Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Crimson Romance

Crimson Romance
For the best in romance, from sweet to naughty!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rampant by Saskia Walker

Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises / Harlequin Spice
Pages: 368

(Release Date:  April 1, 2010)

 From the Cover:  Possession is only half the fun…

The moment she arrives at her rented vacation cottage nestled in Scotland, Zoë Daniels feels it—an arousal so powerful she's compelled to surrender to the unusually forceful carnal desires…with nearly anyone who crosses her path. Crawford Logan, the boat builder with the wayward grin. The devilish restaurateur Cain Davot, who seems to know more about Zoë than he lets on. And even her sexy neighbor Grayson Murdoch, whose eyes delve deep into her soul as he explores every inch of her body.

Yet there's something unsettling about the way the locals watch her, something eerie about these overwhelming encounters. Zoë knows she's not quite in control of herself and begins to wonder if there's any truth to the legend of Annabel McGraw, a powerful, promiscuous eighteenth-century witch who once owned the cottage, and whose spirit t is rumored to affect anyone who stays there. Zoë doesn't t believe in anything that even hints at the occult, but t now strange visions are turning frightening…and only y one man's touch can bring her back to earth.

Zoë Daniels is a Londoner who works in a high powered law office, and she keeps the whole thing running.  She's good at what she does, but she needs a vacation, in fact her body demands it.  Her sister, Gina, finds a cabin in a remote location far from the everyday pressures of her life in Carbrey, Scotland, a little place known to the locals as Her Haven.  It's said to be inhabited by the ghost of a witch, and Zoë can feel the pull of magic as soon as she enters the cabin, if she wasn't a skeptic, if she thought it was real.  But, soon enough, it proves to be.

Grayson Murdoch, outsider in the community, who has purchased the adjoining cabin.  He has moved to the community to find out more about Her Haven and it's mysterious ghost in the visage of Annabel McGraw as well as to keep tabs on the local coven master, Cain Davot who is rumored to be involved in at least one death.  It is also rumored that Cain is very powerful warlock and that he may be trying to resurrect the spirit of his lost lover, Annabel, hung and burned during the hunt for witches, long ago.  All he needs is a willing (or even unwilling) body.

When Gray meets Zoë, it makes Annabel's spirit come alive, as well as Zoë's long denied need for passion.  What scares her is not knowing if Annabel is the only reason for Gray's passion or if Zoë is the true object of his desire?

Rampant by Saskia Walker was a steamy hot quick read.  It tells the story of a young woman, Zoë Daniels, in need of a much deserved rest, and she hasn't quite dealt with the death of her mother three years previous.  Her mother dabbled slightly in the occult, more of a hippie, and Zoë remembers all to well picking up and leaving, off the chase the next ghost story.  When she arrives at Her Haven, one of her first experiences in the mysterious reflection of Annabel McGraw in her mirror.  She soon discovers that Grayson Murdoch, the extremely sexy prof that lives next door, would like nothing better than to have entrance into Her Haven to try to see the ghost for himself.  But Annabel has other plans for the two newest inhabitants of Carbrey, and when the spirit moves them, the pages heat up.  Cain Davot is not what he appears to be, having made a deal with the dark side, and he's infecting the local coven with his madness.  He'd like nothing better than be bring Annabel back, but again, Annabel has other plans, and revenge is in the works.

Rampant was a hot spicy read, with steam that stings the fingers, even blush worthy in places on my part, as the pages flew by.  There is something for everyone found in the pages, ghosts, psychic energy, witches, warlock, and magic that zinged from page to page.  There was also some graphic language as well as being sexually graphic with a tiny bit of M/M and  F/F, so if that bothers you, you might want to try something else.  It does tell an engaging story of love found and happiness sought that continues through out the story.  I recommend this novel to all lovers of steamy graphic romance, I do not believe you will be disappointed.

I received this arc ebook from Net Galley and Harlequin Enterprises.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Release Day! Burned by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Pages:  384

(Release Date:  April 27, 2010)

From the Cover: 
When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames….

Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her.  But how?  He will have to die to do so, the Vampyre High Council stipulates.  And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…

Enter  BFF Stevie Rae.  She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own.  The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences.  Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good.  The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it).  She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not.  Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance.

Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

Want to read the first chapter? Click Here

Want to download the songs for the series free? Click Here

Have a peek at the awesome book trailer!

Can't wait to check this out!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cover Alert:: Dakota Banks ~~~ Sacrifice: Mortal Path, Book Two

Publisher:  Eos / Harper Collins
Pages:  304

(Release Date:  8-31-2010)

From the Cover: 
The Mortal Path Series: What if a woman sold her soul to a demon and 300 years later wanted it back?
Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2

Available August 31, 2010
A Sumerian demon's enslaved executioner--a ravager of lives and souls--Maliha Crayne has been reborn, willing to sacrifice her immortality for a chance at freedom ... and salvation.

Now she has an opportunity to prevent the death of thousands to help balance the countless lives she has obliterated over the centuries. To do so, she must locate and destroy an evil cabal of madmen in possession of a weapon of unspeakable power--and survive the immortal assassins who are now after her blood.

But it means reverting to the old ways and surrendering once more to the darkness. And if Maliha dies before the mission is accomplished, the hell she once knew will seem like a picnic compared to the eternal torments awaiting her.

"Chilling, thrilling, and a page turner!" - HEATHER GRAHAM

"Action packed. Tons of fun. Dakota Banks slams you through a wild tale of mayhem and murder. You'll love every page." - MARIO ACEVEDO

I've been patiently waiting for this book's release. This is a must read for me after reading Dark Time: Mortal Path, Book One. To see my review, click here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Fabled Faerie Tale: The Princess, The Faerie, and The Champion

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a beautiful princess and many suitors came from exotic lands to win her hand.  But, our princess was a lonely princess, she didn't want to be fought over, cherished for her beauty, put upon a pedestal, valued for beauty never to know love.  Beauty is fleeting and only skin deep, and in the years to come, beauty would surely fade.

One day, as she sat alone in her tower bedroom, far above the long stream of suitors who would be challenging each other for something she could never freely give, she began to weep. With her tears, a glistening ball of light was called.  And from within the light, a faerie burst into life.

"Princess Annabell," the nebulous faerie called, beckoning the princess closer, as she grasped the young princess to her breast.  "Princess Annabell, why the tears?"  She soothed the princess, but it only brought more tears.

"Sweet Maylan," the princess shuddered through her tears, "suitors have come to sample my beauty, to keep me to locked away, without love or desire.  I don't know if I can choose to live this life.  What am I to do?"  The princess wept against Maylan's misty shoulder.

"What would you have me do, my princess?  Chase the suitors away?"  Maylan took the princess's tear bruised face in her hands, wiping them away with a brush of her magical fingertips.

"What would be the use?  Only more would come tomorrow or the day after, and in the weeks yet to come until my eighteenth birthday when my betrothed will be announced.  What choice does this life offer?"  Fresh tears sprang from the princess's eyes, realizing in three short weeks, a suitor will be proclaimed champion, and marriage to a stranger will be forced upon her.  "If I only knew that the man wanted me, not my beauty, not my father's riches, or my mother's lands, if only I knew that I was his desire...."  The princess look to the veiled faerie, maybe Maylan could be her savior.

"Maylan, please help me.  You can let me find the love that chooses me for the person beneath the beauty."  The princess showed a watery smile.  Maylan's heart broke for the tragic beauty, but the consequences of wishes often come at price.

"Princess Annabell, do you wish me to remove your beauty?  Make you plain as any commoner?  Please say this is not your desire."  Maylan begged the naive princess.

"No, Maylan, I want to become the commoner, but just for one day.  I want to meet the challengers with my beauty hidden.  Without the constraints of beauty, wealth, or land.  Will you help me?"  The princess pleaded, eyes still bright with tears.

"My princess, I can do as you ask," the baffled Maylan replied, "but I have to caution you my child, wishes may be only what they are, but if you're sure this is your desire, I will help you."  Maylan took the princess's hand in her own, and placed a bead of a wish within her palm.  "To grant your wish, simply break the bead.  For one day, you'll be the commoner with the ability to walk amongst your suitors.  But, within the bead, the truth will also be revealed.  You will be able to see into the hearts, visit their desires, know their truths.  This is the price of the wish."  Maylan's eyes bore into the princess's, making sure she understood the price.

The princess nodded, "Yes, Maylan, I know what I ask, but I do not want a loveless life."  The princess gazed at the bead, so much power in a tiny little thing.  "I'll break the bead on the eve of my birth."  The princess promised, as the mist formed a ball which grew smaller and smaller before it popped from existence.

So, the princess planned, arranged for one of her personal maids to sit in her tower room overlooking the line of suitors, while she would wonder within to find her one true champion.  The day of eve of her birth dawned and all of her careful plans were put into place, and the princess broke the bead.  She watched as the luster and curls left her golden locks to become a string mess.  She gazed into her looking glass as the beauty was replaced with a weathered skin, still a youthfulness, but a beauty that had known hard work.  Her hands became calloused, her fingernails unpainted, short and stubby, a little grimy from toiling.  Her gown replaced by a coarse gray cloak and a peasant's brown dress hidden beneath.  The princess couldn't believe her eyes.  It was still her, but another being, if her life had been born different.  The faerie's magic was harsh, powerful, and just what her wish desired.

The princess left the castle and stole among the many suitors, bucket in hand offering sips of water to the participants who had gathered.

"Mi lord, drink, it is surely to be a long day."  She said again and again, and as she looked into each face, the desires of their hearts were clearly spoken to hers.

"I desire her kingdom, I desire her riches, I desire her beauty upon my arm, I desire her body in my bed," were spoken over and over again, so many times the princess began to lose hope.  Not once did she hear, I desire to make her happy, I desire the princess for her kindness.  Her heart began to break anew as she reached the end of the suitors and there was only one lord left.  The princess offered him a sip from her ladle, and he took it in both hands bringing to his lips, but as his hands grasped the ladle, she heard, "I desire love."  The princess gazed up into the eyes of the lord, he wasn't the most handsome or the tallest or the most powerful.  His armor was worn and dusty, but there was kindness in his eyes as he thanked her for quenching his thirst.

"Mi lord, may I inquire your name for the princess?"

The lord returned, "I am Lord Renault, but I've hardly a chance to win her hand.  I'm here at my parents request, I'm the youngest of seven princes with only one kingdom to share.  Needless to say, lass, I'll return empty handed."  He grinned at the commoner princess knowing full well that he didn't stand a chance.  Look at the field before him, he may as well go home now than risk his life.

The princess could hear this in his heart as well, and she encouraged the young prince to stay, make a stand, and maybe he'd go home the proud victor.  She left the young lord to watch her leave as she made her way back within the castle walls, away from the conniving suitors with only one true hope, Lord Renault.

She  made her way back to her tower room, releasing the maid from her stay, and as night broke on the eve of her birth, she gazed into the mirror and watched her beauty return.  For the first time in weeks, she fell into an exhausted sleep knowing her heart had found her desire.

The morning came quickly and as the princess rose, she called her father to her tower room.

"Father, I know you have many splendid events and challenges arranged for the day, but I desire to choose my own betrothed.  If you love me at all, you will allow this one request."  The princess smiled at her father.

"Daughter, many suitors have come from far away lands with the hopes of winning your hand.  I cannot disappoint them, they must be given their due."  Her father chastised his young daughter.

"Fine, then allow me to chose the champion of each challenge."  And her father agreed.

With each challenge, she chose the weakest champion, the weakest mount, until young Renault stood before her claimed champion again and again.  Until the last challenge came.

The King proclaimed to the two remaining suitors, the winner of the last challenge wins the hand of the fair Princess Annabell.  And the crowd roared in the background, encouraging the two young suitors.

And the final challenge began.  Even as the princess looked on, she knew the winner of the challenge and called Prince Renault to her side, putting her hand in his worn gloved armor, and proclaimed him the winner of her hand, her life, her lands, and her riches.

The young Renault gazed upon the princess's beauty with a sadness in his eyes and removed her hand from his own.  "My princess, I would gladly claim everything you have offered, but my parents have sent me in my brother's stead.  You see my princess, my loss would not have been of consequence, but Richard is to be the next ruler of our kingdom."  He bowed and turned away with regret.  And in his place stood another, but the bead of the wish had not worn completely away.  In his heart, she heard the words that brought dread to her own, "I will be powerful, able to kill my many enemies, and I'll start with Renault."  Prince Richard sneered at his brother's retreating back.

"No," the princess cried, "if I cannot have Renault, I chose no one."  Tears filled her eyes, as the faerie's warning came back to haunt her, she had heard her champions desire, but not his purpose or his own wish.

Princess Annabell, beauty that she is, was promised to Richard as he plotted Renault's death.  But, the princess had fallen in love with young Renault, and when the time came, when the brother chose to strike the other, she fell upon the dagger, saving Renault and releasing herself from a loveless life.  And in return, she became a part of faerie, forever blessed for her selflessness, but forever cursed to love unrequited.  The King chose young Renault as the king to be crowned upon the old king's death, as he, himself, had run through Richard for bringing death to his only child.  In the countless nights that followed until King Renault's death at the ripe old age of 80, he was visited by a glowing bright light that made love to his mind, that spoke to him in his dreams where he was once again the young Renault.  The one he called his Tinkerbell faerie, tinkling faerie dust left in her wake and upon his body when he opened his eyes every morning.

King Renault was known for his kindness, loved by all in the land.  Upon his death, having remained unmarried, he passed his kingdom to his godson, Lord Locksley, but that is another story.  He was laid to rest next to the fabled beauty that gave her life for love, the Princess Annabell.

© Dottie Taylor

I just wanted to share a short story I whipped up on a whim.  It's one that I would have used as a bedtime story for my sisters.  More than once I related the stories of princesses, castles, magical and mysterious.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.  Today is the 40th anniversary of that day when most Americans became aware that mankind was slowly poisoning it's own environment, choking the atmosphere with fluorocarbons, and in general, attempting to kill the one place all humanity can call home, the Earth.  As the years have passed, the United States has made a few changes to protect the environment, but many more are needed to lessen the carbon footprint left by our lives.  Here are a few things that as everyday consumers, you'll find easy to do and help in the effort to limit our carbon footprint.

1.  First and foremost, reuse, reduce, and recycle; plant a tree, flowers, greenery.  Not only are you beautifying your environment, but making it easier for oxygen reformation. 
2.  Unplug unused items such as cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, turn off unused power strips. (I'm so guilty of this, though, I've been trying to do better.)
3.  Replace incandescent bulbs in your home with florescent bulbs. (I've replaced all of ours and I really don't notice too much of a difference.  There are two types of florescent bulbs, I just make sure to purchase the ones best for indoor lighting.)  Replacing light bulbs can save about 12% on your utility bill.
4.  If you need to replace a worn out appliance, most state governments are issuing rebate checks for purchasing energy efficient appliances.  Not only do you get a new appliance, but lower your electric bill and get back some of the purchase price making an expensive proposition more affordable.  Unfortunately, still extremely expensive.  I know, my washer broke and it was going to cost more to fix it than replace it.  But, at least I purchase a water conserving front loader.  A little more inconvenient, but uses a third of the water and I recycled my old washer, giving it to an appliance repair center to use parts that were still available and to sell the rest metal for scrap.  I didn't make any money from this, the appliance center did, but at least I know that some of the appliance was put to good use. 
5.  Make sure to keep toxic chemicals from landfills, dispose of paint, paint cans, chemicals, oil, and appliance such as computers, computer monitors, refrigerators properly.  Not only are they dangerous, but the chemicals eventually leach out of the containers or appliances, poisoning the soil and ground water.  Most communities have a toxic chemical pick up day in the Spring.

Most are common sense everyday things that people can do easily without any inconvenience.

Here's a cute little video celebrating Earth Day 2010.

And of course, it wouldn't be Earth Day without a little Kermit.

And I had to add Ernie and Rubber Duckie because it's Stuart's favorite song (he's my very own demonically possessed dog).

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf

Publisher:  HQN / Harlequin Enterprises
Pages:  368

(Release Date:  4/1/10)

From the Cover: 

An arranged marriage between a werewolf and a vampire.

There will be blood.
She may resist his bite, but she can't resist his charms...
Werewolf princess Blu Masterson won't allow her seductive vampire husband to consummate their marriage with his bite, marking her forever. Alone in a secluded estate with her sworn enemy, Blu curses the marriage arranged to bring their rival nations together, especially since Creed Saint-Pierre calls out to her most feral desires.
When Blu uncovers her pack's secret plot to destroy the vampire nation—and Creed—she is forced to confront her growing feelings for her sexy undead husband. Will she choose the only life she's ever known or accept his vampire bite? 

Blu Masterson, werewolf princess and the only female of the northern pack, has been promised in marriage to a longtooth, the elder tribe leader, Creed Saint-Pierre.  This is a move between the governing Council and her conniving father, Amandus Masteron to bring peace to the struggle between the vampires and the werewolves.  But Amandus is always scheming in the background, more than his beautiful and mistreated daughter can ever know.

Creed Saint-Pierre, 900 year old vampire, has seen more than most even in his own kind.  He accepts this sham of a marriage because the Council wants it to be so, and if he's in control, he can orchestrate his own plans behind the farce marriage.  What Creed doesn't expect to happen are the feelings he thought long dead that the saucy werewolf princess evokes.

What can one vampire and werewolf hope to accomplish, the battle between wolf and vampire has raged for centuries.  Even if they fall in love, even if she accepts his bite, even if it means his death.

Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf is a very quick, very sexy, very fun read.  I loved Michele Hauf's sense of humor, her struggle to right the wrongs, and do it all with a playful sexuality, almost like dark little sexy romp.  I fell in love with Blu Masterson, her outrageous little stunts hiding secrets.  I fell in love with Creed because he could wait out the princess, give what she needed and only took what was offered freely.

Blu Masterson should have had it all, the only werewolf princess, hell, the only female in her pack.  She should have been revered.  But the dynamics of her pack are as sick as her father's misguided beliefs.  Creed Saint-Pierre, centuries old vampire, was turned against his will because of his ability to wield a deadly sword, one that the ancient vampire society sought to use against the wolves.  He's hunted werewolves and killed indiscriminately for more than a few of those centuries.  And still the wolves and the vampires are deadly enemies.  If only the marriage could accomplish what it set out to achieve, peace between the battling nations.  But each faction schemes against the other, unknowingly at first, but as Creed and Blu become closer, the secrets are revealed.  The creep out factor has to go to Amandus Masterson, a supremely evil creature that at the beginning of the book, had outlived his usefulness, if his miserable soul ever had a use.  His ability to use and abuse his daughter made Blu's story that much more poignant and heart breaking.  And along with her outrageous stunts, wigs, outfits and sensuality, this vulnerability is what draws Creed to her, into her, to become part of her.  It's Creed's ability to calm the beast, love the beast, and see passed the scars that draws Blu back again and again, each time revealing more.

Her Vampire Husband, part of her Wicked Games Series, brings back some of the characters from her previous books, The Highwayman (WG #1), Moon Kissed (WG #2), and After the Kiss (WG #2.5), most notably the sexy and tortured werewolf, Severo.  Her Vampire Husband (WG #3) has a prequel with Alexandre and Veronica's story in Vampire's Tango (WG #2.5).  All of these books and short stories could easily be read as stand alone books or if you'd like as a series, but the enjoyment of the books are not depended upon each other.  All have a magical quality, fae beings (Michele like the faery dust, but not your usual faeries), as well as other paranormal beings as supporting characters.  If you enjoy paranormal romance, urban fantasy, or just a hot little read, try Her Vampire Husband.  I was able to read from cover to cover in a single day, it was hard to put down.  I very much enjoyed this quick read and hope others give it.  With each book Ms. Hauf grows as an author, her voice clearer and keener.  I'll hoping that this series continues, I've been enjoying it and I wait to see what else Michele Hauf has to offer her readers.

I received this book from the publisher, Harlequin, and Net Galley for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Promo: * Infinity, Chronicles of Nick, Book One* by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Pages:  448

(Release Date:  5-25-10)

From the Cover:  At 14, Nick Gautier is an average kid who runs with the wrong crowd. But on the night he decides to go straight and refuses to mug an innocent tourist, his crew turns on him and just as he thinks his life is over... a new one begins.

Kyrian of Thrace isn't just a vampire slayer, he's a Dark-Hunter and he introduces Nick to a world that he never imagined.

With new enemies who make his old ones look like wimps, Nick must either measure up or get sized for a body bag. It's kill or be killed and this kid who was born on the wrong side finds a strength inside him that he never knew existed.

Now if he can only find someone to help battle the demons that don't reside inside him.

**Note to Dark-Hunter fans**

The Chronicles of Nick *is* Nick’s real and true past. There is a huge surprise (several actually) in the book that I don’t want to spoil, but when you read the book, everything you think is an inconsistency will make perfect sense to you. More than that, you will understand exactly why Nick is the way he is and why he continues to hate Acheron the way he does. But you have to be patient. All will be clear on May 25, 2010.

Nick’s series will run until it intersects with Night Pleasures and then Nick will have his own novel in the Dark-Hunter world.

Book one, Infinity, begins when Nick meets Kyrian.
Book two will pick up the next day after Infinity ends and will be out Feb 2011.

Remember the one promise that I try to keep in every book: Just when you think you know the truth about a character or event, you find out that things are seldom what they seem. Nick is one of those characters. There’s a lot more to our little Cajun than what you’ve seen to date. That’s why it takes 12 books to tell his story.

There are many, many secrets you’ll learn about a lot of characters, including Cherise and especially Jaden and Jared. Just hold on... you ain’t seen nothing yet :) (This excerpt is taken directly from Ms. Kenyon's site @ )  For more information, click the link.

Dang, I'm loving this cover!!  I can't wait to give this new series a try!  Vampires, slayers, and demons, oh my!  I'll be picking up Infinity, Chronicles of Nick, Book One come May, it looks and sounds awesome!

And because I couldn't resist, here's the UK Cover!  Which do you like better?


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review in the Works: The Master and The Muses by Amanda McIntyre

I'll be posting my review of Ms. McIntyre's book quite soon! I must say it's an excellent read, I love the way the story is told.

But in case you can't wait, there's a peek into the heart of Thomas Rodin from Ms. McIntyre's blog, McIntyre's House of Muse.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent (Prequel to the Soul Screamers Series)

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen / Harlequin
 Pages:  74

From the Cover: 
Kaylee Cavanaugh's trip to the mall ends with a brutal panic attack and a brainscrambling shriek she can't stop. Her secret fear is exposed. It's the worst day of her life.

Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.

But the hospital isn't a safe place for Kaylee, and getting out won't be easy because everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, who has a secret of her own...


The last thing you hear before you die...

Kaylee Cavanaugh is your average teenage with the average problems.  Her boyfriend, Toby, dumped her right before Homecoming to ask her best friend Emma to the dance.  Now together, they plan their revenge on the unsuspecting Toby.  But on a trip to the mall, a panic attack takes Kaylee, one like she's never had before.  She wakes up to find herself strapped to a metal bed, scratches on her neck, and she can't remember how she got there.

My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent is a prequel to her Soul Screamers Series.  In this series, Kaylee is something different, something other, and her aunt and uncle don't know what to do.  When she has the panic attack at the mall, no one can bring her back, not Aunt Val or her best friend, Emma.  To prevent herself from injury, her aunt, who really doesn't like the interruption of her normally placid life, sends Kaylee to a mental facility for observation.  Upon visiting, and seeing the other patients as the facility, Uncle Brendon can't leave her there, she doesn't belong there.  But, just when Kaylee thinks release is in sight, the panic comes again, worse than before, keening threatening to burst from her throat.  Lydia, fellow patient, drags Kaylee away from the mayhem caused by another patient and through her touch, takes Kaylee's pain away.  But maybe at too high of a cost.

My Soul to Lose is an excellent little taste of Ms. Vincent's YA series, and I highly recommend giving it a try.  If you haven't tried this series yet, and you like YA, good story telling and paranormal, it's a free read if you click here.  The next two books in the series, My Soul to Take (Book One) and My Soul to Save (Book Two) are available now, and the three book, My Soul to Keep will be available in June 1, 2010.  I do love the cover art and colors chosen for this series.

I downloaded this book as a free eread.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversay, Mom and Dad

They were so young, babies really.  Mom and Dad met  at a party, and it became love.  Mom was 19 years old and Dad had just returned from Korea, a whole 22 years old.  He quit high school, took the equivalency test, and lied about his age so he could go.  Mom had lost her father when she was 14 years old, she, her mom and brother had kind of a hard life.  My grams who hadn't had to work, started.  Mom found a job, and together, they took care of her younger brother.  My dad had been helping his family for years.  First he worked with my grandfather, running a heating and cooling service.  When my dad was a teen, his father contract emphysema, probably from the Asbestos, but who knew what that was back then.  Every year they would say how bad he was, and every year he continued to survive.  Then came the army, where he would send part of his pay home to help his folks.  My dad is the youngest of six children and several foster child were included in his family, Aunt Lois, Betty, Debby, Uncle Bruce, Ron, Bill.  My dad lost Grandpa when I was 14 years old.  All that's left are Debby (adopted sister, now the youngest) and him.  Now, both of my dad's parents are gone, Grandma passed just a few years ago.  I know it broke his heart, he did his best to take care of them.  My mom lost her brother last year.  My mom's stepdad has now left as well, but my grams is still feisty, I just wish her health was better.  Grams still has a sister living in Arizona, they're hardier stock, living through the depression as they did.  My parents have now raised their own family, seven of their own children, and fifteen grandchildren.  But they're still there if I need them, still call if they need me.  And my siblings still make me call my parents when they want them to do something because my dad can rarely refuse me. 

I love you, Mom and Dad.  Thanks for all the good times (which were many), the bad times (which were hidden from us), and for everything in between.  I know that with seven children, life wasn't as easy or as wealthy as some or maybe not as fun either.  But there was always excitement, always something happening, always a whirlwind of activity, and always love.  It was never boring, I learned to change diapers by the time I was 10 years old, how to warm a bottle, and when to sing a lullaby.  I held my sisters hands and played.  My brother, our protector.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.  Happy 50th Anniversary!

Love You Always, Forever and A Day,

Dottie Ann

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brighid's Quest by P.C. Cast

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen/Harlequin
Pages:  544

From the Cover:  "I will go."

Rather than follow her family's restrictive rules, centaur Brighid chose to set out on her own to make friends and form relationships with humans as well as centaurs.

Now she's facing her toughest challenge yet. While helping guide home a grieving human—Cuchulainn, her friend Elphame's brother—Brighid finds herself beginning to care for him. An emotion forbidden by her clan.

To add to her troubles, the Great Goddess has awoken the power of the Shaman within Brighid—the first centaur so blessed in ages. And just as she's torn between taking up a power she never expected and a love she's afraid to admit to, Brighid receives a vision of a tragedy that might destroy everyone she's ever cared about….

Brighid Dhianna of the Dhianna Herd has chosen her own path, away from her manipulative mother, High Shaman of the Herd, but long corrupted by her love of power once bestowed by the Great Goddess, Epona.  Brighid has found her new home with the Clan MacCallan in Partholon, as Centaur Huntress for the Clan.  

Elphame, the Chieftain of the Clan is in turmoil.  Her brother, Cuchulainn, has been lost in sorrow with the death of Brenna, the Clan Healer and his lover at the hands of a mad Formorian, the winged demons from long ago.  Legend and lore says that the demons stole into the Clan stealing and raping the Goddesses Incarnate of the Temple of the Muses.  

Cuchulainn, through his despair, has chosen to travel through the Wasteland to find the home of the winged demons, the Foromians.  He wants to see with his own eyes that these winged demons are no longer infected with the madness, that his sister's sacrifice was not in vain, taking the infected blood into her body to break the madness.  What he finds is hard for his eyes to believe.  It is Cu's Quest to find these New Foromians and bring them back to the land of their foremothers, hoping to find a reason to live without his lover, Brenna.  

It is Brighid's Quest to find Cuchulainn and bring him back to the Clan.  In leading the winged New Foromians back to their homeland, she discovers Cu's soul has been shattered, he no longer feels the desire for life, and if she is to save him, she will have to journey into the Spirit Realm, seek out his soul, and heal the pieces for life to begin again.

Brighid's Quest by P.C. Cast is pure fantasy at it's best.  Our feisty heroine, Brighid, has set her own path.  Her mother is mad with power and has been trying for years to corrupt her children as well.  To save her sanity and her life, Brighid has chosen to leave Centaur Plains and lead the solitary life of the Huntress.  Our hero, Cuchulainn, must find a way passed the pain of losing his love, Brenna.  But to do it, he has to confront the very creatures who have brought her death.  His discovery of their true nature brings him to meet his destiny, either death or healing.  He chooses to heal, to find peace within his soul.  Brighid is his only hope to help find the shattered pieces of his soul and make him whole again.  His mother, Goddess Incarnate, Etain, could do it or Elphame, the Clan's Chieftain, but only can Brighid can do what mother and sister cannot, bring life and love back to the warriror, bridge the Spirit Realm to find Cu's soul and let life begin again.  But can Brighid face what she has so long denied?  Will Cu be able to live without Brenna at his side?

Brighid's Quest is a mythical fantasy, full of magic and mystery.  P.C. Cast weaves an excellent world to be explored; Partholon's legend of the Centaurs, the Clan MacCallan, and of the Great Goddess, Epona.  In this world, the Great Goddess Epona blesses her chosen ones with great power, but with that power comes free will.  The right to choose their own path.  Some choose the path that leads to madness and murder.  Some choose the path that brings enlightenment, leadership, and love.  But those who receive the power must make their own decisions, because the blessing of power can lead to disaster.  Brighid's Quest was a fun read and as with most fantasies, not a quick read.  There is much to be explored and learned about the world within the Centaur Plains and the Clan MacCallan, all of Partholon to be explored.  Fantasy is quickly becoming another favorite for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy read and recommend it to other fantasy lovers.  Brighid's Quest is book two in this series, Elphame's Choice is book one and though I usually read a series in order, enough background is given in this book that I had no trouble following the storyline.  If you enjoy good fantasy, great story telling, and excellent world building, give the Brighid's Quest a try.  I'm certainly glad I did.

I received this book in ebook format from Harlequin and Net Galley for review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Date Night

Starring:  Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg
Director:  Shawn Levy
Rated:  PG 13
Running Time:  88 minutes

(Release Date:  April 9, 2010)

Date Night starts out as a New Jersey couple whose friends decide to divorce because instead of being exciting lovers, they've turned into comfortable roommates.  Phil and Claire Foster find themselves as a married couple who have lost they're passion, lost themselves, stuck in a rut of comfortable date nights with dinner consisting of salmon and potato skins at a local hang out.  Their lives have been become predictable, a quick dinner and even quicker sex, or sometimes, not at all, who has the energy?  All this changes when a friend tells them they've lost what little excitement was in their lives.  To prove their friend wrong, they decide to change things up, go to a swanky restaurant, Claw, dressed to kill.  But, upon arriving at Claw, they discover that reservations are needed at least a month in advance, because, damn the restaurant is just that popular.  While waiting at the bar, Phil and Claire hear a call for a party of two, the Triplehorns who are a no show.  Thinking quickly, Phil grabs their available table and they get tipsy and indulge in the restaurants finest cuisine.  As they're enjoying the end of their evening, they're accosted by two gentlemen who drag them to the alley demanding a jump drive they have stolen.  And from there the nightmare begins of being chased around New York City from the ritzier parts to the seedier parts and all the way back again.  It's one huge misadventure after another, with hilarity ensuing.

Phil and Claire call home to tell the babysitter to take the kids and leave from the urine infested phone.

Phil and Claire return to Claw to try to find the Triplehorns, fathom couple you never show up.

Claire's client, Grant Holbrooke, security analysis give the Fosters a few pointers on evading the dirty cops hot on their trail.

Phil and an innocent cab driver go for the ride of their lives.

Phil, sans the cab driver, sans the kindle, sans the jump drive, at the bottom of the East River.

Phil and Claire on the subway, trying to come up with a plan to save their hides and not get 'whacked off'.

If you want to watch a laugh until you almost wet your pants type of movie, Date Night is the movie to go see.  I laughed so hard, I couldn't cry anymore.  It was one mad dash with bad guys who were cops, cops who didn't know what the hell the Fosters were up to, and a dirty politician that was going to sweep NYC clean of crime, just as soon as he got his fill of it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing
Pages: 384

(Release Date: 1-12-10)
From the Cover: The past Janeal thought had burned away is rising from the ashes. Years ago, the Gypsy Kumpania where Janeal Mikkado lived was attacked by outsiders. With her best friend about to be consumed by a fire, Janeal had two options: try to save her friend--at serious risk to her own life--or disappear with the million dollars that she had just discovered . . . But the past is quickly come back to haunt her. Both the best friend and the boyfriend that she was sure were dead have reappeared in her life, as has someone who knows about the money. There's a debt to be paid for the money she found, but there's an even greater debt she must face--and if the chaff isn't burned from her own heart, it will consume her.

Janeal is the manipulator, at first she denies what she is, and at first she telling the truth.  But when circumstances spiral beyond her control, then she becomes what life forces to be.  She learns quickly that looking out for herself needs to be her top priority.  She believes that she's the only survivor from her father's Gypsy Kumpania.

Robert, Janeal's teen boyfriend, believes he is the only survivor from the massive fire and the destruction of their camp by the hands of drug lord Salazar Sanso.  He has become the vengeance for the  Kumpania.  As a DEA agent, when he has the opportunity to capture Sanso, he'll go to any length to make it happen.

Katie, blinded by the fire that blazes for her everyday, has hidden herself away, thinking she too is the only survivor from the fall of the Gypsy camp.  She's sightless and scarred, but far from helpless.  She finds a place in the mountains and from there runs a halfway house for women, all the women who are in need help find Hope House.

Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy is an intriguing read, full of mystery, murder, and bad guys.  Janeal (Jane/Janice) changes her name, educates herself (with Salazar's money) and becomes top dog at a major publishing house.  She uses and abuses people to get where she's come to find to herself and she'll to almost anything to protect her new life and wealth.  Money has become an important commodity her life.  Robert gets a tip from the very man that destroyed his life that he's not the only survivor.  Can Robert trust a murdering drug lord?  When he stumbles upon Katie, the once unflawed beauty of the Kumpania, he believes this is the survivor that Sanso has alluded to.  Little does he know that Janeal is orchestrating from depths in the background, determined to let nothing or no one disrupt the life she now leads.  But there's something that no one knows, Katie may not be who she says she is, and who or what she is, is impossible to believe.

Burn was a fascinating read with twists, turns, manipulations, and misleading truths.  Truthfully, at first I had trouble finding compassion for the characters.  Janeal was a user, manipulator, and the only lesson from life she learned and kept true to is to look out for yourself.  Robert, Janeal one time boyfriend, was falling out of love with her way back at the Kumpania, but refused to admit it, and I didn't know if he was afraid to quit wooing the leader's daughter or if he thought he could force her into becoming someone more like Katie who had no other ambitions other than the live in the camp the rest of her life.  Of course all of his outlooks change after losing everyone and everything to the massive Kumpania fire.  Katie was an innocent, I started out liking Katie, but even she had her faults.  She was the redeeming character that saved the book for me, even if Robert was becoming fascinated with her while claiming to be there for Janeal.  If you like mystery and intrigue, baffling twists of fate and faith, this is a must have book for you.  It's exciting, fast paced, and even a little scary.  I enjoyed the baffling mystery that the book turned out to be.  It is a book that has to be read to believe.

I received this book from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for review.  All opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Free Ebooks Anyone?? Updated with links to free books on B & N

If you've downloaded the Kindle app for iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac, or lastly PC, Amazon has some new free ebook downloads.  Here's a few of the ebooks that I received for $0.00. (I download more than just these lowly five books, kindle as over 100 free ebooks, some of the classics are available too.)

Kindle Free Edition

That's five books for absolutely no money.  Does it get better??  Barnes and Nobles also has some of the free editions.  Harper Collins has released most of these title for limited release, free of charge.  What that means is find a format that works for you, and download them before they're not available.  Wicked Lovely, The Wild's Call (Luna/HQ), and Rides A Dread Legion are full books with kindle extras.  Stopping Time Part 1 & 2 are short stories.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Swan Song by Jevron McCrory

Publisher: VampLit Publishing
Pages: 62

From the Cover: Katrina Collins isn’t like other musicians, she doesn’t do interviews and no one has ever seen her outside of her musical arena. Her beauty is startling, her effect upon an audience mesmerising. Lewis Morrison isn’t like any other music journalist, as he despises music and loathes musicians. They find each other and their discovery brings hope, redemption, pain, pleasure and death.

Lewis Morrison (no relation to the late great Jim Morrison) is a down on his luck music journalist, one time musician, and he's just about hit rock bottom when his boss requests, no, he insists that Lewis catch the latest up and coming young star, the reclusive Katrina Collins.  What he really needs is to watch another tart who thinks she's the next best thing.

Katrina Collins doesn't have time for the press, record labels, proper venues, she enjoys the seedier side of the town.  She enjoys performing where others might not.  She's happy enchanting the local bar patrons, those who come to hear her vocalizations, immerse themselves, intentionally or not, in her music.  She doesn't need glory, she only needs release.

But something happens when Lewis and Katrina meet, something neither are looking for or can predict.  And it could be deadly.

Swan Song by Jevron McCrory is titled befittingly.  It's the story of a boy who meets a girl, not at all what she seems.  She's waif like, fragile, strong voiced, and magnetic.  The boy has lost it all, not solely his own making, but torn and trodden over by circumstance.  Each could be the other's saving grace.  Each could be the other's executioner.  And only time will tell who will be victorious, love and life, or fear and death.

Swan Song is a gritty telling of a love story.  Of love lost and found. Of hope and hopelessness.  It's the telling of what could be and what cannot.  Jevron McCrory is a fresh new voice in the Urban Fantasy genre, he draws the reader in, let's the reader feel the dirt, grime, and heartache.  I recommend this story to urban fantasy lovers, vampire and paranormal romance lovers, but don't look for the traditional happily ever after, the ending here just might surprise you.  I'll be waiting to see what else this new young author has for us next.

I received this book from the author, Jevron McCrory, for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

Ever wonder how the Easter Bunny came into existence?  Why eggs are so popular?  And why candy?  It all has nothing to do with Easter or does it?

Well, our story starts a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.....  okay not so far away.....  but pretty long ago....  well before the 9th century, stories were told of the Goddess Eostre and  Goddess Austri. Ancient telling of the stories of the Pagans.

The Goddess Eostre is the goddess of the spring fertility and the dawn, one who brings life back into the land, light after the darkness, fertility after the barrenness of winter.  And with her comes the hare, who is associated with the cycles of the moon, Eostre time determined by the phases of the moon (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring Equinox, March 21), the most fertile of times.

The Goddess Austri is a spirit of the east winds and of light, a faerie goddess, but not the lesser of the goddesses, because the fae do not want to be thought of as inferior.  They are the bringers of great magic, powerful enough to wake the land, bring life to the barren plain, rebirth of growth.  Though most associate this goddess of old with the Samhain, when life leaves the land and spirits dance, it is also she who allows the breathe of life to return.  And she must be given thanks for the reprieve from winter, for releasing the land from the winter's embrace, and allowing life to return.

As for eggs, eggs are the symbol of new life and rebirth.  Eggs are from where new life begins.


Candy is the symbol of the Hot Cross Buns, the ancient symbol of the four phases of the moon and the gods and goddesses.  The buns that were painted with icing of form of crosses or an "X" and given to the people in protection from evil and to bring good health.

Now all this legend and lore is laughed upon by the Christian aristocracy.  We all know that Easter is the rising of Christ from his tomb after the Roman crucifixion, his suffering for our sins.  And Mary Magdalene telling the emperor of Rome of Christ resurrection which he scoffs at, nonbeliever that he was.  It's all Pagan myth and ritual, but it is interesting, don't you think?

Just thought I'd try something different this year.  I hope everyone is having a Happy Easter!

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