Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

Title: The Preacher’s Bride
Author: Jody Hedlund
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Bethany House
Category: Christian/Historical Romance/Fiction
Type: Paperback/Hardcover/Audio

Book Blurb:

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.

Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

Book Excerpt:

The babe’s crying would rip her heart to shreds if she had to listen to it one more minute.
Elizabeth Whitbread shoved open the parlor door and barged inside.
“We need a wet nurse or the babe will die,” she said, meeting the startled gazes of the women surrounding the deathbed of Mary Costin.
“Exactly what do you think you are doing?” Mrs. Grew dropped the long winding sheet and started toward her. “Get out this instant. You are not permitted in here.”
“The babe’s been crying all morning. He needs help.” Elizabeth moved toward the low rocking cradle shoved into a corner of the small room. “I’ll hold him and attempt to comfort him.”
Mrs. Grew stepped in front of her, intersecting her path. She held her shoulders straight and her chin high. “No one is welcome in the parlor for the laying out. Only those of our congregation specified by Sister Costin herself before she died.”
“I won’t disturb your preparations, to besure.” Elizabeth nodded at Sister Norton and the others who had stopped washing the body to stare at her. She’d participated in laying-out rituals before—on her own mother. But the work of preparing the dead body didn’t interest her now.
“I only want to help with the babe.”
“We do not need any assistance.”
“The crying must be a distraction. I’ll take him into the other room of the cottage—”
“Sister Whitbread,” Mrs. Grew said louder, “we can do nothing more for the child. He will tire himself eventually.”
Elizabeth spotted a wooden flask on the floor next to the cradle. “I’ll try feeding him.”
“Each of these women, including myself, has already attempted to suckle him from the bottle. What makes you think you can succeed where no other has?”
“He won’t take it, the poor dear,” Sister Norton said. She clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “The poor, poor dear needs his mother’s milk, and it’s long gone.”
Elizabeth’s gaze trailed to the face of Sister Costin, the pale skin draped over sharp bones. She followed the length of the arm hanging over the edge of the bed, the whiteness of the skin broken by the long dark cut from the bloodletting.
The parish bells of nearby St. Cuthbert had ceased their tolling only a short time ago, but Mary Costin’s life had been counted as dead for more than a fortnight, ever since she’d birthed the babe and caught the fever. Few women survived childbed fever—even fewer newborns lived without their mothers.
Elizabeth faltered and tucked a stray wisp of hair back under her coif. Did she think she could calm the babe when none of these experienced Puritan matrons could?
His cries tore at her heart again. “The babe is in desperate need of a wet nurse.”
“We are quite aware of that,” Mrs. Grew replied. “Do you hold us in such low esteem to think we would not have begun the search by now?”
“Then why hasn’t one been found? In all of Bedford there must be many nursing mothers.”
“You do not know anything about these matters. Moreover, they are not your concern. You must leave the room immediately. Your presence is entirely inappropriate.”
She had overstepped the boundaries of propriety by entering, but she’d only thought to help. ’Twas not a punishable offense to offer one’s aid, was it?
Mrs. Grew regarded her with narrowed eyes and pinched lips, her body tight with
She supposed to a woman of Mrs. Grew’s high social standing and wealth, rules took precedence. But this time couldn’t she make an exception and let her stay? “I’m sorry, Mrs. Grew. ’Twasn’t my intent to disrupt you. I don’t have your great experience or your natural way with infants. But I thought perchance I could be of service in some small way.”
“Your service would be better spent outside with the others in fasting and prayer.” Mrs. Grew’s glare moved from her to the door.
Elizabeth glanced at the cradle. How could she go back outside and pray with the infant’s wails echoing through her head? She had failed to focus before. Over and over she had asked the Lord to provide someone to help the babe. Finally, she’d decided the Lord would have her be that someone.

Favorite Quote:

“Elizabeth.” Sister Norton’s eyes filled with compassion. “Do you think only the good things that happen are the blessings?” … “Our troubles themselves are blessings.”


I have to admit that I started reading this book with a bit of apprehension. When reading Christian Romance, one never knows what the book will entail. Will it end up being a sermon of sorts? Will the story be forgettable and nothing more than religious views condemning the reader for not believing? Not to sound negative, but you never know. However, I have been following Jody Hedlund’s blog tour for her newest release for The Doctor’s Lady for quite a while now. Never once did I come across any bad reviews for the book. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Eventually, I won the book, The Doctor’s Lady on a blog contest. Yay! But I wanted to start things off right and begin with The Preacher’s Bride, Hedlund’s debut novel. I am so glad I did! I generally read romance of the more risqué variety. However, I cut my teeth on Grace Livingston Hill, so I do occasionally return to my roots.

Right away we are introduced to Elizabeth, a strong-willed, young woman who is confident in her faith and conviction that the Lord has called her to help others in need no mater their station in life. John has just lost his wife to sickness, has 3 young children and a newborn, and is in denial that he needs assistance from anyone, most especially Elizabeth. Finally he consents, albeit unwillingly, to her position as his housekeeper. Eventually the two develop a love born of loss, hardship, and a deep love for the Lord. This is not to say that each does not question their role as God’s servants from time to time.

The Preacher’s Bride is not a romance that tied up all pretty and smelling rosy. The hardships that John and Elizabeth endure are heart-breaking at times. Stupid book made me teary on a few occasions; a difficult feat in itself. But the perseverance of John and Elizabeth, even in the midst of such terrifying circumstances, is nothing short of inspirational! I especially loved the Author’s notes at the end of the novel explaining that many of the events within this story are truth, based on the life of John and Elizabeth Bunyan. I was affected profoundly when I realized that much of this work of Historical Fiction was based on the life of real individuals! The bottom line is that this novel is a MUST read; especially for those questioning their faith. Life may not always be flowers and butterflies, but the Lord does see us through, even when we least expect it. I can’t wait to get started on The Doctor’s Lady next!

(downloaded from Amazon Kindle)

Monday, September 26, 2011

ARC Review: Radiant Desire (A Handmaid's Seduction) by Inara Scott

Title: Radiant Desire (A Handmaid’s Seduction)
Author: Inara Scott
Release Date: October 4, 2011     COMING SOON!
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Category: Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Type: Paperback
Click Here To Buy Now!  PRE-ORDER NOW!

Book Blurb:

The object of every man’s fantasy just lost her wings…

Kaia Verde is one of the four Faerie Handmaids of Zafira, Queen of the Fey. To redress an ancient wrong done to Zafira by a human king, the Handmaids make sport of mortal men, seducing and humiliating them. When Kaia sets out to seduce Garrett Jameson, but ends up being the one surrendering to pleasure, Zafira is furious. Kaia’s punishment is simple: make Garrett fall in love with her by the summer solstice, then break his heart, or face eternity without her wings—or her soul. To make the task harder, Zafira tells Kaia she cannot use her faerie magic or charm to lure Garrett into her bed.

…and now she’s losing her heart…

Kaia thinks her task will be relatively easy—as a faerie, she understands lust, and can love be much different? But once she is living among the humans, Kaia discovers the race she once disparaged is far more complex and beautiful than she imagined. She learns before she can break Garrett’s heart, she must find a way to heal it. And eventually, discovers that losing her wings may be a far easier price to pay than losing her heart.

Book Excerpt:

Garrett couldn’t remember ever having met a woman like Kaia Verde. She said things women weren’t supposed to say, was blatantly seductive without being insipid, and seemed to have absolutely no compunction about her desire to get him into bed. Yet when he forced her to back off on the seduction, he found her mind to be as intriguing as her body. She was literate and intelligent. As the evening progressed, their conversation meandered from lamenting the loss of the wetlands in the Everglades to his favorite topic—music. She must have had some sort of formal training, because she knew musical theory well enough to pick apart the merits of the various forms and argue about them with unexpected passion. She loved classical and Celtic music, while he was a fan of jazz and blues. Somehow, she’d even managed to worm out of him his childhood fantasy of being the next Wynton Marsalis, and that was a memory he hadn’t dredged up for decades.

Meanwhile, he knew little more about her than when they first met. He didn’t know where she lived, who she worked for, or even the name of the convention she was supposedly in town to attend. All he knew was that she was smart, funny, and utterly unpredictable. It was a heady combination.

They’d finished one bottle of wine and started another. If she was a prostitute, she was a damn good one. Good enough that maybe he didn’t even mind that she’d probably been spinning lies at him all night long.

As the wine slid through his veins, Garrett watched as Kaia leaned across the table and began to stroke his arm, followed with tiny kisses on his palm. This should have been embarrassing—he’d never been one for public displays of affection. All his good intentions fizzled away under her touch. When he felt her hand under the table, on his knee and then his thigh, he thought he might have died and gone to heaven.

And when she murmured, “Isn’t it time to go somewhere more private?” he couldn’t think of a reason to say no.

Favorite Quote:

“When people come to the "flower shop, you know what they want to say to each other? Two things: I’m sorry, and I love you. That’s it. They say it different ways and with different words, but it comes down to the same thing each time. So I think that’s what it means to be human. I think it means taking chances and risking getting hurt. I think it means loving and forgiving.”


Radiant Desire is the first of Inara Scott’s books that I have had the pleasure to read. I was initially captivated by the fan-damn-tastic cover of the book. Admittedly, I am a sucker for amazing covers. **grins**

This book was an absolute pleasure and I could not put it down. It kept me up into the wee hours of the night when I should have been sleeping. I was captivated from the start of this amazing novel. I have always loved fantasy books. Each allows us to become immersed in characters that we would otherwise leave in the recesses of our minds, not really giving overmuch thought to. I have always loved the idea of faeries; especially after reading Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The playfulness and meddling of the celestial beings was extremely entertaining. Scott successfully brings similar qualities to some of the characters in this book.

I enjoyed that the characters each went through a process to find their happiness. Not only did Caia and Garrett have to work through misguided assumptions that hindered the ability for growth and acceptance, the secondary and supporting characters also went through their own eye-opening experiences at differing times throughout the story. This story has depth beyond the initial feelings generally conveyed in novels. Ideals that some had lived by were challenged. Beliefs were tested. Ultimately each individual had to personally decide their own path: a decision that weighted heavily with happiness and consequences lurking regardless of the chosen course.

What I didn’t like, though somewhat trivial in comparison to the rest of the story, is the lack of closure for Portia. I felt there could have been a bit more added to the Aiden revelation. I appreciated her description in the final chapter, but with the disclosure of her motivation, I felt as if she could have been afforded just a smidge more happiness.

I am assuming that A Handmaid’s Seduction will likely have subsequent installments with each of Caia’s sisters getting their own story. The possibilities are endless with unfulfilled contracts yet to be paid. But you will have to read the story to fully understand the implications of such a statement. Naturally, the idea of a series is just a supposition based on the contents of the final chapter, but an assumption I would dearly love to see manifest. Scott has a talent for spellbinding her readers and keeping them hooked within a story that flows from beginning to end. My time was well spent with Radiant Desire.

(ARC e-book received from @inarascott for review)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Out in Blue (Return to Sanctuary) by Sarah Gilman

Title: Out In Blue (Return to Sanctuary)
Author: Sarah Gilman
Release Date: August, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Category: Paranormal Romance
Type: Kindle/Paperback

Book Blurb:
In a violent world where fallen archangels are hunted for their valuable plumage, Wren knows one thing for certain: the human woman who saved him from a poacher attack will die if she stays with him. The demon responsible for his parents’ gruesome deaths two decades ago pines for the chance to rip apart any woman who stands under Wren’s wing.
Wren doesn’t expect Ginger to stay by his side once she discovers his ability to drain life with a mere touch, yet she lingers. When an unusual talent of her own reveals the location of Wren’s father, Wren’s isolated world implodes. With the help of the demon protectors he’s sworn never to trust again, Wren risks everything to rescue his father, confront the demon who stalks his and Ginger’s every step, and claim his eternity with the most courageous woman he’s ever known.

Book Exerpt:
       The tattoo of a bloody knife and scattered feathers caught Ginger Magellan’s attention. Her stomach curdled at the sight of the archangel poachers’ insignia. The bearer of the gruesome illustration ordered an espresso from the petite girl behind the bar.
       “There isn’t a fallen archangel around here, is there?” The barista’s voice rose.
       “Not for much longer, there won’t be.” He turned away and pulled out his cell phone.
       From where she sat in the café, Ginger wrapped her hands around her coffee and stared into the dark brew, eavesdropping on the poacher’s conversation.
       “The house has been abandoned for years, but it’s the right place. I saw him fly in the fog this morning. Devil has a balcony entrance on the third floor.”
       Devil. Ginger hid a snort of disgust under a fake cough.
       The poacher continued after a moment. “Yeah, white wings, black markings. It’s Wren, for certain. And not a Guardian in sight. He’s all ours.”
       Ginger tensed. No Guardians? Why would an archangel be without his demon bodyguards?
       “Meet you there in thirty? He’ll be back before the fog clears.” The poacher accepted his drink from the barista with a charming grin. She refused his payment and wished him luck. He blew her a kiss and left the café.
       Clenching her teeth, Ginger tucked a twenty under her coffee and rushed for the exit without waiting for change. She stepped into the foggy autumn morning, shivered, and buried her hands in her pockets. Two police officers chatted next to their cruiser, but she turned and hurried in the other direction. Archangel poaching, though technically illegal, was applauded and encouraged by most of the human population. She couldn’t trust the police.
       She’d warn this “Wren” herself.

So I am at somewhat of an impasse with this book. There was a lot that I enjoyed, but a few things that I struggled with as well. First, I really liked the idea of the story. I haven’t come across any romance/paranormal involving fallen archangels and demons as their elite protective body guards (Guardians). I was also hooked by the cover. When I am unfamiliar with an author, the cover plays a huge role in my decision to both purchase and buy. The cover wooed me immediately. Kudos to Gilman for realizing and delivering on the importance of a cover that grabs the reader!

The story itself is captivating and unpredictable. I was not able to predict what would happen next for most of the book. My attention was held until very near the end, when the story seemed to lose a bit of its hold on me.

There are two major problems that I have that left a bad taste in my mouth. The first is that the characters were in-love faster than instantly. There was no attraction, no conflict over whether or not each was really in-love; it was just kind of BAM, right there. Now I am all for the instant attraction that inevitably turns to love, but this was so quick it bordered crazy. Wren’s use of “Gin-love” for Ginger and both of them referring to each other as “mates”, kind of put a damper on things for me. Not to mention the eternal bond created when mating. I would think any woman with common sense would step back a second and really evaluate such a monumental decision with everlasting effects. The other problem that kind of irked me was that the story fell flat toward the end. By that time it was predictable in the sense that you knew what choices would be made and what the outcome would be. I just had a problem with everything being wrapped up so quick and pretty in contrast to all of the drama that took place in the rest of the story.

What really disappointed me was that I received mixed signals from the author. Well, it actually began with the publisher’s disclaimer “Paranomal with Strong Romantic Elements”. What? Okay, I suppose I set myself up for disappointment based on the untrue disclaimer, but I dislike when I feel unfulfilled. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the tamer varieties of novels. After all, I have friends and family who do not appreciate the erotic genres. But I am stuck because the sex is tame, but then you have F**K thrown out in quite a few places, not really allowing me to recommend this book to the more conservative reader. The absence of the F-word would have allowed me to hit an entirely different group of readers that might not normally venture towards a paranormal romance. Granted, the situations likely would have called for an F-bomb or two, but as a reader/reviewer, I need to know who to recommend the books I read to; a struggle I am currently in the midst of.

Personal negatives stated, these complaints are really quite trivial compared to some books I have read. Nor are they big enough to keep me from giving Gilman another shot. I liked that the epilogue gave a quick glimpse into how Wren and Ginger were doing while simultaneously setting up Jett’s story for the next book in the series. Jett very obviously has a helluva past and a ton of issues to sort through. The book has a solid set-up, I just hope that it lives up to its potential. Gilman clearly has a terrific idea in the Return to Sanctuary series. She did her job in pulling me in with both description and cover. I choose to look favorably toward the future in assuming she will keep me interested in Jett’s story and the multitude of unanswered questions about his life that the book will undoubtedly address. Overall, this book was entertaining. Despite my issues with the book, I feel that my time was well spent. Out in Blue is worth the read, so check it out.

(E-book won on Blog contest, )

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

 Title: Second Hand Heart
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Release Date: June 15, 2011
Publisher: Smashwords
Category: Fiction/Literature/Women’s Fiction
Type: Kindle/E-book/Hardback/Paperback

Book Blurb:
Vida is 19 and has never had much of a life. Struggling along with a life-threatening heart condition, her whole life has been one long preparation for death. But suddenly she is presented with a donor heart, and just in time. Now she gets to do something she never imagined she'd have to do: live.

Richard is a 36-year-old man who’s just lost his beloved wife, Lorrie, in a car accident. Still in shock and not even having begun the process of grieving, he is invited to the hospital to meet the young woman who received his wife’s donor heart.

Vida takes one look at Richard and feels she’s loved him all her life. And tells him so. Richard assumes she’s just a foolish young girl. And maybe she is. Or maybe there’s truth behind the theory of cellular memory, and maybe it really is possible for a heart to remember, at least for a time, on its own.

I have a goal of shortening my reviews, but I find I have a lot to say about this book primarily because I relate to it on a number of levels. First and foremost being experience with a child born with a heart condition. Two years ago, at the age of 1 week, my son was diagnosed with Velcardiofacial Syndrome (VCF). This condition occurs at conception, involves the absence of ½ of the 22nd chromosome, and unfortunately can manifest in over 180 ways in any combination. My son was afflicted with bilateral cleft lip, complete cleft palate, club feet, and a double aortic arch causing a vascular ring. At 10 days old, he underwent a vascular ring repair and began his second chance at life. He is one of the “lucky” children with VCF and has been thriving ever since the surgery despite ongoing medical care.

Second, just last month my family experienced the miraculous beauty of the Grand Canyon. Pretty sad that as an Arizona resident it was my first visit there. Every detail mentioned about the canyon was spot on!

Finally, and somewhat ironically, I read this book during a move because we had a 90 minute drive between the old house in Rimrock and our new house in Williams. The mention of Williams made me smile, as well as Vida’s visit to the Williams Visitor Center.

This book follows Vida, a 19 year-old who has come to terms with death because of her life-long struggle with a defective heart. At the last minute she receives a heart and suddenly everything changes. Also followed is Richard, the husband of the donor and his struggle with moving forward. The story, to say the least, is a spectrum of the human ability to cope.

What I disliked in the story was the absence of Vida’s father. His love for her is obvious, but I would have thought he would have played a slightly larger par considering the circumstances.

I enjoyed numerous components to the story beginning with the format. The story is told through a series of journal entries and e-mail correspondences. Readers are given a change of pace through the telling, effectively giving life to the voices sharing their innermost thoughts. I also appreciated the thoughts and discussions surrounding cellular memory. Whatever personal belief one may hold, the theory is definitely beyond intriguing.

I strongly recommend this book for all; especially those who blessedly remain unaffected by such traumatic events. The brief glimpse into such an experience is priceless. The tribute to and resiliency of humans and the ability to evolve, even in the face of such devastating circumstances, is both inspiring and not to be missed in this heart-felt story.

(Kindle book received from author @cryanhyde for review)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ARC: Review: Maximum Witch by Jodi Redford

Title: Maximum Witch (That Old Black Magic, Book 3)
Author: Jodi Redford
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Category: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance/Menage/Erotica
Type: Kindle

Book Blurb:
Who says getting eaten by a shark is a bad thing?

That Old Black Magic, Book 3

Willa Jameson is having one whopper of an identity crisis. Odd memory flashes that aren’t hers. A sultry voice in her head that’s obsessed with sex. Even weirder, she finds herself in the jaws of a rogue leviathan, dragged to the bottom of the ocean—and rescued by a hunky…shark?

The last thing Sheriff Max Truitt expects to find on his daily, deep-Atlantic patrol is a human—especially one who breathes underwater. Compelled to take her home, he waits for the beauty to wake up and reveal her name. Instead he’s treated to a punch in the nose, then a sexy romp hot enough to boil water.

The next morning, embarrassed by the sizzling, scandalous things the voice in her head drove her to do, Willa slips away. But if there’s one thing a determined shark excels at, it’s tracking his favorite meal.

Solving the mystery that is Willa is no simple task. When they finally unlock a dangerous secret hidden deep in her subconscious, it drives a wedge between them…and puts them in a desperate race against an evil that seeks to rain down a watery Armageddon on all mankind. 

Book Exerpt:
       What a f**king shame. Nobody deserved to have their life cut short. He should have finished off the son-of-a-bitch leviathan. Hell, maybe he still would. Not like he wouldn’t be doing the world a favor by ridding it of one less scum.
       Grim fury firing his determination, he started to turn. A small stream of bubbles broke from the woman’s mouth. He froze, disbelief seizing him.
       What the hell? He inched closer, his focus glued to her slackened lips. Was she…breathing?
       He swept his gaze lower and swore he detected the faint rise and fall of her chest. Maybe it was merely his imagination, or an optical illusion perpetuated by the constant ebb and flow of water buffeting her.
       Cursing the present lack of fingers that hindered him from performing a thorough examination, he shot a glance in the direction of the leviathan’s limp body. Not giving himself time to rethink the wisdom of abandoning his shark form while a deadly predator lay less than fifty feet away, he shifted into his human skin and pressed his middle and index fingers against her carotid artery.
       Sure enough, the steady drumming of her pulse verified his suspicions. He exhaled in bewildered shock, expelling his own series of oxygen-loaded bubbles.
       His brain immediately snapped into investigative mode and began cycling through probabilities. Could she be a water shifter? One that didn’t require gills while in human form, like him? Possibly, but something kept him from clinging too tightly to that theory. For starters, it made no sense that she wouldn’t have shifted into her alter form when the leviathan snatched her. Even with an ability to breathe under water, a shifter remained a thousand times more vulnerable in their human skin. Unless she’d been unconscious when the beast grabbed her—and what were the odds?—she wouldn’t have left herself open to attack.
       Well, whatever the hell she was, he couldn’t leave her stranded in the middle of the damn Atlantic.

Favorite Quote:
“Harrison and Reva decided it would be best to leave the six leviathan henchmen in the minivan while they ransacked the Jameson girl’s apartment. In all honesty, it killed Harrison just a little bit inside to be chauffeuring his hand-picked death squad around in a f**king minivan. The future leader of the world did not cruise in the same vehicle that shuttled soccer kids to and fro, for f**k’s sake. It was an abomination. First chance he got, he was stealing a godd**n tank.”

Jodi Redford raises the stakes … and succeeds! Can we talk about that wicked hot cover for just a second? I was practically drooling all over myself before I had read the first page. How frickin hot is that gorgeous body with that sexy tattoo? And I love how the hands are wrapped around him, but the rest is unseen. Sensual? Absolutely!

Personally, I have read a lot of books with shifters, but this is the first time I have experienced ocean-dwelling shifters and then some. You name it, seals, nymphs, sharks, seagulls (yeah, I said seagulls), mermaids, walruses, puffer fish, leviathans … makes for a very interesting cast. This story picks up where Book 2, The Seven Year Witch ends with poor Willa being led against her own will toward the ocean; a place she is deathly afraid of. Max is both Sheriff of the area and on rounds that night when he encounters Willa being dragged deep into the ocean by a leviathan. Max rescues her and discovers that she is breathing under water, but an unconscious Willa has no recollection of the feat when she comes to.

Eventually Max pieces together a few cold cases with his vast knowledge of the Atlantean population. Yep – as in Atlantis! I have to admit, I was wondering how a  witch story with the heroine in imminent peril was going to work for the third time in a row, but the Atlantis spin took everything to a whole new level. No stale reused story plots here! I also liked how parts of Book 1 tied into Book 3 allowing the components to all three stories click together. That said, with Book 2, you would be better off reading Book 1 first. However, with Maximum Witch, a reader could read it on its own and be able to understand without any gaping holes left wide open.

I do have a few questions though. How did Willa get away from being Domino’s assistant? I mean, impending danger was probably automatic for a leave of absence or something. But one day she is working and the next day she’s not; nor do we hear anything else about working for Domino. Anyone who has read the previous books knows Domino is NOT going to allow that to just happen. And what is with Boone and Justin? Blushes and what not all over the place, but nothing developed or was explained in plain text. Do we have a possible Book 4 in plotting phase? Also, Willa is best friends with Marabella, so where does she go? Wouldn’t she want to spill her guts to her best friend? Just seems like we would have seen more of Marabella during the emotional turmoil of the last few chapters. Now these questions are not paramount to the immediate story of Max and Willa, they are just little nags in the back of my head.

Now, a shifting shark? I too had my brows raised a time or two. By the end of the story – errr – more like by a very creative bathtub scene, the ever talented Max, water manipulating extraordinaire, had me begging for a Tiger shark of my own! Kudos to Redford for keeping my interest with creative spins that broke outside the box, entertaining me from start to finish.

(**book won in Twitter contest, @sknighteditor)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review: The Seven Year Witch by Jodi Redford

Title: The Seven Year Witch (That Old Black Magic, Book 2)
Author: Jodi Redford
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Category: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance/

Book Blurb:
After this much foreplay, something’s bound to combust.

That Old Black Magic, Book 2

As head mistress of Beaumont coven house, Clarissa Miles has perfected two things: keeping her sister witches from accidently turning innocent bystanders into toads, and resisting the sexy overtures of her familiar, werewolf Logan Scott.

But her resolve is vanishing—fast. Seven years ago she sold her soul to save her father, and that contract is coming due. The allure of spending her last days indulging in some dirty, naked loving is too tempting to resist.

Logan has patiently ridden out the past seven years, content to do Clarissa’s bidding and ignoring his consuming need to mark her as his. Now that the ban on witch/familiar fraternizing has been lifted, he’s off the leash and ready to launch a full-on sensual assault on her defenses. They’re destined mates, and he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her.

It’s delightfully easy to get her in bed. Get at her heart? Not so much. Especially when a deadly predator stakes its claim on her…and Logan faces a battle not only to win her heart, but save her soul. 

Book Exerpt:
She turned and caught Logan watching her, his usual cockiness absent. The tenderness in his amber eyes threatened to do her in. Not about to give in to the tears prickling at the backs of her eyelids, she began walking toward the house. The faint scritch of Logan’s jeans riding against the metal hardware of his boots let her know she wasn’t alone. Not in the physical sense, anyway. But in just about every other way, she was all on her own. She’d learned a long time ago that it hurt a hell of a lot less if she gave in and accepted the realities of her life.
“Ms. Peach shouldn’t have said that. About you not having a heart. It isn’t true.”
“How do you know?” She snorted. “Maybe I’m the world’s first living heart donor.” Her self-mockery managed to spackle the hairline crack that’d started to weaken her defenses.
“Shug, it’s okay to be upset.”
“I’m not.”
A tiny, frustrated sigh fizzled from Logan. “I still think you need to blow off some steam. Let me take you on that bike ride.”
And be surrounded by him and that vibrator on wheels? Can anyone say torture? “I already told you I can’t.”
“Why? You’ve taken care of the problem with Peach.”
“Yes, but there are a ton of other things I need to take care of.” Not the least of which was figuring out how to handle her upcoming meeting with Seven.
Faster than she could blink, Logan stepped in front of her, blocking her path. “You’re afraid to be alone with me. Admit it.”
She gave a laugh that sounded forced, even to her ears. “Don’t be ridiculous. We’ve been alone many times.”
“Not so often lately.” His eyes sparkled with challenge. “Not since I kissed you in your office.”
Her face uncomfortably hot, she swallowed. Hard. Damn him, he would have to dredge up memories of the kiss that’d shaken her more than a 6.0 earthquake. “You’re imagining things.”
“Am I?” He brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, the soft glide of his knuckles along her skin making her shiver. The gold specks in his irises seemed to glow with an inner heat. “Or maybe you’re scared s**tless about the way I make you feel.”
“Honestly, your ego is out of control.”
“Then prove it. Come ride with me.” He twined the wayward, springy lock of her hair that refused to stay in place around his forefinger. “I promise I’ll behave.”
“Please, we both know that’s physically impossible for you.”
A noise that sounded suspiciously like the cluck of a chicken broke from him, making her teeth grind. “Thank you for proving my point.”
His cackle grew louder, and she waggled a finger in warning. “I’m perfectly capable of shutting you up. Permanently, if I so choose. Might want to remember that.”
He grinned. “Ah, shug, you know you’d miss the sound of my sexy voice.”
Favorite Quote:
“You know it’s true, Rissa. You’re the queen of my everything. You have me. All of me. Heart, body and soul.” 

I was pleasantly surprised with this book; Book 2 in the That Old Black Magic series. Sometime a follow-up novel falls short, or seems a bit too much like the first one. Not in this case! Redford kept up the action once again from start to finish. Constant excitement in both overcoming obstacles and hot, steamy sex scenes.

In Book 1, That Voodoo You Do, we were introduced to supporting characters Clarissa and Logan with hints sporadically tossed in that there was another case of mutual attraction denied to the bitter end. Thanks to Griffin and Jemma in the preceding book, the ban has been lifted, which had previously forbidden witches to fraternize with their familiars. The good being that complications were avoided between to dependent relationships, the bad being those that developed strong feelings faced dire consequences for an act of intimacy; not even allowed to speak of love.

Clarissa finds herself in a pickle with a debt coming due while trying desperately to ignore the seductive advances of her wolf familiar, Logan. Eventually, she decides to enjoy her spoils for the remainder of her time (one short week) prior to her imminent death. Clarissa just fails to mention any of this guaranteed hindrance toward a permanent future to Logan. Confused by the retracting and resurrection of Clarissa’s invisible, though effective emotional shield, Logan sets out to claim Clarissa as his mate for life guided by his wolf sense. But will death be the ultimate blockade that the two cannot break through? Read it yourself to find out!

I honestly have no complaints about this book. Knowing a bit of history of Clarissa and Logan from Book 1 allowed an easy understanding of explanations in Book 2. The book flowed easily throughout, facilitating a quick and easy read.

What I loved about this book was the correlation between the seven deadly sins and a little message relating how nurturing any of those sins, however slight, can effect life in a tremendous way. The message was subtle, but compelling. This book also briefly incorporates the family dynamic and how lasting effects can damage when players within the fold are out of whack. I also enjoyed getting to revisit Griff and Jemma and their pending nuptuals. Logan’s southern drawl and fierce dedication to his life mate is both endearing and erotic. **Le sigh** Don’t we all dream of such devotion? Pick up your copy and continue the adventure of witches, shifting familiars, a creepy demon, and a love destined from the start.

(**book received from Author, @jodiredford)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: That VooDoo You Do by Jodi Redford

Title: That Voodoo You Do (That Old Black Magic, Book 1)
Author: Jodi Redford
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Category: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance/Menage/

Book Blurb:
Something dead this way comes…

That Old Black Magic, Book 1

For ten long years Griffin Trudeau has managed to keep his paws off Jemma Finnegan, best friend and leading star of his kinkiest fantasies. As her appointed cat familiar, indulging those fantasies with the delectable witch is strictly forbidden. But when Jemma shows up at his door with seduction in mind, control goes right out the window.

Too late he realizes making love to Jemma is the trigger that launches a zombie apocalypse.

Jemma’s been dealt a double whammy: she’s just discovered she’s a witch. And Griff has been hiding whiskers and a tail. Oh, and if her life wasn’t crazy enough, a dead voodoo queen needs her blood to raise a legion of zombies.

There’s one plan that might work to increase Jemma’s powers so she can put an end to the looming holocaust. A sexy threesome with Griff and Logan Scott, a werewolf familiar with a history of rubbing Griff’s fur the wrong way. A cat and a wolf playing nice, much less sharing? It’ll take a miracle.

Book Exerpt:
Griffin Trudeau didn’t know it, but he was about to have his bones jumped.

Bumping her car door shut with her rear end, Jemma Finnegan resituated her corset top, strategically plumping her cleavage to maximum overload. Satisfied her best assets were properly displayed, she strolled toward the log home nestled in the thick stand of white pines. The butterflies that’d taken up residence in her belly for the past hour started doing a drunken version of the Macarena. Sure, she’d taken this walk hundreds of times, but never with the end goal of seducing her best friend.

Hell, one of them had to get the ball rolling. If she left it to Griff to act on their mutual attraction, her vagina would shrivel up.

The windows flanking the front door were cracked an inch, allowing the spicy aroma of oregano and thyme to waft outside and taunt her nostrils. Okay, maybe she’d wait until after gobbling a bowl of Griff’s world-class spaghetti before tackling him into bed.

She gave a warning rap on the door and stepped inside the foyer. Normally she’d kick off her shoes and enjoy walking around barefoot, but the sexy high heels she’d splurged on gave her a much-needed boost of confidence. Not to mention they made her short legs appear longer. Hell, she needed to use all the ammunition at her disposal to get Griff panting after her.

“Lucy, I’m home.” Following the faint strains of Bob Seger playing on the radio, she trekked into the kitchen and found Griff hunkered in front of the étagère. The overhead track lighting accentuated the natural highlights in his sable strands, making her fingers itch to run through his hair. Apparently oblivious of the effect he had on her, he continued inspecting the various labels before reaching for a bottle of red wine. His broad shoulders shifted enticingly beneath his forest-green polo shirt and she dragged in a deep breath, willing the delicious scent of Griff’s cooking to beat her libido into submission.

“Hey, Jem? I don’t have Chianti. Will you lower your lofty standards this once and drink merlot instead?” He swung his head in her direction. The expression that crossed his face made the contortionist dance it’d taken to squeeze into her skintight jeans and the corset top totally worth it.

Smothering her grin of triumph, she rounded the kitchen island, her black patent stiletto heels clicking on the wooden floor planks. She stopped in front of him and leaned down, planting her breasts squarely in his face. “Would you like me to get that?”

He didn’t immediately answer. His focus, however, remained glued to her cleavage.

Ground control, we have contact.

Favorite Quote:
“That fantasy isn’t what I really want.” She traced the line of his jaw, her eyes shimmering with moisture. “It’s you. It’s always been you.”

Jodi Redford delivers a fast-paced read packed with everything the paranormal/romance genre craves. Witches, ghosts, zombies, and of course those delectable shape-shifting familiars. Redford has an ability to transition smoothly, while keeping the flow moving without causing confusion for the reader.

The chemistry between Jemma and Griffin is earth shattering – especially after denying their feelings for so long. Yay Jemma for taking the situation in hand – you may have began a zombie apocalypse, but hey, you got your man and had some pretty apocalyptic sex too; literally.

My only complaint is that everything happens so fast! If I was faced with the many realizations thrust upon Jemma in so short a time, I would have lost my damn mind. However, the obstacles thrust upon Jemma helped keep the story alive with excitement from beginning to end.

What I loved was the light banter that continued between the characters even when faced with the dark gloom hanging overhead. Of course the hot, steamy sex didn’t hurt any either. Redford effectively left us wanting more with the epilogue of That Voodoo You Do setting up the premise of Book 2, The Seven Year Witch; Clarissa and Logan’s story. I flew through this story and cannot wait until I start Book 2.

(**book received from Author, @jodiredford)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: The Arrival (Birthright Trilogy #1) By Nicole MacDonald

Check out the review I completed for The Pen & Muse! Click on the link below!

Title: The Arrival (Birthright Trilogy #1)
Author: Nicole MacDonald
Release Date: December 22, 2010
Publisher: Smashwords
Category: Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Romance
Review: The Arrival (Birthright Trilogy #1) By Nicole MacDonald 

Ready ... Set ... Go ...

So I just created this blog yesterday both on a whim and from encouragement of friends. I spend a lot of time at home and choose to spend any free time reading. I have so many books I have read and many more that I have to read. I decided that I could do something more than just read, so I did a bit of checking and decided to contribute through a blog featuring reviews of books I have read.

Although I have read a ton of books, I have decided to go back through a majority of them prior to reviewing them simply because I want the book to be fresh in my mind when I write about it. If you are here and there are no posts yet, it is because I am working on some reviews to post. They will be up and ready soon!

I look forward to posting reviews and getting feedback from others that have both differing and similar point of view.

Also, I am very new to blogging. I have no idea how to add pictures and such - know nothing about HTML - and welcome any hints, tips, or suggestions anyone has!

Bring on the newest adventure in my life!