Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review - Surviving Raine by Shay Savage


Surviving Raine
by Shay Savage
Published 2013
348 Pages

Sebastian Stark is a captain and owner of a luxury schooner, which caters to the rich and famous sailing the Caribbean Seas. He is an alcoholic and antisocial, stating that if he wants company he will pay for it. His past is a mystery, undoubtedly troubled. He does not ever engage with his passengers, leaving that responsibility to his first mate.

After an exceptionally drunken night of debauchery he is jarred awake, finding himself on the ceiling of his stateroom. That’s right, his ship has capsized. Locating a hidden life raft, he barely makes it off the sinking ship. Everyone else is gone until he notices a body floating face down in the water. Pulling the body from the water, he realizes it is the young, quiet, female passenger from the ship. She isn’t breathing, but has a weak pulse, and he resuscitates her. Their days on the life raft, post shipwreck, are filled with dehydration and starvation, but also with alcohol withdrawal and discovery of a connection from their traumatic pasts.

Brave and heroic, it is hard not to love Captian Stark! Still, his aggressive tendencies, anger, and vulgarity make you want to wring his neck! It is his survival skills that keep them alive during this tragic journey, and through their survival a bond is forged. There are so many incredible reveals in this book that are vital to the story, but I don’t want to give away the details. I cried, I laughed, and I was outraged. But mostly, I was in love! This is a must read!

Reviewed by Kelli
5 STARS

Book Review - A Taste of Midnight by Lara Adrian


A Taste of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #9.5)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2011
73 Pages

A Taste of Midnight is a novella that takes place at a holiday ball in a Darkhaven in Scotland. 

Darkhaven breedmate, Danika MacConn, clashes with another guest, as she refuses his advances. This guest, who runs an illegal blood sporting operation, has in his employ a man who Danika finds familiar. Unbeknownst to Danika, this man—scarred, both physically and emotionally—will become her ally, as she confronts the tragedies and losses from her past. 

This is a quick read, with a small tie-in to the breed warriors--a big story packed into a novella. I didn't feel a strong connection with the main characters. Still, it was a nice little read before getting back to the intensity of the breed warriors in book #10

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
3.5 STARS

Book Review - Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian


Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #1)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2007
434 Pages

Kiss of Midnight is the first book in the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian. It establishes the foundation for the series and introduces us to the leader of the breed warriors, Lucan Thorne. 

As leader of the warriors, Lucan’s job is to protect the breed from rogue vampires and others who threaten the secrecy of their existence. Lucan and his otherworldly kin, all male, and whose ancestors first arrived on our planet as voracious, feral, bloodthirsty aliens looking for a new world after theirs was destroyed, have bred with and lived amongst the human population for centuries. But it takes a special kind of human woman to breed with these otherworldly creatures—a woman with a unique birthmark, indicating her viability as a breedmate. 

In Kiss of Midnight, we meet Gabrielle Maxwell, a photographer who has just received some recognition for her photographs. Gabrielle is drawn to architecture and has compiled a portfolio of unique buildings throughout the city. She will stop at nothing to get the right photo, even if it means trespassing on the property of condemned buildings and waking up before dawn to capture the perfect lighting. 

Unbeknownst to Gabrielle, the architectural subject matter to which she is drawn holds special meaning, not just to Gabrielle but also to the breed warriors, as these buildings are a gateway to another world that Gabrielle is about to enter. Interested in her motives, Lucan stalks Gabrielle and learns that she has no idea the dangers that lie ahead. Further, Lucan is drawn to Gabrielle. 

What is it with this human woman that is compelling him to get closer to her? As Lucan plots to get near her, the dangers close in, threatening Gabrielle and the breed to which Lucan has vowed to protect.

This book is action packed with plenty of excitement as we enter the world of these fearsome breed warriors. Lucan is gorgeous and loyal, but also unpredictable. Gabrielle’s character is likeable and relatable. This book is full of seduction, beauty, danger, and all the qualities we expect and hope to find in a paranormal romance book. A fantastic book, and a great introduction to the other characters we will get to know better as the series continues. A must read!

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS  

Book Review - Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian


Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2007
418 Pages

Tess Culver is going about her normal day as a veterinarian, ending her day by working late into the night—a regular occurrence for someone who cares so deeply about healing the helpless, the wounded, and the weary. But when she hears a strange sound in the backroom of her clinic she is shocked to find a massive man, leather-clad, wounded, bleeding, and unconscious. Fearful, but drawn by her sense of compassion, she attempts to help the wounded stranger, unaware of the danger before her. 

Dante, a reckless and violent predator, and a member of the breed warriors, has lost a lot of blood, and when he awakens, the scent of Tess’s blood is almost too much to bear. Compelled by her undeniable attraction to this dark, deadly stranger, Tess’s life becomes intertwined with the breed, as she is targeted by the breed’s enemies and pursued by the warrior Dante himself. Just one taste of her blood will never be enough.

This is a great book! I love Dante with all of his fearsome flaws. Tess has her qualities as well in this second installment of the Midnight Breed series. There are more opportunities to get to know the other breed warriors in this book, setting up the continued challenges that the breed must face in this series as they continue their quest to maintain secrecy and balance on Earth.

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
4.5 STARS

Book Review - Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian


Midnight Awakening (Midnight Breed, #3)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2007
400 Pages

The third book in the Midnight Breed series, Midnight Awakening introduces us to the lives of the breed within the Darkhaven—an aristocratic group of breed, who has their own order that works alongside the breed warriors, but with whom they often clash. 

Elise, a beautiful member of the Darkhaven community, is discovered by Tegan, a breed warrior wielding a dagger, and hunting rogues in the City of Boston. She has set up living quarters in a seedy part of town and is using her special gifts to aid in the hunt—a decision that is breaking her down, both physically and emotionally. 

Despite being a lone predator by nature, once Tegan learns the reasons behind Elise’s quest, he vows to protect her, keeping her deadly antics a secret from the breed warriors. And as Tegan’s feelings for Elise deepen, he finds himself confronted with decisions surrounding loyalty, love, and all that he has ever known to be true.

This third installment of the Midnight Breed series is a fast paced ride through the lives of the warriors, as well as the lives of the Darkhaven and its members. It is a nice change of pace to learn about the other members of the breed, outside of the warriors. I loved Tegan’s character and hearing his backstory—deep, suffering, and alone. Tegan is one of the deadliest of all the warriors, but he is well matched with Elise, who is deadly in her own right … and for good reason.

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian


Midnight Rising (Midnight Breed, #4)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2008
338 Pages

Dylan Alexander is a feisty, energetic journalist on a European tour with friends. But when she wanders into a deep, secluded forest, and ventures into a hidden cave she finds what appears to be an ancient tomb. Adding to the mystery of her findings, Dylan captures a photo that she, in turn, emails to her boss back home. 

Eager to capitalize on Dylan’s findings, her boss sends her on a wild goose chase across Europe that results in Dylan becoming a target to those who wish to keep her findings a secret.

This is one of my favorite books in the series. We get to know Rio, a former breed warrior, who has become a feral and bloodthirsty predator, living deep in a secluded forest since his parting from the warriors. Dylan’s character has depth and is a fun and energetic addition to the series. This book adds the element of ghostly apparitions, traveling to new continents, and a more thorough understanding of the breed-mates.

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian


Veil of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #5)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2008
370 Pages

As a powerful and deadly warrior, Renata lives to protect the only master she has ever known—one of the most powerful gen-one breed vampires alive. Unaware of the meaning behind her psychic abilities, she is kept in an isolated location whereby any opportunity to gain understanding of her true identity is foregone … until she meets Nikolai.

On a quest to send a message to all of the gen-one vampires, Nikolai ventures into the secret hideaway of Renata’s master. Struck by her power and beauty, Nikolai gets to know Renata, discovering that there is more to her story than meets the eye. Further, Renata is protecting a young child whose powers are even greater than Renata’s, and even further misunderstood. And despite Nikolai’s greatest efforts, there are other forces at work and a powerful blood bond that may keep Renata and the child captive for eternity.

A fast paced read, Veil of Midnight has adventure, passion, and excitement throughout. Renata’s character is different from the other female characters, and Nikolai is a handsome, hulky counterpart. This story is a wonderful, meaningful addition to the series.    

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS 

Book Review - Ashes of Midnight by Lara Adrian


Ashes of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #6)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2009
370 Pages

In Ashes of Midnight, we travel to Germany to meet Andreas Reichen, a Darkhaven breed vampire, and Claire Roth, his longtime love. 

Now a breedmate to Andreas’s enemy, Claire is caught between her feelings for Andreas, and her loyalties to her mate. We learn the history of Andreas’s hatred toward Claire’s mate—reasons that are connected to Andreas’s loss of his loved ones, and the demise of an entire Darkhaven community. 

But as we travel between two continents, darker mysteries are revealed, as we discover Andreas’s powers … powers that Andreas himself, as well as the breed warriors who are now involved, are only beginning to understand.

I enjoyed this book, and loved getting to know the broken and tormented Andreas on his path to redemption. I enjoyed learning about the history that led Claire to Andreas, torn by a past that was derailed, and tortured by a love long lost. I wanted a little more of the warriors, but still enjoyed the focus on the Darkhaven.  

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
4.5 STARS

Book Review - Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian


Shades of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #7)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2009
354 Pages

In Shades of Midnight we travel to the frozen wilderness of Alaska, where the breed warrior, Kade, is investigating the grisly murders of a family living deep in a mostly inaccessible mining town. 

Kade meets up with Alexandra Maguire who, as the local bush pilot, has the most direct route to the Alaskan interior. Alexandra has her own reasons for living a secluded life, and Kade becomes infatuated by the mysteries surrounding Alexandra. 

As Kade and Alexandra’s paths continue to cross, Kade discovers that there is more to their chance meetings than meets the eye. He begins to uncover the layers of secrets of the small, forgotten town … secrets that involve Alexandra, the local sheriff, and the very Alaskan Darkhaven to which Kade once belonged.

Kade is forced to confront the most evil forces ever known to the breed, involving the very origin of the breed itself. Kade and Alexandra must work together to survive, facing danger, destruction, and a sinister plot lurking in the shadows, threatening the existence of the breed and all of humankind.

This was by far my favorite book in the Midnight Breed series! Shades of Midnight is a wild ride from start to finish, all with the backdrop of the eerie, ice-covered backwoods of Alaska. I found myself rooting for Kade and Alexandra as they raced their way by small propeller plane, snowmobile, and on foot through the snow covered landscape, fighting evil forces at every turn. But in typical breed warrior fashion, the slightly feral nature of Kade still found time to offer up his most powerful and seductive charms!

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Taken By Midnight by Lara Adrian


Taken By Midnight (Midnight Breed, #8)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2010
402 Pages

We return to the wilderness of Alaska in this book to reconnect with Alexandra Maguire’s friend, Jenna, who encountered a series of tragedies in book #7. 

As the only survivor of a direct encounter with the most deadly of forces, Jenna notices that things are changing. A former state trooper, Jenna is now stronger than ever, more agile, and experiencing memories from another place and time. 

Under the watchful eye of the breed warriors, Jenna is taken back to Boston, where she is monitored and observed. She is grateful to be near her friend, Alexandra. But when her memories reveal the magnitude of the trauma she endured she panics, fearing for herself and those around her. 

She seeks comfort in the arms of the breed warrior, Brock, who becomes her constant protector. The attraction between Jenna and Brock is undeniable, but can their love prevail when they are being pulled in opposite directions?

As one of the newer breed warriors, Brock shines in this story as a fiercely loyal protector and formidable warrior. He is faced with many inner challenges, as well as external obstacles, which he must overcome. This book is a nice complement to the series, as the story flows naturally from book #7, tying up loose ends.

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
4.5 STARS

Book Review - Deeper Than Midnight by Lara Adrian


Deeper Than Midnight (Midnight Breed, #9)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2011
387 Pages

We return to the wealthy, aristocratic lives of the Darkhaven in this book as we learn about the fate of the adopted daughter of an elite amongst the Darkhaven—the beautiful, 18 year old Corinne Bishop, who has been missing for a very long time. 

After a harrowing rescue by the breed warriors, Corinne is reunited with her former protector, the breed warrior, Brock. Brock feels torn by his past with Corinne, and with his love for Jenna. And after the years of imprisonment, Corinne is not the same person she once was. The only one she can relate to now is the great, gen-one warrior, Hunter. 

Having suffered a similar fate by the hands of the warrior’s most sinister enemy, Dragos, Hunter is vastly protective over Corinne. But when he must protect her from evil within her own Darkhaven, Corinne must confront the truth of her past, and the reasons she was held captive. Moreover, Hunter must confront his own demons, as the truth of his past is far more complex than ever expected.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Hunter’s story is fascinating, and despite his harsh exterior, he has a caring core. This book gives us deeper insight into the mind of Dragos and his evil plot against the breed warriors. Dark, seductive, and with plenty of plot twists, this book is a great read!  

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review - The Benson by Karina Halle


The Benson (Experiment in Terror, 2.5)
By Karina Halle
Published 2011
51 Pages

For loyal Experiment in Terror fans or for those who are just starting the Experiment in Terror series, The Benson is a must read! It is a short story that takes place between Red Fox and Dead Sky Morning (books #2 and #3). 

The story follows Dex and Perry on one of their ghost hunting expeditions for their Internet show to the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The Benson Hotel offers plenty of ghostly charm and some rather frightening footage for these two brave adventurers. The story documents Dex and Perry’s overnight stay at the Benson, as they make their way through the forgotten underbelly of this cool but rather creepy vintage hotel. 

I loved this book! A quick read, and a fun page turner, The Benson compliments the Experiment in Terror Series.

Reviewed by Stephanie 
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - The Finding by Nicky Charles


The Finding (Law of the Lycans, #3)
by Nicky Charles
Published 2011
453 Pages

After a devastating event, Cassie runs away from home to start a new life. She has always struggled with unusual symptoms. However, lately she has been waking up in strange places. One day, a young man shows up, Brian, and tries to abduct her. Cassie doesn’t understand his messages, and manages to escape.

Brian, the beta for a new Lycan Pack, is trailing Cassie, when it is discovered that she is a link to an ancient line of Lycans. But what exactly her link entails is to be determined. And what will her involvement mean to the world of the Lycans? Her mysterious upbringing, and the truth of her past have only begun to reveal a much more complicated story that has been hidden for a very good reason.  

This book had plenty of action and some romance. I liked the characters, Brian and Cassie, but not quite as much as the characters in the first two books in the series. Overall, it was good book worth reading! 

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
3.5 STARS

Book Review - The Keeping by Nicky Charles


The Keeping (Law of the Lycans, #2)
by Nicky Charles
Published 2010
372 Pages

In this book we meet Ryne Taylor, sibling to a Lycan pack alpha, who has ventured out on his own to start a new pack. 

Ryne is drop-dead gorgeous, and cannot be stifled by the confines of a relationship. He moves to a secluded wilderness where there will be room to roam freely, and room to stay out from under the watchful eyes of humans. But when a journalist follows Ryne to his secluded hideaway a new problem arises; Ryne's attraction to this human. 

To add to the complication, there is danger in the journalist’s mission, as she has been hired to find Ryne for a very specific reason. Ryne has never been a fan of humans, as a rule, but finds this one enticing, leaving his judgment clouded at a most crucial time for the pack and all of the Lycans. 

This book had more paranormal qualities than The Mating, and some unexpected twists. I still found myself wanting more of the paranormal world! But overall, it was a fun read! 

Reviewed by Stephanie 
★★★
3.5 STARS

Book Review - The Mating by Nicky Charles


The Mating (Law of the Lycans, #1)
by Nicky Charles
Published 2010
302 Pages

Elise, daughter of the pack alpha, is a young and free-spirited Lycan. She loves to run free, and roam through the wilderness with her best friend, a young male Lycan, who is also a member of her pack. 

One day, after a joyous romp through the forest, she arrives home and is introduced by her father to another alpha male—a male much older than Elise, with a fearsome appearance and commanding demeanor. Elise learns that she is to be mated to this mysterious alpha male, as a way to join the two packs. This is a devastating twist for Elise, as she expected to spend her life with her pack mates. 

We learn about the pack culture, and the reasons why this union is so vital to the welfare of the Lycans. Instead of resisting, Elise embarks on a journey that begins an entirely new phase in her life ... a journey that will impact the lives of the Lycans both from outside and within her pack.

Nicky Charles does a nice job of introducing us to the characters in this series. I enjoyed learning how the Lycans live, and what they have to do to remain hidden in our world, as a means of survival. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and scents that the Lycans experience when they are running free as their transformed selves. What I found disappointing was the all too human relationship problems, and the focus on that aspect of the story.

The Mating had a lot of potential, and I liked the setup to the story. But the paranormal aspects were lacking. Although I struggled a bit through some passages, with such a nice setup I do plan to continue on with the series. 

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
3 STARS 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review - Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn


Leave Me Breathless (Ross Siblings, #3)
by Cherrie Lynn
Published 2012 

276 Pages

In this story, we meet up with one of Brian’s friend’s, Seth “Ghost” Warren. Ghost, also a tattoo artist at Brian’s shop, falls hard for Candace’s friend, Macy Rodgers. 

Macy, a straight-laced country western girl, is generally not one to fall for the bad boys. However, she does fall for Ghost, when they have a wild tryst in the back of Ghost’s ’69 GTO.

Macy and Ghost are opposites in every way: He likes heavy metal music, while she enjoys country; she comes from a tightknit family, while Ghost’s parents passed away when he was a child, leaving him to fend for himself. And the differences continue. 

One fateful Valentine’s Day evening, their friends decide to take matters into their own hands, leading to the unthinkable for these two opposites... and that's where things get interesting! A really fun read!

Reviewed by Kelli
4 STARS

Book Review - Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn

Rock Me (Ross Siblings, #2)
by Cherrie Lynn
Published 2010
278 Pages

This is one of my favorite all time books! This is Brian’s story Rock Me, and it did rock me! I have read this book at least four times—I know, ridiculous, right? But it is just so good! The build up to the love scenes, and the scenes themselves are so well written and steamy, it’s hard not to swoon. 

We meet Candace Andrews, a good girl who has been raised in a society family, with controlling parents who refuse to offer her an ounce of freedom. She knows of Brian through her wild cousin, and when an opportunity arises during a birthday celebration, Candace shows up at Brian’s tattoo parlor to get some rebellious birthday ink.

Brian is surprised to see Candace at the tattoo parlor. Although he has always had a thing for her, and views her as sweet, funny, and attractive, he knows the situation with her family and has made a conscious effort to steer clear. However, as the attraction grows, they eventually decide to give it a whirl. Candace’s family, and just about everyone else, is against the relationship continuing, and so they must decide whether to continue or to go their separate ways. 

Reviewed by Kelli
5 STARS

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review - Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn


Unleashed (Ross Siblings, #1)
by Cherrie Lynn
Published 2009

216 Pages

I love the Ross Siblings Series! It is one of my favorites! Also sometimes referred to as the Leather and Lace series, it is a contemporary seri
es that includes full-length novels and short stories. The characters are real, flawed, and exhibit plenty of angst to keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Unleashed is a story about Evan Ross, a prosecutor with the district attorney’s office; and Kelsey Peterson. These two, long-time friends both lose their significant others at the same time, and in the same manner. 

We learn that Evan’s fiancĂ©e had been having an affair with Kelsey’s husband. Heartbroken, and with unused honeymoon tickets to Hawaii, Kelsey accompanies Evan on the trip, both wanting to ease their wounds, and Evan with a mission to reclaim the one who got away, Kelsey. Although Kelsey is surprised to discover Evan’s intentions, an uninhibited adventure awaits for these two! 

Reviewed by Kelli
3.5 STARS

Book Review - Tethers by Jack Croxall



Tethers (The Tethers Trilogy, book #1)
By Jack Croxall
Published 2013
257 Pages

In a small, Victorian era English village called Shraye, Esther Emerson and Karl Scheffer have limited opportunities for adventure and even fewer opportunities to explore the world beyond the confines of the only village they have ever known. 

Karl’s best chance for a successful future appears to rest in the promise of a teaching apprenticeship. Karl’s mother is excited about the possibility of Karl becoming a teacher, and expects Karl to share in her enthusiasm; however, Karl is less than enthused. And for an adolescent girl, Esther’s opportunities are fewer still. 

The daughter of a local pub owner, Esther accepts that one day she will be expected to work in the family owned pub. Still, she is far from pleased with the prospect. And so, when Karl sneaks into the garden of an old, reclusive villager and spies a most unusual object, a series of events unfold, leading Karl and Esther away from Shraye and on an unexpected journey of magic, mystery, and discovery.

An anonymous notebook, inscribed with strange markings and messages, guides Karl and Esther to the discovery of an unusual object with otherworldly powers, offering glimpses into the future and warnings of dangers that lie ahead. They meet Mr. Cauldwell, described by Karl as having a “proud and mutton-chopped face” and others as they engage in gun battles and sword fights, confronting hidden dangers at every turn. 

As their journey continues over land and sea, and as Karl begins to put the pieces together, he witnesses a young girl in distress, clearly in danger, and in need of assistance. More questions arise than are answered, as time and space are altered by the very choices and actions both Karl and Esther are making along the way … choices that have far reaching implications for all those involved. 

But how much can be altered, and which events are so tightly tethered in time that they are inalterable? These are just some of the questions Karl and Esther must face on their journey in this magical, coming of age tale of adventure and self-discovery.

Tethers, the first installment in a trilogy, is a fun read, and a cleverly crafted tale. Much thought has been given to the development of the book’s characters—fun, spirited individuals, with strengths and quirks that make them believable and memorable. A great book! I look forward to the next installment.

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review - Love Plus One by Andrea Smith


Love Plus One (G-Man, #2)
by Andrea Smith
Published 2013
404 Pages

Love Plus One introduces us to Lindsey Dennison, daughter of Samantha Banion (lead character of the first book, Diamond—a good read about a housewife turned pole-dancer).

Lindsey, a young college student, is very inexperienced in love, has a habit of picking the wrong guys, and is tired of feeling unlucky in matters of the heart. Queue to the sexy, tattooed, and unavailable Special Agent Trace “Taz” Matthews, G-Man extraordinaire!

Taz’s partner, Slate, is getting married to Lindsey’s mother, and it is at the wedding that Taz and Lindsey first meet. Lindsey is thoroughly intoxicated, and Taz offers her a ride home, at which point Lindsey proceeds to vomit inside the cab of Taz’s pristine truck.

Taz makes a detour to his house to clean up the mess, while Linsdsey proceeds to fall asleep. She wakes up the next morning with a bad hangover, feeling incredibly embarrassed. Adding insult to injury, he calls her a cute kid before driving her home, and walks her to the door. She stands on her tiptoes and pulls his face down to give him a not-so-much-a-kid kiss, winks, and says, “Thanks for the lift, Trace”. Taz is shocked by her boldness. Mission accomplished, and game on!

The flirtation continues for quite some time, and eventually leads to the bedroom, where Taz discovers the magnitude of Lindsey’s inexperience, and turns her down. He states that he does not do relationships, nor does he want to hurt her. Mortified, but no less determined, Lindsey responds, "I'm not looking to get hurt, Taz. I'm just looking to get laid." Ha! Score one for Lindsey. And score she does!

Their relationship is a whirlwind of action that continues until Lindsey returns to college, set on moving past Taz and their fling. But when Lindsey’s missing father's criminal case results in Taz being assigned to protect Lindsey, a new dy
namic ensues. Taz struggles to maintain balance in his role as protector while confronting his undeniable attraction to Lindsey—a situation that can be an asset or a detriment to his career, his freedom, and ultimately to Lindsey’s safety—tipping the scales and changing all that he has come to know and hold true.

This book has romance, action, and excitement! But when it takes a frightening turn (I will leave out the details), much of the romance and passion are abandoned.

I would have liked to see the sub-p
lot mesh better with the primary plot. Thus, I found myself skimming through parts. Still, the story as a whole had merit, and I enjoyed the majority of it. Additionally, with the first book being such a great read, I will continue on with the series.

Reviewed by Kelli
3 STARS

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review - Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter


Heart of the Dragon (Atlantis, #1)
By Gena Showalter
Published 2005
384 Pages

Before Gena Showalter’s hit series, Lords of the Underworld, there was Atlantis: a series about an undersea world inhabited by immortal creatures, including dragons, nymphs, shape shifters, and more!

This first installment introduces us to the shape-shifting guardian of the gates of Atlantis, Darius en Kragin. Vowed for centuries to protect his dragon kin, and Atlantis itself, Darius has seen his fair share of wa
yward humans, lost in the jungle’s mist, slip through the gates of his hidden world. And it is his job to see that their discovery ends at the gates through which they have entered. 

But when a human girl, with hair the color of fire, falls at his feet Darius becomes frozen in fear. Before this human girl, it had been centuries since Darius experienced color, and the sensation is overwhelming. Sensing a more profound meaning to the mystery, Darius sweeps her up, and steals her away to his private lair, keeping her arrival a secret. 

Grace Carlysle’s brother had been missing for a few weeks when, out of frustration, Grace decided to take matters into her own hands. She was thirsty and exhausted when her guide stole her belongings, leaving her alone in the jungle to fend for herself, with nothing but the clothes on her back and the unusual charm necklace from her brother. Unsure as to whether or not she was hallucinating, Grace became disoriented in a cloud of mist and slipped into a great cavern, revealing on the other side a fearsome man with crystal eyes, wielding a sword, and studying her every move. 

Now, in his secret lair, with vast walls of water through which dreamlike creatures appear, Grace becomes acutely aware that this is definitely not a dream. She plots to escape, but not before meeting with the great Darius, face to face. And when she unwittingly calls upon the mysterious forces of the charm, she makes her escape. 

Realizing the seriousness of his errs in judgment, Darius follows Grace to her home in New York City. Putting his life and all of Atlantis at risk, Darius must navigate his way in a new land where his powers are limited and his sacrifices great, in order to ensure that Grace never reveals what she has witnessed. It is an enormous task, particularly when Darius begins to develop feelings for Grace, but one he has vowed to uphold. 

When world’s collide, things shift, and Grace begins to understand the meaning behind her brother’s disappearance. Likewise, Darius discovers the hidden meaning of his quest, and the true dangers he must face. Does he save Atlantis, or does he risk it all for the woman he loves?

The characters were well developed, and the plot had some nice twists and turns. However, throughout the book I found myself longing for more Atlantis—such a great world to play in! But it was such a small part of the story. I would have easily given it 4 stars, had the story included more of this awesome underwater world. Still, I will continue reading the series, in hopes of finding more adventures in this unique world Gena Showalter has created. 

Reviewed by Stephanie

3.5 STARS

Book Review - Gemini by Penelope Ward



Gemini (Gemini, #1)
by Penelope Ward
Published 2013
305 Pages

Allison Abraham has lost her mother, and in dealing with the resulting emotional struggles, as well as financial obstacles, she finds herself working as a waitress at the Stardust Diner. Previously, Allison was a graduate student, working toward her Master’s in Behavioral Science. Now financially and emotionally strapped, she is focusing on saving money to return to her studies. 

So when a handsome man walks into the diner, Allison has no idea that this man has secrets that involve Allison, and that he has arrived at the diner with the specific purpose of seeing her. She is immediately drawn to the handsome stranger, and has no idea the course her life is about to take. 

Cedric Callahan, a 30-something talent agent for news reporters, has a sense of humor about his career and doesn’t take life too seriously. He is seeking out the young waitress, Allison, for a specific reason. And oh, what a reason! It is alluded to, however, we must anxiously await the reveal till much later. 

When Cedric arrives at the diner, and finds himself unexpectedly drawn to Allison, he gets cold feet, and leaves the diner as suddenly as he arrives. Allison is crushed, and wonders if the mutual attraction she sensed was all in her head. 

Feeling confused, Cedric stays away, knowing that Allison is the last woman he should consider pursuing. Still, he cannot deny his feelings, as Allison becomes a constant fixture in his thoughts. 

Cedric reasons that if he reveals the truth of his mission to Allison she will never speak to him again. And as we watch him battle with his inner turmoil, he convinces himself that he must be with Allison, to allow her to get to know him, before telling her the truth. And so, the lies begin!

Cedric creates chance encounters such as, he was just “in the neighborhood”, and other efforts to make their meetings appear casual and unplanned. Eventually, these lies are compounded, as Cedric becomes more entrenched in the half-truths surrounding this budding union. Inevitably, a relationship ensues, and when Allison eventually discovers what Cedric is keeping secret (and boy, what a secret it is!), Cedric’s world comes crashing down. Later, he recalls, “The love I felt for this woman was indescribable and yet, I looked her dead straight in the eyes and lied through my teeth...” 

Allison finds comfort in her friends, and Cedric hits an emotional low, becoming what his brother lovingly refers to as a “Chia pet that smells like an ashtray”! Ha!

This book has a great plot and great characters. There are funny moments and unexpected turns throughout. I thought I had an idea what the secret might be but I was not even close! I definitely recommend this book! A great read!

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Kelli
★★★
4.5 STARS

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review - Delayed Penalty by Shey Stahl


Delayed Penalty
by Shey Stahl
Published 2013
317 Pages

This book could have been so good! It just missed the mark. The plot and the characters had potential they just never reached it. 

Evan, a hunky hockey player in Chicago, finds a girl in an alley, beaten and brutalized and left for dead. He brings her to the hospital, keeps a constant watch over her, and eventually becomes obsessed. Aside from kicking ass in the hockey rink, he stays at her bedside, night and day. The girl is in a coma, requires numerous surgeries, and throughout her recuperation, Evan maintains a watchful eye at her bedside. 

We learn that the girl, Ami, is a young dance student, just 17 years old, and has suffered many losses in her young life. She has relocated to Chicago to study dance and to make a fresh start. Ami is alone in all ways imaginable, and as we would expect, there is more to this back-story than meets the eye. Now bonded to her through the trauma and recovery, Ami is taken in and protected by Evan and his family. 

Although Evan is sigh-worthy, there is a lack of depth in his character, and too much attention is given to his teammates—I expect this is a lead in to a series. There were some serious issues with Ami’s character, as well, as she is seemingly unaffected by the brutal attack, and moves forward as if nothing ever happened. She is a little ray of sunshine, whereas, I would have liked to see more angst in her character, and more depth and attention given to the process of someone coming back from such a serious trauma.

Although it had its moments, the story never did quite make it to where it was trying to go.  

Reviewed by Kelli
3 STARS

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review - Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian


Darker After Midnight (Midnight Breed Series, #10)
by Lara Adrian
Published 2012
417 Pages

I love this series! Some of the books are better than others, but every one is worth reading! The series revolves around a group of otherworldly creatures known as breed, who first arrived on our planet as voracious, feral, bloodthirsty aliens, looking for a new world after theirs was destroyed. 

The original group, all male, and known as gen one, bred with humans, resulting in human-alien hybrid offspring. The offspring, still slightly feral in nature, but equally human, grew to a massive population of breed vampires, living on Earth alongside humans for centuries. And within the breed, there is a special group known as the breed warriors, who fight to control rogue vampires that threaten the secrecy of their existence. Passionate and loyal with their breedmates, the series explores the lives of the warriors as a whole, with each book focusing on a different warrior, in their quest to maintain order for the breed on Earth.

Darker After Midnight is the 10th and final book in the series (although there is a spin-off), which focuses on the breed warrior, Chase, a former breed aristocrat. 

Chase struggles with his past, and his future becomes even more uncertain as he teeters on the verge of bloodlust and fights to avoid becoming one the very creatures with whom he and his warriors are at war. And in the world of the breed warriors, the war has just gotten personal. 

There are forces at work aiming to reveal the breed’s secrets, and there is a woman among them who has her own secrets—a woman like no other known to humans or the breed—and it is this woman, the beautiful Tavia with a photographic memory who has gotten close to Chase, causing a precarious union that neither one can resist.

Loyalty, commitment, and the decisions Chase has made in life are all challenged in this final tale as we see his darkest days and his brightest moments, and finally get to know Chase up close and personal, from the inside out. One thing we learn pretty quickly is that life for Chase will never be the same. We also get a glimpse into the lives of the other breed warriors, as the final chapter of this original and exciting series concludes. A great book, and a fantastic series!

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Sins and Needles by Karina Halle



Sins and Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)
By Karina Halle
Published 2013
376 Pages

Sins and Needles is the first book in The Artists Trilogy. It is a dark, sexy, and exhilarating adventure, filled with cool, edgy, and believable characters with plenty of flaws. However, it is these flaws that make the characters so honest, and their stories compelling.

Ellie Watt, born into a family of grifters, and now a young woman, wears the scars of her past like a badge of honor. She is gritty, she has been used, and she uses others. She is also resilient, a survivor, and throughout the book it is easy to find reasons to keep rooting for her: She has a heart, however tarnished, and she has hope. Nevertheless, she makes terrible mistakes and her judgment is clearly impaired. And then there is Camden, also scarred and terribly damaged, also a survivor … and gorgeous. 

Camden, a tattoo artist and Ellie's childhood love, still has feelings for Ellie. And when these two reunite, both in danger, and both dealing with their scars from the past, sparks fly, taking us on a wild ride that crosses state lines and all personal and emotional boundaries. 

We travel through Sin City, Camden convinces Ellie to let him tattoo her, there is a wild car chase, and eventually someone dies. But just as Ellie and Camden have proven to be incredibly resilient souls, we are left with hope, and are willing to push on through the next trial to see how the trilogy unfolds. 

A page-turner, one you won't put down till the end, Sins and Needles gets a score of 5/5 stars! A must read!

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris


Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13)
by Charlaine Harris
Published 2013
353 Pages

This is the final installment in the series, and although I wasn't thrilled with the way things concluded, I loved the story, and found Sookie's journey with Eric, Bill, and all the other vampires and supernatural creatures in her life to be an enchanting one. 

This is the 13th book, so if you've made it this far, you are probably a loyal fan, and have legitimate reasons for imagining a more satisfying conclusion to this beloved series. Still, consider the source: this is Sookie, and by now we shouldn't be surprised by her decisions, or her unwillingness to conform to the expectations bestowed upon her by the good folks of Bon Temps.

Sookie Stackhouse has experienced many losses and gains over the course of the series. And since the vampires came out, she has found comfort amongst the supernatural beings in her community. Her first love was a vampire, she fell hard for a were-tiger, and some of her closest companions were shape shifters, werewolves, and fairies. So now, where does she fit in with the humans? That was always the question, wasn't it?

The character development, the world building, and the exceptionally high quality writing never faltered. The author created a new world within our world, and perfectly entwined the two so that you might forget for a moment that True Blood is not really something you can pick up at the local supermarket to serve to your supernatural guests.

Sookie made her choices, and ultimately found herself; the beloved vampire Eric made his choices, although we were left scratching our heads; and Sam... well, I think Sam knew what he wanted all along. As for the end of the series, it might not have wrapped up in the most satisfying way, but for Sookie, it's only the beginning. A great story, and a fantastic series. 


Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★
4 STARS

Book Review - Lover At Last by J.R. Ward


Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)
by J.R. Ward
Published 2013
604 Pages

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series has been one of my favorite series for the last few years. From my first introduction to Wrath in book #1, I was hooked on these bad boy vampires who fight to protect the world from the evil society of undead, known as Lessers. Each book has its own merit, its own unique story and cast, while keeping us in touch with the other characters along the way. 

Quinn, a young vampire with a troubled past, comes to the forefront in this book as a budding warrior working through issues of sexuality, becoming a father, true love, and coming to terms with his past. As Quinn gains confidence in himself, his world opens up with new possibilities: Can he accept love? Can he be the person he wants to be? Slowly, Quinn transforms to become someone he has a hard time recognizing. Moreover, those around him have a hard time recognizing him, too. 

I wanted more of the classic Brotherhood that was missing from this book. We were introduced to new characters, spent a lot of time with the Chosen, Layla, and spent too much time in medical offices and bedrooms dealing with unpleasant discussions over pregnancy, pain, and loss. I certainly don't mind hearing about the wild bedroom antics of the Brotherhood. But this was different. Somehow, it felt like there was nothing supernatural happening, and we were left with grumpy, unhappy couples who just needed some couples therapy. 

I am still a fan of J.R. Ward, and look forward to the next installment. You can't go wrong with her writing style, her clever phrasing, and her ability to bring you into a world and make it your own. I recommend this book to paranormal romance fans and loyal Brotherhood followers, even though (aside from the few bedroom scenes with Quinn and Blay) this book lacked some of the fire, passion, and magic that we have come to know, love, and expect from the Brotherhood.  

Reviewed by Stephanie 

3 STARS 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bookshelf Montage



Loving You Always
Wings Of Hope
Kissed By A Demon Spy
Stepbrother Dearest
Vespertine
Mystical High
My Viking Vampire
R.E.birth
Perfect
Scars
The Monster
Wolf's Bane
Veiled Target
Wicked Flames
Laika in Lisan
Of Royal Descent
When You Are Mine
My Skylar
Shadower
Taking Nicole