It took to me a good twenty minutes to just get into the story. Not because it was bad... but because you can only read a book the first time a singleIt took to me a good twenty minutes to just get into the story. Not because it was bad... but because you can only read a book the first time a single time. It was like falling in love: I didn't want it to start because it would eventually finish!
Alas, the book did eventually finish.
And it was worth every. Single. Minute.
Dani O'Malley is the young teenaged Sidhe-seer seen quite often in the antecedent Fever series. She's spunky, charismatic, and lives life to the fullest. She's also a superhuman with super-speed, super-hearing, and super-strength. These unique characteristics have put her on Ryodan's radar... and made her public enemy Numero Uno for the Fae that are still dominating a crumbling Dublin.
The book starts out literally right as Dani hightails off after Mac finds out some rather disturbing information at the end of [i]Shadowfever[/i] (no spoilers, darlings!). Off to her own devices, Dani must continue her pursuit of saving humanity and Earth, while managing to stay out of the crosshairs of her former best friend and quasi-sister Mac (MacKayla Lane, MC of the Fever Series).
Something is icing Fae and humans alike and Dani's not about to let her species go the way of the Dodo, so off she goes to discover a cause. With the unwanted but removable help of Ryodan and his band of Glaring Men. Christian, once Highland Hottie turned Fae Fabulous and Fae Frightening has decided that Dani is his future. Meanwhile, Dani runs for shelter (whether she admits it or not) to her darling dear Dancer, an older teenager whose brilliance will save her life- and everyone else's- more than once.
New Fae, new fears, and new foes will force Dani to see the world through eyes she's always dreaded: a grownup's. "Can't stop Mickey from ticking", as they say, however, and growing up is something she can't hide from. Fortunately, no one ages quite as gracefully as our self-aware, self-assured Dani The Mega O'Malley.
With every new turn comes a new surprise, and yet more dead. Unfortunately, it's hard to surmise much of the story without giving all of its literary goodness. Suffice it to say: if you happened to like The Fever series, you're going to flip out and fall in love with Dani's series!
She's smart, sassy, and honest, and you'll find yourself suddenly adrift in a world of Ms. Moning's making.
The narrative is brilliant, the characters are perfectly heart wrenching, and the plot moves as smooth as $50 shot of single malt Scotch. Not to mention, you'll want to pet Ryodan and Lor. Or try to kill Jo... Still working through that bit.
Read it, love it, and enjoy it.
Ms. Moning, brava, my dear, brava! You have nailed it, once again, with the best Apocalyptic Fantasy (or Fantastic apocalyptic?) series I've read.
Readers: She doesn't shy away from the pain so be ready to really feel the darkness, the happiness, the fear, and the lust.
Hot Shots is an anthology comprised of two short stories about friends and acquaintances on some hot summer days.
Spring Cleaning stars Leanore ElliotHot Shots is an anthology comprised of two short stories about friends and acquaintances on some hot summer days.
Spring Cleaning stars Leanore Elliot and her oh-so-helpful neighbor Sam McFlandry. Editor Leanore hates spring cleaning but in a flash of brilliance, decides to spark up her motivational juices by sparking up her own. Task one? Go through her private-time toys while fantasizing about “Hotty Scotty” Scotsman, Sam.
Fantasy comes to life when she realizes that her fantasy man is actually standing in her bedroom. Her considerate companion lends her a hand (by handling her own) in deciding what creative devices she should be saving and which ones won’t ring her bell.
Sam is exceptionally inventive in his methods and his domineering attitude melted me to the bone. This was quite the feat given that his accent, alone, could have scorched off my arm hairs from its sexiness (I have a thing for Scotsmen). The entire event is both instructional and motivational in the best of ways. Sam and Leanore had me panting as they explored themselves and took creativity out of the box. And sometimes back in again, if he said so (mwahahah).
Despite the short length of the story, both characters have unique voices and bring quite a bit to the story.
Summer’s Break tells us the happily never-ending story of Gordon Summers and Mrs. Dickerman, his boss’s wife. Summers is doing work for Coach Dickerman while studying to complete a degree in Sports Medicine. Coach “Dickhead” Dickerman pauses from the endless barrage of insults toward Summers and the other kids in order to task Summers with the care of Mrs. Dickerman, who is on a flight home.
Summers is none too pleased with this new arrangement, but goes to care for the old bat, regardless. What he finds is a woman of years and beauty.
And a great, grand helping of domination.
Mistress Dickerman proceeds to introduce our young Gordon Summers to the ways of Dominance and Submission.
Perhaps the most exceptional aspect of this story is the fact that it is told from Summers’ point of view. Summers makes an interesting self-realization while cleaning Mrs. Dickerman’s pipes (mm hmm). I absolutely loved the perspective. Additionally, DX takes a further step from the norm by introducing a submissive male that is in no way feminine. No, Gordon Summers is all man, he’s just a man with certain needs.
Needs that we get to meet right up front. And it’s De-Lish!
Neither of these stories contain romance, and they’re very Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am (that’ll be funnier after you read the second story, btw), but that doesn’t change the fact that DX Luc has written two sizzling hot summer reads. Each story entails a single encounter and you’ll be left wanting more, in the best sense!
DX Luc has truly done a wonderful job of writing two very short stories that are believable, hot, and scintillating! A lot of erotica is raw, but DX adds another dimension to them that makes the simple desire more spicy than not!
So grab your partner and get ready for a quick read that will lead to a long afternoon of heat and creativity!...more
Duncan MacDonald is the bastard son of a mystery man who never claimed him. With no name to give him credence, Duncan becomes a renowned warrior in hiDuncan MacDonald is the bastard son of a mystery man who never claimed him. With no name to give him credence, Duncan becomes a renowned warrior in his own right and Captain of Chieftain Connor MacDonald’s forces. He wins many a battle, but lost his heart years ago to Connor’s sister, the beautiful Moira.
But what can a bastard offer a Scottish princess?
Moira is strong-willed, strong-headed, and strong-hearted in this tale of love lost, regained, and renewed. Wedded to a man not even his own mother could love, she fights for herself and moreso for the son she bore six and half years ago.
The story begins in the middle of the tumultuous reclaiming of MacDonald lands, once ruled under the tight and cruel fist of Moira’s uncle, Hugh Dubh. Connor has since wrested control of his home, but now he and his three warriors must regain control of the lands that have been overtaken by his life-long enemies. A prologue whisks you through the affair Moira and Duncan had in their youth before both were cast away in opposite directions by her father; Duncan was sent to war, and Moira was sent to wed. During Duncan’s time away, both have faced trials and dangers that have hardened their hearts.
Moira is wife to an abusive and self-absorbed violent man. She dreams of Connor arriving to rescue her, while her heart longs to find its once-love, Duncan. Duncan is in the middle of fighting battles with Connor to regain the control and safety of the MacDonald lands.
Connor decides that it’s time he had word of his sister, Moira, and sends Duncan to check on her. After accidental but deserved bloodshed, Duncan returns to Connor with Moira at his side. But Ragnall, her son, is gone, in the hands of their enemies.
Moira and Duncan navigate the trials of the heart, while fighting through trials of betrayal, secrecy, and war to find each other and to save the young heir of the MacDonald clan.
Duncan is truly the definition of honor through this story, managing to narrowly walk that fine line between heroic honor and downright stupidity. He does it well, I might add. I thoroughly enjoyed Duncan, even with his very serious demeanor. Ms. Mallory works hard to ensure the reader understands the background behind Duncan’s approach to life and I found myself nodding at his decisions.
Moira’s driving motivation changes from joie de vivre to protecting her son and keeping her heart locked away tight. I understand her need, completely, but did find that, at times, she let her pain make her decisions for her. While I wanted to shake my head, I did come to understand why she made certain choices and had particular reactions.
The overarching storyline continues with Hugh “Dubh” MacDonald betraying anyone and everyone to regain what he wants. The fighting focuses on Duncan’s fighting and- surprisingly- musical skills. Ms. Mallory doesn’t disappoint and readers will wait ecstatic to read her final installment in the series.
The majority of the action was somewhat predictable, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading it.
With such great characters, storyline, and action, the only thing keeping this book from near-perfection is the quick changes from scenes. I had some difficulty feeling the emotions of the characters during highly dramatic scenes. While I’m not a huge fan of narrative, a bit more emotional input from the characters through action and thought would have perhaps helped me to really grasp the scene as the character felt it. The issue wasn’t enough to take me from the story, but I had to put a bit more into it in order to really stand inside of the story and feel the characters. As a result, I found myself somewhat distanced from Moira and Duncan, throughout the story.
I do recommend this book, however! The story is lively, creative, and quite historically accurate. You’ll learn a great deal, while enjoying a massively entertaining tale. Ms. Mallory obviously worked very hard to ensure her facts were straight and what areas she made fiction still hold well to history.
If you’re looking for love, drama, action, and handsome men in kilts, Margaret Mallory’s “The Warrior” is definitely a choice for you!...more
Let me begin by saying that I found Catherine Bybee by chance, when I read her book, Married by Monday. Luck was truly on my side with that purchase.Let me begin by saying that I found Catherine Bybee by chance, when I read her book, Married by Monday. Luck was truly on my side with that purchase. The author’s ability to fashion and create believable characters has held up through three books and I’m already starting the next in this trilogy.
The story begins with Tara McAllister, a 25 year old virgin in the 21st Century, attending a Ren Faire with her best friend. Unbeknownst to either, the Faire’s Gypsy Queen has ulterior motives and none of them are good.
Enter Prince Charming.
Hawtie Highlander, to be precise.
Duncan MacCoinnich and his brother, Fin, are also attending this year’s Ren Faire. It was a bit of a trip for them, I admit. It only took a few centuries to get there. The MacCoinnich’s are a Scottish clan who are living in 1576. They’re also brilliant Druids and quite a funny bunch.
But I digress.
Duncan and Fin are set on a rather interesting journey. Their mission? To deflower maidens.
Necessary, however, since the blood of a virgin descended from Druids is necessary to free the evil Gypsy Queen (who is actually a black witch and former Druidess, herself) from the curse placed upon her as punishment for her past quite heinous deeds.
Duncan’s mission is a bit harder, this time around, as he develops rather unique feelings for Tara the moment he sits on her lap, by accident, in the dark.
Tara resists any and all of Duncan’s persuasive seductions (for the most part) due to some past history that has left her terrified of the consequences of a simple dalliance. You know, simple things like: having a child for the rest of her life with no one to help her raise him, things like that. ;)
Eventually, Duncan is forced to take Tara back to his home in 1576, to keep her safe from the evil witch. Tara, while thankful for being saved, is furious at being kidnapped away from her single-mother sister (did I mention the past history?) and nephew, her world, her dreams, and, well, her own time period. Even if Ms Bybee hadn’t done such an awesome job of explaining Tara’s emotional journey, I think Tara’s concerns are understandable.
The relationship between Duncan and Tara is beautiful and quite honest. While Tara may have changed her tune rather quickly, Ms Bybee is brilliant in making it believable and logical. There is no “Oh, fine, I like you, let’s go hop in the sack.” Rather, we’re walked through reasonable circumstances for the change in Tara’s stance.
To be entirely candid, this is perhaps one of my absolutely most favorite things about Catherine Bybee: her character development and character-driven plot.
Yes, the story is lovely and simple, but the characters are what make it truly a wonderful read. I’m never left thinking “Um, okay, I’ll just go with it.” No, instead, I find myself nodding and thinking, “Exactly what I would have done… I can see it.” It really draws you into the story and makes you want to know more about every character you meet.
Catherine’s also supremely talented in giving just enough narrative to guide your imagination without boring you with unnecessary details. I’m quite impressed! Catherine’s feel for narrative vs dialogue is outstanding. In scenes where build up is needed, Catherine gives the exact narrative needed to give the tone to the scene, rather than just imagery of what’s around them.
Catherine isn’t just an author, she’s a story-teller, through-and-through.
Duncan and Tara’s story is sweet, strong, and romantic. I’m highly anticipating Myra’s, Fin’s and Lizzy’s tales, as well! (In case you’re wondering: no, I didn’t spontaneously decide to write in APA format; the Oxford comma was dropped for a reason, *wink wink*)
This was well worth the purchase! I wish Duncan and Tara the best as they continue on and can’t wait to read more about them as I find out the destinies of their siblings! More on that to come!...more
I started this book without even realizing that I had read (and quite liked) its predecessor, Wife by Wednesday. When I made the realization, I hopedI started this book without even realizing that I had read (and quite liked) its predecessor, Wife by Wednesday. When I made the realization, I hoped it would be as good.
In fact, it was better.
Ms. Bybee writes authentic situations and expresses the good and the bad in such an equal way; making no excuses and leaving us to care for her characters because of their strengths, not because of drama stirred up by their weaknesses. Furthermore, the relationship is entirely believable and there are no odd jumps, bizarre reactions, or impractical situations; this could be a true story between two unique people.
She took a relatively standard storyline and made it amazing. You know there's going to be an HEA, but don't try predicting the plot; I have a feeling you'll be as surprised as I was. Where most would have gone a much different route, Ms. Bybee took the story and made it shine by going that extra mile. The action and thrills aren't overdone but add just enough touch of spice to keep the reader on the edge of her seat.
The conflicts and resolution in this book are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I found myself tearing up during the last three chapters. I’ve only done that twice before.
All-in-all, Catherine Bybee has a winner in Married by Monday. I can't wait to read the next book.
If you want an engaging tale of true love, danger, sacrifice, and happiness: this is one you definitely shouldn’t miss!
This little gem is going on my Keeper Shelf where it will be treated with love, care, and periodic re-reads!...more
This was a very sweet book. The characters are enjoyable and the situations exciting. Perhaps the most awesome bit of the book, however, is the banterThis was a very sweet book. The characters are enjoyable and the situations exciting. Perhaps the most awesome bit of the book, however, is the banter. The author has a way with dialogue! Furthermore- while I’m no expert at speaking “Pirate”- the author seems to have taken a good deal of time really working on the accuracy of her verbiage. The fight scenes were realistic, as well, which really added to the excitement.
While it’s not one of my favorites, I certainly did enjoy the book. The heroine is most definitely far from perfect and in a sort of off-the-beaten-path kind of way. The hero’s issues are, while sad, within the realm of “normal” for romance heroes. However, the author does a good job individualizing the hero and the heroine. Note that if you’re looking for some physical intimacy between h/h, this book won’t be your cup of tea. While there’s some activity, it’s not satisfying. For anyone involved.
I think the fast pace of the book does tend to strip out the connection to the characters just a touch, however, and I wasn’t sure I believed the change of hearts that I read.
Still, it was a cute way to spend my time and I’d recommend it as a simple “Beach Read” if you want a quick adventure, some lively characters and to be whisked away on a Pirate’s ship for an afternoon!...more
The relationship between Eva and Gideon is a total emotional rollercoaster ride that rivals Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. Ups, downs, lefts, rights, tThe relationship between Eva and Gideon is a total emotional rollercoaster ride that rivals Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. Ups, downs, lefts, rights, turns, and spins. Sylvia Day’s story of confliction, compassion, and compromise left me feeling every possible emotion every single time I put it down. The raw sexuality was undeniably incredible and I loved it! There were no innuendos; everything was primal and yet exceptionally tasteful! Their dialogue, alone, made me shiver!
I couldn’t decide whether I hated the book or thoroughly loved it. I would despise their relationship and yet, in the same scene only moments later, absolutely adore them. Eva narrates her love story in first-person and I was taken through each winding road that her heart and mind coursed through. Towards the end of the book, I really disliked Eva’s seeming self-absorption, but it was believable and real. Gideon spends the book alternating between utter vulnerability and supreme domination. His helplessness, at times, was in such stark contrast to his character that I was left uncomfortably reeling. I found myself feeling insecure in their relationship as a result. It didn’t help that I wasn’t entirely convinced of their relationship being more than just “friends with benefits”, and that it seemed Gideon did the majority of the work for it.
However, Ms Day does an incredible job of showing the segregation of sexuality and emotion in the beginning of the book and the gradual but dominating way that these two people learn to combine them. I really, really enjoyed the underlying almost imperceptible domination/submission angle, as well. It wasn’t about pain nor did it have to be physical; it was about security for both individuals: his in needing to have control over every outcome and hers in needing someone to “fall into”. I’m very curious where the next book, Deeper in You, will take us when it comes out!
See my original review on Reading Between the Wines Book Club! ...more
After waiting eons for some sort of resolution for Tohrment and our beloved Wellsie, I could finally rest my weary heart, knowing it worked out the waAfter waiting eons for some sort of resolution for Tohrment and our beloved Wellsie, I could finally rest my weary heart, knowing it worked out the way it needed to.
In build-up to this grand book release, many readers were upset at the idea of Tohr's HEA not being Wellsie, feeling that this was a betrayal of her.
That's a pretty darn cruel stipulation to put on him.
I won't be writing any spoilers, but I will say that J. R. Ward, the heralded author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, did an excellent job of appeasing both Pro-HEA and Anti-HEA camps.
Tohr's progression was believable and relatively enjoyable. Hard to say "enjoyable" when you spend a lot of the time grimacing. Which just shows how well the WARDen wrote her charactrer POVs.
The rest of the book was a VERY positive change for the series. The past few books have been getting a bit aggravating, as the over-arching plotline seemed to drag on. Additionally, while everyone loves a bit of angst, the stale-nature of the plot only caused greater attention to the individual angst of the characters, which tended to outshine their excellent qualities. This change means great things for us as the readers!
The "Band of Bastards" promises to provide excellent fodder for plot devices and future situations. I cannot wait! I see the BoB as the BDB through a Clown-House mirror: the same, but distorted and not quite successful at approaching the reality of the situation. Psychological conditions shall thrive and frolick through future pages. Yeeess!
In fact, J. R. Ward has already hinted at such issues with certain scenes involving Xcor (leader of the Bob) and his internal dichotomy. The juxtaposition of the honor code to which he binds himself, against the cruelty and heartlessness of trying to fill the Bloodletter's shoes, will assuredly carry through a few books before resolution and promises to give our beloved hotties a run for their money.
Oddly enough, the relationship most lauded through the book isn't Tohr's: it's everyone's favorite M/M couple: Blay and Qhuinn! Towards the end of Tohr's book, Qhuinn makes a few decisions that will have your heart a-thumping!!
J. R. Ward did an excellent job of keeping us hooked for her next book which will be (insert drum roll here!) Blay and Qhuinn! That's right! We get to see if they can finally work through Qhuinn's issues! (Yes, I meant that the way I wrote it, lol)
But Qhuinn has added yet another complexity to the plot. Can Blay work with this? Or has he had enough?
On her Facebook page, J. R. Ward officially announced that 2013 will see the next couple to grace the cover of her BDB line and our two hunky heart-throbs are the shining stars!
As she so eloquently and aptly puts it:
"THEIR TIME HAS COME. 2013- NEXT BDB HARDCOVER.....BLAY & QHUINN!!!!" ~ J. R. Ward...more