Review — Tempted by Rebecca Zanetti

It’s been a long time since I sat down and read a book in one sitting…a long time. And I fell into TEMPTED by accident. I’d signed up for a giveaway of Ms. Zanetti’s latest release, SHADOWED over at Tome Tender Book Blog (http://tometender.blogspot.com/), although I didn’t win, the book sounded interesting. Then while scanning through my Kindle looking for the next read, I saw that I had TEMPTED. What a great discovery TEMPTED and Ms. Zanetti turned out to be. TEMPTED is a wonderful take on the whole vampire genre. I like Ms. Zanetti’s entire concept about mates and extra chromosomes. Her writing style is sharp, sassy, and super sexy. I absolutely loved the hero, Max, and heroine, Sarah. Her secondary characters also were a joy and fleshed out extremely well.

Ms. Zanetti’s technique drew me in and the real world disappeared as I stayed up into the wee hours finishing TEMPTED. I’m not sure if I should thank Ms. Zanetti or chastise her for my lack of sleep.

If I have one complaint it’s that the ending seemed rushed. I wanted more! But I guess that’s what good writing is all about, leaving the reader wanting more and that’s what Ms. Zanetti did, left me wanting. Looks like TEMPTED is the third book in the Dark Protectors series, so I’ll have to start at the beginning, but TEMPTED worked as a standalone. And now that I’ve hopped onto the Dark Protectors series bandwagon, I’m sure I won’t regret the ride. A well deserved 5 stars!

Focused. Strong. True.

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Tempted — Rebecca Zanetti

Review — Torn (Beneath the Shadows of Evil #2) by Jolynn Raymond

TORN begins exactly where TAKEN left off as tormented Mikhal attempts to prove himself as a man who loves Alliana and can control his beast. Since I’d read TAKEN (the first in the series), I was prepared for Ms. Raymond’s many POV changes. The typos, formatting issues, misspellings, incorrect word choices (quite when it should be quiet) etc., were still present and in full force.

However, a curious thing happened. Since Ms. Raymond writes in multiple POVs, I found myself very interested in two secondary characters, Natalya and Lucian. The growing sexual tension between them not only held my interest, but I looked forward to reading about them almost more than Alliana and Mikhal. Most authors would’ve kept Natalya’s and Lucian’s story for another series, but not Ms. Raymond. I almost feel guilty because it’s like I’m getting two books for the price of one.

Extensive introspection throughout the book occurs just like in TAKEN and several scenes could have been shortened to increase the pacing and action. To compensate, I skimmed through some passages. But for all the hiccups, I remained interested in the storylines. Editing can be learned, but the ability to write an intriguing book that holds a reader’s attention requires a great imagination and an innate ability not everyone can master. Although I so wish Ms. Raymond would find a proper copy editor, I’m anxious to read TREASURED to learn how Alliana and Mikhal fare as parents while Natalya and Lucian struggle to deny growing (and inappropriate) feelings toward one another.

Please remember, you must be willing to overlook the editing issues and multiple POV changes. If you cannot then I’m not sure if you’ll enjoy the book. But if you can, the day might pass you by as you lose yourself within the storylines of these intriguing characters.

Focused. Strong. True.

(Click on the image to visit Jolynn)

Torn — Jolynn Raymond

Review — Taken (Beneath the Shadows of Evil #1) by Jolynn Raymond

This was a very hard review for me. I only review books I like and I initially stopped reading TAKEN. Why? Was it because the book was too dark? No, as an ex‐cop, I’ve seen what real demons look like in our world. I stopped reading because Ms. Raymond is a very unconventional writer and her technique threw me completely out of sorts.

Every type of writing has a style and within those styles there are certain “rules” the writer is supposed to live by. Well, Ms Raymond has a writing style all her own and doesn’t care about the rules! She loves to change point of views, not just once or twice, but several times. You’ll be reading from one person’s POV at the beginning of a paragraph only to end the paragraph from a different POV. If I remember right, we even had an omniscient POV a few times. And she’s an equal POV opportunist—it doesn’t matter if we only see the character once in the book because chances are, for a few short lines, we get to read from that incidental character’s POV. Now, I’ve said this before, I don’t mind head‐hopping (and truth be told, I tend to enjoy it) if it’s done well. Because Ms. Raymond jumps from one person to the next so regularly, I sometimes had a hard time knowing whose head I was in until the end of the paragraph and that was frustrating.

This book also had format errors, misspellings, and typos to add into the mix of why I initially put it down. So, what made me pick it up again? Because Ms. Raymond did something writers dream of doing and what good writers accomplish—she made me care. After I shelved the book, I spent the entire day wondering about Alliana, the poor gypsy girl married to the soulless demon, Mikhal. I wondered what new torture he’d inflict on her as she stood proud before him, refusing to back down. I longed to see a little bit of compassion in his eyes as his journey to redemption begins. Ms. Raymond made me care about these characters and that is great storytelling.

If you decide to read this book, you must understand a few things first: you will be jumping from not one or two, but several POVs. This book also is not for the faint of heart because as a demon, Mikhal truly is a heartless, cruel bastard. There is a lot of introspection at times which slows down the action. And finally, the ending just stops practically in mid sentence, there is no conclusion. You will be left hanging! If these attributes are going to bother you, then you might not enjoy the book. But if you remain vigilant, you might just surprise yourself and discover that you too care about the sweet, smart, and strong Alliana and the demon whose soul she’ll save, whether he wants her to or not.

Now excuse me while I go read TORN, the second in the series.

Focused. Strong. True.

(Click on image to visit Jolynn)

Taken — Jolynn Raymond

Review — SHADOWS of the SOUL by Angelique Armae

SHADOWS of the SOUL started off like gang busters for me. Ms. Armae does an excellent job of drawing the reader into her world. I loved her description (the rain didn’t just fall on the heroine, the rain assailed her). Words such as assailed are great descriptive words that create such a terrific reading environment for me.

SOUL was written in first person and I’m usually not a first person fan, but I fell in love with the heroine, Isabel. She’s a tough, passionate character with a terrific sense of humor. The hero, Nicolai, also is super sexy—loved that his uncle is none other than Lucifer!

About half way through the book slowed a bit. Ms. Armae’s attention to detail can also be a double‐edged sword and bogged down the pace in some of the scenes. I’d also hoped for more—I’m not sure how to say this in a politically correct fashion, so I’ll just say it—SEX in the bedroom. I mean Nicolai is half demon for crying out loud!

(A special comment to Ms. Armae would be to get another copy editor next time because the one you had didn’t do your work justice. There were just too many typos and missed track‐change marks for a book of this quality). But those few concerns didn’t prevent me from enjoying the fantastic world Ms. Armae created. Her main and secondary characters were a joy to discover and had vivid lives of their own. Nicely done.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Shadows of the Soul — Angelique Armae

Review — Across the Veil by Lisa Kessler

I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to read ACROSS THE VEIL and was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Kessler has an easy‐to‐read writing style that lured me into her world and characters. For a short story, she had a lot of information to get across and she did so with beautiful, descriptive sentences and heated conflict between the characters. The initial re‐union between Talia and Keth was a bit rushed for me, but this is a short story after all! I guess that just means Ms. Kessler either needs to write a novel length prequel or sequel to VEIL so that I can truly fall in love with the characters and the wonderful fae world she creates.

Focused. Strong. True.

(Click on image to visit Lisa)

Across the Veil — Lisa Kessler

Review — LORD of the FADING LANDS by C.L. Wilson

Although I also read this book and the series during their original release, FADING LANDS is one of those rare stories that I can read over and over. Ms. Wilson’s lyrical writing style captures me as a reader and doesn’t let me go. I lose myself in her words. Her world‐building is fantastic and the ending blew me away—totally didn’t see it coming. I consider Ms. Wilson one of the best contemporary fantasy romance authors today.

So, although this series isn’t new, if you love fantasy romance you’re missing out if you don’t read it. Truly, FADING LANDS is fantasy romance at its best.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Review — RISE of the FALLEN by Donya Lynne

I admit that I picked up this book because of the cover. What a great cover!!! And the book didn’t disappoint. From the first page I was drawn into Micah’s heartache and pain. Ms. Lynne did an incredible job of making me feel like I was in the room with Micah as he tried to ease his torment. Throughout the entire story, I enjoyed Micah the most. Having said that, I also liked the heroine, little Ms. Dynamo, Sam. I could easily picture her in my mind and loved her tough‐as‐nails attitude.

The story was unique and kept me interested throughout. I did, however, find a few things intriguing in Ms. Lynne’s writing style. On occasion, she would switch the point of view and throw the reader into another character’s mind for a sentence or two before jumping back into the original speaker. Some would argue that this “head‐hopping” is a no‐no, but jumping from one POV to another has never bothered me as long as I don’t end up confused as to whose head I’m in! And Ms. Lynne did a nice job of keeping me straight. Also, there were a few scenes devoted to secondary characters that never tied back to the plot. Once I read the About the Author blurb at the end of the story, I now think Ms. Lynne did that as a way to tease the reader on her upcoming books in this series. Personally, I would’ve preferred it if those scenes weren’t included in RISE. Ms. Lynne is a strong enough writer that she didn’t need to include teasers for her next book, although I must admit she did it in a very non‐cliché way. Fine job. Good book.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Rise of the Fallen — Donya Lynne

Review — Ghostland by Jory Strong

Ghostland is a dynamic and riveting tale set in post‐apocalyptic earth. From the first page I was swept away with the story. The heroine’s strength is subtle, but undeniable. The hero, everything you’d want a hero to be…and then some! Unforeseen twists in the plot kept me guessing until the very last page. Books like Ghostland are hard for me to read. Why? Because Jory Strong’s talent quickly ensnared me in the world she created, because I stayed up until the early morning hours reading under the covers, because I had an uncontrollable urge to flip to the last ten pages so I could see how the story ended; and when it finally did end, I was saddened because it was over. So, if you enjoy losing yourself in an exceptionally well‐written story with vivid world‐building and outstanding characters, Ghostland will live up to all your expectations.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Ghostland — Jory Strong

Review — Home by Calisa Rhose

I thoroughly enjoyed HOME. Calisa Rhose does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the atmosphere of small town life as a veteran returns from the Vietnam War and tries to piece his life back together. Through Calisa’s detailed expression, I was able to experience the isolation Sam felt as he tried to cope with post traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt. The heroine, Poppy, was a spunky, fire‐in‐her‐belly gal that I loved from the beginning and whose unconditional love would heal Sam’s wounded heart. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Calisa Rhose.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Home — Calisa Rhose

Review — Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Fantastic!!!

If asked, I’m not going to admit that I spent the entire day at work glued to my iPhone because I could not stop reading this book! Persephone is a fresh and interesting interpretation of Greek mythology. The story moves at a brisk pace, and the characters are distinct and alive with emotion. I immediately sympathized with the heroine and enjoyed the romantic tension between her and Hades. Kaitlin Bevis’ attention to detail created a vivid picture in my mind so I could disappear within the pages. My only complaint is that the book ended and I have to wait for the next. If you are looking for a young adult read with unexpected twists and turns in the journey these characters must traverse, Persephone will not disappoint.

Focused. Strong. True.

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Persephone — Kaitlin Bevis
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