Thursday, May 30, 2013

Immortally Yours review

 Immortally Yours

I really wanted to love Immortally Yours by Angie Fox, the first in the MASH series. The premise was so promising and just different enough from anything else I'd seen to make me really look forward to reading the book. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the execution and was disappointed.

The hero, Galen, is described as a "strong, sensitive, braver-than-death type guy" but I didn't get that when I was reading. I saw a pushy alpha who doesn't care if the woman he loves gets tortured for eternity as long as he gets his way which is not attractive in a hero - at least not to me. He gets somewhat better toward the end of the book but for the first three quarters of the novel, I just didn't like him at all.

Petra was smart, dedicated, and pulled into a war she has no choice in or chance to escape. Her hesitance in regards to the prophecy is completely understandable but she also comes across a little pathetic and wishy washy when it comes to Galen. I'm the first to yell "don't fight fate!" at a book character (literally, I do that sometimes) but in this case, I really felt for Petra's concerns and didn't like Galen's heavy handed approach to forcing her hand.
Another significant problem was that Immortally Yours took too long to get anywhere and then the ending felt rushed. Half way through the book, not much had happened except Galen being high handed and Petra seesawing back and forth in her mind. Then, all of a sudden everything falls into place and it's over. It just didn't have a good flow for me.

I was disappointed with Immortally Yours but I know that other readers will enjoy Galen's insistence and Petra's inability to say no - and mean it.



No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx,vegetarian werewolf, and otherparanormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally). But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…


Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophecy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Witness review

The Witness

I unashamedly love Nora Roberts. I've been reading her books since I was twelve and I still rush to get her releases as soon as they come out. Technically, I read The Witness when it came out last year but it was released in paperback a couple of weeks ago so I am reviewing it now.

The Witness is quite possibly the best novel Roberts has released in years - and that's saying something given that I have yet to read one of her books that I haven't enjoyed immensely! 

I loved Elizabeth/Abigail - she reminded me just a little of Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory. She is socially awkward but trying to have a normal life and interact with people without standing out. She's crazy smart but understands that doesn't necessarily help her in dealing with people and she doesn't throw it in everyone's face all the time. 

Brooks is a fairly typical small town cop. He's funny, patient, caring, and protective. Plus, Abigail revs up his curiosity and he just can't seem to stop trying to figure her out. His love of law and justice are tempered by an understanding that not everything in life is black and white and sometimes the law can't apply. 

The Witness' small town setting and local personalities are vividly written and it's easy to immerse yourself in the world Roberts has created. My heart alternately ached and pounded while reading the book as I rooted for the characters and waited for what would happen next. If you haven't read, The Witness yet I recommend doing so at the earliest opportunity.


Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems--and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something--and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Walking Sexy review


Walking Sexy by Andrea Laurence is the third novella in the More than Men series though you don't have to read them in order as they are completely unconnected. It is the first zombie story I've ever read, I think.

I liked Grey as a hero. He'd been bitten but not turned though everyone shunned him thinking he would turn any minute. So he roams alone killing off the zombies to protect the rest of humanity and never loses his drive to protect. His blood is the key to antibodies and a vaccine to stop the spread of zombies. 

Daria is an isolated scientist working on a vaccine who has been able to  hunker down in her biological containment lab to escape the zombies and stay safe while she works on a cure. She's smart and brave and when she meets Grey she figures out he is the key to her work.

Walking Sexy is a fun, quick read. Despite it's novella length, it doesn't lack detail or feel like there should be more. I greatly enjoyed this story and will be reading the next novella in the series.  


Strong, sexy and powerful... the kind of man every woman wants in her life and in her bed. But these men are more. Oh, so much more.

Greyson Foster has lived an isolated life since the outbreak. Humans are afraid of him. The ravenous undead ignore him. He doesn't know what he is anymore, but one thing is certain - his attraction to the beautiful and sexy scientist occupying an abandoned laboratory is undeniably human.

Daria Mason didn't leave town when the survivors fled or died. Her work on a vaccine for the Anthropophagus virus is too important. But when the handsome and mysterious Grey arrives to warn her about a pack of zombies heading her way, she finds her heart racing with desire, not fear.

When she discovers that Grey might be the key to a vaccine, there's no time to waste. The Pack has arrived...hopefully it isn't too little, too late.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rare Vintage review

 Rare Vintage Cover

I had to read the erotic novella Rare Vintage by Bianca D'Arc immediately because of the very abrupt ending of One and Only. I *needed* to know what happened next. I suppose that's the sign of a successful series but I wouldn't want authors to start writing those kinds of endings just for that purpose!

Much like Atticus, Marc is a pretty standard vampire character for a romance novel. That doesn't make him less interesting or intriguing but anyone who has read vampire romance novels and hears "Master vampire" will immediately conjure up a pretty accurate picture of Marc's personality.

Kelly was pretty much the perfect foil for Marc. She's smart, stubborn, and independent but also nurturing. As Lissa's best friend and a human who knows what he is, Marc can get closer to her than he could to any other woman. It's pretty clear to the reader that Kelly is Marc's One but it's reasonable that a centuries old vampire would be wary of hoping for that elusive connection after such a long time.

I enjoyed meeting Dimitri and the set up for his story with another of Lissa's friends and am looking forward to reading more of this series. I would definitely recommend the Brotherhood of Blood series to anyone who enjoys short erotic vampire stories. Both One and Only and Rare Vintage have been fun to read.


She would give her life to save his, but can he save her from himself?

As the new Gal Friday at Atticus Maxwell-s winery, Kelly is grateful for the much-needed job, and delighted to be working with her best friend Lissa. What she doesn-t need is the exasperation brought on by Marc LaTour-s constant flirting. Yet she can-t deny she is drawn to the mysterious, unsettling Master vampire.

After six hundreds years of searching, Marc has resigned himself to the fact that he-ll never find his One. Kelly is under Atticus and Lissa-s protection, and therefore off limits. Yet the desire to possess her is too strong to resist. Curiosity leads to lust-and the surprising discovery that they indeed could be destined mates.

But a dark cloud hangs heavy over them. A rival vampire has challenged Marc for leadership-a challenge that involves a fight to the death. The cost of survival could forever poison any hope for a future together, but if they can both pass the final test, they could find love that will last for eternity.

Warning: This book contains graphic language, hot neck biting, outrageous flirting and undeniable lust.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

One and Only review

One & Only

One and Only by Bianca D'Arc is an erotic novella and is the first in the Brotherhood of Blood series. The synopsis intrigued me and One and Only mostly lived up to my expectations.

I liked Atticus. He was a typical hero vampire with a bit of a dominant sexual streak and was, of course, filthy rich. Lissa was a little bit psychic - she gets premonitions in flashes or sometimes just feelings that something is wrong - so it was easier for her to accept vampires because she isn't "normal".

The writing flowed well and the plot was solid.  The falling in love between Atticus and Lissa was very fast but it made sense in the story given their connection. The supporting characters were intriguing and clearly being set up for future stories - Marc, Ian, Kelly, Jena, Christy, and Carly are all characters I expect to see in future stories of their own. D'Arc leaves broad hints of what is to come for several of them but in a way that worked within the story she was telling.

The one thing that bugged me was the incredibly abrupt ending. I get that she was setting it up for the second book but it left me feeling like the book just stopped rather than being drawn to a conclusion - it felt like I missed part of the story even though I didn't.

All in all, I enjoyed the story and will read the second novella in the series. If you enjoy erotic short stories featuring vampires, One and Only should definitely be added to your to be read list.


A deadly crash changes the fate of one lonely vampire.

Brotherhood of Blood, Book 1

Vampire enforcer Atticus Maxwell stands at the edge of his own oblivion…until the faint heartbeat of a desperately wounded mortal woman calls him back. The terrible crash that almost took both their lives has brought him a charming, intriguing woman who just might give him a reason to live again.

Lissa was headed for a conference at a resort in a last-ditch attempt to find a job. Instead, on a rain-slick mountain road that almost killed her, she finds the love of her life. A love with the most eligible, reclusive vineyard owner in Napa Valley—one that isn’t quite human.

No barrier—not even breaking the news to Lissa’s friends—seems too great to hold back their blossoming love. Until they learn the accident that brought them together wasn’t an accident at all, but a murder attempt by an unknown enemy.

Atticus saved Lissa once. Can he keep her that way in the face of a renewed threat?

Warning: This book contains graphic language, hot neck biting, outdoor loving and a hot man with a killer smile.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Only Fear review

For those who wonder if promo swag is worth it, this review is for you. I had received a jar opener, of all things, from Anne Marie Becker in a conference bag. I used that thing nearly every day. One day, I was at Barnes and Noble and I saw Only Fear on the shelf. I recognized the author so I picked it up to read the back. Had I not recognized the author's name, I probably wouldn't have even noticed the book.

Anyway, I enjoyed Only Fear over all and will definitely be picking up Becker's second book in the Mindhunters series. I liked Maggie a great deal because she was smart and successful but with an underlying vulnerability that being scared brought out. Ethan was a pretty quintessential alpha protector, right down to being emotionally closed to everyone around him. But as he falls for Maggie, he opens himself up to feeling again. He just wishes Maggie would be more cooperative :)

The supporting characters were varied and interesting as well. Damian is one I'd really like to learn more about and to see get his own happy ending. The other members of the team and the local detectives were all well written.

There were two situations that bothered me because in a real life protective situation, like the one Maggie finds herself in, they would never happen. I don't want to give too much away so I can't really say what situations but it did annoy me to read them. I get that it's fiction but a romantic suspense novel featuring a former Secret Service agent on protection detail needs to be realistic and those two situations were not.

Other than that, Only Fear is a book I'd recommend for those who enjoy romantic suspense.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Something About You review

Something About You is the first novel I've read by Julie James but it will definitely not be the last. In fact, her books will be added to my automatic reads list alongside Nora Roberts and Julie Garwood.

The beginning was strong and funny. It's pretty well known that I don't read books that revolve around Washington, DC and the political world so I had a moment of unease when the fictional senior Senator from Illinois was brought into the story but I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from finishing the book.

Cameron was a fantastic female lead - smart, strong, and sarcastic. Just the type of female character I love to read. Jack was a total alpha FBI agent. He started off as an asshole but he grew on me pretty quickly and I ended up loving him. The action is well written and the entire plot has a great pace.

Often what sets a good book apart from a great book for me is the secondary characters. The secondary characters in Something About You were great and provided the perfect amount of comic relief. Wilkins, Amy, Collins, and the Chicago PD detectives and officers really rounded out the story and gave it a dimension that makes me want to visit them again and again.

I definitely recommend Something About You and will be eagerly seeking out the rest of James' books moving forward.


Fate has thrown two sworn enemies...

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other's arms...

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sacred Evil review

I've been slowly working my way through the Krewe of Hunters series by Heather Graham and have just read Sacred Evil which is book three. Yes, I know I'm way behind on this series but I have been enjoying it a great deal. 

After Jake and Ashley's book, Heart of Evil, I was concerned I had set myself up for disappointment because I liked it so much. It remains my favorite but Sacred Evil is quite good as well. It's the first Krewe case outside of New Orleans and they find themselves in New York City and they are up against the most famous serial killer of them all - or at least his copycat. Whitney heads up the day before the rest of the team and jumps right into the case. I've enjoyed Whitney from the first book so it was nice to have the focus on her and her skills. 

Jude was a little disappointing to me. He rambled and just didn't seem like a cop most of the time. Plus, he was incredibly judgmental without cause - not in the "suspicious cop" way but in the "I think I'm better than everyone else" way. He did grow on me by the end of the book though.

One thing I noticed was that the dialogue seemed very disjointed in places. The topic would abruptly change in the middle with no warning and no connection to the previous topic. I think my copy is a re-release so I'm wondering if there was some bad editing during the re-release. It's the only explanation I could come up with as the other books didn't have this issue.

While it isn't until the very end that the killer is revealed, it wasn't a particular surprise either. I suspected who it was from the very beginning and think most readers will as well. Also, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't really any discussion between Jude and Whitney about the paranormal - he ignored it and she remained quiet despite the ghosts she was seeing. It was like a huge elephant in the room and I would have liked them to address it. 

Sacred Evil is a solid addition to the Krewe of Hunters series and I enjoyed seeing the group leave New Orleans. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.


A terror born of Jack the Ripper 
The details of the crime scene are no coincidence. The body—a promising starlet—has been battered, bloodied and then discarded between two of Manhattan's oldest graveyards.

One look and Detective Jude Crosby recognizes the tableau:

A re-creation of Jack the Ripper's gruesome work. But he also sees something beyond the actions of a mere copycat. Something more dangerous…and unexplainable.

As the city seethes with suspicion, Jude calls on Whitney Tremont, a member of the country's preeminent paranormal investigating team, to put the speculation to rest. Yet when Whitney and Jude delve deeper, what they discover is more shocking than either could have predicted, and twice as sinister

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

RT Booklovers Convention 2013

I attended the RT Booklovers Convention during the first week of May in Kansas City which is a fun filled five days of authors, readers, books, and cover models. I had a lot of fun catching up with old friends and meeting a lot of new ones. The photos in this post were mainly taken by Elle J. Rossi and myself. I will update with more photos if I receive more. Additionally, RT has detailed posts on most of the panels and parties here.

The night before the conference started, there was a great deal of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones!

Beth Ciotta and Rachel Aukes/Berinn Rae the night before the convention.

Beth and I before the convention.
The first panel I attended at the conference was the Thrillers and the New World of Publishing panel. It ended up being more about publishing and ebooks than about thrillers but it was still quite interesting.

The Thrillers and the New World of Publishing panel featuring Andrew Peterson (not pictured), Ethan Cross,Heather Graham, Andy Harp, and Bob Mayer.

The Modern Day Heros panel was about the appeal of a regular, non-supernatural romantic lead - conversation about the foibles of men and what is sexy ran rampant.
The modern day hero panel. It was the only sunny day so the photo isn't great.

Club RT included a new group of authors every 30 minutes to speak to readers one on one or in small groups. Lots of swag was available as well as a gift basket contest. There were also vendors selling shirts, bags, jewelry, and various other interesting things.

Elle J Rossi and Rachel Aukes/Berinn Rae during their Club RT session.

I hung out with Elle and Rachel along with Theresa McClinton (not pictured) and Aaron Michael Ritchey (not pictured) in Club RT.

The Hero Games reader event was quite funny. Games included Pin the Heart on the Hero, Musical Chairs, and trivia. The panel included A.C. Arthur, Dana Marie Bell, Stephanie Draven, PJ Schnyder, and Maureen Smith. There were also cover models!

Two of the cover models being used as chairs during musical chairs in one of the sessions.

A group photo of the cover models and various winners from the games.

The Steampunk Clockwork Tea was a much larger event than I was expecting. It was a little overwhelming but a lot of fun. I won the Vampire Empire trilogy by Clay and Susan Griffith in the raffle!

Beth Ciotta at the Steampunk Clockwork Tea in all her Victorian meets Aquarius glory!

I did take breaks throughout the conference to hang out and meet new people. Not surprisingly, most attendees could be found at the bar or hanging out in the lobby when not attending sessions and events.

Elle and I chillin' out between sessions.

The best part of the Hunks, Haggis, and Highlanders event was Elle's face when she tried the haggis :) But the cover model in a kilt didn't hurt either! This event was put on by Jody Allen, Kimberly Killion, Cathy Maxwell, Vince Milewski, and Susan Saville.

One of the cover models in a kilt at the Haggis and Highlanders event.

Elle before tasting haggis...

and Elle after tasting haggis!

The convention is pretty well known for the evening parties and this year was no exception. In addition to a 30th anniversary dinner and party, Heather Graham hosted her annual Vampire Ball, Ellora's Cave hosted a '70s disco, and Harlequin hosted the final night's dance party. Lots of authors and readers dressed up in costumes for the various parties and events and it's always fun to see what everyone wears.

Rachel Aukes aka Berinn Rae is ready for the zombie apocalypse with her full flask at the Vampire Ball.

But not prepared enough...she's been zombified!

Two of the cover models in great costumes for Heather Graham's Vampire Ball.

One of the readers getting into the costume fun at the Vampire Ball.

Theresa McClinton, me, Rachel, and Elle on the dance floor at the Vampire Ball - you can barely see Rachel in the shadows!

Duck face! This one is all on Theresa...
Mary Stella and I gettin' our groove on :)

Just being silly...

After the Carnival of Curiosities, I think I get to add "carnival barker" to my resume :)

The Carnival of Curiosities - Heather Graham, Alexandra Sokoloff, Kathleen Pickering, Elle Rossi, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Rachel Aukes, and Beth Ciotta.

One of Kansas City's finest was on duty to be sure we didn't cause too much trouble!

The "official" photos by RT are here and they are numerous! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Into Temptation review

Into Temptation by Kira Sinclair is the third erotic novella in the More than Men series. I had previously read Sexy as Hell by Andrea Laurence, the first novella in the series, and enjoyed it but hadn't sought out the rest of the series. Then, while attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City, I met the authors who gave me cards for both novellas bringing the series back to mind. I promptly downloaded Into Temptation and am very glad that I did!

I greatly enjoyed the fallen angel concept of Into Temptation and particularly Brone. The chemistry between Evie and Brone is palpable and both were portrayed very realistically. Brone's struggle with what he is and his attempt to protect Evie despite the costs is everything I want in a hero. Evie is smart, strong, and protective but she doesn't come across as too perfect. Despite the shorter length, the story was well fleshed out and I didn't feel like I was missing any details. 

The second novella in the series, The Walking Sexy by Andrea Laurence, is going on my to-read list and I will definitely be seeking out more of Kira Sinclair's work. If you enjoy a short, sexy, paranormal story, I definitely recommend checking out Into Temptation and the rest of the More than Men series.


Strong, sexy and powerful... the kind of man every woman wants in her life and in her bed. But these men are more. Oh, so much more.

Just how valuable is a soul?

A fallen angel banished from Hell, Brone has been cursed to walk the Earth in complete sensory deprivation for over eight hundred years. The only thing he craves is connection with another being – sound, taste, and please, God, touch. But the likelihood of that happening is next to zero. Satan isn’t exactly known to be forgiving.

Handling her first big case as a prosecutor, Evie Carr is definitely in over her head. Everyone knows Monroe Stilton is guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault against a child, but proving it has become difficult. She’s desperately afraid the monster is going to walk. And that fear becomes personal when the psychopath threatens her own daughter.

Neither Brone nor Evie could have anticipated how one simple touch would change their lives. Brone is offered a single chance to return to the fold. But at what price?

He holds the means to protect Evie’s daughter. All she has to do is…fall.

Friday, May 10, 2013

His Broken Angel review

His Broken Angel by Beth Ciotta is a novella in the Glorious Victorious Darcy's steampunk series. The first book was Her Sky Cowboy which I reviewed earlier this year. I definitely recommend reading Her Sky Cowboy before His Broken Angel as there are spoilers for the first book.

I am completely in love with the world that Ciotta has created with this series - it's fun, just a little fantastical, and totally different from anything else I've read. The same can be said for the characters. It was great getting to learn more about Doc Blue and getting to finally meet Lily and Jasper, who were spoken of often in Her Sky Cowboy, as well as introducing Jasper's crew members PJ and Snoop. Despite it's length, and perhaps because it is part of a series, His Broken Angel was a full story and didn't feel lacking in detail or background the way the novellas often can. The emotion between the couple is pure and beautiful while the action surrounding them is vivid, making for a great balance.

The only thing that I wanted that wasn't included was the reunion between Tuck and Lily but I'm hoping that happens in one of the upcoming books. Also, I'd love to see PJ and Jasper's story (hint, hint Beth - maybe a second novella :P ) because that seems like it would be an explosive relationship.

Reading His Broken Angel has made me even more anxious for the second full length novel in the series, His Clockwork Canary, which will be out in June. I can't recommend this entire series highly enough - pick it up because I promise you will not be disappointed.


Doc Blue has never had it easy. Born a Freak, the offspring of a Vic—a native Victorian—and a Mod—a time traveler from the future—he’s lived on the fringes of society, hiding his true identity and preternatural healing abilities from even his closest friends. His brief support of the Freak rebellion has only left him with even more problems, losing him both his job and one of his greatest allies, the Sky Cowboy, Tucker Gentry. So when Tuck’s kid sister, Lily, ends up blinded in an air skirmish on her way from America to England, Doc jumps at the opportunity to be the one to rescue her and use his powers to mend her wounds.

Curing Lily proves harder than anticipated, and Doc realizes that to restore her sight he will have to spill his biggest secret and embrace his Freak nature like never before. But, with Lily’s help, Doc may be able to reach the full potential of his abilities, heal Lily’s broken heart, and learn, finally, how to open his.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Henry VIII: The King and His Court review

Having read a number of Alison Weir's biographies on royalty in Tudor England, I was excited to pick up Henry VIII: The King and His Court. Unfortunately, I found that this particular biography didn't flow as well as some of her others and it was almost too detailed.

I usually enjoy Weir's work because her biographies, while incredibly detailed and researched, feel like reading fiction rather than history and she really makes the figures come alive. That was less true of Henry VIII: The King and His Court and I think it was because she spent so much time describing the architecture, decorations, and activities and less time on the people. I find those things less interesting than the personalities and interactions of the people but I realize that other readers may be fascinated by what she detailed.

As always, Weir's book was extremely detailed and vivid and I did enjoy the various parts that involved the court intrigues, Henry's changing personality, and his various relationships. If you are interested in the reign of Henry VIII and in knowing a great deal of his holdings and the culture shift during that time, Henry VIII: The King and His Court is an outstanding book to read. If you are like me and are more interested in the people and personalities, I'd recommend one of Weir's other biographies from that time period.


Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power and celebrated for his intellect, presided over one of the most magnificent–and dangerous–courts in Renaissance Europe. Never before has a detailed, personal biography of this charismatic monarch been set against the cultural, social, and political background of his glittering court. Now Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of the King. Packed with colorful description, meticulous in historical detail, rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir brilliantly renders King Henry VIII, his court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. The result is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Whiskey Beach review

The latest release by Nora Roberts, Whiskey Beach, is quintessential romantic suspense. It's a fun, interesting ride and it kept me guessing for most of the story. 

Eli is a very "real" character - he's not perfect, he's fighting to come back from an emotionally and personally shattering event and Roberts manages to convey the sheer work involved in overcoming something so consuming and shattering without bogging down the story or depressing the reader.

Abra cracks me up as she is the perfect counterpoint to Eli's current morass. She's vibrant, perky, funny, and has more energy than any three people should and yet she's not annoying or a caricature. She's serious when necessary as well as being smart and a good friend. 

Roberts doesn't spend as much time with the rest of the Landon family but when they are involved, they feel like a family we know - they are a unit but know when to give space to members. Eli's grandmother, the grande dame of the family, is whip smart and feisty. She was quite possibly my favorite character and I hope to be half as awesome when I'm her age :)

The original mystery in the story is who killed Eli's wife but then, as he spends time on Whiskey Beach, the mystery of the pirate treasure legend crops up over and over, weaving it's way into the murder mystery for an intriguing plot twist that keeps Whiskey Beach from being "just another romantic suspense" and takes it up a level creating a classic Nora Roberts story that remains fresh.

For Roberts fans old and new, Whiskey Beach is a must read.


For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home…

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of—but never arrested for—the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.

He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents—including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries—one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Celtic Tapestry review

A Celtic Tapestry is an anthology of eight stories by different authors themed around Celtic festivals. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a mixed bag with several excellent stories and others that just...weren't. Also, a couple of the stories needed a better copy editor which is one of my pet peeves.

Crimson Beat by Elle J Rossi was probably one of my two favorites in the compilation. It was fast paced and sexy with strong characters and wonderful details about the setting. I could actually see Nashville and the bar that Josie owns and she first runs into Keller again. The chemistry between them practically made the pages simmer! The action is swift paced and nearly non-stop which makes the story fly by. All in all, a wonderful short story that made me want to read more with Josie, Keller, Sage, and the rest of the gang.

Beltane Fires by Livia Ellis was another of the strong stories in A Celtic Tapestry. It featured a great setting, had an interesting premise and solid characters but I would have liked more details on why Cormac ended up there when he was running. I think that was the only weak point in the story which isn't bad given the strict word count short stories in compilations tend to be under. I thought the chemistry between Cormac and Sorcha was well written and I liked that it featured an older woman as the romantic lead because you don't see that often. All in all, a great story.

Blade's Magic by Carolyn Wolfe seemed a little more fantasy than the others which made it stand out. It contains magical world hopping along with two strong leads in Max and Danie. Max's father and the siren Aileann were impressively creepy in their evilness and the cast of characters in Danie's coven and Max's extended family were strong. Often supporting characters in short stories get shorted but not in Blade's Magic. It was a fun and compelling story that I really enjoyed.

Shore's Edge by Tara S. Wood is very close to tied with Crimson Beat for my favorite story in A Celtic Tapestry. I am a bit of a sucker for strong female leads in historical romance and defiant daughter Saoirse does not disappoint. But there is still a bit of vulnerability to her that keeps her from seeming unreal. Ronan the Selkie is sexy, strong, and really, who doesn't love a shifter? Plus, he's willing to help out Saoirse - even if he does make a bargain to do so - while being honorable and protective. The plot is strong, the action fast, and the characters interesting - an excellent short story that makes me want to read more set in Wood's world.

I found The Picnic by Elodie Parkes to be disappointing. The dialogue was stilted and inane, the supposed attraction between Morgan and Ava didn't really work for me, and the "magical" elements seemed like an afterthought. Morgan is ostensibly some kind of forest spirit or god but it's never fully explained. The threat to the forest is easily dealt with using Morgan's and his family's magic which makes the rest of the story feel sort of pointless and Ava's efforts meaningless. The Picnic just didn't work for me at all.

Shadows in the Dark by Miranda Stork was another fun story. Rebecca, who doubts magic, reluctantly goes along with her friend Louisa's plan to try to see her past life - a life she doesn't believe actually ever happened - but of course, it works. Rebecca finds herself in Viking times - only to see herself be murdered! Then the haunting begins. Turns out Rebecca is stuck in a cycle where every time she is reborn, the two men who love her show up and one of them kills her because he can't have her. But which one is her true love and which is the one who kills her? It's a great story with twists and turns and back and forth. A wonderful read.

In Magic in Memphis by Hunter S. Jones colleagues Victoria and James have an illicit affair. There is very little chemistry depicted despite their seemingly overwhelming desire to hop into bed together. Victoria comes across as weak and desperate which is never good in a female lead in my opinion. James portrayal is not much better since he comes across as a cheater and not as an even remotely decent guy. Then, all of a sudden (and it is sudden) oh look, we have a great love story. Um, no, it didn't work for me at all.

Brigids Flame by Laura DeLuca fell flat for me for a couple of reasons. First, the hero's treatment of the heroine is abominable and yet she takes it. Second, I have a thing about cheating on your significant other - it's not acceptable. Ever. So I can't see a guy who does so as a guy I want to root for. Author River treats his girlfriend Brie, who gave up everything to help him in his career, horribly. This is followed by his having a woe is me pity party and then an encounter with the goddess Brigid - who he proceeds to sleep with (hello, cheating!). Yes, technically it all works out in the end but I just didn't buy it and I didn't enjoy it.

Overall, A Celtic Tapestry had some great gems and introduced me to a couple of authors I will definitely read again.


The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.

Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry.