Guild Hunter novels are always so intense they cause me to lose sleep and stress out about a happy ending. This se...more*** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE! ***
Guild Hunter novels are always so intense they cause me to lose sleep and stress out about a happy ending. This series, folks, is urban fantasy at its finest. Throughout the story, I couldn't get enough of Elena and Raphael and Illium, but I was also thrilled to get to know a few of the other members of The Seven better. Naasir and Aodhan both have significantly larger parts in this book than in any of the previous ones and their character development is superb. I'm already speculating about the relationship between illium and Aodhan, and what the heck is Naasir anyway? It was fab getting to see Honor and Dmitri again (and especially to hear her commentary on his, ah, skills), as well as newly-in-love spymaster Jason.
The action in this book is beyond intense and the last 30 pages just about killed me, my heart was racing so fast the entire time. Ms. Singh really amped up the danger level for ALL the characters in this one and held off on revealing the big development until right at the end. It made me crazy and jittery and glued to the pages! The story also wrapped up nicely after the nearly-traumatic ending, so there's enough time to come down from the ledge and take a safe breath again, get our proverbial feet under us before we have to wait another many months for the next installment. I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible but I will say this...
No matter what it feels like while reading the final chapter of this book, take comfort in knowing that it does NOT have a cliffhanger ending and it is totally worth the ride! I'm both glad it's over and impatiently awaiting the next chapter in this scintillating and addicting universe! Long live the Guild Hunter series!! This series, and Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling world, might as well be the raison d'etre for the urban fantasy genre! Here are some fun quotes to send you off with...
Trying to keep her wings from trailing in the crap, [Elena] took a step inside... and a rat as big as a goddamn cat scurried over her boot. Biting back her instinctive scream, she glared at Ransom - who was very conspicuously not grinning. "You couldn't warn me?" "You're a tough-ass Hunter who gets naked with a freaking archangel, has a miniature flamethrower - which, by the way, you should leave to me in your will - and a crossbow, all within easy reach." His cheeks creased, eyes glinting. Rats quiver at your presence."
Raphael held her gaze. "Eternity would mean nothing without you. For no power on this earth would I trade my Elena."
"Narrow, but we can get in if we angle our bodies." "I'm the Hunter," Elena reminded [Raphael]. "I should go first." "Of course you may go first. When I am dead."
For Real is a sweet New Adult romance told from the perspective of the heroine, set in college and full of shiny 'new relationship' and university-typ...moreFor Real is a sweet New Adult romance told from the perspective of the heroine, set in college and full of shiny 'new relationship' and university-type activities (studying, coffee shops, bowling and parties with friends, etc). If your general reaction to 'new adult' is "eww, sugar shock and no sex!" then know that this story does indeed have sex and the narrative doesn't skimp on the details, although it takes a while to build up to and it isn't gratuitous.
All the characters in For Real are interesting and fun to read about, but I particularly liked Jett (Shannon's "fake boyfriend", whose name is AWESOME!) and his roommate Javier. Jett is a total sweetheart, the kind of guy who is intuitive, well-mannered, just a little geeky, and your parents would adore. Javier is his total opposite but has a good heart, is a loyal friend, and adds a punch of comedic relief.
Overall this is a fun, sweet read, ambling casually through the various stages of Jett and Shannon's relationship to end in a predictable-yet-enjoyable happily ever after. A recommended read for fans of the New Adult genre who don't mind a little more behind-the-scenes details.
The Walking Dead meets Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden (minus the vamps), Strain is a contemporary romance set in a futuristic dystopian world where zomb...moreThe Walking Dead meets Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden (minus the vamps), Strain is a contemporary romance set in a futuristic dystopian world where zombies (revenants) roam freely, terrorizing Earth's final scattered bands of survivors, and super-soldiers called Juggernauts hunt them down and exterminate the infected creatures. The premise for this story could have easily come across as contrived, where all the societal and scientific rules of the universe felt coerced into funneling the characters along a particular path, but everything meshes together realistically and believably. The Jugs are intentionally biologically altered men and women who were originally US Army ground troops; they have infected blood and are the origin of the zombie plague. Their blood also provides immunity to it and the most effective means for passing on that safety net is sexual transmission... by heavy exposure with multiple partners, in an environment where there is little privacy and few luxuries beyond the necessities of survival. When they save Rhys from a close call with a rev, his only choices are to accept death or let them attempt to infect him with the alpha strain of the virus.
Now, based on that, you might be thinking "hey, that sounds a lot like a rape situation", and that is actually something that is addressed in the story, with the Jugs feeling decidedly unenthusiastic about coercing emotionally unwilling partners. What takes this story to the next level is two-fold: 1) The company of soldiers our protagonist, Rhys, finds himself with are all genuinely good-hearted people and do not make a habit of creating new Jugs, neither as a by-product of recreational activities nor for the purposes swelling their ranks with new soldiers. They keep to themselves, do their jobs, and honor the exile from what's left of civilization their volatile blood forces on them when not out sweeping the countryside for revenants. 2) The setup is ideal to highlight the psychological aspects of a D/s relationship dynamic. Rhys agrees to attempt to become one of the Jugs through sexual transmission of the virus but feels shameful when he submits to the gentler men in the company and won't allow himself to enjoy it even though he is admittedly gay. However, when he feels physically overwhelmed by Darius (the company's leader, who quickly discovers this is what he needs), he can let go of his own emotions and trust Darius with all his choices, feeling no shame or demoralization and finally able to enjoy the process of trying to survive.
Normally, I wouldn't give this level of detail in a review because part of the story experience is discovering the nuances for yourself, but this book won't be for everyone and it's important to know what you're getting into before you start. If you do not enjoy reading about physical domination and submission or if multiple sex partners between men in a public venue is not to your taste, or if you absolutely can't deal with the realism behind a post-apocalyptic world infested with zombies, this book is not for you! However, if all of that makes you sit up and take notice, Strain is an excellent read and is both viscerally realistic and emotionally compelling.
Even though this story features a lot of sex, it's not ABOUT sex or even about a D/s lifestyle. It's about fighting for survival and the life-affirming connections you make with the people you trust to have your back. It's about brotherhood and love and making the best out of a hard life, and it is haunting... absolutely beautiful. The emotional depth is so tangible, Strain is both heartwarming and endearingly painful, from vivid adrenaline-packed start to aching, bittersweet ending. Definitely a must read for fans of male/male romance!
Strain is available February 17, 2014. You can pre-order it directly from the publisher here.(less)
I really enjoyed the first foray into Blackthorn with Blood Shadows and Blood Roses did not disappoint! Caleb is every bit as ruthless, unpredictable,...moreI 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.(less)
Taste the Heat is a charming, heartfelt story about old love, unexpected betrayal, and finding yourself through the ashes of a painful past. Colby and...moreTaste the Heat is a charming, heartfelt story about old love, unexpected betrayal, and finding yourself through the ashes of a painful past. Colby and Jason's story is both sweet and alluring, leaving you feeling satisfied and full of hope. He is a great hero - gentle, confident, and courageous - and she is beautifully flawed with a welcoming personality. And Emma, Jason's daughter, is an adorable little tornado of a preteen who very nearly stole the show!
Taste the Heat is a quick and engaging read with emotional depth and a lovely Happy-Ever-After. All the characters are very likable and the New Adult genre keeps the heat rating on this story low, meaning there's nothing explicit or overtly sexually to distract from the flow of the romance. This book is a recommended read! If you're a fan of this genre of books, sweet romance without the bite, you may also like Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman.(less)
I Iike so many things about this book, including but not limited to geek humor, a tall, dark & sexy man who isn't overplayed, a cheating ex who ge...moreI Iike so many things about this book, including but not limited to geek humor, a tall, dark & sexy man who isn't overplayed, a cheating ex who gets his just desserts, a heroine who is likable and imperfect, and an ending that doesn't follow the typical fight-and-make-up protocol, that it's hard to decide what I find MOST charming about it.
The myriad of nerdy references in Love Kinection span nearly every facet of geekery you can imagine... Dr. Who, Star Wars, Joss Whedon, Battlestar Galactica, The Princess Bride, Jensen Ackles & campy horror, D&D, Xbox, Atari, and the list goes on! You can't throw a stick at this story without hitting some sort of pop culture quip. In fact, its *almost* too much. In order to get ALL the references, you would need to be a nerdy supergeek, King of the Nubbies (normal "trendy" geeks that are so much a part of the "mobile" generation); I don't think I know anyone who has such an encyclopedic interest in all things scifi and cult classic that they'd be able to catch every Easter egg (and I'm a proud, card-carrying geek chic!). Even so, it's entertaining and incredibly, delightfully quotable (seriously, I was highlighting quotes on every other page at least, some pages multiple quotes!), a smart read for people not afraid to let their geek flag fly high and proud.
Tom is one of those sexy men who is "alpha" but not controlling, muscled but not ripped, smart but not vain. His character is smooth and instantly likeable. Abby is a firecracker who has been badly betrayed and resultingly now embraces a low self-image. She's quirky and direct and isn't afraid to admit when she doesn't know something.
Ms. James's debut story is sassy, sweet, modern, and more fun than a dinner table full of hobbit-sized dwarves. This is an author ready to burst onto the romantisphere; keep your eye on this one, folks, cuz she's got the chops to be the next big bad... in a good way! /grin
Second star to the right and straight on til morning, Ms. James; your journey has just begun and I can't wait to hitch a ride along with all the wacky, unique voices in your head. Engage!
*** This review covers the entire serial of the Flesh Cartel*** *** To see the whole review, including extra quotes and links to related articles by th...more*** This review covers the entire serial of the Flesh Cartel*** *** To see the whole review, including extra quotes and links to related articles by the authors, find it on GraveTells here: http://goo.gl/0V0ED6
The Flesh Cartel by authors Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau should not be considered a romance. It is a brilliantly crafted work of dramatic fiction about human sex trafficking, based on real psychology and a fairly plausible chain of events. This story is not for everyone, and readers will react to it in a variety of ways. It is brutally honest in the telling, and the resolution at the end of the story is just as compelling as the complete absence of hope throughout its middle. The Flesh Cartel was originally released in the serial format, in nineteen individual novella-length segments over the course of nearly two years. This delivery in itself is brutal, considering how impactful and addicting each “season” is. After reading the first few installments, I knew I’d have to wait ’til the very end to write my final review.
Reviewing a story like this is somewhat of a personal risk, due to its sensational and taboo nature, much like writing it must have been for the authors. You see, a piece of work like The Flesh Cartel addresses some extremely sensitive topics and digs deep into the psyche of the characters. I became so immersed in the story that just about every new chapter had me crying and flinching along with the fresh horrors – some physical and some mental – visited on the Carmichael brothers. What happens to Mat is downright vicious since he is intentionally allowed to keep his self-awareness; it’s important for his spirit to remain unbroken so that he still cares about staying alive when they fight him like a dog and subject him to the most atrocious tortures. Doug’s experience, while more pampered – if you can even call it that – is much more traumatic psychologically, as he is completely mentally reconditioned and nearly irrevocably changed as a person.
I found myself fascinated by the brilliance of the psychological manipulations inflicted on the slaves (particularly the various and subtle ways the brainwashing was seeded and reinforced for different character roles and situations) and even turned on by some of the voyeuristic scenes, and this is where recommending or promoting this story gets dicey. Whether or not someone may like The Flesh Cartel is so personal that I can really only relate my reading experience. Almost everyone has kinks, some mild enough to not actually be considered all that ‘kinky’ by mainstream society, some very extreme and generally deemed socially unacceptable, and many spanning the spectrum between. Some kinks can be linked directly to personal experiences and some simply just are. Society tends to judge things it doesn’t understand or agree with, and The Flesh Cartel is full of – and based upon – taboo topics.
Is this story right for everyone? Absolutely not. Many readers may have trouble getting through the violent and exceptionally abusive nature of the events to see the underlying messages of perseverance, love, hope, family, and respect. Some people will have suffered past personal trauma, and the events in this series will bring it to the fore. Whether that is ultimately healing or hurtful is an individual decision for each reader, but the warning is there. For me this story was a harrowing journey that frightened, disgusted, intrigued, fascinated, aroused, and finally brought a warm feeling of joy to my heart.
The Flesh Cartel is a complete work, more psychologically immersive, raw and risky, than anything else I have ever read. This is the story of just how monstrous the human psyche can become – how well it can bend to justify any and all acts of depravity – and how buoyant the human spirit is, to be able to recover from such a deeply damaging ordeal. Parts of The Flesh Cartel will be very difficult for some readers to get through, and some may elect not to finish it at all. Others may find themselves inexplicably drawn to it, uncomfortably aware of new desires and personal realizations.
Whatever the case may be for you, if you choose to read this story, please go into it with an open mind and the knowledge that it does have a happy ending for all the right people. This book covers some very dark territory but that increased emotional range also allows the authors to connect with readers on a deeper, more visceral level. Fans of Captive In The Dark by C.J. Roberts will probably enjoy The Flesh Cartel; both are about sex trafficking and psychological reprogramming, include a romantic element, and are brutally descriptive in their portrayal of the trade. This might also be a good fit for fans of Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series who enjoyed the rougher elements of the Harvest Association plotline.
The Flesh Cartel is one of the most memorable stories I have ever read and has stuck with me all these months (seriously, all twenty-freaking-two of them!) while i waited for each new chapter to released (and this is why I dislike serials, hah! They make me crazy with the waiting!). There were times when thinking about these characters and the atrocities each new episode visited upon them consumed me to the point of being unable to sleep. Despite the violence and abuse that defines the story – or, perhaps, because of it – I thoroughly enjoyed the read and wish I could start it all over again for the first time. Kudos to authors Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau for being willing to take a risk on writing such a boldly compelling story.(less)
Blaze, a 6'4" flame-haired woman with a mysterious past and a passion for reclaiming our food supply from the clutches of big corporations who care more bout how long a food will last in transit than how healthy it is, buys a lodge in the Alaskan bush hoping to start her own business. With very few choices in knowledgeable, skilled natives to hire, Blaze's pretty much stuck with Jack, whether she likes him or not, even after he reveals his beastly nature. But neither Jack nor Blaze is what they seem, and a whole host of otherworldly problems are about to snow them under. When every choice you make affects whether you live or die, who do you trust? Alaskan Fire is a must-read!
Wereverines aren't exactly your average romantic hero shifters... well, Jack isn't, anyway. This guy, extremely hairy and only around 5'7" in human form, takes one whiff of Blaze and knows she's more than the simple, freakishly tall human she believes she is. He also knows that while he has no plans to hurt Blaze, none of his otherworldly neighbors would feel the same and, like it or not, she's safest... and stuck... with him.
It took me a while to get into this book. Stories set in the bush, even some by my very favorite authors (and by "bush" I'm not limiting that to just Alaska), are just not my thing. On top of that, neither Jack nor Blaze are even remotely your typical romantic hero/heroine pair, and while I appreciate good, creative writing, I generally prefer the more standard characterization. So the first 7% of Alaskan Fire didn't really grab me. It wasn't until Blaze really got into her groove talking about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) that I started getting chills. My first thought was "oh my god, is that for real?!" followed immediately by "must keep reading!" The intensity went from I-can-read-this passively to I-cant-wait-to-see-what-happens-next.
In a story where the physical attributes of the characters are important to the plot arc, it would be easy for the author to drop the ball and let the reader forget how uncomfortably different they are from typical romantic heroes and heroines. Ms. King does a great job of integrating that physicality into the story without over- or under-playing it. In fact, Ms. King never allowed her manuscript to fall victim to any of the pitfalls that commonly plague self-published authors... no head hopping, no tense switching, no repetitive adjective usage or flawed grammar and spelling.
The lore is also unique and we'll developed. Don't let the cover of this book put you off! This is not some half-brained, convenient, created-for-the-story world... it is easily a story in itself, with so many intricacies and diversity, yet without confusing the reader with lack of information or by, conversely, giving too many details. I've never seen an explanation of weres and vampires quite like this and I love it. It makes so much sense! And where else would a bunch of supernaturals who don't want to be discovered live than in the Alaskan wilderness?
The sexual tension between Jack and Blaze is complicated, and I should probably point out (for my fellow PNR smut fans) that this book is predominantly urban fantasy... although, in this case, perhaps we should term it rural fantasy? *grin* The progression of their relationship both made me smile (and laugh, a lot) and irritated me. It seemed to take forever for them to finally get together, but the journey is so worth the wait.
Imaginative, snarky, action-packed, visceral... in a word, Alaskan Fire is entertaining, and more than worth your while to read. This book is so unconventionally compelling you won't be able to keep your eyes off it. Ms. King delivers just about everything you could want out of a good book, with nearly nothing you don't. The writing is sophisticated, the characters are wonderfully complex, and the world takes on a life of its own. I have read books published by the big name houses that have less polish and sophistication than this self-pub. Ms. King takes us on an adventure of hope, dreams, life, love, and the struggle that comes with fighting for what you believe in, and I cannot wait to start the next book in the series!
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Darlin' don't say a word, 'cause I already heard What your body's sayin' to mine
(That song has been in my head since I put this book on my reader! And oh how appropriate it is for the story.) Slow Hand doesn't waste any time diving into the attraction between the characters, and still gives the necessary backstory to make everything believable. The chemistry between Jared and Teri is instant and intense. One of the things I enjoyed most about this story was how creative the love scenes were... not in a 'wow, that's new' sort of way but that Jared doesn't rush into the "good part" like many stories do, and he fully enjoys Teri's body in ways many books don't take the time to explore in the quest for consummation.
I want a man with a slow hand I want a lover with an easy touch I want somebody who will spend some time Not come and go in a heated rush
(There's that song again.) On the other hand, while definitely hot, there were a few things that bothered me about the love scenes. There's a lot of (what I think is) unnecessary talking. Some talking is good, ups the heat level, especially if it's in the right tone of voice and in the right circumstances, but too much takes me out of the scene. The sex language is also a little overly colorful, not quite purple prose but reminiscent of it. People's skin doesn't taste like candy or desserts (unless you rub something like that on it first) and there are some adjectives I just don't want to see in the middle of a sex scene, like 'turgid'.
All that aside, this was a fun quick read with a lot of heart and one very patient and gentle pirate determined to sweep his woman off her expensive designer stilettos. Teri and Jared have such easy and comfortable chemistry, their playfulness is infectious and makes me want to charter a boat sailing the Caribbean right now!
I found a lover with a slow hand A lover with a slow hand And I get all excited with his easy touch I found somebody who will spend the night Not come and go in a heated rush
(Now will this song PLEASE get out of my head?! Is it in your head yet? It's all yours - you can keep it!!)
*This story first appeared in the print edition of Pure Sex in Kensington Books’ Aphrodisia imprint. This version has been revised, updated, and is a little longer than the original.(less)
After exhausting the ten single men in her original cast of vampire warriors (*snicker*), Lara Adrian has dramatically and completely revitalized the Midnight Breed series. In the first three pages, we're already introduced to three new warriors... who are tantalizingly dangled as can't-wait-to-learn-more-about-him potential young heroes... and clued into a wealth of new social and technological developments. With the timeline for this story set twenty years after Darker After Midnight, I'd worried about missing the old characters, but there's clearly a changing of the guard in the MB universe, passing the torch from the originals to their children, and I couldn't be happier about it. The characterization and flow of the new warriors and breedmates is modern and edgy, with just the right dose of the youthful shortcomings that makes the potential for tumultuous young love so appealing. In fact, I'd say the sons of the "Order elders", as the original 10 are now being called, are actually more compelling than their parents and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading about ALL of them! The children of some of the original Order couples are either revealed or hinted at in Edge, some with surprising characteristics, and many just as cocky, handsome, and lethal as their fathers... and as beautiful, head-strong, and graceful as their mothers.
The futuristic setting was well done: not overly sci-fi but also not lacking in creativity. I found disturbingly believable parallels for some of the new technology, such as "Faceboards" that blast passersby with ads based on retina scan recognition software. Talk about taking data mining to the next level. The scary fact is that this type of personally invasive tech could plausibly be in our very near future. *shudder*
We last saw Kellan and Mira as children in Darker After Midnight and, while they had a definite connection then, it was a mere whisper of the raging current of passion flowing between them now. Holy Mother of Hotness, I don't often read a vanilla open-door love scene that manages to be reverent, gentle, feverish, and scorchingly intense all at once. Kellan and Mira have some SERIOUS chemistry!
Oh how I love Kellan! Such a good heart, a strong leader (even if he doesn't let himself acknowledge it) and a compassionate, honorable friend and lover. Alpha? Oh yeah, but not obnoxiously so and not in an overbearing way. Kellan's the kind of guy you follow because he does what's right, what needs to be done, regardless the consequences to himself. He is kind and good while also confidently dangerous and lethally trained.
Mira is also a fantastic heroine. Strong and stubborn without being overly brash or continually making the same mistakes, she's become a hardened warrior since we last saw her and one of only a handful of women given her own Order team to command. Her gift is a tragic one; those who look into her mirror-like eyes see pivotal moments in their own future but each time her Breedmate Sight is used, she loses a little of her own physical vision and is not privy to the secrets her eyes reveal, never knowing whether she's handing someone a death sentence or happy tidings. She also believes Kellan is dead and has been living a shadow of a life in love with a male she will never see again. Fate has certainly not given this pair an easy time of things!
The existence of another otherworldly race was hinted at in Darker After Midnight, and Edge of Dawn fully embraces that new story dimension as Ms. Adrian masterfully keeps us strung out and guessing right to the very end.
This is a series reboot of epic proportions, all Abrams-esque and full of sweet, steamy, action-packed promise. Even better, instead of having to recast the original warriors for her "reboot", Ms. Adrian takes us out for a spin with her brand new cast, complete with sexy alpha bad boys and their talented, alluring females. Bring on the new Dawn!
Rivetting and utterly addicting, Edge of Dawn is the best Midnight Breed novel yet!(less)
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Archangel’s Shadows is set as a filler story on the overarching archangel political plotline of the series but easily stands out as a must-read story in its own right. Fans of the Guild Hunter series will absolutely want to snatch this one up on release day, worthy of putting aside anything else you have in your TBR pile. Readers new to the series looking for a place to start should pick up Angel’s Blood to experience the whole exceptional saga from the very start. One of the most immersive and consistently creative works in urban fantasy, the Guild Hunter series is simply above and beyond anything else in its genre.
The events in this story take place during the period of time just after the battle for New York in Archangel's Legion, and focus on Ash and Janvier's hunt for a supernatural killer. Archangel's Shadows has the feel of the first Guild Hunter book (Angel's Blood), where Elena was the Hunter and her typical prey was of the vamp variety rather than the super-powered archangelic conflicts that have dominated the series since she became an angel. This hunt gives us insight into the previously opaque character of the vampire Naasir and brings out the softer - and more lethal - side of "the Cajun" vampire Janvier. Little moments, deepening relationships between the characters - particularly those who haven't gotten as much page time - are some of the small details that make this series special.
Mmmm, I just ADORE Janvier's voice and the cadence of his speech. I can practically hear True Blood's Bill in my head with each line I read, that slow southern drawl infused with Cajun flair. It's not easy for an author to write such a pronounced accent so well without it coming off as fake or overwhelming, but Ms. Singh delivers with panache. Janvier's dedication to Ash is remarkable and helps him stand out as one of the most endearing men in the series. Layers of easy charm and gracious wit barely contain a core of unwavering focus and a will of steel. The connection he shares with Ash feels so true and organic that I actually miss being their heads now that the book over. I didn't even feel this close to the Archangel's Blade characters during Dmitri and Honor's story, which was one of star-crossed lovers spanning a thousand years. Ash and Janvier are a special couple and her history and character in particular are so much deeper than we have read in other chapters of the Guild Hunter saga.
I also loved getting to learn more about Naasir, the tiger-like vampire member of Raphael's Seven who is a fascinating blend of predatory grace, childlike curiosity, and feral obsession. Of all the characters in the series, particularly the members of the Seven who are still unpaired, it is Naasir whom I see as the least human and most difficult to write a romance for and I cannot wait to read his story!
Archangel's Shadows gives glimpses into the lives of other notable characters in the series, as well as subtle reminders of a few you may have forgotten about - whom I believe still have their own stories yet coming - and leaves readers satisfied yet still wanting more. When it comes to any of author Nalini Singh's works, but particularly with the Guild Hunter series, that's pretty much a given these days.(less)
The first thing that struck me about this story was the strong, brotherly relationship between the male characters and their witty, sarcastic banter a...moreThe first thing that struck me about this story was the strong, brotherly relationship between the male characters and their witty, sarcastic banter at each other's expense; I love the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, humor Ms. Beck works into so many of the conversations.
I also really liked Michael's personality. He's strong and determined but has an emotional softness toward Chloe that is spiced up with a snappy temper and edgy sexuality. She's such a free spirit, and his opposite in just about every way, that watching their spats and squabbles reminded me of real married couples. They just fit, and their relationship felt real right from the start.
Real, and smokin' hot! Major Michael McCade has serious skills. In the bedroom, this man is confident, demanding, and loves to talk dirty, and it's sexy as hell! I liked everything about this book, from the author's writing style to the flow of the plot to the inter-relationships between various characters and the subtle nuances of the main couple's personalities. Can't wait to see more from the McCade brothers!(less)
The connection between Luke and sela is on slow simmer, building naturally throughout the story from a base of mutual attraction and shared history. I love that Luke is a sports photographer and that Sela writes an anonymous advice column. Wedding stories are fun because of all the festivities and atmosphere of excitement, and Kissing the Maid of Honor has that in spades.... complete with a worried, fluttering bride!
Luke has a big soft heart and magnetic personality and Sela is sensitive, caring, and sweet. They are adorably cute together with all their teasing banter. This story is a refreshing, invigorating revitalization of life, taking me away to the coast, where wedding fever fills the air and happily ever after is a guaranteed thing. All the characters are loveable, especially Luke and Sela, and I'd be delighted to see this turned into a series to focus on some of the others.
Kissing the Maid of Honor is a sweet romance with energy and heart. You'll feel the characters' emotions right along with them, through every little self doubt and soaring joy. This story has passionate romance without the sordid details. If you prefer your contemporary romance with closed door love scenes and open, honest emotions, this is the story for you!(less)
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Right from the start, Linger is a pretty easy read, so I didn't expect it to have such a mature view on the BDSM lifestyle. Many of the stories in this subgenre rely on swanky clubs and a rigid set of rules on which to base their content; take the story outside of the club, take away the fancy equipment, take away the unending rules, and the relationship between the characters falls flat. Linger isn't like that. It is a celebration of open Montana skies and a love that can overcome even the most traumatic memories.
Author Lauren Jameson has crafted these characters with layers of confidence, doubt, realistic expectations, and fragile hopes and dreams, so that when they interact, it is on a personal level and always progresses their very organic-feeling connection. The emotion in Linger shimmers just below the surface for most of the book, the manifestation of a heart-rending story just waiting to burst free.
Something else I really enjoyed about the story is the unexpected depth of the characters - both of them. Logan is truly an alpha male, a former soldier-turned-veterinarian who only submits in the bedroom. Scarlett is a newly minted Domme who understands that all people have different needs and it's her job give her sub what he needs rather than what he stubbornly insists he wants, even when that delivery is emotionally or physically painful for her. She's commanding without being a bitch and calmly holds control without seeming overbearing. The perfect combination.
Linger may not be glossy and posh and sophisticated, but it has a whole lotta heart. I believe even readers who aren't into BDSM can get lost in this couple; incorporating kink into your everyday routine is as unique and individual as the people practicing it, and those with an affinity towards the lifestyle should enjoy the nuances of the connection between Logan and Scarlett.(less)
Payne is a relatively new character to the series but ever since I saw him protect Chica in book 4 and...moreSexy 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!(less)
Review coming soon on GraveTells! I'll post the full review here a few weeks after that.
This second story in the Amoveo Legend (wasn't it "Legacy" be...moreReview coming soon on GraveTells! I'll post the full review here a few weeks after that.
This second story in the Amoveo Legend (wasn't it "Legacy" before?) is even better than the first. I loved Dante in Untouched and I also really liked Kerry - those two nearly stole the show from Sam and Malcolm in their own novel, and that was before they knew each other!
Untouched is as sensitive and instantly likeable as Kerry, and as fierce and intuitive as Dante. It draws the reader in, moving along quickly with some characters you seem to keep wanting more and more of, and some characters you just can't quite figure out. The plot is an extension of the Purist-Hybrid conflict of Untouched, but expands on that and lays down a solid foundation for expanding further into the series. Ms. Humphreys also drops new clues and information about the lore and world of the Amoveo, and ties up the ending nicely while also leaving herself plenty of room to play.
Poor Steven. Something tells me his story is next, and he's not going to be a happy coyote when we see him again. *grin*(less)
Jase Kayrs, the youngest and most care-free brother of the vampire nation's ruling family, has been a captive of the demon army for four years now, and a pacifist, eco-loving Demon Destroyer is his only hope of rescue. Now there's a tough predicament for a vampire wanting to use her as a weapon... unless that vampire is Kane Kayrs, and the logical solution is a union that will result in Kane inheriting his mate's abilities. He'd be able to do the fighting himself and share his empathic abilities with a woman who can use every shred of help defending her brain from the demons hellbent on annihilating it. But marriage and life-long mates should be based in love and happily ever after, or so Amber says, and she is strong and stubborn enough to stand up for what she believes in against even the most brilliant Kayrs brother.
The Kayrs men are large and in charge, domineering, and genius scientist Kane is no exception. Instead of using his brain as an excuse to be less involved in his romantic overtures, he taps that vast supply of knowledge & intuition and turns it into sheer, dominating pleasure... and I do mean DOMINATING! I thought Conn was hot in Hunted (and he was, don't get me wrong! *fans self*), but Kane is memorable enough that I am still thinking about him 2 weeks and half a dozen books later. Kane Kayrs is an incredibly dedicated lover, and his combination of meticulous attention to detail and raw force of personality makes for some smokin' scenes between him and Amber.
I absolutely loved Hunted (#3 in the series - it won our Book of the Month award in May 2012), but I think what sets Provoked above even that high standard is the integration of Jase Kayrs' storyline. Jase has a rough time in this book. Four years of mental and physical torture in demon captivity have stolen nearly all his strength and fighting spirit. Even if he does survive, who will he become? The scenes where the Kayrs brothers are dealing with Jase's situation are emotionally powerful, and exactly what the series needed to amp up the intensity as it moves into the final stages of the demon conflict.
How Ms. Zanetti functions with all these uber sexy, domineering, hot hot HOT men in her head, I have no idea - I'd be a quivering mess of "yes, please, and thank you" just about all the time! Hah! If you haven't started reading the Dark Protectors series, what are you waiting for? Go go go!!
PS - Amber names her pets after Star Trek characters. Who can resist a heroine like that?!
Hunted was my first trip through the Dark Protectors universe (book #3 in the series) and I fell in love with Conn, Moira, and all the Kayrs brothers. Consumed was an excellent followup and gave us a glimpse into the leadership of the shifter nation, allies of the vampires. Now with Provoked, the storyline has moved from isolated conflicts and ground-building side plots to a full-on sprint into what is sure to be an explosive next few books. If you have never read a book in this series, now is the time to start, so you can get caught up in the release madness of Ms. Zanetti's brilliantly addicting storytelling and world-weaving! This is not a book or series to be missed and is a new GraveTells Fave!(less)
One growly buff elf prince, a tenacious and intelligent leading lady, a grumbly-but-loyal second in command elf wa...more*** This review is spoiler-free! ***
One growly buff elf prince, a tenacious and intelligent leading lady, a grumbly-but-loyal second in command elf warrior, and a fearless, cocky, and beautiful human Hunter...
Mix in a healthy helping of sexy love scenes, a comedy of errors whilst our mating-crazy elf prince tries to scare off every other male within sight of his female, and a bond that neither wanted but both are helpless to resist, and we've got the makings of an exciting new series from Felicity Heaton.
Overall, I enjoyed Kissed By A Dark Prince, but the first half of the story had some pacing issues for me. My biggest complaint was all the introspection the main characters individually indulge in about trying to get out of their fated mating. It became a little tiresome to see them mentally rehashing the same thoughts over and over and was a relief when the plot finally turned. That said, the chemistry between Loren and Olivia is excellent and I really liked their personalities. I also really enjoyed the entire cast of secondary characters and am already looking forward to how the next story will play out.
I absolutely loved the characterization of the almost living armor the elves wear. The way it works is just a fab idea and having it so integral to their persons gave the story a needed extra oomph. Because their armor is always on them in some form, it would be easy to lose track of it in the little character movements and dialogue of a scene, but Ms. Heaton did an excellent job of keeping up with how it's positioned and incorporating the elves' intentional uses of the armor so that it feels organic and natural.
If you are a fan of Ms. Heaton's Vampire Erotic Theater series and were drawn to the darkness and difficult path set out for Snow, you are going to love Vail. I won't say much, to avoid spoilers, but this guy has an even harder path to walk than poor Snow and should make for some exciting storylines!(less)
I absolutely loved this book, and I don't give a real full 5 stars easily (sometimes 5 stars really means 4.5 based on my GraveTells reviews). It is t...moreI absolutely loved this book, and I don't give a real full 5 stars easily (sometimes 5 stars really means 4.5 based on my GraveTells reviews). It is the WHOLE PACKAGE!
Heart-warming, emotionally devastating - do not read this without a box of tissues nearby, and yes, you still get your HEA. In spades! Perfect holiday read and I loved the not-so-in-your-face environmental spin.
I'm torn on how to review this book. On the one hand, I ultimately liked it and would possibly be interested in reading the next in the series. On the...moreI'm torn on how to review this book. On the one hand, I ultimately liked it and would possibly be interested in reading the next in the series. On the other, I feel a little cheated by the content of over half the story. The title and cover of this book are misleading. This story is told in first person from the heroine's point of view and the rock star Gavin has very little involvement, other than some emailing and chatting online, in the first half of the plot arc. She's in his space (house-sitting), and does occasionally communicate with him (and has developed a massive crush on him from afar), but the story is primarily about her rather than him and it's told from her personal perspective. It's not very "rock star" at all, which is what appealed to me. It's more new-city-adventures and growing-up-experimentation rather than the highs and lows of being around a rock band.
That said, once they finally meet in person, the pace picks up significantly and I had a hard time putting it down. Because they were able to meet and develop their relationship organically over time and completely online, the chemistry and friendship between the couple is strong and believable. That part of the story I really enjoyed and I feel like maybe I just endured the rest of it to get to the point where they finally actually see each other.
I need to really connect with (or be entertained by) the personality of a character in order to really enjoy living in their head in first-present perspective, especially with heroines. Beryl was interesting but I didn't find her fascinating and I had to force myself not to put the book away during the first half. A story about some chick's domestic and professional troubles as she navigates the big bad city is really just not my thing. Smut and romance, that's what I want! Tattoo Thief does have that, but it's not the focus and it takes a while to get there. Overall, I recommend this book if you typically enjoy female voice first-person present-tense storytelling and don't mind that the "rock star" aspect is secondary to the heroine's daily life. (less)
One of my favorite aspects of the story, aside from the smoldering sexual chemistry between Steffania and Ramsey, is that it's edgy. Bad things someti...moreOne of my favorite aspects of the story, aside from the smoldering sexual chemistry between Steffania and Ramsey, is that it's edgy. Bad things sometimes happen to the characters and it gives the story weight amidst all the sinfully sexy encounters... not irreparably bad and the hero and heroine always recover, but other characters aren't always so lucky and this is a nice counterbalance to the romantic thread. Plus, you can't have a gladiator book based around D/s sex without some violence and cruelty... and without some good ole gratuitous smut!
The setting of Hers To Cherish is a planet called Vxloncia that closely mimics ancient Rome, from gladiators and slaves to opulent wealth and architectural splendor. Ramsey's title on Vxloncia is Dominus and oh how appropriate that really is. The man is a natural at both physical combat and sexual domination, and exudes confidence all the time. His skill with Shibari rope bondage is tantalizing and brings a whole new aspect to the story. These encounters between him and Steffania are intensely engaging and exciting beyond your typical romance scenes.
Hers to Cherish is achingly sensual and features some exciting action and combat. It can be read as a standalone, so you don't need to read the previous books in the series if you want to start here. Recommended read!(less)
Tessa Bailey novels always start off with this very special resonating, almost tangible chemistry between the main couple and, while Staking His Claim is (sadly) the finale of the series, it definitely follows the tradition of excellence (and over-the-top sexual tension) set by the previous four books.
Where Daniel was playful and charming and Brent was outrageous and hilarious, Matt is intense and focused. He is a man with serious needs, caged by personal demons and keeping up constant emotional shields. That stone wall around his heart is protecting a very vulnerable core of honor and goodness, and it just about broke my heart. This man is a natural dominant and craves serious submission from a woman… craves it in a very real and physical way, like an addict. I usually prefer the dominant types who tend more toward overwhelming force of personality rather than straight up controlling, but Matt is a good blend of both and is incredibly hot… hot with a capital O-M-G.
He is downright diabolical with some of his sensual punishments and Ms. Bailey’s creativity and ability to build in layers of character nuance is impressive. I hesitate to compare any book to Fifty Shades these days, with so much anti-Grey sentiment going around, but if you like that sort of hero – a man with an unrelenting aura of presence and easy authority who feels compelled to take absolute sexual control of his partner, and knows damn well how to make her fly – Matt is going to take your breath away and make you tingly all the way to your toes. That said, even if you hated Fifty, give this book a chance because where Christian proudly obliterated that line between protector and dictator, Matt strikes just the right balance to leave you understanding his pain yet trusting that he’s mature and confident enough to ultimately make the right choices about his relationship with Lucy.
Lucy is no shrinking violet either, a woman with a free spirit and a giving soul who badly wants to be accepted as a responsible, dependable adult. She has such strength of character and still submits to Matt so naturally, they are practically made for each other. Add in the family drama of her being Brent’s little sister and Matt being his best friend, and Staking His Claim is one hell of a ride.
To borrow a sentiment from the book, holy hell, I so did not want this story to end! I loved the whole thing, from the first word to the very last (I even read all the Acknowledgements!) and I really hope Ms. Bailey writes us a short story about the triple wedding in the couples’ future. *hint hint* Pretty please? *wink*(less)
Blaze hits the ground running with fiery tension between ex-lovers & firefighter teammates Kiera O'Shay and Luke Ransom, and a riveting action sequence that introduces more questions than it answers. Watching Kiera and Luke interact is like being around a passionate married couple who can't decide whether they'd rather kill each other or, well, you know; they have major chemistry right from the start. I absolutely loved their banter! Their snarky verbal battles were just as entertaining as the action and adventure, and are just about as consistent throughout the story too... which I really enjoyed. I actually started looking forward to watching them fight!
Kiera O'Shay is a badass, and not the overconfident, leather-wearing, sword-toting kind with an attitude bigger than the Goodyear Blimp. No, our Kiera is a firecracker of a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it, before going after it like a guided missile. She's a smart, take-no-shit, expert markswoman with a shattered heart and traumatic childhood enfortressed behind a wall of emotional steel, packed muscles, and intense S.W.A.T. training, and the only one who can get past that shell is ATF agent and fire cop Luke Ransom.
The most confident man Kiera O'Shay has ever met, Luke is all charisma and wit, a capable agent with a big bad side of get-with-the-program-or-get-the-hell-out-of-my-way. Underneath all that swagger, though, is a man who has never gotten over the love of his life and is willing to give up just about anything to see her safe and happy... even if it means living the rest of his life in misery.
You haven't seen longing and unrequited love until you've seen Luke and Kiera together, sarcastically bantering as if their lives depend on it and fighting their own primal urges to jump each other every other second. Why not just give in and go for it, you might ask? Bad breakups and volatile personalities have a way of leaving you skittish, and these two have hurt each other more than anyone else ever could have. Theirs is a story begging to be told, one expertly crafted from action, intrigue, supernatural science, and some of the most enthralling sexual tension I've ever read. This book is absolutely aptly named; the passion between Luke and Kiera blazes high and sparks fly hard. That man has a soft heart for his woman, but when he gets in the mood, the dominant comes out to play and we get to see Kiera let go and give over control. Sexy, sexy, sexy!
Mitch Foster was introduced in Fever as heroine Alyssa Foster's brother and lawyer extraordinaire. A sharp-witted playboy shark of a criminal defender with unquestionably questionable morals and an admirable streak of loyalty to his friends and family, it was made crystal clear in Blaze's prequel that you never want to earn the ire of this man. In this story, we get a deeper sense of just how connected he is... so much so, that it really makes you wonder just what depth of trouble the delectably sexy Mitch Foster has his fingers in, and when it's going to come back to bite him in the ass. I'm sure his day is coming, and that will be a story to read!
And Cash... I freaking love Cash! He's a brand new character introduced in Blaze, with family connections to Kiera, and I cannot wait to read more about him! Genius, cocky, confident, and daring, he's a hell of a character.
Joan Swan writes action like you're right there in the thick of it; pinging bullets, whooshes of fire, the near-tranquil state of severe injury are all masterfully translated through undeniably talented and creative writing. She doesn't fall prey to technical bad habits like repeated patterns of verbage, and her sentence structure is never boring or predictable. Reading a Joan Swan novel is like living a non-stop, danger-filled, trek through heartfelt friendships and off-the-rails sensual chemistry.
Aaahh, this book was SO GOOD! I did not want it to end! Every character is unique and compelling and every plot twist keeps the story, and series, fresh and addicting. How often do you read a book that wraps up the storyline but still has you jonzing for the next installment without forcing a cliffhanger down your throat, that makes your chest squeeze with every tortured glance and longing touch, whose action scenes make you feel like you just stepped into a Hollywood blockbuster movie? This is why Joan Swan is a master of her craft and why Blaze is a GraveTells Fave and the recipient of our extremely rare, perfect-rating Golden Heart award!
*** Review copy provided by Kensington & Joan Swan. No compensation was received for this review and all stated opinions are true and unbiased.(less)
Bad Cop completely surpassed my expectations. I had a hard time getting into the first quarter on the book (politics and posturing, which just doesn't...moreBad Cop completely surpassed my expectations. I had a hard time getting into the first quarter on the book (politics and posturing, which just doesn't keep me engaged in any kind of fiction), but once the pace picked up it was nearly nonstop. There are so many little things to love about this story that take it from "good" to "great". Offhand remarks that become inside jokes for Ian and Alice, the manly-yet-deep bond between Ian and Dec that is all kinds of sarcastic fun, subtle layering of additional background info on the vampire caste system and their abilities, the believable progression on the part of both main characters that navigates two seemingly polar opposite paths... the list goes on.
One of the things I loved most about the story though was the gentle intensity of the growing bond been Ian and Alice. It was sweet, charming, and sexy, and those two have some serious chemistry in the bedroom (and against the door, and in the middle of the street... hah!). I also liked that while Ian is undoubtedly an alpha male type, he treats Alice with the utmost respect and care. And Alice might consider herself "just a secretary" but this chick has smarts, courage, and backbone and she's not afraid to use 'em against even the big bad vampires.
Bad Mouth, the first book in this series, was good and a solid debut novel for author Angela McCallister, but Bad Cop takes this series to a whole new level. I really want to keep reading about these guys- all of them, even the humans- and can't wait to see how the looming inter-caste hostility escalates. Angela McCallister has a special talent for bringing the readers right into the heart of the characters and she's only just getting started!(less)
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"!(less)
With this 8th and final installment in the Feral Warriors series from Pamela Palmer, the epic battle between the last remaining Therian shifters prote...moreWith this 8th and final installment in the Feral Warriors series from Pamela Palmer, the epic battle between the last remaining Therian shifters protecting our world and the Daemon-possessed Mage trying to destroy it finally comes to a heart-pounding, action-packed, and all-around satisfying conclusion.
Where many of the previous books in the series ended on a cliffhanger, leaving the Ferals and their Radiant in some sort of distressing peril, the events that unfold in Wulfe Untamed finally give the warriors their chance to earn a happy ending. There is much revenge to be had and even a little unexpected, heart-warming redemption!
Wulfe has always been understated and a little haunted, the kind of guy with a quiet inner strength who carries the weight of past sins on his shoulders... and, in Wulfe's case, on his face. Natalie was introduced as his love interest a few books back and their connection is sweet and deep. I love that his scars not only don't disgust her, she sees them as badges of honor and proof of his good heart. And YES, we finally get to learn just how he came by those scars and what his Daemon heritage really means. The epilogue was adorable and sweet, the perfect way to tie off the prevailing Therian-Mage-Daemon story arc. If you're a fan of the Feral Warriors series, you absolutely must read Wulfe's story! If you're new to the series, start with book one - Desire Untamed - so you won't feel overwhelmed by names and events and lore.
Wulfe Untamed is a satisfying and worthy end to a fantastic (and one of my personal favorite) series in paranormal romance! This happily every after has been a long time in the making, and the shifters and their mates have more than earned a little downtime. There are some open story threads that Ms. Palmer doesn't address, but they're minor and may possibly be the basis for a spin-off Ferals world series. For more info on the Feral Warrior stories and what may be in the pipeline for them, check out Ms. Palmer's FAQ here: http://www.pamelapalmer.net/faq.php?v...
What starts out as a hedonistic story about an American ex-military rentboy, his British boss, and his kinky "captures" on the paintball field quickly...moreWhat starts out as a hedonistic story about an American ex-military rentboy, his British boss, and his kinky "captures" on the paintball field quickly transcends 'predictably exciting' and 'traditionally sexy' and barrels straight into tackling serious issues with sobering consequences and heart-wrenching emotional highs and lows. I was already a fan of the Market Garden series before starting this book, but Capture and Surrender completely blew me away. Not only did the authors develop two fairly untouched characters (one is completely new) from the series and incorporate the storyline beautifully into the events of other chapters in Market Garden, they took on a difficult subject and presented it logically and with heart. You can read this as a standalone with no ill effects on your potential enjoyment of other stories in the series (even those that came before), so whether or not you're new to the rent boys of Market Garden, you should absolutely run over to Riptide Publishing and snag this incredible story. Highly recommended for people who enjoy red hot m/m romance with a side of D/s and a heavy shot of reality.(less)
Alice in Zombieland is riveting and addicting... from the very first sentence. Ali loses her family to a zombie attack in the beginning of the book; that's no spoiler, she mourns about it in the prologue. What completely blindsided me, however, was how deep and intense her grief was and how much it affected me. Here I am sniffling and tearing up on the train on my commute home, barely 10 minutes after picking up the book! I probably looked as funny as the lady across from me who was talking to herself.
Ali's friend Kat is a veritable whirlwind, a tornado of peppy energy and urban slang of her own creation. Just listening to her talk makes me feel exhausted, but she is so vibrant and engaging, she really shines out of the pages. Ali's first friend after the accident, Kat manages to weave her way into just about all of Ali's personal business... meaning we get to see a lot of her. She's a freaking force of nature, and hella fun.
On to Cole Holland, the mysterious bad boy of the school who is both a fearsome leader and a classic gentleman. His periodic scrapes and bruises, thunderous scowls, and devilishly handsome serial killer face make him a force to be reckoned with... or persistently avoided... and he somehow has a strange otherworldly connection to our Alice, transporting them off into dreamland whenever they see each other every morning.
Of course, you can't talk about Alice in Zombieland without a huge nod to our fearless heroine, Alice aka Ali. Quirky and driven, Ali has a spine of steel and a heart of gold. She's self-sufficient and more than a little skilled as a fighter, and her guilt over her family and friends' deaths keeps her determination rigidly focused on ridding the world of zombies. Not every author can pull off believable (and enjoyable) modern teenage slang (Ali & co.) while also humorously bastardizing it into something my grandparents might try to use to talk on a teenager's level. It helps give the characterization, which is already brilliant, depth and engaging humor.
This might be a young adult book, but the sexual tension between Ali and Cole is palpable and electric, and the scenes are blazing with chemistry even though its all relatively tame. I found myself pushing on just for another taste of that addictive connection between them, not even considering the expert writing skills Ms. Showalter brings to all her work. This is a book every lover of PNR and YA will want to read... and even some who have turned up their noses at the genre. Alice in Zombieland is just good ole monster-slaying fun!
These zombies are not your typical brain-eating, slow-moving, grunting and stupid automatons with a shuffling gait. They are scary, fast, and feel frighteningly real. I'm not a zombie kind of gal. I don't like horror, gore, or things that go bump in the night. I find rotting flesh and nomming brains way more disgusting than entertaining, and I like my action books dosed with a healthy heaping of steamy, sweaty naughtiness. Based on all that, you'd think Alice in Zombieland is definitely not my kind of story, but this book is GOOD! With very little sexual content, Alice and Cole steam up the pages (can I have my own Cole? Pretty please?), and even the down and dirty zombie scenes had me wanting more, more, more!
If you like paranormal romance and urban fantasy and only read 5 books this year, Gena Showalter's Alice in Zombieland should be on that list! In a genre where 'original' is quickly giving way to 'same old regurgitated plot', AiZ is fresh and unique, and a GraveTells "must read"!(less)
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 every...moreFalling 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.(less)
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"!(less)