Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review: Saved by Darkness (Darkness #6)

Saved by Darkness (Darkness #6)

by Katie Reus

 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: 
 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 

 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: 

               **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 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

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: 
 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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11)

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11)

by Elizabeth Hoyt

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?
Themes: Historical
Rating: 4.5  stars
Heat Rating: 
 This wonderful series is coming closer and closer to the end and the Ghost of St. Giles might just be retiring once and for all.  I have been a fan of this series for a long time now and as each new couple find love the world of these interwoven and beyond interesting individuals grows and grows.  Alf has been an interest of mine for the last few stories, a strong young woman living her life as a boy in order to stand alone and independent in a time and world when a woman alone was almost unheard of.  The Duke of Kyle has been pulled into this small world by an assignment to uncover the people responsible for the disgusting secret society hiding inside the highest level of society. When he pulls Alf back into his life he never imagines just how much his life will change; Hugh is instantly draw to this spirited and Independent woman, whether as the Ghost of St Giles, the young man that deals in secrets, or as the sensual woman he is learning she truly is.  I enjoyed seeing Alf find her footing with Hugh and his sons and of course finding a way to use her skills as the Ghost in order to bring his assignment to an end.  She is the kind of woman that is long before her time, doing whatever it takes to keep herself safe in a world against her, but she always manages to come out on the other side safely.  Hugh has no idea how he will keep a woman like Alf without having to clip her wings, and when he encourages her to change in order to fulfill his need for an accomplice, he even begins to understand that he loves her just the way she is.  Hugh himself was definitely a man at his wits end.  He has no idea how to relate to the children he dearly loves, he can’t find a way to bring an evil society to an end, and he is determined to bring Alf into his life permanently.  I loved Hugh, even as I wondered how he would be able to overcome his prejudices and truly gives his heart to Alf. Together these two are a perfect team, overcoming danger and thwarting crimes together.  In the end Alf has to accept that she doesn't have to be either the Ghost or a woman, but instead needs to find a way to be both and live a full live with Hugh.  This story was packed with fun, emotional tension, and sensuality and seeing Alf come into her own and take Hugh into her heart was amazing.  While I am sad to see this series end after the next story, I can definitely say it has been a crazy wonderful ride from the very beginning and we have met some fabulously intriguing characters.  I am looking forward to the final story and then of course whatever Elizabeth might come up with next.  If you missed the Maiden Lane Experience you need to go back to number one and read through all of the series in order to fully appreciate the literary magic that marks an Elizabeth Hoyt novel. 
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Explosive Forces (K-9 Rescue #5)

Explosive Forces (K-9 Rescue #5)

by D.D. Ayres

Danger is heating up…
When Carly Reese’s beloved fashion boutique catches fire, she sees her dreams go up in smoke. The good news is that Carly was saved from the flames by a barking dog nearby. She soon discovers the heroic pooch is a trained K-9 who’s guarding his unconscious partner …a gorgeous firefighter who ends up in Carly’s arms.
Noah Glover and his K-9 are a fearless duo, and Noah has clearly met his match with the brave, beautiful Carly. Soon they team up to track down the arsonist behind the blast – a psychotic criminal who’s intent on framing Noah. Meanwhile, the sparks between Noah and and Carly could ignite a five-alarm fire. Should they smother their feelings in the name of justice…or fan the flames of passion?
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
This series has had a few ups and downs for me, but overall I have enjoyed reading Ms. Ayres series about K-9 handlers and the partners that make them special.  Each one of the stories is only loosely related, but the interconnected and important thread is the dogs that make these stories truly interesting and unique. This story is about a sexy fire investigator and his k-9 partner who meet the most intriguing woman in the most unwelcome and dangerous of circumstances.  Carly has just reached her goal of opening a small important boutique when she is pulled into a deadly game between Noah and an individual out to bring his life to an end, but what girl can resist saving a sexy fireman and his sweet k-9 partner.  When the danger surrounding Noah begins to spill over to Carly, they must work together in order to bring the would-be killer to justice.  Noah is sweet, sexy, and smart, but he is unsure why Carly brings him to his knees with her passion, sweetness and smarts.  Noah is being pulled deeper and deeper into a game of cat and mouse with a man that is obviously determined to see both him and Carly dead, but he will not allow her to be injured because of him.  I loved getting to know Noah, even has he runs in circles and tries to figure out who is after him, and of course I loved his relationship with his pup. Carly is an enigma, but as we get to know her we see her smarts, courage, and sass come out and lead her into some interesting situations with Noah and on her own.  These two had instant chemistry and I wasn’t surprised when the flare of passion led to a quick affair, but after the first flare burns bright, they are able to get to know one another and come to understand that their connection is more than just physical.  While I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this installment,  I am truly looking forward to more of these stories especially ones that might be more closely related to the training facility that began the series.  Ms Ayres has a writing style all her own for sure, but I am finding more and more that I like her writing and her imagination as she brings to life the stories of the men and women that work with their k-9 partners to keep the world safe from dangers. I cannot wait to see what type of k-9 officers might be detailed next and where their skills might take us in the world of danger and drama. 
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: Bound in Darkness (Immortal Brothers #4)

Bound in Darkness (Immortal Brothers #4)

by Jacquelyn Frank

After drinking from the fountain of immortality along with his brothers, Maxum is condemned by the gods to be entombed in the earth. Even though he has now been granted a reprieve by day, each night he is buried anew, his rock-hard body immobilized, his bones crushed by the pressure. When he emerges, his body heals, but his spirit remains scarred. There is only one way for Maxum to be completely free: He must kill the god who cursed him.
The task will require tremendous power, so Maxum embarks on a quest to gather talismans to equip him for the battle. Then an earthy wench seduces him and steals one of his magical amulets, but he catches her. Finding herself between a rock and a hard place, she strikes a bargain. The beautiful and alluring Airianne is a skilled thief—and she can help him in his acquisition of the talismans. Will this stealthy seductress also try to steal his heart—or will their boldness end up getting them both buried?
Themes: Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
 The brothers have finally reached the end of their long quest with a victory and a surprising new destiny for the final brother to find his freedom.  This series started off with a story that didn’t really capture me so I waited a long time to continue the series, but the series got better and better as it went along I am happy to say.  Ms Frank is certainly one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled when her usual amazing ability to drag me into a story and the lives of her characters came back full force.  The final three stories of this series were wonderful with action, passion, amazing adventures, and the love that can come from the most unexpected of sources.  I really enjoyed this series finale, even while I was sad to see that I wouldn't be able to learn more about this strange and amazing world that came from deep in Ms. Frank’s imagination. Maxum has been released from his watery grave and is on a quest to end his curse for once and for all.  His only obstacle is the sassy little thief that picked his pocket and stole his attention,but once he catches up with her she refuses to leave him in peace.  Airi knows that she is desperate, but when Maxum catches her--and catches her eye-- she thinks that he might be the answer to her problems. Forced to deal with one another Airi and Maxum quickly begin to realize they cannot resist one another, but when their mission becomes much more than either of them realized Airi knows that giving in to their passion will leave her with a broken heart.  I loved Maxum, his grumpiness hides his sweetness well, the sarcasm and anger that he presents the world is simply a way to keep the world away from him.  His quest, while justified on the surface, is about him finding a way to escape from a vengeful god, which can only lead to more trouble in his life. Once he started to trust and fall for Airi his goals shifted and he began to realize that his freedom would allow him to have a future with Airi.  Airi on the other hand made me love her from the very beginning; her scrappiness, wit, sarcasm and sheer bravado made her the perfect counterpart for the always sure and surly Maxum.  As she found a way to join his little band of thieves and ingratiate herself with (almost) the entire crew we get to see her come even more out of her shell and find her confidence and self-awareness.  While she definitely let her mouth get her into trouble a few times, in the end it was her bravery, strength and love that won the day and allowed Maxum, and her, to have their HEA, even if not in the way they originally expected.  I was amazed at the passion between these two, the tension that ran as an undercurrent between them constantly, and ultimately the love that showed they were truly soul mates and meant to be from the beginning of time.  I loved that Maxum came to the conclusion that his curse and all the years of punishment were worth every moment as it allowed him to be in the time where Airi was and no one else would ever do for him. I am sad to see this series end but it was definitely a wild and crazy trip with these four brothers and the magical women that they manage to convince to love them.  Ms. Frank has certainly redeemed herself with these last three stories and I am so glad I had the chance to read this series. Thanks for the amazing trip in this astonishing and peculiar world.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.