Review: Twisted (Eternal Guardians, Book 7) by Elisabeth Naughton

Tempted.inddReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Cynna is a spectator of an interesting fight.  Nick is fighting for his survival without losing who he is.  Almost right away this author shows how ugly the beast of sexual and mental abuse is.  I found that even though this is part of a series, you could read this book by itself.  But if you want to know more about the Guardians, you’ll want to stay true to the series.

If you’re someone that likes Mythology (one of my favorites in English class) you’ll see that it’s combined with a group trying to protect us humans and half-breeds.  You might even recognize some of your favorite gods and those you loved to hate.  If you like some action in your read then this book will be perfect for you.  On top of that, Elisabeth adds a mystery into the mix that will heighten your reading experience – who doesn’t love a good mystery.

An interesting character to watch out for is Ari – you’ll understand when you meet him.  But he also makes me curious – what’s his story.  Nick gives the readers hints but I still found myself wanting to know more.  Both of the main characters are strong willed but for different reasons but that doesn’t stop them from realizing how much they need each other.  Once you get involved in the story, you will find it hard to put down – there’s just no good stopping point because something else will come up that will grab your attention.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: TWISTED (Eternal Guardians Book 7)

Our Favorite Cat Aliens are Back!

Cheryl Brooks PhotoGuest blog by Cheryl Brooks, author of Rebel

I was given these topics to choose from for my guest post here on Love Romance Passion.

  1. Interstellar homelessness
  2. Refugees and the Homeless
  3. Heroines as Bait

Since none of them look easy, I’m going to respond to all three and hope for the best. 😉

These questions undoubtedly stem from themes present in the latest installment in my Cat Star Chronicles series, Rebel. If you’ve never read any of the series, suffice it to say that my Zetithian guys are so hot that an extremely rich and insanely jealous man, Rutger Grekkor, blew up their planet after his wife, Amelyana, took a Zetithian lover. Two, actually. After Grekkor killed the first lover, Amelyana went to Zetith in search of another.

Why would she do that? What makes Zetithians so hot? Some say it’s their feline characteristics. They have fangs, glowing vertical pupils, and they can purr. They also have pointed ears and upswept eyebrows like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. But it’s really their sexual abilities that make them so irresistible — and addicting.

Rebel’s hero, Onca, was only a baby when Zetith was destroyed by Grekkor’s Nedwut henchmen—a rather nasty, wolf-like race of hunters who will basically do anything for a buck. Amelyana did her best to save some of the children from the holocaust. Onca was one of those she saved, which brings me to the first topic:

  1. Interstellar Homelessness.

It isn’t as simple as it sounds, flying through space with no place to call home. Lots of fictional characters have done it. Case in point, Han Solo in Star Wars. But did he ever mention where he was from? Nope. Not in the movies, anyway. I read a few of the related novels, and one of them mentions that the red stripe on the side of his pants leg is the Corellian Blood Stripe, which “wasn’t given for perfect attendance.” Therefore, one would assume that he was Corellian. But did he ever go there and visit his parents? Hmm…don’t think so. Han’s ship was his home, which is the same kind of homelessness my Zetithian refugees experienced.

Unlike the citizens of Alderaan, who “cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced,” the people of Zetith knew they were about to be obliterated, and there wasn’t a thing they could do about it. After ensuring that the natives had no means of getting off the planet, Grekkor’s minions redirected an asteroid to collide with Zetith. Then Grekkor put a bounty on any offworld survivors in order to rid the galaxy of any remaining members of that species. Yeah. He was pissed at them, and he had the means to retaliate on a massive scale. Any remaining Zetithians were rendered homeless in a way that none of us can even begin to comprehend. Not only were their homes destroyed, but their entire world. And that brings us to the second topic:

  1. Refugees and the Homeless

When I first began writing the Cat Star Chronicles, I based the series on six members of a military unit who were captured near the end of the war in which Zetith was destroyed and sold into slavery. But during the course of writing those six books, I was asked to write three more. I needed more Zetithians, so I came up with the idea that a hundred or so children were rescued from Zetith. At the time, I didn’t give a great deal of thought to the logistics of such an endeavor, but just imagine two adult couples caring for a hundred kids, some of whom were only babies. Granted, many of the children were old enough to help care for the smaller ones, but they flew around in space for twenty-five years!

Where did they find food?  In Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry solved that dilemma with food replicators. But he also thought that living people could be “beamed” from one place to another. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Star Trek, but I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that a living being could be dissolved to the atomic level in one place and reformed in another, alive and kicking. Not buying it. Food replication might be more feasible, but I’m going to assume that Amelyana had to send someone down to a planet now and then on a resupplying mission. Money wouldn’t have been too much of an issue since she probably relieved her dear husband of a hefty chunk of change when she commandeered one of his starships.

And now, more than twenty-five years have passed. Grekkor’s death has set the Zetithians free and made them rich. Onca has grown up on that starship and has been educated in his own culture as well as others, including Earth’s history and traditions.

Not long before Grekkor’s death, Kimcasha Shrovenach, a Zetithian child living on the planet Rhylos with her family, was orphaned by a band of Nedwut bounty hunters. Since the age of ten, she has been living on the streets of Damenk on the planet Rhylos, hiding from unknown and unseen terrors. Her only friends are other street people, and now, some of her buddies have gone missing, which brings us to the third topic:

  1. Heroines as Bait.

With no other options, Kim uses herself as bait to discover where her friends have gone. But she isn’t captured by the Herpatronian thug who accosts her, she is rescued by Onca—and she isn’t happy about it. Poor Onca. His one and only stab at being a hero, and the damsel in distress nearly bites his head off. But wait! She’s Zetithian, a very rare and unsuspected find. Onca isn’t looking for love, but he is willing to help Kim locate her friends, as well as helping her to receive her share of the trust fund established for any surviving Zetithians. As the attraction between them grows, Onca begins to realize that he is the one who must use himself as bait, perhaps even sacrificing his own life to rescue the homeless friends of an adorably feisty young Zetithian woman he is convinced would be better off without him.

So now, the roles are reversed and the hero is the one at risk. At risk of losing his home, his wealth, his freedom, and certainly his heart.

I know which version I like best. Onca is my hero!

rebelBlurb:

He helped to find her kidnapped friends. Will he let her steal his heart?

Kimcasha has lived by her wits since she lost her family when she was eight years old. So when three of her friends vanish, she has no fear about using herself as kidnapper’s bait, until a stranger foils her plot…

After ten years of selling his services in a brothel, Onca has decided to retire. A refugee of planet Zetith, he has no family, no surname, and no woman—until he rescues a young homeless girl from a kidnapper. Onca helps Kim find her friends, but as their intense attraction deepens, he begins feeling too jaded for someone so innocent. It’s up to Kim to convince him otherwise…

Buy: Rebel (The Cat Star Chronicles)

Author Bio: Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and the current release, Rebel. She is a member of the RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.

Author Website: http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cherylbrooksauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylCatMaster @CherylCatMaster
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cbcatmaster/

Giveaway: One print copy of Rebel by Cheryl Brooks. Open to US and CAN readers. Enter by leaving a comment. Ends 8/8/14.

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Review: Maltipoos Are Murder (Doggie Day Spa Mystery) by Jacqui Lane

malitpoos murderReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

This book was told in the first person.

Cara Rogers works at her Aunt’s pet spa – this is one job I’d love to try. Being a vet, not so much – blood and me don’t get along too well. Cole Sampson has come to talk to her and this is when the mystery begins. I have to say that I’m no good at figuring out the mysteries – I got this one wrong. You’ll have to read and see if you can get it right.

This is a perfect cuddle read. So if you have a dog, or cat, find your best reading area and cuddle up with your baby. Maybe you’ve lost your baby, like I have, so a stuffed animal may make a nice substitute. But this book is not just for pet lovers – even though dogs are the animal of choice here. The tone of the story would have changed otherwise. I never realized how exciting a pet spa could be – I’m in the wrong profession.

In one scene, Cara mentions a poem and if you’re interested you may want to check it out. If you would like to read it yourself you can find it here http://www.bartleby.com/364/335.html. This may have been a mystery but it didn’t stop this author from making me laugh – once you get to that point in the story you will understand why it was so funny.

I was disappointed once the ending appeared. I wasn’t ready for this story to be over but I did love the ending. It was more of a HFN than an HEA. So you can certainly use your imagination to come up with your own ending. Me, I’m hoping that there is going to be a book two in the Doggie Day Spa Mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed Jacqui’s tale and so will you. And if you want to know more of who Jacqui is, make sure to read “About the Author” at the very end.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Maltipoos are Murder (Entangled Ignite)

Review: Demon Creed (Demon Outlaw, Book 3) by Paula Altenburg

demon creedReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

Creed is on a Demon mission and that mission takes him to the ranch where Nieve is working. This is a world that has prejudices against those that are different – they are different through no fault of their own. It reminds me of our own history where slaves were considered expendable. There’s also hate for what people don’t understand and that includes the lack of compassion.

Willow has revenge on her mind as well as something more sinister. Nieve may be a woman who doesn’t appear to have much on the outside but on the inside she is very strong. And seeing this world she lives in, she needs to be. There is a point where the light goes on for Nieve – too bad more people couldn’t be that enlightened.

There are some scenes where the descriptions are a little gross in the details. It’s not too bad but it is enough that you don’t want to be eating at the time. This is a book that comes with some lessons if you’re willing to listen and Paula makes it a great way to get those lessons across to the reader. She takes a paranormal story and makes it so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it made me realize that I need to go back and read the first two books. I wasn’t lost by not having read them, and I don’t think you had to read them in order to enjoy this one, but just for the pleasure of reading the complete series is why I want to make sure to read The Demon’s Daughter and Black Widow Demon.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Demon Creed (A Demon Outlaws Novel)

Movie Review: Man of Steel

man of steel

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Man of Steel – Heart of Gold.

Remember the original Superman movies that had the late Christopher Reeve being sexy as well as super? Then you might like this better than the previous one with Brandon Routh in the starring role. In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill dons the outfit and cape (but not the tight trunks) to become a superhero for today’s generation to marvel at.

Some might remember Cavill from English drama The Tudors as Charles Brandon, the 1st Duke of Suffolk, but it is interesting to see that he has studied Reeve for the role, and also makes his character a stronger role than previously expected. It is easy to be daunted when a new actor comes along and plays a character everyone is familiar with, whether they have seen the other Reeve movies or been a fan of the comic books. Many people form a bond with the actor who plays the character and also form preferences, so prepare to be impressed. Once he is on the screen, he plays Superman like he was made for the role.

He acts out the characters two parts, Clark Kent and Kal el, though in this version Clark doesn’t start off working at the Daily Planet, or meet Lois Lane there either. Instead, Lois tracks him down after discovering he isn’t a normal man, but an alien who crash landed on Earth as a baby and grew up adopted by the Kent family who felt it only fair to let him believe he was human rather than telling him about the alien craft he came in which is now hidden away in the family barn like Dorian Gray’s painting.

While Clark grew up feeling the pain of being different to his classmates, coming to terms with the onset of alien puberty (this is where he discovers his powers) he tries to rise above the ridicule and grow into a tall, buff man who goes from place to place like David Banner, not wanting anyone to find out he has alien powers. Clark isn’t that forward thinking though as General Zod has followed him after his dubious descent into the phantom zone, after vowing to find Kal El to Clark’s original father Jor El’s face. Zod is vague about what he intends to do to Kal once he finds him, but judging from the look of his evil face, he doesn’t want him to be his best friend.

There is a warmth and instant chemistry between Clark and Lois. Clark shows he is more human than alien, and at times goes from mildly annoyed with others to seriously annoyed and able to destroy with a single look. He cares about the humans he lives among even if they do have their own flaws and a serious aversion to aliens. Lois, unlike in the original already knows that Clark and Superman are one and the same so there is not room for a reveal.

Most who have seen it have also mentioned that there’s no red trunks, no changing in fone booths and no juicy reveal, so why should we watch it? I watched it for the full cinema experience of seeing a man who looks like he has worked-out for months to get his uber fit body in shape so he can act like a believable hero. Cavill takes on the role like he was born to play Superman, and like the recent adaptation of Total Recall it is a completely different movie, so it is impossible to compare it with the previous ones.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Man of Steel

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Review: Lord of the Hunt (Court of Annwyn, Book 2) by Shona Husk

lord of the huntReviewed by Sharon S.

She Wasn’t Cut Out for His World…

The realm of the fairies might be unbelievably beautiful, but its people are notoriously treacherous. Raised among mortals, Taryn hoped to avoid her fairy heritage her whole life. But now she must cross over to Annwyn and appeal to the King to pardon her exiled parents, or they’re sure to die. And to get to the King, she’ll first have to face the Lord of the Hunt…

He Can’t Imagine Life Without Her…

Verden, Lord of the Hunt, is sworn to serve to King. But the moment he sees Taryn, the attraction is instant and devastating. How can he not help the beautiful, brave young woman who refuses to bend to the will of the court? Yet the power in Annwyn is shifting, its magic failing. No matter how much he may love Taryn, the Hunter knows that abandoning his duty could bring down the mortal world forever.

I have reviewed all three books in Shona’s Goblin series and both books in her Court of Annwyn series. I am not a big paranormal romance reader, but I love Shona’s writing and stories. I have never been disappointed by her books. I was so excited when she decided to write a series about the Fae. They are my favorite supernatural characters. Lord of the Hunt is Verden’s story. We briefly met Verden in book 1 Outcast Prince. He was cold and ridged in his ways, but I knew there was more to him. This book can be read as a stand-alone.

Verden has only lived in Annwyn, traveling into the human realm only when his job as the Hunter required it. He never mixed with humans. He has spent his whole life playing the games of the court, lying and gambling to reach the highest status the King could bestow. His loyalty to the King has been unwavering until now. Taryn is fairy, but was raised in the human world because her father was banished before her birth, and her mother followed because she loved him more than her loyalty to the King and his court. Taryn has also had to pretend and lie about who she was so she could fit in with the humans, but it was nothing compared to the games she would have to play in Annwyn.

Annwyn is dying because the King and Queen’s relationship is failing and full of nothing but hate and resentment. Their son and heir Prince Felan hasn’t found a human wife yet, therefore the power can’t seamlessly shift to him and bring Annwyn back in balance. The failing of Annwyn also has dire consequences for the human realm. Taryn goes to Annwyn to get the King to lift her father’s banishment so her family can come back to Annwyn and not die in the power shift that is coming. Taryn is a fish out of water in fairy and must quickly learn how to play the court games and politics. Failure would most certainly result in her death there. Taryn’s innocence touches a forgotten part of Verden that had been buried by the numbness of life at Court. He struggles with his loyalty to the King and the life he fought so hard for and the unknown of love and freedom with Taryn.

I love the world Husk has created in this series. There is enough world building complexity to satisfy the urban fantasy lover in me as well as feed the addiction for my favorite romance troupe, forbidden love. The sexual tension built between Verden and Taryn while they had to hide their feelings for each other at Court made those moments when they could be together much more intense. They pain they both go through breaks your heart. Yes, I shed some tears. This book also set up the next one about Prince Felan and his quest to win back the only woman he has ever loved.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of the Hunt (Annwyn)

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Review: A Spy to Die For (Assassins Guild, Book 2) by Kris DeLake

A Spy to Die ForReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Skylight Jones is a woman like no other. I find that she loves double cheeseburgers at a restaurant on Krell – and she likes her bacon wiggly (sounds appetizing, yum). Jack Hunter also likes the same establishment. But he likes his burger with extra bacon (this is starting to make me hungry). Too bad it doesn’t come with smell-a-vision (and hopefully you’re not a vegetarian).

Skye is a woman who’s not shy – she certainly speaks her mind. But with her type of job, relationships are not something that usually works out. But in this case, her heart’s not listening. As you read Sky’s story, you might just wish you could be in her place (for me, minus the cheeseburger).

Our author has created a story that seems to talk about trust. She also makes Jack unusual for this world – he’s tall. This left me wanting to see illustrations and thinking I might just fit in (since I’m so short). You have to love how Kris seems to have made Jack a little shy and that Skye’s the one with the bold personality.

Even though I haven’t read the first book, I think this series would transfer well to the small screen. I’ve been happy to see that more movies, or series, are coming from some of the authors I’m currently reading – someone’s finally getting smart. It would be interesting to see how Kris’ world would look.

On August 4 while in the process of reading this book, I happened to be watching CBS Sunday Morning and they were interviewing Star Trek’s George Takei. While watching the interview, I was reading a scene between Skye and Jack and immediately thought “Would James T. Kirk do that?” It also has me asking the question, and I’m sorry but I just have to get it out there, “What happens to a penis in zero gravity when the man is naked?” I’m sorry but Kris put that question in my head and I don’t think anyone at NASA will answer that one for me.

Our author also makes me wish that I would live to see when space travel is the norm and you don’t have to be a millionaire to go into space. Couldn’t find any indication if there’s going to be a third book in the series so we will just have to wait and see. If this will be your first book in the series, you may want to go back and read Assassins In Love.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Spy to Die For (Assassins Guild)

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Review: Frosted by Wendy Sparrow

frosted wendy sparrowHero: In Jack Frost’s kingdom he is all powerful and he loves bringing winter to Earth. When a prophecy led him to a lake to wait for his future queen, he was calm and expectant. When Kate fell through the ice and into his world, he was pleased and excited, but he came on too strong, too fast and lost her.

Heroine: Kate Finley used to love the winter months and all the winter activities that came with it. But seven years ago that changed and now she lives in Florida and tries to never leave the sunny state for any reason. It’s too bad for her that her boss expects her to hop on a plane to cater to a new client interested in snow skies… and the client? Jack Frost, whose myth was larger than life, whose myth would eventually claim her life too.

Review: One word: underwhelming. I know, ouch, but I was excited to read this and the potential was there. The story didn’t meet expectations. The silent frost pixies, isolated world, what would be the draw to become the queen? Jack wasn’t enough of a reason. He didn’t make the heroine (or me) feel like he was everything, sun and moon, etc. Both characters could have been fleshed out more. I felt like I was reading a plot/character synopsis instead of the full story. Too much tell, not enough show. The cover, however, is simply gorgeous. Wow! Also, I really liked the explanation of global warming. That was really clever.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: Frosted (Entangled Ever After)