Sunday, February 14, 2010

Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione (The Demonica Series)


A Customer's Review :
I experienced every emotion possible while reading Wraith's story. The writing flows beautifully, the plot and sub-plots are thrilling, heartwarming, frightening and suspenseful, and the dialogue is witty as well as brilliant. With each page I turned and read, I was kept on a razor's edge, not knowing how the intricate storyline was going to be resolved, let alone how Wraith and Serena Kelly were going to achieve their HEA.

Passion Unleashed

Wraith has been poisoned and is dying, slowly. Underworld General is literally crumbling and falling apart bit by bit. Staff is deserting the hospital. And, as war between human and demonkind looms, the apocalypse seems a tangible reality.

Eidolon and Shade try to find an antidote for Wraith and discover the only cure is for him to procure a charm from Serena, a beautiful, sweet archaeologist who has a zest for life. I loved this heroine, while she has lead a "charmed life" as it were, and you will understand my meaning if you read the book, she is independent and curious about all things historical. She goes to almost any lengths to recover a relic, almost like a Lara Croft type of character, except Serena is a virgin and must remain so or lose her health.

There is extraordinary irony in the love story between Wraith and Serena because he, as you know if you have read the series thus far, has always done what he wants, uncaring about the consequences of his actions on others. Wraith is a selfish, hedonist demon with a death wish, however I've always liked him. Why? He is funny, cocky, brutally honest (most of the time - lol), he is an amazing warrior and he does have a certain code that he lives by with respect to satisfying his sexual needs. Wraith never has sex with human or vampire women because of a horrific past that is really fleshed out in this story.

So, the irony you see is that the woman who holds the cure for Wraith's affliction is human and a virgin, and he must seduce her to take the charm that will save his life. Their romance is one of the more bittersweet stories I've read and while rest assured they do have their HEA, I wept for them on more than one occasion. As is the way with the seminus demons in Larissa's novels, Wraith falls hard and for the first time in his life he is forced to come to terms with deep feelings for another. The erotic scenes penned between Serena and Wraith are boiling hot, but also tender and sensuous, ladies, get ready!

The backdrop to their love story, as I mentioned above is complex, but the metamorphosis of Wraith's character is deeply embedded into an absolutely riveting story that will leave readers hyperventilating until the closing pages.

If you thought the antagonist of Shade's story was a malevolent scary creature, wait until you read the one written for Wraith's. This creature is an unequivocal hells spawn whose goal is the total destruction of earth. The graphic imagery and prose written surrounding the final battle between the Aegis army and demons took me right into the thick of the fray.

Gem and Kynan's story continues to be a roller coaster ride. Their angst and heartache also brought me to tears. I will say Kynan's future is tied to a prophecy referenced in the "Daemonica" tome that will surprise you.

Reaver's character is also fully developed and he plays an integral part in the plotline and final battle.

Larissa Ione has cleverly introduced a new and very interesting character to the storyline who is given a pivotal role in one of the subplots of Wraith's book. I'm sure this character will be the hero of the fourth Demonica novel, and we will again have the story of another tortured hero to look forward too.

I've given a great deal of thought to this series over the past couple of days. What makes it so special for me? What keeps me engaged? Why am I literally addicted? As with any series there is not a singular reason, but I think it is that the heroes are so tortured that when they find their HEA it is that much more satisfying. Secondly, these characters are so unique and well developed; you cannot help but become invested in them as a reader. Then there is the humor, OMG, the dialogue that comes out of Wraith's mouth especially had me cackling with laughter! And lastly, from my perspective, the Demonica world becomes more amazing with each story and Ms. Ione is expanding it with just the right amount of momentum. The other issue is that these books, at around 400 pages are good hearty reads, which allows for a wonderful in-depth storyline.

I have to comment that I think reading these stories in order is a must, because the plots do interconnect, each book builds on the previous.

Thankfully Larissa Ione has been contracted to write two more novels but it is going to be another long wait because they are due out in 2010.

The Demonica novels I'm sure will be my favorite series of 2009. 

The Beast in Him by Shelly Laurenston (Pride, Book 2)

A Customer Review : 

Jessica Ward has wanted Bobby Ray Smith since they were kids. Then he left town to join the military. Not long after that, Jess left and many years later, is now not only the alpha of her own pack, but the CEO of a company. Jess is no longer the gangly geek girl who hid most of the time in high school. Now the timing is just right to show Bobby Ray that she is all grown up.

Bobby Ray is settling in with the part of the Smith Pack that followed him to Manhattan. He also has his new security business that is growing slowly as the word gets out. On the night he discovers that not only has Jess grown up but she has also become a beautiful woman, it's an eye-opening and lust-inducing event.

That night is the beginning of the unique romance of Bobby Ray and Jessica. Besides the day-to-day worries of their businesses, now they both also have the welfare of their respective packs to worry about and keep safe. Just their luck that when the packs seem to be accepting them, something happens that could not only risk the peace between the packs, but also any chance that Bobby Ray and Jess have to finally mate. Now it is up to Jess, Bobby Ray, and their packs and family to overcome the potential threat.

What is a girl to do when she has decided it's time to be claimed by her mate? In The Beast in Him, and if you are Jess, you arrange to meet up with your long-time mate of choice and proceed to show him how good you could be together. Bobby Ray was not ready to settle down, or so he thought, until he came up against Jessica during a security job. Now there is nothing he won't do to have her as his mate. So why is she giving him so much stress? Once again, I have found that nobody does subtle humor and mean in a loving way like Ms. Laurenston. Jess knows what she wants and how she wants it. Bobby Ray knows what he needs and just can't figure out how to get it. With fun antics, hot nights, a pack of crazy wild dogs, and the semi-insane Smith pack, there is no way to miss...right?

I found myself laughing so many times while following the circle route that Jess and Bobby Ray took into love. When you throw in the zany secondary characters and how they "helped" the situations - I just could not resist laughing, sighing, and yes, even snorting. My only warning is to be careful when drinking while reading. There are more reasons to love The Beast in Him than I could list here, but I will tell you that it is Joyfully Recommended and not to be missed.


The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

 Customer Review Below :

Mane Event is one of those guilty pleasure kind of books but somehow Shelly Laurenston manages the erotic content while telling two connected stories that are romantic and funny. This is no neat feat considering that the couples spend most of their time getting hot and sweaty and some people may be uncomfortable with the sensuality level and language here. But where a full length novel might have gotten repetitious, these short stories didn't have that problem.

In Christmas Pride - Mace a gorgeous ex-Seal Lion-shifter is back in town and determined to have the one women he's always loved Desiree. Back in high school they were best bud's but now they are all grown up and nothing is going to stand in his way. What I liked about this story is that there was the leftover crushes from when Mace and Dez were kids to build on. Mace has always been in love with this women and never doubts for a minute that she will be his. Dez is a great strong character, and when she ends up in a face off against some nasty shifters, she is tough and smart enough to handle it on her own. No damsel in distress here, definitely a worthy mate for the king of the beasts.

In Shaw's Tail - The way that Lion-shifter Shaw falls so completely for Ronnie Lee a former wild child wolf-shifter, is really appealing. Their courtship is a dance: Shaw stalks and pounces and then retreats so that Ronnie Lee won't feel trapped and flee. Both characters have a great sense of humor, and are playful both in and out of bed. Who says cats and dogs don't mix?

There are also some good supporting characters pulling the strings to get these couples together. I am not familiar with Laurenston's other Pack and Pride stories but it looks like she has a great setup for some follow-on books, starring Dez's former military friends, and the Smith wolf pack (including the sweetly manipulative Sissy Mae and her brother Smitty) who have joined up with Mace to form a security company. And some obnoxious Lionesses that need to meet their mates.

Mane Event was sexy and funny. A great read if you are looking for a light romantic and steamy paranormal read with fur and fangs.


The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston

A Customer Review :

With a hefty reward offered for his death, undercover cop and lion shifter Mitch is badly wounded by a would-be assassin's bullet just days before he is to deliver the testimony that will bring down a powerful crime boss -- then he's off to witness protection. In order to keep Mitch safe from others looking to cash in, wolf shifter Sissy Mae Smith bundles up her bleeding buddy and takes Mitch to the one place where she know she can make a stand - the one place Sissy avoids when ever possible - she takes him home to Smith Town. But as Mitch recovers, Sissy Mae and Mitch start seeing each other in a whole different way and soon they are taking their relationship to the next level with lots humor and plenty of heat.

I am really becoming a fan of Laurenston's shifter romances. These are a steamy and fun with all kinds of crazy family relationships, fun little side bits like the `great race' and let them eat pie scenes along with a handful of other subplots to stir into the mix. I loved both Sissy's and Mitch's uber-alpha mamas, the Aunts, and all the dynamics of the large extended southern werewolf family of Smith Town.

There was so much that was fun and funny. Like the wild dog shifters at the wedding playing tug-o-war and doing the pogo, and Mitch's whole 'I am a pampered puddy cat, feed me now' lion attitude. The humor, the banter, and the playfulness between Mitch and insane alpha Sissy Mae also serve to build the sexual tension between the pair since Laurenston holds off on the consummation until well into the book. Along with the tension building, Laurenston continues to do a great job of managing the steamy stuff - giving us a couple of healthy doses of spicy loves scenes and then just giving us sensual snippets to keep things hot while avoiding being repetitious.

After meeting bad-girl alpha Sissy in previous books, I wasn't so sure that I would be interested in seeing her as a leading lady -- she was truly evil to Jess. But I really did end up enjoying both Sissy and her story. Even though Sissy is still very alpha here, we see a surprising amount of vulnerability in her as she finally finds in Mitch the shifter who can match her appetites and challenge her `boundaries'. Can't wait for the next one.

For fans of the series, there are decent cameo appearances by past leading ladies Dez, Jess and Ronnie. Which means that this book will be more fun for you if you've read the previous two in the series.

Laurenston's Pride
The Mane Event (Pride, Book 1)
The Beast in Him (Pride, Book 2)


Crux: Southern Arcana, Book 1 (Kindle Edition) by Moira Rogers


4 stars

To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life-and her heart.
Southern Arcana, Book 1
Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn'nt crack-until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.
New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn-t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.
When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.
Warning: This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.

A Customer Review :
I'll say right up front that I am a fan of the writing team of Moira Rogers and so I'm not at all surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I first discovered Moira Rogers from the free reads offered on the Moira Rogers website. My favorite is Honor Bound, check it out. I also loved the Red Rock Pass series so I fully expected to like Crux and I was not disappointed.

Mackenzie Brooks has arrived in New Orleans where she has landed a job in bar. For the first time in a long time she feels like she fits in and really likes her boss and the bar regulars. However she is on the run and can't afford to settle down here. She is being hunted down by a crazy stalker who speaks of destiny and babies and she is terrified.

Mackenzie's boss is a shifter and senses that Mackenzie may be one as well. She also suspects that Mackenzie is in some kind of trouble so she asks her private investigator friend, Jackson Holt to do a little checking and see what her deal is.

Jackson discovers Mackenzie is on the run but what she's running from is far more dangerous than your average everyday stalker. He discovers that she is unaware that she is a rare cougar shifter and the people hunting her down have plans for her that could put everyone in danger.

Mackenzie and Jackson are a compliment to each other. Although Mackenzie is afraid and on the run she is a strong female lead who makes solid decisions. No sitting around and waiting for a knight in shining armor for her. Jackson is a southern gentleman, and while his focus is on protecting Mackenzie, he never crosses over into overprotective jerk mode. He is sexy, thoughtful, can cook, and best of all, southern. Yum! Their romantic relationship develops at nice pace and the chemistry between the two is hot! The interesting thing about this couple is Mackenzie is a cougar shifter which makes her physically strong. Although Jackson is a part of this paranormal world in that he's a caster--skilled in magic--he is human and breakable. Mackenzie definitely has the upper hand physically.

The secondary characters do their part in supporting this story as well. There is Nick the bar owner who is the daughter of the Alpha Wolf. She has a crush on Derek, who is considered a "second class citizen" because he wasn't born a wolf, he was changed. Although they didn't get a lot of play in Crux, their chemistry came through nicely and the authors have set a nice foundation for their developing relationship.

Although there is plenty of relationship development, Crux has a good dose of action as well. Just when when I thought I knew how it would all end, there was an unexpected twist and the story took on a second burst of momentum paving the way for a very nice ending.

I think fans of Paranormal Romance as well as Urban Fantasy will enjoy Crux. The authors have blended the two genres perfectly combining good strong world building, interesting supernatural characters with romance and sexy scenes that will make your blood run hot. I eagerly anticipate Crossroads, the next installment in the Southern Arcana series. 

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost


The second book in the Night Huntress world will be in July 27, 2010 per Jeaniene's website and the book is titled Eternal Kiss of Darkness.  Mencheres, Bones' grandsire's book... here is a blurp for her website..
An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness…and now one woman has stumbled into the shadows.
Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking.  But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn.  Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares.
At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master Vampire who thought he’d seen it all.  Then Kira appears—this fearless, beautiful…human who braved death to rescue him.  Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life, yet sending her away is unthinkable.
But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose between the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.