Tuesday, January 30, 2018

ARC Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Series:     Sins for All Seasons #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 30, 2018
Length:384 pgs

Beyond Scandal and Desire kicks off a new series from Lorraine Heath, Sins for All Seasons, featuring a family of unwanted by-blows sent off to a baby farmer as infants. I love that Lorraine has taken this sad and tragic historical detail and given it a lighter spin, while staying true to the life that faced bastards and the lower classes of the day.

Historically and most notoriously in the Victorian era, baby farmers would accept custody of unwanted children, usually by-blows, in exchange for a fee. Unfortunately, a good number of baby farmers pocketed the payment and killed the infants. Lorraine has put another spin on this baby farmer and matriarch, Ettie Trewlove. Rathering than planting the babes in her garden, Widow Trewlove raised five bastards to the best of her ability, and they are to be our adult heroes and heroines of this series.

Monday, January 29, 2018

ARC Review: The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross

Series:     Vampire Blood #4
Pub. Date:Jan. 29, 2018
Length:281 pages

The Emerald Lily is the conclusion to Juliette Cross' Vampire Blood series, which featured retellings of some of our favorite fairy tales including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and now, Sleeping Beauty. These were all really unique stories loosely based on the original fairy tales with some very grown up twists. I do not recommend reading these stories as standalones, you will want the continuing story arc that starts with our Cinderella vampire slayer in The Black Lily

Friday, January 26, 2018

Audiobook Review: Dragon Unbound by Katie MacAlister

Series:       Dragon Falls #4
Pub. Date:Sept. 20, 2017
Publisher:Audible Studios
Narrator:Tavia Gilbert
Length:3hrs 37min

I think Dragon Unbound is the final installment of the combined Dragon Septs series, and that makes me super sad. I just love Katie MacAlister's dragons!

This installment features the First Dragon, that mysterious and haughty demi-god who popped up here and there in previous books. You may recall that he is Baltic's father, but he seems to seek a special relationship with all of our characters. I love that the First Dragon visits all new dragons and welcomes them to world, and it shows a sweet side to his arrogant nature. The First Dragon is somewhat separated from reality, so his trying to understand modern vernacular, amenities and foods was quite humorous. But Katie's dragon books have all been humorous and just a great good time. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ARC Review: Surrender to the Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Series:     Highlanders #5
Pub Date:Jan 30, 2018
Length:384 pgs

Whenever I see a new Lynsay Sands historical, I get grabby hands! I know every book is going to be a quick fun read that has me laughing out loud, and Surrender to the Highlander was no exception. While you can probably read these books as standalones, I think you will have much more fun with the series if you start at the beginning, with An English Bride in Scotland

I am totally head over heels in love with the Buchanan family. While I think my favorite is the broody and scarred Aulay, I can't deny that I would love to hang out with the fun-loving Buchanan brood who tease and taunt each other at every turn. Our hero in this installment is Neils Buchanan, the third son in the family line-up. Saidh Buchanan, the sole sister who is currently large with child, persuades the boys to go check on her friend who had been ill and stopped responded to messages. The boys reluctantly make their way to Drummond keep and quickly discover that someone wishes the Drummonds harm and has been doing a speedy job of dispatching of the family. Neils was a great hero. He was a large lusty lad who was protective over our heroine and determined to discover who meant her harm. Neils wasn't as humorous as some of the brothers, but his reaction to humorous situations was endearing and made me love him all the more.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ARC Review: Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Series:     Torpedo Ink #1
Pub Date:Jan 23, 2018
Length:462 pgs

I have been totally excited about this new series from Christine Feehan. I was a little worried as its a spinoff of the popular Sea Haven series and, despite my work on reading her back list, I haven't read this entire series yet. While there were a few areas where I wished I had the backstory, for the most part I was fine reading this without reading that earlier series.

So... Torpedo Ink. A motorcycle club and family forged in horrific circumstances. Seriously, the back story on these guys (and girls) is so sad and intense and sometimes hard to read. So it was emotional as hell y'all. In addition to their tortured background, these guys are trained assassins and most have some special ability. There were only light paranormal elements, not enough to really classify this as a paranormal romance, but a nice blend of fantasy and dark reality to make our characters more interesting.

Monday, January 22, 2018

ARC Review: Baby, I'm Howling for You by Christine Warren

Series:     Alphaville #1
Pub Date:Jan 30, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:320 pgs

It's been quite a while since I have read a werewolf book, and even longer since I have read Christine Warren. I can't say why other than I am behind on her series and I just haven't had time to catch up lately. Anywho, I really like the premise of this new series she has created in Alpha, Washington - a town full of misfit shifters who don't quite fit in elsewhere or with packs of their own kind.

Renny Landry has always heard about the almost mythical Alphaville, but she knows that making it to the town is her last chance to get away from the danger on her tail (literally). Being pursued by goons sent by an obsessed stalker coyote, Renny is both so close but also not quite close enough when she makes her last desperate attempt for freedom. But fate intervenes and sends Renny into the path of a reclusive alpha werewolf that could be her salvation, and much more. Renny was a pretty good heroine. She wasn't a runner, which was a plus. Sometimes I did feel like she was too nonchalant about her safety, but I understood her wanting to start a new life and not feel like she was running scared all the time.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Audiobook Review: Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

Series:     Stephanie Plum #24
Pub. Date:Nov. 14, 2017
Publisher:Random House Audio
Narrator:Lorelei King
Length:6 hrs 8 min

I had so much fun with Stephanie and Lula in this latest installment of the Stephanie Plum series. After the last year of extreme political burnout, I was a bit worried when Stephanie and Lula started taking on paid protesters and snowflake villains, but Evanovich brought our current reality to life in such a humorous way that I found myself laughing out loud as I was driving along home for the holidays.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ARC Review: Scoring with the Wrong Twin by Naima Simone

Series:     WAGS #1
Pub Date:Jan 15, 2018
Length:236 pgs

Scoring With the Wrong Twin is the first book in the new WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) series by Naima Simone, and the whole series promises to be a steamy page-turner. Our current and future heroes are members of the Washington Warriors football enterprise and the best of friends. This hot bunch surely turns heads where ever they congregate, and I certainly wouldn't mind the cold and rain of Seattle if I had the chance to snag one of these warriors.

Monday, January 15, 2018

ARC Review: Destiny by A.D. Starrling

Series:     Seventeen #6
Pub Date:Jan 12, 2018
Length:401 pgs

I cannot believe that its been more than 2 years since I started the Seventeen series... it seems like it was just yesterday! I am such a huge fan of this series and author, and the individual books have made it onto my Top 10 list every year since I started reading them. While the end of the series is always a little bittersweet, there is good news for all of us fans and definitely lots more to come from this amazing author.  If you have not started this series, you will need to start at the beginning with Hunted, as there is a continuing story arc and you don't want to miss anything. Starrling has a fantastic attention to detail and her research and inclusion for these books is extraordinary. In fact, if I could do it all over again, I would have taken notes and created a series bible as I was reading. There is a lot to remember! (Though she does do a good job recapping things that are necessary to the next installment.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Audiobook Review: Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison

Series:     Elder Races #2
Pub. Date:Aug. 2, 2011
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Sophie Eastlake
Length:13 hrs
Source:Audible Romance Pkg

Following the death of the dark fae king, the Elder Races storyline continues with fairy princess and heir to the dark throne, Thistle "Tricks" Periwinkle, attempting to claim her rightful place in the fae hierarchy. Unfortunately, that proves to be a life-threatening feat for the otherwise beloved Tricks, and she finds herself at the center of an assassination plot. Luckily all those years in public relations for Cuelebre Enterprises made Tricks the darling of the Elder Races and earned her some very tough and powerful friends. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

ARC Review: Small Town Siren by Lexi Blake

Series:     Texas Sirens #1
Re-Relase Date:Jan. 9, 2018
Publisher:DLZ Entertainment
Length:322 pgs
Source:Inkslingr PR

This is a book sure to make all my smutty followers happy, because it was ooh la la steamy. Or given that we are operating in Texas for this series... I should get my southern on and say it was just plain HAWT.

We meet Abigail Moore as a teenager in small town Texas, where she has quite the reputation for being a wild child. Unfortunately, Abby's reputation was undeserved and her life was made difficult by a snooty old woman, mother to her childhood boyfriend. Jump ahead 20 years and Abby is returning to help her ailing mother, and she finds that not much has changed with the snooty old folks of Willow Fork. I felt so sorry for Abby and the way she was treated as a teenager, however I wished she had a little more backbone as an adult. Otherwise, I really liked Abby as a heroine. She was fun, but also responsible. I admired the fact that she built a life for herself after she was run out of town at such a young age.

Monday, January 8, 2018

ARC Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series:     Cutler Sutter & Salinas #2
Pub. Date:Jan 2, 2018
Publisher:Berkley Romance
Length:334 pages

As I was reading When All the Girls Have Gone, I was very intrigued by Max Cutler and his foster brothers who were rescued from a cult fire. I thought the backstory was captivating and was interested to learn more about their time in the cult and their life afterwards.  So I was very interested in this second installment where both of our main characters were cult survivors.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Audiobook Review: When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall

Series:     Highland Fairytale #2
Pub. Date:Aug. 31, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Ruth Urquhart
Length:9 hrs 25 min

I love retellings of fairy tales, and the historical Highland twist just makes them too delicious to pass up. When a Laird Finds a Lass is very loosely based on The Little Mermaid. I actually had to think about this one a bit as I didn't see many correlations between this book and the Disney adaptation, but there may be more similarities between this story and the original written work (which I have not read).

Malcolm ban MacDonald was making a living as a lawyer in Edinburgh when he unexpectedly becomes the Highland laird of Dunbronach and is forced to return to his childhood home. Malcolm has been a lowlander for most of his life, so he returns home as an outsider and not fully trusted by his clan. They don't like his lowland ways or dress, and he doesn't believe in the magic, legend and superstition that is bandied about by his clan members. So Malcolm finds himself undertaking many tasks and responsibilities for which he was not prepared, though the clan has only given him one rule really - he must marry a Highland lass, and not one from their dreaded enemy, the MacLeod clan. Malcolm is not your typical Highland laird or Highland hero. He is not an alpha male, nor a rough and tumble Highlander. He has book smarts and some street smarts, but is more comfortable with a rapier than a claymore. Admittedly I prefer a more typical Highlander with kilt and claymore, but Malcolm was still a good hero. He was honorable and wanted to help his clan and our heroine both, even when those desires were at cross purposes. Our hero experiences a good amount of personal growth in this story and discovers that book learning is not the only way to approach the world. He also gets some of his belief in magic back, but I also liked how he made some magic of his own by things that he did for the clan.

Monday, January 1, 2018

ARC Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Series:     Kingmaker Chronicles #3
Pub. Date:Jan 2, 2018
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:448 pages

The Kingmaker Chronicles has been packed full of action and sensuality, and is one of my favorite series over the past year. This riveting conclusion is how I rang in the new year, and it was somewhat bittersweet to know that the series is ending so soon.

In Breath of Fire, we saw Catalia "Cat" Fisa, mature as a character and start to accept her fate as future queen of Thalyria. In Heart on Fire, Cat continues to realize what the gods intended by imbuing her with their power and setting her on the path to become a savior of Thalyria. I liked that Cat was continuously humbled by everyone's belief in her and support of her power bid. I also thought that the touch of vulnerability in Cat when it came to her relationship with Griffin helped humanize her, and soften the edges of our kickass heroine.