RERUN Review: Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

RERUN Review: Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice DavidsonUndead and Unwed Series: Undead #1
Published by Berkley March 2, 2004
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 255
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads

It'a been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She's not taking too well to a liquid diet.

Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries - a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn't care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say no? But a collection of Ferragamos isn't the only temptation for Betsy. It's just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair - a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart...

RERUN Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm & Read Romance or Talk Supe — and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.

 

Jimmy Choo, Prada, Ferragamo and Minolo Blahnik’s, OH MY! Mary Janice Davidson is speaking in my language, Shoes!

Undead and Unwed is a story about Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Taylor, a smart-mouthed thirty year old secretary with a penchant for shoes. And not just any off the rack shoes, but fine designer shoes. Girlfriend is not the type to be caught wearing BOGO finds from Payless. To say that Betsy has had the single most horrible week would be an understatement. She turns thirty, gets laid off on her birthday, is ran over by a Pontiac Azteck, and to top everything off, she wakes up ‘undead’ in a coffin wearing a hideous polyester pink suit and cheap Payless shoes. THE HORROR!

Not long after her rebirth, a group of vampires discover her and reveal that she is the prophesied ‘Queen of the Undead’. She admittedly refuses to be involved in vampire politics and tries to live her ‘normal’ life. Unfortunately, the creepy and menacing current vampire ruler isn’t having any of it and drags Betsy into the thick of a brewing battle between two vampire groups. As if things couldn’t get any more complicated, the other group trying to lure Betsy is lead by the utterly sexy, delicious and arrogant Eric Sinclair, whom she would like to strangle when she’s not thinking about humping him.

Filed under the paranormal romance section, Undead and Unwed more of a cross between chick lit and paranormal with a little romance. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments from our heroine and her growing shoe collection would make any shoe lover seethe with envy. The other vampires and humans that surround Betsy are as hilarious and likeable as our heroine. My favorites being her human best friend, Jessica and gay roommate, Marc.

Undead and Unwed is definitely not your ‘typical’ Vampire novel, which I liked. There were times when Betsy herself laughed at how some of the Vampires she’d met fit perfectly into the cliche. The novel was definitely entertaining and a quick read. So if you are wanting to stray away from the normal dark and brooding vampire novels, then I recommend you give this book a try.

 

 


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RERUN Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

RERUN Review: Soulless by Gail CarrigerSoulless by Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Published by Orbit October 1, 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

RERUN Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm Read Romance or Talk Supe — and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.

Soulless is an enjoyable mix of urban fantasy, romance, humor, mystery and a good helping of steampunk. The novel was a welcomed breath of fresh air from my normal reading habits. Ok, so it’s not that much off my regular urban fantasy/romance novels, but with the addition of steampunk Victorian age, it almost felt like I was reading an almost different genre. I have to be honest and confess that it did take me a few moments to get adjusted to the proper English. It’s easy to tell that Carriger was heavily influenced by the works of Jane Austen and writers from that era, but I also found the heroine to posses characteristics similar to Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones. Once I was acclimated to the proper speech, I was more than ready for all the tea parties, balls and tomfoolery this novel had to offer.

I found this book to be cute, clever, and funny. Carriger has created a cast of main and side characters that really gets the story moving and keeps you highly entertained while Alexia Tarabotti makes her mark in becoming some kind of super sleuth. Alexia is like the female Sherlock Holmes and I just couldn’t help but love her curious and sarcastic personality. She’s surrounded by entertaining secondary characters such as her over-the-top, fashion forward vampire friend Lord Akeldama (who I envisioned to look and act like Austen Scarlett from Project Runway); and her naive and vapid human best friend, Miss Ivy Hisselpenny, who has terrible taste is hats. The on-going bit of Alexia complaining about her friends terrible taste in headwear was hilarious.

Next we’ve got Alexia’s family. I have a love/hate relationship with the group family which includes her nosy, disparaging and overly social conscious mother, step-father and step-sisters. Although the interactions with her family was comical, I did grow tired of their constant diminishing remarks. I mean really, the continual berating about her olive complexion, roman nose and lack of a husband kinda got old. But I guess that’s what families are for right? Can’t live with them but you can’t live without them.

Last but not least we have Alexia’s love interest, the delicious Lord Conall Maccon, the Earl of Woolsey and Alpha leader of the local wolf pack. He’s also the lead investigator for all the supernatural activities in London. In the beginning of the novel, he’s actually quite perturbed by Miss Tarabotti and views her as a busybody. They squabble incessantly and one would initially think they hated each other but as we all know it’s just a mask to cover up their hunger for each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics between Alexia and Lord Maccon and those two just get way too cute when they start to warm up to each other.

The world that Gail Carriger has created in this series is very interesting and well done. I loved how she was able to ingrate the paranormal, steampunk and Victorian age. I loved the idea of supernatural creatures living so openly with the normal humans, especially in the era that the story takes place. With the setting, magic and unforgettable cast of characters, Soulless is a fantastic beginning to the Parasol Protectorate series. If you’re looking for something different, this highly entertaining historical fantasy is definitely a great book to read.

 

About Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger writes steampunk comedies of manners mixed with urban fantasy. Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in 18 different languages and has 13 NYT bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.


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RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie MoningBeyond the Highland Mist by Karen marie Moning
Series: Highlander #1
Published by Dell November 4, 2009
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 375
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .

An alluring laird...

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart—until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length—but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A prisoner in time...

She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . .

After reading the Fever Series, I was curious as to what Karen Marie Moning’s other novels had to offer. Once again, KMM did not disappoint! The novel heavily relies on time travel and fantasy elements to drive the story. And what a fun and delicious story it was!

Beyond the Highland Mist starts off in the Fae Island of Morar where Fairie Queen Aoibheal, speaks praises about a mortal man named Hawk to her King and Court Fool. Hawk is known throughout his kingdom as a legendary warrior and lover to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of women. She tells of stories about his manhood, that at half-mast would make a stallion envious and at full-mast steals a woman’s mind from her body (yup…already got me gulping). Feeling sick to his stomach with the thought of his Queen lusting after a mere mortal, the Faerie King in a fit of jealousy orders the Court Fool Adam Black to find a way to punish Hawk. Adam muses that the best punishment for Hawk was to bring to upon him a woman who not only would resist his perfect countenance, but also his sexual prowess.

Enter Adrienne de Simone, a twentieth-century woman scorned by an ex-fiancé, who has vowed never to be made a fool of my beautiful men. On one eerie night, she is plucked from her present-time Seattle home, and dropped onto the lap of a sixteenth-century Scottish Laird, Red Comyn. Thinking that Adrienne has been some sort of miracle dropped from the sky, Red Comyn coerces Adrienne to pose as his recently dead daughter, Janet, and marry Sidheach “Hawk” James Lyon Douglas, Laird of Dalkeith Upon-the-Sea, in order to fill an order by King James.

Neither party is keen to the arranged marriage. Hawk even sends his best friend, Grimm, as a proxy to his wedding (I nearly fell out of my seat laughing at the ridiculousness of sending another man to stand in place of the groom). Of course Hawk and Adrienne are instantly attracted to each other (once they finally meet each other), but neither is eager or willing to admit it at the beginning. Immediately after the wedding, someone continually tries to take Adrienne’s life. To make matters worse, Adam Black has decided to place himself in the equation and tries to lure Adrienne from Hawk. The sudden love-triangle elevates Hawk’s bit of jealousy and we are succumbed to Adam and Hawk’s pissing contest throughout the duration of the book.

Beyond the Highland Mist is a wonderful blend of magic, humor, otherworldly things and time travel all wrapped inside a medieval romance. The Faerie world that Moning has created leaves the reader thinking that they are a genuine race who’s magic and allure exceeds every ones expectations. The protagonists are truly multi-dimensional. Hawk is an example of a true alpha-male.He’s handsome, strong, masculine in every way, but has a past that makes him vulnerable. Of course his ways of wooing our heroine was egotistical and barbaric, but then I had to remind myself that, that’s just how things were during the medieval times. Adrienne is beautiful, strong and independent. A woman scorned during her present life, she found it difficult to let her guards down while living in the past. There were times where I found her a little shrewd and too blind of her own feelings, but as a woman I could understand her predicament.

Overall, Beyond the Highland Mist has all the elements of a good romance novel without all the cheesy and greasy aspects of other romance series. It had a great mix of enchantment, sexual tension and good ol’ romance PLUS an endearing and lovely mother-in-law. So if you’re into beautiful men clad kilts, romance and sexual tension then I suggest you pick this book up.

 

 

About Karen marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964, the daughter of Anthony R. and Janet L. Moning. The family moved to a self-sustaining farm in Indiana when she was six years old, where she spent her youth raising cows, horses, tobacco, corn and other crops with her sisters and brother.

An alum of the Immaculate Conception Academy, at seventeen she attended Purdue University where she completed a BA in Society & Law, with minors in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Theatre, while working full time as a bartender and computer consultant. She intended to go to law school but after an internship with a firm of Criminal Attorneys, decided against it. For the next decade, she worked in insurance, where she wrote intercompany arbitrations and directed commercial litigation. At the age of thirty, she decided it was time to get serious and do what she’d always wanted to do: write fiction novels.

Beyond the Highland Mist was published in 1999 and nominated for two RITA awards. She then published six more novels in her award-winning HIGHLANDER series, and received the RITA Award in 2001 for The Highlander’s Touch.

In 2004, she began writing the #1 New York Times bestselling FEVER series. The books have been optioned twice for potential franchise development by Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Studios, but the rights are currently held by Moning who has expressed a desire to one day see it as a television series. Her novels have been published in over thirty countries. She divides her time between Ohio and Florida and is working on two future projects for Random House Publishing.


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Review: The Surrender Gate by Christopher Rice

Review: The Surrender Gate by Christopher RiceThe Surrender Gate by Christopher Rice
Series: Desire Exchange #1
February 3, 2015
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 263
Format: Paperback
Amazon US
Goodreads

Emily Blaine's life is about to change. Arthur Benoit, the kindly multi-millionaire who has acted as her surrogate father for years, has just told her he's leaving her his entire estate, and he only has a few months to live. Soon Emily will go from being a restaurant manager with a useless English degree to the one of the richest and most powerful women in New Orleans. There's just one price. Arthur has written a letter to his estranged son Ryan he hopes will mend the rift between them, and he wants Emily to deliver the letter before it's too late. But finding Ryan won't be easy. He's been missing for years. He was recently linked to a mysterious organization called The Desire Exchange. But is The Desire Exchange just an urban legend? Or are the rumors true? Is it truly a secret club where the wealthy can live out their most private sexual fantasies?

It's a task Emily can't undertake alone. But there's only one man qualified to help her, her gorgeous and confident best friend, Jonathan Claiborne. She's suspected Jonathan of working as a high-priced escort for months now, and she's willing to bet that while giving pleasure to some of the most powerful men in New Orleans, Jonathan has uncovered some possible leads to The Desire Exchange—and to Ryan Benoit. But Emily's attempt to uncover Jonathan's secret life lands the two of them in hot water. Literally. In order to escape the clutches of one of Jonathan's most powerful and dangerous clients, they're forced to act on long buried desires—for each other.

When Emily's mission turns into an undercover operation, Jonathan insists on going with her. He also insists they continue to explore their impossible, reckless passion for each other. Enter Marcus Dylan, the hard-charging ex-NAVY Seal Arthur has hired to keep Emily safe. But Marcus has been hired for another reason. He, too, has a burning passion for Emily, a passion that might keep Emily from being distracted and confused by a best friend who claims he might be able to go straight just for her. But Marcus is as rough and controlling as Jonathan is sensual and reckless. As Emily searches for a place where the rich turn their fantasies into reality, she will be forced to decide which one of her own long-ignored fantasies should become her reality. But as Emily, Jonathan, and Marcus draw closer to The Desire Exchange itself, they find their destination isn't just shrouded in mystery, but in magic as well.

Well, hell.
 
I met Christopher at RT this year, and the guy is a gem – for real, total sweetheart. But if I’m being honest here, and I am, the synopsis for The Surrender Gate is going to be much longer than my review for it.
 
The Surrender Gate starts off pretty promising, as Erotica’s go.  The first sex scene happens some thirty pages in and it is DIRTY. Just how I like ’em in my erotica.  I even sold it to another blogger by telling her one particular detail of said sex scene. It’s not something you read often in books and fuck was it hot in all the secret fantasy type ways.  
 
Secret fantasies is pretty much what The Surrender Gate is all about, a secret society – The Desire Exchange – takes people willing to pay the price and makes that fantasy come to life. Sounds yummy, right?
 
Here’s the catch….
 
There is a shocking LACK of erotica in this erotica.  When it does finally happen again, after that first delicious taste, it’s tinged in this strange paranormalish curtain and I just didn’t understand it. I couldn’t get behind it.
 
There was one thing that kept me going. The humor.  The witty banter between Emily and Marcus and even Emily and Jonathon, was great. I loved that part of The Surrender Gate.  I was just really confused by so much of the rest of it.
 
I think Rice has a strong voice and will find his place in the literary world, but maybe not with this book. 

 Miss Ali - Transparent

About Christopher Rice

By the age of 30, Christopher Rice had published four New York Times bestselling thrillers, received a Lambda Literary Award and been declared one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. His two novels of dark supernatural suspense, THE HEAVENS RISE and THE VINES, were both finalists for the Bram Stoker Award. He recently entered the erotic romance genre with three works in all new series called The Desire Exchange. They include THE FLAME, THE SURRENDER GATE and KISS THE FLAME, due out in November 2015. His debut novel, A DENSITY OF SOULS, was published when the author was just 22 years old. A controversial and overnight bestseller, it was greeted with a landslide of media attention, much of it devoted to the fact that Christopher is the son of famed vampire chronicler, Anne Rice. Together with his best friend, New York Times bestselling novelist Eric Shaw Quinn, Christopher launched his own Internet radio show. THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN is always playing at TheDinnerPartyShow.com and every episode is available for free download from the site’s show archive or on iTunes.


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