Beginning January 1, 2013

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Book of the Month Poll Winner - One Wicked Night by Kelly Jamieson

One Wicked Night by Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M/F, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

The boys are back in town…

Ten years ago, Kaelin Daume spent a steamy summer home from college secretly hanging out with town bad boy Tyler Wirth and his best friend Nick Kernsted. The connection was warm, complicated, and came to a crashing end when she walked in on her two forbidden friends with another woman. The shocking scene of sex and bondage has haunted her boring, oh-so-vanilla life ever since.

The fallout from that night tore Tyler’s life apart. He left Mapleglen, disowned and disgraced, to build a successful advertising career and a unique relationship with Nick. Nothing could bring him back except his sister’s wedding, and he plans to hightail it back to Chicago as soon as it’s over. At least one good thing hasn’t changed: Kaelin is as sweet as ever. Except she doesn’t seem too thrilled to hear it.

As tensions run high, Kaelin can’t resist the temptation to commit one crazy act of rebellion. Once the web of secrets, sins and lies starts to unravel, though, their lives will never be the same…

Read the Full Review here!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Puck You, Two by Elizabeth Jewell

Puck You, Two by Elizabeth Jewell
Publisher: Razor's Edge Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (19 pgs)
Other: M/M, Voyeurism, fetish (pain play), BDSM, biting
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

When Philippe Bessette runs into Jaroslav Láska in a bar, he knows he should walk away. But Láska knows what Bessette wants, and this time he's going to make Bessette beg for it.

I never knew hockey was this doggoned hot!

I like a good sports story. I love when there's heat involved. Elizabeth Jewell's book, Puck You, Two fits this bill nicely. Be warned, this is a short story and it's part of a series. That said, I didn't need to read the other book - although I have - to know what was going on. There was just the right amount of backstory to keep me caught up. The writing flowed well. Yes, it's short, but I didn't wander from the story. I had to know what would happen next. There was a tension between the characters that heightened the story perfectly.

Laska and Philippe have a history. I didn't need to know all the details to know there's more to what they do than meets the eye. But good gravy what they do in this story is hot! I didn't really get to see things from Laska's point of view, but it wasn't a big deal. He doesn't hide much and is very much the what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. I enjoyed the tension Philippe dealt with. He can't decide if he wants Laska for more, but it's pretty obvious how he feels. Laska 'gets' him.

There are moments in this story that aren't for the faint of heart. If pain play isn't your thing, then this might not be the book for you. I'd say don't let that deter you. Ms. Jewell handles the play well, not making it overwhelming. It does enhance the story.

If you like a quick, hot romp, then this is the book for you. I recommend this short story!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dagger’s Lust by Diane Story

Dagger’s Lust by Diane Story
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Other: M/F, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

“Will you protect me and stand at my side when my husband discovers we’ve been having an affair?”

Dagger would never forget those words spoken to him two hundred years ago. It was the day Belinda died and he became a werewolf. Unable to accept her death, he seeks the help of a shaman. Soon, she is reborn as a ShapeShifter with the ability to shift into both a werewolf and a Dragon. Braccus is the pack's alpha male, and his time on earth is running out. He needs the magic of Belinda’s Dragon to continue his reign. Dead or alive, she would be his.

Dagger can’t forget the shaman’s warning. If Belinda doesn’t remember their past, they will die. Casual sex is not on his agenda as he realizes that only his love and their lovemaking can bring her back. Will their struggle for love eventually overcome the odds?

Love has no boundaries, which is truly evident in this exciting love story between werewolf shifter Dagger, and dragon shifter Belinda. Dagger had promised to protect Belinda no matter the obstacles and when he failed measurably the first time, he vowed to make sure their second chance was different.

The relationship development between Dagger and Belinda was one that truly entertained me. I liked the twist of him remembering their past while she had no recognition of it. The plot technique allowed me to see the bloom of new love between lovers as well as the internal flames of long time lovers. The emotional and physical connection for Dagger is something that has been building over the centuries, while for Belinda it was a fresh feeling. It offered all of the stages of love, which many stories cannot do.

The conflict with Braccus truly kept the story moving forward. Every time Dagger and Belinda seemed to be making some headway, he threw them a curve ball. It added an element of surprise and danger to the story and made the plot line captivating. Braccus is everything I have come to expect from a villain: conniving, manipulative, and ruthless. It had me looking forward with anticipation to his next diabolical plot in the pursuit to gain ultimate power.

The paranormal element within this book was not a trivial contribution. As a person who enjoys all paranormal stories, especially shifters, my choosing to read this novella was a no-brainer. Toss in werewolves and a dragon, I found myself smiling for no reason other than amusement at their shifting abilities. While the tale could have been a good love story without it, the paranormal element really enhanced the story to a new level. Truly, I would recommend Dagger’s Lust to others who enjoy a nice paranormal short story.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Courage to Live by Morgan Q. O'Reilly

Courage to Live by Morgan Q. O'Reilly
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, mystery/suspense
Length: Short Story (135 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aster

She’s living in fear. He’s a born protector. There’s a missing man holding them apart.

Candace Cutler intended to leave her abusive husband, until he vanished one snowy Alaska night. She lives in a limbo of dread, wanting only to care for her son. And now a cocky young pilot has moved in next door.

Cayden Shaughnessy is a born protector. He doesn’t like the rumors about the guy who left a single mom and cute kid next door—and who’s he kidding? He finds the mom pretty adorable, too, in a hot, can’t-resist sort of way.

But Candace doesn’t have time for games. Too many loose ends leave her unsettled, and she can’t help expecting violence to step once more from the shadows...

WARNING: Contains two brief descriptions of violence; however, justice is served. Also contains hot loving, a Top Gun-worthy fly-by, sex and more sizzling Shaughnessys.

Who doesn't love the idea of a big, sexy man swooping in to protect a woman from danger? To me, there's little better than a hunky alpha-male, particularly from the military, fighting for the woman he loves.

Candace is a sympathetic character, struggling to do her best for herself and her son after suffering years of torment from an abusive husband. Her son, Rob, is a child, acting as the man of the house and defending his mother against dangers he's not quite ready to face. Together, they cling to each other after the disappearance of their husband and father, picking up the pieces and trying to move on.

And then they meet Cayden Shaughnessy.

Cay is a sexy fighter pilot who takes an instant liking to the pretty young mother and son. He befriends them and seemingly won't take no for an answer as he tries to woo her. His charm proves to be irresistible and soon Candace's defenses are broken down.

For me, this was very much a tale of two stories. As soon as Cayden became part of the story, I enjoyed it very much. I loved Cay's confidence, and his strong, yet gentle approach to a woman he could see had been hurt badly in the past. The neighborhood rumors swelled about the "bitch" who lived in that house, but Cay knew early on that there was more to the story. He not only befriended Candace, something she needed badly, but he took young Rob under his wing and became the father figure the poor kid had been missing his entire life. Together they made a lovely, intimate family, which I enjoyed experiencing.

The other story, which engulfed much of the first half of the book, was the backstory of Candace and her abusive husband. While this story was necessary to tell, not only to further enjoy the happiness Candace finds with Cay, but also explain the difficulties she had in her life, and set up the major conflict in the book - what happened to her missing husband - it seemed it was focused there a little too long. There was major detail in the backstory, all told by inner thoughts of the heroine, which made it difficult to get through. The abuse filled almost all of the first 40 pages, and it was hard to continue reading at times with the heavy subject matter. As I said, however, once Cay became part of their lives, the story brightened up tremendously. I, much like the heroine, began to see the light at the end of a very difficult tunnel.

The writing was good overall, although I do wonder if there was a different editor for the first half of the story than the second. There were quite a few mistakes in the beginning portion of the book, but were later corrected. For example, in the first chapters, the author writes about Rob taking 'Tae Kwan Do,' which should actually be 'Tae Kwon Do,' and in later chapters it is spelled correctly. The author also uses many Karate terms in reference to TKD (i.e. names of uniforms, facilities, etc.), and unless you are familiar with the martial arts, you may not know the difference, but those details can be important to some. There were many phrases written as full sentences and occasional missed words or punctuation, which made it sometimes difficult to read, but that was mainly in the first several chapters of the book. Those errors ceased by the later portion of the text.

I felt sorry for Candace and, although she was as strong as she could be, the poor woman was riddled with bad luck. I would like to have known Candace as a healthy, uninjured woman. Thankfully, her son was close to her side, helping out as much as he could. The relationship the two shared was lovely to read.

Through it all, Cay stuck by her side. And, although it may seem strange for her to allow another man into her heart so quickly after her ex-husband left, Cay's confidence and no-nonsense attitude made it seem perfectly natural that he was there.

This was the second book in The Open Windows Series but it stands alone perfectly well. I liked Cay Shaughnessy very much, as well as his brother Brennan, who we meet throughout the story, and may consider reading other titles in the series, which follow the Shaughnessy family. If you like a strong man who helps a damaged woman take back her life, this is a good one to pick up.

Called to Order by Lydia Michaels

Called to Order by Lydia Michaels
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (339 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Isolated in the quiet hills of Pennsylvania is an Amish order unlike any other—they are vampyre.

Adam Hartzler has always been an honorable immortal, but when he is called to his true mate, the line between right and wrong begins to blur. If he does not find her soon, he will lose his soul and die. The longer he waits, the less he is in control. With only his dreams to guide him, Adam sets out on a journey to claim his mate and return home with her before it is too late.

Annalise Snow is forced into a destiny she did not choose when she awakens on a primitive farm in the arms of a man determined to have her. Passion and emotion collide when two strangers, bound by destiny, become each other’s salvation, but will their bond survive the ultimate sacrifice? Or will eternity begin with betrayal?

There are three things that drew me to this novel: erotic, vampires and Amish. This is one mixture I never saw coming.

In this new take on vampires, they live in a closed society. They rebuff all the conveniences of the modern world and live solely unto themselves. They grow and raise all their own food and live a quiet life that encompasses family and friends. When a true mate calling occurs, a vampire must listen. If they don’t, they become what history has painted vampires to be; mindless thirsty creatures hell bent on the filling their burning desire for blood and lust, one human at a time.

Adam has been called. When a vampire is called, his soul is reaching out to his mate and if he does not find her soon, he will lose himself and become feral. Adam is running out of time. He sets out into a foreign world he never dreamed of entering. If he can’t find her soon, his people will be forced to kill him. There's only one hope for Adam’s survival, his true mate.

Annalise is alone in the world. But she doesn’t let that stop her from reaching her goals. She has worked hard to get a college degree and is only weeks away from graduating. All of her past sacrifices are about to pay off. One moment she's relatively happy with the completion of her schooling, her job as a waitress and her also with her boyfriend. The next moment she is in a strange new environment, forced to comply with rules she has no understanding of. She's now living in an archaic society where men rule and women follow.

While there is a strong mutual attraction between these two people their differences are a constant reminder of how dissimilar they are. This is even before Annalise knows Adam’s biggest secret, that he's a vampire. If he can't convince her that they're fated to be together, he'll die. The problem is if he does convince her, she will need to die in his place.

According to the acknowledgments in this novel, this is the first published works of Ms. Michaels. I will have to say her all around style is wonderful and her idea behind this new series is quite unique. She has blended three elements that I never realized might just work. Her writing was exceptional, but the foundation of the story just didn’t sing to me.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Personally when I think of an Amish type society I think that a religious base will be present. Considering the other two elements of the novel are vampires and erotic, I am glad that I was wrong. I think that that was one of my problems and I couldn’t get past the preconceived idea. I was expecting religion to pop up around every corner in this erotic novel.

The pacing in the story was also slow for me. Adam and Annalise’s relationship was built slowly and it was not until the last quarter of the book, that I was finally immersed into the plot. Considering the majority of the book was based on a look into their culture, it makes sense that it had a slower pace. Then there was also the forcing of Annalise to live in a total alien society. I had a really hard time with that. Also the male/female dynamics of this world were very hard for me to absorb.

I believe people who have an understanding of this type of culture and know going in that erotic romance and religion do not play together in this book, may enjoy Called to Order immensely. It just did not work for me.

Though I wasn't enamored with this book I do plan to read the next story in the series, Calling for a Miracle. She has already built an amazing beginning for this next story and I likely will not have the same hang ups that I had from Called to Order. In the next book, two vampires fall in love and they are set for some explosive interactions and I’m looking forward to that very much.

Called to Order is a very different take on vampires and Ms. Michaels is an author to watch out for. Her imagination and writing are exceptional. I have a feeling she's going to be a rising star!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Subspecies by Mike Arsuaga

Subspecies by Mike Arsuaga
Publisher: Muse It Hot
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

With Samantha “Sam” Johnson, Dr. Jim White, a 130-year-old Vampire, has the best sex of his life and it’s a shame she had to be his next victim. But she had a surprise for him. As a Lycan, she hunted him as he hunted her. After discovering each other’s secret, they cannot resist the physical attraction. Together they hunt and reach out to others of their kind using technology to form a support group. Sam and Jim become the first Lycan/Vampire pair bond.

As a mathematics professor and man of science, Dr. Jim rejects the ways and lore of old in favor of modern solutions that, if not acceptable to humans, allow Lycans and Vampires, The Subspecies, to live invisibly, because discovery is their worst fear.

The Subspecies are a mutation within the human genome. No more than 700 have been alive at one time. They cannot breed with humans or within their own group, but when the Sam and Jim get in a family way, a universe of possibilities opens for not only them, but all of The Subspecies with the promise of their lives being more than hunting, living in shadows, and fruitless mating.

Dr. Jim White and his wife Sam live in the suburbs of Philadelphia where they raise their triplets Cassie, Claire and Eddie. What most people in their neighborhood don’t know is that they are not human. Sam and Jim are other, Sam is Lycan and Jim is Vampire. It was thought at one time that these two species were not able to mate, least of all have children. For thousands of years they were unaware of each others existence. It was soon discovered that these two species could mate and have children. Sam and Jim are the first to produce children from their union so they're looked upon as the First Father and Mother. They are also on the board of an organization designed to protect others like them called Subspecies, Inc. For centuries this organization has worked to keep the existence of the Subspecies a secret so that they could live among humans in relative peace. Vampire, Lycan could rub shoulders with humans and humans were unaware of their existence.

Now that very existence is threatened because there are some species who want to hunt humans as a food source, which the Subspecies organization has banned. These species want to keep to the old way of doing things which would jeopardize all that Subspecies organization has worked for. It is the responsibility of the Subspecies organization board to find a way to control the Ferals.

The premise of this story is very good, and when I picked it up to read I imagined that it would be like most paranormal books where the Vampires or shifters are trying to keep their existence a secret until something happens that brings it to the forefront.

I looked forward to reading this story but found that once I got into it, it simply didn't hold my interest as tightly as I'd hoped. Don't get me wrong, the characters are interesting and they complemented each other. There were those that I rooted for and of course the villains that I hoped would be discovered.

It’s just that I found that the story moved too slowly for me and there were so many things going on that I  really couldn’t get a handle on it all. The story did pick up a bit when Jim’s helicopter went down and he lost his memory. For fourteen months he was missing and his family mourned his death. It was interesting to find out who was at fault.

As I said, the story is a good one, and it is an enjoyable read. The premise is unique and a clever take on vampires and werewolves. It's a good beginning to a new series and lovers of the paranormal should check it out.

Born To Be Wild by Elle Kennedy

Born To Be Wild by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (162 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

Being bad never felt so good…

Welcome to Paradise, Book 3

Bree Lockhart was always the good girl—on the surface. During her senior year of high school, however, her inner bad girl was lured out to play by reckless, carefree Jake Bishop. Her parents’ worst nightmare, and the man she’s never forgotten.

Twelve years later, she’s home for a charity event and up for auction. The highest bidder? Jake. This time around, he wants more than a wild ride—he wants it all. But she’s not about to risk her heart on another fling that’ll just leave it in pieces.

Jake once reveled in showing Bree how good it is to be bad. But convincing her he can be good for her is going to take some very special tactics…

Jake and Bree have always had great chemistry and their no-holds barred physical relationship was all they needed twelve years ago. From teenage hormones to adult lust, the sexual spark is instantaneous and definitely still there when Jake spots Bree years later. Yet, with Jake’s military issues, he’s too consumed by his thoughts to pursue anything more than a physical relationship again. Add to that the pressures coming from his family and the never-ending small town judgments and Jake is ready to leave. The only thing keeping him in Paradise is the sex agreement he brokered with Bree, but is that all there is? And, this time, is it enough?

Bree’s good girl, hard working appearance hasn’t faltered since the night bad boy Jake broke her heart and got away. When they meet again at a charity auction, Bree is surprised to find those teenage hormones never left where Jake is concerned. However, things are different this time her independent streak argues that she will be the one walking away. A week’s worth of no-string’s attached sex is well worth coming back to Paradise for, but is it worth possibly losing her heart again to Jake?

This couple’s physical chemistry is off the charts amazing right from the beginning. The major hang-ups the couple faces aren’t "small fixable in a week" type of issues. They come from opposite worlds in the town of Paradise and Jake’s own personal problems cast a major shadow on the developing romance. However, I appreciated the realistic route the story ventured in showcasing this with a great build-up. Even the ending isn’t fairytale produced and yet seems very fitting and satisfying. Readers who enjoy reunion stories with a bit of an erotic edge should definitely return to Paradise and witness how Jake and Bree tackle their second chance.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dangerous Motives by Blake Deveraux

Dangerous Motives by Blake Deveraux
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (181 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Is Prince Charming just a mythical character?

Dr. Joseph Demitri is sure certain he’s met and married his Prince Charming. Charles is both handsome and kind. His new partner has proven his love and respect for both the doctor and his young son time and time again. Their world seems to be fairy tale.

That world is shattered when a vicious murder takes place in the quiet suburb of Atlanta they call home. When Charles is implicated in the murder, the evidence begins to mount, threatening and overwhelming. Most frightening of all, Charles had both motive and opportunity.

The doctor begins to doubt his partner, wondering if their lives have been an apparition, a trick of smoke and mirrors, the product of a cunning, charming chameleon.

Can Joseph rip away the veils hiding a killer or will his love be the next victim?

The men of danger are behaving badly and it's so good to read about.

I asked for Dr Joseph and Charles' story. I wasn't disappointed. Blake Deveraux has created a cast of characters that made me laugh, cry, think and worry about them long after the last page. I waited with bated breath for this book because I had to know what would happen next. The supporting characters are just as strong as the main characters.

There are some editing foibles and a couple of odd line breaks, but on the whole they weren't distracting.

But let me get down to the meat and potatoes of this review. I fell in love with Dr Joseph when he first appeared. I loved how he helped Brandon and how he came into his own through the series. He's a complicated man, prone to over-think things and totally over the moon for Charles. Good stuff. The complication has to do with his past. I won't get into lots of details, but the portion of the book revolving around Faith stuck with me. Talk about hard to read! I knew how things would happen, and yet, I sort of hoped it wouldn't because well... I liked the characters.

There's a mystery in this book, too. I enjoyed how Mr Deveraux revealed the pieces bit by bit. There is a definite tension built into the story. I read the book in one sitting, even though I said I'd only read three chapters then go to bed. Why read it all the way through? With heat like the passion shared between Charles and Joseph, there's no sleeping! Good stuff!

If you want a book you'll think about long after the last page, then this is the book for you.

Enemy Mine by Aline Hunter

Enemy Mine by Aline Hunter
Alpha and Omega, #2
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

Divided by blood. Destined by fate.

Emory is a shifter living on the edge. For years he’s struggled with his Alpha nature. Then he meets the one woman capable of soothing the savage beast—Mary incites a carnal hunger that leaves him eager and burning. Sweet, kind and impossibly beautiful, Mary is everything he and his wolven half have been craving. Unfortunately, she’s also something else, something dangerous—a Shepherd, bred of the line of hunters determined to destroy his kind.

Emory discovers earning Mary’s trust is the least of his concerns. Her relatives want Mary back. If Emory won’t hand her over, they’ll do everything in their power to take her from the pack. As danger closes in, the passionate connection between them flares into a lascivious bond that refuses to be broken.

If Emory wants to keep his mate, he’ll have to protect her—at any cost.

After learning of the truly sickening facts of her lineage, Mary knew it was either kill or be killed and for the past couple of months she has been on run. Living a normal life is no longer an option, but disappearing and staying one step ahead of her demented family is easier said than done. With a little help from her deceased parents, Mary is determined to not look back. However, there are two groups that hunt for Mary and one is about to forever alter her life.

It's not the most ideal of circumstances in reuniting with the love of his life, but Emory has a lot riding on finding Mary – his sanity being one of them. Making her understand what she means to him will take patience, but time has run out when Shepards discover her hiding in plain sight and are determined to rid her of existence. Now in order to keep her safe, Emory must make her understand who the real bad guys are and turn her world upside down with a bloodbond that may be his undoing if she rejects him. Unfortunately, the pack may not be so welcoming and Shepards are much closer than any of them realize.

After meeting Emory and Mary in the first story of the series, I was really excited to learn more about these two loners. The focus is once again on the forming of the wolf/human relationship, but this time there is a life or death consequence for not just one, but both parties involved. Things develop quickly and heatedly in the physical department with the fallout being Mary's complicated emotional state and the rising Shepard threat. The points of view are balanced between Emory and Mary, but also add Trey and Sadie as well as an update from Diskant and Ava. The trend of these pairings has been tortured males in wait for many years of a mate to complete them and the females with the past trauma's to overcome. It's a nice set-up if a bit predictable, but fun in the sense of the males trying to exert their dominance in the bedroom while the females actually run the show.

In the overall storyline there are a couple more eventual pairings to look forward to and the continual slow build of the war with the Shepards. Although I didn't find myself as emotionally invested as expected, the characters and the world around these paranormal beings is well built and the dialogue and pacing felt realistic. I will continue to read the series, and it's apparent that vampires and magic are on the horizon. It will be great to see where the author decides to take the story next.