Shane “The Brick Wall” Conrad plays goalie for the Reading Redtails hockey club. He’s going though a rough spot and decides to stay in Reading for theShane “The Brick Wall” Conrad plays goalie for the Reading Redtails hockey club. He’s going though a rough spot and decides to stay in Reading for the Christmas holiday rather than head home to Minnesota to see his family. Even though he didn’t want to go out, he decides to take up assistant captain Cary Lenville’s offer to join his family and friends for dinner. Although once he arrives, he realizes he can’t leave soon enough, as long as Bliss is at his side.
Bliss Vescovi loves her life in Reading, close to her job and family. She watches over her special needs adult brother and helps her aunt run a popular bridal boutique. Even though her own wedding fell apart two years ago, she still loves helping brides-to-be find the perfect dress. Bored and restless at friend Lori Lenville’s party, she’s ready to go until the gorgeous Shane Conrad enters the room. Bliss wants some one-night action, and when she sees Shane enter the party, she decides he’s the one for the job.
The Brick Wall is the first book in Ms. Julian’s new Redtails Hockey contemporary romance series. The book does a great job creating the setting and filling in the world with likable, interesting characters.
Individually, and as a couple, I liked Shane and Bliss. They are both strong people who aren’t afraid to go after what they want. Yet both are slightly vulnerable and worried about getting hurt. Each is very kind and sweet, with just enough naughty, providing for some extremely steamy scenes. I did feel that their initial encounter was a bit over the top with respect to Shane’s insta-lust reaction to Bliss and her voice, but once that first night was over, I found the reactions more even-keeled and less hokey.
As much as I enjoyed the characters and their romance, I wanted more. I don’t know if this book is indicative of the series to come, but it was short. Too short. The author uses elapsed-time sections, with several weeks passing by with just the proverbial turn-of-the-page. I wanted more time getting to know Shane and Bliss and seeing them together outside the bedroom. Additionally, I was frustrated with the jump in time towards the end of the book, when I think there was no communication between Shane and Bliss (I was a little confused at this part).
The Brick Wall is a sensual, quick, entertaining read, with a solid romance developing after an initial first lust. I liked Shane and Bliss, and the romance felt real and believable. However, I felt that the story was too short, and I didn't like the lapse in time. Overall, I like the premise and look forward to more stories in the series.
The Crown of the Queen (from the duology, For Crown and Kingdom) is a very enjoyable look behind the scenes, as it were, as the series transitions froThe Crown of the Queen (from the duology, For Crown and Kingdom) is a very enjoyable look behind the scenes, as it were, as the series transitions from the original Twelve Kingdoms trilogy to the upcoming series which will focus on the changes to the kingdoms after the fall of Uorsin and the reintroduction of the Tala magic to all the lands.
Told in the first person POV of the loyal historian/librarian, Dafne, the novella focuses on the coronation of Ursula to High Queen. I loved this short for a couple reasons. First, it helped me recall the events of the previous book and downfall of Uorsin prior to reading the upcoming title, The Pages of the Mind. Second, I like that things weren't magically "okay" after the bloody battle for control of the twelve kingdoms and death of Uorsin. The author does great justice to her series by not leaving the storyline as the proverbial "riding off into the sunset HEA". The entire transitional story adds emotional intensity and a bit of, dare I say, realism to the tale. Beloved characters all make necessary appearances, and we even get a brief glimpse into the romance of the upcoming book.
All-in-all, The Crown of the Queen is a must read for fans of the Twelve Kingdoms series, and due to the nature of the series, should not treated as a standalone. It's an entertaining look at life for the three princesses, now each a ruler by her own right.
My Rating: A- review copy provided by the author ...more
Vex is a daemanis, a demon soul magnet, a person to whom souls stick like glue. If a demon dies near her, it gets sucked into her and stored as a glypVex is a daemanis, a demon soul magnet, a person to whom souls stick like glue. If a demon dies near her, it gets sucked into her and stored as a glyph on her skin before the griminions can take the demon souls to the Grim Reaper. Selling the demon souls is the only way Vex can make a good living, but someone, or something, is killing off all those that buy and sell souls. So Vex heads to see Azagoth, the Grim Reaper himself, to try and unload her current evil riders.
Zhubaal (Z) is Azagoth's second in command. He doesn't love the job but keeps it, hoping to find his beloved, Laura. Her soul was trapped in Sheoul-gra until she was reborn into life 30 years ago. Unfortunately Z doesn't know Laura’s new identity, but realizes his long search may be over because he can feel her soul trapped inside the uber sexy Vex.
Vex and Z’s romance is one that has to overcome some big obstacles. Z has been hung up on his lost soulmate for over a hundred years, and even when his body reacts to Vex, he cannot see past his sacred love for Laura to the awesome woman before him. Finding out that Vex shares something with Laura causes such internal conflict for Z that he doesn’t know what to do, and of course, messes everything up. While the couple shares some sweet and sexy moments, the book walks a fine line between using Vex and helping Z discover his true love.
Overall, Z is an enjoyable read that focuses on the romance between Zhubaal and Vex. While the romance is sexy and fun, I missed the deeper, overarching storylines I’m used to from the Demonica / Lords of Deliverance series. Readers unfamiliar with Ms. Ione’s wonderful series should have no troubles enjoying Z’s story.
My Rating: B- Liked It Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About Review copy provided by blog tour company...more
Note: This review contains spoilers from the previous book. Shadowed Blade continues a couple of story arcs from earlier titles in the series, and theNote: This review contains spoilers from the previous book. Shadowed Blade continues a couple of story arcs from earlier titles in the series, and therefore should not be read as a standalone.
Opening shortly after the jaw-dropping conclusion of Edged Blade, we find Kit working for President of the United States: a man whom we discovered is a Non-Human (NH). The book moves quickly, as Kit and Justin search for NHs on behalf of President Whitmore and get caught up in some seriously perilous situations.
Having absolutely loved the first three books in the Colbana Files series, I found myself struggling a bit on the direction of the past two books (Edged Blade and the novella, Misery’s Way). While I’m happy to report that I enjoyed Shadowed Blade much more than these two titles, I still had some issues with confusing, obtuse scenes. The first three chapters were extremely cryptic, and I wasn’t sure if Kit was having flashbacks, or if some of the events were abbreviated references and overlaps with the novella.
However, after these initial problems I had getting into the book, the flow of the story smoothed out and the story was a bit more coherent and definitely more gripping. As Kit pieces together what Whitmore is and is not, she also must dance along a dangerous edge with someone from her past. I liked the introduction of the mysterious stranger who appears to help Kit. Her presence shakes up much of Kit’s world and adds some interesting twists that will need to be addressed in future titles. However, I felt Kit and Damon’s continuing romantic storyline is petering out. They don't communicate and aren't careful with the other. Their relationship is all fire but no substance.
Part of the problem I’ve been having lately with this series is the cryptic nature of scenes. A successful first person story works because the author pulls the reader inside the head of the main character. Readers are privy to thoughts, feelings, and theories that the heroine experiences. But not so with Kit. I feel that I am constantly left in the dark, making for an extremely frustrating and confusing read. While this wasn’t the case as much in Shadowed Blade, there were still too many times that I wanted and needed more from Kit to keep me in the loop and completely engaged.
Additionally, I am struggling with the dark nature of the Colbana Files. While previous titles have taken Kit to very ugly, dark lows, I’ve been able to embrace the scenes because of the nature of the well-written storylines. However, now I feel like too much is happening to Kit and/or those she cares about. Some people love dark, but I find lately, it’s harder for me to enjoy.
In the end, Shadowed Blade was an entertaining read. Despite my own early confusion with the storyline, overall, the book flowed much more smoothly than the previous title. Both the Whitmore and mysterious stranger storylines were strong and engrossing. However, I felt that Damon and Kit’s journey left much to be desired. Shadowed Blade is an Interesting story with definite ending, yet opens doors to future storylines.
My Rating: B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues Review copy provided by author...more
In Into the Darkness, author Katie Reus tackles two love stories and wraps up some loose ends, giving the book an end-of-series feel (although based oIn Into the Darkness, author Katie Reus tackles two love stories and wraps up some loose ends, giving the book an end-of-series feel (although based on the epilogue, it’s not). The story opens from POV of Rhea, warrior wolf with Finn's pack. She's being pursued by Conall, the powerful alpha of a pack-friendly dragon clan. The pack is preparing for the wedding of friends Bo and Nyx (romance featured in book 4), bringing Conall and his family to town; however, it looks as if a deadly part of Rhea’s past has resurfaced to create havoc for Finn and his pack.
As the wedding planner, Liberty has become accustom to the supernatural beings surrounding her life. It’s been eight months since Bo and his brothers, most notable of which is Rory, rescued her from a hell dimension where she was tortured and abused. During the past few months, she’s learned to be more independent and is ready to move forward in a romantic relationship with her protector, Rory.
I absolutely enjoyed Into the Darkness; it’s definitely my favorite book of the Darkness series. Bringing together action, suspense, and romance, the book shares solid storylines with an extra helping of steamy passion. Ms. Reus successfully weaves together stories of traditional paranormal mating while giving the romances time to develop and blossom in a smart, contemporary manner.
The number one reason both romances, and the overall story, are a success and a marked improvement over most of today’s PNR titles is COMMUNICATION! I loved the communication going on in this book, and not just between our main romantic couples. The author presented problems and pitfalls, but rather than let them fester and grow into huge conflicts, she gives the characters time to express and explain. *happy sigh* One perfect example is when Conall and Rhea kiss for the first time, and his mating glow starts. She freaks and says no. Instead of this dragging on as a misunderstanding, Rhea explains she can't mate him because she'd make him weaker. He realizes her rejection is out of fear and concern for him. The conflict remains and is still heartbreaking, but for all the right reasons instead of misunderstandings. So impressed!!
I enjoyed reading Into the Darkness tremendously. Several of my annoyances from previous books, and PNR in general, weren't present. The author does a wonderful job developing the characters and fostering solid relationships that are both "meant to be" but also meaningful. The HEAs feel solid and strong. I love that in both cases, and in both genders, the individuals were willing to accept the other as they are and not come to that acceptance only after losing him/her. I love that they converse and compromise without it feeling like someone lost. The book also features a great mix of action, story, and romance. Best book of the series!!
My Rating: A-/B+ Enjoyed A Lot Review copy provided by author Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About...more
Bridget Crumb is a housekeeper of impeccable credentials. She was hired on to the Duke of Montgomery's staff just over two weeks before he was banisheBridget Crumb is a housekeeper of impeccable credentials. She was hired on to the Duke of Montgomery's staff just over two weeks before he was banished from and supposedly left England. Bridget has her own secrets and motivations for working for Montgomery, and now that the Duke is back, she’s got to work harder than ever to find what she needs before she’s caught, or she gives in to the dark temptation that is the Duke of Montgomery.
Although banished from his home,Val Napier, Duke of Montgomery, has been hiding in the walls of his estate for the past three months, collecting secrets so that he can blackmail his way back into society. What he didn’t expect was to come across his newly hired housekeeper snooping around his home. Discovering Bridget’s secrets just may become Val’s favorite new hobby.
Although Duke of Sin is the tenth title in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, I was able to pick it up and enjoy it without any prior knowledge of the series. And oh how I enjoyed it! Not only is the overall story engrossing, but the romance is spectacular. As an anti-hero, Val shines, and Bridget is his perfect counterbalance while standing out in her own light.
Like Capt. Jack Sparrow, Val’s moral compass is skewed. His horrible upbringing shaped him into a man who believes power over others is the only way to survive. He does what he wants, motivated by lust and pleasure. Uncaring of what others think, he thinks only of himself. Yet, his Bridget captivates his mind, heart, and soul. She shows him kindness and love, but is equally clever and devious, which Val understands and respects.
“This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
While he is motivated by power, Bridget is motivated by goodness and kindness. That doesn’t mean she is pure - anything but. Yet she gets through to Val. I love watching Val struggle with Bridget’s ideals and morals: first brushing them off, then listening. However, what I love most is that Val never strives to be a better man; he just wants to be a man Bridget will love.
As Bridget and Val dance around one another and their mutual desires, they must also deal with the repercussions of Val’s blackmailing history and a more sinister evil that could bring down Val once and for all. Watching Val grow, learn, get around his troubles, yet remain true to himself is utterly engrossing.
Duke of Sin is the perfect combination of richly detailed storytelling and intelligent yet sexy romance. Val is the ideal anti-hero, adapting to society because of love, yet never really changing his core persona. On her own, Bridget is one of the smartest, most cunning heroines out there, and when paired with the Duke, the team is magic. “His nemesis, his salvation, maybe his death,” Bridget shows Val how to be the man she can love.
My Rating: A, Loved It Review copy provided by NetGalley Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About...more