Book Review: Essential Magic by Cara McKinnon

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

ESSENTIAL MAGIC (The Fay of Skye Book 1) by Cara McKinnon is an alternate history romance set in a 19th century Victorian England that believes in and practices magic. An American witch is searching for her extended family for training and an English second son is afraid to use his magic since a terrible accident. This series is set around a dynasty of powerful English/Scottish magic wielders and the search for the reason that England is losing its magic.

Etta Mae Cook was raised in Appalachia by a Fay mother and a Choctaw medicine-man father. After her mother’s death, she follows her last instructions to return to her distant clan relations in England to train her exceptionally strong powers. It is quite a cultural change from running through the mountains to being in the home of a Marquiness, but Etta is willing to put up with just about anything for the chance to train. What she wasn’t expecting was an instant attraction to Mal, the second son of the Marquiness.

Malcolm Seward just wants to run his Scottish lands and forget about magic, but his family has other plans for him. When he meets Etta, there is an awakening of his power that he will fight at all costs and it could be at the cost of losing Etta. When the clan comes together for the birth of his sister’s twins, many magically secrets become clear and Mal and Etta will need to work their magic together to triumph.

The author has set a vivid backdrop to this series and the research seems very thorough. The characters are all interesting because they have differing levels of magic and come from different levels of society. The romance was spread at a natural progression throughout the story with some very hot sex scenes. This book does give you a HEA for Mal and Etta, but carries over the overall arc of the search for the reason of the magical drain in England. An entertaining start to a new series.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Riding the Tide by M.A. Church

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

RIDING THE TIDE (The Deep Blue Sea #2) by M.A. Church is an entertaining paranormal romance read. It is a short, fast read that at times had me laughing out loud. The world-building is an interesting twist on mermaids and mermen. This book in the series features two mermen and does contain scenes of M/M sex.

Marcus Krill is a warrior creature of the sea and wants nothing to do with a mate. Humans are a diversion and only good for hook-ups, until one day as he watches a man fall overboard in the waters he patrols, the most intriguing and beautiful smell ever flows to him. Against all the rules, he saves the human even though it reveals his true nature which is kept hidden from humans.

Brian Estes is alone in the world after the death of his grandmother and has the money to travel and explore the world. He is rich, but lonely. He never knows if the men he is attracted to are attracted to him or his money. When he lands in the sea and is rescued by a merman, he cannot believe what is right before him. Excitement and interest turns to fear and flight when he finds out he is a ‘mate’, but he can’t stay away.

The main characters have completely opposite expectations and yet they learn that their love is more important and compromise is the key for their HEA. Both have sarcastic senses of humor and are very entertaining. An enjoyable paranormal romance read.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

 

Book Review: Vengeance by Shana Figueroa

vengeance

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

This book is NOT what I was expecting! VENGEANCE (Valentine Shepherd #1) by Shana Figueroa is going to be one of those books and series you are either going to love or hate. Love because of the great characters and plot, hate if you are not into explicit sex scenes in all variations, F/F, M/M, M/M/F and M/F.

P.I. Valentine Shepherd is thrust into a case when her attorney fiancée is run down and killed while trying to get information from an informant to clear his client, Max Carressa, billionaire heir, who is suspected of killing his father. When the informant is shot and killed, Val is chased by the cops who killed him. Max comes to her rescue and they both are on the run now as they try to unravel the reasons for the conspiracy between a mayoral candidate, a crime boss and Val’s dead ex’s attorney dad.

There is also a subplot that will arc over the whole series. Val has been able to have visions of the future since Junior High. She has always considered it a curse as well as a help at times. It seems she has not able to see the future of those she loves before they die, but she has been on occasion able to alter her future in the visions. Max also has the ability to see the future, but he sees it in a series of numbers that he uses in business and he has never been able to alter what he sees. There is a mystery person, who wants these two together no matter the cost.

The plot and subplot are full of great twists and both unfold at a very fast pace. It is a P.I. thriller with psychic abilities in the main characters. Val is a strong female lead character. She was a Sergeant in the Army and then started her own P.I. business with her best friend Stacey. Val will pick herself up and plow ahead through any adversity. Max is super-hot, super-rich and has been severely abused his whole life. He has hidden out in drugs, alcohol and a fast lifestyle until he meets his “Red Raven” vision, Val.

I loved Val and Max and the plot had me reading long into the night. There is a lot of sex throughout, but there is a very unique reason for it. I can’t wait to get the next book in this series. Unique and hot!

Thanks very much to Forever (Grand Central Publishing), Net Galley and this author for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Feature Blog: AVON KissCon at the CCPL

avon-kisscon-logo KissCon Diamond Jubilee 11/10/16

I had a blast at the AVON publisher KissCon event at the South Euclid/Lyndhurst CCPL! It was a Diamond Jubilee Celebration and I got to meet two of my all time favorite authors and made new friends with some others. Thanks to AVON for bringing this event to Cleveland and special thanks to our wonderful and award winning Cuyahoga County Public Library system for hosting!

The first hour was a pay for event with food trays, beverages, wines and a meet and greet one-on-one with the authors. We all received an AVON Diamond Jubilee tote full of goodies, a free anthology and a coupon for a free book of our choice.

img_0270

img_0268

img_0271

img_0266 Susan Elizabeth Phillips!

img_0264 Linda Howard!

img_0274 Jill Shalvis!

img_0272 Shelley Shepard Gray!

All of the authors were great, but I have been reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Linda Howard for years, so of coarse I was fan-girling!

The second hour was free for everyone who registered and it was all the authors seated in a panel format. We had a fun Q&A game, the authors talked about their current books and the audience got to ask questions.

img_0279

img_0280

The full panel of authors included: Shelley Shepard Gray, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jill Shalvis, Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, Jennifer Ryan, Katherine Ashe and Toni Blake.

I now have another list of books to add to my TBR and new authors to try. It was a great night! Thanks to AVON and the authors for coming to Cleveland.

 

 

Book Review: Melting Shadows by Rhea Rhodan

melting-shadows

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

This romantic suspense with added fantasy is hard to put down with two storylines happening in present day and OtherWhere. A love story between a former SEAL and a brilliant, socially stunted hidden beauty. Never confusing, the writing was crisp, fast paced and engaging. Ms. Rhodan has a new fan and I’ll be coming back for more!

Dr. Prudence “Prue” Marsh is a product of genetic engineering and was raised by her mother to show no emotions or weaknesses. Her brilliant mind has her developing new capabilities for Navy subs as a contractor and this has put her in danger from Albanian terrorists who want her program. While away from her farm, it is raided and all her rescued animal friends are killed. She refuses to be hidden in a government facility, so she is sent to finish her project in Max Delaney’s home bunker.

Max Delaney is a computer forensic analyst and a former SEAL. His continued work for the government is dependent on keeping Prue safe and happy until she can finish her project. Since he hasn’t found a woman who can refuse his charm yet, he accepts the assignment, but Prue isn’t like anyone else. Max’s sister, Sam befriends Prue and Max’s rescued Rottweiler war dog, Brutus instantly attaches himself to her, but Max just can’t figure his guest out.

As Prue’s backstory is slowly revealed, you cannot help but be completely drawn in to her horrible upbringing and understand why she escapes into the fantasy world of OtherWhere. All of the characters are in these blocks of fantasy and are similar to their present day counterparts. The worldbuilding in these sections is as strong as the rest of the book. The romance is built at a believable pace with me cheering for Prue at every turn of the plot. I love romantic suspense and this book went above and beyond. I recommend this book highly!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.