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Review: Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost

Once Burned

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She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

I think I know how the heroine of Once Burned, Leila, feels: I don’t really know how I feel about Vlad. He’s scary, he’s handsome, he impales people, he’s sexy. He’s a freaking scary ass, incredibly sexy, horribly arrogant and domineering man…and I decided to re-read Once Burned in honor of the soon to be released movie Dracula Untold. The handsome man on the cover even has a passing resemblance to the actor playing Dracula in the upcoming movie.
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Review: The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire #1) by Jennifer Probst

The Marriage Bargain

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A marriage in name only…

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

 

The Marriage Bargain is the eleventh (11) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the “Marriage to a Billionaire” series by Jennifer Probst. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $7.99. Jennifer Probst is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I’m not really sure what made me read The Marriage Bargain. The book only came on my radar due to Scribd’s recommendation engine…and since Scribd really doesn’t carry the majority of the books I’m looking to read…I am substituting books I’d normally pass (or borrow) so that I get the most use of my Scribd trial. But the cover of The Marriage Bargain looks…sexy. 🙂
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Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire #1) by Stephanie Rowe *spoilers*

Kiss at Your Own Risk

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He needed a killer woman…
Blaine Underhill is one lucky man after having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch. Now he’s determined to save his still-enslaved friend, but in order to do so, he’ll need the help of one of the world’s most lethal women.

She was drop dead gorgeous, literally…
Trinity Harpswell is sick and tired of being a Black Widow. Having managed to go three years without accidentally killing anyone she loves, she’s one short week away from freeing herself from this killer curse forever.

When Blaine tracks her down and convinces her to help him, little does Trinity know that the next seven days are going to be murder!

 
Kiss at Your Own Risk is the tenth (10) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Soulfire series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $5.79. Stephanie Rowe is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I don’t know what to say…this wasn’t what I expected it to be. At all.

Let’s start with worldbuilding: it didn’t exist. That’s not completely fair – the world building existed but it was not explained to the reader in any way. You really just have to go with the flow for this one…and my extensive experience with reading paranormal romance (PNR) tells me that the author’s world in this series is one in which magic in all its PNR shapes and sizes are run of the mill, everyday activities. Ok. So let’s walk into the book with that assumption.
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Review: Enticed (Pregnancy & Passion, #1) by Maya Banks

Enticed

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Bryony Morgan has come to New York for answers–and she won’t accept a brush-off from the father of her unborn child. She fell for wealthy hotelier Rafael de Luca when he courted her for her beachfront real estate. Then he disappeared. That’s because a crash has left Rafe with selective amnesia. But how could he ever forget a combustible beauty like Bryony? His solution to their stalemate: return to the island where they met, and relive the unforgettable nights in question–until he remembers everything….

“Top Pick! […] An extraordinarily moving romance with wonderfully charismatic protagonists.”
–RT Book Reviews on The Tycoon’s Secret Affair

ENTICED was originally published as Enticed by His Forgotten Lover

 
Enticed is the first category romance that I have read by Maya Banks. Strangely enough, Maya Banks wrote the very first menage book that I read. I guess you can say that she helped to break me into reading erotica. So when I saw Maya Banks’ name on a HQN category romance, I had to grab it.

Enticed is – at first glance – a pretty typical Harlequin Presents story: ruthless business tycoon hero and innocent, financially needy heroine. At first glance.

The biggest differences – to me – was the general lack of angst, lack of conflict and the hero’s grovelling. Which greatly changed the tone of the book for me.

Enticed begins with the hero, Luca, at a public event and suffering from amnesia. He sees a woman glaring at him so he goes to speak to her and she informs him that not only had the two been in a relationship but that he’s going to be a father. The rest of the majority of the book revolves around Luca and Bryony trying to recover Luca’s memory.

There is very little angst in Enticed until the end of the book. There is little to no conflict in the book. I have to admit that the lack of angst and conflict really…made the book slow and boring for me. I was never emotionally invested in Enticed and I can barely remember the MCs names.

Although I found Enticed boring and slow, Maya Banks’s writing is still very polished and a pleasure to read.

Box of 1Night Stands Anthology Review: Dominique Eastwick, L.J. Garland, & Desiree Holt

Box of 1Night Stands

Decadent Publishing presents some of the very best of the 1Night Stand series featuring NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Probst, Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts) and J.M. Madden, along with 18 other trendsetting authors such as HOLT Medallion winner Desiree Holt. When Madame Eve arranges a date, you are guaranteed more than you’ll ever expect. More heat, more heart, more SIZZLE…

Strawberry Kisses – Dominique Eastwick
Can two introverts gamble on love and win…with the help of Madame Eve and a bowl of Strawberries anything is possible.

Dead or Alive – L.J. Garland
She’s a bounty hunter on a mission…but when she captures her man, will she shoot him or kiss him?

Night Mission – Desiree Holt
For Navy SEAL Gabe Walker his one night stand with Maggie Fitzpatrick might turn out to be his hottest mission yet.

As a recap:

Box of 1Night Stands contains 21 stories by 21 different authors. Each story is roughly connected to each other by the framework of a dating service named “1Night Stand” run by Madam Evangeline. The dating service allows people to pay absurd amounts of money to be hooked up with someone “suitable” and willing to have a night of sex. The service includes reservations to one of the Castillo hotels and resorts (owned and run by one of satisfied 1Night Stand clients). Madam Evangeline seems to be the world’s best match-maker as all of her single night stands turn into committed relationships. Thus far the included stories are all either vignettes or very short shorts. Most seem to be between 3-5 chapters long as well.

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Review: Dating Cupid by Eve Langlais

Dating Cupid

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Roxanne knows where she’d like to shove Cupid’s arrow.

Tired of cheating men and false promises of love, Roxanne launches a campaign against Cupid’s Dating Service. But it’s hard to smear a company when you’ve got the hots for the owner.

Maverick Eros is more than the CEO of CDS, he’s Cupid himself. However, forget the media images of a chubby diapered cherub because the god of love is actually six feet plus of yummy, muscled male.

When they meet, sparks fly–the lusty kind–but they both know from experience, love hurts. In the end though, they’ll learn that love will have its way with them with or without the aid of Cupid’s arrow.

I love this short story and I’ve read it numerous times. 😀

It’s a little cheesy, lots of fun and there are laugh out loud moments. I adored both characters and I thought the plot was adorable, as well. The book is totally a one, two punch of “insta-lust” and “insta-love” but it totally works for the book! Langlais has a very different and hilarious take on the old Greek story of Cupid and Psyche.

Roxanne, demi-goddess and daughter of Lady Luck (Fortuna/Tyche), is having a terrible time finding a mate. For years, no matter who she dates it always turns out badly. At the urging of friends and family, Roxanne signs up for the popular Cupid’s Dating Service (CDS) – but when that goes horribly wrong she ends up boycotting the service. Until the day Roxanne meets the CEO, Maverick Eros. From the moment that Roxanne and Maverick meet they are attracted to each other – love at first sight – but past hurts cause them to mistrust and miscategorize their feelings.

Roxanne and Maverick fight their attraction but the instant they see each other again, the sparks fly.

Dating Cupid is a romantic comedy but Langlais still manages to put some real substance in the characters and their situation. Roxanne has been hurt by men who were supposed to love her and Maverick was duped by his cuckolding ex-wife, Psyche. Both characters had to find it within themselves to trust that this “love” thing was actually real.

One of the more interesting aspects of Dating Cupid for me was the change to the story of Cupid and Psyche. Greek Mythology says that Cupid and Psyche were star-crossed lovers who are finally united after much trial and tribulation. Dating Cupid turns Psyche into a devious schemer who used and never loved Maverick and Roxanne stars as Maverick’s true love – and they are finally united after much trial and tribulation.

This is a short but fun story that I only wish was longer. Recommended!

Book Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Border Lord by Julia Templeton

Parlor Games

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Fleeing an unfaithful fiancé, a nubile young lovely finds herself the prisoner of a lustful Scottish laird and must bow to his every erotic whim.

 
Parlor Games is the third book I’ve read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99.

Border Lord reminds me a lot of the book Warlord by Jaid Black. Both stories are situated in Scotland and both books contain unsuspecting time traveling heroines from the future. Strangely enough, I find that I prefer Warlord to Border Lord even though Warlord is much older and is a little more corny. There’s another time-traveling Scottish Lord story I read that was similar to this one as well but I can’t remember the title. That one also starred a cheating fiance, IIRC.

With that being said….there’s not a lot to Border Lord. It’s ok. It’s entertaining-ish. I enjoyed it for the most part but since I’ve read better with this same set up…I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be. Border Lord is short and to the point without much more to recommend it.

2.5 Stars

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