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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Review: Dark Dichotomy 1: Misbehaving

Dark Dichotomy 1: Misbehaving
by Aubrey Ross

Kendra Lawrence isn’t sure what to expect when she meets Torral Burton for the first time. His family’s secrecy has kept Napa Valley gossiping for generations. He contracts her to renovate a cottage on his secluded estate, but Kendra is tempted to misbehave as soon as she looks into his eyes. Never before has a man ignited her senses and made her long for erotic misdeeds.

Ryan, Torral’s nocturnal half, senses Kendra’s presence even before he transitions out of sleep state. His visions reveal and enemy lurking in the shadows, waiting to destroy them all. A soul bonding is the only way to ensure Kendra’s safety. But first she must accept the complexity of their nature and learn to revel in the pleasures awaiting her as the mate of a Dichotomy.

This was a truly original take on the shapeshifter/paranormal tale. Aubrey Ross has a surefire winner when it comes to this series and I can’t wait to see the next installments of the Dichotomy mates.

Kendra is passionate about her job, and is itching to get started on a new project, hopefully restoring the cottage on the Burton estate. I enjoyed getting to know Kendra, I got the sense that she was a very classy woman who knew what she was doing and was quite passionate about her job. Her distraction as she meets and finds herself falling way too quickly for Torral Burton was charming, and made me respect her all the more for her determination to behave professionally, despite the amazing draw she felt toward him. It doesn’t matter that she is unaware of the supernatural bond she has with both Torral and his nocturnal half, Ryan. She finds it inappropriate that she is so quickly attracted to them, and I admired her for trying to stick to her guns. Even when events seem unbelievable she kept her cool and tried to move past her disbelief to the truth behind what was going on between her and the “twins”. Kendra was a truly enjoyable heroine to get to know.

Torral was a rather playful and funny yet intense man who got Kendra’s and MY libido revving with just one smile. His flirtatious ways and witty comebacks were fun to watch as they turned Kendra inside out and upside down. His own struggle with his seemingly inappropriate attraction to someone who would be working for him was admirable. Even when he was informed by Ryan that Kendra was their mate, he makes it clear that they must let her get used to them and fall for each of them separately as well as together. The fact that it needs to be relatively quick, doesn’t mean that they need to rush her, and he makes that clear to Ryan. I had to admire his consideration, and agree with Kendra as she fell headlong into love with him.

Ryan on the other hand was the more intense of the “twins” and his ability of foresight was what convinced both him and Torral that Kendra was not only in danger, but was their mate as well. With his own separate talents and gifts, Ryan was as easy to fall for as Torral, if not a bit more hot (in my honest opinion). His determination to convince Kendra of her role in their life made for some exciting moments, not to mention some hot moments. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this strong man trip all over himself as he worked for his woman’s affection.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am eagerly looking forward to the next Dichotomy Mate book. Aubrey Ross has a winner with this series, and her fresh voice makes for an entertaining read that delivers both heat and drama. Her ability to give us a believably insane antagonist was just icing on the cake. Dark Dichotomy: Misbehaving kept me turning the pages until I came to the very last one and left me begging for more.

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Review by Viscaria

Friday, June 6, 2008

Review: Candy Kisses

Candy Kisses
By Honey Jans

Candy Warner comes home after a triple whammy of disasters, she’s lost her job and her fiancĂ©e, and had her condo broken into all within a matter of weeks. Now she’s come up with a plan to reinvent herself. The first item on her to do list is to find the perfect lover. As a former personnel director, she’s already decided on his qualifications; he has to be young and trainable, let her take the lead, and most importantly he has to be able to make her come.

Her well-laid plans go awry when the police suspect her of breaking into the cabin she’s rented for the summer. Tackled, and lying under a very male body, if his erection is anything to go by, she gazes up at Mitch Hammond and wants to die. If there was anyone she didn’t want to see or be felt up by, it was the stud she’d thrown herself at ten years ago. He doesn’t even meet her qualifications. He’s too old, too bossy, and way too Alpha Male.

Detective Mitch Hammond is amused to find that the burglar he’s tackled is sexy Candy Warner. His body throbs against her soft curves and he knows that he has to have her. When he finds out about her quest to find a lover, and learns that he won’t fit the bill, he’s annoyed. He bends to kiss her, proving that he fits at least one of her qualifications; he can make her come. But can he keep her safe from the burglars who’ve been plaguing the area? Will Mitch be able to convince Candy that he’s the man for the job? To find out read Candy Kisses.

If you are looking for a story with an incredible amount of heat, sexual adventures, and passion within the framework of a light mystery, then Candy Kisses will fit the bill.

Candy has had it with being proper and efficient and frigid. She is going to take back her life and she has a plan. She is going to live and live hot and that means she's looking to break her frigid label. As with all plans, Murphy's Law has something to say about that and he slams her hard with Mr. Hunk...sorry, Mr. Hammond, Detective. Candy's character was a fine balance between independent, self-sufficient and girly-girl. The journey she takes discovering just how NOT frigid she is can only occur with a man who can make her zing.

Enter the zing-man, Mitch Hammond. I have to wonder how he got to know so much about ...things. He's the town bad boy gone straight. He is the ultimate alpha man. Really, Ms. Jans painted him with dominate and commanding impulses and when he's around Candy, brings out the caveman, the protector, and the sex maniac. Don't get the wrong impression, he's not smothering by any means. You see, Candy is not a weak woman and when she shows her strengths, it ratchets up Mitch's attraction to her a hundred degrees. And my eyebrows got singed from reading some of their exploits.

For meat in this story, there is a criminal element haunting Candy. She is so sure the strange things going on have nothing to do with her. Mitch, being the hunky protector and all, has another theory.

There is a smarmy villain. Also, there is another idiot from Candy's past which I found pretty funny, especially when the past came up and bit the guy in the tukas. It was a nice touch of deja vu. You'll love Candy's sass - I did.

All in all, Candy Kisses is a very hot read with many erotic elements to explore. The conflict and plot serve to bring them together and provide moments for each to show off to the other. Also, through their exploring, Candy and Mitch learn some things about themselves they didn't know before. Many times the dialogue embraced sublime eroticsm which thrilled me. I love a good dialogue line and Mitch has some great ones. I'd recommend this book if you enjoy a hearty dose of eroticism spicing up the romantic dance of falling in love.


Rating: Photobucket

Reviewed by Xeranth

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Review: Big, Blooming & Wild!: Greenhouse Effect

Big, Blooming & Wild!: Greenhouse Effect
by Nia K. Foxx

Horticulturist Jennifer Wilde of the Institute of Big Basin Wildlife (IBBW) knows a visit from the company’s new CEO can’t be good news. The man is rumored to have left a trail of ex-employees in his wake. Determined to deliver an A-1 presentation, she’s far from prepared for the instant attraction she feels for the sexy executive. One thing’s for certain, she’s never gone in for office romances and she won’t start now.

Wik Redwood is in “heat,” or more accurately in pollen. His urges are definitely impacting everyone around him and if he doesn’t mate soon… The bottom line is he needs to find the right woman, and fast. An accidental crossing of paths has him setting his sights on a certain rubenesque scientist who makes his roots tingle. He’s determined to have her yielding to the Botan way of loving.

I wasn't too sure about how this story was going to play out because I'd never heard of a plant shifter - how would that work? Very well, thank you. I'm not too sure what inspired Ms. Foxx to attempt this story but I'm extremely glad she did. From the get-go Ms. Foxx had me giggling and it only got better from there.

I enjoyed Jennifer, the heroine. She's focused, successful and not about to jeopardize her career with a fling, no matter how flustered a guy makes her feel. So when she met Wik, it was a lot of fun to see her fall. She's smart too and I thought her personality was very well developed.

I have to give kudos to the author for how she used dialogue in this book. When Jennifer had to come to terms with her attraction to Wik, Ms. Foxx used the friendly repartee between her and her co-worker, Diane, to push the story forward. I found it filled with sparkling wit, humor and a naturalness - giving it a very real feel. I had a lot of fun.

Wik was fascinating. He's a very determined man and what he reveals to Jennifer not only surprised her but me too. Oh, not that he's part plant but what else he reveals. It was an "awww" moment. Well, not right away, but once she believes him it is. I liked how his character acted - "she's mine, I WILL have her" - and then proceeds to do everything wrong. He was so cute. OK, Diane corrects that in the story but I can think what I want. Wik is a hunk. And what he can do with his ...um...I will say that the title should be changed from Greenhouse to Hothouse because when Wik and Jennifer do get together, it's very sexy and steamy.

I cannot stress how much fun this story is. It left me with a smile and a better appreciation for certain puns. If you want to enjoy a unique twist in the shifter universe and experience a hot time reading, then Greenhouse Effect is the story I'd recommend.

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Reviewed by Xeranth

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Review: Warlord

Warlord
By: Jaid Black

In the year 1052, Euan Donald rules the Highlands with an iron fist. When a rival clan chieftain fails to deliver his betrothed to him, Euan decides to take matters into his own hands and acquire a bride the old fashioned way—he'll go steal one...

Present day: Janet Duval is in Scotland on business. One minute she is leaving the local pub after having dinner and drinks with a friend and the next she finds herself being chased—1000 years in the past—by a heavily-muscled, grim-faced warrior hell-bent on possessing her.

Warlord is a book with great re-readability especially if you, like me, adore hunky Scottish Highlanders, time travel and spunky heroines who give said studs a run for their kilts.

What can I say? Euan is a dish. A man so hardened by his life and responsibilities, he's forgotten how to smile. He's a man's man, brutal yet fair and very easy on the eyes. Just don't mess with him and his honor. Can you tell I like an Alpha man?

Janet is a woman who is at a crossroads in her life. She has a big decision to make and none of her choices appeal to her--until she gets a whopper of a choice in the form of Euan. Did I say she gets a choice? Oooh, how excited I got reading how Euan swept Janet off her feet. I really get a kick out of man who does that and when the woman is a 21st century gal, I enjoy the sparks that fly when they clash.

The one thing about Jaid Black is, this author knows how to write erotic romanance. I cut my erotica teeth on her and she's been the benchmark I judge all erotic romantce on. It's not just the sex, it's the emotion behind it and the feelings. Jaid combines both for a heady experience so I enjoy every comment, every twitch of a kilt, as Euan and Janet fall in love.

Warlord is exciting, passionate, seductive and just plain fun to read. If you enjoy a bit of time travel and love the brogue of hunky Scottsmen, then you are in for a treat.

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Reviewed by Xeranth

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Review: Private Dancer

Private Dancer
By Ann Corey

A passion that led to darkness…

Music was his life. Bitten and cursed by a vampire, Ryder watched his career end, along with his mortality. The curse would eventually destroy him, unless he found a willing bride. Desperate for a second chance, Ryder hunts for a woman with a strong appreciation for music.

He never expected to find his muse, or fall in love.

Darkness that leads to passion…

Dancing was her life. Tired of working as a stripper at a seedy nightclub, Fallon responds to an ad in the newspaper for a private dancer. With her provocative moves she lands the position, and quickly loses herself in the stranger’s music. Haunting melodies laced with spells of seduction distort her perceptions and play with her emotions.

The path of passion and darkness unite...

In the name of love, one will have to make a sacrifice.

Private Dancer has many beautiful aspects to its love story. It uses a Gothic backdrop with a contemporary flavor to showcase a woman bent on surviving and a man who is about to give up.

Fallon's character is a woman who, in today's society, would be easily dismissed. She has not had an easy life and it forces her to make choices than many of us would not be willing to make. I liked her grit, her passion and her vulnerability. Fallon is written with enough detail to reach my emotions; enough for me to care what happens to her and to want a better life for her. Thing is, it looks pretty hopeless. She's a sweet person and she's trying to stay that way but I got the feeling that if she stayed an exotic dancer much longer, she would burn out and her inner flame--that hope that kept her going--would snuff out. I do not enjoy seeing nice people with potential getting used up and spit out by life.

Ryder is our hero. He's a quiet man whose strength of character comes from the tragedy that befell him when he was younger. It took him awhile to figure things out but as we all know, girls mature faster than boys, right? He's finally come to terms with his past and his mistakes in it; but to have a future he has to find his true love. Remember Beauty and the Beast? This is the vampire version and it's just as sweet. Well, not at first, but you'll figure that out. Ryder doesn't growl and smash things, he seduces and bumbles because he wants her to love him so very much. I ended up feeling compassion for Ryder and hoped very hard that those nasty voices wouldn't ruin his chances at happiness.

The seduction has metaphysical elements which I found sensual and poignant. I need a good bite scene with my vampire romances and Private Dancer delivered. It was quite yummy. For readers who have a dance background, this story might appeal very much. There were a lot of descriptives of dance moves that seemed quite well done. But only a true dancer would know for sure. I just know I liked it.

Private Dancer is a solid romance story with heat and passion. It generates desire for Fallon and Ryder's happiness in life and a unique delivery to bring it all together. If vampires had their own romantic fairy tales then Private Dancer would be among them.

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Reviewed by Xeranth

Monday, June 2, 2008

Review: The Cat House: Cats and Dogs

The Cat House: Cats and Dogs
By Julia Talbot

When werewolf Bay meets werecats Kyle and Abby at the new club in town, he’s stunned at the immediate connection he has with them. Kyle and Abby feel the pull as well, even though Kyle has his own suspicions about werewolves and their motives.

After one night of passion, Kyle thinks his doubts are warranted, since Bay promises to call but never comes back around. Abby believes there’s more to it, though, and goes looking for their new lover, finding danger and betrayal right in their backyard. Can Kyle and Abby save Bay and manage to keep him for themselves?

I enjoyed reading this book. I had a feeling I would have fun, just from the way Abby and Kyle approached life in general with verve and gusto. I wasn't disappointed. Those two feel that life is meant to be enjoyed, and if you can get all that enjoyment with those you care for, then go for it.

Abby and Kyle know what they are looking for when it comes to a play-mate, what they don’t expect is the immediate reaction and connection to Bay as they hook up with him. The man does something to them that makes them long for one more to add to their little couple. I was a bit disconcerted by the fact that they seemed to decide Bay should be a part of their lives on such a short notice, but that was the personalities they had. Abby is a sweet, yet feisty woman who is more than willing to fight for what she believes is hers… and for whatever reason she has come to the conclusion that Bay is meant to be hers and Kyles.

Bay was a bit uncertain, but also willing to play with these two kitties. Imagine his surprise when he seems to have such a connection to them. I really did enjoy his bit of confusion at where he, a werewolf, was supposed to fit into their world werecats. When circumstances work to separate him from two people that he has quickly grown very fond, Bay displays an amazing amount of wit and courage and is more than ready to get away when he is rescued.

All in all, I have to say that this was a fun, quick read that left me with a smile and a hope for more from The Cathouse. I would really like to see if there are more of these stories in the works. Does Layla get her own tale? Will we see Bay and his kitties again? Julia Talbot sure has my interest piqued and I can’t wait to see more from her in the future.

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Review by Viscaria

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Review: Snowbound: Snow Dream

Snowbound: Snow Dream
by Michele Bardsley

When Lilly Tremont wrecks her car in a snowstorm, her gorgeous rescuers show her unexpected ways to stay warm.

Snowbound is an intense short story that I would love to see developed into a full length novel. The idea is original and fun – who knew that crashing in a snow storm could hold such a hot adventure? Wait until you get a load of the two guys who help out Lilly. Their names are adorable and after I read what they could do, well, Ms. Bardsley named her heroes well.

I experienced a bit of heated steam during the scenes when the three were together. They are quite hot during the menage a trois and even the light BDSM enhanced the experience. On the whole, I'd say this short story was written very tastefully.

I will say that even though this story does not have a clear HEA, I truly felt that it was just around the corner because of ... his name. It's all in the name. You'll see.

Michele Bardsley sure knows how to write a scene hot enough to melt...oh wait! I can't tell you that either. You are simply going to have to read about what melts in this story. I thought it was pretty darned original and fun and I think you will too.
Well worth the time spent reading.

Rating: Photobucket

Reviewed by Snowdrop and Xeranth