White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Author), David Colacci (Narrator), Kathy Garver (Narrator)

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Author), David Colacci (Narrator), Kathy Garver (Narrator)
Arcane Society, Book 2
Publisher: JOVE Books (Print), Brilliance Audio (Audiobook Publisher)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Relationships are challenging enough for most single, over-30 women. For level-10 parasensitive Clare Lancaster, they’re a minefield. The elite few who know her secret call her a human lie detector, and any falsehood, no matter how subtle or well hidden, sets her blood racing.
Over the years, Clare has come to accept that someone with her extraordinary talents is unlikely to find a suitable mate. And she’s even resigned herself to the fact that everyone, to one degree or another, hides behind a façade – including her recently deceased brother-in-law.

When Clare finds the body of Brad McAllister, the golden child of Stone Canyon, Arizona, the posh residents turn a suspicious eye in her direction. As Archer Glazebrook’s daughter, Clare is shielded from the law, but not the gossip. It seems that meeting the half sister and family she did not know until seven months ago was a mistake. Now her father summons her from California to play a role in his business empire, and Clare doesn’t intend on making the same mistake twice.

But after meeting Jake Salter, Archer’s “business consultant”, she is convinced that things aren’t what they seem. Salter’s careful conversation walks a delicate line between truth and deception, revealing and resisting. Something sparks and sizzles between them – something more than the usual electricity between a man and a woman.

Caught in a dizzying storm of secrets, lies, and half-truths, Jake and Clare will plunge into an investigation that demands every bit of their special gifts. Together, they must overcome their mutual distrust in order to unravel a web of conspiracy and murder.

This fast-paced story has it all. For starters, it has action, murder, narrow escapes, conspiracies, mad scientists creating designer drugs, psychical talents and powers, and best of all, a romance that thrills the senses and engaged my emotions. My most favorite term is what Clare calls Fallon Jones throughout the novel. If anyone has read the series, even out of order, Fallon’s personality is pretty much the same – abrasive. So, every time Clare says her pet-name for Fallon, I cracked up, giggled, grinned and thought it hilarious.

But Fallon isn’t the hero in this novel, Jake is. He makes for an interesting and fascinating hero. He’s not over the top in his actions, but the author uses words that kind of builds him up bigger than what he does and is. That’s okay because I’m glad Jake doesn’t do super-hero stunts; it made him more relatable and acceptable as an alpha-type hero. The good thing about Jake is that he likes a strong woman. Sure, he admits that he wished Clare didn’t do some of the things she did because it scares him spitless, but he doesn’t stop her or belittle her. He supports the heroine and backs her up whenever he can. He uses his brain, and yes, some of his psychical powers, but they aren’t infallible.

Seriously, I found the writing tight, the mystery well thought out, the dialogue great and the romance delightful with a few moments of spicy fun for those readers that prefer those scenes in a book. The story can stand on its own without them though – it’s that complete.

The above is my review of the print version. Now I want to mention the audio version that I listened to, twice. David Colacci does Jake’s voice and all the other male characters in the story, and Kathy Garver does Clare and all the rest of the female secondary characters. They are AWESOME! They both had emotion and clear differences between their characters. When a female villain breaks down and cries – it’s realistic and effective. When Jake is growly, or boldly laughs out loud or talks sultry to Clare, my heart goes pitter-patter. His voice for Archer cracked me up because it is brash, distinctive and LOUD, and David Colacci voiced the perfect Fallon Jones – crack me up!

I think the audio version was a real hoot. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and even when I listened to it a second time, I picked up things I missed on the first go-round, which helped me enjoy it just as much in the second reading/listening. It was a splendid experience and fans of the Arcane Society series really need to take the audio version of White Lies for a spin after reading the print version. Both are awesome because the writing and story are what makes it work. Romantic suspense has never been so fun!

Illusion Town by Jayne Castle

Illusion Town by Jayne Castle
Publisher: Jove Books, New York
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A new adventure begins on Harmony…

With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique—and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband. All either can remember is that they were on the run…

If you let your message fall flat viagra 5mg pretty much all you have is a really massive screen with no payoff. Before this wonder blue cheap female viagra pill came out on March 27,1998, millions of men worldwide suffered in silence over their erectile dysfunction (ED) condition as it was only one company that produces Sildenafil citrate. Written letters and numbers or someone is not able to copy order cialis you could check here the words by seeing them. Jelqing and kegel exercises are highly effective in promoting blood flow to the http://appalachianmagazine.com/2018/05/07/provoking-thought-dont-take-pictures-of-car-wrecks/ viagra buy no prescription pelvic regions. With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity—as well as other parts of her mind and body. And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light—and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…

Elias Coppersmith had been interacting online with Finder online for two months. When the dreamlight worker had found his ring – a lost family heirloom – Elias wanted to continue their communication in a far more personal, and less professional, manner. Hannah had gone to great pains to keep her work persona as Finder separate from her real life, but something in her urged the lowering of her guards. Neither Hannah nor Elias expected to wake up the morning after their first dinner date in a seedy hotel room with heavy after-burn amnesia and a licence in Elias’ pocked showing they’d got married the evening before. Is the whole thing an illusion – or is something far more interesting at play?

I have to admit I’m a total sucker for all of Jayne Ann Krentz’s personas and adore her writing. I have a particularly soft spot for her paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy ish series on Harmony with her writings as Jayne Castle. I’d been holding onto this book – apparently her last under this pseudonym for quite some time – because not only did I know it would be a deliciously fun romp through her paranormal world, but the plot holds a throw-back to pretty much every “Vegas” or “hangover” style of plotline going around. I love a good Vegas/hangover/wake up married and lost kind of plotline and so I knew this would be a winner for me.

I was in no way disappointed. This story is pure gold.

It certainly fits all the “Krentz/Castle drinking game” sort of tick boxes. Strong, alpha and powerful hero, strong, intelligent and perfectly capable heroine. A good, solid mystery plot. An adorable and strongly characterized dust bunny companion. Evil henchmen and bad guys roaming around. Add in other well-used Castle elements – strong para-psyche profiles, the horrid ex who ruined the heroine’s reputation and a few mysterious artifact or three – and I can understand why some readers might feel like this is a similar story to many of her others. But when you’ve found a good formula and you can make it work, why mess with it? I loved the Vegas overtones, adored Joe (the Elvis wedding impersonator) and found the plot was well written, well paced and I did enjoy watching Elias and Hannah retrace their steps and try to work out what had happened during their disastrous first date and how they got into the pickle they awoke to find themselves in.

With vibrant characters, a good pace and a really firm, steady plot this was an exceptional book and one I was really sad to finish reading because there doesn’t appear to be more coming down the line soon. I will absolutely be rereading this – and a number of the other Castle books preceding it – and I can strongly recommend this book. It stands perfectly well by itself and can easily be read as a stand-alone book but readers familiar with Castle’s Harmony world and already enjoying the other stories in this setting should not miss this exceptional addition. Highly recommended.

Dark Demon by Christine Feehan

Dark Demon by Christine Feehan
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full length (500 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Xeranthemum

A female vampire slayer proves as seductive—and mysterious—as the night dwellers she stalks in this novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Carpathian series.

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A Carpathian who has seen nearly everything in his endless existence, Vikirnoff didn’t think he could be surprised anymore—until he faces a woman who rivals him as a vampire hunter. A formidable and gifted warrior in her own right, Natalya has a nature that is strangely familiar—yet alien—to his own. Who is this mysterious female who fears no one—not even him? Natalya could be the key to the survival of the Carpathians, but all Vikirnoff is certain of is that she is the key to his heart and soul…

If you like classic Feehan then readers should pick this one up if they haven’t already. The newer books seem to have more scenes with the hero and heroine getting physical and up to sexy shenanigans to the point that it can seem overdone. But, in the older books of the series there was more action, good vs. the vampire bad guys, fighting, escapes, challenges, suspense and drama and plenty for readers to sink their teeth into. Dark Demon is one such story. It’s the 13th installment of the long-running series and I prefer the kind of excitement that I find in this novel. It’s a guaranteed page turner.

The biggest asset in this novel is the heroine, Natalya. Not only is she a warrior and a survivor against impossible odds, but she’s got a mouth on her, full of sass, cheek and hysterical pop culture references. She’s relied on herself so often and so long that she has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to trust. Trying to mesh her personality with the demands of her newly found and unwanted hunk of a lifemate, Vikirnoff, provides grins, sighs and excitement consistently throughout the story. I completely enjoyed Natalya.

As for the hero, Vikirnoff, his frustration in finding out that his lifemate is as far from June Cleaver as the sun is to Neptune had me laughing quite a lot. For a man hundreds of years old, during a time in which the culture dictated that women didn’t fight, relied on their men and acquiesced to their wishes, Natalya’s warrior independence constantly confounded, infuriated and, turned him on. I enjoyed watching his progression of unacceptance to ‘he wouldn’t have her any other way’. Eventually Vik falls in love with the heroine just the way she is. Getting there though, is a wild and entertaining ride.

In later novels there is a huge community feeling which makes many books not standalone reads. Dark Demon is better suited to being a standalone because the key focus is specifically Natalya and Vikirnoff; their hot and cold relationship, and their fight to stay alive when forces want the hero dead and the heroine captured for nefarious purposes. Past characters are mentioned but only when the suspense heats up and the critical climax ensues. And, what an action packed time it is in the last few chapters of the novel. It’s so gripping I suggest making sure there are no interruptions when you get to them.

Pick up your own copy to see Ms. Feehan at her best; when the community is still being built, the greatest enemy is diabolically evil, clever and a worthy opponent, and the sexual tension and eventual culmination is the perfect balance for a reader to be completely satisfied. This is an awesome tale of romantic suspense with an effective paranormal cast of characters. The happy ever after is classic Carpathian. Totally recommended!

Deception Cove by Jayne Castle

Deception Cove by Jayne Castle
Publisher: Jove Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (254 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In the world of Harmony, Rainshadow Island is home to a mysterious preserve, secrets that have been kept for centuries, and a treasure worth killing for…

As a light-talent, Alice North has the rare ability to make things disappear, including herself—a gift that comes in handy during her magic act with her dust bunny Houdini.

Business mogul Drake Sebastian is day-blind, since his sight was nearly destroyed in a lab accident. But he’s the one man who can see Alice when she disappears—and he needs her.
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On Rainshadow Island, two dangerous Old World crystals are missing, igniting a paranormal storm. Drake thinks Alice is the key to finding them, and proposes they head there, but only after a Marriage of Convenience.

Alice’s honeymoon on Rainshadow is guaranteed to be memorable, as the island—and the passion between her and Drake—is about to explode…

Houdini is the best name for a dust bunny. Those little fluff balls are my favorite characters in all of the Rainshadow and Harmony novels. Deception Cove has been out for a while and I know I’ve read it before, but, I forgot and bought it again. It took me until I was half way through the book before I remembered parts of the story and the light bulb went off. The book was as fascinating and surprising as the first time around so I can claim unequivocally that this book has awesome re-readability.

One thing I simply did not remember was the revelation of the origin of the dust bunnies that inhabit the whole planet. I’m glad I forgot the first time because I got to relive the wonder, amazement and astonishment at what I learned. How Drake figured out how to unlock the secrets was page turning. In fact, this whole book is a page turner. Every chapter brought with it clues as to what it might be that is messing with the water, causing ginormous cockroaches to appear and who ultimately is behind the chaos. Once the body appeared, then things really got interesting. Who wants Alice dead? Why? She’s an orphan, what could she possible know? The heroine finds out part of the truth early on but the rest is shared with readers later and it’s a humdinger.

Drake is like most of Ms. Castle’s heroes – dominant, commanding, icy, and so passionately sexy once they focus on the women they fall in love with, readers might get hot flashes. Unlike some of the heroes in past books, Drake is less overbearing and annoying and more like a partner and protector of Alice. His feelings for her are clear by his actions and how he responds to people about her, then anything he actually says to the heroine. When it comes to her, his body language is very convincing. What a yummy guy.

Another thing that kept the pages turning was the cast of characters. There’s someone that doesn’t ring true, some that do, the kids and their games with the dust bunnies, and then there’s the almost mother-in-law from looney land who has a lot of money and a lot of hate. I thought for sure things would wrap up with her being the culprit but there’s a clever twist. She’s involved but not. You have to read the novel to figure out that kink.

My favorite part about these novels is the happy ever after. Just when you think it’s about to wrap up, the author slides in that extra oomph that makes a reader’s jaw drop and only then does the happy ever after get finished. It’s like eating the last of the best cereal in the world and you’re sad, until you find the secret toy at the bottom. It’s all good but the best is saved for last. That’s what it’s like for me reading a Jayne Castle book. I can count on a great story with a lot of action, suspense, drama, humor, fascinating references to aliens, a different culture and weapons and animal names. And the one other thing that is a constant is the wonderfully sensual, sexy romance that blossoms between, in this case, Drake and Alice. Deception Cove delivers to readers the high standard and quality of writing Ms. Castle is known for. I’m a happy reader and am thrilled to recommend to any fans of Ms. Castle’s who might have missed it the first time around. And, for those that have never read a book in the series, they’re in for a treat because it’s a standalone. So, pick up a copy of Deception Cove and fall in love too.

Cat’s Lair by Christine Feehan

Cat’s Lair by Christine Feehan
Publisher: Jove Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (345 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Cat Benoit has finally escaped the past—and the man who was the source of her nightmares. She’s off the grid, underground but watchful, and creating a new life for herself in Texas, far from the torrid dangers of her native New Orleans. She’s safe. He’ll never find her this time. Cat has to believe that. It’s the only thing keeping her sane.

Yet she can’t escape the attention of Ridley Cromer, the instructor at the martial arts dojo where Cat takes lessons. She arouses the animal in Ridley—and something feral comes to life when their body heat rises. Cat is in no position to let her guard down with anyone, especially someone who could be endangered by her past. But Ridley has secrets of his own—secrets only Cat would understand. If she dares to trust him.

This sexual disorder creates a split order cheap cialis in the relation and is the cause of most divorces. Women with super viagra PCOS got the extra male hormones which apparently makes ovaries unable to produce enough insulin, or because of body’s cells is not responding properly to the insulin, or both. Finasteride is especially helpful to propecia because it is responsible for inhibiting cheap levitra india the 5-alphareductase enzymes produced in the body during baldness. The medicine may be used intravenously best levitra price much more liquid form or orally when given like a pill. Nothing is more romantic than a man hardened by life, an agent who deals in lies with the underbelly of society’s criminal element, who finally finds the one woman who makes him realize that living can be more than just duty and violence. He discovers that there is innocence and beauty and love still to be found. It’s real and worth fighting for. That is the journey and the reality that Eli comes to grips with during the course of this very intense and exciting novel.

Cat’s Lair is a standalone read within Ms. Feehan’s Leopard series. This story is about a man determined to catch a criminal and will do anything to get the job done. What he doesn’t count on is losing his heart along the way. Catarina is the heroine who must overcome her early conditioning of fear and terror by the man who would own her, and embrace all the freedom, love and safety found within Eli’s embrace. It’s not an easy task to get Cat to trust Eli, especially when he messes up big time in the beginning. The romance comes from his willing to do anything and everything to make it up to the heroine and then some. Eli has to open up himself to hurt and betrayal if he’s going to have any hope of reaching Cat’s heart and nurturing her love. What makes his pursuit of her difficult is his own personality – Eli is an alpha in every sense of the word – in and out of bed. That extreme alpha-ness is one of Ms. Feehan’s trademarks when she crafts her heroes. They are towers of strength and seem invincible, until the right woman comes along and the man turns to mush. That’s my favorite part.

The one aspect of Eli’s personality that readers might find rough to read about is his unabashed, unapologetic and dominating personality. He’s about as un-P.C. as a man can get. Even though no fetish paraphernalia was used, the dominant/submissive relationship was very much evident, from Eli’s commands and demands, and Cat’s acquiescence and submission. He expected her to do has he commanded because she loved him and she cared for him and yes, she submitted to his demands 100%, once he had gained her trust, because she loved him and he loved her. Quite a few times I thought Eli was way over the top and it made me grit my teeth. The hero was right though – Cat was the only woman for him because she ‘got’ him, and her nurturing personality fed a need in him that he jealously guarded and wanted to horde. He was driven to protect her at all costs, and as such, he came across as an overbearing brute. Yes, Cat eventually gave it back to him, and yes, it turns out that he was justified in pushing her as hard as he did. But after a while I got tired of Eli’s demands. It just went on too long. I guess I could only take so much ‘alpha-ness’.

Rafe, the bad guy, was a product of a bad youth. Many people have bad starts in life but manage to come out on top. Rafe, on the other hand, found it easier to go with the drives of his leopard and justified everything he chose to do on his animal. He really didn’t know how to be anything other than what he was, which was sad. That’s as far as I go for empathy for the villain. He was vicious, cruel, and had no concept of mercy. Cat’s opinion of him smacked more of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else, and I’m glad she eventually came to her senses.

As for the physical side of things, wow, did that cover a lot of pages. If Ms. Feehan’s fans are looking for hot and heavy action between the sheets, kitchen or wherever, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the passion and sex because it’s sprinkled liberally throughout the novel and the details are as descriptive and well written as anyone could wish. Again, I think I OD’d on the love scenes. I like some of the loving action because I could see the bond being forged between Eli and Cat, however, I can only read so many of them before my eyes glaze over. They’re all well done and sexy, don’t get me wrong, I just have a limit and by the end of the book I was saturated.

I liked Cat’s Lair because it delivered what I’ve come to expect from a romance by Ms. Feehan. The plots are always meaty, with a darkness and seriousness that grips a reader while exploring a romance that is satisfying and sexy. There’s always an over the top villain to overcome and the action that accompanies that usually has me biting my nails; Cat’s Lair was no exception. Whether you’re a fan or a reader who likes shifter romances with suspense and drama, this is one good read not to miss.

Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton

Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Jove Books by The Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism, Biting
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

“Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don’t. If you get it, then you don’t really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don’t get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense.”

But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she’ll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake’s best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She’s accomplished, beautiful, and she’s crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?
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J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can’t meet that need, just like she can’t meet Jason’s need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn’t understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.

Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita’s life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.

If a reader is looking for an erotic short story to singe their eyebrows off, cause hot flashes and a few blushes, then Jason should do the trick.

I’ve been following the Anita Blake series for quite a few years. Yes, I’ve heard that a lot of early readers are uncomfortable with the turns Anita’s life has been taking when it comes to her relationships. Some felt they have become less story and more sex. I have not felt that strongly against it, probably because I do enjoy reading mild erotic romances. However, I don’t think Jason is quite as mild as I expected. Some erotic romance readers might think this is tame but since I don’t read F/F as a rule, it was an eye-opening experience for me. I don’t like F/F romance but here’s the twist. This was Anita. This was Anita facing her problems with Jade. This was Anita learning the differences between herself, Jade and Jason’s girlfriend, J.J. I found myself fascinated. I care about Anita and as such, this book had a more powerful impact for me. I actually enjoyed it because for all the sexy talk, descriptions and hot scenes with Nathan, Jason and the rest of the small crew, there was still a purpose, a goal that had to be reached and sex was the vehicle for making it happen.

Since the Anita Blake series is ongoing, I hesitate to call this a standalone read. Yet, this is focused on figuring out if Jason and J.J. could realistically make a go of their relationship. It focuses on a short span of time with a tight group of characters. It possibly could be read as a standalone if a reader is looking for a book that explores some serious multi-partner action and doesn’t demand a traditional HEA. Nothing about this series is traditional and this book is no exception. As for the conclusion, it’s as close to a happy for now as it can get because Ms. Hamilton is the queen of hooks and dangling teases. She resolves the big stuff but always leaves a reader yearning for more, in a good way. I’d say Jason fits that formula.

For avid fans of the series, this is a must add to the collection. If only because we see Jason pursuing the most ‘normal’ of all the romantic entanglements I’ve seen in this series so far, and he’s a very likable and endearing character. I’m glad that it looks like he might have found someone who sees him for the man he is and not his were-animal. It was a fun novella and will probably appeal to fans more than new readers. Then again, on its own, this is a very hot read. In any event, it’s a decent story and I’m glad I read it.