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Friday, May 18, 2012

Tiger by Laurann Dohner

Tiger by: Laurann Dohner
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (477 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Dogwood

Zandy’s had too much to drink and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. She knows she’s going to die. When next her eyes open, a beautiful man-creature is holding her in his arms. He’s just too tempting to resist; her very own fallen angel. She wraps herself around his body, determined to have him. But when this angel turns out to be flesh and blood, reality crashes in—she’s seducing a New Species.

Tiger’s shock quickly turns to intense passion when the human female kisses him, despite the fact she’s trying to get his clothes off while he’s engaged in a task force operation. He’s also made it clear he’ll never take a mate. Rather difficult when he and Zandy can’t keep their hands off each other. The taste and feel of his little human just leaves Tiger wanting more.

Laurann Dohner has hit yet another home run!  In fact this tale hits the ball so far out of the park that all you hear from the crowd is “root, root, root for Tiger!”

Laurann Dohner has created yet another hot yet dramatic romance, and continues to enchant her fans again and again with exhilarating, sexually charged escapades and dialogue that will leave one breathless. Ms. Dohner has proven she is one of the best when it comes to creating magnetizing paranormal mixed couples. Her formula for erotic adventure should be bottled and sold with a caution label saying “extremely-hot”. She'd could make millions!

I do suggest reading this series from the beginning as it makes it much easier to follow the character development in Ms. Dohner's hybrid DNA “magnum opus”. I did find however that Tiger was a great stand-alone story and could be enjoyed as a single reading.

Zandy has had a bad day. Make that a bad month. After going to a local bar to drown her worries, she accidentally becomes a victim of violence when a bar fight breaks out and she is gravely injured in the brawl. Tiger, a new species law enforcer, comes to her rescue. When Zandy awakens in Tiger's arms, she finds herself staring into the eyes of the sexiest “angel-savior” in the world. She mistakes the gorgeous “Tiger” as a fallen-angel who is taking her to the ever-after. So what would it hurt to kiss him, especially if she is dying anyway? Tiger, who has sworn off all human mates, finds himself extremely attracted to the vulnerable but forward Zandy. When Zandy surprises him with a kiss that turns so hot it sizzles, Tiger knows for the first time that he may have to eat his words about not wanting a human companion.

Later, in a twist of fate, Zandy lands a job working for the New species, thus throwing her into the direct path of Tiger yet again. As you may guess, the chemistry between these two is extremely explosive. Soon a love affair hotter than a rupturing volcano explodes between our two main characters. If that is not enough to crab your attention, then throw in fast paced action, horrendous villains and terrifying scenarios and this book flies off the charts as one of the best novels Laurann Dohner has ever written!

I am absolutely addicted to this series! I found myself practically hyperventilating while waiting for the release of Tiger's story. When my wait was finally over, I was not disappointed. If I had to pick which story so far in this series is my favorite, this would definitely be in the running.

As all good fairy tales should go, this story starts off with a handsome prince (or shall we say handsome Tiger) coming to the rescue of the damsel in distress. Our heroine is sweet, strong, capable and fun. Our hero is super alpha, extremely sexy and completely loyal. Who wouldn't want a relationship with a “New Species” male who is totally monogamous with his one and only mate? The outdoor love scenes alone where hotter than the sun that they made love under. I find that I am fanning myself again just from thinking of these scorching moments.

I love that we get to hear from old friends from previous books as well as meeting new ones for future stories. My heart even broke for a character we have yet to see find a new mate, so I am eagerly hoping Vengeance has his day in print soon!

Sizzling with intense dialogue as well as blazing romance, this exciting action adventure captures your imagination and fuels your fantasies for days on end.

Need an Alpha hunk to save your day? Well Tiger just might make you roar out-loud!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wild Irish Christmas by Mari Carr

Wild Irish Christmas by Mari Carr
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (57 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Moonflower

“To Conall Brannagh.”

Ewan took the bottle from his father. “Who?”

“Conall Brannagh,” Patrick repeated. “If your mother had chosen him over me, none of us would be here tonight.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and the Collins siblings have given their father a precious gift. All seven have gathered together to spend the night in his apartment above the family pub, the warm, loving home where Patrick and Sunday raised their large brood.

You’ve witnessed each child find their happy-ever-after. Now gather ’round the tree and share a bottle of Jameson with the Collins family while Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate…and the mother of his seven Wild Irish.

From the introduction to the very end, I was smiling. Every word was special and the whole story felt like home. It’s Christmas time and Patrick’s children have given him the best gift ever. They have all returned home to spend Christmas Eve with him at their family home.

Patrick hasn’t been himself lately. All of his children have found love and have started lives of their own. While he's thrilled and loves his extended family, he misses the closeness of having his children all under one roof. They have always been a very close knit family and he misses them. But it’s not just the loss of his children; it is the time of the year that also brings him down, but also brings him much joy. Christmas was the time of year that he fell in love with his wife, Sunday. The season always brings her to mind and this year around the tree with his children he's going to share their love story.

What an amazing story. The way it was told, I could feel the love coming off the pages. This is possibly the sweetest short story I've ever read. I always knew Patrick loved his wife, but now I learned how they fell in love. I was taken back to the first moment Patrick sets eyes on Sunday. All of Patrick’s joy, sorrow, pain and finally love are wonderfully written. Ms. Carr has written a short story worthy of traditional Irish tales, a treasure to be told for years to come.

Did I want a longer story? Of course; I can never get enough of this huge loving family. Although it is a very short story, it didn’t skimp on plot and the pacing was phenomenal. I felt as if I was sitting around the tree enjoying a sip of Jameson Irish Whiskey right alongside them. I couldn’t have asked for more, and I’m thrilled that Patrick had his moment in the spotlight.

Wild Irish Christmas may be the last in the series, but it could be read at the beginning of the series too. Ms. Carr has written it in a way that nothing is given away of the children’s individual stories. I'm revitalized and want to reread all the novels. I want to fall in love with them all over again. No matter the time of year, this family’s love can be enjoyed all year long.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Bared to You by Sylvia Day
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (360 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, BDSM
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria

Our journey began in fire...

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...

Rarely have I read a book that made me feel so much. I experienced a kaleidoscope of emotions while reading this story. At times it was pity, then annoyance, to heartbreak and sheer joy. And to top it all off, this book sizzled.

I’m not going to lie and say the comparisons to another novel didn’t pique my interest with this book. But I’m not here to review that other work, I am here to share my feelings for Bared to You. Are there similarities? Sure, but let’s be honest with ourselves. If you’re an avid romance reader, you’ve come across a book or two that reminds you of another book or two. How many times can an Alpha male be written? Or a vampire? Or a shifter? When something is receiving so much attention, it’s impossible not to be compared. But that’s grossly unfair to this book and the other.

First we meet Eva, a sweet down to earth woman who comes from money, thanks to her mother's advantageous marriages. Despite never wanting for anything, she decides to go to college and make her way in the world by getting a job. Shocking, I know. As the book progresses you understand why she needs this standard of normalcy. It’s not a want, but an absolute need.

We also get to meet Cary, a super sexy up and coming model who is Eva’s brother from another mother. But in actuality they are each other's support system. And if ever two people needed one other, it was these two. They are the ones who call it when the other has their head too far up someplace it shouldn’t be. For all the reasons that they were brought together, they were extremely lucky to have the relationship they did.

And then there's Gideon. Oh, dark and dangerous Gideon. While he's compared to another fictional who is also dark and dangerous, I felt Gideon is very much different. Is he controlling, of course. However, Gideon shuts down his emotions. Does it affect his personality? Absolutely, but Gideon builds a wall so thick that he’s almost childlike when it comes to emotions of the heart. Because he’s never had them as an adult. Until he meets Eva.

“As he stared back, he altered…as if a shield slid away from his eyes, revealing a scorching force of will that sucked the air from my lungs. The intense magnetism he exuded grew in strength, becoming a near tangible impression of vibrant and unrelenting power.” I shivered a little at this. Here you see he’s a dominant person, you feel it. Eva responds to it, even if she’s terrified by her reaction.

Together, they are explosive. Their love making, their fast growing emotions, their possessiveness, their everything is scorching. From the first time they touch until the last page, no matter how tumultuous their relationship is, it’s the passion that grips you. Gideon and Eva are almost too passionate for their own good. They break self imposed rules, experience firsts together, and live in a non-structured Dominate/submissive relationship.

I wanted to point out that I listed ‘forced seduction’ as an element of this book. It’s not what I think of as hard core forced seduction, but more as seduction used to bend Eva to Gideon’s will. He uses his arsenal of knowledge when it comes to Eva to bend her his will, or stop a fight, or whenever there's something they are having a hard time dealing with. There were a few times where I felt myself go "ummm", so I felt it would be better to safe than sorry.

In closing, I adored this book for so many reasons. I can’t tell you the last time I blushed from my neck to the roots of my hair. There's a scene that just flat out floored me, and I read it three times to make sure I got all the details in my highly imaginative mind. Ms. Sylvia Day did a fantastic job with this. The writing was superb, the characters flawed, overall just stellar work. I will be anxiously awaiting Deeper in You when it releases where we will be able to continue the story of Gideon and Eva.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rubies of Fire by Lynne Connolly

Rubies of Fire by Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (220 pages)
Other: M/F, anal sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Vampire and full-time field agent for the CIA, Andreas’s only loyalty is his job with Department 57. Until he sets eyes on sexy Roz Templeton. He already hates his assignment to pose as the office wolf, but he hates it even more when he realizes Roz is also a vampire.

Roz is out to discover who killed two members of her family, and when she does, the culprit will die. Andreas is a distraction. And she can’t understand why she’s drawn to him, anyway--he’s a sleaze. But she can’t resist.

Drawn into a passion neither can fight, they set fire to the night, and then some. For a young vampire, Andreas is fully versed on how to keep a woman happy in bed, even one that is centuries older than he is, and as dominant and demanding as any man. From their first steamy kiss in the elevator on the way to work, to bed and beyond, Andreas and Roz can’t get enough of each other.

But that passion may be a deadly distraction when Roz's life is on the line.

The explosive paranormal element and dynamic plot line makes this story a must read.

Andreas and Roz’s personal lives as well as their romantic lives were very intriguing. I enjoyed the internal angst which stemmed from Andreas seeing Roz have everything that he himself had been missing and longing for in his life,and resenting it. I think it allowed the characters to truly complement each other and gave them the basis to build a bridge to a successful relationship. It also gave these otherwise far from normal characters a human quality about them that allowed me to see them as real people instead of just characters in a book.

The beginning of the story left me a little puzzled, though, I have to admit. It felt like the author jumped in a little too rapidly, which left me feeling like there was a missed a page or two. However, once I caught up to speed, everything fell right into place and I became enthralled by the storyline.

The conflict within the book was fascinating. It's a continuation from previous stories within the series, so followers won't be disappointed. Yet, because the characters' personal experiences are detailed by the author I could appreciate the conflict without having read previous stories. There were times I felt the personal conflict overshadowed the romantic development, but on the whole it kept me truly entertained. I have always thought that antagonistic conflicts help to heighten a romantic relationship since it adds a element of danger. I am happy to say that there was certainly danger around every corner and because of that, the characters had plenty reasons and opportunities to come together.

Anyone who enjoys paranormal stories will find this one fascinating. It runs the gamut of vampires, shifters, sorcerers, and others that have yet to reveal their secrets making this book jam-packed with paranormal excitement. There are so many entertaining elements to this story and if you read Rubies of Fire you will understand why.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Uncross Your Heart by Taryn Elliott

Uncross Your Heart by Taryn Elliott
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (183 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

Sometimes starting over means facing your greatest fears…

Miranda Lyons is adept at pretending to be someone else, someone without a past. She’s able to forget for chunks of time that she comes from a very wealthy, notorious family. She’s given up most of the party-girl vices from her old life, including sex. Until Nathan Cross barges into her life…

To all appearances, Nathan Cross is a simple man—devoted to family and friends, committed to his work. But nothing is simple about Nate’s feelings for Miranda. Fascination quickly blooms into outright lust, and not just for her body. He wants all of her, even the parts she hides from the world. But Miranda’s secrets threaten to drive away the one man capable of both helping her come to terms with her past and supporting a future with a love that’s all about truth.

Nate was moments away from giving up when the woman who occupied his thoughts for the last three years finally took notice. Besides her physical appeal, her hidden depths and mysterious lifestyle fascinated him. After so much observation, Nate wanted to get to know her better, but she kept herself tightly closed off to anything profoundly personal. Sparks ignite and rage out of control physically, but breaking down the barriers surrounding her heart is another matter entirely. He resolves his determination to get to know the real Miranda, but what he ultimately discovers crushes him. Now he wonders if any of it was ever real.

Growing up an heiress and socialite and then hitting rock bottom, Miranda managed to get away from the ugly side of fame and temptation, by making a new name for herself and starting her own business. Keeping a low profile so no one would figure out her ruse was easy, but keeping the old “MJ” from rearing her ugly head when Nate finally made his move, is a different story. She doesn’t know if she can give him the “more” he’s looking for and when her skeletons start coming out of the closet, he may not want her anyway. But is her past worth more than a future with Nate?

Uncross Your Heart is an emotional roller-coaster of a story with a unique situation that threatens the developing relationship. I appreciated how Nate took a leading role in the story and was upfront with his feelings and patiently fights to establish a deeper connection with Miranda. Disappointingly, Miranda dodges him at every turn with weak excuses. At times she's not a very likable character, but she has several redeeming qualities like her inner geek, business savvy independence, fashion choices, and even her dog Stella. While many readers may not be able to relate to Miranda and Nate's predicament personally, their story is still unique and clever. It's also extremely steamy and very enjoyable.

Complex and dynamic characters with great scene imagery and drama makes for a fantastic debut by this author that contemporary romance readers should check out!

Spliced by Robin Leigh Miller

Spliced by Robin Leigh Miller
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (232 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

For ten years, Avery Easton has quietly lusted after her twin brother’s best friend, Ridge Gates. When the cruel, cold hand of fate takes her brother’s life, Avery and Ridge turn to each other in grief and share a night of ecstasy. But mind-blowing sex with the man of her dreams can’t push away Avery’s reality.

Violent and terrifying events have followed her brother’s body home and introduced Avery to another man…one who’s willing to give her everything she needs. And then there’s the secret she harbors that could tear her and Ridge apart even as it connects them for the rest of their lives.

A promise on the battlefield led Ridge straight into the arms of the woman he knows he has no business being with, but can’t stay away from. If he fails to come to terms with his broken body and Avery’s revelations, he could lose her forever—if not to another man, then to the violence that brought Ridge and Avery together.

Ridge Gates is a broken man. After his tour through Afghanistan came to a devastating end, he's forever scarred, body and soul. The loss of innocent lives plagues him with nightmares and the guilt haunts him during the waking hours. However, it is the promise he made to his dying best friend that keeps him sane. The promise that would mean getting close to the one woman who could do fatal damage to his heart. Ridge knows that although he may be a scarred man now, he's the right man when it comes to taking care of her, even if it kills him to be near her.

Avery Easton knew the moment her brother’s life ended. The pain and heart-wrenching emptiness was all too real and signified a future of loneliness. The presence she recognized as her twin’s spirit complete with emotions was ripped away from her and then replaced by the man who forever ignored her. Unfortunately, someone has invaded her home and Ridge is bound and determined to see to her safety, but now Avery feels even less safe as her desire takes charge.

Intensely emotional and erotically thrilling, this story follows Ridge and Avery's relationship as it develops past friendship, but under terrible circumstances. The profound sadness early in the story sincerely moved me and with it came an instant connection to the main characters. Sex was used to cope with the loss of a best friend and brother and when that wasn't enough Ridge and Avery's misconceptions and insecurities got the best of them. Ridge became distant in the light of day, but at night his dominance is secured. While Avery thrives under Ridge's command in the bedroom, she's realistic in knowing that it can't last if Ridge doesn't open his heart to her. Another man stands between them, though, and I found this character to be a pivotal part of the storyline in helping them get past the stubbornness and work towards healing and understanding.

There were quite a few errors in the text that made it hard to read smoothly and the threat to Avery's life seemed a little anticlimactic when all was finally revealed. However, the romance is hard-won and the story is captivating. Even the character and relationship developments are satisfying for their realism. I would recommend this story to a wide range of romance readers, but most especially to those who want their romance sizzling.