The Naughty Vixen

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Archive for the tag “Book Review”

Cipher by Aileen Erin

“Don’t.  It feels like your sucking everything out of me when you touch me.  It’s unnerving.”

cover54200-mediumTitle:  Cipher

Author:  Aileen Erin

Rate: A+

In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity. 
When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.
She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.
Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knightly 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.
For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knightly makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

Thoughts:  Cipher was definitely an interesting read….the idea of helix tattoos representing your DNA was an interesting one, and the author captured my attention from the very beginning with not only the amazing cast of characters but with the intriguing storyline.  Cipher was an amazing character and I loved the past history she shared with Knight, and the lengths he went to over the years to find her.  I was impressed with the author, the series, and after reading Cipher I immediately made plans to read the next book, Quanta (though it is by separate author Lola Dodge).

     Having already formed my own opinion, I was curious as to other people’s thoughts on the book and I wanted to address some of their opinions – some of them felt that the romance of it overshadowed the sci-fi portion of it.  I got my copy on Netgalley, and it was clearly listed as Romance/Sci-Fi-Fantasy so I was clear on the fact that romance was a significant feature in the book – but I felt that the sci-fi elements featured heavily enough to keep me satisfied. Just be clear that romance does play heavily into it – it is not strictly a sci-fi/fantasy book.  Additionally, there were a few comments as to Cipher strength of character and to how it seemed to wan the more the love interest began to play more heavily a role in the book – people are entitled to their own perspective, but if you read the book and are honest there are other additional more scientific factors that also play a role in why Cipher becomes a little weaker in the end…but come one, she’s still strong enough to kick some a@$!…so let’s not be so harsh on the love!  I like a little romance with my sci-fi.  So, I guess it is all in what you’re looking for.  I, too, would love to see some more Cipher and Knight in future books as I think they have a little more story to tell, but I guess we will see.  In the meantime, I look forward to more from this author that I’m glad to have stumbled upon …:)

Always the Quiet Ones by Cassandra Carr

“You know, I never really put a label on it, but yeah I guess I am.  The whole thrill of getting caught, the whole thrill of driving you crazy in a place where people could see us – it’s pretty hot.”

81h1m+PORGL._SL1500_Title:  Always the Quiet Ones

Author:  Cassandra Carr

Rate: D

King of the geeks Marty Johnston has a serious crush on his co-worker Elizabeth. The principal IT consultant wants more than just a flirtation, but guilt over a one-night-stand-but-maybe-more Marty had on his last business trip before meeting Elizabeth could cost him his big chance with the girl of his dreams. He’s comfortable dealing with computers, not people. Can he step way outside his comfort zone to sort things out, or will he lose the one he’s falling for?

Thoughts:  The blurb pulled me in immediately with this one, but I have to say it was not at all what I expected.  Considering Marty was supposed to have this “serious crush” on his co-worker …. well, I just didn’t get that vibe at all from this book.  I got only slightly more “relationship” undertones from Marty and Elizabeth as I did from Marty and his one-night-stand-but-maybe-more, Shelby!  The book was short, which in this case was a definite negative in terms of character development  – for it made the character come across as stale and boring, and unbelievable for the most part.  The story just wasn’t there for me with this one. 

Howl by Brittney Dussault

“They say you have the power to see the truth, just by touching someone.  Go on, touch me.”

Howl-CoverTitle:  Howl

Author:  Brittney Dussault

Rate: C

After an archeology expedition gone wrong, Lis Santiago is assigned a desk job at The Library, an underground archive dedicated to the history and study of supernatural creatures. Run by humans, the joke about The Library is that it’s operated by people who know everything about magic… except how to use it. Lis is no exception, and after three years, she’s finally accepted her new, albeit lackluster, career. 
Then a request is made: Supernatural creatures in the area have gone missing, and the Alpha from the local werewolf pack wants a Librarian to aid in the investigation. But he doesn’t want just any Librarian, he wants Lis. Accepting means time away from her desk, but it also means having to be paired up with old partner Jonas Highet, who left her waiting for him in Italy five years ago. This isn’t the reunion she had in mind, but when the Alpha calls, it’s hard to say no.
Lis quickly wishes she had.
The Alpha already has a suspect, he just needs Lis to convict him… even if there’s no proof he’s guilty. But the Alpha’s sister thinks her brother’s scapegoat- a wolf named Mickey Kaiser- is innocent, and she wants Lis to prove it.
Caught between a pair of siblings known for their cunning ways, Lis is going to have to find out what’s so special about Mickey Kaiser, while simultaneously keeping Jonas from killing the man. And just when Lis starts dreaming about her desk job, the first body is found.
It’s unlike anything Lis has seen before.

Thoughts:  The premise behind this book is a good one –  I loved the sheer idea behind it.  Yet I found this book a continual source of frustration as it constantly left this feeling that you were missing something – I felt like I had jumped a few books into a series with a bunch of background history missing, allusions to character relationships and intimacies that I’d lost out on, and yet that was not the case since this is the first book in the series.  But that feeling lingered all throughout the book, and really tainted the whole experience for me.

Things like The Library – that I thought would play such a huge role – really didn’t feature as much as I thought they would in the scope the story, some things are brought up within the story and are just not mentioned again and you are left to wonder why they were even mentioned at all – and still other details  you left wondering why they aren’t explained in so much more depth as they were so pertinent to the story.  Just a lot of inconsistencies.   I also never really felt connected to the characters…you read the story, but never got fully enveloped within it.

I like – and still like – the idea of it more than the actual execution of it.

Excerpt:  “H-hi,” Lis said, because when in the presence of such delectable, smug attractiveness, she found it difficult to communicate like a normal, grown-ass woman. She figured everyone had their vices.

 Tall, dark, and handsome with an emphasis on the tall, dark, and handsome, the leather clad babe standing before her was good looking enough she could almost forget he was a werewolf detective. But while the wolves might call themselves detectives, she knew they only did one thing- hunt. She, like always, was not on the menu.

“I’m guessing you’re my partner?” she said when her brain started working again.  The man ran his eyes over her body in a way that made her both shiver and roll her eyes.

He scrunched his nose in distaste and she scoffed.

“The day I ask you for sartorial advice, Highet,” she snapped as she marched over to her bedroom, “is the day hell freezes over.”

“Better dress warm, then.”

Jonas Highet looked like sin, had a voice that was a temptation all on its own, and to top it all off, he knew it. In Lis’ experience, there was nothing more dangerous than an attractive man who knew he was attractive. Even more so, one who knew how to use his beauty to his advantage. It seemed to be a talent all werewolves possessed.

“I swear,” Lis muttered under her breath as she changed out of her pantsuit and into something a little more suitable to a night spent running after a werewolf who couldn’t deduce worth shit.

“Tick tock,” said Jonas. “The Alpha is expecting us.”

Lis sneered before grabbing her jacket from him, not having bothered to close the screen to her bedroom because Jonas had seen her naked enough times over the years and had only shown a level of interest that could be classified as clinical. Actually, no. Lis was pretty sure she’d seen doctors more attentive than the werewolf now following her out of her apartment.

“For the record,” Jonas said as he trailed after her, “I didn’t request to be your partner.”

Lis stopped halfway down a step and looked up at him.

“Good thing we got that out of the way.”

If she hadn’t known it already, his statement had confirmed it: It was going to be a long night.

 

 

 

Smiley by Laurann Dohner

“I’m turned on.  I rumble.  It’s a good thing.”

51av6l+bzcLTitle:  Smiley

Author:  Laurann Dohner

Rate: A

Vanni is furious when her fiancé tricks her into attending a conference where his father’s church is protesting the New Species Organization. She hates everything those vile bigots stand for. Vanni goes to the bar to cool off and ends up seated next to a handsome New Species. Things heat up fast when they are both drugged.

Smiley doesn’t want to believe the sweet human would dose them with the breeding drug. He’s willing to trust her and determined to save her life. He’ll hold her. Protect her. Offer up his body to distract them both from the pain. She is his female, even if she doesn’t realize it yet.

Thoughts:  Laurann Dohner and her New Species series is my absolute favorite series right now, and Smiley is a beautiful change of pace from Darkness.  Darkness started to make me feel as if the series was starting to wan a bit, but Smiley threw that idea right out the window.  Vanni made for a beautiful, but innocent pawn, being given a human version of breeding drug in a bar along with Smiley who is also drugged.  The ploy is caught early enough that the only ones made to suffer are Vanni and Smiley – which makes some very erotic and steamy moments between these two!  The drugs have them turned on in for each other in no time flat, and – Oh, wow – the chemistry between these two practically leaps off the pages!  You may just need some cool down time yourself afterward…;)

This one is a steamy read that’s for sure. 

I loved seeing this series get back on track.  It was just a whole different pace in comparison to the whole series, and stood out on its own in comparison to all the rest.  With thirteen books in this series, I can honestly say that this is one of those few that will stick out with the other fan favorites in the long term that I will remember overall.  Smiley was a hit  for this series – LOVED IT!

Dirty Deeds by Lorelei James

“Nah.  Let’s walk around.  See what screams ‘ride me’.”  Nathan clamped his teeth together against the urge to shout, Pick me! Pick me!

cover54425-mediumTitle:  Dirty Deeds

Author:  Lorelei James

Rate: C

When good, clean fun just isn’t an option.  Just once, good girl Tate Cross wants to experience a red-hot, no-strings-attached affair. She’s temporarily left her graphic artist position in Denver to settle her aunt’s estate in Spearfish, South Dakota, but the city won’t let her sell the property until the landscaping is up to snuff. The Native American landscape contractor her friend highly recommends looks like he can meet all her needs, in the flowerbed and out. Nathan LeBeau believes few women look at the Native American man beneath the filthy work clothes and hard hat. When Tate offers to trade art lessons for dirt work, the tempting subtext is as plain as the lettering on the side of Nathan’s truck. But in truth, he’s tired of relationships based solely on sex. His goal of proving he’s not completely hopeless in matters of the heart is second only to his dream of expanding his business.  It figures. Tate wants no-holds-barred sex right about the time the one-time Casanova wants a good old-fashioned romance. Bring on the battle of wills!  This book has been previously published.  Warning: A reformed bad boy who wants a taste of real love, and a good girl who wants just one taste of the wild side—and she’s willing to drive a hard bargain to get what she wants.

Thoughts:  With Lorelei James being the author – and a title like Dirty Deeds! – I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t come together for me in this instance.  It was just a bit unbelievable overall for me.  My major disconnect with the book though was the constant emphasis on the Nathan’s heritage and the fact that he is Native American – it just did not seem important to the story for me.  It almost seemed like the author couldn’t decide if she wanted to make discrimination into an integral part of the story or not, so instead it sort of just…wavered.  I found it disturbing to the storyline, and I know Lorelei James and her talent – she is capable of so much more with her writing!  These characters were just difficult to connect with, period.  Not one of Lorelei’s best works.

Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks

Feelings are not always a guide to truth, and guilt is an indulgence you cannot afford. It clouds the mind.”

81VANeQxSxL._SL1500_Title:  Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi Book #10)

Author:  Eileen Wilks

Rate:  C

In Eileen Wilks’s new Novel of the Lupi, FBI agent Lily Yu is about to confront a power even darker than magic…On her 57th birthday, Lily’s mother suddenly loses all memory beyond the age of twelve. Lily knows her mother was attacked by something more than magic. More . . . and darker.
When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss—at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.
With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth—or beyond—connects them. 

Thoughts:  To be honest, I dragged my heels when it came to getting this book….and then dragged them some more when it came to actually reading it.  I absolutely loved this series in the beginning, but it has become one of those series that has started to lose its spark for me.  Part of me feverently hoped that this would be the book that sets it back on track….and yet another dreaded it because I feared it would be the final straw for me with the series.  Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter for me.

With most other series, it usually comes down to just the whole plotline/story just not living up to the spectacular standards set by the previous books.  What makes this series a bit odd for me is instead it seems to be a loss of the integral part of the characters – now, in the tenth book, I honestly have forgotten why I loved these characters so much.  It doesn’t even seem like I am even reading about the same people anymore.  And that is truly a sad state of affairs since the characters used to be so vibrant.  The story is still a good one – but I miss the connection that used to exist for these characters – for example, Lily and Rule could almost be strangers they seem so different from who they used to be.  Not to mention their real, true interactions are few and far between.  It’s almost like now that they are together romantically, the author doesn’t know how to write them anymore.

I doubt I can handle reading another book in this series – it just reminds me of what is missing from those amazing books in the beginning.

 

 

Part-Time Reaper by Casse Narome

71rgFwwfgDL._SL1500_Title:  Part Time Reaper

Series:  Reaper Tag Em’ and Bag Em’ series

Author:  Casse Narome

Rating:  D

Shaina has 99 problems and death ain’t one…Well, actually it is. She is the newest reaper. Shaina’s partner is her ex best friend as well as her former boyfriend who disappeared without a goodbye four years ago. Her current boyfriend isn’t a boy at all but an ancient angel with a defect. He has never heard the voice of God.  Yeshua has a place in her soul and he refuses to let go while Samuel possesses her body and leaves her craving more but who will win Shaina’s heart?  Headaches, heartbreaks and mayhem…Yeah, Shaina has 99 problems but Death is the least of them.  Will Shaina be able to heal her shattered heart and save his lost soul?

Review:  Ok, first off I’m going to say that New Adult is a bit of a ‘touch and go’ genre.  I have read some that I absolutely LOVE, and some…well, not so much.  Unfortunately this one fell a bit in the latter category for me.  The premise was a good one…but the characters just ruined it completely for me.  An issue I have with most of the New Adult titles is that I read them and the characters just have a major immaturity problem.  I would expect this maturity level in the Young Adult genre….but come on!  Even YA characters are more mature than most of the New Adult ones!  And Shaina was a classic example of this.  I honestly had trouble making through the book.  Of course, there were moments when I would think that the book was going to get past all that, but it always seemed to delve back into childish behaviors that -unfortunately- seems rampant in the New Adult genre.  I was really hoping that this was sort of an exaggeration in the beginning – to kind of show how far her character has come, how much she has grown, but it just never really happened.  I may try other titles from this author, but not anymore of the New Adult ones.

 

 

Dissension by K.A.Salidas

91yn2LGniLL._SL1500_Title:  Dissension       

Series:  Book #1 in the Chronicles of the Uprising Series

Author:  K.A. Salidas

Rating:  B-

The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.
But not all survivors were human.  In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising…and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.  Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision – to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind. The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.  Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both? 

Review:  This novel was definitely an interesting take on vampires and the paranormal genre.  Basically, it’s a dark, dystopian tale about a world in which humans have subjugated vampires, forcing them to life in prisons and engage in life or death battles in a gladiator arena for their own perverted amusements.  Mira is tough chick – spending day in and day out fighting against her circumstances and those of her people.  Lucien, on the other hand, I felt as if we barely got to know before the ending of the book.  Which brings me to my main point of contention with this book – the ending.  There’s a cliffhanger, and then there is just those dump-you-right-in-the-middle-of-a-scene endings that totally rub me the wrong way – leaving you unfulfilled and just thoroughly ticked off.  This one is the latter.  Sure, I’m confident the next book picks right up where this one leaves up, but there is nothing I hate more than an unfulfilled ending to a book.  And the end of this one was enough to almost ruin the whole book for me.  To be honest, I would have rated it higher if not for the ending – so just be forewarned about that before starting it!

 

Body Games by Jessica Clare

body gamesTitle:  Body Games

Series:  Book #5 in the Game Series

Author:  Jessica Clare

Rating:  B

Annabelle Tucker is still reeling from last season’s Endurance Island, when the man she loved played her for a fool. When producers ask her back for a new season it’s the last thing she’s interested in…until she hears her ex, the gorgeous but duplicitous Kip, will be there. Revenge and a grand prize? Yes, please! 
But someone’s there to throw a kink into her plans. Someone tall and cut, and with the sexiest gray eyes. Jendan Abercrombie’s on an opposing team, but it doesn’t mean that Annabelle can’t lust after him, right? She’ll just have to save all that lusting for post-show, when she’s free to follow where her loins lead.
When a tribal twist puts them both on the same team – naked – will Annabelle be able to resist his very apparent charms? Or will she have to vote Jendan out to save her game?

Review:  I must admit, this title made for an interesting read!  It’s apparent if you read the blurb that this is sort of a roughly based book version of the television show Survivor (which I love by the way!)  Of course there are differences, but for all intents and purposes that is what it is….:)  So, of course, I had to give this series a try!  Granted, this is book five in the series, and I have yet to read the previous ones (the first of which is free on Amazon, by the way!)  That didn’t really hinder me when it came to reading the book at all though – was really easy to just jump right into it.

My only real complaint is the first person point of view.  My own personal opinion, of course…:)  I used to absolutely avoid anything told from first person POV, but now there are a few cases where it is pulled off beautifully and actually adds to the story.  In this case, it actually seemed to render a little bit of a disconnect for me when it came to the characters.  It’s one of those books where it’s a great story, but rather than feeling like a part of it you feel like you are on the outside looking in.  I will definitely be reading prior books in this series though, and reading any additional books to follow!

Excerpt:  “All right, guys,” Chip’s voice interrupted my self-loathing. “As I said before, everything you’re starting the game with is in that box right here.” He gestured at the row of colorful boxes lined up at his feet, each one no taller than his knee. “You’re not even allowed the clothes on your back. At the signal, find your box with your name and change into your gear. Once you have your gear, the game starts. This is your first challenge.”

I shivered. The game was beginning already. I was ready for this, though. All weekend, I’d brushed up on my skills that I’d learned from my last round on the island. I could make a decent fire with coconut fluff if given time and supplies. I was flexible and in shape. I studied puzzles and the local flora and fauna on the flight out so I wouldn’t be unawares. I was as ready as I could be.

“When I say go, you will change into your playing gear. Once you are changed, take your box and haul it across that line on the far side of the beach.” He pointed into the distance, and I could see a row of cameramen lined up next to a finish line with tiny waving flags. It was about a hundred yards away. Not a fun sprint, but a do-able one.

“The last team to change out of their clothing and into their Endurance Island gear will not be nominated for Judgment – they will be eliminated. Today is your first day in the game…and it will be the last for two players. This is immunity, Judgment, and execution all in one swoop.”

As a one, contestants started to cast confused looks at each other. We were all thinking the same thing – we were going to have to change clothes on the beach? In front of each other? Really? What the heck was up with that? This was national television, not cable, so I knew that any boobs or balls would be pixelated out, but I wasn’t relishing the thought of getting naked in front of anyone, much less fifteen other someones…

And an entire camera crew watching, to boot.

Okay. I told myself I could do this. I studied the box, thinking. Inside, there would probably be a team shirt designation or something along those lines. Maybe a slip dress. I could probably wiggle into something without flashing my boobs to the world.

“Everyone ready?” Chip raised his hand, a gleeful look on his face. He quickly lowered it. “Go!”

There was no time to think. Everyone hauled ass forward, sand spraying as sixteen pairs of feet ran toward the row of boxes across the beach. The wind whipped strands of hair into my eyes and Kip quickly shoved ahead of me. I slowed momentarily, letting the stampeding rush of bodies swarm ahead. It wouldn’t do me any good to push ahead of Kip only to be slammed to the ground by a rogue elbow. I trotted as close behind the others as I dared, and reached the colored boxes a few steps after the others.

My hands landed on my box the moment the first gasp of shock went up.

That made me jerk upright. I looked away from my box as I pulled off the lid, staring down at the line.

A woman was holding up a pair of sneakers and waving them in the air. “This is all that’s in my box!” Others were pulling off their lids and murmuring as well. No one sounded happy. For that matter, no one sounded like they knew what to do.

Others held up their items – no one had anything but shoes.

I tossed the lid of my yellow box aside. Sure enough, there was a pair of dainty yellow and white sneakers laid neatly inside my box. That was it. I picked them up and shook them out, in case there was a clue of some kind to where the rest of my gear might be hidden.

“I don’t understand,” Kip said. “No one has anything but shoes.”

“That’s right,” Chip boomed from nearby. “For this season of Endurance Island, you’ll be playing stripped of every luxury. And that includes clothing.”

body games teaser 1

Queen of Hearts by Jami Denise

Untitled

Title:  Queen of Hearts

Series:  The Jayne Series Book #2

Author:  Jami Denise

Rating:  B+

With a broken heart and nothing to lose, Jayne King leaves Las Vegas, running from the only man she ever loved. He used her. Lied to her. Got her father killed. Cost her everything. 
All she wants is to start over somewhere new and escape her past. She finally finds a place to plant roots, and someone she can trust. But she should’ve known that when Flynn said he’d never give up on her, he meant it. Just when she thinks she’s safe after almost a year on the run, the past catches up with her and she finds out that everything she believed in was false. Once again, she’s caught up in a game—but this time, she intends to win. After all, the queen always beats a spade.  Flynn Maguire always got what he wanted, until he fell in love with Jayne King. He has no intentions of letting her get away, but with a woman like Jayne, he knows he’s got to play his cards just right. He had no choice but to watch her walk out of his life, but he planned on getting her back at any cost, including taking down his own father. He soon finds out there is nothing more dangerous than a woman scorned. 

Review:  I absolutely loved book one of this series See Jayne Play (reviewed with an A+ ), so you can imagine that I have been anxiously awaiting this next installment!  It was a bit slow to get started for me, and I had a hard time really getting into it.  After all the drama, and the way things ended in the first one, I was looking forward to a quick start that jumps right in there.  I knew Jayne left Las Vegas, but the whole beginning was just a huge footnote that I really didn’t see much point in dragging out.  Once she makes the decision to go back to Vegas, things start picking up, and we fall back into that story and writing style that I know and love.  I had been waiting for Flynn  to make his appearance, and perhaps that’s why I had a hard time getting into it at first.  As always though, Jami Denise manages to tell a spellbinding tale that has a hefty dose of realism to it that really gives it a style of its own.  Can’t wait for more from her!

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