Welcome to my dungeon ~ book reviews, musings, education and book challenges relating to erotica, graphic sex and more. I love gentle pain mixed with rough pleasure.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Camp Alien

Camp AlienFor UF readers who enjoy humour, wackiness and a high functioning heroine who scares grown men @GiniKoch @BerkleyNAL  #
Camp Alien by Gini Koch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riveting non-stop action and hilarity ensue in the latest installment from talented Ms. Koch. Kitty is back and she is not happy. She prefers action to politics. It was bad enough having to serve as an ambassador. Then she became the vice-president's wife when Jeff was selected to be VP. Now, with the president dead, Kitty is the First Lady. First Ladies have to pick out staff, make sure that all the ins and outs of politics are on point. These are not Kitty's strong points. Kitty is better and unmasking the super villain and riding in to save the day.

This one, Kitty is back in the saddle with villains, kidnapping and bone-head males. I never know what will happen and I just go along for the exciting ride. This is a book which cannot be put down. I read it from beginning to end in one sitting. Unfortunately it was during the work week so I ended up with a terrible book hangover. The energy which leaps of the pages of this book can be exhausting. By the time Kitty solves one crisis, another is blowing up. Usually she has support team with her Scooby-Gang. Unfortunately, her fly boys are missing as well as several of the secret service. When Kitty foils the plot and comes riding in as the victor, she slams into missiles targeted to blow her to bits.

This is what I like about Ms. Koch. Whilst some authors like to drag a story out, Ms. Koch is condensing and throwing everything in along with the kitchen sink. Her stories are meaty with conflict, plots, subplots and sub-subplots. It boggles the mind and keeps readers on their toes. There is very little downtime between scenes. It is almost like being with an ADHD child who was given sugar and caffeine through an IV. A reader can be overwhelmed with the plot twists and information streaming in. I LOVE IT. I love the manic pace and I love how quickly Kitty can make connections. It is easy to follow Kitty and her logic. She is the kind of person who inspires others to be better because she leads through example. Sure, sometimes she may be cray cray angry and a tad unreasonable, but she is still pretty good at figuring things out. She is a bit emotional for me but it all works because to be at her level, it takes a special kind of crazy.

The character and world building is fabulous. The plot is awe-inspiring. What really makes this book fantastic is its kinetic energy. Ms. Koch is a master of motion. I feel like I'm running, ducking, hiding, fighting in all the scenes. They are so well described it is as if I am there. Some others tell too much. This is not a problem Ms. Koch ever has to worry about. She shows in 3-D. This book played like an incredible movie in my mind with so much richness in colour, sound, smell and sight. I am very impressed. The only thing that brings me down is the end of this book. It leaves me wanting the next book. This series just gets better and better. Highly recommended to Urban Fantasy readers who enjoy humour, wackiness and a high functioning heroine who scares grown men.

*provided by NetGalley 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review: Her Best Friend's Lover

Her Best Friend's Lover for hopeless romantics who enjoy friends to lovers themes @shilohwalker #
Her Best Friend's Lover by Shiloh Walker
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Unrequited love for a woman who grew up abandoned just squeezes my heart painfully. I am a sucker for characters who are admirable and all alone. The desolation and confusion they feel from being unwanted just breaks my heart. Lauren is a self-made woman. She is an artist who is reserved with few friends. Her past is a baseline which makes her so fragile in some ways. I hurt for Lauren and the last twenty-five percent of this book, I wept silently the entire time. This is why I loved the book. Because Ms. Walker invokes such emotion for me. I have never been abandoned. I have felt unwanted by my parents but never to the degree Lauren has felt. So perhaps this is a kind of book that speaks to me more than others.

The conflict in this book is well done. It is a miscommunication and usually these feel too contrived for me and I hate them. Ms. Walker pulls it off so well in this one for me. It is easy to see why it happened and why Lauren did what she did with Dale. Dale is an aggravating character for me. I should hate him and think he doesn't deserve Lauren, but for some reason I can't. Ms. Walkers creates two characters who hurt each other unwittingly and instead of wanting to smack them upside the head, I wince and wish I could help them both. They are both a little lost and a little bruised from life. The chemistry between the two characters is very well done and when they are together, it is magic. The slow simmer to boiling hot is arousing. This story is not about insta-love. It is about learning to bring down walls and trusting someone. And who better to trust, than your best friend? This is recommended for hopeless romantics who enjoy friends to lovers themes.

*provided by NetGalley

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold Heart of Gold by Lilliana Rose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Vickie is back and she is determined to become a private investigator. With her luck at solving a crime she was involved in, she convinces her husband, George it is time for her to open shop as a P.I. With obvious reservations, George requires her to learn self-defense before she can start advertising and taking on clients.

I'm mixed about Vickie. She is determined which is good. She is also a bit delusional. She firmly believes in her skills as an investigator. I am not sure if Ms. Rose is writing Vickie in this way as a tongue in cheek poking fun of bored housewives. Because Vickie comes across as a nosy busy body who is bored at home and needs a hobby. Not that there is anything wrong with this, I just can't seem to like Vickie. She rubs me the wrong way. I guess it is because Vickie truly believes she has mad skills and I see her as an amateur with dumb luck and a penchant for trouble. I do like her sidekick Ruby. Ruby is funny and a good sport even if all she wants is a man for some good times. The one I feel badly for is George. He really is a good husband and puts up with so much from his wayward wife.

The plot of this story I did enjoy. I liked the clockwork spin in the story. It is a bit light for a steampunk but definitely in line with a steampunk romance. The villain is easy to figure out from the beginning. The poor automations were the ones who lose out in this story. Well, and Ruby who doesn't get her man at the end. Vicki's harebrained sleuthing antics does make the story humourous. For those who enjoyed Nancy Drew stories in their childhood, here is a steampunk variance for grownups. Recommended for romance-mystery readers who enjoy a zing of steampunk.

*provided by NetGalley

Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court
For young adult readers who enjoy historical romances with a bit of a nouveau riche twist @RichelleMead #The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the choice is to be sold off to the highest bidder or to be in a bidding war, what does one chose? When Countess Alice needs to secure the livelihood of her family through marriage, her grandmother brokers a deal with a distant cousin. The man Alice must marry is in one word… horrid. When Alice finds out about the Glittering Court, she decides this is her ticket to freedom. She rebrands herself as one of her former ladies, Adelaide, and takes off for this opportunity to sell herself to the highest bidder on her terms.

The world building in this book is very well done. The characters are interesting too. I'm mixed about Alice, aka Adelaide because what she does is selfish in some ways but really, what other recourse does she have? This book reminds me why I left historical novels behind. The lack of choice and the rigid socio-economic constructs for a female infuriates me. Adelaide does the best she can to meet her goals. Unfortunately, these goals are vague until she finds out about a friend's secret. So appalled with the ramifications of his secret, Adelaide goes off halfcocked again with a new direction and slightly different goals.

Ms. Mead captures the young so well in this book. The cattiness and queen bee fighting is well portrayed. The inherent bigotry against other cultures is reflected in many easily understood ways. The impulsiveness of youth and the lack of foresight into the consequences of their actions are shown in sharp focus. Adelaide is a character with a good heart. She just rushes into things without thinking. She exemplifies her class where they take for granted their title and station in life. I admire Adelaide's initiative whilst I cringe at her foolish behaviour. A strategist Adelaide will never be, but a good friend, this she can be. Based on how she treated Tamsin at the end, one could question how Adelaide can be considered a good friend. Without Adelaide, Tamsin would never had reached the level she earned. However, to Tamsin's point, Adelaide should have come clean and it would have been better for these three ladies. But then, where would the conflict and tension in this story be?

The world building of this story is a fresh look at an aristocratic society loosely based on merry ole England. The similarities are easy to see. Based on the title, I kept hoping the differences would lead to the fae. Alas, this is merely a mortal story with people trying to do their best to survive. The ending is a bit predictable and does leave a reader hankering for the next book. This new series is a new gem in Ms. Mead's treasure chest of stories. Recommended for young adult readers who enjoy historical romances with a bit of a nouveau riche twist.

*provided by NetGalley

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: I Dream of Dragons

I Dream of Dragons I Dream of Dragons by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dragon lovers, this is the book for you. New to me author Ms. Chase keeps my attention with this lovely book about dragon shifters. The first book in this series brings to us naughty leprechauns, sexy dragons and a snarky goddess. Let's not forget the very sexy Irish human form Rory Arish possesses. Those who enjoy Candace Havens and MaryJanice Davidson, will enjoy Ms. Chase.

There is a similar irreverence to higher powers which makes this series appealing. In addition, the female interest, Amber McNally is just as klutzy and fumbling in her new rule. Amber is the comedic element. She is obviously in way over her head. She has a very steep learning curve when she learns about the supernatural world. In addition to learning her job as a muse, she needs to find a home and proceeds to have a territorial fight with a dragon, Rory.

The sparks definitely do fly between these two characters. Rory may be stubborn but Amber is mulish and rather juvenile. The games these two play are typical of romance characters. They are flighty, a bit shallow and their hormones seem to be unchecked. It makes this story a bumping relationship ride which is amusing. The conflicts in this tale are well thought out. They are not contrived which is a relief. From a world building perspective, it is intriguing and a little puzzling. I'm fine with the dragon lore. The leprechauns make sense too. What doesn't make sense is the title of "muse" when aligning with the duties of a muse in this tale. For me, a muse is one who inspires creativity in certain arts. In this world, a muse is more of a SOS babysitter. It is weird. For example, there is a muse for email. This is to make sure inappropriate or blasting emails do not go off into the internet. Seriously? I would have thought the email muse is the one who inspires the emails which go viral. This was the only piece in the story which made little sense to me. I digress.

The romance in this story is sweet. It is the stereotypical alpha man beats chest and roars whilst the simpering female swoons in delight. They games Rory and Amber play with each other are comical and ultimately bring them together. Recommended for dragon lovers who enjoy paranormal romance with a playful twist.

*provided by NetGalley

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Our Place Among the Stars

Our Place Among the Stars Our Place Among the Stars by James Cox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

This sexy follow up to Dick, It's What's for Dinner is smutty with a raunchy dinner show to enjoy. Ale, Rei and Vern are back. This time it is on their own ship. They have their own pilot, cook and waiter. What more could they need to bring the most exciting dining to life for paying customers? For those who did not read the first book, this can be read as a standalone but it won't be as enjoyable. Understanding what happens in the first book will enhance the smexy pleasure in this one.

The story is short with a little dash of plot. There are a few graphic scenes for the trio which are hot, both in the live cooking show lasting through the dinner service. Mr. Cox pens a funny, slightly over the top story covering what happens after the "happily ever after". There is a little bit of suspense as a nefarious force returns to mete out vengeance. The threesome easily slips out of danger similar in style to the Three Stooges. It is not exactly slapstick comedy, but it contains a similar humour. One cannot help but laugh as these three guys thwart the villain. If this were a real show, tickets would be sold out quick.

This story is an erotic romance as Mr. Cox brings another happily ever ending complete with vows. This space opera is recommended for mm romance lovers who enjoy sex and laughter together.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

No Quarter Blog Tour

@riptidebooks @Christine_dAbo #blogtour



Hello, my name is Christine d’Abo! Thank you so much for having me here on the blog today. I have been a big fan of all things science fiction since I was six. I started by watching reruns of the original Star Trek, moved on to watching (and re watching) Star Wars, and finally I was introduced to the world of Doctor Who.

My world exploded, expanded and I loved it all. The idea of space operas, and how they focus on the people and their developments, rather than the science was what appealed even at that young an age. The adventure, the romance, good versus evil, showed me that there could be more to live that what existed in my tiny world.

As I got older and my life experiences grew, I never lost that love of space opera. One thing that I wanted to do was to put my own mark on it, to show a different side to the worlds that had been portrayed. The Bounty series was my way of doing that. Not everyone in the universe is straight, and it’s important to show diversity out amongst the stars as well as here on Earth.

The men and women you’ll meet – both space pirates and bounty hunters alike – are full of life, love and are most definitely up to no good. I hope you enjoy reading their tales as much as I loved writing them.

If you would like to learn more about me, please pay a visit to my website www.christinedabo.com. I’m also very active on Twitter as @Christine_dAbo and have a monthly newsletter. If you’d like to sign up, simply click here to fill out the form.


About No Quarter

When bounty hunter Gar Stitt is given a simple locate-and-retrieve mission, he’s convinced it’s a waste of his skills. His success rate is legendary, after all, and Captain Faolan Wolf isn’t hard to find. He’s the most notorious pirate in the galaxy, and when he shows up planetside to take his pleasures, he’s far from subtle.

Faolan never expected a hot but tightly wound hunter to walk into his private party and try to apprehend him single-handedly. And when an unexpected betrayal forces them to work together, Faolan’s even more surprised to find himself drawn to Gar personally—especially since neither of them do personal.

Gar had intended to put Faolan in prison. Instead he finds his solitary existence shaken by his desire for the pirate. And when the bounty hunter becomes the hunted, he must put his faith in Faolan and his pirate crew, or run the risk of ending up dead.

Publisher's note: This title is an edited second edition, previously published in 2010.


About Christine d’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

Connect with Christine:

·Website: christinedabo.com
·Twitter: @Christine_dAbo


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of the Bounty series, one lucky person will receive a $50 gift certificate to Riptide. Winner will be selected from across all three book tours (No Quarter, No Remedy, No Master) and as such, the contest is open until midnight, Eastern time, on July 2, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Comment to enter, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!