Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

Where to Buy

An engaging tale of a young woman who's been dealt one hell of a crap hand in life who nevertheless makes the best of things and refuses to be beaten down. Set in a rich fantasy world, the story is reminiscent in tone of many different classic fantasy tales. The story of Yelena's life as the Food Taster and the various plots and schemes that she becomes caught up in, usually by accident, take center stage here and weave a tale that will keep you eagerly turning pages, and a touch of light romance is thrown in toward the end to put a bit of frosting on the cake.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Mirrored Gate by Somerset McCoy

A Saturday shopping trip changes Alice's life forever, as she stumbles upon the gateway to a faerie otherworld in a department store mirror. Lost and alone in a place where dark forces are taking control, she must place her trust in the only one willing to help her, and join the fight against a phantom queen who wants to steal both of their hearts. Literally.

Where to Buy

Note: I received a free copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A cute story spun from equal parts fantasy, light romance, and whimsy. Patterned after Alice in Wonderland, it is still quite unique, for this "wonderland" is really a part of the Faerie realm that is a sort of mirror imaged version of London. Many familiar characters can be seen throughout, but they get blended with figures from Irish/Celtic folklore regarding the Fair Folk, and the end result is something that really only makes respectful, playful nods at the original tale then proceeds to go its own way.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stranger in My Arms by Lisa Kleypas

“Lady Hawksworth, your husband is not dead.”

With those words, Lara’s life turned upside down. Hunter, Earl of Hawksworth, had been lost at sea. Or so she’d been told. Their unhappy marriage – with its cold caresses and passionless kisses – was over. But now a powerful, virile man stood before her, telling secrets only a husband could know, and vowing she would once again be his wife in every way. While Lara couldn’t deny that this man with the smoldering dark eyes resembled Hunter, he was attentive and loving in ways he never was before. Soon she desperately wanted to believe, with every beat of her heart, that this stranger was truly her husband. But had this rake reformed – or was Lara being seduced by a cunning stranger?

Where to Buy

A sweet romance wrapped around a mystery that will keep you guessing until nearly the end. Just when you think you've figured out the main question of "Is this man really Hunter Crossland, the Earl of Hawksworth?" something will comes up that makes you change your mind or at least start to doubt your answer. And then later something else comes up that makes you questions it again. By the time the answer is finally revealed, you're so caught up in the characters that you don't really care what the truth is, for it seems somewhat irrelevant by that point.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Twice as Irresistible by Annalynne Russo

Fresh out of NYU’s School of Journalism, Savannah Blake is hungry for a story to catapult her career as a serious news reporter. She’ll do whatever it takes to get the scoop, even if it means sleeping with the enemy.

Vampire fledgling Bobby DuBois recently relocated to the Big Apple from the Louisiana Bayou. Taking a job as a bartender at The Crypt, a bar crawling with creatures of the night, he tries to stay under the radar. The task, however, is made difficult by a smart-talking blonde with killer legs and a million-dollar smile. Savannah struts up to the bar fishing for information on his boss, Andreas Kristopolous, the notorious leader of New York City’s vampire coven.

For the life of him, Bobby can’t figure out why the beautiful snitch looks so damn familiar. By the time the mystery is solved, it’s too late. He’s already addicted.

Where to Buy

A hot little short story. Obviously is mostly meant to serve as a teaser for the series, as there is just enough info about the world and background to make you curious without really telling you a lot about them. Savannah and Bobby make a hot couple though, even if only for the night (so far). Would have liked to have seen a bit more of the bedroom action between them, but what there was was pretty hot. Recommended for vampire lovers, or anyone who likes a steamy little short story.

Xombie: Volume One by Brody Sommers

XOMBIE Volume OneXOMBIE Volume One by Brody Sommers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting take on zombies, with a bit of kink thrown in to add spice. Of course, when you're talking zombies in an erotic short story, how could there not be a bit of kink involved? These aren't the typical horror movie half-rotted corpse type zombie though, or at least the one (two?) we see aren't. Their exact nature is never fully explained aside from a general description of how they came to be and some hints that the physical symptoms/manifestions of the infection vary depending on several factors. A great many of them are apparently not much different from normal people aside from odd grey eyes and some interesting temperature extremes in their bodies. The temperature difference between surface skin and extremities being ice cold to the core of the body being feverishly hot become significant in the main sex scene of the book and makes for some pretty smoking hot sex. The author really does a good job of making you imagine how the temperature difference would feel when...involved...with a xombie.

Aside from the sex, the story is intriguing and well written, though not enough information is given to know what sort of situation the narrator is getting himself into really with the new job offer from his friend Mitch. We're given constant reassurances that the guy trusts Mitch implicitly and doesn't believe he'd trick him into getting involved with something bad, but Mitch is evasive enough with his answers and just generally acting kind of strange that you're not really sure if it's safe to trust him. Hopefully the subtitle of "Volume One" means there will be a follow-up story at some point that will explain more. While I'm not generally all that into reading zombie stuff, this one has me intrigued enough that I'd read a sequel to it to find out more about what's going on in this world and with the company that Mitch works for in particular. Zombie fans will like this one, but fans of the paranormal or of unusual sorts of erotica would probably like it as well.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stacking the Deck by Xavier Edwards

A game of cards sounds like the perfect way to get things going for a night of fun for Yumi and Lucas — that is, until the green-eyed monster that’s been hovering over Yumi’s shoulder takes over.

Even after all the effort she’s gone to in order to ensure the decks are stacked and the night ends the way she wants it, it isn’t going her way and their fortunes hang in the turn of the cards.

Where to Buy

A hot little story about a woman that uses a card game to ease into a night of sex with her boyfriend, as well as to clear the air about some issues that had been hanging between them. As someone that doesn't play cards a lot, and isn't familiar with the games they were playing, the action was often somewhat confusing as the references to the tricks and whatnot didn't always make a lot of sense to me and made it hard to understand why she got upset when she did at the beginning when things weren't playing out how she wanted them to. Understanding the card game was hardly the point of this story, however, and the rest of it was mostly easy enough to follow. The way things started heating up as the night progressed and they were each wearing less and less clothing made for some nice extended foreplay. Despite the moments of confusion, the author's writing still pulled me into the story and had me warming up right along with his characters and made for a very enjoyable half hour of reading. I felt that the last little bit in it about a different card game on a different night wasn't really necessary, but it was short enough to not detract too much from the main part of the story (aside from again confusing me with explanation of the rather complicated rules they'd be playing under). Overall, a good 3 ½ star read that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a quick, hot short story.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hyde: an Urban Fantasy by Lauren Stewart

To survive, they must embrace what they most despise . . . in themselves and each other.

Mitch Turner is everything women want most in a man—charismatic, successful, drop-dead gorgeous. Except he’s not a man—he’s a monster.

The only way Mitch can protect others from his monstrous side is to stop them from getting too close…that and a 7x7 foot cage. Isolated by his genetic curse, he spends his life hurting people emotionally, driving them away before Hyde can harm them physically. But, after a night of the best sex Mitch has ever had, he realizes that might be impossible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn’t remember any of it.

Eden Colfax is everything men want most, men other than Mitch, that is. She’s kind, honest to a fault and sickeningly sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn’t lie, doesn’t curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers’ beds…until the day she does.

Then the flashbacks start—places she’s never been, people she’s never met, blood she’s never spilled. She discovers she’s split into two parts—the woman she thought she knew and another who is capable of anything. And the only person with any answers is the one man she never wants to see again.

What neither of them know is that someone is watching them both, manipulating them, determined to see just how evil the two of them really are. And when the truth begins to seep through the cracks, leaving them nowhere to turn but each other, they will be forced into a partnership neither had expected.

Because in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can’t even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on Earth you should be falling for.

Where to Buy

*Warning, contains possible mild spoilers*

I have to admit that I've never read the story of Jekyl and Hyde, though like most I am aware of the basic story. While having read it might have added to the experience of reading this book, it certainly wasn't necessary, for it was perfectly easy to grasp what was going on with Mitch and Eden without that background of the other book. At least, the fact that they change is easy to grasp, the why of it, not so much, for that's a point that remains vague throughout, hopefully to be answered in a sequel at some point.

Bound by Night by Naomi Clark

Fleeing her arranged marriage, Adeline seeks sanctuary in Geistheim Abbey. Within its cursed walls she finds the beautiful, scarred monk, Daghan, who offers her shelter—for a price.

Daghan needs a pure soul to break his curse. Adeline isn't sure how pure she can be when she lusts after this stranger so badly. But before they can find out, Adeline's cruel fiance arrives at Geistheim to reclaim her. And he won’t leave without a fight.

Where to Buy

An excellent short story that sizzles with heat and has just the right amount of threat to make it interesting. It's something of a pity that the story isn't longer, and that we don't get to know the characters more, but at the same time it didn't really need much more length to tell it's tale. We may only become briefly acquainted with Adeline and Daghan, but the characterization is still quite rich and they are far from being two-dimensional stereotypes as so often is the case in stories this short. It's easy to really feel their passion for one another, as well as their heartbreak when they think their loving might not have been enough to break the curse. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, hot read.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transforming Love by Debra Smith

Jenny never expected her thirst for freedom to lead to her capture. Family secrets prevent her from running from the only man tempting enough to make her submit to her body's desires.

Gryph is dark, sexy, and determined to win Jenny in the Slag, a contest revered by his kind. As the leader of his Clan he's used to getting his way, until her. Can he give Jenny her freedom while winning her heart?

Where to Buy

A quick read with a bit of heat and at least once beefy shifter dude. For the most part this book follows a common plotline of males having to compete to win the right to mate with a very eligible and desirable young female, but it does put in a few quirks of its own.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Scholar Channon MacRea has spent years studying the legendary Dragon Tapestry, devoting days and nights to deciphering the impenetrable Old English symbolism.

Then one evening the mysterious Sebastian appears. He claims to hold the key to solving the tapestry’s mysteries… He also claims to be a dragon slayer trapped between two worlds.

For Channon there’s only one way to finally uncover the secrets of the intricate embroidery-- by following this stranger into a fantastic alternate world of magic, danger, and adventure.

Where to Buy

This book was quite enjoyable, though it did seem a bit rushed at times, and skimped a bit on some details and character/story developments. Such is largely to be expected in a work this short, however, since the author simply doesn't have time to develop characters and situations as fully as they might otherwise. Still, I think this one might have benefited from being given a bit larger scope and higher word count.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life.

Where to Buy

A strong follow-up entry in the series to a somewhat weak first book. I found this one to be much more enjoyable and engaging to read, right from the start, than I did the previous book. While I think there are several situations throughout that were handled/resolved a bit too quickly and easily, still the majority of the book felt very realistic and it's easy to picture Christian and Ana as a real couple that are trying to work through their various issues and find a way to be together and both be content.