Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mahalia Levey, Only Skin Deep

Title:  Only Skin Deep
Author:  Mahalia Levey
Rating:  Five Siren Stones

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Keywords:  Anthology, Multicultural 
Page Count:  169        
ISBN E-Book:  978-1-61885-377-6
Price:  $4.99 
Publisher:  Secret Cravings Publishing
Reviewer:  Stacey Krug


All Woman: Officer Taleena Harris may have looked like one of the guys in her uniform, but underneath lurked a sensual woman. Jason Treadway, her target had no clue he was key to fulfilling all her fantasies. He might be her boss, but she held all the aces. It was far past time to play them.
Jason Treadway had no desire to be a one woman type of man. That was until the Armored Company’s annual theme party. A mystery woman on the mechanical bull commanded his attention. He’d do anything for a night of being skin-to-skin with her. The only question… Would one night be enough?

Flaws and All: Nadja Mederios knows what she wants after months of watching Donato keep order at Club Mist, and an intervention from her best friend Taleena. As a lounge singer, she portrays a sensual, sultry woman, but she’s not the high-maintenance girl people assume she is. In fact, a tomboy lies beneath her protective costume. When the real woman comes to light, she hopes Donato finds her just as sexy as the mask.
Donato Falcone isn’t looking for commitment, but when someone touches Nadja without permission, rational thought leaves him and rage steps in. After his temper cools, he sees a different side of Nadja. Her sleek sophistication may well be a front for the girl who could be his forever, if he can find a way to break down her barriers.

Against All Odds: Four months of casual dating isn’t enough. Not for Derek Tresvant. His Deja may think financial security and a successful career are essential to a good life, but he disagrees. The numerous excuses she uses to push him away only entice him to prove he’s in the forever type.
If there’s one constant in life Deja Crane knows nothing is ever one hundred percent certain. After working her ass off to own her business and succeed on her terms, she’ll be damned if one hot sinful man will take all away from her with a marriage license, a picket fence and two point five kids. She’s got a plan of her own that doesn’t include messing with a man.


Only Skin Deep is an anthology by Mahalia Levey filled with three wonderful stories.

All Woman is a love story of how a girl gets her man to notice her as a woman.  Taleena has been sitting back and hoping to be noticed, until she decides to take the bull by the horns.  She does what it takes to win the eye of officer Jason Treadway.  His heart will follow.

Taleena and Jason have some steamy love scenes that will have the reader looking for more and Ms. Levey delivers.  There is an excellent segue into the next story Flaws and All that doesn’t leave you feeling like you are reading separate stories.

I just loved Nadja and Danato’s story in Flaws and All.  It pulled at my heartstrings and left me with a wonderful feeling.  God knows that we aren’t short on women with self-esteem issues, but it’s the male that can reassure and build her up again that is in short supply. 

Donato sees Nadja for who she is and supports her and her interests.  It doesn’t hurt that some of their interests coincide.  Donato’s thoughtfulness will help Nadja heal and the reader gets a glimpse.

Deja and Derek’s love story, Against All Odds, is out of this world with twists and turns that will keep you glued to the pages.  There are so many obstacles for these two to overcome that it is questionable to the very end whether they can make it work.  They each carry secrets from their past that may prevent them from sharing a future together. 

Deja and Derek share a tumultuous journey together that was enjoyable to read.  The story ended, but it was left open to continue with other characters in the future.  This is one group of friends and family that I will want to revisit.

I really loved how all the main characters in each story play secondary roles in the other stories.  We get to see them again and get a little update on their lives.  The playfulness, goofing off, texting, and teasing between characters gave them each depth and brought them to life.

Only Skin Deep is a terrific compilation of contemporary stories that will run you through your gamut of emotions.  Don’t miss out.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Iced, Karen Marie Moning

Title: Iced
Series: Dani O'Malley, Book One
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Adult
Rating: Five Stars

I’ve read and heard several reviews about Iced, but as I had it in my hands less than four days after its release (signed by the author, YES!). Most of them were assumptions made, because Dani, the lead of Iced, is only fourteen years old.

I wondered. Trust me, I wondered. I also know KMM breaks literary and social laws/barriers left and right. Because of this, she had me hooked halfway through Darkfever. I will readily admit, I read the Fever series three consecutive times in a row. Being an author in predominate romance, the mainstream, overdone romantic arc gets a little old.

True to form, Karen Marie Moning broke molds, smashed through misconceptions, still possessing grace to curve around and through the delicate issues. Dani O’Malley is barely out of her pre-teens in an adult world. This isn’t YA, and shouldn’t be treated as such. From the carefully laid background and foreground of the surrounding characters, I see the brilliance behind the words, and cannot wait for Burned, coming out later next year.

Dani grew up hard and alone, even amoung a crowd. She’s young, temperamental and on the brink of self-discovery that will reform her into maturity. Some hints of her past are peppered through Iced, but it’s looking at her demeanor and behavior that’s key. Growing up fast sucks. Growing up “after the wall fell” is ten times as harder. I loved her character, how she deals with issues of the fae overriding her world. In her position, with her personality and age, I’d expect her to act exactly as she does.

Ryodan is everything Jericho Barrons is and we loved, with a subtle factor added in. Practiced social charm and poise, a polished quality that allows him to walk through society with any path he chooses. Quietly, or loudly, with niceties or rage, he wields those around him by any means that fits his mood.  

The rundown on the secondary characters. Jo. I hated her in the Fever series, and I hate her more now. Dependent, rose-colored glassed women always have that effect on me. The plot twist that encircled Jo and Ryodan’s escalated relationship had me sardonically laughing and railing at the same time. The only aspect I can see coming from that, Ryodan is using Jo yet again to manipulate Dani. Simple as that. Christian. Just ick. I understand the whole “becoming an Unseelie Prince” has to be a shock to him, but still. He has become psychotic, schizophrenic, ever-changing sociopath. But strangely, his heart, a tiny part of it anyway, just might be in the right place, in a very twisted sort of way. Kat—awesome insight into her introvert, unwillingness to lead, but does whatever it takes to succeed personality. Dancer. The perfect balance for a best friend. Intelligent, resourceful, and levelheaded, he is the grounding point for such a large character as Dani O’Malley. Lor—I’d said it during Fever, and I will say it now, more Lor! Something about his throw-back-to-cavemen-mentality, mixed with dark humor is highly entertaining. As for Mac and Jericho, they didn’t have much screen time, certainly not enough to see any progression in their characters or relationship. We shall see in Burned, the second Dani O’Malley book.