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Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Book of the Month Poll

Demon Hunt by Christine Ashworth
Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Genre:  Paranormal, Contemporary
Length:  Full (274 Pgs )
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by Poppy

Tribred Gregor Caine decided long ago to deny his blood legacy, so he isn’t thrilled when paired with a full-blooded Fae to hunt the demons threatening to decimate Los Angeles. As they fight side by side, he finds she calls to both his Fae and his demon blood; a call he can’t resist.

Warrior Fae Serra Willows crossed into the Human Plane to help destroy the demons released from the Chaos Plane. Finding and shutting down the portal between worlds is more challenging than she expected...and Gregor and his world more seductive than she had ever imagined.

As the killings escalate, Gregor and Serra realize one of the most deadly demons from the Chaos Plane has marked Serra as his own. To save her, Gregor has to face his greatest fear—losing his humanity to the darkness in his blood. But in a race against time, that darkness could become his greatest strength. And he will kill to claim Serra’s love.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Monkey Jump by Deborah Riley-Magnus

Monkey Jump by Deborah Riley-Magnus
The Twice Baked Vampire Series Book 2
Publisher: ireadiwrite Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (139 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Twice-baked vampire Gabriel Strickland may appear to be coping well with the responsibilities his life after double-death has dealt him, but it's only show. The struggle to earn his ticket through the Pearly Gates takes a toll when he's assigned to perform a Monkey Jump - a program designed to teach newly assigned management the skills required to do their job. To soften the blow, he takes Dori as his assistant. What he wants is peace and serenity to think things through, what he gets is startling temptation and a Soul Eater with his sidekick, Master Witch Neave Brittania Cook. One has a revenge agenda and the other, designs on Gabriel's soul. The Monkey Jump itinerary, scheduled for Phoenix and Seattle, takes a perilous detour to a north Alaskan community of the oldest, most evolved vampires on the planet. Secrets must be kept and Gabriel must protect Dori as well as his own path to paradise. Well, hell, this can't be good.

Being undead and then suddenly less dead but not completely alive would be disconcerting enough for most paranormals. For twice baked vampire, Gabrielle, it’s only the beginning.

He’s met someone to love and now he just has to keep Dori alive while completing some serious OJT called a Monkey Jump.

I have to say, Ms. Riley-Magnus has one crazy vivid imagination. Cold in California laid the foundation and Monkey Jump was the clever follow through. As with book one, the story flows well and the writing is clean. This author knows how to world build and imparts pertinent details to make the events and setting vivid.

When Gabe and Dori end up in a quirky town in Alaska they aren’t alone and they aren’t the only ones with secrets. This is one adventure that shouldn’t be missed.

Book one ended on a cliffhanger that is worked through in book two so I highly recommend reading them in order. If you think you’ve read “the vampire story” and think it’s been overdone, you haven’t read The Twice Baked Vampire series, yet. But you should. Pick up a copy today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Wedding in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand

A Wedding in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (338 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stephantois

He's not so sure about small town life.

She can't imagine living anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple Grove, Ohio (population 597), where everyone has your best interests at heart, even if they can't agree on the best way to meddle. When the townsfolk of Apple Grove need handiwork done, there's no job too small for the Mulcahy sisters: Megan, Caitlin, and Grace.

Specializing in hard work and family loyalty, tomboy Meg Mulcahy has left behind any girlhood reams of romance. Enter newcomer Daniel Eagan, looking to bury his own broken heart and make a new start. He's surprised-and delighted-by the winsome girl with the mighty tool belt who shows up to fix his wiring.

But Dan's got a lot to learn about life in a small town, and when Meg's past collides with her future, it may take all 595 other residents of Apple Grove to keep this romance from short-circuiting.

Two words sum up this book for me and they are:  "fun read". A Wedding in Apple Grove is peppered with not one or two great characters but every single one in this story is true to life and, yes, a few of them are little quirky, too. I really liked the two main characters and was rooting for Meg from the beginning. Daniel is also one I found myself liking a lot and hoping that he has the good sense to know Meg’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

What makes this story really appealing is its small town charm. Only 597 residents, and I couldn't wait to get to know every single one of them. The author does a wonderful job with describing Apple Grove and the businesses and surroundings that make this small Ohio town what it is.

The plotting is fast and I found myself getting back to the book at any opportunity I could. Some of the dialogue made me laugh out loud which is always an added bonus. I hope that C.H Amirand continues writing about Apple Grove because I’ll be looking out for more tales about its delightful residents.

A Wedding in Apple Grove is definitely one you’ll want to put on your fall reading list.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Heartbeats by Susan Rae

heartbeats by Susan Rae
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (206 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Love makes your pulse race, but passion can kill...

murder, passion, suspense…

Dr. Elizabeth Iverson’s career is on track. She’s just landed the enviable position as lead cardiologist at a prestigious Chicago heartcare center working under a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But her plans for a quiet, controlled life are shattered when she discovers her college roommate murdered in her apartment. When her former lover, FBI Special Agent Drake McGuire, shows up on her doorstep with the cops, he unleashes a storm in her heart that further threatens to destroy her world, especially when he insists on hanging around to help solve the case when it becomes apparent that Elizabeth was the intended target for murder!

Elizabeth’s patients put their lives in her hands, but what happens when her own life is in danger?

Elizabeth is definitely someone who likes to have things under control. I wouldn’t go as far as to call her a control freak, but she comes close. When her life spirals out of control after the death of her friend, she certainly doesn’t want to admit that she needs help. She’s the kind of person who insists on pressing on no matter the circumstances. While I admire her determination, this does give Elizabeth the appearance of being cold at times. However, underneath her carefully controlled exterior, Elizabeth does have a softer side. She is absolutely crazy about her daughter and is as loving and devoted as any parent could be. Elizabeth also has a true passion for her work and she genuinely cares for each one of her patients.

Elizabeth’s softer side is further revealed in her relationship with Drake, a flame from her past. Elizabeth is cautious at first, but when she fully commits her heart to him, they have great potential as a couple. Unfortunately, Elizabeth has a secret that threatens to ruin her budding relationship with Drake. I thought the revelation of this secret played out in a fairly typical way, but it did add an interesting dimension to Elizabeth and Drake’s relationship.

Drake is a typical tough guy with a good heart. He’s a successful FBI agent who doesn’t take no for an answer and is used to doing things his way. Since Drake and Elizabeth both have strong personalities, they butt heads frequently, but given time and little compromise on both sides, I think they will work well together.

Ms. Rae did an excellent job of presenting several plausible suspects who would want to target Elizabeth. I carefully considered the motivation of each one and I was eventually able to narrow down the list based on the continued threats of the killer. As the story progressed, I couldn’t help but read faster, sure that I was on the right track. There were two twists that I didn’t see coming. The first involved Elizabeth and I didn’t think it was necessary as it sort of slowed things down at a moment when I wanted to keep moving full speed ahead. The second twist was more interesting and happened right at the climax when all the pieces of the puzzle were sliding into place and added an extra dash of suspense at just the right moment.

I enjoyed reading heartbeats. The pacing is great and the mystery is plotted very well. Anyone looking for a thrilling romantic suspense should give heartbeats a try.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cold in California by Deborah Riley-Magnus

Cold in California by Deborah Riley-Magnus
The Twice Baked Vampire Series Book 1
Publisher: ireadwrite Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (126 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Honeysuckle

Twice-baked vampire, Gabriel Strickland, learns he has a chance at redemption when he’s whisked from his final demise into a purgatory secretly tucked in West Hollywood. Sixty creatures, including other dead vampires, pixies, a legendary Navaho stick man and bothersome leprechauns, struggle together to earn brownie points and wait out possible centuries of this purgatory. Gabriel receives dubious advice from the troll who runs the place, but there are always bugs in the pudding and he faces them all. Enter, the beautiful Dori Gallagher, who not only knocks Gabriel off his feet, but also an evil warlock who has designs on her. When menacing forces gather against Gabriel and everything he’s come to respect, it’s a fiery clash of the supernatural in one heroic effort to save his new reality.

That’s a first! I’ve never read a book where the hero, a vampire, is staked in the first chapter. Normally, that would be the death nail for a story. I actually felt sorry for Gabriel. He was so close to finding that illusive someone that vampires had only heard of, and then…nothing.

Well, not quite. This would be the shortest story ever written and the sequel would be basically un-necessary. In a clever twist on all things vampy, Ms. Riley-Magnus gives these undead a second chance, a stay of permanent execution if you will. But what will Gabrielle do with a second chance at a half-life? My curiosity kept me reading after the unfortunate staking and it was well worth the read.

Every “twice-baked” gets a guide through their new world. For Gabrielle that would be Crudo Cushman. What a fun character. I was picturing Danny Devito the whole time he talked. Did mention he’s a troll? Crudo, not Danny.

Apparently, vampires aren’t the only supernaturals that can be twice baked. I won’t bother to name the others, though. Readers will get a kick out meeting them and seeing how they cope or have trouble coping.

Gabe’s eventual love interest is the delightfully human and yet very talented Dori Gallagher. She’s sweet and honest and a great foil for Gabrielle. She’s a character who is easy to like and root for.

There was much about this book that was fun and unique to the urban fantasy genre. Not the least is the cliff hanger ending. I’m usually pretty good at guessing the unexpected but Ms. Riley-Magnus set this up very well and so very clever.

If you enjoy a good urban fantasy adventure with lots of layers and depth, you will want to read Cold in California. Book 2 is Monkey Jump and just the name has me anxious to read it and see what happens next.

Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie by Samantha Grace

Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie by Samantha Grace
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (390 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

A Scoundrel Drives a Hard Bargain...

Spirited and determined to protect her young brother at any cost, Lisette Lavigne is desperate to flee New Orleans. There's only one ship sailing to England, though, and the rakish Captain Daniel Hillary will only allow Lisette's family aboard for a very steep price...

But a Lady Always Gets the Upper Hand...

Daniel prides himself on running a tight ship, and he knows a lady will be nothing but trouble on a long voyage. Yet he can't help but break his own ironclad rules when Lisette persuades him that being gentlemanly just this once is his wisest course of action...

Lisset Lavigne must have a guardian angel that fetches Captain Daniel Hillary again and again to save her from being ruined or worse. The reader has a unique vicarious experience as these two troubled characters struggle to come to terms with the twists and turns that life throws at them.

How the naïve but courageous Lisset and the arrogant, handsome but guilt-ridden Captain Daniel Hillary dance around each other after the deal for passage on his ship, the Cecily, entertains and gives the reader special insight into the personality of each of them. The undercurrent of impending danger is subtle and goes unheeded for a time.

Lisset is ingenious about the ways of the world. Her father has kept her sheltered, but now he's dead and she must cope. When she overhears what her betrothed plans to do with her brilliant but different little brother Rafe, she vows to do whatever it takes to keep him safe.

She seeks the assistance of her father’s longtime friend and business associate Monsieur Baptiste and follows the advice of her older, more worldly-wise cousin Serafine that says the tea leaves indicate they must escape to England where they will survive and thrive. Serafine has a secret agenda but she also loves Lisset and Rafe. Lisset and Rafe leave behind their beautiful home and a sugar plantation and run.

Louis Reynaud, Lisset’s betrothed, considers her his property and also plans to own the property Rafe will inherit when he comes of age. He seems to have no redeeming qualities and is ruled by greed and desire for power—to be the giver of life or death at his pleasure.

As the plot and sub-plots unfold, the characters become more real. The humor and gradual revelation of the characters’ hope, fears, and thoughts keep the reader engaged. However, at times I felt I was on the outside looking in on the action. Also, all the major players, even to Serafine’s lost-lover, getting from America to England and their knowing their way around so well seems contrived at times. But the need to find out how a young Creole beauty and a wealthy Englishman manage to find common ground and their happy-ever-after kept me turning pages. A special bonus is learning about Rafe, his unique abilities, and how he is nurtured.

Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie by Samantha Grace has a special kind of charm and a beautiful love story. It also lets the reader share in the redemption of Captain Daniel Hillary whose soul had been held hostage for too long.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren

How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (337 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Set in a Colorado ski town, Kaya McLaren's How I Came To Sparkle Again is a remarkable breakout novel that chronicles three people and their journey from loss to love; heartbreak to hope

Jill Anthony spent her young adulthood in the ski town of Sparkle, Colorado. But more than a decade has passed since she left when, only weeks after a very late miscarriage, she finds her husband in bed with another woman, she flees Austin, Texas for the town she knows: Sparkle.

Lisa Carlucci wakes up one morning after another night of meaningless sex, looks in the mirror and realizes that she no longer wants to treat her body like a Holiday Inn. She’s going to hold out for love. The only problem is, love might come in the form of her ski bum best friend, who lives next door with his ski bum friends in a trailer known as “the Kennel.”

Cassie Jones, at age ten, has lost her mother to cancer and no longer believes in anything anymore. She knows her father is desperately worried about her, and she constantly looks for messages from her deceased mother through the heart-shaped rocks they once collected in the streams and hills of Sparkle.

Three people at the crossroads of heartbreak and healing. Three lives that will be changed one winter in Sparkle. One tender, funny, tear-jerking novel you won’t soon forget.

“Keep Living.” “Don’t worry about the future, it will come.” “Look at NOW, see opportunities….” This kind of advice and so much more is offered to Jill, Lisa, and Cassie as each of them struggles to find her way back to positive, productive living from the bleakest time in each of their lives.

Jill, a successful nurse with a beautiful home, is devastated by the loss of her unfaithful husband and their baby. She runs, feeling like a discarded woman and only in her thirties. Even her parents have written her off as not being good enough to be in the Celestial Kingdom with them. But in Sparkle, Colorado, Uncle Howard accepts her, warts and all, just like he did years ago when she was a skinny kid. Everyone should have an “Uncle Howard”! He is a darling.

Jill needs a season to heal and ends up living in “The Kennel” with three men—womanizers, ski bums, and loyal friends to her at this fragile time in her life. Tom, Eric, and Hans furnish outrageous humor and a philosophy that staggers the imagination. Tom explains the Wild Kingdom with alpha and beta male philosophy to Jill. It is mind boggling. These three men depict a unique sub-cultural that functions to the rhythm of a different drum.

Lisa, Jill’s friend, welcomes Jill back to Sparkle with open arms. A ski instructor and accepting friend of Tom, Eric, and Hans, Lisa turns over a new leaf and starts a new chapter in her life. She struggles to regain her self-esteem and to build a life with integrity and love as a must in any relationship she has from here on. She becomes a mystery to those who have seen her promiscuous ways in the past. She is a super friend and what she does to get even with Jill’s faithless husband that files for divorce is unparalleled—wicked.

Little Cassie grieves for her dead mother who had also been her ski mentor, close companion and confidante. Mike, her father, does all he knows to do to help her, but knows he falls short and Cassie is such a problem and lives in a world so to herself that no one wants to stay with her while Mike works, until Jill comes along.

Overwhelmed with his own grief, Mike struggles to do his job where life and death seem to just happen for no reason. He hates for people to try to rationalize why some live and some die.

The relationship that grows between Jill and Cassie—so fragile in the beginning has some breath-holding moments that tug on the heart strings. The humanness and stages of healing they help each other through make poignant reading.

Kaya McLaren writes descriptions that plop the reader right down into the pristine snow on the silent ski slopes and into the disgusting “Kennel” where urine is spattered on the toilet tissue, marijuana perfumes the air, and a mirror hangs on the ceiling over Jill’s bed. Ms. McLaren offers a vicarious experience with characters that range from successful professionals to the “barely-get-by” misfits and manages to let the reader see something especially good in each of the.

Ms. McLaren has an amazing talent for writing humor that fits perfectly with a character to make each one endearing in some way yet flawed in other ways. She engages the reader’s senses with revealing descriptions and metaphors and keeps one turning pages to see what serious or humorous thing will happen next. She weaves a multitude of life’s obstacles into the story as Jill, Lisa, and Cassie forge a path back to happiness with the help of a delightful array of secondary characters.

How I Came to Sparkle Again, with its more than one meaning, is a sparkling, funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking tale with remarkable characters. It touches the heart on many levels—a keeper.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Trouble with Highlanders by Mary Wine

The Trouble with Highlanders by Mary Wine
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (296 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

She Has Hardly Any Choices Left...

With her clan on the wrong side of the struggle for the Scottish throne, heiress Daphne Macleod, once the toad of the court, is out of options...

And They're All Dangerous...

Norris Sutherland once helped Daphne, but she walked away from him without a backward glance. Now she's in deep trouble and needs him more than ever. But he may be lost forever...unless she can somehow convince him to forgive her.

Daphne MacLeod’s and Norris Sutherland’s reactions to each other may not be “sane” or “normal”, but they almost scorch the pages. Nothing is done in halfway measures. The heir to the Earldom of Sutherland and the orphaned, impoverished and disgraced daughter of a laird are not a likely match, but their “seeing-if-they-fit” makes spellbinding reading.

Her coping after her fall from privilege into poverty, her determination to do her “duty” to a clan that does not respect her, and her “I will endure” attitude puts her on a rocky road. Of course, she had already made a choice that kept a feud from erupting but had disgraced her. Norris Sutherland, that Daphne calls a marauder in civilized clothing, had been very happy to help her with that and then gone on his merry way—only now he can’t seem to forget the beautiful, intrepid woman whose passion flamed along with his.

During the fifteenth century, the harsh, unforgiving Highlands produced harsh, unforgiving feuding clans that seemed to believe the end justified the means. Their unwritten code of ethics or the lack thereof is blood-chilling. To find gentleness and love amid all the killing, cruelty and misery is like finding a bit of heaven on earth.

The way Morrell Comyn treats Daphne sends the temper raging. No human being should treat another the way he treats her. She does endure. But this reader zipped along the pages wanting to be sure this despicable character got his comeuppance. Even with the mores of the time less than charitable to women, his barbaric, savage actions horrify.

With a marriage for power and profit prized far above a marriage for love, true love had little hope of prevailing. While Daphne is settled at Dunrobin the Sutherland’s opulent castle, under the protection of Norris Sutherland and in his bed, she knows real fear when Sandra Fraser arrives with her brother Bari along with a big dowry. Sandra plans to marry Norris and even offers Daphne a deal. The conflict and vicious methods that ensue whip the story into frenzy. Sandra’s Machiavellian ways make one shudder.

The Trouble with Highlanders teems with intriguing secondary characters. Lytge Sutherland, Norris’s father is of the old school about marriage, but he has another agenda that adds a special bit of spice. MacNichols, Daphne’s jilted betrothed, and his wife, who is also his true love, play significant roles as the climax nears. Gahan, Norris’s half brother, is a powerful force in the workings of the Sutherlands. He and Saer, Daphne’s half brother, would be interesting characters to get to know more about. Their controlled savage nature seems ready to erupt at any time.

Mary Wine keeps the adrenaline pumping with sizzling love scenes, savage Highlanders who are quick to judge, a demanding, threatening priest, antagonists both male and female that all but breath fire as they pursue their own agendas uncaring of all else. The fast pace keeps the focus on the goal while the woven in history keeps one grounded in the time and place of events. Ms. Wine takes one’s emotions on a rollercoaster ride from the horrific to the heavenly. Her hero and heroine’s happy-ever-after is hard won and precious. It is magical as it should be for she is his fire fairy strong and true. He is her marauder lover—a magnificent Highlander, savage with a thin veneer of civilized but gentle and unabashedly in love with her.

Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton

Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton
Book One of the Demimonde
Publisher: Pink Narcissus Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (370 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Sophie Galen is an advice columnist who is saving the world - one damned person at a time. Shy and sensitive Sophie has all but given up on love until she meets Marek, a mysterious stranger who seduces her with his striking good looks and his take-charge attitude. Yet the darkness she senses within him may be more than she is prepared to handle when Marek draws her into a world of vampires, werewolves, and treachery. Forced to leave behind the comfortable routines and certainties of her past, Sophie makes unbearable sacrifices and uncovers hidden truths about herself and the world around her.

Sophie will sacrifice anything to save Marek, but what if he doesn’t want to be saved?

Poor Sophie. She truly has a weakness for people in need. The problem is she tries to help anyone and everyone she comes across and when she doesn’t succeed, she takes it very hard. I like the way Ms. Krafton presents Sophie’s character. The first half of the book follows Sophie as she interacts with the various people in her life, including her best friend Jared, who is a priest. Sophie’s relationship with her cat Euphrates, Fraidy for short, is also particularly entertaining. While this meandering pace is an interesting way to get to know Sophie, it also means that the first half of the book moves a bit slowly. Readers will need to exercise a bit of patience in order to reap the rewards of the story.

Not long after Sophie meets Marek, she falls for him pretty hard. Something tells Sophie that Marek is dangerous, but she ignores this feeling and pursues a relationship with him anyway. I didn’t get to know Marek nearly as well as Sophie. Sophie kept saying Marek was dark, mysterious, and that she had a powerful connection with him, but this connection never really came alive in my mind. Sophie and Marek spend a lot of time getting to know each other, especially after she learns about the paranormal world he inhabits. However, a lot of those moments take place behind the scenes. I liked that this approach allowed me to use my imagination, but it would have been nice to have a few more details filled in. This would have made picturing Sophie and Marek as a couple easier.

One of the things I like most about Bleeding Hearts is the concept that demivampires and vampires are a more evolved species that have lived side by side with humans for centuries. The connection to Egyptian mythology is also thought provoking. I would have liked a bit more detail on the history of the demivampires and their battle with vampires. Ms. Krafton provides enough information to keep the story moving, but when I finished reading I still felt like my understanding of the paranormal world Ms. Krafton created was incomplete.

The pacing really picked up during the second half of the book. Sophie and Marek find themselves at the mercy of a powerful and ruthless vampire who wants Marek for his own nefarious purposes. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how they were going to find their way out of this treacherous situation. I was extremely surprised and also deeply unsettled at how they ended up escaping. Marek crosses a line when battling the master vampire and I’m not entirely sure that he and Sophie will be able to survive the consequences. This relationship will surely be tested in the next book.

Overall, I think Bleeding Hearts is a good book. Sophie is certainly an entertaining character and the mythology of the paranormal world she inhabits is intriguing. Readers looking for a different kind of vampire story might want to give Bleeding Hearts a try.

Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong

Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (444 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Mistletoe

A war is brewing—the first battle has been waged and Savannah Levine is left standing, albeit battered and bruised. She has rescued her half brother from supernatural medical testing, but he’s fighting to stay alive. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah has called upon her inner energy to summon spells with frightening strength, a strength she never knew she had, as she fights to keep her world from shattering. But it’s more than a matter of supernaturals against one another—both heaven and hell have entered the war; hellhounds, genetically modified werewolves, and all forces of good and evil have joined the fray.

Uniting Savannah with Adam, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other lost-but-notforgotten characters in one epic battle, for a grand series finale.

I am a big fan of this author and especially this series. I was eagerly awaiting this book and excited to be able to read it but sad that this is the finale chapter in this series. I have come to know and love many of the characters in these books and saying goodbye was a hard thing. Thirteen brings us back into the wondrous world that this author has created. Savannah is our guide throughout most of this book. It's a story of trying to stop the war that could ruin them all; laws are being broken left and right, beings are crossing over, and demons are joining in as well as are so many others. In short total chaos has arrived and the battle has just begun. Can Savannah and her friends and allies stop things before it is to late?

There is so much I want to say but so much of it would be spoilers and I so do not want to spoil this read for anyone. I want you to enjoy this book as much as I did. If you have followed this series from book one you will not be disappointed.So much is going on in this book, everywhere you turn there is something happening. I loved seeing how everyone has grown throughout this series. The bond that they all share makes for a great read. Savannah and Adam are all grown up and I enjoyed seeing them take that step towards a permanent relationship. It was nice to see many of the major players in this world come into play. As a follower of this series I know most if not all of the characters and their personalities and I enjoyed seeing just how each one fit into this story. The main women from this series each get their turn at telling us part of this story. I loved that a short story featuring Elena and Clay is added to the end of the book bringing it all back to the characters that started it all.

This book is fast paced and full of emotion, reminding me why Kelley Armstrong is on my auto buy list. Many questions were answered yet there were still some things left unanswered, hopefully this means that this author might just gift readers with a return to this world some time in the future.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mistress of the Stone by Maria Zannini

Mistress of the Stone by Maria Zannini
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length:  Full (327 Pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review by:  Sage

She was ready for his steel, but not for his flesh.

Luísa Tavares has a list of sins the length of the Antilles, but there’s no time to repent for them now. When a pockmarked Frenchman hands her Papa’s ring—still attached to his severed finger—she orders the Coral back to the Caribbean, despite her father’s earlier warning never to return.

It’s Luísa’s luckless fate that the only man who can help her is a blasted Inglés pirate hunter who’s more dead than alive and locked in a curse he doesn’t want lifted. Worse, his feral sensuality sparks a hunger she can’t ignore.

Xander Daltry hadn’t planned on kidnapping this wild woman—or succumbing to his uncontrollable desire for her. But he needs Luísa and the moonstone she wears around her neck to rescind a witch’s spell. His sister, long dead, and others like her have been cursed to remain in the mortal plane for eternity. Only the stone can set them free.

The only way to convince the reluctant pirate queen to help him is to withhold one small bit of the truth. For if she learns who really betrayed her father, the longing in her fiery eyes could easily turn to murderous wrath…

Product Warnings
Contains a pirate queen with a sacred gem, a werewolf with an agenda, an island where nothing is as it seems, and a hero with a Jolly Roger that’ll make you purr like a kitten.

Do you like pirates? What about werewolves? And ghosts? Gargoyles?

How would you like it if all those pirates, werewolves, ghosts, and gargoyles decided to come together into one book? Fun, right?

Luisa is a young pirate in search of her missing father and when she gets information that he is on a supernatural island, she knows where she needs to go to rescue him. While on the cursed island, she gets to meet all kinds of creatures ranging from zombies to were-hyenas. In the process, she befriends a ghost, a gargoyle, and falls in love with a werewolf. But with every step she takes, trouble follows.

I really don't want to give anything away so I'll stop there but believe me, you need to read this. It's a romance and an adventure story. It's full of comedy and sadness. Some scenes make you laugh and others cry.

I fell in love with all the characters, from the very charming Xander, who is what every hero should be, to the adorable pet monkey. The villains were truly horrible and I hated them.

One big talent that author Maria Zannini has, that is so hard to pull off, is her ability to make the reader feel. It's like all the emotions these characters experienced, the readers did too. They flowed through the page. Her writing is flawless. I've read several of Ms. Zannini's books but this one was the best, in my opinion.

I really enjoyed this book and couldn't recommend it enough. I think there is a little of something for everyone and I'm sure you all will enjoy it. So go ahead and get yourself a copy of Mistress of the Stone today!

Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker

Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (321 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

He Never Misses A Target

Jake "the Snake" Sommers earned his SEAL code name by striking quickly and quietly-and with lethal force. That's also how he broke Michelle Carter's heart. It was the only way to keep her safe-from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle's loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow...

She Aims To Make Him Beg

Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to "love her and leave her." But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake's hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he's wrapped around her heat, he'll never let her go...

A full-alert, high-voltage, fraught-with-danger, vicarious experience that is sprinkled with humor and super-charged with breathtaking love is in store for Rev It Up readers. Julie Ann Walker takes the reader into the world of Black Knights Inc.—a black ops organization that does whatever it takes to keep America safe and free without anybody knowing who they are. Some of these tough warriors’ language shocks at times, but it tells much about them and how it is part of the coping methods that keep them sane and alive.

Michelle (Shell) Carter, the Boss Frank Knight’s sister, is no pushover even though she does have a tender heart and a special talent for listening to and caring about others. She is especially protective of her three–year-old son Franklin (he is a darling—so comfortable in his own little skin). Her childhood had been full of insecurity and lack of love, but she was determined Franklin’s would not be that way even though she is a single parent.

When the gorgeous, tattooed, charming exSEAL, Jake “The Snake” reappears after a four year absence, Shell reinforces her defenses. She tells herself, shame on him for fooling me once, shame on me for letting him fool me twice, and NO way, Never, Not-a-chance will he get to fool me again. But fate seems to love a challenge.

Since Jake and fate have a unique connection—a love/hate sort of thing, the air is charged with almost-out-of-control emotions when Shell and Jake meet again. Their explosive relationship adds to the already on-edge situation at Black Knights Inc. Every operative has a fifty thousand dollar price on his or her head, courtesy of a Las Vegas illegal arms dealer Johnny Vitiglioni that has a vendetta against them. When Johnny learned the Black Knights boss had a sister, he deemed it his personal mission to get to her and make Frank Knight pay for what he had done. Adrenaline-pumping events transpire that make breath-holding reading.

With assassins crawling out of the woodwork, all hands are pressed into active duty. Rock, the Cajun, and Vanessa, the communications expert, end up on stakeout together in a “charge-by-the-hour motel. They liven up the story big time. Other secondary characters, each with his or her own specialty, have one thing in common, they know how to fight and kill when necessary—not a faint heart in the bunch.

Readers, who have read Hell On Wheels and In Rides Trouble,  will recognize many of the secondary characters and for those who haven’t, a special treat is in store. Each and every one of the characters has an air of mystery and unique personality that intrigues, right down to the ugly, overweight cat Peanut.

Julie Ann Walker creates a riveting story that assails the senses and churns of emotions. Her ability to make the reader feel the danger, the hurt, the love, and the “in-your-face” attitude, with bits of humor here and there is phenomenal. Rev It Up is a captivating story just like the first two books in this series. If ever two people deserved to find their happy-ever-after it is Shell and Jake—and, of course, that little sweetie Franklin. He is like icing on the cake.

With happy-ever-afters for three of these black ops guys to celebrate, I’m looking for Ms. Walker’s next book in this series to vicariously experience new adventures with Black Knights Inc. as some of the other guys find their soul mates. I’m thinking Rock and Vanessa may find that special connection soon and maybe even Billy and Eve. Of course, I do hope Ozzie, the computer whiz, and Angel, the ex Mossad agent, both have that special someone out there just waiting until the time is right to appear.