Review: The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James + Giveaway

impetuous amazonFormat Read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Number of Pages: 261 pages
Release Date: January 14, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Alliance of the Amazons #2
Genre: Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance
Formats Available: ebook, audiobook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Author’s Website | Publisher’s Website | Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Megan Feurer is strong and impetuous, like the Fire element she represents. She is an Amazon, sworn to protect humanity from demons, demigods and all manner of supernatural beings who wish ill upon the world. But her fire burns hot and fast, and her unpredictable control of the element brings into question her fitness as an Amazon.

Johann Herrmann chose the life of a Sentinel—a trainer of the four Amazons—to save his sister’s life. Now bound to the patron goddess Rhiannon, he knows his duty demands a solitary existence. But when he’s assigned to evaluate the Fire Amazon, his sacrifice becomes much more difficult.

Megan’s passions ignite a flame that neither she nor Johann can control, and the goddess Freya has reason to fan those flames. A mysterious force is gaining power, and Megan and Johann must join together to fight. And once a passionate fire has started, it’s nearly impossible to stop…

My Thoughts:
First of all, the patron goddesses seem to run through their sentinels awfully fast. So far two sentinels down, and still two amazons left to go. I’ll bet that we find out what the recruitment process is for sentinels in the next book.

reluctant amazonMegan Feurer’s Fire Amazon is the opposite of Rebecca Massee’s Earth Amazon from Sandy James’ first book in this series, The Reluctant Amazon (see BLI review). And it’s totally appropriate. Earth is supposed to be, well, grounded. And fire is so, not.

The problem the story has to solve is that Megan seems to have zero control over her fire. Normals aren’t supposed to know that there is supernatural evil out there. Megan took out a demon in a mall. With a sword. Seriously. The number of memories that had to be wiped was astronomical.

Torchwood wouldn’t have enough ret-con to deal with this girl. No matter how many righteous hits she laid down. She’s just too public about it.

The patron goddesses send the second sentinel to teach her some control. And to keep an eye on her. Because the alternative is to send her back to the mundane world minus two years’ worth of memories. Talk about sucky alternatives!

Sending the sentinel to train an Amazon is normally the best way to go about this sort of thing. Not that it happens often. But then again, this situation is so far from normal it’s not even in the same universe as Amazon normal, and that’s saying quite a lot.

The goddesses send Johann Herrmann to teach Megan some control, while the two of them investigate the case of a missing young woman with ties to the Megan’s patron goddess Freya. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Johann is one of the causes of Megan’s loss of control. Amazons are not supposed to fall for their sentinels. And very definitely vice-versa. But since Earth Goddess Rhiannon let the last sentinel have his own happily ever after with the new Earth Amazon Rebecca, no one is quite sure where that stands anymore. Except that Rhiannon is a jealous witch and probably won’t let anyone else have any fun. She’s still a bit mad about Artair.

Not to mention she and Freya are not exactly best buds. Goddesses have eternity to score off against one another, and do they ever!

The missing girl that Megan is supposed to find? It’s not one missing girl, it’s lots. And lots. There’s a new badass in town. Except he’s a very, very old badass, with hypnotic powers. And he’s aiming for Megan.

He’ll get her, too. If Megan and Johann don’t break all the goddesses’ rules. With a little help from Freya.

Verdict: Where The Reluctant Amazon was the worldbuilding story, The Impetuous Amazon is fortunate that the scaffolding is already in place, and is able to just tell its story without having to create its world. We already know how things work here. That helps things get rolling, because Impetuous starts pretty darn impetuously, directly after the events in Reluctant. And I think you need to have read the first book for the second one to make sense. YMMV.

Megan’s problems with control relate to her lack of training, because the previous Fire was killed in the first book. Freya’s is honked off at Rhiannon because Rhiannon seriously bent the rules in book one. She feels like she can bend them too. And the villainy of the villain is definitely related to book 1.

I was so, so glad to NOT see the insta-love come out to play again. This story takes place two years after the beginning of book 1, so Megan and Johann have known each other that long. They both say that they’ve been interested in each other that long, in spite of rules against any relationship. They both talk about acting extra cold and extra-snippy to each other because that was the only way to deal with the attraction. Then Freya threw a monkey wrench into the works.

On the other hand, if all four of this generation of Amazons turn out to be goddess-daughters, that’s going to constitute serious buzz-kill. Once could be written in, twice started to stretch the old willing suspension of disbelief. Four is going to be well past over the top. That’s my personal opinion.

On my third and final hand, the scene where Johann asks Artair how he manages to let Rebecca fight, and Artair’s response, was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me of that fantastic saying that “men of quality are not threatened by women of equality”, but it was much, much better than that. Awesome stuff.

Freyr, Freya’s brother, lends a helping hand in this one, and makes everyone nervous when he does. He reminds me of Morden on Babylon 5. As Vir said, “Some gifts come at just too high a price.” In Freyr’s case, we haven’t seen the price yet. But I don’t think the good guys, including Freya, are going to like it when the bill is presented.

Can somebody please give me a chorus of “hunka hunka burnin’ love”? You’ll get it when you read the book.


I give The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James 3 and 1/2 fiery stars.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.


impetuous amazon~*~*Giveaway*~*~

Sandy James has generously offered an ebook copy of The Impetuous Amazon to one lucky commenter!
All you have to do is answer her question:
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday February 2, 2013 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Good Luck!

Ebook Review Central, Carina Press, September 2012

Welcome to the First Anniversary Edition of Ebook Review Central!

The first issue of Ebook Review Central was published a little more than one year ago. But what it covered, well, that’s the anniversary part. Roughly this time last year, ERC started with the Carina Press titles from September 2011.

And here we are, back again, with the Carina Press titles from September 2012.

Carina Press publishes slightly fewer titles per month than they did a year ago; 15-ish now instead of 20. However, everything they publish gets reviewed. Every single title. Usually in more than one blog, and often by RT Book Reviews, or Library Journal Xpress Reviews, or both. It must help a lot to have Harlequin’s deep pockets, but that wouldn’t matter if their books weren’t consistently good. And they are.

Talking about good books, which titles did reviewers say were good this month?

Number one has to be the re-release of  Christine d’Abo’s Long Shots Books 1-3. Not just because it garnered another bunch of extremely positive reviews for the very nicely priced set, but because it got people to go back and re-review the three titles that make up the series: Double Shot, A Shot in the Dark, and Pulled Long. This series of erotic novellas is the story of the Long siblings, the coffee shop they own, and a local sex club named Mavericks. There’s one friends-into-lovers story, one BDSM story, and one male/male story to round out this set that is guaranteed to warm up a winter night.


Sometimes, the number of reviews makes a book a clear choice, just because so many people are talking about the book. The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James is that kind of story. Readers loved the idea of a normal woman discovering that she is a superhero with the power to save the world, and then they (well, we) all debated the merits of the details. The story has an absolutely fantastic opening scene, and the worldbuilding shows promise. Read Tracy’s review at Tracy’s Place for the positive spin and Mandi at Smexy Books for the so-so reaction.

The third featured book this week didn’t get quite as many reviews as a couple of other titles. But, every single reviewer who reviewed this book liked it. In many cases, they liked it a LOT. No mehs. no 2/5 or DNFs. Just a lot of good feelings about a fun book.

This week’s final featured title is How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee. It’s a fantasy romance about a  girl who works for a mysterious agency. One where she doesn’t know what’s going on in the basement. She starts finding out when she goes on a date, not with the guy who comes to visit the company, but, you guessed it, his henchman. Mayhem ensues. The biggest complaint about this story was that it was just too damn short. Everyone wanted more of the fun!

So in September 2012 for Carina we have erotic romance and superheroes. Back in September 2011 we had urban fantasy, shapeshifters and romantic suspense. Still sounds like lots of things going bump in the night to me!

We’ll be back next time with the Dreamspinner Press titles from September 2012!

Review: The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

Format Read:ebook provided by NetGalley
Number of Pages:258 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Alliance of the Amazons #1
Genre: Contemporary fantasy romance, paranormal romance
Formats Available: ebook, audiobook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK) | Author’s Website | Publisher’s Website | Goodreads

Book Blurb:

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers–but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

My Thoughts:

This was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

If my groom said “I can’t do this” at the altar, in front of the officiant, I wouldn’t just punch him in the nose, I hope I’d take another shot at him…and aim considerably lower and with more force. Assuming the jerk has anything down there to hit, considering that he called off the wedding to go back to mommy. His actual mommy. No joke. (Except possibly on Rebecca for thinking she might want to marry him in the first place!)

Calling up the earthquake was definitely a bonus. Artair showing up, looking utterly delicious and wearing a kilt, offering Rebecca a way to walk out of her own called-off wedding with her head held very high, seemed like manna from heaven.

Until she saw the beaten up van he was driving, and the gorgeous redhead he was traveling with. Then her inner wise-woman told her that Artair was too much bad boy for her. Not to mention, threesomes were definitely out of her league. Then the zombies showed up, and all hell really broke loose.

As kick-ass beginnings go, this was a doozy. It’s too bad the rest of the story doesn’t live up to it.

After that wild and crazy beginning (the closest thing to it I’ve seen is the beginning of the movie Monsters vs. Aliens, and that was a blast!) The Reluctant Amazon settles down to a fairly traditional contemporary fantasy romance story.

It turns out that Rebecca is one of four Amazons, each of whom is the avatar for a particular element, Earth, Air, Fire or Water. Those are the traditional elements, too. Rebecca is Earth. When the world faces a particularly terrible evil, the Amazons are called. Think World War II.

Rebecca is called because the previous Earth Amazon is missing, and the Amazons need to be at full-strength. Someone is now targeting them. That other woman in Artair’s rust-bucket van is the previous generation’s Fire Amazon. Her task is to teach the new generation what only Amazons know. Artair is the immortal (of course he’s immortal, it’s part of the trope) Sentinel. He’s their weapons trainer. Think of him as their drill sergeant, only much better looking.

When he dropped out of mortal life 400 years ago, he was entitled to wear that kilt. It figures, doesn’t it? But he’s seen generation after generation of Amazons train, fight, and die on his watch. He may not look old, but he’s seen too many deaths. He wants his humanity back. He wants to live a normal life, find a woman, have a family. And grow old and die when that time comes. He’s had enough.

Of course, Rebecca is the woman that he wants. And he can’t have it both ways. If he gives up being the Sentinel, he’ll be made to forget the Amazons. The regular world can’t know about the otherworldly evils. There would be widespread panic.

And the Amazons are not immortal. They are longer lived than normals, but they do die. Even if they aren’t killed in the line of duty, as all too often happens. And Amazons can’t bear children. Not just because it would be a distraction, but because the process of gaining their powers makes it impossible.

Rebecca is a normal woman who does not believe she is, effectively, a superhero. She fights the belief that she can, literally, move mountains. She always believes that she is less than the women who are now her sisters, because her powers are less flashy. It’s only when they are threatened that she begins to see that she has great, and sometimes terrible power of her own.

Verdict: The Reluctant Amazon has an absolutely fantastic beginning. The sound of her ex-fiance’s nose crunching has a wonderful echo. In an earthquake. How cool is that? But then we head straight for the insta-love romance between Rebecca and Artair, with a side-plot of jealous patron goddess, which is very not-cool.

Likewise, the concept that all the different manifestations of the cultural pantheons are all simultaneously valid and still active, was actually both cool and worked, especially when Rebecca’s head almost exploded as she tried to wrap her mind around it. Mine would too. I love mythology, but suddenly finding it had any basis in even supernatural reality would leave me shaking in my boots, too.

Other hand again, the Amazons as a force for good, fantastic. Having female superheroes, double-fantastic. Making part of the plot hinge on your heroine being a literal unknown goddess-daughter, that went too far into the trip to cliché-city.

Did I have fun reading this? Oh yes! The mish-mash of myth, tech, love and sisterhood is incredibly appealing. I want to see what happens in the rest of the series. There are three more Amazons whose stories have yet to be told, and the big evil got away. I just want the rest of the series to live up to the promise of that first chapter.

I give The Reluctant Amazon 3 stars, one for each remaining Amazon. This universe has serious potential.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.