Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Author Duos I'd Love to See Write a Book Together

Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

The Hook Up (Game On, #1) The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)
1. Kristen Callihan/Elle Kennedy
NA Contemporary --  Sports and very mature characters.

Sweet Disorder (Lively St. Lemeston, #1) The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3)
2. Rose Lerner/Courtney Milan
Historical Romance -- Unorthodox characters and social commentary.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1) The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)
3. Christopher Healy/Soman Chainani
MG Fantasy -- Humor and a twist on classic fairy tales.

Just Listen Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
4. Sarah Dessen/Katie McGarry
YA Contemporary -- Real teen problems and healthy relationships.

Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #1; Desperate Duchesses, #7) Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4)
5. Eloisa James/Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance -- Georgian England setting.

Revenant (Lords of Deliverance, #6; Demonica, #11) Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark #14)
6. Larissa Ione/Kresley Cole
Paranormal Romance -- Creative world building and larger than life characters.

Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1) Evernight (Darkest London, #5)
7. Bec McMaster/Kristen Callihan
Steampunk Romance -- Dark tone and characters with mysterious motives.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)
8. Marissa Meyer/Diana Peterfreund
YA Science Fiction -- Powerful heroines and classic retellings.

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3) One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2)
9. Tessa Dare/Sarah MacLean
Historical Romance -- Banter between the hero/heroine.

The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4) Isn't She Lovely (Redemption, #0.5)
10. Sarina Bowen/Lauren Layne
NA Contemporary -- Characters from all walks of life.

Monday, October 12, 2015

REVIEW: "Slave to Sensation" by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)
(Psy-Changeling #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Paranormal Romance

Berkley Sensation -- Published on September 2006
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Read in October 2015 (Re-read)


Alternate Universe, Alpha Hero, Fated Mates, Enemies to Lovers, Shifters

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

"In an effort to reduce the overwhelming incidence of insanity and serial killing in the Psy population, the Psy council decided, in the year 1969, to instigate a rigorous program called Silence."

I first binged on Nalini Singh's epic Psy-Changeling series five years ago and have enjoyed seeing how this unique world grows with each new installment.  Shards of Hope is the fourteenth book in the series and, after reading it, I was inspired to return to the beginning so I could experience the amazingness once again.

This series takes place in an alternate future where there are three different races on the planet: humans, changelings, and the Psy.  Slave to Sensation takes place in a time where the Psy are considered to be the rulers due to their psychic powers.  What really makes the Psy so dangerous is the fact that, over a hundred years ago, a program known as Silence was implemented to prevent all Psy from feeling emotions.

Things get started when Sascha Duncan, daughter of one of the Psy leaders, is assigned to work with the head of the DarkRiver leopard changeling pack, Lucas Hunter.  Lucas is using a possible business partnership to learn more about the Psy and figure out the identity of a Psy serial killer who is torturing and murdering changelings.  But, he does not expect to be so intrigued by Sascha who seems to be hiding some forbidden emotions.  On the other hand, Sascha has spent much of her life terrified that someone will figure out how much of a fraud she is yet she can't resist her growing feelings for Lucas.

There is so much that I could say about why I loved this book.  Lucas is exactly the type of hero that I love in paranormal romance.  He is strong, generous, and protective yet has some trauma in his past that affects his feelings for the Psy as a race.  What really made him stand out to me was the fact that, while he has arrogant moments, he is willing to listen to other people and do whatever he can to insure the safety of the Pack.

I adore Lucas, but Sascha is my clear favorite in this book and one of my top characters in the entire series.  Her strength comes from her desire to keep hold of her sanity in a world that has basically brainwashed her into thinking something is wrong with her.  I admired her ability to maintain the facade of Silence yet she also continued to show her own code of ethics.  Her sensitive, but firm nature becomes more pronounced as the story moves along.  I can't say much about why Sascha is the way that she is, but the revelations about her could be considered the catalyst for the entire series.

Plot balance is another great part of this book.  Readers get to experience the love story between Sascha and Lucas, but they also get a fascinating murder mystery and some political intrigue.  I never felt like the subplots ever took away from the main romance.  They helped enhance the overall story and also provided opportunities to meet great side characters such as Nate, Tami, Hawke, Dorian, etc.

I am so happy that Slave to Sensation proved as magical and engrossing as it did the first time I read it.  It was wonderful to see how much things have changed through the Psy-Changeling series and I am definitely planning on completing my series re-read before the next book comes out in summer 2016.  If you love creative alternate worlds, spicy romance, and unbelievable character development, I highly recommend this book and series.

"I wish I’d been born in another time, another place. Then maybe I could’ve escaped fate… maybe I could’ve been your darling."

1. Slave to Sensation
2. Visions of Heat
3. Caressed by Ice
4. Mine to Possess
5. Hostage to Pleasure
6. Branded by Fire
7. Blaze of Memory
8. Bonds of Justice
9. Play of Passion
10. Kiss of Snow
11. Tangle of Need
12. Heart of Obsidian
13. Shield of Winter
14. Shards of Hope

All About Romance -- A
Vampire Book Club -- 4 Stars
Bookpushers -- A+

Goodreads -- Author Website

Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance -- Audible

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SUNDAY EBOOK DEALS: Robin McKinley, Tessa Dare, Kresley Cole, etc.

Beauty by Robin McKinley (YA fantasy) -- $1.99
Amazon -- B&N -- Kobo -- Google Play
A strange imprisonment
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.
When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"
**I gave it 5 stars and it is one of the books that, I believe, started my love for fairy tale retellings.

Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor, #1)
Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires (Secrets at Thornhill Manor #1) by Sophie Barnes (historical romance) -- $1.99
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Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London's elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart's desire...
There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff's conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?
Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer—if not for a tarnished past that she's hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher's kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?
**I love house party romances so I may give this a try though I am hesitant about the hero being mistrusting of women. 

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)
A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) by Author (genre) -- $1.99
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Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters... and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle... but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?
**I gave this book 5 stars and you can read my review here.  I loved the unorthodox setting and how well the couple worked together.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers #1) by Sarah MacLean (historical romance) -- $2.99
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A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.
**This is Sarah MacLean's debut historical romance and I really enjoyed it.  I loved the heroine's journey and how much the hero helped her achieve her dream.

The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green, #1)
The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green #1) by Julie Anne Long (historical romance) -- $1.99
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His life is in her hands...
She's willing to be fearless for a price...but what if the cost is her heart?
A rescued rogue...
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.
A captivating captor...
Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.
**The beginning of the super popular Pennyroyal Green series.  I haven't read this book, but I've tried other JAL stories and enjoyed them.

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance) -- FREE
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There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.
After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.
**I gave this 4 stars and you can find my review here.  I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky heroine and comedic timing of the romance.

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark #14)
Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark #14) by Kresley Cole (paranormal romance) -- $1.99
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As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?
**I gave this book 4 stars and you can read my review here.  I loved everything about this book except I thought the ending was too abrupt.

The Beautiful Ashes
The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost (NA paranormal) -- $1.99
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Sometimes, falling in love really is the end of the world…

Ivy has always seen things that she cannot explain. Strange things. Otherworldly things. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is imprisoned in a realm beyond Ivy’s reach. The one person who can help her is the dangerously attractive rebel who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.
The fate Adrian has fought to escape is here – but he never expected the burning need he feels for Ivy. With destiny on one side and desire on the other, Adrian must help Ivy search for the powerful relic that can save her sister. Yet he knows what Ivy doesn’t: the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could destroy the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other, and nothing but ashes in between…
**I loved Frost's Night Huntress series and am enjoying her Night Prince books.  I am interested in how her voice translates to a slightly younger audience.

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
 The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski (YA fantasy) -- $2.99
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Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
**I gave this book 4.5 stars and you can read my review here.  I loved the power struggle between the two protagonists and the Ancient Greek/Roman-like setting.