The Darkest Lie By Gena Showalter

From  Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding — or bedding — her. But he wants to . . . almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free, and a future with her could mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer . . . and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love . . .

I think what I am about to say will be considered blasphemous to some, and it pains me to say it, but I liked the last one better.  Maybe I was too excited about Gideon’s story because he is my favorite, so nothing or no one would be good enough.  Or maybe I have been reading too much PNR lately, so the whole “oh, i will let myself enjoy this one moment, because we can never be together again” thing is just old to me at this point.   But I was expecting Scarlet to be a kick-ass chick.  She is Nightmares for crying out loud! She can kill you in your sleep!  Why the lack of confidence?  Why are we still wondering if Gideon could ever really love her at 90%??  Ugh. 

Okay, I got that out, now I can sorta discuss the book.  Well, not really.  Not without giving out major spoilers anyway.  Basically, the book picks right back up from the last one with Gideon discovering Scarlet was his wife, Aeron trying to figure out how to save Legion from Hell, and the Titan Rhea still unleashing her Hunters on the Lords.  Aeron asks Amun and William to asist him in the rescue mission, so we get to learn a lot more about both of them.  And I gotta say, I really liked the little hint we got about William.  We also get to see the beginnings of Strider’s potential HEA, which I am very curious to see how that one will get pulled together, because the chick is NASTY.   Obviously, we learn the most about Scarlet and Gideon, and aside from Scarlet annoying the crap out of me, her back story was great.  I won’t reveal anything, but I will say those Titans are some dirty hookers.  At this point, I have read almost every type of villain, and I would have to put these crazy bitches at the top of the list.  Man, my heart was breaking for Gideon and Scarlet.  Anyway, despite the PNR formula grating on me a little here, the book was great like all the others.  I was a little disappointed by Scarlet’s whining because my blue-haired hottie deserves better, but the plot still rocked.  And Torin has some great one-liners…actually I think he has replaced Gideon as my favorite, though I have no idea how he will ever get his HEA.  Keep an eye out for another Immortals After Dark shout out during one of Torin’s scenes.  Those always make me happy.

Rating: 8 (though the lack of blue hair on this cover really sucks!!)


Hunting Season (The Gathering #1) By Shelly Laurenston


Stubborn, lethal, and from Jersey…what more could a Viking warrior want from his woman?
The Gathering, Book 1

Neecy Lawrence, winged warrior for a Viking goddess and second-in-command of the fierce Crows, doesn’t know what to do with a nice guy. As it is, making up for a past she’d sooner forget leaves her barely polite most days. But Raven leader and loyal Odin warrior, Will Yager, isn’t just nice. He’s gorgeous, hot, and a distraction she simply can’t afford.

Yager has wanted Neecy in his life—and in his bed—for a long time. Not just for a night, but forever. And, like any self-respecting Viking, he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. So what if she’s the most difficult, complex, never-gives-him-a-break woman he’s ever known? She’s more than worth the effort. In fact, she’s worth everything.

And if it turns out that twenty-four hours of non-stop, any-way-she-wants-it sex doesn’t work with Neecy? Then it looks like he’ll just have to get a little more creative…

 I think I am developing a Shelly Laurenston addiction.  I just can’t stop reading her stuff.  This makes the 10th book (counting the GA Aiken books) I have read and I swear she can do no wrong.  There is just something about the way she captures funny, smart people being…funny and smart that I love.  I think the blurb above explains the plot pretty well, as it follows the standard PNR formula.  You know the one: Neecy and her group of bad-ass chick friends bump into Yager and his group of super hot dudes, they immediately hate each other, until tossed into grave peril, and then those pesky hormones take over.  Only this time, Neecy belongs to porn-loving Norse God Skuld, while Yager is forced to tolerate Odin’s penchant for turning strippers into Valkyries. Such a nice twist.  So, there I was, happily reading along, already loving this book because 1) Shelly Laurenston wrote it, and 2) it’s a fresh take on the standard PNR…and then she goes and does this:

“Didi looked up from the television as Arri, Janelle, and Katie walked into the living room.  It was a quiet night.  No job from their goddess, so they’d all decided to watch movies.  As usual, they ended up watching Aliens…again.  They simply couldn’t get enough of Vasquez.  Any chick who kicked that much ass was an honorary Crow.”

It’s like…she can see into my soul or something.  Not only is Aliens one of my absolute favorite movies EVER (behind Ghostbusters 1 & 2 of course), but she mentions Vasquez!!!  Do you know how long I have been lusting after that flame thrower she eviscerates the aliens with??  I have mourned her death all 573893495 times I have seen it! She’s gotta be the most underrated movie chick of all time, and they mentioned her!!  So I mean, I don’t really need to say any more about this book.  It was great, like all the others.  It was a little more edgy than the Pride series, which I loved; more cussing, more sexing, more awesomeness.  My only complain is, while stalking reading her blog, Ms. Laurentson said she doesn’t know when she will pick back up the series.  To that I say: It’s not very nice to set up not one but TWO more couples in the first book and not carry on with the series!  Please write more!  I am not above begging! 

Rating: 9.5 

Love in the Time of Dragons By Katie Macalister

From  Tully Sullivan just woke up in a strange place, surrounded by people she’s never met. Which is bad enough. But then the strange people insist they are dragons. And, worse, that she is also a dragon, named Ysolde de Bouchier, one of the most notorious figures in dragon history.

She doesn’t buy it. She can’t breathe fire or shapeshift. She’s not even bothered by gold. But they’re adamant. And she’s in trouble.

Because these dragons also want to sentence her to death.

If she’s going to survive, Tully realizes she is going to have to find a way to solve the crimes she’s being accused of. Even though they happened in a past she has absolutely no memory of living.

This was a pretty short read, so I will just do a quick review.  If you have read all of Katie Macalister’s dragon books up until now, you will love this addition. We finally get to see what big bad Baltic is all about.  If you haven’t, you will be pretty lost.  I even had to go back to the previous books to make sure I had the plot correct.  The most important thing to know is that Baltic and Ysolde were both killed a long time ago, and have been reincarnated to find each other again and serve some sort of purpose that we have not learned about yet.  I thought this book was much better than the two silver dragon books, just much more entertaining…and to be honest, Gabriel just gets on my nerves.  I loved the dynamic of Baltic and Ysolde/Tully.  There was this one scene where they were looking back at their previous selves in bed and Ysolde started umm…comparing and contrasting old vs. new Baltic.  I didn’t think I would ever stop laughing. And Ysolde’s son Brom was hilarious, especially when paired with my favorite demon dog Jim.  Jim was at his best in this one, actually, everyone was pretty funny in this one.  Baltic cracked me up more than once:

Ysolde: “You think so?  Well maybe your precious Aisling just needs to watch out, because I’m not some pushover, you know.  I’m a mage, and mated to the baddest ass in the dragon world.”

Brom looked speculatively at Baltic.  “That’s you?”

Baltic: “Yes.  If you were my son, as you should have been, you, too, would have a badass.”

 My only complaint about this book was the ending.  I know it’s setting us up for future books in the series, but it was very unsatisfying.  There were also a few plot elements that were left unresolved, but hopefully we will get to those in the next one.  I am also hoping to see more of sexy Italian blue dragon, Bastian. 

Rating: 8.5 (+0.5 for super sexy cover that matches my new theme so well, which I made especially big for this post. Hehe.)

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) By Stacia Kane

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful
Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.


Let me try to put this complicated, fantastical plot into words.  Somehow, in 1997, the world’s dead broke back into the world of the living and almost wiped it out.  Since everyone now knew what the afterlife was all about, there was no longer any need for religion or government, all the people needed was the Church of Real Truth.  The Church protects the living from ghosts capable of murder (they did prevent total destruction in ’97 after all), but also regulates those who make false haunting claims.  Chess works for the Church because she was born with magical abilities enabling her to banish ghosts back to the City of Eternity.  Because she was born into this gritty, post-apocalyptic world, she has serious issues and has tuned to drugs like many others.  Her pill habit is so bad; she owes her drug dealer, Bump, a ton of money.  Bump wants to reopen a local airport to start flying his drugs out, but there are reports that ghosts are sabotaging planes.  So he makes a deal with Chess to rid the place of ghosts and sends his head hit man Terrible out with her to investigate.  Of course, rival drug lord Lex, does not want Bump to open said airport, so he also makes a deal with Chess.  During the investigation, Chess discovers someone has unleashed a seriously powerful entity that could kill thousands.  As the investigation goes on, Chess is pulled between Lex and Bump, while trying to survive vicious ghost attacks.

The Good:  I loved this book.  Seriously, I couldn’t put it down.  Not once during my reading did I feel any familiarity with the plot or characters, which was so refreshing.  I know that the post-apocalyptic setting is gaining popularity, but this is a huge twist on that concept.  Apocalypse a-la ghost.  My heart broke for Chess and what I am sure is a horrific past, and I appreciated how she hadn’t become a total a**hole, just a druggie.  I loved how dry she was, but I hated her tragically low self-esteem. Terrible was a really intriguing character, and things got really interesting when he became a potential love interest.  The Church was really fascinating, kind of like an eerie Church of Scientology or something, sans couch jumping.  Admittedly, I was a little confused as to who the actual bad guys were and how they all met up, but I just reread a couple of pages and really liked the way it turned out. Honestly, the whole time I was reading, I had almost convinced myself to let my husband borrow my Kindle to read this book.  That didn’t happen of course, but I thought it! More than once! Not sure I can pay an author a higher compliment.

The Bad:  Nothing I am about to say is actually bad, it just slightly annoyed me.  My only real complaint is the lack of detailed explanation for the events that took place in 1997.  I tried not to let this bother me since I know there are more books coming out soon, but the curiosity is killing me!  I was also left wondering why the Downsiders minus Chess speak differently from the Church members.  And what odd language hybrid was that supposed to be anyway?  To me it was like Cajuny Gangsta English with a bunch of Scottish ‘Aye’s.  And what is the City of Eternity really like?  And why did the Church replace the Government and not just mainstream religion? I realize that too much explanation can sometimes ruin a book, but I just had so many questions!  Must. Be. Patient.  Besides, I am sure Chess will end up in the City eventually and I will learn more than I ever wanted to know about it.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Terrible….oh Terrible (the person, not adjective).  The idea of Terrible makes my shallow little brain hurt.  Terrible is big, muscular, sweet in his own brutish way, and…ugly.  But not all the way ugly, just thuggish ugly.  He reminds me of someone like Benicio Del Toro; from certain angles you are all “whoa! Thought he was kinda hot!” but then he talks and acts and you are all “well, I wouldn’t throw him out of bed or anything.”  He is portrayed as a man who works with what he’s got, and this almost convinced me that not all leading men have to be hot.  Almost.  And then there was Lex, who becomes an actual love interest and I guess is supposed to be hot, but he did nothing for me.  Lex in one word: Meh.  Lex and Chess love scenes in two words: Where’s Terrible?Terrible stole every scene he was in, and I was actually disappointed when he wasn’t around.  And I was REALLY disappointed with that bathroom scene!! That wasn’t very nice Ms. Kane.  But I have very high hopes for the next book and this nice little love triangle we have developing.  It’s not every day you get a peek inside a drug lord – pill popper – rival drug lord’s head henchman love triangle!

Rating: 9.5

Skin Game By Ava Gray

A beautiful fugitive—wanted dead or alive.

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.

A hit man who never misses the mark.

Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.


The Drama:  When we first meet Kyra, she is working a con at some trashy bar.  Reyes has already tracked her down, and they have a seriously explosive encounter within 15 minutes of meeting.  Kyra ditches Reyes the next morning, and carries on with her life.  Little does she know, Reyes intends on finding her again to carry out the contract on her life.  Of course, nothing goes as planned and before they know it, Kyra and Reyes are on the run from angry meth-heads.  Texas-sized sparks fly between the two, and in keeping with standard romance protocol, they are madly in love within days.  But as secrets are revealed, Kyra realizes a relationship with Reyes can never work.  Unfortunately, she needs his help to end Serrano and save her friend Mia, so they head back to Vegas where the real drama unfolds.

The Rant:  This book was an odd one for me.  This is one of few books I have read where I like the main duo little more than the villain.  I mean, this is the love story of a hitman and con-artist, I get it, but still, I thought they would be more likeable.  I had a hard time with both of them being life-long criminals, but justifying it by only hurting people who ‘deserved’ it. The only supernatural element to the book is Kyra’s ability to steal other people’s talents with touch.  Everyone else is just…human.  Well, let me rephrase, most everyone in the book is a scummy human (with the exception of Serrano’s assistant Foster, who has his own secrets).  They encounter rapists, other hit men, meth-heads, modern-day gangsters…you get the picture.  For some reason, when an entire supernatural world is created around the story, I don’t mind the scum so much, because they are demons and the like.  It’s still an escape even if they are awful creatures.  But parts of this book just remind you of all the creeps that actually exist…I just wanted to bathe or something.  On the other hand, I found the whole concept of these two people with no one else in the world but each other intriguing.  I enjoyed the details of Kyra’s cons, and her gift was a fresh idea.  I felt like both the cons and the action sequences were so well thought out they could actually happen.  I honestly can’t say anything bad about the book other than I didn’t really love the main characters, but I did love their interactions with each other.  Does that make sense? Probably not. 

The Smut:  There is something to be said for a book where using a HOT one-night stand that occurs in the first 10% (kindle-speak) as a plot device actually works.  I was really shocked by the early smut arrival, and even more shocked by the fiery chemistry of two people who just met.   Of course then you have to wait 200 years for the encore, but it’s pretty worth it.  Reyes and Kyra are intense, morally-flawed characters, so you can expect few inhibitions when it comes to the smut.  My only complaint is all the condom talk.  I know, I know, safe sex, blah blah.  But our girl can become a black-belt by touching a sensei, should we be so concerned with the realistic portrayal of condom use every time?  Especially when the absence of said condoms actually interferes with the smut?  I guess the realistic use of condoms in fantasy novels is a whole other discussion, so I will just say, I was over it.  But otherwise, this book has some well-written, extremely steamy scenes that get even better as Kyra and Reyes’ feelings deepen.  After I successfully blocked out the cover’s questionable hotness, I found both Reyes and Foster (and his pin-stripe suits) to be oozing with yumminess and I look forward to learning more about Foster in the next book.

Rating: 8

Pride series by Shelly Laurenston

The Beast in Him

Some things are so worth waiting for. Like the moment when Jessica Ward “accidentally” bumps into Bobby Ray Smith and shows him just how far she’s come since high school. Back then, Jess’s gangly limbs and bruised heart turn to jelly any time Smitty’s “all the better to ravish you with” body came near her. So, some things haven’t changed. Except now Jess is a success on her own terms. And she can enjoy a romp-or twenty-with a big, bad wolf and walk away. Easy.

The sexy, polished CEO who hires Smitty’s security firm might be a million miles from the loveable geek he knew, but her kiss, her touch, is every bit as hot as he imagined. Jess was never the kind to ask for help, and she doesn’t want it now, not even with someone targeting her Pack. But Smitty’s not going to turn tail and run. Not before proving that their sheet-scorching animal lust is only the start of something even wilder…


 The Mane Attraction

Weddings have the strangest effect on people. How else to explain the fact that Sissy Mae Smith woke up in Mitch Shaw’s bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray tied the knot? Or that gunmen are trying to kill Mitch, and Sissy Mae now has to escort a bleeding, stubborn, yet still incredibly sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack’s turf to keep him safe? It doesn’t help that Mitch’s appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth, or that the ultimate stray cat is suddenly acting all kinds of possessive…Mitch is an undercover cop who’s about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he’s harboring hot, X-rated fantasies about the fast – talking little canine – and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae’s Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride…

Okay, I have resurfaced.  I just couldn’t put these books down! These books have been on my list for a while because I ADORED the dragon kin series by Shelly Laurenston’s alter ego, G.A. Aiken.  I was so happy to find that everything I loved about those silly dragons was here as well.  The books follow the usual PNR formula, minus the crazed serial killer stalking our lovers or some similar sort of horrific situation.  They are more about friends, family and love.  Don’t get me wrong, there were villains, but more of the loser baby-daddy/extortionist variety, not Satan’s spawn or anything.  In the Pride series, we are introduced to a hillbilly wolf pack, a crazy wild dog pack, a super hot Lion pride and the cutest bear shifters ever!  All of them are hilarious and there are just so many great characters in these books.  The books are so great actually, that I will not even rant about the ridiculous Southern stereotypes.  Well okay maybe a little, tiny rant.  But seriously, who actually says hoss??  Sigh…it was bad, but I just told myself they were in some isolated area in Appalachia where everyone has two names and that helped the cringe factor (Disclaimerlicious: Only The Mane Attraction takes place in Tennessee.)  I realize I started with the 2nd book in the series (which was an accident), but I didn’t feel like I missed a lot, so it worked out.  Here is the series list:

The Mane Event: Dez and Mace & Brendon and Ronnie Lee

The Beast in Him: Smitty and Jess

The Mane Attraction: Mitch and Sissy Mae

The Mane Squeeze: Gwen and Lock

Beast Behaving Badly: Blayne and Bo

In terms of hotness, I think Lock was my favorite.  Especially when the wild dog pack forced him into that Braveheart costume on Halloween…yummm!  My favorite book was The Beast in Him.  Jess is just so dorky and awesome, and the wild dog pack is hilarious!  But you get to see most of the characters in every book, so I didn’t have to miss them too much.  In my opinion, Smitty and Jess had great chemistry and the hottest scenes…I mean, cherry cobbler was involved, need I say more?  If you are looking for some light, seriously funny PNR, check out this series (or Dragon Kin).  If you require a level of drama on par with Nalini Singh, might want to skip this one. 

Favorite quote (one of them anyway):  Smitty smiled up at the male lion standing behind the couch–seething.  “Hey Shaw.  Nice house you’ve got here.”   Arms crossed over that massive chest, the lion looked down his nose at Smitty as only a cat could.  “What else have you taught my son?  How to chase his tail?  Lick his ass?” 

“Nah, I stuck with the cat basics.  Park lazy ass under tree, sleep twenty hours, eat all the food after the females do all the hunting, take a few minutes to roar, the sleep another twenty hours.” 

And another quote:  “Don’t go,” he mumbled, already falling asleep. 

“Mitch, Mitch, Mitch.  If I stay, you’ll only fall madly in love with me like so many men before you.”

“It’s you we have to worry about,” he sighed out.  “You’ve already been trapped in my erotic web of lust.  Might as well give it up to the daddy of all cats.”

Grinning, Sissy stretched out next to Mitch, her arm thrown over his waist.  “You keep on dreamin’ that dream kitty.”

“I will.  I own poines in that dream, too.”


Series rating: 9

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

From  Seattle. One minute you’re drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis.

Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters–not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo–isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting the word, “help” (The undead–so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle‘s undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death…

Can you write a review comprised of all quotes? Because there is no way anything I say will compare to the magic that spews from Amanda Feral’s mouth.  You know how when you see a stand up comic and they say something extremely racist but hilarious and the crowd goes “Ooooooooooooooh!”  That’s how I felt reading most of this book.  It took me forever to finish because I stopped about a million times to read aloud to my husband, who just smiled and shook his head.  The plot is really basic: Amanda’s succubus friend goes missing, Amanda finally gets around to finding her, uncovers a secret zombie plague conspiracy while sleuthing, hijinks ensue.  There is a lot of background on how Amanda and her friends became supernatural, which drags a little.  But none of that really matters because it’s when Amanda interacts with others that the real magic happens.  My God she is awful in the most hilarious way possible.  The only other character I can think of that has the same wonderful awfulness thing going on is Frank (Danny Devito) from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  99% of the words out of her mouth are cringeworthy, but brilliant! 

For example:  “A binge is a sincerely personal thing; no two are alike, at least that’s what my therapist says, and he should know, eating disorders are his specialty, not that he’s particularly good at treating them.  That is not why I saw him anyway; well it was initially.  Okay, I’ll admit, I was fucking him.” 

And another:  “’So let me get this straight, we feed on welfare recipients?’ Gross, right? Where do you find one, the Dollar Store? Jesus!

See? Awesome.  So, if you are looking for a truly hilarious yet soul-soiling experience, check out this book.  Just be sure to remove your moral compass first.

Rating: 8


Kindle rant:  Amanda likes footnotes…A LOT.  They are absolutely hysterical, but after the first 50 or so, you get sick of positioning the little Kindle cursor over them.  You have been warned.


Disclaimerlicious:  If you are looking for romance, this is not the book for you.  Two words: Zombie Sex. Ick.

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