Review: Charming Blue (Fates, Book 8) by Kristine Grayson

charming blueHeroine: Jodi is a light skinned black woman and is very old (bless those witchy genes!), though she doesn’t look it. She calls herself a fixer. It is what she excels at and she combines it with helping other magical beings to realize their Hollywood dreams. Jodi works as a talent agent and helps book clients into fantasy and paranormal movies and television shows. We open with Tank (a mouthy fairy) who asks Jodi to help her friend Blue.

Hero: Somebody is going around scaring women ala Bluebeard-style by appearing in their rooms and threatening them. Bluebeard does have a reputation of being a woman killer (supposedly committing 15 murders), but is there any truth to that? Most are too scared to get to know Blue, and those that aren’t are repelled by his drunkenness. Good thing we meet him in a rehab center!

Review: Entertaining and enjoyable. I could have used less of Tank. Loved that Blue is a virgin hero, but wish he had been more guts. Jodi was fine, but tended to use magic when things got too tough. The romance was slow going, while the mystery was not.

[Rating:3]

Buy: Charming Blue

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Review: Lord of Fire and Ice by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe

LordFireIceCVRReviewed by Sharon S.

After reading the blurb I thought that despite the old school romance cover, it would be a paranormal romance I would enjoy. Who wouldn’t like a Viking Warrior that can wield fire magic? What I got was a quasi-historical romance with very little paranormal-ness. The hero Brendr, who is very sexy, hides his ability to control fire for pretty much the whole book. There are only a handful of pages where he uses magic. There isn’t even an explanation for why or how he could use fire. The authors took the easy way out and said Brendr had no idea how or why he could use fire, he just could. Maybe it is the urban fantasy fan in me, but I need some explanation if I am going to buy into the story. Brandr is too good to be true and with little depth. His only conflict is not feeling like his father loves him.

I also had a problem with the ‘historical’ aspect of the story. One thing I need is characters to act like they are from that time period. Our heroine Katla was an independent woman, running her dead husband’s farm. We are reminded constantly of her strong but cold personality, but her three brothers are able to make her remarry so they can get her dowry.

This is a very cookie cutter book. The romance and plot are very formula and predictable. I didn’t feel connected to the couple or interested in their constant back and forth “I must resist, but I want to give in, but I must resist…etc…” And for every great line like this one:

“She wept in silence. She couldn’t keen and wail. She was too empty to do anything but let her soul seep from her eyes.”

There would be a line like this:

“In that vulnerable position, her sex would be exposed in a yawning pink crevice.”

*headdesk*

Definitely not the book for me, but lots of people love it, so check out other reviews before buying.

[Rating:2]

Lord of Fire and Ice

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A Phoenix Named Merlin

Guest Blog by Judi Fennell, author of Magic Gone Wild

Good morning folks! Merlin Pendragon here, and before you go all “You’re totally kidding me, right?” on me, yes, that is my name. And, no, I’m not a merlin. I’m a phoenix. You know what a phoenix is, right? We’re those “supposed” mythological birds who can live for thousands of years, then go poof! in a burst of flames and rise from the ashes. Full props to Ms. J.K. Rowling and Dumbledore for bringing us to your social consciousness these days with Falkes. Great bird, that Falkes. A bit crusty at times, but he’s done us proud. (And you thought he was all CG’d for the movie, now, didn’t you?)

As to my name, I’ll give you the same answer I gave Zane Harrison, the hero in Magic Gone Wild, our author Judi Fennell’s latest release. That explanation is this: Where do you think your kind GOT the idea for Camelot and Arthur and all that stuff?

Bingo! Yahtzee! Moi. Yes, I have been around that long. And there really was a guy named Merlin. He was named after me. Ditto with the Pendragons. It’s an old respected name in the phoenix world. My great-great-great grandfather (which would have had him being around during the dinosaur age – and you thought pterodactyls were just flying reptiles! Ah, the things I could tell you to set your history straight…) was the first of the Order of Pyre, an ancient society charged with the seeing to the good of the human population. The current overcrowded state of the planet attests to how well those early phoenixes did their job until you all were able to catch up and keep yourselves around, but I’m not one to make social commentary.

Too much.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh, yes, the Pendragons. When Arthur’s forefathers were looking for a fine, upstanding name to call themselves, well, yeah, they borrowed it from us. Now, my ancestors obviously weren’t too upset since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but if they’d known then what they know now and had realized the license and merchandising implications, I’m not so sure ol’ Arthur might not have ended up as a Smith or Jones. Would’t have had quite the same ring to it.

So, I’m Merlin. I’ve got Vana’s back. Who’s Vana, you ask? Silly people. Vana’s the heroine of Magic Gone Wild and the woman Zane is damn lucky to end up with. ‘Cause he almost didn’t, the stupid fool. I swear, sometimes you mortals are just so literal. And disbelieving. I seriously don’t get how you can believe in things you can’t see like God and Heaven, but completely ignore the existence of magic when it’s happening right in front of you.

Zane put up quite a fuss in the believing part until the two broken legs Vana gave him (accidentally, of course. Poor Vana, everything is accidental with her) made a believer out of him.

The gargoyles playing hide-n-seek on the front yard, and the wrap-around porch that could have been an amusement park ride as it rotated around Zane’s house might have clued him in to the whole magic thing, too.

Or maybe it was Vana hanging upside down by her curly-toed slippers, or the time Zane ended up in her bottle in a snowstorm, or… well, you’ll have to read the book to see all the stuff that finally does prove to him that magic exists.

Though the fact that he and Vana fall madly in love and live happily ever after could be all the proof he needs because what is love but something magical that happens between two people? (or three, or four, depending on your proclivities…)

So where do I come in to play in all of this? Well, it’s like this. Vana, she’s a bit of a mess. In a totally adorable, good-hearted way. She made a bad decision when she was a teenager, deciding to ditch her genie training and checking out bottles before her time, and, well, she might have accidentally ended up in one before she was ready. Then someone opened it an poof! There she was in The Service without full control of her magic.

But she tried. She even went so far as to start reading the Djinnoire, a book of magic and history, and other important info for the djinn to know that had been compiled by her her twin, DeeDee.

And yes, Van might have been more than a little intimidated and down on herself to have to study a book her twin sister had written especially since school and achievements have always come easy to DeeDee. But Vana always has to make that extra effort.

It’s that extra effort that caused all the trouble in the first place. So, The Power That Is (AKA The High Master) decided Vana needs a little help and sends me in to run interference. (And since Zane is a professional football player, I’m totally into the irony of that!) I’m there to make sure that the path of true love runs smoothly–though, of course, it doesn’t. Honestly, sometimes you humans make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. He’s attracted to her; she’s attracted to him, toss in the same life goals and it should be a piece of cake. (Preferably chocolate. But it never turns out that way. Not without a whole lot of angst and a couple of wayward gargoyles and a hurt feeling or two because love does make you people vulnerable, and, well, trust me. It’s not all smooth sailing.

ESPECIALLY when the Fates get involved. Phew! If you knew Clotho like I know Clotho (and Atropos and Lachesis), you’d understand.

So get to know the Sisters. Get to know Vana and Zane. Heck, get to know me, in Magic Gone Wild. I can guarantee you’re in for one WILD ride!

Here’s a sneak peek:

“Vana, you’re never going to believe what happened!” Merlin, the phoenix who’d been keeping her company throughout the past centuries, poofed onto the mirror with his usual burst of sparkly orange fire, though this time he’d paired it with fuchsia feathers, his colors as changeable as his moods. “There’s a Harrison back in town.”

Merlin did obvious in so many aspects of his life.

“Yes, Merlin, I know.” She let go of Zane’s arms (reluctantly) and held out her hand as Merlin’s perch. “Master, allow me to introduce you to Merlin Pendragon. Merlin, Zane Harrison.”

“A talking bird?” Zane’s mouth fell open. “You’re kidding, right? And Merlin?I thought merlins were smaller, and as for Pendragon… Delusions of grandeur much?”

“Where do you think your kind got the story?” Merlin fluffed his breast feathers and a shower of pink sequins fell like peri dust onto her arm. “And no, I’m not a merlin, though I must say, I do appreciate the honor of having a species named after me. I’m a phoenix, you know. And not just any phoenix, mind you. I’m the First Lieutenant of the Third Order of Pyre. Pretty spiffy stuff, if I do say so myself.

“You should be thanking your lucky stars—which are Vega and Rigel, by the way—that you’re meeting me. Do you know how many mortals go their entire lives without seeing a phoenix?” He struck a pose, one orange and red-striped leg stretched out beneath an open wing. “So, Mr. Negativity, are you sufficiently impressed?”

Zane looked anything but impressed. Disbelieving, stunned, maybe even a touch angry… And, with his gaze on the ceiling, praying.

Great. She did not need him invoking the gods. One word from Saraswati to the High Master and it’d all be over. She’d be whisked right back to Al-Jannah, the djinn capital city, to be reprimanded for all her transgressions (of which there were plenty) and possibly stripped of her status.

And that could not happen because not only would she be a failure in the (overly critical) eyes of her parents, as well as a joke in the djinn world, but she’d let Peter and the children down. And none of them deserved that. The children had been so innocent in their transformation and Peter had been so kind to her, believing in her when no one else had.

“Uh, what’s the matter, big guy?” asked Merlin. “Cat got your tongue?” He nodded Zane’s way and said behind his raised wing to her, “Why is it so hard for mortals to believe in us? They’re all for aliens and loch monsters and conspiracy theories, but show ’em a real, live talking bird and they dumb up.”

“I’m not ‘dumbing up,’” said Zane, shaking his head and glaring at Merlin.

Good. Vana always preferred mortals who accepted magic; it gave them a starting point for conversation instead of the mortal merely staring at her as if she had a big wart on her chin like some witches she knew.

She’d have to hold off mentioning the children, though. Merlin was enough of a surprise for now. She’d release them when Zane wasn’t around. Children could be quite exuberant, especially when they’d been tucked away nice and safe and Invisible in the armoire in the attic for a hundred years. When she’d caught them dancing in Peter’s study during that last party, where anyone could have found them, she’d magicked the children to the attic, planning to let them out once the party was over. Only, the bear had shown up and, well…

“Merlin and I have known each other for about five hundred years,” she said to get her mind off that fiasco. “He kept me company while I was hanging out in my bottle.”

“Actually, Van, it’s 567,” said Merlin, tossing back the moussed-up pompadour on his forehead that was starting to droop in the late-afternoon humidity. “Remember the years in Rio?”

Merlin had inspired the themes for Carnival when they’d been there.

“Wait. Hold on.” Zane held out his hands. “How much am I supposed to put up with today? A genie isn’t enough? Two broken legs don’t cut it? Time travel? No?” He raked his hands through his hair. “Now I have to buy into a talking myth named after a myth?”

“And what, exactly, would you call Vana, then, oh Great Bestower of Nicknames?” Merlin propped his bent wings on his flanks.

Vana shushed him. The bird never could tell when mortals were on overload. When he got like that, all he had to do was burst into flame and rebuild himself, but no other creature on earth (or off it, for that matter) had that same stress reliever. Sometimes Merlin, who was almost as narcissistic as Narcissus, forgot that.

Buy:Magic Gone Wild

MAGIC GONE WILD BY JUDI FENNELL – IN STORES AUGUST 2012

Every Time She Uses Magic Something Goes Terribly Wrong…

Vana wishes she hadn’t dropped out of genie training. Now she’s determined to get a grip on both her genie magic and her life. But the harder she tries to fix things for her intriguing new master, the more she drives him crazy…

Except There’s Nothing Ever Wrong About Him…

Pro–football player Zane Harrison finally has control of the family estate and is determined to put to rest his grandfather’s eccentric reputation. Until he discovers that behind all the rumors is a real, live genie who stirs feelings in him he’s never known before. The more Zane tries to help Vana harness her powers, the more her madcap magic entangles his heart…

Buy: Magic Gone Wild

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judi Fennell is the award-winning author of six light paranormal romances, including a trilogy of Mermen-inspired love stories, and three genie-inspired romances. Wild Blue Under won the PRISM Award for Best Light Paranormal from the Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America. A former corporate meeting and convention planner, Judi now writes full time around the hectic schedules of her husband and teenagers. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please visit http://www.judifennell.com.

GIVEAWAY: I have 1 copy of Magic Gone Wild to giveaway. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment! Last day to enter August 31, 2012.

Photo Credits: kevin dooley

Review: Airship Seduction by Camryn Rhys

Airship SeductionReviewed by Sandra Scholes

It is expected that some novels will have a couple of elements in them that conflict with the overall characters, but this novel is a surprise in itself. An empath demon, an alpha werewolf, and a whole host of deadly assassins are in the mix during the turmoil of a Victorian war on magic, and Sacha Camomescro has to rescue unfortunate refugees from the danger they are facing. She is an empath demon who meets Javier Vargas, a werewolf, who happens to be the alpha male of his pack and together they seek justice on a higher level, even though his pack has been constantly picked off by the assassins and he is left with hardly any men to command.

Sacha is a more complex character than she seems. She can mind read others and this only gets in her way when she wants to get with a man for love – she can see his thoughts of other women when they kiss or make love, so she thinks she can never trust another man again. Javier is a different man again from the others, he does actually desire her and no other woman – maybe this is to do with his werewolf lineage. A rabid animal is blamed for Javier’s pack being decimated, but him coming under suspicion is the least of their worries.

Sensually explicit and well written, Airship Seduction is a trip through the Victorian Era where women were expected to be demure and proper, Sacha is none of these things and that is what makes her stand out from the crowd of women Javier has already bedded. She has the ability to fuel his fire, and he can’t get enough of her being around him – and even though she can read his mind, and what’s on it, she knows he only thinks of her when he is in the mood. She can tease him to the very depths of his imagination, yet she can also be a serious woman who wants to believe she can trust him as a lover as well as a friend.

This is one of the Ellora’s Cave: Twilight series of erotic romance novels. You are always guaranteed of an interesting read with one of these on your lap! It has an engaging plot that doesn’t deviate from the path of interest, and some sensual erotic scenes that will be burned into your mind-forever.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Airship Seduction

Review: Perpetual Light by Jordan K. Rose

perpetual lightReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Taking your place as an important person in life isn’t an easy thing, not for Lucia Dicomano as she has to choose between love and becoming a true slayer, and it isn’t an easy thing, not when love and desire get in the way. She has the opportunity to become a Pharo of Redemption, but as a divine slayer she has to bring out the powers inside of her that have lain dormant for so long.

Vittorio is the vampire she has not destroyed, nor saved his soul and she feels she needs to, yet the love she has for him prevents her from committing this one act that could also save her. So Lucia, battling her inner demons and wants also has something else to consider, Samuel is stalking her every move, and knows her only too well, yet he is fuelled by revenge, he intends to capture her, and take her power. She only has one option, to befriend and trust Vittorio, and if she can’t, she must destroy him and fight Samuel alone, and risk losing her powers.

There is more than just a touch of Anne Rice with this novel, and as the quotes at the beginning of each chapter show, she has studied her work rather closely, and to be honest, that is no bad thing as the quality of the story unveils itself to the reader. This is a battle of two halves, one good one evil, but yet they can find love together under the façade of desire. Both Lucia and Vittorio are meant to be together, or so it seems, but as there is another who threatens the balance of what could be such a good relationship, they both have to act together if they want to get rid of Samuel. Vittorio is her dream husband, she dreams of him most of the time, and has certain affection for him even though she is supposed to slay him one day. In the novel, I got the feeling she might not do that to him.

Readers will like that this was an awakening type of story, where Lucia doesn’t know what power she has until she encounters vampires and demons, it is then she has to accept she actually has powers at all. Jordan makes the reader want to feel for the characters, as when Lucia finds out that Vittorio has been turned into a vampire by Elsa. The build up of tension is there, rising as you read on and want to know more about them.

Lucia is the light, while Vittorio is the darkness, but as we all know there is no light without darkness, and this novel is an excursion into the dark of the vampire…prepare for Vittorio’s voracious appetite.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Perpetual Light