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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: 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: Goddess in the Middle (Forgotten Goddesses #3) by Stephanie Julian

Goddess in the Middle
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“Incredibly erotic, unconventional, romantic love story”

TOGETHER. THEY CREATE THE MOST POWERFUL MAGIC OF ALL …

Romulus and Remus are sexy werewolf cousins with an unbreakable bond. When they meet beautiful goddess Amity and save her from an encroaching demon, they discover that the three of them together are way more powerful than any of them could ever have imagined. And they’re going to need that power to overcome the forces that are determined to steal Amity’s magic and destroy the two men. As different as night and day, and each an amazing man in his own right, Rom and Remy make all of Amity’s deepest fantasies come true…

Goddess in the Middle is the eighth (8) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the third (and final?) book in the Forgotten Goddesses series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $10.09. Stephanie Julian is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

So. I’ve finally finished the Forgotten Goddesses series. I think. The reason I said “I think” is because the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger regarding some events not related to the romance or the overarching plot of the series. I *think* the loose ends are related to events that are attached to other series by Julian set in this same world. I think.
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Review: Cat’s First Kiss (Forgotten Goddesses #2.5) by Stephanie Julian

Cat's First Kiss

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A short visit with Cat

Since taking on the powers of the Etruscan Goddess of the Moon, Catene’s life has been upended. Her parents don’t know how to help her. And Tivr, Etruscan God of the Moon, has seemingly deserted her. Amazing what a first kiss can do.

This story takes place after HOW TO WORSHIP A GODDESS and before GODDESS IN THE MIDDLE

 

 

This is a short (very short!) interlude in the Forgotten Goddesses series. I purchased this one myself as it was not available via Scribd.

I was not too happy about this short. I was expecting short but I wasn’t expecting what I got: 14 pages and atrocious formatting.

Cat’s First Kiss takes place after How to Worship a Goddess where Cat takes over the mantle of Goddess of the Moon. During How to Worship a Goddess the reader learns that Cat is destined to become the new Goddess of the Moon as well as the fated mate of the God of the Moon (Lucy’s son from How to Worship a Goddess). During that book the reader also learns that Tivr was avoiding Cat because she was so young and he is a couple hundred years older. Of course, none of this was explained to Cat. She was simply hurt that someone she loved so much was actively avoiding her.

The story is a total of about 14 pages. My book was so badly formatted that it shows up as 130+ pages: there was about 1 paragraph per page. 😦 The constant need to flip pages made me want more story. Which I did not get.

Other things I did not get in this story: any real discussion between Tivr and Cat. No, let me back track that a bit. NO real discussion between Tivr and Cat. He asks her to forgive him for being an ass, they kiss and it was over. That’s it. So yeah, I was expecting at least a little more – especially with all the loose ends left dangling around from How to Worship a Goddess.

Another thing I want to rant about: the cover. OMFG. I am so sick to death of this same freaking couple on every freaking NA romance that has ever NA’d (the books Easy, Reckless, the entire Devoured series, Walking Disaster, etc). Enough! The guy on the cover is turning into the Fabio of NA romance. And it’s driving me batty.

Review: How to Worship a Goddess (Forgotten Goddesses #2) by Stephanie Julian

WorshipAGoddes

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WHAT SHE’S ALWAYS WANTED, AND SHE UNLEASHES HIM LIKE A FORCE OF NATURE…
Lucy was once the beloved Goddess of the Moon, and she could have any man she wanted. But these days, the goddesses of the Etruscan pantheon are all but forgotten. The only rituals she enjoys now are the local hockey games, where one ferociously handsome player still inflames her divine blood…

Brandon Stevenson is one hundred percent focused on the game, until he looks up and sees a celestial beauty sitting in the third row. A man could surely fall hard for a distraction like that…

 

 
How to Worship a Goddess is the seventh book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the second book in the Forgotten Goddesses series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $10.09. Stephanie Julian is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I really enjoyed this second entry into the Forgotten Goddesses series. I liked both the hero and the heroine and that the problems facing the couple were more related to their relationship than the outside pressure of the same god (Charun) who harassed Tessa in What a Goddess Wants.

Sadly, How to Worship a Goddess has a similar issue to What a Goddess Wants: the really problematic meet-cute. Brandon, the hero, has noticed Lucy (heroine and season ticket holder) at his hockey games for a long time, fantasizing about her. One day he decides he’s going to meet her so he goes to the ticket office and begs her address from her customer file. Let’s just start by saying that this is hella wrong. It turns out that Lucy used a fake address for her season ticket application…so Brandon manages to to locate her by digging around: he eventually finds a deed in her name with no address but he finds the latitude and longitude degrees and plugs them into his GPS. And he just shows up.
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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!

Review: Spell of the Highlander (Highlander, #7) by Karen Marie Moning

Spell of the Highlander

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It’s taken him eleven centuries to find the right woman. He’s not about to lose her now.

Jessi St. James has GOT to get a life. Too many hours studying ancient artifacts has given the archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the glass of an ancient mirror. But when a split-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi suddenly finds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering INSATIABLE alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass eleven centuries ago. And when the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaim it. For Jessi, the sex god in the mirror is not only tantalizingly real, he’s offering his protection—from exactly what, Jessi doesn’t know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed…

I read this book in early 2012 and really enjoyed it!

I flirted with a horrible reading slump during 2012…I’d pick up a book and put it down again. I was tossing books here and there…being very much a slut about my reading but receiving no satisfaction. Meh.

But I was rather interested in this book from the very beginning! Yaaaay!

There’s no need to rehash the blurb. What I can tell you about the book is that there was not a lot of eye-rolling moments. The hero – Cian – was very much an alpha male and the heroine was the typical big-boobed 30 y/o virgin. That part was rather meh for me. Also meh was the constant “insta-lust” that Moning has going on…but I think this will be par for the course with this series.

Other than the things mentioned above, this was a good read for me! The characters were engaging and the story line was interesting. The pages almost seemed to turn themselves…and in this particular reading mood that was hard to do.

4 stars but be aware of the tropes mentioned above. I certainly have plans to read the entire series so…RECOMMENDED! 😉

Also posted at OSgA Book Reviews

Mastered Anthology Review: The Scientific Method (Vampire Queen #9.5) by Joey W. Hill

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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Mastering her body was easy. Mastering her heart and soul will be an erotic science…
In the vampire-servant relationship, the vampire holds all the power. Being Lord Brian’s research assistant as well as his servant, Debra accepts that, but she craves her Master’s heart. When Brian notices his servant’s unhappiness, he uses methods they both understand to prove just what belonging to him fully means.

 
 
I’ve read two books by Joey W. Hill in the past. Those two books were so well written and so full of emotion that I was a sobbing, snotty, red-faced mess by the time I reached the end. I’m talking the ugly cry. So it made me a little gun shy and I’ve avoided more of her books. When I saw the Mastered anthology I bought it on the strength of Joey W. Hill’s name alone. It’s just a vampire story I told myself. It’s inside an anthology so it has to be short, I thought. I’ll be fine.

Ugly. Cry. UGLY.

OMG. I should have known that there is no such thing as “just a story” when it comes to Joey W. Hill. My cousin called me when I was smack in the middle of The Scientific Method. She thought I was sick or sleep cause my voice was hoarse and I was congested from all the tears. O_O She says to me, “Are you going to finish that book??” YES. Yes, I will. I will sit here and cry till its over!
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Review: Clean Sweep (The Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews

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This is a short novel, about 60,000 words.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night… Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I loved this book! Loved it!

I first read this book a while ago. It’s available – in its organic form – as a serial on the Andrews’ website. I knew what to expect but boy was I surprised!

I hate squeeing. I swear, it’s rather undignified. But there’s really no way to truly explain how much I enjoyed this new and updated edition. This updated version of Clean Sweep has been copy edited and four beautiful color illustrations added. I can’t emphasize enough the need to read this on something that has color. I read it on my computer once I realized there were illustrations. The Illustrations…really gave me fond memories. My first few hard and trade fantasy books were illustrated – here and there but illustrations still. The copy-edit is seamless (as it should be) and has given more back story and detail to an already rich world. Dina, the heroine, has had some additional background filled in and the ending is less abrupt.

This book is written in a flavor you’re familiar with if you read Ilona Andrews: strong characters, new and fascinating magic systems/worlds, real alpha males instead of Alpholes and female characters that aren’t doormats.
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Review: Dangerous by Amanda Quick

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From a magnificent ballroom ablaze with lights to an imposing country house steeped in shadows comes a breathtaking tale of an impetuous miss–and a passion that leads to peril…

At five and twenty, Prudence Merryweather knew very well the risks a woman took by visiting a gentleman in the dead of night. But bearding the notorious Earl of Angelstone in his den was the only way to stop him from engaging her hot-headed brother in a duel. And that was why she found herself ushered into Sebastian’s forbidding presence at three in the morning–and thoroughly kissed before dawn.

She was a country-bred innocent–and an intriguing experience for a man who dwelt more in the shadows than in the sunshine. Yet as her boldness drew Prue into one dangerous episode after another, Sebastian found himself torn between a raging hunger to possess her and a driving need to protect her. And the reckless beauty would soon need all the protection she could get…

I enjoyed this book while being annoyed by it at the same time. This book was written in 1993 (from what I can find) while my favorite Amanda Quick book – Scandal – was written in 1991. And it seems as if the characters were re-written slightly to create this book. And I think that’s where my irritation comes in: Emily from Scandal was a delightful clueless spitfire who loved her husband to distraction. Her clueless-ness and her love-blindness make it easy to believe her actions. Prue – on the other hand – spent so much time lecturing Sebastian about his “duties” to his family that it just pissed me off. She never once stood up for him after the way he had been treated by his family (Emily would have given the family a serious piece of her mind) and instead harassed him about what he “should do as the head of the family.”

I did like the fact that Ms Quick makes all of her heroines very intelligent and an expert in some field or the other. In this book Prue is a type of “ghostbuster,” which was delightful. Prue (and Sebastian’s) little adventures were lots of fun and I enjoyed watching the two work together.

It was a decent read, all in all. I’m kind of sorry I read Scandal first – I probably would have enjoyed this book more.