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: ★★★★½

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: ★★★★½

Buy: Perpetual Light

Review: Kiss of the Goblin Prince (Shadowlands Series, Book 2) by Shona Husk

kiss of the goblin princeReviewed by Sharon S.

Kiss of the Goblin Prince is the second book in Husk’s Shadowland series. I reviewed the first book The Goblin King and loved it because the author veered away from the same old PNR formula and gave me something different. I was hoping she would continue this in Kiss of the Goblin Prince. I won’t keep you in suspense though…Husk does it again with Kiss of the Goblin Prince.

In book one we met Roan, the Goblin King, and Eliza, the woman who rescues Roan and his brother Dai from the Goblin curse that imprisoned them in the Shadowlands for 2000 years. This book is about Dai and his struggle to find his place in the fixed realm now that he is truly free to make his own choices for the first time. Dai is scared figuratively and literally. His body is covered in scars from the 4 years he was a slave to the Roman General Claudius. He went from that to being cursed with his fellow soldiers who tried to rescue him. He spent the next 2000 years trying to find a way to break the curse while fighting to keep his humanity and not turn completely goblin. He learned just about everything there is to know, but magic wouldn’t work in the Shadowlands so he didn’t know how to apply all his knowledge. He has lived with so much guilt and vengeance and rage that it actually manifested itself as a claw that grips his heart.

Once in the fixed realm again, he realizes he can use his magic, but it is no longer used or believed making him possibly the last magic user. I loved how Husk explained Dai’s use of magic and the romantic way she used it in the connection between Dai and Amanda. Amanda found the man of her dreams 7 years ago. He died 4 months later and she was left to raise their unborn child. Amanda still wears her wedding band, not willing to let go of what she lost. Her daughter Brigit has chronic asthma that eventually will kill her. Amanda hasn’t felt a longing for another man since her husband and feels guilty when she finds herself attracted to Dai. Their love story is all about forgiving yourself for the past, letting go and moving on. These two don’t go jumping into bed like in most PNR. Their lives are complicated and they are both smart but over cautious. It is a slow and beautiful romance…and yes they do eventually end up in bed.

The beginning was a little slow, but once it picked up I was hooked. The first book divided time between the romance and the world building. This book focuses on Dai and Amanda’s relationship. There is no villain to explore because the conflict comes from within them. Husk brilliantly wove in a secondary storyline about how people will keep coming being reborn and repeating their same mistakes until the soul can finally break the cycle. She also set up the next book in the series with a little twist I didn’t see as a result of the curse being broken.

Husk is a fabulous storyteller and has written a PNR that doesn’t use the same old clichés. You don’t have to read the first one to enjoy the love story, but you will enjoy the world building better if you start with The Goblin King.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Kiss of the Goblin Prince

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Review: Thoroughly Kissed (Charming, Book 2) by Kristine Grayson

Summary: What would you do if you woke up 1000 years from now on another continent with a language that sounds like yours but isn’t? In Emma Lost’s case she learned as fast as she could and became a teacher. Smart move, until her new boss thinks she made it all up because she doesn’t have proper citations. He’s threatening to fire her, her magic is coming in decades too early, and she’s got to cross the US to the west coast before any major disasters happen – like falling for Michael Found.

Should You Read Charming, Book 1? Emma is first introduced in Utterly Charming, which I haven’t read, so no, it’s not necessary to read it first. However, references are made and some are not thoroughly explained, so it’s up to you.

Review: Thoroughly Kissed is thoroughly charming! Kristine Grayson tackles the woebegone Sleeping Beauty fairytale set in modern day mid-west US with wit and humor. This road trip romance features crazy restaurants, mutating housecats, and a bloodless battle in a national park. You’ll believe in magic when you’re done.

Favorite Scene: When Michael is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future/Present also known as Merlin.

Best Side Character: Darnell the cat, especially when he talks.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Thoroughly Kissed

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Review: Enraptured (Eternal Guardians, Book 4) by Elisabeth Naughton

eternal guardiansReviewed by Sharon S.

This story picks up right after the events from book #3 Tempted. You can read this as a standalone and enjoy the romance between Orpheus and Skyla, but you will be missing out on extensive world building and overall story arc information. Naughton does a good job of giving you the basics you will need to understand, but at book #4 there are so many character storylines that cross each other you would miss out on what makes this series such a pleasure to read. There is a glossary at the back of the book, but I would really appreciate a cheat sheet about who is who.

The story is way too complicated to go over in a review so I will just talk about the romance. Orpheus is convinced he is a monster without any chance of redemption. He is part Argolean, Medean and daemon. Three races that hate each other; he shouldn’t even exist. But he has a past life that is over 2000 years old that only a few know about, that is intertwined with the Gods and the Siren Skyla. Hades is willing to kill to keep the secret from getting out.

Skyla had her heart broken 2000 years ago and has never truly recovered. She shut herself off emotionally and became Athena’s top assassin. Orpheus spends most of the book not understanding why he is so drawn to Skyla and she struggles with keeping his past a secret from him. In true PNR fashion the two give in to passion only to push each other away afterwards determined to focus on their own personal goals.

Their romance didn’t move me like the couple in book #3. There was nothing that set it apart from all the other paranormal romances out there. I was more interested in the advancement of the main story arc, which is where I think this series really shines. Naughton’s world building based on the Greek myths is as complicated as a fantasy series, but you get the all the fun of a HOT romance.

I was intrigued by the character Maelea who we meet. She is the daughter of an affair between Zeus and Persephone. Neither parent wanted her and she was exiled to the mortal realm to wander alone as a human for eternity. She must also deal with the light and dark sides she inherited from her parents. Orpheus needs her to help him find rescue his brother, Gryphon from Tartarus. Gryphon is saved, but he is no longer the man he was. There is a darkness in his soul and I have a feeling Maelea will be the key to saving him. At least I am hoping they are the focus of the next book.

This was an enjoyable read, but not a page turner for me.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Enraptured

ABOUT THE SERIES

The Eternal Guardians Series is centered around seven warriors who protect their realm from threats of the Underworld.

Each of the guardians are descended from the seven strongest heroes in all of Ms. Naughton has taken the Greek Argonaut myth, turned it on its head, and OWNED it! mythology.

Book one, MARKED, is Theron’s story. He’s the leader of the Argonauts and the one person who has the power to stop an evil god from destroying their world.

Book two, ENTWINED, is Zander’s story. The oldest Argonaut and the one rumors say can’t be killed. After 800 years Zander doesn’t think he has much to live for until a random twist of fate finally gives him a goal worth fighting for.

Book three, TEMPTED, is Demetrius’s story. The cruelest Argonaut and the one the other Guardians steer clear of. Demetrius hides a dark secret that just might be the key to the destruction of their world.

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Get into Bed with Isabel Cooper (Author Interview)

Keira: How did you first come up with Lessons After Dark?

Isabel Cooper: The end of No Proper Lady was really what started it. The natural course for Simon and Joan seemed to be making sure that the world could defend itself from future threats, which meant training agents—so I was pretty sure that any sequel would involve a school. I always liked school stories, anyhow.

Gareth and Olivia, in specific, came from my desire to write a hero and heroine who started out not liking each other, and to provide a good reason for that.

Keira: What happens when a supernatural talent for healing fails to heal the supernatural?

IC: That depends a lot on the situation: how strong the healing talent is, what sort of condition the person’s trying to heal, and so on. Gareth’s particular talent tends to draw on his own life force, so he can fail to heal even a non-supernatural wound just by not having enough energy. Diseases fight back to some extent, which can be nasty—and supernatural injuries or diseases are often even worse, since some of them have some kind of primitive “mind” of their own. Failure to heal that sort of thing can have serious consequences for the would-be healer—or anything else around, sometimes.

Keira: There are elements of fake magic and real magic in Lessons After Dark, what made you decide to include both?

IC: I’d already set up a world with real magic in No Proper Lady, and I naturally wanted to continue with that. But, since not everyone knows how to do real magic, some of the people out there have to be faking it for their own reasons. I wanted to show that the real presence of something doesn’t mean fake versions aren’t out there, and vice versa—I also had learned a lot of interesting stuff about fake mediums during my research, and wanted to work with that information. Plus, working with the false information seemed like a good way to accidentally find out about the real stuff.

Keira: Do the school children bring together the Doctor and the Teacher or help drive them apart?

IC: A bit of both, sometimes!

On the one hand, having five adolescents around is going to put a damper on even the most active love life—and Englefield’s students can get into even more trouble than most teenagers, which is saying something. There are a lot of interruptions. I also don’t think Gareth would have gotten his back up quite as much over Olivia’s background if she hadn’t been working with the students: he’s got that whole Victorian thing about role models and setting a good example and so forth.

On the other hand, the aforementioned trouble that the kids cause means that Gareth and Olivia can’t avoid or ignore one another—they have to work together, which breaks down a lot of barriers over time. And after they’ve seen each other in action a few times, each of them has to admit that the other has the students’ best interest at heart, which goes a long way toward changing their initial mistrust.

Keira: How do you define (romantic) love?

IC: Just the right mix of friendship, admiration, and lust. There’s a complicated sort of alchemy here. For me personally, realizing I’m in love with someone has always been a lot like realizing I have gum in my hair—a messy situation that’s going to be hell to get out of—but I try to keep it more positive for my heroes and heroines.

Keira: What’s harder to keep alive and maintain: romance or houseplants?

IC: Romance, definitely. If guys just needed direct sun and water once a day, my college relationships would’ve lasted way longer.

Keira: What projects are you working on next?

IC: My next book is Curious Affairs at Midnight, and will be in stores in December 2012. Charlotte Woodwell—now a full-fledged Englefield agent—teams up with a government spy to track down a missing kid with unnerving powers. There are road trips, evil cultists, and a surly hedgehog.

LESSONS AFTER DARK BY ISABEL COOPER – IN STORES APRIL 2012

A woman with an unspeakable past…

Olivia Brightmore didn’t know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for “gifted” children. But it wasn’t having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John…

A man with exceptional talent…

He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.

Buy: Lessons After Dark

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Critically acclaimed author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston with her boyfriend and a houseplant she’s kept alive for over a year now. She maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing; all the while, she’s writing dark, edgy and magical romance novels. Her debut novel, No Proper Lady, was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in the romance category, a 2011 Library Journal Best Romance of the Year and received an RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence for the month of September 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.isabelcooper.org.

GIVEAWAY: 2 copies of Lessons After Dark. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment or question for Isabel. Last day to enter: April 27, 2012.

Review: A Demon Does it Better by Linda Wisdom

Reviewed by Sharon S.

This is the second book in Wisdom’s Demon series and the first of hers I have read. The author has set up an open world for her story. The magical community isn’t hidden from the “mundanes” but they don’t really mix. There is an alternate dimension called Inlander’s Magical Plane where magical folk can live and shop.

Lili is a healing witch (doctor) that is searching for her best friend who has mysteriously disappeared while working at Crying Souls, a hospital for magical folk in San Francisco. She gets herself a job there to secretly investigate Sera’s and many others disappearance. What she finds is the disturbing treatment secretly taking place in the basement on the insane. One such patient is Jared, a smoke demon who is thought to be beyond help. Lili and Jared team up to uncover what is really going on down there.

I had a hard time finishing this book. It just didn’t hold my attention. The main and secondary characters didn’t have a lot of depth so I never felt invested in them. The author also wasn’t able to make me believe in the world she created. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the Lili and Jared. The deep connection between them seemed to come out of nowhere.

Lili has a talking cat, the reincarnation of Cleopatra who is supposed to be a source of humor, but the snarky cat’s comments seemed forced. The plot was straight forward and predictable. No surprises or twists. There were some secondary characters whose appearances didn’t do anything to move the story forward, just show what a nice people Lili and Jared are. They felt like story filler to me.

Based on other reviews of this book, I am pretty much alone in my opinion about this story <G>. Sometimes an author’s voice just calls to you and sometimes they don’t. This seems to be the case with me. I won’t stay away from this author’s other series, just this one.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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Life Lessons from Goblins

by Shona Husk guest blogger and author of The Goblin King

A goblin is a creature of nightmares, with grey skin, hooked nose, and yellow eyes. They damned themselves to the Shadowlands with their greed and lust for gold. Roan. However, was unfortunate enough to be cursed. He is caught between both worlds. He still has a human soul, but his heart is gold and as the curse takes over he shares many goblin traits—like the need to hoard gold.

There are a few things that goblins can teach us (aside from the obvious warning that greed doesn’t pay).

  • Gold can’t buy happiness or a soul…

No amount of gold will ever make a goblin happy. The more they have the more they want. While Roan and his men have human souls, true goblins don’t since they gave them up for a chance at more. Once given away a soul can’t be returned.

  • If something is worth having it’s worth fighting for…

Sometimes if you really want something you have to put yourself on the line for it. A goblin will fight to the death for a speck of gold. To them there is nothing more important than gold. For Roan that means keeping his men alive and breaking the curse…and having Eliza.

  • The passage of time has little meaning, it’s what you do with it that counts…

While spending close to two thousand year in the Shadowlands may not be everyone’s idea of passing eternity Roan didn’t waste those years. He hoarded silver and gems and gold, spoke to witches and wise-men, saw history unfold and played a part in some of it. He didn’t let being cursed stop him from living—or trying to live.

  • A little magic goes a long way…

Sometimes it’s the little things that count the most, like being able to purify the slippery river water in the Shadowlands, or being able to cross through the realms at will. That skill made Roan the envy of all other goblins as true goblins can only cross into our world at winter solstice. Like all magic there is a price, the grand gestures and magic battles chip away at Roan’s soul until there is almost nothing left…

  • Real love is worth waiting for…

Love can’t be bought, conjured, or faked. You either have it or you don’t. For Roan, finding Eliza made all those years in the Shadowlands worthwhile.

What have you learned from fairy tale creatures?

THE GOBLIN KING BY SHONA HUSK – IN STORES OCTOBER 2011

Once Upon a Time…

A man was cursed to the Shadowlands, his heart replaced with a cold lump of gold. In legends, he became known as… The Goblin King.

For a favored few he will grant a wish. Yet, desperately clinging to his waning human soul, his one own desire remains unfulfilled… A Willing Queen.

But who would consent to move from the modern-day world into the realm of nightmares? No matter how intoxicating his touch, no matter how deep his valor, loving him is dangerous. And the one woman who might dare to try could also destroy forever his chance at a … Happily Ever After.

Buy: The Goblin King

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debut author Shona Husk is a civil designer by day and an author by night. She lives in Western Australia and through history, myth and imagination she creates heroes that are armed and dangerous but have a heart of gold-sometimes literally.  For more information on Shona and The Goblin King, and where to download the FREE prequel, The Summons, please visit: http://www.shonahusk.com/.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of The Goblin King up for grabs today. Open to US and Canadian readers only. Enter by leaving a comment about life lessons from fairytales. Last day to enter: October 30th, 2011. Good luck!