First things first, I do think that it would be better for readers to have read the first book in the series, Hotter On The Edge.
All of that aside, thFirst things first, I do think that it would be better for readers to have read the first book in the series, Hotter On The Edge.
All of that aside, though, I really enjoyed this anthology.
GOLD LIKE THE SUN by Erin Kellison It’s the wedding of the millennium! Princess Pilar Sol and Hakan Frust are celebrating their union with sector fetes full of celebrity and pomp. Theirs is an arranged marriage to preserve the vital commerce of the Nyer Transit Hub, and yet Pilar is madly, unreservedly, passionately in love. She has all the excitement she has long dreamed of—and a little more than she bargained for when she discovers that Hakan’s grasping family wants her dead.
Hakan has done everything in his power to save his inheritance—the bustling but impoverished Hub—including marrying a wealthy princess for her dowry. His heart isn’t supposed to be part of the deal, but Pilar has all the beauty and joy his life lacks. When Hakan runs afoul of his uncle’s associates—criminal in nature, violent in approach—he refuses to risk Pilar, not for money, not even for his life.
But Pilar is not so easily cast aside, and negotiations turn into a gamble with the future of the sector in the balance. Hakan is about to learn about the high stakes his bride will hazard, as he now has far more to lose—and win—than he ever believed possible: a future brighter than gold.
Holy cow this anthology started off with a bang. I was sitting-straight-up-in-bed-SHOCKED by some of the things that went down in this story, and though things did "work out well" in the end, it was a hell of a ride from Point A to Point B. I really enjoyed the shock factor of some of the things that happened in this story, and the non-stop action as well as the drama between Pilar and Hakan really kept the story moving.
was a great way to start off the anthology.
---- TO KEEP A WIFE by KC Klein
In the shards of civilization ruined by a global war, Lake has gotten the life she never dared dreamed of—a safe haven, and the love of a good man, her husband, Hudson Black Creek. But Lake’s hard-won happiness doesn’t last long when powerful Elders lay siege on Black Creek Manor in retaliation for a past defiance. As Lake watches everything she loves go up in flames, she sacrifices herself for the chance to keep Hudson and her brother alive. Syon, a diabolic Elder with his own agenda, will push Lake to her breaking point, forcing her to compromise—heart and soul— in order to survive.
Hudson wakes from a head wound to find that his whole world is reduced to ashes. With no memory of why he’s sacrificed everything for a woman whose name is tattooed on his chest, Hudson is determined to make his heart match the emptiness of his mind, and wipe out everything except the hatred for those who are to blame—the Elders and the wife he sought to protect.
As evil and fear spread across a war-torn land, Lake and Hudson are tested like never before, and both will have to forgive betrayals and risk greater heartbreak if they want a chance at saving their lives… and their love.
It's important for me to mention that I'm a big fan of K.C. Klein's work, even though her stories never fail to make me extremely uncomfortable. She forces me to go outside of the tiny little box of "how things are 'supposed' to work in romance" and realize that sometimes a Happily Ever After is much more meaningful if the characters (and the readers) are put through the ringer first.
This story broke my heart into a thousand little pieces. Having read the previous story in the series, I had thought that the tough times were over for Hudson and Lake, but boy howdy was I wrong about that. And as hard as it was to read about some of the things that happened to these characters, I would be a bold faced liar if I said that it didn't make their Happily Ever After all the more meaningful.
The only thing that I didn't care for in this story was the fact that the timeframe changed. As the author notes, the first story in this novella happened after the events in the novel of this series, Dark Future, a time-traveling tale of which I am a huge fan. This novella, however, changes things around and forces the previous novella as well as this one to be set before the events of Dark Future. Though this shouldn't be a problem to newcomers to the series, I admit it was confusing as hell for me as I read some of it.
PRINCE OF PASSION by Jessa Slade
When mercenary raiders targeted the empathic crystals that imbue the legendary l’auraly lovers with extraordinary sensual prowess, Icere, the last male l’auralyo, helped destroy the crystals. Rather than let the source of uninhibited pleasure be corrupted into a mind-controlling drug, he allowed his passionate destiny to remain forever unfulfilled. Now, Icere channels his fury into revenge. Tracking the raiders through the interstellar sheerways to a watery world infamous for its aphrodisiac liqueur, he finds a queen—as adrift and alone as he—forced for years into a fate she never desired.
Saya-Rynn inherited duty, command and control from her cruel grandfather and fought to transform her dangerous planet into a paradise for her people—but the price was literally a poison that runs through her veins. Though she feels as ancient as the seas, she finds herself awash in the hot male potency of the young Icere. Still, she resists the chance for indulgence she thinks has passed by her. But when the raiders strike again, Rynn must embrace her troubled legacy, and Icere will find his place as a lover and a fighter. Together, the reluctant ruler and the deposed prince of passion find common purpose, combating the mysterious entity seeking to rule the sheerways, and claim a love as bright as the infinite stars.
As usual, this trio has saved the best for last. I loved not only the virgin hero (hello!), but the delicious tension between Icere and the older, more experienced Rynn. The mermaid mythology as well as the intrigue and danger woven into the tale only added to the drama, and I especially appreciated the concern that Rynn had about taking a lover who was of an age with her own son. It's not often that we get "older" heroines in romance, and I for one appreciated that she wasn't some young, green girl. The action, the drama, and the passion of this story made it a perfect way to close out the anthology.
I'm just not one for casual nudity. It didn't fall into my "pet peeve" category, as everyone who was naked was perfectly fine with being so, but stillI'm just not one for casual nudity. It didn't fall into my "pet peeve" category, as everyone who was naked was perfectly fine with being so, but still, it's just not my thing.
Nice and steamy, though, with a satisfying (pun intended) romance.
I realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but justI realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but just in case there are still some readers holding out for the surprise, I'm making this a spoiler-free review. As such, it will be noticeably shorter than it would be were I allowing myself to give away their identities.
One thing I really liked about this one was the fact that even though it would certainly be helpful to have read at least the most recent installments of the Psy-Changeling series, I think that it's focused enough on our main couple and the civil war brewing amongst the Psy, that newcomers might be able to get through it without issue.
Similarly, I really enjoyed the focus on the couple. I've been anticipating this particular pairing for years now, and I was very glad that so much time was put into developing their characters and their relationship, rather than focusing too much on many of the past couples from previous books.
The chemistry was wonderful, and I've always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for dangerous, almost frightening heroes, especially when they come with both murderous tendencies as well as intense protectiveness over a woman they have claimed as their own.
The ending was perfect, and I sincerely hope that there will be many more installments to this series to come.
I almost hate myself for enjoying this one so much. Very dark, lots of Very Bad Things happening to people, but awesome.
It's good to mention that therI almost hate myself for enjoying this one so much. Very dark, lots of Very Bad Things happening to people, but awesome.
It's good to mention that there aren't any shape shifters in this series though. The Dragon Kings are a sort of paranormal race descended from (or who worship, not 100% clear on that at the moment) The Dragon, their deity.
4.5-5 Stars, full review to follow once I get my thoughts in order. ...more
I know I don't read a lot of regular Urban Fantasy (as opposed to Paranormal Romance or even Urban Fantasy with strong romantic themes), but I'm so glI know I don't read a lot of regular Urban Fantasy (as opposed to Paranormal Romance or even Urban Fantasy with strong romantic themes), but I'm so glad I decided to pick this one up.
I loved the world Mr. Somers hsa created, and his perfectly IMperfect characters, and I WILL be reading any sequels the moment I can get my greedy little hands on them.
Expected Release Date: May 14, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina PThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 14, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://www.cynthiajustlin.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
With plenty of action, horror, and even a mystery of a lost treasure, I ended up staying up WAY too late reading because I didn’t want to put it down. While the “steam” wasn’t all that “steamy”, I did enjoy the wide gamut of emotions between Oliver and Josie experienced during their captivity, and was really rooting for them as a couple even as I was terrified by their actions.
While definitely not for sensitive readers, as there is a lot of violence and horror, the pacing was perfect, and the villain was terrifyingly insane.
Overall, a very fast-paced, exciting read, recommended for fans of abused protagonists, high-octane escapes, and finding love in the most unexpected of places.
Expected Release Date: January 24, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarelThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 24, 2012 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harelquin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: http://leslietentler.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Chasing Evil Trilogy Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Crime reporter Mia Hale has been following a series of disappearances in the Jacksonville beach area when she postulates a connection between the disappearances that even local law enforcement seems to have overlooked. Unfortunately for Mia, her interest in the disappearances has put her firmly in the sights of a sadistic killer who takes her, thinking to add her to his gruesome collection.
When Mia is found wounded and disoriented on a beach in Jacksonville, it becomes evident that not only had she been taken by the serial killer dubbed The Collector, but that she is the first woman ever to escape from his clutches.
When FBI agent Eric MacFarlane discovers that The Collector has come out of hiding and is once again taking and mutilating women, he knows that Mia Hale is the key to the case. Unfortunately, Mia has been left with no memory of her captivity, and outside of the physical scars of the torture she endured, it appears there is nothing she can do to help law enforcement.
Eric has a very personal history with The Collector, however, and isn't about to let a little amnesia stand between him and what could be the only break the case has ever had. Strong-arming Mia into doing whatever is necessary to recover her memory, Eric soon finds himself struggling between his determination to stop The Collector and protecting the fiery woman who holds the key to his capture.
But The Collector isn't finished with the tough and determined Mia Hale, and it soon becomes very clear that Mia is to be the pinnacle of his collection, and Eric and Mia both find themselves firmly in the sights of a brutal and sadistic killer..
Overall, this was an exciting, terrifying read. The Collector was one of the scariest fictional serial killers I've read about, and the pacing was absolutely perfect. Adding in Mia's amnesia and the slow recovery of her memories, as well as Eric's connection to The Collector added a wonderful amount of tension to the story, and several unexpected twists and turns kept me on my toes for the entire read.
I also loved the way that Mia and Eric's relationship developed, with both the pacing of their physical relationship ,and the unexpected emotions developing along the way.
Recommended for fans of brutally terrifying serial killers, of survivors refusing to be kept down, and of sexy FBI agents battling between catching a killer and protecting the woman they're falling for.
In the end, this was by far my favorite story in the entire anthology.
While Callie’s transformation was a bit reminiscent of The Bionic Woman, that was easily brushed aside as we watched her grow over the course of the story. Of course, Jasper’s character had a lot of growing to do as well, and watching the two learn to forgive and accept each other was wonderful. The overall plot was intriguing as well, with betrayal from a close outside source, plenty of danger, and the obligation Callie now has to the military who paid for her reconstruction.
Expected Release Date: December 6, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing ImThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: December 6, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.janekindred.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The House of Arkhangel’sk Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
This was, hands down, the most exhausting, heartbreaking, amazing book I’ve read in a very, very long time. My head is spinning as I sit here and try to put into words the way I feel about this book, and I fear that there really isn’t a way to accurately express what an intense journey this book really was.
Normally, my reviews follow the What Worked For Me/What Didn’t Work For Me format, but as I write this review, I find that I’m unable to tease apart the story and neatly box up the pieces into convenient categories.
While I cannot say that this was a a 5-star read for me, because of the lack of Happily Ever After and the sheer volume of Very Bad Things that happen to all of the characters, I will say that despite the inclusion of several things that normally would have yanked a star rating down for me, this one is still one of the most amazing books I’ve read in a very, very long time, and I will be reading the sequel when it comes available.
Please note the full review on my site contains spoilers, but they are hidden. ...more
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarperCollins Imprint: Avon Impulse Author’s Website: http://kckleinbooks.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Possibly* Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Dark, gritty, and utterly entrancing, this book absolutely blew my socks off.
Let me backtrack for just a moment. To be perfectly honest, things got off to a bit of a slow start for me. The first three chapters had me a bit wary — Kris, with her perfect manicure, carefully tamed and colored curly hair, cartoon-character panties, and rather cowardly attitude seemed far too weak to be a heroine of any sort of post-apocalyptic, futuristic story, and to be honest, my assessment was correct. That Kris absolutely was too weak to be a heroine.
However, Chapter Four is where the book really starts to shine, when Kris is catapulted into a world of pain, fear, tough decisions, and horrible sacrifices. Completely out of her element, she does what any modern day woman would do — she flounders, badly. Stubborn, angry, frightened, indignant, mouthy, and impulsive, she is quite literally her own worst enemy in a world that she neither belongs in nor understands.
Her relationship with ConRad gets off to what is quite possibly the rockiest of starts imaginable — thinking she’s an alien spy, he’s fully prepared to torture her for information, and makes no qualms about threatening her, physically hurting hurt, and doing whatever else may be necessary to coerce her into telling him the truth. He can’t believe she could possibly be from the past, and even if she is, she’s a danger to everyone in the compound. ConRad is a hardened warrior who has lived his entire life making tough decisions and sacrifices for the greater good of both their compound and of mankind in its entirety. He’s tough. He’s brutal in his decision-making. He’s unapologetically in charge and not afraid to use his authority as he sees fit, even when it tramples on the rights of others.
And I adored him.
This book is dark. It’s bloody. It’s violent. All of the characters, not just the main protagonists, are put through literal hell more times than I can count. And yet out of that darkness bloomed an absolutely gorgeous love story against seemingly impossible odds. Both ConRad and Kris have had quite a bit of trauma in their pasts, and throwing in her tendency to lie to him, and his utterly devastating betrayal of her, and it truly seemed as if these two characters never had a chance. Yet, I believed in their romance. Two lost souls, surrounded by unspeakable horror, finding solace in each other? Utterly and absolutely delicious.
Yes, this book had a few minor issues. There were some unanswered questions in the world-building, only a fly-by mention of why there weren’t a ton of paradoxes created by the time travel, and at one point I found it very hard to believe that Kris had emotionally recovered so quickly from what was a truly horrible betrayal and some of the most brutal torture I’ve ever read about in a romance. But you know what? I don’t care. Even with all of those things, I loved this book so much I want to marry it and have its babies (if, you know, I weren’t married already, and it weren’t both illegal and creepy to marry a book), and I am desperately hoping I am able to get my hands on more of this author’s writings in the future.
A very raw 5/5 Stars
*There is a sci-fi novella planned for February release based in the same world but with different characters. Details have not yet been worked out as to whether or not there will be an actual sequel to Dark Future (but oh how I hope so!)....more
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: MThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: November 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Paperback’s Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 21, Dark-Hunter Series (Book 5, Dream-Hunter Series) Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but worked okay as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Any fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon is going to be madly in love with this story. With her trademark horribly abused hero, and her snarky heroine (with a tendency to overreact) whose sincerity, loyalty, and love are able to prove to the hero that the world isn’t all a bad place, she made this a very solid entry into the series.
Seth was delicious, with everything from his unconventional looks (how many non-kilt-wearing heroes do you know who have curly red hair?) to his utter belief that there wasn’t a single being on the planet who wouldn’t intentionally cause him pain.
While I didn’t really bond as well with Lydia as a heroine, I still admit she was the perfect foil for Seth — not only did she introduce him to the concept of affection and tenderness, but she was also snarky and her tendency to speak without thinking helped to add quite a bit of tension to the story.
Overall, this was a very solid entry into one of my favorite long-standing series of all time. Newcomers to the series may be slightly confused with some of the cameos, but in general I do think that new readers will be able to keep up, and fans of the series are going to find plenty to love.
This one ended up being more of a 3.75 for me, because I've never been a fan of heroines doing the whole bed-hopping thing (which has beHoly cannoli!
This one ended up being more of a 3.75 for me, because I've never been a fan of heroines doing the whole bed-hopping thing (which has been a bit of an issue for me for the whole series), but really, talk about being punched in the stomach by a story.
I can't even review it right now because I'd end up spoiling the whole thing for you.
Not my favorite of the series, because... spoiler... but, really, the story couldn't have gone any other way.
I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment. ...more
Expected Release Date: December 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: GranThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceacholic.
Expected Release Date: December 1, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Imprint: Forever Author’s Website: http://larissaione.com/ My Source for This Book: Won in a contest/Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Lords of Deliverance (a spin-off of the Demonica series) Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
I was so incredibly torn with this book when trying to come up with a final rating. On one hand, it’s a favorite series of mine, so of course the underlying plot grabbed my by the privates and wouldn’t let me go. I also enjoyed Limos with all of her different faces — innocent, loving and loyal sister, warrior, liar, manipulator, and woman. Erik was wonderful as well, with not only his strength in refusing to break under torture but also his desire for revenge, and how he came to care for Limos despite his disappointment and anger with her. Then of course, there’s the byplay with Reaver and Harvester (and c’mon, I can’t be the only sick puppy who sincerely hopes they end up together in the end, can I?), and Reseph/Pestilence and the possibly futile hope that there may be a way to bring him back. The delicious sexual tension between two other characters was deliciously hot, and there was plenty of angst to be had.
On the other hand, there was the rape of a major character (though to be fair some readers may feel it was more of a case of “dubious consent”) — something that I truly want to rant about for several paragraphs but cannot without giving away spoilers. There was very little chemistry and sexual tension between Limos and Erik until the very end of the story. There was so much gore and horror and action and torture that I found myself becoming bored with major injuries instead of sympathetic or concerned for the characters in question.
So in the end, this was not a 5-star book for me, no matter how much I adore the series as a whole and am in love with Ms. Ione’s writing style and world-building. However, so much of the book’s positive points are a large collection of small things that I cannot mention them all without actually retelling the story or giving major spoilers. While it may, at first glance, appear that there are more negative points in my review than positive, that’s certainly not the case. The book absolutely sucked me in, chewed me up, and spit me out, leaving me begging for more. Despite any misgivings I may have had about a few points in this story, I am already anxiously awaiting the sequel, Lethal Rider, due out in late spring of 2012.
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: RaThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Random House Publishing Imprint: Ballantine Books Author’s Website: http://christyreece.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 7, Last Chance Rescue series Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Five years ago, Honor Stone, a new addition to the FBI, falls into a blazing affair with the incredibly sexy and slightly dangerous ex-cop Seth Cavanaugh. When Seth's own dirty dealings catch up with him, he's accused of murder, and Honor's own career could suffer greatly by their association. Allowing Honor to think that what they had together was purely sex, he cruelly breaks off their relationship and walks out of her life without looking back -- or so it seems.
Now, finally able to have some semblance of a normal life, Seth is stunned to discover that his niece is missing, and that there could be a possible link to disappearances from all over the country. Desperate to find her, he solicits the services of Last Chance Rescue -- an under-the-radar organization that specializes in solving missing persons cases that the FBI are baffled by.
Forced to work together, Honor and Seth are both determined to keep things purely business, but neither can ignore both the passion and hurt that crackles between them. No matter his reasons for walking away from Honor in the past, Seth vows that nothing will ever separate them again. When Honor is taken by the maniac behind the kidnappings, however, nothing will ever be the same...
Overall, this one was really good. The angst created by Seth's deception and defection five years prior adds a delicious amount of emotion to the story, and the race against time to stop an evil kidnapper lends quite a bit of pulse-pounding action.
I liked both Honor and Seth quite a bit, and while I was just as angry at Seth's behavior as Honor was, I greatly approved of the pacing of both their reconciliation and the development of the case.
While there were a few scenes that were difficult for me to read, I have to admit that the illustration of the abuse that the kidnapping victims suffered definitely helped to reinforce the evil and insanity behind the kidnapper.
Recommended for fans of estranged lovers, crazed villains, and of reuniting with the only person you could possibly love.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: EntanglThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://rosalielario.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, DEMONS OF INFERNUM Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Brynn Meyers has always known that she's different. Able to read an object's history just by touching it, and to defend herself by draining energy from others through touch, she has tried to live quietly and has established an art gallery using the money left to her after her parents' death. Her quiet life is shattered, one day, when a drop-dead gorgeous Keegan enters her gallery and knocks her out before kidnapping her. Waking in a strange room, she's horrified to discover that her powers don't work on him.
Keegan is a demon. However, demons are not inherently evil, nor do they all conform to the physical characteristics that humans have liked to categorize them with. Instead, demons are merely creatures from other dimensions, and just like humans, span a wide spectrum of good vs evil.
Desperate to shake off the legacy of hatred and pain that his father attempted to bestow on him and his three half-brothers, Keegan will do anything to prevent Mammon from succeeding in his latest plan to unearth the Book of the Dead. Capable of raising massive armies of the deceased, the Book of the Dead can only be wielded by an ancestor of the ancient Egyptian priest who created it.
Unfortunately for Brynn, she is the only living ancestor, and therefore the one human that Mammon will do anything to control. Knowing his duty is to protect Brynn from Mammon if possible, Keegan and his brothers have also sworn to execute her if necessary to keep the world safe. But when Keegan begins to fall for Brynn, he will have to learn to embrace the darker, deadlier side of him that he's tried so hard to suppress.
I admit, the first few chapters seemed to be missing something. I never was quite able to put my finger on it, but I'm very happy to say that as the story progressed, things either righted themselves or I merely stopped noticing, because this shaped up to be an absolutely incredible introduction into the Demons of Infernum series.
Keegan and his brothers are all smokin' hot, and I really enjoyed the whole Big Brother Protector vibe that Keegan had throughout the story. There's just something about a broody alpha male that makes me all mushy for some reason. *dreamy sigh*
While I wish that Brynn's cool "power draining" ability had come into greater play, I admit that I enjoyed her character as a whole, despite her tendency to be a wee bit pigheaded. Having been able to protect herself for her entire life, it was rather understandable that she would on occasion ignore some of the danger she was in, simply because she's not used to truly being vulnerable.
The love scenes were deliciously intense, and the whole "forbidden romance" aspect helped to ratchet up the tension admirably.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, and think it's going to make a hell of a series (pun intended) ;) 4/5 Stars ...more
Expected Release Date: November 15, 2011 (Paperback) Publisher: HarleqThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: November 15, 2011 (Paperback) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Nocturne Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4, Royal House of Shadows Continuity Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Twenty years ago, the evil Blood Sorcerer attacked the Kingdom of Elden. Before their death, the King and the Queen used their magic on their four children — the Queen to send them each to the far reaches of the world to protect them, and the King to bury within them each the deep desire to avenge them.
But the Blood Sorcerer corrupted the magic, and Micah, the youngest of the Elden heirs, was cast to the edge of the Abyss, with no memory of his previous life. Awaking in the basement of the Guardian’s castle, he took over the mantle of Guardian, becoming the last bastion between the world and the evil creatures spending their afterlife in the torture and agony of the Abyss.
Lilliana is the hated daughter of the Blood Sorcerer. Abused and tortured since her birth, she refuses to be broken. In a final rebellion against her father, she uses her own blood magic to transport herself to Micah’s location — only a miscalculation on her end results in her landing, not safely at the edge of the village near the castle, but smack in the middle of the Guardian’s throne room.
Daring to meet his eye — something no one else would dare to do — Liliana immediately captures the Guardian’s interest. Bemused, intrigued, and annoyed at this homely little woman who dares to stand up to him, Micah cannot help but be drawn to Liliana.
Her mission is to help Micah to remember his past and his family, because she knows that he is the only one who will be able to save teh Kingdom of Elden once and for all — and time is very quickly running out.
While it wasn’t as apparent in this novel as it was in some of the others of the series as to which fairy tale the story was influenced by, I think Ms. Singh did a beautiful job of weaving in moments and hints of the Beauty and the Beast legend into her own story. The fact that she was able to do so without being obvious that this was a classical story re-imagined was even more impressive.
While I wasn’t at all happy with the ending, regardless of how exciting and satisfying the HEA may have been, and I had a hard time believing Liliana wouldn’t be a whimpering pile of mush rocking back and forth in the corner after the childhood she’d had, I still feel that this was by far the strongest entry into the series. Micah and Liliana’s relationship was beautifully paced, and the secondary characters added so much richness to the novel that I literally couldn’t put it down.
Recommended for fans of plain, abused heroines who use their inner strength to confront their oppressors, of amnesiac alpha heroes whose loyalty, devotion, and honor lead them on to great things, and of beautiful romances sprinkled with a bit of heat.
A solid 4.5/5 Stars
*Note, the edition that I received also contained Nalini Singh’s story, Desert Warrior. I will be reviewing that title separately due to its receiving a different rating from me. ...more
As much as I enjoy fangirling all over Nina Croft, this one just didn't do it for me.
The Heroine's been horribly physically and mentally abused for mAs much as I enjoy fangirling all over Nina Croft, this one just didn't do it for me.
The Heroine's been horribly physically and mentally abused for many many years, kept naked and humiliated (though never sexually assaulted because she has to remain a virgin for the title prophecy to come true), and the only experience she has with sex is watching demons brutally rape and murder women in front of her. She's not only resigned to die, but actually desperate for death.
And then she enthusiastically shags the hero within, oh, an hour of meeting him.
Plus there's the whole forced nudity thing that is of course my pet peeve in romance.
The love scene was hot (despite the sound of my scoffing due to her unrealistic enthusiasm as mentioned above), plot was interesting, and the action sequence was properly brutal and fun.
I love Anne Stuart's novels with a fierceness, so I knew I'd have to read her paranormal romances under the penI'm so, so disappointed with this one.
I love Anne Stuart's novels with a fierceness, so I knew I'd have to read her paranormal romances under the pen name Kristina Douglas. I'd read Raziel, and enjoyed it, but this one? *sigh*
There was such potential, but it just fell flat. There was the enemies to lovers thing, the angst of amnesia and possibly a misunderstood demon heroine, and of course, the trademark Big Betrayal by the hero.
But.... (view spoiler)[Rachel got over everything insanely fast. She forgives one of the cruelest betrayals imaginable with barely an apology from her betrayer, emotionally gets over horrific physical torture in a matter of a few short weeks, agrees to what amounts arranged marriage (that must not only be consummated but requires her sharing her blood), and then in a matter of moments gets past two deeply ingrained phobias (one sexual, one physical). It got to the point that I was beginning to think that Rachel had been a virgin secretary from a Harlequin Presents novel in a previous life rather than a tortured demoness, because she constantly was so in lust with the total asshat of a hero that she let him get away with anything so long as it meant she had access to the glorious peen. (hide spoiler)]
So in the end? Decent, but disappointing. 3/5 Stars
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A AThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 13, 2011 Publisher: Carina Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.lillycain.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, The Confederacy Treaty Series Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
The people of Earth have recently discovered that they are not alone in the universe, and are in the process of forming a treaty with an alliance of worlds that will hopefully be beneficial to all parties involved. During the peace talks, Captain Susan Branscombe was captured and brutally tortured by terrorists, and the information that she gave them was used to orchestrate an attack on the peace talks. Now rescued, Susan has come under suspicion of treason, and is to be given over to the Inarri for interrogation.
The Inarri are physically similar to humans, with the exception of nerve pathways all over their bodies that resemble henna tattoos. They also have what we would consider to be psychic powers — they are able to communicate telepathically amongst their own race, and by utilizing touch, are able to probe the minds of humans as well. Amongst their own people, the Inarri also use touch and sexuality as a way of comforting each other, and are much more uninhibited (and some might say, promiscuous) than their human counterparts.
Asler is the Examiner assigned to the case, and it is his duty to relive Sue’s torture with her in her mind in order to gain the truth. He is not at all anticipating the process, however. He knows that being forced to relive her torture might just break her, and while he knows what he has to do for the good of his people and the future treaty, he’s not a cruel man who would take pleasure in hurting her. Unfortunately, neither of them has a choice in the matter, and Susan is soon taken to the Inarri ship for interrogation.
This book had one of my favorite premises — one of the main characters was severely physically injured. I also loved the psychic elements, and Susan’s own potential with it. The sensuality was delicious without being PWP, and as always, I loved the political machinations that they had to deal with.
Since forced nudity is so squicky to me, it did lose an entire star from the final rating, despite the fact that Sue stopped caring about her embarrassment in a very short amount of time. Readers who are not bothered by or enjoy this type of thing will likely rate it much higher. Recommended for fans of heroines with a traumatic past, psychic bonding, and political machinations, all with a healthy splash of delicious sensuality. 3.5/5 Stars...more
Expected Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Hachette Imprint: Grand CentThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Hachette Imprint: Grand Central Publishing Author’s Website: sherrilynkenyon.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, The League Series Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the series in order. Steam Level: Steamy
I'm devastated. Simply devastated. I have been anxiously awaiting this book since before it was actually written. Darling is one of my absolute favorite characters in the League Series, and I had such high hopes for his book.
Let me start off by saying that my disappointment is not based on the fact that Darling is actually heterosexual. While I admit I was very annoyed by that revelation in the epilogue of the last book, and in the blurb for this one, I've had a long time to get used to the idea, so that wasn't even a negative point for me. (Besides, it appears there are plans to unite Maris and Ture in their own novel, which makes up for any allegations that may or may not have been thrown around about Ms. Kenyon "selling-out" with making Darling "straight".)
Instead, it was the torture. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good tortured protagonist! I possess a very high degree of schadenfreude when it comes to fictional characters, and I admit that I just love seeing them suffer at the hands of others. Brutal physical torture? Horrific personal betrayal? Terrible childhood? Abuse that leave the protagonist scarred and suffering? I eat those things up with a spoon when it comes to my favorite protagonists! Beat 'em, rape 'em, lull them into a false sense of security and then rip the rug out from under them with heartless betrayal, leave them permanently scarred both physically and emotionally -- I love it all!
This book, however, crossed that line from using a horrific past and terrible suffering to make a character sympathetic and to illustrate inner strength and what-not, and instead delved into torture for titillation -- "torture porn" as some people call it -- once it crosses that line it's impossible to come back. Nobody, and I mean nobody could have survived what Darling suffered in the early chapters of this book, and the very weak explanation of how he did so that was thrown in towards the end did nothing towards making me believe it was anything other than ridiculous that he was still alive long enough to be rescued. Then on top of the horrific torture in the beginning, we're informed of all of the other abuses, rapes, attacks, indignities, humiliations, and betrayals he's suffered over the course of his life. It got to the point where I'd skim over any new "revelation" of something bad that he'd gone through.
There were so many things I couldn't stand in this book, from pet peeve tropes (forced nudity, overuse of certain terms, GaryStu syndrome), to continuity errors, long-winded dialogue, unrealistic physical fortitude, torture for titillation, and what felt like last-minute character developments thrown in to explain things done earlier. I'm so horribly disappointed, and honestly, I had to force myself to finish this, which has never happened with a Kenyon book, not even Retribution, which was only a 3.5 for me.
To be completely honest, this is very likely my last Kenyon novel, at least unless I get future ones for free from the library.*
*That's a big fat lie -- Hauk's book is next, and I know very well I'm going to end up pre-ordering it no matter how bad this one was. But still.
The League Series Reading Order: Born of Night Born of Fire Born of Ice Fire & Ice (Novella, in the In Other Worlds Anthology) Born of Shadows Born of Silence ...more
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: PenguThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: September 6, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Penguin Imprint: Berkley Sensation Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon Part of a Series: Yes, Spinoff of Guild Hunter’s series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
When Archangel Raphael is away, the mice will play…. Someone is not only killing vampires in New York, but they’re taunting Raphael’s right hand man by dropping them in the heart of Raphael’s territory.
Cunning, vicious, and loyal to the bone, Dmitri will not stand for the threat to Raphael’s rule, and vows to find the beings behind these attacks — and make them wish they’d never been born.
Utilizing Guild skill sets, Dmitri partners with Honor, a woman who was been raped and tortured at the hands of vampires for a very long time. Desperate to keep Dmitri at arm’s length, she is blindsided by his ability to understand that what she needs is not coddling, but revenge on those who hurt her.
Together, they use Honor’s hunter skills and Dmitri’s pitiless cruelty to unravel the secrets behind not only the vampire murders in New York, but also the conspiracy that led to Honor’s torture.
I am very likely going to be skinned alive for this, but, I didn’t really like this one.
I know, I know, I’m usually so over-the-top giddy after reading one of Singh’s creations, and I’ve even had this book featured on my Waiting On Wednesday spot several weeks ago. However, I just didn’t feel as though it lived up to the hype.
The casual violence, instead of reinforcing how intense and scary and intimidating and whatever Dmitri was supposed to be, actually became rather boring and repetitive. Perhaps it’s because he’s so similar to Raphael from the original Guild Hunter novels, but I didn’t get the feeling that he was dark and scary because he was a sympathetic character, but more that he was just a bit of, well, an asshat.
There was also my feelings about the ending — not only did it feel quite rushed, but it also felt very much like a cop-out.
Overall, while I hate to say it, this one just did not live up to my expectations from Ms. Singh. She has such a talent for dark and dangerous heroes, but I think Dmitri was just too similar to Raphael to feel as though I were reading something new.
Another typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as welAnother typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as well as pretty much every hero from the "Born In" series under the Kenyon name, and so forth.
Did that stop me from enjoying it? Of course not lol I'm a Kenyon/Macgregor/etc. fangirl, so of course I eat that crap up with a spoon ;) It can get overwhelming if you've decided to glom her writing though, so I find they're better read with a few other books in between.
What worked for me: *I actually went back and forth on whether this was a pro or con for me, and settled on pro -- I like how our heroine didn't really fight the marriage to Sin past the inital "WTF you can't tell me who I have to marry!" reaction *Two words: Virgin Hero :D *This was a heavy book, what with all of the mess Sin had gone through, but it had a lot of hidden humor that rather took me by surprise
What didn't work for me: *Did NOT like the epilogue -- I found it hard to believe and just too bloody "tidy" for my tastes.
Overall? A very angsty read with a lot of references to lifelong rejection and abuse, but with a sweet love story and just enough "intrigue" to keep things interesting. Solid 4 Stars...more
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to reWell color me disappointed. :(
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to reading his story. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short in my opinion. The twist, while surprising, was a bit contrived (even moreso that "the man" in The Lover), and again the technical jargon during sex was a put-off for me. I don't know if it bothered me more in this book because it was more prolific, or if it was merely my getting bogged down from it having read three Robin Schone books in a row.
What worked for me: *Oooh the twist as to why Gabriel hated Michael *falls over* Even though it falls under the "contrived" description I mentioned above, it was still a "Say what??" moment, in a good way.
*The concept -- gutter born bastard who's been raped and abused and prostituted all his life to the point that he hasn't touched another human being in over a decade falls for a spinster governess who's fallen on such desperate times that she's auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder. Would've been better had they not had the whole "second man orchestrating everything solely to ruin his life just because of the mess that went down in the first novel with Michael", but hey, I'm not all THAT picky
*How Victoria refused to give up on Gabriel, and how Gabriel longed to find a woman who would accept him for what he was, good and bad, light and dark, and make all that he'd suffered worthwile *swoon*
*Unlike other reviewers, I DID feel that there was love between Gabriel and Victoria. I admit it wasn't the sappy, besotted kind, but was instead the I-don't-WANT-to-love-you type, but still, I felt the love :)
*Still got that issue with the servants I mentioned in my last review, but not NEARLY to the point of the other novels, so I'm counting that as a favorable point :)
What didn't work for me: *Sex reading like a technical manual. Again. All this talk of vaginas and clitorises (clitori?), and vuvlas and penises and so forth are just flat out not sexy.
*I swear, if she'd referred to the electrical lights as "blinding", or the flyaway hairs on Gabriel's head as "areola" ONE MORE BLOODY TIME, this book would've been in the DNF category rather than read. It's called a thesaurus. Use it.
*The buttsecks made me laugh. I don't think buttsecks is supposed to be funny, but I'm not kidding you, it wasn't until almost a chapter after everyone was done orgasming that I was actually certain that buttsecks had even occurred. I mean, yeah, I knew they'd scrumped, but for an author who's so determined to use the word "vagina" in every third paragraph, you'd think she could've made it a little more clear of what was actually going on. Though, I suppose on further reflection, the absence of the word "vagina" should've been enough to confirm that it was, in fact, buttsecks.
*What the hell is up with the modiste? Just. Really. And forcing Victoria to be naked all the time, from the first undressing to the appointment with the modiste, to the being clad only in a towel while Gaston was in there, to the final twisty bit of being spied on during sex with Gabriel. I swear I was starting to think this was a Jaid Black novel or something. Oi.
You HAVE to read the first book in the series or you won't know wtf is going on. This is more like "Part II" of The Lover rather than a standalone sequel.
So, not to the standard of her other books that I've read, but not quite a wall-banger. 3 Stars...more
Holy cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy litHoly cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy little package.
What worked for me: *Male prostitute hero and a spinster heroine. Oh yeah, I'm a sucker for stuff like that *I would liken Michel/Michael to an Anne Stuart hero -- tortured, earthy, at times very cruel, while at the same time both resistant and deliciously befuddled by the feelings elicited by the heroine. I was especially reminded of an AS hero by the hatpin bit. *Gabriel. Oh my word. I'm reading his story next, and I hope it lives up to my expectations because WOWZA is he a tortured man or WHAT? *The sex. Holeeshizz there was some hot loving in this book! *The murder mystery. I can honestly say the whole bit with "the man" was very intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story, and I didn't even guess the twist until it was revealed.
What didn't work for me: *Technical language is a turn-off for me in erotica/romance. Vagina, clitoris, penis, and so forth get old after a while. Not saying that it should be all "purple-headed warriors" and "quivering mounds of love pudding" or anything (10 points to anyone who gets the reference on that btw), but still, I tend to go for euphemisms in general with a light sprinkling of technical/crude speak *One trend I'm noticing with her books is a tendency to have the servants be two-faced and easily bribed, to the great detriment of the main characters. While I'm sure this is quite accurate historically, it's still depressing as hell to think you're not even safe from the people you live with. *The gore, specifically in descriptions about Michael's childhood. Seriously y'all, don't read that chapter while eating *gag* *The banana. All I could think was "wow, that's an infection just WAITING to happen!" LOL
Other minor points of note: *There's a tiny bit of backdoor luvin, but with hands only and a bit of talk about the possibility of more. *There is a lot of talk of child abuse, child molestation and child prostitutes (by modern definitions). The point is made in the book that back then, the age of consent was 13, but that doesn't lessen what actually happened.
Overall, I really liked it. Be warned this is NOT a straight-up erotica story. It's very dark, very earthy, and very angsty, but overall, I'm going to have to say 4 Stars....more