Beginning January 1, 2013

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Book of the Month Poll Winner - Western Ties by Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon!

Western Ties by Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (198 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Foxglove

How strong are the ties that bind?

Compass Brothers, Book 4

Leah Hollister’s sex life needs a swift kick in the pants. Small-town Compton Pass, though, isn’t the place to explore her need for bondage. When she gets an invitation to a BDSM party out in LA, she wastes no time booking a flight.

Her plan to play anonymously is shot to hell when she runs into high-school crush Sawyer Compton—and he lays immediate claim to her.

Sawyer Compton commands total control, in and out of the bedroom. He never thought Leah could handle his darker urges, but one look at the white bracelet that marks her as a sub ripe for the picking, and he knows exactly how this night is going to end. With Leah in his bed.

Leah didn’t expect to enjoy the comfort Sawyer’s familiarity brings, even as his touch takes her to unimaginable heights of pleasure. When bad news from home sends him reeling, she’s more than prepared to offer him anything he needs: her body, her friendship. Even her heart—if Sawyer can loosen the reins over his own to accept her love.

Read the review here!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gargoyle’s Mate by Nia K. Foxx

Gargoyle’s Mate by Nia K. Foxx
Publisher: After Dark Press, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (153 pgs)
Other: M/F, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

For Lorn De LaRue, Gargoyles have always been as common place as the humans they are sworn to protect. It's up to Lorn to make sure their existence is preserved -- by any means necessary. Right now the means would appear to be Dr. Fatima Smith, an ebony beauty who never imagined her interest in Gothic folklore would force her into a world she had never known exist. Time is running out, and Lorn is determined Fatima will come to terms with her new life as his mate.

Fatima finds herself thrust into a reality that includes Gargoyles, Elves, Succubae... oh my! Unsure of the new world around her, she's torn between her new lover, old friend and the beasties threatening the very existence of the human race. Who can she trust?

I’m always looking for unique and fascinating romances and I found it with the gargoyles in this story. Except for the usual flying and having the sun be a bad thing and looking pretty intimidating, this author added her own special twist on what it’s like in gargoyle society. Certainly there aren’t enough books that tackle falling in love with one of these beasties but I found this one enjoyable and worth spending time with.

The heroine, Fatima, is a smart cookie. She has an IQ that’s off the charts but has some serious relationship issues – she’s all work and no play. She has dreams and fantasies like every woman but hers tend to be a bit more fantastical than the norm. Readers will find out why that is, eventually. She’s also independent, feisty, and untapped. And despite all that intelligence, the heroine does make some rather hasty decisions that didn’t sit well with me. I understood that her following through with them were integral to the plot movement, but I wish she hadn’t come across as so easy to manipulate. Some of the things she brushed off made me pause and think. Would someone really not question such a dramatic change in a person? After certain revelations, would a woman in love really be so easily lured?

And that leads me to one of the secondary characters. At one point I guessed he might be a stalker with a deviant nature. Then the author had him acting in a noble manner, yet, not. The only thing that I can share with readers about him is that he should have been wearing a “red shirt”, if you know what I mean. Men can easily become victims when they think with their little brain instead of the one between their ears, and this story proved it.

As for the hero, Lorn, he has the word ‘alpha’ dripping off him like a downpour. He’s commanding, dominant, firm and extremely well proportioned. The author did a marvelous job of describing a very virile man adept at pleasing a woman. It was also very clear that what’s his is his and he doesn’t share well with others. He’s possessive and wants to keep Fatima close but he never really gets it that she’s a 21st Century woman. As far as I’m concerned, what happens later in the story was his own fault. He-Man tactics don’t foster great communication and poor Fatima pays for that lack. However, on the plus side, he knows how to show a woman a good time and is capable of very romantic gestures and allows the heroine to see the softer side of his nature. However, when he is overcome with passion for the heroine, Lorn is as sexy as they come. Those scenes were written quite well.

In fact, when Lorn and Fatima do get together in the physical sense the author had their experiences all over the place. I don’t refer to location, I mean there is a bit of forced seduction with gentle but firm restraint, one incident of spanking and a whole lot of teasing and touching to get readers ready for the big moment. I also noticed he liked to throw her on the bed a lot. I wonder if it was because Lorn enjoyed seeing her bounce. Oh, and there is one point where Lorn watches Fatima unbeknownst to her and he gets both an eyeful and an earful. Obviously theirs is not a tame relationship and the author made that clear, much to my delight.

The villain is a bit unusual as well. Motivation is cleared up during a couple of scenes in the story so eventually everyone is on the same page as to who or what is causing all the trouble. The set up was a bit choppy and the delivery came across as sporadic but nonetheless it was effective and interesting. What I don’t understand is why did it go to the extreme that it had in the past. It’s that part of the motivation that eludes me and doesn’t get explained by the other revelation. It’s almost like there are two agendas going on but the author only fleshed out one for this book’s purposes. I guess that’s okay because I did enjoy myself.

One of the drawbacks about this book was the editing. For readers who like gargoyles and who might pick up their own copy of the book, be aware that “coca meme” is actually “cockamamie” and that they’ll find some words missing in sentences or some words that should be plural but are not. Taken individually, they were not enough to bump me from the story. The character interaction, the unique take on the paranormal world and the interesting courtship between Lorn and Fatima guaranteed my undivided attention and the other glitches didn’t slow me down at all.

Gargoyle’s Mate was fun, fascinating and filled with the kind of men romance readers love to see redeemed. There is a sense of urgency to their romance because there is a figurative clock ticking and Fatima is the first ray of light in an otherwise dark tunnel of existence. I enjoyed Ms. Foxx’s interpretation of gargoyle life and drama and am interested in reading more. I wonder who the next man to be saved will be. This story has certainly whetted my appetite to find out more.

Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? by Lea Kinkade

Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? by Lea Kinkade
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Western
Length: Full Length (179 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Plumeria

Xander Chisholm is the head of Chisholm Ranch, a huge ranch in Southern Texas. Ten years ago, Xander was devastated by the actions of a woman who was supposed to love him. Since that time, Xander has given up on love and has a well-earned love-'em-and-leave-'em reputation.

Jordan Prescott is a native New Yorker who loses everything in a fire. Her best friend since college, Jessie Chisholm, talks her into starting over in Deseo. Although not totally naive, Jordan is an innocent and has been waiting for the man who can ignite her passions with one touch.

Once Jordan meets Xander, she knows he is that man. Caught in a whirlwind affair, both are surprised when an unexpected complication occurs. This complication brings back painful memories for both of them. Will it bring them closer together, or will it tear them apart?

Ever heard the ol’ saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?

Lea Kinkade starts the series with the a story about a man, Xander, trying for a very long time not to be fooled again. After getting burned so badly he shut down and turned cold towards the idea of love. Sure he had a huge ranch to run and a big family to keep him busy but he never had any intention of getting fooled again. Can’t say I blame him.

Enter the ridiculously sweet Jordan, fresh off the plane from leaving behind the ashes of her life in New York. For being alone in the world and losing everything I have to say she held to together better then most people would have. Of course what happens just a few days after arriving to Texas? Gets smacked with lust at first sight! Then again who wouldn’t be attracted to super gorgeous Xander? Even though he has three other highly available equally hot brothers, Jordan is drawn to him like moth to flame.

This story was actually very sweet. Xander reacted in all the ways that were to be expected, and Jordan did the same. There were a few editing issues and a lot of unneeded details towards the end of the book. I wished we could have seen more scenes with Xander and Jordan really connecting before all heck broke loose.

There is a really good foundation set for the series that includes six brothers and two sisters, and I am going to make sure they are all in my read pile.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crescendo by Wynter Daniels

Crescendo by Wynter Daniels
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (79 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stephantois

After a painful breakup, concert violinist Chloe Carmichael just wants to be alone. But when she’s targeted by a stalker, she’s forced to allow a sexy stranger into her life.

Security expert Wyatt Long is trying to protect Chloe. Staying as close as he dares to the beautiful musician proves difficult when she insists on performing a public concert. When the job becomes personal, he has way more to lose than a client.

There’s nothing I like better than a woman in jeopardy story with a sexy hero thrown into the mix. Crescendo has that and it didn’t disappoint me. Ms. Daniels did a great job pulling me into the story by opening it with a phone message telling the heroine she’ll be dead by the summer solstice.

It’s creepy, but you know with Wyatt around she’s going to be safe. He’s hot and sexy and you wonder how long before these two start mixing business with pleasure. Chloe is a great cook and there are lots of references to the foods she makes which I thought was a nice touch in this story.

When things get more threatening, I kept reading, wondering if Wyatt could save her from this obviously crazy stalker. There’s more at stake for them and for the reader when they become physically involved. The pacing is fast and this is a story you’ll enjoy reading in one sitting.

I couldn’t wait for the ending to see how it all turned out and who was behind the threats. I also wanted to see what would happen to Wyatt and Chloe once the threat was over. I won’t give away the ending but let’s just say you’ll be more than satisfied.

If you like hot stories with plenty of suspense, I’d say give Crescendo a read. And I’ll be checking out more stories in this series.

A Cowboy in Ravenna by Jan Irving

A Cowboy in Ravenna by Jan Irving
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Coreopsis

Ranch foreman Trinity March has always protected the boss’s son, innocent young human Chace Davidson, but can Trin keep the dark creature inside him from finally claiming Chace?

Foreman Trinity March has always taken care of the boss's son, impulsive, passionate Chace Davidson. He knew Chace was his mate the moment he taught him to ride but he figures he's not good enough for Chace.

Chace aches for Trin but when he runs off to Italy to lose his embarrassing virginity Trin follows, just like always, under orders from Chace's father to 'straighten' Chace out. Good luck, since now that Shadow shifter Trin knows how much Chace aches for a lover, he just might take what he has always wanted.

This is the sixth book in the Uncommon Cowboys series and it adds a different twist than the books before it. A Cowboy in Ravenna follows the same theme of a man being saddened or lonely in some form or another, seeking refuge away from their birth pack. But this story is about a man running away from the loss of a child that soon unravels into a heart breaking storyline of a child smuggling ring amongst shifter children.

Trinity is still suffering the loss of a child. His son was abducted eleven years prior to him coming to work at the Lazy L Ranch. The man is still beating himself up over the what if’s. He had become a shell of a man whose only focus is finding his son. The lone bright spot in his life is when he meets a young Chace. He watches the boy grow into a man knowing full well they are mates. When it comes to Chace, Trinity tries to take the high road wanting more for Chace than he can possibly ever give the man. Besides being a werewolf, he’s what’s known as a shadow shifter. Trinity fears that part of himself and foolishly tries to deny his mate. At times very frustrating to read because the love these men share lifts off the pages.

Chace knows he is gay and knows that he wants Trinity but isn’t sure how to act on those feelings. Thinking that he’ll never get what he truly wants, that being Trinity, he plans a trip to Italy. His mission is to lose his virginity and with that his lusty thoughts for Trinity. Chace is a fun character. Once he realizes it’s okay for him to ask for what he wants, he jumps into the driver’s seat and takes control. Just because he’s human doesn’t mean he’s any less powerful then Trinity.

Both Trinity and Chace have suffered some sort of loss in their past and together they heal themselves along the way. I loved how Trinity let Chace help him with finding the missing children. These are both strong lead characters that push all misconceived notions off the table when it comes to the alpha shifter controlling the weaker human.

I really enjoyed this addition to the Uncommon Cowboys series. It was different yet the underlying meaning the same, to find acceptance in a world they feel has given them nothing but heartache. Also Ms. Irving left us with a good cliff-hanger that I’m hoping will be discussed in the next installment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Enslaving The Master by Ann Jacobs

Enslaving The Master by Ann Jacobs
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (62 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Doreen needs a mate! She has “killed” another sexbot and the eunuch slaves assigned to serve her don’t provide what she needs. She desperately longs for the touch of a real man. Her very own Master.

Shedir has everything Doreen needs. Though sex with a real woman is forbidden him, this one is ready to be his sexual slave and fulfill his every desire. Doreen is insatiable! Shedir soon becomes obsessed with the incredibly sexy Earthling exile. But he has willingly sacrificed his life to work, gaining power and prestige, his goal to become a ruler in Earth Federation. To have Doreen, he must give up everything.

Can unbound pleasure trump ambition? Shedir thinks not, until he’s faced with the sacrifice he cannot make—his woman, his love.

Another place, another time, that is just what Shedir keeps telling himself. Especially after meeting the wonderful woman named Doreen. When Shedir goes to the planet Luna Ten to drop off some things to his old friend he comes across the most sensuous and willing female in Doreen. Yet in this time Earth has forbidden men and woman many things. Is Shedir willing to give up love or ambition?

This is a really quick read that does not have much character development. While it is a hot read it does have some nice elements of romance as well.

The two burn up the pages in this story and watching their feelings deepen through the story was a enjoyable. I would have liked to learn a bit more about both Shedir and Doreen and what drives them. I enjoyed meeting Doreen; she is a strong woman who wants a master to love and to love her back. I just could not seem to connect with Shedir at all as he seems so closed off. While he was not for me he sure was the one for Doreen. The attraction between the two is right there from the start and has the reader hoping that Doreen will show Shedir that love is worth the risk. The two quickly find themselves falling in love and the emotions run high. I enjoyed watching the two find love and seeing them fight for that love.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keys to Submission by Jennifer August

Keys to Submission by Jennifer August
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (274 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria

Sophie Turner, once the most scandalous debutante in Regency London, has only a few weeks to decipher the secrets of a mysterious journal and gain a treasure or lose her isolated country house forever. She never expected the lord next door and an unknown assailant to throw all her plans into chaos, never thought she might lose either her heart or her life.

Lord Ryder Ashford has decided the time is now for him to wed. He knows he’ll need a woman of elegance, refinement and purity. Having resigned himself to a life of vanilla sex and boring conversations, he’s shocked to find the scandalous Sophie Turner catching his eye … and his heart. Together, they will uncover secrets best left alone, embark on a quest for treasure and create a bond steeped in sensual love-making, daring forays into the world of dominance and submission and a love that will defy Society.

Who likes a two for one? Or should I say who doesn’t?

I, for one, love getting two things for the price of one. Which is one of the reasons I highly enjoyed this book by Jennifer August. While this book is a historical romance it's also a suspense and BDSM novel. Each part was brought to the table by one of central characters of the story making it work beautifully.

Keys to Submission starts off with Sophie Turner elbow deep in a riddle which will lead her to treasure. Something which will hopefully set Sophie’s life on a course of easy living for the rest of her days. After making a mistake during her first season, she waves her independence like a flag during war instead of waving a white flag and doing what would’ve been right. Now an outcast, the lost treasure is Sophie’s last chance to better her position. But first she must engage the help of her handsome neighbor.

Enter the earl, Ryder Ashford. He, of course, thinks she's the loveliest creature ever. She’s spunky, flirty and smart. What’s not to like? Deciding he can’t keep his hands off her, he decides to follow his gut and show Sophie she's a submissive at heart. Making an agreement that would allow him to assist her with her treasure hunt, it also allows him to show her the dynamics of a Dom/sub relationship.

The BDSM portion of this book was light by todays standards, and even a little light compared to other historical BDSM books. However, I think that's what made this story so charming. Ryder loses all his good intentions for training whenever she's around because she enjoys whatever it is he teaches. Sophie shamefully teases him to distraction whenever she can.

I thought the two of them were just adorable. I loved how the historical factor wrapped around them both. Her suspense and his BDSM really let them be who they needed to be instead of suffocating the story with rights and wrongs of society. Ryder never really changed who he was as a Dom, yet grew better. And Sophie’s sassy charm kept her independence right up front. I just adored the book from beginning to end.

This is the sequel to Her Dark Master which is about Ryder’s sister, Victoria. While several characters from the book appear here in Keys to Submission, this can be read alone and the reader won't feel completely lost.

I advise anyone who likes strong heroines and sweet loving heroes to pick up this book and its prequel.

Rand's Craving by Kiera West

Rand's Craving by Kiera West
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M/M/M/M/M, Anal Play, Spanking, Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria

Eve hasn’t spent much time with Rand outside of the bedroom. And definitely not alone. But, with the violence against the wolf population growing, they investigate the issues together. With each day out, they grow closer, but she knows Rand is holding something back.

Rand has wanted Eve since the first moment he scented her. He has held back some of his true sexual nature because he worries she might freak out. Spending more time with her is making it hard to ignore his baser needs. And he has to keep his head screwed on straight. He has to protect her not only from himself, but from the violent villain who now seems focused on destroying her.

Even though you know your place in the world, that doesn't mean you can control your cravings.

That's the moral of the story for Rand's Craving. This is book five of eight in Keira West's Great Wolves of Passion, Alaska. Here we see Eve and Rand growing closer and ultimately admitting their love for one another. Because let’s face it, who wouldn't love a sexy, sweet, loyal and protective wolf like Rand? At five books in, I think the author has made it pretty clear that Eve is awesome, too. What really pushes Eve over the "perfect" precipice is her immediate understanding of what Rand needs from her. He, of course, knows where he stands within the pack and battles not only the worry about freaking Eve out with what he needs, but how it would affect the pack. What does Eve do? Loves him for exactly who he is and accepts him with open arms.

What I like about this book and this series in general is the story arc is actually drawn out over the eight books in the series, making each book a small snippet of what's happening yet incredibly essential. Six of the books are about Eve and one particular wolf in the pack, the first one all about them meeting and establishing a foundation really. I think it's safe to assume book eight will be the icing on the proverbial cake and close up the suspense part of the story. Another thing I really enjoy is how there are actually several plots going on at once.

Overall, Rand's Craving was an awesome addition to the series and if you read the others you must read Rand's story. This isn't a stand-alone book, but if you like wolves, bears, leopards and/or just really hot sex, you'll not be let down reading the previous installments first. I can tell you this, I am waiting with bated breath for the grand finale in book eight! Holy hotness headed our way!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good Vibrations by Nicole Austin

Good Vibrations by Nicole Austin
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (54 pages)
Other: M/F, anal play, sex toys
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Carnation

Thanks to her ex-husband, Sara Cooper’s personal humiliation was splashed over the covers of every gossip magazine. But then being dealt the ultimate betrayal by society’s prince charming is news. Big news. And as usual, the wife is the last one to know.

Recovering from the ordeal has taken two long years and now there’s just one thing left on her to-do list…

Get Jack Taylor into her bed.

And Sara has found the perfect lure to land her best friend—sex toys.
Jack’s patiently waited for Sara to be ready. Ready to move on, live again, love again… The pink satin bag stuffed full of erotic toys is like a flashing neon sign.

Sara wants sex and there’s only one conceivable option. She’ll be wrapping those long, lean and luscious legs around Jack’s hips. Even if he has to battle her megalomaniac ex, Sara will be his.

Jack’s going to grab that bag of toys and together, Sara and he will generate some good vibrations.

When long-time best friends, Sara and Jack finally find their way into each others arms, some ‘good vibrations’ shake their worlds…and their hearts.

Sara has wanted the hot, sexy, masculine man for years but until recently hadn't wanted to jeopardize their valued friendship. She buys a bag of sex toys at a special party given by her girlfriends in hopes of coaxing Jack into a closer relationship.

When Jack learns that Sara has just bought a ‘suitcase’ full of sex toys, he confronts her with his own raging desire for her. It’s not long before Sara realizes she's deeply in love. Then to her joy, she finds that Jack has loved her as long as he’s known her but has patiently waited for her to get over her broken marriage before revealing his feelings.

I found myself believing this story and the characters as though they were real people. The tale of best friends who find they share a deeper love is a popular and realistic fantasy, here made fresh and fun. This story was also hot and wild all the way, with the toys playing a creative role. This is the first time I’ve read something in an erotic scene that was completely new to me…I won’t give it away!

Nicole Austin’s timing is perfect and the flow of events and dialog leads the reader on an exciting and absorbing romantic journey that pleases the mind and senses. She's effectively fluent in her writing skill, especially when describing the good vibrations. Whew! Great job, Ms. Austin!

I look forward to reading more from this dynamic and accomplished author, and highly recommend, Good Vibrations for a choice read.

West Salem by Cherie De Sues

West Salem by Cherie De Sues
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, paranormal
Length: Full Length (200 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stephantois

When Detective Daniel Ryker arrives in West Salem to investigate a homicide, Priestess Sorcha Terrabella claims a witch-hunter is killing pagans in the village. Daniel must set aside his disbelief in magick to find the murderer and his dream lover.

After an emergency call, Detective Daniel Ryker arrives in West Salem to investigate a brutal homicide. Priestess Sorcha Terrabella claims a witch-hunter is killing pagans as fear rules Samhain in the village. Daniel is spellbound when he realizes Sorcha's the woman who's been starring in his recent erotic dreams.

Daniel stays cool when he faces ghosts and faeries to save a missing young witch but Sorcha must convince Daniel that the evil lurking is part of a larger plan. A plan that could destroy many.

If you’re looking for a story with a blend of just about everything…romance, mystery, paranormal elements, you’ll love this story.

I enjoyed it from start to finish and especially liked the pairing of the police detective and witch. Ms. De Sues did a wonderful job drawing me into the story. The opening scenes are described in such a way I really felt like I was in the scene experiencing this area of the California coast, and the community of witches.

Daniel, her partner in helping her solve the vicious murder, is likeable and very realistic. Even though he’s a mortal and she’s not, you get a feeling that this will be a good match, both on and off the job.

Despite this being a full length novel, the pacing was fast. I found myself reading more and more at each sitting to find out what would happen next. The secondary characters are well drawn too and everyone’s dialogue is natural sounding. I thought the mystery and romance was well balanced. I must admit I’m partial to a good suspense story. This was the first time I’d read one that was a solid mystery with a paranormal twist. Something I’m now hooked on and would like to see more of.

If you’re looking for something fun to curl up with during these last few weeks of winter, check out West Salem.