Lay It Down by Cara McKenna

ORDER A COPY: Lay It Down: A Desert Dogs Novel

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 336 pages

Rating: 4 stars

That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.

Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a casino development to town, greed isn’t far behind—and it claims Vince’s good friend as its first casualty. With the law turning a blind eye to the mysterious death, Vince must seek his own brand of justice. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to uncovering the truth. And she’s a temptation too good to pass up.

Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she uncovers evidence supporting Vince’s suspicions of murder, Kim must entrust her safety to a man whose body threatens danger of a whole different kind.

Vince Grossier’s friend Alex calls him late one night to meet up at the local bar. Alex saw something while patrolling at the construction site for the new casino which has him pretty spooked. Vince wasn’t happy when Alex never showed that night, but Alex couldn’t help it. Alex was died on the way to the bar. After their conversation on the phone, including Alex’s cryptic statement about “bones,” Vince isn’t ready to accept that Alex died while driving drunk in his police cruiser. Alex might have had a problem with alcohol, but he was always too smart to drive in that condition.  Unfortunately, Vince can’t convince any of his friends that someone might have faked Alex’s death to cover up something that Alex saw that day.

Actually the only one who thinks there might credence to Vince’s insane idea is the photographer Sunnyside hired to take some publicity shots. Vince offers to take Kim to get some of the more dynamic shots of the area as only a local would know, if she promises to keep her eyes open while taking pictures around the construction site.

Surprisingly Kim stumbles on a conversation which might just give weight to Vince’s suspicions. Now the Vince is able to convince his friends that there might have been something more sinister behind Alex’s death, he has to worry that someone might be coming after Kim to make sure she doesn’t share whatever she might have heard.

I always love Cara McKenna’s characters. They are edgy and imperfect creatures. That’s what makes them so memorable. In Lay It Down, Kim pegs Vince as a selfish guy. She is right in her assumption but she is also very wrong. Unlike his brother, Vince has stayed in the rundown Town of Fortuity to take care of their mother who is showing increased dementia. He has been in prison, but he also tries to help the families of the guys who are still inside. Helping others makes Vince feel good about himself. So Vince might be a bit selfish, but he has many good qualities to him as well.

Although Kim was interested in a one night stand, I loved that when they got to her room she quizzed him first with a “You can come in if you can answer my question.  What’s my name?” At this point, Vince was only looking to get laid and wasn’t concerned with anything more getting sex. Since he didn’t even bothering to pay attention to such an unimportant fact as her name, proves her belief of him that he is selfish.  Her turning him away peeks his interest in her as more than just a way to get a quick release.

What I like most was that by the time we get Kim and Vince into bed, Vince acknowledges to himself that his normal m.o. is to get the most out of his own enjoyment and hit the bricks as soon as it’s over. By the time he gets there with Kim, he realizes he wants to give her more than he usually demands.

Again at his fly as she undid the button. He let her wrists go, and his breath slipped out in a silent moan as she slide his zipper down.  Christ, this was his cue.   A cue he’d taken too many times, to cup a woman’s head, lead her down to her knees.  A selfish man’s most natural move, yet his hands lay limp at his sides, the whole of him mesmerized as she explored.

Their after sex doesn’t include cuddling, mostly because they are both unsure what their relationship is, are they a one-time thing? Are they having a romance? It takes them awhile to acknowledge to each other that there is more to them then simply enjoying sex.

This is the first Cara McKenna book that I have read that is part of a series instead of a stand alone. She introduces some really great characters and some side characters who I think will play a more important part in upcoming books. The story plot also involves murder and cover up and how far up the chain does the conspiracy go. Because she was introducing several characters and building the ground work for future novels, this one was a bit of a slow read for me. It took me some time to get into the story. We do get some answers at the end, but many more questions are still open.  It will be an interesting series.  I just hope the rest of the books aren’t so draggy.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

She stared at him for a long moment, trying to figure out why she wasn’t unnerved by any of this. In fact, all she felt was intrigued. “You’re a very unusual man.”

“You’re a very attractive woman.”

She felt her cheeks heating at that, and promptly hid behind the camera once more. This massive, sketchy, shameless man wanted her. For a night, likely—nothing more. It wasn’t as if he knew her well enough to have an actual crush on her. A collision, that’s what he was after. A sex collision. She strained for reasons to run away…

She might be embarrassed, bumping into him afterward. Though that wasn’t such a high price to pay.

Or the sex might be awful and disappointing. Like that hasn’t been true with nice, normal guys? Maybe the sex would be just like Vince—brash and loud and exciting and fast, and larger than life itself.

You could just kiss him. More often than not, that told you everything you needed to know about how two people would fare in bed together.

When the last of the dawn’s colors bled to pale blue, and the hide of Lights Out looked common as terra-cotta, Kim dropped the camera to her lap and turned to her perplexing tour guide.

“Well, you win.”

A smirk. “Do I then? What’s my prize?”

“You were right,” she reiterated. “That’s got to be the best view in town. And I never would have found it myself. Thank you. Can I give you some gas money?”

“Nah. But I’ll take that breakfast you mentioned.” She nodded, eyes dropping to his stubble-dark chin, his mouth.


“What, what?” she bluffed, hauling her attention back to his eyes.

A smile—very faint, very approving. “You know what. So tell me, and then we’ll both know.”

Fine, busted. “I was…just wondering…if you were any good at kissing,” she finished in a mumble.

“Oh were you then?” he asked with over done surprise.

“Don’t act so satisfied.”

“Quit giving me reasons to.”

“Shut up and let’s kiss,” she decided. “Then at least we’ll know whether or not all this flirting is a waste of time.” It’d probably be too hard—his mouth mashed against hers, a crushing, toothy, awkward assault. Or too wet. Too much of something, with this too-much man.

But his approach was measured, nothing like the battering ram she’d forecasted. He leaned in slowly, lips parting as he drew close, the temperature only rising as he cast a shadow over her.  His gloves were on, his palm clad in beat old leather, fingers bare and warm as they curved along her jaw. She shut her eyes and breathed him in—earth, coffee, sweat, skin. The very scent of anticipation. His other hand grazed her neck, making her shiver, then swept up to her cheek. She was dying for his lips, but it was a different, unexpected contact he offered. Gently, slowly, he slid her glasses from her face, something about the act so odd and intimate, she gasped as though he’d cupped her breast. Her eyes opened, finding those hazel ones so near.

He was unlike any man she’d ever been this close to, and somehow she knew, after this kiss, something inside her would never quite be the same. Like that electric color he’d shown her, whatever happened next was going to rewrite her perceptions, Expand her understanding of what kissing meant.

With neat, almost prim motions, Vince folded her glasses and hooked them to his own collar. Now those hands were free to hold her jaw, the contact crackling bright, stealing her breath. Shutting her eyes. His rough thumbs stroked her cheeks; then his lips glanced hers in a scalding whisper. Nothing like she’d imagined. Light and teasing. Then just a bit more, his lower lip brushing both of hers, urging them to part. Her fingers sought his jacket, curling around his lapels. Tugging. He took the hint, giving her a first taste of that kiss she’d been expecting. More of everything—more pressure, more intention. She drew his lip between hers, released it with a graze of teeth and earned herself the hottest little reaction—a flare of surprise in his exhalation. The unmistakable sound of a man rousing.

She felt possession in those hands, and tasted hunger on his lips. He angled her head and took the kiss deep—a bold sweep of his tongue, but so much more sensual than the intrusion she’d anticipated. He was dark and sweet from the coffee, same as her, perfect somehow. Wanting more of him, she found his jacket’s zipper and eased it down, letting her palms seek his chest through is tee. He was burning hot despite the cool bite of the morning, and she felt his heart beating behind smooth cotton. As his mouth explored hers, his hands roamed lower, until those big fingers were fanned across her waist, seeming to urge her in subtle pulls, mimicking the thrusts she’d guiltily let herself fantasize about, with this man. Now she imagined everything. Every inch of his bare body, braced above hers. Every noise. Every motion.

And this kiss told her every last thing she needed to know about how he’d be, in bed. And she couldn’t wait to find herself there with him.

Reckless by Skye Jordan

ORDER A COPY: Reckless (Renegades, Book 1)

Publisher: Cygnet Books
Publishing Date: August 23, 2013
Audiobook: 9 hrs 15 min.
Narrator: Piper Goodeve

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker makes Lexi realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success and one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life. When that touch fills far more than just Lexi’s physical needs, she finds herself torn between the career she needs and the bad-boy she craves.

Jax Chamberlin gave up the superficial life of acting for the thrill of running his own stunt company years ago. But a recent betrayal proves he’s still too close to the limelight to find a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping-stone to success. When the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle, and Jax isn’t willing to change his ways. Especially not when he discovers who she really is. Because if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the other gold-diggers. And this time, it’s not just his bad-boy reputation at risk, but his heart, too.

Lexi LeCroix, wedding dress designer, is on her way to New York for an important meeting with Martina Galliano.  Adding her designs to the Galliano’s label will be the culmination of all Lexi’s hard work. She has been working so hard to build her business and to meet the right clients, she can’t remember the last time she sat down and ate a meal, let alone the last time she went on a date or had sex. But having her designs be part of the Galliano’s wedding line will make her a big name in wedding haute couture.

Texting Jax Chamberlain in secret at the airport while waiting to board there plane, goes from playful fun to a night of the hot sex neither has ever experienced before. With her hard earned reputation on the line, Lexi can’t risk what her rich clients might think of a relationship with the gorgeous stuntman, especially with the Galliano people watching her every move.

Jax is so used to being used as a stepping stone for every woman who hops into his bed, he is afraid to believe that Lexi is a good as she seems. Can two people who have trust issues take the leap to trust one more time?

The narrator, Piper Goodeve, did a great job bringing Lexi alive for me. Her male voices were not as impressive but overall she did a great job narrating with a very natural flow to her voice.

This story starts out with Jax and Lexi seeing each other outside of the airport and then ending up on the same flight. Although the premise was a bit far fetched that Lexi was testing an app which would show her the phone numbers on every phone, I did enjoy the anonymous text flirting between Lexi and Jax which starts our story.   Both were open, flirtly and it introduced them both as very likable characters before all the BS starts.

Although they were both likable characters, their issues, especially those of Lexi, just tear the story apart. Let start with Jax. He is a former actor from a long family dynasty of actors. He acted under his given name and is now much happier going by his middle name Jackson and working as a stunt man. Jax has had relationship after relationship where women just use him to be introduced to some director or other important person in movies.  Although Jax is gorgeous and rich, apparently women only use him to get ahead. He has just gotten out of another relationship with a woman who stole a big contract from him. So when he first sees Lexi he wants to know what she wants from him and he is so desperate for her at this point, he is disappointed but willing to be used once again.

What I mean by finally sees her, when they have what is supposed to be their one night stand, Lexi makes Jax turn out all of the lights before she comes in so he can’t see her and recognize her or see how gorgeous she is.   Maybe the author does this to prove how stupid men will be to get sex from someone they have convinced themselves is hot, because Jax agrees to this. What? At this point they have only had their texting/flirting at the airport. To agree to blindly have sex with a woman seems a big leap to a man with his own trust issues. From her flirty banter, he presumes that she is gorgeous? hot? not his sister?   The scene was hot, no question, there is still a part of my brain screaming who’s stupid enough to agree to that? A guy who wants indiscriminate sex, that’s who.

Yes, Jax has issues and jumps to the conclusion that she wants something from him, but quickly realizes that if she did want from him, she wouldn’t have hidden her face or avoided him. She would have walked into his hotel room, showed him how beautiful she was and made sure to hook him with her looks and sex and then asked for his connections rather than avoided him.  So Jax is a reasonable person.

My biggest issue plot wise was simply Lexi’s waffling between why she can’t be with Jax or any other man. Yes, she worked hard to earn the big, rich, Hollywood clients and yes, they are a judgy bunch. She is also had her last boyfriend who didn’t want to let go of Lexi because she is soooooo, sooooo beautiful and he needed to have her as his eye candy so desperately that he tried blackmailing her to keep her. Because of the judgy people and the possessive ex-boyfriend, first she can’t be with Jax because she thought he was just a biker and the people she works with would judge her based on his look. Then when she finds out he is a stuntman and knows many of the people she has worked with, she still can’t be with him in public because he could desire her so much that he could ruin her by turning all her clients again her. Back and forth, back and forth. Even after a mutual friend vouches for how wonderful a person Jax is she still waffles over if he is good enough.   Here is my biggest problem with this story…after 150 pages of “I worked hard to build my business,” “I don’t have time for a relationship,” “I can’t be with Jax because he isn’t good enough for my clients,” “I can’t be with Jax because he could get possessive and ruin her reputation”…they have sex in a public place.  Yes, in a shadowy corner away from everyone, but in public and yes, they are caught. What happened to MY PRECIOUS REPUTATION? We had to listen to her worry about her business and her reputation for over 150 pages and then she hikes her skirt up in a corner surrounded by her clients. I was driving my car, listening to the story and screaming at the top of my lungs “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?”

These were great characters and we could have enjoyed many more sexy scenes where Jax and Lexi were sneaking around on the Q.T. rather than waste all this time and energy listening to Lexi give excuse after excuse to protect her reputation. I wish politicians worked this hard to protect their reputations. Skye Jordan (a/k/a Joan Swan) is a good author so I am disappointed that she didn’t come up with a better excuse to keep them apart although it simply wasn’t necessary to keep them apart in the first place.  Both were busy, hard working people and that could have been more than enough of an excuse to keep them apart.  Lexi just comes across as a sweet, hard working woman who is a complete idiot for making stupid excuses why she can’t date a gorgeous, hard working, well-known and admired stunt man.

Oh, I did forget one more unbelievable point of this story, which even Jax found unbelievable, Lexi is so busy being hard-working she didn’t know Jax from any of his movies when he was working as a well-known, sexy leading man.

At the time of this review posting, Reckless is free on Amazon, and you can get the audiobook companion for only $1.99. Try it for yourself and let me know whether or not you agree with me.

Favorite Scene:

His phone chimed with a text message. Jax pulled out of his head and dragged his phone from his jacket pocket while using the few napkins that had survived the spill to wipe at the coffee residue on his boots.

When he sat back and glanced at the message, he frowned.

UNKNOWN: You’re in luck. I just read a survey that women in New York are most turned on by the scent of coffee. No joke.

Jax stared at the message, confused. Then at the identification, showing ‘blocked number’, even more confused. It was really late—or early, depending on how he looked at hit—and he’d desperately needed that coffee. His mind spun but couldn’t find traction. His cell number was unlisted. Only his family, his Renegades, his friends, and the women he’d dated had it. Everything related to work went through a separate cell or the office phone. No one who had his phone number had a blocked identity, but those bastards he worked with could hack, rig and wing anything they got their grimy hands on.

Had to be one of them fucking with him. So typical.

Jax returned a text to unknown.

JAX: Then I’ll finally be more popular at Kiss N Fly than you are. Don’t hide in the shadows, you prick. Come keep me company.

He couldn’t think of any reason his guys would be flying in or out of town. Renegades didn’t have any jobs scheduled outside LA this week other than the one Jax was handling in New York. Wes wouldn’t be coming out for another few days.

UNKNOWN: I do hear the women at Kiss N Fly go both ways, but I don’t, so I’m sure you’d be far more popular at the bar than I would.


Jax lifted his frown from the phone. A young woman stood in front of him holding a coffee cup. She wore a green apron from the restaurant where he’d gotten his coffee earlier, the coffee that now resided in his clothes.

“I was asked to deliver this to you.”

The text and the coffee clicked at the same time. Not one of his guys. Ooops. “Who asked you to deliver it?”

“I don’t know, sir. It was called in.” She glanced at his soaked duffle and smiled. “I guess you had an accident here and someone wanted to replace it.”

Jax glanced over at Kevin and his mother. The boy was still sliding the car around on the carpet at her feet. His mother read Jax’s silent question and shook her head. He took the offered coffee and thanked the girl from the restaurant, reaching for his wallet.

“Oh no, sir. It’s been taken care of.”

He paused with is wallet in his hand. “Let me at least give you something for bringing it over.”

She grinned. “That’s been covered too, but thank you.”

And she walked away. His phone chimed again.

UNKNOWN: And while I do love coffee–both the scent…and the taste–I have no doubt I’d prefer the scent…and the taste…of something…more personal.

Jax stared won at the message. Heat gathered low in his gut. “Whoa.”

He glanced up and around the terminal, where the space was filing with more passengers. But no one particularly interested in him, which is good. He took red-eyes as often as possible to avoid what little recognition he occasionally still received. but now he didn’t want to get caught up with one of his exes. Didn’t want to start something inappropriate with one of his friends.

JAX: I’m guessing I should thank you for the coffee?

UNKNOWN: No need. We all can use a little pick-me-up now and then. It was nice for me to be able to do it. Hope this turns your day around.

Jax took a sip. The fresh, hot brew filled his mouth, and his shoulders relaxed. He finally asked:

JAX: Who is this? You number is showing up blocked.

The tension returned as he waited for the answer.

UNKNOWN: We don’t know each other.

Jax frowned. His mind darted.

JAX: How’d you get my number?

UNKNOWN: Just a little harmless hacking. Don’t worry, I won’t bother you or share it. I just wanted to tell you how great you were with the kid and how I’m drooling over your jacket.

He laughed. The hacking part didn’t bother him overly much. Any of his guys could have surely done the same. And he appreciated ingenuity. If she became a problem, he’d just block her.

At the moment, he could use a frivolous diversion. And since he had no idea who he was talking to, this could be considered focusing on the inside of a woman, right?

And…she had bought him coffee.

Souls of the Damned by E.S. Moore

ORDER A COPY: Souls of the Damned

Publisher: Kensington
Publishing Date: June 19, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Kat Redding would love to take a break from the gruesome, dangerous work of hunting down rogue vampires and werewolves, battling for innocent lives. But there’s no peace for Lady Death. Until Kat’s young charge, Sienna, appears on her doorstep, escaped from the shadow-paradise of Delai. Sienna is weak, confused, desperate–human in the utmost. If Kat is going to have any hope of breaking the hold of Delai, she’ll have to infiltrate the walls around the false sanctuary. And the only way she can do that is to trade in her battle-hardened, bloodthirsty vampire’s body–for Sienna’s human form.

With no weapons but her wits, Kat has to trust a demon, defeat an angel, and wrestle with her own rebel soul–because with all the fear and death she’s conquered, no one has ever offered her another day under a warm yellow sun.

Kat has tried several times unsuccessfully to find Delai. She promised Sienna that she wouldn’t leave her there to the mercy of Levi. Sienna doesn’t even know that Levi isn’t a man.  He’s an angel. But angels are not the heavenly, kind of creatures we have all been brainwashed to believe they are. Levi is no better than the demon Beligral who has marked Kat and her human friend, Ethan.

So imagine how surprised Kat is to come home one night to find Sienna sleeping in her bed. Beligral helped break Levi’s bond long enough for Sienna to escape Delai, but what Kat can’t figure out is why?  The only thing she is sure about is that Beligral wants Kat to send Levi back to his own realm, and he’s willing to make Kat human in order to accomplish that.  But then again when negotiating with a demon, there is always a catch, to make her human, Beligral will swap Kat and Sienna’s souls.

Kat isn’t willing to make Sienna suffer vampire hunger and rage no matter how much Kat would like to be human. But she didn’t count on Levi being able to call Sienna and the only way to keep Sienna from running back on her own would be to lock her in a cage for the rest of her life.

With no other way to save Sienna from returning to Delia, Kat agrees to the soul swap. If she can make it back out alive, will she have the strength to give Sienna back her body, or will the lure of once again being human be too much of a temptation for Kat to resist.


**Some spoilers***
I knew when I picked this book up that it was a storyline focusing on the Twilight Zone town of Delai. I didn’t enjoy that storyline when it was presented in Book 2, but I understand and the author (1) isn’t writing just for my personal pleasure, and (2) he has to wrap up this loose thread since Kat isn’t the type of character to abandon an innocent young woman after promising to come back for her.

E.S. Moore left us reeling at the end of Book 4 with an ending which will bring big changes, but we couldn’t really get into what’s going to happen yet because we had to wrap up the Delai storyline.   Kat’s character had improved in Book 4 and she was continuing with her personal growth in Book 5. Kat hates being a vampire and wants to be human again, but even with how tempting it was to take Sienna’s body, she didn’t give in until she had no other choice. Sienna was being force back to go back and she wasn’t strong enough to have been able to stop Levi herself.  Once she takes Sienna’s body and becomes human again, Kat comes to realize how much weaker humans are, how much slower, eyesight, etc. So maybe the time spent in Sienna’s body will help her re-think her deep desire to be human again.  Kat has made many enemies and becoming human again would make her too weak to protect herself and her friends for the powerful Supes who would be gunning for her.

Now that the Delai storyline is dead, Kat still has to deal with the new threat by Countess Basset who wants Kat to walk away from her old life and move into her House and for Kat become her full-time assassin. She also has creepy, gross Adrian, the psycho werewolf Alpha, who wants Kat to mate with him (ewww) still stalking her.  He wants Kat to pass on a message of Jonathan that he wants Jonathan to join his House. I think he just wants to keep on eye on Jonathan because he knows that there are feelings between Jonathan and Kat.

(Little more spoilers)  The big positive in this story was that we got some Jonathan and Kat (as Sienna) action. What do I mean by that? After Kat switches bodies with Sienna, she realizes she might not come back and she goes to see Jonathan for possibly the last time.  They have sex (Yay!) and Jonathan is suddenly out of his funk (not surprising).  He doesn’t know what Kat is up to, but obviously he wants to see more of her when she comes back. Knowing she won’t be keeping Sienna’s body if she survives, Kat starts with the “we can’t mix vampires and werewolves” BS fear she keeps falling back on, and Jonathan pleads that they not go backwards in their relationship now that they finally have taken a step forward.

Now I don’t know if this was intentional by the author or not, but Jonathan and Kat/Sienna have sex.  I’m gonna guess that no condom was used since Jonathan is currently displaced and in a funk and probably not thinking about sex.  I am sure Kat/Sienna didn’t show up with one and since Sienna has been living in Delai, I’m gonna guess she isn’t taking birth control to control her cramps which is the lame excuse in several books.   Is the author just glancing over this oversight or will Sienna start the next novel suddenly feeling out of sorts or nursing a case of the “flu” and asking Kat what she was doing with Sienna’s body while she was out? Additionally, Kat’s BFF Ethan has a crush on Sienna.  I don’t think he’s gonna be happy to find out Kat got his new love knocked up with a half werewolf baby.  That would make awkward breakfast conversation.  We’ll have to see if that turns into something in the next book.

I’m still in on this series for now and since we’ve gotten rid of the Delai storyline, we can concentrate of Kat extricating herself from the clutches of both the vampire Countess and Adrian the creepy werewolf.   I must admit that I fear for my beloved Jonathan now that he and Kat have upped their relationship.   I said all along she should mate with Jonathan since she was so attached to him and that would get Adrian off her back.  Now that there is a relationship between them (including sex) will Adrian kill Jonathan or simply threaten Jonathan’s life to get Kat to mate with him (ewww!).   If Jonathan’s gone, I’m out.  :(  He’s my favorite character here.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

The sound of birds chirping woke me. I stretched and sat up in bed, somewhat dazed. Sometime during the night, I’d been moved so that when I woke, my head was on the pillow and a blanket covered me. I’d somehow slept through it, which wasn’t like me at all.

With a yawn, I rose and sludged my way across the dark bedroom, into the bathroom. I flipped on a light and jumped back in surprise when I saw my face.

Sienna stared back at me. It was strange knowing I was looking into a mirror and yet, not recognizing the face as my own. I ran my fingers down my cheek, stretching the skin as if I thought it might slough off, revealing the same old face I was used to.

“This is fucking weird.” Even my voice didn’t sound right.

I turned away from the mirror with a grimace. Smells and sights were muted from what I knew. I couldn’t hear as well as before either. It made me feel as if I was wrapped in cotton, or crippled, perhaps.

And then there was the whole washing thing. I really didn’t want to see Sienna naked, but if I was stuck with this body for any length of time, there was no helping it. I doubted I’d be able to go to Delai, find the summoner, kill him, and then get back to switch bodies before I started to stink.

I quickly stripped out of Sienna’s clothes, stepped into the shower, and tried to wash her body without actually touching anything. It’s my body now, I reminded myself. I needed to start thinking of it that way so that if I came across a situation where I need to react quickly, I didn’t try to act like the vampire I once was. That would only get me killed.

Once I was clean, I dried off and hurried into my room to get dressed, pointedly not looking in the mirror as I passed. There wasn’t much that fit me right, but I managed to find an old T-shirt in the back of my closet that wasn’t too big and a pair of shorts that worked well enough once I strapped on a belt.  I felt like a little girl playing dress-up with her mom’s clothes.

The sound of birds continued. My eyes were drawn to the sound.

My heart in my throat as I crossed the room to the window. The blinds were taped to the wall so that no light could penetrate them. Heavy curtains hung over them for added protection. Ever so slowly, I pushed the curtains back and pulled the blinds away from the window.

Light struck me square in the face. I cringed back, expecting to feel burned and weak, but instead, the sunlight on my skin felt warm and comforting. I opened the blinds wider and looked out on a sunlit world I never thought I’d see again.

Tears sprung suddenly to my eyes, so I closed them. The sun warmed my flesh, sent my heart soaring. While I couldn’t see it directly, the sunlight lit up my eyelids so that they seemed to glow bright pink.

With a cry of pure joy, I spun and ran out of my room. I was crying hard now and couldn’t make myself stop. I didn’t know if it was the body or if I was just that overjoyed about what I’d felt. Either way, my emotions were getting the better of me. And right then, I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was feel the sun directly on my skin, revel in the light of day for the first time in a very, very long time.

I threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, heedless of anyone that might be lurking in the surrounding trees. I spread my arms wide as I raised my face to a sun that shone so bright, so strong, it was a wonder the entire world didn’t burn. A breeze played across my skin, warm and reassuring. I fell to my knees and cried.

“Could you remember what it was like before now?”

Jeremy’s voice startled me, but I refused to rise. I shook my head and smiled into the sun.

The world smelled different during the day. Even with my weaker sense of smell, I could tell. It was as if I’d walked into another reality entirely. Everything was so strange, and that included myself.  It was all I could do not to be overwhelmed.

Jeremy didn’t move from where he stood a few feet back. I had a feeling I’d woken him with my shout before I’d run from the house. He was probably out here making sure no one took advantage of the idiot girl.

I finally rose and turned to face him. He looked tired, but oddly happy. The sun did strange things to his face, made him look older somehow. I’m not sure if it was that the shadows were thinner here or if it was how the lines of worry were more defined in direct sunlight.

“I’m glad you got to see this,” he said, scanning the trees. “I think if vampires could actually come out and spend sometime in the sun, they wouldn’t be so goddamn pissy all of the time. That big orange ball up there has a soothing effect on people, you know?”

I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to speak just yet. The waterworks had shut off, but I still felt full to bursting. I wanted to scream and run naked through the trees, to feel the grass beneath my toes. If it wasn’t for the fact that there might still be werewolves camped out there and that it wasn’t my body I’d be exposing to the world, I very well might have done it.

Friday Giveaway – The Sweetest Summer by Susan Donovan

And a Happy Friday once again! It’s been a crazy week over here and I haven’t been able to concentrate much on reading.  (I know — that’s crazy talk.)  But I found myself re-reading bits and pieces of my favorite stories because I just didn’t have the energy to start a new story.

I did get a review copy yesterday of the next Jennifer Harlow book in the F.R.E.A.K.S. series. I just love this group of characters. I swear I was just going to peek at the first chapter and somehow I’m half done. After a disappointing week, it has put a smile back on my face. There is really is nothing like a good book.

This week’s giveaway is another summer beach story  Hopefully some of you have had a chance to put your toes in the sand.

For this week’s giveaway, share with me one of your favorite books to re-read.

Giveaway ends Thursday, July 31st.  Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please.

Every instinct told Police Chief Clancy Flynn that his island’s claim to fame was nothing but a silly tourist attraction. But now and then, he couldn’t help but wonder if his lifetime of bad romances—starting with the pretty tourist who broke his twelve-year-old heart—could be traced back to a childhood prank involving that very statue….

Then one day the pretty tourist comes barreling back into Bayberry—all grown-up and on the run with her niece. Though Evelyn McGuinness is wanted for kidnapping, she tries to persuade Clancy that there’s more to the story. Now the by-the-book police chief must make the toughest decision of his life: to take Evelyn into custody—or into his arms.

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

ORDER A COPY: Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark)

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 pages

Rating: 5 Stars (Loved it!)

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Romeo and Juliet have nothing on the tale of Lanthe and Thronos. Melanthe, the Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning and Prince of the Skye, should have been mortal enemies. Vrekeners have always sought to curtail the activities of the evil Sorceri. Lanthe and Thronos met as children and enjoyed an easy friendship. Thronos recognized Lanthe as his fated female and knew that someday their friendship would grow into something much more.

Yet it only took a moment of hate and fear to destroy their future. Thronos’s father, the King, brought his knights to murder Lanthe’s parents. Although they were only children, Lanthe and her sister, Sabine, used their powers to fight back and killed the King and his men. Believing that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe turned her power of persuasion on him, and commanded him to jump out of the high tower and not use his wings to stop his fall. As a young Vrekener, Thronos had not yet come into his immortality. It is a miracle that he survived at all. His face and body bear the scars from the glass and his deformed leg and wing are physical reminders of the betrayal of that night.

Vrekener’s never abandon their hunt and a male never lets go of his fated female. She is his only chance for children. So for 500 years Thronos has been chasing Lanthe across worlds and dimensions, but she has eluded him every time. Now they have both escaped from the Order’s prison and Lanthe is still wearing the torque which dampens her sorceri powers. She can’t create a portal to escape and she can’t persuade Thronos to leaver her alone. After 500 years of the chase, he finally has her in his arms. Now that he finally has her, he needs to decide what to do with her.

There is a part of him that wants to torture her for the wrongs she has done him. While he tried unsuccessfully to capture her, he had to watch his fated female take male after male to her bed while Lanthe tried desperately to find true love. There is also a part of him that still yearns for the friend he lost and the family they should have had together. Is there is too much pain and betrayal between them to ever get past?

As Thronos tries to get Lanthe to his home in the sky, they will need to fight as a team, instead of each other, to survive the perils surrounding them. They each feel the loss of their past connection like an ache, but is it enough to get them past 500 years of betrayal and treachery and find the friendship they left behind?

Thank you, Kresley Cole, for finally giving us the story we have all been dying to read.

I have been desperate for this story since we first met Lanthe and Thronos in Kiss of a Demon King. We were tortured further in Demon from the Dark, when we left off with Thronos capturing Lanthe. Being so desperate for this story, I was both thrilled and terrified when Kresley Cole announced that Dark Skye would be her next book. Thrilled that it was coming out and terrified that it would not be as fabulous a story as I needed it to be. I received a copy on late Friday afternoon and had it finished to Saturday afternoon and I am so happy to say that Thronos and Lanthe’s story will be on my list of top ten favorite stories ever.

My favorite part of this story was that Thronos gets pissed off every time Lanthe calls him a demon. Thronos is very black and white with his thinking and Lanthe forces him to see that life is mostly gray. He was raised to believe that Vrekeners were not demons, but Lanthe keeps pointing out everything that Thronos does that is demon-like.

“One more time, sorceress: I am not a demon! Vrekeners are descended from gods. We have purpose. His tone was harsher than he’d intended, because…because he had felt an affinity for the beast.

“I thought Vrekener horns were only for show,” Melanthe said with obvious glee. “Yours straightened when I began to undress.”

“I’m to take your word on that?” But how they’d ached!

“I’ll bet you have a demon seal. You won’t release seed until you’re inside your mate.”

“So I have a couple things in common with demons.” He ran his fingers throug his hair. “I also have fangs—does that make me a vampire? My eyes turn silver, so I must be a Valkyrie.”

Deny, deny, deny.

Much to his frustration, Lanthe is the only one who could challenge his rigid mindset and make him acknowledge the gray.

What I had disliked in the last two IAD books, Lothaire and especially, MacRieve, was that the heroes were sexually attracted to their heroines, but afterwards they acted disgusted by the fact that they gave in to those desires and touched a female like her. Before starting Dark Skye, I was afraid we would have more of the same especially since we are starting the story knowing that there is a lot of pain and anger between these two characters. The book starts off with a seething Thronos barely able to control his wrath against Lanthe. But we see as the story progresses that just having her with him is starting to calm him down. As his rage passes, we start to see that Thronos is naturally a calm and rational guy. He assesses each new danger or challenge before acting. Although we are still a long way from love, as he starts to think clearer he starts to work through his feelings of betrayal. He wants to get Lanthe home with him so that he can have a family since Lanthe is the only one who can have his children. Once he truly works through his feelings, he wants a family with her because she matters to him.

Thronos’s biggest issue is that Lanthe has been sexually active with many, many partners trying to find someone who will love her, and Thronos is a virgin. Vrekeners are very, very conservative and have a giant book of rules of what is taboo or an “offendment” to his people. Kissing Lanthe before they are married is considered an offendment so you can see why her promiscuity is a problem for him. By the time we get to anything really sexual, they are already working through their problems and Thronos is never in any way disgusted by what he wants to do with Lanthe, even when he is angry with her.

Lanthe has no problem with Thronos scars. She thinks they make him look warlord-y and sexy. But it is not until Lanthe takes a peek into Thronos’s mind and starts to see what happened between them from his point of view that she softens her heart and forgives him a little, but whenever he continues with the slut-shaming, he loses her again.

It is such a good story and there is such a gradual working through their issues which brings them a complete 180 from where we started that you almost forget how dark the story starts and how much seething hatred they had when we began.

All Immortal After Dark followers will be delighted with this next chapter in the series, and if you haven’t tried an IAD story, you are missing out on a truly fun and sexy series.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!!

Favorite Scene:

So many scenes, which one to pick…

Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail.

Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place?

Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic.

She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh.

Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was…gorgeous.

There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him.

Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe though they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite?

He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats?

Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze.

They were—dare she say it?—having a moment.

“You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes!

“We had a deal,” he said. “I grow impatient.”

She could imagine—he’d waited so long to see her. And now she knew he’d already been struggling with his lust and curiosity when he’d been a young man.

A deal was a deal. She would take the sight of this gold into her, a memory to last forever. Unless I can return…

“Be about it, sorceress.”

Since she’d planned on enthrall him, this would be a good start, but the way he was crouching forward, as if on the verge of pouncing, made her hesitate. “If I do this, how do I know you won’t try to touch me? You’re not supposed to, right?”

“I only intend to look,” he said, though she could sense his aggression mounting.


“Do it, then.” When she still hesitated, he said, “Don’t feign shyness—I know you’ve done this with a horde of males before me.”

And just like that, her interest was checked. Though she was neither ashamed nor proud of the number of men she’d been with, his cruel jabs wounded her.

At least now she better understood his resentment. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put myself in a sexual situation with you.”

He growled at that. “After your purported year of celibacy, I would expect you to be climbing the walls for any male’s attentions. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re in season.”

She flushed, lips thinning.

“I’ve heard tales of females like you.” At her raised brows, he enunciated the words, “Easy quarry.”

How could a maddened Vrekener hurt her so much?

Because he once looked at you with perfect acceptance, Lanthe. And she feared she’d been searching for that look ever since she’d lost it.

In order for her to be interested in a male, he needed to make her feel special—even if she knew it was a ruse. Despite Thronos’s mind-blowing body and heartbreaking past, he stood no chance. “Even we ‘easy quarry’ girls have standards. And you, Thronos Talos, are leaving me cold.”

He scoffed. “I could seduce you with ease. You’ve welcomed scores before me with only minuscule effort on their part. but I’ve no intention of taking you, nor even of touching you. Both are offendments. I only want to see my female.”

“You think you can resist seeing your mate naked?”

“You think I can’t?” A cunning light shone in his gaze. “You Sorceri like to gamble? To make bets? Then I’ll enter into a wager with you—my first.”

Dudley Do-Right makes a bet.

“If your body tempts me to touch it, then I’ll tell you how I found this temple and opened the door.”

“And if it doesn’t tempt you?”

“The blow to your enchantress pride would be reward enough.”

That is it! Now it was imperative to wipe that smirk off his face. “I’ll take your bet.” She thought she spied a flash of surprise in his expression. “No sex, though.”

He glowered, as if she’d suggested something ludicrous. “I’ll breed no bastards! Already my offspring will be half Sorceri. Do you think I’d allow the first to be illegitimate on top of that?”

Asshole! Only Thronos could ruin this: her, in a temple full of gold with a physically attractive male. He was like the anti-Sorceri—created to repel her.

Forget enchanting him! He didn’t deserve her beguilement. “I’ll remember this.”


“That you kill joy wherever you find it.” She gave him her back as she unfastened the first of three clips on the side of her breastplate.

Had his breaths quickened?

She gazed over her shoulder, saw his claws digging into the gold shelf, his throat working. His voice dropped an octave when he commanded, “Off with it.”

She unfastened the second clip.

“That’s it,” he murmured, his words dripping with pent-up lust.

As she was undoing the last clip, she heard something from beyond the main cave, and paused. The sound came again, growing in volume—movement down the mountainside. Something big was approaching. “Thronos, what was that?”

“Heard nothing. Continue.”

“Come on, demon!” She began fastening the clips again.

“There’s nothing to fear out there!”

When the entire temple rocked, she snapped, “Oh, really?”

He made a coarse sound of frustration; then she heard the swoop of his wings. She whirled around to find him charging toward her, that determined look in his grave face.

His eyes appeared to have darkened, and she could swear his horns were straightening—just like a demon’s would when he became aroused.

In other words, Thronos doesn’t live here anymore.

Reaching for her, he bit out, “To tide me over.”

Til when?!

A roar sounded in the cave. Seeming to wake out of a daze, Thronos dropped his hands. And she could have sworn upstanding Dudley Do-Right grated “Fuck.

Friday Giveaway – Lay it Down by Cara McKenna

Our winner is…Tina B.

Happy Friday! Is your July racing by? I was delighted last Friday evening to receive a review copy of the latest in the Kresley Cole Immortal After Dark series, Dark Skye. This is a book I have been desperately waiting for for five loooong years. I downloaded it immediately and started reading, then I went back to the beginning and read it again. Soooo good! I’ll be talking about that on Monday.

I really have to get back to my TBR list and up soon will be the latest Cara McKenna novel, Lay it Down. I like Cara’s work because her stories and characters are always interesting. I am looking forward to getting into this one.

Just say Hi to enter.  Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, 18 years and older please.  Giveaway ends Thursday, July 24th.

Backbreaking days, wild nights, and the hard hum of steel between your thighs…

That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.

Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a casino development to town, greed isn’t far behind—and it claims Vince’s good friend as its first casualty. With the law turning a blind eye to the mysterious death, Vince must seek his own brand of justice. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to uncovering the truth. And she’s a temptation too good to pass up.

Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she uncovers evidence supporting Vince’s suspicions of murder, Kim must entrust her safety to a man whose body threatens danger of a whole different kind.

Chasing Mrs. Right by Katee Roberts

ORDER A COPY: Chasing Mrs. Right (A Come Undone Novel)

Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publishing Date: April 5, 2014
Audiobook: 5 hrs 27 min.
Narrator: Kasha Kensington

Rating:   3 1/2 stars

It was only supposed to last one night…

Roxanne Stokes doesn’t believe in love. She does, however, believe in the sexy-as-sin stranger who literally knocks her off her feet in front of a nightclub. The chemistry sparking between them takes her breath away, and she’ll do anything to ease the pain in his eyes…until she realizes the handsome stranger is her best friend’s older brother who’s just come home from war.

Ian Walser had no idea the gorgeous woman he slept with the night of his homecoming party was his little sister’s best friend—or that she’d be gone before morning. Roxanne’s touch soothes him in a way nothing else can, and he’s not ready to walk away from that yet. Not when spending time with her gave Ian a glimpse of everything he’s ever wanted.

When his sister unwittingly pushes them together, he sees his chance. But convincing a woman who doesn’t believe in love that she’s his Mrs. Right might be harder than any mission Ian’s undertaken. Good thing this soldier likes a challeng.

Ian Walser is just back from Afghanistan and is still trying to adjust to life back in the States. The last thing he wants to do is attend a homecoming party in a local bar. The noise and lights are not helping and neither is his mother’s attempts to force him to make huge life decisions since he got off the plane. Right now he just needs a little air. As he leave the bar he runs into the most attractive woman he has ever seen. Literally ran into her, over her and knocks her down. As he helps clean up her scrapes, he can’t help noticing that just talking with her and touching her is helping calm his shattered nerves. Their innocent flirting quickly turns things steamy between them, but after a night of incredible sex, Ian is surprised to awake to a note thanking him and leaving him $20 for cab fare. He isn’t sure if he wants to find her again to kiss her some more or yell at her for treating him like a whore.

Just when he’s trying to figure out his next move, he couldn’t be more shocked to find his mystery woman is his little sister’s best friend, and once again he finds himself calming just being with her. There is no way he is going to let her get away from him before he explores these feelings some more.

But one lesson Roxanne learned from her mother, and from the countless men in her life since then, was that
the feeling of falling in love is wonderful, but it never lasts and men will always walk away and leave you and like any addictive drug, the crash isn’t worth the high. Roxanne would rather just enjoy a one night stand then ever face the false high the falling in love would bring.

Ian knows that Roxy feels the same intense attraction for him so he can’t understand why Roxanne always seems to be running away from him. Ian’s time in the army has taught him patience and determination, and he will need to use all his cunning and skill, because he is not going to let Roxanne’s fears keep them apart.

The audiobook was well narrated by Kasha Kensington. She had a very natural flow to her narration. She spoke clearly without overly enunciating or being stiff. Her speaking voice was pleasant and her dialog voices were distinctive for the various characters. This was one of the better narrations that I listened to lately. At only 5 1/2 hours, it was a quick story.

The story itself was enjoyable, but nothing spectacular. I like Ian, but got annoyed by Roxy’s continued, “I can’t date him.” “I’m not falling for that again.” She gives details on prior relationships, so obviously it is not that she only has one night stands. She has tried a relationship. So here is a man who she not only has strong chemistry with, but who she notes that he is better than most of the men she’s dated, and him she’s giving a hard time to.

And in a very typical plot point, just when Roxy is finally willing to give them a chance, Ian has a panic attack and decides she doesn’t need a man with all his issues and he breaks up with her. Now, it’s his turn to be annoying since you could have given your relationship and your recovery a chance before deciding you have too much baggage.

I’d break up with him simply because his mother is awful. Someone needs to give her a kick in the pants. There’s keeping the peace, and then there’s letting someone dictate your life. Ugh!

Although the story was entertaining, the storyline was very typical and Roxy held onto her “no dating” policy long after we were thinking “just give the guy a chance.” This was part of a series, and there is definitely a story with Ian’s friend who is also just back from the war, but we’ll see if his story pans out better.

Received a review copy from Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

He was a stranger. She would never see him again after tonight. With that knowledge freeing up the restraint, she leaned into him and laid her hand on his thigh. Just high enough that his entire body went still. Pretending she didn’t notice she said, “So, what do you do for fun?”


“Yeah. You know that thing you do when you’re not working. Gardening? Zumba? Underwater basket weaving? You name it. Everyone has something.”

“I haven’t really had a lot of time for hobbies.” When she just stared, more than willing to wait him out, he sighed, “I spend a lot of time in the gym.”

Yeah, she could tell. There didn’t seem to be a soft spot on his body, though she was tempted to do a more thorough examination just to satisfy her curiosity.

“Do you wear spandex, grunt a lot and slap a lot of guys asses while you mutter encouragement.”

“Actually, I usually just run until my thoughts stop circling.”

There is was again, that hint of something darker. “Is that the only thing that helps?”

“I’ve been told that I should try meditating, but all the time sitting still and being alone with my thoughts…” He shook his head, “I like to sweat out my stress, and this helps.” He motioned between them.

Whoa. So she hadn’t only been imagining how he seemed to relax the more he touched her. Caution warned her to keep things light and flirty. “I bet you say that to all the pretty girls.”

“Only you.”

His low voice, paired with the smoldering way he was looking at her, damn near had Roxanne fanning herself. She scrambled for something to say that didn’t involve sex and now. What were they talking about? Oh right, exercise.

“I get it. The whole sweating it out thing. I do yoga. Concentrating on breathing and holding and perfecting the poses actually takes a lot more effort than you’d think. It’s my happy place.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard it’s great for that. I’m not exactly a yoga guy though.”

“What? You mean you don’t want to work on your flexibility? I’m so disappointed.”

His grin was quick and wicked, “The advantage to being the guy is that I don’t have to be as flexible as my partner does.”

Under the Final Moon by Hannah Jayne

ORDER A COPY: Under The Final Moon (Underworld Detective Agency)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages

Rating: 3 stars

It’s not the end of the world–until it is. Sophie Lawson may be a mere human with no special abilities except a strong immunity to magic. But the havoc she’s wreaked on the supernaturals who come up against the Underworld Detection Agency have earned her plenty of enemies. Still, a girl can’t freak out every time a horribly barbecued corpse is found with her business card in its hand. Or see a sudden glut of earthquakes, wildfires and three-headed dogs as just another day in California. But Alex Grace, her favorite fallen angel, is concerned–or saying he is to see more of her. Getting Sophie to see all the signs of the Apocalypse is an interesting way to heat things up. Or maybe what’s making everyone hot under the collar is the fact that all Hell is about to break loose. . .

Arsonists are lighting up San Francisco and they all have one thing in common, they all appear to be trying to bring forth Satan. When a vampire lights himself up, and just happens to be holding onto a card belonging to one, Sophie Lawson, Det. Alex Grace comes knocking to find out of Sophie knows anything about Daddy-Dearest trying to get in touch with her. Oh yeah, did we mention that Sophie’s Dad is Satan himself, and that as some celestial joke, the Vessel of Souls holding all the souls that haven’t traveled on to heaven has been hidden inside Sophie.

There is also a group known as the Grigori who are trying to kill Sophie before Satan can get the Vessel of Souls from her.

As if Firestarter vampires, three-headed dogs, Grigori and a home visit from Satan isn’t enough to keep Sophie snacking on chocolate pinwheels, she still hasn’t made any decision on her choices of men…Will or Alex?

Armageddon is coming is something you say, not something that’s actually happening on Tuesday, but as the signs start added up, it appears that Dear Old Dad might just be trying to come for a visit, but is he looking to spend time with his little girl, get Sophie to join the family business or just do a snatch and grab of the souls hidden inside her?

This was the last book of the series and I can’t tell you how absolutely disappointed I was while I was reading it.

Poor Sophie, being the only human in a bunch of paranormals, usually ends up being beaten up and crying. Sophie had so many breakdowns in this story and a lot of them a constant pity party of “Why didn’t my Dad love me and come to the Father/Daughter dance” or “to my play” or “come to my graduation” or “what does he want from me now.” Most of her crying jags were with Alex and she ended up crying in his arms. This happened so many time that if I was listening to an audiobook, I would have assumed I messed up the download and was repeating scenes.

We also kept having scenes where someone was attacking Sophie and then they disappeared, never to be heard from again, and then someone else would attack her and again, that storyline just disappeared.  The story starts with fires, fires, fires everywhere…and then suddenly there are no more fires mentioned again. There were also several of the usual scenes where everyone was there to protect her, and then they all just stepped away giving the bad guy time to attack. “We’re here to protect you.” “No, I’m okay.” “Alright, see you tomorrow.” Knock, knock, Bad guy calling.

There was also many, many references to Satan being “a trickster” and I kept waiting for the big trick Sophie would do to fight him at his own game, but the ending happened so fast and ended up being pretty anticlimactic.

After listening to Sophie constantly bounce back and forth between Alex and Will for five of the six stories, in the end Sophie doesn’t pick one over the other so much as one leaves town, leaving her choosing the other by default. I think it would have been funnier after all these books of her lamenting which hottie will I choose, if they both left her at the end.

Although the humor was still there, the story itself seemed to just circled around and the plot was not very cohesive. For the last book in the series where she could have done anything that she wanted with the characters, it was totally disappointing.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

I heard the murmurings and a few stepped forward to pat me on the back or touch my arm gingerly, and I was basking in the warmth of this weird, horned, extended family that cared, and gave a damn whether I lived or died.

And then, the elevator dinged.

Alex was standing there and it was like the first time I’d ever seen him: his shoulders were thrown back, chin hitched one lock of wavy hair impishly falling over his forehead. His chest looked impossibly broad, Greek-God like, and when his badge winked from his hip, I felt my mouth water.

Once again, I was: Sophie Lawson, turned on in the face of danger.

Alex’s icy eyes cut across the waiting room until he saw me. I saw him suck in a breath, and I was ready to shimmy out of my panties—all the demons cared and Alex, toowhen the other elevator dinged.

We all waited, no one breathed, until the doors slid open.

Then I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Will was in the second elevator, leaning against the back wall and looking relaxed and comfortably cool, as though he were in an Abercrombie ad just awaiting his scantily clad co-model. His hazel eyes were slightly hooded in that “hey, baby, I’m holding a kitten” kind of way that made my heart bloom and ignited something low in my belly. Between the two of them I was a pile of supercharged horny goo while the whole of the world trembled on the precipice of holy hell.

As I clamped my knees together and gritted my teeth, I was fairly certain that my inappropriate sex drive was half the reason the city was vaulting toward our brimstony demise.

Both Alex and Will stepped out at the same time, each with a set of eyes fixed on me for a brief second before they glanced at each other. Then each seemed to get an inch taller. Suddenly, chests were puffed out and, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m fairly certain that arms were flexed. I would have paused to scrutinize further, but both made a beeline for me, talking at the same time.

“Wanted to make sure—“

“—you were okay down here.”

They stopped talking at the same time, too, glared at each other, then swung to face me and my army of Underworld associates.

“We’re all okay down here,” I said, feeling suddenly overwhelmed with domestic love and nearly throwing my arms around the armless zombie and the troll who had kicked me out from under the coffee table.

Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison

ORDER A COPY: Peanut Goes to School: A Short Story of the Elder Races

Publisher: Self Published
Publishing Date: June 30, 2014
eBook: 49 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Dragos Cuelebre is no longer the only dragon.

Dragos’s son Liam Cuelebre (a.k.a. Peanut) is springing into existence, reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races who were born at the beginning of the world. At just six months of age, he has already grown to the size of a large five-year-old boy. He can read, write in complete sentences, and his math skills are off the chart.

A white dragon in his Wyr form, Liam also holds more Power than almost anyone else. In an effort to give him a taste of normality, no matter how fleeting, his parents Pia and Dragos enroll him in first grade.

They hope school will help teach Liam how to relate to others, a vital skill that will help him control his growing Power. But school has a surprising number of pitfalls, and relating to others can be a tricky business.

When a classmate is threatened, Liam must quickly learn self-control, how to rein in his instincts, and govern his temper, because there’s no doubt about it—he is fast becoming one of the most dangerous creatures in all of the Elder Races.

Peanut, or Liam as we should call him since his is growing up so quickly, is becoming one of my favorite characters in this or just about any series.

Liam is the only a few months old, but as the first dragon since Dragos was created at the beginning of creation, no one is certain what to expect as far as powers or his unusual growth. He seems to have a blend of his parents personalities and abilities, but he keep surprising us all with new abilities of his very own. He even managed to sneak up on his Dad without his father sensing him, which his quite the feat.

On his first day of school, he is picked on by a few of the older boys as well as his teacher. He handles both instances with just the right mixture of intelligent thought, bravery and a little intimidation of his own. I am sure he will shine as a future leader in this series.

I can’t wait to see what else Liam’s unusual character will bring to the series as far as his adventures and his abilities. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too fast. I am not sure how I would feel about him growing up and getting his own love story when he is only, say two calendar years old.

Received an ARC from the  author in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

The tricky thing about using a cloaking spell is that cloaking spells are tricky.

Liam snickered to himself as he tiptoed around the patio furniture and changed into his dragon form. His dragon had grown to the size of an adult lion, and he had to be careful not to knock over furniture as he shapeshifted.

He also managed to hold on to his cloaking spell, which was a bit fat win. Dad had said Liam’s cloaking ability was one of the best he’d ever seen, although it was difficult to stay hidden while changing forms.

But since his dad could do it, Liam felt he would be able to it also. Eventually. Sometimes. If he kept practicing, pretty soon he should be able to stay cloaked all the time if he needed to.

Liam was playing his favorite game, Spy Wyr, which he had totally made up himself. When he grew up, he was going to be a secret sentinal. Uncle Graydon would send him out on missions, and when he returned after saving somebody, or maybe even after saving everybody, Mom and Dad would be really proud of him.

Of course, because it was undercover, Dad would have to give him medals in secret. Sometimes they might be silver or bronze ones, or when he did something amazing, they might be gold. Or maybe when he did something really outstanding, Dad would give him a sparkly medal with diamonds on it. Then Liam would have to find a super-secret place to hide them.

His dragon side like the sound of that. It made him feel growly and fine.

By day, Liam would be, oh, maybe a basketball player. Basketball players traveled a lot, so it would be a good cover, and besides it would be fun to play ball all the time, so that would be big fat win.

Hi, my name if Cuelebre, Liam Cuelebre. My code name is Double Oh Peanut, but you can call me Rock Star for short.

Dating a Cougar by Donna McDonald

ORDER A COPY: Dating A Cougar: Book One of the Never Too Late Series

Publisher: Self-Published
Publishing Date: March 10, 2011
Audiobook: 8 hrs 40 min.
Narrator:   Anne Johnstonbrown

Rating: DNF

After several decades of looking for true love and never finding it, aging model and lingerie designer, Alexa Ranger, has finally given up the search. A couple years ago, she got tired of the game completely and just stopped dating. Now friends and family keep her mostly content, so it’s shocking at 50 yrs old to find herself suddenly wanting a sex life again. It’s even more shocking to be attracted to a much younger man this time. She definitely thinks medically retired Marine, Casey Carter is sexy, but can’t get passed their twelve year age difference to even consider a fling. Not that it matters anyway, anything resembling a normal dating relationship is totally out of the question because Casey is related to and living with her daughter’s boyfriend. The very last thing Alexa needs is yet another talk-show worthy drama in her already complicated life, no matter how amazing Casey’s kisses make her feel.

Dating a Cougar is one of those free books that I downloaded from Amazon awhile ago and it sounded interesting enough to give it a try. I recently noticed that if you had already “purchased” the book, you could download the audiobook for only $1.99. Knowing I will never have the time to actually read this story, I spent my $2.00.

Although I am not certain how I feel about the story itself, I simply couldn’t listen to this narrator anymore. Her diction was perfect…too perfect.   Anne Johnstonbrown would probably be a perfect narrator for a copy of Jane Eyre or some other regency drama. I could listen to her perfect diction if I was listen to an old Duchess speak. But her narration is so proper and every word sounded out perfectly, it sounded very unnatural.  It wasn’t just the narration, even her characters all spoke properly. I was recently speaking with someone who said they sometimes listen to their Kindle narrate the story, but she never listened to an actual audiobook. I can’t do that with my Kindle app, but I can imagine how robotic that must sound. This narrator was only slightly better.

I am currently listening to a narrator whose narration is like listening to a TV news reporter, but when she speaks dialog, it is with a more natural flow.

Ms. Johnstonbrown didn’t have much of a distinction between voices either and her male character sounded more like teenage boy than an a hot ex-marine.

I have a digital copy of this book but I was not so enthralled with the characters that I feel the need to continue it right away. The premise of the story is a 50 year old dating a man who is 38. But she’s an ex-supermodel who looks better than most 35 year olds.  I wasn’t feeling the “rrrowr.”

This was not the first narrator who effected my feelings for a story, but it was the first time that I just couldn’t continue to listen anymore.


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