Tag: Lora Leigh

Guest Review: Enthralled by Meljean Brook, Alyssa Day, Lora Leigh and Lucy Monroe

Posted August 7, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

15808710Erica’s review of Enthralled by Meljean Brook, Alyssa Day, Lora Leigh and Lucy Monroe

Enthralled is an anthology of four new novellas that focus on paranormal storylines.

The first in the book, “The Devil’s Due,” by Lora Leigh is part of her Breeds series. I’ve never read any if the books in the series, and I felt like that lack of knowledge about the world was a serious detriment to my enjoying and understanding much of the story. The idea was cool: that there are these people who have been genetically enhanced with the abilities of different animals. But the novella as a whole work felt very… Well, it was kind of all over the place. A novella has a limited amount of space to convince me of a HEA and this one spent a lot of time focused on other characters. It actually felt like a side story plucked from a larger book. I liked a couple of the other characters much better than the couple I was supposed to be reading about, and I’m curious about their stories, so I may look into this series. However, a lot of this story actively annoyed me, for reasons I’ll get into later.

The second story, “The Curse of the Black Swan,” by Alyssa Day, was just a freaking delight all the way around. I loved how the characters talked to each other and interacted and connected, and it was all just so, so lovely and cute and weirdly very real for a story about a chick who turns into a swan and an undercover half fire demon firefighter. I totally bought this world, and I adore it, and I want lots lots more. The ending was rushed, the Bad Guy reveal annoyed me a bit, but I so didn’t even care. I totally bought into the whole thing and adored it.

The third story, “Salvage“, by Meljean Brook, is part of her Iron Seas series, which I will admit, I am unabashedly, madly in love with. Oh my god, I love these books. Anyway, this story focuses on a minor character from Heart of Steel, Big Thom, who’s a salvager and diver, and his estranged wife Georgiana, and holy crap. It was fantastic. They talked, they worked out their issues in a realistic way, they had crazy adventures, and there was a scene that I will not share that had me rolling around howling with laughter. It may very well be the perfect novella. AND it was full of steampunk awesomeness. So much joy. I would have liked to have seen more, just because I love this world and these characters so darn much, but I still think it worked astonishingly well as a novella.

The fourth story, “Ecstasy Under the Moon“, by Lucy Monroe, part of her Children Under the Moon series. Again, cool concept: shapeshifters were the ancient Picts, that split up into different clans, and are now (but this is still in the medieval period) trying to mend fences and join forces and all of that. Very cool. Occasionally the language felt forced and Una had something terrible happen to her, but we don’t really get the details. We get one detail, and it’s terrible, but, as bad as it was, feels anticlimactic to what I expected the story to be. I basically didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters, though. And…

Okay, quick little rant here. I hate the idea of two people being “destined” or “chosen” for each other, and then that’s it. That’s the whole reason why they’re together and they’re in love. It happened in “The Devil’s Due” and in “Ecstasy Under the Moon”, and it made me freaking insane. I mean it’s cool that they have some chemical or spiritual connection that draws them to each other. BUT you gotta show me that even without that predestined factor, these people would still choose each other. In “Ecstasy Under the Moon,” they had all these meetings where they talked and apparently bonded, and I didn’t get to see any of it. I was told that they bonded, that they shared stories, etc., but I didn’t see it. So then they get together and it’s all good because they’re soulmates or something and I’m like, ugh. I get it. It’s a novella, there’s not a lot of room. But, in my mind, watching the couple that I’m supposed to be connecting with and rooting for a HEA for come together in a real and meaningful way should be the main freaking reason why I’m reading the book. In “The Devil’s Due,” I missed out on two weeks of their relationship and then they were HEA because of all this stuff that had happened off the page and I’m FURIOUS, because right now I don’t believe that they love each other. I believe they’ve got some crazy chemical reaction thing going on, they’re hot, and they’re both good in the sack. And that’s it. That’s annoying as hell. One of the reasons why I adored the other two novellas so much was that I actually saw these two people talking and interacting and laughing and being vulnerable and falling in love. I am totally convinced of their HEAs because of that.

Okay. Rant over.

It’s tough grading this book as a whole, because of my wildly different reactions to the stories contained. Since one I’d grade a 5.0 (“Salvage”), one a 4.5 (“The Curse of the Black Swan”), and two I’d give 2.0 (“Ecstasy Under the Moon” and”The Devil’s Due”), I’m going to average it all out and say a 3.0 for the book. This is with the caveat that everyone needs to read Salvage immediately, or I’ll beat you up. Not really. 🙂

 

This title is available from Berkley Trade.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: Stygian’s Honor by Lora Leigh

Posted October 31, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Stygian’s Honor (Breed Chronicles #27) by Lora Leigh

Window Rock, Arizona, is the last known location of Honor Roberts, who vanished when she was just thirteen. It was her only sanctuary from the Breed research that would surely have ended in her death—one such insidious experiment should, indeed, have killed her. That she lived is both a miracle—and a great mystery.

Stygian’s mission is to find Honor Roberts, no matter the cost. Now, with the help of Liza Johnson, assistant to the chief of the Navajo Nation, he is closer than ever to his goal. But will the discovery of Honor Roberts mean the destruction of the mating heat that has developed between Stygian and Liza?

Liza Johnson has lived a relatively simple life but now the Genetics Council is after her and she has no idea why. The Breeds show up and they plan to protect her – but protect her from what? Jonas Wyatt is determined to find a girl by the name of Honor Roberts because he thinks that her and her friend hold the key to healing his dying toddler.

Stygian Black first saw Liza when he was in a bar (during Malachi and Isabelle’s story) and he’s been hooked on her ever since. He knows that she’s his mate but she’s all about her independence and isn’t keen on being controlled by her mate as that what she thinks will happen. He’s determined to get her to see that life with him will be wonderful and she’ll still have her independence…to a point.

But Liza’s kind of screwed up. She starts having memories that can’t possibly be her own and she starts to doubt that she is who she thinks she is. How can she be Liza and yet have memories of things that never happened to her? And why is her father lying to Jonas Wyatt about her and the Navajo Nation’s database?

This is book 27 in the series – yes, you read that correctly – 27! I think that it’s time to wrap things up. Maybe I’ve said that before but it’s true. The stories are all slightly different but basically the same. Men feeling the mating heat and the women fighting it. When the women do capitulate it’s always the most wonderful thing on earth and they fall in love quickly.

In this story we do have the issue of Amber, Jonas’s adopted daughter being sick – but we had that in the last book. How long can this child be sick without assistance and still make it. I thought for sure that we would get some closure with that but unfortunately we didn’t. That poor child has to suffer some more while we watch another couple get mated. *Sigh*

While the story was decent and I did like Stygian I didn’t care all that much for Liza and that put a damper on things. I know she was going through a lot but still – IDK, I just never warmed up to her.

I will probably end up reading the next book to find out about poor little Amber but hopefully things will be wrapped up soon.

Rating: 3 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

What I Read Last Week

Posted October 16, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 4 Comments

Happy Monday!

Well, I wish I could say that it’s a happier Monday than it is. I’m in mourning as my Kindle died a horrible death last night. Actually it was more a matter of it dying in its sleep. It was fine yesterday afternoon when I stuck it on my bedside stand but then last night when I went to get it the screen was dark with horizontal and vertical lines on it and apparently that’s a death knell. It lived a good life but now I’m without an ereader as I lent my EZreader to a friend of mine. Oy. Imagine, I had to actually pick up a print book today! Luckily it was the one I planned on reading next anyway so it all worked out. I’m in the process of getting another Kindle – hopefully I won’t have to be in withdrawal too long.

Other than that it was a pretty quiet week. There was one day that I was so tired that I left work early, went home, crawled into bed at about 5pm and didn’t wake up until 6:30 the next morning. Wow.

On to what I read this past week:

First up was Deadly Silence by Victor J. Banis. This is book 5 in the Deadly Mystery series and it was another great book. Now, I wanted to beat Stanley a bit in this book as he was annoying me a bit but other than that it was definitely worth the read. Stanley and Tom are hired by a woman to find out who is trying to kill her father and the suspects are many. 4 out of 5

A Deadly Kind of Love is book 6 in the Deadly Mystery series by Victor J. Banis and as far as I know the last one written. In this story Tom and Stanley head out to Palm Springs, CA to help their friend Chris when he finds a dead body in his bed at the hotel he’s staying at. This one was a bit more on the tense side for me but good. I wanted more from Tom and Stanley’s relationship after what happened in the previous book but we didn’t get too much insight into that, unfortunately. 4 out of 5

Next I picked up Untamed by Sara Humphreys. This is a paranormal /shapeshifter story about a woman who is half shifter/half human and the full blooded shifter that is her mate. I got about halfway through the story and was not into the book at all. I was a little bored and didn’t care for the heroine so unfortunately this ended up being a DNF.

Hot and Haunted by Lauren Hawkeye, Megan Hart and Saranna DeWylde was a three story anthology with some far out stories. There was one with a girl trying to seduce a man whose car is stuck in a ditch, one with a US Marshal who’s hunting a serial killer and one with a girl, her two men and a zombie apocalypse. You can read my review on this book here. 3.5 out of 5

Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas is book 2 in the Fitzhugh trilogy series. This is the story of Millie and Fitz. Fitz is just 19, has just come into his title as an Earl and finds that he’s forced to marry as the title is destitute. Millie is just 16 and had been engaged to the previous Earl before he died. Millie falls for Fitz immediately but Fitz is in love with a woman with no money and their love is not to be. Millie and Fitz make a pact that they won’t have marital relations for 8 years and Fitz can live as if they are friends and not married. The book takes us through current times with Fitz seeing his lost love again and also through periods of time from their past 8 years. The book was well written and utterly heart-wrenching as I read about the couple’s years together. I wanted to kick Fitz in the balls and tell him to open his damned eyes but it all worked out. A painful (literally my chest ached!) and angst ridden book but very good, imho. 4 out of 5

Hunter’s Season by Thea Harrison is a novella in the Elder Races series and I think it’s my favorite novella so far. We get these wonderful stories in between full length novels and this one just worked for me so well. The story is about a commoner and palace guard in the Other lands who guards the Dark Fae queen. She ends up falling for and then protecting the Dark Fae Chancellor and they fall in love. I loved the setting, the solitude the couple had and, I guess, the normality of it all. Yes, the Chancellor was powerful but other than being in the Other lands no magic was used – just 2 people falling in love. Good stuff. 4 out of 5

Stygian’s Honor is book 27 (yes, you read that right) in the Breed series by Lora Leigh. The story is different as the Breeds look for 2 girls that have not been heard of for many years. They’re protecting 2 girls that the Genetics Council wants and the Breeds want to know why their after them. Stygian falls for Liza but the whole romance and mating heat and the woman wanting her independence thing was just too similar to other books to be exciting. It was a good book but nothing spectacular, imho. 3 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Last for the week was a re-read. My Fair Captain by JL Langley is still one of my favorite m/m books. It was one of the first ones I read and I love it still. The latest book in this series just came out and I bought it almost immediately. I think thought…ya know, it’s been so long since I’ve read the other books I should probably do a re-read. (Easier freakin said than done with the Kindle gone – waaaah. Ahem) The story of Nate and Aiden is so great. I usually don’t like historical m/m but the fact that Regelence accepts the gay men changes everything for me. If you haven’t read this series yet I highly recommend it. Of course we had to wait 4 years in between books 2 & 3 but hey, anticipation is good for us, right? lol 5 out of 5

And I thought I had this lovely picture that I once got from Lisabea aka LB Gregg of what Nate looks like – or at least what he looks like in our heads, but I can’t locate it.  Too many computers to check.  I’ll post it if I find it. 🙂

My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:
When the Duchess Said Yes by Isabella Bradford

Happy Reading!

TBR Challenge Review: Real Men Do It Better Anthology by Carrie Alexander, Susan Donovan, Lora Leigh & Lori Wilde

Posted August 15, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

This month in the TBR Challenge we were instructed (ok, it was only suggested) to read an erotic novel. I found that I really don’t have many of those hanging around. Sure there are some on my flash drive with all my ebooks but quite frankly I was too damned lazy to go searching. Lol I saw this book on my shelf and realized that when I originally got it in 2008 I only read Lora Leigh’s novella. I decided that since it said, right on the cover, “four steamy novellas” that it would qualify for this challenge. So here are my thoughts about whether real men really do make it better.

In Carrie Alexander’s HIS BODY ELECTRIC, an aloof stranger arrives at Karen Jaffe’s farmhouse seeking shelter at the height of a violent lightning storm. Strange events follow–the power goes out, every clock stops, sparks fly from the visitor’s fingertips. Alone in the dark with him, Karen uses her skills as a phone sex operator to seduce the mystery man, uncovering the secrets and erotic pleasures of HIS BODY ELECTRIC.

Karen is on her Iowa farm when the skies open up and the rain pours down. Thunder and lightning accompany the storm and Karen rushes to get the animals in the barn. On the way back she runs into a stranger who is seeking shelter from the storm. He’s a bit odd but oh so cute and since she’s been by herself for so long she’s kind of got sex on the brain. Keeping her hands off of Gabe is pretty difficult and eventually they give in to their attraction in an electrifying way.

This was a pretty darned cute novella. I really liked how the story was laid out and the way the author had the couple getting to know each other a bit before falling into bed together. Ok, it wasn’t like they knew each other for long, really only hours before they made their move, but it worked for this erotic novella. There was a little bit of the unusual in this one but it worked.

In Susan Donovan’s BED AND BREAKFAST, a stressed-out corporate dynamo with designer boots and a bad attitude is sent to the New Mexico mountains to “get centered” or not come back to Los Angeles. She arrives at the rustic Windwalker Lodge north of Santa Fe, only to find the place in the middle of a renovation and the hunky owner in a pair of lounge pants with no shirt and no idea she was coming. She plans to leave on the first available shuttle the next morning, but one of the area’s notorious rains washes out the bridge, and she’s stuck. Though resistant at first, she eventually lets the beautiful setting and the extraordinary man give her a new perspective on life, love, and especially sex.

Kate is having a bad life. Seriously, it has been one hit after another and she needs to de-stress. Her boss sends her to a retreat in new Mexico to relax and “find herself.” She’s nothing but bitchy when she gets dropped off at 1 am and when she’s not immediately let in and continues that way for a couple of days. She soon finds out that her assistant got the dates mixed up and she’s a month late for her planned pilgrimage. Oops. Jorey lets her stay the night (on his bed since all the guest rooms are being remodeled and are demolished) but when a rain storm keeps Kate at the lodge she finds that there’s more to finding herself then she thought. She’s also found a man she could love but how will that work when she lives in LA?

This was another cute novella that had a bitchy heroine to start. She soon got to relax and get a bit centered but it takes her a bit to get to that point. When it did happen it was almost too extreme but I could see how it might happen in reality. Jorey, our hero, is someone who was living the same kind of fast-paced life as Kate was when reality hit him in the face with a medical issue a few years back. Now he runs the lodge and is more than happy with his life. I think what I liked about Jorey was that even though he was more spiritual/fruit and nut (if that makes any sense) than I normally like in my heroes he accepted Kate for who she was. Of course he wanted her at peace, but he didn’t try to push his ways on her too much. He was a caring and sensitive man while still being quite manly. You gotta love that in a hero.

In Lora Leigh’s FOR MAGGIE’S SAKE, Maggie Chavez from Leigh’s sexy Navy SEALs series is in protective custody with a member of her former lover’s SEALs team. Joe, her ex-lover, thinks Maggie is hiding information from him about a powerful drug lord and the deaths of some SEALs. He intends to seduce her and get the information before she can sell it back to the drug cartel. But when a member of the notorious crime family captures Maggie and holds her hostage at gunpoint, Joe realizes how wrong he is, and only he can save her life.

Joe and Maggie were lovers at one point. Because of a misunderstanding, and some stupidity on Joe’s part, they parted ways and Maggie ended up married to Joe’s best friend Grant. Now this is a novella that is part of the Tempting SEALS series and apparently Grant was a bad guy – now he’s dead. He wrote journals and in those journals he completely implicated Maggie as being part of his criminal activities. Now she’s under suspicion from the police and the bad guys are after her thinking she knows too much. Joe ends up taking her to a safe house and while there the pair work out their differences.

I read this novella in 2008 and frankly I could remember about 3 pages of it near the end. Lol I kept thinking, I read this? Really? When I got to those 3 pages a switch flipped in my head my memories came back. 🙂

While they’re at the safe house they finally start talking about their past. They argue and argue and they both see that they’ve made mistakes. I liked how we saw Joe coming off his high horse a bit as he thought he’d done nothing wrong and that their breakup had pretty much all been Maggie’s doing. Of course they end up sleeping together and working things out but they have to go through some hard times, including facing death, to come to their HEA. The story was more intense than I was expecting after reading the first two books in the anthology but it was good. You gotta appreciate Leigh’s alpha males but this one wasn’t such an ass and I liked that. Maggie was a bit whimpier than I expected a man like Joe to be in love with but she had been through hell with her husband so I cut her a little slack. lol

In Lori Wilde’s SIREN’S CALL, Annie Grave is back in her hometown, St. Augustine, looking after her grandfather’s dive shop as he lies bedridden with a broken hip. Though she is a Harvard MBA with a high-powered finance job in Manhattan and a boyfriend on the brink of proposing marriage, she’s never forgotten her first love, sun-bronzed dive instructor Duncan Stewart–or the day years earlier when she lost her virginity to him and he told her it was just a fling. But what she doesn’t know is that Duncan has regretted that decision every day since. Afraid of not being able to hold onto a smart, sexy, beautiful woman like Annie, he pushed her away and ran away from St. Augustine. But now she’s back, and so is he, and he’s cooked up a plan to win her back. After all, what girl could resist the lure of buried treasure, and a hot, handsome Scotsman to guide her on the hunt?

Duncan and Annie met when he was 16 and she was 13. Even though Duncan liked Annie immediately he didn’t do anything about it. They became friends and over the years Duncan planned to make himself a better man and then make his move on Annie. When they eventually sleep together Duncan realizes that he’s holding her back and hurts her in order to make her live the life that she should, instead of giving up college to stay with him.

Annie has been hurting for 5 years after Duncan’s betrayal of her feelings. Now he’s back and says that he has a treasure map to a legendary idol that her parents died searching for. Annie tells herself that she wants nothing to do with the man and she’s practically engaged to a nice man back in New York, but she can’t seem to keep herself away. For Duncan this is a plan to finally get Annie where he wants her – in his bed and in his life – permanently. If he has to use an idol that is supposedly an aphrodisiac to get her, he’ll do it.

This was a lovers united story but since Duncan had hurt Annie so much she wasn’t exactly thrilled with his return to town. Now secretly she’s in love with him but is unwilling to face being hurt again. Duncan didn’t exactly go about getting Annie back in the most honest way – ok, it wasn’t honest at all, but he was so desperate that he’d try just about anything to get her back in his life. It was a cute story and definitely hot – the hottest in the anthology, imho.

Actually the Alexander, the Leigh and the Wilde were all pretty steamy in different ways. The Donovan had sex involved but it wasn’t anywhere near as erotic as the others. Overall I liked all the stories in their own way. They each brought a different view of erotic romance to the table and I found them all to be good stories.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Carrie Alexander
Susan Donovan
Lora Leigh
Lori Wilde

What I Read Last Week

Posted August 13, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 7 Comments

It was a much quieter week this week – thank heavens! lol I did have to register my oldest for High School which was a bit painful for me – emotionally, not physically – but I made it through. Both girls start school on Thursday and they’re both excited.

Not much else happened – of which I was completely thrilled with so I’ll get on to what I read this past week:

My first read was for Book Binge and it was a historical called When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford. The story was about an Earl’s daughter who had been living in the quiet countryside with her sisters and mother after the death of her father years earlier. The oldest daughter is shocked when a man of business shows up and lets her know that she’s been engaged for most of her life and to a Duke no less. While Charlotte isn’t sure what she should expect she’s thrilled when she meets the duke and he is all that is kind and handsome. The duke is thrilled with Charlotte as well but he has some past issues that keep the pair from moving to a deeper relationship. I really liked this book a lot. I liked the characters and the fact that they weren’t hateful to each other but attracted and kind to one another. The duke issues weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, when revealed, but I could see why he would have them. Overall it was a good story. 4.25 out of 5

Next up was One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox. In this story we have two friends – one taking care of the other when he’s hit rock bottom and coming to realize that he loves his friend in more ways than one. The other friend who is thrilled to be helped but tormented by the feelings he’s always had for his good friend. They help each other in many different ways throughout the book and it’s very good. I really liked both the men in this story and liked the story itself. I did think that the story ran on a bit long after the I Love You’s were said – just pages of the reaffirmation of their love, really, and it got a bit old. I also didn’t really care for the odd and semi-sudden appearance of submission by one of the men. It was touched upon earlier in the book but not enough for me to think that level of submission would appear. Maybe it was just me. shrugs Still a really good story and definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James was next. This is the first book in a new series by Sandy and it was darned good. Rebecca is a Kindergarten teacher and was planning on getting married until her fiancé left her at the altar and she then finds out she’s an Amazon. What? lol It’s much more in depth than that and I’ll go into it more when I post my review later in the month. 4.25 out of 5

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare was next and it was Oh. So. Good. I love her Spindle Cove series and she didn’t disappoint with this book. The story revolves around the local music teacher, Kate Taylor, and Corporal Thorne of the local militia. Kate’s an orphan but then is possibly a Marquess’s daughter. She hates Thorne, but then she loves him. Oh it was so good. I’ll post my review next week of this wonderful book. 5 out of 5

Pyromancer by Amanda Young was my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week. This is the story of Christian who has some weird powers having to do with fire. He can sometimes control it but he can supposedly hurt someone when he gets too emotional . He’s not been with a man for a long time and decides to call and escort service. He gets hooked up with Tanner and after that one night can’t stop thinking about Tanner. He ends up helping Tanner after he gets beaten up and the two end up in bed together. They have communication issues about what their relationship is and it causes great angst. I liked this book and the whole premise behind it all. The problems I had with the story were that A) We’re told that Christian can hurt someone with his powers when he gets too worked up but we never actually see that. He gets plenty worked up with Tanner during sex but the powers never appear to be a problem. B) We have to wait until the end of the book to find out that Christian has no clue why he has the powers – he just does. It would have been lovely to have known that ahead of time. I didn’t feel that that info should have been held back. Besides those niggles I really liked the story and read it quite quickly. 3.5 out of 5

Last for the week was the Real Men Do It Better anthology by Carrie Alexander, Susan Donovan, Lora Leigh and Lori Wilde. I read this one for my monthly TBR Challenge and will post my review on Wednesday.

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas

Happy Reading!