Insane? Cruel? Hell, yeah. They’d probably assumed saying her name aloud would have a Beetlejuice effect and actually summon her.
Heavily character driven, Showalter brings all her past LOTU characters into play along with some fun new ones. Keeley has to be my all time favorite heroine of this series. Bright, intelligent, funny, and totally in touch with her awesomeness, Keeley has a will made of steel only made stronger by the vulnerability she holds deep inside her. Betrayed by everyone she has ever had the misfortune to love, she still manages to maintain a very healthy self esteem. Like most of the supernatural heroines of this series, there is an innate selfishness to her character. However, her choices are based on the need to make up for past deeds and avenge the wrongs of others.
Her attraction to Torin is unbreakable and though she understands she could die from being with him, she feels that her powers should shield her and that ultimately, it’s her choice. She;s BIG on choices. Watching her chase and confuse Torin is hilarious as parts of him wants to be caught but other parts are waving their hands in the air, making huge TIME OUT signs.
“I’ll take that as a yes, please, and thank you.” “Take that as a no.” “A soft no? An absolmaybe?” “A hard no. An absolutely not.”
Torin is as fierce as Keeley with a deliciously dominant side that becomes stronger and more protective the more time they spend together. He begins to care for her in a relatively short amount of time though he and his demon fight the attraction every step of the way.
“I’ll say this once and only once. Nothing is going to happen between us, princess.”
It was interesting how Torin’s demon doesn’t speak to him as with the other lords. This is a good thing in that it assures us that all decisions Torin makes are from him only. The romance is hot and heavy with some ingenious tactics invoked to allow Torin and Keeley to be together. If I have one qualm it was Torin’s actions at times concerning Keeley and his attraction. He blew hot and cold a lot, claiming to not want to hurt Keeley when in all actuality, that’s all he does.
“What’s so wrong with me that a man can’t value me?”
The second half of the book is where the action, suspense, intrigue, and laughter picks up considerably and we get back the LOTU craziness we all love. There are multiple storylines that ride parallel along side one another and intersect at key times; bringing advancement to the ongoing arc and clues to future couples. Past storylines come back to life, using Keeley to bridge them all together. I was pleased to see all the Lords and their unhinged eccentric mates but I am most interested in reading Cameo story’s now. I was a little disappointed in some of the reveals concerning the arc. Certain aspects were almost too easily explained and they made me question the legitimacy of the plot line and the Lords’ intelligence.
Regardless of my issues, In The Darkest Touch, Showalter once again proves to readers that her Lords are large, in charge, and ready to rumble with some help from their mates and a few frenemies. Fans of the series will delight in a hero who can’t touch being paired with the queen of touchy-feelys.
I liked Frozen with it's Norse mythology, generational curses, and sinister intentions. My issue was the lack of communication between the h/H. The3.5
I liked Frozen with it's Norse mythology, generational curses, and sinister intentions. My issue was the lack of communication between the h/H. They both dance around, not being honest, and it ends up dragging out the conflict. ...more
Gray Bishop is the second book in Kelly Meade’s Cornerstone Trilogy. An action packed dark urban fantasy that revolves around a family of loup garous-Gray Bishop is the second book in Kelly Meade’s Cornerstone Trilogy. An action packed dark urban fantasy that revolves around a family of loup garous-the McQueens. If you haven’t read book one, I highly recommend you do so as the ongoing arc is extremely important to the storyline and characters bleed over with little to no re cap. Each book focuses on one brother.
RECAP FROM BOOK ONE…READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
We first met Bishop McQueen in book one, Black Rook. Bishop, a gray wolf, was made their father’s alpha heir by default when his brother Rook gave it up in order to be with his true love, a magus named Brynn. A group of hybrids kidnapped their youngest brother, Knight, in order to use him to build an army of vicious hybrids to take over the supernatural world. Various subplots left us wondering at the end of Black Rook and Gray Bishop picks up right where it left off.
Bishop, his family, and various other alphas heirs from other packs are dealing with the aftermath of some fatal attacks and searching high and low for the hybrids. Loup garou towns across the country are being attacked and decimated and there is nothing the packs can seem to do to stop it. Bishop is not only feeling the strain of trying to protect the residents of the Cornertown pack but also his own imagined failings in protecting his brothers-Rook and Knight-who were kidnapped and brutally assaulted in book one. When he meets a female black wolf, his stress levels rise to infinite proportions as he realizes his wolf wants a female neither of them will be allowed to have.
Jillian Reynolds, daughter to the alpha of Springwell and heir apparent, is not only in Cornerstone to help find and stop the hybrids but is also looking for a new mate. She lost her first mate and knows she needs a strong alpha to rule by her side when she takes over the pack. Jillian is shocked when her wolf tries to lay claim to Bishop’s wolf. She knows they can never be together but sometimes the heart and wolf refuse to be denied.
When danger hits close to home for Jillian, she and Bishop race to Springhill only to find that the chaos of Cornerstone has come for her family. With time running out, Jillian and Bishop will have to face their feelings and the archaic laws that rule their lives if they are to survive what’s coming for them.
More angst, violence, pain, and yes, death chases this second installment as Meade builds the crescendo towards the finale. If you have ever read Kelly Meade aka Kelly Meding, you know she doesn’t hesitate when leading her characters down a long hard path. Heavily character driven, Meade further expands upon the arc and the dynamics of everyone involved, weaving it in and out of the main storyline. Racism and treachery continue to prevail as Meade adds tidbits of back story into the world building to further educate readers. Plotlines are expanded and crushing revelations are made that will leave readers shocked at the implications. We learn more of the varied supernatural factions and their past actions that lead them all to this point. Smooth writing, lightening fast pacing, and captivating dialogue keeps you on your toes to the very end.
Aiken manages to outdo her previous works in her 7th installment of her hilarious, violent, explosive, outrageous Dragon Kin Series. Light My Fire wasAiken manages to outdo her previous works in her 7th installment of her hilarious, violent, explosive, outrageous Dragon Kin Series. Light My Fire was fantastic! Best book in the series. Incredible world building, arc expansion, and character dynamics. Aiken hit a home run out of the park with this one.
The most unnatural coupling occurs when a young woman is set up to assassinate the dragon queen but is fortunately or unfortunately (depending on who tells it) is stopped by a laid-back, overly curious dragon of the Queen's guard. Laughter and danger go hand in hand as this couple finds themselves smack dab in the middle of a coming war.
Though the romance has always a low key aspect in Aiken's Dragon series, the balance in here between it and the conflict is remarkably well plotted and revealed. I laughed the entire book. Readers will rejoice as we see many old faces and possible future couplings. ...more
Favorite Quote: “There is always a price and I’m going to collect.”
Vincent Kumix is a powerful, gorgeous, and charismatic vampire, second in command tFavorite Quote: “There is always a price and I’m going to collect.”
Vincent Kumix is a powerful, gorgeous, and charismatic vampire, second in command to the Lord Of Mexico. He has waited centuries to kill his sire, a man who made him against his will, but his revenge will have to wait when a bounty hunter comes to him with a special request. A beautiful woman who needs his help locating someone and who seems to be immune to all his lethal charms.
Lana Arnold is a bounty hunter looking to leave the family business and start her own PI firm. When she is contracted by the all-powerful Lord of North America to find a vampire, she knows this may be the chance she’s been waiting for. Smart, beautiful, and intelligent, she knows there will be a possibility of danger though she never expected it to be in the form of a six-foot plus vampire who oozes sex appeal and charms every women he meets. Lana learned her lesson the hard way about mixing business with pleasure and plans on keeping their time together all business.
As Vincent and Lana trade barbs and smoldering glances, their joint investigation brings to light a series of crimes so heinous, Vincent finds himself even more determined to destroy his sire, claim the throne, and keep the luscious Lana by his side forever.
I discovered D.B Reynolds’s Vampires in America series earlier this year and devoured her series with gusto. Such a wonderful change from the usual fare of angsty baggage laden supernatural creatures who just need to find the right “human” to make them forget their self-disgust at their monstrous appetites. Reynolds hits the spot with her arrogant narcissistic alpha males who sit at the top of the food chain and never lets you forget it. She pairs these males with strong, intelligent, kick arse humans who don’t succumb instantly to lust or manipulation. They usually meet and it’s instant dislike but as the sexual tension rises, so does the attraction. Then the real fun begins. *wink*
Favorite Quote: “I don’t want to wheedle.” “There is no shame in the wheedle” “Really? Because I feel there should be a little shame.”
Kera Watson, a coffee house manager and former Marine, never expected to die alone in a back alley way. Stabbed to death then back from the dead by a mysterious customer of hers, Kera wakes to find herself now a member of the Crows. The Crows are one of nine supernatural clans whose job is to prevent the coming of Ragnarok and to help keep balance in the world.
Suddenly shoved into a mystical world filled with intense vikings, unscrupulous gods, a bloody prophecy, and a group of women for whom the definition of insanity was invented, Kera struggles to gain her footing while attempting to incorporate some much needed organization and discipline into the lives of her sister crows.
With a strong silent viking and a fierce pit bull at her side and a strong dose of crazy at her back, Kera will have to let go of her former life if they want to survive what’s coming for them.
Oh boy, are they in trouble.
The Unleashing is the first book in Shelly Laurenston’s new PNR series based on Norse mythology. Set in the present, Laurenston adds a convoluted layer to our world with the addition of warriors from all walks of life. Killed in someway (some random accidents and some well deserved murders), these individuals are offered a chance at a second life if they agree to serve until their final death the god or goddess who comes to them. Some are chosen due to their heritage while others are chosen for their skills. Either way, what we get is a massive group of loud, scary, obnoxious, narcissistic, petty, supernaturally enhanced individuals who will make you cringe, chuckle, and out right belly laugh as you watch them plow their way through a world that has no idea what has been unleashed on it.
The beginning starts are a little slow as Laurenston sets up the world and gives us a list of the characters who inhabit it and their backstories. Laurenston’s skill as a writer keeps the reader from becoming confused or disoriented by the sheer mass of information being shared. Using dynamic characterization and humor allows each character to become a viable imprint in the readers’ minds. In depth and captivating world building uses mythology and legend, with some twists, to solidify the storyline and start us on a fantastic journey. As with any new series, the conflict unravels alongside the main storyline, giving hints to what is to come for the arc in a series of action packed scenes, cryptic clues, and some sneaky misdirection.
Our heroine, Kera Watson, is a force to be reckoned with. A former Marine with a highly ingrained sense of honor, integrity, discipline, and the need for organization; being tossed into a fly by the seat of your pants group such as the Crows is nothing short of a nightmare for her. The Crows runs a group of expensive drug rehabilitation centers as their cover with their main living headquarters smack dab in the middle of one. Here is the beginning of Kera’s many, many issues…
“I don’t want people thinking I’ve got a fucking drug problem.” “Of course they won’t.” “They won’t?” “You’re too poor to be a patient. You couldn’t possibly afford this place.”
The Crows are considered the black sheep of the clans. These women are the harbingers of death and they love every single minute of it. While they are able to live their own lives; they all have careers and the clan helps with anyone who wants a higher education and/or training, the minute their goddess calls, they come prepared for a bloody battle.
Ludvig (Vig) Rundstrom, a viking with clan Raven, was Kera’s mysterious customer. A weapon maker for all the clans, Vig has crushed on Kera for a long time and it was his quick actions that gave her a new life. A sexy grumpy viking, he does everything he can to help Kera prepare for her new life as a Crow.
“Maybe I would have been better off being a Raven.” “Probably. But you’re a girl and girls are ooky.”
Friends to lovers is a favorite trope of mine and Laurenston perfects it with this couple. I absolutely adored Vig and Kera. Intelligent and witty, both have a unique approach to handling life’s little catastrophes that belays their complexity. Vig and Kera are rather alike in many ways and that helps to clear the way for their romance. I like they aren’t as “hyper” as some of Laurenston’s couples. They accept their attraction and act on it without a lot conflict, fussing, or drama. They not only understand one another but they accept each other as they are. Their delish banter is only enhanced by their cute and energetic romance.
Per usual, no Laureston story would be complete without the inclusion of a cast of outrageous secondary characters. It’s here that Laurenston weaves that special magic of hers. I loved meeting the sister crows and other clan members. They all come together at intervals to interfere, insult, threaten, offer useless advice, and generally annoy each other to distraction. They are a crazy, intrusive, somewhat neurotic group whose antics keep the story moving along at a rapid pace.
“Do you guys have equipment for the new girl?” “Again…I have a name. Three, actually. First, middle, and last.”
The Unleashing is everything you could wish for in a paranormal romance and more. If you enjoy outrageous scenarios, witty banter, and hilariously over the top characters then look no further than Shelly Laurenston’s Call of the Crows series.