Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookshardsofhope
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #14
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Aden Kai
Heroine: Zaira Neve
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 02, 2015
Started On: January 23, 2016
Finished On: January 24, 2016

Shards of Hope is the 14th book in the phenomenal Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. The series has come such a long way since its first book was published in 2006. Nalini has managed to turn things around in a world occupied by humans, changelings and Psy; the majority trying to find their footing amidst the rapidly changing landscape of politics and power that shapes their world. Nalini Singh is a master at what she does; the world crafting, the storytelling, the romance that she pens so well and the adventure that you are guaranteed in each of these novels. I love her stories for the depth of characterization explored, the strong sense of justice and right and wrong that she explores in her stories. Of course, there are the heroes that one salivates over and the heroines who makes you wish you were as strong as them – but they are relatable in a way that makes the stories the sumptuous delights they are.

Shards of Hope begins 4 months after the fall of Silence. Silence refers to a protocol adopted by the Psy in 1979 in order to stop the madness that their race seems to prone to; the violence that strikes rendering their race to become mindless creatures that goes on a rampage of killing and blood lust. The Psy had done whatever they did back then, in order to protect the minds of a race with the enhanced abilities of the mind they are gifted with. Aden Kai is the leader of the Arrows, a sort of paramilitary group that exists to protect the Psy race. With the fall of the Silence, and even before that, the subordination that had been demanded of them for political gain had fallen apart, leaving Aden as the one whom all Arrows trust and would give up their life for.

When Aden and Zaira Neve are kidnapped and tested upon by forces unknown, thus begins a cycle of events that changes things for the Arrows as a group and for Aden and Zaira both in terms of what their relationship means to them and their future. Aden, the offspring of two Arrows who had seen nothing worthy inside of him had handed him over to the Arrow training facility while he was quite young, which was the norm back then. Zaira had been a victim of parental abuse which had nearly ended her life, not owing to them, but because she had stood up to them, which had ended in a blood bath brought upon by sheer rage. That rage that lives within her, the scars that defines her, are the very reasons why she puts up the walls she does when she is around Aden, to stop him from enticing her and convincing her that they belong together, in fact, that Zaira had belonged to him from the very moment their lives had crossed paths.

Aden is a hero inside whom the word honor echoes with every breathe he draws. It is that honor and integrity that is the selling point when it comes to him, when it comes to leading a group of lethal soldiers who could at his command, make the whole world bleed. Aden wants something entirely different for his Arrows whom he considers to be his family. With the fall of Silence, problems that they would never have anticipated comes to light, but Aden is determined that he would change the lives of Arrows from one where they exist only to fulfill their duties to a life that is filled with warmth, love and a sense of belonging. A tall order for a group of people whose conditioning from a very tender age had taught them just the opposite.

Zaira’s story is one of heartbreak, but that of immense strength as well. A lesser woman would have crumbled and gone mad long back. But Zaira withstands the onslaught of rage that threatens to make her give into her baser desires. Zaira knows that if she ever were to consider Aden as hers, her possessive nature would be the death of the man Aden has to be for his Arrows. But in Aden’s arms Zaira finds solace, comfort and desire of the kind that she would never find elsewhere in the world. With every touch, every kiss that Aden places on her forehead, lips and her subconscious mind, Aden wins her over. Aden’s patience when it comes to Zaira is one that is worthy of noting. But then again, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the man who would walk to hell on earth and back, not only for Zaira, but each and every man and woman who serves on his team of elite soldiers.

It is a testament to Nalini Singh’s incredible talent that none of the stories appear to be cliched versions of earlier books. It is that very reason amongst a multitude of others, that would always keep me coming back for more! The unfinished thread in Shards of Hope is one that intrigues me and I can’t wait to find out what is in store for the Psy, Changelings and the humans. According to Nalini, Allegiance of Honor, the 15th book in the series which is to come out this year is going to be composed of an ensemble cast. Can’t wait for June!

Final Verdict: Nothing short of amazing; bears witness to Nalini’s splendorous talent.

Favorite Quotes

Pushing off the wall without warning, she walked around the corner and into a small alcove hidden from the world by a heavy mass of overhanging vines as well as its position tucked in between two buildings.
“Zaira.” Aden followed her. “What—”
Slamming him against the wall, she pressed her lips to the strong, powerful beat of the pulse in his neck. Since she was already falling into the abyss, her control shredded, why deny herself the pleasure that was the flip side of the nightmare memories she could no longer stifle?
He shuddered, one hand sliding up to curve over the back of her neck. And then their mouths were meeting and it was wild and undisciplined, wet and hot, and she stopped thinking, the rage in her drugged into a haze of want focused on this beautiful man whose hunger for her seemed as feral as hers for him.

Chest rising and falling in harsh breaths and pupils dilated, Aden watched her mouth as if he’d devour her all over again.
Zaira was fine with being devoured. Fine. “I’m meant to be the out-of-control one,” she whispered.
He shot her a look that made her burn, made her realize just how much he kept contained beneath his calm, stable skin. It felt as if he’d shown her a secret, shown her a small madness within himself. She couldn’t stop herself. She pressed close, claimed another kiss, was claimed, that strong hand on her jaw and his body crushing her to the wall.
And Zaira realized that some prisons could equal pleasure, not pain.

“You are so beautiful.” The words came out raw.
Freezing, she looked up at him for a long, long time. “You mean it,” she whispered “You really do.”
He didn’t understand why she’d even question that, but he didn’t have time for a discussion. Not today. Bending his head, he kissed her. She opened for him immediately, one of her legs curling over his hip in a distinctively possessive act. Reaching down, he pulled up her other leg until she was locked around him, her arms wrapped around his neck as she held him to her.
“Mine,” she said on a kiss.
The single word branded him to the soul. “Yes.”

He didn’t ask again, just gripped her under the hip with one strong hand and pushed the tip of his erection into her passion-swollen entrance.
“Aden.”
Sliding his other hand under her neck to hold it gently but with unmistakable possessiveness, he said, “This’ll hurt.”
Kissing him again in answer, she spoke to him mind to mind. I choose this pain, she said. I choose you.

“You’re already mine.” It came out instinctively, from that primal, possessive core at the heart of her nature.
He pressed his forehead to hers, not fighting her hold. “I know, but do you?” His hair fell over his forehead to brush hers. “Deep inside, do you know?”
She didn’t understand his question, and the frustration made her pull at his hair. “Stop talking in circles.”
“A psychic bond,” he said, his mind touching hers.
She wanted to open so badly to him. “If you do that, I won’t ever let you go.” If the physical connection had sealed them together, this would turn that seal into an unbreakable glue. “Even my death won’t free you.” The psychic scars would be irreparable.
“Whether we bond or not, your loss would change me forever.” A quiet voice that held so much power it vibrated with it. “You are written indelibly on my soul, Zaira. Nothing will ever alter what you are to me.”

Slamming both hands palms down on either side of her head as the sound of his name on her lips further eroded his control, Aden used the leverage to pull back as much as he could, given her grip on him, before sinking deep into her once again in another hard thrust. She was wet, tight heat around his cock and silken, lithe warmth around his body.
“My Zaira,” he said, his voice so rough the words were almost unrecognizable.

He’d intended to give her romance tonight, too, but the bond pulsed with a visceral need he had to assuage. Realizing he was still gripping the ring, he pushed it into her hand. “Put it on me.” He was hers in every way that mattered—the ceremony would be for others, for their friends and those in their care. This was for them.
Kissing his jaw, his throat, she looked down and, picking up his hand, slid on the ring. “All mine.”
“Always have been.”

Groaning, he reached between them and somehow managed to undo his jeans, shove down the denim and his briefs. It took a little more effort to kick them off, but he was highly motivated.
Naked at last, he nudged aside the gusset of her panties. A single stroke of his finger through her wetness and her back arched, the sensations that came shooting back at him through the bond threatening to make his eyes roll back in his head. Then she bit him on the jaw and it was all over.
He thrust into her wet heat in a single, demanding push.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes

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ARC Review: Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Format: E-bookbearmeetsgirl
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series: Pride, #7
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Hero: Lou “Crush” Crushek
Heroine: Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 27, 2012
Started On: September 23, 2015
Finished On: September 27, 2015

Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston was a tough read for me to get into. There were those multiple conversation threads that I got lost in and the various characters that appeared out of nowhere which plunged me further into the abyss. I have read a lot of books midway into a series and still managed to get the gist of the characters involved without much of a problem. And those reads have at times even persuaded me to pick up a book that was published before that particular book in the series. But alas, Bear Meets Girl wasn’t one of those reads.

Lou “Crush” Crushek wakes up from a party, not his usual lifestyle mind you, wrapped up in the arms of a woman who instantly puts him on the edge. Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone (Cella) can’t help but have a little fun with the uptight polar bear until it all comes to the point where Cella is the one in need of Crush’s help to keep her well meaning family’s ministrations to help find her a “suitable” mate at a minimum.

Amid all this, there is some plot to hurt the bear population, Crush becoming a part of a new police force from his usual undercover work that has him going down in a bit of a spiral towards depression. Crush and Cella are two very contrasting characters, perhaps reason why I was drawn towards the book in the first place after reading the blurb. Cella, while is all out outrageous, Crush is the opposite. Someone who likes to keep to himself, who considers his home the haven of quiet & solitude that he requires after coming home from work. Cella and Crush do make the right fit, but I just couldn’t find myself all that interested in the rest of the story that was happening.

I skimmed through more than half of the story to just read the bits where Crush and Cella are together. Their dialogues with each other were refreshing. Their connection towards each other interesting, something that the author could have worked a bit more on to make the story more enticing. Because the rest of the stuff that was happening in the story just made my head whirl.

So given all the things that didn’t work for me in the book, one might ask, why did I still trudge on through the story? Well, there’s a magic to Shelly Laurenston’s writing that always makes me request her books even though the stories seem to come wrapped in a whole lot of characters and interactions between them, that tends to take away the focus from the main couple in the story. Which I seldom like, if at all. Bear Meets Girl having the exact same problem shouldn’t be a surprise, but then I keep hoping that this would be the time I would be proven wrong. I couldn’t skim through the rest of the chunks of the story fast enough to get to the bits where Crush and Cella were the focus. They make for a great combination. There’s enough spark, charm & adorableness to their coming together that makes it hard not to fall in love with them.

In my opinion, Bear Meets Girl is too seeped in details of all else that’s going on that it detracts the reader from the most alluring factor of the story; the couple in question & how their coming together works. I’m not saying other characters & scenes are not required to make a story more wholesome. No. It’s just that when a story gets bogged down with too much of past characters & extended family & whatnot, the reader who spontaneously picks up a book to read in the middle of a series can get a little lost in the midst of it all.

Recommended for fans of the author & fans of the Pride series.

Final Verdict: Bear Meets Girl; a story worth trudging through only because of Crush and Cella.

Favorite Quotes

She invaded his mouth with her tongue, fingers digging deep into the back of his neck and head, kind of holding him there. Crush’s entire body loosened, his arms falling away from his chest and to his sides, then reaching around her waist and pulling her off the chair. The chair ended up be- tween them, so Crush kicked it out of the way. Keeping a solid grip on her, he returned her kiss. But he wanted more.
Without thought to anything but the demands of his body, Crush pushed her up against his refrigerator, his body pin- ning hers there. He let his hands slip from around her waist and travel up until they could grip her breasts, fingers squeezing while his thumbs circled her nipples through her shirt and bra. Her entire body shook and then her hands were pressed against his chest, pushing him back.

Malone turned, saw them, and ran over. When she was about ten feet from Crush, she launched herself at him, hit- ting him hard, her legs wrapping around his waist, her arms around his neck. “Hi!”
“H—”
She didn’t let him finish, her mouth pressing against his, arms tightening around his neck. And for those few seconds Crush forgot about everyone else.
When she finally pulled her mouth away, Crush still had his eyes closed.
“I’m glad you came.”
Wait. He had? When?
“I was afraid you were going to bail on me.”
Oh! Came as in attend. Got it. He was there. He was okay.
He could handle this. Her. Whatever.
“I promised.”
“You did.” Still wrapped around him, she leaned back a
bit and gave him a once-over. “You’re kind of overdressed.” “I see that now.”

He wasn’t sure, but then she leaned in, sniffed his neck, and gently scraped a fang across his jugular. The last of Crush’s restraint snapped, his hands tightening around her waist. He lifted her up, pulled her in closer, and while staring into her eyes, slammed her down hard on his cock, at the same time bringing up his hips.
The feline roared, her head dropping back, her arms wrapping around his neck. She held on tight, breathing in deep and taking a moment before she looked at him.
Panting hard, they watched each other.
“Well,” she sighed, “that does feel good.”

She knew what he was doing, the tricky bastard. With every twist and tug and tease of her breast, her pussy tightened around his cock like a vise. His growling grew harsher, louder, and the vibration of it against her flesh had her nearly out of her mind. She panted, she mewled, she might have hissed a few times. Then she was coming. Coming so very hard that she cried out.
The bear lifted his head to gaze at her with those black eyes.
“You all right?” And she wondered if he realized he was still growling at her.
Unable to answer since she was still panting, Cella nod- ded.
“Good.” Remaining inside her, Crush slowly stood, releasing her arms so that he could carefully lift her legs and drape them over his forearms. “ ’Cause I’m not really done yet.”

“I need you to calm down, ma’am.”
Cella’s body began to shake, her knees weakening. “What is this?” he asked, fingers pressing, stroking. “Can
you tell me, ma’am? It’s better you come clean now rather than let me find out later. I can help you now.”
She shook her head, unable to find any words with her body unraveling.
“I don’t think you’re listening to me, ma’am.” He sighed, shook his head. “That’s a real shame.”
Cella didn’t know what he was saying, what was going on. She only knew what she felt and what she felt was that monumental orgasm ripping through her, so strong, she nearly threw the three-hundred-pound bear off her.

While Cella tried to get her breath back, the bear removed the cuffs, his hands rubbing her wrists. He stretched out on the floor and Cella collapsed on top of him. They lay in silence for long minutes until Cella admitted, “You have the biggest cock . . .”
Crush laughed, his hand slipping into her hair, massaging her scalp. “Why, thank you.”
“Just felt I should share that.”
“I have to admit, Cella, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of your after-sex pronouncements.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes

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Requested ARC Review: The Highest Tide by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthehighesttide
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Jason Remerley
Heroine: Lera Vanze
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 17, 2015
Started On: August 29, 2015
Finished On: September 08, 2015

Jason Remerley is a brothel health inspector, who runs into Captain Lera Vanze at The Velvet Court. From the first moment Jason lays eyes on the beautiful red haired Lera, Jason has a deep gnawing need to have her, regardless of the consequences. Lera believes that even a scarred woman like her should be able to fulfill her physical needs, which is why when she encounters a man who entices her more than a simple pay for sex kind of transaction ought to, Lera gets more wary than ever.

Of course Lera finds out, which makes the matter of traveling on the same ship on a mission that seems to be filled with dangers of its own kind doubly perilous. Jason has his own agenda in tagging along on the trip while Lera’s sole mission is to protect Kovir, the Seawatch operator that is recruited for the mission. While The Highest Tide is book 4 in the Eden series, this can be read as a standalone without much of a difficulty. However, I’d still say that this series is best read in its order as each of the books so far has been pretty great reads!

While Jason might not be the type of hero that I’m used to going gaga over, his shrewd intelligence, his focus on doing right by whatever he is tasked with, his determination when it comes to Lena; all of that makes for pretty alluring qualities if you ask me. There is a calmness to him that just feels like an oasis from the vicious storms that rage outside and perhaps one of the reasons I fell for him was that.

Marian has a penchant for writing strong heroines who sometimes tends to outshine the heroes with their abilities & strength of character. Lena was definitely one of them. Scarred with a past to match, Lena was set for a life of sailing warships until Jason came along. Any courtship more presumptuous on Jason’s part would have definitely not worked on Lena. Having encountered Lena in the previous novel, readers are introduced here to her more ‘giving’ side by the feelings of concerns she shows for Kovir, the Seawatch operative under her care, looking out for him like she’d do for a child of her own or such. From a brothel to the high seas, to being stranded in an island strapped with explosives, Lena and Jason’s courtship is definitely one for the books and one that I enjoyed.

There is quite the backstory linking Jason to the villain which I found entirely fascinating. Villain was definitely psychotic, not to mention downright scary in his ability to unleash his more sadistic tendencies which gave the story that added edge that Marian’s stories are equipped with. I would say that The Highest Tide is a pretty interesting addition to the Eden series. Marian definitely has got the talent it takes to awe and woo the reader to indulge in her alternate worlds. I for one definitely can’t wait to see where this journey is going to end.

Final Verdict: Marian never fails to amaze me with her ability to create beauty from utter chaos. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Without looking away from him, she reached for the door and her fingers brushed over smooth hard wood. She didn’t know if she meant to anchor herself with that, something solid to hold on to while she walked out, but her body decided before her mind could. A twitch of muscle, a flex of fingers, and the door swung shut.
Click.
Jason’s eyes dilated, dark with need, and he met her the rest of the way. His free arm went around her waist. Her body jolted from the touch, though that only made her press more closely against his tall frame, and her skin prickled as if a tide of sensation both hot and cold at once had rushed beneath it. The sheet might as well not have existed.

“Ah, Lera.”
The whisper was raw, his voice deepening to a growl, and it made her lean into him, needing more. His thigh pressed between her legs, and she twisted just enough to feel his erection, hard as an anchor against her belly. He shuddered, and his teeth found the softness of her throat in retaliation. Then he sucked on her flesh. Her nipples ached to be mouthed like that, suckled until she was wet and bucking with need, until she pushed him to his knees before her so he could press his face between her thighs, making her cry out before he pulled her down to him and mounted her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookshieldofwinter
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Vasic Duvnjak
Heroine: Ivy Jane
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 3, 2014
Started On: May 21, 2015
Finished On: June 06, 2015

Shield of Winter is the 13th book in the Psy-Changeling series. The book that comes after the most explosive title in the series, Heart of Obsidian. Shield of Winter tells the story of one of the most enigmatic characters of the elite group of soldiers of the Psy race, the ones that carry out the covert operations as required.

Vasic Duvnkak is an assassin, a soldier and an Arrow. With the volatile changes that had been happening to the three races living on Earth, the Psy world as Vasic has known it is rapidly changing, bringing along with it regrets of the kind written in blood, a conscience mired by a past that cannot be changed. Vasic is drifting further and further away from the roots that had kept him grounded, and until the inevitable end of his life, Vasic is willing to do whatever it takes to continue protecting his race, albeit minus the allegiance to the corrupt elite.

Ivy Jane is an empath, empaths being the Psy that had been brutally and viciously hunted down when the Psy world was initially established. Ivy becomes part of the group that is rounded up by Kaleb Krychek in order to save the Psy from an illness that has been ravaging the minds of Psy, rendering them mad beyond help. Ivy is helpless in the face of the sickness that seems to be accelerating its way through the NetMind, the bio feedback mechanism that is crucial for the Psy to survive.

Ivy and Vasic are both newbies to the world of sensation that had been forbidden for the Psy for so long. Vasic more so than Ivy because of the conditioning, training and torture that he had been subjected to when he had first been entered into the training academy for the Arrows. When Vasic chooses Ivy as the empath that he would protect till the mission ends, Vasic finds in Ivy, for the very first time in his life, a woman who makes him want. Want something more.

The journey of discovery that these two embark upon is a beautifully sensuous one, one that only an author of Nalini Singh’s caliber can deliver. The bloody turn that Psy’s world takes doesn’t detract from the connection that springs forth between Vasic and Ivy, a love that is beautiful in the way it develops.

Though Shield of Winter doesn’t obviously live up to the splendor that is Heart of Obsidian, it nevertheless gives fans of the series a read worth sinking their teeth into. Vasic is the type of hero that we all would love to cuddle, pet and call our own. Not because he’s the cuddly, warm and fuzzy type. But because he is just the opposite. Reserved, a touch cold and aloof, Vasic is the type of hero that makes women want to claim them as their own. Vasic is downright delicious. Though a virgin, Vasic’s focus on “matters” at hand makes everything doubly more so sensual!

Ivy is just the sort of woman that a man like Vasic needs. A man on the brink of crossing over, not caring much about how or when his end arrives. But in Ivy, Vasic finds the sort of strength he never thought he was capable of, the strength and will to focus on living than the inevitable end of the cycle of life. Vasic’s back story is one that would make even the hardest of hearts thaw. Ivy’s equally horrific, but made a trifle bit better owing to protective parents. Beyond the romance, there is of course always the fascinating world that Nalini has created with this series, that in itself a reason enough  to get lost in these books!

Recommended for fans of the Psy-Changeling series. Nalini writes beautifully. That is one reason why these books are not to missed out on!

Final Verdict: In the fall of Silence, nothing will ever be the same ever again. Great storytelling, as always!

Favorite Quotes

Ivy bit down on her lower lip, released the swollen flesh . . . and tugged the top off over her head. Raising one hand to pull back strands of her hair that had curled over her face, she didn’t attempt to hide herself from him, the plump mounds of her breasts cupped by a confection of ivory satin and lace. “That’s not Psy issue,” he said, fighting every single cell in his body not to push the delicate fabric aside and look his fill.
Ivy’s own breathing was unsteady, her breasts rising and falling as if in invitation. “No,” she admitted in a husky tone. “I’ve always liked certain textures against my skin.” Raising one hand, she pushed off a strap.”

Ivy’s breath was a sob. “Don’t ever give up.” Using her free hand to cup the hand he had around her wrist, she bent her head to press a kiss to his knuckles. “Promise me.”
His entire body in shock at the sweet, hot caress, he nodded. For her, he’d conquer even the dark numbness that had been eating him alive for years. “I promise.” He touched her hair. “Ivy, I was trying to protect you.” He’d never intended this bond to form, never intended to cause her pain. “From the terrible things I’ve done, the destructive choices I’ve made, the broken mess inside me.”
Ivy shook her head, her expression haunted. “It was too late the first day we met. You’re inside me, and I’m inside you. It’s done.”

He squeezed her nape. “Kiss me,” he repeated.
Ivy licked her lips, slid her hands up to his shoulders, and confessed. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Neither do I,” he responded, the glittering silver of his eyes on her mouth. “Arrows learn by repetition and practice until the basic skill is honed, at which point we begin to specialize.”
The words should’ve been dry, but they made her breasts swell, her nipples so plump and tight the lace of her bra became abrasive. Because he was talking about repetition and practice when it came to intimate contact. Kissing. Touching. Sex. Her lips parted and he lowered his head.
“Do it again, Ivy,” he murmured, his breath mingling with her own. “Repetition—”
“And practice,” she completed, and brushed her lips over his.

When Vasic broke contact, his forehead pressed against hers and his breath jagged, she caressed his cheek, kissed the clean-shaven smoothness of his jaw. Never had she felt so alive, so pleasured. But below that was a sexual hunger brutal in its ferocity, hard and dark . . . and then she knew. It wasn’t her desire she was sensing. It was his.
Body melting even further, she kissed his jaw again. “I’m picking up your desire. Do you mind?”
“No.” He kissed her again on the heels of that statement, one hand on her lower back, the other on the side of her neck.
Then he licked his tongue against hers.
Her brain exploded.

“Vasic.” Soft breath, Ivy’s lips on his throat.
Fingers tightening into fists, he stood in place, his head bowed slightly and his arms trapping her. Instead of fighting to escape, she kissed his throat again, licked out with her tongue to taste him. It made every muscle in his body go tight, the tattered vestiges of the psychological brainwashing he’d survived attempting to overlay the pleasure with pain, but he didn’t move.
“Vasic,” she whispered again, her kiss damp this time, the sensation going straight to his rock-hard erection. “My Vasic.”

Turning toward her, he braced himself with his palms on either side of her head, his bare skin inches from her, the heat of him smashing against her hungry skin. And his fury . . . that was a stunning thing, the storm in his eyes molten silver.
“I can’t give you what you want.” It came out ice-cold, but those eyes, those eyes . . . “I thought—” He shook his head. “You can’t change the core of a man, Ivy. You can’t take a man christened in blood and make him into something better.”
Ivy narrowed her eyes, furious at the way he continued to see himself. “I don’t want you to change. Haven’t I made that clear?” Rising on tiptoe, she fisted her hands in his hair. “I want you. All of you. Even the part that infuriates me.”

Chest heaving, Ivy stared at him, the suspicion on her face making something twist deep inside him, the strange emotion at once gentle and fierce. “Wait for me in your bedroom,” he said, taking what he needed because Ivy had said he could have it. Have her.
Ivy had fought for his right to have her.
She never denied him, never punished him by withholding the touch he craved—her touch—and he planned to take terrible advantage. Now and always. “I need to make sure everything is secure before I join you.” The mattress on his bed was hard, would discomfort her. “I want you under me, naked and aroused and mine.”

A lazy, affectionate smile that caught at his heart and refused to let go. “I flaked, huh?”
“You needed rest,” Vasic answered. And then he kissed her.
Ivy responded with the lush generosity that had already made him an addict. Sliding her arms around his neck and bending one leg at the knee to cradle him between her thighs, she surrendered her mouth to his desires. And he took, devoured. He hadn’t understood how starved he was of touch until he met Ivy. Now, she was the only one who could ease the piercing ache of his need.

His fingers curled around her nape. Are you going to be mad at me for this our entire life?
She nodded. You should’ve waited for me.
I never dared dream of you, Ivy. I never thought a man like me deserved such a gift.
Petting his chest, she said, You’re my gift, too, you know. I’m so glad for you every instant of every day. Even when I’m really, really angry with you.

“I need to ask you some highly personal questions.”
Judd reached down to pack the snow into a ball. “I’ve been hoping for a long time that someone else in the squad would get to the point where a discussion like this would be necessary.” Rising, he threw the snowball with a fast arm. “Ask.”
“How do you control your telekinesis while intimate with your mate?”
“I broke a damn lot of furniture at the start, including two beds.” A curious glance. “What are you doing?”
“Traveling around the world.”

“This will likely hurt.” He didn’t like the idea, but it was a biological fact they couldn’t escape.
Ivy wrapped her legs around his hips. “Love me, let me love you.”
He gritted his teeth, guided himself to her, and began to push. She was slick and hot and so tightly stretched around him that he felt he’d rip her open. “Ivy.”
Clutching at his shoulders, she gasped, “So . . . you’re built in proportion, then.”
The unexpected words gave him the breathing room he needed. Kissing her on that sweet, soft, generous mouth, he said, “Unfortunately.”
A sensually feminine smile. “I have a feeling that won’t be the correct description once we begin to do this on a regular basis.”

“Leaving them tangled around her thighs, he squeezed one cheek with a blatantly possessive touch, then dipped his hand between her legs. “You’re liquid.” Crushed rocks and sexual heat, that was his voice.
Ivy’s answer required no thought. “Because it’s you.”
Movement behind her, the back of his hand brushing her buttocks. The sound of a zipper. Fabric being pushed down. And then he was gripping her hips to tilt her farther forward as he pushed into her with relentless focus. Making incoherent sounds of need, she was hardly aware of the world altering between sand and the wall and back over and over. Every cell in her body was focused on Vasic, on feeling the thick intrusion of him stretching her flesh.
This position permitted nothing else.

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Review: Rebel by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookrebel
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #4
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Cain
Heroine: Martha
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 26, 2013
Started On: February 8, 2015
Finished On: February 10, 2015

Rebel is the last published book in the Fallen series by Kristina Douglas. Rebel tells of the fallen angel Cain, who returns to Sheol after a long period of time, nursing the need vengeance and revenge that has been haunting him for a long time. Cain is the hell raiser, the angel that everyone at Sheol has a hard time trusting given his penchant for causing trouble and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. When Martha, the seer of the Fallen “sees” the arrival of Cain, Martha would like nothing more than for her this very vision to be proved wrong.

From the minute Cain arrives in Sheol engulfed in a ball of fire, everyone is shocked and apprehensive of his presence at the same time. Martha more so because of the wicked variety of dreams that had been haunting her for a while now, dreams of Cain and herself getting down and dirty in a way that she and her now dead husband had never engaged before. Nothing scares Martha more than opening herself up to the vulnerability that would be sure to follow if she allows Cain in and Cain certainly makes it hard for her to trust him with her heart when it comes to him.

Cain believes that nothing but boredom makes him seek out Martha. That her dull character would soon bore him and he would be able to move on without much trouble. That Martha is nothing but just one step he needs to cross in order to execute his plan of making the Fallen bleed a success. What he doesn’t bet on is for Martha to show him a side of her that proves to be alluring both physically and emotionally, for her to reach into a side of him that makes him want to lash out and he does, in ways that will exasperate the reader and then some.

While all of the Fallen stories follow a similar pattern, it is Cain’s arrival that heralds a belief change in the entire group that stirs things up in a manner that the occupants of Sheol has never faced before. Martha whose character appears to be a bit of a lackluster one in the previous novels proves to be the most surprising element to the story when she reveals her backbone of steel that has seen and being through a lot in her life. She is the usual no nonsense variety of heroines that Anne Stuart loves to write and she writes them well.

While I totally was on board with the angst that was delivered to the story through Cain’s reluctance to put a label on his feelings where Martha was concerned, I felt that Cain didn’t really have to work for it when it came to winning Martha over. I would definitely have loved to see Cain grovel a bit, so that it would have given readers a more well rounded ending to their story.

While there is no mention anywhere on the continuation of this series, I would like to think that somewhere along the way Anne Stuart would put pen to paper and give the series an ending that readers would love. Lucifer is the fallen angel that is left and the angel which I believe as per how things were proceeding would end up turning things around not just for the Fallen, but for the entire world.

Recommended! And one more thing; the dream sex – totally hot!

Final Verdict: A hell raising angel and a seer whose visions never seem just quite right. Love definitely is a game changer.

Favorite Quotes

He moved then, and his breath was hot against my skin, his long hair drifting against me, his hands on my arms, holding me still. And then his mouth touched my skin, and I wanted to weep.
It was no erotic kiss, no arousing tease of my suddenly tight breasts. It was a soft, sweet kiss against the place where the claws had bitten deep into my flesh, where the scar puckered in such an ugly way. A kiss, a benediction, followed by another, and then another, as his mouth traced the brutal line of scarring, then moved on to the next one, and I was weeping beneath my tightly closed lids.
He said nothing, but I heard his thoughts anyway. You shouldn’t be ashamed of these scars, his voice said in my dream. They’re a badge of honor.

“More.” I didn’t recognize the raw, needy whisper, but I could feel the strange delight of his laugh against my clitoris, and then his teeth, delicately, as he withdrew his long finger and then pushed two inside.
I shattered immediately, my voice hoarse as I cried out. “Don’t . . .
“Don’t . . . stop.”
He didn’t, pushing me over that hill and then dragging me up another, higher, steeper, and I knew the plummet into darkness would be terrifying, and I knew I couldn’t—wouldn’t—fight him. I wanted this. In the private darkness of my dreams, I wanted everything, because nothing was real.

“Take me,” I whispered, my voice hoarse. “Take all of me.” And I moved, baring my neck to him.
He thrust, so deep and hard that it was a kind of pleasure-pain that had me teetering on the very edge. And when I felt his bite sink deep into my throat, I went over, lost in the pulsing of my blood into his mouth, the pulsing of his semen inside me. Lost, forever, until, as I wanted, there was nothing left.

“It doesn’t. It’s just me asking. Come here, Martha. Or turn your back on me. It’s your choice. It always has been.”
I stared at him. “And it doesn’t matter which one I choose?”
His smile was rueful. “Of course it does. I’m ready to explode from wanting you. You’re making me crazy—I can’t concentrate on why I’m here; all I can think about is getting inside you, and each dream only makes it worse instead of taking the edge off. I’m drowning in you, in your scent and your touch and your taste. Come to me, goddamn it.” His voice was ragged at the end of this, and I was hot, trembling.
“No,” I said. Just to see the darkness flood his face. “You come to me.”

I felt the wall against my back, hard, and his hands were up under the shift, on my hips, ripping away the scrap of underwear I wore. He braced me against the wall as I felt his fingers between my legs, testing me, slipping in the wetness of my arousal, and then he fumbled with his jeans. I heard the rasp of a zipper in the darkness, and a moment later he was pressed against me, large and hot and real, and there was no sweetness, no gentle persuasion, there was only the hard thrust of him, pushing in, deep, so deep that I wanted to cry out in sudden satisfaction. Wanted to cry out for more.

“I want you to feel this,” he whispered against my ear. “I want you to be so caught up in you and me that there isn’t room for anything else. Not doubt, not control, not trust or Thomas or any of the thousands of reasons you don’t want this. I want you to think only about why you do. Why you want me inside you. Why it feels like you’d die if you didn’t feel me inside you. And then you’ll understand what I’ve been feeling for the past week, every time I look at you.”

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Review: Warrior by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookwarrrior
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Michael Angelo
Heroine: Victoria Bellona
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 24, 2012
Started On: January 24, 2015
Finished On: February 8, 2015

He wanted her. Needed her.
He wouldn’t take her.

Warrior by Kristina Douglas is the third book in the Fallen series. Warrior tells the story of Michael Angelo, the angel that has honed himself into a lethal fighting machine. It has been two centuries since Michael had last taken a mate and Michael has no intention of taking one until fate brings to his life Victoria Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War.

Victoria doesn’t believe in the fact that she is a goddess of anything, much less a Goddess of War. However, it is undeniable that her childhood up till now had prepared her in the art of fighting and she aims to fight dirty to gain her freedom from the life she has been subjected to, until she finds herself married off to Michael, a man whose very presence makes Victoria forget herself, until she learns that Michael is one of the Fallen and has no intention of ever truly making her his.

Michael fights a losing battle when it comes to Victoria. Michael’s honorable intentions take a hard hit when it comes to her. When Michael is forced to go after Victoria, all bets are off when both Victoria and Michael finally give in to the hunger that courses through them every second that they are together.

With every searing kiss and scorching touch, Michael knows that there would be no turning back for him when it comes to Victoria. But the Fallen’s number one enemy is still eager as ever to break them up, make them all bow down to him and in the process, destroy what they’ve built millenniums ago. Will Victoria make a difference or will she be the one that helps their enemy finally and once and for all bring them down?

Though not as good as the first two books in the series, it is hard to remain detached from a tale spun by Anne Stuart. She brings the variety of wicked humor and nerve tingling passion alive in her books that are hard to forget. Michael and Victoria, though at the surface might seem like they don’t want anything to do with each other, fights an attraction that burns through their blood, a calling that runs through their soul for each to claim the other. Half the fun lay in Michael trying to resist Victoria and the passion that ignited when he finally succumbed to the inevitability of it all.

Recommended.

Final Verdict: A grumpy & reluctant angel finds his match in the brave goddess of war that entices him unlike any other.

Favorite Quotes

He stood at one end, his face cool and impassive. Such an arresting face on the man. Angel. Whatever he was. Exquisitely beautiful. Exquisitely cold.
In the bright sunlight I could see him clearly for the first time. He was wearing white as all the others were, a loose open shirt, though he’d rolled up the sleeves, as if even a so-called wedding required hard work. I looked at his strong forearms, and for the first time I noticed tattoos snaking their way up beneath the white cloth. The shirt was loose at the neck as well, and there were more markings on his chest, his throat, twining around to the back of his head, markings I hadn’t seen before. I halted, momentarily fascinated, and then Allie caught my arm and gently urged me forward.

She must have heard him come in. She rose on one elbow, looking at him, and the sheet fell away, exposing one small, perfect breast. And he needed to suck at it, to slide his hand between her legs and feel the wetness of her desire. He’d tried everything he could to fight this.
For the first time in his limitless existence, he had lost a battle.

“You’re not paying a debt,” he said. “Are you?”
She hesitated. “No,” she said, and leaned back against the pillow. “And you aren’t doing your duty, are you?”
“No.” He knelt on the bed, straddling her carefully. There was barely enough room for the two of them. It didn’t matter. They were going to be so close they wouldn’t need extra space. “No,” he said again, moving between her legs, lifting them. He took her mouth, her sweet, inexperienced mouth, with his, and then simply pushed inside her, hard, knowing she’d be wet and ready for him.

He pulled out almost completely, and she let out a cry of loss. He slid his hand down her stomach to her clitoris, touching her as he suddenly slammed into her, and she shattered, her body clamping around him. She shrieked against his shoulder, in shock, in pleasure, her fingers digging into him so tightly he would have thought she’d draw blood. That was another arousal, and he thrust, again and again, hard, riding her orgasm, prolonging it, and when she finally fell back, limp, he let himself go, releasing his seed into her, filling her, his head dropping to the pillow beside her as his wings unfurled to lock around them, cradling them in softness.

Darkness. Thick, enveloping darkness, with his strong body surrounding me, his hot, wet mouth on mine. All arguments fled. I wanted this. Needed this. Ever since I’d left his bed, a part of me had been missing, and now it was found again. He had come for me. And I was his.
His tongue slid into my mouth, and I felt unaccountably shy even after last night, but it didn’t seem to matter. When I tentatively moved my tongue against his, he let out a low growl of unmistakable approval, and I wanted to get closer. I wanted him inside me again, I wanted to take his cock into my mouth the way they did in the books I’d read. I wanted everything.

So many contrasting emotions were flooding me that I felt dizzy. Lust and irritation went without saying. But . . . he’d come for me. He’d died for me. He had my blood inside him, making him strong. He had me inside him.
And in willingly giving him my blood, my life force, I was afraid I’d given him more than that. I had given him love.

He shook me again, gripping my wrists so tightly that my hands were growing numb. “Had enough?” he demanded furiously.
“Not even close,” I snapped back.
And then we both froze. He looked down at me, bafflement and rage fading from his face. His mouth was bleeding. “Oh, shit,” he said.
He released my wrists. I didn’t know if he was going to try to pull away, but I wasn’t going to give him that chance.
“Oh, shit, indeed,” I said, my eyes daring him.
His mouth on mine was hard and angry, and I could taste his blood. It should have horrified me. It didn’t.

I shattered, letting out a low, keening wail, and he caught the cry from my mouth, drinking it in. Distantly I heard the clang of his belt buckle and the rasp of his zipper, and then he was inside me, sliding deep, pulling my legs around his narrow hips. I was already wet, aroused, my body accepting, and I clung to him, shocked. I felt like a boat on a stormy ocean, adrift in a tempest of sensation so powerful I could focus only on his body and what it was doing to mine.

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Requested Review: The Farthest Shore by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthefarthestshore
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Alyster Juell
Heroine: Mirande Tayes
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 26, 2014
Started On: December 15, 2014
Finished On: December 20, 2014

Alyster Juell is the captain of the steamship Checkmate, involved in a race between Denalait ships and a Dragan schooner. Captain Alyster appears in the second book of the series, i.e. The Deepest Ocean, my favorite Eden book thus far. Alyster’s excitement over the race is a given and when he finds a stowaway on board, none other than Mirande Tayes (Miri), one of the reporters that he had met the previous night, Alyster’s first reaction is to distrust her on every level.

The truth about Miri’s past and where she comes from is the reason behind Miri’s fate that ends her being onboard Alyster’s steamship as a stowaway. Miri bargains with Alyster to keep her onboard until they reach a port where she can make her way. Alyster who has misgivings about a reporter he distrusts is left fighting an attraction born out of respect for Miri proves her mettle and shows him that she is unafraid of hard work to make her way when required.

Meanwhile, the war that has waged for years between the Tureans and the Denalaits rears its ugly head in the midst of the race, the Tureans willing to use every dirty trick under their sleeve and then some to “win” in a war that has seen its fair share of casualities and damages on both sides. The war has done nothing but create a divide the likes of which we find in the real world today, racial divides that seem insurmountable at best which is the situation that comes to light between Miri and Alyster.

Marian’s ability to create and combine the creepy with the mystic, the romance with the world building continues to amaze me with every story that I read from the Eden series. The Farthest Shore combines all of the above to give a spellbinding read that keeps the reader on tenterhooks until the very last page.

The fate of the little girl under the Turean command, that holds so much power in her hands is one that filled me with unease and fascination quite at the same time. I cannot help but want to read her story somewhere along the way, perhaps Marian might end up giving readers like myself one sometime in the future.

Alyster as the hero is a bit of a laid back version compared to his brother who has a reckless streak a mile wide. The commanding side to Alyster is a direct contrast to his beta-ish nature, both of which makes for a compelling hero. Though Alyster has a hard time coming to terms with who Miri is, the honesty with which he and both Miri handle the situation is one that deserves a mention. Miri is a courageous heroine, whose penchant for being truthful and upfront with Alyster before anything serious could happen between the two of them endeared her to me in more ways than one. Waiting for more stories from the world of Eden.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Marian’s world building of Eden offers endless possibilities for fascinating tales of intrigue, excitement & danger!

Favorite Quotes

“A lot can happen in a few hours.”
“Alyster…” she began. She wasn’t sure what she intended to say, perhaps just tell him that it was the wrong time and place for whatever he was trying to do—and she knew now that he didn’t only want her to trust him. She also knew that she should not have said his name for the first time like that, in a voice that showed altogether too much need, betraying both a loneliness and a longing that she had never allowed herself to show before. But by then it was far too late.

He’d shaved, so the skin grazing her ear was velvety-rough, his teeth hard against her earlobe.
That time it was she who made a sound instead, a whimper she couldn’t stifle, and her arms went up around him.
“Yes,” he said, his voice as raw as if he had fought not to say anything at all, and when he kissed her again there was no gentleness about it. But she didn’t need that now. She needed to forget about everything, needed the pain of the past and the darkness of that night wiped out in a desire so fierce she couldn’t think any longer, needed him.

“I’ve never known a woman quite like you,” he said quietly.
Again she hesitated. Only the faintest edge of moonlight from the open hatchway showed the soft waves of her hair and one shoulder in the darkness.
“A woman who was half-salt?” she finally replied, and he had the impression she’d used the pause to make certain only a cool edge of disdain showed in her voice. He didn’t think he’d allow her the chance to get a shield up again. He didn’t think he wanted there to be anything between them again, at least not for that night.
“Half-idealistic and half-exasperating and all remarkable,” he said, and closed his hands around her shoulders, pulling her against him.

Over a rushing sound in his ears, he heard her groan low in her throat, and he managed to break the kiss so they could breathe again. They were both panting as if they’d been nearly drowned.
As he wanted to drown in her, wanted to sink into her until she was gasping and helpless under him. There was no need to search for her mouth a second time. She kissed him back, one arm sliding up around his neck, and her fingers caught in his hair. He shuddered, and his mouth went to her throat.

“Do you want me?” He barely recognized the sound of his own voice.
In the darkness, he heard her swallow, and the sound made him take a quick step back before he could lose the last vestiges of control and push her up against the wall. “Yes.” The word sounded like a sigh, albeit a sigh dragged out of her with a fishing gaff.
A tension he hadn’t realized was present drained out of him. “Then come to my cabin,” he said, and walked away.

A whimper trapped in her throat, she bent her knees, trying to force his mouth closer to her, but she might as well have been trying to shift a mountain. He made a sound that might have been a laugh if it hadn’t been so raw with need, and buried his face between her thighs. The roughness of the stubble on his face made his mouth feel more sensitive and sensual, and he impaled her with his tongue.
The world vanished in a soundless explosion. Her body jerked in a climax so fast and hard she couldn’t even scream. Her spine locked rigid, her head fell back as wave after wave of clenching release slammed into her, and he drew out the last shudders as he licked her swollen, spasming flesh.

“Now,” she whispered, but he only shifted position, and his tongue played slowly over her other nipple. She squirmed, unable to bear the ache between her thighs. “Alyster, now—” He came into her deep and hard, stretching and filling her. She cried out, a sound as much plea as it was pleasure. Her arms tightened around him to hold him where she needed
him, her hips rose to meet his fierce thrusts, and she was close, so close, so—
“Miri,” he groaned against her ear, and that was enough. Everything in her tightened at once, clenching and rigid, and Alyster pulled back before driving in again, faster now as if he had lost all control too.

“Ride me, Miri,” he whispered, and she lifted herself above him. The slick slide of his naked flesh against hers made him set his teeth, and when he pushed back into her, it felt even better. She braced her hands against his chest, rising and falling again and again, meeting his thrusts in a rhythm that was steadily growing faster, more out of control.
“Now—” The muscles of her face tightened too, her eyes closing as she surrounded him and withdrew, relentless as the tide. Her thighs were trembling against his hips, squeezing them, as she impaled herself completely. “Alyster—”
Yes, Alyster thought and thrust up as hard as he could. It was enough.

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