Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Friday, February 19, 2021

Sin City Wolf: HOWL by January Bain


This is the first book in a series and it is a sizzling debut.  The world of billionaire werewolf Cristaldo Luceres (the people who work for him call him "sire") is filled with luxury. There's his expensive single-malt and his personal helicopter. And his bespoke suits.  It's also a world filled with danger--constant threats from a rival werewolf clan, the annoyance of dealing with a card counter at his flagship casino, the Glitter Palace--and the constant threat of betrayal. Although his clan his tight--his twin brother Lucius works closely with him, and their younger brothers are in school in Rome--there are temptations and power struggles, and all sorts of ...hungers.

This story of Cristaldo's cataclysmic connection to a woman who seemingly is fated to be his mate fuels the story, which  starts out hot and only becomes more incendiary. Because  unlike most of the women Cristaldo has met, Everly is not going to be a pushover.  She feels the attraction, but she doesn't have a great track record with men and there's a restraining order out on her last (her first) boyfriend, a dangerous psychopath. 

Bain has done a terrific job of building the world of this story. The characters  have real connections to other people--Everly to her two best friends--bandmates in a group they call THE SIRENS--and Cristaldo has his brothers and Serge, his consiglieri, and  Sly, the charming majordomo who's been put at Ellery's disposal. But there are also the characters from the other clans--all of them descended from Roman royalty and all of them with clashing agendas. There are also vampires in this world and they have a very interesting role in the werewolf world.

The course of true love is never smooth, even if it's between a man and a woman fated to be "Forever Mates."

There's a lot of heat in the love/sex scenes, including a spectacular take on the whole "dream lover" trope.  And yet,  the prose never shades over into purple. It's streamy. It's  hot, but it's not the kind of out and out erotica that can turn some readers off. (You will definitely be turned on.) 

Check  out SIN CITY WOLF: HOWL now. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Lovers Masquerade--a Valentine's Day boxed set

 Masquerade balls have been the setting for great romances all the way back to Romeo & Juliet. This collection--a shared world project--takes place at a high society charity ball hosted by Madeleine Kane (a lovelorn tech billionaire and secret matchmaker). Everyone who's been invited has been asked to wear a touch of pink or red, indicating their preference for finding true lover or just a sex partner. And what happens at Kane mansion stays at Kane mansion--if that's how the partners want it. 

Lovers' Masquerade is a sexy Valentine's collection of stories that share setting, characters, and intention--heating up your night! Some of the stories--like "The Phantom and the Cheeseburger"--have rom com roots, others flirt with 50 Shades of Grey withe their dominant billionaires flying their dates off to Greece in their private jets. There's plenty of playful banter, lots of tenderness, a few misunderstandings, and many surprises.

The women are relatable--Nicolette, who has not quite perfected the art or walking in a ball gown (Kick/Step) and therefore makes a spectacular entrance; Addie who stops into a lingerie store to buy some dainties only to have the snooty saleswomen ghost her, not realizing she's the owner's daughter; Madeleine, the party's hostess who is the very definition of "poor little rich girl." The men--alphas all--have dimensions. One man seems to have it all, but his mother is dying from complications of MS and not even his manager knows it. 

These bite-size bits of romance are a perfect diversion for a cold winter's night. Get lost with the lovers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde...a rewview

 There’s all sorts of magic in Vancouver—the Van Goghs who manipulate art, the Charmers whose magic is literally charming people—but the one kind of magic that isn’t supposed to exist is blood magic and when it appears, it’s cast by someone who’s not supposed to have any magic at all. 

Deborah Wilde’s Blood & Ash  is the first in a new urban fantasy series that offers a snarky heroine who has a complicated life, really good friends, and  a mother who’s deeply into human versus  magical politics. And oh yes, there’s also her prickly relationship with Levi Montefiore, the head of  the most powerful magic “house” in the city, and a someone who’s known Ash almost all her life. 

Did I mention Ash’s life is complicated? She is at the center of a spiderweb of intrigue that begins when she witnesses a strange paranormal  event in which a dark smudge-like  THING possesses  a woman after using  up its previous host  and leaving  him dead on the sidewalk. When something similar happens a few hours later, it becomes clear to Ash that something dark has come to Vancouver and it’s up to her to stop it. 

Wilde has put together a believable  world in which magic-workers and mundanes know about each other and coexist.  It’s a diverse place,  and  Ash (short for Ashira) has real-world problems that make her relatable. (Her  relationship with her mother is  particularly engaging because Thalia is…a  piece of work.) 

The mystery of what’s going on in the story has several levels, and one is very personal for our heroine.  The  stakes of what’s  going on  in the main story are real and consequential, and readers will be  rooting  for Ash  every step of the way. 

The world is steeped in Jewish  mysticism and  culture, and that  automatically sets  it apart from 99.9%  of the other  urban fantasies out there. And when a golem shows up, it feels only natural.

It’s  a lot of fun  being in Ash’s world, and the steamy dose of sexual healing that comes in at the end, feels like a treat. It also sets up part of what’s to come in the sequels. This is definitely something a little different.