February 28, 2011

Review: Boiling Point by K.L. Dionne

Boiling Point
Author: K.L. Dionne
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0515148806
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the author via GoodReads

For more information please visit K.L. Dionne's website.

Chaiten, a long-dormant volcano in Chile, fuses the destinies of two microbiologists, a celebrity scientist, and a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who waits for the one sign that his diabolical plan is about to be put into motion. For the Earth has become a pawn in the biggest gamble ever played with humanity's future-and Chaiten is about to blow.

Boiling Point by best selling author K.L. Dionne is an action packed thrill ride showcasing the intensity of which Mother Nature is capable of. But, along with being extremely dramatic and suspenseful, this novel is also quite thought evoking as the reader is made to weigh the moral and ethical issues surrounding global warming and pollution as the battle to save the planet rages.

As scientific novels go, I always enjoy the injection of actual data; however, sometimes this can serve to weigh a novel down. What I enjoyed most about this novel is that is was able to maintain a highly scientific outlook on volcanology while still making it accessible to all readers. Everything covered is very well discussed allowing the reader to glean the pertinent facts without having to force themselves to continue. This is greatly achieved through the wonderful, flowing writing style invoked by Dionne. This also serves to give a great sense of movement to the story eliciting great emotion and action as the danger of the situation around Chaiten mounts. As the story progresses so too does the wonderful dramatic flair as the characters are put into one suspense laden situation after another constantly gripping the reader and immersing them more fully in the story.

The cast of characters in this novel are a pretty eclectic bunch giving readers a wide range of personalities and belief systems to relate to that somehow makes the story all that more engaging. Each character is nicely developed with both attributes and flaws and their own moral and ethical codes relating to the planet and in some cases justice in general after one character decides to take matters into his own hands for the betterment of the planet. This allows for some great inner turmoil and conflict within the cast. Also, the battle for survival in the face of Mother Nature’s awesome power is its own matter that helped to really make these characters all the more real. The shifting point of views are flawless helping to delve the reader deeply into the varying minds of these interesting characters are they struggle through this cataclysmic disaster for their own reasons. This also helps to give insight not only into the characters’ minds, but into the bigger picture of the novel as well shaping a wonderful pro and con argument for ecoengineering.

Also, serving to make this story intriguing is the underlying mystery surrounding twenty-two tanker trucks driving into the middle of no where. The conspiracy behind this makes for some wonderful reading as the answers are slowly revealed leaving you to make your own conclusions. What at last everything is laid out for the reader, it once again begs the question how far should we go to save the planet? Is it the right of one at the risk of many to implement and untried method? And at what cost to the planet itself?

Overall, this was a wonderful novel that I truly enjoyed reading, of course this could because I’ve always been fascinated by volcanoes, but who hasn’t been at one point in time or another? With wonderful emotional appeal, gripping action and wonderful characters this is one author I will definitely be reading again!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

February 27, 2011

Review: Venice Vampyr by Tina Folsom

Venice Vampyr
Author: Tina Folsom
Series: Venice Vampyr, Book 1
ISBN: 0011964790
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*This novel was provided by the author via Book Lovin’ Bitches eBook Tours

For more information please visit Tina Folsom’s website.

Early 1800s - Venice Italy -

Isabella Tenderini, a wealthy merchant's widow rescues a stranger from drowning in one of Venice's canals. And how does the man repay her selfless act? By kissing her - her, a respectable woman.

Not only is Raphael di Santori grateful for his life being saved, he would also like to thank his rescuer very intimately - more intimately than decorum allows. But then, Raphael has never been one to play by the rules - as a vampire he doesn't have to.

Warning: This vampire novella is sexually more explicit than my other books. So, if you're a little squeamish about things like voyeurism and other sexual taboos, it's safe to assume you won't like this one.

Venice Vampyr, the first in a new series by Tina Folsom, is a marvelously steamy Paranormal Erotic Romance, heavy on the erotic! Love vampires? Love some hot sex? Well, then this book is definitely for you!

I must admit, I was a little shocked when I first started reading this novella by how well written it was. I don’t know why I expected it to be a little lacking, but that misconception was quickly dispatched from my thoughts, all worries laid to rest. I suppose it has something to do with the ‘historical romance’ stereotype I still have firmly lodged in my head despite reading some truly amazing stories. At any rate, this novel was wonderfully developed with a cursory glance at Venice that managed to capture the atmosphere of the 1800’s quite well. I would have liked to see a bit more development within this aspect of the novel, but that’s just me. I love for the worlds to come to life as somehow this helps to make the story somehow more vibrant.

The characters were definitely endearing. I loved Isabella’s fearlessness when it came to saving Raphael from drowning. This initial look at her really set a positive spin on all of my thoughts regarding her. Yet, when she comes to find the more passionate side of herself buried under the fa├žade of propriety I could literally have done the happy dance. There’s just something about characters discovering themselves in this way that truly appeals. And Raphael! What a rake. I simply loved him. He’s wicked and oh so much fun. The chemistry between the two is excellent seeming to go way beyond the mere word ‘hot’. The trust that Isabella places within Raphael, seemingly without merit, was incredible and the very evident protective and tender feelings Raphael harbored towards her was compelling. Together, these two were beyond arousing as he pushed Isabella out of her comfort zones.

I also really enjoyed the original approach to vampires drowning. Something about that was pretty interesting going towards the evil can’t pass over running water myth. However, the vampire’s in Folsom’s world couldn’t be farther from evil if they tried. I’m willing to go as far as wicked, but who doesn’t enjoy a little wickedness in their men? I also really enjoyed the Guardians of the Running Water, or rather a group of people who hunt vampires and kill them by drowning. This was unique and I really would have liked to see this aspect explored a bit more.

That, however, can’t be said about the sex. Wow! Now that was wonderfully explored. Fair warning, there are some light D/s themes, one extremely hot bondage scene, one blazing hot voyeurism scene, and some anal play for both parties. And those of you who don’t like any M/M in your smut, rest easy because there’s none of that.

What I would have liked to see more of in this novel, would have been more exploration of the plot, or rather sub-plot of the vampires being hunted by the Guardians. I think this could have set a wonderfully mysterious tone adding some danger to the plot. While there is a bit with the nice climax of the novella, I just think this could have been built up a bit more. I also would have enjoyed seeing Raphael around his kind a bit more. We only briefly get a couple brief glimpses of his brother Dante, and I just really would have liked to see more interaction, especially regarding Dante’s suspicions about Isabella. I think that could have added some nice tension. However, that’s just my opinion and I have this bad habit of constantly wanting more, especially from good books! And this certainly falls into that category as I would have loved to spend more time getting inside the heads of these two wonderful characters.

Overall, this was a titillating read that was wonderfully written. The characters were endearing, the romance sizzling, and all in all this was just fun read. I will definitely be checking out more of Tina Folsom’s work and I can’t wait to read the next installment in the Venice Vampyr series, Final Affair!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Scars


Advisory: Strong sexual content including voyuerism, light bondange, and anal play.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of the Book Lovin' Bitches Ebook Tours and a copy was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Book Lovin' Bitches Ebook Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely mine and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

February 26, 2011

Review: Rough Cut by Mari Carr

Rough Cut
Author: Mari Carr
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Series: Black and White Collection, Vol. 3
Purchase Information:

For more information please visit Mari Carr's website.

When the screen fades to black, all that remains is love.

Ty Ransome. Reigning king of Hollywood, producer, actor, Look Magazine’s Hottest Man Alive. He has it all—until he reads a book of short stories that touches him in places kept carefully hidden from the tabloid gossip mill. There’s only one way to meet the introverted writer—invite her to Tinseltown to work on a script. The moment he sees her, he realizes why her work haunts him. There’s something missing in his life, and it’s her.

Gwen steps off the plane with reservations. For one thing, her darkly sexual stories are hardly movie material. Then there’s Ty’s reputation as a ladies’ man. Yet she’s won over by his charm and agrees to stay on for a week to get to know him before making her decision. And as the days go by, she discovers there’s far more to Ty than a handsome face.

They eat, drink and breathe the characters in their screenplay, re-enacting scenes that delve into the BDSM realm, setting Ty free to unleash his powerful cravings and exposing Gwen’s deepest needs. Needs she set free on paper…but is not sure she’s ready to make a reality.
Who doesn’t like reading all the latest gossip of Hollywood’s most elite? Certainly, I love me some great gossip so the premise of Rough Cut, the third novel in the Black and White Collection by Mari Carr, held quite a bit of promise for me. This was my first time reading this author as well and I have to say that I have mixed feelings after reading it. On one hand, I enjoyed the conflicted relationship between the characters, however, on the other I completely hated the self loathing going on within the heroine. Most of the novel was built up around sex, not a bad thing in and of itself, but there was little in the way of an actual story, which is a bad thing.

Carr’s writing style is nice creating a fairytale like glow about the setting. I did enjoy the idea of the ‘behind the scenes’ premise delving deeply into the secret life of one of Hollywood’s leading men, however, that’s about where my enjoyment ended. The writing style failed to capture the characters or the story thus it didn’t draw me into the story. There’s a lot of the relationship that ended up on the cutting room floor that I would have liked to see because as hacked as the story comes out, I felt like I missed so much of the growing connection between the characters. Also, as far as the story goes, it never felt like it climaxed, instead staying pretty flat throughout lacking any ups or downs-well, aside from the characters’ moods that is.

The characters themselves were a little flat, with all the development focused on their time spent in the bedroom. I hated the constant hesitation of Gwen to accept what she truly wanted when there was no question that Ty wanted to give her exactly the things she wanted most. The struggle to accept her sexuality was a bit tiring after, oh say, the second chapter because it’s the same things over and over again. Ty was also a little lacking as all we come to see through him is his lustful desire to have Gwen become his slave. Yes, there is some nice chemistry between them when Gwen isn’t thinking, but it failed to really ignite any of my feelings towards them.

Overall, if you want a book filled with pretty much meaningless sex with the pretense that there is indeed meaning behind it, then this is the novella for you. Me? I like a little more development, even when it comes to my smut.

My Rating: 3 out 5 Scars

Advisory: Strong sexual content including BDSM themes

February 25, 2011

Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: The Demon Trappers, Book 1
ISBN: 1429992840
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided via Book It Forward Book Tours

For more information please visit Jana Oliver's website.

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, the stellar first novel in Jana Oliver’s Demon Trapper’s series, is a thrilling YA geared more towards older readers. Filled with mystery, suspense, action and romance this novel also explores the darker topics of loss and finding your place within the world. Wonderfully written and utterly enthralling, I highly recommend this novel to any fan of YA lit or demons in general.

The futuristic world created within this novel is bleak and unlike anything that I have read in the past. This futuristic landscape is not so unlike our own as the world finds itself in a long standing depression where metal and fuel are commodities hard to come by. This unsettling atmosphere makes for a wonderful back drop to a world where demons roam throughout the city, hunted by Demon Trappers and Rome’s Demon Hunters. The atmosphere mirrors the backdrop: grungy, dilapidated and down trodden, which all seem to soak into the very bones of the characters creating a plight that is on the verge of oppressive. The demons of this novel are not the ones we have come to expect from other series, the humanoid and alluring beings who are more seductive then nefarious, but the demons represented in this series are monstrous refugees from hell. Creatures bent on destruction that are beyond dangerous and cunning in their own animalistic way. However, what I really liked about this novel are the varying levels of demons. The higher levels are exactly what you would expect a demon to be while the lower ranking hell spawn are actually pretty cute if not amusing. But, the demons aren't the only source of strife within this novel as reanimators, or necromancers who bring back to life the dead and sell them as slaves to the wealthy, play quite a despicable role as well. However, like everything else within this world that Oliver created there are varying degrees of unseemly behavior within this group as well.

Characterization was beyond wonderful in this series as well. Riley is a pretty typical teen aside from the fact that she is an apprentice Demon Trapper. She's quite gutsy, if not reckless, in her bid to become a Demon Trapper with a determination that is admirable. But, she's also really pretty resilient given all the curve balls that she has to contend with within the novel. I know if I had to endure half the things she does I'd be a sniveling wreck curled up in a ball in the corner of the room. This makes me love her simply for the strength that she exhibits in the face of adversity. Of course, that's not to say that she doesn't have those inconsistent moments, but that can only be expected from a teen as she struggles with finding her place within the world and ultimate battle to find out who she really is. But, Beck was without a doubt my favorite character within the novel and I can only hope we see more of him in the future. Older then his years, he is a veteran of the armed forces carrying a large weight within him. He has flaws and some serious emotional issues that are nicely explored, but despite this he comes across as a strong, caring man bent on protecting Riley even if that means from herself. But, having issues seems to be the norm within this bleak and semi-oppressive world and the other Demon Trappers are not immune. Harper, Riley's new master, is not without his intense flaws, but there is so much going on within his character. Honestly, at the beginning I really despised him thinking that him being in charge of Riley's training would be nothing if not deplorable. And while I was right to a degree, he has his lucid moments when you have to wonderful what is beneath his prickly facade. And then of course there is the romance between Simon and Riley. How sweet can you get? This alter boy actually makes for an interesting compliment to Riley's less then angelic character, but it's the friction that this creates with Beck that I truly found interesting. This is definitely something that I can't wait to see explored within future novels to see if Beck can continue to fool himself into thinking that he is only looking out for Riley's well being, not because of any emotional tie that he has for her. But, likewise I am eager to see how long Riley can be happy with the 'good boy' when her heart keeps turning towards Beck.

But, truly the best part about this novel was the writing. There's a wonderful narrative style to this novel with a shifting point of view between Riley and Beck that give great insight into the world and the characters. The differences between the styles of the characters, the way they think and the things that they observe was truly interesting and really enveloped me into the story. While dual point of views isn't something new, this novel definitely did it in a way that was beyond appealing. Especially as the emotional quality within this novel wasn't quite was I was expecting. The POV's really explore the differences in the way people deal with loss and the different types of loss and struggles that we go through. It was quite intense at times and often had me tearing up.

Overall, this was a surprising novel that I truly enjoyed reading. Creative, edgy and wonderfully original there's still so much to be explored within the world and the characters. I really can't wait to see what happens next within this addictive series and eagerly recommend this to older YA readers as this deals with some pretty deep, dark and intense themes.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

Advisory: Adult themes dealing with sex and alcoholism

February 24, 2011

Review: Etched in Bone by Adrian Phoenix

Etched in Bone
Author: Adrian Phoenix
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Series: Maker's Song, Book 4
ISBN: 1439137307
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher

For more information please visit Adrain Phoenix's website.

SON OF A FALLEN ANGEL. FORGED IN VAMPIRE’S BLOOD. SWORN TO A MORTAL WOMAN. IF DANTE FALLS, THE WORLD FALLS WITH HIM. . . .

THREE LEGACIES ETCHED IN BONE

More beautiful and powerful than any creature the world has ever seen, Dante Baptiste has become the supreme target of the three worlds that spawned him. The mortal agents of the Shadow Branch have tried to control his mind through psychological torture. The vampire elders who guide nightkind society have plotted to use him in their bloodthirsty bid for power. And the Fallen have waited for millennia for Dante to claim his birthright as their Maker. But Dante belongs to no one—except the woman he loves. . . .

ONE PASSION SWORN IN BLOOD

Determined to face the Fallen and the world on his own terms, Dante hopes to piece together his shattered past and claim his future, with FBI agent Heather Wallace at his side. But in Heather’s human family awaits an unexpected enemy. One who could rip Heather from Dante’s heart and fill the holes with bullets. One who could force Dante to choose his darkest destiny—as the Great Destroyer. . . .
Etched in Bone, Adrian Phoenix’s fourth installment in the popular Maker’s Song series, is a thrilling novel that once again picks up immediately following the events of the previous novel, Beneath the Skin. Edgy, fast paced and tantalizingly addictive this is without a doubt the best novel in this amazingly enjoyable series to date.


Again, the world created by Phoenix is broken open to reveal even more suspense laden action as the group find themselves back in New Orleans, forced to take refuge within the walls of Club Hell and once more denied the desperately needed rest that they deserve. Dante’s richly built New Orleans once again takes center stage and it’s hard not to say ‘it’s good to be home’ in the wake of all the on-the-road turmoil. However, if you think things would finally begin to settle down for the group of weary souls, think again. Picking up in Gehenna, Dante rescues Lucien and is given an unwanted introduction to the Fallen which does not exactly what you would expect; then again, perhaps it does given Dante’s usual brash manner. The atmospheres the celebratory chaos of Gehenna is aptly captured leaving the world feeling exceedingly vivid. While we don’t spend much time in the Fallens’ realm, it was still nice to get a feel for those who call it home, of course this isn’t exactly a good thing. We come to find that they are just as treacherous and covetous as any human monster eager to get their hands on Dante for their own gain. Back in the mortal realm, the area around St. Louis No. 3 is in chaos after the shock wave of Dante’s brute forced entrance into Gehenna. The scene is captured wonderfully and sets a nice tone of impending destruction for the novel.

The characters are once again wonderfully developed and even more brilliantly explored. Dante’s fracturing psyche becomes an even bigger point of contention within the novel, his grip on reality fleeting at best. There’s a great emotionality surrounding him including superbly expressed tones of grief and pain as well as contempt of not only himself, but of those that seek to use him. He retains his usual flair of insolence and defiance and yet in this novel we see him finally lowering his shields and listening to those around him. Imagine how shocked I was to see this! However, while some characters couldn’t pull of this off without looking disdainful, Dante’s acceptance while under grim circumstances is actually pretty graceful. It comes off as being organic expressing his growing character. Von and Heather are once again the sturdy protectors guarding not only Dante but trying to protect what little grip on his sanity that he holds. As always, their devotion towards Dante is unquestionable and I loved seeing them become more vocal on their thoughts about his actions. Finally, it seems like they are bucking his need to do things his way forcing him to accept not only their love and support, but their help and guidance. Annie, however, is still Annie making it very hard not to want to strangle her. But, with some interesting developments within this novel it makes me curious to see what her character will do in the future and how this will play out.

The plot is once again threaded with complex and lofty sub-plots, but as in the previous novels you can feel the loops tightening, but in this novel they seem to finally pull the noose taut around Dante and his friends. Sub-plots are finally getting more exposure, the agendas behind them becoming clearer as the characters behind them start enacting their nefarious plans. I enjoyed not seeing the Shadow Branch and the FBI as much, instead watching the key players who have gone rogue from the organizations. This leads to more imminent action and suspense as they circle closer and closer to their prey and Club Hell. This adds to a very claustrophobic feeling that mirrors the characters thoughts, ‘We’re running out of time.’ Never before has this been more evident as even more unanswered questions come to light.

Overall, this novel was the most enthralling of the lot with more action, suspense, drama and romance then ever before. Amazingly written with pitch perfect characterization, this is a must read for fans of the series! Of course, the thrilling and maddening ending that we’ve become familiar with is present leaving us once again screaming for more! I seriously can NOT wait for the next installment, On Midnight’s Wings!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars

Adivsory: Some sexual content

Review: Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams

Rogue Oracle
Author: Alayna Williams
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: Oracle, Book 2
ISBN: 1439182817
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher

For more information please visit Alayna Williams's website.

Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around - and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn't need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards - and Tara's increasingly ominous dreams - suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationships with the mysterious order known as Delphi's Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen...
Who wouldn’t want to be able to decipher what the future may be bring? We do it everyday in the simplest of ways: flip a coin, ask a Magic Eight Ball, even look for signs to guide us in our daily routine. In Rouge Oracle, the second novel in the Oracle series by Alayna Williams, we are met with a protagonist that does just that. Equal parts mysticism and police procedural, this novel has something for everyone combining to make one thrilling Urban Fantasy novel that’s a can’t miss.

The unique premise of this novel is really what attracted my initial attention as I’ve always been fascinated by the Tarrot. But, what struck me most when I actually started to read the novel was the every accessible police procedural base underlying the story. It was definitely a bit of a surprise to find these two elements of the arcane and the mundane intertwining, but it made for an extremely intense story that was very relevant in today’s world. I also really enjoyed the throwback to past tragedies in the form of Chernobyl, something that I’ve only ever known the barest of facts about. Williams did a wonderful job of making this atrocity extremely real in a way that I had never experienced before through the eyes of her antagonist, The Chimera. These very real ties to the ‘real’ world were perfectly injected into the story to give it a life of its own making it accessible and eerily plausible.

The characters are likewise well developed and this being my first time reading this series, I was quite surprised to find myself easily drawn into their lives. They all have flaws, suspicions and uncertainties making them very three dimensional. Tara is interesting with a very distinctive insight into the world. As a Tarrort reader and forensic psychologist she marries these two very different professions, one grounded in science and the other in mysticism, in a very useful and profound way. Because of the insights she can gleam from the drawing of a card, her hunches and theories propel this story in directions that her mundane lover would not have dreamed possible. Harry Li, while ignorant of all things magical and more then a little skeptical, however, comes to trust Tara’s ability without question. The typical government agent, he’s thorough and disciplined and yet because of his time spent within the Special Projects division he’s beginning to loose himself in a world he doesn’t quite understand. The connection between these two characters is nice, but quite subtle. While you can tell the emotions they have for one another, it’s not really ever voiced and show in only the slightest of ways. I think this is one of the few points within the novel that could have been improved upon with more attention given to actually building this into something tangible. But, where the romance may have faltered, the sense of vengeance was more then present in the creepy development of the Chimera. However, while this character is without a doubt vile and contemptible, there is a wonderful sense of pain and loss about him. His need to feel a part of something is touching, making him understandable to a point. Yet, how he goes about ‘connecting’ to others is extremely disconcerting as he absorbs the thoughts and knowledge of those he assimilates into his being. And believe me, this assimilation is not a pretty picture!

Fast paced action with lots suspense is the norm in this novel as the characters race against time to stop the Chimera’s dastardly plan to share his pain with the world. This definitely keeps the story moving and the readers’ attention firmly rooted as the plot flows effortlessly from the mystical to the practical. The flowing writing style makes this a captivating read building a world and characters that leave you craving more. There are a lot of plot lines left open for future novels that show great promise of being just as intriguing as this one.

This is an utterly original novel that I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend this read to any lover of Urban Fantasy with a penchant for police procedurals. And if you're like me and are unfamiliar with this series, Rogue Oracle is a perfect stand alone novel that is easily accessible to all readers. However, I loved it so much, I will be going back and picking up the first novel in the series, Dark Oracle, and suggest other readers do the same! Believe me, this author is worth it.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

February 23, 2011

Want it Wednesday [14]



Venice Vampyr (Venice Vampyr #2)
by Tina Folsom

Venice, Italy - early 1800s
Viola has been given three months to live but she refuses to die a virgin. She travels to Venice where she wants to experience physical pleasure with a man without causing a scandal for her family. Afterward, she plans to take her own life to ensure she exits the world painlessly and with dignity. Unfortunately, the man she meets in a disreputable club couldn't be a worse choice for her plans.

Dante, a hedonistic vampire, saves Viola from a violent rake. To stop her from seeking out even more dangerous men to find carnal pleasures, he offers her a night of passion in his arms, only to discover she's a virgin.

Viola flees, disdainful of the sex act and determined to end her life. Horrified, Dante stops Viola from harming herself and proceeds to deliver the pleasure he promised - one kiss and one touch at a time until she's ready to take all of him, over and over again.

Then events force Dante's hand ...

........................................................................

Broken Angel (House Phoenix #1)
by S.W. Vaughn

When Gabriel Morgan's sister disappears somewhere in New York's underground, he'll do anything to save her. But finding her is only the beginning, because Marcus Slade won't let her go for less than ten million dollars – earned through Gabriel's blood.

Slade, one of five ruthless leaders of an organization identified only by a symbol, runs hookers and street fighters, and never gives up what's his. Including Gabriel's sister. To win her freedom, Gabriel is forced to undergo a brutal training program with Slade's top fighters in order to become one of them. He is branded, broken, given a new image, and a new name.

In the ring, Gabriel is known as Angel…and he does not lose. Because the price for losing is his sister's life.

........................................................................

Truth or Demon
by Kathy Love

Hot? Hell, Yeah.


If you ask Killian O'Brien, Hell gets a bad rap. True, he's a demon, so he's bound to be a little biased. But he's got great job security, all the women he can handle, a body to die for--literally--and free reign to do as he likes. Or he did, until teenager Daisy Reed and her two friends got hold of a book of spells and summoned him to do their bidding. Their demand: find Daisy's older sister, Poppy, a boyfriend. Can't be that difficult, right? It's not like the woman is unattractive. Truth be told, Poppy is irresistible--and mind-blowingly sexy. Which is exactly why finishing this simple little assignment so he can be sent back where he came from is turning out to be the hardest thing Killian's ever done. . .

February 22, 2011

[CLOSED] Giveaway: Crimson Wind by Diana Phoraoh Francis



Crimson Wind
Author: Diana Phoroah Francis


THERE ARE GOOD GUYS. THERE ARE BAD GUYS. AND THEN THERE’S MAX.


Max knows what trusting the wrong person can cost you. Her former friend Giselle, a powerful witch, enslaved Max years ago, turning her into a Shadowblade—a deadly warrior compelled to fight for Giselle. But there’s more at stake now than Max’s thirst for revenge. The Guardians, overseers of the magical world, have declared war on humanity and on any witches not standing with them. Max and Giselle have come to an uneasy truce in order to protect what’s left of Horngate, their coven’s home. Max would do anything for Horngate—even give herself over to a mysterious otherworldly creature in the nearby mountains in exchange for his help. But first, she intends to save the mortal family she left behind. And Alexander, the Shadowblade warrior who could be her closest ally or her deadliest enemy, is going with her.

On a road trip into the unknown, Max and Alexander face wild magic, desperate enemies, and battles that bruise both body and soul. But the greatest challenge will come from unexpected revelations that test everything Max believes about who she is—and where her loyalties lie. . . .

Read my review HERE.

Giveaway

I have an extra copy of this wonderful second installment in the Horngate Witches series to give to one lucky commenter.

Rules:
  • This contest ends March 4, 2011
  • Open to US residents only
  • To enter please leave a comment with a valid email address
  • All winners will be chosen via Random.org
Extra Entries:
  • +1 for being a GFC follower (new/old)
  • +1 for being an email subscriber
  • +1 for following BLR on twitter (@Wenj_BL)

February 21, 2011

Review: Beneath the Skin by Adrian Phoenix

Beneath the Skin
Author: Adrian Phoenix
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: Maker's Song, Book 3
ISBN: 1439137293
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

For more information please visit Adrian Phoenix's website.

CHAOS CONTROLS HIS FUTURE. ONE MORTAL WOMAN COULD BE HIS SALVATION. THE COUNTDOWN TO ANNIHILATION WILL BEGIN WITH DANTE'S CHOICE....THE FATE OF THREE WORLDS...

The dark pieces of vampire rock star Dante Baptiste's past are violently emerging, and it is only a matter of time before the Fallen discover he is the creawdwr they have sought for thousands of years. The destruction he left behind in Oregon threatens to reveal his identity as Fallen Maker and True Blood, exposing the young nightkind to shadowy predators -- mortal and supernatural -- who will do whatever it takes to win his favor...or destroy him.

RESTS IN DANTE'S HANDS.

When beautiful FBI special agent Heather Wallace went AWOL on assignment, she chose irresistible Dante over the shady government forces that now stalk them both. Heather has her own secrets of the past to uncover, but she is also the only one who can hold her nightkind lover together when his dangerous quest for the truth threatens to send him over the edge. And as she and Dante fi ght for their survival, she realizes they must work together to protect their future -- before his mysterious destiny tears them apart....
Beneath the Skin, the third installment in the Maker’s Song series by Adrian Phoenix, picks up immediately following the events of In the Blood. As has come to be expected from this thrilling series, there’s a seemingly nonstop onslaught of danger as plots and players eager to both protect and/or obtain Dante come out from the shadows. With a wonderful build up of action and suspense throughout and a pinch of romance this is one novel, and series, that I highly recommend

The world Phoenix created in the Maker’s Song series is ever expanding with heavy ties in the mortal, vampiric and angelic worlds. Each aspect of these realms is heartily explored and built, slowly revealing layer upon layer of hidden and nefarious agendas from all sides. While this has always been a rather broad series, it is wonderfully developed divulging minimal amounts of information to eager readers. This allows for some enthusiastic anticipation throughout the series leaving the world always feeling fresh and new despite being the ever growing number of novel within this series.

But, what really makes this series a must read for me are the characters. They are so wonderfully developed that they could literally step off of the page. These vividly depicted characters all have unique personalities that allow readers to either fall in love with them or loathe them…or in Dante’s case sympathize. I mean, here is a truly endearing character that has a wonderfully defiant, solitary streak and yet he’s so accessible. He cares unconditionally about those around him giving all of himself without reservation in spite of the hellish upbringing enforced upon him by the Shadow Branch. Broken doesn’t even begin to describe him and yet I can’t bring myself to actually call him that. True, he may be fractured almost irreparably but there is still a wonderfully delicious spark in him that clamors to be released amongst the ensuing battle to serperate the here and now from his tortuous and blood curdling memories. Heather, former FBI agent and lover, is smart, determined and has a backbone of steel as desperately tries to tether the tormented True Blood Maker to the present in a seemingly loosing battle to maintain his sanity. Her loyalty to Dante is only overshadowed by her love for him. In fact, all of the characters Dante surrounds himself with are utterly loveable on this front. Their loyalty and love of him is so pure that they will go to any lengths to keep him safe whether he likes it or not. Even the more despicable characters in this novel like the ‘heroes’ are fully developed filled with reasons and excuses to justify their behavior. And the fact that I can actually loathe them is a major point in this novel's favor as the deep exploration into their characters' even goes on to the point of they are blinded by the truth behind their actions, eager to put off self scrutiny under the guise of ‘national security’. While some of these characters do eventually become somewhat redeemable after seeing the bigger picture most are simply self serving, manipulative and just plain sadistic.

This leads to a lot of action throughout the novel geared more towards espionage and police procedural then an urban fantasy novel. In truth, a lot of this book reads like a political thriller with the various shadow branches of the government plotting against this little band of Nightkind and mortals. Add to that the chase from the Fallen eager to get their talons into Dante and plop him in the Chaos Seat and it’s full on Bedlam. But, there are still a few in the world eager to protect the Fallen True Blood Maker, however, this too leads to questions of motive as vampires start the process of trying to win over Dante’s trust. In the end, this overwhelming onslaught of players can be daunting as you try and keep track of motives. The flip-flopping of sides throughout, converting enemies into allies, adds to the chaos as even the good guys can often come off as being questionable in a world where truth and trust is often in short supply.

Overall, this novel showed the ever expanding world of this novel perfectly as well as the tenuous grasp that Dante holds on reality and his sanity. It leads to a lot of questions and the action packed conclusion leaves you demanding more! This is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy series and I eagerly recommend it to anyone who loves vampires and angels. However, as can be surmised from my review, this is not a stand alone novel and you should really begin with the first installment A Rush of Wings, you won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars



Other Novels in this Series:
A Rush of Wings | In the Blood  | Beneath the Skin  | Etched in Bone

February 19, 2011

Review: Cop Appeal by Ava Meyers

Cop Appeal
Author: Ava Meyers
Series: Red Hot Cops, Book 2
ISBN: 001203505X
Purchase Information:

*Novel provided by the author for a honest review

For more information please visit Ava Meyers's website.

People used to call her Sure-Thing-Sarah, but the only thing Sarah Larson’s sure about these days is her continuing desire and love for undercover cop Luke Anderson. Only Luke comes from money, and he’s the most honorable and sexually adventurous man she knows. Four years ago, she committed the biggest mistake of her life--fearing she wasn’t good enough for Luke, she left him to marry another cop. One, it turns out, who’s dangerously possessive.

Now, a year after her divorce is final, Luke is back and ready to show Sarah exactly what she’d been missing all this time. He’ll start by accepting her offer of mind-blowing sex in the event her marriage ever ends. Since Sarah’s a woman of her word, she gives in to Luke’s demands. For two days, she commits herself to pleasuring him and to being pleasured in return.

Eventually, Sarah’s old fears rise up to haunt her, but she’s seen the happiness she adds to Luke’s life. Their physical bond is spectacular, but there’s humor, affection, and tenderness there, too.

Sarah’s determined to give their relationship a chance, but first she must confide one final fear to Luke: That when her ex-husband, the man who’s been stalking her for weeks, learns of Luke’s return, he’ll make sure Sarah’s second chance at happiness is destroyed forever.
Cop Appeal, the second novel in the erotic romance series Red Hot Cops by Ava Meyers, is just as addictive and enticing as the first novella in this wonderful series. Again, Meyers demonstrates her amazing ability to transport the reader into the lives of the characters. Intense, romantic and extremely erotic this is one novella that should not be missed!

This time we follow Luke, on of the under cover police officers briefly glimpsed in Copping To It. While he is definitely the bad boy presented in that story we now come to see the more protective 'softer side' of his nature as he is reunited with the woman that he loves who walked out of his life many years prior. Despite a quick intro into the respective characters, we are easily brought into the simmering passion that still exists between them. Immediately, the spark is there and I can't help but be impressed by Meyers's talent in this respect. Normally, I can't stand characters that suddenly fall into bed after only a few pages, and yet with this series it's rather organic as she effortlessly combines thoughts, dialogue, and emotions into moments filled with pure unadulterated passion.

The characters, as have come to be expected, are wonderfully developed with human flaws and fears. Sarah is self-deprecating as she is filled with self worth issues surrounding her relationship with Luke. Not raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, she's had to work for everything she's gotten. Considering herself nothing more then trash in comparison to Luke's wealthy upbringing she chose years ago to leave him before he could hurt her feeling that letting Luke go would be best for them both. Luke, on the other hand, honestly loved her and has been pining for her for years. When he sees the opportunity to step back into her life in the form of a promise Sarah made before marrying he eagerly jumps at the chance to win her back. Despite his rogue-ish appearance, he is quite genuinely a loving and caring man eager to bring every happiness and pleasure he can into Sarah's life. His charming sense of humor is a complete contrast to every preconceive notion that I had about him. That paired with the very evident alpha streak within him only serves to make him that much more appealing. The tender way he sweeps away her concerns about her upbringing leaves no question that he is in the relationship for the long run, despite Sarah's misguided conviction that he is merely using her.

While the build up of trust and passion is amazing, I also loved the build up of the threat that Sarah's ex-husband presents. Walters, also a cop, has been harassing Sarah for months. Finally desperate to be rid of him Sarah goes to Internal Affairs looking for help. When Luke steps back into her life she's eager for him not to find out about her stalking ex uneasy about what either he or Walters would do to one another. When Luke steps into his protective role, she's both thrilled and worried. This tension sets a nice undertone within the story promising suspense and action. However, it was here that I found this novella to be a bit lacking as the showdown between the two men is rather rushed. I would have loved to see more go on between these two and get more then just the impression of threat. When he shows up drunk with only the evidence in his car pointing towards his darker intentions I couldn't help but be a little disappointed. In the future, I would love to see this series become a bit more rounded with both passion and action to up the suspense within the novellas. I think it would make things so much more appealing if we could see these strong, protective alphas in action outside of the bedroom as well as in.

Overall, this was an amazing novella that I truly enjoyed reading and wonderful compliment to the series as a whole. It had everything one could want and left me eagerly awaiting the next installment to see who the next sexy man in blue is! Those who love their men hot and their romance hotter, then this series is definitely for you as it will not disappoint.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Scars


Advisory: Graphic sexual content including m/f/m

February 18, 2011

Review: Entice by Carrie Jones

Entice
Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Series: Need, Book 3
ISBN: 1599905531
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by Abigail @ All Things Urban Fantasy for review

For more information please visit Carrie Jones's website.

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that’s not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he’s been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it’s taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there’s that other small problem: Zara’s been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn’t just turned… She’s Astley’s queen. 
Entice, the third novel in the Need series by Carrie Jones, picks up immediately following the events of Captivate with lots of unresolved issues surrounding Nick's death and the hope that he can be returned from the mystical realm of the gods, Valhalla. Steeped in wonderful mythology and a myriad of creatures including Weres, Valkyries and Pixies this is a world that is both appealing and unique. But, while this wonderfully written series has always been a source of greatcharacters and intriguing plots this latest installment has also proved to be stagnant where development is involved.

The world Jones created in Need is still thriving with a plethora of predicaments arising from the world of Pixie. The unique perspective involving Norse mythology is a refreshing twist in a genre filled with superstition. There is a lovely tone of innocence and hope surrounding the novels of this series despite the ever increasing plight of that the characters come to find themselves in. Again, this is quite original when most novels try to play up the doom and gloom aspects. It sets a wonderful tone for the novel that makes you want to read it and lets you know that you won't be caught up in a lot of unnecessary angst. However, because of this the action and suspense of the novel also looses a lot of its impact as does any emotional appeal that the characters might present. Nothing feels immediate to the characters, thus to the reader, or to the plot. It simply becomes an adventure that Zara and her band of friends find themselves caught up in.

But, it isn't the world or the lack of action that diminishes the novel, it's the characters themselves. In Need we are introduced to a wonderfully eccentric Zara who recites phobias seemingly nonstop.She's cute and quirky and forms a hopeless romance with Nick. She may not be tough per say, but she makes snap decisions and accepts the consequences that come with them. In Entice she's no longer the Zara that we've come to know and love. Instead, she's very diminutive and hesitant to take action. She focuses on one goal, the release Nick from Valhalla, and doesn't really stop to consider the consequences of such a head strong plan to those involved or to her King, Astley. She comes off as overly selfish and the lack of growth really set me on edge considering how much she's been through. I definitely would have enjoyed more insight into her changing world and the emotions and feelings that comes with it. What I did enjoy was the growing romance between her and Astley. He's a very charming and engaging character who does everything within his powers to make her happy. And yet, even he comes off as sulking and overyly pouty. The lack of authority or power makes me question how he can rule over anything making the entire premise of this novel questionable. Even the dialogue is a bit overly simplistic for young adult characters and comes off as being extremely immature.

The plot development was good, but again, even this failed to really live up to expectation. Much of the story is spent trying to find the pathway to Valhalla instead of actually helping to steep the mythical realm in any sort of plausible light. It's more a dream world that's alluded to with very little detail given to the myths surrounding it. Add to that the foreshadowing of a war that isn't well explained or built up and there in lies so many of this novels problems. What I can say is that the novel is a quick read and I did enjoy the journey regardless of the feeling that little to nothing was ever truly accomplished. I think unfortunately that this can most easily be summed up by describing it as a shallow plot more geared towards build up for future novels then anything truly substanial in itself.

Overall, Entice was good but still didn't manage to achieve the impact of the debut novel in this series, Need. There's a lot that has yet to be explored and this instalmment came across as a very simplistic in regards to both emotionality and development. However, that said, I do still hold hope that this series will regain some of it's original charm and appeal and will definitely stick with it out of sheer optimism.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Scars