Overall this story is woefully short with a lot of potential. The idea is fresh and the perspective is a unique opportunity for readers to experienceOverall this story is woefully short with a lot of potential. The idea is fresh and the perspective is a unique opportunity for readers to experience history as it actually unfolded, in the midst of the wars and drama and little every day details that are such a mystery to us now. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, in all the multiple menage variations, and was nowhere near ready for it to end!
That said, Taylor accepted that Brody and Veris are vampires very easily, with little internal struggle. I'd liked to have seen more shock from her about that especially after their unexpected shared visions. The chemistry between these three is hot. I really wanted to see more between the two men but there is just enough teased about their relationship to make it tantalizing. The time jumps are intriguing, although not well explained in this installment of the series. I also didn't quite grasp some of the political negotiations. This is worth the read on its own as a novella, but especially as a precursor to Kiss Across Swords, which is fantastically epic and an addicting, immersive read. Recommended!...more
After the first quarter of the book I thought this was going to be a DNF (did not finish). I started flipping through to see if it got any better, lesAfter the first quarter of the book I thought this was going to be a DNF (did not finish). I started flipping through to see if it got any better, less juvenile. For about the first 2/3 it was pretty immature, in both story and writing style... shallow with little emotional depth. I thought maybe it was just the character of the male protagonist (if you can even call him that), but even the parents and grandparents came off as immature. Then, suddenly, around the 2/3 mark, everything opened up and the characters had more depth and the story more weight. If the entire book had been this way I could have given it a better score.
Not recommended. It was just "okay", and there are plenty of other books out there that are actually worth the purchase price....more
There are so many surprise crack-up moments in this story that I literally laughed out loud every 30 minutes. It swings between a dark gravity and a lThere are so many surprise crack-up moments in this story that I literally laughed out loud every 30 minutes. It swings between a dark gravity and a light-hearted comedic adventure. The relationship between Sidney and her best friends is straight up hilarious and oh so heart-warming. It made me long for my own college days and wish we'd had our own impromptu Abs of Steel competitions.
Dr. Peter Granz is a handsome mystery, full of smooth comebacks and intelligent perception. Living up to the book's title, both he and Sidney are damaged, and it's very intimate feeling when they circle around the things that have happened to them and how they still cope with it. The only thing I didn't care for was the cliffhanger ending, but at least it wrapped up part of the story nicely! Damaged was a quick, enjoyable contemporary romantic read. ...more
Werewolves Be Damned starts off strong and keeps up that heady momentum until the bittersweet close. This is a great new series starter from Stacey KeWerewolves Be Damned starts off strong and keeps up that heady momentum until the bittersweet close. This is a great new series starter from Stacey Kennedy, a paranormal romance with heavy undertones of urban fantasy. The world building is snappy and vivid and Ms. Kennedy doesn't pull any punches when it comes to putting her characters in rough (and often painful) spots. I loved the chemistry between Nexi and Kyden and their personalities are unique and compelling. Nexi is a strong, kick-ass heroine with an edge of brash impatience, and Kyden is her caveman protector with a sensitive, respectful core. The supporting characters in the series are likable and memorable too. Magic & Mayhem promises to be addicting and fast-paced, a new paranormal romance series to keep your eye on!...more
Decadent Publishing's 1Night Stand stories are notoriously short, and for Heather Long's Always a Marine series, that's part of what makes the books sDecadent Publishing's 1Night Stand stories are notoriously short, and for Heather Long's Always a Marine series, that's part of what makes the books stand apart from all the other military romances out there. A Marine and a Gentleman is a particular favorite of mine because of the existing dynamic between the two characters. Good friends since high school, our guys have each had a crush on the other and were never able to explore it (or even admit to it!). Their one night stand has heat, heart, and the possibility of a happily every after, even if we only really get to see the happily right now. I also really enjoyed the brief appearance of some of the other couples from the Always a Marine series and references to their stories. Excellent short read that doesn't require you to read the rest of the series!...more
I really enjoyed the first foray into Blackthorn with Blood Shadows and Blood Roses did not disappoint! Caleb is every bit as ruthless, unpredictable,I really enjoyed the first foray into Blackthorn with Blood Shadows and Blood Roses did not disappoint! Caleb is every bit as ruthless, unpredictable, alpha, and manipulative as I'd hoped and Leila had a fighting spirit that made her an excellent match for him. One of my favorite things about Ms. Pryor's writing is how she sets the scene so vividly and masterfully so you feel you're there in the moment without being distracted by lengthy, unnecessary descriptions.
I'd have liked to see a little more of Blackthorn, however, and the conclusion between Leila and Caleb felt a little unfinished, but this storyline is absolutely building up to something monumental and it'll be a ride to get there! If you haven't read Blood Shadows, start there or you won't understand some of the world references and the full depravity of Blackthorn....more
I was really hoping to like this one since I've had such good luck with most of the 1Night Stand series, but this story was fairly disjointed. I didn'I was really hoping to like this one since I've had such good luck with most of the 1Night Stand series, but this story was fairly disjointed. I didn't really get a sense of emotion from the men and their relationship seemed shallow and awkward.
Overall, it was just okay. Not something I'll read again....more
Holy krikes, Batman! I'm gonna keep this short because I'm a little traumatized from finally finishing this book to think coherently. I generally don'Holy krikes, Batman! I'm gonna keep this short because I'm a little traumatized from finally finishing this book to think coherently. I generally don't enjoy urban fantasy and this book is GOOD urban fantasy, even better than The Immortal Rules. Julie Kagawa is a master at painting vivid, gut-wrenching scenes and taking the plot in twists and turns you just can't predict. And if you can predict them, you really hope like hell you're wrong and what you think is going to happen, doesn't.
Loved it. And I'm never reading it again. And I think it shaved a year off my life. And I can't wait for the next one! Hah! Fans of urban fantasy, true urban fantasy, will eat this up!...more
This wasn't supposed to be a review book, just a quick "breather" read between other blog work. A.J. Larrieu, however, apparently had other plans for my past 12 hours when she penned her debut paranormal romance novella Anchored. Angels? Been there. Vamps? Both good and bad, done that! But the way Ms. Larrieu imagined her fictional universe breathes life and energy into a story even further supported by stellar characters with multi-faceted personalities. Little nuances kept me glued to my e-reader for solid chunks of time, as the plot smoothly transitioned from setting-the-scene to action to heart-racing conclusion. There is nothing boring about this novella and I was definitely not ready for it to end! These characters and this story could easily have filled the pages of a full-length novel and kept my rapt attention. Hell, I borrowed the book from the Kindle Prime library and wish I'd bought it outright! Totally worth the purchase.
I don't want to give too much away due to the short length of the book and the fun I had discovering the characters' backgrounds, so I'll just say that the main male protagonist, Jason, made me laugh, shiver, and really wish I had male friends like him, regardless of his former profession! This is not an alpha male, bowl-you-over hero who pushes his way around anything he doesn't get by consent. Jason is an easy-going man with spirit, good humor, some darn handy skills, and a straight-forward attractiveness that is hard to resist. Susannah, our angel heroine is just about everything I like in a strong female lead and nothing that I don't. Willful but not irresponsible, powerful but not abusive or stupid, respectful but not obeisant, and compassionate but not overly emotional If there were really a guardian angel watching over my city, Susannah is exactly the kind of warrior I'd want on the job. Together, they share an effortless bond that feels natural and right.
Kudos to A.J. Larrieu on setting such a high bar for her work on her first published novella. This is a story that should appeal to anyone with an soft spot for angels-doing-good and charming romantic suspense. The love scenes are all about classy heat and simmering connections, and radiate a lovely glow without straying into erotica territory. The action is well-grounded and just descriptive enough to keep you interested without being confusing. I can't wait to see what comes next in this series! Anchored is a GraveTells "must read"!...more
Lover At Last was probably my most anticipated book of 2013 and, in many respects, it did not disappoint! The action scenes (and I mean the fighting action - where was your head there? Hmm?) were seriously intense and absolutely re-read worthy. The characterization of Qhuinn and Blay was spot-on with how they've been built up over the past few books and their energy was damn near explosive. I loved practically every scene they had together, even the ones that were so minor they left me craving more. Man, I seriously love Qhuinn. He's so intense and sometimes scary, but always honorable and loyal with a core of humility that is, well, humbling.
When it comes to the sex, the physicality between Qhuinn and Blay was unlike anything we've seen before from the Black Dagger Brotherhood, raw and completely unbridled. Exactly what you'd expect from these two powerful warriors and their long-unrequited love. Their fights were just as epic, with nastier things said between them than any other couple in the series. Hell, Qhuin and Blay as a couple were more intense all-around than most other pairs in romance in general. And what I love so much about that is that it's completely fitting, considering their rocky relationship and traumatic past.
Layla's story really tugged on the heart strings and brought new dimension and depth to both her and Qhuinn's characters. Speaking of Qhuinn and Layla, we knew they couldn't keep their naughty secret from the Primale forever, and you won't be disappointed with how things go down in that sitch! The WARDen has a knack for occasionally taking some of the scary out of these big, strong, badass males and infusing them with entertaining reality-tv-like drama, so you don't have to worry about missing out on the Brothers and their very memorable antics in Lover At Last!
There were a few things that really snagged on my nerves though, including the persistently annoying Assail story arc; I found it more than a little tiring. Every time things started getting interesting with Qhuinn and Blay (or really, ANY other part of the book), 'BAM!' here comes Asssail with his druggie politics and boring forbidden romance with some chick I really couldn't care less about, whose grandmother made me want to punch a kitten (I adore cats - it takes a lot to make me want to punch a kitten). Xcor's story arc, whom I really disliked when he and the Band of Bastards were first introduced, I didn't mind so much and really started amping up in the last quarter of the book. Trez's story is finally going somewhere as well, giving some spotlight action to the mysterious Shadow brothers.
Don't get me wrong, I do like the way Ward integrates multiple story arcs and the others (Xcor, Trez, the Lessening Society) were appropriately proportionate and fairly engaging, but seeing Assail every other chapter got old, especially since it took a while for his story to get interesting. This is Lover At Last, not Some Other Lover Maybe Sometime In The Future; we have waited YEARS for Qhuinn and Blay to finally get together and I resented the constant switching to this relatively new character so much that I finally just started skimming large portions of his chapters. Maybe that's the root of his name... Assail-ing other people's story arcs and annoying the snot out of those of us reading the book primarily for the long-awaited Qhuay story. *grin*
Lover At Last was so exciting that I had to stop and reread sections multiple times but also so infuriating that I was skipping entire sub-chapters. I will absolutely read this story again, and this time I won't waste my time on the Assail parts. I loved getting to see some pivotal scenes finally come to fruition, moments that have been building for several books (years!!) and these scenes absolutely delivered what the WARDen has been teasing at for so long. On the down side, Now that Qhuay has finally happened, I'm not sure there are any other couples exciting enough, at this point, to catch my interest enough to build up such fevered anticipation again. Has the Black Daggerhood finally hit its peak? The usual vicious politics and brutal fighting abound in this very special installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward, but the star of the story is the long-awaited union between vampire warriors Qhuinn and Blaylock. Lover At Last is a GraveTells Recommended Read!...more
Falling Skies meets Ender's Game, The Legend of Zero is a coming-of-age story in a hostile alien landscape, where every alliance is critical and everyFalling Skies meets Ender's Game, The Legend of Zero is a coming-of-age story in a hostile alien landscape, where every alliance is critical and every mistake might be your last. It is an immersive whirlwind journey through youth, war, political intrigue, the resilient human psyche, and the fragile yet immutable bonds of friendship. It is breathtaking and beautiful, brutal and unforgiving, and I didn't want it to end. I can't wait for the next chapter in this amazing series....more
In the reviews for Beyond Shame, words like "naughty" were tossed around and, after reading books like the Vampire Queen series from Joey W. Hill, theIn the reviews for Beyond Shame, words like "naughty" were tossed around and, after reading books like the Vampire Queen series from Joey W. Hill, the first story in this series didn't quite hit the "naughty" bar for me. That said, Beyond Control was everything I wanted from the first book and more. The intense emotions, the unapologetic violence, the deepening plot, and most of all, the fulfilling of that promise of dominating, hedonistic, voyeuristic menage. It's Sons of Anarchy in a dystopian future, except the women are part of the gang and the money comes from top notch whiskey rather than running guns... with way more sex and way less inhibitions. Dallas O'Kane is the king of sector Four and Lex is his is queen.
Dallas and Lex are outright explosive- emotionally, physically, and sexually- and their plot arc isn't marred by any clumsy, contrived drama or unnecessary filler events. Everything that happens has a reason and furthers the overarching storyline, and does so with signature O'Kane flair.
I loved getting to see Dallas and Lex just be together for a chunk of the book, getting my fill of seeing them both unrestrained, souls bared without excessive unnecessary buildup. If you've read the first book in this series you already know how they smolder, and the building up of sexual and emotional tension between other characters in the gang was both satisfying and, in one case, shockingly appealing (shocking as in "I totally didn't see that coming and should have!" Love it when that happens!). One of the things I enjoy most about this series is how little regard the characters have for race or gender, focusing instead on the pleasure they'll all receive... no macho hetero stereotyping to ruin the moments. Ow ow!
If you love strong women and the alpha males who keep them fighting and coming back for more, who see their ladies as more than just playthings and allow them into their hearts and souls... If you love violence for all the right reasons and vigilante law in a society scraping to survive... If you love seeing characters throw propriety out the window and just DO and BE and FEEL... YOU. MUST. READ. THIS. SERIES!! Start with Beyond Shame and stick with it even if you think it's a little tame. Or, if it completely shames you and you hate that you love it, you're going to be even more shocked and awed by the downright barbarian hedonistic feel of Beyond Control. I SO cannot wait for the next one!...more
I love when I read a book that completely catches me off guard. I bought this book on Amazon during a promo special and thought it'd be worth a listenI love when I read a book that completely catches me off guard. I bought this book on Amazon during a promo special and thought it'd be worth a listen during my commute to work. I finished it in two days and am glad I knew nothing about it going in.
If you're reading this, then that's obviously not your situation, so here are some things to know about this sexy, sensual, heart-gripping romance...
- The hero is a firefighter and, like most firefighters, he lives for it - He's also completely, totally dedicated to his family, even when things aren't going so well between him and his wife. He stays committed and solid, is a hero in the truest sense of the word, and lets himself be heart-breakingly vulnerable. - The sex is kinky but not over the top. The BDSM is well-placed and contributes to the story rather than being the story. - The fireplay scene (which I was not expecting, although in hindsight probably should have), is the hands-down best fireplay scene I have ever read. Not having had the pleasure of witnessing a real life fireplay scene, I have a better understanding now of what is involved than from reading any other book featuring it. It's almost instructional, but not preachy or boring. Very sensual, visual, and it fit the story just right. Kudos to Ms. Cayne on doing her research! - The hero's "Dom" persona does not dominate his character or his relationship with the heroine. It doesn't even dominate the sex except where it needs to. These two have a loving partnership that is not about the dynamics of Master/slave but rather mutual pleasure that draws them closer as a couple.
This is a romance relationship book, straight up. Everything that happens, happens to further the relationship between the characters and, while there is an action scene, it's not gratuitous or over-the-top. Highly recommended read if you have a thing for emotional stories and sexy, vulnerable, firefighter Doms, this is the book for you!...more
Either I haven't read enough romance books with chefs as the heroines or Amy is just the unusual exception, but her therapy of chopping celery to stem her frustration and sexual needs is both unique and a little frightening (I mean, what ELSE would she consider dicing up? *gulp*). If I were this woman's man, I'd be sure to keep her completely satisfied or risk that fancy Mac knife practicing on my sensitive bits. Ms. Cutler sets the stage quickly and efficiently, giving us a glance into Amy Sorentino's frustrating history with cowboys, family drama, and recent professional embarrassment. She then rides straight into a little lets-blow-off-some-steam nookie between Amy and our sexy rancher hero, Kellan.
Let's talk about the sex. Oh, don't be shy - you know you wanna! My initial thought, from their first encounter, was that the love scenes in this book would be too skimpy, short on details and lacking in chemistry. Girlfriend, was I wrong! The detail and intimacy of the sex scenes grows with the relationship between Amy and Kellan in a healthy, organic way. Their chemistry is superb, both tender and passionate, and the romantic moments along the way reflect the intimacy level of their relationship as it develops. I loved Kellan's respectful cowboy ways and his sweet Southern accent, and I could easily picture his sexy Stetson, boots, and tight Wranglers. Kellan is not a glamour cowboy and, aside from a little wardrobe over-exaggeration to fire up his prospective lady's cowboy fetish, he's as honest and true as so many of the lovable Southern men I've known.
Ms. Cutler's style is comfortable and natural, straightforward with a charming Southwestern flair. The dialogue is also authentic, a pitfall for many authors who don't actually live in the unique culture that is "the south". Seriously, I can practically hear the thick accent rolling off the characters' tongues (and not in a cheesy, makes-me-want-to-/faceplam way either), and the landscape is a vista of beauty, with earthy depictions only someone who has lived and loved that environment could understand. There was a scene between the Sorentino sisters that had me laughing out loud, it was so spontaneously fun and refreshing. Each of the Sorentino women has a distinct and vibrant personality and their relationship with each other is genuine and believable, right down to the sibling spats and stalwart support.
This book is really good. It starts off feeling like a cowboy fluff piece and blooms into a heartbreaking saga of love, loss, and the bonds between family, friends, and lovers. The writing is mature and elegantly appropriate and the characters will draw you right into their world of desert vistas and Southwestern charm, where the slower pace of life makes everything that much more rich and enjoyable. I just wanted a quick, smutty read for Cowboy Romance Week and this book completely demolished all my expectations, continually endearing me in to a story that opens up in its own sweet time. Sexy with heart, is what this book is. More please, Ms. Cutler! And I don't want to wait! The Trouble With Cowboys is a GraveTells "must read"!...more
I picked up this book on the recommendation of a book blog I follow then, after reading the reviews, was REALLY excited to get started on it. My overaI picked up this book on the recommendation of a book blog I follow then, after reading the reviews, was REALLY excited to get started on it. My overall impression is that it's a good, sexy romance book, but it's not nearly as naughty as many of the comments had me expecting.
Maybe we just need to define "naughty". Or "wicked". Or "delicious". Is it all of those things? Depends on your perspective. If you're a fan of Joey W. Hill, particularly her over-the-top Vampire Queen series, then no, you probably won't think this story is all that naughty. Sexy and a great read? Oh yeah, but nothing nearly so wicked as what our favorite human servants get up to at every council party. Now if you normally read traditional romance that has little kink or partner switching and sharing, you'll probably find this to be pretty eye-opening, in a very delicious sort of way. The sex, even when shared with other people than the main couple, is still always about the hero and heroine, so I classify this more as romance than erotica. It's just sexy, kinky romance with an edge. It has sort of a soft feel to it, considering some of the things that happen. In other, more visceral stories, we might get to watch our hero slowly beat a man to death with brass knuckles, but Beyond Shame gives us just enough of the violence that we love our heroes for it without feeling eviscerated by the imagery. In a room full of people freely having public sex, an encounter between our main characters feels almost private. Where other stories might give more graphic detail about what exactly is going on in that mass of bodies on the floor, Beyond Shame just glosses over it and gives a sense of the atmosphere. Personally, I wanted more details, but Joey Hill is also more my end of the spectrum. ;-)
The heroine is also a little whiny and the hero overly reluctant. I got pretty frustrated with them by the end, but I recognized why the authors took the story the way they did and respect that. I also felt a little let down that one particular scene (the marking) at the end wasn't included. Hopefully this will be available as either a free excerpt on the authors' site or in another book, because the scene was definitely set!
On the whole I enjoyed this book and am already jonzing for the next one. I love the idea of a gang, complete with their inherent violence and questionable morals, as "the good guys" and the leader of the gang has some serious charisma. I love the "ink" cuffs that all of them wear and how the tattoos really mean something, for life. Definitely recommended if a little kink and steamy is your style!...more
Hmph. GoodReads' ranking system doesn't always mesh with my own. On GraveTells, I would have given this a 4.0 but on GoodReads "Liked it" is a 3, so 3Hmph. GoodReads' ranking system doesn't always mesh with my own. On GraveTells, I would have given this a 4.0 but on GoodReads "Liked it" is a 3, so 3 it is. I'm not even going to try to sum up what this book is about, lest I send you quickly navigating away with a "WTF?" and "Uhhh okaay". After a 24 hour reading binge, I think I'll just leave you to safely read the blurb. ;-)
Fortune's Rising starts out simply enough, featuring two siblings drafted into a worker class of colonists forced to endure filthy and deplorable living and working conditions, and quickly spirals into a mass of twisting plotlines more complex than an AI's biometrics. There is so much story packed into this book, and the plot and character interactions change frequently enough, that I decided early on to stop trying to predict and project (because I was usually wrong; Ms. King doesn't follow predictable patterns of story arc) and just sat back to enjoy the read.
At times edgy and gritty, Fortune's Rising has its share of hidden comedic gems... A female lead ripping up a romance novel with no sex, angry she'd "wasted" two hours on it. A cocky, muscle-bound survivor of a hero who turns out to be a virgin who reads said romance novels for pointers. Sly similarities to Star Wars with references like "Princess" and "Your Majesty".
Ms King really puts her characters through the grinder, with a show-no-mercy style of plot building and setting up sequences of story that make you think "wow, she actually went there" before charging ahead to see what happens next.
Characterization is thorough and believable and, with such a large cast of characters that have constantly shifting and intersecting story arcs, impressively unique. Each time I felt the plot was tapering into predictability or losing my attention, some new character with a completely unexpected purpose would pop up, obliterating my predictions and pulling me back in.
Fortune's Rising is a creative, engaging scifi read that sets the stage for an epic series to follow. If you enjoy straight scifi (meaning little romance and closed door sex, when there is any at all) and are looking for a new series to start, check out Outer Bounds! ...more
Payne is a relatively new character to the series but ever since I saw him protect Chica in book 4 andSexy incubus vamp + saucy witch = holy hotness!
Payne is a relatively new character to the series but ever since I saw him protect Chica in book 4 and we learned he had a dark mysterious secret, I knew he would be a hero to be remembered! Payne and Elissa have some seriously hot chemistry, and his darker side is just as dangerous as he warns her it can be. One of the things I love most about this story is that both characters are willing to dig deeper and cross a few moral lines to protect the other. The entire novella has a feel of impending danger and the sex scenes are smokin' hot. One in particular is so memorable, I still think about it after reading several other books; if you enjoy seeing a sexy, powerful man bound and dominated, you will drool all over this story!
We also get another glimpse into the deterioration of Snow's mental state, priming the anticipation for his story that much more. If you're a VET fan already, this book is a must-read. If you're new to the series, start with Covet so you don't get confused by all the new characters and past story arcs. And carve out some alone time to read this one - you're going to fly right through it and grumble at any interruptions!...more