Sunday, January 29, 2012

ARC review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Firelight (Darkest London, #1)Firelight by Kristen Callihan

My rating: 4 of 5 flames


Spoiler Free



This book has compelling writing, although right off the bat you are bombarded with clichés. That may not bother some readers, but if it is a pet peeve of yours, then I promise that by the third chapter, the author really hits her stride, and the clichés are gone.



I have had a few of my friends telling me to read this one for weeks, since our tastes are similar, I downloaded from netgalley and was completely underwhelmed by the blurb. If it hadn’t been a buddy read, I probably wouldn’t have pushed it to the top of my TBR list. I’m really glad my girls bullied convinced me to read this book, I absolutely would have missed out on a new talent whose voice works the gothic vibe. The beginning was ok, but then, something changed. I can’t put my finger on it, but the writing is just so compelling, it pulls you in.



Miranda is a great heroine. She has a power- she’s a fire starter, and no one can explain why or how, so Miranda hides it. After her sisters have been married off, Miranda is still at home. Why is that? (My lips are zipped, but you'll find out)



Lord Archer is back in London, after being abroad for years, and his first order of business? To kill Miranda’s father. But he’s stopped by the sounds of a couple young lads swordfighting. Since no one ses swords anymore, Archer halts, and watches, both intrigued and amused by the talent demonstrated in the boys. He follows one home, only to witness the boy get into a scuffle with some tough street boys. Archer is then completely blindsided by the beauty of the “boy” (yep, it’s Miranda). He saves her, although she may not have needed saving, he hints at things to come, and he doesn’t kill her father.



Instead, he sets things in motion to marry Miranda.



I loved how they got to know each other. Archer wears a mask at all times, and his reputation is one that makes ladies swoon with fright as his coach drives past. But Archer has cultivated this reputation for a reason, and Miranda wants to ferret out all his secrets. At one point where she overhears something about her husband, the book has the potential to have a Big Misunderstanding, but Miranda is much too smart for that. I give the author credit for handling several sticky situations without taking the easy way out.



The gothic feel of this Historical Paranormal Romance gives is more of an Urban Fantasy vibe, and it really works. I can’t get over how intense this book was for me. There is this amazing mystery, the lure and pull of the mystery draws you in, and it does not let you go. I was kept guessing, only to be proved wrong over and over. I can’t wait for Moonglow.



The only thing I think is that if someone spoils the mystery for you, it might detract from the overall enjoyment of the story. This is why I haven’t put anything pertaining to plot in this spoiler-free review.



***ARC courtesy of Forever Romance and netgalley.com



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Friday, January 27, 2012

HOT READS!

Share your HOTTEST read of the month!

Do you ever read books that get you a little hot and steamy? If you do, join in Hot Reads and share some of your favorite sexy reads and find some new ones!

Hot Reads is a Monthly Meme, hosted by Book Savvy Babe and Alive on the Shelves, where we get to share our hottest read of the month! Your choice can be any book, it doesn’t matter the genre, the length, whether it’s new or old. If you read it during the month, and it raised your temperature, it qualifies to be a HOT READ! To make things as simple as possible, Hot Reads will take place on the 28th of every month. So every month, be ready to share your HOT READ pick!
IMPORTANT: Due to content, this meme is open to participants 18 and older ONLY!
How To Participate:
  • Pick your HOT READ of the month (ex. on Jan 28, you pick your HOT READ for the month of January)
  • Make a blog post sharing your Hot Read pick. Include in the post: book title, author, HOT READ button, and links to the hosts. If you would like to include book teasers, book review, etc feel free!
  • Add the link to your post in the linky at a host site and visit the other blogs to see what others chose as their HOT READ! (you only need to enter your link 1 time)
  • As always, don’t forget to spread the word! (help us out by tweeting, facebook, etc)
NOTE: Now, a HOT READ doesn’t have to be hard-core. Maybe the author’s photo made you hot! Maybe the cover art — all those broad shoulders and rippling abs — raised your temperature. Maybe there was just a scene or a setting that made you squirm in your seat — those all qualify! After all, we don’t all have the same taste in men (or ladies, pick your pleasure), so why should we have the same taste in HOT READS?
Thanks for joining in this meme, we can’t wait to learn your Hot Read! The linky will remain open until the end of the month. Here’s my pick:
LOTHAIRE
Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #12)

BLURB:
ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD

Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.

A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER

Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.

CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED

Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?


Check out our review and why we found this book to be worth 5 Flames!


Well, that’s my Hot Read pick for January? What book would you pick? Either make up a post and join in the linky below, or just let me know your pick in the comments!

Visit the  Book Savvy Babe site to get on the Hot Reads January Linky List
   

Stroke of Midnight by Bonnie Edwards

Stroke of Midnight
My rating: 5 Flames
VOLCANIC!

Alex offered Jaye 2 weeks of flingtastic hot sex...until he wanted more. This is a 90 page steamy erotic romance and I think Bonnie Edwards latest definitely delivered.

In Bonnie Edwards’ latest erotic romance, our heroine Jaye meets our hero Alex at a car auction, and with a bit of eye flirting, they take off to every girl’s dream: a two week sex-a-thon in Europe. But neither one of them expects their hearts to be involved.

But they never quite make it to Europe. After only a few minutes in the air, Alex realizes that Jaye has a death grip on the armrests, and is freaked out to be in his private jet. His solution? Talk dirty. Oh yeah, he distracts her from her fears with panty-melting, thigh clenching, naughty words. Somewhere in the friendly skies above Paris, they realize Jaye doesn’t have a passport, so they end up in Arizona. In Alex’s home…not just a building or an English country house, but his home. And Alex knows that means he might care more for Jaye than their two week deal allows.

My favorite quote was Alex realizing he wanted Jaye for longer than the two weeks:

""He didn't know how to keep a woman. He'd trained himself to let them go. He never got attached, never wanted to. Not until Jaye."

It’s just sex, that’s all it can ever be. A hot, steamy fling, and that’s all they both want…at first. Jaye starts pulling away any time Alex mentions staying longer. Jaye is responsible, has a teenage son, and unfortunately thinks of herself as trailer trash. Alex sees the truth; she’s a smart, sexy, down to earth woman who cares about everyone. But Jaye refuses to see Alex as anything more than a rich, flirty out of her league playboy.

Can Alex push Jaye to look deeper and see the real man, not the playboy reputation?

Can Jaye accept that her fairy tale can last beyond the Stroke of Midnight?

In less than 100 pages, Bonnie Edwards breathes new life into a steamy, sexy, dirty talkin’ version of Cinderella with Stroke of Midnight.

View all my reviews

Man Candy of the Week!

DemonLover here. I want to apologize for the slow down in content and delicious hot man candy over the last few months. Sometimes life gets in the way and we have to prioritize what's important. But I will be picking up the pace once again and have many exciting posts and contests coming up....


For now, I wanted to drop in and post something new for all my readers to take a gander at and maybe brighten your day.
Meet Bryce Tucker! You can find some more revealing photos of him on the Gay Body Blog, but I'd thought I'd share the cleaner ones here.


Simply Arresting! LOL

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Midnight Reckoning by Kendra Leigh Castle

Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties #2)Midnight Reckoning by Kendra Leigh Castle

My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames






Last year I was blind-sided by how much I loved the first book in this series, so it comes as no surprise that I loved this one too.

Jaden is a cait sith vampire (cat shifter/vampire), one of the lowest castes, but also a new member of the Lilium. So he is no longer a slave to the Ptolemy, but that’s not for lack of trying on their part. The Ptolemy is trying to kill all the cats who left them, branding them as traitors, so Jaden may have the backing of his new caste, but he is still being hunted by other vampires.



Lyra is a werewolf, and if the vampires look down on anyone more than the cait sith, it would be the werewolves. But she’s also the only daughter of an alpha, and ever since Jaden met her (at the safe house in Dark Awakening) he can’t get her out of his head.



Watching Jaden teach Lyra how to fight using her natural grace rather than just brute force was a new twist on fighting. And it made a lot of sense. You figure, the males are alphas because the wolves follow the strongest. Well, what happens when your strongest alpha has a daughter? She needs a strong husband, of course. Right? Wrong. Lyra wants things to change. She is up against her cousin, and the rumors are that he’s…got a dark side. Maybe he likes to hunt humans and play with his prey. Lyra can’t let him take over the pack. So she has challenged the pack males for leadership. The problem is that those males are really strong. Lyra has had no formal training, and she may be a scrapper, but she won’t last 5 minutes with one of them.



This is proved when a male from another pack finds Lyra in an alley. Jaden steps in, and Lyra is furious he helped her, but mostly she’s angry that she needed his help. That’s a bitter pill for an alpha-to-be to swallow.



I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The action part may have been slow, but I felt that with the amount of prejudice they had to overcome, it had to move a bit slower. And I really enjoyed watching the wolves come to like Jaden. Oh! And his name! James Dennis= Jaden. I love that! It’s not too often their names means something. It was a nice touch. And I did NOT see the twist coming, I’ll tell you that.



I think the world-building was fantastic and easy to slip into, even if you haven’t read Dark Awakening. I think the prejudice that Jaden and Lyra had to deal with was hard to overcome, and I was impressed with how the author handled it. By about halfway through I was certain I knew how the author would “fix” the prejudice so that they could have their HEA. Uhhh, yeah, I was soo wrong. She surprised me with a move I thought was pretty gutsy. Not too many authors could have pulled it off, but Ms. Castle did, and I think she did it well.



**thanks to netgalley.com for the ARC





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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lothaire by Kresley Cole

Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #12)Lothaire by Kresley Cole

My rating: 5 of 5 flames


The beginning of this book sucks you in, it traps you, and it doesn’t let you go. By the time you finish, you realize the whole day has passed, and you haven’t fed your children or husband, or even grabbed a coffee. Just me? I didn’t think so.



I wasn’t sure how much I’d like Lothaire as a hero, I mean he has had his moments, but always with a price. We find out why he’s been hoarding these “favors” owed to him. And we find out just how much he’s willing to give up for those favors, if anything.



Ellie is the complete antithesis of Lothaire. She’s a mountain girl through and through, but she’s possessed by a demon, so she thinks. Around age 18, she starts having blackouts and waking up to carnage, blood, and heaps of questions. After dealing with the murders, she decides to go out fighting. Suicide by cop. She grabs a shotgun, steps out in front of the police, and is instantly protected by Lothaire. Who is seriously pissed, by the way. So he tells her that she will go to prison where she can be safe from herself an others, until he can come for her. Surprise surprise, Lothaire found his bride. But it’s not Ellie, it can’t be this uncouth, barefoot mountain girl. It is of course, the vampire goddess inside of her. So off to death row for 19 year old Ellie, until Lothaire can find a way to separate her soul from Saroya, his vampire goddess bride.



5 years later, Ellie is strapped to the table, waiting for her death sentence by lethal injection, and who shows up once more? Lothaire, of course. Taking her with him, he decides he’ll keep her hostage until he can retrieve the Ring of Sums and he’ll use that to separate Ellie from her body. But he sort of realizes that Ellie may be his bride after all, not the frigid vampire goddess Saroya.



Oops, did Lothaire send his Bride to Death Row? And oops, has he treated her like crap? And oh, was he just as high-handed as they come? I think Kresley Cole has an amazing talent of having her heroes do things that I hate, behave in ways I hate, and yet I still like the hero. She gets me every time.



I loved how Ellie not only could hold her own with him, but she made him like her. Her, not Saroya. And the best part? Ellie made him question his End Game.



My fave quote has a teeny bit of spoiler for scene set up:



After a huge fight between them, Ellie is kidnapped by the Valkyries to be used as leverage against Lothaire. He sends her his heart, in a gift wrapped box with a note telling her, she had his heart, it’s the only one she’ll ever get from him. (I won’t spoil what she send him back, but it gives her street cred with the Valkyries, it’s just that awesome). So when they finally get back together, Ellie asks him if he didn’t want her, after all, he’d sent her his heart. He offers her, claws to his chest, his new heart muttering,



“Take this one, My heart doesn't fucking working right without you.”



Best scene in the book. Best line ever. I forgave him his alphahole tendencies then and there. This intense hero, mad as a hatter, made me love him from the first page. I loved his relationship with Ellie, and I loved watching him fall for Ellie, even when he was an ass to her. Ellie is one of my favorite heroines yet--I just adored her.



The only thing I didn’t like, is that I wish that he’d understood [certain things I can't spoil] without having to dream her memories, I mean I get why, but still, would have been nice to see him understand without that. But I am just dying to see what happens with Kristoff, Fury, Cara, Nix, and all of the characters who we love. Kresley Cole has reminded me of why she is one of my favorite authors ever.



***Thank you to S&S for the the book





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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sinner by Margaret Mallory

The Sinner (Return of the Highlanders #2)The Sinner by Margaret Mallory

My rating: 4 of 5 flames


”Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.”



I loved The Guardian, so I was super excited to read this one. The Sinner is about Alex, and he didn’t disappoint. I liked the banter between our hero and heroine. Glynis is a stubborn and sassy lass who was sent back to her clan in shame after stabbing her husband of 3 months (she stabbed his inner thigh, guess where she was aiming?). Her father wants to marry her off again, but she has sworn to never marry again.



Enter Alex, who has sworn a similar vow. The two of them hit it off, even though they didn't want to...isn't that just the way of it? You aren't looking for love, then POW! hit upside the head with all these feelings and emotions.



I liked Glynis’ father, even though I’m not sure we’re meant to like him until later on, but he was a very realistic laird, and he acted like it. I wish we’d seen more of the other 3 warriors, the bits we got of Duncan, Connor, and Ian were good scenes—I just wanted more of them.



At one point, Glynis has conned Alex into taking her into Edinburgh to live with her mother’s family. But she’s never met them. She never even thought to ask to stay with them for a visit. So while they are very welcoming to have her as a guest, they also want to marry her off. She’d never thought in a million years that they wouldn’t just allow her to be the spinster relative who grows old in the attic. I laughed at that, just because it made more sense than having rude relatives, or super sweet ones. When Alex came to say goodbye, she threw herself at him, begging him to take her home—cracked me up!



Loved Alex, and I really liked Glynis, but after they got married, her whole personality changed, or reverted, I guess. It bugged me because she kept saying she trusted Alex, but then she wouldn’t trust him. His actions were definitely hard to ignore, but at the same time, why why WHY just bail? She just froze up inside, refusing to talk anything over with him at all. At least, until it was almost too late. But that ending was tense, and had me turning the pages as fast as I could.



There were several surprises, and it’s action-packed. I really have begun to love Margaret Mallory’s storytelling. Whenever someone asks me what a good Highlander book is that they should read, I usually suggest something like Monica McCarty’s highlanders. I think Margaret Mallory’s writing reminds me a lot of Monica McCarty’s. It has that historically descriptive prose that instantly transports me to the wilds of Scotland, and weaves in everything from Gaelic phrases to actual historical events without making it feel tedious.



All in all, a great story, a fabulous Scottish Romance, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good Romance.



***ARC courtesy of netgalley.com





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Friday, January 13, 2012

My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

My Wicked Little LiesMy Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

My rating: 4 of 5 flames


Fun, witty, and full of surprises



I’ve come to expect quite a bit from Ms. Alexander when I read her now. I expect her characters to be likeable, smart, and witty. What I love is that I can count on Ms. Alexander to deliver. This book has all of the above.



I thought it might be like that movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but it wasn’t...which is a good thing.



In this Victorian setting, we first see Eve, an agent of the crown, age 27, retiring from several years as a spy. She is addressing her letter to “Sir.” That is all she’s ever known about him. Well, not completely. She’s been borderline flirting with him via these letters, and he has flirted right back, but she’s ending their (I’m hesitant to use the word relationship) relationship. He is her road never traveled.



Eve marries a steadfast, courteous, responsible man named Adrian who is everything she has ever dreamed-normal. The opposite of her fast-paced life. And they are so happy...for 2 years. Then Eve is blackmailed back into the Agency.





--Spoiler Alert, kind of---It's not really a spoiler, but will mark it as such anyways:



A few twists and turns led me to the right assumption that Adrian is “Sir” (not a spoiler since you pretty much know by the second chapter). But what I won’t spoil for you is whether he knows Eve and his darling wife Evelyn are one and the same, or not?



A few more twists and turns caught me off guard and we have Adrian thinking his wife is having an affair. What does he do? Why burst in on the couple, of course. And naturally, he’s wrong, causing much embarrassment, and gaining Eve a wonderful new friend who I never in a million years thought I would like. But I did. Again, kudos to Ms. Alexander for twisting the plot in a way that had me expecting one thing, but instead something completely different happens. And the fun of this story is that I never feel confused or irritated by too much going on, it flows well, and it’s easy to read.



Victoria Alexander has a way of making me think she’s using a cliché and then skillfully turning it around on me until I can’t figure out why I ever doubted her originality? I love her dialogue, and I truly enjoy the characters and plots. This is my third or fourth read of hers, and I can’t wait until the next.


***Thank you to Kensington for the ARC



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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Angel of Darkness by Cynthia Eden

Angel of Darkness (The Fallen, #1)Angel of Darkness by Cynthia Eden

My rating: 5 of 5 flames


I have been looking forward to this book for about a month now, and the wait was totally worth it.



Keenan is an Angel of Death, and one of his charges is a lovely, innocent, and nice school teacher named Nicole. When it comes down to the moment where Nicole is meeting her death by vampire in a dark alley, she fights. Nicole fights until she has nothing left in her. Keenan is an unfeeling angel who has seen it all. They don't lust, or hate, or love, or anything (yep, virgin hero-yay!) And yet now, he feels, he wants, he breaks the rules.



By killing the vampire instead of Nicole, Keenan is cast from heaven by Azrael, and is now Fallen. First item on his list? Find out if Nicole survived. He was cast out of heaven for saving her, she damn well better be alive.



Six months later, when he finds her, he can't believe that his sweet little school teacher is the same woman as this seductive vamp trolling for victims. Frankly, neither can Nicole. But she's been on every demon-hunter's wish list for a while now, and every bounty hunter at Night Watch knows all about her, she thinks she just has really bad luck. She's not wrong.



But to Keenan, she's his key. Key to what? You'll have to read to find out. ;)



There is one thing that I wish I'd had more insight into-Connor. It seemed he would have a bigger role, than what he had. I mean, he was the ex-boyfriend/a-hole who deserved a fiery and painful death...kinda wish we'd seen more of him. Or more of what he'd done to Nicole.



I like how with Sam, you never know if he's your friend, or frenemy. I hope we see much more of him. I also totally had the bad guys backwards in this one. Sam really isn't a bad guy, Fallen Angel, sure, but bad guy? Nah.



Sam and Keenan made a pretty impressive team, one Azrael won't forget...and I don't think he's gone, either.



With fast paced action, and great characters, this was such an intense book that I got sucked into it and could hardly put it down. So into it, in fact, that I burnt dinner. It's a really good thing my husband doesn't read my blog, or I think he'd be mad at the real reason we didn't have twice baked potatoes last night.



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***thank you to Kensington for the review copy

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winner

The winner of Tessa Dare's Once Upon a Winter's Eve is...Anya Willow!!!!

Congrats! I've just sent you an email.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bound in Sin by Cynthia Eden is still free

Bound in SinBound in Sin by Cynthia Eden

My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames




Loved!

I love Cynthia Eden’s voice. I think that the way she writes always keeps me on the edge of my seat, whether it’s a romantic suspense, or a paranormal romance, or both.



I normally hate "the Big Misunderstanding" in a romance, but this author has a way of leaking out bits of the past, or the Misunderstanding to the characters, bit by bit, and it no longer is such a Big Misunderstanding. It becomes something that everyone can deal with, rationally, you know, like in real life.



In this novella, we see Paige walking up to a werewolf stronghold in Alaska, and being dragged in. The thing is, Paige is a vampire, and in this world, vamps and werewolves do not mix. But Paige has the alpha’s protection, and is allowed in. The big question is, how did she get his protection?



Drake hasn’t seen Paige in years. Since the day she bailed on him, to be exact. They were in love, and supposed to meet at the lake, but she never showed. Yet here she is, waltzing into his compound easy as you please, wearing the medallion he gave her when they’d been in love. Oh, and Paige is a vampire now. She wasn’t when they’d been together. So Drake wants to know what happened, but Paige only gives him some story about needing him to kill a vampire. Drake plansto find out where his sweet Paige has been, and what she’s up to now.



And this time? Drake won’t let Paige walk away.



Free still until the 13th, so go to smashwords or All Romance and search for Bound in Sin to grab it



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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Highland Hussy's Top 10 of 2011

With so many fantastic books out this year, it's hard to just list 10, but of the books I read this year, my favorite was actually a novella. I loved Tessa Dare's Once Upon a Winter's Eve. I've read it twice. I'd like to gift it to you. So tell me one or two (or ten) of your favorite books from 2011 and I'll randomly pick a winner by Friday :)

1.Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning


2.Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day


3.Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison


4.Never Cry Wolf by Cynthia Eden


5.His Darkest Salvation by Juliana Stone


6.The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley


7.11 Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean


8.The Viper by Monica McCarty


9.Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle


10.Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh













Top 5 Novellas:

1.Unlocked by Courtney Milan


2.Once Upon a Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare


3.Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James


4.BodyGuard by Jennifer Ashley


5.Vampire in Her Mysts by Meagan Hatfield

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