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"How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days" Excerpt

 To celebrate the release of Kerrelyn Sparks' newest novel, "How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days", I am happy to feature an excerpt from the book! Read on for more info about the book and the excerpt!


HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS:
The Embraced Series
By Kerrelyn Sparks
Published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks
**On Sale March 7, 2017**
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99
ISBN: 9781250108210| Ebook ISBN: 9781250108227
Kerrelyn Spark’s previous series, Love at Stake, constantly hit the New York Times bestseller list and created a massive fan following for her witty vampires. With the end of her vampire series, comes the start of an extraordinary new fantasy romance series called The Embraced beginning with HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; March 7, 2017). Set in a medieval mythical world, the series explores a special group of people with powers born when the two moons of the world form an eclipse. In the start of the series we meet Luciana, who can speak to the dead, and the Beast of Benwick who can controlling lightening.

Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy - and her father's life.

Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?

If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

Filled with romance, humor, and a beautifully imagined new world, HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS is a fantasy in the vein of Game of Thrones with all the fun of The Princess Bride. Luciana is a vibrant leading lady that will have readers rooting for her spunk and devotion to her family while the Beast is a swoon worthy hero worth taming.

About the Author
KERRELYN SPARKS is the New York Times bestselling author of the Love at Stake series. Visit her online at www.kerrelynsparks.com.



EXCERPT:


Chapter Four



As Leo and his companions rode north, the rain began, and the rolling green landscape gave way to increasingly taller hills. Their horses went at full gallop, eating up the miles before the rain could turn the dirt road into a sea of mud.
By the time they passed the second beacon, the rain was pounding on them. Their uniforms were drenched, their hair plastered to their heads. The hills had become moun- tains, and flocks of sheep huddled in the narrow glens where a few trees could give them shelter.
Thunder clapped overhead, and Leo spotted the first flash of lightning to the west. Good. He was going to need all the power he could get. Normal people didn’t stand a chance against the winged creatures that breathed fire. People like his father.
Leo had heard the story many times over a campfire. His father’s last battle had been against the Norveshki. Cedric had plowed through a dozen of their fierce warriors, but when a dragon had attacked, all his bravery and expertise had been in vain.
Another flash of lightning, this one a little closer. Leo would need to break off from the group soon. As they
neared the village, a mountain loomed to the right, topped with craggy cliffs and a beacon tower. It was Mount Bae- dan, which the village was named after. He spotted a cliff that overlooked the village. That was the perfect place.
“My lord.” Nevis drew his attention to a horseman charg- ing toward them. A scout.
Leo and his companions slowed to a stop. “Report,” he said, loud enough to be heard over the pouring rain.
The scout bowed his head, causing a puddle of rain to slosh off the brim of his cap onto his chest. “Four drag- ons from Norveshka have attacked the village of Mount Baedan.”
“No warriors?” Leo asked.
“None, my lord. Just the dragons. They swooped into the valley and set the village ablaze to force the people from their homes. While the villagers ran to a nearby cave, two of the dragons captured two small children and flew away.”
Leo stiffened, his hands tightening on the reins, as the men around him cursed under their breaths. Ten years ago, the dragons had started snatching sheep. Now they were nabbing small children.
He glanced westward, hoping to see another flash of lightning streak across the sky. He needed the power now. “The rain put out the fires,” the scout continued. “The villagers are starting to leave the cave. A group of men
rode out, hoping to rescue the two children.”
Leo swallowed hard as bile rose up his throat. The res- cue attempt would be in vain. Men on horseback could not cross the mountains as fast as a dragon could fly.
Thunder cracked overhead so loud, the men flinched. “Ride on to the village,” Leo shouted at them. “The last
two dragons could still be close by. I’ll take care of them. You protect the people.” He turned his horse and started up the slope of Mount Baedan.
Higher and higher his horse climbed, but eventually the path became too muddy. Leo dismounted and patted the horse, the quilted material now drenched through.
“Go join the others.” He gave the horse a slap on the rump, and it started down the mountain.
Leo abandoned the muddy path that snaked back and forth up the mountainside. Instead, he scrambled straight up the rocky slope. He was halfway up when a bolt of lightning shot from the sky and struck the ground thirty yards away, blasting a boulder into bits.
Yes! The lightning had found him and was zeroing in. Energy from the blast rolled toward him, seeking him out in waves he couldn’t see, but could feel. His skin tingled. His hair, which had been plastered to his head, now crack- led as it lifted into the air.
Thunder boomed overhead, sending another wave of energy toward him. It slithered under his damp clothes, giving him a slight shock. Then an increase in power. And speed. He charged up the mountainside faster than any human could go.
Anticipation swelled inside him as he reached the first set of cliffs. Another lightning bolt ripped through the sky, this one hitting only fifteen yards away. It blasted through the rocks, causing the cliff to crumble away. As the ledge beneath his feet trembled, he ran and leaped.
He landed on the next cliff six feet away as thunder cracked and the first cliff tumbled down the mountainside. More energy surged into him, and he scrambled higher up the mountain. Faster. In a race against the next strike.
He reached the highest cliff. Nearby on the mountain summit, the beacon tower stood, deserted in the storm, its flame long smothered by the rain. The village lay nestled in the valley far below. He spotted houses built of stone with their thatched roofs burned away. The chapel of En- lightenment partially destroyed. The village lookout tower stood as high as the chapel bell tower and was manned by a lone villager. No doubt, he was keeping an eye out for the last two dragons.
Nevis and his troop arrived, and the villagers poured from their homes to welcome them. Leo winced at the sight of small children running about. Dammit, Nevis, get them back into the cave.
A rumbling noise echoed through the valley, sounding much like thunder, but Leo knew better. It was the beat- ing of dragon wings. The last two dragons had waited for the people to reappear.
Leo ripped off his gloves and threw them down, along with his bow and quiver. Then he drew his sword and pointed it to the sky. “Now!”
Lightning broke through the dark clouds, racing toward him. He widened his stance and braced for impact. It struck his sword, fracturing so that a dozen smaller streaks shot off in a circle around him.
The major portion of the lightning sizzled down his sword, eager to reach his flesh. It hit his bare hand and jolted him so hard he fell to his knees and dropped the sword. The dozen fractured shards rebounded, drawn to him like a magnet. They pounded into him, jerking him back and forth. Thunder cracked over him so loud his ears rang.
Power surged through him, so fierce and scorching he thought his skin would melt, his guts would boil, and his head burst like a kernel of corn dropped into a fire. Pain and power, power and pain, he could no longer tell the dif- ference. He only knew he wanted it, wanted to drink it in, soak it up, and claim it all.
The fiery torture eased to a warm, buzzing sensation, and he found himself on all fours, gasping for air. How many times had he endured this? And it still hurt like hell. He rested back on his knees and splayed his hands in front of him. Sparks skittered around his fingers like a host of fireflies.
Good, but not enough. The Beast wanted more.
He grabbed his sword and hefted himself to his feet. “More, dammit!” He lifted his sword in the air.
Lightning struck again, driving him to his knees and knocking the sword from his grip. He cried out as both pain and power ripped through him. Nevis was right. Someday he would explode.
Thunder cracked around him as if he’d become the cen- ter of the storm. His ears grew numb, only hearing the buzz of energy pulsing around him. This time, when he examined his hands, streaks shot out a few yards. Not enough to kill a dragon.
He fumbled for his sword once again. Nevis’s question reverberated in his head, bouncing off the inside of his skull. Do you enjoy courting death? Over the years, he’d found he could take in more power each time, but what was the limit? How would he know when it was too much?
He stumbled to his feet and slowly lifted the sword. When he had the weapon only waist-high, the lightning streaked toward him. Like a desperate lover, it pounced, not even waiting till he was fully cocked. It struck hard, flinging him through the air into the wall behind him. His head cracked against stone, and he crumpled into a heap.
Rain splattered on his face, keeping him conscious. The pain was merely the price he paid for the ability to protect his people. The pain would be fleeting.
The power he could keep for months.
He rose to his feet. If he were normal, he’d have suf- fered a concussion and some broken bones. Hell, if he were normal, he’d be dead. But instead, he swelled with strength and power. Tiny streaks of lightning swirled around him so fast, he appeared to glow.
He strode to the edge of the cliff to see what was happening. The dragons were flying low, probably to avoid the lightning. They swooped down at the screaming villagers, herding them away from the cave. Making them easy to prey upon.
With the superfast speed he now possessed, Leo pulled a length of coiled rope from his sword belt and tied one end loosely to a tree deeply rooted in the rock wall of the cliff. The other end, he tied to one of his metal arrows. He grabbed his metal bow, nocked the arrow, and imbued them with some of his energy. Now, when he shot the arrow, it would fly faster and farther.
He aimed for the lookout tower and let the arrow fly. It whistled through the air and struck the top wooden beam of the tower, embedded deep. Continuing at his fast speed, Leo tightened the rope, tossed his bow and quiver over his shoulder, sheathed his sword, then looped the sword belt over the rope. He ran to the cliff’s edge and pushed off.
Hanging on to the belt, he careened down the length of the rope. Just before crashing into the tower, he swung his legs up and over the top beam and landed on the top plat- form. The lone villager gaped at him.
“Go!” he shouted. With lightning sizzling around him like a golden nimbus, he didn’t need to speak twice.
The villager scrambled down the ladder, yelling that the Beast had arrived.
After dropping his sword belt on the platform, Leo quickly readied another arrow and pivoted, searching for the dragons. Even though it was possible for him to sim- ply shoot a lightning bolt from his hand, he’d learned from experience that raw power didn’t always go exactly where he wanted it to go. Since there was a chance of hitting in- nocent bystanders or setting their homes on fire, he pre- ferred to use a metal arrow imbued with his power so he could control the force and trajectory.
There, through a steady sheet of rain, a pair of red,glowing eyes was glaring at him. The dragon was perched on the bell tower of the chapel. It sat up, expanding its chest, a sure sign it was about to breathe fire.
Leo released enough energy to make sparks pop and crackle around the metal arrow. When he shot it, the ar- row would fly with enough speed and power that it would actually pierce the dragon’s scaly skin and release an elec- tric shock wave through the creature’s body.
He aimed for the dragon’s chest, but just as he let the arrow fly, the dragon pushed off, flying straight at him. Fire erupted from the dragon’s mouth, forcing him to drop flat onto the platform. Flames shot over him, missing him by a few inches. Meanwhile, the arrow hit the dragon’s hip.
Sparks spread from the arrow, jerking the dragon around in midair. It shrieked, then shot up into the sky and turned north toward Norveshka. Leo notched an arrow to shoot again, but screams below made him look down.
The second dragon had grabbed a child. “Nevis!” Leo shouted. “Catch it!”
Nevis spurred his horse and galloped after the dragon. It was gaining altitude, now higher than the rooftops of the houses.
Leo sent a surge of energy into his bow and arrow and aimed, trying to keep a safe distance from the child. The arrow zipped through the air. Direct hit to the dragon’s tail. Sparks exploded around the wound, racing up the dragon’s body, and it jolted, bellowing in pain and dropping the child. A dress flapped in the wind. It was a little girl.
Nevis charged onward as she tumbled from the sky. Villagers screamed, then let loose a round of cheers as Nevis managed to catch her.
The dragon flew away, filling the sky with an angry roar.
Leo lowered his bow and arrow and watched through the rain as the villagers crowded around Nevis. The little girl was safely deposited in the arms of her crying mother. Nevis glanced back at Leo and gave him a thumbs- up before being dragged off his horse by a swarm of happy villagers.
With a cheer, the villagers led Nevis and his men into the cave. Boys led the horses, including Leo’s horse, to the stables. Women dashed into their homes to gather cups and jugs of beer and wine. A few men rushed into a nearby pen to slaughter a lamb. Leo wasn’t sure if the village was cel- ebrating the rescue of one child or drowning their sor- rows for the two who were lost, but clearly they intended to partake of food and drink. And even more clearly, it was a celebration he could not attend.
He glanced at his hands. Sparks still shimmered around his fingers. One false move, and lightning would streak from his fingertips, possibly killing someone. He’d been in such a hurry he’d left his gloves on the cliff. With a sigh, he picked up his sword belt, then buckled it on.
The rain was still pelting him, so he climbed down the ladder to a second platform just below. Drops of rain leaked between the wooden planks overhead, and the wind blew more rain at him, but it was an improvement. He sat in the driest corner and rested his back against a wooden pillar. For a short while, because he had released so much energy, he would feel all right. But soon the pain would start again.
He spotted two men rolling a cask toward the cave. The villagers must have run out of beer. Sounds of laughter emanated from the cave. Soon he could smell the scent of a lamb roasting over a fire. His stomach grumbled. A quick search of his pockets came up empty.
With a sigh, he leaned his head against the pillar. Alone again. It was always this way. He was too damned dan- gerous to be near anyone. Even Nevis had learned to stay away from him when he had this much power.
He closed his eyes as a memory flitted across his mind. The first time lightning had found him, he’d been only five years old. One strike had sent him flying, and he’d crum- pled onto the ground, twitching uncontrollably. His nanny had run to him. Calling out to him, she’d touched his face. Then a surge of energy had shot through her, and she’d col- lapsed beside him dead.
His first victim. Someone he’d dearly loved.
“I didn’t mean to . . .” Leo whispered, the sound whisked away with the wind. “Forgive me.”
Since then, everyone had known to keep their distance. And if a stranger didn’t know, he soon learned when he heard the new name Leo had been given.
Never touch the Beast.
Never let the Beast touch you.
The rain continued to fall. The energy inside him spread throughout his body, expanding, rebelling against the nar- row confines of his human shell, demanding to be released and used. Not now. He had to keep as much power as pos- sible so it would be available whenever he needed it.
The sun lowered in the sky, and the wind became more chilled against his wet clothes. He welcomed the cold. It made it easier to deal with the energy boiling inside him, threatening to escape like steam from a kettle.
The strains of a pipe and fiddle came from the cave. The people were dancing, their music accentuating the thud- ding rhythm in his head. The energy kept expanding, push- ing against the inner walls of his skull, pushing so hard he expected to hear the sound of bone cracking. He squeezed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth against the pain.
Sometimes he thought this was the worst part about his gift. The headaches would torture him until either he re- leased some power or it managed to escape on its own.
“My lord?” a female voice spoke below.
He opened his eyes. On the ground by the ladder, a....



disclosure: I received an e-copy of the book in exchange for this post

Giveaway: "Frostline" by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

To celebrate the release of Linda Howard and Linda Jones' collaborative new novel, "Frostline", I am happy to offer a giveaway for one lucky reader of In the Hammock to win a paperback copy of the book!!


"Frostline"
by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Aug 30, 2016

Source: sent by publisher


Summary from goodreads.com:

A riveting, imaginative new novel of paranormal romance from bestselling authors Linda Howard and Linda Jones.

Lenna is Strength, a manifestation of the Tarot card, and powerful beyond reckoning. But when she's pulled into the human realm, tasked with protecting a young boy, everything is thrown into chaos. Lenna's not supposed to be here, interacting with mortals. She's definitely not supposed to be drawn to the sexy mercenary sent to retrieve her by any means necessary . . .

As a Hunter for magical beings, Caine's duty is simple: return this compelling, impossibly attractive woman—or eliminate her. Instead he's drawn into Lenna's dangerous rescue mission and blindsided by his growing feelings. But there is more than one enemy to contend with. And as the clock runs out, failure means not just the loss of an innocent life and the woman Caine has come to love, but the destruction of Lenna's entire world.




Purchase Here:

FROSTLINE – https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062421975/frost-line

FROSTLINE on Goodreads

FROSTLINE on AMAZON https://www.amazon.com/Frost-Line-Linda-Howard/dp/0062421980/




Giveaway!

The publisher is giving away one paperback copy of Frostline to a lucky reader of In the Hammock!

Giveaway is US only and ends Sept 5
Must be 18 to enter
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a post.

"Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire" Spotlight

"Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire"
by Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Dec 30, 2014
Source: sent by publisher


Summary from goodreads.com:

New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks delivers the exciting conclusion in the Love at Stake series, where a Marine-turned-vampire finds love with the shifter princess forbidden to him...

Russell wakes from a coma to find he's become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he's used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:

Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.

Rule #2: He's in charge. Jia isn't used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.

Rule #3: Don't fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.
This is the 16th and final book in the "Love at Stake" series!

Find out more about the book here


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this post.

"Forged by Desire" Review

"Forged by Desire"
by Bec McMaster

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Sept 2, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
Captain Garret Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.

Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped...
My Review:

This is one of my absolute favorite series,I love the author's mix of steampunk, paranormal, and romance. Since I've read every book in the series, it's great to finally see Garret and Perry getting their own story. After looking forward to their story for so long, I may have expected more from their romance. I definitely wasn't expecting all of the twists with Perry's past, they were definitely intriguing.

This book is much darker than the other installments in the series, there was more of a horror vibe. I really liked that aspect though. The lab where they found the girls was terrifying and so well crafted, that it was straight out of a horror movie.
 
I absolutely adored the first 3/4 of the book, I was entranced by the world and by the relationship between Garret and Perry. But admittedly, by the last 100 of 400 pages, I was feeling that the story was becoming long and drawn out. The beginning and middle portions of the book kept me up way past my bedtime, but after re-hashing the same issues, I started to grow tired of the plot. Even with this slow end, I still highly recommend the book.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: While I enjoyed the previous books in the series more, this is still a welcome addition to the series, and answers a lot of reader questions about longtime faves Garret and Perry.




Disclosure: I received a  copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wicked After Midnight" Review

"Wicked After Midnight"
by Delilah S. Dawson

Publisher: Pocket

Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
A contortionist and a rakish brigand navigate the cabarets of Paris to rescue a girl taken by slavers in the third steampunk-tinged romance of the Blud series.

Life as a contortionist in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan should be the height of exotic adventure, but for Demi Ward, it’s total dullsville. Until her best friend, Cherie, is stolen by slavers outside of Paris, and Demi is determined to find her.

On the run from his own past, Vale Hildebrand, a dashing rogue of a highwayman, hides Demi from the slavers…but why? He pledges to help her explore the glittering cabarets of Paris to find her friend, but much to Vale’s frustration, Demi soon attracts a host of wealthy admirers. The pleasures of music, blood, and absinthe could turn anyone’s head, and it would be all too easy to accept Cherie’s disappearance as inevitable—but with Vale’s ferocious will and Demi’s drive to find her friend, they soon have a lead on a depraved society of Parisian notables with a taste for beautiful lost girls. Can Demi wind her way through the seedy underbelly of Paris and save her best friend before she, too, is lost?
My Review:

This book was really enjoyable and also unique. I think I am starving for these paranormal historical romance books, with a dash of steampunk. I can't get enough of them, and there are so few to pick from. If you haven't read this type of book before, this would be great for something new and different.

I read the first book in this series, "Wicked as They Come," and while I enjoyed it, I didn't care for all the time/world hopping that the heroine did. This time around, I was much happier, because while Demi is from our world, she has permanently crossed over into the alternate world. It's nice because the reader has the same frame of reference as Demi, she will say modern slang, etc., but we get to totally immerse ourselves in the new world.

At first, I absolutely loved Demi. She was so youthful and fresh. She was very much like a stubborn, spunky teenager. It did get a little old when she started to be too stubborn for her own good though, getting her best friend and herself into trouble because she refused to see any type of reason. Vale was a great hero. I really liked the fact that he was somewhat of the black sheep of the family. I definitely liked that he wasn't the typical paranormal alpha male, he was much more three dimensional than that.

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5+++/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This is a fun paranormal historical, but it does have a bit of a dark side. I love the world that the author has built and her characters show a lot of depth as well.




Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wolfishly Yours" Review

"Wolfishly Yours"
by Lydia Dare

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Nov 1, 2012
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
Accustomed to running wild with her Lycan brothers in the swamps of Louisiana, Miss Liviana Mayeux is shipped off to London where Lady Hadley offers to sponsor and assist her. Before she knows it, Vivi finds herself in the middle of a pack of English wolves who are all vying for her attention. But Lady Hadley's handsome son Grayson is determined to keep her out of trouble. If only he knew how...

My Review:

I just love this series! Each book keeps getting better! I really, really love the Hadley brothers, so I especially enjoyed this installment. I always thought Wes was my favorite of the brothers, but now Gray has swooped in and won my heart!

One of my favorite things about these books is that they are so lighthearted and fun, without being fluffy. The family drama is so entertaining, and keeps me invested in the series, book after book. Sometimes, I felt like this one focused a little too much on Sophie and Archer, but they were so cute, it's really ok.

All of Lydia Dare's heroes are fantastic, and never over the top alpha or chauvinistic, but Gray was especially sweet, so I really fell for him. It was nice to see a very engaging hero who wasn't really over the top in any way. In fact, he had his klutzy, uh oh moments that were so endearing!

Livi was also a super sweet lady without being a goody two shoes. She understood the ways of the world, and she even had learned some especially foul curses from her brothers, but she was also quite innocent and sweet. It really made her likable and also, relatable. Livi and Gray just really seemed like a genuine 'sweet' couple.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: I love this series, and this is one of the best books yet!


"The Wolf Who Loved Me" Review

"The Wolf Who Loved Me"
by Lydia Dare

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Apr 3, 2012 (paperback)

Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




A new sexy Regency paranormal trilogy by bestselling author Lydia Dare features hunky werewolves who need to learn how to behave in polite society. Can this pack of 'gentlemen' be trained in the ways of the ton, or is it too late to teach an old Lycan new tricks?
Lady Madeline Hayburn is called upon to lend her respectability and introduce the Hadley brothers to society. Mr. Weston Hadley admires her from afar, yet his very presence draws her in...
My Review:

Have I mentioned that I love Lydia Dare's books? Each new book is even better than the last. I love how even though this is a 'new series' for them, really all of the books by the authors are interconnected with the same characters.

I must admit that I've been looking forward to Weston's story for a long time, and this book really met and exceeded any unrealistic expectations that I might have had. Weston is one of the twin 'pups' that we've read about previously in the series. He and his twin, Grey, get into all sorts of misadventures, and they always seemed so adorably young. Weston has the unfortunate addition of a vampire-induced scar on his face which will forever differentiate him from his twin. I loved that the authors kept Weston's character young yet still allowed him to mature and grow. It's not terribly often that we get to see a young romance hero, and it works so well here. Weston lives up to his reputation of 'pup', he's just as sweet and loyal as a puppy.

Maddie is so spoiled, but she really means well, so it works well for this story. She's the daughter of a Duke who is getting used what she would have to give up in order to marry a "Mr." instead of a peer. When Maddie worries when her next bath and clean change of clothes will be, it really comes across more as humorous rather than annoying or spoiled.

As I mentioned before, I love that we get to see many of the characters from past books here. They are such great supporting characters, and I hope we get to see Wes and Maddie in future installments.

This book has some elements of the paranormal, Wes is a werewolf after all, but it's not overwhelming. I like that there is a taste of the fantasy world, but mostly this is a very sweet romance with great characters.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 (I love this style SO much more than the previous books)
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line: Possibly my favorite of Lydia Dare's books, with a fantastic werewolf hero.
 

"Wicked as They Come" Review

"Wicked as They Come"
by Delilah S. Dawson
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Have you ever heard of a Bludman? They’re rather like you and me—only more fabulous, immortal, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.)

Delilah S. Dawson’s darkly tempting debut drops her unsuspecting heroine into a strange faraway land for a romantic adventure that’s part paranormal, part steampunk . . . and completely irresistible.

When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?
My Review:

I'm not a true fan of the adult paranormal romance genre, but I wanted to read this one because it looked so different from the norm. The circus aspect, combined with a steampunk vibe had me intrigued. I'm glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and it didn't have any of the aspects that I dislike about the adult paranormal genre-it wasn't over the top violent (the heroine wasn't shooting everyone in sight), there weren't multiple curse words on each page (in fact, I'm pretty sure there was none), and the steamy scenes weren't creepy and weird. Overall, I'd say this was more of a fantasy book than a run of the mill action packed vampire book.

The only part of the book that I didn't really like was the time travel (or parallel universe travel). This theme almost never works for me, so I'm not really surprised. The present day worries really took me out of the spectacular fantasy world that was built. I have enough cell phones and alarm clocks buzzing at me in my real life, I'd much rather read about magical 'Bludmen' and a steampunk circus. I suppose time travel works for some because it injects some familiarity into a completely unfamiliar setting, but I'd rather be totally immersed in the fictional world.

The characters were great, Tish/Leticia wasn't too stereotypical. She was a bit down and out due to her ex, but she wasn't completely free of self esteem like some stereotypical heroines are. I'm not sure that Criminy was my type, but he was sweet for the most part. Maybe he had a little too much alpha male traits for me personally. The Casper storyline was pretty entertaining to me, so I'm glad to see the next book in the series focuses on him as the main character. I'm also glad that the series will be about different couples, instead of every book being about Criminy and Leticia.



Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 5/5
(the parallel universe, not the present day)
Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Overall, a new and different type of paranormal romance that breaks the stereotypes. I'd recommend this to fans of the genre as well as those who want to read a little something different for a change.
 

"Overbite" Review

"Overbite"
by Meg Cabot

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: Feb 7, 2012
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Meena Harper has a special gift, but it's only now that anyone's ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard — a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican — has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena's ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena's sworn off vampires for good ... at least until she can prove her theory that just because they've lost their souls doesn't mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers — including her partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf — that vampires can be redeemed won't be easy ... especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena's friends and family as well.

But Meena isn't the Palatine's only hope. Father Henrique — aka Padre Caliente — New York City's youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.

So why doesn't Meena — or Alaric — trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare ... and temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist.

This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.

My Review:

I haven't read the first book in this series, so the beginning was a little confusing for me, but once I got into it, I enjoyed the book. I liked that it wasn't as intense, violent or gory as most adult paranormal books. It was a little more watered down, which is a good thing for scaredy cats like me. I didn't have to worry about curse words sprinkling every page, or a creepy love scene or other violence that are so predominant in the adult paranormal genre. I can see how readers who love that genre though, might be disappointed in this book since it's a much more safe version.

While I did enjoy the book, and was glad that I didn't have to worry about any cringe worthy scenes, the book didn't really stand out for me. It kind of seemed like I had read the story before. The characters didn't really fly off the page for me, but I feel like that might have been because I didn't read the first one where you really got to meet the characters.I think that might also be why I wasn't that absorbed in the romance. It's hard to step in late and still really know what's going on.

Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: A tamer, safer adult paranormal romance, but missing a little oopmph.
 

"In the Heat of the Bite" Review

"In the Heat of the Bite"
by Lydia Dare

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: July 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Chivalry is far from undead...
Matthew Halkett, Earl of Blodswell, is one of the few men in the ton who can claim to be a knight in shining armor- because that's precisely what he was before being turned into a vampyre. When he spies a damsel in distress in the midst of a storm in Hyde Park, his natural instinct is to rush to her aid...
But not every woman needs to be rescued...
Weather-controlling witch Rhiannon Sinclair isn't caught in a storm-she's the cause of it. She's mortified to have been caught making trouble by the imposing earl, but she doesn't need any man-never has, and is sure she never will...
But when Rhiannon encounters Matthew again, her powers go awry and his supernatural abilities run amok. Between the two of them, the ton is thrown into an uproar. There's never been a more tempestuous scandal...

My Review:

This was my second book by Lydia Dare and I'm really glad I gave this author a second chance. I admit that after reading "It Happened One Bite," I was kind of wondering what all the hubbub was about surrounding the author. But after reading this book, I now understand! This was such a fun historical paranormal with a lot of romance, laughs and nothing too creepy on the paranormal front.

I heard a bit of negativity about the "prose" not being historically accurate enough. So, if you're a stickler for accuracy, you many have some complaints with this one. But I honestly loved the humor, readability, and campy fun that the more modern language brought to the story.

The romance was really cute and sweet-not what you normally see in paranormal romance land. I liked how 'gentlemanly' Matthew behaved. The ultimate ending of their love story was a little over the top, but very satisfying to a happy ending lover like myself.

I really enjoyed the supporting characters, too. Eynsford and Cait, the lead couple from "The Taming of the Wolf", were adorable. I loved that they both were present instead of the female being written out in the sequels so she can have a baby. This is something I see way too often in historical romance series, the lead male returns to the sequels, but the poor female is written is out entirely. Cheers to Lydia Dare for bringing Cait back!

Enysford's brothers were so cute, especially the twins. I'm sure they will get a their own stories somewhere down the line. I kind of felt like Rhi led poor Radbourne on a little at times, though.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Overall, this is such an enjoyable read with enough paranormal elements to keep fans of the genre interested, but not so creepy as to scare off historical romance fans. Campy, romantic fun!

"The Darkest Heart" Review


by Thea Devine

Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: June 21, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from SimonandSchuster.ca

Ever since a terrible fire killed her older son, one ambition has ruled Countess Lazlaric. Desperate to continue the family legacy, she is determined that her rakehell second son wed and produce an heir. Now, she's found the perfect bride. A distant relative, writing to beg for help, is ideal for her secret plans.
Alone in the world, beautiful raven-haired Senna Landseth finds more than just Drom Manor's isolation sending a shiver down her spine. Countess Lazlaric seems overly eager to welcome her, strange noises fill the cavernous corridors of the gloomy manor, and she senses she is being spied upon. Then a note mysteriously appears, inscribed with chilling words: "I'm watching you. Nicolai."
In the years since the fire that supposedly destroyed him, Nicolai Lazlaric has inhabited the world of a vampire, consumed with seeking revenge on the creature who turned him. Now, it is time to return to Drom Manor. But Nicolai has no idea how badly the Countess wants an heir—or that his hated brother's prospective bride is residing there. Senna's unexpected presence upends Nicolai's plans, for he can think only of possessing the beautiful innocent, of taking her in a blood-binding seduction from which she will never escape. . . .

My Review:

This book almost felt like two completely different books. The first half was an old-fashioned, spooky, gothic mystery. Senna found herself in a creepy old house with a monstrous Countess trying to marry her off to her scary son. Then, of course, there's the Countess' other son, the vampire. I really enjoyed the fist half of the book, there were thrills and chills behind every dark corner.

Then there was the second half of the book. All of a sudden, every scene was just another uncomfortable vampire sex scene. I know this is a really popular theme in books, but it's not my cup of tea. The second half lost the whole gothic tone and mystery of the first half.

Dominick's voice overs of every scene grew tiresome as well. I liked it when he took the form of a fly that other characters swatted away because I felt the same way with his voice overs interrupting every page.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: The first half is a spine-tingling gothic historical, but the second half is disappointing.

"It Happened One Bite" Review


by Lydia Dare

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: March 1, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Blaire Lindsay's been warned that her ancestral home is haunted. But it will take more than tales of a ghost to frighten Blaire, a battle-born witch with supernatural strength and the ability to make sparks fly from her fingertips. Hearing spectral wails, she decides to search for their source, and is surprised to find a handsome young man chained to the dungeon wall. But when Blair frees James from his bonds, she quickly discovers she's unloosed far more than she could ever have imagined...Soon the castle is overrun with vampires whose perfect manners and compelling blood lust make for some very awkward moments, and Blair and James are joined in the fight of their lives to save everything they hold dear from the forces of evil...

My Review:


There aren't very many historical paranormal romances, so I try to check them out when I see them. This one is really well done and lot sweeter than modern day paranormals in my opinion.


The romance takes center stage, while the paranormal world of witches and vampyres (that's how it's spelled here) is created around them. Honestly, witches interest me much more than vampyres, so I was more interested in Blaire's powers and mythology than James'. Vampyres just have that ick factor that I can't get past. While there were one or two ick moments in this one for me, I managed to get past it.


For a vampyre, James is incredibly sweet and I love the way their story turns out- I'm not telling, you'll have to read it! James is, of course, very handsome, and I love that blurts out his feelings without thinking first. It's a little awkward and cute. 


Blaire is so strong, both on the inside and outside. She's a battle-born witch, so she has super strength. It's a teeny bit strange to me that she's stronger and taller than most men, but she manages to find the one supernatural male who is both stronger and taller than her. So there's the traditional gender roles creeping back in. It would have been interesting to see how they would have dealt with things otherwise.


The secondary characters are lots of fun and really brighten up the story. Blaire's brothers and James' friend add spice to the story, and even Bruce the cat adds some comic relief.



Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5 

Setting: 4/5
Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:
Overall, this is a real page turner with a lot of paranormal action while a sweet, loving romance is still the heart of the story.

"Dragon Warrior" Review


by Janet Chapman

Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: Jan 25, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

The steamy second book in Janet Chapman’s dazzling Midnight Bay series seduces readers with an enticing tale of a fiery independent woman and an irresistible immortal warrior with a dragon’s courageous heart.
Maddy Kimble has no time for a suitor—not with caring for her spunky nursing home patients, her shy nine-year-old daughter, her widowed mother, and her rebellious teenage brother. William Kilkenny’s stunning lack of modern dating protocol doesn’t help. The man is uncouth and outrageous—a towering, drop-dead, breathtakingly hot warrior. Who refuses to give up.
William is secretly a ninth-century Irish nobleman formerly trapped in a dragon’s body. All Maddy knows is that lately, she can hardly resist the urge to lose herself in his powerful arms. But as their uncontrollable passion grows, eerie occurrences in her small coastal Maine town begin to rouse Maddy’s suspicions about her lover. He begs her to trust him, but how can she surrender—body and soul—when she fears the danger he poses to her yearning heart?

My Review:

I was so surprised by this book, normally I don't enjoy time travel or contemporary romance, but I loved this book! I guess it just proves that it's all about the writing and characters!

The time travel and shape shifting elements seemed very believable. They weren't overdone at all. But most of the reason why I loved this book was William. He was a great hero, strong, handsome, and with an unshakable sense of honor. I can really see why Maddy fell for him.

I loved reading about the nursing home where Maddy worked. All the residents were so much fun. It couldn't have been sweeter how William interacted with them and how they helped him get used the 21st century. And of course, they helped him woo Maddy!

I grew tired of Maddy always being down on herself and her looks. Supposedly she was 'saggy' but she was only 27! I got sick of her always whining about it. But I loved that William always loved everything about her. Another thing that bothered me, that I've seen in contemporaries before, was the "girl talk" between Maddy and her best friend Eve. It seemed a little forced, like they were trying too hard to be cool and hip with their chatting.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5 (the nursing home residents :))
Setting: 4/5
Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5 (I love that there's actual elements of the story here! William's beard, and his ever-present watch, and rolled up sleeves)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This is a great book for romance fans looking to try something a little different while still wanting the sweet romance to steal the show.
爵士娱乐华人