Audio Review: The Duke’s Deceit by Sherrill Bodine

Sherrill Bodine duke deceitHero: Richard, the Duke of Avalon, knows he’s made a terrible mistake. His fiancé is a horribly vain and self-centered chit, more concerned with appearances than him. When he makes a decision to travel right before the wedding to visit a philosophy professor in Scotland, she informs him that if he does not return with plenty of time for the wedding, she will call it off. He’s eager to skirt the deadline in hopes she will actually follow-through on her threat.

Heroine: Mary Masterton faces a terrible conundrum. Her late father amassed debts trying to realize a stud farm to a local noble. Sir Robert insists she wed him to cancel the debts, but Mary has no interest in the creep. When a heroic stranger is knocked unconscious by a falling timber while aiding her in rescuing horses from a fire, she claims him as her fiancé. When he wakes, he has no memory at all. He recovers and sticks around fulfilling all the desperate longings of Mary’s heart… but can she keep a man she loves in the dark?

Reviews: What Mary doesn’t know about the barn fire is that it was staged. Readers will realize right away who is behind the attack, or do they? There’s more going on then what is happening on the surface. It’s a little convoluted – involving a late grandmother, a cousin, a fortune, America, and blackmail.

Mary is a kind and tenderhearted heroine. She wants to tell the truth but is convinced by many parties that to reveal her deception to Richard would cause him irrefutable harm in his condition. He might die! So she holds her tongue, falls in love with him, and then the tables are turned. He regains his memories (not unusual) and pretends otherwise to get at the truth Mary hid. I liked Richard the man when was suffering under amnesia, he’s less likeable as the Duke in his initial dealings with Mary.

Narrator: Susan Duerden is a likeable narrator. I would describe her voice a bit like a stage whisper. It does not sound like how she might usually talk and is pitched a little low and a little husky.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Duke’s Deceit, The Duke’s Deceit (Audiobook)

Audio Review: Over the Edge (Kincaid Brides, Book 3) by Mary Connealy

over the edgeHero: Seth Kincaid has landed in some very unusual circumstances. He survived a fire, ran off to partake in the Civil War, and apparently got hitched along the way. He just can’t remember it. He wants too, though. Very much.

Heroine: Callie has been praying and searching for her missing husband. Chances are he’s dead. But when she finds out he’s alive, well, you can’t blame her for wanting to wring his neck for abandoning her. The stupid man wants to rekindle their love, but she’s not so sure she can trust him.

Review: You will start this story off with a bang. Literally. You are in the middle of a robbery and a shooting. Callie is one tough cookie. More focus on romance, less on Seth’s secret subplot. In the end it was missing something for me and I just wasn’t enamored.

Narrator: Hillary Huber has a nice range in voices, but it was extremely hard to hear the exposition in Hillary’s natural voice, which is a lower register than the heroine’s voice. It broke the flow for me in a big way and kept drawing me out of the story.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: Over the Edge (The Kincaid Brides Book #3)

Review: Her Forgotten Betrayal by Anna DeStefano

Her Forgotten BetrayalReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Shaw Cassidy has been the victim of trauma due to awful events at her mansion where it is believed an assassination attempt made on her life has left her with amnesia. It doesn’t help that she is the heiress to Cassidy Global Research, as well as their CEO, as it has made her a target for every cash hungry nut around. As her life is in danger, she is being protected by an FBI agent, Cole Marinos, but he has other reasons for wanting to be around her.

Review: Two people are brought together in this story, but the real mystery is why Cole’s really there, and what had he done before, and what does he think she is guilty of. She is under doctor’s orders to look after herself, get well and get over the attack on her life but her bad nerves can’t be tossed aside as easy as she still has the nightmares from her ordeal.

Shaw has everything a woman could want, an important position at the top of a company, the respect of everyone around her, the huge mansion house and the ability to buy whatever she wants. She’s the poor little rich girl, but there is someone around who can ground her – Cole is an ordinary guy who doesn’t care that she’s filthy rich, even though he helps her with her problems, he still treats her as he would anyone else, using darlin’ a lot around her. If anyone can protect her, he will, and he cares for her more than she thinks. There is also the problem of the suspect shooter, and his or her motivation for doing it that still lurks in the back of Shaw’s mind.

Verdict: The story was shorter than it should have been, and felt rushed, but the two main characters are thrilling and exciting to read about.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Her Forgotten Betrayal

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: The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (The Burgundy Club, Book 3) by Miranda Neville

Heroine: Kidnapped, Celia Seaton is no passive miss. At the first opportunity she gets out of the attic of a two story cottage wearing only her under clothes. Stumbling upon her worst enemy (who doesn’t even know he’s her enemy because she doesn’t register on his radar) conked out across the threshold of the house, Celia hesitates on what to do. When he wakes and doesn’t know who he is a brilliant idea takes shape.

Hero: Tarquin Compton is a rich fashionable dandy (but not gentry) who collects erotic books and books on poetry. When he gets lost in the moors he stops at a cottage for directions and gets knocked out by Celia’s kidnapper. When he wakes he suffers from amnesia and buys Celia’s story that he’s her fiance. Well he buys some of it anyway, there’s no way his name is Terence Fish, which makes him wonder if he tricked Celia about who he was in order to seduce her.

Favorite Moments: When she gives him her web of lies about who he is and what he means to her, the cauliflower incident, and when she gives herself to him.

Missed Opportunity: Tarquin immediately confronts Celia about her ill use of him after the return of his memories, instead of actively trying to be the man she created for him. I thought he was really falling for her at the time and would rather go undercover to discover if she really loved him or was just using him before his confrontation. But apparently he needed to get his head on straight before he could regret his harsh actions/words.

And heroine should have said once when he was still suffering from amnesia that she loved him… all of him even the parts he couldn’t remember, because she was darn near thinking it and that would have been sweet. It would also force Tarquin to come to terms with his idiocy sooner. Luckily she rejects his reluctant and insulting proposal to patch up her now ruined reputation.

Mystery: Why is an ex-fiance/governess who has been tossed aside/dismissed for moral turpitude kidnapped? Terence Fish wants to know and so should you!

Review: A fun romp with witty banter, a plucky heroine, an amnesiac hero, and cauliflower! You won’t regret running out to get this book for your collection.

Rating: ★★★★½

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Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Gena Showalter brings her readers a book that starts a new series titled “Royal House of Shadows”.  Hers is the first book of this series.

Our heroine’s name is Jane Parker.  The story starts with Jane receiving a mysterious package.  We see that she is unemployed, has no family, and has been injured.  She has also been having some very strange dreams.  She dreams of a vampire – Nicolai.  We find out that the mysterious package has a book in it and that the story matches her dreams.

As Gena tells you the story, the reader can feel the sensuality weave itself around Jane and Nicolai.  The story weaves itself so well you just have to find out what happens next.  It’s a story you don’t want to put down.

Jane’s life changes when she goes to sleep in one world and wakes up in another.  As Jane tries to figure out why she is where she is, she finds out that Nicolai is there too.

When we first meet Nicolai he seems to have amnesia.  The only thing he is sure of is that he’s a vampire.  When the two finally meet, Nicolai wants Jane very badly.  As you read on in the story you can feel the connection between the two characters.  We see how stubborn Jane can be and how this frustrates Nicolai.  Jane also tends to think too much.

Gena makes Jane a character that is both strong and intelligent – a woman who can take care of herself.  It’s great to see a woman character that can stand up to the “big guys” and almost hold her own.  You can also tell that this surprises Nicolai.  Nicolai acts just like a knight in shining armor – someone who will protect his lady-love at all costs.

One of the evil characters in the book is named Princess Laila and she is Jane’s sister.  The other evil character is Jane’s mother the Queen of Hearts.  We have to keep reading to see if good (Jane and Nicolai) can overcome evil (Laila and the Queen of Hearts).

As you continue reading this story you can feel the connection between Jane and Nicolai grow.  Gena creates great chemistry between the two.  It got so “hot” that I had to turn my fan on.  This story sizzles!

Every time you think that Jane and Nicolai are going to romantically connect, Laila and her mother seem to interrupt.  You would think this would slow the story down but it doesn’t.  It actually turns up the heat more.  I was drinking my ice tea at the time I was reading this story and was I glad.  This book turns the temperature up a notch!

In all good romances, our lovers are torn apart and then have to find their way back to each other.  Gena doesn’t disappoint her readers in developing this story.  She also knows how to make her evil characters really “bad”.  You really have to hate that they keep coming between Jane and Nicolai.

Gena also does a great job of putting a plot twist in.  You would think that it would ruin the story because it comes so close to the end of the story but Gena works it to perfection.  It keeps the reader’s attention because you want to know how it all ends.

This is the type of paranormal romance that I love to read.  It reels you in with the promise of something but that something just stays out of reach.  This forces the reader to turn the page.  You have to continue the story to see what happens.  Gena keeps the readers involved throughout the whole story by allowing them to use their imagination.

With this great book to start the “Royal House of Shadows” series, I can’t wait to see what the other authors do with their books.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of the Vampires (Harlequin Nocturne)

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Why Nevada?

by Jane Lovering, guest blogger and author of Star Struck

I’m often being asked ‘why did you set your new novel in Nevada?’

Well, when I say ‘often’, it’s not really that often, I mean on the scale of things I’m far more often asked ‘where the hell are my shoes?’ and ‘what’s that sticky stuff?’ and even ‘you expect me to eat that?’ come much higher. But you get the picture; people want to know why on earth someone who lives in possibly the wettest corner of the UK would choose to set a novel in the dusty dry state that is Nevada – and not even Las Vegas at that, but an obscure motel in the middle of nowhere.

Good question. And I’m glad you asked it. All right, so you might not have asked it directly, but you were thinking it, I can tell, it’s the way your eyes go all unfocussed and you start scratching. Although, come to think of it, most people act like that once they’ve been around me for a while… WHERE was I again..? Oh yes, Nevada. Here’s a little secret, come closer for I shall have to whisper… originally the book was set in Wales… There. A little titbit of inside information for you that now throws up the even more interesting question – why move it to Nevada? What does Nevada have that Wales doesn’t, apart from sunshine, gambling, motels and very long, very straight roads? Aha. It was like this – as I was writing the novel, several of the characters turned out to have quite interesting character arcs along the lines of escape, none of which could truly be fulfilled by moving the scant handful of miles that it is from York to, say, Brecon. That would be like trying to outrun one’s destiny by hiding in next-door’s bathroom. So, Nevada it is!

Here’s a little more information about the book:-

Our memories define us – don’t they?

And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It’s left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence.

Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada – and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises – will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious sci-fi writer Jack Whitaker first. He’s a handsome contradiction – cool and intense, with a wild past.

Jack has enough problems already. He isn’t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors.  Yet he’s drawn to Skye.

An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can’t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past …

Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?

Buy: Star Struck, Star Struck (UK)

And if you’d like to win a copy of Star Struck by following my blog tour and completing a little competition-ette, you need to be collecting the words capitalised during the tour, reassembling them into a question and then answering that question… for more information and a slightly longer-winded explanation, go to my blog at www.janelovering.co.uk. There’s chocolate too, I am reliably informed, although people often promise me chocolate… Usually when they want me to go away.

Star Struck is published by Choc Lit on September 01.

Author Bio: Jane Lovering is a writer, although she suspects people only tell her that to stop her leaving the house. She is the author of Please Don’t Stop the Music (Choc Lit), and her hobbies include pounding the keyboard with her fists to make the F key work, inanity and watching energy-saving bulbs light up. She has five children, dogs, cats, a housework allergy and has the desire to convert the world to thinking all food tastes better with half an inch of charcoal on the top.

Review: The Accidental Highland Hero by Terry Spear

by Susan S., guest reviewer

This spicy historical will steal your breath and capture your heart.

This novel includes: breathtaking settings, a sword-wielding, sexy Scottish highlander, a great plot, and as an added bonus, a happily-ever-after. Sound interesting? You bet! Terry Spear employs her happily-ever-after motto in this new historical novel, once again leaving her readers smiling.

Lady Eilis, heroine, is up against the wall. Her cruel and dominating uncle is forcing her to marry through deceit. (All she needs to do is pretend to be her late cousin, and marry an older man she doesn’t love.) This may or may not stop fighting along the clan borders, but one thing’s guaranteed, life for Eilis only holds misery and duplicity if she stays in Ireland and plays the hand she’s been dealt.

James MacNeill, laird of Craigly Castle, is in a pickle himself. He’ll need to find a wife soon or relinquish the clan to his brother, Malcolm. (All he needs to do is fight the hateful, good for nothing Dunbarton clan, and find a suitable wife; with haste.)

James has a plan, Eilis had a plan or did she? She really can’t remember much after she hit her head on that boulder. Now she’s a lone survivor of a shipwreck, in Scotland, with no memory of who she is.

Clans will fight, prisoners will be captured, and Eilis will run again, but she’ll soon realize, you can’t run from your heart.

A beautiful tale of trust, loyalty and love!

Things I enjoyed: How the heroine “continuously” manages to stumble into the hero’s bedchamber while he’s in various states of undress. (Lucky lass!) Which leads me to the second thing I enjoyed, every time James calls Eilis, lass.

My favorite character: Lady Eilis. Regardless of her inner turmoil, she follows her heart and does what she feels she must do.

Rating: 5 Highland Swords

Buy: The Accidental Highland Hero

eARC, Historical Romance, Vintage Romance Publishing, LLC, 2010, pages 295.
ISBN# 978-0-9819896-6-2. Also on paperback, print pages 256.