Review: The Deepest Ocean (Eden Series, Book 2) by Marian Perera

the deepest oceanReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Captain Darok Juell is due to set sail into enemy waters and for once in his life he has to wait for a woman, a woman who with her witchcraft can protect his ship as well as send his enemies back into the sea. The woman is called Yerena Fin Caller and she is cold, calculated and hard to read as she keeps her emotions in check in order to use the power of a shark deep in the waters. He doesn’t like the look of her at first as she is colder than he imagined, but will he get under her skin with his manner?

Review: Darok doesn’t like having a woman on board as seasoned sailors know, it is bad luck, but for Darok, if she isn’t on board, it might be worse for him as there are many enemies around who want to see him and his men dead. From the moment he sees Yerena he feels frustrated about having to wait for her and have her on the ship, and this frustration carries on trhough the novel. He hates having to rely on a woman’s witch powers to get him through a dark mission, and doesn’t take lightly that she will be there for the duration. As the story is seen from his perspective, you get to find out what he really thinks about the woman and his other crew men on board.

Good Bits:

  • I like the name Daystrider for the ship – reminds me of Dawntreader.
  • Captain Darok Juell – he’s the sort of captain who will send your heart racing.
  • There’s some great dry humor in this.

Summary: Marian Perera is an author who likes to write romantic fantasy novels with a touch of science, or that is what her biography tells us. Her other books; Before the Storm, and The Farthest Shore are similar. The setting is perfect, you can feel the effects of life on the high seas, the crew’s plight of never seeing their women until the witch comes on board, having next to no food, drink and the stormy seas whipping them around day in day out. It is a wonder Darok doesn’t get more problems from his crew than he does. Something else I liked about this novel is Darok starts out hating Yerena being there as he’s a man’s man who doesn’t like taking advice – or orders from a woman who thinks she knows better than him simmer down later on. He actually starts to like her and later love her for who she is.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Deepest Ocean (Eden Series)

Audio Review: Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady, Book 1) by Kieran Kramer

lovingladymarciaHeroine: Lady Marcia Brady believes in fate, true love, and the goodness of others, until the cruelty of one severs her from her heart’s one desire. The man who did this was her lover’s older brother. It’s not until much later she finds out the fellow she entrusted her heart and virginity too was a cad of the first order. And the brother? Why Lady Marcia’s heart would want no other! A truly impossible match… it’s a good thing she’s got a school to save to distract her from all these unwanted feelings.

Hero: Duncan Lattimore, Lord Chadwick, has cleaned up after his brother, Finn, time and again. Little did he know that his brother’s one seeming attempt at responsibility was in actuality his quick escape from the parson’s noose. Luckily for Duncan, his brother’s lack of interest means he can swoop in and claim Lady Marcia for himself. For a man who never thought true love could exist, all it took was one slip of a girl to change his mind. Now he must convince her that her youthful dreams of love are not lost forever.

Review: There was much of the story to like – young/older Duncan, young Marcia’s idealistic nature, and how they are together. On the other hand, the whole school business, bastard child, and the “black” widow character could have gone away. I couldn’t give a fig about them and they took too much time from the romance and oft times were repetitive in actions/dialogue. The very best sequence after the youthful encounter between Duncan and Marcia on the ship was when Duncan runs into Marcia in London and realized he is on the wrong side of Lady Marcia’s goodwill. He must discover why she dislikes him and why she’s changed from her sweet bubbly persona into the woman he met on the streets. When he does – he blackens his brother’s eye and gives him a good licking. Go Duncan! Hot.

Narrator: Alison Larkin is a terrific narrator. I loved her voice and would listen to her in another book. Very precise “s” sounds, very proper.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady)

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Audio Review: The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales, Book 4) by Eloisa James

ugly duchessHeroine: Theodora “Daisy” Saxby (am I the only one that thinks sackbut at that last name?) isn’t ugly, but she’s not the standard of beauty. Her features are very foreign but some haters call her features mannish and dub her the Ugly Duchess. Daisy is determined to catch the eye of some buck on the marriage mart, but after James’ lovely proposal, realizes she’s loved him all along. She wants to be his bride and show him how much she loves him.

Hero: Sinfully handsome James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, must marry and soon because his father gambled it all away and he also dipped into Daisy’s funds as her guardian. James can’t imagine marrying his best friend, not because she’s ugly, but because the idea for why he must is so repugnant and deceitful. Then of course he’s not in love with her. So when his father spills the beans and humiliates his new bride, James doesn’t argue with her dictate that he leave and never come back. He’s ashamed to have betrayed his Daisy and realizes too late that he does love her.

Review: This romance features a married couple and is classified as an estranged romance because they are apart for many years before the real wooing begins. James returns to Britain as a bonifide pirate, tattoo and all, just in time to stop the House of Lords from declaring him dead. I like him as a pirate, much better than as a near-virgin hero – he was a beta hero in many respects. I preferred Daisy at the beginning of her marriage, not her new persona she developed after she kicked James out. The chemistry was good at the beginning of the story and peters out quickly. My favorite scene is James’ reappearance in London and Daisy swooning.

Narrator: I did not like Susan Duerden’s voice. It had a nasal quality to it that bugged me from the get-go. She can whip out a crazy evil father voice that sounds like another person is reading though. Wow. Good voice acting there!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: The Ugly Duchess

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Get into Bed with Samantha Grace (Author Interview 2)

little white lieKeira: What little white lie inspired Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie?

Samantha Grace: The words “little white lie” in the title are meant a bit tongue-in-cheek. What seems like a small lie in the beginning—allowing Captain Daniel Hillary to believe she is a widow—places her future and that of her brother and cousin in jeopardy. But probably what is most damaging isn’t necessarily a lie. When the captain notices she seems desperate to leave New Orleans, he asks if she is in trouble. Is she a fugitive? She tells him no, but she is running from someone and this places everyone on ship in danger. Of course, Lisette couldn’t have predicted the danger, because it’s unreasonable that her fiancé would pursue her for her small dowry.

Keira: When is lying acceptable?

Samantha: Tough question. Sometimes what I might consider the “truth” is actually just my opinion. Giving my unvarnished opinion may cause more harm than good in some situations, such as when there is nothing the person can do about it. For example, you’re walking into a party and your friend asks if the dress she’s wearing makes her look fat. Maybe I think she should have chosen a black dress, because she’s still carrying some baby weight from her last pregnancy and it shows in the white dress. What would it accomplish by telling her what I think? Is she really going to run out and buy a new dress at the moment? No. She would go into the party feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Why would I steal her joy?

Another time it makes no sense to give a dissenting opinion is when it doesn’t really matter what I think. If my friend loves her new haircut and I think it looks hideous, it seems arrogant to think my opinion is more valuable than hers. I’ll keep my mouth closed.

On the other hand, I work closely with other writers and I’m asked to give feedback on something they’ve written. I always tell them “this is just my opinion”, but if I see a potential problem or have a negative reaction to a character, I feel a duty to respectfully tell them what I think. If I’m not honest, it may hurt their chances of making a sale, or they might receive criticism from readers. It’s their decision if they want to listen to my feedback.

I feel I have to weigh the potential harm against the good when deciding whether or not to tell the truth. The only time I would lie without hesitation is if the truth would place another person in danger.

Keira: Is it ever acceptable if the intentions were selfish?

Samantha: Wow. Another great question. Essentially, most intentions could be considered selfish, I suppose. If we lie to protect a friend’s feelings, it’s because we don’t want to lose the friendship, right? But if we are lying for self-gain, then no. I don’t think it’s ever acceptable.

Keira: Why does Captain Daniel Hillary not allow women on board his ship? Is it superstition?

Samantha: Daniel had a woman die on his ship, so he thinks sea travel is too dangerous for women. I can’t go into more detail without giving away an important part of the story. :)

Keira: Fill in the Blank: Quick weddings lead to _____________.

Samantha: interesting wedding nights.

I had fun writing Daniel and Lisette’s wedding night scene. It has a dose of humor along with a little sweetness and a bit of steaminess. I couldn’t write a sweeping love scene without it feeling generic. It really had to fit the characters.

Keira: What is your next project?

Samantha: I recently returned revisions for the last Beau Monde Bachelors story, Lady Vivian Defies a Duke, to my new editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. The book will be released May 1, 2013, and here is a basic overview of the story.

Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven, inherited more than a title with his father’s untimely death; he has a fiancée he never knew existed. Luke isn’t any more suited to be a husband than he is to fill his father’s Hessians, so he pays a call to his betrothed, hoping he can convince her to break their agreement. When Lady Vivian refuses, he proposes to find her a replacement husband at his mother’s house party and she agrees. Little does he realize Lady Vivian intends to win his heart long before they reach their destination.

Samantha Grace Spring

Author Bio: Samantha Grace made her debut earlier this year with Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Her newest regency romance, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and she did a happy dance in her kitchen. Samantha lives with her husband, their two tenacious kids, and an endless parade of characters that inhabit her imagination. You can connect with Samantha at:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Lady Scribes

Buy: Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

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

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Review: Maximum Witch by Jodi Redford

Reviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Book Three in That Old Black Magic Series

Maxwell Truitt (hero) is a shark-shifting sheriff. And for reasons unbeknownst to me, I want to sing that to the tune of Bob Marley’s song, I Shot the Sheriff.

All right, let’s move on. Max is patrolling the Atlantic one night when he rescues a woman from the clutches of a leviathan. And now Sheriff Truitt wants answers! Why was the leviathan so far from its territory? Why was Willa Jameson (heroine) parked near the ocean…at night? Max may want answers, but he’s not going to get them. For starters, Willa’s unconscious. When she does come to-she doesn’t remember what happened. And when she does remember, her memories can’t be trusted. Someone’s tampered with them.

The sheriff and his seal-shifting friend (Boone) will give Jameson medical assistance and nurse her back to health. But their involvement with the witch is about to plunge them into a deep-dark oceanic secret. A secret that may herald a horrific Armageddon. It’s a race against time to find Poseidon’s trident! Can a shark-shifter, one seal, and a witch save mankind from annihilation? May…be. After all, Willa’s not exactly-human.

Review: Ms. Redford is exceptionally proficient in escapism. In this third novel in That Old Black Magic series she introduces us to a plethora of new characters (all shifters): sharks, seals, dolphins, eels, walruses, and soul collecting leviathans. Just to name a few. Those readers who enjoy fantastical worlds will enjoy the portal journey from a land based Georgia into a watery Atlantis.

I felt that Maximum Witch was funnier than the earlier installments, and thoroughly enjoyed Willa’s inner slut as well as her naked cowgirl. It was also nice reading the contrasts between what the characters’ were thinking vs. what they actually say. It’s those contrasts that shed light onto the characters themselves, and also make for some comedic moments for the reader.

Because books one and two explored the witch-familiar link, I kept expecting Maximum Witch to do the same. Which sadly, it didn’t. On the plus side, the author gives us an eerie insight into the leviathans’ powers. How the soul collecting ones track a soul and how they’re able to transform their physical appearance, etc. This is one of those I can’t-get-enough-of series! And I’m eagerly awaiting Getting Familiar with Your Demon. It’s about a virgin witch and a demon soul collector named Samael Gorasola.

Recommendations: Recommended for sea loving paranormal erotic romance readers, erotic readers, adults who enjoy the fantasy genre, and those who like stories about Atlantis. Note: This novel contains certain paraphilic scenes such as steamy voyeurism and exhibitionism. It also has M/F and M/F/M sexual encounters.

What I Enjoyed:

Favorite Character: I thought the antagonist rocked! Reva’s a homicidal siren. If her ear-splitting wail can crack a driveway, imagine what it could do to your eardrums. Reviewer shudders violently.

Scene: There’s a scene where Max and Willa are having sexual intercourse in a Jacuzzi and Boone’s watching them. `Course it isn’t long before he goes from watching to participating. Reviewer grins wickedly. Then rereads the scene for the umpteenth time.

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

What’s Next? Getting Familiar with Your Demon which releases in Feb. of 2012.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Maximum Witch

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., eBook, Copyright 2011, Paranormal Erotic Romance, ISBN# 978-1-60928-530-2.

Review: Lady of Seduction (Daughters of Erin, Book 3) by Laurel McKee

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Lady of Seduction is book three of the “Daughters of Erin” series.

The action begins right at the start of the book. Caroline Blacknall is on a ship during a very bad storm. She meets up with Grant Dunmore whom she hasn’t seen in quite a while. There seems to be an instant connection between the two. You think that Grant is a former lover but Laurel puts a twist in the story, he’s not. The way Laurel describes Grant, we don’t think of him as handsome. But not all our romance heroes can be gorgeous. Plus they say, “love is blind”.

It seems that Laurel has made Caroline a writer of sorts and Grant has something she wants. But Grant is a man of many secrets and Caroline, being a typical woman, wants to know what those secrets are. They also seem to have one adventure after another. Our couple seems destined to be together no matter what Grant wants.

Within the first quarter of the book, our author gives the couple their first intimate moment. It happens so naturally – very sensual and fits into the scene perfectly. There is also a scene where they take a walk together. Laurel does such a great job of describing the scenery that you can almost believe that you are right there with them.

One good thing about historical romances is that the author gives their readers a history lesson of sorts. We get to learn a little bit about the country we are “visiting”. The history plays an important part in this historical romance.

Laurel also adds in some suspense into her story. The reader has to ask themselves, “Whose side is Grant on?” He has some people come to visit. “What are his visitors up to?” She also gives us some mystery. With adding the suspense and mystery into her story she keeps her readers enthralled. This also is what makes the story a page-turner. This story builds on the suspense right up until the end.

Besides being a writer, Caroline is a woman who has spirit and is also very curious. She will go to any lengths to protect the people that she loves. We also get to see Caroline as a storyteller.

Grant gives us the impression that he wants to be left alone. But Laurel has also made him a man that has a sensitive side – especially where Caroline is concerned. He is also an honorable, yet stubborn, man. He doesn’t feel that he is worthy of Caroline’s love.

If you love historical romances you will want to add this to your must read list. This is definitely a story that can be read on its own even though it’s part of a series. But if you loved this book as much as I did, you will want to go back and read the other two books in the series.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lady of Seduction (Daughters of Erin)

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Review: Darcy’s Voyage by Kara Louise

How can you get Lizzy and Darcy to meet each other without prejudice? Take them out of the country of course! By sticking them on a ship bound to the Americas, Kara Louise gives them a chance to see them for themselves… well sort of ;) There’s still some obstacles and misunderstandings.

Two years before the voyage Darcy and Lizzy met on a carriage ride out of London. (Darcy was on this hired carriage because the family one was being repaired.) They have a great conversation which sticks with both of them long after they separate. They just forgot one thing – to get each other’s names!

Darcy’s going to America to retrieve Georgiana after her governess takes ill and can’t return to England. There’s no way he’s letting her go by herself!

But that’s just what Mr. Bennet allows Lizzy to do. She’s traveling to America to be with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. Jane decided not to go because she gets seriously sea sick.

When Elizabeth falls ill after taking care of the women and children in steerage, Darcy chucks convention overboard and gets on bended knee. Lizzy is too out of it to really see that his “Marry me and you get a nice bed out of steerage, I promise this is totally platonic, you’ll be saving me from marriage minded barracudas, we’ll get it annulled back in England later” really means “I want to marry you, it will save me from marriage minded barracudas, can we please share a bed? I want you and I don’t want an annulment.” :D

Of course he keeps by his vocal promise, which leads to misunderstandings and an angst ridden separation. Poor Lizzy and Darcy. They really need to work on their conversation skills and learn to say what they’re really feeling and not assume the other can read their mind.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Darcy’s Voyage: A tale of uncharted love on the open seas (Pride & Prejudice Continues)

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