Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Wild: The Men From Battle Ridge, by Linda Howard and Linda Jones


Carlin Reed (Named after George Carlin) is on the run from a police officer she had two dates with, that turned him into a stalker. Carlin loaned her pal Jina her coat, and police officer Brad kills her, thinking Jina is Carlin. Carlin feels she has no recourse since Brad is a cop, so goes on the run. She picks up odd jobs along the way, working for cash for a few weeks, and then she’s off to another town. She ends up in Wyoming at Zeke Decker’s huge ranch, hiring on as his cook/housekeeper. 

There is a lot of humor between Zeke and Carlin, along with a lot of sexual tension. They both think they don’t like each other, and at times they are like oil and water. Zeke was burned by his x-wife, so is leery of all women. He is drawn to Carlin though, and this provides for plenty of humorous banter between them. Carlin does not share any of her past with him, but it’s obvious to Zeke and the ranch hands that she is hiding something major. Carlin falls in love with the land, and winter is approaching. She decides that Wyoming is a safe distance from Houston, Texas, so plans to stay for the winter. 

Carlin insists that Zeke install new locks on the ranch house doors, that must be kept locked at all times. There are several episodes of events that frighten Carlin, so eventually Zeke gets her to talk to him about what she fears, and is running from. He insists he can help her put an end to Brad stalking her once and for all. After Jina’s murder, she does not want to risk anyone else being involved with her. However, over the course of time that oil and water thing turns to much more between Zeke and Carlin. She dreads the fact that she must move on again once spring arrives….and leaving Zeke. 

Libby, the retired cook/housekeeper, returns for a visit. She has heard about the budding romance between Zeke and Carlin, and wants to find out for herself what this girl is all about, and to make sure she isn’t out to take Zeke for all he’s worth. The innocent Libby sets the stage for the final showdown, and the suspense once again takes off full force. 

This story is king of a switch up for Linda Howard, who usually has cops as the good guys. This time around we have the cop as the stalker. The rancher/Wyoming setting is also uncommon for Howard. Since I am a lover of rancher/cowboy books, this was a definite home run for me. 

This book is what a lot of Linda Howard fans have been waiting for, a return to her roots of romantic suspense. A thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Run the Risk, by Lori Foster



Logan Risk is a detective, working undercover as a construction worker. He lives in an apartment next to Sue Meeks, Aka: Pepper Yates who is passing herself off as a dowdy woman, in baggy clothes, no makeup and skinned back hair in a ratty ponytail. Her brother Rowdy is believed to be a witness to the murder of Logan’s best friend. Logan is prepared to use Pepper in any way he can, to get to Rowdy, and solve the murder.  There is some corruption on the local police force too, so Logan isn’t really sure who he can trust, other than his partner Reece.

Logan and Pepper have dinner together at the apartment.  At this point, Pepper feels something for Logan.  We know early on that Logan is going to use Pepper, but the uninspired sex that results from this dinner together left me wondering what was wrong with Logan, that he found it to be amazing and can’t wait to come back for more.  What was even more confusing to me was why Pepper went to such extremes to totally change her naturally bodacious body (picture Kim K here for a minute) to the frumpy woman she appears to be. Then, on top of that she has zero personality.  Seriously, early on Pepper has trouble stringing an entire sentence together when Logan is around. There are those who probably think it’s funny she is so tongue tied around Logan, but given the woman she morphs into at the halfway point led me to believe that she just wasn’t going to be all that great of a heroine.  Sadly, not much changed for me there as the book goes forward.  She has her share of TSTL moments, especially when she voices her opinion to Logan that she would have taken down all the bad guys.  How she would accomplish that, I really haven’t a clue.  And last but not least, I’m still not convinced that Pepper loves Logan more than Rowdy!  She thinks she loves Logan because he realizes how much her brother means to her. Just because “the only Risk Logan wants her to take is his last name” means she loves him.  I need to be convinced!

We are looking at criminal, Morton Andrews, with mob ties, as the killer.  There are some pretty good suspenseful moments, once Pepper and Rowdy’s cover is blown.  Reese lends much support to his partner in solving the crime, along with dealing with corruption within the police department.  For many chapters, you have no idea who to trust, and that includes Lt. Margaret Peterson.  Another unrealistic character, who at the ripe old age of 32 is a ball buster who has seen and done it all!  Another eye rolling moment for me was the fact that Rowdy and Pepper mosey 40 miles down the road, the next county over, to hide from Morton.  You know, the guy with mob ties, who is also suspected to be in on human trafficking too.  Wouldn’t you move to the east or west coast to get as far as possible from this guy??    

Reese , Logan’s partner, and his brother Dash are both intriguing secondary characters.  Reese befriends quiet Grace, who lives in his apartment complex.  She agrees to watch Reese’s dog since he works such long hours, and very slowly over the course of the book they become friends.  Dash owns the construction business Logan pretends to work at.  Both Dash and Logan come from a wealthy family, but they prefer to work for their living.     Dash is the guy to die for, so I certainly hope he gets a book of his own!  Rowdy probably will too, although the way he ran Pepper’s life, I am not really overly endeared enough to him to want to read an entire book about him. 

All in all, the second half of this book redeems it – somewhat.  I had to suspend my belief too many times for me to tag this with a higher rating.  I have been a Lori Foster fan since her first book, many years ago.  None of the primary characters in this book came close to what I know to be her best work.  After I finished The Perfect Storm, I had some serious misgivings about the heroine in that book, and wondered if she is trying to appeal to new age group of readers?  I know our reading choices differ from time to time, but I am not being totally sucked in to Lori ‘s books like in the past.  And that makes me really sad!   

Copy provided by NetGalley for review.
Ratiing:  3 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Until There Was You, by Jessica Scott

Feisty red haired Claire believes you can bend some rules to get the job done.   Then we have Evan Loehr, dubbed Captain America by Claire, who is by the book.  A few years ago they shared a steamy kiss that neither of them has ever been able to forget, and ever since then, they find it hard to be in the same room with one another.  Now, they face each other in the cold winter in Colorado, where they have been sent to prep a company, including a good friend of Claire’s, for deployment.

Evan has a hard and fast rule to never date military women, and Claire has a rotten record in the romance arena.  Both are hiding demons that mostly have nothing to do with war, but has molded them in to the people they are today.  So when they meet again in Colorado at a get together event, neither is thrilled to see each other.  You know, due to that steam factor from a few years ago, that is still thick in the air!  I have to admit, the push and pull of these two is hot and steamy.  There are some great moments of humor thrown in too, with reference to Captain America.
The book revolves around Claire and Evan, learning to trust each other with life situations that have caused them to be so closed off to relationships.  I especially liked the way Evan approached Claire, when he learned of her painful past.  Claire really softened towards Evan when his secret was revealed to her.  It becomes very understandable why these two joined the military, because there they were kept so busy they were able to bury their pasts, and it’s a profession where a lot of people are in and out of your life in a short time.  No time to make lasting friendships, especially where Claire is concerned.

The military aspect sucks you right in too.  It would seem that a few of the higher ups are more concerned with advancing their careers, than properly training their troops for deployment. The training ops are really interesting, most likely due to the author’s own military background.  They play a huge part too, because that is where Evan and Claire disagree, which in the end could bring them down. The training ops were laced with tension,due to the inexperience of the troops. There are a few interesting reveals regarding Lt. Mallory Engle as  well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Secondary characters are wonderfully drawn out.  Sgt. Reza Iaconelli is one of Claire’s dearest friends, and his demon is alcohol.  Reza manages to tie a good one on at the reception, and Evan helps Claire get the all but passed out Reza back to his room.  Evan has great concerns about the seargent’s drinking, and challenges Claire throughout the book to get him in to treatment.  This part with the addiction was well written, giving a very realistic view of dealing with an alcoholic, and why Claire is resistant to pushing Reza too hard. 
                                                                                                                                                                              
Jessica Scott is able to cram a lot in to a short page count book, without leaving out pertinent scenes. .  I was surprised this book didn’t pick up where Because of You left off, but that was not a make or break point for me. This is one of the best military books I have read in a long time. 

Loveswept Contemporary Military Romance
Date Read:  9/17/2012
Publication Date:  10/8/2012
ARC provided by NetGalley for review 
Rating:  4.5 stars

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens


See what happens when The Lady Risks All

Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor—until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.
Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability—until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.

Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore . . . or keep.

This is a delightful new read from one of my favorite comfort authors. I was worried when I started this book that my expectations would be too high and I would be disappointed, I'm happy to say that I wasn't.

Miranda is not your typical heroine -- she is 29 years old, never married and lives with her aunt and brother. Roderick who is 24 years old. Her aunt is a stickler for not causing any scandal and has raised Miranda and Roderick to "fear" the ton because of the way their family made their money.

Roscoe/Justin is 39 years old and owns a string of gambling halls. He has given up much for the sake of his family who he holds dear to his heart. He comes from a long line of gamblers.

Miranda first meets Roscoe when she follows her brother one night to see where he is off to. She follows him to Roscoe Neville's house and she decides to find out if he's gambling or not and follows him in. She is caught by Roscoe and when asked what she is doing, she answers, "I'm here to rescue my brother." He questions her on the type of "entertaining" she thinks he's running in his own home and suggests that she follow him. She listens in on the meeting and finds out that all the men there including her brother are members of the Philanthropy Guild. Miranda realizes that she owes Roscoe an apology.

A few days later Roderick does not come home and Miranda's worry that something has happened to him and goes to Roscoe house to see if he knows anything about her brother. It's then that they realized after asking questions that Roderick had been kidnapped.

Miranda insists in helping search for her brother especially if he is hurt. The story continues with them tracking down leads and finally finding him and rescuing him. Roscoe decides to take him to his family estate....were we learn who Roscoe really is. His family opens their home and their hearts to Miranda and Roderick who when they found him has a broken foot and a collarbone. Miranda wonders why everyone is calling Roscoe - Julian, but it's not for his family to tell his story. When they return to London, Roscoe and Miranda go their separate way but he will continue to look for the man who kidnapped Roderick. I do not want to give too much away on whom the villain is but I love the way Miranda decides not to be afraid of scandal and surprises Roscoe by proclaiming her love for him first.

This is truly a wonderful love story with the Roscoe denying his true feelings for Miranda and Miranda fighting for what she wants. There are numerous sex scenes that were well written and a secondary story between Roderick and Sarah who is a cousin to Roscoe. The Delbraith family is outgoing and friendly and everyone truly loves Julian. His sister-in-law Caroline who we meet in the Prologue has a totally different opinion of Julian now and her son Henry is a young man wanting to learn everything he can from Julian who is his joint guardian. Ms. Lauren's again does not disappoint me and brings back several members of the Bastion Club.

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.


Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath



Second book in the Lost Lords of Pembrooke Series

This had to be one of the best books that I read this year.....I really enjoyed it.
Tristan is the younger twin, his brother Sebastian's story is told in She Tempts The Duke.

When we first meet Tristan he is a frighten 14 year old boy who is locked in his family tower with Tristan and his younger brother, Rafe. Tristan is sold as a cabin boy by Sebastian because he fears for their lives because their uncle wants to kill them and become the next Duke of Keswick.

The story picks up 14 years later and Tristan is now known as Capt. Jack Crimson and he captains his own ship.

Anne wants to hire the Captain to take her to Scutari. Scutari is where her finance has died from the war and Anne feels that she can not go on with her life until she says good-be to Walter her dead fiancĂ©.  Capt. Jack agrees to take Anne for a payment of one kiss when he wants it and not before then.

While on the trip, Anne's opinion slowly changes of Capt. Jack and ever so slowly she shares her story. Capt. Jack tells Anne that his real name is Tristan.
The first time that they make love is so touching and overwhelming.

At the end of the trip their parting is oh so hot but Anne knows that she must now marry and come out of mourning for Walter. Once on land, Tristan can not stay away from Anne and is stubborn of his true feelings for her. He doesn't want to make a commitment but yet he wants no one else to have her.

Besides fighting his feeling for Anne, I feel he wants to get closer to his two brothers but just doesn't know how. There is a potent scene near the end of this book were Tristan finally goes back to the tower and comes to terms with his life.
Anne also has to overcome her personal demons and her overbearing father and brothers who want her to marry Chetwyn, Walter's brother.

The ending is one that I do not want to give away...but let me tell it will leave you breathless and I love the epilogue for the man that Tristan has become thanks to love of Anne.

I do see a budding romance between Anne's brother Jamison and Lady Hermione, who fancy herself in love with Tristan and causes a problem.
I'm so looking forward to Rafe's story.

Received an ARC of this book for an honest review.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Accidental Bride, by Christina Skye

DATE READ: 9/12/2012;     RATING: B, WARM

PUBLISH DATE: 9/25/2012

ARC PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY FOR REVIEW

High profile chef Jilly O’Hara is on the fast track to success, when a heart attack at the age of 27 changes her life. Her friends are concerned for her, and send her to a mountain knitting retreat. They tell Jilly it is actually a cooking retreat to convince her to go, so Jilly is a bit surprised and thrown off her game when she arrives in Montana, and realizes her pals have set her up. She is at the small town airport in Lost Creek, waiting for transportation to the lodge when she meets Walker Hale.and his service dog Winslow, who served together in the military. Walker is a broken man, but for Winslow it is love at first sight when he meets Jilly.  Dogs know best, don’t they???

Jilly despises knitting, but is drawn in to the retreat, and decides she can make something for Winslow. Before long, the knitting relaxes Jilly, and she starts to understand the tranquility of the craft. Needing to make some major life changes, Jilly starts to understand some of the things her doctors are talking about when they tell her that she has to change her fast paced life.

There are a few tense moments when Jilly has some issues with her health, and she isn’t really up front with Walker about her heart problems. Jilly and Walker do fall hard for one another, so the pretense of a wedding between them is not a difficult to imagine.

The town of Lost Creek is a quirky little town, and everyone there loves their hero Walker, and his dog. Mamie, the aging owner of the resort Jilly is visiting, has a dream of a wedding for Walker, and before you know it, the entire town is busy planning the pretend wedding between Walker and Jilly, all to please Mamie. Of course, things aren’t always as they seem, and as sparks fly between Walker and Jillie, the vacation comes to an end.

The ending is a bit rushed, and I was not happy that we did not get a complete resolution to Jilly’s health problems. It started out as a major plot line, and was pushed aside by the wedding, and a very brief conversation with Walker about It towards the end. Walker was a to die for hero, along with his service dog, Winslow. Not much mention of Summer Island in this story either, so I do hope we get back to that a bit more in Olivia’s story, due up next.

All in all, a very good book. Christina Skye knows a thing or two about service dogs, as we know from some of her previous books, and hot heros!

**Note**   Since I have an ARC, the only blurb I have to go by is from Amazon, which is sort of correct, and the blurb from Goodreads, which is totally off base and not even close to what the actual book was about. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

That Thing Called Love, by Susan Andersen

 

That Thing Called Love, by Susan Andersen

Rating: B+, Hot

 

Renowned photographer Jake Bradshaw has returned to Razor Bay after a 13 year absence. His wife died in childbirth when his son Austin was born. Jake was only 18 at the time, and his wife’s parents convinced him they could care for Austin so Jake could go to college. Well, that was then….this is now! The Grandparents have passed away, and Jake is called upon to parent Austin. Jenny Salazaar is Austin’s legal guardian, and none too happy to see the globe trotting Jake blow in to town. Jake’s plan is to get to know Austin, and then move him to New York City, which Jake calls home.

 

Jenny slowly comes to the realization that Jake can take Austin at any time, so she decides to work with him, to form a relationship with Austin. Austin is a very mature 13 year old, and does not react well to Jake’s plan to move with him to New York. In fact, at times Austin is better at forging ahead with their relationship than Jake is. However, throughout the course of the story, we find out that the grandparents were instrumental in keeping Jake from returning to Razor Bay and his son. At this turning point, Jake had my sympathy and his work cut out for him, proving to everyone that he could be a capable parent to Austin.

 

Soon, sparks fly between Jake and Jenny. The conflict between them is very well fleshed out. Jenny needs the stability her life in Razor Bay offers her, while Jake is such a free spirit. They slowly start to resolve their issues, out of consideration for Austin. Both Jake and Jenny need to sacrifice for the best resolution of Austin’s future. Jake especially has to work hard to repair broken promises, but he comes out a better man for it. Will Jake and Jenny be able to meet halfway, and stay together in Razor Bay with Austin? At times, the odds sure are stacked against them.

 

Jake’s half brother Max provides comic relief throughout the book, and I sure hope the next book is about Max! This book is a magnificent beginning to a new series that I look forward to!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Wrangler, by Lindsay McKenna


My rating:  4 stars, Warm
Publication date: 6/19/2012
 Location: Jackson Hole WY

 Cast of Characters: Hero: Griff McPherson, out of work Wall Street banker, fraternal twin to Slade. The boys were separated at age 5 when parents killed in a car accident, one raised in Jackson Hole and Griff in the East Coast.
 Heroine: Val Hunter, retired Air Force Lieutenant
Gus (Augusta) – Val’s grandmother
 Curt Downing – Nefarious neighboring rancher, always up to no good
 Buck Hunter – Val’s abusive father 

Val gets a call from Grandmother Gus to come and help out with the Bar H Ranch, as she has sustained an injury and needs help. Val left Jackson Hole and never looked back, after her father abused both her and her mother. Griff has recently returned to the area, after the loss of his job in the Wall Street collapse, and is picking up work at the Horse Emporium. His brother Slade (see The Last Cowboy) is none too happy to welcome Griff home. A few years back, Slade asked Griff for a loan, back in the days that Griff had plenty of money, and Griff declined.

Griff works hard to prove that he has what it takes to leave the East Coast, and live the life of a rancher in Wyoming. No one makes this transition easy for him, and he goes above and beyond when it comes to helping others out. In my opinion, everyone in the book makes it difficult for Griff to prove himself, and at times I found that a bit hard to swallow. Grandma Gus really puts her faith in him, which in turn makes it a bit easier for Val to trust him.

An FBI agent working in the area has asked Griff to help keep an eye on the nefarious Curt Downing, ever the wheeler and dealer. This proves to be an easy assignment, since Downing is forever trying to buy the Bar H ranch from Gus. When Gus turns him down again, Downing heads  to his realtor, trying to get him to help put together an offer Gus can’t refuse. Little does he know………that isn’t about to happen!

Strange happenings continue in the area, including a fire at the cabins Val was building on the lake. There seem to be bad guys everywhere, and the question is who really is behind everything bad that keeps happening? During this time, Griff is there for Val every step of the way. Slow but sure, their relationship builds. Griff is very considerate of Val’s background, and a most patient man.  

This story line progresses very nicely, picking up where The Last Cowboy left off. We still have some surprises to come in the next book, and I will be looking forward to that a lot. Maybe even a wedding!!

 Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review. 













Call Me Wild, by Robin Kaye

CALL ME WILD, by Robin Kaye
Publish Date:  8/7/2012
2nd in her Domestic Gods Gone Wild series

Those Kincaid brothers are just irresistible! Out of work sports journalist Jesse is staying at her pal’s vacant house in Boise. She is on a coffee run to the Starbucks when she literally runs in to Fisher. He flirts, she pegs him for a surfer dude. The incidental run ins keep happening. Next time is at the grocery store, where Fisher labels Jessie’s cart as "what not to eat". You have to give the guy credit where credit is due. He is humorous and witty. Oh, and a ten plus on the attractive scale!


Jessie has had a tough life, and this is fleshed out quite well. Beginning with her family, the high school boyfriend, and loss of her job, I can well understand why she takes advantage of pal Andrew’s offer to stay at his house while she gets her act together. Jessie needs some quick cash, so she is going to try her hand at writing a romance novel, even though she has never read one. How hard can it be? Well, since her life is quite lacking in that department, she finds it much more difficult than she imagined.


Jessie meets Karma and is telling her about her so called “stalker”, calling him" thick or mentally challenged, and living with his mother."   Karma is trying not to crack up laughing, since she knows the ‘stalker” is her brother Fisher, and Jessie has no idea they are related. Karma convinces Jessie they need a girls weekend at brother Hunter’s wilderness cabin. Karma is tricky, and setting Jessie up. And oh boy - what a setup it is!
        

We know Fisher is a great guy, who has many admirable talents. This series isn’t called the Domestic Gods Gone Wild for nothing!! Will Fisher be able to wow Jessie?  Karma of course, was a no show, but Fisher made it to the cabin in the woods.   Jessie emotionally breaks down while with Fisher, and instead of turning to him, she turns to Andrew. At first, I didn’t like Jessie for that. But on the other hand, she has only known Fisher a handful of days. Fisher is injured while at the cabin, and when Jessie takes him to the ER for treatment, she finds out that he is a doctor, and that he doesn’t live off a trust fund or with his mama!


All the assumptions Jessie makes about Fisher are hysterical, along with his response to every thing she throws his way. One thing I love about Robin Kaye’s books is the lighthearted humor and bantering with the main characters. This book just left me wanting more of the Kincaid family!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wicked Edge, by Nina Bangs

 

Rating: Teri: A, Hot;  Emily:  A, Hot

Wicked Edge

Emily Jensen is my co-reviewer for this book. Emily and I worked together for several years in Human Resources at Mayo Clinic. We love our book talk, especially when it comes to paranormal books. So after what seemed like a long hiatus with the Castle of Dark Dreams, we fired a lot of emails back and forth about Edge’s book. Emily and I love these books, so in discussing all of our favorite happenings, here is what we have to share.

So Emily,

When did we last see the Big Boss? I know you have done some re-reading and I have not even looked back at my notes on previous books. But I am thinking it has been awhile since he physically materialized in human form. What is he up to???

E: We have never met the Big Boss in person. They talk about him in all the Castle of Dark Dream books and in the Mackenzie books. This is the first time he has actually presented himself. In the Mackenzie books, there is a character called the Ice Cream Man who comes twice to rein in Mede. I thought he may be the Big Boss in disguise but in the book Wicked Edge the Boss says to his cosmic trouble makers “I have not seen you for a few centuries and look what you have turned into.” So we finally get to actually meet him and he was worth the wait! Question...What in the world is he??????

T:   Yes indeed.  The Big Boss has "IT" in spades! Holy moly, he was worth waiting 8 books for! Passion sees no colors surrounding him. What is he?? He can talk to Mede telepathically, and has done so in almost every book. So now Mede is on his best (?) behavior for fear of what might happen if he’s not. I love how he picks out his name.  Passion, who fears nothing, to ask the Big Boss what she should call him. He responds "Bourne. I loved the movies & I've never been a Bourne before".  Another ROTFL moment!

When Edge tries to explain to Passion why he is Death, he describes it "as a coming home to a man who knew no home, the healing of a wound none could reach because he'd hidden it so well. It terrified him. Anyone who caused this feeling was dangerous.” **sob** This kind of broke my heart! What is your take on the relationship?

E: Passion and Edge have a topsy turvy romance. They are compelled to want to be together, but just like polar magnets they also push away from each other. They both seemed lost in who they really were. Of course when you find out the truth it made perfect sense. I really can’t say too much without ruining the drama for others between the two of them. Sometimes, I did want to say to Passion "ahh hello, hot sexy man - who cares about morals?!? He’s YUMMY!”

T: Passion describes herself as Life and Edge as Death. All she has to do is lay a hand on Edge and he is off the charts with emotions, something totally new to him. This woman makes him question everything, and he is one confused demon! Passion has a really difficult time coming to terms with what she is too. With each new cosmic event, she discovers something new about herself and in turn, questions her role in this world at the castle. These two do an excellent job of dancing around their feelings! I must say that Bangs goes beyond excellent with dragging out the sexual tension that literally jumps off the pages. It’s no wonder Sweetie Pie is wilting! Poor baby!

Which cosmic event was the standout event and why?

E: I loved all the action Nina put in the book. There are too many to choose from! I know my favorite should be the final even,t but I really loved the one where Mede loses it. You know he is powerful and this just tops the charts. My imagination was able to picture the struggles of everyone trying to shut him down. You also got to see some more insight on the others and their powers. I love how Nina keeps past characters continuously appearing in each book instead of disappearing completely when there role is done.

T: Boy, are you right about the characters not leaving. Excellent point. The standout event for me is also Ganymede’s. He has been on his best behavior for so long, it was actually kind of hard to see him go on a bender! The power has really overtaken him. I think this is the first time we really get a good look at how destructive and all powerful Mede can be. We have heard about what he can do, but now we are seeing it. I was on the edge of my seat during the whole thing, seeing the people leaving Galveston in every direction, in any way they could. The Gargoyles are going crazy, and Holgarth can’t quiet them. Then, to top it off, we have every cosmic troublemaker we have met in all the books on hand too! Any more would go in to spoiler territory, but this entire sequence is just exceptional. It leaves you exhausted at the end of the chapter.

What is Zane Waiting for???

E: Zane, hmmm… I think he will need his own book. He is one complex character and has the most interesting parents. I would be screwed up for life! In one book he attacks the castle and in the next he is there to vacation, yet he helps out when it gets bad for our Dark Castle Crew? I will be excited to watch the developments unfold.

T: Well, for this book anyway, that would be his parents. Again, any more here would be a spoiler, but it has to be one of the best kept secrets of this entire series!! Honestly, I about flipped! But my lips are sealed!

Who is your favorite character in this book?? Or your favorite ongoing character?

E:   I know I should probably pick one of the main characters in this book but I just love Sparkle. She is selfish and vain, but deep down she has a heart of gold. You get to see a motherly caring when person when she is comforting Holgarth and at the same time a fashion tip. Sparkle can knock Mede down a few pegs when everyone else runs from him in fear. She is a tough cookie and fights dirty. I have utmost respect and admiration for her. She is in every book with the Castle of Dark dreams and the Mackenzie series.  You see a new depth (or sexy tip) in each book. She is a rollercoaster. Sparkle makes you laugh, cry, ground your teeth in frustration and makes you take a glance at your own wardrobe,  wondering if it’s time for shopping trip and upgrade!

I love her!!!!! And I wonder -  how you do that Dance of the 7 Hershey kisses???

T: For both ongoing and current book, it’s Ganymede. I love him in cat form, and all of his one liners crack me up. Then, there’s the way he talks to everyone in their head, especially folks new to the castle.  They just can’t believe it’s coming from a cat. I have this visual of him telling someone to bug off (only in his terms!) and walking away with that big fat tail, swaying in the breeze. Sometimes he’s the voice of reason, although he does love a good fight, and last but not least, he really does love his gal Sparkle. In this book when he turns human – what a hunk! I get a kick out of the fact it takes him so long to turn forms, but maybe it’s because he is thousands of years old.

Side note:  The cosmic troublemakers, aka: paranormal characters, in this series of books are the oldest I have come across yet in paranormal series.

Do you have to read the entire series for this book to make sense? Will those new to the series need to go on a search for the other books?

E :  Not reading the other books is like eating a pizza with no toppings. It tastes so much better when you know what you’re eating and you have variety with spice! Reading the whole series makes more sense and Nina keeps bring older characters back, so you have that definite bonding feeling. I agree with Teri on reading the Mackenzie books. Not only do you get more insight on our favorite characters, but they do bring some characters to the Castle of Dark Dreams who had minor appearances with the Mackenzies.

T:   I am beyond anal when it comes to reading a series in order, so I would say yes. I would also add that I would recommend the Mackenzie series be read also.Those books came before the Castle of Dark Dreams, so you are looking at a total of 8 books. The cast of characters is huge and they all start out in the Mackenzie series. Honestly, if you were to pick up Wicked Edge, you would probably enjoy the book, but you may be left wondering about some of the characters and their roles.

A few random thoughts:

T: Passion and Edge hit the greenhouse during Sparkle’s cosmic event. Edge tells Passion he’s taking her “to the edge of his scenic overlook!”

Passion responds with “if she’d known falling would be so awesome, she would have jumped sooner, but only with Edge”.

These were probably the best lines in the whole book, (for me) along with being a great scene too. After two weeks of dancing around each other, THE moment has finally arrived. And Nina Bangs’ one liners are still alive and well…it’s one of the reasons I love these books so much! And good old Sweetie Pie gets a new lease on life! Good Grief, she must grow 6 feet!!

E: There was so much tension between those two! It’s neat that Nina figured out a way for them to be together twice for their first time. Yep, you will have to read the book to find out how in the world this is possible!

Conclusion:

There  were enough new characters introduced in Wicked Edge for Nina Bangs to continue her world building for a good, long time.  Sparkle adjusting to her new job, and Mede accepting her as his boss could be fodder for a couple of books!  And, now that Bourne has appeared, he sure has a lot of work ahead of him….or at least I think he does!  October 12th, Wicked Whispers – we can hardly wait!  We’ll be back with another in depth review in a few months!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012



Have a safe and happy 4th of July.  Stay Cool!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Jesse by C H Admirand

Jesse Garahan no longer believes in love. Until he meets Danielle Brockway and her tiny daughter, Lacey, on their way to their new home in Pleasure, TX. Danielle’s worthless ex-husband left her high and dry, and now she’s looking for a simple small-town to start over in—and then she meets Jesse. She just can’t seem to help herself where long-limbed, swaggering Texas men are concerned. Suddenly, life is anything but simple. 


Sadly this is the last book in her "Secret Life of Cowboys" series and I for one will be sorry to say goodbye to the Garahans family and their sexy cousins who were introduced in this book.  I was hoping for more books about the cousins by alas the author is moving on to another town.

I have to admit that out of the three books, I liked this one the best!!!  Jesse and Danielle made such a cute couple and both were overcoming recent heartache.  What I liked best was little Lacy, Danielle's little four year old daughter who always wore her pink cowboy hat and boots.

Jesse first meets Danielle on the side of road when her car overheats....she's about ready to open the cap of an overheated radiator.  Well, our cowboy takes one look at Danielle and is smitten!!!

This is a wonderful tender love story in which we spend lots of time with Tyler, Dylan, Emily and Ronnie.  And in the previous books, our Garahan brothers like to tease, threatened and throw a punch.

There is no evil villain, no exes coming back to start trouble just a nice kick-back story where the sex scenes are hot and the cowboys even hotter.  One big hint when reading this book --  make sure your not hungry because there are many wonderful scenes that take place over breakfast, lunch and dinner and pie...how can I forget Uncle Jimmie's homemade Chocolate pie!  :)

It's not necessary to read Tyler's and Dylan's story but I think it would help understand all that has happen at the Circle G ranch.

I received this book from Net Galley for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt



A MASKED MAN . . .

Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he's the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles-protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.

A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . .

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she's asked to tutor the Home's dour manager in the ways of society-flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons-Isabel can't help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar-and his lips so tempting.

A PASSION NEITHER COULD DENY

During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything-the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.


My Thoughts:  This is the 4th book in her Maiden Lane Series and I have to admit that I’ve been waiting for Winter’s story.  

Winter is not the type of hero I'm used to reading, he's not drop dead gorgeous or has a athletic body but in my opinion he is really all of these rolled into one.  

It was fun to read read how Isabel slowing changes her mind about the little boy Christopher who has been left in her care and to realized in the end that nothing was going to stop her from loving and making a life with Winter.  I have to admit that I love her maid -- Pinkney!

The development of Winter and Isabel growing to love each other and both helping each other -- Winter with helping Isabel warm up and accept Christopher and Isabel helping Winter realized that he doesn't have to be his father and show emotion and love.

The sex scenes were many and well written.  And the person who I thought was the villain well just let me say that I was totally wrong.  

Ms. Hoyt gives us a little tease on who the next 'Hero" and "Heroine" will be in her next book Lord of Darkness.

This was a well-written book that really shows how life was for the children who lived in St. Giles.  

I received an ARC of this ebook from Net Galley for an honest review.



Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase


From the Journals of Sophia Noirot: A dress is a weapon. It must dazzle his eye, raise his temperature . . . and empty his purse.
A blue-eyed innocent on the outside and a shark on the inside, dressmaker Sophy Noirot could sell sand to Bedouins. Selling Maison Noirot's beautiful designs to aristocratic ladies is a little harder, especially since a recent family scandal has made an enemy of one of society's fashion leaders. Turning scandal to the shop's advantage requires every iota of Sophy's skills, leaving her little patience for a big, reckless rake like the Earl of Longmore. The gorgeous lummox can't keep more than one idea in his head at a time, and his idea is taking off all of Sophy's clothes.
But when Longmore's sister, Noirot's wealthiest, favorite customer, runs away, Sophy can't let him bumble after her on his own. In hot pursuit with the one man who tempts her beyond reason, she finds desire has never slipped on so smoothly . . .


My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Dressmakers series. I loved the first and this book did not disappoint me.

Sophia can blend into the scenery or have heads turning by the way she dresses.. Longmore is not your typical hero -- he's quick with fists before thinking things out.

When Longmore's sister is set-up for ruin by a scoundrel for her dowry....Clara decides to run away with her maid. Sophia and Longmore banned together to find Clara and hatch a plan to save her from a unhappy marriage. When Sophia and Longmore are on the road to find Clara you can feel the sparks fly between them. Longmore is shocked when he finally kisses Sophia and realizes that she is innocent. But is was even funnier to see him react after he realizes that he is in love with Sophia.

This book had me laughing out loud....I just fell in love with Sophia and her thinking. When she sets Addlerley up for the fall and to save Clara from marrying him, I felt like I was in the garden with them.

The sex scenes were well written and very hot!!!

I look forward to reading Leonie's story! By the way the Noirot's sisters are related to those "dreadful DeLuceys" who first meet in Lord Perfect.

I highly recommend this book but I would read Silk Is For Seduction first.

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hot For Fireman by Jennifer Bernard


Katie Dane knows better than to mix business and pleasure, but her new bartender, Ryan Blake, is simply irresistible . . . and besides, she doesn't plan on working there much longer. That's if things go according to plan. But they never do, do they?
Ryan, the sexy heartbreaker of Station One, is determined to rejoin the force. Tending bar in the meantime seems like the perfect idea, especially when it means he can spend his nights working next to his sultry new boss . . . if only the bar didn't keep catching fire.
Throw in a grizzled career criminal, a luscious-bodied barfly, a Bachelor Fireman bachelorette party, a flash-fire romance, and a million-dollar money pot, and suddenly playing with fire never seemed so much like falling in love.



This is the second book in her  Bachelor Fireman Novel.....I like to read series in order but even though you do not have to read The Fireman Who Loved Me it will give you an insight on our hero.

My thoughts:  Wow, I had a hard time with this book.  I really enjoyed Ryan in TFWLM and couldn't wait to read his story.  Ryan was the ultimate ladies man and  I couldn't wait for him to fall in love.  I have to admit that Katie was not likeable at all for me and she kept on falling into the TSTL mode.  I could not believe the bonehead things that she does in this book -- in my opinion she did not redeem herself until the end of the book and personally I could not understand why Ryan fell in love with her.  Ryan did not have an easy childhood and he embraced the firemen/woman as his family.

Spoiler:

To think that Katie tried to burn the bar down for the insurance money and got caught by Ryan - you think that would have been the end of it but NOOOOOOOOOOO our girl tells her loser ex what she wants to do and lo and behold he knows someone who will torch the place for a price -- and our little Katie actually hired the guy.  I was keeping my fingers crossed that she told Capt. Brody this and they were laying a trap for the arsonist but it wasn't.  The only redeeming quality she had was in the end going to talk to Capt.. Brody and telling him the whole story.

The sex scenes in this book were well-written and done with taste.  I loved the  Bachelorette  Party and I felt like I was there.  That was the high point to me for this book.

It could be me but this book just didn't work for me.....but I will give this author another chance because I loved The Fireman Who Loved Me.

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.




Friday, May 25, 2012


Let's give thanks for all our military who died to keep us free.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

About That Night by Julie James


HE’S PLAYING GAMES
Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
BUT SHE’S MAKING THE RULE
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case—but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants—and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten. . .

My thoughts:  I was really looking forward to this book.  I have to admit that when I first read about Kyle in A Lot Like Love he stole my heart and I couldn't wait to read his story.  I thought the nicknames that the heroine had  Prosecutrix Pierce and Meth Lab Rylann had were cute.

I enjoyed the banter and the witty remarks throughout the book but that was about it.  Nothing really happens, the book opens up with how our h/h meet nine years earlier and why the hero never keeps their first date.  Fast forward nine years and  Rylynn who is now a US Attorney who has just transferred to Chicago is asked to fill in on a case were she meets up with Kyle aka the Twitter Terrorist.  There is a small storyline that brings our h/h back together.  

For me, I wanted to see more action -- I wanted to see Rylann in court, I wanted to see the US Attorney's office needing Kyle's hacking skills.  Anything!?!?!?!?!   The sex scenes between Kyle and Rylann do sizzle and burn.  

If you've read the other books in her FBI/US Attorney series than enjoyed meeting up with the cast of characters again.  In fact one of best scenes in this book takes place a Chicago Bulls game between Kyle, Jack and Nick!

I purchased this book for my reading pleasure.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 RT Convention

Chicago was all I had hoped for and then some! Let me start out by posting my highlight …..that would be meeting Charlaine Harris!! 2012 RT Covention 020

I have been a Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire fan since book one, and have now met the brilliant woman who put this world together for us to enjoy.

The Giant Book Fair was something else. Hundreds of authors, who would sign books you purchased from them or brought from home. Here are a few at the signing that we managed to see: Gennita Low, another long time favorite of mine, Jody Thomas, Mia Marlowe, Cathy Maxwell, Renee Bernard, Hope Tarr, Christina Skye, Kat Martin, Lorelei James, Heather Graham, Sabrina Jeffries, Kiernan Kramer, Roxanne St. Claire, Rebecca York, Monica Burns, Jade Lee, Meg Benjamin, Shayla Black, Sylvia Day, Jennifer Blake, Tessa Dare, Beth Kery , Sherrill Bodine who was dressed to the nines!

We attended an author Q & A, called Romance Readers Town Meeting, where Dani won the grand prize of a gift basket from none other than Cherry Adair. Sue and I were awarded books for answering fun questions. Beth Ciotta, Cherry Adair, Katharine Ashe, Isabelle Drake, Cindy Holby, Sabrina Jeffries, Kiernan Kramer & Deb Marlowe hosted this event.

Sue attended Boner Doner Bingo hosted by Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Blog. While she was there, Dani & I attended Who Wants To Be A Duchess, hosted by Sabrina Jeffries, Lydia Dare, and Deb Marlowe. We didn’t make it past scullery maid, but it sure was fun. You really must know your history to compete in this one!

2012 RT Covention 013 Last of all, we attended the FAN-TASTIC DAY PARTY, where we picked up even more free books, and finally had a chance to sit down. We slogged our way to the car, happy and content, but exhausted after 12 hours of walking and standing. Dani and I had a blast. Sue was not at all sure what she was getting into, but being an avid reader, she really enjoyed the entire event, along with meeting Dani.

There was also the SOS (Support our Servicepeople) mixer we all attended. Kim who gets this event going every year for military families really puts a lot of hours and effort on this, and the event was awesome. We met up with other RT Board posters here, and that was nice to put a name to a face.

Only snafu that was apparent to me, was that Lora Leigh was a no show. We were at the book fair, and her table was all set up, ready to go, but no Lora. No one had much to say, as I think her following is getting sick of her excuses and probably could care less at this point in time.

Another fun factoid – JR Ward travels with security, and this even extends to the ladies room! They cleared it out once on Saturday so she could use it – alone!!! And seeing her in person was not quite the same as seeing her picture on the back cover of all her books.

Great recap Teri, I couldn't say it better. I had a great time meeting some of my favorite authors and meeting new romance fans.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Perfect Storm, by Lori Foster

Review date: 4/18/2012

Rating: *** (3 stars or C)

The Men Who Walk the Edge has been a good series. I have been a big fan of Lori’s writing for a long time, so it was disappointing that this book was not the perfect storm for me. Let me start out by saying that Spencer is widowed, and loved his wife very much. There was a bit of a zing between him and Arizona at the end of book 3 in this series, but in all honesty I was not sure that Arizona’s character could support an entire book. She didn’t, and at least half of the book revolved around all of the other characters we have met in the course of this series. Arizona was sold to traffickers by her father when she was very young, so she has been used and abused, with no idea what love and compassion are. She’s got it bad for Spencer, and Spencer does like Arizona, although she is at least 11 years younger than him. In the beginning his thoughts are to teach her to love, accept compassion and compliments from others so she can move on with her life. But it is very obvious Arizona has no plans for moving on from Spencer.

Arizona is happiest when she is smack dab in the middle of a fight. She knows her weapons, and is bored doing research for Jackson. The story started out with human trafficking being the main plot line, which slid off the slope somewhere along the line. The story is not action driven, it totally focuses on Arizona and Spencer. Even though Arizona has come to Spencer with a job opportunity on a business she has scoped out and believes to be a front for traffickers, it takes about half of the book for this story line to materialize. When she has her opportunity to shine during the confrontation, her impatience doesn’t do her any favors, along with all the alcohol she consumed because she couldn’t figure her way around not accepting the drinks. The morning after the great caper could have provided some much needed humor, but was sadly lacking. Spencer has a neighbor Maria who he has done the tangled sheet dance with, and I almost felt sorry for her when confronting Arizona. In defense of Maria, I too would have been left standing there wondering what the…….!!!

Trace, Dare & Jackson want Arizona to become a member of “the family”, although she resists with everything she’s got. Her temper tantrums and attitude are often that of a 12 year old, so her age really did become a factor for me in this setting. She came across as a bratty little girl, which made one wonder what Spencer saw in her, other than the fact she is stacked to perfection. The sex scenes were hot, but I did have a hard time feeling the love. It was more like Spencer was preparing Arizona for her future loves, and he didn’t plan on being that person.

Being able to revisit the rest of the cast was the highlight for me. As the trafficking plot ebbed away, everyone gathers at Dare’s for a 21st birthday party for Arizona. The very best part? Chris, by a long shot! The guy is amazing! He is the one who should have been in charge of rehabbing poor Arizona, since she really could relate to him and felt very comfortable with him. He helped her through the entire party, and his explanations of why the guys were doing this for her was the only way she was able to come to terms with her new found family. Chris also gave her the perfect gift, again bringing home the point of how well he knows Arizona, and people in general. While the rest of them are all watching this scene with their mouths hanging open, because they all tried so hard to buy the perfect gift, Chris bats another one out of the park. Go team Chris!!

OVERALL – this was not a horrible read by any means. I was left to ponder if Lori Foster is trying to appeal to a new audience, say young adults in the 18 – 23 year old age bracket? If you have been a long time reader of hers, I think it’s fair to say we all ache for characters more like those Buckthorne men, or a place called Visitation. I am not a re-reader and won’t go back to visit them, but Lori was the master in those books of creating the perfect everyday man, someone you could relate to, know or work with in your own life. The trafficking theme is getting old too. Every morning when I open up my laptop, there is Lori’s wallpaper with “the perfect man” taking up my entire screen, starting out my day just right!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Memory of Our Dear Friend Debra

Debra and dogs Early Saturday morning, March 31st, Debra lost her battle with cancer. Debra leaves behind her mother Ann, brother Bruce, numerous other family members, and her much loved fur babies Dozzer and Tucker.

The mutual love of books is what brought Dani, Debra and I together. Debra had many, many authors that were her favorites, and many that were her friend. Her reviews inspired me when I was in a slump, encouraged me to explore new genres, and to buy way more books than I will ever read in my lifetime! Oh yes, and we all have a love for our pets and animal rescue organizations.

Debra is the brightest star shining up there in the sky tonight, her battle with cancer over. A lot of tears have been shed today, and now I am going to find a way to smile, because she has lived, and open my eyes to see all she has left behind.

Dear Debra, it’s truly been an honor to call you friend!

I meet Debra on the RT Boards and through our love of books we became good friends. I always gave Debra credit for reading outside her comfort zone -- Debra would give any genre a try and she would try to talk me into reading a paranormal and I would say NO NO NO! I had so many wonderful conversations talking to her and her mother on the phone. Debra always knew how to make me laugh especially when I was feeling down and never had a bad word to say about anything. We both love the "The Real Housewives" show and spent time on phone discussing what happened.

One of our favorite authors was Diana Palmer and oh how we would laugh after reading her books, that the hero always wore black silk shorts and drove a Jaguar.

I know Debra is smiling down from heaven on us and she will be missed by all who knew and loved her. I for one will miss our every other day chats on the phone and her laugh.

RIP Debra you might be gone but you will not be forgotten. Love ya girlfriend, Dani

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets. . .

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to an unexplored world of pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London's illicit underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . .even her heart.

This is the first book in her new Fallen Angels series.

Heroine -- Lady Penelope Maarbury

Hero - Michael, Lord Bourne

Penelope was the girl who was engaged to the Duke of Leighton from Eleven Scandals To Start To Win A Duke's Heart. Her story begins eight years after being jilted by the Duke. Penelope has just turned down a marriage from her childhood friend Tommy. Tommy, Penelope and Bourne all grew up together and were childhood friends. Michael loses everything gambling to his guardian when he was 21 years old.

The story picks up 10 years later. Michael is now part owner of the Fallen Angel a gambling den. Bourne's goal these past 10 years is to get revenge and get his beloved Falconwell back. Michael finds out that his Falconwell was lost again in a game of cards and learns that it is now part of now part of the dowry for his oldest daughter. Michael put his plan in effect to get back his beloved Falconwell.

Michael is not the same person that Penelope remembers, he is now cold-harden and heartless.

My thoughts:

Even though Michael is not the same person that Penelope remembers she still slowly falls in love with him. I love the fact that Penelope takes no crap from Michael and tells him like it is. Michael says and does everything to make Penelope dislike him. In the end it was fun to read Michael fall in love with his wife and realizes that she is more important than revenge.

This is a wonderful written book and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the other books in this series are just as well written. The sex scene are well-written and hot!!!!

Received this book from Net Galley for an honest review.