Review: ‘Losing it: A Collection of V-Cards’ anthology — part two

Losing It

22 Bestselling YA authors reveal what went on behind the curtain in your favorite YA novels! From paranormal to contemporary, this collection features over 200 pages of ALL NEW CONTENT full of deleted scenes, extended endings, and more from the young adult series’ you love.

In this YA/NA crossover collection all of your favorite heroines are cashing in their VCards! YA just got steamy, sexy, and not afraid to go all the way!

Due to the graphic nature of some content, this collection is recommended strictly for mature readers.

Note: I was given a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

I reviewed the first eleven stories in this anthology here. My apologies to those authors I didn’t get to, but I didn’t just want to write a sweeping, generic review that didn’t touch on any specifics. And there are twenty-two of you!

Of Fire (A Dark Faerie Tale series) by Alexia Purdy. This is a fae fantasy — again, I expect you guessed that — and is also written from the man’s point of view, which I found captivating. The only thing that bothered me is when he thought about his lady love as being pure, untouched by another. Maybe some people like that, but it gives me an icky feeling, because it suggests that once you’ve had sex you’ve been tainted.

Our Someday (The Double Threat series) by Julie Prestsater. A contemporary tale, this story was sweet but the balance felt a little off. There was no lead-in to the two characters going to their hotel room, but then there was a lot of looking back and introspection, even immediately before they had sex. The scene afterwards was good, though.

The Ultimate Prize (The Elsker Saga) by S.T. Bende. I’ve read a book and novella set in ST Bende’s sweet new adult urban fantasy world. It features the Norse gods, especially the very hot god of winter, Ull. This scene is actually Kristia dreaming of seducing her traditionalist boyfriend, and of him losing control. I was as disappointed as she was when she woke up!

The Release of Rae (Ovialell series) by Tish Thawer. I looked this series up on Goodreads and saw that it’s an adult PNR series, which surprised me — I thought the books this anthology draws on were all YA (with some NA, like Elsker). Still, this story was magical — fae — and sweet rather than sizzling. It felt more YA than some of the YA-inspired stories!

A Valkyrie’s Song (The Runes series) by Ednah Walters. This UF/PNR had a decent introduction before the main event, which I’ve come to conclude from reading this anthology is my favourite kind of story. The encounter was magical, but I felt a little cheated by the memory loss at the end. That’s a personal thing — it feels like just about the meanest thing you can do to a character.

Fire Stone (The Cornerstone series) by Misty Provencher. The start of this story really, really reminded me of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, so I was hooked — far more by the setting and the events than by the sex, to be frank. Also, the prose was beautiful. I then spent ages reading reviews on Goodreads trying to find out more! Another for my TBR pile.

Selfish (The Waiting series) by Ginger Scott. A contemporary told from the point of view of a reformed jock with his quite timid new girlfriend, this is a really sweet look at a guy seeking to prove himself worthy of her. It’s not my usual genre but is very well done.

Sealing the Bond (Forged series) by A.O. Peart. This story is a paranormal with a fantasy vibe. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into this one — there was too much backstory, largely expressed through sometimes stilted dialogue. Your mileage may vary, though.

Rosaline’s Redemption (The Arotas series) by Amy Miles. Another paranormal romance (or maybe urban fantasy — given the context it’s hard to tell!), this story is told largely through flashback to a battle that feels medieval but may be set in the future. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, though. A combination of the setting and the encounter itself make this story stand out from the rest.

Adventures in Dating (Funeral Crashing Mysteries) by Milda Harris. This is a cute contemporary. I loved the narrator’s voice — at first I was a bit alarmed that things seemed to escalate from first kiss to touchdown in the space of one scene, but it all makes sense in the end. 

Wolf Passion (The Wolf Trilogy) by M.R. Polish. There is one last paranormal romance / urban fantasy to round out the set. The scene was sweet, but I was a bit shocked at how naive the leading lady was about certain things, especially as she is apparently at least eighteen (if the blurb for the first novel in the series is to be believed). Still, her surprise was kinda adorable, and I had a genuine laugh out loud moment.

Final thoughts

One thing I’ve come to realise in reading this anthology is that I’m not wild about sex scenes where magic enhances the experience in an intangible way. Fangs, claws and wings are fine because they are solid things that I can imagine, but bursts of tingling energy — on their own — don’t really do anything for me. That might be just me, though. :p

There’s definitely going to be something in this anthology for everyone who is interested in male/female pairings (sadly there were no LGBT encounters), regardless of your tastes in genre fiction. And it was a great way to discover new-to-me authors.


Four stars

Review: ‘Losing it: A Collection of V-Cards’ anthology — part one

Losing It

22 Bestselling YA authors reveal what went on behind the curtain in your favorite YA novels! From paranormal to contemporary, this collection features over 200 pages of ALL NEW CONTENT full of deleted scenes, extended endings, and more from the young adult series’ you love.

In this YA/NA crossover collection all of your favorite heroines are cashing in their VCards! YA just got steamy, sexy, and not afraid to go all the way!

Due to the graphic nature of some content, this collection is recommended strictly for mature readers.

Note: I was given a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

You might think the idea of an adult content anthology based off a bunch of young adult stories is problematic, given the primarily teenage audience of the originals. But given there are a lot of adults (myself included) who read young adult fiction, and that teenagers grow up, it actually works.

There’s a huge variety of genres on display here within the young adult/new adult age bracket, so there’s something for everyone — so long as you want to read naughy scenes about folks’ first times. It’s also a great way to discover writers you might have otherwise not heard of.

My big regret with this anthology is that there was a certain amount of time pressure on me to read it, because these are the sort of stories that you want to read in isolation and savour rather than plowing through in one sitting. (Or maybe that’s just me!)

In fact, since I decided to write a paragraph on each book, I’ve decided to post this review in two halves. I have read more than I’m covering here, but I’ll save them for the next post.

Discovery (The Grimoire Saga) by SM Boyce. This one was intruiging. At first I thought it was set in a sci-fi universe, but it became apparent that it was parallel world thing. The male (I’m not sure man is the right word, though he has man parts), Braeden, spent a lot of time during his first, um, encounter, worried that he might shapeshift somehow and that bad things would happen. I kind of wanted to see what would happen next if he did!

Unrequited Death (The Death series) by Tamara Rose Blodgett. This is one of my favourite stories in the anthology. It is part of a near future urban fantasy series. There’s just enough backstory that I could follow what was going on, it’s long enough that I had time to get immersed into the story, and the main action between Tiff and John was realistic, sweet and hot, all at the same time. I’ll be adding this series to my TBR pile.

His First Everything (Penny Black trilogy) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel. Another near future urban fantasy story, this one was over quicker than I’d like (often the case with firsts, I suppose!). The setting caught my eye, though, and I liked Penny, the female lead.

One Hour (Dirty Blood series) by Heather Hildenbrand. A paranormal story featuring werewolves, this one jarred a little bit for me. The writing was beautiful and the sex was steamy (lol), but the means by which Tara and Wes ended up together was bizarre. Maybe it’d make more sense if I’d read the books? Still, I enjoyed it.

Eternally Free (The Mythology series) by Helen Boswell. Another paranormal, this time with demons and something that is suggestive of vampires, but I’m not 100% sure about that. It didn’t really matter, though — the encounter was sizzling.

Jess and Giovanni (Stories About Melissa series) by Bethany Lopez. This is the first contemporary in the book, and although I love my spec fic, it was actually refreshing to read something where I wasn’t trying to guess the supernatural angle. The sex was more realistic too — no simultaneous climax, which is definitely a feature in a lot of the other stories. But it was still fun for everyone. Hooray for considerate male partners!

Wedding Night (Keegan’s Chronicles) by Julia Crane. This is an elvish urban fantasy — a genre after my own heart. But I found it a little hard to get into, as the story picks up at the start of the wedding ceremony, and includes all the vows. It was interesting to see a story written from the male’s perspective though. (Even the ones that are dual POV tend to switch to the female partner for the actual act.)

Suffering (The Tate Chronicles) by K.A. Last. This story is part of an urban fantasy series about angelic vampire hunters, and I was lucky enough to beta read it before Losing It came out. For me, it stands out because of the dark emotions that are part of the encounter. (The name of the story probably gives that away.) Not every first time is fireworks and passion. Regret is a real thing.

A Reunion Most Desired (Fragile Creatures) by Kristina Circelli. Another contemporary YA, this story tells of a late teens girl with an older man. Most of the stories so far have had more inexperienced male partners — with the attendant consequences — so I enjoyed seeing something different. And Caster is hot!

Love Spell (The Spellbound trilogy) by Nikki Jefford. A paranormal story containing witches, warlocks and a love potion (hence the name), this one is sizzling … although I wouldn’t want to be Gray when she comes back to herself after the potion wears off. Massive buyer’s regret, I suspect…

To Love a Werewolf (Judgement of the Six series) by Melissa Haag. Saying this is a werewolf-y urban fantasy doesn’t feel like I’m value adding much! I read from the author’s bio afterwards that she usually writes sweet NA and that doesn’t surprise me, as this is heavy on foreplay and fades to black on the actual sex. Still, that might be your thing!

I’ll post the other 11 mini-reviews in a few days time. (When I do, I’ll edit this post to link to them.)

Edit: you can find them here.

One Liner - Kristina Circelli

I have a confession to make… (and a sneaky cover reveal)

Over the past month, as well as being busy with edits on the second and third books in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy (which you’ll note is young adult urban fantasy) and spending some time drafting a young adult historical fantasy that doesn’t have a name yet, I’ve been busy with another side project.

I may have accidentally, sorta, kinda written an erotica novella. I tripped and fell and there it was. I swear!

It’s about 8600 words, which makes it about a tenth of the length of your average novel. (And I note that a tenth of the length is otherwise not a good thing in this genre… BOOM.) It is also urban fantasy — so I’m being consistent there, at least. Just not with the market.

My plan is to self-publish it under a pen name: Tammy Calder. Because the last thing I want is for some poor innocent who reads my young adult fiction to click on the “other titles” link and see something that might have their parents filing a law suit against me! For the same reason, I won’t be going crazy with promoting it on my blog or social media.

Otherwise, I’m treating it the same way I would any book I’d consider self-publishing. It’s had a couple of beta reads from friends who are still able to look me in the eye (phew!) and is now with my lovely editor friend Lauren McKellar to be whipped into shape.

(Haha, whipped*!)


Anyway, I have a cover all ready to go. Because Photoshop is fun. Wanna see?

Possessed cover

If you’re wondering why “Tammy Calder”, it’s because that’s my porn star name. You know that old game, where you take your first pet’s name and your first street name, and put them together? (What’s yours? Leave a comment!)

* Yes, I’m making light of the whole thing. It’s because I’m actually kind of nervous about this blog post, and I laugh when I’m nervous. It’s gotten me in trouble before. Many, many times.

This Writer’s Space: Amber A. Bardan

This Writer's Space

Today’s guest is the lovely Amber A. Bardan, whose debut, For Her Protection, came out on 30 May; as I draft this post it is climbing the Amazon charts! And because it’s her release week this post also includes a fabulous giveaway! Prizes include a $100 Amazon Gift Card, Romantic Swag, and 3 eBook copies of For Her Protection.

Where I Write

It used to be the lounge room couch with my laptop balanced on my knee. For the first time I now have my very own work space. I’m more than a little in love with it. It contains everything I need to work—including a closable door!

Mum’s you get it.

My favourite thing about where I write is that I’m surrounded by things that boost my creativity and inspire me—colours, scented candles, writing awards, my wedding photo, favourite books, not to mention it overlooks the backyard where I can watch my children play as I work.


Where I’m Inspired

There really is no one place. I’m inspired by so many things, but if I had to choose one thing or place that inspires me it would have to be Pinterest. In the time sucking arms of Pinterest I can create boards and fill them with all kinds of inspiration—pictures of characters, places, quotes and anything that matches my theme for a plot or story.

Amber_Where I'm inspired

To Be Read

I mostly buy eBooks these days so I keep track of what I want to read on Goodreads. It’s really a mix, but romance and fantasy top my lists.

Amber_To be read

For Her Protection

You shouldn’t mix business with pleasure.

Yet pleasure seems to be the one and only thing on Charlize’s mind the moment Connor steamrolls into her life. Desperate to save her family company, prove she’s more than a pretty face and worthy of being CEO, pleasure is a distraction she can’t afford.

She doesn’t want a bodyguard, especially not one whose caveman heroics kick her libido into hyperdrive. But surrounded by enemies and an attacker on the loose, there’s only one man she can trust with her life.

Connor knows better than to get personal with clients. Yet there couldn’t be anything more personal about his feelings for Charlize. From the moment he clapped eyes on her he wanted nothing more than to throw her over his shoulder and really give her something to scream about. He’ll get his uptight she-cat to unwind, preferably one orgasm at a time.

With Connor in her office, her home, driving her to sweet, merciless distraction, there’s only so long Charlize can resist his sexy, dominant brand of protection

About Amber

Amber A Bardan

After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her days as a graphic designer but her nights writing gritty, raw, erotic romance with heart.

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest



Free book: ‘The Art Lover’ by Maggie Wells


Starving artist Kelsey Tecato takes being The Templeton Museum’s artist in residence a little too literally. By day, she puts on a show of painting for the crowds that shuffle through the galleries, but at night, her muse runs wild.

Mitch Jameson is a guy’s guy. A cop moonlighting as a security guard, he has little use for the artsy-fartsy stuff, but the mysterious Ms. Tecato’s sexy portraits call to him.

So does an interior alarm.

When Officer Jameson goes to investigate, he finds a paint-splattered goddess working on a self-portrait–in the nude.

A couple tubes of paint and a roll in the drop cloths later, free-spirited Kelsey helps Officer Jameson discover his passion for art.

Buy from Amazon —  Retail Price: $0.99 Promotional Price: FREE 3–7 March 2014

Maggie WellsMulti-published author, Maggie Wells, is a deep-down dirty girl with a weakness for hot heroes and happy endings. By day she is buried in spreadsheets, but at night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, this mild-mannered married lady has a naughty streak a mile wide.

Fueled by supertankers of Diet Coke, Maggie juggles fictional romance and the real deal by keeping her slow-talking Southern gentleman constantly amused and their two children mildly embarrassed. They are the food purveyors to three dogs, a passel of fish, and one impertinent house rabbit she claims is the love of her life. Shh. Don’t tell her husband.

You can find her online at her website or blog, on Twitter, Facebook or on Goodreads.