Want a quickie? Decadent Publishing’s THE EDGE series is just what the doctor ordered! Unwanted Mate iMy Rating: 3.5 stars - Liked it - recommend (B+)
Want a quickie? Decadent Publishing’s THE EDGE series is just what the doctor ordered! Unwanted Mate is less than novella length - a short story, at only 4,000 words. It’s more of a vignette than plot-driven book.
The tale revolves around an alpha shifter, Gunther, and the human who is destined to be his mate, Judy. They both know the mating is there, yet - she avoids him, and he waits patiently so as not to push her away forever. Gunther’s break happens one night after Judy witnesses a friend die. She comes to him for comfort, knowing she will walk away with much more from the evening than hot sex.
Unwanted Mate is a romantic, sweet, albeit extremely hot encounter between Gunther and Judy. The story is their initial sexual encounter. It's hot, but I wouldn't classify it as erotic. The reader is treated to both Judy and Gunther’s POVs, and we are party to the seeds of romance bound for a happily ever after.
Honestly, the story is so short that it's hard to write much. There was no time for deep character or plot development, but the emotions in and purpose of the story comes through to the reader, regardless of the length. Really, there wasn’t need for much else -- it works. If you want to escape for a few moments (and can get past the names Judy and Gunther), give Unwanted Mate a go. ...more
After getting to know all about Tess and her “ghost whispering” abilities in the first Frostbite book, Supernaturally Kissed, Ms. Kennedy jumps right into the thick of things in Demonically Tempted. Tess is now working for the Memphis Police Department with her ghostly, police officer boyfriend, Kipp, in tow. She has stepped into Kipp’s job, working along side of his best friend and partner, Zach. They are investigating cold cases, and the current case is a creepy apparent suicide. The team visits the old farmhouse where the dead girl’s sister still lives, yet Tess cannot find her ghost. What they do hear is a tale of darkness and strange behavior.
Enter Dane - apparent ghost expert who works for the FBI. Tess’s boss, Max, has hired Dane to work with Tess on her abilities. And much to Tess’s chagrin, Dane’s an arrogant jerk that constantly makes her feel stupid. Dane recognizes that this darkness is a demon and knows just the right person to help the team, Gretchen - a witch.
First of all, I really like how this story starts out... it jumps right into things with no need for a big backstory about Tess and Kipp or her powers. We are right in the heart of the story from the beginning, and this grabs the reader and pulls them in quickly. Overall the demonic story line, while briefly skirting a “horror” line with the possession concerns, brings several new aspects of Tess’s abilities and widens the known mythology extensively. And it was done in a way that isn’t “telling” the reader what is going on, but rather “shows” the reader more about this exciting world.
As for the characters - let me start with newcomer, Dane. He is painted in a fairly negative light. I really didn’t like him, and I credit the author with successfully portraying him to be such an ass. Kipp does NOT like Dane - and is constantly telling Tess he has a feeling Dane is hiding something. Tess continually attributes Kipp’s feelings as jealousy. I have to say after a while I got annoyed that Tess would not accept Kipp’s “gut feeling.”
As for our main couple... I still adore Tess and Kipp. Although we don’t have as much time for relationship building in this story, they are still an exciting pair to read. The author did find a way to insert a few sexy scenes which don’t detract from the overall story line. Although I’m not at all happy about something that happens at the end of the book-not that it happened but rather the timing of the event, I am very excited to see what is in store for the couple. I have to say that the twist presented will provide for some exciting adventures for future books; however, I feel that what happened should have happened WELL before the end of the second book. The timing just seemed very inappropriate to me.
So in the end I was a bit conflicted over this book. I like Tess and Kipp, and the new supporting characters are an excellent addition. I am very happy that we learned so much more about the supernatural world. But, I did have some issues with the book... The biggest being what happens near then end of the book (in the spoiler section). It was just very hard for me to accept. But with that said, I am interested to know who the "others" (with special abilities) are and where Tess is headed. I have a strong desire to keep reading this series and seeing it to the end. And so I am highly anticipating Mystically Bound (Book 3) coming in Fall 2012. ...more
Welcome to Regency-period England, where ladies are excitable and men are werewolves. The Wolf Who LovedMy Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it - recommend (B+)
Welcome to Regency-period England, where ladies are excitable and men are werewolves. The Wolf Who Loved Me kicks off the third set of books in Lydia Dare’s enjoyable paranormal/historical setting. The current series, dubbed the Hadley Brothers Trilogy, follows the three (secret) brothers of Lord Dashiel Thorpe, who was the hero from The Taming of the Wolf. The Wolf Who Loved Me is a “fresh start” to the overall series and can be read as a stand alone. For those that follow the Westfield Brothers books - this book takes place about 3 years after the start of the last book, Never Been Bit (but four years prior to the epilogue in that book).
Wes Hadley is the youngest of the three Hadley brothers - but only by a few minutes, although his twin, Gray, likes to constantly remind Wes that he is the younger of the pair. The Hadley brothers are not part of the upper-crust crowd that their brother, Dash, lives in. They are misfits and a bit rebellious. Yet, they are forced to attend the social gatherings from time to time, even if they don’t always behave. It is at one of these gatherings that Lady Madeline Hayburn catches the eye of young Wes.
Fast forward three years (and the start of this book), Lady Madeline (aka Maddie), is being preened and shown to suitors in hopes to attract the “right sort of man” to wed. She is not happy and does not want to marry someone “proper” because that is what she’s supposed to do. When Wes gives her a much needed reprieve from her admirers, Maddie realizes that there may be more to Wes that meets the eye.
Late one night she follows Wes into the stables where she witnesses him transform into a wolf. When she tries to return home, Wes kidnaps Maddie and takes off to Scotland where they will elope -- the reasoning is that only mates are allowed to know the true nature of Lycans.
The Wolf Who Loved Me had some great moments and an enjoyable story line. This was the first book that I’ve read in the series (I’ve read book #4-8) where the couple actually married early on (and before sex!) and subsequently faced much conflict. I loved the drama surrounding Maddie witnessing Wes shift. They are both innocent in so many ways, it was amusing to see them both indecisive as to what course of action to take.
Maddie and Wes are very sweet together. Although he did kidnap her, Maddie had several chances to return home, but she chose to stay with Wes and follow through on the marriage. One of the best moments in the book is when Maddie was faced with her father pounding on her room at the inn’s door and her future husband standing a floor below, outside her window, hoping she’ll jump. My heart stopped for a few moments - I didn’t think she’d do it.
Along the way Maddie and Wes meet up with a fellow Lycan, Dovenby (“Dove”), and his mistress, Lucy Reed. I wasn’t sure at first why the interlopers were introduced and was extremely frustrated to find out that the “fun-loving” Lucy and Wes shared a past. So when newly married Maddie witnesses Lucy and Wes sharing a kiss, I was a bit annoyed. Of course it wasn’t as it appeared, but Maddie runs and wants to return home. She seeks solace with Dove, who plays along and agrees to take Lucy home. I am not a fan of these type storylines - where a simple misunderstanding throws a wrench into the flow of the story. It always seems contrived and unnecessary. I actually had to put the book down for a while because I was so annoyed.
However, to my enjoyment, the plot quickly changed with a twist that I didn’t really see coming until too late. It added new life to the story and kept me up into the night so I could finish reading!
Overall the story was entertaining. However, the paranormal aspects of this world were sorely lacking. It was used as a device to get the couple together, and that I liked. But other than describing the quick healing abilities and some of the other extra sensory properties, being a Lycan meant very little in the book. I would have liked to see more paranormal in the romance.
The ending of the book was tidy and neat. I have to say I usually don't like the long build up towards the end, with a one or two page climatic finale, but it worked here. I loved how Mattie took charge of her future and ran towards what she loved.
Overall, The Wolf Who Loved Me is an enjoyable and quick read. Although I was a little annoyed over the mess and misunderstandings with Lucy, I ended up enjoying her character. I look forward to find more about Lucy (and Gray) in an upcoming story. ...more
NOTE: review (below) contain spoilers from the previous book, Black Howl.
Black Lament jumps back into the story of our heroine, Madeline (Maddy) Black, moments after the emotionally explosive conclusion of the third book in Ms. Henry’s fabulous series. Maddy has recently lost the love of her life, killed by her fallen angle father, Azazel. She is oddly comforted her by great (great...) grand-daddy, Lucifer, until she realizes he wants to keep her little bundle of joy growing in her belly - something else that Maddy just discovered. It is a lot for Maddy to adjust to, including her continually increasing powers born from Lucifer.
Although she wants to just be left alone, Maddy still has a job to do (she is an agent of death and has souls to guide to the “Door.”) To compound her problems, she’s on the hit list of all the major faerie factions after taking out one of their queens (who also happened to be her boss/friend, JB’s mom). Surrounding Maddy is her ever present house guardian gargoyle, Beezle and her friends Jude and Samiel. Adding to the equation is her ex-fiancee (arranged marriage), Nathaniel - there to protector her at the arrangement of Lucifer.
Once again, the greatest strength of this series is the cast of amazingly well-developed characters. Maddy herself is changing and growing. Not only does she have a larger “family unit” to protect and care for, but soon she will be a mother. She rises to the challenge time and time again.
Overall the story flows well, with a great pace and balanced mixture of thought vs action. The plot progression is just right - never lagging behind, even with some emotionally-laden scenes. The dialogue is plain fabulous.
There are two things that did bother me while reading. One, I felt at times that “too much” was happening to Maddy. For a while it felt like nothing was going right. I began to worry that the story would become one-sided, with Maddy always fighting and in trouble with someone. The second thing is Maddy’s growing “relationship” with Nathaniel. Throughout the story, Nathaniel was actually unselfish and kind (or so it appeared). This caused some confusion in Maddy, who wanted desperately to hold on to her hatred of the man. It annoyed me that she should even feel conflicted emotion.
In the end, this is a good follow up to one of my all-time favorite books. Maddy created some enormous enemies this time around and ticked off just about every paranormal faction (to include her own people). Just as Beezle fears where Maddy is headed, I fear it as well. Black Lament felt like a turning point - a transition - in the overall story arc. There was a lot of change, and I'm not sure how it will sit with me in the long run. Maddy is walking a fine line, and if she falls, I don't know if I can't follow her. With that said, I cannot wait to read the next installment!...more
My Rating: 2.5 stars: Finished it - take it or leave it(C)
Dr. Cu is an renowned psychologist with an uncanny knack for bringing two people together anMy Rating: 2.5 stars: Finished it - take it or leave it (C)
Dr. Cu is an renowned psychologist with an uncanny knack for bringing two people together and finding love. The story opens with Dr. Cu interviewing a female police officer who has killed off one too many bad guys when not necessary. It is evident from her reactions upon seeing his identity that not only is Dr. Cu infamous, but so is his socialite mother. What no one seems to know is that Dr. Cu is also apparently Cupid, and he uses a bow and arrow to make his perfect matches. However, the one perfect match he can never make is his own.
The premise of Cupid as a psychologist and matchmaker in the real world is fun. His parents - Goddess of Love and God of War, are equality notorious, but for what I’m not entirely certain. What is unclear (and I guess not that important) is if the humans around them know there are “fallen” gods, or if they just think these people are wealthy, famous celebrities.
The story was a take-it-or-leave-it for me. Since it is a novella, I read the whole thing; however, had it been a full-length novel, I probably would have DNF. The premise of the story is entertaining - Cupid sets up couples all of the time, but is destined to never have a love for himself. Of course, he finally finds the woman of his dreams in Cheia and must win her over without his usual fanfare.
The dialogue between Cheia and Cu was at times sweet, but more often it felt cheesy and contrived. They spoke in metaphors and innuendo, never really articulating complete thoughts and sentences.
Cu’s mom and dad were over the top for me. Sure, they are petty gods, but I just didn't get it. They were jerks, and I felt it didn't really add to the story - other than to humiliate Cu.
Anyhow, it is a fun premise and not bad to read in between hot and heavy novels. But don't expect more than fluff from this novella....more
My Rating:3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend(B+)
Shadowed Soul is a sexy paranormal novella from Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand series. The stoMy Rating:3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)
Shadowed Soul is a sexy paranormal novella from Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand series. The story is quick and mostly to the point. One night turns into forever when vampire Bryce and mortal Ellie enlist the services of Madame Eve.
Bryce has been around for a while - not an ancient vamp, but enough years to have honed his woman-smexing skills. He is lonely and enjoys loving women that have been hurt by men... those with shadowed souls. He gives them a night they deserve in order to boost their self-confidence and then moves on. He intends to do the same with Ellie, but can't seem to get her out of his mind. She's different than the others, and he wants the impossible with her... Forever love.
Ellie is instantly attracted to Bryce, and although she senses he’s a bit different, she jumps into the one-nighter, hoping to rid herself of the bad memories left by her cheating ex.
The 1NS series are fun, quick stories. There isn’t much in the way of background or world-building, but it’s okay for the shortened length of the stories. Sometimes, you have to suspend reality and enjoy the earnest happiness the characters enjoy. And such is the case with Shadowed Soul. We really know nothing about Bryce and Ellie, but they connect. There is erotism in their passion, and sometimes it’s fun just to indulge in a one-night stand.
I recommend Shadowed Soul and other 1NS stories as the perfect filler in between longer, heavier novels. It’s like a mini-vacation for your mind!...more
My Rating:4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend(A-)
Teague Creek (yes, that is his name!) is a wrongfully convicted felon in a high-security prison. HiMy Rating:4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Teague Creek (yes, that is his name!) is a wrongfully convicted felon in a high-security prison. His only wants are to escape, reunite with his young daughter, and live a long life away from those who want him behind bars, hurt or worse. His plans involve kidnapping a technician from a local hospital, who happens to be the girlfriend of the man who is guardian over his daughter. Of course, when he kidnaps Dr. Alyssa Foster - the wrong woman - things go from bad to worse. Top that off with a fellow inmate who is pure evil joining the escape plans, and you have a mix for an action-packed, suspenseful journey towards freedom. Nothing goes right for Teague, and he is being hunted by government officials that would rather see him dead than free again.
Right from the start I was engrossed in this story. The details and events unfolded before me in the perfect manner. The reader is given little nuggets that are just enough to keep you going and find out more. The tone is harsh, the mood is dark, but our heroine, Alyssa, seems to find a way to make it lighter and easier. In addition, Ms. Swan demonstrates excellent descriptive abilities, smoothly integrating rich detail about the scenery and plot into the story.
Overall I liked Alyssa and Teague. They fit together well and complimented one another... when he was rash, she made him stop and think, when she was hurt, he healed her. They have one of those back-and-forth, give-and-take relationships. And boy did they have steam! Thanks to a mysterious fire Teague was involved with several years back, he has the ability to increase his body temperature to way above normal. He uses his “power” to help heal, jump-start cars, and melt metal. And I can only imagine how hot he is in bed (and other places!)
I did feel that Alyssa was a bit too forgiving of Teague at times. She was held hostage and harassed. Teague may not have meant to physically hurt her, but he did cause emotional abuse. It is a bit unbelievable in the context of the real world... that she would take his "abuse" and keep coming back. I liked how Alyssa's brother, Mitch, described the situation... Saying about Teague, he may have been an upstanding citizen going into jail, but jail changes everyone. It's true, Teague is a harder man. Luckily Alyssa continues to chip away at Teague's exterior, exposing the tarnished gem inside. And since it's a romance, I forgive the rough start and enjoy them as a couple.
The ending of the story did wrap up a little too neatly and easily for my tastes, but it is a satisfying conclusion. The author left many open doors, and I am interested to see where this goes. There are some people very interested in the group of firefighters that were exposed to chemicals which altered their body chemistry (like Teague). I want to know what will happen to the other men in Teague’s band of brothers, and what is the ultimate goal of these dark nefarious players.
I also want to comment about the use of racial slurs in this story. There had been much discussion on GoodReads about the use of racial slurs in this book. There is a character who is pure evil and YES, he uses just about ever cliched slur available. If this is something you know will bother you, then this book is not for you. It's okay not to be okay with the content in this book. It is also okay to still enjoy this book, even though it has some nasty parts. Neither opinion is wrong. This character is not a big part of the overall book and does make an exit a quarter of the way into the book. For me, the character's use of the slurs fit his persona, and I was able to read past the content and focus on other aspects of the story, but it isn’t for everyone.
Fever has the perfect amount of world-building for a first book in a new series. The story was easy to follow, unfolded at a great pace, and had just the right amount of frustration without overkill. It was an enjoyable, quick read, and I want to know what will happen next....more
What a wonderful novella from Ms. Crane. It is a real treat for Disillutionists fans. We finally get to see the world from Simon's POV. The novella is full of heart. The story full of promise. I, for one, hope Ms. Crane revisits this amazing world again. ...more
My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend(B+)
Tony and Reese have been neighbors for a few years, both men are completely hung up on and attractMy Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)
Tony and Reese have been neighbors for a few years, both men are completely hung up on and attracted to the other. However, neither is willing to make the first move, that is until Reese decides he will take a chance. But his flirting doesn’t get far, and poor Tony is completely tongue-tied. When a mutual acquaintance offers Reese a way into Tony’s bed (and hopefully his heart), Reese jumps at the chance for love.
This was my first 1 Night Stand (1NS) novella and the second novella I’ve read by KT Grant. I am impressed with her ability to create intimate romances in such a short space. The characters are real enough, relatable on some level, and don't require lots of background and superfluous details to enjoy the story. We know these two men long for each other, and Ms. Grant is able to quickly build the need and frustration.
For those wondering, each 1NS story is independent, using a somewhat mysterious character, Madame Evangeline, as a match maker with a 100% track record in finding the perfect long-term mate. In this book it's a suitable vehicle used to get the men together in a fairly short span.
I adored Tony and Reece. They both were a bit shy, but once together, passion explodes. And wow--there are some completely sexy scenes involving a hot tub! At times I thought that Tony was too hung up on the age difference and the fact he was tricked into the date. I felt like he was determined to see the relationship fail before giving it a chance. I also question the need for such an elaborate set up to bring them together, however it added tension and fun to the novella, and in the end--it all worked.
A Bid For Love is a delightful, sexy romance. I enjoyed the overall story and recommend it for a quick, entertaining read. ...more
Wicked Nights is the first book in Ms. Showalter’s new Angels of the Dark series - a spin off from her wickedly delightful Lords of the Underworld series. The new series follows a group of desperate and dangerous angels, each whose status with the heavenly plane is in serious jeopardy. This “Army of Disgrace” is lead by Zacharel - a cold and unfeeling warrior angel we met in the LotU books.
This book throws the reader right into the thick of things. The opening chapters are raw and not for the light-hearted. We learn about the horrible abuse Annabelle has suffered for the past four years - both from humans and demons. When it appears Zacharel leaves Annabelle to be abused by her human doctors, I thought I couldn’t take any more. But Zach comes through and my heart was safe. Note: Annabelle’s torture and molestation are written non-graphically, yet it is far more painful to imagine than reading specific details.
Although Annabelle has been through hell and back, she is tough and will not rest until she kills the demon who caused her so much grief. She seems to still see the good in the world, and although she needs things to move at a slow pace, she continually moves forward with her feelings for Zacharel. And Zach - he is so clueless when it comes to emotions, especially human ones. He realizes he desires Annabelle, but doesn’t know how to address his feelings.
I really enjoyed Wicked Nights both in plot development and character creation. The world building was done at the perfect pace-giving the reader lots of information, but not cramming it into tight spaces. Whether or not the fact that I have read all of the LotU books leading up to this story helped me jump into the this world so easily, I cannot say. However, the development of characters and world was smooth.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Meeting the "team" and learning just enough about each to keep me interested and wanting to know more was definitely a highlight. I loved Zacharel's transformation as he went from cold, heartless warrior to a man capable of love and able to see goodness in and learn to respect others.
All-in-all a fantastic start to a "newish" series that can be enjoyed by new Gena Showalter fans and longtime readers alike. The pace flows well, the action intense. The overall story arc is appealing, and I am looking forward to more. ...more
The Lord of Illusion takes place roughly 30 years after the conclusion of The Lady of the Storm, with that story’s heroes, Giles and Cecily Beaumont, still in Wales and caring for half-breeds hidden from the oppressive Elven Lords. Their foster son, Drystan Hawkes, has lived in Wales almost his entire life, afflicted by haunting visions and voices from the Elven Lords’ magical scepters. Drystan seeks out the mysterious woman from his visions - one that supposedly holds the key to unlocking the gateway to Elfhame and sending the Elven Lords home.
The story started very strong. I was immediately drawn into Drystan’s quest. I adored how much he loved Camille right from the start - he is a true gentleman with courage and desire. Although he needed Camille to help free England, his care for her wellbeing superseded his duties to his country. It was refreshing that they did not dwell on secrets, but rather embraced their love for one another.
I did not like that the book jumped forward so far from the 2nd book, and in doing so, “skipped” two stories in the 30 year gap between the two books. In addition, it then went on to conclude the entire story arc in the last third or so of the book. So in other words, what should have been 5 stories was condensed into this one book. I felt that this unnecessarily rushed what should have been a more dramatic conclusion to the story arc.
All-in-all, the romance between Camille and Drystan was sexy and steamy. I was a bit overwhelmed with the number of names to keep straight. But I'm a sucker for fantasy and still enjoyed the book, especially since I had read the second story in the series. ...more
This book is truly a work of love from Ms. Myles to all of the fans of her fabulous Succubus Diary series. It is a fitting close for Jackie’s story and a must read for those that follow this series. IF you have not yet picked up Ms. Myles’ series - do so now and start with the first book, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. This series is a crazy, fun, sexy tale told from the first person POV of newly created succubus, Jackie Brighton.
The fourth full-length story, Succubi Are Forever, opens with Jackie and BFF, fellow succubus Remy, along with Jackie’s boyfriend, Zane (*swoon*) in the midst of an attempt to find out the hidden location of two lost halos hidden here on Earth. In a previous story, Jackie made a deal with Archangel Gabriel to find the remaining two halos for a boon.
I am going to sum up my feelings about this book with WOW! This book is really good! Jackie has grown up in the past year. She's picked Zane over Noah and is more focused, less whiny. And even throughout this book, we see sides of Jackie that were never really present in previous books. She and Remy make a great team. And the humor... it is abundant. Ms. Myles makes me laugh! Remy is also growing up due to her relationship with Ethan. I just adored the entire gang and couldn’t get enough of Zane/Jackie and Remy/Jackie.
Newcomer badie, succubus leader Phyrne is an ideal protagonist. She is evil and manipulative. Her Vagina Sisterhood (Ms. Myles’ humor is fabulous!) is a mix of both willing and unwilling succubi, but since they are “trapped” by Phyrne, they form a potentially powerful nemesis. She continually gave me the creeps.
The story has several well-planned twists and turns. But there is one - a MAJOR one - that will leave your jaw on the ground (and really, don’t read it at 3:30 in the middle of the night - not good!) I felt the story overall was very strong and fulfilling. The only negative thing I have about the book is that Phyrne disappears a bit too quietly. In my opinion, she wouldn't have taken defeat so easily. However, with that said - Ms. Myles may bring her back in a future story. I would love for some succubi smack-down!
All-in-all, Succubi Are Forever is a wonderful romance and thrilling action-packed ride, full of great twists and a delightful ending. It is an entertaining mix of action, suspense, and heart. I certainly hope Jill gives us more from this series!! ...more
My Rating for the Book: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend(A-)
“The Blushing Bounder” by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas Story) Summary: While the search foMy Rating for the Book: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
“The Blushing Bounder” by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas Story) Summary: While the search for a killer puts Constable Newberry’s life in danger, he faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay?
Twimom’s Take: If you are a fan of Meljean’s Iron Seas series, you will enjoy this brief look into Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth and Constable Newberry’s first case. However, if you’ve never read the series, this is a perfect introduction to Meljean’s Iron Seas. Newbury is so sweet, and I love the inspector and Newberry’s relationship. It is an easy story to follow and has a satisfying plot for the novella length.
“Vixen” by Jill Myles Summary: Miko’s denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn’t want to choose between both men…it wants them both.
Twimom’s Take: This is a cute, stand alone shifter story by one of my favorite authors. The three main characters had great chemistry and dialogue. The story is enjoyable, full of fun and play. And oh, by the way... it is a HOT as hell menage.
“Kitten-Tiger & the Monk” by Carolyn Crane (Disillusionists Story) Summary: Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all.
Twimom’s Take: OMG! I am totally hooked on Ms. Crane’s urban fantasy series! The mythology is very original and different than anything I’ve read before. I wish now I’d started at the beginning of the series (this novella takes place between 2nd and 3rd books.) I am going to be reading the series ASAP! I was not lost - and the story is fine as a stand alone, but Sophia made references to people and events that I wonder if I would have known about had I read the first two books.
Rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)...more
Tess is a little different from the rest of us - she sees and communicates with ghosts. She usually ignores t3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)
Tess is a little different from the rest of us - she sees and communicates with ghosts. She usually ignores their plight, or if she stops to listen, she tries to send them on their way to the “other side” quickly. That process has always worked for her until she meets Kipp - he is different from any ghost she’s met before. He remembers his life and acts like a “normal person.” Kipp implores Tess to help him catch the man who killed him while he was tracking down the killer of a young girl.
Right from the start, Kipp reminded me of Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie Ghost - bothering Tess until she acknowledged him and did his bidding. It didn’t hinder the story, but rather made me chuckle.
I will tell you right up front that I spent a lot of time during the first half of so of this book trying to figure out how Kipp and Tess could have a happy ending. First, I thought maybe he wasn’t really dead like Reese Witherspoon’s character in the movie Just like Heaven. Then I wondered if she would die too. Or *gulp* would there not be a happy ending? I just couldn’t see how it could possibly end well.... with him a ghost and her, well, not. Let me reassure you that this concern is addressed AND once the story got rolling, I was so engrossed that I didn’t really care.
I loved how my emotions were tugged around in this book. For example, several times my heart raced with Tess’s frustration when she tried to explain the truth to Kipp’s partners. I was waiting for one of them to put her in the looney bin.
I did get annoyed that Kipp and his best friend and former partner, Zach, didn’t have a problem putting Tess in potentially dangerous situations. For as “protective” as they are supposed to be, time and time again they pushed her into doing things that had the potential to kill her. I was especially upset with one scene when the partners pushed Tess into dressing like a slut and had her attempt to pick up a man who could have been Kipp’s killer. Not cool. And Tess could be a pushover. She shouldn’t have allowed herself to do some of these things - like go undercover at the bar.
As I mentioned, this book really held some great emotional components. Kipp and Tess had some very touching scenes - I was especially impacted by Kipp’s words when he told Tess that dying was worth it to meet her (sounds corny when I write it, but it was very touching). There was constant tension in the book caused by the threat that Kipp would *poof* off to heaven - or whatever the afterlife brings - once the mystery of his murder is solved.
As the story approached its climax, I got very anxious something bad was going to happen to Tess. She was “alone” in the woods at the site of a buried body... come on! I was screaming at her for leaving the officers and at the police for letting her go. Although it was pretty obvious who the “bad guy” was, it was still suspenseful and once again, my heart was racing.
At the conclusion, when Tess spoke to a parent of a murdered girl, I was in tears. What a gift to receive - parting words from beyond. And I liked how the author portrayed her parents - they accepted Tess’s gift without judgement.
Overall, Supernaturally Kissed was predictable at times, but a sweet and suspenseful story. Although not a true “HEA,” Ms. Kennedy left hope for the future, and she has written the start of what I predict will be an exciting series. Although I was fixated on how it would conclude, I am glad it wasn’t a cliched ending....more
My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend(B+)
I have been hearing great things about Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassin series for a while now. I’veMy Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)
I have been hearing great things about Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassin series for a while now. I’ve wanted to read it, but by the time I got around to it, the series was already four books in, and I just didn’t have the time to commit to reading four to five books. (Lame excuse, I know!). Anyhow, I’d been chatting with the wonderful Ms. Estep and asked her when would be a good time to “jump in” to her series. She suggested this novella, and I’m so thankful she did!
For those unfamiliar with this urban fantasy series, it centers around Gin Blanco, an assassin whose parents were killed by nemesis assassin, Mab Monroe. The first five books centered on Gin (aka the Spider) trying to take out her long-time adversary, culminating with a massive elemental battle between the two in Spider’s Revenge, where Gin finally defeats Mab. (Note: I did NOT read the first five books.)
Thread of Death is a nice little story - a “day in the life” of Gin - that bridges the story arc ending in the past book with Mab’s death, and a new one starting in the upcoming By a Thread (February 28, 2012, Pocket Books). In this novella, we find Gin recovering from her battle with Fire Elemental, Mab. Gin is also an Elemental, able to manipulate Stone and Ice to her advantage (there are also Air Elementals). I’m still learning about Elementals, but I got a feel for what they can do in this story.
The story takes place over the course of one day - the day of Mab’s funeral. It is also Gin’s first day out and about. Surrounding Gin is a close-knit group of friends and family, including her sister, Bria and her lover Owen. These friends are among the few that know Gin is actually the Spider. As Gin psyches herself up for leaving her home, the reader is given details about each of Gin’s friends. Ms. Estep provides in a sense, a tutorial of who’s who in Gin’s life. I quickly got a feel for who was important to Gin and why. I also learned where there were problems in this small group.
At the funeral, Ms. Estep gives the reader more insight into the major players (i.e. crime bosses and thugs) in town, and I have a feeling she was setting the stage for what is to come. Gin is being strategically hunted by Mab’s long-time associate, Jonah McAllister, and he begins with his plans at the funeral.
One thing I liked about this story was how it was told through the first person point-of-view of more that one person. The majority of the story is relayed via Gin, but we also get into the head of Jonah McAllister and Phillip Kincaid, a man I believe who will play a big part in what is to come. It is an effective way to give the reader a big picture view of the world.
As someone who is new to the series, I felt like Thread of Death was one of those mid-season recap TV shows - you know the ones where they toss in a bunch of old clips to try and bring the viewer up to speed and prepare for what is to come. And as such, Ms. Estep is extremely successful. I feel like I can tackle the upcoming story with little question about back story. I may be missing out on some emotional investment, but I feel after reading this story, I can move forward. ...more
My rating: 4.5 Stars/A. Ilona Andrews is an amazing storyteller. This is a great treat for Kate fans, but not for first-timers. I cannot wait for AndrMy rating: 4.5 Stars/A. Ilona Andrews is an amazing storyteller. This is a great treat for Kate fans, but not for first-timers. I cannot wait for Andrea's story. ...more
The prologue of this short story read like a fantastic action movie - the kind that are labeled “summer bloMy Rating: 3 stars: Liked it - recommend (B)
The prologue of this short story read like a fantastic action movie - the kind that are labeled “summer blockbuster.” I LOVED the concept of dragons coming forth and decimating civilization. This created a post-apocalyptic setting without the usual politcal causes.
Fast-forward several generations and civilization is bleak. Humans and Crossbreeds tribes live in primitive settings built from what is left in the greater-Los Angles area. We don’t have much time to learn about Rhone and his tribe, because right from the beginning he is captured and tortured by rival tribe leader Nyx.
Nyx is simply a cruel, power-hungry Crossbreed. He rules with an iron fist, fostering fear among his own tribe. Ketta, Nyx’s sister (a rare Crossbreed female), is tired of her brother’s evil and believes Rhone was sent to free them all and bring peace. She helps him escape and the pair get help from Ketta’s grandfather, Arwin.
In spite of its shortened length, High Above is packed with action and excitement. It was fairly entertaining throughout, and the romance was passionate. The story had all the moving parts you’d expect - interesting plot, exciting setting, evil bad guy you love to hate, romance, action, and a happy ending. There were no major moral conflicts or overly dramatic moments to incite a deep emotional reaction, although there was one shocking moment that took me by surprise.
Unfortunately, because of its length, I felt there were places in the book that needed more which would have created a more fulfilling story. I wanted to know why Rhone could awaken Daisy (no spoilers here). I would have liked more time to develop the trust between Rhone and Arwin and learn more about Rhone’s history and tribe. However, it is a novella and there just wasn’t space to answer all of my questions.
Overall, this is an enjoyable novella-length fantasy story. It’s perfect for an afternoon getaway from life. I hope that Ms. Freeman expands upon this exciting world in future works. ...more
My Rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend(A)
When Dez Lincoln is seriously injured while saving a child from a horrible predator, herMy Rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
When Dez Lincoln is seriously injured while saving a child from a horrible predator, her boss, Taylor Jones cannot get the gruesome images out of his mind. Although he is as cold as they come, inside Taylor is a wreck - trying to control a situation that is beyond his reach. The fear of losing Dez pushes Taylor to act out his inner-most desires and makes Dez’s fantasies come true. Until the next day... When Taylor does the unthinkable and orders Dez on a mandatory leave of absence. Dez knows that he’s doing it to put distance between the two so Taylor can rebuild his walls. But Dez isn’t going to take it and walks.
Fast forward fourteen months. Dez is working free-lance and overwhelmed with the spirits of those that have passed. Taylor is making his annual visit home to pay tribute to his baby sister, who was abducted when she was six. Both individuals are near their breaking points when they find each other again. Now they have to work together to unscramble cryptic clues left by the ghosts of French Lick, Indiana before someone else is murdered.
The Departed is a gripping, suspenseful story. I was immediately drawn in by Ms. Walker’s talented storytelling and could not put the book down until the very last stone was turned. There were several twists and turns, but never did the volume of clues or characters become overwhelming. Nothing felt contrived. I was guessing what would come next, who was behind what, and how the story would be resolved though out the story.
Although this story is about solving a series of crimes, there is much more at stake than the lives of the citizens of French Lick. At the heart of this story is the fragile existence of two fiercely independent and strong individuals. Both Dez and Taylor are flawed, and doing the best that they can, even when confronted with horrible situations. Both are close to the end of their respective ropes, and in Taylor’s case, maybe even close to taking his own life.
Dez and Taylor fit together perfectly. Ms. Walker creates a couple that needed each other, but were not needy. They are able to get past the rough edges (and there are a lot) to find a way to heal and be whole. They complement one another so well. I was cheering whole-heartedly for Dez and Taylor, and they held my heart in their hands. I cheered their successes and I shed tears in their pain. I love a story that can evoke a wide range of emotions within me.
Although this book is the second in the FBI Psychics Series, I did not read the first, and it is not necessary. This book can be read and appreciated as a stand alone. However, after enjoying this book so very much, I’m adding more of Ms. Walker’s books to my wish list. The Departed has that perfect mix of spectacular plot line, engaging characters and a wide-ranging emotional impact. ...more
Nightwalker is the fourth installment of Allyson James’ excellent Stormwalker urban fantasy series centering around Native American Janet Begay, born from half evil goddess and half storm magic. This series is one of my absolute favorites, and while you could start with Nightwalker, I highly recommend you start at the beginning. The overarching plot development and detailed character growth over the first three stories is phenomenal, making each story richer than the previous.
Nightwalker, like each book before it, had me hooked from the very start. First, the overall mystery is engrossing. Janet and her fiancé Mick work together to figure out if Ansel did kill his girlfriend, or if not him, who is hiding the truth. Along the way they uncover a web of secret magic and a battle to control ultimate power.
In conclusion, it's a bit difficult to write a review for the fourth excellent book in one of my favorite series. I feel like I've said it all before, but it's worth repeating. Overall, Nightwalker is full of heart-stopping action, superb storytelling and marvelous characters. Each book builds upon revelations from the previous book, but you could get away with reading Nightwalker as a stand alone novel. But seriously, they are each so good, you wouldn't want to! The story line keeps strong throughout each book, and although each contains similar components, every story is unique and exciting. ...more
My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend(A-)
The third book in Ms. Julian’s Forgotten Goddesses series opens with Amity Monroe letting off someMy Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
The third book in Ms. Julian’s Forgotten Goddesses series opens with Amity Monroe letting off some steam with a coworker at a local bar. Amity is also known by some as Munthukh, the Etruscan Goddess of Health. Amity continues to use her dwindling powers for healing as a medical aesthetician - helping cancer patients and burn victims regain some of their physical appearance. It’s at this bar that cousins Rom and Remy catch the eye of Amity, and she decides it’s time to have some fun.
Rom and Remy are magical lucani - wolf shifters - on the run for years ever since their families were killed by the evil Mal (think paranormal crime family). While they are meant to fulfill some sort of prophecy, Rom and Remy only want revenge and the opportunity to kill the demon that murdered their families. Knowing that the demon is after Amity, they decide to spend time with her, hoping for a chance to avenge their family.
First of all, I want to say that Goddess in the Middle is not only the HOTTEST book in Ms. Julian’s series to date, but also the best. It is an exciting and sexy romance, full of action, emotion, and danger. I breezed through this story - hardly putting it down.
The sexual chemistry between Amity, Remy and Rom was spectacular. But it was more than that... not only was their relationship incredibly hot--from m/f pairings to full-on menage sex--it was more than sex... it was emotion. Ms. Julian does a superb job making this erotic tale more about the developing love between two men and one woman than simply hot sex. But again, the smex is smokin’!! I enjoyed that throughout the story, the cousins work through their concerns about where this threesome is heading, and all three end up with much more than a few hot nights. The story is lusty and sensual, but simply romantic.
The overall plot continues to revolve around Charun, the Etruscan God of the Underworld, and his attempts to steal power from his sister goddesses in hopes of breaking free from the underworld. Amity and her twin Kari are warned that one of them will be his next target, and certain enough Amity is attacked that night. But we witness a new side of Charun, which has significant impacts to the story arc. However, there is a new twist with the involvement of an evil, mafia-like group, the Mal. They are after Rom and Remy because of the power they hold, and they aren’t above using Amity and Kari to get what they want. We also are brought up to speed on some of the couples and changes that occurred in the first two books.
Overall, I really enjoyed how this story unfolded and played out. Sexy. Exciting. Suspenseful. I hope there is a next story soon because there are definitely some loose ends that need to be resolved. However, the book can be enjoyed by new-comers to the series. Goddess in the Middle is an incredibly erotic, unconventional, romantic love story, and it is most certainly worth the read. ...more
Black Howl is the third book in what is coming to be one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. Madeline Black is an agent of Death - she helps usher the souls of recently departed people (and other supernatural beings) to “the Door.” In the previous two books, we’ve discovered that Madeline is also the daughter of Fallen Angel Azazel and the great (great...) granddaughter of Lucifer.
Book three opens with Maddy doing her duties, when she notices a peculiar-acting errant soul/ghost. She learns from her friend and boss, JB, that this has been happening fairly frequently. In addition, she finds out that her friend and leader of the local werewolf pack, Wade, has been abducted, along with several cubs. Add this to her already crazy life and things get explosive (literally)! Maddy, along with side-kick gargoyle: Beezle, ex-body guard-turned-thrall: Gabriel, second-in-command of wolf pack, Jude, newly found “brother”: Samiel, and JB are out to figure out who is behind the sinister plots. What they discover, however, threatens to change the world for all human and supernatural kind.
This book was fabulous! First I want to mention the plot/s. WOW! Although it can be a bit tough to remember who’s who with all of the Fallens, Fae, wolves and other creatures, the twists and turns in this book make for one heck of a ride. I seriously could not put down the book. It is intense, action-packed, and had me on my toes - never knowing what would happen next. The storyline is well developed, and the twists never felt contrived. I loved it! Some of the developments just blew me away as pieces of the plot were unveiled at the perfect pace.
Next... characters. This book has them. We’ve meet and gotten to know the gang over the course of the first two books, but it is in Black Howl that each comes into his/her own. Both the primary and secondary characters are equally important in this story.
The growing relationship between Gabriel and Maddy is sweet. Their star-crossed love is perfect for an Urban Fantasy story. It doesn’t dominate the story, but it is important. To see them have the opportunity to express their true feelings was wonderful... Since only get Maddy's POV, to hear Gabriel's words were touching.
There are a couple of key climatic battles near the end of the story. One was short, but dramatic and changed the entire direction of the story. The moments following this key part of the book were very touching and had me in tears. JB and Jude’s characters were both superbly written and made this story a step above the rest.
Overall, Black Howl is amazing. The story is riveting, complex and rich with details, humor and action. The twists and turns are complex but not overwhelming. The plot is emotionally satisfying. Maddy has grown up--she learned to take charge and make the tough decisions. Her growing friendships with Samiel, Jude and JB -even with grand-daddy, Lucifier are fantastic. I cannot wait for the next book!...more
I could go on and on about the plot of By a Thread because it was such a fun story. It had all the right elements - action, love, intrigue - but what I adored most was that we watched Gin’s relationships with her sister, Bria, and her lover, Owen, grown and deepen. By the end of the book I had tears in my eyes because of the emotional bonding I witnessed.
However, let me back up a little here. This book is action packed! I was literally skipping words to find out what was going to happen next - I could not read fast enough. I was often on edge, sometimes even mentally “covering my eyes” because I was continually waiting for something else to go wrong with Gin.
As I said earlier, although a thrilling ride, the best parts of this book are the emotional pieces which stirred my heart. I loved the little nuggets and memories from Gin’s deceased foster father, Fletcher. In addition, Ms. Estep does a superb job portraying Gin's longing to be close with her sister. In opening scenes when she travels with Bria to Blue Sands--it was heart breaking. I could feel Gin's self-doubt and her desire for her sister's love.
This was my first full-length Elemental Assassins book, but I easily jumped right in. Gin reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: sometimes the battle is hers alone to fight; she wants to help others; she has a good heart. I loved how Gin really came into her own and accepted who she is and what she does. I think you will too! ...more
When I found out that Ilona Andrews was going to write a book in her Kate Daniels series from the POV of Kate’s best friend, Andrea, I was SOOOOO excited. Andrea and Raphael were my introduction to the Kate Daniels world via the novella, “Magic Mourns” found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. I’ve held a soft spot in my heart for the couple since the start, and boy have they had some tough times lately.
Gunmetal Magic has two primary tales to tell. First (and foremost for me) is the story of Andrea and Raphael. They are in a very low place, and the book chronicles their efforts to work through the pain and find a happy place-whether together or alone. Second, the book outlines a mystery to be solved. Raphael’s reclamation company is working a building when four shifters are killed. Pack security hires Andrea to find out what happened. Unfortunately, the murders appear to be related to some deadly supernatural beings no one has seen before - and someone will stop for nothing to possess Andrea.
Once again, I find that the writing team of Ilona Andrews has created a story full of of wit, sarcasm, action, friendship, love, and put it all together with amazing detail and description. Yet the weight of the world-building details never bogs down the plot. The flow of the story is seamless; each scene building upon the last. Their ability to create such a richly detailed world will draw you in and not let go.
At the heart of this book is the story of Andrea and Raphael. Forced to work together after things have fallen apart, their love story is woven into the plot and around the murder mystery perfectly. Andrea is hurting beyond words, and her pain reaches the depths of my soul, causing more than a few tears during the book. She is tough and struggles to find her place in her new, post-Order world. Her fierceness is incredible, and she rivals Kate for the best “kiss-a$$ chick.”
For long-time fans of the series, Kate, Curran, Doolittle, Jim, Aunt B and others all play rolls in this book. By far, my favorite side character is Roman, the black volhv (think dark priest with magical abilities.) Roman was first introduced in Magic Slays when the Pack needed to disarm an anti-magic bomb. His humor is the ideal contrast to the severity of the situation. I hope to see more of Roman in upcoming novels.
Gunmetal Magic is an amazing story and wonderful addition to the Kate Daniels series. Andrea and Raphael go through so much and just when you want to scream, kick and cry, the world turns out okay. But the things that happen are not contrived. Every detail, whether painful or joyous, is honest and exciting. The book takes you to highs and lows. It is pretty perfect in that way. The story flowed and action never stopped. It rocked my emotions and warmed my heart....more