Showing posts with label 3 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3 stars. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Napolean (Layers of Veronica, Book 1) by Emilia Rutigliano (3 stars)

About Napolean (Layers of Veronica, Book 1)

Title: Napoleon
Genre: Women’s Fiction with an Attitude
Author: Emilia Rutigliano
Publisher: Emilia Rutigliano
Pages: 387
Language: English
Format: Kindle

They say that when a student is ready, a teacher appears.

What they don’t say is where to register, and how to matriculate in that teacher’s class.
That is a divine gift.

Veronica had it all:  the looks; the brains; the personality; and the wardrobe.  Not to mention a perfect husband, a fabulous career and two adorable children, until the perfect husband leaves her for another woman.

Thus begin the daily routines of a typical New York City immigrant with ambition whose teachers keep appearing, and for whom divine interventions keep affording new opportunities.

Though it starts like ordinary connections going through the tried and true, each relationship continues to delve into parts of her own universe that Veronica didn’t know existed.  A universe that is suddenly open to her.

This is a different kind of heroine…

Welcome to the New American Dream, Dare to Dream…

Purchase on Amazon


Since I have many layers of thoughts about this book, I'm going to skip the quick summary (the author did an excellent job above), and go straight to my review. 

First, Veronica is a complex character with, as the series titles suggests, many layers that unfold throughout the story. She's a well-respected attorney, a woman who appreciates sex, a mom, and a true friend--just to name a few. She's tough and not afraid to fight for what she believes in.

The layer that was missing for me was softness. Nothing about her, including her sex preferences, was anything but intense. I love strong female characters, but I wanted some aspect of her to be soft. Even her kids didn't seem to bring that out in her nor a story twist involving a molested young girl. Everything seemed to showcase strength. 

All of that being said, I was intrigued. I never stopped reading because I was hoping for this layer to develop, to put the story and her character over the top--not just interesting, but compelling and captivating. 

Every reader takes away something different, and another reader might completely disagree with me. I would definitely give Book 2 a chance and hope for that element, a key one for me, to be revealed.

(Side note: although listed as women's fiction, there was something harder--for lack of a better word--about this to me. Not quite erotica, but even the sex wasn't sweet or romantic. Maybe I'm just a softie.)

Rating: 3 stars
Other Books in the Series

About Fairytales (Layers of Veronica, Book 2)

Veronica’s story continues.

Ever wonder why there is so much gore in the storybooks that we read to our children?  Is it because it is appropriate preparation for life?

Amidst the balls, and gowns and champagne … there are evil stepmothers and death and disease.  There are also valiant princes, and kindly matriarchs and enchanted lands.  There is no alternate reality though.  It is still modern day New York… and Paris, of course.

Still, Veronica needs to get up and go to work, and take the kids to school, and play nice with the ex’s new wife.  But each layer is enchanted with its own romance… and its own lover becomes a benevolent wizard.  There’s Ben… and Jeremy… and Edmonde.  And then there’s KD.  Why choose?

These are the games your mama never taught you.  These are men’s games played by a woman.  And a woman is only eligible to play when she is taught to see the world differently.  It isn’t just a matter of calculations… it is a matter of nobility.  What Jeremy taught in NAPOLEON, becomes a world of experience in FAIRTYATLES.

They say you only love once… but that isn’t a fact for Veronica.   Each of her bedmates offers her and demands from her something different.

What starts out as a parochial life, with known participants and variables, is unveiled with more and more opportunities.  Each comes with a privilege and an obligation – and Veronica has never shirked an obligation.  Not even in a fairytale.

It’s all connected… just on a higher layer.

Purchase on Amazon

About Petals (Layers of Veronica, Book 3)

Veronica’s story continues.

The prettiest of blooms commence with the nurturing of the seed?  In PETALS… Veronica’s life goes global, and she unites her family with the aristocracy around her, without self- betrayal.

Physical recovery post trauma is not the difficult part.  How do you heal the other parts of you?   And what if you were stupid enough to throw out the healer in your life?
Every relationship takes work.  Every relationship is a lesson.  Each has a depth.

Where NAPOLEON and FAIRYTALES opened a magical kingdom dominated and ruled by men… PETALS reveals the same monarchy ruled by women.   There is a new perspective on the same world, and the same characters.  Relating to women, and taking your place among the nobility requires a lot… and not at all a marriage or blueblood.

But of course it wouldn’t be Veronica’s life…if there weren’t more lovers, more galas, more jewels and of course… more heartbreak…

It is a fun journey.    What it isn’t — is a known destination.

Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

Emilia I. Rutigliano scored fiftieth percentile on her SATs… and on her LSATs… and on her BAR…Sigh…

But she nevertheless survived, and seems to be doing OK. She practices Law read lore) in Brooklyn, New York (read Nu Yawk). She was born in the former Soviet Union, and emigrated in 1979. She is happily married to the same crazy Italian she’s been with since college, who suffers from a severe addition to travel (still in acute form). Together they are doing a somewhat passable job with their three precious darlings (who are now teenagers, thus elaboration is not necessary).

Which is why Emilia writes about Veronica. Veronica, though… is interesting. And Emilia knows interesting.

So she weaved the tale about the interesting characters, places and events from her own life. It is remarkable how if you choose to view a subject objectively, it becomes downright artistically gorgeous. So Emilia views and shows Brooklyn Russians as gorgeous, and the Barese intricacies as gorgeous, and she even tolerates Paris, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia for the reader’s interests.

Thank you, dear reader, for tolerating these scenes….


Her first book in the Layers of Veronica series is Napoleon.

Visit Emilia Rutigliano’s website at and connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Please visit other stops on the Layers of Veronica blog tour page.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this blog tour.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Pump Up Your Book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell (3 stars)

About The Bride Stripped Bare

Publisher: Harper Perennial
(February 1, 2005)
Language: English

A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who’s discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it.

The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?


Normally I would summarize the book and then move onto my feelings. But this book stirred up so many feelings--it's quite the emotional roller coaster--that I have to skip right ahead. I cared about the main character and her struggles to feel loved and satisfied, but then she would always take it just a bit too far and I was frustrated. She became her own worst enemy, striving for some kind of impossible ideal.

But I was eagerly flipping the pages, wanting to know what happened--dying to know if she was going to figure it out. That, perhaps, is where I became the most frustrated because the ending came too quickly and without much resolution. Of course, the reader knows the unsatisfying ending from page one. Still, I hoped for something against the odds.

I read this book as part of a bigger blog tour where I will read two more books by this author. Although I was often torn about this book, the writing was engaging and compelling. I was emotionally invested in this character, even when I wanted to smack her. And sometimes life simply doesn't have an answer for someone's pain and dissatisfaction. I just wish it did.

Rating: 3 stars

About Nikki Gemmell

Nikki Gemmell is the internationally bestselling author of The Bride Stripped Bare and With My Body, as well as ShiverAlice Springs, and The Book of Rapture. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her family.

Find out more about Nikki at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on The Bride Stripped Bare blog tour page.

Monday, October 28, 2013

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie (3 stars)

About House of Earth

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 22, 2013)

Finished in 1947, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie’s only fully realized novel—a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness.

Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. The husband and wife live in a precarious wooden farm shack, but Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a five-cent government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself—fireproof, windproof, Dust Bowl–proof. A house of earth.

Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Due to larger forces beyond their control—including ranching conglomerates and banks—their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.

A story of rural realism, and in many ways a companion piece to Guthrie’s folk anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape.


Woody Guthrie is best known as the writer of an American classic: "This Land is Your Land". He was greatly influenced by the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression--"also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s" (source).

This novel is beautifully written, almost poetic, which makes sense with the author's songwriting background. Broken up into sections, the story focuses in great detail on Tike and Ella's struggles of the day. In a time when people had little to nothing, Tike and Ella have each other but not much else. The focus for most of the book is their desire to just have a real house. But much of the book is spent on their sex life, although I can appreciate this was one of the few things they found happiness in, and subsequent birth of their son.

I only wish there had been more of a story and plot. Woody Guthrie lived in these desperate times, and I can only imagine the material he could have injected into a story for Tike and Ella. As it is, this novel feels more like a novella written in conjunction with a much more epic piece.

In some ways, the Introduction was more gritty and interesting than the story itself. I do recommend it to readers who love poetic prose and a look into part of our nation's history.

Rating: 3 stars

About the Author

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (1912-1967) was an American folk balladeer whose best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land.” His musical legacy includes more than three thousand songs, covering an exhaustive repertoire of historical, political, cultural, topical, spiritual, narrative, and children’s themes.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the House of Earth blog tour page.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tremble by Tobsha Learner (3 stars)

About Tremble: Erotic Tales of the Mystical and Cynical

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Plume (August 27, 2013)
Erotica for the modern woman: nine tales of the dangerous and divine

From Tobsha Learner, the boundary-pushing erotica author of the international bestseller Quiver, comes TREMBLE: Erotic Tales of the Mystical and Sinister (On-sale September 2013/ ISBN: 9780142180372).

In Learner’s steamy collection, she explores the full spectrum of sexuality peppered with elements of the supernatural. Tremble blurs the line between fantasy and reality, depicting the pleasures of new and rediscovered love, lust, and obsession in a world where passion and magic are interwoven—and where boundaries are pushed beyond expectation.

In a Welsh village, a young woman’s sensuality is awakened by an outrageous inheritance; a drought-stricken Oklahoma town is offered salvation by a travelling rainmaker; a Sydney record producer struggles to satisfy his wife and his mistress—until one of them takes matters into her own hands…

The short stories span the eras, from an eighteenth-century biographer who discovers a magic, erotic ritual to a Sydney record producer struggling to satisfy his wife and mistress. Intelligent and highly imaginative, Learner’s brand of erotica will appeal to both first-time and more seasoned readers of the genre.


I must admit... I'm really torn about this collection of short stories. There were a couple that really held my interest and were quite thought-provoking. Then there were a few I had to skim because either they didn't grab me (and at 400 pages, I decided to only read the ones that did) or they bothered me.

No, I'm not a prude. When I decide to review an erotica book, I'm not turning away in disgust at frank sexual depictions (although I do blush occasionally). However, some of these intense scenes were more about control than pleasure. I don't want to give away any specifics, but there was one "creature" that I found quite disturbing even though I wanted to know more about the poor woman it used as its pawn.

Okay, this review is vague, and for that I apologize. I think this book should have been split into two short story collections. That way the reader could have had time to digest a few of the stories before reading the second book. In a perfect world, I would have read each story and put this collection down for several days and then picked it up again.

And I did want to pick it up again, because the author has a captivating writing style and vivid imagination--in these stories she covered many interesting geographic locations, themes, and times. Rainmaker and Echo were my favorites, because I found the characters and themes the most intriguing. The author has a way of mixing erotica, the mystical, supernatural, and a commentary on society. Not what I was expecting, but not a bad thing.

If you like to read stories that challenge you and push you to think about things in a different light, then this book will be a thought-provoking addition to your library. The short story format is nice, because you can read it in snippets and then take time to really think about the deeper meanings. It's just hard to take that time on a reviewer's schedule.

Rating: 3 stars

About the Author

Born in the U.K., Tobsha Learner has also lived in the U.S. and Australia. She has worked extensively in stage, television, radio and film. She lives in London.

Connect with Tobsha at her website,

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Tremble blog tour page.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Search for the Lost Realm, Kraig Dafoe (3 stars) Review & Giveaway

About Search for the Lost Realm

Search for the Lost Realm is an epic journey in which a young man named Varan wants to find a power which has been missing from the world of Kantania for thousands of years. 

Varan sets out but soon discovers his true mission is to save the worlds creator from a spiritual bond placed upon him by the powerful demon, Eldrok.

From demons to dragons and sorcerers to soldiers, battles erupt and Varan must hurry or the world could be lost to darkness forever. 

This story does not consist of action alone as Varan faces dilemmas of the heart, struggles of the flesh and complex issues of the mind. 



Sometimes the most unlikely of heroes are the ones who capture our interest. Think Jack Sparrow. In Search for the Lost Realm, Varan is a thief who sets out on an intense adventure. Along the way, he struggles to determine his role.

In a unique world full of highly imaginative creatures, Varan faces many of the issues of our world--good versus evil battles and questions about a higher power. To complicate matters, mystical forces create another version of him to help in the journey. Facing intense evil, will he survive? And at the end of the day, is he nothing but a thief?

From page one, readers are thrust into the adventure with little to no opportunity to come up for air. No character is safe, twists and turns abound, and the lines between good and evil are blurred.

Although I found the story intriguing and the various creatures impressive, switching between adventures (thanks to Varan's two sides) became convoluted at times. In addition, there were some distracting grammar issues. 

All in all, fans of fantasy/adventure novels will find the story engaging and the characters memorable. Plus, the underlying religious symbolism was interesting.

Rating: 3 stars

About Kraig Dafoe

Kraig Dafoe was born in Potsdam, New York and grew up in Canton. He played high school football and joined the United States Army Reserves at the age of seventeen. 

Kraig married at the age of nineteen and moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia where he worked as a Private Security officer for The Christian Broadcasting Network and also attended the Tidewater Community College for business. 

After five years as a security officer, he became a Deputy Sheriff for the city of Chesapeake Virginia. Kraig left the Sheriff’s office after nine years of service and pursued a couple of different business opportunities before he went on to publishing his debut novel. 

Kraig is the father of five children and he currently resides in Kansas, raising his youngest son. 

His latest book is the fantasy/adventure, Search for the Lost Realm.
Visit Kraig at his website or on Facebook.

 Pump Up Your Book and Kraig Dafoe are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please visit other stops on the Search for the Lost Realm blog tour pageAlso, visit this page for details about the giveaway.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this blog tour.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Pump Up Your Book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Payne and Misery, Catherine Leggitt (3 stars)

About Payne and Misery

Christine Sterling has developed a reputation for jumping to wild conclusions. With such an imagination, who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne? Try as she might, she cannot interest anyone in Lila’s dire need for immediate rescue. Something about crying wolf once too often.

But then Lila and Christine’s beloved dog Molly both disappear the same night.

If no one will help her, she must find Lila and Molly herself. Heedless of possible consequences, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Her best friend throws her a lifesaver of prayer and soon she begins to sense God at work. But even with God’s help, can Lila and Molly be saved before it’s too late?

Purchase Link: AMAZON


We all have neighbors who could single-handedly be a neighborhood watch committee. Christine Sterling is one of those type neighbors. One day, she notices some strange happenings at a nearby house, and she feels compelled to stop by and check it out. When she does, she meets Lila and notices some strange bruises on her. But things only get more disconcerting when Lila, along with Christine's dog, go missing.

Initially, everyone blows Christine's concerns off. Determined to find out what is going on, she follows her gut and finds clue after clue. Along the way, she discovers the importance of putting your faith in God.

Although there was something very endearing about Christine's character, the mystery of what happened to Lila was a bit too meandering for me. Just as the twists and turns pulled me in, the story would stall for a moment or go off in a different direction. However, Christine is an interesting and well-developed character, and I appreciated her journey and determination.

In the end, it's a light mystery with a charming main character. I especially recommend it to readers looking for a sweet story with Christian values.

Rating: 3 stars

About Catherine Leggitt 

Catherine Leggitt is an author and inspirational speaker. A native Californian born in the Bay Area, she raised two daughters, taught school, and cared for her aging parents in southern California before retiring to the north end of the state. Proud grandmother of six brilliant children, Catherine studies the Bible, reads, serves as a leader in Bible Study Fellowship, and sings in the church choir.

Catherine wrote a trilogy called the Christine Sterling Mysteries, which include PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT. The first book won 2nd place at the Orange County Christian Writers Conference in May, 2010. It was published by Ellechor Publishing in 2011. THE DUNN DEAL and PARRISH THE THOUGHT were published in 2012 by Ellechor Publishing. PARRISH THE THOUGHT made the quarterfinals in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

In addition, Catherine has completed a fourth novel with different characters called DYING TO BE NOTICED and coauthored a memoir for Sam Contino called STREET SMARTS.

When called upon to share her story, Catherine’s main themes come from Christine’s struggles in her books, which also happen to be some of the things Catherine struggles with. Thus, since PAYNE & MISERY addresses complaining, the first message, titled Always Choose Joy, centers on how to be thankful and choose joy instead of misery. The spiritual theme of THE DUNN DEAL exposes with the nature of truth. Merely having faith is not enough. What we believe matters. Catherine named the second talk, Always Choose Truth. In PARRISH THE THOUGHT, Christine learns to love unlovable people, so Catherine calls the third message, Always Choose Love.

Find out more about the author: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Please visit other stops on the Payne and Misery blog tour page. 

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this blog tour.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Pump Up Your Book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Something About Sophie, Mary Kay McComas (3 stars)

About Something About Sophie

• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
(March 26, 2013)

Clearfield, Virginia, is a sleepy, idyllic hamlet where residents welcome its comfortable, familiar routines. But when a newcomer arrives in town, long-buried secrets threaten to surface and destroy their haven...

Answering a call that summons her to a stranger’s deathbed, a reluctant Sophie Shepard is too late to hear what he was so anxious to tell her. What was so important that a dying man would think of her in his final moments? With the help of Dr. Drew McCarren, Sophie begins to dig into her past, setting off a chain of events that chills the quiet town of Clearfield, Virginia, to its roots.

With part of her wanting nothing more than to put Clearfield behind her and run back home, Sophie knows she won’t rest until she discovers the truth. But growing closer to the residents also means uncovering their dark secrets—secrets about the woman who gave Sophie up for adoption, the mysterious part these strangers played, and the life she never knew she nearly had.

Something About Sophie is a memorable story about the power of love . . . and the things people will do, both right and wrong, to protect it.


Sophie Shepard's past is a mystery, and the key to solving it dies before she has a chance to speak with him. Before she gives up and leaves town, she decides to follow a few leads. What comes next is a race against secrets and someone willing to kill to keep them buried.

While searching for answers, Sophie shares some intimate moments with Dr. Drew McCarren and feelings start to brew. Too bad their first date ends before it even begins when they find a dead body. More violence ensues, and Sophie is right at the center of it. Will she get answers before something bad happens to her?

Sophie is an interesting main character, possessing a strong sense of self I like in female protagonists. The cast of characters, especially with the backdrop of an intriguing small town,  is eclectic and entertaining. Although the story starts off a bit slow, it gears up for a fast-paced ride to a gut-wrenching revelation about Sophie's birth mother. 

Maybe because I was caught up in the mystery of Sophie's past, I found the romance lacking. There was so much potential with Sophie and Drew, but it fell flat. Still, if you are looking for a book with a good build-up to a surprising ending, pick this one up. The twists and turns won't disappoint. 

Rating: 3 stars

Mary Kay McComasAbout Mary Kay McComas 

Mary Kay McComas started her writing career twenty-five years ago. To date she’s written twenty-one short contemporary romances and five novellas; Something About Sophie is her third novel. She was born in Spokane, Washington, and now lives in a small town in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three dogs, a cat, and her four children nearby.

Find out more about Mary Kay at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Something About Sophie blog tour page.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Devil's Garden, Brady Christianson (3 stars)

About The Devil's Garden

A Marine’s past is never far behind him, but sometimes it’s a lot closer than he thinks . . .

After years of enjoying the soft, quiet, civilian, family life, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson still has a large price on his head…only his family doesn’t know it. That is, until a heavily armed squad of terrorists breaks into his house and tries to kill him and his family.

After swiftly dispatching the would-be assassins, Colson realizes the ghosts from his past have somehow managed to come back to haunt him. His worst nightmare has come true. His identity—a secret until now—has been mysteriously compromised. Something he did years ago, while on a recon mission during his tour of service, has kept anger burning in the hearts of powerful Arab adversaries. And the men who attacked his house are simply an omen of what is to come.

With his family in hiding, Colson and local detective Sam Collier set out to locate and neutralize the remainder of the terrorist cell. It’s a race against time, and the plot they uncover along the way defies all expectation.

Their fates in the balance until the last second, the two men must fight for their lives as they navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge that leads straight to hell on earth: The Devil’s Garden.
Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781938690167
Pages: 391
Release: November 11, 2012
Detective Sam Collier doesn't know what he's getting into when he prepares to interrogate Brandon Colson. What starts out as an investigation into Colson defending his family from intruders ends up with Sam's life on the line against terrorists. 

It's hard for Sam to believe Brandon's stories at first--especially when Brandon's kids are talking about magical blades and Brandon himself is quoting bible verses. As details slowly start to come in, Sam goes from doubter to believer. The two men set out on a mission through Florida swamps and forests, quite an unexpected eerie setting as described by the author, to take out the men who have been sent to kill Brandon.

This book has moments of fast-paced intrigue mixed with oddly-placed backstory and slow moments. When the action was in full force, the book was hard to put down. But, there were sections I was skimming because they were a bit long-winded. Often, Brandon's background was revealed through flashbacks that slowed the story a bit too much for me, although they were necessary to understanding his predicament.

In addition to Sam and Brandon, there are several other interesting and well-developed characters. The author has a way with dialogue and manages to describe the Florida setting in a way that made me feel like the characters were in a war zone.

Readers who appreciate action and intrigue will enjoy this story. Just be patient and enjoy the ride.
Rating: 3 stars
About the Author
Brady Christianson is a former United States Marine Corps Recon Marine whose military service and Christian faith has shaped his writing.

For more information on the book and author, please visit the author's website. 

Buy The Devil's Garden
This is a blog tour, please visit The Devil's Garden blog tour site for more stops.
Note: I received a complimentary copy from Tribute Books for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

For more information on Tribute Books, please visit their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kiss of Surrender, Sandra Hill (3 stars)

About Kiss of Surrender

• Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher:Avon (November 27, 2012)

It’s not easy being a Vampire Angel.

No one knows that better than Trond Sigurdsson. In the centuries since he last went out drinking and wenching with his Viking buds, Trond has been a gladiator, a cowboy, a ditch digger . . . even a sheik. But now he’s the baddest of them all: a kick-ass Navy SEAL kicking butts of terrorist immortals with the help of his hotter-than-Hades female partner, police officer-turned-Special Forces operative Nicole Tasso—whom Trond dearly hopes to “partner” with very shortly in a whole different way.

The “cop” part of Nicole tells her there’s something bizarre about her gorgeous godlike teammate. But her “all-woman” side can’t help wondering how great it would be to have a virile Viking in her bed. Trond has secrets galore, but Nicole feels certain she can dig them out—and really get to the heart of this powerful, unnerving stranger whom she may be risking her soul to love.


Vampire books have taken over many shelves of our libraries and bookstores, so it's refreshing to come across one with an interesting take on the creature. In Kiss of Surrender, vampires are angels, either created by God's messenger, St. Michael the Archangel, or Lucifer himself--Vangels or Lucipires.

Trond and his brothers are former Vikings who now protect our world by ridding it of the Lucipire demons. In his newest role, Trond is a Navy SEAL at the center of many dangerous missions. But evil humans like Osama Bin Laden are nothing compared to what he's trying to destroy. He has a singular mission, and has for centuries... that is until he meets Nicole, an ex-cop and current Navy operative.

When Trond and Nicole are partnered for a dangerous undercover mission, he finds himself more and more drawn to her. He tries to push her away, but she can't deny her attraction either. In the midst of pure evil, they find their way to each other--a combustible heat that sears the pages. Both have their reasons for not giving into each other without a fight.

Once the story gets going, it's mired down with a lot of setup and background details initially, there's plenty of action and teasing romance. The really hot stuff is saved for the last third of the book. With a title like Kiss of Surrender, it was a bit disappointing to have to wait so long for the building heat between Trond and Nicole to pay off.

For fans of action and paranormal intrigue, there are some bright moments. I particularly enjoyed the side story of one of the Lucipires, Zebulan, feeling conflicted about torturing soul after soul. His character was one of the more interesting ones in the novel. But, I was frustrated with the main undercover operation. It had a lot of potential, the SEALS were after Bin Laden's son, but it was over too quickly.

But the last third of the book does not disappoint, offering plenty of heat and emotional payoffs. By the end, I found myself rooting for Trond and Nicole and wondering what would happen to Zebulan in his quest. My best advice for readers... don't give up too soon in this story. Your patience will pay off.

Rating: 3 stars

About Sandra Hill

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.

Find out more about Sandra at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

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