Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: The Protectors Series by Teresa Gabelman

Overall Series Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars
Sultry Scale:  3 of 5 Flames



The VC Warriors are an elite group of vampires who protect innocents, whether human or those of their own race. This is a paranormal romance series in the trope of fated mates.  Each alpha male vampire warrior is destined to find his fated true mate, whether she be human, vampire or half-vampire.  While each book of this series follows a different fated pair, the books are not standalone reads.  Each book builds on the previous, and follows the continuing story line of a battle against evil vampires wanting to conquer the human race.  I have enjoyed this series.  The books are quick reads and the have gotten more action-packed as the series progressed.  My favorite warriors to date have been Sid and Slade... but they may be replaced once Sloan's book comes out in 2015.

Fated Pairs in this series:
  1. Damon DeMasters and Nicole Callahan.  Nicole is a social worker helping to place human and vampire children in foster homes.  Nicole and Damon are thrown together when a scheme to traffick vampire children is discovered.
  2. Jared Kincaid and Tessa Pride.  Concerned for her brother and his friends who have been turned into half-vampires, Tessa breaks into the VC Warrior compound to abduct a prisoner who may have answers she seeks.  Jared and Tessa join forces to discover who is behind the kidnapping and turning of humans.
  3. Duncan Roark and Pam Braxton.  Trapped in an abusive relationship with enemy to the VC Warriors, Pam goes into hiding.  As leader of the VC Warriors, Duncan knows he must find Pam before the enemy does.
  4. Sid Sinclair and Lana Fitzpatrick.  Sid is the playboy of the group, loving and leaving women at every opportunity.  That is, until he meets undercover police officer, Lana, who can talk to dead people.
  5. Adam Pride and Angelina.  Adam is the half-vampire brother of Tessa from Book 2.  This book has less relationship development between the fated pair, and focuses more on the trafficking scheme uncovered in earlier books.
  6. Slade Buchanan and Jill Nichols.  The sexual tension between sexy Dr. Slade and half-vamp and only female warrior Jill has been building for the past few books. They fight the attraction in the beginning, but we know that never works with fated mates.
  7. Sloan - coming in 2015

Review: The Novice (Sexy as Hell # 1) by Harlem Dae

The Novice (Sexy as Hell Trilogy, #1)The Novice by Harlem Dae
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 5 of 5 flames

London – one meeting, one month of lessons and a landslide of new desires.

My journey to hell started with a decaff coffee. Nothing more than a grey mug full of dull-brown liquid devoid of its most useful ingredient.

One sip, one smile, one touch of her hand and it was soon clear my life wasn’t destined to stay dull. Oh, no, suddenly I had a month of bedroom education planned by a sultry vixen who intended to broaden my horizons beyond my usual peach-pink palette.

She wanted to take me to deep purples and navy blues and the pitch blackness that was pure sin. And on the other side of that blackness was a place that might look like Hell, with debauchery and wantonness, people playing devil’s advocate, luring innocents into the hotter, steamier corners of the world.

Her world.

Oh, yes, she promised each night to take me there and paint me an orange-and-red picture that would come alive, flickering like flames, enticing me, holding me spellbound and eager to learn more. To touch, explore, drown in coming.

And drown I would. I was no match for her tricks and taunts. My only chance of survival was to show her that I wasn't vanilla. I had a rainbow of mastery up my sleeve, too, and if she just opened her eyes, she might be dazzled enough to stay—stay and take ‘my’ lessons. If she didn’t kill me first, that was, with pleasure.

Let me start off my saying that this book was very well-written. It was wonderfully British, and definitely gave me some new one liners for the next time I fancy a bit of rumpy-pumpy. And yes, I found myself reading this in my head with my hilariously fake British accent. You haven't heard funny until you hear a Tennessee twang attempting some posh dialect.

I have had trouble reading British authors in the past... mainly when the book is set somewhere like Texas, but the author is using British English instead of American English. In that context, if the main character says: "I am sat here on a bar stool..." you are going to see some bitchy status update rant from me about the proper use of present participles. (It has happened, more than once.) However, when you have a well-written book like this, or even a nice little Ed Sheeran song, I feel like I've taken a hop across the pond and can sit back to enjoy the tea and strumpets. (I apologize for the bit of a mind wander I took there.)

That being said, a majority of this book was about femdom, and that is just not my kink. So I was thinking most of the way through: "how on earth am I going to rate this?" I didn't really care for Zara's personality. I felt sorry for Victor, and then I viewed him as a bit of a namby pamby. So I was stressing because I didn't think it would be fair to lower a book's rating just because the subject matter wasn't to my taste. Well, lucky for me, the script gets flipped around 80% and Victor is redeemed for me. I realized that I was getting into the relationship between Zara and Victor... even if I didn't dig the lifestyle. But then, THAT ENDING! It was one of those endings that made me yell "No! You can't end it there!" So you sneaky sneaky authors, you have guaranteed that I will continue reading the series. Hats off to you.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Monster in His Eyes series by J.M. Darhower

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 Flames 

Ignazio Vitale is not a good man. I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I'm thinking before I even do.
It's alarming and alluring. It's dark and deadly. It's everything I've ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.
It doesn't take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it's too late. He has secrets, secrets I can't fathom, secrets that make it so I can't walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that's both terrifying and thrilling. He's a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.
I want to hate him. 

Sometimes, I do.
But it doesn't stop me from loving him, too.

I'm a sucker for a good dark story, especially if the dark character redeems himself in the end.  The story of Karissa and Ignazio (Naz) spans these two books, so I am reviewing them together.  When we meet Karissa, she is a very young, somewhat immature, and extremely naive freshman in college. Naz is old enough to be her father.  And he's an enforcer for a mob boss.  The man has secrets and demons.  He is broken and broody. Why do we find these men so attractive?  It's the fixer in us I guess.  But can an 18 year old girl fix man twice her age if he has a secret connection to her past?  You'll have to read both books to find out.  I recommend that you do.  I love Naz, despite his flaws. Karissa was annoying at times, but hey, she's 18.  I can forgive her for that.     

Review: Beneath This Mask (Beneath # 1) by Meghan March

Beneath This Mask (Beneath #1)Beneath This Mask (Beneath # 1) by Meghan March

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name.

The limelight that follows him could expose everything I’m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.

I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.

Will we lose it all when I reveal what’s beneath this mask?

I have seen several of these Maddoff-themed stories since the discovery of numerous large-scale Ponzi schemes over the last few years. I have read a couple of them, all involving a lead character who was the child of the main schemer. (Professional interest - I assisted with securities litigation when I was in private practice.) I decided to read this one because its set in New Orleans, and well, I live here. Unfortunately, while I do like to read legal-themed books... I find myself picking them apart and ranting at all of the idiosyncrasies. For instance, at the beginning of the book, we see Charlotte coming off the witness stand with the AUSA's question ringing in her ears:
How does it feel to know your privileged life has been paid for with other people's dreams?
An AUSA would never ask that. And if for some crazy reason they did, defense counsel would be jumping up to object and move for a mistrial before the question was even finished. But this is the day of Law & Order and CSI, and so I know this goes to the entertainment value. I try to ignore it, I really do.

The story jumps forward to Charlotte in hiding, transformed into a tattooed "bad girl" chick, living under the name Charlie. Alas, she just wasn't believable as a true bad girl. It just screamed poser to me. Our male lead, Simon, was a clean-cut southern boy, son of a congressman and former Navy pilot. I liked Simon... but I didn't like them paired as a couple. As you can imagine, there was a lot of drama back and forth. And in the end, they get their HEA. No cliffhanger. I really liked Con - and I will definitely read the next book in the series which focuses on him.

All-in-all, this story was okay for me. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. I may have liked it more but I started reading it in the midst of a book hangover from my last read (Bright Side by Kim Holden). My favorite part of the whole book was Huck!

Review: Bright Side by Kim Holden

Bright Side
by Kim Holden
Pub. Date:  July 4, 2014
Publisher:  Do Epic, LLC
Pages:  423
Format:  eBook
Source:  Purchased

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you ...
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.
This book made me want to be a better person. Seriously, I'm not being cheesy. Kate is probably the most likeable and inspirational character I have ever read. We should all strive to be more like her.

I'm warning you, this is a very emotional story. You pretty much know something bad is going to happen through the whole book, but knowing that just makes the person you are reading about all the more special. I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts down on this one... so I will just say - Read it. Now. Even if you are not into these types of books, read it anyway. You won't be sorry. I'm not. Be brave. Like Kate.

I am meeting this author at a convention this weekend. I can't wait to shake her hand.

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Review: Axel (Corps Security # 1) by Harper Sloan

Axel (Corps Security, #1)Axel (Corps Security # 1) by Harper Sloan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.

Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.

When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.

Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.

How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

Holy moly, we have hit the hotness motherload when it comes to Corps Security! This group of guys is reminiscent of the Hot Bunch in Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series. I absolutely loved these broody hot ex-Marines alpha males. And where can I find one of my own? I swear these books are the reason I'm still single. They give me unrealistic expectations.

As much as I loved the guys, I did not live Isabelle. At first, I felt compassion for her. However she killed that when she treated Greg and Axel badly. And I probably also had the irrational female hatred for her because she had something I wanted, and you know us girls are ruled by our silly emotions. Wink wink.

But anywho, this story reminded me a lot of Dear John, only with a psycho abusive ex-husband instead of one dying from cancer. So while the story wasnt exactly original, it had enough differences and alpha male testosterone to keep me happy. And the author gets extra points for including a playlist at the front of her book. That's always a great feature because I like the simultaneous stimulation of my eyes, ears and brain.

I rate this one 3.5 stars. I would have liked the writing to be a little more detailed. While I prefer stories with alternating POVs, I felt there were just too many short declaratory sentences in this one. But I will definitely keep reading. I predict my favorite boy will be Maddox Locke.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: No Love for the Wicked (Damned # 2)

No Love for the Wicked
No Love for the Wicked (Damned # 2) by Megan Powell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 2 of 5 flames

It’s taken six months, but supernaturally gifted Magnolia Kelch finally seems to have her surging powers under control. Then she arrives home to find a group of strangers in her beloved farmhouse, and that control is immediately put to the test. Magnolia quickly learns that her “guests” are actually part of the Network—not from the task force headed by her mentor, Thirteen, but a second group, led by British agent Colin St. Pierre.

Unfortunately, Theo, a Network agent who shares an intimate connection with Magnolia, doesn’t trust Colin as a new commander. When team missions collide, Magnolia finds herself in the middle of Network infighting, asking herself who among those closest to her truly has her best interests at heart.

But an even greater threat lies on the horizon. Intent on tracking down the source of Magnolia’s powers, a familiar enemy resurfaces with a plan—one that is far more sinister than the Network has ever seen.

The second book in the series picks up about 6 months after the last book ended. Magnolia is back, and she has grown as a person, and learned to control her emotions and magical powers. This book took the backstory that we got in No Peace for the Damned, and built on it. There was lots of drama, betrayal, action, suspense, and even sex this time! ***insert sexytime dance here*** There was some foreshadowing as to things that are going to unfold throughout the series (i.e. with the man appearing in Magnolia's dreams), and I look forward to how Megan Powell is going to develop the story.

I tend to be a bigger fan of urban fantasy series than paranormals. That's because I liked to follow the same couple throughout multiple books. So I am glad to have found another series to add to my growing list of must-reads.

1. No Peace for the Damned

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Review: No Peace for the Damned (Damned # 1)

No Peace for the Damned
No Peace for the Damned (Damned # 1) by Megan Powell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 0 of 5 flames

Magnolia Kelch is no stranger to pain. Beautiful and powerful, she’s spent her entire life at the mercy of her sadistic father and the rest of the Kelch clan, who have tortured her and tested the limits of her powers. After one particularly heinous night that leaves Magnolia nearly dead, she finally sees her chance for escape…

But this first taste of freedom is short-lived when she collides with Thirteen, head of the Network—a secret organization dedicated to fighting supernatural criminals—who recruits her into the group. Even as she’s coming to grips with this new life and the horrific memories that still haunt her, she’s conflicted by her growing attraction to fellow team member Theo and the emergence of new, untested abilities. After months of grueling training, her loyalty to the team is tested when she learns her target is the Network’s most wanted: the Kelch family.

Revenge may course through her veins, but so does the blood of the Kelches. And opposing her family may cost her the thing she treasures most. After all, Magnolia is still a Kelch. And the Kelch are damned.

This is a dark urban fantasy. Our heroine has had a troubled life full of pain and violence. Now that Magnolia has escaped her the family that put her through hell, she has self-esteem and trust issues, almost seeing herself as the anti-heroine due to her family name. I liked the relationship that Magnolia developed with Thirteen, the head of the supernatural crime fighting team after her family. He really became a father figure to Magnolia, a semblance of a normal family that she desperately needed.  I also liked the tension of the growing attraction between Magnolia and Theo. I can't really say that I disliked anything about this book. The writing style allowed me to connect with Magnolia despite her atrocious upbringing. I especially liked that, even though she was a broken girl who had never known love, she still kicked ass. The end is not quite a cliffhanger... but just an unresolved ending so that you know the series is going to continue.

2. No Love for the Wicked

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Review: Fading

Fading by E.K. Blair

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 1 of 5 flames

Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.

At what point do secrets become lies?

This book is not what I was expecting. The story is about a young woman learning to live again after a brutal sexual assault. Candace, our female lead, is a ballerina in her senior year of college when she is attacked. The story is emotional, evocative and haunting. I never connected with Candace as a character, and I think that is because I did not like the way she handled things following the attack. That makes me feel like a huge judgy bitch because everyone would deal with this situation differently. But that is just my reading style. I tend to always envision myself as the lead character so, when I cannot connect, it detracts from the story for me. I find these books somewhat depressing, so I don't think I can continue on with the series right away. But I will probably pick the next one up when I am ready to read something emotional again.

On a side note, I love books that introduce me to new music. Early in this book, we learn that Candace will need to choreograph a solo to a piece of classical music: Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell. Once the piece was mentioned, I went to youtube and pulled it up and let it play as I kept reading. It is a dark and haunting melody - and perfectly matches this story. I don't know what the full length of the composition is, but the copy I listened to was just over six minutes. It was as I was listening to this piece that Candace was sexually assaulted. And let me tell you - reading what happened in conjunction with the music was fah-reaky! It made the event all the more real, even though I disconnected with Candace after the attack. So if you haven't read the book yet, I encourage you to play the melody once it is mentioned in the book.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Throttle Me (Men of Inked # 1)

Throttle Me
Throttle Me (Men of Inked #1) by Chelle Bliss

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

Suzy’s a control freak and has her life mapped out - work hard, find a man with a stable job, and live happily ever after. She’s content with the status quo, but her plan comes to a screeching halt when he enters her life and turns it upside down.

City gave up on love when his heart was crushed in college, preferring to be the typical bachelor. He spends his nights hopping from one bed to another and his days working at his family tattoo shop, Inked. A chance encounter on a dark road makes him question what he had sworn off forever – a relationship.

A night of passion and lust causes them to question everything. Is City the knight in shining armor to the damsel in distress? Can their relationship survive when a fantasy falls apart and a secret comes out that changes everything?

This is the first book in the Men of Inked Series.

This book made me ranty! I had such high hopes - the average reviews are 4 stars. And that cover - OMG, that cover - it DESERVES a great story. But I was annoyed for the duration of the book. It starts off okay. We meet our smart-girl lead, an innocent who secretly wants to be bad. I thought I would relate to her, especially when she said bad luck follows her and her car breaks down on the side of the road while she is wearing uncomfortable hooker heels. That' would totally happen to me! But after that, it pretty much fell apart .

The writing seemed very simple. Does that even make sense? I can't think of a better way to describe it. And it was very immature. Seriously - I thought if it weren't for the sex, it could be a story about junior high. I mean, at one point, she says "it's on like Donkey Kong!"  And later - she was worried about someone stealing her vintage cassette tapes! WTF?  That made me feel really really old.  Suzy was seriously TSTL. I wanted to smack her at least 50x throughout the book. She was very immature and judgmental. She thought City wasn't good enough for her just because he had tats and piercings. Whatever. I hated her wishy washy behavior with a passion. She was childish and unreasonably jealous. I apologize for all the adjectives in this paragraph, but I really seriously absolutely hated this chick.

City... man, what potential. Tattoos, piercings, a nice bike, a business and money. But that's about all I can say. I think I lost respect for him because he put up with Suzy. She just ruined the whole book for me.  I loved that he called her sugar.  I could totally get down with the sugar endearment... BUT it was not believable for a dude from Chicago. At least to me it wasn't.  You need a deep-voiced drawl to pull that off.

The one good thing about this book? This quote:
Sometimes life doesn't give us what we're looking for, but it gives us what is supposed to be. We just have to be willing to take the plunge.

Will I keep reading? I don't know. I don't trust the reviews now. So I won't continue with the series right away, but I may try again in the future.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Southern Kentucky Book Festival 2015

I've decided to take a road trip and meet up with friends in Kentucky this April for the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in Bowling Green, KY.  I am going to be a total fan girl - because guess who is gonna be there????

That's right - its Herself!  Diana Gabaldon.  Queen of epic historical/Scottish romance.  The event is free to the public, and the attending author list is huge and crosses all genres.  For more information, see the event webpage: Soky Book Fest

And what authors will I be most excited to meet?  Stay tuned as I pluck authors and their books out of the below (complete) list!  

My TBR List for this event:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: Deadly Love Series by Jessica Prince

Destructive Addictive
Destructive and Addictive
(Deadly Love Series)
by Jessica Prince

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

Men cause nothing but pain.
I live my life by these five words. For me, they have always proven to be true. Men have only brought hurt and suffering my entire life, leaving nothing but devastation in their wake.
I fear them. I hate them.
Until him.
Gabriel forced his way into my life, ripping down the walls I’ve built around myself. He wants me, and he’ll stop at nothing to have me. I should be terrified of what he makes me feel. So why do I crave him anyway?
I see the red flags and warning signs, but I just can’t help myself. I’m his obsession. I thought he was my salvation. But now I know his love could destroy me.
Marley is the classic tortured heroine - her childhood was stolen from her and she is running from her past.  While I did not relate to her, my heart bled for the atrocities she suffered as a child.  I fell in love with Gabriel, our sexy male lead, who had a bit of a tortured past himself. I reviewed these 2 books together because the Marley-Gabriel relationship spans these books, and Book 3 (TBR 2015) is going to focus on the relationship between secondary characters.

The insta-love between Marley and Gabriel was not believable given her past. However, it didn't overly detract from the story.  And the length of time it took them to become a couple worked with the length of the book. The first book allowed the relationship to develop between our main characters, while the second book was full of action and suspense.  One thing that I did not like, was that Marley was lacking some common sense.  How many times did she get duped by the psycho ex-girlfriend?  Every time!  That was super annoying.    

I liked that the story was told from an alternating POV - although we heard more from Marlena than Gabriel.  While the idea of the book was not original - it had enough fan favorites to make it enjoyable.  A good recipe for these books seems to be the tortured past, dark secrets, crazy ex-girlfriends, and good secondary characters.  This book has all of those. This was my first time reading Jessica Prince, and I will definitely continue with the series.

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Review: Beautiful Ink (Forever Inked # 1)

Beautiful Ink
Beautiful Ink (Forever Inked # 1) by Nicole Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale:  2 of 5 flames


I have tattooed that single word on more skin than I care to count. It elicits powerful thoughts and emotions for most people.
Loving. Caring.
Supportive. Togetherness.

But not for me. The word family means so much more.
Vicious. Harmful.
Dangerous. Corrupt.

You can’t run forever from the ones who love you.

Note: This novel is not a cliffhanger and can be read as a standalone. Warning: This book is real, beautifully raw, and not for the faint of heart. It is the story of a young girl’s loss of innocence while growing up around a motorcycle club. It is not suitable for children under the age of seventeen due to language, sexual content, and intense subject matter. Based on true events.

This is the story of Helen (a/k/a Hels a/k/a Keller) who grew up in a motorcycle club. She did not have an easy life, to say the least. On the run and hiding from her MC club family, Keller cannot help but continuing expressing her art through tattooing. I was intrigued by this book when I saw the author's note saying the story is based on true events. I don't want to say too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away. Just know that this story is raw and gritty and kept me turning the page until 3am on a weeknight. I would have liked more of an epilogue however, especially given that this story is supposed to be based on true events. I would also like to know whose life events the book was based on - the author's, a friends, etc. The series continues on with Holden's story - which promises to be just as gritty and dramatic. See it here:  Hell's Ink

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Beta

Beta by Jasinda Wilder

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

Warning:  This review may contain spoilers!

Roth and I are on an open-ended tour of the world. Roth being Roth, this means missionary in Morocco, reverse cowgirl in Calcutta, bent over the bow of a houseboat in Hanoi, slow and sleepy on St. John. Anywhere and everywhere, in every conceivable position, and some I didn't know were possible.

Life was pretty incredible.

Until I woke up in his chateau in France, alone. On the bed next to me was a note. There were only four words:

He belongs to me.

If you read my Last Review, you know that I wasn't overly crazy about the first book in this series, Alpha. The overly long intimate scenes hindered the plot development, which prevented me from connecting with the characters. I wasn't gung ho to continue reading the series, until I peeked at the blurb for Beta. And man, what a blurb! I tried to go on to another book - but I kept thinking about the Beta blurb. It sucked me in and I ended up starting the book this morning. I am SOOOOO glad I did. This book is leaps and bounds better than the first one. Everything I did not like about Alpha, was resolved in Beta, then some. Beta is a solid 4 star read, and I will discuss later why I couldn't give it that extra star.

First, for the characters. This book is told in an alternating POV, going back and forth from Kyrie and Valentine and at one part, Vitaly. I really enjoyed the story being told this way, because it allowed us to get to know Valentine more, which is what I was missing from the first book.

Kyrie: I felt like Kyrie regressed a little here. She doubted herself alot, even though she ended up kicking a$$ when it counted. I just didn't like the initial cowering from Gina. However, once she lost her hair, the only person I could see her as is Amber Rose. Think of looks only, and not Amber Rose's attitude. Kyrie is blonde with boobs, butt and curves, and looks good bald. So this is what stuck in my head. Don't judge me.

Valentine: Yay, we finally get to know him in this story, and learn all about his back story and dark dealings as he was trying to make his way in life. I totally fell in lust with Valentine in Beta, and my heart bled for everything that he went through at the hands of the evil witch, Gina. It was an interesting dynamic to see violation from a male point of view, though I didn't think him becoming somewhat catatonic jived with his character. When I first started Alpha, I envisioned Roth as Jason Lewis. He was compared to Alexander Skarsgard later in the book, so I tried to alter my perception, but I just couldn't. He went back to being Jason Lewis for me.

Gina: Holy shitballs batman - Gina is an evil bitch from hell. She took sadistic psychopath to a whole new level. I mean, waterboarding, really?

So I mentioned how the blurb is so fantastic - it pretty much summarizes the first chapter again. And then we are right off into the action. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that Kyrie and Roth are going to be separated for a time, you can tell that from the blurb. I liked this as it allowed the characters to develop separately, and we got to see a lot more of Harris. The book was chock full of suspense and kept me turning the page. And again, the author got me with some unfamiliar terms that I embarrassingly had to google again. Obviously, I am not quite as enlightened as Ms. Wilder (though pegging and fetching wouldn't float my boat anyway, so I don't mind that I didn't know what the heck they were).

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Why didn't I give it 5 stars? Once our characters are reunited, the sex scenes started to get a little long again. I would have preferred if the author would have ended them sooner, or at the end of a chapter, rather than keeping them going. I found myself skimming to the end to get back to the story faster. So that took off a half a star for me. What happened to the other half star? The story is left unfinished, and I simply could not believe it. We see a chapter from Vitaly's POV and learn that he is planning vengeance. But then the book ends, and the author says she doesn't know if she is going to write another one in the series. WHAT?!?!?!? Don't leave me hanging like that - PLEASE! Lucky for us, it looks like Ms. Wilder is going to write that next book, we just don't know when. Omega

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Saving Dallas

Saving Dallas
Saving Dallas by Kim Jones

Overall Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

When the self-righteous, millionaire bachelorette, Dallas Knox walks into Hattiesburg’s largest night club she is looking for one thing – a one night stand with no strings attached. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself at the mercy of the Devil’s Renegades Motorcycle Club and their President-Luke Carmical.
Luke is dangerous, sexy, and dark. The life he lives is far different from the privileged life Dallas is accustomed to.
Can she accept the lifestyle of an MC?
Can she handle the domineering nature of Luke?
Or is it too late to save Dallas from the path she has chosen…

Unfortunately, I just could not get into this book. The writing was very stilted to me and just didn't flow. I found myself rewording the story as I read (not substantively, but writing style). However, I think this is the author's first book so I'm gonna cut her some slack.

I couldn't connect with Dallas as a character. The story started out with her drinking alone in a dive bar... and I just lost all respect for her. Luke, on the other hand, was interesting and a bit mysterious. But we never learn anything about him.

Overall, the story was kinda hokey and unrealistic. I had to chuckle at the part where it described her fabulous closet as having 70 pair of shoes. Come on - she is this millionaire heiress and she only has 70 pair of shoes? I have more than that! The book did pick up about 3/4s of the way through, and there were some nice plot twists and a little action. But things were never really explained. Maybe the back stories and secrets will be explained later in the series. There wasn't a cliffhanger, just an ending that let you know the story wasn't finished. Curiosity will keep me reading.

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Review: Alpha

Alpha by Jasinda Wilder

Overall Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale:  4 of 5 flames

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The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom's hospital bills. My baby brother's tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just "VRI Inc.," and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing…except a single word, on the notes line: "You." Just those three letters.

If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it? I did.  The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: "belong."  A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. "To me."  The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom's hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you're desperate? You don't. I didn't.  And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: "It's time to pay your debt."
Would you have gotten in?  I did.  It turns out $120,000 doesn't come free.
The blurb (above) offers a good teaser of what this book will be about.  It pretty much summarizes the first chapter.  The story is told from the POV of our female lead, Kyrie, a bit of a tortured soul, who has been having a rough go-of-it for the last 7 years.  At a low point, the mysterious checks start coming in the mail.  The synopsis poses a good question - would you cash the check?  I have to say that I probably would - but I would probably obsess over it for a while, do as much research as I could, then let the money sit in the bank until I was absolutely desperate. Now, in real life, would the checks lead to a knight in shining armor riding in to save the day on his white steed?  Not in my life, my benefactor is more likely to be a fucktard in tinfoil on a donkey.  But - that's my lot in life and probably the driving force behind my reading habit.

Anyhoo, Kyrie finally meets her patron, Valentine Roth, only to learn that he has a huge secret that will change their relationship.  The foreshadowing here pretty much gives away the plot (what little there was).  

As far as the characters go, I did not identify much with Kyrie and I never got a clear picture of her in my head. I know that she must have amazing hair because it apparently looked great no matter whether she had been swimming in the ocean, or went to sleep with it soaking wet.  As a curly girl with a head full of spirals - I had to automatically hate her for that.  If I go to sleep with my hair wet, I wake up with something resembling a giant bird's nest.  Hair aside, I did like that she was outspoken and seemed to put her thoughts out there (when compared to a character like Anastasia Steele who was more apt to have an inner monologue than communicate with Christian Grey).  

I liked Valentine Roth as a character, and at first cast him in my head as a Jason Lewis... but later in the book he is compared to Alexander Skarsgard, so my perception altered a bit.  Although I liked Roth, I didn't feel like we ever got to know him.  

In fact, once Kyrie and Roth actually met, they couldn't stay out of bed long enough to let the plot develop.  There were numerous sexcapades, all very detailed and lengthy.  The author really got descriptive here, but wasn't  overly vulgar or raunchy.  <Kudos for sneaking the word "pudendum" in... and getting me to google it.  Yikes!>  So the steam factor was good - there was just a bit too much of it (gasp).  It seems like the lengthy sex scenes hindered the plot development.  I would have liked to see the relationship develop more between Kyrie and Valentine.  

All-in-all, the book was okay - but it didn't leave me satisfied.  I would compare it to Fifty Shades with less story and character development.  Fortunately, the second book in the series is already out, and it sounds like Beta will be a much more interesting book. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nola Author Event 2015

This is going to be my first ever Author Event.  All of these authors write romance.  I learned about the event on Goodreads - so thanks to the member from the Vaginal Fantasy* book club who told me about it.  At first glance, the only authors I recognized were J.M. Darhower and Jasinda Wilder.  But once I started going through my TBR list, I realized that I had many of these books on my list already to read.  So, I have pasted below the books that I will try to cram in before the event in a couple weeks.  I am skipping the musician romances - those don't float my boat.  This may be a little challenge for me - I haven't been in the mood lately for modern type romances.  I have been stuck in the paranormal and urban fantasy genre.  So here goes nothing!  (Consequently, these should also be the first reviews that I officially blog.)

And these are the books that I read prior to learning of the event:

If you have any advice as to what one is supposed to "do" at one of these events, shoot me a comment!  I'm chained to my ereader, so I don't really envision myself getting a bunch of dead tree books (DTBs) signed.

*Yes, Vaginal Fantasy the real name.  They do an awesome Google Hangout/Youtube Channel of monthly book discussions.  And apparently, unbeknownst to me prior to joining the group - it's actually a book genre!  Vaginal fantasy books are romances that have a strong female lead.  If you like this type of book, join us on Goodreads:  Vaginal Fantasy Book Club

Why am I here???

Hello world-
Please don't be cruel to the newbie blogger here.  I'm just a girl who decided to go for it. Don't take me seriously - because I sure don't take myself that way.  I *think* this will be a blog about books... not all books, just the ones that I read.  And those books, again, are not about any serious material.  I think that because I have have to be so stodgy and conservative at work (government attorney here - don't hate me), that my personal life and reading style leans towards the absolutely ridiculous.  I may also throw in some crafty posts - or paleo posts.  And there will likely be lots of posts about me and my little black cloud - and believe me, the stories will be true.  I couldn't make some of this shit up if I tried.  But anyway, as I am a discombobulated person, this will be a discombobulated blog.  Plus, I have trouble maintaining focus - oh look, a squirrel!

So why did I decide to start a blog?  Who knows!?!  I don't.  I think its because I just moved to a new state (Hello, Big Easy!) and I don't know anyone.  And it's freaking hard to make friends as an adult.  Seriously!?! (this word is likely to be way overused in this blog, btw). I mean, if some strange chic just came up to you in the grocery store and said - "Oh, those melons look nice - want to be my friend?" You would make that face, try to inch your way around the crazy lady, then immediately post to all your friends on Facebook about the neurotic chic who is stalking you in the produce department.  You know you would.  Plus - I am an introvert.  I am way shy around people I don't know - unless I have to force it for work - so I would never go up to a random person and comment on their kiwi.  That's just not for me.  So what's one to do?  One thing you should NOT do - google Adult Friend Finder.  Trust me - it's not what you think!  Yikes!  So then, what?  No - I'm not ready to date yet.  I need to find a new girl posse first.  (Rock Chicks! where are you?)  So my big idea is to start a local social book club for women.  So I did - you can see it here:  Chicklits.  And if you are in New Orleans or the surrounding area - you may even want to join us.  

So if I am going to start a bookclub - I figured I should do the responsible thing and start reviewing the thousands of books that I read.  I have been lazy up to now and mostly just give books star ratings.  Plus - I read. A LOT.  Seriously - check it out:
I told ya I read a lot.  You can tell that in 2012, I had no life.*  It was sad really.  But I was living in Miami and I really didn't like it there.  (It's okay to visit, but not for me in the long term.)  And you can also tell the sad years when I was in law school and only got to read really boring law books.  So if I am stopping to review all the books that I read now, it will probably slow down my reading.  That's fine.  I need to stop living in the fantasy world and use my words in non-legal setting (please don't throw shade at me if the occasional stuffy lawyer term pops up in my rants).  Plus - I want to get out of the house and socialize now.  New Orleans has so much to offer - food, music, MARDI GRAS, etc - that I just need to get out and experience it.  (Once I get a girl gang together that is.  The crime here is not conducive to skulking around at night alone.)  

So that's the long version of the reason for this blog (I think - it may change tomorrow). Follow if you want, or don't - it's nothing spectacular right now.  But it will probably be bitchin' in the future!

*Oh - you may want to know how it was literally possible for me to read 591 books in a year... well, I'm a speed reader.  So yes, those stats are true.  I think I read about 100 pages an hour, give or take.  I only measured once when someone asked me - so that may not be a good measurement.


Review: Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book, despite some of the heart/gut-wrenching parts that were difficult to read. I can already tell that I will love the series. I was pulled into the story because I could identify with the heroine, Claire. I found myself cheering for her when she made the right decisions. I started the next book in the series right away. Now, if only I knew where to find myself a Jamie, I'd be all set.

(This is a test - just to see if this posts to my blog. Better review to come in the future.)

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Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I sped through this book, not wanting or able to put it down. Now I am so sad its over and I don't know how I'm going to wait a year for the next in the series.

While I did not identify with Diana, I did get caught up in the storyline. (And can I get my own Matthew Clairmont please?). The characters are vampires, witches and daemons, but I found the story to be more literary than paranormal. It was brilliantly researched and written. I became an instant fan of Deborah Harkness.

(Blog test)

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