Tina and Caroline
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Where Secrets Lie is the debut novel of author Ebony Kent. I found it an appealing, fast paced read, containing an intriguing take on the vampire myth.
Kara, a police detective, takes a break from her job to ensure the safety of her sister Alyssa, after she discovers that she has become the servant of a vampire Logan – Kara has become aware of the existence of vampires, which most humans are unaware of, due to her work for the police. Kara not only fears for Alyssa’s life but is also afraid that she may be persuaded to want to become one of them, a creature which Kara considers a monster.
To protect Alyssa, Kara infiltrates the vampire clan led by the brooding and enigmatic Michael. Michael only allows her entry to his mansion once she agrees to be his own personal servant, willing to do anything and everything her asks of her…. Michael is intrigued by Kara as she is a strong and independent woman and she is also immune to vampire enthrallment. At first he is determined to break her and make her beg him to kill her before he is done with her. Michael has two other personal servants, Amy and Kate, the latter who is eager to please him on all levels, especially in the bedroom!
Whilst in the mansion, Kara fights a losing battle to protect Alyssa from falling in love with the suave and attractive Logan. She also seeks to protect her own sanity and fight a growing attraction to Michael, who demands that she spends more and more time in his company, whilst jealous rivals for Michael’s attention seek her destruction. The plot thickens when another clan of vampires, headed by Michael’s uncle Elijah, seeks a formal merger with Michael’s clan. This represents a further threat to Kara and her sister. Will Kara and Alyssa escape unhurt from the vampire word that they have become so immersed in? And what of Michael’s plans for Kara and her own feelings for him?
Overall I enjoyed the characters and the story. I liked the immediate chemistry and sardonic humour between Michael and Kara and welcomed their growing relationship. Michael has a bad boy reputation but the more I found out about him the more I became attracted to him as did Kara. I also liked Logan, who is a sympathetic character, who appears to have Michael’s, Kara’s, and Alyssa’s best interests at heart. Some of the other vampires, who view humans as little more than servants and pets to meet their needs and provide blood, are suitably evil. The sex scenes were not explicit and were generally sweet between the hero and heroine. There is some violence in the novel.
I found that the novel had an intriguing plot and set of characters. It was very fast paced and there was always something happening to Kara or one of the other main characters. I did however feel that it could have benefited from some contrast in pace here and there and perhaps fewer new characters introduced near the end, which I found a little confusing. However, I do appreciate that the novel is the first in a series and as such the plot and the characters are designed to set the scene for future instalments. The ending of the novel set up the next book, Where Secrets Lie: The Return, very nicely. I would be interested in reading future novels.
I recommend it to readers who enjoy urban fantasy or paranormal romance containing vampires and other supernatural creatures.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
I received this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for my unbiased review.
Contact Ebony Kent:
We would both like to wish all of you that have made our blogging journey this year such fun A Fantastic Christmas! This includes all of our blog’s readers, co-bloggers and the authors and people in the wonderful world of books whom we have had the pleasure of getting to know through the virtual world of the internet! You all rock big time!
Stay safe and healthy and have a great time!
Caroline and Tina 🙂
Anthology of Erotic Cowboy Romances: Adult Read: F/M and M/M stories
An anthology of three novellas, two contemporary and one set in the old West. All very different, but all guaranteed to get your blood pumping and heart pounding!
In Her Dream Cowboy, by Samantha Holt, Sophie is persuaded by her friend to accompany her on a special vacation to experience ranch life in Nevada. However, Sophie, from England, finds that her friend has pulled out and she arrives alone at the ranch. Not all is lost though, as her guide for the week turns out to be the sexiest cowboy imaginable and it promises to be an interesting week as Sophie resolves to let go of the past after a painful divorce……… Luke Harper has spent years turning his ranch into a successful holiday business, but has yet to find a woman who can accept the realities of dating a cowboy. Sophie is a temptation he cannot resist and he wonders if she will give him a chance, or if she is just looking for a dream cowboy?
I enjoyed this hot read! There is strong mutual attraction between the couple from the off and their relationship and their romance progresses quickly as the couple spend quality time together on the ride (wink, wink!). Luke, after vowing to himself not to mix business with pleasure, finds that he cannot resist Sophie and soon reveals to her the man he is! I liked that the couple soon got down to the business of exploring each other more fully (there are some pretty scorching and sweet love making scenes, which satisfied some of my secret fantasies), but also that their characters and their back stories were explained, which deepened my enjoyment of the read.
In The Layover, by C.V. Madison, security officer and city boy Reno Locke drops into The Meeting Place for a little loving to fill his off duty hours. Country boy Wilder Henderson swings through to blow off a little steam after winning a rodeo competition. Locke finally works up the nerve to hit on Wilder and Locke takes Wilder back to his room. He finds out this urban cowboy is just what he was looking for during The Layover.
This m/m tale was a blistering read! Whilst I don’t read many m/m romances, I enjoyed the contrasting characters of Reno and Wilder, who are polar opposites, but as we know opposites attract! The witty repartee between the couple in the bar is very entertaining, as they become acquaintanced and circle each other to find out if they both desire to spend a spot of time together that evening! There are some passionate clinches between them after they leave the bar for their hotel. Once there the scenes heat up as we learn more about their inner desires and how useful Wilder’s skills gained in the Rodeo circuit are – cue for some light bondage! Both men seem smitten with the other and they will have to decide if this was just a one off tryst or something more.
Faith, Hope and Charity, by J.T. Seate, is a read full of adventure, hot sex and tongue in cheek cowboy clichés! In it Faith, a young girl, meets Johnny, a sexy cowboy at a fiesta in a small New Mexico town. She’s different from any girl Johnny’s ever met, the kind of girl that makes him think of settling down. At a late night rendezvous, they reveal everything there is to know about each other…….. However, her daddy, a Territorial Marshall, doesn’t approve and is also after Johnny’s blood for taking advantage of his daughter. He will leave no stone unturned until retribution is his. The couple plan a rendezvous and a future life together, but Johnny must escape the wrath of the Marshall first. Will love conquer all?
This novella played out in my head like an old black and white cowboy film, but one that had the advantage of containing some very saucy scenes indeed – the heroine in particular knew what she wanted after falling in love at first sight and the hero was more than happy to rise to her expectations! There was romance and passionate love making, coupled with fast paced scenes of flight and pursuit. Throughout the tale there is much humour as the author references many cowboy clichés. Overall a hot and entertaining read.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
A copy of this anthology was given to me by author Samantha Holt for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Cover art by Winterheart Design
Edited by EM Petrova
Find and connect with the authors:
The tree and decorations are finally up and the turkey, goose, nut roast or whatever else serves as your Christmas day fare have all been purchased and the presents wrapped……….. More importantly you have had the chimney swept to give Santa unimpeded access to your home in the hope that he will deliver you the fictional hero of your dreams or failing that a cart load of scrummy books – a girl can dream right!
Just in case some of this fantasy goes awry we have selected some seasonal reads that you may appreciate. Where we have read them I have provided a link through the book title to the review and where not I have linked to Goodreads. Amazon or Smashwords links too are given. Also look out for my forthcoming post listing my Top Reads of 2013.
Happy Christmas and Happy Reading! Tina:)
Christmas Themed Reads Reviewed on ARR Blog
The Twelfth Night Wager, Regan Walker – Has the Rake Met His Match? (Regency Romance Novella): A classy Regency romance where a wager between friends, concerning seduction, has far reaching consequences for a dissolute rake and a respectable young widow. There is also a cleverly woven sub plot containing elements of danger and suspense, which add to the fun and act as a catalyst to the romance. I found it a love affirming and entertaining read, welcome at any time of year but especially heart warming at Christmastime! Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads
Borderland Beauty, Borderlands Legacy #2, by Samantha Holt – Besotted Lord versus a Lady Scorned (Sensual Medieval Romance): Lord Dominic, is surprised to learn of a marriage contract, pledging him to the daughter of a neighbour. Dominic does not recall having met his daughter, Lucy, and invites the family to spend Christmas at Thornewall to see if they suit. However, Lord Montgomery forbids Dominic to mention the contract, fearing Lucy’s reaction.Whereas Dominic is smitten with Lucy on sight, Lucy is not so keen, in part to unkind comments about her appearance, made in the past by none other than Dominic, when she was but a teenager, a man she considers an out and out womaniser. The battle for Lucy’s heart commences! Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads
Pastels and Jingle Bells (a Heavenly Bites novella) by Christine S. Feldman: A seasonal contemporary romantic novella: Trish encounters her former school bully, Ian, at her bakery. He has absolutely no idea who she is and Trish decides to use this at her advantage and begins to plan her revenge…… After spending time with him and finding out about his childhood and the man he is today, she begins to have feelings for him. Will she be able to tell o she is and how will he react? Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads
Others that Caught My Eye
A Holiday Anthology, Vol. One, Exquisite Quills, by authors including Helena Fairfax: a FREE collection of short Christmas stories By Exquisite Quills Authors and Friends. It has been written for adults who love romance stories but is family friendly. Each story is unique and is meant to give a sampling of the writing of that author. From contemporary to historical, the Exquisite Quills authors and friends wish you a happy holiday filled with wonderful books. Smashwords Goodreads
A Boroughs Christmas Holiday Anthology: A holiday bonanza: Ten stories set in different times and places, each telling the tale of people who found love through wishes or magic or luck, all on Christmas—except for one on New Year’s Eve. Contains stories by Regan Walker (The Holly and the Thistle) and Kellyann Zuzulo (The Christmas Bottle). Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads
Married for Christmas (Willow Park), Noelle Adams – sweet contemporary romance: After years of dreaming, Jessica is getting married Daniel is her best friend, but he’s never gotten over losing his wife. He dreams of becoming the local pastor in their hometown, but the congregation is wary of an unmarried minister. As Daniel needs a wife and Jessica wants a husband and family, she proposes they get married. They can build a life together and can celebrate Christmas as a couple. It’s fine that he doesn’t love her. And it’s fine that she’s not exactly suited to be a small-town pastor’s wife. And it’s fine that she’s more attracted to her sexy, brooding husband every day. Jessica can be practical about this marriage. She knows what she’s getting into, after all… Amazon UKAmazon US Goodreads
Four Weeks ’til Christmas (novelette,17k), by Jayn Wilde: Noelle Tanner, 25, once enjoyed the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family. An accident changed all that for Noelle and now she is full of guilt and pain. Zane Williams is wealthy and handsome and at 30, must take over his father’s large corporation, having little time to enjoy life. His family is scattered and he must devote all of his time to work. A chance meeting brings the two together. Will the guilt and pain of their lives outweigh the love and blessings the four weeks ’til Christmas can hold? Or, will they be able to heal each other and make new memories to last a lifetime? Amazon UKAmazon USGoodreads
A Grosvenor Square Christmas: FREE: Four tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors. Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter? 1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen; 1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly; 1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell; 1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble. Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads
Hello readers, I hope that you have all had a great year in 2013 and have had a chance to bury your head in many a good book this year. It has been a great first year for Tina and myself at A Reader’s Review Blog and we have made many online friends with authors and readers alike, as well as have a steady growth in followers. Thanks, guys. I hope that you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very Happy New Year! x
I would like to take you on a journey through my favourite reads of this year. Initially I was going to pick ten but soon realised that there have been more than ten to leave an impact on me. However, some of them are part of the same series and so I have given the whole series a mention. In all there are about 14/15 titles and they are in no particular order. (It would be impossible for me to number them!) Most genres are covered, including paranormal, fantasy, dystopian sci-fi, romance, comedy, thriller and horror. Romance is a theme that runs through many of them quite strongly.
Please click on titles for our full review and blurb!
Well, I had to begin with a rom-com. I absolutely LOVED The Debt & the Doormat by Laura Bernard. The comedy elements to this great book reminded me that of the style of Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones’ and Miranda Hart’s ‘Miranda’! With a fantastic love story making up the focus of the novel there are so many other aspects to this book, with various family members and work colleagues providing sub plots and more comedy. It is also very heart-warming. A perfect read for anyone who loves a great chick-lit! I am over the moon to hear that there will be a sequel next Spring!
Unscathed is a collaboration by two of my favourite authors, Tim O’Rourke and C.J. Pinard. Initially a contemporary romance, this story is sweet and heart-warming, with two young people falling for each other. However, Unscathed is unique. As you read on there becomes a paranormal element that raises it’s ugly head at times and causes some trouble between our two young lovebirds. I enjoyed the unpredictability of this story and in many of the author’s solo books too. They both provide the element of surprise!
I’m going to have to begin this genre with possibly my favourite book since the beginning of A Reader’s Review Blog. Tim O’Rourke’s ‘Vampire Seeker’ is the ultimate action/adventure, fantasy/paranormal and sci-fi all rolled into one for me! From a vampire seeker in London, following a possible Jack the Ripper copycat in 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine. With plenty of action and gore, as with all of Tim’s stories, this is a thrilling, rollercoaster-like quick read with a little sexual tension too! Now signed to Little Brown/Piatkus publishing, the hard copy will be released in January 2014. However, it is available as an e-book for the Kindle at Amazon.
Now, if one is to mention Tim O’Rourke it is impossible to not bring up his Keira Hudson series. Keira is a young policewoman and is taken out of her comfort zone when she goes to work at The Ragged Cove, where there have been people going missing and some turning up dead. It isn’t too long before the reader is opened up to a fantastic world of vampires, Lycanthrope and follow Keira on a journey like no other. Again, Tim’s writing is complete with punchy lines, high impact action scenes, comedy and romance. The Keira Hudson series is followed by many and Tim will soon be writing his third series under the Keira Hudson title! Please click on the links below to read all of our reviews thus far on the Keira adventure.
Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 1), Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Volume One) (Keira Hudson Series One) – illustrated by Craig Twyman, Vampire Wake (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 2), Vampire Hunt (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 3), Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 4), Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series 1 Book 4.5) – novella, Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 5), Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1), Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5) – novella, Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2), Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 3), Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 4), Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 5) and Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 6).
With Control (The Soul of Voodoo #1) by M.C. Lavocat we begin to go a little darker into the paranormal. In many ways the first part of Control can appear to be a romantic love triangle situation but as the reader gets sucked in too, by the spell, we realise that it is so much more; where lives are at stake, time is not as it seems and people’s destiny’s are affected! There is nothing we can do to prevent it – or so it seems – but we have to find a way! A curse, a spell, voodoo even is considered when darker events take place and the ‘control’ or lack of it goes to a complete extreme. This is a must-read for those that love dark, paranormal horror, mixed with comedy and romance!
Earlier this year Tina and myself focused on a Werewolf theme. During this time I read two fantastic books that I have been longing to read the sequels to. The first, Nicky Charles ‘The Mating (Law of the Lycans #1)’, was recommended by a follower of our blog. I was grateful for the recommendation as The Mating was gripping from the beginning. It is a romantic suspense and the tension is apparent almost immediately as the main character, Elise, is mated to an Alpha of a neighbouring pack. However, this was not her choice.
The second of my werewolf stories is Cursed (A Werewolf’s Tale #1), also known as ‘Frostbite’, by David Wellington. Cursed concentrates on the survival of a werewolf who finds herself lone in an Arctic forest, where a pack of others is trying to track her down. It is rather a chilling paranormal which includes some ferocious and horrific attacks, making this a bit of a horror too. It is gripping and the Arctic setting fits in nicely with the characters as they seem too cold to air any romance. It is a case of can they learn to live separately or must they try to eliminate the other in order to survive?
Boreal & John Grey (Complete Series One) by Chrystalla Thoma is one of the best paranormal/urban fantasy series I have ever read. There is definitely something for everyone with this magical story of the human world having Gates appear from another world, where it brings Shades, snakes, dragons, dwarves and goblins, not to mention sexy elves! The story itself is complete with action and adventure, mystery and romance. And what’s more is that you can purchase all 5 books under the one title.
One of the most chilling stories I have read is Mark Matthews ‘On the Lips of Children‘! This is definitely one to read under the covers as we follow the horrific ordeal as a marathon runner and his family are held captive by some scavengers. Mark Matthews’ writing is so clear, the reader doesn’t miss a thing – even though they may wish they had at times. For the taste of the heebie jeebies and a good scare this one is highly recommended!
Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon was our Halloween Horror. There is so much going on in this book, but at the same time it’s enough to handle. Tatterdemon focuses on a cursed town of 300 years, where now some of the townsfolk turn on each other. This horror holds it all, from witches, ghosts, zombies and killer scarecrows and complete with resurrections, spells and voodoo. It is a little crazy as well as being a fantastic fearsome horror!
Stilts (Tessa Dark trilogy #1) is the latest book released from author Tim O’Rourke. It is also Tim’s first dystopian. I was so curious to read this one as it completely different from anything else I have ever read. Stilts is a story of survival. The only place that remains save is the prison that Tessa has been serving time in. However, outside the prison the world is not how she remembers it and the only living creatures outside appear to be similar to melting zombies, ‘scorchers’! It won’t be too long before the prison supplies run out and so the only hope they have is for some to leave the prison to bring back supplies. To prevent the scorchers from touching and melting them they find a way to travel with the use of stilts. With a romantic story running parallel with the survival story this proves to be a brilliant read.
And my last genre, but certainly not least is ………………..
Although an avid reader of romance and the paranormal, I do love to read a great thriller. And my following thriller favourites really stood out to me this year. One of my first reads of 2013 was A Presence in Russell County (The Organization Book 1) by S.J. Sprague. In a County where police corruption is high, Samantha Biggers finds herself in a vulnerable situation. After chatting online to a guy for two years she leans on him for support. He is an ex-military man who is part of The Organization. An organization targeting corrupt law enforcement officers. Once The Organization are involved, Samantha’s safety is a priority as well as bringing down the corrupt officers. I do love this series as not only is there the crimes and the thrills but there is also romance amongst the main characters. Later this year I also read the sequel, Mulberry (The Organization Book 2). Mulberry again has a great crime story involving corrupt police and continues with the romance surrounding Samantha. The main difference being that Samantha is now a member of The Organization! I do like the characters and the whole idea of The Organization. The Organization can deal with these corrupt officers swiftly through the justice system. This is definitely a series to look out for. And Jesse Butterfly (The Organization Book 3) will be released in early Spring 2014!
Now for this little treat, Tina and myself both reviewed Addicted by JoAnn DeLazzari for Blue Star Books. Set in a Colombian jungle, journalist Nikki Bradley is trying to find sufficient evidence to bring down a high and mighty drug trafficking operation. However, when she gets captured by these organised criminals the tension mounts as they have the potential to do with her as they please. One of her captors, King, although fearsome and rugged, he does prevent the others from harming her and the intensity and passion grows between them. Nikki desires him in ways she knows she shouldn’t. The chemistry and tension between these characters, as well as the setting in the jungle, reminds me of ‘Romancing the Stone’ and/or ‘Crocodile Dundee’ – although perhaps more adult-based. A very sensuous read. Hmmmm, I will certainly have to read this one again!
And finally, but again, certainly not the least, I have The Hourglass Killer Trilogy by LR Potter. Consisting of three books: Dwindling Sands, Shifting Sands and Cascading Sands. I am glad that I read the whole trilogy together as each story combines together perfectly with the following one. This one is a dark crime thriller, concentrating on Tess Champion, a female detective who has been subjected to a violent sexual crime. However, when she returns to work, she and her partner are faced with the murder of a woman who has been seriously sexually harmed in similar ways that she has. Is she being paranoid, or could there be a connection between this case and her own? Each step of this trilogy is quite adult-based, especially given the crimes committed. The reader is also aware of how each step of the case affects Tess and the people around her. However dark it gets, once you are gripped you really can’t put this book down!
And so as we move on into 2014 I am looking forward to reading some more great reads by some great authors. Where possible I am hoping to follow the series’ I have begun as well as begin some new ones.
I hope that I have intrigued you enough to take a peek at our full reviews. (Reviews can be seen by clicking on the titles). And if you are really keen we also have the links to Amazon UK and Amazon US.
If you have any great reads of this year that you would like to share with us, please feel free to comment below! We’d love to hear some of your favourites 🙂
Be sure to keep a look out for Tina’s Top Reads of 2013, coming shortly. And again, we both wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With only 6 more sleeps to go, we’re all feeling quite festive. We hope you’ve enjoyed the snow effect on our blog. Here is a reblog of a recent review of Christine S. Feldman’s ‘Pastels and Jingle Bells’. It is a beautifully written novella, a seasonal, sweet romantic short read which is also a little festive fun! Enjoy, guys! Caroline 🙂
Pastels & Jingle Bells (a Heavenly Bites novella #1) gripped me from the first few pages and the story grows very quickly in this short, beautiful, seasonal contemporary romantic novella.
Trish encounters her former school bully, Ian, at her bakery years after high school has finished. He has absolutely no idea who she is and Trish decides to use this at her advantage and begins to plan her revenge. However, Trish becomes drawn into Ian’s life in ways she’d never imagine and during this time her plans for revenge diminish. After spending time with him and finding out more about him, i.e. his childhood and the man he is today, she begins to have feelings for him. The trouble she has now is explaining to Ian who she really is. Will she be able to tell him? If so, how will he react?
I loved the little comical…
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