Favorite Quote: “I chose to serve my time with broken people.“
Greer Cannon has pushed the envelope too far when she is caught shoplifting for the upteenth time. Her parents decide to send her to McCracken Hall, a private school for troubled teens. Greer does her best to obey the strict rules and participates in the therapeutic “help” sessions in order to gain access to privileges and make her stay less prison like. When she meets the gorgeous and charismatic Addison Bradley, Greer feels like her stay at McCracken will finally become bearable.
Addison Bradley has come to McCracken Hall of his own accord for a severe drinking and drug problem. Militant in both his physical and emotional upkeep, he absorbs Greer into his life and philosophies. When he introduces Greer to his mentor, Joshua, Greer feels a kinship with the older gentleman and begins to understand the reasons behind her destructive behaviors.
As Joshua instigates himself more into Greer’s life, she begins to question his motivations. What does he want from her and what is the hold he has over Addison and the rest of their group? As she uncovers more of Joshua’s lies, Greer gives voice to her suspicions, only to be placed firmly on the outside of Joshua’s circle. Can Greer convince her friends that Joshua is dangerous, or will she learn just how far Joshua will go to keep his secrets safe?
The Believing Game is a mild psychological/coming of age thriller. Told in a straightforward style, everything is presented firmly and with little fanfare. By fanfare, I mean there was no real anticipation or build up to each stepping stone on the story. Though, this particular style and tone works in the telling of this story. It presents like an uncomfortable memory. Snarky humor and teenage musings kept the book from becoming too matter of fact.
Told from the point of view of Greer Cannon, we learn she is sent to a privileged “reform” school for her problems (stealing, promiscuous sex, and eating disorder). We get a ringside seat to her thoughts and feelings about her problems, her family, the school, and how she attempts to deal with it all. Greer was an interesting character. Not given to overly emotional teen angst or grandstanding, we learn why she choose to do the things she did. She has a jaded outlook towards herself and her place in life. She has no remorse over what she has done in the past, she is a bad girl through and through. Yet she has a certain honesty about herself that is refreshing. Her first reaction when first seeing Addison is telling.
“I noticed him. And then he noticed me back. It surprised me. He didn’t look like someone who would look at me. But he did. A lot…It wasn’t that my face was supremely magnetic or anything. They gave me back shampoo. They didn’t airbrush me.”
Greer understands the way to play the game at the school in order to leave but does not place a lot of hope in the actual cure. She feels the teachers and counselors are merely reciting from a script, playing the game right along with her. It’s only after she meets Addison and Joshua that she begins to honestly question her choices and the actions that lead her to McCracken Hall.
Addison was less developed for me then Greer. We don’t get much insight into his feelings or point of view-only what Greer sees and deduces. She senses from the beginning that something isn’t right about him or his situation but chooses to ignore her own misgivings in order to remain by his side. Once their relationship solidifies, in her eyes, we begin to see a change in Greer. She strives to become a better person in order to justify to herself that she deserves to be with Addison.
"Look at me Addison. I’m trying to be the best version of myself for you."
That’s not to say that the relationship between Greer and Addison is harmful, because it’s not. It’s actually healing for Greer, though she shows a dependency on Addison that is worrisome in the beginning. As we watch Greer grow within herself, additional characters are introduced who all seem to physically embody the dysfunctional emotions that are part of Greer’s life. We meet wrath, greed, lust, gluttony, pride, and envy. Each one sent to the school for reasons of their own making.
Joshua, our villain, is introduced in deceptively small doses in the beginning. His charismatic personality a seemingly breathe of fresh air among the repetitive rhetoric spouted by the school’s counselors. Joshua instigates himself into Greer’s small group of friends, spreading his ideology with damning praise and false prophecies. We are shown the evolution of a cult leader. Corrigan does a wonderful job of showing the effects of such a personality on these impressionable intelligent teenagers. The kids in here all feel abandoned by their families in some fashion or form, so it was easy for Joshua to slip into a pseudo role of father, mother, and confident. What is really interesting is that Greer isn’t the only one who sees the flaws beneath his exterior. Everyone involved feels the faint stirrings of discontent but like Greer, they all have something to lose should they choose to verbalize their feelings. It’s only when something happens to one of them that is just too big to ignore does Greer finally choose to risk her own happiness by making a stand.
The ending is heartbreaking, illuminating, and confusing as we watch the effects of Joshua’s fall from grace ripple through Greer’s friends and the school as a whole. Corrigan resolves the main conflict in one clean swoop then drops us and we are left looking around wondering, “Is that the end?” I was left with more than a few questions. There are also some events in here that were unbelievable and jerked me out of the story.
Regardless of my misgivings, I found the story engaging if not overly suspenseful and exciting. I recommend for those who enjoy a more contemporary non-pnr based YA with a realistic base and tone.
Favorite Quote: “It’s not a game of winning or losing. I know that much. She’s dead. I’m alive. In the end, that’s the thing that matters. Isn’t it?”
Shay Morgan, a mystery author who writes under a pen name, was horrifically abused as a child and an adult. Major trust issues have forced her to live her life only connected to the word through the internet and phone. When she goes to a bookstore and sees her books, with a sign claiming signed personally by her, Shay knows something is wrong. Further research shows a person impersonating her at in store book signings and online. When a Facebook page appears on the internet, written as though she is accusing ex-boyfriend Elliott of crimes against her, Shay decides to take action. This only infuriates her stalker and soon, it becomes very personal as the stalker reveals knowledge about Shay that no one would know. Shay decides to contact Elliott for help in reclaiming her identity and her life.
Elliott Winter loved Shay with every breath he took, but her inability to trust him drove them apart. When Shay’s stalker plants false accusations that threatens to destroy everything he’s rebuilt, Elliott finds himself once again back in her life. This time, Elliott will have to convince Shay to trust him with more than her secrets and her heart; this time she will have to trust him with her life in order defeat a stalker who knows all their secrets.
Stolen is a dark, gritty, psychological romantic suspense that takes the perceived notion of online anonymity and blows it out of the water. I have always maintained that you can never be 100% anonymous online. Walker takes that premise; examines it, dissects it and then proceeds to show us just how easy it is to use social media to find and stalk a person. Ms. Walker continues to deliver her trademark scorching hot love scenes and dynamic, personable characters, but she raises the bar, building even more suspense and intrigue that will keep you hooked till the last page. Steady pacing and a suspenseful storyline will have you second guessing yourself along with Shay, as new clues are revealed. Ms. Walker gives us hints fairly early on to the villain’s identity; allowing for the rest of the book to lead us down a twisted path of lies, deception, and death. Nothing and no one is what they seem in this tale. The beginning starts out fast and furious as our heroine begins to see the trickles of another’s influence on her life. Every aspect of her life is slowly being taken over from emails to phone numbers. Is she insane? Or does someone from Shay’s past come back to mete out their final punishment? The book does slow down as Shay deals with the actual physical aspects of reclaiming her identity and outing the villain, but picks back up as Shay and Ethan race to confront her stalker.
Shay and Ethan are two well defined protagonists. Their chemistry burns hot and sultry, quickly becomes a raging inferno as these two dance around what has never been an issue for them-their attraction to one another. Ms. Walker does a wonderful job in handling Shay’s fears and problems. The fear, anger, and sense of helplessness are all physically felt as you watch Shay struggle to let go of herself imposed prison. Ethan too has issues from the past that are brought into play that reveals his own feelings of inadequacy and fear. Ethan does a wonderful job with handling Shay’s internal and external issues. He isn’t so alpha that he thinks he can fix them all with a wave of his hand. He’s so gentle with her. *happy sigh*
"I miss you." Closing her eyes, she whispered, "Don’t." His lips brushed across the side of her brow. "Don’t what? Tell you that I miss you? Miss us?"
Both Shay and Ethan are intelligent, independent, and loyal individuals. I've always loved that Ms. Walker never draws out any misunderstandings or problems between the protagonists in her stories. They may have them but she doesn’t make it so much of a main storyline as more of a bridge for our characters to connect with. However, throughout the story, Shay’s issues run so deep; they are a constant thorn, pricking at us. She makes some decisions that frustrated me. I understood her motives, but I still found myself wanting to shake some sense into her at times. She has a bit of a martyr complex. Regardless, the slow steamy sexual heat and tension these two generate will leave you wanting more as you watch them rediscover their love.
Secondary characters keep the story on track and add depth and realism to the story. We are given interesting insight into all the people an author interacts with when publishing a book. The villain is an intelligent, paranoid,narcissistic, sociopath. The nature of their insanity becomes more apparent as we watch the lengths they go to get to Shay. Though we are clued in to villain’s identity early on, it’s when all the connections are revealed, that the true scope of the villain’s depravity is discovered. The villain’s reasoning makes sense, except, their insanity twists and transforms it into something unnatural and ugly.
If dark and gritty suspense romances are your genre of choice, then I wholeheartedly recommend Shiloh Walker’s Stolen. A genuine psychological thriller with plenty of suspense, mystery, and romance to hook you to the very end.
Favorite Quote: “So I told the guy, there is no way I’m organizing your ‘play room’. You can arrange your own riding crops!”
When Caroline Reynolds agrees to sublet her bosses apartment, she has no idea of the antics her next door neighbor is involved in. Simon Parker is not a “relationship” kind of guy, evident by the harem of women he’s involved with. When Simon’s late night shenanigans finally push Caroline over the edge, she confronts Simon, only to discover that she’d like very much to involve herself in his shenanigans and his heart.
I absolutely love Alice Clayton’s Redhead series, so when asked if I’d like to read this one, I grabbed a copy and ran; cackling like a loon. Wallbanger is aptly titled. A funny, madcap, smexy romantic contemporary that had me reading straight through. Fast pacing and a smooth flowing storyline will keep you in stitches as Wallbanger and Nightie Girl begin the battle of the headboard. Filled with plenty of humor, sarcasm, engaging dialogue, and well developed characters-I didn’t stop laughing till the end.
Caroline, a successful interior designer, seems to have lost her way to the magical ‘O’ after getting mauled by her machine gun style ex lover. She has decided to take some time from dating and focus more on her life and her career. Moving into a new apartment should be exciting, except for the neighbor next door who has a different bed partner every night. After a week of loud giggling, snorting, meowing, spanking, and constant banging against her wall, Caroline has had enough, and goes next door to speak her peace. She never expects the god who opens the door, wrapped only in a low, low slung sheet with voodoo spell casting blue eyes. Regardless, Caroline lays into him, demanding he curtail his activities or at least ‘come’ at a decent hour so she can get some sleep.
Simon Parker, with his dark hair, ripped physique, and gorgeous eyes is a wet dream come true. He is a travel photographer who spends about one week a month at home. He has no time for relationships and instead has three woman whom he dates when he’s available. This works well for all four of them so he is shocked when a beautiful woman in a short pink chiffon nightie knocks on his door then proceeds to call him an inconsiderate arsehole. And so begins the battle of the wills. When her boss holds a party, who should Caroline run into but the ‘Wallbanger’ himself. After some entertaining name calling and bickering, the couple decide to call a truce and from there we watch the relationship shift from frenemies to something neither of them expected.
Caroline and Simon are hilarious in their dialog. Neither give each other a break in the beginning.
“Asshole,” I mouthed to him ”Cockblocker,” he mouthed back, the smirk returning in full force.
As they spend more time with one another, they are like a well rehearsed vaudeville act. Zingers and innuendos flying left and right.
“Oh, my God, that’s so good,” I whimpered, closing my eyes and losing myself to the sensations. “I knew you’d like it, but I had no idea you’d enjoy it this much,” he whispered, staring at me with rapt attention. “Stop talking, you’re going to ruin it for me,” I moaned, stretching and feeling myself respond to everything he was giving me. “Did you want another one?” he offered, raising up on his elbow. “Go ahead, be a bad girl—you deserve it. I know you want it, Caroline,” he teased, leaning closer. “Okay,” I managed, opening up to him once again. I closed my eyes and heard him fumbling about before putting it in. Sighing as I felt it, I closed my lips around what he offered. “I’ve never seen a woman who could take so much in one sitting,” he marveled, watching me come undone once more. “Yes, well, you’ve never met a woman who likes meatballs as much as me,” I moaned.
Caroline’s inner monologue delights as she argues and rationalizes with her inner self about wanting Simon. Simon’s promiscuity scares her and she refuses to give in to the attraction, only to become another dent in his wall.
The Giggler had said I was lovely. She basically told me Simon had told her I was lovely. Simon thought I was lovely. Was the Giggler out of the harem? Was there even a harem left? What did this mean? Would I only think in questions now? And if so, who is Eric Cartman’s father?
The chemistry between Caroline and Simon is HOT! Steamy, panty dropping, hot. I really liked we not only see the physical aspects of their relationship but we also get a wonderful ring side seat to the romance blooming between them. Ms. Clayton takes it slow, allowing them to firmly become friends while amplifying the sexual tension to max levels. I love how Ms. Clayton gives us insight into Simon’s thoughts and feelings towards Caroline even though this is from her point of view. Both of them have legitimate concerns about a future together. Neither of them want to lose the friendship they have built yet the attraction between them is becoming impossible to ignore.
The secondary cast of characters are a delight that will leave you giggling as they try to facilitate a romance between Caroline and Simon. Caroline has two bffs, Mina and Sophie, who have her back in any situation even though they are busy trying to romance a couple boys of their own.
Caroline’s cat, Clive, is the one who steals the whole show. His antics (attacking Simon’s arse when he was “hurting” mommy) and his frantic love for “the one that got away” had me in tears. I really want a Clive. Simon’s harem get in on the act too. My favorite is Purina lady. You’ll have to read to understand, but seriously, it’s priceless.
The ending is funny and heartfelt as we watch Caroline and Simon finally open up to one another and address some of the issues that were holding them both back. We get a small epilogue that assures us that Caroline and Simon have a solid chance at making it and gives us a look at “feeder’s and tall one’s” relationship from Clive’s point of view.
Alice Clayton continues to be a welcome addition to the genre of romantic contemporaries. I wholeheartedly recommend her to everyone who enjoys their couples sexy, funny, romantic, and made of pure unadulterated fun.
Barrett McCall’s quiet solitary life is a life saving choice. A once repetitive lifestyle almost sent him spiraling into a deep abyss with no way out. It wasn’t until a life shattering incident makes him stand up and take a good look at his life and the choices he was making, does he decide that changes are needed. He moves to Straton, Pa, starts working as a short order cook and keeps his life simple. When his apartment burns down, his boss offers him her basement apartment which puts in the sights of his boss’s nephew.
Schuyler (Sky) Rhodes is an art teacher whose traumatic past causes him to make reckless decisions. He feels guilt over the death of his cousin and it causes him to keep everyone at arms length. Meeting Barrett is an epiphany for him. Barrett’s strength and serenity soothes the storm that rages in him and a single soul shattering kiss begins to melt Sky’s barriers and a tentative friendship forms. When Sky’s past comes back to town, threatening to tear Sky apart, Sky will have to be one hundred percent honest with Barrett, even if it pushes him away for good.
Color Of Grace is the second in A.M.Arthur’s Cost Of Repairs series. Color of Grace is an emotionally heart tugging M/M romance about pain, loss, and forgiveness. Smoothly written with a viable plot and interesting sub plots that intertwine and pull together to give us a poignant realistic story. Engaging characters and descriptions expand on the original storyline to further the “small town” appeal that the series foundation is built upon.
Our protagonists, Barrett and Sky are studies in the “before and after” of tragedy and how it is dealt with. Both have suffered a devastating loss that crippled them emotionally and chained them in their pasts. Barrett suffered the loss of a good friend and almost his life to drugs then disease. He is given a second chance and chooses to use that gift to exorcise his demons and take the path to living right again. Sky is also dealing with the loss of a good friend, his cousin, and the guilt has literally crippled him emotionally. He is unable to move on from that single point. He makes bad choices which carry the potential of causing harm to himself and others.
The author does a wonderful job of introducing Barrett and Sky to each other and the readers; revealing their individual pasts slowly to coincide with events happening now. Their layers are peeled back, allowing us to understand where they came from and where they are at now. Barrett instantly feels the connection with Sky. He wants to explore their attraction and see if a relationship is possible; something he has chosen not to pursue in the past as he was not ready. As their relationship progresses, he realizes that Sky has has become very important to him but has demons that he himself has fought and unsure how to broach the subject. The relationship is developed slowly with plenty of emotional and physical tension. I enjoyed feeling the chemistry build from a slow flame to a roaring combustible fire.These two men are not easy to trust. They have both been burned in the past and they are fear the loss that sometimes occur with people you love.
Their sexual relationship is both sweet and dirty and completely emotionally satisfying. It offers even more insight into Barrett and Sky. Issues are addressed and I liked that the author chose to not only voice them, but also to resolve them in a realistic manner.
The main conflict and subsequent plot lines are used to facilitate Barrett and Sky’s relationship both physically and emotionally. Each problem they encounter mirrors a past issue that Barrett and Sky are dealing with. The solutions are used to help heal the past. Dixie, Sky’s aunt plays a solid role in here and I enjoyed getting to know her better. Past characters are re introduced into the storyline, creating a family like dynamic that integrates you deeper into this small town and it’s residents. Sam and Rey also make a few appearances and we get to see how their relationship is progressing.
The ending is the dramatic catalyst that breaks Sky and forces he and Barrett to confront their deepest fears. It is deliciously tense and leaves you watching wide eyed with shock and consternation.
I thoroughly enjoyed A.M. Arthur’s trip back to Stratton, PA and look forward to visiting again in the future.
Abigail Roux paints us a tale of horror and suspense in this intriguing m/m paranormal romance. Humor and romance dance delicately am...moreRating: 3.5 Stars
Abigail Roux paints us a tale of horror and suspense in this intriguing m/m paranormal romance. Humor and romance dance delicately amongst the ghosts and spirits as two men fight for their love on the mortal and immortal plain. Witty dialogue and a well plotted main conflict holds your attention though readers may feel slighted with the slow moving and less developed main romance. There is a secondary romance that in my opinion, developed and presented much better.
When museum curator, Dr. Wyatt Case, meets gaslight flair bartender Ash Lucroix, he finds himself both attracted and repelled by his intense feeling of lust and attraction for someone so different from himself. One night of passion sends him sneaking out like a thief in the night, leaving him despondent and having to grovel his way back into Ash’s home and heart. When Ash suffers a blow to the head and begins to see strange events at the bar he works at, The Gravedigger, Wyatt fears Ash may be losing his sanity. But when the events become real to everyone, Wyatt begins to fear for Ash’s life. (less)
Samantha Jones never thought her life would change when she answered a call for a repo. A young single mother who works and lives for her young son, Sam does what she can to try and make a better life for the both of them. When she pops the truck on the BMW and sees a man inside, beat up and shot, she has no time to react and finds herself sharing the tiny space with him.
Daniel Panterro is convinced this is his last stand. Kidnapped from protective custody and beaten within an inch of his life, he is shocked when a beautiful young woman opens the trunk and joins him in his mobile grave.
When Daniel and Sam escape, Daniel knows that the vicious men who kidnapped him won’t stop hunting them until they’re both dead. He grabs Sam and “persuades” her with the help of Smith and Wesson to get to safety. Sam is furious to be dragged into his situation and only wants to get to her son.
Now Sam, Daniel, and her son are on the run. Sam isn’t sure she can trust Daniel, but her heart wants this dark and dangerous man who seems intent on protect her and her son from even himself. Can Sam trust her heart, or will Daniel prove a fatal attraction?
I’ve always been a fan of Robards. She is one of those authors whom I don’t auto buy but know I can pick up just about anything of hers and be satisfied. Karen Robards Shiver is a strong character driven romantic thriller that is predictable in the set up and outcome but provides a few twists and turns in the journey to the end. A smooth flowing storyline that, perhaps unintentionally, focuses much more on the characters and their romance than the main conflict. I found myself guessing the ending halfway into the book. Plenty of action and tension lends to the main conflict’s storyline but it can’t maintain and isn’t able to compete with the characters. Well written dialogue and definite antagonistic chemistry between Daniel and Sam is what held my interest in the story.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She growled in self defense. “What do think I’m doing?” “It’s obvious, isn’t it? Copping a feel.” “If I was copping a feel, my hands would be inside your pants.”
Daniel was a mixture of contradictions. What we see is not what we get. Seemingly laid back and mild mannered, it’s only as the story progresses do we see exactly what he is involved in and just how deadly he can be. He has many sticks in the fire and while you know his lies will eventually trip him up, you know that everything he is doing from the time he meets Sam is protect her. Sam is not impressed with him in the beginning though. Threatening her with a gun and taking her from her child leaves a heavy mark against him. As with any smart female, it takes her awhile to warm up to him.
Sam was equally as enjoyable as Daniel. Intelligent, resourceful, and brimming with common sense, Sam is no pushover. Abandoned by her family and her son’s father, Sam relies on one person-herself. And everything she does is for her son, Tyler. I found her attitude towards Daniel to be spot on and I loved her sarcasm.
“We’d both be better off if I have the gun.” His tone was even, reasonable.
She snorted, “I don’t think so.” “How about if I give you my word I’m not going to shoot you?” “How about if I give you my word I’m not going to shoot you?” She paused. “Unless you deserve it.”
The romance is slow to build, more sexual tension than actual scenes. We spend a majority of the story watching them internally ruminate about each other and their attraction but the chemistry resonates throughout the story and it’s believable in its unfolding.
I enjoyed the heavy inclusion of Sam’s son into the story. He is a viable presence and provides some comic relief and a bridge to help facilitate the relationship between Sam and Daniel. Other secondary characters are seen more through Sam and Daniel’s points of views and we don’t get a lot of direct interaction with them. The main conflict is intriguing but stays firmly in the background. The beginning is explosive but quickly settles and the focus switches to our protagonists. It’s only in the last quarter of the book does the action reinstate itself and we finally get the reasons for the actions that started everything. I was a little disappointed by how quickly everything wrapped up. I expected more interaction with our villains in the story.
All in all, Shiver wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t an explosive one either. It’s a steady but predictable read. I was also disappointed in Daniel’s attitude. We are told he is dangerous but I never really felt it from him. His mild mannered facade worked too well and I could never make myself really think he was a bad ass. The excerpt gives the impression he is dangerous but he could never convince me of that and it left me feeling ambivalent.
An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser Historical Romance Ebook November 5, 2012 Carina Press Obtained through Net Galley
Favorite Quote: “He may not earned...moreAn Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser Historical Romance Ebook November 5, 2012 Carina Press Obtained through Net Galley
Favorite Quote: “He may not earned the right, but he meant to live worthily of his extraordinary wife from this day forward.”
Jack Armstrong has spent his whole life on the battlefield, but nothing prepares him for battle he will have to fight in his own home. Jack married Elizabeth for convenience, then returned to the front lines. With the marriage left unconsummated and only a handful of cold letters between them. Jack isn't sure what to expect when he returns home; but a strong, confident, angry wife wasn’t it.
Elizabeth married Jack as a promise to her dying first husband. She hasn’t seen Jack in five years but she has certainly heard all about him and his escapades with other women. Having been the object of pity and ridicule because of his infidelity, Elizabeth has no intention of submitting to Jack in or out of the bedroom until he can earn her forgiveness.
As Jack prepares to battle his way into Elizabeth’s bed, his admiration and desire for Elizabeth expands, until winning her heart and love is the only victory he will accept.
Marriage of convenience and infidelity aren’t new tropes in romances. Historically, brides got their husband’s last name and the security that came with it while the mistresses got everything else. Often a blind eye was turned as long as the husband didn’t make a fool of his wife. In Suzanna Fraser’s An Infamous Marriage, the husband does make a fool out of his wife. Jack Armstrong, a lieutenant in the army, hadn’t planned to marry but when his best friend begged him, on his deathbed, to marry and care for his wife, Jack couldn’t deny him his dying request. So Jack reluctantly gets married, though the newly widowed Elizabeth, did offer to release him from the promise many times. A week after their marriage, Jack leaves for Canada to rejoin his unit, leaving a still grieving Elizabeth alone on his estate in a small secluded town. And here the trouble begins.
Jack, our hero, isn’t intentionally selfish or cruel. He is young, cocky, and seemingly has the world at his fingertips. Though a handsome man now, he wasn’t as a boy, and Jack’s self confidence needs the attention from the ladies. He doesn’t seek to hurt Elizabeth but offers up the notion that what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her. Besides, they never consummated the marriage so they arent really married, at least in his mind. And no man is ever completely faithful, right? Unfortunately, gossip has a way of reaching even small secluded towns, as Jack learns when he arrives home, and Elizabeth proceeds to inform him that she knows all about his adventures. Jack finds himself in an unusual position. He’s ashamed of his behavior and seeks to make amends.
I liked Elizabeth. Not heralded as a great beauty, she is nonetheless seems a nice person who has seen her fair share of grief in her life but doesn’t wallow in self pity. She never made the mistake of thinking Jack was in love with her nor even that he would remain faithful...but she did expect him to treat her with respect as a person and as his wife. Already a victim of scandal as a child, hearing of his infidelities second hand made the pain and embarrassment worse. She chooses to hide herself on their estate; causing her to further blame Jack, for taking away her freedom.
Fraser does a wonderful job in addressing Jack’s infidelity and how it affects his relationship and marriage with Elizabeth. There is no instant forgiveness. Jack has to earn her trust and luckily for Elizabeth, he takes that to heart. Jack courts Elizabeth, much to her condensation and delight. Watching them get to know one and fall in love was interesting as well as humorous at times. The chemistry between them starts out slow but becomes quite steamy and ribald as both are naturally sensual people who are not shy in bed.
While we are introduced to various secondary characters, they really didn't make much of an impression on me story wise. They are more background scenery than anything else, for this story focuses solely on our hero and heroine. The background of the Napoleonic wars intertwines well with the storyline. The main conflict resolves easily, though there is a small crisis that comes back to threaten Jack and undo all the advancement he and Elizabeth have made. The resolution is believable and we are left with a small epilogue to assure us of our couple’s happiness.
My only problem with this book is that I was never able to connect with it beyond a singular level. Well written, it’s told in a matter of fact style that lacks emotional tone. I felt as though the characters weren’t as fleshed out emotionally as they could have been. No real sense of frustration, anger, hurt, pain, ect...came through. They are quite congenial to one another. I wanted to feel Elizabeth’s rage and pain. I wanted Jack’s despair and anger to touch me. It was only in their lovemaking scenes did I get a hint of the passionate nature these characters had.
Even with my misgivings on the tone of the book, I did enjoy the story elements and the overall development of the characters and their relationship.
Favorite Quote: “I’d rather leave you then have you taken from me.”
As chief surgeon for the Wardens, Evelyn Stone fears her own life is on the line when she is kidnapped by a band of pirates—only to discover that the airship captain is Gavin “Mac” MacRae—her former lover. The man whose life she once saved. The man she abandoned.
Since Evelyn left, Mac made his mark as both a pirate and a pilot. But his true allegiance isn’t known. So when he asks Evie for help with a wounded woman onboard, he tells Evie that the woman is his wife—even if his feelings for Evie have never waned…
As the days pass, however, the unease between Evie and Mac gives way to the old comfort they used to have. Yet, their newly ignited romance is complicated by conflicting loyalties and desires, and a betrayal that may cost them both their love and their lives. (Goodreads)
Breath Of Iron, the third in Ms. Cross’s dark and intriguing Clockwork Agents series, submerges us back into the wonderful world of Victorian sediments and steampunk adventures. Riveting action, dangerous spies, steamy romance, and an all-star cast keep us on our toes. Lush world building continues to evolve as we divulge deeper into the mechanics behind the Wardens of the Realm and their arch enemies, The Company. The Wardens are a secret government group who work behind the scenes to protect the monarchy and it’s hierarchy, while The Company seeks to destroy it. In this installment, Cross crosses the continent and brings us the Wardens and The Companys Russian counterparts.
Our story begins with the kidnapping of Dr. Evie Stone, the Warden’s English doctor. Evie knows her kidnappers but is shocked when she is drugged and wakes upon The Queen V; her ex lover’s ship. Evie left Mac three years ago after she saved his life once again. She couldn’t stand his being a pirate nor his propensity for getting hurt. She feared for the day she would not being able to save him and so she left. Mac, a previous Warden who left the agency for calmer waters, has never forgiven Evie for leaving him while he recuperated in the hospital, but he needs her skills as a surgeon to save a very important life. In order to keep Evie safe and his heart protected, he lies about the young woman he needs Evie to save.
Evie knows something is wrong with the entire situation but believes Mac has moved on from her and reluctantly accepts his marriage. When Mac is attacked and a crew member is killed, all evidence points towards a traitor on board. Evie’s investigation reveals the whole story behind Mac’s marriage and the real reasons he’s back in England and consorting with Wardens.
Both Mac and Evie are interesting protagonists and I enjoyed learning their backstory. Evie’s fear of commitment and distrust of love stems from her parent’s relationship and her father’s desertion of her and her mother. Mac has a hero complex that places his life in continuous danger. Both are extremely brave and stubborn. There were times I felt neither really listened to what the other was saying. Pages of dialogue show them bickering back and forth; both still hurt by their failed affair. It slows the story line down. Though they seemed at times unable to get past that day three years ago, they did have a delightful banter between one another that is both sensual and amusing. Witty dialogue and little digs will have you smiling as their two square off against each other. Their strong chemistry singes the pages as the main conflict unfurls amongst suspicion and distrust. I did feel that the romance overshadowed the story and didn’t blend as well with the storyline as it did in the other two installments. Everything happens fast and there are some situations that do not fully reveal, leaving me at a lost to what exactly happened.
Ms. Cross’s continues to write well developed and personable secondary characters whose individual storylines spike your curiosity. Ned, Mac’s sister, is a jovial character whom I forsee has having some further conflict with the Wardens. We get an interesting look at the director of the Warden’s personal life that was shocking. Ms. Cross allows us time with Lucas and Arden and Clair and Alister; giving us intimate glimpses into their lives. What I normally enjoyed about this series is that everyone has hidden agendas; making for a more exciting story filled with many twists and turns. In this installment I felt we didn’t get that as much. The story lines revolves almost singularly around Evie and Mac’s romance. I missed the cutting action and suspense from the previous two installments. I also missed the usually strong Warden presence.
Regardless of my qualms, Cross continues to pen an engaging steampunk romance that is sure to appeal to fantasy and romance fans alike.
Not sure where to start. Reflected In You disappointed me. I expected more growth and development character wise from our MCs. Instead, we see more je...moreNot sure where to start. Reflected In You disappointed me. I expected more growth and development character wise from our MCs. Instead, we see more jealiousy, obsessiveness, lies, and sex. I wasn't convinced of their romance in Bared To You but gave it the benefit of the doubt as it was the first book, an introduction and set up. Yet in here, there is still no viable reasons as to WHY they are even together. A strong sexual attraction is understandable but why are they falling in love? What attracts then to one another beyond sex? I don't think Day addresses that in a realistic fashion. There is nothing I have seen in either book that can convince me this couple should be together.
The constant emotional barrage they subject themselves and each other to is exhausting. They are both drama queens. Everything is !!!!!!! for them. Even if I can't understand it, I would have still enjoyed had their story shown some advancement but all I felt was relief when it was all over. While Im still convinced this is merely another version of 50 Shades, I enjoyed 50 Shades more because I actually liked Christan and Ana. There is nothing likable, to me, about Gideon and Eva. (less)
4.5 ZOMG!!! Charlotte Stein does it again with a dirty, sexy, raw love story that hits all the right buttons, including some I didn't even know I had....more4.5 ZOMG!!! Charlotte Stein does it again with a dirty, sexy, raw love story that hits all the right buttons, including some I didn't even know I had.
Vaughnne MacMeans works for a secret shadow group in the FBI. Composed almost entirely of psychics, the group uses their gifts to help bring down criminals that conventional means can’t seem to manage. When her boss, Taylor Jones, gives Vaughnne an assignment in Orlando, FL, Vaughnne is dismayed. She was part of the team who broke the slave trade ring down there in The Reunited and the job took a lot out of her both professionally and personally. Told she will be babysitting a kid with supposed psychic powers, she finds there is much more involved once she meets her assignment.
Gus has been charged with protecting his nephew, Alex. A former mercenary/spy for a foreign country, Gus intimately knows the danger Alex is in; especially if the person who want Alex gets him back. Gus’s paranoia has no boundaries and he trusts only one person-Alex. He will do anything and everything to keep Alex safe.
“There is nobody, and I mean this with every bit of strength I have in me, absolutely nobody who means as much to me as that boy. I can, and have, killed for him. I will do it again, without blinking.”
He hates that he has to use Alex as a human lie detector but the circumstances demand it. When Gus first meets Vaughnne, the attraction is unexpected and unwelcome. He has no time for romance or even a dalliance as his life is nothing but a convoluted layer up layer of lies and deception.
Vaughnne is astounded when she is hit by the raw psychic power Alex holds. Also by the intense chemistry that sparks between her and Gus. As Vaughnne struggles to keep Gus and Alex in her sights without them knowing, other agents are are becoming involved, each with their own agenda. When Alex’s location is compromised, Vaughnne has no choice but to blow her cover and do everything possible to keep Alex safe. But that is easier said than done when Gus places roadblock after roadblock in Vaughnne’s way and she is forced to finally take matters in her own hands.
The Protected is the fourth in Shiloh Walker’s intensely sensual and intriguing dark paranormal series-The FBI Psychics. The Protected picks up after book three, The Reunited. Though part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. The Protected is a shockingly seductive paranormal thriller that hooked me from page one. Shiloh Walker has an addictive writing style that draws you into her characters’ emotional pathways and lets you feel with them what they are experiencing. Romance and taut suspense go hand in hand as we follow a gritty and dark well plotted storyline down a twisting path of deception, betrayal, and madness.
Heavily character driven, The Protected introduces us to two extremely complicated characters-Vaughnne MacMeans and Gus (Gustavo) Hernandez. Vaughnne has been on her own since she was fifteen when her father cast her out due to her manifesting gifts. Only through intense trial and tribulation did she get her life on track, which eventually leads her to Jones and her FBI position. Vaughnne is extremely loyal and independent. She has lines she won’t cross but those lines become blurred when she and Gus begin working together.
Gus went into the military and left his family behind when he was co opted into a special ops group. He has killed, lied, deceived, and betrayed all in the name of the job. He is extremely attractive and has no issues using that to achieve his mission goals. Though he has buried his conscious deep and fears he has starred too long into the abyss, becoming like the monsters he hunted, something about Vaughnne makes him begin to question the things he has done.
“There were days he swore that this was some hell that had been dropped on him because of the life he’s led. The lives he had taken, the lies he had told. “
Gus has to be one of my favorite characters to date in this series. Dark and dangerous, he embodies an anti hero feel though you know that he is one of the good guys. He has his own rules that he follows and woe to anyone whom he decides is a threat.
The chemistry between Vaughnne and Gus is an aching pulse that beats beneath the storyline. Intense sexual tension keeps us and them on the edge as they struggle to stay professional and on top of their mission. The romance is hot and bittersweet, slowing revealing in a way that elevates and enhances the main plot without overshadowing. Their physical scenes are tasteful, satisfying, and extremely steamy. Gus is definitely an alpha and Vaughnne is more than able to hold her own when he unleashes his full repertoire on her.
“ It was though. A taking. A marking. A claiming.”
She sees behind the mask he has cultivated and that both intrigues and scares Gus. It was very easy to get caught up in the emotional turmoil of these two star crossed lovers as try to find their second chance.
The secondary characters are bold, viable additions to the story as they add layers to the suspense and mystery. Each one is a piece in the puzzle; they make up a solid foundation for our storyline to build upon. We see old familiar faces that are a welcome addition to the story. Taylor Jones is ever present, only offering information on a need to know basis. It’s nice to see a personal side of him since our first meeting in The Missing (Book one). Taige and her daughter make an appearance and I still adore seeing Taige’s protective instincts in action, especially when children are involved. We also get some clues to Taige’s daughter’s eventual role in the arc. Tucker and Nalini, seen in The Reunited, play much bigger roles in here I enjoyed seeing the foreshadowing of their future interactions. Tucker has such an amazing gift and I like that Walker gives us more hints into his background. I am looking forward to his book.
As with any good thriller, there are multiple sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a key to the final outcome. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of maintaining these separate entities without overburdening us with unnecessary information or complicated scenarios. When it all comes together in the end, we are treated to an astounding finale that ties it all together, solid and tight, with no questions left unanswered. Though we are informed of the villain early one, the journey into their reasons for wanting Alex and the catalyst that pushes Gus and Alex to run and hide was thrilling and packed with surprises.
The Protected is an action junkie’s thrill ride that hits all the high notes. I recommend this series as a must read for those who love their paranormal romances to be wrapped in dark emotional suspense and intrigue. I cannot wait to see where Walker takes us next.
Favorite Quote: “Remember what I said, Quinn. I will kill them all. “
Alaric, Poseidon’s dark and seductive High Priest, has sacrificed everything to serve Poseidon and Atlantis and to ensure Atlantis rises as the prophecy has proclaimed. He knows that this is why he can never give in to the turbulent passion he feels for rebel leader, Quinn. When her best friend and second in command, Jack, is fatally wounded in battle, Alaric throws caution to the wind and makes Quinn a promise. He will see that Jack lives, no matter the cost to him or his heart.
Readers of this series have waited a LIFETIME for this final installment of Alyssa Day’s seductive, action packed, thrilling Warriors of Poseidon series. Heart Of Atlantis gives us what we have all wanted since book one-Alaric and Quinn’s story. Alaric and Quinn have danced upon the sharp knife edge of desire since their first meeting. Both tied by the bonds of their loyalty and duties, they know that the best thing for them both (and the world) is to deny what they want most-each other. When the Poseidon’s Pride is stolen and attempts are made to use it, causing devastating natural catastrophes, Alaric and Quinn will have to once again put their chemistry on hold and save world. However, this time around, Alaric’s and Quinn’s passion may be the only thing that saves them all, if they are brave enough accept it.
This series is a well-plotted paranormal romance with strong storylines and dynamic, personable characters who have more than held their own throughout this exciting journey. Hearts Of Atlantis is filled with taut suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists. Two of the series strongest characters drive this story and we are swept away in an emotional battle for control of Atlantis and the world. Ms. Day takes the legends of Atlantis and mixes it with new lore to produce a stunning fantasy world that first starts in Atlantis Rising and continues its dark and dangerous journey to this final installment. Instead of being overburdened by overwrought interpretation and world building at the sacrifice of story, or being heavy on story but leaving the world largely undefined, Hearts Of Atlantis brings the ongoing arc to a sharp pinnacle, leaving us a wide view of the yawning chasm before pushing us in head first. It has all the right notes and carries us roaring to the very end. The world building is a perfect blend of seductive romance, nonstop action, realistic main characters, secondary characters, and intriguing betrayal. Well thought out and fast paced, it offers readers a satisfying conclusion to the arc for the main characters by resolving two very important conflicts-one that threatens the lives of Alaric and Quinn and one that threatens their hearts.
I have loved Quinn from our first meeting. Leader of the North American Rebel Alliance and Riley’s and Erin’s sister, she has suffered greatly through life; yet she manages to remain strong and never appears a victim. Though she only popped in and out of each installment as needed, she maintained a viable presence that remained long after her scenes were done. Her clever mind and even more clever wit kept us entertained as she and Alaric traded quips and barbs; hiding behind sarcasm as she tries to keep her feelings hidden. Her feelings for him scare her. She has lost so much in her life; she doesn’t trust the good to stick around.
We witness a different side of Alaric in this story. Throughout the series, he has been steadily growing colder and harsher. Hard decisions made towards those he had come to care about, has left him empty. Here, we learn his back story and the real reasons he has denied his feelings for Quinn. We begin to see a different side to him as he and Quinn spend more time together. Playful, funny, and happy.
“You are so frustrating,” she shouted at him, kicking more water on him. “Why couldn’t you find some other tough rebel chick to drive out of her mind? Why did it have to be me?” He shoved his dripping wet hair out of his face and, relief finally overwhelmed him, grinned up at her. “World bending kisses,” he smugly reminded her.
The chemistry between Alaric and Quinn has been apparent from the beginning; a slow burning fire that is becoming an unstoppable inferno. It is a physical entity that is felt with every word, glance, and scene we get from them. I found myself completely engrossed in their story. The sexual tension is FINALLY addressed in some wonderfully explict steamy smexy scenes that had me cheering and re reading. When Alaric lets go…Alaric let’s GO! *whew*
“I have decided to spend the rest of my life giving you orgasms in various beautiful settings, all over the world…” “Mine,“ he said, kissing his way up her body and then lifting her on top of him…MINE!”
An all star cast of characters continues to shine as each plays an important part in the story. Old and new characters blend together as they race towards final battle. Previous storylines are resolved and questions laid to rest. The portal (or glorified elevator) is back and once again provides comic relief.
All in all Hearts In Atlantis was a satisfying read in every way. An exciting ride that brings about a satisfying conclusion to a world that I did not want to end. Fortunately for us, Ms. Day is releasing a new series-The League Of The Black Swan with the first installment-The Cursed-releasing in May 2013. Two notes of contention were Jack’s storyline and the ending. Jack wasn’t as prevalent as I thought he would be in here. He is buried beneath the main conflict and the romantic storyline. I also felt the ending was rushed and it left me with a vague feeling that this may not be the last time we visit this world. Regardless, Day’s Warriors Of Poseidon series is perfect for those lovers of PNR who enjoy strong characters, fantastic world building, and steamy romance.
I do not recommend reading the books in this series as stand alones. Even though each one has a resolvable main conflict, the arc and characters bleed over into each book and you miss much by not starting at the beginning.
In the small resort town of Pemkowet, wealthy humans and supernatural creatures (called eldritch) live together in an uneasy harmony, all under the unbending authority of an ancient Norse goddess, Hel. Daisy Johanssen, half incubus and half human, helps patrol the town and it’s inhabitants as an official agent of Hel and a liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department.
When a college student is found dead and all signs point to eldritch involvement, Daisy is paired with sexy police officer Cody Fairfax and charged with finding answers quick. Daisy has always had a crush on Cody, but this secretive werewolf has always made it clear that pack comes first. As Daisy puts her crush on hold and opens herself to the mystery surrounding her, she finds her emotions aren't so easily held in check and that is a bad thing, because if her emotions exploded…so may the world.
Jacqueline Carey’s Dark Currents is a quirky urban fantasy with an interesting modern world set up and a cast of distinctive characters. Besides the normal supernatural cast-wolves, fae, vamps-we also have ghouls. Attractive ghouls. Attractive breathing, eating, body parts intact ghouls. Set in a small resort tourist town in the Midwest, our heroine, Daisy Johannsen, is a half breed incubus who uses her faith and mother’s love to offset her volatile emotions from her father’s side. Volatile emotions that should she give in to them, could start the beginning of Armageddon. Daisy is an agent of Hel. Hel is a Norse goddess who rules over the edritch that live in the town. Her word is law and Daisy is her enforcer. The story, though presented as adult fiction, has a YA feel to it. I believe this is due to our heroine Daisy Johanssen.
Daisy is a contradiction. While she is a half demon, there is no dark past or tragic moment for her to overcome. Raised by her mother, she has had a pretty good life in this town. Due to a prophecy, she does have to avoid the temptation, called the seven deadlies, of giving in to her demon side, otherwise hell on earth will reign. We aren’t given much information on the ‘whys’ of this prophecy beyond she alone helps to keep her father and hell on one side of a mystic wall and giving in will allow her father and others to cross over and stay. I did find her immature in ways that didn’t quite agree with the storyline presented. She is an adult but acts like a teenager at times. Her use of ‘gah’ and ‘huh’ became repetitive and annoying, she is forever unintentionally insulting people (especially friends), and she blows her top at the blink of an eye. Rather like a hormonal teen. There is also a physical attribute she possesses that, frankly, is weird and made me uncomfortable. Not the attribute itself, but the intimate manner in which it’s referred to. And it’s referred to CONSTANTLY throughout the story. I don't want to spoil, but Jen from FictionVixen.com and I spoke of it at length and both agreed it was weird.
Though the romance is VERY low key in here with only vague promises and possibilities, there are three potential loves interests though Daisy is a single gal who has quite the wandering eye. First we have Cody Fairfax, a secretive werewolf police officer and a major life long crush. He is part of an insular pack and though he dates humans and other species, he will never settle down with anyone who is not pack. Then there is Sinclair, an aura reader who runs a local supernatural tour bus. We don’t know much about Sinclair but he has caught Daisy’s eye. Lastly, we have Stephan Ludovic, the head ghoul in town. He is sexy, in a biker gang, and his whispered promises to help Daisy with her emotional problems both excites and scares her. I am skeptical of this trope introduced so early in a series as it usually ends up dragging out far longer than necessary.
The mystery is intricate and intriguing despite the lightness of the overall storyline. Multiple subplots and characters come into play as Daisy and Cody attempt to find out who killed the college student and why. Ms.Carey uses prejudice, myths, and religious faith to further deepen the storyline and engage us to the characters.
Daisy experiences a growing period throughout the storyline, learning more about her self and other eldritch as the investigation progresses. Her “solving” of the mystery was another example though of the YA immaturity I felt in the story. It was all rather silly and anti climatic.
Carey’s Dark Currents is an easy to read Urban Fantasy that will entertain in some areas and roll eyes in others. Readers will certainly appreciate her imaginative world building and personable characters though maybe be disappointed by the juvenile tone of the story.
Favorite Quote: “Do you think a woman, experienced or not, cannot tell if a man puts true emotion into a kiss? “
I’m a well established fan of Ms. Wildes’s historical romances. I enjoyed her previous trilogy, Notorious Bachelors, a great deal and was excited to see her starting a new series. Ms. Wildes has a unique approach to historical romances. Her heroes and heroines are never over burdened with misunderstandings or book filling situations. Sweetly portrayed characters exist in viable storylines. Not overly emotional or angst driven, her books fill a nice spot on my bookshelf.
I wish I could say this story blew me away me, but I cannot. An interesting premise and mildly intriguing mystery that never seems to quite gain a foothold and expand. A deliciously decorated package that when opened, lacks substance. The best I can say is that it is sweet. The characters are sweet. The plot and subplots are sweet. The rescue is sweet. Even the villain, who isn’t really a villain, is sweet. There is no sense of adventure within the plot, only mild intrigue and suspense. No standing on the precipice, quivering in anticipation wondering what will happen. I knew from the beginning what the end would hold in store for us. Our main protagonists, Elena and Ran, are calm, rational, and mild mannered. No arguing. No fussing. I was taken back that Elena remained as calm as she did. She awakens in a strange place, almost stripped bare, with a strange man. She doesn’t succumb to hysterics or even accuse him of setting it up. Ran, on the other hand, does have a realistic moment when he accuses Elena of trying to trap him into marriage. She quickly disabuses him of this idea when it becomes apparent he really doesn’t have anything she needs. She’s rich and engaged to be married. I would have loved to see some conflict between them concerning the situation they find themselves in. Rather, we are treated to the beginnings of a lovely, somewhat textbook, first romance.
The secondary romance, which receives as much attention as the main romance, was more interesting to me. Benjamin Wallace, Lord Heatherton, married his bride six months ago and admits he married her for her looks and the fact that it was time. A former political analyst during the war, he is a seemingly cold, inattentive man. His wife, Alicia, comes to him with a cleverly stated ultimatum. She wants a different marriage. She feels that their marriage of convenience could be so much more if Benjamin would just open up to her, so she tells him she would like them to spend more time together getting to know one another before continuing their conjugal visits That’s right. She kicks him out of bed till he straightens up. Ben is quite funny in his shock and dismay that his wife is giving him this ultimatum. He can’t believe she dares, yet it works because he begins to notice her more. As if seeing her for the first time, Ben begins to see beneath the trappings and notices her beauty, wit, and charm.
The love scenes between both couples are done well. I loved that in each romance, lessons are taught and learned. Both of our heroes keep their emotions well hidden to avoid any romantic entanglements, each choosing a different method to ensure the women they are with never gain access to their hearts, therefore making them vulnerable to pain. The slow dissolving of the walls each man has built is well done, though I felt the love aspect for our kidnapped couple happened fast.
Why would someone kidnap an innocent and a well known rake? How was the villain able to kidnap them from under the noses of everyone? Are they together? Ben asks these questions and more when Elena’s father comes to him for help in finding Elena and tampering down the gossip already running rampant. Ben receives some unlikely help in his quest to find the couple which helps to facilitate his own romance. There are a limited number of secondary characters for a book this size, which surprised me. With such an elaborate plot, I expected more characters to be a part of the undertaking. Maybe more will be revealed in later books. Our kidnapping victims are rescued, more by chance than anything else, and the true villain behind the kidnapping is never revealed, leaving us in the dark about the reasons this entire scenario happened in the first place. A viable resolution combined with an epilogue gives clues that lead me to believe we will not know the true reasons behind any of this until the last book in this series.
Favorite Quote: “What am I?” I whisper then. “Vengeance.“
Haunted, #8 in the Anna Strong Chronicles, brings back the dynamic action packed life of Anna Strong-bounty hunter turned vampire, that I missed in book 7. Anna was turned into a vampire through violent means and without her consent. While it has been a wild adventure for Anna, she has accepted her role in being the Chosen. She is content in her relationship with Stephan, a human reporter, but she can’t help the loneliness that is beginning to claw at her. Being the Chosen and immortal, she is finding herself wanting something more; with someone who can truly understand her dual nature and the problems that comes with it. When her friend Culebra, a mysterious shape shifter, reveals his past to Anna, she is both shocked and repelled. Culebra is not who she thought. When his past comes to him for help, Anna and her ex boyfriend, DEA agent Max, will have to shove aside their animosity, travel with Culebra into Mexico and infiltrate the drug cartel to help him right an old wrong. But things are not as they seem and Anna soon learns that some things from the past will never let you go.
Anna is what every Urban Fantasy heroine should be. A tough, gutsy, complex character who delivers what’s promised. She has a strong presence but doesn’t overwhelm. Stein’s conversational writing style is even flowing and fleshes out even the most minute details to provide a rich story telling experience. She has accepted her destiny as the Chosen and lives more in harmony with her vampiric side, but we see a stronger human urge for love, family, and security in here. Once I started reading, I was engrossed in Anna’s story. The world Stein has created is a perfect blending of supernatural wonder and magic with modern times. I like that Anna continues to learn from her earlier mistakes which allows for growth not only in her character but in this series. She still jumps the gun, but she isn’t as self destructive anymore.
The majority of this story revolves around Culebra. We learn some things about him that contradicts what we have believed so far. Action, violence, and subterfuge are the main components and they are used to highlight and draw out both Culebra’s and Anna’s nurturing sides. We see Frey and his son, giving us hope that they will become more and more a permanent feature in future storylines. I liked the fact that even with multiple subplots, the main story line stays focused and reads fast and furious. Betrayal is a recurring factor that presents itself on many different levels. While some of the plot and it’s main characters actions were predictable, it didn't take away from the over all enjoyment.
Many readers will be pleased to see that Haunted resolves some long standing storylines and opens new doors for Anna. One in particular that I have been waiting for a long time. What appeals to me in this series is it’s plot driven storyline. Fast paced action and strong characters play a huge part while romance is subdued and used to accent the story rather than compete against it. This series is continuing arc so I do not recommend it as a stand alone. Even though the main conflict is resolved at the end of each installment, past scenes and relationships are often referenced and that will not make sense if you are not familiar with the players. I enjoyed this newest adventure into Anna’s life and was pleased by the direction Ms. Stein is taking with the series.
Favorite Quote: “You advising me to lie back and think of England?”
Nikki Glass has begun to acclimate to her new life as an immortal descendant of Artemis. Living in the mansion with the other Liberi’s, Nikki is slowly making it her home but finds herself clinging stubbornly to her humanity, especially when it comes to killing for revenge. And revenge is what Liberi leader Anderson wants. He orders Nikki to track the former head Olympian, Konstantin, but Konstantin’s son Cyrus had made it perfectly clear that any retribution against his father will be considered an act of war. A war the liberi have no hope of winning. When a series of mysterious fires propels Nikki towards Konstantin, she finds herself drawn into an intricate game of cat and mouse that could spell disaster for her and all those she loves.
Add in her attraction to death goddess descendant Jamaal and Nikki isn’t sure if being immortal will be enough to keep her alive this time around.
Rogue Descendant, the third book in Jenna Black’s Nikki Glass series, is an action packed urban fantasy based upon Greek mythology. Fast pacing, well plotted story lines, dry humor, and engaging characters will hook you into this entertaining world that Ms. Black has written.The world building is simplistic in its construction yet each layer we uncover reveals a twisting mass of lies and half truths that it rest upon.
Heavily character driven, what I really enjoy about this story is the machiavellian and unapologetic makeup of the cast. There are no clear cut good or bad guys in here. There are just degrees of separation. These are demi gods. Powerful and deadly, each has a story begging to be told. They may not want to kill you, but to protect their secrets, they will. Nikki is still having a hard time fitting in with them because of all this. New to her immortality, her Nikki’s tight hold on her humanity separates her from the fold. She still doesn’t feel any real tangible connection with this new family and the events in this book only continues to highlight that lack of connection.
Nikki is still dealing with Anderson’s insane wife Emma whose jealousy has hit epic proportions. Though, Emma may have a legit reason for her craziness. Especially when some information concerning Anderson is brought to Nikki’s attention. She is also on Konstantin’s hit list and finds herself wondering if she will soon need a spreadsheet to keep up with who wants her dead.
The romance is still in the beginning stages, we are given a much deeper look at Nikki’s ongoing crush on Jamaal-a death goddess descendant. Going from enemies to frenemies is a common enough trope but Ms. Black handles it well in allowing the relationship to move at its own pace through the series, though I felt their relationship consists of one step forward and three steps back. Jamaal is so damaged and is also having problems with his death magic not liking Nikki. He tries to stay away from her and for good reasons but she is convinced she can overcome anything to be with him. There are also more scenes that show Anderson’s interest in Nikki maybe more than work related, though no love triangle is presented.
Anderson is still my favorite character in here and I REALLY want him and Nikki to hook up. They have some great chemistry together. Anderson and Nikki spend a lot of page time together and grace us with even more information about Anderson’s past and his reasons for keeping his heredity a secret. I enjoyed seeing more of the other Liberis and of course, Cyrus. He’s the perfect anti hero. He does bad so good. I do wish we could get some insight into Steph and Blake’s relationship from their POVs and I really can’t WAIT to see how Cyrus reacts to that development.
Deception and betrayal all combine together to create a main conflict that keeps you wondering as you learn the villain’s reasons behind the fires. Nikki’s humanity plays a large part in the decisions she makes in here, which causes some very tense moments for her and Anderson. The ending does a 180, leaving you wide eyed in shock as you realise that once again, Ms. Black has pulled a fast one on you.
A few issues did keep me from 100% enjoying this story. Though all the elements are here for the perfect story, I did feel this particular installment seems to coast. Nikki is more indecisive and immature; especially in her dealings with Jamaal and her sister. Dialogue rules this installment with small amounts of action included. Also, some of the decisions made by her and Anderson were questionable. The storyline stalled at times and by the end, I realized the arc had not advanced all that much. This book felt like a bridge; especially with the “OMG cliffhanger moment” is announced at the end.
Regardless of these issues, I look forward to book four, title and release date to be announced.
Eden Green just wants to live in peace and quiet. Raised in a family surrounded by dark, deadly secrets, Eden knows for fact that the monsters we fear most do exist. This causes problems in both her professional and private life. She now resides in the sleepy little town of Clover, Tennessee, hoping and praying her family’s problems will remain buried where they belong.
Jay Ancheta is a strong alpha wolf who despises pack politics and satisfies his need to protect by serving as Clover’s Chief of Police. He is drawn to Eden but can’t reasonably be with a woman who doesn’t know what he is and fears that once his wolf gets a taste of her, it will never want to let her go.
When Eden learns her long lost cousin and his abused pack are squatting on the old Green homestead, she goes to see them only to find herself thrown into the middle of a battle that results in her being bitten. Jay suddenly has his hands full with a newly turned wolf whose power rivals his, a traumatised pack looking for sanctuary, and a corrupt alpha who will stop at nothing to get his property back-dead or alive.
Can Jay and Eden provide the strength they will need to survive? Or will the Green family legacy destroy them all?
Haunted Sanctuary is the first book in Moira Roger’s new Green Pines Series. A dark seductive paranormal romance that is a unique blending of their Southern Arcadia and Red Rock Pass series. Filled with dynamic action, heartbreaking drama, and enough hot, intense loving that will have you wanting your very own alpha wolf; this supernatural thriller is guaranteed to keep you hooked till the very end. What I truly enjoy about this author duo is the ease and skill in which write their characters. Heavily character driven, these fully developed and delightfully engaging players will capture your attention from first meeting and wiggle their way into your heart. It’s almost impossible to not become vested in their lives. The smooth pacing and engaging storyline makes for a fast read that came to an end far too soon for my liking.
Eden and Jay are both fantastic complicated protagonists. Intelligent, clever, and loyal, the dance these two engage in is both seductive and edgy as Eden finds herself pushed violently into a world she wanted be part of. I adore the reluctant hero trope and in here we got a twofer-both protagonists are reluctant, yet each are natural born leaders and it shows in as they step up to the plate to protect what is theirs. The drama of their relationship and situation they find themselves in balances well with the world building.
The romance is a slow and steady emergence as Eden and Jay attempt to learn about one another as humans while their wolves push for them for much, much more. Their chemistry is off the charts and when you toss in some dominance play…watch out!
Stroking. Coaxing. He was surrounding her, pushing in from all sides, and some foreign part of her pushed back. The forces collided at her skin and sparked lightning. She cried out and struggled in his arms, driven by the sudden urge to fight, to flee, to run.
We meet some wonderful new friends who will steal your heart and invoke your protective instincts while seeing some old ones. This world promises to become an intense and addictive must read series. The journey towards safety is fraught with tension and suspense as we learn the secrets that plague the Green family and the lengths some will go to keep what they consider theirs. Our villains are ugly, nasty, evil, individuals that you will love to hate. Beware though. As with most of Moira Rogers’s stories, this writing pair does not shy away from violence or making hard decisions that can and will break your heart. Strong emotions will make and break you as you race to the climatic finale. The ending resolves just enough to leave you wide eyed with fear and wonder while setting up for a strong sweeping arc that is guaranteed to have you looking forward to book two-Haunted Wolves-which is slated to release sometime in 2013.
As this is the beginning of a new series, it is safe to read alone all though there are characters and situations from previous series that lightly bleed into it. However, if you haven’t read the other series, rest assured, you will not be lost.
4.5 ZOMG! Fans of Charlotte Stein and Kristin Ashley will be all over this new post apocalyptic series which features some of the most delicious, filth...more4.5 ZOMG! Fans of Charlotte Stein and Kristin Ashley will be all over this new post apocalyptic series which features some of the most delicious, filthiest, explict sex scenes combined with tough as nails alpha heroes and heroines.
A dark post apocalyptic world where the rich and elite live in walled city surrounded by outcasts who have divided the city in to gang controlled sections. When a young girl (Noelle) is exiled from the city and tossed out to die, she is found by a high ranking gang member (Jasper)and brought into the fold. Her journey to shed her strict upbringing is chronicled as she learns that sex, violence, and love are the corner stones of power and true freedom. (less)
Favorite Quote: “Oh, quit feeling sorry for yourself.”
Gwen Frost is back and recovering from her near fatal wound but if she thinks the Reapers are going to wait for her to be at one hundred percent…she’ll have a long wait. When her boss, Nickamedes, is poisoned by a Reaper instead of Gwen, she finds herself travelling to the great outdoors in search of an elusive antidote for the poison. She has a limited window of opportunity to succeed. If she fails, Nickamedes will die. Gwen and her friends go in search of the antidote, well aware that this could be a trap set by the Reapers and death may be all what awaits them.
***Tiny recap from Crimson Frost***
Once again, I enter the hallowed halls of Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy in her latest release, Midnight Frost, and found myself submerged into the story as if I never left. By the end of book four, Crimson Frost, Gwen has made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the Reapers but it came at a huge price. Her relationship with Logan has come to screeching halt as his actions towards the end have caused him to leave her and the academy. Gwen is heartbroken but continues to live her life the best she can. Midnight Frost starts out with BANG when Gwen is attacked by Reapers in the library where she works and almost poisoned. Her boss ingested the poison instead and now Gwen must travel to Denver in order to secure an elusive flower that will negate the poison and save Nickamedes’s life.
I love all of Estep’s works. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to youth adult with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a powerful appealing voice that resonates through her characters. I adore this series. It continues to balance the normal everyday life of teenagers with a continuously evolving mythological world. Esteps unique twists and turns keeps the pacing steady while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This series is a wickedly dark blend of magic, fun, and teen romance. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, each character is imbibed with the personalities and enthusiasm to carry their own story and not be overwhelmed by our protagonist.
Midnight Frost may not be as actioned packed or as wild a ride as the last couple installments but Estep uses this book to almost focus entirely on Gwen. By changing the settings, it forces the focus onto Gwen’s emotional, mental, and physical growth since first coming to Mythos Academy. Gwen learns more about her past and her future. Gwen’s role as Nike’s champion has been fully accepted by the students at school, but being a champion is a heavy burden to shoulder as Gwen is slowly and painfully learning. I enjoy that Gwen isn’t subjected to the same prejudices as other Mythos students who were raised in the mythology they live and breath. Gwen is always willing to give the benefit of the doubt and will accept help from anyone willing to give it. Even if rumors and legends say otherwise. Friendship continues to be a large aspect of the story with is a huge appeal for me. I loved the fact that her unusual group of friends continue to stick by her side, even at risk to themselves. She has come along way from the social loner whom we met in book one, Touch Of Frost. She has friends, a boyfriend (maybe), and a cause.
The secondary characters remain a delightful addition to the story; continuing to elevate and evolve within it. Gwen’s Valkyrie bff, Daphne, has Gwen’s back through thick or thin. She has remained a constant in Gwen’s life and I’ve enjoyed their evolving friendship. The fact she shoots pink sparkles out her fingers when made makes me giggle. Vic, Gwen’s sword, may be an inanimate object but he has some serious skills and some hilarious dialogue. I find it funny that a favorite character of mine in this book is a sword. We are introduced to some new characters who situate themselves firmly into Gwen’s life and are used to address past issues while opening a new storylines.
The main conflict is eventful though calm in its execution. As stated earlier, this is Gwen’s story and a majority of it revolves around her without much external interaction. I would have enjoyed more insight into the Reaper’s agenda. Perhaps a scene from one of their points of view. A novella would be nice. (hint-hint). Suspense, intrigue, and some much needed information executes well to push us towards the end. Ms. Estep leaves us in a much happier place this go around and I think fans will be very pleased with the ending. I’m excited to see what is on the horizon next for Gwen, Logan, and the rest of Mythos Academy as we wait impatiently for the sixth installment of this series-Killer Frost-which is set to release in 2014. Midnight Frost has shown us some of the big picture and put Mythos Academy on the offensive. Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series only continues to engage its readers and is a must have for all YA fans who enjoys a rich blending of snark and serious in an incredible mythological world.
Charlotte Feldman was your average high school teenager. She had a cute boyfriend, good grades, and a decent social life. But when someone pushes her...moreCharlotte Feldman was your average high school teenager. She had a cute boyfriend, good grades, and a decent social life. But when someone pushes her off the subway platform and she meets an untimely end, courtesy of the F Train, Charlotte wakes to find herself in a hotel for the dead. Charlotte learns that when one is murdered, you have to find your killer and get them to confess before you’re able to cross over- hence The Dead Girls Detective Agency. The Dead Girls Detective Agency is made up of four other teenagers who also died under questionable circumstances; Nancy, Lorna, Tina, and Edison.
As Charlotte tries to acclimate herself to the ways of the unliving; porting, possession, no sleeping, she also begins her investigation and soon learns that the people who she thought she knew the best...she didn’t know at all.
The Dead Girls Detective Agency is touted as a paranormal mystery that promises much and delivers very little. Between the cover and excerpt, I expected a funny teen storyline with action, mystery, snark, and quirky characters. What I received was a fluffy pre teen story that does not deliver what it promises. The entire book was a mild undertaking, filled with an inordinate amount of filler in order to lengthen. Lacking in depth or emotion, it felt more like an episode of the old Scooby Doo/Mystery cartoons. Mild action, a lot of eye rolling, hints of romantic tension, sarcasm, and WHAM...the mystery is solved. The end. I honestly expected the villain to shout, “I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for meddling kids.”
Charlotte, our heroine, is a viable character who was interesting at times and boring at others. She’s quick on the uptake and has a snarky attitude but an entire book of comebacks gets old. I enjoyed watching her learn how the school and her friends really felt about her. I think everyone would like a chance to be the fly on the wall and hear what people really think about you. I found it hard to believe her boyfriend, David, could do such a huge turn about and Charlotte never had an inkling to what he was really like. It’s explained in the end but still rather unbelievable. Nancy and Lorna are like two giggly immature pre teens whose involvement in the story is regulated to acting like Charlotte’s not to bright sidekicks.
Edison, Charlotte’s ghostly love interest, is the classic bad boy with a mysterious past. The lead up to their “romance” is very subtle, in a kindergarten-He’s mean to her so that means he likes her-way. I was never sure till the very end if there was a possibly of a romance. The most interesting character to me was Tina. She comes off as a mean girl and her character development is the only one that rings true of a sixteen/seventeen year old girl. Her dislike of Charlotte is plausible, but the reasonings behind it fell flat at the reveal.
For me, there just wasn't enough development across the board in this book. Storylines were pat and additional sub plots that could have solidified the main conflict were glossed over or so random I wasn’t even sure why they were added. The humor and potential seriousness warred against each other. While I’m sure this book will appeal to some readers of YA, unfortunately, it was not for me.