Ebook Review Central, Samhain Publishing, July 2012

I can always rely on the Samhain titles to present me with no lack of options for the featured titles. And this July 2012 list of Samhain’s publications is no exception.

Also, as usual, the retro romances didn’t get many new reviews.

But the books that did, really, really did.

The book that was on the most reviewers’ lists this month, by an absolute landslide (which makes it the number one feature this month!) was Dee Tenorio’s The Virgin’s Revenge, (book 4 in her Rancho del Cielo series). This one is a combination friends-to-lovers story, and a small-town romance. There’s also a major element of heroine needing to get out from under her overprotective family. Most reviewers remarked about how much they loved the humor of the characters, but with this many reviews (27!) there were a few reviewers who were less than enthralled. For the thumbs up, read The Book Pushers’ review; for the lukewarm take, see Dear Author’s take.

The second-place finisher this month happens to be book number three in Moira Rogers’ dark and gritty (also hot and sexy) post-apocalyptic and post-Civil War steampunk western series, The Bloodhounds. I’m talking about Archer’s Lady. The Bloodhounds series is a mix of good werewolves, bad vampires, and crazy chemical experiments conducted by mysterious forces that might be working for good. The Bloodhounds are lone wolves, until they find their mate, and Archer, well, he’s been sent to save a town, or die trying. If he dies,  as far as the Bloodhound Guild is concerned, that just eliminates a problem for them. The town schoolteacher helps him eliminate the vampire threat, but that schoolteacher is running from a past that’s just as checkered as his. For steampunk fans, this series is, pardon my very mixed metaphors, catnip.

The final featured book this week is a secret. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell you. That means Sierra Dean has done it again. Keeping Secret by Sierra Dean, the fourth book in her Secret McQueen series, has clawed its way into the third and final featured spot for this week. Secret is half-vampire and half-werewolf, and this story is all about her trying to get herself to her wedding to a werewolf king. But her royal werewolf uncle does not approve (in a major way). And there’s a love triangle involved. Well, there’s always a love triangle involved. Oh yes, and an assassin. Family dramas at weddings are standard. Assassins, not so much. Unless you’re Secret McQueen, and someone has a contract on you.

So this time out we have a very mixed bag of featured titles: a contemporary romance, a steampunk western, and an urban fantasy. The one thing they do have in common is that they are all part of ongoing series. Building an audience really counts!

And now, my ERC audience, I will bid you farewell until next week, when we’ll come back to take a look at all of the publishers in the Hexapost (Amber Quill, Astraea, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver, Red Sage and Riptide).

See you next week!


Stacking the Shelves (17)

This was one of those weeks when I tried to be good. Only 12 books.

Three comments. I’ve already reviewed Delusion in Death, the new J.D. Robb. Got it Tuesday, finished it Wednesday. It was terrific to see how everyone at the NYPSD is getting on, but this wasn’t one of the “great” cases in the series. I still ate it up like candy. <sigh> Now I’ll have to wait until February, 2013, when Calculated in Death comes out for my next Eve and Roarke fix.


Beyond Shame says it’s by Kit Rocha, but it’s really by Moira Rogers. I adore their Bloodhounds series, so when I saw that this was them, I grabbed it from NetGalley. The authors are labeling it as “dystopian erotic romance”. Obviously not intended for the faint of heart, but based on their previous work, I’m definitely interested.


One of the fun things about video games is hearing actors where I have no idea what they look like. Then I see someone and “wait, I’ve heard that voice before!” I finally started watching Buffy (I know, what took me so long?) and realized that Ripper’s old pal Ethan Rayne, well, I’d heard that voice before. Frankly, I’d listen to Robin Sachs read the phone book. But hearing him read John Gardner’s The Return of Moriarty is definitely perfect casting. He’s reading the Godfather of London criminals, Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis. Cool and calculating. Marvelously chilling. Oh, the book is pretty good, too. (Ironically, the video game character I first heard him voice is a good guy).

What have you added to your stacks this week? A little? A lot? Anything special?

For Review: (as always, all ebooks unless specifically stated otherwise)
Blessed by a Demon’s Mark by E.S. Moore (print ARC)
A Vengeful Affair by Carmen Falcone
The Book of the Night (Libyrinth #3) by Pearl North (print)
Provoked (The Dark Protector #5) by Rebecca Zanetti
Beyond Shame (Beyond #1) by Kit Rocha (new pseudonym for Moira Rogers)
How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee
Need by Todd Gregory
Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #1) by Courtney Cole
The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

Frozen Heat (Nikki Heat #4) by Richard Castle
Delusion in Death (In Death #35) by J.D. Robb
The Return of Moriarty by John E. Gardner (audiobook from Audible, read by Robin Sachs)

What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 7-1-12

Except for the “Rockets’ red glare”, it’s going to be a fairly quiet week here at Reading Reality.

And that’s a good thing.

About that “Rockets’ red glare” thing, it’s a quote from Francis Scott Key’s memorable but nearly un-singable Star Spangled Banner, and from one of the peculiarly high-pitched bits at that.

The U.S. Independence Day Holiday, July 4, is this Wednesday. Strange, but there don’t seem to be any tours scheduled this week. I wonder why that is?

There’s no Ebook Review Central this week. The whole U.S. is slacking this week. Including yours truly. ERC will be back on Monday, July 9 with Dreamspinner’s May titles.

I’m going to take this opportunity to catch up from the great “sick out” I had last week.

There is plenty scheduled for the week of July 9. It’s really a go-go-go week!

Looking forward, as I always do on these Sunday posts, I have tours scheduled for Hope’s Betrayal by Grace Elliot on Tuesday, July 10. This regency takes place in the “mother country” of England. So fitting the week after Independence Day.



And speaking of historicals, Thursday, July 12 the tour books are Forgotten Memories and The Dressmaker’s Dilemma by Theresa Stillwagon. These are U.S. western romances, but not your typical westerns. The setting is a ghost town, and the ghosts are part of the story.


There are a few, what am I saying, there are always more than a few, books on my lists that really caught my attention from NetGalley and Edelweiss (and Samhain) that are coming out in the next two weeks.

One is very special. Everyone tried to get an ARC of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness early, because her debut last year, The Discovery of Witches, was, well, such a fantastic discovery. But her publisher didn’t release the ARC until after BEA. (She also did signings at ALA). The publication date is July 10, and I have to read this. The early reviews are awesome.

Steampunk is coming on strong early in July. Archer’s Lady, the next book in Moira Rogers’ Bloodhounds series is out on July 3. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke is the first book in her new series The Immortal Empire, and it also comes out on July 3. This is one they ran out of at her signing at ALA. Nico Rosso’s Night of Fire (Ether Chronicles #2) is out at the end of the month. Like I said, July is a big month for steampunk!

Steampunk, is so appropriate for July. It is steamy hot here in Atlanta. Record setting hot (108ºF yesterday). Maybe I can just sit here with a cool glass of iced tea and a good book (or 10)!

What’s your favorite way of keeping cool on these hot summer days?

Merrick’s Destiny

Merrick’s Destiny (exclusively available at All Romance Ebooks) by Moira Rogers is book 1.5 in her Bloodhounds series. It’s a very short and extremely steamy story that takes place between Wilder’s Mate and Hunter’s Prey. It stands alone well enough to serve as an introduction to this series, but it works even better if you’ve already read Wilder’s Mate!

Merrick Wood returns to consciousness in either the best of all possible worlds, or the worst. There’s a pretty woman straddling him, and he knows she’s his mate. On the other hand, there’s a crashed airship on fire about a hundred yards away.

That blazing inferno will act like a beacon to vampires for miles around. And there are plenty of vamps, since the ship crashed in the middle of the Deadlands. Merrick just has to get himself and his mate to safety before the new moon compulsion drives him out of his mind for three days.

Of course, if the lady is willing, it could be a very enjoyable three days–if the vampires don’t find them first.

Paralee Colton is an airship pilot. She’s always loved her freedom more than anything else in the world. Merrick just might make her rethink a few things if he can convince her that he wants her for herself, and not just a convenient female to spend his moon madness with.

Merrick needs to remember how or when or why she became his mate. Then he needs to convince her that she’s his destiny.

Escape Rating A-: This is a very fun, hot, short read. That being said, for a short story, it really does wrap up all the loose ends. One of the things that usually drives me crazy about short stories is that either the loose ends aren’t all tied up, or that I don’t find out enough backstory to understand how things got the way they are. Rogers ties everything up very well, and because this is book 1.5 in the series, it builds on some material established in Wilder’s Mate.

I picked Merrick’s Destiny initially because the cover absolutely floored me. The model, whoever it is, is dead-ringer for Jonathan Frakes from his days as Commander Riker in Star Trek Next Gen. The picture at the right is from the movie Generations, and the Enterprise-D is about to crash into a planet. But the resemblance to Merrick is startling to say the least.

Wilder’s Mate

Wilder’s Mate by Moira Rogers turned out to be the perfect story for reading on a chilly winter’s night. Not only is this first entry in Rogers’ Bloodhound series a terrific blend of romance, steampunk, and steamy sex, but the hero is even described as having a higher than normal body temperature!

But the story of Wilder’s Mate starts with the “mate” in question. Her name is Satira, and she’s the apprentice to a Guild inventor named Nathaniel. The only problem is that Nathaniel’s just been kidnapped. Satira wants to assist whichever Bloodhound the Guild sends to recover him. One tiny detail: she’s trapped in the elevator.

Nathaniel’s inventions, including the steam-powered elevator that was currently vexing Satira, were the reason he was kidnapped by the vampires inexorably taking control of the very wild West in this steampunk version of the post-Civil War United States.

The vampires represent the lawless, and the Guild represents the law. In order to combat the powerful vamps the Guild has created a weapon of their own, creatures known as Bloodhounds. The Hounds used to be mere men, but alchemy has transformed them into powerful beings that can hunt and kill vampires with terrible speed, as well as claws and fangs. Bloodhounds are werewolves, the traditional enemy of the vampire.

These Hounds have a weakness. Not the traditional one. They don’t change into wolves at the full moon. They change into wolves at will. But at the new moon, they must have sex. A lot of it. For three days and nights. The Guild pays a network of brothels to be available for the Bloodhounds, and they pay well for the service.

The Bloodhounds also have a secret. Like wolves, they mate for life. If a Hound finds his mate, he has to protect her at all costs. If she dies, he follows within months. The alchemy that created the Hounds was not intended to pull this particular rabbit out of its hat, but there is no denying the fact that it has. The Guild doesn’t want the Hounds to find their mates, but when it happens, there’s nothing they can do.

Satira knows a lot about Hounds. Her mother lived with an old Bloodhound named Levi for about a dozen years. Levi helped to raise Satira, and Levi found her the place with Nathaniel before he died. Satira never knew that her mother was Levi’s mate. Her mother probably didn’t know either. But when her mother died, so did Levi.

Satira also enjoys the heat, the adventure, the roughness of sex with a Hound. She just doesn’t understand why none of the Hounds who have ever shared her bed have never come back. She thinks there’s something wrong with her.

But the Hound who pulls her out of that busted elevator knows exactly why none of those other Hounds have ever stayed, because it’s taking every ounce of restraint he has not to take her the moment he sees her. And Wilder Harding isn’t ready to do that until Satira understands exactly what’s at stake for both of them.

Because Satira is his mate.

Escape Rating A-Wilder’s Mate is one of those stories where you just buckle up and hang on for the ride. This was an absolute blast from beginning to end. The story is very, very steamy, but there is a story and there is a romance and a happily-ever-after.

The story elements reminded me of several bits I’ve read before, but since those were all things I’ve liked, I didn’t mind. Satira’s situation is similar to Jaines Cord in Shona Husk’s Dark Vow, the woman apprentice to a steampunk-type gunsmith because women aren’t allowed to be master gunsmiths. The Bloodhounds mating-for-life compulsion being an unexpected side-effect of their change has some eerie similarities to the Breeds in Lora Leigh’s series. But it definitely works in both series!

For a short book, Wilder’s Mate wrapped all its loose ends very nicely. Great story and fantastic beginning to a series. I’m definitely looking forward to more!