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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Review: Christmas Cookies: Yule Wolf

Christmas Cookies: Yule Wolf
By Kate Hill

While in the icy North, Professor Roth Lawrence, an expert in Viking history, is separated from his expedition and is sure he will die alone in the dangerous, frozen mountains. Injured and suffering from exposure, he comes upon a brightly lit cave and meets an enormous wolf, a magnificent creature whose kiss can save or take life.

The last of his kind, Fenris has spent centuries on the outskirts of modern society -- a werewolf alone and longing for companionship. Finding a wounded mortal in his lair is a temptation he cannot resist, but the man is near death. Saving him means they will be bound forever.

On this dark, cold Yuletide Eve, man and beast exchange blood and share love deeper than they’d ever dreamed as Fenris offers Roth the most priceless holiday gift imaginable.

Yule Wolf offers a surprising bit of heartfelt emotion in such a short story. I was able to discern enough of Fenris' pain and loneliness to believe in his choice of actions.

Roth endured a different type of loneliness in his life, but no less poignant - although not as developed as Fenris'.

I couldn't escape my brain telling me that Roth accepted his new partner in every way a little too easily -- because in no way did I get the sense he was into man-love prior to meeting Fenris. Except for that little head scratch, I cannot fault this story in any way. It was sweet and also provided more than enough sensual heat to thrill. The writing was tight and the dialogue flowed at a good pace.

Actually, I'd like to revisit this little world, because Fenris cannot be the LAST of his kind, can he? And what of the others Kate mentioned? Yule Wolf has me interested enough to wonder. Pretty impressive for such a brief visit.


Reviewed by Xeranth

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review: The Chronicles of the Phoenix, Book One: Ashes to Ashes

The Chronicles of the Phoenix, Book One: Ashes to Ashes
By Logan M. Whyte

Beltane--a night of wanton sexual abandon. At twenty-years-of age, Devon plays the role of the God. The mystic Celtic fire burns bright...burns nearly as bright as the passion inside Devon.

But his new lover isn't the only one who desires Devon. Daigh Campbell is willing to do anything to claim Devon as his own.

I'll be honest about my reading this story. It's the first time I've read an erotic romance written by a man and I wasn't sure what to expect. I've read a lot of romances based around the Beltane festival, usually witches and Fae. I suppose this carries an element of that here, too, with the goddess and god figures. However, the introduction of another mystical creature not often seen in romance was quite refreshing and it intrigued me.

Devon is the lead hero in this story and I have to say, reading about his private moments will deliver the erotic edge readers are looking for in this type of story. I don't think I've ever read such an explicit description of events as Logan was able to convey. It was a fascinating insight about a man from a perspective I'd never experienced before. I think I blushed! I felt like I was peeping. *gg*

Things really revved up at the festival, which is when the character of Daigh Campell creeped me out. He creeped Devon out, too, but Logan's choice of scene where Devon and Daigh confront each other took me totally by surprise. I don't think I have ever read a scene like that. It was kind of graphic, but I don't think the author could have written it any other way and gotten the reaction out of me that it did.

The onsite love interest was too short for me, but I think it was Logan's intent to hook the readers for the future. I sense a bit of world building in this story - setting the stage for a reader, to instill a yearning to know all. I wish the tine éan had a name because that would have connected me with the character more effectively. As it is, the tine éan's choice didn't move me emotionally as it perhaps could have. I entertain the hope that such will be the case in the future, because I DO see a future for this series. I guess you could say the "hook" worked.

I am compelled to say this: Ashes to Ashes does not have a typical HEA ending. I don't want to mislead romance readers who determine their likeability of a book on the HEA ending. Logan seems to be leaving a couple of story threads dangling because I believe his intent is to expand and draw out the happily ever after. This is, after all, the first book in a chronicle and like the Heinz Ketchup commercial of yore, anticipation is a good thing and worth waiting for.

Ashes to Ashes delivers erotic satisfaction and enough of a refreshing twist on love's journey to make a reader want to join Devon for the next trip.


Reviewed by Xeranth

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review: Fire in His Eyes

Fire in His Eyes – Dragon Elementals Book One
by Stella and Audra Price

Alcyone Sterling, succubus and owner of Pinkys XXX has a secret admirer, who is leaving her exotic and rare flowers and jewelry beyond beautiful. She doesn’t know who it is, and gets even more curious after a clandestine liaison in her bedroom involving a few silk ties and a blindfold.

Char, Fire elemental and strongest of the last dragons left in the Eververse, is obsessed and in love with the young succubus, and recognizes her as his mate, regardless of her demon status. He has to have her, and will do anything to attain her. When the rest of what’s left of his dying race decided to interfere, Char is forced to made some very rash decisions, all in the name of love.

This story immediately jumped into the magical world in which it is set. It is a world that overlaps into the human world, although there weren’t any explanations on whether or not the human world was aware of and or participated in the dealings of the magical world.

Alcyone is a succubus, a sexual demon; therefore, by nature she enjoys sex of all types. How appropriate that she owns a strip club. Living in the succubus court, she is well used to mysterious lovers and one night stands in order to feed. What she is not used to is a dragon who sweeps her off her feet with almost no effort. Especially when she was under the impression dragons were extinct.

Char is THE dragon, a warrior dragon in a race that is nearly extinct if not fully, and he harbors quite a bit of guilt for his own part in his species’ trials. He, on the other hand, doesn’t feel at all that the seduction was effortless; he just knew she was meant to be his mate, something every dragon searches for but doesn’t always find. He has been watching Alcyone for years through her candle flames. He knows far more about her than she knows about him, and when he sets out to make her his, all bets are off. He overwhelms her with his seduction and gifts, although Alcyone isn’t putting up much of a fight. This dragon is yummy!

I loved watching how the two of them interacted with each other and with those around them. I especially enjoyed the secondary characters, who I am hoping will have their own stories soon. They deserve them. The people these two surrounded themselves with were an interesting and quirky bunch that reminded me of a nosy, but loving, family only interested in what is best for those they loved. As with all good stories, everyone has to overcome a few obstacles, some poignantly sad, others politically trying, in order to truly appreciate what they have been given and to reach a great Happily Ever After. All in all, despite some typographical errors, I would definitely recommend this story to lovers of love and especially of paranormal.

Review by Viscaria

Monday, November 26, 2007

Review: Target of Deception

Target of Deception
By Jennifer Cole

Officer Adrien Spence’s Mission: Obtain incriminating evidence, which one Alexis Rainier holds in her possession -- at any cost.

First Challenge: Earn Alexis’ trust, which is easier said than done. By him using her niece, Alexis’ walls virtually crumble at her feet, as the little girl falls in love with Adrien.

Second Challenge: He must seduce Alexis and keep her off balance, and above all else, his secret agenda must remain just that, a secret.

Third Challenge: Adrien must search Alexis’ house for the damning evidence, without her finding out.

Unfortunately, he didn’t expect to lose his heart in the deal; and when Adrien learns that Alexis has been kidnapped, he prays that he can beat the clock in a race against time to save her.

Her life depends on it.

WARNING: This title contains explicit language, graphic sex, violence and anal sex.

Jennifer Cole delivers what a reader expects in an erotic romance. It has the saucy words, the adventurous physical involvement between characters and enough steam to thrill the seekers of erotic encounters. As a reader, I need more -- and although Jennifer had to work her way up to it, once she delved into the suspense and started dropping clues for me to mull over, I was well and truly hooked.

We first meet Summer Rain a/k/a Alexis Ranier. She's doing her thing on stage; a woman forced to do extra-ordinary things to keep her head above water, much like the classy lady on Independence Day. Remember her? Except Alexis doesn't have it as easy. There's a lot more baggage and stress burdening her shoulders that colors how she views the world around her and the people in it.

Officer Adrien Spence is told to protect her. He's the do-good guy who can't resist the lure of Alexis. He has a dark side to him as well and that always makes a character more interesting. He makes a few mistakes, assumptions actually, that humble this almost perfect guy. He is also in a situation of being used while thinking he's the clever one. All along the tide is against him, but as with any knowledgeable swimmer he figured out pretty quick how to work with the riptide.

Did you follow that?

What that means is that the author works a spiraling intrigue throughout this story that had me surprised at the end. Oh sure, I figured out a few things, but not everything, and I enjoyed that.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a slight time burp and a few editing issues early on. Also, don't be surprised if, after awhile, you get irritated by her calling Adrien "Cop" all the time. You will understand why she acts the way she does, and talks the way she does, when the facts of her life get revealed. Put yourself in her shoes. Once you know what she knows, I think you'd be hard pressed to stop yourself at just saying "Cop". I could think of a lot more words to use than that.

Be assured that this story transcends those little issues. When the action towards the end starts, it was well paced, well written and had me reading with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Time ceased to exist.

For me, plot is key to a story. The author wrote the physical sex as hot and varied, definitely earning the erotica title - satisfying those that look for that element. But for me,who requires more to a story, Jennifer Cole delivered the meat.
She was right on target.


Reviewed by Xeranth