Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review - 'Heart of Darkness' anthology by Gena Showalter, Maggie Shayne, and Susan Krinard

Blurb 

From the masters of paranormal romance, three brand-new tales of seduction

The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter
A Lords of the Underworld tale
An iron-willed demon assassin, the angel Lysander has never known lust, until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of Lucifer, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the pure-hearted Lysander into temptation.

Love Me to Death by Maggie Shayne
Twenty-two years ago four teenage boys were convicted of a young girls murder. Now, in the form of a beautiful woman, the victim is seeking vengeance. And only one man dares to dig into the past to uncover its secrets and set her free.

Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard
Lady Tameri believes herself to be the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess, and Leo Erskine has set out to prove her wrong, never dreaming that the two of them are about to discover a prophecy that will bind them together forever.


Review 

I love this anthology. I've read other books by these authors before, so I was happy to find an antho with all three of them in it.

'The Darkest Angel' by Gena Showalter

Even though this short story doesn’t feature a romance between one of the Lords of the Underworld and a love interest, it’s one of my favorites in the LOTU series. Lysander, an elite warrior angel who’s quickly becoming obsessed with Bianka Skyhawk, abducts her and imprisons her in his home, which is a magical cloud up in the heavens. Bianca is a fierce Harpy with a soft side—you really gotta look for that soft side—and she makes life hell for her captor. Their arguments and her seduction of Lysander are both hilarious and so sexy. The best scene is when she abducts Paris, the demon of the keeper of Promiscuity, and forces him to wrestle Lysander in a pool of cherry-scented oil. So hot and funny! Anyway, I love their romance, their need for one another and the emotions both of them are trying to figure out. He’s a goody-goody angel, she’s the great-granddaughter of Lucifer, it’s not gonna work. Right?
As with all the LOTU books, we see the gang in the Budapest during Gwen and Sabin’s wedding. I love that this series doesn’t just focus on the main couple, but draws in everyone of importance.
I wished the story was longer just because I love Lysander (even though I know what he has to do to Aeron, the keeper of Wrath, in the next full length novel—The Darkest Passion). Although I’m crazy about these demons and prefer them to the other species in the series, I really like the introduction of angels and Harpies, and that everyone is working together and forming friendships and alliances. The LOTU universe seems to be getting bigger, and that’s definitely two thumbs up.
5 Stars

‘Love Me to Death’ by Maggie Shayne

Teenage David and his four best friends purposely set a house fire that accidentally cost a young girl her life. Now, twenty two years later, the five men are still full of guilt, but they’re doing their best to live their lives. They start seeing Sierra, the girl who died, and believe her ghost has come back for revenge.
Twenty two year old Sara grew up as an orphan and she’s recently had some very strange, vivid dreams. In search of answers, she meets David and the attraction is instant for both of them. As they unravel the mystery of Sara and David’s shared dreams, Sierra’s death and the disappearance of Sierra’s mom, someone from Sierra’s past comes back to stop Sara and David from finding out the truth.
Despite the age difference, Sara and David had a lot of chemistry and fit well together. They were very likable characters.
4 Stars

‘Lady of the Nile’ by Susan Krinard

Though I liked the set up, I found the story a little confusing.
Set in the 1890s, an eccentric British duchess believes she is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess named Tameri. The duchess is also named Tameri. The duchess believes the princess sacrificed herself to the goddess Aset thousands of years ago, and now she (as the duchess) must do the same.
Leo is a scholar and an adventurer who’s drawn to Tameri (as the duchess), but he doesn’t believe she’s the reincarnated princess. As they spend more time together, he slowly learns he’s been reincarnated from Maahes, an ancient Egyptian soldier who loved Princess Tameri and who sacrificed himself to the god Asar.
Leo/Maahes/Asar and Tameri/Tameri/Aset were all the same person, but their multiple names were used interchangeably. While I liked Leo and found his motivation to help the duchess honorable, the duchess was too trusting, especially of the villain whom she thought was a friend.
3 Stars

Book Overall - 4 Stars

Disclaimer – I bought this book for my own enjoyment. I am not paid or compensated in any way, shape or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Review – ‘Hot as Hades’ by Cynthia Rayne

Blurb 

Family matters.
Ex-Marine Daisy is going undercover, by uncovering it all.Every night the pretty blonde wraps herself around a pole in a club owned by the Raptors MC. The bikers are involved in her sister's disappearance. One lap dance at a time, Daisy gets closer to finding Rose until a big, muscular obstacle steps in her way.

Former rodeo star,Cowboy, is posing as a customer. His MC intends to bring the rival MC down. But when Cowboy gets up close and real personal with Daisy, he finds himself falling for her and he swore to never love again. She's on a mission that threatens her life, unless he can protect her, even from herself.
 
Review



In the second book in the Four Horsemen MC series, Daisy works undercover as a stripper (she’s a retired Marine) in a notorious strip club owned by the Raptors, a cruel motorcycle gang that traffics drugs and women. Her sister, Rose, is missing, and Daisy is determined to find her.

Cowboy is a biker and his loyalties are to the Four Horsemen MC. The Horsemen live outside the law, but they don’t do anything too illegal, as long as you overlook bootlegging moonshine, beating up and killing criminals who deserve it, and enacting vigilante justice when needed. Anyway, the Horsemen are trying to find the trafficked women and shut down the Raptors’ organization. Sparks fly when Daisy and Cowboy met, and she reluctantly agrees to help him and his fellow MC brothers since they all have the same goal.

I soooo totally loved Cowboy. He’s sexy, possessive, protective, a non-cheater, and mostly a gentleman even with his bad boy biker persona. He takes crap from no one except Daisy. He’s crazy about her. She’s a gun-wielding chick with a rough past, and he finds a kindred spirit in her.

I loved the sexual tension between the H/h, and I really enjoyed how they waited to jump into bed together. They got to know one another first and that was very refreshing. When they did jump, wow! So hot!

We met several of the MC brothers, the prospects (the men interested in joining the MC), and some women with ties to the club. My favorite secondary character was Duke. He’s probably the darkest and cruelest of the MC brothers, but I have soft spot for the ultimate disturbed bad boy.

There are questions and not all loose ends are tied up at the end of the book, but I understand why. Rose is a changed woman after the trauma she endured, and since her and Duke’s story is next, the problems Rose and the Horsemen are now facing should be handled in book 3.

As with book 1, this book needs an edit to add in missing words and periods, and to fix misspellings like “woah” when it should be “whoa.” I would’ve given the book 5 stars if not for the typos because I really enjoyed it.

4 Stars


Disclaimer – I downloaded this book from Amazon and volunteered to review it. I am not compensated in any way, shape, or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review – ‘Sweet Perdition’ by Cynthia Rayne

Blurb 

Good girl gone bad.
Elizabeth, a small-town librarian, knows she doesn't belong in the notorious biker bar. But after watching her best friend marry her ex-boyfriend, she's drinking her cares away and saying adios to her good girl ways.

Ryker can't take his eyes off the gorgeous, curvy redhead at his club's bar. He suddenly has a taste for good girls, just for one night, of course, because Ryker doesn't do relationships. Ever.
But when Elizabeth's ex threatens her, Ryker realizes he'll do anything to keep her safe and he might just lose his heart in the process.
 


Review
 
In the first book of the Four Horsemen MC series, Elizabeth goes to a local biker bar to drown her sorrows after attending the wedding of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend. Ryker, an incredibly yummy biker, hits on her with only one thought in mind: to get into her pants. He succeeds but soon realizes one night isn’t going to be enough with the proper librarian. He wants to corrupt her and free her wild side, and she wants him to!
The H/h have a lot of chemistry and the sex scenes were very hot. I was really liking the story until Ryker cheats on Elizabeth. She catches him making out with two near-naked women at a party, but he keeps on dancing with them, thinking he’s free to sleep with whomever he wants because he and Elizabeth aren’t dating (at least they aren’t in his mind). Elizabeth is hurt and angry but continues sleeping with him before they work out their problems.
The overall plot is great. The biker club is pretty big, but we don’t meet many of the other members. Shepherd is the VP, Eddie is Ryker’s mom, and they both tried to scare Elizabeth off, thinking she wasn’t strong enough to handle a ladies’ man like Ryker.
Though I enjoyed the author’s voice and her storytelling, the typos were distracting (mostly misspellings, and missing words, periods, and quotation marks). I don’t read many motorcycle club books because cheating seems to be a common theme, at least in the MC books I’ve heard of, but since I found this one and the second book in the series as part of a 2-book set, I’ll check out the next book as well.
3 Stars

Disclaimer – I downloaded this book from Amazon and volunteered to review it. I am not compensated in any way, shape, or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Promo Tour - 'The Bob Books' series by R. Murphy

BOB AND THE POLKA-DOT HIGHWAY
Book 3 of The Bob Books
by R. Murphy
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing


Poor Roz…once again stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Does she accept the great offer for a job that’s hundreds of miles from Crooked Lake? Or does she pick David, the great guy who grows grapes half a mile from her house? And either way—assuming our crabby woman-of-a-certain-age manages to make a decision—what about her ghost, Bob?

Granted, Bob and Roz have never had a … ummmm… ‘traditional’ relationship but still, martini-loving ghosts don’t toddle along every day of the week. What happens to the wit, the sparkle, the laughter?

So many questions…(sigh).

Join Roz, David—and Bob—as they spend a beautiful, but confusing, summer on Crooked Lake. And oh, by the way, watch out for drips…



After a few weeks spent at her new job in the Midwest, Roz has commuted back to the Finger Lakes to tie up loose ends and finalize the sale of her lake home.

After brewing my tea, I wandered out to the deck where I finally had a chance to sit in my rocking chair and--after weeks of work in the Midwest, mourning, and running around--relax.

Colorful sailboats flitted over the sparkling water that I called my back yard, darting from shore to shore like dragonflies skimming the small waves. More than a dozen of them, I’d say, playing with the same breezes I’d enjoyed in the house a few minutes ago.

This was the lake of postcard dreams. Trees dressed in green decorated each bank while fluffy cumulus clouds, blimps of freshly-laundered cotton, hovered in bright blue skies. Sunshine poured over the entire contented landscape, golden honey from a jar.

Hard to believe after everything I’d been through, but this was the first time I’d ever seen the lake in full summer mode. All of a sudden I got it. I understood why people fell in love with life on the water and fought tooth and nail to stay in this little Brigadoon, sheltered from the cares of the world. A place set apart, cocooned like a happy memory from childhood, impervious to the cares and worries that beset the outside world.

Here was shelter, here was rest. Here timeless hobbies filled lazy summer hours, fishing and boating and swimming, pastimes that had existed for centuries and would exist, essentially unchanged, for centuries more. Living on the lake plucked you out of the normal flow of time and now I finally understood the magnetism of life on the water.

In my case, though, understanding was not quite the same as love. Instead of feeling the lake in my heart, appreciation for it never got further than my mind. I could never see the glories of summer without remembering the snow drifts and ice of the difficult winter I’d just struggled through, or the high waters and shale-shoveling marathons of only four months ago. My year-round involvement with the lake embodied the difference between a multi-dimensional relationship and an infatuation. This lake would definitely be a great place to visit in the summer, during the beautiful times. A same-time-next-year kind of relationship. Year-round, though? Another story, at least for me.



Bob at the Lake

What would happen if Roz, a crabby woman of a certain age, moved to the wintry shores of a New York lake—and got a ghost? And not just any ghost, mind you. Bob’s a ghost from 1920’s Manhattan, full of quips and over fond of his martinis, who swans around in a silk smoking jacket and makes Roz’s life very . . . well, let’s just say ‘complicated.’

Especially after Roz meets David, the good-looking grape grower who lives up the hill. Join Roz, David—and Bob—as they navigate blizzards, cookie mazes, holiday shopping sprees, and the occasional power outage. (You know, all of those delightful challenges of a good, old-fashioned Northern winter . . .)



“Trust me, it will hit you like a brick of gold.”

That’s Bob. He’s my ghost. Well, not my ghost since I’m sitting here writing, but the ghost who lives with me. Other women probably get muscleman ghosts who can fix plumbing and take out the garbage, or romantic ghosts who set their hearts a-flutter. Me, I get a ghost who’s middle-aged, plump, and who likes to lounge around the house in a silk smoking jacket from the nineteen-thirties. Not exactly the kind of ghost I’d ever imagined I’d get. I will admit, though, that Bob does make an amazing martini. A martini that, in fact, hits you like a brick of gold.

I found, unfortunately, the longer Bob lived at my place, the more I appreciated his skill with martinis. Which was probably not a great thing for my liver, or my relationships with my sisters, but what the heck.

Remember the Great Recession? According to the newspapers, some consumers seem to be wiping it from their memories, but it had a big impact on a lot of people, including me. That economy hurt. Lost jobs, lost houses, lost marriages, lost hopes—lives turned upside down in the flutter of a pink slip. People scrambling just to keep from drowning—couch surfing, penny pinching, living newly frugal lives.

Like millions of others, the economy sucked me into its undertow. In Nashville, my life had been moving along in a sensible fashion, even if it wasn’t Cinderella happy. A big-girl job, a decent townhouse, nice-enough neighbors, the occasional date. Then, like an idiot, I decided to stretch a bit financially and buy a lake house in New York’s Finger Lake area. I’d planned to rent it out during the summers and make money on it with an eye to retiring there a few decades in the future. My sister Katie and her husband have a summerhouse on the lake, and they were doing just fine with it.

After much too-ing and fro-ing between Nashville and western New York, I found a beautiful house on Crooked Lake, three miles up the road from my sister, and bought it. My house is ten miles from the nearest coffee shop or grocery store but, for a rental vacation home, who cared?

Two Nashville job layoffs later, I cared. Those were tough, bitter months, and I decided to leave the south to live closer to my sister. There’s nothing like getting kicked in the teeth a few times to make you realize how much you need family.




Bob at the Plaza

Bob, our favorite martini-loving ghost, has vanished. Now Roz faces a miserable snowbound Crooked Lake winter alone. Well, almost alone. Thank goodness for David, the practical, kind grape grower who lives up the hill.

What a winter it is! Record-breaking snows followed months later by record-setting rains. Ah, the joys of living on a lake shore when the spring floods arrive.

High water, anyone?

Undeterred by mice, sociopathic relatives, Carnegie Hall disasters, and spring floods, Roz searches for her MIA ghost. In the process she goes toe-to-toe with the hyper-verbal crowd at the Algonquin Round Table. Can Roz best smarty-pants Dorothy Parker in a game of wits? Will Harpo Marx finally speak out and help Bob return to Crooked Lake?

For the answers to these and many other spirited questions, read BOB AT THE PLAZA!


I hesitated for a minute at the top of the post office stairs of my small town, determined to have a little fun before I returned home. What next? A no-brainer—fresh cinnamon-sugar cider doughnuts from the apple shack. Do stores like this exist anywhere but the northern states? Small seasonal places that sell mostly apples and apple products, like cider doughnuts and cider, and maybe some locally made cheeses and maple syrup on the side. Until I’d moved to New York, I’d never realized how many kinds of apples you could buy: McIntosh, Empire, Jonathan, McCoun, Delicious, Granny Smith, Crispin, Gala, and Cortland, to name but a few. And my latest favorite, Jonamacs.

The variety of local apples available from the apple shack amazed me. When I’d lived in cities, I guess I’d always just, unthinkingly, picked up a bag of Macintoshes or Empires whenever I wanted the fruit. A few months ago, faced with a dozen different varieties in the apple shack, I’d had no idea what my favorite apple was. So, I decided to do some apple taste-testing. I selected and individually bagged and weighed eight different apples that day in the store (much to the amusement of the woman at the check-out counter). Every afternoon I’d try a new apple for a snack and take notes. (Do I sound like a woman who lives by herself in the country with, perhaps, a tad too much free time on her hands? Hell, yes . . .) Turns out I didn’t like too-tart apples or grainy yellow-fleshed ones, or super crisp, aggressive, squirty varieties. My favorite fruits were ladylike, gentle apples, mildly sweet, moderately juicy, with dainty white flesh. In short, Jonamacs.

Like a dedicated knight on a quest, I now pursued Jonamacs whenever I could find them. I suspected I’d be desolate when they went out of season. And I wondered about other people, who’d eat whatever apple they could lay their hands on. Would they be considered apple gourmands? Apple Don Juans? Consuming enthusiastically, indiscriminately, unthinkingly, whatever random, willing apple came their way? (Yes, undoubtedly, a tad too much free time on my hands . . .)





Roz Murphy is the pseudonym of a long-time Finger Lakes resident who lives with ghosts and doesn’t want to confirm in her neighbors’ minds how nutty she really is. (They already have their suspicions.) After decades of writing in Manhattan and throughout the country, Roz settled on the shores of New York’s Keuka Lake, some of the most beautiful country ever created. She’s an ardent fan of the Finger Lakes wine industry, especially the local dry Rieslings.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Release Day - 'Wonderful Love' by Maggie Marr



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  This is a story about redemption.... Sex and giving women pleasure is the only way I can survive. I loved once and lost her...she died in front of me. I can never love again. This is my vocation. Or so I thought... Until Tara. My sexy neighbor with her douchenugget ex-fiancΓ©. We weren't friends, we were barely acquaintances, until the tears, and the fistfight, and then ... the sex. I want Tara, but having her means watching the walls of my carefully crafted existence crumble. I have the strength to provide women unlimited pleasure, but do I have the strength to love? 

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Maggie Marr is the USA Today Best-Selling author of over 20 hot contemporary romances. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart and eventually became an motion picture literary agent. You can find her at all the usual spots like FB, Twitter, and Pinterest or at www.maggiemarr.net She is a pop culture addict and when she isn’t writing or reading you can find her binge-watching her favorite shows. You can always email her at maggiemarrbooks@gmail.com  

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Promo Tour - 'Snow in July' by Kim Iverson Headlee

SNOW IN JULY
by Kim Iverson Headlee

Official genre of book: Medieval Paranormal Romance


From the award-winning pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the exciting, poignant love story of a distressed damsel who wields a fierce fireplace poker and the smoking hot knight she must save from himself.

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.



Alain’s friendship with Sir Ruaud, his polished manners and speech, fighting skills, and scars—it made less sense than ever that he could be a squire. “Who are you, really?” she whispered.

His back stiffened, and he released her hand to give her a curious look. Finally, he smiled. “A complete fool.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Hardly that, if you possessed the wit to locate me. I mean, you must be a knight. Don’t bother to deny it. There can be no other reasonable explanation.”

He regarded her for a long moment. “Yes. I am a knight.”

“But why the disguise?” She recoiled as an unpleasant thought returned. “Sir Robert didn’t send you to test my virtue, did he?”

“Mon Dieu, no! Never once did that cross his mind.”

She felt her brow wrinkle. “How can you be so certain?”

“I have known Sir Robert my entire life.” His smile turned enigmatic. “He would never resort to such a ploy.”

“But he would send you and Sir Ruaud ahead to look me over, is that it?” Her ire rose on the wings of indignation. “To determine whether I am a worthy match for his lordship?” His smile inverted to dread. “Hah. I am right.”

Denying him a chance to reply, she shot to her feet. Her instinct suggested escaping into the maze, but fear of becoming lost in the mist pushed her toward the tower’s door. The bolt’s heaviness prevented her from locking him out, so she concentrated on making best speed. Pounding footsteps warned her of Alain’s pursuit.

He caught her wrist while she was still on the stairs, but she yanked it free and continued up. On the landing outside the upper chamber, she had to pause for air. He joined her before she could escape.

“Please, my lady,” he said between breaths. “Let me explain.”

“What’s to explain? Sir Robert sent you to scout me out, and you agreed. You Normans are a despicable lot. Every last, stinking one of you! I thought I had met one who wasn’t.” She blinked hard to fight off the welling tears. “I was wrong.”





Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends and literature for nigh on half a century.