Tag: St. Martin’s Press

Retro-Review: Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Posted September 13, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 15 Comments

Retro-Review: Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon.Reviewer: Rowena
Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #12) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark Hunter #12
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 31st 2009
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 806
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars


Eleven thousand years ago, a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. But the strongest steel is forged from the fires of hell…

Acheron's human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind. Only it was never that simple. For centuries, Acheron has fought for our survival and hidden a past he'll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence. Now his survival—and ours—hinges on hers, and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both. War has never been more deadly...or more fun.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: Rowena and I were both obsessed with the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, once upon a time. Even so, by the time this book was released I’d given up on the series. In fact, despite my love for the earlier books, I couldn’t even bring myself to read it. I was tempted after this review, but I just couldn’t do it.

This review was originally posted on August 11, 2008

Hero: Acheron Parthenopeaus
Heroine: You’ll have to read it to find out
Grade: 5 out of 5

…MAJOR SPOILERS WILL BE IN THIS REVIEW SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED THAT THERE WILL BE SPOILERS APLENTY IN THIS REVIEW AND YOU CAN’T BE MAD BECAUSE THIS BOLD ASS WARNING IS FOR YOU…

Wow.

There’s so much to cover in this review that I’m almost afraid to begin. Sherrilyn Kenyon does a remarkable job of pulling those emotional heartstrings inside you to drain every bit of emotion out of you. During the first part of the book, even though I was at work reading this (naughty wench that I am) tears streamed down my face as I read what turned Ash into the man that I know and love now. My heart seriously broke each and every time something new would come up and I just felt so hot damn bad for him.

Then there was Ryssa. Naive but courageous Ryssa, who only wanted to take care of him. The sister who loved Ash more than anyone ever dared to show and gosh, it got to a point while I was reading where it was almost too much for me to read. It was hard to push through that first part of the book because there was so much bad in it. So much that Ash suffered, so much crap that Ryssa unknowingly flinched his way just by caring about him. When it happened with Val and Zarek, I understood but in his book, I was mad at Zarek for being so hot damn mad at Val for trying to help him but in this book, I got so mad at Ryssa because as nice as she was to Ash….she only made things just THAT much worst for him. For every bit of kindness she showed him, he paid for it tenfold and I just wanted her to leave him in peace, the way that Ash wanted her to. I would get so mad each and every time that Ryssa would come around because I knew that something bad was going to happen to Ash and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see that loving Ash the way she did (even if she couldn’t help loving him) was hurting it far more than it was helping him.

I know that she wanted him to know that someone loved him, unconditionally, no matter what and I could appreciate that but I hated that she made things worst for Ash because ooh I wanted to kill her father and her other stupid ass brother, Styxx so frickin’ bad. I wanted their blood on my hands (bloodthirsty wench that I am) and don’t even get me started on their Uncle Estes.

sigh

I could get myself worked up over this book so easily which just goes to show how involved in this story I am, which also goes to show how good a job Sherrilyn Kenyon did with the first part of this book. There were times earlier in the book when I wished that Ryssa would just stay the hell away from Ash, she brought him more pain than anything and I just wanted him to have some kind of peace but she was always getting him into trouble and it was through Ryssa that I had an inkling for why Zarek hated Valerian because though Val meant well, he brought more bad than good and it had to have hurt badly and they just kept being nice and nice which made things so much worst for Ash and Zarek.

And OMGOSH Ash’s powers? Holy shit shit shit…damn damn damn, holy crap in the pants, are you frickin’ serious right now?

Wow.

…and dude, I LOVE APOLLYMI! The fierceness of her love for her son is to be admired, I mean I don’t agree with the way she took care of some of those problems she had but man, I couldn’t fault her reasoning.

And goodness, I loved seeing the beginning of Ash and Simi. It was seeing him with Simi that softened my heart toward him and made me love him more and more until I was near bursting with my love of his character. Goodness, Ash is seriously the best hero EVER written.

When we got to the present, I was glad for it because the past prepared me for what was to come and it explained so many of my questions (if not, all of them) from before. Questions that I have waited YEARS to get answers to and I’m so glad that I better understand Ash from before and Ash from now.

Soteria was a great heroine, I remember her from The Dream Hunter and I’m not mad about the pairing of her and Ash together because she completed Ash. She saw the Ash that we all know and love and she loved him like nobody else from this series ever could. I’m so glad that Ash’s heroine wasn’t Satara, like I thought before because I seriously hate that biznitch and am not mad at Nick, one bit.

There are so many things that I could say about this book but I don’t have enough time. There were so many great things about this book, seeing Ash finally realize that he’s not alone in anything anymore. He’s got the family that he’s always wanted in the Dark Hunters and their wives…and in Soteria. I can’t seem to call her Tory like she likes to be called because I don’t see where the hell they got Tory from Soteria? Tera? I can see that…but Tory? Nope, not seeing it at all but maybe that’s because I’m not Greek, who knows.

A lot of options were opened for the other characters in this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books to find out more about Savitar, Jaden and Nick because I’m thinking Nick is going to be Artemis’ next pet. I think he’s going to be the one to replace Ash and oh wow, that’s going to make for some interesting reading, for sure.

This book was really good, at first I thought that maybe it didn’t hold up to my expectations but then I changed my mind because I loved this book, a whole lot more than I was expecting to (because no mortal could have met my expectations of this book) and whether it held up to my expectations was moot since I loved everything about this book, I loved the old Ash, the new Ash, the story, the characters and I was over the moon to see everyone come together to get Ash’s back, even Savitar and Jaden did their little bests to help Ash out because he finally needed it. For so long, Ash stood alone and it was just good to see that he didn’t have to this time around.

LOVED IT! LOVE LOVE LOVED IT! And now I want more…haha. I’ve got to ask though, how many of you readers out there who have read Ash’s book, played Savin’ Me by Nickelback over and over after you read the book?

I DID! How many of you guys are listening to Saving Me right now?

I AM!

LOL.

5 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Werebiker by Paige Cuccaro

Posted September 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Werebiker by Paige CuccaroReviewer: Tracy
Werebiker by Paige Cuccaro
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Years after she thought she left town for good, Jillian is back and has enlisted the help of her older brother’s ex-best friend (and the man who broke her heart), Jack, to track down her sister-in-law, who’s fallen in with a rival biker gang—but Jack knows they’re werewolves, and that he has to protect Jillian at any cost, even if she hates him.

Jill is shopping for a motorcycle when she runs into Jack, her brothers ex-best friend.  He refuses to sell her a bike when she tells him what she wants it for.  Her brother is coming home from his military service and his wife is MIA.  Jill has found out that she’s been hanging around an MC called the Hellhounds.  When Jack finds out he’s determined to keep her away from the Hellhounds but Jill is too determined to let it go.

Jack knows that the Hellhounds are bad because he once was one.  The night before he was set to take off to basic training with his best friend, Jill’s brother, he was attacked and turned into a werewolf.  The guys in the Hellhounds have a way of mesmerizing women so that they never want to leave their side.  This is what has happened to Jill’s sister-in-law, Carrie.  Despite Jack’s warnings Jill makes bad decision after bad decision going after Carrie but there’s only one way to get her back to her brother’s side and that’s to find the cure for the “virus” that has infected the Hellhounds.

This story had an interesting blurb and premise so I thought I’d give it a try.  Unfortunately there was a lot about it that just didn’t work for me.  First, Jack and Jill’s antagonism toward each other – it just didn’t feel authentic.  Yes, they had every reason to be mad at each other but it felt forced.  Jack also did everything in his power to keep Jill away from the Hellhounds and she was so freaking stubborn she put herself into trouble more than once and had to be saved.  It annoyed me that she was being so stupid!

When it came to the romance – it fell flat for me.  Jack and Jill (don’t even get me started on the names!) had kissed at one point but Jack had walked away.  Jill’s feelings were hurt but she’d never given up hope that they could one day be together.  Jack wants to stay away from her because of what he is but can’t seem to do it.  The romance ended up feeling rushed, especially at the end, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Overall the story is mildly entertaining, but I can’t say that I recommend this book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted August 31, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn SparksReviewer: Holly
So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #2
Also in this series: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1)
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 496
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knows nothing of her past, except that she is Embraced: born with powers that forced her into hiding. Everything changes when she learns she’s a princess, hidden away from her villainous half-brother who now rules the kingdom. But he knows about Brigitta, and he’ll do anything to get her back. Unless a certain roguish pirate has anything to say about it…

Rupert is both an infamous pirate and a sorcerer with the power to harness the wind. He’s been waiting nineteen years for revenge—and he needs Brigitta to get it. What begins as a kidnapping of the fiery beauty turns into a fierce attraction. But can he win the captive princess’s heart?

So I Married a Sorcerer is the second book in The Embraced series. I skipped book one, How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, and don’t feel like I missed anything. It stands alone well.

Brigitta and her 3 adopted sisters were raised together in a convent on the Isle of Moon after their families gave them up because they are Embraced – meaning they were born with magical powers. Brigitta knows nothing of her past, so when a naval fleet chases her ship down while she’s on her way to visit one of her sisters, she’s shocked to learn she’s actually a princess long thought dead. When she’s captured by pirates and she realizes the vision her sister foretold is coming true, she’s both frightened and exhilarated.  As she learns more about her biological family and the pirate Rupert, she can’t help but wonder …who is the hero of this story, and who is the villain?

Rupert has been waiting 19 years to gain his revenge against Brigitta’s family. When he finds out she’s alive, he knows this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for. By ransoming her to her brother, he’ll finally gain the leverage he needs to avenge his past. The problem? He’s having a hard time with the thought of putting Brigitta in danger. He should hate her. After all, she’s the sister of his greatest enemy. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize she’s completely innocent..and quite possibly destined to be his. Can he set aside his need for revenge to win her?

This is my first book by Sparks. I avoided her novels in the past because I thought they were really light and campy. While that may be true (or not! I’m not even sure why I thought that) of her other novels, this was actually a fairly dark read. Brigitta’s strength and quiet determination were lovely to read about. I really enjoyed her and Rupert, both together and apart. He had a rock solid core of honesty and goodness that really worked. Together they were well matched.

The adventure and world-building were also very well done. I really enjoyed the setting and learning more about the world. I plan to go back and read book one.

Filled with action, adventure, betrayal, revenge, love and a strong sense of family, So I Married a Sorcerer was a great read all around.

4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted July 31, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn SparksReviewer: Jen
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Also in this series: So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2)
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.

Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?

If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

This book is somewhat inspired by Beauty and the Beast, though to be honest it’s only very loosely related. In this story, the man with the Beast moniker is Lord Leofric, Leo for short. Leo is one of The Embraced, people born with supernatural powers. Normally The Embraced are killed when they are born because the world fears them, but Leo escapes that fate because he’s part of the royal family and because he’s so dangerous that he’s hard to kill. He can harness the power of lightning, and one touch of his skin can kill (and has, many times). He uses his power to protect his people, but they all are terrified and basically shun him. Luciana is also Embraced, but she escaped death by being hidden away in a convent her entire life, thinking her family was dead. It turns out they’re not, though, and because of political machinations by the cruel king, the only way she can save her father is by marrying The Beast. Luciana could be killed if she reveals the truth of her story to Leo, but if they don’t work together they can’t stop the king’s evil plots.

If you like tortured heroes, Leo should appeal! He does have a few friends, but for the most part he lives in isolation. People literally turn away from him in disgust and fear, yet he soldiers on using his power to protect his people even though they think he’s the one causing danger instead of stopping it. Moreover, harnessing the lightning is excruciatingly painful, and he’s pushing his body to its limits by doing it because he wants to protect others, which is a hell of a position for him to be in. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all, he can’t touch. He can’t be hugged, can’t hold hands, can’t even get a pat on the head, because even through clothing his power will injure or kill. Luciana is the only person apart from a few friends who sees the good Leo does instead of believing the rumors. There’s one scene where bystanders once again misinterpret a situation and think Leo is behind something dangerous, but Luciana loudly and publicly defends him. That scene just made my heart melt. It was clearly the first time anyone had ever stood up for Leo before; I’m smiling just thinking about it. The sexual tension between them is great, too. As you can imagine, “no touching or you’ll die” is quite the conundrum in a romance! I won’t tell you the hows and whys, but I can assure you this book is sexy.

I liked Luciana a lot as well. Her power is that she can talk to the dead, which comes in handy when she’s trying to learn about her new life. She’s sweet and kind and patient, but she’s not a particularly deep character. Really, though, neither is Leo. He has a lot of pain, but I almost felt like it didn’t impact his character as much as one would expect. He has been very isolated, yet he still is perfectly socially adept, flirting with his bride-to-be, handling the management of his estates, working with his army, etc. I just didn’t see a lot of consequences to his isolation.

Luciana has to lie to Leo and everyone else to save her father, which is perfectly understandable. She obviously didn’t know Leo and would have been foolish to trust him quickly. However, I really wanted her to come clean sooner, simply because I wanted to see her and Leo’s relationship develop further. Leo basically figures it all out on his own (and I appreciate that he absolutely accepts why she’s lying and doesn’t act all butt hurt about it), but the actual conversation between the two is a long time coming. Combine the secrets with the draggy pace in some parts and the fairly limited contact Leo and Luciana have for part of the book and you have a romance that never goes quite as deep as I would have liked.

I am extremely interested in the world Sparks has created, and I am hoping that future books won’t need to do as much world building as this one, leaving more time for developing the characters and relationships.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker

Posted June 29, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie WalkerReviewer: Rowena
Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker
Series: Wild Weddings #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.

Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.

Before reading this blurb, I had never heard of Ann Marie Walker. This book sounded good so I went ahead and requested it.

Coleman Grant III and Olivia Ramsey cannot stand each other. He’s a power hungry douchebag that doesn’t care about anything but making money and she’s a hippie humanitarian who is trying to save one endangered species at a time by annoying the ever living snot out of Cole. She hates everything that he stands for and he hates her morning trips to Starbucks to harass him into changing the locations on one of his projects to protect the bats.

When they head out to Vegas for a weekend away from real life, they were expecting a break from each other. They weren’t expecting to have a wild night together and then get married before heading back home. Cole needs a wife and Olivia wants to save the bats so getting married would solve both of their problems. Right? It was only supposed to last three months but true love doesn’t work like that.

This book was a pretty quick read for me. It was a pretty solid read even though there were times when I wanted to kick both the hero and the heroine in the shins. The dialogue was kind of hard to follow in the beginning too but overall, it was still enjoyable.

At first, I didn’t think I would like either Cole or Olivia all that much but that changed over the course of the book. They ended up being pretty great and I’m glad that I picked this up for review. The chemistry between Cole and Olivia was fantastic and I loved seeing them come together in love. The rest of the cast charmed me and I will definitely be reading more from this author. This was a fun read that is perfect for beach season.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,