Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…


Sally Kent is the only daughter, with several brothers, who has grown up in a family where going off to have a career in the Navy is important. When her younger brother refuses to take his duty and actually runs away, she decides to take his place to save the honor of her family, and her desires to have the choice of being able to work on ship, which she very much excels at.  I really liked Sally’s independent nature and I loved seeing her thrive while on ship and being able to prove herself as capable. She doesn’t hesitate and I loved her willingness to help out her fellow midshipman.
David Colyear is the 1st Lieutenant aboard the ship Audacious, Col also happens to be friends with Sally’s older brothers and they met 6 years earlier. Col had fond memories of Sally and it doesn’t take him long to figure out that Sally has in on ship in place of Richard. Col is attracted to Sally and to keep his mind on his job and to help keep Sally’s secret, he attempts to keep his distance, but it just doesn’t work.

I enjoyed this book well enough but I wish there was more of the romance part in it. Obviously while in ship, Col and Sally weren’t able to have the opportunity to do anything in order to keep Sally’s secret. I enjoyed the innocence of their feelings for each other but that also showed in their love making scenes that kind of fell short for me. The rest of the story kept my interest but it was towards the end where it really hooked me and without giving anything away, I could really feel and connect with Sally’s feelings, which is what pulled me into this part of the story the most.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ARC Review: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .

Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.


Moonglow is the second book in Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series and I liked this story even more then the first.
Daisy Ellis Craigmore is sister to Miranda Archer (heroine in Firelight, bk 1). She is newly widowed and could not be more trilled to go out and take advantage of this new freedom from and old, abusive husband. When at a party she finds herself attacked, but thankfully survives, by a werewolf, she is rescued by Ian Ranualf. Daisy tries to put on a good front, but she struggles with insecurities that she tries to hide with crudeness and humor.
Ian Ranulf is a lycan, who has voluntarily exiled himself from his clan instead of becoming their leader after his father, which his younger brother decided to take in Ian’s place. We learn throughout the book the events that led up to this decision, but overall he just wants a normal life. Ian’s life has been very lonely and he’s getting to the point where he is running out of ways to distract himself from this. When he comes across Daisy’s attack, he is drawn to her and takes her to his home to care for her. Things are complicated for Ian and Daisy from the beginning as they figure out the tie they have to each other, namely Ian trying to get between Miranda and her now husband Archer (whom Ian used to be best friends with back in the day).
Many times throughout the book I couldn’t help but compare my feelings to Firelight since I read it right before Moonglow. Some of the things that really stuck out to me that led me to enjoy Moonglow more is the way that Ian and Daisy’s relationship developed. I liked the speed of it, the context of what they had to go through that brought them together, and how they work together as partners to figure out the mystery of the werewolf. I absolutely loved Ian, his teasing, his protectiveness, and the way that he loves whole-heartedly. I loved Daisy because she is strong, independent, and passionate about something when she gets her mind set on it. My heart broke for these two characters each time something was revealed about their pasts and I loved the way that they didn’t run from the other’s past but that it helps bring them closer together.
I enjoyed getting to see more of the paranormal side to this world and get introduced to new entities. Moonglow included a great side story to Weston and Poppy (Daisy and Miranda’s eldest sister) and introducing what we have to look forward to unraveling in their story, Winterblaze, I can’t wait!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: After the Crux (Crux Survivors #1) by Dani Worth

In a lonely, plague-devastated world, it is definitely not every man for himself.

Seventeen years after the Crux Virus wiped out most of the world’s population, Ross is doing what he can to keep his small community safe from raiders in a self-contained artist retreat in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. He’s made a habit of collecting survivors and they’ve all become family, but the most important members have always been Jenna and Dorian.

At fourteen, Ross stumbled into the basement where the nine-year-olds were hiding and the three have been together ever since. Years later, Jenna and Dorian became lovers. Now, at thirty, Ross hopes to find a love of his own on supply runs, but he suffers incredible guilt because his heart has long been snagged by his two best friends.

Alone with his tangled emotions, Ross is about to discover that his friends have their own ideas about their relationship…and how it is about to change.


After the Crux is the 1st book in a new series that is set 17 years after a fatal disease wiped through the population leaving survivors to fend for themselves in this desolate world. Cities and civilizations are dissertated and the surviving individuals form families and they must raid forgotten towns to find food and other previsions that they need to keep on surviving.
This story primarily revolves Ross, who is pretty much the leader of his “family”. His family first began when he was 14 years old and he stumbled upon two 9 year old friends Jenna and Dorian and since then they have added to their family with individuals that Ross meets on raids. As the years have gone on, Jenna and Dorian have established a sexual relationship together, one that Ross covets as he is secretly in love with Jenna. Before he leaves to go on one of his raids he witnesses Jenna and Dorian in a compromising position and finds that he has confusing feelings for Dorian as well.

I could just feel the loneliness from Ross being on the outside of Jenna and Dorian’s relationship, yearning to have what they have. Each time he goes out, he hopes to find someone for himself. While on a particular raid Ross is severally injured that nudges the 3 of them to accept and come to terms with the love that they feel for each other. The love between the three really develops fast as the book goes, but we are given the info of how the relationships developed through the years that led them to the point that the book starts at. I couldn’t help but feel all squishy inside with how sweet the love is between Ross, Jenna, and Dorian.
I really enjoyed the side characters and loved how open they are and you love who you love. In this world, you can’t turn away from a chance to love and be loved. The bad guys that they encounter are real nasty and it gives the other characters an opportunity to shine, show how they can work together and help defend each other. My only complaint, and this really has nothing to do with the story, is that the story ended when my kindle read 87%. I just wasn’t prepared for it to end yet! But once I got over that shock, I was satisfied with the actual ending and thought it left off at a good point that will bring us to the next book.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn


Colin MacGregor was born to fight-for his beliefs, his king, and his family's honor. After years away from his beloved Scotland, he yearns to return to its lush, green hills-and he can, after he completes one final mission for the king. Sent to infiltrate a traitor's home, Colin is determined to expose the treasonous plot and triumph on the battlefield . . . until he meets a sensual lass who tempts him towards other pursuits . . . .


Lady Gillian Dearly is no stranger to temptation. Cast out of her family for bearing an illegitimate child, she's now the ward of a barbarian conspiring against the king. Her only desire: freedom for her son and for herself at any cost, even if it means making a deal with the devil. Yet when a mysterious Highlander appears in their midst, his braw strength and smoldering gaze give her hope for a future beyond the castle walls-and promise a desire unlike any she's ever known. But passion comes at a price . . .


I am completely in love with Paula Quinn’s MacGregor clan! While the 1st three books in the Children of the Mist series are all happening around the same time, this book takes place 3 years in the future, which allows Colin to become more experienced and grow from his 19 years in the first few books.
Colin is the youngest son of the infamous Devil MacGregor and has prided himself to become as strong of a warrior as his father and has devoted himself to the war that is brewing to rid England of a Catholic king. He has strongly believed in his cause, until recently when he’s not so sure that he believes in King James’ motivations anymore. After a brief visit home where he sees each of his siblings married and with kids, he’s off to one last task where he will disguise who his is and infiltrate his one of his enemy’s stronghold to seek out information before his army comes to destroy them. This is where he meets Gillian, cast out of her father’s home for becoming pregnant out of wedlock and forced into the custody of her disgusting cousin, who wants her so much but does everything he can to break her to his will.
Colin has never been a man to be swayed by a woman or anything to veer him off his path once it’s set, and his only focus has been battle and protecting his kin. He is a very smart and cunning warrior and General in the king’s army but something about Gillian and 3 year old Edmund draws him in. Gillian is one tough girl and I loved how devoted to her son she was and the lengths she was willing to go to in order protect him.  Now Colin isn’t necessarily my favorite MacGregor off spring (I mean come on, he has some sexy older brothers, it’s not his fault) but he has definitely had me pondering him from the beginning with how closed off his was and how strict his focus is. I liked how we get to see a new side to Colin, one he didn’t even know he possessed, as he slowly falls for Edmund and then Gillian. It warms my heart whenever these big strong men show so much affection for children in stories, must be the mother in me.
As I said I am in love with the MacGregor clan and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to discover these books. I would recommend these books to anyone who likes Historical Romances; I mean seriously, you cannot go wrong with some crazy hot warrior Scotsmen ;) I will be eagerly looking forward to reading anything else that Paula Quinn writes in the future!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: One Naughty Night by Laurel McKee

A hundred years has passed since the bitter rivalry between the St. Claires and the Huntingtons began. But in London, the feud goes on...

Under the cover of night, nothing is forbidden.

Lily St. Claire will do anything for the family that saved her from the streets. With their support, the young widow has become the hostess of The Devil's Fancy, London's most exclusive gaming den. She's determined to restore the St. Claire family fortune, lost a century before to the despised Huntington clan. But a ghost from her past may be her ultimate undoing.

Lord Aidan Huntington is handsome and wealthy, with a taste for adventure and a reputation for wickedness. A gambler and a rake, Aidan can't resist a seductive woman with secrets—but one naughty night with Lily leaves him wanting more. As Lily is drawn into London's dark underworld by an old enemy, Aidan will risk everything to save the woman who has awakened his deepest desires.


This is the 1st book in her series The Scandalous St. Claires and it reveals many interesting characters. This first book along with telling Lily and Aidan’s story, but it sets up for future stories around the other family members that I find that I’m pretty eager to find out their stores as well ;)
Lily St. Claire was born and grew up on the wrong side of the streets until one day she came across the St. Claires and they decided to adopt her. There is much love in her family, but she feels herself separate from them, even though they never treat her that way. Her St. Claire family is very big in the theater and even though she tried once and failed to be an actress, she found a way to help her family out by doing the books for various businesses, as she has found she is very good at numbers.

Aidan Huntington is the second son of a duke, who feels like he doesn’t really belong in a ducal home. He has traveled, and has made many friends in all walks of life. He has a passion for theater and wants to write plays, but he keeps his true self secret from his family because he knows they wouldn’t approve. Aidan is very protective and loyal and when he wants something, he doesn’t stop till he gets it.
Lily and Aidan met as strangers in the dark of night after Lily’s failed attempt as Juliet and found a comfort with each and share a passionate kiss until Lily runs off. Three years later they have once again stumbled onto each other and they are just drawn to each other, and the more and more they are together the more the need is. Until Lily’s past collides with her present, she is determined to keep her past a secret and to deal with a specific person from her past on her own.
I only have a couple things that stuck out to me that bugged me in the story. I found the side story of Aidan’s friend Freddy, who had tried to pursue Lily, kind of pointless. I mean it gave a brief conflict between Lily and Aidan, other than that, could have done without it. Lily and Aidan are very intense and they can’t keep their hands off each other! While their sex scenes were pretty hot at times it felt somewhat repetitive, such as Aidan proclaiming how much Lily drives him crazy and how Lily goes from self doubting herself to being a seductive minx with a few touches.
The overall story I really liked and I found myself hooked as Lily’s past was revealed and how Aidan proved himself to more than just a carefree rake. I enjoyed Lily’s slow course to opening up to Aidan and even when she thought he would be disgusted by her past, she tells him anyway, and I love Aidan’s fierceness to be her protector. Despite that the St. Claires are determined to loathe the Huntingtons from an incident that happened 100 years in the past, Lily can’t stay away from Aidan.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me—again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?

It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me—and I’m in for the fight of my life.


I am already a huge Jennifer Estep fan as I LOVE her Elemental Series, so I thought I’d give her YA series, Mythos Academy a shot as well and I was not disappointed! I really enjoy the mythology aspect to this series.
Dark Frost picks up when the students are just coming back to school after winter break and most of the students are doing last minute work for an assignment at the Crius Coliseum when all of a sudden there is an attack by Reapers searching for a specific dagger told to be able to open up a door to release Loki.  This event starts a chain reaction with all sorts of craziness, including Gwen’s best friend acting weird, things between her and Logan being unclear that has left her pretty much alone, such as she was when she first arrived at Mythos Academy. It is Gwen’s job to protect the dagger as Nike’s champion. She must find out where her mother has it hidden and re-hide it before the Reapers and Loki’s champion gets their hands on it.
I really enjoyed Dark Frost from the beginning as it jumps right into the action. Gwen is starting to find and understand herself more and the strength she is capable of and the growth that she has had to do throughout the series. I enjoyed getting to know some of the other characters, and the lengths they will go through to help her. The relationship between Gwen and Logan kind of pisses me off, often, but I thought they made some progress in this book.
Everything really hits the fan and Gwen is put through A LOT. I will admit that her reaction to the ending events worried me a little, but considering the shock of what happened, it shows that Gwen is human and that she is greatly affected by the life and world she has been introduced to. I have very much enjoyed this series and can honestly say it has climbed the list of one of my more favorite YA series and I can’t wait for the next book, Crimson Frost.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Replicant by Dani Worth

"When a bounty hunter returns to her destroyed planet on the hunt for an escaped alien, the last thing she expects to find is love. "

Jarana Gothbrun is the number one Tracker in the galaxies, famous for tagging Replicants-shape-shifting aliens who can take on humanoid forms once they have someone's DNA. She has two more Replicants to catch in her current job, ones who escaped from a high-security prison planet. Unfortunately, one of them is currently on her home planet, Kithra. She hasn't been back since a Replicant kidnapped her and took her off planet prior to its destruction.

Maska is engaged to Erik, who has no idea the love of his life is an escaped prisoner. Or male. When Jarana uses an untested device to force Maska's shift to his native form, it puts him in danger and pisses off everyone on the planet. Her plan to fly in and out with her prisoner is put on hold as she has to deal with the people who've come to love Maska. Not to mention her own grief at the destruction of Kithra...and everyone she loved.

Replicant is the second book in the Kithran Regenesis series. 
Jarana was born on the planet of Kithra but was captured by a slave ship run by Replicants and while held captive, there was an explosion on her planet that killed her whole family. Seven years later, she is a hardened woman and is working as a Tracker to hunt down escaped prisoners, mainly Replicants. When one of her jobs sends her back to Kithra, she runs into some people from her past, Lux and Egan from the first book Kithra. Jarana ends up hitching a ride to Kithra with Lux and her crew where she encounters Erik whom she feels a powerful pull to and tries to come on to, but he refuses her because he’s in a committed relationship.
Upon arriving to Kithra, Jarana encounters Maska, Erik’s fiancĂ©, and can tell right away that she is not who she appears to be and reveals her to be a Replicant (male), as they can change shape. This causes a lot of conflict between Jarana and the others she’s currently living with on the plant, not to mention a lot of confusion for Erik. As Jarana spends more time on Kithra, she becomes more vulnerable and less numb of feelings as memories of her lost family resurface. As she’s drawn to Erik, she also finds herself drawn to Maska, and as she feels as she’s the one who messed up their relationship she tries to help them put it back together.
I enjoyed this story and the struggles that Jarana, Maska, and Erik have to overcome in order to find happiness and security in their relationships. Jarana has the most to overcome, and she’s able to learn from her past and work to make things right, at least what’s in her power to do. I enjoyed getting to see the characters from the previous book in this story and how they had a significant part in it instead of just seeing glimpses of them. It had been a while since I had read Kithra that it took me a little bit to remember what was going on in this world, but then it all came flooding back after I got a good start in Replicant. I recommend this series to those who enjoy Sci-Fi, an emotional story, happy endings, and steamy scenes ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.

As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.


Chasing Magic is the 5th book in the Downside Ghosts series. This is a series that has been on my tbr list for a while and when the chance came to review Chasing Magic I took the opportunity to get caught up on the whole series. Right away I was hooked and couldn’t put the books down. Chess is pretty kick ass with some major issues she really needs to work through, but struggles with masking them with drugs. Terrible is a drug lord enforcer and I like how he’s a man of few words. I really found myself consumed with the relationship between Chess and Terrible.
In this installment, things have changed in the dynamic of the gangs in Downside as Lex has recently become in charge of his side. With this, it puts Lex and Terrible at odds even more than before and Lex gives the “join me or I’m going to take you out” talk with Terrible. Not only does Chess have to deal with Lex trying to cause trouble with Terrible, dealing with and trying to fix the effects of what she did to save Terrible’s life when he was shot in a previous book, and now there’s some strange drug going around Downside turning people into zombies.
Now even though I’ve really liked each of these books, I think reading all 5 books in a row kind of burnt me out. I started to feel the very basic plot were the same and I got tired of Chess’s self-defeating thoughts/actions. I was hoping for her to grow and kind of move away from her excessive drug use.
Ok, now that those things that bugged me are out of the way, here are the things I liked about Chasing Magic. I liked how in this book Chess was able to focus on basically one task. Where in the previous books she has a job from the Church to investigate and on top of all that she has some mystery in Downside she gets roped into, this time there is no Church job and I felt it was easier for me to follow along without soo much going on. I really like Elder Griffin and was glad to see more of him even if it comes with conflict. And of course who can forget about Terrible *swoon* I love how no matter what stupid choices Chess makes, he’s right there sticking by her. I have hopes for Chess to grow in future books and to start using her brain in her personal relationships not just when dealing with magic.