WOW: East of Ecstcy by Laura Kaye

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. 
 
This weeks choice is:
East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.

But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.

What are you waiting for?

Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

 

Confessions of a Chalet Girl

by lorraine Wilson

Ski Season book 1

Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, the winter playground of the rich and famous, Confessions of a Chalet Girl is a fun and flirty contemporary romance novella from the fabulous Lorraine Wilson.

The slopes seriously start to heat up when chalet girl Holly is propositioned by her sexy new boss!

Published June 27th 2013 by Harper Impulse

Confessions of a Chalet Girl started out fun but quickly lost its way for me. I liked the concept, it was a nice idea but I was not completely convinced that the author knew what she wanted this to be. At times it was light hearted and funny, then it was angst and dramatic. It seemed a little all over the place.

The characters had the same problem especially Holly. One minute she was so shy she could barely talk right in front of Scott and the next she was acting all seductive. The first time the two have sex I found her to be completely out of character. She also over reacted a lot and was generally a little bit over the top.

Another thing was that nearly every other woman in the book was made out to be mean, over pruned air heads with vindictive personalities and loose morals. This made Holly seem like a virtuous angel but to be honest I am not sure she was all that much better.

I can’t say all that much about Scott because I didn’t really get to know him all that well. He seemed alright but I would have liked to know a little more about him. He kept going on about his past and family but I wanted more characters.

The romance was alright. Like the book it started off well but dissolved into insta-love. I wanted a little more chemistry and character between them but it wasn’t to be.

Confessions of a Chalet Girl was a short and fairly entertaining read but in the end it wasn’t for me.

2 stars

Find out more:

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe

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Aiding the Enemy

By Julie Rowe

War Girls book 3

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium
December 1915

Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It’s only a matter of time until she’s caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is.

The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he’s even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose’s skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country…

Published October 7th 2013 by Carina Press

I like war romances. The thought of two people finding love in a time of fear and danger really appeals to me so I was quite looking forward to reading this novella. Aiding the Enemy had an interesting premise and it was interesting enough but I couldn’t help feeling that there was wasted potential here.

This book is a short, fluffy romance that lacked some depth but for the most part it was fine and as a novella it ticked all the boxes. My problem with this book was that it could have been so much more. I would have really loved this as a full length historical romance novel, I think it is really what the story deserved. The fact that it is a story about a German Doctor and an English nurse who fall in love is enough to justify a longer length. On top of that there were so many other elements that really needed a little more space. It all felt a little condensed and rushed. A lot is pushed aside to get the romance in and a lot of the romance is underdeveloped to get the plot in. The romance also felt a little forced (again due to the length) and I failed to feel the chemistry between the characters.

The writing was of a good standard. Rowe has done a nice job with the descriptions and atmosphere of the story. She made the war time hospital sound horrific and some bits are definitely not for the faint hearted. The characters were alright. I liked both Rose and Herman but I didn’t love them. I found their voices to similar and I struggled to notice any cultural differences between them.

Aiding the Enemy is an entertaining enough novella that kept me interested but it had the potential to be a lot more.

3 stars

Find out more

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Author’s Website, Author’s Twitter

The Darkest Day by Britt Bury

The Darkest Day

by Britt Bury

Book one in the Immortal Heat series

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Highland, dystopian, erotica, demons

Expected publication: July 3rd 2012 by Grand Central Publishing

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe—and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.  A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

Oh yes, Britt Bury, yes!

This is exactly what I have been looking for.  I have massive love for PNR (Paranormal romance) but nothing has really captured me since the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Well finally something has.  I just loved this book.  It had everything; action, drama, humour and romance.  It was just great.

Ok, so what made this book so great? I will start with the idea.  I think Britt Bury is incredibly smart because she has taken the top three (or there about) romance sub-genres and somehow mixed them together.  This is a Highland novel, it is set in Scotland.  Our hero, Kelvin, is a Scottish clan warrior…but he is also something else.  Kelvin is a paranormal being, closely related to shape shifters (although his species doesn’t actually shift).  This novel might look and feel like a Highland novel but it is set in the modern world.  So it is a highland, PNR, urban fantasy novel…but wait, there’s more (stick with me here.) This modern world has no humans (almost) they all died out.  The world is full of paranormal beings but things are still somewhat derelict.  So to conclude The Darkest Day is a highland, PNR, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian novel.  Sounds a bit too much doesn’t it? Except for the fact that it works perfectly.  Bury has written this book so well that the joining of so many genres doesn’t distract from but enhances the reading experience.  This book is written in a way that is also utterly entrancing.  I struggled to put this book down.  It was engaging from beginning to end.  The prologue set the tone immediately and that atmosphere and intensity stayed with the book the whole way through.

Let’s move on to the characters.  Essentially there are only two characters in this book.  There are others who pop their heads in (I think/hope this was more for the next books in the series) but there are only two people who really matter in this book, Kelvin and Izel.

Izel is a great female lead.  She is funny, smart, sassy and just all round awesome.  I didn’t once find her irritating or weak.  She was not kick-ass or unemotional but she was no doormat either.  Kelvin (honestly if you could see what this guy looked like in my head you would faint) is just devastating.  If I met him I wouldn’t stand a chance.  He is strong, hard and tough.  He has responsibilities and obligations.  He at times probably comes across as a little scary.  He is rash, stubborn and infuriating.  But behind all the brutishness he is loving, gentle and fairly emotional.  When he loves he does it with all of his heart and he would do anything to protect that person.  Like Izel he was not once annoying.

The romance between Izel and Kelvin was just amazing.  I loved the growth of their relationship, from enemies, to annoyances, to lust then finally to love.  Sure, there are some bumps along the way but it was not done just for the sake of drama.  Most of the humour in this book came from the banter between them.  In the beginning the sparred verbally back and worth which gave the book a light-hearted feel but slowly that turned to something darker.  The tension and chemistry between them poured off of every page, it was fidget inducing brilliant.  It oozed from the characters and created bucket loads of sexual tension.

The Darkest Day proves that there is still some imagination in the romance genre.  It is by far the best PNR I have read in a while and I strongly recommend it.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Author’s website

Let me know what you think in the comments!

The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro

The Claimed

by Caridad Pineiro

Book two in The Sin Eaters series

Genre: Romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, erotica

Paperback, 368 pages.  Published May 1st 2012 by Grand Central Publishing.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review
Victoria Johnson loves her life. She’s her own boss in a quaint beachside town, and has great friends who keep her grounded. If only they knew who she really is: an heiress to an ancient race who possesses astonishing superhuman powers. It’s Victoria’s duty to restore her clan of Light Hunters to their former glory by choosing the perfect mate. In Christopher Sombrosa, she just may have found him. Strong, smart, and successful, Christopher exudes a powerful energy. Their connection is sensual, irresistible-and forbidden.
A member of the Shadow Hunter clan, Christopher has defied his own father to lead his people away from affliction and violence. Yet he cannot ignore his duty to carry on his ancient bloodline. Stunningly beautiful and brimming with an erotic life force, Victoria is everything Christopher ever hoped for in a mate . . . but as a Light Hunter, she’s his mortal enemy. Together, they could unite their warring tribes. But murderous factions on both sides don’t want peace-and they’ll stop at nothing to keep light and darkness apart forever.
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The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro is the second book in the Sin Hunters series.  I have not read the first book (The Lost) but was still able to understand and follow this one.  It can be read as part of a series or as a stand-alone.

This Claimed started very slowly and not very much seemed to happen at the beginning.  It was readable but not terribly interesting.  From the half-way point and especially towards the end the book really picked up and become a lot more interesting.  There were a lot of action scenes which was great but at times it was hard to follow.  Most of the problems I had with not only the action scenes but the book as a whole were the use of aura and colours, something that is heavily used in this book.  It seemed to be mentioned in nearly every description and I struggled to picture all the aura’s, flashing lights and various other colourful things these ‘Hunters’ possess.  It did work at but was over used.

The characters were nice.  Victoria is smart, she has a lot of pressure put on her but she handles it well.  I really liked the tension between her and her parents (a storyline that was unfortunately dropped half way through) these moments really allowed you to see her strength.  Christopher was a nice guy and a good leaded.  The relationship between them is nice (I am a sucker for forbidden romances) it had all the right elements but I just never felt the chemistry between them.  What I liked was that they didn’t do anything stupid.  I never doubted their trust in each other and never though their relationship would fall apart.  It made a nice change as that is something we tend to see a lot in romance books.

I feel like I got to know Victoria really well.  There was a lot of effort put in to making her a well-rounded and complete character, but the same cannot be said for Christopher.  I felt like I didn’t know much about him at all (even though part of the book is told from his POV) without his half everything was not as intense as it could have been and I didn’t care about their relationship as much as I should have.

The Claimed is an interesting take on the PNR genre but somehow doesn’t have the explosiveness of other books out there.  It was good and entertaining enough but didn’t have that wow factor.  Despite that I will be checking out the first book in the series and the follow up to this one.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, The Book Depository, Authors website

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Blazing Midsummer Nights by Leslie Kelly

Blazing Midsummer Nights

by Leslie Kelly

Genre: Romance, Erotica, contemporary.

Published May 22nd 2012 by Harlequin

*The publisher provided me with this book for review, via Netgalley*

Anything can happen on a magical midsummer’s eve Marketing director/workaholic Mimi Burdette has The Plan-work for her father and date his right-hand man. Problem is, there’s no heat in the relationship. Not even a spark. And worse still, Mimi is having some seriously sexy, panties-ablaze dreams-and the star looks a lot like  Xander McKinley, the hunky firefighter next door. Mimi’s dreams might be due to the strange tea she drank. Or the predictions from the fortune cookie she ate. Or they could be due to Xander’s smokin’ hotness. But whether it’s magic or just old-fashioned fireworks, Mimi is about to break all of the rules-including her own!

This was a very sweet and very quick read.  It has all the elements you want to see in a romance.  The characters are likable, the romance is sometimes hot and sometimes cute, it has funny moments, has a touch of a love triangle and just a little bit of magic…it is also a little weird in places which kind of comes with the territory.

At times it is not particularly realistic, but let’s be honest we don’t read these types of books for realism.

The main characters are good.  Xander is a fireman (need I say more.) I found him to be a little judgemental at the beginning but he snapped out of that pretty quickly.  He is effortlessly likeable and sensual.  Mimi has a lot of fight and spirit but sometimes she uses that in the wrong way, but like Xander she snaps out of it quickly.

The romance between them is nice, it is predictable but sweet.  There wasn’t any dragged out dramatics it all moved along nicely and was easy to get behind.

Blazing Midsummer Nights is one of those ‘nice’ books.  It is not going to annoy you, it is also not going to blow your mind.  It is a nice way to spend a few hours.  Sometimes you want to read something that you don’t have to think about.  That is what this book it.

My Rating 3 out of 5 stars

Check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, The Book Depository, Author Website.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn

Unleashed

by Cherrie Lynn

Book one of The Ross Siblings series

Genre: Romance, Erotica, contemporary

Paperback, 216 pages.  Published February 2nd 2010 by Samhain Publishing, LTD

It’s not enough that Kelsey’s husband left her for another woman. Oh, no. The “other woman” had to be her best friend Evan’s fiancée. Not only has she lost her marriage, she fears losing Evan to the lingering awkwardness and humiliation that hangs between them.

Evan has no intention of letting that happen. He’s got plans…namely, an extra plane ticket to Hawaii now his future wife is out of the picture. There’s only one person he wants on the trip with him, the one who’s always been there for him. The one he should never have let slip away into the arms of a traitorous friend who shattered her heart.

Kelsey is anticipating a week of fun in the sun with the man who’s always treated her like a little sister. No one’s more surprised when she discovers that Evan has seduction on his mind—and that she’s more than ready for it.

Love is the most powerful healing force of all. But past demons have a way of ripping open old wounds, and threatening the survival of even the strongest friendship…

Unleashed is one of those books where everything is ‘nice.’ The plot is nice, the characters are nice and the writing is nice.  It is a perfectly good read not meant to annoy nor blow your mind.  It is just nice and sometimes nice is just what you need.

I had very little problem with the book as a whole.  Kelsey can be a little irritating with her lack of self-worth, but mostly she is funny, especially when she is around her best friend Lisa (who was a pretty amazing character.)  Evan is nice to.  He is sweet and charming, he too has a few annoying moments but mostly he is just what you are looking for in a romantic lead.

The other characters do not have a strong presence in the book.  They have a massive effect on the main characters but do not appear often, it was more about Kelsey and Evan which I liked.

The romance between Evan and Kelsey is sweet.  It moves fast but it isn’t a problem because they have known each other for a long time so they are already familiar with one another.  There was some drama between them but it was ironed out quickly which I thought was great.

All in all Unleashed is a light and enjoyable read.  It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon.  I will be checking out the next book in the series as I have heard it is even better than the first.

 My Rating 3 out of 5 stars

Check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, The Book Depoitory, Authors Website

Let me know what you think in the comments!