Review: Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Maxwell

happily ever afterReviewed by Karin

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a book so much. It is laugh out loud funny. I really did laugh out loud. This is Maxwell’s first book, but I would definitely read another one, especially if it has the same voice as this one.

The premise of this book sounds silly, and it is impossible, but what the hey! and it combines several genres (romance, erotic and paranormal), which makes it even more clever. Even though you have to suspend reality, it is so easy to do. Finally about halfway through the book I had to mark all the places that were funny, or witty, or poignant.

LRP gave me an uncorrected paperback, but I didn’t see any errors. It was easy to read.

The Story, one of them

Sadie Fuller, a 46 year old divorced mother of an 11 year old daughter, is slightly over weight, living among younger women who are all thin — as Maxwell says of one woman, you’d like to give her a sandwich… She writes erotic romances under a pen name K.T. Briggs. And she is successful. She pays alimony to Roger, her ex, to the tune of $5000 a month. He is still her friend — and gay. Roger has found gorgeous partners, while Sadie has had none.

She places an ad for a sex buddy for her only free time, Friday mornings. It is answered by a sweet guy, Jason, a lawyer, who isn’t chisled. Their sex is funny and sweet as they learn each other. He comes with his own baggage, which makes him endearingly vulnerable, as she is.

Another story

The books starts with almost alternating chapters of Sadie’s story and the new erotic book she is writing, Stolen Secrets.

Things get complicated when she finds she has a greater word count in the morning than how she left it at night. It turns out a witch, Clarissa, has presented the male character, Aiden, with a challenge which he must fulfill in 48 hours.

And Aiden shows up in real life in the Target where Sadie is shopping…it takes a bit before he remembers who he is, and Sadie realizes what is happening.

And Clarissa is a character from an unfinished paranormal book that Sadie set aside a number of years before. Turns out Aiden had been a character in that book under another name and another occupation.

And then…

Jason shows up on the arm of her neighbor (and she shows up with Aiden) at a school fundraiser. Sadie realizes she is jealous, and Jason isn’t too happy either…

The ending (no spoiler)

I loved the ending. Very clever. The end. LOL.

I loved the book. If I could give it 7 * out of 5, I would do it.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Happily Ever After

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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: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Charming Blue

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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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Review: That Voodoo You Do by Jodi Redford

Reviewed by Susan S.

Was it a voodoo queen’s black magick which lured me into the story, or a white witch dabbling with a 24 hr. spell? Who knows?! But what I do know is that Ms. Redford’s novel is not to be missed. It was spectacular! I read it in “one” day, and am now jonesing for more. Got a have…more!

What’s Inside? There’s a very B-A-D wolf who’s uber-hot and knows it, a sexy tiger who growls while engaging in steamy sex, and a witch who won’t let anything/anyone stand between her and her man!

Summary: Book One in That Old Black Magic Series

Jemma Finnegan has kept her feelings for Griffin Trudeau under lock and key for ten very long years. As for Trudeau, keeping his feelings in check has been his own personal hell. Involving himself with his best friend is against the rules. Not because they’re friends, but because he’s her familiar. He knows what the rules are. What he doesn’t know, is what will happen if the rules are broken. Well, he’s about to find out!

Breaking the rules has never felt so right, or so…wrong. How could one beautiful night of lovemaking turn into such an unimaginable hell? A dead voodoo queen has just unleashed a legion of zombies, and they’re after one thing: Jemma’s blood. Does Finnegan know how to stop a zombie apocalypse, use her magick, keep her man, and stop the National Alliance of Witches from banishing the man she loves? Hell, no! But her coven mistress, Clarissa, has some ideas. Perhaps a sexy werewolf named Logan may be of help.

Review: With new-to-me authors I never know what to expect. But after reading That Voodoo You Do, I’m an instant Jodi Redford fan. I’m inclined to believe she owns a magickal scale to place over her manuscripts because her literary elements are perfectly balanced. I loved her characters, hated her antagonist, cranked the A/C through the sex scenes, and the happily-ever-after just warmed my heart. Book two, here I come!

My Favorite Scenes:

Scene #1: When Griffin “has” to ask Logan to help him seduce Jemma. (Smile).

Scene #2: Every scene where Griffin uses the endearment baby.

Scene #3: Every time Logan says sugar.

Scene #4: When Griffin and Logan make her fantasy come true. What starts in the kitchen with some novel uses of sauce, will end on the counter of a hardware store. Trés hot!!!

Recommendations: Mega Mass-Appeal for everyone 18 and older.

If you’re drawn to paranormal romance, this novel has all the paranormal characters you’d want and expect. Erotic romance lovers: the intimate scenes are cranked to extra double-boil. Erotica readers, we have some M/F/M encounters. Oh, you want romance do you? Check. And the HEA will keep you smiling for days. If you enjoy the friends-to-lovers tropes, this book has it. Into zombie reads? (Hello, sister dear!) There’s plenty of the undead to make you scream!

Disclaimer: I won this novel at a TRS (The Romance Studio) party. I loved it so much-I felt it was my duty to review it. Didn’t have to/wasn’t asked to/simply wanted to.

Others in the Series:

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: That Voodoo You Do

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Paranormal Erotic Romance, Copyright 2011, Print Pages 205. ISBN# 978-1-60928-283-7.

Review: Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans

by Susan S., guest reviewer

A Tickle My Fantasy Story

Witches Anonymous novella series: Book one

Summary: Amy Evelyn Atwell, heroine, is adamant about turning over a new cauldron. She’s been an evil witch for far too long; which is one of the reasons she’s joined (WA) Witches Anonymous. Hopefully, she can resist Lucifer and stay on the straight and narrow. WA promises she’ll become a good witch in only 13 steps.

Unfortunately, she’s picked an inconvenient time to be good. Her hostility level is dangerously high. Well, wouldn’t yours be? She just found out her sister’s been sleeping with “her” boyfriend, Lucifer. So much for loving thy sister! Then there are her lustful desires which are setting off more fire alarms than she can count. As if yours wouldn’t! That sexy fireman, Adam Foster, is a hotty. And as an afterthought, a really nice guy.

Will sibling rivalry, the devil’s temptations, and her lustful desires send her back into Luc’s two-timing arms? Or will a higher power help her resist…her witchy side?

Review: Witches Anonymous was a cutesy good vs. evil novella. Ms. Evans presents a wonderful story concept with likeable characters. It was enjoyable to read the contrasts between Adam and Lucifer (the good guy vs. the opposing bad guy).

However, I kept hoping for examples of Amy’s malevolent past (she didn’t come across as evil). I also felt the novella needed just a little more momentum. With only minimal tweaking, this series is sure to grow into a hard-to-resist literary temptation.

Recommendations: Sure to tempt readers who enjoy light paranormal comedies, angels vs. demons stories, good vs. evil plots, and having to choose between a sinfully tempting bad boy vs. the equally appealing nice guy. Note: This novel does not contain sexual scenes. Two characters want to, but they don’t.

Favorite Character: Lucifer He’s sexy as sin! A walking, mouth-watering temptation. Like a Starbuck’s Birthday Cake Pop. Yummy!

Others in the Series: JINGLE HELLS (Witches Anonymous, Step 2) and Wicked Souls (Witches Anonymous, Step 3) are currently available for your reading pleasure.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Witches Anonymous: A Tickle My Fantasy story, Witches Anonymous (UK)

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2009, Paranormal Romantic Comedy, Novella, eBook, Pages 87. ISBN# 978-1-60504-397-5.

Review: Dark Passages by Kathryn Leigh Scott

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Genre: Paranormal Romance

In Kathryn Leigh Scott’s story, she puts a new spin on what a vampire is. We meet Meg as a young girl trying to act as “normal” as possible. Meg is different from most vampire characters than I have read in the past. She is a vampire that can talk to dead people.

I did love how Kathryn put a different spin on our vampire. Meg grows up in the year 1962 and becomes a Playboy Bunny. I also loved the fact that Kathryn references actual historical events instead of making up history to fit her story line.

As I start getting into the story, I read more about Meg’s “Bunny” lifestyle and her trying to become an actress then I do about her being a vampire. There were times that I felt that the character, Meg, could just have been anyone and not someone with special “gifts”.

A personal tragedy occurs and then we start to see Meg thinking about her vampire powers. But so far she doesn’t really act on them. Kathryn also gives us a look into more of what Meg’s childhood was like.

Every once in a while we do get a glimpse of the vampire – we see Meg “feed”. In most vampire stories, our vampires “feed” from humans but Meg uses alternatives. This makes Kathryn’s story a little different from most.

I found that the first couple of chapters were moving a little slow. Kathryn is giving the reader a lot of information about what is going on in Meg’s life. Sometimes I felt that it was a little too much.

Then we see Meg become a member of a soap opera entitled “Dark Passages”.

I do like that Kathryn is very descriptive. It helps the reader get an idea of what is going on in the story. But I also think this works against her because it makes the book hard to read because the scenes move so slowly. It also makes the reader feel that they are watching an actual soap opera – albeit a slow one.

And we haven’t even seen the romance end of it yet. Who is her love interest? Will we ever find out who he is? I’m hoping by the start of chapter 4 that the love interest will show himself and then maybe the story won’t appear so slow. But I was to be disappointed.

In chapter 5, Meg mentions a guy named Eric who appears to be special to her. We have to take her word for that because there is no mention about him in previous chapters. I felt he was “plopped” into the story line because a love interest had to show up somewhere. But I didn’t feel a connection between the two characters. Then we find that Meg has a crush on another actor. This just confuses the reader as to who her love interest is.

Kathryn wrote a beautiful love scene between Meg and Eric. But when it came, it was a surprise. I didn’t expect it because I don’t see a past romance between the two. And they don’t even stay a couple.

Meg gets a “lucky charm” from a very dear friend. One you don’t think she will ever give up. But then we see that she gives it away. Can’t be much of a “lucky charm”.

We then find out that Meg’s nemesis, Camilla, joins the cast of “Dark Passages”. Now we get into a story of good versus evil. It isn’t until chapter 18 that we see what type of vampire Meg really is. It takes Meg’s mother to let the reader know why Camilla hates Meg so much. This conflict between the two of them is what brings out Meg’s powers that we haven’t seen before.

And still at this point I don’t see any real romance. Romance grips you and you can feel the chemistry between the two characters. I don’t feel that anywhere in this book. There is plenty of suspense but the romance is lost in the story line. Usually the romance builds through the book and sometimes they “live happily ever after.” Maybe I missed something but I just didn’t see that here.

I got to a point in the book that I had a hard time concentrating on the story. I found that I had to keep putting it down, go do something else, and then pick it back up again. I didn’t feel that the story picked up until a few chapters from the end. It took me the longest time to read this book (the first time ever).

A lot of my good paranormal romances I have read more than once. I’m sorry to say that once was enough for this book. You as the reader will have to decide if you agree with my feelings about this.

When I received the book “Dark Passages” I was very interested to see that the author was on my favorite show when I was growing up. I always looked forward to watching “Dark Shadows”. It was like an addiction. I had to watch it every time it came on. That was when I first fell in love with vampires.

I had such high hopes that Kathryn would grab my attention right from the beginning but this book failed to deliver. Maybe if the book had fewer pages it would have helped. But I don’t know if that would be true or not. It is not a book that I would go out and buy but I would recommend that if you want to read it, get it from your library.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Dark Passages

Review: Enchanted Destiny by Rayka Mennen

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Main Characters:  Jake Taggert, contractor and single father.  Katherine Richetti, business woman with magical abilities. 

Setting:  Halloween time.  This is perfect since Kat is a witch.

Kat and Jake meet as destiny comes calling.  Kat, of course, doesn’t want it – bad timing.  She goes to talk to her Nonna and comes back to find someone on her porch.  Rayka gives Kat a conscience and she tells Jake what is going on.  But Rayka makes him a typical male, he doesn’t believe her.  It’s funny to watch Jake’s confusion as to what he is going to do about Kat.

Jake is also intrigued by her.  I love how Rayka makes Jake a man who is also shy.  He also finds Kat a little quirky.  But, just like most men, he can’t accept what cannot be explained logically.  Our author is good.  She puts a little “wrench” in the picture, an ex-wife (and as you read you will get to see why).

Then we get to see their first kiss.  For those that love romance, the kiss starts off sweet and then explodes from there.  But then of course they come to their senses.

Rayka also gives the reader a nice family moment when Kat meets Jake’s son for the first time.  Rayka also includes another tender moment between our love birds.  It starts out very innocently and then heats up pretty quickly.  Then we see one of those perfect timing moments and it’s one that you can just picture happening.

The first sex scene fits in perfectly – our author doesn’t force it to happen.  What I love about this story is that even though it is short, the sex scenes don’t take over.  And Jake, being our typical male, has to screw things up.  Rayka did not create anything that didn’t seem believable.  Just like in real life, the parents get involved and try to fix things.

Rayka has two minor characters – Gina and Eric.  Their story will be out in December.  You will not want to miss this sequel.

It will be interesting to see if Jake and Kat make a reappearance in “Enchanted Desire”.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (only because I wanted to

Buy: Enchanted Destiny

Review: My Dangerous Pleasure (Witches, Book 4) by Carolyn Jewel

Reviewed by Sharon S.

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I had my issues with the heroine, but the hero Iskander is so fun and delicious I was willing to over look any problems I had.

This is the 4th book in Jewel’s Witches series. I was worried I would be lost since I hadn’t read the first three, but the author does a good job of filling in any back story information and included a helpful glossary of terms in the beginning of the book. Like most PNR series, each book focuses on one couple’s storyline with some of the previous characters making an appearance. I loved just about every character I met in the unique and dark world Jewel has created. The characters from the previous books play an integral part in this story and now I want to know their stories too.

Iskander is a demon that works for the local Warlord as an assassin. He is good at what he does and doesn’t deal with humans much, unless he is having a one night stand with a woman. And he likes to have sex with human women <G>. It is his struggle to control his horn-dog behavior when he is around Paisley that makes him so endearing. I think his mind works like that of a dog in the “I want the bone, but no, I can’t take the bone, she will be mad, but I want the bone, maybe a little taste… NO, don’t touch the bone” way. I loved watching their relationship happen and the sex scenes were so sensual and smexy you will be panting!

Paisley’s character bothered me a little. Considering she had no idea demons, and magic users were real; she accepted it too readily. She isn’t the kick ass heroine I prefer, but Jewel created such an interesting world of demons and mages that I still enjoyed myself immensely.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: My Dangerous Pleasure

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