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May
10

Review: Fly with Me by Chanel Cleeton

Review: Fly with Me by Chanel Cleeton Fly with Me Author: Chanel Cleeton Reviewer: Nima Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Fly With Me, book one in the Wild Aces series, is a lot of what you expect just looking at the cover:  super-hot, confident, smart, fighter pilot finds the love of his life and asks her to risk her heart so they can fly away happily ever after.  Indeed, this is how the story starts.  U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and weapons specialist Noah Miller is blowing off steam with his squad members at a Las Vegas night club.  Florida native and successful clothing boutique owner, which means she has the right outfit for every occasion, Jordan Callahan happens to be in the same nightclub celebrating her little sister’s bachelorette party.  They see each other across a crowded room, she plays hard to get, she’s unlike anyone he’s ever known, their chemistry is combustible… *cue the sappy music* I love me some sexy inguinal creases, but what you might not expect at first glance is that Cleeton writes about some significant and serious issues that go with loving someone committed to military life.  The book almost feels like it was written by two people, one who was writing a cheesy romance novel full of sex and clichés and the other who was writing a serious love story that evoked genuine emotion. I also wasn’t expecting a love story that moved from its impulsive beginning straight through to its conclusion.  The book maintains a certain intensity because of that, but there is no subplot even though we were set up for one.  The groom for Jordan’s little sister’s wedding?  Jordan’s ex.  That had drama written all over it, but it was never pursued. Finally, I found it unfortunate that while there was explicit sexuality all over the book, it didn’t necessarily breed the intimacy that was being suddenly taken for granted as a matter of chemistry.  A great physical relationship doesn’t guarantee an emotional one.  Cleeton made an attempt at suggesting the growing emotional bond between her characters by having Noah and Jordan speak on the phone nearly every day from their separate parts of the country, but the reader wasn’t privy to most of those conversations—unless, of course, it was phone sex.  We didn’t get to build emotional intimacy until crisis hit. Then, finally, we get something meaningful.  I wish the story had more of that. I think I would have given it a higher...
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May
9

Review: Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply by Terry Spear

Review: Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply by Terry Spear Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: After the death of his first mate, Eric Silver never wanted to fall in love again. Since returning to the Silver Town pack with his brothers, he’s been content to do whatever needed to be done, work as a park ranger, and keep to himself. But, when the trail of a new group of wolves running a marijuana-growing ring leads him to the gorgeous she-wolf in charge of her own pack, things heat up fast. And Eric is surprisingly fine with the fact that his world has just been turned upside down. Being the leader of a wolf pack is a tough job for anyone, but Pepper Grayling has the added frustration of having to fend off the unwanted attentions of male alphas who think they can take over because she’s a female. But, she’s not about to surrender her pack to anyone, and isn’t interested in ever mating again. Still, she can’t deny that the sexy forest ranger who is suddenly in her life is different, and that letting herself love might be better than she could have imagined. This story was fun in quite a few ways, starting with the title. While all the characters in the Heart of the Wolf series are strong and capable, this is the first time I remember there being a pack led by a single female wolf. Pepper is formidable, and has held her pack together on her own just fine, which I liked a great deal. Though it was nice to see her enjoy some romance with Eric, I got the impression that she could continue to be the sole leader without flinching. The added side effect of knowing that her relationship with Eric was a conscious, deliberate choice, rather than a case of her not being able to resist his charms, was refreshing. Even though there’s no denying the attraction between Pepper and Eric, I liked their ongoing independence. Even after Eric admits his desire to become Pepper’s mate, he respects her need to go slowly. They challenge each other, yet, at the same time, compliment one another’s abilities while providing a much-needed secondary perspective. Once they begin to indulge their mutual desires, however, they are very sweet together. Not to mention extremely sexually compatible, as well. Like the other stories in this series, there’s an additional layer playing out beneath the romance...
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May
5

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Rescue My Heart Author: Jill Shalvis Narrator: Karen White Audio Speed: 1.25x + 1.5x Series: Animal Magnetism #3 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Purchased Rescue My Heart follows Adam Connelly, a veteran suffering from PTSD who works as Sunshine’s search and rescue specialist but hasn’t been on an active rescue since leaving the military. When the one woman he’s ever cared about works her way back into Adam’s life, he has to work extra hard to keep his defenses up and emotional walls in place. After giving up her New York life to move to Sunshine and manage her father’s ranch, Holly is finally finding some happiness. Yet seeing Adam around town is a harsh reminder of the love she once thought they shared only to have him break her heart. However, when her father goes missing, Holly turns to the one man she knows can find him. Rescue My Heart is the third story in the Animal Magnetism series, which centers the Connelly brothers at their Sunshine, Idaho, animal clinic. After absolutely loving the second book in the series, I had a tough time getting into Adam and Holly’s story. First, I was a bit put off by some slight changes in the narrative voices for Adam, his brother Dell, and receptionist Jade. Dell and Jade were the primary couple of book two, with Adam a side character. It sounded like the narrator kept the same voices for the hero/heroine, transferring Dell’s voice to Adam and Jade’s voice to Holly, which gave Dell and Jade new voices. After a while, I didn’t notice the change, but listening to the books back-to-back, it did bug me for a while. Secondly, I struggled with some possible inconsistencies. In the second book, Dell teased Adam, telling him he should sleep with Holly. However, at the beginning of Rescue My Heart, we find out that Holly is married. Additionally, Holly and Adam share a past, and it’s confusing why others aren’t aware of their past. Fortunately, these issues work themselves out, but it frustrated me for a while. Luckily, after these issues worked themselves out, the story gathers a lot of momentum. Once Holly and Adam start their search for Holly’s father, I became engrossed with the book, especially Holly and Adam’s romance. I loved Holly’s determination to make herself happy and how she goes after Adam knowing he may break her heart again....
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May
4

Review: The Crown of the Queen by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Crown of the Queen by Jeffe Kennedy The Crown of the Queen (from For Crown and Kingdom) Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany & Una Rating: B & A What We’re Talking About: What a treat for fans of the Twelve Kingdoms series!  The Crown of the Queen is a novella that transitions from the Twelve Kingdoms series to the new Uncharted Realms series.  This is also a nice introduction to Dafne, the heroine of the first book in the Uncharted Realms series, The Pages of the Mind. This novella takes place shortly after the conclusion of The Talon of the Hawk.  We witness the aftermath of it all: the reconciliation of the sisters, the strength of the bonds between the previous couples, and the beginnings of recovery for the realm of the Twelve Kingdoms.  The banter we enjoyed between our beloved main characters from the previous novels continues.  Watching Dafne deftly guide Ursula through the pomp and circumstance required to satisfy politics was enjoyable. This is a must-read for fans of the series, but it wouldn’t be the best introduction to those new to the series.  Gikany and Una do not, however, agree on a rating.  Although we both liked it, Una enjoyed it more and was completely satisfied with it in this form.  Gikany would have preferred that this novella had been included at either the end of The Talon of the Hawk or at the beginning of the upcoming The Pages of the Mind.  She typically does not like short stories or novellas, as they tend to leave her wanting more. All in all, this is a fabulous diversion in this rich and fantastic world.  The mythology continues to be enthralling, the wit and banter of the characters engaging, and the flow of the story gripping.  We look forward to the next novel in this world, The Pages of the Mind. Gikany’s Rating:  B, Liked It Una’s Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Dafne Mailloux, librarian and temporary babysitter to the heirs to the High Throne of the Twelve – now Thirteen – Kingdoms, finds it difficult to leave the paradise of Annfwn behind. Particularly that trove of rare books in temptingly unfamiliar languages. But duty calls, and hers is to the crown. It’s not like her heart belongs elsewhere. But how can she crown a queen who hesitates to take the throne? Release Date: May 24, 2016 Publisher: self-published Series: The Twelve Kingdoms #3.5 / The Uncharted Realms #0.5 Genre: Fantasy, novella Format(s): e-book...
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May
3

Review: Allied In Flight by Christi Snow

Review: Allied In Flight by Christi Snow Allied In Flight Author: Christi Snow Reviewer: B. Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Ever since the veil was breached, things have begun to change rapidly for Griff Hughes and the other inhabitants of the Western States (WS). Along with differences in the physical workings of their environment, Lori’s arrival from the ES has caused some additional unexpected side effects—like the helpful, yet highly invasive mental bond he now shares with his teammates. As someone who generally likes to keep to himself, having three other people in his head all the time has been a challenge. But, when their rescue mission goes wrong and Griff finds himself held prisoner alongside the beautiful shifter he intended to save, an entirely new kind of connection is made that will alter his life forever. Three years of confinement and torture have made Shar McIntire a survivor of the highest order. As long as she had her sister, Savannah, with her, she believed she could handle anything their captors devised to break them. But, waking up in a strange place, alone, without the voices of her makeshift family to keep her company just might be too much to take. Until a man with wings makes her crave more than her own freedom, and shows her that falling in love could be the most dangerous outcome of all. Picking up right where the previous novel in the series, Through the Veil, left off, Allied in Flight begins in the middle of an attempt to rescue a group of Others (people with supernatural abilities) from their captors. And things are not going well. Where the first story included a lot of world building and introduced readers to life in the more natural and environmentally-conscious Western States, Allied in Flight further explores the twisted authoritarian society and resulting cruelty of the Eastern States. One of my favorite things about this story is the bond that forms between Griff and Shar from the beginning. Although such an instant and profound attachment would otherwise be difficult to accept, theirs is born from the pressures of captivity, making it all the more believable. In fact, despite several instances when their lack of communication frustrated me, their mutual protectiveness in the face of their obvious emotional connection seemed very sweet. And very sexy. As a tale of “Romantic Suspense,” Allied in Flight works very well. Throughout Shar and Griff’s imprisonment, escape, and the connecting adventure in New York, there is...
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May
2

Review + Blog Tour: Z by Larissa Ione

Review + Blog Tour: Z by Larissa Ione Z is the latest in Larissa Ione’s incredible Demonica Underworld Series brought to you by the amazing team at 1001 Dark Nights! Be sure you grab your copy of this sexy new novella today! My Review: Z Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- Vex is a daemanis, a demon soul magnet, a person to whom souls stick like glue. If a demon dies near her, it gets sucked into her and stored as a glyph on her skin before the griminions can take the demon souls to the Grim Reaper. Selling the demon souls is the only way Vex can make a good living, but someone, or something, is killing off all those that buy and sell souls. So Vex heads to see Azagoth, the Grim Reaper himself, to try and unload her current evil riders. Zhubaal (Z) is Azagoth’s second in command. He doesn’t love the job but keeps it, hoping to find his beloved, Laura. Her soul was trapped in Sheoul-gra until she was reborn into life 30 years ago. Unfortunately Z doesn’t know Laura’s new identity, but realizes his long search may be over because he can feel her soul trapped inside the uber sexy Vex. Vex and Z’s romance is one that has to overcome some big obstacles. Z has been hung up on his lost soulmate for over a hundred years, and even when his body reacts to Vex, he cannot see past his sacred love for Laura to the awesome woman before him. Finding out that Vex shares something with Laura causes such internal conflict for Z that he doesn’t know what to do, and of course, messes everything up. While the couple shares some sweet and sexy moments, the book walks a fine line between using Vex and helping Z discover his true love. Overall, Z is an enjoyable read that focuses on the romance between Zhubaal and Vex. While the romance is sexy and fun, I missed the deeper, overarching storylines I’m used to from the Demonica / Lords of Deliverance series. Readers unfamiliar with Ms. Ione’s wonderful series should have no troubles enjoying Z’s story. My Rating: B-  Liked It About the Book: Zhubaal, fallen angel assistant to the Grim Reaper, has spent decades searching for the angel he loved and lost nearly a century ago. Not even her death can keep him from trying to find her, not when he knows she’s been given a second chance at...
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Apr
26

Review: Shadowed Blade by JC Daniels

Review: Shadowed Blade by JC Daniels Shadowed Blade Author: JC Daniels Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Note: This review contains spoilers from the previous book. Shadowed Blade continues a couple of story arcs from earlier titles in the series, and therefore should not be read as a standalone. Opening shortly after the jaw-dropping conclusion of Edged Blade, we find Kit working for President of the United States: a man whom we discovered is a Non-Human (NH). The book moves quickly, as Kit and Justin search for NHs on behalf of President Whitmore and get caught up in some seriously perilous situations. Having absolutely loved the first three books in the Colbana Files series, I found myself struggling a bit on the direction of the past two books (Edged Blade and the novella, Misery’s Way). While I’m happy to report that I enjoyed Shadowed Blade much more than these two titles, I still had some issues with confusing, obtuse scenes. The first three chapters were extremely cryptic, and I wasn’t sure if Kit was having flashbacks, or if some of the events were abbreviated references and overlaps with the novella. However, after these initial problems I had getting into the book, the flow of the story smoothed out and the story was a bit more coherent and definitely more gripping. As Kit pieces together what Whitmore is and is not, she also must dance along a dangerous edge with someone from her past. I liked the introduction of the mysterious stranger who appears to help Kit. Her presence shakes up much of Kit’s world and adds some interesting twists that will need to be addressed in future titles. However, I felt Kit and Damon’s continuing romantic storyline is petering out. They don’t communicate and aren’t careful with the other. Their relationship is all fire but no substance. Part of the problem I’ve been having lately with this series is the cryptic nature of scenes. A successful first person story works because the author pulls the reader inside the head of the main character. Readers are privy to thoughts, feelings, and theories that the heroine experiences. But not so with Kit. I feel that I am constantly left in the dark, making for an extremely frustrating and confusing read. While this wasn’t the case as much in Shadowed Blade, there were still too many times that I wanted and needed more from Kit to keep me in the loop and completely engaged. Additionally,...
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Apr
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Love So Hot by Marquita Valentine

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Love So Hot by Marquita Valentine Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Book: Love So Hot Author: Marquita Valentine Narrator: Piper Goodeve Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Lawson Brothers #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: purchased What I’m Talking About Love So Hot is a sweet romance and enjoyable listen. Sydney McKnight and Brody Lawson have been best friends for 23 years, but lately both have been feeling a bit more for the other. Unfortunately, neither wants to ruin their friendship, assuming that if they spill their true feelings and other other doesn’t reciprocate, they’d lose a friend. So instead, they play games, hoping to make the other realize how much more they could have. At first I didn’t care for Brody, a ladies man with a girlfriend. It bothered me that he was in love with one person… his best friend, but sleeping with another. However, this resolved itself quickly and actually played out well in the long run. I loved the idea of Brody and Sydney together and found their romance sweet, as well as sexy. It was so painfully obvious to everyone that the pair was in love, yet neither Sydney nor Brody would allow themselves to believe it. This best-friends-to-lovers story is a bit predictable, yet still managed to hit me in the heart. While I was frustrated with lack of communication, I ended up enjoying the book overall. However, there was more than one time that the pair was in the perfect position to share their true feelings, and either one or the other copped out. But I guess the story would have been over quickly without the contrived misunderstandings. I was even more frustrated with how things went down after the truth was finally revealed. I felt that there was no need to continue the couple’s problems once the truth was out, however, the author kept the pair apart, dragging on the hard feelings. The narration by Piper Goodeve is enjoyable at a 1.25x speed. I found her performance of Sydney spot on, giving her a tentative and shy voice with a spark when called for. Ms. Goodeve was able to adequately convey the male characters with a bit deeper tone, however, I didn’t love Brody’s voice as much as Sydney’s. Overall, Love So Hot made for an entertaining listen. A short, small town romance, the story has heart, and even with the frustrating parts, I still enjoyed the book. My Rating: B- Narration:...
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Apr
20

Review: The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Review: The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski The Demonists Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski Reviewer: Una Rating: A-/B+ What I’m Talking About: I was intrigued by the premise of The Demonists and picked up this new-to-me author.  The writing and crafting of the overall story and world was mesmerizing, I easily fell into this world of ghosts and demons.  However, there are a few elements that were a bit much for me in this very dark fantasy world. First, I really did like the world Mr. Sniegoski created: the paranormal experts going on a routine haunt call only to have it go horribly, horribly wrong.  I will warn you there is violence, but thankfully it is not gratuitous.  That being said, there is violence against children.  As a recently new mother, this was the aspect that did not sit well with me.  Due to anxious mother syndrome, I could not read this novel at night.  It either gave me some vivid nightmares or it had me awake worrying over my child.  Because the author so expertly immersed me in this world that it “stayed with me” during the day, I have to say it was well written.  I believe because it was not gratuitous, I was able to continue through the novel.  Though if you cannot handle violence towards children and loss of that nature, then you may not want to pick up this book. I really enjoyed the main characters John and Theodora.  There are several supporting characters that I really enjoyed as well (Nana and Elijah). I look forward to seeing them more in the next novel.  The characters felt real to me; Mr. Sniegoski was able to create relatable, three-dimensional characters.  John’s plight to save Theodora was gripping.  The game of “what-ifs” he played was heart-wrenching. That being said, I am not a huge fan of multiple first person point-of-views in a story.  Changing “heads” frequently tends to stutter the story for me; just as I am settled into one character, I have to adjust to a new one.  Especially when reading an ARC where there are no graphic clues (skipped lines, skipped page, etc) to illustrate a change in narrator. Though it appears that our heroes won, it was only the first battle and not the war.  I look forward to reading the next installment in the new Demonist series.  If you enjoy dark urban fantasy, full of demons and psychic abilities, you might just want to pick it up and try it out. My Rating:...
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Apr
18

Review: Into the Darkness by Katie Reus

Review: Into the Darkness by Katie Reus Into the Darkness Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A-/B+ What I’m Talking About: In Into the Darkness, author Katie Reus tackles two love stories and wraps up some loose ends, giving the book an end-of-series feel (although based on the epilogue, it’s not). The story opens from POV of Rhea, warrior wolf with Finn’s pack. She’s being pursued by Conall, the powerful alpha of a pack-friendly dragon clan. The pack is preparing for the wedding of friends Bo and Nyx (romance featured in book 4), bringing Conall and his family to town; however, it looks as if a deadly part of Rhea’s past has resurfaced to create havoc for Finn and his pack. As the wedding planner, Liberty has become accustom to the supernatural beings surrounding her life. It’s been eight months since Bo and his brothers, most notable of which is Rory, rescued her from a hell dimension where she was tortured and abused. During the past few months, she’s learned to be more independent and is ready to move forward in a romantic relationship with her protector, Rory. I absolutely enjoyed Into the Darkness; it’s definitely my favorite book of the Darkness series. Bringing together action, suspense, and romance, the book shares solid storylines with an extra helping of steamy passion. Ms. Reus successfully weaves together stories of traditional paranormal mating while giving the romances time to develop and blossom in a smart, contemporary manner. The number one reason both romances, and the overall story, are a success and a marked improvement over most of today’s PNR titles is COMMUNICATION! I loved the communication going on in this book, and not just between our main romantic couples. The author presented problems and pitfalls, but rather than let them fester and grow into huge conflicts, she gives the characters time to express and explain. *happy sigh* One perfect example is when Conall and Rhea kiss for the first time, and his mating glow starts. She freaks and says no. Instead of this dragging on as a misunderstanding, Rhea explains she can’t mate him because she’d make him weaker. He realizes her rejection is out of fear and concern for him. The conflict remains and is still heartbreaking, but for all the right reasons instead of misunderstandings. So impressed!! I enjoyed reading Into the Darkness tremendously. Several of my annoyances from previous books, and PNR in general, weren’t present. The author does a wonderful job developing the...
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