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Friday, April 2, 2010

Fallen by Blayne Edwards



Fallen by Blayne Edwards
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: voyeurism, masturbation, M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

“She just fell from the freakin’ sky!”

The Cherokee people don’t have a mating dance. Unfortunately for Lossiah’s clan, he’s an innovator. An innovator and perhaps a bit of a troublemaker. Of course, he never meant to bring home the flu bug that almost wiped out his entire family, and he didn’t really think the Dance would convince the Great Spirit to forgive him and send him a wife. Losi’s not a bad guy. He’s just trying to score some action. And who can blame him? Living isolated in the Smoky Mountains for all those years can be hell on a guy’s sex life. Not to mention what it can do to his two-step.

Sarah’s had it up to here with being nagged about her sex life. There is no problem with her sex life. She has no sex life! How can there be a problem?

What do you do when something you want is just out of reach? If you want it badly enough, you reach a little farther.

Sarah doesn’t exactly fall from the sky buy a two hundred foot fall down a ravine is no picnic. It helps that she practically fell into the lap of a gorgeous Cherokee brave who just danced a prayer to the Creator for help in finding the woman meant for him.

I really like the characters of Sarah and Lossiah. They were easy to relate to because they seemed so real – real problems, real emotions, real needs and desires.

Sarah is a botanist. She relates to plants better than people because plants lives tend to be predictable and structured much like Sarah, herself. When she meets Lossiah she is immediately drawn to him in the same way she is drawn to a new species of plant. She wants to touch, taste and inspect every inch of his sun kissed body…and he’s happy to comply.

Lossiah is a good man with an honorable heart but has been without a woman for seven years thanks to his impatience. He very much wants to make things right with his tribe as well as the Creator. If along the way he could have a prayer answered in the form of his true love that would be okay, too.

The story jumps around a bit and I actually had to re-read a large portion of it to get a better understanding of the events. At one point I couldn’t decide if Sarah did or did not have a concussion and weather or not they had sex before or after going to his cabin. Sarah isn’t even sure part of the time. Losi is just one very well developed fantasy…or is he??

I will say, the story is refreshingly original. Lossiah and his people, who have been hidden from “civilization” for more than 200 years in the Smoky Mountains, are looking at being potentially exposed due to greed and Lossiah with the help of Sarah and some clever hybrid wolf shifters set out to save the hidden Cherokee nation.

Ms. Edwards brings in a paranormal aspect to the story that is both entertaining and engrossing. The chemistry between Sarah and Lossiah is hot and steamy. They enjoy getting to know each other!

I gave Fallen 4 Cherries because even though it took more than one read to understand the story it was worth a second look.

Lionsheart by Marteeka Karland



Lionsheart by Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (31 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Darian Amos Shiffley is on the hunt. His protégé, Gretta, has gotten herself arrested and detained in Dead Man’s Keep, a supermax underground prison of the worst sort. He intends on freeing not only her, but himself as well. For too long, Shiffley has hidden his feelings for Gretta. No more. He’s out to show his little Lionsheart how much she truly means to him.

Imagine his surprise when he discovers his secret was never really a secret to begin with.

The secret’s out... but no one’s upset about it.

I get excited when I see a new book by Marteeka Karland. I know when I open the document, I’m going to get a great read. Lionsheart is no different.

Ms. Karland writes hybrid animals as well as anyone and drew me in right away. The action in the book never wanes, which left me on the edge of my seat.

Gretta, for all her humanness, is a real piece of work. She’s strong and sure, and knows her man. She wants to nurture and help. This caring is what gets her into trouble, but I didn’t think she had a problem being rescued. Shiff has no qualms with rescuing her. He’s a lionsblood vampire, which made for an interesting twist. When it comes to brute strength and agility, he’s the man.

The pairing of the two is nice and sexy. I felt the passion immediately, even when they didn’t want to admit their feelings. What holds them back? That great old human emotion—fear. Ms. Karland writes these feelings in a tender manner. I felt for both Gretta and Shiff. He’s afraid he’ll hurt her and she’s scared he doesn’t see her as more than a trainee.

If you want a saucy book filled with a lusty heroine and an unusual hero, then you need to read Lionsheart. I give this book 3 cherries.

Sticks and Stone by Jennifer Dunne



Sticks and Stone by Jennifer Dunne
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (102 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Part of the Luck of the Irish series.

Three men and a leprechaun? When Dermot, Greg and Zev meet at the wedding of a past lover, the little green guy offers each man a golden opportunity to possess his greatest desire. Unfortunately, figuring out what that greatest desire amounts to isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Wealthy, powerful and recently voted the year’s most eligible bachelor, Dermot Stone has it all. But he wants more. He wants magic. Irish witch Eileen Daniells has her hands full with a busy writing and teaching career. The last thing she needs is an arrogant American stirring up trouble among the faerie creatures in her woods. When a tree spirit appears and seduces him, Dermot thinks he’s getting the wish the leprechaun promised—only to discover it may cost him his life. Eileen uses her powers to save him, but Dermot must confess to his secret sexual longings before her rescue can be complete. Could she be the answer to his heart’s deepest desire?

Leprechauns grant wishes. That is a given. But they are tricky about how they grant them. If you are the least bit hazy on what you wish for, you may be surprised. Just ask wealthy bachelor Dermot Stone. His experience with a leprechaun left him in pain, and nearly cost him his life. If not for the quick action of Irish witch Eileen Daniels, Dermot could have lost everything in his search for magic.

Sticks and Stone is an entertaining story about not being happy with what you have. Dermot Stone is the man who has everything going for him. He’s handsome, charismatic, sexy and everything he touches succeeds. After his encounter with the leprechaun, he enters the woods searching for that indefinable magic that he is sure exists. When he encounters a dryad, a tree spirit, he gets overcome with lust. This is where Eileen finds him, trapped rather embarrassingly in the tree. As a witch, Eileen knows what needs to be done to save Dermot, and that includes some very hot sex, which cleanses the evil from Dermot’s body, thus saving him.

I love the steps Dermot takes to try and keep Eileen in his life. I love that he learned about Eileen, about who and what she stood for, and didn’t just offer her a life within his circle, but tried to embrace what she is into his life. These are very likable characters, in a wonderfully crafted and realistic world. I liked that Eileen, while reluctant to change what she stood for, was strong enough in character to step up and decide to go for a life with Dermot. This is a terrific story, one I would recommend to anyone in search of a bit more magic in their life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cowboy Dreams by Stormy Glenn



Cowboy Dreams by Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: M/M/F, Menage
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion

A lace corset, a bar of rose scented soap…

Lovers Jeb McCain and Boone Fowler don’t know what to expect when they find an unconscious man in the countryside, but it’s certainly not a sexy little man dressed in a woman’s lace corset.

They soon discover that they want Avery to join their little family, but to keep him safe, Avery has to become their wife. Can they convince Avery and the rest of Applegate Valley that the pretty man they’ve fallen for is a woman?

This story opens with two strong, sexy cowboys, Jeb and Boone, and their discovery of a gorgeous, unconscious man – who they soon find out needs both protection from an abusive uncle and true loving to show him his worth.

Cowboy Dreams is a short but well-written contemporary story about these three men who find love in a non-traditional community that won’t judge them. The characters are all well-developed, and the sex scenes, while hot and descriptive, are perfectly constructed and not over the top. We see the way Avery slowly comes to trust his rescuers, and the way in which Jeb and Boone’s long-term commitment opens to a third party. Each step in the plot is believable, from the opening scene with the cowboys’ honest concern, to the final show-down when Avery’s uncle reappears and threatens to take back his nephew.

While I enjoyed the story, I did have a few issues with the storyline. I feel that there’s a tad too much backstory at the start. It pulled me from the current story and didn't seem to help. The other was that there was some repetitive narration as well. But, once you get past the opening chapters, though, the pace picks up. Despite these things, the tale was well worth the read.

If you’re looking for a male-male/ménage story with hot guys set in the rugged west, you can’t go wrong with Cowboy Dreams. It’s short, to the point, and satisfying all at once.

Nisey’s Awakening by Dakota Trace



Nisey’s Awakening by Dakota Trace
Publisher: Excessica Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (305 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

When a would be Dom takes advantage of Nisey's inexperience she is left bewildered and at odds with her own sexuality. Now scared of what she longs for she tries to hide from it until her best friend, Kalinda has had enough of waking to Nisey's screams and takes matters into her own hands and contacts her older brother, Caelan. She's had enough and wants her best friend back and thinks Caelan is the perfect man to guide Nisey back to what she longs for without traumatizing her friend any further.

Caelan is an experienced Dom, who has trained many first time subs in during his time in the lifestyle, but his last experience with a newbie changed everything. When it blew up in his face, he decided to keep to the more experienced subs, so when his sister calls out of the blue with a request that he help her friend, he is intrigued but very leery. After all what could happen from answering a few questions?

Nisey’s Awakening is a very emotionally charged and unforgettable story that explores the darker side of BDSM by asking -- what do you do when safe, sane, and consensual are no longer the founding principles of a D/s relationship and you find yourself in the hands of a Dom who is both irresponsible and vindictive.

Nisey knows she has a taste for bondage and submission. Unfortunately, her first and only Dom revealed himself to be both uncaring and unversed in the proper ways to master. One bad encounter leaves Nisey afraid and, after her mother throws her out of their home, alone. She moves in with her best friend, Kalinda, and discovers Kalinda’s brother is a not only a sexual dominant, but a very respected and well-known one. Caelan is everything Nisey desires. He is powerful, smart, and exudes confidence and control. But can she trust him to show her the proper relationship that should exist between a Dom and a slave?

Caelan was burned a year ago by a slave and has sworn off of “newbies” permanently. Yet, there is something that draws him to the beautiful and heartbroken Nisey. Against his better judgment, he agrees to take her on to train her in the proper ways of D/s. As a trust develops, he finds himself falling for the slave who is obviously perfect for him. Now, he has to overcome past scars, help her face the demons of her past, and allow her to find the beauty in submission.

Nisey’s Awakening drew me in from the start and kept my attention throughout. Dakota Trace has written something that has multiple layers and components that add to the richness of the story and the depth of the characters. Nisey and Caelan, while fantastic, are only two of many people you’ll fall in love with. My very minor complaint is the lack of a full reveal as to what burned Caelan from newbies a year before. You are given glimpses but never the full picture, which was disappointing. I wanted to know what could shake the foundation of such a confident and proud man to the point he would be afraid to reach out to someone who was new to the scene -- whether he felt an attraction to her or not.

Aside from this, however, the story is fantastic. Nisey was relatable on so many levels and faces so many obstacles to embrace her submissive side and find happiness. This isn’t a simple story of girl embraces her submissive nature. There is danger involved, especially as the Dom who left Nisey shattered and uncertain returns to dish out his own brand of punishment. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride, full of twists and turns. Of course, Caelan is a Dom you can’t help but admire and adore. His strength, perseverance, and devotion are what allow Nisey to shine. As you watch her emerge from her shell, he breaks free of his own as well. They complete one another in the way only those meant to be together can, and it’s a joy to witness.

A definite must read for any BDSM fan, I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend Nisey’s Awakening.

The Public Eye by Chris Tanglen



The Public Eye by Chris Tanglen
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Other: M/F, Exhibitionism, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Three men and a leprechaun? When Dermot, Greg and Zev meet at the wedding of a past lover, the little green guy offers each man a golden opportunity to possess his greatest desire. Unfortunately, figuring out what that greatest desire amounts to isn't as easy as it sounds.

Greg Tennerson figures the leprechaun was just an elaborate prank, but quickly changes his mind when he wakes up with Vivian in his bed. She’s gorgeous. She’s sexy. She’s very much naked. In fact, she’s Greg’s vision of absolute female perfection. She’s also more than willing to satisfy his every physical desire. Anything he wants. Any time he wants. As often as he wants. It’s a fantasy come true for this successful attorney with his heart set on a career in politics…but there’s a catch.

Vivian will only have sex with him in public. And only if there’s danger of getting caught!

When you catch a leprechaun, be very careful what you ask for. You just may get way more than you bargain for. Just ask Greg Tenneson. When he wakes up with a voluptuous, sexy woman in his bed, he thinks he has what he has always desired. She is willing to fulfill his every desire, no matter what. The catch? She says his heart’s desire is to have sex, lots of it, but only in public. Since Greg has his eyes on a career in politics, this could be disastrous. After the novelty wears off, Greg can’t get Vivian out of his life. When he meets Kimberly, things really get interesting. Can Greg end up with his true heart’s desire? Will it be Vivian or Kimberly? And will he recognize it in time?

This is another really enjoyable book. The Public Eye has believable characters, people you recognize as someone you might know. Greg is a realist. He is the strong handsome guy you all have seen around. It takes him a while to come around to the idea that the leprechaun was real, not just an elaborate set up. Vivian is every man’s dream; sexy and willing to do anything he wants. It is a tribute to Greg’s character that, after the initial novelty of getting what he wants, it wears thin quickly. I loved the lengths Greg went to in order to try and end his time with Vivian once he met Kimberly.

Kimberly is the shy girl-next-door, a little insecure but very attractive in her own right. When she and Greg keep bumping into other, you start to realize there is something working behind the scenes. This has several delicious twists and turns before Greg and Kimberly get to their happy ever after, but yes, they do get there. This is a book that will make you laugh out loud, for all of the right reasons.

Purr-fect Man by Ann Campbell



Purr-fect Man by Ann Campbell
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Kate Spencer loves her job as a vet in a wild life rehab. Working with the very sexy Quinton Tocho is an added perks. If not for the poachers who have been raiding the area of wildlife, life might be perfect.

Quinton is the park’s wildlife biologist. Determined to discover the true identity of the poachers, he uses his ability to shape shift to his advantage. It works until finds himself locked in a cage in Kate's rehab. Can he escape without exposing his gift to the woman he fantasizes about? Would she care?

Someone wants the animals dead. Not unless she can help it—or he gets in the way first and shows her what a real good man can do.

Ms. Campbell’s story held me right away. I love cat shifters and this story didn’t disappoint. The details and scenery are rich, which kept me in my seat. Even the interplay between the characters was fun and sexy.

Kate is a great heroine. She wants to save the animals being hunted on her mountain. What would make her job easier? If the hunk Quinton would either show up and put out or put her out of her misery by staying away. I liked her because she wanted help and she’s devoted. She’s got spunk and a warm heart, which endears her to the animals.

Quinton, for all his elusiveness, is quite the hero. He’s handsome and just as dedicated to the critters as Kate because he’s a mountain lion shifter. The spin on the old cat shifter idea (a mountain lion) is nice and fresh. But for all his secretiveness, I wasn’t real keen on the fact that he hid from her. I wanted to see more build-up action between them.

The sex steams, but almost seemed a bit easy. I wanted to see a bit more trepidation on her part and a little more leeway on his. Still, the passion sizzles between Kate and Quinton.

If you want a story that will stick with you long after you close the book, then you need to read Purr-fect Man. I give it 3.5 cherries.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brazen Seduction by Morgan Ashbury



Brazen Seduction by Morgan Ashbury
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (199 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Fisting, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Molly Durant has been in love with Richard Grant since she was a teen. Richard has always treated her as a kid, but she’s never given up hope that he would someday notice her and claim her as his own. Then Molly met Alan Zimmerman and felt an identical kick to her lust-o-meter that Richard inspired. When she discovered the two men were D/s and members of a certain club, Molly planned a most Brazen Seduction.

Richard has always told himself his best friend’s baby sister, Molly, is off limits. When Molly appears at Reckless Abandon, a submissive to be auctioned to the highest bidder, Richard knows he must win her.

But another wants Molly and believes she was meant to be his sex slave. And he will stop at nothing until he has her exactly where he wants her.

Will Richard and Alan claim Molly as their mate, or will time run out?


Molly Durant is taking the chance of a lifetime. With the help of her dear friends Marcus and Jordan she puts herself up as a sub for auction at Jordan’s BDSM club in the hopes that Richard Grant will bid on and win her. She has always loved Richard and hopes with this bold and daring move Richard will finally see her as more than his friend's little sister.

In the midst of all this another has become enamored with Molly and at believes that she is destined to be his sex slave. Will Molly be able to get Richard and his lover, Alan to not only accept but to love her? Is Molly safe from the one who is obsessed with her and longs to claim her?

Morgan Ashbury writes an intriguing and engaging story. I was hooked from the first page. Molly is a strong woman who sees a chance to get what she wants and grabs it with both hands. Richard is a great Dom; he understands the wants and needs of his subs and does not hesitate to give them what they need.

The relationship between Richard and Alan is a strong and secure one. Seeing the love they share and them wanting to share it with Molly was a great read. As the three of them make their connections physically and emotionally the reader can feel the love. The author paints a beautiful picture of their special bond.

Not only does the story revolve around the cementing of the relationship between these three we see their lives at work and we meet the man obsessed with Molly and his strange behavior. With a good plot and well developed characters full of depth and emotion this book should not be missed.


Make A Wish And Blow by Christina James



Make A Wish And Blow by Christina James
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (204 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern


Birthday wishes really can come true—just make a wish and blow.

Daren Hughes has been tortured by his desire to have hot, kinky, wild sex with his best friend, Cassandra. So when he turns her across his knee for a bare-handed birthday spanking, she squirms but doesn’t demand that he stop, awakening his darkest desires. Daren hopes that by introducing Cassandra to bondage and spanking, she will embrace her submissive side and satisfy his Dominant hunger. But Daren never expects Cassandra's sexual appetite to match his own.

Cassandra Wright has been in love with Daren forever. So when he proposes they be "friends with benefits" and plans a weekend to explore their sexual attraction, how can Cassandra refuse? Even if he can’t give her the happily-ever-after-love she craves. But will Cassandra and Daren’s weekend of sexual bliss destroy the one thing that means the most to them…their friendship?

When Daren shows up at Cassandra’s door on her birthday, he brings cake, a promise to show her a fantastic night on the town, and a little something extra. Best-friends for years, they’ve each harbored a secret attraction to the other. It’s not until Daren takes that first step via a birthday spanking that they explore their desires. As a Dom, Daren wants Cassandra’s absolute submission. While Cass, eager to explore the darker side of sexuality, is intrigued and excited by the offer. A weekend away allows them to explore and share their fantasies, but can Daren convince Cass there is more than sex that exists between them? Can he claim her body, mind, and soul?

Making A Wish and Blow is a sizzling hot story with oodles of heat. From the start, you get the chemistry and the sexual tension that has been brewing between the characters. Their friendship adds depth, while their attraction fans the flames. The only issue I had with the story is Cassandra’s determination to keep Daren at an arm’s length, convinced that he only wants sex and will leave when the novelty wears. Considering their long-standing friendship, it felt odd that she could trust him so readily with BDSM style sex and her safety, but didn’t trust him to be honest about his feelings. Of course, her hesitancy does add some conflict, which works, but I had a difficult time understanding her motivations and fears.

Aside from this, however, the story is wonderful and entertains from start to finish. The writing is fantastic, allowing you to experience the intense longing Daren and Cass feel for one another, while the sex scenes blister. Each encounter is surpassed by the next, and I couldn’t wait to see how Ms. James kicked it up a notch. You’ll writhe like mad and fan yourself uncontrollably while reading this naughty and delightful erotic romance, and you’ll enjoy every wicked moment of it. This is the kind of story that increases the heart rate and keeps you coming back for more.

If you’re looking for a book that will spice things up, Make A Wish and Blow.

A Wolf By Any Other Name by Kate Douglas



A Wolf By Any Other Name by Kate Douglas
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (106 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/M/F, Anal Sex/Play
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Three men and a leprechaun? When Dermot, Greg and Zev meet at the wedding of a past lover, a little green guy offers each man a golden opportunity to possess his greatest desire. Unfortunately, figuring out what that greatest desire amounts to isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When computer nerd Zevulan Cable awakens in a dungeon, bare-ass naked, chained to a bed as gorgeous, identical-twin witches have their sensual way with his body, he figures he’s found his greatest desire, just as the leprechaun promised. Then why is the tiny, sexless woodsprite the one who captures his heart? And how can he explain his growing need to howl at the moon?

Would you want your heart’s desire? What if your heart’s desire wasn’t what you expected it to be? Zevulan Cable is a geek: a computer nerd if you will, who thinks he wants beautiful women at his beck and call. Until a chance encounter with a leprechaun in the Irish countryside puts him in a whole new frame of mind. Chained to a bed, at the mercy of two gorgeous witches, Zev quickly learns more about his desires and himself than he ever knew. Can Zev accept what he learns about himself and move on with his life? And will he act on his attraction to the wood sprite that is being held captive by the same witches?

I love Kate Douglas’ characters. They are all richly detailed, and surprisingly real. This story was a fun read for me, and I giggled at the predicament that Zev ended up in. I also loved the premise that we really don’t know what our heart’s desire is until we achieve it.

Fern is a wood sprite, but has always felt a bit different. Essentially sexless, she nonetheless has “feelings” and when she meets Zev, she wants more.

If there is a message here, it would be to be careful what you wish for. I recommend this for those who want a magical romance with special twists and surprises.

Dawg Town: First Snow by Selena Illyria



Dawg Town: First Snow by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (36 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Robbie's a prairie dog shifter... Kitty's a Scottish Terrier shifter. They've been friends since they were toddlers, and lovers since high school. Unfortunately, when their parents, who used to be best friends, had a fight, Robbie and Kitty became the Romeo and Juliet of Barkus, Kansas.

They've been hiding their love affair for years. Now Kitty's decided she's had enough. It's time to put up or move out. Robbie's off to tell his parents and has now returned to claim his mate.

Romeo and Juliet for the shifter set.

I like a love story where the love is damned. The whole idea of lust on the run and slick sideways glances at the object of your affection is exciting and sexy. If that’s your idea of hot, then this book doesn’t disappoint.

The Dawg Town is a great series of books to get involved with. The characters are vibrant and the plot lines complex. With First Snow, we meet Robbie and Kitty. Robbie is a biker and prairie dog shifter. He’s loyal to the woman he loves, but he’s not perfect. What reader can’t relate to an imperfect man? But you have to give him his dues; he’s devoted and in love with Kitty—despite what everyone might say. I liked his determination and hated his means by which he dealt with his issues. At the same time, he grew through the story, making him my favorite character.

Kitty is the Juliet in this story. She’s not supposed to be in love with Robbie and his leaving shattered her. I liked her strength and her need to move on, but there were times when she came across a bit terse. I wasn’t real fond of her for a good portion of the story. I understand she’s hurt, but her blunt attitude didn’t win her any points with me.

But the sex scenes sizzle and the climax of the story is worth the read. You really want to see these two get together and stay together.

If you want a book that’s chock full of memorable characters and steamy sex, then you need to read First Snow. I give this story 3 cherries.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance Edited by Lori Perkins



Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance Edited by Lori Perkins
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Full Length (340 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

In the pages of HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE, the very first zombie romance anthology ever, you'll find romantic stories about loving a zombie, love stories between zombies and a tale of love and lust during the zombie Apocalypse. There are funny zombie stories, a zombie story that will make you cry, and even a few that might make you blush. We have zombie noir and zombie paranormal romance. You will be amazed at the scope of zombie lovin'. There's something for everyone in this star-studded collection, including stories by New York Times best-selling authors John Skipp (writing as Gina McQueen) and Brian Keene.

The best part about themed anthologies is the challenge it creates for the authors to stay within the theme set before them and I can’t think of any greater challenge than creating short stories about Zombie Romance. The sheer, wonderful weirdness of the concept attracted me. There are some incredible stories in this anthology, which I wish I could have rated separately, but essentially the stories fall into several main categories: the zombie apocalypse, zombies among us, zombies integrated into society, zombie as human love interest, and the traditional Caribbean stolen-soul zombie. I’m going to try to pick the best of each group here.

As a disclaimer, I want to mention that I think I may not have had the final version of this anthology. Some editing still seems to be missing. No cover art was included (which disappointed me, I truly wanted to see that!) and there are far more stories here than in most anthologies, with twenty-one stories. A more selective picking and choosing would have alleviated some of the feeling of repetition and would have made a tighter, more compelling group of stories. As it stands, the reader will be hard-pressed to remember all of them.

Of the zombie apocalypse stories, unfortunately, many followed too-familiar paths. There have been so many movies and books on the theme that, by now, the sub-genre has fallen into predictable patterns, clichés that are a bit too well worn. There was one exception:

Last Times at Ridgemont High by San Francisco resident Kilt Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick revels in taking bits of pop culture and twisting them into pretzels, and this darkly funny story is pressed from that mold. With a non-traditional but resourceful hero, a high school full of zombies (who were just as dangerous to our hero before the apocalypse erupted) and a non-traditional romance, which is definitely not the one the reader expects, this is a roller-coaster romp through the necessary elements of the genre.

In the ‘zombies among us’ group are the stories that contain zombies as an agent of menace, but not to apocalyptic levels. Some of these were too dark to be called romances, others simply failed to say much new or intriguing. There were some gems here, as well, though:

Inhuman Resources by Jeanine McAdam plays upon the feeling many office workers have of feeling like inhuman zombies stuffed into grey boxes, and takes it to its extreme conclusion, turning the office workers at this insurance agency into actual zombies. Darkly funny, with an interesting budding romance to boot.

Some New Blood by Vanessa Vaughn isn’t dark comedy as much as it is dark irony. I won’t give anything away except to say it’s beautifully paced and written in such a way that the reader is led from one thing to the next with growing anticipation, and then left chuckling at the end and feeling very guilty about it.

The ‘zombie as human love interest’ grouping had authors making some of the most interesting choices. When it’s all said and done, this is the hardest route to take. Love with a zombie just sounds icky, but with some adjustments in mythos and world building, several proved it could be done well.

Later by Michael Marshall Smith – Perhaps the most poignant story in the collection, this one is simple: a tale of deathless love and acceptance of one’s mate no matter what happens. Well-written and bittersweet, this was an excellent choice to end the collection. Always end an anthology on a strong story.

I Heart Brains by Jaime Saare – The hero isn’t technically a zombie by the story’s end, though not technically living his original life either, but this is a solution that was original and worked for me. With sympathetic characters and engaging dialogue, I was more than willing to suspend a bit of disbelief here.

Through Death to Love – Another sweet zombie tale (I can’t believe I just said that) where the relationship is one I would never have considered: zombie and his speech therapist. In the end, it’s a short, well-constructed piece about a sweet soul trying to adapt to a world in which he doesn’t quite fit in. Which of us can’t identify, or at least empathize, with that?

Of the zombies as part of society group, there were two outstanding, very different pieces:

Revenants Anonymous by Francesa Lia Block – Part tongue-in-cheek irony, part cautionary tale, part true romance, this story about two people who meet at an RA meeting says as much about modern life as it does about zombies. Letting one drab day melt into another, walling ourselves off emotionally, never reaching outside ourselves, we may all be going to RA meetings soon.

Eye of the Beholder by Stacey Graham – At first glance merely a black humor piece about two people who are, quite literally, falling apart. There is an underlying message regarding what love is willing to accept even when society is not that I found quite touching.

Finally, we have the traditional zombie, where a sorcerer has stolen the person’s soul. There are only two stories I can place here, but I enjoyed both of them:

Undying Love by Regina Riley – Not quite traditional, since the zombie’s heart has been cut out and held by the sorcerer rather than just his soul, but without it, he can’t die. The story unfolds for us slowly, why this happened to him and the terrible consequences of his actions. A poignant and beautiful story told through the eyes of a cynical young woman who finds that, perhaps, she’s not as cynical as she thought.

White Knight, Black Horse by Mercy Loomis – The only true traditional zombie story in the collection, in the sense that it concerns the old practices, complete with the loa and bokors. This is an immersive and exciting story told from the zombie’s POV, a young man who abandoned his training as a houngan, a voodoo priest, for the lights of the big city. The narrator’s voice is so consistent, the telling so beautifully done, that the reader feels in the moment with the characters. This was my favorite story in the collection, no question.

The answer to the question, can zombie romance work? Yes, in the hands of some inventive, imaginative authors, it can. I know, it sounds rather grotesque at first, but some of the solutions writers have devised and some of the plot lines contained in this anthology have made me a believer. Give zombies a chance.

Kaydana and the Dragon Prince by Nyki Blatchley



Kaydana and the Dragon Prince by Nyki Blatchley
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F, F/F/F, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

It takes a dragon to rescue a princess

After Princess Atto is kidnapped, the king offers her hand in marriage to the one who rescues her. Mercenary Tela needs the magical aid of sorceress Kaydana to help save her lover.

But when they find the dragon who kidnapped Atto, things take an unexpected turn. Kaydana is equal to most of the challenges she must face -- but how does she cope with being in love?

Kaydana and the Dragon Prince is the fourth book in the Kaydana saga by Nyki Blatchley. I felt at a slight disadvantage, at first, not having read the others in the series. That quickly faded as I got into the story created by Nyki Blatchley. This is a story of love and also of betrayal, but one where all comes out right in the end.

Kaydana is a magic wielder, a sorceress and an observer of people. When dragons take Princess Atto from the palace, her father, the King, offers her hand and heir to the kingdom to the warrior who rescues her and brings her back. The only warrior to step forward is Telendinith of Quilin (Tela), a female mercenary of unusual strength and character. Kaydana accompanies Tela on the quest, and soon discovers all is not as it would seem. Atto is a mix of innocence and sensuality, and it is clear that Atto and Tela have a relationship. Kaydana, Atto and Tela share some passionate sex when they are reunited, but Zazzu, the Prince of the Dragons, also fascinates Kaydana. In fact, Zazzu is the dragon that first took Atto, but not for the reasons first thought.

I loved this world, with so much detail and passion in it. Nyki Blatchley has included palace intrigue, love and lots of hot sex in a myriad of locations. Atto is the perfect combination of innocent maiden and sexy seductress, while Tela is perfect as the protective and determined lover out to save her true love. Zazzu, the dragon prince, as well as his people, is tall and sexy. Nudity abounds in the dragon kingdom, because clothing does not fare well with shifting. When Zazzu makes his intentions toward Kaydana clear, the tension is glorious as to "will they or won’t they?".

There is a definite happy ever after for Atto and Tela, and a very interesting happy for now with Zazzu and Kaydana.

This is a very good story, with intrigue and lots of sexy action. I do think reading the earlier books would be advisable, however, as it would add to the history of Kaydana and who she is.

Burning Up Flint by Laurann Dohner



Burning Up Flint by Laurann Dohner
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Book 1 in the Cyborg Seduction series.

Flint is tall, gorgeous and dangerous. He’s a cyborg—the absolute ultimate alpha male. He takes what he wants and holds what is his. Mira is his now. He takes her aboard his ship and has her branded with his mark. He captured her, owns her, and she will serve his every need.

Mira is instantly drawn to Flint, fascinated by his seductive appeal. The sex between them is smoking hot. Until she finds out he is a breeder, contracted to a dozen cyborg women, and she is no more than a possession.

Mira won’t share her cyborg and she belongs to no one—not even to a man who has captured her heart. She doesn’t know if cyborgs feel…anything. Can Flint love her? Mira is determined to find out, no matter how much trouble she makes for the big guy.

Burning Up Flint is a sizzling hot, sci-fi erotic story that is out of this world. Laurann Dohner has created an utterly fascinating reality with ships, planets, and characters that leap off the page.

From the moment Mira’s ship is boarded and she sets her eyes upon the pirate cyborg, Flint, she experiences an immediate attraction. Notably different than her, he is equally fascinating. Of course, the same goes for Flint. He’s enraptured by this small human female who is so unlike anything he’s ever seen before. As he takes her captive, they cave to the undeniable desire that exists between them.

Unfortunately, passion cannot erase the substantial difference in their belief systems and lifestyles. There is so much anger and hurt as Mira struggles with her growing affection for Flint, and by the same token, Flint attempts to understand her feelings and reactions to his nature and responsibilities to his race.

The writing is fantastic and the sex is melt-the-tips-of-your-fingers hot. Ms. Dohner excels at world building and character development, and her plot is complex enough to progress the story and keep the reader thoroughly entertained. I loved the world, the characters, the tension, and the heart-wrenching scenes between Mira and Flint. This is a super-sexy read, yet, manages to choke you with emotion when necessary.

Sci-fi fans, as well as those who are new to the genre, will adore Burning Up Flint. A definite must read, don’t forget to pencil this story onto your TBR list. I can’t wait for the next installment in what is sure to be a fantastic series.

Getting Intimate by Victoria Blisse



Getting Intimate by Victoria Blisse
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

The sequel to Getting Physical!

John and Terri have been dating for six months now, and John is anxious to commemorate this special anniversary. As much as Terri loves the time she spends with John, she still can't shake her negative self-worth. When a series of misunderstandings drives the two apart, it's up to John to convince the woman he loves that she's the only one with whom he wants to be intimate.

Have you ever had that one special someone in your life? You want them so badly, but when things get sticky, you push them away? How do you get that trust back into the relationship? And how do you prove the relationship is stable?

You’ll need to read Getting Intimate for the answers to these questions and more.

I like unconventional love stories. Not every heroine has to be a stick-thin blond. Not every hero has to be buff and brawny. Readers can identify with the characters in Ms. Blisse’s story. You feel like they are friends you know in real life.

Terri has a weight issue—she’s not rail thin and she thinks it makes her hard to love. Many women can relate to her feelings of being judged by her size. She has a certain fragility that makes her more realistic. You want to see her get her guy. There were times though, when I thought she jumped a bit too far without looking where she leaped and that drew me out of the story. Still, her reactions are how many people would deal in the same situation.

John is buff—he’s a health nut and a workout freak. Is that bad? No. It makes him approachable. There’s nothing wrong with being conscious of one’s appearance. What I liked about John is that he’s not a brawny, bully alpha male. He has and willingly shows his emotions—a bit too much on occasion, but it didn’t detract from the story.

And when they make love, whew! It’s hot. The trust between them when they make love is a thing of beauty. Really.

If you want a steamy story for a cool evening, then you need to read Getting Intimate. I give this novella 4 cherries.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Wife School by Samantha Winston



The Wife School by Samantha Winston
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (126 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

Arnold Souche has everything under control. He made a mistake with his first wife, but his second wife will be perfect. So that she doesn’t get any wild ideas, he sends her to an all-girls school in Switzerland to be raised by nuns, and gives her in the dowdiest clothes possible. Amelia is content to go along with Arnold, until the day Ben arrives in her life and suddenly she realizes that nothing can replace passion and love. But if she leaves Arnold, she’ll owe him a quarter of a million dollars, and suddenly true love is looking like something she’ll never attain.

Losing everything you own isn’t so bad when you find more than you’d hoped for in love. When a sharp-minded, bankrupted businessman, and a not-so-prim affianced woman meet, she thinks he’s gay and he lets her in order to seek revenge against her betrothed. It’s a classic star crossed-lovers tale where the couple loses their hearts and hopes of being together when all odds are against them.

The heroine, Amelia, is a contrast between innocence and sultry sexuality as she attempts to use her wiles on men and finds she isn’t very good at it. One minute she’s submissive, the next ready to take on the world of business and career. When she meets the hero, she doesn’t worry about barriers but sets out to get what she wants. The only downside to her in the beginning is giving in to a relationship only because she’s afraid of not having money and someone to care for her.

The hero in this story, Ben, acts as though he’d do anything for revenge, yet when he believes that Amelia will be hurt by his actions, he redeems himself and does his best to help her get what she wants while planning on keeping her for himself. He’s a good man and it shows in his care of her.

As the villain, Amelia’s guardian and fiancé tries to keep her under his thumb until she begins to blossom in a ‘My Fair Lady’ way under Ben’s tutelage. From the start this man is unlikeable and one only hopes he doesn’t succeed, though it seems he holds all the cards.

The Wife School makes you believe that you’ve time-warped back to old England then fast-forwarded once again to the Millennium where Amelia and Ben find true love while Souche gets his just desserts. The heroine was a contradiction between innocence and an experienced woman who, though she had a strong sense of honor about marrying Souche because of the contract, had no concerns about sleeping with his enemy.

All in all, the story was a pleasant read, well-written, and easy and quick to read.

Bought and Paid For by Debra Glass



Bought and Paid For by Debra Glass
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (122 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking, Anal play, Forced seduction
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Unable to support herself and her beloved servants, Widow Carrie Hatcher contemplates the unthinkable—offering her services for money. Forced to board wounded Colonel Wesley McEwen in her home, Carrie vows to make the striking Confederate soldier her first “client”.

But Carrie gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to comply with Wesley’s every illicit request for one week. Throughout long, sultry nights, Wesley tutors Carrie in every position, every skill, of her illicit new trade. From dark taboos to pleasurable punishments, Carrie becomes his willing pupil.

Passions inflamed, the couple becomes more scandalously intimate but Carrie realizes she wants to give him far more than just her body. The colonel, however, may be too haunted by his past to risk accepting more than he’s bought and paid for.

“Men had started this war and the women they left behind had all suffered because of it.” Carrie was sick and tired of suffering and was ready to do whatever was necessary to secure her future, a future that would keep her from being beholden to another man if she had anything to say about it.

Ms. Glass did an outstanding job of recreating the old South with heart-wrenching visual images of what was going on in and around war ravaged Georgia. Marietta is a perfect backdrop to represent the suffering endured by both soldiers and citizens. It is symbolic of the war torn states as well as the war torn hero and heroine.

Carrie has very little hope left and is willing to give up the last shreds of her dignity in order to keep her home and family safe. She stoically battles discrimination towards her beloved servant, Jenny, in order to get her the medical help she desperately needs. With Wesley’s “encouragement” Carrie experiences a sexual awakening that she never expected when she agrees to be at his beck and call for a solid week. Her resolve to endure soon turns into a desire to willingly participate in Wesley’s outrageous requests.

This was a fantastic and erotic journey from beginning to end. I love Carrie as the spirited and determined widow. She was strong because she had to be and compliant because she wanted to be. Likewise, Wesley is the perfect combination of Southern gentleman and curl-your-toes lover. His personal struggles with losing his wife and child make him want to protect Carrie and remember how it felt to be part of a family even if only for a short time.

I give this beautiful and heart wrenching story 4.5 solid cherries!