Thursday, December 29, 2016

Audiobook Review: Heart of Honor by Kat Martin

Series:     Heart Trilogy #1
Pub. Date:Nov. 22, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Beverley Crick
Length:12 Hrs 1 Min

The Heart Trilogy by Kat Martin takes place in Victorian era London at the Heart to Heart gazette run by Krista Hart and her father. While Heart to Heart is a ladies magazine, it also publishes editorials addressing political and social issues of the day.  During this particular time period, one of the big social issues of the day was conditions for mine workers, particularly regarding child labor. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Audiobook Review: Burning Bright by Melissa McShane

Series:     The Extraordinaries #1
Pub. Date:Nov. 15, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Cat Gould
Length:12 Hrs 49 Min

This is my first read by Melissa McShane, and I am so happy I gave her a shot! This series has kicked off with a unique story, a brave heroine coming into her own, and a honorable hero. The Extraordinaries have special talents above and beyond the rest of society. They can control fire, or move large objects (telekinesis), or read emotion, heal and shape the human body. Not everyone has a talent, and not every talent is extraordinary... but this series promises to showcase the most interesting people of the time.

Monday, December 26, 2016

ARC Review: Enveloping Shadows by Lauren D.M. Smith

Pub. Date:Dec. 1, 2016
Publisher:Carina Press
Length:150 pages
I'm a sucker for a good fantasy and this blurb drew me right in. This is my first read by Lauren D.M. Smith, and I have heard great things about her debut with The Emperor's Arrow. Hopefully I can fit that one into my 2017 reading calendar. This review will be a quickie to coincide with the novella length story.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

ARC Review: Roger's Bride by Sarah Hegger

Series:     Sir Arthur's Legacy #4
Pub. Date:Dec. 20, 2016
Publisher:Lyrical Press
Length:274 pages

While Roger's Bride is the fourth installment of Sir Arthur's Legacy, it is only my second read from the marvelous Sarah Hegger. I am reading these stories all out of whack, but I haven't had a bit of trouble with the character crossover. The series follows the children of the Angelsea family which is headed by fearsome knight, Sir Arthur.  There are five children - Richard, Bea, Faye, William and Henry - each getting their own love story for our reading pleasure.

Friday, December 16, 2016

ARC Review: Stealing His Thunder by Sparrow Beckett

Series:     Masters of Adrenaline #1
Pub. Date:June 21, 2016
Publisher:Berkley Intermix
Length:217 pages

The Masters of Adrenaline series is an erotic romance where Fast and Furious meets Gone in 60 Seconds. As long as you don't mind the criminal element, this one will be a hit with some of my smutty fans and followers because it was H-O-T hot. 

What can I say about Fox Larson?  Mmmm... well let's start with his red gold locks, man bun and multitude of tattoos. Now pair that with an expensive suit, a nice house, a garage full of expensive cars, and a dominant personality. Sounds yummy right? I have to admit that Fox was pretty steamy. He was also the head of an family auto theft syndicate. He would be your Dom/Vin Diesel character in Fast and Furious. He was seriously bossy in a delightfully yummy way and, profession aside, I probably would let him boss me around too. But I just couldn't get behind all the car theft. He tried to justify it by saying they weren't hurting anyone - but I just don't buy that argument. This wasn't the scenario of the "good" bad boy... Fox and gang weren't out to help law enforcement or anything like Brian and Dom in F&F. This was just straight up stealing cars for profit. It wasn't sexy for me.

Addison Kennedy is a smart and sassy girl with lots of potential for a bright future. She is on scholarship to get her graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, and she has some real talent. But... she would rather be stealing cars. I honestly had a harder time with her character than Fox. I just couldn't relate to her as a professional female who spent a whack on my education, I can't imagine throwing it all away for the thrill that she got from boosting a car. Addison was also somewhat immature and I didn't like how she handled a rough patch in the relationship with Fox... I want my characters communicating instead of playing games. (Do I sound like an old lady or nerdy bird yet?)

It's been a while since I've read anything in the BDSM trope, and this author did a good job with the steamy sexytime. The focus was more on the sex than the emotion, and those parts were well-written and definitely fogged my kindle a time or two. Fox and Addison's chemistry was off the charts, even if they weren't good about the whole adult communication thing. I would have loved some more character development there... a little more backstory or inner monologue may have drawn me in enough to get past the criminal aspect. 

I really thought that I would like this series more when I read the blurb... I love the Fast and Furious movies so I didn't think this would be a far stretch. But apparently I need some kind of redeeming aspects to support the illegal acts. Who knew? Don't get me wrong... I think the author's writing was good and most of the characters were interesting, and I had no qualms with the pacing or plot. I just couldn't get in the right head space to accept the premise. This surprised me given my love for mobsters and hit men... but thieves, not so much.

I voluntarily reviewed  a gratuitous copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

Series:     Cavendishes #2
Pub. Date:June 28, 2016
Length:384 pages

I am new to Maya Rodale, having started with Lady Bridget's Diary earlier this year. I liked the premise of this series, with the first book being a light-hearted historical take on modern books/cinema a la Bridget Jones' Diary and Mean Girls. I didn't get the same modern cinema vibe with this story, but it was still good fun. This story is told concurrently with Bridget's, so you could probably read them out of order if you were so inclined.

If you haven't read Bridget's Diarythen you will want to know that series follows the Cavendish family, American horse farmers were thrust upon London when the James Cavendish inherited one of England's most-respected dukedoms. Only the bon ton looks upon Americans with disdain, seeing them as little better than the savages they share land with across the pond. Our heroine, Lady Amelia, may be the most hoydenish of them all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Indie Wednesday Review: Greed by Gemma Brocato

Series:     Goddesses of Delphi #3
Pub. Date:Dec. 6, 2016
Length:207 pages
Source:Kindle Unlimited

The Goddesses of Delphi series by Gemma Brocato has a wonderfully unique storyline featuring the nine Muses, the daughters of Zeus and Gaia. The Muses are facing off against Pierus and his daughters in their bid to overthrow Olympus. Pierus was a jealous lower God, who also had nine daughters known as the Pierides. Pierus and his daughters were always trying to subvert Zeus and, as a result, Zeus turned the Pierides into magpies. It is this story that Gemma has taken and given a unique modern twist. The Muses now have mortal life spans, to be reborn again throughout eternity with all their prior memories in tact. Olympus is being run by Zeus as if it were an international corporation, and all of this is taking place in modern day Delphi. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Audiobook Review: Sinner by Eve Langlais

Series:     Space Gypsy #2
Pub. Date:Nov. 22, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Chandra Skyye
Length:9 Hrs 12 Min

This has been such a fun series, and Eve Langlais totally surprised me with this one. The Space Gypsy Chronicles features engaging and unique characters (mostly aliens), a flirty hero and a damsel of a heroine. How could this not be fun!?!  This is a continuing story arc so I do not recommend reading these books out of order, you want to start at the beginning with Pirate.

To recap, Rafe Abaddon is a Romani gypsy prince traveling the galaxies to avoid his family. In the last book, Rafe had to make a hasty departure from Earth and took his curvy UPS driver with him. They set off through the Milky Way and black holes to lands unknown where Emma had eye-opening encounters with beings that were beyond her imagination. Rafe is somewhat of a space pirate and there are bounties out on his head so there was lots of action and fighting to balance out the romance. Pirate ended on a cliffhanger, so I was glad to get this next installment so soon.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Audiobook Review: Heartless by Winter Renshaw

Series:     Amato Brothers #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 18, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Nelson Hobbs
Loretta Rawlins
Length:7 Hours 42 Min

This is my first read from Winter Renshaw, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don't read as much contemporary these days, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. 

Aidy Kincaid is a fashionable modern woman. She is a professional makeup artist working with her sister on their startup business, Glam to Go. It sounds like such a fun job, especially given my slight makeup addiction, so I was definitely digging Aidy. Right from the beginning she is obsessed with a journal detailing an adulterous love affair, which she she viewed as romantic and passionate. Having read the private thoughts from cover to cover, Aidy is ready to return the journal to where she found it, and hopes to catch a glimpse of the writer. What she didn't expect was to encounter a gorgeous but rude superstar... but it seemed like fate intervened to throw these two onto the same path numerous times over a span of a few days.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

ARC Review: Taken by Cynthia Eden

Series:     LOST #5
Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Length:400 pages

The LOST series is one of the best romantic suspense series that I have ever read... seriously, every book has been stellar. Cynthia Eden does both romance and suspense extremely well and she has become an auto-buy author for me. While you may be able to read these as standalones, I would not recommend it. You want the background on each LOST team member, so I advise reading from the beginning.

The heroine and damsel in distress of this installment is Bailey Jones, who is the survivor of a serial killer known as the Death Angel. Only six months have passed since her escape, and she has understandably closed herself off from almost everyone and everything. However her drive to find another survivor sees her seeking assistance from LOST. Bailey was a sympathetic and engaging heroine. My heart went out to her with everything she went through, but I also admired the strength and determination that we saw in this story. She really wanted to take her life back and she wasn't going to let anything or anyone stand in her way, especially all the people that wanted to coddle her and treat her as a victim.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARC Review: The Scottish Duke by Karen Ranney

Series:     Duke Trilogy #1
Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Length:384 pages

I was totally excited to see that Karen Ranney was starting a new Victorian-Era historical romance series. This is a rag-to-riches love story for our heroine who transcends classes to find true love with a princely duke.

Lorna Gordon was forced into service by circumstances after the death of her beloved father. Having become fascinated with the Duke of Kinross, Lorna risks her position for one night at a costume ball to get closer the duke. That decision has unexpected and long-reaching consequences for Lorna, the duke, and everyone in the Kinross household. Lorna was a great heroine... she was a hard worker and determined to be independent and not take anyone's charity. She was dedicated to her father even after his death when many would have given up his work as a lost cause. I really liked that she was able to keep her head and demonstrate quick thinking in a crisis, and she wasn't an annoying heroine in any sense.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ARC Review: Rules of Contact by Jaci Burton

Series:     Play-by-Play #12
Pub. Date:Dec. 6, 2016
Length:352 pages

Can you believe that this is my first read from Jaci Burton? I know, I know... what the heck is wrong with me? I have actually had this series on my TBR List for a couple years, but someone told me I needed to read from the beginning and I just haven't had the time to fit 10+ books onto the reading calendar. But I am very happy that I finally took the plunge and started reading about these yummy athletic heroes! Not having read the earlier books, I didn't feel lost. There were other couples popping in and out which I assume are from earlier books, but those stories were not vital to the romance at issue.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

ARC Review: Marry Me on Main Street by LuAnn McLane

Series:     Cricket Creek #13
Pub. Date:Dec. 6, 2016
Length:304 pages

This is my first read from LuAnn McLane, and I have been wanting to try her for a while. So I obviously have not read the prior Cricket Creek novels, but I felt like I tripped along just fine without feeling too lost about prior stories/characters. Other couples did pop up or get mentioned in this story, which I suspect were the main characters in prior books... but enough info was provided to give me an idea of who they were.

This was a sweet holiday romance that really put me in the Christmas spirit and made me want to curl up in a log cabin before a big ol' fire with some hot chocolate. I loved the setting of small town Kentucky, and Cricket Creek seems like such a wonderful place to live. The cutesy business names were great and you could just tell that Cricket Creek had a lot of character and a wonderful community.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Series Saturday: The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries

Series:     Sinful Suitors #3
Pub. Date:Nov. 22, 2016
Publisher:Pocket Books
Length:416 pages

The Sinful Suitors of the St. George Club are back in this third installment of the series with an unconventional heroine and a tortured rakehell hero. The Danger of Desire was a nice addition to the series that has been following the altruistic efforts of a group of gentlemen determined to drive the scoundrels and fortune hunters away from the eligible women of their families.

Delia Trevor is the daughter of a gambler having been dragged around the continent with her family until her father won an estate for them to settle on. When her brother Reynold seems to have fallen into her father's bad habits and gets cheated at a card game, Delia goes undercover as a young man to a seedy London gaming hell in an attempt to root out the card sharp. While I applauded Delia's bravery and tenacity, sometimes she was a little too headstrong and too quick to come to the defense of her brother without considering other information. I did like that she was intelligent and had a quick wit, and it was nice that all her rash actions were taken in an effort to protect her extended family and family name.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Audiobook Review: First Year by Rachel E. Carter

Series:     Black Mage #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 27, 2016
Publisher:Clean Reads
Narrator:Melissa Moran
Length:8 hrs 9 min
Source:Audiobook Boom

Rachel & Jen Bambi
Full disclosure - I have a girl crush on Rachel E. Carter. She is very cool people and I hung out with her quite a bit at the RT Convention this year. So even though I don't read a lot of Y/A, or "clean reads" for that matter... I knew that I had to check out what Rachel is writing (and I'm glad I did)! I only wish it didn't take me so long, but the blog has allowed me little time for personal reading this year (something I hope to rectify in 2017). I'm rambling... on to the review!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ARC Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #11
Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Publisher:Grand Central Pub.
Length:364 pages

In this eleventh installment of the Maiden Lane series, Elizabeth Hoyt seems to still be going strong. Of course, I have been reading this series all catawampus because I was late to the party. 

The heroine in Duke of Pleasure was quite unique... she is a street urchin masquerading as the Ghost of St. Giles, vigilante defender of the defenseless. As a relatively young woman, Alf had no problem disguising herself as a teenage boy by day, which helps her collect information and pass relatively unobserved through the streets of the downtrodden part of London. By night, Alf wields her rapiers and swords as she stalks her dangerous prey across the rooftops of the slums. When she finds herself fighting back to back with the Duke of Kyle one night, she finds herself stealing a kiss from the big brooding duke. Call it adrenaline or curiosity, but that kiss changes Alf's life. Alf was a bit of a tortured heroine, and my heart broke when she revealed the sad truth of her childhood. I loved that she didn't let her circumstances discourage her, as she was an independent and self-sufficient woman of the times (even if she had to dress as a boy to keep herself safe). As one of my friends would say, this chick had chutzpah. Her impish behavior and saucy attitude with the Duke were fun to follow. But I do have to say that I hate-hate-hated her name!  ALF! I had a very hard time not envisioning her as a hairy little alien with a big snoot. Gah!

ARC Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Publisher:Berkley Romance
Length:304 pages

This is my first read from Jayne Ann Krentz, and I am glad that I have finally got her on my calendar. I have had a couple of her series on my TBR for quite a while, so hopefully I can work those into the schedule soon. When All the Girls Have Gone is a good combo of women's fiction and romantic suspense, with relatable characters with real world problems.

Charlotte Sawyer is an eminently logical person... she isn't the type of person that you will find skydiving or bungee jumping, or anything spontaneous at all really. She works as a resident coordinator at a retirement village, spending her days with an endearing group of elderly people. After being jilted at the altar, Charlotte's life consists of work, wine, netflix and reading. While this doesn't sound horrible to me, I totally related to her feeling stuck in a rut but not being able to find that a hobby or niche to occupy her free time. I loved that she was not a whiny heroine, but when going got tough her practical nature stayed true and she persevered by putting one foot in front of the other.