Archive for June, 2010

Parker’s Price by Ann Bruce
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
She was sexy, smart…and for sale.

When Parker Quinn is forced to accept an outrageously high bid at a charity auction, she has no choice but to go out with the last man on earth she wants to spend time with. Dean Maxwell may be one of Manhattan’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s also the man who had an affair with her sister and abandoned her when she became pregnant with his child…

Dean doesn’t know why Parker hates him so much, but he’s determined to show Parker the type of man he really is. Whisking her away to a private island in the Bahamas for a sensual, sun-drenched week together, Dean leaves Parker’s preconceptions shattered and her desires inflamed.

But even as their passion reaches irresistible heights, Parker has a decision to make. Can she allow herself to fall for the seductive magnate, or will family secrets and a dangerous ex tear them apart?

During Parker’s annual charity auction, Dean Maxwell comes to her rescue and saves her from her ex-boyfriend.  She is drawn to him instantly, until she finds out who he is.

Dean has been drug to another charity function by his sister.  He doesn’t want to be there until he spots Parker across the room.  He is enraptured with her but puzzled by her response when he told her his name.  He is determined to spend more time with her so he makes a silent bid for a date with her.

Parker is shocked when the emcee announced the silent bid of $20,000 for a date with her.  She wants to refuse but can’t, especially when Dean increases the bid to $40,000.   She is conflicted because she feels a connection to him but she doesn’t want to betray her sister and niece. 

I really liked this book.  I loved the fact that the primary story is about the struggle that Parker is dealing with and it’s not just about the sex.  Don’t get me wrong, I like steamy romances with HOT sex scenes but I loved the build up and the tension that Ms. Bruce has added to this story.  It makes the ultimate payoff all the sweeter. 

There are other issues that they face besides whether Dean is Savannah’s father or not.  Parker’s ex-boyfriend is jealous of her new life and is causing problems for them or is he?  Someone broke into her apartment and trashed it while they were away and now Dean is concerned for her safety.

Parker is a strong character and I definitely can relate to her because she is the one that is keeping her family together.  She makes sure that their rent is paid, that they have food on the table and gives up her vacations to provide for them.  Dean is a complex man and isn’t what he appears.  He runs his own company, is demand with the ladies and looks great in a tux but deep down, he would rather be in a pair of jeans or out running in the park.  He values family above all else.

The book is well paced and flows very nicely.  The scene in the gym was very HOT and well worth the wait.  The ending had a nice twist and definitely surprised me.  I love when a book does that.  It’s definitely worth picking up.

Overall I give Parker’s Price 4 flaming hearts.


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Amethyst Bound by L. Shannon

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Toni Giovanni is a thief…although she prefers to call it the high-risk recovery business. Her current job feels suspiciously easy—until a mysterious artifact draws her into an ancient prophecy and binds her soul to a spirited dragon named Amethyst.

But Toni isn’t quite ready to be taken over by a dragon, even if Amethyst’s appetite for sexy archaeologist Dr. Ben Davis mirrors Toni’s own. And she’s got a big problem on her hands: turns out the prophecy predicts that dragons will end the world…and there are many more dragons out there.

Toni’s going to need all the help she can get.

Would you risk your life for 2 million dollars?  That is what Toni did when she accepted the job to find the priceless artifact.  She is a master at blending in so she is not worried about retrieving the object from the dig site without being seen.  Things go as planned until Toni somehow opens the mysterious box and is drawn to the amethyst pendent inside.  Little did she know that the dragon inside the pendent was calling to her, wanting her to put it on.

Dr. Ben Davis is a sexy archaeologist that has devoted many years to the exploration of dragons that has led him to this dig specifically because of the ancient box.  Not only does he find himself face to face with a sexy thief that needs his help but a group of assassins out to kill them.

Together Toni and Ben team up to find a way to find the other jeweled necklaces and stop the dragons from taking over the world.  They have to fight off assassins and another dragon along the way.  Toni comes to terms with the fact that she is bound to Amethyst and only death will set her free.

The characters are complex, especially Toni.  I love for my female leads to be strong and able to take care of themselves but ask for help when they need it.  Toni definitely fits the bill.  She has been taking care of herself since she was a young girl. To protect herself, she developed a method of blending in to her surroundings so she would not be noticed.  She develops a bond with Amethyst because she is tired of being along.  She wants Ben to stay to help her but she is afraid he will leave and struggles with trusting him throughout the story.   Amethyst was a fun character too. 

This story has action and adventure to right along with the love scenes.  From the start this novella draws you in and keeps you hooked.  The characters are well developed and the story flows smoothly and the ending leaves you wanting more.

I loved this story and hope there is more to come.  I give Amethyst Bound 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Hi all, Please join me in welcoming Frances Stockton to Everybody Needs a Little Romance.  I love her Panthera series and definitely recommend them to everyone.   Thanks for stopping by, Heather


Hello and Greetings everyone!

First, let me thank the lovely ladies who invited me to guest blog today. I am super excited about this opportunity. As an author of sensual Paranormal Romance with Cerridwen Press, and soon to have a sexy Contemporary Romance released by Ellora’s Cave, I thought it would be great to discuss creating characters, more so, creating memorable characters, characters that capture the imagination and don’t let go. When I was very young, Kindergarten to be honest, I created my first fictional characters. They were identical twin brothers that wore red or green, always. Known to my family as Red Henry and Green Henry, I’d created so many tales, everything from trouble with math and homework, to breaking up with girlfriends or dealing with a friend moving away, that they became as real to my family as they were in my mind. Now, I should say that my family was convinced that instead of twin brothers, there was only one Henry boy and he simply liked the colors red and green, but regardless, he/they became central characters in our lives. It wasn’t until the Henry boys mysteriously moved away that they realized they were entirely fictional. My mother convinced me to start writing down the stories I was making up, and I finally did when I turned thirteen, completing my first manuscript. I knew very little about description, dialogue, POV, GMC and HEA, but I knew I had a more stories to tell, stories that were character driven.

Whether in film, books, or television, there are characters that we remember, make us cry, make us laugh, shout, or cheer. Some that come to mind, at least in my mind, are Hawkeye Pierce as portrayed by Alan Alda in M*A*S*H, Winds in His Hair as portrayed by Rodney Grant in Dances With Wolves, John Wayne in just about any Western (again, this is just my opinion, as I loved his Westerns and still have them on DVD), the entire cast of LOST, well, okay, I was definitely a Sawyer and Desmond fan but I think you get the point. In books, characters such as Acheron, created/written by the amazingly talented Sherrilyn Kenyon, Rhevenge, Vishous, or Rhage, of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and so many others to name, catch our attention and don’t let go until we scream for their stories. How many times have you heard the name Sookie, Bella, and Edward? What images or thoughts come to mind when you hear them?   

What do you look for when reading a book and what kind of hero or heroine are you pulling for? For me, if a character is weak, the plot will not sustain through the end. Characters should drive the plot forward and create that romantic, sensual tension and the complications that arise as the story unfolds. Ditto for the HEA. If characters aren’t believable, can you believe in their happily ever after?

Now when it comes to characters, I have to admit that I love the plotting process when it comes to writing character bios. I’ll sit down with a very basic idea of what I want for the story, and then I will create the characters. Starting with my favorite ‘name’ book, The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Hal Blythe, and Charlie Sweet, I will decide whether the hero has an English, Irish, Scottish, Celtic, Spanish, Italian or Anglo-Saxon name (not to be limited to these, of course) and then I will find a name that fits his personality in my mind. I will then join it to a surname, being careful in historicals, as some names may not have been used or known yet. Once I have his name, his personality comes to me. In creating his personality, his heroine stands out in my mind and I start the same process with her name. By doing this, creating everything from likes, dislikes, family ties, occupation, age, physical description, I will often see a more concrete plot. In my own books, namely Seductive Persuasion, I begin with a warrior-type hero who is the second eldest of his race, a man who is gruff and arrogant and a little frightening, but must convince his heroine Aisley, the village healer, that even though he is far more than human, she can trust her life and love to him. I based his personality on my research into leopards. Of the big cats, leopards are the most adaptable, the best hunters, and they are fierce, even scary. Their roars sound like rusty saws cutting through wood or tree branches, and that ominous rumble can be heard on my website, http://www.francesstockton.com if you click on the Paranormal Books link. Characters morph and roar according to their panther counterpart. Likewise, I did the same with Dante Luciano, in Rhiannon’s Pride and Adriano Montoya, in book 3 of my Panthera series, Sea Captain’s Ghost.

All three books are available through Jasmine Jade, Cerridwen Press, and Amazon.com, and I hope you will consider checking them out just to see how I modeled the heroes to their panther half.  Once the character bios are done, I will go back and do a smaller bio for secondary characters, as often they will have stories of their own. This is my creative process. Some authors will create posters, storyboards, bios, diaries, journals and social networking profiles for their characters. I’ll even find photos of models or actors that I think resemble the hero/heroine in my mind and put them on my computer or phone. It helps to visualize what they look like and by the time I write the first sentence, they are clear in my head and on the screen.  

So what characters in books, television, or movies are memorable to you? Have a favorite character in a book you’d like to talk about? Have you ever read a book or watched a show where the character disappointed you? Why do you think that happened? What could the author or writer of the show do to make the character stronger? Share, I would love to hear from you.

If you’re a reader, ditto to what I asked above. If you’re an author, share your character creating process.

Again, many thanks to Heather for arranging my visit here today, it has been an honor. If you’d like to learn more about my Panthera series, please visit http://www.francesstockton.com and be on the lookout for updates in the ‘What’s New’ feature of my newly redesigned website. I am venturing into the world of sexy Contemporary Romance for Ellora’s Cave, in addition to my Paranormals, and will soon have excerpts, blurbs and a release date for my upcoming title, Quarterback Blitz.

Keep Writing and Reading,

Frances Stockton

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Tempting the Enemy by Dee Tenorio
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Detective Pale Rysen, an Alpha, is determined to secretly rebuild the Wolf packs from the ashes of genocide. When a killer starts picking off young females looking for sanctuary, it’s his job to protect them. Forced to work with a hated enemy, he fears his cover will be blown.
Jade-Scarlet’s membership in the powerful Order of the Sibile has always been controversial. A half-wolf, Jade’s unstable psychic powers are a disappointment to her mercenary handlers. So when the Oracle commands her to work with Pale, Jade must prove herself…even if it means challenging the enigmatic shifter.
Yet Pale triggers more than her curiosity. He sends her into Heat, and the intense sexual attraction could mean losing control of her gifts-something she can’t allow. As the number of victims rises, so does the danger. A murderous darkness wants them both dead. But even if they stop the killer, how long can they fight each other? 

Tempting the enemy by Dee Tenorio was a smart, sexy book.  Even with the intrigue of the Woodsman killings, the scenes between Pale and Jade were HOT!

The police department called in a Sibile to help them solve the Woodsman killings.  Pale is not comfortable with this decision but has resigned himself to work with her, until he realizes that she is also an unmated wolf in heat.   This fact adds to the danger Jade will face.

Jade has been commanded to help the police find out who the Woodsman is.  She feels the heat flair the minute she spots Pale but knows that she can’t give in or her gifts will be uncontrollable.  She is drawn to him though and she can’t help it.

Throughout the story not only are they trying to find out who is killing these women but they are also trying to keep her safe from the unmated wolves.  At one point, Pale has to fight several wolves at once to save her. 

The scenes between Pale and Jade are well written.  I love the fact that he wants her but knows that she is not ready so he takes his time with her.  There are several teaser scenes that lead to the ultimate end where she gives herself to him. 

I loved the build up and suspense of this story.  There are several stories going on at once and all are equally important.  The Woodsman is killing women and leaving their limbs stacked like firewood around town, now he is also killing wolves trying to reach sanctuary.  You have the heat between Pale and Jade building up and there is also the story behind the Sibile.

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down.  The ending surprised me and left me hoping that this is only the first book in a new series.   It was written where a sequel is possible.  I want to know what the future will bring to the Sibile and if Jalla’s prophecy comes true.   I also want to know what the future holds for Pale and Jade. 

I give this book 4 Flaming Hearts. 


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Blood Song by Cat Adams
* I received a copy of this book from Tor Publishing in exchange for an honest review*

 Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.

Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination–something that should not exist–and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends–a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop–Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation…before it’s too late.

 Blood Song is the first book in a new series by Cathy Clamp and CT Adams.  We are immersed in a world of supernatural that contains “bats,” werewolves, clairvoyants, and telepaths just to name a few.  It’s set in California and is centered around Celia Graves. 

Celia is a bodyguard for the rich and famous.  She has a degree in paranormal studies but she thinks she’s just a plain vanilla human.  She is armed with holy water, bespelled knives, special made clothing, and guns when she heads out to do a job.  Her latest job is to guard Prince Rezza along with a handful of other bodyguards while he is visiting California.  She feels uneasy about the whole job from the beginning and is justified when they are ambushed outside a club.

Celia wakes up in the lab at the University to find out that she was attacked by a vampire and is now an Abomination, part human and part vampire.  Throughout the book she is struggling to learn her limitations, dealing with her mother issues while trying to find out who wants her dead.

There are several attempts on her life and she is determined to live.  With the help of her friends and ex-boyfriend Bruno, she uncovers a political struggle for Rusland.  The King visits Celia and asks for her help to determine which son is involved. 

Celia may be tough with a take charge attitude but she had a rough road to get there.  She has very serious mother issues that she is having trouble getting past.  Her mother was really never there for them when she was a child and she had to depended on herself and her grandmother to take care of her.  She finds out from her grandmother that she is part siren and is shocked to the core.  Now not only is she dealing with being an Abomination but add her siren blood to the mix and she’s even more confused. 

There are a lot of interesting characters introduced that add a lot to the story.  Kevin is her best-friend and he is a werewolf, her ex-boyfriend is a mage and her best friend is a clairvoyant.  The relationships between Celia and her friends are complex and interesting.  They help add depth to the story and make you want to keep reading to see what is going to happen next.

The story itself is very interesting.  It’s a different twist on the normal paranormal world and includes mystery, intrigue and political espionage.  It’s very fast paced but stays on focus even though there are several things going on concurrently.  It is very different from the Sazi series that CT Adams and Cathy Clamp also write but no less enjoyable.

I really liked this Urban Fantasy story and can’t wait to read Siren Song the second book in the series.  I give this book 3 1/2 flaming hearts.   

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Demon Hunts by CE Murphy
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Seattle police detective Joanne Walker started the year mostly dead, and she’s ending it trying not to be consumed by evil. Literally.

She’s proven she can handle the gods and the walking dead. But a cannibalistic serial killer? That’s more than even she bargained for. What’s worse, the brutal demon can only be tracked one way. If Joanne is to stop its campaign of terror, she’ll have to hunt it where it lives: the Lower World, a shamanistic plane of magic and spirits.

Trouble is, Joanne’s skills are no match for the dangers she’s about to face–and her on-the-job training could prove fatal to the people she’s sworn to protect….

Joanne is struggling to understand all of her Shaman powers.  She has grown stronger in power as well as self confidence over the last few months.  She still has a lot of internal conflict that she is having problems overcoming.

Something is killing people in Seattle and it is up to her and her partner Billy Holliday to try and stop it.  They are sure it’s something from the spirit world but they have never seen anything like it.  When it attacks a friend of Holliday’s for trying to help, it becomes personal to Joanne. 

Coyote, her Navajo teacher she thought was dead, arrives to help her defeat the monster.  They are determined to free the lost spirit that has been wondering the Lower World trying to find its way home.  When another murder turns up in a mountain park, Joanne, Coyote, and Gary head up there to try and stop it.  Along the way she gets help from a former friend, who is now a local FBI agent and a TV reporter that is more concerned with getting her story than her own safety.

It takes Joanne entering Lower World on her own, armed with a wooden spear given to them by the tree God, her drum and her spirit animals.  Once the creature has been defeated, Joanne has some hard decisions to make about her future.  Will she stay in Seattle, follow Coyote or go home to her dad in North Carolina?

This is the 1st book I’ve read in this series.  I was a little lost at first but there is so much internal dialogue from Joanne that you are quickly gotten up to speed.  I had a hard time at the beginning getting into the book because it leans primarily toward urban fantasy.  I enjoy the genre but for me it didn’t have enough action at the beginning to catch my attention.

The further I got in the book though, the more I enjoyed it.  I became invested in what was going on and I had to keep reading to find out what happened.  I probably won’t go back and read the earlier stories but I will definitely pick up the next book in this series. 

Overall I enjoyed the book and give it 3 flaming hearts. 

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Dane by Elizabeth Amber
*Received book from author

When Dane Satyr approaches Eva for her services as a matchmaker, she offers him more than just introductions. Dane has discovered that Eva is a Satyr like himself, full of insatiable passion and dark desires. Their attraction combusts instantaneously, unlocking pleasures that neither can resist repeating…even as Eva seeks out a mortal bride for Dane.

Dane Satyr has returned from Elseworld to join his brothers in Rome.  He has won their olive grove back in a card game and plans to restore their grove to its former state before it was taken from his family years ago.  

Dane is one of the best Elseworld trackers and he has left without their permission.  The only way they are willing to let him go, is for him to marry a human and produce heirs.  He seeks out Eva, an Elseworld marriage broker with secrets of her own.

From the beginning Dane and Eva are drawn to each other.  Eva is tiring of the shimmer skins during moon full and she longs to have someone take the control from her.  Dane retreats within himself during moon full and Dante takes over.  Dane has never experienced a true Satyr mating until Eva.

Both characters are complex, with their own secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the book.  They feel a bond with each other, even though Eva knows that they can never have life together.  She continues to find a human bride for him but works out an arrangement for them to be together once a month on moon full.  Eva is looking for a human husband and knows he won’t be able to satisfy her Satyr needs.

What they don’t realize is that they both have some powerful enemies that will stop at nothing to get them and the olive grove back.  They are pulled into a world of sacrifice and greed that could prove deadly for them.

This book has something for everyone, romance, sex, drama and intrigue.  The Satyr series has grown since it began with more complex storylines.  The characters are deeper with multiple layers of insecurities like everyone else has.  Eva is hiding her true nature and Dane is hiding behind his other personalities based on events in his past.

I love this series and definitely recommend it to everyone.  Dane can be read as a standalone without any confusion but for the full effect, The Lords of Satyr series is best read in order.  I give Dane 4 ½ flaming hearts. 

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