Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monthly Key Word Challenge:A New Leash on Life by C. Callenreese

Monthly Key Word Challenge: A New Leash on Life by C. Callenreese

The US Recession of 2007 stole Orion Hathaway's job, his property value, and his savings.  With nothing left, he lost something even more important: his mental health.  No longer able to afford the fees to his favorite BDSM club, he becomes a hermit, retreating further into depression and the cocoon of his bed until his friends stage an intervention.  They have the perfect solution to get Master O back on his feet.  Despite his initial reservations, Orion discovers canine therapy might be just what he needs to become human again.  

Roan Matthews is used to flaky Masters weirded out by by his pup fetish.  Deep down, he desires what all dogs want--a forever home.  Unwilling participant Orion Hathaway seems an unlikely candidate at first, but Roan realizes if he can help pull Orion out of his depression , perhaps they can make a new home together. 

What a wonderful novella!  Orion Hathaway is trapped inside his huge house that he can no longer afford but which he is unable to financially get free from, sleeping away his days and sinking further and further into depression.  His days consist of living in a fog, trying to find a job, and sleeping when it all gets to be too much--which is often.  When his friends from the club he can no longer afford to attend (and at which he had a psychotic break landing him in the hospital), he is in no mood to entertain their ideas or to engage their pity.  What he doesn't know, is that their visit will be the best thing that has happened to him in a long time and the first step on the path to lead him to a future in which he can truly live and not just exist.

When his friends present him with Roan, or as he is knows as a puppy, Pepper's, leash, Orion is not interested and is actually almost afraid.  But Pepper knows a good man when he sees one and pretty soon he has wormed his way into Orion's life.  Before Orion knows it, he is thinking about Pepper and what is best for him, allowing Orion to finally get outside of his head (and bed) long enough to begin regaining his energy and interest in the world around him.  Pepper and Orion are super cute together but more than that, they are very necessary to each other.  Pepper gives Orion a purpose while Orion allows Pepper to sink into his pup head space.  By being able to trust Orion to meet his needs and keep him safe, Roan is able to live the simple life of a pup which he desperately needs to balance out his high-stress job of assisting pediatric surgeons with operations that don't always have a happy outcome.  

While this novella leaves us with an HFN, I truly believe it will grow into an HEA after watching these two change from two individuals with very specific needs to a unit that is supportive, loving, and balanced. I will be on the lookout for more by C. Callenreese because the writing drew me in right from the beginning as it was sharp, emotional, and not a single word was wasted.  This is the type of story that makes me want to immediately start all over again from page one as soon as I have finished it.  I can see this going on my list of comfort reads to reread again and again.     

Friday, April 15, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From the "alpha author or paranormal romance" comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career--one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

WOW!!  To anyone who has not read the Psy-Changling series--PLEASE, PLEASE do yourself a favor and go get Slave to Sensation.  Make sure you clear your calendar for a bit, once you get started, you won't want to stop...not just the first book but the entire series.  The build up to this book, the Ghost's book, was intense...intense enough that I worried there would be no way this book could live up to the expectations that I had built so I put off reading it...for a few years.  Now that I have read it, I can reassure any other nervous nellies out there, this book really is all that a bag of chips!  I don't want to give any spoilers here so I will keep this short and sweet: this book is amazing, the hero is one of the darker that I have read in a while and I loved his interactions with the one who owned his heart, and the heroine was one of the strongest in the series to date and if you have read them, you know that is saying something!  No wilting flowers from Ms. Singh, no ma'am!  This book took the events that have been simmering for a while and kept them right on the edge of boiling over.  New directions and major challenges await this world and the amazing characters who inhabit it and I can't wait to see what is coming next!  

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field.  He knows what he wants, and he'll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.
Charlotte knows she's a mouse.  Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invincible as possible.  But the new CEO--a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake--clearly has other plans.  Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex.  Game on.

Wow!!  This is my favorite book in the Rock Kiss series so far (and it would take something truly magnificent to knock it out of first place! although this is Nalini Singh so it could definitely happen...) by far.  And I really loved the first book and the novella, but this entry, just yum!  I knew from the hints we received in book one that I would love Charlotte and that her back story would be heart wrenching.  And T-Rex?  Just as growly and sexy as advertised!

Charlotte experienced a horrible relationship in college and the emotional scars still impact her life everyday.  She is often fearful and timid, only really letting her true personality out around those she loves (which isn't very many people--really just Molly at the beginning).  When Gabriel takes over the company Charlie works for, she is overwhelmed by his forceful personality.  However, it isn't long until she is letting a little of her snark out at him.  She even throws things at his head on more than one occasion.

Gabriel is a sexy beast--yummy, yummy, yummy and while he isn't a fan of Charlie at first, she is way to intimidated and mouse-y for his tastes, there is something about the small woman that pulls at him.  When she starts to give as good as she gets, even just a little, he is intrigued and determined to pull her out of her shell.  The more the true Charlie comes out, the more determined Gabriel is to have her for his own.  

What I loved about Gabriel is that right from the beginning he was serious about Charlie.  He didn't want her just to say he'd had her or for a one night stand or even for a short while.  When he laid eyes on her, he wanted her in a serious relationship--meeting family, dating, long-term plans, the whole-nine-yards.  He held a lot of himself back in the beginning in order to give Charlie a fighting chance against his dominating personality.  And every time she shot back a comment, silently insisted on her way, or otherwise made her point clear in spite of his attitude he loved it.  

Over the course of the book, Charlie fights to reclaim bits and pieces of herself and her life.  She hates ordering red roses after Gabriel's dates with women who are her physical opposite but figures that she would never be his type, even without the baggage that she is trying to shed.  However, the more time she spends around Gabriel, the more the real her begins to come out and it feels good.  She loves who she is able to be which only makes her recurring panic attacks all the more frustrating.  She has made up her mind to heal so why won't her mind let her?  

There are so many things to love in this book: Gabriel's family (please let there be a book for Jake!!! PLEASE!!), the sexy banter, bitchy character's getting their comeuppance, fun, sexy banter, two people who fight for what they want but also know how to compromise when necessary, and some really sexy banter.  I loved it from start to finish and am really sad it's over, I can only hope I get glimpses of Charlie and Gabriel in future books.  They overcame so much for their HEA and I want to see it play out, plus I want more sexy banter!    

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

Blaze knows who killed her father, and she has merciless plans for payback--until she hears from a seductive stranger who pleads with her to wait.  Retribution is in his blood too.  Now, he and Blaze will be united in the blood of the guilty.  Tonight, vengeance is theirs.

Blaze is out to kill those who tortured her father before throwing his dead father at her feet as if her were garbage.  She has a plan, she is fully aware that she might die bringing down her enemies, but with the guilt she is feeling, that might actually be a welcome blessing.  However, before she can follow through with her plans, she meets him.  Maxim.  A Carpathian hanging onto his honor who cannot allow Blaze to harm herself now that he has found her and discovered she is his lifemate.

This novella in the dark series has a great, action-packed beginning and one helluva crazy ride at the end that leaves all kinds of tantalizing story threads hanging for future installments.  It is the middle that was lagging.  As soon as Maxim and Blaze meet, it is chapter after chapter of sex and lusting, interspersed with a little bit of plot then more sex.  It's hot and well written, but there was just too much of it compared to the rest of the story.  I would have preferred the ratio to be more vampire-hunting action especially as this novella sets up the Carpathians to have yet another huge curve ball thrown at them just as they are on the brink of maybe tipping fertility and birthrates in their favor.  

I am happy with where Christine Feehan is taking the Carpathians and this series, but this entry was not a favorite.  The ending totally made sticking it out worth it, but I don't see a reread in the future...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

He wasn't civilized or tame.  He had his own code and he lived by it.

Monk.  Bounty hunter.  Vampire slayer.  Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor.  But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track--his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings.  Andre's only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians.  To wait.  To hope.  

She had a healing touch and a scent that was his lifeblood.

In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted.  Then she comes across the warrior--wounded, wanting and irresistible.  Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate.  Her warmth envelops him.  Her scent pulsates.  And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can't possibly comprehend.  

Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

This book was a disappointment (and yes, that was painful to write considering how much I usually enjoy Feehan's Dark series).  After the non-stop action of Dark Lycan, Dark Wolf, and Dark Blood, PLUS the inclusion of the Lycan's to broaden the overall Dark series world, Dark Ghost seemed very quiet and very small.  The vast majority of the book takes place in a single cave and the only action is against a human serial killer (who goes down pretty easily), three vampire pawns and one master vampire.  The battle scenes were minimal and at the very beginning or very end of the book.  This left a VAST middle section that contained a very-rehashed-feeling human conversion (seriously, it felt so reminiscent of several of the earliest Dark books) and a lot of sex.  

I was so looking forward to Andre, the ghost's, book and it felt like such a let down.  He has been built up as having all of these amazing skills, at being a ghost who can hide from even the most skilled Carpathian's and this book never (NOT ONE SINGLE TIME) showed us any of these skills! Maddening.  Plus, his lifemate Teagan, who is in the Carpathian mountains to find a healing crystal for her grandmother starts out as a fairly kick-ass gal and then just morphs into someone I could have cared less about.  She left me thinking she was fairly immature and that Andre kind of got the shaft in the lifemate department.  Not only that but we are told all about this intriguing Grandma Trixie character and just as she is on her way to the Carpathian Mountains to confront Teagan, the book ends.  Seriously?  We don't get to see the fallout? Is she going to stake Andre?  Is she not?  Don't build up one of the VERY FEW threads of conflict and then just leave it unaddressed.  NOT COOL!!!

But worse than that?  At the very end (like five pages from the end) this cool character named Fane is introduced and Teagan is convinced she can help him and his brethren and that too IS LEFT UNDEVELOPED.  Aargh.  So frustrating.  I can only hope that the next entry in this series is not so small as this one...it really felt like this book was phoned in;  like a deadline was approaching so the author simply reworked one of her earlier entries and called it good.  After all of the developments in previous entries, this title really suffered in comparison.  And considering how intriguing Andre was built up to be it was a true disservice to his character.  Thank goodness I borrowed this title from my local public library--if I had spent my money on a hardcover copy I would have been SO upset.  I won't even by buying a paperback to keep my Dark series complete.  I don't see myself wanting to read this entry again.  Please, PLEASE let the next book be better, I really want my faith in the overall series to be restored!