Review: Blood Torn (Blackthorn, Book 3) by Lindsay J. Pryor

blood tornReviewed by Sharon S.

‘Vampires might bite, honey, but lycans tear.’

Jask Tao, lycan leader, rules his pack with absolute dedication and demands the same loyalty in return. In the world of Blackthorn, where respect is a rare commodity, Jask has earned his – few dare to cross him, and fewer survive to tell the tale.

When he captures Sophia, a rare serryn witch – whose blood is lethal to vampires – Jask knows just how valuable she can be. Despite her fiery nature, he also can’t shake the feelings that she rouses in him – feelings that he thought died along with Ellen, his mate.

Sophia knows she has to escape from Jask’s lycan compound – and fast. Inheriting her sister’s serryn powers can only mean one thing – that her family is at risk. She’ll have to get past the dangerously attractive Jask first but, scarred by memories of her mother’s murder, Sophia won’t ever give up.

Sparks fly between Jask and Sophia but, as both her family and the pack come under threat, they might just need each other if they, and their loved ones, are going to stay alive…

In this thrillingly sensual novel, Lindsay J. Pryor returns to the shadowy dystopian world of Blackthorn, where tensions are rising, the risks are high, and the most powerful loves are formed in the face of great danger.

This is the third book in the sexy action filled series Blackthorn. I am surprised I hadn’t heard of it since it has every thing I love. It is one of those fun series that blends the world building and grittiness of urban fantasy with the sexy love story found in paranormal romances. Even though this is book three I was able to understand and enjoy Jask and Sophia’s love story, but I felt a little lost with the series arc. Only because there were so many other characters involved from the first two books. I will be checking out the other books so I can find out what happened with those couples.

I am pretty hard to impress in the paranormal romance department. I need some meat to my story (heehee, that kind too) and strong over bearing personalities. Blood Torn contained my two favorite romance tropes, forbidden love and enemy to lovers. Jask is a tortured werewolf alpha in the best possible way (swoon). The mythos Pryor created for the werewolves in her world is full of danger and heartbreak. Turning isn’t something they want to do and this fact is being used against them. Sophia is a witch, but still human, and has a destiny forced on her that she didn’t know about. They are both alphas and broken on the inside. I loved watching them one up each other even cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Even though I couldn’t get enough of them, the author went over the top occasionally.

It is the dark world Pryor created that really draws me to the series as a whole. You could even call it a dystopian. Vampires decided to make their presence known to humans 80 years prior and they brought the werewolves with them against their will. The “others” have been segregated into an inner city by a scared human race. How close to the inner city a human lives in dependent on their money and social status. The elite living gated off in the suburbs.

Definitely a series I will be following and one urban fantasy fans and paranormal fans can enjoy.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Blood Torn (Blackthorn)

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

lord of the huntReviewed by Sharon S.

She Wasn’t Cut Out for His World…

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

He Can’t Imagine Life Without Her…

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of the Hunt (Annwyn)

[phpbay]lord of the hunt shona husk, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Dodging Machetes by Will Lutwick

dodgingmachetesReviewed by Karin

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the era of the Vietnam War. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

It’s a toss up whether it is a memoir or a memoir-cum-novel with a lot of poetic license. Either way it was a lot of fun and quite evocative of the times.

I was given an e-book by the author and LRP. One thing I like with a paper book is the ability to skip ahead, which I can’t do easily with an e-book, so it wasn’t until the end that I learned he wrote the book in a memoir writing class he took in San Francisco.

The book details his time in the Peace Corps in Fiji. He’s changed some names and recreated events and conversations. He meets ‘Rani’, a beautiful Indian woman at work. The Indians did not assimilate into the mixed culture of Fiji at that time, and they had to meet on the sly. Their love affair began very quickly for a protected woman (who dressed in mini skirts.)

It was quite dangerous for them to date, because of honor killings.

Ultimately they marry, and he returns to the US with her. Then he needs to extend his deferment.

I was sorry to learn that he is no longer with her.

If you liked Forrest Gump, you will enjoy this book. I loved it!

Rating: ★★★★★

Get into Bed with Leanna Ellis (Author Interview 2)

Leanna Ellis PhotoSharon S.: Wow, it has been a year since Plain Fear: Forsaken was published and now the second book Plain Fear: Forbidden is about to released. Let’s start with how the past year has been for you on a personal level. Did you get to do anymore traveling? Win the lottery?

Leanna Ellis: Hi and thanks for having me here again! It’s been a busy year for me on a personal level. My children are in that age bracket in their early teens where they are very busy with their activities. My daughter keeps me busy with all of her theater and shows. I took her to New York last November for a callback audition for a Broadway show. My son is a competitive fencer, so often he has tournaments on the weekends, which require traveling. Most often we drive to another town in Texas but this past year, I also took him to Reno, Salt Lake City for Jr. Olympics, and then Anaheim. My mother moved close to me this year. It was a huge undertaking to get her packed and moved, and I’m really enjoying having her close.

Sharon: How was this past year professionally? What have you been working on?

LE: It was a good year. My book, Facelift, won the Maggie award. Mostly I worked on the Plain Fear series. I traveled for research for Forbidden, visiting my friend, Shelley Shepard Gray, in Ohio. She showed me a small Amish community that was perfect for my book. It was a great trip and really brought so much to Forbidden. When I left Ohio, I had so much fun finishing the book. Then I took a bit of a break before Christmas, which was nice as it was the first year our family has spent the holiday at our own home. Usually we go to my folks, but my daughter was in a show and prevented that from happening. So, it was fun to just enjoy some down time, when I wasn’t driving to and from the theater. Then I began working on book 3 of the Plain Fear series, Forgiven, which I’m still working on and hoping to turn in soon. In between all the other stuff of family, I was able to get my first two published books formatted and uploaded so that now they are available as ebooks.

Sharon: Some of our readers might not be familiar with this series and scratching their heads about the Amish/Vampire connection. Would you tell us a little about the series as a whole and what readers can expect?

LE: Sure, I’d be happy to. First of all, your readers should know that I think outside the box. Sometimes waaaaay outside the box. Which is what happened with Plain Fear. Forsaken actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I made a joke about we should write an Amish/vampire story because those were the two genres that were selling so well. It really was a joke. I didn’t rush home and start writing the book. But I suppose some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me about her story and wanting me to write it. I resisted. But there was a very intriguing element that I couldn’t ignore. But why Amish and vampire together?

Besides the superficial reason I already gave, the two really work well together with my story. The image we have of the Amish is of a simple, innocent, wholesome way of life, which is a perfect environment to place a dark, frightening, evil entity. The juxtaposition between the two works so well. In fact, part of my inspiration for this story came from The Phantom of the Opera, and how innocent Christine is and how trusting of this voice she hears in her head—the angel of music. So an Amish heroine, sheltered by the world we know, seemed perfect. Except the Amish world isn’t always as sheltered as we think. Doors can be opened to evil forces. The Plain Fear series is about good versus evil. So often we just think of evil as being dark and scary…well, it is that but it’s also alluring and appealing and attractive. If you just saw the dark, ugly, scary side of evil, who would go there? Each of the main characters in Forsaken and now Forbidden have to make tough choices.

Sharon: You mentioned that the character Roc was a favorite of yours in book one. Is this still the case and what is it about him you like so much?

LE: Roc is a very conflicted character, which makes him interesting to write about. He’s very passionate and throws all of his heart into whatever he’s doing. He often surprises me, because I’m never quite sure what he’s going to do. Forbidden is really his book.

Sharon: When I talked to you last year you were in the middle of writing book two: Forbidden. Did you make any changes to the storyline of Forbidden after getting feedback from the release of Forsaken?

LE: Not that I can think of. I wrote the story my characters had to tell.

Sharon: Can Forbidden be read as a stand-alone?

LE: It can, but reading Book 1, Forsaken, is a great way to get in the mood for this book. And you get some backstory! But it definitely can be read on its own.

Sharon: Is the Amish community still the focus of the story like in Forsaken or do you expand outward more?

LE: Half the book is spent In New Orleans or on the run and then the last half occurs in a new Amish community.

Sharon: Of course, I’ve got to ask, what is next in this series?

LE: The 3rd book in this series is called Forgiven and it’s about the youngest Fisher brother, who you meet in Forbidden. I’m having a lot of fun with Samuel.

Sharon: Where can fans find you in the near future? Upcoming appearances and on the web?

LE: Mostly I’m on the web, where you can find me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and of course on my blog and e-newsletter. You can probably also find me driving to some activity or sitting in a parking lot. A recent funny was when I was waiting for my daughter to get out of the theater from a performance and the audience was already pouring out the doors. This lady opened the passenger door to my car and started to get in. I was, of course, writing and looked up startled. She had thought it was her car. So, if you accidentally open my car door or see me on the highway, be sure and honk or wave. Or stop by my website and say hello! Again, thanks for having me back!

Sharon: Thanks for taking the time to talk and congrats on the release of Plain Fear: Forbidden.

Plain Fear Forbidden Cover

PLAIN FEAR: FORBIDDEN BY LEANNA ELLIS – IN STORES AUGUST 2012

How Long Must We Pay for the Sins of Our Past?

She blames herself for her husband’s death. But for Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, redemption may only lie in the ultimate sacrifice.

When a stranger arrives claiming only she can save him, Rachel’s impulsive instincts lead her on a perilous journey, one that leads her to a battle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unborn child.

A far–from–ordinary story of love and desperation, sin and sacrifice, Amish faith and vampire lore, Plain Fear: Forbidden is an imaginative thrill ride that’s like nothing you’ve ever read before.

Buy: Plain Fear: Forbidden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leanna Ellis is the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. She has written numerous books for Harlequin/Silhouette and has published four books with B&H Publishing. With her husband, two children, and wide assortment of pets, she lives in Texas. For more information, please visit www.leannaellis.com, follow her on Twitter, @LeannaEllis, and “like” her on Facebook.

Buy: Plain Fear: Forbidden

GIVEAWAY: I have up for grabs 1 copy of Plain Fear: Forbidden. 1 winner; open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment or asking a question. Last day to enter: August 17, 2012

Review: A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing by Terry Spear

Reviewed by Susan S.

This novel will burn you with sexual fire then douse you with its humor. It’s funny, yet sexy, and everything you’d hope for in a paranormal romance. With a little something extra!

Summary: Werewolf Series, Book 9

Note: To learn more about the heroine and her brother you can read To Tempt the Wolf. This novel stands on its own, but thought I’d mention it in case you wanted more.

Meara Greymere’s alpha brother is away and she’s what’s the word? Relieved. Liberated from being under his toe pads. Meara has only two weeks to find a mate without her obstinate brother (Hunter) running off would-be possible mates. It seems that no one’s ever good enough for his sister. And if we’re talking about Hunter’s very single, ex-Navy SEAL brothers, then the answer is an even more emphatic, “No-way-in-hell!”

Finn Emerson (hero) knows the ground rules: His best friend’s sister is off-limits. And even though some lines shouldn’t be crossed, Finn has no choice! He’s the only one qualified to keep Meara safe. There’s an assassin or two or three that’s after the SEAL team, and it won’t be long before their loved ones are targeted. Since Hunter’s gone for an entire two weeks, anything can happen (can’t tell you where Hunter, is that’s a first-class spoiler if you haven’t read book three).

Can Finn protect a sexy alpha she-wolf from the bad guys? Of. Course! He’s an alpha and an ex-Navy SEAL. But can he protect her while abiding by the do-not-touch-my-sister rule Hunter’s enforcing? Most importantly, can Emerson deny Meara’s screaming/pleading pheromones? Umm…that’s going to be ALOT harder than fighting off assassins.

Review: This novel was suspenseful, yes. Hot? Oh-I’ll get to that! But it was also funny. Clearly, no one’s ever told Meara that one capful of bubble bath solution is “enough” to create bubbles. The notes regarding possible mates in her notebook made me laugh. It comes off like a lady’s version of a man’s black book. And then there’s the heroine falling asleep while reading. What was she reading? Heart of the Highland Wolf. Gee, wonder who wrote that? Too cute.

Now, let’s talk heat level. It’s over-the-limit! In case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing. There’s the scene where Finn’s checking the clothes on Meara’s body for electronic bugs. Loved that part! The S’mores kisses are yummy, too. And then comes one of many pant worthy scenes. This one contains (I believe the technical term is) frottage, but I like to refer to it as…dry humping.

There’s only one thing I was expecting which didn’t occur. When Hunter finds out that Finn’s putting the moves on his sister, I thought punches would fly, bones would break, and there’d be an explosion of expletives. Actually, Hunter’s reaction was completely unexpected. Maybe those dark paranormals are making me blood-thirsty; I wanted a fight! Lol.

Recommendations: If you enjoy the forbidden love tropes, then I highly recommend this novel. Now, if you’re a reader who can’t get enough of virile alphas-you’ll love Finn. His snout is “always” in the gutter! Also for paranormal romance and romantic suspense lovers.

Favorite Character: Finn He’s my #2 on my favorite alphas list in Terry’s Werewolf Series. I was going to leave it at that, but I know how curious minds work. So I’ll tell you where to find my #1, he’s inside book five.

Others in the Series:

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

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing

[phpbay]seal clothing terry spear, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright 2012, Paranormal Romance, Print Pages 326, ISBN-13# 978-1-4022-5890-9.

M/F vs. M/M

by Sharon S., guest blogger

I have been reading Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy for over two years now. I *love it! I have a definite preference for stories with alpha males (you might have noticed if you have read any of my posts/reviews ;)) I like arrogant, tortured alphas that need to be taught the lesson that love and respect has to be earned from a woman. I want my heroine to be a kick-ass alpha too, and the one to teach said alpha his lesson. I do *not want my heroine wounded or being a damsel in distress. The alpha can be wounded and insecure, but he needs to man up. Both characters need to be equals.

I also like forbidden love stories. The couple isn’t suppose to be together either due to family issues, species issues (vamp/human, were/vamp, fae/human, whatever!), or just issues. I don’t really care for M/F Contemporary or Erotica.

This being said…I started reading M/M a few months ago. My first book was a contemporary (I know, right?) called Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels. It turned out to be one of the best romances, emotionally speaking that I have read. I was hooked. I realized that my standards for M/M couples were completely different than my M/F ones.

M/M romance is the ultimate in forbidden love. I like it when one or both of the men don’t know or admit they are gay. I love the emotional struggle as they try to understand their feelings. I like one to be an uptight alpha and the other to be more submissive and flirty. They are not equals emotionally. One must take care of the other. I want the romance so freaking sweet my teeth rot out. I do draw the line at giggling. Men should not giggle. They are should growl <G>. I also don’t mind reading M/M Erotica or Contemporary, go figure.

How about you guys? Those who read both, do you have the same standard for your M/F and M/M couples? Those who only read one kind, why? If you have ever thought about trying a M/M, but don’t know what to start with, let me know and I can recommend something.

Review: Pack of Lies by Vanessa Vaughn

by Susan S., guest reviewer

This is a “dark” erotic m/m tale. There’s nothing gentle about this pack. Completely lost to the moon’s seductive pull, these werewolves are callous creatures with no guilt, no self-control, and no humanity. They want, they take, they’ll get…end of story!

Pack of Lies is told by two of the main characters; the two heroes. It’s written in first person POV narrative giving us the pack leader’s perspective, Marcus, as well as Jack’s viewpoint.

Warning: For adult readers. Scenes contain graphic violence, as well as m/f and m/m sexual encounters.

Marcus knows he’s behind the eight ball. Despite being the alpha, his hold over the pack is precarious at best. The others are beginning to retract their loyalty in order to follow another werewolf named Julian. This alpha yearns for something he can’t have. A forbidden desire to be with another male. If his lustful thoughts were given free rein, his pack would strip him of his leadership; giving Julian the upper hand once and for all. It’s critical Marcus hide his longings under permanent lock and key.

While on the hunt one night the fever causes Marcus to attack a human. The violence he was prepared for, that’s just par for the course. What this alpha wasn’t expecting was to share a psychic connection with a handsome architect.

Will their psychic imprint cause Marcus’ downfall? Or will a newly turned half-breed named Jack Devereaux be the salvation he’d been hoping for?

My thoughts: The entire novel has an air of despondency about it. I love dark reads, but would’ve liked to come up for a few gulps of happiness. Even dark reads which line my shelves have either a few comedic moments, or at least a few pleasant scenes to smile over.

Favorite scene: When Jack’s getting in touch with his manhood in the office bathroom.

Recommendations: Stand in front of A/C vent when reading.

The author’s strength lies in her expert descriptions of the moon’s complete control over the werewolves.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: Pack of Lies

eBook, Ravenous Romance, June 2010, Pages 184, ISBN-13# 978-1-60777-339-9.

Review: Compromising Charis by Sahara Kelly

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Young and radiant lady Charis Forbes-Wilkinson hates that she is forced into marrying a young man she doesn’t have any feelings for, the reason? She was caught in a very compromising position with another young man she did want to be with, and enjoyed every moment. According to her annoyed and outraged mother, she wasn’t supposed to enjoy it in any way as in Regency England it was no way for a lady to act with an unmarried man. Due to her actions, Charis was sent to Bridlington Manor while William, the man she was caught in a compromising position with was sent away to France. The man who wishes to marry her is an upstanding gentleman, and one who will bring her out into polite society as long as she realizes her place, and keeps out of trouble.

Charis finds herself stuck in a rut she thinks she can’t get out of. She would love nothing more than to be free to find love how she wants to, but her minor indiscretion has caused enough alarm to make her mother marry her off how she sees fit, and quickly. From what she has heard of this new beau, she decides he is a dim-witted male she doesn’t want near her – but she soon finds her snap judgment is unfounded as she hasn’t even met him yet. She seeks freedom above all else, befriending a band of travelers to get to know them, and taking advantage of her passion for breeding horses she does all the things that men are more likely to take up than the more feminine ones of sewing and chatting with other ladies.

Charis isn’t a snob like her family, or the gentry she has seen over the past few years, and dreads being married off as though she is an object, not a person. Her feelings are no more taken into consideration than the ones of William. She thinks she is alone in her thoughts, and hopes to actually find someone to be a friend and a lover. In Regency times the ladies heart was not considered, it was all about wealth and the family marrying into it. Sahara Kelly brings this to the forefront of the novel, and also brings a great deal of erotic content into the story. Being a free-spirited young lady, she has her own idea of what she wants to do with her life, while others around her including her mother want to interfere with what she does with it.

The reader will get the idea she does not want to get married, but actually spend her time with someone who is on her own wavelength and likes the same kind of interests as her. Her meeting and talking with Mr. St. John Randall takes her breath away, and he is one of those men who is intelligent and listens to what she has to say about the lack wit she is being told to marry, not realizing that this man might be the one for her. For those who enjoy reading more lustful and rakish novels of women who want to break free from the fetters of convention, this is the one for them – it has plenty of interesting dialogue, and comical moments in it that are unmissable.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Page Count & Word Count: 64 pages. Appx: 17,000 words

Buy: Compromising Charis