Review: Hot Blooded by Kendall Grey

Thriller/suspense  w/ erotic & supernatural elements

Rating: HOLY CRAP YAY.

 

I might be a little bit of a Kendall Grey fangirl. I’m not going to lie about it. Ever since we reviewed Inhale a couple years ago, I’ve been on the bandwagon, and it’s been a crazy ride. Just when I thought she’d reached the pinnacle with her Hard Rock Harlots series, she goes and gives me Hot Blooded.

This is not a love story. Not even close. The main characters, Blake and Keahilani are good people who do very bad things for the people they love. Their family. ‘Ohana.

The importance of family is central to the story. The risks that both Blake and Keahilani take are solely to benefit the people they consider family, and though they start falling for each other—and have lots of dangerous, kinky, crazy, violent sex along the way—they both know that family comes first. When Kea’s fledgling drug empire is threatened by Blake’s boss, she manages to push her attraction to the paohe aside to deal with the bigger issues at hand. But Kea’s problems are bigger than someone encroaching on her territory, and they’re coming from a place she least expects.

Kendall adds an extra layer through journal entries written by Kea’s mother as a teenager, then later as an adult mother of three children. They’re about when she met the future father of her children, and the ups and serious, serious downs, and the layer of crazy they add to the entire mix is both vital and sometimes overwhelming. Though Kea and Blake take the spotlight most of the time, Kendall rounds out the entire family from both deceased parents to Kea’s brothers.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how heavily Hawaiian culture permeates every single page. Between the Alana family’s love of surfing to the explosive (no pun intended) imagery of Pele and quite a bit of mythology, Kendall’s love of the culture is incredibly evident, and it makes the entire book that much richer.

And let me tell you, the twists and turns this book takes are pretty shocking. I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what would happen next and how many more times I’d be wrong about what I expected to happen. Hot Blooded is a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat and sometimes dangles you off the edge of a cliff, but it’s an exhilaration you won’t want to end, even after you read the last page. I’m more than ready for book two of this series.

Review: Counterfeits by Kris Bock

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Rating: Yay!

It’s been a while since I jumped into a Romantic Suspense novel, and previously it’s been difficult for me to enjoy the genre. So, when this book hit the inbox I had to give it a chance.

I won’t rehash back cover blurb, but I will say I enjoyed the backdrop of New Mexico, the plethora of secondary characters that are fleshed out, and the villains. Bock does an excellent job of creating characters to root for and ones to despise.  Each person is unique and rich in history and details, as well as goals and motivations.

The hero is not a rich man, but he’s a good man, willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect those he loves. I’m impressed by the author taking risks with a hero who’s not a billionaire or traditional bad boy. Instead he’s the guy with a mysterious past, but who’s changed his life for the better over the years. The risks pay off and I really enjoyed Rob.

My only hesitance is toward the heroine, Jenny. At times I felt her character waffled and appeared less intelligent in some parts of the book, only to appear super intelligent in other portions. These challenges made it hard for me to get behind Jenny or connect with her in the way I wanted to. Yet, she pulls through about halfway into the book and represents the type of person I believed her to be.

As for plot, Bock whips out a doozy. The twists and turns appear a little ruffled at the beginning, but everything comes together nicely and believable. Overall this first in a series is an enjoyable, fair-paced read. I look forward to more in this series. Heat level is closed bedroom door, but with plenty of first base action.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ AllRomanceebooks ~ Smashwords ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

About Author: Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoorAuthor Photo adventures and Southwestern landscapes. InCounterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico mountain town. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who stumbles on a murder victim in the woods. Whispers in the Dark involves archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins, and Rattled follows the hunt for a mythical treasure in the New Mexico desert.

Website

Review: Restless in Peaceville

Rating: Yay!

Genre: YA Paranormal

It’s all downs and downs for Luke, who’s been kicked out of the waiting line for heaven because of his choices in life. Instead he gets shipped back to Earth and his reward is becoming a zombie.

I’ll admit I’m not a zombie fan, but Pippa Jay did an amazing job of breathing a new kind of life into paranormal stories, zombies included. A quick read, Restless in Peaceville became a book I couldn’t put down.

There’s some tension, some crazies, a Voodoo Queen, a paranormal killer called The Peacemaker and so much more. Luke also has a sidekick in Annabelle, another zombie. They team up to find a solution that doesn’t involve consuming human flesh, though the choices aren’t easy ones.

This is a first person POV story, set in the town of Peaceville in swamp-filled New Orleans. For an author from across the pond, Pippa did an amazing job of embodying the creole/Cajun South of the area. From the language to the food and the visual imagery. I enjoyed being immersed in the environment and honestly loved the story.

If you’re looking for a good paranormal YA without love triangles and just so good, down home horror monsters overcoming the horror of their situation I highly recommend Restless in Peaceville.

Get your own copy:

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

Review: Dreaming of the Duke

Dreaming of the DukeGenre: Historical Romance

Rating: YAY!

Eva Devon is a new, hilarious voice in historical romance. This book is the quintessential ‘if it can go wrong, it will’.

Let’s start with the players: Cordelia Eversleigh, Duchess of Hunt. She’s a married virgin who wants to shed her marital status for freedom. There’s the Duke of Hunt, Jack Eversleigh, who’s known for debauching women in a blink an eye and neither caring or bothering to manage his estates or fortune. Secondary players include a take-no-prisoners Dowager Duchess of Hunt, a good-looking, sinful twin brother, and a couple other Dukes I can’t wait to read about.

Now for the plot: There’s shenanigans, a load of them, from all directions and all aimed at the intelligent and surprising Cordelia. Everyone wants her to do something: stay married, submit to seduction, or abandon her husband for greener pastures. It’s also apparent that Cordelia exists as a challenge and to men who can have anything or anyone a challenge is the perfect prescription.  This book covers off on some much crazy and spoke to me because I’m a heroine with more brains than beauty. I love seeing the geek get the guy, and the guy being inspired by her smarts then scared of them. With plenty of conflict amid expectations/responsibilities, coupled with a good shift between challenges for the hero and challenges for the heroine.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This is the second one in the series and I enjoyed it more than the first. I’d say Devon is building momentum and can’t wait for the Duke to appear. If you want a book with historical elements that will make you laugh and exclaim “what can go wrong now?”, this is the book for you.

Here’s the buy links so you can grab your copy:

Amazon

Amazon Uk

Kobo

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

Rogue Hunter Inquest

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: Yay!

Rogue Hunter InquestI snaked this book out from the other girls when it came in because I’ve been longing for a good sci-fi story. Sci-fi generally tends to fall into either the hard sci-fi, which also tend to be longer and slower, and space opera, which is almost always tends to be action adventure. Pew pew lasers!

I’m happy to say that Rogue Hunter Inquest falls into the latter. I love a good, deep book, but it’s been a sunny spring in Australia, and I don’t feel like anything too heavy. I just want a good story – and that is exactly what Inquest gives.

We follow bounty hunter Zyra Zanr on a planet that’s ruled by women and for women only (New Venus, if you’re curious). Any man who steps foot on it will die, without exception. And Zyra, who’s in love with a citizen on the planet, decides to risk a promised happy future with Mikaela because she’s wanted off planet, and no amount of hiding will save her from her debts. Granted, I felt like this was a little flimsy, mostly because I felt like there was a whole backstory here that could have helped me understand her train of thought better, I still could accept her reasoning.

The part I found hard to accept was the rest of her reasoning about why she was saving an all-around scumbag from death. It initially felt like she didn’t have a really logical reason, but as the situation unravelled, I felt it was better explained. I think a bit more headspace with Zyra would’ve cleared this up sooner. Part of this might also be because this is a reboot of a previous series. As a new reader, I don’t have an understanding of this world at all, and just a teensy bit more in terms of headspace would’ve given me a well-rounded story.

Still, this story promises one heady conflict, and it delivers. No one is in a position to full trust anyone else, and the execution is just an excuse to force to hand of – well, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say there’s a lot of subversive ploys. With a healthy dose of pew pew, my favourite type of sci-fi.

If you want a quick, fun read, I highly recommend this. The on-going series promises to be fun.

Inquest can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

B&N.com

Kobo

Google Play

Smashwords

Review: Star Winds At Dusk by Robert DeFrank

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Rating: Yay, with some caveats

First, let me say that DeFrank has descriptive writing chops. He weaves prose that can amaze and even mesmerize. I was impressed with the level of writing, and at how easily I could slip into this Lovecraftian universe he’s created.

Second, this is a book of short stories. The themes within and the underlying current lead the stories to have some effect on one another, but you can’t skip one in favor of another. In order to grasp the entire story I had to read everything. Characters pop up multiple times throughout, including an ever elusive and feisty feline.

Some parts of the tale were very reminiscent of Poe and King. A horror that seeped into my bones, and made it a bit difficult to continuing reading when the children went to bed and the majority of the lights were shut off. Though I didn’t stumble across graphic violence or horrific scenes, DeFrank offers a subtle horror, which permeates throughout the novel.

If you enjoy tales that spark the mind, dive into mythos off the beaten path, and contain Lovecraftian elements like the famed Cthulhu and other bits/pieces from Lovecrafts stories. In ways this is a decent homage to Lovecraft’s cosmos and tales and overall it’s a play on established mythos with new bits of horror and suspense that kept me engaged.

The big attention grabber is how the stories are connected. Descriptions of certain characters, names not quite revealed, had me guessing if the person was who I thought it was or a new piece of the puzzle. I can honestly say the ending surprised a bit and the horror element kept me from giving up before all the pieces fell into place.

If you’re a fan of dark fantasy or if you enjoy Lovecraft this may be up your alley. If you’re a fan of linear story-telling with a chronological order or books that play the rules I would invite you to check out the posts for other books we’ve reviewed this month.

Get a copy of Star Winds at Dusk at:

Amazon

Review: Sorrows by Donna Fernstrom

Genre: Urban fiction

Rating: Yay

When Jayson Wallace is turned against his will, he’s taken in by a group of people, humans and vampires, known as a Law Enforcement Circle, where he somewhat learns the ins and outs of vampirism. Jay needs to testify in a trial against his sire, Malachi, who’s basically committed every crime known to man.

Throughout the novel, which covers probably a few weeks of time at the most, Jay is incredibly unsure of himself. Prone to depressive fits and often questions himself. Admittedly, it’s sometimes difficult to like Jay, but for his faults, the characters around him tend to make up for it.

My favorite was the rael-shaa character, Ryan. Rael-shaas are a kind of shape-shifter that can shift from human to wolf, and they often work with the Law Enforcement Circles. Ryan is adorable. He’s bouncy and kind and becomes Jay’s best friend, so we get to see him often.

The story itself is a good story. There’s great worldbuilding elements, including quantum realities (think alternate realities), and travel through those realities. At one point, one of the characters, Nick, takes Jay to a different quantum reality where no humans ever existed. The ideas are pretty neat.

Jay’s self-pity and depressive episodes do tend to drag down the pacing a bit, but overall the story is good, cohesive, and peppered with fun characters.

 

Sorrows is available at the following:

Buy on Lulu (hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows/hardcover/product-21150229.html

Buy on Lulu (pdf): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows-pdf/ebook/product-21156643.html

 

 

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