Friday, August 29, 2014

Mini-review: Necessary Force

Necessary Force (K-9 Rescue 0.5)

by D.D. Ayres 


It was supposed to be a sexy calendar shoot to raise money for K-9 service dogs. Photographer Georgie Flynn never expected to break all her personal rules and jump into bed with one of the hunky men posing. And after their steamy night together, she certainly never expected to see him again…despite their powerful connection.
When she's targeted by a stalker and possible bomber, Georgie finds that her gorgeous one-night stand is the only one who can help.
Brad Lawson, an FBI operative, and his K-9 bomb sniffing partner are assigned to protect the pretty photographer--and this time, he’s determined to keep things professional. He just didn't count on their explosive connection rekindling. But with a deadly threat on the horizon, will he be able to keep his body’s demands in check and complete his mission?
Themes: contemporary, suspense
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Dog lovers and lovers of sexy men in uniform will find their dreams melding in this new series by DD Ayres, with each hero being a K-9 handler for different military and police agencies.  So I can say for sure my dreams came true when I read this new first book.  The story is great in its simplicity and sexy in the ways these two individuals develop their relationship through adversity and danger.  I have never read anything by this author and was thrilled to stumble across it one day when cruising Netgalley.  I am really looking forward to where this series will venture in the future.
The story revolves around the one-night stand that should never have happened between FBI agent Brad Lawson and Photojournalist Georgie Flynn.  Though there is irresistible attraction between them Brad is determined to make sure that their rapidly developing feelings or one another don’t interfere with his investigation or protecting Georgie from the danger swirling around her.  But sometimes the chemistry is just too much to resist and when the truth of the danger Georgie is really in becomes clear, only that trust and connection between them and keep them safe, and prevent a disaster for an entire city.
I really loved both of these characters and found myself wishing their story wasn’t just a novella, but I can see how they were the perfect characters to pull you into a new series.  Georgie’s an investigative photographer, known for her dramatic capturing of danger, disaster, and tragedy, but she is also willing to use her skills doing a favor for a friend.  But when that favor pulls her into the sphere of sexy and dangerous to her heart Brad Lawson, she never imagined it would turn into anything more than one night of passion and she was fine with that.  She was a character that has led such an interesting life you are left wanting to know SO much more about her, while knowing that her strength and greatness comes not from her experience but her adventurous spirit and determination.   
Brad is an enigma in a lot of ways.  An operative who broke so many rules, falling into lust and bed with a target of his investigation, but though he hasn’t stopped thinking about her since, he never imagined he’d have to deal with her again.  When they are thrown together he tries valiantly to make sure that their past relationship doesn’t interfere with his job, trying to keep her at a distance, and though this is frustrating to both Georgie and the reader, you can see how his ethics and moral restraint make him a better man, but in the end his feelings for Georgie make his job easier instead of harder, with their trust bridging the gap between personal and professional to save the day.
Overall this seems like an extremely intriguing new series, one that will have drama, laughs, and sweetness, and of course we will get to see the connection that can develop between man and dog as they work together to overcome enormous odds.  The characters are vivid, the drama well thought out, and the additions of these animals can offer lightness in the most intense situations.  Georgie is a woman to envy, one who has obviously lived her life on her terms and to the fullest, even though she hasn’t yet found Mr. Right.  Likewise Brad has had some amazing experiences, but when he meets Georgie, even under extremely adverse circumstances he is unable to deny their connection.  I liked seeing them dancing around each other as they tried and failed to maintain a distance in their interactions, but was thrilled they finally gave into their feelings and found a way to be together.  The drama and bigger plot line was kind of sad and very much unexpected right up until the “villain” is uncovered.  I think I can say in all honesty this author has captivated me in a way that I haven’t been in a while; I am dying to know what the next story in the K-9 rescue series will hold for us.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ARC Review: It's in His Kiss

It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10)

by Jill Shalvis


Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.
Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
The sexy men of Lucky harbor are back with a vengeance in this new trilogy, set in the larger Lucky Harbor series.  I began the series on a lark when I found book one in my local used book store and it was the best fifty cents of my life. I have enjoyed every second to this point and even love the other series I have tried by this author, so if you enjoy a good romance with lots of laughs and sweetness you can never go wrong with any Shalvis novel.  This newest trilogy revolves around three best friends who own one of the adventure companies in Lucky Harbor and the women that steal their hearts.  Book one is about Boatbuilder and financial guru for the group, Sam, who we met in previous books and the new girl to town who spells trouble for him in a lot of ways.  While I have heard rumors this might be the last trilogy in the lucky harbor series I can only say I hope the rumors are wrong, because the characters in this town are for lack of a better word true characters and getting to see glimpses of all the previous couples as they move forward together is great.
Becca’s story begins with her arrival at the edge of the country, dipping her toes into the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  She has been trying to find her own life for a while now, having always been the support system for others, often to her own determent. She has arrived in the small town of Lucky Harbor hoping for a fresh start and when she sees the sexy surfer on the beach she never imagines how important he would become to her new life.  Sam finds the woman on the beach talking to herself more than a little sexy, but he has no interest in anything more than quick sex with any woman, no entanglements, and no emotional connections.  But from the very beginning things are different with Becca; his emotions are pulled by her spirit and the vulnerability that she tries too hard to hide.  When she comes to work for him and his partners, against his better wishes, he forces himself to try to keep things professional between them, but really he had no hope of that.  Only when things become even more entangled for them both, the deeper emotions that develop begin to terrify Sam and the question becomes whether he can accept the truth of their love or not.
Sam is one of those characters that has always reminded me of a snapping turtle; when messy emotions are involved he pulls back into his shell, but when you get too close to him he will snap and try to hurt you to make you leave.  He has issues from his past that continue to spill over into his present life, coming back to bite him at the most inopportune moments in his life.  He is obviously a character with a troubled past, but the way he deals with them as he interacts with his friends and Becca shows that he has not ever accepted his past or overcome it. I was a bit disappointed with how he treated Becca, pulling her in trying to make her open up, then pushing her away as she tried to learn more about him.  I will say that he finally pulled his head out of his ass and redeemed himself so he was worthy of Becca, but it took awhile.
Becca on the other hand is obviously trying her hardest to live her life away from the dangerous and unhealthy relationships with her family and her past. Deciding it was time for a change she has left her hometown, her job, and to a great extent her family behind, traveling across the country in an effort to try to get a fresh start.  Becca’s adventurous spirit is hidden behind some fears but Sam is able to bring it out of her in a lot of situations, even though she resists him at every turn.  When she goes to work for the guys, she never thought it would interfere with any chance she has of having a relationship with Sam, but she needs this job to try finding a way to shine in her new home.  Finding herself drawn into his life again and again, Sam finds his way into hers, and she decides not to fight the attraction between them and give them a shot, even though Sam doesn’t seem to want them to be anything more than what they are.  I liked seeing her come out of her shell and shine as a member of the team with the guys and also as a woman who is determined to get her man.  The troubles with her family are also addressed just the way they should have been, instead of her taking on more of their problems she challenges them to finally step up to the plate for themselves.
Sam and Becca were a different type of couple, one that you might never imagine would work together, but they are a good example of opposites attracting.  But when you look deeper you see they aren’t really all that different at the base—two characters whose family caused them a lot of heartache and in the end they both found ways to live with those issues, whether right or wrong.  Becca is going to find her place in her new life, without falling back into old patterns and nothing is going to stop her, not even the intense and immediate emotional connection to Sam. Sam has dealt with the blows in his life again and again and found a way to keep his heart from getting too hurt by anyone else, keeping them at an emotional distance.  The overall story is one that revolves just around the changes in these characters lives, while some stories have a continuing battle or villain, this story like many Shalvis novels is based entirely around the emotional changes and challenges that bringing two lives together can pose.  Sam and Becca shine individually as they make changes in their lives, but more importantly they shine together as they support and lean on one another.  I am dying to find out how the upcoming stories in the series will unfold and find out what emotional challenges the H/H will face as they fall in love.  Another wonderfully sweet and heartwarming Shalvis novel.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mini-review: Dangerously Hot

Dangerously Hot (Hostile Operations Team #4)

by Lynn Raye Harris


Former Army linguist Lucky San Ramos escaped with her life, but the scars an evil terrorist leader left on her skin are a constant reminder of her captivity. Now her tormentor is back—and so is the sexy Special Operations soldier she once loved.
HOT operator Kevin “Big Mac” MacDonald rescued Lucky the last time. And then he walked away when he couldn’t be what she needed. When Lucky married his teammate, Kev knew it was for the best. But now Marco is dead and Lucky is no longer safe.
When Kev and Lucky team up to capture a terrorist, they’ll have to pretend to be man and wife on an explosive military mission to a war-torn nation. With time running out and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Kev and Lucky play a perilous game of cat and mouse with a madman during the day.
But at night, they battle the secrets of the past and the sizzling attraction that threatens to endanger the mission. Lucky shouldn’t want the man who abandoned her once before. But the passion between them is sinfully, sensuously, dangerously hot… and proving impossible to resist.
Themes: Paramilitary, suspense, contemporary        
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
I really enjoyed ready Lucky and Kev’s story and seeing all the HOT guys welcome back one of their own.  While there was a lot of tension and fear, Lucky returned to take on the bastard that almost destroyed her once. The story has a lot of flashbacks and reminds us just what Lucky and Kevin have gone through as friends and more.  The team surrounds Lucky, determined to keep her safe, but working together they are able to overcome great obstacles and find a way to make the world safer and for Lucky to get the closure she needs.
I loved Lucky and have been interested in seeing her story for a while now.  There was a lot of her in previous stories, but seeing the full story and being able to experience her and Kevin finally accepting the attraction between them was wonderful.  Lucky is obviously a woman that refuses to hide behind the pretense of safety when she knows she can make a difference in the world.   Pairing her strong but vulnerable nature with Kevin’s deeply passionate and sweet side was like the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate.  Whether they are fighting each other, or with each other against outsiders, you can see that Lucky and Kevin are meant to be together.  When they finally accept that, the passion that sizzles between them finds a perfect outlet in their love. 
The danger that they are facing is one that is so realistic as to be terrifying.  As they race against time and try not to be discovered, we get to see the other side, with the villain discovering things about the good guys that we would never want him to.  And knowing that the bad guys are coming for them sooner than expected leaves you biting your nails and wishing you could warn the HOT team so they don’t get caught in the villain’s web.
Overall, this was a great addition to the series and wrapped up the sub-plot about Lucky just beautifully. I was thrilled to see Lucky push back against Kevin as much as she wanted to have him, just to prevent him from walking all over her heart and leaving her even more devastated.  Watching as Kevin finally comes to terms with his feelings for Lucky, you really begin to understand just how twisted up he has been inside about those feelings all these years.  The fire between them leaps off the pages and sometimes the arguments they have while trying to deny it leave you laughing and wondering how two people so obviously made for each other could be so clueless.  I am looking forward to whatever comes next for these HOT guys.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ARC Review: Stone Cold Lover

Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyles #2)

by Christine Warren


A prominent art restorer, Felicity is more than game to help a friend track down an obscure statue in Montreal. But when "Fil" finds it, she’s taken by surprise at how drawn she is to this statue. Attracted to it in a way a girl shouldn’t lust for a stone gargoyle; she revisits it at night, longing to feel its embrace. Little does Fil know, her desire for this stone cold beast is about to heat up a notch.
Locked in stone for centuries, Spar has slept, waiting for when a human would need him. When he is awoken, Spar is taken aback to find that a human female needs his help. A very sexy woman who’s about to be the victim of a cultist attack. Saving and leaving her should be no problem. But as more questions arise, Spar knows that he cannot rest until Fil is safe in his arms
Themes: paranormal, shifters, magick
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 

Wow who would have ever thought that gargoyles could be so sexy and desirable!?! I was skeptical about this series when I first read that this was Christine Warren’s next project.  While I have been a fan of her Others series, I just couldn’t see how she could pull this one off. But boy am I glad I gave the series a chance. With magic and mystery, demons and Guardians, and sexy as hell men that can shift into deadly and terrifying gargoyles, this series is one that should not be missed. If you missed book one in the series I recommend going back and reading it before this one, because while you get some details you will miss a lot of the subtext and importance without book one in your memory banks.  I cannot wait to see what comes next and just how many of these sexy Guardians are in the world.
Fil and Spar’s story really began in book one when her friend asks her to visit a local museum and check into the rumor about a huge gargoyle sculpture that might be located there.  Fil finds herself drawn inexplicably again and again to the statue and even breaking rules to have more time to visit, but on one such visit her world is turned upside down and inside out.  When the statue awakens, she is face-to-face with the beast that was no sculpture at all, instead he is a Guardian who has awakened from his sleep state at the call of danger.  Spar has been asleep for centuries and when he awakens things just do not seem to be going his way.  First his warden is nowhere in sight and he is forced to deal with the strange and unwelcoming world, and then he has to deal with a very distraught and confused Felicity and the attraction between them that could be his downfall.  As they explore and learn more about the world that exists under the one Fil has always inhabited, the passion between them becomes irresistible and it is obvious that there is more to their attraction than meets the eye.  Can this Guardian keep his mate safe as they battle the darkness and she learns to better understand her powers, or with the darkness consume them both in the end?
Can I just say the best part of any Warren novel is the dry wit and the unexpected humor, even during the darkest of moments, which can leave you laughing so hard it is difficult to keep reading.  Felicity is just the type of character I love by this author.  She’s strong-willed, independent, sarcastic, and irreverent, while also having a vulnerable side and the passion to handle the hero that is thrown in her path.  When she is faced with the truth that she never even knew to look for, she doesn’t break down and cry—too much—but instead fights for her life and finds the humor in her new situation as a host to the sexy and dangerous Guardian she inadvertently awoke from his supernatural sleep. 
Spar is another one of those alpha males that just makes you crazy as you listen to him, but makes you want to drag him into your bed at the exact same moment. After awakening into an ongoing battle, he doesn’t question his actions, just jumps right into the fray to protect Fil and defeat the evil that is threatening them both.  Only when he has insured their safety does he begin to question their new circumstances, showing that the best warriors know how to prioritize any situation.  I liked Spar’s curiosity and his willingness to embrace the new era he has awoken into, getting quite a few laughs out of his opinions on cars, motorcycles and cell phones.  Accepting that Fil is meant for him is a little more difficult, but he only resists the pull for so long, and then the need to be with her is so all consuming that there is really no more denying it.  It is obvious he will do anything and risk a lot to keep the world, and especially Felicity, safe from the spreading darkness.  And when he finally takes her into his arms, you will find yourself wishing and dreaming you were her and could have you very own sexy gargoyle.
In the end you are left with the feeling that real changes might be coming for these guardians and that only by finding their mates and battling together can they ultimately defeat the demons they face and the army of evil magic users that support them.  I loved seeing Fil and Spar interacting, one minute laughing my butt off and another reaching for the ice water the cool down from the passion.  Fil was the ultimate example of adaptability, going with the flow as the world around her morphs and changes into something unrecognizable, while still finding the love of her life and accepting that being with Spar is worth any danger or drama that might come along. Spar is the ultimate warrior, bred entirely to battle back the darkness in the world, and protect others at any cost to himself, but he has never had any personal motivation for the battle as important as his Felicity.  Now that he knows that his mate exists, his highest priority becomes keeping her safe and keeping the world safe enough for her.  I enjoyed watching them working together to defeat their enemies and uncover more of the secrets of their world.  I have a sinking suspicion I know whose story will be next and if I’m correct it will be even greater than the previous novels in the series.  Keep those sexy gargoyles coming my way, Christine, and I can promise you will always have at least one tried and true fan.  Great work!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: Swinger Style

Swinger Style (Hot Rods #5)

by Jayne Rylon


After watching his mother crumble in the face of heartbreak, Holden believes monogamy is bull. New week, new woman, that’s just how
he rolls. Too bad one taste of Sabra Harp leaves him salivating for more.
Sabra was ready for the climb from local news reporter to national anchor—before her pursuit of a story almost destroyed the Hot Rods, whose friendship she has admired from afar. Too bad they all hate her guts. That’s okay, she despises what she’s become too…enough that she’s just told her boss where to stick it.
When Holden drives a drunken Sabra home and puts her to bed, her blatant invitation almost has him following her between the sheets. She’s willing to let him take charge in bed, friends included—and he’s willing to listen to her amazing business proposition, which could rocket the Hot Rods to stardom.
Yet as his friends have paired off, Holden realizes that to participate in their polyamorous games without becoming a third wheel, he needs Sabra. And she needs him…oh, how she needs him.
Warning: Contains a career-driven newswoman/yoga fiend who wants to get twisted up with a Hot Rod or five and a what’s-mine-is-yours guy who likes to watch. One scene with non-explicit drug use takes a Hot Rod to the dark side—good thing this group of friends always has each other’s backs
Themes: Ménage, M/M, erotica
Rating: 5 stars
Heat Rating: 
The Hot Rods are back with a vengeance and there’s no stopping them now.  I have been a fan of this spin-off series from the very beginning and had some seriously high expectations that this series would blow away even the original, Powertools, series.  I have always found myself strangely drawn to the writing of Ms. Rylon ever since I stumbled upon her story Dream Machine, but when I began the Powertools series I never imagineed just how much I would come to rely on her writing and characters to take me out of my head and expand my horizons.  I’d always been a fan of ménage, but never imagined just how complicated that could get when you add so many people sharing love.  And no matter what others might think, Jayne’s stories are all rooted in that most basic of principles—love is not something that can be restricted by society, only by the limitations of a person’s heart.  So to that end, I find myself once again drawn into the multifaceted and sensual world of the Hot Rods and their group dynamics never fail to provide a glimpse of a loving and passionate lifestyle, definitely not for everyone, but one that cannot be denied for those that live it.
Sabra made a mistake the last time her path crossed with the Hot Rods and though she tried to rectify the mistake, the damage was already done.  But she is determined to try to make it up to these amazing people, especially Holden, whose touch lights her up from the inside out and whose dark and dangerous looks leave her yearning for his touch.  When she comes to them with an idea to help them all out, a way to atone for her past misdeeds, there is no mistaking that Holden is reluctant to trust again, not even a little.  Outvoted, Holden is forced to deal with the fact that his issues have to be put aside for the greater good of the group, which pulls Sabra right into his daily sphere.  When the passion that existed from the beginning between them becomes impossible to deny, Holden and Sabra decide that resisting is no longer an option for them.  Their passionate affair becomes even more interesting as Sabra learns more about this family and longs to become a true member, but can Holden handle sharing her with the only people he has ever loved.  And can Sabra force him to accept that the love they have come to share makes becoming a true part of this family all the more important if they are to have a future.
Sabra is a very intriguing character, though we don’t learn a ton about her past, mostly about her present and her hopes for the future.  Meeting her in previous stories we know she is a very driven woman and though she is determined to make a name for herself, she’s not willing to break promises and step on backs to get where she wants to go.  She is genuinely remorseful for the damage she caused and we can see that she is the type of woman that would be a great addition to the group.  Her nature blends so well into the group and as she gives Holden just want he needs from her, she finds a piece of herself that she never realized was missing, one that needs the love this family can offer her, right along with the love of her man.  Holden of course begins the story as a bit of a bastard, unwilling to let past mistakes go, so that he might have a chance with Sabra, someone who obviously turns him inside out every time he is with her.  He is of course sexy as hell, one of those men that draw every eye when he enters a room and his commanding presence makes him a crucial part of the Hot Rods team.  His past has shaped him into a man that finds trusting anyone, especially a woman, almost impossible, but thankfully the love of his chosen family far outweighs the trauma of his past and we get to see him finally come to terms with the fact that love is worth fighting for and fighting to win is the only choice.
I loved the concept of this story, having Sabra using her skills and melding her dreams into a way to not only help herself in the short term, but also allowing her to atone and bring the Hot Rods into the world, making their lives better in the long run.  Though Holden resists her plans, when the group embraces her and her idea, there is no way she will let her own feelings of rejection by Holden keep her from achieving her goals.  Her determination is just one of the things that attracts Holden to her, her inner fire and of course her sensuality being not far behind on his list of reasons for wanting her.  Holden’s past has some real sadness and darkness in it, but seeing him overcome it and embrace a chance at true happiness with Sabra and the Hot Rods, shows the true greatness of this author.  While the passion and the heat is not to be denied, the physical scenes are not what really makes this series so compelling for readers, it’s the emotion that is so apparent between all the characters more than the physical expressions that make any Rylon story and especially this one into a masterpiece.  I will say that I really hated seeing the split that seems to develop between one of the member of the group as he grapples with his own feelings and past, but I won’t spoil that revelation, except to say that the next book CANNOT get here fast enough.  I am already on tenterhooks awaiting Barracuda’s Heart, to see how everything falls out and hoping that the love of this group will once again prevail.  While the sex and passion is a draw for many readers, this is truly a love story and the love is vast and limitless.  
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: Extreme Measures

Extreme Measures (Aegis Security #1)

By Elisabeth Naughton 


Being prepared for any scenario is the trademark of any good CIA operative, and Eve Wolfe is one of the best. But when her latest mission literally explodes in her face, she wakes up labeled a traitor and—even more surprising—in the custody of elite Aegis Security operative and ex-lover Zane Archer. Although she still secretly has feelings for Zane, he’s now demanding the one thing that she can’t give him: the truth.
When he caught her breaking the rules years ago, Zane let Eve walk away without an explanation. Now someone has not only sabotaged Aegis but also turned an American city into a war zone, and all signs point to Eve. Zane needs answers that can come only from Eve’s still-tempting lips, and he finally has the elusive operative right where he wants her—at his mercy.
Themes: contemporary, suspense
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
I have long been a fan of romantic suspense and have lots of favorite authors and series that fall into that category, but I am usually a bit leery when an author whose paranormal romances I have loves decides to expand into the suspense subgenre.  Often it does not turn out well, but I am happy to report that in this case Elisabeth manages to pull it off beautifully.  Her new series looks to be one that will hold my interest for a long while.  Full of intrigue, plot twists, and unexpected pairings it took me a little while to actually figure out who the bad guy really was, though I had my suspicions early on.  That being said I loved Extreme Measures and am looking forward to more in this series.  Hopefully it will be a quick publication schedule because I’m dying to know more about the Aegis team, especially their leader.
This story revolves around former lovers Eve and Zane, though their names fluctuate a bit depending on who is speaking to/about them.  Zane is pissed off and hurt when he sets out to find Eve, who has been slipping through his fingers as he tries to pin her down for the destruction she caused to his life.  Believing her to be a spy and a traitor he takes her as his captive, determined to make her answer for her crimes against him and her country.  But the truth is seldom ever so black and white in a story involving spies and government secrets and Eve is no stranger to the deadly game of spycraft.  She is not what she seems at all; not only is she innocent of the charges Zane lays at her feet, but she is also after the person responsible for these crimes and the man responsible for her sister's kidnapping.
When we first meet Zane, he comes off as a bastard and there is no denying he is angry beyond measure and will do anything to get his revenge.  But as he is faced with the woman he once loved and the feelings she stirs in him, he becomes more human and you can actually start to like him.  While he remains stubborn in his beliefs long into the book and it takes a lot to change his mind about Eve, when he finally does he is willing to do anything to protect her and make sure they both make it out of this drama alive.  He is a bit of a hard-ass, but he has his sweet moments, his deeply buried emotions peeking out here and there, as he falls back into love with Eve and comes to trust her wholly.  Overall I found him to be just what he was supposed to be—a flawed, hurt man, who had his heart broken and didn’t really know how to handle it.  Eve was certainly an enigma; we go into the story with an extreme prejudice against her because, like Zane, we believe she is a traitor and almost got the Aegis team killed.   Thankfully we get to know her much more quickly than Zane and see her for the good woman she is.  She is headstrong, unyielding in many ways, and just as strong as Zane in her beliefs and willingness to give her all for the safety of others.  It’s obvious she had to rip out her own heart when she gave up Zane, never having gotten over him, but accepted she’d done what was right for them.  As they come to know each other, fully this time, she sees that she lost something worth more than any job when she lost Zane, and maybe it’s time to readjust her priorities.
Extreme Measures lives up to the title, as the H/H go to any lengths to accomplish their missions up to and including giving up their lives if it comes to that.  There are no half measures for people like Zane and Eve and thankfully that carries over into their personal lives as well.   While the couple are faced with one battle after another, you can see when they work together they become unbeatable.  There is so much passion sparking between them from the very beginning, but I must say that I much preferred later moments where the trust and emotion tempered the raging lust into something deeper and more profound, even when they are arguing you can tell the difference in later parts of the story.  Eve is a woman that would probably scare me to death if I ever met her in person; she’s so strong willed, a badass spy, and a woman whose passions run hot, no matter the type of emotion, but she was a nicely rounded character who steals your heart in the end.  Zane is just my type of hero, even if he starts the story as an asshole.  He shines as an operator, is obviously a man that protects what he considers his from all threats, and challenges the world to get in the way of something he wants.  Together they are an unstoppable force, for good thankfully, and I so hope they someday have children because those kids will be serious badasses.  I am looking forward to seeing more of this group of individuals and learning more about the way they handle themselves, but I have a sinking suspicion my favorite character will be the head of Aegis, Jake.  Another great series by Elisabeth Naughton set off with a bang, and no ending in sight.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Master of Seduction

Masters of Seduction (Masters of Seduction #1-4)

by Lara Adrian, Donna Grant, Laura Wright , Alexandra Ivy 


Surrender to sinful pleasures and forbidden passions with Masters of Seduction, the sizzling new paranormal romance novella series from New York Times and internationally bestselling authors Lara Adrian, Donna Grant, Laura Wright and Alexandra Ivy.
In the realm of the Incubi Masters, pleasure is to die for and love is the deadliest game of all . . .
MERCILESS: House of Gravor ~ by Lara Adrian
Seeking vengeance for the murder of his brother, Incubus Master Devlin Gravori demands justice from the high court of the Nephilim. But fury and retribution are no match for the consuming desire he feels for Nahiri, the beautiful Nephilim warrior he claims as his hostage.
SOULLESS: House of Romerac ~ by Donna Grant
Incubus Master Canaan Romerac is focused solely on revenge against those who betrayed him and put him in the Oubliette for five hundred years. That is until he sets eyes on Rayna. Can the beautiful Nephilim heal Canaan’s wounded soul before it’s too late?
SHAMELESS: House of Vipera ~ by Laura Wright
Sexy Incubus Master Scarus Vipera has grown weak, and the only thing that will strengthen him again is Rosamund, the power-rich female of the Harem. But the mysterious Nephilim is determined to leave the Harem untouched, her heart intact.
RUTHLESS: House of Xanthe ~ by Alexandra Ivy
Jian, Master of the House Xanthe, has devoted his life to returning his family to their former prominence. When he’s offered a contract to hunt down the missing Sovereign, he’s eager to accept. The last thing he expects is to encounter a stunningly beautiful angel who stirs more than his lust
Themes: paranormal, anthology
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
There is a new trend that many romance readers may have noticed—authors teaming up on new series that are continuous stories instead of just having a theme to make an anthology.  In the case of Masters of Seduction, four of my all-time favorite paranormal romance authors have teamed up for a fabulous series revolving around Incubi and the sexiness that entails the lives of male sex demons.  Really, can you go wrong with something like that? I don’t think so.  But these authors were just the women to bring us this series and take us into this amazing and detailed world.  Generally, in an anthology, I would break down each story, but the flow between these stories is so easy and well done that it could be read as a continuous story, so I’ll just give you my overall opinion. 
All four stories revolve around the Master of one of the seven houses (or families you could say) of Incubi.  Each Master faces a challenge as he meets the female that is to be his mate.  Each meeting has its own interesting twist and they are so original that I am not sure how they can top it in the next round of stories. One male meets his love in a warrior that he kidnaps, another when he is seeking revenge, another when he visits the harem to find a simple bedmate, and not the least one finds his mate in an angel that runs the prison that he breaks IN to.  Each female has a strength of character and just the right level of softness to counter the aggressive male they mate with, without being awed by the fact that they are the all powerful sex demons.  Each of the Masters has his own issues to deal with and it is obvious that their power comes not just from their level of demonic power but also from their abilities to anticipate and defeat all challenges that come their way.
The plot lines of each individual story seem very different, but as the stories progress the revelations of each story become more and more important and in the final story everything comes together in a big “AH HA” moment for the reader.  I am really looking forward to where these authors take the story in the future and cannot wait to see how these badass demons come together to kick some butt. 
Having sex demons as the hero in each story, it goes without saying there was plenty of passion, but I shall say it anyway.  HOLY SMOKES, these guys are hotter than hell. (Forgive the pun)  Each of the men has their own style of seduction, but as the females resist them, it becomes more of a challenge for each of them.  As is often the case the increase in the challenge, increases the desirability, but I felt a small amount of fate working in each case, because otherwise I cannot see how too such disparate characters could come together in such perfection.  Opposites attract is more than an understatement here. 
The world building was also interesting, showing me that there could be many more stories to come.  There were so many openings for future Heroes, future plots and the possibility of making the world even more complex.  In the end it was the combination all the subtley different voices of each author, I think, that made the story as a whole completely so great, not just each individual novella. There is sensuality, drama, danger, love and affection.  There was even a bit of familial attachment formed for a few of the characters, giving the family feel a more rounded appeal.  This was certainly a twist on a lot of the demonology I have encountered in other stories and I cannot wait to learn even more.   Four of my favorite authors have come together to dazzle my senses and ensure that I will fall in love with their new world and crave my own Master of Seduction.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mini-Review: Hero of a Highland Wolf

Hero of a Highland Wolf (Heart of the Wolf #14)

She's ready for change...
Colleen Playfair has never been to Scotland, but when she discovers she must spend a year and a day overseas learning to manage her newly inherited estate, she's ready for the challenge. She even has some ideas for improvements-if she can get past the sexy werewolf who seems convinced he's the one in charge.
But he's digging in his claws...
Grant MacQuarrie and his clan have been managing Farraige Castle for three centuries. The last thing he wants is a meddling American heiress trying to change the way things have always been done. He's more than willing to fight the she-wolf every step of the way, using every tool at his disposal. And if that means taking the lass to bed, well...all the better.
Locked in a battle of wills, caught in an attraction they can't escape, Colleen and Grant must find a way to work together...or face losing it all.
Themes: werewolves, Scotland
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Anyone that has read one of my reviews before knows just how much I love this author and all of her work , with this series being by far my favorite.  Vivid and rich, with sensuality, drama and laughs, one can never go wrong with a Spear novel.  Even individuals that have never read a single story in this series will find themselves laughing right along with the characters at the antics these wolves can get into, the Scottish branches being even more hilarious than the US wolves.  Being so far into the series, this book has a lot of familiar characters and stories if you have read previous stories, but if not you will be able to catch up quickly.  This story seems to be the beginning of a new subseries featuring the MacQuarrie brothers, which I love because they are really hotter than words can express.
I loved Grant and Colleen’s story, mainly because I could not stop laughing at their antics and their inability to back down when challenged by each other.  Grant is obviously used to having his way in all things, being not only the property manager of the castle, but the leader of his clan and the alpha of his pack as well.  So really he knows the world revolves around him and refuses to accept any other way of living.  When Colleen challenges him to accept that she is the boss—of her property at least—there is no missing the fireworks than erupt between them. The extra level of drama added by past and current intrigues puts Colleen and Grant into danger and risks their chance at happiness, but the plot was so well twisted and gave us the perfect pace that you never for a minute doubted they would solve their problems.
While this story was one of a long line of sexy wolves finding their sassy mates, the vivid detail, twisty plots, and thoughtful writing keep the story from getting stale or becoming too common. Grant is a sexy and sweet alpha wolf, completely expecting to get his way, he is more than surprised when he is not only unable to run Colleen off with his plans, but comes to care for her and wants her to stay.  All the sides of him show just how versatile a true alpha hero can be and still maintains his humanity while making him into a gorgeous wolf.  Colleen certainly jumps in feet first to her new life, determined to make her ancestral home into a true home for herself.  She has never felt the true love of family and when she is embraced as a member of the clan and the pack, she finds herself overwhelmed with the love and support they give her.  There was plenty of passion between grant and Colleen, between all the laughs, craziness, and of course the danger when they are targeted. I cannot wait for Grant’s brothers to fall in love themselves, because there is no way they can resist when these she-wolves set their sights on the male of their dreams.  Another amazing Spear story full of heart and the wonder of the wolf.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: Chains of Darkness

Chains of Darkness (Men in Chains #2)

by Caris Roane 


Lucian has woken up bound in chains in a place he doesn't recognize. Weak from being tortured, beaten and cut to ribbons by a whip, he's filled with anger and confusion. Why is he here? What do his captors want from him? And just how much does his situation have to do with the beautiful woman in front of him?
Claire doesn't agree with the way her group has treated Lucian...even though he's a vampire. Torn by her own conscience, she asks one critical question: will he chain himself to her for his freedom? Her intention is to keep an eye on him, prevent him from harming anyone, and use him in her quest to stop the vampire race from their bloodthirsty acts of destruction. But Claire didn't expect Lucian's seductive power, and before she knows it, her captive has captured her own heart and soul.

Themes: paranormal, vampires, slight bondage
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
The newest series by Caris Roane is dark, gritty, and full of the entire scope of human emotion and depravity, and most of the characters aren't even human. Caris’s novels have always had more of an edge than many romance novels, even paranormal ones, delving into the sins of man and bringing them to light, reminding readers that there are some people that can only be classified as truly evil—but that from that evil can also come real beauty. This series follows the lives of three brothers, descended from a truly evil vampire, but who have become great men with goodness in them and the ability to overcome their genetics and their early upbringing to become protectors.  If you missed the first story in the series, Born in Chains, Caris gives enough details in this story to catch you up, still I suggest you run out and read it first so you can capture and understand the true greatness of all these men had to overcome.
Lucian’s story begins with his rescue from imprisonment by the lovely Claire.  Claire needs his help to find her best friend and rescue her from the vampire that abducted them both two years ago.  But his freedom comes with a high price—being bound emotionally and physically to Claire proves to be an enticement as much as an obstacle for Lucian.  As they work together and their emotional bonds grows, the passion they both feel is impossible to resist, even though they both know that nothing lasting can come of their relationship.  Determined to keep her safe, Lucian separates them, but sometimes true power comes with working together and without Claire there is no chance for Lucian to defeat the bastard who has haunted him his entire life.  But will Claire be able to reach him in time and convince him they are destined to be together, and for more than just the big battle?
I thoroughly enjoyed Lucian and Claire, even more that the H/H from book one.  Claire is a woman that I can really respect, willing to sacrifice herself to protect those she loves and also willing to step up to fight against atrocities that will affect entire populations, even if they won’t directly affect her.  Sometimes self-sacrificing heroines can be irksome, but Claire pulls it off with such aplomb and dignity that I can’t stop from liking her.  She is obviously crazy about Lucian and willing to give into her passion for him, but I wish she had accepted that she belonged with him MUCH sooner, because really it was not much of choice in my opinion.  She’s passionate in all things, sexy and sweet, and strong enough to stand up to the dark and dangerous male who steals her heart. Lucian is a very interesting character, a man who stepped up to protect his family at a very young age and never really outgrew that protector personality.  His desires are dark, and sometimes a bit too much for Claire, but it is obvious that while he might be a big scary vampire, he is also the best of males and would never intentionally bring harm to an innocent.  His interactions with Claire are colored by his past to be sure, but you can see from the tenderness and sweetness that only she pulls from him that Claire quickly becomes the center of his universe.  He’s just a great character, sexy, sweet, flawed, and far from perfect, but heroic nonetheless.
In the end, I find myself drawn to this story, more than many other recent reads, and that to me is the sign of a great story.  The characters are vivid, complex and sensual.  The settings and mythos are fascinating, varied, and rich in detail, giving you a full view of the world of these vampires, without having to go into obnoxious detail.  Lucian is a character that digs deep into your heart, full of issues, determined to protect those around him, and sensual and loving to the woman who grabs his heart.  Claire is a strong willed, determined and scarily tolerant woman, thrown into this strange world she has adapted to everything with great poise and nothing seems to faze her.  The passion explodes between them from beginning to end, whether they are arguing, making love, or fighting for their lives, they experience everything together and the connection between them is more than just the mystical chains they wear.  The elements of destiny and layers of connection between the two stories and I suspect the next was well, were intriguing and I am looking forward to where the series takes us in the next book, as well as beyond I hope.  If you’re looking for a book with a darker edge, not afraid of the grittier sides of life and the murkier passions that can exist in a man, the Men in Chains series is perfect to fulfill that need, with some sweet and emotional undertones keeping things from becoming too sinister.  Another Caris Masterpiece.

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ARC Review: Highlander's Bargain

The Highlander's Bargain (Loch Moigh #2)



In the second thrilling Novel of Loch Moigh, award-winning author Barbara Longley delivers more of the action, adventure, and romance that began in the pulse-pounding True to the Highlander.
Before he can settle down, blond-haired, blue-eyed Robley of clan MacKintosh needs to taste true adventure. So when the faerie Madame Giselle asks him to retrieve her stolen property in exchange for two enchanted tokens that will whisk him across the centuries, he jumps at the chance.
Nurse and future midwife Erin Durie is broke and alone, thanks o a roommate who skipped town and the psychic gifts that make relationships too intense and painful to bear. Then a kilted man magically drops into her arms, looking for a guide to the twenty-first century, and she can’t deny the attraction. But magical treachery soon throws open time’s portal once more—and puts a blade to Robley’s throat. Now Erin must decide where—or when—her healing powers can do the most good…and whether she can live without her handsome Highlander.
Themes: historical, paranormal, time travel
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Another stunningly imaginative and sensual story, book two in the Lock Moigh series take us not just to the wondrous era of the highlanders but also winging through time back to the present right along with Robley. This being only the second book I’ve read by Barbara Longley, I was thrilled to see what would happen to Robley, because at the end of book one his curiosity about the 21st century was obvious.  The first book takes us from modern day New York on a trip back in time with Alethia and getting to see her life now, years later, was thrilling, so if you missed it don’t worry you’ll get enough details that you’ll enjoy Rob’s just the same. I am really looking forward to seeing who might get a story now and whether we’ll be moving forward or back through time.
I loved Robley from the beginning of meeting him in the last book, but seeing just how adventurous, loving and sweet he is in his own book made me love him even more.  When he makes a decision to travel to the future he is maybe a bit impulsive, to really thinking through the consequences of his choice to himself or his loved ones.  We he arrives in Minnesota, knocking Erin off her feet in more ways than one, you can instantly see there will be a connection between them.  More than just the typical attraction between a man and woman, there seems to be an instant emotional bond that snaps between their hearts and neither of them is really prepared for that. The way he adapts to the new world around him astounds me because I know I would never have that ability, but Erin isn’t quite as adaptable when she is flung back in time with him.  He is obviously a very strong minded and iron-willed man and I imagine that anything he really sets his mind to would be accomplished.  It was great to see him fall in love with not just Erin, but also with her home, her friends, and of course the ultimate 21st-century power horse—the Harley.  (*snickers*)
Erin on the other hand was a woman with a lot of baggage; she has pretty much decided that love isn’t real, connections to others are fleeting, and there is no one you can trust to stick around when you need them.  Despite the connection, she feels for Rob she cannot believe that he would stay with her and the she could trust him to love her for a lifetime.   Despite her fears, she gets closer and closer to falling in love with her 15th-century highlander than she ever imagined she could.  When she is dragged into the faerie drama alongside Rob and flung back in time, she has no idea if she will ever see her home or family again, but there is no denying that being with Rob might just be worth it.  I loved how she used her medical training and knowledge to try to help others, even when their suspicions could have caused her serious emotional and physical damage.  And I can only say what a kick ass woman to perform the procedure she does in the 15th century.  (Can’t tell you or I’d spoil the surprise, but it’s awesome) My only issue I guess was just how long she fought her own heart and soul, her mind telling her not to trust, while Robley showed her again and again just how devoted a man he was.
Overall, this was an interesting story that covers several vividly detailed settings, interesting and sensual characters, emotional entanglements and the drama that the Fae can bring to any human’s life.  Almost immediately after Robley makes his decision to ask the Faerie to send him to the future, the reader knows that Rob’s life will never be the same again and he has just gotten himself into a world of danger, especially when the task he must perform in exchange for her help is TOO easy.  Flung through time he finds himself for the first time experiencing shopping malls, aggressive women, and most hilariously cars.  Every time he discovered something new, I was reminded of the wonders that really exist in our everyday lives. As he learns more about Erin he begins to fall more and more in love with her. Erin on the other hand is reluctant every step of the way to form a bond with Rob, knowing that in the end she will feel nothing but hurt.  But when the choice comes, Erin finally understands that the beauty of their love is worth the risk of any hurt, because living without him is more painful than never having had that time with him.  I enjoyed this book very much and am thrilled to know that another is on the way, though I would love to know more about who will be the H/H in that one.  I think it is officially safe to say I will be adding Barbara to my favorite authors list.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mini-Review: Devil's Bargain

Devil's Bargain

by Christine Warren


Supernatural bounty hunter Lilli Corbin made a pact with the Prince of Hell: She agreed to recover a book of prophecies. When she learns it could trigger the apocalypse, Lilli is forced to make the ultimate choice: save her soul, or the man she loves?
Themes: paranormal, demons, magick
Rating: 2.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
While I am a big fan of Christine Warren’s writing, I was a bit disappointed with Devil’s Bargain.  When they say this is a novella they are definitely not lying, I might even call this more of a short story to be honest.  There was an interesting overall storyline, some heat between the characters, and the potential to be a kick ass story, but the length was a huge drawback because nothing ever had time to be fleshed out.  The premise of the backstory on the characters and their world could be the beginning of a great series and I hope that might be something coming down the line soon. If you’re looking for a short read, perhaps between other full-length stories, and want something dramatic and a bit dark, this is a great choice.
Lilli and Aaron were interesting characters with an immediate attraction that neither could deny.  When Lilli is interrupted on her task from the devil by Aaron, the battle that ensues is passionate and ultimately leads to some interesting moments.  Aaron is a super smart and sexy guy, obviously able to hold his own physically, intellectually, and magically.  I wished I could have learned more about him and had a chance to get to know him better.  Lilli too had her draws.  She is part of a law-enforcement agency division that hunts supernatural beings that regular humans cannot, but really that is about all you learn about her.  Of course she is beautiful and passionate, determined to get herself free of her bargain, and find a way to keep others safe from the things that go bump in the night.  
I enjoyed very much the quick wit, passionate attraction, and intense emotions that developed between the characters, even if it was a bit of a stretch since the entire book takes place in like 3 hours.  The overall premise of Lilli’s job and Aaron’s magical legacy would be a great way to branch into a new series I would definitely run out to read.  Lilli was a kick-butt babe, but had enough of a soft side and strong mind to round her out nicely.  Aaron was the perfect package, sexy as hell, built, strong, magical, and uber-smart too, so really I have nothing bad to say about him!  When the drama with the devil unfolds and Lilli makes her choice the story wraps up quickly, but maybe someday we’ll see them in a future book and get to see more about their HEA.  For a short read, Devil’s Bargain packs a huge punch and will keep you on the edge of your seat for an hour or so.  Another great Warren story!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.