Friday 28 February 2014

Review: Up from the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

There's always one more grave to dig.

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband, Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war . . .

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. New Cat ad Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death . . . because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives - and those of everyone they hold dear - will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

Night Huntress Series:
Halfway to the Grave
One Foot in the Grave
At Grave's End
Destined for an Early Grave
One for the Money (Short Story in the Magic Graves Anthology)
This Side of the Grave
One Grave at a Time
Home for the Holidays (Novella available as an ebook or as part of The Bite Before Christmas anthology)
Up from the Grave

Night Huntress World Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress Series that fits into the time line after Destined for an Early Grave)
First Drop Of Crimson
Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Night Prince Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress series that fits into the time line after One Grave at a Time)
Once Burned
Twice Tempted

For more information visit Jeaniene Frost's website

I've been a huge fan of the Night Huntress series ever since I first discovered it, I love Cat and Bones but I also love (or love to hate) all the side characters we have come to know so well throughout the series and the spin off stories. I was upset when I found out that Up from the Grave was going to be the last book in the series, I understand and respect Jeaniene Frost's decision to end things here rather than drag out the storyline but that doesn't mean I felt ready to say goodbye. I'm going to miss these characters but I guess that's the good thing about books - you can always reread them! We also have the final book in Vlad's spin off to look forward to and I'm holding on to hope that we might get an Ian book or two at some point in the future too.

Up from the Grave contains everything fans of this series would expect - lots of action, great interactions between Cat and Bones, a nasty enemy with seriously evil plans and the team joining forces with some surprising allies to save the day. I'm going to admit there were a couple of things I didn't like so much though, things that felt unnecessary to me and lowered my rating slightly, but I can't really say too much without veering into spoiler territory so I'm going to leave it at that very vague pronouncement! What I did enjoy was seeing all of the characters I've come to love play a role in the story. Denise proves what an amazing friend she is in this one and Cat is lucky to have someone like that at her back, I think we could all use a friend like Denise and I was glad she got another chance to shine. Ian is also a stand out character here and the more I see of him the more desperate I am to read a full length story about him!

I love seeing how far Cat and Bones have come in their relationship, they are so much stronger now than they were in the beginning and they really are unbeatable when they're working as a team. They are one of my favourite fictional couples and have been for a long time now so I'm going to miss them. This series is certainly one that will be staying on my keeper shelf.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Quick Review: Home for the Holidays - Jeaniene Frost

Originally appeared in the print anthology The Bite Before Christmas.

'Tis the season to join Cat and Bones for some holiday cheer in this Night Huntress novella by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost.

They were looking forward to a normal holiday—at least as "normal" as it gets for vampires Cat and Bones and their otherworldly friends and family. But their yuletide plans are shattered when a mysterious stranger shows up and reveals long-buried secrets that threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer … and lives.

Night Huntress Series:
Halfway to the Grave
One Foot in the Grave
At Grave's End
Destined for an Early Grave
One for the Money (Short Story in the Magic Graves Anthology)
This Side of the Grave
One Grave at a Time
Home for the Holidays (Novella available as an ebook or as part of The Bite Before Christmas anthology)
Up from the Grave

Night Huntress World Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress Series that fits into the time line after Destined for an Early Grave)
First Drop Of Crimson
Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Night Prince Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress series that fits into the time line after One Grave at a Time)
Once Burned
Twice Tempted

For more information visit Jeaniene Frost's website

Home for the Holidays is a novella that was previously published in the Bite Before Christmas anthology but that is now also available as a separate ebook. If you haven't already read the anthology then it is well worth picking up this fabulous story and at 99p in the UK Kindle store for 150 pages I consider it quite a bargain.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the plot because it would be too easy to give spoilers but fans of the series will love seeing Cat and Bones prepare to spend the holidays together. As you'd expect nothing ever runs smoothly for this couple though and Christmas is no exception so this isn't a typical holiday read. Cat actually finds herself working closely with Ian to protect Bones and their friends from an unusual enemy and I have to say I LOVED their interactions. As much as I adore Cat and Bones Ian has always been a favourite side character so it was great to see him play such a central role in the story and this just made me even more eager to see him star in his own book (please, please, please let Jeaniene Frost write one for him in the future!!).

We get to find out a lot more about Bones's past and there are some interesting new characters introduced but the best thing is getting to see all of the characters we're already familiar with. I'm so sad that this series is coming to an end with Up from the Grave but I know it's one I'll be rereading again in the future and the additional novellas just add a little something extra.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Novella (Kindle) / Anthology (Paperback / Kindle):

Thursday 27 February 2014

Review: Banished - Liz de Jager

A Blackhart's Calling: to banish evil and hold back the night

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she's living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it's not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn's enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves - it's that or lose everyone she's learnt to love.

Blackhart Legacy:

Visit Liz de Jager's website for more information

I feel it's only fair to mention in my review that I have known Liz for about 4 years now and consider her a friend, as much as I've tried not to let that effect my review I do think it's something I should be open and honest about. Now I've got that little disclaimer out of the way let me tell you all the reasons that Banished is a must read novel for urban fantasy fans!

Kit Blackhart has only recently become aware of her family's calling to protect humanity from the monsters that prey on us. She didn't grow up with the majority of her family and it was only when her grandmother was murdered by the fae that Kit discovered that monsters were real and that she was born to fight them. Sent to live with her uncle and cousins Kit has had a steep learning curve to deal with. Not only is she still discovering all the different fae species she also has to learn how to use her magical abilities as well as train with various weapons so she can defeat them. Recovering at home after her first solo mission Kit is disappointed not to be included in the latest battle her family are facing but she soon finds herself in over her head when a fae prince is attacked just outside their property. With her family out of contact Kit is in a difficult position, does she put herself in danger to save prince Thorn and is there anyone she can trust to help her?

I found Kit was a really likeable heroine, she has been thrown in at the deep end and doesn't have as much training as the rest of her family but what she lacks in knowledge she makes up for in guts and determination. I love the fact that she isn't perfect, she makes mistakes and doesn't always have the answers she needs but she never stops trying and fighting for what she believes in. The reader is introduced to a lot of the different species of fae alongside Kit and I loved the sheer variety of creatures she comes across on her journey, you really never can tell what is going to crop up next and I was constantly caught by surprise. My slight niggle was the instant attraction between Kit and Thorn but thankfully there is very little in the way of romance so we have no crazy declarations of love between them. They obviously have a connection and there is definitely potential for a forbidden romance to develop but that is taking a back seat to the action packed storyline - just the way I like it!

Kit isn't the only well fleshed out character either, I enjoyed the bond she shares with her cousins and seeing her get to know her family better. Kit is a newcomer so is still trying to find her place in the family dynamics but there is obviously a lot of love and respect amongst them all. I also really liked Thorn and had a lot of fun seeing how out of place he was in the human realm where he hasn't spent time before. Banished is a fast paced story full of action and adventure and it's a fabulous debut novel from Liz de Jager. I absolutely can't wait to see where she takes the story next!

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Marine for Hire - Tawna Fenske

New Cover
She thought she’d sworn off military men for good…

Sam Kercher is every inch a wickedly hot Marine. Tall. Sexy. Lethal. When his best friends call in a favor, Sam is forced to face an entirely new line of duty—playing nanny for their newly divorced sister and her squirming seven-month-old twin boys. If Sam can dissemble an M16 in his sleep, diaper duty should be a cakewalk…right?

Unfortunately, Operation Nanny isn’t quite that simple. Sheridan has sworn off overbearing military men, so Sam must protect her from her dirtbag ex without revealing just how much he has in common with her brothers. Or that he’s been ordered not to touch her. Ever. Problem is, Sheri’s one hell of a gorgeous woman, capable of making this hard-bodied marine even harder. And Sam wants her bad.

Protect the girl. Care for the babies. Hide his identity. And keep his hands off. But even the most disciplined Marine has weaknesses...and Sheridan is one Sam might not be able to resist.

Front and Centre Series:
Marine for Hire
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Tawna Fenske's website for more information.

Sheridan swore off men when she found out her husband had been cheating on her - while she was busy looking after their seven month old twins. Her whole life has been spent around controlling military men, from her father and brothers right through to her dirt bag ex and she has had enough. She'd rather focus on her sons and rebuilding her life, starting with her new job, but before that she's going to need to find herself a nanny she can trust. Sheridan's brother, Mac, is worried that her ex is going to cause trouble and he wants to keep his sister and nephews safe so he calls in a favour with his friend and fellow Marine, Sam. Since Sheridan is dead set against the idea of a bodyguard Sam is forced to go in undercover as her new nanny. As the attraction between them grows will Sam be able to keep his secret and what will happen when she finds out who he really is?

I'm a huge fan of the Brazen line, these stories always hit the spot when you want a cute and sexy romance and Marine for Hire fits that bill perfectly. While it wasn't my favourite story from this imprint it was still a fun read and I'm curious enough to want to continue reading the series. I think the reason that I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped is because everything happens so quickly between Sam and Sheridan, I got the instant attraction and didn't have a problem with that but I didn't believe they had fallen in love so fast. I found it hard to believe that Sheridan would be so willing to jump into a new relationship only seven months after giving birth to her children, especially bearing in mind how badly her ex-husband had treated her. Considering she was a single mother with such young babies AND a full time job I just thought romance would probably be the last thing on her mind. I also struggled to understand why she didn't spot that Sam was a military guy, there were so many clues that should have given him away that I had to roll my eyes at how stupid she was not to see it which in turn made me angry with Sam for lying to her.

If I put my irritations to one side and just went with the flow then I did enjoy the interactions between Sam and Sheridan. They had fantastic chemistry but what I actually enjoyed most was seeing them having fun together and spending time as a family with the children. Sam's interactions with the boys were adorable & I think he would make most women's hearts melt! I really liked Sheridan's best friend Kelli and the way she was so supportive of her friend and I'm also very curious to learn more about Sheridan's brother Mac. I have a feeling that the next book might feature Kelli and Mac as the main characters and I really hope I'm right about that. Marine for Hire is a fun, light hearted read and a great way to pass a lazy afternoon on the beach, the Hawaii setting makes it even more perfect summer reading.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Original Cover

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Review: Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle

A note about this book: Donners of the Dead is set in 1851 – couples were often thrust into marriage together with short courtships, racism was widespread and not overly frowned upon, and women had little to no rights. What wouldn't fly in today's day and age was unfortunately the norm back then - it is worth keeping that in mind when reading this book.

Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive.

The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.

Visit Karina Halle's website for more information

I have to confess I don't read much horror these days so I was a bit nervous before I picked up Donners of the Dead in case I didn't like it. I'm a huge fan of Karina Halle's Artists trilogy though and I've even been enjoying her Experiment in Terror series so I figured if anyone could get me to enjoy a horror romance then it would be her. As it turns out I actually loved how scary it was! I think this was even more creepy than the EIT books (although I've only read the first 2 books so far and I have heard they get scarier as the series continues) and it's definitely more gory. Karina Halle is actually managing to get me to enjoy horror again so I have to give her extra kudos for that.

I think the thing that intrigued me most about this novel and that really made me want to read it was the setting. As a Brit there is a lot I don't know about American history but hearing that this is loosely based on the true story of the Donner Party had me itching to learn more, in fact I'm going to have to do a little research on that group now I've finished the book! I haven't read many stories set in this era so it was a refreshing change to read something so different. I actually think that's something Karina Halle is really good at, she always comes up with such unusual story ideas so you know going in you'll get something other than the norm when you pick up one of her books.

Eve is a young mixed race girl in an era where racism is highly prevalent and since the disappearance of her Native American father she has lived her mother's very white family. She is definitely seen as a second class citizen by her family members and is treated only slightly better than a slave by her uncle and aunt. When a group of men come through town looking for a tracker to help them on their expedition into the mountains Eve's uncle is more than happy to volunteer her for the job - especially when he finds out how much they will pay for her skills. Eve is reluctant to go but doesn't really have much of a choice in the matter and at least her close friend Avery will be going along with her and she'll have a local village girl as a chaperone. What was supposed to be a relatively simple expedition to find the missing Donner Party turns much more sinister when they find themselves being attacked but just who, or what, is coming after them?

I really liked Eve as a character and thought she came across as very realistic for her age and the era she was born in. She is a very innocent and naive young woman who has led a sheltered life and isn't used to being around a group of rough and ready men. It didn't surprise me too much that she developed an immediate fascination with Jake, the way he was described made him come across as ruggedly handsome and he certainly had physical appeal. Unfortunately he also acted like an ass, he comes across as incredibly racist and seems to take great pleasure in making nasty comments to Eve. Again I'd have to say his actions felt quite realistic considering the era and his background, I'm not trying to excuse his actions but I didn't feel they were out of character for a man of his experiences. What I didn't like was the way Eve was still drawn to him even when he was being so mean to her. I had a bit of an issue with how quickly they went from him constantly needling her to him suddenly flirting and attempting to kiss her. It had been obvious from very early on that she was drawn to him (even when I was struggling to see why!) but I hadn't felt that the attraction went both ways which kind of spoilt the romance for me, especially in the beginning.

Once Jake had a change of heart and started treating Eve nicer I actually really started to like him and he has some incredibly sweet lines that I'll happily admit made me swoon a bit. From the start of their flirting together the romance moves at a nice pace and I didn't feel it took away from the rest of the plot but it did seem to come a little out of nowhere in the beginning. I guess I wanted him to be a little more apologetic for the way he had treated her and to have seen him try to make amends for being so mean - I wanted Eve to expect more from him and for him to give it to her. I understand things have to move a little faster in a stand alone story though and I enjoyed their banter and flirting so much that I ended up forgiving him for his initial attitude.

Donners of the Dead was a really enjoyable story which I thought had the perfect mix of scary horror and sexy romance. Considering I'm not much of a horror fan I'm still surprised at how much I loved the creepy scenes even when they had me wanting to hide behind a cushion in fear! I loved the historical setting too and it's definitely left me in the mood to read more stories about American pioneers.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Monday 24 February 2014

Cover Reveal: The Illusionists - Laure Eve

I loved Laure Eve's debut novel Fearsome Dreamer so I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for the sequel The Illusionists today! So without further ado let's have a look at the cover:

What do you think? I absolutely love it and I think it goes so well with the Fearsome Dreamer cover - I can't wait to have these two books sitting side by side on my bookshelves! Just look at them next to each other, aren't they fab!?

The talented artist who created both of these covers is Kali Cesemier and if you'd like to see more of her work you can visit her website here:

Here is the blurb for The Illusionists (this was taken from Goodreads so may not be the final version):

A shocking new world. A dangerous choice. Two futures preparing to collide...

Having left White behind her in Angle Tar, Rue is trying to make sense of her new and unfamiliar life in World. Its culture is as baffling as is it thrilling to her, and Rue quickly realises World's fascination with technology can have intoxicating and deadly consequences.

She is also desperately lonely. And so is White. Somehow, their longing for each other is crossing into their dreams, dreams that begin to take increasingly strange turns as they appear to give Rue echoes of the future. Then the dreams reveal the advent of something truly monstrous, and with it the realisation that Rue and White will be instrumental in bringing about the most incredible and devastating change in both World and Angle Tar.

But in a world where Life is a virtual reality, where friends can become enemies overnight and where dreams, the future, and the past are somehow merging together, their greatest challenge of all may be to survive.

Yes, I'm dying to get my hands on this one! If you've not come across this series before it has a strong historical feel to it but at the same time it is full of futuristic technology and Laure Eve has expertly blended the two elements together to create something that is totally unique. You can read my review of Fearsome Dreamer HERE if you've not read it yet. The Illusionists isn't published until July so you have plenty of time to grab a copy of the first book and catch up and I really think you should have both of these books at the top of your wishlist!

Sunday 23 February 2014

Review: The Professional - Kresley Cole

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes The Professional—the first scorching instalment in her Game Maker series, an erotica collection that has readers asking: How hot is too hot?

He makes the rules...
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr "The Siberian" Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalising redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken...
PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true...

Visit Kresley Cole's website for more information.

The Professional is a serialised novel currently available in 3 separate ebooks. The whole story will be released as a full length novel in May 2014 both as an ebook and in print. This is a combined review for the entire story written after I read all three instalments. As a fan of Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark paranormal series I was excited when I heard that she was going to be writing a more edgy, dark erotic romance and I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Professional. A friend who read the first instalment before me had warned me about the killer cliffhangers though so I decided to wait until all three parts were available before I started reading and I'm glad I did because I devoured them all one after the other!

Natalie is an American student who has her whole life turned upside down when she manages to track down her birth parents. She knew she was adopted and that she was born in Russia but the last thing she expected was to discover that her father is a powerful and incredibly wealthy Russian mobster. When her parentage becomes public knowledge Natalie will be a natural target for her father's enemies so he sends his most trusted enforcer, Sevastyan, to bring her home to Russia so they can keep her safe. As much as Natalie has been longing to meet her father she isn't sure what to make of the new world that she suddenly finds herself in, a world of wealth and privilege where she can have everything she's ever dreamed of but one where she has completely lost her freedom. As if adjusting to her new surroundings and getting to know her father wasn't enough to cope with she is also trying to fight her growing attraction to Sevastyan, someone she knows has dark secrets that he's keeping from her. She's desperate to explore her deepest darkest desires with Sevastyan but scared that it may cause trouble between him and her father.

It's always interesting to see an author try out a new genre, I knew Kresley Cole had a knack for writing great sex scenes but hot damn does she take that up a level in The Professional. The chemistry between Natalie and Sevastyan is off the charts and veers into "melt your kindle while you read" territory, I don't think a cold shower was enough after reading this book - I was more in need of an ice bath LOL. The scenes at the club were some of the hottest I've ever read! I never thought I'd find a domineering, arrogant, hit man quite so sexy but there is something irresistible about Sevastyan. I'm going to be honest and admit that there were a couple of times I wanted to slap the man but overall I just wanted to eat him up. This story includes some incredibly well written and super sexy BDSM scenes so if that's something you're not into then this might not be the book for you but if you like pushing your boundaries then I can't recommend it highly enough.

Natalie and Sevastyan's story isn't all happiness and rainbows, it's intense, dark and disturbing but that just makes it even more compelling to read. Both characters make mistakes, they react badly to certain events and push each other away when they get scared of how strong their feelings are. In fact they both have a lot of growing up to do if they're going to figure out a way to make their relationship work but in spite of the difficulties it is obvious they're meant to be together. In a lot of ways they are complete opposites but their personalities compliment each other and if they can just learn to actually talk things through and make compromises then they'll have something really special.

I loved The Professional so much that I've already pre-ordered a copy of the full length novel so I can have it sitting on my bookshelves. I'm really hoping that this will be the first book in a new series because I'm dying to learn more about Maksim and I have a feeling that he might have even more secrets than Sevastyan does. Kresley Cole has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she knows how to write erotic romance and I really hope she's going to give us more of her deliciously dark, hot Russian mobsters!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Parts 1, 2 & 3 on Kindle:

Bind up of the entire story Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday 22 February 2014

Review: Claimed by a Demon King - Felicity Heaton

The moment the demon King Thorne of the Third Realm set eyes on the mortal huntress Sable, he knew she was his fated one. The fiery, dangerous female awakened hungers he had never experienced before, a dark craving and passion that has consumed him in their time apart. As the lunar cycle wanes, she enters his world again and nothing will stand in the way of him claiming his forever with her—not the relentless assault from the Fifth Realm or the dark elf male determined to seduce her out of his grasp.

Intent on achieving the coveted position of commander at Archangel, Sable leads her small team into the dark underworld and the Third Realm, to a war where her allies are the very creatures she normally hunts—vampires, werewolves, and demons. Her eagerness to lead the deadly mission has everything to do with winning her promotion, and nothing to do with the kingdom’s brash, lethally seductive demon king—a king who stirred fierce desire and wildfire heat in her with just a look and an innocent touch when they first met, and has been in her wicked dreams ever since.

As the gathering storm between rivals unleashes irresistible passion that flares white-hot and the heat of the battle brings life-shattering realisations, can Sable place her duty before her heart? Or will she surrender to her deepest desires and be claimed by a demon king?

Eternal Mates Series:
(This series is set in the same world as the Vampire Erotic Theatre series but can be read completely separately)
Kissed by a Dark Prince
Claimed by a Demon King
Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Hunted by a Jaguar
Craved by an Alpha
Bitten by a Hellcat
Taken by a Dragon
Marked by an Assassin
Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Awakened by a Demoness
Haunted by the King of Death
Tuned by a Tiger
Tamed by a Tiger
Treasured by a Tiger
Unchained by a Forbidden Love
Avenged by an Angel
Seduced by a Demon King

Vampire Erotic Theatre Series:

Cougar Creek Mates Series:
(Set in the same world as Vampire Erotic Theatre & Eternal Mates series but can be read completely separately)
Claimed by her Cougar
Captured by her Cougar
Courted by her Cougar
Craved by her Cougar

Black Ridge Bears Series:
(Set in the same world as Vampire Erotic Theatre, Eternal Mates & Cougar Creek Mates series but can be read completely separately)

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

I really enjoyed Kissed by a Dark Prince and have been looking forward to reading this sequel ever since, Felicity Heaton has certainly got a hit on her hands with her Eternal Mates series and Claimed by a Demon King was just as good as I thought it would be. We already met both Sable and Thorn in the previous book but I really enjoyed getting to know them both better here.

Sable is a demon hunter for Archangel, she has spent years training with the single goal of becoming one of their commanders and now is her chance to prove herself. She has been put in charge of leading a team of hunters to the underworld where they have agreed to help the demon king Thorn protect the Third Realm and win the war against his enemies. She will do whatever it takes to make sure her mission is a success, especially as it almost guarantees her a promotion when she returns home at the end. Thorn's realm has been at war for centuries but with the help of the elves, vampires, werewolves and hunters he hopes to finally bring peace to his people. The first time he saw Sable he knew she was his eternal mate but as much as he wishes to claim her he doesn't want to force her into something she isn't comfortable with, as the danger increases he must decide what is more important though - claiming Sable or protecting his people.

We had already seen Thorn's attraction to Sable in the first book so it was no surprise to discover that he had recognised her as his mate. What did surprise me was that he was so willing to go slowly with Sable and let her take the lead in their relationship. He recognised how special she was and he knew that forcing her into something that she wasn't ready for would just break things between them beyond repair. Sable is a warrior, someone who is fierce and proud and she wouldn't take kindly to being pushed too far. I loved how she is prepared to stand up for herself and for those she cares about, once she realises that she has feelings for Thorn she wants to prove that she is strong enough to be his queen and that she will fight for him just as much as he fights for her. What I love about this series is that although you have soul mates who recognise each other immediately the couples still take time to get to know each other and you get to see them gradually fall in love. There may be instant attraction because of their bond but the respect, friendship and love takes time to grow. Sable and Thorn are both strong characters, they are both fighters and they both like to be in control so it isn't easy for either of them to hand the reins to someone else but in spite of that they learn to trust in each other so they can build something special together.

I said in my review of Kissed by a Dark Prince that I wanted to see more of Loren's right hand elf Bleu and I was granted my wish in this one. He is determined to fight Thorn for Sable's affections and he takes great pleasure in pushing things which drives Thorn crazy. I have to admit that Bleu's attitude had started to annoy me a little here though. I would have respected him more if I'd thought he was crazy in love with Sable but I never felt they were anything more than friends, in fact it was seemed seemed more like Bleu thought she was a challenge than that he wanted to be with her forever. Luckily once Sable has made it perfectly clear she isn't interested in him he backs off a bit and was more like is usual self which made me like him again. I do really hope that we'll get to see his story at some point in the series but I have a feeling it won't be any time soon. It hasn't been announced yet who will be the next couple in the series but I have picked up on at least 2 couples who I think might get their own books and I'm looking forward to seeing if I'm right or not.

Alongside the fabulous romance this story also contains a lot of action and some great battle scenes. While the first book focuses on the elves this one is all about the demons but it also introduces us to other new species who I think we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future (I REALLY want to see more of the dragons!!). We get to catch up with characters from the previous book (there are some lovely scenes with Loren and Olivia along with a reappearance of a wounded warrior who I'm already crazy about!) and if you've read Felicity Heaton's Vampire Erotic Theatre series you'll see some cameos from your favourite old characters too. I can't wait to see where this series goes next and I'm looking forward to seeing if any of my couple predictions come true.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

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Friday 21 February 2014

Review: Death & Co. - D.J. McCune

There's more to life than death . . .

Adam Mortson is a Luman, one of an elite band of spirit guides who travel to the Hinterland to guide dead souls into the afterlife. And though Adam just wants to be a normal teenager - one who dates girls like Melissa, hands out with his mates and avoids his homework - his role as a Luman is strictly non-negotiable.

But when Adam discovers a new and dangerous power within himself, he must make a terrible choice: to stand by and watch as lives are lost, or to disobey the rules of death and risk everything to save his soul . . .

Death & Co. Series:
Death & Co.
The Mortal Knife

Visit D.J. McCune's website for more information

Adam is a Luman, for generations his family have had the ability to travel to the Hinterland so they can help guide souls into the afterlife. He is from a respected family and his father is the High Luman in charge of all the Luman in Britain so Adam should be a natural. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to follow in the footsteps of his father and older brothers and travelling to the Hinterland makes him extremely sick. All Adam has ever wanted is a normal life, he just wants to go to school and hang out with his friends and he definitely doesn't want to spend his evenings and weekends guiding souls. Adam has an unusual Lumen ability though, one that could be used to save lives if he is brave enough to use it but one that goes against everything the Lumen stand for and that could cost Adam everything if he is caught using it.

I had such high hopes for Death & Co. I've not come across many books featuring reapers so I was really looking forward to learning more about the Lumen and the role they play in guiding souls. I have to say that I loved the mythology the author has created here. The scenes where Adam and his family are sent into disaster zones to guide souls were actually quite harrowing to read and were incredibly well written. I loved those parts of the story and wanted more of them.

I also really enjoyed learning about the Lumen society, they are a very old fashioned organisation with very misogynistic views and although that annoyed me about them I also found it extremely believable. Even though women have the same abilities as men to travel to the Hinterland they are forbidden from becoming Lumen (or should that be Luwomen?) and are instead expected to stay at home raising the children. Men also have no choice and are not allowed to live a normal human life with an average job - they must become Lumen and spend their time guiding souls. As much as I don't agree with the way their society runs I did find it interesting to read about and considering the attitudes of Adam and some of his family members I see a revolution in Lumen society on the cards as the series continues! I really hope I'm right about that because I'd love to see Adam and his sister Chloe shake things up a bit.

Where the story fell down for me was the amount of high school drama that it included. I get that Adam wants to live a normal life so I could see why so many scenes were included where he was hanging out with his mates and chasing girls but if I'm honest those sections of the story bored me. I wasn't interested in the drama and I was irritated by the pranks that the boys were playing on their headmaster - they just didn't seem all that funny to me and it was more like bullying than a fun joke. I'm not a fan of bullying in any form even if it is students doing it to a hated teacher. I think I was extra disappointed by this because I was loving the other parts of the book so much but the unnecessary drama kept pulling me out of the world and making me want to put the book down. The book would have had a much higher rating from me if it had focused more on the Lumen society and seeing Adam attempting to use his abilities.

In spite of it's faults Death & Co. was a quick read, overall I'd have to say this was a middle of the road one though - there were parts that I loved but others that left me indifferent. Considering this was a debut novel I'm willing to give the series another chance though and will definitely be reading the next book. I'm just hoping that The Mortal Knife focuses more on the paranormal elements and less on Adam's schooling and childish pranks.

Source: Received from Hot Key in exchange for an honest review

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Thursday 20 February 2014

Review: Temporarily Yours - Diane Alberts

This soldier’s the perfect hoax…if she doesn’t fall for him first.

Stats whiz Kayla Moriarity knows her way around numbers and algorithms. Men, on the other hand, are unsolvable equations. Now Kayla’s en route to her sister’s wedding—alone and without the fictional boyfriend she invented for her family. Fortunately, her plane comes complete with complimentary cocktails and a ridiculously hot ex-marine in the seat beside her. And that’s all it takes for Kayla’s inhibitions to go sailing out the airlock...

Cooper Shillings has soft spot for people in trouble, but he certainly wasn’t expecting to land in it himself—and definitely not while getting naughty mid-air with a sexy southern belle. When he hears Kayla’s predicament, however, he offers his services as a stand-in boyfriend. After all, he’s heading overseas soon...and how could he refuse a little no-strings wickedness?

It’s the perfect plan. And all Kayla has to do is ensure her family falls for the ultimate bluff, without falling for it—and Cooper—in the process...

Shillings Agency Series:
Temporarily Yours
Further titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Diane Alberts's website for more information.

I'm a huge fan of author Diane Alberts and I love Entangled's Brazen imprint so of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Temporarily Yours. This story is everything you'd expect from this author - hot and steamy with great characters and a believable romance and I absolutely devoured it.

When Kayla and Cooper meet at an airport lounge their attraction is instant even though neither of them is looking for anything serious. Kayla is a nervous flyer and Cooper has a bit of a thing for damsels in distress so he sets out to distract her on their flight, one thing leads to another and before either of them really know what is happening they're getting hot and heavy at in a rental car at the airport. Kayla is flying home to attend her sister's wedding and she is dreading the comments that she is bound to get from family members asking why she is still single. The last thing Kayla wants is the complication of a man in her life but she made up a fake boyfriend to get her parents off her back and now they're expecting him to accompany her to the wedding. After a night of incredible sex Cooper offers to accompany her and pretend to be her boyfriend hoping that a few extra days will help him work her out of his system. There is only one rule - no matter how hot things get between them it is just a fling and they both have to keep their feelings out of it.

I just loved this couple, Kayla is a geek who is obsessed with probabilities and percentages. She can tell you exactly how many relationships fail within the first 2 years or how long most marriages will last and she is determined not to become another statistic. She's an independent woman who is happy with her life, all that she wants is for her family to butt out and leave her in peace and for her sister to be the centre of attention on her wedding day like she deserves. Kayla's obsession with statistics is hilarious, she can quote figures for pretty much any occasion and it was incredibly amusing watching her interactions with Cooper where she throws numbers at him as a self defence mechanism.

Cooper is an ex Marine who is about to start work for a private security firm and is shipping back to Afghanistan in a couple of days. He swore he would never start a relationship and leave a woman at home waiting for him just in case he didn't make it back, he's seen first hand the devastation that can cause and would hate to have someone's heart broken on his account. He has never fully recovered from events that occurred when he was a Marine and has taken the security job because he is trying to make amends for things that were really out of his control. Cooper is the kind of guy who always does what he thinks is right, he puts other people first which I liked about him but he also has a tendency to make decisions for other people without consulting them which does cause a few issues with him and Kayla.

Temporarily Yours is a hot romance, I'll admit that things move very quickly between this couple but in spite of that it never felt rushed. They have such fabulous chemistry (this story really is sizzling!) and I believed they had a strong enough connection to make a relationship work. Both of them are prepared to make compromises and neither of them tries to back the other into a corner. I'm excited that this is the start of a new series and I'll definitely be putting any future releases right at the top of my wish list!

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Extract: Temporarily Yours - Diane Alberts (+ International Giveaway)

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the Temporarily Yours blog tour today. I'm a huge fan of Diane Alberts and I loved this story, my review will be up later today but in the meantime I have a fabulous extract to share with you and a fantastic giveaway too! First let me give you a little more information about the book:

This soldier’s the perfect hoax…if she doesn’t fall for him first.

Stats whiz Kayla Moriarity knows her way around numbers and algorithms. Men, on the other hand, are unsolvable equations. Now Kayla’s en route to her sister’s wedding—alone and without the fictional boyfriend she invented for her family. Fortunately, her plane comes complete with complimentary cocktails and a ridiculously hot ex-marine in the seat beside her. And that’s all it takes for Kayla’s inhibitions to go sailing out the airlock...

Cooper Shillings has soft spot for people in trouble, but he certainly wasn’t expecting to land in it himself—and definitely not while getting naughty mid-air with a sexy southern belle. When he hears Kayla’s predicament, however, he offers his services as a stand-in boyfriend. After all, he’s heading overseas soon...and how could he refuse a little no-strings wickedness?

It’s the perfect plan. And all Kayla has to do is ensure her family falls for the ultimate bluff, without falling for it—and Cooper—in the process...

About the author:
Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times and USA Today bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. ON ONE CONDITION hit #18 on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list, and TRY ME hit #76 on Amazon. CAPTIVATED BY YOU hit #31 on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, a cat, and a Senegal parrot. In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another.

Facebook Fan Page:

Extract from Temporarily Yours by Diane Alberts:
(Posted with permission from Entangled Publishing)

He shook his head and sighed. “But for the purpose of your family, he’s real. How about we use the rest of the flight to come up with realistic stories? I’ll be your muse.”

She rolled her eyes. “Okay. If you were my boyfriend, you’d be doing exactly what you’re doing. Touching me. Kissing me. Making me forget I'm about to crash to my fiery death. You know. Boyfriend crap.”

After glancing around and making sure the stewardess wasn't behind him and that the rest of the passengers weren't watching, he cupped her cheeks and looked into her eyes. “If you remember the fact that you might die soon, then I'm not doing a good enough job, am I?”

A flush spread out from underneath his fingers to her nose and she scooted back a little bit. “I didn't mean—”

“Too late.” His heart pounded in his ears, pronouncing his desire for her with each racing beat. Hoping he wasn't completely misreading her attraction to him, he leaned forward and melded her mouth to his again. She sighed and opened to him, and he threaded his hands into her hair. He kept the kiss light and teasing, pulling away to suck her lower lip.

Releasing her, he tried to take a deep breath. “Christ, you taste so damn good.”

He didn't want her to think he was trying to get her into bed, nor did he want to take advantage of her when she was tipsy. But truthfully, he kind of was trying to get her into bed. Even if he hadn't been originally.

His intentions were no longer crystal clear.

“If I taste so good, then why did you stop?”

She grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him down again. As soon as their lips touched, her tongue was in his mouth. His gut clenched down hard, twisting and turning with need. She kissed him as if she couldn't get enough. Like she might even want him as much as he wanted her.

She shifted closer—or as close as she could get with the seat divider between them—and her nails raked down his sweater. She then slid her hands underneath the hem, touching bare skin. When she caressed his chest, he reached under the blanket and ran his fingers up her thigh and under her skirt. He brushed against her panties, just a little bit, and she whimpered in response.

Giveaway Details:

To celebrate the Temporarily Yours release Diane Alberts is giving away a beautiful Temporarily Yours necklace and a $20 Amazon voucher. You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be announced via Rafflecopter and contacted directly by Diane so she can arrange to send out the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Quick Review: Cupcakes and Ink - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
When a tragic accident devastates Tenley Page's life, she flees her hometown in search of somewhere she can start afresh. In Chicago she finds work, college, friends, and she tentatively begins to piece her life back together.

Then she meets Hayden Stryker. A devilishly handsome tattoo artist with a dark past of his own.

From their fleeting interactions, Hayden's intrigue with Tenley grows into fascinated. But as they get closer, Tenley must balance her feelings from him with the guilt she carries from the life she left behind.

Tenley and Hayden's story continues in the hugely popular CLIPPED WINGS.

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

Cupcakes and Ink is a prequel short story for Helena Hunting's new Clipped Wings series. Considering it has less than 40 pages you can't expect too much of a story from this prequel but it is a great taster of the series and a really nice introduction to the characters that has definitely left me wanting more.

We meet Tenley as she arrives in a new town where she has moved to escape something from her past, we don't yet know what happened to her but we do know that it has left her damaged and wanting to start afresh. She doesn't know anyone in Chicago but she's found a reasonably cheap apartment and a part time job in the antique shop downstairs to tide her over until she starts college. She comes across as very shy and she seems to want to keep to herself but she is also incredibly intrigued by Hayden, the tattoo artist who works in the shop opposite her and who happens to be the nephew of her new boss and landlady.

We know even less about Hayden than we do about Tenley, it is hinted at that he is hiding something about his past but we don't know much more than that and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better as the series continues. I can't resist a guy with tattoos and I definitely have a thing for tattoo artists so I have a feeling I'm going to love him! Cupcakes and Ink shows their hesitant first encounters where Tenley is desperately trying to keep her distance while Hayden pushes to get to know her. There is a strong attraction on both sides and it will be interesting to see how long it takes Hayden to persuade Tenley to have a proper conversation with him.

Overall I really enjoyed this short story but I have to say I think it's incredibly expensive for what it is and I would have been disappointed if I'd paid the current price of £1.99. This is the kind of taster that is often offered for free as a way of hooking a reader and making them want to read a series and I'd say if it is offered as a freebie or at a very discounted price then it's definitely worth giving it a try but at the current price I'd be hesitant to recommend it. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Clipped Wings though because I want to know more about these characters.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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US Cover

Quick Review: Rescue Me - Serena Bell

Getting stood up on Valentine’s Day has taken Molly Mack places she never would have dared to go…

After Molly Mack’s deadbeat boyfriend dumps her on the most romantic day of the year, Molly finds herself pushed to the edge—and in a tight spot. The only rescuer for miles around is her grumpy, laconic—and piping hot—neighbor, Dave Jenkins. Before long, Molly and Dave have struck enough sparks to bring the fire department running. Now the question is, Does Molly still want to be rescued? Or is she exactly where she wants to be?

Visit Serena Bell's website for more information.

Rescue Me is a short story that is currently available for free on Smashwords HERE. I'm not sure if this is a permanent freebie but I suspect it is discounted for a limited time considering you have to pay for it via the Kindle store. At around 35 pages this was a very quick read but it was one I enjoyed and I actually would have liked to spend more time with these characters.

Molly is having the Valentine's Day from hell, not only has she been dumped by her boyfriend but she now finds herself in a very embarrassing situation and having to rely on her hunky neighbour to rescue her. I don't want to say too much more because it would be far too easy to tell you the whole story so I'll just say that it was very amusing and left me with a smile on my face. It's a sweet story that can easily be fitted in when you only have a few minutes to spare and the only disappointment I had is that it wasn't longer.

Source: This is currently available as a free download on Smashwords (the price may change at any time though)

Other Reviews:
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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Review: The Hawk - Monica McCarty

Hand picked by Robert the Bruce to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule, the elite warriors of the Highland Guard face their darkest days. When Bruce is forced to flee, his bid for freedom rests on the shoulders of one extraordinary warrior.

Erik MacSorley is a brilliant seafarer who has never encountered a wind he could not harness or a woman he could not win—until he drags a wet, half-naked “nursemaid” out of the waters off the Irish coast. Ellie’s ordinary appearance belies the truth: She is in fact Lady Elyne de Burgh, the spirited daughter of the most powerful noble in Ireland. Worse, this irresistible woman is determined to prove herself immune to Erik’s charms—a challenge he cannot resist.

Her captor may look every inch a rugged warrior, but Ellie vows that it will take more than a wickedly suggestive caress to impress her. Yet Erik will sweep away Ellie’s resistance with a desire that resonates deep within her heart. Still, he is a man driven by loyalty, and she is a woman with secrets that could jeopardize Bruce’s chance to reclaim his throne. As the battle for king and country sounds across the shores, will Ellie’s love be enough to finally tame the legend known as the Hawk?

Highland Guard:
The Chief
The Hawk
The Ranger
The Viper
The Saint
The Recruit
The Hunter
The Raider (2014)

Visit Monica McCarty's website for more information

After really enjoying The Chief I was looking forward to continuing this series and getting to spend more time with Robert the Bruce's elite Highland Guard. Having already met Hawk and seen what a charmer he is I was sure I would love his story and Monica McCarty didn't disappoint.

This story sees Hawk charged with the task of employing a group of Irish mercenaries to fight for Robert against the English King, Edward. Hawk is in charge of helping the men avoid the English as they cross the Irish sea to join up with Robert's army and he must make sure they arrive on time to take part in the battle that has been planned as Robert fights for control of Scotland. Ellie is the daughter of a powerful Irish Lord, one who publicly backs Edward even though he is related to Robert by marriage. When Ellie is caught eavesdropping by Hawk and the mercenaries she pretends to be a simple nursemaid because she fears what could happen if they realise she is from such a prominent family and comes with a healthy dowry. The last thing Hawk wants to do is take Ellie along with him but his honour won't allow him to leave her with the mercenaries when he knows that they want to kill her.

Hawk is a cocky bugger but I dare any woman to resist his charms, he is fearless and full of himself but at the same time he comes across as incredibly likeable and he really does have a way about him that leaves most women throwing themselves at him. Ellie seems completely immune to him though and it was hilarious seeing how shocked he was that she was able to resist him. Hawk is a risk taker, he is convinced that he will always win and he takes great pleasure in baiting the English and then coming out on top in their confrontations. He lets Ellie believe that he is a simple pirate because it isn't safe for her to learn of his connection to Robert, he cares for her and worries that she would be in danger if she found out the truth.

I loved the fact that Ellie stands up for herself and fights to escape when Hawk captures her. She is understandably wary of the men who have captured her and she doesn't take their word that she won't be harmed, after all they have given her no reason to trust them. It takes time for her to get to know them before she starts to realise that she is safe and it is only then that she stops plotting ways to escape. I can find it really irritating when characters aren't honest with each other about who they really are but in this case I felt they both had good reasons to keep their identity a secret. As Ellie starts falling for Hawk she wants to be honest with him but until she is sure of his feelings she is scared to tell him the truth in case he marries her just for her dowry rather than because he really cares about her.

Monica McCarty takes time to develop the romance so it never felt rushed or unbelievable, I enjoyed watching the characters getting to know each other and it was a pleasure to see them slowly fall in love. Alongside the romance you have the fantastic banter between Hawk and his men, I do love the camaraderie they have and I'm enjoying seeing how all of the Highland Guard members have a distinctive role to play in the ongoing story of Robert's fight for the crown. We don't get to spend time with all of the Guard because they're all off carrying out very different missions but I can't wait to continue reading the series to see how everything ties together in the long run.

Source: Purchased

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