Favorite Quote: This is your life. This is your destiny. You must wrap you your feelings and fears and tuck them away in a box.
Night’s End is the last book in Yasmine Galenorn’s wonderfully dark and decadent urban fantasy series-The Indigo Court. *SOB* Fans of the series have watched in awe as Galenorn twists and manipulates supernatural legend and lore into a well crafted story of love, loss, betrayal, redemption, and destiny. Heavily character driven, strong and dynamic characterization have uplifted this series from a run of the mill urban fantasy into something unique and wonderfully entertaining. Smooth writing combined with dark world building immediately engrossed me into the storyline and the characters that inhabit it. The world that Galenorn originally introduced to us has evolved in leaps and bounds; extraordinary in it’s simplistic yet complex layout.
Night’s End picks up where Night Seeker leaves off. Cicely and Rhiannon each wear the crown to their respective kingdoms-Rhiannon holds the reign of Summer while Cicely holds firm to Winter. Myst has recovered from her last defeat and is rising swifty, destroying everyone and everything in her path. Queen Cicely and her allies know that this is their last chance to destroy the Indigo Court and it’s Vampiric Queen for good.
As the Queen of Snow and Ice, Cicely has grown remarkably in the series. A child forced to survive on the streets, caring for her drug addicted mother has become a woman more than worthy to wear the crown. Galenorn has chronicled Cicely’s journey in a remarkable manner, allowing her to make mistakes and and gain knowledge (sometimes at a harsh price) on the path to her destiny. I adored Ciecly. She is the perfect balance of strength, intelligence, and wit with a strong vein of vulnerability within her. She is trying so hard to be the strength her court needs and demands while controlling her own fears. Her tightly wound control is almost broken in here when Ciecly gets her first test as monarch when a traitor is discovered in their mists and Cicely must make some harsh decisions in uncovering them. Decisions involving her friends that shows Cicely how much her life and the choices she makes are no longer her own.
The romance, while always a low key but important aspect of the storyline, unravels itself out with her marriage to Grieve. I loved the reincarnation storyline used to explain their unbreakable bonds. Grieve is perfect for Cicely. His quiet strength, inherent goodness, and warrior status makes for a wonderful grounding agent against Cicely’s more interchangeable nature. Cicely needs someone as strong as she is to stand beside her but also someone who loves her all her sides.
“You’re my shooting star…my my dark queen in the middle of the night sky.”
Lannan Altos, Regent of the Crimson Court, has also played an important part in Cicely’s life and in here we understand exactly how and why. Though their relationship has been a long road filled with pain and humiliation, there is an aspect of his personality that allows Cicely to show her darker nature without any recriminations. Lannon understands her need for pain as it mirrors his need to inflict it. Lannon has also been experiencing some growing pains of his own that in sense, mirroring the changes Cicely is experiencing.
“Lannan fed the darker side of me, the side I didn’t want Grieve to go near. If Grieve stepped into those shadows, then my rock would vanish and I would be fully swallowed up by the abyss.”
The secondary characters are dynamic building blocks in this unfolding saga as each one has had a secret destiny waiting to be revealed, adding suspense and tension to the story. An engaging plot line and multiple sub plots feed upon one another as each revelation brings us closer to the end. Galenorn digs deeper beneath the surface, answering questions from the beginning and placing Ciecly exactly where she needs to be, despite her doubts.
Night’s End and the series as a wholeis a captivating urban fantasy that will appeal to both readers who love a strong female protagonist, non stop action, tense plotlines, and a bittersweet romance that leaves you astounded with each delicious installment. An altogether satisfying read that reaffirms Galenorn is a multi-talented author. Though sad this series had to end, I am left secure in the knowledge that there will be more fantastic adventures from Galenorn to come.
Banishing the Dark, fourth and final book in Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series, is the showdown we have all been waiting for. Arcadia (Cady) Bell, renegade mage and bar owner, is the Moonchild and has been in hiding ever since her parents tried to sacrifice her. At the end of book three, Binding the Shadows, readers were left with Cady almost fatally beaten and in a coma. Banishing the Dark picks up a few weeks later with Cady waking up from her coma and having a limited memory of what happened to her.
Cady has absolutely no downtime in here. Cady’s mother has found a way to cross the barriers of her magical prison and is now attempting to take over Cady’s body and soul. Cady learns she has to find the original ritual her mother and father used to conceive her and reverse it if she has any hope of defeating her mother. As Cady and Lon follow a twisted path filled with lies, deception, and betrayal, it will take everything Cady has if she is to survive the night.
Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series has been a whirlwind adventure that offers readers high octane action and magical suspense with some sweet romance and dry cutting humor from the very beginning. A perfect balance of power and vulnerability. We are not overburdened with emotional angst or ridiculous unbelievable feats. Multiple plotlines and ripe tension is tempered with everyday life events. It has been a thrilling ride as we have watched Cady grow from a solitary lonely figure to having friends, family, and a lover. Her personality has grown with each book. The world building has stayed fresh and exciting with constant evolution as we travel through an alternative magical version California.
Though romance isn’t usually a high priority in urban fantasy, Bennett uses a deft hand to build a believable romance for Cady with her lover Lon. Lon, a demon and member of the Hellfire Club has always had her back 100 percent though he does struggle with some residual guilt in here as her injuries were a direct result of a Hellfire Club member. A club he introduced her too. Their romance remains strong and for reasons I can’t divulge, let’s just say that while Cady is ready and willing, Lon is not and it makes for some very funny scenes. One particular scene has Cady texting Lon when he is about 2 feet away from her and she’s trying to tempt him into bed with her.
Sent 11:30 a.m.: What you doing over there?
MSG from Lon, 11:30 a.m.: Researching.
Me: You could do that over here.
Lon: You need to sleep.
Me: Don’t worry. I’m too tired to jump you.
Lon: A shame. But I don’t trust myself.
Me: Come to think of it, I don’t trust myself, either. Let’s not trust ourselves together. P.S. You smell really good. I mean that in a creepy way. Come over here and let me sniff your skin like some crazy stalker.
Lon: Are you feeling okay?
Me: Be feeling better if you’d just come over here.
Lon: Don’t make me call management to restrain you.
Me: I’d much rather you do it yourself.
Lon: Go. To. Sleep.
Various characters (new and old) come into play as their recollections are needed to help put the puzzle together. Jupe has to be my favorite character in the series. Though always a strong player, I did like that he was given a more active role in helping Cady overcome her greatest foe-her own mother. Having his POV provides some definite entertainment.
The beginning started out slow and tends to stay at that pace as Lon and Cady work to discover who told Dare about Cady’s true identity. About 90% of the book is Lon and Cady following a trail of clues to find the Moonchild ritual. Cady learns more about what happened during her childhood years and discovers her repertoire of demon knacks has increased. Jupe’s storyline intertwines and bringsmuch humor to the book. Bennett expands her occult mythology to help further explain Cady’s supposed destiny and bring it all home. There is a lot going on in here but Bennett’s clear and concise writing makes it easy for readers to follow along.
I did have issues with the conflict resolution. It resolves rather quickly with little fanfare. I expected more violence and combat since this is what the series has been leading us to since the beginning. On the whole, it was a little disappointing. As this is the end of the series, we are in luck that Bennett includes an epilogue that lets us know how Lon, Cady, and Jupe are faring in the future.
While I am sad this is the last we shall see of Arcadia Bell’s world, I do believe fans of the series will be pleased with the care and consideration Bennett used in her goodbye.
**Giveaway on the blog** Comment to enter to win one copy of Banishing the Dark. US residents only. You must comment on Smexybooks.com to be eligible. (less)
In Crave The Darkness (book three) Darian pays a harsh price for her actions in Blood Before Sunrise (book 2) when her Jinn lover and boss, Tyler, walks away from their relationship after repeated warnings he cannot take her lack of self-preservation anymore. The blows keep coming as Darian has to deal with the legal ramifications of her actions and her job of keeping a fellow Shaede and her unborn child alive puts her own life in danger and the results are tragic.
Against the Dawn picks up where Crave the Darkness left off and once again submerges us into the dark and dangerous world that Darian lives in. Seattle is a seething pit of powerful supernaturals and heading towards a war that may destroy them all. Action packed with intrigue, suspense, and a healthy dose of love, anguish, and betrayal, Bonilla answers some much need questions while setting up the storyline to take a turn that will leave readers stunned by her audacity. *smile*
Darian suffered unimaginable horrors at the hands of Kade and left to spend some time healing with Rafe’s daughter in O Anel. After three weeks (six months human time) passed, she came back to Seattle only to find Xander’s kingdom in shambles and him fighting for his crown. Xander still wants Darian as his queen but Darian is in a place right now where her vulnerability is at it’s highest and she is only hanging on by a thin fragile thread. Darian decides work is her best bet for not dealing with her issues and contacts Tyler for an assignment. This brings Darian face to face with someone who by all accounts should be dead. As Darian works her assignment, she learns that once again she is only a small part of a larger picture, an expendable part, and destiny has an interesting way of reasserting itself when you least expect it.
Bonilla has accomplished so much in this noir world she has built. Ever changing and expanding, we have seen our heroine grow right along with this world, though her own past and stubbornness has caused her much grief during this learning process. The appeal for me of this series is the flawed characters Bonilla has created. We aren’t inundated with perfect men and women who swoop in and save the day. These are people with problems. They make the wrong choices and pay a heavy price for them. They are at times selfish, blind, and often hurt those they love the most. Darian is probably the most complex of them all. Her past has left her heavily scarred with severe trust issues. She wants what every person wants deep inside the place where no one can see-she wants to be loved. Yet at the same time, the thought of being loved scares her to death. She struggles with the thought of having that much responsibility/power and her previous actions cement that. She is the perfect UF heroine in my eyes-a will of steel with a deep vein of vulnerability. She doesn’t have unbeatable powers and will fail on occasion only to rise and fight again. She strives to do the right thing concerning everyone but has learned the hard way that sometimes losing is the only way you can win.
The love triangle is still in play but each installment seems to be edging us closer to a choice. I hate love triangles, especially long-term ones, but this one bothers less than most as I don’t feel that Darian is leading them on. She loves Tyler and has only recently understood just how much. Xander is more of an irritant. I honestly feel Darian made her choice but the decisions made at the end may change that. The sexual tension between Darian and Tyler is still VERY hot and sensual and now that she has acknowledged what is in her heart, it becomes even more appealing. Bonilla does a fabulous job of blending the romance without making the story dependant on it. After this book, I still find myself rooting for Tyler, even after his less than stellar decisions in Crave The Darkness.
Xander, the king of the Shaede nation is STILL a pain in Darian’s arse and she doesn’t hesitate to let him know that repeatedly. Though we know Darian cares for Xander, she is not in love with him and I don’t feel he is in love with her. I think his attraction is more based in the challenge. She does not bow willingly to his authority. She is a strong opinionated female that excites his more base natures. He wants to own her. Possess her. Bend her to his will. Xander per usual uses his power to try to force Darian’s hand but his actions towards the end has me wondering what exactly that man has up his sleeve.
A complicated secondary cast only heightens the excitement of this story. Raif remains a favorite character of mine. He is an important part of Darian’s life and I like that she has someone in her corner that wants nothing from her but her friendship and for her to be safe. I enjoyed Asher’s development and look forward to seeing more of him. Darian can’t have too many true friends in my book. Anya annoys me. That is all. We meet some new characters and learn some information about old ones in here who further expand on the complicated world Darian lives in. I am very interested Kaii and seeing what Bonilla has in store. Tyler, of course, is my guy and I feel for him so much. Poor guy can never seem to catch a break.
This entire book is a speeding out of control roller coaster filled with twists and turns that will keep you clinging to your seat. The ending is a shocking cliffhanger that left me blinking in surprise as Lorick’s actions are fully exposed. The main conflict is resolved, but once again, Bonilla uses that to open another doorway, leaving us with unanswered questions and concerns. I look forward to the fifth book in this series-title and release date to be announced.
MY REVIEW AT SMEXYBOOKS CONTAINS REVIEWS FOR PARTS 4-6 in ONE POST.
Part Six-The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls
Zenobia and Ariq are finally reunited but no one is safe with war coming. Ariq finds himself at a loss when his need of the Empress of Nippon’s ear collides with his need to keep Zenobia by his side and from rebuilding her walls against him. The decision is taken from him when he and Zenobia are forced into quarantine to bide their time until the Empress receives them. Though physically close, Zenobia still guards herself against the dangers of the heart.
Love and politics make strange bedfellows as our lovers soon learn. Sexual tension is at a premium and Brook’s masterly uses it to uplift and push the story along. Ariq and Zenobia are closer than ever before but Brook’s doesn’t make it easy for either of them. We spend more time with some secondary characters who give us details Ariq and Zenobia aren’t able to. Intrigue follows us into the Living City and prepares us for the end of the Kraken King.
Favorite Quote: “I just want to get through every fucking day, as well as I can, until I finally die like everyone I care about did.”
Eve Blackthorn’s world has always been filled with vampires. Saved by a vampire as a teenager, Eve had no way of knowing the impact he would have on her future. She eventually falls in love with him and they marry, much to the dismay of some. Days after their wedding, her entire family is massacred and her husband, Robert, is convicted and executed for the crime. Now Eve works in a brothel, servicing the men who took her husband from her. She has reached a point where she no longer cares what happens to her. She is disconnected and broken. Everyone she has ever loved is gone; ripped brutally away from her without a single chance of saying goodbye. Left to her own devices in a world that wants her dead, she knows the vampire government had something to do with her family’s murder and her husband’s death but she has no way to prove it.
Eve pulls herself out of her downward spiral with the help of some unusual allies. As the truth begins to reveal itself, the secrets the vampire government are hiding points directly towards Eve. She learns that she has been merely made a pawn in a plot that threatens everyone. A plot that forces her to ally with the very monsters who ripped her world out from under her. As the clock ticks down, Eve will use whoever and whatever she can to avenge her husband, her family, and take back her life.
Absolution, book one in McGurk’s Vampire Alliance, is a noir urban fantasy with nail biting suspense, delicious betrayal, dangerous antagonists, and an underlying theme of heartbreak and sorrow. McGurk gives us a new look at vampires that is both appealing and appalling. Lush world building combined with highly complex and multi layered characters tells a dark story driven by the emotions of those who live it. The first half is slow to develop as the narratives alternate between Eve’s present and her husband’s past. Though it was a little rough acclimating between the two voices and seemingly unrelated storylines, as we continue reading, the two stories merge and you begin to see the big picture. From there, the story races to unfold along an illuminated path-only showing so much as you walk a twisted path with our protagonist. The smooth writing and descriptive detailing drew me in and I found myself becoming heavily vested in the characters outcomes. Ms. McGurk takes her time in developing her characters and their connections to the world and one another.
No person in here is exempt from judgement and everyone has an end game. Good and evil are merely words. The degrees of separation are fine threads whose ties become more visible as the story progresses. The past controls the future and this is amply displayed as we are given an intimate view of vampire politics and how the decisions Eve’s husband made in the past affected his future.
Visions of David and Goliath come to mind as we watch Eve face adversaries galore in her quest to discover who set in motion the events that sent her down a path of no redemption. Misdirection is your best friend as McGurk unveils a Machiavellian plotline that leaves readers and Eve reeling from the possible implications.
The romance of the story reveals slowly like a faint ray of hope. Lightweight and still developing, it packs very emotional punch. We see many different emotional entanglements- family, friendship, and love. Eve’s trust has been completely shattered and she struggles to kept everyone at bay. They all run parallel to the main storyline and are used to reinforce the main conflict.
As I raced towards the ending, I felt like I was on a roller coaster, my stomach pitching and rolling as each new clue and dramatic scene unfolded. I like how everything isn’t explained away and some decisions made, though I didn’t agree with them all, were the only choices that could be made. The ending is a climactic finale that satisfies the immediate storyline but leaves a cliffhanger that guarantees you need to pick up book two, Allegiance, which is available now.
If you looking for a unique character driven Urban Fantasy that delivers a fresh outlook on vampires, then I recommend getting Angela Louise McGurk’s Absolution.
I liked this one so much more then book one, Ride. The filler and development issues seem to have ironed them selves out and the editing problems disa...moreI liked this one so much more then book one, Ride. The filler and development issues seem to have ironed them selves out and the editing problems disappeared. In here we get a better balance between the arc and the romance. Our H/h talk more and we are granted their POV. It's not the emotional immature mess that Ride was. Still violent and more then saturated with douche bag behavior, the actions of our H/h and the club members actually make more sense. They are in line with what you would expect and you get the explanations behind some of the actions. I did like seeing Ryan and Alex's romance(?) from more then one pair of eyes. It explains some things that left me confused in Ride.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the Forsaken get up to next. (less)
The Devil's Flower is an interesting premise that fails to execute. A confusing loosely developed storyline filled with assumptions and fade to black...moreThe Devil's Flower is an interesting premise that fails to execute. A confusing loosely developed storyline filled with assumptions and fade to black scenes left me feeling as though I had missed a chapter or a previous book. No indepth background or set up is made in order to facilitate a better understanding for the reader. Certain aspects are revealed to bring our heroine and hero together but those aspects are given a sense of importance to the storyline but never bears fruit. Multiple themes battle one another for dominance which results in a lack of development in all of them. The MC theme is regulated to the background and not much is learned about the club or the players involved. The angel/demon theme is a bit stronger but as everything stays in the present, again, not much is learned. The PNR theme also fails as there isn't much PN and the R is PG rated with any sexual scenes off scene.
The characters are built with a strong YA/NA feel to them-prone to over the top drama and emotional angst. Our hero is a broody alpha who spends most of the book sending the heroine mixed signals, minimal explanations, and keeping his MC from killing her. The heroine spends most of her time not listening to her instincts and getting herself into situations that require her needing to be saved. In the first chapter she has her car stolen, is chased by a bear, and needs medical attention twice.
I felt less themes and more development all the way around would have greatly benefited this book.
Favorite Quote: “You sure you weren’t too clever for him? Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s bright [...] but he is still just a man.”
Dragos Cuelebre desperately needs a vacation. After losing two of his staff to love, he has been working non stop. His mate decides to take matters into her own hands by leaving clues to a treasure hunt and soon he, Pia, and the peanut are heading towards the Bermuda Triangle for sun, sand, and treasure hunting. But nothing is ever easy for the King of the Wyrs. Between the peanut’s rapidly expanding powers and certain people who don’t want the treasure found…this vacation is turning into more work than imagined.
I adore Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, especially when she devotes the storyline to Dragos Cuelebre. Drago’s Takes A Holiday is a fun filled sexy adventure with lots of passion, action, and humor as Dragos and the family try to catch some downtime after an exhausting year. I adore that Liam (the peanut) is an active participant in the story. Readers have waited a long time to see Drago’s interact with his son and the wait has been worth it. Some steamy sexy times, pirate sightings, and clues to series direction make this a must read addition to the series.
On Midnight Wings by Adrian Phoenix The Maker’s Songseries has always been a sword through the heart series for me to read. A dark noir urban fantasy;...moreOn Midnight Wings by Adrian Phoenix The Maker’s Song series has always been a sword through the heart series for me to read. A dark noir urban fantasy; this series both excites me and infuriates me. It’s rather like an intense soap opera, giving us hints towards the overall conclusion all the while leading us down a twisted path of deceit, betrayal, and deception. We are constantly embroiled in the past, present, and future throughout this series; never sure where we are going to end up. That is part of the charm yet also frustrating to a certain extent. Ms. Phoenix does not offer false platitudes nor does she toss in random plot elements to allow us a breather while she prepares for next assault upon our sense.
This series grabbed me from the first moment I met Dante Bastipe and his FBI agent, Heather Wallace. A romance filled with tragedy is born that opens a path to a destiny that could destroy the world. Poor Dante and Heather have been through some of the most dramatic emotionally heartbreaking scenes I have ever encountered in a fictional relationship. Frankly, it never ends for them. Book four, Etched In Bone, left me in a predicament. I’m at the point where I need some happiness or assurances of happiness for my couple because the books are depressing me.
On Midnight Wings picks up exactly where Etched In Bone ends. Heather and Dante were kidnapped and separated. Heather is taken to a mental institution to be “reprogrammed” and Dante wakes in a secret laboratory. His programming as a child by the Shadow Branch is beginning to falter, causing even more fractures in his psyche. A psyche that was only contained by his proximity to his anchor and lover, Heather. With her gone, Dante’s spiral into madness accelerates, further pushed by the torture and horrendous experiments being done on him. The past and present collide in Dante’s mind, leaving Dante in the midst of a continuously cycling psychotic breakdown the majority of the book.
Heather fares little better. Her father, tricked by the FBI, finds Heather and helps her escape though she turns the tables on him. Danger dogs her every step as she uses her bond to Dante to slowly make her way to him. As Heather fights her way to Dante and Dante fights the demons in his mind, Lucian and the rest of Dante’s crew search for them both as they fight their own battles against the ever increasing list of those who seek Dante for their own means.
This book frustrated me. One one hand, I love being back in this dark and sensual world that Phoenix has built. I adore the convoluted characters and the multi layered storylines. This series keeps you guessing as it repeatedly rips your heart out. My frustration comes from the fact that On Midnight Wings offers nothing new in way of advancement in the arc nor the romance. It feels like we are playing catch up; especially after the less than revealing previous installment. Plenty of gripping scenes and engaging dialogue from everyone involved and yet nothing is accomplished till the last few pages. The interaction between key characters is almost null. Add in the fact it took almost two years for this installment to release, I expected more.
I miss seeing Heather and Dante together. Their relationship and romance has become the cornerstone of the series and we have been long denied seeing them together without an ax over their heads. I enjoy anticipation and angst as much as the next reader but this continuous testing and emotional torment of our protagonists is beginning to wear thin. Watching Dante’s descent into madness is interesting, but nothing new. Watching Heather fight her way to Dante’s side is also interesting, but nothing new. It’s a regurgitating plot device that is seen repeatedly throughout this series. I honestly felt some of the constant stream of explanations could have been cut and Dante and Heather’s separation could have been chronicled into a few chapters; allowing them to come together early on and the story to advance.
I did enjoy the various scenes where we are given insight into certain long term characters’ agendas. Almost everyone you have ever met in this series makes an appearance in here, each one fighting their way towards Dante for reasons all their own. While I will continue reading this series as I have a heavy investment in the outcome, the dark overtones were extremely prevalent in here and unfortunately it lacked the intense action and subtle humor that normally helps to balance that darkness.
Fallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest Hgh Book 2) I admit, this is one of my YA crack series. A group of rich high schoolers whose lives are a mixture of...moreFallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest Hgh Book 2) I admit, this is one of my YA crack series. A group of rich high schoolers whose lives are a mixture of Peyton Place, Heathers and Mean Girls. Lots of drama and emotional uploads had me laughing and cringing through the entire book. It's not a pulitzer prize winner but it has a high entertainment value to iit.
Sam, who is now dating her soon to be stepbrother, hottie Mason Kade, has a mess of epic proportions. Her insane mother wants no hanky panky between Mason and sam because HELLO??? Mase will soon be her step brother so she kicks them out. Whaaaaa??? Sam is also dealing with flashbacks from her abusive childhood, she' s starting a new school where 1/2 the female population hates her, and she has just found out her mother is up to her old tricks concerning her fathers(?).
Favorite Quote: “I wasn’t expecting to see my dick in 1080p HD at like…three times its normal size when I walked in here.”
When Samantha Hart arrived in Los Vegas for a much needed vacation, she never expected to be escorted to the luxury and naughty BDSM Provocateur penthouse suite in the Hard Rock cafe. Shocked but intrigued, she is further shocked when sexy Ethan Silver comes to the suite claiming he is staying there too.
Porn star Ethan Silver is dismayed to find the Samantha Hart he was looking for isn’t the one who standing in front of him. Regardless, the beautiful shy woman appeals to Ethan and he is determined to show her good time in Vegas; in and out of the bedroom.
When Ethan and Sam’s night on the town turns into much more, Sam begins to see the good guy under Ethan’s bad boy appeal and suddenly her one week vacation seems too short. But a loan shark bent on keeping Ethan under his thumb will place Ethan into a precarious position and could force him to lose the one thing he never imagined he’d find in Vegas… love.
A porn star and a bookseller walk into the same BDSM hotel room suite…Sounds like the beginning of joke, right? Well, Chasing Kings by Sierra Dean is anything but a joke. I’m a huge fan of Dean’s works-from her urban fantasy to her YAs to her romantic contemporaries so I’m always happy when she releases a new story. Dean brings us love, laughter, and some serious smexy times in her newest romantic contemporary about a porn star, a book seller, and a serendipitous case of mistaken identity. Steady pacing, a well developed storyline, some seriously sexy scenes, humor, and adorably naughty characters makes this novella a full body treat.
Sam and Ethan are delightful; easy to get to know and well matched. I liked that Dean didn’t make this a “Woe is me…I need saving” story. Ethan Silver is makes porn and has no problems with what he does. He likes sex, is good at sex, and figured he might as well get paid for it. He wasn’t pushed or blackmailed into it. He choose this career and feels no shame for his choices. Samantha (Sam) Hart is the same way. A book seller who was recently cheated on, she isn’t down on all men or emotionally traumatised by her ex boyfriend’s infidelity. She’s shy but not prudish about sex or the fact she wants to have sex with Ethan. Though him being a porn star initially throws her for a loop, she doesn’t look at him as morally lessor then her.
The storyline is a well balanced combination of humor and sexiness, engaging you completely. Ethan and Sam are a fun couple. Humorous dialogue and their immediate chemistry makes the story flow easily. Ethan is pretty laid back and considerate of those around him. Ethan enjoys Sam’s sexual innocence and Sam enjoys all her lessons. The evolution of their relationship is sweet and sexy. They become friends. Friends with benefits. *wink*
One scene had me giggling when Sam decides to do some “research” and watches a porn that Ethan starred in. Ethan catches her in the act and decides to show her exactly what made him a star in the wide world of porn. It sets the tone for the rest of the book.
I bet you’re secretly a bad girl, aren’t you?” “Excuse me?” The lady was protesting too much. He was totally right. “Oh, come on, sweetheart, it’s a bit late to play coy now. If you wait another five minutes, I get invited in the rear entrance.” [...] “You don’t know anything about me. What makes you think I’m a bad girl?” “Good girls don’t jerk off to porn in hotel rooms.” “Women don’t jerk off,” she said, sounding as scandalized as a church wife watching a Tijuana donkey show. “Sure they can. Principle is the same.” “You’re terrible.” “I sure am. If you watch a while longer, you can get an idea for how bad I can be.” He reached for the remote, but she threw it to the opposite side of the bed. “Unless you want me to show you.”
Their romance builds slowly along side the main conflict; leaving you with the feeling that no matter what happens to them in the future or even by the end of the book, you are going to be satisfied regardless.
The main conflict is pretty cut and dry. I do wish we had more scenes with the villain and the individual who put Ethan in his predicament in the first place. I felt they were only brought in for drama and then stuck back in the closet of doom. Dean does leave just enough open in that aspect though and in the ending to be able to revisit this couple again and expand more upon their future.
All in all, Chasing Kings was a delightful romantic story whose characters I hope Dean decides to revisit in the future.
A sweet and sexy romance between a charming irish actor and a make up artist whose past won't let her go forward. Humor, angst, and quite a bit of rom...moreA sweet and sexy romance between a charming irish actor and a make up artist whose past won't let her go forward. Humor, angst, and quite a bit of romance. (less)
As always, I enjoy the antics of Eve and Rourke as they balance marriage and murder in a futuristic world. While I liked this installment, I missed...more3.5
As always, I enjoy the antics of Eve and Rourke as they balance marriage and murder in a futuristic world. While I liked this installment, I missed the normal edginess that usually underlines it. As Eve and Rourke are now at a place where their demons are quiet and their marriage is happy; the plot overtook the book, at the expense of our protagonists and their lives. We spend so much time in the villains head, I found my attention wandered at times. Especially since we know from the beginning who the villain is and what his motivations are. The balance felt off.(less)
I enjoyed this one more then book one-Razer's Ride. I felt the characters fleshed out better in this one and the storyline was smoother though the...more3.5
I enjoyed this one more then book one-Razer's Ride. I felt the characters fleshed out better in this one and the storyline was smoother though the plot was weaker. I liked the interjection of clues to future storylines. I have to say, my fav characters are the biker bitches who adopted Beth in book one. They kill me. (less)
Hydraulic Level Five by Sarah Latchaw was brought to my attention by Jane from Dear Author. She tweeted about it and in reading her light review on Goodreads, I was intrigued by the premise. I have always enjoyed second chance love stories. There is something addicting in seeing a love affair gone wrong and the efforts the couple will put into making it right again. Lately, those tropes have been mired in over blown dramatics and angst with dollops of miscommunication and the required villous figure who helps in facilitating our couples relationship demise. The mapping out of the story is easy to follow and you know exactly how it will end. just not the specifics of the journey.
What I truly enjoyed about this story is the lack of formula. As I started reading I became fully invested in Samuel and Kaye’s story. It is an emotional, honest journey of love, loss, regret, guilt, and forgiveness. Well written with a smooth storyline, well plotted conflicts, and an underlying message of forgiveness that forces our couple to look deep inside themselves for the answers to their questions. Strong realistic characters will sweep you up and break your heart as you follow this tremulous love story.
Aspen Kaye Trilby has loved Samuel Cabral forever. When they divorced, she began to reinvent herself in order to overcome the feelings of inadequacy he left her with. An adrenaline junkie with a successful PR business, she is comfortable with her life but unable to move forward. Samuel left her with too many questions and no answers.
Samuel is a best selling author who seems content with his choices. When he left Kaye, he never looked back and that hurt Kaye tremendously. He rejected not only her love, but their friendship. With a successful career and beautiful new girlfriend by his side, Sam looks like he has moved on with his life. But appearances can be deceiving and Sam’s demons are a constant battle he faces everyday.
When Sam comes home for his sister’s wedding, Kaye is determined to get the answers she has waited seven long years for. But can Kaye get past the hurt and pain to dig deep for the answers she wants? Or will history repeat itself and leave Kaye once again alone and in the dark?
Told primarily in Kaye’s voice with interjections by Samuel through passages in a book he’s writing, we get an emotional look at their life in both the present and the past. How they met, as they fell in love, and when it began to all fall apart. We learn more about Kaye and Samuel as individuals. A pattern begins to form that clues the reader into the underlying issues that were swept aside and the secrets that affected their lives and ultimately their marriage.
This is not a typical romance story. This story dissects the lives of two people and looks deep into their souls. A strong emotional base leaves the reader with a bittersweet feeling as we watch our protagonists try to overcome past behavior in order to move forward. There is no real villain in here. No one person can be blamed. One event was the catalyst yet their path was almost predetermined. Humor and tears follow Sam and Kaye through their journey of self discovery and healing. Their issues are real and not plot elements tossed in to make a more dynamic story.
I really enjoyed how Ms. Latchaw doesn’t give an easy fix to their relationship. The characters have to work hard to repair the damage they each played a part in creating. You can feel the anger, resentment, confusion, and hurt rolling off of them. The emotional baggage that Kaye and Sam each carry needs to be addressed and the author allows that to happen in a realistic manner. It’s painful as you watch these two struggle to repair their friendship and find a way to forgive each other and themselves.
Fabulous secondary characters add to the emotional catharsis with their own recollections, stories, and advice. Samuel and Kaye’s families are close and when the marriage went south, more than just Sam and Kaye’s hearts were broken. I liked that both families tried to provide what emotional support they could to the couple but also did what they felt was best when the situations arose. They didn’t always make the best decisions but they did the best they could at the time. And isn’t that what life is all about? Doing the best we can and hoping that it is good enough to survive the outcome?
The ending is satisfying in that our couple comes to terms with the past and look towards the future. We aren’t given a concrete happily ever after however we are left with a good feeling towards the couple and their relationship. Ms. Latchaw does attach a brief excerpt of the sequel, entitled Skygods. Release date unknown.
I did enjoy this one but I felt the semantics of the romance followed book one a little to much. I enjoyed meeting D and Sionn. D is flashed out we...more3.5
I did enjoy this one but I felt the semantics of the romance followed book one a little to much. I enjoyed meeting D and Sionn. D is flashed out well; his fear and memory loss felt real. I liked Sionn but felt he needed more developing as his own person. We learn just what we need to know about him but not enough. He seemed more an extension of D. The mystery was suspenseful and had enough little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. (less)