Favorite Quote: “…the list of foodstuffs that shouldn’t be introduced to a woman’s private parts is actually quite long.”
Tim Cannon is an EMT whose li...moreFavorite Quote: “…the list of foodstuffs that shouldn’t be introduced to a woman’s private parts is actually quite long.”
Tim Cannon is an EMT whose lifestyle has him constantly on the move. He uses one night stands to burn off his excessive energy. Over six feet of pure muscle and bearded sex on a stick ensures Tim never lacks companionship but when he meets a food truck chef, he finds himself suddenly wanting more than just instant gratification. And that scares him to death.
Sarah McCall is a chef and co owner of a food truck business. A west coast transplant, she lives life serenely and slowly, taking the time to feel and enjoy every experience she can. Whether it’s refining the sauces for her menu or spending time in bed with a certain sexy EMT…Sarah has learned that the best things in life are worth waiting for.
Afternoon Delight is a sensual erotic romance that starts out as a flirty sexual interlude only to build into something more that shocks both parties. Set in the bustling city of Manhattan, Calhoun introduces us to two individuals whose attraction leads to a lesson in control and learning to appreciate the slow anticipation of living life day to day.
“You have probably heard of Baba Yaga-the wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the f...moreC+
“You have probably heard of Baba Yaga-the wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar steered with a pestle, and ate small small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if one could pass her tests.
You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I’m Baba Yaga, and this is my story.”
Barbara Yager aka Baba Yaga has been called to a small farming community to help locate three missing children. Disguised as a herbalist, she travels in a magical Airstream RV with her talking pit bull/dragon protector. Not known for being comfortable with alot of human interaction, Barbara’s investigations lead her to believe that the missing children are part of a much larger picture that involves dark magic. With the handsome town sheriff at her side, Barbara pits her will against human and not so human enemies-determined to protect the town, the children, and her heart.
Deborah Blake’s debut Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in a new series that is based on the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga. Blake manipulates this old tale to make Baba Yaga more of a job title and bestowing it on three young women. This trio of “sisters” use their magic to help keep the nature in balance and guard the doorways between the mortal world and the otherworld. Blake offers an interesting mixture of legend and mythology that blends together to produce a story that is at times engaging and fun despite the serious subject matter.
Favorite Quote: “My beloved is mine, and I am hers.”
Tess has made a powerful enemy among the Elders and needs protection fast. She decides to apply to...moreFavorite Quote: “My beloved is mine, and I am hers.”
Tess has made a powerful enemy among the Elders and needs protection fast. She decides to apply to be a human attendant to a Vampyre of the Nightkind in hopes that whoever chooses her is strong enough to defend her from what’s coming for her.
Xavier del Torro is the right hand man to the King of the Nightkind. The legends that surround this man scare even the most cautious of men and women. Tess’s audition to be a vampyre attendant intrigues Xavier so he offers her a trial period. One year to prove to him her loyalty and commitment.
Xavier frightens Tess but his old world charm and integrity appeals to her. As she learns to deal with the dangers of her new position, she begins to fear for the danger to her heart.
Night’s Honor is the seventh book in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. Harrison turns her sights onto the Nightkind and the vampyres who control it. We first met Xavier during Serpent’s Kiss. As the right hand man to the now King of the Nightkind, he was instrumental in helping to force the Queen of the Nightkind to abdicate her throne. Though touted as a bit of a villain in Serpent’s Kiss, Xavier proves most assuredly that he is not. Everything he does is to protect his king and his people.
Favorite Quote: “Charming is for nice guys, and he hadn’t felt nice for a very long time.”
Natalie Cooper was Truly’s golden girl. She married the town...moreFavorite Quote: “Charming is for nice guys, and he hadn’t felt nice for a very long time.”
Natalie Cooper was Truly’s golden girl. She married the town’s football star right after high school and had what seemed to be the perfect life. But all the pom poms and pageant crowns in the world couldn’t have predicted her husband would be accused of embezzlement and run off with a 20 year old replacement, leaving Natalie holding the bag.
Blake Junger has been sent to Truly to deal with his demons once and for all. He doesn’t want or need a blond goddess or her equally cute daughter messing up his life. But fate often gives us what we need rather than what we want. And Blake soon learns what he wants is right next door.
Ivy has always seen other worlds since she was a child. Given medication to control her “hallucinations” she is convinced her visions aren’t real. Tha...moreIvy has always seen other worlds since she was a child. Given medication to control her “hallucinations” she is convinced her visions aren’t real. That is, until her sister disappears and Ivy discovers not only are these other worlds real, but her sister is trapped in one of them and unless Ivy can find a hidden relic to use to save her, she will die. The one man who can help her find the relic is also the one that an ancient prophecy says will ultimately betray her.
Adrian may have turned his back on his legacy but meeting Ivy leaves him convinced he cannot change fate no matter how hard he tries. Together, he helps her learn about her gifts and locate the relic they so desperately need. But every step they take brings Ivy closer to her destiny and a war that will leave her on one side and Adrian on the other.
The Beautiful Ashes is Jeaniene Frost’s first foray into a New Adult fantasy series. The premise introduces us to multi layered world of demons, angels, and a young lady whose lineage proclaims her to be the ultimate weapon in a coming war. Steady pacing and a slow reveal of the elements and arc brings us the possibility of a well developed storyline that will reveal in this trilogy.
Favorite Quote: When a woman says she fine, an intelligent man runs in the opposite direction.
Ex Nex Agent William Thorne was violently altered mentally and physically when he risked his life to save his best friend. Slowly going insane by the changes affecting him, William knows he must find Holly Evernight before he loses his grip on reality forever.
People are trying to kill SOS agent Holly Evernight and she has every reason to believe William Thorne is one of them. After all, it’s her invention that is slowly killing him. When he confronts her at home, Holly pushes aside her fear and strikes a bargain with him. She will help heal him if he will protect her from the assassins who are stalking her.
William agrees as her touch seems to soothe the madness within him. But someone wants Holly dead and if William doesn’t figure out who it is, he will lose his only hope at salvation.
Evernight, the fifth book in Callihan’s dark and thrilling Darkest London series, drops us back down the rabbit hole from the first page. As this book references and expands upon events that happened in book four, Shadowdance, I wouldn’t recommend starting the series here.
Romance is the key element on which this series is built while the the fantasy aspects play hard and fast. Outstanding world building and the dynamic characters breathe life in this series. Callihan keeps the main premise of the arc intact while she expertly injects new subplots; heightening the drama and suspense as she slowly begins to pull the individual pieces together towards the series finale.
The originality of her characters and their individual stories is what keeps me hooked. There are no clear cut good and bad and we are often shown that some feel the means justify the end. The lines between good and evil are blurred; giving credence to the knowledge that sometimes heroes and villains are only separated by a series of degrees. Smooth writing, fast pacing, and engaging dialogue keeps you on your toes to the very end. Multiple sub plots are rich in subterfuge and adventure as you submerge yourself into the decadent and dangerous lives of the amazing individuals who exist in here.
William and Holly’s story started from tragedy in Shadowdance and continues on as such in here. Both used as pawns in a brewing supernatural war that is larger and more ominous than we have been led to believe. Holly was kidnapped and forced to place one of her inventions, a mechanical heart, in William at the instruction of an insane man. This invention is slowly killing William and keeps in him excruciating pain. This places Holly and William at direct odds because William thought Holly was a willing participant in his torture and now he feels she must pay him his pound of flesh.
When they ripped out his heart, and he had finally succumbed to blissful oblivion, he held on to one thing: his hatred of his tormentor and the one with the angel’s face and devil’s mind. Evernight.
A majority of the book focuses on Holly and William’s relationship. William blames Holly for his torture yet he must stay with in her reach in order to alleviate his pain and madness. Holly also feels responsible for his torture and has chosen to separate herself from the world out of penance and fear. Holly’s and William’s chemistry sparks white lightning from their first scene. Forced to work together, they slowly learn more about one another and begin to form a bond that deepens the more time they spend together. William’s sexual innuendos and flamboyant nature is the perfect foil for Holly’s more reserved and sardonic nature; adding humor in this otherwise somber tale of betrayal and deception.
“Let me see if I have this correctly,” he said struggling not to crow, “you are going to rub your hands all over my body…” -she narrowed her eyes in distaste, which only made him grin reach epic proportions- “slowly and thoroughly-”
“Really Mr. Thorne.”
“While my part in it is to lie here and take it?” His cheeks ached from smiling. “Is that the plan?”
Callihan does an epic job of blending the suspense of the story with the emotional journey of William and Holly. Non stop action speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the nuances and shifts. The plot was remarkable in it’s elements and I found myself riveted as the story slowly revealed itself. Callihan’s clear and concise writing leaves little confusion with the convoluted and multi-layered storyline. With each scene we watch William and Holly face their demons and overcome internal obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
“I’ll never be truly safe.”
“None of us are. It is a sacrifice to the life we choose. That does not mean we must live it in fear.”
Engaging word play creates a story you cannot put down. The supporting characters are intense, well developed, and intertwine with our protagonists to give us a rich, full bodied story. Much that has been played out behind the scenes comes into the light. Everyone here has an agenda and doesn’t always play by the rules. There are plenty in here to love and hate with abundance. We learn much more about Adam; his particular story has been waiting to be told since he was first introduced, and the additional powerful supernatural beings who are finally making themselves known. Alliances are made as enemies come out of the dark, threatening the well being of all those involved.
As we headed towards the ending I found myself gripped with tension. Callihan plays it close to the vest. The ending is a phenomenal mixture of hope and despair; wrapping up the main conflict and introducing new pathways for the arc to follow. Once again Callihan leaves me both satisfied and wanting more. Evernight contains the perfect balance of action, suspense, intrigue, and romance that makes this series a must read for all noir PNR aficionados.
DNF-cover and premise promised a powerful YA dealing with demons, mental illness, and grief. Unfortunately the story itself failed to engage me with u...moreDNF-cover and premise promised a powerful YA dealing with demons, mental illness, and grief. Unfortunately the story itself failed to engage me with unlikable characters, the faint premise that anti psychotic drugs cause more harm then good, and a heavily padded storyline. (less)
Nadia Conrad is in college, studying to be a special education teacher. Between her grueling work schedule and full course load, Nadia has no time for herself much less time to date anyone. But when she moves into a new apartment and meets her downstairs neighbor, Nadia feels a connection that may toss all her plans into the wind.
Daniel (Ty) Tyler has his own problems. A young single dad; he works full time and goes to night school to try and make a better life for himself and his four year old son. Having lost at love once before, romance is something he neither wants or needs, but when he meets Nadia, he can’t seem to stay away from her.
Sometimes love happens whether we want it or not. And sometimes, we didn’t even know we wanted it until its gone.
I’m going to tell you all a secret. I’ve never been a Back Street Boys fan. Don’t hate me, haters!! When I was first offered this for review, I didn’t get the significance of the book title until a friend clued me in. I still don’t really get it but that’s okay. I Want It That Way is the first in a trilogy and Ann Aguirre’s first foray into New Adult romance. A talented author whose urban fantasies and dystopian YAs I have enjoyed in the past, I was thrilled to see Aguirre venture into a new genre.
Aguirre pens an easy going low conflict coming of age story that touches on the average social and emotional problems that this age group can encounter. Well written but predictable in the journey and the addition of strategically placed melodrama to heighten the appeal of the conflict. Interesting secondary characters add humor and a sense of realism to the story; from Nadia’s friends to her bosses and family.
Nadia, our protagonist, is a personable albeit average character. Smart, snarky, and extremely work orientated, she handles life as best she can, always coming up with a suitable solution herself or with some external help. She has a bit of a naughty side to her that was cute but announced itself rather abruptly in scenes. Not prone to overly emotional meltdowns or dramatic gestures of angst, she’s easy to read about but not overly exciting.
Aguirre paints a realistic portrait of Ty as a single father. Ty’s girlfriend’s abandonment of him and their newborn son left a huge hole of anger and guilt in Ty. With his backstory and overwhelming schedule, you can feel his weariness and understand why he shies away from relationships though his hot/cold attitude towards Nadia does wear on the reader. We don’t get a lot from him (physically or emotionally) so it was hard to see him for more than just a romantic plotline.
I felt that Aguirre did a better job of developing Nadia and her individual relationships with her roommates more than with Ty and the romance itself. The fact it’s all presented from Nadia’s point of view causes the reader to lose valuable insight we would have gained from hearing Ty’s thoughts and emotions at certain pivotal scenes. The romance moves very fast; insta-lust strikes hard and Nadia speaks of falling in love rather quickly. It’s hard to accept that is how she feels because their relationship is presented in a time frame of sorts. The chemistry seems to be sexual in nature (Nadia and Ty in conversations and Nadia’s thoughts speak of how sexy each other is, ect…) I wanted more in depth conversations that addressed their attraction and explained why they feel this way about one another. What was the one thing that made each other the one. We never get to see where it turns to an emotional attraction. Nadia’s day to day activities and her life in general overwhelms the actual romance. Aguirre also skips ahead days and weeks where we are told things happen but don’t see it actually unfolding. The conflict wars with the subplots at times and it made me want to skip ahead and bypass the banality that affects the story.
Regardless of my issues, I did enjoy the book overall though I wasn’t enamored with it. It doesn’t stand out from other new adult books being offered and that was a disappointment. I admit to being curious about the next one in the trilogy-As Long As you love Me-as this couple was alluded to frequently in this book and I’m curious to see if Aguirre can find the romantic balance and development that was needed in here.
Favorite Quote: “They want an expert to explain she wasn’t a sociopath, just someone who craved constant attention and wasn’t able to solve her own problems.”
“You just described everyone on Facebook.”
Dr. Sheridan (Danny) Doyle has come back to his hometown to visit his ailing grandfather. A victim of an abusive father and a mentally ill mother, Danny rose like a phoenix from the ashes of his childhood and used it to reinvent himself into a famous forensic psychologist. Now he’s back and involved in a series of murders that all date back to a decades old act of violence that has frozen the town in time.
One Of Us is a mystery thriller that steps off the beaten path by giving us the who, what, when, and where fairly early on and concentrating on the “why.” Humor and horror walk hand in hand through the small town of Lost Creek, PA, as the past and present intermingle to try and explain a recent rash of murders. It pits two former residents against one another in a morbid game of cat and mouse as O’Dell strips away the town’s layers to expose a crime that once set in motion, destroys a multitude of lives as it slowly comes to light. A crime that was ignored due to small town prejudice, fear, and ignorance. It’s only when the true story comes to light do we realize just how much of this town and it’s residents was built upon a single act of revenge that was punished in the harshest of fashions.
Lost Creek is a small mining town whose claim to fame is the century old hanging of a group of miners by the owner of the mines. Referred to as the Nellies, these Irish-American miners were immortalized by the town as folk heroes as men who stood up to the injustice of the mines and the men who ran them. Danny Doyle, a descendant of one of those ill fated miners, has always hated Lost Creek. It represents all of his childhood fears-from the dark mines to his hate filled father. He comes back to Lost Creek to see his grandfather, Tommy, who was his savior as a child against the craziness that surrounded Danny. While out on a run, Danny stumbles on to a dead body at the foot of the town’s most historical and gruesome artifact, the very gallows where the Nellies were hung. The murdered man is a descendant of one of the original men who had a hand in the Nellie hangings. As Danny lends his expertise to the investigation, he begins to realize that the murder is but a single piece in a much larger picture. A picture that leads straight back to his family and sets in motion a series of events that changes everything Danny has ever known.
O’Dell builds the storyline slowly; heavy descriptive scenes and characterization give readers a first hand look at the poverty and mindset of those who live in these small towns where the only way to make a living is often met with death. Though Danny is the main protagonist, the rest of the cast is equally compelling and persuasive in their views and actions. From the eccentric four time divorced town detective who was Danny’s pseudo father figure to the egomaniac mine owner’s daughter whose beauty hides a rotten core; O’ Dell gives us a town rich in history and quirky personality.
Danny is an interesting protagonist. A gentle somewhat facetious man whose job has him looking into the eyes of the mentally insane everyday. There seemed to be two sides of him that fight against one another-the boy who struggles with hating and loving his parents and the man who struggles to keep all that pain buried inside, presenting a well adjusted person to the world. Having the story told in the first person helps the reader settle into Danny’s thoughts and world with relative ease.
Though not a whirlwind of action and intrigue, the story flows at a decent if not slow pace, picking up considerably once Danny begins to put the puzzle pieces together. Plenty of dialogue, character interaction, and armchair analysis helps us to see the multiple connections that O’Dell has been slowly revealing to us. Though the actions of some weren’t surprising (I figured most of it out by the middle of the book) the reasons behind them were.
All in all O’Dell writes an interesting tale of madness and circumstance that entertains while offering a brief glimpse into the history of Irish immigrants who can to America with dreams of a better life; only to find themselves in the same if not worse conditions.
Favorite Quote: “I’m going to tell you every filthy fucking thing I want to do with you and to you. Because I only know what gets you off. I want to learn what turns you on.”
Trix escaped Sector Five four years ago, allowing everyone there to believe she was dead. Now living in Sector Four and officially an O’Kane, Trix is clean with a new name, a new family, and the life she has always wanted. Except for missing the man she left behind in Sector Five, Trix is the happiest she’s ever been. When she is kidnapped in broad daylight, she is shocked to find herself back in Sector Five and face to face with the one man she never stopped loving.
Finn has been slowly killing himself everyday since Trix disappeared. Believing Trix is dead, all Finn wants to do is annihilate Sector Five and then find a place to finally let it all go. When he is called into his boss’s office and sees Trix, he vows he will do everything he can to get her back home safe and sound. Easier said than done though when politics places a bounty on both their heads.
Finn knows getting Trix home will be the easy part. Leaving her there and having to return to Sector Five may drive the final nail in his coffin. As Finn and Trix fight their way to the O’Kanes and safety, they also have deal with the blazing addiction that has roared back up between them. An addiction neither of them managed to kick in their time apart. With a sector war brewing on the horizon, Finn and Trix are once again caught in the crossfire and this time neither may make it out alive.
I am a huge fan of Kit Rocha (aka Moira Rogers) and I even have the coffee mug, flask, and temporary tattoos to prove it. The Beyond series is pure erotic decadence layered in sex, violence, and freedom as Rocha slowly evolves and expands their post-apocalyptic world and the people who inhabit it. Action packed with intriguing well plotted storylines and an ongoing arc that takes this erotic dystopian romance from common place to extraordinaire in both writing and presentation. This series celebrates the choice of freedom in all aspects of life. A much needed voice in our dodgy political climate of late. Strongly character driven, Rocha builds strong, intelligent, loyal men and women who promote and embrace the idea that your lifestyle and choices are nothing to be ashamed of. Ménages, orgies, exhibition, voyeurism, and some erotic BDSM all balance well with the main conflict(s).
The strong romantic element in this series continues to surprise me. The underlying premise of sexual promiscuity should overpower it but in reality it only reinforces the multiple layers of love and respect that exists between everyone. The men in here are alpha times infinity but Rocha digs beneath their barriers and shows us gentle, sexy, protective men who can treasure and protect their friends, family, and lovers without crushing their spirit. There is a strong theme of equality between the sexes. Even in the rare D/s scenes, you understand exactly what the term “power in the submission” means. It is a gift and it’s treated accordingly.
The heart of the story is the second chance romance between Trix and Finn. A sexually raw and heart wrenching journey that forces our protagonists to view and forgive the actions of their past in order to have the future they want. In the past, their times together were a drug fueled coupling that occurred under a heavy layer of fear and distrust. Both lived with the knowledge that everyday could be their last. Each did what had to be done in order to survive and still suffer from the shame of past decisions. Especially Finn. As Sector Five’s enforcer, he was tasked with some incredibly vile acts that have left a permanent stain on his soul. Seeing Trix alive and healthy only compounds his feelings of guilt and shame that he wasn’t able to get her out sooner. Also, a small part of him fears he may have unintentionally kept her there with him for his own selfish needs.
He hadn’t saved Trix’s life. She’d saved her own.
Finn also has to deal with the general distrust from Sector Four. Though most know the condition Trix was in when she was found, no one knows the whole story. To the O’Kane’s, Finn is the enemy. In their love and concern for Trix, Finn is regarded with suspicion and in some cases, outright hatred. Finn deals with it; accepting and welcoming it as penance for his crimes. Even with the seriousness of the conflict, Rocha tosses in some humor that helps to combat the somber tone of the story. While Trix understands her family’s reluctance to accept Finn, she doesn’t hesitate to slap back when their concern becomes a little too intrusive.
“This is horse shit.” She tossed a glare over her shoulder at Jasper as she dug a lace-edged handkerchief from her pocket. “The next time you’re giving it to Noelle in some dark corner somewhere, I’m going to come kick you in the balls. See how you like the interruption.”
Poor Jasper. *giggle*
The chemistry between Trix and Finn is a heady explosive mixture of lust, love, and guilt, all compounded by the danger they are in. Their attraction to one another was never in doubt but the reasons for it are. Trix fears falling back into their old trap but Finn pushes to show her that they have both grown from their time apart and this second chance is their reward.
Four years and a world of distance hadn’t stopped them from winding up right here at this very moment. He’d thought she was dead, and that hadn’t stopped him from picking her up when she’d stumbled back into his life.
Nothing would stop him, and she needed to hear it so badly that her throat ached. “Say it,” she whispered against his skin. “Just once.”
“I’m not going anywhere, “he promised. Low and rough. “I’ll never leave you.”
The ongoing arc picks up where it left off in book four and keeps expanding, adding new subplots and characters to an already volatile mix. We glean more knowledge from other sectors and the men/women who rule them along with clues towards what looks to be a glorious bloody finale. Plenty of time is spent with previous characters further reinforcing the concept that Sector Four is one big family and everyone is in everyone’s business. I always enjoy seeing how past heroes and heroines are getting along and am pleased when authors give us peeks back into their lives, allowing us to experience the evolution of their characterization in relation to the storylines.
The luxury of being a simple bootlegger was long gone. From now on, Dallas O’Kane was a man preparing for war–and not the messy-but-confined brutality of a sector war. In his gut, he knew where the real danger lay.
Kit Rocha’s Beyond series is my addiction and I can’t wait for my next fix.
Favorite Quote: “Please. The devil wished he had half my style and a fourth of my schemes.”
Cal and Nikos Leandros are back and this time they face their greatest enemy…themselves. Cal’s monstrous heritage is slowly gaining a foothold, trying to obliterate Cal’s humanity. On top of that, Cal is being pursued by a murderous doppelganger, a psychotic ex, and a band of covert warriors who feel it’s time for Cal to be put to rest…permanently. As the clock ticks down, sending Cal and Niko’s closer to their deaths, it may be Cal’s murderous other half that saves them in the end.
Rob Thurman brings her A game to the table in her ninth installment of her Cal Leandros series. Secrets are revealed and we learn once and for all exactly why Robin Goodfellow has been such a primary figure in the Leandros brothers lives. The story is a bit more chatty than normal but the storyline is possibly one of her best. Presented in duel POVs, you get an in depth look at Cal and Niko’s past through the eyes of an immortal. And their past is far longer and more convoluted than anyone ever imagined. Thurman’s continued use of mythology and religion, twisting and manipulating to her whims, further expands and evolves her world, keeping the series fresh and inventive.
I am a huge fan of this series. Similar to the WB show, Supernatural, the premise is built upon two brothers whose love and loyalty to one another defines their very existence. Heavy on sibling love and the concept that not all family is tied by blood. Each episode in self contained with a long running arc. Well-plotted and cast with characters with dynamic personalities, this series is filled with suspense, betrayal, sarcasm, humor, and some very dangerous antagonists. A fascinating series that continues to captivate and enchant. Thurman does a fabulous job of exploring and evolving the relationship between brothers Cal and Nikos as they fight to protect each other and the clueless humans in the city.
Downfall opens with Cal noticing that he is beginning to manifest some physical traits of his auphe heritage. He fears that the more he starts to look like the auphe, the more he will start to act like one. Cal also has a influx of enemies gunning for him. He is been targeted for death by the Vigil, an organization that works to keep humans unaware of the supernaturals around them. Though he has always been on their radar, his actions in Slashback (book 8) placed him on their hit list. Cal’s ex girlfriend, Delilah, is now head Alpha of the Kin and has decided to clean house…beginning with Cal. Grimm is also back and is going to make Cal play the game of world domination with him regardless if Cal want to play or not.
Similar to Slashback, Thurman tells this story in the present and past but this time uses Robin Goodfellow’s memory to fill in most of the remaining blanks that have existed throughout the series. Robin has been a large part of the series but purposely hid his importance from us. In here we learn the full extent of his loyalty to Cal and Nikos and his intensive and sometimes intrusive manipulations behind the scenes. Reincarnation is the theme and Thurman works it into the ongoing storyline beautifully. We are gifted with a dual narration-Cal and Robin-as they each remember the past. It gives the story a sense of intimacy and depth to hear Robin bear his innermost feelings and actions concerning Cal and Nikos. We feel his pain, sadness, and weariness as we learn he has spent centuries trying to keep Cal and Nikos alive while they charged fearlessly into danger with each new life. It has become an endless cycle that Robin is determined to break.
The conflict is an explosion of violence, sacrifice, and brings about a shocking conclusion that wraps up a open storyline but leaves us with some interesting clues towards the future of Cal and his “family”. Robin definitely rules this installment and shows everyone that he is indeed the ultimate trickster. This series continues to walk on the dark side of urban fantasy as it repeatedly shows us that monsters do exist in the world and sometimes the difference between them and us is nothing more than a degree of separation. Even with each book having a resolvable conflict, I don’t view them as stand alones. The arc is long standing and convoluted as is the evolution of the main characters. I recommend starting from the beginning with Nightlife.
Favorite Quote: “If I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.”
I first discovered Laura Drake when I was offered an arc of The Sweet...moreFavorite Quote: “If I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.”
I first discovered Laura Drake when I was offered an arc of The Sweet Spot. A bittersweet romance contemporary that deals with grief, heartbreak, and forgiveness. Drake’s ability to work past the trite and hit on the cusp of the matter with beautiful prose and a genuine empathy for her couple made that book a winner for me. When I was offered Sweet On You, I jumped at the chance and was delighted to see that Ms. Drake’s writing has only gotten better with time.
LT Katya “Smitty” Smith, army medic, was placed on medical leave when she was injured in a suicide bombing and now suffers from crippling PTSD. Her superiors demanded she take the time to heal; requiring a clean bill of physical and mental health before she can return to her unit. Katya fears she will not be able to pass the eval on her own so she looks for a job stateside in order to help her find her balance again. Hired on as a trainer of a medical team for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) circuit, Katya hopes she can fix herself and hightail it back to her “family.”
Cam “Cool Hand” Cahill is a professional bull rider who is at a crossroad of his life. He knows this will be his last year riding and is unsure what a busted up ex bull rider is good for once he steps out of the limelight. All he wants is one last shot at the world title and no one, not even a dark eyed seductive gypsy with magic hands will stand in his way. But Cam senses a kindred soul beneath the skittish trainer and begins to work his own brand of magic.
Sweet on You deals with fear, guilt, regret, and forgiveness.
Favorite Quote: “Dude, you are seriously heaving like a caveman and it’s just not like you. It’s making me uneasy, and you don’t want to fuck me. I ca...moreFavorite Quote: “Dude, you are seriously heaving like a caveman and it’s just not like you. It’s making me uneasy, and you don’t want to fuck me. I can only imagine how the little lady feels.”
Cannon Coulter, a mixed martial arts champion nicknamed ”the saint”, finds his life turned upside down when a surprise inheritance places him in direct contact with a young woman he never forgot. Cannon rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers three years ago and while he was attracted to her in the most carnal ways…her age forbid him from acting on it so he let her down as easy as he could.
After her traumatic experience at the hands of vile kidnappers, Yvette left town and made her way to California and with it a new life. Her grandfather’s death has brought her home but Yvette has changed and no longer wants to be the victim she thinks everyone sees. She is positive she can wrap everything up and go back to her life.
Cannon is determined to not make the same mistake he made last time-letting Yvette go. Spending time with her, he realizes her scars run deeper than he ever imagined and his protective instincts rise to the surface, almost obliterating the control he is famous for. Her grandfather’s will charged Cannon with helping Yvette find her way home again and Cannon intends for that home to be with him forever.
Vera Hadley has spent her whole life being a Hadley and all that comes with it. Now poised on the eve of her wedding to a man she doesn’t love, Vera decides to finally live her life on her own terms and sneaks away with the help of two servants. Vera arrives in Round O, South Carolina and soon sets herself up living quarters, a job, and a possible suitor. When she receives a call about an old friend in trouble, Vera has to make a choice on whether she will continue to hide from her father and fiancee or will she finally make a stand and claim her life as her own.
Set in South Carolina during the 1940’s, Palmetto Moon is a southern contemporary about a young woman of privilege whose family’s social and financial ambitions push her to seek her own way in the world. I adore a good bygone era women’s independence story and envisioned a possible mixture along the lines of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Carrie Khoui or Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Unfortunately, this story had neither the strong characters nor dynamic storylines of either book.
Disney-fied to the utmost extreme, Palmetto Moon is a saccharine story that has all the elements to be a wonderful journey of discovery, hope, and love but fails to deliver. An interesting premise that never seemed to quite gain a foothold and develop. It is a deliciously decorated package that when opened, lacks substance. The best I can say is that it is sweet. The characters are formulaic and sweet; never emerging from their cocoon to develop and grow. It’s all tell and no show. The plot and subplots are sweet with little to no exploration. There were certainly many openings for our heroine to explore her new found freedom in areas of sexuality and social structures that never panned out. Numerous plot holes and dead ends left me frustrated. The ending is sweet and predictable from the halfway mark. Even the villain(s), who aren’t really villainous, are mere caricatures that hint towards a danger we never see. There is no sense of adventure within the main plot. No standing on the precipice, quivering in anticipation wondering what will happen. There is a faint religious theme that flows under the story, giving kudos to the time and place in which Boykin is writing about.
Our heroine, Vera, comes off strong in the beginning of the book. Boykin’s voice slowly draws the reader in as Vera tells us of her dreams, desires, and fears. We learn that she had been planning to run away from her autocratic family for sometime now and has been stealthily putting things in motion to facilitate her escape. She is scared but determined to take her fate into her own hands. Once she arrives in the small crossroad town of Round O however, the story begins to fail for me. Everything just falls into place. She arrives and within 24 hours she has a place to live, a professional job which she has no qualifications for, a handsome suitor, and a new best friend. Vera is perfect. She is beautiful, soft spoken, and well educated. There is very little adversity or moral dilemmas for her to overcome; both which are key components in a coming of age trope. She is the quintessential heroine who triumphs in the face of…no danger.
A variety of secondary characters only to exist in order to tell Vera’s story. They aren’t viable sustainable characters of their own. Frank Darling is a handsome diner/store owner whose dreams were shattered when he was denied entry to the armed forces for a health defect. Stuck in this one horse town, he self flagellates himself for his supposed failings. Once he meets Vera, he falls head over heels and his life mission focuses solely on getting Vera to marry him. We have the stereotypical nasty busybodies that only the southern small towns seem to breed. But Vera is able to put them in their place with a well heeled insult and arched brow. Vera’s fiance and parents are here today-gone tomorrow. Clare, Vera’s new best friend, is a young widow with three adorable small boys. She can’t leave the boarding house because…widowed women can’t live on their own? I didn’t understand that part. She is being pressured to marry one of the older gentlemen boarders but of course, Vera will swoop in and save the day *sigh* Various other characters offer vague humor and depth but as I stated earlier, they are place holders and their issues all fall by the wayside as the main conflict blows through.
The ending comes at us fast and is really the only true obstacle that Vera faces. A small obstacle that is easily and painlessly rectified. And we don’t even see that. We learn of it after the fact. Everyone is made happy in the end and our leads live happily ever after. All in all it wasn’t a bad book. It’s well written with a smooth flow that makes for an easy simple read. I just expected more and was saddened to see it didn’t deliver.
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance w...more2.5
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance wise. I’m not a fan of “mate bonding” to begin with and I felt the connection the couple had was magically manufactured and not due to actual attraction. An interesting main conflict falls short as the pseudo romance takes up a considerable amount of space and the length of the story offers no real chance for it to develop and expand. A quick hot read that unfortunately doesn’t offer much beyond grunts of MINE and sex.(less)
Peregrine Island is Anna’s last chance. With no job and nowhere to live, Anna comes back to the island that made her life miserable as a teenager. Trapped there by circumstances, Anna is dismayed to find her childhood tormentor is also on the island. Anna has no inclination to forgive and forget and vows no matter what happens, she will stay the sixty days required and then go back to the city and try to repair her life.
Theo Harp, the prodigal son and gothic novelist, is back on the island to finish his second book and hopefully exorcise some demons from his past. He regrets how he treated Anna as a child but he is older now and wants to let bygones be bygones. He also wants Anna off the island but not for the reasons she thinks and when it looks like someone else wants her gone too, Theo goes from being her villain to her hero.
I have been a HUGE fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips for years. My first foray into her world was Fancy Pants and from there I devoured everything she ever wrote. Strong, crazy heroines, annoying over protective alpha heroes, drama filled misconceptions, and some of the most insane secondary characters and towns kept me laughing and cheering for years. Her past few books haven’t quite held the same spark as her earlier works. The characters seem harder and more brittle while the storylines tell more than they show.
Ms. Phillips’ writing takes a noticeably darker turn in her newest work, Heroes Are My Weakness. A romance suspense with a gothic flavor whose base is centered on family and touches on abuse and mental illness. I have to say my expectations were not met in this book. The writing, tone, and characterization all felt so different from her previous works. It’s not a bad thing for authors to branch out but there is an uncomfortable struggle in here, made evident by the stumbling storyline, fast switching scenes, and characterization. Ms. Phillips changes the overall tone of her writing with this book but seems to have trouble changing her style to fit.
Anna is a puppeteer. Growing up with a famous and critical mother left Anna always struggling to be accepted and loved. This has lead Anna to invest in a series of relationships that left her with little to no emotional and physical fulfillment. Having spent her life savings on taking care of her dying mother in her last year of life has left Anna broke and in frail health. All she has is the cottage her mother received when she divorced her last husband, Elliott Harp. A cottage that has a cordil attached to it. Anna must live in the cottage 2 months out of the year or it reverts back to the Harp estate. Anna’s mother assures her that the cottage holds something of value that will make her life complete. Only, Anna doesn’t want to go to Peregrine island because that is where her step brother, Theo Harp, tried to kill her when she was 15 and she has avoided the island ever since.
Anna screams victim in the beginning. She is a walking version of Murphy’s Law. If it’s bad and can happen, it happens to her. A typical Phillips heroine, only in this case, I was more annoyed than amused. She has a martyr complex; she makes excuses for everyone in her life but Theo. She spent her entire life savings in an attempt to make her mother love her though she uses her mother’s sickness to justify it. She makes excuses for her loser boyfriends, and when she helps a friend do her job. I also had issues with the consciousness aspect that has Anna “hearing” her puppet’s voices during times of indecision and trouble. It was a frivolous aspect that didn’t match the tone of the story or Anna.
As the story progresses, Anna begins to settle on the island and put down roots. She becomes more confident and assured (again, a familiar growth pattern all Phillips heroines go through). She and Theo strike up a tentative truce when Theo asks to “borrow” the cottage to write in and Anna uses him to sharpen her wit on. Attraction from their teenage years comes back full force and soon she and Theo soon embark on an affair though Anna tries to keep it un emotional. This is her finally taking a stand in her life. She feels she and Theo will never have anything permanent with his secrets and her life being back in the city.
Theo was harder to get to know as the entire story is from Anna’s point of view. His actions in the beginning seems to back up all the reasons behind Anna’s antagonism towards him. As we get to know him, you sense that there was far more to him then what you see. Both he and Anna hide their feelings behind sarcasm and witty comebacks. If Anna has a martyr complex, then Theo has a white knight complex. His backstory is revealed in layers as Anna uncovers every one of his secrets and you honestly can’t help but feel for him once you learn everything. It’s only really towards the end that the real Theo breaks through and you hear, in his own words, how he’s felt since the beginning. It’s an emotional outpouring that moved me. I did feel though that the story and his character would have been better served by allowing more of his POV to be seen.
The chemistry between Anna and Theo is apparent from the beginning but the romance is slow going. Ms. Phillips takes her time allowing them to fall in love; needing them to work through their issues before committing. Watching these two snark at each other is funny, especially when that humor enters the bedroom. The scenes are emotionally sexy but physically chaste and most occur off scene.
The mystery is intriguing though at times seemed to be overwhelmed by the multiple subplots intertwining with it. There is lot going on and Ms. Phillips does an admirable job of resolving them though it all happens rather fast. We learn the answer to Anna’s legacy and phantom prowlers and Phillips leaves us with a nice epilogue that assures us that Anna and Theo are happy.
Overall I found the book easy to read and amusing in a dry way, but the struggles I mentioned in the beginning didn’t make this new venture of Ms. Phillips an altogether comfortable read.
Favorite Quote: “If you ever disappeared, I would look for you and I would not stop until I found you.”
Sedona Snow, a gate keeper, came to Rainshadow...moreFavorite Quote: “If you ever disappeared, I would look for you and I would not stop until I found you.”
Sedona Snow, a gate keeper, came to Rainshadow when she was left for dead by a guild boss and subsequently kidnapped and experimented on. She escapes her captors with the help of a dust bunny, Lyle, four days later only to discover her “husband” has already replaced her. When Sedona begins to notice the experiments done to her have altered her original psi talents, she decides to hide on the island before the kidnappers strike again.
A bizarre accident beings Cyrus Jones and his band of ghost hunters to the island. Named the island’s new guild boss, Cyrus’s family wants to know what is happening down there and have sent him to investigate. He has his eye on Sedona but for reasons other than harm. When her ex husband comes looking for Sedona, Cyrus decides to stick close to Sedona, convinced she plays an important part in the strange happenings. His attraction to her is only an added bonus.
The Hot Zone is the third installment in Ms. Castle’s Rainshadow series. A spin off of her popular Harmony series, Rainshadow is an island that has become a refuge of sorts to those who don’t fit in with Harmony’s upper class society. People with unusual or dangerous psi talents gravitate to the island, knowing the island tends to protect its inhabitants from outsiders . The island, a hot bed of unexplored alien energy areas, keeps the local talent on their toes. Dry witty humor and a suspense filled mystery go hand in hand to create a well developed storyline that revolves around as two “misfits” who band together to investigate the island’s unusual alien infrastructure. Personable characters, intriguing plot lines, and vivid world building makes each installment a fun engaing read. Though each book can be read as a stand alone, this series does interact lightly with her Harmony and Arcane series as the three series follow specific families through time.
Favorite Quote: “When I’m with you it’s like I’m the person I’m supposed to be and I want that.”
With a young son in tow, Wyatt (Ty) Svenson has stopped running and decided to settle in the small town of Bishop, Arkansa. Fixing motorcycles in his garage helps to keep his hands busy and his mind off the multitude of problems that plague him. When his attractive neighbor comes over to complain about the noise, Ty sees a cold woman who thinks he’s beneath her and welcomes the anger she inspires in him.
Shelby Monroe, the local art teacher, has her life sectioned into boxes that she keeps sealed shut. Trying to deal with her mother’s Alzheimers, an abusive childhood, and a recent meltdown on TV, Shelby is barely hanging on by her fingertips. Heavily attracted to Ty’s bad boy image, her life is just not conducive to any relationships but that doesn’t stop her from wanting just a few carefree nights in Ty’s bed.
Ty isn’t looking for a casual relationship. He doesn’t want to be her dirty little secret. He wants it all with Shelby but first he’ll need to convince her that he and love are worth the risk.
This is my first time reading Molly O’Keefe. While I did not read the first two in this series, this book can be read as a standalone with no issues concerning past characters or storylines.
By the title and cover, I expected a fun and naughty romance contemporary. This story was so much more than that. Dark, edgy, and emotionally turbulent, Between The Sheets is a jewel hidden underneath a false facade. A modern day romance that speaks of second chances, love, heartbreak, redemption, and hope. It portrays three battered souls who must decide if the love they so desperately want is worth the pain that will come from reaching for it.
Heavily character driven, O’Keefe writes a bittersweet love story that doesn’t offer false platitudes towards a happily ever after. Her protagonists have deep issues that affect their lives and the lives of those around them. There is no instant fix or cure. We are assured almost from the beginning that this relationship, should it be successful, will always be a work in progress.
Well written with an emotionally deep and convoluted storyline, it gives an indepth examination of abuse, family, and the multitude pain that comes from both; the situations surrounding Ty and Shelby will bruise your heart. Shelby was raised by an abusive overly religious father. She choose to bury her emotions in order to save her sanity and comes off rather brittle, cold, and self serving at times. Her powerful voice resonates throughout the book, giving us her reasons for the way she is without manipulation. The shield she uses to protect herself is not attractive though as her backstory is revealed, you can easily empathize for why she is the way she is. She was taught to be self contained and it was a painful lesson she learned very well. Dealing with a parent who has Alzheimers only adds to Shelby’s already over flowing plate.
In the heavy dark silence he left behind, she stacked and put away those small desires to be someone else, to want more than she had, and she got back to the business of being Shelby Monroe, Art Teacher. It was enough. And if sometimes she wanted to scream, or cry, or find some stranger to prove to her that she wasn’t totally dead inside or invisible to the world, it was an urge she could easily overcome.
She had overcome worse.
Ty was easier to connect with than Shelby. Her knife sharp edges keeps everyone-readers included-at a safe distance. Ty is a good man whose carefree lifestyle is brought to a halt when a young boy appears out of nowhere, claiming to be his son. Ty learns an on and off again relationship produced a child he was never told about. The mother has been sentenced to prison for a multitude of crimes and leaves Ty struggling to get to know his son. Ty knows it’s time to settle and be the responsible parent his son obviously needs so he picks Bishop and hopes this town can help he and his son heal the breach that exists between them.
“I love you." … Did you hear me? Ty wanted to ask, feeling like somehow saying those words had cleared out part of him. Created a hole that needed if not filling, then at least acknowledgment. But he knew Casey had heard him.
Ty isn’t perfect. He had made mistakes that continue to haunt him to this day but he tries hard to be the best he can with what he has to work with. Ty’s ability to love without constraint is a gift that continuously gives through the story. Ty’s son, Casey, is a sweet mixed up boy whose whole life has been a series of disappointments. A neglectful abusive mother and an absent father has left him emotionally disconnected and in need of therapy. He just wants to be loved and does some questionable things to try and get that love.
At times I felt there was no way Ty and Shelby could make this work. Honestly, by the end of the book I still wasn’t completely convinced but I had hope for them. Ty falls hard for Shelby and steadily chips away at her shell but her emotional distance is hard to deal with. Plus, Ty is fragile in his new status of parenthood. Shelby shuts herself down to those who want to help but she is so gentle and giving with Casey and her kids and you are able to see the remarkable person buried beneath the guilt and shame she wears like a shroud. Oddly enough the deep and sensual intimacy found in here is a result of everything but the physical sex. Not to say the physical scenes aren’t a mixture of dark, hot, erotically stimulating needs and wants. Ty has a bit of a dominant side and Shelby likes having her rigid control ripped away from her in sexual situations.
“He wanted to believe no one had ever had her like this. Ever. Because he’d never been had like this. Ever. All the way. And it wasn’t just sex, it was everything. Every single fucking thing about her.”
O’Keefe takes great pains to show that sometimes the best way, the only way, to show someone you truly care is just by being there whether the other person acknowledges it or not.
The ending was a bit melodramatic in it’s attempt to force a decision in the relationship. It resolves itself on a dime and left me feeling that it was all too easily obtained for such a tremulous journey. Regardless of my issues, Between the Sheets was a pleasant surprise in its content and storyline and I look forward to reading more from Molly O’Keefe.
Cordelia (Cordie) Kane was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden. When her father dies unexpectedly, lea...moreCordelia (Cordie) Kane was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden. When her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Cordie devastated not only by his death but with the news that her mother is alive and didn’t die in a car accident as she was told, she decides this is the perfect opportunity to let go of the past (her crush on Aiden) and move forward with her life. Her first goal is to find out why her mother left her and her father so many years ago.
Aiden Madison is a workaholic. Main controller for his family’s chain of hotels, Aiden is forever wheeling and dealing with his cell phone glued to his ear and his laptop always open. He has known Cordie for years and firmly placed her in the friend zone. An impromptu and very steamy kiss shocks Aiden into opening his eyes and seeing the beautiful woman standing before him.
When Cordie tracks her errant mother to Sidney, Australia, Aiden is steamrollered into going with her and soon the two of them find themselves involved in a mystery involving a wealthy family who will do anything to keep their secrets buried. Multiple attempts on Cordie’s life send Aiden into a tailspin and makes him realize that he may lose the one person he never knew he wanted.
I have always been a fan of Julie Garwood’s historical and romance suspense stories. Her wonderful balance of humor and structured chaos has kept me entertained for years. I was pleased to see Cordie and Aiden getting their own story after seeing them in Murder List (2007). Recently though, I’ve noticed her last few books haven’t had the same spark and enthusiasm they previously held. The romance seems one-sided and the conflicts lack depth, action, and intrigue.
Fast Track is a friends to lovers story that starts out with high intentions but falls short of the mark. I saw a lot of similarities between this book and an earlier release, Sweet Talk. Both books contain a beautiful, loyal, intelligent woman who fall for an emotionally constrained alpha who treats her like a booty call. Also, similar to Sweet Talk, the hero’s work/family comes first. In fact, in Fast Track, our hero spends approximately 85% of the book working. The other 15% is having sex with the heroine and trying to keep her safe from her mother’s vindictive family.
A large part of my dissatisfaction with the story is that we don’t see any real interaction between Cordie or Aiden growing up. Yes, they did appear in previous books but that doesn’t help new readers or those like myself who don’t exactly remember what happened seven years ago. In here, we see one scene showing when Cordie first meets Aiden and decides “he’s the one” but beyond that, everything starts in the present. We don’t know why Codie is attracted to Aiden or what happened in the years leading up to this point to facilitate her crush lasting so long.
The beginning of their present day romance promises much but fails to deliver. A steamy kiss that makes Aiden notice Cordie and then we begin to see some jealousy on his part. But beyond that we are never given any hint to how Aiden feels about Cordie. Even he muses a few times that he’s not sure what he feels for her; brushing it aside as an inconvenience. We never hear him say anything that would clue us that his feelings for Cordie go beyond physical attraction. Their love scenes are like random hook ups. They look at one another, have sex, and then Aiden disappears for a few days on business. They don’t date; a one time “lunch date” actually ends up being a business meeting for him with a roomful of associates.
The fact that Cordie makes excuses for Aiden’s behavior; never calling him on his “hit it and quit” it attitude, frequent disappearances, or lack of communication made me lose respect for her quickly. Especially since she is so fierce in other aspects. She just continues to talk about moving on with her life though she doesn’t really do anything but make feeble motions.
The main conflict surrounding Cordie’s mom also fails to engage. Her father tells her not to wait on love and that she is finally safe as everything is in Cordie’s name; yet we never see any indication from her mother’s actions that she would want access to the fortune Cordie’s dad left to her. Her mother is worth millions. We meet her mother in Sidney and are assured that her mother wants nothing to do with her. As Cordie attempts to get on with her life, an accident proves to Aiden and Cordie that someone wants Cordie out of the picture. An interesting concept, especially once we learn the reasons behind the attack, but as the ‘romance’ makes up a majority of the story, the mystery gets interjected at random stages, leaving this reader rather ambivalent about the whole thing.
Two small subplots concerning Aiden and his family provide some relief from the drudgery of the story. We get clues to Aiden’s younger brother’s coming story and what looked to be a contender for the main conflict-the land acquisition-fizzled and resolved in lackluster fashion.
The ending is overly dramatic catch all that wraps everything up neatly with no loose ends. Love is instantly realised and we have our happily ever after. I would have liked to have seen more development all around as I felt the entire story stayed on one level without any real emotional depths. I think I have come to my breaking point with Ms. Garwood. While I’ll continue to read and reread her older releases, the new ones just aren’t for me.