Review: Tapestry by Karen Ranney

tapestryHero: Alex, the Earl of Cardiff, never planned to be the earl. He had a father and older brother and so went off to war to make his mark. When he returns, he is severely wounded and hides his ravage face and body and heart in the castle of Heddon Hall. His servants are terrified of him. His stepmother despises him. He can’t tell if his estate manager is swindling him because he can’t read due to the loss of one eye and the headaches that come from trying to focus the other. When an uppity little maid arrives, bold as you please, on his doorstep, he’s intrigued despite his attempts to distance himself from her.

Heroine: Lady Laura Blake has had enough of being rebuffed. If Alex won’t return her letters and tell her what is going on she will figure it out on her own. She shows up at his estate in disguise, wearing her maid’s clothes and using her maid’s name. Once inside his household, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being a scullery maid was not quite what she had in mind! Soon she’s elevated to be his personal secretary and that suits her so much better. Now she can spend her days with Alex… and nights.

Review: The first half of the novel is the best part of the story. If you want a happy ending that’s truly happy end at book one/part one. I enjoyed the setup with the heroine breaking into the hero’s lair as a servant (though how she managed it is a mystery because she’s a family friend, you’d think she’d be recognized by someone – Alex!!) I like Laura’s bumbling in the kitchen, her determination to reach Alex and break down his walls. I loved his elation at recapturing humanity and love.

However, after they come together the story goes downhill as they are separated, when the hero returns to his wartime duties for one last assignment. Laura doesn’t want him to go, but for his masculine and national pride, Alex must. Their separation leads to misfortune as Alex is captured and assumed dead. Laura experiences a miscarriage because of the news and also faces the doubly incapacitating grief of losing Alex and the babe. When Alex gets out of prison, he allows his evil stepmother’s cruel words to sway him from finding the truth of what is going on with Laura which causes a big misunderstanding. My friends, you know me, and you know I love angst, but holy moly this is too much. I also like more time together with the main characters and less time apart.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Tapestry

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Review: Blood Knot by Tracy Cooper-Posey

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Summary: Nathanial (Nial) shows up in Montana hoping Winter Manon Kennedy, heroine, will help him find Sebastian. Bastian was a no-show at a meeting, and now Nial’s worried. (Well, that’s his story anyway. And Nial’s sticking to it). It’s in Winter’s best interest to help Nial since she needs Bastian’s blood anyway. An unintentional symbiotic pairing has left her in need of his blood and Bastian in need of…let’s just say, her close proximity. (Sorry. No spoilers).

Together Nial and Winter will stop at nothing-until Sebastian is found. Forced to travel in close proximity, Nial begins to realize there’s more to Ms. Kennedy than meets the eye. She’s not exactly human. Winter has a gift for manipulating others’ biologies through touch. As well as heal herself and others. Kennedy too makes some observations of her own. That Nathanial is a vampire. And anyone with eyes can see he’s a fine male specimen. Even though he is…technically undead. For a man that’s 1,451 years old give or take a year, he’s hot-as-hell.

Someone plans on exposing all vampires to the world, thrusting Kennedy back into her old life of thievery. Can they stop the exposure and survive? Or will one woman’s love be the end of Nial, Bastian, and the whole vampire race?

Review: I’ve read erotic sex-based (MMF) short stories before. As well as a love triangle romance which left me disappointed in the heroine’s final choice. The latter was a tear-jerker; it left me crying for the man she rejected-while I nursed a pounding headache. And just why am I mentioning stories by other authors…here?! Because I’m hoping to clarify that Blood Knot is: headache-free, no tissues were harmed in the reading process, it’s not all sex-based and empty plotted. There are beautiful intertwined love stories and emotions at play. The ending made for a very happy arrangement for all.

There was only one con; the heavy-dialogued beginning made for a slow start. I should add my opinion though. Said dialogue was necessary in order for Nial and Winter to get to know each other.

As a reader I’m big on believability. C’mon. Can 3 people really love each other? Yes. In Blood Knot, anyway. Nial and Winter are attracted to each other, but also share a commonality. They share abusive painful pasts; albeit different circumstances. What about Nial and Sebastian? They already shared a life together once, romantically, and understood each other’s vampirism. O.k., so now, what about Winter and Bastian? They used to work together (partners in crime). And had feelings for each other which always bubbled under the surface, yet for one reason or another they never revealed their true desires. Told you. It works!

Favorite Scenes: The honeyed-carrots kissing scene, of course! Grab a 32 oz. soda. That scene is hot! What’s my second favorite scene? Nial and Winter’s induction into the (MHC) Mile High Club. Yow-zah!

Recommendations: Blood Knot will appeal to adult readers who favor: erotic romance, contemporary romance, paranormal vampire romances, urban fantasy, and love triangle tropes. Also for movie lovers who enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve. Mile High Club members may like it. If they want to reminisce, or maybe read the story after…

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: Blood Knot

Publisher: Stories Rule Publications, Copyright 2011, Erotic MMF Urban Fantasy Romance, eBook, 171 Pages.
Available Formats:
ISBN# for Kindle: 978 098 690 6404
ISBN# for Smashwords: 978-0-986-90642-8
ISBN# for Print edition: 978-0-986 9064-1-1

Review: Lucifer’s Daughter by Eve Langlais

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Summary: It’s not easy being…

Auric: He was thrown out of heaven for questioning their ways, and going against the grain. He’s a fallen angel with a Mega trilemma on his hands. In order to return to heaven’s good graces he’ll have to do a good deed. Like slay Lucifer’s daughter. Problem #1- if he takes Muriel’s life, he’ll lose her love. Here’s where the dilemma begins, problem #2-if Auric doesn’t rob her life, he’ll never regain his angel wings. And finally, problem #3, turning this into a trilemma, if he disobeys Lucifer and doesn’t stay away from Muriel he’ll have hell to pay. Literally! And really, who wants to anger Big D on purpose?

Satana (Muriel) Baphomet: Ever heard the saying the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, this apple didn’t just fall far from it; it landed in an entirely different forest, on a completely different world. She’s the perfect daughter. Always earned straight As, and an unwed virgin waiting for love. Is that so wrong? Yes. It is! Her father is he with many names: Big D, Lucifer, Satan, Hades, Beelzebub, etc., etc. Sin is a requirement, not an option!

When a sexy dark-haired stranger walks into Muriel’s bar, will it signal her descent into sin? Or Auric’s eternal damnation.

Review: Lucifer’s Daughter is a smokin’ hot novella. And not just because it came from the fiery depths of hell. Bwah-ha-ha! I love double–entendres in romances! This story’s got `em. It’s also funny-as-hell, pun intended. There were two scenes I really enjoyed. The first is when three hot guys order a beer at Muriel’s bar, Nexus. Three different guys, three different requests. Funny stuff. The second was when Satana tries to contact her dad on the phone and she hears a pre-recorded message. Loved the recording.

There were unanswered questions that left me wanting answers. Who is Muriel’s mom? Who’s the unidentified antagonist who seeks to overthrow hell? Why couldn’t the antagonist gain access to her memories? Maybe book two holds the answers I seek. There’s a possibility I may have inferred my second question, but don’t really know for certain.

Recommendations: Recommended for readers who enjoy stories about opposites attracting. Also for anyone who reads erotica, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and angels and demon stories.

To Be Continued: Book two, titled Snowballs In Hell, is currently available for your reading pleasure. It promises 3x the fun. Translation: Sexual content includes threesomes.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Lucifer’s Daughter

Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, Copyright 2010, eBook, Novella, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Demons Romance, Pages 78. ISBN# 978-1-59578-740-8.

Review: Doubting Thomas by Stephanie Taylor

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

One man finds what he doesn’t expect in a bar while he’s playing pool, a woman and not just any woman – she’s one of those men don’t normally find on a standard everyday night, and certainly not when he looks like he does, scarred from a car accident that could have claimed his life he leads his life as any man would considering his dire circumstances, and certainly doesn’t think he looks that good enough to attract any kind of female attention. He had an idea his life might never be the same again after what happened, and seeing her was one of the most unexpected things that could occur.

The woman, Alyssa doesn’t want to let him go, but has to – yet she thinks she knows who he might be as she has been searching the same places her missing man, Chris, would have visited as her man was in an accident too, and she hasn’t seen him since – not even after having put so much money into finding him. She is at a loss as to what to do, but has the strength and determination to try and seek him out, as for her, failure is not an option when faced with a life she can only spend with useless men who aren’t a patch on her former lover.

Alyssa is persistent to the point of annoyance with Thomas, but there is something else annoying her, her current man is unresponsive to her needs for finding her missing former love – he thinks she should let the past lie, and go on with her life with him, but nothing is as simple as that for her – she wants her former man back and will do anything in her power to make it possible.

She thinks the man she met that night in the bar could have the answers she needs, but she has to find him again, and as her friend reminds her, if he is Chris, he might not want to continue where they left off.

It is a deep story, comical in places with some endearing touches to it that the reader will like if they are into contemporary romance with a twist as this appears to be. Alyssa is a very strong woman who knows how to be pleased in bed, so it is little wonder that she will only respond to the one she really loves most, her Chris.

The entire story involves the two of them, Thomas and her insulting each other, and trading jibes that only he would know the meaning of, but the real question is, is he her true love and has just changed his name, or another man she is getting mixed up with who doesn’t really know her at all?

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Doubting Thomas

Review: Soul of the Wildcat by Devyn Quinn

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by Susan S., guest reviewer

Soul of the Wildcat is a wild and hot erotica! Devyn’s sexy Native American shifters will leave you breathless. I recommend this book to erotica readers.

She’s

Dakoda Jenkins, a ranger working in North Carolina’s South Mountains State Park. Her assignment, is to stop the poachers from capturing the Eastern Cougars.

He’s

Jesse Clawfoot, a Native American belonging to the Tlvdatsi; a tribe of the Cherokee Nation. He wandered too far from his reservation in search of a mate; when he scents a female.

They

Began their day never imagining they’d be taken, captured, and caged.

Challenge

Together, they’ll attempt to stop the cruel outlaws known as the Barnett brothers.

Problem

They need to escape first!

Pros

Devyn’s sex scenes are hot, explicit, and her descriptions are spot on. The sex scene inside a wrecked plane, during a lightning storm was steaming hot! Of course, the picnic table scene at the beginning wasn’t too bad either. (LOL)

Warning

Readers familiar with the author’s novels will find Soul of the Wildcat to be a “lighter” and slower-paced read when compared to her darker faster- paced works. This book contains- expletives, sexual molestation, and a reference to bestiality which some readers may find disturbing.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Soul of the Wildcat

Erotic Romance, Aphrodisia Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., Copyright 2009, December 2009, Paperback.
ISBN-13# 978-0-7582-3121-5
ISBN-10# 0-7582-3121-0

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Review: Wish for the Moon by Sandra Jones

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by Susan Sigler, guest reviewer

Wish for the Moon is a beautiful story with elements comparable to Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, complete with medieval knights and tournaments.

Jones’s story contains medieval and feudal terms, which left me feeling a bit confounded for the first half of the story. I found myself resorting to a list of medieval terminology which I printed from the internet. For the second half of the read, I applied my own inferences and conjectures deciding to forego my list altogether.

As a result, there is an adjustment period for modern readers. Some terms you’ll find within the book are: atavistic, barbican, bread trenchers, garderobe, hauberk, I trow, supercilious, God’s teeth, for certes, and cantankerous.

I found myself empathizing more with a secondary character, rather than the main characters. I found (Giles) both earl and brother to our hero (Matthias) quite refreshing. I enjoyed Gile’s character very much. He is honest and forthcoming, whereas Matthias is dishonest and unforthcoming. They are at odds, and their brotherly dynamics are at the heart of this plot.

The setting where most of our story unfolds, takes place inside a castle during the Middle Ages.

Caroline Greer (heroine) will travel alone from South Carolina in the states, to Wales in the U.K. She visits Matthias Thorne, a professor of medieval studies at Cardiff University. Matthias may have knowledge of a plant, known for its abilities to help inhibit seizures. This is critical to Caroline who’s not only an herbalist, but suffers from epileptic seizures.

When Matthias turns her away refusing to help, Carrie must take matters into her own hands.

In his attempt to stop her from uncovering a dark truth, they will travel back in time into the Middle Ages.

Once there, they will encounter a terrible betrayal, lies, and deceit. When the truth is revealed, will Carrie and Matthias have enough trust in themselves to forge a life together? Or will the betrayal be too painful to overcome.

Wish for the Moon is book one of Circle of Destiny, which leads me to surmise, it may very well be part of a trilogy.

Rating: ★★★½☆
Time Travel Romance, eBook, The Wild Rose Press, Copyright 2008, 375 pages.
ISBN# 1-60154-554-1

Buy: Wish for the Moon

Review: The Highlander’s Sword by Amanda Forester

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Heroine, Aila Graham, has lived a pious and sheltered life at Dundaff castle; in Scotland. She’s preparing to take her vows as an Abbess. Well…actually, that was before her father married her off to a highland warrior named Padyn MacLaren (hero.)

Aila’s father (Laird John Graham) offers MacLaren his daughter’s hand. The union will give Graham’s clan protection. Padyn in turn, will receive a beautiful redhead, along with her land and fortune. Everyone should be in a celebratory mood, a win-win situation, right? Wrong! Last thing Aila wanted was to be married. As for MacLaren, he’s just thinking of his clan; after all-women are an aggravation he rather not have.

Now there’s a murderous traitor in their midst, and Aila will have to choose where her loyalties lie: with her father, her mother, her new husband, or the church. Will she choose wisely and save her life, and the lives of those she holds dear? Or, will a wrong decision bring destitution and death to her clan?

My thoughts:

I felt the French knight, and MacLaren’s friend (Chaumont) overshadowed the hero. It was easy to sympathize with Chaumont’s humanity, his pain, his basic desire to be accepted and loved. He was my favorite character.

MacLaren by contrast, was simply aggravating! He’s harsh, wastes no opportunity to insult Aila and make her cry. It’s understandable if a past betrayal has broken one’s heart, but the hero crosses the line from caution into emotional abuse. He redeems himself only slightly, and too late in the novel for me.

I would’ve preferred the secondary characters Chaumont and Lady Mary Patrick, as hero and heroine.

Recommendations:

This novel will appeal to readers who like historicals. Forester does a lovely job with the historical elements; throughout.

2 Stars

Buy: The Highlander’s Sword

Historical Romance Fiction, ARC, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. March 2010, Print Pages 337.

ISBN# 978-1-4022-2948-0