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 Jane Grey by Nina Mason

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Title: Jane Grey

Author: Nina Mason

Genre: Historical Romance

Time period: 1850

Heat Level: Moderate

 

Here’s the blurb:

 

Matthew Brontë, a true romantic at heart, believes the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. And yet, he fears he lacks the capacity to love…until he meets Jane Grey. Jane, a humble English governess, seems perfect for Matthew, apart from one significant snag: Jane can only marry a man of means and Matthew must give up his fortune if and when he marries.

When faced with the choice between love and money, which will each of them choose?

Jane Grey Cover.jpg

More about Jane Grey:

 

Set in France’s Loire Valley in 1850, Jane Grey tells the story of a frustrated painter and a beleaguered English governess who comes to France to tutor a flirtatious young heiress in the social graces. Jane Grey meets Matthew Brontë when he takes a spill from his horse near where she is walking—the same way Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester in the book our Jane is reading at the time. Jane finds it uncannier still that Matthew is a cousin to the author of Jane Eyre.

After Jane helps Gabriel home to his chateau, he offers her drawing lessons to repay her kindness. Regrettably, the only way she can accept his gift is to pretend the drawing lessons are for Lady Cecile Brousseau, her spoiled and selfish pupil.

As the weeks pass, Jane and Matthew discover they have much in common, including shared interests in art, poetry, literature, and gardening. They seem perfect for each other, apart from one significant snag: Matthew cannot marry without forfeiting his fortune, and Jane can only marry a man with the means to support her as well as her dependent relations back in England.

Will the strength of Jane and Matthew’s devotion be enough to overcome this seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Or will Jane be forced to choose her duty to her family over her own desires?

Jane Grey is an original work with subtle shadings borrowed from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.

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Here’s an excerpt:

 

“If you don’t mind my asking, was your relationship with the countess an affectionate one?”

“Hardly.”

Matthew’s candor pleased Jane on more than one level. “So, you didn’t love her?”

After an extended silence, he said, looking pained, “To be truthful, Miss Grey, I’ve never loved any woman—and often doubt myself capable of experiencing that most-coveted of emotions.”

His words crushed her hopes and brought more tears to her eyes. “Surely, you are wrong. For you strike me as a man of great passion.”

“I used to be.” His countenance grew even more sullen. “But now, my heart is like a tree in winter. Barren, leafless, and encrusted with ice.”

“Perhaps it will thaw when you meet the right woman,” she offered hopefully.

He brought his face very close to hers and, for a breathless moment, she thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he said in a strained voice, “I probably should keep this to myself, but my cold heart has warmed some since making your acquaintance.”

For several hellish-yet-heavenly moments, they sat together in silence. His mouth was so close to hers she could feel his breath warming her lips. As her heart leapt toward him, her body impulsively followed. Their mouths met ever so sweetly. Then, mortified by her forwardness, she jerked back and turned away.

“Forgive me. I shouldn’t have been so presumptuous.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said. “I rather liked the feel of your mouth on mine.”

She liked the feel of his, too—very much indeed—but carrying on like a common hussy would only lead to her ruin. “Perhaps we should return to the house and see if Cécile’s headache is any better.”

“Yes,” he said with audible strain. “Perhaps we should at that.”

He stood and offered her his arm. She took his coat sleeve between her gloved hands and let him lead her farther along the path. After they’d walked several paces, he said, “I don’t believe I’ve yet asked your favorite flower.”

“No, you haven’t.”

He waited a few moments before letting out a small laugh. “Will you not tell me what it is?”

“Very well.” She released a sigh. “I shall tell you. As queer as it may seem, my favorite flower is bleeding heart.”

He laughed, drew to a stop, and freed his arm from her grasp. Turning toward the bed to their right, he bent over the boxwood border and plucked several stems of the flower she’d named. Then, he offered the bouquet to her with a gallant bow. “Please allow me to offer you this humble token of my admiration.”

She accepted the flowers with joy in her heart. It was foolish, perhaps, to experience so much elation in response to so simple an offering, but no man had ever given her anything before. He’d also demonstrated tremendous compassion when she told him about her family—and had admitted to liking the brief intimacy they’d shared.

Might he have some feelings for her? Or was he just being kind? Oh—and what about his secret? She must take care not to let him turn her head, lest she end up brokenhearted when the truth came out.

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My Review:

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

Jane Grey by Nina Mason is a sweet and sexy historical romance. Jane Grey is rich in historical detail and the story is engrossing. The romance is mostly sweet and polite, but Mason captures perfectly the feelings of fear and desire that accompany falling in love. Despite the Victorian Age setting, the story has a couple of steamy love scenes that I thought added just the right touch of heat. Although the setting is wonderful, it’s the characters that make this story one I couldn’t put down. Matthew Bronte (cousin to the Bronte sisters) is a devilishly handsome count who will lose all his wealth if he marries. Jane is a plain governess who is doomed to spinsterhood in order to keep her family afloat. But while Jane’s looks may be plain compared to some of the rich ladies, her emotional depth and intelligence makes her stand out. Matthew, like many of Mason’s other male characters, prefers a woman who has intelligence. One of the things I loved about Matthew was how he went out of his way to make sure that Jane would communicate her needs to him because he could see that she constantly put others’ needs ahead of her own. Jane is a proper woman, but even though she follows the rules of society, she is also open to listening to her own heart. I found Jane easy to like because she struggles with the need to help her family versus doing what will make her happy. I especially enjoyed the excerpts from novels such as Jane Eyre and the bits of poetry that Mason included. Jane Grey is a novel that will take you back in time and make you fall in love.

Here’s the buy-link:

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Grey-Bront%C3%AB-Brothers-Book-ebook/dp/B06XGKX571

 Note: Jane Grey will be 99 cents until May 21 and thereafter will revert to the regular price of $3.99

 

 

Here’s more about the author:

devils who would be king

Nina Mason, the author of eleven published books to date, is an incurable romantic who strives to write love stories that entertain and edify. A research fanatic, she goes to great lengths to ensure the locations and time periods in her books are accurately portrayed (and thanks the Powers That Be for the internet). Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason lived in Oregon briefly before moving to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and college-bound daughter. When she isn’t writing, she makes historic dolls, fairy babies, and putters in her garden.

 

Contact Nina: ninamasonauthor@gmail.com

Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Get Nina’s newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

Posted in Book Reviews

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

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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.

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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!

 

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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 Arc of The Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts

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

Genre: non-fiction, paganism, spirituality

 

Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts is an instructional book that takes the reader through a year of journeying with the goddess. The book is divided by month and includes information on various goddesses and pagan celebrations (both ancient and modern) for each month. In addition, the authors have included ideas for spell work, altars, ritual, recipes, guided meditations, and much more. The book is written so that the reader can jump into any month to begin the year-long course without having to wait for the beginning of the year to start. The authors have extensive experience as witches, and the book was developed from an online course at the Kitchen Witch School of Witchcraft.

 

Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts is a fantastic informational book on getting to know the goddess. The book includes great information about many different goddesses for each month, as well as including mythological information about each goddess. The book is written so that the reader can jump in at any point, so the information in some places, such as ritual, mandalas, medicine bag, and meditation beads, was exactly the same in each month/chapter. I understand why the authors wanted to make sure the information was available for each chapter; however, those sections were word for word identical. I would have liked to see concrete ideas for each month in those sections, like the authors did for other sections, such as goddess beauty, oil recipes, and energy/spell work. I really love that the authors included so many recipes in the book. There are recipes for oils/incense, food, and beauty products, which I’m looking forward to trying. Arc of the Goddess is full of great ideas and information about connecting with different goddesses throughout the year. Anyone following a pagan path, or just interested in learning about goddesses, should definitely pick up this book and give it a read. I will be using this book over the next year for the course and for many years to come as reference material.