Favorite Quote: “He’d only been waiting half a lifetime, it seemed. Maybe his entire life.”
Jensen Bell’s mother disappeared when she was twelve. Sent to foster care with her siblings, they were later reunited with their father when he was cleared of any wrong doing. Jensen’s childhood pushed her to becoming a police officer; dedicated to helping those in need. When a shocking discovery in made in her mother’s case, she finds her saving grace in a man whose strength and passion demands her total surrender.
District Attorney Dean West has wanted Jensen Bell for a very long time. Not a native to the town, he is unfamiliar with the tragedy and mystery that surrounds Jensen Bell and her siblings. A break in the Bell case sends Jensen running into Dean’s arms and she discovers she has finally found her way home. But the circumstances surrounding the case could destroy Jensen and unless Dean holds tight, it could tear them both apart for good.
Break For Me is the second in Shiloh Walker’s romance suspense series-Secrets and Shadows. Three novellas begin the series; each novella focuses on one sibling and the ramifications of a decades old cold case involving the disappearance of their mother. The full length novel-Deeper Than Need-releases June 2014.
Break For Me has a much lighter conflict romance wise then the first novella. Still emotional and suspenseful in regards to the ongoing arc, we don’t get the intense push and pull between the protagonists. Dean and Jensen have an established work relationship and it’s apparent from page one that both want more from each other. The chemistry is striking and the sparks fly with every scene they are in together. I enjoyed watching the bloom of awareness and subsequent reaction as these two begin to act on an attraction that exists between them.
Walker brings Jensen and Dean together with relative ease, allowing the main conflict to heighten the emotions that resonate through this novella. Hot steamy love scenes assure us that Jensen and Dean are well matched both physically and mentally. I loved how gentle Dean was in his dominance. A born and bred southern boy, he treats Jensen with a reverence that speaks of his deep feelings for her. A strong protective streak emerges when Jensen needs it most and Dean shows us and Jensen that he is more than willing to be her anchor in the storm that is coming. Jensen, similar to Ali from Burn For Me, is a strong heroine who isn’t one for games and has no qualms about grabbing on to what she wants and enjoying the ride.
Previously met secondary characters continue to add layers to the overall mystery. Each one a viable player in the final outcome. As with any good suspense, there are multiple sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a possible key to the final outcome. Walker pushes us gently along in here, giving us more clues towards what happened that fateful night so many years ago, preparing us for the finale novella with the promise to reveal everything.
Break For Me pushes us towards the finale and is a must read for those readers who love their romances dark and emotional. I am looking forward to the release of her next novella in the series, Long For Me, set to release May 2014, from St Martin’s.
Hundreds of years ago, the Psy decided the only way for their race to survive was to silence their emotions—by whatever means necessary. Throughout Nalini Singh's series (Shield of Winter is the thirteenth full-length Psy-Changeling book), we have watched as this decision has come back to haunt them with horrific results. Severing their emotions only served to breed sociopaths within their race, sociopaths who were allowed to prey on one another as well as other races. As evil began to taint the race, infecting and spreading its lethal contagion, we learn that Silence has completely fallen and now the Psy must disregard everything they ever learned if they are to survive.
The Silence Protocol has been the defining aspect of the Psy race for over a hundred years. Conditioned not to feel emotion from childhood, members of the Psy are known for their icy practicality, acute mental abilities, and adherence to strict codes of behavior. It is all they know and all they’ve been since the inception of the Protocol . . . until now.
Fans have begged for Vasic’s story since his introduction and Singh more than delivers here. Vasic is a Psy Arrow who was brutally taught from childhood to bury every single emotion he had through pain and torture.
To be an Arrow is to be an island, devoid of attachments that create vulnerability.
He is winter. Cold, forbidding, and unstoppable. One of the more powerful Psys in existence, he is the crowning glory of his race. But he is tired. He has struggled for so long; his conscience has been constantly at war with his orders. With the fall of Silence, Vasic knows he will stand on the front lines, once again giving his all to save his people. But if he survives, he may finally be free of the constraints holding him.
“...knew exactly how close Vasic was to the edge, that the destruction of, or damage to one more innocent life could snap the razor-fine thread that bound him to the world.”
Ivy Jane is an Psy empath, a very strong empath. As a child, when her shields began to fail and her emotions all but destroyed her, she was brutally rehabilitated and almost made a vegetable. Her parents, seeing what was done to her, quietly disappeared, erasing any and all information that could lead the Arrows or their deadly masters to them.
No one would ever again strap her down and attempt to break her.
She knows when the cold and deadly Arrow shows up that her breach of protocol has been noticed. But instead of dragging her in for a reconditioning, Vasic offers her employment. A chance to stand with other empaths to work to stop the deadly infection that is spreading and killing their race.
“An innocent could not be here, could not attempt to do what you must. For this, the Net needs a warrior.”
Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is one of my top ten favorite paranormal romance series. I absolutely adore the world Singh has created and foften reread this series in its entirety. This glorious alternative world of shifters, humans, and the Psy is ever expanding and evolving with nonstop action, suspense and mystery yet balanced nicely with deliciously steamy romance and light-hearted moments. Its perfect blending and consistency is what makes Nalini Singh a best-selling author.
Shield of Winter, the thirteenth installment in the series, is as intoxicating and engaging as the first. More so, in fact, because in Shield of Winter, Singh is able to impart heartfelt emotion into a love story centering around two people who, for all intents and purposes, have surrendered their emotions long ago to appease a race that deemed them unacceptable.
Singh does a fantastic job blending the suspense of the story with the sweet and sensual awakening of Vasic and Ivy. The plot was remarkable, but while there is a lot going on, Singh’s clear and concise writing style leaves little confusion. With each scene we watch Vasic and Ivy learn to open themselves up to the unknown.
Now it was too late, his soul pitted and shredded, his hands instruments of death. Still, he could do one thing, he thought, his eyes dropping to the gauntlet that was an outward reminder of his inhumanity.
They face their fears and overcome obstacles while dealing with external factors that might stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc.
He’d watched her as if she was the only thing in the entire universe... As if he wanted to devour her whole.
He was so beautiful, she thought. All hard lines and strength and a strange, unexpected vulnerability. Of the latter she had no evidence, and yet her instincts insisted.
The supporting characters are intense, well developed, and intertwine with our protagonists to give us a rich, full bodied story. Complex and convoluted, we see good and bad characters are merely defined by degrees of separation and much that has played out behind the scenes comes into the light. Everyone here has an agenda and does not always play by the rules. I found each one to be a satisfying addition to the story. Alliances are made as enemies come out of the woodwork, threatening the well being of all involved.
Their brethren deserved the same happiness, the same steep learning curve anchored in pleasure rather than pain.
Once again, Singh leaves me both satisfied and wanting. Shield of Winter builds a seemingly impossible relationship and gives readers a romance for the ages while continuing to entice readers to join her in her paranormal world. Fans of Singh’s will definitely be adding a new book boyfriend to their already overflowing lists....more
After a nasty divorce, Juliana Scott just wants a quiet normal life and to find her missing sisters, but fate has other plans for her. Able to hear and see ghosts, Jules finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery when an insistent ghost implicates her in a series of deadly jewel heists. The only one who can keep her safe is a sexy hot detective who doesn’t believe in consequences or the supernatural.
Detective Seth English is recovering from his own failed marriage and can’t afford any distractions; especially in the form of his tantalizing new neighbor. Seth knows Jules has nothing to do with the jewelry heists but he can’t discount the fact she keeps showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As Seth gets to know Jules better, it becomes obvious she’s hiding some things and Seth is determined to get to the bottom of it. But when the truth threatens more than just their burgeoning relationship, Seth will have to accept the unbelievable if he wants a future with Jules.
Spirited by Mary Behre is the first book in her debut paranormal romance series, Tidewater. Set in a small coastal town of Tidewater, VA, Behre introduces us to Juliana (Jules) Scott. Crifted (her word for her gift/curse) with the ability to communicate with ghosts, this “crift” has done nothing but make Jules’s life miserable. After attending a themed college reunion Pimp & Ho party and winning the costume for “best ho,” Jules is accosted on the way home by a belligerent ghost who uses deception and misdirection to force Jules to break into the apartment of a detective. A comedy of errors style meeting leads the detective to assume Jules is a hooker, thief, drug dealer, and liar. Once the various misunderstandings are corrected and the attraction between Jules and the detective is recognized and set in place, the story line proceeds, flipping between the romance and the mystery.
I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories both humorous and serious. I love Ghost Adventures and was a faithful watcher of Ghost Whisperer. I was excited to get Spirited for the above reasons and while it was an easy read, I wasn’t as taken with it as I thought I would be. It comes out of the gate with a bang but it slows down considerably until almost the very end. Behre does a good job of setting up the premise and interjecting personal subplots of the various characters into the main storyline. However, I felt the storyline was too loosely structured. Various subplots didn’t develop as they could have and the flow between the mystery and the romance was not smooth sailing. The first three quarters of the book is a rather tame with a large focus on the romance and the development of the characters. The mystery, while interesting, is revealed in small doses from several sources at random moments. It gives it a disconnected feeling and I found myself confused on several occasions.
The romance felt forced and unsure; as if it wasn’t fitting comfortably.The dialogue was lacking at times; coming off stilted and unauthentic. Seth, our hero, annoyed me with his condescending attitude and the endless cheek stroking. He is judgemental and quick to accuse. Though we get reasons for this, it didn’t excuse his behavior for me. In the beginning he muses that he can’t engage in a relationship with Jules because after a week in bed with her, she’ll be addicted to him and he’ll be bored. 0_o The only saving grace is the heroine has enough self confidence in herself that she doesn’t cower under his attitude and. Their banter was amusing and outright funny at times.
Additional secondary characters keep the story from being too linear and one dimensional. April and Ernie (Big Jim) are personable characters and learning how Jules came to be adopted by them was eye opening in regards to her emotional issues. Devon, Seth’s partner, is set up to help Jules with finding one of her sisters and I liked his protective behavior towards her. The two ghosts who invade Jules life play off one another in that one’s behavior is why Jules goes out of her way to ignore them while the other one is able to help Jules get a better grip on her crift and see the potential to use it to help others.
The ending picks up the story’s pace considerably and the last quarter is action packed with the suspense and intrigue I wish the entire book had been drenched in. We learn the hows and whys of the mystery along with seeing some serious eye opening on Seth’s part in regards to his past and future.
Though I wasn’t blown away by this story, I do think it has potential and hopefully with future installments will iron out the issues seen in this one.
I enjoy L.H. Cosway's romances. She tends to drift out of the lines with her complicated characters who meet and fall in love in a rather straight forI enjoy L.H. Cosway's romances. She tends to drift out of the lines with her complicated characters who meet and fall in love in a rather straight forward simplistic manner. The emotional conduits blended well with the development of the relationship and the protagonists singular growth. Sprinkles of humor and some incredibly steamy love scenes made this a fast read that hit all my happy places. I also enjoyed the faint mystical/destiny vibe that flows though out the story.
Favorite Quote: “I don’t make threats. Just promises.”
Assassin extraordinaire Gin Blanco can’t seem to catch a break. After her major showdown with hFavorite Quote: “I don’t make threats. Just promises.”
Assassin extraordinaire Gin Blanco can’t seem to catch a break. After her major showdown with her arch nemesis and boss of the underworld, the fire elemental Mab Monroe, Gin thought she may get a little breathing room. However, Gin soon learns that when one falls, there are more to take their place. Now a new player has come to town and they may be Gin’s most dangerous adversary to date.
“…she’s a master manipulator who likes to make people dance to the strings that she so gleefully wraps around them before they even realize what’s happening…”
The twelfth installment of Estep’s high octane noir Elemental series takes a different tone than normally seen in this series. Rather than blood, guts, and multiple kills, Gin and her friends are forced to fight on a more emotional level as their battles take them through the tangled webs of deceit put in place by corrupt law enforcement and politicians. Action packed scenes intertwine with a well plotted mystery filled with suspense and intrigue. Heavily character driven plotlines continue to bode well for an exciting future of the series and heroine-Gin Blanco.
I’m a die hard fan of Jennifer Estep. Her gift of writing strong heroines whose ability to accept their flaws and learn from them is a highlight of her stories. Gin Blanco has to be one of her strongest yet most vulnerable of all Estep’s heroines to date. Raised by a foster dad/mentor after her family was brutally murdered, Gin has struggled the whole series between what she is and what she feels her friends and family need her to be. Love is her greatest gift and deadliest weakness.
The last couple of books have gone in-depth into the events that led up to Gin’s career choice and the long reaching ramifications of that choice. Gin’s past and present have finally merged together and Gin has risen like a phoenix to accept her destiny. She is a killer and the guilt she has always carried has begun to morph into acceptance. She knows what she is and no longer feels the need to make excuses or apologies for her actions. Gin has been trying to live with a foot in each word-benign restaurant owner and lethal killer-and it’s no longer a viable option for her. Gone is the brash impulsive girl who jumped into the fray with her knives slashing and in her place is a cold deadly women who has learned the art of patience.
Black Widow opens up a new storyline that is loosely tied to the previous arc. Though Mab Monroe is dead, there is another one ready to take her place. M. M. Monroe-Mab’s daughter. Deadlier than her mother, Madeline is a manipulative force of nature whose use of stealth, brains, and the law forces Gin to react accordingly. The ultimate game of cat and mouse plays out as Madeline strikes at Gin where it will hurt the most-at the people she loves. I found it interesting that even though Gin hated Mab unconditionally, there was a smidgen of respect towards Mab that is not in existence for her daughter. A sense of honor among thieves, so to speak, a mindset on which this town embraces.
“I am nothing like my mother,” Madeline snapped, her calm façade finally cracking at the mention of Mab. “She was a grand fool.”
“Mab was many things, but she was never, ever a fool.”
Estep not only continues to develop and evolve her heroine but the secondary characters as well. Tidbits are given that show where their lives are independently of Gin’s. A pivotal turn of events shows us that Gin learns to depend more on her friends and ask for help. She finally accepts that she no longer needs to shoulder all the responsibility for the town or their lives. New faces have joined the series, bringing us insight into future storylines and new problems for Gin.
In that moment, I could almost . . . understand why Mab had murdered my mother and Annabelle and had tried to do the same to me and Bria all those years ago.
The romance remains a steady undertone, flowing directly under the main storyline. Not a contender for top billing, it still maintains a strong presence. Gin has suffered to find someone who accepts her for who and what she is. Owen seems to be that man though I was unsure due to events that have happened in the past. I would enjoy seeing some progressive steps taken in the relationship to further solidify their ties. Talk of marriage? We can always hope.
I will continue to recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a dark wickedly engaging Urban Fantasy that doesn’t pull any punches or offer false promises. I look forward to (and not) the last two books in this series and seeing how Estep will wrap up Gin and her world. Book thirteen, Spider’s Trap, is set to release July 28th, 2015.
**spoiler alert** DNF. 12% in and the heroine's already has me annoyed. I'm not a fan of people who initiate hook ups then turn ard and cry mistake. S**spoiler alert** DNF. 12% in and the heroine's already has me annoyed. I'm not a fan of people who initiate hook ups then turn ard and cry mistake. So far heroine's done it twice in this short time but then gets angry when hero, rightly so, doesn't fawn all over her. Yes, she has issues but that doesn't excuse her bi polar behavior. ...more
Favorite Quote: “Congratulations, you’ve been granted the title of trusted singular. I suggest you refrain from wearing hats.”
For the past three months, Rachel has been providing security for Trent Kalamack while Quen is across the country, regulating Ellasbeth’s visit with the girls. When Rachel’s spells begin to misfire, Rachel thinks it’s a reaction to her deepening feelings for Trent. Soon, spells begin to misfire all over the city, creating chaos and weakening the already tremulous truce that exists between the humans and the supernaturals. As Rachel and her friends dig deeper, they discover a plan that will destroy the master vampires and throw the city into an all out super natural war. One thing will stop the catastrophe coming their way; invoking the wild elven magic. Only, that may do more harm than good where Rachel is concerned.
Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series (also known as the Rachel Morgan series) is one of the top selling urban fantasies series to date and with good cause. Appealing to readers of all ages and genres, Ms. Harrison’s unique blend of sharp wit and whimsical imagination (tomatoes, anyone) has created an alternative world that is filled with never ending magic and mayhem. Ms. Harrison has kept us laughing and weeping since her first book, Dead Witch Walking, released in 2004. Filled with intriguing suspense, non stop action, tense romance, biting humor, and some truly heartbreaking scenes; this intense character driven series continues to enchant readers.
The Undead Pool is the twelfth book and the second to the last book in this series. I am sad to see this series ending. Good urban fantasy is hard enough to find but good urban fantasy with a compelling female lead is even harder to find. And Rachel Morgan, for all her flaws and less than stellar decisions, is a fantastically dynamic and complicated heroine. Perhaps it’s because of those flaws that readers gravitate to the series. It isn’t often we get a lead character who, even gifted supernaturally, doesn’t always win. Rachel has suffered so much throughout this series. She has lost friends, family, lovers, and even her powers for a bit. She fails as much as she conquers and that makes it easy to like her and her band of equally dynamic sidekicks.
Those who have kept up with the series will be surprised and happy by the turn of events that occurred off scene between books 11 and 12. This installment finally addresses the underlying sexual and emotional tension that has existed between Rachel Morgan and Trent Kalamack since their first meeting. From the very beginning, Trent and Rachel have been at odds as they each strived to do what they thought was best for the city of Cincinnati and in Trent’s case, himself. Trent, the perfect anti hero, has used his money and power to thwart Rachel at every turn while Rachel has always managed to turn the tides and hold him off at the last moment.
“You’d better learn your history before you become part of it.”
Rachel and Trent have a long history together that goes back to their childhood. A history that is steeped in deception, betrayal, and violence that left them often on opposite sides of the battle field. We have watched their slow evolution from antagonists to actual friends and perhaps something more. Both Trent and Rachel have grown considerably throughout the series. Starting out as a untried and untrusted slightly flaky witch, Rachel has grown into a mature powerhouse who can more than hold her own against the larger than life players who populate her world. Her friend base has grown and she has finally begun to comfortably accept their help.
“You have amazing friends.” “I need them to stay alive through my amazing life.”
Trent, a rich elven CEO with a finger in every dark and shady pot the country has to offer, has gradually changed from an emotional void, hellbent on conquering the world through what ever means necessary to actually caring about people and how his actions affect them. Through his relationship with Rachel and others, he has finally learned the meaning of sacrifice and why some will give their all with no thoughts to their own mortality.
Though their animosity has gradually lessened and they are now at a turning point in their lives, Rachel doesn’t trust her feelings for Trent. She fears anything deeper between them will only lead to his downfall. And he has a lot to lose. Trent has some hard decisions to make in this book. Decisions that not only affect him, but also others who depend on him in so many different ways.
“You’re halfway to ruining him already.”
Sacrifice and friendship is the base on which this series is built and this particular installment pushes the envelope, acknowledging that Rachel doesn’t always have to be the one who has to sacrifice for those she loves. For the first time in a long time, Rachel decides to take a leap of faith and go with her heart and leave everything to chance.
“Most warriors think with their hearts,” I said, [...] “It’s what keeps them alive through the crap they have to deal with to keep the rest of you safe."
Through it all, Rachel has always had Ivy and Jenks at her back. They too have grown and evolved so much throughout the series; becoming much more than mere secondary characters. Rachel and Ivy have always had a deep loving relationship with hints of a romantic attraction; especially on Ivy’s part. I love how Harrison has never maligned or made this portion of the storyline seem like a dirty little secret. It’s an important aspect in their relationship as Ivy has always felt that Rachel saved her life when no one else cared.
“I almost quit a hundred times,” she said as she smiled at me, eyes beautiful and black. “But you thought I had it in me and I wanted to prove I was as good as you thought I was…”
Jenks. What can you say about Jenks but that he is one of the true highlights in this series. If Ivy is Rachel’s best friend, then Jenks in her soul mate in almost every way possible. They have loved, loss, laughed, cried, fought, and consoled one another. Only death will part these two. His sardonic humor and never ending protectiveness towards Rachel only serves to further entertain as he tells it like it is.
“Watch out, cookie maker, or I’m going to own you.”
Though we don’t get as much interaction with Al or the Ever After this time around, it’s what we do see that is very important and goes far in preparing us for the final book. Newt makes an appearance and as usual, gives us some needed clues in a mash up of gibberish conversation.
The conflict is an interesting action packed juxtaposition as we learn more about the wild magic and the effects it has on the city and it’s supernatural inhabitants. Desperate times calls for desperate measures as Rachel finds herself having to deal with the unfamiliar magic and the results of its unleashing. This has been a long time coming and Harrison lets loose as she strives to make us understand the path on which she has placed Rachel, Trent, and the Hollows. The Hollows are beginning to unravel, as is the Ever After, and soon both worlds will be forced to deal with one another…again.
The Undead Pool is an eclectic mixture of everything I have come to love about this series and Urban Fantasy. Action, suspense, emotional revelations, romance, humor, and heartbreak. I can easily see it becoming a much beloved re read in the future. Fans will rejoice in it’s reveals and revelations. My only qualm is now I have to wait a year for the last book. *shakes fist at the injustice of waiting*
Solving for Nic is an adorably steamy and humorous small town southern romance featuring a young brilliant math geek and a ‘worldy’ slightly jaded plaSolving for Nic is an adorably steamy and humorous small town southern romance featuring a young brilliant math geek and a ‘worldy’ slightly jaded playboy who discover that love has no definite rules. Fans of this series will remember Lizzie and Nic from book one-Sweetened With A Kiss. Too young to pursue when they first met, Nic waits until Lizzie is legal and then sweeps her off her feet. A few small misunderstandings provide some conflict but on the whole, Nic and Lizzie are intelligent, honest people who don’t allow the outside world to dictate their relationship. Callahan updates us on various other characters and I’m intrigued by the clues she will attempt redeem Madlyn. Can I add that I REALLY hope Angie does NOT get an HEA with Rogan? She’s an immature, whiny, cruel little girl who needs a few hard smacks from the reality brick....more
Savannah ‘Sass’ Perchton, princess of the Haymaker’s Hellions Motorcycle Club, is tired of the danger and broken promises that come from being associated with an MC. When her best friend and the man she loves is almost fatally wounded and now in a coma, Sass decides the time has come to walk away from her birthright before it’s too late.
Frank ‘Tank’ Oleander, road man and playboy for the Haymaker’s Hellions, had it made with plenty of women, booze, and the brotherhood. Until he makes a mistake that sends the woman he’s grown to love straight into the arms of another man. Before he can rectify his mistake, he is wounded and now lays in a hospital bed with only her voice to keep him tethered to this world.As they both sit at the crossroads, hard choices will have to be made to see if they will travel down the open road together or part ways forever.
Forever Ride is the second in Chelsea Camaron’s Hellion series. A southern dipped MC series set in the coastal states of North and South Carolina; we are taken on a long hard ride as the Hellions seek to bring two loved ones back into the fold. Heavily character driven, the story is told by our protagonists-Sass and Tank- in alternating chapters. It’s steady pacing and smooth flow engages you right off the bat and puts you front in center into the Hellion compound and their lives. It alternates between the past and the present as our hero and heroine tell us how they came to be at the crossroads they are at now.
Their story started in One Ride when a bold Sass makes a play for the Hellion’s self proclaimed playboy, Tank, only to find that what she wants doesn’t factor into his lifestyle. Angry at his games and tired of the life that she feels is deadly, Sass turns her back on her family and finds herself a man who is as different as you can get. Forever Ride picks up with Tank in a coma and Sass trying to live in both worlds.
Before he got shot, I thought this man would be my forever, my happily ever after. He just doesn’t see it yet-I would tell myself. I was wrong. Tank can’t really think of a future with anyone, not if he’s being fair to them. None of the Hellions can.
The set up of this storyline is interesting in that Sass and Tank are essentially separated for a majority of the book. It allows readers to get an intimate look at how Tank and Sass feel about each other, their lives, and the events that led them to this point. It also allows them to deal with their individual baggage. Sass is a strong woman but in her haste to live a clean life, free of the MC, she inadvertently places herself in a prison of her own making. She becomes the one thing that she left the MC to avoid becoming-a victim.
Tank’s prison is medical based but his mind is going a hundred miles a minute. Looking into death’s eyes has had a radical effect on him. He sees the mistakes he’s made concerning his life and his rough handling of Sass. Like Sass, his past colored his views of the present. Hearing her voice is the only thing that keeps him trying to awake-if only to beg for a second chance.
Never one to back away from a challenge, I remember pushing her further to see how far she was willing to go with this little game she was playing. Only, she wasn’t really playing a game when it came to me and I was too stupid to realize it until it was too late.
These two extremely stubborn people have a tough road to travel to learn to forgive one another and themselves but Camaron stays true to their journey. My few qualms were that the strong, intelligent, take no bs woman we saw in book one was buried under a mound of vulnerability and low self esteem. I found it hard to buy in to the notion that her need to be safe would turn her into a doormat. She had a strong friend and family base so her acquiescence to Nick made no sense. The caricature portrayal of Nick, Sass’ boyfriend, was also strange. I couldn’t take him as an actual threat because he was ridiculously over the top.
The ending comes quickly and rather painlessly as Tank goes on the offensive and gets his woman. Sass finally shows us the fire from book one in the very end. Everything wraps up nice and a little too neat with an epilogue that reassures us that our couple has made it. Over all, I enjoyed Forever Ride. A romantic contemporary that played heavily on the contemporary in the world of bikers and the women who try and tame them. Milder than the average MC story, it still engages with personable characters, an interesting world, and promises of more to come. I am looking forward to book three, Merciless Ride, which is Tessie’s story. We met a new Hellion in here and from the small excerpt I read, he looks to be yummy. Set to release September 8, 2014.
If men in uniform light your fire then you can’t go wrong with the Hot Shots Anthology. Three five alarm M/F erotic romances deliver hot sexual encounters, paving the way towards love. Sexy alphas meet their matches when the call of duty goes above and beyond the job....more
Jay Roberts indulged in a year long intense online affair with Linc Dawson until Linc sends her a tense email, breaking up with her. Jay is confused and heads to Hell, Georgia to find out why Linc broke things off with her. What she discovers is that Linc hasn’t been completely honest with her about certain things. Things she really needed to know before she set foot in Hell.
Linc Dawson never expected to see Jay in his hometown and does everything to convince her to leave before she winds up hurt or dead. Corruption has stained the town and Linc needs all his wits about him to find the cause and retrieve what was stolen from him. But Jay isn’t leaving. She was sent to Hell for a reason and she has the resources, the back up, and the gifts to help him.
As Jay and Linc work together to discover what is happening in this small town, Linc learns that he wasn’t the only hiding secrets. Secrets that can be his saving grace or destroy everything and everyone he’s come to love.
The F.B.I. Psychics series was the first time I ever read Ms. Walker. I frequently reread the first book in this series-The Missing. A robust romantic suspense, fraught with peril, darkness, suspense, and the paranormal. The series is built around two agencies that work independent of each other but often intermingle depending on the case. Two agencies (one private and one government sanctioned) made up of psychics whose gifts cover a wide range of abilities and strengths. The cases they take are often ones the normal police channels cannot solve. And often, these cases are so steeped in evil, they leave a mark on everyone they touch.
The Innocent is a dark novella that takes readers down a tangled path of secrets, lies, and murder that leads to the small town of Hell, Georgia. Well plotted with a robust storyline that belays this novella’s page length. Fully developed characters provide the stimulus while an action packed conflict keeps the reader fully engaged. Though this novella introduces two new characters to the series and has a resolved ending; events occur in here that may spoil for those who have not read the previous books. That being said, it can be read alone and out of order.
Jay Roberts, an empath and telepathic, works for the Group. Her gift is so powerful, she is unable to touch anyone without overwhelming herself with their emotions and thoughts. She has never touched another human being skin to skin. Meeting and interacting with Linc Dawson online gave Jay an outlet for all her desires. When he abruptly cuts her off, Jay refuses to simply go away. She wants an explanation and travels to his hometown to get it.
Linc Dawson, a former cop, is in a bad place both physically and emotionally. When people began to disappear in his town, Linc’s investigations are met with a devicious web of lies, corruption, and missing evidence. Forced to quit due to the overwhelming corruption of the police force, Linc is now doing everything possible to shut the town down before it takes another victim.
Jay and Linc meeting for the first time face to face brings an emotional onslaught to the table. Having “dated” each other on line and built a romance of sorts, their actual meeting brings conflicting emotions that are exasperated by the events happening in town and in their own lives. Each have their reasons for not being completely honest and I think Walker does a fabulous job of showing us the sexual tension and rough jagged feelings that surrounds them. As if they are both right on the edge of something explosive and are unsure if this is what they want or need in their lives. The love isn’t instant and the emotions that run through this are hot and heavy.
The secondary characters are bold, viable additions to the story as they add layers to the suspense and mystery. I loved how pervious heroes and heroines are brought in to help bridge the story to the series and provide back up for Jay and Linc. As always in this series, each one holds a piece of the puzzle. They help to make up a solid foundation for our storyline to build upon. Small bites of humor are injected to alleve the darkness that permeates the storyline. As with any good thriller, there are multiple sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a key to the final outcome. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of maintaining these separate entities without overburdening us with unnecessary information or complicated scenarios. When it all comes together in the end, we are treated to an astounding finale that ties it all together and opens some new pathways for the series to go down.
The Innocent is a worthy addition to this series and a must read for those readers who love their paranormal romances to be wrapped in dark and emotional with a suspenseful storyline and intriguing characters.I am looking forward to the release of her next full length novel-title and release to be announced.
Favorite Quote: “Hey, I could be your assistant. I’d be an Assistant Serial Killer Serial Killer. I’d be an ASS.”
Entering into the seventh installmentFavorite Quote: “Hey, I could be your assistant. I’d be an Assistant Serial Killer Serial Killer. I’d be an ASS.”
Entering into the seventh installment of Darynda Jones wickedly funny and smoking hot Charley Davidson series, Seventh Grave and No Body, picks up not long after book six-Sixth Grave From The Edge- ended. Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper in training and P.I. extraordinaire, is pregnastic and affianced by non other than the sex on a stick hottie son of Satan-Reyes Farrow. But if you think any of this will finally slow Charley down, you’d lose that bet. Already ready to kill due to lack of the exceptional goodness only highly caffeinated beverages can give her, Charley has to deal with twelve homicidal hellhounds, a series of suicide notes with no bodies, a misplaced father, and a fiance who had decided to stick extra close to her but not in a fun “let’s do some mattress dancing” kind of way. As the bodies and clues add up, Charley finds herself once again standing toe to toe with the good, the bad, and the stinky.
“You’re the reason I get up in the morning. That and I need to pee.”
Once again, Jones has left readers giggling and shaking their heads at the antics of her eccentric protagonist Charley Davidson and her band of strange and deadly cohorts. A strong character driven series, Jones kidnaps the reader and takes them on a crazy adventure teeming with solid storylines, multiple subplots, high octane action, unusual characters, and laugh out loud dialogue. A slow but steady advancement of the arc and world building keeps you entertained without the feeling Jones is trying to rush you along to the end.
Charley has a lot on her plate; the most important and dangerous being the twelve hellhounds sent to kill her. Hellhounds who can come and go like the wind so you never know where they are until they take a bite out of you. This places Charley in a predicament as she has jobs to do and refuses to sit at home waiting for the threat to be nullified BUT she is also carrying a very special child who will be the world’s savior in the future. She needs to slow down but Charley only knows two speeds…fast and super fast. Observations are made that clue us into the possible motivations behind Charley and her antics.
“You risk the wrong things for the wrong causes. You strive for perfection instead of taking pleasure in the imperfect.”
This becomes a serious point of contention between her and her fiance-Reyes Farrow. He is consumed by his need to see her safe and uses everything in his disposal to facilitate that. I like that we see a significant change in Reyes this installment. We are granted more insight into his thoughts and emotions, something that hasn’t been as evident in past books. His having a baby on the way and Charley’s life being in serious danger seems to be having a profound effect on him. He still growls and evades but he is becoming more honest and forthright not only in his actions but his words. He shows us a vulnerability that wasn’t there before.
“It’s like you can’t get away from me fast enough.”
Even with the added conflict between Reyes and Charley, Jones answers fans requests for more one on one time between this unlikely couple with well written and extra hot love scenes that will steam up e-readers. Add in the breakdown of Reyes’ emotional barriers and we finally get to see the intense connection that Jones has pushed towards in the series.
New and old characters are back in full force to help round out the story, move it along, and keep us in stitches. Osh, Garrett, and a ghostly cast of spies try their best to keep Charley alive. Amber, Quinton, Strawberry Shortcake, and more make appearances when needed. Cookie is still backing Charley one hundred percent though her time now is split between hooking Charley up with her “blood of Satan” while sharing snuggle time with Charley’s Uncle Ubie. Cookie and Charley’s relationship still remains one of my favorite aspects of this series. Friends, neighbors, and co workers, their strong connection never waivers. They are two peas in a pod and the love between them is epic. They have a wonderful friendship that shines throughout the series.
I scrutinized the mug in her hand. “What are you drinking now?”
“What we’re both going to be drinking for the next eight months. We’re switching to decaf.”
The horror that riveted through me, the absolute terror with a taint of nausea, stunned me speechless for three, maybe four seconds. I put the mug down and made a cross with my fingers, screaming, “Death before decaf!” as Garrett poured himself a cup.
“Oh, stop it.” She put down her cup and tried to give me mine back. “Just give it a shot.”
“I can’t. That’s like asking me to cheat on Reyes with Garrett.”
He scowled at me as he doctored his cup of devil’s blood with cream and sugar.
“Suit yourself,” Cook said, picking hers up and taking a long, lingering draw.
After a few agonizing moments, the aroma started to get to me. I almost caved because of that, not because of Cookie’s coffee porn. Really, who sucked on a mug like that? I leaned closer as she licked a drop sliding down the side and moaned in ecstasy.
It was so wrong and yet so very, very right.
My issues, which I have addressed multiple times throughout the series, are still alive and kicking. Charley’s immaturity, the increasing one liners, and her need to personalize things. It all becomes overpowering at times. Charley gives cutesy names to everything and I do mean everything. Re-naming her body parts is a little strange, but now she’s on to appliances and furniture. I found myself confused to whom or what she was speaking to. She also doesn’t seem to be “growing” emotionally anymore. Still treating life as one big Vegas act, she has tunnel vision when it comes to herself. While she’ll do anything for anyone, there were times I felt she was being purposely obstinate. Like a child, she tries hard to be an adult and taken seriously, but ends up running headlong into danger just to spite those around her. The direction the series seems to be taking shows readers Charley needs to grow up and think about how her actions endanger herself and everyone around her.
Multiple story lines twist and tangle around one another, offering clues to bigger dangers heading Charley’s way. Jones wraps up the main conflict, leaving just enough open to ensure we need book eight pronto. Fans will rejoice in getting a rare Reyes POV at the end-though I understand this is only available in print copies.
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.
A single event in the small town of Madison forced the disappearance of a girl and boy. Years later, a body is found that blows open a secret so darkA single event in the small town of Madison forced the disappearance of a girl and boy. Years later, a body is found that blows open a secret so dark and wicked, the town isn’t sure it will ever recover. A young women knows the time has come for her to come home and let the town know exactly what happen that fateful night. Sweeter Than Sin is a dark and gritty romance suspense that brings together two addicts whose childhood ties are buried beneath a twisted sea of lies, betrayal, and deception. Shiloh Walker further divulges into the arc, expanding the scope and breath of the secrets this town has hidden for years. Your heart will break for the pain and agony some have experienced though Walker offers hope to readers that the evil has been identified and being dealt with accordingly. Emotional turmoil and angst are the basis on which a tragic romance is built. Two people unable to let go of the past have risen from their self inflicted penance to find one another when their need is greatest. Twists and turns will shock readers as Walker begins to put unravel the ties that bound this town to silence and the truth begins to pour out. I recommend reading the first in this series as the arc n on going and events in book two are contingent on the events in book one-Deeper Than Need. ...more
Fans of Nalini Singh’s dark and sensuous Guild Hunters series have waited impatiently for Ashwini and Janiver’s story. We were briefly introd4.5 stars
Fans of Nalini Singh’s dark and sensuous Guild Hunters series have waited impatiently for Ashwini and Janiver’s story. We were briefly introduced to them in the Angel’s Pawn novella, where we learned that their “frenemy” status belays a deep attraction played out in a continuous game of catch me if you can. Ash, a hunter for the Guild, has spent years hunting Janiver, a sexy infuriating vampire who often escapes his contract with his master just to get Ash to chase him. Singh builds their relationship slowly throughout the series, giving us teasing little clues as to their whereabouts and their growing feelings for one another.
“Stay with me. I’ll show you things that’ll make you laugh in delight, scream in passion, cry for the sheer joy of it.” (Angel’s Pawn)
One of the most compelling aspects of this series is the complex and in-depth characterization of the players that grows as the series does. Violence permeates the atmosphere, as all manners of supernatural beings and humans fight for supremacy in a world that is essentially ruled by archangels, beings of unimaginable power who only grow stronger in their inconceivable life spans.
Each book looks deep into the protagonists' state of mind (and world) to draw out a complicated array of emotions that humanize them, at least to some extent. Not an easy feat when many of them are hundreds, if not thousands of years old.
Favorite Quote: “Who has two thumbs and just came twice? This girl. Holy crap.”
Robin was the quintessential party girl until a onOriginally posted at
Favorite Quote: “Who has two thumbs and just came twice? This girl. Holy crap.”
Robin was the quintessential party girl until a one night stand throws her for a loop. Disgusted with herself, she has stopped drinking, stopped partying, and is looking to complete her next semester from her parents house. She doesn’t want to be “that girl” and hates that she can’t even talk to her friends about it.
Phoenix just got out of jail; broke and homeless. Crashing at his cousins’ house, he knows he needs to get a job and get out. When he meets Robin, he is instantly bowled over by how sweet and talented she is. She is the girl he always wanted but never thought he was good enough for.
As Phoenix and Robin spend more time together, Phoenix sees she is carrying a huge secret but hesitates to push her. When their pasts collide, neither are prepared for the explosive aftermath.
Believe is the third book in Erin McCarthy’s True Believers series. A new adult series that revolves around a group of friends and their issues with drugs, alcohol, and relationships. In Believe we meet Robin and Phoenix. Robin, one of Jessica’s (Sweet) and Rory’s (True) best friends, has been noticeably absent all summer. When she sleeps with her best friend’s boyfriend at the end of school, she undergoes a complete transformation and avoids everything and everybody who could trigger a relapse. Three months later, she meets Phoenix. Phoenix, Riley and Tyler’s cousin, has just gotten out of jail after a six month stint. He has anger issues and this time they landed him in jail. While he isn’t the perfect guy for her, there is a connection between them that allows them both to forget their pain and disgust for awhile.
Entertaining and emotionally satisfying, Believe doesn’t have quite the external drama the first two books had. While there is some, the conflict here is more internalized. Robin and Phoenix have issues that affect their views of themselves. McCarty’s signature clean writing style and a easy to follow storyline(s) makes it incredibly easy to become involved in this book. Heavily character driven, we easily fall in love with our hero and heroine from their first meeting.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” “What?” I almost dropped my paintbrush. “No. Why?” His phone slid across the table toward me. “Then give me your number.” “Why?” I said again, which was a totally moronic thing to say. But I didn’t get any vibe he even liked me, let alone was interested in me. For the first time, I saw the glimmer of a smile on his face. The corner of his mouth lifted slightly before he controlled it again. “Why do you think?” For a split second, I felt like myself, and I said the first thing that popped into my head. “So you can send me honey badger videos?” I joked, because it seemed like a safer response. He was just out of prison, and he had just broken up with his girlfriend ten minutes earlier. So not a good idea to get involved with him. I wasn’t up for dating anyone, let alone him. “Yes. And kitten memes.” “Well, in that case.”
McCarthy does a nice job of characterizing Robin and Phoenix as individuals and as a couple. Both protagonists are easy to sympathize with. Phoenix’s childhood involved a co dependant mother whose next fix was more important than taking care of her child. Robin, whose childhood was much better though she has a critical grandmother whose comments are nasty; uses parties and drinking to avoid dealing with her body issues and to boost her self confidence. Both learn that they are worth far more than their face value. The dual POVs enables us to see what each are feeling and thinking at pivotal moments. McCarthy takes their relationship slow, allowing them time to get to know one another and form a trust bond that supercedes their past behavior.
“I want you to remember that forever. Because I will.”
Though I felt the romance happened fast-insta love is never an easy sell-a part of me understood their need to cling to one another. Neither has ever had a relationship that didn’t involve some pretending on both their ends. No game playing and prime communication between our couple made the story more enjoyable in my eyes. The sexual scenes are bittersweet and sexy. The storyline and romance blend together effortlessly, elevating each other with a few plot twists to add to the overall tension.
We see plenty of past characters-Jess, Riley, Rory, and Tyler. I enjoyed their interaction and the outside observations and influence they bring. Seeing where they were at in their relationships and the hints given towards the future assures us they are all working hard towards their HEA. We also see a deviation from the past trope of the bad boy boyfriend the parents hate. Phoenix’s mom and Robin’s parents are rarely seen and when they are, they are there only in a supportive role.. Although, we do see the love/hate dynamics that affected the first book, True. Phoenix loves his mother but realises early on he can’t protect her from herself anymore.
The climatic moment that blows everything wide open isn’t so much a shocker as it is sad. Robin pays a heavy price for her drinking problem but it also frees her to move on with her life. Her guilt was like an albatross hanging from her neck. She may have lost a friend but she gained her sense of self back. The subplot involving Phoenix and his troubles seemed to come out of left field and resolved rather quickly. It didn’t really served a purpose.
While I enjoyed the story overall, I did have a few issues with it. One, Robin’s grandmother. I don’t subscribe to the notion that advanced age allows you to be cruel and I was surprised this wasn’t explored further.
Two, Jessica. I liked her well enough in True and Sweet but she became extremely judgemental in here and I was confused where this stemmed from. She makes noises about Robin leaving their room mate, Kylie, high and dry when Jessica does the same thing. She comes off jealous of Phoenix and I wasn’t buying the custody battle excuse. She didn’t want to share her new found family and it showed. Does this mean no relatives of the boys can ever come to visit? She’s also extra harsh with Robin after the big reveal; even after seeing evidence that it wasn’t all Robin’s fault.
Three, Robin blacked out from too much alcohol and woke up in bed with Nathan. She remembers basically nothing. It was essentially date rape and that aspect is never addressed.
Regardless of my misgivings, Believe is a sweet new adult love story that takes us journey of friendship, self discovery, forgiveness, and love. McCarthy continues to entertain with the third installment of True Believers series. She also includes a brief excerpt from book four, Shatter, which releases in June 17, 2014.
Mandi: A lot of things worked for me in this book, and a couple of things didn’t but overall I really enjoyed this one. This time Samantha Young gives us a lighter, less broody hero in Nate. When he was eighteen his one true love died of cancer, and now many years later he is still hung up on that relationship. He sleeps around…a lot…but never commits because he is still in love with Alana. Included in his group of friends (who are those from previous books – Braden and Joss, Cam and Jo) is Olivia, a librarian who is best friends with him. They’ve never crossed the romance line. Olivia’s mom was really sick when she was in her prime dating twenties, so now she feels awkward and embarrassed around men. She has no confidence when it comes to flirting or dating so she turns to Nate for help. She asks him to teach her how to flirt, kiss and eventually have sex. While I usually roll my eyes at this trope, I think it works really well in this book. The scenes become quite intense and emotional. Tori, do you feel the same way?
Tori: I agree wholeheartedly. While the first two installments were decidedly more emotional and darker, this one was lighter; in both the storyline and the characterization. Olivia and Nate were fun-as individuals and as a couple. I loved their “Which would you…” game. They had wonderful dynamics and dialogue. Olivia’s inner rants were hilarious and Nate’s cocky bad boy attitude was acceptable because you could see from the beginning he cared for Olivia. I admit I had some problems with Nate’s fears concerning attachment and commitment. It was unbelievable for me. I’ve always been vocal that pining for someone for 10 years is a bit ridiculous. I had a problem with Joss for the same reasons. The past can shape your life but when it takes it over, I find it hard to believe you can’t move on. I did enjoy how Nate and Olivia react to one another once they decide to carry out Olivia’s plan. Their chemistry almost made my e reader combust. There is a good balance between the physical and emotional. Speaking of Joss, is it just me or is she getting more irritating? lol
Mandi: First Nate – I had a hard time believing he would be SO caught up in a dead past love, especially when it took place when he was so young. Maybe I just needed more about that story to make it stick. I can see Nate a player, but not so forlorn over the past relationship.
Tori: Yes, perhaps if we had seen that relationship, it would have been easier to buy into Nate’s reasons. As it was, I didn’t see Nate pining for anyone. It felt like an excuse.
Mandi: Now Joss – I’m so not a fan of Joss. I guess I liked her in book one but man she is prickly. I’ll give credit to the author – she sure writes her consistently. But if she wasn’t in anymore books I’d be fine with that. Speaking of supporting characters, I just love the group Nate and Olivia hang out with. Cam, Jo, Braden, Joss *mutters*, and it looks like we get Hannah’s book next. I like that this author continues the story of her previous characters and that we get to see the hero and heroine hang out with friends, not just with each other. It feels more like a full, well rounded story.
Tori: I don’t mind prickly but Joss has always felt like a bit of drama queen to me. As in, “Let me make it all about ME…” But yes, kudos to Young for making her constantly irritating. :P Seeing a strong presence of previous characters adds a nice flow to the arc. We aren’t left wondering what everyone else is up to. I really liked that Olivia and Nate had such supporting parents. Olivia’s dad and both of Nate’s parents maintained a strong presence in their lives which helped to guide them over the hurdles they encountered in their relationship. I am looking forward to Alex and E’s wedding and of course, Hannah’s story. Poor Hannah. lol She will have a rough time falling in love with all the protective males in her future. Also looking forward to Cole’s story. Who IS his mysterious friend and why can’t they be together?
Let’s talk about the lurrrrvvveee scenes. Woo wee. Nate may not have being in a relationship down pat but he certainly has the physical parts well covered. I enjoyed watching him learn right along with Olivia. Some of their scenes left me feeling a bit… flushed.
Mandi: Yes, the love scenes are so intense in this one. For as laid back and flirty as Nate is, he is one sexy beast. I love how he builds up Olivia’s confidence in the bedroom. I really, really wish we had gotten his point of view in this book. I needed to be in his head at times, and I was disappointed that we miss that. I feel as though only having Olivia’s point of view didn’t work for me as well as in the previous books.
Overall, I think this is a sexy book and Samantha Young continues to write well done contemporary romance.
Tori: Agree. This book wasn’t just Olivia finding her groove, but also Nate making peace with the past and moving forward. I too would have like his POV. It felt a little unbalanced as though one main character was mute. I too would have loved being in his head, especially after his penis head moment.
Samantha Young’s winning streak continues with Before Jamaica Lane and I look forward to reading more from her. Her enchanting couples and delicious romances make her books an auto buy for this reader.
Tori’s Favorite Quotes: "Don’t hide from me." He bent his head to whisper over my lips. "Ever."
" I like him, but I sound like Rain Man every time I try to talk to him." Nate made a choking noise in the back of his throat. "Are you laughing?" He cleared it and answered shakily, "Never." He was so laughing.
Mandi’s Favorite Quotes: “It’s a manwhore miracle.”
“My mum always said if you can’t say something nice, say something memorable.”...more
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.
Callie Brown is a high blood. An orphan whose parents left her at Valhalla, this gifted necromancer who is often called in to read a murder victim’s last thoughts. When she is called to a crime scene of a young woman whose death speaks of the paranormal, Callie finds her powers blocked and receives a message from a man who’s similar powers out shine hers.
Duncan O’Conner, a human cop, has seen this type of kill before and looks forward to seeing his favorite High Blood again. Though carrying alot of emotional baggage, Duncan has worked with Callie before and wants more than just a working relationship. When Duncan learns that Callie is unable to read the victim and getting threatened by an unknown High Blood, his protectiveness goes into hyperdrive and he finds himself willing to do anything to keep her safe.
Born In Blood is the start of the new paranormal suspense series by Alexandra Ivy. High bloods (humans born special paranormal abilities) live in a domed city, invisible to the human eye, called Valhalla. High bloods, considered freaks by the more prejudicial humans, are often called in to help the wholly human population when crimes are committed by other high bloods.
An interesting premise that promises an action packed PNR suspenseful storyline, a new world to explore, and unique engaging characters. Unfortunately, all this couldn’t make the book work completely for me. I was bored at times reading it. While it offers something new, it doesn’t always keep its promise. The beginning starts out incredible slow as Ivy builds the world and storyline for us. The romance takes up a considerable portion of the storyline but the action is placid. Everytime Callie and Duncan would start something, it fades to an unrelated scene. Same with the main conflict. You get plenty of scene time but just when you expect the action to start, you switch to another scene. I never got enough of one particular plotline to appreciate or become engaged with what was happening. The last quarter picks up speed but again, we are denied fully action packed scenes. Even the climactic ending to the main conflict is resolved off screen then discussed.
Regardless of my issues, there were aspects I liked. The world building is interesting. Ivy takes her time describing the political and prejudicial racism that is present in the world. I liked the symbolism behind a mystical city called Valhalla. It’s hierarchy is deceptively complex and I enjoyed meeting the various occupants whose coming stories are hinted at. Callie’s bff is a humorous force to be reckoned with and I feel for her hero. The villain and plot line develops nicely. There is an twist that comes out left field that amps the suspense, I just wish it had finished with more of a bang.
I enjoyed Duncan and Callie. Both are intelligent, loyal, nice people. Duncan has a sexy protective alpha vibe going that Callie has no problems dealing with. Likewise, Callie likes Duncan and while not submissive to him in the least, she doesn’t mind his chest beating moments. In fact, she teases him when they happen. No real heavy baggage for them to work through. Duncan into Callie and vice versa. We don’t see them from the very beginning, when they first met, so any conflict we see now is minor. The attraction is full blown from page one and the only thing left for them is acting on it. Even that is a minor hurdle for them. Lots of sexual tension and steamy chemistry. Both Callie and Duncan have their moments of insecurity that affects their lives and the job they’re on but that only serves to add a sense of realism to their character make up.
All in all, Ivy’s newest series offers a promise of exciting things to come in the future. Engaging characters and a unique world is the appeal that almost solidifies this. It has a faint superhero feel to it that is a refreshing change from the shifters/vampires that normally populate PNR. While I wasn’t completely taken with this installment, my interest is tickled enough to look towards book two, title and release date to be announced.
Favorite Quote: ”But trust me when I tell you, living in the past will bring you nothing but misery. Now is all that matters.”
Gideon Montrose has spent centuries mourning the loss of his one true love. Bound indefinitely to the Seelie King, Gideon serves without question or mercy; using his fairy powers and skill as a merciless warrior to carry out the king’s commands. When his king charges him with finding the person behind a recent rash of fairy dust thefts, Gideon obeys without question. But when he catches the culprit red handed, he can’t believe his eyes.
Known as Robin Hood back in the day, Arabella Locksley spent her days thieving from the rich and her nights in the arms of Gideon Montrose aka Little John. Having supposedly fallen to her death 500 years ago, now she’s back and with a multitude of secrets clouding her eyes and no ready answers for Gideon.
Gideon is duty bound to turn her over to his king but his heart demands answers. How is she alive? Where has she been all this time? And why did she never try to find him? As Gideon works to discover what happened so long ago, he finds himself involved in a series of mysterious thefts and deaths that all seem to lead back to Arabella.
Ever After is the fourth installment of SeRine’s Transplanted series. A series based on the premise of what would life be like if some fairy tale, nursery rhyme, and literary characters suddenly found themselves transported from fantasy to reality. Well-plotted and cast with strong and dynamic characters, Ever After is a paranormal romance filled with suspense, betrayal, dangerous antagonists, and a heavy dollop of humor and romance.
Strongly character driven, SeRine expands her world using her characters lives; adding dimension, personality, and some tongue in cheek dialogue. SeRine takes a very liberal route in the retelling of certain fairytales; giving us a modern updated version of what we all read as children. She twists the stories, giving her characters a voice to offer readers a different version of how events really transpired…directly from the source(s).
Though multiple storylines intertwine and expand, giving us a juicy mystery that is rather convoluted in it’s make up, this is still primarily Gideon’s and Arabella’s story. Gideon has been briefly mentioned in previous stories; the king’s right hand man, trusted advisor, and eventually best friend. An Unseelie warrior who is the last of his people and became bound to the man who helped destroyed them all.. Portrayed as a hard somewhat merciless man, ReSine explores Gideon’s rich backstory and we learn the events surrounding how he became bound into service and the love he lost so long ago.
Arabella’s backstory is equally heart wrenching and compelling. Intelligent, loyal, and quite spirited, Arabella has used her wits to triumph over tragedy throughout her life. Both she and Gideon are self sacrificing; willing to do whatever they can in order to help someone. You never doubt her love for Gideon, especially when you learn she has been shadowing him for years, only staying away when she saw he was in what appeared to be a serious relationship.
Second chance romance is a favorite trope of mine and SeRine does a beautiful job of setting the stage of Gideon’s and Arabella’s reunion. Even with the sparks between Arabella and Gideon instantly burning hot and bright, regardless of all the lost time between them, Gideon moves slowly, wary of Arabella and everything that seems to be happening around her. I do admit it took me awhile to like Arabella. She comes off slightly selfish in the beginning. She refuses to tell Gideon exactly what’s going on and only comes clean when he grows tired of her omissions and threatens to leave her.
I enjoyed the liberties SeRine takes with the legends of Robin Hood and Arthur Pendragon. We see plenty old and new friends; ReSine uses them to expand and wrap up some ongoing storylines from the series. The conflict and subplots are action packed and a bit nerve racking as the SeRine plays her hand close to the vest. The ending resolves itself perfectly and leaves just enough open so we have no doubts we will be seeing more of this couple and world in the future. Readers who enjoy an action packed retelling of fairy tales and the show, Once Upon A Time, are sure to enjoy SeRine’s version of “Happily Ever After.”
Favorite Quote: She felt like she’d been waiting her whole life for him, only she hadn’t realized it until the very second their gazes locked.
Trinity Ewing, a former ad exec from New York, needed a fresh start for her and her young son so she purchases a house, sight unseen, in the small town of Madison, Indiana. Once she arrives, she realizes the house needs some major repairs which leads her straight to the town handyman, Noah Benningfield.
Noah Benningfield, a former preacher turned carpenter, carries some heavy burdens that all revolve around the house that Trinity bought. Years ago, Noah’s girlfriend went into this house and never came out. The only clues to her demise were a set of bloody fingerprints left smeared across a window. Noah has blamed himself for her possible death and only in the past few years has begun to get his life back on track.
Trinity is a breath of fresh for Noah and the feeling is mutual. To Noah, Trinity is everything he has ever wanted in his life but knows that he may not be what she needs. When a skeleton is discovered in Trinity’s house, the rumors fly fast and hard and Noah finds himself caught between the past and present.
As the secrets of this small town begins to spill out of the shadows and into the light, Noah and Trinity find themselves standing on the cusp of a scandal so shocking…no one will escape the aftermath.
Shiloh Walker’s Deeper Than Need is the first book in her newest romance suspense series-Secrets & Shadows. Set in the small town of Madison, IN, Walker weaves her magic in a dark and suspenseful tale of lies and atrocities set amongst a seductive romance. Slow and steady, Walker builds her world: layering it in pain, sorrow, heartbreak, and fear as she delicately sets the stage. Dynamic flawed characters only add to the overall somber emotional tone of the multi plotted storyline. Each new revolution serves to add tension and suspense as we are given clues to the secret that traps this small town in it’s clutches.
Trinity Ewing and Noah Benningfield are strong characters; together and separately. Loyal, intelligent, and prone to taking on the problems of others. Each has secrets that they fear will cause the other to run away. The chemistry literally lights the pages on fire from the moment these two first meet.
Noah Benningfield made her tongue stick to the roof of her mouth and her hands got all sweaty just thinking about him.They’d met just a few short weeks ago, saw each other in passing while he set up everything for the renovations on her house. A few meetings here and there, a few phone calls.
Not much, right?
So why did she keep waking up, hot and sweaty from all of those dreams? The hottest, dirtiest dreams, where he ran those rough, calloused hands over her, where he pressed his lips to her neck, skimmed them down, down, down…
I like how realistic they and their problems were. I also enjoyed how Walker doesn’t impede their romance with huge hurdles or misunderstandings. The slow steamy sexual heat and tension these two generate will leave you panting as you watch them hurdle personal and external obstacles and dance their way in to each others arms. The romance isn’t prevalent but rather a soft silent stream of consciousness that flows beneath the main storyline. A touch of humor winds through the story with Trinity’s four year old son, Micah. His curiosity had me giggling at times.
Forcing herself to breathe, she managed to say, “Micah, that’s enough.” “Would you cuss if you’d got burnt there?” he asked. Obviously, he didn’t see the warning on her face. Of course not. He was too busy thinking penises. Boys and their toys…and she’d already learned that a male’s fascination with the penis started pretty young.
The mystery is chilling as we began to piece together what is happening and it’s connections to Noah’s past. Walker doesn’t inundate you with any gruesome details but instead uses the players in this tragic play to tell us their stories. Each one giving us small clues that begin to paint for us a bleak picture. An extensive secondary cast has you looking over your shoulder and wondering who’s walks with the angels and who is fully submerged in the darkness that is the soul of this town. Ms. Walker does not make it easy for you. She uses Deeper Than Need to set up for the other books in the series so you’re being introduced to new characters and subplots throughout.
I will warn that even though the romantic conflict is resolved and set on the right path but the mystery is not. Though not a fan of cliffhangers, this particular one does nothing more than whet my appetite for the second in the series, Sweeter Than Sin, which releases in September 2014. With this latest release, my belief only continues to solidify that Shiloh Walker is a master when writing dark and brooding romantic suspense. If you want more of this town and the residents who live there, Walker released a steamy sexy novella trilogy earlier this year that centers around the Bell siblings and the disappearance of their mother. You don’t have to read the trilogy in order to read Deeper Than Need.
Favorite Quote: “People believe what they wish to believe.”
Lady Georgiana, our heroine, fell from her lofty social pedestal when she bore a child outFavorite Quote: “People believe what they wish to believe.”
Lady Georgiana, our heroine, fell from her lofty social pedestal when she bore a child out of wedlock and was forced to disappear from Society. She has come to terms with this and found her own way to get back at those who snubbed her while cheering her demise. For years, Georgiana has played the London ton for the fools they are by offering them a jewel encrusted rope with which they could hang themselves. But now the time has come for her to take her place in Society again; opening herself back up to the scorn and ridicule she knows will be heaped upon her in order to secure her child’s future.
Our hero, Duncan West, is an interesting choice in a hero for the Lady Georgiana. Not because he’s a tradesman or a secret partner in the gaming hall, but because one of his gossip rags is what has forced her back into the public eye. Duncan, a newspaper magnate, owns several publications, one of which published a nasty little cartoon that not only mocked Georgiana, but also her daughter. Meeting Lady Georgiana places him in a perplexing and somewhat uncomfortable position. He is intrigued by her beauty, intelligence, and strength while ashamed of what his paper has said about her over the years. When he learns of one of her secrets; he offers to help her secure her desire of a proper marriage if she helps him obtain some information from Chase that he needs to get out from under an unscrupulous enemy’s thumb.
The last installment of Maclean’s The Rules of Scoundrels series gives readers the story they have been waiting on; the unmasking of the infamous Chase. The most mysterious of the four founders of the popular and decadent gaming hall, the Fallen Angel. Those who’ve read the whole series have been given little clues throughout to Chase’s identity but it’s only here that MacLean announces her well kept secret.
I found Don’t Judge a Lady by Her Cover to be more light than the previous installments. While our hero and heroine follow the prescribed premise of the series by having suffered in the past, they are not as emotionally or mentally damaged as we have seen in previous characters. The storyline is more internal based; focusing on Lady Georgiana’s internal conflicts and secrets. MacLean’s smooth verse and witty dialogue glides readers easily through the story, taking us back in time and then slowly leading us to the present, making sure we understand exactly what is at stake. Dynamic characterization provides us with easy recognizable friends and foes. Lush physical and emotional descriptions keep us firmly engaged as we follow our hero and heroine down the rocky path that leads them to their destiny.
‘He laughed low and deep, the sound rippling through her. She did not like that, either, the way he seemed to catch her off guard when she was her most guarded. ‘
I have enjoyed Lady Georgiana since first meeting her but in here my admiration skyrocketed. She is a fabulous strong lead, especially for a historical. As a young lady of this era, even being the daughter of a duke, she has no real power. The choices in her life would have been at the commands of her father and then her brother. Yet she shows remarkable initiative and strength as she plots and triumphs on her own path of empowerment. She not only broke the rules, but she redefined them to make them work for her. By aligning herself with three others who had also been disgraced and hurt by Society only showcases her deep compassion.
‘She had partnered with three fallen aristocrats, each stronger and more intelligent than the rest of Society, each ruined without question.’
Duncan is an enigma. He is remarkably astute in some areas yet as clueless as those around him. A sexy alpha male whose ability to make or break someone socially contrasts beautifully with his need to protect the one person whose actions make him money. I was disappointed at times when he would fall back too often on the prescribed notion that Georgiana has little options and is being forced into certain situations even though Georgiana reassured him often she is fine. His anger and jealousy at her secrets impeded his judgement at times.
As the story unfolds, the chemistry between our hero and heroine simmers with playful flirting, steamy glances, and faint touches filled with longing. It’s a slow emerging romance due to the original plans of Georgiana and her issues from the past. Love, she has learned is not real but an illusion some use for their own gains; often at the expense of others. Their chemistry is a solid presence, slipping into your subconscious from the start. No petty games are played not are we inundated with overly dramatic misconstrued events that take forever to clear up. The sexual tension builds admirably as they banter and fence around their attraction.
“No doubt our contretemps will be in the papers tomorrow, she said, letting the accusation into the words.
“I see my reputation precedes me.”
“Should mine be the only one?”
Vibrant secondary characters are bursting from the seams of the book yet you never feel overwhelmed. We see various characters from previous books and meet a few new ones. I enjoyed seeing where the other “scoundrels” are at in their lives and learning even more about ‘Chase’s sometimes unscrupulous deeds and deals that are made even more astounding now that readers know who Chase really is. Caroline was a dream and quite humorous in her questioning of her mother’s views and actions. The inclusion of additional subplots is well done and blends well with the main storyline.
The ending is a mixture of suspense and surprise as MacLean ties up all the loose threads and ends the series on an original and beautiful note that assures us the last ‘scoundrel’ has finally found the happiness they so richly deserved.