Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reading Update: 15%

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan
She’s as scared as I am. The thought caused me to frown. I wasn’t sure where it’d come from or why I’d had it at all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sneak Peek: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt


DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt (October 17, 2017; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; The Maiden Lane Series #12)

A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping.  Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos.  When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been atrifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them.  Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans.  But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed.  Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion.  But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters.  Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

Iris tasted of red wine—the red wine she must have drunk at dinner—and all the reasons he shouldn’t do this fled his mind. A vital chain broke in his psyche and everything he’d held back, everything he’d restrained with all his might, was suddenly set free. He surged into her mouth, desperate for the feel, for the taste of her, his wife, his duchess, his Iris. She was soft and sweet and warm and he wanted to devour her. To seize her and hold her and never let her go. The deep unfathomable well of his urges toward her frightened him, and he knew that if she became aware of them, they would frighten her as well.
But that was the thing—she wasn’t aware of them. She thought she was simply consummating their marriage or some such rot, God help them both.
She gripped his naked arms and the beast within him shuddered and stretched, claws scraping against the ground.
Dear God, he wanted this woman.
But he had to remember—to keep that human part of his mind awake and alive—that he mustn’t seed her.
Must never do as his cursed father had done.
He broke from her mouth, feeling the pulse of his cock against his breeches, and trailed his lips across her cheek to her ear. “Come with me, sweet girl.”
She blinked up at him, wide blue-gray eyes a little dazed.
He covered her mouth again before she could speak—either to consent or decline—and drew her slowly backward, step by step, toward the bed, until he hit it with the backs of his legs. He broke the kiss, looking down at her, her wet ruby lips parted, her cheeks flushed pink.
She looked edible.
“Raphael,” she whispered, his name on her lips like a plea, and something within him broke.
This wasn’t what he wanted. This wasn’t right. But it was the only thing possible and it would have to suffice because it was all he could do.
And trying to resist was killing him.
He traced a hand up her arm, over her shoulder, to her neck, and from there touched her bound golden hair. “Will you take down your hair for me?”
She gasped—a small, quick inhalation—and nodded.
He watched as she raised her arms, her stormy eyes locked on his, and withdrew the pins from her hair one by one until the heavy mass fell like a curtain around her shoulders. He bent then and gathered the locks in his hands, burying his face in her neck, inhaling her.
His woman.
He felt her tremble against him and then her fingers speared through his hair. “Raphael.”
He lifted his head.
Her hands fell away and she began undressing, her head bent down as she unhooked her bodice. He saw that her fingers fumbled and he knew that a better man would turn aside. Would give her privacy to collect herself and disrobe with modesty.
But he wasn’t such a man. He wanted all of her—her mistakes and her private moments, her shame and her worries—everything she held back from the rest of the world. As he wanted this. This moment of fumbling.
This moment of intimacy.
She pulled the bodice from her arms. Untied her skirts and let them pool around her feet before kicking them aside. Glanced up at him and then worked at the laces to her stays.
Her unbound hair fell over her shoulders, nearly to her waist, thick and swaying gently as she moved.
Beautiful.
She was beautiful.
She pulled her loosened stays off over her head and stood in chemise, stockings, and shoes. The tips of her breasts peeked out from beneath the thin cloth.
She began to bend for her shoes, but he stopped her. “No. Let me.”
He grasped her by the waist and lifted her to the bed.
Carefully he drew off her slippers, letting them drop to the hardwood floor before running his hand up her left calf. The room was so quiet he could hear each breath she drew. She watched him as he reached under her chemise, into that warm spot behind her knee, tugging at the ribbon of her garter.
Her breath hitched.
He glanced up at her as he found bare skin. Hot, so hot under her skirt. He could almost imagine he smelled her, standing between her bent legs. He pulled the first stocking off and moved to her other foot, smoothing his thumb over her arch, over that high instep, that sweet, delicate ankle. The curve of her calf—one of the loveliest curves in nature—elegant and perfect. Someday he’d like to draw her nude.
The faint, almost inaudible whisper as he pulled the ribbon off raised the hairs on the back of his neck. His nostrils flared and he couldn’t wait any longer. He lifted her bodily, moving her farther up on the bed, placing her head and shoulders against the pillows, and then pushed up her chemise, crawling between her spread thighs and settling to enjoy what he’d found.
There. There she was, her pretty, pretty pink cunny, all coral lips and wispy dark-blond curls. He hiked her trembling legs over his arms, ignoring her gasp of shocked surprise. He glanced up once and saw wide, wondering eyes gazing back at him. Her gentlemanly first husband had evidently never done this to her.
More fool he.

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IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2uw1hpD

About the Author:
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Social Media Links:
Add Duke of Desire to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2vaU2Bp
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reading Update: 30%


She gasped as his firm lips trailed up to her ear.
Blowing gently , he added, 'Because, however much you wish it wasn't true, I am your last lover. Not your long-dead husband.

I tell ya', this guy has the best lines

Review: A Soul to Steal

A Soul to Steal A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this for the Modern Masters of Horror square for Halloween Bingo

Today is the first day of October. By the end of it, five women, five men and five children will be rotting in the ground. You cannot stop me, just as you cannot stop change. I am night. I am cold. I am flesh rendered and torn. I am steel. I am the harbinger of fail: I am death. You can call me Lord Halloween.

Borrowing heavily from the Headless Horseman legend and adding some Jack the Ripper and Freddy Kruger elements, this definitely had a nice Halloween feel to it. Our heroine Kate finds herself having dreams where she is being chased by a headless horseman and her mother is trying to warn and help her. When Kate was little her mother was murdered by Lord Halloween and he always told her he would come back for her. Unable to ignore her dreams Kate goes back to her hometown to try and solve the Lord Halloween mystery.

Quinn works at the local paper and immediately is drawn to the new reporter Kate. He's also been having dreams about a headless horseman chasing him. Coincidence? I think not! What follows is a murder mystery involving a Lord Halloween who writes letters to reporters describing his murders and wanting them printed so he can get the respect he thinks he deserves for everyone celebrating his holiday. There is also a paranormal mystery with the headless horseman chasing Quinn and Kate in their dreams and real life. There is a sizable cast of characters that work to keep you guessing as to who the murderer/s is/are and how Kate and Quinn tie in to it all.

I think adding the paranormal aspect overly complicated matters and gave the story a looser feeling; I couldn't follow along with it. The graphic and at times creepy letters from Lord Halloween were adequate enough to provide some spook factor. This looks to be a continuing series and I imagine the paranormal storyline and connection Quinn and Kate have will be continued on and maybe flushed out a bit better.

The writing was overall good but like I said, the murder and paranormal plot lines had a tendency to get a bit loose. A great October read though to get you in the Halloween mood.

We are night. We are October. We are flesh rendered and torn. We are the rider that was promised long ago, the harbinger of fall: We are death, riding on a black horse. You can call us the Prince of Sanheim.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Soulless

Soulless Soulless by Gail Carriger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.3 stars

I read this for the Werewolves square for Halloween Bingo

Lord Conall Maccon,Earl of Woolsey, was Alpha of the local werewolves, and as a result, he had access to a wide array of truly vicious methods of dealing with Miss Alexia Tarabotti.

Alexia is a preternatual, she has no soul and is therefore, something between the living and the supernatural. Whenever she touches a supernatural she renders any powers or offshoots of their supernatural ability moot.
Conall is an Alpha werewolf leading the Woolsey pack and works for BUR, an organization that monitors, investigates, and keeps supernaturals in check.
Alexia and Conall's back and forth sassy and grumpy chemistry was fun to follow along with but the supernatural world dominated this story.

The puritans left Queen Elizabeth's England for the New World because the queen sanctioned the supernatural presence in the British Isle. The Colonies had been entirely backward ever since: religious fingers in all their dealings with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. It made America into a deeply superstitious place.

It's the Victorian age and with a bit of alternate history, the world knows about supernaturals. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and the very rare preternaturals all knowingly exist. It took me until around 40% before I felt comfortable in the story. The pace and tone is written in a bit of a frenetic way and with so many new terms, beings, frameworks, and relationships thrown at me, it took awhile for me to catch up.

"I am beginning to understand," she said in a quiet deadly voice, "who is the monster."

The story is written with a bit tongue in cheek, is it more damning that our heroine is a preternatural or spinster? English decorum must always be displayed, regardless if one is dealing with vampires, werewolves, or villainous scientists. I liked this bit of irony on manners and how the author subtly took a jab at cultural norms, ideals, and human nature.

I could have stood for more structure and development of relationships and less of the felt forced in steam punk components but overall, this was a fun world to visit for a couple hours. I'll read the next in the series and hopefully the groundwork laid in this one will allow me to hit the story running and secondary characters and relationships will flourish more.

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