Posted in Books

The Gathering: Killian + Lyra by Ellis Leigh

This title was a surprise for me. I didn’t know my darling Ellis was working on it and suddenly it’s in my inbox. Aaaah!

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You are cordially invited to the event of the season…

Please be our guest as the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood hosts the seventy-eighth annual Gathering. The biggest event of the social season, the Gathering has become the favorite method of networking among packs and bringing together fated mates. At the Gathering, shifters from across the country show up to show off and to see who’s the true leader of the pack.

The black-tie welcoming dinner will be the perfect chance to meet Killian O’Shea, Alpha of the Appalachia pack. Killian’s rough, tough, and built for fighting, which is a good thing as he’s got a road-blocking Alpha standing between him and his destiny. Lyra, Killian’s newfound mate, likes the way he disregards the rules keeping them apart. She’s ready to risk it all for the bigger-than-life Alpha who makes her heart race.

Come and enjoy tales from the biggest shifter event of the year as wolves from around the country fall in lust, in love, and in fate at the Gathering.

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I loooooove Ellis Leigh. She’s filling my wolf shifter needs quota very nicely.

The Gathering is a multi part compilation of short stories happening during The Gathering of the NALB.

Killian is the Alpha of a newly introduced Appalachia Pack and he’s bringing his selection of males and females to the Gathering so that they might find mates. He doesn’t really count on finding one himself.

Lyra is one of the females in a local pack, led by a horrible Alpha (who might just be a power hungry slimeball and not a real Alpha if you’re asking me). She’s an arm candy to him, one he’s planning on using very soon.

I can’t say there’s an actual story in this little story, but it’s steamy and hot and the animalistic reactions always do it for me. What I do love about those tiny installments is the contribution they give to the world itself. It’s a great way to expand on rules and bits of information that give a better picture of a world created around a story, that we might not get by reading the main installments of the main series.

My rating: 4star

Thanks Ellis, for this early copy. You’re fabulous and pretty and ILY.

Eleanor_heart

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Posted in Books

Winter Rain Anthology

What happens when love gets caught in the rain?

The second volume of the Love in the Rain series, Winter Rain, releases in November 2014 and features stories by Delphine Dryden, Inara Scott, Amber Lin, Serena Bell, Alexis Hall, Suleikha Snyder, Stacy Reid, Cole McCade, and Tamsen Parker. All proceeds from the volume will be donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.

In the meantime, you can read the first volume, Summer Rain.

 

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** This review will be short impressions of each story. You’ll get my general feel of the compilation.

Dream by Delphine Dryden

Talk about a surprise. I’ve never read anything by Delphine, and for the first story in the anthology, the last gender pairing I’d expect is F/F.

Dream tells the story of a woman living away from her family, dealing with a job she loves and a boss she hates, dealing with a hidden crush and an unresolved dream that’s been plaguing her for months.

When she finally acts on her crush, the surprising revelations are possibly the best thing that could happen to her.

Delphine Dryden’s writing is wonderful, and while I’m not a fan of written thoughts (in moderation they’re fine), I loved this story.

My rating: 4star

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Sales Tax Not Included by Inara Scott

This little story had the potential to be amazing. I loved both characters and their struggles. The words seemed to flow easily and I soaked them up and wanted more, but then it just stopped without much of a closure. I’d have loved to get another chapter and not quite finish the story with bliss, but with more of a hint towards the future. It felt almost like the characters arc was left unfulfilled.

My rating: 3star

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Exposure by Serena Bell

I’m officially declaring Beckett as perfect. But the story isn’t about him. Much.

Jenny and Beckett’s story spans their whole lives, but we only get a glimpse, less than 24 hours, even. And weirdly Bell managed to show both their arcs in that glimpse.

Also, there’s some hot tent sex. Just sayin’…

My rating: 5

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Sand Dollar Cinderella by Amber Lin

This story is very simple. A young woman wanting to experience something. A man wanting stability. But with its simplicity, the story is wonderfully emotional. It also carries through a deep socially moral issue. And one more excellent point – there’s light dirty talk and they act on it.

My rating: 4star

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Behind the Mask by Alexis Hall

Fantastic story about acceptance and vigilantism. I really don’t want to say much, just that it’s really really good.

My rating: 5

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Spice and Sand by Suleikha Snyder

I have a problem. I really liked Snyder’s writing. Spice and Sand is very well written, flowing, the story is original and very sweet. But when writing fantasy/mythology and mixing in heavy cultural and ethnic phrases and behaviors, it distracted me from the story. I found myself reading many of the parts a few times to get my mind back in the story.

I do have to say that the emotion and need jumped off the pages and was rather lovely.

My rating: 3.5star

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Remembering Yesterday by Stacy Reid

I found another series to get addicted to. Oh boy…

We have the gorgeous town princess, the ultimate no-good bad boy and a memory loss. I especially loved how strong Ava is and how mature when confronting her parents and her past. A little schmaltzy there at the end, but nothing that will make me not want more of this world.

Remembering Yesterday is the first installment in a new contemporary series. Devlin and Ava’s story is short and gorgeous, and steamy hot with a decently proportionate amount of angst. I’m adding the entire series on Goodreads when it becomes available. Gah. Can’t wait.

My rating: 5

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Sometimes It Storms by Cole McCade

I think I love Cole McCade. First of all, I don’t get to read male authors very often. Secondly, such fabulous contemporary writing… Anyhoo, this story. THIS STORY. It broke my heart. A lot. And then it made my heart happy and smiling. I’m feeling confident enough to recommend this compilation for Sometimes It Storms alone.

My rating: 5

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Needs by Tamsen Parker

Yay, another sweet story. Misconceptions are an issue with life. For everyone, I think. We just can’t avoid it and normally we’re not consciously critiquing ourselves. Needs is the kind of story that will make you reevaluate the things that most affect you and your life choices. And it does so with the simplest of plots.

Also, I’d read any Tamsen Parker story. Any day.

My rating: 5

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I think I can safely rate this compilation 4.5star. These stories were clearly written by authors who care about the various issues RAINN was created for. They’re well written, packed with feeling and are so very sweet.

This compilation is benefiting RAINN, so hey – what better reason than that to buy it? And you get some kickass, swoony (and steaming hot) stories to read in the chilly and getting chillier weather. And it’s only $0.99. 

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A special thank you to Audra North who did all the backstage work to put this (and the previous installment, Summer Rain) together.

Eleanor_heart

Posted in Books

Nocte by Courtney Cole

This book was released without revealing it’s synopsis. Clues were hinted during the month prior to its release, and having read an advance copy as well as receiving the clues, I can pretty much guarantee this: getting those clues without reading the book would’ve been the death of me. Nothing, and I mean – NOTHING – makes sense until almost the very end of the story, of book 1 in this trilogy. Yup, the fact that it’ll be a trilogy was also kept a secret. LOL

So yeah, the cover is stunning. STUNNING. And is another piece of the puzzle you don’t quite understand until you read the book.

This dark, ominous, more-than-slightly-mind-fuckingly disturbing novel is a fantastic page turner about twins with insane connection, a mental illness and handsome Brit. Yup! That!

Courtney Cole has definitely had an idea in mind. Reading the book it’s clear that she just poured it out on page, very genuinely and eloquently. It’s beautifully layered, in spite of the complexity of the characters and the plot, it’s incredibly well written.

While I was reading – I’m going to be honest here – I was very surprised and disturbed that Cole (who I know and love from her über successful series Beautifully Broken) has had such a gruesome story in her head. And then that thought was followed by – YESSS!!! She’s nuts and I love it.

I really don’t want to talk about the plot. I like the fact that the premise was kept a secret and that’s also why I didn’t include it in my review post. I think it’s best if you just get the book and read it.

My rating: 5

 

All the teasers are on Cole’s author facebook page, but one of my favorites are in this post…

Eleanor_heart

 

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Courtney Cole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds.

Courtney was born and raised in rural Kansas, but has since migrated south. She now lives in Florida and writes beneath palm trees.

Learn more about Courtney and her books at www.courtneycolewrites.com

Posted in Books

Without You Here by Carter Ashby

Hmmm… What do I say about this book? To be honest, it’s an excellent story, but in my opinion it should have been written totally differently.

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After fighting with her boyfriend, Ettie’s only goal is to drown her sorrows in some Jack Daniels. But when she walks into a country tavern, her attention is immediately redirected to the sexy, older man at the bar. He looks lonely, and sad, and absolutely mouth-watering. Ettie can’t wait to put a smile on his face.

For the first time in two years, Wyatt finds himself jolted out of his grief—and by a spunky, vivacious young woman who somehow sees right into his soul. What follows is a passionate weekend full of more life, laughter, and pure joy than he experienced in twenty years of marriage.

Wyatt thought one weekend was all he had to give, yet in the days that follow, he can’t help dreaming up a future with Ettie. And then a chance meeting shatters his hopes, leaving him more lost than ever. Now Ettie must decide whether to walk away, or to fight for the love she knows they both deserve.

Without You Here is the sexy, heartwarming story of overcoming grief, embracing love, and learning to live in the moment.

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This story is about a 22 year old woman, a college graduate to be, who’s picking up an older gentleman at a bar right after dumping her boyfriend of two years.

The girl, Ettie, is bubbly, fun, spirited. She’s excited about new things, as simple and common as they seem, and she’s a breath of fresh air to Wyatt.

Losing a wife of over 20 years so young is hard. It’s taken a toll on Wyatt to the point of depression. When their weekend together is over and Ettie is heading back to school, she also finds herself several days later in a surprising situation.

I’m not going to say more, except the plot thickens….

I really liked the idea of the story, I loved Ettie, and The supporting characters. That’s where my problem begins. Enjoying the heroine and the supporting characters is great, but when the other MC’s voice feels forced and not quite believable, that’s where I’m tilting my head sideways while reading.

Then there’s the first thing that I felt that bugged me when I started reading – The changing POVs. You can’t just write first person alternating voices and switch to 3rd person alternating POVs. Stick to one view, and don’t alternate more than 2 characters. The writing could have been smoother, more elaborate and descriptive; in emotions, scenery, atmosphere.

So while the pacing was good, and the story interesting, the writing and the alternating POVs bothered me too much to feel comfortable giving this a higher rating. (Which it could’ve definitely get after some serious proofing)

My rating: 3star

 

Thank you CreateSpace and NetGalley for providing this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor_heart