Author: Holly

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 25, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 382
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four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Burn for Me is the start of Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series. When Nevada Baylor’s father passed away, she stepped up and took over his failing P.I. business. Since then she and her family have been working hard to keep their heads above water. Recently another P.I. firm, one much larger, bought out their mortgage, which covers their home and business (the family converted a large warehouse into a business/family dwelling). Since then they’ve been sending business Nevada’s way, under the threat that if she doesn’t take the cases they’ll call the loan due. Which is how she ends up going after a Prime (someone with an extreme amount of magical power) fire-mage. She’s outclassed and outgunned and she knows it. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan, a Prime telekinetic. Connor and Nevada are after the same thing – stopping the Fire Prime before things get any hotter – but their attraction is a complication neither could have foreseen.

Having read Andrews’ previous books, I expected to get a tight, well written novel with excellent world-building and multifaceted characters. I wasn’t disappointed. Burn for Me was a delight from page one. Nevada and her family really came to life. I was fully immersed in the world from page one. Connor was an enigma I couldn’t wait to unravel. Filled with action, suspense, romance and adventure, Burn for Me has it all.

The romance is light in this book (the thread is carried throughout all three books), but I enjoyed the tension between Connor and Nevada, and the promise of more had me completely hooked. If you’re in the mood to be swept away by a story, this is the book for you. Just be sure you have all 3 books handy. You’re going to want to dive right in to the next installment.

4.25 out of 5

Burn for Me is currently $2.99 for Kindle!

four-stars


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Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
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four-half-stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Dina runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling Inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power.

She has one permanent guest and not a lot else going on. Caldenia is a fugitive who signed a treaty with Dina to remain a permanent guest of the Inn. Dina will keep her safe inside the sanctuary of the Inn, as long as Caldenia doesn’t kill another guest. As a living entity, the Inn needs guests to flourish and thrive. The Inn itself is where Dina gets her magic from. It’s capable of rearranging itself outside the laws of physics, and providing security when needed. Even Dina’s dog is more than she seems. She’s a Shih Tzu by day, but make her angry at your peril.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

The world is amazing. It’s like watching a movie unfold. Needless to say, this book – and the entire series – is fantastic. A must read it. Really.

4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Saving Grace by Julie Garwood

Posted July 23, 2017 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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

Saving Grace is one of the first Garwood books I read. I was sucked in from the first page. Johanna’s struggle to find strength in herself, and freedom in a marriage to a wild highlander captivated me.

Sunday Spotlight: Saving Grace by Julie GarwoodSaving Grace by Julie Garwood
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 1, 1994
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 407
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When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side—and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!

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There’s a lot to love in this book. Humor, depth, romance, action and adventure. Saving Grace has it all.

Favorite Quotes

Johanna was in an abusive marriage before her brother convinced her to marry Gabriel McBain. As a widow, the king would have been able to force her to marry whom he wanted and her brother was trying to save her from another terrible marriage. Gabriel was large and gruff, and Johanna started out very frightened of him. Even so, she had a deep well of inner-strength, and right from the beginning, she challenged him.

“I will try to love you, M’lord, and I’ll certainly honor you because you’ll be my husband, but I don’t believe I’ll obey you much. I’ve found that total submissiveness doesn’t agree with me.”

[…]

“Will you try to obey?” He sounded exasperated. She was so astonished by his attitude she smiled. She wasn’t such a weakling, after all, she thought to herself. She had just stood up to the laird and forced him to negotiate. She wasn’t certain she’d won much, but she definitely hadn’t lost anything. “Yes, I will try,” she promised. “Upon occasion,” she hastily added.

Gabriel’s reaction to her isn’t what she expects. From the beginning, he worries for her health and well-being, though she doesn’t realize it at first.

She was trying to be submissive, Gabriel decided. He thought it was probably killing her.

Johanna constantly tries to impart wisdom to her husband’s followers, but they never understand what she means. Every single time it happened, I laughed out loud.

“I was just thinking about your laird,” she answered. “He’s a complicated man.”

“Aye, he is,” Keith agreed.

“I would like to understand how his mind works.”

“Why?”

She lifted her shoulders in a shrug. “Direct questions don’t work,” she remarked. “Still, there’s more than one way into a castle.”

Keith misunderstood. “Aye, there are two entrances, three if you count the pathway through the cellar.”

“I wasn’t referring to this holding,” she explained. “I meant that there is always more than one way to get what you want. Do you see?”

“But there are still just two entrances to the keep, M’lady,” Keith stubbornly insisted.

She let out a sigh. “Never mind, Keith.”

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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 into 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 is 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 the 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 afterward 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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Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First Book

Posted July 19, 2017 by Holly in Promotions | 3 Comments


The RITA Award is the highest award of distinction in the romance publishing industry and recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony held during the RWA National Conference at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Thursday, July 27. Today we’re spotlighting the nominees for Best First Book.


Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookAlterations by Stephanie Scott
Published by Bloomsbury Spark, Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 237
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If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia grow closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and a choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.

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About Stephanie Scott

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Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she’s a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about TV and all things books on Twitter and Instagram at @StephScottYA.

 


Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookBefore Goodbye by Mimi Cross
Published by Amazon Publishing, Skyscape
Publication Date: January 1st 2016
Pages: 399
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Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.

Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.

As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.

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About Mimi Cross

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Born in Toronto, Canada, Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter who grew up in New Jersey. She received a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and an MA from New York University. She is a performer, a music educator, and worked briefly in the music industry. Mimi is also a certified Kripalu yoga instructor and the creator of Body of Writing, a practice that adds an additional dimension to the body, mind, spirit discipline of yoga: story.

A two time Asbury Music Award winner, Mimi has shared the bill with artists such as Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Lauryn Hill, Jill Sobule, and Jon Bon Jovi. She enjoys performing for the benefit of others, and has played shows with many New Jersey musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, to raise funds for the Light of Day Foundation. She offers classes at Project Write Now, A nonprofit dedicated to helping people improve their writing and communication skills.

Mimi lives with her young son, across the street from the beach.


Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookClose to You by Kara Isaac
Published by Howard Books
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

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About Kara Isaac

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Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two children.


For a full list of RITA finalists, readers can go to: https://www.rwa.org/page/2017-finalists

To see a spotlight of each book being nominated, click here: http://bit.ly/RITA17BlogTour

Follow RWA on the following social media platforms for winner announcements:

facebook.com/romancewriters
twitter.com/romancewriters
instagram.com/romancewriters

What is the RITA Award?

The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.

The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.

For more about the RITA Award, click here: https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=528

The RITA Ceremony will be streamed live for people to watch from home! Readers can watch from 7 to 9 p.m. ET on July 27 by going to www.rwa.org.


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