Publisher: Samhain Publish Date: July 19th How I got this book: eARC from author
This is a short but very action packed novella featuring Secret kicking ass and taking names. Secret’s best friend has set her up on a blind date, and the last thing she wants to do is suffer through it. When Holden shows up with an assignment, it might provide Secret with the perfect change to ditch her date and go out doing what she loves.
But once on her date, Secret realizes she doesn’t want to ditch him, she actually likes the guy, but work gets in the way. She is forced to bring her date closer to the famous rouge so she can get her chance at killing him, but when he doesn’t want to be killed, and alludes Secret at every turn, she will have to go through hell and back to rid the world of him.
I love Urban Fantasy books, and the Secret Series is no exception. I both love and hate when authors give us little teaser novellas from their story lines, love them because it’s such a great chance to re-integrate into the world and learn a little more about our favorite characters. But hate them because the stories are always so short and never enough!
The one thing I love most about Dean’s writing is how action packed the story always is. Secret is one of those characters that always manages to come out on top, but the journey is never easy for her. She gets beaten and bruised and sometimes even a little broken before she gets to save the day, and I love that she isn’t perfect. The action in this short novella is jam packed and never lets down once it gets started, and I loved that.
I also really enjoyed watching Holden get so bent out of shape about Secret dating, and Secret’s cluelessness about it all. For a bright girl, she is kinda dense when it comes to relationships. The scorcher of a kiss that Holden plants on her is a “cover up” but damn hot! With the way Something Secret This Way Comes ended, I’m nervous to see where things with Holden go. Especially since this novella had me cheering for Holden the whole way through.
All in all, fans of Urban Fantasy will not want to miss any of the Secret books. They are fast paced, fun and always full of monsters and mayhem. Secret is a great character and has some fun snark to her. While the story was very short (just 50 pages or so), it was a great prequel to the Secret series.
I give The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters a B+...more
Publisher: Dark Dreams Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: eARC from author
Home About » Contact Review » Interview Miscellaneous » Sitemap Subscribe to RSS You are here: Home » Review – Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner Review – Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner
by MinnChica on AUGUST 19, 2011 in B REVIEWS, B- REVIEW, PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Publisher: Dark Dreams Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: eARC from author Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago’s vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.
To ensure Toni’s safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can’t explain. But unbeknownst to him…he’s tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.
Drake’s legendary heritage holds the key to Toni’s survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all – can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness? *Blurb from Goodreads*
After reading the first Darkness Within book, I was anxious for the second, and so excited when Turner asked if I was willing to review Drake’s book. I have to say though, the tone of this book felt very different to me than the first. It didn’t feel nearly as dark as the first book was.Drake is an assassin, and after coming off an extended string of contracts, he gets a protection order for a female vampire who needs someone to watch her back as she petitions to come back to live in Chicago. Too bad Drake can’t stand female vampires, and wants nothing to do with this assignment. But when he meets Toni and realizes that she is nothing like the female vamps he knows, he is unexpectedly drawn to her.
Toni’s lived the last three years on the road, and in constant hell. Her family was slaughtered, she didn’t get her revenge, and was forced to leave the only home she ever knew. When Drake follows her around the city and offers her protection, she can’t help but to start falling for him. When she realizes that he has been holding back secrets from her, and is then put immediately on the investigation of werewolves in the city, she might not get the chance to work out her feelings before the world turns on end.
One of the big things I enjoy about this series is that the games the ancient vampires play with their “pawns” is so twisted and dark and convoluted and wrong on so many levels. At the same time it’s awesome to try and read and figure out what all is going on. Who is on who’s side. What the desired outcome it, etc. etc. The ending little snippet with the two ancients and how they initiate their games like movements on a chess board was so intriguing and a little screwed up. But I love it!
I loved Drake from the first book, and kept on loving him through the second. He was mysterious and sexy and an alpha male to the core. I love that he went from hating all female vampires, to falling head over heels for Tony. Watching him peel back the layers for her, reveal new aspects of himself was great. I do feel though that there was so much more to Drake that we didn’t get. He is still somewhat of an enigma to me.
Toni was great as well. I liked her childish and carefree ways. It was so different from all the other characters that she really stood out in the world. She was a bad ass when needed to be, and yet sweet and caring and so young at times as well. I worried about her throughout the book though. at times she came across as so different. Sometimes she would be so strong and so fierce, and other times she was so sensitive and sheltered and insecure. There didn’t seem to be a ton of consistency to her character.
The romance between Drake and Toni was well done. I liked the conflict they went through together, as well as the struggles they had individually. I did feel that they came to love one another a little too quickly, especially for Drake. It was hard for me to imagine this stone cold killer who kept everything bottled so tightly would go from hating female vampire to falling for one in just two short days. It was a little rushed and sudden for me.
Like the first book, I was happy to see a great cast of secondary characters. Odin was back, although we didn’t get to see nearly enough of him. Turner has a wide selection of characters, and I almost felt that there are too many people to keep track of. I want to know more about everyone, but after a while started getting confused about who was who from the first story to the second and so on.
All in all this is a great sophomore novel from Turner. The story is dark and twisted and fabulous with all its secrets and plots turns. I hope that she continues to write in this world, because the world building is exceptionally done.
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: May 23rd How I got this book: NetGalley
I really loved this newest Carina Press release by Stevens. It reminded me so much of the fabulous Kowalski Series books by Carina’s great Shannon Stacey. It was fun, light, engaging, and sexy.
Brandy is the heiress to the fastest growing lingerie line in the states, but unlike most heiresses, she doesn’t like the spotlight, the paparazzi, or anything other than teaching high school choir. When she makes the first real impulsive decision to marry her boyfriend in Vegas, she freaks and runs out on her own wedding, onto the back of Marco’s bike.
Marco left his high powered life to run a bar in Vegas, and when Brandy hops onto the back of his bike in a horrible wedding dress, he is thrown for a crazy loop. Never one to leave a damsel in distress, Marco gives her a job at his bar, a place to sleep, and a chance to think her life through. When the two start heating up left and right, will they both be able to overcome their pasts to have a shot at a future?
Stevens does an amazing job of showcasing two incredible main characters. I absolutely loved that Brandy was this shy and quiet and reserved teacher who didn’t let the fame and money of her parents rule her life. Watching her journey from the shy school teacher to the confident and sexy bar waitress was so great, believable and fun. Some of the plot line regarding Brandy’s ex boyfriend Gordon wasn’t my favorite part of the story, but I did enjoy the way it all wrapped up so nicely in the end.
Marco was also such a great character. Although he was incredibly conflicted with his career prior to owning the bar, and living with the guilt and stress of his past decisions, he is still this really Alpha type man. He knew what he wanted, wasn’t afraid to go after it, but still chivalrous with Prince Charming like qualities. Watching his relationship with his other employees and little sister just reinforced his awesomeness.
I also enjoyed watching their relationship progress. They didn’t jump into the sack right away, nor did their love affair come out of thin air. Instead, there was this slow and smoldering build up of sexual tension that led to some super hot love scenes. Even their insecurities about each other and their relationship felt real.
The secondary characters, mainly Sebastian (Marco’s co-owner of the bar) and Val (the other waitress) were so great. They were both well developed characters, and added so much to the story. I hope that Stevens continues to write books in her world, I would love to know more about these friends.
All in all, I think that Stevens might have become one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. This read was fun, fast paced, light hearted, sexy and a great summer read to add to any romance lovers TBR pile!
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: April 13th How I got this book: NetGalley
This review is difficult for me to write. I wanted to like this book, I really did. Romantic Suspense has quickly become one of my favorite genres within the past six months, and some of my favorite reads from 2010 and 2011 are suspense books. When I saw this one up for review from Carina Press, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, but was disappointed with the results.
Megan is on the run and hiding from her former boss and the man she watched pull the trigger on another man. She rented a house in a small town, far off the beaten path in an attempt to stay hidden. When Jake comes knocking looking for answers about his birth mother and family, Megan finds herself in a precarious situation; not knowing if she should trust him, but being seriously attracted to the handsome stranger.
After some tense and awkward situations, the two reach an understand and even start to form the bonds of friendship. When a large storm hits the area and the two are trapped in Megan’s house together, the excitement of danger and their building passion ignite into a bigger storm than either expected.
I really enjoyed the premise of the book, and think the story could have been amazing, but there were some things I just couldn’t get past. The characters really didn’t work for me. I felt that although Megan was so strong to live through what she did, she didn’t really come alive for me throughout the story. Jake was even harder to relate to. I got his need to find out about his family, but he never once struck me as the heroic type that he was portrayed as in the story.
The biggest turn off for me was the actual writing of the book. Everything was so incredibly descriptive that it somewhat bogged down the story. When I have to really concentrate on the prose, try to figure out what the metaphors really mean, it takes away the enjoyment of the story for me.
I almost put this book down plenty of times, but the suspense plot was something that I just didn’t want to miss, couldn’t give up on without finding out WHY Megan was a witness to a murder. So, I found myself skimming through the last half of the book, just to get the full picture. In the end, the suspense subplot didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, mainly because the crime that lead to the murders wasn’t something that I’d ever heard of before, or can imagine actually happening.
All in all, I just found that this did not work for me. I give Endless Night a D- ...more
Publisher: Penguin Publish Date: Out Now How we got this book: From the Publisher
If you were to take a look at the various posts on this blog that involve the name “Thea Harrison” Guest Post, October Must Haves, Interview, Storm’s Heart Review, August Must Haves, BlogFest 2011, Dragon Bound Review, and finally May Must Haves you might think that we could potentially be fangirls. Well you just might be correct *grin*. MinnChica and I are excited to add to the list with this review of Serpent’s Kiss.
Minn – I loved this book. LOVED. And the biggest reason why was because of Rune. All I have to say is that I would totally leave my husband for him. He is sexy, loves to play World of Warcraft, admittedly will stop for directions, not afraid to talk about his feelings, will go back in time and risk everything to save the woman he loves. *melt* Add to that the fact that he is a total bad-ass, BFF’s with one of the most power creatures in the world, and one of the oldest members of the Elder Race…
E – Rune is just such a hero. Throughout the book it became evident that he had a soft spot for women, children and pets. His first instinct was to rescue people not to destroy them. At first I wondered if that was left over from the tragic incidents in Storm’s Heart but as I continued reading it became evident that while he didn’t have any problems with violence it would always be targeted. His intelligence, drive and determination certainly explained why he had become Dragos’ First. I wonder what Dragos will do if he continues to lose his sentinels. Rune struck me as the type of Alpha hero that has the perfect balance between protectiveness and understanding that women have their strengths and can take care of things themselves. I really enjoyed how he withstood everything Carling threw at him in her frustration and fury yet he was extremely careful to never harm her.
Minn – Yes, he was so careful with Carling, so doting on her. It was like watching a muscular alpha man take care of a baby. Just had me wanting to melt. But I was a little worried going into this story… Carling didn’t exactly come across as heroine material in the last story. However, I did end up really enjoying her as the story went on. Where she came across as a hard-core beotch in the last book, she was now a lot softer and more reserved. There were times when I wanted her to fight more for her future, it seemed as if she was so willing to just give up and die. I expected more from her, more fight, more struggle, more something. Especially after everything she went through in her life.
E – Carling was quite a contradiction; ruthless and caring, scientific and emotional, heartless and protective, fury personified and tender. I really enjoyed her complexity. After reading Storm’s Heart I had my doubts about her likeability as a heroine and Ms Harrison blew me away with her characterization skill. Without going into spoiler territory I enjoyed catching the glimpses of how Carling came to be and her motivations.
Minn – Oh I couldn’t agree more! I think all the scenes with Carling growing up, coming into her own, and how she became shaped into the woman she became were some of my favorite moments. This book surprised me with the bouncing back and forth between story lines — the present and in the past. While I usually get really annoyed and flustered and have a hard time following, I found each time Rune went back in time, I loved it. I loved watching how he was able to shape the past, shape Carling into the strong and independent woman she turned out to be.
E – As much as I enjoyed the scenes from the past, and like Nic I usually don’t like that technique, it was two scenes in the present timeline that ended up being my favorite. I feel they showcase first Rune and then Carling just perfectly. The first demonstrates just how determined, powerful and yet aware of his strength Rune is. It starts when Carling panics at the thought that through Rune’s actions she could lose enough pieces of herself that she would cease to exist and decides to get away from Rune. When she can’t escape him on her island she decides on impulse to leave and Rune stops her until she calms down and they can discuss what caused the panic. Carling was attempting to use all of her skill and power against Rune and yet he never harmed her.
My second favorite scene is when Carling and Rune have decided to leave the island so she goes deep into the forest to say farewell to the creatures that live there. We never find out exactly what those creatures were just that they needed protection, Carling provided that and that she cared very deeply about them. I hope she is able to return to their sanctuary and that they play a rule in a future book.
Minn – Oh I loved the little creatures! And yeah, Carling was so caring and thoughtful with the. For me, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about the book. As always, I felt as if Harrison kept the story moving quickly, the plot was fun to read and opened up so much more to the world. My only issue was with Carling and her lack of wanting to fight. Other than that… I gobbled this book up and didn’t want to put it down!
E – The only thing that bothered me a bit was the situation with Julian. After all of his scheming, I wanted him to receive some form of just punishment and lose some of his power. He broke some laws and also acted against his progenitor. Bad Julian!!!
Minn – I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. I loved the glimpses we got to see of Khalil and Grace, I can’t wait to read more of their story, see how things play out between them, especially after knowing how they meet. I think Harrison is absolutely rocking with this series, and I know the next will be just as amazing! Regarding Serpent’s Kiss, all in all I loved the story. Sure there were moments I wanted more from Carling, but overall I loved everything about this story. Maybe because I love Rune so much…. I give Serpent’s Kiss an A-
E – These are truly random so please forgive my mental wanderings. Lol. I wonder when Dragos is going to learn that going in all hot and heavy won’t help him keep his sentinels or even his friends. I am also very curious about the Djinn and what else we might see from him in the future. I enjoyed how she worked the Oracle and time travel in since she managed it without confusing me. As some of you might have seen me complaining on twitter I enjoyed reading this book so much I was late to work, missed breakfast and didn’t manage to pack my lunch. I give Serpent’s Kiss an A-...more
Publisher: Avon Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
Let me start by saying that Destefano has some of the most amazing ideas. Her concepts for both Feast and her Sci-Fi Series The Resurrection Chronicles blow my mind. For me though, the execution just didn’t work.
Feast follows the story of a small town set in the mountains. The locals are aware of the legend of the shape shifters that come out to hunt and harvest once a year. Those towns folk with vivid dreams and nightmares are the most sought after by the creatures, and Maddie has some of the most intense dreams anyone has ever seen.
But Ash runs the mountain, and he isn’t about to let someone else get their hands on Maddie. From the moment she was a child he was fascinated with her, and now that she is back he isn’t prepared to let her go. But nefarious forces are in the works, and someone is out to show Ash that he can’t be in charge for ever…
This book was very, very hard for me to get into. Told from about 5 different points of view, I never felt like I was able to relate to any of the characters. Each “chapter” averaged only a few short pages, so by the time I got into the character and felt like I could relate, we immediately switched to another character. It chopped up the book and had me feeling as if I was watching a tennis match, my head constantly bobbing to and fro.
The premise of the story was very different and dark and exciting, but again I had a hard time getting into it. While we really got to see the full spectrum of what happened in the time line, the constant jumping around almost had me loosing some of the details. I found myself scratching my head at times, wondering why certain character POV’s were included and/or necessary, and it really took away from the story in my opinion.
There was a small romantic element between Maddie and Ash, but it didn’t come out until the very end, and to me felt sudden and forced. Sure Ash had always cared about her, even when she was a young girl, but his pain from a previous loss made his sudden love for Maddie seem hollow. For Maddie, it seem to come out of nowhere. One moment she is in the middle of a divorce, not wanting to even think about love and the next she is putting her life at risk for Ash, a man she has only known for a couple days? It just didn’t feel right to me.
All in all, Destefano has an incredible imagination. Her story ideas and descriptions continue to absolutely blow me away. However, I have a hard time enjoying her books with her specific style of writing.
MinnChica: Thea Harrison has quickly become one of my favorite paranormal romance authors with the Elder Races series, and I’ve quickly fallen head over heels in love with this series. After the third book in the series, I was alternatively looking forward to and apprehensive of this book. I loved and adored Rune in the last book, and Khalil is nothing like him. I was a little worried that the move from the pop-culture, easy-go-lucky Rune to the stuffy and uber-formal Khalil would be too big of a transition for me to follow. While it took me awhile to get on the Khalil train, once I was fully in his corner, this story ended up rocking my world.
E: Like MinnChica mentioned, Ms Harrison is one of my auto-buy, pre-order authors that I also have to notify my family when she has a new release. The Elder Races series is one I go back and re-read without any loss of enjoyment. I was really looking forward to seeing what Khalil was going to do and how he was going to deal with Grace. I wasn’t sure what to think of him as he was fulfilling Carling’s requests so it was great to watch grace and the children break through his shell. I have placed Khalil up on the same level as Dragos. *grin*
MinnChica: I loved the moments between Khalil and the kids. So often in romance novels, when there are children involved, the kids tend to take a VERY backseat role in the story. But here, they seemed to play an integral role in softening Khalil, providing common ground for him and Grace to agree on and fight for. It was so sweet to see their little family change and morph as the story went on. I absolutely loved that. I also really liked the romance between these two. Although Khalil is very old school and set in his Djinn ways, he was also capable of letting Grace take the reigns when she proved to be the more capable. They have phenomenal chemistry between them that gave way for sexy moments and lots of sexual tension.
E: Chemistry oh my goodness. I had to open the doors, windows, and turn on the fan! I really enjoyed seeing the growth in all of the central characters. From Grace learning how to deal with her powers, the changes in her life, and how she can actually run her life instead of letting someone else run it for her. Khalil and dealing with feelings, sensations that mortals have that djinn don’t, and a different type of politics. Then you have the children dealing with their grief, the doggy-cat, and just trying to be children. That entire combination just tugged at my heart strings and I found myself cheering as their bonds grew tighter.
MinnChica: One of the other things I absolutely love about this series as a whole is how quickly it moves. There is always a million things going on and the overall story arc involving ALL the players is constantly chugging along and changing as alliances are made and broken. I loved seeing more of Dragos and Pia, Rune and Carling, and getting introduced to more of the Djinn. I can’t wait to see where Harrison takes this series, as the potential for greatness seems to grow exponentially with each book. I would have loved to see more of the inner workings of the witches covens, and can only hope we can see more of it in the future.
E: Those glimpses of previous couples were a lot of fun. I really liked seeing Dragos uncertain in more ways then just dealing with Pia although that uncertainly I think will lead to some potentially world changing events. With each installment Ms Harrison provides us with a glimpse into a very complex world. The politics between groups not to mention their own internal conflicts keep me on the edge of my seat. Whoever said that politics can be deadly certainly wasn’t joking and the chance for collateral damage is incredibly high.
MinnChica: All in all I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying Oracle’s Moon. Although Rune still had my heart, I enjoyed the hell out of Khalil and Grace. These two bonded on an emotional level that had me so wrapped up I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it. The series continues to amaze me and I can’t wait for more and more Elder Races books. Any paranormal romance fan who has yet to pick up Thea Harrison needs to head to the nearest bookstore pronto! I give Oracle’s Moon a B+
E: Like I said earlier Khalil is up with Dragos for me as one of my favorite heroes of this series. I loved Oracle’s Moon and couldn’t resist teasing my family when I finished reading the ARC. I second MinnChica’s recommendation that all paranormal romance fans rush to the store and start this series. It fills all of my requirements! I give Oracle’s Moon an A....more
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
I wanted to love this book. Urban Fantasy is my first love, and I’m usually a fan of Dane’s work, but I have to say I was a little disappointed in this one.
Rowan is the Vessel for the goddess Brigid and her job as Hunter is to make sure that the vampires of Las Vegas stick to their treaty and not kill humans. But a mad vampire is on the loose, killing women in a graphic and horrific way, and it’s up to Rowan to solve these grizzly murders. But between having to keep secrets from the human police, and the new vampire master in town, solving this murder is even harder than she thought.
Clive wanted to come to Vegas, but was worried about the Hunter in town. With the protection of her foster father and Lord of all vampires, there are misconceptions that she gets away with murder, literally. But once he gets to know Rowan and spend more time with her, he realized that she has so much to offer both him and the community at large. But will they be able to come to some kind of understanding before the murdering vamp sets his sights on Rowan?
I hate when a book I’m really excited for has me feeling just meh the whole way through. I can’t say there was any one thing about this book that I particularly didn’t like, but there also wasn’t anything that I really loved either. It was just very average, on all fronts.
The thing I like the most about the book was probably the world building. I like the aspect of Rowan being the vessel for a goddess, and acting as the keeper of the treaty. It was a nice blend of mythology and vampires that was a fresh and new idea. I have to say though, I felt like there could have been so much more done with it. It seemed like a times scenes were rushed along and it could have been expanded on and explained better throughout.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters either. Don’t get me wrong, there were elements of both Rowan and Clive that I liked, but as a whole I just found myself not connecting with either of them like I usually do in UF series. Rowan is a fairly typical UF heroine; she kicks ass with a sword, has a takes no prisoners attitude, and yet has brief glimpses of vulnerability. I did like the few times we really got into her mind and were able to see her struggles with having to be so hard all the time.
Likewise Clive is a typical hero. He’s handsome, classy, a little pigheaded and possessive to a fault. But there were times I thought he acted out of character. For example, he and Rowan were beginning to build a relationship and Rowan was put into a situation where she has to defend herself against a vamp. When Clive finds out, he impulsively accuses Rowan of acting out of line. Yet he seemed to be starting to trust her, seeing things her way and was already having trust issues with his own people. To me, it felt out of line for him to not look into things on his own before blowing up.
Dane really does erotica best, and the sex scenes rocked throughout the story, of course. It definitely wasn’t as steamy as her normal stuff, but I applaud the fact that she can really shape the romance to the story. Although Clive and Rowan danced around each other for most of the book, I think she also did a great job of showing just how compatible they were, both in bed and out of it.
All in all it was a decent read. There were little aspects I liked here and there, but definitely thought it could have used some expanding on many scenes and ideas. I don’t know if Dane plans to make this a series, but I can only hope that we get some additional resolution to some of the sub-plots.
Publisher: Samhain Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: eARC from author
Arend is one of my favorite authors, but with the trend of menage books popping up all over, there are a few of her works that don’t always sit well with me. I was excited to read this one, then halfway through I got a little leery, but I should have known that Arend wouldn’t disappoint
Melanie was once a fearless rock climber, but an accident left her scarred and petrified to attempting climbing again. But she wants to face her fears and goes to the local rock climbing center to try and face her fears once again. At the hands of Derrick she starts to come more and more out of her shell, more willing to push further and further along.
As the two get closer and closer to each other and Melanie gets closer to overcoming her fears, things are suddenly disrupted as someone from Melanie’s past comes back into her life. But, Nathan might just be able to provide the little nudge that Melanie needs to not only overcome the mountains, but also learn to accept the scars that have taken her self esteem.
From the moment Derrick stepped out onto the page, I was in love. He was strong willed, handsome, and the kind of guy who wanted to stand behind Melanie; he was supportive and loving in everything he did for her. He was the perfect kind of sexy romance hero. I absolutely loved the two of them together. They had instant chemistry, both emotionally and physically.
When Arend introduced Nathan to the story, I instantly didn’t like him. He wanted his chance with Melanie, and while he was willing to take a step back because of her involvement with Derrick, I wasn’t too sure I would like the dynamic with their little mountain experiment. But, I have to admit that I didn’t hate him forever. I did appreciate the way that he was able to help Melanie get over her insecurities with being scarred from her accident. That and the fact that he was so willing to play second fiddle to Derrick made him redeemable in my eyes. This wasn’t the typical menage interlude, and for that I was so happy!
One of the other things I really liked was the different sport that Arend introduces in her Xtreme Adventures series. The rock climbing moments were intense and exciting. If I wasn’t so afraid of heights and falling, I would be tempted to try it out! Plus, if I got a sexy instructor like Derrick who was willing to do some of the same sexy things to me… *fans self* Well, I might be willing to take a chance!
All in all, I was really happy with the second installment of the Xtreme Adventures Series. The romance between Derrick and Melanie was sweet and the characters had me falling in love with them. The sexy times were (as always for Arend) totally hot. For any sports or adventure lovers, this book is a must read.
Lou: I’m a BIG fan of Julie James’ books, and she’s fast become an autobuy author. For great romances with great attention to character development and internal and external plots, I would very much recommend any and all of Julie James’ books. So when Minn and I got the chance to review About That Night, we probably both did a happy dance.
About That Night is Kyle’s book, the twin brother of the heroine from the last release, A Lot Like Love. Kyle is a naughty hero, and not in the kinky sense. He really was bad, and ended up in prison for hacking (a hot computer nerd hero, for the way!) into twitter whilst drunk over an ex-girlfriend. After Jordan (his sister) made a deal in the last book to bring down a criminal, Kyle’s time in prison would be reduced and he would walk free. In About That Night, he’s walked free but he’s now known forever as the Twitter terrorist, and this puts a spanner in the works when he meets up again with a girl from his past, Rylann, who is now a Assistant U.S. Attorney. I really enjoyed About That Night, and even though I felt that it lacked a little tension with the external plot, the romance between Rylann and Kyle was super sweet. There was extra depth and dimension to their interactions on that one fateful night when they were young.
MinnChica: I’ve loved Julie James since I bought my first book by her, and she continues to be an auto-buy author for me! After hearing the setup for the “Twitter Terrorist” I was so excited to see where this book would go, and although Kyle isn’t the typical romance hero, he was great fun to read! I loved that the book started out giving us a glimpse into Rylann and Kyle’s past, and then having us jump forward to see what they’ve made of themselves since.
Lou: Kyle is definitely not the typical romance hero. He accepts what he did was wrong, and accepts his time in prison as just deserved which was very refreshing. He was so fun to read about, and I think there definitely needs to be more heroes who don’t take themselves so seriously in romance. I loved that we got to see Rylann and Kyle when they were young, and I could understand why that connection was still there years later when they met up again. I could definitely understand why Rylann wanted to keep everything quiet between them, because it would not look good amongst her peers that she was hooking up with the twitter terrorist. Rylann, though, wasn’t as dynamic per say as Kyle, but she definitely kept him on his toes.
MinnChica: I did enjoy the conflict of their relationship, especially with Rylann having to deal with people finding out she was dating the “twitter terrorist.” I thought that James handled it all perfectly though. While they had to keep their relationship on the down-low, they also got the chance to really build up a good foundation for their relationship without any huge external influences. They didn’t have their family or friends weighing in on their relationship, instead they got the chance to get to really know one another, establish a friendship and go from there. It was sweet and very well done!
Lou: Yes, and knowing that the romance was just focused on them without too much angst and fighting between themselves was great. The tension between Kyle and Rylann kept up throughout the book, and even though the love scenes were not very explicit, there was still tons of depth. What I wasn’t so keen on was the plot of Kyle being part of the witness for a murder. I felt that it lacked something and it was more of a side piece rather than being important to the story because it didn’t really add anything. I did like the subtle secondary storyline with Rylann’s best friend, and I would like to see her in a story of her own.
MinnChica: I was not a big fan of Kyle being kept on as part of the ongoing trial. I agree that it lacked that something special, and instead it felt like a way to continue to provide a roadblock in their relationship. I also enjoyed Rylann’s friend, and hope that we can continue to see more of her in the future books, especially if she gets paired up with a sexy FBI agent. All in all I was a little bummed that this book didn’t grip me and pull me into the story as much as the previous ones in the series. I hoped that Kyle and Rylann would up the sexual tension, keep me flipping the pages until I couldn’t put the book down, but for me it just didn’t end up that way. I give About That Night a B-
Lou: I wasn’t sure what the importance of the trial meant to the story because it didn’t impact either Kyle or Rylann in anyway. I wonder if it was added because there had been suspense featured in the other previous two books. I adored Kyle, but I wished that Rylann had more personality to her because she did seem to pale a little in comparison to Kyle who was quite the character. I enjoyed About That Night, and I would definitely rec it but the other two previous books I enjoyed a lot more. I give it a B....more
Publisher: MIRA Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: NetGalley
I’ve never read anything by Sala before, and I have to say I really enjoyed her writing. I was a little worried going in, because I saw a review that said the person didn’t feel this book should have been categorized as a romance novel. I’m not a huge fan of mystery style books without a bit of romance in them, so I was leery. But ultimately very happy.
Savannah’s father has just died and dropped a bomb on her and her sisters: they are all not his biological children, and were taken under his wing when their mothers claimed their lives were in danger. Savannah found out that her father was from a wealthy family, and after being murdered by his own twin, Savannah’s mother gave her up, trying to keep her out of danger.
Savannah heads out to Miami to try and get some justice for her father. Along the way she finds herself involved in a murder, finds relatives she never expected to find, and ends up being hunted. She worries that she wont be able to see justice in time, but with the help of her attorney, an ex-CIA agent, and her cowboy boyfriend, she just might be able to stay alive long enough.
This story was different from other romantic suspense books that I’ve read lately in that we know who the big bad is from the beginning on the story. Savannah KNOWS her father’s twin killed him, so most of the book isn’t focused much on the mystery of whodunit, but more so on the uncovering the entire truth, while working to avoid the threats against her life.
I really liked Savannah’s character. She was a strong willed, determined and fierce woman wrapped up in a tiny package. I admired her tenacity in everything she did, and although I thought she was wrong to try and do EVERYTHING on her own, I was happy with the way she asked for help when she got to a place she knew she couldn’t navigate on her own. That to me made her a flawed but lovable character.
The cast of supporting characters, namely her boyfriend Judd, her attorney Thomas Jefferson and the ex-CIA agent Whiteside were so fun as well. I loved that they were all alpha badasses in their ow separate ways. Jefferson was so intelligent and manipulative in handling her case in the best way possible. Whiteside, although an older guy, was still in his prime, kicking ass and taking names when it mattered most. And Judd… sigh… He was strong enough to let Savannah go and take care of her own business, but protective and loving enough to stand behind and in front of her when she needed him most.
Although the romance is not as prevalent in this book as other suspense books, mainly because through the first third or so Judd is back in Montana while Savannah tries to go at it alone in Miami, you can still feel the love between them. I enjoyed their nightly phone calls to say “I love you and goodnight.” It felt real and I think that is what I related to most.
The way the whole overall story was resolved was great. Sala threw some twists and turns into it, but overall I really liked the way everything played out and justice was served in the end. I think I’m definitely going to have to check out the other books in this series.
Publisher: Penguin Publish Date: June 7th How I got this book: NetGalley
This was my first read from Rose, and I have to say… WOWSA!
Lucy works for the medical examiners office, dealing with death day in and day out. But when a stream of grizzly murders all center around her, she finds herself edging closer and closer to death than ever before. Thankfully she has sexy homicide detective JD on the case.
JD and Lucy work around the clock trying to find out who is behind the murders, what the victims have in common, and why everything keeps leading back to Lucy. They are barely able to put together all the clues before the killer comes for her, and she manages to escape his clutches, by the skin of her teeth.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect picking this book up. Mystery’s are not my usual genre, but with my recent love of all things romantic suspense, I went out on a limb to try this one out, and I’m really glad I did. Although the murderer was easy to pinpoint about a quarter of the way through the story, I sort of enjoy knowing things that the characters don’t. Plus, when an author dangles tidbits of information like that, I always find myself surprised by additional aspects of the story.
I thought the characters were really well done and developed thoroughly. Although Lucy kept her secrets close to heart, I loved watching her story unravel, getting newer and newer tidbits as the story went along. I admired her, felt sorry for her, and really enjoyed reading how strong and yet vulnerable she was. JD was very similar in that he had a lot of insecurities, but when push came to shove he was always on, always giving one hundred percent to the case and the people he loved. The strength of the two leading characters was one of my favorite aspects of the book.
While I am normally one of those people who can always figure out what is going on, I was a little confused for the first few chapters as to why there were two totally separate story lines. It took me awhile to catch onto the fact that one followed the investigation into the killer from a PIs perspective, and the other followed Lucy and JD’s mission. Once my brain finally got on board with what was happening though, I really enjoyed watching the two plots lines weave and merge together at times, only to break off and head in separate directions at other times.
Some of the torture scenes were a little brutal to read, but at the same time I didn’t feel as if it was over done. The story had a good blend of suspense, mystery, horror and romance that it left me feeling satisfied on all fronts. I have to admit though, I was slightly annoyed that the meat of the story takes place in a 48 hour time frame. I mean, my brain hurt after getting through the first 24 hours. I have no idea how the characters were able to survive through that. But despite that, I really felt like it all flowed together quite nicely.
I have no idea if Rose has plans to write any books about any of the secondary characters in the book, especially Lucy’s two best friends Gwyn and Thorne and JD’s partner Stevie, but I would really enjoy reading more about these folks. Especially after what each of them had to endure.
All in all I was very happy with my first Rose read. I enjoyed her blend of mystery and suspense and was even taken by surprise with the twist of the killers identity at the very end. While it didn’t have as much romance as some of my other favorite’s, it was still a very enjoyable read.
This book killed me. Absolutely, positively killed me. It’s been a week since I finished it and I’m still reeling. The romance aspect of this book flayed me open and literally squeezed my heart till it hurt. There were twists and turns that Andrews sprinkled in the book that had me both laughing and crying. The end had me sobbing, literal tears streaming down my face as one of my favorite characters in the series sacrificed their live to safe the others. There were so many different emotions packed within every moment, every scene, every word. I am so excited about the way this series has progressed, and I love the way that Andrews had made it possible for the world and characters to stay true to themselves. I love the journey that Kate is on, and I am so excited and sad with each book that comes out, because it means that Kate’s journey will soon be coming to an end.
This series remains my all time favorite. The romance, the action, the drama, it is all the perfect blend of harsh and unforgiving and loving and sweet. Never before has a book cut me open as much as this did!...more
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: NetGalley
This was an eclectic group of short stories, but I loved! This anthology features three short stories about couples who all marry under strenuous circumstances, and come out on top!
The Wedding of the Century by Mary Jo Putney kicks off the anthology with Sunny and Justin, an American heiress and 2nd son of a duke. They meet briefly and go their separate ways. When Justin’s brother dies in a tragic accident, he is now the Duke, and will have to marry for money to save his home. He remembers Sunny fondly, and her money won’t hurt either. Sunny agrees to the marriage after suffering a broken heart, and Justin just might provide the cure for it.
I really loved this short story, and will definitely have to go out and read more Putney. I loved the vulnerability of Justin, and his struggle with becoming the Duke after being just the 2nd son. I also really liked Sunny. She started the story as a bright and vibrant girl. After getting her heart broken, she really shut down to life. Watching Justin draw her out of her shell and bring back that vibrant character was great fun to watch.
One of my new all time favorite quotes is from this short, in which Sunny’s fun and quirky godmother is explaining what marriage is like:
"A witty vicar once said that a good marriage is like a pair of scissors with the couple inseparable joined, often moving in opposite directions, yet always destroying anyone who comes between them. The trick is for the blades to learn to work smoothly together, so as not to cut each other."
I really liked this short story and how Justin and Sunny were able to come together and really mend each other. It was sweet and light and fun. I give The Wedding of the Century an A.
Jesse’s Wife by Kristin James is a historical western romance, and while I don’t usually enjoy historical westerns (no idea why...) I did really like this one. Amy has always been unsure of herself, so when she gets a lot of attention from a new comer in town, she is quick to head out for a late-night walk. But when it turns into a nightmare and she is forced to marry, she chooses Jesse, her longtime friend and farmhand. Although their marriage is rocky, they just might be able to find a way to make their differences work.
Poor Amy was so unsure of herself, she constantly doubted herself throughout the entire book. I desperately wanted her to buck up and grow a pair, and was glad when she finally stood up for herself at the end of the story. I loved Jesse and his simpleton ways. He had no family or decent past to speak of, so the thought of having Amy as his own family was the only thing he wanted. They way they really complimented each other was super cute. I give Jesse’s Wife a B.
Seduced by Starlight by Charlotte Featherstone takes us back across the pond to London again. Blossom has been betrothed to her fiance her entire life, but when he falls for another she lets him go to marry with love. When suitors start coming around, her ex-fiance’s brother Jase is determined to win her hand. Blossom is worried that he is offering for her out of some misguided notion of honor and pushes him away. But little does she know that he has been in love with her for years, and determined to make her his wife.
I liked this story as well. I loved that Blossom and her family were forward thinkers and not all about the stuffy rules of the ton. Blossom painted, fished and was an absolute free spirit who would accept only a man who loved her for her. I loved that Jase had been pining away for Blossom for years on end, and was finally able to make his move. I liked that the two of them were discovered in a scandalous position and forced to marry, and have it turn out to be the best love match they could ever want. I give Seduced by Starlight an A .
Overall the anthology was very good. While the three stories were very different from one another, they all actually worked together as well. For historical fans out there, this is a definite must read. ...more
Publisher: Samhain Publish Date: September 20th How I got this book: eARC from Author
Secret McQueen is back for another action packed UF novel from Sierra Dean! We pick up after that INSANE cliffhanger with Secret running away from her problems. But after a few months, she is kidnapped back by Sig, and forced to deal with the Holden issue. She is set on clearing his name, and will do whatever she can to make sure he doesn’t go down for a crime he didn’t commit.
As the plot twists and turns, Secret is thrown into some crazy situations, has to deal with new vampires and wolves, all while trying to figure out what the hell is going on with her complicated love life. But when she discovers who is really behind the plot to frame Holden, will she be able to make it out alive?
I really enjoy the Secret Series. They are fun and incredibly fast paced and everything you could hope for in a classic urban fantasy. Secret is snarky and fun to follow as she gets herself into situation after situation. I love her humor, as well as the fact that Secret gets beat up on. I love that she is such a unique being in her world, but that she isn’t all powerful and all knowing, she still has to do a lot of fighting, and a lot of licking her wounds. It just makes Secret all that more likeable.
Dean has a tendency to leave off her novels on a cliffhanger, and this is no exception. After the “you must kill Holden” cliffhanger from the first book, I was glad to see Secret struggle so much with it. I loved that she came back determined to not go through with it, and that she was dead set on making sure she cleared his name. The mystery and action surrounding that was VERY well done and made for an enjoyable read. I was definitely kept guessing throughout the story.
One of the things that I don’t like about the series is the love… pentagon? Secret is soul-bonded with two wolves, Lucas and Desmond. It isn’t so much that triangle that bothers me, because at this point in the series, Secret is obviously in love with Desmond, and really struggles with her relationship with Lucas. It’s the added factor of Sig and Holden, the two vampires that throws me for a loop. There was a weird meta-physical three-some in this book that was interesting and creepy all at the same time. I hate when the heroine is loved by everyone for no real reason, I just hope that there will be some other kind of explanation behind why everyone wants her.
All in all, the 2nd Secret McQueen novel was a killer follow-up to the first, and a definite Urban Fantasy great that fans will fall in love with. Secret is a wonderful character and Dean does an incredible job of pulling in the reader and keeping them on the constant edge of their seats. UF fans will not want to miss out on this one!
Publisher: self-published Release Date: out now! How I got this book: copy from author
A few weeks ago I put a call out to my Twitter followers to recommend me some good smut. Dee Carney quickly threw out her new self-pubbed anthology with other greats Cari Quinn, Chloe Cole, and Dee Tenorio, and I just knew I’d want to get my hands on this one! Dee sent it over to me, and I have to say… Wow *fans self*
Conquered by Cari Quinn - Quinn’s short was one of my favorites! I loved Emma and Shane and the complete misunderstanding between the two of them. I’ve always enjoyed stories about women who get the chance to come out of their shells and take a walk on the wild side, and Emma gets the chance to do just that! I thought the whole bit about Shane being undercover at a strip club (and a horrible stripper at that) was funny and cute.
It was a very smokin’ hot story, and the lack of inhibitions on Emma’s behalf really allowed her to cut lose and relax in her own body. It was very well done! I give Conquered an A.
Conned by Chloe Cole - Cole’s story was a little slow at first, but then picked up. I had a hard time relating to both Tuck and Cole, and didn’t really feel like I really ever had the chance to relate to either of them. I did love the whole science and human sexuality tie in, and wish I would have been able to take a class like that in college!
I liked that Tuck was really trying hard to reform from his previous bad boy persona, while at the same time Cricket was hoping that he had just a little more bad boy in him. The scenes were Tuck and Cricket were testing their theory about aphrodisiacs was hot and cute all at the same time. Very sexy on that front. I give Conned a B
Consumed by Dee Carney - I took me a little bit to get into Carney’s story, but once it got going, I was sucked in and it quickly became a favorite. I always seem to really enjoy stories that deal with food, chefs, kitchen stuff and this was no exception. Once I got a better feel for August and Saffron I really liked them both. I found that they were both fun characters, easy to related to and fall in love with. I wanted to cry with Saffron when August found out her secret and left her.
I thought the ending was super cute as well, and this was one of the stronger stories in the entire anthology. I give Consumed an A
Convicted by Dee Tenorio - I really liked the premise of this story, but for some reason the execution didn’t work as well for me as I had hoped. I’m always a sucker for a sexy military man; ex or active, and I did really liked Cade. But there was something about Katrina that just kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Finding out that she was really one of the good guys helped, but I just couldn’t really find myself liking her.
This was definitely the least erotic of the stories, but the sexual tension between the two was thick as molasses. If that kind of tension is something you enjoy reading about, this story is one you should get your hands on. I personally didn’t love it as much as the others. I give Convicted a B-...more
Transfixed – Anne Calhoun E: Ms Calhoun provided exquisite detail that doesn’t just focus on the physical but draws the reader into the story. I wanted to know the why behind the characters’ motivation. I loved how neither one really fit into the common stereotypes of leather, whips, and chins. I also really enjoyed how it was private not in a “club” with observers. B+
MinnChica: For a FemDom story, I actually really liked this one. I thought it was so much fun and sexy. It was obvious there was a connection between them, and when the story continued on the second half, it was that much more. This story definitely needs to be read before the Ecstasy half. (I made the mistake of reading this 2nd, and I was SUPER lost in the other story….)
Has: I agree that reading the Ecstasy part of the story first wouldn’t have made much sense, or made a better impact with reading that first. The set up incorporated S&M themes but did it in a fantastic and unexpected way and I really liked how Calhoun presented the twist on the dominant heroine as a 50s housewife. I also loved the emotional cracking of the heroine at the end when the hero challenges her. B+
Siren – Jean Johnson E: Wanted to see more world building. I was more intrigued by the culture then the relationship between the two main characters. I did find it fascinating that the Seer’s connection with her Goddess was via pleasure rather then drugs/pain etc. I also don’t necessarily agree with her reasons for punishing him but that could be because of the limited backstory demanded by the short wordcount. C
MinnChica: I didn’t feel super strongly about this story one way or the other. I’ve never enjoyed FemDom books for some reason, so that aspect of the story turned me off a bit, but the world-building was interesting and I think the author has a great voice and the capability to write a good full-length novel in this world. D-
Has: I wished there was more worldbuilding too with this story. I did like the setting and the relationship between the hero and heroine was complex but for me the dominant and pain theme didn’t really work for me. I just didn’t get her reasons for punishing him and that had to be expanded. But I agree about the voice of the author which was engaging but the sex scene felt too awkward and just didn’t gel well with the tone. C-
Caged – J. K. Coi E: Very interesting twist on the need for pain that I was not expecting. Unless something changes drastically this relationship is only going to make things worse on both individuals involving physical and mental/emotional pain. I actually didn’t like the heroine. D-
MinnChica: I actually thought this story had some potential, but didn’t think there was enough time to really develop everything. I thought the storyline with the paranormal aspects were interesting, especially with the werewolf change and all the grief that came along with it. I do wish that we would have been given a chance to see where the characters were going in the future though, the novella definitely left me wanting more (well, happy more!) C
Has: I really liked this story and I wished it was much longer, because the angst and the pain and how that played out with the relationship between the hero and heroine was great. But I hoped the ending was more hopeful or there is potential for more because I think this might be a gem of a story if it was expanded upon. B+
Each Step Sublime – Bettie Sharpe E: A very very wicked twist on The Little Mermaid, not Disney’s sweetness and light version but the much darker Hans Christian Anderson version. I really enjoyed the way she ended the fable. B-
MinnChica: Ugg, I am not a fan of taking my happy and favorite childhood movie and turning it into a little bit of an F-ed up BDSM erotica. I finished the story, but scowled and rolled my eyes the whole way through. F
Has: I thought it was dreamy and romantic but the romance wasn’t as strong as the tone and setting of the story which was due to the story length. But I love the fairytale aspect but heroine falling for the Prince who just seemed too distant didn’t work for me. She was going to have to pay a major sacrifice and there was no real reason on why she was in love with him and the ending felt too rushed but overall I did enjoy the retelling. C+
Safeword – Delphine Dryden E: WOW this was really good. Talk about taking everyone dream of that one person who you wish was into you and your kinks and making it a reality. I really enjoyed their journey short as it was and the inclusion of bits of humor. Ms Dryden made them seem real. BTW I want a novel *grin*. A
MinnChica: I really liked this story. I’m a huge fan of the friends to lovers stories, and especially when those friends realize that their kinks work together. I will definitely be looking for more books by Dryden, because I thought she had a wonderful voice and a great story to tell. B+
Has: I really liked this one too, although I wasn’t too sure of the beginning but as the story progressed, I really got engaged with it. I really liked how the theme was explored and it was definitely exciting and fun as well as very sexy and I am not a huge fan of S&M stories. So its a solid B+
Stitch and Bitch – A. L. Simonds E: Rather diverse characters that I think actually need to talk more. I liked how knitting drew them together and became the center-point of their relationship. I think this would have been better as a longer length story. C
MinnChica: I wasn’t a huge fan of this story as well. I didn’t connect with either of the characters, and never really felt drawn into the story. I did like the knitting aspects though, really just added to my desire to go out and learn to knit. D
Has: I have mixed feelings on this one. I really liked the setting and the knitting aspects too, but the romance felt a bit off and disconnected because I found Priya too stand-offish with Luisa and the reasons behind it didn’t gel well with me. Although I liked how different the story was different and Luisa the skate-boarding girlfriend was fun! But it has definitely made me more open to FF romance which I haven’t really had read before. C-
Bachelorette Party – Jessica Clare E: I was really worried that this one was going to push one of my “chuck the book across the room buttons” but I am glad I kept reading because Ms Clare made it all come out alright in the end. C+
MinnChica: I was a little worried about this one, but holy hell I ended up loving it. In the hands of any other author, I think it could have been awful and really disheartening. However, I thought that the novella was both sexy and romantic and sweet and totally hawt. A-
Has: LOL I had the same fear at the beginning too, but then I sussed halfway through it that it wouldn’t be the case. I really loved this story and it is one of my favourites in the anthology. It was definitely sexy and fun and I will certainly check out more of Jessica Clare’s stuff in the future.
Wicked Wedding Night – Margaret Rowe E: Ok I want a novel! I love how Ms Rowe was able to take some familiar tropes and spin them on their heads in such a short story. B+
MinnChica: I loved this as well, which surprised me a little because I’m not usually a fan of historical erotica. However, this one just really worked for me. Both the hero and the heroine were such great and well developed characters. I think the short length took a little away from the story though, this could have been so much more with a little extra word count. B+
Has: I wasn’t too keen with the beginning of the story but if it was longer I think that would have helped to expand the story as well as establishing. It reminded me a bit of Anne Stuart’s historicals but as the story went on, I really liked the melancholic tone but the changes and acceptance that the heroine faced was too swift but again that is due to the short length. I liked the voice of the author too and despite the short length – the emotions between hero and heroine packs a punch. B
Shameless – Edie Harris E: Interesting lesson the hero passed onto the heroine at the end of this story, probably the only thing I liked about this one. The entire story struck me as a moment in time that at least one character would remember but it would remain disconnected with both before and after. C-
MinnChica: This is an example of one historical erotica that just didn’t work for me. I thought the heroine was flighty and a little annoying. I didn’t really find the story all that sexy either. Like E, I felt like a complete outsider to the story, and I can’t really say that I cared one way or the other. D-
Has: I really liked this, I didn’t read as a romance as such but an interlude which was something the heroine needed to get out of her situation. I felt the interaction she had with the hero was very cathartic – and I was taken aback how the story unfolded. I love the emotional intensity that was presented and I think it linked perfected with the overall theme of the anthology. B
Taken – Rebecca Lange E: Flashback to the old western romances involving a woman and her captor. It was like the author unromantized that entire subgenre. D-
MinnChica: I tried to get into this story, but I only made it through about 5 or 6 pages before I just stopped and moved on. It didn’t hold my interest at all. DNF
Has: Yep, it felt like the old skool, and I couldn’t engage with the story at all or with the characters.
Wetwire – Sunny Moraine E: Exploring the mysteries of how our brains process nerve stimulation and what happens if the interpretation is switched around. Makes me glad I don’t live in an entirely jacked-in world. C-
MinnChica: I also hate to say that I gave up on this story as well. I was more confused than anything, and there wasn’t anything in the first few pages that really called for me to keep trying to chug through. DNF
Has: I really liked the setting, and premise of the story but the characters and plot, it just didn’t work. I need some element of romance and the main characters were selfish and I couldn’t connect with them. It felt really cold and unemotional and that made the sex unsexy and cold too. If there was stronger element of romance it may have worked for me better as a story. D+
Transformed – Anne Calhoun E: Well I got some of my questions from TRANSFIXED answered and I still want more! I highly recommend that you start with the Agony half because her two stories flow one into the other. It was great seeing another facet of the two main characters. A
MinnChica: I was a little confused by this story, because I started with this side of the anthology, and this should definitely be read AFTER Transfixed. However, once I read the other Calhoun story and thought back to this one, it made so much more sense and I liked it more. Calhoun has a great voice and does a wonderful job with both the BDSM aspects and the more sweet romance. B-
Has: This was definitely one of the strongest story/stories in the anthology and I am glad there was a followup with the perspective of the hero and different POV. This sequel was much softer and sweeter in tone but no less challenging than the first story in Transfixed and I love the role reversal and ditto on reading both together that starts off with Transfixed. While the hero was challenged and being dominanted in the first story – in Transformed the characters develop emotionally and I love the depth that was explored in this installment and how the hero helps to challenge the heroine who manages to let go emotionally instead of physically. A
Rescue Me – Meljean Brook E: WOW, Such a strong female character with a great twist that is such a spoiler! A
MinnChica: I loved this novella. The heroine was so strong and driven to save herself from being kidnapped. I loved the way she dealt with getting out and how she used her desire to see and tell her long time best friend she loved him to get out alive. It was sweet and sexy and just such a great story. A
Has: I.LOVE.THIS.STORY. This has to be my favourite out of all the stories in the anthology, dark, tense, sexy and hawt. I loved how resourceful and smart the heroine was to get out of her predicament from being abducted by a serial killer and I especially loved the element of her fantasies about the hero helping her to get past her discomfort, it really ties in with the theme but it was wonderfully romantic and sexy. I just wished this story was longer. A+
The Wooden Pony – Soshanna Evers E: This one was beyond my reading experience. It was well written but very uncomfortable for me to read. D
MinnChica: I actually liked this one, but it was very heavy on some BDSM aspects that might not be for everyone. I’ve read other stories by Evers, and I think she does a wonderful job of mixing harder BDSM play with the emotional entanglements that goes along with it. But it’s not for the faint of heart. B+
Has: I enjoyed this story even though it harder elements of BDSM, although the sex was hawt and intense, the emotional elements didn’t work as well. C+
Kiss of Life – Lily Daniels E: I think I missed the intent of this one. I understand wanting revenge and seizing life after you have survived something horrible but those two parts didn’t meld for me. D-
MinnChica: I liked the Titanic aspect of this story, but other than that, the rest was lost on me as well. I find that when revenge and anger and hatred gets mixed in with my BDSM, it tends to train wreck for me. I don’t like when characters come from a dark place like that, and it didn’t work for me. D
Has: I loved this one, because the setting especially the Titanic element and the time period stood out for me. I also thought the romance was good, and the love scenes worked especially the one in the car. There was a lot of depth and plot and I thought the characterisation was well rounded . I thought it was unusual and wished there was more stories like this with this setting. B+
Silverhouse – Sarabeth Scott E: The secret language of lovers, I really enjoyed what Ms Scott revealed at the end about their relationship. B
MinnChica: For me, I like the punishment aspect of this one. I thought it was sexy and fun and sweet and had a bunch of the great aspects of BDSM that I liked. I thought that it was actually one story that fit really well with the short length. B
Has: I really liked this one too, the sexual battle of wills between the hero and heroine and how that fits in with the BDSM theme really worked. The ending was perfect and I also didn’t feel that there was anything missing with the story. B
Bruised Ego – Christine D’Abo E: Different take on how important it can be to know that you aren’t the only person who feels a certain way that doesn’t appear to be society’s accepted norm. B-
MinnChica: There were some aspects I did and didn’t like about this. As a psychology major, I’m not a fan of any mental health professional getting involved their patients. However, it was soon evident that our heroine was not a regular therapist, but part of the story had already been a little tainted for me. C-
Has: This was a very unusual story and I am not sure on how to take it with the theme of it. Although the sex scenes was hot and intense, I just felt the set-up missed the mark for me and I totally agree about the therapist thing – Although I am glad how the ending played out but it didn’t fully work for me. C
On My Skin – DL Galace E: Very vivid description of what I have heard getting a tattoo is like for some people. I didn’t quite buy into the characters’ motivations though. I think this would have benefitted from a longer wordcount. C-
MinnChica: This story didn’t really do anything for me. Other than the heroine wanting a tattoo, I couldn’t understand why these two were together. But, having multiple tattoos, I can also see the pleasure in that pain. =) But as the story itself, it didn’t really do much for me. D
Has: I thought this story worked on a lot of levels, and I love the theme of tattoos and how it linked with the main theme and sexuality. I thought it was sexy and sweet but I also wished the story was longer because it felt that the plot, and characterisation just got going for me. C+
Just Say Yes – HelenKay Dimon E: Enjoyable short story that included some rather neat twists that I wish more authors would use when it came to common tropes. B
MinnChica: I liked this story. It was a great little look into what happens when a boss steps out of line with her employee. I thought it was great that both the heroine and the hero were ready to accept the consequences of their actions, especially when our hero was willing to make a major change in life for his heroine. B+
Has: This was a great short and I liked how the relationship developed between the hero and heroine and the dynamics of being a boss and employee. It was also interesting to note that the heroine was the one in charge although I wished there was more emphasis on the hero, Colin. But I liked how the story played out and its conclusion. I really liked how realistic things turned out. B
Into The Red – Cameron Belle E: Fascinating world-building, like a futuristic Rome complete with gladiators. Ms Belle made me wish the two main characters could have a longer HFN (Happy For Now). B-
MinnChica: This was an interesting one, with a really unique world that I would have liked to see more of. I thought the two heroes were an unlikely pair, but worked together. Where one was soft the other was hard and rough. I would like to see more in this world, especially in a longer format. C+
Has: This was one of the highlights for me in the anthology I think the setting and the premise was fantastic and I really liked how both heroes interacted with each other. I wished it was much longer. This was a short but sexually intense story with real depth and I will definitely look out for more of Belle’s books/stories. B+
Overtaken – Sara Thorn E: I felt like there was a very complex back-story with the two characters that could have sucked me into the story, but without that… C-
MinnChica: This is going to sound horrible, but I don’t remember not liking this, but at the same time it didn’t stand out to me at all either. After a few days now, I hate to say that I don’t even remember much about this short. D
Has: I also didn’t like this story as much for similar reasons. I did like the setting and I get the reluctance by the hero, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and although the sex scenes was hot, it just didn’t have much depth. C-
OVERALL ANTHOLOGY: MinnChica: I was really looking forward to this anthology because I’ve been a big fan of BDSM romance stories for awhile now. And while there were some stories that I really enjoyed and will probably re-read again and again…. most of them were either so-so or really fell short for me. I don’t know if I had my expectations too high or what, but I have to say that overall, the anthology was a solid C for me....more
Publisher: Pocket Publish Date: July 19th How I got this book: Simon & Shuster Galley Grab
This was my first Gerard read, and I’ll admit that the moment I finished reading this one, I went to see if my local library had the other books in the series! I enjoyed the premise of the Black Ops, Inc. team and look forward to going back and reading the rest of the stories.
Luke is on the final leg of his vacation, and dreading getting back to work. After his last big mission when he was shot, he is having a harder time getting into his work. When men with guns board his train and try to abduct a fellow passenger, Luke finds himself putting his life on the line to save her. It isn’t until they are on the run that he realizes the woman is non other than the woman of his dreams, super model Valentina.
Val is trying to find herself after the horrible media circus surrounding her divorce from her congressman husband. She has a hard time trusting people, and the fact that she is having both a hard and an easy time trusting Luke is throwing her off. With everything that’s gone wrong, she really doesn’t know which way is up anymore. When more of her plight comes to light and secrets are revealed, Val will need to take charge and Luke will have to face his greatest fears: falling in love.
Like I said, I really enjoyed the concept of the Black Ops Inc. team and enjoyed all the different characters in the book. I really like Luke, he was everything I’ve come to look for in a sexy ex-military hero. He was strong, possessive, and a little tortured from his past. I always love when my military heroes struggle a little with their past and don’t treat some of the horrific things they have gone through as “no big deal.” I liked that Luke didn’t have rose colored glasses on, but at the same time was able to joke and laugh and do what needed to be done to deal with his past.
For the most part I really liked Valentina as well. I think in the beginning she really struggled with herself, her past, and her place in the world. I was impressed with the way she handled herself during the chase through Peru, especially when it came to her bucking up and doing everything Luke told her to, regardless of his directive. I wish that Gerard would have gone into her past a little more, especially her childhood trauma and how that affected Val’s life. While it was touched on multiple times, I wish we would have been able to see Val and Luke deal with it a little more.
There were times I wanted to shake both Luke and Val when it came to their relationship. I could totally understand why they were both hesitant to get involved, but at the same time I wanted to smack them both for their hesitancy. From the moment these two met, you knew there would be sparks flying left and right, but they both held parts of themselves back, and then they would break down huge emotional barriers, just to build them back up again. At times it drove me a little crazy!
The suspense sub-plot was well done as well. Not my favorite, as the villain was known to us throughout the book, and I always like a little mystery with my suspense. But, at the same time it was good, there was tons of action and I liked the way the plot moved quickly through the story. It was nice that in the epilogue we also got the chance to see Luke and Val in an everyday normal setting, which was something we really didn’t get to see at all during the main story. It was a nice refreshing sense of normalcy and a breath of fresh air.
All in all I really enjoyed my first Gerard read. The hero and heroine were real characters that were easy to love and just flawed enough to be normal. The action moved quickly and kept me engaged up until the very end. While there were times the romance drove me crazy, I was happy with Luke and Val’s HEA.
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
I loved the look of this new contemporary, brainiac woman who finds herself falling for an equally intelligent and sensual guy. What’s not to love about that? While I enjoyed it, there were some things that just didn’t quite work for me.
Leanne is working on her PhD, getting ready to defend her thesis, and is in the running for the super prestigious academic achievement of a lifetime. It’s been the driving force behind everything in her life recently, and she wants nothing more than to win.
Brandon’s not had the easiest life, and everything he has he’s had to work for. His part time job at the strip club as a manager helps to pay for his education. When he has to go on stage on night and perform, he doesn’t expect to be entranced by a woman in the crowd. After their quick one time affair, he expects to never see her again. Imagine his surprise when they both work and go to school at the same university.
Their one time affair quickly rolls into more than once and the two find solace in each other’s company. But when an outside force threatens both Leanne’s award and Brandon’s future, will their feeble relationship be able to stand up to the test?
I have to say that at times I was worried that Brandon and Leanne just wouldn’t be able to make things work. She was stubborn, pig headed, and at times seemed like the last thing she wanted was to have to lean on somebody. Brandon was also a little low on self esteem and self-sacrificing to the point where he was willing to forgo more than seemed necessary. The biggest hurdle in their relationship was their own hang ups.
That being said, I really liked their characters as well. Leanne was also passionate about her work, dedicated to her studies and an amazingly strong woman even when her friends and family berated her for her studious lifestyle. Brandon had to overcome so many obstacles: male dancer, difficult childhood, poor upbringing. I found his conviction to be an admirable trait, I just wish he would have owned it a little more.
Most of the secondary characters, with the exception of Leanne’s father, drove me absolutely crazy. Leanne’s mother was an absolute nut, and I found her condescending and patronizing tone to be hard to stomach. Then at the end when she has a change of heart and her attitude does a complete 180… Not likely… Also Gillian, the backstabbing, two faced beotch had me wanting to punch somebody. At least she made for a good villain.
While I liked the courtship and dating dance that Brandon and Leanne went through, I did have a little difficultly believing in the happily ever after, especially after they had only known each other for 7 days. I tend to have a difficult time with the rushed romances, but I could see how the two did compliment each other well and how nicely they fit together as a couple. It just seemed that their journey should have taken seven months, not seven days.
All in all I enjoyed my first Mady book. Her characters were engaging and realistically flawed in a way that made them fun and believable. The romance was both sweet and sultry (just the way I like it!) While I wish some of the secondary characters had been a little more developed, it was a pleasure to read.
I really liked the first Nauti and Wild anthology, so when I got the next one in the mail, I couldn’t wait to dive back into the Nauti and Wild series. And with two heroes both named Jed, I knew I’d be in for a wild ride!
Nauti Siren by Lora Leigh
Piper has lived under her brothers protective thumb for a year now, and she hates that her every move is scrutinized. So when the chance to get her clothing designs seen by a New York backer, she finds a way to sneak out of town and take the chance of a lifetime. The last thing she expected was to have to call Jed, her sexy neighbor and general badass. When trouble follows her home, Piper is forced to let her brother do what he does best: protect her at all costs.
I’ll admit that I haven’t read all the books in the Nauti series, but the few that I’ve read were decent reads. That being said, I felt so bad for Piper and her sisters, given the way their brother practically smothers them. I understand his protective nature, but his way of offering that protection was so overbearing and obnoxious. Had that been my brother, I would have smacked him upside the head and ran as fast a I could!
One of the things I really enjoyed most about this story was that Jed wanted so desperately to be with Piper, and although he is cut from the same cloth as her brother, he wanted to support her every dream instead of stifling it. While he was constantly on alert to keep her safe, he also wanted her to have the chance to chase after her dreams, as long as she was willing to bring him along for the ride.
I thought Piper was a little too resistant to what Jed was trying to tell her, and she was an extremely hard-headed woman. She refused to take Jed at face value, and then made him jump through hoops to prove himself to her. There were times I wanted to shake her and ask her why she was stringing him along, when it was so obvious that he was different from the other men in her life. But she did finally catch on, and once she did the sparks flew.
I give Nauti Siren a C+
Riding to Sunset by Jaci Burton
Jed is the newest member of the Wild Riders, and when the General asks him to go on a special mission, Jed finds himself having to guard someone the General holds dear: his niece. The mission is simple, keep Elena safe, and don’t let on that she is in danger unless absolutely necessary. Danger finds its way to Elena, and the person he least expects is the one behind it all.
I adore the Wild Riders series. They are over the top, and yet so much fun. I love that we got to see more of the General in this book, because I’ve always wondered about him. It was great to get to see more of his family, and get a little back story into his life. I love that he is completely devoted to keeping his love ones safe, regardless of the cost to his own life and sanity.
Elena was a wonderful heroine. She was sweet and although a little naive, she fought tooth and nail in order to save herself and her mother. She wasn’t one of those heroines who was TSTL, but she also wasn’t afraid to step up when she needed to in order to protect herself. And I thought Jed was great. He wanted to prove himself to the General, and although the man was like a father to him, he was also willing to risk The General’s wrath at the chance with Elena. I loved getting the chance to read about a hero sticking up to someone he respects greatly, for the chance to be with his woman. It was an awesome moment between those two alpha men.
I was blown away by the twists and turns in this short story as well. I was surprised to see who the bad guy was in it all. And yet, I loved the way it turned out. It’s always so special when people surprise you throughout the book.
I will have to say that the way this series ended was a little disappointing. We never got one last look into all the operatives in Wild Riders, so the chance to say goodbye never came. And while I liked that both the General and Jed decided to do something different with their futures, their choice came as a little left field to me.
All in all I really enjoyed the final installment of the Wild Riders series. I loved getting to see another layer to the General, and both Jed and Elena were wonderful characters to read and fall in love with. I’m sad to be saying goodbye to this series.
Publisher: Zebra Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: eARC form author
Kellison is back with a short novella from her Shadow series. This story was jam packed with both action and romance, and a horribly embarrassing predicament for the heroine.
Ellie has lived her whole life in seclusion. She never got out and about, never left her home, never had the chance to interact with others. Why? Because her shadow was completely detached from her and embodied the dark impulses that Ellie had no chance of controlling. Unfortunately for Ellie, her shadow was always buck naked, always acting on whims and usually a little crazy. When she can’t take it anymore, Ellie does her research and finds someone who she thinks will be able to help her: a doctor at Segue.
Cam has been working his whole life for the chance to study the Shadow. When he gets a call from a woman who has read all his previous research he agrees to meet with her. Little does he know that she is actually split in two, her shadow occupying half of her soul and spirit. Cam isn’t sure that he can help her, but the more time they spend together, the more he realizes that he desperately WANTS to be able to help fix her problems, and keep her around for the long haul.
I have to say I was totally surprised by the premise of this story. I felt so sorry and embarrassed on Ellie’s behalf. At the same time, I was also somewhat blown away by the idea. I really liked Ellie’s character. She was so strong to have lived her entire life different from everyone, secluded away because of her shadow, and yet sadly resigned to live a life alone and depressed. It’s rare that a short novella can have a huge impact on me, but there were times when Ellie was talking about her struggles that brought tears to my eyes.
Cam was definitely not the typical kind of romance hero that I enjoy reading about. He’s a super nerd. He didn’t have many of the Alpha Hero qualities that usually make me swoon. That being said, I was impressed that Cam was so willing to go to bat for Ellie; especially after knowing her for just one short day, and especially since he was going to bat for her against a powerful force. Cam was genuine and caring and that really endeared him to me.
The novella takes place just over two short days, so the romance was pretty rushed. I was glad that there were no declarations of love between Cam and Ellie. Instead the two hinted at wanting to try and make it work. For me, that made their relationship more believable.
All in all, Kellison knocked this one out of the ballpark with a short, action packed, sexy novella that will have her Shadow fans begging for more. I give Shadow Touch a B+
Publisher: Berkley Publish Date: September 6th How I got this book: NetGalley
I have been a big Carly Phillips fan from the moment I first started reading contemporary romance. The Chandler Brothers and Hot Zone Series are two of my all time favorite series! When I heard the news that she was heading over to Penguin to start a new small town series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the books.
Ethan is back in his home town of Serendipity, hoping to prove to his younger brothers (and himself) that he finally has his life back on track. he’s bought the biggest house in town, runs a successful company, and wants to make amends. When he runs into Faith, the rich and beautiful girl from his past, he is rocked at how strong the attraction is between them still.
Faith is back in town as well, her marriage was a shame and between that let down, and the media storm surrounding her father’s betrayal, she isn’t exactly welcome. But Faith wants a fresh start and is willing to work hard for it. When she and Ethan start to rekindle what was once between them, a teen-aged half sister is dropped into Ethan’s lap. With everything going on, will he and Faith be able to start their life in Serendipity, or will everything fall apart?
I loved loved this book! Both Faith and Ethan were such wonderful characters. Faith struggled throughout dealing with her own insecurities of how people look at her now that her father is in prison and she is no longer the rich girl in town. She has a hard time getting people to see her separately and as her own person, and my heart broke from her every time someone lumped her in with her father. Watching her gradually take back control of her own life was so great!
Ethan is my newest book boyfriend. I fell head over heels for him. He was the bad boy as a kid, and because of his actions, has suffered his whole life thinking his actions caused his parents death. Then, he left town and his two younger brothers to their own fate and the foster care system. Now, he has his stuff together, runs a successful company, but can’t seem to get people to see his changes, only his mistakes. While he can’t seem to get his brothers to accept him, the younger teen-aged half sister Tess helps him bridge those relationships, helps him realize so much about his own past and troubles, and really brings out the protective instinct. I loved that he was so accepting with Tess, and did everything he could think of to bond with his sister. Their relationship was probably my favorite in the entire book.
I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to get any sexy time in with Ethan’s new responsibility, and although it took awhile for Ethan and Faith to get to that point, Phillips came through with some great and steamy scenes. I was glad that to see Faith be the one to really struggle with the future, and how Ethan was the rock in their relationship. I’ve seen more and more contemporary romance books have them man as the solid partner and the woman struggle a bit more, and I have to say I love it! It worked perfectly for this story and I believed every single moment of it.
I’m so excited for more books in Serendipity, mostly because the secondary characters were all wonderful as well. Ethan’s brothers Nash and Dare were, at times, jerks and a little self-centered. I think that the two of them really need to redeem themselves with Ethan, and hope they can get past the tragedy and move forward as a family.
All in all Phillips has another masterpiece on her hands with this small town romance. The town itself is a great character with amazing people. I loved the romance and the story and history with the Barron brothers. I can’t wait for more!
Publisher: Mira Publish Date: August 30th How I got this book: NetGalley
I loved the first Bulletproof book by Novak and when I saw the 2nd come up on NetGalley, I knew I would have to read this book. There was so much story left to tell between Laurel, Pretty Boy, Virgil and Peyton. And while I was a little disappointed that Pretty Boy and Laurel did not end up together, I really liked this story!
We pick up a few years later in the story, and Laurel has moved to small town Montana where she is finally getting the pieces of her life back together. She has her own business, a house, good friends and a sexy sheriff as the next door neighbor. She hopes that everything with The Crew is done and over, but when a local is murdered, Laurel fears for the worst.
Myles only knows his sexy next door neighbor as Vivian, but he wants to know so much more about her. He has been asking her out for months, but she always says no. When trouble comes to town, Vivian starts acting weird and Myles sticks closer to her side than ever before. As The Crew closes in on Laurel and her kids, she will do just about anything to protect them, even so far as to be willing to take them on before they can take her out.
The timeline was initially a little confusing to me, as was the name change of Vivian from Laurel. It took me a little to get back into the flow of the story, but once I did… Holy. Cow. I love that Novak’s writing is so explosive and sexy and the suspense is scary and real. I absolutely love it. The moments with Ink were frightening and could be a case-study for narcissistic sociopaths. There is nothing glossed over or sugar coated there, and as twisted as it was, I loved it. I loved that Novak pushed the boundaries and at times had me cursing my nook.
Like I said before, I was so disappointed that Laurel and Pretty Boy didn’t end up together. I liked them together, I thought they would be good together. In the first couple chapters I was still rooting for them, but it quickly became apparent to me that they were better apart, and watching their friendship grow was pretty great, especially the moments when Pretty Boy would get jealous over Myles.
I really liked Myles overall. I thought he was a great alpha hero who also had such a capacity for emotion as well. From the very beginning the reader is aware of how tender and loving he was to his first wife who died of cancer. There was never a doubt in my mind that he could love with all his heart, and how strong of a character that made him. Every reaction to Laurel was perfect and real.
The alternate plot lines with Virgil and Peyton were at times frustrating. I was upset with the way that Virgil handled things with The Crew. Him running off all half-cocked by himself while his pregnant wife sat at home just didn’t feel in character for him. It was a little weird to read. But, thankfully it worked at solving all their problems. I also hope that we get to see some kind of resolution to the story with Pretty Boy. I felt as if we were left hanging a little on his story.
All in all, I was very happy with In Seconds. The characters were real and full of emotion, the suspense was in full force and I was kept on the edge of my seat. Although there were a few rough patches for me, I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
Publisher: Mira Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
This was the third and final book in the Bulletproof series by Brenda Novak, and it also happened to be my least favorite of the three. I absolutely loved the first book in the series, but for me, it only went downhill from there.
The disappearance of Claire’s mother has been haunting her for years. Her family wants her to give up the search, but she can’t seem to stop thinking about it and doing everything she can to solve the mystery. Then, when her husband was killed in a freak accident, Claire felt even more determined. she never imagined that her old flame Issac would be the one to step up and help her.
Isaac has regretted the day he let Claire go for years. Now that he is trying to help her find answers he is spending more and more time with her. He knows now that the one thing he wants is to keep her for good this time. Only now the same person who caused her mother’s disappearance might be after her. Will Isaac be able to fight to save Claire the second time around, or will she disappear forever too?
I really wanted to like this one, and had some pretty high hopes going in. I was excited to see how Novak would handle having such an old case come back after so long being a mystery. And in some ways I felt as if it was very well done. The case didn’t feel as if it was nicely put together and packaged in a way that would be easy to solve once re-opened years later. But at the same time, I felt as if the reader was left out of a lot of the investigative process.
I didn’t really connect well to either Claire or Isaac. There were times I thought that they were both immature and irresponsible with each other’s feelings, especially in the beginning. Claire also seemed very accepting about jumping back into a relationship with Isaac, which seemed odd given the way he broke her heart all those years ago. There was a lot about their relationship that felt forced and convenient. I wasn’t a huge fan.
I also was not happy with the ending, especially when we find out who the killer is. I don’t want to give anything away for those who are going to read it, so I apologize in advance for being vague, but…. While I thought the explanation for WHY the killer acted out, I didn’t understand the involvement of the accomplice. I just didn’t like it. At all.
PLUS, for those of you who were hoping that we would get some kind of resolution with Pretty Boy and the events of the ending of In Seconds, prepared for disappointment. Rex isn’t even mentioned once.
All in all I thought this was the weakest book of the Bulletproof series. I didn’t feel a huge connection between the hero and the heroine, and things that I wished would have been resolved were never touched. While the investigation of the crime was at times exciting and thrilling, the ending was a letdown. I give In Close a C...more
Publisher: Grand Central Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: NetGalley
This was my first Davis read, and although it was a short story, it totally pulled me in and had me wishing for so much more. I am definitely going to go out and pick up more of her work!
Lara was looking to escape for awhile, and ended up in Africa working at a small clinic as one of only a few doctors. She is running from her past and the love she lost. One night after one too many shots, the sexy Rafe starts looking more and more like a man she could start a life with. After one smoking hot night together tough, all Lara’s memories re-surface and she worries she may have moved too fast.
Rafe wants nothing more than to make Lara’s his, for good. But when rebel forces kidnap and take Lara, he fears the worst. Together they must trek through the jungle, avoid detection and try to find a way out of danger – all while fighting the intense attraction that keeps pulling them together.
This was a short but very fast paced novella. We are immediately thrown into the crazy life that Lara and Rafe live in Africa, including the never ending problems with sub-par health care. I always love mercenary and military romance books set in third world countries that bring about awareness to problems that arise around the world. I think it’s just another wonderful platform for people to become more knowledgeable of the world at large.
The suspense was really well done in this novella. I loved the sneaking through the jungle and trying to avoid the rebel forces aspect of it. I really do wish this could have been longer, because I think Davis could have really gone into so much more (like survival tactics, jungle wildlife, etc.). But with the short amount of page space, I thought the story had a perfect balance of suspense and romance.
At times the romance did feel a little rushed, again one of the downfalls of only having a certain number of pages. Lara and Rafe went from being co-workers to lovers to being in love in just about 48 very short hours. While I agree that adrenaline fueled situations can cause strong emotions between two people, I thought that their declarations of love at the end were a little too much too soon. Especially for Lara, who struggled with letting go of her previous love. But, the two were really well suited together and I loved them together.
All in all I really enjoyed this novella. It was a great introduction into Davis’ writing style and I have to say, I am definitely going to go and check out the other books in her A-Tac Series. The romance was hot and passionate, the suspense was intense and believable, and the overall story was beautiful.
Publisher: Berkley Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: review copy from publisher
The KGI series was probably my most anticipated romantic suspense series ever. I love the dynamics between the Kelly brothers, and think that Banks writes an incredible story, however this one really just didn’t work for me. I’m not a huge fan of genre jumping, and this book committed one of my cardinal book sins: bringing in paranormal elements to a non-paranormal world.
I was anxious to see what would happen with Nathan, one of the twins and youngest Kelly brother after he was captured by the enemy. While I understand why the book went the way it did, especially with the paranormal elements, I just had a hard time getting on board with the extra-ordinary in an ordinary world. Putting that aside for a minute, I think had the book not had those elements, it would have been an A read for sure.
I’ve been a big fan of the Kelly brothers, and that didn’t change in this book. The brothers continue to have a wonderful and incredible dynamic together, and even as their wives got involved with Nathan and Shea, they each had their own strengths to lend to the situation at hand, and yet came together as a family when they were needed most. I loved getting a glimpse into the lives of the past couples, and hope that Banks continues on this trend of showcasing more of the Kelly family throughout the series.
I thought the suspense was well done as well. In the beginning Nathan was still in captivity with the enemy, and I wanted to cry for him at every page turn. But once he got out and healed a little, he went right back to being that hardcore trained soldier, coming through for Shea when she needed him most.
I will admit that the relationship between Shea and Nathan was probably my favorite aspect of the book. Because of the paranormal element, they had a deep and true connection to one another, and despite the fact that their declarations of love came on somewhat quickly, it was also believable and true to their relationship with each other. I really loved these two together.
All in all this is a hard book for me to rate because despite the fact that I hated the paranormal elements in the contemporary world, everything else was wonderful. The suspense was well done, the characters pulled me in and had me falling in love, the romance was so well done and sexy. It was just the one HUGE elephant in the room that had me hesitant. I give Whispers in the Dark a C....more
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: eARC from author
I’ve always heard such great things about Quinn, but had only read her short story in the Undercover Lovers Anthology. Let me tell ya, when Quinn has more pages to work with, she really steams them up!!
Kelly has lived and breathed the bookstore, and loves everything about her job, especially her sexy as sin boss. But Spencer doesn’t seem to notice or even really like her most days. That doesn’t stop her from having him star in all her fantasies, or topping her list of men she dreams of having.
Spencer can’t get involved in another scandal with an employee, so no matter how attracted he is to Kelly, she is off limits. But when he finds her PDA and his name on her list, he finds it harder and harder to get her off his mind. Once they run into each other at an underground sex club, Spencer finds that his possessiveness is stronger than he ever thought. But when someone from Spencer’s past shows up, he will have to decide what he wants more: a life with Kelly, or to follow what he thought was his dream.
Let me just start by saying that Quinn writes some really, really sexy stuff. I’m not new to books that involve most of the plot being done at a sex club, and this one didn’t feel seedy or gross or anything. For those of you who know me, I’m not keen on menage books, and although Kelly and Spencer do have a few times when they invite others to join them, it never really felt like a menage to me. For that I really enjoyed those moments, they were sexy and hot, but not crossing into anything uncomfortable.
I enjoyed Kelly’s character a lot. She was vulnerable and honest and a little uncertain in her own skin. She was a nerd and had some serious self-esteem issues. I found a lot of myself in her (minus the kinky tendencies *grin*), and for that I really took a lot of Spencer’s BS personal. There were times I didn’t really like him much, and couldn’t see what exactly Kelly saw in him. At times I even thought that she put up with a lot more than she probably should have.
While I didn’t want to like Spencer, and through most of the time I didn’t, I did understand many of his hang-ups. I got why he didn’t want to have a relationship with another co-worker, didn’t want another scandal at work. But at the same time I thought that he went a little too far withholding himself from her, and many of his actions were pure a-hole things to do. But, in the end, he did do a good job of redeeming himself in both my eyes and Kelly’s.
All in all, I enjoyed this Quinn read. While the hero grated on my nerves, he did find a way to atone for his foolish ways, and win over the heroine in a way that was believable to me. The sexy times were super duper smokin’ hot and fun to read.
Publisher: Harlequin Presents Publish Date: August 2nd How I got this book: NetGalley
I’m not usually a huge fan of the Harlequin category romance books. I don’t know why, I just usually don’t read them, and the ones I have read, are usually only just so-so reads for me. Not great, but not horrible either. But everyone now and then one will come along that sounds interesting enough for me to pick it up and run with it.
Jolie Tanner was tossed aside by her best friend in grade school because of her mother’s affair with a married man. Since that day, Jolie has been a social outcast in town, and couldn’t wait to get far, far away. But when her mother’s lover dies, she comes back to town to provide support to her mom.
Too bad Jolie ends up stuck in the middle of a blizzard with not only the sexiest man alive, but also the son of the man who tore her life to shambles. Cole Rees hates what his father did to his family, and has always taken a little of his anger out on Jolie. But when she helps save his life on the mountain, he realizes there might be more to those Tanner women that just a sexy smile and killer body.
I had some mixed feelings about this one. There were things I really enjoyed about it, and there were things I found to be a little out of the realm of possibility, even for Harlequin. The whole ordeal with Jolie and Cole having to survive the blizzard, the gondola crashing into the avalanche and the trek back to a safe location was actually one of my favorite parts. It reminded me of what exactly people are able to do when put into extreme situations, and both of their characters really shone through in a positive light with how they handled themselves.
From there I went into a bit of disbelief when one moment Cole and Jolie are bickering and snarking on each other, obviously holding onto so much hate and anger. Moments later they are “sharing one kiss” which leads to smexy time and instantly back into glaring hatred. It was awkward and odd that such strong characters would let go of their convictions like that. It felt forced and completely out of character for both of them.
Once they get rescued and are forced back into the real world, I was impressed and happy with the way that Cole really backed Jolie, how he supported her in the face of the media, and thanked her despite everyone knowing about their bad blood. My heart melted a little for Cole in those moments, and he stuck out as one of those romance heroes you hope to meet and fall for.
The conflict between Cole’s family and Jolie was difficult to watch, and at times Cole’s own mother seemed so childish. While I know tons of adults can act like toddlers, for some reason I don’t always enjoy reading it, and was glad a lot of her conflict was kept to a minimum. I do hope that we get to see more of Cole’s younger sister Hannah, possibly she will get her HEA soon…
All in all I enjoyed this Presents story by Hunter. I’m always loving the enemies to lovers stories, and despite a few hiccups, Cole and Jolie’s relationship was fun and engaging to read.
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: August 30th How I got this book: NetGalley
Dahl is back again with another new fun and sexy contemporary series. Tessa and her two brothers own the family brewery and have been running it ever since their parents died. When there is a break in at the bar, Tessa has to deal with not only her brother screwing things up, but the sexy Detective Luke who brings about some of her desires.
When things start spiraling out of control, Tessa tries dealing with her brother’s problems, her own issues with her parents death, and a new relationship that is moving quickly into love, but dealing with a lot of bumps along the way. Luke isn’t looking to fall in love again, but he also isn’t completely opposed to it. He knows that Tessa is keeping things from him, but with the case taking turns left and right, will he be able to solve the case and keep the girl?
I really enjoyed this story. Dahl has such a wonderful sense of humor, and the sexy times are super sexy. I found myself chuckling throughout the entire story. Tessa has a great sense of humor, and although her character is seriously flawed, she is funny and snarky. I was a little annoyed with the way that Tessa’s lies continued to snowball out of control. I get the reasons why she kept stretching the truth, but hoped that she would have realized just how much damage it caused a little sooner than she did.
I loved Luke. Loved! He had this way about him. He was absolutely all male, but it was obvious that he felt everything so intensely. His relationship and concern for his partner Simone and her secrets around her pregnancy were a constant stress for him, and it was obvious he wanted to do everything in his power to fix it. Up to and including letting everyone think he was the bad guy to protect her reputation. Also, his history with his ex-wife was just another example of how far he was willing to go for someone he cared about. I liked seeing him as the more secure person in their relationship, especially toward the end.
Tessa’s brothers were also a favorite part of the story for me. Watching them react to Tessa’s new relationship was hilarious. Although I thought they both took the protective brother thing a little further than necessary, but it was cute at times. I can’t wait to see how Jamie comes into his own, grows up a little and proves himself. Eric also will have a great story to tell, being the oldest brother and the one who gave up so much to take care of his much younger brother and sister after the death of their parents. It’ll be good to see him step away from the drama and take time to live his own life.
For me, Dahl pulled on my heart strings with the relationship between Tessa and her brothers and their lives after their parents death. I think that one moment shaped them each so powerfully, and that came across strong in the story. I alternated between tears and laughter, and by the end of the book was absolutely in love with everything about this series.
The mystery surrounding the break-in and business arrangement was a nice twist as well. It wasn’t something I guessed right away, but was glad the way it all turned out, especially once it put such a strain on the family dynamic
All in all, the first book in the Donovan Brothers Brewery series was a great engaging read that moved quickly through the action and romance to deliver a fabulous contemporary read. The characters sense of humor and honor was real and pulled me that much further into the story. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the Donovan siblings next!
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: July 26th How I got this book: NetGalley
I’ve been a huge Susan Mallery fan since I put a call out to my Twitter followers for great contemporary romance books about a year ago. Since then, I’ve devoured almost her entire back list, and gobble up everything new I can get my hands on. Only Mine is the 4th installment of the Fool’s Gold Series, one of my favorites!
Dakota is one of the Hendrix triplets, and with her psychology background, was guilted by the mayor to work with the Hollywood TV crew in the small CA town of Fool’s Gold. Since the world found out about their man shortage, the town has had to deal with some crazy things, but a dating show just might be the craziest. But Dakota will do what it takes for the town, and if helping with the production is what she has to do, she’ll damn well do it. But she never expected Finn.
Finn has come down to Fool’s Gold from Alaska, chasing his younger brothers and hoping he can change their minds against going on the TV show. But Stephen and Sasha have other plans. Finn sticks around to try and change their mind, but finds himself running into Dakota time and time again. When the show comes to an end, will anyone in Fool’s Gold have actually found love?
I was anxiously awaiting to find out more about the Hendrix triplets, and was somewhat surprised that we didn’t see more interaction between the three, but at the same time I loved getting to know Dakota better. She had gone through a really devastating event with finding out she wouldn’t be able to have kids, and watching her struggle with trying to adopt as a single parent was so touching. I loved Dakota, thought she was a great strong heroine and a joy to read.
I also liked Finn, despite his overbearing and somewhat annoying tendency to treat his adult brothers like they were toddlers. I liked watching Finn grow from this overbearing Alaskan backwoods man; coming out of his shell and finding that what he has always known might not be the best for him. I loved the relationship between him and Dakota, how supportive he was of her at every corner, and even the way he handled himself at the end of the story. I really thought Mallery did a wonderful job with his reaction to Dakota’s “news” and how he discovered he was in love with her. It was very well done!
For the secondary story lines of Finn’s twin brothers Sasha and Stephen, I had some mixed feelings. I really liked Stephen, the more subdued and laid back of the two. I loved his relationship with Auriel and how they really found a way to compliment each other, despite their gap in ages. I just wish that the storyline surrounding her mother hadn’t been so depressing and ugly. It was a little disheartening to read. Unlike Stephen, I found Sasha to be shallow and childish. I could see why Finn treated him like a two year old. Sure Sasha seemed to know what he really wanted to do in life, but the way he went about everything just reminded me of a spoiled child. I wish we would have had the chance to see him grow up a bit.
All in all, Mallery is back with another stellar contemporary romance filled with passion, love and a sense of community. I love the Fool’s Gold cast of characters and was happy with these additions. I can’t want to see what is in store for us with the other Hendrix triplets. Mallery fans will not be disappointed!