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Jun
26

Review: Say Yes to the Scot Anthology

Review: Say Yes to the Scot Anthology Say Yes to the Scot: A Highland Wedding Box Set Author: Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, May McGoldrick, Sabrina York Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I picked up this anthology so I could read the contribution by Lecia Cornwall.  I love her Highland Fairy Tale series.  However, the other three novellas were just as enchanting and enjoyable. How a Lass Wed a Highlander is a novella in the Highland Fairy Tale series.  I thoroughly enjoyed this reimaging of The Princess and the Pea.  I liked the interplay between Cait and the other brides.  Cait’s innate kindness was a source of inner strength for her.  Alex’s stubborn and gritty battle with himself over his bride was almost humorous as he tried to ignore what was obvious.  This was my favorite story in the collection and I look forward to more in this world This second story took me by surprise.  A Match Made in Heather was a sweet story of second-chances and of choosing to forgive rather than to obtain revenge.  Garrick and Arabel’s story was passionate and heartbreaking.  They are two people desperately in love but separated by status; broken apart only to find themselves together again.  Garrick and Arabel’s heartbreak, and healing journey was gripping and bittersweet.  I enjoyed their happily-ever-after tale. Alexander and Elizabeth’s story in A Midsummer Wedding was an exciting and witty romantic tale.  Two people, betrothed from birth, find themselves faced with the dilemma of obeying duty or following their own hearts.  However, it’s also a funny tale of how hearts can change.  The theme of “never judge a book by its cover” was cleverly portrayed in their romantic journey.  I absolutely loved this story and it is my second favorite. The Scot Says I Do was another story of a second chance at love.  Catherine was smitten with Duncan, the laird’s young groom, when she was a young girl.  However, Duncan was a bully until one day he was gone.  Years later, Catherine finds Duncan again and is in a position of being indebted to him when her brother teeters on ruin.  Duncan and Catherine’s story was sweet and passionate as they learned and fight for what their hearts knew was right.  I enjoyed this story. If you enjoy historical romances with Scotsmen, I would heartily recommend this anthology.  The stories are unique, witty and full of passion and excitement.  This would make a great summer read. My Rating:  A, Loved...
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Jun
21

Review: The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki

Review: The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki The Highland Duke Author: Amy Jarecki Reviewer: Jen Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: The book opens with healer Akira finding the badly injured Geordie on the battlefield. Unwilling to provide his name because he’s a Duke who just rode against Queen Anne’s army, Geordie is smitten with the wisp-of-a-girl who is like an angel. Due to the determined redcoats hunting him, Geordie must take Akira with him as he escapes. Soon the pair is running for their lives, yet neither is willing to walk away. The Highland Duke held a lot of promise, and by the conclusion, I was satisfied with the story. However, a slow and rocky start almost made this book a DNF for me. In the end, I enjoyed the pairing of Akira and Geordie, but it took a long time for me to get on board with their romance. Akira is a young, innocent, poor girl with Romany heritage. This makes her and her family shunned. Yet she remains hopeful and helpful despite those who treat her poorly. She’s a solid character, yet her naivety creates a huge unbalance when matched with the powerful Duke of Gordon. Geordie is weathered and rough. He’s lived a full life, having divorced, fought, etc. He’s easy around the ladies and just comes off so much older than Akira (he is ten years her senior). She’s SOOOO young and naive. She’s a virgin and never been around any man in an intimate capacity. Not even hugged by her father, as he was never in the picture. It was difficult for me to get into their story, for rather than sexual tension and sparks, I saw an “old man” who is lying to a young girl that he lusts after. Another concern I had was that Geordie uses his position as an injured soldier to “tease” Akira. But to me it is sexual harassment as he uses his knowledge and power to put her into compromising positions; ones that Akira feel are improper behaviors. It’s not cute or fun, to me it’s destructive because she is so innocent. It really isn’t until after 50% mark that the book started working for me. Once Akira started standing up for herself and exerting confidence, she becomes her own person—one strong enough to stand up to and match Geordie. While I continued to struggle with her naivety, which was too much for my tastes, she finally becomes a worthy heroine. In the...
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Jun
20

Review: At His Mercy by Shelly Bell

Review: At His Mercy by Shelly Bell At His Mercy Author: Shelly Bell Reviewer: VampBard Rating: C What I’m Talking About: While At His Mercy held promise for me, I struggle with many issues while reading it. I honestly try to leave my ‘editor eye’ out of it when I review a book. It’s…difficult, at best. I overlook typos, usage, and misplaced punctuation all the time. I mean, ARC copies can quite possibly be sent out prior to final proofreading. I know how the publishing industry works. But I struggled with this ARC. Next, a romance title can’t be all about sex scenes. While they’re a nice ‘frosting on the cake’, it can’t be the drift-from-one-sex-scene-to-the-next type of story or that makes it flat-out erotica. While we’re told that there was a veiled romance element in this title, I didn’t actually witness it myself. /soapbox. Okay. A solid Dominant/submissive relationship takes time to establish. If it’s a one-night stand, that’s one thing. However, jumping into a relationship without knowing the other person is just bad form and completely unsafe. I mean, Isabella didn’t let anyone know where she was going!!! For all she knew, Tristan was some psycho wack-job—she’d picked one before, who’s to say she didn’t pick one again? Isabella ranks up there in my Too Stupid to Learn heroines, and I didn’t feel a bit badly at the end for her. /off soapbox Tristan, for being an experienced Dom, is incredibly stupid. There’s lots of reasons, but listing them all would be spoilery. Lastly, there were plot inconsistencies. I can overlook a few here and there, but there were entirely too many going on—so much so, that I actually had to flip back in the book to make sure I wasn’t crazy several times. After all, there couldn’t be THAT many of them in the book, right?!?! Wrong. While I’m really intrigued by the premise for this title and the subsequent title(s), I think I’ll pass. My Rating: C, Finished It – Liked some, didn’t like some About the Book: Angel in his arms . . . Devil at her heels  One last, no-strings night of indulgence. That’s all Tristan wants before he begins a much-needed new chapter in his life. Instead he finds an innocent angel in pink who brings him to his knees. Isabella is done hiding from the world . . . and her haunting memories. Discovering courage in the arms of a perfect stranger, she finally lets go and sheds...
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Jun
19

Review: Chief’s Mess by L.A. Witt

Review: Chief’s Mess by L.A. Witt Chief’s Mess Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: While he was happy to provide some moral support during his sister’s peace-making visit with her ex-husband and his new boyfriend, what Anthony Talbot really wants is a night of no-strings sex with a hot stranger. Luckily, the sexy chief master-at-arms who takes him home clearly agrees. Noah Jackson quickly gets under Anthony’s skin, however, and their increasingly frequent hookups soon turn into a long-distance relationship that leaves both men hungry for more. But, Noah’s hiding a problem he doesn’t even realize he has, and it’s the one thing that Anthony may not be able to forgive. While the previous story in the series, Afraid to Fly, also dealt with alcoholism, Chief’s Mess is an examination of the denial and consequences of the situation as they’re happening, rather than the aftermath. Here, the reader is witness to the chain of events as Noah’s life begins to fall apart around him. The dual perspectives also cast Anthony’s own feelings in a stark light as they shift from happiness and optimism to fear and pain as the narrative evolves. One thing I especially liked about Chief’s Mess is that it’s not a hearts and flowers kind of romance out of the gate. Noah and Anthony’s story begins with a hookup and grows into something more over time. The initial attraction is purely physical, and I thought the uncomplicated necessity of that beginning worked really well. Their sexual compatibility is evident from the start, the long-distance relationship they slip into providing ample opportunity for the anticipation between them with to build. Sadly, it is precisely that distance, both emotionally and geographically, that allowed the truth to be ignored and hidden so easily. At its heart, Chief’s Mess is about honesty and forgiveness—good lessons to keep in mind regardless of the specifics involved. That Anthony and Noah are a good match for one another is evident from their earliest meeting, and wish I could have seen even more of their interactions outside of the bedroom as the story progressed. Watching their connection falter was hard at times, some of the worst moments being downright painful, especially knowing that things would become more difficult before they could get better. Even though I missed the first of the Anchor Point stories, I’ve enjoyed the two I have read a great deal, and would recommend the series to any fan of the genre....
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Jun
14

Review + Excerpt: Too Close to Call by Tessa Bailey

Review + Excerpt: Too Close to Call by Tessa Bailey From New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes TOO CLOSE TO CALL, a novella in her Romancing the Clarksons Series published by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy today! Too Close to Call Author: Tessa Bailey Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: When we met Kyler Tate in Too Hard to Forget (Peggy & Elliott’s book) he seemed to be the sweet and innocent star on Elliott’s team. Um. Sweet and innocent are not words I would use to describe Kyler. That boy’s a dirty talker. And, he’s tenacious. That’s the thing that set’s Kyler apart from the norm. He knows what he wants—Bree—and he doesn’t stop until he gets it. We’re not just talking a booty call, either. Bree, however, makes him work for it. Not on purpose—but because it was her call to break up when he left for college. With her own set of issues to work through, Bree is…pretty much a hot mess. In Tessa Bailey fashion, things appear darkest before the dawn. And, even though Bree & Kyler were younger, they are old souls. They’re both wise beyond their years, and that makes them relatable for even this ol’ lady. Readers of Ms. Bailey’s Clarksons series won’t want to miss this one! It’ll tide us over until Too Beautiful to Break, Belmont and Sage’s book, hits the shelves in September. My Rating: A, loved it. About the Book: All-American wide receiver Kyler Tate’s life is about to change. A fairytale college career skyrocketed him to the NFL draft. Adoration and opportunity are thrown in his direction wherever he goes, thanks to being chosen in the first round by the Los Angeles Rage.  None of the accolades mean anything, though, without his high school sweetheart, Bree Justice, by his side. Four years ago, she walked away from Kyler, choosing a quiet life over the flash and notoriety his career would someday bring.  Now he’s back in their Indiana hometown, refusing to leave for Los Angeles without her. Demanding she give their life together a shot. Her heart never stopped bleeding for the love of her life, but Bree’s decision was final. Too bad their wild attraction has only been amplified by their separation, and Kyler won’t quit until Bree is wearing his ring.  Release Date: June 13, 2917 Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts Series: 1,001 Dark Nights, Romancing the Clarksons #3.5 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: blog tour company Purchase Info:  Amazon...
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Jun
13

Review: Moonbreaker by Simon R. Green

Review: Moonbreaker by Simon R. Green Moonbreaker Author: Simon R. Green Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: After the last novel, Dr. DOA, we were concerned on where Moonbreaker would go.  Left with an unusual cliffhanger (for this series), Gikany and Una were nervous about what Eddie and Molly would face.  Never fear fans of the Secret Histories series, Mr. Green delivers a gripping, hilarious and fascinating action/adventure as we have not only come to expect, but love. ***Please note that the standard disclaimer for a long running series applies.  There was a huge cliffhanger in the previous book.  There will be spoilers for it here not to mention spoilers for those that haven’t read the series.  You’ve been warned… but seriously, read the series it’s awesome!*** When we last saw Molly and Eddie, they were trapped in a different dimension where the Droods had been eradicated most shockingly by Dr. DOA aka Edmond Drood (Eddie’s counterpart in this alternate dimension).  Time is ticking because Eddie is slowly dying from the poison that Edmond has slipped him.  They need to either find a remedy (which is completely unlikely) or at least have Eddie exact his revenge on Edmond.  It becomes a race against the clock as Eddie fights one battle to the next to stop Edmond before he takes his last breath. Though the action was completely gripping, the emotions were poignant in this chronicle of Eddie’s adventures.  The idea of his own mortality and the choices he makes, knowing they will be his last.  The connection and support between Molly and Eddie is as heartwarming as it is witty.  Their banter never slows down – not when they are abandoned in an alternate dimension, not in the face of danger, not when Eddie’s slow demise shows itself, not even in the middle of a battle. The humor and steadfastness of their relationship is an anchor during the chaotic nature of their lives. As for the plight of Eddie – it is well foreshadowed, he is poisoned and there is no cure, no hope, he is a dead man walking. However, in true Shaman Bond style, the poetic justice of the ending was phenomenal. It was well worth the pain and anguish of the previous cliffhanger in Dr. DOA. The story of Edmond truly evolves in Moonbreaker. It was classic and gritty and thoroughly enjoyable with all the quirks that make the Droods…Droods. We thoroughly enjoyed Moonbreaker!  The plot was well...
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Jun
12

Review + Excerpt: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Review + Excerpt: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh Silver Silence Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Valentin Nikolaev is the alpha of StoneWater clan, the dominant bear shifters that surround Moscow. He is a fairly new alpha, one of a fractured clan, and who is trying to adjust to this new and changing world. Valentin recognizes that the icy and powerful Silver Mercant, Kaleb Krychek’s right hand, is his mate. He’s trying to woo Silver by being sneaky like a cat (he knows that Lucas was able to win the heart of his own Psy, so he’s trying to be both a bear and a cat). Silver Mercant is the heir to the Mercant clan, currently run by her grandmother, Ena. They are a strong family unit, one that has survived through Silence with more “life” than most other Psys. And although the world is starting to shift away from Silence, it is not a choice for Silver who lives with a genetic defect. Yet, she feels her walls breaking every time she’s around Valentin. Silver Silence is the first book in Ms. Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity series which continues the Psy-Changeling story in a post-Silence world. While one could start their journey into this wonderful world with this book, I feel that the first 15 titles are equality important in setting the tone and feel for this new world – one with human, Psy, and Changeling turmoil and celebrations. I absolutely adore Valentin, who has known Silver is his mate since he met her ten months prior. He’s utterly adorable as he attempts to win her over with his treats and notes. He knows Silver is Silent, but that there is more to her than the cold, emotionless facade, and he gets his chance to see more with the attempt on Silver’s life at the opening of the book. Forced to move into Denhome for her own safety, Silver must adjust to being around the emotional bears. I love that Valentin pushes Silver – challenges her to see if there is another way than Silence now that she is an adult. And Silver takes up his challenge. Silver is the perfect match for Valentin and visa-versa. They are both strong “alpha” characters that carry the weight of their respective families on their shoulders and in their hearts. They understand one another and the responsibilities that come as part of the package, which allows them to bond through opening up and sharing...
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Jun
7

Review + Blog Tour: Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Review + Blog Tour: Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Mature Content Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: From the very beginning, the Cyberlove series has been an unflinching and welcome rebuttal to the notion that the connections, and lives, we find for ourselves online are invalid. Mature Content goes further in that the characters’ challenges, opportunities, and relationships play out where the distinction between “real life” and the internet is no longer distinct—or even relevant in many ways. Zane Brody and Beau Shields are two popular YouTubers in the LGBTQ community whose already overlapping circles are about collide—spectacularly. Beau’s online persona, Beau Starr, isn’t a lie exactly, but rather the version of himself he wants to be. Informative and validating, he tries to be the positive presence that was lacking when he was trying to figure things out for himself. The problem is that living means making mistakes, and Beau has his share like everyone else. But, the past is never very far away, and I was reminded of the Confucius quote “No matter where you go, there you are.” It’s simply too much for Beau to shoulder on his own, and the steadily increasing weight of it all was tangible as the story progressed. Zane, on the other hand, decided long before to live his life openly, his “TrashyZane” identity being the truest version of himself that he could possibly be. He is incredibly strong, unrepentantly sexual, and has an enviably good heart to go with it all. He is sometimes (justifiably) wary, but honest to a fault, and his determination not to hide who he is means that there’s nowhere for him to hide when he might have need of such. I adored Zane from the beginning, and still can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about him. In terms of sex, the aptly titled Mature Content has plenty, and I thought these scenes were some of the best I’ve read. Entire lifetimes could be spent unsuccessfully searching for the kind of sexual compatibility Zane and Beau share. That they despise one another makes the fact as perfect as it is annoying (for them, at least), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find their mutual struggle with that reality as riveting as the encounters themselves. Saying that these two are “smoking hot” together wouldn’t be wrong, but it would be sadly inadequate for the chemistry that Ms. Erickson and Mr. Hassell manage to bring to...
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Jun
6

Review: Wolf Hunt by Paige Tyler

Review: Wolf Hunt by Paige Tyler Wolf Hunt Author: Paige Tyler Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una really enjoy this series.  It’s a fascinating, engaging, and fun series.  How can it not be fun?  It mixes werewolves, SWAT, and romance together.  Ms. Tyler delivers yet another satisfying SWAT novel in Wolf Hunt. Although the series is best read from the beginning, Wolf Hunt would be a reasonable start for the series. The best part of Remy and Triana’s romance is that it is a second chance at love.  Remy and Triana were unrequited high school sweethearts.  Friends for most of their childhood, they never took that next step fearing it wouldn’t work out.  When they run into each other on a visit home they receive that second chance at love.  Their romantic journey, although overshadowed by Remy’s past, was sweet, passionate and fulfilling. We enjoyed learning about Triana’s family.  Her mother, Gemma Bellamy, runs a Voodoo shop and seems pretty knowledgeable about things that are supposedly only a legend.  Triana’s mother provided not only a little comic relief but also a strong supporting character.  We enjoyed her courage and strength of character.  The way she helps Triana accept the supernatural despite Triana’s scientific mindset was touching. We enjoyed how the nefarious plots of the drug kingpin, the hurricane, and the insistent mysterious buyer for Triana’s father’s necklace all seemed to weave together.  The twists and turns were enjoyable, although they were a little predictable. SWAT continues to be a fascinating series.  In each novel we learn a little more about the nature and mythology of werewolves in this world along with a satisfying romantic journey with a bit of action and suspense.  If you like a little hunky werewolf in uniform, you may just want to check out this modern day paranormal cop drama series. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: A STORM IS BREWING… Remy Boudreaux is back in his hometown, New Orleans. He’s there with three of his fellow Dallas SWAT officers for a week of training with the NOLA PD. On the eve of a tropical storm, Remy and his buddies prowl the French Quarter. One tantalizing scent captures Remy’s senses, forcing him to follow until he is face to face with Triana Bellamy—his beautiful high school crush. After reconnecting, Remy and Triana are close—very. Remy struggles to keep things casual. Ever since his partner—and first love—was killed on the job, he’s kept...
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Jun
6

Review: Toughest Cowboy in Texas by Carolyn Brown

Review: Toughest Cowboy in Texas by Carolyn Brown Toughest Cowboy in Texas Author: Carolyn Brown Reviewer: Jen Rating: C What I’m Talking About: Lila Harris and Brody Dawson were teenagers in love, albeit quietly and secretly. But the night he stood her up and she left town was then end of their romance and friendship. Twelve years later, Lila returns to Happy, Texas, to help sell the cafe her mother once ran and still owns. When Brody shows up, they realize their chemistry hasn’t faded after all this time, but can broken hearts be mended? Toughest Cowboy in Texas is a sweet cowboy romance, but not necessarily right for me. Although I’m not a “cowboy romance” fan, I’ve read and enjoyed other books about cowboys (Lorelei James), working on a ranch (Jill Shalvis) and farmers (Alice Clayton). Yet Ms. Brown’s storytelling and subject matter just didn’t gel with me. First, she relies heavily on country music references, and since I absolutely do not like country music, this not only annoyed me, but left me confused as I didn’t understand the references. She used songs and lyrics to help set the mood or explain feelings, all which was lost to me. Second, there were references to events, like one of the town’s folk disappearing years before, which were written in a way that confused me – wondering if it was something from another book/series – and why it was even part of the story since it seemed to have little impact. There was another scene that featured Lila’s former boyfriend, who is her boss, that also felt contrived and unnecessary. Finally, I didn’t care for some of the side characters – like both “mamas,” who feuded with one another and disapproved of Lila and Brody’s relationship. I felt their reactions and snide remarks were over the top. With that, I did enjoy Brody and Lila together. I loved that they were able to look beyond the their pasts, right the wrongs, and work on a relationship like the adults they are now. Both had matured a lot, yet kept their youthful joy. Brody’s work on the ranch gives him responsibility for his actions – something he knows now he messed up in the past. And Lila had to learn to stand up for herself, that she’s normal and not some messed up, crazy teenager. In the end, Toughest Cowboy in Texas will probably hit all the right notes for many. It’s a sweet story about forgiveness and second...
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