Format: Print ARC

Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 26, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #4
Also in this series: A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5), Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)

Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Format: Print ARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

Parker Lacey is an art gallery owner who loves what she does and doesn’t have any plans on stopping until she’s dead.  She’s 37 and since everyone in her family dies young – she’s not planning on being around that long.  When she’s in the LA airport on a trip she runs into one of her artists who is not having a good life.  After hearing Tori’s story Parker decides to help her out and helps her get away to a place called Crossroads, Texas where Parker owns a house.  She always thought she’d use it as a getaway but she’s never gotten away.  She helps Tori escape for a while and is happy to do it.

Parker is having pain in her knee and back and knows that it’s cancer as that’s what both of her parents died from.  She goes in for tests and after seeing the look on the doctor’s face she doesn’t let him tell her what’s wrong before she’s out of there.  She decides that she needs an adventure before she dies so she gets things in order at the gallery and heads to Crossroads herself.  She gets there with the help of her neighbor, Clint Montgomery, and their tenuous friendship ends up turning into the greatest adventure of her life.

Tori is the artist who is trying to escape her life. She’s been a renowned painter since she was 15 years old but she’s 24 now and feels like she’s in prison.  After her father died and her mother remarried her stepfather drove her to do more and more and more.  She’s tired and hates that he has guardianship over her and her money.  She doesn’t care about the money so much as her freedom to live how she wants.  While she’s hiding out in Crossroads she loves walking and ends up in Yancy’s workshed.  Once the two meet they become closer than either thought possible.  What started out as the two just working on wood for his house remodeling project became much, much more.  Unfortunately Tori’s stepfather wants his cash cow back and has the authorities, FBI and even bounty hunters out looking for her and he’ll take her, dead or alive.

Gabe left Crossroads when he was just a kid and was beaten and forced out by his own family.  He was trying to run away with his love but neither family wanted them together.  He never went back to Crossroads and now that he’s a bounty hunter and back to get Tori he’s seeing it with different eyes.  He finds that the family he thought was all dead isn’t and he’s got a relative he never knew about. That one person changes his whole outlook on live and makes him determined to live a better life.

I have to say that when I agreed to read Sunrise Crossing I wasn’t sure if it would work as a standalone.  I haven’t read the other books in the Ransom Canyon series but I’m happy to say that you can read SC and not have a clue about the previous books and still really enjoy the book.

I love the way that Jodi Thomas takes an unlikely collection of characters, puts them all together and makes an awesome story out of their lives and loves.  Tori, Yancy, Parker, Clint, Gabe – all of them were such different people but Thomas brought them in and made them into a cohesive group.  I also love the way that Thomas brings townspeople into the story.  Even though the books aren’t about them they play a large part and it gives the story a more homey feel, imho.

Tori and Yancy were awesome together.  They were quiet artistic people and got on well together from the start.  Yancy had had a tough life and though he’d had first dates – never got a second with anyone.  He loved so much about Tori and just let her be herself which was exactly what she needed to heal from her home life.

Parker and Clint – I could not think of a more unlikely pairing.  He’s a gruff, quiet, rough and tumble cowboy and she’s a city girl with a gallery, designer clothes and not a lot of friends.  Parker really needed Clint’s quiet patience in her life- someone steady to lean on who would be there for her no matter what.  I loved how Thomas slowly got these two together and made it work.  He was so sweet and was just perfect for her.

There was also a very small third romance in the book with one of the deputy sheriff’s that was quite cute as well and that added another lovely element to the story.

Besides the wonderful romances there was the suspense portion of the book having to do with Tori.  This is where Gabe came in and we got to know his story about his life in Crossroads. It was moving and horrifying and I loved that what he discovered in Crossroads changed him.  He had hardened himself from feeling and life and coming back broke the ice around his heart and made him want to be a better person.  It was such a good part of the story and I was so happy that Thomas added this part in.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  Thomas is one of my favorite authors and I plan on going back and reading all of the Ransom Canyon books.  I’m sure I’ll end up loving the Ransom Canyon books as much as I love her other books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Don’t Let Go by Jaci Burton

Posted September 8, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Don’t Let Go by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Tracy
Don't Let Go (Hope Series #6) by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope Series #6
Also in this series: Hope Flames, Hope Ignites, Hope Ignites, Hope Burns, Love After All, Make Me Stay, One Perfect Kiss (Hope #8)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Format: Print ARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Brady Conners is hardly the settling type, but when tragedy strikes in his family, he has no choice but to return home to Hope, Oklahoma. Setting up shop to work on custom motorcycles and pass the time, Brady has no intention of letting anyone get close—until he meets Megan.

Pastry shop owner Megan Lee is drawn to quiet, brooding Brady. Their connection is undeniable, and it quickly develops from physical attraction into something much stronger. But with Brady putting up barriers, Megan is afraid to truly open her heart—unless she can convince him to let go of the past…

Brady Conners is biding his time working at his friend Carter’s garage doing body work.  He works nights and weekends painting bikes and loves it.  His ultimate goal is to open his own shop where he can paint full time.  He just doesn’t know if he wants to do that in Hope as there are too many memories there.

Brady grew up in Hope with his family but his brother, Kurt, died after a life filled with drugs and Brady can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that he’s dead.  Everywhere he looks he sees Kurt and he’s cut himself off from everyone he knows in the false belief that if he has no friends he can’t get hurt if something happens.  He may not be aware that’s what he’s doing but it is.  He ends up falling for Megan who owns the local pastry shop and they begin what each thinks is strictly a fling, but both start to get more involved.  Unfortunately, Brady isn’t ready for something more permanent and when he realizes this he may break them both too much to recover from.

In this story Brady is such a sweet guy.  He starts to come out of the hole he’s buried himself in and ends up spending time with his friends.  Yes, they’re friends despite the fact he was trying to keep them at arms- length. When he starts dating Megan he is wonderful.  He’s sweet, thoughtful and kind.  When he finds a dog behind the dumpster he takes it in and turns little Roxie into a biker pup – it’s freakin’ adorable.  Little Roxie is a great dog and anyone who can take such good care of a stray is a good person.  Unfortunately when Brady realizes that he’s getting in too deep he turns it all around and becomes a bit of a jackass for a time.  I didn’t like him at all during those parts of the book but I did understand his thinking and why he did it.  Didn’t make it right, but I understood.

Megan was just a whirling dervish!  She opened her shop every day, baked and ran a booming business and then went home and baked and cooked.  She seemed like she had everything in her life in perfect order except for someone to share it with.  I thought Brady was perfect for her but I could see where he would get scared.  Megan was wonderful but she lived and breathed “Susie homemaker”.  Any man not wanting to get in too deep in a relationship could see this.  I guess that’s why I found it so strange that Brady was so good to Megan as it was so obvious that what she wanted was permanency.  Also, after hearing about her baked goods I want to try them myself. J

While the book held a sweet romance it was slow reading at times.  As much as I usually like Burton’s writing I found myself putting the book down more than once and moving on to another book.  I would always go back and pick it up but…it didn’t completely hold my attention all the time.  Despite that I liked finally reading about Brady and his life as well as the wonder of Megan.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Last Light by M. Pierce

Posted May 28, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Last Light by M. PierceReviewer: Tracy
Last Light by M. Pierce
Series: Night Owl Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Night Owl
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Format: Print ARC
Genres: Erotica
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Matt Sky is missing. After a solo ascent of Longs Peak that left only a large blood stain, tatters of climbing clothing, and the tracks of an animal in the snow, he is presumed dead.

Hannah Catalano is guarding a secret: she knows Matt is alive. After Matt's memorial service, she lingers on the East Coast with his family, but it soon becomes clear that his brothers' motives are less than gracious. Nate Sky is bent on tracking down the author of Night Owl, a book that charts the last days of Matt's life with uncanny and scandalous accuracy, and which appeared only after his death. Seth Sky is bent on getting Hannah into his bed.

Hidden away in the woods, Matt and Hannah strive desperately to maintain their ruse and their relationship-but their web of lies only tightens as Matt struggles with the consequences of his decision, and Hannah tries to escape Nate's libel suit and fend off Seth's advances...until Hannah is put in danger, and Matt must make a life or death choice.

Tracy’s review of Last Light (Night Owl Trilogy #2) by M. Pierce

When we closed the cover on book one in the Night Owl Trilogy we left Matt and Hannah together and doing well…until the epilogue. That lovely short epilogue led us to believe that Matt had died. Not true.

Matt had taken enough of being hounded by fans and reporters after his identity had been revealed. He couldn’t even seem to walk down the street without being accosted. He decided to take matters into his own hands and faked his own death. He holes up in a cabin 2 hours from Hannah and deals with his loneliness by writing. He wants Hannah to disappear with him but she likes her life, her family and her job. Yes, she misses Matt horribly but sees him on the weekends.

In book one he had written a book, called Night Owl, about his life with Hannah. It was very detailed about their life and was incredibly explicit with the sex scenes. Matt ends up posting it on a forum where someone else picks it up and starts publishing it under the name W. Pierce (Matt published under the name M. Pierce). Matt eventually finds out who published it and actually becomes friends with the person. Which is weird as Hannah is supposedly the only one who knows he’s truly alive.

While Matt is having his neurotic breakdowns and keeping secrets, Hannah is trying to figure out how to live the secretive life she now has to endure. She’s upset about a lawsuit that Matt’s brother Nate started surrounding the publication of Night Owl (which she has no idea that Matt posted online); having to attend a memorial service for Matt when she knows he’s not dead and fending off advances from Seth, Matt’s rockstar brother.

Matt continues to lie to Hannah about a multitude of things – just like in book one – and his house of lies comes crumbling down around him. Hannah decides she can’t take the deception any longer and calls it quits.

This book was good when it came to being well put together with good grammar and punctuation. You know a book can’t be all that and a bag of chips when that’s about the only good that a reviewer can say about it. That’s what I’m sayin’.

The love story – if I can even call it that – was so incredibly dysfunctional I couldn’t handle it half the time. Matt is a neurotic nutbag and Hannah ends up being his enabler. She tries to make a stand at one point in the book (as she did in book 1) and of course that doesn’t work because she LUUUUVS him. Puuuhlease. Spare me. They’re both whacked in the head if they think that they can keep doing the same things time and again and expecting a different outcome. Matt lies like he breathes. He’s honest with the people he shouldn’t be honest with and the people he should love and be truthful with he keeps in the dark and is constantly chasing his own tail to try to cover one lie with another.

Hannah seems like a decent character but as the story went on I started to lose all respect for her. She kept believing Matt’s lies and coming back for more.   I wanted her to grow up and show some self-respect but that was a pipe dream on my part.

The story is an erotic romance in the fact that it’s a book of sex with a story added in for good measure. The characters are weak, narcissistic, enabling and just all around crazy. The story ends with the couple getting back together but with Hannah giving Matt certain stipulations – which he agrees to but we know he will never follow. I’m definitely not interested in reading any more of this series. I’m done with Hannah and Matt and wish them luck and just hope they don’t ever have children because I’m pretty sure they’d be psychopaths. Just sayin’.

Rating: 2 out of 5 (and I think that’s stretching it a bit)

This title is available from St. Martin’s Griffin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

two-stars


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Guest Review: Chains of Darkness by Caris Roane

Posted May 13, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Chains of Darkness by Caris RoaneReviewer: Tracy
Chains of Darkness by Caris Roane
Series: Men in Chains #2
Also in this series: Born in Chains
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Format: Print ARC
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

A VAMPIRE BOUNDFor countless days and nights, the vampire Lucian has been chained, starved, and tortured in a Himalayan cavern. Prisoner and pawn of his powerful Ancestral father, Lucian has all but given up any hope of escape. Until a beautiful stranger risks her life to save him...

A WOMAN SET FREETwo years ago, Claire and her friend Zoey were kidnapped by vampires and sold as human slaves. Claire managed to escape, tracking her missing friend through the vampire underworld—and stumbling upon the only man who could help her. A dangerously captivating vampire in chains...

A LOVE EVERLASTINGBinding herself to a creature she doesn't trust, Claire frees the vampire from his nightmare prison. But now he needs Claire's blood and body to regain his strength. To defeat his father. And to sustain his deepest, darkest needs. Can Claire give herself to this seductive creature...without becoming a slave to desire?

Tracy’s review of Chains of Darkness (Men in Chains #2) by Caris Roane

Claire was abducted by vampires two years ago along with her friend Zoey and was held prisoner at the home of Daniel – the evil bastard trying to take over the world. She didn’t have it so bad, however, as she was nanny to a little boy (Josh from book #1). She was rescued and now wants to find her friend Zoey, if she’s still alive. She needs the help of Lucian who is a vampire and also Daniel’s son. She’ll even try to help Lucian find the extinction weapon that Daniel wants in exchange for his help, but only so Lucian can destroy it.

After reading book one in this series I was actually looking forward to reading the second book. Unfortunately this book has little to recommend it. I found myself first rolling my eyes when Lucian is rescued by Claire. He’s been a prisoner for a year in a cave and chained to a wall. She gets him to safety and does he bathe? No, he gets dressed and goes clubbing. What?

Then the book went on and I soon got very bored as the H/h seemed to be doing the same thing over and over: Meet, fuck. Save someone, fuck. Battle the evil guy, fuck. Rinse, repeat and fuck. God!  Let’s do as little as possible and then fly to some secret home and screw our brains out – cuz that seems like a good idea when people are trying to kill you, right? There was also a lot of multiple orgasms, that apparently only a vampire can give you, with lots of blood drinking. They managed to fall in love through all of it but by that time I truly didn’t care.

I have the third book right here but I’m debating on taking my chances. Will it be good like book 1 or horrible like book 2? IDK, what do you think? sigh Decisions, decisions.

Rating: 1 out of 5

This title is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

one-star


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Guest Review: Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Posted March 19, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bound by Night by Larissa IoneReviewer: Tracy
Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Format: Print ARC
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four-stars

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when she narrowly survived a massacre: her family’s vampire slaves rebelled and killed everyone in her household. Twenty years later, Nicole now dedicates herself to finding a vaccine against vampirism…and eradicating the gruesome memories that give her nightmares.

Riker, a member of the wild vampire Moon Clan, is haunted by his own demons—his wife Lorraine had been captured and enslaved by the Martin family. It was during a botched escape attempt that she was killed, along with their unborn child. Still wracked with grief and anger, Riker is now fueled solely by the desire to rescue vampire slaves…and slaughter their owners.

When Riker stumbles upon Nicole in a chance meeting, he immediately recognizes her as a member of the Martin family that once enslaved his wife—and she recognizes him as the wild vampire she saw kissing a pregnant slave in the moments before her violent death—an image that has haunted her dreams for years.

When Riker kidnaps Nicole and they spend a night together in a cave on the way back to his clan, suddenly they begin to realize that they aren’t as different from one another as they may have thought—and they’re finding themselves drawn to one another…

Tracy’s review of Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan Vampires #1) by Larissa Ione

When Nicole was eight years old there was a vampire uprising (vampires are slaves/servants in her world) and she was attacked. Her parents were killed but she survived and was then sent to live with a relative in Paris. She became a scientist and is an expert on vampire physiology. When she hit age 28 she was forced back to Seattle and into the CEO position for her family business called Daedalus. The company is legitimate but there’s a darker side to it that Nicole and the general public has no knowledge of.

Riker is a made vampire and part of the Moonbound Clan. When a midwife is taken and held at a Daedalus facility Riker kidnaps Nicole so that he can force her to free the woman. Riker is incredibly attracted to Nicole even though he believes he hates her. Nicole hates Riker as she believes that he killed her vampire nanny – Riker’s mate – 20 years earlier.

While Nicole is held at the Moonbound Clan lair she starts to see vampires in a completely new light and one she actually likes. She beats her fear of vampires and ends up helping them try to get the midwife back. Unfortunately there are people that Nicole though she could trust that betray her and soon she becoming everything she thought she hated.

I haven’t read a vampire novel in a good long time that I liked as much as I did this book. I loved the world that Ione created here as it’s so different from anything I’ve read before. The vampires as the oppressed people, working as servants and slaves – defanged and “trained” to be calm and non-threatening – it all made for some good reading.

Nicole was a great heroine. I completely understood her fear of vampires after what she went through as a child. I liked how the author didn’t make her immediately feel comfortable or safe within the lair. She was still scared throughout most of the book and for me it was more realistic that way.

Riker was a man who had issues but they were understandable. He was a good guy with a good heart but was a bit belligerent about quite a few things. He fought himself when it came to Nicole but eventually caved to the attraction and that ended up working in his favor as she became his mate.

The story, the world-building, the secondary characters (who played a big role in the story) and the romance were all so good. When I finished this book I immediately picked up book two as it was that good. Even if you’re not normally a fan of, or have been burned out on, vampires I recommend you pick this one up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Pocket Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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