Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Joint Review: Jace by Sarah McCarty

This review is the third in a series of joint reviews done between Deanna (Paperback DayDreamer) and myself on The Shadow Wranglers series by Sarah McCarty.

Right now there are four books in this series:
1. Caleb (posted on my blog Nov. 28)
2. Jared (posted on Deanna's blog Nov. 29)
3. Jace  (here)
4. Slade (releasing Dec. 6th)

Title: Jace
Author: Sarah McCarty
My Rating: A+
Deanna's Rating: 5*****

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Shadow Wranglers #3
Main Characters: Jace & Miri
Release Date: May 2011

ISBN: 978-0425240892

Publisher: Penguin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
He had one need.
She had one hope.
Together they have one chance...
Vampire Jace Johnson was not a family man until he met Miri. But their forbidden relationship ended when she disappeared. After a year of searching, Jace finds Miri in a Sanctuary enclave.
After a year of cruel experimentation by the Sanctuary on her werewolf form, Miri is no longer the passionate wife Jace remembers. She only lives to rescue the daughter Jace never knew they had.
Now, they must overcome the tragedy of their pasts if they are to reclaim the future they both desire...

Our Review:
Warning: This is a series where the story builds upon itself. As such, there are spoilers below for book #1 and #2.

Jace is the third book in the Shadow Wranglers series about the four Johnson brothers: Caleb, Jared, Jace, and Slade. We have been teased with Jace's story from the very beginning of the series. In the first book, it was a mystery as to what was happening when he was mysteriously battling with the the D'Nally werewolf pack. In book #2, we found out that the reason was because he was trying to locate his mate, and Alpha were shifter,Miri, who was part of the D'Nally pack. 

She has been missing for an entire year, where she has been held and tortured by Sanctuary. The book starts with her rescue from that prison by Jace, the other brothers, and their allies, the McClaren were pack. But who isn't recovered is their baby Faith, whom Jace didn't even know existed until the end of book #2.

Christi: This is the book that I have been waiting for since the series began. Talk about a tortured guy...Jace is that guy and it wasn't until the end of book #2 that we found out exactly what had been happening. More is revealed throughout this book and almost all of it is heartbreaking...for Miri, for Jace, for Faith. 

It's an emotional book. It's also really interesting, as a lot of this book focuses in on the weres and their traditions and how they differ from the vampires. Miri is a were and it was a simple misunderstanding between were tradition and vampire tradition which caused her capture in the first place. Jace blames himself and Miri agrees, but as the book progresses, she begins to see the misunderstanding was simply that they don't see things the same as a species. But the fact remains that Miri has had a torturous year and is incredibly fragile because of that. I loved watching Jace handle her. He shows such care and insight into her needs. It's really beautiful to watch his interactions with her...even when they are fighting. 

Deanna, what did you think about the place where Miri is after her rescue and the things that it added to the story? What about the theme of the differences between the two species' tradition?

Deanna: Very well put Christi! This was a very emotional book and I think for me it was the fact that Jace and Miri have a relationship history...then on top of that you throw in the missing baby and I was a puddle.

For me I understood Miri's feelings after she was first rescued.  She felt betrayed by a member of her pack, she felt betrayed by Jace, she has been seperated from her child and used and abused by the Sanctuary for a year.  The whole time holding out hope that her mate will come and rescue her.  The worse part is that even after Jace rescues her she holds a grudge toward him believing that since he's a vampire he is nothing like a Were and he can't treat her the way she should be treated.  However it did get a little frustrating for me because I know the Johnson boys are loyal and when they mate they mate for life, Miri just can't see what we can and I wanted to shake some sense into her.  I did enjoy how Jace was patient with her no matter how much her words hurt him.

There are babies everywhere in this book. After so much talk at the beginning of the series on how it's so hard for were's and vampires alike to have babies, this book showed us several babies and some young kids.  What were your thoughts on baby Joseph finally being born and little Faith missing?

Christi: Joseph....ack, what can I say without giving away spoilers?? Both of these baby story lines are simply heartbreaking to me. The difficult things about babies is how helpless they are so it brings out everyone's protective side and when there is a situation that, as an adult, can't be controlled or helped, it's shattering. I have faith that Slade is going to figure it all out in his book. Then there is baby Peanut...the scenes between her and Miri literally hurt to read. Miri wants so badly to reach out to her, but there is that mental block because Faith is missing and, to love another baby, in Miri's mind, means a rejection of hope of ever finding her own baby. Yes, the emotional level in this book was WAY higher than it has been in the other two books.

We really got a huge introduction into the were packs and their traditions in this book. What did you think about the fact that Jace, as a vampire, gets put in charge of the Tragallion pack? The Tragallion pack is tough and they have had a hard time of it. It was interesting to see the flip-side of were tradition and how a pack can be decimated by a bad Alpha. How did you like that story line especially the way that they treated Miri and Jace when they first arrived?

Deanna: I will agree that it's difficult to tell everyone about this book without spilling too many spoilers. It was nice to see that even though Allie is a vampire she struggles through child birth.  I was wondering how Ms. McCarty was going to pull off a vampire giving birth and it was nice to see that it was realistic.  As for Joseph, I really do hope Slade can figure something out to help the little newborn.  When Peanut (aka, Penny) was found I was devastated! I can't believe how little the Sanctuary cares for children, how they view them as experiments.  But I do agree that it was nice to see the the softer sides of our vampires and weres.  I completely understand how Miri was feeling when it came to little Peanut and feeling that if she came to care for her that she was giving up hope on her own little one...but I'm happy she came around.  Now the whole thing with Faith had me worrying after Jace discovered Peanut and the state she was in.  It was nerve wracking the whole book with their search for the child.

I was in SHOCK when Jace was appointed Alpha to the Tragallion pack. I know that it is because of Miri, but I couldn't believe who was behind supporting him.  I do think it will be good for the pack once they get over their feelings about him being a vampire and they realize how his thinking is so similar to their own.  I was also in shock at how the previous Alpha had torn his own pack down and used them for his own advantages. Oh, it just made me so mad! The role of the Alpha is to make sure that their pack is taken better care of then themselves but the previous one didn't care about anyone but himself.  I love how Miri stood beside Jace. 

My question for you Christi is about Miri and the fact that she didn't want to mark Jace.  I mean when a female mates she will leave her mark on him stating that she is satisfied with him and claiming him as her one and only, yet she didn't want to and she kept dragging her feet.  Why do you think she did that?

Christi: Personally, I think that Miri was held back simply because she was so emotionally scarred from the last year. I don't think that she trusts herself to believe anything anymore, especially when it comes to her emotions and her feelings for Jace. But it was so hard reading about the issues that he was having within the were's knowing that all she had to do was mark him and all those issues would be null.

Okay, so do you have any last thoughts? Who do you see Sarah McCarty putting with your boy Slade? Are we still in agreement that there has to be more books coming in this series featuring those gorgeous Alpha weres?? What's your overall rating for this book?

Deanna: I would agree with what you said about Miri. She did go through so much and had so many emotions going on, plus scars from the last year. I'm sure it was really hard for her to trust someone again. Again, I can't even beginning to imagine everything that she went through.

This was definitely a good addition to the series! That I will revisit at a later date.  For Slade, I'm not sure who the heck she is going to pair him up with. I hope it is someone who is just as smart as he is and can help take some weight off his shoulders! They all rely on him for so much that he needs some major help! I am very, VERY excited because I don't think Ms. McCarty can get away with not doing some spin-offs for our gorgeous Alpha weres! I'm very, very excited about that!

What are your final thoughts Christi?? Do you have a different idea for who Ms. McCarty is going to pair Slade up with?
(My overall rating is 5 Stars) :-D

Christi: I agree. I gave this one an A+. It was a fabulous book.

I hadn't even thought about the fact that Slade's mate could possibly be the one to help relieve some of the pressure off of him and all the technical stuff that he is handling. I like the way that you are thinking. Hmmm, maybe someone from Sanctuary that ended up working for them without realizing what they were doing and then she found herself stuck?? I don't know, but I sure am excited about the possibilities! This whole series is turning out to be so good. I am glad that we decided to review these together or else they may have gotten lost in my piles of TBR books, and I would have hated to miss out. Now I am ready for Slade's book. Comeon December 6th!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Title: Lord of the Abyss
Author: Nalini Singh
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Royal House of Shadows #4
Main Characters: Micah & Liliana
Release Date: December 2011

ISBN: 978-0373618729

Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Story Overview:
Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…
As the dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. Only one woman knows—the daughter of his enemy.
Liliana is nothing like her father, the Blood Sorcerer who'd cursed Micah. She sees past Micah's armor to the prince inside. A prince whose sinful touch she craves. But first she has to brave his dark, dangerous lair and help him remember.
Because they only have till midnight to save Elden.

My Review:
What a fantastic ending to this great series. This book was about Micah, the baby of the family. He was five years old when the Blood Sorcerer killed his parents and took over his kingdom. He was flung to be the Guardian of the Abyss…a job where he helps force evil into the abyss. It’s a solitary job and has turned him into a warrior that most are afraid of. Since he was so young when upheaval began and there was so much magic thrown at him, he has no memory of his life before he became the Guardian.

Liliana is the daughter of the Blood Sorcerer. She knows his evil and knows that if Elden is to survive, then Micah needs to come home before the 20 years is up. She tracks him down to the Abyss where she slowly and methodically inserts herself into his life, creating situations to help him remember his heritage. She is deceiving him, but she is doing it with the purest of reasons.

Micah is a hero that makes my heart weep. He has never known human kindness or intimacy. Lily touches his heart simply because she doesn’t fear him and she will stand up to him, but at the same time, she shows him a kindness and empathy that no one else ever has. That doesn’t mean that this guy isn’t pure alpha, because he most definitely is…he just has a huge soft spot for this woman who has stolen a piece of his heart. I love the two of these together in the final scenes where they are putting themselves into danger. The dialogue between the two of them is magic with the romance and love between them.

Lily has overcome so much and managed to maintain a pure heart. She is so strong. She was raised by one of the most evil men around, but she still works so that good can win. She knows how awful her father firsthand and she will do anything so that there isn’t anyone else that has to feel the horror that is his life. She will lay down everything to make sure that Elden survives.

This has been a great series. Each book has had a slightly different flavor with the different authors, but for the most part, they have all been good. My only complaint is I wish that there had been more to the reunion of the four siblings, but I realize that would have been difficult to accomplish with the four authors writing the series. Nalini did handle the tying up of the series very well though, with the way that she wrote the epilogue and how all four of the siblings will be living out their lives. Just a great series that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Joint Review: Jared by Sarah McCarty

 Deanna (Paperback DayDreamer) and myself are doing joint reviews on The Shadow Wranglers series by Sarah McCarty. Today's review is for Jared and you can see the full review on Deanna's blog.

Right now there are four books in this series:
1. Caleb (posted on my blog Nov. 28)
2. Jared (posted on Deanna's blog Nov. 29)
3. Jace  (here tomorrow)
4. Slade (releasing Dec. 6th)

Title: Jared
Author: Sarah McCarty
My Rating: A-
Deanna's Rating: 5*****

Be sure to go check out the full review on Deanna's blog, Paperback DayDreamer!

Top Off Tuesdays: Night Is Mine by ML Buchman

hmmm, you have to love some dogtags hanging on a gorgeous chest....

Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman
releasing Feb 1, 2012

Story Overview:
First in a thrilling military romantic suspense series based on the real-life elite helicopter pilots who transport Navy SEALs and Delta Force teams in and out of combat and covert missions. (SOAR are the heroes of Black Hawk Down.)

Buchman’s heroine flys the most dangerous military ops and tries to find the one man who can be a hero in her own life. Ace-pilot Captain Emily Beale goes undercover as bodyguard to the First Lady, with her rugged commander, Major Mark Henderson, who is determined to cover her back. Can she learn to keep her desire at bay before her covert mission implodes?

Join us (Felicia from The Geeky Book Blogger and Amanda from On a Book Bender and Me) as we celebrate those gorgeous hunky covers!! Thanks to Missie from The Unread Reader for creating our fabulous button.
Felicia is hosting the linky for this meme on her blog, so come play along....

*post a cover of a hot guy 
who just happens to be topless

*then go add your link to Felicia's blog!

In Her Sights by Robin Perini

Title: In Her Sights
Author: Robin Perini
My Rating: A-

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: -
Main Characters: Jazz & Luke
Release Date: November 2011

ISBN: 978-1612181523

Publisher: Montlake Romance
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: spicy

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Story Overview:
SWAT Team Sniper Jasmine "Jazz" Parker can thread the eye of a needle with a bullet. As the only female sniper in the state of Colorado, Jazz is unique--for more than her extraordinary marksmanship skills and cool head. Jazz Parker and her weapon defend the helpless by exacting swift and uncompromising justice. Not bad for the daughter of the town whore.
After growing up on the seedy side of town, Jazz believed when she'd changed her name and her life at fifteen, she'd buried her past. Twelve years later, she even drove away the one man she believed she could love—ex-Army Ranger Luke Montgomery—to protect her secret.
Then, in a fleeting second, the time it takes for one clean shot, one perfect hit, to save the life of the Governor's daughter, Jazz's world begins to crumble around her. Her past and her present now threaten to destroy the life she so carefully constructed for herself. Her face and name have been splashed across the front page and her past has reawakened with a vengeance. A vicious enemy is bent on destroying Jazz's life, forcing her to turn to the one man she can never have in order to stop a killer before she and everyone she cares about pay with their lives.

My Review:
This was a fabulous book and surprisingly, a first book by this new author. This book is about Jazz, Jasmine Parker, who is the lead sniper on a SWAT team. The book starts when she is 10 years old, so that as the reader, you know a bit about her history that she has worked diligently to hide and escape from her entire life.

Luke Montgomery is a man from her past. He is an investigative reporter and she left him when she realized that he could never forgive or get past a deception, knowing that she was hiding her entire history from him. But now he has been tasked with writing a series of articles about her and is digging.

The first story features her front and center on the first page after a shot that she took, saved the governor’s young daughter. That first article puts her on someone’s radar that knows her past and wants Jazz to pay.

It’s been two years since Luke and Jazz have been involved, but the sparks are still there for both of them, but the closer Luke gets to Jazz, the more that he realizes that he never really knew her when they were involved two years ago. But as they become closer, the more that Jazz realizes she is putting Luke and all of his family, including his young daughter in danger. That is not an acceptable risk to her so she keeps pushing him away.

Jazz is a really complex character. She has learned methods for how to separate herself mentally from stress and emotion which serves her well as a sniper, but not so well in relationships. She’s overcome a lot in her life to get where she is and through the book, she starts to see all that work crumble which is absolutely devastating for her.

On the other side is Luke. Two years ago, he went after one of his best friends in an investigation with no mercy and that is what scared Jazz away from their relationship. Since then, he has realized his mistakes with the friend and the handling of Jazz. He realizes now that he would always let her deflect his questions rather than getting to know more than the physical side of Jazz.

Both of these people are learning and growing throughout this book, but at the same time, they are going through some amazingly difficult times together. The suspense and the action in the book is phenomenal!

There are a lot of possibilities for the bad guys that keeps you guessing up until almost the very end. The story is fabulous too. I fell in love with these characters and was completely immersed in the outcome of their story, including the side characters. When Gabe (Luke’s younger brother) got hurt…OMG, my family just had to stop talking to me for a few pages. Yes, it really is that good.

This book was so good. I read it over the Thanksgiving holiday, and kept having a hard time pulling myself away from it to interact with my family. It is riveting. It is suspenseful. It is sexy. I adored the entire Montgomery clan and really hope that this new author is already writing the other Montgomery boys stories because they all have some fabulous possibilities. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

She Can Run by Melinda Leigh

Title:  She Can Run
Author: Melinda Leigh
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: -
Main Characters: Beth & Jack
Release Date: November 2011

ISBN: 978-1612181516
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Story Overview:
One bad decision turns Elizabeth Baker from a soccer mom into a fugitive. Five years after the death of her young husband, Beth marries a charming congressional candidate. But Beth accidentally learns a secret about her new spouse, a secret he’ll kill her to keep. Now she and her children are running for their lives. She takes a job as caretaker on a secluded estate, but her plans to hide are complicated by the sudden death of her elderly boss and her attraction to the ex-cop with well-defined biceps, mussed hair and deep, dark chocolate eyes who inherits the property and becomes her new boss.
Still reeling from the accident that has him out of work as a cop, former homicide detective Jack O’Malley is blindsided by the death of his favorite uncle and the inheritance of a dilapidated mansion, complete with a suspiciously nervous caretaker and her two children. He is even more unprepared for the tug at his heart every time Beth enters the room. When Jack’s instincts tell him something is wrong with his new employee, he begins to investigate. As he uncovers the shocking details of Beth’s life, a local woman falls prey to a serial killer and Beth is the victim of a frightening attack. Jack resolves to keep her and the children safe—whatever it takes, if only he can figure out a way to win her trust.

My Review:
I was asked to read an ARC of this novel by Melinda Leigh, an author that I had never read before. I like romantic suspense and the plot sounded good, so I said, Yes. Oh my goodness, I had no idea what a treat I was in for. I loved this book. The plot is FANTASTIC. The action is non-stop. I was riveted to the book from the moment I started it until I sadly reached the final page. It was one of those books that I did not want to end because it was so good. 

I absolutely fell in love with these characters, Beth and her kids Katie & Ben, who are so obviously scarred and scared from the abuse they have suffered. It is painful to watch how they all react to human touch and how they have so obviously been traumatized.

Then there is Jack....ooh, I adored Jack. Jack is a police detective who has been forced into retirement after a car accident left him with a bum (and painful) knee. He is a protector at heart, and although he has been thrown into this situation with Beth and her kids out of the blue, he can see that something has hurt them and doesn't have the heart to turn them out. Watching him slowly and steadily win over this family is a gorgeous thing to read. Between him and his dog, Henry (the failed police dog,) they are exactly what this family needs and they quickly discover that they need the family too.

There is also a great cast of supporting characters whom I loved, especially the depth that they added to the story:
*Quinn & Sean- Jack's cousins
*James- Beth's uncle
*Mrs. Harris- Jack's housekeeper

The suspense story line has a lot going on with it. There is Beth's abusive and murderous Senator husband who is after them, but there is also a serial killer that has Beth in his sights. Both of these stories climax within about 3 pages of each other in the book and I thought that was a bit over the top, but that was my only complaint about this book. I didn't mind that the book had both story lines in it. I just wish the climax of the end of both story lines had completely intersected or that the finale for both of them had been a little more spaced out. 

Regardless, it was still an amazing book. I will definitely be looking up more by this author!