Review: Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters #1) by Jessica Shirvington

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Title:  Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher/Year:  Sourcebooks Inc 9/1/12
Length:  384 pages
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #1

Overview

It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, EMBRACE is a compelling novel of good and evil, seductive desires and impossible choices. A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It’s a battle Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.

LINCOLN: He’s been Violet’s one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he’s Grigori—part human, part angel—and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.

PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he’s the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln’s lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.

Two sides: Angel or Exile.
Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.
The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity.

 

My Thoughts

We’re taking on a pretty exciting journey of growing up and discovering yourself with Violet – a 17 year old who is at a crossing point in her life – where she’s being introduced to things that she never could have imagined in life.  See, where it all started i suppose was at birth when her mother died, and now she’s at a point where things are becoming clear to her and still quite in the dark on others.

Her close friend and potential crush Lincoln is her guide through all of this, for reasons that she doesn’t quite know at the beginning and it’s nice to see that dynamic grow and change.  Violet is introduced to parts of herself, the angel sides  – the sides with powers that she never expected and is afraid that she now can’t trust anyone and doesn’t always make the right choices.  She meets Phoenix and some how allows him to play a role in her embracing what she is and this of course not only has huge implications to her own life and what she’ll become but to her relationship with Lincoln which finally seems like it’s going in a direction that’s not so bad.

What i really enjoy about this author is that we get a good sense of the over all story, but we also get a really complicated and anxiety ridden tale of what is right and wrong and what will come of the choices that are made.  We get a balance of real and fantasy that we know will carry us through the series too i think.

I love that this series is so long winded, meaning that it’s not just a trilogy – there’s more to it, so i hope you guys enjoy it.

Review : Emblaze (The Violet Eden Chapters #3) by Jessica Shirvington

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Title:  Emblaze
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher/Year:  Sourcebooks Inc 9/3/13
Length:  464 pages
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #3

Overview

For Violet Eden the decisions between right and wrong are getting harder and harder. You’d think as a half-angel Grigori warrior, she’d automatically be on the side of good. But how can she choose between the life of her best friend and the lives of all Grigori? Between the soul-crushing need for her training partner Lincoln and her desire to keep him safe at all costs? And what if the darkest exiled angel of all, Phoenix, isn’t as bad as she thought?

With the power to raise a being from the Underworld in her hands, Violet only has one chance to make the right choice.

My Thoughts

It had been quite some time since i had last read this series, and i think that it may have been a slight injustice, however i picked up pretty quickly.  We are quickly brought up to speed now that we know that the Grigori have the Exile Scripture and Phoenix and the exiles have the Grigori Scripture.  Everyones trying to get their hands on the other and make a trade so they can either keep the names of those humans that are to embrace and become angels will safe (for the part of the Grigori) or for Phoenix to raise Lillith from Hell in getting his hands on his own scripture.

Throughout this story we continue to see the pull that Phoenix has on Vi and it’s really hard for her given that she actually does hate him….but he hast his control over her.  This of course makes her relationship with Lincoln that much harder since they now both know what will happen if they let their souls join and something happens to one of them.

In any event, this third installment takes us on a similar journey that book 2 did.  We’re off to a foreign country in search for answers, and hoping that the Grigori can out power Phoenix and the exiles.  Steph continues to play a strong role in all of this which is interesting given that she’s a human.  she actually becomes a pawn at one point in time which makes things all that more complicated.  The grigori from the Academy come back and a few new folks join them, which isn’t so welcome since we meet Josephine – the Vice (or #2) who clearly has her own motivations when it comes to Violet.

Interestingly enough, Violet’s father steps up a bit during this book which is quite the unwelcome time.  He grows suspicious finally and tries to lay down some ground rules which by this point Violet can’t live by and that makes things more complicated.

Through this third book, we see Violet grow up a bit and come to terms a bit more with her making, through the help of her angel maker’s appearance as well as her angel guides.  they of course make things more confusing for her in riddles, but that’s what they do.

Towards the end we see an interesting shift in things – while we hope that things will work out, we know that it’s destined not to and that’s what happens.  I love how the dynamic between Vi and Linc continues to keep us on edge, and i can’t wait to jump into book 4.

Also – we get a real surprise at the end – while i was expecting half of it, i was not expecting the rest so it’ll really be exciting to see where it continues in the next installment. Enjoy everyone!

Review: Best Laid Plans (Bloomfield #4) by Martha Rogers

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Title:  Best Laid Plans
Author: Martha Rogers
Publisher/Year: B&H Publishing Group 7/1/13
Length:  126 pages

Overview

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Architect and hometown boy Hal McKenzie is called back to Bloomfield when the mayor needs help figuring out how to expand the city hall and courthouse. That will mean having to move the old Founders Cottage provided by the Caroline Short family.

Hal was sweet on Caroline back in high school and knows that moving her family’s historical landmark isn’t the best way to take another shot at having a love connection. Now he must respect the mayor’s wishes while convincing Caroline that he still cares for her.

My Thoughts

I’ll keep this brief since it took me a LONG time to get through it.  I thought that it wouldn’t be overly necessary for me to read the other books in the series prior to reading this and while i was right, it may have been a good idea to have gotten the back story on some of the relationships since history kept getting brought up.

All that being said, what we get here is a nice little ‘chic-lit’ type story that starts out with an issue of a mayor who wants things his way and wants to ‘move a historic property’ all the while, doing it at the sacrifice of relationships of people who’ve lived in the town all their lives.  At the same time, we get to see old relationships grow a bit – rising out of interesting and bad places to become more solid and real.

There’s a focus on legacy in a town where it matters and then seeing friendship and family come together.  I wish that it didn’t take me so long to read,maybe i would have enjoyed it more, but for now, i’ll just say it was average, if not a little under.  sorry folks!

Nothing to write home about for sure – but if you are into light and fluffy – you’ll get that here.

Breaking News: From Author Sylvain Reynard – Next Project: The Raven Series

www.sylvainreynard.com

Dear Everyone,

Back in September, I wrote a post in which I mentioned my next novel. I’m pleased to be able to give you more information now.

My next novel is the first in a new series, and it will be entitled The Raven.  With this novel, I’m asking you to pack your bags and travel with me to the city of Florence. The Gabriel Series showed you the city during the day.  This time, I’ll show you Florence’s underworld, which is ruled by creatures of the night …

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery… 

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art.  But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley.  Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams.  Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her …

 Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed.  She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week.  With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance.   Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets …

As mentioned in a September post, readers of Gabriel’s Redemption will be able to read an excerpt from The Raven at the end of both the paperback and e-book editions.

But what wasn’t mentioned was that one of the characters of The Raven appears in Gabriel’s Redemption.  Can you identify him or her? S Reynard welcomes your guesses in the comments below and on social media.

Review: Between Boyfriends by Sarka-Jonae Miller

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Title:  Between Boyfriends
Author: Sarka-Jonae Miller
Publisher/Year:  Liberty Co 11/7/13
Length:  296 pages

Overview

At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills. Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up. Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?

My Thoughts

You get what you expect here, a coming of age/maturity journey of Jan an early 20 something who’s really coming to terms with who she is and what she’s made of her life so far.

This story starts off with Jan getting dumped by her boyfriend of 8 months and she falls into a bit of a depression.  What opens her eyes though is that while she’s wallowing, she goes into her bathroom to clean herself up and realizes that she’s got tons of reminders of exes of her past in her cabinets and drawers.  i.e. brushes, gels, shampoos, all sorts of things.  What this does for her is makes her realize that maybe she’s been with people for so long that she doesn’t know who she is or what value she has in life and decides that she’s going to remain single indefinitely.  Her ‘best friends’ think that it’s something that can’t be done and wage a little bet on it even.

One of the challenges here for Jan is that she’s really had quite an easy life.  Her father pampers her and gives her whatever she wants.  i.e. financial support since he’s not the emotional support kind of guy.  Where this becomes a problem though is when Jan’s mother finds out what Jan has really been up to – dropping out of state college and going to massage school and makes her pay the money back.  This layered on top of everything makes life really hard for her.

I think that throughout this story you want to root for a big change in Jan, and expect that it’ll happen but hope that it won’t be too easy so that she’ll learn a good life lesson.  She goes through stages where she starts to alienate friends and is even ok with it, but finds her way back to being healthy and smart.

I can’t say that this story was earth shattering and game changing, but it was a nice young adult read that shows you the challenges that a spoiled girl has in life when she wants to become something more…something better.

Review : Binding Agreement (Just One Night #3) by Kyra Davis

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Title:  Binding Agreement
Author: Kyra Davis
Publisher/Year:  Pocket Star 5/20/13
Length:  149 pages
Series: Just One Night #3

Overview

Part 3 of the Just One Night series. One wild night in a Vegas hotel changed everything for Kasie. Sleeping with a powerful, sexy stranger made her rethink her impending marriage, and a whole lot more.

As her affair threatens her job and the sexy billionaire Robert Dade becomes more controlling, Kasie has to figure out if her passion is leading her down a path she really wants. She’s seduced by his gifts of power, success, and adventure, she’s overwhelmed by what he can make her feel with a single touch, the way he can make her ache for him with just a look. But is the cost of absolute power and pleasure a price Kasie can afford? And does she truly know this man who says he can give her everything…or is he still a stranger after all?

My Thoughts

Nothing ever comes easy does it?  I’m kind of happy that this story took the path that it did, it wasn’t fully expected, yet you knew the general direction where things were going.  In the 2nd installment, we were left in a point in time where Kasie is starting to realize that the power that she’s attained through her relationship with Robert isn’t hers at all and it’s really quite harmful to her if she wants to really understand who she is.  It’s because of this that she chooses to both walk away from him and walk away from her job.  She’s come to the realization that nothing will ever come of her successes really at her current firm since she’s noticed that everyone fears her and not for her ability but for her ‘boyfriend’.

Taking that leap plunges her into a darker place – while she’s slowly transitioning out of the firm, it’s still not easy to walk away.  All the while she’s in the deep lonely depression that you get to when you lose the one you love and that’s what she’s done.  Her fantasies though – they are quite real and Ms Davis – the talented author that she is does a great job in giving us a great picture to go off of.  She’s done this throughout with everyone in the story, but really this time she’s outdone herself.

Kasie confronts various people and learns things that are quite unexpected, and uses that to rebuild her life and herself.  She’s trying to put her demons behind her and live her life as she wants it…her rules.

which is what ends her up at a bar, not far from Dave’s office (yup, that’s what i said), with a glass of scotch – just how her story started.

the question is, who will be the Stranger this time, or is it a friend?

sometimes i wonder if it would have been better for me to wait until the full 3 novella series was published as one, but in this case i really enjoyed the breaks that we’re left with – the edge of my seat that i’m on each time, and the closure to quite a few stories.  enjoy!

Review: Exposed (Just One Night #2) by Kyra Davis

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Title:  Exposed
Author: Kyra Davis
Publisher/Year:  Pocket Star 3/18/13
Length:  150 pages
Series: Just One Night #2

Overview

You should sleep with a stranger—those words whispered in her ear by her best friend became a challenge Kasie took to heart. Suddenly, the man who gave her the most shocking pleasure in that upscale Vegas hotel—a man whose name she never bothered to find out—is her company’s biggest client.

As this unknown man becomes Mr. Dade at the office, and Mr. Dade becomes Robert in the bedroom, Kasie discovers her true nature and begins to question the carefully controlled, modest image she has crafted to please her family and friends. But when her fiancé, Dave, finds out, his rage and desire to both keep her and punish her could cost her everything—including Robert, the only man who has wanted Kasie for who she really is and the only man who makes her feel truly alive.

My Thoughts

The plot thickens of course – we left off book 1 at a point in time where Kasie thought that her secrets were hidden, but that turned out to not be the case.  Dave found out about her affair and gave her an ultimatum.  choose him or have her life and reputation ruined.  so of course Kasie dind’t have a choice.  she broke things off with Robert and chose to try to make things right (for now) with Dave

of course that comes with a price – he’s holding everything over her head, demeaning her and taking his vengeance out on her.  trying to embarrass her in front of her co-workers and when it backfires, he doesn’t know what to do.

knowing what we know of Robert too, he’s not going to take this all sitting down and he takes it upon himself to make sure that Kasie is taken care of and that’s a good thing for her.  sort of.

Kasie also quickly realizes that Dave didn’t find out the information on his own and tries to find out who ratted him out.  Of course turning to Asha since she’s not to be trusted.

While her professional life is going on an interesting path, her romance with Robert heats up.  no matter what she says, she can’t stay away from him and doesn’t even want to.  even when she’s threatened with her reputation and her well being, she still decides that maybe it’s more important to find who she is on the inside rather than trying to make up for what she’s done.

Where this story leaves us off, is on another cliff hanger of sorts.  not as dramatic as the one from book 1 but still things are changing and you can feel it in the air.  i can’t wait to see if the changes that Kasie’s going through are for the better and if we can even trust Robert since i’m not quite sure that we can.  the things that we’re starting to see are quite interesting.

at least there’s enough steam and passion to keep us interested.  i love that while we see a dominant side of Robert, he’s still a great instructor and he’s showing Kasie sides of herself that she wasn’t even sure existed since her life with Dave was so ‘vanilla’ and expected.

Review: Stranger (Just One Night #1) by Kyra Davis

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Title:  Stranger
Author: Kyra Davis
Publisher/Year:  Pocket Star 1/21/13
Length:  133 pages
Series: Just One Night #1

Overview

Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be.

You should sleep with a stranger, her best friend whispers in her ear as they take to Vegas for one last pre-wedding fling. Despite her best intentions, when Kasie Fitzgerald enters the casino and sees him, a man whose tailored clothes belied a powerful, even dangerous, presence, she loses herself to the moment. Maybe it’s the dress, much shorter than she’d ever normally wear, or the Scotch, but something makes her give herself over to him more completely than she’s ever done with a man before.

It was supposed to be just one night. But right as she’s thinking she wants more, he shows up in her office with an agenda. As the billionaire CEO of a company that’s engaged her PR firm, his demands just became her reality…and he desires so much more than just some attention in the boardroom.

My Thoughts

As expected we’ve got an interesting little love triangle going on that’s going to most likely end up in a bad place.  We meet Kasie who is a very successful professional at a consulting firm, however her life is very routine and vanilla.  Her best friend decides that they need a weekend in Las Vegas so that Kasie can just have a little bit of a fling before deciding to get engaged to her partner of 6 years, and she does just that.  She meets Robert at the casino and things just spiral out of control from there.

there’s a chemistry that they can’t deny and a power that draws her to him and lets her just put all her common sense to the side.  After that one night, she never expected to cross his path again, except that he requested the services of her company and her personally to lead the team.

So, this is when things get dicey right? she’s still in her relationship with Dave who’s just routine to her – she’s slowly realizing that he’s not the right one for her, but feels somewhat obligated to keep things going.  All the while, she’s still drawn to Robert and they have a heated passionate chemistry that makes you really wish that you were a part of their fantasy.

While she has lukewarm interactions with Dave, she feels treasured with him and that he cares deeply for her as a person.  the tradeoff of course though is that with Robert, he demands things of her, tells her what to do and that’s something that she just doesn’t know what to do with.  He brings out a side of her that she never knew she had both in the bedroom and in life in general.

The question that comes from this is what will Kasie choose to do and will she do it in time?  I always like to think that i have a sense about story lines, and in this case, with the hints that are dropped about some of her co-workers, i’m expecting the story to get much jucier, and that it does in the last few pages.

so…onto book 2 to see where things go.  we were left on the edge of our seat – and i’m sure that the next installment won’t disappoint.

Review: Unlocked (The Alpha Group #3) by Maya Cross

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Title:  Unlocked
Author: Maya Cross
Publisher/Year:  Maya Cross 8/17/13
Length:  200 pages
Series: The Alpha Group #3

Overview

Who is Sebastian Lock?

The heart can lead you to dangerous places. Abandoned by the man she loves, with nothing more than sweet words and riddles for an explanation, Sophia Pearce felt like her life was crumbling before her eyes. And then they came for her. Now, things will never be the same.

Confronted with the truth about Sebastian’s identity, she’s thrust into a high stakes world beyond anything she could have imagined. A world that threatens much more than just her feelings. Sebastian’s enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want, and they want her.

Their passion for one another consumes them, but as the danger mounts, and loyalties are tested, Sophia must answer one simple question. What is she willing to risk for love?

My Thoughts

Good news here is that we got the kind of finale that you really come to expect in erotica – wrought with fears of death, the breaking up of a relationship and realizing that people that you thought you knew, you really didn’t at all.

In book 2 we were left off with the abduction of Sophia, not even sure who or what was behind it.  of course it happened just after sophia lost both her job and Sebastian…which made things that much bleaker for her.

While she’s waiting to find out what’s going to happen to her while she’s being held, she tries to escape, fails, and then finds herself face to face with a rescue attempt – by Sebastian who busts in the door.  She’s taken to a ‘safe house’ for the Alpha group but that’s where things just get even more complicated.  Of course the other brothers aren’t very pleased that she’s there since it  implies that she knows more than she should, and they aren’t happy with Sebastian either since he’s used group resources to get Sophia out.  Throughout this, they are trying to find out not only who kidnapped sophia and why, but if it’s tied to the killing of 2 of their brothers.

so…this is a path that’s tough for them to take – Sebastian and Sophia can’t stay away from each other which is hard  cause they are in a house full of Alphas who don’t like that she’s there, and harder even since Sebastian is resigned to the fact that he’s too dangerous for her and can’t be with her.

For the length of this final installment, we are moved from safe house to safe house, deal with mafia, try to figure out who’s trying to kill them still, and then deal with betrayal all around.  the good news though is that their passion for one another NEVER dwindles.  when they are able to be together, they certainly are and we see the softer side of Sebastians dominant nature.  which is nice.

I LOVE the twist at the end.  while i was fully expecting 2/3 of it to happen, there was that little 1/3 that really gave me a nice shock and i appreciated it.  I hope you guys enjoyed this novella-esque trilogy as i did.

Review: Lockout (The Alpha Group #2) by Maya Cross

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Title:  Lockout
Author: Maya Cross
Publisher/Year:  Maya Cross 5/2/13
Length:  150 pages
Series: The Alpha Group #2

Overview

Who is Sebastian Lock?

Sophia had never felt attraction like that before. Raw. Electric. Irresistible. Swept off her feet by the dashing, enigmatic billionaire Sebastian Lock, she was taken on a journey of self discovery, taken to places she never dreamed she’d go.

But things are never as simple as they appear. Sophia’s trust is a fragile thing, and Sebastian seems insistent on testing it. He has his own demons to battle, and nobody has brought them to the fore like she has.

As their relationship deepens, and Sophia begins to break down his walls, all that greets her are more questions. Why is Sebastian fighting so hard to keep her at a distance? Who is the girl on his phone? And why does the strange tattoo on his chest seem so familiar?

These puzzles plague her, but as Sebastian’s mysteries begin to unravel, she must face an entirely different truth. Staying in the dark may be painful, but knowing the answers could be deadly

My Thoughts

as their story continues, it’s interesting to see where it goes.  I think that while i’m rooting for all of Sebastian’s secrets to come out, i don’t think that we’ll get to be that lucky.  We left off book 1 with Sophia and Sebastian’s growing relationship for however casual it’s supposed to be.  As all of these types of stories go, you know that can’t last and while Sebastian has put up his walls, Sophia has managed to break in a bit and make things more challenging.  All the while though, her own life is kind of crumbling a bit.  her professional life is being compromised for a few reasons, 1 she’s spending time with Sebastian which takes her away from her 80 hour a week+ job and 2. jennifer – a co-worker has it out for her so she’ll never get to make a positive upward move.

so…where does that leave us?  on a steamy roller coaster of emotions with the duo, since they are in uncharted territory on what a relationship can look like and it’s steamy and passionate.

there’s also the underlying story of what Sebastian actually does, and what the A means, and what the ties there are.  While Sophia was uncommonly watching TV, she hears about a british man who’s been murdered and who has the same A tattoo that Sebastian has and of course wonders more about that.  it all comes to a head with the couple though  when Sohpia goes to surprise him at his office, learns that she’s not even really allowed up and when she does get up, she wanders around the floor and discovers a locked door with the same A on it.  (flashbacks to book 1 at the bar when she realized that she saw the same A on the doors at the bar party).

so, where does that leave us?  a very anxiety ridden last paragraph.  Sophia has been abducted.

yes,  i’m going to leave you there since we don’t yet know any more.  The question here is

1) who’s behind the kidnapping

2) what do they want

3) will sebastian come to save her ?

4) what will happen to her professionally.

we’ll have to see – fortunately i just downloaded book 3 – the finale of the trilogy so i’m sure i’ll know more tonight!