Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tropical Cougar (Review)

Tropical Cougar

What the author/publisher says:

Will one night with an older woman change everything?

After finding the love of his life in bed with someone else, twenty-six-year-old Seth Reynolds wanted a fresh start and found it in Jamaica. Being a bartender at one of the island’s exclusive resorts has its perks…not the least of them being a very sexy, older woman: Sylvia Radcliff. While she’s determined to celebrate her forty-fifth birthday, Seth is equally determined to seduce the most enchanting woman he’s ever met.

What I say:

I liked it, I did, but I’d find it hard-pressed to call it a complete story. I supposed in the traditional sense, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end (begining: guy and girl meet; middle: guy and girl have sex; end: girl goes back to New York). To me, however, it felt more like a one-shot or a story starter as opposed to an actual, complete story.  It’s fantastic for what it is, the start of a great adventure between a widow in her 40’s and a man in his 20’s, but I would have liked to have seen more. The language was fine, and the sex scenes were steamy and detailed. You could really tell that the two enjoyed their time together in Jamaica, but I really do believe this story deserves more than an offer and a promise.  I would like to see the author take this and really expand on it.  There are so many wonderful twist and turns the author can take this story.

Tropical Cougar by Tamaria Soana

Publisher: Ruby Lioness Press

Publish Date: June 27, 2012

Price Point: $.99 (Kindle, Free for Prime)

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Bare Necessities (Review)

Bare Necessities

What the author/publisher says: 

After years of bad relationships, Ava Miller is finally living life for herself and isn’t going to let anyone get in the way. Her dream is to open a lingerie shop, and she has chosen Brookfield, Wyoming as her new home, where her dreams might just come true. Once she meets the town sheriff, though, she’s suddenly involved in a flirtatious battle for the right to open her store.

Seth Hampton is the town’s sheriff, and when Ava shows up, he’s not sure what hits him. He craves her, yet he can’t stand to allow that type of shop to open in his small town. However, he isn’t alone. Someone else wants Ava to leave town. Things take a turn when her shop is vandalized, and all evidence points to Seth.

Ava isn’t sure what to think. While Seth seems to be the only one with motives, something inside her believes he would never do it. Can Ava and Seth figure it out before one of them gets hurt?

What I say:

Ava is a feisty woman, set on starting over in a new town near her cousin, and opening a lingerie store with an adult toy shop in the back. Seth is the small town sheriff entrusted by the townsfolk to keep them safe. The two cross paths and the sparks fly, until Seth starts gossiping about some ‘crazy person trying to open an adult store’ in his town. When Seth learns that it’s Ava, he tries to convince her that her store isn’t wanted and maybe it’d be better for her to leave. Ava’s not one to let a man push her around, though her past seems to say differently. After her store is targeted by vandals and Seth’s words are painted on the wood used to board up the previous assault on her store, Ava is convinced that something not quite so wholesome is going on in her new town.  Still, try as she may, she can’t keep her hands off Seth, and Seth off her.  It looks to be that perhaps there is more to Seth then just his desire to keep her store out of her town.

The story is quick paced and easy to read. We follow Ava as she tries to find her allies in a small town that might just not be open to her store, especially on the main drag that the citizens use to go drive to church and funerals. Ava’s determined to not let a few incidents keep her from opening up, and she forges on. The heat between her and Seth is apparent and everyone can see that they’re crazy for each other.  With Seth’s help, they’re determined to get down to the bottom of things before they escalate too much further.

Personally, I called the culprit early on and am surprised that Ava herself didn’t seem to catch it. I don’t want to include too many details of the story, but I do want to say that I’m disappointed that the main character was so certain who it wasn’t that she didn’t see the clues. The author, I’m sure, wrote them in there as a ‘hindsight is 20/20’ sort of thing.  While I do think a certain relationship or two did progress fairly quickly, I can’t hold that against the characters. They were in a hurry to find their sweet spots.

Bare Necessities by Lacey Wolfe

Publish Date: September 25, 2012

Publisher: Southern Girl Press

Price Point: $2.99

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The Loyal Heart (review)

The Loyal Heart

What the author/publisher says:

Lady Aubrey has a problem. Several problems. Her childhood love, Ethan, has returned home from the Crusades, but he’s more interested in winning his land back than wooing her. She has to rescue a pair of nuns who are being held prisoner in Derby Castle’s tower by the sadistic Sheriff Buxton. And to top it all off, she’s developing scandalous feelings for Buxton’s lackey, the dark and devilish Crispin. Faced with all that what’s a girl to do but don her disguise as the Derbywood Bandit and take matters into her own hands?

Sir Crispin is at his wit’s end. Not only does he have his hands full keeping Buxton from killing half the shire, now his arch nemesis, the Derbywood Bandit, has joined forces with his old rival, Ethan. And that’s nothing compared to the burning torch he carries for his ex-fiancé, Lady Aubrey. He would do anything to win Aubrey’s love until he suspects that there could be a closer connection between Aubrey and the Derbywood Bandit than anyone knows.

What I say:

This book was from one of my favorite genres to read. It starts off with the Bandit and Crispin fighting after the Bandit is caught red-handed with his hands on a treasure being transported to Derbyshire and the Sheriff, and for once Crispin has the upper hand and is about to deliver the killing blow. In comes Sir Ethan, back from the crusades, stepping in just in time to save the Bandit. Later in the woods, the Bandit reveals that she is Lady Aubrey. From the get-go, Ethan seems to want the girl but his land is more important to him. Especially when he finds out that his lands have been given to the one man he hates above all, Sir Crispin.

We follow this group of embattled knights and lady, squires, commoners, and even a prince as deals are made, alliances forged, and folks are literally stabbed in the back.  The Sheriff is a truly creepy and evil man that seems to want Sir Crispin for his own pleasure, and a plot is a foot to kill the king when he returns from the crusades.

The story had a very ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ to it, but told the story in an engaging way that it felt like a whole new story with only some similarities. Those I wanted to fall in love, did, and those who I wanted to fall on a sword complied.  In the end, I left the story satisfied. The bonus was the excerpt from the next book, which I can’t wait to read.  All in all, I was satisfied and enjoyed the story.

The Loyal Heart by: Merry Farmer

Published Date: September 29, 2011

Published by: unknown

Price Point: $2.99 Kindle

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Breath of Air (Review)

Breath of Air

What the author/publisher says:

Her name was Capri, and she was Air.

She was born with a gift she didn’t understand. A gift so strange, so remarkable that she had kept it secret for as long as she could remember, despising that it made her different when all she wanted was to be normal, to belong. As an orphan, belonging to someone, anyone, would have been an incredible blessing, one she would have given up all that she had just to get a taste of.

But the truth was that she didn’t belong in the orphanage in Virginia, or even in the United States. In fact, she didn’t belong with human beings at all. Because she wasn’t one of them, not really. She was something much more extraordinary.

She could shift the direction of the wind, create billowing clouds out of nothing, and charm birds into dancing on her open palm. She belonged to an elite group of beings, responsible for preserving the balance of nature and the safety of Earth from an underworld that deserved to be feared, and needed to be controlled. And after years of being lost, she had at last been found, and now the truth of how she had ended up so far from home was becoming horribly clear to her.

But there’s someone who doesn’t want her to return; someone who knows Capri was the only witness to an act of heinous treason and violent murder. And when she begins to search her memories for details of the night she was taken from her home, details that will implicate a killer, she finds herself the unwary target of an otherworldly dark force intent on silencing her by any means possible.

What I say:

I didn’t read the synopses when I received this, which is I rarely do anyways. I like going into a book with a blank slate, void of any preconceived thoughts on the story. Plus, who doesn’t like a surprise? When I first started reading the story, I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not a fan of science fiction based stories, mostly because they’re so out there that they couldn’t even possibly be imagined remotely as possible (and, okay… that’s typically the idea). I’m just not a fan of the genre my mind registered the story as.

We have a girl named Capri who was brought up in Richmond, Virginia (so random of a place but hey, it works… I’m assuming that the author chose it for a reason). Capri turns 18 and is no longer a ward of the state (no idea why she wouldn’t have been adoptable, but that wasn’t included in the story… maybe no one wanted a blond haired three year old).  She’s sitting in a park with all her worldly possessions in a bag and alone in the world.  She has ‘powers’ to manipulate a bird into dance and by happenstance, a man walks by and sees. He automatically recognizes her as one of his ‘people’. Takes her to a tree in the woods and poof! They’re in another world.

Capri was back home, into her father’s arms, and back home after being missing for fifteen years… in Richmond. Capri is an Air Dryad, one of four who control the elements (Capri is wind/Liam water/Blythe fire/Rhiannon earth).  There are furies, fates, muses, mother earth, and a menagerie of mythical people. And typically, I roll my eyes and put books down with these sort of things because I do find that often the characters are written in such a juvenile or all encompassing way that I just can’t get into the story.  However, these characters were more than just their titles. You got a taste of their personalities, well Blythe and Capri, and the fury Rian.

Not everyone was thrilled with Capri’s return and demons return to the mythical island that floats above the Pacific Ocean (I sure hope it’s magically invisible and isn’t where planes fly).  At first, I was almost certain that Liam and Capri would have had something together, but was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t so.  I enjoyed the elements that were brought into the story, but was surprised that about half-way through the swearing ratcheted up a notch from nothing to some. It seemed unnecessary, but whatever! Perhaps the author felt that the words gave the characters more badassitude.

Other than generalizations of the character’s appearances, a good bit was left to the reader’s imagination which I appreciate. I sort of pictured Thea (Mother Earth) like she is in the Santa Claus (with Tim Allen) movie: gentle but firm, tall and willowy light colored black woman wearing a long dress and a crown made of vines and flowers.  All in my head. I think the choice in character names was good. I liked Liam and Blythe, Rhiannon was okay, as was Rian, Rourke, and a few others. Capri’s name… I had a hard time not mentally calling her ‘Capri-sun’ (which then made me thirsty), but I will admit that it grew on me. I’d have liked for her to have had a little more spine in the beginning, but was glad to see her progress from beginning to end.

I didn’t see many if any errors, but the copy I was given might have been corrected.

I did find myself swiping my book page to get it to turn, and it took a second for me to realize that the story was over. That was it. It definitely left the reader hanging, which opens up for another book (the hunt for the demon Dante). I didn’t find myself connecting to Capri, but I did enjoy reading her story, and would be open to reading others in this series… despite it not being my go-to.

Breath of Air by Katie Jennings

Publish date: April 9, 2012

Publisher: Unknown

Price Point: $9.99 (print), $2.99 (Kindle, Free for Prime Members)

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Twenty Troubled Ladies (Review)

Twenty Troubled Ladies

What the author/publisher says:

In Twenty Troubles Ladies, Tina Hernandez exposes the female soul. Each of these twenty women is laid bare – fears, aspirations, trauma, violence, humor – for all to see. Literature of this caliber does not come along very often, and Hernandez, a Cuban-American descendant of pirates raised by drug dealers, taps into her colorful upbringing to serve up a feast of unassuming yet complex characters that are sure to resonate with readers all over the world. No subject is taboo – religion, sex, incest, menstruation, body dysmorphia, suicide – these socially controversial subjects all play a part in this collection because they are essentially one and the same – a woman’s truth. Peek into the lives of these Twenty Troubled Ladies – you may find yourself or someone you know looking back at you.

What I say:

Having never read more than the odd blog post from this author, I didn’t really know what to expect.  What I didn’t expect (but maybe if I had read the synapses, I should have) was to find myself looking back at me. This collection of 20 micro stories, each of a different woman and a snapshot of her internal struggles, life, or something else entirely.  The very first of the collect felt like it had been picked from my mind, down to the macabre thoughts of what would happen with myself and my nursing toddler should I be laying, dying/dead on the floor (much like the character, I assume my toddler would just help himself to his milk).  In almost each and every story, I could find a bit of my personality or self.

None of the characters are really described to you, not really, and while that wouldn’t work in other stories, I believe that it works very well in absorbing the stories and seeing where you fall in comparison.  The writing wasn’t pretentious, instead, it was as if each story was a friend you knew all about and she was divulging her deep, dark secrets or part of her past.  It was as if each character waited her turn to have a few minutes of my time, to remind me where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, where I wanted to never return, and where I might be headed.

I read well past my bedtime to get in just one more character, and when the last story came up, I took my time devouring it while prolonging reading the last page because I didn’t want it to be the last one I read.  But, alas, it all came to an end.

These micro stories were great for me, just long enough to get the meat of it, while being short enough that I didn’t have to hide away under the stairs or in the bathroom to read.

Twenty Trouble Ladies by Tina Hernandez

Publish Date: August 14, 2014

Publisher: Ampersand Editions, Incorporated

Price Point: $8.99 (paperback, via Amazon); $6.99 (Kindle, but free for Prime Members)

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The Kiss (Review)

The Kiss (The Children of Nox Series Book 2)

What the publisher/author says: 

When you’ve been touched by the darkness, it leaves a mark on your soul.
Jonah and Alaynee are happily putting the past behind them. They’re planning a wedding and moving forward. Great news is waiting for them and the youngling pack.
When Cathy, Alaynee’s mom, finds a stranded girl in the city and brings her back. Alaynee soon discovers there’s more to her then meets the eye. Cleo is a lioness whose powers over men will haunt Alaynee in more ways then one. Will Jonah and Alaynee be able to plan their happily ever after or will the evil that resides have it’s way?

What I say:

I realized early on that this was a sequel to a book I had not read, which left me quite lost for the first dozen chapters. Honestly, if I hadn’t been asked to read the book and comment/review on it for my site, I would have put it down. It’s like walking into a movie 10 minutes late, where those first 10 minutes set up the rest of the movie. I found myself agitated that I didn’t know who was who or what was going on. I found that the first few paragraphs of every chapter written in such a way that it felt pretentious and haughty, but I read on, none the less and tried to ignore the author’s bit of intro to each chapter (which to me is what it felt like).  The book as a stand alone does not cut it until 20-something chapters in when we’ve met nearly everyone under the sun (and moon, apparently) and I felt like I had caught up enough to get the premise behind the story (and enough of the back story).

We meet Jonah and Alaynee, both members of the Youngling pack (wolves) that are in love and going to get married, eventually. He’s asked, she’s said yes. They’re in the final year of high school. Alaynee’s mom goes to an art showing and before the show finds a naked girl outside of the train station. Immediately, she decides that the best thing to do is bring the girl, Cleo, home with her. Nevermind that she just met Cleo, and the two of them run into Cleo’s friends.  Cleo is from a different creature clan and changes into a lioness, who ran from her people because on the night she was chosen by the spirits to change, another member child, Joy, doesn’t change, her dad flips out and Cleo defends her.

So, Cleo goes home with Cathy (Alaynee’s mom) and moves in with them. Cleo has a power over boys except for Alaynee’s twin brother, and she’s set her sights on Cleo’s beloved Jonah who struggles but is not immune to Cleo’s ways. Meanwhile, there is Nox, the goddess of night who was once a creature with a human body that was involved in a relationship with Ash, the creature locked away but still whispered to Cleo his wicked ways. There’s Cara, a child who lost her family sometime in the first book, who Jonah is her adoptive brother of sorts, who goes to this magical kingdom in her mind.

Oh, and there’s the Monkey King who totally reminds me of Rafiki from The Lion King (he even says ‘it is time’, and in my head, Rafiki’s voice echoed loud and clear).

In all, okay… to be honest, it wasn’t a bad story. There were very few grammatical errors that I found (maybe one or two). I think had I read the first one, I’d have been more vested in the characters and enjoyed the story more than I did.  There were some contradictory sentiments (in one paragraph, Cleo reflects that she was only trying to protect her friend, Joy, from violent acts against her by her own father; two paragraphs later, Cleo claims to not even like Joy).  I actually flipped back to see if I had misread that Cleo thought of Joy as a friend and found that I did not, and in fact Cleo claims they are friends, then turns around and states that she doesn’t even like the other girl.  I can’t say that I’d have ever picked up this story to read on my own, as it isn’t something I’d typically read.  It seems like the plot was well thought out, but could have done with an recap of the previous book  or maybe shaped so that it could better fit for folks who may have picked it up as a first book. As it is written, I wouldn’t call it a stand-alone story. It really needs the first book to support it.

All in all, I believe that the author wrote a well thought-out story that seemed verbose at times, but when read in a series with the first book, I believe would be an entertaining tale of supernatural means.  It was lengthy, which for an e-book is fantastic, since most e-books put out these days seem to be nothing more than short stories or short novellas.  Perhaps once I go and read the first book (I checked to see if I was supposed to have read that one first, but it wasn’t in my files to R&R), I will find the story more enjoyable and to grab my attention better.

The Kiss by Joann H. Buchanan

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

Publication Date: July 30, 2012

Price Point: $3.99 (Amazon)

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Almost Perfect (Review)

Almost Perfect

What the author/publisher says:

One broken urn, one fallen earl and a kiss for a wager.
Add Scotland, an ace up a noble sleeve and a runaway card sharp,
then let the chase begin.

What I say:

This story was sweet. It starts with impoverished sisters, readying to leave their London home to the widow’ed sister’s aunt (by marriage). When an Earl comes to collect his winnings from their father, the elders sister does the unthinkable to protect her family.  On the run, Cassie plans to use her unusual talents to help earn passage for her and her family to America.

At her aunt’s insistence, Cassie and her family attend a party where in walks the love of her season, six years passed, and find the flame still burns as bright as ever. Robbed of her purse, Cassie trades wager of a kiss with him to put her plan into play.

Accused of a Sharp, and with her past demons on her heels, Cassie makes the escape just in time, but finds herself alone and injured on the side of the road, at the mercy of a man who wishes to expose her for exactly what she is.

I really enjoyed reading this. It was fun, it was sensual, and it left the right balance of showing versus telling. I eagerly devoured each page, wondering when Cassie’s crime would come back to haunt her, sweet relief when she found allies, and angst when her love wasn’t returned. It truly ran the gamut of emotions while having a powerful female that didn’t dissolve into a puddle of tears or immediately spread her legs to gain power.  The writing was done well, and I cared for the characters (and hated the ones I should).

I wish there would be continuations of this story, like Eliza’s story, but the author has made it clear that this is it (it’s not a time period she prefers). All in all, it’s a great distraction from the day to day life, and I looked forward to bedtime to get my reading in.

I wanted to point out that the length was wonderful. A lot of e-books are novella length (at best) and many are barely at ‘short story’ length, which is fine, but sometimes you want to read a book with some meat to the bones, and this delivers.

Almost Perfect by Denise Domning

Publish Date: February 6, 2012

Publisher: Unknown

Price Point: $.99 (on Amazon)

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