Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tangled Threads (audiobook) by Jennifer Estep


Title:  Tangled Threads
Author: Jennifer Estep
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin #4
Main Characters: Gin Blanco
Release Date: April 2011
Publisher: Audible
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
An assassin has come to Ashland to murder Gin Blanco, the renowned killer known as the Spider. Ever since she declared war on Mab Monroe, the ruthless head of the Ashland underworld, she's had a target on her back. Mab wants her dead in the worst kind of way, which is why she's hired Elektra LaFleur. LaFleur is just as ruthless as Gin, and has electrical elemental magic that equals Gin's Ice and Stone power. Complicating matters is the fact that Mab's kidnapped an innocent young girl. For Gin, finding her is priority number one…but surviving is a close second.

My Review:

Overall... 4.00 star
Performance....  4.5 star
Story... 4.00 star
This series is a prime example of why I like to listen to Urban Fantasy on audio rather than reading the books. These books have a lot of mental dialogue within Gin's head. There is also a lot of repeated information from both the other books and within this single book. If I was reading the book, I think that would drive me nuts, but for me and listening to audio it works for me. This is a series that I can listen to an hour or two at a time and be okay leaving it for up to a week in between chores where I have the time to listen to audio.

And I liked where this particular book within the series took the series. OMG, I love Owen and how all-in he is with Gin. The scenes with him and his little sister, Eva, in this...LOVED!! I also like how things are developing with little sister Bria. And was completely and totally shocked about the revelations about Fletcher in this one....I did NOT see that coming. 

The danger side of the story lacked a little bit on this one for me and looking back I'm not quite sure why because I liked the whole LeFleur/Mab dynamic. For me, it seemed like Gin just wasn't as smart with some of her choices in this one as normal. She only lived because LeFleur made mistakes, not because Gin was the better assassin....I'm used to Gin being the best, most kick butt assassin. I didn't like seeing that she truly could have died in this one and that she only lived because of LeFleur's mistakes. Also, I don't think she gave Bria the credit she was due for the fact that they both lived. 

So overall, I rate the story lower for the action/adventure part of it, but I give it HUGE marks for the emotional/relationship part of the story. All in all, it was another great installment to the series. The question...will Mab go down in the next book? And Finn's new hook-up, I'm intrigued. hmm...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: To Have & To Haunt by J.A. Howell



Title: To Have & To Haunt
Series/Volume: The Possess Saga / #4
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Release date: October 4th, 2013
Description:

Ghosts aren't the only thing that can haunt you...
Nolan and Harley have been in paradise for the last year, head over heels in love. When Nolan proposes and they find out Harley is expecting, it seems they both will have everything they ever wanted.
Or will they?
Nolan’s kept the horrors of his past locked away. After all, he has Harley and Finley’s Pub is doing great. None of it matters anymore, right? But when the news of nuptials and babies has the opposite intended effect with his estranged mother, the ghosts of his past come rushing back, and the memories of them are terrorizing him nightly. But he can’t tell Harley. On the verge of marriage and parenthood, Nolan must figure out a way to deal with his past, or let it consume his future with Harley.
Harley’s always known she wasn’t normal. Seeing Brody’s ghost only confirmed that. But now a killer is on the loose in Midtown and she’s having visions of each victim’s death. Will she be able to help them and accept just how different she truly is? Pregnant, engaged, and contending with an overbearing mother-in-law, Harley isn’t sure she can take on the responsibility and the future laid out in front of her.
They say love conquers all. But as Nolan and Harley struggle with their own secrets, will their love be enough to keep them together?
Or will the things that haunt them finally tear them apart?

Links
Book Trailer:
The Possess Saga on Goodreads: 


Author Bio
J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.

Links
Website: 
http://midtown-underground.com/
Facebook:
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/jenniferhowlz
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1472837.J_A_Howell
Pinterest:
http://pinterest.com/JenniferHowlz/
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT8NDT1MMQc_4DnOgQLRpww

The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love by Erin Quinn

Title: The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love
Author: Erin Quinn
My Rating: B+

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Beyond #1
Main Characters: Roxanne and Santo
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Pocket
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: spicy



Story Overview:
Love and death make dangerous bed partners.

She cheated death.... 

All Roxanne Love has ever wanted is to be normal—marriage, kids, the life of June Cleaver. She tries to fit in but can't conceal her ability to defy death--not from the world, not from the darkest creatures of the Beyond and not from the Reaper determined to destroy her. Now Roxanne is on the run, her only ally a compelling, dangerous detective with secrets of his own. Against her will, she's drawn to his quiet strength and heated touch. But can she trust him with the truth? 

....until she felt death's kiss.

Incognito as guilt-ridden cop, Santo Castillo, the Reaper's plan is simple: get close to Roxanne, uncover the secret of her immortality and cut it at the source. Yet with this borrowed body come emotions the Reaper hadn't expected. Now nothing is clear but his conflicted desire to protect the woman he came to kill. As destiny forces them to face an enemy hell-bent on using Roxanne to wipe out all of mankind, she and Santo must choose between love....and salvation.

My Review:
I have never read any of Erin Quinn's books and honestly, probably would not have picked this one up on my own, but the publisher sent it to me and I was intrigued with the story line. It was good! This book is incredibly creative, unbelievably action-packed, with a really heartwarming romance story that was so filled with promise. At the same time, as a reader, you are wondering how in the world can this book end well??

The book description is a good one. I'm not going to get too much into the story line because I don't want to give any spoilers and there are a lot layers to the story as this entire world evolves and reveals itself to the reader.

I loved both the characters of Santo and Roxanne. Santo is new to being in a human body and as such is dealing with things like emotions and desire for the first time. Some of those moments in the book are so heartwarming as they shock him. He never expected to "feel" so much and honestly just doesn't know what to do with all that. It makes those early scenes between him and Roxanne just that much sweeter. 

Roxanne is different. She's spent her entire life dying and coming back to life with her twin brother Reece (they've always died together.) She has no idea why and deals with a lot of guilt over the fact that she has this "get out of jail free" card for life. And while the dying has always brought a sense of comfort to Roxanne because of the "one" who waits for her in that moment of darkness, it's been just the opposite for Reece. The dynamics of it all and all the ins and outs were extremely creative and entertaining. It made for a great new paranormal world. 

There are four siblings in this family who no longer have their parents in their lives, but in this book we really only see Reece and Roxanne. BUT there is an excerpt in the back for the next book in the series and it features big brother Ryan. I am really intrigued, because while there is a lot to this book, it's never revealed why Roxanne and Reece are the way that they are. And in the next book, it looks like Ryan has his own connection to the Beyond. I can't wait....

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

The Mating Hunt by Bonnie Vanak



Title:  The Mating Hunt
Author: Bonnie Vanak
My Rating: B

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Werewolves of Montana #2
Main Characters: Arianna and Kyle
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
WARNING: This is a book containing explicit sex.

Welcome to the sensual world of the Lupine, where the burning drive to mate claims all...

Arianna Sanders doesn’t remember everything that happened to her when she was 12. All she knows is a savage monster left her terrified of sex and a freak among Lupines, werewolves known for their sensual nature. Her guardian is the only male she trusts, the one she secretly desires. Arianna longs to overcome her fear and make love with the sexy, mysterious shifter. But Kyle Morgan harbors a dark secret, one that if Arianna knew, would send her screaming into the night.

The fiercely protective Kyle hungers for the voluptuous Arianna, who’s been teased for her generous backside. He thinks she’s perfect and dreams about consummating the passion smoldering between them. When Arianna makes a lethal mistake and is told she must mate before the full moon or face execution by the powerful Silver Wizard, Kyle knows the time has come. He must tame the savage, sexual beast inside him before he can claim the woman he’s vowed to protect from all harm.

But a greater threat emerges when Kyle and Arianna find three missing Lupine children stolen by humans. Vowing to protect the children with their lives, they must band together to fight a growing evil that threatens the entire Lupine population, an evil that will reignite Arianna’s old terrors…

My  Review:
The best thing this book has going for it....some SCORCHING sexual tension. Seriously, wow!

Ari was captured and tortured when she was twelve. She has ghost memories of the event, but it has left her sexually scarred. The thought of having sex with ANYone is absolutely terrifying to her. 

Kyle has been Ari's guardian since he found her wandering the forest naked at age 12. She reached mating age over a year ago and Kyle desperately wants to mate her, but he's a hybrid and is hiding what his second half is. His first half is Lupine (werewolf) like Ari, but the other half of satyr...an incredibly sexual creature and the type of creature that was part of the torture of her capture. Kyle is literally the stuff of her nightmares, even though she loves and trusts him. She's having a horrible time getting past the scars from her past.

The other issue is that Ari has a death threat hanging over her head. If she doesn't mate by the next full moon, she is going to be killed because her hormone and emotional levels are so out of whack, she continues to lose control of her wolf. 

The best scene in this book....when Aiden, the alpha, forces Kyle's hand. He loves Ari so much and I love that he can't control that. He needs and wants her. He has no choice, but to mate her even when his mind is telling him that she will never be able to live with his Satyr side. It really made for some high tension, high suspense scenes and I loved that aspect of it. I honestly couldn't see how he was going to win out over her fear.

Overall, I'm really enjoying this series. I love shifter novels and there are some really creative aspects to this world that Bonnie Vanak has created. In this book, she set up at least two others and I am already excited about both of the possibilities of those stories. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Possess My Heart by J.A. Howell

Title: Possess My Heart
Author: J.A. Howell
My Rating: B+

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Possess Saga #3
Main Characters: Aggie & Camden
Release Date: July 2013
Publisher: SideStreet Cookie Publishing
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
"You can't leave me because I'll only ever love you."

What was supposed to be a final goodbye turned into one last piece of unfinished business for Brody Walsh.

As long as Aggie Walker's heart still belongs to him, he's destined to remain in limbo, watching over her.
But when her family decides to send her to Scotland for the summer and she meets Camden MacTavish, it seems despite their constant head-butting that there may be something more between them.

That is, if she is willing to let Camden in.

As Aggie finds herself torn between her lover lost and her lover anew, it becomes clear that she cannot hold on to both. If she decides to let Camden into her heart, she will have to let Brody go. And if she can't let Brody go, she risks losing Camden-and a second chance at love.
Forever.

My Review:
ooh, I liked this book! If you've never read a J.A Howell book, first of all....go buy one NOW, but you need to know she does creepy romance incredibly well. 

Brody is a ghost who, before he was murdered, was the love of Aggie's life. He died five-six years ago and she is having a really hard time letting go of him. The book and novella prior to this book cover a lot about his death, but you absolutely don't have to have read those books to be able to enjoy this one (although they are REALLY good, so it sure won't be a bad thing if you want to buy them too...) But this book does work as a stand alone. Because Aggie can't let go of Brody, he can't let go of his connection to this world and it's a connection that's becoming dangerous/bad for both of them.

The premise of the book is that Aggie needs an escape so she goes to visit her cousin Grant in Scotland for the summer. There she meets his mate, Camden. Camden is a typical man-whore, but things are different for him with Aggie. He keeps trying to convince her of that, but between her unwillingness to move on from Brody and her temporary stay in the country, she's unwilling to accept that their relationship can be more. But there's also a backstory for him and why he's always been the way that he is which is just as heartbreaking. J.A. knows how to do incredible angst and I love her books for it!

*sigh*...Camden. How can you not fall for a reformed man-whore who is willing to do anything to win the girl he wants?? I really, really loved his character, when I didn't want to sit down and cry for him. Aggie is just in such a bad place...and he's the one who keeps getting hurt because of it. 

The book is creepy, it's suspenseful, it's romantic. This book has a little bit of everything...and it's all set in Scotland with kilts and brogues and hot Scottish men. Yeah, what's not to love here?!? 

There's also Grant, Aggie's cousin. I hear he's going to get his own story, which I love because he was just an all-around nice guy...with the kilt, brogue, and hot body. Yep, I'll be reading that one too!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hero by Robyn Carr


Title: The Hero
Author: Robyn Carr
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thunder Point #3
Main Characters: Devon and Spencer
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Harlequin
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.

My Review:
This is book #3 in this new series from Robyn Carr and I will be right up front and admit, I've been disappointed with this series before now. That changed with this book. And the good news is that you don't have to read the first two books to enjoy this one. It definitely works as a stand-alone...and I probably should clarify here. The first two books are NOT bad. I enjoyed the stories overall, but they entail a LOT of characters and a LOT of POV's that, to me, were very distracting to the point of annoyance while I read them.

It seems like that now that the town and dynamics have been established (a LOT of that in the first two books) this particular book settled into telling the story of a set group of characters, rather than the entire town like we've had in the last two books. (Although, there was one tiny 15 page section in the last third of the book which didn't fit...where we got a recap of ALL the other characters...I would have been perfectly happy without that in this book.) There was still more POV jumping than I like, but overall the book seemed more settled, rather than the all over the place feel we got  in the first two books. 

This book is about Spencer. We met him in Book #2 as his wife died. He's father to 10 yo Austin, who actually is Cooper's biological son (hero book #1). And honestly, those details are fleshed out in this book so you don't need to read the first two books to understand all that complication. He's the head coach to the high school football team and just moved to Thunder Point as an escape after his wife died and so that Austin could be closer to Cooper.

The heroine in this book is Devon, and she's a new character. She's introduced when Rawley, the barkeep at Cooper's beach bar, picks her and her 3 yo daughter up along the road. She's escaped/runaway from a commune where the leader is an ego-driven, drug growing s.o.b. He's really bad news and Devon is scared for Mercy which is why she ran away.

The hero/heroine of this story have admittedly both been through a lot. But as it's pointed out several times throughout the story, everyone in this little town has been through a lot. Yikes. I liked the whole commune aspect to the story...it's definitely an unexpected twist for a romance novel heroine. I was entertained by the story and the book in general. The sections of the book where the focus was taken off the H/h were short enough that they didn't annoy me like they have in previous books in this series. 

Honestly, this is a series that I really don't feel belongs in the romance genre. I feel it would be better classified as women's fiction. This is a book series about a community/small town....and my one big complaint about it is that there are flat-out too many POV's in a single book. The scenes from Lou's POV could be COMPLETELY left out of the book and you would NEVER notice the hole. That kind of thing bugs me, but like I said, it bugged me less in this book than it did during the reading of the previous two.

Overall the book was entertaining. If you enjoy small town books, these are good. Just don't expect them to focus on a single Hero/heroine throughout the book. There are multiple POV's and layers of story all happening simultaneously. 

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Glitterland by Alexis Hall


Title: Glitterland
Author: Alexis Hall
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Ash and Darian
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

My Review:
Be prepared, this book was completely different from most romance novels you will pick up, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I kind of liked those differences for the most part. 

Ash is completely mental, with several debilitating disorders that keep him in and out of the hospital. And Darian is sweet and wholesome and definitely not the sharpest tack around. BUT they make for a great couple. Specifically, Darian is GREAT for Ash as he helps pull Ash out of his head and truly enjoying life for the first time in a LONG time.

Ash is a writer and as such, is very cerebral...and the book is written from entirely his POV, so there is a lot of flowery, gorgeous literary prose to the writing of the book. (At times it was really beautiful to read, but at other time it did get to be a bit much and I would skim, but overall it really made you settle into exactly how brilliant Ash's mind is.)

But as a literary and cerebral person, Ash is a snob, and truly looks down on Darian, despite his feelings that he ignores for a lot of the book. I had a hard time with his attitude at times. He's been so wrapped up in his own head for so long, he really has a hard time with empathy or seeing to anyone else's needs besides his own. That makes it really hard sometimes to like his character, although as a reader, you were always aware that so many of his problems were based upon his own self-doubts. He knows that he's a mess and doesn't really feel like he deserves love. He knows going into this thing that he's going to hurt Darian so it's like he's just sabotaging himself before he gets in so deep that he won't be able to recover. At time, it makes the book a bit difficult to read because you just want to hit him upside his head and tell him to get a clue. 

Overall I enjoyed this book. It's not an easy thing for a writer to take two characters like this who are completely unlikely heroes and be able to make you fall in love with them, but Alexis Hall does a pretty fabulous job of it! I would definitely read one of his books again.

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