Archive for December, 2011

Author: Amy Lane
Original Release Date: December 7, 2011
Format: e-novella
Pages: 113
Others In Series: Yearning, Waiting, Reaching, Changing, Becoming (Green’s Hill Werewolves novellas, #1-5), Vulnerable, Wounded, Bound, Rampant (Little Goddes series, #1-4)
ISBN #: 9781610407342
FTC Disclaimer: This book was purchased by me.

I have to say, I had a lot of expectations for this installment of Teague, Jack, and Katy’s story. There was so much I felt still had to be accomplished with these three to give them the kind of relationship they all deserved. Teague’s self-deprication, while explained and understandable from an overall story standpoint, was really bothering me. Jack’s jealousy and immaturity was just as bothersome. And poor Katy just seemed to be hanging on for scraps. I could see the potential, I could feel the WANT to be right together, and there were so many hints and “almost there’s” that I had faith Amy could pull it off. I was not disappointed.

Teague being out-of-commission was the best thing that could have happened at this point in their story. Giving Jack and Katy some time to deal with each other, without their “center”, helped them build a little something for themselves. Is it as powerful as what they feel for Teague, no… but that’s ok. They don’t expect it to be, and neither do I, I just really wanted them to feel for each other, as well, and now I believe they do.

The other big issue… Teague’s bonding. All I can say is “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it”. *happy dances* I like Jack, I really do, but until he pulled up his big-boy-pants and realized that he can’t have all the toys to himself, there was always going to be a problem in the relationship. Once the shiznit started to hit the fan, and Jacky FINALLY understood the nature of Teague’s loyalty to Green, and more importantly, to Lady Cory, all the puzzle pieces sliding into place was a beautiful thing. My goosebump moment?? When the two of them, in wolf form, realized Cory’s “situation” and stood in front of her during the battle. Woo to tha hoo, and all that jazz!!

I love the way these novellas were done. I generally have a problem with novellas, because I ALWAYS want more story. Having the six of these flow from one to another solved that problem for me. And as a whole, they’re a fantastic companion to the original Little Goddess series. I really like the way this side story has been told, and how it fits into the grand scheme of things. Amy has a way of bringing things together that I really love. The story may not always travel the road I imagined, but it’s always a ride worth taking!

**The Green’s Hill Werewolves series is a collection of novellas that accompany Amy’s LITTLE GODDESS series of novels. I *strongly* suggest you read the first three of those books (Vulnerable, Wounded, Bound) BEFORE you read the first 5 of these novellas. Being should be read after the fourth book, Rampant. They’re incredible, and wonderful, and fun, and full of action and romance, and… and… and… JUST GO READ THEM!! :-)**

Need a little incentive to take that next step and start the series?? Check back here tomorrow (1/1/12) for my “Series Starter” giveaway of VULNERABLE!! You could win a copy of the first book in this amazing series. I can’t wait to share this with someone!!

Be the first to comment

Review: I, Omega by Kari Gregg

Posted December 29, 2011 By mantasticfiction

Author: Kari Gregg
Original Release Date: September 6, 2011
Format: ebook
ISBN #: 9781611185638
FTC Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the reviewer.

This is the 1st dubcon book that I read willingly. I am not a fan of non consensual sexual violence in my entertainment, but some trusted sources convinced me to try it. I was surprised to find that I didn’t really interpret the supposed dubcon as such.

What I saw from Gabriel’s POV was his confusion due to the werewolf effects his body was going through, his fear that he was somehow defective.  His initial fear of Cal seemed to be based on the fact that he felt Cal was going to kill him because he didn’t convert into a “proper” werewolf … NOT that he didn’t want Cal as a Dom or lover.  It was clear to me in the story that Gabriel was a sub before his change, but was having a hard time adjusting to the changes to his body, and his thoughts and emotions were all over the place.

The writing was very engaging and I was very interested to see what happened next.  I’m not sure how other dubcon authors do it, but I would be willing to try out another of Kari Gregg’s work if this is her take on it.

Having said that, I never really warmed to Cal as he seemed a little over the top.  The entire story is based on a misunderstanding that happened when Cal left Gabriel alone after their first night together.  His actions were a very HUMAN thing to do, but Cal is far from human. He knew that Gabriel would need immediate help dealing with his new reality. Of course, Cal can’t know all, but to have admitted to such a big screw up and yet continue to leave Gabriel so much in the dark just forced more misunderstandings.  And to then leave Gabriel open to harm by blindly throwing him, literally, to the wolves in some sort of test was awful … so much more than his first mistake because this time Cal knew what he was doing and what he was risking.  This was the time to protect Gabriel, build trust and understanding so that the metaphysical bond that was forming had time to cement.  Instead, he seemed to put the pack first, sacrificing the bond, and causing Gabriel to slip that much further into the slave-like state that neither really seemed to want.

Surprisingly, it was Burke, not Cal that was the second “hero” in this story.  He may not have been alpha, but he seemed to be much wiser than Cal.  And what was with Jake? For an alpha, even a baby alpha, he was a bit subby … he may change as he gets older but it was kind of cute when he would curl into Gabriel.

Pause for a werewolf sex question … The knot that engages when a werewolf mates. Cal says that the knot extends and latches on when a werewolf/wolf is with his mate.  Ok, got it.  It happens every time they have sex, as seen throughout the story.  They are locked together for however long it takes for the werewolf’s balls empty and the knot releases and to be forcibly ripped apart would be bad.  Ok, got that, too.  So what happened when Gabriel gives Cal a blow job?  What does the knot latch onto?

The sex throughout the book was pure BDSM so anyone a fan of the genre will probably love that there was so much on offer.  I could have done with just a bit less sex, but I see why most of the scenes were there.  The only problem I had with it was in relation to Gabriel’s understanding … he knew himself to be submissive, but he never wanted the 24/7 slave-like relationship that he found himself in.  He was consistently surprised and conflicted by his thoughts and desires.  We later realize that his natural sub tendencies where being compacted by the new omega tendencies and really throwing him for a loop.  I get that.  But there were times when he tried breaking through and exerting his own will, even being invited to by Cal, and would be punished for his efforts.  The most notable when he didn’t want to answer Cal’s questions and was told “I may not answer your questions, boy, but you will answer every one of mine.”  It may be a silly line to attribute so much of my opinion on, but to me, that line speaks to an illusion of free will, not the true freedom Cal claimed to be offering.

I would have liked to see some of the moments Gabriel barely mentioned in passing, watching TV and reading the paper.  Maybe not those specifically since what’s really to say about those two subjects, but something to suggest that Cal wasn’t always as overbearing as he came across.

Aside from a few tweaks listed above, I really enjoyed the story more than I thought I would.  The reasoning behind the 3 stars is because it felt like the beginning without an end.  There is so much about the world that I would have loved to have known.  The immediate issue of acclimating Gabriel to Cal’s wolf was taken care of, but was that really the entire point of the story? Cal and Gabriel are bonded and Gabriel knows his worth, but what does that mean for them and the pack?  There is a simple explanation about omegas being rare, and human omegas being even more rare that rival packs will want him.  Do they stop wanting him after he has bonded? What dangers still exist so that we see the bonded pair work together and reach the level of power and cohesiveness that is hinted at.  Could Gabriel’s father really believe that he would go off the grid without a word? Even if he did, the governmental resources exhausted and media attention caused by their “elopement” is sure to be an embarrassment that would have to be dealt with by the Senator and/or the couple.  What about the other wolves?  Where are they and how does the Alpha and Omega fit?

I’m not usually a fan of couples who exist inside a bubble so what I’m missing in this story is all the surrounding events and characters that help support the main couple.  Keeping everything as is for these 138 pages and adding another 100 or so pages of story would have increased my enjoyment.  We were along for the battle, I would have liked to have seen the payoff.

*review originally posted on GoodReads on  12/28/11… reprinted with permission*

Be the first to comment

Authors: Josh Lanyon, Harper Fox, Ava March, KA Mitchell, editor Angela James
Original Release Date: December 5, 2011
Format: eBook only
ISBN #: 9781426892745

Hello, my lovelies. I’m popping in to share another holiday read! If you like your romance filled with men, and men, and more men… Have I got an anthology for YOU!

MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE has holiday short stories from some of the male/male fiction genre’s biggest names. Here’s a little peek at what you’ll be getting with this anthology…

LONE STAR by Josh Lanyon – Growing up in rural Texas, Mitchell Evans’s ambition to be a dancer made him a target. Though he found success in New York City, Mitch is at a crossroads, and heads home for the first time in twelve years to figure things out. When what appears to be a reindeer jumps out in front of his car, he drives off the road and into the path of the one man he hoped to avoid.

The last person Texas Ranger Web Eisley expects to see four days before Christmas is his first love. He hasn’t seen Mitch since they quarreled over coming out to their friends and family years ago. Though he’s not in the closet now, Web has worked hard for the respect of his fellow officers, but he still regrets the loss of Mitch in his life. And his bed.

The attraction between them is as strong as ever, and it doesn’t take long for the men to pick up where they left off. But is love enough to keep Mitch in town in the New Year?

THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION by KA Mitchell – It’s Christmas in Epiphany, Pennsylvania—the busiest time of year for Mel Halner. But running the family Christmas tree farm has worn down his love for the happiest season of all, and lately Mel’s been wondering what if he’d said yes to a ticket out of town with millionaire Bryce Campion three years ago.

Bryce isn’t used to people saying no to him, and he can’t forget Mel or their brief but sizzling affair. He might not have been offering forever, but Bryce can’t understand a guy as sexy and smart as Mel choosing to stay rooted on the family farm over enjoying the high life with him. He’s determined to make Mel see what he’s missed out on the first chance he gets.

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME by Ava March – Alexander Norton loathes the festive season. The revelry of the tonis a reminder of Christmas four years ago, when his first love, Thomas Bennett, broke his heart and fled to New York without a word. So when he encounters Thomas at a holiday ball, Alexander is determined not to let on how much he still hurts.

Thomas has returned for one reason only: Alexander. Having finally come to terms with his forbidden desires, he will do whatever he must to convince Alexander to give their love another chance. But instead of the happy, carefree man Thomas once knew, Alexander is now hard and cynical. Saddened to know he’s to blame for the man’s bitterness, Thomas resolves to reignite the passion he knows lies hidden behind the wall of disdain…

WINTER KNIGHTS by Harper Fox – Historian Gavin Lowden is in Northumberland on Christmas Eve for two reasons: to find evidence of a romantic bond between Arthur and Lancelot, and to finally tell his partner Piers that he loves him. Piers has promised to come clean with his conservative family and join Gavin for their first holiday as a couple, but at the last minute, he bails. Devastated, Gavin heads out onto the moors alone, just as snow begins to fall…

Gavin stumbles into an underground chamber, where strange happenings cause him to question what is real and what is fantasy. He’s found by two mysterious men who offer him a bed for the night—and awaken him to nuances of erotic pleasure he didn’t know existed. Pleasure he hopes to share with Piers.

When Piers learns that Gavin has gone missing, he is desperate to find him. He knows now breaking up was a terrible mistake, and he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship—if it’s not already too late.

I was lucky enough to get a few minutes of rare free time from the MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE’S editor extraordinaire, Angela James for a mini Q&A about this anthology and her holiday plans.

Had you read anything from these authors BEFORE editing the stories for the anthology? If so, how do the holiday stories compare (in overall feel) to their “everyday” work?

With the exception of KA Mitchell, I’d actually worked with all of the authors before in some capacity. I have a long editorial relationship with Ava and Josh, and Harper has written several novellas for Carina Press, including her debut novel, Life After Joe, which I read on submission. I’ve long been a fan of all four authors’ work, even outside our editorial relationships, and I was excited to get the chance to finally work with KA.

All of the authors are exactly the type of author an editor wants to work with—they delivered polished stories with fantastic holiday storylines, and were an absolute dream to do edits with. Fans of their other works will find all four authors have delivered the same character-driven, uber-readable stories they’ve become used to from past works.

Is it harder/easier/the same to edit a short story? Are there benefits to the length of a story from an editorial standpoint? (Character building, continuity, story arcs, etc.)

I adore editing novellas, especially now that I don’t get to do much editing anymore (my job is much more administrative these days). I find novellas edit much more quickly and are easier to fit into my schedule. The challenge is that not every author can write in the short format. It is challenging building a realistic relationship with fully realized characters in a novella setting. Every author I’ve worked with on their novellas has had so much talent developing the story and characters in a short time, I’ve been amazingly fortunate.

Do you ever read a short story, then beg the author to find a way to make it longer or continue it in some way? If so, how successful have your requests been, lol?

Oh yes, we’ve asked authors to both lengthen and write sequels to novellas. I don’t think I’ve ever had an author say no to a request like this.

What is the thing you’re looking most forward to this holiday? (traditions? food? family? presents? time off, lol?)

This is going to sound bad, but it’s definitely time off. I traveled a lot for work in 2011 (gone for around a total of at least 2 months!) so I’m alittle tired and have so much stuff around my house I need to get done. Because I was always traveling for work, I didn’t take much vacation, so I have to use it before the end of the year or lose it! So I find myself with 2 weeks off at the end of December and I’m really looking forward to just…being. And having time to read. And sadly, clean my house (sounds fun, no?)

I will say that we have a Christmas Eve tradition of doing a mini-train ride around a local park that has Christmas lights set up, and then going out to dinner. I love that tradition. And yes, I also really, really love presents. I love getting surprises and seeing what people think I’d love (everyone should feel free to shop for me. I’m easy to shop for, honest!)

Thanks for featuring our holiday collection, Jennifer. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I loved editing it. And I also hope they’ll also check out my other two 2011 holiday collections, A Clockwork Christmas (steampunk) and Holiday Kisses (contemporary).

I want to thank Angela for sharing her thoughts with us… have fun with your down time!! Now… it’s time for you all to check out this awesome anthology. (And if you’re interested, yes, the stories are available individually, as well.) Go… Read… Be Merry!!

Be the first to comment

2nd Annual “My Favorite Things” Holiday Giveaway

Posted December 19, 2011 By Jennifer

Hello Everyone!!! I’m soooo excited to be able to do this weeklong giveaway again this year!! This is where I get to share some of the books that I’ve LOVED from this year. I wish I could give away EVERY book I loved, but that’s just not possible, so I’ve got a “sampling”, if you will. Some of these I bought specifically for this event, some were ARCs provided by the publishers throughout the year, some have been graciously donated by their authors. I hope you’ll love them as much as I did!! (Unfortunately, I learned with this event last year that shipping overseas is just too expensive. Other contests I have are international, but this one will be US/CAN only. I’m sorry.)

So… here’s how this will work. Below is a list of the seven days leading up to Christmas day, and what the prize is for that day. You may enter for as many days as you like, but you may only win ONCE. So, if you enter for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday prizes, and you get chosen for Wednesday’s, you’re not eligable for Friday’s prize. Make sense?? If not, email me and I’ll answer any additional questions. To enter, all you need to do is comment below with the name of the book (title and author) you’re looking most forward to in 2012, and the days that you want to be entered for. Please remember to include your first name and email address for notification in your post. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entries for each day.

So… here are just some of MY FAVORITE THINGS…

Monday (Dec 19th) – Secrets of the Demon (signed ARC copy) by Diana Rowland, Night Walker by Lisa Kessler w/ trading cards, Embraced By Blood by Laurie London

  

Tuesday (Dec 20th) – Shatter Me (ARC copy) by Tahereh Mafi, All Wounds by Dina James, Rage by Jackie Kessler

  

Wednesday (Dec 21st) – A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang (with trading cards), Night Veil by Yasmine Galenorn, Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes

  

Thursday (Dec 22nd) – Forever by Maggie StiefvaterFirst Kill (signed) by Heather Brewer

 

Friday (Dec 23rd) – Royal House of Shadows (4 books) by Nalini Singh, Jessica Andersen, Gena Showalter, and Jill Monroe

  

Saturday (Dec 24th) – Blood Hunt (signed) by Shannon K Butcher w/ handmade bookmark, Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke

 

Sunday (Christmas Day) – The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Vulnerable by Amy Lane (this one isn’t new this year, but I read it this year and LOVED it… and it’s my contest, so I’m adding it, lol.)

  

GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE!!

16 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

It’s holiday time, and what goes better with holiday time than MAD LIBS?? (ok… go along with me here, lol… everyone loves Mad Libs, right??) Below is my quick review of a novella I read… then we’re gonna play a Mad Libs style game to WIN an ecopy of the story!! Check out the details below my review.

Author: Faye Robertson
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Formats: ebook
Pages: 77
ASIN #: B006J14TP6
FTC Disclaimer: I purchased this book.

I stepped out of my genre box and read a quick holiday novella called HOLLY’S FIRST NOEL by Faye Robertson. It’s a contemporary romance with no werewolves or vampires, but Faye did manage a little holiday magic. It’s the story of Holly and Noel, both suffering and lonely during Christmas. When Noel offers Holly a chance to “get away from it all” and join him in Scotland for the holiday (purely platonical-like), she takes him up on it.

We all know where this is going, lol…

Before the end, they’ve purged and bonded and healed something in each other. Oh, and there was some kissing, some very sweet, very lovely kissing… and then Faye brings the smexy. (A hot little present that could have been wrapped up in a bow!) There’s some attraction and flirty banter between the two at the beginning, which was good, because I generally have a hard time with romantic novellas not having enough time to build a relationship. That would have been especially hard given the baggage these two are bringing into the story, had there NOT been some kind of spark at the start to get the ball rolling. The dialogue is fantastic between these two. Even when they’re talking about serious things, Faye’s ability to insert wit and humor is spot on.

For someone looking for a quick, sometimes funny, sometimes sweet holiday story, this should fit the bill. The characters don’t feel one dimensional to me (another problem I sometimes have with shorter stories), and they do play off each other nicely. I always seem to want more in a story, so of course I’d love to have had this longer and with more detail. But as it was, it was a nice way to spend a little holiday reading time.

NOW… for some MAD LIBS fun!!! Below is a list of descriptions. In the comments, leave a word (numbered, please) that fits the description. On Sunday night (December 18th, midnight pacific) I’ll post an exerpt from HOLLY’S FIRST NOEL, as it appears in the story. I’ll also reply to each comment with what that same exerpt looks like with YOUR words inserted!! I’ve done this in the past with nursery rhymes and well known poems, and it’s HILARIOUS!! (If you’re not familiar with Mad Libs, you can email me or find me on twitter for a better explaination.)

And to sweeten the pot, one commenter will win an ebook copy of HOLLY’S FIRST NOEL!!

Word List

  1. Verb (past tense)
  2. Noun (plural)
  3. Verb (past tense)
  4. Noun (plural)
  5. Verb (-ing)
  6. Body Part
  7. Verb (past tense)
  8. Food
  9. Adjective
  10. Noun
  11. Body part
  12. Body part
  13. Adjective
  14. Body Part (plural)
  15. Verb (past tense)

I can’t wait, seriously, CAN’T WAIT, to see what you lovely people come up with!! Good Luck Everyone!

****ORIGINAL EXERPT FROM HOLLY’S FIRST NOEL****

Holly inhaled when his lips touched hers as if he’d shocked her, but she didn’t pull away, so he didn’t stop. He moved his lips across hers slowly, sweeping his tongue into her mouth as she opened it, tasting the chocolate and wine she’d had, as well as the sweet flavor that was all her. She cupped his face, her thumb brushing his cheek, giving soft sighs that sounded so erotic to his out-of practice ears he was instantly aroused.

Check your posts to see how YOUR words fit, lol!!!

To thank both Catharine and Lisa for their entries, you’ll BOTH be getting a copy of HOLLY’S FIRST NOEL!! I’ll be contacting you about file type via email!

7 Comments so far. Join the Conversation