Monday, December 30, 2013

Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead

Georgina Kincaid has been a bad, bad succubus, which should be a good thing. But lately, thanks to her foul mood over breaking up with best-selling writer Seth Mortensen, she's been so wicked that Seattle's uber-demon Jerome, decides to "outsource" Georgina to a rival--and have her spy for him in the process.

Being exiled to the frozen north--okay, Vancouver--and leaving Seth in the cozy clutches of his new girlfriend is unpleasant enough. Then Jerome is kidnapped, and all immortals under his control mysteriously lose their powers. One bright spot: with her life-sucking ability gone, there's nothing to keep Georgina from getting down and dirty with Seth--nothing apart from his girlfriend that is. Now, as the supernatural population starts turning on itself, a newly mortal Georgina must rescue her boss and figure out who's been playing them--or all hell will break loose.

Where to Buy

Probably one of the best entries in the series yet. This book deals with a variety of very serious issues and presents some very real threats both to Georgina and her friends and to the entire hierarchy of power in Seattle. Themes of betrayal in various forms run strong here, as do issues of trust, both knowing who you can trust and knowing when to trust and not to trust. The status quo is shaken from top to bottom, and as with previous volumes in the series, nothing will be the same again once all is said and done here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Dark Collector by Vanessa North

Jeffrey Kuyper was a once-in-a-generation talent and I was his muse.

Jeffrey's death shocked the art world and upended my life. His last portrait is an intimate reminder of our final weeks together. Now it's up for auction and I want it more than anything. When a cold-mannered man in a dark suit outbids me, I'll agree to anything to buy it from him--even a weekend in his bed.

Where to Buy

This book is pretty amazing, and very...raw. In a good way. Oliver takes us on a psychological journey with him that is as fascinating as it is painful and raw.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weather the Storm by Monette Michaels

Vanko fights to save the life of the woman who holds the key to revealing a traitor. From the streets of New York to the Bahamas, Vanko, the ultimate alpha male, struggles against all odds as assassins converge from all sides. Without support and distracted by feelings long buried, Vanko must Weather the Storm in Book 3 of Security Specialists International to find a love he never expected.

Where to Buy

This book blew me away in several ways. First and foremost, it managed to make me love a book that's in a genre I'm not normally as crazy about and involving a storyline of the sort I usually find annoying and occasionally distasteful. I'll admit there were parts of the plot I wasn't that crazy about, and as usually happens with books like this I did get tired of the characters being in constant danger after awhile, but even through that I couldn't help but admire the way in which they were handled, and the characters were so wonderful and vivid that they completely made up for anything I might not have liked as much about the book.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Predator's Serenade by Rosanna Leo

There are three things that make bear shifter Soren Snow’s skin crawl: mothers, their children, and the great outdoors. Soren is a famed musician and playboy, and he would rather spend his days pressing the flesh with the women in his fan club than developing meaningful relationships. When his brother calls in a favor, forcing Soren to revisit the Ursa Fishing Lodge in Northern Ontario, he couldn’t be more displeased. However, he owes his brother big time.

Gioia Clementine would rather not meet Soren, her drummer son’s rock idol. But when tragedy strikes her home, it seems the only one the boy might respond to is Soren. Gioia begrudgingly agrees to let her son meet him, hoping the rock star won’t turn her tween into a musical misogynist.

When Gioia and Soren meet, the sexual chemistry threatens to set the Ontario woodland ablaze. Can these two opposites find a common ground? And can they manage to resolve their unwanted feelings, even when a mysterious stranger arrives at the lodge, threatening everything?

Where to Buy

An absolutely wonderful story and a perfect sequel to Leo's Predator's Kiss. After reading the first book it was hard to see how the notorious playboy Soren would fall for a woman, but when it happens here it seems perfectly natural. Never once did I doubt the sincerity of his feelings for Gioia, and it's wonderful to see how he takes to her son Gunnar as well, discovering a paternal side to his character that even he never knew existed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wildfire by Mina Khan

Lynn Hana Alexander is a 25-year-old Japanese American shape-shifter haunted by guilt. She’s been questioning herself and her dragon abilities ever since she failed to save her grandmother.

When her best friend is threatened by mysterious fires burning up acres of West Texas, Lynn rushes to the rescue determined not to fail again. However, with a tempting firefighter, a flirty city developer and dragon pheromones distracting her, how is she going to find the arsonist?

And worse: is her primary suspect a malicious rogue dragon or the love of her life?

*** Author's Note: Wildfire is a paranormal mystery with romantic elements. It is not a traditional romance. I hope y'all enjoy the read!***

Where to Buy

A refreshing new approach to shapeshifters. Drawing upon traditional mythologies, but adding her own spin to things as well, Ms. Khan gives us a very unique sort of dragon shifter in the form of Lynn Alexander and others who are seen or mentioned within the story. While there are strong romantic elements here, this is primarily a mystery: who is setting the fires in a small West Texas town that claim at least one life and leave many homeless.

Lynn is a typical young woman in her early 20s. She has known about her abilities for most of her life, and learned from her grandmother how to use them. Circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death have left her doubting her own judgment and more than a little afraid of what she might do when in dragon form. Still, for all her self-doubts, she isn’t lacking in courage, and when her best friend is in imminent danger she doesn’t hesitate to answer the call. Arriving just in time to avert a catastrophe for her friend, she ends up staying with her and getting involved in investigating the recent string of arsons in the area. In the course of her investigations she discovers a new career in journalism, and two possible love interests in Henry and Jack. Despite her dragon’s raging hormones, however, Lynn remains focused on her main priorities and sticks to doing her job instead of indulging her desires or fantasies.

Henry is an enigma from the start. He’s working for a local development company that has an interest in buying the land currently occupied by several different landowners to create a new upscale housing development. This fact alone makes him a suspect in the arsons, for clearly his employer will benefit greatly if the landowners are more willing to sell because their home has burned down; but is he being paid to set them? Or is he really the charming and sincere man that he seems to be who sympathizes with those who have been affected and is something of a victim of circumstance?

Jack is likewise something of a puzzle, for while on some levels he seems to be well-respected in the community, he’s also something of an outcast simply because of his family name. He’s a Callaghan, and distrust and dislike of the Callaghans runs deep in this small community due to wrongs done to others in the area by one of his ancestors. While he seems to be an upstanding and honest rancher and volunteer firefighter, he still seems to have something of a dark side –as well as a few unaccounted for absences -- that make him a suspect as well.

The pacing here is excellent, with the author feeding us just enough clues along the way to hold our interest but not enough to be able to tell what the real answers are. You’ll think you’ve got it figured out, then something will happen that changes your mind – then a little while later something else happens that changes it back. Ms. Khan manages to keep us guessing right up until nearly the end and manages to throw in a twist or two along the way that you probably won’t see coming.

Overall, an excellent read and one I’d definitely recommend to fans of mysteries, particularly ones with a paranormal element to them. Paranormal romance readers will like this one as well I think, for there’s enough romance happening to keep things interesting on that front as well (though don’t look for any steamy bedroom scenes here, because there aren’t any). It probably goes without saying that dragon fans will love this and will likely be squeezing over the unique world building regarding them. 4.5 stars to an excellent and highly recommended book.

Note: I read this in a beta version, and my review is based upon that. There may or may not have been changes to the text or story that are unaccounted for in the review.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fantasies of a Housewife by Tina Pollick, et al.

A collection of short stories, five thousand words maximum, with housewife fantasies as the theme. The stories range from contemporary, erotic and even a little paranormal. If you enjoy the authors, please visit their other published work.

Where to Buy

**Warning - Some reviews contain spoilers**

"Summer Diane" by Christie Bell
I found the writing in this one to be rather simplistic and a bit stilted, making it hard to really get into the story. While Diane was an interesting character, it was rather too unrealistic that she would so easily go for an affair with a 19 year old boy so soon after her beloved husband had died. I also found it silly that she'd end up pregnant, since she surely would have been on some form of birth control, or have long since taken more permanent measures to prevent pregnancy since she states that neither she or her husband had ever wanted children. While it's sweet that she finds real love again at the end, it also seems rather convenient and contrived as a way to cover up the unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. Overall, probably the weakest story in the bunch.

"That Mom" by C.R. Garmen
A well written story, but frankly was a bit on the dull side. In the midst of an anthology of sexy stories, this one stands out with it's lack of any sexy times, or even any sexy thoughts really. Instead what we get here is a pleasant, but rather unexciting story about a mother dealing with the snobbery and adult bullying from other mothers, particularly from one in particular. The ending is fairly predictable though with a bit of an twist to make it unique.

"Tamara's Goove" by Scarlett Jade
First off, I'd note that while I'm fairly sure that "Goove" is a typo for "Groove", that is how it appears in my copy. Beyond that, I found this to be a very hot little story that was quite well written. It's fairly limited in scope, but that works in its favor really for it keeps things focused on the fantasy that Tamara prepares for then acts out. It fit very well into an anthology of this sort.

"Desert Dreams" by Sophia Jones
This was a wonderful little story even if it is more than a bit predictable. The characters come alive despite the short length, and the scene throughout is set so vividly that you can easily picture it all. Shay and Derek are interesting characters that I would love to read more about.

"Her Daytime Lover" by Adera Orfanelli
A hot little story. While it does strain belief a bit, it's not to the point where it just become silly and stupid. The descriptions and the bedroom action here were very well done and definitely heated thingsup for me as I read.

"Fire Within" by Nulli Para Ora
A scorching hot story, no pun intended. Full of vivid descriptions that bring the world alive and make you feel everything right along with the characters. While the world building and explanations were a bit rushed perhaps due to the length limits, they still made sense and were believable. I'd love to read more about these characters and this world.

"Fantasy of a Housewife" by April Postlewaite & Tina Pollick
An interesting fantasy story, but it seemed a bit disjointed. The main sex scene is very abortive and it's rather confusing what happened. One minute he's going through scorching foreplay that leads up to him thrusting into her and then *bam* suddenly he's disappearing and it's all over?? I definitely felt cheated there. This one definitely would have been better with a full sex scene and smoother transitions between the different parts of the story.

"Delicious Heat" by Elizabeth Rose
I found this story somewhat confusing, though definitely pretty hot in places. The kitchen scene was smoking! I liked the ending of this one as it seemed wholly appropriate to the story as a whole and the different hints that had been dropped throughout.

"Locked in Love" by Sky Tillery
A great story about a couple with a troubled marriage finding their way back to get it back on track. The writing and descriptions were so rich that I felt like I read a story that was much longer than it actually is. While it gets a bit confusing in the bar what all exactly is happening, once past that part it all comes together quite nicely. The make up sex scene is perhaps a tad silly, but it was fun and spicy enough to make it seem more sexy than ridiculous.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Showering with a Ghost by Genevieve Scholl

Samantha Hastings was never the shy type, but when it came to Mike Renaldi she hid behind her books and sealed her lips shut. Sick of never letting Mike know how she really feels about him, she decides that she is going to bare her heart and soul after their High School graduation. But, after they all receive their diplomas, Mike decides to head off to a party with his friends and Sam worries that it is not the right time to tell him the truth. So, she goes home without revealing her feelings. Almost exactly one year later, she gets a phone call from her best friend while she is sitting in her college dorm room. There has been an accident. After attending Mike’s funeral, she goes back to her dorm room and takes a shower before bed while she cries for the loss of the boy she had loved, and for the man he was never able to become. As she looks back on all of the times she could have told him the truth, something- or someone- wipes the tears away.

Where to Buy

 A sweet short story about love and loss. It's reasonably well written, and the author does a good job of making you feel connected with her heroine. The heat when it comes is good, though somewhat brief. The ending is confusing, with no explanations given for what happened in the shower, or what happens at the end. Explanations would have helped a lot, and as it is, I felt the ending brought everything down since it comes out of left field and no real reason is given for it. A decent short story otherwise.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blood and Kisses by Karin Shah

It isn’t easy being the Witches’ Champion, especially when it’s a hereditary position and you’re hardly the most powerful witch of your line.

Thalia Kent has managed to cope so far with wit and nerve and every ounce of magical ability she possesses, but now her cousin, who wasn’t a witch, is dead — murdered by a rogue vampire — and if she’s going to hunt him down and survive, she’s going to need all the help she can get. She needs Gideon Damek, immortal vampire, but vampires shun witches for good reason, witch blood is poisonous.

Gideon Damek has fought his predatory nature for thousands of years and the last thing he wants is to team up with anyone, least of all a beautiful young witch. Still, something about Thalia compels him to agree.

Soon, Thalia must deal with a reluctant partner, a rebellious witch community, interfering police, a healthy dose of self-doubt, a raging passion for the forbidden Mr. Damek and an enemy who’s following an ancient prophecy that requires both their deaths, all without losing her neck, or her heart.

Where to Buy

I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly when I started reading this, but what I found was a unique and interesting world populated with intriguing characters. While the idea of different "races" of beings co-existing with humans isn't really new, Shah puts her own spin on things such that nothing seems cookie-cutter or borrowed here. A forbidden and seemingly impossible romance story paired with a light mystery with plenty of suspense, the varying storylines weave together into an truly captivating whole.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sexy in a Bottle by Andrea Laurence

Valerie Thomas has hidden herself from the world, isolating herself in a New England lighthouse while she waits to die. Somehow, it’s easier for her to cope with the reality of her illness if she doesn’t worry about who she’s leaving behind. Not that there is anyone important in her life to really miss her.

Rajan has been trapped inside his gold and sapphire prison since his last master dropped the necklace into the ocean. He never expected to wash up naked on a rocky coastline with a beautiful woman hovering over him. A djinn, trapped by a sorcerer’s curse, Raj offers Valerie three wishes, but the stubborn woman refuses to make them.

As strong nor’easter threatens Valerie’s tiny island, she and Raj discover the key to ending each other’s miserable, lonely existence. But can the genie and his mistress both get their wishes granted?

Where to Buy

A sexy story of two people who find love that they'd never expected to find. One has spent centuries in servitude and long given up hope of ever being freed, the other is simply waiting for fate to catch up with her and give her the death she knows is coming. Both have given up really wanting anything for themselves, and therein lies the key to them finding happiness with one another.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ghostwriter by Lissa Bryan

Newly single, unemployed, and with her savings dwindling to an all-time low, Sara thinks things are finally looking up when she lands a job ghostwriting a popular politician’s biography, and rents the affordable island home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925. Strange things begin to happen as objects break, go missing, and terrifying visions appear, making Sara wonder if Seth ever left, or if she is slowly losing her mind.

She gets no answers from his family who closely guards the secret of his disappearance. Through an old trunk of letters Sara discovers in the attic of her seaside cottage, Sara unravels the mystery and becomes caught up in a tale of greed, lost love, and the horrors of WWI. Will she be the one to break the “Fortner Curse” by helping Seth conquer his demons, and heal both of their hearts in the process?

Where to Buy

An enchanting story of an improbable love between two people born nearly a century apart. While there doesn't always seem to be a lot of action going on, still there is something about it that keeps drawing you onward and turning the pages. Probably it is the way the author makes her characters come alive on the page, but also it's the emotions that the characters and their trials and tribulations evoke that work to hold you riveted to the page.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Forever Freed by Laura Kaye

A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Where to Buy

I found this book to be very slow starting, and thus hard to get into. Through most of the first half things were moving along, not much was happening but the writing was engaging enough to keep me reading, though not always enough to hold my attention. I even put it down for a few months at around 35% or so because it just wasn't doing it for me and there were other things I was anxious to read. I have really enjoyed all of Laura Kaye's other books that I've read, and several people whose opinion I trust seemed to really love this book, so I eventually gave it another chance and made myself finish it. And really, until about the halfway point, or a little past it, I was having to make myself continue with it because it was just...dull. Not bad, just dull. Then finally at a little past the halfway point, something big finally happens, and from there on out the book became quite a page turner.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Obsession by Sofia Grey

Josh Delaney is the ideal honey trap. His charm and model good looks would be enough for most women, but coupled with his psychic ability to read their thoughts, he’s impossible to resist. Suspicious husbands employ him to test their wives, to see if they can be tempted to stray.

High profile couple Suki and Gabe Bridgewater have the perfect marriage, or at least, that’s the image they portray to the world. Behind closed doors, Gabe’s dominance in the marriage is unravelling and he decides to test Suki, using Josh as bait.

For Josh it should be just another easy job, but two things go horribly wrong.

One, Josh falls in love with Suki.

And two, Gabe refuses to let her go.

Where to Buy

A phenomenal book that easily ranks as one of the best I've read this year. Amazing to think that this was the product of a relatively new author as well, for she manages to weave together the threads of several very complicated relationships via three different first person POVs and does it in a way that is so skillful that many more seasoned authors could stand to take notes from her I think. The subject matter isn't easy, and some of the behaviors, especially Gabe's, will have you wanting to scream with outrage or wishing you could reach into the book to smack the everloving crap out of him.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

Some days, a girl just can't catch a break...especially when the girl in question is Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men.

First there's her relationship with gorgeous best-selling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. It's not just that they can't have sex, in case Georgina inadvertently kills him (generally a turn-off for most guys). Lately, even spending time together is a challenge. Seth's obsessed with finishing his latest novel, and Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block.

Then there are the dreams. Someone, or something, is preying on Georgina at night, draining her energy and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused - especially as the situation with Seth reaches a crisis point.

Now Georgina faces a double challenge: rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again.

Spend some more time with succubus Georgina Kincaid...if you dare.

Where to Buy

After coasting through most of Succubus on Top with all of its world and character building, this book starts to pick up the pace storywise again. That's not to say that there's no development here, for there is plenty of it, it's just that the stakes have been raised once more, and real danger threatens Georgina again. How she deals with that danger and the personal temptations and yearnings it awakes in her, along with how she handles the various crises that are erupting in her life is a heartwrenching tale. By the time it's all over, nothing will be the same again, and it's unclear as yet whether this is a good thing or a bad one.