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)

Review: The Laird’s Choice (Lairds of the Loch, Book 1) by Amanda Scott

The Laird’s ChoiceHero: Magnus Galbraith escapes captivity after putting together the plot to assassinate King James at the hands his captor’s allies. He will warn the king, claim his freedom, thumb his nose at his father and avenge his brother in the process. He doesn’t expect the laird whose land he washed up on to offer his eldest daughter in marriage. Though to be fair, she did warn him.

Heroine: Lady Andrena MacFarlan has great empathy and can sense the true thoughts of man and animals. She intrinsically knows when something is wrong on her father’s lands and feels it when there are intruders. She finds a wounded man, without an inheritance to call his own that is willing to defy an enemy of her father. She knows she will be asked to wed him and Dree finds she is not unwilling.

Review: The romance is nice and slow. It’s a romance that simmers. The hero and heroine go from perfect strangers to wedded couple and develop from there. The paranormal elements are a little vague for me, but if you can ignore it or roll with it, they become part of the story. Author is very good at conveying the historical setting. You know there was lots of research! I liked the glossary at the beginning. That helped!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Laird’s Choice (The Lairds of the Loch)

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Get into Bed with Mia Marlowe (Author Interview)

Joining us today is Mia Marlowe, Lord of Fire and Ice

Keira: How far has Brandr traveled to earn the designation as Far-Traveled?

Mia Marlowe: Brandr’s been walrus hunting in the Frostlands where the ice never melts and the sky blazes with eerie light.  He’s journeyed to Iceland to secure trading rights for his people.  In the opening of LORD OF FIRE AND ICE (http://miamarlowe.com/books/fire.php) , he’s just returning from a five year sojourn to the distant southern city of Miklagaard (Constantinople).

The Vikings followed two routes to Miklagaard. Some of them sailed along the coast of Europe and through the Strait of Gibraltar into Middle Earth’s great inland sea. This is the way Brandr and his friends traveled. In my first Viking romance MAIDENSONG, my hero and heroine sail down the rivers of Europe, braving the rapids and grueling portages to the Black Sea to reach the great city of the south.

Keira: There are never enough Viking romances. What is your favorite aspect of Viking romances?

MM: I’m fascinated with Nordic culture. Their art, especially the ‘gripping beast’ patterns, has a weirdly contemporary feel. And the way they dealt with their women was far more in line with modern norms that with the other peoples of their times. While the rest of Europe treated their women as chattel, Nordic women could own property, choose their own mates and divorce them if they wished, and older women especially were often consulted on weighty matters.  As Brandr says, “For action, seek a man.  For wisdom, a woman.”

Keira: Is Brandr’s skill with calling fire mystical?

MM: Brandr was born with an affinity for the flames. He doesn’t know why because no one else in his family can call fire from thin air or direct its path with a mere thought. Part of what he was doing in Miklagaard was learning how to control his unusual gift by studying with a Middle-eastern sorcerer.

Keira: In the past when I’ve read Viking romance it is usually the heroine who is the slave, not the hero. How did Brandr get into the mess he’s in now?

MM: Brandr stayed behind at a mead house while his friends returned to their longship. The heroine Katla’s brothers decided to drug his drink when they learned he was the son of Ulf. Because Ulf killed Katla’s husband, they figure she’ll jump at the chance to enslave Ulf’s son.

But there’s a catch. Her brothers will only give Brandr to her if she promises to marry one of the men they choose for her. Since they already have a man in mind who’s promised to split his much larger holding with them, Katla is as caught by the deal as Brandr.

Keira: Katla is cold, but she has cause, doesn’t she?

MM: Katla comes off as cold and hard because she’s a woman forced into a man’s position. She’s the head of a household of over 30 souls, all of whom are dependent upon her for every bite of food in their mouths and every coin in their pockets. She figures she has to be tough lest bad bargains, encroaching warriors or the ever-returning enemy called winter will overcome her people.

But inside where no one can see, Katla is soft and warm. She yearns for “inn matki munr”—the mighty passion. It’s a love so deep, legend says the bonded couple can even speak to each other without voice, and send thoughts to their beloved over many miles. Katla didn’t ever achieve inn matki munr with her dead husband and fears she will never know such mighty passion.

Keira: How does she end up with a Viking in her bed? Is he as skilled as his legend proclaims? *wink*

MM:  She invites him, of course.  Even though she technically owns him, she doesn’t want Brandr to merely render her a service. The passion has to be mutual.  And yes, Brandr is a skilled lover, but even he is blindsided by the difference in the experience when lovemaking is about more than pleasure. It’s a connection on a deeper level than just physical, a mingling of souls that knits two hearts together so irrevocably they can’t be sundered.

And as far as skill goes, Katla holds her own. *wink right back*

Keira: Do you feel there’s any extra steps in writing a romance that involves slavery?

MM: When the topic of slavery comes up, we usually think of our country’s own sad past. However, slavery is an ugly truth throughout much of human history. In the ancient Roman world, one person in every three was a slave. In feudal times, serfs were slaves in all but name. They were chained to the land and the lord who owned it.  Sad to say, human trafficking is still going on in some parts of the world today.  It’s a hideous blight on mankind, a denial of what it is to be human.

However, I write historicals so I have to be true to the times. The Vikings did keep thralls, their word for slaves. However, in Nordic society, thralls could be freed at any time or even earn their freedom.  Even after the iron collar was struck off, their place in society was still low. A freed thrall owed his former master loyalty and it took two generations for the stigma to be fully lifted. Since this means Brandr owes Katla even more loyalty than most husbands show their wives, I’m good with that.

If an author really digs into whatever time period she’s writing about, she’ll probably come across some type of slavery. I wonder if I’ll ever see a Regency romance where the debutant realizes the lovely little bonnet she just bought was paid for by the slave labor on her father’s Caribbean sugar plantation. And what would she do about that realization?

Keira: The coolest Viking fact you found in research is ___________.

MM: I really loved researching the myths of the gods of Asgard. It’s a fascinating, detailed collection of stories that rivals the Greco-Roman system and even has an “end of the world” scenario. There was reputedly a temple in Uppsala with three huge statues of the major gods—Odin, Thor and Frey. Frey, the god of increase, is always depicted with a gigantic erect male member. Kind of makes you wonder why they chose Thor to be part of The Avengers movie, huh?

Keira: Will you write another romance together?

MM: Yes! Connie Mason and I are working on a trio of Regency-set stories called The Royal Rakes series. The Royal Rakes is loosely based on the very real “Hymen Race Terrific.” After Princess Charlotte died in 1817, the Prince Regent’s unmarried brothers realized they have an opportunity to wed, bed, and breed in order to present George III with a legitimate grandchild who will one day wear the crown. But not everyone wanted the royal dukes to succeed. And what better way to stop them than to make sure a dedicated rake comes between them and their intendeds?

Look for Waking Up With a Rake in January 2013. For more info, please visit http://www.miaamarlowe.com . You can also find me on Facebook http://facebook.com/MiaMarloweFanPage and Twitter http://twitter.com/Mia_Marlowe . I look forward to connecting with YOU.

LORD OF FIRE AND ICE

BY CONNIE MASON AND MIA MARLOWE – IN STORES JULY 2012

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His Duty is to Fulfill Her Every Desire…

Brandr the Far–Traveled has seen the world and a good many of the beautiful women in it. His bed skills are the stuff of steamy legend, his sword sings death, and he can call up fire from thin air. No one ever thought he could be enslaved through trickery and forced to wear the iron collar of a thrall—least of all him.

 

Until All She Desires is Him…

Katla the Black isn’t just called so for her dark, silky hair. His new mistress has a temper as fierce as a warrior’s and a heart as icy as the frozen North. But inch by delicious inch, Brandr means to make her melt…

Buy: Lord of Fire and Ice

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times in 1994. She currently lives in Florida. Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston, MA. Together, they are working on a new Regency romance series for Sourcebooks Casablanca, the first of which will be in stores in January 2013. For more information, please visit http://www.conniemason.com/, http://miamarlowe.com/ and follow Mia on Twitter @Mia_Marlowe.

GIVEAWAY: 1 print copy of Lord of Fire and Ice. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment and/or asking Mia a question! :D Last day to enter is July 20, 2012.

Review: Evermine by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Susan S.

An enthralling and passionate love story amidst danger and magick. A definite re-read!

Summary: Daughters of Askara Series, Book Two

Then

Have you ever heard the Shakespearean line, “Parting is such sweet sorrow?” Well, Emmaline (Emma) Gray and Harper Delaney had a five-year parting that was anything but sweet. It was sorrowful and agonizing. She thought him dead, and Harper’s re-entry into Emma’s life has been extremely difficult to assimilate.

Now

The new Askaran Queen, Nesvia, is missing. In order to find her, Harper and Emma will need to: face their past, join forces with an evil spell crafter, shake-off a Sereian magickal enchantment, avoid the desert’s sand traps, and keep Harper from imprisonment, yet-again. And all while fighting a sexual hunger that’s quickly becoming damn-near impossible to resist. The question now is who’ll stop resisting first?

Review: I enjoyed the characters’ motivation (the driving force behind their every action), Hailey’s writing voice, and the potency of the love between the characters. As I’m reviewing a novel, I generally take notes. Next to favorite scenes, I’ll draw happy faces. Big ones. I’m not joking! At novel’s end-there were lots of happy faces.

Recommendations: Mega Mass-Appeal for Readers 18+

Evermine has elements that’ll appeal to a wide range of readers. First and foremost, it’ll speak to romance readers. The main characters have sacrificed so much for each other. And their love is both palpable and potent. What romance reader wouldn’t appreciate that in a story?

Secondly, the novel will call to fantasy readers. This story begins in a primary world (the Earthen Colony) and then moves to a secondary world (in the Askaran Realm). I suppose, this too will appeal to sci-fi lovers.

I’m now speaking to anyone with a weakness/fondness for damaged/scarred heroes. Oh-yeah! That sexy Evanti demon, Harper, will have you volunteering to lick every…single…one of his scars. Reader Beware: To get your tongue anywhere near him you’ll need to fight off an Askaran demoness named Emma, but it’ll be worth the fight. Now please stand behind me. I’m first in line!

Do you like the friends-to-lovers tropes? The hero and heroine are. Like dark secrets, do you? Harper has one that may or may not hinder his chance at love. Any paranormal readers out there? This novel has demons and magic users. And if you purchase a novel hoping it’ll give you a HFA, let me say, “Evermine’s
happily-forever-after is profoundly touching.” The story will also charm anyone who’s ever wished star-crossed lovers a well-deserved happiness.

My Favorite Character: The Hero!

Harper is everything you’d want from a hero. He’s strong, sexy in his demonic form, and he’ll sacrifice everything for the love of “his” woman. He’s also passionate and he’s got wings. Not the angelic type, either. The leathery kind you’d expect from a demon. I love when they turn crimson when he’s aroused, when he uses them to fly, when they enfold Emmaline, and when he uses them to cover her like a blanket.

Favorite Scenes:

Scene #1: The tub scene. Oh-no! That’s all I’m divulging. You’ll have to savor that scene without my spoilers.

Scene # 2: Evanti males like Harper are claimed by their mates. Emma’s a half-breed Askaran demoness who doesn’t have the first clue how to claim him. I love when he enlightens her!

Scene # 3: An Askaran female’s in heat. And Harper reacts “strongly” to the pheromones she’s emitting. But she’s not the female he wants. Love how sexually intense he reacts around Emma. Especially what he says when he grips her thighs. Again, I’m not divulging!

Others in the Series: Everlong (Daughters of Askara, book one).

What’s Next? Book three in the series is titled, Eversworn. No release date, yet. Let’s hope it’s soon!

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

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2012, eBook, Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, ISBN# 978-1-60928-722-1.

Buy: Evermine: Daughters of Askara, Book 2

Review: The Egyptian Slave by Alcamiya Payne

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

For some men the love of a woman is not enough. In Mem’s case, he has had enough of the usual woman who he has around him, so much so he has lost his will to perform in bed with anyone. Feeling he is doomed to failure with the opposite sex, he tries one last time to see if he can get the sensation of love and yearning back in his heart.

Going to the slave market Mem looks around at what is on offer, and goes for an unlikely beauty that catches his eyes for all the wrong reasons. Toomela is the one he buys and takes with him, but is she who she thinks he is?

Only he can find out…

Egyptian Slave by Alcamia Payne is set in the heart of the land of the ancients, where Pharaohs ruled with an iron hand, and one man is his favourite at court.

I liked the cover art, as just from looking at it you can feel as though you are transported to that far away land of sand and sensuality. Of course, it is a depiction of Mem and Toomela in a sand dune having a moment to themselves before the Pharaoh calls upon him for his services.

At first Mem does not take to his new slave girl, in fact he treats her badly, hitting her and such, but this is not shown, only talked about by Mem’s cook, Ati. He finds her useless, and does all he can to reprimand her, but Ati doesn’t know why he is so hard on her. Is it the devilishly sexual look in her eyes that bedazzles him? Or is it something else.

There is a lot of fun to be derived from the fact that Ati has noticed how Toomela is not like the other girls he has seen, as she is flat-chested and has no curves at all – what either Ati or Mem don’t know at first is that Toomela is very different from the girls he has brought home before. Mem has had his fair share of beautiful slaves, yet none of them had brought out the passion in him. On the advice of the court astrologer, Mem takes it upon himself to train Toomela to cater to his every whim by massaging and taking care of him in bed as well as out of it. It is when he discovers Toomela is a boy that he really starts to get excited!

The Egyptian Slave is a read that can only be done on your own as it is so sensual, sexual and as sizzling as a summer barbecue, and you will be forever looking round to see if someone is looking over your shoulder.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Egyptian Slave, The Egyptian Slave (UK)

Review: The Last Oracle by Patricia Simpson

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Amara is visited by a man she never thought she would see again, Simeon, a cruel man she had previously trapped in her deck of magical cards, hoping she might not meet him in reality, but she was complacent – he has come back and he will want revenge for what she did to him then. Amara has been searched for over the years by this man, and his hatred is unending, and his cruelty knows no bounds, but her determination and strength to oppose him is stronger still. He knows she wants her freedom, and just wants her to give him another reading – without using the cards this time – he thinks she knows them by heart and can tell him his fortune just by using the power of her mind. Her one weakness is she does want her freedom and would do anything to get it – even do one last reading for Simeon, her enemy.

Unfortunately for him, Max Griffin finds a strange lady in the Nevada desert asleep, with a bundle of playing cards – she is naked except for some golden Egyptian jewellery on her person – but that makes her look more attractive and sensual to him, but she knows about a child due to the reading she gave to Simeon, and she needs to get it away from his evil clutches. Max is the one who will help her with her task of protecting the child, but for him to do that, he must immerse himself in what she is and her magical world too – but as she is a beauty, and an intelligent woman, I don’t think he would mind a bit!

The story goes back and forth from modern day to ancient and in-between. One minute they are in Egypt, and then the characters are in the modern desert setting of Nevada, and back in Egypt again. Patricia manages to make the switch interesting and not in the least confusing; how she does it is beyond me, but she makes the magic happen in this novel. I liked the mention of the Temple of Set as this god isn’t much mentioned in the Egyptian pantheon, and his use can be described as rather original.

It takes a while for their love to blossom, but once it does the scenes seem to linger in the mind, and as Max is slow to woo Amara, he also finds she is a willing woman and his perfect match.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Last Oracle (The Forbidden Tarot)

Review: Slave Tease by Jen Bluekissed

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

In a fantasy world where free will is a thing of the past, two people, Herra and Stuww act as a married couple who love each other very much, yet they have to work out a problem that has been daunting to them ever since. Due to the new Emperor Terromuni, they have to decide what they are going to do with their lives according to his rules; they can either be apart for a while, live as sex slaves to the horse shape shifter lords or break their religious laws. This is all due to him not wanting his people to have babies.

As if their choices are good, they act on being together even if they become sex slaves under his rule. At first they are unsure whether their first option will work and think that they might try a chance at separation, but even then they think that they can’t live life apart from each other for the five years they impose. As Surmmulu people, the other emperor wants his own people to have greater numbers than Terromuni’s so this is why it happens. So, thinking that what they are doing is a good thing, they decide on allowing themselves to be auctioned off to the highest Aqquo bidder as slaves and still be together as man and wife. Herra hopes that the decision they finally make doesn’t have far reaching consequences for the both of them later, such as being bought by cruel masters

At the start, the novel is split into several different chapters, all with the name of a main character as its title. At first the story is told from the slaves point of view, later it is told from the Aqquo point of view as they are the ones who are bidding for them.

It doesn’t take long before Jen takes us into our first sex scene where a huge erection hones into view. It is told from the point of view of the slave Herra who tells her tale of being a slave in the Mulu Empire and what has happened to her as a result of her slavery.

Another sex scene later sees Herra and Stuww consummating their marriage ceremony, but not in an ordinary way – they have to make love in front of other people for it to be noticed that they have made love according to the law. It sounds daunting enough to read, but have a thought about it for a second, and the reader will find out the emotional impact this has on the two characters as a private, and intimate act has to be made public. The two of them have to hide the shame they feel as a couple and being nothing more than mere slaves reduces them to being almost animals. They do rise above their initial feelings as they know they can’t have sex again after, so in fact they make the most of it. Jen manages to pull out the sensitivity of the couple, the embarrassment Herra feels at not being allowed privacy, but mainly the act of sex itself made to look innocent in a way that might prove difficult for most, as he is only allowed to climax in her mouth.

It is interesting to find out that as opposed to the woman just getting fitted with a chastity belt, the man in this novel does too – after the ceremony. There’s nothing like them both sharing the feeling of discomfort. There is some good news though, as after they are fitted with the belts, they can have some time alone as they won’t be able to actually perform any sex acts.

Arvil, an Aqquo buys Herra and Stuww, and within minutes has them naked, and making love to him. Arvil is a horse who can shape shift into a man at any time. The Aqquo were once slaves as a race, before earning their freedom, so it is a little unnerving to find them buying their own sex slaves. Instead of him being cruel to them, the whole story reads like a fantasy sex manual with Arvil teaching them how to be patient when having sex, and not wanting the end result of pleasure coming too soon. It is a delight to read, and if it is read in small doses, it holds even more pleasure.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Slave Tease (Mulu Empire)

Review: Dark Obsession by Suzanne Rock

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

After her previous offering in the Immortal Realms series, Suzanne has wanted to produce a novel totally based on Javier and Catherine alone. As Javier is established as a rather stubborn vampire, and Catherine a sex slave to a fey king in a fairy court, she could not keep the story to herself, and who can blame her. With what she mentions in her To My Reader section at the beginning, readers can expect to be treat to Javier coming to terms with Catherine’s newfound freedom and independent character, her forgiving him after all, and bondage, intense sexual scenes between men and women, m/f/m, and m/m too mixed with scenes of flogging.

Starting out on a journey to Egypt’s sand filled desert, Javier is looking for Catherine as she has gone missing, yet in a desert as large as this he knows he will have to work hard in order to discover her whereabouts. He is worried about her as she is an intense, beautiful woman, and would be desirable to many men out there who are mostly nomads who would think nothing of forcing her to do things she might not want to. In this case they are nomadic fey, and he thought the king of these people might have at least seen this beauty at some point.

The viewer might think that what worries Javier is the fey many be lying as such a woman would certainly not be overlooked by men. If that is the case, he knows he has to be firm, yet tactful to the fey if he can get what he wants. The king of the fey court has plenty of things he can take his mind off his mission, though, in the shape of his own beautiful women who try and pleasure him – but when he realizes the king might be stalling him for a reason, he knows he has to be careful.

This sounds like an in-depth and intriguing novel that can be seen as a stand alone novel due to its concentration on mainly two characters throughout it. The minor characters and their places are richly described in this novel, and Suzanne shows how well she can describe them in detail most would leave out. Suzanne has a great grasp of what desire, longing and sensuality are in her work – she can bring her own sense of these desires into her prose and with a little cunning, weave them so that the reader is amazed and entranced by them being there. The reader can feel Javier’s hurt at Christine running away from him, his anger, and his torment at the thought of another man snatching her from him.

Dark Obsession is a fantasy world where anything can happen, and does. It isn’t just about sex, but the sex is there for readers to enjoy, it’s more about loss, and love that has happened over time for one man, Javier, and as he is highly sexed and influenced by this woman, who he would go to the far ends of the earth for. I liked the inclusion of a broad range of sex in this novel, as it will reach more of a readership than standard novels.

Immortal Realms Series:

Rating: ★★★★½