Friday, February 25, 2011

Mini Me: Primal by Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong, Ava Gray

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh returns to her sensual world of the an all-new Breed novella that explores just how savage, how far, and how deep a man is willing to go in the name of desire.

Set in the same dark, seductive corners as Michell Rowen's Nightshade innocent young woman is drawn into the dangerous world of a dhampyr whose love could be the death of her.

Jory Strong's "worldbuilding is nothing short of stunning" (Genre Reviews)...and now, in a novella of the Djinn, comes the story of an angel who crosses the boundaries of desire after committing the ultimate sin- falling in love with a mortal female.

Ava Gray, known for her "riveting romantic suspense" (Publishers Weekly) tells a tantalizing tale of an ordinary man-blessed and cursed with extraordinary powers- who gets a second chance at life and love. 

This one is gonna be a 'Mini Me' review mostly because the anthology wasn't that great and I don't want to devote a lot of time to it - though I think my opinions might be helpful in this case. Why? Because I'm a virtual newbie to all of the series besides Leigh's, so it allows me to better comment on the how each novella appears to the wider audience.

And how do they appear? Not so great I hate to say. Almost every one is so engrossed in the mythology created by the long standing series that they're virtually impossible to enjoy on their own. I don't have the backstory, I don't know why I should care about these particular couples, and I often found myself annoyed to be reading the novellas at all. 

Dammit - I hate when I waste money. 

If I had to pick favorites it would have to be Leigh's and Gray's. Leigh's because I do read her Breeds series and it was a decent addition to the story line, with just enough new material and plot development to make it worth it. Gray's because not only did she make me care about her two characters in a teeny amount of time, I didn't feel shut out because I hadn't read the rest of her books. 

The other two were pretty bad. And by pretty bad I mean REALLY bad and now I don't even want to read the series they're taken from.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chase Series by Lauren Dane

(Aside - these are new covers from when I bought the books originally. And truthfully? I like mine better)

The Chase Brothers series is a sensual romance series (NOT erotic, but very spicy) set in small town Petal, Georgia. It follows the lives of four brothers and each woman destined to win their heart. Central to this series is family, family you’re born with and family you make with your friends. Principal to each story is Polly Chase, the family matriarch and her husband Edward.

-From Lauren Dane's website

These are just great books. I know it seems like I just gave away the ending to this review but what do you want me to tell you? I love them.

Each story stands alone (ish) with great characters and great relationship building. The contemporary small time charm that Dane creates seems real and thus her storylines seem that much more real. I don't have to have tons of supporting characters, especially when it's a series focusing on a family, but if you're choosing small town America then make me feel that small town America.

But really what would any of these books be without the Chase brothers? Fallible but loveable, hot & spicy alpha males with Southern manners. 

Yeah there was really no way that wasn't going to do it for me.

I've heard some complaints from a few of my friends because in the first book there's a bit of brother hopping - BUT it's right in the beginning and things go down in such a way that it made complete sense to me. So my vote is that even with a little brother hopping (JUST A LITTLE) this series is still in my top 10 as books I love having and rereading whenever I need some comfort.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Giving Chase 2) Taking Chase 3) Chased 4) Making Chase

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Valentine's Day Giveaway Winner!!

Thanks for your patience everybody!!! For this giveaway I had 3 entries -

1. mariska
2. Tea Gal
3. Chlo-Glo

and the winner of Visions in White by Nora Roberts is....

((drum roll please))

Tea Gal!

Congratulations Tea Gal, check your email and please get back to me as soon as you can so I can get your prize in the mail!

Also I want to send a BIG THANKS (hehe - now that's a big thanks huh?) to everyone who entered. I love giving away books to good homes and I've got more great titles coming up soon so stay tuned!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Raising Kane by Lorelei James

 When a patch of ice sends attorney Ginger Paulson head-over-high-heels down a flight of stairs, she has no one to care for her young son and her invalid father—until lethally sexy Kane McKay shows up at the hospital, determined to prove his cowboy chivalry. Past experience has inoculated her against take-charge men, but even Ginger isn’t immune to Kane’s invasive charm and Built Ford Tough body.

For two years rancher Kane McKay has followed the Little Buddies mentoring program’s cardinal rule—hands off his Little Buddy Hayden’s mama. But one look at Ginger’s bruised body and Kane is through watching the stubborn woman take care of everyone but herself. The feisty, curvy redhead needs his help, and he’ll give her the hands-on type whether she likes it or not.

After Kane throws out doctor’s orders and issues his own demands—her full sexual submission—Ginger realizes Kane’s caring nature extends beyond just fulfilling her physical needs.

Can the former hell-raiser convince the gun-shy single mom to look beyond his past…toward a shared future?

Ok while I had to admit I didn't love the other book by James I picked up, Raising Kane turned out to totally be my cup of tea. This is the one that caught my eye initially and it really followed through as a great cowboy erotica :)

Kane has been attracted to Ginger for awhile but due to some insecurities on his part he hasn't made a move. But when Ginger has an accident that puts her out of commission and unable to care for her son or ailing father it's the perfect opportunity to show her that she doesn't have to be the care giver all the the time and that Kane would love to help.

I think what made this one work better for me was the emotional back and forth between Kane and Ginger. They'd had a bit of interaction in the other books (which I haven't read) and it lent a feeling of familiarity about the whole thing. It made it that much more believable when they jumped in with both feet and decided to take things a step farther.

I'm sure someone somewhere out there might say that Kane was too perfect but I think his doubts made him human in spite of how great he was with Ginger's son and father. He didn't just assume that he and Ginger would work out; he hoped but worried that his humble background would keep them apart. That and the hot - spicy! - antics in the bedroom kept this story interesting from start to finish.

Highly recommended!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. 

Series - ...7) Shoudla Been a Cowboy 8) All Jacked Up 9) Raising Kane

Also don't forget to enter my Valentine's Day Giveaway! Last day to comment is February 21st!
~Click HERE~

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day and *GIVEAWAY* !

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Yeah, I know, I'm late, but I'm only going to accept about 30% of the blame for that. 70% I'm going to vehemently blame on my office for being inordinately crazy on a beautiful Monday. I mean people, it's 60 FREAKING DEGREES OUTSIDE. Go enjoy it and get off my back.

But I digress.

In celebration of this random holiday, I've decided to hold a quick giveaway with a book that has all the themes central to the day: Vision in White by Nora Roberts (the Bride Quartet).

Childhood friends Mackensie, Parker, Laurel and Emmeline have formed a very successful wedding planning business together but, despite helping thousands of happy couples to organize the biggest day of their lives, all four women are unlucky in love. Photographer Mackensie Elliott has suffered a tough childhood and has a bad relationship with her mother, which makes her wary of commitment. But when she meets Carter Macguire, she can't stop herself falling for him, although his ex girlfriend is prepared to play dirty to keep him. Mackensie soon realizes she has to put her past demons to rest in order to find lasting love...

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment below with your email address - that's it!  

Giveaway will run through Monday February 21st, 2011.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rode Hard, Put Up Wet by Lorelei James

Struggling stock contractor Gemma Jansen swallows her pride and tracks down circuit rider Cash Big Crow to offer him a job managing her ranch. Cash agrees on one condition: theirs won’t be strictly a working relationship. She’s the boss during the day, but once she’s corralled in the bedroom, Cash calls the shots. Despite concerns about their age difference, Gemma consents.

Cash suspects the sexy widow hides an untapped wild streak. He intends to loosen her tightly held reins of control—even if he has to break out his horsewhip to do it.

But Cash is in for a surprise. Gemma proves a rough and ready participant in any leather-n-lace game Cash dreams up.

Between riding herd on his wayward daughter, Macie, and rowdy cowboy Carter McKay doggin' Macie’s every boot step, Cash struggles to hide his true feelings for Gemma except this time, Gemma’s grabbed the bull by the horns and she’s playing for keeps.

Summer’s going to be a hot one at the Bar 9.

In case you skipped to the end of my post, let me do a quick summary of my overall feeling - I call this one an eh because while it was good I never felt really excited about it. I picked up this ebook not so much because it called to me the most, but because as part of the Lorelei James reviews that I'd been reading it had gotten tons of positive reviews.

Sometimes I gotta trust my gut more.

None of this is to downplay what's good in the book. Great sex scenes, interesting world environment - the ranch and the whole cowboy thing didn't feel forced at all. I just didn't fall in love with the characters or either of the couples. I'm not sure what it was. Objectively this book is right up my alley; in fact I even like the whole 'lust/love at first sight' thing that you have between Macie and Carter.

I don't know people, sorry to write up an unsatisfying-ly unspecific review, but this one was only ok for me. I'd read the review at Fiction Vixen for a different opinion since she loved this one a lot :)

But on the positive side I REALLY loved Raising Kane so look for a review of that title next week!

Overall Feeling - Eh.

Series - ...7) Shoudla Been a Cowboy 8) All Jacked Up 9) Raising Kane

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who fires an author from her own series?

Lori Foster posted the link on her Facebook page, but here is it again for anyone who missed it: The author of Vampire Diaries has been fired from her own book series.

L.J. Smith has written Vampire Diaries from the beginning but apparently she was actually 'hired' by HarperCollins to write the series. As the article states, "Whilst Smith conceived of the characters, the world, the rules and so forth, HarperCollins owned the project and its copyright in their entirety."

Smith seemed to be moving the focus of the series  (I haven't read the books in quite awhile) away from a strictly relationship centered dynamic and HarperCollins didn't approve of the change.

Now I know that L.J. Smith istaking the high road on this one, asking readers to still buy the books in the series, but this is ridiculous. I read a series for a certain author's voice, for the work they've put into a series to make it unique and entertaining. Why the hell would I continue to read it when at the best the next author is just going to attempt imitation?
Smith isn't Carolyn Keene, and this isn't the Nancy Drew books. Shame on you HarperCollins, shame on you.

What do you guys think?

Would you keep reading a series if the author was replaced halfway through?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish

A monster's out there... Only one girl can stop it. But will love get in the way?

It's a difficult time for fifteen-year-old Savannah Grey - she's settled into her latest foster placement, but her body is acting oddly. Then other strange things begin to happen. Birds behave erratically; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away. And Savannah discovers she has supernatural powers.

Only new boy Reece Gandolfo thinks Savannah's powers are a special gift. No wonder she's attracted to him. But there's another force that wants to lure Savannah from safety into danger...

From the multiple-award winning author of Breathe: a ghost story and Angel, comes Cliff McNish's third stand-alone novel, a chilling story of love and horror.
**I requested this title for review from NetGalley**

I don't think I was prepared for this book. The cover, the back summary - it doesn't sound like a quiet walk on the beach, but still once I was absorbed in this story I had no idea how it was going to end or how creepily engrossing the path was going to be to get there. Because that's what McNish has created: a trail of bread crumbs for the reader to follow, but one that's so well crafted that that the horror is just amazing. You are not ready for the monster to jump out of the closet and then to begin to sympathize with it? Incredible.

I probably sound ridiculous talking about McNish and Savannah Grey like this, but the novel is really off the charts fantastic. The way he moves the point of view so it's never just about Savannah but also about what she has to fight. There might be only one heroine but there are quite a few stand out characters and the novel could not have been as powerful without them.

And of course there's the pinnacle of this book - the ending. Unexpected, heartbreaking, and frightening, it's one of the best horror pieces I've ever read. The fact that it's being written for the young adult audience almost makes me more excited for it. That genre needs great examples of this kind of crossover into adult literature, the type of stuff to continually inspire young minds to keep up picking up that next book.

I'm so happy that I got the chance to read this and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up

Series - None

Kidnapped for Christmas by Evangeline Anderson

Plus-sized and practical Jillian Marks is the responsible one in her family. She got all the common sense and her little sister Sabrina got all the skinny genes. When Sabrina plans a custom kinky kidnapping as a Christmas present for herself, Jillian tries to talk her out of it but her ditzy sister won’t listen.

Muscular and intense Kyle Stephens is a Dom who is looking for a permanent sub—a curvy woman who can submit in the bedroom but still think for herself. He takes Sabrina’s file but mistakenly ’naps the wrong sister, grabbing Jillian instead of Sabrina.

Now Jillian is bound and gagged in a dungeon, learning to submit to the man of her dreams who has her kidnapped for Christmas.
I've read a few eroticas by Anderson before but I have to say this was an unexpected hit to me. BDSM can either really work for me or really not - especially when they are elements of pseudo force involved. Because the reality here is that it's a case of mistaken identity - Jillian didn't sign up for this and if Anderson hadn't written the physical and emotional journey so well I probably wouldn't have been turned off halfway through.

Instead readers get a look at both the internal dialogue of Jillian and Kyle and it's hot. I mean really hot. Jillian eventually giving in to her previously unrealized desire, Kyle trying to hold back and stick to 'her' fantasy and not let his own emotions take him to far - it all worked really well. Also keep in mind though that the type of relationship Kyle is looking for is a BDSM in the bedroom, not all the time in life; again this is how I like things so it was right up my alley but it might not be enough for everyone.

The twist at the end was funny and added just enough 'will they or won't they' tension to the HEA. I highly recommend it!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up!

Series - None.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mini Me: Remembered Love by Diana Hunter

Val knows all her husband’s moves—and that’s their problem. After five years of marriage they’ve fallen into a rut. Sex with Gary has become…mundane. She still loves him and knows he loves her, but are they still in love?

Gary also knows they need a change. Maybe add a little kink to their sex life? Maybe Valerie tied to the bed—his to play with and command? Valerie discovers a whole new side of her husband as they peel away the “ordinary” and realize just how hot their love still is.

While I have to admit I didn't love this little short by Hunter there was a lot to it that made it better than I had expected. Val and Gary's marriage is on the rocks at the beginning - serious rocks. Rocks enough that I was taken aback for a moment and was like 'What's going to happen here?'. Instead of going into a overly sexual route, Hunter makes this a lot about the emotional distance that has to be bridged between the two. And how taking each other for granted is the quickest way to end somethign you don't want ended.

It's different for an erotica, but that's part of Remembered Love's charm, so I'd say go for it and pick it up for yourself from Ellora's Cave.

Monday, February 7, 2011

January in Review (Woot 2011!)

January was an interesting month. I spent a weekend in NY, bought some books for my Nook, and yet somehow managed to read little to no new books. Lol, I'm almost ashamed! Shouldn't I want something new? Shouldn't I want to discover a new author?!

Really not if we're going to go by this list.

The only constructive thing I did was try those cowboy eroticas from Lorelei James. Some hit and some miss, but I do consider it a positive experience overall and I still plan on reading Corralled (it's a print title) as soon as possible.

Point of Combustion Dawn Ryder
A Family Portrait by J.J. Massa
Ruthless Game by Christine Feehan
A Hard Day's Knight by Simon R. Green
Giving Chase by Lauren Dane
Making Chase by Lauren Dane
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
Here Kitty, Kitty by Shelly Laurenston
Caught Red-Handed by Paige Tyler
Kidnapped for Christmas by Evangeline Anderson
Remembered Love by Diana Hunter
Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston
Rode Hard, Put Up Wet by Lorelei James
Raising Kane by Lorelei James
Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

(not my best month - we'll see how February goes!)

I'm back!

Hey Everyone!! Sorry I've been gone lately. I wish I had something wonderfully ridiculous and detailed to tell you about to explain why I couldn't be moved to blog, but in reality it was just one thing: Coffee Prince. A Korean Drama I stumbled upon right at the end of January, I pretty much used every waking moment I had to watch it (on mute, but it had subtitles so who really cares?).

It was fantastic and I plan to do a full review of it on my other blog so look for a link to that soon. I have some actual book related posts to get to today (including my January look back) but for now I leave you with one message:

 Eun-Chan and Han-Gyul FOREVER!!!

(P.S. - There's a great summary of this K-drama on Wikipedia. You can check it out here.)