Thursday, April 17, 2014

A KISS OF BLOOD by Pamela Palmer



Vamp City #2
Avon Books, June 2013
Paperback
Obtained via:  publisher
0062107534 (ISBN13: 9780062107534)
Paranormal Romance
*** ½




Pamela Palmer’s second Vamp City book, A KISS OF BLOOD, finds human Quinn Lennox returning to the dreaded Vamp City, that she managed to escape in the first book of this series.  But the vampire world’s magic is crumbling and only Quinn has the power to restore it and free the vampires trapped within.  After being betrayed by the seductive Arturo Mazza in the first book, Quinn is more than reluctant to trust him when he comes for her.  But with her brother suffering from some kind of magic sickness tied to Vamp City and with her power emerging, Quinn makes the difficult decision to return to Vamp City.

Palmer does an incredible job of world building in her Vamp City series.  Vamp City is an alternate world version of Washington, DC, an 18th century parallel where the vampires rule, humans are slaves and/or food and it is always nighttime.  In addition to the vampires, other supernatural beings exist there:  traders, rippers and werewolves.  Though most of this world building is done in the first book, there is enough explanation in A KISS OF BLOOD for readers to get the gist.

This reader also thoroughly enjoyed the main characters, Quinn and Arturo, mainly because they are so not what one would expect from love interests.  Quinn is forced to rely on Arturo in the first book because she has no choice and even though he warns her not to trust him; she of course does and ends up being betrayed by him.  In A KISS OF BLOOD, Arturo is back and is fighting to win back her trust.  Quinn has been fooled once, she isn’t about to let it happen again so easily.  Though Quinn goes back in order to find a cure for her brother and help the humans stuck there, this book is mainly about whether Arturo can be redeemed and of course Quinn’s growing powers.

The thing I liked both most and least about A KISS OF BLOOD was the book’s ending.  It just sort of ends abruptly, leaving many things hanging.  Very clever Ms. Palmer, yes very clever.


Reviewed by T. Barringer
tammyLRM@gmail.com

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book."


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SNIPER by Vaughn C. Hardacker

Publisher:  Skyhorse Publishing
Published:   February, 2014
ISBN:
 978-1626365575
Genre:   Thriller

Format:  Ebook
Obtained via:  ARC – Edelweiss – Above the Tree Line
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com

TWO-1/2


Just an ordinary day with ordinary people going to and from work, play or just going about their lives, passing through the Boston Commons.  On the corner of Beacon and Charles a man makes a decision.  Not just any decision, but one he’s been planning.  One that will forever alter the lives of those who become part of that decision. 

But it’s not those four people who he has his sights on.  At least not for his long range goal.  No, it’s a far more reaching and nefarious goal.  But these people are the first step of his plan. He is a sniper…trained to kill…to silently enter a space, make his kill and move on, unseen, unknown, maybe never to be caught.  He takes his shots and before the bodies have completely fallen he is gone.

Detective Mike Houston and his partner Anne Bouchard are assigned to the case.  Bit by bit Houston begins to see similarities, things that chill him because they are not all that different from his own training as a U.S. Marine sniper.  Could the killer be one of his own?

But the killing doesn’t end on that sunny day on Boston Common.  The killer is coming and coming for Mike Houston.

Based on the blurb I eagerly anticipated digging into Vaughn C. Hardackers’ SNIPER.  It sounded like it was going to be a hard hitting, non-stop, white-knuckle thriller that would keep me up nights turning the pages (or the screens on my Kindle.)  Sadly, it didn’t deliver.

The story does have quite a bit to recommend it, especially with the quotes that precede each chapter.  Some were pretty compelling and for the most part all were meaningful, at least to me.  But there action became stunted with pretty much non-stopping narrative.  Yes, there was dialogue, but a good part of it was stilted, brusque and unemotional.  At times I could almost hear the narrator droning on and on. 

The rationale for the sniper’s goal was chilling.  And when he turned his sights on Houston I wanted to hell at him to stop, just stop!  Because it was too awful to contemplate the outcome if the killer succeeded. 

If you don’t mind a lot of narrative and don’t mind a slow moving story, SNIPER is a good choice. 



This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ONE STEAMED NIGHT by Lara Nance



Publisher: decadentpublishing.com
Date published: 23-Jan-14
ISBN: 978-1-61333-656-4
Genre M/F, steampunk romance
E-book
Reviewed by Helen
Weblink: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=895&osCsid=th5aikdqa4d5o6n0tt7iogk5s7
Obtained via publisher
Rating: 3



Like so many modern women, Mina Davis has lost faith in the twenty-first century dating scene as a place to find romance. From drunks pinching her rear and slobbering over her in the bar, to well-dressed but dishonorable corporate types, Mina longs for a swashbuckling hero. Enter Madame Evangeline and 1Night Stand.


I’ve read quite a lot of books in this series, and mostly I really enjoy them. They tend to be very short, very hot, and with a neat little plot and just a few characters all sewn up fast. Ms. Nance has written several steampunk books and it’s a genre I enjoy. A nice mix of fantasy, and history on steroids, with maybe some adventure thrown in. In such a very short length I wasn’t expecting a detailed plot or even a whole lot of sex. It’s not possible inside the word limit. But sadly I found the steampunk setting a bit cheesy, the romance a bit predictable, and the sex not really all that hot. Ross had potential, but he seemed a little bit of a cardboard cutout. I might have fallen for him more if we’d known a little more about him. Maybe if there’d been a scene from his POV. On a positive note, the book was very cleanly produced.  I liked Mina and her friend Regina, and the ending was a nice clever resolution.




This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.



Monday, April 14, 2014

AT THE RIVER’S EDGE by Mariah Stewart


The Chesapeake Diaries Series Book Seven
Ballantine Books
February 2014
978-0-345-53842-0
Contemporary Romance
Electronic Advance Reading Copy
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher via Netgalley
5 Hearts




Sophie Enright is at a crossroads. Leaving her cheating boyfriend, trying to decide if the law is for her and more, she escapes to St. Dennis where her brother is getting ready to get married to take stock of her life and see where she wants to go with her career. She never imagined she would find a new passion in both Jason Bowers, her sexy new neighbor and the run down restaurant she buys with the dream of opening her own place. The sparks fly between Jason and Sophie but when Sophie’s cheating ex shows up, will Jason fight for Sophie, for the love growing between them or will he walk away from the woman who is becoming more to him than anyone else has before?

Mariah Stewart does it again with a charming tale of a woman trying to decide where she wants to go in life, a man determined to make St. Dennis his home after leaving the memories and loss in Florida. The sparks between Jason and Sophie is instant and the minute they both get on the page together, I could see Jason is just perfect for Sophie. I loved how these two danced their way around each other and the author does a wonderful job in letting the reader experience small town life in her Chesapeake Shores series. The writing is tight, story flows nicely and the ending is a pure delight in my opinion. Ms. Stewart is my go to author when I need a pick me up after a rough day and she never fails to disappoint in her Chesapeake Shores books. They are just a perfect read anytime of the year to enjoy.

Meet Sophie and Jason. Sophie has the world at her fingertips with a job at the DA’s, a man she is falling for and more. That is until she spies him in the backseat of his car with another woman than look out, Sophie is determined to reevaluate her life and that is including Chris, the two timing rat. I got to admit I was rooting for Sophie the minute she flew on the page. I wanted her to dump Chris, find love elsewhere and more. She is a wonderful character who comes across as a person at a crossroads in her life. Does she want to continue with the law field or make her dream of running a restaurant a reality? The author does a marvelous job in capturing Sophie’s conflicted emotions as she wavers between doing what is comfortable to her or taking that frisk with something new.

Jason Bowers moved to St. Dennis to start over after his brother died and he sold their landscaping business there. As he finds himself drawn to Sophie he also isn’t looking for love right now but there is something about Sophie that just draws him to her. That is until she buys the property next to his business and he is disgruntled to find out that no amount of money will change her mind in selling it to him. I loved how Sophie made Jason see that her dreams are just as important as his are. The author shows the reader how important this is to Sophie and how she sticks to her guns, which left me smiling, especially as some familiar secondary characters make their opinions known. The characters are very well written, so much so they fairly leap off the pages when you open AT THE RIVER’S EDGE. I really loved seeing some of my favorite characters from past books pop in throughout the story and there was a few sub-plots that had me wanting more when the last page was read.

AT THE RIVER’S EDGE is a wonderful written romantic story that leaves you breathless in the end. I am looking forward to the next installment in this captivating series and hope the author doesn’t leave us hanging for the next book. If you enjoy small town charm in your stories with intriguing characters then try one of the Chesapeake Shores stories and settle in for hours of reading enjoyment.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement



Sunday, April 13, 2014

HUNTED by Elizabeth Heiter

The Profiler Series, Book One
Harlequin Mira
February 1st, 2014
978-0-7783-1584-1
Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Thriller
Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Self-Purchase
4 Hearts



Evelyn Baine is the FBI’s rising star in the B.A.U. but when she is handed the case of the Bakersville Burier, she finds herself pitting her mind and profile against a killer who is more than even she assumes him to be. The killer is on Evelyn’s trail as bodies pile up, mystery surrounding him deepens and Evelyn finds herself in the crosshairs for the first time in her career as the Bakersville Burier strikes back at Evelyn in a way that will change her forever.

For a debut author like Elizabeth Heiter to totally immerse me in the world of FBI Criminal profilers and the chase of a killer, was astounding. I literally lost track of time as the twists and turns in the book left me reeling even as I flipped the pages quickly to see what would happen next for Evelyn. This is an author who knows how to tease and torment her readers to the point of obsessing over what the killer would do next. I know I was one of those readers going ‘come on, you are so close’ to the pages. I have to point out that it is the characters that also contribute to the strong storyline as well. Evelyn is a flawed heroine which really drew me to her. She had secrets in her past she was determined to keep there and her drive in the FBI’s BAU division is almost to the obsessive point but you can’t help but feel for her as well. Especially when some secrets from her past come to light in the story that tells the reader just what makes Evelyn tick. The writing is very good and the story flows smoothly with enough twists to keep the reader glued to the pages till the very end.

Meet Evelyn Baine. One of the FBI’s rising stars in the BAU and a top notch criminal profiler. Her past has pushed her to where she is today and when she is chosen to give a profile on a killer called the ‘Bakersville Burier’, Evelyn will find the killer’s mind is a web of trails and she will need all her skills as a FBI Agent to beat this madman in his game. I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know Evelyn. She is a flawed yet vulnerable woman who pushes herself to do the best she can in her job, almost to the point where it becomes an obsession with her as she barely has a social life to speak of. I really think Evelyn is a woman you can’t help but fall a bit in love with as you read HUNTED. Her life has been chaotic and at times, very painful yet you get a sense that this is a person who knows what she wants to do in life and is determined to succeed no matter the cost. The author created some amazing secondary characters that I am hoping get more page time in the future books of this series. All the characters are well written and keep the story flowing smoothly.

HUNTED is a story that gripes you until the very end and doesn’t let up on the roller coaster ride at all. I loved every minute of HUNTED and cannot wait for the next book to come out. I just wish it wasn’t a year away. If you enjoy a dose of suspense with a dash of character development and more in your books, then you might want to try this new author out. I was pleasantly surprised by this debut novel and have added this author as an auto-buy for me.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

Saturday, April 12, 2014

HOPE FLAMES by Jaci Burton



A Hope Novel, Book One
Berkley
January 7th, 2014
978-0425259764
Contemporary Romance
Netgalley ARC
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
4.5 Hearts

Emma Burnett is back in her home town, opening her own veterinary place. She doesn’t have time for romance, relationships or anything at the moment. She is determined to be independent and not have a man decide what she needs or wants in life. She can do that all on her own, thankyouverymuch!

Luke McCormack is just fine with Emma’s attitude and isn’t looking for anything either. Divorced and the only woman in his life is his police dog, he can’t help but be drawn to Emma. Something that draws him to her even as he tries to resist her appeal. But when a rash of break ins occur and Emma turns to the one person who she feels safe with, can Luke and Emma find a way to bridge the gulf between them as hope stirs in their hearts and love comes sneaking up on them?

I absolutely adored HOPE FLAMES, a brand new sexy series from premier author Jaci Burton. This is a master storyteller who knows how to hook her readers and doesn’t let them go until the very last page is read. The story flows smoothly and leaves you eager for more after you turn the pages to see what happens next for these two stubborn people. The characters are quite well written, delightful and I, for one, would love to meet them for coffee one day. That is how enjoyable and life like they felt to me. This had every button that I love in a book-mystery/suspense, romance, friendship, sexy times, great cast of characters and so much more. Normally, Ms. Burton delivers sexy erotic stories that pump the blood and HOPE FLAMES is just the opposite in a way. HOPE FLAMES is a sweet contemporary that had that perfect balance of sexy scenes and character growth. That right there cemented this series as an auto-buy to me. That balance alone can be hard to write because you can have too much of one thing, too little of another or just a mess, in my opinion. But in this first book, Ms. Burton captures it perfectly. This is a testament of her talent as a writer and for knowing how to world build perfectly.

HOPE FLAMES introduces the readers to Emma and Luke, two very gun shy people who are just perfect for one another. That is if they listen to their hearts. What really cemented these two characters was how passionate they were about their jobs. Luke is a cop, dedicated in protecting and serving the public; Emma is determined to help her furry clients in whatever way she can. I am sucker for dedicated characters and these two just worked for me. There were a few light hearted moments that had me giggling as well as some simmering sexual tension between Emma and Luke that had me fanning my face but overall, it all worked perfectly together. Besides who can resist a hero who loves animals? I  know I couldn’t. The characters were multi-dimensional and had me rooting for them to get their own happy ever after. The secondary characters helped move the story along as well and were just as intriguing.

HOPE FLAMES delivers a subtle punch while you read it. You just can not put it down! I have to commend Ms. Burton for creating a new series that I am eager to explore more of and see who is next in love’s net. If you enjoy a story full of yummy bits, romance, going back to your hometown kind of story, then you won’t want to miss this exciting introduction to the Hope Series. Now I need to know when book two comes out.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement.