Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: Viking Warrior Rebel (Viking Warriors #2)

Viking Warrior Rebel (Viking Warriors #2)

by Asa Maria Bradley

 She can't let him discover...
Immortal Vikings are among us
Astrid Irisdotter is a Valkyrie-a fierce warrior fighting to protect humanity from the evil god Loki and his brutal minions. She's on an urgent mission for her queen when everything goes hideously sideways. Undercover agent Luke Holden arrives on the scene just in time to save her life-and put his own on the line.
Luke may have saved her, but that doesn't mean Astrid can trust him. Tempers flare as they hide secret upon secret from each other, but Astrid's inner warrior knows what it wants...and it will not take "no" for an answer.
Themes: paranormal, Norse mythology
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Ok so let’s be honest, there just aren’t that many series out there that are about Viking warriors in modern America kicking ass against killer minions of the god Loki, but then again there just aren’t that many readers out there that have the interest in all things pagan and historical.  Thankfully there is at least one author out there that is willing to give me a little something special to read.  This is only the second story in the series of course, but I can honestly say it has been very interesting and I cannot wait to read more of these stories.  Ms. Bradley’s series is a wonderful addition to any readers’ shelf and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next. Astrid is a Valkyrie, an ancient warrior class of women, embraced by the queen of the Norse gods, Freya, and she is tired of kicking her own ass for her screw-up. Her last missions didn’t go quite as planned, but she is determined to save her new Queen’s brother to make up for the mistakes.  Luke has been drawn to Astrid from the very beginning, but now that she has become the center of his investigation he knows that he has to resist her allure.  Luke has been after the people that imprisoned and experiments on him and his brother when they were kids, and now he is close to the truth, but that truth could tear apart the beginning of their new relationship.   Astrid is the type of woman that all of us should aspire to be; beautiful, brave, sexy, and strong, and I enjoyed getting to know her and seeing the vulnerability that she hides so well. Luke was a bit of an ass through the majority of this book, hiding his true intentions even as he pulls Astrid deeper and deeper into the danger surrounding them. Thankfully once they both admit to their true natures and intentions, they are able to finally admit the feelings that have bound them together. I enjoyed the action and of course the myths that are some of my personal favorites in this world. The passion between Astrid and Luke is a conflagration every moment they are together and the reader is pulled into the heat right along with the lovers.  I cannot wait to see what story comes next and what deadly Norsewarrior—or warrioress—loses their heart to their one true mate.  Ms. Bradley has certainly captured my attention and I know that this series will be giving readers pleasure long into the future.  

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Lethal Game (Red Stone Security #15)

Lethal Game (Red Stone Security #15)

by Katie Reus 

Read the action-packed finale of the USA Today bestselling Red Stone Security series!
He broke her heart.
Graysen’s betrayal nearly destroyed Isa a year ago. Now that she’s working for Red Stone Security, she’s managed to piece her life back together after a rough year and a broken heart. Then he appears back in her life and makes it clear he’s not going anywhere until she gives them a second chance. A chance she refuses to take.
Now he’s back to claim what’s his.
Graysen’s never gotten over Isa and he knows he never will. It’s his fault she walked away, but he can’t seem to let her go. He quit his job with the CIA and called in every favor he had to get hired by Red Stone Security just to be near her again. But Isa doesn’t care that he’s desperate to make things right between them—she wants nothing to do with him. He doesn’t blame her, but he’s not willing to give her up. When they’re cornered by lethal terrorists, everything changes. Graysen and Isa will have to find a way to work together if they want to survive. Only then will he be able to convince her to claim the chance at happiness the past stole from them.
Themes:  contemporary, series ending
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating:  
The end of an amazing series has sadly finally arrived for readers. Lethal Game marks the end of Katie Reus's Red Stone Security series, an adventure that began 12 books and several years ago with a love story that has lasted through the entire series. Luckily Reus knows her readers well and gave us not only a heartfelt love story to end the series, but also some interesting side stories and an amazingly fulfilling epilogue that shows us all of the couples through the years and where they are now in their lives. If you haven't read the series, while you will still enjoy this Die Hard-esque story and the couples that claim their love, I can honestly say you won’t understand the true greatness that is the Red Stone family unless you go back and read from the beginning; so go buy them! With that shameless bit of advertising done, let's talk about this story.
Graysen has arrived at Red Stone determined to win back the love of his life, Isabella, after Isa ran from him almost a year earlier.  They came together under some pretty unfortunate circumstances and I don’t blame Isa a bit for running, but she still loves him and that's obvious every moment they are interacting. Flung together on a new operation, Isa is determined to get her job done without allowing Graysen back into her life, much less into her heart.  But once Isa learns the full truth of what really caused Graysen to break her heart, she realizes she's never stopped loving him.  Sadly before she can really accept this change of heart and get her man, their operation explodes into a life threatening situation that could separate them forever. 
Graysen is a great character, even though he definitely has some flaws, but that's what makes him such a good protagonist. He knows he screwed up with Isa, lying to her, and his love may not be enough to prove to her he is the man for her, but he's not going to let those doubts keep him from trying.  Isa is a woman after my own heart, willing to put her life on the line for others as well as the greater good.  She was hurt badly by the tragedy that brought Graysen into her life, but when confronted with the full truth and learning that Graysen protected her from a lot more pain, she accepts the truth that she never stopped loving him and goes after her man full speed ahead.  Kicking terrorist ass as they work together to stay alive, the heat between them is nothing compared to the obvious love they share. 
Secondarily, another couple also finally admitted their feelings for one another.  Carlito and Emerson have been circling one another for a while now and we finally get to see them give in to their desire and admit that they are made for one another. I thoroughly enjoyed their story as well, even knowing that their relationship was the final loose end and that the Red Stone series was truly over.  Both Emerson and Carlito are amazing--funny, sweet, loving, protective, and just the perfect amount of smartass.
With the HEAs of these two, the series comes to an end with high impact action, life and death danger, and the ultimate forgiveness and trust between two couples that are perfect together. Lethal Game is one of those stories that are much greater than its parts. Graysen and Isa are made to be, even if she has fought their love and connection for the past year, and Carlito and Emerson have finally come to the time where they will no longer deny their feelings for one another.  I enjoyed immensely seeing these two couples come together in love and also to kick serious butt against the terrorists trying to kill them, but the best part of the book for me was the epilogue, to be sure.  We get to see all the previous couples congregating and sharing their love and family connection.  Getting to see who's having babies, who is still deeply in love, and how all the couples and little families come together to be one big family, not one of blood, but one of the heart, proving that even those that don't share our DNA can become the most supportive and loving connection there is.  I am sad to see the series end, but I hold out hope that maybe one day in the future the series will come back--maybe with the next generation of bad ass security experts (*wink wink, nudge nudge). Once again, despite the seemingly short length of the story, Reus gives us an adventure, love story, and a kick ass ending all in one, proving that size doesn't matter 😃, but skill certainly does.  I am looking forward to the next release from Reus, no matter the series or new direction she might be taking us in, proving once again that her spot of my favorite authors list is cemented forever.  Thanks for an amazing ride Katie, for making us feel like a small piece of the Red Stone family, and the success of a fabulous author.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1)

The Hero (Sons of Texas #1)

by Donna Grant 

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .
Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…
Themes:  Contemporary
Rating: 4.25  stars
Heat Rating: 
 The newest experiment by favorite author Donna Grant has hit the shelves with a bang.  I enjoy everything I have read by Donna so when I heard she was trying her hand at contemporary romantic suspense, I knew I had to give it a shot.  I enjoyed the first read, though I found it very similar to a few other series I am currently reading, but Grant, as always, has her own writing style and a true way with the alpha men in her stories.  The story kicks off with a seriously scary loss of life and the reunion of the three brothers that have until now been scattered to the winds of the world as they each protected the innocents of the world in their own way.  Owen has been estranged from his father a long time, long before he left his small hometown really, blaming his dad for the murder of his mother when he was very young.  He loved Natalie, but knew he would never be able to have a wife, afraid of placing her in the same danger that cost him his mother, but now he is back on a mission to save his family… and the woman that still holds his heart.  Natalie has worked hard to get over the loss of Owen and has made something of her life, but now she finds herself smack in the middle of the danger that has come for Owen’s father and the only person that can keep her alive is Owen, with a little help from his brothers.  Owen is the quintessential Navy SEAL, badass to the bone, but he is also dealing with a lot of bad memories of his mother’s death and fears that Natalie, the only woman he’s ever loved will follow that same tragic end.  There were moments I wanted to smack him for being so callous, but there were also moments were his sweetness and consideration made me want to hug him until he released all his pent-up emotion.  Natalie is the kind of lady that I imagine I would be if I were to ever find myself in this kind of situation.  She manages to be an asset to the team, holding her shit together, despite being a novice spy/special operator and when push comes to shove she is able to keep her man safe.  She obviously never stopped loving Owen and still misses him with a deep intensity, but she isn’t willing to be a detour from his life plan; she’ll only ever give herself and her heart to him again if he faces his fears and promises her the life they should have always had. This story follows the couple as they and the rest of their family/team work to find their kidnapped father and uncover a dangerous conspiracy with foreign spies at the center of it.  While there were some moments of disbelief for me, overall I really enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the other two brothers falling in love with their teammates.  If you are a fan of romantic suspense authors like Pamela Clare or Lori Foster, there is much to recommend this story and for fans of Donna Grant’s paranormal works I can only say, give the series a shot for yourself and see if you enjoy this new side to our favorite author. 
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: The Billionaire Next Door (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)

The Billionaire Next Door (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)

by Jessica Lemmon 

Can't Buy Me Love
It's Tag Crane's job to be the life of the party. Traveling from one exotic locale to another is just part of running the luxurious Crane Hotel empire. But even paradise isn't perfect. Devising a new business strategy is keeping Tag up at night-and so is the Great Dane barking at all hours in the apartment below his. To muzzle the problem, Tag charges downstairs . . . right into the most beautiful, blond distraction he's ever seen.
Dog-sitting by day, bartending by night. It's not exactly the life Rachel Foster dreamed of. But when Tag Crane rushes in, all mountain-man shoulders and obscenely sexy smile, needing her help for the Crane Hotels, it's a fantasy come true. What's the harm in a fun no-strings fling? Only a fool would give her heart to a billionaire player like Tag-until suddenly the one man who can't be caught is the one flirting with forever . . .

Themes: Contemporary  
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
The second Crane billionaire has fallen under love's spell!  I stumbled across this series by chance when I was cruising the web for new stories to try.  I'd never read anything by this author so I was a little skeptical about it, but figured what the heck, mainly because the covers were so compelling.  Taggert "Tag" Crane is definitely a died-in-the-wool Bachelor and it was hard to believe that he would find a woman to drag him out of his shell and steal his heart, but with a little help from a sweet great dane named Adonis, Rachel manages to break him down.  Instant lust and want is something that Tag understands, but when he begins to feel more for Rachel, the fears and excuses kick in and he begins to unintentionally break Rachel's heart a piece at a time.  I loved getting to know Rachel, a woman that has taken her life in her own hands and finally decided that she will leave behind the unhealthy influences in her life and live a little. Once she gets to know Tag, it's impossible to resist his allure, not just physically, but emotionally as well.  This story was filled with laughs, tears, sweetness and heartbreak to go along with the sexy and sinful Tag, and I am truly glad to have had the chance to read it.  I am dying to read Eli's book soon and know it will be great, no matter the challenges he now faces in his life.  I am truly amazed by how much I enjoyed this story, despite the clichéd billionaire playboy and the down on her luck heroine, and am happy to say I have added Ms. Jessica to my watch list.  If you like a story filled with passion, a sexy playboy losing his heart, or even a sweet dog pulling two people together, you will love Billionaire Next Door, and if you haven't read book one, Billionaire Bachelor,  then I suggest you run out and grab both so you are ready for the next story as Eli overcomes all odds to find himself a mate as wonderful and awesome as his brothers have.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Review: Bound by Sin (Immortal Brothers #3)

Bound by Sin (Immortal Brothers #3)

by Jacquelyn Frank 

After being chained to a star to burn endlessly as punishment for stealing immortality from the gods, Jaykun has been unshackled to wage war alongside his brothers, in the name of a goddess. But his freedom comes with a price: Each night Jaykun must still suffer—his body burning from the inside out. One early morning, recovering from his torment, he encounters a beautiful stranger on the beach. Naked from her midnight-black hair down to her sandy toes, she approaches him with starry-eyed innocence and the unmistakable full body of a woman.
 Soon Jaykun is swept up with the force of a comet, his desire for her hotter than any sun. His brothers fear he is blinded by her radiant beauty, that she has been sent by their enemies to seduce and destroy him. Jileana is indeed from another world—one Jaykun cannot begin to imagine. But will their passion burn brightly enough to light their way through the darkness that threatens to consume all in its path?
Themes:  paranormal, alternate reality
Rating: 3.75  stars
Heat Rating: 
 I was so thrilled to return to this series about four brothers that have paid the ultimate price for their hubris in challenging the gods and reaching for immortality that they didn’t earn.  The first two brothers have found their happiness in the arms of some very strong and amazing women, but now Jaykun has been returned to the mortal world in order to fight and spread the name of their goddess in repayment for his freedom.  Having defeated another kingdom, Jaykun is looking only for a little respite and a chance to assert his rule so his brothers can return to their families for the winter season.  But he is completely derailed when the enchanting and secretive Jileana comes into his world, blowing him away and showing him a true innocence that he finds hard to believe.  Jileana has her own secrets to keep, but when she stumbles upon Jaykun’s deepest secret, his deepest shame, she finds his strength and resilience truly sensual and the man himself is irresistible.  The passion between them quickly sweeps them both off their feet, even though they both know and accept that their time together is very limited.  But when Jileana convinces Jaykun to travel to her world as an ambassador to his nation and his goddess, Jaykun’s life is thrown for a serious curveball.  Her world is mysterious and the enemies around them seem to continuously grow in number, even as the Queen of Jileana’s world becomes a fast ally and treats Jaykun as a trusted advisor.  But the biggest danger is the depth of their feelings and the truth that neither of them is willing to give up the other or the love that has blossomed between them.  I LOVED Jileana and as usual Ms. Frank has a way of sneaking in characters and worlds that seem perfectly plausible in the moment, but are amazing and so imaginative that you look back thinking how did she pull that off? Jileana, though a warrior in her world, is innocent of the true depravity that people can hide, even if they aren’t human, and the protection that Jaykun offers is just what she needs to survive.  I loved the world that she came from, and seeing Jileana, in both worlds, grow as she learned and experienced life with Jaykun was an amazing experience for me to enjoy.  Jaykun’s life, while much improved, still has a few drawbacks, including his nightly curse and his inability to give his full faith and love to a woman again, but he handles the challenges as they come his way with great aplomb. I enjoyed this story very much and am thrilled that Jaykun unlocked the mystery of the location of their final missing brother and I am really looking forward to reading his story, Bound by Darkness, the finale in this amazing series.  While I may have been reluctant to finish the series after the first story didn’t trip my trigger as much as expected for a Jacquelyn Frank novel, this series has just gotten consecutively better and I cannot imagine the mystery, magic, and mayhem coming in the finale.  Another masterpiece, Ms. Frank.

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ARC Review: Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms #1)

Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms #1)

by Julia London

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands.
Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.
Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

Themes:  historical
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
 I have always been a fan of a well-written and exciting highland romance and Julia London’s Highland Grooms series is the beginning of a new wonderful world.   London has been a favorite author of mine, especially for her historicals, for several years now, so when I was offered the chance to read an advanced copy of Wild, Wicked Scot there was no way I was going to miss out. I was a tiny bit disappointed initially thinking that we wouldn’t get to know the characters and see their original romance, but London shows us glimpses of the lovers in the beginning of their relationship as well as in the current timeline where the lovers are coming back together after a long separation.  If you are a fan of truly interesting and sometimes trying Scottish hotties, this story is going to bring you immense joy.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.  I was surprised that Julia was able in the end to give the couple their HEA, but it was hard won and earned with blood, sweat and tears to be sure.
Arran and Margot had a tumultuous first few months as husband and wife, with glimpses into the possibilities they would have a wonderful, loving relationship—if only they could both let go of their preconceived notions of what their spouse should be. Margot is much too young when they are first together, leaving her floundering as she is trying to find a way to make her marriage into what she thinks it should be.  Arran is clueless when it comes to young women and has no notion of what he should be doing to aid his young wife in her transition.  Finally fed up with being alone so much, Margot decides to flee her husband and new home, in favor of returning to her childhood home.  But when rumors begin to spread there is no way for her to hide out any longer.  Arran and Margot come back together with all the fiery passion and sweet sensuality that was there in the beginning, but the anger and frustration is new.  Can Arran find a way to make his wife happy enough to stay with him? Or is he destined to see her walk away from him again?
Margot is an interesting character. While she’s not exactly the damsel in distress she is definitely a woman trapped between a rock and a hard place…err person. Margot ran from her husband, mainly due to her inexperience in dealing with men, especially big, alpha Scots. Now that she is faced with returning to her husband in order to keep her family’s honor intact there is no doubt she will have to brazen her way through the entire process. While there were certainly times I wanted to smack her in the head to wake her up to the truth around her, her naiveté was one of the reasons the story was able to move along.  I enjoyed seeing her find her footing with Arran and his people and of course in the end she is the hero, which made me immensely happy.  I can safely say in the end I really liked Margot and was glad to see her and Arran find their happiness and balance. Arran is the quintessential Scotsman of his time.  Rugged and brash, brave and honorable, and of course sexy as all get out. Arran had no idea what he was in for when he fell for the sweet and beautiful Margot, but what man really knows how to handle love at first sight, after all.  When she left him, he assumed she would return to him quickly, but years later the anger and frustration has made him in to a bitter man and there is no way he will allow himself to fall under her spell again. I liked Arran, even though at times he seemed unforgiving and uncompromising, mainly because he stands up for his principles and even though he still loves her he will not allow her to damage their clan any further.  Trust is not something he will ever allow Margot to break again, but when she ultimately earns his love and trust back, he moves on from the past and embraces their love wholeheartedly. 
This return to the wild and sensual Scottish Highlands came at just the right time for me.  I was in a rut to be sure, but with this novel my love of reading was reignited. Arran and Margot’s tumultuous story of deceit, betrayal, honor, and love is one that kept my interest every second the story was in my hands and pulled at me even when I had to put it down. Margot is a young woman that was thrown in the deep end and she lost her footing in the beginning, but when she blossoms and comes in to her own, the woman is a pistol and certainly fits right in with her new crazy highland clan. Arran is the type of man that makes any woman melt for him, even if his gruffness and lack of female experience might have left him stumbling with his new bride on a few occasions.  When they both finally start communicating and trusting one another the relationship between them turns into the type of long-lasting love that can build not only a family or even a mighty clan, but an entire world of love for the future generations. The heat between these two was undeniable from the first moment they set eyes on each other again and only sizzles hotter as they interact.  I was thrilled to see these two finally find the love that would sustain their marriage and find a way to overcome the dangers facing them.  Full of laughs, sparks, and danger Wild Wicked Scot will take you on a thrill ride through the untamed highlands and even into the borders of England where the danger is boiling over as the Scots and English quarrel again over their borders and lands.  I loved this story and am dying to find out who’s story comes next.  Another masterpiece from Julia, but honestly, I would expect nothing less!

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