29 March 2011

Review: J.R. Ward - Lover Unleashed

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• Hardcover: 512 pages
• Publisher: NAL Hardcover (March 29, 2011)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0451233166
• ISBN-13: 978-0451233165

Cover Summary:
Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

My Review: (Can contain spoiler-ish information!)
I'm having a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings after closing Lover Unleashed and what first comes to mind is that I feel slightly underwhelmed by this story. I think one of the problems for me is that Manny and Payne are likable characters but I had very little chance to get emotionally invested in them prior to their story. It wasn't until the last chapters of Lover Mine that they were firmly put on my horizon and their story was set up. I was intrigued but nothing beyond that. Then they get their story told in Lover Unleashed but they weren't the focus.

The situation with Payne's physical disability puts her and Manny together and from there on it is an ebb and flow between them that's rather easy. I got treated to a sultry chemistry which I enjoyed to the fullest, I loved the moment Payne ogled Manny in the shower, but the romance development lacked a spirit and depth to truly hook, line and sinker me. Of course Manny has his classic MINE reaction, I would be shocked if he didn't have one, but it all fits too easily. The romance isn't really challenged by anything, the stakes aren't that very high and it lacks a certain originality. While I liked seeing them together they are the kind of couple I can forget the moment I close this book.

The one scene in Lover Unleashed that pulled me completely in to the moment and the emotions is a certain scene between Butch and V. It is undoubtedly that V, Jane and Butch are prominent characters within this story, almost to a point where I thought J.R. Ward could've easily told it in a separate published novella like she did with Father Mine. It read like one giant post scriptum to Lover Unbound and while V, Jane and Butch have a place/connection within the story of Manny and Payne their troubles created a loss of pages for the couple this book was meant to be all about.

That was another thing I noticed as I was reading, each story thread on its own was in some form all right but never wow-ing me. Xcor and his gang are new characters who tingle the curiosity and I'm wondering where J.R. Ward is going to go with these guys. José and DelVecchio were okay, but what the whole murder investigation had to do with the story, I didn't really get. It feels almost like an afterthought thrown into the story. Manny and Payne were sweet and sensual together but could have been more. V, Jane and Butch with their troubles deepen their respective relationships but I feel they stole a lot of thunder from Manny and Payne.

All of these storylines were interconnected but didn't form a tight whole where everything works to sucker punch you and leave you dazzled. The story just moved along with BDB brothers who made a few guest appearances. Blay and Qhuinn have a moment or two as well and there are a few hints of danger but nothing that got the blood pumping. Also what I think is a major hole in the story is that it doesn't get explained how Payne is getting healed. Something happens between Manny and Payne but what, why? Details is what I wanted, instead there was a lack of imagination in the romance and plot that prevented this story to truly rock.

The thing is that Lover Unleashed kept me in a perpetual state of nice but with no long lasting impact on either side of the emotional spectrum. It is a first for me because with Lover Unbound and Lover Enshrined I had to rant about the things I didn't not like, but also had to rave about the things I loved. Now though I read it, was entertained at a certain level, but reading the final pages I was at a point where I said; ok, close book and move on.

Lover Unleashed was an okay read with things I liked, yet for every aspect I liked is immediately followed by a but. In the end all I can say is that it was a nice read but with very little that truly moved me.

2,5 stars 
Quote between Butch and V:
“One other thing.”
“What.”
“I think we’re dating now.” As V barked out a laugh, the cop shrugged. “Come on… I got you naked. You wore a damn corset. And don’t get me started about the sponge bath afterward.”
“Fucker.”
“To the end.”

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23 March 2011

A new Angel is coming to booktown...

A Touch Of Crimson

writing as Sylvia Day

Renegade Angels, Book #1
Genre:
Dark Paranormal Romance
Mass Market Paperback
NAL Signet Eclipse
October 4, 2011

ISBN-10: 0451234995
ISBN-13: 978-0451234995
Pre-Order

Can a love that transcends death survive a war between angels, vampires, and lycans?

Adrian Mitchell is an angel of immense power and insatiable desire. Leading an elite Special Ops unit of the Seraphim, his task is to punish the Fallen—angels who have become vampires—and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals—losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her—Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body with no memory of him. Only this time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson only knows she can't help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught in the middle between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There's more at stake than her love and her life—this time she could lose her very soul...

There are certain elements in this blurb which make me feel; been there done that but at the other hand, it's such a delicious mix of elements I often ejoy. We get the all powerful angel, the fallen baddies, a passionate heroine, the impossible situation and a plot that promises firework.

Now when S.J. Day came with The Marked Novels I was hooked on Eve, Cain and Abel. The action was thrilling, the love triangle scintillating and the characters intriguing. With that knowledge this author delivered once before it piques my curiosity for this series. I hope S.J. Day works her magic again in this series because Eve's story was cut short so unexpectedly :(

Does this blurb get your blood pumping or do you go "meh"?

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14 March 2011

Review: Brian & Jamie stole my heart - J.P. Barnaby's Enlightened

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Little Boy Lost, Book One: Enlightened
ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-817-4
Pages: 200 
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Categories: Novels, Contemporary,
Little Boy Lost by J.P. Barnaby
Book Type: eBook

File Formats Available: .epub, .lit, .prc, html, pdf
Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door.
Brian goes to school, does his homework, and helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret: he is in love with his best friend, Jamie. But in Crayford, Alabama, being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin.


Brian and Jamie will discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. What will they do if their secret is discovered? From fumbling though their first sexual experiences to hiding all aspects of their relationship from everyone in their lives, Brian and Jamie battle for the one thing that is truly theirs - love.

Note reviewer: Though ENLIGHTENED was released by the publisher the complete series found a home at Dreamspinner Press, so today is the official DSP release of ENLIGHTENED YAY! This is cause to put the spotlight once more on this awesome story with my review. I have heard from the author that the DSP release of ENLIGHTENED has three added scenes *woohoo* which comes down to 10.000 words extra!

My Review: I will be the first to admit I don't read much within the Young Adult genre but when I won ENLIGHTENED I was intrigued by this coming of age M/M story. I don't think anything could've prepared me for the reading experience I was about to have. What I found so intelligently written was the teenage angst of an almost seventeen year old exploring his gay sexuality and romantic feeling towards his best friend. There is no over-embellishing of the drama or emotions but a very sincere story that won my heart over with the soul-deep first love blossoming between Brian McAllister and Jamie Mayfield.

The story is voiced from Brian who is an orphan living with his foster parents, the Schreiber's, in a small town in Alabama. From the sparse young adult novels I've read it is often difficult for me to connect with the adolescent protags. It was because of the life-altering discoveries Brian and Jamie made, the repercussions of being found out and the way they dealt with it all, that really made me find that connection. The struggle is a universal one; discovering who you are and want to be, only Brian is gay...in a very small and religious town. Of course not exactly the perfect setting to freely explore one's sexual self but it does such a fantastic job of becoming a platform for all those angst's, doubts and those many questions that riddles Brian and Jamie.

ENLIGHTENED delivers such a beautiful m/m coming of age story where I found the realism of the story something that resonated with me from beginning till end. It pretty much revolves around the daily life of Brian but the themes in this story infuse it with attention grabbing inner struggles. The blossoming of an intense first love, those tentative first passionate steps, the joy and fear that accompanies each new step and the ever present angst for discovery, it blended in to something so profound I yearned for Brian and Jamie to reach a happy forever together.

It didn't take long for me to be absorbed completely by the two protags and enjoy the fluent and emotive writing style from J.P. Barnaby. The author takes her time to set-up the story but at a certain point things start to happen rapidly and I almost couldn't believe what I was reading and then the story was over. Leaving me utterly shocked. J.P Barnaby provided a cliff hanger of gigantic proportions which left me at such an emotional high that I stared at those last words for a few minutes, almost not believing this is where it ended. There had to be a book two, I just knew it would not...could not end like that.

I found out that ABONDONED will hopefully be released soon so I'll say this; Go out, buy ENLIGHTENED for the heart-rendering beautiful tale it is but know that reading it is to crave book two; ABANDONED! Brian and Jamie's journey is long from over and I need to be there every step of the way! This young adult M/M story is impressive in its sincerity of the themes handled!

4.5 stars

Quote:
Then, in the lightest of touches, soft but unyielding, his lips pressed against mine. My eyes closed, and I felt a rush of emotion, sexual tension - something – building within me. As his mouth molded over the contours of my lips, we reveled in the untamed surge of passion that flowed between us. The kiss was delicate, sweet, and lingered just long enough to make me want more. I had waited my whole life for my first kiss, and while it wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured it in my youth, it was perfect. His lips were warm and smooth as they moved against mine, causing a swelling tension in my stomach. The rain continued to pound the tree house roof as my arms nearly ached to go around him. I was scared to break the spell that had enveloped us. It was everything that a boy’s first kiss should be.
Only it wasn’t with a girl.


Info:

Little Boy Lost: Abandoned
Release: May 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Little Boy Lost: Vanished
Release: 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Little Boy Lost: Discovered
Release: 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Little Boy Lost: Escaped
Release: 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Little Boy Lost: Sacrificed
Release: 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Virtual Book Signing

I have a virtual book signing scheduled for each release which means that the first twenty books sold will be signed by me using an inserted vellum sheet.

Release party I will be hosting a release party on March 14th at the Dreamspinner blog, so please stop by and say hi. Visitors will get an exclusive downloadable gift, I will be interviewed by a couple of guys that you know and love, and I will also be giving out a copy of the book.

Fiction Vixen On March 17th (which happens to be my birthday), I will be hanging out with Fiction Vixen for an interview and giveaway on her blog - http://www.fictionvixen.com/ Stop by, say hi, and enter to win a copy of Enlightened!

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01 March 2011

Cover hawtness for Joey W Hill


Bound By The Vampire Queen

Erotic Romance
Book VIII of the Vampire Queen series
Erotic/BDSM Paranormal Romance
Berkley Heat
December 2011

Sworn to obedience, compelled by loyalty, and threatened with damnation for betrayal, Jacob entered Lady Lyssa’s servitude as a human servant. Now he is a vampire, but still bound to Lyssa, who has found herself struggling with the capricious powers that have come alive in her paternal Fae blood—and challenged by two enemies…

While the Vampire Council threatens to take away Lyssa and Jacob’s newborn son, the Fae Queen has ordered Lyssa to appear before the Otherworld court to face inescapable charges. The Fae have nothing but contempt for vampires, but to serve her, protect her, nourish her, and pleasure her, Jacob will follow his lady into hell itself. No one—neither Fae nor vampire—will compel him to break the oath he made to serve a vampire queen forever.

The only thing my book craving heart is screaming is; WANT!!! Even though I'm not up to par with this series...yet, I still get a jittery feeling in stomach when I read this blurb. Jacob and Lyssa are just such an utter fabulous couple and I love the fact that Joey W Hill is returning to them once more. July will give us Vampire Instinct, Book VII of the Vampire Queen series but it's Bound By The Vampire Queen that gets my panties in a twist ;) The cover exudes a raw posession but with subtle color tones and me likes it. Again the male is bound, like the other covers that graced the books/stories by Lyssa and Jacob; The Vampire Queen's Servant & The Mark Of The Vampire Queen. From the first book Joey W Hill had me, and she keeps fulfilling all my readers needs with every book read from her hand so far.

Counting down the days for this one!!!

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