Monthly Archives: January 2012

Inked Magic (Inked Magic World, #1) by Jory Strong

Inked Magic (Inked Magic World, #1)Inked Magic by Jory Strong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: * Inked Magic
Author: Jory Strong
Series: 1st in series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: paperback
Date/Year: 2/2012
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review.

Summary from the publisher:

With the touch of her palms to the skin of a crime victim, San Francisco tattoo artist Etaín can see the faces of the guilty and draw them. Changeling elf but unaware of it, at odds with her police captain father and FBI agent brother, magic and gift have put her in the path of two compelling men.
Cathal Dunne, the son of an Irish mob boss, needs Etaín’s help finding the rapists who left his cousin for dead. Eamon, a powerful elf lord, is determined to make her his consort-wife.
Her gift once made permanence impossible when it came to a lover. Now, as she approaches the transition to fully Elven, her survival depends on keeping two. One of the men is willing to share her. The other isn’t-until the search for a sexual predator turns deadly, and only by paying magic’s price will there be any future at all.

My Musings:

First off, let me say I am a big fan of Jory Strong’s books. My favorite series is Supernatural Bonds . . . or Crime Tells . . . or maybe, Fallon Mates. Anyway, I love her books. Inked Magic is the beginning of a new paranormal series and I am already longing for the next book.

Etain is a changeling elf although she thinks she is human. She knows she has the gift of seeing crimes through the victim’s eyes, but she does not associate it with magic. Cathal, who really is a human, needs her to find his cousin’s rapists. The final member of the menage is a full Elf Lord named Eamon.

The only character I really liked is Etain. She uses her gift to help others even though it makes her extremely ill. Her family has abandoned her unless they need her help, but that has not stopped her from making a new family of friends. These friends have wonderful and distinctive personalities and I cannot wait to meet them again in subsequent books.

I really did not care for Cathal. He originally approached Etain in order to use her gifts. Although he did end up falling in love with her, he never appeared to really want to love her. Eamon, however, accepted her as his forever wife from the first meeting. Part of that was a power play due to her gifts, but I felt that he actually cared for her.

The storyline was engrossing with a number of subplots woven into it. Many of these were addressed in the book, but a few were left for the sequels. There a number of characters that I want to read their story. Etain’s brother definitely needs his own book.

The sex scenes were handled well. They were explicit without being coarse. My only concern was that the book is classified as a MFM menage and it was really more of a sharing relationship than a true menage. I expected the three of them to have sex together at some point which I do not remember happening.

As I previously stated, Jory Strong is a favorite author of mine. Inked Magic is another addition to her long line of wonderful books. She is already writing the sequel and I cannot wait for it to be published.

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Dirty Beautiful by Jodie Becker

Dirty BeautifulDirty Beautiful by Jodie Becker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Erica is a small town elementary school teacher in Georgia. She lives in her Grandmother’s house and apparently has never been anywhere else. She even attended college from home, so she would not have to leave her ailing grandmother.

Dylan, also a Southerner, although he is from Arkansas, has recently moved to this small Georgia town from Los Angeles. He is getting out of “the life” of being a porn star. Of course,, he thinks he is going to be able to keep his past a secret.

Obviously, he doesn’t really know small towns.

The storyline was one I have not read before and that is saying something with the number of books I read. I found this one to be unique if a little unbelievable. And that is my only real problem with the book. The characters are likable and Dylan’s reasons for becoming a porn star as will as his struggle to return to a normal life are convincing. However, I did have trouble buying that he introduces Erica to his friends in LA, but does not expect them to tell her about the business.

My real issue with the book is Erica and the town she lives in. I found her situation implausible in a number of ways. First, and this is a minor point, she has never seen a beach. This is Georgia, not Kansas, and Georgians go to the beach. No educated person is that isolated.

Which brings up another issue . . . Erica is an elementary school teacher in a small Southern town and when Dylan’s past life is revealed, there are very few repercussions from the townspeople. Teachers are expected to be like Caesar’s wife . . . above reproach. There is no way the citizens would have accepted Erica dating, much less having an affair, with a porn star.

Finally, Erica has been betrayed by a previous boyfriend and has strong doubts that she can hold any man. Although, she is upset when she finds out about his past, she accepts that he loves her (eventually) and does not seem to have any problems with the fact that he has had sex with hundreds of women.

As you can see, I have had a hard time getting past the “yeah, right” portions of the plot. The storyline is unique, the characters are likable, and the book is well written. I just wish more thought had been given to the reactions of the characters to the situation.

And one more thing, I have been a teacher in a small town in Georgia . . . and St. Simon’s Island is my favorite beach.

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No Dress Required by Cari Quinn

No Dress Required (Love Required, #1)No Dress Required by Cari Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: *No Dress Required
Author: Cari Quinn
Series: n/a
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Format: ebook
Date/Year: December 2011
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review.

Summary from the publisher:

After years of ho-hum dating, Noelle Gregory is tired of fooling around. There’s only ever been one guy for her—Jake Conroy, her best friend’s older brother. Now that Jake’s back in town, she’s headed to his sister’s New Year’s Eve party to make her move. Purse full of condoms? Check. Sparkly dress guaranteed to show Jake the sexy woman she’s become? Check.

Carjacker that makes off with both two hours before the party? Check.

When Jake finds Noelle stranded on the side of the road—looking sexier than ever in her striped socks and silly holiday shirt, damn it—he’s glad for the snowstorm that cancels his sister’s party. His and Noelle’s friendship has tormented him for years, and now, Jake wonders if he should dare to sample what he’s always wanted…and if he’ll be able to walk away when it’s over.

My Musings:

Noelle has been in love with her best friend’s brother Jake for years. Unfortunately, he always saw her as another pesky little sister until it was too late and he was involved with someone else.

Now, Jake is alone once more and it’s New Year’s Eve. Is it possible that Jake and Noelle will start the New Year with a bang?

My initial reaction to the “best friend’s brother” plot was not again. However, one of the reasons it is used so much is that it works. Can any straight girl say that she did not crush on the older, unattainable guy at some point? I know I can’t.

I am not a fan of short stories/novellas and this book is only 61 pages long. However, the author does an excellent job of developing the relationship between Jake and Noelle given the the limited time available. There is even a bit of a mystery involved in why did Jake’s girlfriend leave him.

The best thing about this story is that it is fun. I particularly liked when they realize Noelle has thrown away Jake’s only condom in a fit of temper and he refuses to go through his baby sister’s stash to get another one.

Cari Quinn has several books published and I will definitely try another. This book made me laugh out loud and who can ask for more than that?

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