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Archive for March, 2012

Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Journeying by steam-powered sled to London’s Frost Fair to perform, Tara and three friends are trapped in a blizzard in the woods. A gruff, handsome stranger offers them shelter—and wants one thing in return – Stories.

The travelers are glad to oblige. Their host, Rolph, is especially captivated by Tara’s story of an orphaned girl raised by the Fae in the world of the spirits. Equally intrigued by Rolph, and aware of an electric pull between them, Tara encourages him to share a story of his own. When Rolph weaves a tale of a man who is doomed by his own folly to turn into a wolf at the full moon, Tara suspects there is more than a grain of truth in his words.

When the veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds is parted, and danger threatens, will Tara make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rolph?

Tara and her band of performers are headed to London to perform at the Frost Fair but they get caught in a storm and have to seek shelter.  They come across a shelter in the woods and the stranger offers them shelter in exchange for stories.  She never expected to find a kindred spirit in the gruff Rolph but his story, like hers, seems to have some truth to it.

Beauty in the Beast is set in the world of Steampunk, complete with a steam powered horse and sleigh.  Tara and her friends are performers that travel around putting on shows.  Beth is a puppeteer, her husband Miles is a storyteller like Tara, and Fredrick is a musician.  They are caught in a blizzard and have to seek shelter.

Tara seems to be running from something, her past maybe?  She enjoys traveling with her group of friends but she seems lonely. She has an air of mystery that surrounds her that stems from her childhood.  I don’t think she realized that her past would have such an impact on her future either.

Rolf is a very lonely man that is living a life full of regrets over his past.  He lives alone in the woods and doesn’t seem happy when the strangers appear but feels obligated to let them stay.  He seems to enjoy the stories and performances of the troupe and is taken aback when Tara asks him to share a story of his own.

I enjoyed the interaction between Rolf and Tara.  They are both lonely individuals that seem to be looking for something, whether they recognize it or not.  The stories they shared both contained an air of truth to them. In the end, they both find salvation in each other’s arms.

There were a limited number of characters introduced and they all seemed to complement each other well.  They also had interesting stories that added to the value of the story.  The author does a good job of including just enough background for the reader to understand Rolf and Tara’s characters.  The overall scenery was fun too; my favorite was the steam powered horse they used to go into town.

This was one of the first Steampunk books I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I give Beauty in the Beast 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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My Sweet Succubus by Delilah Devlin
(Review orginally posted as part of the Moonstruck anthology )
* I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library*
 
My Immortal Knight, Book Eight
Melanie Bradshaw is driven to horny desperation by her torrid dreams. When she finally acts on her desires, things go horribly wrong and she witnesses the murder of an overly amorous lounge lizard–whose body disintegrates before her eyes.
 
Detective Moses Brown isn’t thrilled to get another “full-moon case”…until he meets the delectable Melanie, who took a walk on the wild side straight into vampire territory. Moses doesn’t know why vamps are interested in her, but until he can find out, he’s going to stick to her like glue, doing his best to ignore their instant attraction.
 
But pretty little Melanie has designs on his body. Her hunger for sex is voracious, even downright insatiable. How’s a brother to resist?

In this installment of the Immortal Knights series we are introduced to Melanie, librarian by day and succubus by night.  Melanie has been having strange dreams ever since she received the necklace from her aunt.  She is uneasy and in need of relief so she heads out to a local bar.  Little did she know she was going to witness a murder?

Detective Moses Brown works the “full moon” cases anytime they come in.  He is called in to interview Melanie to see what she knows and is instantly drawn to her.  He feels the need to protect her from the vampires out to get her.

I enjoyed this story because it was a different tale of a paranormal being.  It’s not something I’ve read a lot of stories about.  The characters were strong and interesting.  They worked well together and had believable chemistry.  I really liked the fact that Melanie always knew who Moses was no matter what and took care with him.  The secondary characters added to the story without distracting from it.

Overall I enjoyed My Sweet Succubus and give it 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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 Sinful Urges by Sonia Hightower
* I received a copy of this book from the author & Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Follow the confessions of Juan and Maria as they fall prey to lust at first sight. Can they stop themselves before it’s too late, or will they become victims of their own sinful urges?

A new neighbor sends Juan running to confession to rid himself of the lustful thoughts he experiences. Each confession becomes more erotic, more sinful than the last. Can Juan stop himself, or will he give in to the desire that threatens his very faith?

The man across the street causes Maria to question her own morals. When she seeks out a priest for confession, she weaves a tale of exotic kisses and stolen moments. How can Maria find sanctuary in her prayers when her body demands she finds solace in her neighbor’s arms?

Juan is married and has a young son that he loves.  He loves his wife but since the new neighbors moved in he no longer desires her.  He knows it’s wrong to covet his neighbor’s wife but he can’t seem to help himself.  She is beautiful and sexy and he craves her to distraction.  He is always watching for her and she seems to be putting on a show for him.  He doesn’t know what to do so he seeks the guidance of his priest but will it be enough?

Maria and her husband have just moved into the neighborhood.  Her husband is away a lot on business trips and she is home alone.  It doesn’t take long for her to notice her neighbor across the street.  He’s also married with a child.  He is sexy and she can’t help but put a show on for him while he’s watching her through her windows.  She is new to the area and also decides to seek the guidance of the local priest, will she take his advice?

I finished this book quickly because it was so different from anything I have read before.  In that same respect, it has taken me a little while to write this review.  The book is sexy and interesting and leaves you waiting for the next confessional; it’s like a dirty little secret.

The book is told from the prospective Juan, Maria and their priest alternating back and forth between them.  The characters are interesting and complex.  They know that what they desire is wrong and both struggle immensely with that knowledge.  The seek absolution from their priest and he tries his best to guide them to do the right thing.  They try but each confession seems to take them further from the point of no return.

The ending was a huge surprise for me that I never saw coming and actually left me wondering where the writer was going with this story.  Was it left up to the reader to deduce what happened in that confessional or was it intentionally left ambiguous for reference?

I enjoyed the story and the writer’s voice.  It kept me interested and engaged; I didn’t want to put it down.  I hope to read more from this author.  I give Sinful Urges 4 Flaming Hearts.   

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Two Can Play that Game by Myla Jackson
* I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library*

Charli Sutton had sex with a man in a black cowboy hat in Judge Stephen’s pool and she can’t figure out who it was. Return to the Ugly Stick Saloon with Charli as she struggles to come to grips with her dirty little tryst. Work through the clues as she tries to discover the identity of the stranger who’d rocked her world in the pool.

Secretly hoping for a repeat performance, she isn’t disappointed when not one, but two men in black cowboy hats waylay her on the highway home to Temptation, granting her every woman’s fantasy of having two hunky hotties at once.

Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon with this short story of approximately 8700 words. Join Charli in her second adventure.

Charli hasn’t had this much fun since she arrived in Temptation, now she can’t wait to find out who the sexy cowboy was she had a tryst with in the Judge’s pool.   She searches the patrons of the bar trying to figure out who the stranger is and hoping for a repeat performance.

The sexy stranger has no plans to disappoint her when he arranges a late night traffic stop on the road out of town.  With the help of another sexy cowboy in a black hat, they give her a night she will not forget.

Charli is bored with her life and was thinking about leaving until she received that mysterious phone call.  Now she can’t wait for the next call.  She doesn’t make a habit of public displays but she can’t resist the lure and thrill the stranger provides her.  She hasn’t had this much fun in a while, not to mention the great sex.

It was fun to see what the mysterious caller would come up with to top the skinny dipping escapade, and boy did he deliver.  Two sexy cowboys and the chance of being seen by passing cars just added to the eroticism of the event.  Who knew that a traffic stop could be so sexy?

This was a sexy short story that contained two sexy cowboys, how could you go wrong with that?  I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series.  I give Two Can Play that Game 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Rocky Mountain Desire #3 by Vivian Arend
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Nothing comes easy. You’ve gotta work for it.

Six Pack Ranch, Book 3

Matt Coleman always figured at this point in his life, he’d be settled down with a family. Since his ex split for the big city, though, no way will he give anyone else the chance to drop-kick his heart. Physical pleasure? Hell, yeah, he’ll take—and give—with gusto, but nothing more.

Hope Meridan is working long hours to hold on to her new quilt shop, going it alone since her sister/business partner ran off. Sex? Right, like she’s got the time. Not that she doesn’t have the occasional dirty fantasy about Matt. Fat chance he’d dream of knocking boots with her—the younger sister of the woman who dumped him. Nope, she’ll just have to settle for the F-word.

Friends would be far easier if there wasn’t something combustible going on between them. And when casual interest starts to grow into something more, their tenuous bond strengthens in the heat of desire. But it may not survive the hurricane-force arrival of the last person either of them ever wanted to see again…

Warning: Small-town rivals, men in pursuit and family meddling—in good and bad ways. Look for a cowboy who knows how to rope, ride and rein in a hell of a lot more than eight seconds of sheer bliss.

Matt Coleman was devastated when his ex-girlfriend cheated on him and then took off to the city without him.  He loves his family and life on the family farm; he has no desire to move to the city.  He wants to get married and raise a family; he just always thought it would be with Helen, not Hope.

Hope moved back home after college and planned on starting a quilting business with her sister.  She never expected her to flake out on her and leaving Hope solely responsible for all the debt associated with their shop.  She has worked hard to make it a profitable business and she’s not going to let her sister waltz back in and take over again.

Matt is one of the sexy Coleman boys and is 100% male.  He is heartbroken over Helen leaving and isn’t looking for love anytime soon.  He is shocked and ashamed at his response when he runs into Hope at Dan’s bachelor party.  He thinks it’s wrong to be attracted to her but he can’t stop thinking about her.  It takes a very bold move by Hope and a talk with his brother to get him heading toward happiness.

I loved Hope’s character; she is fierce and independent.  She has managed to make her business prosper even though Helen left her high and dry.  She has added quilting classes and a lounge area for her patron’s to sit and visit.  She wants Matt but thinks that he sees Helen when he looks at her.  When she suggested that they become friends she never expected it to turn into more.

Watching these two dancing around each other was so much fun, even though at times I just wanted to say get over yourselves already!!!  They are a great pair that is well matched and complements each other.  There were so many favorite moments in this book that would spoil the story if I shared them.  Let’s just say I see sledding and mudding in a whole new way.  My absolute favorite moment was the ending; it was so perfect in every way.  I was crying and laughing at the same time, especially at momma Coleman’s comment.

Vivian Arend has done it again.  The book contains the perfect mix of everything that makes a great story.  There is laughter, love, a stubborn Alpha male and a female that knows what she wants.  Mix in an amazing family that will be there to give you a kick in the butt when needed, along with their support and you can’t go wrong.  There is also a nice mixture of primary and secondary characters in this book too.

Overall I loved this book.  Each book in this series gets better and better.  I am really looking forward to the next book.  I give Rocky Mountain Desire 4½ Flaming Hearts.  

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One Up on You by Myla Jackson
* I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library*

Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon with this short story of approximately 5500 words. Join Charli in her first adventure.

Charli Sutton is tired of the same-ol-same-ol in Temptation, Texas and her job at the Ugly Stick Saloon. Her itchy feet tell her that if it ain’t happenin’ here, it’s time to go back to Austin and raise a little hell.

Charli has every intention of packing up, until a sexy-voiced stranger calls her daring her to skinny dip in the judge’s pool. The idea is crazy, ludicrous, and downright dangerous. Just the kind of dirty trick to get a girl’s blood flowing. Add a cowboy in a black hat with a body that could boil the water in the pool and he’s got one up on you!

Charlie and Audrey left everything in Austin behind when they moved to the small town to Temptation, TX.  Now Charlie is the assistant manager of the Ugly Stick Saloon and loves working for Audrey.  The only problem is she is bored and misses the action of the big city.  She is thinking about leaving until she gets a mysterious phone call with a very tempting offer.

Charlie is sexy but she is bored.  She is not used to the slow pace of the small time and misses the city.  She is intrigued when she receives a mysterious phone call daring her to go skinny dipping in the judge’s pool.  She worries that someone will see her but the danger makes it that much sexier.  She knows that her mystery caller is close by and challenges him to join her and share the fun.

The reader becomes a voyeur to a very hot pool scene that had my kindle on fire.  The caller is a sexy Texan wearing nothing but his cowboy hat, what’s not to love about that?  This was a fun, sexy read that left me craving more; luckily I bought them all at once and can’t wait to read the rest of them.

Overall I loved this installment and give One Up on You 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Orion’s Way by DC Juris
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Orion is a vampire with a tragic past. After running away from abusive parents at the tender age of sixteen, he was turned by a ruthless elder vampire and forced to torture and sexually abuse human feeders and submissive vampires. Though that’s all behind him now, he still lives in the shadow of what he was, and it has cost him the loyalty of Xavier, the human feeder he loves. Malagan is Orion’s closest friend–the vampire who saved him from brutality all those years ago. Malagan knows the dominant side of Orion–the side Xavier needs–is still there, lurking below the surface. But if Orion’s going to find his way back to who he ought to be, he’ll need help. And Malagan is just the man for the job.

Orion doesn’t trust himself as Xavier’s DOM and is afraid that he will hurt him because of his past.  He has control issues once he is set free that he won’t know when to stop.  These issues have driven Xavier into the hands of Clay, a dominant that does abuse his submissive and feeders.  Orion is willing to do whatever it takes to get Xavier and Malagan is the only one that will be able to help him.

Malagan doesn’t tolerate the human feeders or submissive vamps in his lair being abused.  He understands Orion’ pain when Xavier leaves with Clay.  He wants to help but he can’t because Xavier is free to make his own choice.  He and Orion have been friends for a long time and he is willing to do whatever it takes to help him find his confidence again.

Orion was turned at a young age and hasn’t had an easy life.  He was forced to torture and abuse people by his master.  Malagan saved him from that life but he still has impulse control issues that keep him from being a proper DOM.  He wants to be the person that Xavier needs but he is terrified that he will hurt him.  He is shocked when Malagan agrees to help him with his control issues.

I felt for Orion and the problems he is dealing with and wanted him and Xavier to work things out.  The relationship between him and Malagan is complex and slowly unravels before our eyes.  The sacrifice he makes for Orion shows how much Orion means to him.  The scene at the end between them was very hot.

Overall I enjoyed this story and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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