Category Archives: Romance

Book Tour: Visions of Fire & Ice by Teresa D’Amario

VisionsTrapped on a planet not their own, the Petiri spend their lives hiding the natural gifts that set them apart from the world. They live long and unfulfilled lives, unable to find their soul mates on this backward planet known as Earth. That is until the night Ramose comes face to face with Tamara, a woman whose gifts rival his own. Determined to find why this human is in possession of an ancient magical Petiri relic, he arranges a meeting.

But Tamara, embittered from past events, is wary despite lifelong dreams of Ramose and a sure knowledge he is her soul mate. Before long the couple find themselves ensnared in a battle that has raged for millennia in Egypt’s desert. Set, Egyptian God of Chaos, is determined to take his just due: the throne of Osiris.

The only way to stop him is for Ramose to put his trust in Tamara, but, first, he must gain the same from her. The ensuing sensual relationship is filled with romance, lust and love. Their relationship is tested by an unnatural evil. Will her powers over fire, combined with his ice be enough to win the day? Or will the ancient gods and goddesses of Egypt destroy more than just their love?

 

Enter the Giveaway:

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Find this book here:

Freya’s Bower: http://www.freyasbower.com/paranormal-c-14/visions-of-fire-and-ice-p-292.html?zenid=3e9bca138b9dc8541d0db91ea431814e

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Visions-Fire-Ice-Petiri-ebook/dp/B00FAH362C

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/visions-of-fire-and-ice-teresa-damario/1116947256?ean=2940148551355

 

Follow the Tour!

Visions of Fire and Ice Teresa D' Amario

 

About the Author:

Born in Atlanta, the daughter of an Army Soldier during the early stages of the Viet Nam war, I spent my childhood traveling from state to state, finally ending up overseas in Germany where I graduated high school six months early.

My writing career however began as a young Airman in the Air Force, writing monthly articles for the weekly base paper.  The articles ranged from climatological data to full center fold articles on the destructive forces of hurricanes.  As I increased in rank, my writing changed to more technological instruction, including such works as  WSR-88D Doppler Radar Data Interpretation Guide for North Carolina Stations, and Station Operating Procedures.

But my early writing wasn’t limited only to the technological side.  I’ve written multiple dog training and behavior articles for canine websites such as Sonora Canine Freestyle, and also the Ask Blackjack column, a fun training column in the voice of my labrador retriever, then a young pup.

My first book, SheWolf, won 2nd place for Best First book in RWA’s PFF&P Prism awards.

I’m married to a wonderful man named Doug, who is also retired Air Force.  We live in North Carolina with our two dogs.

 

Author Links

http://teresadamario.com/new/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTeresaDAmario

https://twitter.com/TeresaDAmario

 

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Book Tour: Bulled Over by Catalina Ferrer

What happens when in a weird twist of fate–or karma–the bullfighter becomes the bull?

Conchita Peron, a bullfighter still trying to earn respect in a male-dominated profession, vows to kill Asesino, the bull that took her father’s life. But what she doesn’t know–and may not realize in time–is within the bull’s body resides the soul of the man she once and still desires…that of the very handsome and very dead matador Antonio de la Vega.

Will she set aside her thirst for revenge in time to see the heart under the hide?

Rating: 4.5/5

I have to admit to not knowing what to do for this review by the time I finished reading this novella. I was on the fence—there were parts I found very intriguing and unique, and there were parts that I had trouble buying into.

Then I read the Author’s Note after the text.

Now, normally I read just for the fun of reading—I don’t look for themes or greater meaning. I don’t read as if the author had a point. When I read this novella, however, I couldn’t help but wondering if Ferrer was after a greater message. It read to me as if Ferrer were addressing a couple of cultural controversies: women’s rights, and animal rights.

This is actually one of the things that had me on the fence as I was reading, to be honest. I found it to be fairly distracting from the plot and really rather bothersome, if you assume the intent of the novella was solely to entertain (don’t get me wrong; Ferrer did entertain, and everything was very well written—I actually quite liked all of the characters even though there was a fairly short span of pages to get to know them).

When I read the Author’s Note, however, I realized that the whole point of writing this story was explore some of the controversies around bullfighting. It is a cultural tradition, after all, and as Ferrer states in her note “everyone believes their way is the right way and all others are wrong.” By setting up this story the way she did, I think Ferrer successfully brought to light some of the controversies from both sides without letting the plot get out of hand.

I also appreciated her homage to Conchita Cintron, who, according to this wikipedia article, was a renowned female bullfighter, both as a matadora and a rejoneadora (which is a distinction I honestly didn’t know existed). I highly recommend that you read that article after you read Bulled Over—it will give additional weight to the events in the novella.

And since embedded grains of truth in stories among my favorite things to find in stories I read (and write), especially when it isn’t necessarily particularly obvious until you’re finished reading, I have to give Ferrer the applause I feel she is due. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m absolutely glad I took the time to read this.

Thanks to Tasty Book Tours for hosting this tour, and thanks to Catalina Ferrer for the review copy.

You can find Bulled Over at: Goodreads | Amazon

View the rest of the tour schedule here.

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Blog Tour: What Not to Bare by Megan Frampton

In Megan Frampton’s witty historical romance, a woman is judged by her gown, and a man by his reputation—until both are shed in one sexy moment of seduction.

Lady Charlotte Jepstow certainly knows how to make an impression—a terrible one. Each one of her ball gowns is more ostentatiously ugly than the one before. Even she has been forced to wonder: Is she unmarried because of her abysmal wardrobe, or does she wear clashing clothing because she doesn’t want to be pursued in the first place? But when Charlotte meets Lord David Marchston, suddenly a little courtship doesn’t sound so bad after all.

David will be the first to admit he’s made some mistakes. But when he gets yanked from his post by his superiors, he is ordered to do the unthinkable to win back his position: woo his commander’s niece. If David wants his life back, he must use his skills as a negotiator to persuade society that Charlotte is a woman worth pursuing, despite her rather unusual “flair” for color. But David does such a terrific job that he develops an unexpected problem, one that violates both his rakish mentality and his marching orders: He’s starting to fall in love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Hero of My Heart, Baring It All, and After the Kiss.

 

Rating: 3.5/5

This was a really cute read. I loved Charlotte, and related to her fairly well—the idea of the main character being somewhat of a social outcast and proud of it, then falling for the bachelor of the year, so to speak, made for a pretty fun read.

The characters were very well written and were consistent in their voices—I wasn’t always sure that their speech patterns felt entirely realistic, but if that’s the biggest problem I had, that’s saying something.

It read kind of slow compared to what I’m used to reading, but I think that had more to do with the genre and the chaos of my real life right now than with the book.

All in all it was a great read! I recommend it 🙂

Thanks to Tasty Book Tours for hosting, and to Megan Frampton for the review copy.

You can find this book at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Check out the rest of the tour here!

 

Book Tour: Red Threads (The Fateliner Series #1) by Stacey J. Mitchell

Twenty-six-year-old Lily Robinson has her dream job in a museum, a great boyfriend, and is happy with her life – until the day she starts seeing red threads growing out of the chests of those around her.

That same day Lily meets a stranger who seems to know her and understand what she is seeing. Lily doesn’t believe him when he says she has a special ability, and it’s only when he saves her life that she accepts something very strange is happening to her.

Lily’s life is rapidly turned upside-down when she gets thrown into the world of fate and meets the beings who influence it.

Can she learn to control her ability to help herself and those around her who need it most?

Will she actually want to when she finds out what she has to do?

The first novel in the Fateliner series, Red Threads is a contemporary fantasy that looks at how fate can change lives and relationships in an instant

Rating: 4/5

I found this book to be pretty clever—the idea of Fateliners and demons was a pleasure to discover, and I think Mitchell did a very good job executing her set-up.

One common problem I see among books with fairly unique magic (and other related paranormal) systems is an inability to convey the rules of the world to the reader without making it feel forced. Mitchell did a good job of making this work. I can say that I have a comfortable feel for how things work and I didn’t have to try too hard to keep up. I really can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am that nothing in this book turned out to be confusing or seem complicated. We were confused only as much as Lily was and no more or less. I’ve struggled with some of this in my own writing (currently, I’m actually blocked on a scene where I have to start with that kind of explaining).

A lot of this is because of the characters. First and foremost, I really liked Aver—like, I really really liked Aver. And he made for a great teacher. I can’t wait to see more of him in future books. He and Lily both felt real, along with most of the supporting cast. I also felt like every character was balanced, which is something I’m honestly not used to out of the paranormal/fantasy genres. So often our characters seem to be lacking in some aspect of normalcy or another: their jobs are neglected by the writer, they don’t have any actual friends, they had a terrible childhood. But Lily is perfectly normal until this starts happening, and it didn’t feel strange to me that something like being able to see fate lines might just randomly pop up when she starts getting particularly frustrated.

As for the romantic plot arc … This one was pretty simple, and I really enjoyed that. It would have been all too easy with this plot to slip into a more complicated love triangle than Mitchell did, and I’m glad it didn’t go in that direction. It was interesting to watch Lily struggle between her feelings in the moment and the fate that she knows she has no choice but to acknowledge, and I was right there with her as she struggled to make the “right” decision.

So why did this only get a 4? Well, to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the pacing. There were some very slow scenes that I thought dragged on unnecessarily long. Some of the conversation changes were a little abrupt at times. There were also some dialect-related things in the narrative that I would have preferred to see edited out and left only in the dialog (example: they were sat). None of this really detracted from the story for me, but i still felt they were worth mentioning here.

All in all, I really do hope Mitchell releases a second book. This was enjoyable, and I’d like to see what more is to come. In a lot of ways, this first novel felt like a setup for some much more exciting adventures, and I’d like to invest some time in seeing where Lily’s life goes from here.

Thanks to Irresistible Reads for hosting the tour, and to Stacey J. Mitchell for the review copy.

You can find Red Threads here: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

View the rest of the tour schedule here.

Book Tour: American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin

(This book is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99 October 1-7, FYI—You should go check it out!)

The summer after graduation is supposed to be that first real taste of freedom – but not for eighteen-year-old Chloe Branson. Just as that breeze of freedom is making its way into her galaxy, her secret-service-agent dad drops a meteor-sized bomb of bad news on her and her sisters. An attempt has been made on the lives of Canadian boyband, Spaceships Around Saturn, during their USA tour, and the guys have to go into hiding ASAP. The only problem? In the midst of the crisis and media frenzy, their dad volunteered to hide the guys…in their house.

Six-year-old Emery is as ecstatic as any self-proclaimed Saturnite would be, but Chloe and her seventeen-year-old sister Aralie watch their summer plans crash and burn like a falling star. The SAS guys aren’t happy with the situation, either. Bad boy Jules picks fights with Aralie about everything from his Twitter followers to his laundry, and heart-throb Benji can’t escape Emery’s fangirlisms for more than three minutes.

But after the super-cute Milo kisses Chloe during a game of hide-and-seek, she finally understands what Emery means when she talks about SAS being “out of this world.” If this is what Saturn feels like, Chloe doesn’t want to come back to Earth.

Rating: 4.5/5

OK, so this kind of story is one of my many guilty pleasures. I’m admittedly not a fan of the boy-band scene, but I’m allowed to let the inner teenage girl in me a moment of heart-fluttering swooning over a delightful, hot celebrity.

I loved this book, and I was almost surprised by how much I did. It was witty and kept me constantly laughing. And I actually read it straight through in pretty much one (very long) sitting.

American Girl on Saturn was beautifully written, and Godwin did a splendid job of carrying themes in the details throughout the entire novel. From bleeding butterflies to space references to random magazine cutouts of people’s heads showing up taped to Chloe’s door every morning. Everything wove together very nicely, and it’s clear that Godwin took the time to pay attention to detail in her writing.

This book was very well balanced — being serious when needed but funny at the same time. It certainly isn’t a comedy, but the characters have such great personalities and interactions that I found myself laughing nearly constantly. Speaking of which …

The characters were wonderfully developed. Chloe and Aralie were very clearly sullen teenagers, and it even felt natural that Chloe was the oldest and Aralie was the middle child just based on how they interacted with their youngest sister, Emery, who played her role as the five-year-old with an obsession to a T. But as far as characters go, I think I was the most impressed with how the members of the band were written. They each had their own unique personality, but it was clear that they fit together very well. What surprised me about this was that I could actually tell the difference between certain aspects that were their stage personas and their real personalities (especially with how they ended up pandering to the five-year-old).

My one complaint was really the believability of a secret service agent putting a boyband in a safe house with his family after they were shot at — that felt a little forced to me, but it didn’t take me long to set it aside as a minor concern. From there I was perfectly content to just roll with it. After all, I suspend disbelief readily enough in the fantasy books of my comfort zone genre.

All in all I thought this was a really wonderfully written book, and quite the idea for a story! Thanks to Oops! I Read A Book Again for hosting this tour, and thanks to Nikki Godwin for the ARC 🙂

You can find this book at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour

(and read the other reviewers!) at Oops! I Read A Book Again.

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About the Author:

Nikki GodwinNikki Godwin is a Young Adult/New Adult author from the southern USA. She is a city girl who can’t live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she’s not-so-secretly internet-stalking her favorite bands. She may or may not completely love One Direction.

Never Have I Ever by August Clearwing

Astrophysicist-in-training Piper Minogue has a lot of control over her day-to-day life. Between completing a Master’s degree at Caltech and beginning her fruitful career at a local observatory she has little time for socializing. Until she attends one specific party that is.

There, Piper is introduced to a drinking game called Never Have I Ever, and she finds herself admitting to a secret fantasy which challenges her friends’ views of her otherwise prudish nature. Her confession piques the interest of one man in particular, Noah; a handsome stranger with a darkly boyish charm.

The resulting spiral of rapture and torture that follows is threatened by the demons of both their pasts. Piper’s inability to give her heart to anyone, and Noah’s guilt over the death of his former lover claw to the surface to tear Piper away from not only the one man who has ever made her feel like she does not have to be in control of her desires, but also the newly collected list of Nevers they both want to turn into reality.

*Contains strong BDSM themes*

 

Rating: 4.5/5

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND IS INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY***

I am breaking so many of the rules I laid down for myself when I started this blog. To be honest, I had absolutely no intention of posting a review for this book until I hit roughly the 85% mark. And in spite of its 408 pages, I read it in pretty much one sitting (a habit I’m not sure is the most healthy of ways to spend my Friday nights, but what can you do?).

So what rules am I breaking? 1) I’m writing a review of a book that can only be called erotica—I don’t have a problem with the genre, but I generally don’t consider it appropriate material for this blog. 2) I’m including spoilers in my review—part of the reason I decided this book was worth reviewing is because of specific attributes of the plot. 3) Repeat of rule #1.

I’m breaking these rules because I think this book served a greater purpose than merely being erotica. As Clearwing said in his Author’s Note, he intended to write a story rather than merely “porn with a plot.” He expressed a desire that his readers would take something greater away from this book, and I truly believe that he succeeded. We’ll get to this point a little later. First, we’re going to run through my standard type of review, which will be spoiler free. Then we’ll get to the big picture, which will effectively keep all of the spoilers at the end of the post where they can be easily ignored if you decide you’re interested in reading this book.

To start with, I found Piper to be particularly easy to identify with. I don’t know if that’s just because I have a lot in common with her, at least initially, or if she’s simply that well-written. Either way, I was developing right along with her, and when things really started getting intense (and not only intense in the sexy way), I found myself holding my breath and hoping that things worked out for her. And Noah … Can I just say that any girl could wish for a catch like Noah? Sure, he has some shadows, but who doesn’t? I fell for him just as intensely as Piper did.

Clearwing has a clear and distinct writing style, and with the exception of some relatively minor typos, I was impressed with what he put together. I was pulled into the story he had to tell, and it wasn’t willing to let me even think about leaving.

***Spoilers from here on (oh, and I’m going to talk some rather  dark socially issues, too)***

I appreciated that Clearwing didn’t pull his punches. There were the obvious/expected BDSM moments, but there were other just as serious topics. Aside from exploring the nature of a dom/sub relationship in “clean” things versus behind closed doors, I think he also successfully addressed the fact that there is a difference between rape/outright violence and BDSM.

Piper is a natural sub for Noah, and a very large portion of the book is dedicated to exploring and developing that relationship. She enjoys every minute of it, even when Noah comes close to her boundaries. The important things here are that she trusts Noah implicitly, and he makes her safety his priority.

Towards the end of the book, Piper is kidnapped, beaten/whipped, and raped multiple times. She did not enjoy it, for obvious reasons, and it left emotional scars as well as physical ones. She took the better portion of a year trying to recover to the point of being able to start almost from scratch in her relationship with Noah.

This distinction is something that doesn’t seem to be commonly acknowledged—I’ve seen quite a few stories floating around that treat them to be one and the same—more as in there seems to be some traction to the idea that rape is a subset of BDSM (like a square is a type of rectangle). Objectively, I’ve seen several instances that involve rape scenes that are okay because the woman ended up enjoying it. After all, if you like it rough, you must like it forcefully taken, right?

Now, I want to say right now that I have never been raped and can’t speak to the kind of trauma it might induce, I can, however, speak as a twenty-something female who has been afraid of being raped before. I worked late-night shifts on campus a couple years ago and was followed to my the same night that a girl in the same area was found stripped, raped, beaten, and left alone outside in the cold (as in winter-jacket and snow the next day cold); she was found, still naked, by someone who lived in the dorm she was left outside of sometime shortly before sunrise. It scared me in a way that I had a difficult time articulating for months, if not years. I’m grateful I wasn’t that girl, and frankly, I’m even more grateful that I didn’t find out about her until the next day. I’m confident that there was nothing about what happened to that girl that she enjoyed, and there was nothing about what happened to her that is in any way okay. I feel very lucky that I didn’t end up being that girl.

So what is the point of me sharing this with you?

I know that it is not uncommon for women to feel like they’re at fault for anything that happens to them because their bodies may have responded, or they may not have said no until it was “too late.” Or maybe they were into rough sex and their partner simply went too far and crossed a line. It’s also not uncommon to be unwilling to file a report with the police for a myriad of reasons. These are some problems with no obvious solution that are present in the world we live in.

I’m not writing this as a rally to arms—I’m not that kind of activist. I’m merely pointing out that Clearwing managed to address an awful lot of these issues in his story, and even though it is labeled as erotica and you need a fairly strong constitution to read every graphic detail, I think it was very worthwhile, if for nothing other than the perspective. Kudos, Clearwing—I wouldn’t mind reading more books if you publish them.

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