Review: Where There’s Smoke by Karen Kelley

Where There's SmokeReviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Destiny Carter (heroine) is on the brink of gaining demon status. All she has to do is steal one more soul. The powers below have given her one week to corrupt someone. Anyone. If successful, she’ll become a full-fledged demon, but if she fails-she’ll burn in the fires of hell. Forever! So you see, failure is not really an option here.

When Carter meets a blue-eyed cowboy (named Chance) at a bar, she thinks he’s the one. Not “the” one, but the soul she needs to steal. Destiny’s under the impression that getting Chance’s soul will be as easy as agreeing to a second slice of devil’s food cake. But what she doesn’t know is…that he’s immortal. And he’s got his own agenda!

Review: There are things I really enjoyed. Like the good vs. evil concept and the main characters. How Destiny seeks to tempt and corrupt, while Chance is determined to resist and save. The immortal brothers also add a nice element to the story. They’re part angel, part human. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how hot Carter and his brothers are. Which, they are.

However, I would’ve liked the story to have focused less time on Destiny’s neighbors and more time on Chance’s family. I never connected with the neighbors and wanted to know more about Chance’s cousin, Nevaeh. She makes this grand entrance and is never heard of again. On a few occasions I felt that certain scenes were misplaced. The Old West scene was such a scene. To me, grown immortals playing a real version of Cowboys and Indians didn’t add to the story line.

Overall, it’s a good book which focuses most of its energy on the erotic elements. With some shifting of character focus and some simplifying, the sequels will be even better.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Recommendations: For “adult” readers who enjoy the following story elements: opposites attracting, demons vs. angels, and good vs. evil. Also for booklovers who enjoy heavy doses of erotica with very light sprinkles of romance.

What’s Next?

  • Where There’s a Will – Book Two (Sept. 2012) Ryder and Haley’s story
  • When All Else Fails – Book Three (Release date TBA)

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Where There’s Smoke

[phpbay]where smoke karen kelley, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright 2012, Paranormal Erotic Romance, Paperback, Print Pages 292. ISBN# 978-1-4022-6386-6.

Review: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite, Book 2) by Stacey Kennedy

DemonicallyTemptedReviewed by Susan S.

A riveting story that’s freaky-creepy good! I haven’t rooted this much for star-crossed lovers since reading Romeo and Juliet’s sonnets. Let’s hope that Kipp and Tess circumnavigate tragedy and defy all odds…soon!

Summary: Frostbite Series, Book Two Tess Jennings (heroine) is working with Memphis police detectives on a decade old cold case. Because of her “special” gifts, she’s an invaluable member of the police department. Tess can see and communicate with ghosts. Discarnates popping in on her may be a constant annoyance occurrence, but at least it’s an expected one. Now a malevolent demon? That, that’s completely unexpected!

Yes. There’s a great deal on her plate. Her ghost lover (Kipp) is missing, she needs to banish a demon, and let’s not forget- locate a girl who’s been dead for 10 years. Can Tess do all of the above? But can she do it without being…demonically possessed?

Review: I’m going to begin at the end. Those of us, who’ve read Supernaturally Kissed, are going to have a jaw-dropping reaction to book two’s ending. Talk about leading me down that garden path. Clever! Very clever. I can’t wait to see how the author plans to tie up that loose end, or if she ever will. We can only hope!

Demonically Tempted may be darker than book one, but no less wonderful. Stacey Kennedy gives me that soap opera feeling. I liked what happened this time, but oh my gosh! What’s going to happen next?

Recommendations: This novel will attract readers who loved the supernatural TV drama Medium and the show Paranormal State. It’ll call to those who walk the darker streets of paranormal romances. And if you ever saw the movie Constantine and loved it-then you really must read this novel. It includes suspense, mystery, and it’s sure to give you plenty of fear-inducing piloerections.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Others in the Series:

Supernaturally Kissed (Frostbite, Book One)

What’s Next?

Mystically Bound- Book Three (Fall 2012)

Book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXL2rueMVpg

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite)

Self published, Copyright 2012, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, eBook, 167 Pages, ASIN# B007TB5ZF8, ISBN# 978-1-4763-4187-3.

Review: One Hot Cowboy Wedding (Spikes & Spurs, Book 4) by Carolyn Brown

Reviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Spikes & Spurs Series, Book Four

One Problem

If Ace Riley (hero) isn’t married within two years of his grandfather’s death, his distant cousin, Cole, will inherit the Double Deuce.

With a Simple Solution

Marrying his friend, Jasmine King, in a quickie Vegas chapel should ensure Ace’s ownership of the ranch.

Creates the Devil of an Aftermath

As the 5,000th couple to get married at the Cupid’s Wedding Chapel their nuptials were broadcast over national television. Not a good thing if the bride and groom hadn’t told anyone they were getting married. Not friends. Not co-workers. Not even family. So when everyone sees it, guess how their friends take the news? Now imagine how Ace’s parents feel. Well…multiply their shock times three trillion and now you have Kelly (Jasmine’s madder-than-hell mother) King’s reaction. It isn’t pretty! And it’s about to get a whole lot uglier!

Review: Carolyn Brown writes these truly wonderful Western Romances that always leave me feeling like love really can conquer all. When you close the book you feel happy. Let me explain. Picture yourself with ten people you feel completely at ease with. It’s summer time and you’re outside in this big backyard. There’s food, beer, and laughter. And you’re listening to “Home Sweet Home” by The Farm. Now that’s a Brown novel for you!

I loved the scene where everyone’s calling them after the 10 o’clock news. Imagine all those ringtones. Too funny! Then there’s room# 112…steamy. But what I really enjoyed was the way these friends fell in love with each other. When Ace and Jasmine go fishing and he tells her that she’s the only woman that’s ever mattered, well, that’s exactly what romance readers crave.

Updates and Thought Bubbles: If you’re following this series here’s the scoop without the spoilers. Pearl from Red’s Hot Cowboy has one of those life defining moments. And Jasmine’s friend, Lucy, who is also from Red’s Hot Cowboy, goes from a timid battered wife to a gunpowder and lead gal. I simply mean her confidence has grown. Good for her! Another biggie happens to one of the gals’ place of employ, but you’ll have to read the novel to find out the whom, what, and where.

Others in the Series:

What’s Next?

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: One Hot Cowboy Wedding (Spikes & Spurs)

[phpbay]hot cowboy wedding carolyn brown, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright April 2012, Contemporary Western Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 355. ISBN# 978-1-4022-5364-5.

Review: The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare

The Wolf Who Loved MeReviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Regency Werewolf Trilogy, Book One Have you ever wished for something you’ll never have? Like that Lamborghini Countach, or the eight bedroom beachside mansion. Well, Weston Hadley (hero) has grown accustomed to wishing for the unattainable. I know what you’re thinking. Pray tell, what does Hadley want that he can’t have? He wants… Lady Madeline Hayburn. What’s the idiom? If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Hadley’s loved Madeline for years, but all the wishing and wanting won’t alter the facts. She’s a duke’s daughter and he’s a penniless nobody. Since he can’t have her, he just plows through life with reckless abandon. Living his carefree existence of no responsibilities and total frivolity.

Until the day that Madeline sees him changing. And I don’t mean his clothes. I mean shifting from man to wolf. Causing both man and wolf to face what they’ve tried so hard to avoid… responsibility!

Musical Review: Just Let Me Be In Love by Tracy Byrd. Only difference is that Tracy sings about finding a way to mess things up, whereas Weston did that from the get-go.

Traditional Review: I enjoyed it too much when Wes absconded with Madeline. It was deliciously exciting! My heart pounded when the heroine’s father was tracking them. And surprisingly I had no problems with the hero’s beta status which I thought was going to turn me off. I found his irresponsible and fun nature enjoyable. Especially, when that very nature led to some rather disastrous events. It’s also funny that this wolf has absolutely no people skills whatsoever! None. He’s completely untamed.

I’ve grown so accustomed to Lydia Dare’s strong-willed heroines that Madeline’s weaker/pampered character took me by surprise. I would’ve preferred her to be a stronger heroine to the hero’s beta, but still applauded the times the heroine did show a backbone.

If the curiosity bug bit you-read on: You can find out how Weston got his facial scar by reading In the Heat of the Bite. I guarantee it’ll leave you speechless! It did me.

Recommendations: Like scarred heroes? Wes is such a hero.

For readers who love reckless and handsome beta wolves, the opposites attracting tropes, and the good-girl gone-bad heroines. Also for anyone who enjoys siblings teetering from conflict to camaraderie, but who at their very core are still loving and loyal.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

What’s Next? Wolfishly Yours. (Grayson and Liviana’s story). Grayson is Weston’s twin brother.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Wolf Who Loved Me

[phpbay]wolf loved me lydia dare, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright April 2012, Historical Regency Paranormal Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 387. ISBN# 978-1-4022-6346-0.

Get into Bed with Lydia Dare (Author Interview 2)

Susan: If a genie could bring your writing muse to life, what would he/she look like?

Tammy: It would be a man that resembles my husband who says, “Get your ass in the chair and write something.” That’s all it takes for me. To get my rear end in the chair in a quiet place. No muse required.

Ava: I am the least observant person you’ll ever meet. So if I saw my muse, I wouldn’t recognize her/him.

Susan: And do you share the same one? One evening with Tammy. The next with Ava?

Tammy: We are VERY different, so I don’t think our muses would even like one another, much less choose to hang out together. Unless there was alcohol involved.

Ava: That is absolutely true. We are night and day. I can’t imagine our muses hanging out.

Susan: Please tell LRP readers who “you” think is the sexiest Hadley brother. I for one, am voting for (Wes) Weston. He’s the sexy scarred twin. Yummalicious!

Tammy: He’s a little too beta for me. I like the alpha heroes a little bit more, like the one we’re writing now – Archer Hadley (who’s the oldest Hadley gentleman).

Ava: Oh, there’s something delicious about each of them. Yes, Wes is a beta (there can only be one alpha after all). But he loves Maddie so much. He would swim across the ocean for her or climb Mt. Everest. I would love a guy to love me as much as Wes does Maddie.

Susan: If I were to gaze into a crystal ball and say, “The Wolf Who Loved Me!” Who or what would I see?

Tammy: I hope you would see a somewhat spoiled girl who grows into a character with a spine of steel at the end. And a hero who loved her from day one, and finds even more to love her for as she grows.

Ava: As Maddie is very much like me in personality, I think I’m taking a little offense to the “spoiled girl” comment. ;)

Susan: (Confessions from a reader): If I don’t take time to read, I resemble something the wolf dragged in…while he was foxed. Yep. Stress does NOT look good on me. See, reading isn’t just a hobby. It’s a necessity. And some authors think their jobs insignificant.

Tammy (Confessions from an author): If I don’t read, my creativity well dries up. I try to avoid things I’m writing, like wolves or fantasy, if I’m writing wolves or fantasy, but I read EVERYTHING ELSE. I have to keep reading and if I ever get bogged down in a really bad book, I have to force myself to read something new or I feel like my writing is dragging me through sludge every time I sit down at the computer.

Ava (Confessions from an author): If I don’t have a project waiting for me, I get fidgety. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever been “caught up” on all deadlines. I am overbooked with too much to do, but the idea of having nothing on the horizon scares me to death.

Susan: Could you help a girl in need? I’m searching for a speedy way to snag me a Hadley. And since Lady Madeline’s been eyeing Wes, how can I win over Archer or Grayson?

LD: Well, I think you’re out of luck. You have to:

  • Catch one of them in the process of shifting into wolf form so he’ll haul you off to Gretna.
  • Have a Lycan birthmark of your very own on your inner thigh (that he just can’t stop thinking about).
  • You’ll have to be the prize in a game of cards. (This one might actually be do-able…)

Susan: Do you have any idea how many hours I’ve logged in just staring at your covers? Too many! That’s how many. And I’m going to add loads more. What say you of The Wolf Who Loved Me cover?

LD: It’s our best cover ever! It has the historical mixed evenly with the handsome man and the woman in appropriate dress. The setting is perfect and the background is so believable. We couldn’t be happier with it!

Susan: (Siblings and their commonalities): My sister and I love reading Lydia Dare novels. Actually, Isabel reviewed Never Been Bit last year while I was on vacation. Yep. Started a feud that’ll be discussed for many Thanksgivings to come. Lol.

Tammy: My sister and I have a Thanksgiving tradition as well. I don’t eat meat so I usually make a big eggplant parmesan to take to dinner. My sister loves it so much that it has become a family tradition for me to hide it and pretend I didn’t make it. The kids get into the action and she spends a bit of time looking for it. It’s a crazy thing to do, but it makes me happy to see her doubt whether or not I made her favorite dish!

Ava: Other than shared genetics, I don’t have a thing in common with any of my siblings. I don’t even look like them. They’re all tall with pretty blue eyes. I’m not tall and my eyes are hazel. But personality-wise, you will not find four more diametrically different people as my sister, my brothers and me.

Susan: Do the Hadley brothers have any shared commonalities? A love of brandy perhaps?

LD: They share a love of women, spirits and all of them have a penchant for getting in trouble! They also share the need for an alpha, since their dad died fairly young. It’s not until Dashiel Thorpe finds his way into their pack that they realize what it’s like to have a leader. Or someone to whom they should be accountable.

Susan: This area is for shameless self-promotion. What would you like to share with LRP readers?

LD: We just finished Wolfishly Yours, which is the next book in this series. It features Grayson Hadley and Liviana Mayeux, who just happens to be from New Orleans. We’re currently writing the last book in the series, which is Archer’s story.

By the way, Tammy has a release writing as Tammy Falkner in September, called A Lady and Her Magic. Faeries in Regency England!

And Ava has several straight Regency Historicals (meaning no wolves, vamps or witches) as Ava Stone on shelves as well.

The Wolf Who Loved Me

THE WOLF WHO LOVED ME BY LYDIA DARE – IN STORES APRIL 2012

Regency England Has Gone to the Wolves!

Lady Madeline Hayburn Has Money Problems…

Specifically, she has so much of it that she’s dogged by fortune hunters, including her bewilderingly attractive, penniless neighbor, with his wild nature and uncouth manners…

Weston Hadley Has An Identity Crisis…

Specifically, he’s just turned into a wolf while Madeline was watching. Now it’s up to the regal lady to tame the wild beast… if she can…

Buy: The Wolf Who Loved Me

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lydia Dare is the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Ava Stone, who have written two paranormal historical romance series. Both Tammy and Ava are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Together they are working on the next book in their new paranormal historical series as Lydia Dare, Wolfishly Yours, set to release in November 2012. For more information, please visit http://www.lydiadare.com/.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of The Wolf Who Loved Me. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment. Last day to enter: April 13, 2012.

Review: A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

A Hint of FrostReviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Araneae Nation, Book One It is with a heavy heart that Lourdes replaces her mother as maven of the Araneidae clan. A single act of betrayal has thrust her into a position she was neither prepared for, nor expecting. These circumstances call for a strength-of-steel. And a bravery even stronger than the silk she spins. Her clansmen have turned to her for protection, guidance, and leadership. Make no mistake-she “will” rise to the challenge!

But first, Lourdes must join forces with a Mimetidae warrior referred to as “Rhys the Cold.” Rhys is duty-bound to locate and kill the Theridiidae responsible for the death of her parents. Vengeance they were prepared for. Love? Well, love caught them completely unawares.

Review: I especially enjoyed the differences between the main characters. Lourdes is wealthy. Rhys is penniless. She has a loving family environment. He doesn’t. It’s those differences which made me appreciate how the author bridged those gaps. And although I prefer the sexually experienced heroes, Rhys’s masculine näiveté was, I’ll admit-lovely.

A Hint of Frost will entrance you with spirit walkers, entertain you with sibling wordplays, and bring you novel characters with spider-like characteristics. If I was to attribute Hailey Edwards with a modus operandi – it’d be great storytelling! However, I’m still weeks away from erasing the death of the sickly pecora from my memory bank.

Recommendations: Suggested for readers who enjoy the arranged marriage tropes and for booklovers who flock to fantasy romances, Indian folklore, and strong fearless warriors.

Caution: This novel contains several beheadings and some cannibalistic themes. Definitely “not” for the weak of heart! Although if you think about it, these characters exhibit spider-like qualities and there really is such a thing as spider cannibalism.

Favorite Scenes:

Scene # 1: When Rhys bares his soul and tells Lourdes what her love is worth. That scene was sigh-worthy!

Scene # 2: Will settle the debate regarding what’s under a man’s kilt.

Scene # 3: Lourdes is grieving the loss of her parents and Rhys understands this. He joins her in bed and holds her while she cries.

Comedic Touch: Rhys’s brother (Vaughn) is being disrespectful. O.k., honestly? He’s being annoying! He keeps interrupting an elder’s storytelling. So Rhys forks him in the thigh. Heck, even I wanted to fork him! Reviewer takes a sly look at her sharp utensils.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Hint of Frost: Araneae Nation, Book 1

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2012, Fantasy Romance, eBook, ISBN# 978-1-60928-756-6.

Review: Cat Scratch Fever by Jodi Redford

Cat Scratch FeverReviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Lilly Prescott’s grandfather lost a whopping 60 acres of land during a poker game gone wrong. And who benefited? Dante Morgan’s father (Foster). Now Lilly will do anything to reclaim the property which should belong to her family. Not if, but when she gets the land, Lilly (heroine) plans to build a private retreat for the Lynchat Foundation. Oh, sorry `bout the oversight. Prescott is a lynx shifter.

The heroine is willing to pay reasonably for the land, but Dante’s not asking for money. And his wolfish proposition is something Lilly would never Ever consider. At least not with all her faculties intact.

With no love lost between Dante and Lilly, can a sexy wolf convince a feisty cat to play nice? Or will he become Lilly’s new scratching post?

Review: Whenever I begin a new Jodi Redford novel I know I’m in for a treat. If you’ve never read her books-you’re missing out on what I call triple-shot spicy reads. The author gives new meaning to lovin’ thy self. Phew! And in Cat Scratch Fever Redford continues her crowd-pleasing modus operandi. Just you wait and see!

I thought the suspense was great and I despised the antagonists. Which is precisely what I want to feel when the author writes them as they should be written-as extra nasty! I did feel though, that an epilogue could’ve added a little something extra to the story’s conclusion.

Thought Bubble: Here’s hoping that Dante’s cousin, Theo, can have his very own story someday. He’s a sheriff. (Insert saucy grin here).

Recommendations: For readers who zealously seek out those damsel-in-distress stories (which have the hero miraculously saving the day). Recommended for those with a fondness for the enemies (I want to murder him in his sleep) to lovers (I want mad-passionate-sex) tropes. Paranormal romance readers will get a kick knowing the H is a werewolf and the h is a lynx shifter. The erotic romantic elements play a pivotal role in the story. So if you love those erotic romances, you’ll no doubt love Cat Scratch Fever.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★½ (Plot: 4 and Erotic Romance: 5)

Buy: Cat Scratch Fever

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2012, eBook, Erotic Paranormal Romance, ISBN# 978-1-60928-770-2.

Review: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen

Reviewed by Susan S.

Climb aboard The Shadow! And set sail upon the high seas with Shana Galen’s new novel, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. There’s plenty of adventure (narrowly escaping death by sword, dagger, pistols, and sinking ships), romance (hot cabin sex), and entertainment (whether imprisoned or freed-they’ll hate each other, save each other, and love each other).

Summary: The Conclusion to the Seas of the Revolution Trilogy, Book Three When Raeven Russell (heroine) finds Captain Cutlass (Bastien), she’s going to rip his black heart out! It was his ship The Shadow which battled the HMS Valor. And now, her fiancé is dead. For months, she’s entertained thoughts of avenging Timothy’s death. What Raeven never expected-was to be held captive aboard the privateer’s ship.

Bastien has just kidnapped the daughter of a British admiral; initiating events that’ll surely culminate with his death. Will Raeven find a way to escape her captivity? Can Cutlass outrun the British Navy? More important, will the traitor in their midsts change the course of their lives? Forever.

Review: My first thought was, there is no believable way the hero and heroine will fall in love. After all, the heroine’s always trying to kill the hero. And whenever there’s a respite in their sword fighting- it’s only because they’re battling other adversaries. And yet, Ms. Galen “does” have them fall in love-in a realistic manner. How? By keying in on their commonalities.

What impressed me the most, I think, was the author’s expert use of imagery. The scenes I mentally visualized were an effortless process. And the “reason” this novel earned a five-star review. I could see (in my mind) the ships moving into battle positions. I could envision the damage sustained by the ships. As well as picturing the injuries of the seamen.

Recommendations: My first recommendation is for readers who gravitate toward the enemies-to-lovers tropes. If you like them, then this novel is a must read that’s sure to please. Also for booklovers who enjoy: historical romance novels. And if you revel in stories of handsome buccaneers and fearless heroines-you’ll love Captain Cutlass and Raeven.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Others in the Series:

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright February 2012, Historical Regency Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 340. ISBN-13# 9781402265556

[phpbay]rogue pirate bride galen, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]