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Nov
2

Review: A Sure Thing by Marie Harte

Review: A Sure Thing by Marie Harte A Sure Thing Author: Marie Harte Reviewer: Nima Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: A Sure Thing is two stories.  One is the love story of medically retired Major Landon Donnigan and psychologist Ava Rosenthal. The other, unlike most erotic contemporary romances, is the story of their families.  In this instance, they are not just periphery characters that come and go to support the main storyline.  They are loud, messy, and interject themselves all over the place. They become integral to the way in which the love story develops. And like most families, they have issues. The Donnigans series is preceded by the four book series The McCauley’s—their cousins.  Ava is a cross-over character loosely connecting them, but none of the Mccauleys actually make an appearance in this first book of the series.  Author Marie Harte served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for Fortune 500 companies before becoming a full time writer.  She seems to blend those experiences together in Landon’s character.  He’s a born leader, total alpha male, and intended a military career through to retirement.  A bullet to the knee forced him out of that life path and he’s been making his way in the business world since coming home.  He maintains his fitness at a gym where his brother Gavin works.  It’s here that he meets Ava.  In that fateful first meeting, he corrects her form.  He will then spend the rest of the book pushing her to do better and be better at everything she does. Ava is an independent woman and doesn’t particularly like being told what to do.  She cannot, however, deny their combustible chemistry.  Her character submits and pushes back through every scene and every chapter. Landon is good at letting her make her own choices, but works very hard at persuading her to his point of view.  As both a mental health professional and a woman, she over thinks everything.  Being guilty of that myself a time or two, *coughcough* it was fun to be outside of it and watch the mental gymnastics she puts herself through in trying to reconcile her idea of what the man in her life should be with the one she’s actually attracted to. That she has a list comes as no surprise, but without being completely aware of it, she begins to adjust the list to fit Landon rather than requiring the opposite. Their sex scenes are unmistakably steamy as Ava makes the...
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Nov
1

Review: The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy The Tides of Bára Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: This is going to be a pretty vague review as The Tides of Bara is in essence a transitional novel.  It follows Oria and Lonen as they flee Bara and attempt to reach the Destrye.  Although if felt like nothing really happened, Gikany and Una liked it. When we say that very little happened, we mean that none of the overarching plot lines are resolved.  There is a touch of action, quite of a bit travel, and a steamy interaction, but really, Oria and Lonen travel from Bara to Dru. What does happen is a tremendous amount of character development. The novel centers on Oria, Lonen, Oria’s Familiar Chuffta, and Lonen’s horse when they are stranded in the desert.  There is a lot of growth that occurs between all four of them as they learn to lean on each other.  This growth is critical to the novel and why we must be so vague.  This development is awesome and we found it gripping. Although it could be argued that nothing happens, this transitional novel is more than just getting from point A to point B.  The growth within the group is interesting as it is critical.  They need to learn to trust and depend on each other to survive their next challenge – seeing if the Destrye will accept Lonen’s sorceress wife. We continue to like the Sorcerous Moons series.  The latest installment, although transitional in nature, was a gripping and at times humorous read.  If you enjoy fantasy and intriguing worlds, you just need to check this one out! Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: A Narrow Escape With her secrets uncovered and her power-mad brother bent on her execution, Princess Oria has no sanctuary left. Her bid to make herself and her new barbarian husband rulers of walled Bára has failed. She and Lonen have no choice but to flee through the leagues of brutal desert between her home and his—certain death for a sorceress, and only a bit slower than the blade. A Race Against Time At the mercy of a husband barely more than a stranger, Oria must war with her fears and her desires. Wild desert magic buffets her; her husband’s touch allures and burns. Lonen is pushed to the brink, sure he’s doomed his proud bride and all too aware of the restless, ruthless...
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Oct
26

Review: Once a Gypsy by Danica Winters

Review: Once a Gypsy by Danica Winters Once a Gypsy Author: Danica Winters Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Once a Gypsy is the first title I’ve read by Danica Winters. Overall, I really enjoyed the first book of the Irish Traveller series. Because I am really interested in all things supernatural and having to do with the Celts, Druids, and the like, I’m likely to read subsequent titles in the series. I liked the world building and the depth of the characters a lot. The author’s use of description was beautiful in many places: drew me right into the plot and kept me moving forward. The supernatural/paranormal element isn’t over-the-top, either. I read an ARC from NetGalley, though. I will admit I put this title down a couple times and came back to it, because I had to decide if I was going to finish. There was a lot of word repetition I hope was caught in final proofing/galleys. This might be a ‘me’ thing—but it did detract from my reading experience because I felt like the same thing was being said over and over. I liked the premise for the story, and the potential for the series is definitely there. I’d be interested in reading the next Irish Traveller title…if for nothing more than to see how things work out for Helena and Graham. My Rating: B, Liked It   About the Book: Even for a clairvoyant, the future is never a sure thing. Helena has always struggled to fit in with her Irish Traveller family. It’s not just her opposition to getting married or her determination to attend university; Helena also has one talent that sets her apart from the rest of her clan—the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future. Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can’t solve Adare Manor’s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than even she knows. When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: Any involvement, especially romantic, with non-Travellers like Graham is forbidden. But Helena’s future is anything but certain, and fate has other plans for her family, her powers, and...
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Oct
26

Review + Blog Tour: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson

Review + Blog Tour: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson Of Flame and Light Author: Cecy Robson Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una have been anticipating this novel since we met Taran in the first Weird Girls novel, A Curse Awakened. We loved this mouthy, confident woman. We found it fascinating to see the world of the Wird sisters through Taran’s eyes. Taran’s persona is just a façade. Taran’s history (which we hope to learn more about in future books) has taught her to show a tough-as-nails façade to hide her brittle self-esteem. She is terrified of being in love. This fact is illustrated through her frustrating relationship with Gem. One would think that since they are mated, she would have nothing to fear, but Taran is afraid that if she loves Gem, mate or not, he will leave her. Taran is hopelessly in love with Gem but to protect herself she has rejected him because of the injury she suffered in A Cursed Bloodline. A great recap of Taran’s story can be read in the prequel novella, Of Flame and Promise (review link below). Taran’s injury was grave: she lost her arm. The werewolves were able to use pack magic to give her a new arm, however, Taran’s new arm did not grow back exactly as it was. This new arm is wreaking havoc with her “Wird girl’s cursed” magic. It is almost as if the arm has a mind of its own. To make matters worse, it even looks different. Due to this, Taran feels disfigured and no longer attractive. It doesn’t help that Gem seems to avoid touching or even acknowledging this arm. Now to make things catastrophic (a norm for the Wird sisters), the arm seems to be causing Taran’s magic to backfire when she is emotional. With the current stress of her non-relationship with Gem, she is an emotional mess and her magic is going crazy. Taran is forced to turn to the witches (who she loathes) to learn to control her magic. The witch coven is a cross between a stereotypical sorority house and a horror novel orphanage. The animosity between Taran and the head witch, Genevieve, is seething since Genevieve is lusting after Gem. With Gem spending a lot of time there, and the rumor mill running full force, Taran suspects she has been replaced. Although she tries to make things work at the coven, the Wird sister luck strikes every time making things worse...
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Oct
25

Review: Seneca’s Faith by Abigail Owen

Review: Seneca’s Faith by Abigail Owen Seneca’s Faith Author: Abigail Owen Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Seneca’s Faith is the fourth novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  This interesting take on shifters seemingly comes to a close with this book.  Although there may be more books to come in the series, Gikany and Una liked the conclusion we found with Seneca and Gage’s journey. Seneca has appeared in previous books in the Shadowcat Nation series, but we didn’t learn much about her.  As the novel begins, we find out there is much more to Seneca than anyone knew.  Since the evil Rick Delaney is her father, Seneca has been forced to hide who she is and to pretend to be a submissive latent.  Her mother, before she was killed, impressed upon her the necessity of hiding her true self.  When Seneca is thrown together with Gage, she is used to keeping her secrets, relying on herself, and pretending.  But Gage isn’t fooled.  Although it is understandable due to her history, the constant deception with Gage started to grate after a while.  We began to wonder how much more Gage had to prove himself before Seneca would realize the earnestness of his sincerity and commitment to her. At the beginning of Seneca’s Faith, Gage is engaged to Seneca’s sister and is fighting his attraction to Seneca.  From the beginning Gage is honest and forthcoming with Seneca.  Although he does try to protect her, he doesn’t lie to her.  It felt like it took Seneca forever to realize the gift that Gage is to her.  Seneca’s deceptions made Gage’s protectiveness of Seneca understandable.  This book almost had the feel of A Comedy of Errors.  The innate goodness of Gage and Seneca gave us hope that they would finally break down the barriers and come together in heart and soul. The overarching plot regarding Rick Delaney and the animosity of the mountain lions reaches its conclusion in Seneca’s Faith.  The twisting and turning of the plot was fascinating.  The plight of the Shadowcat nation has been resolved.  The clans have stabilized, the new leaders all seem to be on the same page. Seneca’s Faith was a nice capstone to the strife that began in Andromeda’s Fall, the first novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  Gikany and Una liked the series and wonder what other stories might be told in this world. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: The Delaney Dare needs...
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Oct
19

Review: When Snowflakes Fall & Like Fresh Fallen Snow by Tara Wyatt

Review: When Snowflakes Fall & Like Fresh Fallen Snow by Tara Wyatt When Snowflakes Fall (#1) Like Fresh Fallen Snow (#2) Author: Tara Wyatt Reviewer: Nima Ratings: B+ and B What I’m Talking About: I have a soft spot for novellas, especially holiday ones.  They are these little mini escapes in the midst of chaos; something I can start and finish while juggling shopping, baking, and obligations. They are a little reminder that sweets are not just cookies from the neighborhood exchange. Both of these holiday offerings are wonderfully sweet and fat-free. When Snowflakes Fall is the first of two stories about the twin Grayson brothers, Luke and Matt. I preferred Luke’s story over Matt’s, Like Fresh Fallen Snow, probably because there were more characters, more family, and that feels more like the holidays to me.  Both stories are hot and steamy with plenty of sexual tension.  Both have happy, tidy endings. I liked the threads of music throughout both stories, one at a New Year’s party and the other with Christmas songs leading up to the big day.  I could mentally hear it in the background of different scenes.  Subtly, it added a mood and some depth that would otherwise necessitate a higher word count.  Unfortunately, in their brevity, Wyatt relied a little too much on the clichés that seem to be forever hitching a ride on insta-love’s sleigh.  Frankly, I could do without another reference to exploding ovaries.  It’s actually kinda gross when you think about it. Wyatt is not alone in this, multiple contemporary authors need to find a new metaphor.  It’s not a deal-breaker though.  Grab a cup of hot chocolate, one of those delicious cookies, and curl up next to the fire with one of these sweet novellas as a holiday gift to yourself. My Ratings: B+ Liked It A Lot  &  B, Liked It About the Books: When Snowflakes Fall: When Dr. Christie Harmon up and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming to escape a vicious scandal, she expected a quiet, lonely Christmas on-call as a pediatrician at the local hospital. But when she’s treating a little boy with a bump on the head, she doesn’t expect his dad to be so distractingly handsome…or single. In the wake of his ex-wife’s abandonment five years ago, Luke Grayson has been focused on raising his son Ethan. The scars from the split run deep, and Luke hasn’t trusted another woman to come into their lives. But there’s something about the sweet—and sexy—Christie that has him wondering if something’s been missing....
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Oct
18

Review: Defy the Dawn by Lara Adrian

Review: Defy the Dawn by Lara Adrian Defy the Dawn Author: Lara Adrian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Picking up immediately after the conclusion of Bound to Darkness, Defy the Dawn shares the story of Brynne, a day-walking, Breed female who was created by a madman, and Zael, an Atlantean defector who has formed a loose alliance with the Order. After losing her job for secretly helping the Order (last book), Brynne agrees to work with the Order as they go after Opus Nostrum, the terrorist group out to cause mayhem and chaos all over the globe. Meanwhile, Zael can no longer contain his desire for and admiration of Brynne, but his womanize past may keep Brynne at a distance. Defy the Dawn is the first book that features a romance between two characters with relatively no ties to the original Breeds or the offspring of the Order. I state this upfront because I believe this is part of the reason why I had a difficult time connecting to the romance and story in general. While I found the book exciting and action-packed, I struggled to stay focused on the storyline and had little investment in the outcome. And frankly, there was little progression in the overall plot involving Opus Nostrum or the fight with the Atlantean Queen. Brynne and Zael shared a passionate romance, filled with that desperate need to be with one another all the time. Yet, Brynne has a secret which keeps her at a distance from everyone. Even once Zael finds out the her hidden horror (and accepts her regardless), Brynne continues to use it as a reason to stay apart. Their romance was most enjoyable during the scenes when the pair were together, sharing and enjoying their feelings, but I got frustrated when they would pull apart and say things were a mistake. I also struggled with the ending of the story, which felt too easy. You know those times when you threaten to punish your child, but then you don’t follow through? It felt like that. Additionally, two new characters were briefly introduced in the last few chapters of the book, and I just have a gut feeling that it was a set up for the next romance. I could be wrong, but it added to the disconnect – thinking that the next book may be about two characters about whom I know nothing. Overall, Defy the Dawn is a solid story and sexy romance. There...
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Oct
13

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: All I Want Author: Jill Shalvis Narrator: Karen White Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Animal Magnetism #7 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Library Loan After a delay (library hold list), I was finally able to listen to All I Want, the final title in Jill Shalvis’s wonderful Animal Magnetism series. This time around, we get the romantic story for Zoe Stone, the eldest Stone sibling. Now that her younger brother (Wyatt) and sister (Darcy) have found love and moved out of the ancestral home they shared, Zoe is feeling a bit lonely, although she would NEVER admit that to anyone. Determined to make her own way, she’s decided to try a few blind dates to find some one-night companionship. When one of Wyatt’s best friends needed an off-the-grid place to relax and recover from a work injury, Wyatt suggested he rent a room from Zoe. And now that he’s staying with her, he can’t stop thinking about how much he wants to get her into his bed. But Parker is hiding a number of secrets, like the fact that he’s not really a park ranger on vacation. The truth is far more dangerous, and Parker knows his stay is only temporary, so he can’t give into his feelings for Zoe. Even though this is the seventh title in the series, Ms. Shalvis has done a good job of keeping each story fresh and unique, while sticking with the small town romance formula that works. All I Want had a bit more edge and suspense to it that previous titles due to the nature of Parker’s undercover work. I enjoyed the added action and mystery solving along side the romance. As for the romance, I really liked Parker and Zoe. They shared an honesty that was touching and much appreciated. In a couple scenes, the raw dialogue was utterly heartbreaking. The author could have easily used Parker’s job and Zoe’s past to keep the pair apart, but the couple works through each bump in the road as friends fighting a strong attraction. In fact, the couple didn’t really hook up until about two-thirds through the book. It created strong sexual tension and gave me a emotional connection to the pair. I liked that the couple got to know one another and build the much needed trust before that acted fully on their lust. It works well for the pair and the story. However, I did...
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Oct
13

Review + Excerpt: Midnight Untamed by Lara Adrian

Review + Excerpt: Midnight Untamed by Lara Adrian Midnight Untamed Author: Lara Adrian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Ettore “Savage” Selvaggio is a member of the European Order and is about to take out the infamous Breed drug dealer, Massioni, when he sees a woman from his past inside the house he’s set to blow up. Arabella “Bella” Genova has a talent for looking into the future and is forced to help Massioni or risk the lives of the only family she has left. It’s been ten years since Savage and Bella last saw each other, on the night he left her and broke her heart. Midnight Untamed is another entertaining, standalone novella set in the Midnight Breed world. While the story fits within the overall plot and timeline of the series, one can read and enjoy it without knowledge of the greater picture. Having a shared history is a big plus for Savage and Bella, making their reunion and extremely fast romance work within the limits of the novella. Additionally, the pair is open and honest from the start, both about why she’s with Massioni and why he left her all those years ago. This gets high marks from me. Ms. Adrian could have easily created one misunderstanding after another, yet instead of tossing hurdles in their path, she draws them closer through forthright sharing. Overall, Midnight Untamed is a solid, enjoyable standalone tale set in the dark paranormal series. It’s a somewhat predicable PNR with an alpha male and quick bonding, but that works for the story and within the Midnight Breed universe. It’s an entertaining, quick read that is easy to follow, regardless if you are a veteran or new-to-the-series reader. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: The mission was supposed to be simple. Infiltrate an enemy’s stronghold outside Rome and eliminate its leader. For a Breed warrior as lethal as Ettore Selvaggio, AKA “Savage”, stealth assassinations are only one of his many cold-hearted specialties. But the last thing Savage expects to find behind enemy lines—in his target’s bed—is a woman he once adored. It’s been years since Savage last saw beautiful Arabella Genova. Years he’s strived to banish to his past, along with the fierce desire he once felt toward Bella . . . and the irresistible calling of her blood that stirs in him even now, despite the fact that she belongs to another male. But when fate throws Savage and Bella together again in a...
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Oct
11

Review: Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake

Review: Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake Dangerously Charming Author: Deborah Blake Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I must admit, I was pretty excited when I learned Deborah Blake had a new series starting. Fans of her Baba Yaga series will see familiar characters in the Broken Riders novels. However, if you’re new to this world, like me, Ms. Blake does a fabulous job of bringing her new readers up-to-speed. I really like the world-building. As I was reading, I didn’t find anything left out—everything was explained well, and wasn’t overdone. Sometimes, when I read a paranormal story, the author explains and re-explains. Um. I got it the first time; thanks for the second reminder **eyeroll** I got it the first two times it was mentioned. Not so with Ms. Blake. She gives her readers credit for being intelligent enough to remember facts, as well as figure out things on their own. I liked Jenna. She was relatable, and I connected with her immediately. She seemed grounded, and while she was dealing with her own brand of WTH, she managed to allow herself, reluctantly, to help Day deal with his demons. I seriously fell for Mikhail Day, though. All the things he went through in the Baba Yaga stories? Yeah. We get to see the aftermath in Dangerously Charming. With a penchant for damsels in distress, Mick finds himself in a situation he vowed to never become involved in again. Reading some of Day’s POV was like a punch in the gut—but after the hit, there was revelation and resolution. I found myself putting down this title several times because I had to process the goings on. Especially from Day’s POV. I had a couple unanswered questions at the end I hope will be resolved in the upcoming titles or in a ‘where are they now’ novella. Seriously. I need to know who the biological father of Jenna’s baby is! Maybe the point of the title is that biology doesn’t make a father—but I still wonder. My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: The Riders are three immortal brothers who protect the mythical Baba Yagas. But their time serving the witches has ended—and their new destinies are just beginning… Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young...
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