Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: AvonThis is a Quickie Review. For the Full Review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Author’s Website: http://www.oliviaparker.net/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Devine & Friends Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
**Reviewer's Note** The version of the book that I received was an Uncorrected Advanced Reader Copy, and therefore some issues may have been resolved by the time of final printing.
When I first started reading this book, I knew that the author, Olivia Parker, sounded familiar, but I couldn't really place her. It wasn't until I was preparing the information for this review that I realized that she's the author of one of my favorite light-hearted historical romances, At the Bride Hunt Ball, which is a delightful historical version of The Bachelor.
This is technically Book 3 in the series of interconnected characters, with both At the Bride Hunt Ball and To Wed a Wicked Earl having taken place previously, but it works very well as a standalone.
Lady Rosalind is a romantic at heart, and has rather made a reputation for herself as a successful matchmaker amongst the ton. While her brother Gabriel is away on his wedding trip with his new wife, he knows better than to leave his sister unattended, so he asks his friend, Nicholas, to watch over and protect her while he's away. The catch, of course, is that he doesn't want Rosalind to be aware of the identity of her guardian, as he knows she will simply try to find away to subvert his protection if she figures out his identity.
Nicholas has known Rosalind (and her family) for years, and agrees to both the secrecy and the protection in order to repay a debt of honor to Gabriel -- and because he can't seem to stay away from Rosalind no matter how hard he may try.
Overall, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wasn't completely blown away. I can't quite put my finger on what the issue was, but if I had to say something, it would be that perhaps the tone changed too often. One moment it was funny and light-hearted, then the next it was darker and more serious, and then the next it was sexy beyond belief, only to be thrown back into being frivolous and light again.
Despite that, I loved the characters, and especially enjoyed the torture of silent, unrequited love on Rosalind's side. Both Rosalind and Nicholas managed to lead each other on quite the merry chase, and in the end, they truly were perfect for each other.
I admit, as well, that I am greatly looking forward to Tristan's book, which is up next. Fans of the series will recognize him as the "bachelor" from the first novel, and should enjoy seeing him finally get leg-shackled and smacked upside the head with love.
Two things that I should probably start my review with in the interest of full disclosure: First, I'm a total Kristen Painter fangirl, and second, thaTwo things that I should probably start my review with in the interest of full disclosure: First, I'm a total Kristen Painter fangirl, and second, that I received this ARC at no cost to me from the author herself.
Now that that's out of the way, I get to gush about the story ;)
Pandora Bramble is a bit of a wallflower. With her "average" looks (in her mind, at least)and above-average intelligence (and skill with mechanics), coupled with the fact that her best friend is an über-gorgeous flirt with a sizable dowry to match, she always finds herself being ignored by the men she encounters. This suits her just fine, however, because while she has no true desire to die a spinster working in her father's shop, she feels as though she'd have to give up everything that matters to her in order to make a "suitable" match.
Pandora's father is a brilliant inventor whose prize design was stolen years ago by the Company. Her mother ran off when she was young to be the mistress to a rich merchant, leaving Pandora and her father to fend for themselves, and in the end, all this translates to Pandora taking care of her alcoholic, debt-ridden gambler of a father and running his shop almost entirely on her own. It also deeply affects Pandora's feelings of self-worth and her view of herself.
Captain Theolonius Hatch is a Company man through and through, who is tired of vapid women who are mainly attracted to his uniform. He finds Pandora's intelligence incredibly refreshing, even if he does tend to underestimate her in the beginning because of her gender, and sees beyond the plain dresses and no-nonsense manner to see the captivating, intelligent woman that she is.
What worked for me: * Y'all all know I'm a sucker for an intelligent heroine :) Pandora is more at home in an engine room than a ballroom, and is often under-appreciated and underestimated simply because she is a woman.
* The angst is lovely, since Pandora's on a "secret mission" of sorts, and yet finds herself falling for the very man she knows she must betray to save her family.
* I also thoroughly enjoyed how despite her low self-esteem, our handsome Captain Hatch feels he is not good enough for her and is insecure as to how to secure her affections without scaring her off :D
* I liked the chemistry between the H/h and even though the sensuality level was relatively low compared to a lot of romance novels (and the only real "love scene" being fade-to-black), their romance and the rapid progression of their relationship felt real.
What didn't work for me: * I admit, this seemed more of a straightforward historical/regency romance than a steampunk. The Leviathan could've easily been a regular sea ship rather than an airship, and the marquees and sentinels and gadgetry in Pandora's shop seemed more set dressing than a part of deeper world-building. Kristen Painter is a master at world-building (as evidenced in Heart Of Fire), so don't for a second think that this is due to anything more than the constraints set by the length of the story -- in a novella there simply isn't time to dwell on all the minute details that make up any sort of fantasy world, be it steampunk or the realm of the fae. Unfortunately, I think this might turn off some fans who pick this up solely for the steampunk aspect, as I almost feel as though we were barely dipping our toes into the world around them, and a lot of the steampunk aspects ended up as mainly garnish rather than an intricate part of the plot.
* Again due to the length, the romance aspect seemed a tiny bit rushed. This is a really minor point for me, because I personally adore "Love At First Sight" stories (especially when there's a twist of fate that comes between the lovers, such as the Company's theft of Mr. Bramble's valve and Pandora's subsequent mission to prove their theft and restore her family's wealth). I only mention it because I know some readers can be put off by a true whirlwind courtship (though, honestly, how many novellas do you read where they're not at least a tiny bit of a whirlwind lol Nature of the beast I think).
Overall, I was quite pleased with this story. It was angsty enough to be entertaining without being depressing, and watching Pandora flourish under Theo's attentions was quite enjoyable :)
Kristen Painter is hands down one of my favorite indie authors, and really folks, when even a Big Mac runs around $3 these days, you should skip the fast food and buy yourself several hours of enjoyment in this sweet romance instead (and save yourself some indigestion to boot lol)
Expected Release Date: April 25, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group ImpriThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 25, 2011 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Imprint: Grand Central Publishing Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, The League Series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
When I saw that Netgalley had a copy of Born of Shadows up for grab, I literally squeed. Loudly :D
I’ve read almost all of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s novels, and I’m a huge fangirl. While that doesn’t make me blind to the faults of the novel, I wasn’t disappointed.
Born of Shadows is classic Kenyon. Both Caillen and Desideria had pretty lousy childhoods, and both have been betrayed over and over during their lives, making it hard for them to trust anyone.
Caillen has been a favorite of mine ever since he was introduced into the series. Unashamedly a thief and a smuggler who lives by the seat of his pants, Caillen has always appealed to the Hans Solo fan in me. He’s a rogue and a scoundrel, and an unrepentant womanizer to boot, yet he’s also incredibly intelligent and resourceful, and intensely loyal to those few that he counts as family.
Desideria is a warrior princess from a matriarchal world where every honor must be earned, including that of being recognized as an adult. At 26 years old, she’s still completely innocent as far as interactions with the opposite sex, since in her culture, a female must have earned her adult status and have proved herself for a year before being allowed to fight for a consort. Thankfully, however, she didn’t come across as one of those ignorant virgins who freaks out at the slightest hint of physical desire, so there was none of that “OMG what’s happening?!” reaction to any of Caillen’s touches, which was refreshing.
While I do think that new readers would benefit from reading the entire League series before nabbing Born of Shadows, it’s been long enough since I’ve read the last one that I feel confident that those unfamiliar with the series wouldn’t be completely lost. As a previous reader, it was nice to get a few snippets of some of my favorite past characters, including Syn and Nykerian as well as Caillen’s sisters.
There were one or two instances where I was forced to pause for a moment and re-read as I had forgotten that certain technology existed in this world (such as teleporting), so that sort of thing may be a slight jolt for new readers as well. Overall, I have to say I think it would work fine as a standalone, though as with any series, it is important to read all of the novels to fully appreciate all of the characters and their relationships.
Despite my disappointment with some of the plot twists, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Crappy childhoods, messed-up families, loads of backstabbing, tons of chemistry and plenty of twists make this a story that should appeal to any Kenyon fan. 4/5 Stars ...more
Expected Release Date: July 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand CenThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author's Website: http://www.vickydreiling.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2 Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Lady Julianne Gatewick has always harbored a tendre for her brother's best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield. When he's asked by her brother to be her guardian for the season, and then whisks her around the ballroom in a borderline scandalous waltz, she's ecstatic -- that is, until he informs everyone within earshot that she's like a sister to him and therefor in no danger.
Heartbroken and humiliated, she turns to her friends and her (rather wild) aunt and after a few tears and a lot of advice, she decides to write a pamphlet for other women in her situation to give advice on how to even a social playing field where women are expected to be chaste and charming and marry very young, while men are expected to be rakes and wait until the last possible minute to fall into the parson's mousetrap. Called "The Secrets of Seduction", her anonymously penned pamphlet creates a storm of scandal among the ton, and soon everyone is trying to discover her identity, including Marc. Fed up with Marc's admonishments to avoid other rakes, and determined to finally make him see her as a woman rather than an annoying little sister, she asks Marc to teach her the tricks that rakes use for seduction, so that she will be better equipped to recognize and avoid them in others in the future. Little does she know that Marc has been doing everything in his power to avoid his attraction to Julianne, and when you play with fire, you just might get burned...
Overall, this was quite enjoyable. While quite different from the first book in the series, Ms. Dreiling's voice as a writer remains as strong as ever, so that the angst and chemistry between our hero and heroine is everything we've come to expect.
The beautiful pain that Julianne's unrequited love of Marc brings was absolutely wonderful, and the forbidden aspect of their relationship just added to the fun.
Recommended for fans of childhood friends secretly pining for each other, of heroes with pasts so scandalous that they avoid love altogether, and of discovering that together, anything can be overcome.
What worked for me: *The worldbuilding is simply breathtaking; it's so beautifully descriptive without making the story feel bogged down. There's a certain earthiness to her writing that engages all of your senses while reading. *The sensuality was amazing. It was incredibly sensual, sexy, and erotic, without being vulgar. At one point in reading, I thought to myself that this novel is the high-priced courtesan to the common street prostitutes that so many other erotic novels seem to be these days.
What didn't work for me: *I admit that I occasionally got confused on the character names. There were, I think, slightly too many characters to keep things flowing properly in my mind. I have a feeling, however, that this was more a failing on my end than on the author's. *I think, if anything, it was almost too rich. Rather like eating a decadent piece of gourmet chocolate, the incredible earthiness and richness of the writing was better savored in small doses, and as such it took me much longer to finish this book than it normally does for this length of novel.
Overall, however, the writing was amazing, the characters drew me in, and I am left breathlessly awaiting the next installment to the series. This is my first Charlotte Featherstone novel, but it absolutely will not be my last. 4.5 Stars...more
This book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "struggling with inner demons".
Around sixty years ago, Winter became a hybrid -- that is, a human whThis book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "struggling with inner demons".
Around sixty years ago, Winter became a hybrid -- that is, a human who has willfully merged her soul with a demon in order to gain the physical and mental power to battle against full-blooded demons. Now, her time is running out. The longer a hybrid exists without becoming bonded to a mate, the more powerful their demon side becomes, until finally the demon takes over. Once this happens, there's no coming back, and the other hybrids are forced to hunt down these monsters and kill them.
Now, at this time when she struggles the most with the blood-lust and battle-hunger within her, Winter's entire world is in uproar. Full blooded demons, who, in the past, have been too animalistic and unorganized to ever become a unified force are suddenly attacking the Hybrid ranks en masse, leaving behind untold carnage and confusion.
Forced to team up with both Lupines and Nightwalkers ("werewolves" and "vampires", respectively), Winter must now lead her people, hunt down a rogue, fight her demon, and, oh yeah, try to resist an impossibly sexy, incredibly powerful Nightwalker Lord who is suddenly convinced that she's his fated mate. Can't a girl catch a break?
What worked for me: *I really liked the mythology in this story. The hybrids started out as Templars, and the Lupines and Nightwalkers actually used to be the same until there was a (for lack of a better term) civil war that resulted in their numbers being split -- one side retaining the ability to shift and the other side with the telepathic abilities. I also liked that the Nightwalkers didn't drink blood but rather fed off of the energy and excess emotions of other people, and that they didn't typically kill to feed. This was an interesting twist on an old genre, and helped to breathe a new life into the story.
*I was as surprised as anyone about the identity of the Big Bad, and really enjoyed the cat-and-mouse game that was played.
*I'm a big fan of fated-to-be-mated stories, and I really enjoyed Marcus having to adjust to a warrior mate. Nightwalker females are cosseted and protected (and basically steamrolled), so it's completely against Marcus' nature to allow Winter the freedom to be who she is -- a strong warrior and strong leader.
*I also enjoyed the idea of an uneasy alliance between three opposing factions; the Nightwalkers, the Hybrids, and the Lupines. The politics involved as well as the innate battle for dominance amongst the alphas was highly enjoyable.
*I also enjoyed the secondary romances in this story -- one that was resolved and one that left us hanging.
What didn't work for me: *While not a cliff-hanger ending, I did feel that it ended a bit abruptly. I am desperately hoping for a sequel, as I'm anxious to find out what happens with the couple who did not yet get their HEA
Overall, a highly enjoyable read, and I am very ardently hoping for a sequel. 4 1/2 Stars...more
In a post-apocolyptic dystopia, civilization has fallen and Beaters, mindless flesh-eating zombies created by a disease originallyThat was... intense.
In a post-apocolyptic dystopia, civilization has fallen and Beaters, mindless flesh-eating zombies created by a disease originally spread by a plant dispersed through biological warfare, threaten the lives of everyone in existence.
Cass was captured by the Beaters only to awaken two months later with no memory of what had happened to her, and wounds that indicated that not only had she been a victim of the Beaters, but that she herself had been infected and had recovered.
The only thing driving her on is finding her young daughter, whom she had only just gotten back (after having lost custody of her due to her alcoholism) for a single day before being taken by the Beaters.
What follows is a horrifying, heart-stopping, gory narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat, gasping for air, as Cass tries desperately to find her daughter while navigating this dangerous new world where the Beaters are not the only threat to the weak.
What worked for me: * Deliciously gory, parts of this story were like a bad car wreck, where you want to look away but can't tear your horrified gaze from the action.
* I loved the Beaters -- the progression of the infection from euphoria to a horrific new existence, was terrifyingly plausible.
* The pacing was amazing, and there wasn't a single time that I was tempted to skim.
* I loved the little "extra" glimpses into human nature -- things like piling rocks outside of houses where the dead had been found, or leaving an empty pot outside of a building to signal to other raiders that there was nothing left worth salvaging at that location. Add to that the inevitable power struggles, how the powerful took advantage of the weak, and how everyday people found courage that they never imagined they possessed, and it's easy to imagine that this is a future that could actually happen.
What didn't work for me: * It felt as if the connection between Cass and Smoke was one of convenience rather than love, destiny, or even chemistry. Cass had been molested as a child and turned to sex and alcohol to both mask her pain and give herself a false sense of control over her life. Her relationship with Smoke felt like a continuation of this self-flagellation, and Littlefield told us, rather than showed us of the existence of deeper feelings on her part (and really none at all on his).
* The ending was most definitely a "Happily For Now" rather than a "Happily Ever After". There were no ILY's at all in the story, both of which contributed to the feeling that the connection between Cass and Smoke was one of convenience rather than anything deeper.
* There was an astounding lack of explanation for what was really going on. While it's true that this could've very easily been a device used by Littlefield to help the reader place themselves in this world, since neither the reader nor the characters ever really understood what the hell had happened, I found this to be disappointing. It would've been nice to know more of Smoke's history (as I got a distinct feeling that he somehow contributed to all the crap that had happened), and I wish that there had been some hint as to what was really going on in the rest of the world. Had the blueleaf spread to the rest of the country? To the rest of the world? Or was this a situation similar to 28 Days Later, where (spoiler alert for the movie here), the world hadn't fallen to the disease but rather had quarantined the infected areas waiting for the disease to die out before offering assistance? Is Cass a carrier? Has she somehow infected Smoke? Will poor Ruthie be "normal" again after her traumatizing experience? What was really the deal behind The Convent? All of these questions are left completely unanswered, leaving a distinct sense of dissatisfaction in this reader.
In the end, I feel exhausted. It's a good exhausted, however, rather like the kind you feel after a long run, or after accomplishing a hard task that you'd set out for yourself. I think one redeeming fact to this story is that I do know that it's the beginning of a series, and as such, the missing answers to those questions I mentioned are hopefully forthcoming. I really hope that both Smoke and Cass are the stars of the next novel, as I am dying to know what will become of them. 4/5 Stars...more
Our vampire hero, Graf, is on his way to Washington, D.C. for a party with his sire, Sophia, when he pauses for a late night snack at an abandoned gasOur vampire hero, Graf, is on his way to Washington, D.C. for a party with his sire, Sophia, when he pauses for a late night snack at an abandoned gas station in a small town. The only problem is his "snack", a Penance, Ohio resident named Jessa, is also being chased by a giant monster possum. Or something. Graf isn't sure exactly what "It" is, but he knows it's bigger, stronger, and much, much smellier than he is, and proceeds to high-tail it out of Penance. At least, that was the plan.
Unfortunately for Graf, all of the residents of Penance have been trapped for five years with no contact to the outside world. Travelers can pass right through, but they never stop, and only a few whispered rumors indicate that anyone from Penance has ever been able to leave. And now, they can add a vampire to their numbers.
What worked for me: * This book was hysterical. Graf wasn't a nice guy when he first arrived into town, and as such initially viewed Jessa and everyone else of Penance as a simple food supply. It wasn't until later when he began to see her as a woman rather than cattle, and during the transition there was quite a bit of hilarity to his thoughts. He once mentioned how awkward it was to offer her solace while she was upset because it was rather like "comforting an ice cream cone".
* I like that the vampire's bite wasn't all sexy. It was gruesome and painful and there was nothing attractive about it. This is a nice change from a lot of paranormal romance novels which indicate a type of euphoria that the victim receives from the bite.
* I really liked the small-town mentality. Having grown up in a small town, I recognized a lot of the attitudes that would only have been amplified by forced isolation. Bullies, mob mentalities, and prejudices abounded, which made things feel much more "real".
* I really liked that Graf wasn't preternaturally cunning or intelligent, nor did he instantly "have all the answers". Numerous paranormal romances (honestly, romances in general) have the hero always know exactly what needs to be done and rarely making mistakes. Graf doesn't have any big plan -- he's totally winging it through the whole situation and really shouldn't be depended upon to "fix" things or to get himself and Jessa out of any sticky situations.
What din't work for me:
* I didn't care for the fact that Jessa was an adulteress. Somehow I just don't find it endearing to have a heroine knowingly sleeping with a married man, no matter what their history together.
* I wish they'd had a better name for the creature other than "It". I kept getting Tim Curry flashbacks every time I read the name, which took away from the story quite a bit.
Overall, I really liked this book. Watching Graf go from top-of-the-food-chain, arrogant and cold to a man in love was gradual enough to be gratifying without making the reader feel as though things were dragging. While I didn't care for the main conflict between Jessa and her redneck mostly-ex-boyfriend, I did like the way the story played out in the end, and would love to read more about these characters in the future.
I couldn't come up with a synopsis that didn't contain spoilers, and since this book isn't out yet, I'll begin with the official blurb: Ash Turner hasI couldn't come up with a synopsis that didn't contain spoilers, and since this book isn't out yet, I'll begin with the official blurb: Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family—and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But instead he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance…
Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who's stolen her fortune and her father's legacy—the man she's been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion….
What worked for me: * Ash is now positively one of my favorite historical heroes. He's alpha without being brutish, he's talented without being perfect, and he's arrogant without being cruel. Above all, however, he felt real. He loves his brothers dearly and wants nothing in the world more than their happiness. While it's true he has an unfortunate tendency to trample over those who come between him and that goal, it's done more out of a sort of tunnel-vision rather than deliberate disregard for others.
* I love stories where the hero is the one pursuing the heroine, rather than the other way around.
* I really love the revenge plot, and how what originally seems to be the perfect revenge in the beginning turns sour as Ash slowly begins to comprehend what his actions have truly done to others.
* I also loved how Margaret was forced to examine her previous actions and beliefs in regards to society in general. Her being shown how fickle society really could be, as well as how servants are human and are just as important as their "betters" was well done I think.
* The last conversation that Margaret has with her father in this book literally had me cheering.
What didn't work for me: * We never really got any history as to what happened to Smite and Mark while Ash was in India, and there was no real resolution between the brothers. I am desperately hoping that this is the start of a new series, however, because I'm greatly intrigued by both of Ash's brothers.
When rating a book, I think about many things. The writing style, the storyline, the depth of the characters, and of course, the overall enjoyability of the read. I'm very happy to say that the first three factors were very well done, and as for enjoyability? Well, I simply couldn't put it down and I closed the book with a smile on my face. A very solid 5/5 Stars....more
Normally, the only books I read are romance novels -- paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical/period romance, romantic suspense, romanticNormally, the only books I read are romance novels -- paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical/period romance, romantic suspense, romantic fantasy, GLBT romance, you name it, but it's always romance.
When I read the blurb for 47 Echo, however, I was intrigued enough to give a non-romance a shot.
I'm very glad that I did.
This book was amazing. The slightly futuristic world was fantastic, the characters were given depth, the pacing and the action kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride.
What worked for me: * I absolutely adored the basic storyline -- the Convict Conscription Act of 2019 which sent all persons convicted of a crime which received over 6 months of jail time into military service. I also loved that Nick wasn't an "innocent" who'd been wrongly convicted, making him some freak paragon of virtue. Although he may be more cunning, intelligent, courageous, and loyal than most, underneath all of that he's still human with human reactions, which I found very appealing.
* I liked that most of the convict soldiers had no idea about military terms or protocol, and that things were explained to them (and subsequently, the reader) without slowing down the action.
* I also liked that it was set in the not-so-distant future, so that none of the military technology seemed implausible. There was not a single device or piece of technology that felt as though it existed solely in the author's imagination. The stealth tech, medical advancements, weapons, etc., all felt as though they very well could be available to the military by 2019 if they're not already.
* I greatly approved of the development in the story that changed Nick's circumstances in the convict unit.
What didn't work for me: * Overuse of the word "smirk". Everyone was constantly smirking at everyone else, and after a while, the term got very annoying.
* There were a few instances where Nick's miraculous recovery time seemed completely implausible. The main one that stood out in my mind was how quickly he was back in working order after the box. I found it highly unlikely that a shower and a bottle of water, laced with amphetamines or not, would have him completely back to normal practically immediately after that experience. Sure, everyone kept telling him how awful he looked, but functionally, he was just the same as always.
* The big guy who joined their team, to me, could've been cut completely out of the story and I feel it wouldn't have missed anything. That also would've taken care of the pesky bit about the instant recovery from the box as well.
Points of note: * Squeamish readers should note that this is a war novel set on the front lines, and as such, there is quite a bit of gore. In my opinion, here's nothing really vomit-inducing, but more sensitive readers may wish to be careful.
* There is quite a bit of racism in this novel (as one character says, "Asian is the new Black"), and there are several instances of racial slurs being used. While I didn't find this disturbing, as none of it was gratuitous, some readers may find this offensive.
I have to say, even though I'm a romance addict, I would love to see this as a movie. The edge-of-your-seat action, the attachment the reader gains to each of the characters, the thrill of sabotage and covert missions, all of it, I think would translate beautifully to the big screen. Not in 3-D though -- I don't think my heart could handle it lol
Overall, I am very glad I gave this story a chance. 5/5 Stars ...more
This is a quickie version of my review. For the full version, please visit: The Romanceaholic
The Guy Next Door anthology brings together three of the hThis is a quickie version of my review. For the full version, please visit: The Romanceaholic
The Guy Next Door anthology brings together three of the hottest contemporary romance authors of our day, Lori Foster, Susan Donovan, and Victoria Dahl.
Some readers have complained that Ready, Set, Jett was incomplete, but I felt that Lori Foster did a good job in finishing out Jett and Natalie’s story with only a hint of a teaser of the next book in the series. Gail Gone Wild was the only one in the collection that didn’t feel as though there was “more to come”, since it was complete with an epilogue, and I appreciated that. Just A Taste felt much too much like a prequel teaser that really should have been given away free on the author’s website in my opinion rather than packaged into an anthology that forced readers to pay for it.
Overall, I did enjoy reading this anthology, despite the many issues. Therefore, I’m going to go with a final 3.5/5 Stars...more
I come to this series as a new reader. Having never read any of the Sabine Kane series, I was concerned that I would havReviewed for The Romanceaholic
I come to this series as a new reader. Having never read any of the Sabine Kane series, I was concerned that I would have a hard time following the story line, or that I would be too lost to want to continue. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this novel works just fine as a standalone.
What worked for me:
I love the mythology, with the vampires having descended from Cain and Lilith. I have to admit that Sabina’s potty mouth is incredibly endearing to me. I love her temper and her snarky attitude, as well as her quirky sense of humor. Can I just say how much I adore Adam? *swoon* As much as I loved Sabina, I have to say the colorful secondary characters are what really made this story. the ending was explosive, with action and angst worthy of the big screen. What didn’t work for me:
A few of the minor characters did get a bit confusing, as all characters in this story were “new” to me, so it was at times a bit hard to keep track of everyone There was most definitely a Too Stupid To Live moment, or at least a Too Stubborn to Live one, which always annoys me in romances. While I definitely think that this novel was able to hold its own as a standalone novel, I will say that my recommendation would be to read the series in order. It’s obvious that as a new reader, I missed out on some exciting back story, including some of the group dynamics. Even so, I was able to follow along very well, with only a bit of minor confusion surrounding some of the minor characters.
Overall? I was highly entertained by this novel and would recommend it to any Urban Fantasy fan. 5/5 Stars ...more
This book surprised me. This is my first Delilah Marvelle story, and I have to say, I'm pretty taken with her style.
What worked for me: * I loved thatThis book surprised me. This is my first Delilah Marvelle story, and I have to say, I'm pretty taken with her style.
What worked for me: * I loved that the heroine was physically disabled, and that the hero was a cutter. Yes. You heard me right. He was a cutter. The whole thing was handled, in my opinion, absolutely beautifully, and fully explored the self-loathing, shame, and social stigma that a cutter would experience, as well as compassion and understanding instead of making him out to be a freak. Loved it.
* I really like the political undertone. It makes the story a little "heavy", but there's just something about books where the main characters are completely impotent against higher machinations of those in power.
* I also enjoyed the bits about the Polish revolution, including the short "history lesson" at the end.
* The hot bits? Nice 'n' sizzlin!
What didn't work for me: * Some of the angst was a bit heavy. The separation of hero and heroine, the fear of forced marriage for political reasons, and family issues all stacked on top of each other to make it kind of a rough read at times.
* I was also disappointed that there wasn't any kink in any of the love scenes... When a story has the hero fantasizing about the heroine in the role of Dominatrix, you kind of expect a little.. well.. kink lol
Overall, I was highly impressed, and will definitely read her work in the future.
I love vampire novels, and I adore regency romances, and yet for some reason I've never found a book that blended both worlds seamlessly. Until now.
TI love vampire novels, and I adore regency romances, and yet for some reason I've never found a book that blended both worlds seamlessly. Until now.
The Vampire Voss had many of the ingredients that I love in historical romances to begin with: an outcast hero, secrets, and an innocent woman thrown into the mix of danger by forces completely out of her control.
What worked for me: * I was enthralled by the world of the Dracule, and the history and mythology surrounding the group. It was nice to see a world where vampires really were the result of a bargain with Lucifer, and where good ol' Luc was forever unseen in the background prodding his children to indulge in selfishness and evil.
* I really liked Angelica as well, and the twist of her inherited "power" was one I hadn't heard before.
* The idea of each vampire having an individualized "Achilles Heel" so to speak was an unexpected and welcome addition to traditional vampire mythology, and definitely leaves open some very intriguing possibilities for future novels.
* I have to say that the fact that this seems to be the pilot novel in a forthcoming series makes me a very happy woman. I'm highly anticipating the follow-up novel(s), which will hopefully explore some of Voss' Dracule brethren.
* I especially liked the twist at the end with the balcony. While some might say that it was a bit cliche, I tend to enjoy cliche when done correctly, as I feel this instance was.
What didn't work for me: * The pacing did seem a bit slow at times, which made it hard to stay focused on the story.
* I admit that there seemed to be an overabundance of characters at time, and I found myself getting confused as to which character was which.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and as such I say 3.75/5 Stars...more
You know that a book is going to be good when only a few chapters in, youThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review please visit The Romanceaholic.
You know that a book is going to be good when only a few chapters in, you think to yourself that it sure would be nice if your Kindle were waterproof so that you wouldn't have to put the book down long enough to take a shower. True story.
Now, I should probably start this review with a very important disclaimer: this is Book 17 in a series, and I haven't read a single installment previously. I decided to read this one for two main reasons. First, the blurb sounded interesting enough that I felt it would be an entertaining read, and second, because I think other readers who are also new to the series deserve to know whether or not they'd be completely confuzzled if they jumped in so late into the series.
Surprisingly enough, I have to say that I feel that this story worked quite well as a standalone. As with any late-edition to a series, there are of course references to events and relationships that were obviously detailed in previous novels, but while my curiosity was piqued in regards to a few of the existing couples, I never felt as though I was missing any key information.
I really enjoyed the ending. While it didn't wrap everything up into a neat package by any means, leaving the storyline wide open for the next installment of the series, I didn't feel as though it were a true cliff-hanger which was a relief. While there was more focus on the relationship between James and Lucy than I think is normally the case in an Urban Fantasy, the low steam level did leave me feeling that it was more UF than Paranormal Romance, and that actually appealed to me.
Overall, a very solid read that won't leave newcomers scratching their heads, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment to the series. 4/5 Stars. ...more
**spoiler alert** I admit I keep wavering on my rating on this book.
What worked for me: * I enjoyed the fact that Derringer was so attracted to Lucia's**spoiler alert** I admit I keep wavering on my rating on this book.
What worked for me: * I enjoyed the fact that Derringer was so attracted to Lucia's scent. It was almost a throwback to those shifter novels that I'm such a huge fan of.
* The love scenes were plenty without being overwhelming, and the chemistry between Derringer and Lucia was delicious.
* I'm a huge fan of novels where players/rakes/manho's find themselves pimp-slapped with love and make a befuddled mess of things because of the denial that this could actually be happening to them.
* I also liked that it wasn't a case of his never having noticed Lucia, but rather his having been warned away from her. Otherwise I think it would've been too unbelievable that he was suddenly and overwhelmingly attracted to someone he'd known for years.
What didn't work for me: * Lucia raped Derringer. Yes, you heard me. He was high out of his mind on pain pills, she was well aware of this and had sex with him anyway. That, my lovelies is rape. If a man had done that to a woman, we'd be ranting against him and crying out for justice, so this one encounter really squicked me. Maybe if she hadn't been aware that he was intoxicated, I would've been able to let it slide, but.. no.
* It bothered me that Lucia had unprotected sex with Derringer on more than one occasion. Okay so once you forget, or in your strange virginal naivete don't contemplate the fact that not only could you get pregnant, but the man in question is a manwhore and could give you things that even Ajax couldn't clean. More than once however and you no longer have any excuse other than pure stupidity.
While the things I liked did indeed outweigh the things I didn't, those two points were major ones in my mind. As such, I'm going to compromise with 3/5 Stars....more
What worked for me: * A prison planet with ruthless social dynamics and a toxic mine that ensures a horrible death sentence to allI. Loved. This. Book.
What worked for me: * A prison planet with ruthless social dynamics and a toxic mine that ensures a horrible death sentence to all humans sentenced to reside there. * A cunning thief as one of the heroes, who isn't magically smarter, stronger, and just overall better than others. I loved that Aleron made mistakes just as any other human would, rather than being this paragon among prisoners * Jasak. Oh Jasak. Why must you be attracted to men? You and I could have had a beautiful life together if only you were interested in those of the female persuasion lol I adored Jasak. A man of true honor is a rare thing, but couple that with a good dose of bloodthirstiness and primitive drive and you make me want to purr. * The love scenes were very well done, and not a single one was gratuitous. * I also thoroughly enjoyed the subplots and intrigues and politics that staged the background of this story.
What didn't work for me: * I didn't like the fact that Jasak already had a mate, even though there was absolutely 100% zero chance of them ever being together. This almost made his and Aleron's relationship feel like an adulterous one to me. As bad as it sounds, I think I would've preferred for his previous mate to have been killed before he was sent to Tantoret.
Overall, however, I absolutely adored this story, and as such, say 5/5 Stars, hands down....more
As a girl, Emma Whiteside asked Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, to wait for her to be of marriageable age. Now, twelve years later, Emma hates AdamAs a girl, Emma Whiteside asked Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, to wait for her to be of marriageable age. Now, twelve years later, Emma hates Adam as much as she once loved him, holding the former army major responsible for the death of her brother on the battlefield. Adam already blames himself for the loss of the men under his command. But the fiery young woman Emma's become sparks his arousal, as well as emotions Adam thought long dead. The passion between them makes him want to reclaim the man he was before the war.
Though she tries to hold on to her hatred, Emma's longing for Adam is undeniable, especially after the two share a smoldering kiss. Still, Adam is certain no woman would want a man so damaged. Can Emma prove him wrong?
What worked for me: * I thoroughly enjoyed the back-story with Adam and Emma's brother, as well as the glimpse into her childhood when she demanded that Adam marry her when he was older. I could easily picture this incredibly stubborn and demanding woman as an equally stubborn and demanding child approaching Adam at a ball and informing him that he would wait for her to come of age so that they could marry lol
* I do love me a man with a limp :P It seems to add an air of vulnerability to an otherwise strong and confidant man that I find a bit refreshing.
* The chemistry between Emma and Adam was blazing hot!
What didn't work for me:
* As with many if not most short stories, I admit I had a bit of a problem with the pacing. Granted, Emma had been "in love" with Adam since she was a young girl, but she seemed to put aside her feelings of hatred and betrayal to fall in love with him mighty quickly for my tastes.
Overall, a tasty little read that, if you can get past the pacing issues, is a nice way to pass an afternoon.
Well, first off,(view spoiler)[ this book is NOT a romance in the traditional sense. There is no HEA or even HFN, but please don't let that put you off. The ending is most definitely open-ended as far as any romance goes, and this is the first book in a trilogy, so there's definitely some potential. (hide spoiler)]
This book was most definitely spooky to the extreme. The descriptions of the ghosts and their interactions with Amelia are enough to make you want to sleep with the light on at night, especially if you have a drafty bedroom ;)
As I said, overall I adored this book. I love the first-person POV, and Amanda Stevens kept me guessing until the end. I quite literally couldn't put this one down.
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira AutThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: http://www.brendanovak.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes – Bulletproof Book 1 Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Holy wow. This book was absolutely fantabulous!
Pulse-pounding action, police corruption, a spurned lover, and deadly gangs out for revenge, all paired with a delicious romance make this a novel that can’t be missed. Despite some concerns I might have had with the epilogue, this is hands-down a must-read, and I gladly give it a very solid 5/5 Stars....more
I admit, I enjoyed this one much more than its predecessor, The Vampire Voss. It still had everything love about romance novels, with a much more likaI admit, I enjoyed this one much more than its predecessor, The Vampire Voss. It still had everything love about romance novels, with a much more likable hero.
What worked for me: * As with the first book in the series, I was enthralled by the world of the Dracule, and the history and mythology surrounding the group. It was nice to see a world where vampires really were the result of a bargain with Lucifer, and where good ol' Luc was forever unseen in the background prodding his children to indulge in selfishness and evil.
* I love the circumstances surrounding Dimitri's original deal with Lucifer, and the reason that Lucifer chose him.
* I adored Maia. Staid and ever-so-proper, she hides a much more passionate side that she desperately tries to hide with strict adherence to what is considered to be "proper"
* I admit, I didn't like Narcise in The Vampire Voss, and was not happy to discover that she would be the heroine of the next novel in the series. After reading this book, however, I must say I'm actually interested in reading what comes next.
* The love scenes were quite well done, with the delicious earthiness that I love when it comes to vampire stories, but without an overabundance or unnecessary embellishment that so many stories fall victim to.
What didn't work for me: * I don't care for love triangles in my romance novels
Overall, however, I truly enjoyed this story. While I do think that the series is probably best read in order, I think that Ms. Gleason did a good job of explaining things without a lot of infodump, and therefore it could be read as a standalone.
The words and rhymes were simple enough that my autistic 5 year old was able to read and understand them, and the illustrThis board book was adorable!
The words and rhymes were simple enough that my autistic 5 year old was able to read and understand them, and the illustrations were absolutely lovely.
At ten pages long, it's short enough for a quick bedtime story as well.
The book follows a lion cub and his Daddy as Daddy sets a good example of being dependable, helping others, being encouraging, working hard, being persistent, giving lots of hugs, chasing away monsters, and of course, loving and trusting G-d.
A definite keeper for lovers of Christian Children's books. 5/5 Stars...more
I come to this series as a virgin reader (heh). I’ve never read anythingThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
I come to this series as a virgin reader (heh). I’ve never read anything by C.E. Murphy, and as such, I am reviewing this story based on how well it works as a standalone work.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I definitely want to go back and read the rest of the series despite knowing how a lot of the situations will end up through references made in this story. I enjoyed the first person POV, and even when things got “weird”, I was still able to follow along fairly easily.
I'll be honest. I had this book for quite some time before I actually finished it. Even though the premise appealed to me, I had a hard time getting into it, especially at first. I'm not certain if I was simply not in the mood for historical erotica, or if it was something about the writing that put me off, but this is probably the longest it's ever taken me to review a book in years. However, once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sacred Vows by Amanda McIntyre - 2.5 Stars
I had a hard time getting into this one. To be fair, it was the first book in the anthology, and as such, had to set up both the mythology of the Garden, as well as stand as its own story.
Overall, I hate to say it, but I really wasn't very impressed. I did like the author's writing style, and the love scenes were very tasty, but I never really connected with the characters themselves. I think my biggest problem may have been that I simply wasn't into the time period, or the conflict between English and Gaelic at that time. Unfortunately though, even though I enjoyed the writing style, since I wasn't really able to get into this one, I have to say 2.5/5
Perfumed Pleasure by Charlotte Featherstone - 4 Stars
I enjoyed this story much more than the first one. Charlotte Featherstone has such an amazingly lush writing style. All of her works that I've read are so earthy and rich, and the chemistry and angst between her main characters are always incredible.
Between the forced betrothal to Edward, and Joscelyn's scars and feelings of unworthiness, the romance felt the strongest and the love scenes were delightfully erotic without being crude. 4/5 Stars
Rites of Passion by Kristi Astor - 5 Stars
I can honestly say that this one was my favorite of the entire book. I'd not read any works by Kristi Astor before, but I can confidently say that this one will not be my last.
While this book as a whole got off to quite a shaky start for me, once I got into it, I was very pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed it overall. All three stories were very hot, and I thoroughly enjoyed the recurring theme of the May Queen and the Green Man in the garden. Even though the first story wasn't really my cuppa tea, the next two more than made up for it, settling in for 4/5 Stars overall....more
Vail is an incredibly tortured man. Traded to the Faery people as an infaThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review please visit The Romanceaholic.
Vail is an incredibly tortured man. Traded to the Faery people as an infant in payment for a blood debt, then shunned at puberty when it was revealed that he was a full blood-born vampire rather than a half-breed, and finally banished from Faery for acting in an honorable way that violated tradition, Vail truly believes in his moniker of Vail the Unwanted. His own mother was driven insane by his existence, his half-brother wants nothing to do with him, and while the stepfather whose blood debt he paid claims to love him, Vail cannot truly accept his affection. He also listens to Johnny Cash, drives like a maniac, wants nothing more in the world that to murder his biological father and wears leather and guyliner.
In short, I loved him :D
There were a few turns of plot that, while I wouldn’t say I disagreed with, turned in a direction that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen, but this wasn’t automatically a bad thing. I did really enjoy the drug addiction, the contrasts between the Faery realm and our world, and the fractured families that both Vail and Lyric originated from. In the end, it was a very enjoyable read, even for those unfamiliar with the series, and I say a solid 4/5 Stars....more
Expected Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN BoThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Books Author’s Website: http://lorifoster.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1 of Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Steam Level: Steamy
Official Blurb: The tougher they are, the harder they fall…
Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he’ll take the mission he’s offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who’d had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare’s tempted to combine work with pleasure.
Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she’s uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…
As you may remember, I reviewed the prequel to this story (Ready, Set, Jett) as it appeared in the Guys Next Door Anthology, and gave that story 4/5 Stars.
When You Dare picks up right where Ready, Set, Jett left off, resolving the mystery of where Molly had disappeared to.
While I admit, I felt that Molly’s love for Dare was grounded more in the fact he had rescued her and could protect her, I absolutely adored Dare’s protective nature as well as his reluctance to put a “label” on his feelings. I also loved how he felt whenever it proved that he wasn’t omnipotent and able to protect Molly from absolutely everything.
The UST was delicious, and the love scenes were nice and hot, as we’ve all come to expect from Lori Foster.
Overall, I would say this is a very enjoyable summer read, complete with action, romance, and a good dash of family drama.
Ahh there’s not much more that I like in a contemporary romance than a hidden agenda that initially bringsFull review available on The Romanceaholic.
Ahh there’s not much more that I like in a contemporary romance than a hidden agenda that initially brings the hero and heroine together. It always ends up biting them in the behind, which is so deliciously angsty that I simply can’t resist.
Overall, however, while I enjoyed this read, I wasn’t blown away by it. The drama of the Big Reveal almost seemed a bit extraneous after all of the excitement caused by the stalker, and Izzy and Adam’s relationship problems almost seemed to detract from the story. Still, it was an enjoyable, easy read, and one I’d recommend for a quick summer read.
I’m not sure if I was simply not in the mood for sci-fi erotica, or if there was aThis is a Quickie Review. Full review available at The Romanceaholic
I’m not sure if I was simply not in the mood for sci-fi erotica, or if there was actually something about the writing, but this book simply didn’t do it for me. There was an enormous amount of very steamy sexuality, which I admit is great, but it almost got to the point at times that I wanted to skim until they were done fantasizing in great detail about boffing each other.
Raquel kept throwing off such mixed signals that poor Nick was practically running in circles for most of the book, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the corrupt military, I have to say that the “phanotom planet” could’ve been written out entirely and we wouldn’t have missed a single thing.
Someone who is more interested in the erotica portions than the storyline might rate it quite a bit higher, but I’m going to have to say 2/5 Stars for me....more