Sunday, April 23, 2017

ARC Review: Sit...Stay...Beg (The Dogfather #1)

Sit...Stay...Beg (The Dogfather #1)

by Roxanne St. Claire 

Blurb:
Garrett Kilcannon, a former dot com super-success who now devotes his life to rescuing dogs and finding them homes, prefers to keep his secrets buried as deep as a dog hides his bone. So when he learns his father has invited a journalist to Waterford Farm to write and produce an in-depth profile on him, he doesn’t care that she’s a childhood friend or drop dead gorgeous. He has zero tolerance for the media…until he sees a different side when she gets through the walls of a rescue dog who’s refused to eat during her short stay at Waterford. Unwillingly charmed and undeniably attracted, Garrett agrees to the interview that could break down a few of his emotional walls, too.
Garrett might not want to share the story of his colorful former life, but Jessie Curtis has the skills to peel back the layers of this sexy, complicated, caring man. In the process, she not only discovers his secrets, she finds herself falling for a man who touches her heart in a way she never thought possible. Her entire career is riding on this one explosive interview, but can she bear to repay Garrett’s trust by selling his secrets? Or can a woman who gave up on happiness a long time ago learn to believe that all it takes to rescue a lost heart is the love of a good man?
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 One of my favorite authors has combined her wit and charm in writing truly endearing romances with one of my favorite current issues—the tragedy of animals being deserted and left to die in shelters. As with some of the best series currently on the shelves, The Dogfather series begins with a tragedy, the loss of the family matriarch much too young, but the good that seems to come from that loss will be the basis for the entire series and the changes coming to the lives of her family. Roxanne St. Claire is one of those authors that can break your heart and have you in tears one moment and then the next all is right with the world because the lessons learned by her characters are realistic and lessons that each of us sometimes need to learn the hard way. As with every first in a series, there is a lot of world building and prep for the future stories, but interwoven with that is the story of a  girl that is going to learn the true value she can have in the world and a man that has been hiding for too long from a secret that should never have been his responsibility to carry. And of course, not to be discounted, Roxanne introduces some fun and lovable characters of the four-legged variety, Characters that some would discount, but a true animal lover would understand are just as important to the story as the two-legged characters, front and center in this story being the lovable and depressed Lola, who will grab your heart from the minute you meet her and not let go even when you turn the last page. If you are looking for a truly charming, loving and fascinating romance, Sit…Stay…Beg will be the perfect book to settle in with a mug of hot cocoa (or cold glass of sweet tea, if you’re in the South like I am) and a furry love of two. I cannot wait to learn more about the enigmatic and vastly different Kilcaannon family members as each of Daniel Kilcannon’s children fall into his web and find their hearts stolen.
The lovers in this story both have serious histories and hangups to deal with as they are reunited after over a decade apart. While their joint history is pretty tame and innocent, they have each had serious hurts and  damage done to them in the past.  Garrett has turned his life around, Returning to his childhood home after the death of his mother and giving up a lucrative job as the head of his own company, but honestly it was an easy decision.  Garrett has become disillusioned with the opposite sex, not offering his trust fully, and certainly not willing to truly open himself up for any further hurt. There is no denying he has a heart of gold, because the animals he has devoted his life to trust him implicitely, but his hurts have made him suspicious, grumpy and pretty much a bear to deal with most of the time.  When Jessie lands back in his life there is an instant attraction, but her job is pretty insurmountable for a man that is trying to hide his secrets from the world.  When he did finally open up and let Jessie have a place in his heart, he shows us the true depths of his loving heart and proves that animals really are the best judges of character. I hated to see how easily he returned to the mistrust that defined his life at the first hint of trouble, but thankfully his family is able to talk sense into him and he comes to understand that truly loving someone means trusting them with everything including your heart, secrets, and future. In the end Garrett proves he is just the kind of man all us single women are looking to find and make ours. (Any thoughts on where I can find my own Garrett, Rocki?) :) 
Jessica has led an interesting life, but for all the challenges she has faced and overcome, she never really forgot the life that ended early when she was shipped away from the home of her youth.  For Jessie returning to her hometown, begging for the help of a family that once served as the highlight of her life and the fantasy life she wanted, mean facing the differences in her reality and those fantasies.  When she sees Garrett again there is no denying she is still attracted to him, though he is certainly not the same carefree young man she shared a single intimate moment with, but she is desperate for his help and willing to give up a bit of her pride in order to get the help she needs. I liked Jessie, her sweeteness, charm and ability to bring the peace out in those around her is not a trait to be discounted.  Just by being herself, Jessie has Garrett falling under her spell and soon the fear and sadness that has weighed him down for years is lifted.  Her willingness to give up her happiness in order to protect those she loves, even at the expense of her only dream, shows the strength of her character and provides an excellent role model for us all.  I loved getting to see Jessis kicking butts and taking names when those she loves are hurting, even though he thinks she has lost any chance of ever having that love again.  In the end these two characters were perfect for one another.
The Dogfather series has definitely kicked off with a bang and I am thrilled to have had the chance to enjoy this story before it was shared with the world.  Daniel Kilcannon  is the type of family patriarch that can sometimes scare those of us from families that aren’t as tight knit and in each other’s business as this big loving Irish family, but in the end his skill and love shows as he brings his children back into the fold and makes sure they all understand just how loved they truly are.  Garrett has some darkness in him, from his past mistakes, and offering his trust—or his love—is not something he does lightly, but once a woman has earned his love she will do just about anything to keep it.  Garrett is just the kind of man I would see falling for the sweet, witty, and lonely Jessie despite his closed mind and heart in the beginning.  Jessie certainly has her work cut out for her, professionally and personally, once she decides she wants something personal with Garrett very much.  Jessie has to overcome her own issues with feeling unloved in order to offer her heart, but once she does there is no stopping the tears when she is hurting.  The passion between Garrett and Jessie was the kind of slow simmer you don’t really imagine will ever become a conflagration, until you realize the fire has become uncontrollable and undeniable. I love sharing the heartbreak, love and passion that Jessica and Garrett found together and I am looking forward to watching them build their lives, including the loveable Lola, in future stories in this series.  As always I am amazed with Rocki’s ability to bring together two people that you don’t think work out on paper, but in the end their love is an experience that you are thrilled you were able to share.  I cannot wait to find out which sibling finds love next and to get to learn more about this fabulous, loving, and large Irish family and the fantastic animal sanctuary that they call home.

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

ARC Review: Hard-Hearted Highlander (Highland Grooms #3)

Hard-Hearted Highlander (Highland Grooms #3)

by Julia London

Blurb:
A indomitable governess...a brooding Highlander...a forbidden affair...
An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Kent her reputation, her fickle lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naive wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette's solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.
A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It's even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie's life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan's future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?
Themes: Historical, Scotland
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The scandalous Scots are back in a big way.  Julia London is one of my favorite historical authors and there is very little of her writing I have read that I didn’t fully enjoy every second of.  This third novel in the Highland Grooms series reintroduced us to the second son of the couple from the first story, Rabbie Mackenzie, and he is a sad man in need of a little bit of a wildcat to bring him back to life.  London’s skill with bringing tragic characters to life is undeniable and  her characters are always interesting and the interactions between them are usually hot enough to burn the pages of the story to ash.  If you have missed the two previous novels in this series you might miss a bit of the details and the greatness that is this family, but in the end each is a stand alone novel and the characters and bits of backstory we read is enough to keep each story awesome in its own right.  I am wondering if this will end the series, and seriously hoping not, because I am looking forward to seeing Rabbie’s Sister, Cat, find her own hunk to make her fall in love, but if it is in fact the end, the series definitely went out on a high note. 
Rabbie has been moping around his family home for a few years now, every since the failed Jacobite rebellion cost him his future and the life of the woman he loved.  While he knows he has a duty to his family that cannot be escaped, he is reticent to give in to his parents’ desire to wed a young English girl that is forever quaking in her slippers at just the sight of him.  When his young bride arrives, with her expected entourage, he is deeply surprised and appalled to meet her lady's maid, an outspoken, mouthy, and sinfully lovely young woman that hits all his hot buttons even as he thinks he hates her on first sight. Bernadette has come along with her young charge, given no choice but to serve as a lady’s maid who years before would have been one of her peers.  A scandalous past has left her as damaged goods in the eyes of society, but she is wiling to work with what she has.  As they are forced to spend more time together both Rabbie and Bernadette discover a deep and abiding truth, sometimes hate at first sight is really just love in disguise.  But with so many obstacles in their way, Rabbie and Bernadette have to decide what they are truly willing to risk in order to get their happily ever afters.
Rabbie  is the kind of character that is so annoying in the beginning you cannot imagine you will come to like or even love him, and really if we readers can’t love him how on earth could Bernadette come to love him? Well luckily for us, Rabbie finds a way to relate to Bernadette and is able to pull himself back from the precipice he has been dancing on in order to have a future.  He fights hard for what he wants once he really sees she is worth any fight and that the love they share makes him a better man.  I wanted to punch him a few times when he tried to “do the right thing” and continue with the plans to marry Avaline, but thankfully he pulled his head out of the bottle (and his butt) in time to see the wonderfully perfect woman that was right in front of him.  Sexy, stubborn, arrogant, and ultimately sweet, Rabbie is the perfect example of a  Scot of his time, and I loved getting to experience his heartbreak, growth, and rebirth in the love he had for Bernadette.  Bernadette conversely, I loved from the very first moment she graced the page of this novel.  She obviously has an independent streak, bravery, and a deep ability to give her heart and soul to those she loves. While she has made a few decisions in the past that she doesn’t necessarily regret, but that have led her in an unexpected direction in life, she lives with the consequences even though they are not all that great.  I enjoyed seeing her stand up for her friend, as well as herself and Rabbie, once she is unable to hide her love for Rabbie anymore.
So in the end this scandalous Highland Groom was able to defeat the forces keeping him and his sweet English Rose apart and find a way to make her his wife.  While Rabbie definitely started out Hard-hearted he found his way to peace and was able to open his heart not only to Bernadette, but her love and acceptance allowed him to open his heart to his family again and find a measure of happiness in his crazy family.  Rabbie was a tortured hero, with a sordid and tragic past and a stubbornness to moving on that made him the ultimate challenge for the heroine Bernadette.  Once Bernadette decided he was worth the risk—and all the trouble—she found a way to love him and force him to admit his love for her as well.  The passion between these two began as antagonism and slowly developed from there to interest and a fiery passion that touched those around them and proved that love can come from the most unexpected of directions and certainly be a case of opposites attracting. I enjoyed getting to see Rabbie and Bernadette butt heads, fight with one another, and finally discover their mutual attraction was a special gift they could not neglect to take advantage of.  I am hoping that Julia isn’t through with this amazing group of Highlanders just yet, but Hard-hearted Highlander  is a wonderful read in its own right and I am looking forward to reading more.   Packed with tears, drama, intrigue, and passion, Rabbie and Bernadette take us on an adventure over the Scottish moors, through the political dangers that effected so many lives during this era, and ultimately showed us that though these Scots are sometimes bigger than life, their very humanity is rooted in the most important traditions of any culture—family, community, and faith.  Great job, Julia, a true work of art. 
*ARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: HOT Addiction (Hostile Operations Team #10)

HOT Addiction (Hostile Operations Team #10)

by Lynn Raye Harris 

Blurb:

Tell Dex I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let it go this far. I’ve thought for a while that marrying him wasn’t right, that I’m not the woman for him—I should have been brave enough to say so. He deserves more.
When Dex “Double Dee” Davidson was abandoned at the altar by the woman he loved, he threw himself into his military career, training hard enough to get accepted into the elite Black Ops unit known as HOT. The love he felt for Annabelle Quinn burned to ash in the face of her betrayal—so when she crashes back into his life and begs him to save her, he has no problem laughing in her face.
Blackmailed into jilting Dex and forced into an abusive marriage, Annabelle never thought she’d escape the hell of the last five years. But her husband died a month ago and she’s finally free. Except she isn’t. Someone claims that Eric stole a fortune—and they want it back. If she doesn’t return it within twenty-four hours, she’ll be dead—and so will her young daughter. With time running out, Annabelle has no one to turn to. No one except Dex.
When Dex learns that Annabelle’s husband committed treason against the US by selling a top secret military project to the Russians, he has no choice but to get involved. He’ll protect Annabelle and her child, and he’ll find out who’s threatening her. But he won’t fall for her intoxicating sensuality ever again. And if he discovers the secret she’s been hiding from him? It’ll be game over for good…
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating:  
Review:

 k so for any true romance reader the “second-chance at love” trope is one that you have encountered and it is usually a situation where it’s a love or hate of the story.  The skill of the author is the single most important factor in the quality of these types of stories… and luckily for us Lynn is a kick-ass author with the skill to pull just about anything off.  I have long been a fan of this series and for each new couple that we get to watch fall in love, I fall more in love with Lynn’s writing and her immense ability to bring people together in a way that keeps them exciting and makes you wish you could experience a love like her characters find.  This is one of those stories that has as many heartbreaking moments as it does heartwarming ones, but in the end good conquers evil and the HOT team rises above all challenges and beats all obstacles. If you haven’t read the other stories in this series, you might miss out on a bit of the undertones of Dex’s story but once you learn more about him, I promise you will love him as much as loyal fans do. This series keeps getting better, and though I know the original group is now all paired off, except Mendez, the HOT SEALs spinoff series is already underway so I am thrilled to be seeing more of these characters.  I understand that Mendez will be getting his story soon and we had a hell of a cliffhanger at the end of this story that will lead to an awesome beginning for his book. If you enjoy a well-written suspenseful military romance, you cannot go wrong with anything Ms. Harris writes, but her HOT team lives up to their name is every way imaginable and seeing them fall in love is beyond a wonderful experience.
Dex “Double Dee” Davidson has devoted the last 5 years of his life to his military career and making himself impenetrable to the women he has entertained in his life.  He no longer offers his heart to anyone, never wanting his heart to be shattered like it was when he was left at the altar by the love of his life. When he returns to his childhood home to assist with a family crisis, he never imagined he’d get pulled back in by that sweet girl that broke him, but when Annabelle storms back into his life there’s no denying he still has feelings for her.  Belle is desperate; with her bastard of a husband dead and the responsibilities of being a single mother and business owner falling squarely on her shoulders, she does not know how to handle the death threat or ultimatums that have just come in to her life. When she seeks out the help of the only man she ever loved, she knows it will be an uphill battle to overcome her mistakes and regain his trust, but she never imagined the love and chemistry between them would still be so explosive. With both their lives, the life of her young daughter and friends, and the fates of the HOT team in their hands, Dex and Belle must find a way to trust each other enough to get out alive, or risk losing everything.
I really liked Dex even though he was a little hard of Belle, but I can see where his hurt and bruised pride could keep him from giving her a second chance right away.  But luckily for Belle (and us readers), Dex is incapable of turning his back on someone in trouble.  I have wondered for a long time what broke his heart and made him so jaded towards love and women, and now that we know I can see where he would be callous and try to incase his heart in ice.  He is obviously a sexy, strong, and brave guy, being a member of the HOT Alpha squad, but seeing him interacting with his team as well as Bella allowed us to see different sides of him, while at the same time allowing Belle to come to know the Dex of now, not just the young man she loved and left.  When Dex is forced to come to terms with a secret Belle has been unintentionally holding from him, we get to see an even sweeter side of Dex and I can already tell that he will be one of the softest HOT guys where his family is concerned.  Belle has lived in hell for the last five years, not only broken hearted about losing Dex, but having to deal with a blackmailing, evil husband, and trying to raise her daughter without any of that darkness blending into her little girl’s life.  I was afraid I was going to dislike Belle, mainly because I couldn’t imagine liking anyone that broke Dex in such a way, but when I got to learn more about Belle I realized she was really a brave woman now, even if she was a scared young woman when she made a mistake that tore her life apart five years ago.   Belle is strong, even when she sometimes forgets it, but when her daughter is in danger, she steps up and there is no way she will allow her daughter to be taken from her.  It was nice to see her grow up and make better choices, thankfully choices that bring Dex back into her life for good.
HOT Addiction adheres to the name, it will addict you to the series if you haven’t already been roped in. The HOT operators are the kind of men that any woman wants to have at her back in a crisis and beside her in her life during times of peace.  Dex is a sexy, alpha, tortured hero with the skills to kick butt and the heart to be willing to forgive just about anything.  Annabelle is a woman with a lot of regrets, but in the end, she knows she must live with her choices and try to move on.  The two of them were obviously meant to be and when they come back together the heat and energy between them is instantly combustible.  The sizzling passion and intense emotion that is evident in their sensual moments shows readers that even the most neglected love never truly dies for two people meant to be, like these two are.  It was thrilling to finally see Dex find his HEA and being able to see him return to his lost love and show her the forgiveness she so readily needed, reminds us all that there are still men out there that are truly good at their core.  I am dying to see what comes next for these totally alpha operators and I cannot wait to find out if or when Mendez will get his very own HEA.  Keep the masterpiece’s coming Lynn and I can guarantee my big southern mouth will continue to spread the word about this fabulous series.

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Short Hiatus

Sorry guys, 

There will be a short Hiatus from reviews due to a death in the family.  I look forward to coming back and reviewing for you soon. 

Sincerely, 
Michelle the Romance Witch

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1)

Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1)

by Thea Harrison

Blurb:
Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….
Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.
He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….
Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.
When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.
Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.
As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.
Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…
Themes: paranormal
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
When I get hooked on a really good series, I have to say that there isn’t much that can pull me away once I get started, even if a dud pops up in the series every now and then.  But even better than that is a really GREAT spinoff of that much loved series, as is the case with this new Moonshadow series.  Book one begins with a windfall falling into the lap of a young woman that has been a victim of Murphy’s Law for a long time.  There’s always that little bit of hope that a person will come into our lives and offer us the home of our dreams and a way to survive without ever having to work another day in our lives. Sophie has found a way to make a living while helping people using her skills and inherent magic, but when a vision almost kills her, she is ready for a break so when she has the chance for an extended vacation there is nothing that will keep her at home.  Fans of the Elder races series will recognize some names as well as the types of creatures in the world Sophie and Nikolas inhabit.  Nikolas is an immortal warrior that has been fighting against the evil queen of the light fae and the end is coming to his people in one way or another unless he can find a sanctuary to allow his people to rest and regroup.  When Sophie finds herself pulled into this war and working with Nikolas the passion between them become undeniable and as her heart gets deeper and deeper entrenched with the winning of the war, Sophie knows the price of salvation for Nikolas and his people might just be her life.  I LOVED Sophie; she is such a smart-ass and her wit and sarcasm are sharp enough to cut Nikolas down to size more than once.  The danger surrounding Sophie brings her abilities and skills into sharper need, so when she has to put her full trust in those abilities in order to save Nikolas and his people, there is never any doubt in my mind that Sophie will get the job done.  Nikolas was…well… he was an asshole.  Pretty much the best way to describe him through most of the story.  He has spent so many years distrustful of people and unable to trust in anyone except the men he has fought beside for millennia, so watching him push Sophie away while simultaneously pulling her in made me so angry for her. Once he pulled his head out of his ass, Nikolas became a really wonderful character to get to know and seeing him grow was a wonderful experience.  I love this new series and am looking forward to seeing more of the group find their loves and continue their battles to become a force to be reckoned with now that they have restored their foothold into the world on this side of the divide.  If you love the elder races series by Thea Harrison or are a fan in general of beautifully written paranormal romance, you will enjoy this story if you give it the chance to get through the beginning world building and character introductions.  I know I am dying for more of both this series and the original that made Harrison a key member of my favorite authors list. 

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

Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: Hot Witness (Hostile Operations Team #9.5)

Hot Witness: A MacKenzie Family Novella(Hostile Operations Team #9.5)

by Lynn Raye Harris

Blurb:
New York Times bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris adds her unique twist to Liliana Hart’s MacKenzie family with HOT WITNESS…
Eva Gray has a secret. Eight years ago, her sister entered the Brothers of Sin Motorcycle Club and never came back. Seven years ago, she vowed revenge, even if she had to change everything about her life to do it—her look, her name, her face.
Now she’s stalking the Brothers and looking for weakness. She’s close to achieving her goal, so close she can taste it. But a prominent federal judge is now in ICU, and Eva’s the only one who can prove the club hired the hit.
Jake Ryan was once a Brother, but he got his life together when a judge gave him a choice: prison or the military. He took the military and he’s never looked back. Now, as a member of the lethal Hostile Operations Team, he’s accustomed to working on the side of justice.
So when Declan MacKenzie comes to Washington DC and asks him to infiltrate his old gang to protect a witness and get evidence, he doesn’t hesitate to do his duty. But little does he suspect that Eva Gray is a girl he once knew or that she’s on a mission of her own. A mission that could see them both dead before they’re through.
When the warrior meets the vengeful virgin, nothing and no one is safe…
Themes: novella, contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 


Review:
 So this was a very interesting short story, one that I would have loved to see be a more fully fleshed out novel, but I enjoyed having this to read on a cold night in a hot bath. This story serves as a cross-over between two well-developed series by two very accomplished authors. I have followed the HOT series from the very beginning and love every new installment no matter the length or the subject. I was a little lost in reference to the Mackenzie series portion of this tale, but I am very interested now and might just start a little research into getting this series for myself as well. This is the story of a former bad-boy returning to his hometown in an attempt to save the life of a woman that has decided she is willing to risk her life in order to see justice for the criminal death of her sister.  The bad-boy in this case is the sexy HOT operator Jake “Harley” Ryan and Ms. Eva Gray has captured his mind and heart in a very short time and is willing to put his life on the line in order to keep her safe. While the story moves quickly, Jake and Eva understand their connection from the very beginning and are willing to put their hearts out there and decide to embrace the chemistry and romance between them. I enjoyed reading this story and getting to know Eva and Jake in the little bit we got to read about them.  I am looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.  The HOT series continues to capture my attention and keep readers on their toes, and while I’m not familiar with the Mackenzie series, HOT Witness stands alone as a wonderful short read with heart, passion, sweetness, and action.  Keep the fun coming Lynn, this reader personally cannot WAIT for what is coming next for Colonel Mendez’s boys (and girls).
*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Falling Hard (Colorado High Country #3)

Blurb:
A war widow alone…
Ellie Meeks promised her pilot husband that if anything happened to him, she would live her life to the fullest. Three years later, she is still alone, raising the twins he never met. She has no interest in dating or meeting men—until one snowy night when a stranger helps her get her sick kids safely home. That stranger turns out to be a former Army Ranger and a member of the elite Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He’s also tall, rugged… and irresistibly sexy.
All it takes is one kiss…
Jesse Moretti came to Colorado to get Iraq out of his head, using the adrenaline of extreme sports and high-risk mountain rescues to keep his mind off the past. But getting involved with Ellie might be the riskiest thing he’s ever done. It’s not just their explosive chemistry. There’s something about Ellie that gets inside him, opening him to feelings he’s tried hard to ignore.
When passion ignites…
Ellie feels alive in Jesse’s arms and happier than she ever thought she’d feel again. But their relationship comes at a price for him, and soon Ellie sees that she must help Jesse fight the demons of his past to protect the love of a lifetime—and save the heart of a hero.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.5  stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Truly a story of two individuals, both dealing with loss and damaged hearts, Falling Hard is a story that will bring you to tears, break your heart, and then ultimately make you believe in the true healing power of love. For fans of Pamela Clare, these stories have just enough action and drama that we are tempted to categorize this new series as Romantic Suspense, but these stories truly are all about the two people falling in love and finding a way to live happily ever after.  This third story in the series is one that grabs and keeps attention from the very beginning and tugs our heartstrings as Jesse and Ellie come to terms with their relationship and the ramifications for their futures as they try to build a new life together.  I enjoyed very much reading Jesse’s story even though it broke my heart seeing him dealing with his fears and his memories.  Ellie was her own brand of crazy and damaged, but she managed to stay strong not only for herself but for her twins. If you haven’t read along and this is the first novel in the series you’ve read,  don’t feel like you’ll be left behind because Jesse’s story can stand all on its own and you even get filled in a little bit so you can catch glimpses of the romances in the previous stories.  I loved getting to see Jesse getting out of his comfort zone and offering his help and himself to Ellie and her boys, while Ellie was the kind of woman that I find inspiring even as I know she’s not really a role model for me.  Ellie is a great mom, even as her personal life has atrophied and she devotes herself to her children even though her heart is slowly coming back to life as Jesse offers her a glimpse of the life she deserves.  Ellie has a few moments where I wanted to look at her and ask WTF, but she slowly got over her issues and found a way to truly open her heart.  Jesse was a good guy all around, even as he tried his hardest to keep himself from falling for Ellie and her boys, which of course turned out to be a pointless task.  I LOVED this story and I am really looking forward to whatever comes next for the Colorado High Country series and this Search and Rescue team. Pamela has a way with damaged characters and bringing together two people that don’t seem to go together on paper (sorry for the bad pun), but in the end become the perfect marriage of hearts and lives.  If you love a good romance, with some laughs, tears, passion and adventure, then this series is definitely worth adding to your shelves.  Thanks for the memorable experience Pamela; I am impatiently awaiting your next work of art.

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

Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Tied to His Betrayal (Dirty Little Secrets #2)

Tied to His Betrayal (Dirty Little Secrets #2)

by Stacey Kennedy 

Blurb:
Darius Bennett can’t live without supreme control. A self-made billionaire, he’s rich enough to get anything—and any woman—he wants, yet he’s still haunted by a broken relationship. Five years ago, Darius let Taylor Erikson go because he knew he could never give her what she truly wanted: his heart. But the moment Taylor walks back into his life, bruised and beaten, Darius blames himself. To make good on his betrayal, he vows to help her heal—in and out of the sheets.
Once upon a time, Darius was Taylor’s world. Now his fierce embrace is exactly what she needs to get back on her feet. But Taylor pays a heavy price for her sizzling nights with Darius. As the emotional ties become stronger than ever and the paparazzi hunt her down for their next juicy story, Taylor must face some hard truths. They can’t go back. And to move forward, the key to loving Darius isn’t about keeping his secrets—it’s about exposing them.
Themes: Erotica, BDSM
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Ok once again I am struck with a dilemma; I enjoyed this story very much, despite the fact that I really HATE reading romance novels in first person when the story jumps back and forth from POV to POV.  This was a story of second-chance-love for sure, but there were a lot of tears, a lot of really scary truths and a woman that has loved a man for years even when he pushed her away and she tried to find a way to survive without him. Darius pushed away Taylor many years ago, hoping to allow her to grow and experience life, even though it broke his own heart just as much as hers.  He believed he knew what was best for her and his decision has led to some really serious consequences that are coming to light currently.  Taylor has tried hard to move on with her life, but once again she finds herself depending on Darius and falling back in love with him.  She wants to be able to trust him with her heart, but deep down she knows he can’t change and truly offer what she needs because he is too stubborn and determined that he knows what the best course of action for all is. I liked Taylor even in the few moments that she was completely a wimp, her inner strength came out when she really needed it, but overall she was a character that I liked reading about.  Darius was kind of an ass most of the time, even if he was a sexy-as-hell ass.  Truly there were issues the man needed to come to terms with, but in the end when he finally pulled himself together and found the love that was always within his reach, I found I was rooting for him to get his HEA.  The chemistry between these two was off the charts, even though it was obviously difficult for them admit their feelings even all these years later.  The passion that carried them quickly into deep waters was sensual and hot enough to keep me reading even when I felt like putting down the book.  Overall I am liking this series, by one of my favorite erotic authors, but once the series ends, I hope (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE) that Stacey returns to the standard third person POV which is where my heart and attention truly lies. Looking forward to the next two stories and finding out who seems to be after the DC men and the women that are grabbing their hearts.


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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Kill Without Shame (ARES Security #2)

Kill Without Shame (ARES Security #2)

by Alexandra Ivy

Blurb:
Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…
 Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.
 Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Wow I have read a lot of second chance for love stories, but this story has got to be one of the most interesting and well-written I have read in a LONG time. I have read everything ever written by Alexandra Ivy and, though they vary in theme, heat, and length, I have never read one that I didn’t love and Kill Without Shame did not let me down.  Ivy has a way with both her characters and her writing that brings readers to her and makes them into loyal fans with the first read.  While the first story in this series led me to think this series was going to have a bit of the paranormal mixed in with the contemporary aspect, this second novel is straight contemporary and more than awesome all on its own.  Lucas left his hometown in Louisiana a long time ago, leaving behind the girl he loved, trying to escape the influence and unhappiness of his family life. Now that he has found his place in the world, when a threat to the woman that still holds his heart is presented to him, there is no way he won’t protect her and work to earn her forgiveness and love back.  Mia on the other hand is in no mood to forgive, even after Lucas repeatedly saves her life; soon it becomes obvious that the danger to Mia is very real and it isn’t going away.  Mia and Lucas—along with his friends and fellow ARES members—work to uncover the mysteries of the past in order to unmask the individual that looks to see Mia dead.  Full of intrigue, twists and turns, Lucas and Mia’s story is one that reminds us all that while love may be pushed to the back of our minds, our hearts never truly stop loving, even when doing so hurts.  I enjoyed getting to know more about the slick and suave Lucas St. Claire, seeing him give his all to solve the mystery surrounding his woman, while at the same time working to convince her that she can’t live without him any longer.  He is that guy that on the outside looks like he has everything he’s ever wanted and nothing bad ever sticks to him, but on the inside he is slowly bleeding out without the heart that Mia stole from him a decade earlier.  Mia is a woman that has made the best of her humble beginnings, becoming a successful business owner and putting her mark on her hometown, but she has never forgotten the young man that shattered her heart and has never been able to find someone to put it back together for her.  When Lucas comes back into her life, sharing the bad news that one of their childhood friends has been murdered, her world shifts in more way than one.  Now Mia can no longer deny that though he broke her heart, he also kept it for himself and until she can come to terms with that loss she will never be able to move on with her life. The passion between these two was off the charts, whether they are arguing, fighting for their lives, or coming together in the heat of the moment, there is no way to deny the spark they set off whenever they are in the vicinity of one another.  I loved this story and cannot wait for more in this series.  The other men of ARES are going to be intriguing to watch as they fall under love’s spell and I am looking forward to being a fly on the wall when they do.  And of course, we are all dying to find out who is threatening Hauk and see him kick some bad-guy ass. Ivy strikes gold again with her new ARES Security series and as long as she keeps these amazing and interesting stories coming my way, she will always have a fan in me. Thanks for the awesome escape from my rather mundane reality as I enter the world of the amazing men that are ARES.

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mini-Review: Tease Me, Baby (O'Connor Family #2)

Tease Me, Baby (O'Connor Family #2)

by Katie Reus

Blurb:
She never wanted perfection, but that’s what she finds.
Pastry chef, Fallon O’Connor is torn between her dreams and her obligations. Right before she reluctantly sets off for a degree she doesn’t want, she’s reeling from a mind-blowing encounter with Mr. Perfect. But one sexy, toe-curling kiss isn’t nearly enough when a Boy Scout like Sheriff Fulton lights her fire.
After one delectable taste, he’s never letting her go.
Brad Fulton would do anything for more time with Fallon. After all, he’s wanted a chance with her ever since she moved back to town. And just when things start to heat up, Fallon starts packing her bags—for a future without him. Now, it’s up to Brad to show Fallon that everything she’s ever wanted is right in Holly, North Carolina. But can Fallon trust her heart enough to stay?
Themes: Contemporary, Novella
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 This story is the second in a series set in the year-round-Christmas town known as Holly, NC.  I didn’t realize when I read the first story that it would be turned into a series, but I’m thrilled to be able to see a return of these characters and this special town. The story kicks off with a serious bang, but then simmers nicely as Brad and Fallon get to know each other a little better. I enjoyed the story very much and can see that the H/H were meant to be and just need a little timeline to give them both a push towards their destinies and their new life together. Brad is an alpha male to the core, but even when he is being commanding and macho he is still sweet and considerate to his woman and what woman wouldn’t melt for that.  Fallon is at a crossroads in her life and can’t decide which direction to take in her life.  Starting a relationship with Brad is not making her decision any more clear, but thankfully she begins to believe in herself and her dreams in time for Brad to have a chance to steal her heart.  I loved seeing these two circling one another and losing their minds in the passionate chemistry they shared.  It is obvious that these two will be together for a long time to come and the passion won’t be dying anytime soon.  If you like a good steamy romance with a lot of sweetness and love thrown in, then Tease Me, Baby is just the story to read on a lonely evening. I am looking forward to the next story in the series and seeing more of Fallon’s family falling in love. This series is one that surprised me, but with the chemistry and strength of characters I have come to expect from Katie, this story is magic and I have no regrets about jumping into another series with both feet.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Wolf Unleashed (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #5)

Wolf Unleashed (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #5)

by Paige Tyler 

Blurb:
Wolf shifter Alex Trevino has fallen hard for veterinarian Lacey Barton. Getting her to agree to a date is a lot of work—and winning her heart proves even harder.
Lacey can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex, but she has no intention of letting herself fall for him. In her less than stellar experience, men don’t stick around.
When Lacey’s sister is kidnapped, it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and prove to Lacey that he isn’t going anywhere.
Themes: paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 This interesting series about a group of alpha wolves, all coming together to serve and protect the humans of their town, in this case Dallas, just keeps amazing me and I find myself wondering where these crazy stories will lead next. The series has had some heartbreaking twists and turns, the previous book especially, but Alex and Lacey’s story was no slouch when it comes to emotion and drama.  Alex is the kind of male that every woman wants to find for herself; he’s sweet, kind, sexy, strong, loving, and protective, and of course he’s as alpha as it gets without being a jerk about it.  And the most important thing is that he’s absolutely nuts about Lacey and works his tail off to get her to agree to begin a relationship with him.  While he knows there are bound to be problems for them, mostly the fact that she has no idea he is a werewolf, but he’s determined that she give him a shot.  Lacey is so not interested in starting anything with Alex, but the harder he works the more she wonders if they might be able to at least have a fling.  But circumstances as always are against the couple, until tragedy strikes and Lacey has no choice but to trust Alex and his men with the most important person in her life.  I enjoyed seeing Alex and the guys in action and of course the sweetness of Alex’s chasing Lacey, but the best part of this story was when Alex could come clean with Lacey and show her the real him.  Lacey was a little bit hard-hearted, especially for an animal lover—which of course all vets are—and I was surprised that she made him work so hard for even a chance at a date.  The passion between them is obvious to everyone around them even as Lacey pushes him away, but when she finally gives into the heat there is no way that Alex won’t burn her up.  I enjoyed this story a lot and look forward to seeing where the series takes us next.  The characters and the amazing connections between these wolves and their “One” is something that I wish I could find myself and, of course, Paige’s skill at bringing together two so different individuals is her true skill.  I’m looking forward to the next story and wondering just where the next wolf with find his mate. Keep up the great work Ms. Tyler!

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Review: Deadly Silence (Blood Brothers #1)

Deadly Silence (Blood Brothers #1)

by Rebecca Zanetti 

Blurb:
DON'T LOOK BACK

Under siege. That's how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can't outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he's been trying to keep at arm's length is in danger...and he'll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She's making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There's a lot Ryker isn't telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn't catch up to them first...4

Themes:  paranormal
Rating:  4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 The Blood Brothers series is a spinoff series of one of my favorite Rebecca Zanetti series, the Sin Brothers.  These men have been used and abused since they were children where they lived in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the mad scientist that kidnapped them and the dangerous military commander that used them to run missions.  This series is slightly different in that the brothers were kept separate from others of their kind and experimented on psychologically.  Now that they are grown and on their own they band together to find and protect those in need of their help, though of course getting paid for what they’re good at is also a plus.  Ryker met Zara when he took a few jobs with her law firm and seduced her into his arms.  Though she knows their relationship is purely physical she can’t help the pull she feels toward this amazing- though sometimes scary—man. When his past comes back to haunt him, Zara finds herself caught up in their deadly conflict, but Ryker isn’t going to let anything happen to her.  Ryker is the kind of alpha man that can become annoying quickly, but he has so many redeeming qualities—and is hot as hell—that we are willing to forgive his outrageous behavior.  I loved seeing Ryker find the softer side he has always kept hidden as his feelings for Zara made him truly vulnerable for the first time.  Zara was determined to help Ryker solve the crimes piling up around them and won’t let him push her to the sidelines as she demands her due as his lover.  Sadly, she has fallen in love with the bastard and she can’t find it in her to let him go, so when she meets his family and learns the truth of his past, she has to work through all the drama of their present in order to ensure they have a future together.  As with all of these amazing enhanced brothers, the passion between Ryker and the woman that has captured his heart is palpable no matter what is going on around them.  I loved seeing these two circling one another and trying to find a way to make their lives combine so they can be together.  I also adored getting to see the Sin Brothers make an appearance and seeing the way Rebecca was able to weave the two series together into one great experience.  For those that haven’t read the Sin Brothers series, I suggest you run out right now and do so, mainly because they are AWESOME, but also because you will have more of the backstory and Deadly Silence will be much more enjoyable that way. Another masterpiece of epic proportions for Rebecca and I cannot wait to see which brother falls in love next; and of course I cannot wait to see the evil bitch that destroyed their lives get her punishment. Keep up the sexy magic, Rebecca! 

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Undiscovered (Amoveo Rising #1)

Undiscovered (Amoveo Rising #1)

by Sara Humphreys 

Blurb:
He's the man of her dreams
A long time ago, Zander Lorens was cursed to walk the earth stripped of his Dragon Clan powers. Every night, trapped in a recurring nightmare, Zander relives his darkest moment. He can hardly believe it when the dream changes and a beautiful young woman appears. Zander believes she's the key to ending his torment. Finding her in the real world is one thing, but how will he convince her of who-and what-she really is?
She's the end to his nightmare
Rena McHale uses her unique sensitivity as a private investigator, touting herself as a "human divining rod" and finder of the lost. By day she struggles with sensory overload, and by night her sleep is haunted by a fiery dragon shifter. Nothing in her life makes sense, until the man from her dreams shows up at her door with a proposition...

Themes:  Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 I have waited and wished for this series to return for a long time now, and though it is technically a spin-off series, we did get to meet up with some old friends and see more of the Amoveo legend I have come to love.  The original series introduced a group of shape-shifters, following a legend that was extremely unique and I loved that entire series and was so sad to hear it was ending, so when I ran across this story in the catalog I’m not afraid to admit I squealed like a little girl.  Not only am I a huge fan of all of Ms. Humphreys works, I am THRILLED that she was able to return to this world and introduce an all new set of characters.  This story began about 500 years ago, when Zander and his brother Zed were cursed, leaving Zed trapped in dragon form deep below ground, and Zander was cursed to travel the world with no end to either his curse or his life in sight.  The curse’s time limit for saving himself and his brother is coming to an end, quickly, when Zander connects in the dream realm with the woman that he thinks can save them both, his brother’s mate.  Tracking her down is the easy part, but convincing her to help him will be a lot more complicated.  Rena runs a private investigator’s agency, using her special gift to help her become one of the most successful in her profession.  When the dangerous and deadly looking Zander arrives in her office one afternoon the connection between them immediately pulls at her, but the task he wants her to undertake is going to be near to impossible, especially when she can tell that he is lying to her.  Willing to give him a bit of leeway, Rena sets off with Zander to find a way to help him find his brother, but as the truth of his mission unfolds, the danger and passion that circle them is increasingly volatile.  It’s obvious to Rena that she and Zander are destined to be together, even if he claims she belongs to his brother—if she’s going to be anyone’s mate, it will be Zander.  But as their time runs out, a deadly enemy from Zander’s past, someone that Rena never imagined would be a danger to her, returns to take his ultimate revenge on the brothers, unless Rena and Zander can prevent it.  I LOVED Rena.  She was a kickass, sexy, smart heroine and I haven’t met a character so well written and developed in a long while.  Zander was obviously a complicated guy, but once he stopped denying the truth right in front of him, he became the hero he was always destined to be.  The heat and passion between this foxy lady and sexy dragon was off the charts hot, and I often wondered if they were going to set the world around them aflame.  I was thrilled that they were able to find a way to reach their HEA and admit the love that developed between them, but mostly I enjoyed seeing them working together to work through their problems and overcome all obstacles.  I cannot wait for book 2, which will hopefully be Zed’s story, where he might finally meet his own true mate.  I hope there are many more in this series to come and that Sara is able to keep the world of the Amoveo alive, in one form or another, for a long time to come.  Another sensual masterpiece, filled with drama, emotional turmoil and the angst of a man denying his destiny and a woman trying to grab hers and hold on with both hands.  Great work, Sara!

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

review: A Mate for Christmas (Moon Shifter #7)

A Mate for Christmas (Moon Shifter #7)

by Katie Reus 

Blurb:
It will take a miracle to survive the holidays...
After recently losing her parents, packmates and a sister, Noel Cordona isn’t even close to being in the holiday spirit. It seems that everyone around her is moving on and happy, but she can’t seem to get it together. When an unexpected kiss changes everything she thought she knew about her packmate Nathan O’Neill, she feels alive for the first time in a year. She’s too broken for him though. At least that’s what she tries to tell them both.
But Nathan’s been waiting patiently for Noel. He’s not going to lose faith now. With a little holiday magic, he can help her overcome the weight of her grief and show her that opening her heart to him is the best Christmas gift he could ever give her.


Themes: paranormal, holiday, novella
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Reus strikes again with a sweet but sensual story of love during the happiest time of the year between two individuals that have been hiding their feelings for entirely too long. Fans of this series know that times have been rough for the Cordona pack in the last few years, with a change in leadership, preceded by the tragic death of most of their pack, and the influx of new mates and magic into the pack, times they are a changing. Noel has had it harder than some, which has made her blind to the love offered by one of the sweetest wolves in her pack.  Nathan once offered his heart, so when it was rejected, he gave Noel the space she needed so badly, but he never gave up hope that she would come around.  There’s just no way he could give up on the woman that he knows is his mate and the other half of his soul, even when he dies a little bit inside every time she looks through him.  Noel finally gets herself together enough to see that Nathan has always been there and she is finally able to embrace the chance at love with him.  There was of course a lot of emotional difficulties in this story as Noel came to terms with her losses and how they truly affected her life, but the love and passion between Nathan and Noel is undeniable and I was thrilled to see them work everything out and find their HEA.  It was also nice to see the previous couples going about their daily lives, including all the changes that are coming to their pack and the expansion of their family, allowing for even more love and support for everyone.  I am dying to see what comes next in this series, however I have never read anything by Katie that I didn’t love so I am willing to wait for her magic to produce the next great story in the Moon Shifter series.   Keep the magic alive Katie and these wolfish antics and love stories coming!

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