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Friday, April 30, 2010

When You Least Expect It by Sandi Hampton



When You Least Expect It by Sandi Hampton
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short (45 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Marissa Coulter wants answers and will travel across the wilderness to find them. But when she arrives in Dry Gulch, ready to confront the father who abandoned her, she’s met by disturbingly handsome lawman Quinn Brady who has accusations of his own. When her father dies and leaves his ranch to Quinn, Marissa must decide if she can love the man who stole her birthright.

Nobody should die alone. That’s why Sheriff Quinn Brady sent for Marissa when her father lay dying. When he inherits Coulter’s ranch, Quinn must convince Marissa that her father only wanted to protect her from cut throats who’d steal it from her. Quinn doesn’t want the ranch—he wants her.
As the title says, sometimes the best things happen When You Least Expect It. Believe me, the title doesn’t lie.

Before this book, I didn’t have Sandi Hampton’s books on my TBR list, but I do now. Historicals aren’t my favorite genre, but this one really hit the mark. The characters are engaging and strong. Though a short story, the plot has plenty of twists and turns that kept me involved. The writing is tight and progresses quickly, with enough heat to pack a punch.

Marissa is an interesting character. She’s had a hard life in that she’s not always been the apple of her father’s eye—not how she wanted. I found that aspect of her relatable. Nothing totally turns out the way we expect, but we have to accept what we get. There were times when she was tad weepy and pity-filled, but as the story progressed, she grew into a woman I respected.

Quinn, on the other hand, grabbed me from the first moment I met him. He’s easy on the eyes and dangerous to the heart, which is just how I like my heroes—not to mention he’s honest. Should be a dream? I loved that he had her best interests at heart, even when he wasn’t forthright about it. And when they had their private moments, whew! The pages sizzled.

If you want a saucy story with a dose of redemption and a lot of heart, then you need to read When You Least Expect It, because you won’t want to miss it.

Specs Appeal by Beverly Breton



Specs Appeal by Beverly Breton
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (41 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Living in one place your whole life has advantages, but everyone knowing your business isn’t one of them. Liz Matthews is no longer the shy tenth grader nicknamed Specs. Her eleven-year relationship with her high school sweetheart is definitely over. And she is never dating anyone from Everett, Indiana, again.

Then she walks into the optician’s shop and discovers the new owner is the one boy from high school she never forgot. No way David Sherwood’s decision to move back to Everett after all these years has anything to do with her. Is there? Liz is too raw to put her love life up for town fodder again, and too attracted not to…

David Sherwood is not about to admit he’s spent years pining over someone else’s girl. Can his silly jokes still make her laugh? Or is he too late for a chance with Liz Matthews.

Sometimes the past isn’t there to haunt you—it’s there to give you the chance you never thought you deserved. Which is why you have to read Specs Appeal.

This is my first story by Ms. Breton, but it won’t be my last. The sweet aspects of the book kept me involved throughout. I fell under the spell of the characters immediately and wanted to know more about them. I realize this is a short story, but I still wanted more of their background and to see where things went after the ending.

Liz is as interesting as the bevy of calamities happening around her. She’s more than a little self-conscious which at first put me off, but I liked how she grew through the story. I wanted to see more, but the glimpses I got made me really enjoy the way the story played out.

My favorite character in the story was David. I really wanted to see more of his side of the story. I liked the idea of him coming home, potentially to get into a relationship with her. I love a guy with good intentions and his were the best. It didn’t hurt anything that he’s handsome and good with his hands — especially when seen through her eyes.

If you want a sweet little romance that will have you begging for more, then you need to read Specs Appeal.

Blood Crystal by Jannifer Hoffman



Blood Crystal by Jannifer Hoffman
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: Full (241 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

When a priceless crystal is stolen and five international agents killed, rookie agent Dani Lovato is sent undercover into the clandestine world of precious gems to retrieve it.

Stephen Douglas returns from Afghanistan, a wounded war hero, to find the life he left behind in shambles. Depressed and hitting rock bottom in an LA jail, he’s offered the chance to be released with a clear record. All he has to do is show up at a warehouse and pick up the sheriff’s daughter who is stranded and in harm’s way. What sounds like a simple venture turns into an escapade that becomes the ride of his life.

Thrown together, not trusting each other, Stephen and Dani embark on a cross-country mission to return the Blood Crystal from bowels of LA to its rightful owner in Washington D.C. Along the way, they discover there is a thin line between the good guys and the bad guys, and staying alive becomes more challenging with each perilous turn. Sparks fly between them in more ways than one as Dani accidently learns the startling secret of the Blood Crystal.

Open to page one and hold on tight because Blood Crystal takes the reader on an adrenaline-pumping race across the country from California to Washington D. C. on a thrill ride with two fascinating characters and a ‘bunch’ of bad guys that just don’t give up.

When Dani Lovato lands in Stephen Douglas’ car, each of their lives take a turn, and the sexual vibes they create makes Blood Crystal hum with life. However, having been betrayed by men she trusted, Dani is selective in what she tells Stephen about her true mission, even when he helps her escape a dire situation. Her vitality, intelligence, and feisty ways shine as she wiggles her way into Stephen’s life.

Stephen Douglas lives under a dark cloud since his return from Afghanistan. Wounded and betrayed by his wife, he sought relief from his misery with alcohol and other self-defeating pursuits to no avail. In his efforts to work his way out of a jam, he finds himself in a life-threatening situation. But it also gives him a reason to get his life back on track. Dani disperses the dark cloud and brings sunshine to his life. His love for adventure and the sexy lady with a gun offers him a challenge he needs.

Jannifer Hoffman creates heart-pounding escapes and love scenes that thrill. With all the tension, she still manages to insert easy-going humor that makes the characters seem real. Her secondary characters are indispensible to the plot, as they impact Dani and Stephen’s lives in many ways, but never do they detract from the incredible love Dani and Stephen share.

The blood crystal is like love. It can hurt if not handled with care. However, it can heal when applied properly. Love like the blood crystal is a treasure. Blood Crystal excites and sparkles with the joy of life and love, and I have to recommend it.

Lessons Of The Heart by Helen Hardt



Lessons Of The Heart by Helen Hardt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short (114 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Magnolia

Spinster schoolteacher Ruth Blackburn has accepted her fate. She's not meant for love, especially not with ill-mannered—though excruciatingly handsome—Garth Mackenzie, the widowed father of one of her students. She'll just have to ignore the fact that he makes her skin heat.

Garth Mackenzie is used to loss. The Civil War cost him his best friend and his ability to sleep through the night, and illness stole his wife and son. To avoid the pain of losing his daughter, he keeps her at arm's length, much to her teacher's dismay. Ruth Blackburn is independent and opinionated—just what Garth doesn't need. But her vibrant beauty and energy awaken feelings in him he thought long dead.

Can he let go of his past and open up to new lessons of the heart?

I loved this sweet, historical romance. Ms. Hardt did a lovely job bringing her characters to life, and bringing their lives together.

Ruth, a preacher’s daughter and schoolmarm, is taller than most men, but thinks she’s a plain Jane. She’s outspoken, resilient, and determined. And being taller than most men gives her an advantage.

Garth is handsome, though haunted by his past in the Civil War. His wife and young son died, and he’s now trying to raise an eleven-year-old daughter by himself. He has a farm to take care of and no patience for a woman who speaks her mind. The only way he can think of to shut up the schoolmarm is to kiss her. Both of them are surprised to find they like it, and from here the story unfolds.

Stories like this one don’t come along very often. The writing is excellent, the flow is perfect, the characters are likable, loveable, even when there’s the chance these two won’t wind up together. I’ve never read one of Helen Hardt’s books before, but I will be reading more in the future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christmas Of Hope by Keelia Greer



Christmas Of Hope by Keelia Greer
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Full (157 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Linette MacDougal is having a tough time this year--the death of her mother and now the house she grew up in may be taken away. The bright spot in her life is Hope Claus, one of her kindergarten students. When she meets Hope's father, Nick, she begins to believe in the magic of Christmas once more.

Schoolteacher Linnet seems to be living life under a dark cloud. As the holidays approach, she could hardly be more down… until chance brings handsome and surprising Nick Claus into her life. His name should have been a tip-off; and no doubt readers will begin guessing where this is going straightaway. Easy predictability is by no means a hallmark here, however. There are fun twists, and quite suddenly the intervention of the hard-to-predict Fae; and once a magical force starts directly your life, things get far more surprising.

Greer gives us incredibly original descriptions, even for common place things; (Linnet’s Texas drawls slithers like honey on a biscuit.) And the real prize here is tha magic or not, the characters are still fantastically believable and incredibly human – but here suddenly we experience the value of a friendship, the love of the child – its all so much more than it might have been. Linnet is wonderfully human and believable, and best friend Marianne only makes Linnet a yet more sympathetic character.

Backstory is delivered in a rather mechanical way, but slows that pace and alters the aura at only a few brief points; very forgivable. This is really all about holiday magic and love, after all.

For a holiday read every bit as sweet as hot chocolate and marshmallows, do pick up Christmas of Hope. This has a special appeal to those that like a little magic in their life…

Betrayed By The Gods by Cassandra Cade



Betrayed By The Gods by Cassandra Cade
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Genre: Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full (322 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Larkspur

On predulivian earth, the Republic of Amenti flourishes in Utopian splendor. But there is trouble in paradise, and Xandra Varen and Arrosiah Ari find themselves in the middle of prophesied times, torn between love and duty.

As a god reborn on Terra, Arrosiah’s sole mission is to atone for an ancient mistake made by his fellow Quelli, who bestowed two omnipotent crystal skulls upon humankind. Xandra will face death and beyond to defeat a malicious goddess and protect herself and her country at the risk of losing much of what she holds dear.

This is the story of eternal love amidst treachery and self-sacrifice in a place where dreams are a reality and shadows are stolen. In a sacred era when consequences are dire, Xandra and Arrosiah will navigate a sea of ancient lies, and grapple with atomorrow that threatens to separate them at every turn.

Long ago Earth was inhabited by a far reaching advanced civilization run by specific orders pre-ordained, where a pair of star-crossed lovers strain to find their way in the society and to each other but there are obstacles they must overcome because all is not as it seems and love is not enough when you’re Betrayed by the Gods.

Cassandra Cade brings us this mystical world with a unique story line and plot. She brings us our hero Arrosiah Ari and our heroine Xandra Varen who are the bright stars in her novel. Her supporting characters are also interesting and varied some good and some evil incarnate and she knows her characters very well and communicates them very well to her audience.

Her love story was heart breaking and heart wrenching as we follow our hero and heroine on their quest and you will find yourself cheering and crying in equal measure. The love scenes are spicy and sensual but also filled with warmth and love.

While I immensely enjoyed the plot of the story and some of the parts of the story flowed seamlessly and kept my rapt attention, there were some parts that confused and confounded my as to why she got to a certain conclusion or used an unfamiliar term and, while the appendix helped a great deal it didn’t always answer my questions or clear up my confusion. And I have to admit the editing mistakes took away from the book as well. But still I enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to the next episode.

If you are a fan of fantasy and enjoy magical places and interesting characters you will enjoy this read. And enjoy the next in the series Nexus out now.

Ghosts Of Valentines Past by Rie McGaha



Ghosts Of Valentines Past by Rie McGaha
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Recent Historical, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short (25 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That’s Twyla’s philosophy ever since she found a pair of thongs in her fiancĂ©’s car the day before their wedding. Now it’s Valentine’s Day and her roommate is all about the hearts and chocolates, but Twyla isn’t going for it. That is, until a few ghosts drop in to show her the error of her ways.

Ever let that one love get away and wonder what might have been if you’d held on tighter? Or how your life would be if you never got the chance to love again?

You’d better read Ghosts of Valentines Past and find out more.

The concept of this story intrigued me from the beginning. She’s jaded about Valentine’s Day and love because of her past. Three ghosts, a la, Scrooge, show up to change her mind—if it’s possible. Ms. McGaha’s writing captured me from page one. I wanted to know what would happen to Twyla and how she would or wouldn’t change her mind. This is a sweet story full of redemption and reconciliation. I wanted to see more from Shane’s point of view, but this is a short story. There is only so much that can be packed in and Ms. McGaha did a great job of showing me his feelings, even if I wanted more.

My only issue was the caustic attitude of Twyla. I wanted to like her immediately. I mean, who hasn’t had a rough experience with Valentine’s Day and love? It’s pretty easy to identify with her. The thread that her past rumpled her made a lot of impact with me. So many times little issues in our past shape who we become and the plot twists Ms. McGaha employed made the story great. Still, Twyla’s snark turned me off. I know she was hurting and that showed well, but I almost wondered how her roommate put up with her. I loved the intrusion of the ghosts and thought they made the story hilarious and touching.

And the ending? Well, let me just say it was perfect and left me aching for more. Well done.

If you want a sweet little read to remind you how great Valentine’s Day really can be when infused with the power of love, then you need to read Ghosts of Valentines Past.

The Guise Of A Gentleman by Donna Hatch



The Guise Of A Gentleman by Donna Hatch
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (370 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

The Rogue Hearts Series

The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for freedom and adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared accepts one last assignment before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

Light-hearted matchmaking, attempted murder, acts of piracy, and the horrors of Newgate prison make The Guise Of A Gentleman spellbinding.

Widow Elise Berkley, at age twenty-eight, has a son and an estate that she manages well. She likes her life. No longer ‘smothered’ by a husband, she makes decisions and has control of her own life for the first time. She is a lady of grace, courage, and gentleness. She is also intelligent and decisive in her actions. Even though her marriage had been a good one, she’d never known passion—then she met Jared Amesbury.

Jared Amesbury owes his life to Elise’s intrepid use of her shotgun on two men who would have killed him and the boy Jose. As an agent for British Secret Service, Jared leads a double life. His work takes him into elite Society, to the dark dangerous streets, to sea as a pirate, and into the horrors of imprisonment. He excels in his work, but when he meets Elise, he wishes his life could be different. The deep, poignant sadness he’s lived with for so long abates when he is with her.

Ms. Hatch uses secondary characters to reveal much about the mores of polite society and to show the under belly of society. Some of these characters operate in both segments, some to do good deeds and some to do evil.

Donna Hatch weaves the relationship of Elise and Jared with unbreakable threads of caring and incredible love. This thread gleams like gold in a plot full of dark intrigues.

The Guise Of A Gentleman captivates.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cop by Cara Summers



The Cop by Cara Summers
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (230 pages)
Heat: Hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Off-duty detective Nik Angelis is the first on the scene at a wedding gone very, very wrong. The only witness is the caterer, a fiery redhead named J. C. Riley, who's eager to make her statement. So eager, in fact, Nik can't help thinking of other things she could do with her mouth…

Sassy, smart-mouthed J.C. is in serious danger, and she knows it. She needs Nik's protection. But what she wants is his rock-hard body.

Nik aims to be professional, but "Bodyguard with Benefits"? A man can take only so much.

The Cop has a seduction scene that melted me into a puddle. In fact that wasn’t the only time in this book that made me want to swoon – this book is chock full of total satisfaction.

Before I start talking about each of the main characters, I want to say that the overall tone of this book is sunny, positive, upbeat, well balanced with just enough dramatic pepper to spice it up and rev up the heat. It’s the kind of book that could start my day on the right foot. As it was, I read it right before bed, so I had a fun sleep. *wink*

J.C. is the feisty heroine with an interesting reaction to stress. It’s sort of comedic and plays well off the hero, Nik, in a few scenes. She’s full of vim and vigor for life, stubborn and determined and totally in tune with her inner vixen. What I mean by that, and what I found refreshing and endearing, is her willingness to not play games with what her heart and libido are telling her. Nik makes her violins sing and her inner cat purr. She doesn’t fight it and in fact is the one who comes up with the ‘sex buddy’ idea. That whole thread of their relationship had me grinning. What a terrific development. And wait until you get to the scene where she seduces Nik! Talk about great writing – it was so hot and sexy and a treat to read that I had to read it twice.

Nik is one delicious hero. He’s tough, tender, hot to trot and yet very dedicated, serious and effective at his job. I don’t even believe I’m using enough words to do his character justice. I don’t want to sound like a groupie, but I enjoyed the way he was written. I just flat out liked him. I adored the way he spoke of his family and the way he interacted with them. I think it’s a treat to find a man who doesn’t shy away from the woo-woo factor that is in his family line. I found it enhanced my reading enjoyment.

The secondary characters comprised of family and villains, co-workers and friends. All played into the tease of intrigue that is the main conflict throughout this book. Even though this book hints at a continuation of a dangling plot thread because it is the first of three in a series, the romance between J.C. and Nik is completely and satisfactorily wrapped up with a sexy bow.

The Cop is a book that is going straight onto my keeper shelf and my hunt for the other two books in the series starts now. I am totally hooked on Nik and his two brothers and the whole mystery of who-done-it, that I’m stuck in a state of anticipation and wonder. I’m extremely happy with J.C. and Nik’s HEA but I can’t wait to read the rest of this three book series by this very talented and exciting author. The Cop rocked!

Star Raiders by Elysa Hendricks



Star Raiders by Elysa Hendricks
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (290 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A FIERY ENCOUNTER
Like two ill-aligned stars, Shyanne Kedar and Greyson Dane were destined to collide. She was a smuggler’s daughter, and he, an interstellar lawman. Their affair was scorching, dazzling…and ended like a supernova, in a blaze of betrayal.

A LOVE REKINDLED
Ten years later, the flames haven’t cooled. Shyanne’s lush body, the twist of her lips and the fire in her eyes—all radiate the same magnetism that ensnared Greyson before, and now he’s truly her prisoner. But as much as things have changed, they remain exactly the same. Danger threatens. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance. And though his tempting captor doesn’t know it, if Greyson’s plan succeeds, it will save mankind…and lose him the only woman he ever loved. This time, forever.

Star Raiders is a sci-fi fantasy that takes a reader on a twisted roller coaster ride of intrigue, shattered dreams, a romance that gives Karma a headache and an exciting climax with a sweet and satisfying ending.

Shyanne’s dad is a villain. And she’s got a chip on her shoulder about that. Despite it all, she still loves him and that’s clear throughout the book. Her emotions regarding her relationship with her father are varied and complex. In fact, I found Shyanne to be a very complicated character. She’s got a tough outer shell from the experiences that life has thrown her way. Yet inside, she’s the woman everyone remembers her to be. And that’s the intrigue – part of it anyway. What do people remember about their pasts? The mind is a powerful force. Shyanne is capable of unflappable loyalty, prickly anger and passionate about her beliefs. It’s the woman she is that captures completely the man sent to betray her, Greyson.

Greyson is a man who also has passion. Passion for what he believes is right and will do anything to pursue justice. He’s thwarted by the realization that justice should not be nor cannot be blind and he has to face what his decisions in the past have wrought. His character is burdened with knowledge too paradoxical to reveal in this review. His being privy to certain information provides the conflict and impetus for most, if not all his actions throughout the book. Even in space, politics is a pain in the nether regions. The strength of his personality comes through when he doesn’t run or hide when things get sticky, either in his job or his love life. For love does come knocking on his door but he gets a whopping big shock before things settle down. Poor guy -- that situation would have felled a lesser man.

The twists, turns and surprises come from secondary characters that have direct and lasting effects on both Shyanne and Greyson. I sort of figured out one but the other totally blind-sided me. This author sure knows how to throw a reader for an unsuspected loop. I was pretty impressed with the ramifications such a revelation caused. Delighted too. I mean, without such a bizarre twist the happy ending wouldn’t have been so sweet. It was a great idea.

The villain was a demented bad guy. In fact, I’d say he was the ultimate stalker – scary, genius and hiding in plain sight for decades. He was a very creepy character.

Star Raiders is a classic sci-fi romance with all of its fantastic ships, planets and their issues, and unusual beings. The heart of the book is the romance between Shyanne and Greyson. They are thwarted soul mates that even the coldness of space could not separate forever. I found this book to be a fascinating journey and Ms. Hendricks has a knack for surprise twists. It’s well worth reading.

Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery



Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (376 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Welcome to Fool’s Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There’s lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there’s just one tiny problem in Fool’s Gold: the men don’t seem to stick around. Maybe it’s the lure of big-city life, or maybe it’s plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

Charity’s nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer — everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she’s not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. But maybe that’s just what he needs — someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he’s just chasing perfect.

Ever wanted something so bad it hurt? But when you got what you wanted, it wasn’t quite what it was cracked up to be? Sounds like the story of pro cyclist Josh Golden. But what about Charity Jones? Well, nothing in her life is quite what it seems and you need to read Chasing Perfect to get the whole story.

Susan Mallery creates a world for the reader to immerse him or herself in. You feel like you’re a part of Fool’s Gold, California and you don’t want to leave after the last page. The primary characters will warm your heart, but the secondary characters really make this novel memorable. The writing is tight and fast-paced. It’s a great read.

Charity is an interesting heroine because she’s an independent woman. The thing that drove me bonkers about her, though, was her tendency to be verbally positive and think negative. I understand she has trust issues, but I wanted her independence to shine through a bit more. But when she put her mind to something—look out!

Josh is a warm breath of sunshine kind of hero. He’s used to the limelight from cycling, but there are ghosts in his past that make him relatable to the reader. You feel for his struggles, even when you don’t totally understand what’s happening. It doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome and really is the nice guy he proclaims himself to be. I liked that, as the title suggests, he and Charity are chasing something that may or may not exist in real life. It struck a chord with me.

A couple of things really stuck out for me with this story. There were some moments that had me on the edge of my seat and others I felt were a tad predictable. I like a story with variety and this one lacked it just a bit. That being said, I still liked this book and would recommend it to my friends.

If you want a story with a sexy hero and a down-to-earth heroine, then you need to read Chasing Perfect.

Out Of Sight by Stella Cameron



Out of Sight by Stella Cameron
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (394 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Powerful, seductive—and fated to bring pain.

Psychic master talent Sykes Millet can vanish at will, read minds and control others with hypnosis. What Sykes cannot do is escape his destiny—an ancient curse foretelling the misery his dark beauty may bring to everyone he loves.

Poppy Fortune knows all too well the burden of having paranormal talent. The supernatural world has fractured her entire family—now it’s keeping at bay the one man she wants more than life.

Driven by hatred for the Millets, a killing force has attacked New Orleans. The evil Embran race has no conscience and intends to terrorize the city into submission. Sykes and Poppy must set aside old distrust and use their bonded talents to save their families, themselves...and New Orleans.

The exotic-feeling French Quarter of New Orleans teems with life. Easy-going tolerance of eccentricities is the norm, but the encroachment of shape-shifting Embrans threatens that unique society. Scary, horrible things begin to happen. The paranormal families cannot escape. They must meet and beat their long-time foes. Sykes Millet and Poppy Fortunes are caught up in the struggle. (If you read Out of Mind, you know these two are bewitching characters.)

A touch sends a tingle making both Sykes and Poppy’s bodies hum with an edgy sensation bordering on pain that turns to pleasure. The pheromones clog the air around these two at times. Yet, Poppy fears rejection if Sykes knows the truth about what she has done.

Weaving their way through a tangle of family members meddling in their relationship, an assortment of paranormal abilities they possess, and finding the secrets needed to defeat the Embrans is difficult as these things interfere with their personal agendas. All of these things make Out Of Sight exciting, humorous, and scary; but the best part is the love that emerges. The love scenes sizzle and their intensity is breathtaking. WOW!

Gorgeous, dark-haired, blue-eyed Sykes, fearing he is cursed with a 300-year-old curse. He is reluctant to take over the leadership of the family that his Uncle Pascal has handled in his stead for 20 years. He likes his life as a successful sculptor.

Poppy, the little sister of three protective big brothers, has not been encouraged to hone her paranormal skills and feels weak compared to others as a paranormal. The reader gets to share the journey she makes to come into her own and to find the redemption she seeks.

The secondary characters enrich the conflicts, enhance the humor, and create some gruesome scenes. Of course, the little dog, Mario, does his special kind of magic in the Court of Angels that leads the characters on a true treasure hunt.

Stella Cameron keeps the reader totally engaged in the action-packed novel. She entertains and makes the mundane seem far away as she makes scary chills and lovemaking thrills seem real. This was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and would certainly recommend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Into the Dark by Gena Showalter



Into the Dark by Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full(361 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

The Darkest Fire - A Lords of the Underworld prequel
Geryon is the guardian of hell, more monster than man. Kadence is the goddess of Oppression, more angel than woman. Together they will enter the flames to battle a dangerous horde of demon lords -- and discover a passion unlike any other . . .

The Amazon's Curse - A tale of Atlantis
Zane, a fierce vampire warrior, has been enslaved by the Amazons. Nola, a lovely Amazon soldier, has been cursed with invisibility. Now, these two stubborn enemies must overcome the pasts that haunt them and embrace a love that can set them free...

The Darkest Prison - A Lords of the Underworld Tale
Once, Atlas, the Titan god of Strength, was the Greek goddess Nike's slave. Now, he is her master. And soon these sworn rivals destined to destroy each other will be forced to risk everything for a chance at love . . .

The darkest desires are the most dangerous and the most powerful. But you have to be open to the possibilities and willing to seek your heart’s desire. Do you dare or do you retreat? You’ll never know unless you venture Into the Dark.

Gena Showalter writes highly charged stories. This collection is one you won’t want to miss. The scenes are detailed and draw you in immediately. You feel for the characters and want to see them succeed. Even with the unconventional looking heroes, you still find them sexy through the ways she writes them.

There are three stories that make up this collection. But I guarantee, it’s worth every word to read them all.

In The Darkest Fire, we meet Geryon and Kadence. Geryon physically everything a hero isn’t supposed to be; he’s got fur, claws, and hooves. That being said, he’s a great hero because once he sets his mind to working with Kadence, even though he knows they may be doomed, he’s with her heart and soul. What woman doesn’t want to know her man is devoted to her and willing to give his life for her? Kadence is a great heroine. She’s willing to sacrifice herself just to be with him. Sounds edgy? Well it is, but it’s a love affair you won’t want to miss.

In The Amazon’s Curse, Nola, an Amazon, needs to take a mate to breed. There’s only one man she wants for this job, but he’s got his own issues... Zane’s a vampire. While the coupling isn’t conventional, you want to see these two make it work. The emotional scarring between them is enough to keep them separate, but I like how Ms. Showalter brings them together to heal. It’s a really beautiful love story.

The final story is The Darkest Prison. This story is truly complex. The hero and heroine really dislike each other to begin with, but the hate is really a mask for the desire they feel for each other. This story shows that stubbornness and pride can either rip a relationship apart of be the glue to fix it together for good. I liked the back drop of the Olympian/Titan war causing an extra rift between Nike and Atlas. It kept me firmly in my seat and wanting more.

If you want a collection of stories that sizzle with passion, blaze with snappy heroes and heroines, and will make you pant for more, then you need to read Into the Dark.