Derek DiMarzio, Marz to his friends, is a survivor from the Special Forces. He, however, did not escape his ter
Review courtesy of Romance Junkies....
Derek DiMarzio, Marz to his friends, is a survivor from the Special Forces. He, however, did not escape his term unscathed. The mission in Afghanistan that cost him a leg also robbed him of his good name and the lives of six men he considered family. Derek drops everything to heed the call for help from a former teammate. He is hell bent to use every computer and hacking trick in his repertoire to help his fellow comrades to clear their defamed reputations and gain back their stolen honor. Leads direct the team to a man named Manny Garza. Marz takes initiative and initiates contact with Emilie for the sole purpose to gain information on her brother Manny.
Emilie Garza works as a clinical psychologist at a college. She often donates her time weekly doing pro bono work for those with low-to-no income. Emilie is a divorcee who is rebounding from her ex-husband’s lies and betrayals. She is unaware of her brother’s unlawful activities or his involvement with a dangerous gang called Church. Manny’s paranoia and violent actions convince Emilie to help him get the professional help he needs. She is oblivious to Derek’s ulterior motives but he opens Emilie’s eyes to the person her older brother has become.
Derek is a man after my own heart. I never could resist a man with a wicked sense of humor, and he clearly had that in spades. His antics and mouth had me laughing so hard I drew questioning looks from my husband, sons and dogs. Yeah, I am well aware some of his wit and snark is a front to hide emotional and mental baggage, something I have done during my teenage years. Derek shows his selflessness when he wields that humor as a tool to diffuse tense situations and sets peoples’ minds at ease. But what I love most about Derek is how comfortable he appears in his skin. He has this positive, up-beat vibe about his amputation. He has made peace and accepted that it happened and does not allow it to lessen him. It is so inspiring to see a hero like him in stories. It is the reason why I find him so inspirational and a role model for anyone who has lost a limb to strive to own their disability, and not let it beat them.
Emilie is one of those characters who did not immediately grab my notice. Yet, her actions, words, and thoughtfulness towards others started to draw my attention. Clearly, she is a woman who cares about others. Emilie demonstrates that with her patients and her brother. She is the type of person who tends to care too much so that their actions wound her. Emilie has this grounded, homey quality about her personality that sets her apart from the previous heroines. It was her ability to accept Derek, amputation and all that eventually won me over. Only a special type of person can see beyond someone’s visible disability. I love how she treats Derek as if he is a whole man and not some invalid. That alone cemented my belief that she is the perfect fit for Derek.
HARD TO COME BY is the third book in Laura Kaye’s HARD INK series. The book did not disappoint, especially by aiding my Jeremy craving. Although Jeremy’s role is still minor, his character is so entertaining and easy to like. It is always fun anticipating the naughty t-shirt slogans on his shirts. I often read those funny slogans to my husband. The author introduced a new character late in the story that sort of hints to who Beckett’s possible heroine is, which makes me anticipate also.
HARD TO COME BY is a snark-filled, nail-biting action and fast-paced story. There was never a dull moment with the book. I hungrily ate the pages and grew disgruntled when disrupted. The author superbly plants a suspicion that there is a potential spin-off she can explore, once all the Special Forces members are in a relationship. Or perhaps that is just me hoping this series never ends....more
Kane is one of the Damned, a Warrior of the Mist, pledged into the service of The Lord and Lady of the River’s
REVIEW COURTESY OF ROMANCE JUNKIES.....
Kane is one of the Damned, a Warrior of the Mist, pledged into the service of The Lord and Lady of the River’s will. He and his four fellow Warriors must serve whatever champion to awaken them from their slumber beneath the chill of the river. Kane is unique among his brethren having been born from a dark lineage and he has a mage mark on his cheek. He uses that lineage to infiltrate the Duke’s domain to search for proof of the man’s atrocities against Agathia before the solstice’s end.
Lady Theda is the widow of the former Duke Keirthan. She remains in her brother-in-law’s court out of fear for her handmaidens’ safety and her stepson’s life. Theda tolerates Ifre’s discourteous treatment of her, and that of his sycophants’ without complaint. She bides her time in the hostile environment until the ending of her mourning period and the Duke decides which of his toadies will become her next husband.
I admired Theda. She never once crumbled beneath the weight and stress of living in her brother-in-law’s cruel tyranny. Theda shows an amazing amount of inner strength and fortitude to persevere. The lengths she went to protect those under her protection, regardless to the threat against herself, was altruistic. Theda thought of them first before herself. But what I respected most about Lady Theda was her ability to see beyond Kane’s dark, broody, mage-marked exterior to the man of worth beneath.
Kane caught my interest and infatuation since book one of the trilogy. He is the epitome of the tortured, dark hero. Kane had the right amount of darkness that gives him that dangerous and unpredictable air. The bigotry people showed towards him due to the mark on his cheek has wounded him; however, their prejudices did not twist his personality. Despite the dark-mage heritage he has forsaken, he proves that he is a man of honor and dignity, pushing past the stain of his birthright.
HONOR’S PRICE is the third book and the conclusion to Alexis Morgan’s A WARRIORS OF THE MIST series. I am forlorn to see this delightful series come to an end. I do feel the author could have written at least two more books in this series for either Sigil or Averel. Alexis Morgan does tie up loose ends but leaves the ending with a possibility for future books. Or that is wishful thinking on my part.
HONOR’S PRICE is the perfect book for lovers of both high fantasy and romance genres. The series does read like a fantasy novel with the added bonus of a romance. ...more
Shannon MacLeod is a receptionist for a renowned and popular tattoo parlor called INKarnate. She flees to Edinburg tREVIEW COURTESY OF ROMANCE JUNKIES
Shannon MacLeod is a receptionist for a renowned and popular tattoo parlor called INKarnate. She flees to Edinburg to escape the bitter recrimination of her family and to start anew after her last doomed relationship. Shannon has a knack of attracting the wrong kind of men and she is determined to rectify that defect in her tastes by staying away from the bad boy types. Fate tests her resolve in the form of her good-looking, tattooed manager. Shannon cannot help but typecast him as a bad boy player because of his appearance and flirty demeanor.
Cole Walker is INKarnate’s manager and main tattooist. He runs the tattoo studio for his semi-retired and famous boss. Cole recognized the new receptionist his boss hired as the girl he had met nine years ago next door to his friend’s home. He never forgot Shannon or the rapport they had shared. It disappoints Cole to learn that she does not remember him or that night on Scotland Street. But what baffles him the most is her cool treatment and her need for distance between them.
I came to admire Shannon. Here is a woman who faced such adversity and still managed to persevere. Sure, she came out of it a little broken a little banged up inside, and gun shy about relationships with all good reason. The author did an admirable job of showing just how damaged and tortured Shannon really was. I admired her drive to reclaim all the stolen pieces of herself she had lost at the hands of prior boyfriends, men who had slowly diminished her sense of self. She is the perfect role-model for women to aspire too who have been in a similar situation.
Cole is like a dream manifested, a total sweetheart. He is my idea of Prince Charming, a gallant knight in shining armor. The kind of man women wish to have. He is smart, artistic, compassionate, and supportive to the people he cares about. Cole proves that he is far from perfect, that he too has flaws and uncertainties he must deal with. The gentle care and patience he demonstrates with Shannon as he helps her with her insecurities and encourages her to feel pride in her artistic skill endears him to me even more.
I have this habit of really liking and bonding with minor characters, to the point that I like them more than the book’s hero and heroine. INKarnate’s second tattooist Rae is that character. She is rough-around-the-edges, abrasive and not afraid to mince her words, especially when she’s angry with you. She sort of reminds me of a few people I know minus the vulgar language.
Samantha Young is a new-to-me author. I was at a slight disadvantage going into this book, having not read the prior four books in the series, yet ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET can stand alone without any problems. It did take me a while to accustom myself to the first person point of view but in no way did it detract from the author’s unique voice. I could tell by the author’s tone, the words used and depth of knowledge that the author is Scottish born.
ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET is a passionate story full of romance, hope, of forgiveness of one’s self and the past, and finding a love to wash away all doubt and guilt. Samantha Young has this engaging voice that just sweeps you up in the magic of the story while ou sympathize with the characters involved. ...more
Sheridan O’Neil works at Cavanaugh Towers as Deacon Cavanaugh’s personal assistant. She is efficient and very w REVIEW COURTESY OF ROMANCE JUNKIES.....
Sheridan O’Neil works at Cavanaugh Towers as Deacon Cavanaugh’s personal assistant. She is efficient and very work-orientated in that she does not permit herself to form friendly attachments to people in and outside of the workplace. Sheridan has admired her boss ever since Deacon hired her on and is grateful for the opportunities he has entrusted her with. She travels to River Black to handle the office he has there and the construction of his new ranch. River Black proves to be unlike what Sheridan is accustomed to.
James Cavanaugh is the second-to-the-oldest Cavanaugh brother. He had left the Triple C Ranch and its harsh memories behind at eighteen to attend college, returning only to attend his father’s funeral. People see James as “the horse whisperer”, due to his uncanny ability to calm horses and understand their feelings and needs. He remains on the ranch to tend the wild mustangs and to garner information from River Black’s vet in hopes to solve his younger sister’s unsolved death.
I identified a lot with Sheridan. She may not have been my ideal heroine, preferring strong personalities much like BRANDED’s Mackenzie, but I saw a lot of myself in Sheridan that made me like her. Sheridan’s way of keeping people at arm’s length, her feeling of loneliness, her fear of letting people in, and how she tended to learn from another’s circumstances and mistakes than her own. All things I have done, or still do. I approve how James shook all that up. He proved my conviction that the right person can open another up to see what they have been missing: friends, lovers, etc.
James’s character in BRANDED brought the adage “still waters run deep” to mind. How his calm exterior conceals the emotions he has kept hidden from his siblings and the world. I like how in BROKEN the leash he had on his feelings breaks, showing far more of his emotions in this book than the prior one. I find there is just something sexy about a man being so eloquent, so well versed with the ability to throw out a quote from literature to fit a situation dead-on.
What I loved the most about the story was how both James and Sheridan had their own issues and fears that they needed to defeat before they could come together, how the other person gave them a reason to prevail. I did notice the author toned down her overuse of “darlin’” in the cowboy’s speech.
BROKEN is an evocative story about mending from a past loss and healing from debilitating fears that hinder people from what they truly want. BROKEN meets the expectation its predecessor BRANDED left behind and makes me eager for the next book in the series. ...more
Gussie McBain runs a wedding consultant business in a Floridian resort, with the help of two others. She is the oneReview courtesy of ROmance Junkies
Gussie McBain runs a wedding consultant business in a Floridian resort, with the help of two others. She is the one responsible for transforming the brides and her bridesmaids from plain Janes to stunningly beautiful. On the side, she writes a blog dedicated to fashion, style, and the weddings her business has done. Gussie always dreamed to one day work as a stylist for either a top-notch fashion magazine or a highly known photographer. When their original wedding photographer cancels, she calls in the favor Tom owes her.
Thomas Jefferson DeMille, known to the public as T.M. DeMille, is a famous photographer in the fashion world. He has spent most of his life traveling from one shoot and site to the next without putting down permanent roots. The death of his younger sister leaves him in custody of a dejected, preteen niece. He feels that he is not qualified for such a daunting task. Tom reluctantly agrees to fulfill Gussie’s favor only if she helps him understand and get through to his despondent niece.
Gussie, in my opinion, is the best role model for both males and females to emulate. Despite a scar she received as a teen, she did not let it defeat or lessen her. Instead, Gussie used that scar to propel her closer to her interest and passion in style. And she easily won my heart with her warmth, caring, and understanding with Alex. Gussie shows how important family is to her and her potential as a mother or nurturing guardian.
Tom’s ability to see Gussie’s inner beauty hidden beneath the make-up and wigs melted my heart and helped him become my new favorite hero. Even though he has his own emotional and mental demons, he doggedly worked to show and convince Gussie that even though she’s scarred, it does not detract from her beauty. He and Gussie both have deep emotional scars that dictated their lives and behavior. I believe that similarity is what made the couple necessary for one another to accept who they are and what happened to them, finally heal, and take that final step of moving past it. I did enjoy Tom’s eagerness to whip off his shirt and detected a growing theme among THE BAREFOOT BAY BRIDES’s heroes: their need to take things off. I hope the author continues that fun quirk with the hero of the third installment.
BAREFOOT IN LACE is a heartrending with a deep, embedded moral to the story. The story encourages people that even a flawed person can be seen as beautiful. The author punctuates that point with Gussie. BAREFOOT IN LACE is book two in Roxanne St. Claire’s THE BAREFOOT BAY BRIDES series, earns Romance Junkies’ Five Blue Ribbons for its heartfelt message. ...more
Malcolm Rook is an on-the-run ex-Chimera agent. He and his recruit-turned-girlfriend have learned of terrifying creReview courtesy of Romance Junkies:
Malcolm Rook is an on-the-run ex-Chimera agent. He and his recruit-turned-girlfriend have learned of terrifying creatures preying on revelers in the dreamwaters and the deep rooted corruption in the organization he used to be employed at. Malcolm’s murky past finally catches up to him. An old accomplice forces him to return to the old life of an illegal Reve trafficker to keep his lover safe from both Chimera and the unscrupulous people who wanted Jordan for her unique skills.
Jordan Lane has given up her respectable life and steady job to follow Malcolm on the run. He is responsible for awakening Jordan to her rare talent in the dreamscape, talents most sought after. An unlikely ally helps her escape the abductors who took Malcolm and learns of his abduction. She utilizes the lessons Malcolm taught her to stay clear of Chimera’s radar. Jordan hatches a plan to send a covert message to her sister about Malcolm’s situation and form a way to free her love from the people holding him hostage.
NIGHT’S DEEP HUSH brings us back to the hero and heroine first introduced in book one, DARKNESS FALLS. The novella feels almost like a continuation of their story. I profess I enjoyed returning back to this particular couple and that the book was in their point-of-view as the storyline progresses.
Jordan’s growth personality wise is really pronounced in this story. In the previous two books, we got a sense of the subtle change she will undergo. Jordan is no longer the goody-goody she had once been. It is a great change of pace to have the woman play the role of the rescuer instead of the man. She really shows her loyalty and ingenuity when it comes to the people she loves.
I am glad the author delves deeper into Malcolm’s background. In DARKNESS FALLS, we receive hints of the life he had lead before Chimera and Jordan. And his weakness towards children-in-need makes him more humane and real. My heart melted at the ending scene with him and David.
Vince Blackman’s role in this installment surprised me. I am pleased at how he redeems himself and that the next novella is about him and Mirren, of which I had suspicions. The character who was not what I expected is Mirren. The author painted the woman as a dastardly villain only to prove my assumption of her wrong, that there is a valid reason for what she does. Now the author did wet my curiosity about the Sandman, and I hope a clue on his or her identity to be revealed in the fifth book.
NIGHT’S DEEP HUSH is an action-packed quick read in a world so new and different that it easily stands apart from all other paranormal books. There are not too many books dealing with the dreamworld, which makes this series so appealing. NIGHT’S DEEP HUSH is the fourth book in the REVELER series and appears the shortest out of the others but in no ways does the shortness detract from the deepening plot.
Jordan Lane works for a market strategy team. She is cautious and reliable, the polar opposite of her younger andReview courtesy of Romance Junkies...
Jordan Lane works for a market strategy team. She is cautious and reliable, the polar opposite of her younger and wilder sister Maisie. When Maisie voices an interest to try Reve, Jordan refuses to let her go alone. The experience opens Jordan to a new life path wrought with danger and people who want to exploit her unique ability.
Rook is a Chimera agent. He needs a change of pace, so Rook transfers from tracking psychotics across the dreamscape to recruitment, in order to escape his nightmare’s manifestation. He uses the Reve to scout and mark possible candidates. Jordan surprises and intrigues him.
Jordan starts out bland and blasé but as the story progresses, her character and personality deepens. I found her dedication to her younger sister admirable and touching. It really states the type of person she is. I like her caution towards Rook, how the two did not connect right away but when they do connect, it is in degrees.
Rook mystifies me. He is tortured but from actions committed in his teens. His interactions with Jordan made me laugh. She proves to be the perfect fit for him, the ideal person to help him accept his skeletons and learn to live.
I got a little lost, and a small bit bored at the beginning. However, once I assimilated to the world, its lingo, and learned about its uniqueness, the momentum of the story picked up and I began to enjoy the story and its characters. What I love most about the story is the uniqueness of a side character’s name but then I am bias because it is my husband and my oldest son’s name.
DARKNESS FALLS stands out from other paranormal stories with its distinctive content. The world building is fresh and remarkable and I like how it varies from the other stories available. ...more
Willow Ambrose is one of three co-partners in a wedding consultant business that opened up in a Florida resort. SheReview courtesy of Romance Junkies
Willow Ambrose is one of three co-partners in a wedding consultant business that opened up in a Florida resort. She is the only daughter of famous parents and sheds her celebrity-known surname to start a life in a new place around different people. Willow has been trying to erase the evidence of her unhappy past and the person she had been. She never expects a large part of her past to be a part of the wedding she and her partners are consulting. Lieutenant Nick Hershey is a Navy Seal on medical leave. As a favor for a friend, and until he receives positive results from his medical testing, he agrees to be a stand in man-of-honor in an upcoming wedding. Nick takes advantage of his time at the resort to work on a writing project. He too never dreams another ghost from the past re-entering his life and becoming his muse. Nick made my heart go pitter-pat. The regrets he harbored from the bad decisions he made in college and on military tour and their consequences made me warm to his character. I find what he did for Willow in the college days admirable and noble, not many men would have such self-restraint. Often I caught myself giggling and smiling at his fun quirks, little things others tend to write off, that defined his character. Willow’s character and her struggles as a young woman with her weight and low self-esteem, touches home with me. I identified with her and understood the insecurities that sometimes motivated her. I saw her success as a positive inspiration. Then there is the closeness she has with her partners, Gussie and Ari. Reading about such close friendships always fills me with such hope. BAREFOOT IN WHITE is a continuation in Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay world and the resort off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. I have been anticipating this extension of that world since BAREFOOT BY THE SEA where Willow, Gussie, and Ari were first introduced. BAREFOOT IN WHITE is a heartwarming story full of kismet and hope for second-chances. The same atmosphere found in the author’s BAREFOOT BAY and BAREFOOT BAY BILLIONAIRES series applies to the start of a brand new series. There are many scenes in this story that made a lasting impact due to its sweetness and cuteness. ...more