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review 2018-09-17 21:58
Book Review of Hell & Gone: Volume 3 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Gone - Allison Merritt

Tell Heckmaster has always known the day would come when his demon blood overruled his human emotions. Years of searching for a miracle to overcome the name curse placed on him as a child have been fruitless. Now, after Berner has finally found peace, his worst fears are coming to light—he begins to manifest strange new powers and his finely honed control is slipping. Sylvie Duke has enjoyed the hard-won peace her sister and friends fought for. She has almost everything her heart wants—a successful seamstress shop, a loving family, a devoted suitor, and all the flouncy material she can stand. The one thing she doesn't have is Tell. With his powers growing out of control, his attempts to push her away only make her fight harder to stand beside him. The curious thing is, the closer Sylvie is, the less demon-like Tell becomes. A cryptic warning from an old ally will help her protect their loved ones, but if Tell loses all control, even Sylvie's love might not be enough to save them.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Tell, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself with a new title: Hell & Gone. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Hell & A Hard Place. Tell is one of three half-demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago, and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

 

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. While Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

 

This series is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is shown through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie; this made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now grown, populated with humans as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan and Rhia, Eban and Beryl, amongst others. The siblings' father, Seneca, and an imp called Dochi are included as introduced characters and add to the cast. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands, a world created by the god El, and Dochi is one of his subjects.

 

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's real name became cursed becomes revealed, and what it is. I could tell you what it is, but then it would ruin the surprise, so will not do it - I try not to add spoilers to my reviews. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter, though he does not look like him. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters, and his obsequiousness annoys Tell significantly; this gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatens. The end of the book left me with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on a fantastic adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

 

Allison Merritt has written an exciting paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-09-15 08:13
The Scandalous Widow by Erica Monroe
The Scandalous Widow - Erica Monroe

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Three years ago, she got married to help her younger sister return home after a scandal. Now, her sister is still in the same convent she's been when Jemma had married, and Jemma's husband is killed in front of a notorious brothel.

She knows it wasn't a common mugging, but murder. She also knows who did it, she just needs help in proving it. And the only one she can turn to is the man she left behind after marrying his best friend.


This one had huge potential. Unfortunately, it didn't use it.

The characters were once again rather one-dimensional and flat, there was a jarring imbalance in "power" between the hero and heroine, and I felt absolutely not chemistry between them. Which made the supposed conflict even harder to swallow, since it all stemmed from a single kiss between two friends. For friends is what these two actually were. There was no tension, no chemistry, no passion...Just two people who were supposedly comfortable with each other, and that single drunken kiss three years ago.

Then there was the suspense. It would've definitely worked better if the mystery of the killer was kept longer and the two had to discover his identity along with the proof needed to put him away. The fact we all knew who the killer was from the start, diminished the intensity and interest of the plot itself, also slowing the pace (which was already slow to begin with) even more.

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text 2018-09-13 18:06
The Determined Duchess by Erica Monroe
The Determined Duchess - Erica Monroe

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

This one was even worse than its predecessor.

The heroine was a cold, emotionally-stinted bitch, but without the requisite explanation as to why she was that way. I guess Ms Monroe wanted her to come across as eccentric, but the girl was just a cold, emotionally-stinted bitch. Especially once she turned her eye onto the hero as a replacement for the corpse she's been trying to resurrect for the past six months.

The hero was flat and one-dimensional, the "romance" completely nonexistent...The entire story was an utter disappointment.

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review 2018-09-13 18:05
The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe
The Mad Countess (Darkest Regency Book 1) - Erica Monroe

Claire has been in love with Teddy, her best friend, for ages, it seems, but he only wants to be friends. Which is good for her, since she's going to go crazy like her aunt and mother did—it's a family curse.
But it turns out, Teddy doesn't only want to be friends with Claire and he also has no intention of letting her go mad. He's willing to break the curse no matter what, even if it means cavorting with a coven of witches.


I only read one book by this author previously, and I loved it, so I expected the same mix of suspense, romance, drama and humor in this one. Sadly, I was disappointed. It tried, it sure did, but it failed to deliver.

I didn't really care about the main protagonists; they came across as rather juvenile for people in their twenties, I hated the hero's nickname of Teddy (what is he, twelve?), I disliked the heroine's woe-is-me attitude, and their romance left me cold. I didn't understand why they loved each other, since both came across as rather flat, boring characters.

Then there were the gothic/suspenseful aspects of the story, which also fell flat. It turned out there weren't really any ghosts, just a crazy woman locked up in a castle, the curse thingy didn't inspire much confidence, sounding really made-up, while the final banishing of the curse with the help of the coven of witches seemed more like it was added as an afterthought.

Thankfully, this was a novella, so the "pain" was fleeting.

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review 2018-09-05 21:32
Book Review of Hell & Back: Volume 2 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Back - Allison Merritt

Eban Heckmaster has always been grateful his mother's human blood cooled the dark thoughts being the son of a demon can bring. He's tried to lead as normal a life as possible by attending medical school and setting up his own practice in New Mexico Territory. But it's no longer enough. After being rejected by a woman he was sure could complete his life, he's counting the days until he can get out of town. That will happen, just as soon as he figures out how to rid a close friend of a demon that's wreaking havoc inside her head. Beryl Brookshier's past only comes in splotchy memories. What she can remember is nothing to be proud of, but there's something more worrisome going on. Long dark moments and passages of time when she can't remember who she's been with or what she's done. She knows that Eban knows what's causing it, but the half-demon doctor isn't telling. And unfortunately for her, he's so distracted by the secret and his desire to leave Berner, he doesn't even see that she's falling in love with him...or is she? When she discovers the lust demon living inside her mind, she begins to wonder if she's in love, or if the demon only wants Eban for her own purposes.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the second book in The Heckmaster's series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Eban, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Eban Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked him from the first time I met him in Hell & A Hard Place, the first book in the series. He is the middle sibling of the three Heckmasters' and is the doctor of the family. He has always wanted to get away from Berner, the demon-riddled town that he and his two half-demon brothers protect from "The Pit", a portal to and from Hell. But after meeting Beryl Brookshier, who arrived with Rhia and Sylvie Duke, he knows that the war with evil is far from over.

 

Beryl Brookshier is a character that I liked but didn't know much about when I first met her in the first book of the series. She is extremely ill and under the care of Eban. But, she has no idea that she has a demon imp, who also happens to be a lust demon, attached to her brain like a parasite. Can she overcome its hold, or will she be doomed to die?

 

This story is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800’s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story told from various points of view, made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery, and suspense mixed in with the hot romance. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell.

 

This story continues from the end of Hell & A Hard Place but follows Eban and Beryl as they struggle to come to terms with events after the battle with Noem, though Wystan and Rhia are now married and on their honeymoon. I also loved meeting Wystan and Tell again, as well as Rhia and Sylvie. I also found it interesting to see things through the eyes of the lust demon, Rosmar. She brings a sense of fun mixed with deadly poison to the tale. I did like her because, although she is a demon, she is trying to atone for her sins by working with the Grey Side (demons who oppose total dominion of Earth by Astaroth - the deadly demon trapped in The Pit by the Heckmasters' father). But, she also has her own agenda and is hoping to tempt Eban into unleashing his demon side to help her. But Eban is not a pushover, though he does do something rather dangerous and sets off a chain of events that could mean the end of Berner, if not Earth; this introduces us to another character, who happens to be an angel called Eliakim. What his role is or will be, remains a bit of a mystery, but I liked this enigmatic angel. He brings the might of Heaven with him and is definitely a warrior to avoid if you're a demon.

 

The story is full of twists and turns, with one that I didn't see coming and I felt sorry for the Heckmaster brothers as they had to make a difficult decision regarding a loved one. I did find humour in the tale, especially where Eban threatens to speak Tell's real name. Okay, having a curse on your spoken name is not meant to be funny, but the way Eban taunted his brother with it reminded me of how, when my sisters and I was younger, we would call each other names to get a rise out of them. Siblings can be cruel, and I felt sorry for Tell. However, it made me curious to find out what his real name is!

 

The end of the story doesn't finish on a cliff-hanger, but it made me feel sad because I wanted to keep reading about Berner and her inhabitants. This series has taken me on an unexpected journey, but I love the roller coaster ride. I guess I shall have to read Tell's story now.

 

Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also enjoyed the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I think this author has found another fan! I would like to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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