Tag: Jean Johnson

Guest Review: Finding Destiny by Jean Johnson

Posted March 30, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Finding Destiny (Sons of Destiny)Kris‘ review of Finding Destiny (Sons of Destiny) by Jean Johnson

From the author of “the fabulously fresh, thoroughly romantic, and wildly entertaining” (Jayne Ann Krentz) Sons of Destiny come four all-new novellas set in the same bewitching world of danger, passion, and providence…

I very much have enjoyed reading the series that originated this anthology so was very excited to hear about this book. I read a good clip about the stories on her website:

It holds four stories, all set in the Sons of Destiny universe, each one a different flavor: village life, steampunk, palace life, and pirates. Each tale leads to the next, with each one set in a new kingdom, so you’ll get the chance to explore new corners of their world with familiar faces…starting with the tale of what happened to Eduor, son of the Earl of the Western Marches from my very first novel, THE SWORD.

So even though it is an anthology that takes place all in the same world you get very different stories with the various settings. I was very surprised to be put in a steampunk setting, but it was a nice surprise. I loved how all these stories built upon one another. You would meet the character(s) for each story in the preceding story, that was fun. I liked that they were all connected, if loosely, to one another. A lot of fantasy anthologies will give you four separate stories that just happen to possibly take place on the same world.

The slave…Chanson, a privileged Arbran dyara, discovers an unexpected connection with the excitingly different Eduor, a bracingly sexy war-slave who desires his freedom. But what binds them together could also destroy them.

The first story was “The Slave” and it took place in a village. Eduor is a newly freed slave who finds himself in a small village trying to make a place for himself. He takes over the farm of a man who has gone off to fight a battle an in doing so has left his farm to be unproductive. Now their law states that if a man can make himself productive on land that remains unclaimed for a year, they can keep that land. So Eduor goes to work. One of the village leaders is a woman named Chanson, she is a weather witch for the village and her position is very highly regarded. As he shows his work ethic and integrity it draws her in and they fall in love.
Sweet story, I enjoyed it, though honestly when I started it I did not recognize Eduor as a character from the previous book though his name was slightly familiar. I realized later that he was mentioned in The Sword. It did take me a little bit to get into this story, not exactly sure why so I have to give this one a 3.75.

The knight…The Arbran diplomat Sir Zeilas must turn the Guildaran people—with their strange machines and weaponry—from former enemies into allies. But in the case of their intriguingly beautiful leader, perhaps something more intimate is in order. 

The second story was “The Knight”. This story’s main character was one of the knights escorting Eduor before and after he was newly freed from slavery. Zeilas is told to go be an envoy to the new formed country of Guildara. This is our steampunkish story. Guildara is a country that is making it reputation on it mechanical inventions. With their previous tyranny, they have lived the unavailability of magic, because the previous king either killed or brainwashed them. Zeilas’s country is vast and powerful but loves the new weapons and such coming out of this little area. Then Zeilas meets that brains and beauty that is the leadership of this fascinating land, Marta.

I liked the conflict in this one, there was an actual battle. I enjoyed the scenery and the storyline. I think my only issue was a superficial one and that was her name. I just have a personal issue with that name so it affected my like the story. But will still give this one a 4.25.

The mage…Gabria never expected to become a Guildaran envoy to Aurul, or the subject of their seer king’s prophecies. But the most stunning surprise was what waited for her in His Majesty’s winter palace, and why.

The third story was ‘The Mage”. Marta’s good friend and part of the newly formed mage guild is requested to come to Zeilas’s

The third story was ‘The Mage”. Marta’s good friend and part of the newly formed mage guild, Gabria, is requested to come to Zeilas’s country. She assumes as an ambassador. But their king is the Seer King who is periodically taken over by their god and is given visions and prophesies and such and He has foreseen that she will be the Seer King’s wife. She finds this out after she gets there and they are preparing her for her wedding. She handles it very well, better than I would have. She is very conscious of not causing a scene and not wanting to make a major faux pax but wanting more information before she is married off.

This was a very well constructed story. I think it was my favorite of this anthology. It is basically an arranged marriage and the two people are trying to learn to get along and learn each other as they are actually falling in love. It does not happen over the course of a week which would have drove me crazy, it took time and they grew together. Loved watching that, and it was so well done to be able to do that in a short story. I give this story a 4.5.

The pirate…Captain Ellett would do anything for his king. Even hunt down the pirates plaguing the Jenodan Isles. But he never counted on the seductive powers of the pirate’s captain—beautiful, tempestuous, and impossible to resist.

The last story was “The Pirate”. This one takes the Seer King’s Royal captain, Ellet, and sends him to investigate a possible pirate off their southern coast. He goes down and discovers that the pirate is a beautiful woman that is mad that his country has been stealing from hers. He knows this is not true so knows there he has a lot more to learn about what is going on. They uncover a deeper plot and grow closer as they investigate.

This one was nice, I liked that adventure in it. Pirate stories are almost always fun to read as long as the characters are good, I have seen many TSTL heroines in pirate books. In this one she was the pirate and she was a smart one at that. I enjoyed the storyline in this novella and was anxious to see how it worked out. I give this one an 4.25.

The anthology was a nice read all around. If you have never read any of the other books in this world you are not really missing any previous storyline, except maybe Eduor’s backstory, but I did not remember it when I read it and still relatively enjoyed it.

I give it a 4.25 overall.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Bedtime Stories by Jean Johnson

Posted September 18, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith‘s review of Bedtime Stories: A Collection of Erotic Fairy Tales by Jean Johnson.

Once upon a time it was hotter than you ever remembered.

Beauty and the Beast . . .

Puss-in-Boots . . .

The Frog Prince . . .

Sleeping Beauty . . .

The titles sound familiar, don’t they? But the sensational Jean Johnson, a tantalizing talent who writes with “a passion that literally burns” has something entirely different in mind. What she sneaks between the covers are ribald, deliciously wicked, and unabashedly erotic retellings of your favorite fairy tales

With clever gender twists, hot fetishistic turns, otherworldly desires, and explorations into forbidden territories where no one has ever dared to go before, Bedtime Stories reveals a veritable garden of sensual delights. So let Jean Johnson tuck you in with an anthology of scandalous imagination that gives new meaning to the words “happy ending.”

Jean Johnson is certainly a writer of note and has given readers multiple examples of her vivid imagination, her other-worldly visions of reality, and her erotic encounters no matter in which world her characters exist. She is most recently known for her Sons of Destiny series about 8 brothers who were powerful mages. I enjoyed those books, found them creative and imaginative as she constructed a world that was rooted in fantasy and filled to overflowing with erotic romance.

Now she has delivered again, as she has taken the treasured and well-loved tales we all know and heard time and time again, and she has retold them with new settings and in new other-worldly places, all with erotic encounters and very sexy characters. As an anthology it will certainly have a story or two to please just about any reader. Some are extensions of her Sons of Destiny contexts, but don’t for a minute think that these re-told fairy tales are in any way a part of the original series. Those 8 stories have been told and concluded. However, those who have read that series will recognize some of the locations and settings. Other stories have been retold with a sci-fi bent that is sure to please lovers of that literary genre. Familiar aspects of these fairy tales have been changed and throughout all of them there is that wonderful sizzle and heat that Johnson is so good at interjecting into her writing.

These stories are not for bedtime reading to the kids. Keep the originals for them. But for adults who love erotic romance, these fairy tales will bring a smile as the reader recognizes how different they are from those stories we learned in our childhood. The are bawdy and fun, and will be a grand entertainment as well as a massage for the libido. What’s not to like?

So hang on, folks, things are heating up in the world of fairy tales. You don’t want to miss this book. I give this anthology a rating of 4.75 our of 5.

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

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Guest Review: Sexy as Hell by Susan Johnson.

Posted July 29, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 7 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

Lori’s review of Sexy as Hell by Susan Johnson.

Osmond, Baron Lennox, is known for his luck with cards and with women. But it seems his good fortune may have run out when a planned assignation with his mistress goes terribly awry. Specifically, he finds himself in bed with the wrong woman. The potential scandal leaves him with one option: marry the lady in question. And fast. However, Isolde Percival, Countess of Wraxell, has no intention of marrying Lennox or anyone else. In fact, she set up the compromising situation herself to avoid such a fate. That’s just fine with Lennox, who never envisioned himself tied down to just one woman – especially one so headstrong and independent. Who would have thought that Lennox and Isolde would find something else in common – something that just might draw them closer to each other than they could have imagined?


I intensely disliked this book. For several reasons. First, the hero is a slobbering drunk. Oz and Izzy spend all their time either arguing and hating one another, or having sex. And not necessarily with each other. Oz keeps a mistress almost until the very end of the book. They fight and argue until the very last chapter at which time they declare their love for one another and they all lived happily ever after. Ugh.

So… hero is an alcoholic. And an asshole. A cheating asshole at that.

Heroine is a bitch. And a manipulative one at that.

They have sex the first time they meet, in fact, almost immediately. Then spend the rest of the book arguing and screwing.

While I found several redeeming qualities in this book’s predecessor, Gorgeous as Sin, I found almost nothing at all to recommend this one. I was surprised that the hero was only in his early 20s – he had so much hard living behind him. When it was revealed that Oz was poisoned, I was thinking, “Finally. Put me out of my misery.” But of course, he recovered, damn it. Lived to screw someone else another day.

If you don’t care about glorified alcoholism, infidelity, or unlikable characters, then I recommend this book. If those things bother you? Don’t bother.

1 out of 5.

You can read more from Lori by visiting, I Just Finished Reading and Living in the House of Testosterone.

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

ETA: Sorry all, I had the wrong title in there. Fixed now! Hope I didn’t cause any inconvenience with my mistake. – xoxo, Holly

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Guest Review: Shifting Plains by Jean Johnson

Posted December 11, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 7 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Kris’ review of Shifting Plains by Jean Johnson

Centuries before the time of the Sons of Destiny, a female shapeshifter became the leader of the people of the Shifting Plains…

Tava Ell Var never really knew her mother, but she did know her tragic fate at the hands of a band of cruel shapeshifters-a history set down by Tava’s father as a warning about life on the Shifting Plains. But after her father is murdered, Tava encounters a Shifterai warband fighting to rid the Plains of the terrorizing bandits

Shifterai leader Kodan Sin Siin is sympathetic to Tava’s suffering, but he’s determined to bring the wary young woman to the Plains. Because he knows her secret: She, like he and his men, is a shapeshifter. Once she joins them, he knows that she will see for herself the true fate that awaits her on the Plains, and most of all, lose her fear of his people. And, in time, he knows she will find her place is in their fight-and by his side.

Great book. It takes place in the same world as the Sons of Destiny series but it is not necessary to read those before this one. If you did read those this takes place in the part of the world where the sisters from the original series come from. But this takes place long before that time.
This is a good book for setting up the details of a world. Tava is invited to join the Shiftarai people and agrees to stay for a year to learn about the culture and the people before deciding if she will stay with them or set off on her own. So through her learning about the Shiftarai people, the reader does as well. So I liked that. The world was very well thought out, the customs, the buildings, amenities, and religion of the people were explained for you so you did not have to infer anything or learn as you went.

I will say this book reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Vaughn’s Warlord series, but a little warmer in romance. It was not that i kept comparing them but I kept having to remind myself that this was a different world. I think it was that they both were nomadic with a central city but lived on the Plains. So the geography and as such some of the style of living was the same or similar.
The romance was nice and steamy 🙂 I think she is a lot more comfortable writing the love scenes then when she first started her series.

The story flew by for me and I had a hard time putting it down. I am not sure if she will return to these characters with a next book, it ended as a fine stand alone. But with the world she has created there is a lot of good fodder for more stories, maybe Kadon’s brother…

A very enjoyable read, I give it a 4.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here.

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Guest Review: The Mage by Jean Johnson

Posted April 9, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Kris‘ review of The Mage (Sons of Destiny Book 8) by Jean Johnson

Hope, Morganen’s foretold bride, has finally arrived on the island. She hasn’t been telling the full truth about herself, and the consequences will stretch further than even she anticipates. Just as Morg gets used to Hope’s revelation, new enemies arrive on the Isle, seeking to steal away the brothers’ chances at creating a new nation. During the attack, an old foe resurfaces and strikes amid the confusion, kidnapping the final bride-to-be.

Either Morg will rescue Hope and help his family complete the Prophecies of the Seer Draganna and the last Duchess of Nightfall, carving a new kingdom in the process…or their enemies will be free to slaughter them all….

This is the final installment of The Sons of Destiny series. Morg finally gets his girl, only she is not exactly what he expected.

This was a great ending to the series. Though I will say I had to re-read the beginning twice because it took me about 20 pages and a lot of confusion before I figured out that Ms Johnson started the book in the past and then moved forward from there. Once I figured that out, it made a lot more sense.

Spoiler (highlight to see):
Hope is actually the Seer Haupanea who was the Duchess of Nightfall 200 years ago. She was pulled through time and dimension when Aiar was sundered. She ended up on Earth and took over the life of the real Hope O’Neill when she died and then met Kelly and they became best friends. Hope never thought she would be going back home. 5 years later Kelly meets Saber.

The storyline was good and solid, the romance was nice and spicy. And the heroine had a great love for chocolate and brought it to Nightfall with her. Yay for chocolate, don’t know how they lived without it. If you have read the series, you will enjoy this one and not be disappointed at all. I read this in one day, I had a hard time putting it down. You see all the siblings and their wives, everything is resolved and there were quite a few places that made me chuckle.

Definitely recommend. I give it a:

4.5 out of 5

Ms Johnson says this is the last in this series, but there might possibly be more stories from this world. We will see.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Read more from Kris at The Reading Spot.

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