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Saturday, September 24, 2011

"IOU Sex"

This book is by Calista Fox and published by Carina Press.  It is an e-book that came out on August 1, 2011.

Main Characters:  Fiona Carlisle, jilted by her fiance for her sister.  Michael Houston, playboy photographer and Fiona's rebound fling.
This is a book that is written in the first person.  The reader can get a sense of what it's like to be in Fiona's shoes.  Fiona begins her story by thinking about her sister's engagement party.  In order for her to make it through the party, where her ex-fiance (of course) will also be attending, she has decided to ask Michael to go with her.
Michael is definitely the ultimate bad boy.  Michael has been very persistent about sleeping with Fiona after that brief fling.  Just like all good romance novels, the female character doesn't want a repeat because she is afraid how it will affect her.
You have to love the descriptions that Calista uses.  The reader can just imagine how vindictive Fiona's little sister is.  You also have to sympathize with Fiona.  No one deserves to be treated the way she was.  But Calista also makes Fiona a strong independent woman.
When Fiona goes to see Michael to ask him a favor, you can just about see the electricity that is created between the two of them.  If I was reading a paperback, instead of an e-reader, I'd have to use the fire extinguisher to put the flames out.  Calista creates some really "hot" scenes.
Like every good erotic romance, you go over to ask a guy a favor and instead things get out of control and you have some very heavy petting.  But the girl comes to her senses at the last-minute and puts a stop to it.  No one wants to get burned twice.  Then the reader finds out how the book got its title.
One thing I like about Michael is he never quits when he wants something.  And what he wants is Fiona.  With Calista's way with words, the reader can tell how much Michael cherishes Fiona.  This is the type of erotic romance that I love to read - so hot you can't put it down.  The sex scenes are pure steam and no place is off-limits when making love.  Calista makes her sex scenes a natural progression of their love for each other.
Michael is Fiona's strongest supporter.  Fiona fights their connection but I don't think she realizes what a strong couple they really are.  Michael certainly knows how to take care of a woman.
Calista also does a great job with Fiona.  When it comes time for the engagement party, the reader has to cheer Fiona on.  We see how both vulnerable and strong she is.  Calista writes the type of book that you want to read again and again.
One thing I loved about this book is that there aren't a lot of pages.  This forces the author to keep the scenes short and to the point.  We don't feel that the scenes drag on forever before getting to the point.  If that did happen, the book wouldn't flow as well as it did.  Plus, I don't know that I would have liked it as well.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars.

"Lord of Rage"

This book is by Jill Monroe and was published by Harlequin.  It came out on September 20, 2011.

This is book two of the "Royal House of Shadows" series.
Main Characters:  Princess Breena of Elden.  She is a woman who can mind speak and dream talk.  Osborn is a warrior of Ursa.
We first meet Breena when in her dreams she meets a warrior.  But every time she starts to dream of her warrior, and things start to get intimate, Breena wakes up.  She also never sees his face.  She's only ever seen his eyes.  Then a family crisis occurs.
We first meet Osborn as he faces a challenge that will turn him from a child into a man.  This is how the men of Ursa become a warrior.  And this is where Osborn will get his power from.  His first task, as a warrior, is to face the vampires that are out to kill his family and fellow villagers.  But just like Breena, he faces a family tragedy.
Breena, even though not a warrior, has a fight of her own.  She tries to use her magic but it fails her.  Then from somewhere she gets a feeling of strength.  As the story progresses we see what happens with her magic.
Our hero has a past that he isn't proud of.  But isn't that one thing that we love about our romance heroes?  Osborn also wages a war with himself about his wanting Breena.
Right from the beginning of the story, Jill starts building the suspense.  That and seeing what's going to happen next is what keeps the reader turning the pages.  Jill sends Osborn in as a knight in shining armour (or in the case of this story - bear fur).  And Breena is our damsel in distress.  This gives our story a fairy tale feeling.
Jill also gives our main characters an instant connection.  Our hero also gets one of those stupid male moments.  He made Breena leave and then immediately regrets it.  Then, of course, he has to go and get her.  But Jill also makes him an honorable man.  He takes care of his two younger brothers.
As the story weaves through we concentrate on our two lovers.  Then a misunderstanding temporarily separates them.  But as in all good romances, lust wins out in the end.  And we all know how good romances end.
This is a book that you hate to put down.  Jill does a great job of building the anticipation as the story progresses - you can do nothing less than turn the page to see what happens next.  If you enjoyed reading book one of the "Royal House of Shadows" series, you will enjoy this one as well.
You could read it by itself, but some things might not make sense if you don't read the series in order.  You will also find that the "resident evil" from book one shows up in book two.  I can't wait to see what book three has in store.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars.

"Lord of the Vampires"

This book is by Gena Showalter.  It is published by Harlequin and came out on August 23, 2011.

Gena Showalter brings her readers a book that starts a new series titled "Royal House of Shadows".  Hers is the first book of this series.
Our heroine's name is Jane Parker.  The story starts with Jane receiving a mysterious package.  We see that she is unemployed, has no family, and has been injured.  She has also been having some very strange dreams.  She dreams of a vampire - Nicolai.  We find out that the mysterious package has a book in it and that the story matches her dreams.
As Gena tells you the story, the reader can feel the sensuality weave itself around Jane and Nicolai.  The story weaves itself so well you just have to find out what happens next.  It's a story you don't want to put down.
Jane's life changes when she goes to sleep in one world and wakes up in another.  As Jane tries to figure out why she is where she is, she finds out that Nicolai is there too.
When we first meet Nicolai he seems to have amnesia.  The only thing he is sure of is that he's a vampire.  When the two finally meet, Nicolai wants Jane very badly.  As you read on in the story you can feel the connection between the two characters.  We see how stubborn Jane can be and how this frustrates Nicolai.  Jane also tends to think too much.
Gena makes Jane a character that is both strong and intelligent - a woman who can take care of herself.  It's great to see a woman character that can stand up to the "big guys" and almost hold her own.  You can also tell that this surprises Nicolai.  Nicolai acts just like a knight in shining armour - someone who will protect his lady-love at all costs.
One of the evil characters in the book is named Princess Laila and she is Jane's sister.  The other evil character is Jane's mother the Queen of Hearts.  We have to keep reading to see if good (Jane and Nicolai) can overcome evil (Laila and the Queen of Hearts).
As you continue reading this story you can feel the connection between Jane and Nicolai grow.  Gena creates great chemistry between the two.  It got so "hot" that I had to turn my fan on.  This story sizzles!
Every time you think that Jane and Nicolai are going to romantically connect, Laila and her mother seem to interrupt.  You would think this would slow the story down but it doesn't.  It actually turns up the heat more.  I was drinking my ice tea at the time I was reading this story and was I glad.  This book turns the temperature up a notch!
In all good romances, our lovers are torn apart and then have to find their way back to each other.  Gena doesn't disappoint her readers in developing this story.  She also knows how to make her evil characters really "bad".  You really have to hate that they keep coming between Jane and Nicolai.
 Gena also does a great job of putting a plot twist in.  You would think that it would ruin the story because it comes so close to the end of the story but Gena works it to perfection.  It keeps the reader's attention because you want to know how it all ends.
This is the type of paranormal romance that I love to read.  It reels you in with the promise of something but that something just stays out of reach.  This forces the reader to turn the page.  You have to continue the story to see what happens.  Gena keeps the readers involved throughout the whole story by allowing them to use their imagination.
With this great book to start the "Royal House of Shadows" series, I can't wait to see what the other authors do with their books.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars.

"A Touch of Crimson"

This book is by Sylvia Day.  It is published by Signet and will be out on October 4, 2011.

If you are a fan of Sylvia Day's work, like I am, you will love this new book.  It's a book you'll hate to put down!
Adrian Mitchell is a character you have to feel sorry for right from the beginning.  He has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Within the first five pages the action begins and continues all the way until the last page.  The action, and Sylvia's writing style, keeps the reader's attention throughout the whole story.
In chapter 2, we meet Lindsay, Adrian's love interest.  Every woman loves a good love story but theirs takes a while to develop.  This is what keeps the readers turning the pages to see if they finally get together.  Sylvia does a great job of using her words so that the reader can picture exactly what is going on in the story.
Now Adrian isn't your normal hero—he's an angel.  And Lindsay is human, isn't she?  You'll have to read each page to find out!
There are lycans who work for the angels.  Elijah is one of them.  Is he for or against the angels?  Do the main characters ever connect?
I'm a reader that can usually tell by the end of the first chapter if the story line is going to hold my attention so that I will want to finish the book.  With this book, I couldn't wait to read the next chapter to see what was going to happen.
I will definitely read the next book in the Renegade Angels series when it comes out.  If you've never read Sylvia Day before, this will make you want to read more of her books, promise!
This is definitely 4.5 stars

A Midwinter Fantasy

"A Midwinter Fantasy" is a Dorchester Publishing Christmas Anthology to be published on October 15.  You get three books for the price of one.

The first story is "A Christmas Carroll" by Leanna Renee Hieber.
The prologue, for me, starts the story in some confusion.  We know the story is a historical romance because it is set at the end of 1888 and it is Christmas time.  My confusion comes in how the words in the prologue are trying to set the story.  My mind just can't seem to process the words into a picture in my mind.  This is part of Leanna's "Strangely Beautiful Series."  If you have read her other books in the series this may seem less confusing.  And would probably help you to better understand what is going on.
We meet Michael Carroll in Chapter 1.  We find his profession is that of a vicar.  He is part of a group called "The Guard".  It is not a military group but a group that watches over evil spirits (ghost hunters of old).  We then find out that he has loved the same woman for over twenty years.
Everyone that belongs to "The Guard" all have special gifts.  But as Michael shares his story, we find that the groups gifts have disappeared.  How will they function?  Their gifts are what also keep the group connected to each other.
I like that in Leanna's story our couple is older - not all couples need to be young.  The reader can easily put themselves into the couple's shoes.  How is Michael going to convince his lady-love, Rebecca, that they belong together?
Rebecca doesn't feel that she deserves Michael's love.  But it is Christmas time - a time for miracles.  And of course the story is set during the era of Dickens (big hint).
Michael scores hero points in my book because he visits the local orphanage infirmary.  He is considered "The Heart" of the group and we can see why.  He is also someone who does not hide his emotions.  You don't see many authors that give the male character these types of feelings.  It's refreshing!
I'm also impressed with the descriptions of the settings and clothes that the characters are wearing.  Leanna gives her readers a good idea of how it was to live in 1888.  She also shows the reader that you don't have to have a lot of sex in a story to see the romance between characters.
I give story one 4 stars.
The second story is "The Worth of a Sylph" by L.J. McDonald
This story is part of L.J.'s "Sylph Series".
The story starts out with us learning that Mace is a shape-shifter (a battle sylph).  We also learn he has a female master.  Her name is Lily and she is in her eighties.  Lily decides that it is time for Mace to find a new master.  Before she leaves their plane, she wants to make sure that Mace is taken care of.
In the story, we get a lot of information about Mace and a young boy named Jayden.  We also see that Sylphs need to draw energy - whether from humans or animals.  Mace sets out to try to find Jayden and as he travels we find out what Mace's life is really like.
I felt the story was running a little slow because of all the time it takes for Mace to look for Jayden.  We see all that Mace has had to endure but his love interest doesn't appear until chapter 5.  This is when we find out her name is Sally.
In an anthology stories tend to be short and the author has little time to tell their story.  In this case, and because I have not read the other books in the series, I felt that L.J. fell a little short.  The first four chapters went on a little too much about Mace and no hint of Sally.  Once you get to chapter 5, you see that the story picks up.
I did enjoy the way that L.J. describes things  and she gave us the perfect sort of hero.  Mace protects women and children and will do anything for them.  If I go back and read her other books in the "Sylth Series", this story may have been better for me.
I give this second book 3 1/2 stars.
The third story is "The Crystal Crib" by Helen Scott Taylor
Sonja is a travel professional that goes to meet Vidar.  Vidar owns a resort/theme park.
Sonja is a woman who hopes that her dreams will come true.  One of those dreams is to meet her father.  Vidar is a man who takes charge.  We can tell that Helen has given Vidar a strong, and very focused, personality.
Is Vidar the one who will make all Sonja's dreams come true?  We find that Vidar knows Sonja's father and is going to take her to meet him.  On the way to this meeting, Sonja sees things that just don't seem possible.  She also finds out that her father isn't exactly human.  And what other dreams does Sonja have?
What I love about Helen's story is that she mixes both paranormal and mythology together.  She does a great job at describing her characters.  The reader can just picture the look on Sonja's face as she looks around and sees what you or I will never see.
This is a love story with a twist.  As you read the first love scene, Helen has you both smiling and laughing.  The descriptions she uses makes the scene seem very clear in your mind.  Helen gives her readers a father/daughter moment as well as a good over evil moment.
I give story three 4 1/2 stars.
In my opinion, Dorchester Publishing saved the best for last.  Even though I have never read these authors before, I would, overall, recommend reading this book.