Category Archives: book reviews

Book Review – The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #4)

During my break in Scotland, I read three books in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series.

Over the past two weeks I have posted my four star review of The Darkest Kiss and my five star review of The Darkest Pleasure, and this week I’m posting my review of The Darkest Whisper!

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Gena Showalter.

The Darkest Whisper
Gena Showalter
He is the keeper of Doubt and his entire world’s about to be rocked.

Bound by the demon of doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern…until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she’d fall for a kind human who wouldn’t rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora’s box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love…

The Darkest Whisper, the fourth book in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series, starts off with a bang that soon fades as the book progresses. The plot wasn’t amazing in this one, mainly focusing on the romance blossoming between the hero, Sabin, the leader of the Greece Lords and keeper of Doubt, and Gwen, a young Harpy female. There are a few fights thrown in to spice things up a bit, but they all felt a little convenient to me. There was no real hints that danger was coming or the enemy was going to launch a full-scale attack. Everything was pretty much fine one moment and total pandemonium the next. It did leave me feeling that they were tossed in there because the author felt there needed to be something happening in the book other than the romance.

We learn a few new things about the world and the overall plot arc in the book though, but it isn’t Sabin or Gwen who learn them. They’re mostly out of action dealing with each other. I think I would have preferred it if the leading couple had been more involved with the plot. Most of the time, Sabin and Gwen were busy training together or generally resisting their desire for each other, rather than moving the plot along, flimsy as it was. The Darkest Whisper was more about the romance than anything. The ending was fairly unbelievable and actually came close to ruining this book for me. Gwen’s decision would have driven the Lords to totally butcher her and I doubt they would have listened to Sabin and given her the choice when securing their fate and future is within their reach. It just seemed out of character for all of the immortal warriors that they would let it go down that way. Also, the epilogue was dire and extremely cheesy, and utterly pointless. It sort of made me cringe.

However, Sabin was delicious and I really liked Gwen, and their romance was one worth reading. Since Sabin is the keeper of Doubt, he has a tendency to drive women to lose all confidence in themselves and eventually commit suicide. He doesn’t have a great track record with the ladies, so has kept clear of them, until he finds Gwen locked in a glass cage in a Hunter lab in Egypt. Saving her becomes priority one for the man who is normally so focused on war and fighting, willing to do whatever it takes to win. It’s that side of him that makes Gwen cautious and unwilling to fall for him, even when she can’t stop herself from desiring him. Her Harpy side delights in the presence of such a strong handsome man and she’s fairly smitten from the moment he saves her. Sabin uses the excuse that he’s keeping her around because he wants to make timid little Gwen into a weapon, harnessing her Harpy side and training her to unleash it at will. As the story progresses though, he comes to admit that he’s keeping her around because as far as he’s concerned, she belongs to him now and he won’t let her go. He also realises that he can’t use her in the manner he first wanted to, and that she’s changing him and smoothing out his rough edges.

Gwen was a brilliant heroine too. I always enjoy it when we get to witness a heroine coming into her own. She goes from being afraid of her Harpy side and pretty much everything around her, scared that she’ll lose control and harm people she cares about, to being a strong confident woman in control of herself and her destiny, and determined to bring Sabin to his knees. I love how possessive she became of him, her Harpy side taking the reins whenever someone dared to just look at him the wrong way.

Read this book for the romance and just take the randomly thrown in bit of plot at the end as a bonus. It was great that the series has taken a leap forward though, the revelations coming thick and fast now, but some parts of it just didn’t fit with what we know of the Lords and how they work and react to things. I would still recommend it though. I want to give it a four because I loved the romance side of things, but I can’t get passed the fact that it just sucked a little at the end, so it’s going to have to receive a three from me. It’s really a 3.5, and I know I normally bring those up to a four, but I just can’t do it with this one without my stomach turning.

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Book Review – The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #3)

During my break in Scotland, I read three books, which is good going for a long weekend away! All three were books in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. I had already read the first book, The Darkest Night, so I read books 2, 3 and 4.

Last week I posted my four star review of The Darkest Kiss and this week I’m reviewing The Darkest Pleasure!

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Gena Showalter.

The Darkest Pleasure
Gena Showalter
Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her—even defy the gods.

Danika is on the run. For months she’s eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won’t rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can’t forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear.…

It’s a rare occasion that I give a book five out of five. Those are reserved for the books that really satisfy me, giving me everything I love in a read—passion, darkness, pain, love, action and danger. The Darkest Pleasure, the third book in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series deserves this accolade.

I really loved this one. I like both Reyes, the hero and an immortal warrior who has to deal with bearing the demon of pain inside him and therefore has a tendency to cut and injury himself to avoid having to hurt others, and Danika, a human female who was first introduced in the initial book in the series. I think it was Reyes that really made this a five for me. I adored his darkness and everything about him, how twisted he’s become because of his need for pain and reluctance to harm others to satisfy his demon. I love a hero who is very dark and a little broken.

It wasn’t just Reyes that captivated me though. Danika’s strength and resolve to protect herself and her family from the Lords and the evil in the world made her a heroine I could love and feel for. She’s willing to do whatever it takes, even if that means facing off against a crazed Aeron, the Lord who has been ordered to murder her and her family, or Reyes to get what she wants. She doesn’t back down with Reyes and I loved that. She goes from being intent on proving to herself that she doesn’t want him and he’s too dark for her because of his need to cut himself, to wanting to do whatever he needs to give him pleasure when they’re together.

I actually enjoyed the side moments with the other characters in this one too. The series is starting to build and it’s good to see inside other heroes’ heads and get their perspective, and what is happening with them. Bad things happen. Good things happen too. It’s packed with action and passion, and a beautiful undertone of danger. Reyes protective and possessiveness is everything a girl wants in a paranormal romance hero, and endeared him to me even more.

The only thing I didn’t like about The Darkest Pleasure was that Reyes’s demon, Pain, was sent away when Reyes was intimate with Danika, to Hell in fact, and Reyes didn’t give a damn. It seemed cruel to the demon since he craved Danika so much and couldn’t have her too, instead suffering in Hell while Reyes got all the pleasure and happiness.

I really recommend this book. Sexy immortal warriors, plenty of passion and possessiveness, darkness and danger, and the twist with Danika was awesome.

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Book Review – The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #2)

I went away for a few days to distant wilds of Scotland and managed to read three books while I was there relaxing. All three were books in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. I had already read the first book, The Darkest Night, so I read books 2, 3 and 4. I’m going to spread the reviews out over the next few weeks, and hopefully I’ll write some reviews for the two Lara Adrian books I read quite recently too. Today, I’m reviewing book two in the Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Kiss.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Gena Showalter.

The Darkest Kiss
Gena Showalter
She has tempted many men…but never found her equal. Until now.

Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death–a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.

But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining…

I enjoyed this addition to Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. The writing annoyed me at first, making me feel as though I was trapped in the mind of a child rather than an adult. I understand that Anya is supposed to be hip and whatever but I could have lived without the irritating internal monologue in the narrative. Thankfully, that aspect of the book soon faded, along with the repetition of how ‘foolish’ the hero and heroine and everything else was.

Lucien really saved this book for me. He’s luscious, dangerous, and has issues that would make the hardest heart purr for him. I did feel he could have been just a little bit darker though, but then I do love my men to have a side that is as black as midnight. Anya took a while to grow on me. Once we moved past the initial few chapters where her POV irritated me, she vastly improved. By the end of the book I almost liked her.

I liked their cat and mouse game, with Lucien’s resistance in his attempts to kill Anya and Anya’s attempts to kill him first, but never really felt the threat that they really would kill each other. It was always too easy for the other to escape at the last second, and became a little predictable.

The ending seemed a touch too easy for my tastes too. We’re supposed to believe that they could go to see a friend of Anya’s and head into the arctic in search of an artefact that could be anywhere on that vast landmass but happens to be just a day away and in the first spot they looked for it. I found that very difficult to swallow. A little more research turning up a location or a hint at a location would have made it more believable for me. The arctic is a huge area. Finding what you’re looking for in one attempt at one location is a miracle. I also didn’t feel the emotional pangs I should have at the end. The black moment lacked intensity when it really should have gripped me and torn at my heart. It just felt flat and quite emotionless. I like a good cry in a heart-wrenching moment. The writing didn’t move me at all.

I would still recommend this book though, and I know my review has focused on the bad rather than the good, so I’ll end it by saying that it’s worth reading for the luscious Lucien and the glimpses of the other heroes as they set up their own stories. Anya will grow on you if you don’t like her at first, and the plot is great until the last few chapters. There’s a beautiful sense of danger about the book, although I would’ve liked it a little darker. I guess I have to remember that I’m reading a Harly romance after all. Pick this book up if you like sexy immortal warrior heroes with serious complexes and a little danger to add spice to a relationship.

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Book Review – Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian

I read this instalment in the fantastic Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian back in July when I was on holiday in Italy but I’ve only just got around to looking over my notes on the book and writing a review for it.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal vampire romance book by Lara Adrian.

Veil of Midnight
Lara Adrian
Bound by blood, addicted to danger, they’ll enter the darkest—and most erotic—place of all.

A warrior trained in bullets and blades, Renata cannot be bested by any man—vampire or mortal. But her most powerful weapon is her extraordinary psychic ability—a gift both rare and deadly. Now a stranger threatens her hard-won independence—a golden-haired vampire who lures her into a realm of darkness…and pleasure beyond imagining.

A combat-loving adrenaline junkie, Nikolai dispenses his own justice to enemies of the Breed—and his latest quarry is a ruthless assassin. One woman stands in his way: the seductive, cool-as-ice bodyguard, Renata. But Renata’s powers are put to the test when a loved one, a child, is threatened and she’s forced to turn to Niko for help. As the two join forces, as desire fans the flames of a deeper hunger, Renata’s life is under siege by a man who offers the exquisite pleasure of a blood bond—and a passion that could save or doom them both forever.

I love this series by Lara Adrian. It’s absolutely fantastic and each book provides exactly what I want from a paranormal romance when I take some precious time out to read. Well, that is under normal circumstances. I will say now that Veil of Midnight is probably one of my least favourite books in the series. You really should be reading the series in order with this one. I’m not really one to talk though as I went from Kiss of Midnight (the first book) to reading Ashes of Midnight (the one after this book). It was Ashes of Midnight and Andreas Reichen that got me into the Midnight Breed series. The first book wasn’t that good, and I feel this one isn’t either.

Nikolai is as hard as warriors come and a real lover of all things shiny and sharp, and he’s always been one of the most interesting Breed males in the Order in my opinion. In Veil of Midnight, he is sent to Montreal in search of a Gen-One vampire who has gone off the radar, a vampire that he knows from his past, or at least thought he knew. There’s a dangerous Breed male on a mission to kill all Gen-One vampires using his own army of bred-for-murdering Gen-One assassins and Sergei’s name is on his hit list.

In Montreal, Niko meets Renata, a beautiful warrior and also a Breedmate. She’s under the command of Sergei, bound to serve him because of her love for a young Breedmate child, Mira, whom he holds captive. It isn’t long before Niko is torn between his duty and his growing feelings for Renata, but saving both her and Mira from Sergei’s clutches isn’t going to be as easy as it seems.

This story should have rocked, just as the previous ones have, but while it had all the wonderful action and great characters, it fell short of the mark for me. Renata is kick-ass, strong and capable of taking down Breed males with her ability and shares a love of weapons with Nikolai. Let’s face it, he was doomed from the start. Renata is a grade A weapon junkie like he is and is more than happy dishing out a serving of pain on anyone who tries to harm her or those she loves. She’s probably the strongest heroine in the series so far and matches the gorgeous Niko perfectly, which should make for a compelling romance. That’s where I had a problem with this book.

Veil of Midnight is very plot focused rather than romance focused. It took a long time for the romance to begin blooming, beyond half the book, so I found that it was a very slow read. I generally like more romance and passion spread throughout the book. The hero and heroine were apart for so much of the story that I didn’t really feel any of the usual passion, tension and desire we get in the Midnight Breed books. Because of this, I didn’t feel as much love for this book as I have for previous stories in the series.

There was a lot of character hopping in this book too—Nikolai, Renata, Alexei Yakut, Fabien, Dragos, and even Andreas Reichen to set up the next novel in the series. That’s too many characters for me. I tend to lose interest once we move past the hero and heroine, although I could never lose interest when Andreas Reichen is on the page!

Because of the slowness of the romance between Niko and Renata, I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wish I had and wanted to, so I give it a 3 out of 5.

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Review: Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian

This is the final review for the books I’ve read recently, and yes, I’ve saved my favourite of the three for last. I adore Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series of vampire romance books. She writes a lot like I do, with a similar type of hero and story lines. I guess that’s why I love to read her books so much.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal vampire romance book by Lara Adrian.

Midnight Rising
Lara Adrian
In a world of shadows and dark, consuming hungers, desire is the deadliest weapon…

For journalist Dylan Alexander, it began with the discovery of a hidden tomb, thrusting her into the center of a gathering storm of violence and secrets. But nothing is as dangerous as the scarred, lethally seductive man who rises from the shadows to draw her into his world of dark desire and endless night.

Fueled by pain and rage over a shattering betrayal, the warrior Rio has pledged his life to the war against the Rogues. He will let nothing stand in his way, least of all a mortal woman with the power to expose the entire vampire race. For an ancient evil has been awakened, and a stunning darkness is on the rise. Suddenly Dylan is powerless to resist Rio’s touch, even as she uncovers a shocking link to her own past. And now she must choose: Leave Rio’s midnight realm, or risk it all for the man who has shown her true passion and the infinite pleasures of the heart.

Ever since I started reading the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian, I’ve been waiting for Rio to find another woman to love, someone kind and compassionate to heal the hurt he still feels from being betrayed by the last woman he loved and chose to share his life with. I couldn’t wait to start this book, which is number four in the series, and I couldn’t put it down once I did start reading it. I was reading this whilst on holiday and kept sneaking in a few pages here and there whenever my husband was out of the room, and before you knew it, I had finished it.

Rio and Dylan’s story is as dark and beautiful as they come. He’s a man who has lost everything and is on the verge of killing himself to end his hollow and painful existence when Dylan comes crashing into his life, leaving him with one major mess to clean up. Dylan takes photographs of something very personal to the breed, aka vampires—a stasis chamber for one of the ancients, the forebears of today’s vampire. Dylan doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into but she soon finds out when Rio tracks her down and she finds herself face to face with one hell of a lethal, dangerous, and downright sexy vampire intent on erasing what she saw.

The push and pull between Dylan and Rio is electric, especially after he discovers the crescent-moon-and-teardrop birthmark on her that marks her as a breed female. What they share is so passionate and consuming, but it’s made so much more beautiful by the fact that Rio is so scarred, both physically and deeply emotionally, and as the story progresses it’s clear that Dylan has the power to heal him with her love. Here’s a hero who needs someone to love him, to break down his barriers and make him accept their feelings and the fact that they’re choosing to be with him, that they want to be his regardless of how he feels about himself. I loved the way things progressed between these two, and the fight they both put up. Dylan takes no prisoners and she doesn’t back down when Rio gets a mood on and tries to push her away. She’s strong, brave enough to handle someone as dangerous as Rio and soothe the beast within him, and she really gives him a reason to live. It’s not just her love that heals him though, but her ability. It gives him a chance to forgive and forget, and that really helped round off Rio’s story for me.

The threat to the breed is rising too. These guys go from fighting one evil bastard to the next, and the master plan is slowly being revealed. I’m not normally one for a story arc that covers so many books, but I feel with the MB series that each book is treated individually, and that the central focus is the romance between the hero and heroine, and the story surrounding how they ended up together rather than the overall arc that ties the books into a series.

I’m also not one for hopping into the heads of protagonists other than the hero and heroine, but I didn’t skip the parts where we ended up in the antagonist’s head as I often do with other books. Lara Adrian doesn’t draw things out in another person’s POV and gets us swiftly back to the hero or heroine once vital information has been given to us. The writing is awesome, and flows smoothly, and I found it easy to picture locations and the world of the breed warriors. I really love the way Ms Adrian words things and tells a story.

If you want tall, dark and sexy, and have a thing for tortured heroes like I do (heck, anyone who has read my books knows that I do!), then you’ll love this book. I really couldn’t put it down. It’s always a good sign when a book has me sneaking in even just a page when my DH is in the bathroom! I can’t wait to read the next book in the Midnight Breed series, Veil of Midnight. I highly recommend this series to fans of J R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood as it doesn’t taper off like the BDB series did for me. Midnight Breed keeps delivering wonderful book after wonderful book, and I’ll keep devouring them right to the end.

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Review: Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter

Good day all… as promised, here’s the review for the second of three books I read whilst on holiday in Istanbul, Turkey.

This time, I’m reviewing Jewel of Atlantis, a paranormal romance in Gena Showalter’s Atlantis series of books.

So here’s my candid review…

Jewel of Atlantis
Gena Showalter
All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent of the ultra-secret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands—or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…

Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, is a pawn in Atlantis’s constant power struggles. She needs Gray’s help to win freedom and uncover the secrets of her mysterious origins. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they fight demons, dragons, vampires—and a prophecy that says the bond between them could destroy them both.

Jewel of Atlantis, book 2 in Gena Showalter’s Atlantis series, kicks off with Grayson ‘Gray’ James venturing through the forests of Atlantis and fighting to remain in one piece as he searches for Dunamis.

And from the word go, I just didn’t like him.

Having read and loved the first book in the series, Heart of the Dragon, I was eager to read the second to see if it would be just as good. Unfortunately, the hero didn’t appeal in the slightest. Gray is a walking hard-on, and it doesn’t make him manly like the author clearly wanted it to. He’s not sexy because his mind is always on getting into a girl’s knickers, or attractive because he’s oh-so-horny all the time. He was just… well… tiring. The first third of the book, prior to his meeting Jewel, he’s got a one track mind and it’s on repeat. I was so tired of reading through paragraphs of his thoughts about getting it on that I was tempted to skip ahead, or skip the book all together. When he finally meets Jewel, things get a little better. Well, he stops thinking about sex all the time and spends his waking minutes trying to get into her pants instead.

I have to admit, I didn’t really like Jewel as a character either. She was painted as someone strong and very powerful, but in reality she was weak enough to let everyone else boss her around and possess her, even though she had the power of suggestion and could manipulate thought to make people do her bidding/look the other way. It seemed odd that she wasn’t using those powers to stop people from capturing her all the time and using her when she was so obsessed with being free.

The whole story felt as though it was trying to be really sensual and erotic, and it came at the expense of a good storyline. The blurb reveals everything too. Nothing really new within the actual pages of the book. I think the story would have been infinitely better had we not known from the outset that Jewel was the jewel, and had the author kept it a mystery and had a big reveal. Knowing everything from the start just made reading it feel fairly pointless.

I think after the first book in the series, this one fell ridiculously short of the mark. I mean, Heart of the Dragon is up there, at the pinnacle of a mountain, as close to Heaven as it can get, whilst Jewel of Atlantis is slumming it in the valley, staring adoringly up and wishing it was up there with that dragon book too.

Gray wasn’t one tenth of the man that Darius in Heart of the Dragon was. He was just a walking dick. Or as my husband called him when I talked to him about the book: a sex pest. Also, are all the heroines in the books going to be virgins? Because that will get old real quick.

The writing lacked sparkle in places, with some weird word choices and some sentences that I had to read several times to understand, but I’m coming to expect that of Ms Showalter now. I think it’s the Harlequin way. There isn’t as much repetition in this book though, if you forget you ever read Gray’s endless thoughts about naked women, which is good.

The story benefitted greatly from the fact that I was trapped in an airport waiting for a delayed flight for several hours, and with another four hours flight time on top of that. If I hadn’t been a captive audience, I might have walked away from this one and placed it on my did-not-finish pile. What it didn’t benefit from was the fact that I read this book hot on the heels of finishing Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian, another fabulous instalment in her Midnight Breeds series (I’ll be reviewing that book too).

All in all, Jewel of Atlantis felt very flat and never really gripped me. I didn’t care about the characters, and the plot really lacked sparkle. It takes a lot for me not to finish a story once I start reading, but it was close this time.

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Review: Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter

It’s that special time of year again. Time for holidays! That means reading as much as possible to me and I managed to squeeze in three books during a recent trip to Istanbul in Turkey.

The first book I read is also the first in a series. It’s Gena Showalter’s Heart of the Dragon, and it’s part of her Atlantis series of books.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Gena Showalter.

Heart of the Dragon
Gena Showalter
Searching for her missing brother, Grace Carlyle never dreamed she would discover a secret world populated by mythological monsters–or find herself facing a sword-wielding being whose looks put mortal men to shame.

But there he was, Darius en Kragin, one of a race of shape-shifting warriors bound to guard the gates of Atlantis, and kill all travelers who strayed within its borders.

Now Grace’s life was in his hands, and Darius had to choose between his centuries-old vow and the woman who had slipped beneath his defenses and stolen the heart of Atlantis’s fiercest dragon.

I went into this book not expecting much which is perhaps why I got so much out of it. Just like how I really enjoy a movie when I go into the cinema with zero expectations about the film. We enter the book in the past, with Darius as a child taking on the role of a guardian responsible for killing anyone who enters through the portal in his palace. Understandably he’s a little reluctant to kill, but he’s driven by a need to protect his dragon people and Atlantis from the kind of brutality that his family suffered. This teasing glimpse of a feelings-laden Darius really provided a sharp contrast to the man we meet shortly afterwards—a battle-hardened and emotionless killer.

Grace Carlyle comes face to face with this beast of a man when she is sucked through one of the gelatinous portals and into Atlantis during her search for her missing archaeologist brother, Alex, who had sent her a package containing a medallion shortly before disappearing off the face of the planet. Grace’s first reaction to the hulking great monster of a man that is Darius is the same reaction I had. Hubba hubba. The man is a god, and it’s because of him that I fell hard for this book.

He’s a super-sexy warrior with everything a female reader wants in that type of hero—strong, protective, possessive, and deadly. Plus, he had the added bonus of being so cold and detached. I love it when a heroine has to work to prise open a man’s closed-off heart and release his emotions as well as his sexual desire. It’s explosive when that happens, and it certainly happens with a bang in this book.

Showalter mercilessly teases with a series of “almosts” that had me panting for the hero to give up his inane obsession with his duty and his need to not get involved with Grace and kill her instead. I admit, I was miffed when the suitably strong and unwilling to give up on finding her brother or getting into Darius’s pants Grace went home rather than submit to the delicious dragon warrior, but I guess it helped to show Darius’s commitment to having her as his… or was that his commitment to killing her?

The only downside to this book is that we’re reminded several times too many about Darius’s duty to kill Grace, and some parts of the book just didn’t feel right. Nothing between the hero and heroine was out of place, but hopping into the head of her brother and a female dragon threw me a bit as I didn’t want to read about them. I wanted to stay with the sexy Darius and his would-be mate, Grace. I also felt the sudden relationship between Alex and his female dragon was a bit forced considering that Darius had earlier observed that Javar, another dragon, and this female had been very into each other during their marriage-of-sorts. I think it probably would have been best as a separate story that happened afterwards, but you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean as I don’t want to give any spoilers. I also felt that the dragons could have been described more clearly when they transformed into their beastly counterparts. I didn’t really get a feel for what they looked like and whether they retained any sort of human features or how big they were as dragons.

The big fight at the end was good, although I would have liked more action as it was resolved quickly and fairly easily, or perhaps just better description would have sufficed and I would have been satisfied.

In terms of writing style, there were a few instances where I had to read a sentence over a couple of times to make sense of it, but I find that happens to me a lot in Showalter’s books, so I can’t moan too much about it. The writing is very Harlequin too. It’s hard to describe but has that Harlequin light and easy feel about it. Not too dark. Not as dark as I like.

All in all, this is getting a four star review from me because I really did fall hard for Darius. He’s worth reading this book for… honestly… go get yourself a copy or borrow one from a friend / library.

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Review: Kiss the Night Goodbye by Keri Arthur

Having read the books one to three in Keri Arthur’s Nikki and Michael vampire romance series, I had to read book four, even though I had been a little disappointed by the third book, Chasing the Shadows.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Keri Arthur.

Kiss the Night Goodbye
Keri Arthur
Nikki James wants nothing more than to pass the Circle’s strict entry exams so she can get on with the business of planning her wedding to Michael. But when one of the testers attempts to kill her, she realises buying a wedding dress is the least of her worries.

Especially when Michael is shot and kidnapped.

The trail leads her to the ghost town where Michael had once killed a madman. She’s not surprised to discover that Weylin Dunleavy, the brother of that long ago murderer, has set in place events that will mirror the past in order to raise his brother’s spirit from hell. Nor is she truly surprised to discover that a barrier of magic surrounds the old town, leaving her to battle Weylin with only her wits, strength and the one psychic gift she cannot fully control.

The one thing that does surprise, the one thing she cannot accept, is the fact that Michael no longer remembers who she is…

Nikki and Michael are back in the final story in Keri Arthur’s vampire romance series. Nikki has been busting her backside improving her fitness and her control of her psychic abilities since Michael has done the decent thing and not only asked Nikki to marry him, but has allowed her into the darker and more dangerous side of his life.

The story opens with Nikki once again trying to pass the Circle’s entry exams and gets more than she bargained for in her latest attempt—someone trying to kill her. Thanks to the link forged between her and Michael that has increased not only her powers but Michael’s too, Nikki escapes without much trouble. The only problem is that her bad luck isn’t about to end there. Someone shoots and kidnaps the lovely slice of vampire that is Michael and it’s down to Nikki, masquerading as Seline because the bad guy is fairly intent on getting some payback for an event that happened in the past involving Seline and Michael, goes out to save the day.

Nikki’s problems get worse from there. The town where she must go is surrounded by a magical barrier and everyone is acting as they had a few hundred years back. Michael doesn’t remember her, and she certainly doesn’t look like herself, and she has to be careful because while the barrier has put a stop to most of her powers, her “personal magic” that comes in the form of pyrokinetic abilities given to her by the people she met in book two of the series, is still active. If Mr Bad Guy finds out that she’s got some tricks up her sleeve, he’ll kill her and Michael, and probably most of the town. Michael has a fairly hefty spell tattooed into his back that Nikki needs to wash off, but it isn’t going to be easy when he can’t remember her. It takes all of her wits to convince him to help her and to make him remember her, and to defeat the bad guy in this one.

It was good to see another new location, although caves did creep back in as there’s plenty of mine shafts in the area to cause Nikki’s usual panic attacks and Michael’s worry (when he starts remembering her). I enjoyed the difference in their relationship in this one, although found it a bit questionable in parts since she basically seduces Michael whilst looking like someone else. Talk about psychologically damaging the guy when he eventually remembers and realises that he’s been messing around with Seline… well, Nikki looking like Seline, but the outside package is the physical attractant in sexual relationships. That must have disturbed him.

I liked the bad guys in this one. They’re nice and sinister and have a nasty objective, although I think they could have put up more fight. Repetition was back again, and Michael is going to need to get stronger bones because I swear he’s broken his arm in the past two books! My only real downer on this one was the repetition, and some very horrendous editing that drove me insane. The author breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing – remember what you called things! She goes from calling the town “Hartwood” in the first few chapters, to “Hartwell”, and eventually back to “Hartwood” for the final few chapters. There’s also other glaring editing errors. Again, the book dropped marks for poor editing. In fact, it was so bad in parts that I was cringing as I read it. This means that yet again my reading enjoyment was spoiled. It could have been a wonderful book with a better editor on hand to fix the errors and point out all the repetition. There’s also some amazing spelling problems like the word “wlndowsill” in chapter 15. Nice. The relationship does grow nicely in this book though, and at least Nikki isn’t moaning at Michael all the time. I liked the progression in their powers and how tied to each other they were, but I had hoped for a stronger ending too. Call me an old romantic, but I want to see a wedding, not just be teased about it. Definitely read this book if you’ve read the first three. Definitely read them in order.

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Review: Chasing the Shadows by Keri Arthur

Having read the first two books in Ms Arthur’s Nikki & Michael series and really enjoying them, I swiftly moved on to book three of the vampire romance series!

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Keri Arthur.

Chasing the Shadows
Keri Arthur
Nikki James is in San Francisco at the request of her partner and best friend, Jake. The wife of Jake’s old friend is missing, and Jake intends to find her—whatever the cost. While the authorities believe the kidnappings are the work of a sick mind, Nikki knows it is something much worse. Vampires. Six of them. And they know who she is, and why she’s there.

Michael Kelly has just returned from a vampire hunting expedition in his homeland and wants to spend some much-needed relaxation time with Nikki. But when he discovers she’s gone to San Francisco to pursue the vampire gang currently terrorizing the city, he has no choice except to follow. Not only to keep her safe from the gang, but because he fears the psychic talents she’s beginning to develop. Abilities she should not have and cannot control.

The chase takes them through the sewers and tunnels of San Francisco. As the body count begins to rise, so, too, does the danger. Michael isn’t the only one aware of Nikki’s new abilities, and she becomes a target. But Nikki has no intention of obeying Michael’s demands that she leave. She’s tired of playing it safe and wants him to realize it’s all or nothing. She’s either a full partner in his life, or she’s out.

But nothing prepares her for the price she has to pay for her stubbornness—the life of someone she loves.

Nikki and Michael are back in book three of Keri Arthur’s Nikki and Michael series. Nikki, a telepath and telekinetic, has had enough of playing house and waiting for Michael’s return from a mission. Things have been going well for the duo, but their relationship is still strained by Michael’s old-world ways sometimes. It’s nice to have a little tension in the relationship as it grows, but sometimes I felt it was overdone. The story this time takes us to San Francisco, and back to Jake, Nikki’s partner in crime-fighting from her days at the private investigation company. I was glad of the change of scenery as the first two books in the series both featured plenty of time spent in caves, and we often get numerous repetitions about what happened to Nikki in a cave in the first book (won’t say what happened as it might spoil things for people). However, we did end up spending plenty of time underground again, this time in the sewers, but I could deal with that as it’s still a change from caves and vampires have got to hide somewhere during the day.

Michael returns from his mission with a yearning to see Nikki at his remote cabin and a present in his pocket that isn’t something sensual. A certain token for his love. The trouble is, she’s headed out to the same mission he’s just been assigned to, and now he’s chasing her across the country rather than enjoying a nice lazy reunion full of lovemaking. When he eventually catches up with his wayward love, she’s neck deep in trouble again. Together they go through various highs and lows with plenty of suspense tossed in to keep me flipping pages, and the odd scuffle between the lovers to keep things interesting, although sometimes it goes too far. Nikki becomes a little irritating in this one as she clearly doesn’t know when she’s on to a good thing and seems fairly determined to force Michael out of her life or get him killed. Personally, if a great guy like him wanted to coddle me a little and protect me from the uber-dangerous aspects of his life, whilst letting me in to the rest of it, I wouldn’t moan like Nikki does. She came off as a bit petulant and childish in places. Nikki’s powers are growing in this one, and it seems they’re affecting Michael too, which makes it quite interesting, but they didn’t grow enough to be particularly exciting. Nikki has also picked up some pyrokinetic abilities from book two as well.

I really enjoyed this story, but it started to feel a bit repetitive having read the first two. The author has stock phrases that she uses around twenty times per book each and it did start to grate on my nerves a little. The editing in this book sucked too. Lots of mistakes that really leapt out at me, and some times when the writing was really below par. I wanted this book to be as great as the first two, but it fell short due to the editing and repetition, and playing on Michael being over-protective, and also had a fairly predictable sad moment that didn’t actually gain much emotional reaction from me because I didn’t feel the person who died was emotionally involved or close enough to Nikki to actually warrant such a strong reaction from her. There was nothing in this book or the previous ones that made out they were very close. I still enjoyed Michael and it’s nice seeing him battling his darkness to keep control around Nikki, although sometimes I wished he’d let a little of that darkness out to play. I do enjoy a good biting scene. It might have bumped this one up to a four in spite of the bad editing and repetition.  If you’ve read the previous two, then do continue, but be warned that there are some nasty editing errors ahead.

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Review: Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf

I was up late the other night with a poorly kitty, so I ended up reading a book. It’s not like me to read something when I’m in the middle of editing one of my own paranormal romance books, but I started reading this book when I was waiting for my husband to finish doing something and ended up reading the whole thing. I really don’t know how to put books down once I start them. It’s not a reflection of the book’s quality. It’s a reflection of my OCD type nature.

I had been milling around the Amazon Kindle freebies recently and found that Michele Hauf had another one offered for free, so I downloaded it when I saw it and had it stored on my HTC Desire HD smart phone and my Amazon Kindle 3 waiting to be read.

Here’s my candid review:

Her Vampire Husband
Michele Hauf

An arranged marriage between a werewolf and a vampire.

There will be blood.

She may resist his bite, but she can’t resist his charms…

Werewolf princess Blu Masterson won’t allow her seductive vampire husband to consummate their marriage with his bite, marking her forever. Alone in a secluded estate with her sworn enemy, Blu curses the marriage arranged to bring their rival nations together, especially since Creed Saint-Pierre calls out to her most feral desires.

When Blu uncovers her pack’s secret plot to destroy the vampire nation—and Creed—she is forced to confront her growing feelings for her sexy undead husband. Will she choose the only life she’s ever known or accept his vampire bite?


I went into reading Her Vampire Husband expecting it to be much like Kiss Me Deadly—not amazing, light paranormal romance. I think my opinion on the book benefitted from this, but I do also believe that it was a much better offering than Kiss Me Deadly by the same author, Michele Hauf.

Blu Masterton is a werewolf princess with her knickers in a twist because her father has arranged to marry her off to old and powerful vampire, Creed Saint-Pierre, in order to form a tentative truce between the werewolf and vampire nations. Creed Saint-Pierre isn’t exactly thrilled with the arrangement either but he sucks it up because he knows it’s the right thing to do given the circumstances, and it will benefit the vampires by giving them time to put their plan into action. Of course, once the couple sets eyes on each other and share their first kiss as husband and wife at the top of the aisle, things swiftly progress into a blossoming romance between the two.

It was a little too swift for my liking and once they start snogging and bonking, they can’t seem to stop. It’s rapid fire sketchy love scenes all the way. We’re told that the hatred between vampires and werewolves runs deep, but these two get over their apparent dislike of the other’s species fairly quickly and with minimal internal struggle. It all happened a bit too easily to be satisfying. I was expecting a good fight, a battle of emotions inside the characters, or at least some more realistic conflict.

The story is also quite light on plot, and things are fairly predictable, although I did like the back story of Blu and the little historical notes on Creed’s life that are dripped in throughout the book. I liked the hero but feel he should have stuck to his principles a bit more and fought his desire for a little longer before playing lapdog to the heroine. The heroine, Blu, irritated me sometimes. The language she used and the way she behaved felt like a blatant attempt by Ms. Hauf to make the heroine appear very young and wild. I think it was the language that irked me most. If I heard the word ‘dude’ one more time I might have taken a seething dislike to the heroine.

The writing wasn’t stellar, but it was okay. There were a few moments where words just didn’t seem right and felt out of place, or the way she had worded it had me reading the same sentence five times to make heads or tails of it. There were also times when I felt the author could have put more effort into the description. The fight scenes in particular didn’t really grab me. I wanted to be able to picture what was happening but couldn’t. I also think some of the characters would have benefitted from better description. There’s a lot of mentioning the clothing of the hero and heroine, and some about the looks, but a lot of the supporting characters don’t get much description. I know from personal experience that you can’t describe minor characters in detail without getting bogged down, but there were characters in this I would have classed as secondary characters, who had enough air time in the book that they deserved better description.

All in all, I’m going to give this a solid three. I might have been tempted to up it to a 3.5 if I had liked the heroine more. This book also benefitted from being free on Amazon Kindle. If it hadn’t been a freebie, I probably wouldn’t have read it as I wasn’t tempted to continue with the author after reading Kiss Me Deadly.

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