Review Round-Up – February ’15

Hi readers, we hope that you are all well and looking forward to the arrival of Spring, as Tina and I are. We want to say goodbye to the cold and gloominess, the bugs and viruses, and welcome some clear, blue, sunny skies to wake up to and motivate us to get out and about. I’m sure if it wasn’t for certain responsibilities I would just hibernate with my books and laptop throughout the winter months!

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away I hope that you are all in the mood for love! We have been reading many great romance novels, whether they are contemporary, historical, paranormal, comedy or erotic, and so there are more than enough reads to bury your head into to prepare you for the weekend of love!!

Amongst our latest, thirteen reviews we have two thrillers and a non/fiction travel and food book – if you are planning to go away, or want to try something new to eat, this is a fab read of first-hand accounts with recipes at the end of each chapter!

We hope you enjoy our selection. And whatever your plans, have a lovely Valentine’s weekend! (As always, please click on the titles for our full review!)

Caroline & Tina ❤

Torment (Dark Alpha 1)Torment (Dark Alpha #1) and Pleasure (Dark Alpha #2) by Alisa Woods, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Torment (Dark Alpha #1) – short story

New Adult Paranormal Romance serial

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

Jak enjoys the female human population of Seattle as much as any wolf, but his heart belongs to a female shifter who’s already mated. Worse, she’s the mate of his alpha’s brother.

Arianna was captured from her pack when she was only twenty and mated to a wolf whose dark side takes full advantage of her unbreakable bond to him. Her nights belong to him, but her days are free to explore other things… including feelings for a wolf she can never have.

Is love stronger than magic? Or will breaking an unbreakable bond destroy them both?

Torment (Dark Alpha 1) is 60 pages or 15,000 words. It’s the first of six episodes in the Dark Alpha serial.
Adult content. Ages 18+.

Pleasure (Dark Alpha 2)Pleasure (Dark Alpha #2) – short story

Blurb: New Adult Paranormal Romance serial

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

Jak and Arianna have found something special in each other’s arms… but is it something they can keep?

Is love stronger than magic? Or will breaking an unbreakable bond destroy them both?

Pleasure (Dark Alpha 2) is 60 pages or 15,000 words. It’s the second of six episodes in the Dark Alpha serial.

Adult content. Ages 18+.

Guildhall Guardian: Thamesian #1 (Thamesians)Guildhall Guradian: Thamesian (Thamesians #1) by Aidan Ladsow, paranormal romance, mystery (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: SHE HAS JUST FOUND THE ADVENTURE SHE CRAVED FOR

Italian Art Graduate Gioia Di Terzi has left Rome for England, upsetting all her plans of a future as a Museum administrator. Now working as a civil servant, she settles into a British working-class routine which comes nowhere close to her dreams of English Gothic tales.
That’s before she discovers the Medieval Quarter of the city and steps into its Guildhall, a building which instantaneously fascinates her.
Little does she know she just crossed the supernatural underworld’s threshold…

AFTER CENTURIES AS A GUARDIAN HE MUST COME OUT AND FIGHT

In 1430, Roydon Thamesian made a pact with Vampires who saved his life and became the powerful Guildhall’s guardian.
Ruling the Medieval Quarter, he doesn’t know humanity anymore.
Until Gioia Di Terzi stumbles into his life and he becomes the target of unmistakable attacks from a Hunter…

511kNDVGIzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Plea From a Stranger by Derek A Barrass, thriller, slight paranormal (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A young woman’s casual visit to a garage accompanied by her young daughter; becomes her worst imaginable nightmare when the owner tricks her and locks them in his basement. June, who was once a nude model for lad’s magazines, is the dream-girl he believes has been sent by fate to be his. He is a psychopath who has killed his wife and the man she left him for. He also hides other crimes from his past which he believes he was entitled to do if anyone crossed him.

Songs_of_the_ManiacsSongs of the Maniacs (novella) by Mickey J. Corrigan, new adult, psychological thriller, dark drama, urban crime, romantic suspense (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Who are we when we lose everything, including our personalities? From her office at a mental health institute in the tropics, a troubled young woman counsels deeply disturbed clients while coping with her own heightening concerns. These include frightening consciousness lapses, violent memories of a high school sexual relationship, a menacing stalker, and an annoyingly arousing visitor who may or may not be insane. All this on a single stormy day at a time when a new mental health disorder has become epidemic and is threatening to distort memory and identity, unmooring the validity of reality itself.

A seductive and chilling novella, Songs of the Maniacs takes readers on a fascinating descent into the abyss beneath the lush surfaces of contemporary American paradise.

jack5.500x8.500.inddBroken Dolls by Kitty Thomas, literary erotica 18+ (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Mina Calloway always finds herself in the hands of the wrong master: Gentle at first, then brutally sadistic and abusive. She no longer believes it’s possible to find a man who will be gentle with her. After seeing a kink-friendly therapist for months, the doctor makes her an illicit offer she isn’t yet smart enough to refuse: “Let me find you a good master.”

Brian Sloan is a borderline sociopath with a dark and brutal past. Only taking his sadistic urges out on the women at a submissive training house allows him to sleep through the night. When Brian sees Mina, she should be ripe for the picking, but her damage is too similar to his own. Can he fight past his demons to protect the one person he considers worth saving?

Note: This book happens in the same world as Guilty Pleasures with reoccurring settings and characters. However, it is not a direct sequel and it isn’t necessary to have read Guilty Pleasures first. If you enjoy this book, however, you may also enjoy Guilty Pleasures by Kitty Thomas.

Travel BitesTravel Bites by The Hungry Traveller, non-fiction, travel, food (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Travel Bites is a collection of short stories that criss-cross the globe. It is the first work by The Hungry Traveller who has combined his two great life passions: travelling and eating!

The Hungry Traveller has been travelling for the last fifteen years and, along the way, has experienced many different sights, tastes, smells and cultures. Central to his travel experiences has been the role of food. Through his unique and very personal style of storytelling, you too can share in the highs and the lows of his stories from around the world. At the end of each story is a recipe for a dish inspired by his adventure.

Travel Bites will capture your imagination and curiosity; and will leave you yearning to plan your next holiday, adventure or escape!

The Hungry Traveller is a travelling enthusiast who loves to eat! When travelling, he enjoys meeting new people and engaging with locals to learn about their culture, history and the food that they eat. He is ‘currently between trips’, saving money, but always has his passport on hand, ready for his next adventure! He always likes to hear about other peoples’ travel experiences and your thoughts on his book!

Lady Smut Dark DesiresThe Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires, erotic, paranormal, humour (reviewed by Tina)

 The Immortal Longing of Brenna Bang by Liz Everly

When a vampire materializes through her computer, successful vampire-romance romance author Brenna Bang finds herself marked for inescapable passion with a tech savvy bloodsucker.

The Lying, the Witch & the Wardrobe by Margery Kempe

Jeanie tries to figure out how to unlock her grandmother’s wardrobe and uncover what happened all those years ago when the goblins came to offer their sensuous erotic fruits.

Sexsomnia by Madeline Iva

Jenny needs to unravel the mystery of what she does at night and who she does it with in order to subdue the sexual demon inside her.

Divine by Elizabeth Shore

Locked in an abandoned mental asylum, an ambitious filmmaker soon discovers she’s trapped with a Dionysian god.  He offers her a glimpse of astounding future artistic success—but it will only come true if she’ll perform an erotic ritual to free him.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00057]Concealment (The Cassano Series) by Scarlet Wolfe, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Victoria Hart is supposed to be the enemy. She is an undercover detective who infiltrated my hotel and casino as an employee to take down my illegal enterprise. What she doesn’t know is I am fully aware of it. The operation I’m orchestrating is monumental compared to anything her mind could envision.It’s the burning desire I feel when she’s near that I didn’t see coming. An unwavering draw to touch her, and the need to break down her walls is testing my restraint; however, nothing can stand in the way of my ultimate goal. She could destroy everything my brothers and I have worked toward to avenge our father’s death.To keep the upper hand, it is vital to know your enemy. How deeply can I go, peeling back her intriguing layers while still concealing the truth? How much of Victoria can I claim before she’s too close … too close for me to let her go? This novel ends in a cliffhanger and is for a mature audience due to harsh language and descriptive sexual scenes.

23006645A Desperate Wager by Em Taylor, regency historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Nathaniel Spencer, the Fourteenth Duke of Kirkbourne wakes up with an almighty hangover and a wager note in his pocket stating he has agreed to marry the Earl of Brackingham’s daughter. And he can’t even remember ever meeting the chit. Clearly his drinking has got out of hand.

Lady Sarah Steele is horrified when her father announces that the Duke of Kirkbourne has agreed to marry her and even more horrified that her father wagered her hand in a game of cards. Not only that, but the earl has not told the duke of the riding accident that left Sarah paralysed when she was sixteen. But he’s dying and she knows he wants to see her settled before the inevitable happens.

Despite Nate’s drinking and Sarah’s possible complicity in the earl’s plan, they agree to marry. But when accidents start to happen, the newly-weds must deal not only with the fact they are practically strangers, but they must find out who is trying to kill one or both of them. Nate’s drink problem and Sarah’s disability are only a couple of the hurdles they must face to find lasting love.

Werewolves of Shade (Book One)Werewolves of Shade (Beautiful Immortals #1) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: When the entire population of Shade go missing, investigative reporter Mila Watson knows this could be the big break she has been waiting for. Setting off into the mountains to the village of Shade, Mila soon learns that the village isn’t as deserted as she first believed it to be and that creatures lurk in the shades…

Note: This ends in a cliff-hanger. Part Two will be released 13th February 2015 and is now available for pre-order.

For readers 16+

strands-of-sollus-3Strands of Sollus by Cheryl Suchacek, fantasy, erotic (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: A contract from the Order of Aurora sends Myst in pursuit of a stolen magic sword. The job soon finds her partnering with Lotus, the rightful owner of the sword, as well as two beings bound to each other, Tol and Grayoch.

In the course of their mission, the group uncovers that behind the theft are sinister forces bent on resurrecting the dark lord, Maridon, in order to overwhelm the forces of light and take over the world of Sollus.

Facing their enemies, Myst finds that not only does she have to contend with Maridon and his minions, she also has to deal with the growing complications of her relationship with Tol and Lotus.


Tequila & Tea Bags by Laura Barnard, contemporary, romantic comedy, chick-lit (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Sent to live with her cousin Elsie in the Yorkshire countryside, Rose has only one thing on her mind; joining her friends as a club rep in Mexico.

When she hears about a council incentive offering the promise of free flights to the person who clocks the most volunteering hours at the local care home, she’s got her plan set.

But she doesn’t plan on bonding with the old ladies, going after the village bad boy and trying to persuade Elsie not to become a Nun.

Soon she’s questioning who her real friends are and whether her old life is one she wants to return to.

Can the village win her over and will she win the chance to leave it behind? Will she even want to?

**REVIEW** Torment (Dark Alpha #1) short story by Alisa Woods

Following on from her brilliant True Alpha hot paranormal short story series, Alisa Woods has just released Torment, the first short paranormal of her Dark Alpha series. I thoroughly enjoyed the True Alpha series (links to all 6 book reviews, and the festive novella are at the bottom of this post) and celebrate the release of Torment (Dark Alpha #1) today!

Torment (Dark Alpha 1)New Adult Paranormal Romance serial – first episode now available (released January 19th, 2015)

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

Jak enjoys the female human population of Seattle as much as any wolf, but his heart belongs to a female shifter who’s already mated. Worse, she’s the mate of his alpha’s brother.

Arianna was captured from her pack when she was only twenty and mated to a wolf whose dark side takes full advantage of her unbreakable bond to him. Her nights belong to him, but her days are free to explore other things… including feelings for a wolf she can never have.

Is love stronger than magic? Or will breaking an unbreakable bond destroy them both?

Torment (Dark Alpha 1) is 60 pages or 15,000 words. It’s the first of six episodes in the Dark Alpha serial.
Adult content. Ages 18+.

REVIEW

After reading the True Alpha series, I was thrilled to hear that there would be a new series from Alisa Woods in Dark Alpha. Fans of True Alpha, or indeed paranormal and shifter fans will love this hot story with it’s emotion, passion and action. I would recommend that True Alpha be read first to provide the reader with the full background (although not essential).

Jak is young, hot and turns many a human girl’s head. He is liked within his pack, the Red Pack, and his alpha looks out for him. Little do the pack know that he betrayed them once, and morally so. Jak has his wits about him and knows that Arianna was mated to his alpha’s brother, Mace, against her will. Now she has no choice but to be with Mace. But Jak can’t help feeling a little hot when in her company and wants her for himself.

The intensity of Jak’s feelings for her multiply as he is asked to bodyguard her when Mace allows her to attend University – instructions from his father, with the hope that Arianna can gain qualifications that she can bring to the family business. This does not please Mace as he’d much rather keep Arianna at home, but he can’t really go against his father, his alpha.

This is an opportunity of some freedom that Arianna has been waiting for, as opposed to feeling trapped in Mace’s home, bored, and nothing to look forward to as she knows Mace will have his way with her when he comes home. No, this is freedom, and what’s more she has been left with hot, young Jak to mind her!

Torment is a perfect title as both Jak and Arianna are feeling strong attractions to each other. However, as  the magic bond between Mace and Arianna can only break in one of their deaths, it looks pretty unlikely that these two can get together. Not to mention what Mace would do to them if he were to ever find out that Jak so much as looked at Arianna. It would certainly be the death of Jak.

Tensions run high between Jak and Arianna, but what will the future hold for them?

This short story holds a little of everything, including action towards the end. Readers won’t be disappointed and Torment is just the beginning of the Dark Alpha series. I cannot wait to read what book 2, Pleasure, will hold for us!

A copy of Torment (Dark Alpha #1) was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Torment (Dark Alpha #1) is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

If you would like to check out the info and my reviews for the first series, True Alpha, please click on each book below!

Desired (True Alpha #1) – short story

Guarded (True Alpha #2) – short story

Hunted (True Alpha #3) – short story

Captured (True Alpha #4) – short story

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) – short story

Claimed (True Alpha #6) – short story

A True Alpha Christmas – novella

All True Alpha short stories are available at Amazon UK and Amazon US individually. BUT, the TRUE ALPHA FULL SEASON is available to order!! (Please be aware that A True Alpha Christmas novella was released after the box set as a stand alone, and although carries on from the series is not a part of the main series, and NOT in the box set! It is available however as an individual novella at Amazon US and Amazon UK.)

AMAZON US link to TRUE ALPHA BOX SET

AMAZON UK link to TRUE ALPHA BOX SET