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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Review: Children of the Dust 2: The Factory

Children of the Dust 2: The Factory
by Eve Vaughn

Landing a job at Cryo Cor, the largest food manufacturer on the planet, is a dream come true for Sydney. But her dream job becomes a nightmare when she discovers a horrible secret about Cryo Cor’s products. Cryo Cor is processing Humans -- as food!

Overnight Sydney becomes a wanted woman. She finds unexpected salvation in the form of a tall, dark, rugged stranger. Jack and his band of Freedom Fighters will stop at nothing to take down the alien threat to mankind. When Jack offers Sydney his protection, sparks immediately fly between these two headstrong people, but their arguments soon turn to equally passionate lovemaking. They'll have to work together to destroy the Cyrellian threat, and preserve the future of Earth.

This is Sydney's story, the second installment of the "Children of the Dust" series. I read the first of them, "The Zoo", where Sydney's character was introduced. I didn't really like her very much; she seems uncaring and aloof when her friend, Bella, is missing and even when Holly calls her on her lack of concern, Sydney waves her off as if it doesn't matter. In "The Factory", however, Sydney's background is explored which explains her lack of emotion and it made me better understand her perplexing attitude. Her strength of character and ability to take care of herself as she deals with her confusing situation changed my initial lukewarm impression of her to one of admiration.

I think Sydney and Jack are great together, especially when Sydney turns the tables on Jack in his idea of the man/woman roles. When they have mind-blowing, in-the-heat-of-the-moment, comfort-in-a-crisis sex, I laughed at his irritation when she dismisses the importance act. Although not cruel, Jack is the consummate love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy, and his annoyance at her giving him a taste of his own medicine amused me. It was clear to me though, and eventually to him, that his heated reaction was really recognition that Sydney was someone special and I enjoyed his slow realization of that fact. He also offered an apology to her — a sincere one — and I can't resist a guy that can reign in his ego enough to do so.

This is an engrossing series that includes conspiracies, heroism and passion I am finding it well worth the time to explore the ongoing adventure.

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Review by Chamomile

Friday, March 28, 2008

Review: Children of the Dust 1: The Zoo


Children of the Dust 1: The Zoo
by Eve Vaughn

The Cyrellians appear friendly, offering hope to a battered and devastated Earth. But three women soon make startling discoveries that could very well change the fate of their home world yet again.

With the help of Cyrellian technology, Bella may soon hear for the first time. When she goes to their lab for tests, she finds herself sold off -- as a pet in an alien zoo! Although she's expected to mate with a “creature” of her kind, she can't fight her attraction to Dar, the zookeeper assigned to oversee her training.

Dar has a knack for dealing with the most unruly of the zoo’s pets. Still, he’s surprised at how like his people these new breeders are. Disturbingly he finds himself falling for the Earth being, even though he knows it's wrong to mate with the pets. But when Bella tells him of the Cyrellians’ underhanded tactics, he risks his life on a daring escape. Will they find their way back to Earth in time to warn others of the Cyrellians’ devious plans?

This is the first in a series about the adventures of three crusading women in a crippled world. "The Zoo" introduces Bella, who has all sorts of bad things going on her life and I felt immediate compassion for her. She lost her parents very young, then lost her hearing and had been a gifted musician, which made it all the more tragic. When she jumped at the chance to have surgery to regain her hearing, I can understand her decision even though there are considerable risks. Of course, the surgery was a ruse for the Cyrellians to remove her from the world because of her imperfection.

I can't even imagine being sold to a zoo – as an attraction! Not able to communicate with the keepers, not given clothes and expected to sleep on straw. Bella shows all the emotions that I would expect in that situation and I was drawn into her plight. I found her vulnerability and confusion with Dar convincing and well expressed as he deals with his own insecurities about his growing — and forbidden — affection for her. I loved that Bella doesn't give up or become sullen; instead she concentrates on finding ways to communicate with Dar, which ultimately leads to their romantic feelings for one another.

Dar really appealed to me because he is a decent man in a not-so-decent environment, but he tries to do the right thing by the animals in his care. His genuine concern for Bella makes him even more adorable to me. It doesn't hurt that Dar is a total beefcake, and is extremely well endowed, in the form of a spare (if you catch my meaning). And Bella couldn't be happier, although admittedly she is shocked at first. I felt my eyes widen as big hers as he reveals his additional equipment to her. The lovemaking is intimately seductive and very well written.

There are many skirmishes they have to overcome and the turmoil kept me reading from beginning to end. There were a couple of minor plot lines that I had trouble with but overall, the story flows well and was truly enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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Review by Chamomile

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review: Raine, The Lords of Satyr

Raine, The Lords of Satyr
by Elizabeth Amber

In this erotic historical paranormal romance trilogy set in Tuscany’s centuries-old wine country, three half-Satyr brothers receive a letter that sends them in search of endangered half-Faerie brides.

Middle brother Raine’s traumatic childhood and prior bad marriage have closed him to the idea of giving or receiving love. Reluctantly, he does his duty and locates his bride, Jordan, in Venice. She turns out to be far different than he could ever have imagined, and she is living a dangerous lie.

In the second installment of The Lords of Satyr, Elizabeth Amber has another compelling hit. Raine is sure to get your blood racing and your heart involved.

Raine is such an interesting character. He seems so staid and contained, in direct contrast to his natural lusty nature. We learned in Nicholas’ story, Raine is rather reluctant to marry again. His first marriage was rather disastrous in relation to his supernatural disposition. Unwilling to put his heart on the line again, he nevertheless fulfills his duty and locates the Faerie-blend woman who is to be his wife. When he finds her there are a few surprises in store for him that this reader didn’t expect at all. What I found so compelling about Raine was that he never once judged Jordan for things beyond her control. Where others may have been repulsed, he saw the inner woman and in opening her heart ends up opening his own to the endless possibilities love can bring.

Jordan was an interesting, mind-boggling character. A woman of dubious sexuality, she has been living what she considers a lie her whole life for the sake of her family. When Raine steps into her life, she finds someone who sees her as she sees herself. Jordan kept me entertained with her views on the world that didn’t quite blend with her time period, at least not for a woman in her time period. The fact that she refuses to marry Raine in order to protect his own family name, something Raine feels he failed in doing at the end of his first marriage, was actually something that endeared her to my mind. Her feelings for Raine are so complex, and the added peculiarity of her sexuality just brings more heat to an already sensual tale. She was more than a match for Raine, she was what he needed to live a full life, just as he was for her.

This story took me on a journey through some rather uncomfortable subject matter, without making me uncomfortable. Ms. Amber again displays her amazing ability to weave an incredibly erotic tale interspersed with such tender and touching scenes that the love between two people just thrives on. One is never left wanting or wondering if the characters are truly happy with one another. The instances of danger and intrigue add an extra spice to an already well-seasoned love story and keep the pages turning.

A note of warning, this is not your easy, typical erotic romance. Ms. Amber deals with some very difficult subject matter regarding sexuality and the paranormal that may leave quite a few readers squirming, but I feel very strongly that it is worth it. An instance with some of the forces trying to take over the faerie king’s kingdom not to mention the bishop that has a rather unfortunate infatuation with Raine can leave some people feeling a bit uncomfortable, not to mention the issues with Jordan herself. While these issues didn’t detract from the story in this reviewers honest opinion, I do feel that I need to warn anyone uncomfortable with subjects dealing with androgynous sexuality, and forced or not wholly consenting sex.

Despite any uncomfortable moments that may have occurred, they were not enough to dull any amount of my enjoyment of this story. In fact, they only brought me further into Raine and Jordan’s story and made me want desperately for them to find their happiness. This book was so well-written that I had to make myself put it down in order to deal with everyday responsibilities! You know, those pesky things like eating, feeding my kids, laundry… nothing important! But, in all seriousness, Ms. Amber has another stunningly erotic tale that will leave you completely invested in her characters’ happiness. I breathlessly await the third brother, Lyon’s tale.

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Review by Viscaria

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review: Mi Toro (Destination Pleasure)

Mi Toro (Destination Pleasure)
by Brenna Zinn

In Seville, Spain for what should be an easy shoot for the final pictures of her Men of the World – Revealed photo book, Diana Walters quickly discovers her model is not the usual pushover. But if she hands over control to matador Philippe Cordova, will she leave Spain with more than what she came for?

This sexy, short story had me on the edge of my seat from the start. The wonderful location and physical descriptions set the stage so well and allowed me to really enjoy and appreciate the characters. It was as if the author had painted a picture for me.

With very little time for character development, the heat and intensity of their encounter is what drove this story. As with many very short stories, there isn’t a true happily ever after, more of a "hopefully" ever after. The focus is on the heat and not the relationship. I did get a good sense of who they were and where they were going, though.

The characters engaged in a sexy battle and banter that only added to the heat of their encounter. I really loved how their sex play mirrored and complimented their verbal sparring. This was a sexy little snapshot into their lives, and it was an incredibly hot one.

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Review by Aster

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: Snowbound: Lionsblood

Snowbound: Lionsblood
by Marteeka Karland

Earth of the future isn't a nice place for humans. With temperatures dropping to 100 degrees below zero, humans exist at the whim of the lionsblood and hybrids. Being caught outside at night can be deadly.

Then again, so can incurring the wrath of a lionsblood. That's exactly what Marie does. Never mind he's her best friend, this lionsblood has been tormented one too many times and he's out to claim his prey.

This is a quickie -- in every sense of the word. It is a story which almost exclusively consists of a single sexual encounter. It is hot and fast.

I liked everything about this story. It all worked for me: the characters, the situation, the world. I only wish it had been longer. It is such an interesting and unique world that I wanted to know much more about it and the characters in it. We only get a glimpse here in this story, and it’s certainly a hot one!

The characters have a history together, but that’s not important to this story. It’s all about the hot, claiming sex that the characters share. I loved the intensity between them. It has a dominant feel to it, which works well with the world the author has created.

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Review by Aster

Monday, March 24, 2008

Review: The Twainer's Cube

The Twainer's Cube
by Imogen Sans

It had taken five years for the doctors to come up with a treatment for the coulinium gas poisoning and in that time Ariah had lost everyone who'd been dear to her. Worse, she'd all but lost the possibility of having a family of her own since the attack had also destroyed most of her ovum.

She hadn't actually considered Norrik Farvish as a potential donor-never really expected to meet the handsome Balton in person-but there was no denying everything about the man thrilled her to her toes-until he confessed that he'd been a part of the raid on Ju Vonice ….

Norrik and Ariah's lives are intricately woven together in such a manner that engaged me and pulled me into their story. Norrik is a Balton, where on his planet, if they are lucky, males and females bond, or "twain", when they are destined to be mated. I find the concept of an instinctive compulsion to create an indestructible, permanent union is always appealing because it removes the reader temporarily from the reality of love in the real world — that it is never a sure thing. And a little escapism is what we read romance for, right? Though this idea of a compelled joining is not uncommon in romance, Ms. Sans puts her own creative — and delightful — spin to it.

Ariah is a sympathetic character for all that she has gone through in the last few years. She's not an exceptionally strong woman, at least not in the beginning, but I still liked her because although she is mindful of all of the bad in her life, she isn't morose or whiny; she is resigned to her situation and deals with it. She becomes more spirited — and more engaging — when Norrik whisks her away and tries (from her perspective) to control her.

Norrik is a beefcake alien that has everything that a girl could want in a man. But he is keeping many truths from Ariah and most of his deceptions involve her in some form. The lies are justified to a certain extent and as each truth is revealed, Norrik's yummy factor increases as he demonstrates his long-time care and devotion to Ariah.

Norrik and Ariah have just enough differences to keep their relationship magnetic — she is fiery and spirited, and he is protective and strong — and secretive. They experience many skirmishes, but the steamy passion they feel for one another, heightened by the sizzling effect of their "twain", is potent and fun to experience.

"Twainer's Cube" is a gripping adventure that had me intrigued from beginning to end. It's easy to recommend this rich story with compelling characters, a suspenseful climax and heartwarming ending.

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Review by Chamomile

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Review: Susanna's Seduction

Susanna’s Seduction
by Patrice Michelle

All it took was the right man to seduce the spontaneous woman within her…

Susan Brennon never expected that running an errand for her future sister-in-law would land her a spur-of-the-moment date. When Michael leads her down a sensual path of seduction, she takes on the sexy Italian full-throttle, all the while keeping her heart under tight guard. Every person she’s formed a close attachment to has moved on. She doesn’t expect Michael to be any different.

From the moment he touches Susan, Michael Piccoli wants her. But as their relationship grows more physical, he finds that for the first time in his life he desires more than sex from a woman – he wants the whole package with Susanna. Michael’s determined to break through the rigid hold Susanna has on her emotions. He’ll do anything to reach her, even if that means taking their relationship to a whole new level.


Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex and graphic language.

When offered this book to review I was a bit giddy! I am a fan of Patrice Michelle’s and promptly snatched this book up. As a fan I know that sometimes my expectations are higher for a favorite or well-known author than they would be for a new-to-me author, and sometimes that causes misgivings or disappointment. Let me just say that was NOT the case with this book. Patrice outdid herself again.

Susan is always the bridesmaid, never the bride, and that’s alright with her. She’s had so many disappointments in her life that she just can’t seem to bring herself to put her heart out there for it to acquire yet another ache. When she does a favor for her soon-to-be sister-in-law (one she is steamrolled into doing, by the way!) she has no idea that errand will drastically change her outlook. Meeting the playful, and seductive Michael Piccoli is unexpected, but welcome. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with such a sexy man?

Michael was a great hero who knows what he wants, and from the moment he meets Susan he wants HER! As he talks her into accepting a date with him, we get a glimpse into how charming and playful he can be, not to mention determined. When he realizes that there is more to this woman than meets the eye he realizes that he wants more than just a physical relationship, the trouble is convincing Susan that it’s what she wants as well. I loved how he decided that Susan was much too… plain for this vibrant woman. So, he gave her his own version of her name: Susanna. Susan quickly realizes that she very much likes his nickname for her. And so her seduction begins!

I did have a couple of misgivings at one point. In an effort to have Susan and Michael move along in their relationship, they are each listing in their heads what they know about each other and I was a bit taken aback that they seemed to “know” so much about each other when they were in fact on their first date and I didn’t really see how they could have known so much about the other when certain traits hadn’t been addressed yet. I understand that the author was endeavoring to explain what was so desirable about each other, which is why it didn’t pull me out of the story, but it was noteworthy.

The love scenes are incredibly sensual with great tension leading up to the actual consummation of their physical relationship. There were a few uniquely erotic scenes that occurred in inventive locations that made for a fun read and kept the pages turning. Each encounter was absorbing, whether it was a simple kiss, or more and brought a smile to my face.

Patrice Michelle weaves a sensual tale that quickly has you falling in love with both characters in this romance. We are led along through the ups and downs of a burgeoning relationship, including meeting the family and learning to deal with each other’s foibles and fears. This was a great read and I thoroughly recommend it.



Review by Viscaria