Sunday, July 16, 2017

ARC Review: HOT Valor (Hostile Operations Team #11)

HOT Valor (Hostile Operations Team #11)

by Lynn Raye Harris

 Blurb:
They told him she was dead. They lied...
Colonel John "Viper" Mendez is having the second-worst day of his life. Accused of using the Hostile Operations Team to assassinate a foreign official, he's gone from being a respected military black-ops commander to a fugitive in the space of an hour. On the run, hunted, and stripped of his honor, Mendez has nowhere to go--and few people he can trust.
Russian spy Ekaterina "Kat" Kasharin is a carbon copy of the woman Mendez once loved. Twenty-one years ago, Valentina vanished from his life. Kat claims to be her twin--but Kat's lying. Ordered by her superiors in Russian Intelligence to abandon the man she loved--or watch him die--Kat had no choice but to obey.
But twenty-one years is a long time to love a man from afar, and Kat won't stand by as a traitor plans his death--even if it means risking her heart and her life to save him. She can never reveal her true identity--or the secrets she keeps locked away. Secrets he would hate her for. Working with him is strictly business, and she won't let emotions get in the way. But the attraction between them is smoking hot--and it's not long before they're burning up the sheets.
When the truth comes out, the mission implodes. Everything Mendez thought he knew was a lie. He'll have to pull it together though before a deadly foe succeeds in taking away all he loves. By the time he realizes Kat might be most important of all? It could be too late to save her...
Themes:  Contemporary
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:

"And he wasn't going to let her make him come first. It wasn't how he was wired.  He was an alpha male, all decisive and macho, and his primary goal in any sexual encounter was to make her melt into a puddle of orgasmic bliss." (HOT Valor)--With that quote, I almost feel I don't need to bother with the review! OMG that man is so hot...I just need to run and grab ice before I share my review. 

The Colonel has finally gotten to share his story with the world and find a chance at the great love that all of his men have had.  Fans of this series have been waiting for a long time to find out who Mendez would end up with and what made him into the strong, brave, and sometimes just a little bit sad man he is.  And boy-oh-boy Mrs. Harris did NOT let us down with this one.  Exotic locations, sensual encounters, and the ultimate happiness of two people that should never have lost the chance to love. The HOT series is one where each story is a stand-alone, but the true greatness of story is only discovered when you experience the entire series.  So if you are just coming to this series, before you read HOT Valor, I highly recommend going back to the start and getting to know Mendez for the great leader he is.  If you are a fan of military Romantic suspense there is no way you will dislike Lynn's writing and this series is one that will keep you interested and you will most likely become an instant loyal fan, like all the others of us who stumbled upon this series.  I am really looking forward to wherever Lynn takes us and takes her HOT men and women, whether they are Army or Navy, all of the members of HOT are deserving of the love and devotion that Mendez and the other married guys have found in their mates.
This story kicks off with Mendez’s entire life being through into chaos when he is alerted to a plot to disgrace his team, remove him from command and ultimately have him arrested and killed.  Knowing there is always someone ready to take him down, Mendez has a backup plan, but he never imagined it would involve the woman he loved 20 years ago and lost to a tragic end.  Mendez runs in order to give himself time and when he arrives in New Orleans to meet this woman who calls herself Kat, but looks so much like the woman he loved, it is a kick in the balls.  He refuses to truly trust her, despite her claims of working to protect him. Kat is thrilled and terrified in equal portions to see Mendez, but she is determined to make sure that his life is not lost to a plot that has been in the making for 21 years.  She has lived through too much tragedy to see this brave and sexy man lose everything and die in disgrace.   Thrown together, though not to happy about it, Kat and Mendez have to get past their traumas and lies in order to trust one another, or their survival will be forfeit.  But when Kat and Mendez's pasts blows up in their faces, the desire and secrets between them, not to mention the passions and anger, have to be set aside in order to complete their mission.
Mendez has been a favorite of mine since the beginning of this series and I have been dying to know more about him--though to be fair any woman that has read this series probably has the same feeling.  He is the glue that keeps his teams together and is the man they all turn to for leadership and guidance, not only in their work but also with their personal lives.  In previous stories in the series Mendez was the one that made the love connections between the couples possible and kept them together. He is the type of alpha male that only gets better with age and it is obvious as he kicks ass and takes names that he has not lost a single bit of his skill or stamina with age.  I loved seeing him in action as an operator and though he fought hard, when he lost his heart, again, to Kat it made him even more sexy and the kind of man I would like to find to grow old with.  Kat is a woman of mystery to Mendez, but luckily Lynn doesn't keep the readers in the dark like she does Mendez, sharing Kat’s secrets and fears with us as Mendez tries to uncover them himself.  Kat has lived a nightmare for two decades, but she has tried to make the most of her circumstances and make a difference in the world and she refuses to allow anyone to take down John Mendez, knowing that a world without him is not the kind of world she wants to live in.  The more we learn about Kat, the sadder her life is but the more we see how much she needs Mendez in her life.  In the end she gets everything she has missed the past twenty years and gets a chance to start her life anew with the man she loves while allowing him to keep his place in the world to allow him to save those in need of his expertise.
HOT Valor is the story so many have been waiting for and with all the passion, suspense, and drama we have come to expect from a Harris novel, the core of this story is about two people that have been lonely and lost for two decades and finally find a way to share their hearts and lives fully.  The messy details of their pasts certainly will continue to affect them, but the love and light they bring to one another shows that Mendez and Kat will find a way to move forward in their lives despite their pasts. Mendez is a sexy, alpha operator to the core, though we have gotten used to seeing him in the role of leader and coordinator, and seeing him in the field as he works to clear his name shows that he hasn’t lost any of the skills that allowed him to be in command of such a volatile group of men and women. I enjoyed finally getting to know the story of Mendez’s past and the tragedies that shaped him into the man he is, but I also mourned with him as he relived those horrors and finally came to terms with everything.  Kat was almost as heartbreaking as she shared her past with Mendez and was forced to relive it all again and again.  Kat is the kind of woman that would not be wrongly described as a willow tree--she bends and bends, but nothing breaks her spirit as long as she knows her Johnny is out there somewhere in the world making it a better place.  While there was certainly the expected suspense and drama, the emotional roller-coasters these two find themselves leading us down will have you in tears, laughing, and wondering how they could ever get past the heartaches they carry.  Their strength and the love that brings them together in the end is undeniable and as bright as a solar flare, making it almost dangerous to look at.  I enjoyed every moment of this story and found myself unable to put it down if only to carry it with me just in case there was a minute to read a few more pages.  I feel like Mendez’s book was a turning point in the HOT world, not an ending just a new beginning, and I cannot wait to see where we go next and who will find their mate.  Lynn's writing, as always, keeps me on the edge of my seat and dying to know what happens next, but the true skill that makes Lynn Raye Harris an author to watch is the way she can lead her couples through some of the most dangerous situations while still building relationships that last forever and allowing her characters to grow and change.  Another masterpiece worthy of a place of honor on any bookshelf, be it digital or print.
*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers #2)

Blurb:
 A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . .
Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.
Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.
Themes: Paranormal 
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Wow the depravity of the villains in this series continue to astound me and make me wonder how many people there might be out in the world like this. This story is the second story in a spinoff of the Sin Brothers series that equally amazed and terrified me and when I found out to series would be coming I was the first in line to beg for an ARC. Heather brother, Ryker, was the first to find love and pull his woman into their world, But Heather story is no less amazing and certainly led to some interesting discoveries and adventures. The story begins with the unfortunate murder of Anya’s sister, an FYI agent looking into the serial kidnapper and killer that seems to have latched onto Anya. Anya never imagined when she asked her sister for help that it would come at such a steep price, or drag her into the world of not only a despicable serial killer, but would land her right in the limelight of two life-long psychos that have been experimenting of kids and destroying lives for close to thirty years. Heath has made it his mission to catch this killer and bring him to justice, but when an impulsive announcement by Anya brings them into Very close quarters his ability to resist her is demolished. Heath and his brothers have always known that bringing a woman into their world, no matter how much they desire or even love them, would be putting them right in the way of a deadly snake and he’s always refused to let that happen.  Now he has no choice but to keep Anya close, in order to keep her alive, but resisting her is impossible and soon the sexy redhead steal his heart and captures his soul. Even though there were definitely moment that made me very angry at Heath, all-in-all he turns out to be just as enigmatic and sexy as his brothers , both by blood and through heart.  I loved seeing Heath having to come to terms with the fact that Anya wasn’t going to let him get away with any macho bullshit or get away from her.  She stood her groun, demanding her due as his lover, and ultimately that is what showed him that she was the woman for him.  Once he accepts that there is no way he will be able to resist her, he quickly begins to change, from a distant and deadly killer into the sensual, sweet and unexpectedly loving man that we always knew was buried deep beneath his fears.  I liked Anya, in the moments she was using her brain instead of simply reacting to circumstances , though there were certainly moments… Anya is the kind of woman that will never let anything keep her from her goals , even if it means resisting the psychos of a serial killer just to save herself.  The ending of this story was beyond imaginative and I loved seeing the brothers get a little bit of payback.  I am dying to find out what happens next and can only imagine just the kind of woman that will round out this trio of woman that have captured the hearts of these brothers that have never had a loving hand offered to them.  Like stray dogs, resisting the comfort and safety of a new home, these brothers retain their badass tendencies, but have certainly found a way to open their hearts and minds to the love and goodness that can be found in the world if they look for it.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's Me Again, Baby (O'Connor Family #3)

It's Me Again, Baby (O'Connor Family #3)

by Katie Reus

Blurb:
 She lost him once…
Years ago Samantha made a mistake and lost a chance at something real with Maguire O’Connor. Now that she’s living in Holly again, she knows seeing him is inevitable. But the last thing she ever expected was to take him on as a client.
Now they have a second chance…
Maguire never got over Sam. Thanks to a meddling family member, he mistakenly hires Sam as his real estate agent. With her in his sights again, he’s not letting her go. But someone from her past followed her back to Holly with a sinister intent. Now Maguire will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he intends to claim as his forever.
Themes:  Contemporary
Rating: 4  stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
One of my favorite authors has returned to the sweet and enchanting town of Holly, NC where the joy and emotion of Christmas is carried year round.  I thought for sure when I started reading these stories that I would get tired of this tourist trap town and it’s residents quickly, but in fact I find myself loving them more and more and the O’Connor family is beyond interesting. This newest story brings back together two lovers that had a chance at love stolen from them years earlier, and boy are these two hot whenever they are breathing the same air. Thankfully their story goes far beyond the physical though with emotional hang-ups and fears driving their interactions and affecting more than just their chemistry together. Samantha and Maguire  were both enjoyable characters to get to know and I loved seeing them get their second chance at a lasting relationship. While the length of their story is deceptively short, as always Katie manages to pack a lot of heart and heat into every moment between these two. There were some laughs, tears, and plenty of passion as Maguire and Sam found their way back into one another so arms, but much more importantly into one another’s hearts and lives. Maguire was a sweet, funny, and passionate man and I enjoyed seeing him share his life and dreams with Sam and find a way to forgive and forget past mistakes so quickly.  Samantha was the kind of independent, fiery, and sensual woman I wish I could be, even though she was a little bit na├»ve when it came to the danger stalking her. Once again proving her ability to capture her readers and keep us hooked, Katie takes us on a fast and furious trip through the courtship of two people that let their fears keep them apart before but are detained to overcome and find a way to get their HEA this time.  I loved returning to Holly and the O’Connell and look forward to continuing this series.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Thirst (The Energy Vampires #1)

Blurb:
A hidden society of vampires—and the humans they love—are at the heart of this opening novel in a biting, all-original series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers saga.
Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire, soaking up nourishment from the sun—and, only when necessary, drawing sweet sustenance from humans who are pure in body and spirit. As the right-hand man to his queen, Rafe is a key player at a historic peace summit in New York City, which will unite the vampire nations against a common threat: the sycophants, who feed on humanity and kill indiscriminately. But Rafe’s fascination with a beautiful blond police detective may put everything at risk.
Detective Renee Holden has never worked a homicide quite like this. The victim has twin puncture wounds on his neck, and the only eyewitness swears she saw a vampire. Now’s definitely not the time to get distracted by a seductive stranger. But the suave, darkly austere, exotically handsome Rafe DaSilva is a hard man to deny, and as Renee falls under his spell, she also falls prey to his enemies. Desperate to protect her, Rafe lifts the veil on a shadow realm she can only visit—a world of intoxicating power, terrifying dangers, and forbidden pleasures.
Themes:  Paranormal
Rating:  4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Another all new world from the amazing imagination of Jackie Frank has arrived and taken me into an alternative view of the world around me and given me another way to escape. I have been a fan of Ms. Frank’s ever since either stumbled onto her Nightwalkers series and only very rarely have I even felt let down by one of her stories, and this was definitely not one of those times. While I am generally wary of beginning a new series (mainly since I already have so many going as is) I knew there was no way I’d miss anything Jackie released.  Rafe and his fellow enemy vamps are an all new take on the traditional view of the paranormal and I was fascinated as I learned more and more. That being said, while I certainly enjoyed the story, it is fair to say that like all first stories in a series like this, there were a few times that it seemed to drag just the slightest bit.  Once you overcome those parts though the story is wonderful.  Rafe was an odd duck to be sure but I enjoyed seeing him and Renee interact with one another.  He is obviously enamored with her, even though he initially resists the draw.  Renee is like an human suddenly pulled into a fantastical world with no compass for surviving that world. Renee clings to Rafe as much as an independent woman would, but she is also a strong female lead character and able to stand on her own.  Once things heat up between them it becomes obvious they are meant to be together, but Rafe knows there relationship is destined to have an end date…unless Renee turns out to be even more special than he originally thought. Renee and Rafe are certainly explosive and the heat between them is easily felt by anyone they cross paths with.  I enjoyed this story and can see my self really enjoying the series, as long as those lull times are few and far between –which is usually the case once the series gets fully underway. I am looking forward to the next in the series and whatever stories Ms. Frank might send our way.  
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Maybe This Time (Colorado Ice #1)

Maybe This Time (Colorado Ice #1)

by Jennifer Snow 

Blurb:
Starting over means a second chance . . .
Abigail Jansen is done with hockey . . . and hockey players. After leaving her two-timing NHL-star husband, Abby decides to start over in her hometown of Glenwood Falls, Colorado. There she doesn't have to deal with people gossiping behind her back or hear the word "hockey"---until her daughter tries out for the junior hockey team. Now Abby has to face her fears . . . and coach Jackson Westmore. He's tall, dark, handsome---and happens to hate her.
All through high school, talented hockey player Jackson Westmore had a crush on Abby, but he would never make a move on his best friend's girl. He gave her the cold shoulder out of self-preservation and worked out his frustrations on the ice. So when Abby returns, newly divorced and still sexy as hell, Jackson knows he's in trouble. Now even the best defensive skills might not keep him from losing his heart.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating:  3.75 stars
Heat Rating:  
Review:
 I was initially drawn to this series because of the lovely covers along with the interesting blurbs for the prequel novella and then this first full length novel.  I am always looking for fun new series and authors to read, mostly because I’m a little bit of an addiction (no 12-step programs for book addicts yet! ;) ).  This first novel in the series was an interesting one and I am looking forward to exploring more of this authors work for sure.  Abigail has returned to her hometown, young daughter in tow, after the abysmally trite ending of her marriage to the town superstar and hockey fanatic.  She has soon off the game and wants nothing to do with Hockey or hockey players, much less the childhood best friend of her soon-to-be ex-husband.  But when her daughter finally shows a spark in their new lives and decides to join the new gender-equal youth hockey team, there’s no way to avoid Jackson, seeing as he is the team’s coach. Jackson is beyond willing to put distance between them, out of loyalty to his friend, but he finds it more and more difficult as he is reminded why he always had a crush on Abigail as a young boy.  When circumstances continuously throw them together Abby and Jackson have to decide if the attraction they share is enough to overcome their rocking history, past relationships, and the truly terrifying chance of finding love after all these years.  I loved Jackson once I got to know him and understood his reasons for being a jerk to Abigail had everything to do with protecting his heart.  He is the kind of solid, cariing, and sexy guy that Abby should have been with all along, and he is also the perfect guy to step in and fill the void in her young daughter’s life left by her absentee father.  Abigail has had a lot of knocks lately, but she is working to overcome each of them, independently and find a path to a better life for her and her daughter.  This story came with a lot of laughter, some tears, and ultimately the understanding that sometimes to get what we really need we have to give up what we always thought we wanted.  The chemistry between Abby and Jackson was there from the first moment they laid eye on one another again, leaving the pages burning up when they finally give into that passion.  I throughly enjoyed getting to know both of these characters and seeing them fall in love, and cannot wait to see what’s in store next for these two and this town of hockey fanatics.  Keep up the great work Ms. Snow.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Her True Match (X-Ops #6)

Her True Match (X-Ops #6)

by Paige Tyler

Blurb:
 After a long game of cat-and-mouse
Feline shifter Dreya Clark picks the wrong penthouse to rob and ends up arrested by sexy detective Braden Hayes. But Braden isn’t the only one who’s been watching the cat burglar. Agents from the Department of Covert Operations swoop in to offer her a deal. If she wants to stay out of jail, she’ll have to work with them—and pair up with the hot cop. Great.
Danger throws this unlikely pair together
Braden isn’t thrilled about the DCO meddling in his investigation. He’s been chasing Dreya for years. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, fur flies and temperatures flare. But when danger closes in on them, their game of cat and mouse turns deadly-serious, and they’ll have to rely on each other to make it out alive.
Themes: Paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 This story marks a huge turning point in a series that has had its up and downs for me, but overall the Swiss just gets better, and Dreya’s story is one that will obviously be leading the way for a new direction for the DCO. Up to this point the series has generally been about one or the other of the main characters =, who is already a DCO operative, joining forces with a new member in order to form the perfect team.  Each of these couples has their own little quirks of course, but I did not see this direction coming until it was already too late.  Dreya and Braden have been circling one another for a long time, apparently their special form of foreplay, but when the shit hit the fan they were thrown together into a world that niether of them truly understood.  Braden had no idea just what Dreya was, though to be fair she didn’t know everything herself, but the draw between them has always been undeniable.  I enjoyed seeing them interacting both before and after they became teammates.  Ultimately it comes down to whether they made a good team, and I can honestly say they turned out to be truly meant to be.  I enjoyed getting to know Braden, who is obviously the kind of white Knight that never has trouble finding someone in need of rescue and certainly never turns their back when they find someone in need.  It was hilarious seeing him reacting to Dreyfus special skills and the side of her that he never imagined existed, but in the end it is the woman that draws his heart in and hooks him for life. Dreya on the other hand was a vulnerable woman that has had to harden her heart when it comes to most people simply because she was so different and didn’t know how to share her secret.  She has led an interesting life for sure, but even though you might think it a problem, her past shenanigans helped her immensely in her new job with the DCO.  I loved the way this story wrapped up a few of the previous stories in the series and even though there was a lot of sadness, the ending was well-written and certainly attention grabbing.   I am Dying to find out what happens next and see where Paige takes us on the journey of these amazing shifters. Combining romantic suspense and paranormal romances in the best of ways, the X-Ops series by Paige Tyler is certainly a favorite of mine and with all the world building and changes that have happened already in such a short time, I can see this series remaining in my TBR pile for many many years to come.  With passion, heart, action and a true flair, these characters leap to life of the pages and remind readers that just because you’ve never experienced something doesn’t mean it should be discounted or denied—after all just a couple decades ago it was considered science fiction to imagine traveling through space of living there for long periods of time. Open minds can lead us to the most amazing of experiences and discoveries!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2)

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2)

by Donna Grant 

Blurb: 

EVERYTHING’S HOTTER IN TEXAS
When Marine Force Recon captain Cullen Loughman learns that his father’s been kidnapped, he will do whatever it takes to find him. In order to achieve his mission, Cullen will need to team up with the best of the best—someone who just happens to be the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on…
This isn’t the first rodeo for ex—Air Force pilot Mia Carter. Still, Cullen’s bad-boy good looks and charm are distracting her from duty. . .and it appears that the feeling is mutual. As Mia and Cullen make their descent into a dark, dangerous world, their attraction reaches the boiling point. But is their desire worth the risk when a ruthless enemy is waiting in the wings—or will their Lone Star love conquer all?
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 This new direction for one of my favorite paranormal authors has been a mixed bag of emotions for me.  In a lot of ways the story is really good, but there are just some elements I find missing, though it is tricky to pinpoint exactly what leaves me wanting.  Donna Grant has always been an amazing author, with sensual alpha male and sexy wild female leads, but the truth of the matter is that her voice and wiring style has always leaned more easily toward the paranormal sub-genre in my opinion.  While I enjoyed reading the story, I wish there was a bit more character development, because the fact it that this book wasn’t all that memorable, where I can remember almost everything from the very first Dark Warrior novel I read by Donna years ago.  Cullen is kind of an ass through most of the story while Mia seems to be trying good hard to prove her strength and skills, instead of just being content knowing that she can handle herself, even if Cullen doubts it.  Cullen obviously spent a good bit of his youth fighting his inner demons and trying to live up to the example set by his older brothers, but once he finally excepted that some things can’t be changed, they just ARE, he was a bit more able to grow up and leave the past wear to belongs in order to get his mission accomplished.  Mia on the other hand left me scratching my head a few times and wondering if I liked her or not, because why she had some redeeming qualities she rubbed me wrong through most of the story. The passion is certainly there, no denying that, but the emotions and depth of her characters doesn’t seem to be there in this novel like it is in her Dark World books.  I am looking forward to the final in the trilogy but I think after that I will stick with Donna’s fantastic imaginative Dark world stories for my entrainment.  That being said fans of strictly contemporary romance or even romantic suspense could definitely do worse than this amazing authors work and you should always read it for yourself to see if you might enjoy it, an honestly it could have just been a bad day that has this story grating on my nerves, so please keep an open mind and Read On!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Justice Ascending (The Scorpius Syndrome #3)

Justice Ascending (The Scorpius Syndrome #3)

by Rebecca Zanetti 

Blurb:
Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly... and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he's lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there's no turning back for either of them.
Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she's one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she's not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she'll face even that hell again to save him.
Themes: Post-apocalyptic, alternate reality 
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Scorpius strikes again… and the world will never be the same.  Everyone’s favorite Vanguard Combat Medic was infected in the previous novel in the series and we have all been watching and wondering just how he would come out on the other side of Scorpius.  Tace Justice has gone from being a sweet and funny good ole’ boy from Texas to becoming an intense and challenging opponent and he has decided to make his next battle with the sensual Sami Steel, and he is determined to break her down and discover all of her secrets.  Tace knew that if he survived his Scorpius infection he was going to be fundamentally changed, but since every survivor exhibits different symptoms he can’t discount any personality changes, and his former fear of becoming a sociopath is no longer a fear—though he’s not sure if that means he is already a sociopath or if he has escaped that fate. He has known from the beginning that Sami was hiding something from them, but when they are thrown into even closer confines then just sharing the vanguard territory, the attraction between them is no longer denials and it is definitely undefinable. Sami has been avoiding her feelings and increasing fears of Tace, knowing that If she ever gave in to him he would discover her every secret and out her to the entire world. But as their chemistry turns into something much deeper Sami is faced with a choice; She can either out herself, with the distinct possibility of losing her place in vanguard if not her life, and definitely her relationship with Tace, or watching him die in her arms.  For Sami there is no choice at that point.  Sharing her secret with her new team has some serious and long lasting consequences, but as long as Tace is able to be saved, Sami is willing to pay the price, proving that she is truly a woman with principles and the courage to stand up for them even at the expense of her own heart and soul. Tace is beyond pissed when she shares that she has been keeping the location of “The Bunker” they were all searching for a secret, but more than that he is angry that she didn’t trust him to know the truth of her past.  Together with their friends, Tace and Sami have to find a way to get the resources they need, keep their people safe, and hopefully find the forgiveness and bravery to give their hearts to one another in this terrifying and all to possible new world they live in.  I enjoyed getting to see how Tracers mind is working with these new changes and there were definitely some moments where the thoughts running through his mind were beyond hilarious.  Finally getting to know the real Sami was interesting too, seeing her passions and conviction and willingness to sacrifice for others shows me that she is truly a great character and a woman to be reckoned with.  The heat and passion between Tace and Sami sometimes has a darker shade than I prefer in my reading, but in the end the two of them were perfectly matched and I loved seeing them settle into their love and beginning their future together. While I am not generally a big fan of Post-apocalyptic stories, Rebecca manages to bring all the craziness and changes down to the level of basic human needs and how to survive in whatever world you find yourself thrown into.  Magic once again, Rebecca!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Zero to Sixty (Body Shop Bad Boys #3)

Zero to Sixty (Body Shop Bad Boys #3)

by Marie Harte 

Blurb:
Bad boy Sam + Good girl Ivy + Stray puppy = Damaged hearts learning to love again

After her last relationship bombed, Ivy Stephens is doing her best to put her life back together. She's enjoying her job, her apartment-and the cute little puppy she's seen hanging around. When she goes looking for him, she finds the stray in the arms of a big, burly, devastatingly handsome man.
Sam Hamilton is lonelier than he's ever been after his best friend's engagement. To give himself a sense of purpose, he takes in a puppy that keeps showing up around the garage where he works. The puppy has another suitor though-one who happens to be blond and beautiful.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 4.5
Review:
 Marie Harte takes us back to the world of bad-for-you mechanics and the sexy woman that manages to tame and claim them for their very own.  Fans of Marie, and these bad boys especially, will be overjoyed to see the gruff and sexy Sam finally falling under the spell of the sweet and sensual Ivy.  Sam has had a hard time recently as the people around him are all falling in love and he is beginning to wonder if he will ever find a woman that can put up with him and fill his life like the women that have come into his friends’ lives. Just when he finds a little companion that seem willing to offer that love, if in a different manner, the pup leads the pretty blonde Ivy into Sam’s world and he is immediately drawn to her.  It is obvious to just about anyone that Sam has some seriously deep-seated issues, but the more we learned about him and met people from his past, we come to see that it’s amazing how well adjust he is, all things considered.  He tries so hard to not that those he cares about into the dark parts of his heart, but once Ivy pushes her was in, there’s no way he can deny that she is the only woman for him. Ivy has her own issues, but when she is around Sam she finds a piece of herself that has been missing and is willing to Rick it all to keep it—and him—in her life for a long time to come. Ivy’s personality was certainly unforgettable and I was thrilled to see that Sam met his match in a woman like her. Being around Ivy brings out a softer side of Sam (and a harder one;) sometimes) but the deep-seated emotional connection they formed was my favorite part of the story. I am very much looking forward to seeing what comes next in this series and getting to see glimpses of Sam and Ivy as their relationship continues to grow.  As always Marie’s world and characters were interesting, fufilling, and captured a piece of my heart that will remain there forever.  Another masterpiece, though I don’t quite know how she can top Sam’s story!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review: Saved by Darkness (Darkness #6)

Saved by Darkness (Darkness #6)

by Katie Reus

Blurb:
 He thought he lost her decades ago.
Half-demon, half-dragon shifter Ian McCabe is hellbent on getting back the only woman he’s ever loved. When Fiona O’Riley kicked him out of her life decades ago, he thought she was gone for good. Now that she’s back, nothing will stop him from claiming her. But she wants nothing to do with him—or his family.
She’ll do anything to save him.
Fiona knows that Ian is the only male for her. The only way to keep him alive is to stay away from him. But when tragedy strikes and they discover a wicked agenda for the mass murder of humans, they must work together to take down the enemies that threaten everyone. But there’s so much more on the line. As their undeniable desire intensifies, they’re faced with an unbearable choice. If Fiona and Ian succumb to their temptation, mating could be the last thing they ever do.
Themes:  paranormal, dragon shifters, demons, and wolves oh My!
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Another half-demon hottie has finally found and kept the woman that was made for him.  This series has progressed slowly through the paranormal leaders in the Biloxi, MS area in this amazing and imaginative series by Katie Reus. Ian McCabe is the long lost brother of Bo, the sexy club owner that found his mate in a foxy demigoddess, and while he is a hard-ass, he is also a seriously sensual male.  When the woman that ripped his heart out more than 50 years earlier is thrust back into his life, he is unable to resist going to see her for himself, but when he stumbles on her being attacked he is determined that she will be safe even if he cannot have her for himself.  Fiona hated breaking Ian’s heart so long ago, but knowing that he was out there somewhere alive and safe keeps her from truly regretting it. When she finds herself faced with the man that she never stopped loving, she is not quite so able o give him up again.  Thrown together to rescue a friend from a seriously dangerous Hell realm, Fiona and Ian must find a way to come to terms with the full truth of their past and move on if they are going to survive the dangers around them.  This story was a little bit different than some previous installments in the series in that most of the romance of this novel was actually set in their lives 50 years ago, with short flashbacks into their original romance, even as the danger in their current lives is escalating. Fiona was an amazing woman, giving up her chance at love and happiness with her mate in order to keep him safe from the psychos in her family.  I enjoyed seeing Fiona come to terms with her past and find a way to forgive herself for her role in breaking Ian’s heart and finding a way to change their future.  Her bravery and passion for keeping her loved ones safe and defeating the enemies that place them in danger, made her a female to truly be reckoned with. With Ian back in her life there is no real way to keep her heart behind the wall of ice she long ago constructed, giving into the love and passion that make them the perfect lovers.  Once Ian learns that what he believed about Fiona for the last 50 years is way off base, there is no way in any hell that he will let her escape again; determined to bring his mate back into his life--and his bed-- Ian will do whatever it takes to keep her safe and protect those she claims as her own in order to have the chance to give her his heart.  His passion is the driving factor for his every moment with Fiona, but his love for her is impossible to deny whenever they are together or he thinks about her.  I hurt so bad for Ian when his heart was breaking and was so happy to see them finally get their HEA.  This series continues to amaze me as each new and different couple finds love in the most unplanned of places and I cannot wait to see which couple will find love next in this group of friends and family.  Keep the magic coming Katie.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ARC Review: New Leash on Life (The Dogfather #2) MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

New Leash on Life (The Dogfather #2)

by Roxanne St. Claire 

Blurb:
 Former attorney and current dog whisperer Shane Kilcannon doesn’t like to lose. At anything. So when he messes up his chance with a beautiful stranger whose confident smile and haunted eyes intrigue him more than any woman he’s ever met, he’s ready to snarl like one of his beloved pit bulls. But Shane’s work with the wildest and wariest of his family’s rescue dogs has taught him patience…and persistence. When his father asks him to work alongside Chloe, helping to convince the locals to support her groundbreaking tourism plans, he agrees…as long as she is willing to help him by giving a temporary home to one misunderstood dog.
Chloe Somerset has built a reputation in the tourism industry as someone with big ideas that put little places on the map, and she’s confident she can do the same for Bitter Bark, North Carolina. All she has to do is convince one small town to change its name, open her germophobic heart to a dog with a penchant for face-licking, and avoid the landmines of local politics when her plans divide the townspeople. But none of that is as scary as the feeling of falling hard for a handsome charmer who whispers all the right things and tempts Chloe to forget a lifetime of hard lessons. Shane might be the best trainer in the family, with an instinct for how to get through to the creatures who need care the most, but he’s met his match with Chloe and it’ll take every trick he knows to teach her to fall in love.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 

Review:
               **MILD SPOILERS AHEAD**
 The Dogfather strikes again… even if it was mostly unintentional. Roxanne St. Claire takes us back to Bitter Bark, NC where the Kilcannon family reminds us all of the importance of sticking together and sharing love.  I am enjoying this series very much and look forward to this whole series and seeing all six of this generation of an amazing family find love. I very much liked this second story and was surprised by Shane and his ability to charm just about any creature, especially the female ones. Shane’s story was full of challenges, fun, and secrets shared through the relationship they slowly built. Chloe was an enigma for sure, though I began to understand just how deeply rooted her fears were and was happy to see her slowly overcome more and more of them. The world that Roxanne has built in this small southern town is heartwarming while at the same time shows that no town is perfect, simply because no person is perfect, but when people truly come together as a community the power of those individuals is multiplied. If you love to see people fall in love in the most unlikely of circumstance and with the least likely match you could imagine, then Shane and Chloe will fill that need.  I was a little disappointed in Shane’s stubbornness and ornery attitude about love considering the love his parents had and the love his father still has for his late wife.  In the end, the  title holds true and Chloe and Shane really do offer one another a New Leash on Life.
Chloe has arrived in Bitter Bark, hoping to do a favor for her aunt, with a mission to present a solution to the town’s lack of tourism. Being a tourism expert has made her a gypsy through life, but her history makes her a bit neurotic and OCD about a lot of circumstances in life.  She never expects for the perfect idea to her problem to come in the form of a sexy man, but after rewarding him with a hot kiss, she runs off and runs with that idea.  Shane is obsessed--slightly-- with the sexy woman that rocked his world with a hot kiss and when he is finally offered the chance to meet her officially, he is more than happy to step in for his father on the tourism committee.  Chloe’s idea is met with some serious resistance, but once Shane puts a a few stipulations on his support she knows she can bring the town around.  Working together on a mission to convert the small town to Chloe’s side, Shane brings in a sweet pup that slowly steals Chloe’s heart, which in turn pulls Shane deeper into the orbit of Miss Chloe.  But Shane doesn't trust in love anymore and while he’s willing to play with Chloe and help her overcome some of those long-held hang-ups, there’s no future for them…unless Shane finds a way to get over his own fears and embrace the love he can no longer deny he has for the barrier-breaking Chloe.
Chloe was a fun character to learn about, mostly because I can’t really understand a woman that is so obsessed with cleanliness that she can’t even give a sweet dog some love.  Being a huge animal lover (yes, I love all five of my pups), I loved watching Daisy help Chloe get over herself just by being the sweet and lovable dog she is.  Chloe worked hard and found just the motivation she needed to break down those personal barriers in Daisy and Shane’s love for her. She may not understand just how much she needed both Shane and Daisy in her life, but I could clearly see that without them this woman would have gone through life without understanding the true love and affection of a dog and the sweetness of a dog that is always there for you. Even if everyone else fails you, a loved animal will always give you back that love in spades. Shane on the other hand understands perfectly the love that comes from a well loved animal, but women are a different story.  He’s not interested in relationships, doesn't believe in true love, and certainly isn't opposed to the temporary nature inherent in dating a woman like Chloe, so he’s persistent when he decides he wants her.  But the more time he spends with her, watching her change and grow right before his eyes, the more he begins to fall for her.  I was very disappointed in Shane, especially when he upsets his father with his views of love and his parents relationship, but thankfully he changes his mind and sees that he truly does love Chloe.  It was obvious from the beginning that Shane has a more than adequate dose of the sexiness and charm of Irishmen, but as he pushed Chloe past her issues, even while fighting against do.ing the same for himself, made me want to slap some sense into him.  When he finally admits to loving Chloe I was in his corner and loved seeing him prove his love to her and finding a way to give her all she needs in life and to convince her to be his.  
New Leash on Life is the kind of heartwarming and heartbreaking story that I always expect from Rocki, but this story hit on a few very important issues that many people never get any experience with.  While most of us cannot imagine living the way Chloe did, I just as much couldn’t imagine having a life without animals walking through life right beside me.  Chloe finds herself in this story as much as she finds Shane;  she changes almost all of her habits, sacrificing for those she loves, and slowly coming to understand that there are normal levels that can be reached for most of her concerns, without going totally overboard.  Sweet, sexy, and smart, with just the right stiffness in her backbone, Chloe is the kind of all-American woman that most us try to portray to the world, with just enough wildness hiding deep inside to entice a man like Shane.  Shane himself has his ups and downs, but in the end I liked him just as much as I did his brother Garrett, though I wished he’d come to terms with his pain long before the time he finally did.  The sexy passion between these two was tempered by the fears and hangups that Chloe has to work to overcome and by Shane’s stubborn insistence that he is only after a little bed play with Chloe, but when they both begin to see that light they bring to each other the passion gets hotter and I loved seeing that.  Overall, this story was very interesting, with some fun laughs, sweet doggy moments, and two people that obviously needed each other, though I wished there was a little more time to see Shane deal with his emotions.  I loved every moment and cannot wait for Liam’s story, coming soon, and to see if the Dogfather will finally find a way for Liam to get the woman that has his heart already in the palm of her hand. Great work, Roxanne.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Hero in the Highlands (No Ordinary Hero #1)

Hero in the Highlands (No Ordinary Hero #1)

by Suzanne Enoch

Blurb:
 WILD AT HEART
Scotland, 1812: He’s ferocious and rugged to the bone, an English soldier more at home on the battlefield than in any Society drawing room. And when Major Gabriel Forrester learns that he’s inherited the massive Scottish Highlands title and estate of a distant relation, the last thing he wants to do is give up the intensity of the battlefield for the too-soft indulgences of noble life. But Gabriel Forrester does not shirk his responsibilities, and when he meets striking, raven-eyed lass Fiona Blackstock, his new circumstances abruptly become more intriguing.
Like any good Highlander, Fiona despises the English—and the new Duke of Lattimer is no exception. Firstly, he is far too attractive for Fiona’s peace of mind. Secondly, his right to “her” castle is a travesty, since it’s been clan Maxwell property for ages. As the two enter a heated battle of wills, an unexpected passion blazes into a love as fierye as the Highlands themselves. Is Fiona strong enough to resist her enemy’s advances—or is Gabriel actually her hero in disguise?
Themes: Historical, Scotland 
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Suzanne Enoch is taking us on another journey through historic Scotland with the story of an English soldier who suddenly finds himself with too many responsibilities and the life-changing events that he never knew to look forward to.  Enoch has an interesting skill with bringing together the most unexpected of allies and forming relationships from them.  I enjoyed this new first-in-a-series and am seriously looking forward to the next one where Gabriel's younger sister finds herself in an unexpected situation herself.  Gabriel has lived a simple life, but he has made a name for himself in the British army and wants nothing more than to continue fighting with his men.  When his estranged great-uncle dies with no heirs he is forced into the position of taking his place as the Duke of Lattimer, a truly unwanted position.  Determined to fulfill his mission to get his affairs in order and get back to the war, he has traveled to the seat of his Dukedom in the Scottish Highlands to bring his estate up to date.  Arriving to find his world will never be the same, Gabriel finds himself confronted with the brave and foolish young woman who has taken over the running of his estate.  Fiona is a woman that will never submit to any man, but when Gabriel arrives and tries to push her not just out of her position but potentially out of her home, she knows she will need to get him to understand how important she is to his people.  Gabriel is a bit of an arrogant ass, but he has never met a woman like Fiona and has no idea how to handle her.  He thankfully learns to handle her as she steals more and more of his heart, and as the people that call his estate home come to trust him he is pulled deeper into the role he has never wanted from the time it fell into his lap. Fiona is beyond fiery and she has been the sole caretaker of her little piece of her clan for many years now; being faced with the danger Gabriel poses, to her people and her own heart, Fiona fights back like any cornered animal, but with her brain not just with physical force.  I loved seeing these two clashing again and again, their wills both being beyond strong and their hardheadedness made them both the perfect match to one another.  Fiona and Gabriel also came to represent the most important type of partnership, two dynamic leaders coming together to force a new clan with the people that support and love them most.  As always I enjoyed the highland spirit expressed through these characters, even the ones that claimed their English heritage, because that highland spirit is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.  I cannot wait for the next in this series where we will get to learn more about Gabriel’s sister Marjorie and hopefully see her find her place in the highland culture that her brother now claims as his own. Another amazing series capturing the greatness of Scotland and the people that make it a most proud and unique culture that I can claim as my very own.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.