Posted in Book Reviews

Review of The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel

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Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards

 

Genre:  humorous young adult fantasy / science fiction (and adults)

 

Blurb:

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. Yet he’s determined to do everything in his power to save the civilization on this damaged world. Even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…

 

Length:  350 pages (99k words)

ISBN-13 (ebook edition):  978-0-9908831-3-5

ASIN  B06XWJZTPB

ISBN-13 (print edition):  978-0-9908831-5-9 and 978-0-9908831-4-2

Publisher:  Argon Press

Publication Date:  June 15, 2017 (print and ebook)

Amazon:  pre-order 

Goodreads:  book listing

 

My Review:

*I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a continuation of Bernie’s journey of being a young god; however, all of the stories can be read independently without confusion. I found the book engrossing from the start, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to the characters. The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a fun combination of Medieval-type fantasy and more modern fantasy. The world of the Radolins is a place with only ancient technology, while Bernie’s world is a world of gods who create universes but are not all-powerful. Bernie has been trained to view the worlds the gods create as businesses. When something goes wrong on a world, the gods will frequently wipe out the existing races and start over. Bernie, however, is much too compassionate to do that. Instead, he interacts with the worlds and their people in order to fix the problems, which sets him apart as a world builder. I loved Bernie from the beginning because of his compassion for the people the gods create, and because he takes the time to enter their world and become a part of it in order to fix the problem. Bernie’s dad is an incredibly selfish person, and he was a character that I loved to hate. The romance between Bernie and Suzie is sweet and added to my enjoyment of the book. It’s a light-hearted fantasy novel with characters I easily fell in love with. LeBel has created a world that’s fun to get lost in. I highly recommend reading The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Curveball by Mariah Dietz

 

 

Title: Curveball
Author: Mariah Dietz
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Blurb
Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and
tragedy in humor.
My life proved his theory as fact.
At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town
to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in
return.
Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of
blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.
Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most
situations.
My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind
dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.
My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my
son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man
who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and
the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in
both our lives.
But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only
friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh
round of heartbreak.
Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.
Would history repeat itself?

 

Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?

My Review:

*I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Curveball by Mariah Dietz drew me in immediately, and I read it in one sitting. I simply couldn’t put it down. Dietz’s writing is hypnotic and her characters are full of emotion. The complicated relationships of the characters made Curveball an engrossing story. I instantly adored Ella because she’s a single mom who loves those around her with all of her heart. Coen stole my heart quickly because he’s a genuine and caring guy who saves people’s lives for a living. The situation that Ella finds herself in when her son is born requires a strength born of a deep love for her son in order to survive, and Ella’s emotional strength held me spellbound until the end. The romance is tender with just enough heat to make this a sizzling read. Curveball by Mariah Dietz is a captivating love story that I highly recommend reading.

Purchase Links
99c for a VERY limited time
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
“I don’t watch TV at night…” Her voice drifts off, and I know it’s because she realizes I’m going to ask why.And I do.

“You’re going to laugh.”

“Probably.”

“It’s because I can’t hear things.”

“What kinds of things are you trying to hear?”

“I don’t know. Strange noises and things…”

“Strange noises?”

“Do I need to spell it out for you?” She’s trying to sound annoyed, but I can hear the smile in her voice.

“Apparently, because I have no idea what you’re talking about. What kinds of strange noises are you going to hear? I usually turn my TV up to block out all the strange sounds like the neighbor’s kids and the lady behind me that sounds like Fran fucking Drescher.”

“You know who Fran Drescher is?”

“My mother was a big fan of that stupid show she was in. Stop changing the subject. What are you listening for? Hayden won’t sneak out.”

“What if someone breaks in?”

“You’re not serious.”

“Of course I’m serious!”

“What do you do all night?” I ask.

“Work,” she admits. “Well, usually I clean, and then I work.”

“I’m coming over.”

“You can’t.”

The panic in her voice doesn’t make her sound upset about the idea, but afraid.

Is it because she likes me?

“Why not?” I ask.

“It’s like nine o’clock.”

“Are you about to turn orange and sprout a stem?”

“That and I’m not wearing a bra, if you must know.”

“So put it back on.”

“You don’t understand. That’s like saying put your jeans back on.”

“I am in jeans,” I lie just to get a reaction out of her.

“What is wrong with you?” she cries.

“What’s wrong with jeans?”

“They’re stiff and uncomfortable. Wearing jeans all day is basically equivalent to walking on sandpaper. But at least you guys have pockets that will actually hold something larger than a thimble and don’t ride up your ass.”

“If your bra is riding up your ass, we have bigger fish to fry than being afraid of the boogey man.”

 

Author Bio

Mariah Dietz lives
with her husband, two sons, and two four-legged children who are the axis of
her crazy and wonderful world. 
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent most of her time immersed
in the pages of books that she both read and created. 

She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.

Author Links
Posted in Book Reviews

Review of The Devils Who Would Be King (Book Four: Royal Pains) by Nina Mason

devils who would be king

 

Disclaimer – This book and review are intended only for those 18 years and older

Today, we are featuring The Devils Who Would Be King, the fourth and final installment in Nina Mason’s historical erotica series Royal Pains. Set in Scotland and England during the Restoration period, Royal Pains follows the political, religious, and erotic exploits of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody.

devils who would be king

 

 

Here’s the blurb:

Their loyalty, faith, and love will be tested like never before…

Maggie, pregnant and missing Robert like mad, invites Gemma Crosse to help ease her loneliness, only to get swept up in a whirl of naughtiness and heartache. Meanwhile, rebellion is brewing to the north, where her husband is acting as a spy for the king, who grows drunker with power by the day.

Will Maggie and Robert’s love be strong enough to weather the coming storm? Or will the winds of change blow their world apart?

Buy the book now in Kindle or paperback!

 

devils who would be king

 

Haven’t read the first three books in the series? No worries. You can buy the first book right now for only 99 cents! Check out all four books in the series here: Amazon.com. They’re also available for free through Kindle Unlimited.

 

Here’s an excerpt from The Devils Who Would Be King:

 

When Maggie returned to the bedchamber, she found Robert waiting just inside the door. Before she could say aught to him, he captured her mouth with such passion she fell back against the jamb, needing its support as she reeled under a dizzying rush of desire.

It felt wonderful. Glorious. Better than anything else in the world. She ran her hands slowly up into his hair, over his stubbled jaw, across his hard shoulders, and along his strong arms. Yes, he smelled ripe, but his stink was pure raw male animal musk. She found it far more arousing than offensive. Moving her hands around to his back, she pulled his body firmly against hers, feeling all over again how much she had missed him.

Playing house with Gemma had been all well and good, but her friend was not Robert. No one was, or could ever take his place in her heart or in her bed. Suddenly ashamed of her behavior, she broke from the kiss.

Flushed and short of breath, she said, “Forgive me.”

“For what?” he asked, eyebrows drawing together.

“You were jealous when I went to bed with Juliette. I should have guessed how you would feel about Gemma, whatever you might have claimed to the contrary.”

A strange, unreadable look crossed his face before he stepped away from her and averted his gaze. “How funny that you should bring up Juliette, for I encountered her in my travels.”

“Juliette?” Maggie frowned and furrowed her brow, unsure she’d heard him correctly. “Was she not hanged?”

“No.” When he returned his gaze to hers, she was sure she saw guilt there. “King Louis bribed the judge to release her.”

“King Louis?” she asked, growing uneasy. “Why would he pay to free a Huguenot?”

“Because she is not a Huguenot,” he told her with growing fervor. “She is Romish, like us, and has been working in secret for her king and country. I ran into her in Orkney, awaiting the rebel ships. We joined Argyle’s forces together, posing as man and wife to protect our covers.”

“Man and wife?” she repeated, shocked again. “Did you..?”

“God, no!” He laughed, though nervously. “I was as faithful as the day is long—not that it was easy, given the sleeping arrangements.”

Though relieved he had not cheated on her, Maggie could not let such an inflammatory aside go unremarked upon. “Whatever do you mean by that?”

Before he could answer, someone knocked on the door. Presuming it was the servants with the hot water, Maggie pulled out of Robert’s embrace and went to let them in. After directing them to the bath closet, she went to check on Gemma and wee Jamie. Both, to her delight, were sound asleep. With any luck, they would not stir until morning, giving her hours yet to celebrate her husband’s homecoming.

Returning to the bath closet, she watched the maids fill the tub, offering instructions when necessary. When all was prepared to her satisfaction, she sent them away before returning to Robert’s bedchamber, where she found him seated upon the needlepoint settee in the window alcove, removing his boots and stockings. As he reached around to unfasten his cravat, he looked up to find her watching him.

“Shall I remove the rest?” The wolfish grin he gave her set her blood afire. “Or would you prefer to do the honors?”

“Let me,” she said, excited by the idea of peeling off his clothing, layer by layer. Doing so would afford her the chance to discover his body anew.

He got to his feet and stalked toward her like a predatory animal. When he was only inches away, he spread his arms wide and laughed. “I’m all yours.”

She started with his waistcoat, working the buttons out of their holes in silence. As much as she wanted to inquire further about Juliette and their sleeping arrangements, she wanted him naked even more.

When the waistcoat was off, she tugged his shirttail free of his breeches. Sliding her hands inside his shirt, she relished the feel of his flat belly and muscular chest. Locating his nipples, she gently pinched them between her thumb and forefinger.

Groaning with pleasure, he shut his eyes.

She pressed a kiss to his stubbled chin before unbuttoning the ruffled cuffs on his sleeves. When they were open, he lifted his arms so she could pull the shirt off over his head. Trembling at the sight of his naked chest, she kissed and licked each of his nipples to hardness before moving to his breeches. As she untied the ribbon closures, she did everything in her power to tempt and arouse him. When his breeches fell, she wrapped her hand around his c**k.

“Oh, Rosebud, my sweet seductress,” he breathlessly whispered. “You certainly know how to drive me wild with desire.”

She gave his erection a few ardent strokes before letting go. Yes, she knew how to inflame his passions, but she also knew when to back off to prolong the seduction.

He stepped out of his puddled breeches and kicked them aside before gripping her shoulders. “Now, it is my turn to undress you,” he said with a devilish grin. “For I should like you as naked as a nymph whilst you give me my bath.”

 

My Review:

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

The Devils Who Would Be King by Nina Mason is the fourth and final book in the Royal Pains series, which follows the love between Maggie and Robert, Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody. Like the previous books, The Devils Who Would Be King is not short on toe-curling romance scenes or political intrigue. While Robert is away on a mission for the king, Maggie finds solace in Gemma’s company. I love how Maggie has become such a confident woman and is able to experiment to find what she truly desires. The women not only enjoy all manner of antics in the bedroom, they also work to have the lives they want despite the time period. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that the women in the book fight, albeit subtly, against the oppressive system of the 1600s. Robert is a man who is easy to fall in love with, and he only becomes more wonderful in this book. He loves his family more than anything, and that makes him a character I couldn’t help but enjoy. The historical characters and political intrigue give this steamy book even more layers to enjoy, making it a book that’s difficult to put down. If you enjoy hot romance (and I do mean HOT) with a side of court intrigue, then this is a series you must read. It is the perfect end to a fantastic series!

 

Here’s more about the author:

devils who would be king

Nina Mason is an incurable romantic who strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, and educate. She has two series out at present, Royal Pains (historical erotica) and Knights of the Tarot (erotic PNR/UF). She also has published three stand-alone novels: Sins Against the Sea, The Queen of Swords, and The Tin Man. The latter two are not available at this time.

Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason holds a degree in journalism from California State University at Fullerton and currently lives with her family in Woodstock, Georgia. To contact Ms. Mason, email her at ninamasonauthor@gmail.com.

Posted in Book Reviews

Review of The Shewstone by Jane Fletcher

*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy, romance, LGBTQ

 

 

The Shewstone by Jane Fletcher is a fantasy novel that follows Matt, the adopted daughter of a crime lord, and Eawynn, whose father gave her to the temple of Anberith. When a stranger strikes a deal with Matt’s father, Matt takes on the task of stealing a valuable temple artifact, known as the Shewstone. Gaining entrance to the all-female temple is a breeze, but in order to gain entrance to the locked temple guarding the Shewstone, Matt must cleverly flirt with Eawynn without losing her heart in the game. But the theft of the Shewstone has farther-reaching consequences than Matt could have imagined. Now Matt and Eawynn must undertake a voyage and work together to stop a plot that could have disastrous results for their people.

 

Jane Fletcher, author of Lyremouth Chronicles, has written another engrossing story in The Shewstone. The plot is engaging and the world Fletcher created is realistic with a hint of the magical. The writing isn’t bogged down with details; there are just enough to give the reader an understanding of the world. The characters, however, make the story. Matt is cunning, shrewd, and full of confidence, which serves her well as a thief. Eawynn is intelligent and innocent with strict ideas of right and wrong. Although the focus of the story is the action, the romance adds a nice subplot and there are some intense love scenes. Another thing I loved was the names of the Sisters. They had me chuckling. The Shewstone is a great fantasy read, and I highly recommend reading it.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Release Blitz and Review: Fractured Palace by R.J. Loom

Title: Fractured Palace

Author: R.J. Loom

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Standalone

Release Date: March 22, 2016 

They say home is where the heart is. 

Ashton Roberts never understood that saying. Heart couldn’t be found anywhere in the rundown bungalow she grew up in. It also couldn’t be found in the luxury estate she moved into when her mother married her stepfather. 

All Ashton wants is to get her degree, meet Mr. Right and find the happy stable life she never had. But when life constantly throws her curve balls, she begins to wonder if it really is just a pipe dream.

Until she runs into her former neighbor, Reed Collins.

As a child, Reed had always been Ashton’s silent protector. As an adult, he is everything she has ever dreamed of in a man. If only he didn’t keep her at arms length. But as things heat up, guards drop and secrets are revealed which toss Ash back into the turmoil surrounding a tragic event from her youth. 

Will Ashton let her past fracture the perfect picture of her future? Or will the meaning of loyalty, family and love be redefined?

After laying out rugs and putting away towels she began a battle with the packaging for the shower curtain rings. The plastic was sealed on all sides and no amount of tugging or biting at the edges would tear it open. She growled in frustration.

“Uh…Ash?” Reed chuckled from his bedroom. “You okay in there?”

Great. He heard her. “Yeah,” she called out. “I just can’t get this package open. Do you have any scissors?”

“Hang on…”

Ashton continued her fight then hissed as the plastic edge sliced into her thumb.

Reed appeared in the doorway and held out his hand. “Give it here.”

Happy to get rid of the stupid package, she tossed it to him, then stuck her thumb in her mouth to suck away the sting. As he began to struggle with the container, his eyes lowered to her mouth. They lingered there for a moment before he lifted them to meet her own. “Are you all right?”

She removed her thumb from her mouth and inspected it for any bleeding. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she dismissed, tucking her hand in her back pocket of her jeans as if she could hide the fact she was just sucking her thumb.

Fortunately, her slight embarrassment was short lived. With one last hard tug, the package popped open and shower curtains rings flew everywhere. They ricocheted off of the medicine cabinet, sink and walls before scattering all over the floor and in the bathtub. But it was the one ominous plop which came from behind her that was cause for concern. Reed must have heard it at the same time because he stepped forward just as she turned. A lone chrome shower curtain ring sparkled back at them from the bottom of the toilet.

Ashton swung her head around and locked eyes with Reed in alarm. “Injured,” she called out, thrusting her hand in the air as if she were holding up a free pass.

“Oh yeah?” Reed chuckled and raised a brow.

“Yeah.” She nodded solemnly, cradling her hand to her chest. The small, barely visible slice in her thumb had suddenly and conveniently become a grave situation. “I could contract MRSA or some other nasty infection.”

His eyes flicked down to her hands then back up to meet her gaze. “Well, we wouldn’t want that.”

“No, we wouldn’t,” she agreed, narrowing her eyes as a smile slowly crept across his face. The smile would not have been worrisome had it been a regular smile. No, this smile should have warned her to take a step back. Instead, she got lost in the way it reached his eyes and showed off his white, almost perfectly straight teeth.

“Good thing your other hand is fine,” he pointed out just as he lunged forward to try to grab her wrist.

“No!” She squealed, jumping out of the way.

He laughed and pushed one of his shirt sleeves up. “I’m kidding, Ash. I wouldn’t do that.” Shaking his head, he turned back to the toilet. “I’m going in.”

Ashton watched from the safety of the doorway as Reed swooped in to retrieve the shower curtain ring. He tossed it into the sink then washed it and his hands, going all the way up to his elbows. After he was done, he flicked water at her then grabbed a towel.

Reed’s eyes met hers as he dried his hands. Their laughter died off and silence stretched between them. Eventually, he cleared his throat and averted his gaze to the floor. A crease formed between his brows and she wondered what he could possibly be thinking.

“Ash …,” he began and lifted his eyes back to hers. In that brief moment, Ashton’s heart beat faster and she swore she felt some kind of connection with Reed she had never felt before. She wondered if it was her imagination or simply anticipation for what he was about to say. Most likely, it was a combination of both.

“Jackpot!” Danny announced from the bedroom, shattering the moment. “I found Reed’s spank bank!”

In spite of the horrible timing, Ashton could not help but burst out laughing. Reed groaned and stepped toward where she stood in the doorway. They both looked over to find Danny with a huge grin on his face as he held up a couple copies of some car magazine.

She shook her head and turned back to Reed. “You share a gene pool with that one.”

“Yeah,” he said, running a hand over the back of his head before he looked back over toward his room. “Hey, Danny. Why don’t you go outside, dig a hole, jump into it and bury yourself,” Reed suggested as if it were a great idea.

This only made Danny laugh harder.  

“I’m just messing with him, Ash,” Reed murmured in her ear before he stepped passed her.

She knew he had been but her curiosity over what he had been about to say made her reach out to grab his arm to stop him. “Wait, what were you about to say in there,” she asked, inclining her back toward the bathroom.

His eyes shifted from the bathroom over to meet hers. He smiled but it was nothing like the smile he wore only a few minutes earlier. This one was weak at best. “Oh…nothing important,” he said with a shake of his head. Hooking a thumb over his shoulder, he took a step back. “I better get back to this so I have a bed to sleep in tonight.”

“Okay.” Ashton released his arm and watched as he walked back into his room.

My Review:

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re a Colleen Hoover fan, then you will love Fractured Palace by R.J. Loom. The characters are realistic, and they tugged on my heart from the beginning. Ashton has had a difficult life, and her pain is tangible, yet it doesn’t break her. She’s a resilient woman, and I easily became attached to how her life would turn out. Reed is absolutely swoon-worthy. His desire to protect Ashton from the time she was young made him an endearing character. The story pulled me in and hooked me from the prologue. Loom seamlessly weaves intensity and lightheartedness into the story, which makes Fractured Palace a rich romance that left me with a wonderful book hangover. I highly recommend reading it.

 

 

R.J. Loom was born and raised along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, where she still resides with her husband, two children and two spoiled dogs. She loves books, music, travel and anyone with a great sense of humor. When she’s not writing, she can be found with her nose in a book, looking for more books to add to her “to-be-read” pile or spending time with her family.

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