Genre: Contemporary

Guest Review: Whiteout by Sarah Benson – part of the Snow anthology

Posted May 26, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Whiteout by Sarah Benson – part of the Snow anthologyReviewer: Tracy
Whiteout by Sarah Benson - part of the Snow anthology by Sarah Benson
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
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three-stars

SNOW is an anthology composed of sixteen novellas and novelettes featuring tales of forbidden love from some of your favorite Wattpad authors.

This is the review of just one of the stories...

Alicia wakes up in a deserted cabin, handcuffed to a bed.  She manages to get herself free and makes her way to a gas station. It turns out she’s been missing for 8 months.  She has no idea who she is or what’s happened in the last 8 months.  She’s introduced to her father who she has no recollection of and tries to start living some sort of life.  She has sessions with a doctor who tries to help her with recollection and they end up falling in love.  The truth finally comes out and it’s not what anyone expected.

This was a story of a girl who had been kidnapped.  The reason she was taken and kept was kind of weak in my opinion and when things were explained it left me with more questions than answers.  The romance in the story was also a bit on the anemic side as I never felt the love between Alicia and the doctor.  I was happy that Alicia started getting her life back in the end and came to terms with everything that had happened.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

Posted May 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Series: Raintree #1
Also in this series: Raintree: Sanctuary
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 288
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three-half-stars

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated and abandoned them on a small Caribbean Island, the Ansara wizards are rising again to take on their bitterest foes. Despite their extraordinary powers and supernatural origin, the Raintree have largely blended into the modern world. They are bankers, cops, husbands, wives and lovers in the society of humankind.

But now, from Nevada to North Carolina, the rejoined battle will measure the endurance of their people. It will test their loyalties and relationships. And it will force upon them all new lives they could barely have imagined before.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I think about this series every now and again. I may have to go back and re-read it at some point. Just to see if my opinion of it still stands. 

This review was originally published May 14, 2007

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book the last few weeks, most of it not so good. Jane at Dear Author and Rosie both reviewed it and neither had very good things to say about it. I’ve been a LH fangirl for years now, but her last few releases, with the exception of her Blair Mallory books have left a lot to be desired, so I wasn’t too keen on reading this before I read the bad reviews. After? Yeah, so wasn’t going to touch it.

But then last week I read Tara Marie’s review and changed my mind. You see, there are some things I find I can’t stomach in a novel, and brain rape is one of them. From what Rosie and Jane said, I was under the impression there was quite a bit of that in this novel. But Tara Marie shed a bit more light on the subject and I decided to see for myself how bad it truly was.

Side Note: Spoilers below. I don’t think I can say what I truly felt about this book without them. :End Side Note

Lorna Clay has been spending a good amount of time in Dante Raintree’s casino. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern – quite the opposite in fact – but she never loses. Never. She’s not winning massive amounts of money at one time, but she’s walking away with enough to make Dante and his main casino dude a bit skeptical. They can’t seem to spot how she’s cheating via video, but they’re sure she is. So they drag her upstairs to “question” her and both she and Dante seem to have a rather…electric connection to one another.

Now, Dante is a Raintree, which is a psychic type of people that have been around for hundreds of years. They have a feud going on with the Ansara clan that’s lasted for centuries, and as soon as Dante figures out that Lorna has psychic abilities, he starts to wonder if she’s Ansara.

To quote Lorna about the Raintree/Ansara situation:

“You’re the weirdo equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys?”

She’s not. Lorna doesn’t even realize she has powers. She just thinks she’s really lucky. While in Dante’s office, a fire breaks loose in the main part of the casino, 19 floors below them. As one of Dante’s powers is the ability to control fire, he immediately heads down to help fight it, dragging Lorna along with him.

Now, this is where Jane and Rosie seemed to start having major issues with the book. I’m just going to tell you what happened. This is still relatively early in the book (the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think) so you probably won’t be hurting yourselves if you read this part, but beware, major spoilers below:

Dante goes down to the main part of the casino to fight the fire and he can’t. He isn’t sure why – if it’s because his powers have been depleted trying to help the guests get out, or if it’s the fire itself – but he can’t get it under control. At this point, he and Lorna are pretty much surrounded by the fire. There’s no way for them to get out alive. He’s placed a protective “bubble” around them, but it’s starting to crack and he knows they don’t have much time left. Plus, the hotel that’s attached to the casino is at full capacity and he’s afraid of how many lives will be lost if the fire spreads that far.

He knows if he had another Raintree there to connect minds with he’d be able to pool their power and contain the inferno, but there’s no one but him and Lorna. That’s when he realizes – duh – she has powers and he could use them to boost his own. That’s when he “brain rapes” her by pushing himself into her mind and combining her powers with his.

I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. When weighing a situation like that, your death along with possibly hundreds of others, or forcing yourself into the mind of another for the greater good, well…I just can’t say I blame the guy. No, it wasn’t pleasant for Lorna and yes it was a gross invasion of her privacy, but he didn’t do it to find out if she was Ansara, or to purposely cause her pain. He did it to save her life. And his. And possibly hundreds of others. No big deal.

What comes next is a bit harder to swallow. He uses a mind “compulsion” to keep her from running once the fire is under control and they’re out of the building. Basically, if he tells her “Don’t move” she’s literally stuck in one spot. Because he’s not convinced of her innocence – in either the gambling or the fire – he binds her to him and forces her to remain against her will. At one point he even orders her to silence.

I had a hard time with this. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fairly independent woman and I would hate to have all control of myself taken away. Or perhaps that has nothing to do with being independent or a woman, but simply a human being. In any case, the next chapter or so was hard for me to get through. The way Dante pretty much forced her home with him and then checked her out to see if she was Ansara left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I persisted and you know…I ended up really liking the book. Really liking it. I can’t say it’s LH’s best work, but it more closely resembled the classic LH I fell in love with than anything else she’s produced in recent years.

Lorna was a fabulous heroine. She suffered numerous shocks in a short period of time, but rather than bowing under them, she kept her chin up and her sense of humor. She was sassy and sarcastic, and though I thought she forgave Dante a little too soon for his mind control of her, her reasons for doing so made a lot of sense.

As for Dante, he was a typical Howard Alpha and I thought he was great for what he was. For those of you who enjoyed some of her earlier category type books and works like Dream Man, you should enjoy him.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, but the relationship aspect of the story was all wrapped up. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I wasn’t too upset with the ending. I am annoyed that I have to wait for the next 2 installments, but otherwise? I highly enjoyed it. Well, once I got over being pissed at Dante, that is.

I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole 3 author trilogy, though. Having never read the other 2 authors, I can’t say for sure how excited I am to read them. On the other hand, I am anxious to see what happens next, so I’m sure I’ll purchase them.

The series is as follows:

Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (to be released June 1, 2007)
Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton (to be released July 1, 2007)

This book is available from Silhouette Nocturne. You can purchase it here.

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Posted May 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina BowenReviewer: Tracy
Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
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four-stars

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

Lauren Williams works for a multi-million dollar technology company and loves it.  Her boss also owns the Brooklyn Bruisers, an NHL hockey team.  Lauren grew up with hockey and used to love it.  She loved it up until the Bruiser that she was planning on marrying suddenly up and left her for his ex-wife with very little explanation.  Lauren’s not willing to put herself out there again when Mike Beacon, the man who broke her heart, starts to show signs that he’s interested in her once again.  She’s moving ahead with her life and her plans for single motherhood and Mike has no place in her plans. Unfortunately for Lauren’s plans, Mike is determined to get back the woman he never stopped loving no matter what he has to do.

I have to tell you that when I read about why Lauren and Mike broke up in the first place I didn’t want to have Lauren and Mike get back together.  Seriously, I was that mad at him for being an insensitive ass.  True, his motivations were honorable but the way he handled it was horrible and I wasn’t sure I could forgive him.

By the middle of the book I still wasn’t sure how he was going to win Lauren back but by that point I was on his side.  He was a good guy who had made a gigantic mistake.  I couldn’t condone how he handled things with his ex-wife, and of course there were plenty of ways he could have helped his ex and stayed with Lauren (but then we wouldn’t have a book, would we?) but that’s not what happened.  Now that time has passed since his ex-wife died he knew that he couldn’t live any longer without Lauren by his side but he not only had Lauren to contend with but also his extremely sassy 13-year-old daughter, Elsa.

Elsa was a piece of work and I truly wanted to climb into the book and give her a good talking to but I could understand why her emotions were all over the place. Her mother had died, her dad is gone a lot because of his hockey schedule, she had to move away from her friends and now he’s gonna date a woman that everyone tells her stole her father away from her mother?  Yeah, I’d be an emotional wreck too.  Despite her sassiness, however, I liked the kid.  She had her moments of goodness and I thought she was a good addition to the story.

The romance in this book was extremely emotional but oh, so good.  Lauren and Mike were so good together but it was definitely hard for me to see how they’d work things out and let the hurt of the past go.  I was happy that they were able to move on and that Lauren was able to trust Mike again.  The story was fabulous and of course I loved the hockey talk as well.  😊

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Drawn to the Wolves by Shari Mikels

Posted May 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Drawn to the Wolves by Shari MikelsReviewer: Tracy
Drawn to the Wolves by Shari Mikels
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: May 22nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Shapeshifters
Pages: 105
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three-stars

The pack's alpha has finally found his fated mate…and she's terrified of wolves.

Wolf shifter Callan Mohan has a powerful connection to his pack. As alpha, he can sense if something is wrong—and when he feels panic coming from an unknown source, his instincts tell him she's someone to be protected at all costs.

Rescuing a stranger from an unexpected confrontation with two wolf shifters is easy. Helping her move from fear to acceptance of the animals—and him—is a challenge.

Kate Ballard's attraction to her mysterious rescuer is instant. That she falls for Callan so quickly isn't surprising—his strong, confident presence puts her at ease, and the strange connection she has to him makes her feel safe almost immediately. He's the man she didn't know she was waiting for.

It's only a matter of time before Callan has to tell Kate the truth. And find out, once and for all, if her love for him is enough to overcome her fear.

Kate Ballard has worked for the Atlanta PD for the past 10 years.  She has empathic abilities and after 10 years of drawing human monsters she just couldn’t do it any longer.  She’s now taking a much needed rest and she’s in Whiskey Grove, Tennessee on the advice of her best friend.  She plans on relaxing and sketching wildlife to her hearts content.

The first afternoon she’s out sketching, however, she runs into trouble.  She was told to stay of a certain plot of land but after chasing an eagle she finds herself facing the barrel of a gun.  The man wants to shoot her and she’s terrified of the humongous wolves the man has at his sides.

Kate is rescued by Callan.  He calms the gun holder enough to get Kate out of there.  From the first moment that he sees Kate, and feels her in his head, he knows that she’s his mate.  The problem is that Kate has an unbelievable fear of wolves and telling her that he’s a shifter might just make her run from him instead of to him.

This was a sweet little novella.  I liked Kate and Callan both and though they were good for each other.  Their relationship started off pretty quickly but since he knew that she was his fated mate he didn’t waste any time.  Before you know it she’s practically living with him which was fast but again, fated mates.

I found myself entrenched in the book when Kate was being held at gunpoint and was excited to go from there.  Unfortunately I didn’t care for the way Kate handled her fear and the shifter issue.  The way the author wrote her I got the feeling that she would have handled it differently but she ran.  I was happy to read that that part of it wasn’t drawn out too long and Kate and Callan got their HEA.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy paranormal story to read this would be a good one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

Posted May 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Rowena
The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #4
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Friend Zone, The Game Plan
Published by Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 337
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four-stars

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

The Hot Shot is the fourth book in Kristen Callihan’s Game On series and it follows Dex from The Game Plan’s teammate, Finn Mannus. Finn Mannus is a quarterback in the NFL and he’s winning in life. He’s got a great family, supportive friends and he never has trouble with the ladies so when he shows up for a photo shoot for work and meets the photographer, Chess Copper, he’s not prepared for her to stay on his mind long after the shoot is over.

Chess is a photographer who works hard and goes out of her way to be kind to people but there’s something about Finn Mannus that gets under her skin the first time she meets him. She’s all prickly whenever he’s around and he’s around a lot more than he should be since the job she worked with him on is done. Before Chess knows what’s what, her and Finn have become friends and he’s become a daily part of her life.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t my favorite Game On book but it was still a pretty solid read. Finn was the bomb and I adored every minute of getting to know him. Chess was pretty great herself but there were times when I didn’t understand her actions and the way that she thought about things. That’s not to say that Finn didn’t have his moments of WTF because he did. Most of his came through the whole thing with the girl that wasn’t his ex but almost became his baby mama.

I enjoyed seeing Finn so sure in himself and in his feelings toward Chess. It took Chess a little longer to come around and when she finally does, I was glad for it. Kristen Callihan really shines for me with these sports romances. I can’t get these books fast enough and I’m always thirsty for more. That was the case with this one.

This was such an easy read filled with lots of laughs, characters that rocked my socks and a romance so steamy, I about melted into a puddle of lust more than once. Finn and Chess found the real thing with each other and Kristen Callihan captured their love in a way that I just flat out enjoyed. I hope she never stops writing books for this series because it’s my favorite series of hers and this was another fabulous addition. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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