Bad boy rocker Noah St. John is one-quarter of the wildly successful band, Schoolboy Choir. Haunted by events that happened when he was just six yearsBad boy rocker Noah St. John is one-quarter of the wildly successful band, Schoolboy Choir. Haunted by events that happened when he was just six years old, Noah deals with his pain and fears by drinking and having sex. Lots and lots of mindless, faceless sex.
Kathleen “Kit” Devigny is a former soap star, now Oscar nominated actress, on the verge of making it big. She’s known the boys from Schoolboy Choir since before they were big stars. But it wasn’t until more recently that her friendship with Noah deepened and had the energy to become something more. That is until the night she found him in bed with another woman.
Right from the start of Rock Redemption, I was captivated by Kit and Noah’s story. Their pain was palatable, causing my heart to physically ache at times. I loved both characters so much, I was emotionally tied to their journey every step of the way.
In the beginning of the book, I was confused on the timing of events such as how long ago Kit caught Noah in bed with another woman, how long ago she bought her home, and other milestones mentioned by the characters. While I don’t think it was clear, ultimately, it really didn’t matter as the story progressed, because this book is about characters getting over their past and making their actions count moving forward.
Ms. Singh does an amazing job creating two beautiful characters who are clearly in love but hurt and possibly broken. She drew me in and tied me to their fate, making me care so much. I appreciate that both characters have hit an emotional bottom, and while they may be saying one thing out loud, in his or her heart each understands the truth to be so much more. They both have dreams and are scared to change anything between them for fear of letting those dreams die. And while I appreciate the need for their relationship to progress slowly, I do wish that the pair opened up sooner in the book, especially when it comes to the deep, dark secrets keeping them apart. Noah has some serious baggage, and while Ms. Singh doesn’t trivialize it in the least, I wanted more time spent on Noah’s progress after he shares with Kit.
Honestly, I loved almost every aspect of the story, with one minor exception. Kit has a stalker. While it worked within the context of the story, this is the third time some sort of stalker-type conflict has been used to some degree in this series (and there are only three full-length books). See my point? I was disappointed to see a stalker used as an external conflict, even though it was handled really well.
Overall, Rock Redemption is an emotionally fulfilling, extremely engrossing love story. I appreciate that Ms. Singh doesn’t sensationalize nor sugar coat Noah’s issues and allows time for Kit and Noah’s relationship to develop in a manor that works for them. I loved them as a pair, seeing their friendship deepen and watching their love grow into something solid and strong. I am left with hope that their relationship will work because their love is strong. I adore this pair so much and their story so gripping that I am able to forgive some if not all of my little issues.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed a lot Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by NetGalley...more
The story of SEALs falling in love continues with Brody’s story in Loved by a SEAL. Brody, younger brother of retired SEAL Chris Cassidy, is still onThe story of SEALs falling in love continues with Brody’s story in Loved by a SEAL. Brody, younger brother of retired SEAL Chris Cassidy, is still on active duty and has been deployed for the past six months. When he returns stateside to find no one around, he realizes how much he’s missing, leaving him disconnected and out of sorts. Deciding to get some R & R, he heads home for a short break, where he runs into the one woman whom he ever loved, and who broke his heart ten years ago.
Ashley Reed refused to give up her future as a nurse to follow her teenage love when he left for the Navy. Now she finds herself back in her hometown, helping her grandmother and the Cassidy family. When Brody walks in through the door and into her life again, she cannot deny the feelings she still has for him.
Loved by a SEAL is another slice of life in the Hot SEALs universe. Like several of the previous stories, the book shares a budding romance between a man with a high-risk job and the woman who steals his heart, without taking the reader all the way to an HEA (happily ever after). If you are good knowing that the stories have HFN (happy for now) type endings, then this series is definitely worth the read.
Brody and Ashley have a history, making their quick romance seem very realistic. The author perfectly captures those unrequited, long-lingering feelings left over from when Ashley walked out on Brody ten years prior, causing this reader to swoon just a bit. Their story is more about love and passion, rather than hot, steamy sex, which suits the story just fine. I was left with the feeling that this couple could actually make it work, and that made me happy.
Overall, I really enjoy these wonderful little novellas for what they bring to the table: a bit of danger and action, a bit of love and romance. Sitting back, relaxing with a cup of tea and my Kindle, Loved by a SEAL made for a wonderful morning read.
The Dark Secrets anthology gives readers a look at six very different paranormal-themed novellas, each with varying degrees of darkness and all with aThe Dark Secrets anthology gives readers a look at six very different paranormal-themed novellas, each with varying degrees of darkness and all with a touch of romance.
Marion, Missing? by Rachel Caine Set in post-WWII Texas, Warren Valentine (Val) is mourning the death of his PI partner, Tilde Sands, a negro female. However he’s having trouble since she’s manifested as a ghost that won’t leave him alone until he stops the man who killed her. Marion, Missing? is a decent noir detective story with a twist on paranormal romance. The mystery and crime-solving went a little slowly and felt abstract because Tilde couldn't tell Val directly what she knew. The story was okay, but not really my thing.
My Rating: C
Femme Fatale by Cynthia Eden The second story in the anthology is another PI mystery. Mick Swayne lives in a world where humans are unaware that the monsters of myth and movies are real. When two young men are found dead, and their bodies drained of blood, vampire Savannah Moreau hires Mick to help her stop the vampire killer and protect her from being the next victim. Femme Fatale reads like a more typical paranormal romance, albeit shorten. I liked the twists the author tossed in; however, sometimes the dialogue felt cliche and corny. And some of the plot points were equally as cheesy, but it mostly works for the story.
My Rating: B-
Dance with the Devil by Megan Hart Kathleen Murphy sold herself to the Devil long ago, and now she must do his bidding or give up her soul. She remains lonely and isolated, even from her beloved daughter, in an effort to protect those she cared about. Yet somehow Jake cuts past the walls Kathleen has erected and steals her heart. Dance with the Devil absolutely blew me away! It was an intense and emotionally powerful tale of the lengths one will go to for those she loves. I love how we didn’t typically know what the Devil asks of Kathleen, yet we saw the emotional upheaval and physical results of the manifestations of her guilt. It’s very powerful: horrific without being gruesome. The story is utterly engrossing and compelling, really making me think after I finished reading it. The tale is heartbreaking, yet beautiful in so many ways.
My Rating: A+
The Consort by Suzanne Johnson (set in the Sentinels of New Orleans world) Faulkner Hearne is the captain of the Fae Hunters, a group who lives in the human realm, tracking down the Fae who cross over without permission. When he is commanded by the Prince of the Summer Court to locate his newest consort, Liandra, Faulkner isn’t certain he’ll be able to turn her over to face the horrors that await her. As a huge fan of Ms. Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series, I completely enjoyed seeing the Winter and Summer Fae Princes again. I enjoyed that the pair knew each other from youth; how he remembered her. Since I love the world and series, this was an enjoyable, quick read; however I’m not sure how it would play out if I hadn’t read the series. Overall, an entertaining paranormal romance.
My Rating: A-
Heart's Blood by Jeffe Kennedy (set in the world of the Twelve Kingdoms)
Cavan, prince and heir to the throne of Erie, was wed via long-distance to Princess Natilde, who has just recently arrived at his castle. He had hoped for a connection, but when he saw her there was none. He feels down and bleak, except when he’s with the servant girl, Nix. The woman formally known as Natilde, now called Nix, is posing as a servant girl in the keep of Princess Natilde. Heart’s Blood shares the sweet romance between two souls. I enjoyed discovering what put Nix in her predicament and watching Cavan piece together the truth. The two make the perfect pair. Both fair, honest, and just, putting the best interests of others before themselves. Their love filled me with optimism and happiness.
My Rating: A
The Djinn in the Mirror by Mina Khan (set in the Djinn World) This paranormal romance is loosely based on the Cinderella fairytale, with Dahlia playing the part of the abused stepdaughter and Edgar, the evil stepfather. Edgar is a dark witch and sadistic cult leader who wants Dahlia for himself and to use the powerful heritage blood within her for his own power. But when Dahlia discovers a djinn, Ashmael, trapped in a mirror, she frees him and barters for her protection. The Djinn in the Mirror was my least favorite title in the anthology. I didn't care for the continuity of the story. It started with saving Dahlia, then once Ashmael was freed, an entire second story began, with Ashmael traveling home and discovering his family was betrayed and killed. While there were some good parts to that piece of the story, I think the tale would have been much better if it stayed focused on one aspect or the other. Even then, I felt the story dragged. It was a bit cheesy, and I just couldn't get into it. Dahlia was too wide-eyed and idealistic.
My Rating: C-
So in the end, Dark Secrets has three great stories and three not-as-great stories. None were bad, and the three that I enjoyed are certainly worth purchasing the book. It's tough to give the entire book an overall rating because of the spectrum of individual ratings for the parts.
My Rating (for the entire book): B, Liked It Review copy provided by Author Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About...more
Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman is one of those special books, when upon finishing it, all you want is to read more; you’re sad it’s over; and you fNothing Serious by Jessica Jarman is one of those special books, when upon finishing it, all you want is to read more; you’re sad it’s over; and you find that you must squee about how awesome it is with others who’ve read it. Seriously. It is just that wonderful.
Loosely connected to London Bound, the first book in the Bound series (also penned by Ms. Jarman), Nothing Serious picks up this world over eight years forward in time, where we see the original h/h, Nathan and Meg, happily married and her two college-aged children now grown and moving out on their own. The story focuses on the secret affair between Jack, Nathan’s out-of-the-closet best friend, and Meg’s son Aaron, a firmly in-the-closet ER doctor. With Aaron’s sister getting married, Jack comes to town, placing the pair in close proximity while surrounded by family and friends. Even though the pair has been meeting around the world for secret trysts for eight years, they’ve never been together around family and friends, and the stress of the hidden situation may break the pair apart for good.
The story unfolds organically and beautifully, giving both Jack and Aaron time to figure out what each wants from the other and for his own life. While the couple has a history of amazing sexual chemistry, the two men are in different places in their lives, creating a tension that causes the story to hum and vibrate rather that sit stagnant. It is evident right from the get go that Jack is deeply emotionally attached to Aaron, while Aaron hasn’t really taken the time to realize what Jack means to him. Jack has always accepted this, enjoying their passionate, yet infrequent rendezvous with everything he has. He is fun and gentle, unwilling to push Aaron into something he’s not ready for, endearing him to me so very much. Their dynamic captured me completely, and I was thoroughly engrossed in their romance.
What makes Nothing Serious stand out is the depth of the emotional content Ms. Jarman masters within the story. I cried fat tears of heartbreak and happy tears of joy all within the confines of the book. Jack and Aaron’s circumstances gripped me completely, not letting go until long after I was finished reading the tale. There is nothing frivolous or thoughtless tossed into the book, creating a quick read that you won’t want to put down. And while the connection between Aaron and Jack is sublime, the author has created a cast full of lovable characters, each adding wonderful interpersonal connections and dialogue to the story.
In the end, Nothing Serious is a story that will stick with me for a long while; a book I will read again and again.
My Rating: A+ Personal Favorite Originally posted at that's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by author....more
Midnight Hunter is the third book in Ms. Ballenger’s intense and action-filled Execution Underground series. Mixing both traditional and unique paranoMidnight Hunter is the third book in Ms. Ballenger’s intense and action-filled Execution Underground series. Mixing both traditional and unique paranormal mythologies, the author has constructed an exciting world that successfully pairs opposites to create dynamic romances.
Dr. Shane Grey is a popular professor of Religious Studies at the local college and serving as a Witch Hunter for EU on the sly. While equally as rough and tough as his EU counterparts, Shane has that straight-laced, nerdy professor vibe going for him. He’s attracted to one of his students-a former black magic practitioner at that-which causes him endless internal strife, especially since he needs her help on a case.
Vera Sanders has worked hard to distance herself from her notorious father and get over her addiction to black magic. In a moment of weakness, she falls off the wagon and indulges in spell-casting with a dark coven. When her heart-throb-of-a-professor comes seeking her help to find the very coven she’s recently met with, Vera tries hard to help without revealing her secrets - or act on her desires for Dr. Shane Grey.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and premise behind Midnight Hunter. The mythology of magic was interesting, and thankfully, wasn’t nearly as complex and confusing as the were and demon mythologies found in the previous two stories. I liked how everything was pretty straight forward. I also loved how the EU team worked together and had a camaraderie which has been building over the course of the past few books.
I found the author did a good job creating a likable hero. I liked seeing the more personal side of Shane via his home life. I felt like I understood his motives and actions, even his uptight, stick-to-the-rules personality. Similarly, we got to see Vera, but she had a less three dimensional feeling. For too long, her primary motives revolved around hiding her black magic nature, understandable so, but it didn’t allow me to see as much of her character. She was very defensive and felt immature at times, making it harder for me to connect to her character.
While I enjoyed watching each of the primary characters grow and work to uncover the truth behind some gruesome deaths, as a couple, they fell a bit flat. The fact that each worked so hard to maintain a professional distance and fight their mutual lust, and Vera lied to Shane about the very thing they were working on, made it difficult for me to connect to this couple. There were a few sparks now and then, but mostly, I didn’t feel any palatable connection between the two for a majority of the story.
My biggest complaint is that it took entirely too long for Shane and Vera to let the truth come out, and even when it did, the couple still kept their distance. And then… when they FINALLY got past their hangups and hooked up (with less than 20% left in the book), the fact that they did in a way which was so against Shane’s character irritated me. I felt that there were a few times earlier in the book when the couple could have come clean and hooked up; it just took way too long.
Shane’s case of zombies and murders was exciting and added great tension to the book. There were a few twists that made the story more meaningful to the primary couple, adding to the overall story. And the final climatic scenes were well played!
In the end, I enjoyed Midnight Hunter, which a solid addition to the Execution Underground series. While I had a few issues with the romance between the primary couple, especially how it played out, I found the characters and plot entertaining. Although the book could be read as a standalone, I feel that having read about the characters and mythology in the previous books added a lot to my overall enjoyment.
My Rating: B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by Author/NetGalley...more
Archangel’s Enigma picks up the story of angels, vampires, and Hunters roughly seven months after the conclusion of the previous book. Readers learn tArchangel’s Enigma picks up the story of angels, vampires, and Hunters roughly seven months after the conclusion of the previous book. Readers learn that Archangel Lijuan is, in fact, alive, yet not whole. Still viewing herself as a goddess, she seeks to act on a prophecy by killing one of the Ancients while he Sleeps. It is up to Raphael, with the help of Elena and his Seven, to prevent Lijuan from finding and harming Alexander.
As a scholar and an expert in Sleeping Ancients, Andromeda is Raphael’s best bet to stop Lijuan. However, she is also Charisemnon's granddaughter. (Charisemnon is the one who caused the Falling and a deadly vampire disease, and was aligned with Lijuan in the past). Since Andromeda has cut all family ties, Raphael trusts her and sends one of his Seven, Naasir, to protect her from Lijuan and assist her in her endeavors. When he meets Andromeda, Naasir, who has been on the hunt for his mate since the conclusion of the previous book, decides she may very well be his hidden mate.
There are so many wonderful things about Archangel’s Enigma. Both the romantic storyline and over-arching plot of the brewing war between the Archangels, are entertaining and completely engrossing aspects of this tightly woven story. The two parts are well balanced, creating an almost perfect reading experience: urban fantasy action and intrigue together with a sensual paranormal love story.
And once again, Ms. Singh proves how she is the master of character development. I’ll admit that I didn’t know how she’d be able to pull of a romance for Naasir. A little known and rarely seen member of the Seven, Naasir came across child-like, innocent, and almost feeble-minded in his actions and dialogue during the previous book. Yet at only the 12% mark of Archangel’s Enigma, I saw Naasir as a viable sexual being while maintaining his curious and innocent persona that made him feel childlike. Reading how his mind works and how he sees the world on a large scale and in ranging situations from lust to vengeance, sincerity to hurt, created a genuinely lovable character.
Similarly, Ms. Singh creates the perfect match for Naasir in Andromeda. Both a scholar and a warrior, she understands and sees more than most others, and values Naasir for the person he is under the enigma of his species. She’s patient and kind, despite her upbringing. The fact that she has required so much discipline from herself to set herself apart from the actions of her family, gives her honor, fierceness, and sincerity that few seem to possess.
Additionally, the author does much to move forward the overall plot revolving around the oncoming Cascade, Ancients, and feuding Archangels. Rather than continuing to spread out the story, Ms. Singh seems to twist and evolve the entire plot, keeping it moving forward rather than allowing it to grow too large and unruly. Although there is a lot of complexities tossed our way, it all flows seamlessly and logically. By the end of the book, I was already jonesing for the follow-up story!
Overall, I really enjoyed Archangel’s Enigma. The character development, world-building, and storytelling are, once again, amazing, and the plot has few negatives. The romance between Naasir and Andromeda, while slow-burning, is everything I could have wanted. I found the overall politics of the Cadre utterly compelling. The Guild Hunter series continues to be one of my Top 5 must read series.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by publisher...more
Broken Play is the first book in a new erotic romance series by Samantha Kane. The series follows the players of the fictional Birmingham Rebels NFL eBroken Play is the first book in a new erotic romance series by Samantha Kane. The series follows the players of the fictional Birmingham Rebels NFL expansion team. Cass Zielinski, captain of the Rebels, leads this team full of misfits and has-beens who know this is their last chance to make it. Beau Perez, Cass’s best friend, is a recovering addict. Cass will do anything to protect his friend, and the pair do EVERYTHING together. The final piece of Broken Play’s menage is Marian Treadwell, the Rebels new female assistant coach. Marian has many secrets, including the fact that her father is a famous college coach.
While Broken Play holds a lot of promise, it was more about hot and erotic sex scenes than a lot of substance. It is a menage romance, and there is some emotional growth and development between Cass, Beau, and Marian, but it’s mostly framed by sex. There are promising external dynamics… like a last-chance football team looking to make its mark and a female coach in a male-dominated profession. However these side stories get little attention, and there is no plot development to go along with them. Additionally, conflict in the form of a homophobic player comes up once, yet is never addressed again. If these aspects of the book had been developed more, I think the book would have been stronger.
What the book does have going for it are super erotic, multi-partner sex scenes. However, I feel it necessary to give a small warning to those “no lube” critics, lube is never once mentioned during the rear-entrance scenes. Additionally, the mention of condom use is sporadic and inconsistent. Regardless of the condom and lube issues, the scenes are very hot, and while they are going on, I can mostly forget my concerns over the professional relationship aspect. However, the fact is these people are teammates and she is a coach, so it did bother me.
My biggest issue with the entire book is the portrayal of Marian as a coach. I get that she has massive demons to exorcise. I understand that she's non-conventional and has spent her whole like suppressing who she is. I have no issues with her desires and applaud her journey of self-discovery and acceptance. However, she is one of the team’s assistant coaches, which should come with job standards and an expectation of professionalism. She continually makes poor decisions, like making out with players in public and having sex in her unlocked office. Not only would her behavior get her fired, but it sends the wrong message to women who actually hold these jobs. I love that a book exists putting a woman in a position of power within a male-dominated industry, but her behavior just gives women an undeserved bad name. I would have enjoyed the story more if she was either a) not the Rebels’ coach or b) dated men outside her own team. In the end, I was just frustrated and even a bit sad.
If you enjoy reading an erotic romp for the sake of drawn-out sex scenes, Broken Play may be just your thing. I liked the idea of a female football coach and a story about a last-chance team trying to succeed. However, these very aspects of the story that I had hoped to read about were diminished by the pure volume of sex and lack of overall plot development. While I had issues with Broken Play, I am looking forward to the next book in hopes that more football drama will be integrated into the plot, with the sex supporting the overall romance and story, rather than being the central aspect.
My Rating: C, Liked some, didn't like some Review copy provided by NetGalley Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About...more
Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors is the final book of the Jane Jameson vampire series. This time around, Jane’s life is finally coming together.Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors is the final book of the Jane Jameson vampire series. This time around, Jane’s life is finally coming together. She’s living happily with Gabriel, has made up with her estranged sister, Jenny, and her book shop is successful. But this is Jane, and something is bound to go wrong. When an errant car strikes and kills Jamie, the dairy delivery teen, he asks Jane to turn him into a vampire. Now Jane is a sire, and has to deal with the fallout of changing a beloved hometown high school student. Oh, and it looks like maybe someone is out to kill Gabriel in an act of revenge.
Overall, I really enjoyed this final book in the series. Although at first, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t like it. The book starts light and happy, but turns dark very fast. Jane’s horrible grandmother sets out to ruin Jane’s life and frankly, it’s a bit much for me. It hurt to know how awful her own grandmother is to Jane. Additionally, Jamie’s parents and friends don’t take his turning into a vampire well at all, causing me additional sadness. Luckily, the issues are both dealt with head-on, and I found myself really enjoying the talk between Jamie’s mom and Jane. It was realistic and a little bit hopeful.
I was also a bit put off by the circumstances surrounding Jamie’s death, which are revealed at the end of the book. I know this is just fiction, but it was a little too over-the-top and manipulative in a way. However, I love how Jane dealt with the news. She’s a great sire/mom.
The overall story of Jane’s life preparing for her wedding and being a new “mom” to Jamie were both highly enjoyable. I also liked the mystery of who is trying to kill Gabriel. The story is filled with Jane’s wonderful sarcasm and wit, making me laugh out loud more than once. The supporting cast just gets better with each story.
By now, this the fourth title, I find comfort in Amanda Ronconi’s performance. I love each voice she gives all of the characters. She’s pretty consistent from title to title, although I felt Jenny’s voice was little different and sounded more like Jane’s this time around. My only complaint is that there seem to be several voiceovers within the first few chapters of the book. It’s still Amanda, but it’s clear that the sentence or two were not recorded at the same time; they were added in at a later date. It was very bothersome to me, but luckily either it stopped or I didn’t notice it as the book progressed.
While I wish I’d listened to these books before reading the spin off Half Moon Hollow series, I’m glad I finally had the chance to find out more about Jane and how the whole HMH gang comes together. The Jane Jameson series is a wonderful bit of crazy, maddening, zany fun and extremely entertaining in the audiobook format.
After suffering much of the downside of being turned into a vampire in the previous two books, I feared that Jane Jameson was going to be one of thoseAfter suffering much of the downside of being turned into a vampire in the previous two books, I feared that Jane Jameson was going to be one of those characters who never learns, doesn’t really change, and is the unfortunate recipient of lots of bad luck. So, I’m happy to report that things turn around for Jane in her third adventure, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever. While there are still several less desirable things that happen in Jane’s life, overall, this book marked a significant turning point for Jane.
The book begins with Jane determined to make the most of her relationship with Gabriel as they tour Europe; however, Gabriel has grown distant, while acting extremely suspicious. I frankly did not like the man he’d become and cheered Jane on as she walked out on him, although my heart also broke for her. Moving on without Gabriel, Jane successfully opens her bookshop, but her life takes several bumps along the way, and now Jane doesn’t have Gabriel to help her through. Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever follows Jane as she navigates her romantic relationship, meddling family, friendships, running her own business, and protecting herself from a stalker.
Like the previous two titles, the story bounces all over the place, reflecting Jane’s own thoughts and actions. She’s a bit spastic and neurotic, making her enduring, but a bit hard to follow at times. There are scenes, which initially felt a bit random, only to have Jane come back around to that issue/topic down the road. Sometimes it felt a little overwhelming, but overall the story flowed well, especially with Amanda Ronconi narrating the tale. And Jane’s sarcastic wit stoled the show, allowing me to laugh away any little irritations.
I will admit I was initially a bit frustrated with Jane and all the crap tossed her way. But then Jane started standing up for herself and making better decisions. I cheered as she was able to find herself, while continuing to stick her foot in her mouth from time-to-time. I especially enjoyed watching as Jane grew closer to her own family, despite the obstacles that were in the way. By the end of the book, I felt that Jane reached a new level, completing her transformation into a self-confident vampire.
Another wonderful aspect of Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever was the stalking storyline. What could have been a straight-forward plot ended up being deliciously twisted, surprising even me. And although a majority of the climatic scene was off-page and a tad bit simplistic, the overall plotline was exciting and entertaining.
Once again I will state that Amanda Ronconi is the ideal narrator for this series. I enjoy her southern charm, which she dishes out in varying degrees based on each character. My favorite voice is that of side character, Dick Cheney, whose charm and humor oozes right out of my earbuds. My only complaint, which I’ve mentioned before, is the lengthened pauses between the dialogue and the “she asked,” or “he said,” phrases. It can be a little disruptive to the flow.
Overall, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever is an fun, entertaining story, and probably my favorite thus far in the series. With only one title left in the Jane Jameson titles, I wonder where the author will take our lovable heroine.
Taking the Heat is one of the books that I eye’d for review, but knew I’d be over-stretching myself, so I passed it up. But the reviews were so good,Taking the Heat is one of the books that I eye’d for review, but knew I’d be over-stretching myself, so I passed it up. But the reviews were so good, I ended up one-clicking it from Amazon and found some time to read it. OMG! I am SOOOO glad I did. I just loved this story. Gabe and Veronica have the I-couldn't-put-it-down kind of romance that got me to fall in love with the pair. Gabe and Veronica are so freakin' cute and completely real. I easily related to both characters in more ways than one, creating complete investment in their wellbeing. I wanted them to grow, succeed, and fall hopelessly in love.
While the overall story is nearly predictable, I couldn't stop the flow of tears, trembling hands, and pounding heart reactions to many of the key moments. Simply, I was touched and moved by these characters and their story. Ms. Dahl turns something that could easily have been ordinary into something sublime and special.
Veronica is insecure and feels she is a fake in her job as a newspaper advice columnist. But what she doesn't see is that she's really, really good at what she does. While her insecurities could have been a put off, the author doesn't overburden the reader (or Gabe) with non-stop self-flagellation. She lets out just enough of her doubt, both orally and privately, to let us know her fears and concerns without creating someone with no self-respect. Most of us have been where Veronica is, and she pulls it all off with charm, a sparkling personality, and genuine compassion.
Gabe. Sigh. A hunky yet nerdy dreamboat. And he's totally smitten with Veronica. He has a caring soul, which gets him into trouble. He's so concerned with making sure others are happy that he tends to leave out details he finds uncomfortable or difficult. He's not perfect, and I think that's what puts him over-the-top attractive, and also what adds the ideal amount of heartbreak. Watching the pair struggle and figure it out added an emotional depth that a lot of lighthearted contemporaries are lacking. Additionally, the pair's passion burns off the pages. They have palpable chemistry and enthusiasm, making for some steamy scenes.
Overall, I absolutely adored Veronica and Gabe, making Taking the Heat one of my favorite reads of 2015. It hits all the right notes I want in my romance novels, including an emotional connection that left me wanting more from this couple and Jackson, Wyoming.
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men picks up the story of Jane Jameson’s newly turned vampire life shortly after the conclusion of the previous book. ListeNice Girls Don't Date Dead Men picks up the story of Jane Jameson’s newly turned vampire life shortly after the conclusion of the previous book. Listeners discover that Jane’s BFF, Zeb, and his beloved, Joelene, are getting married, and Jane is the maid of honor. We also discover that Jane and her mom have found some sort of peace, but that her sister is suing her. The book generally follows the day-to-day going-ons of Jane's crazy life, tossing in Jane’s familiar humor and quirky observations.
Overall, I enjoyed the second offering in the Jane Jameson series. I love Jane's snark and the general humorous mood of the story. Jane's life is one crazy event after another, and generally, she handles everything with a sense of humor and a few tears. However, both Jane's and Zeb's family are overly cruel, making some of the story difficult to digest with the lightness intended in the story. Jane's grandmother and sister are outrageous and mean. The same goes with Zeb's mom, Ginger, who does everything and more to get Zeb and Jane together. It got to the point where I could no longer listen to her manipulations; they went beyond outrageous and straight into despicable. Although Jane handles herself with her typical sarcasm, it got to the point of annoying, and I was frustrated at how much Jane put up with.
Don’t get me wrong, I really did like the book, and fortunately, those scenes weren’t as numerous as the good ones. I did like seeing Jane learn how to maneuver in the vampire world and learn to stand up more for herself. I also liked seeing her somewhat odd romance with her sire Gabriel evolve and grow. My favorite parts of the book were those interactions between Jane and her boss/surrogate-grandfather, Mr. Wainwright. Additionally, I found Dick Cheney to be my favorite character as he matures just enough to be lovable but retains his core personally.
Amanda Ronconi turns in another excellent portrayal as Jane, along with the host of other southern characters. She nails both the charm of a southern lady, as well as the guilt of the southern mama. And the few things that slightly bothered me in her performance during the previous book didn’t seem as noticeable in this story.
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men is an entertaining, light-hearted story, perfect for enjoying during the lazy days of summer.
The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire by Eleri Stone is a free novella set in her wonderfully unique Reaper series world. The two main chaThe Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire by Eleri Stone is a free novella set in her wonderfully unique Reaper series world. The two main characters are side characters in the series, although they play a bigger role in the most recent novel, Ride to Ruin, which takes place after this novella, chronologically. While you don’t have to have foreknowledge of the series to enjoy this short, I feel it made for a richer read having met the characters prior to this story.
Molly is an outlaw who salvages treasures from towns that have been overrun by Reapers (think really fast, somewhat organized zombies). Flynn is a reformed smuggler who needs Molly’s help stealing something from Flynn’s adopted father. The pair have a history - a year ago he proposed and she ran out, stealing his airship - and this history gives the pair an extra spark right from the start. And while I will classify this story as a romance, it does not have an HEA or even an HFN… it is more like the middle chapters in the couple’s eventual HEA. Normally, I don’t enjoy those types of stories that aren’t “complete HEAs.” However, in the case of Molly and Flynn, call me a sucker. I adore this pair and find this adventure exceptionally lovely, and very thrilling, albeit short.
Molly and Flynn share passion for life, adventure, excitement, and most importantly, one another. Their reunion scenes scorch the pages, both sensual and loving. My heart aches for this couple who longs for one another, but they aren’t quite in a place where they can be together. The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire whet my appetite for more of their thrilling adventures!
Forced into an early retirement after injury while serving as a Navy SEAL, Rick Mann is bored of his day job and misses the action. Although he likesForced into an early retirement after injury while serving as a Navy SEAL, Rick Mann is bored of his day job and misses the action. Although he likes the private security firm, GAPS, that he started with his former teammates and best friends, Rick has yet to experience time in the field. So when GAPS is offered a job providing private security, Rick jumps at the chance to take the job without knowing any of the details.
Sierra Cox works hard and respects her bosses, so she doesn’t want to have any time away from her job as an actress. However when it looks like Sierra’s stalker may want to harm her, GAPS insists she gets away for a while. Spending alone time with her sexy bodyguard, Sierra ponders the benefits of a fling with Rick.
Overall, I enjoyed Protected by a SEAL, even more than I thought based on the blurb. I was worried that Rick and Sierra would spend a lot of time picking on the stereotype of the other. But other than some mild generalizations, each was respectful of the other's occupation, which made the story more pleasurable (although around the halfway point, Rick does start to refer to Sierra as “princess,” which annoyed me). However, the pair has wonderful chemistry, and I found myself cheering for them. And while it’s not a complex story, there is enough character development and plot to make it interesting.
I did have one thing that really bothered me about the story. When the pair finally have sex, although it was hot and steamy, and the fact that he’s her bodyguard aside, Rick doesn’t bother using a condom. He made assumptions that frankly, were unprofessional and I felt went too far, which kind of ruined the scene for me.
Apart from that instance, generally, the story flows well. The action and romance make for a quick and entertaining read. Like the previous stories in the series, Protected by a SEAL has more of an HFN (happily for now) ending than an HEA (happily ever after). Sierra and Rick’s romance isn't over, and it may never work, but for now it is sweet, sexy, and passionate. I have to take the story at face value and enjoy it for what it is, rather than think about the long-term. It’s tough because I wonder how will they ever make it work with her high-profile, high-demand job and his work in a different state. Putting my “what ifs” aside, Protected by a SEAL is worth the afternoon read, and it left me with the happies.
My Rating: B, Liked It Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by author....more
Damon Slake (aka Slake) never quite fit into his violent demon family, so he made a deal with a demonic law firm to escape his home. As a weapon speci Damon Slake (aka Slake) never quite fit into his violent demon family, so he made a deal with a demonic law firm to escape his home. As a weapon specialist and bounty hunter, he successfully brings in any sort of prey his employer demands. His current assignment is to track down a demon named Fayle, and if he doesn’t bring her in ASAP, he’ll lose his soul to the law firm.
Raze works for Underworld General and at a high-end demon club as a paramedic. As a Seminus demon, he must have sex with a female every day or die a painful death; however, Raze is only attracted to males. Luckily, when he reached sexual maturation, his parents found Fayle, a succubus, to help ease his needs, and the pair has been together for 30 years. While the couple does what is needed for each to survive, it’s cold and impersonal. Raze is beginning to realize just how lonely his arrangement has made him when he meets the mysterious Slake.
Base Instincts is an exciting and entertaining novella set in Ms. Ione’s uber-sexy Demonica world. For those who know the series, you will delight in seeing several familiar characters who play relevant roles in Raze and Slake’s story. Although it is part of the Demonica series, the story is certainly standalone, although could be spoilerish if you aren’t up-to-date with the books.
Raze and Slake share an intense and immediate attraction. Unfamiliar with the biological requirements of Seminus demons, Slake pushes Raze’s buttons, demanding a sexual response. Once Raze gives in to his lust for Slake, he must explain the need for Fayle to be part of their passion. I loved that Slake didn’t let his feelings for Raze diminish because of his job and connection to Fayle. Both are two lost souls searching for that missing piece, and how they come together is both passionate and touching.
The only issue I had had more to do with the blurb describing Fayle as Raze’s best friend, rather than the story itself. While Raze views Fayle as a close buddy, it was evident right from the start of the book that there is little between the pair, and that Fayle is using Raze rather than being a friend. It’s not really much, but it made me scratch my head as to why the blurb called Fayle a “best friend.”
In the end, Base Instincts filled me with smiles and happy sighs; it truly was a wonderful read and well-put-together story. I admire how Ms. Ione doesn’t short-circuit her own mythology, but instead deepens it to make something special. She creates two unique characters that I grew to care about in a very short period. I loved reading about Raze and Slake working through the rough spots to ultimately find happiness.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot Review copy provided by publisher Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About...more
I have to say that I went in to Up From the Grave with a bit of apprehension. When initially starting the series, I had mixed feelings, reaching a lowI have to say that I went in to Up From the Grave with a bit of apprehension. When initially starting the series, I had mixed feelings, reaching a low back with the fourth title; however, the last two books in the Night Huntress series have been fabulous. When a fellow reader mentioned the reasons why she didn’t care for the final book as much as earlier titles, I was worried because her issues were the biggest reasons I had problems with the earlier titles. However, even with those concerns going into the final book of the Cat and Bones series, I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed Up From the Grave.
The book opens shortly after the conclusion of the sixth Cat and Bones book, and overlaps a bit in time with the second Night Prince book (the Vlad-centric spinoff series). Cat discovers that her former teammates and good friends are missing. When she tries to uncover the truth from her current nemesis, Jason Madigan, she finds out that they are listed as killed in the line of duty, but Cat knows something isn’t quite right. As Cat and Bones dig deeper, they begin to uncover a horrible plot that could spell the end of vampires and ghouls alike.
Up From the Grave is the final story of the primary Night Huntress series, which focuses on Cat and Bones. Overall, I enjoyed both the one-book story and the conclusion of the series. Ms. Frost does a great job balancing the need for a solitary plot line with the desire for an all-encompassing wrap up of the series. All of the major characters make appearances, and the outstanding storylines come together for a solid finish. But that doesn’t mean we don’t meet new players with the possibility of future titles. However, Ms. Frost makes it pretty clear that she’s closed the doors on Cat and Bones, for now. The book focuses on Cat’s need to bring down the nefarious Jason Madigan, who took over the secret government agency in charge of paranormal disruptions. We discover that Madigan is up to some really nasty stuff that could bring about an unwanted war between the vampires and ghouls. There are a few twists and turns in this plot line, some of which I figured out early on and some that came as a pleasant surprise. I like that the bad guys are bad, making them easy to hate. However, not everything is black and white, which is most evident in the relationship Cat has with her deceased uncle, Don. There are also a couple of extremely emotional scenes, and although I just knew everything would be okay, I still got choked up.
As always, I’m impressed with Tavia Gilbert’s performance. I feel like she changed up the voice of at least one character, but for the better; and it really could be all in my mind that it was different (since it’s been a few books since I last heard some of the characters). She also successfully tackles a child’s character, which can really be hit or miss when it comes to an adult narrator. However, I just love Ms. Gilbert’s interpretation of Cat and Bones, and will miss hearing them.
In the end, Up From the Grave is an enjoyable story, providing a satisfying and unique ending to the Night Huntress series. It’s not a perfect story, but it is perfect for Cat and Bones, and Ms. Frost manages to wrap everything up in a mostly happy bow. This is definitely a must read for longtime fans of Cat and Bones.
The second Night Prince book starts with an emotional rollercoaster and ends on a bit of a jaw drop reveal, leaving me ready for the next book. TwiceThe second Night Prince book starts with an emotional rollercoaster and ends on a bit of a jaw drop reveal, leaving me ready for the next book. Twice Tempted opens about six weeks after the conclusion of the Once Burned, and Lelia’s electrical powers and psychic telemetry are still blocked due to Vlad putting his fireproofing essence on her. She’s not happy because of the distance Vlad has placed between them, and after realizing she’s fallen in love with him, she decides to leave him to protect what’s left of her broken heart. Unfortunately, someone is after Lelia, and she finds herself on the run from an unknown foe.
Overall, I really enjoyed Twice Tempted. The highlight of the story is the continuing romance between Vlad and Lelia. I admire her emotional fortitude, making the decision to leave the man she loves because he refuses to entertain the possibility he will ever love her. Their goodbye scene wrecked me inside, making their eventual reconciliation all the more rewarding. I found myself completely engaged on an emotional level.
My only issue with the romance is the similarities of the sorta-love-triangle to Cat, Bones, and Tate from the original Night Huntress series. I understand the need to create tension and drama in the story, but having it come in the form of another suitor, Vlad’s second Maximum, was not the direction I would have liked. It just felt too similar to the original series, and although there are distinct differences, it irritated me.
The mystery of who is after Leila was fairly entertaining, even although I had pretty much figured it out well before the end of the book. The reveal in the concluding moments of the book was exciting, regardless of my correct suspicions.
Once again, I enjoyed Tavia Gilbert’s narration (see earlier reviews for more on my thoughts of Ms. Gilbert’s performance).