Monday, April 30, 2012

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) by Jennifer Estep

Sexual Content: Main character indirectly witnesses (hears) a girl giving a guy oral sex, but it doesn't go into great detail. Also, whispers of students having sex.

     "Reapers of Chaos are everywhere, even here at Mythos. They can be anyone--parents, teachers, your fellow students. And they will do whatever it takes to get what they want." 
     "What is is that they want, exactly?" I asked...
     "The Reapers want one thing--to free Loki from the prison realm that the other gods have placed him in. And we, the students and teachers here, the members of the Pantheon, are at war with them, trying to prevent that from happening. That's what all the students here are being trained for. To learn how to fight with whatever skills and magic that they have to keep Loki from escaping from his prison."...
     I frowned. "So what happens if Loki gets free? What would be so bad about that?"
     "Because the last time Loki was free, he raised an army to try to kill the other gods, to enslave mortals, and to bend everyone to his will. Hundreds of thousands of people died, Gwen. And hundreds of thousands more will die if Loki is freed once more. The world as we know it will be utterly destroyed."

Starting a new school can be hard, but when you you literally don't fit in with those around you it can be even tougher. Such is the life of Gwen Frost. Six months ago her mom died and her life was drastically changed. Her grandmother pulled her out of her old school and enrolled her at Mythos Academy. The thing about Mythos is that the kids there aren't exactly what you would call normal, they're warriors as in Amazons, Valkyries, Vikings, Romans, etc. Something from every "ancient culture, myth, or fairy tale that you'd ever heard of and lots you hadn't." Truth be told, Gwen isn't normal either, she's got a gift or a curse, depending on your point of view, called psychometry that allows her to "know, see and feel an object's history." It allows her to be able to track things that are lost and she uses that talent to make a profit by letting individuals hire her to find their lost items. What Gwen doesn't realize, but soon will, is that she's more like the other student's then she ever would have believed. When the most popular girl on campus is murdered and an ancient artifact is stolen she'll discover just how special she really is.

Gwen is smart, gutsy, and a tad stubborn. She doesn't have the mad fight skills of her warrior classmates and that makes her a bit vulnerable. Luckily she seems to not be noticed much by the other students and blends in to the background. She finds she can use this to her advantage because her classmates tend to talk about things in front of her without giving it a second thought. Jasmine's death really disturbs her and she doesn't buy the faculty's claim that Jasmine was killed by Reapers. She arrived at the crime scene moments after the attack and was knocked unconscious. If Reapers, who have a reputation for being vicious, were involved why didn't they kill her as well?

The day after the attack Gwen is surprised to find nobody really seems all that upset by Jasmine's death and a lot of people didn't really like her. Everyone pretty much acts like it's just a typical day and nothing all that significant has happened. She finds that a bit "creepy" and decides it's not right that nobody cares and decides to find out what exactly happened to Jasmine. She just can't leave things well enough alone and during her attempt to uncover the truth behind Jasmine's death, she discovers more about herself, her family and the world than she'd ever imagined. Plus, she'll make a few friends along the way.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was filled with action, suspense and interesting characters. It kept my attention and had a twist I didn't see coming. It kept my attention and I couldn't wait to read the next book. So I didn't. The review for 'Kiss of Frost' should be up tomorrow. :)

Notes to keep you in the know:
In case you were wondering if any of the mythology used by Ms. Estep was pulled from recorded mythology: According to the World Book Encyclopedia, "Loki, LOH kee, was a god of Norse mythology who was known as a troublemaker and trickster...Most stories portray him as evil, though some myths tell of occasions when he helped the gods...The principal myth about Loki concerns his role in the murder of Balder, the handsome son of Odin, the chief god..When the gods learned what Loki had done, they sentenced him to be chained across three rocks, with a snake dripping poison onto his face. His wife Sigyn, caught the drops of poison in a bowl. But each time the bowl filled up and she left to empty it, the venom struck Loki and made him twist in agony." ('Loki' by Carl Lindahl via World Book Encyclopedia. 2005 edition, L volume 12,  page 426) 
Painting of Loki's Punishment:

Order of Series:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Confessions From an Arranged Marriage (The Burgundy Club, #4) by Miranda Neville

Author's Website:

     Surveying the room, his glance came to rest on her. His lips twisted into a derisive half smile and their eyes met in mutual displeasure. He shoved his back away from the wall and ambled over to her.
     "Our dance, I believe, Miss Montrose." He hadn't changed one bit.
     Minerva felt a strong desire to slap his arrogant face. "Lord Blakeney," she said with the merest hint of a curtsey. I believe 'our dance' was over half an hour ago."
     "This one will do just as well."

Miss Minerva Montrose had a plan and it was a good one. She wanted to be close to a man who would wield political power and be his helpmate. She knew her politics and had hand picked the man she felt would be the best candidate for what she was looking for in a husband and his name was Thomas Parkes. She'd selected him based upon newspaper articles which discussed his "budding" political career. She'd managed to capture his attention and hoped he'd offer for her soon and that they could be wed before the end of the season, but that was before Lord Blakeney ruined everything...

Lord Blakeney was a scoundrel. His parents, the Duke and Duchess of Hampton, had hoped his self imposed two year exile to a country estate had curbed his wild ways and gotten him to grow up. Upon arriving back to London, however, it became clear it hadn't as he seemed to pick up his bad habits where he had left off. Tonight he managed to be late to the opening of the ball his parents were hosting. The Duke and Duchess were presenting Miss Minerva Montrose to the ton for her first season. He and Ms. Montrose were acquainted and shared a mutual aversion for each other. He had no intention of spending any more time than necessary with the "ambitious miss"'. He only wanted to get back to his newly acquired mistress. In a strange twist of fate, of his own making, he changed everything when he accidentally mistook her sleeping form for that of another. When the two were found in a compromising position, he'd ruined her in the eyes of the ton and thereby sealed and intertwined their fates. The two would have to wed.

I truly enjoyed this book. Minerva was such a fun character and I liked her from the very beginning. She was an ambitious woman living in the wrong time. A time when women were not thought to be good for much more than breeding, needlepoint, and looking pretty. Can you even imagine being intellectually equivalent or superior to a man only to have your opinions scoffed at because of your gender? Minerva had hoped to find a loophole to her circumstances by marrying someone who would admire her for her brains and not just her beauty. When scandal forced her to marry a man who looked to be the exact opposite of what she wanted, she thought her hopes and aspirations were dashed.

Lord Blakeney (aka Blake) was thought to be a lazy handsome devil who was undeserving of his future position as a Duke. What nobody, but a select few, knew was that he had a secret. He attempted to hide his reading difficulty by feigning disinterest. In a time when learning disabilities, like dyslexia, were still unknown, he struggled with both reading and writing. He'd always felt a bit of a failure and was embarrassed by it.

At first I really disliked Blake. His resentment of his father's treatment of him for not being able to learn manifested into a rift between the two that seemed insurmountable. His plans for vengeance, which involved Minerva, were unfair. She entered the marriage in good faith and had no clue why he acted the way he did. Luckily, he later redeemed himself in my eyes, and I ended up adoring him. While it took some time, the two slowly began to like each other and then things quickly heated up between the two.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed all the turmoil and misunderstandings. I liked how the drama that was unfolding was set against the backdrop of a politically charged period in time, a period of reform. The contrasts between Minerva being both vulnerable yet strong and innocent yet wise were fun. The story gives us a lovely glimpse of the woman she'll become and the marriage she and Blake will share. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Avon Impulse Author Roundup - A Call For Submissions

Avon Impulse is doing a call for submissions. They're "looking for some skilled, creative writers to bring our ideas to life". All stories can be submitted through their form at So what specifically are they looking for? Romances based on the following themes:

Take Us Out to the Ballgame 
50,000 – 70,000 words
Sensuality level: from steamy to super-sexy
Must be received by May 30th

What walks the halls of Stormclyffe House?  
15,000-20,000 words
Sensuality level: from Moderate to Super-Sexy
Historical or contemporary
Must be received by May 30th

Home for the Holidays (also known as, “Gain Ten Pounds at the Holidays!”) 
15,000-20,000 words
Sensuality level: Sweet and Romantic
Must be received by July 1st 2012

Five Golden Rings (Christmas story) 
15,000-20,000 words
Sensuality level: moderate to sexy
Must be received by August 1st

15,000-20,000 words
Sensuality level: from Moderate to super-sexy
Historical or contemporary
Must be received by September 15th

For more detailed information about the themes and how to submit your entries visit the original post at: Avon asked I spread the word and the above information came from the original post, I just downsized it. Happy writing and good luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa James

  • Title: Paris in Love: A Memoir
  • Classification: Adult Nonfiction
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (April 3, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1400069564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069569
Author's Website:

Cancer, when it rears its ugly head at you or a loved one, shows no mercy. If you're lucky, you can catch it in time and banish it. It is an indiscriminate killer and it can seemingly strike anyone at random. When a person is faced with this disease they can choose to fight or succumb. Luckily, Ms. James caught her cancer in time and fought and won her battle. Her mother however, was not so lucky. Two weeks before her own diagnosis, Eloisa's mother had lost her battle with cancer and passed away. Cancer makes us face our own mortality head on and makes a person get their priorities straight. How did Ms. James deal with the reality check she was given? Well, after getting an okay from her doctor, she basically ran away from home and to Paris, in an attempt to leave all her worries behind. I wish we all could do this as it seems like a very therapeutic thing to do. To take a sabbatical from our daily lives and fully enjoy it for a while. If you could do such a thing, where would you want to go or do? Think about it. Eloisa James did and then she and her family acted upon it.

So the first thing you might wonder about "Paris in Love" is if it is a book about a woman obsessed with cancer who talks about it and her experience with it? The answer is it definitely is not. It's basically a book about living life and enjoying what you have. It's about looking at the wonder of it all (life) and at finding the humor in it. It's also about family and friends and making the time to appreciate  each other.

The book gives you an insight into the daily life of Eloisa James and her family as they attempt to blend in to life in Paris for a year. It gives you a taste of the city itself as well as its people. You get glimpses of places Eloisa traveled to such as Italy, Germany, and London as well. She paints the reader a picture upon her pages with words and humor:

- 'People kiss all the time here: romantically, sadly, sweetly, passionately; in greeting and farewell...I hadn't realized that Anna had noticed until yesterday when I suggested perhaps a single-mother situation in her classroom could be explained by divorce. Anna didn't agree. "They don't get divorced here," she reported. "It's 'cause they kiss so much."'

- 'French chickens come with heads and feet still butcher cradles the bird like a baby, then waggles its head toward Anna, Turning the bird into a clucking version of Jaws.'

- 'It's raining...The umbrellas look like wildly colorful mushrooms sprouting from the pavement. From down the street, they seem to bloom, low and colorful against the gray buildings.'

-'Venice is like the dream of a sleeping shopaholic--The little, gorgeous footbridges rise into the air and come down into yet other streets of shop windows, shining with gold, velvet, and glass, The streets blend together as if one were wandering in circles, always presented with more to desire, more to buy.' 

Eloisa also lets us follow the drama her daughter faces with an arch rival at school. As she puts it, "Every Peter Pan has his Hook, Harry Potter his Malfoy...Anna's nemesis is Domitilla." Plus, we get to follow the lovelorn meanderings of Florent, Alessandro's language exchange partner--Florent attempts to help improve Alessandro's French while Alessandro helps Florent with his Italian. Alessandro, in case you were wondering, is Eloisa's husband who is originally from Italy. Florent's reason for wanting to learn Italian is that he has a crush on a waitress he met in Italy and would like to converse with her. Eloisa gives us her insight on whether French women truly don't get fat and why they always looks so stylish. Additionally, Eloisa created a list of places to see, things to do, and places to go to buy at the back of the book.

Overall, I found this an enjoyable read. I rated it 4 out of 5 roses. I usually don't go for non fiction books, but when you combine Paris and Eloisa James, I just couldn't resist. I found Ms. James' daily observations charming, witty, thoughtful and humorous. I can't help but wonder if perhaps Eloisa's bad hair year might have somehow reflected a bit of what was going on in her own life. She started out not quite herself, but slowly after a year of healing for both the body and soul, while living in Paris enjoying life, she once again resembles her former self. In the introduction Eloisa states, "I never learned to live in the moment, but I did learn that moments could be wasted and the world would continue to spin on its axis." She brings things full circle at the end when she claims, "We learned to waste our moments--together."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Words of Wisdom from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters

Top Ten Words of Wisdom from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters
(I am including Nick because in at least one reality there is a Dark-Hunter connection)

10) "Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.”
― Sherrilyn KenyonInvincible

9) "I learned a long time ago not to judge people by what they look like, sound like, or by the clothes they wear. Just because a house is nice and shiny out front doesn’t mean it’s not rotting on the inside." (Kyrian) 

8) "Nothing is ever truly set by fate. In one blink, everything changes. Even though it should be a clear, sunny day, the softest whisper into the wind can become a hurricane that destroys everything it touches." (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sins of the Night

7) “No one can ever make you feel inferior without your permission, Tory. Don’t give it to them. Realize that it’s their own insecurities that make them attack you and others. They’re so unhappy with themselves that the only way they can feel better is by making everyone as unhappy as they are. Don’t let those people steal your day, baby.”
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron

6) “Acheron always says that our scars are there to remind us of out pasts, of where we've been and what we've gone through. But that pain doesn't have to drive or determine our future. We can rise about it if we let ourselves. It's not easy, but nothing in life ever is." (Sundown)
― Sherrilyn KenyonRetribution

5) “Mistakes don't have to define us. They're how we learn and grow. They show us who and what we don't want to be. It's why they're mistakes.”
― Sherrilyn KenyonInfamous

4) “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss other people. Life's too short to worry about what other people do or don't do. Tend your own backyard, not theirs, because yours is the one you have to live in.”
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Infamous

3) “One word can give someone the strength they needed at the moment or it can shred them down to nothing. A single smile can turn a bad moment good. And one wrong outburst could be that tiny push that causes someone to slip over the edge of destruction.”
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Infamous

2) “There are always three sides to every memory…yours, theirs, and the truth, which lies somewhere in between the two”
― Sherrilyn KenyonSeize The Night

1) "We have three kinds of family. Those we are born to, those who are born to us, and those we let into our hearts.”
― Sherrilyn KenyonBad Moon Rising

Top 10 list order was determined by me and quotes were selected by me. Special thanks to Goodreads for cataloguing some of my favorite quotes making it easier for me to access and find them. This list was very difficult to whittle down to just 10. Assume any and all errors are mine because they most likely are. :)

Early Review of Kiss of Pride (Deadly Angel, #1) by Sandra Hill

Over a thousand years ago when Vikings were at their most powerful, God could no longer ignore their many sins. One family in particular, the Sigurdssons, caught his attention when they raided Lindisfarne, a Saxon monastery. Each of the seven sons in the family had "offended God by committing one of the Seven deadly sins in a most heinous manner." Just as God was handing down a judgement that would condemn the men to an eternity in Hell the archangel Michael intervened to his everlasting regret.

     "I agree that these Sigurdsson men have gone too far, but maybe they would change if given a second chance..."

And so a different judgement was handed down...

     "This I say unto you, the Viking race will dwindle off into nonexistence, but not by death. No, they will blend into other cultures, losing their identity. Their pride is too great to stand alone. Hereafter, no one will worship Norse gods ever again."
     "As you say, Lord, "Michael paused before asking, "And the seven Sigurdsson sons?"
     "These seven sinners must prove themselves sevenfold. By sins they were judged, by grace they will be saved. For seven hundred years, they must roam the earth doing good works. If they fail, Satan may have them for his unholy domain."

And so Michael's and the Sigurdsson's fates were sealed. To make sure their penance was a little more difficult, the seven brothers were turned into Vampires, and so the first Viking Vampire Angels (aka Vangels) were created. Their mission to thwart the plans of Lucifer's Vampires (aka Lucipires) whose goal was to collect the souls of sinners before they had a change to repent. Because Michael was the one who suggested they be given another chance, they were put under his guidance.

As the years passed more and more years were added on to the Vangels original sentences because boys will be boys and Vikings will be Vikings. Perhaps by the grace of God, however, they lived in virtual obscurity until the Vangels masquerading as pretend vampires in the small town of Transyvania, Pensylvania caught the eye of a reporter from the World Gazette. Alexander Kelly who had once been nominated for a Pulitzer was being assigned a puff piece in an attempt to gently ease her out of her grief. Two years prior her husband and child had been murdered. She was still grieving, and this was her boss' way of trying to ease her out of her misery and get her back to writing. Little did she know this assignment would change her life.

This book made me think Ms. Hill was trying to capitalize a bit on the current popularity of angels and vampires. The series had a hint of Nalini Singh's Guildhunter series because of the Angel and vampire connection, but whereas Singh's series is a fairly serious paranormal romance series, Ms. Hill decided to slant her series toward humor. To tell you the truth, the humor just wasn't my cup of tea, but even so I still had to laugh despite myself. Nothing against the author, it was just a tad bit too silly for my taste. I just kept shaking my head and thinking, "Oh, no she di'int.", but oh yes she did. It was an okay read for me, I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. Now, I know there will probably be some who will absolutely adore this series, so I'll try to give you a taste so as not to discourage anyone whose sense of humor may be in sync with this series. First off, the Vikings are supposed to refrain from sin which they are finding very difficult (hence the added years to the original sentence). So you have a bunch of horny Viking males doing their best to abstain from sex and many other sinful indulgences. Secondly, they are living in a town dedicated to monopolizing on the recent Vampire craze. It is the perfect place for Vangels to blend into the background.

The two main characters are Vikar and Alex. Vikar's sin is Pride and he struggles with it daily. Described by Alex, Vikar was "the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen" with "dirty blond hair down to his shoulder blades, with pencil thin braids framing each side of his face...He had the most beautiful eyes and almost perfect facial features." Even though Alex's initial thoughts are that Vikar is a couple of fries short of a happy meal, she slowly starts to believe his crazy story and starts falling for him.

Here are some of my favorite Quotes/ Lines/ Moments that give you a taste of the book:
- 'Now she'd met all seven brothers. Vikar. Trond. Cnut. Harek. Ivak. Sigurd. Mordr.
  "And she is...?" one of the brothers demanded to know, and not politely.
  "Mine," Vikar said.'

- "I saw what you were doing in the storeroom, Vikar. That was Sex. Believe you me, if anyone knows sex, 'tis me," Ivak persisted.
  Vikar's face was probably turning as red as a sunexposed Lucipire. "Near-sex," he repeated.
  His brothers burst out laughing including Cnut, who felt the need to share, "He told me and Harek  that selfsame story. 'Twould seem Trond gave him the idea that near-sex was not real sex." 

- "Vikar?" Mordr prodded, "Where is the wench?"
   "Taking a bubble bath."   
  Silence reigned then as five male minds went haywire imagining the frothy scene.

- 'In the window were displayed the covers of several pornographic videos... 
  "Ah, but I'm in the mood for good literature," Ivak said with a grin, "How about these? A Tale of Two Vampyres. The stakes of Wrath. Or that one. " He pointed to the left. "Great Neckspectations."...
  Vikar worried that they were embarrassing Alex, but then she said, "My favorite is Vlad Really Did Impale Her."
  His brothers glanced at him, then Alex, and burst out laughing.' (And no I didn't list all the titles.)

Overall, I gave this one 2 out of 5 roses. There were parts I liked and I did laugh, but it was just an okay read for me. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored a FAN rating - the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hunky Hero Giveaway Hop Winner

Hunky Hero Giveaway Hop

Winner of a book of their choice worth up to 16 US dollars is:
I'll be sending you an email shortly.


Thank you to everyone who entered and to Rivera Romantics for hosting the Blog Hop.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Early Review of Wicked Road to Hell (League of Guardians, #1) by Juliana Stone

"So, what brings you back to these parts, my friend?"
"I'm looking for someone."
Ransome snorted. "Aren't we all?"
"This one's special."
Again the wolf laughed. "Aren't they all?"
Declan shook his head. "Not like this one."
The smile that graced the wolf's face fled immediately and his eyes narrowed. Declan nodded. Now he had his full attention. 

Declan O'Hara thought he was on a routine assignment. He was sent to retrieve a person of interest for the Seraphim. The Seraphim are "angelic creatures who had absolute dominion over the upper realm. They also dipped into the affairs of humanity or wherever else they saw fit." Declan was a sorcerer and a Seraph, part of a group of warriors who did the Seraphim's bidding, no questions asked. Armed with information he acquired from an informant, he finds his quarry. What he didn't expect to find, however, was her--Ana DeLacrux. She died over two years ago or so he'd thought.

"We're all players in a game much bigger than either of us can imagine. I was presented with an offer, life and servitude to a new master, or eternal death."

But the revelation that Ana is alive, isn't the only thing unusual about this assignment. His quarry turns out to be a teenage boy named Kaden who bears one of the marks of seven. It was foretold that those bearing the mark of seven would wield unspeakable power. The only unknown variable is whether they'll use those powers to do good or evil. In the wrong hands they could tip the scales toward good or evil. Declan had thought the seven was a myth. Seeing the mark for himself, well, that changes everything including his loyalty. He'll be asked to join a secret group called the League of Guardians, and he is about to be initiated. His first assignment will also his initiation task.
"So how will I know I passed?"
Cale waited as a couple strolled by and turned. "That's easy."
"Yeah?" Declan fell into step beside the Seraph.
"Sure. You make it out alive. 'That' means you've passed."


"For millennia the struggle between light and dark, between the upper and lower realms, has been policed by a secret group of warriors culled from every fabric of existence. They are both otherworld and human, male and female. They are known to each other as the League of Guardians. Their pledge, to protect the line between dominions and make sure neither side grows too powerful. If they fall, so shall the earth, the heavens and hells. And there will be no more."  (From Wrong Side of Hell: A League of Guardians Novella (series prequel) by Juliana Stone)

I am enjoying this series so far and the author's writing style. While it's labeled paranormal romance, it incorporates some of the grittiness you see in Urban Fantasy novels. From the very first sentence Ms. Stone foreshadows Declan's predicament in this book--"Declan O'Hara stepped into the middle of a crossroads..." While Ms. Stone was talking of an actual road that Declan was literally standing at, Declan is indeed at a crossroads in his life, as well. He'll have to decide whether to obey or disobey his superiors and his decision could alter the balance between good and evil. If you read the prequel, 'Wrong Side of Hell', (which I recommend you do) you'll already know that Bill is the head of the League of Guardians, but at the time, Declan has no clue of the group's existence.

When Ana supposedly died she and Declan hadn't truly explored a relationship. They both could feel a pull toward the other, but Ana had attempted to resist it for years. Truth be told, as Ana was a Vampire, a relationship between her and Declan was forbidden and, hence, doomed before it could ever start. When Declan encounters her again for the first time since her alleged death, she's protecting the boy he was sent to capture for the Seraphim.

Declan is a bit of an old fashioned type of guy. He feels a need to protect Ana and tries to keep her from dangerous situations. Lucky for us, Ana isn't an old fashioned girl. She's no stranger to danger (forgive the rhyme) and isn't the type to stay home and bake cookies.

In this book, Declan will travel the wicked road to Hell for a second time in order to find more of the children who bear the mark of seven. Declan had spent 6 months in Hell under Lilith's command before and it's not somewhere he ever wished to go again. As you can imagine, there are some unpleasant stories associated with the place. While he escaped from Hell once, the odds of him doing so again are almost nonexistent. Most would consider it a suicide mission. He knows of only two individuals who have ever escaped Lilith's clutches, and he was one of them.

As I read this book, I kept feeling like I'd missed some pertinent history that had to do with Declan and Ana. The background that seemed to be linked to the characters wasn't included in this series,but was talked about. It just seemed too detailed not to have been written into another story somewhere. Upon looking at some of Juliana's other series, it appears some of Declan's previous experience in hell, at least, can be found within the pages of her Jaguar Warriors series' third book, 'His Darkest Salvation'. While I didn't feel lost without the information, it has made me curious enough to hope to find time to read 'His Darkest Salvation', perhaps even the whole Jaguar Warriors series. I'm hoping it will hold more information about Declan's and Ana's relationship.

Overall, I found this a compelling story that kept my attention. It had plenty of action, suspense and wonderful characters. The world Ms. Stone created is interesting and well thought out. It includes a supernatural world which secretly lives among our own. It includes weres, vamps, sorcerer, seraphim, etc. I'm hoping that Juliana will include some sort of formal, written or verbal, prophecy about the mark of seven in the next book, 'King of the Damned' which is due out at the end of November. Again, I would suggest you read the novella 'Wrong Side of Hell' before reading "Wicked Road to Hell'. I gave it 4 out of 5 roses. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, it gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Notes to keep you in the know:
"Poutine is a French-Canadian food that (very) slightly resembles American Gravy Cheese Fries (Uuukkkk), but is actually very, very different in many respects. Poutine is readily-available across Canada, but it only really tastes good in French Quebec or Maillardville, BC...Poutine is Acadian slang for mushy mess and is best described as a heart attack in a bowl. By the way, there is a proper way to pronounce poutine, and it's not 'poo-teen'. The phonetic pronunciation is 'peu-tin', which always elicits a vacant stare when one orders it using that word." (To learn more about poutine, check out the Knight's Canadian Info Collection website where the above was borrowed from: )

Order of series:

Other related books by Juliana Stone you may wish to read:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Early Review of Crazy On You (Lovett, Texas, #2) by Rachel Gibson (Novella/ eBook only)

  • Title: Crazy On You
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Format: eBook; File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse (May 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ASIN: B007MB55UA

     He lowered his face and her breath rushed out.
     "What are you doing?" She murmured as his warm mouth skimmed her jaw. "I don't think this is a good idea."
     "Then don't think." His warm breath spread across her skin. "I know I have a hard time thinking when I'm near you." He kissed her just beneath her ear.
     "Don't say that."
     "You don't know me."

     "Let's change that."

Lily Darlington has finally gotten her life on track. She's living down the 'Crazy' reputation she'd gained when she'd driven her car into her ex-husbands house and was starting to earn some respect. She'd done a 180 and was turning her life around. She's now the owner of a spa, owns her own home, and has a loving son for whom she'd do anything. Things are finally starting to go her way. The only thing she's missing is a man, not that she's necessarily looking. She's been there, done that, and didn't like the ending. Contrary to what Disney would have us believe, life doesn't always have a 'and they lived happily ever after' fairy tale ending. Sometimes in life, however, it's when you're least expecting it, that you get what you need...

Tucker Matthews just got out of the military and is now working as a deputy for Potter County. He's young, but didn't have an easy life. He's more mature than his years, and when he sees what he wants, he goes after it. Never really having had a family life of his own, he's looking to settle down and set roots. He sees something special in Lily that makes him think he may just have found that special someone to make a home with. Now he just needs to convince her.

This was a fun and lighthearted novella that put a smile on my face. I loved how Lily hesitated to have a relationship with Tucker because she didn't want to be the talk of the town. She'd already walked in those shoes and didn't want her son to bear the brunt of anything she did. Let's face it who'd want their mama being known as Crazy Lily Darlington? When you're a single mom, dating doesn't just affect you and the other person in the relationship. You need to take into account how your children will be affected too.

Tucker is a no nonsense type of guy. He tells it to you straight and let the cards fall where they may. He is extremely attracted to Lily and lets her know it right from the start. He's wearing his heart on his sleeve and hoping Lily is the woman he thinks she is, and that she'll take a chance on a crazy little thing called love.

Where does the novella get its name? I believe it's from this passage:
"I don't care what people say." He pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "Just as long as I get to go crazy on you."

Overall, this one gets a 4 out of 5 roses. I wish it could have been longer and the romance could have gone a little slower, but it can't be helped when you're dealing with a novella. I felt this is a good way to get a sample of Ms. Gibson's style of writing. It's the first book I've read by her, but it won't be my last. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, it earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

FYI, this short story ties in with Ms. Gibson's 'Daisy's Back in Town' novel. Lily is Daisy's sister. The series will continue on with Gibson's next book, 'Rescue Me' which will also be based in Lovett, Texas (hence the series name). 'Rescue Me' comes out on May 29th and will be a full length book and will feature Sadie Hollowell. 

Order of Series:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Early Review of Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, #1) by Karina Cooper

  • Title: Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Steampunk 
  • Format: Paperback, 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Original edition (April 24, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062064614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062064615

Meet Cherry St. Croix

"My name is Cherry St. Croix. I am a collector, one of the many who are employed to acquire, kill or investigate for bounties. My rules are simple: I don't collect children, and I don't murder for coin. Truth be told, I've never killed for any reason...Many of the bounties I pulled from the collector's wall came from the Menagerie. They paid well and often."

Cherry St. Croix is leading a double life. A wealthy orphaned society Miss by day and a collector (bounty hunter) by night. Still not legally old enough to inherit her parent's wealth she's under the guardianship of a man she seldom sees. She receives a stipend each month, but it's not nearly enough to fund her scientific research and bad habits she's acquired over the years. To supplement her income, she goes "collecting". When the Menagerie's ring master, Micajah Hawke, doesn't pay her for the bounty she deposited at his doorstep, she starts making noise. Unfortunately, that gets her noticed by those higher up in Menagerie's ranks, a mistake that could come back to haunt her.

Finding herself without her collector's fee, she agrees to work for Zylphia and some of the other women of the Menagerie. They want her to find and collect the person responsible for killing 4 of their coworkers. The London times had recently printed stories about a serial killer whom they deemed 'Leather Apron', a killer who reportedly mutilates his victims much like Jack the Ripper. Cherry suspects there might be a connection between serial killer and the Menagerie murders. All her experience hunting bounties, however, could not have prepared her for the possibility that she could become the prey. This may be the first and last job she'll be unable to fulfill.

This was a face paced thriller that kept me on my toes wondering what all was going on. The story has a very dark, gothic edge to it and a feel that anything could happen. Living in a time when woman were treated like property, Cherry is a very independent woman who doesn't wish to exchange her independence for marriage. With only a year to go until she inherits her family's fortune, she tries to patiently bide her time while supplementing her allowance. As we are introduced to Cherry, we find her at a low point in her life. Both of the worlds she's emerged herself in seem to be falling apart. For not only has her supplemental income come into question for the first time, but she's also given the cut direct by Lady Almira Louise Compton, the Marchioness of Northampton, in front of all of London society. A slight not easily lived down.

While the Marhioness may disapprove of Cherry, her son, His Lordship Cornelius Kerrigan Compton, does not. In fact, he appears to be pursuing her. One thing is for sure, Cherry is not lacking for suitors. She's got many things going for her that men are looking for--she's smart, pretty, and an heiress. Among some of her admirers is the dark and mysterious ringmaster of the Menagerie, Micajah. Cherry said he was a 'serpent of an earthly Garden of Eden. He tempted everyone. That was his job.' He is a man she should probably stay away from because his intentions are probably be less than honorable. Being a collector for the Menagerie, however, makes that next to impossible. Cherry finds him attractive, but has no clue of how he feels about her. Truth be told, we don't either, but I have a sneaking suspicion from what we read that he does, so I'm including him on the list. 

Teddy is Cherry's best friend whom she has no romantic feelings for, but whose friendship she values very deeply. They've known each other for years and share a love of science. He's the youngest son of a viscount and makes it known he wouldn't be opposed to a match between the two. In regards to their friendship, however, Cherry states, 'I could handle being cut from the Marchioness's social graces. I could take the lack of invites, even the whispers when I moved in public now. But if it had cost me Teddy's company, I would have gone in and challenged the woman myself. Not, of course that ladies dueled.' 

The Midnight Menagerie is run by a mysterious organization known as the Karakash Veil. It is rumored to be associated with a criminal organization of Chinese origin. It was the place where those who could afford it went to indulge in all forms of pleasures 'above or below the drift.' It is also one of the primary places that Cherry collects bounties from. Nobody from the Menagerie knows her true identity, and she intends to keep it that way. Only a couple of trusted individuals know of her double life and she had no intention of ever letting her two worlds collide.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It contained plenty of murder, mayhem, magic, action, and the ultimate betrayal. Ms. Cooper created a fun alternate reality for London which sported air gondolas as a fashionable mode of transportation. It kept my attention, had a surprise twist I didn't see coming, and made me wonder what Ms. Cooper has in mind for Cherry's next adventure. Whatever that is it's not likely to be boring. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scores a SHOWER rating - a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol I think this was one of the hottest 'love' (and I use the term loosely) scenes I've read where the heroine wasn't fully compromised. This definitely has the potential of becoming one of my favorite series.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) by Janet Evanovich

"I'm always amazed at the way life plays out. How so often single decisions sets people on an irreversible journey."

Upon returning from her dream vacation, that wasn't, a dream that is, Stephanie finds she's somehow managed to pick up somebody else's photograph. Thinking it wasn't important and that she would never be able to find its owner, she threw the photo away. Unfortunately for her, the photo was more important than she could have ever imagined. People are searching for it and are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on it, including killing anyone who gets in there way.

Meanwhile Stephanie is being closed mouthed about what happened on her not so dream worthy Hawaiian vacation. We know it involved Marelli, Ranger, a ring that left a white ban around her otherwise tanned ring finger, and caused her to come home early and the 'boys' to be detained after they got into a fight. So the questions on everyone's mind is did she get engaged and/or married and, as the ring is nowhere to be found, what happened and with whom?

This was basically the same song, different dance from Ms. Evanovich. Every now and then, however, it's nice to add another Stephanie Plum book to your stack. Still plenty of laughs and good times to be had. This one, however, left off with an unanswered question. Early on in the book, Lula asks Stephanie if she could be pregnant? So the question on my mind is will we be hearing the pitter patter of little feet in an upcoming book and, if so, who's the daddy? I think it would be a riot if Stephanie ended up pregnant. Would She finally be forced to choose between Morelli and Ranger? Would the guys abandon her or would they each step up to the plate? Of course my ultimate fav would be for Stephanie to end up with twins, one from Ranger and one from Morelli. Hey, that kind of stuff has happened in real life, and with Stephanie's luck it would happen to her.

If I had to create a theme song for this one, I'd probably pick the music to 'Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun' by Julie Brown. I would, however, change the lyrics to something like, "Everybody run, Lula bought a rocket launcher at a yard sale in the projects just for fun." lol

Overall I gave this one 3 out of 5 roses. It was a little too predictable, but still a fun read. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored a BLUSH rating--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred. I still adore Stephanie and hope we don't see the end of this series any time soon. I just hope Ms. Evanovich stirs things up a little bit in her next book. Wouldn't if be funny if one of the guys cars blew up and it had nothing to do with Stephanie? What if Stephanie lost her memory, and liked Ranger more than Morelli (yes, I'm team Ranger) or thought she was Lulu? The possibilities are endless. I say go a little crazy Ms. Evanovich. Let Stephanie live a little and take a walk on the wild side.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Lessons You Can Learn From Lisa Kleypas' Romance Novels


Top Ten Lessons You Can Learn From Lisa Kleypas' Romance Novels

10) “Dating is like trying to make a meal out of leftovers. Some leftovers actually get better when they've had a little time to mature. But others should be thrown out right away, No matter how you try to warm them up, they're never as good as when they were new.”
― Lisa KleypasSugar Daddy

9) “Being afraid's not always bad." he said gently. "It can keep you moving forward. It can help you get things done."
Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy

8) "There were no rules for how to deal with the death of someone you loved. You had to accept that the loss would always stay with you, like a reminder note pinned to the inside of your jacket. But there were still opportunities for happiness. Even joy.”
― Lisa KleypasChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor

7) “One should make the best choice possible given the circumstances, and then avoid second-guessing for the sake of one's own sanity.”
― Lisa KleypasAgain the Magic

6) “Many times in life I've regretted the things I've said without thinking. But I've never regretted the things I said nearly as much as the words I left unspoken.”
Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy

5) “Opening up to the wrong person is like putting ammo in their hands.”
― Lisa KleypasSugar Daddy

4) “I realized I wasn't going to find a man until I was willing to expose myself to possible harm, to assume the risks of rejection and betrayal and heartbreak that came along with caring about someone.” ―
Lisa KleypasSugar Daddy

3) “You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”
Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

2) “The next time you face a room full of strangers . . . you might tell yourself that some of them are just friends waiting to be found.”
Lisa Kleypas, It Happened One Autumn

1) 'A very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together."
― Lisa Kleypas, Blue-Eyed Devil

Special thanks to Goodreads for doing an awesome job of cataloguing some of my favorite quotes.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness

Just one touch, that's all it took...
     'A mild shock made me withdraw my fingers quickly, but not quickly enough. The tingling traveled up my arms, lifting my skin into tiny goose pimples, then spread across my shoulders, tensing the muscles in my back and neck. The sensations quickly receded, but they left behind a hollow feeling of unmet desire. Shaken by my response, I stepped away from the library table.
     Even at a safe distance, the manuscript was challenging me--threatening the walls I'd erected to separate my career as a scholar from my birthright as the last of the Bishop witches. Here, with my hard-earned doctorate, tenure, and promotions in hand and my career beginning to blossom, I'd renounced my family's heritage and created a life that depended on reason and scholarly abilities, not inexplicable hunches and spells.'

With one touch of Ashmole 782, Diana Bishop, last of the Bishop Salem witches, unleashed something that was not likely to go away. Unbeknownst to her, many a witch, daemon, and vampire had been searching for the once thought lost document. To some it was thought to be the Pandora's box of the supernatural world and they'd do anything to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. To others it was thought to hold their salvation. For Ashmole 782 was not a normal book, it was a palimpsest. For hidden within it's pages was a book within a book, but just exactly what was contained within its pages was a mystery. For the book had been hidden away so long ago that nobody was quite certain just what it truly contained. While Diana realized the book was bespelled, she had turned her back on her magical heritage long ago and did not unlock its secrets that day. So after writing a brief synopsis about the manuscript, she carefully placed the book back into the care of Oxford's Bodleian Library. Unfortunately for her, that did not put an end to things, it just marked the beginning...

I have owned this book for over a year and have been meaning to read it ever since. Right around the time I purchased it a bunch of my request for ARCs were fulfilled. A first for me. So, like Diana did with Ashmole 782, I carefully returned it to my own personal library, but unlike her, I had hopes to one day unlock the books secrets. Then recently a friend commented on the fact she was listening to the audio version of it and I finally found my means of reading it. Once, I started listening, however, I couldn't just let it go and found myself scooping up the book the moment I'd get home and pick up where I'd left off with the audio. So please beware this book is very addictive.

Diana is a strong woman who lost her parents at an early age. They'd traveled to Africa and never returned. They had reportedly been killed by the native population of the region they were visiting after they'd allegedly figured out they what they were--witches. Because of their deaths, Diana had sworn off witchcraft and was attempting to live a "normal" life. But as Matthew points out, “'Normal’ is a bedtime story—a fable—that humans tell themselves to feel better when faced with overwhelming evidence that most of what’s happening around them is not ‘normal’ at all.” And what adults sometimes tell a child is not always the truth. Diana will uncover not only what secrets Ashmole 782 holds, but secrets about herself and her family as well.

Matthew Clairmont had been a vampire a long time. While initially he set out to find the secrets of the missing manuscript, shortly after meeting Diana, it becomes clear his priorities have switched. It's no longer the manuscript that he desires most, but Diana. Interspecies mingling, however, is forbidden. It's thought when two different preternatural beings are together, they tend to attract human attention. So while it's taboo for the two to be together, there's just something about Diana that brings out the protective instinct in him and attracts him to her. Diana says, 'the most unnerving thing about him was not his physical perfection. It was his feral combination of strength, agility, and keen intelligence that was palpable across the room...he looked like a panther that could strike at any moment but was in no rush to do so.'

I love the world that Ms. Harkness has created. A world filled with Witches, Daemons, Vampires, and a house with personality, literally. Daemons, if you were wondering, are 'creative creatures who walk a tightrope between madness and genius. "Rock stars and serial killers" was how my aunt described these strange, perplexing beings.' While modern day vampires tended to find careers in science and 'gravitated toward particle accelerators, projects to decode the genome, and molecular biology. Once they had flocked to alchemy, anatomy, and electricity. If it went bang, involved blood, or promised to unlock the secrets of the universe, there was sure to be a vampire around.'

Where does the book get its name? I believe from this passage:

     'I unfolded the wrappings. On top, blocking Matthew's view and separated by still more tissue from what lay beneath, was a piece of ordinary white paper, the edges brown with age. There were three lines written on it in spider script.
     “It begins with absence and desire," I whispered around the tightness in my throat. "It begins with blood and fear." 
     "It begins with a discovery of witches,” Matthew finished, looking over my shoulder."

 The next book is slated to go back in time, and I find I'm really looking forward to it. I love it when an author mixes history into their books and I'm sure Ms. Harkness will do just that. If you look on her website  she states, "For the past twenty-eight years I’ve been a student and scholar of history, and received degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. During that time I researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. The libraries I’ve worked in include Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, London’s Guildhall Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Library—proving that I know my way around a card catalogue or the computerized equivalent. These experiences have given me a deep and abiding love of libraries and a deep respect for librarians. Currently, I teach European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles." I believe the series name 'All Souls' has something to do with the All Souls College at Oxford of whose library Ms. Harkness worked in and where Matthew reportedly lived. Also, I find it interesting that she researched the history of magic and science in Europe. I've never heard of such a thing, but it does sound interesting.

I enjoyed the mystery of just what Ashmole 782 contained and how things are slowly pieced together, although not totally solved by the end. I loved watching the relationship between Matthew and Diana grow and how when push comes to shove, creatures who normally avoid each other come together in a united front. A couple of things that made me chuckle were the author's use of the word twilight. I don't recall having that particular word pop up so many times in any other book I've ever read. Could Ms. Harkness have been trying to subliminally to have us make a connection to the Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series? Also, if Matthew is a good representative of the way men were from years past, I am very surprised the human race survived. It is for that reason on the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this book get a BLUSH rating - at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred. Overall, however, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept my attention and stole it from other books. It had characters which were engaging and left off with me wondering what would happen next. A very enjoyable read. I alternated between reading this one and listening to the audio version and thought the narrator did a wonderful job. So if you spend a lot of time in the car and have been putting this one off because of the size, then you may want to pick up the audio version.

Order of series:
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