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Book Reviews

VAMPIRES OF MANHATTAN by Melissa de la Cruz

I am a new Melissa de la Cruz convert. As you already know, I recap the weekly Lifetime series, Witches of East End which is based on her books about the Beauchamp family; now I have a new de la Cruz series to follow. Vampires of Manhattan is a spin off of de la Cruz’s YA series, Blue Bloods. Since I am not a big reader of all things Young Adult, I will admit to not being completely familiar with that series. Have no fear; de la Cruz does an excellent job getting me up to speed. I was able to glean enough back-story about each main player in this series to make me,  a newbie, feel right at home. [...]

RIGHT KIND OF WRONG (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine

I didn’t read the previous novels in the Finding Fate series as this book could be read as a stand-alone. I feel that sometimes even though authors say you can read a book out of order from the rest of the series you still miss something. But, I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problem following along with Jenna and Jack’s story. This book was a quick read. Even though the problems Jenna and Jack dealt with, especially in the second half of the book, are heavy I would categorize this book as a light read. I actually think that was one of the reasons I didn’t totally fall in love with Right Kind of Wrong. There were some [...]

THE LAIRD by Grace Burrowes

Grace Burrowes’s latest series is about three men tangled together during the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath. These are not light reads; they are romances, yes, but they deal with trauma both at home and abroad and how the characters cope with the horrors they’ve witnessed and their new lives back home in England. I randomly picked up an ARC of the first book of the Captive Hearts series, The Captive, a couple of months ago without knowing what the book was about. I did this pretty much only because I had heard of Grace Burrowes and thought the cover was pretty. My only exposure to her books in the past was a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon in New [...]

BROKEN by Lauren Layne

I’m a huge fan of Lauren Layne because she shines in writing witty, chemistry-laden romances guaranteed to tug at your heart!  I loved the first in this series, Isn’t She Lovely, so I was thrilled to have Olivia’s story. Even though she was technically the cheating girlfriend (not as bad as it sounds, I promise) I felt bad for her. Olivia is trying to escape and redeem herself for a mistake that cost her longtime boyfriend. Taking a job as a caretaker for an injured veteran satisfies her need for penance and to get away from all her friends, but Olivia doesn’t really know what she’s gotten herself into. Thinking she’ll be caring for an old injured man, she’s shocked [...]

BREATHE by Kristen Ashley

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Ashley.  Her romances usually include a sassy, sweet heroine and an infuriating, but lovable alpha male in a story that will break your heart, and then make it soar with happiness.  No one writes alpha males better, and Chace was one of my favorites. Breathe was old-school Kristen Ashley at her finest. Faye is the town librarian, and a geeky bookworm.  She’s also been in love with Chace for the better part of thirteen years, since he moved to Carnal and joined their police force. But, alas, Chace had never acknowledged her existence in all those years, and she gave up on him when he married the town slut, Misty, six years ago. This [...]

ONE MORE CHANCE by Abbi Glines

Grant Carter did everything in his power to convince Harlow Manning that he was a good guy. More than a smooth-talker and someone she could trust. He had to overcome his reputation as a playboy, and his history with Harlow’s half-sister, Nan, a woman with a reputation of her own. Harlow had taken the chance, falling hard and fast for the guy who thrilled her with his all-consuming desire. After a lifetime of avoiding bad boys like Grant, she had opened herself to the possibilities of love… But a life-changing secret has torn them apart, and now Grant and Harlow must decide if they have enough fight to make it work – or if the pain of betrayal has permanently [...]

MY HIGHLAND SPY by Victoria Roberts

Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do—he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep. Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator. Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her [...]

LONGING (Club Inferno #2) by Jamie K. Schmidt

The term “erotic romance” perfectly encapsulates what it contains-a blend of compelling story with very sensual, hot sex scenes. As engaging as the story is in LONGING, the second installment in Jamie K. Schmidt’s Club Inferno series, I have to admit that I couldn’t wait to get to the sex scenes, especially when the heroine, Anya Litton, says things like this when talking about her boyfriend, Clint Reyes, a Dom and a stripper: “Let’s see…I could give up amazing sex with a hot Dominant stripper sex god who worships me and wants me in his life for a rich Italian count who dumped me because his mommy told him to. Decisions, decisions. Money doesn’t mean sh*t. I’m staying with Clint.” [...]

SINS AND NEEDLES by Karina Halle

To be honest I was really hesitant about picking up this book, because I don’t usually like con stories.  I hate people trying to cheat others out of their hard earned money, and take things the easy way.  There are of course exceptions to this for me:   The reason for the con is to defraud a defrauder, someone who “deserves” it in some way.   The con is to serve up some much deserved revenge.   I guess I’m not a turn-the-other-cheek sort of girl, well in fiction anyways.  If someone’s got it coming I relish the payback! Much of Ellie’s conning (in the past) fell under one of those categories, so I could excuse it.  But that’s not [...]

IN BED WITH A ROGUE by Samantha Grace

This book, the second in a series, was quite fun. Baron Sebastian Thorne has happily been a rogue for all of his mature life, since women began propositioning him when he was sixteen. When his fiancée eloped with his best friend, his ego took a hit as well as his reputation. He’s not necessarily on the path of reformation when the book begins, he’s simply trying to stay out of trouble. Then, after a few chance meetings with Helena, he decides that a little liaison with her would not be terrible. Helena, Lady Prestwick, is a widow with a lot of money and a good reputation, and she intends to keep it that way. Without her position in good society, [...]

ADULTERY by Paulo Coelho

Despite the attention-grabbing title, Adultery, the new novel by the award-winning author of The Alchemist, is not really about cheating. It’s more about that space we reach in the middle of our lives when we start to doubt everything – the midlife crisis. On the surface, Linda has less reasons for experiencing this crisis than most. She’s in her thirties, attractive, rich, and she lives in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. She has a loving husband, children, and a good job as a political journalist. All things considered, it’s not easy to empathize with her unhappiness. But as we all know, depression isn’t rational. And Linda is depressed. She explains, “I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change [...]

AN EARL LIKE NO OTHER by Wilma Counts

Katherine Gardiner, a young English widow, has only one dream: to protect her son—a future duke—from her merciless father-in-law. Determined and desperate, she has no option but to take the guise of a housekeeper and escape to Yorkshire where the only hope is the enigmatic Earl of Kenrick. In all his years spent roaming the world, Jeremy Chilton never braced himself for the burden of a much-damaged inheritance. Now, the new Earl of Kenrick must save his family legacy and raise his motherless young daughter as a proper English lady. His only salvation is his beautiful housekeeper, Kate. But as her secrets unravel, much that is puzzling about her falls into place. No wonder the Earl has caught himself imagining [...]

IGNITED by J. Kenner

IGNITED is the third book in the Marked Men series, about a three powerful men, known as the Knights, and the women that manage to do what no other could.  This last book focuses on Cole, artist, Dom, and a man who still flirts with the wrong side of the law and his obsession with Kat. I did not read the first two books in the series, but it didn’t matter: The author does a great job of ensuring readers understand the underlying current of want between Cole and Kat. Both have been somewhat obsessed with the other, but reluctant to do anything with their feelings. Kat, because she feared a dynamic shift in their little group; Cole, because he [...]

THE BEST KIND OF TROUBLE by Lauren Dane

Natalie Clayton was one of those characters who is difficult to like. She has built a very protective shell around herself, and is often times standoffish with people, making it hard to connect with her.  She is only open and completely herself around her small group of college friends; once you see her in that element, you want her to be like that all the time because she is clearly a very warm, caring person. Once we got her back-story, it’s understandable why she protects herself.  So when her long ago, two-week teenage romance, Paddy Hurley, walks into her favorite bakery, it’s clear that life as Natalie knows it is going to change…big time. There wasn’t much I didn’t like [...]

THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES by Jeaniene Frost

It’s the age-old tale of angels versus demons, but forget the usual stuff about their rift because Jeaniene Frost is switching things up in The Beautiful Ashes. Curious? Since I’ve been fortunate enough to snag an ARC, I’m giving you a quick lowdown on Ivy and Adrian’s story. The rest you just have to read for yourself. Let’s start with the romance: what you’ll find in The Beautiful Ashes is the forbidden sort as Ivy and Adrian’s lineage has been at odds with each other for centuries. Now I wouldn’t necessarily call it insta-love because they said the L-word towards the end but if we are to follow the timeline, Ivy and Adrian did fall for each other sooner rather [...]

A HIGHLANDER’S OBSESSION (Highlander’s Beloved #1) By Vonnie Davis

I’ve never hidden the fact that in the realm of paranormal romances, I’m a shifter girl, not a fang banger. In the romance realm, I am also a lover of all things Highlander and let me just interject, what a wonderful time it is to be a lover of the Highlanders! A HIGHLANDER’S OBSESSION is the best of both worlds. Set in modern times, there is a definite throwback feel when exploring the mores of the castle/bed and breakfast inhabitants. In fact, Creighton Matheson is the laird of the land. He’s the first born son in an area that places huge value on first born sons but there is also a curse settled on these fellas, and it never ends [...]

DARK SKYE (Immortals After Dark # 14) By Kresley Cole

Dark Skye is the story of ill-fated childhood best friends, Thronos and Lanthe. Thronos is royalty in his Vrekener clan. A real life prince of a winged warrior. Vrekeners reside in the secluded floating city of Skye Hall. It is far above the clouds, heaven of sorts and the residents live a life of austere moderation to say the least. No impure thoughts, no pre-marital sex, no drinking, no dancing, no flashy clothes, no thinking outside the box. Self control to the most excruciating degree. Lanthe is Queen of Persuasion, royalty of the Sorceri. Sorceri worship gold, live in the moment, and are carousing, wanton sexual beings. Sorceri are the night to Vrekener day but Lanthe is fated to be [...]

THE RELUCTANT GOVERNESS by Maggie Robinson

Eliza has settled in as the efficient receptionist at the Evensong Agency. So when her boss asks her to temporarily resolve a family problem, Eliza agrees. The governess job isn’t her first choice but watching over her boss’s niece-in-law should be a breeze. If only the adorable girl’s father wasn’t one of those “unconventional” artist types. Shirtless, covered in paint, and answering his own door, Nicholas isn’t what she expected a Scottish baron’s brother to be like. But when the little girl jumps into an antique vase and her father does nothing, Eliza knows she’s desperately needed. Nick and daughter Sunny have been getting along just fine since the last governess died. Why had his meddlesome sister-in-law sent a proper [...]

A CURSE AWAKENED by Cecy Robson

Discover Cecy Robson’s sensational Weird Girls series—or return to where the magic first began—with this eBook original prequel novella about four sisters coming to grips with their unique supernatural powers. Celia Wird shouldn’t possess the ability to transform into a tigress. Her three sisters should never be able to burst into flames, heal wounds, or transform common objects into deadly weapons. And yet they do. Before they were born, the Wird Sisters were cursed by a spell that was intended to destroy them, not endow them with extraordinary powers. The sisters’ magic is untamed and explosive at best, and time is running out for them to take command. Vampires have targeted Celia’s sweet, tragically human ex-boyfriend Danny. The sisters rush [...]

EVER AFTER by Kate SeRine

Kate Serine’s Transplanted Tales is my favorite fairy tale-inspired series. The series gist is very similar to the TV show Once Upon a Time: a rift happens, and our beloved characters from lores, legends, myths, and tales of old are transplanted to our world.  Some have managed to stay true to their characters as they were in the tales, some are almost unrecognizable, while others managed to do both like the heroes and heroines of each installment. Ever After is book four of the series. The hero is Gideon, whom we’ve met in the earlier books, a loyal Unseelie guard to the royal fae family, and his lady love, Arabella aka Robin Hood. I was one of those fans who [...]

IT’S IN HIS KISS by Jill Shalvis

Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now’s her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam’s eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile. Boat builder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can’t resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will [...]

VEXING THE VISCOUNT by Christie Kelley

As the reluctant new Viscount Middleton, Braden Tavers already has several reputations to save–including his own. So it’s imperative he rescue his estate’s healer Tia Featherstone from her impetuous plan to find his rakehell brother Jonathon. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her determined spirit and unworldly charms at arm’s length. But protecting this stubborn beauty from himself is only stoking an irresistible desire–and an insidious danger threatening them both . Tia must get Jonathon back under her care before his unforgiving brother discovers how ill he truly is. But searching London’s most scandalous hellholes and staying two steps ahead of Braden is uncovering the viscount’s deepest secrets–and a longing to make his wounded heart her own. To [...]

SHELTER ME by Catherine Mann

Once I read that Shelter Me was about an animal rescue, that was it: I had to read it.  I love animals, especially dogs, and I’ve rescued three of them myself.  Like Lacey, I would save them all if only I had the time and the money.  The subject matter is near and dear to my heart, so this book got bumped up to the top of Mt.TBR. Shelter Me destroyed me. DESTROYED me. Not because it was sad, but because each of the damaged, grieving characters found their HEA.  I grew to like them all so much, so it was gratifying that they were able, with a rescued canine’s assistance, to put their grief behind them and embrace a brighter [...]

UNBROKEN by Maisey Yates

In Unbroken, Cade Mitchell, former Rodeo star, finally finds a purpose in life after an accident forces him to retire. And while he leans on his best friend, Amber Johnson, to help him realize his dream, he discovers that the love of a good woman can heal all sorts of wounds. Amber and Cade are best friends and have been for a long time.  I was a bit skeptical on how the friends to lovers storyline was going to work.  But I was pleased with how Maisey Yates developed their story. There has always been a deep love between the two, but it took a rouse to ward off a potential threat to Amber’s family ranch to discover the love [...]

DRIVING WITH THE TOP DOWN by Beth Harbison

Driving with the Top Down is a story of three women whose reality does not match up to their dreams. Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son. She is happy but has always believed she was her husband’s second choice. She also feels she has failed at her job as wife and mother. Tamara is a sixteen year old girl and Colleen’s niece by marriage. After her mother died, Tamara was raised, begrudgingly, by her father. Tamara makes bad choices, hangs with the wrong people, and is a considered a “screw-up” by others and herself. Bitty’s life was perfect on paper. Married to a wealthy business man and living in a mansion, she appears to have it all except [...]

THE SWEETEST SUMMER by Susan Donovan

A mermaid statue could be the cause of heartbreak or everlasting romance for a practical-minded police chief and his first love—in the second of the delicious Bayberry Island trilogy by national bestselling author Susan Donovan…. Every instinct told Police Chief Clancy Flynn that his island’s claim to fame was nothing but a silly tourist attraction. But now and then, he couldn’t help but wonder if his lifetime of bad romances—starting with the pretty tourist who broke his twelve-year-old heart—could be traced back to a childhood prank involving that very statue…. Then one day the pretty tourist comes barreling back into Bayberry—all grown-up and on the run with her niece. Though Evelyn McGuinness is wanted for kidnapping, she tries to persuade [...]

LAY IT DOWN by Cara McKenna

The Dessert Dogs is a new series from Cara McKenna. This is the part where I admit to Lay It Down being my very first Cara McKenna book. McKenna has been on my TBR pile forever and I am so happy I finally got the chance to read her. And what a way to start. The Dessert Dogs series promises to be an excellent one, full of mystery, suspense, danger, and passion. Let’s start at the beginning, the very beginning…the cover. There is a whole lot of pretty on that cover but don’t be mistaken: Lay It Down isn’t a conventional motorcycle club themed book. Yes, you have a group of guys, a small group of friends but a group [...]

UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley

Talia is a college student getting ready to graduate when she decides to take a semester abroad in Australia. What her family doesn’t know is that she’s not actually going to graduate due to being put on academic probation because of her grades. Not only is she leaving her school issues behind, but she’s leaving her broken family; her mom has fled to Hawaii and has filed for divorce and her father is left alone to go about his USGS job. The family was irreparably broken after the death of Talia’s sister, Pippa, just a year ago. Her time away from her family will serve to get her back on track, away from the triggers and memories that keep her [...]

UGLY LOVE by Colleen Hoover

After every Colleen Hoover book I think, “Okay, that one was my favorite,” until I read the next one and I think, “No wait, okay this one is definitely my favorite.” Well, I’ve just finished Ugly Love and I can say without a doubt, it is my absolute favorite. While adults would enjoy any of Hoover’s novels, this book is the first I would firmly put in the “adult fiction” category. Hopeless and Losing Hope may deal with more disturbing situations, but Ugly Love is more sexually graphic. But before you start thinking Colleen Hoover has turned into the next great erotica author, I should explain what I mean by graphic. The premise of Ugly Love revolves around the main [...]

JANE’S HARMONY by Ryan Winfield

This installment of Jane and Caleb’s story picks up right where Jane’s Melody ends. The two are living in Caleb’s little apartment, Caleb is working at a beer distribution center while playing shows in the evenings and on weekends, and Jane is trying to figure out where she fits into the entire equation. She is unemployed with no real prospects for work, especially in her given field. They live next door to a psycho neighbor with her equally psychotic dog, so even if she wasn’t tired of being stuck in the tiny apartment, she’s walking on eggshells trying not to disturb her neighbor. Will life in Austin really be what they both imagined it would be? What if Caleb never [...]