Author: Casee

Sunday Spotlight: The Secret by Julie Garwood

Posted February 19, 2017 by Casee in Features | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I love Julie Garwood. Her books introduced me to a whole new world of romance. I didn’t know what a historical romance was until I read one of her books. I didn’t appreciate humor in historicals until I read one of her books. She remains one of my favorite authors to this day. This book holds a special place in my heart.

The Secret by Julie Garwood
Genres: Historical, Romance
Release Date: May 1, 1992
Publisher: Pocket Books

Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud and loyal. Her dear Scottish friend from childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean. Nothing prepared her, however, for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land…Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.

In a spirited clash of wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain’s searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan…not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!

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This book is about the romance between Judith and Iain, yes. But it’s also about a friendship between two women that nothing could break. Not time, not distance, not politics, not war. It’s about family.

Excerpt

“It will be a hard ride up the mountains, lass, and it would serve you better if you rode with one of us.”

She shook her head. The idea of being so close to the handsome man wasn’t actually displeasing, but she didn’t want him to think of her as inferior. She’d had enough of that in the past to las her a lifetime.

“I’m very fit for this journey,” she boasted. “You needn’t worry about me keeping up.”

Iain held his exasperation. “There will also be times when we’ll have to ride through hostile territory,” he patiently explained. “Our counts are trained to be quiet–”

“My horse will be just as quiet,” she interjected.

He suddenly smiled at her. “Will she be as quiet as you are?”

She immediately nodded.

He let out a sigh. “I suspected as much.”

And this…

“Go inside now, Judith, while I still have enough discipline to let you.”

“If you dislike kissing me so much, why do you continue to do so?”

She look throughly disgruntled. He laughed.

She took exception to that reaction. “You may let go of me now,” she ordered.

“I already have.”

And how can you not love this bit of arrogance?

“Don’t you dare weep,” he commanded.

“You’ve broken my heart.”

“I’ll fix it later.”


I adore this book and you will too. Why haven’t you read it?

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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About the Author

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It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated in dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.

Whether the setting be medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”

Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.

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Review: Dungeon Royale by Lexi Blake

Posted February 16, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Dungeon Royale by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Dungeon Royale by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #6
Also in this series: Love and Let Die
Published by LLC
Publication Date: February 18th 2014
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense, BDSM
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Broken by betrayal, one woman holds the secret to his redemption…

An agent broken

MI6 agent Damon Knight prided himself on always being in control. His missions were executed with cold, calculating precision. His club, The Garden, was run with an equally ordered and detached decadence. But his perfect world was shattered by one bullet, fired from the gun of his former partner. That betrayal almost cost him his life and ruined his career. His handlers want him to retire, threatening to revoke his license to kill if he doesn’t drop his obsession with a shadowy organization called The Collective. To earn their trust, he has to prove himself on a unique assignment with an equally unusual partner.

A woman tempted

Penelope Cash has spent her whole life wanting more. More passion. More adventure. But duty has forced her to live a quiet life. Her only excitement is watching the agents of MI6 as they save England and the world. Despite her training, she’s only an analyst. The closest she is allowed to danger and intrigue is in her dreams, which are often filled with one Damon Knight. But everything changes when the woman assigned to pose as Damon’s submissive on his latest mission is incapacitated. Penny is suddenly faced with a decision. Stay in her safe little world or risk her life and her heart for Queen and country.

An enemy revealed

With the McKay-Taggart team at their side, Damon and Penny hunt an international terrorist across the great cities of Northern Europe. Playing the part of her Master, Damon begins to learn that under Penny’s mousy exterior is a passionate submissive, one who just might lay claim to his cold heart. But when Damon’s true enemy is brought out of the shadows, it might be Penny who pays the ultimate price.

Another hit on the books for Lexi Blake! By now I’ve read almost every book in Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series. Dungeon Royale is my favorite of the bunch. I don’t know why exactly, but I’m going to take a leap and say it’s all Damon Knight.

So Damon was shot by his double agent partner at the end of Love and Let Die. It happened right after he realized that Baz was the leak and he was working for The Collective. He fully expected to die, but was found just in time. Damon feels defeated and betrayed when he thinks of Baz; he can’t believe his partner of ten years was not only a traitor, but that he also tried to kill him.

When Damon returns to SIS (MI6) seven months later, he is told by his superior that he will have to take a desk job. The bullet went into his lungs and they had to remove a part of one so he would live. Damon doesn’t know what he will do if he’s not in the field and convinces Nigel to give him a chance to prove himself. What seems like an easy peasy mission turns into something more when The Collective is involved.

Penelope Cash has worked at SIS for years. She’s watched Damon from afar, but never approached him nor does she intend to. Still dealing with the loss of her mother, Penny has shut down. When Nigel and Damon call her in and tell her she’s needed on the mission, she is hesitant. It’s a BDSM cruise and she is far from the kind of girl that would get into that lifestyle. Or so she thought.

Are there really BDSM cruises? I just have to ask.

Damon handpicked Penelope because she was the only one that appealed to him. He soon realizes how perfectly innocent she is. He also realizes that Penelope is far from vanilla, she just doesn’t know it. Damon takes it upon himself to teach her that submitting is nothing to be ashamed of.

The BDSM of this series is really good. It’s all about meeting the needs of your partner, not one partner dominating the other anywhere but the bedroom. Damon was so damaged when this book started. It was fun watching him fall for Penelope. I really loved Penelope too. There is only one person that can handle Damon and that’s her. She just has to show him that he deserves to be loved.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Review: Love and Let Die by Lexi Blake

Posted February 14, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Love and Let Die by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Love and Let Die by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #5
Also in this series: Dungeon Royale
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense, BDSM
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Goodreads
four-stars

A Tragic Love Story Charlotte Dennis's mission was clear: distract and misdirect CIA operative Ian Taggart by any means necessary. If she failed, she would never see her sister again. With her training, it should have been simple, but after one night in Ian's arms, she knew that saving her sister would mean losing the man of her dreams. Ian was tracking a terrorist when he met the beautiful American daughter of a Russian mobster. His instincts told him Charlotte was trouble, but his body craved her like a drug and his heart would not be denied. She took his ring and his collar. For once he was truly happy. But as he closed in on his target, her betrayal cost him his mission while her sacrifice saved his life. As she died in his arms, Ian vowed he would never love again. A Dangerous Reunion For five years, Charlotte has thought of nothing but returning to her husband, her Master. Working in the shadows, she has devoted herself to earning a chance to reclaim her place in Ian's life. But forgiveness isn't a part of Ian's vocabulary. Nothing is more important to Ian Taggart than his new mission. But the information he needs is firmly in the hands of the woman who betrayed him. To catch his most dangerous prey, Ian will have to let Charlotte back into his life. As the hunt takes them to some of the world's most exotic locations, the danger grows and their passion reignites. Will Ian forgive his wayward submissive...or lose her again?

I picked up this book after I read Satisfaction. Ian Taggart was in the book and of course I had to read his book. I do have to say that I realized in the last several years, I’ve turned into a prude. I used to read BDSM, but I haven’t in quite sometime. When I read the blurb, it talked about Masters and collars and I knew I wouldn’t like it. What do I know? I loved this book!

When Charlotte Dennis shows up at his door, Ian Taggart can’t believe his eyes. After all, his wife died in his arms three years before. When she starts talking about why she betrayed him and almost got one of his friends killed, he is not unmoved. He loved his wife, but nothing she can say will make him take her back.

Charlotte had to protect her sister, Chelsea, from the Russian mob. When they were young, their mother was murdered by their father and taken back to Russia. Charlotte was forced to do anything her father asked, from assassinating someone to robbing banks…all so their father would leave Chelsea alone. To get herself and her sister away from Russia, she makes a deal with the devil. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with the man she was sent to distract.

Although he can never forgive her, Ian isn’t above using Charlotte. As for Charlotte, she will take Ian anyway she can get him as long as he loves her again. Together they track down the man responsible for sending Charlotte and Chelsea on the run.

The BDSM part didn’t bother me at all once I got through my initial prudish nature. It actually made the romance more romantic. Charlotte is an incredibly strong heroine. Reading about her submitting to Ian didn’t bother me at all. In fact it made the book better because she was so strong. I can’t recommend this book or this series enough.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-stars

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Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted February 13, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings from "New York Times "bestselling author Lexi Blake. Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father s name. He s willing to do whatever it takes even seduce his enemy s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over both in the boardroom and the bedroom. Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death Carly s life. And Brandon realizes he s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love."

I absolutely loved this book. This is the best book I’ve read this year. I know it’s only been a month, but I couldn’t put this book down. Bran. Brandon. Bran. Bran. Bran. Bran. Oh how I love thee. I really thought I would want Drew’s book because he was so nerdy in a hot kind of way, but Bran really snuck up on me and just smacked me in the face.

Drew was supposed to be the one that went in and swooped Carly off her feet a la Riley and Ellie. Bran wasn’t so keen on that plan, so he went in before Drew could and laid it out straight. Patricia Cain murdered his parents, he and his siblings were taking her down, could she please help? Cue the misbelief. Not that Patricia Cain was innocent. Carly didn’t have blinders on when it came to her boss. She knew exactly what kind of woman she was. No, Carly thought that Bran was batshit crazy.

Carly was exactly the kind of woman that Bran was drawn to. A woman that needed help. Not to mention the hotness factor. Bran knows that his plan to lay it out for her was exactly right. Having Drew go in and manipulate her the way that Riley did to Ellie would never have worked out. This way, Bran could help her with her problems (which were many) and the Lawless siblings could take down Patricia Cain. If Bran could get some time with Carly between now and then, all the better.

When Carly leaves Bran, she still isn’t sure. That all changes when her ex-husband’s problems turn up on her doorstep quite literally. Suddenly she’s calling Bran and he’s sleeping on her couch. She’s agreed to help him and he’s pretending to be her boyfriend. Then they’re not pretending. Carly is falling in love with a man that might not know how to love her back. It’s readily apparent that Bran has issues that he refuses to acknowledge let alone discuss.

Bran had a serious case of PTSD stemming from his childhood. While the Lawless siblings are closer than most, they have more problems than most as well. Bran was left in foster care long after he should have been. Drew finally admits that it was easier for Bran to be left in the system while he was starting up 4L than to bring him home. He tells Bran that revenge came first. It was heartbreaking. Once that comes out in the open, it finally brings Bran some peace.

Carly and Bran are just perfect for each other. Carly has so little control in her life thanks to Patricia Cain that she grabs it where she can. Bran is glad to cede control to her in every place except for the bedroom. It works surprisingly well for them. I love it. Carly was a little insecure which got a little old, but Bran more than made up for it. He was so damaged, but he confronted it head on and that was refreshing. I loved him.

There was a twist at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming and I can’t wait until June!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Review: Power Game by Christine Feehan

Posted February 3, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Power Game by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Power Game by Christine Feehan
Series: Ghost Walkers
Also in this series: Shadow Game
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 24th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 464
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan is “one of the best storytellers around” (RT Book Reviews). Find out why as two lovers surrounded by greed and corruption discover there’s no telling whom you can trust—or who will come out on top...
When members of a United Nations joint security force are taken hostage by radical terrorists in Indonesia, Captain Ezekiel Fortunes is called to lead the rescue team. Part of a classified government experiment, Zeke is a supersoldier with enhanced abilities. He can see better and run faster than the enemy, disappear when necessary and hunt along any terrain. There are those in the world willing to do anything for power like that...
A formidable spy genetically engineered to hide in plain sight, Bellisia rarely meets a man who doesn’t want to control her or kill her. But Zeke is different. His gaze, his touch—they awaken feelings inside her that she never thought possible. He’s the kind of man she could settle down with—if she can keep him alive...

Bella has lived her life at the mercy of Peter Whitney. During a mission to discover if one of her fellow GhostWalkers is actually selling them out, Bella uncovers the unthinkable. Violet Smythe is trying to sell them out. Not only sell them out but eradicate them from the face of the earth. While that sounds laughable to Bella, Violet can certainly do it as Vice President of the United States. Bella knows that it is not going to be long before Violet is President. Then she will have access to almost all the GhostWalker records. With that knowledge, Bella escapes Whitney and heads to Louisiana, and the GhostWalkers that Violet wants to go after first.

Ezekiel Fortunes is someone whose temper runs hot. Literally. The only outlet he has is to fight. That and to keep his family safe. He is obsessed with safety. When he realizes someone has breached his security, he goes nuts. He has no idea how they have done it, but they have. He has no idea that it’s the very woman that he’s drawn to when he goes into the French Quarter for a fools’ errand by Nonny, the grandmother of their merry band.

Ezekiel is immediately drawn to Bella and he has no idea why. Then he does. She’s a GhostWalker and she is the one that has been circumventing his security. All Bella wants to do is help Ezekiel and leave. She wants to build herself some semblance of a life and keep out of Whitney’s hands. When she finds herself in a situation and has to help Ezekiel, he repays her by taking her captive.

That was heartbreaking. Bella truly believed that Ezekiel worked for Whitney. She gave up her potential freedom to help save his life. The sense of betrayal she felt was immense. You could literally feel it coming off the pages. Bella literally lived her life living in a cage and Ezekiel and his family captured Bella after she saved his life and threw her in a cage. It was heartbreaking.

Ezekiel was mad that she was put in a cage and immediately got her out (though the damage was done) and brought her into Nonny’s home. It was sweet to see how Bella took to being part of a family. Even though she had a family with her fellow GhostWalker sisters, it obviously wasn’t traditional. Ezekiel’s family isn’t traditional either, but Nonny definitely is and she tries to keep things as normal as possible.

Of course Violet comes after them again. Bella and Ezekiel have to work as a team along with their fellow GhostWalkers. Bella gets in trouble and she has to trust Ezekiel when she hasn’t trusted anyone in her life. It shows how far she has come in her relationship with him that she trusts him so much.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

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