Review: Blood Deep (Blackthorn, Book 4) by Lindsay J. Pryor

blood deepReviewed by Sharon S.

Blurb: Blood Deep (Blackthorn #4) by Lindsay J. Pryor

Bad can feel good, Jessie. Bad can feel as good as it can get.

The tattoos covering Eden Reece’s arm tell the tale of a con with an appetite for danger. Even so, arriving at The Circus – the criminal heart of Blackthorn – and demanding an audience with the notorious Pummel, is the sign of a death wish.

Jessie knows that Eden is trouble. Serious trouble. Held captive by Pummel, despite her powers, she also knows how dangerous a game Eden is playing. Yet she can’t ignore a connection far deeper than the physical spark between them – because Jessie has seen Eden before…

Jessie is the only one who can help Eden save those he loves. But as he uncovers her secrets one by one, he can’t ignore the emotions she stirs in him – feelings neither of them dare face. He risks death. If she trusts him, she risks a fate far worse.

As Pummel’s twisted plans become clear, there’s no doubt all hell risks breaking out in Blackthorn. With time running out, together Jessie and Eden might be the only ones that can stop it.

In a thrillingly sensual novel, the stakes in the dark world of Blackthorn just got higher.

I picked this series up at book #3 and was surprised by the emotional intensity and sexual tension, along with some fabulous world building set in a dark world. I was expecting the same type of read with book four Blood Deep. I was disappointed to find the first ¾ of the book was only about the romance between Jessie and Eden. I like a good PNR with a sexy alpha, but it went a little overboard with the back and forth internal lamenting about how they shouldn’t get involved. The last ¼ of the book was exactly what I was looking for, with all the world building and series story arc progress. I was glued to this part.

This book would have been a 4 star read for me if the series story arc had been evenly distributed throughout the whole book instead of crammed into the end. The romance would have been more tolerable for me if it was diluted out a bit. I liked Jessie’s character and the fact her species of “other” was unknown to the reader and hero until near the end. Her presence adds a whole new twist to the world Pryor has created.

I’m torn about how to rate this book because my problem with it was distribution of the story elements. If you are following this series then you will want to read this book for the great story twists. If you love heavy romance in your urban fantasy then you will also enjoy this. I’m going to give this a solid 3 because the ending was strong.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Blood Deep (Blackthorn Book 4)

Review: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series, Book 1) by Catherine Coulter

sherbrooke brideHero: Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, needs an heir and a bride. He secures the beautiful Melissande’s hand in marriage. Before they can wed he’s called away to attend delicate matters and sends his cousin to marry for him by proxy. Bad idea! When he returns he finds his cousin stole his bride and married him to the wrong sister.

Heroine: Alexandra Chambers, youngest daughter of the Duke of Beresford, is not beautiful like her sister Melissande. But she has loved Douglas since she was fifteen. When Douglas’s cousin proposes the scheme she is eager to do it. because she knows she will make Douglas a better wife than her high-strung sister. Now she must convince him of it too.

Review: Douglas is furious at the turn of events and takes it out on Alexandra and his cousin Tony. He’s one of those brawny alpha males who does many a pigheaded thing until he gives in and confesses his heart. You either love him or loathe him. Tony was a great side character who for some unknown reason liked an empty-headed vain woman with mush for brains. Melli was very annoying. What’s weird and disturbing is that Tony is training her like a dog to be a better person. Ick. I like Alex as a heroine and the writing was engrossing despite the story’s flaws. On a personal note, the Virgin Bride ghost was an unnecessary supernatural element that detracted more than aided the writing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series)

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Review: The Officer and the Secret (Semper Fi, Book 3) by Jeanette Murray

the Officer and the SecretReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is the third book in Jeanette’s Semper Fi series. The books in this series are stand alones but if you love military romances I hope you will read all the books. I tried to find out if there will be a book four in this series but was unsuccessful.

Captain Dwayne Robertson is a Marine who’s coming home from his last deployment. When you read this you will think he is a solitary man. Isn’t that sad for a soldier to come home to be alone. During the Gulf War, I had a chance to welcome home our soldiers at our local base. It was an honor and privilege. I still have the undershirt that I had some of the returning soldiers sign for me. If you ever get the chance, take advantage and shake the person’s hand that helps to keep our country safe.

Veronica Gibson has been talking to Dwayne via Skype while he was away. They forged a friendship that seems a little awkward since his return. Jeanette has made these two characters polar opposites. Dwayne is all alpha male and Veronica is shy and introverted (even though she is fighting to change that). Makes you think of the saying about opposites attract.

It’s interesting to watch how Veronica experiences things. We get to see things from her perspective for what we take for granted. Jeanette also includes a very real problem for a lot of people in the military – PTSD. She doesn’t get preachy but she shows the reader that it is a serious problem and that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help – it is not a show of weakness.

Our author also shows her readers that you need to learn to take chances. You might miss out on finding the love of your life if you don’t take a chance. You need to learn to get out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, how can you experience some of the things going on around you?

If you like military men, you will love Dwayne and his crew. If you like quirky love interests, you will love Veronica. You will want to make sure to read this book if you like love stories where the characters have to work at their relationship. Jeanette kept me interested from the first sentence. You’ll also get your HEA ending.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Officer and the Secret (Semper Fidelis. Always Faithful.)

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My Writing Process

Guest blog by Kristin Miller, author of Gone with the Wolf

First, I have to say thank you for having me on your lovely blog today! I get asked a lot what my writing process is like and where I write, so I thought I’d take some time to break that down.

As for my process, it’s pretty simple. Usually a scenario or scene strikes me first, and I stew for a bit on how to mold that scene into a book. It’s like looking at a piece of wall art, deciding that you love it and want to buy it, then trying to imagine where you’d hang it in your house. You’ve had that happen before, right? Yup, it feels exactly like that. After a few days a character takes shape, and for me, it’s usually the hero. I keep a notebook for each book I write, and as the scenes and characters grow, I write them down. Within a week or so, I have the hero and heroine mapped out (their physical description, emotional baggage, former relationships and how they changed them, etc.), a few key scenes that need to happen in the book for the characters to grow, and the big black moment that’ll tear the hero and heroine apart.

Easy, right? ;)

As for where I write, take a look:

Kristin Millers desk

The notes for my current work sit to my left, my cup of coffee to my right, and a box of general writing stuff (contracts, notes from previous books, etc.) behind the laptop. I wish I could get rid of that gigantic printer, scanner, fax machine to my far right, but the cord that came with the machine is too short to allow it to be at my feet. (Had I known, I would’ve invested my cash elsewhere.) The desk sits in my living room so that I can write while my kids play. It’s difficult to get work done when I’m constantly breaking up fights and getting snacks from the pantry, but I’d rather know what my munchkins are doing than be locked away in an office where they’re left to their own devices. :shudder: I also have a tiny canvas hanging on the wall in front of me that reads: your story matters…tell it. When something in the writing process becomes difficult, I glance up remind myself that I have to keep plugging along.

Every now and again I take my laptop and run to my nearest Starbucks to write. I order a Grande Zebra Mocha, sit in the corner, and type away. :) Those writing days usually turn out to be the best (though they’re few and far between) with clean words and pages written quickly.

Gone with the Wolf was mostly written at my desk. Drake Wilder, the CEO Alpha werewolf hero, came to me first and Emelia Hudson, his carefree secretary came to me second. I knew I wanted to create an ememies-to-lovers relationship, and I knew they were going to be perfect for one another, even though they’d fight me on that idea to the very end.

gone with the wolf

Gone with the Wolf

By Kristin Miller

Entangled Publishing – April 2013

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

Title: Gone with the Wolf
Author: Kristin Miller
Publisher: Entangled
Imprint: Covet
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 207 pages
Release Date: April 23, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-144-2

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

kristin millerAuthor Information

Kristin Miller has had a passion for language and literature her whole life. Born and raised in northern California, she often made up stories about faraway places and edge-of-your-seat adventures. After graduating from Humboldt State University, Kristin taught high school and middle school English, married her college sweetheart, and had two beautiful munchkins. In 2008, she took time off from teaching to raise her children, and started writing while they napped.

Her first novel was published in 2011, and since then she has had seven other novels published (mostly paranormal romances). She is the author of Gone with the Wolf with Entangled Publishing, the dark and gritty Vampires of Crimson Bay series with Avon, and the short-but-steamy Isle of Feralon novellas with Harlequin Nocturne Cravings.

Author Website:www.kristinmiller.net

Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristinMiller

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KM_Miller

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristinmiller

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Tour Giveaway

Kristin is giving away a Gone with the Wolf themed prize pack to one lucky winner! Prize pack includes:

  • Gone with the Wolf swag including a custom made beaded bookmark
  • Seattle’s Best coffee & Starbucks travel mug
  • Ghiradelli chocolates
  • Too Much of a Good Thing is… Wonderful! wine bottle charm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy: Gone with the Wolf

Review: Prince of Power (Chronicles of Yavn, Book 2) by Elisabeth Staab

Chronicles of Yavn prince of powerReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Thad Morgan is King of the vampires and this is his sister Tyra’s story. Elisabeth starts the action right from the first page. Tyra bites Anton in the neck – she’s a vampire. Anton happens to be the vampire’s sworn enemy – he’s a wizard. But when it comes to falling in love, hormones can’t really tell the difference.

Elisabeth happens to write a scene where Anton is hiding out at Tyra’s place and like a light switch being turned on, he turns into a total alpha male – loved it! There are just two words to describe their first sex scene – hot and steamy. And then you have to laugh about what happens next – especially when it involves Tyra’s full name.

Anton’s father is back in this book and he appears to be as deranged as he did in the first book. Going back and reading book one will give you a better understanding who and what the Master is. It also gives you more insight into how Anton came to be where he is at the beginning of this book.

Another good part of the book is seeing other characters that were in the first book. They show the reader what a close-knit group they are. They watch each other’s backs and really care about each other. And then Elisabeth will have you trying to figure out who will be the main character in the next book of the series.

One thing that I loved about this book was that Elisabeth didn’t make Tyra and Anton’s story an easy one. If something is worth having, sometimes you just have to work for it. Plus sometimes family history can get in the way. But when love is involved, there are ways to overcome anything. Plus if things were easy, I don’t think this story would hold the reader’s attention. And you wouldn’t be looking forward to when book three will be coming out.

I went to Elisabeth’s web site and saw a twitter feed that stated that she has two more books scheduled but I couldn’t find out what the next title will be or when. So, we’ll just have to be patient. And again if you haven’t read book one yet, after you finish Tyra and Anton’s story go back and read the book that started the series.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Prince of Power (Chronicles of Yavn)

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Dark Hero or Creepy Psycho: Vampires in Contemporary Romance

Guest blog by Kenya Wright, author of Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

Last month, to my husband’s dismay, I bought all of the contemporary romances on the New York Times Bestseller list. Usually, I only read paranormal romance, but I decided to explore other genres. What I discovered shocked me. It was an interesting phenomenon. Heroines, insane enough to fall for men that most women would run from shrieking in horror, filled the pages.

Now I’m not denying that these guys weren’t sexy or that the books weren’t page-turners. I’m just shocked that the dark heroes were so terrifyingly creepy. And then a theory came to me. These guys are just like my crazed blood-lust vampires. So I tested the theory, comparing the contemporary dark heroes to my favorite fanged creatures.

Alpha Male

Gideon Cross (Bared to You) is a powerful millionaire that manages many businesses. He gives the orders and doesn’t receive them. He demands what he wants and expects it handed to him immediately. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) is another millionaire who thinks the world belongs to him. Although Travis (Beautiful Disaster) isn’t a millionaire, he has the reputation around campus as a bad boy brawler who takes no mess. Guys think twice before bothering him. Women swoon in his presence.

Emotional Vampire

For me, Travis (Beautiful Disaster) has the ability to suck all the life right out of Abbey. Travis needs constant reassurance that she loves him, gets worried about the outfits she wears, and takes her on an extreme emotional rollercoaster throughout the whole novel. Like my paranormal vampires, one disturbing bite from Travis could drive Abbey into pure insanity. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) drowns Anastasia in his emotional baggage. Gideon (Beautiful Disaster) is a bed mate who could traumatize you in the middle of the night if he doesn’t take his pills. (I wish I could explain that further, but it would be a major spoiler.)

Dangerous Sex

In paranormal romance, having sex with a vampire can be dangerous to the heroine’s health. The bloodsucker could go overboard and snap into a vein during climax. The lingering risk is what makes paranormal romance sex scenes intriguing. To me, Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey) provides this same threat of harm while he makes love to Anastasia. He has clear rules that they follow to keep them safe, but the possibility of injury is always present.

Hot Fantasy Lover but Reality Hell No!

I love to read and fantasize about vampire love interests, but if I met a real vampire, I would run to safety while clinging to wooden stakes, silver crosses, and vials of holy water. Like vampires, Gideon, Christian, and Travis are real-life nightmares. These are not the men I would want to dedicate my heart to, and if they arrived at my doorstep holding my daughter’s hand, I would kill them.

All in all this is an interesting development for paranormal romance readers like me that swim in that murky pool of bad boy love. I recommend that if you adore sexy vampires lurking in the night and hovering over an unsuspecting heroine, then you may want to check out the contemporary romance novels I mentioned.

Author Bio: Dark fantasy bestselling author Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on her head at night. Visit Kenya http://kenyawright.com/

Buy: Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

When a Romance Author Doesn’t Believe in Love…

CallMeWildGuest Blog by Robin Kaye, author of Call Me Wild

I’m Jessica James but everyone calls me Jessie and I don’t believe in love. I sound like I belong at a twelve-step meeting, don’t I?

Now, before you start booing me like a bunch of rabid romance fans, let me explain. I’ve never believed in love. Okay, maybe that’s not true. Everyone loves his or her mother—even if you don’t want to, you do. You love your family, your dog, your cat, and your best friends. But what I’m talking about is romantic love. I never believed in that.

I think romantic love is fiction, which is one reason romance novels are so darned popular. It’s my theory that what people mistake for romantic love is nothing more than lust.

In my research I’ve discovered that romantic love typically lasts from eighteen months to two years, and by that time it takes a powder, the couple is already in a relationship, and there’s no real reason to leave. Their lives are entwined and it’s not as if they dislike the other person, it’s just that the thrill is gone. So they go on, not unhappy exactly—or so it seems to me. It’s kind of like when you have no place to go and your lounging around the house in your pajamas, then you look at the clock and it’s already two in the afternoon and you’re comfortable in your fuzzy slippers and oversized T-shirt and threadbare sleep pants, so why bother changing?

When the lust fades, if there’s something more to the relationship than just lust, such as some kind of commonality, the relationship can last for years or forever. You’re not in love; you’re more like roommates until one of the parties involved falls in lust with someone else.

So now you’re probably wondering why I brought this up in the first place. I was happily living my life in New York, working at my dream job—I was a sports reporter for the Times, when I had the AstroTurf pulled out from under me and I lost my job.

My best friend Andrew was on the phone with me when I found my electronic pink slip. He dared me to sublet my apartment, move to Boise, Idaho, and live in his vacation home rent-free while I wrote the book I’d been talking about ever since our freshman year at Columbia.

I always thought I’d write literary fiction, but then reality set in and frankly, I needed to make a quick buck. That’s when I decided I’d write a romance. After all, everyone knows writing romance is the easiest way to get published. I was professional writer, how hard could it be? After all, romances are formulaic—or so I heard, not that I’d ever read one. Call me a snob, but I always thought being caught reading a romance automatically made people think your IQ dropped by at least ten points. Still, in order to find out what the formula was for a romance, I had to read some. I went right out and bought a dozen romances, packed up my belongings, and drove my beloved Mini-Cooper from Manhattan to Boise, bound and determined to write a romance and get it published within the next three months. I just never knew I’d learn a whole lot more in Boise than I bargained for.

Buy: Call Me Wild

Review: Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight, Book 1) by Cara Elliott

too wicked to wedHero: The Earl of Killingworth, Connor Linsley, is not your usual Earl of the Realm. He works for a living earning money from his gambling den and brothel that carters to men of the peerage. He hides this fact from others by pretending to be just any other high roller in the establishment. Like any alpha he keeps his heart guarded, but the fiery Alexa gets to him like no other could – when she lays claim to half of his business and refuses to give it back!

Heroine: Lady Alexa Hendrie is fierce. She tracks her brother to The Wolf’s Lair and demands of Connor his location. The price for that information is a kiss (and it will knock your socks off and Connor’s too). Later unbeknownst to her, Connor is robbed at the gaming tables and from his safe. When his pledge of half the business (which is exchanged for money from a friend) comes across her path–while she’s dressed as a man playing cards–she wins it and uses it to blackmail Connor into helping her locate her wayward brother.

Review: The story really picks up the pace when Connor gets shot and the two of them flee to Linsley Close, Connor’s abandoned estate by the coast. There they pose as newlyweds while Connor convalesces. It’s pretty funny when the housekeeper walks in on them to bring Connor sustenance. These two lovebirds have got some pretty blistering chemistry. There’s lots of kissing – the really hot kind!

I also like the other lords who are Connor’s friends: Gryff and Cam. Gryff is going to have to lay off the booze, it’s not that attractive, but his other qualities make up for it (for now). Cam is seriously hot and a thief. I want to read his book. Yum!

Favorite Quote:

“Why the devil does she feel she must take such awful risks?”

“Is that a rhetorical question,” asked Cameron. “Or do you wish for an honest answer?”

[…]

“Because she loves you. She’s willing to risk anything to win your heart.” Cameron crossed one booted leg over the other. “And you, you ungrateful cur, ought to have your teeth kicked out through your arse if you don’t appreciate what a rare and wondrous gift that is.”

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Too Wicked to Wed (Lords of Midnight)

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