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review 2017-09-09 04:12
The Eye of the Storm
Dead in the Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River) - Denise Swanson

This was an enjoyable and easy read. The characters were likable and the mystery kept me guessing. It's interesting how evil can be hidden beneath such a benign looking surface.

I would definitely read more in this series.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur magazine. http://affairedecoeur.com.

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review 2015-12-16 14:59
Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy
Pregnesia - Carla Cassidy

[This is an older review, written back before I used Goodreads or anything that prompted me to add ratings. I had to guess at a rating. Also, my reviewing style was a bit different back then.]


I'm pretty sure the first time I ever heard of this book was via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I thought the cover was Photoshopped because, well, PREGNESIA. That couldn't possibly be real, right? Wrong. The book got a C-grade, and the review pointed to lots of problems and things that wouldn't appeal to me, like a pregnant amnesiac heroine. I should note that I read the review almost two years before reading the book and purposefully did not reread it until after I'd finished the book. I didn't want the review fresh in my mind while I was reading. Even so, I still ended up noticing a lot of the same problems that the reviewer noticed - my notes are filled with "oh really?," "good grief," and "are you kidding me?"

One thing I did remember clearly about the review was the comments - specifically, Carla Cassidy's comment, which was a clear example of "authors behaving well." There seem to be so many authors lately who behave badly in the face of less-than-stellar reviews that this was a welcome change.

Anyhoo, I found my copy of this book at a used bookstore and snatched it up...because of its title and despite knowing that it dealt with certain tropes I wouldn't like. That was months and months ago. It wasn't until a few days ago that I found myself in need of cheesy fun, and Pregnesia seemed likely to fit the bill.


Harlequins are short, but, ever since slogging through Helen Bianchin's The Italian's Ruthless Marriage Command, I don't assume that the page count necessarily translates into "a quick read." That's why I was so grateful to discover that, whatever this book's faults, the one thing it's really good at is being fast-paced and a fairly quick read. I think this may be the first Harlequin Intrigue I've read - I don't usually buy them, because their covers tend to be so awful that I never even get as far as reading the back cover descriptions. However, judging by how action-oriented those covers tend to be, I'm guessing that "fast-paced" may be a requirement for the Harlequin Intrigue line. The next time I go used book shopping, I might have to pick up more Harlequin Intrigue books, because fast-paced romance can be a good thing at times.

If I do get more Harlequin Intrigues, however, I will try to get some that have fewer personal red flags than Pregnesia. I wasn't kidding when I said that the only thing that drew me to Pregnesia was its title. I might have been able to live with a romance novel featuring amnesia, depending on how it was handled, but an 8-month pregnant heroine - actually, a heroine who is pregnant, period - is so not my cup of tea. There is nothing I find less romantic in a romance novel than pregnant heroines, children, or babies. I will usually not even pick up a romance novel from the library (where my reading choices tend to be a bit more adventurous, since they are free) if it features any of these things, unless the author is Nora Roberts.

So, those who like or at least don't mind 8-month pregnant romance novel heroines should probably take this entire post with a grain of salt.

Like I said, this is an incredibly fast-paced story. Lucas falls in lust almost immediately, Jane (I'll call her this, even though it's not her real name) falls in lust once the head wound doesn't get in the way quite so much, and the two decide they are in love by the end of the book. Since the book's events only span maybe three or four weeks, that's a fast romance. It's a good thing that, with a title like Pregnesia, I went into this with lowered expectations.

Jane is the kind of romance heroine I tend to hate, a tiny blond with "the biggest, bluest eyes he'd ever seen." Oh, gag. She spends a lot of the book crying, and it was unclear to me whether she really wanted to stay out of danger. She repeatedly says that she doesn't want to go to the police, because she has a feeling that this will put her in even greater danger, but she has absolutely no problems with allowing Lucas to take her places she remembers having been, even though this increases her chances of coming across the dangerous people who are looking for her.

I wasn't all that impressed with Lucas, either. For a former Navy SEAL, he's awfully brainless about a lot of things. Considering that the chief of police is his friend, you'd think he would've tried harder to get Jane to agree to talk to the police. I didn't really understand why he was ok with sending a glass with Jane's fingerprints on it in to be analyzed, but he never thought to arrange a meeting between his police chief friend and Jane somewhere away from the police station.

Then there's the way Lucas dealt with all the various signs of danger. After his place is broken into, Lucas immediately realizes that people who are after Jane will soon figure out that his sister's place is the next most likely place Jane might be. Before meeting Jane, Loretta, Lucas' sister, was the most important person in his life. You'd think it would be a given that Lucas would fear for his sister's safety. Even if Jane wasn't at Loretta's place anymore, who's to say Jane's pursuers wouldn't decide to hurt Loretta or hold her hostage? But no, Lucas never even thinks about that. Instead, he hauls Jane off to a safe house and leaves his sister alone. You've gotta be kidding me.

Lucas' idiocy doesn't stop there. Instead of laying low after Jane is almost kidnapped, he takes her out to try to jog her memory with familiar places. True, I believe he has a gun on him all those times, but still. It seems overly risky, especially since 8-month pregnant Jane probably isn't mobile enough to get away from and outrun attackers, if Lucas were incapacitated or somehow separated from her. Also, taking Jane to lots of places advertises her whereabouts and who she's with to the people who are looking for her. That, combined with Lucas sometimes leaving Jane alone later on, doesn't seem very bright.

So, I was generally iffy about Jane and astounded at Lucas' partially missing brain. I also wasn't enthused by Jane's pregnancy, and not just because I don't find 8-month pregnant women to be conducive to romance. Jane is basically only pregnant in her belly. And in her lower back, although that disappears whenever it's inconvenient for her to have lower back pain. In fact, there's one part (which I can't find right now) where Lucas finds himself thinking how tiny and slender Jane is, with her pregnancy being like a ball in her belly but otherwise not affecting any other part of her appearance. That was an OMG passage for me. Jane is apparently not a pregnant woman, but rather just a woman with backaches and a basketball under her blouse. And the backaches are really just a way to ease the story into a sort-of sex scene.

One of the things I wondered when I started this book was how and whether Cassidy was actually going to include a sex scene between Jane and Lucas. Jane starts the whole thing, because Lucas, despite being totally in lust, is somewhat reluctant to make a move on a woman who obviously had a man in her life 8 months ago and may still have one in her life now. Also, he figures that Jane, being pregnant, is probably interested in a relationship rather than just sex, and Lucas is still afraid he's going to become like his abusive father.

Anyway, at one point Jane says she has a feeling that there is no longer a man in her life (right, because trusting an amnesiac to know something like that is such a good idea). Jane has Lucas rub her back because it's aching again, she moans a lot, he gets turned on, and Jane decides to move things to the next level. Lucas' resistance crumbles. The only reason Jane doesn't attempt to have actual sex with Lucas is because she has heard that sex can cause 8-month pregnant women to go into labor early. What does she do instead? A hand job. That's this book's one and only sex scene: a very pregnant woman giving a guy a hand job. You know, I don't need sex scenes in my romance novels - I think I could have done without one in this one. I had problems not rolling my eyes every time, later on in the book, either Lucas or Jane thought about how wonderful their night together was.

Oh, random thought connected to the whole "Jane is just a woman with a basketball under her blouse" thing: can an 8-month pregnant woman really "scoot" from the passenger's side of a car to the driver's side and back again? That can be hard enough to do gracefully when you're not pregnant - you'd think Jane would have had an enormously awkward time of it, if she could have even done it at all.

The last 50 or so pages of the book are just...I'm not sure I can do it justice. The book's villain seems somewhat confused about whether he wants Jane's baby or wants to kill her. If he had shot her, was his plan to then quickly cut Jane's baby out of her belly and get the baby to an on-site doctor? And when Lucas and his former Navy SEAL friends come to rescue Jane...there are so many potential problems with their "plan." They somehow manage to get hold of the floor plans to the house in just a matter of hours, and yet they don't know if the fence around the place is electrified. The number of other unknown dangers they might have had to deal with is mind-boggling. And not one of the guys seems to think about the possibility of being arrested, even though, if I remember right, one of them has a new fiancee and one of them has a pregnant wife. These guys have a lot to lose, they just don't act like they do.

Overall, this book was a quick read, which was just what I needed at the time, but not a very good one. Had Jane just been an amnesiac, and not a pregnant amnesiac, I might have been able to like this book a bit more than I did. I certainly wouldn't have been quite so turned off by the sexual interest developing between Lucas and Jane. Lucas would still have been a bit brainless, and the story still would have had occasional logic problems, but I could have just sat back and accepted it all as good, cheesy fun. As it was, yay, I can finally say I've read Pregnesia, but there is no way I'm ever rereading this. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, 8-month pregnant romance novel heroines are not my thing.


(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-05-15 15:16
Wow... the roller coaster of pure lust and desire
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, #3 Demonica, #8) - Larissa Ione

An erotic paranormal romance masterpiece !

Thanatos, the fourth Horsemen of the Apocalypse has been seduced and tricked by an Aegis woman called Regan Cooper. The most deadly and temperamental of the Horsemen was drugged with mead and lured into sex by the Aegis woman with the intention of getting her pregnant. The Aegis sent Regan on this ungrateful task because they thought that the child born from Death will end the Apocalypse. Regan agreed to undertake this task because she thought she would save billions of lives. No one knew that Thanatos was a 5000 year old virgin who strongly believed that his innocence was his Agimortus.

Regan achieved her goal but with dire consequences. Even though Thanatos' Seal didn't break, he was practically violated in his bed with the drugging and Regan's ability to extract souls from others. Regan ran right after the act but Thanatos managed to get loose and went after her. If not for Kynan and Shade who were waiting for her and Pestilence who managed to distract Thanatos, she would never got away. After she disappeared through Harrowgate and Pestilence left him alone, he lost it. Thanatos raged and his souls got out of his armor killing almost all the inhabitants of Greenland. His brother and sister put him down with hellhound saliva and kept him down once they realized Regan was pregnant. They did it for him but it hurt nonetheless.

Thanatos was immobilized for eight and a half months on Ares' island in Greece. He had no idea why Regan did that to him nor did he knew she was pregnant. All he knew was rage and hate and the idea of revenge. He succeeded in escaping his prison and now he was drawn to her. He found her in the Aegis headquarters in Berlin. He didn't know how he found her until he realized he was going to become a father.

Thanatos was left with little choice. His revenge or his son. He chose the latter. He took Regan in his home and tried his best to make her feel comfortable despite everything she did and once he learned why she did it, his anger toned down a notch. The unlikely parents-to-be had a lot on their plate. How to mend their differences, how to care for an innocent child, how to overcome Thanatos' fits of rage and Regan's OCD behavior... and most of all, who are traitors amongst Thanatos' staff and how the stop Pestilence along with the upcoming Apocalypse.





The absolute best book I've read so far from the author Larissa Ione. It made me stay up all night. It made me angry, sad, fearful, happy and amazing. It's a beautiful heartwarming story with a pregnant heroine at the center of the storyline and a hero who loves his child but doesn't know how to act towards a pregnant woman. It's filled with humor and that awwww moments which are so rare these days.

Thanatos, that gorgeous, lethal, tattooed, blond-haired vampire Horsemen is my dream come true. He is the perfect hero in all of my fantasies. He was tricked by a human Aegis woman into losing his innocence and having sex with her (even though she was also intoxicated by the strange mead and her actions got a little bit out of control). He was held by his siblings a prisoner for eight and a half months because no one trusted him to keep his rage under control and not killing innocent people. He had to watch Jersey Shore for crying out loud. When he managed to escape and locate Regan after all that time, he didn't kill her, he didn't harm her. He took her to his home and watched over her. True that things would probably be different if she wasn't pregnant but she was. And he was going to be a father. From virgin to father in almost an instant. Funny how things turn around in no time at all. Regan betrayed him but he still cared for her and with the passing of each day he truly cared for her more and more. It wasn't just about the baby, no, he wanted and needed her by his side.

The way he treated his pregnant woman was so heartwarming I almost teared up. The happy tears of course. He was so tentative and careful and loving and fiercely overprotective that I really wished he existed so he could show the men around the world how to get things done. Despite his anger and rage, he treated her like a delicate flower, like a queen. He kept his temper leashed and his feelings under wraps. His dark past and his vile actions disappeared once he realized he created - life. A baby boy. Or a pony boy as Regan called him. He gave everything for that child and he said he would trade his soul for him if needed.

Regan was a woman who you needed to get to know to, to like her. Or hate her. Because she had everything a woman could ever wish for. And she almost gave it away. She planned from the beginning to give the child to a family who could care for him in ways she couldn't. And she probably would have if Thanatos hadn't kidnapped her and took her under his wing. She is a complex woman with a difficult past and a lot of personal issues. From the feeling how she owed her life to the Aegis just because they didn't kill her as an infant to constantly proving how she was equal to men in the said organization. Her OCD and feeling of abandonment spiraled as she tried to fix her past mistakes and the guilt that was eating her up. She isn't one of my favorite characters but I believe that's just because I'm jealous of her. You know, a drop dead (no pun intended) male in her life who almost any woman would kill for, an immortal one at that, a beautiful baby boy with a family of immortal people who would give their lives to protect him, riches beyond belief, a sexy father of all vampires in bed every day, a pet hellhound... you see where I'm going with this.

The book is a beautiful mixture of dealing with personal relationship and parenthood issues and action in fighting the upcoming Apocalypse. The author masterfully intertwined the plague and deaths around the globe, evil Pestilence's plots, betrayal of the Horsemen on both ends of the rope, angels who are usually only bystanders while demons take all the charge, giving more time to the Demonica Series characters... I loved how she brought Azagoth in again. I love that guy. He reminds me of dealing with equivalent exchange in the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. He is also mostly good. I don't like those self-righteous always-right characters. Not everything is black and white. The characters must have some good and some evil in them to make them believable and to put some depth to the story.

Another thing I loved was Wrath. Oh, that damn hot vampire got a lot of time here and what's more important, he and Thanatos like each other. I was literally drooling while reading it. This book is so hot and steamy I almost burst into flames. My two favorite characters getting along. Oh damn. It's a good thing I have a strong heart, otherwise I might be visiting the angels or Sheoul (you never know XD) by now. What more is there to say? I recommend this book to all paranormal lovers out there. There is something for everyone and there was everything for me in the "Lethal Rider". It moved to my top shelf and into all of my fantasies.

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