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Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston

Wolf with Benefits
By: Shelly Laurenston
Publisher: Brava 
Published:  March 26, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Length:  Novel
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date: March 26, 2013

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

First off. I do not love this book because my name is Toni….*smiles*…I love it because it is kick butt funny, has endearing crazy characters and a twisted new plot. So why wouldn’t I love it!

Toni may not be a progeny, but there is no one that can manage her family better. With ten siblings, yes ten, she has her hands full. As the oldest in this jackal family she tends to ensure the safety, security and all around wellbeing of each and every one of them. She adores them all and is willing to give up her own happiness to make sure they are happy and well taken care of. Well about her? She needs to let go and find happiness, but it might be the hardest and scariest thing she has ever done.

Ricky Lee is the epitome of laid back. Don’t underestimate him, but with a rather serious older brother and a prankster younger brother, he tends to be in the middle in most things. When he first sees Toni’s wild untamed curls all he wants to do is run his hands through them. The problem is she has little linebackers guarding her and they don’t want his interference. Ricky Lee is not deterred. He loves a challenge and he may have just found one in this little she-jackal.

Once Toni gets the boot out of her home to go find her own life, she is unexpectedly shackled to a persistent wolf. He fires her up and is unsure what to do about it. She has stubborn bears to negotiate with, siblings to fret over and danger everywhere she goes. On second thought, he actually might just be the fix she needs to help calm her down. Why isn’t it perfect that he is all ready to help her out? What a prince!

Toni was an unexpected pleasure. She’s a character that I think most moms would be able to relate to. She is the go to person for everything her family needs and is constantly being pulled in every direction. I loved her. Ricky Lee is her complete opposite, but exactly what she needs. Ms. Laurenston did a great job uniting these two.

Ms. Laurenston is known for her scorching romance, but in Wolf with Benefits it was late in coming. On one side I was disappointed, but on the other I enjoyed the journey that these two lovers endured. My disappointment ended there and trust me, she more than makes up for it. She brought back a few prior characters, wrote an intriguing plot and once they started burning up the sheets…whoa! I will have to mention that she wrote some “monsters” that will have you cringing and laughing. They are bunch of selfish little buggers you want to smack and hug in the same moment.

If you like Ms. Laurenston’s work you won’t be disappointed. She has written a solid book. From beginning to end, I had a blast. Fair warning though, this is book #8 in the Pride series. I think it could be read alone, but to get the full benefit of the humor, history and essence of the novel; I think you shouldn’t jump start with Wolf with Benefits. I have yet to read one of her books that I couldn’t put down. Laurenston is pure bliss for me.

Phantom Shadows by Dianne Duvall

Phantom Shadows
By: Dianne Duvall
Publisher: Zebra
Published: October 2, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: March 22, 2013

Dr. Melanie Lipton is no stranger to the supernatural. She knows immortals better than they know themselves, right down to their stubborn little genes. So although a handsome rogue immortal seems suspicious to her colleagues, Sebastien Newcombe intrigues Melanie. His history is checkered, his scars are impressive, and his ideas are daring. But it's not his ideas that have Melanie fighting off surges of desire . . .

Bastien is used to being the bad guy. In fact, he can't remember the last time he had an ally he could trust. But Melanie is different — and under her calm, professional exterior he senses a passion beyond anything in his centuries of experience. Giving in to temptation is out of the question — he can't put her in danger. But she isn't asking him . . .

Phantom Shadows in the third book in the Immortal Guardians series. Ms. Duvall’s vampire world is action packed and filled with deliciously sexy immortals. Need I say more?

Bastien could be a poster child for bad boys; gorgeous, angry, misunderstood and tortured. Man you gotta love them bad boys! For the last two years, he has been working with the Immortal Guardians. All of his existence has been trying to destroy them, so it’s understandable that they are leery of him and would rather see him die a painful violent death. His view on the situation…bring it on boys!

Melanie has watched how the immortals have treated Bastien and she is confused. While she has seen the bad side of him, she has also seen the good. She might not understand why everyone hates him, but she is more curious with how much she desires him. Following her feelings, she needs to figure out how to convince him that he is worthy of her attention. Their blossoming romance may be the last thing they should be developing right now, but it is exactly what they both need.

The battle Bastien started years ago is escalating and needs to be stopped before all hell breaks loose. The immortals need to let the past go and Bastien needs to look towards the future and Melanie just needs to survive. Can these three sides find a way to bring it all together and save all they know and cherish?

I’m always game for a great vampire story and Ms. Duvall doesn’t disappoint. Her vampires have humor and brawn and for me that is a perfect combination. In this third novel, we get to see the other side of the resident black sheep, Bastien. I could tell from earlier books in the series that he was not what he seemed and I couldn’t wait to read more about him. I really enjoyed the development of Bastien and the view that he really is “human” and cares deeply and will likely love even deeper.

I’m not sure if I would consider Phantom Shadows a standalone book. Both the prior novels are referenced often and when I went back to reread a scene that I forgot, I realized how intertwined the novels are. Ms. Duvall has done a great job with continuity and storytelling and I believe this series should be read in order.

Phantom Shadows is a fantastic addition to a richly developed series. The action is exhilarating and the love scenes are heart pounding. This is top notch reading and high quality paranormal world building. So grab the Immortal Guardians series with both hands and hold on tight. These guys really know how to take you on a ride of your life!

How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days
By: Saranna DeWylde
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Published: February 26, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Length:  Novel
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: March 10, 2013


Drusilla “Tally” Tallow does. Both fallen and otherwise because she’s got ten days of Heavenly and Infernal Parole after knocking Falcon Cherrywood from his broom. All she wanted was to settle down with a nice warlock, have babies, and grow old together. But she’s got a bad habit of falling for the wrong warlock. She blames Cupid. Too bad her Heavenly Parole Officer is none other than the heart bandit himself—the newly appointed Cupid and current fixture in all her fantasies, Falcon Cherrywood.

After smiting Cupid with a fireball, Falcon Cherrywood must now play the Diapered Archer. He can’t think of anything more humiliating than flying around in pink wings shooting arrows into hopeless fools. Archery was never his strong suit and Falcon doesn’t even believe in love. But more troubling are the feelings his sinfully irresistible parolee sets off in him—for only Tally has the power to make him believe in things better left to fairy tales, like Happily Ever After.

How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days is an entertaining addition to the 10 Days series.

Tally is having a crappy life. She is a loser in love, a pariah to her people and now a parolee. She has ten days to prove she is worthy of a second chance. Ten long days to be cooped up with a male that has always owned her heart, but has always viewed her as a little sister. Ten days to show that she doesn’t deserve to go to hell and that she can change. Ten days for her life to be altered forever.

Falcon is having a crappy life too. One awry fireball and now he’s Cupid; diaper and all. How can a man who doesn’t believe in love be forced to spread love around? He doesn’t understand it. But that is what his life has become; living in pastels and sparkles. It’s all he can do to prove he is still a manly man. He is now being forced into the position of parole officer to a woman he has always desired. He didn’t think his life could get worse, but it may have. How can a Crown Prince of Heaven slake his desire for the one woman he always wanted when it is a big no-no? Dang, being a Prince isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Their ten days together is a learning experience for both of them. It is full of revelations and discoveries, desires and disappointments. These two troubled souls will defy what is expected of them and will discover what love is all about.

While I rate this the same as the prior book, How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days, I have to say I may have actually liked it more. There was less “bahaha” funny and had more depth in the plot. I like the slight direction change that Ms. DeWylde has decided to take. It was very nicely balanced and reads very smoothly. How to Seduce an Angel is wonderful light read with tons of heart.

I especially like that we were visited by prior characters and their stories were intertwined a bit. Not in an overpowering way, but I can feel that Ms. DeWylde is setting up future novels. I am definitely adding the 10 Days series to my must read list. I have enjoyed everything about them. These novels have a lighthearted feeling to them along with whimsical humor, practical plots and appealing characters; a winning combination! This is a vividly entertaining series.

How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days
By: Saranna DeWylde
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Published: September 25, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: March 8, 2013

Got Warlock?

Middy Cherrywood does. She’s got more warlock than she can hex with Dred Shadowins. He isn’t just a billionaire playboy and Weekly Warlock centerfold. He’s a spy for the High Chancellor, and he convinces Middy to pose as his fiancée for his latest mission. Too bad no one told his mother before she slipped Middy a potion that will make their sham engagement all too real in just ten days.

Dred Shadowins already has his hands full with cursed objects, possessed nuns, and dreams where Merlin makes him pay for taking his name in vain by relating his sexcapades with Nimue. But by the end of the mission, he’s convinced his most difficult challenge is the hero’s cape Middy’s draped over his shoulders. Because he wants nothing more than to give her the one thing he may not be capable of providing: Happily Ever After.

Oh yeah! Aha, now this is what I’m talking about! While I liked How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days, I REALLY liked How to Marry a Warlock. Ms. DeWylde was just warming up before and now she is ready to run with it.

Dred Shadowins was the bane of Middy Cherrywood’s existence in the Academy. He was the typical boy who tormented girls. He grew into a man that continued to torment them too, but in a *ahem* different way.

Middy’s nightly fantasies revolve around Dred, but it is a secret that she guards tightly. He is a womanizing jerk, but after the funding for her next big charity event falls through she must go to him for a very large donation. This is not Middy’s idea of fun. His favorite taunt for her was calling her Cherry-Would-If-She-Could. Now she is all grown up and even though Cherry-Hasn’t, she will not allow him to intimidate her. She needs this for the children and she will endure what he dishes out.

Yes, he knows he’s a bastard, but when he sees something he wants he gets it. After witnessing Middy blossom into a stunning woman, Dred wants her. Even though he already planned to donate to the cause, he uses the event to worm his way into her life. Before he could partake of Ms. Middy, circumstances change and now he needs her help. Something else Dred didn’t expect was to become the hunted. Middy is out to have a little taste of the “real” Dred and he’s hard pressed to keep it strictly business.

From donator to fiancé, things escalate quickly. He needs to find the conspirators, protect his identity and keep his hands off Middy. Well after a visit to his aunts, he also has to safeguard his heart. Poor, poor Dred. What is a man to do?

My first thought about this book, when I was only a few pages in was that this is Harry Potter for adults. I’m not sure if Ms. DeWylde planned it that way, but it worked for me. I was sitting in my reading nook, downright ecstatic. I loved HP and the idea we can see the adult side, had me a very happy camper. For example: when I say Middy’s nightly fantasies revolve around Dred, they really do. Remember how the articles in HP came to life on the page; well in Ms. DeWylde’s version, they actually come to life!! Now take a moment to think on that and the advantage for fantasies!

OK, now that I got your attention, How to Marry a Warlock is a very good, saucy read. The humor in the first two thirds of the book was out-and-out hilarious. While it became bit more serious towards the end, it didn’t take away from the story. Laughs were still to be had.

How to Marry a Warlock can be read alone. As I said in my prior review, I hoped to see the characters return from the first novel and they did. Not how I expected them to and not as many either, but they helped this story along very nicely. From reading the next blurb for How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days, I can’t see that being the case. They are prior characters and I can’t imagine reading it without the backstory. You won’t be disappointed, so pick up How to Marry a Warlock and How to Lose a Demon. I’m truly enjoying this new series.

Snarky characters, exciting new universe and a winning plot all make up How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days. It’s a fast and entertaining read that will keep you turning the pages. Be prepared to lose yourself, but you’ll have a great time at it. It’s a marvelous world and I am so glad I visited it. Great job Ms. DeWylde!!

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days
By: Saranna DeWylde
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Published: August 28, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Length:  Novel
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  March 8, 2013

Got demon? Grace does. She's got more demon than she can saddle. In fact, she's got a sinfully sexy Crown Prince of Hell named Caspian. She's also got ten days to get rid of him or Bad Things shall ensue. See, her Russian mobster ex-boyfriend didn't take kindly to her smutty Mephistophelean contract. It's not that she's conspiring with fiends; that was his idea. It's that she's conspiring against him with outrageous devilry that runs the gamut from embarrassing to a dead hooker turned dominatrix demon gunning for his soul. One should never trust demons, let alone shag them. They don't have hearts. Yet Grace is buying hers some slightly tarnished armor and hoping that once he's been shoveled into it, kicking and screaming, he'll find it's just his size. This damsel in distress needs a dark knight for a Happily Ever After.

Fun start to what looks to be a great series!

Grace is in need of some demon assistance. For four years she has been battling her ex and she has finally decided to call in the big guns. Those so called guns come in the form of one Crown Prince of Hell, Caspian. Oh yummy, yum-yum. The old adage of tall, dark and handsome totally describes Caspian. Oh, you can also throw in sex-on-a-stick and walking wet dream while you are at it. Revenge comes first and then well maybe she can….oh never mind. Anyways, now that she has the ability to fight her ex, Michael, she just has one other thing to do; she must pay Caspian’s price for the contract.

Caspian could be called a bit of a show off. When his amazing entrance at his summoning does nothing for the gorgeous woman in front him, he is perplexed and intrigued. Normally women are falling at his feet and this goddess is not even batting an eye at him. Well he knows how he can change that…the terms of the contract. She must sleep with him if she wishes to use him to ruin Michael (imagine Grace doing a private happy dance). Too bad his plan backfires on him and he may be losing more than he planned for.

Their attraction is instant and they practically burn up the sheets, but what do you expect from a sizzling gorgeous demon. Caspian can make every one of Grace’s dreams come true and let me just say it is delicious! In the end, is their love making going to be enough for them. Neither believes a life together is possible, but for extremely different reasons. What they didn’t know is that there are other forces at play.

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days is different, but not in a bad way what’s so ever. It’s has moments of brilliance, some good laughs and a plot that I have never read before; all that makes it a good “different”. I think I’m unsettled because I think I was expecting more laughs, Michael being tortured more and while the different point of views were nice they became too much. I felt like I was missing out on things even though I was seeing into others perspectives. How to Lose a Demon is a really fun read, but at times the humor just didn’t do it for me. But that being said, there is one scene that will forever be burned into my brain. I will forever view the act of getting caught during sex differently!! Ms. DeWylde’s take on it, cracked me the heck up. If she could make that one singular act worse, she did. Those poor lovers *snicker*.

Ms. DeWylde’s new series, 10 Days, is a winner. She ranks high in originality for plot and distinctive situations. Her ability to bring it all together is perfect and I’m happy with the final product. I’m just not all tingly and gitty. I’m pleasantly content. After reading the epilogue, I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing these specific characters again, but my fingers are crossed. They were very entertaining and the brought a smile to my face.

I do believe she has unlocked a new universe with endless possibilities. 10 Days is a refreshing new take on paranormal. It snatches you from the ordinary and makes paranormal fun again. I’m here for the duration and heading out now to get in line for the next installment, How to Marry a Warlock, out now!

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