Category Archives: 4✰

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life…

Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Release Date: 27 December 2011
Read Date: 4 December 2011
Rating:

Please, Sir. May I have some more?

Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’t feel repetitive. This world is far larger and more complex than that of the Study trilogy.

Avry has been in hiding and on the run for 3 years and she’s tired of it. After people blamed the spread of the plague on healers, they’re captured and executed whenever they’re found. However, Avry can’t stop herself from healing fatally ill children and each time she does she must move on in case the child’s parents turn her in, though this time the sickness she’s assumed overcomes her and she’s captured. While in prison awaiting execution she’s approached by a man called Kerrick who breaks her out so she can heal his “friend”.

Unfortunately this friend is hundreds of miles away and with a bounty on her head the journey is dangerous even with Kerrick’s men accompanying them. When Avry is informed of who she’s to heal, she refuses because it’s a prince accused of inhumane crimes. Assuming his illness, the plague, would mean certain death for her. Sacrificing her life for a child is one thing, they’re innocent but for a cruel and powerful man -no. Kerrick reacts badly, punishing her until she changes her mind. She’s too stubborn so they try to change her mind in other ways while they travel.

On the journey she gets to know each man, saving her hate for the mysterious Kerrick. They teach her survival and fighting skills so she can defend herself. Along the way they begin to understand more about the plague, it’s link to the sentient network of huge human-eating venus flytrap flowers and the healer’s guild. They also encounter a real madman, Tohon, who can influence and read thoughts and emotions using it to gain more territory and power. His experiments are nightmarish and genocidal. Politics and intrigue ensue. There are many fighting for power in the game of thrones kings in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.

The hundreds of miles Avry & co travel, and on foot, makes my feet ache in sympathy. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and Avry’s journey spanning about 6 months. I loved the high level of detail involved and the intricacies of the characters’ magical abilities. I laughed at the Men in Black moment when Avry shouts “Eat me!” to the mutant plant. In fact, I did a lot of laughing. Avry and her merry men grow to be a tight-knit family who jump at the chance to tease, compete and help each other. I was sad when a character died but I have a feeling we’ll see them again though I’m worried about how they’ll be changed by the experience. I wish I had a Papa Bear and friends like these who’d die for me if need be, and vice versa.

Kerrick and Avry’s relationship develops and evolves slowly as he learns how to handle his emotions. His desperate 2-year search for a healer and Avry’s stubborn refusal turns him into an unlikeable man but with the persuasion of his men he pushes back his anger and gets to know Avry and comes to understand what makes her tick. He shares his skills with her and they come to find they can share and enhance each others magic, something they never thought possible. I enjoyed their slow-burning combustible chemistry, Kerrick’s jealousy and finally his realisation that not every woman is like his ex Jael.

And can I just say I love these covers! It’s rare when I want both. One shows pure grit, determination and “power” (LEFT). The other, the delicate yet beautiful effect a “touch” can have (RIGHT).

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I definitely look forward to the next installment of this series. Bring it on!

***Thank you to Harlequin for the ARC supplied via NetGalley for an honest review.***

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Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Release Date: 4 January 2011
Read Date: 13 November 2011
Rating:

The best YA angel book I’ve read. Fully-fledged characters with no self-respect issues and solid, healthy relationships. No insta-love here, and no plot holes plus, there’s a truly mysterious mystery…but I won’t be reading the sequel.

Clara is one quarter angel who has just received her Purpose, the one thing she was born to do as an angel. Her vision of her Purpose implies she will be rescuing a boy from a forest fire. Small details show her he is somewhere in Wyoming so the whole family moves from California so she can fulfil her destiny. She finds the boy, Christian, is the most popular guy in school with a possessive girlfriend. Clara studies him to the point of obsession in order to understand the where, when and why she is to save him. She comes to believe she has quasi-romantic feelings for him until he manages to completely embarrass her at the school dance and sees Tucker, Clara’s best friend’s twin brother, step in to save the day.

Previously Tucker had acted like a child, calling Clara “Carrots” due to the shade of her dyed hair and picking on her. It isn’t until a school break when all her friends, including Christian and her mother, leave town and she’s alone on her 17th birthday when Wendy sends Tucker to be her present. He takes her on a nature tour over a number of days, always setting up another appointment to spend the day together. It’s during this time they grow closer. Unfortunately, when they first kiss, her angel powers activate and his love turns to fear…I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. It’s so well written I was right there experiencing the wilderness with them, wishing I could be doing the same activities. I was pleased to see Tucker and Clara gradually fall for each other. Tucker was a true gentleman cowboy with an easy smile and a loveable character. I was disappointed in Clara’s mother’s reaction though. Any mother would be happy for her daughter to be dating someone like him. And it’s not like it was against the rules to date a human. All work and no play…

Clara’s mother is a half-angel with secrets. She holds so much back to the point of putting her children in danger but as a mother she’s loving and caring and fully involved in their lives, always knowing how and what they’re doing. I do wonder what her Purpose is/was and whether it has something to do with her children. On the other hand, Clara has a long-distance, almost non-existent relationship with her human father who sends guilt presents.

Jeffrey, Clara’s younger brother, is practically an open book at first, struggling to balance his need to compete in sports, wanting to be the best but also needing to hold back to ensure he’s not accused of cheating. He feels like a fraud. At some point I believe he receives his Purpose but tells no one, he becomes pensive and broody. I’m assuming his Purpose isn’t a particularly “good” deed.

I liked these angels and the concept of White Wings (the good) and Black Wings (the bad, who don’t fulfil their Purpose and are unable to love). However, I found it strange there were so many angels in one small town, albeit a tourist one. Angela came across as not just intense but I kept expecting her to turn on Clara because she’s so enthusiastically helpful when it came to anything angel-related.

My only problem I have with this book is the serious implication that the reason Clara must save Christian is because they are meant to be together, romantically-speaking. I abhor love triangles. I hate them, I do. In this case, it really makes me mad because the love Clara has for Tucker, and vice-versa, is genuine. I fell for Tucker right along with Clara. Why must Hand go the route of so many other authors and implement a love triangle? It feels like a huge insult to have these characters form a strong relationship we rarely see in YA paranormals and then basically say “Nope, he’s not for you. This one is.” For a moment there I really thought “Yay! We have an honest to god healthy teen relationship.” And now, I’m pretty sure that will be ruined in a sequel, for a character I never cared about. I don’t want to see this happen so I doubt I’ll be continuing with this series.

ETA: I will, however, be interested in watching the TV show of the same name based on this book, announced in October.

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Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story’s searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.

Blood Red Road (Dustlands #1) by Moira Young

Release Date: 2 June 2011
Read Date: 17 October 2011
Rating:

A post-apocalyptic western with a touch of sci-fi and the paranormal. No speech marks and a writing style that does not include good spelling, punctuation or grammar. You might be enticed by the former and horrified by the latter but it’s okay, seriously, don’t be put off by it. I didn’t notice it after the first few pages.

In case, I’m losing you and you’re thinking this isn’t for you, it has:

~ Cage-fighting

~ Giant killer worms

~ Strong female characters (Feminists, you will love them)

~ A male love interest with balls, not just empty sacks.

Saba’s voice and personality are unique. She’s a strong woman with flaws. Real flaws. But she’s also extremely loyal and vulnerable. After horsemen attack her family and kidnap her twin brother Lugh 18-year-old Saba cares about nothing and no one but getting him back. She pushes everyone away. She doesn’t have time to make friends or allies – they’re only means to an end. Finding Lugh is everything. Nothing else matters. Or does it?

Enter Jack.

I was worried about Jack. At first, I thought he was going to be the typical weak YA hero bringing lovey-dovey romance to the book which would’ve been inappropriate but I needn’t have worried. Jack oozes charm and provides light-hearted banter but there are moments when you see his deeper side. He confronts Saba with the truth about herself, forces her to face it, and it hurts. It hurts a lot. He says her 9-year-old sister Emmi would be better off with him than Saba because she cares so little for her and her feelings.

Saba’s never been able to forgive Emmi for killing their mother during childbirth and as a result breaking their father’s heart and robbing him of his sanity. Many times she’s tried to leave Emmi behind with someone she trusts to keep her safe, like she promised her father and brother, during the immensely dangerous journey over wasteland and through barbaric towns but Emmi knows Saba will never return so she always catches up to her. She endures Saba’s mean streak, she stubbornly wants to help find Lugh but she suffers for it. And that’s when Saba starts to realise how badly she’s treated Emmi, when she’s forced to watch someone beat her, unable to protect her, when Jack shows Saba how to patiently interact with Emmi without constantly berating her. Before, Saba only had a twin brother and now she finally has a little sister. It’s heart-warming. I loved it.

Saba gains friends in the Free Hawks, a group of female bandits but she won’t accept their friendship and loyalty. If someone’s going to risk their life, it’s going to be her and her alone. It’s her mission, no one else’s. Even Jack, who you can tell is desperate to get close to Saba is pushed away, often physically. He’s a brave man, chasing a dangerous woman. Saba won’t allow herself feelings for anyone because she’s afraid it will make her weak and distract her from finding Lugh.

Apart from the expert characterisation and development, the writing itself is exemplary. It’s emotive and though some might say it’s sparse on description you still feel the burning hot sun on your skin and know the loneliness of the deadly unending desert. You fear for Saba’s safety, knowing she’s grown up in isolation, and you’re just waiting for something terrible to befall her. It’s intense reading to begin with, building up to something, you just know it but I never found the explosions I was looking forward to; of passion, of realisation, of relief. It didn’t quite happen for me. I think more could’ve been made of the occasions when lives were in danger and of the grief when they were lost, like it was in the beginning.

And the end left me wanting. Everyone went their separate ways. The characters may have grown but I thought they’d learned that being together as one group meant they were stronger as a whole so I expected them to remain together at least until the fallout of recent events blew over.

As for the plot, saving Lugh involved a deadly superstitious ritual by an insane power-hungry king who rules by doping his police force (the Tonton) with a drug called Chaal, grown by slaves who are also under its influence, and sold to the general public. In small amounts it gets you high –slow and calm, in higher doses it makes you feral, rabid, blood-thirsty.

I didn’t envision the book taking the turns that it did. There were too many convenient coincidences and the need to defeat a crazy dictator, predictable. At times all this felt ludicrous but I tried to keep in mind that there is no “society” now. No infrastructure to speak of. No law and order. It was every man for himself. It was dog eat dog. The survival of the fittest. Any man could build an empire and call himself a king. We’ve regressed back to the times of the Wild West, perhaps even before then. The height of technology is the bow and arrows. Anything more advanced is regarded as “Wrecker tech”. The Wreckers, I’m assuming, is us now. I’m presuming something wiped out much of the world’s population and people left the cities for the country in order survive on the land. I’m got the feeling that this is set in either Australia or the US because of the skyscraper graveyards and the vast deserts.

The paranormal elements are mysterious. You’re not quite sure if they’re real or silly superstition, for instance when Saba’s father reading the future in the stars, or the Heartstone that remains cold until you meet your heart’s desire, when it burns hot. The giant killer worms are mutant creatures evolved from the dumping of illegal chemicals into a mountain lake back in Wrecker times, are mucho scary.

Despite my gripes with this book, I do think it’s worth reading. If you liked Katniss’s strength and survival instinct in The Hunger Games, enjoy the depiction of REAL men and characters that experience tough times and grow from them, then this is for you.

3.5 stars.

ETA: I’ve just seen “Tremors“. Giant killer worms, people, giant killer worms! They will get you in the end. I see where Young got her inspiration.

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Review: Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night . . .

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone’s beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. You’d think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave . . .

 

 

Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten #4) by Sharon Ashwood

Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

Read Date: 20 Jun 2011

Rating:

I have always enjoyed Sharon Ashwood’s Dark Forgotten series. Frostbound was no exception. I think she does a great job of blending UF and PNR. Like a PNURF, paranormal urban romantic fantasy.

This book focuses on one of my favorite characters so far in the series, Lore, a hellhound who managed to escape from the the Castle. He’s acting sheriff during a time when supes are on edge. Why? Because the first supe election is only a month or so away. Supernaturals have only been out of the closet for a short time and the humans are still adjusting.

Talia, a newly turned vampire/former hunter, has been running from her abusive sire and is staying with her look-a-like cousin. When her cousin is murdered Lore investigates, Talia freaks and the who-done-it begins.

While I thought I’d be more drawn to Talia, seeing as she was turned against her will, grew up killing “monsters” and now is having to adjust to being that which she’s always hated … I was only partially interested. I was more interested in Lore, Hellhound Alpha. I did feel like they were a good fit though.

Definitely continuing on with the series.

Series Order:

Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten, #1) Scorched (The Dark Forgotten, #2) Unchained (The Dark Forgotten, #3) Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten, #4)
EXTRAS offered on the author’s website include a book video & excerpt for Frostbound, including excerpts for the previous books as well.  Frostbound was Nominated for Romance Reviews Today Best Book of the Year 2011.

Review: The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews

It’s bad enough to be sexually frustrated. But as a medium, it means until Lucy Cartwright gets some, she’s doomed. Oh no, not to death. Worse. To nightly visitations by recently deceased, wanna-be Cassanovas without the bodies to back it up. Then a living, breathing fantasy arrives on her doorstep, and Lucy thinks her dry spell is at an end. Much as he would like to be Lucy’s personal gigolo, PI Jake Cox has a job to do. He’s been sent to prevent her from getting laid until a particular horny phanto–and key witness in his mob investigation–pays her a visit. The real challenge? Keeping his own hands off Lucy long enough to get the job done. Or the lonely, geeky ghost of a murdered mob accountant could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe…

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants #1) by Vivi Andrews

Release Date: 17 Feb 2009
Read Date: 23 Jun 2011
Rating:

The title of this one is almost as long as the story, but this little book is packed with laughs. Lucy is the Ghost Shrink, or so she considers herself. She “helped the deceased work through their issues and move on to the next plane. The white light. Whatever.”

Her boss just happens to be Karma, “pure sex. Walking, talking sensuality.” Lucy classifies herself as the girl next door and she’s having a bit of dry spell in the sex department. To top off that bitter piece of cake, her sexual drought seems to attract the ghosts of horny businessmen. The first one we meet, the Larrinator was a riot in his ghostly and ghastly attempts to seduce Lucy.

Karma advises her to change the energy she puts out into the world, if she wants to change the type of ghosts that pop in. She can’t believe her luck when “Jake Cox walked through her door that afternoon like a walking, talking gift from Cupid.” When he tells her that Karma sent him, she’s a bit mortified, and more than a bit Thank.You.God. She’s convinced her boss has sent (the Accidental) Gigolo to help her “change her energy”.

Jake’s a PI and he needs to talk to the Poltergeist Accountant who should be arriving at Lucy’s very soon. There have been a series of murders and he’s investigating them. Who better to help him that the girl that talks to dead people.

I could go on and on, but really, at this point I’ve already told you too much. The story is short, so take your time reading it. I promise you’ll be drawn to these adorable, sexy, funny characters just like I was. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Karmic Consultants Series:

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants, #1) The Ghost Exterminator (Karmic Consultants, #2) The Sexorcist (Karmic Consultants, #3) The Naked Detective (Karmic Consultants #4) A Cop and a Feel

Plus an eFreebie, Love Potion #9, short story offered by the author HERE.

A Valentine’s Day Free Read | A Karmic Consultants Short Story

It’ll take a helluva love potion to make Lara – practicing witch, potion
expert and Valentine Scrooge – fall head over heels. Luckily, bar-owner Connor mixes a mean Cupid Cocktail…

Review: Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan

Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires who feed off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman must find her place within that world, before she loses everything…

It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance…

Shadowflame (Shadow World #2) by Dianne Sylvan

Release Date: 26 July 2011
Read: 16 Sept 2011
Rating:

Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. Miranda’s ability and what she experienced (in QoS) could have completely wrecked her. Instead, she overcame her fears, learned to control the powers that had her believing she was insane, and found a man who to care for her while giving her the space she needed to heal. As it happened, that man was her Signet-chosen Mate. The darkness of the Shadow World, Miranda’s new world, doesn’t end there.

”Blood, chocolate, and a hot shower.” That’s how I felt after this roller-coaster ride. Well, okay, minus the blood. 😉

Shadowflame picks up three months after Queen of Shadows. Miranda is David’s mate and the ninth Queen of the Southern United States. She’s venturing out at night to make her presence known. David tries to reassure her by saying, ”Right now you’re being tested in the eyes of our kind. They want to see how you handle yourself, how tough you are. The longer we stay in power, the fewer fools will try to take us down.” She’s also learning how to deal Signet politics and the “Magnificent Bastard Parade” of Primes as they come to Austin to offer their congratulations and pay their respects to the new couple.

Miranda … well, she wasn’t the type of woman to keep her mouth shut when angry. She spoke her mind, was smart and observant, and David knew that the very qualities he loved about her were going to get them in trouble if she didn’t learn quickly that these old, hidebound men of privilege were not all going to like the fact that David treated her as an equal. During the MB Parade, she’s able to learn from him. Watching his demeanor around the other Primes and learning how, no matter what, he sticks to his beliefs when it comes to what’s best for the vampire society as a whole.

When Prime James Hart of the Northeast visits, things get ugly. Seems this Prime likes to travel with a harem of girls. Wouldn’t be a big deal except these girls aren’t with him of their own free will. Hart is a sick bastard and Miranda has been told she cannot interfere without having it turn into a declaration of war. But, when one of Hart’s “girls” finds the strength to go to the Queen, well, that’s something else entirely.

While out one night, Miranda rushes to the rescue of a human woman. There she meets Prime Deven O’Donnell of the West and its adjacent territories.

Shortly after, the pair learn that Miranda’s body guard, Jake, is missing … well, his body is missing, but Faith and her team have found his hand. Leaving a hand behind is the trademark of the Red Shadow, a secret group of vampire assassins. The couple quickly realizes the group is targeting them. But, why?

Miranda’s singing career continues to prosper. Her best friend, Kat is her much-needed sounding board, allowing her a safe haven where she can vent about the dramas of Signet life. Kat’s life is about to take a change.

Over the last three months, it’s clear these two have truly bonded. Miranda is well and truly in love. He alone could touch her. In all of eternity, all the world, there would never be another man – she didn’t even feed on them. Her time in hell had made sure of it, and the amulet around her neck sealed it. He alone … he alone… Forever. Will this fated mated pair manage to survive the “powerful force from David’s past”? Will he “{leave} a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship”? More importantly, will they be able to survive the assassin targeting them and those they hold dear?

The storyline about the Red Shadow was very interesting. The “Wizard” (of Oz – behind the curtain) was a surprise. So was the last line of the book. Definitely piqued my interest further.

And now, onto what reviewers have termed “The Event”…

**spoilers removed**

With that, I come back to my original thought … Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. So, who knows what to expect. Either way, I am looking forward to reading it.

This is the 2nd book in the series. This series should be read in order.

Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1) Shadowflame (Shadow World, #2) Shadow's Fall (Shadow World, #3)

This review has quite a few spoilers. For this blog review post, I have removed those spoilers. If you wish to read my full review, please refer to my Goodreads review HERE.

Review: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

One of the hottest new voices in paranormal romance, Shelly Laurenston knows how to do it all, delivering tales that are wickedly funny, action-packed, and scorch-your-fingers sexy. With The Mane Event, she proves just how delicious love can be once you unleash your inner beast…

Christmas Pride

How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That’s what runs through NYPD cop Desiree “Dez” MacDermot’s mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn’t just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes–as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn’t even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It’s more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her…and makes her want more. Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her–in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they’d always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel…

Shaw’s Tail

Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He’s been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn’t think he’d survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go. Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl–even one who runs with a Pack–can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again…

The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Release Date: 1 Oct 2007
Read: 27 Aug 2011

Rating:


Shelly Laurenston’s writing cracks me up! I laughed my way through her Pack series and, after reading Here Kitty, Kitty! I couldn’t wait to start her Pride series. Book 1 did not disappoint. In fact, it was smarter and better written.

The Mane Event gives us two stories. Christmas Pride introduces us to BFFs who are reunited after twenty years. Mace Llewellyn is a Pride male returning home from the Navy. He’s got a mission … “He needed to find a woman. Not any woman, but the woman who had haunted his dreams and fantasies for longer than he could remember.” This woman is Desiree “Dez” MacDermot. When they were 14-years old she “left him” and he’s never forgotten her. She hasn’t forgotten him either. Dez is a human, a former Marine, now Cop, who is investigating the murder of a shifter. Dez doesn’t know the world of shifters exist – yet. Mace served with Smitty, a wolf from the Smith Pack of Tennessee. He and Smitty are a hoot. So is Smitty’s little sister, Sissy Mae. They poke fun at Mace (well, for many reasons, but mostly) because wolves mate for life, not cats. He doesn’t care one bit! He knows Dez is his mate and now, he just has to convince her of that.

Throw in the chaos of holiday family gatherings and you have a LOL, fun, hot story!

Rating:

I wish there had been more to this story. I wasn’t ready to stop reading about this crazy bunch of wolves and cats. But, I enjoyed the second story almost as much as the first. So, I won’t complain too much.

Shaw’s Tail picks up with Brendon Shaw, wealthy hotel owner, lion shifter and Pride male, where his story left off in Christmas Pride. He’s been beaten up and Ronnie Lee Reed, a She-wolf in the Smith Pack of Tennessee and Sissy Mae’s BFF, is watching over him while he’s hospitalized. Ronnie Lee just couldn’t leave the big cat all alone, pack (having someone at your back) is important to her and no one else was there for him. When Shaw wakes up, in the hospital, he’s “sick with fever”. This fever causes him to shift multiple times, act without thinking and more than a tad bit horny. He may not be 100% aware of what’s what, but he and his cat know, he wants Ronnie. Only problem, Ronnie’s a love-um-&-leave-um kinda gal, always has been. She’s all for a healthy romp in the sack, but long-term, no way. He’s dead-set on convincing her they belong together. The secondary plot involves Shaw’s continued hunt for his baby brother.

Rating:

If you are a fan of humorous PNR, Shelly’s books are for you! When I say humorous, I mean LOL-LMAO funny! Just take a look at some of the quotes throughout this one that had me LOL. The books are also full of hot, shifter sex. What’s stoppin’ ya?

I look forward to continuing the series!

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ If You Can’t Stand the Heat …

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Hidden Embers (Dragon’s Heat #2) by Tessa Adams

Deep in the New Mexico desert there is a secret race on the brink of extinction—the pure-blood shapeshifters of the Dragonstar clan. And they have one last, desperate hope for survival…

Quinn Maguire is a powerful Dragonstar healer at a tragic loss, unable to cure the insidious disease killing off his people. Yet even in such dire circumstances the conservative Quinn is secretly disapproving of the alternative: Dr. Jasmine Kane, enlisted by the head of the Dragonstar clan to help abort the virus. She is a wild card. She is an outsider. She is human.

Decked out in black leather and a tough attitude, Jasmine clashes with Quinn in more ways than one. And when destiny chooses her for his Mate, he doesn’t know whether to rejoice or rebel. Because while Jasmine makes him burn hotter than any woman—dragon or human—ever has, their differences make a relationship impossible.

But when a rival infiltrates the clan and attacks Jasmine, Quinn becomes desperate. Jasmine is now the first human to be infected with the disease—and Quinn must do everything he can to find a cure, and save the woman he has grown to love.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: He was tired. {Quinn}
Closing Line: It was more than enough. {Quinn}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

Quinn Maguire, a 471-year old dragon, is the Dragonstar clan’s healer. He has been struggling to find a cure for the mysterious illness that has been killing his family and friends. Dylan, the clan leader, makes another bold move by allowing his mate, Phoebe to bring in her friend and hematologist to help. Jasmine (Jazz), on her way to the clan’s residence in New Mexico, has a tire blow-out and meets a sexy stranger in a bar. Jazz has no idea that the handsome stranger is Quinn. Thinking of their magical night as a one-night stand, she’s surprised to find, once she arrives at the clan residence, he’s the doctor she’s supposed to be helping. Their relationship is bumpy for much of the book. Jazz has had a rough past and refuses to let a man control her. Quinn does his best to deal with her ups and downs and his attraction to her, all while working day and night to save his people.

Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations” ~ Alice

Tessa Adams is not a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

This series is super hot. It’s classified as erotic romance and rightly so. The thermostat is set to high from the start and only continues to get hotter as the story progresses. So, if you can’t stand the heat, this is not the series for you. If you like your dragons extra spicy with a side of saucy, this is absolutely the series for you. The Dragonstar clan’s plight is heartbreaking. Their fight to save their people balances out the highly charged sex nicely. This series quickly became one of my favorite PNR reads. I look forward to reading Forbidden Embers, which tells Logan’s story, when it is released in Oct 2011.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves” ~ The Dutchess

Reaching a hand out, she tangled her fingers in Quinn’s shaggy black hair, savoring its silky softness as the strands wound themselves around her fingers. His eyes darkened to the lush, verdant green of the rain forest at twilight, and his mouth – that sensuous mouth with its full, kissable lower lip – parted on a harsh, indrawn breath.


“We are all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for the intense roller coaster of emotions it evoked in me.




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading!


Review: “Alien Mate” by Eve Langlais

Alien MateAlien Mate (Alien Mate #1) by Eve Langlais

What would you do if an alien materialized in your living room and told you he was your leader? Plump Diana is ironing her underwear when the hottest blue babe in all of the galaxy appears in her living room. Did she forget to mention he was naked? Abducted, decontaminated, and dressed like a harem girl, she’s been chosen to become his mate. Kor asked his ancestors to find him a biddable, docile mate. Instead they found him Diana–a curvy, argumentative earthling who sets his pulse pounding and his loins on fire. He might be an alien who doesn’t understand the meaning of love, but he sure knows what he feels is more than lust.


Details:
Kindle Edition
Published June 14th 2010 by Amira Press
ASIN#: B003S3S062


My rating:

Read: 07 July 2011

Raise your hand if you iron your underwear? No one? Diana does. She’s a little plumper than your average gal so her undies contain little more fabric to actually wrinkle. Anyway, one day she’s ironing away when this suddenly appears in her living room:


It’s that bloke off Watchmen , a.k.a. a naked blue man with a huge, er…

His name is Kor’iander. Coriander? No, Kor’iander, or Kor for short. So Coriander turns to Diana in all his blue naked glory and demands her submissiveness, claiming she is his mate and he her “leader”, come to collect her and return to his home planet, where incidentally everyone is blue.

I know, I know. Sounds weird and a little silly. I thought so too at first but it’s a fun and honest story. It isn’t pretending to be a grand, deep and meaningful saga. Coriander was adorable. He completely accepted and loved Diana’s curves partly because the sight “A too-slim female is the sign of a poor provider”, to Di’s astonishment. Diana’s refusal to immediately obey and bow to his wishes to mate with him left the poor guy flummoxed. He’d requested a docile partner to bond with when he put in his application to the Oracle and the ancestral spirits, and they’re supposed to give you what you want, not what you need, which is what happened here. He was a gentleman, he never forced himself on her. Instead he listened to what she wanted and endeavoured to give it to her. Courtship was, forgive me, an alien concept to him but he gave in to her wishes and made his best effort to comply.

Di is a heroine I can appreciate. After reading many a clueless, too stupid to live lead, this girl, she made a HUGE mistake -a slip of the tongue but immediately afterwards without any prompting she knew she’d done wrong and wished to take it back. She freely admits she deserved a Darwin Award for her recklessness. Much better than blindly stumbling about with no regard for one’s own safety and being too dumb to realise it.

However, it wasn’t until just before they arrive at Kor’s homeworld that this book started to press my “things I really like” buttons. The history of his race, the death of the women and the resulting sterility leading them to seek and take women from other races, mostly Earthlings because they both descend from the same humanoid race but have evolved slightly differently in accordance with their planet’s environments. It’s actually the suns that turn Kor’s people blue, as Di discovers other Earthlings also have a blueish hue to their skins.

The scarceness of women on the planet mean that they’re fiercely protected and must abide by certain rules in order to remain safe. Most of these women are from other worlds and are taken, stolen if you will, without their consent. This issue is addressed here. Not all of the women are happy, not all adjust to their new situation or accept their new “husbands” but these women were picked because they had few ties, no boyfriends/girlfriends or real friends and family to speak of, hopefully making it easier for them to embrace a new life where they’ll be both loved and cherished.

I’m jealous of the technology mentioned. Housework would be history and I like the idea of having a laugh with my very own Holly (from the brilliant 80s TV show Red Dwarf). In this case his name is Alphie, the talking computer with a sarcastic attitude.

I’m not an alienist. If a blue god appeared before me, he wouldn’t have to say a word. I’d jump into his arms and say “When are we leaving?”


Favourite Quotes
I’d really like to add some but there are too many to choose from.

View all my reviews

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ They Call Me Nasty

MM-DBR


Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved Trilogy #1) by Cate Tiernan

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance, the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy.




“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “Last night my whole world came tumbling down.” {Nastasya}
Closing Line: “I was done running.” {Nastasya}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter


Immortal Beloved drew me in right off the bat. Clubbin’ immortals that take their “we can do anything” mentality to the extreme, who wouldn’t be interested in reading more? Nastasya (Nasty, as she known to her friends) can’t believe her eyes as she watches her immortal mates take things a bit too far. She’s shocked and doesn’t want to be a part of their games any longer. She’s about to hit bottom and realizes she needs to get away. But, where to go??

She packs her bag and heads off to a place she remembers someone telling her was a sanctuary for immortals called River’s Edge. From there it’s like an immortal rehab story, but one that you enjoy reading, not like “Celebrity Rehab” where you gape and shake your head at their foolishness. Well, not too much like it anyway.


Rating:



“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Cate Tiernan was a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

Only complaint was Nasty’s tendency to become Wendy Winer. But, after living for more than 400 years, I cut her a bit of slack. I enjoyed the interesting take on immortals and the older YA feel of the story.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

“The good thing about being immortal is that you can’t literally drink yourself to death, as frat boys can. The bad thing about being immortal is that you can’t literally drink yourself to death, so you wake up the next morning, or maybe the day after that, and you feel everything you would be spared feeling if only you’d been lucky enough to die.”
{Nastasya}
“Being good is something that you must choose over and over again, every day, throughout the day, for the rest of one’s life … A day is made of a thousand decisions, most small, some huge. With each decision, you have the chance to work toward light or sink toward darkness.”
{Asher}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat rating for introducing me to a new author and YA series that didn’t suck. I am looking forward to the second book, Darkness Falls due out the 5th of September 2011.




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading!