Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mini-Review: First Surrender

First Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City #1)

by 

Blurb:

He’s dangerous, sexy, and everything she wants…
Sierra hit it off with Hayden from the moment they met. The dangerously sexy, tattooed ex-SEAL is one of the best friends she’s ever had—and the main star in her wildest fantasies. But he doesn’t see her that way. And she’d die of embarrassment if he found out she was still a virgin.
And he’s about to make his claim…
Hayden’s struggled to keep his attraction to the beautiful, dark haired casino chef a secret. He’s not good enough for her. But when an attacker targets Sierra, Hayden’s protective instincts go into overdrive. With the attraction between them burning out of control, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her and convince her they’re meant to be together.


Review:

With two sexy main characters ready to make that leap from friends to lovers, First Surrender is an emotion packed and sexy short introduction to a spin-off series by one of my new favorite authors. While I have read a few of the stories from the original series, Red Stone Security, I didn’t originally realize this was going to be a spin-off, fortunately, as I find often I avoid spin-off series knowing they are never as good as the original.  Boy I am glad it didn’t work out that way, because I’d have missed out on a great read and the beginning to what I suspect will be another hit series by Katie Reus.
This story revolves around Sierra, a down to earth restaurant chef, and the sexy former SEAL who has become her best friend, Hayden.  Though neither of them has made a move they have each desired the other since almost the beginning of their friendship.  When an attack on Sierra leaves them both emotionally vulnerable, Hayden decides it is time for him to admit to his desires and go after the woman he craves.  As they explore their new relationship, dangers lurk in the background and, knowing that, Hayden is even more determined to keep Sierra close and safe.  When they are caught off guard, placing Sierra’s life in danger, Hayden has to act quickly if he wants a chance at a future with the love of his life.
Sierra was a sweet girl with just enough naughty that I found myself really liking her as a woman.  Often the sweet, girl-next-door characters just don’t have the nerve and spunk to stand up to a hot alpha male, but Sierra certainly didn’t fall into that category.  Willing to call him on his bullshit and take his control to the edge in the bedroom, she is just hot enough to make Hayden nuts, and I loved it.  Hayden is definitely the quintessential alpha male; being a former SEAL this is not surprising.  But seeing him turn into a big teddy bear around Sierra was beyond cute.  While he remains protective and determined to keep Sierra, not just safe but in his arms, his caring and thoughtful nature leaves no doubt that any woman he loves will be the focus of his life.  When they are together, whether burning up the sheets (or kitchen counters :D) or just snuggling on the couch you can immediately see that Hayden is devoted to Sierra and there is nothing in the world that can tear him from her side.
In the end, I am even more determined to finish the previous series before I get too much farther in this spin-off, mainly because seeing how the team operates makes me crazy to learn more about these characters.  Getting to see Hayden taking care of business as well as fessing up to his feelings for Sierra reminds me that there really are good men in the world that can be strong and vulnerable with the woman they trust.  Sierra was a great character on her own, but seeing her bring out the heart and soul of Hayden was what made me love her even more.  The dangers that put Sierra directly into Hayden’s protective instincts and force the time table on their relationship to move more quickly, were well written and thoughtful, with just enough crazy to give us a proper villain.  I can’t wait to find out more about these characters and get to see Jay, Hayden’s brother, in his story coming soon.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Rose Rating: 


*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

ARC Review: The Fireside Inn

The Fireside Inn (The Billionaire Bachelors #1)

by 

Blurb:

They’re single, they’re rich, and now these billionaire bachelors are heading to Sanctuary Island in a new e-original novella series from Lily Everett! Fall in love with the island’s latest catch.
Leo, Zane, and Cooper made a pact to stay bachelors and enjoy the single life forever, and when they receive an invitation to their friend Miles’ wedding, they head down to Sanctuary Island determined to talk some sense into the errant groom before he makes a life-changing mistake. But Miles knows his own mind, and he makes a vow of his own: before he walks down the aisle, he’ll have Leo, Zane, and Cooper changing their tune about matrimony. Because Miles knows, better than anyone, that all it takes is a little Sanctuary Island magic to turn romantic cynics into true believers.
The Honorable Lord Leo Strathairn inherited his family’s money, his title, and his position in London society. When he meets Sanctuary Island’s funky young librarian, Serena Lightfoot, he’s determined to get a lot closer. Despite the simmering attraction between them, Serena isn’t at all interested in putting up with a pampered playboy. But as Leo ramps up his seduction attempts, Serena sees that he’s nothing like the empty-headed aristocrat she’d assumed.

Review:

The first in a new trilogy of novellas surrounding the lives and loves of the people of a small island town off the coast of Virginia sets off the series with a bang.  While I have read the first book in the previous trilogy of novellas and the full length novel in the series, I missed the other two in the original series, so I feel a bit like I missed out of the romance that led to the wedding in this story, but the story itself was great. Based around Miles’s belief in the love that can be found on Sanctuary Island, the Billionaire Bachelors series revolves around his three best friends, friends he wants to find the happiness and contentment he has found being in love. 
Leo is in a bit of a fix; his duty as a groomsman is to present a reading about love at the wedding of one of his best friends, Miles, but he needs help to accomplish his task.  In walks Serena, the local librarian on Sanctuary Island, and a woman with such a draw for Leo that he can’t resist using everything at his disposal to get her help.  While they are going through all the works of love and devotion, the bond between them develops quickly and they find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into an emotional quicksand that neither can pull back from.  When a sad truth comes out and a betrayal drives a wedge between them, the fight for their love will be one that neither can lose if they want to find their HEA.
The passion between Leo and Serena was immediately apparent and seeing them fall in love was a fun experience.  Though there was a sad truth uncovered during their relationship, one that could have broken their love if they’d allowed it, it was obvious that they belonged together.  Leo was a character that doesn’t understand his own worth; he has moved through life, surviving only on his charm and charisma, but never really allowing anyone to see his true self or inner secrets.  Serena on the other hand has strived to live her life in complete honesty, knowing firsthand the damage that can be caused when lies come between people. She is determined to embrace her arrangement with Leo wholeheartedly, but though she never intends to, she quickly falls for him.  When she finally sees the truth in him and he shows her the beauty of his love and his soul, what woman could resist having him as her man? Certainly not Serena!
Overall this was a great short read, with lots of angst, emotional roller coasters, and true depth of caring.  As a beginning to a new trilogy, I can see just how much I will love the next two stories.  The trend has begun and knowing that each of these billionaires will fall to their hearts is exciting for me.  Serena and Leo are perfectly matched and when they get past their fears and hang-ups the relationship they can build will be strong and lasting. Getting to see the bond between the men was always intriguing; reminding that sometimes families can be built from the strangest relationships. Can’t wait to find out more about Cooper and Zane and see them fall under the spell of Sanctuary Island.

(BTW where can I find this island because seriously, six sexy billionaires in one small place? I wanna move there! :P )

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Saturday, December 28, 2013

ARC Review: Born in Blood

Born in Blood (The Sentinels #1)

by 

Blurb:

Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.

Review:

I just love getting to start an all new series, especially one by a favorite author, don’t you? Never one to disappoint, the new Sentinels series, by Alexandra Ivy is no less than genius.  The imagination of a wonderfully talented and well spoken author is taking us in an all new direction on a new journey through the magical reality of witches, psychics, necromancers, and most importantly the Sentinels who keep them all safe. There was in fact a short preview to this series in the anthology, Predatory, but even if you haven’t read it you will find yourself wrapped up in these people and enjoying every second.  The Sentinels series is an all new adventure in the world of Ivy, one that I find myself dying to continue to experience.
Duncan is a dedicated police officer, one that has dragged his hung-over butt outta bed to report to a grisly murder scene, one that requires the expertise of the sexy and sensual Callie Brown to solve.  When Callie is endangered by her trip through the murder victim’s memories, Duncan decides it is time he steps up and makes his interest in Callie known, while providing her the protection and assistance she needs. Callie on the other hand is determined to solve her own problems, but is more than willing to give in to the passion that Duncan pulls from her.  When the danger around them intensifies and the fate of the world depends on Callie and her ability to stop a dangerous megalomaniac from trying to take over the world, Callie decides that the broad shoulders Duncan offers her are just the place she wants to lose herself.  The ultimate battle will be one that only Callie can fight, but having Duncan at her side will be the difference between failure and victory, if only he can keep her safe long enough to tell her his true feelings.
Callie and Duncan are both intense characters, each with their own issues and their own desires for their lives. Duncan is certainly an arrogant and charming SOB, one that had lost his belief in love, but is certainly willing to indulge in the heat that burns between him and Callie. He has never been able to deny his desire for Callie, but there has always been something keeping him from making that final step to claim her, but he is unable to resist her any longer. Callie on the other hand has been denying her feelings for Duncan from the beginning of their acquaintance, but she is seeing an all new side of the arrogant and sexy cop now that they are working together. Callie is a very intriguing woman, she has the power to see into the minds of the dead, but dealing with the living is a bit more difficult for her. She has been ostracized all her life, even by the other high-bloods where she should have been accepted, but when she opens herself to Duncan she find the connection that has been missing from the life.  Working together they can overcome any obstacle, whether from the outside world or their own fears, and that unshakable faith in one another is tested in a big way when their world begins to unravel.
The fiery passion between Callie and Duncan burned up the pages from the second they were together.  Their individual natures seem to complement each other and allow them to come together in the perfect combination or strength and vulnerability, courage and fear.  When Duncan allows himself to accept that there might be more between them than just fabulous (and boy howdy I do me FABULOUS!) sex, the connection that develops is one that I can see lasting for a lifetime. Callie is one of those girls who has accepted what her lovers have offered in the past, never seeking to forge a true relationship, instead just sharing a moment without any chance of a future, but with Duncan she finds she can’t accept that.  Together they cruise right into an intensely emotional and physically demanding liaison, that neither of them is willing to give up, for which I am very grateful.  Though there were certainly challenges to face on the relationship front, they both forged ahead and demanded nothing less than everything from one another.
As a beginning to a new series there was certainly a lot of world building, with new types of beings described, associations introduced and prejudices expressed. I will say that I am sad to see the portrayal of a good bit of the "norms" in the story as being so hypocritical and bigoted, but I am certainly not surprised, as many of the people I personally know would more than likely take a similar view.   Duncan and Callie’s story is one that I enjoyed on many levels.  Seeing them kick the butt of a seriously psychotic megalomaniac and his twisted sidekicks was thrilling for me as I always love seeing good triumph over evil, especially with the teamwork required of Duncan, Callie, and all their friends. I will say that the villain in this story chilled me to the bone, not because he was a terrifying beast, but simply because of his twisted psyche and the pure evil I could tell had invaded what might have once been his soul.  A very well written bad guy to be sure, though I’m not really surprised.  Also getting to see Callie and Duncan each grow in their powers and accept the truth of their magical strengths was a great way to show their personal growth.  Of course, the relationship between them could never be underestimated; full of heat, emotion, and the everyday silliness of a new beginning, I loved every second of Callie and Duncan’s private moments.    I also loved the little side stories with hinted romantic entanglements between a few of the characters, it's killing me to find out just who’s story might be next.  If you haven’t read anything by Alexandra Ivy, I strongly suggest you run to the store or click in your favorite e-reader and purchase, Born in Blood, the moment it hits the shelves.

Rating: 4.75 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

ARC Review: Dragon Awakened

Dragon Awakened (The Hidden #1)

by Jaime Rush 


Blurb:

They are the Hidden.
Not quite human. Far from normal.
And never, ever safe…
Playing With Fire
Ruby Salazaar wants answers…and revenge. Her uncle has just been murdered before her eyes and the name he utters with his final breath—Cyntag—leads Ruby into a world beyond her wildest imaginings. She soon learns that the dark, sexy Cyntag Valeron knows more about her than she does herself.
Burned By Love
Ruby changed Cyn's life before she even knew who he was. Now she charges into his life, a beautiful woman full of fire and questions. Cyn knew this day would come, yet he couldn't foresee the danger—and desires—Ruby would bring with her. He can teach her how to harness her newly awakened powers. But there is one force neither of them can control…

Review:

The first full length novel in the new Hidden series by Jaime Rush is one that will send you into a strange new world of dragons, magickals, and angels and leave you wishing that you too were one of the Hidden. I have read the first two published novellas in this series and while they were both great, Dragon Awakened was an awesome story with more of the depth and length that I crave.  This series is based on a very interesting myth surrounding the Bermuda triangle and Gods and creatures that came from them—Dragons, Deuces, and Caidos being the main types of descendants.  The Hidden is a whole different world, concealed in the midst of ours, corralled by energy needs to the south Florida area, primarily giving us Miami as a setting, and running alongside the world of the mundanes. Rush handles all the secrecy and fear inherent in these types of alternate truths extremely well and keeps the focus of the story on the characters themselves not just the circumstances that shape the world they live in.
With a single phone call from her Uncle, Ruby’s life is thrown into a tailspin leaving her completely foundering for understanding in her new world. Only when she discovers that her Uncle has been murdered, Ruby’s need for revenge leads her to track down Cyn, believing him to be behind the death, but she soon discovers that nothing is as it seems.  When Cyn confronts her with the truth, Ruby has to accept that she is not who she thought she was either, but is in fact a member of the Hidden, a magickal race of beings that live alongside the mundanes of the world.  And she is a target now too. Cyn has looked out for Ruby from afar since she was only a young girl, but meeting her again all grown up sends a fire coursing through Cyn that he hasn't felt in decades. Determined to protect her at all costs, even knowing that the dark truth that originally brought him to her life could rip them apart, Cyn takes her under his wing to train her to keep herself safe and to find out why she is being hunted. But as the lurking danger gets closer and closer, Ruby is forced to deal with the passion that Cyn incites in her and the truth of their past that could prevent them from ever being together.  So the question becomes, can she forgive an action as heinous as murder or will she forever be forced to lose the people she loves?
From the second Ruby sees Cyn, heat builds within her, brings her senses to life and pulls her to him.  The passion that flares is fascinating as they both try to deny it, for different but no less valid reasons, but when the tentative trust they are building is shattered that passion seems to be the only thing between them any longer.  Cyn is the quintessential tortured prince character, doing penance for his past after a shocking event sends him to change his ways and question his motivations.  His past weighs heavily on his mind, but the awakening Ruby causes makes him wish he was a different man, one that is worthy of her.  Ruby sees his arrogance and bossiness, but doesn’t understand his need for control stems from the fear of losing her—until she finally has her eyes opened.  Ruby’s own past has shaped her into the woman she is, one that needs control in her life to find her balance, but when that balance is shifted forever she finds herself leaning on a man for the first time since her parents’ death. She hates being dependent on him in this new and dangerous world, but her desire for independence puts them into some dangerous and awkward situations, and when she is in mortal danger she begins to believe that Cyn might just feel something for her, deep beneath that unfeeling shell he shares with the world.  While the emotions of the story rage, betrayal, fear, understanding, and forgiveness, beneath it all is the obvious desire between Cyn and Ruby, sometimes pushed aside or denied, but never forgotten or neglected.
Dragon Awakened is a twist on the classic coming of Age story, though Ruby is a bit older than most; finally being Awakened to the world around her and her own inner nature leaves Ruby often with more questions than answers, but only when she embraces her true inner nature does she find the missing piece of her soul. Cyn is the only man who could lead her through this initiation, but he has his own fears and issues to come to terms with as he trains her and brings out her inner beast. Though he tries his damnedest to maintain distance between them, the magnetic draw is just too much for even one as strong as him, and when he sees the attachment forming between them, he can no longer hid the truth from her. The dangers lurking around every corner though make him want to put off the confrontation for as long as possible.  The evil plot that has wrapped around Cyn and Ruby was well written and seeing the lengths the some creatures will go to just to ensure their race’s superiority never ceases to amaze me. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Cyn and Ruby trounce the bad guys and prevent disaster, and I wonder if there will be even more consequences to deal with in the next story.  Can’t wait for more of this amazing parallel world and the creatures that are Hidden in it. 

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Friday, December 13, 2013

ARC Review: REAVER

Reaver (Lords of Deliverance #5)

by Larissa Ione

Blurb:

WARRIOR OF HEAVEN
Reaver is an angel with a past, a record, and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels-and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell-he's agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before...to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.
ANGEL OF HELL
Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she's been doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan's lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld's darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape-her newfound thirst for an angel's blood...

Review:

To say one never gets the expected with a Larissa Ione novel is a huge understatement; there is of course always a love story in some way, and you can expect to always have action, adventure, and changes to rock the world.  But while these are themes to be found in many different authors’ works, Larissa Ione takes those themes and expounds on them like no other, changing your life and understanding of the world with the words on the page, in just the time it takes you to fly through her works. I have followed the developments of this series from the very beginning of the world of the Demonica, and have yet to find myself bored or feeling discontented after a book.  The travails of these characters are always unique, terrifying, and impact so many of those around them that keeping all the interwoven stories in order must be a very trying task for the author. If you haven’t read any of the other stories in the series, you will most likely feel a bit of a disconnect with the secondary characters that move beside the H/H in the story, but you will love it nonetheless I guarantee, and Ione provides you with plenty of detailed back-story so you get the important points of the overall plot arc. Reaver is in my opinion, one of the best stories of my generation, which will touch your heart, reach into your soul and force you to reexamine the true meaning of love and sacrifice.
Reaver picks up shortly after the ending of Rogue Rider, with Reaver learning the truth of his relationship with his longtime charges, the four horseman of the apocalypse, and Harvester trapped in unending torment in Satan’s prisons.  Though Reaver has petitioned for divine assistance in rescuing Harvester, he has repeatedly been denied, and decides it is time to save her himself, if for a somewhat selfish reason. With the help of some mercenaries especially equipped for the job, Reaver ventures into portions of hell that no other angel has ventured into before, but getting into the pits to reach Harvester is the easy part, getting them safely back out of the underworld and earning her trust to do it, is the biggest challenge of Reaver’s life. Even before the last big battle, Harvester had her issues with trusting anyone, much less a man she has hated since her first sight of him.  But working together is the only way to get out of the mess they are in, and as they defeat their enemies and find their way home, they find out more about themselves and each other.  The connection builds between them, but nowhere near as quickly and intensely as the passion that has simmered under the surface for millennia explodes.   With the sacrifices, challenges and interference of others, the pull between them just might not be enough to form a solid foundation for a relationship; However, when the past is uncovered and they each allow their hearts to accept, Reaver and Harvester understand that being meant for each other doesn’t necessarily mean finding each other will be easy, only that once they overcome their problems, the life they build will be more of a paradise than any heaven they’ve ever known.
Reaver, a former angel, turned unfallen, returned to angel, is one of those men with so many layers, an onion wouldn’t even begin to be a proper analogy. From the very beginning of the series when I first met Reaver, I have loved his character.  He is completely irreverent, sarcastic, caustic, and rebellious, but at the same time he is caring, sexy, intriguing, and has a softer side for his grown children and their kids. The issues that Reaver has worked through during the series have already led him through some extreme changes, but as he regains his missing memories and learns more about himself he becomes even more likeable.  The sexiness however never fades, simply becomes more and more irresistible; Sexiness which Harvester can certainly attest to, though she would probably be reluctant to do so. Harvester on the other hand was a character that always rubbed me the wrong way, seeing how she treated those around her and manipulated her surroundings, kinda ticked me off.  Just goes to show that sometimes not only do you need to look beyond the cover of the book and read between the lines as well, but sometimes you have to wait until the epilogue to make a truly informed opinion of a character. And Harvester is just such a character. Learning the truth about not just her motivations, but also full details of her actions gives one a whole new idea of the meaning of sacrifice.  She has spent millennia acting a part, one that has slowly eroded at her soul, but once she reached her goal and the truth came out, instead of getting her just rewards, she I punished with eternal torment at the hands of her once angelic father. While I have certainly changed my tune about Harvester, seeing her work through her issues with her past, learning to trust again, and finding her heart with Reaver, made me like her even more.  I will say that her sassiness, sarcasm, and acerbic attitude didn’t lessen a bit when she finds her inner angel again, which I am thankful for because this is one of my favorite parts of her character. Reaver was definitely one of my favorite books, and one of the primary reasons was Harvester herself, as she is an amazing woman, an extremely well written character, and a force for good in a way that has never been written before.
Normally I try not to give away too much of the story in my reviews, and I will do my best to continue with that practice, but I feel I must give away a bit in this paragraph to share the awesomeness that is this story. So… SPOILER ALERT… The overall plot for this story has been building for millennia.  When the memories of their past are returned to Reaver and Harvester, and they learn the truth about their previous lives as angels, friends, and lovers, you can literally feel your heart breaking for both of them.  They have spent thousands of years beating each other up, torturing each other and keeping secrets, even if unintentionally.  What Harvester goes through to keep Reaver safe, but then watching the torture for him continue, is something that I would never wish on my worst enemy. When Reaver’s wings are taken right before our eyes, my heart bleeds and the tears ran down my face freely.  It was one of the most painful experiences to read about, and it wasn’t even from Reaver’s POV, but perhaps experiencing it through the eyes and love of Harvester was what made it so gut-wrenching. When Harvester and Reaver defy the very heavens to be together at last, kicking ass left and right and finally allowing their happiness to come first all I could think was “Hell YEAH, about damn time”. And finding out that Reaver has an evil twin, exaclty his opposite in every way? Earth shattering and so NOT expected, but so well done. War between heaven and earth is imminent and the next book should be even more complicated and earth-shaking. And I just have to say that Raphael, setting Harvester up to force her into his bed, working against Reaver, and planning to kidnap Limos’s unborn child, reaffirms my belief that even heavenly forces can have a dark and sinister self-interest to their actions; NOT COOL Raphael. (Spoilers over)
Reaver has been a long awaited experience, one that has taken us a long time to reach and one that has left me so shaken that it took me over a week before I could collect my thoughts enough to write my review, which is the highest compliment I can give.  Reaver and Harvester overcome extreme challenges and defeat terrifying foes, be they earthly, demonic or even heavenly, finally coming out on top and being able to find their HEA, despite all odds.  The passion between Reaver and Harvester is something that we have only seen peeking through in the past when they argued or battled, but when they turned those passions to pleasing one another, the heat goes through the stratosphere.  Once the trust is returned, and they both understand just what they have each sacrificed, the love builds into something that we can see lasting for many, many, millennia more.  These two characters carry the book, reminding readers that even as the universe begins to unravel, with heaven and hell coming apart at the seams, the most important thing to fight for is love—love between mates, love of parents and children, and the love of friends and family, ones that have been there for you through it all. Reaver reminds us of the importance of having love in our lives, offering forgiveness for others and more importantly for ourselves, and that no matter how the world falls apart around you, if you find that special someone who completes your life, you grab hold of them and don’t let them go now matter where the storms may toss you.  Another Master must be crowned, Larissa Ione is a wonderful author, full of amazing stories to share and having been blessed to read her series there is only one thing I can say: MORE PLEASE, I beg you!.

Rating: 5 stars

Rose Rating: 

*ARC provided by publisher for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Sunday, December 1, 2013

ARC Review: Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge (Sins Brothers #2)

by 

Blurb:

The One Man She Can't Have
Matt Dean was born to fight…and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he's gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho…and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.
The One Woman He Can't Resist
Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She's spent years running from her own past—the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt's strong arms offer her protection, and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she's ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt's past and putting everything—and everyone—he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?

Review:

The action never ends with these sexy, sinful brothers.  This second book in the series delves more into the life of Matt, the oldest of all the Gray/Dean brothers.  The series, about a quartet of genetically enhanced and sexy as hell brothers has taken us through the entire gamut of human emotion from terror to passion to love.  Zanetti hasn't yet written anything I didn’t like, but I have enjoyed this series even more than others of hers I have read.  Seeing the sweeter and gentler sides of these warriors as they fall in love and lose their hearts to the women that capture them in their webs, shows us that being an alpha male doesn’t mean being immune to emotions.   If you have read the Ghostwalker series by Christine Feehan you might feel the similar themes, but Zanetti has her own dark twists and turns that show her unique voice and writing style.
Matt Dean is determined to find a way to save his brothers from the sword that is hanging over their heads—guaranteeing their deaths in under six weeks if they aren't able to eliminate the threat. He has traveled to the small town of Charmed following a lead on the doctor they think can save them, but circumstances have placed him directly in the path of the sweet and sexy Laney Jacobs. Laney seems to be a woman that is too brave for her own good, and Matt is determined to keep her safe while using the job she provides him for cover during his investigation. Laney is wary of letting Matt into her life; she knows he’s a dangerous man, though she doesn’t fear for her safety at all when he is around and the confusion of those emotions terrifies her.  Laney has a dark past that she has been running from herself, one that she thought she had escaped when she settled in the small town with her new bar.   But as bodies start turning up around them, Matt and Laney realize that neither of them are safe from their pasts and when the truth is revealed to them both, a wedge is driven between them that they might not be able to overcome.  But as the danger mounts, their only option is to work together to overcome their common enemy and to bring any safety back into their lives.
Both of the main characters in this story had the unique problem of hiding their pasts from one another which added another layer of intensity to their relationship, mainly due to the temporary natures that is required of relationships soaked in secrets.  Matt is obviously a strong and determined alpha male, but the loyalty and love he shows for his family give him depth and individuality that we sometimes lose in alpha males.  His single minded focus on fulfilling his mission in time to save his brothers doesn’t get in the way of his connection with Laney, but seeing that focus turned on her is often blazing hot and irresistible.  Whether he is kicking ass and taking names or caring for and soothing his woman, we get to see the multifaceted nature of a loving but dangerous man.  Laney, however, had her hands full with Matt, unprepared for his intensity as he explodes into her life.  While she is determined to experience that sexual intensity, she will not let him have her heart or control her life.  She has worked hard to overcome her past, but when the shit hits the fan (excuse the crude expression but really there is no other way to describe it), she steps up and shows her strength as she works with Matt to keep them both alive and get them to safety.  Seeing her strength, while still maintaining the softness needed to counter the harder side of Matt was a very well written delicate balance.
This continuation of the Sins Brothers series is one that will leave you flat out spellbound; with action, betrayal, passion, emotion, and plot twists that leave you stunned, you will be on the edge of you seat through the entire book.  As the six week timeline quickly comes closer, you feel the urgency in these men and seeing them fall in love so quickly but deeply reminds us that the time you know someone doesn’t dictate the feelings that develop.  Though Matt and Laney haven’t know each other long, the trust (hard earned to be sure) and love that they ultimately share is too deep to be denied or overlooked, leading them both into hard decisions and life changing moves.  Matt is a sexy, sweet, and dangerous man that will leave your heart beating out of your chest, while Laney is a softhearted, but stubborn woman that is his perfect match (other than me of course).  The big reveal in this one comes with an earth shattering suddenness and the aftershocks certainly spread through several of the small side plots, leaving you wondering how Zanetti interweaves all these characters and their complicated actions into one big conspiracy, I mean seriously what an imagination. If you haven’t read book one of the series, fear not, because you get plenty of details and back-story to keep you from being lost, but I still recommend you run out and buy Shane’s story too.  We also get a bit more info on the plot of Nate’s coming story and,wow, I imagine that one will be another story full of shocks, twists, and fiery arguments.  That book is already on my wish list and I promise I will be right at the front of the line to get Blind Faith when it comes out next year. 

Rating: 4.25 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mini-Review: Christmas In Tahoe

Christmas in Tahoe

by  

Blurb:

Silicon Valley actuary Ann Smith is an expert at calculating probabilities, but lately the odds haven’t been in her favor. Two years ago her fiancĂ© died a week before their planned Christmas wedding, leaving Ann heartbroken and alone. When a friend suggests heading up to Lake Tahoe for a long Christmas weekend of skiing, wine, and relaxation, Ann thinks it might be just the thing to help get her life back on track. But Ann’s plans go awry when her friend cancels at the last minute, and Ann ends up driving to Tahoe with Chase Deckert, a sexy snowboarder who pushes all her buttons.
Chase Deckert is a man who lives by his own rules. A few years ago his business partner betrayed him by selling out their biomedical research for a quick profit. Chase left science far behind and now spends his days snowboarding in Tahoe, wanting nothing to do with the dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley. Chase has closed his mind and his heart and only believes in one thing: fate. But fate seems to be in a giving mood, because joining him for Christmas is a brave, beautiful woman who shows him the true meaning of the season and helps him rediscover a part of himself he’d long forgotten.
Fueled by the mountain scenery, the season, and their unbelievable chemistry, Ann and Chase end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than they ever imagined possible. Can one long, steamy Christmas help them realize they’re meant to be together? Or when the holiday is over will they be right back where they started?

Review:

Wow, though I’ve never been to Tahoe or really seen the mountains, after reading Elisabeth Barrett’s new Holiday story I feel like I was there with her H/H racing down the slopes and sitting inside a snow locked cabin in the mountains.  I have always been partial to Holiday romances because it seems to make the love affairs even more magical and this story was an excellent addition to my holiday collection.  Set in, of course, snowy Lake Tahoe, our story introduces us to two people who have been burned in life, by love, luck, and circumstance.  Showing us the need to overcome the sadness that life throws at us, Barrett gives us the moving story of a woman who has lost herself in recent years and is determined to regain her independence and a man that has forced himself into an isolated lifestyle to keep anyone from penetrating his walls.  But when these two come together there can only be life changing experiences and the fiery explosions of two passionate individuals.
Ann has had a tough few years, losing her fiancĂ©, but more importantly losing herself in his loss, and she needs to come to terms with her new single status and find her inner strength again.  The plan is simple: a girls' weekend in Tahoe with her friend, over Christmas, to allow her to put the past to bed and start fresh. But the plan goes awry from the beginning when her friend is detained and sends Chase to take Ann to Tahoe instead.  Instantly Ann finds an intense attraction to Chase, one that has been missing for a long time, and though she is wary of him at first, his courteous actions and determination to take care of her form an immediate bond.  When they finally make it to Tahoe, the joy Ann finds with Chase as they play together on the mountain begins to bring her back to life and reminds her how much having someone to share the fun of life matters. Chase is falling hard for Ann, sees the courage so many overlook in her and knows that being with her is wonderful.  However, can he give up the hurt he has nursed for so long so he can have a future with her and find himself again too?
Christmas in Tahoe was a great holiday read, but I think that the spirit of the romance could be enjoyed any time of the year.  The magic between Ann and Chase is apparent from the instant they set eyes on one another.  Whether they are playing, loving, or just talking through their past hurts together, you can see that they understand each other and the deep connection between them is undeniable. The passion between them was certainly an integral part of the story, but the emotions they explore together; the building of their relationship, while fast was meaningful and believable—which so many shorter romances are not.  I would love to see an epilogue or maybe a connected story down the line, because though I know that Chase and Ann have found their HEA, seeing them again would be great since they were such enjoyable characters.  I haven’t read many of Ms. Barrett’s stories but if they are all like this, I will definitely be reading any future stories I can get.  Thanks for an awesome holiday fix!

Rating: 5 stars

Rose Rating: 

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Friday, November 29, 2013

ARC Review: Unclaimed

Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend #5)

by 

Blurb:

Tatiana Winters, from the Timber Wolf clan, is a spirited veterinarian who wants nothing to do with the Amoveo—the ancient race of shape-shifters who live secretly among humans. But when the Amoveo Prince's horses fall sick, Tatiana reluctantly heads to his ranch to help.
When she meets Dominic Trejada, a handsome warrior from the Tiger Clan, they instantly clash and sparks ignite. But when danger stalks near, they will have to find a way to trust each other if they want to stay alive.

Review:

Once again the animal natures that we have come so far from and deny we even have are brought to the forefront in this magical story of two shifters that fate and circumstances have pushed together allowing them to find the undying and abiding love that we all search for: a true mate for eternity. The Amoveo series is one that has captured my attention from the very beginning and one that I am thrilled to know will keep my attention until the very end. Sara Humphreys brings to life the animal shifters that fill our imagination and show us the more human side of animals while revealing the animal natures that all humans still have deep inside them.  The story of two people, brought together by fate, but unwilling to allow the fickle nature of fate to dictate how they live their lives.  Can they overcome the nature of their fated mating to see the uniquely special chance they have to find love and happiness in each other’s arms?  If you haven’t read any of the previous stories you might be a bit lost on the overall storyline, but you will enjoy this book alone and you won’t be disappointed by Dominic and Tatiana’s story.
Tatiana's reluctance to immerse herself in the Amoveo world begins her story, and is ultimately the one factor that could make or break her future.  Tatiana’s beloved sister, Layla, contacts her on behalf of the leaders of the Amoveo, requesting she travel to their stronghold to assist with an emergency medical insult to their beloved horses.  Though she is more than reluctant, she can’t let her sister down.  She travels  to their ranch in the mountains, determined to just get the animals taken care of and then get the hell out of town. But once again Fate decides to play with her life, placing her directly in the path of her destined mate, the one being she never wanted to cross paths with.  Dominic is a sexy man, and the attraction between them is immediate and terrifyingly intense.  When he expresses his own desire to forgo mating, to maintain his position as a Guardian, Tatiana believes she has cheated fate, but in the end the desire and emotions wrapped around them become too much.  When their feelings become entangled, leading them both down a road they never wanted to travel, Dominic and Tatiana have to decide if the happiness they find together is worth the compromises to their desired paths or if they will live apart, denying the instinctual need to be together.
Tatiana is stubborn, hardheaded and determined to thwart destiny at every turn.  Though she understands the concept of fated mates, she refuses to acknowledge that it has any role in their choice of who to love, marry, or build a life with.  Resisting the connection between her and Dominic is difficult, but her willfulness is one of the very things that attracts Dominic to her in the first place.  I loved how strong she was, but at some point I just wanted to tell her to grow up and get real.  Though he is her destined mate, the emotions they feel for one another are real and the fates cannot force love to blossom—more it just allows the one person who is most perfectly matched to find you and gives you undeniable hints to allow you to find that mate.  Dominic is a wonderful man.  Though he has his moments of pigheadedness as well, he comes to tryst in his feelings much more quickly and gives his heart to Tatiana wholly, determined to show her in the only ways he knows how deep that love really goes. At turns he is sweet, dangerous, brave, and cowardly; while his own emotions often terrify him, he will not allow Tatiana to hide from his or her own, forcing her to accept their connection and showing her just how great they could be together.  He also has some wickedly sexy uses for his magic, a few that I would love to experience firsthand.
The romantic and sensual connection between mates is well portrayed by Tatiana and Dominic’s mating.  While their minds tell them repeatedly to stay away, that desire for one another runs too deep to be denied.   The passion that pulls them together leads to heated arguments and ever more sizzling make-up sessions.  As their bodies and animal natures tell them they are meant to be together, pushing their bodies to the brink and making their animals crazy, neither seems willing to give up the path they have traveled all their lives, just for a relationship.  And as the sex gets more intense, bringing with it a deepening of other emotions as well, both of them learn more about their own natures and discover that having a perfect mate might not be so bad after all. Seeing their friends and the connections they have to their mates, brings conflicting feelings to the forefront too, making them both wonder if having a life together might well be worth the sacrifice of their previous plans.
The overall storyline that has moved through the entire series came to some interesting and unexpected conclusions as well, and I fear that since most of the loose ends have been wrapped up, soon the series will come to an end—unless there are some drastic new developments. The purists continue to plague the Amoveo, leaving the Loyalists to clean up the mess left by the demolition of the Purist breeding program.  That gave this story some heart-wrenching drama that will probably be the focus of the next book in the series.  On the other hand are the human hunters out to kill the Amoveo, ones that are finding new and terrifying allies, but thankfully this seems to be a longstanding problem. Hopefully this will allow for future drama to provides continued stories in the series.
Unclaimed is a story about love, fate, betrayal and fighting the circumstances that often leave us fighting out own natures to the very end.  Dominic and Tatiana have a tumultuous and fiery courtship, one that leads them through treacherous water and teaches them both that sometimes changing their plans is necessary to find their true path to happiness. The dangers around them intensify their emotions and make it even more imperative that they learn to trust one another and with trust they might well develop love. I cried a bit near the end when a startling truth about one of their friends was discovered, one that I’m sure will be looked into in more depth during the next book (HOPE HOPE HOPE), but sometimes the beliefs we hold must be painfully shattered before the truth can be faced and true happiness discovered. Sara Humphreys is rapidly proving herself to become a true force to be reckoned with, bringing her Amoveo shifters to life and allowing us into the world she created for them.  Cannot wait for whatever happens next, and hopefully the series will last a long time.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Thursday, November 21, 2013

ARC Review: Prince of Shadows

Prince of Shadows (Paladin Warriors #3)

by Tes Hilaire 

Blurb:

Valin has never quite fit in among the rest of his Paladin brothers. His power to manipulate darkness and slip into the shade puts him at odds with the Paladin's purpose of eradicating evil with the power of God's Light. Only his dark edged humor hides his true nature from his brothers.
But when he meets the vampire, Gabriella, something he thought was long buried begins to awaken within him. It is forbidden for a warrior of the Light to love a creature of the Dark. But maybe he was never made for the Light to begin with…

Review:

The saga of the great warriors for heaven, the Paladins—former angels sent to earth to combat the evil that plagues mankind—returns for the third installment. Tes Hilaire's series is one that I can never go into with any expectations because for sure they will be challenged at every stage.  The overall story of these warriors is ever changing as well, but with each new story the characters change and become more and more interesting.  Valin's story was one that was, at turns, frustrating and amazing, as these two very damaged individuals came together and learned to trust and love again.  Tears, laughs, action and emotion build this story up and teach us all that having faith is the only way to every reach a happy ending. Can’t wait to see what happens next in this series.
Valin's story begins with his search for the vampire who stole his heart at the end of a previous big battle, though most believe she is dead. Valin knows that the pretty redhead is still alive and he won’t give up until he finds her.  When he stumbles upon her one night while patrolling, he can’t keep himself from following after her and using all his powers to find her again.  When he does finally locate her, he is surprised to find she is working with a group of warriors who are battling the same evil, but trying to stay under the radar of the Paladin warriors. Gabriella is determined to keep her distance from the frustratingly sexy Valin, though he makes it harder every moment they are together.   Working together seems to be a logical choice, especially since Valin refuses to leave her side, but as they grow closer and their emotions become entangled, the danger to their hearts and missions becomes too great to risk.
Valin is one of those characters that falls into the most interesting category; neither wholly light nor dark, he exists in the realm of gray, the realm of shadows where he feels most at home, until he meets Gabriella, who brings more light to his world and reminds him that fighting for the good in the world is his most important mission. He is definitely one of the sexiest men around, and his inherent gift gives him the special addition of often ending up butt-naked! And really who could complain about that little added pleasure.  While he is strong willed and determined, to be sure, he has a bit of a soft underbelly that only Gabriella gets to experience.  Gabriella has her own issues she is dealing with, being a daughter of a terrifyingly disturbed demoness, unknown to her father, and turned vampire by the most sadistic of vampires that have ever existed. She knows that letting Valin into her heart will put them both in more danger, but resisting him is harder for her than accepting her imminent death.  Gabbie is definitely a badass chick, but even when she is kicking ass, she goes out of her way to protect those around her, whether friend or family, to ensure they survive no matter the cost.
Valin and Gabbie are connected from the moment they met in the caves where she was held hostage, though Gabbie denies it with her every breath. Valin is determined, once he catches her, that Gabbie won’t get away from him again. When he finally corners her, forces her to deal with the connection between them, the passion that flares is palpable to the reader in every word of the page. Valin knows that it won’t be easy to keep Gabbie from pulling away from him, but he refuses to give up and makes damn sure that he uses all the tools in his arsenal to win the war for her heart. Gabbie on the other hand doesn’t want to have these feelings for Valin, but finds herself too deeply involved from the start.  When the end comes, both Valin and Gabbie sacrifice it all for one another and only the intervention of an extremely unexpected individual will allow them to earn their HEA.
Overall this story was one that left me crying, laughing, and thrilled.  We got to know several more characters in the Paladin contingent as well as the troops of half human/half Paladin warriors. Valin and Gabbie are both interesting characters in their own rights, but seeing them working together, loving together, and finally finding their HEA, through a bit of terrifyingly heartbreaking and ultimately remarkable circumstances, far surpassed the greatness of their individuality.  The heat between them is amazing to observe and seeing them together in the end despite it all shows that their faith was rewarded. Tes Hilaire certainly has a unique take on the war of good and evil and all the troops for both sides. I can’t wait to see where she will take the Paladin warriors and their allies in the coming pages of the series.  The one thing I always take from her books is that change is eternal and embracing the changes in ourselves and others is the only way to understand the world around us and within us as well. Can’t wait to find out what’s next!

Rating: 4 stars

Rose Rating:

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Friday, November 15, 2013

Mini-Review: A Vampire's Christmas Carol

A Vampire's Christmas Carol

by  

Blurb:

This holiday season has bite.
Ben Prescott hates Christmas—he’s a vampire, and to him, there’s certainly nothing jolly about the holiday season. While the humans are running around being merry, he’s hunting in the shadows. Ben plans to spend the holidays his way…by stalking deadly prey.
But fate has other plans for Ben.
Three visitors are coming Ben’s way…A demon who will force Ben to face his past, a ghost who will show Ben the present he could have, and a shifter who will reveal the darkness that waits in Ben’s future. Unless Ben can change his ways, he may just turn into a real monster, one who can’t be saved by anyone or anything.
’Tis the season…to be undead.
Ben’s redemption rests in the hands of the one woman he loved and lost—Simone Laurent. If Ben is going to have a chance at being more than just the beast in the darkness, he has to prove himself to the lovely Simone. A very hard task, considering that, once upon a Christmas Eve, Simone died in Ben’s arms…

Review:

I admit I have only read a few of Cynthia Eden’s stories, usually when they were in an anthology with an author or story that I just loved, but this story though short was a pretty good read.  I went in to the story expecting an interesting twist on the classic Dickens story and I got just that, with some hot loving thrown in, of course.  I will say that I enjoy Eden’s writing style and her imagination can’t be criticized, but I do often find myself lacking that connection with her stories that I love in a good romance or erotica story. That being said, I did enjoy AVCC and would happily read her stories again.
This version of the classic begins with Ben, an avenging vampire, being confronted by his demon friend, aptly named William Marley, who prevents Ben from making his latest kill and begins the redemption of Ben’s soul. Ben travels with William to his past and shows him the night that be became a vamp and the night he lost the love of his life, forcing him to relieve the pain and face the truths of those actions.  Then his lost love Simone returns to him as his second visitor of the night and shows him the hidden parts of his present to teach him that things are not always as they seem.  But the moment they are together Ben can’t resist renewing their love and Simone is more than willing to be taken by Ben.  When her time is up, Ben’s final visitor shows him the true horror that his future holds if he doesn’t change his ways, prompting Ben to remember the man he was before he became a vampire and find the light within himself.  Unfortunately, this chance as redemption for Ben comes at a high price and when the secrets of his past come to light, will Ben be redeemed or fall into the never ending dark, dragging down the only light he’s ever had when he falls?
Ben and Simone’s story was short but heartfelt, sexy but emotional, and one that has enough imagination to make this spin on the classic one that I plan to enjoy each holiday season.  It was fun seeing Ben forced to face the changes within himself, but also uncovering secrets that were kept from him for many years.  Simone is certainly a very angelic woman, sacrificing her happiness to make sure that Ben doesn’t turn into a monster, knowing that the goodness inside him is worth redeeming, that their love is enough to fill him with light.  Eden handles the twists well and gives you a very enjoyable journey into human nature and the true nature of the season and love.  I haven’t enjoyed many of the twists on Christmas Carol I’ve seen or read, but Ben and Simone were a great couple and their story was great.  I would have loved to see it be a bit longer, maybe getting a little more time to rekindle their love, but I guess for the short time they have together they definitely brought the heat and naughty togetherness I was hoping for.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Rose Rating: 

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Darkness Awakened

Darkness Awakened (Darkness #1)

by Katie Reus 

Blurb:

Years ago he ended things between them to protect her…
As leader of one of the fiercest werewolf packs in the south, Finn Stavros is in full battle mode 24/7. He has no choice—he’s one of the few beings strong enough to fight the Akkadian demons, whose mysterious escape from hell threatens the entire world. With the battle turning bloodier by the second, Finn is ready for anything…until his vampire long lost love shows up on his doorstep in desperate need of his help, sending his heart into a tailspin. He agrees to help her, unaware that she carries a shocking secret that will turn his life upside down.
This time, he’s not letting her go…
Vampire Lyra Marius curses the day she met Finn. The ruthless werewolf promised to love her forever, but he rejected her instead—before she could share her life altering news. Pregnant, kicked out of her coven, and cast aside by the love of her life, Lyra struggled to raise their rare shifter-vampire daughter Vega alone among humans. When the 16-year-old is kidnapped and used to fulfill a frightening prophecy, Lyra swallows her pride and turns to Finn for help. But how long can she fight her feelings for him and keep him from guessing the truth about who Vega really is? As they race against the clock to save their daughter, they must defeat the lethal threat imposed by demons infiltrating the human world and a hell gate that could not only reveal their existence to mankind, but destroy the world in the process.

Review:

Another great new series by author Katie Reus begins with Darkness Awakened, a story of lost love, rediscovery and the power of family and love. While I have read several of Reus's series in the past, I have only began the Moon Shifters series which I suspect provided the basis for this series as there are many similarities.  I have enjoyed this new series and am looking forward to more, and though this story was shorter than I expected, it was no less a great novel and an interesting introduction to a fascinating world of supernatural beings.  Reus writes with extreme attention to detail, a deep understanding of “human” emotion, and a unique twist on many supernatural myths, but the best and most important part of any Reus novel is the ability to take two such different people and bring them together in a deep and lasting love that will leave you breathless in wonder and share the passion of the ages with you. 
DA begins with Lyra returning to the one man that she has always loved, the one who turned her away seventeen years ago, seeking his help in rescuing her daughter who has been kidnapped by someone that wants to use her blood to open a portal to hell. Finn is amazed and terrified all at once to have Lyra back in his life, to have another chance to keep her at his side, but the fear she is facing is one that could force the distance between them even wider if he doesn’t help her overcome it and save her daughter. But as they get closer and closer to saving Vega, uncovering treachery and working together, Lyra’s guilt over the secret she holds makes feeling any connection with Finn impossible to deal with.  But the passion between them has never died and when they are unable to keep from embracing that heat, Lyra is forced again to try to reveal the secret she has kept for decades.  And when the secret comes out everything changes for them all forever. 
Finn is sexy as hell for sure, though I expect nothing less from Reus, but sexy is just the beginning of the draw of Finn.  Loyal, steadfast, and strong, Finn is the ultimate Alpha male.  He is sweet and loving to those that make up his family and provides the security that they need to feel safe and grow.  He leads his pack with a strong and fair hand while maintaining the wisdom and guidance that has made all great leaders loved.  When he is around Lyra and Vega you see the softer side of Finn and it makes you melt, even as you cry for all the lost time he and Lyra have suffered. Lyra is a kick ass momma and a great female lead.  She is determined to do whatever it takes to keep her daughter safe, even sacrificing her own heart and sanctuary to return to Finn and beg for his help.  But seeing him again brings up all the feelings she had turned from and smothered since he kicked her to the curb.  She is a strong woman …er vampire, and a mother bear who you don’t want to keep from her cub.  When she is in action, fighting for her safety and her family’s, she is deadly grace and when she is snuggling with her man she is a wildcat that will make any man sweat. Together Finn and Lyra are explosive, whether in the bedroom, fighting together, or fighting each other, and it is beyond sexy to see the fireworks between them even after being apart for almost two decades. 
The best thing about any supernatural story is the chance to explore different worlds and different species.  Reus does that better than most, not limiting her stories to just werewolves or vampires but bringing in many different beings: dragons, demons, jaguars, and even hybrids.  Finn and Lyra break your heart, fill your soul, and make you flash hot as they rediscover their love and rekindle the passion that made them so great together all those years ago. Working through their problems as they find a way to save Vega and bring them together as a family, shows Lyra and Finn the great team they make and shows us that even though love can sometimes be pushed away it never dies and all it takes is a spark to bring it back to burning conflagration. This great new series is one that I am looking forward to venturing deeper into.  I’m hoping Victoria and “Drake” are the next to get a book (hint hint), but whatever comes next I know I will enjoy it immensely and look forward to the next in the Darkness series.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.