Friday, November 30, 2012

Mini-Review: Shadow Rising


Shadow Rising (Otherworld #12)

by Yasmine Galenorn 

Blurb:

We’re the D’Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, half-Fae ex-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch with three sexy husbands. My sister Delilah is a two-faced were cat and Death Maiden. And me? I’m Menolly, a jian-tu turned vampire in love with a wildly hot werepuma. Unfortunately, life is about to get very, very nasty…
Nerissa and I can’t decide on what we want to do for our promise ceremony and we’re bickering like an old married couple. My sisters and I head to Otherworld for a meeting with Queen Asteria. Once there, we discover that Shadow Wing has dispatched Telazhar—a malevolent necromancer—to reignite the Scorching Wars. And as soon as we return back home, we find Gulakah, the Lord of Ghosts, waging a battle to control the magical beings over Earthside. Caught between two terrible enemies in a battle spanning two worlds, we can only hope we’re in time to stop all-out annihilation.

Review:

This latest story in the continuing saga of the D’Artigo sisters was wonderful to read.  There was all the typical action and battles between the girls and their compatriots and the forces of evil that have been compounding against them  The personal lives of Menolly and Nerissa play a larger role in this story than normal.  The forces of evil have been building against the girls for a while and the battles just keep coming. 
The romance between Nerissa and Menolly plays a prominent role as they are working together to plan their wedding.  The planning brings up some issues and deep seated concerns between the women.  They are both dealing with their self doubts about each other’s feelings and how the outside world will interfere with their relationship, especially Menolly bond with Roman.  As danger stalks the girls and their lovers, Menolly must work past her doubts while working to defeats the Lord of Ghosts and his minions.  And only once they have accomplished all their goals can they work on their personal lives. 
This was a good story, though after twelve books in the saga there is always a bit of tediousness involved.  Especially with the style of repeating POVs, but it was a very good story in spite of that.  Menolly gains a lot of insight into herself and her feelings for her lovers.  She finally comes to terms with what she has become since she was attacked by Dredge all those years ago.  Embracing her true nature allows her to become e a better fighter, a better sister, and a wife to Nerissa. 
There isn’t a lot of physical romance in any of these novels but there were some fun scenes in this novel between Menolly and Nerissa and Menolly and Roman.  Even a lovely scene between Menolly, Nerissa, and Roman!  Of course it was nice to see all the sisters and their many friends and lovers again.  I was also thrilled that the girls’ father finally came to his senses and accepted them back into his life.
I very much look forward to the next book in the series, which will be another of Camille’s stories which are always a little more passionate.  But that’s not really surprising since she’s so hot and has herself not one, not two, but THREE super sexy alpha men as her husbands!
Rating:  3.5 stars
Rose Rating: 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Untamed


Untamed (The Amoveo Legend #3)

by Sara Humphreys

Blurb:

The Amoveo are an ancient race who've lived secretly among humans for thousands of years. They are beautiful and incredibly strong but their race is extremely fragile--each has until the age of 30 to find their soul mate, before their bodies start to die a slow, painful death. 
Layla Nickelsen has spent her life running from a mate she didn't choose, until William Fleury finally confronts her. Normally stoic and unemotional, William finds himself befuddled by Layla: his growing feelings for her and his driving need to protect her. And Layla has to admit that William might be everything she's always wanted after all...

Review:

This story was definitely another great addition to the Amoveo Legend series and left me wanting for nothing when I finally put it down. The story picks up shortly after the ending of the last installment, after the rescue of Kerry, Dante and all their friends—except Stephen, who is in fact still missing I believe. 
The plot of this story grabs you from the very beginning, when you finally learn that the reason William was so moody and kept disappearing in that last book.  Apparently, while he was helping Dante protect Kerry he discovered his own mate, the alluring but not easily held Layla.  Layla was the photographer at Kerry’s modeling shoot in LA if you’ll recall from the last story.  We didn’t get a lot of detail about her then, but obviously meeting her changed William’s life drastically. Layla, a hybrid Amoveo-human, knows her Amoveo mate has found and is coming for her.  All her life she was taught to fear the Amoveo and she’s not willing to give up her life or her independence for any man, much less the monster she expected her mate to be.
The couple meets in the dream realm, after weeks of William “stalking” her and trying to connect there.  But instead of being afraid of him, Layla is instantly turned on.  She remains resistant to William’s affection though and finds the bravery to tell him basically to hit the road.  Of course, that only pushes William to follow her in person.   When he arrives at the small farm in MD, where Layla grew up, William’s in for quite a few surprises.  Layla, unlike the previous hybrid mate, knows just what she is and more importantly what William is.  And he also finds that she was raised with two other hybrids, which though they haven’t found their mates have been able to shift since coming of age.
This story is definitely full of all the humor and wit I have come to expect from Ms. Humphreys.  I just love Layla character.  She was full of spunky attitude, strong resilience, and sarcasm.  Rosie was another of my favorite characters as she reminded me of one of my aunts—earthy, realistic, and willing to kick ass no matter how old she’s getting.  The changes we see in William after he meets Layla are wonderful. You get subtle references to the fact that his previous portrayals as a stuck up prick were just wrong.  He’s a loving guy with a very dry humor, a broad stroke of loyalty, and even knows how to have fun.
The desire that flashes between Layla and William whenever they are in the same room, or their minds connect, leaves you really jealous. Though Layla fights him initially, when she starts to see the truth of William and how important he is to her life and future she decides that resistance is pointless.  The love that grows between them is just as special as the sensual passion of their lust.   William is determined that not only will Layla accept him in her bed, but also in her heart and soul.  Layla’s very justified fears of the mating are not easy for William to overcome, but just by being there for her through dangerous and terrifying moments he shows her the best part of having a mate.  Never having to deal with life’s ups and down alone.
When Layla’s life is endangered, William calls in his friends, Malcolm, Dante, and their mates, in hopes of keeping Layla and her family safe.  Believing the purists are back and attempting to annihilate the hybrids, the men work through all their clues to try to find the killers.  The women however decide it might be time for a more proactive approach to these psychos. Layla’s take charge attitude was a great addition to their little group and when they take the fight (figuratively speaking) to the purists there are some very startling outcomes that leave me salivating for what happens next in this interesting world.
Layla and William’s story was an awesome chapter in the Amoveo story for so many reasons.  The overall plot including the vast changes caused during the group’s confrontation with the purists is beginning to take the series into a bit of a different direction I think. The love story between these two flawed and apprehensive lovers was rich and full of human emotion and the scars that the past can cause and overcoming them.  And of course meeting new characters that will allow for future books in the series.  I can’t wait for more and wish Ms. Humphreys a speedy recovery from writing this last story so we can all enjoy the vivid and imaginative world she’s created in her mind.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rose Rating: 



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: A Kiss to Kill


A Kiss to Kill (Passion For Danger #3)

by Nina Bruhns

Blurb:

Eight months ago, Dr. Gina Cappozi and CIA black ops commando Captain Gregg van Halen were lovers...until Gregg committed the ultimate betrayal. When her need for vengeance leads Gina back into Gregg's bed, she discovers that the power of betrayal and revenge is nothing compared to the power of love.

Review:

This series was always a little bit strange to me and this last book in the series was along the same lines.  But weirdness aside I enjoyed reading the series very much.  The whole series is based around a group of security professionals called STORM and the CIA division called Zero Unit that crosses their path often. The strange thing about this book (and the others in the series as well) was that you didn’t get a single or even two POVs or storylines.  Though the blurb only mentions Gina and Gregg there are actually three couples that ultimately get a love story in this book.  The separate, but connected storylines make for a very complicated plot and a story of terrorism and conspiracy that has so many layers you have to be very careful not to get lost.  I think the best way to review this story is to break down the individual relationships.
Gregg/Gina
This story picks up shortly after Gina is recused from the terrorist who abducted her in book one of the series.  All through book one and two Gregg was suspected of being the one who arranged the abduction and even Gina believes this.  The love that she held for Gregg originally has turned into a fiery and passionate need to see him pay for her terror with his own death. 
But the truth is a bit more complicated than that.  Gregg never would have put Gina is danger like that and was also betrayed by his superiors when they had Gina abducted.  Having spent the last eight months trying to help Gina escape and then trying to find the traitor who sold them both out, Gregg is willing to do whatever it takes to protect Gina and bring her back to his bed.  Even if It means kidnapping her again himself.
There is definitely a lot of heat and passion in Gregg and Gina’s relationship.  But honestly the emotional aspects fell a little short for me.  There was just too much up and down of Gina’s feelings. One minute she hates him, the next she loves him again, the next she wants to kick his ass, and then she’s back to desperately seeking his approval and attention.  I much preferred her character in the last books.  And though I know how traumas like she experienced can alter a person perspective, I feel like she was always a much stronger woman than she was portrayed in this story. Along the same lines Gregg swung too easily from one extreme to the other as well.
I would have like the story to focus more on them so the growth of their relationship could get the proper attention it needed.  There was so much going on in the background that would have made the mood swings less extreme if we had seen more of what Gregg and Gina were feeling.
Alex/Rebel
Alex and Rebel is another interesting couple.  Rebel has been in love with Alex for over five years, even when he was thought to be dead and during his engagement to her childhood friend.  Alex, recovering from a terrible imprisonment is trying to return to his real life, but he is afraid to deal with the lust and possibly love he’s felt for Rebel for year, but denied just as long.  When his engagement ends and he travels to VA, forced to work with Rebel on a cross-department operation to stop the terrorists and find the traitor within the government, he’s unable to keep his hands or emotions to himself.  And Rebel is done fighting him. After one passionate night on a boat, Alex experiences a flashback at the least convenient time imaginable and it puts both of their lives in danger.   So of course, in his mind the only option is to leave her behind because he’s not ready to have a relationship.
Alex and Rebel are definitely hot together.  And after five years or pent-up desire, when they finally release the dam the burn is exquisite.  Rebel was a favorite character and she definitely is determined to keep Alex for herself, despite his arguments, and uses all her considerable assets and wiles to convince him they should be together.   There was a bit more development of the emotional connection between Rebel and Alex and in my opinion they were the main couple in this book, though the author and blurb writer might disagree with that.  I really wish that instead of stretching their relationship across the three book, Rebel and Alex and gotten their own story.
Wade/Sarah
Wade is a difficult character to like through this series.  When we first meet Wade he assists Gina with locating Rainie when she is acquired and taken to the Sudan to serve as a nurse for CIA operative Kick Jackson.  When Gina disappears, he fears that his assistance and intervention are what caused her kidnapping.  He teams up with Rebel, and sleeps with her of course, in the second book of the series while he heads up the FBI investigation into Gina’s capture.  And now he is trying to capture Gregg, thinking he’s the traitor that gave Gina up to the terrorist and that he wants her back.   Sarah is a DC metro detective that is investigating death that seem to be connected to the terrorist cell and the traitor he’s searching for.
Wade and Sarah are only a minor relationship in this story but the back and forth between them is fun to read.  Wade is one of those characters you just can’t decide if you like him or hate him, but you definitely want to see a woman take him on and knock him down a peg or two. Sarah is the perfect woman to do it too.  She’s a strong character who refuses to let anyone, any man take advantage of or roll over her.   I honestly liked her more than Gina in this story and would like to see a novella or short story about Sarah and Wade’s relationship and what happened after this story in the future.

With all the different POVs, relationships, and conspiracy theories in this story, and the whole series, you can often find yourself feeling that the love story has been pushed aside for the action and intrigue.  Though the novels were good I doubt I’ll read them again or try any of Nina’s other series.  I much prefer one main romance in my novels, though I have read some well-done ones with secondary romances in the background.  This seems more like she was trying to have too many couples coming together in too short of a series.  I think if you count as you read the series something like six or seven couples came together in just three books along with all the terrorist plots, kidnappings, and police investigations.  It was just too much happening too fast I think.

Rating: 3 stars

Rose Rating:


Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: The Recruit


The Recruit (Highland Guard #6)

by Monica McCarty 

Blurb:

Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.
 
Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed.
 
The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?

Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kenneth and Mary’s story.   I have enjoyed many of Ms. McCarty other highland series, but the Highland Guard series is by far my favorite to date. The continuing saga of Robert the Bruce and his special band of warriors holds a special place in my scots-Irish heart. Being a history buff I also love all the detail and historically accurate facts that are weaved into the story.  I can’t imagine the amount of research required to get these stories written but I definitely have to say hats off to the author for all her hard work.  It definitely shows.
Kenneth Sutherland was introduced to us in the last book when his foster brother Gordon died under mysterious circumstances.  He comes into the group blaming Magnus MacKay for the death and determined to make him pay.  But he stumbles upon the greatest held secret of the age: the truth of the members of the Guard.  Determined to win his way onto the guard, despite resistance from Magnus, he comes to the highland games to show the world—and the king—his prowess in battle.  But there he comes across a major obstacle in the form of an enchanting and distractingly intriguing lass—Mary.
Mary has come back to her beloved Scotland after being stuck in the English lands of her late husband who was executed after a rebellion against the English crown several years earlier.  Finally having carved out a contented life for herself as a widow, she is approached by the English king’s men to serve as an emissary and spy at the upcoming highland games.   Meeting Kenneth definitely throws her into a tailspin and even though she resists any attempt by the kings to marry her off, she lets herself have one night of passion with Kenneth.  But boy does that night have consequences for everyone.
Kenneth and Mary are separated for several months after their initial association and it is only later when Kenneth is sent by the Guard to England as a spy that they are reunited.  Dealing with all the intrigue surrounding his mission, Kenneth is unable to resist the fiery beauty that Mary has transformed into.  He’s determined even more to make her is own, but knows that when the truth of his mission and allegiances comes out she’s going to feel betrayed.
Mary begins the story as a young widow who’s only ever had uncomfortable and unfulfilling sexual experiences with her late husband, but she soon realizes that making love with Kenneth is nothing like those past encounters.   Mary brings out the softer side of Kenneth and Kenneth brings out the passion and fire that Mary never thought she had.  Though they are both dealing with their own fears, suspicions, and doubts they are able to finally overcome and be the strong lovers they need to be for each other. Kenneth is a very sexual guy, something of a scoundrel you might say, though he’s not cruel about it.  He loves women and women love him and he initially sees no reason to limit himself to a single one.  But like with all good men he just needs a good woman to settle him down.
The political backbiting and scheming that are going on in this story is paramount.  King vs. king, man vs. man, and country vs. country.   Kenneth is playing a dangerous game and Mary is left out of it until the bitter end, when she is put to the ultimate test. Does she trust the man she has come to love to be acting in her and her children’s best interest?  The political climate of the book causes some intense moments of both action and introspection for the characters, but in the end everything works out, as history has dictated.
This book was extremely enjoyable despite wanting to reach into it several times to slap Kenneth in the head.  Mary was one of those characters you start feeling a little ho-hum about but in the end you love her and you know she is perfect for Kenneth.  The love between them is tried again and again and is forged even stronger for all the fire they must walk through. You also get to see some of your favorite members of the guard from previous novels and their wonderful wives.   I am very much looking forward to reading more about king Robert’s trials and battle for kingship and the Highland Guard that are set to make him a part of history.

Rating: 4.75 stars

Rose Rating: 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mini Review: A Dark Champion


A Dark Champion (Brotherhood #6)

by Kinley MacGregor

 

Blurb:

 Fearless men, their allegiance is to one another, to the oppressed, and to the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Sword--and they must never surrender to the passionate yearnings of their noble hearts.
A Lady of Love
Beautiful, peace-loving Rowena knows that Stryder of Blackmoor is a warrior, and is therefore a man to be shunned.
But something burns in the eyes of this powerful knight that she has never seen in others of his kind: tenderness, and a need to love and be loved. Yet to enter his world would be madness--against every principle by which she has lived her life--so she must resist the yearning that would draw her into his arms.
A Man of War
Duty bound to battle for right, Stryder has never desired the comforts of home and hearth--until he gazed upon the exquisite face and form of the incomparable Rowena. He dares not succumb to her sensuous charms, for Stryder is a man sworn to know no love. But when treachery and danger threaten, the noble knight must stand as the unsuspecting lady's champion--though his actions could cost him his honor, his heart...and his forbidden dream of happiness.

Mini Review:

This series is definitely a favorite of mine. I have been a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s writing for many years but didn’t come to this series until recently.  This series revolves around a sexy group of knights, set shortly after the crusades.  This novel is the story of Stryder of Blackmoor who is a sexy knight that was once imprisoned in a pit by the Saracens.  Since his escape his only goal has been to keep his fellow former prisoners safe and avoid any entanglements with the fairer sex.  Rowena on the other hand is the quintessential pacifist, an independent woman, determined to use her music and writing to sway people against war. And she is just as determined as Stryder to never get involved with a man—especially a knight.

This story was full of passion, wit, and action. When Stryder is confronted with the sexy and alluring Rowena, he beings to second guess his choices in life and wonder if in fact he could have a woman of his own.  Stryder’s sensuality is apparent even to Rowena, no matter how much she wishes she could continue to hate him.  Forced to spend more time with Stryder when her life is threatened, Rowena begins to see there is more to Stryder than just the belligerent, infuriating, and bloodthirsty man she first thought he was.
The love between Stryder and Rowena is wonderful to watch grow and I was more than thrilled to see the changes they both undergo as they get to know each other.  There is intrigue, action, wit and humor alongside the passionate story of Stryder and Rowena’s relationship.  I can’t wait to read more about this fascinating group of men and the women that capture their hearts.  

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rose Rating: 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: Guilty Pleasure


Guilty Pleasure (Bound Hearts #11)

by Lora Leigh

Theme Warning: this book contains slight bondage, ménage à trois  and intensely erotic themes that might not be suitable for younger or move conservative readers.

Blurb:

The sizzling new erotic tale from New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh
 Marty Mathews had always known about the secret, forbidden pleasures that the women she had grown up with enjoyed. Women whose husbands or lovers were members of the exclusive “Club,” where they took a selected “third” into their beds.  And there is one man—a dangerous, forbidden man—who is part of this world and who has haunted Marty’s dreams for years.  But she had been the FBI agent assigned to shadow him, making him completely off limits . . . That is until Khalid is cleared and Marty is released from her assignment.  Now, all bets are off. . .
The beautiful, fierce Marty Mathews is the one woman Khalid hungers for like no other and is the one woman he dare not let himself have.  His past dogs his every step and danger lurks around every corner.  If he wants to keep her safe, he must stay away from her.  But the power of their desire is something they cannot deny—and once Marty is his, Khalid will do whatever it takes to keep her in his bed and in his arms.

Review:

I enjoyed this story for both the plot and the extremely erotic and sensual relationship between Khalid and Marty (and of course Shane).  Though I have read several of Lora Leigh’s more erotic novels, this was the first of the Bound Hearts series for me.
Marty has been forced to deal with Khalid and the fact that she’s loved him for years.  Khalid during all that time has been resisting Marty and pushing her away to keep her safe from an old enemy. But Marty is done waiting.  When she finally takes a much needed vacation, she decides that the time has come for her to either earn Khalid’s heart and have the relationship she’s always wanted with the man she loves or cut him out of her life completely.
When Khalid’s enemy comes after Marty anyway, he decides that the only way to protect her now might just be to take her into her bed.  Asking his CIA agent friend and occasional partner, to serve as his third in their new relationship, Khalid sets out to bring Marty into his bed and show her once and for all that she’s his—body, heart and soul.  Just as she owns him.
The energy of this book wavered a lot for me.  There were some intensely sensual moments of course, but there were just as many overly emotional moments.  There were a lot of arguments in the book between Marty and Khalid, Marty and her Fathers, Marty’s fathers and Khalid, and many times the arguments were a bit contrite feeling.  It felt more like the arguments were there just to create stress and tension as opposed to being in the story because they are needed for the plot.   A bit more reasonable conversation could have prevented a lot of the misunderstandings between all the very alpha and commanding men in Marty’s life.
The passion and heat between Marty and Khalid was explosive and love overdue.  From the first moment Marty attempts to seduce Khalid in her parents kitchen, to the very last love scene, their sexual interactions are intense, carnal, and full of power plays.  When Shane joins them, that something extra he adds up the heat exponentially. Marty embraces the sexuality that previously was only hinted at in h3r own personality and by embracing it she forces herself to face her own fears and Khalid’s doubts.
When their enemies finally do come after them, both Khalid and Marty are faced with the truth of their feelings.  While Khalid has always known Marty belonged with him, he’s refused to allow his heart to get involved. Knowing that the last woman he offered his heart to was brutally killed and it almost killed him, he is unwilling to risk loving Marty because if he loses her it will not only shatter him, but most likely send him on a killing spree with no end, until all his enemies pay for her death.
The book was extremely erotic and full of extreme emotional turmoil.  I enjoyed that addition of Shane into the relationship, but I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t end with more involvement in their lives.  Ultimately I would have like to have seen Marty in a relationship similar to her parents.  The terrorist plot was definitely just created as a reason for Marty and Khalid to ultimately come together, however it was a well thought out and planned part of the plot thankfully.  I am looking forward to hopefully getting a book for both Shane and Khalid’s brother.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Rose Rating:  


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Rescue My Heart


Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3)

by Jill Shalvis 

Blurb:
She never wants a hero… After a tragic stint in the National Guards, Adam Connelly returns to Idaho and to Belle Haven, the animal shelter he owns with his brothers. All Adam wants is to be alone. Then he opens the door to the past—the woman whose heart he once broke. Still gorgeous, still tough-as-nails, but this time, unusually vulnerable. Holly learned the hard way to never depend on a man for anything. Now, of all men, Adam is the last one she wants to see, and the only one she needs. Her father has gone missing in the Bitterroot Mountains and she could use someone with tracking skills to help find him. For Holly and Adam, each with their ghosts, a trek this desperate, this unpredictable, and this intimate, will have its share of risks—including opening their hearts one more time.

Review:

I have loved this series since the very beginning and this book was an awesome addition to a very sweet series.  I am a big animal lover and love it when characters are involved in animals or animal care.   I thought this would be the end of the series, but I was thrilled to discover there is at least one more book coming.
Adams is a tortured alpha hero, dealing with the emotional and mental side effects of his tour in Afghanistan.    He’s attempting to battle his way through the nightmares and flashbacks to at least live some semblance of a normal life again.  However hard he tries to deny it though, he’s not functioning at 100%.  Holly has just moved back to her father’s ranch, to manage his business, and is in the middle of a messy divorce.  Her feelings for Adam are complicated and she’s dealing with them the only way she can—by denying them and staying away from Adam as much as possible.
When her father disappears into the Idaho wilderness, Holly turns to Adam, hoping he will take her concerns more seriously than others.  Adam agrees reluctantly to go after Holly’s dad, but refuses to take her along no matter how much she argues.   With a little help from Adam’s brother Dell, Holly tricks Adam into having to take her along anyway.   As they travel through the wilds of the Bitterroot Mountains, Adam is faced with the fact that his feelings for Holly have never really faded.   Holly on the other hand is reminded of how much she once loved Adam and that he shattered her heart long ago and she never really recovered from that.
Holly and Adam are forced to take shelter when their hunt for her father is unproductive.  By now both Adam and Holly are bracing themselves to battle the desire enflamed in each other’s presence.   An intense kiss leaves Holly swaying in her determination to resist Adam, but just brings everything back to the surface for Adam.  He never really stopped caring for Holly and certainly still burns for her.  So Adam does the only thing that makes any sense to him, he sets out to seduce Holly.  He never anticipates just how great the lovemaking with Holly will be though, and once just isn’t enough for him.
When they find Holly’s father and return to civilization, Holly decides that having a relationship with the man she’s loved most of her life is worth any amount of work.   But then her ex-husband tries to work his way back into her life.  Adam, meanwhile, is doing everything he can to keep Holly compartmentalized as just a sexual relationship.  He’s denying his deeper feelings, to himself and everyone else, but he’s definitely not able to prevent himself from feeling like having Holly back in his life will make everything just a bit more bearable.
There are some very emotional moments during the ending of the story.  Holly finally gives up on Adam, knowing he’ll never own up to his feelings and she can’t handle the one-sided love.  Deciding it’s better to let Adam truly go so they can both move on.  As he watches Holly pulling away Adam is forced to ask himself one very important question: is Holly worth owning up to all the emotions he’s kept buried for so long?
The passion between Holly and Adam is palpable from the moment they are in the same room.   Adam is so sensual, so male, that when he’s in the room you can feel his very presence and Holly is unable to resist him. Holly and Adam together are combustible.  Even in the middle of a dog obedience class, surrounded by innocent bystanders and with other women vying for his attention, the reader will be burned reading their story.
Overall I loved this story.  There was angst and passion, painful memories and lost love.  Really this story had it all and we also got to revisit Adam’s brothers and their women.  This series is a must read and if you don’t fall in love reading about these great guys and their feisty women, then maybe it’s time for an emotional overhaul. J

p.s. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite secondary characters in this book, Milo.  Milo is Adam’s partner, a research and rescue dog.  Adam tells Holly Milo was underestimated by his breeder, but obviously Adam saw the innate skill and greatness of the wonder that was Milo.  Milo is also Adam’s best friend and companion, brightening the long dark nights for Adam.  There were so many times I wanted to reach into the book and grab Milo in a full body snuggle!  And honestly what person who has dogs hasn’t had a sensual moment interrupted by a cold wet nose poking in to interrupt.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rose Rating:



Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.


Thanksgiving is one of the greatest traditions and a perfect excuse to get your family together and indulge yourself in an awesome meal.  This is the first year that I will be handling Thanksgiving for my family all on my own. I have my turkey thawing and all my sides planned out and I really can’t wait.  Food is definitely a very close second to my favorite hobbies.

So I wish you all a wonderful and family filled Thanksgiving.  Whatever the holiday means to you—family, football, food, or rest-- I hope you get all you want and offer your thanks for it. 


In Honor of my first time doing thanksgiving, I want to share with you all, my recipe for my favorite Thanksgiving Day dessert.  After all that rich and carb filled thanksgiving dinner I go for something even richer and CHOCOLATY!


Chocolate Pecan Pie (the twist on a southern classic)



Ingredients

·   4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
·   4 large eggs, lightly beaten
·   1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
·   1/2 cup sugar
·   1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·   1/2 teaspoon salt
·   1 deep dish pic crust (homemade or store bought)
·   2 cup pecans (1 cup chopped)
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes (or melt chocolate in microwave). Set aside. Chop 1 cup of the pecans.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together (do not whisk) eggs, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly, gradually add melted chocolate. Pour filling into prepared crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange pecans in one even layer over filling.

3. Bake just until set (filling should jiggle slightly when pie plate is tapped), 50 to 60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 4 hours (or up to overnight) before serving.




Review: Lord's Fall


Lord's Fall (Elder Races #5)

by Thea Harrison 

Blurb:

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two mates find themselves on different paths, torn between their duty to the Wyr and the passion that binds them…
Before she met Dragos, half-human/half-Wyr Pia Giovanni was alone and on the run. Now she’s mated, pregnant and heading south to repair the Wyrs’ frayed relationship with the Elves. Being separated from Dragos is painful, but for the good of the Wyr demesne they need to figure out how to be partners—in more places than just the bedroom.

In New York to preside over the Sentinel Games, Dragos is worried about his mate, but knows that finding two replacement sentinels is essential to show the rest of the Elder Races just how strong and brutal the Wyr demesne can be. But as the Games heat up, Pia’s negotiations with the Elves take a turn for the dangerous, straining her bond with Dragos and threatening everything they hold dear…




Review:

I will say this was an interesting twist in the Elder Races Saga. I was surprised when I learn that this story was about Dragos and Pia, whose story began the Elder Races series so long ago.  It seemed more like an extended epilogue that a full new novel.  That being said I really enjoyed this novel.
The story begins with Pia, carrying their first little dragon baby, heading down to North Caroling in hopes of mending the rift between the Wyr and Elven kind caused by Dragos when he originally was hunting Pia.   We meet some very interesting characters in the group that is protecting Pia. A group of Special Forces Wyr, led by Eva, the interactions between Pia and what she affectionately calls “the Psychos” are hilarious and will leave you laughing ‘til you cry.   Johnny, was a particular favorite of mine and if you read between the lines a bit during his scenes I think he’ll be your too.
Pia and her guard travel to the home of the Elven High Lord and Lady, in hopes of a bit of diplomacy ending the problems and bringing much needed relief to the Wyr. They arrive in NC at the Elven seat of power, which borders a magically forest believed to contain a crossover point to an Other land, simply known as the Wood. She meets the High Lord's Consort and learns that the High lord has ventured into the wood to meet very special guests who are arriving from an Other land. Spending a bit of time with her, Pia learns a bit more about her past and her mother, who died a few years before.  Carefully, attempting to protect her inner nature and beast from others, Pia is forced to tiptoe around her guard while still attempting to try to understand more about herself.
Meanwhile, Dragos is holding the second ever Sentinel Game, in hope of finding a few good Wyr to fill in the positions of Sentinel left after Tiago and Rune’s defections.  The Games are being held at Madison Square garden and is the event of the century.  Along with the prestige for the Games, comes way to much stress for Dragos and with his pregnant mate being in a potentially hazardous situation, not to mention is continuing anger and frustration with Rune, Dragos isn’t really the most pleasant guy to be around at the moment, even for a dragon.  And he’s not handling the separation or stress very well at all.
The plot thickens when Pia makes the choice to travel into the wild, where the danger to Pia will increase tenfold, and Dragos is extremely distressed over this change.  Rationalizing to himself that he is just getting closer and won’t actually cross the line, Dragos heads out from NY flying south to be on hand in case Pia needs him.  And it’s definitely a good choice to ignore Pia’s demand to stay away in this case.   Being face with an old device, used by a new enemy, Pia and all her friends are caught right in the middle of a huge battle with results affecting the world, both Other and human.  Joining together the Wyr and Elves, battle for the future of everyone and thankfully with Dragos leading the charge the good guys prevail.  There are some extremely intense battle scenes and some horrifying moments that will bring tears to your eyes, but not in a good way.
Though the couple is already together and we have already seen the trails of their relationship building, there were some surprisingly good moments between Pia and Dragos that showed them still working through their differences.  And let’s be honest, a relationship between a thirty year old woman and a millennia old Dragon shifter is going to have some extreme highs and lows.  Both Pia and Dragos are dealing with some insecurity in their bond. Pia is doubting Drago’s adoration and devotion because she can’t accept that someone who’s lived so many years and has experienced so much could love someone love her. Dragos on the other hand isn’t sure that he can make Pia happy. Working through their issues and re-experiencing the passion that originally brought them together, they finally just decided to let all their doubts go and embrace the wonder of their mating and the magic that they can bring to each other.
This was a very good ending to a series that has made me question all my beliefs about non-human myths and beings.  It has been a fun ride and the end came with a bang. Pia and Dragos are as passionate as ever. The sarcasm and wit is there for sure and it was nice to see some changes in a society that has been set in their ways for way too long. It was hard to pic my favorite moment, but I loved the last few pages, because honestly who doesn’t love seeing a huge, alpha, and often grumpy Dragon deal with his wife going into labor when he’s the only one there to help her through it.  It was sweet, tender, and reminds the reader just why we love these hard exterior/squishy interior alpha males!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Rose Rating:


Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Scorched


Scorched (Tracers #6)

by Laura Griffin  

Blurb:

Kelsey Quinn set out to trace a murder victim. Now she may become one.
The dead don’t speak, but Kelsey knows their secrets. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey makes it her mission to identify bodies using no more than shards of bone, and her find at a remote Philippines dig hints at a sinister story. When Kelsey’s search for answers puts her at the scene of her ex-fiancé’s murder, only one man can help her. The same man who broke her heart just months before, and who is also a prime suspect.

Faced with an ultimatum— Kelsey or his job—Gage Brewer did the only thing a Navy SEAL could . . . but that doesn't mean he stopped wanting Kelsey. Now Kelsey is running for her life and Gage is her last line of defense. As the threats escalate, Kelsey realizes this conspiracy goes deeper and higher than they could have guessed. With the clock ticking down on a madman’s plot, the slightest misstep will have unthinkable consequences. . .

Review:

Scorched is the continuing story of Kelsey Quinn, an anthropologist with the Delphi center, and Gage Brewer, SEAL extraordinaire.  Their story began in Unstoppable, where Gage is sent by Kelsey’s Uncle Joe, his CO, to protect her on a dig site in Texas when her team is put in danger after a startling discovery on their archaeology site.  Their love story in Unstoppable was great and the ending left us thinking they had their HEA, but we soon learn that all was not as it seems. If you haven't' already you should definitely buy a copy. 
Scorched picks up several months after Gage left Kelsey because she gave him an ultimatum: stay with her or remain a SEAL.  Gage, being a SEAL to the core, chose the teams over Kelsey.  Kelsey has returned to Coronado base after a tragedy has left both her family and Gage’s team reeling and having to deal with a loss that neither of them ever thought they would be faced with.  After arguing with Kelsey, Gage is confronted with all the feelings he thought he’d buried about Kelsey, her quick engagement after they broke up, and now the fact that her engagement is over.
When Kelsey returns home after their argument, she stops by her ex-fiancé’s place, FBI agent Blake, to discuss a case she had him looking into for her.   While visiting Blake, she witnesses his murder and becomes  both a target and a suspect.  With killers on her trail to kill her too and the FBI tracking her as a suspect and/or witness to the murder, Kelsey flees to the only place she feels safe hiding: her Uncle Joe’s remote hunting cabin.
After the FBI question Gage about the murder and tell him Kelsey is missing, Gage knows that he can’t leave the woman he still loves on her own.  Evading the FBI, he finds Kelsey hiding out at the cabin and pulls her out just in time to prevent her death. I must say there is a very interesting scene involving Disneyland that had me smiling for a while.  Reluctantly Gage and Kelsey begin working together to keep themselves alive and also clear up the mess they are in, as well as hopefully finding the evidence of the real killers. They travel across country following what little clues Kelsey has, trying to find out why Blake was murdered and discover a terrorist threat that has slipped under the radar and could cause a huge loss of life if the plan is enacted.   There are definitely some tense moments for readers as they team up with Gage’s SEAL buddy, Derek, and FBI agent Elizabeth to prevent the terrorist attack in a very unlikely venue.  But happily as with all good SEAL operations, Gage and team are able to stop the attack and get the bad guy.
The passion between Kelsey and Gage is still running hot and, as they are thrown into more and more intense circumstances, Kelsey finds resisting Gage to be more difficult than she ever imagined.  Gage decides that he’s not letting Kelsey go a second time and uses every bit of fire power in his arsenal to make sure she never wants to leave again. Gage’s seduction of Kelsey is both sweet and sensual and he works hard to show Kelsey that they can be good together.  Kelsey on the other hand is terrified of the heat ignited between her and Gage, knowing that she’s been burned before and that she might not survive another breakup.  Thankfully both Gage and Kelsey begin to accept that they are meant to be together despite all odds. In the end, Gage decides that having Kelsey in his life might just be worth losing the camaraderie and support of being a SEAL.
Full of action, hair-raising close calls, and fiery passion, Scorched is definitely true to its name. Leaving readers just a little bit singed, and feeling lucky for the burn.  Cannot wait for the next book in the series—hopefully between Derek and Elizabeth!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rose Rating: 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Blaze of Winter


Blaze of Winter (Star Harbor #2)

by Elisabeth Barrett 

Blurb:

Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.
Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn't count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.

 Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn't backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.

Review:

This was the first story I've ever read by Ms. Barrett and I can definitely say I will be looking forward to future releases by this author and am awaiting the next in this series with baited breath.   Blaze of Winter was the second book in the Star Harbor series about the Grayson brothers.   Set on the beautiful wintry Coast of Massachusetts, this story is rich in imagery detail and makes me really wish I lived somewhere I could play in the snow and snuggle up with my man and a mug of hot chocolate. 
Theo, aka T. R. Grayson, is a slightly disillusioned author, returning home from San Francisco hoping to find the edge he’s lost so he can write another best seller.   Living on his brother’s houseboat with two of his brothers isn't really helping his writing or mindset much.  At the suggestion of one of his family friends, Theo decides to move into the local inn instead and there he comes face-to-face with Avery Newbridge and suddenly things are looking up for Theo.  
Avery is in Star harbor helping her Aunt Kate manage her inn while Kate deals with chemo and regains her strength after a battle with cancer.   She’s perfectly happy hiding out in the small town, the only place she’s felt at home since her own mother passed away.  Working the inn, Avery is surprised when handsome Theo arrives looking for a room and throws her for a loop.  She is instantly and insanely attracted to him and that worries her more than it should.  After a tragedy with one of her clients leaves her doubting her choice of profession, she’s not willing to open herself up to the hurt of any new relationships, but especially not to a man.  She sets out to resist Theo’s advance with all she has, but Theo is proving to be such a damn nice guy that he task is just impossible.
Theo is determined to make Avery give him a chance and doggedly pursues her until she finally caves.  They begin a tenuous relationship, with Avery still fighting him her growing feelings for Theo.  But Theo is starting to realize his relationship with Avery is more than just a fling.  Being with her is making him feel alive again, his writing had vastly improved and he’s looking at his life with new eyes.  But strange things are beginning to happen in their small town.   During Theo’s nighttime research trips he’s seen mysterious lights in little known areas of the bay, meanwhile Avery and her Aunt have been hearing odd, ghostly noises late at night in the inn.
Experiencing the passion between Theo and Avery is nothing short of amazing.   Theo realizes quickly that he doesn't just feel lust for Avery anymore, his heart is fully involved and he loves her, screwed up personality and all.   Heat and Passion are definitely to be found throughout this entire story.  But there is also an innate sweetness to their desire that makes the reader really wish Theo could be cloned so we could all have one for ourselves. 
When the mystery is finally solved, I was left feeling a little out of the loop, since I hadn't read the first book in the series, but the author does a pretty good job of filling in the blanks enough that we aren't totally lost.   Ultimately, this story was worth every moment or pain and angst that the author puts you through to get Theo and Avery to come to terms with themselves and each other.   I am looking forward to the next Grayson brother falling in love and reading all about his fall.

Rating: 4 stars

Rose Rating: 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Book of Scandal


The Book of Scandal (The Scandalous Series #1)

by Julia London

 Blurb:
The Princess of Wales has cataloged the shocking exploits of the outrageous Princes Regent and many of his noble friends in a book that has all of London aflutter...

Nathan Grey, the Earl of Lindsey, is infamously known as the Libertine of Lindsey for his scandalous ways with women. But when he hears gossip that his estranged wife, Evelyn, is about to be named in The Book of Scandal, he has no choice but to remove her from London to protect her and himself from charges of treason—even if it calls for abduction!

While Evelyn has no legal recourse against the man who broke her heart years ago but is still considered her lord and master, she is no longer the immature girl Nathan married. Her enforced homecoming quickly turns into a battle of wills that tears down her husband's defenses and lays bare the passion that still burns between them. Before it is too late, Nathan must confront powerful adversaries as he convinces Evelyn that she is not only his wife, but the one woman he will love for all time.

Review:

Book of Scandal is the first in a series revolving around the scandalous marriage of Prince George of Wales and Princess of Caroline and the delicate investigation undergone during their time.  Set in England during the early 1800s, the scandal revolving around Princess Caroline and Prince George has begun to spill over into the “friends’ that they surround themselves with.  Worried about the scandal causing him to lose his lands, Nathan, Earl of Lindsey, travels from his estate into London to bring home his wayward wife, and so the chaos begins.

After the death of their son, Evelyn escaped to London, attempting to bury the grief in the bustle of the Haute Ton.  Serving as a Lady of the Bedchamber to Princess Mary, Evelyn has been hiding her grief and thriving in the world she has chosen in London. Away from Nathan and leaving him on his own to sink into the life of debauchery that everyone in England knows he leads as the Libertine of Lindsey.  Evelyn has even begun to have feelings for another, and is considering asking for a divorce so she might start a new life with him. 

When Nathan suddenly appears at a ball Evelyn is attending, she is surprised and appalled to see him.  When Nathan explains why he’s come to London, to bring Evelyn back to their estate, she become livid inciting an argument and causing great speculation among the Ton.  Evelyn continues to defy Nathan, refusing to return home or to even really give him the time of day.  During an outing to see her new beau, Nathan snatches her right off the street, paying no mind to her desire to stay in London, and secrets her away, taking her home.  Back where she belongs.

Evelyn is furious to be stuck traveling to their estate with her long deserted husband and is extremely vocal in her arguments.  Nathan, on the other hand, is slowly remembering why he once loved Evelyn so much.  Still full of fire and passion, Evelyn fights his decrees at every turn, only making him want her more.   Faced with the sudden change in his feelings, Nathan is left floundering as the one woman he’s ever loved denies any feelings between them and sinks deeper into her sorrow as she’s faced with memories of their lost child.

Evelyn and Nathan battle back and forth as she works to pay him back in subtle ways for his “kidnapping” her and beginning her to the one place she never again wanted to be.  But there is a dark shadow over their reunion.  As Evelyn works to improve the grubby house her formerly pristine home has become, strange accidents start happening.  Evelyn is almost killed in a fire that takes down the Orangery she is refurbishing, and though she swear it couldn’t have been, Nathan believes that it in fact and accident, but decides to investigate further. 

With Nathan back in London investigating the threats against his family, Evelyn starts to see a new side of her husband as she learns that the rake the rest of the world sees might not be the truth of Nathan’s heart.  As she explores the changes of her husband and home, the grief Evelyn has been dealing with is slowly stating to fade as she accepts the loss of her son. 

Even being set in Georgian Era England, there is plenty of passion and heat between Nathan and Evelyn.  Nathan is definitely a very sensual man and he pulls out the sexual side of Evelyn as well.  There are lots of fun scenes where Nathan corners Evelyn and forces her to embrace the passion they share.  There is some doubt in Evelyn’s mind about Nathan’s desire being truly for her or just any available woman, but his tenacity and hope finally convinces Evelyn that his love is real and that she can trust him and their love once again.

I really enjoyed this story with all the fun little plot twists, even though there were some very melancholy moments as we learn how their marriage fell apart in the first place.  It’s always interesting to me to see the lives of the Ton in historical England and this was no exception.  I really loved seeing the way Nathan and Evelyn were able to overcome their grief and finally see each other as they once were: a happily mated couple. I was thrilled that Nathan finally convinced Evelyn that his love never faltered and never will.  I'm looking forward to seeing the next book in the series to find out if Jack was able to escape the scandal that chase him out of England.

Rating:  3.25 stars

Rose Rating: