Monthly Archives: June 2015

Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1) by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1)Scandal Never Sleeps by Shayla Black

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Scandal Never Sleeps
Author: Shayla Black and Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: Berkley
Date: August 18, 2015

Summary:

They are the Perfect Gentlemen of Creighton Academy: privileged, wealthy, powerful friends with a wild side. But a deadly scandal is about to tear down their seemingly ideal lives . . .

Maddox Crawford’s sudden death sends Gabriel Bond reeling. Not only is he burying his best friend, he’s cleaning up Mad’s messes, including his troubled company. Grieving and restless, Gabe escapes his worries in the arms of a beautiful stranger. But his mind-blowing one-night stand is about to come back to haunt him . . .

Mad groomed Everly Parker to be a rising star in the executive world. Now that he’s gone, she’s sure her job will be the next thing she mourns, especially after she ends up accidentally sleeping with her new boss. If only their night together hadn’t been so incendiary—or Gabe like a fantasy come true . . .

As Gabe and Everly struggle to control the heated tension between them, they discover evidence that Mad’s death was no accident. Now they must bank their smoldering passions to hunt down a murderer—because Mad had secrets that someone was willing to kill for, and Gabe or Everly could be the next target . . .

Review:

I only gave this book three stars not because it is an average book, but because it is the first book in the series . . . and that is not fair.

We are introduced to six major characters in the prologue. We are introduced to six different personalities. We are given hints of how these six different characters will mature (or not, as the case may be.)

And that is a lot to absorb in a matter of a few pages.

I felt like I should be taking notes on who everyone was and their personality traits. I keep harping on their personalities because they are a diverse group of best friends/brothers.

Unfortunately, I never got past that state of confusion.

The story itself is excellent. Everly is a wonderful girl who gets in over her head with Gabe. Gabe is not a bad person, but he has always been entitled and his attitude reflects this. However, in Everly, he has met the one person who means more to him than even his friends. His problem is convincing Everly of that.

There is a strong, overarching storyline (Maddox’ death) . . . and that was another problem for me. I expected this plotline to be resolved. Instead, I was only given clues about the next book. The relationship between Gabe and Everly is settled and firmly on the way to a HEA. However, the reason Maddox is killed is not explained.

I don’t like cliffhangers, in fact, I hate them. I would not have read this book if I realized there was going to be one. What I would have done is wait for the series to be complete and then read them all at once.

Book two, Seduction in Session, is due out in January 2016. And yes, I will buy it as well as the others. I just hope the ending of this one is more settled.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Caged (Mastered, #4) by Lorelei James

Caged (Mastered, #4)Caged by Lorelei James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Caged
Author: Lorelei James
Series: Mastered, #4
Pages: 480
Publisher: NAL
Date: July 14, 2015

Summary:

In the searing fourth novel in the Mastered Series, following Unraveled, only one woman can set a hardened fighter free from his past.…

In order to survive a life of tragedy, Deacon McConnell embraced his roughest edges and learned to fight on the streets. Then a life-changing jujitsu seminar led by Sensei Ronin Black led Deacon to become a professional fighter. With his muscular physique and his body covered in tattoos and scars, the MMA fighter defines mean, both on and off the mat.

But everything changes when innocent Molly Calloway signs up for his kickboxing class. Molly is Deacon’s opposite in every way: She’s kind, sweet, thoughtful, and educated. After a heated argument between them turns into a passionate encounter, Deacon realizes Molly is eager to experience more, and she looks to him to take her to the darker edge of lust….

The last thing either of them expects is how deeply their lives will be thrown upside down by the passion they find together.

Review:

All right. You have to read these books in order. You will never be able to appreciate it as much as it deserves if you do not.

Having said that, I did not really expect to like this book. Deacon is harsh. He adds new meaning to “hard-ass, SOB” and Molly is a wimp.

Boy, was I wrong? I have liked all of the books in this series, but I loved this one. I mean I really, really loved it.

How could I have been so wrong about Deacon? I should have known there was something in his past making him so difficult. I never gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Fortunately, Molly did. She had her own past to overcome and even though she knew, and sometimes hated, Deacon, she was also in lust with him.
Now, let me say, things did not go easy for them. As I said, they both had pasts that influenced their reactions to others. Neither Molly nor Deacon thought they were good enough for the other. Both of them reacted sometimes instead of talking. And yes, most of the time it was Deacon’s fault. The great thing about him though was he recognized (okay, sometimes he had to have it pointed out to him) when he screwed up and would do anything to get Molly to forgive him.

And she does.

Because lust can develop into love.

And it does.

Oddly enough, I thought this book was less erotic and more plot driven than the others in the series. Make no mistake, there is plenty of sex and it is wonderful, but the story was what kept me engrossed. I had to know how things would work out between them.

There are also two secondary characters I have to mention.

Not to give away any spoilers, but there is a Queen Bitch of all bitches in this book. You’ll know who I mean when you meet her.

And finally, I want Tag’s story and you will too.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Flight from Death (Fly by Night, #1) by Yasmine Galenorn

Flight from Death (Fly by Night, #1)Flight from Death by Yasmine Galenorn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Flight from Death
Author: Yasmine Galenorn
Series: Fly by Night, #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Date: July 7, 2015

Summary:

I’m Shimmer, a blue dragon shifter. Thanks to a mistake, I was exiled from the Dragon Reaches and sentenced to work for Alex Radcliffe, a vampire who owns the Fly by Night Magical Investigations Agency. Now, not only do I have to adapt to Earthside culture, but every time I turn around, somebody’s trying to kill us. And worse, Alex is as gorgeous as he is exasperating. But you know what they say: All’s fair in love and bounty hunting…

When an old friend of Alex contacts him about a haunting at the High Tide Bed & Breakfast in Port Townsend, Washington, we think we’re on a simple ghost hunt. But our investigation quickly transforms into a deadly fight as we uncover an eighty-year-old murder, a cursed house, and a dark force trapping the spirits within. To stop impending disaster we must break the curse and lay the angry spirits to rest.

Review:

First off, be sure and read the prequel to this book – Flight from Hell. It is a crossover book bridging the Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon series to the Fly by Night series. The primary characters are the sisters, but the cast for the new book are introduced and their relationships are explained. You don’t “have” to have read the Sisters series first, but it would help in understanding the prequel. It is not necessary at all to have read the Sisters to enjoy the Fly by Night series.

Okay, Flight from Death. This is a great first book in the series. There is not a tremendous amount of worldbuilding to bog down the story and the cast of characters is relatively small. There is Shimmer, a disgraced blue dragon, Alex, a private eye who happens to be a vampire, Ralph, a computer geek werewolf who faints at the sight of blood, and Bette, a snakeshifter with the appeal of a succubus.

Interested yet?

Alex is contacted by a former friend of his. Patrick is also a vampire, but no, Alex did not change him. That’s why he is a former friend. Patrick wanted to be changed and Alex refused. Patrick had to find another vampire to bring him over.

Anyway, Patrick is opening a B&B (of course, don’t all vampires run Bed & Breakfast inns?) which turns out to be haunted. And that is where things get creepy. Not scary, but creepy. I don’t know why the “big bad” in this book creeped me out, but it did. And that’s a clue, it’s an it, not a he.

Alex and gang, with the help of some of the locals, have to figure out what is haunting the inn and “kill” it. All the while, a relationship is developing between Alex and Shimmer. To be clear, this is not a romance novel. The relationship is a minor plotline, but I can see where it might become more.

The ending is solid with nothing left hanging. I am so tired of cliffhanger endings. I don’t expect books in a series to stand alone, but I do expect them to have a satisfying ending. This one does. Having said that, I cannot wait for the next in the series. It has not been announced yet, but I hope it is out soon.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Dead Ice (Anita Blake, #24) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #24)Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know how it can take forever to read a book you’re really not into? Well, the opposite is also true.

I started Dead Ice late Wednesday night and finished it early Friday morning. Now, it is almost 600 pages long, so definitely not a short read. That didn’t matter. I didn’t want to put it down.

All my favorite characters were there. Anita, of course. Jean Claude, Nathaniel, Micah, even Richard. The only person missing was Jason and he was mentioned briefly.

I have to say this plot was creepier than most. “Living” zombies. Even Anita is creeped out.

Are there sex scenes? Of course there are. If that bothers you, you shouldn’t be reading this series. Are they explicit? Not particularly, but again why would someone read these books if they are going to complain about a important part of the overarching plotline?

Read it. If you like Anita and gang, you don’t want to miss this one.

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Flight from Hell (Fly by Night, #0.5) by Yasmine Galenorn

Flight from Hell (Otherworld #15.5; Fly by Night, #0.5)Flight from Hell by Yasmine Galenorn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Flight from Hell
Author: Yasmine Galenorn
Series: Fly by Night, #0.5
Pages: 126
Publisher: InterMix
Date: August 19, 2014

Summary:

Crossover from the Otherworld Series to Fly By Night Series.

New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn returns with another thrilling foray into Otherworld—introducing a new cast of heroes alongside the D’Artigo sisters…

When the half-demon Carter approaches Menolly and her sisters desperately asking for their help, they think he’s just had a tiff with Shimmer, his blue dragon girlfriend.

But after talking to Alex Radcliffe, the owner of the Fly By Night Magical Investigations Agency where Shimmer works, they suspect that she has been kidnapped by an old enemy of Alex’s.

Now, Alex must join forces with the D’Artigo sisters in a desperate race to find Shimmer before Julian, a powerful vampire from Alex’s past with a grudge to settle, can use the dragon to wreak havoc on Seattle as revenge.

Review:

This book seemed a little light, but I think that was because it is a novella designed to introduce a new series in the same world as the D’Artigo sisters. I have missed out on reading the last couple of books in the sisters series, but this crossover did an excellent job of bringing me up to date. The backstory was handled well in that it gave enough information to remind me of the previous books and relationships without boring me because I already knew everything.

Four new protagonists are introduced: Alex, Shimmer, Bette, and Ralph and one new bad guy: Julian. I can already tell I am going to love Alex. Shimmer had such a minor role in this book, I am still not sure about her. Either way, I look forward to the next book, Flight from Death, to be released July 7th, 2015.

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The Collar (Submissive, #5) by Tara Sue Me

The Collar (Submissive, #5)The Collar by Tara Sue Me

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: The Collar
Author: Tara Sue Me
Series: Submissive, #5
Pages: 336
Publisher: NAL
Date: July 7, 2015

Summary:

Nathaniel and Abby are struggling to navigate the challenging waters of their own relationship, when they get a surprising phone call from their partners in play, Dena and Jeff, who are in need of a helping hand…

Seven years ago, blonde, beautiful lawyer Dena Jenkins was tired of her carefully controlled life. Desperate for something exhilarating to help her escape the pressures of her demanding job and her senator father, she joined a steamy, local BDSM club as a submissive. There she met brooding Dominant, Jeff. The attraction between them was undeniable, and, despite Dena’s doubts, they couldn’t stay away from each other.

Except, as the years have passed, their blazing connection has proven difficult to maintain. Dena and Jeff have a history they’d rather forget, but Dena can’t let go of the past, and Jeff is ready to move across the country to give her space. Now, to save their passion, they’ll have to rediscover what it means to trust each other—and give themselves to each other completely…

Review:

I didn’t dislike this book, but I didn’t like it either. I thought it was rather meh.

I didn’t feel a connection to Dena or Jeff and I didn’t really feel a connection between them if that makes sense. They had lived together for years as D/s before a tragedy tore them apart, so there should have been something there. In this book, they are making their way back to each other.

The book switches between present day and their earlier relationship. I did like the way this explained the backstory to someone who had not read the earlier books. In fact, the only time I felt a connection with the characters was during the scene where they broke up. It was the only time the emotion felt real to me.

You know how there are certain things in books that are “hard limits” to you as a reader. For example, I will not read a book in which either character cheats. Well, I found a new one with this book. During their scenes, Dena kisses his feet. No, just no. I never knew that was an issue for me, but I had a really strong negative reaction to it.
Normally, I will go back and read earlier books if I somehow read one in the middle. I am not even tempted with this series. The secondary characters in The Collar seem like very interesting people, but there are too many other books I know I will enjoy to spend anymore time on this series.

Other reviewers have really liked this book and maybe I would have liked it better if I had read the entire series. Anyway, it’s just not for me.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Bengal’s Quest (Breeds, #30) by Lora Leigh

Bengal's Quest (Breeds, #30)Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Bengal’s Quest
Author: Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds, #30
Pages: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Date: June 23, 2015

Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh tells a story of two Breeds who are united by animal desires, only to find it’s vengeance that stirs the mating heat…

He was a shadow, ever shifting and insinuating, able to blend in everywhere and anywhere. The elusive ideal conceived and created by the Genetics Council, he went by just as many names as he had identities—the last one being Gideon.

Now calling himself Graeme, he hides in plain sight, terrifyingly close to his goal. A rogue Bengal Breed, he has loyalties to no one but himself. And he has a need for vengeance that surges hot and swift through his veins.

Graeme plans to exact an extreme and ruthless vendetta against those who wronged him—Breed and human alike. All will suffer his wrath: those who created him, those who pretended to love him, and those who betrayed him.

That includes the one at the center of it all: a seductive, enigmatic woman helpless against the man whose desire is just as desperate as his need to destroy.

And he’s on her scent…

Review:

Okay, the good and the bad.

THE GOOD

I love the Breed books. I have loved them since the first, Tempting the Beast, was published a decade ago. There is something about a human/animal mix that is fascinating, yet they are not shifters. The sex in these books is amazing and the differences the animal genetics bring to it heats it up even further.

I love the Breeds and their mates whether Breed or human. I even love the ones that irritate me to no end. Yes, Jonah, I’m talking about you.

My heart breaks for the suffering the Breeds have and are still enduring, but it also soars for the strength they exhibit even after all that suffering.
The storylines are wonderful and characters from previous books are integral to later books.

Bengal’s Quest is not exception.

I have been waiting for G’s book whether he is Graham or Gideon. He has suffered so much and deserves a happy ending. With Cat, he finally gets that ending.

But man does he have to work for it.

G has done so much to protect Cat, he almost loses her. She doesn’t trust him and she can’t believe he really cares for her. Her tiger has been suppressed for so long that she doesn’t trust her instincts either.

G only seems to know how to keep secrets. He does it to protect Cat, but she only knows that he doesn’t trust her with his secrets. How is she supposed to trust him?

Of course, it works out in the end. This is a romance after all, but the heartbreak along the way is painful.

THE BAD

There is nothing bad about the story itself. It’s just this is book thirty (that’s right, 30!) in the series which makes it confusing to keep straight. I have read all of the books in this series and I still have problems remembering the things that happened in the past. Unfortunately, these things are critical to the storyline of Bengal’s Quest. The author tries to give enough backstory to help the reader, but there is just so much going on.

This is definitely NOT a book that can be read as a standalone.

The other “bad” thing about this book is something that I have found in many of Lora Leigh’s recent books. The lack of editing is painful. I realize I have an advance reader’s copy, so it is not the final version, but this one should never have made it to the publisher’s desk. Because it is an ARC, I would not normally mention it in a review, but I have other published books by LL which have the same problems with editing. In all honesty, I no longer buy anything but her Breed books due to that.

I hate that this problem with the mechanics of writing takes so much away from my enjoyment of her books. The stories, this one included, are wonderful. The writing is wonderful. All it would take is a proofreader to make the books themselves wonderful.

Will I recommend this book to other readers? Of course, but only with the caveats regarding the backstory and editing issues.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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