Saturday, April 30, 2011

Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Title:   Going Cowboy Crazy
Author: Katie Lane
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Deep in the Heart of Texas #1
Main Characters: Faith Aldridge & Slate Calhoun
Release Date: May 2011
978-0446582780 or 0446582786
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Amazon- $5.99 
Borders- $5.99 
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Faith Aldridge wants answers. Bramble, Texas is the only place she can find them . . . as well as Hope, the identical twin sister she never knew she had. But the townsfolk reckon that shy city-girl Faith is really her long-lost sister Hope, back in Bramble at last. And they're fixin' to do whatever it takes to heat things up between her and Hope's long-time flame, Slate Calhoun. If that means rustling her car, spreading rumors like wildfire, and reining in some explosive secrets, well, there's no way like the Lone Star way . . . 

But Slate's no fool. The woman in his truck may look like Hope, yet the way she feels in his arms is altogether new. He's determined to keep this twin in his bed and out of his heart. Trouble is, the real Hope is headed home, and she's got her own designs on Slate. If Faith wants to avoid heartbreak, she'll have to show a certain ruggedly handsome cowboy that this crazy-impossible love is worth fighting for.

My Review:
Being a Texas gal at heart, this book had all the things that my TX heart cowboys, rough & tumble trucks, Friday night football, and a great honky tonk.

Faith came to Bramble, TX looking for her twin sister, Hope. She just found out about her at the age of 30. What she finds instead is an entire family that she didn't know about, a town that takes her into it's embrace refusing to believe that she's not Hope, and Slate, the town's high school football coach who wants to embrace her in an entirely different way-- and NO Hope!

Faith was raised in Chicago by her very conservative adoptive parents. She didn't know until they were both dead that she was adopted and had a twin, Hope. Nothing in her life has prepared her for life in Bramble, but she quickly finds herself adjusting and feeling more at home. Unfortunately, that's just about the time that Hope shows up and not so happy to find out that she has a long-lost twin in Faith.

Faith starts out this book as a quiet, meek little thing, but as the book progresses, you get to see her develop into her more natural self that she has kept hidden her entire life. She's more like her wild twin, Hope, than even she would have guessed. It was fun to watch her become more assertive and self-assured.

Slate is from Bramble. He was the high school football hero and best friend to Hope. They were inseparable during their school days, but it never went beyond friendship no matter how many times they tried. Now he's back as the high school coach and floundering after 4 seasons of NOT being state champs- NOT acceptable in Texas football.

Slate has his own developing that he does in this book. A lot of this is done with the teenager, Austin. I loved this aspect of the story line. Austin is a 16 yo with a chip on his shoulder after being forced to move to Bramble, but he offers an amazing perspective and a fresh twist to the story. I loved all of the scenes in this book that included Austin- really heartwarming and honest!

Slate & Faith are absolutely perfect together, but they are living in a crazy little town full of quirky, funny characters. Highly entertaining doesn't even begin to touch how fun it is to read their story. You know that love is going to eventually win out, but it's a crazy ride to get there through honky tonks, homecoming parades, football games, disappearing cars, hot locker rooms, family reunions, and, oh yeah, a town-planned wedding. You just have to laugh along with it.

There is a lot of emotional trauma happening in this book with the family aspect, but I really enjoyed the way that Katie wrote it. It's completely believable and natural. This is a new author (her first book) and she is definitely on to watch for...a great first book and the good news is that we only have to wait a couple more months until Hope's book is out. From the teaser at the end of this one, it promises to be a good one!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friendly Fire by Megan Hart

Title:   Friendly Fire
Author: Megan Hart
My Rating: B-

Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: Kendall Frasier & Zane Vincent
Release Date: March 2011
ISBN: e-book
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Barnes & Noble- $2.99 (nook)
Amazon- $2.39 (kindle)
Borders- $2.39 (e-book)
Sexual Intensity: erotic

I received my copy from netGalley for the purpose of a honest review.

Story Overview:
After Agent Kendall Frasier's partner is shot in "friendly fire" during a drug bust, she agrees to take a week's vacation on a tropical island as part of her psychiatric evaluation. Sand, sun, sea—what could be better to help her work through her guilt? Even if the presence of the man responsible for the shooting, Agent Zane Vincent, seems counterproductive to her mental health.

As Kendall gets to know Zane, and realizes he feels worse about what happened than she does, it becomes impossible to hate him. And their mutual attraction becomes impossible to deny.

Kendall and Zane soon agree to put the event that brought them together in the past—and spend the present exploring their most erotic desires. Do they have a future in the real world when their week in paradise is over?

My Review:
This book was a super-fast sweet little read. Sent to a tropical island as a recuperative retreat, Zane and Kendall are not exactly on friendly terms. Kendall's partner was just killed in a friendly fire incident during a drug bust. Zane just happened to be the one firing the shot. Everyone agrees that the partner made a wrong move and that is why he died. But both Kendall and Zane are dealing with guilt and blame issues, regardless of what they know in their heads.

This book was an easy-flowing, natural read. The chemistry between Zane and Kendall is undeniable. There are some great, hot scenes between the 2- one esp. hot one taking place with a wall between them. You'll just have to read the book, but the scene left me smiling. Super sexy while still remaining really sweet.

My only complaint was that the book wasn't long enough. I would have liked to have a bit more meat to the story line. What was included was very sweet, well-written, and entertaining. I just wanted more.

This is the first Megan Hart book that I have read. It was really very enjoyable. I need to see what else she has written and definitely check out some of her other books.

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

Title:   First Drop of Crimson
Author: Jeaniene Frost
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Series: Night Huntress World #1
Main Characters: Denise MacGregor & Spade
Release Date: February 2010
ISBN978-0061583223 or 
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase:
Amazon- $7.99
Borders- $7.99
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a breathtaking new journey to the dark side of desire.

The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows—her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield—and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness—and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human—even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .

Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.

My Review:
They are not an ideal match. He's a vampire who refuses to get attached to humans after the one he loved was murdered 150 years ago. She's a human who wants nothing to do with vampires after her last encounter with them left her with PTSD and a dead husband.

I love stories where neither the hero nor the heroine want to fall in love, but they just can't help themselves. That is definitely the case with Spade & Denise. They wouldn't even be working together, but circumstances have made it where neither one has a choice.

Both Spade and Denise are sympathetic characters. As the reader, you can see and understand that they each have issues and a history which has left them in a place where there is no way that they should fall in love. But you know, the heart doesn't always listen to rationales as to why they shouldn't fall in love.

Up until this point, Denise has been a good supporting character for Cat, but in this book, we get to see her grit and determinations and what a really strong person she is.  She is extremely loyal to her friends and family and completely willing to sacrifice herself and her life for them. That's obviously not her first choice (she's not suicidal.) She just realizes that there are times when there's no other way but to fight and she shows amazing courage in that.

On the other side is Spade, the hero of the story. He comes across as a self-involved, cocky vampire, but it quickly becomes obvious that this is all just a front. He's actually a really sensitive, over-protective, chivalrous kind of guy. He was raised as part of the English aristocracy and those manners are absolutely second nature to him.

This was such a good book. I liked the suspense, the love, and really enjoyed the story line. I am a huge fan of Denise and esp. Spade now after reading this book. I liked that we got to see more of the recurring characters from the Night Huntress series. I esp. loved getting to see more of Ian. It would be interesting to see him fall in love someday.

Another great addition to the Jeaniene Frost book collection on my Keeper-shelf!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

TBR Thursday- Apr 28

Here is this week's TBR pile...

Do you notice a little something new there? 
Yes, I have joined the 21st century and now have a Kindle! Yippee!! 
Here's the close-up of it... Love that Van Gogh skin!

But anyway, back to the books...
*Friendly Fire by Megan Hart (e-book)
This is a short, sweet little novella which I received from netGalleys.

*Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane
This is a first novel that I picked up on a whim. I have already read it and LOVED it. The review will be up tomorrow or Saturday.

*Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson
Contemporary romance with a hockey story line (I think that this is book #6 in the Chinooks series.)

*Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost
Book #2 in Night Huntress World series.

*To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
Book #2 in Highland series. 
I think that the Highland series and the Midnight Breeds series are going to be staples  on my TBR list for the next few weeks. ;o)

*Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian
Book #4 in the Midnight Breeds series.

*Born at Midnight by CC Hunter
Paranormal Young Adult novel that I have heard great things about. CC Hunter is a pseudonym for Christie Craig and I enjoy her adult contemporaries so this one appealed to me.

*Game for Seduction by Bella Andre
Bella Andre. enough. said. LOL!  
I have been in the mood for a sports themed read so I think that this one will work for me.

What are you planning to read this week???

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

Title:   Midnight Awakening
Author: Lara Adrian
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Series: Midnight Breeds #3
Main Characters: Elise Chase & Tegan
Release Date: September 2010
ISBN978-0553589399 or 
Publisher: Random House
Links to Purchase:
Amazon- $7.99
Borders- $7.99
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
With a dagger in her hand and vengeance on her mind, Darkhaven beauty Elise Chase prowls Boston’s streets in search of retribution against the Rogue vampires who took from her everything she cherished. Using an extraordinary psychic gift, she tracks her prey, well aware that the power she possesses is destroying her. She must learn to harness this gift, and for that she can turn to only one man—the deadliest of the Breed warriors, Tegan.

No stranger to loss, Tegan knows Elise’s pain. He knows fury, but when he slays his enemies it is with ice in his veins. He is perfect in his self-control, until Elise seeks his aid in her personal war. An unholy alliance is forged—a bond that will link them by blood and vow—and plunge them into a tempest of danger, desire, and the darkest passions of the heart. . . .

My Review:
This is a powerful book about 2 people that have both known indescribable grief and pain. Because of that, I found this book to be incredibly riveting and heartfelt. I loved watching Tegan and Elise connect. I loved the power of their love and connection. It pulled me into the story completely.

Tegan is a Gen One Breed. He is hard, ruthless, tough, and cold. His Breedmate was murdered after being tortured and raped over 500 years ago. At that time, he was almost lost to bloodlust through his grief. He was only able to get through by learning to shut off his emotions completely.

Elise knows about loss too. Her Breedmate was killed 5 years ago and then 4 months ago, her teenage son was turned Rogue by an overdose of Crimson and subsequently killed.

I'll be honest, I have been dying to read Tegan's book, but was so disappointed to see that he was being paired up with Elise. The glimpses of her prior to this book painted her as a genteel, quiet, prim-and-proper woman. I am so glad that I was wrong in my impressions of her. She is the perfect match for Tegan. In the 4 months since her son died, she has been going after minions trying to do her part for revenge entirely on her own. As a result, she quickly gets in over her head and Tegan takes it upon himself to protect her. Protection quickly becomes partnership and the relationship begins. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE this book?!? OMG, it's so good!) 

Tegan intimidates everyone, but Elise has nothing left to lose, so she doesn't let him steamroll over her. She's just as stubborn as he is intimidating and they learn to respect each other as a result.

This is definitely my favorite in the series so far. They just keep getting better and better which is saying a lot since they have ALL been good since book #1. I love this series!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Return to Me by Christy Reece

Title: Return to Me
Author: Christy Reece
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Last Chance Rescue #2
Main Characters: Noah McCall & Samara Lyons
Release Date: May 2009
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN978-0345505439 or  0345505433
Links to Purchase:
Amazon- $6.99
Borders- $6.99
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:


Posing as an underage teenager, Samara Lyons is out to trap an online predator. Smart, fiery, and fresh off a broken engagement, Samara is up for the challenge. But this challenge might not be so easy. Her boss, Noah McCall, head of a private international corporation called Last Chance Rescue, can’t disguise his raw, physical desire for Samara–and she’s going crazy battling her own feelings for him. The middle of a high-stakes op, with the fate of dozens of innocent lives on the line, is not the time to indulge in sensual delights.

Then the sting explodes, forcing Noah to face his dark past and throwing Samara into the middle of an evil tug-of-war. Noah must confront an enemy he knows better than anyone else in the world, while Samara must find a way to stay alive. Now it’s no longer a matter of desire–it’s all about survival.

My Review:
Christy Reece has written a wonderful, powerful series of books based around Last Chance Rescue. LCR is a private contracting company that locates and rescues people that have been kidnapped. The operatives within LCR are highly trained and highly skilled...they are also highly empathetic to the people that they are rescuing because a LOT of these operatives have had horrific backgrounds themselves. Noah McCall was one of the founders of LCR and all the operatives agree, he has saved each and every one of them.

This is book #2 in the series. There are a total of 6 books out right now with 2 more coming out in the late summer/early fall. As a result, Christy Reece has started book discussions on her blog about the old books to get ready for the upcoming releases. The book discussion for this book, Return to Me, started on Tuesday so that is why I re-read this book this week. 

I will be honest, I had forgotten just how much I love and enjoy these characters and books. These books have so much emotional depth. Christy is a writing magician for creating amazingly deep characters that feel so real. The connection you feel when reading these books is feel the every single emotion that these characters are feeling as you read these books...and they are heart-wrenching emotions.

Return to Me is the story of Noah, the founder of LCR, and Samara, the former fiance to Jordan (the hero of book #1.) Noah and Samara met in book #1, Rescue Me, and they had a great physical chemistry, but Noah shot Samara's advances down, thinking that she was simply hurting and a little too drunk after Jordan (her former fiance) and Eden's wedding. Now Noah needs Samara. Noah needs Samara to work an undercover operation where her petite size works to their advantage because she can look like a very young teenager rather than the 27 years old that she is. Unfortunately, the sting goes VERY wrong and Samara ends up being kidnapped.

Noah has had a horrific background that comes to the foreground of the suspense storyline in this book. He has fought back from some horrible circumstances and created an amazing organization through LCR. Unfortunately, he is still very emotionally scarred from where he has been and doesn't feel that it is fair to share that with anyone esp. anyone as sweet and innocent as Samara is.

Samara is a tiny little thing, but wow, is she tough! Noah intimidates everyone, but Samara fights him tooth and nail. She grew up with 5 older brothers. She knows how to stand her ground. She does not let him intimidate her and stands up to him every chance that she gets. It's wonderful to watch these two verbally spar...the sparks fly every single time!

Like I said the book is just absolutely wonderful. This is a series, but you don't have to read them all to enjoy them individually. The stories are absolutely strong enough on their own...BUT I think that you will get more out of them if you do because the story lines tie throughout the series. In this book, you get to see Eden and Jordan from book 1. I loved seeing how their relationship with Samara has advanced esp. Eden and Samara... they are truly friends now and Jordan is super-protective of a big brother. There are glimpses of the story lines to come with Ethan (his is book #3)...another GREAT book!!!

If you like romantic suspense and have not read these books by Christy Reece, I highly recommend them!!! Here is the layout of the series:
1. Rescue Me - Jordan & Eden
2. Return to Me - Samara & Noah
3. Run to Me - Ethan & Shea
4. No Chance - Gabe & Skylar
5. Second Chance - Cole & Keeley
6. Last Chance - McKenna & Lucas
7. Sweet Justice (Aug 2011) - Honor & Seth
8. Sweet Revenge (Sept 2011) - Dylan & Jamie
9. Sweet Reward (Dec 2011) - Jared & Mia