Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing (Heart of the Wolf #20)

Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing (Heart of the Wolf #20)

by Terry Spear

First in a BRAND NEW SERIES from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear, queen of shapeshifter romance.
Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…
Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…
To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…

Themes:  wolf shifters, paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 

 An all new group of sexy wolves has come into action in the long running series by Terry Spear that focuses on the fantastic world of wolf-shifters.  I have been a fan of this series ever since I happened to pick up the first story for a penny in a Borders (yes just a penny!), and the longer this series runs the more I am amazed by Terry’s imagination and ability to keep everything fresh for her readers. This newest subseries is all about males that have forgone pack life to strike it rich in the human world, but sadly it has left them with very little chance of finding a she-wolf to take to mate.  Rafe and Jade’s is a story about a woman pushed to perform a disgusting task in order to save the life of her child, but thankfully she manages to save everyone without causing too much damage.  I enjoyed meeting Jade, even though I wished she had been smarter in the first place when it came to her brother’s motivation for their sudden reunion.  Jade is a she-wolf full of spunk, determination, sweetness and cleverness.  It was heartbreaking watching her fall for Rafe and knowing that she was his enemy—sort of.  Rafe on the other hand is my dream man; Rich, sweet, down-to-earth, and of course his ability to become a beautiful wolf, there is nothing that Rafe can’t do.  When he realizes his emotions are becoming more and more invested in the she-wolf he rescued, he has to convince her to trust him and believe that together they can keep her and her son safe from their enemies.  The heat and passion between these two wolves was strong enough to start a wildfire and when they both finally give in to the need to mate—well let’s just say I needed a cold shower.  With all the wit, fun, sweetness, and drama that I expect from a Terry Spear novel, Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing was an amazing story that I can see myself reading again and again.  I cannot wait to see where this sub-series will take us next, though I suspect one of Rafe’s rich friends will be next on the proverbial relationship chopping block.  There were a lot of little twists in this story that I was not expecting, and those were just enough to keep the story from seeming too much like others in the series. Another amazing story that, while not as cool as the Scottish Wolves subseries, is still a wonderful experience and worth all the time to read it. Keep up the good work Terry and I guarantee you will always have me as part of your loyal fan base.

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

ARC Review: HOT SEAL Rescue (HOT SEAL Team #3)

HOT SEAL Rescue (HOT SEAL Team #3)

by Lynn Raye Harris 


Navy SEAL Cody “Cowboy” McCormick is in Las Vegas for a little R & R before his friend’s wedding when a beautiful blonde jams a gun in his side and abducts him from a casino in broad daylight. He could stop her, but he plays along because he’s intrigued—plus he’s convinced she’s in danger.
CIA agent Miranda Lockwood’s life is on the line when an undercover operation goes wrong. Little does she know when she sashays up to the biggest, baddest looking dude in the casino lobby that she’s kidnapping a Navy SEAL—or that she’ll be unable to resist his charm when he turns up the heat.
When the CIA labels her a rogue agent, Miranda’s faith in everything she believes in is shaken to the core. Cody’s the only one she can trust to help her find the traitor in the agency. But even though she’s forced to betray him, she can’t get over the SEAL who made her feel safe in his arms. Miranda will have to fight harder than she’s ever fought for anything if she wants his forgiveness—but Cody’s not in a forgiving mood in spite of the sparks that still fly when he’s forced to team up with her again.
When disaster strikes and they’re caught in the line of fire, Cody will do everything in his power to keep them both alive. Because if he doesn’t, he’ll never get to hold Miranda close again…

Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
 The HOT SEALs are at it again and where there is HOT, there is drama and danger.  This series is a spin-off/continuation of the original HOT series that I first fell in love with a few years ago.  These courageous and deadly warriors are the men and women that are in the background everyday working to keep us all safe and I love seeing them represented so well by Ms. Harris.  Being a Navy brat myself I was thrilled to learn that the SEALs were going to be represented in HOT and get their own stories since the Alpha Team (army boys, but we won’t hold that against them) have all found their mates.  Harris takes men and women that are larger than life because of the choice of career they’re made and shows us the human side of them, the side looking for love and finding it in the most unexpected of places.  I enjoyed every minute of Cody and Miranda’s story, though I do wish it had been a bit longer, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing who falls in love next.  Each story is a stand-alone of course, but the true greatness of this series is discovered when you read each installment, so I highly recommend going back to the beginning and experience every moment of love between these HOT operators and their lovers. 
HOT SEAL Cody McCormick is minding his own business in a Las Vegas casino when a woman approaches him.  Now normally having a beautiful woman throw herself at Cody would be a pleasant surprise, but there’s just the little problem of the gun she’s pressing to his side.  CIA operative, Miranda Lockwood has been burned, her identity revealed to her enemy on a mission, and Cody is her only hope to escape with her life.  Thankfully, Cody’s curiosity is enough to get him to work with her, but then everything goes sideways and there’s no way for them to escape. Weeks later they are thrown together again on the mission to keep a vicious criminal from becoming more powerful and routing a mole in the agency.  Working together isn’t going to be easy, but the emotions developing between them are even more of a challenge.  There is no denying the instant connection between them and neither of them is prepared for the depth of their passion. When the mission ends, they have to decide are they willing to work together to overcome the distance between them to find a way to be together, or will they walk away from the deepest most passionate connection that either of them has ever experienced.
Cody is a sweet laid-back cowboy, hiding a dangerous, deadly operator, all wrapped up in a sexy sinful package.  His ability to adapt to any situation, while maintaining his calm and sweet nature is one of the best parts of him.  Seeing him in action as he works to keep Miranda safe, while at the same time charming her and beginning to steal her heart, was the epitome of fun.  Even when the worst happens and he begins to fall apart emotionally, his strength and courage keep him going.  He was a bit of a jerk for a while, dealing with hurt feelings as most men do—acting macho and angry, but thankfully his friends know him well enough that they are able to force him to deal with his feelings for Miranda.  Miranda wasn’t my favorite heroine in this series, mainly because she seemed to have her head up her butt in the beginning.  :)  I was surprised that she was so resistant to the emotions that Cody pulled out of her because it seemed like he was finally waking her up to the world around her.  She was obviously a seriously tough lady in her professional world, but the issues she has personally colored her choices entirely too much where Cody was concerned.  Thankfully, a few HOT ladies are able to convince her that giving Cody a chance might just be the best decision she every makes, and in the end, she became a decent character and a match for Cody.
HOT SEAL Rescue was a fast-paced thrill ride, with serious ups and downs, both emotionally and professionally for Cody and Miranda.  In the beginning, there is just no way that Harris could possibly bring these two together, but as always her skill as an author shines through as she finds a way for these two to reach their HEA. Cody is a sensual, scary, sweet, and loving guy that has issues with his family, but when he meets Miranda he’s not willing to let her go until he understands why she makes him feel the way she does.  The depth of his sorrow when she betrays him brought tears to my eyes, and when they are thrown together, again the sparks between them are dangerous to bystanders.  Seeing him fall first into lust and then slowly into Love with this contrary, confusing woman was an experience I won’t soon forget.  Miranda was the type of woman I want to slap usually, willingly betraying a man she has come to care for, just because she thinks that’s the best way to keep him safe.   I enjoyed getting to see the softer side of Miranda as she worked with Cody and the HOT team and came to trust and depend on them.  Slowly she came around and learned that sometimes just because a connection develops quickly doesn’t mean it will unravel and that sometimes it might just stand the test of time.  The passion these two share is undeniable and seriously sexy, with lots of fun times in even the most unexpected of situations and settings.  I am dying to find out who will be losing their heart next, though I have an idea and hope I am right.  Ms. Harris as always grabs and keeps your attention with her sexy badass operators and sinfully gorgeous heroines as she takes you on a dangerous ride through the dangers of the world of Black Ops. Once again, Lynn swings for the fences and hits a home run.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: The Billionaire Bachelor (Billionaire Bad Boys #1)

The Billionaire Bachelor (Billionaire Bad Boys #1)

by Jessica Lemmon 

Indecent Proposal
Manwhore. That's what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .
Themes:  Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
I am always on the lookout for new authors and new experiences when it comes to my reading and the cover and blurb for Jessica Lemmon’s Billionaire Bachelor was irresistible and I am thrilled I gave myself permission to add a new author to my repertoire.  Reese and Merina were amazing characters, both perfect foils for one another and passionate in their own unique ways, even while being flawed.  In other words they were the most believably human characters! Merina is a woman that has devoted her life to her family’s small boutique hotel and is determined that it not fall into the hands of a man that will change everything that has made the place her home since her childhood.  When Reese proposes an outrageous solution to both her desire to keep her hotel in the family and his desire to reach his professional dreams,  Merina—quite reluctantly—agrees to the charade.  Reese is the perfect coldhearted CEO on the surface, but the more Merina gets to know him the more she realizes he is much more than that.  Reese has been hurt, badly, by women in the past and has closed himself off to love, but Merina is impossible to truly resist.  He decides that having a fling with his temporary wife won’t cause anyone any heartache and they are both soon wrapped up in one another so closely that the love becomes undeniable.  I loved seeing Merina pull Reese out of his shell and find a way to make him accept her love and offer his own equally.  While there were certainly moments I cried for him, right alongside Merina, there were also moments I wished that he would pull his head out of his behind and see what (or who) was right in front of him.  Once he learns the humble lesson that love truly can never die when it is given fully, he is able to see the error of his ways and take what his heart has been telling him he needed all along.  Merina was an interesting woman, obviously passionate in all ways, but also intelligent, caring, giving, and—luckily for Reese—forgiving.  I loved seeing her find her place in his world and finding a way to help him heal and face the love she was showing him every moment they were together.  From enemies to friends and ultimately to the deepest of loves, Lemmon takes us on a thrill ride between two high-powered individuals both used to being on top and finding a way for them to blend and become stronger for their partnership.  The intensity of Merina and Reese’s emotional connection and physical attraction was like two high-powered magnets and when they finally come together, the result is explosive.  I cannot wait to read more of Ms. Lemmon’s work and see what other sexy men and women she takes on an adventure of a lifetime to find their HEA.  Another great name to add to my list of author’s to watch out for, keep up the good work Jessica.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ARC Review: Rocky Mountain Devil (Six Pack Ranch #10)

Rocky Mountain Devil (Six Pack Ranch #10)

by Vivian Arend

The sweetest part of temptation is giving in…
Raphael (Angel) Coleman and Laurel Sitko were thick as thieves throughout their school years. The unlikely friendship between the rancher’s son and the preacher’s daughter might have gone unnoticed by most, but their shared laughter and connection were the best parts of Rafe's life growing up. Now that she’s returned to Rocky, he’s eager to move from friend to something far more intimate.
After three years away, Laurel’s ready to start over with the gorgeous cowboy who’s always owned a piece of her heart. But when her college ex shows up in town, she’s got a lot more to deal with than expected, including one suddenly possessive cowboy determined to protect her even as he tutors her through every sexual lesson in the book.
Desire flares hotter and hotter through stolen moments and willing seduction. But when tragedy strikes, Rafe’s left on shaky ground, his biggest fear now a reality that could tear them apart and rip forever from their grasp.
Will the connection forged by time be strong enough to see them through to the other side?
Themes: contemporary, erotica, cowboys
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Another cowboy bites the dust and the sexy single Coleman’s are almost all claimed! Vivian Arend has taken us on an amazing journey as the Coleman clan has grown up and one member after another has fallen in love and found their soul mates.  Life hasn’t been easy for these cowboys and girls, but each of them has found a way to prevail and prove that they are survivors. It becomes more obvious with each installment of this series that this family is full of love, laughter, and the strength to weather any storm.  I have been a fan of this series since the very beginning, including the spin-off Thompson’s series which was also great, and while I am sure that other authors might have lost that spark by now, Arend keeps my interest every time with the challenges she puts these couples (or triads) through and the way she is able to bring them together despite all odds.  While I will say that you are missing out on a great experience if you haven’t read other books in the series, Rafe and Laurel’s story is wonderful all by its lonesome and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  If you are looking for some sexy fun with a handsome cowboy and a bad girl hiding in a proper lady Rocky Mountain Devil is just the story you’ve been looking for.  I cannot wait to read the next novel, which I believe will be Jesse’s, and hopefully get more chances to see the Coleman’s in action.
Rafe has been in love with Laurel since he was six years old, even though he didn’t know to give his emotions that name.  She was the other half of his life for all of his young life and when they both hit an age where friendship wasn’t enough, they gave each other the chance to grow and experience life.  But now she is back in Rocky Mountain House and no way is he going to give up the chance to have her for his own.  Laurel has returned home, with a troubling past that she has kept to herself for years, but having a chance at happiness with Rafe is what she’s always wanted.  When her past comes back to bite her there is no way she will let it keep her from being happy, but will she be able to share with Rafe the pain she lives with each day? Then tragedy strikes for the Coleman’s and the connection between these two longtime friends turned lovers is tested to its limits. 
I loved every second of getting to know Rafe and Laurel.  The hits of Rafe’s humor and silliness in previous novels were slim, but it soon becomes obvious that he is a sweet prankster, while also being a hard-working, sexy bad boy with a penchant for naughtiness.  Rafe is the kind of man that could easily turn quiet and somber without the right woman to bring out his sweet and playful side, having to deal with the bastard that is his father and understanding that he’s not the same as his father.  His flaws are just as interesting as his virtues, but the best thing about him has to be his loyalty to the woman he loves.  When he is with Laurel, she is the center of his attention and the most important person in any room, even when she is busy with others.   I enjoyed seeing him falling in love with his best friend and learning to lean on her for emotional support in times of stress and pain.  It’s obvious that Laurel is the perfect match for him in every way and the one woman that could complete his soul.  Laurel herself is an enigma in a few ways; she is obviously well loved and was once centered, but when her world was rocked by circumstances, she never learned how to handle the trauma and lost faith.  She is back in the world of her youth and hides the darkness she experiences from everyone, pretending it never happened instead of really dealing with her pain.  I was thrilled to see her standing up for herself when it came to Jeff, but I wish she had shared her pain sooner with Rafe, which might have allowed her to heal fully.  But even with her own issues, she was always there for Rafe, even when he attempted to push her away, and her love for him is enough to heal them both.  Her perky personality might have been annoying if not for her mischievousness and naughty side balancing out the good girl side of her nature. 
I loved every second of Rocky Mountain Devil, even when the story was bringing tears to my eyes and making me think of my own issues, but honestly isn’t that what makes a story great—that ability to draw on the readers’ emotions?  Rafe and Laurel were a destined match in every way, perfectly balancing one another in moments of crisis and quiet.  Rafe is a sexy and challenging cowboy that has spent most of his life hiding his solemn emotional side, trying to keep his father from tearing him down.  He has grown a lot from the annoying little brother we met in Gabe’s story and seeing him become a truly good man, despite his fears, is one of the good parts of reading a long time series.  Laurel has always been the spirited adventurous girl, even though she has never gone too far off course and remained the sweet girl that Rafe knew all his life.  While she is certainly a good woman, she has her wicked side too and that makes her a wonderfully rounded character.  The love between them started out quietly, love between two longtime friends, but quickly heated up into the full-blown passion that I expect from a Coleman and any woman that conquers his heart.  Seeing the two of them burning up the town, the sexy cowboy and naughty librarian clichés notwithstanding, was beyond stimulating and kept my attention every minute.  I cannot wait to read Jesse’s story coming soon and see him also find his place in the Coleman clan and see him fall for a woman that will capture his heart and soul.  Arend’s skill with words is astounding to me and she is one of my favorite authors.  A sexy read with all the tears, pain, and laughs that make a life worth living, Rocky Mountain Devil, will take you through all the emotional turmoil of a truly loving relationship that will obviously last forever.  Another stroke of genius for Vivian and great addition to any library.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #1)

The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #1)

by Lily Blackwood 


A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…
They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…
Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?
Themes:  Historical, Highland
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Being a first time reader of Ms. Blackwood’s work, I went into this story not really knowing exactly what to expect, but the promise of a great read was certainly there based on the blurb. In general, I love just about any story set in Scotland, whatever the era, and have found that the characters are just that bit more interesting because of their fiery Scottish personalities and of course you cannot deny the sexiness of their accents in your mind as you read their words.  So when I began reading Niall's story, set seventeen years in the past, when he was pushed into a path of a fate that would seem inescapable I knew I would like getting to know him and seeing how he handled getting justice for his fallen family and stolen heritage.  Niall’s life changed forever that night, but the ideals that his honorable father and loving mother instilled in him lived on even as he became a mercenary set on vengeance.  When he arrives at his childhood home, disguised but not unnoticed by the local lasses, there is no denying that the pain he is dealing with is deep and unbearable at times.  Elspeth sees Niall simply as a warrior there to help her clan, her mind wrapped up in finding a way to escape a treacherous stepmother and the impending requirement of her arranged marriage.  But soon Elspeth cannot get the sexy warrior out of her mind and her heart leads her directly into his arms again and again.  I loved getting to know Niall, even if at times I wanted him to find a way to let go of his quest for revenge in order to be whole, but in the end he turned out to be even more honorable and likable than expected, finding a way to keep everyone happy and get his HEA with the woman he loved.  Elspeth was frustrating sometimes, mostly because even though it is obvious she has a strong and rebellious spirit she insists that she must cave in to the pressures of her father’s wish to see her married for the good of the clan.  I LOVED seeing her finally stand up for herself and demand what was truly the best for both herself and her people.  The passion between these two people, though they both struggled to hide it, was blatant and when they finally give in to their desires the heat between them is astounding.  I enjoyed reading this story and look forward to the next (two?) novels in the series about Niall’s two younger brothers.  Packed with intrigue and action, angst and emotional upheaval, Beast of Clan Kincaid hits all the high notes of a perfectly constructed romance novel while giving readers a few laughs, lots of tears, and the hope for all of us to find our perfect match, even in the most unlikely of places and circumstances. 

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Every Time with a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #3)

Every Time with a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #3)

by Gwyn Cready 

She can work her magic on any man...
In a quest to bring peace to her beloved Scottish borderlands, fortune-teller and spy Undine Douglas agrees to marry a savage English colonel. Desperate to delay the wedding long enough toundermine the army's plans, Undine casts a spell to summon help and unexpectedly finds herself under the imperious gaze of the handsome and talented Michael Kent, twenty-first century British theater director.
But in this production, he commands the action...
Though he abandoned acting years ago, Michael will play whatever part it takes to guard Undine's safety—he's used to managing London's egocentric actors and high-handed patrons, after all. But not even Shakespeare could haveforeseen the sparks that fly when the colonel's plans force Undine and Michael into the roles of their lifetimes.
Themes: historical, time travel
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 

This interesting trilogy about a group of women entrenched in the battle for the people of the Scottish Borderlands as England attempts to destroy the way of highland life has come to an end with the story of heroine Undine.  There were many twists and turns in this series, but along the way the underlying relationships between these women, and the twenty-first century men they fall in love was the most important theme.  Undine’s magic has gotten her into trouble in the past, but when she calls for a priest to help keep her sham of a marriage from happening, giving herself time to complete her mission, she never imagined she would be summoning a sexy twenty-first century man for herself.  She is immediately attracted to Michael, even as she believes him to be a priest, but when the truth of Michael’s origins is revealed, the pull is no longer deniable.  Undine’s character is one that I found myself liking and hating at turns through this entire series; her enigmatic actions, her willingness to sacrifice herself to further Scotland’s mission, and her unwillingness to listen to reason all made her into a deeply complex and sometimes troubling heroine; and the secret that comes out at the end of this book is beyond amazing and was a very well scripted plot twist.  Michael is the type of man I admire, a chameleon, someone that is able to blend into his surroundings no matter what they are and find a way to succeed at just about any endeavor he undertakes.  It was interesting seeing him in action and finding a way to keep himself alive in a very different world than his own while still finding a way to protect Undine and fall in love with her.  The heat between Undine and Michael is sometimes overwhelming to them both, but gives them the courage they both need to overcome the dangers around them and keep one another safe and find love in the midst of war.  I cried a lot at the ending of this story, but thankfully, the skilled Ms. Gready was able to pull out the impossible and give her lovers a true HEA.  I am sad to see this trilogy end, but was thrilled with the way it ended and look forward to reading future series by Gwen.

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

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review: Forevermore (Darkest London #7)


The final book in USA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan's critically acclaimed Darkest London series!
Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she's managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she's received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one. St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.
Themes:  angels, demons, paranormal, historical
Rating: 5 stars
Heat Rating: 

Sad to say but the wonderful Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan has come to an end with this amazing story of two childhood sweethearts who find love, through strife, danger, and differences beyond belief.  I have been an avid fan of this series, surprisingly to myself, since I read the very first book and have been dying for Sin to finally get his HEA.  For those that are coming into the series with this finale, you will sadly miss out on a lot of the subtext and subtle references, but you will still enjoy the hell out of this story and will be given enough information that you won’t feel lost or overwhelmed.  As usual, Callihan amazes with her characters, setting and ability to turn the most mundane and seemingly boring of settings in history—19th century London—into a remarkable world of angels, demons, vampires, and so much more. I am sad to see the story end but was thrilled to get to enjoy Layla and Sin’s story as they both found their place in the world, reunited with family, and found a way for their love to blossom and save them both.  The thrilling end of the Darkest London series will leave you breathless and on the edge of your seat as these two lovers navigate the dark and disturbing waters of the danger surrounding Layla as she comes into her powers and finally learns the truth about her past and her true nature.
Layla is the kind of woman that has always known what she wanted, even though she suspected she would never have it, and Sin is the man she always thought would be her husband.  When they were separated on her fifteenth birthday, she pined for him, but always held out hope she would see him again, so when she returns to her guardian’s home, defeated, and disillusioned she is pleasantly surprised to find Sin back in her life.  At least until he opens his mouth.  Sin has changed a lot from the young boy she once loved, but the attraction he feels for Layla is surprising and beyond unwelcome, especially when her guardian, his mentor, decides that the best way for Sin to serve as her protector is to become her husband.  As Sin works hard to keep her safe, more and more Layla is coming out of her shell, and she’s not going to let Sin deny their pull.  But even with all the passion between them, can they overcome their differences, keep each  other and their friends safe, and find a way to be together, all while battling an epic demon, as well as facing their own inner demons.  Can love truly conquer all or are these two doomed?
Sin has always had issues with the powers that were trapped in his body, inexplicably coming to the front at the worst times, but after being kept as a blood slave for much of his adult life, he has to face facts—he is screwed up and needs serious help.  With these new powers to contend with as well, Sin is determined to prove to his mentor that he is worth the trouble.  I enjoyed finally getting to know St. John, the last single Evernight, and seeing him grow and develop into the truly powerful hero he was always meant to be.  There were some real family dramas as Sin refused to face his past and make his family accept the truth of his past actions, but with Layla’s help, he was able to get the closure he needed and find that loving foundation of family that he needed all his life.  He is obviously a tortured hero, but often those are the best kind as they work to find the good in themselves and show that to those that love them.  I loved Sin’s interactions with Layla, even when he was being an ass, because it reminds us that sometimes the factor that makes a man truly great is the love and support of the woman that has captured him heart and soul.  Layla too has some serious concerns to overcome as she finds her place in this new and amazing world she is thrown into.  Living ignorant of all the entities that share the world, vampires, demons, and so much more, leaves her at a distinct advantage, but with Sin by her side and trusting in her own instincts she finds that, while Sin is necessary to her happiness and well-being, she can survive on her own and will do everything she can to protect herself and her man.  I liked Layla a lot and was thrilled to see her learning to kick ass as well as finding a way to make Sin see her as a woman to be reckoned with.  The best part to me of course was seeing Layla discover her true origins and accept the difference within herself that make her a truly great heroine. 
Forevermore, the thrilling finale to the Darkest London series is beyond exciting and borders on incandescent in the ways Callihan brings her characters to their ultimate HEA and allows them both to grow into protectors for the unsuspecting humans of the world.  Sin was a man that has walked through fire and come out the other side stronger for the traumas of his past, but with the love of his woman will never forget that there is good in the world and that is worth continuing the fight against evil.  Layla might seem like a naïve youth that is playing a game in the world she thinks she’s living in, but when her eyes are truly opened her ability to adapt and overcome challenges marks her as a woman that will not be denied and will not be defeated.  I loved seeing these two find their hearts entangled and the passion between them was sometimes beyond scorching, but always there was the underlying sweetness of two youths that fell into innocent love long ago, proving that love given is never really returned and can develop into the deepest and most life altering of connections.  While I am sad to see this series end, we got just the right amount of cameos from previous couples to know that the characters we have fallen in love with over the years will have long lasting happiness and if in the future, another story visits their world it will be like visiting an old friend.  Callihan has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I am looking forward to her next project with baited breath and know that whatever it is will be remarkable and unforgettable just like Darkest London.  Great work Kristen, thanks for the memories!

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Review: Deep Dark (Tracers #10)

Deep Dark (Tracers #10)

by Laura Griffin

The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.

Themes: suspense, contemporary  
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating:  

Author Laura Griffin strikes again with the suspenseful story of a woman confronting her past and preventing it from repeating and the man that is determined to help her heal and keep her safe from the killer that has been stalking her for years.  Fans of the Tracers series will recognize many of the characters in this series, but the crime and the crime-solving techniques that are the focus of this story are interesting (especially for us Science nerds) and a new aspect for Griffin to follow.  Delaney Knox, Laney to her friends, is a white-hat hacker, those elusive and secretive computer aficionados that work in the background of the internet and technology to defeat their darker counterparts, and when her friend is brutally murdered, there is no way she can stop from following the investigation and helping in any way she can.  Discovering a hidden technological side to the story, Laney anonymously reached out to the lead Detective on the case, Reed Novak, hoping to help find the killer, but when he tracks her down, turning the tables on her, she is stunned to feel the passion that flares between them.  Reed is a mature man, way too old to be feeling the heat that Laney causes in him, but there is no denying that she pulls him like true north.  When the killer strikes again, Laney finds herself the center of attention and Reed is not happy about it, but she knows she is the only one with the skills to stop this pyscho and won’t back down, even if in the end it puts her in mortal danger.  Laney is obviously a true crusader, determined to keep others safe and bring justice to those that cannot find it for themselves, but she has serious issues and her vulnerability pulls at Reed as much as her strength and stubbornness. I love getting to know Laney and seeing her butting heads with Reed, and of course the heat that flares when their passionate natures clash, but I was glad that she finally found her balance and a way to let Reed truly into her heart.  Reed was the kind of guy that I hope to find for myself one day—stalwart, brave, determined, and of course willing to sacrifice himself for the woman he loves.  Seeing him defeat the bad guy at the same time his overwhelming sweetness allows Laney to come out her shell reminds me that the perfect man is out there if you just keep your eyes and heart open for him.  I love this series more and more and am dying to know whose story will come next, as always there were some hints with the side characters and I hope they are the next ones, but one never knows with Ms. Griffin.  As always I enjoyed every second of this tale and wish it could have been even longer as I got to know Reed and Laney and watched them fall first into lust and then ultimately into a deep and abiding love.

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