Friday, April 26, 2013

RT Convention

So there will be few if any updates for the next week as I will be attending the RT Book Lovers Convention in Kansas City. If I can figure out how to upload photos and post them to the blog onsite, I will do so but I suspect it will be after my return before I do a convention blog post.

Hope to see some of you in Kansas City!

Linger review

Linger by Maya Banks contains two erotic novellas - Stay With Me and Songbird. From the synopsis, I had expected to enjoy Stay With Me more than Songbird but I actually liked Songbird better.

Stay With Me was okay but I had hoped for a great deal more from the story in the way of emotional growth and understanding. When Catherine walks away from Logan and Rhys and they follow to try to get her back, I expected a lot of the story to be the three of them working through the problems in their relationship but that isn't what Banks does - she mostly skips right over that which was disappointing. While the sexual relationship is repaired swiftly and early in the story, I felt that the rest of the relationship got shortchanged.

Songbird, which I didn't expect to enjoy very much, ended up being very good. The characters are painted well, their backstory is given enough attention so I didn't feel lost but not so much that it overwhelms the present line of the story, and the relationship between the three is full of emotion and chemistry. Even the action is done well. While I would have liked to read more with Taggert, Greer, and Emily, the constraints of a novella length story inevitably limit that. However, despite the brevity, Banks paints a sensual and vivid picture and doesn't stint on details or history just to keep her word count in check. She does a great job of balancing the need for fewer words with the need for detail.


Love can help broken spirits soar again…

Years ago, Greer and Taggert meant everything to Emily. Their cavalier rejection sent her into the arms of their youngest brother. Her angelic voice launches her to stardom—until tragedy shocks her into silence.

Grieving for their brother, Taggert and Greer take Emily back to Montana, determined to help her heal and find her voice again. Under the protective shield of their love, she begins to blossom. Then an old threat resurfaces. Now the men who love her face a fight for what they once threw away.

Stay With MeCatherine hopes her announcement to the two men in her life—she’s pregnant—will be the perfect start to the vacation they promised her: two weeks on a Jamaican beach. No cell phones, no emails, no business. But when they blow her off for yet another “business emergency”, she packs her bags for her long-awaited vacation—alone.

When Logan and Rhys come home to an empty house, they realize two things: One, it was a mistake to take Catherine for granted. Two, they’re not willing to just let her walk out of their lives. Getting her back will be the toughest deal they’ve ever negotiated.

Warning: Linger contains lots of knot-in-the-throat emotional scenes, hot loving, ménage a trois, multiple partners, adult language and situations and committed polyamorous relationships.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hecate's Own review

Hecate's Own by Dana Marie Bell is the second book in the Heart's Desire series about werewolf wizards and their mates.

I've been anxiously awaiting Hecate's Own since I read Shadow of the Wolf and Bell does not disappoint. In fact, I think I liked Hecate's Own better than Shadow of the Wolf though it's a close call :) I had enjoyed Zach's character in the first book and was glad that Bell further fleshed out Zach's emotional issues in the second book and didn't just focus on his magical abilities. His strength, humor, and deep love for those he considers his made for a compelling character while his battered self esteem and outsider status keep him from being too perfect. Jo, on the other hand, starts as a character I didn't like but she learns from her mistakes and is willing to risk a lot in order to help Zach so she grew on me and by the end, I really liked her.

It was fun to read about the Beckett and Evans families again and to see inside the witches court. New characters like the Witch Prince and Gen were fascinating. I even liked learning more about the evil Godwins :) The chemistry between different characters and the camaraderie among the Beckett brothers and between the Becketts and the Evans families is fun to read and the action in the story definitely keeps it moving along quickly.

It's a toss up whether I want to read Gareth's or Daniel's book next - though of course I really want to read both! I've said it before and I'll say it again - Bell writes stories and series that are addicting and I wouldn't want it any other way.


When a witch is hot for teacher, the sparks are sure to fly.

Zachary Beckett has been a screw-up most of his life, but he's finally done something right. He saved his brother's life at great personal cost, and now he's on his way to Cleveland to rain as a witch. There he meets Johra Yashodar, a teacher with the belief that Zach is still a screw-up. It isn't long before Zach realizes he's hot for teacher.

Jo has never met someone like Zachary Beckett. His blue eyes haunt her, his body is made for sin and his magic... well. The less said about that the better. He's the worst witch she's ever met, bar none. But Jo is determined to help him, and to do that she'll fight the attraction she feels towards him tooth and nail.

But things aren't always what they seem, and when Zach realizes he's under a hex he comes into his own... as one of Hecate's Own. Chosen by the Goddess Herself to fight evil, it's up to Zach and his brothers to save Jo from a fate worse than death.

Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, graphic language, a sexy, awkward, blue-eyed wolf-witch and a woman who can make his dreams come true.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

His Broken Angel trailer

Beth Ciotta has a new trailer for her novella His Broken Angel, book 1.5 in the Glorious Victorious Darcys series, to be published in May. Her Sky Cowboy, book 1, was a wonderful steampunk romantic adventure that I highly recommend.

The second full length novel, His Clockwork Canary, will be out in June. I can't wait to read both of these new adventures!

Are Best Selling Authors Turning to Self Publishing?

An article in the New York Times a couple weeks ago discussed the rise of best selling authors using self publishing, mostly through their publishers' efforts. This type of hybrid self publishing - where an existing publisher provides the option for new or backlist books of their authors - is apparent to anyone seeing the plethora of old titles being newly released in ebook form these days.

But is it really self publishing if a publishing house is behind it? If the publisher still provides an editor and some of the basic marketing? Or is it just another service of a publisher to its contracted authors?

I don't have the answers to these questions but as a reader, I find it heartening that publishers seem to be attempting to embrace some of the changes in the industry even if they are still balking at others like ebook lending at libraries.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bound in Death review

Bound in Death by Cynthia Eden is the fifth book in Eden's Bound series featuring vampires and werewolves. Eden has her own twist on vampires and on the combination of the two species.

As with the first four books, Bound in Death features a mega-alpha male in werewolf Alerac - a male stubborn and determined enough to search for his mate for 200 years. He is ruthless and violent but his mate brings out every protective and possessive instinct of both man and beast. When Alerac finally finds Keira/Jane, she is understandably confused and unsure who can be trusted. She doesn't remember anything prior to the past six months and certainly doesn't remember Alerac. However, it doesn't take long for our heroine to find her core of steel and to take action against those looking to harm her and Alerac.

I enjoyed Bound in Death a great deal. Eden has a fast paced story and a descriptive writing style that flows well and keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. There are no lags or bogs and I always get sucked into her stories. She writes strong, interesting characters -  the good, the bad, and the ambivalent - that I feel invested in and empathize with easily. The ending felt a tad rushed and I would have liked slightly more detail on the transformation of Alerac and Jane through the mating as it was different from the ones in previous books but other than that it was a fantastic read. Eden also set up (I believe) the next book in the series featuring Jane's twin brother Ryan - at least I hope it's the next one because I'd really like to see what happens with him and Zoe.

Bound in Death was published as an ebook on April 15, 2013. While it is not necessary to read the first four books in the Bound series in order to read Bound in Death (there are no spoilers for previous books), I am the type of reader who is compelled to read things in order. So for those of you like me, the first four books are: Bound by Blood, Bound in Darkness, Bound in Sin, and Bound by the Night.


She can’t remember him…
He can never forget her.

For over two hundred years, alpha werewolf Alerac O’Neill has been searching for his mate, Keira McDonough, a woman who was taken from him and imprisoned by a dark vampire master. He’s hunted for her, endlessly, using vampire blood to extend his life. He has become a vicious predator, feared by all the supernaturals. His hold on reality seems to slip more each day because he is consumed by her.

Only…the woman he discovers in a small Miami bar isn’t the Keira that he remembers. In fact, this woman doesn’t remember anything. She calls herself Jane Smith, and she has no memory at all of Alerac—or of her own past.

Now that she’s been found, Alerac knows that his enemies are going to start closing in on her. Jane may try to act human, but she’s not. She’s a pureblood vampire princess, incredibly powerful and incredibly valuable. His enemies want to use her, her enemies want to destroy her, and Alerac—he just wants her.

If he can’t make her remember him, then Alerac has to seduce Jane into loving him once again. Because now that he’s found her, he’ll fight hell—and every sadistic vampire that stalks the night—in order to keep her safe at his side.

Some bonds go deeper than the flesh. Some go beyond life. Beyond death.

Jane will soon learn that a werewolf’s claiming…is forever.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Vision review

The Vision by Heather Graham is part of the Harrison Investigation series and was published in 2006 by Mira Books.

I was a little disappointed in The Vision compared to some of Graham's other books. While the plot was excellent and it kept me guessing pretty much until the end, I didn't particularly enjoy the main characters. Genevieve was okay but she seemed wishy washy to me - plus her actions made it seem like it's okay to be treated like crap by a guy and then sleep with him (FYI - that's a big no). Thor is just your basic asshole. I get that some people find that attractive - I am not one of them. I, like many, enjoy a solid alpha male but there is a line between alpha male and asshole which Thor doesn't just cross but torpedoes. I found nothing redeeming about him and can't get excited about a book with a hero I just can't like.

The rest of the characters are an odd assortment but they were enjoyable to read. The best friend cracked me up, the Harrison Investigation team of Nikki and Brent Blackhawk made it feel familiar (in a good way), and as always Graham writes vividly so that the reader is immersed in the scenes.

All in all, if you are looking for a good mystery that will keep you guessing and that paints a vivid picture, The Vision is worth your time. If you are looking for a good romance with a great couple, I'd skip this one.


The gift of sight comes at a dangerous price 
When Deep Down Salvage begins the hunt for the "Josephine Marie, " it seems like any other dive...until Genevieve Wallace sees the vision of a dead woman in the water, her vacant eyes boring into Genevieve's very soul. Terrified and confused by what she saw, Genevieve is haunted by the memory, but no one -- including her diving partner Thor Thompson -- believes her. When a dead woman washes up on shore, everyone assumes this is Genevieve's "vision," but Genevieve knows the truth: the dead woman is "not" the ghost she saw but another victim of the same brutal killer.

Sensing that the threat of death is coming closer, she and Thor are forced to acknowledge that some things can't be explained, but simply "are." Somehow they have to link a violent past with a present-day mystery or risk losing themselves in an abyss of terror.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Bit of Bite review

A Bit of Bite is a short novella by Cynthia Eden. It was originally part of the Entangled anthology and Eden recently posted it as a free short to the various retailers.

As usual, Eden brings us strong, relatable characters in Ava and Julian. As a very short novella, the relationship between the two characters isn't particularly developed but the chemistry between them is pretty apparent even in such a short story. The action is where this story really excels, in my opinion. Eden managed to pack a great deal of it into this story, making it very fast paced and exciting.

My only complaint was that it felt like it needed just a little more background about Ava's past - it's something that is only mentioned in passing and I would have liked it to be fleshed out a little more. However, as A Bit of Bite was originally written for an anthology, I realize Eden was working under incredibly tight length restrictions so it might have been impossible to add anything more to the story.

If you like short novellas and want a quick paranormal read, I'd recommend A Bit of Bite.


A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey—Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams—Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.

Originally part of an Entangled anthology.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Keeper of the Shadows review

Keeper of the Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff is the third book in the Keepers LA series featuring cousins Rhiannon, Sailor, and Barrie - this one focuses on Barrie, the shifter Keeper.

As a Keeper, Barrie must keep the secret of the Other world while enforcing the rules and seeking justice for shifters. Her day job as a crime beat reporter for the newspaper is an asset in this - but her coworker Mick is not. So when a young shifter turns up dead and Barrie sees a connection with the overdoes of a major Hollywood honcho - a human honcho - and Mick keeps showing up in front of her as she investigates, things are bound to get sticky.

Barrie may have been my favorite of this Keeper trio - perhaps because about a million years ago I thought I was going to be a journalist - and I really enjoyed Mick as well. Barrie was smart, sassy, brave, and beautiful. She listens to her intuition and respects her position as Keeper. She also loves her family and isn't afraid to lean on them when she needs to. Mick is very mysterious - a little shady but also seemingly with a heart of gold. I suspected the truth about Mick from very early on in the book and I think most readers will have their suspicions about him as well.

It was nice to see characters I enjoyed in the previous books again - not just the other two Keeper cousins but also Alessandre, Brodie, Declan, and others. Los Angeles is always an interesting setting and Sokoloff does a fantastic job of showcasing the juxtaposition of "Hollywood" and what we see on tv and in movies and the truth of any urban area with its crime, drugs, and other unsavory elements. The setting really manages to elevate the novel in a subtle but necessary way.

I would highly recommend the entire series to any fan of the paranormal. Keeper of the Shadows will be published by Harlequin on May 7, 2013.


Ancestral Keepers Rhiannon, Sailor Ann, and Barrymore Gryffald keep the peace between the supernatural communities in the shadowy Otherworld of Hollywood, where the mortals can be as strange—and dangerous—as the paranormals.

When a teenage shifter is found dead on Hollywood Boulevard on the same night as a studio head dies in suspicious circumstances, Shapeshifter Keeper Barrymore Gryffald is sure the deaths are connected. She discovers an eerie parallel to a fifteen-year old tragedy: the mysterious death of an iconic teenage movie star on the set of a cult movie about the Otherworld. Barrie reluctantly teams with the gorgeous and enigmatic Mick Townsend, a rival journalist on her paper, to dig into the movie's history and a cast of suspects that range from teenage runaways to international movie stars. As more victims surface, Barrie can trust no one, least of all Mick, who may well prove to be as inconstant as the shifters Barrie is sworn to protect.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics review

Sarah Gristwood seems to really have found her "voice" in Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics - her third published biography. Richly detailed without being overwhelming or getting bogged down with the details, Gristwood writes an excellent account of the relationship between Elizabeth I and her longtime favorite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The story is engaging with details that I, as someone who reads about Tudor historical figures regularly, was unaware of and that round out a well known story.

Solid research and wonderful use of original source material quotes surrounded by vivid details and judicious use of humor turns a historical documentation into something that could almost be a political romance - if we didn't all know exactly how it ended before ever picking up the book. To me the most brilliant history texts are the ones that make me feel almost like I'm reading a novel and Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics does a very good job of this without losing the factual nature of the book.

Throughout the years, there have been many fictionalized portrayals of Elizabeth I and the events and people of her reign. Gristwood doesn't ignore these as many historians might - instead she directly addresses many of the most popular and brilliantly juxtaposes them next to the historical record without judgement for their fictionalized nature.

With Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics, Gristwood has moved right up next to Alison Weir on my history author list. I'll definitely be reading her next biographical offering.


Few relationships fire our imagination like that of Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley - the love affair immortalized in Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover - but nearly fifty years have passed since a book has been dedicated solely to their lifelong love.

Soon after Elizabeth became queen she scandalized the royal court with her passionate obsession with the married Robert Dudley. When Dudley's wife mysteriously died two years later, there was rampant speculation that Elizabeth and Dudley would marry. Instead, over the next decades they formed a working partnership and an intimate bond of mutual dependence. Robert advised Elizabeth, serving as her counselor, unofficial consort, and army commander. He guarded her sickbed and represented her on state occasions. But despite her devotion, Elizabeth humiliated him, made him act as a go-between with her other suitors, and tried to imprison him when he finally remarried. Fueled by scandal and intrigue, this royal relationship was never dull.

Elizabeth & Leicester is an intimate, startling portrait of two people who transformed their age. For those who adore reading about the royals and the many fans of the Emmy Award- winning miniseries Elizabeth I and feature film Elizabeth, this is a story of enduring love that continues to speak to us today.