Book Review: Fatal Shadows

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“One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.” (From Amazon.com)

I’ll pick up where the quoted Amazon synopsis leaves off. After finding his friend Robert Hersey dead, Adrien is questioned by police detectives Chan and Riordan. Adrien insists he has nothing to do with killing Robert despite the argument they had just hours before his death. The cops don’t seem to buy it but soon Adrien himself is being stalked by who he knows to be the killer.

Adrien is a mystery writer and book-keeper. Now he must become an amateur sleuth to figure out who has been murdering his old high school friends before Adrien is next on the list. I truly enjoyed this book and I was really hesitant to read it. Josh Lanyon was an author recommended to me in the same post as Abigail Roux (who I have raved about in previous entries) but after reading Roux I just didn’t think (and still don’t) that anything could compare.

Lanyon’s Adrien English series came off from the beginning as less a romance book and more a mystery. But I finally did pick the book up last night and enjoyed the heck out of it. Some reviewers have criticized Adrien’s inner monologue which did at times become monotonous but I enjoyed being in his head throughout most of the book.

The book is written in first person pov which I do enjoy reading so long as it is written well enough. Lanyon did a great job pulling me into the mindset of a middle-ish aged gay bookshop owner with a bad heart. I think the mystery was a touch weak but strong enough to keep my attention. The best parts of the book were when Detective Riordan and Adrien were speaking with each other, alone.

It’s obvious during the book that Adrien has a thing for Riordan and we slowly find out that Riordan just might return Adrien’s feelings. It was a very slow burn and I enjoyed that. The big turning point romance-wise in the book is Riordan calling Adrien ‘baby’ after the killer is finally dead. The slip up wasn’t mentioned at all in the remaining chapters but I saw it. Oh yes I did. And I’m genuinely looking forward to the next installment but hoping the slow burn becomes a slow sizzle. I need more sparks during book #2.

Final Review: 4 stars.

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Book Review: Sinners on Tour

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“When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius.” (From Amazon.com)

I’m going to group the reviews for Olivia Cunning’s “Sinners on Tour” books all into one blog entry. Backstage Pass is the first in the series and stars songwriter/guitarist Brian Sinclair and psychologist/fan Myrna Evans. This (and the others in the series) book was full of sex. I don’t know if I read a chapter in the whole book where sex wasn’t had or at least mentioned/alluded to. The sex was hot but without a real plot it got boring fast. There wasn’t really any UST (unresolved sexual tension) because the two were at each other from the beginning of the book.

Eric was by far my favorite throughout all the books that I read. His book, Wicked Beat is slated for an August 6, 2013 release date. Eric likes to watch. He loves to watch. Sometimes he likes to join in. But mostly he loves to watch. There was something so incredibly sexy about him and his roles in these books. Even though I wasn’t ga-ga over the series like most seem to be, I will most certainly be checking his book out. I just think he was the one out of all of the guys to put off the most quiet & mysterious sexuality.

Hot Ticket was Jace’s story. Jace loves to be hit. He aches for pain. Normally I would gloss right ove12710035r this book because I like my men dominating not dominated. But after reading the other books in the series, I tried the sample of Jace’s book and liked what I read so I continued on. It was a little different. Aggie (the heroine) is a dominatrix who Jace hires to beat him. She refuses to draw blood even though he desperately wants that and Aggie feels something for Jace that she doesn’t feel with any other clients. I quite frankly didn’t care for this one simply because I really thought that Jace would take the reins and he didn’t really take them. More like Aggie gave them to him temporarily at times. It was good though not quite my cuppa.

Double Time was by far my favorite of the three that I read. Big Surprise that it was m/m/f. I can’t help it. Two guys getting it on is fucking hot as hell. There. I said it. Now wdouble-time-pic-for-reviewhat? Huh?? I would gladly sit on the couch and watch drool over two sexy guys loving each other. But enough about my fantasies – back to the book. Trey is the rhythm guitarist in the band and also bisexual but he gives his lifestyle up when he meets Reagan Elliot, a female rock sensation. Try as he might though, Trey cannot deny his attraction to men. Especially with Reagan’s sexy as sin bi bodyguard walking around. Reagan soon agrees to solve Trey’s problem: let Trey and Ethan sleep together. But Reagan finds them being together too hot to just stand by and watch…she joins in and soon the triad is falling in love with each other. I think this was one of the few well done m/m/f books I’ve read. The lead up felt right, I fell in love with each character separately before Cunning brought them all together and the sex was hot hot hot.

Overall?

Backstage Pass gets a 3 star rating.
Hot Ticket gets a 2.5 star rating.
Double Time gets a 4 star rating.

I’ll let you know how Eric’s book turns out come August. 😉

Book Review: Sticks and Stones

Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

“Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they’re ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone’s sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia…” (From Amazon.com)

The 2nd installment in Urban and Roux’s Cut and Run series is just as thrilling and sexy as the first. This time our boys Ty and Zane are in the wilderness and instead of fighting killers in the city they’re up against mountain lions and backwoods treasure hunters. Ty and Zane are both ordered to take a couple of weeks vacation to get their minds right before being put on assignments.

Ty takes Zane with him to his home in West Virginia with a dual purpose: to both shield him from his overbearing family and to have Zane talk with his shrink brother. Readers got some insight into how Ty Grady grew up to be the man he is today. We met his mother who was the typical pie baking mom from the South, his brother Deuce and his hard-ass dad Earl. The four men decide to hike up the Appalachian trail for a few days. I really liked that the authors brought us to a completely different environment this time, it made it feel like I was reading a brand new book.

Ty and Zane of course never get boring and their relationship continues to progress in this installment. Yes, the sex is still hot. I like that when I’m reading, each sexual experience is something different. It keeps me captivated and on the edge, never knowing what’s coming next.

I really liked Ty’s brother and of course his mom who was a sweetie pie (but so obvious she ruled the roost!) But I really didn’t care for Ty’s father at all. Being an ex-marine himself who served in Vietnam he was a little rough on Ty throughout the book and it didn’t seem like it ended on awesome note either. It was made clear that Earl Grady cared a great deal about Ty but he came off as very ignorant and mean throughout as well.

Again, I have not enough amazing things to say regarding this series. The way the sex is between Ty and Zane in the books is so deep, intense, passionate, and mind-blowing I would be a very very happy woman just to sit and watch. *blush* But seriously….read these books.

Final Review: 5/5!!

Book Review: Cut and Run

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“A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents that are assigned to the case are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.” (From Amazon.com)

Enter Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett. The FBI partners them together and sends them to the city to solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice. The only problem is that Ty and Zane can’t stand each other. They bicker and fight with each other while trying to understand and discover the killer. But soon they both realize that while they still can’t seem to stand each other there is an intense attraction neither can deny. Sparks fly until they get taken off the case and four months later the killer is back and now he’s after Ty and Zane.

What I Thought:

I don’t think I’ll be able to form enough incredible adjectives to describe this book. Hands down this is the best M/M romance I’ve ever read and certainly up there in the top best books in general. I was immediately sucked into the story and the characters. Ty is fly by the seat of his pants, cocky and an ex-marine, making him the best man for the job. Zane Garrett is a recovering alcoholic, serious, and focused on the job at hand. They clash right from the beginning but also have a strong attraction to each other. The sex in this book is some of the steamiest and sexiest that I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a LOT) but it doesn’t detract from the story which was equally as exciting.

The murderer they’re after is offing people in New York City and it’s seemingly random. But Ty and Zane know there has to be a pattern. He’s leaving trinkets and tokens behind after every murder but even they don’t seem to have a connection with one another. The case is almost impossible to crack as it is but then it seems like the killer turns his attention to Zane and Ty. I loved the fact that the mystery wasn’t entirely obvious and it did take me about 3/4 of the way through before I had a good idea who the killer was. I liked that the authors kept me on my feet throughout the entirety of the book with both the plot and the developing relationship between Ty and Zane.

Fabulous is not a strong enough word to describe this book. The story-telling was excellent and Ty and Zane sizzled right off the pages. There’s something intensely erotic about two many alpha men loving each other.

Final Review: 5/5!

Book Review: One Foot in the Grave

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“Half vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She’s still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.” (From Amazon.com)

What I Thought:

The second installment of the Night Huntress series picks up several years after we last saw Cat Crawfield and she’s gone from bitchin’ vampire slayer to bitchin’ special agent vampire slayer. She’s got a crew of fellow agents to call her own and all the vamps she can slay at her fingertips.

I especially loved seeing more of her team members. They each had their own distinct personalities and I could vividly imagine what they looked like and who they were as characters. Tate is back as Cat’s second in command and I really enjoyed the character. I pictured him as a younger Tate Donovan. (And not just the name-though I’m sure that had something to do with it!)

Cat’s best friend is getting married and while at the wedding reception, Cat runs into who other than the infamous Bones. He looks a little different, his hair a bit longer, wavy, and light brown. Still my small pet peeve with this series is that Bones is so clearly a carbon copy of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even with the brown hair (human Spike!) and at the end his cropped and curly platinum blonde hair (Spike also sported this style in S7 of BtVS.) Still, it doesn’t bother me enough to make him unrelatable as his own character for some reason and I of course greatly enjoyed this book as well. I thought overall it was more action packed than the first and I really truly enjoyed the special agent aspect.

This time the villain is Bones’ maker Ian. I liked him as a villain and I doubt we’ve seen the last of him. I won’t give away the ending but I can’t wait for book 3. You’ll find some of my favorite lines in the book below the final review.

Final Review: 4/5.

“Life’s a bitch and then one stabs you.”

“You know the old saying: once you go dead, no one’s better in bed.”

“Some days, vampire hierarchy felt like The Godfather to me. On acid.”

“‘I am going to knock the slut out of you, Annette,’ I gritted between clenched teeth. ‘And that should take some doing, you uppity English tramp!'”

Book Review: Dominion

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“A paranormally-gifted female hunter is seduced by beautiful eight-hundred year old identical twin vampire brothers.” (From Amazon.com)

Eve Hayden is a pre-med student searching for her mother’s killer. She knows that her mother was murdered by a vampire while researching them. While digging thru her mother’s belongings she finds a manuscript but it’s in ancient French and she must have it translated. She meets with a professor at a university to find out more. But now all is as it seems and she discovers that she is speaking with one of the stars of the manuscript: Michel de Cernay, a vampire dead and born again in the year 1224.

Eve is sucked into a world she know little about – quickly finding out that she is a vampire hunter (an Adept) with special paranormal gifts meant to help aid her in the destruction of vampires. She meets Julien de Cernay, Michel’s twin brother and internal conflict ensues with Eve torn between her desire for Michel and following her mother’s lost cause.

What I Thought:

I did enjoy this book – but there were some key elements that I really didn’t like as well. I’m not sure if I’ll continue on with the series only because (and this may have nothing to do with the book itself but one can never be too sure) the book did seem to drag on in parts and I found myself getting bored rather quickly during some chapters. It didn’t flow from scene to scene (for me) as flawlessly as I would have liked it to.

I loved Michel’s character. He is a very old vampire who when human was a priest and eight hundred years later still struggles with his decisions/thoughts/emotions as a vampire. I enjoyed the conflict and thought the characterization was very well done. I regret not being able to see more Julien in the book though. The synopsis markets this book as more or less a love triangle but trust me, there’s nothing confusing about who Eve is with (in book one, at least.) We didn’t even get a good taste as to who Julien is versus Michel.

Which brings me to another dislike which is that the theme of Dominance and submission was the last thing I expected to see in this book. It markets as an epic and grand adventure – not erotica. Don’t get me wrong; I love alpha heroes (in fact, I can say I usually will not enjoy a book without an alpha hero) and I also love D/s but this was really heavily “leaned on” in the sex scenes and seemed forced at times. Of course I still enjoyed the scenes but I think they would have been better and more believable if Michel didn’t have to spell out every time that he needed to dominate her, needed her to submit, etc. etc.

At the end of the day this was a solid, strong book. And I appreciated the price. SE Lund seems to make this one free on Amazon every now and then and it it’s successors are all only $3.99 I believe.

Bottom line? Great start to a series with two lead characters who have steamy chemistry together but not as action packed as I’d have liked to see.

Final Review: 3/5.

PS: It is written in present tense first person. “He stares at me with wild abandon and I am walking to him.” Don’t let this alone turn you away, it was something I struggled with for only the first few chapters.

Book Review: All Jacked Up

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“Pulling off the ultimate con–if they can keep from pulling off their clothes.” (From Amazon.com)

In the 8th book in Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series, we are along for the ride with Jack Donohue and Keely McKay. Keely and Jack have never liked each other. And when I say they have never liked each other, it’s an understatement! They have never been friendly and neither has any desire to know the other anytime soon.

However, fate has other plans and Keely and Jack get thrown together. Keely needs Jack to approve the restoration of an old building that Keely plans to use as her new physical therapy location. Jack needs Keely in order to secure the biggest project of his life. And so a deal is struck – Keely and Jack will fake an engagement in order to get what they both want….but when all is said and done they find what they really want is each other.

What I Thought:

I’ve been reading Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series out of order for the past few days. I’m not finding it hard to follow each book as they all are pretty much self-contained with the exception of the secondary character’s lives (these secondary characters either have already had their own book or will in the future.) Which brings me to the first thing I love about this series. There are so many different characters, so many great personalities, so many cowboys!

Hello, who doesn’t want to read about a sexy cowboy? But I digress because Jack Donohue is a sexy suit wearing business man. Keely is a wild child cowgirl and I loved seeing them go to the rodeo together. The sex scenes were smoking hot and out of the three books in the series that I’ve read so far this one was my favorite. The sexual tension was thick, the story line was great (I’m a right sucker for fake engagement stories,) and the book held my attention throughout.

“Jack braced himself for a new ‘friendly’ warning from another male member of the knife-happy, psycho McKay clan.”

Another tidbit I really loved was the character chemistry between Jack and all of Keely’s brothers: Cord, Colby, Colt, Cam, and Carter McKay. Some really funny moments between them.

If you’re looking for a smokin’ hot erotic romance with an actual fun storyline and drool-worthy cowboys, looks no further!

Final Review: 4/5.