Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs



Title: Bone Crossed
Author: Patricia Briggs
My Rating: B+


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson #4
Main Characters: Mercy
Release Date: February 2009
Publisher: Ace
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild


Story Overview:
Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned, the hard way, why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires immigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent - for vampire slaying. Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity. She's also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her vampires. Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack (and her interesting relationship with its Alpha), but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way. So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back.

My Review:
Maybe it was just after the emotional hits of book #3 that this book didn't 'quite' live up to where I wanted it to go. Don't take me wrong...it was very, very good. But for the events that happened in it, I expected a more emotional impact from me as the reader. This book finally had that thing we've been waiting for, but I felt a little let down as so much of the really intense stuff happened off the page. And I know that's a bit vague, but I don't want to post spoilers. But there are two HUGE, major events that happen in this book and we only find out about them afterward in a passive narrative. *insert sad face here* As a fan that's followed Mercy and her struggles with accepting Adam and the pack for 4 books, this was most definitely a letdown for me. 

There is also a story line in this book that involves a child. That right there is usually a key emotional trigger for me that will engage me more in a story emotionally. I don't know if it was because this child was deaf, but I didn't feel that connection with his character like I felt I should. 

But on the surface everything about this book should have made it one of the better ones. Stefan is back, but he's been tortured almost to the point of death (in vampiric terms) by his Mistress. And there are all kinds of new complications for Mercy and him with the vampires and between their relationship. But again, something happens at the end to negate that and I wish it hadn't happened because I like the idea of that complication long-term. I also love Stefan and how he is such a good guy even when he doesn't see it. 

This story also revealed more in the terms of the gifts that all the supernatural races have. There are lots of new things that Mercy learns in this book...even about her own Walker gifts...that made this book fun just in the new levels of intrigue it revealed. There wasn't much of the pack in this book and I missed them. They're there, but not as much as normal. And who knew...I really missed Ben. I've really come to love his character. I hope he shows up more in the next few books. 

While I didn't feel this one was quite up to the level of the other books in the series so far, I still loved it. And I still love Mercy. She continues to be a tough character worthy of having a whole series following her. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs


Title: Iron Kissed
Author: Patricia Briggs
My Rating: A-


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson #3
Main Characters: Mercy
Release Date: January 2008
Publisher: Ace
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild


Story Overview:
I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...

My Review:
Wow...I did not see this book going where it did and the events that happened to Mercy at the end broke my heart. 

The one thing that I absolutely love about Mercy is her loyalty to her friends. She may not be part of the pack, but she's created her own pack that she will fight to the death over. This book focuses on Zee, who the fae are determined to sacrifice to hide their secrets, but Mercy won't let that happen to him...or she will die trying to save him. This is one tough girl and I just love being able to cheer her on through these books. And the thing is...she doesn't see herself as particularly brave. She just does what she has to do and tries to keep her brain engaged so she doesn't do stupid things. 

And talking about the pack, I don't think anyone can discuss this book without talking about Ben and what he does for Mercy. These books are told entirely from Mercy's POV and she's never been a big fan of his, but wow...who knew there was such an incredibly tragic reason behind his prickly facade. And I loved that he put himself out there at great risk to protect her...someone that he owed no loyalty to. I love him for that. His revelations broke my heart, but I love him so much more for them. 

And then there's Sam and Adam. I love Sam and feel so hard for him, but I love how he and Mercy are with his feelings. It's a complex relationship between the two of them and after so much dishonesty from them when she was a teenager, I love how open they are with each other even when it hurts. I have a few more books in this series to read yet, but I'm hoping one of them has more positive things happening in his life. I'm worried about him. 

Again, I'm loving this series. I'm so glad I'm reading it late so I can read so many of the books back to back. I love doing that!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blood Bound (audiobook) by Patricia Briggs


Title: Blood Bound
Author: Patricia Briggs
My Rating: A
Narrator: Lorelei King


Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Main Characters: Mercy Thompson
Release Date: January 2007
Publisher: Ace
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.


My Review:
Overall.... 4.5
Performance... 4.75

Story.... 4.5

I read the first book in this series 2-3 years ago and thought it was "okay" but nothing to rave about. I also listened to the Alpha & Omega series all on audio and LOVED them. I know the two series intertwine, so I decided to give this one another shot on audio. (I did re-listen to book #1 on audio too and while I don't plan on re-reviewing it, I will tell you that I loved it much, MUCH more the second time around.)

So this is my review of book #2 in this series...in a nutshell...I'M SOLD. I'm definitely a Mercy Thompson fan now. I did a mix of reading and audio on this book depending on my schedule and that is honestly how I'll probably do the rest of this entire series. I adore Lorelei King's narration, but can read myself so much faster so there are times when I just want to get to the juicy parts and then I relish those on audio with all the narration inflections that add so much to ALL of these many characters. 

Things have changed for the wolves in this book since book #1...werewolves have come out to the world. But rather than focus the story line on that, this book really dealt with the vampires in this world and their abilities to manipulate magic. There were some amazingly interesting scenes in this one. I'm especially intrigued by Wulfe. And OMG, Stefan...I knew he had a different perspective on Mercy, but did not expect that story line to go where it did, but I like it! My heart aches so hard for Samuel. Because I've read all the Alpha & Omega series, I have a pretty good idea of what the future holds for him and like Mercy I just want to hold him tight and comfort him. Those scenes with her and him are magic. While I fully think she belongs with Adam, I love the connection she has with all the males in these books. She's an empathetic person and that enables her to reach them in a way that other women can't. She also has a special place as a walker which I think furthers that. 

I'll be honest, there wasn't a whole lot of quality Adam and Mercy time in this book, but I was okay with that. Everything about this installment of the series made me love it more. I like how strong Mercy is. She's tough, but it's an honest tough...she gets terrified, but is absolutely willing to work through that to save her friends. She may not be part of the Pack officially, but she has her own bigger pack filled with the wolves, Stefan, Zee, Tony, and humans that she protects with everything she is. And she is a lot. This story really began to delve into her Walker capabilities, but I think the author has barely scratched the surface. I'm ready to dive into book #3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rocky Mountain Romance by Vivian Arend


Title: Rocky Mountain Romance
Author: Vivian Arend
My Rating: B+


Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Six Pack Ranch #7
Main Characters: Steve and Melody
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
Second chances are the sweetest—and the hottest.

It took a spectacularly embarrassing break-up to knock Steve Moonshine Coleman off his lazy butt. In the ten months since that night, he’s changed his ways, and now that Melody’s back in town, it’s time for this sweet-talking cowboy to convince her to get back in the saddle with him.

A return to her veterinary position in Rocky Mountain House was always in the cards for Melody Langley. Getting back together with Steve? Never part of the plan. He had lots of potential but zero ambition, and there’s no way she’ll accept anything less than a man who can keep up with her, in and out of bed.

But the new-and-improved cowboy is impossible to resist, so Melody issues a challenge. Three months to prove he’s reformed. Three months of Steve orchestrating one sexual indulgence after another—wicked distractions from the old boys’ club Melody faces at work and Steve’s growing responsibilities.

He’s got one shot to prove with more than words what’s in his heart and soul.

Warning: Fifty percent less angst, twice as much filthy-talking, dirty-daring cowboy. Get ready for a whole lot of make-your-knees-weak wooing from a man intent on proving he’s got what it takes, and the woman ready to push him way past his limits.

My Review:
This may be #7 in the series, but it's the first book I've read from it. While that certainly works because the book is great as a stand-alone, I have to admit I think I've fallen in love with the Coleman clan and will probably go back and read some of the others because I enjoyed the characters and the glimpses into their stories were intriguing. 

But this book was about Melody and Steve. They broke up (i.e. Melody dumped him with a pitcher of beer over his head) ten months ago. Since then, Steve has come to the realization of what a jerk he was...not just with her, but in life. He's made a total life transformation in his life in the past 10 months and now that she's back he wants to show her that he deserves her this go around. 

Melody's aspect of the story was much less romance-centric. While she's a bit leery of Steve's plan and ability to go through with being a good guy, she's concentrating on her new life as a big animal vet. Something that some of the area ranchers are taking issue with. Normally I'm all about the romance aspect of the story line, but in this book, I was all about this side of her life and how it was all going to work out for her. She's a tough gal working in a male dominated world, but I loved her attitude about it all. It's frustrating at times, but she's so professional. The only people that truly see her lose her cool are Steve and her girlfriends...even though she's dealing with some truly horrid, bigoted jerks. She's awesome!

I did enjoy watching the romance develop too. And although it is very hot and heavy, I really liked the way that the author emphasized the other aspects of their relationship besides the sex that created intimacy between them. They are both dealing with a lot...a lot of work, a lost of stress, a lot of expectations...but at the end of the day they come together and support each other...sometimes with a meal, sometimes with a massage, and yes, sometimes with sex. But this book was about the WHOLE relationship, not just the smexy times and I loved that. THAT maturity is the difference between where Melody and Steve were a year ago vs. where they are in the book. It was fun to see the difference. 

Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely LOVED the veterinarian aspect as well as the romance. It was a good, entertaining, and smexy romance. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Heat of the Moment by Robin Kaye


Title: Heat of the Moment
Author: Robin Kaye
My Rating: A-


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #1
Main Characters: Cameron and Erin
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: InterMix
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:

Cameron O’Leary, a 4th generation firefighter turned arson investigator, thinks he’s the luckiest man in the world—after a year of sickness in the family, everyone’s finally on the mend, and his life can go back to its even keel. But even though Cameron has moved to Boston to be there for his family, some sort of live-in nurse is still necessary, given the demands of his job.

Erin Crosby is financing her master’s thesis in social work by acting as a home health care nurse. Working for Cameron seems like the perfect gig—low key, plenty of time to work on her thesis, and the patient is lovely. She might never have lived with a man before—she’s never found anyone she cared about that much, had barely even considered it—but Cameron is easy to live with, and an easy friendship blooms between them.

But it gets harder and harder for Cameron to keep his hands off of his charming employee—and for Erin to remember that she hasn’t really moved into Cameron’s life.


My Review:

This is a novella, but it's a story that isn't short on emotional punch. I really liked this one and it appears to be setting up a great new series. And this book is interesting just because it's a modern twist on the old governess/nanny trope that used to be so popular in historical novels. 

Cam's daughter just came home after a 2 year battle with brain cancer. She's recovering, but still weak and he wants someone with medical experience to watch over her for the next month until her normal nanny can come back to her job. Erin is in between jobs and has the experience Cam and his daughter needs so she hires on. Immediately there is great sexual chemistry between these two that flamed off the page. I love how the author wrote the two of them. Their connection is fast, but it never seemed rushed or too much to me. But it's not just heat. The book is fun. The characters are engaging and witty. I constantly found myself smiling through the scenes in this one. 

Overall, I really liked it and can't wait for me. I definitely recommend this one as a fun, hot, sexy read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray


Title: Loving Him Off the Field
Author: Jeanette Murray
My Rating: A


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Santa Fe Bobcats #2
Main Characters: Aileen and Killian
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Intermix
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…

Aileen is a sports reporter trying to make a name for herself without relying on her looks, And what better way to do that than to break a scandal about one of the fastest rising stars on the Santa Fe Bobcats? Killian seems too good to be true, so she knows he must be hiding something…

It’s hard enough breaking into the NFL—even more so when you’re a single dad. Killian isn’t proud that he’s keeping his son a secret, but his ex has a reputation that could tarnish his squeaky clean image for good. So when Aileen starts sniffing around, Killian decides to distract her by any means necessary.

But Aileen is more than capable of giving as good as she gets…

My Review:
I loved the first book in this series and enjoyed this one just as much.

Killian is a pro NFL kicker with a secret. As a result, he doesn't let anyone into his life...not his teammates, not the fans, and sure not the media. He has a son who's he's sacrificed everyone in his world for...to protect him. But that's the big mystery throughout so much of this book...why is it so important that NO ONE find out about this child? I couldn't see what could make that secret such a huge deal...until the author revealed the exact circumstances and then it all made sense. That part of the story line is perfectly played and written with the perfect levels of suspense to it.

On the flip side of all this is Aileen. She's a reporter who works for a sports themed blog. She does fluff pieces without stooping to paparazzi levels. She hates that aspect of the media and refuses to twist her own personal ideals for the sake of her job...although that is causing issues with her boss and the stability of her job. But Killian is so reclusive and closed-mouth that he's a hot commodity. One that Aileen has managed to ingratiate herself with. He's agreed to do an unheard of 30-day-all-access interview with Aileen...mainly because he's become intrigued with her unusual approach and the chemistry between them.

I loved Aileen and Killian together. They are so fun especially when he's grumpy and annoyed with her. But he can't seem to help but be drawn to her because she is just that honest and real with him and what she wants from him. I loved how unbending Aileen is with her personal rules for invasion of privacy no matter how difficult that makes her job as a journalist. She won't compromise her ideals for the sake of a juicy story. I admired and respected that about her...just like the other ball players in the story responded to that also. 

The secret with Charlie, Killian's son, is such a huge one. I kept debating what the issue could be with Charlie to make his existence such a hard-kept secret, but I had no guesses and the tiny things I could come up with were no where close to what it truly was. I love it when an author can surprise me like that.  

Killian has a huge character development arc in this story and it is so fun to watch him grow and learn to trust again...from his ability to trust his new-found friendships and camaraderie within his team to trusting Aileen as a journalist. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and just the overall story on this one. It's just flat-out a fun-to-read story. I definitely recommend it and can't wait for more from this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Foundation of Trust by A.M. Arthur


Title: Foundation of Trust
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: Cost of Repairs #5
Main Characters: David and Owen
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.
Cost of Repairs, Book 5
David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.
My Review:
I can't imagine how devastating it would be to be abandoned by your partner and his son after four years without a word as to why. That's where David's been for the last four years since Owen left with his son Michael only two days after a devastating medical diagnosis for David. He always assumed he was abandoned because of the diagnosis, but he was wrong. But regardless of why he was abandoned, he was...and that left him horribly scarred mentally. He hasn't dealt with it well. Now he has no desire for anything resembling a relationship and instead has a very masochistic attitude toward sex. It has to hurt for him to get any feeling out of it at all. Yeah, David's more than a bit messed up because of what Owen did. 

So when Owen comes back, things are certainly not smooth. But it's hard to hate Owen because he had no choice in the matter. But four years of devastating hurt is so difficult to overcome. This is an easy book to see and feel from both sides...and my heart hurt for both guys...and Michael who got caught up in the middle and lost a dad in all of this too. 

It's definitely an emotion-filled book and I do love those. And it's not just the emotions from the break-up. As the guys get to know each other, they both find that the other has done unspeakable things. How do you get past that? 

There were moments when I wasn't sure if love was going to be enough for these two. So much pain and hurt between them, but that did make it a great read for me. I love that kind of angst when the heart is pulled toward the other person, but the head says 'hell no!' 

It was definitely a good book. I've eyed this series for a while now. I think I need to go back and read some of the first four books from it. BTW, this is number 5 in the series, but it absolutely stands-alone easily. Not once was I ever confused or wishing that I read one of the other books before this one. It's a strong story all on its own.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.