Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fantasy Fix by Christine Warren

Friends fix you up with blind dates. Real friends fix you up with your fantasies...

Regina just ended an awful relationship. The last thing she needs is her friends' help in finding a new one. When they pressure her into sharing her fantasies, she makes up one she thinks could never come true. After all, vampires don't even exist. Right?

Wrong. And Dmitri Vidame is the proof. He sees Regina's thoughts and knows her darkest fantasies. What Regina needs is someone who bring handcuffs as well as roses and who sees the possibilities offered by her sensual and giving nature.

With all the electricity sparking between them, and some sneaky mental eavesdropping, Dmitri knows she wants him, too. He just doesn't know if she'll feel the same once she finds out about his nocturnal habits and his liquid diet...

Note: This story has been expanded into the novel One Bite With A Stranger.

**Warning - this review contains spoilers**

I first read this one years ago, probably around the time it first came out in 2003, and it's always been one of my favorites. And this review relates to that original version, which I still have in PDF form.

The author creates a wonderful intensity of attraction and emotion between Regina and Dimitri that sizzles off the screen. The pacing of the story is good, with things between them progressing slowly but steadily, until suddenly on their third "date" he tells her what he is, and instead of freaking out like most women would she just...accepts it. And immediately wants him to turn her too. Because she's madly in love with him already and wants to celebrate their 500th anniversary together. After not having known him for even a week, and only having spent two nights with him then not hearing anything from him for days. Everything gets wrapped up incredibly quickly in the last chapter or two, detracting a bit from the work as a whole. Still, a wonderful book, and one I would highly recommend to anyone that's into paranormal romances that include a whole lot of sex.

Friday, February 24, 2012

In the Service of the King by Laura Kaye

Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires, loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn't enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate centuries ago. Kael doesn't want a new companion, yet his resolve is tested when he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon. He is drawn to Shayla's beauty and poise...and the submission she offers. She is eager to give him anything he wishes, including her innocence, to please him. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire—even if it means risking Shayla's life?

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**Warning - this review contains mild to moderate spoilers**

To call this book steamy is a bit of an understatement, though to my mind at least, it stops short of being full out erotica. This is primarily because while there is some very hot sex in here, the heat comes as much or more from the force of Shayla and Kael's attraction to one another. The sexual tension between them ignites practically from their first glimpse of one another, and only continues to grow, with the eventual consummation of their passion only stoking the flames into an inferno.

Flip That Haunted House by Rose Pressey

Alabama Hargrove has a new, sure-fire, money-making scheme up her sleeve: house flipper. So what if she knows zilch about renovating homes--how hard can it be?

Tougher than she thought when she discovers ghosts inhabiting the run-down mansion and the corpse of the previous owner. Oh yeah, and now the local sheriff thinks Alabama is the killer.

Holy house rehab, what's next? Reed O'Hara, the sexy know-it-all next door neighbor that's what. Alabama is hell-bent on proving she can handle the fixer-upper. Plus, unravel the mystery and find the killer. But if she's not careful, she may end up in the house forever…

Where to Buy

This book starts off with an interesting premise, namely, a gal buying an old haunted house that she intends to flip as one of her latest money-making schemes. Add in a hunky next-door neighbor that practically has her fanning herself in true Southern Belle fashion after just one look, and those two things alone could have made for a cute and interesting story. A short ways into it, however, Alabama becomes an almost-witness to a murder, and the whole thing becomes more of a murder mystery from then on. With this addition, the whole thing becomes slightly confused with various happenings related to the murder and the stalker that Alabama seems to have acquired interspersed with bits about the house and her odd relationship, if you can call it that, with Reed (the hunky next-door neighbor).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mastering Marissa by Cyna Kade

Mastering MarissaMastering Marissa by Cyna Kade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful story that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster. The author does a wonderful job of pulling you into the story to the point that you can feel Marissa's anger, fear, and frustration as she tries to come to grips with the customs and culture of Darinth. It seems almost excessively cruel in some ways the way that Kytar tricks her first into accepting him as an escort, which leads to him binding her, and then into accepting his collar, withholding key information from her all along so that she acts without really understanding what she's agreeing to or what the consequences will be. It is true, however, that she refuses to believe him when he does try to explain things to her, so perhaps his deceptions are a bit more forgivable.

On the negative side, Marissa ends up turning the corner from defiance to submission fairly suddenly and unexpectedly, her change of heart coming a bit sooner than one would have expected. By that point, however, things had reached the stage where something had to give one way or another - either she had to decide to stop fighting so hard and work to accept and submit, or there was a very real chance that the training would have ended up breaking her. Still, things could have gone on just a bit longer, and the change of heart could have happened a little more gradually so that it wasn't quite as jarring to the flow that had been established. The author's skill at bringing the emotions of the situation alive so vividly well overcomes these few negatives, however, and the story deserves the full five stars as being one of the best in it's class.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan

From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.

Where to Buy

** Warning - this review contains mild (or not so mild) spoilers. **

In many ways, this final volume in the Drake Sisters series is all that you could ask for to tie up a set of books and storylines that have been a magical, heartwarming, and danger-filled ride by turns. By the end of it, all of the sisters have found and committed to their men, most all of the bad guys have been dealt with in one way or another (though perhaps one or two have slipped through the cracks here and there, it's hard to tell), and all of the various storylines are concluded and wrapped up with a big "And they all lived happily ever after" bow. And yet, I at least couldn't help being more than a bit disappointed in some ways at how Ms. Feehan chose to wrap up the series and present Elle and Jackson's story.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Turbulent Sea by Chrisine Feehan

The star: Joley Drake was born with a legacy of unexpected magical gifts, but it was the gift of singing that made her an overnight sensation—a rock and roll goddess trapped by fame, fortune, and ambition. Heated by the flush of success, Joley could have any man she wanted. But there’s only man who can give her what she really needs.

The bodyguard: Ilya Prakenskii, cool, inscrutable, dangerously sexy, and working in the shadow of his infamous reputation—that of a secret Russian hit man on the payroll of a notorious mobster. He’s the last man Joley should get close to, yet when her life is threatened on tour she has nowhere left to turn. But in the seductive safe keep of Ilya’s embrace, is Joley really as secure as she imagines?

Where to Buy

This volume of the Drake Sisters series is definitely a page turner (or button clicker as the case may be). Full of action, suspense, mystery, and scorching hot romance and sex, it is probably one of the most difficult-to-put-down books in the series. The tension level remains high throughout, and there is never a dull moment it seems, with even the occasional down times being fraught with tension and danger. While they may not always or even often be the primary force behind it, Joley and Ilya are right in the heart of the maelstrom most of the time, and their clashes when they come together are just as violent in their own way as the bloodier dangers that surround them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Colters' Wife" by Maya Banks

This was originally a free ebook from Maya Banks Website.

Colters’ Wife is an extended epilogue that picks up just a few months from where Colters' Woman left off. Revisit the Colter family just in time for the birth of their first child.

Where to Buy

An ok story, but if you haven't read what comes before it, it's rather like opening a book to read a chapter somewhere toward the end - it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense. Certainly the immediate situation is easy enough to understand, but it's hard to relate to the characters here if you haven't read about them and gotten to know them already. Definitely read the first book before reading this...I wish I had.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Discovering Sofia" by Mel Teshco

Discovering SofiaDiscovering Sofia by Mel Teshco
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I guess I have too much trouble suspending disbelief with this one, because I just couldn't buy it that a woman as supposedly self-doubting and inhibited as Sofia is supposed to be would suddenly out of nowhere decide to stop and pick up a hitchhiker, and then go to a motel and do him in the parking lot where anyone who cared to could see them. It just doesn't really jive with me - it's too abrupt. And the sex wasn't even all that hot. But then maybe I'm just being overly critical, since this short-short kind of story by nature doesn't leave much room for developing a story or characters very much. Still, others have done a better job in the same amount of space I think.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Sporting Wood" by Cindy Spencer Pape

Sporting Wood (Naughty Nooners)Sporting Wood by Cindy Spencer Pape
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute story. Thin on characterization, as these type of short stories tend to be, but the characters are given enough personality and individuality to make them more than just sterotypes. The sex is good, but not as sizzling as some. A worthwhile quick read if you're just looking to kill a half hour or so with something steamy.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan

One of seven daughters in a line of extraordinary women, Hannah Drake has been the elusive object of affection for Jonas Harrington for as long as the rugged sheriff can remember. If only the stunning supermodel was driven by a passion other than her career. But Jonas isn t the only one with desires for Hannah.

From the shadows has emerged a vengeful figure who stalks the beauty with one terrifying purpose: to strip her of all she is and destroy her. Only one man was destined as her protector. Now, out of a storm of danger, Jonas must guide the woman he loves from a sinister darkness that threatens not only Hannah, but the entire Drake family.

Where to Buy

Suspense and romance meld together well in this novel. The who-done-it-and-why questions are handled in a way that keep the reader guessing, suspecting, but never quite knowing the answers until they are revealed. With enough intrigue and special ops stuff to satisfy those who like such things, as well as enough sizzle and heat between Jonas and Hannah to satisfy those looking for romance and steam, this entry in the Drake Sisters series is a satisfying one. We also get to learn more about some of the characters that have been seen in previous books, and the stage is well set for the next volume in the series by the time the book is done.