Bane by L.J. Shen



Fans of L.J. Shen have been demanding this story about the surfer bad boy, who liked to ride the waves naked. He first appeared in Scandalous as the sometimes high school boyfriend of Edie.  He was sexy, wicked, and yet caring. He was protective of Edie, his former girlfriend. Bane is a beautiful, Russian American demi-god. What was there not to love about him?

Yet the title is almost a tease. Yes, the hero is Bane. Bane is still wicked, he runs several criminal and legitimate enterprises. He is a gigolo, who provides sex for money and favors. In exchange for a large sum of money, he is willing to befriend and take under his wing the damaged stepdaughter of a wealthy man.

However, it is the heroine, Jessica Carter, who dominates the story. After a horrific gang rape,  she has become a recluse. She only leaves her home to see her therapist and the elderly lady living next door. Haunted by nightmares, she tries to run from her demons.

As he earns the trust of the wary Jessica,  Bane is torn by conflicting emotions.  He feels guilt for his deception.  Bane is protective of Jessica. He feels strongly about Jessica and feelings are not a comfortable fit for Bane. Jessica is not torn. Despite the horrors of her past, Jessica’s friendship with Bane awakens her lust for life. As Jessica comes to life, she must face her nightmares.

Without giving away too much, Bane and Jessica are transfigured by the end of the story. While the prince is willing to slay dragons for her, the princess saves herself. Isn’t that the best story?






Cover Reveal-Bane by L.J. Shen


Bane, the highly-anticipated next standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series by L.J. Shen is coming May 10th!

Bane by L.J. Shen
Release Date: May 10th
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser at RBA Design
Photographer: Pavel Lepikhin
Model: Vadim Ivanov

Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.
Jesse Carter
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the f****** teeth for it.


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Ironbound by Mel Sterling

It is hard for me to resist any story involving the fae. The first book in this series, Trueblood was good. This book was superlative.  It had everything I could want in a  fantasy book. The author creates a colorful world in the fae live in hiding in Portland.  In addition to a rousing, good adventure story, there  is a sexy, satisfying romance.

As with any good story involving the fae, there is a power struggle. The dark, foreboding Hunter has rebelled against the queen of fairies. He has to lead a pack of followers out of the queen’s domain. But he must find shelter and food for his followers.

Hunter finds help from an unexpected source. Dove, a human,  was captured by one of the Unseelie following the Hunter. While Hunter saved her from rape and murder, he still keeps her prisoner. But Dove’s skills as a blacksmith might enable her to win her freedom.

But negotiating with the fae takes skill. Humans seldom succeed.  This was amply demonstrated in the first book in this series, Trueheart. The heroine of Trueheart appears in this story.  Tess is now birch girl. She is in danger of becoming a tree and going into dormancy for the winter. Trying to cling to her humanity, she and her lover, Thomas, also must negotiate with Hunter for a chance to regain their humanity. Hunter plans to use Dove, Thomas, and Tess in his fight against the Unseelie Queen.

But the Unseelie Queen is already hunting them. Her reach is much longer than any of them know. And the queen is not hesitant to attack the most vulnerable, the humans first.

Loved this book. I highly recommend the series.



The End Zone Review and Giveaway


This is a smoking hot friends to lovers novella. Unlike far too many romance novellas, this story packs a polished, complete romance in the novella format. The reader will be thoroughly satisfied. Jolie Louis and Sage Poirer are lifelong friends, who continue their friendship in college. They are even roommates.

Sage’s handsome, chiseled body and status as the star quarterback has made it easy for him to manwhore through a never-ending supply of eager females. But despite her deep feelings for her friend, Jolie is not interested in joining his harem.

Sage has never been threatened by Jolie’s boyfriends. They were all wrong for Jolie. But when a fellow teammate and the perfect guy expresses an interest in Jolie, Sage gets angry. Then he realizes that he wants Jolie for himself.

As stated, this book is hot, hot, hot. The sexual attraction is palpable. The sex scenes are blazing. But the reader becomes aware that Sage has a secret, which might just end this romance.

I would highly recommend this novella. L.J. Shen remains one of my guilty pleasure writers. I just can’t get enough of her writing. To celebrate this new release, I am going to give away a free e-book of any L.J. Shen novel to one commentator to this post. Just post a comment on your favorite book read in 2018. I will pick randomly one winner on April 15, 2018.



Tarnished City by Vic James

Tarnished City

Last year, the first book in this series, The Gilded Cage, was my favorite book of the year. In a world where all the power and wealth is held by persons with magic and those persons lacking magic were condemned to ten years of slavery, it was a throat-clutching, emotionally gripping thriller of a fantasy novel.  Moreover, it challenged the reader to think about the abuse of power and enslavement.

This second book begins in despair. Luke, one of the heroes of the first novel, is imprisoned by a sadistic torturer for a crime Luke did not knowingly commit. Things do not improve. As in the real world, idealism, nobility, and courage aren’t always enough to fight cruelty, evil, and vast power.  Yet, Abi, Luke, Dina, and others do not surrender. They continue to strive.  They find allies. Sadly, they also see betrayal.

The novel reaches a boiling point. A savage, horrifying public execution of the rebels at the hands of a mob is staged when the author reminds us that heroes can be found in the unlikeliest persons.

This book kept me up late in the night. It was impossible to put down. Unlike The Gilded Cage, this novel reminded me of The Game of Thrones. Like the Game of Thrones, the reader becomes deeply immersed in the survival of the rebellious siblings, Abi and Luke, and their allies. Likewise, the reader keeps hoping for the punishment of evil. So far this hope has been unmet. Then there are the most complex characters, Silyen, Gavar, and the murderous Dog.  Assuredly not good people, but they evoke sympathy. Also, like The Game of Thrones, nothing can be taken for granted. The author is taking the reader on a journey, and the destination is uncertain. Like The Gilded Cage, this will be one of my favorite reads of the year. I highly recommend Tarnished City.


Popsugar Reading Challenge

For fun, I am doing the Ultitmate Popsugar Reading Challenge. Now I am not following the rules strictly. I did not read a Nordic noir in January. But I will read one this year. But I have read several books on the list. In February, I read a figure skating romance, from lukov with love by Mariana Zapata. I have also read several novels published in 2018. Next, on the list, I will read a book involving twins. I love twin stories. Below is the challenge.

January-Nordic Noir
February– A Book About or Involving Sport (Winter Olympics)
March-A Book About Feminism (Women’s History Month)
April-A Book that Involves a Bookstore or Library (National Library Month)
May-A Book About Mental Health (Mental Health Awareness Month)
June-A Book with an LGBTQ+ Protagonist (2018 Pride Month)
July-A Book Set at Sea
August-A Book with Characters who are Twins (National Twins Day is August 3rd)
September-A Book that is also a Stage Play or Musical
October-A Book About or Set on Halloween
November-A Book About Death or Grief
December-A Book that’s Published in 2018

Join the Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge on Goodreads. Here is the link,



Beauty is all that matters



In the archipelago of Orleans, individuals are born without beauty; they have gray skin and hair. Their eyes are red. But the citizens of Orleans worship beauty and they pay vast sums to be beautiful. All beauty comes from the magic of the Belles. The Belles are born beautiful. More importantly, they can create beauty. Camellia is a belle. And now on her sixteen birthday, she is competing with her sisters for the position of being Court belle.

But soon Camellia discovers that the glory and position she coveted for so many years has many perils. Beauty is a commodity. The wealthiest citizens undergo pain and near death to maintain their attractiveness. For some individuals, comeliness is a form of power, and they want to be the most beautiful in the land. Some individuals desire to abuse the power of the Belles to hurt others.

Then there are secrets. Why does Camellia hear crying at night? Who can she trust? Has her entire training been a lie? Soon Camellia discovers her sister Belles are also having difficulties with their new positions.

The Court is not a safe place for anyone. There is intrigue. There are power struggles. Eventually, Camellia must choose between her sense of honor and her duty. But her decision might be costly to everyone Camellia holds dear.

It was hard to put this novel down. The author created a fascinating world. The story begins with a competition. Despite the results, all the belles face perils in their new positions. There are deceptions on many levels. In the midst of this fantasy-mystery novel, there is an exploration of the dangers of beauty as a commodity. This novel both entertained and challenged the reader to consider an important issue regarding our culture and beauty.