Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: Text Me by K.J. Reed

Text Me
Come Together #1
by: K.J. Reed
ISBN#9781419931222
$8.90 ebook
Ellora's Cave Publishing
Contemporary Erotica
Released: December 2010





When Travis turned eighteen, he joined the Marines and never looked back.  The only thing he regrets is leaving his younger sister with his jerk of a father.  Ten years later, he realizes life is too short, so decides to try and find her.  Problem is, the only phone number he has for her has been assigned to someone else.  The woman who owns the phone number's name is Ariel, and for some reason he's been texting back and forth with her.  Ariel's been giving him ideas on where to look for his sister.  He's come to like this mysterious but thoughtful woman, although he knows they'll never meet face to face.

Ariel is almost done with grad school.  On top of her job, she doesn't have time for relationships, but one night stands she can do.  When she and a friend meet a pair of men at the bar, she's instantly drawn to the one called Donovan.  After a wild night, she leaves, thinking she'll never see him again.  Little does she realize Donovan is actually Travis, her mystery text man.

When Travis realizes who Ariel is, his passion for her flares hotter than ever.  But with him set to go back to the Marines in a few days, it seems like they may not get their happily ever after.  But can they settle for only a few days together?



This is a story about two people who aren't looking for any kind of a future when they hook up, they're only looking for a warm body to spend the night with.  But once they see each other, the attraction is instant.  Neither one realizes they've been texting each other for weeks, which may be why they form an instant bond--it's like they somehow recognize the prior connection.  When Travis realizes who Ariel is, he doesn't want to tell her, because he's afraid she's going to blame him for having an ulterior motive, even though the odds of their chance meeting are one in one thousand.  When Ariel finds out, she needs to figure out what she's going to do, although she doesn't have many options.  He's going back to the Marines, while she's staying in the area to finish her schooling.  It's a short story about one in one thousand odds bringing two people together. 

Carla gives this book a

 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Fate of the Fallen by Sharron Riddle

Fate of the Fallen
by: Sharron Riddle
ISBN#9781606592526
$12.95 trade paperback
ISBN#9781606592519  
$4.99 eBook 
Mundania Press
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: July 2011


 
 
Eva Dantanian is a demon assassin employed by the Demonic Management Agency. The agency is run by the government and she is one of its top agents. She is always called upon for the challenging cases.  She is one tough assassin who excels at kicking demon butt. Eva also happens to be 700 years old and the daughter of a fallen angel.  She loves her work but then her most difficult mission to date puts on the track of a missing child in Chicago. Her life may never be the same.

In a family that is already dysfunctional, Eva finds out that the secrets and betrayals are far worse than she knew. When paired on this mission with her older brother, she wonders if she can trust him. When a family foe becomes a trusted friend, she learns that things are not always what they seem.  As the deep secrets and lies of her family come to light she faces the fact that she may well have to destroy one of her own in order to the save the innocent lives she is sworn to protect.


 
This book has an awesome storyline. Eva is a fantastic heroine. The daughter of a fallen angel and the Goddess Isis, she is smart and powerful. Rahab, a vampire who had been the lover of one her sisters, is a great character also. He is both handsome and caring. Rahab is powerful in his own right as well. This book has action and suspense. Although, I suspected correctly early on who the bad guy was it still had me guessing what would happen next. It was also emotional in some places as well as frightening. I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to put it down once I started reading it.  I really hope that there will be more books containing the adventures of Eva and Rahab. I would love it if this book was just the first in a long series. 

Angie gives this book a

 
 
 

Review: His Soul to Keep by M. Flagg

His Soul To Keep
Champion Chronicles #3
by: M. Flagg
ISBN#9781601549495
$14.99 trade paperback
Wild Rose Press
Paranormal Romance
Released: July 2011




 
Mystically enhanced vampire, Michael Malone is suddenly mortal with heart beat and all.  This unexpected turn of events catches everyone off guard, including Michael himself.  Not used to being mortal, Michael must contend with challenges he isn’t quite used to dealing with.

Michael’s human son Lukas isn’t quite sure what to make of his father’s heartbeat and is afraid of its complications. He has been through so much and he isn’t sure that he can trust the heartbeat that his father now has.  Michael isn’t sure what to make of it or what the implications are either.

The Guardian Alana who is also Michael’s soul mate wonders how this event came about. She also wonders how it is that the evil demon that lived with in him is no longer there. Michael has no answers.

Everyone involved is sorely tested when it is discovered that the demon lives and is thriving in an innocent human host.  Their strength and love is tested when they have to fight the demon that lived inside of Michael for 317 years and the forces of evil that brought the demon back.


 
This is the third installment of the Champion Chronicles. I recommend that you read the first two in order.  This book is best of the trilogy.  While I did like the concept, I didn’t like the main characters at first, with the exception of Lukas. They did however; grow on me by the time I read the third book. Alana at first seemed rather selfish and Michael not all that likeable. In this book, you get to see Alana in Guardian mode and she was excellent in that role. Michael struggles with fatherhood but still remains a little stubborn. There are some good action scenes. There are also plenty of love scenes. I love Lukas and the Guardians as well as Thorn and Celia. Gabby is a great character also.  I would love to see books involving Lukas and his friends as they continue their Guardian roles. Overall, I would definitely say this is the best book of the three.

Angie gives this book a



 


Review: To Kill a Vampire by Julianna Sage


To Kill A Vampire
Captive Souls #1
by: Julianna Sage
ISBN#9781601548610
$14.99 trade paperback
Wild Rose Press
Paranormal Romance
Released: November 2010




 

Angelica Gentillini is an attorney working for the Prosecutor’s office in Chicago. She is out celebrating a win on a big case with her friends when dark and sexy Erik Kessler abducts her. He tells her he is there to save her life. Her life is thrown into turmoil and is never the same. Erik is from a horrible future where vampires rule and humans are bred solely for food and entertainment. He was sent back in time by Vlad who is the ruler of the vampire race. Erik’s mission is to execute Angelica before she can write her novel
To Kill A Vampire which contains important secrets about killing the demonic vampires.
Instead Erik decides to try to save her.

Angelica’s life quickly becomes chaotic and frightening. Though they have help from a few friends in the vampire underground, Erik and Angelica are constantly on the run.
While trying to make an escape Angelica is mortally wounded. Erik must take drastic measures in order save Angelica, whom he has fallen in love with and he is unable to fathom living without her.


 
This is was a slightly different take on vampires. There is also some time travel involved but I felt the flow between the scenes involving the present and the future went well. In some books it can be easy to get lost when things flip back and forth. I didn’t feel that way with the book. I am usually not overly fond of books involving time travel but the author did a great job with this one and it was full of thrills. She does a great job of building the present world as well as the future world.

Angelica and Erik are characters that have depth. They both have their secrets and must come to grips with them. Erik has a lot of guilt and grief as a result of a tragic event in his life and vows never to feel again. He then meets Angelica and she breaks down the barriers that he has built around his heart. Erik is also not your typical vampire warrior either. Actually his background was not at all what you would expect from a vampire savior. Angelica has a deep and very dark secret that makes her feel that she will never have a normal relationship with anyone, and then she meets Erik. Their relationship from the beginning is very passionate and intense. Even though this is a romance, it is not your typical romantic ending and it does have some surprises.

This is the first book in The Captive Souls Series and I am looking forward to the next book.  I recommend this book to those looking for something just a little different. While it is not quite your typical vampire love story it is well worth the read. 

Angie gives this book

 

Review: All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks

All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire
Love at Stake #5)
by: Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN#9780061118463
$7.99 mass market paperback
Avon Books
Paranormal Romance
Released: November 2008





Toni's in trouble.  Her best friend was committed to the psych ward when she told police she was attacked by vampires, and Toni's sworn to find the proof she needs to get her friend released.  To do that, she's taken a job guarding the vampires in their death sleep.  The problem?  She's sworn to keep the vampires' secret, yet getting the proof she needs will expose them all.  At first, it was no contest, since her friend came first.  But now that she's met a certain hunky kilt-wearing vampire, she's starting to wonder if exposing them all is the answer...

After spending centuries looking like a fifteen year old boy, Ian's finally managed to age.  Now instead of fifteen he looks twenty-seven, and he's ready to find a female vampire to settle down with.  Not knowing where to start, he reluctantly allows a friend to sign him up for an internet dating service, and before long he's flooded with hundreds of calls and visits from women just begging to be the one for him.  After meeting Toni, though, he begins to wonder if a vampire woman will be enough.  With Toni, she already knows he's a vampire, and she's so easy to talk to.  Although his mind says one thing, his heart says another. 

Can he risk a chance at true love with a mortal, or will he play it safe and lose the one person he's come to treasure above all others?



I don't think I've mentioned this in the other reviews, but you need to read these books in order.  It's one big story that's broken down by books.  The other characters continue on with their lives and are mentioned in these books, so if you haven't read the previous stories you'll not only have the story ruined, but you'll be horribly confused by all the names.  That being said, Kerrelyn Sparks gets better with every book she writes.  In this one, Toni didn't believe her friend when she claimed to be attacked by vampires, so Toni went to Central Park to see for herself, and nearly ended up dying in a vampire attack herself.  The good vampires saved her, and told her she could either take a job with them or lose her memories.  She chose the job so she could get proof that vampires existed.  At first she thinks all vampires are like the ones who attacked her, but once she gets to know them, and Ian in particular, she realizes they're not the heartless monsters she was making them out to be.  But that put her in a bind, because she needed to get her friend out of the mental hospital she ended up in, but to do that, she'd have to betray the vampires' trust in her.  Ian's thrilled to finally look like a man after spending centuries trapped in a boy's body.  But the dating profile online spins out of control, and he realizes that what he wants in a woman and what he needs are two different things.  These two had so much to overcome, yet they both kept on going, despite all the odds. 

It was a great story, and I can't wait to read the next one in the series.

Carla gives this book a
 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks

The Undead Next Door
Love at Stake #4
by: Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN#9780061118456
$7.99 mass market paperback
Avon Books
Paranormal Romance
Released: February 2008





Jean-Luc is a famous fashion designer from Paris, but people are starting to question why he hasn't aged at all in the past thirty years.  To avoid anyone finding out he's a vampire, he's decided to go into hiding until people forget him and he can reemerge as his son.  He's decided to go into hiding in Texas, figuring nobody will recognize him, even if he does go out.  Too bad he's going to be pretty lonely, with only his guards and his clothing designs to keep him company.

Heather is thrilled to hear that the famous Jean-Luc Esharpe is coming to her town to put on a fashion show.  One dress of his costs more than what she makes in a year, but she still plans to go and have a look around.  She's always wanted to be a fashion designer for average-sized woman, so she does a couple sketches at the fashion show, only to be confronted by an angry (but hot) man.  Turns out it's Jean-Luc, and he thinks she's stealing his designs.  Once she explains, he offers her a job.  Before she can say yes, he's attacked by a man with a cane, and without thinking she comes to his rescue. 

Now she's on the bad guy's hit list, and Jean-Luc has sworn to keep her and her daughter safe.  But can he keep her safe from himself and his desire for love and a family, especially when there's a killer out to take away everything he holds dear--including Heather.



This story seemed a little more down to earth to me, in that all Jean-Luc really wants is a family to call his own.  Seeing Heather and her daughter, he begins to yearn for something he's never had.  Too bad there's an angry vampire determined to ruin his life by killing everyone he's ever loved.  Because of that, Jean-Luc really struggles with his personal desires vs. keeping the woman he's falling for safe.  Then there's Heather, who's getting over a controlling and fearful marriage, and trying to make a new start with her daughter.  There's certain things about Jean-Luc that don't add up to her, but she can't help the way she feels.  She has to decide which is more important to her--keeping her daughter safe, or taking a chance to finally be happy.

Out of the four I've read so far, I think this is my favorite, followed closely by Vamps and the City.  Let's see how the rest fare.

Carla gives this book a
 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Be Still My Vampire Heart by Kerrelyn Sparks

Be Still My Vampire Heart
Love at Stake #3
by: Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN#9780061118449
$7.99 mass market paperback
Avon Books
Paranormal Romance
Released: April 2007





Emma is on a mission.  Ever since vampires killed her parents, she's made it her mission in life to eliminate as many bloosuckers as possible.  Joining up with the CIA's Stake Out team made sense, as did patrolling Central Park for the undead.  What she doesn't realize is her killing vampires is about to start a war between the good vampires and the Malcontents. 

Angus, the owner of McKay Security and Investigation, is brought in to New York to convince this mystery slayer to quit before a war starts.  He's shocked to discover it's a woman.  Not just any woman either, she's got a resistance to mind control and she works for the Stake Out team, the vampires' enemy.  Since wiping her memories is out of the question, he must resort to different measures to get her to quit killing vampires. 

Emma doesn't know what to think of the handsome kilted Scotsman, nor the attraction that flares to life between them.  But he's a vampire, so he therefore must be evil, right?  As Angus sets out to prove not all vampires are like the ones who killed her parents, Emma must decide if she can let go of her quest for justice long enough for a shot at true happiness.


Book 3 and the series is still going strong.  The characters have been well laid out, and the world is fascinating and dangerous.  In the midst of that, we have vampires and mortals who happen to cross paths and against all odds fall in love.  These are love stories at their heart, with a bit of action and intrigue thrown in to round out the stories.  Emma has to overcome quite a few obstacles in this book, and Angus has to reevaluate himself and what he wants most in life.  The only issue I had was Angus crying.  I just can't picture a vampire who's been around for hundreds of years and killed countless others as crying, especially in front of a woman.  That part just wasn't believable. 

Other than that, it was a great love story, and I'm anxiously throwing myself into the next one.

Carla gives this book a




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks

Vamps and the City
Love at Stake #2
by: Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN#9780060752019
$7.99 mass market paperback
Avon Books
Paranormal Romance
Released: April 2006





Darcy used to be a news reporter, until the night she went after the wrong story.  Now she's stuck with a severe allergy to the sun and a need to drink blood.  To make matters worse, she's spent the past four years stuck in a harem to the North American coven master.  Thank goodness he let them go when he found his mate, but that leaves her with nowhere to go.  Figuring she might as well stick with what she knows, she applies for a job at the Digital Vampire Network, the only TV station for vamps.  She lands herself a job as the director of a new reality show called The Sexiest Man on Earth.  She's told to make it great, or else.  And what better way to make it great than to stick a few mortals among the vampire contestants?

Austin has trained for years to kill vampires.  A member of Stake Out, an elite vampire hunting unit that's part of the CIA, he's good at his job.  The team's been monitoring the DVN network, so when they hear about a casting call for human men, his boss sends him in undercover, hoping to infiltrate the vampires and learn all their secrets.  But Austin didn't anticipate his immediate attraction to Darcy.  Thinking she's a mortal, he tries to win her trust, hoping to not only get the info he needs, but also to save an innocent soul from the evil bloodthirsty vampires. 

When he finds out she's a vampire as well, he's not sure the feelings he's developed for her are enough to break through years of prejudice and hate.  And what about Darcy?  If she allows a mortal to win, she can kiss her job goodbye.  And when she finds out who Austin really is, she's not sure whether to run screaming into the night...or into his arms and his life.



The first time I read this series, I accidentally picked this one up first, and was instantly hooked.  The idea of a vampire reality show is genius.  In an age where reality shows rule the airwaves, is it so hard to imagine vampires wanting to get in on the action?  And what if the female judges had no clue which man was a mortal and which was a vamp?  Darcy's character is amazing.  She's gone through so much trauma in such a short amount of time, yet she manages to keep her head up and keep moving forward.  Yes, she's been scarred by the whole ordeal, but it's made her a better person because of it.  And seeing the sparks fly between Darcy and Austin was great, because you knew their relationship couldn't possibly work, yet there might still be a chance.

It's a great story, and now it's on to book 3 for me.

Carla gives this book a
 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks

How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
Love at Stake #1
by: Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN#9780060751968
$7.99 mass market paperback
Avon Books
Paranormal Romance
Released: August 2005





Shanna's life has taken a turn for the worse. The Russian mafia is after her, so she's been put in the Witness Protection Program, and now works as a dentist under an assumed name. Problem is, ever since she saw her friend shot and killed in front of her, she's become afraid of blood. Makes her job difficult, to say the least.

When a tall, dark and handsome stranger comes into her clinic needing his tooth reattached, she's not sure how she's going to pull it off. It becomes a moot point when the Russian mafia discovers where she is, and the stranger saves her.

Turns out his name is Roman, and he's the owner of Romatech, a company that manufactures synthetic blood. He's also a vampire, a fact he's trying very hard not to let Shanna find out about. But since he lost one of his fangs, he has to get it reattached before dawn, or else the hole will close and he'll be stuck with one fang for life, or undeath, as the case may be.

Once he realizes an old enemy of his is gunning for Shanna, he offers her protection, knowing it could start a war between the two vampire factions. Despite the risks, he can't help but be drawn to her. In her, he sees a kindred spirit, one who can possibly understand the suffering he's gone through.

All he has to do is keep her from finding out he's a vampire.



This is my second time reading this book.  The first time, I actually read the series out of order.  I started with book 2, then went back to this one.  This is a good start to the series, laying out a world where there are two vampire factions, the good guys and the bad guys.  The good guys drink blood from bottles and keep humanity safe.  The bad guys think that people are cattle, and are only good for a meal and a lay.  The two factions have been at odds for years, and it looks like a war is on the horizon. 

In the middle of this we start the series, following Shanna, a woman who ratted out the Russian mafia and had to go into hiding because of it.  She doesn't realize the head assassin after her is the leader of the bad vampires, and must rely on Roman's help to keep her safe. 

It's a good start to the series, with excellent world building, and the ideas are great.  For instance, Roman has developed a drink for vampires called Chocolood, which is a blend of blood and chocolate.  Genius.

Carla gives this book a

 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Another Chance by Katie Alexander and Kelli Lee Mosley

Another Chance
by: Katie Alexander and Kelli Lee Mosley
ISBN#9781937265021
$5.99 ebook
Rebel Ink Press
Contemporary Romance
Released: July 2011






Megan had everything in life, or so she thought.  A good job, the perfect husband, and great place to live.  The only thing that would make it better would be a child, but try as she might, it just wouldn't happen.

Then she learned of her husband's ultimate betrayal.

Reeling from the sudden divorce, she moves back to be near her family, the one constant in her life she can count on.

Grayson helps to run a successful building company with his best friends.  He's got a job he loves, and a house he'd like to call home, if only he had the woman of his dreams beside him.

Too bad said woman is not only married, but the younger sister of his best friends.  Meaning no touching allowed.

Hearing about Megan's divorce, he's secretly thrilled she's available once again.  But knowing the betrayal she suffered, he's not sure if she'll be willing to give love another chance.  He'll just have to make her see that she's not only the perfect choice for him, he's the perfect choice for her.



This was a very nice love story about what happens when a woman suffers the ultimate betrayal, and how she tries to pick up the shattered pieces of her life after it's over.  Megan had a lot of courage to do what needed to be done, and also to hold herself together after.  She doesn't want another relationship, and who can blame her.  But maybe Grayson, a close friend of hers since she was a child, could fill that void in her life left by her no good ex. 

The characters were well defined, although there were quite a few names to keep track of, since she had a big family.  The story flowed smoothly, and I was happy with the way things worked out, although I wanted to smack Megan for her stubbornness a couple times.  All in all, a nice contemporary read.

Carla gives this book a




Amazon buy link unavailable for this title.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Magic Slays
Kate Daniels #5
by: Ilona Andrews
ISBN#9780441020423
$7.99 mass market paperback
Ace Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: June 2011





After quitting the Order, Kate opens up her own business helping people with paranormal and magical problems.  Too bad she hasn't had a customer yet, what with the Order spreading rumors about her. 

When she finally does get her first customer, it's from the People, the last group she wants to help.  But times are tight, so she takes the job.  Turns out the People are having trouble piloting their vampires, which could be a bloodbath for the city if it isn't stopped.  

Diving headfirst into the case, she finds more than she wanted to.  Turns out there's a machine that can literally suck all the magic out of an area, people included.  If the weapon falls into the wrong hands, it could mean Armageddon for all people with magic in them.  



This is book 5, and it's still going strong.  In this one, Kate has quit her job with the Order, and is also mated to Curran, making her the female alpha of all the shapeshifters.  As if that wasn't enough stress, she's trying to start up her own business and keep an eye on her adopted daughter, Julie.  Plus there's a wacko group running around trying to kill everybody, and Kate finds out a secret about her past that destroys everything she thought she knew.

It's a busy book, but it's also fast paced with plenty of action, suspense, intrigue, and emotion.  I really, really hope Ilona Andrews writes another one.

Carla gives this book a 

 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bleeds
Kate Daniels #4
by: Ilona Andrews
ISBN#9780441018529
$7.99 mass market paperback
Ace Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: June 2010





Kate's main job is liason between the Order and the Guild, but in truth she's the one always sent to do the dirty work or clean up messes the Order and the Guild left behind. 

This time she's called to a bar sitting on the border of the People and the Pack, and of course it can't be anything easy.  Turns out a renegade magic user is running around the city, leaving plagues and diseases wherever he goes. 

Kate must find the source before all hell breaks loose, but a little bit of digging unearths a chilling discovery, one that could shatter the secrecy of Kate's past she's been trying so hard to avoid.



This book was a lot of fun to read.  Kate and Curran's relationship has evolved from them trying to kill each other every time they meet, to grudging respect, to possible feelings.  In this book, the two play practical jokes on each other, which are borderline dangerous but hilarious.  They also get more into Kate's background, and give us a better insight into who she is, and why she does the things she does.  The battles are spectacular, and I'd have to say this is the best book of the series so far.  Now on to book #5.

Carla gives this book a




 
 
 
 



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Magic Strikes
Kate Daniels #3
by: Ilona Andrews
ISBN#9780441017027
$7.99 mass market paperback
Ace Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: April 2009





There have been rumors of illegal gladiatorial battles taking place for years, but Kate has always discounted them, having better things to do with her time.  When a close friend of hers winds up near death, she traces the trail back to a group participating in the battles.  Somehow, it's all connected, and it's up to her to figure out how.  Gathering a team of shifters together, Kate must enter The Games in order to get close enough to strike out at the enemy. 

But there are secret enemies hiding in the wings, waiting for a chance to take Kate down.  As if that wasn't bad enough, she must somehow keep her heritage from being know, because if she's exposed, everyone she loves will die.



These books just get better and better.  In this book, the characters and world have already been firmly established, so we're given a deeper glimpse into the background and personalities of the main characters.  Kate has a painful past, one she doesn't want anyone to know about for fear of endangering them.  She may not have a choice in the matter when one of her shifter friends is found nearly beaten to death.  The ones who did it participate in The Games, an illegal gladiatorial death match.  Going undercover, she's determined to find out who hurt her friend and make them pay, even if the cost is her own life.  But past enemies she thought she'd safely hidden from resurface, wanting nothing more than to see her dead.  The enemy list is growing against her, but she manages to wade in and do what needs to be done without hesitation.  Kate truly is a kick-ass heroine, and I for one can't wait to see what she does next.

Carla gives this book a
 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Irresistible Sin by Lynn LaFleur


Irresistible Sin
Men with Tool #2
by: Lynn LaFleur
ISBN#9781419933295
$5.20 eBook
Ellora’s Cave
Contemporary Erotica
Released: February 2011



 
 
Book two in the Men With Tools series, Irresistible Sin is well written, well paced and a fully rounded, complete story.

Griff Coleman’s in mourning and hasn’t progressed past the denial/anger/sadness stages. Shut off from everything for ten months, it’s the scent of his late wife’s perfume that finally raises his head. That perfume’s worn by another woman, however. Emma Keaton’s new in town and doesn’t know anything about Griff’s loss. She treats him like he’s hunky and available, while everyone else gives him sympathy and space.

That said, there were parts of the book’s premise that pulled me out of the story. I applaud sexually confident female leads, but when we first meet her, Emma’s sexuality is aggressive to the point of being crass and predatory. “I’m not interested in anything with a man beyond some fun.” That gives her great growth potential but in the face of Griff’s grief, I was put off by her. For me, Emma’s healthy libido initially comes across as nymphomania as everything in her life—possessions, activities, etc.—all come down to sex. Later, of course, Emma tones down her “me, me, me” approach to life and love. She seems to mature and become less self-centered. I liked her later in the book but I was hard pressed after the second chapter not to put the book down and leave it there.

The people in Griff’s life (Emma included) all seem to view his grief as a timetable thing. Although they all deny it, every character except Griff harps on ten months being long enough. They want him back the way he was, dammit. Of course they do, but the constant repetition of the ten-month deadline made them sound selfish instead of lovingly prodding.

What I did believe was Griff was almost at the point psychologically to move on to the acceptance stage of grief. I stuck with the book and, at the end, was glad I had. I believed Emma’s growth and the kernels of Griff’s healing.

Irresistible sin has a marvelously poignant beginning and the ending was nicely fulfilling. If you like that in a book, you’ll enjoy this one.

Brooke gives this book a




 

Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns
Kate Daniels #2
by: Ilona Andrews
ISBN#9780441015832
$7.99 mass market paperback
Ace Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: March 2008





Every seven years, a magic flare hits, leaving technology down for days and allowing all the things that go bump in the night free reign over the city.

Not if Kate can help it.

As if the upcoming flare wasn't bad enough, now she's been tasked with retrieving a set of stolen maps from the Pack, Atlanta's clan of shapeshifters.  Add to the mix a street orphan Kate's reluctantly taken under her wing and signs that a coven of witches will try and summon an ancient god to Earth during the flare, it all adds up to a headache of epic proportions.

But if it was easy, it wouldn't be any fun, now would it?




This story heavily focuses on mythology, and it was a bit overwhelming, trying to keep all the different cultural myths separated in my brain.  That being said, the story just gets better as Kate becomes a Friend of the Pack to the shapeshifters, and as such is the only human the shifters trust, meaning they go to her when they need help.  The necromancers mostly keep to themselves in this story, preferring to sit back and see who's left alive when the dust settles.  Kate is now working for both the Order and the Knights, and is still coming to terms with the death of her mentor, who was murdered in book 1.  She does an admirable job of keeping herself together, and we are also treated to a bit more of her backstory, giving us a better glimpse of who Kate really is, and how she got to be that way.

This series is pretty easy to get through, despite the overdescriptiveness of some things.  Of course, when dealing with a series, there's always going to be the repeat of information you already know if you read the previous book, but has to be put in there in case someone hasn't read the previous books yet.

Carla gives this book a



Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites
Kate Daniels #1
by: Ilona Andrews
ISBN#9780441014897
$6.99 mass market paperback
Ace Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: April 2007





Kate isn't your average merc.  She specializes in magical cleanups, and she's good at what she does.  When her mentor winds up dead, she personally takes the case, vowing to avenge his murder. 

The trail leads to a group of necromancers called the Masters of the Dead, but it turns out they've lost several of their numbers as well.  When she realizes the local shapeshifter clan has had casualties as well, she begins to think something's fishy. 

And lucky her, now she's caught in the middle of the two most powerful factions in Atlanta, both expecting her to work a miracle and help them solve their problems.

Just another day in the life of a merc.



This is book one of the series, and again I'm rereading them so I'm caught up for the new book release.  In Kate's world, there are fluctuations between magic and technology that happen every couple days.  When magic takes over, electricity and cars don't work, and the monsters come out to play.  When tech takes over, wards fail and magic becomes useless.  Vampires are no more than mindless bloodthirsty monsters controlled by the Masters of the Dead, necromancers who raise the creatures and pilot them like one would a remote control toy.  The shifters are organized into the second largest pack in North America, and are led by the Beast Lord, a shifter who rules with an iron fist (or paw, haha).  Kate is a tough as nails merc, whose grasp of magic goes way beyond what it should, making you wonder just what secrets she's hiding.  She manages to get herself into all sorts of trouble, but the awesome thing is she can get herself out again.  A loner by nature, she slowly starts to realize that being alone may not be the best thing for her after all. 

There's something about these books that makes me forgo sleep to finish them.  Can't put my finger on it, but I'd have to say the characters if you twisted my arm.  They're amazing.

Carla gives this book a
 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: The Slipstream Con by S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore

The Slipstream Con
Ylendrian Empire series
by: S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore
ISBN#9781609284220
$5.50 ebook
Samhain Publishing
Sci-Fi Romance
Released: March 2012





Kellen has spent three years dodging sexy but determined bounty hunters Tal and Vanya.  It's become a game of who can outsmart the other, and it's one he's grown quite fond of.  Well, until the day they catch him, that is.  To be honest, it was kind of his fault, what with walking up to them and giving himself up.

There was an ulterior motive behind his insane decision, however.  After accidentally ingesting a highly illegal form of nanotechnology he stole, he's sick as a dog, and has a pissed off crime lord gunning for him.  He figures he's safer with Tal and Vanya, even if spending time with them will ultimately involve jail time.

But after a few days with the couple, he realizes there's more at stake than jail time.  He's always had a tender spot for both Tal and Vanya, and it seems they both have feelings for him, too.  Problem is, unless he can steal another dose of the nanotechnology to give to the bloodthirsty crime lord, it won't matter what his feelings are.



This book is part of the Ylendrian Empire series, but it's a stand alone story, so feel free to read out of order.  The characters start out with strong voices, and are quickly developed into well rounded, believable people.  There wasn't as much inner monologuing as I expected, so I had to rely more on the characters to verbally tell me what they were thinking.  I was also a bit surprised to find no sex scenes.  There was plenty of innuendo, but no actual sex scenes, so the book is pretty clean for those who like a good love story without a lot of smut in it.  The love story itself was a bit different, with Tal and Vanya already married, but both having a secret crush on Kellen, despite the fact he's a wanted criminal.  All in all, it was a quick, easy read.

Carla gives this book a





Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Dark Descendant by Jenna Black

Dark Descendant
Descendants #1
by: Jenna Black
ISBN#9781451606799
$7.99 mass market paperback
Pocket Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: April 2011





Nikki is a private investigator with a knack for finding lost people.  It's a skill she's had since she was little, and one she's been unable to explain...until now.  A betrayal by a client throws her headfirst into a world she never knew existed, one filled with warring gods and godlike powers.  Come to find out, she's a descendant of the goddess Artemis, which explains the awesome tracking abilities.  Along with her, there's a group of people, also descendants of gods, who she's been forced to cohabit with.  Living with them might not have been so bad if she hadn't accidentally run over a friend of theirs with her car. 

To make matters worse, she has a warring faction of people with godlike powers trying to steal her, a housemate who'd like nothing more than to see her dead, and a sister to hide her new powers from.  To top it all off, she's promised to find her new leader's wife who's been kidnapped by the enemy and missing for ten years.

Let's see, dealing with bloodthirsty enemies--check.  Dealing with bloodthirsty allies--check.  Guess she shouldn't have thought her old job was boring.



Carla says:
I've read Jenna Black's Morgan Kingsley series, and I loved them.  While scouring the bookstore shelves trying to find a book for Annette and I to read, I saw this and figured, "Hey, let's give her new series a try.  Descendants of gods and goddesses sounds a bit strange, but I've seen weirder plots in books that work, so let's give it a try."  It took me a few chapters to get into it, and let all the characters get introduced.  Once that happened, it really started to get good.  It's more about sleuthing than anything, although there are a couple scenes where lightning bolts are thrown, which was awesome.  Poor Nikki goes through Hell (not literally) in such a short amount of time, yet somehow she finds the strength to get out of bed in the morning and face the day.  Sure, she has a panic attack or two, but if I was in her situation, I'm sure I'd be freaking out too.

Long story short, Jenna Black is a great author, and I think once I have more than one book in this series to plow through, it will be truly awesome. 

Carla gives this book a

 
Annette says:
It took me some time to really get into this book and to be honest I cannot quite put my finger on the reason why.  This is my first book by Jenna Black I have ever read although I know plenty of people who say she is amazing but this book was so-so for me.  I would get into and then it would loose steam.  The storyline and characters were great and I will read book two to see if it grows on me.

Annette gives this book a



 
 

 
 
 




Monday, July 11, 2011

Interview with author Ainsley

Today we have with us science fiction and fantasy author Ainsley.

Welcome to RomFan Reviews Ainsley it is a great pleasure to have you with us today.

Thanks for having me!

Tell us a little about your new book Lost Prince:Salt Road Saga Book 1 which is now available.

I’ll give you back cover copy:


The only thing that’s kept Alaric, the so-called Lost Prince of Calixte, from giving into his grief over his beloved homeworld is the thought of revenge against the man who betrayed his people. But he couldn’t be more wrong about Haydn, who actually saved two thousand Calixten soldiers from certain death and secreted them on an inhospitable planet. There, they’ve launched a fledgling rebellion against the Coalition that rules six galaxies, including the lucrative Salt Road. They only need their prince to lead them.

Alaric needs a pilot to get him to his soldiers, someone too desperate to betray him. Katriel, a hotshot deserter pilot enslaved to Haydn by debt, is perfect for the job. But neither Katriel nor Alaric realize how the battle over Calixte binds them closer than blood, and when they find out, their collision will send shockwaves through the universe.

As an aside, I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan, so the opportunity to write Space Pash (as my Australian editor called it) or Space Opera, was so much fun. The above is the company line; between you and me, Lost Prince has dog fights in space, nasty aliens, hot rebels, an insurmountable enemy, and scintillating sex between two people who probably don’t belong together but just can’t help themselves.

Are you an author who has to do an outline first or do you write whatever pops into your head.


I’ve done both and I’ll never go back to pantsing it. I now outline, and it’s valuable to be able to do so because some editors expect to see one first. I’m working on a short story right now that’s a prime example of that. My process is write the tag line, then back cover copy, and then scene by scene. I often run these by other people, as well, during this process. You’ll find rough back cover copy all over my blog. I think my biggest leap as a writer came when I started to plot. It forced me to slow down and think. Plain old thinking is highly underrated by many newer writers.


Two of your other books Quencher and Quenched were co-written with author E.C. Stacy, any butting of heads when co-writing a book with someone?


Nah, we get along. We had a lot of fun, and I enjoy franchise writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love world-building, too. But I enjoy the challenge of writing within the constraints of someone else’s world. We plotted together and I did the drafting, and then we came together again on edits.


I know it seems these two questions are always asked but readers and future writers like to know. What do you like most about writing? What do you dislike about it?


I was just hanging out in a hotel bar in Florida last week and got interviewed over these two topics by a New Zealander woman and an Italian guy. I love the process, the actual writing, the creative process of building a story from the ground up. I also love interacting with readers, other writers, editors…they’re the greatest people! I’m pretty social, so convention weekends are important to me. But the point I made was that writing isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds. It involves a lot of butt in chair, forcing words out. Writing the climax to my latest WIP was excruciating. I also do a lot of staring out the window and thinking. And laundry. You can judge how well my writing day went by how organized the laundry is. If it’s done, not so well.


That said, having just spent the morning doing paperwork for my next book, Sentinel: Archive of Fire, and doing some bookkeeping, I’d say that’s the part I hate most. But that’s any job, right? And writers have to do it all; we are independent businesses. Fortunately my husband runs his own consulting firm and he’s a crack shot at business, so he helps a lot with that end of things.


If you were not an author or an editor what else would you be?


Probably I’d go back to painting. I did commission art work for a number of years, but a shoulder injury messed up my fine motor skills. They’re coming back though and I’m drawing more. My story bibles are full of doodles and drawings and scribbles. Or I could see myself still doing interior design, which is also much less romantic than it sounds.


When you get some down time what would you be doing?


In winter I snowboard nearly every weekend, and in summer I love to take the kids to the pool and just read. We have a second house in Grand Lake, CO, and we spend a lot of weekends up there, hiking, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends. Like I said, I’m very social, so I go out a lot, too. Punk rock concerts are my favorite party spots.


Who are some fellow authors you enjoy reading?


I love everything Carol Berg writes. George RR Martin, of course, and what a nice man! Stuart Neville is a good friend and I have the distinct pleasure of reading his work raw. It’s so good. I really like what Charlie Huston does; he has such great style. And Richard Kadrey’s work is fascinating to me. It’s got such heart. I’m really enjoying Stacia Kane’s Downside series, and of course every word Neil Gaiman writes turns to gold. James Ellroy, Erica Orloff, Stephen Parrish, Paulo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. I get to critique my fellow editors’ work, as well, Lesley Smith and David Hughes, plus the rest of my group…Ok. I’ll stop now.


Any advice you would like to give to future authors?


READ. Devour books, magazines, blogs, facebook entries. READ. And write all the time, every day, even if it’s a few words. (I just started a story on the airplane. Writers are compulsive sometimes; give into that.) I’m a huge proponent of the million word theory: most writers it takes 10,000 hours, or a million words, to come into their own. For me, blogging was where I started to develop my voice (or one of them, I’m told I have a few) and it’s where I got the encouragement to be free. Learn to write from your heart!


I’ve done a lot of free writing with other people to develop my creative process. That has given me so much confidence and depth. The more you write, the more your work is seen by other people with good or bad responses, the better. Learn to take and use criticism. Also, short stories are a great way to hone your skills. There’s a reason most writer programs focus on the short form.


How can readers learn more about you and your books?


My books are available primarily through Whiskey Creek Press, http://whiskeycreekpress.com/Torrid, though QUENCHED is on Kindle. Instructions for how to easily download my books to Kindle can be found on my website.


I’ve lived online at Sex Scenes at Starbucks since 2004; http://betsydornbusch.com/. (I’ve had more than a few people say they’ve read the entire blog. That stuns me every time I get an email like that.) There are links to everything there, including my short stories online, book excerpts, and sometimes even contests. We have some fun around there. I also edit Electric Spec and have done for 5 years: http://electricspec.com/


I lurve me some new online friends, too, so find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000050477368


And Twitter: twitter.com/betsydornbusch.


Thank you Ainsley it was great to have you with us and hope you come back again soon.






You can read my review of Lost Prince: Salt Road Saga Book 1 here





Also read the review of Quenched here 




Other titles available Quencher