Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Heart of Darkness by Susan Krinard, Maggie Shayne, and Gena Showalter

Heart of Darkness
Gena Showalter, Susan Krinard, Maggie Shayne
Publisher: Harlequin Spice
ISBN: 9780373774319
Length: 328 Pages
Published 12/29/09
Price $7.99

Most the time when I read a collection of stories it's because one of the authors has a big enough name to draw me in. Sometimes you get lucky to find a gem, but most of the time the new authors don't have a refined voice yet and their story isn't quite as captivating as the others.

But even with that said, short is better at times such as now. When the kids are home from school and the babies are under foot. There is a lot less time to kick back with a good book, and having a good story in so few pages can still emotionally satisfying. So sit back, take your shoes off and read. The Christmas decorations will still be there next week. They can wait to be put away.

Here's some tidbits about each of the stories. I'll try not to share too many spoilers.

The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter
Lysander is an archangel on a search and destroy mission. He is baffled when for the first time in his life he feels desire, and the overwhelming magnetic attraction is coming from his target, a harpy named Bianka that descended from Lucifer. I loved this fun twist on the never ending battle between good and evil. Gena Showalter wrote a pageturner. I could not put this book down until I finished this story and it left me with a lasting memory long after I shut the book.

Love Me To Death by Margaret Benson
David grew up with a guilty conscience. A runaway girl named Sierra, that he happened to have a crush on was staying at an abandoned house that he set on fire with a maltov cocktail. Twenty two years later he worked as a firefighter, trying to forget his pain through heroic actions. The romance in this story has a long build up, much like watching a horror movie, I kept waiting for something to break the tension, expecting that something to be supernatural. A bloodsucking vampire didn't jump out through the pages and it wasn't the ghost I had been expecting, more like love reincarnated. Huh, while interesting I found the flashbacks to be distracting and take me out of the 'now' of the story, but overall it was a good romance.

Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard
Leo Erskine and The Dowager Duchess believes she is an Egyptian Princess reincarnated and normally aloof Leo Erskine thinks she is delusional even if she is beautiful. This romance is written more in the classic tradition of Regency romances, with all the rules of high society a very enjoyable read and my second favorite in the volume.

This anthology was like eating at a buffet, giving you a small taste of each author's style. You may not like all the stories, but you're sure to find at least one new author to enjoy. I know I did.

Happy reading,
Your friendly neighborhood dirtygirl!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wild Wyoming Nights by Sandy Sullivan

Wild Wyoming Nights
Sandy Sullivan
by Siren Publishing
Length 202 Pages
Price $5.50

I've been on a western reading kick lately, so I've been culling through my endless to be read pile and picked out a relatively new Siren author to try. It always surprises me when the main romance characters start out in a relationship, but it's not for long.

Abigail is married to a firefighter, and today's date is September 11th. Get the picture? *Sigh. Not surprisingly, newly widowed Abbigail wants to start over and leave some of the heartache in the past along with her memories of her late husband Josh. His ghost visits her and tells her to love again. She needs to heal, she needs to be happy and that's not much to ask, but she still clings to his ghost.

Abby totals her jeep in a wild snowstorm and is injured. Chase is the volunteer firefighter who is the first to respond. When she first sees him, she mistakes hi for her dead huisband. She isn't the only one with mental baggage. He lost his wife to an accident much like the one Abigail was in.

For me the devil is in the details. Even in a contemporary romance, I want all the characters fully fleshed out and researched and Sandy did her job without info dumping. I felt like I was there because of her vivid attention to detail especially with the technical and medical terminology.

At times WILD WYOMING NIGHTS was heart wrenching, and at other times it was sweet and sexy going down like a smooth hot chocolate--perfect for warming up a cold winter's night. The end delivered where it promised a deeply satisfying happily ever after. Overall, Ms. Sullivan penned a very enjoyable read.

5 Stars

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Buy Now

**Disclaimer: I did recieve a copy of the book for review purposes. Being free does not sway my opinion, and I offer this review honestly to my readers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Smooth Talking Stranger
Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-35166-3

I have read enough of Lisa Kleypas work that I pretty much buy her books on sight now if I happen to see one in the store. She is poignant and has the ability to design three dimensional characters that seem very real.

This time I was a little disappointed. It was like reading a bad movie on the lifetime channel for women. Sure, the book was full of drama and angst, but it's just not what I am looking for in a romance book.

I was irritated when I opened the first page and found it was written in first person. I hate reading books in first person. You don't get to look at all the characters points of view, everything's one sided. It's never as fun to read the sex scenes. I usually excuse this point of view in mysteries and I decided to do my best and ignore it in this case too.

Remember, I really like this author. I want to read this book. More than anything I want to enjoy it. So I keep reading.

Ella is in a long term relationship that is safe but not really committed. She doesn't speak to family because they are just weird and it feels like she is always tryiong to be the peacemaker and fix everyone's problems. Her mother calls to tell her that her sister dropped off a baby and if she doesn't pick it up, she will be dropping it off at Social Services.

Ella's current boyfriend wants nothing to do with it and won't even let her bring it home. He is very unsupportive and it's eye opening to the reader and to all the characters around Ella, but she is oblivious. Ella takes on the child wanting to do the right thing and immediately falls in love.

Her sister is very secretive about the father and is in a mental hospital recovering from her toxic relationships. Ella. does a little detective work and comes up with a list of possible Daddies. Jack is the first guy she accuses of being the father, and it's kind of a weird place to start a romantic relationship, but the sparks are there and Ella is currently in a relationship so she denies they are there.

She goes home at some point to find she has been in an open relationship all along and she didn't know it. In the end, she has to give back the baby and she commits to
Jack. In the Epilogue, the baby goes back to Ella because her sister can't deal with him on the road during an affair with a married man.

Now, don't get me wrong, but the open relationship that she was in bothered Ella. How is she supposed to be approving of her sisters affair with her married man? Does she just shut up so she can keep the baby? Does it really matter if her sister is happy living that way when it's almost guaranteed to end painfully?

I hated this book. It did stir up emotion in me but not in a good way. I understand what the author is probably going through and possibly even getting bored with her writing. So she is pushing the envelope. It's difficult to write a romance around a baby so she had to try it. She had to try first person because she needed a change, but I don't enjoy it as much as a reader.

There were things the author thought about ahead of time, and because the main characters of the book would be having sex, she set the crib up in the living room and not in the bedroom. The characters set to have a relationship were made for each other. One is a first born and the hero is a baby or middle child with those kind of traits. It's something this author is known for paying attention to, the personality traits and I love that, but the had to go in places I didn't like. Bringing up the sexual molestation, the mother who would seduce her boyfriends, the crap no one wants to deal with wasn't necessary. I read romances to escape the traditional problems in life, not to throw my mind deeper into the trash pit of modern day civilization. The happily ever after doesn't excuse that.

So I am giving her two stars for this book.

2 stars

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hungry for Your Love by Various Ravenous Romance authors

by Ravenous Romance Authors
Published by Ravenous Romance
Retail Price $6.99/ $4.99 on the publisher website
ISBN-13: 978-1-60777-308-5

Okay, I have to admit my curiosity was piqued when Lori Perkins the editor of HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE approached me to do a book review. (Yes that means I got a free copy so I could review the book, now that the FTC disclosure is out of the way, I can tell what I thought about it.) I was absolutle dumbstruck. An entire anthology of zombie romances? What's sexy about dead people? Oh wait, there's an entire sub-industry of vampire romances aren't there? Okay, I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised.

Anthologies are tricky to review because sometimes you don't enjoy every story the same. One may leave you with better vibes than others so I'm going to try to say a little something about most of the individual stories. Some I left out or this would be an unusually long review.

Romance Ain’t Dead by Jeremy Wagner--A first person recollection of a husband that brought his dead wife back to life after drowning in Lake Michigan. Cute and sweet in a slightly morbid way.

Revanants Anonymous by Francesca Lia Block--This one leans more towards the horror side of the spectrum. It opens in a meeting for flesh eating zombies who want to connect with what's left of their human side. This one showed the main characters connecting really well.

I Heart Brains by Jaime Saare--This was like reading something out of the Twilight Zone. A man needs to buy a new body since catching the zombie virus. He finds one that will work, but he has to meet the wife of the deceased as a stipulation to buying it. I feel like I missed out on something to miss nine months and then have a glimpse of the relationship at the 'I love you' stage.

Everyone I Love is Dead by Elizabeth Coldwell--Elizabeth has integrated the undead with the living and they have jobs and eat animal body parts so they don't have to eat human brains. Mark comes back after being dead four years and dates the woman he used to love. It was enjoyable and kind of sweet in a morbid way.

Through Death to Love by S.M. Cross--This starts out in a speech therapy session for zombies but does turn into a date.

Later by Michael Marshall Smith--The hero loses his girlfriend suddenly in an accident but is able to bring her back later. It's written using telling and not showing in some places and I was disappointed in the ending, but this story does overcome death sharing just how much the hero loves his woman.

Overall, this was a good read. It may have been started on a double dog dare, but HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE was good enough to start a cult following. I can see zombies being the new vampires of romance. Which is good, because I was getting a little tired of fangs.

Buy your copy today here:


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cowboys Don't Dance by Missy Lyons and Cherie Denis

This book was given to me by one of the authors for the sole purpose of reviewing it, and I was happy to pick up something different to read for once. A western romance always catches my attention and who could ignore that cowboy on the cover? Certainly not me.

Cowboys Don't Dance
by Missy Lyons and Cherie Denis
Published by Siren Publishing
Price $3.99

Cowboys Don't Dance has more than a sexy cowboy on the cover to offer readers. Even though he is oddly disconcerting and mesmerizing, I tore my eyes away long enough to read the ebook.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

It had a slow start for the first few pages, but then the story takes off suddenly with Jesse returning home after years on the rodeo circuit. Angela is his best friends baby sister and she secretly loved him while he could have any woman he wanted. He seems to be engaged, but it turns out Linda has jumped the gun, announcing the engagement before she bothers to tell him. The breakup was kind of funny actually.

Jesse shows up to the dance lessons, because he feels obligated and he likes Angela as a friend, while she thinks he is there for his fiancee. One thing leads to another and well, let's just say things get pretty hot and heavy there in that little dance studio.

The sex scenes between Jesse and Angela are emotionally charged and full of heat. Just the way I like them. The story over all was extremely well written and layered with action and more drama than a daytime soap opera. The romance wasn't as predictable as some other stories I have read recently from bigger name authors. I can't wait to see what comes next from this writing duo, and what Missy Lyons and Cherie Denis have in store for us. I just fell in love with a dancing cowboy named Jesse Burke after reading this story. Cowboys Don't Dance comes highly reccommended.

5 Stars

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket>Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Buy Now:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pure Magic by Anne Sorgeson

Just to get the new FTC regulations out of the way, I did receive a free copy from the author to review the book.

Pure Magic
be Anne Sorgeson
Red Rose Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60435-175-0
length 47 pages


Is there more than magic in the air?

Cassie and Harold have worked together for a long time. Hearing about a great opportunity to do a nude magic show, Harold is all for it but knows that Cassie will need to be too.

Cassie has kept her feelings to herself for so long, now she finally sees her chance to let him know how she really feels but will she regret it or will it be Pure Magic?

My opinion might be a little prejudiced because I am not overly fond of the "we were friends forever but we suddenly turn lovers books". This story has a cute premise, and the two main characters are to perform naked together in a magic act, but it still left a few unanswered questions for me. Why would they suddenly begin to kiss all the time if they never had before? Two naked people not having sex until the end of the book felt like there was tension trying to be added that just wasn't really there. It just felt unnatural. Anne Sorgeson was at times funny and the idea of the magic being real was rather cool, but the relationship of the characters left me flat. Even the tension between the sisters kind of just fizzled. The conflict was resolved without anything happening.

This rated three stars:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you are still interested you can buy your copy here:


Monday, August 24, 2009

Dirty Diana by Lexie Davis

Dirty Diana
By Lexie Davis
Siren Publishing
Novella length
Heat level 5 cherries
5 Stars

Dirty Diana is the stage name of a porn star who is getting burnt out in the business. She wants to retire and settle down in a serious relationship.

After she finishes up filming her last movie, she is kidnapped. She barely manages to escape her captors and the local sheriff takes her in. His three brothers offer her plenty of hospitality and security. Country style. She’s happier than she ever thought she could be in this nontraditional relationship.

Lexie writes with a pleasing voice, her lighthearted voice, makes her main characters likeable and makes the reader really worry for Diana’s safety when she is abducted and her ex-husband is after her. The characters feel three dimensional and did I mention the sex? Dirty Diana is one hot read but it's Diana's search for love in all the wrong places that kept me turning the pages.

5 Stars

Buy here:


Sex Games by Natalie Acres

Sex Games
Series: Cowboy Sex 2
Natalie Acres
By Natalie Acres
Siren Publishing
Novel length
Heat 5 cherries

Vick Little is having a hard time settling down for one man in this book. She has the hots for not one, not two, but three men, and when they turn out to be brothers, she is as surprised as anyone.

This is the second in a series so you get to revisit old favorites and meet some new ones. A few cays were killed in the making of this book. The combined sex and the threat to the characters made this a really hot read and oh yeah, the sex was good too.

Natalie Acres made this menage romance look easy, when not all writers are able to make the relationships between the characters feel so natural.

5 stars

Buy here:


Friday, February 27, 2009

Deadly I llusions by Chester D. Cambell

Deady Illusions
A Greg McKenzie Mystery
By Chester D. Campbell
Published by Durban House Books
Price $12.95

While I don’t usually read first person stories, let alone mysteries, I enjoyed this one. It’s one of a series of books about a married retired couple working as a pair of gumshoe detectives. Stumbling on mysteries and solving murders. Just like in real life then have more than one case they are solving at the same time. Some more important than others.

Molly Saint hires the detective agency to find out more about her husband and then mysteriously disappears. Not soon after, Greg is drawn into the murder of the Federal Reserve Board Chairman.

What I really found fun to read was the detailed snippets about Nashville. The author is local and sets the book here. It was packed full of fun tidbits that allowed me to travel to those places without leaving my armchair.

5 stars

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Infidelity by Debbie Gould

Debbie Gould
Red Rose Publishing

Lainie was pregnant and in a violent relationship. Luke was there with her brother when he came to rescue her. He heard the call that detailed her abuse and I tore at his heart. He blamed himself for not staying with her when he was younger. She wouldn’t have married the abusive husband if he did. But now he had his own demons from his past to fight. He wasn’t emotionally ready for a relationship again and the only thing he could offer her was friendship.

Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. Lainie loses her baby and is in an abusive relationship both mentally and physically and from there things just go downhill fast. Or at least they seem to. Yet the romance is very heartwarming, between two battered souls. Infidelity is just what I want in a romance book, it carries me away into fantasy and touches my heart. The mystery of who is still after her, even after her husband’s death keeps the reader interested.

As a side note, I got a little hung up as a reader when it came to the medical issues. I want to hear to hear the technical terms, like compound fractures instead of a detailed description of the fibula sticking out of the leg. I also got hung up on her taking a bath immediately after having a cesarean with staples. The hospital would have told her not to immerse herself in a bath until her next doctor appointment. Stupid, I know, but those kinds of things throw me off.

Otherwise it’s an excellent book, and it explores the side of life most of us don’t want to talk about. Abusive relationships have been around for years, and it helps to be reminded of the warning signs, so we can recognize it with those we love. It’s a shameful secret hidden in many closets, but this helps to bring some of those details of a battered woman’s life to light. Debbie Gould is a rising star among ebook authors and she is going to be on my autobuy list if she continues to write such interesting books.

4 Stars

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Buy your copy at: