Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Guest Review: Wolf’s Mate by Celia Kyle

Posted August 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Wolf’s Mate by Celia KyleReviewer: Tracy
Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle
Series: Shifter Rogues #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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three-half-stars

Danger shouldn't be this sexy...

Cougar shifter Abby Carter always plays it safe. That's why she's an accountant--no excitement, no danger, and no cocky alpha males. She loves her quiet life, but fate has other plans. When Abby uncovers the shady dealings of an anti-shifter organization, she'll have to trust the too-sexy-for-her-peace-of-mind werewolf Declan Reed... or end up six feet under.

Declan Reed is starting over. After two years with Shifter Operations Command, it's time to put his past behind him. Now Declan is the only thing standing between the gorgeous Abby and an early grave, and if he's going to have any chance of keeping her alive, he'll have to embrace the darkness he's fought to keep at bay. But first he has to convince Abby that there's no safer place in the world than the arms of a big bad werewolf.

Declan Reed is part of Shifter Operations Command. He was once a killer for hire but put his past behind him and was trying to be a better person.  SHOC consisted of the most dangerous men who were trying to do good things, so he was in good company.  Declan’s SHOC team is on a job trying to get info to see if a company, FosCo, is involved in feeding money into the shifter hate group, Unified Humanity.  While observing the building, Declan sees Abby Carter.  She’s an accountant that is doing an audit for FosCo, and Declan can’t seem to keep his eyes off of her.  When she digs into an account she was told to stay away from and sees that they are indeed filtering money into UH the owner of FosCo is alerted and Abby’s life seems to be in danger.  Declan doesn’t wait around but goes to save her.  He ends up taking her and hiding her from everyone – including his team and this makes him a rogue.

Abby isn’t sure what’s going on.  She knows that what she found at FosCo is horrible and that people are after her to get the info – she just doesn’t know who to trust.  She’s pretty sure that Declan is a good guy but she’s not positive.  Despite not knowing about him, she’s still attracted to Declan and doesn’t let a little thing like her life being in danger stop her from showing that attraction.  Of course she’s not sure either of them will live to do anything about it in the future.

This was a cute paranormal story.  I liked both Abby, Declan and his entire SHOC team.  I read this in one sitting as it was a fast read.

Abby was a great character.  She was strong – she’d had to be her entire life – and wasn’t about to let Declan boss her around.  I loved the fact that she didn’t let anyone push her around.  Yes, she was scared at times but she still showed her strength throughout her trials.

Declan was alpha male all the way.  He wanted what he wanted and no one was going to stand in his way.  He was rough and tough and had been a been a killer for hire – not an ideal background – but he was gentle with Abby and wasn’t afraid to show her his softer side.

Overall the book was a good one and I enjoyed the beginning of this new series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Maybe This Summer by Jennifer Snow

Posted July 28, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Maybe This Summer by Jennifer SnowReviewer: Tracy
Maybe This Summer by Jennifer Snow
Series: Colorado Ice #2.5
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 10th 2017
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three-stars

Always a wingman . . .

Owen McConnell is used to being ignored. After all, it's only when he appears as the Colorado Avalanche's team mascot that he gets all the attention. When the costume is off, women tend to gravitate toward his famous hockey player friends. But after he meets lovely, damaged Paige Adams, he knows he can be the star player for her. She's raising funds for the hospital burn unit, and Owen's determined to help her out---and sweep her off her feet.

The burn unit has been near and dear to Paige's heart ever since the doctors helped her after a vicious attack. Yet the scars---both emotional and physical---haven't faded as much as she'd hoped. She's closed herself off from relationships, and the thought of opening up is terrifying. But Owen's sexy charm might be just the push Paige needs to start loving again.

Owen McConnell is an ex-hockey player who had left playing with the Colorado Avalanche to join the Marines.  He had lived through an injury by a landmine but that meant he couldn’t play hockey ever again.  He was now the team’s mascot (not that anyone but the players knew that) as well as the Colorado Avalanche’s team promotion manager.  He heads to the local hospital to meet with a woman who would like his friend Ben to play in a golf tournament to raise money for the burn unit.  The minute that Owen sees Paige Adams he falls hard.  He will do anything to get her to see him but she seems to look right though him.

Paige was a burn victim herself and hasn’t let herself consider dating in years.  She knows that Own is interested but she’s not.  One thing leads to Paige being at the DMV where Owen.  She’s in a hurry and he has a number that’s about to be called.  Owen knows he shouldn’t bribe Paige to get her to date him but he goes for it anyway.  Unfortunately Owen does an idiotic man thing and almost blows his chances entirely.

This was a cute novella that had a great premise and was well written.  Paige had been a victim of a hate crime and had walled her emotions off afterward.  Meeting Owen made her think that maybe she could be more than she had been for years – and let people see the real her.  Owen was a jerk at times but he was good for Paige and that made me happy.

My major issue with this story was that I felt no romantic connection between Paige and Owen.  Friends? Yes.  But nothing more spoke to me in their relationship.  It might have started when Owen fell all googly-eyed over Paige after one minute of knowing her but it didn’t get better as the story went on.  I could totally see these two as great friends but nothing more.  Still a cute story, though.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Retro Review: The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted June 28, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Retro Review: The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Holly
The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Princes #3
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: September 1st 2007
Pages: 384
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five-stars

WHEN THE DEVIL MEETS AN ANGELCountry bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man - a naked unconscious man - and loses her innocence forever.
HE CAN TAKE HER TO HEAVENViscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he's hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities - even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.
OR TO HELLCharmed by Simon's sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has - her love.

*****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.

This review was originally posted on October 9, 2007.

Sybil forced me into reading this book. She swore it was the best thing since If His Kiss is Wicked, and talked me into buying it. There was some drama with Amazon over this book which may prompt me to write them a letter.

I ended up buying it in eBook format. I think it started out kind of slow, but once I got past the first couple of chapters, I fell right into it.

Lucy Craddock-Hayes is out for her morning walk and stumbles upon what she believes is a dead body..a dead naked body. As it turns out, he isn’t dead at all. He’s one Viscount Simon Iddesleigh and he’s been beaten to a pulp and left for dead.

Lucy takes him home and begins nursing him back to health. She’s very surprised to learn his identity and even more surprised to find that she likes him. He’s witty and sarcastic, but she sees depth in him and it intrigues her.

Eventually Simon is well enough to leave, but hesitates until he and Lucy are shot at. To keep Lucy safe, he heads back to London to do what he was doing before he ended up nearly dead in the country…avenge the death of his brother.

But he finds he can’t stay away from Lucy, and after a short period of time he returns to the country to ask for her hand in marriage. She immediately accepts. But once married and settled in London, the danger surrounding Simon begins to escalate and Lucy fears she’ll never be able to save him from his biggest threat…himself.

I’m honestly not sure how to review this book. There are so many things I want to touch on I’m not sure where to start or how to properly express my thoughts.

I think I’ll just make a list and go from there.

Simon

What an amazingly deep character. On the surface he has a devil-may-care attitude, but he showed so much more depth than I expected. He truly was tormented by the death of his brother and committed to his quest for revenge on those responsible. Each death was a stain on his soul.

The thing is, Simon wasn’t your typical Alpha hero. He was actually described as more Beta than anything, though I didn’t think of him as such. For example, he wore red heeled shoes and wigs and ruffles. Honestly, I think EH did a fabulous job representing the times. Too often we see men in nothing but breeches and boots, when that wasn’t in keeping with the style of that era. But despite his heeled shoes and wigs, I felt he was…manly. Although he put up the front of being reckless and one of the lazy ton, his character was deeper than that.

Watching his inner struggles and seeing his obvious care for Lucy was fabulous. I was well and truly emotionally invested in his journey. Although he knows he should let her go, he can’t. After one duel, before they’re married, he comes home wounded and bleeding. Lucy tries to get him into bed and he begs her to stay with him.

“Severe angel.” He finally opened his eyes, frost gray and intense. “Promise me. Promise me on your mother’s memory that you won’t leave me if I give you back your wings.”
She blinked and thought about it, but in the end there was really no other answer. “I promise you.”
He leaned closer until she could see the shards of ice in his eyes. “Say it.”
“I promise on my mother’s memory,” she whispered, “that I won’t leave you.”
“Oh, God.”
She didn’t know whether it was a curse or a prayer, but his mouth came down on hers hard.

….Lucy looked down at herself. Thee was a bloody hand print on the bodice of her dress.

Though Lucy becomes more important to him than anything else, he can’t give up his quest for vengeance. He struggles to do what’s right, although he isn’t sure what that is….Lucy’s idea of right is to stop killing, but he knows he needs to avenge his brother.

Lucy

I loved this heroine. She was rather unconventional for a historical heroine. Her childhood was a good one, so she didn’t suffer many of the issues so many others do. She wasn’t afraid of love or commitment, didn’t fear men and had a rather bright outlook on life that wasn’t at all annoying.

I don’t think there was much growth on Lucy’s part throughout the book, but I wasn’t disappointed by that. To be honest, her character was perfect as it was. Her personal conflict came from caring about Simon too much to watch him destroy himself, and that was her main focus. Could she truly love a man who was so violent? Who killed others in cold blood?

She sees the different sides of him, mainly with the help of Simon’s niece, whom he calls Pocket. She struggles to reconcile the cold-blooded killer with the simple, caring man.

Lucy stilled, imagining Simon comforting this little girl at his brother’s graveside, putting aside his own grief to explain in childish terms that her father wouldn’t suffocate in the ground. What a tender act. And what was she to do with this new side to Simon? It would be so much easier if he was simply a man who killed, someone who was callous and uncaring. But he wasn’t. He was a loving uncle, a man who tended roses all by himself in a glass cathedral. A man who acted like he needed her and made her promise never to leave him.
Never to leave him…

I truly enjoyed this book. It turned out to be much darker than I expected, which was a welcome surprise. As it turns out, there was a conspiracy involved in the murder plot, and Simon won’t rest until he’s tracked down every responsible party and killed them.

What Simon hasn’t realized – or doesn’t care to realize – is the toll this has taken on his soul. When he meets Lucy he’s fascinated by her innocence and light. But he knows he’s beyond redemption and that she’s not for him, so he does his best to resist her. And even after he decides he can’t live without her he hates himself for tainting her with his darkness, and yet he can’t seem to set her free.

Although the main focus of the book is on Simon and Lucy’s relationship, the secondary story of Simon’s quest for revenge is..amazing. Seeing Lucy fight for him, and seeing Simon fight for what he feels is right, is what truly made this story. I didn’t doubt for a moment that Lucy and Simon cared for each other, but I wasn’t at all sure love would be enough.

The ending of the book was just…amazing. I think I even cried a bit. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you’re interested, Sybil and Meljean Brook had a discussion about it here in the comments section.

You can also read Lawson’s review here. She did a better job than me of outlining the story and finer points of the characters, IMO.

Despite a few flaws I found with the story (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m referring to..and if you haven’t, read it to find out) I have to give this:

5 out of 5

five-stars


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Guest Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted June 22, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Also in this series: Deadly Silence, Deadly Silence, Lethal Lies
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti brings us the second book in a thrilling romantic suspense series.

A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

With twists and turns that will take your breath away, LETHAL LIES is sexy, action-packed suspense at its very best from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti.

In this next Blood Brothers book, we meet Anya Best, who’s out for revenge against her sister’s killer. She decides to use herself as bait to catch the killer, but unfortunately she entangles Heath Jones in her plot. Heath is a PI already investigating the killer so he’s game, plus he’s majorly drawn to Anya, but the ploy puts Heath and his brothers at risk. Can they stop the killer and get justice for Anya’s sister before the other people after the Jones brothers catch up?

I love Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series (loooooove it), and I was pretty into the first Blood Brothers book, but I felt like Lethal Lies was a bit less exciting for me. I enjoyed it and had a good time while reading it, but it didn’t really stick with me.

Anya in particular got on my nerves. She concocts a half-assed plan to catch her sister’s killer, but she never thinks through the ramifications, and doesn’t really have any serious plan for how she will stop this horrific killer that even her FBI-trained sister couldn’t handle. She doesn’t know anything about self-defense or catching a criminal. I just…couldn’t get behind her. Even worse, she barely knows Heath but involves him in her dangerous public plot. I get that she didn’t fully understand the risk she put Heath and his brothers in. She didn’t know their history and couldn’t know how her throwaway comment naming him in the press could literally kill him and his brothers. Fair enough! But she never really deals with that fact, even once she does know the truth. It felt glossed over but never explored. Her selfish need for “justice” could have killed them all! I definitely wanted some remorse or at least clear understanding from her, but we never got that, and Heath never holds her accountable either. I didn’t like it.

I did like Heath and Anya together, though. Heath is so damaged, so unhappy. All the Jones Brothers (and all the Gray Brothers, for that matter), feel such love and responsibility for their family that it just melts your heart. Even though Heath thinks he’s a lone wolf, Anya shows him what it means to truly be alone, and I liked his own newfound appreciation for his family after he is reminded of all the support he does have. He is also a great support for Anya, and he backs her up no matter what. Their relationship was super steamy, too, and the sexual tension was great.

I loved seeing the Gray Brothers a bit, though I admittedly didn’t understand why they didn’t jump in all the way when the Jones Brothers were clearly in a pickle. Still, I always enjoy being in this world, and I look forward to more installments from Zanetti.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin

Posted June 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana GardinReviewer: Tracy
Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin
Series: Rescue Ops #1
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: June 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

To keep her safe, he'll have to uncover all her secrets...

Rayne Alexander. A face I never thought I'd see again, and one I never could forget. Nine years ago, she left town-and me--without a backward glance. But now she's back, with a haunted look in her eyes and a feisty attitude that didn't exist when we were teenagers. Seeing this grown-up--and sexy--Rayne is something I wasn't prepared for... and it's bringing up feelings I'd thought I'd buried years ago.

Although I want to demand answers from Rayne, working on black ops at Night Eagle Security has taught me that it's sometimes better to keep my mouth shut. So when I catch her hiding a photo of a little boy, I'm curious. When I see her jump as her phone rings, I'm concerned. But the second I notice a car following her home, I know she's hiding something. Something dangerous. And while I may not know why she left or why she's back, if there's someone out there Rayne is afraid of, I'll make damn sure that threat is eliminated.

Rayne was working late at her job in Phoenix, AZ one night when she came across some info on her boss’s desk that she shouldn’t have. The kind of information that could ruin him and put him in prison. He doesn’t catch up with her as she runs from the building but she knows that she needs to get the hell out of Dodge.  She takes her eight-year-old son, Decker, and runs back to her hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.  When she had first moved to Phoenix she had changed her name so she figures going back to her old name will hide her sufficiently. Not the case.

Rayne moves into her sister’s house as her sister is out of town and gets a job at Night Eagle Security.  She never planned on seeing her high school boyfriend, Jeremy Teague, ever again but the minute he walks into NES – cuz he works there – all of the old feelings start to come back.  Rayne had gotten pregnant by Jeremy when she was a teen and then was cast aside by Jeremy, his grandparents who raised him and then her own parents.  She knows she shouldn’t have any feelings toward Jeremy except disdain but that’s not what happens.  When Jeremy finds out that Decker is his (because he never knew she was pregnant) he’s so excited and wants nothing more than to be with Rayne and Decker and make them a family.

Rayne’s old boss, however, wants her captured and brought to him so that he can take care of her the way he wants.  Jeremy will do anything to keep Rayne and Decker safe but will he be able to in the end?

Sworn to Protect is a good little second chance at love romance/suspense story.  It had a lot of ins and outs and things going on.

Rayne is back in her hometown.  She loved Jeremy when she was younger but his grandparents told her that he wanted nothing to do with the baby when in fact they never told him she was pregnant.  Then her parents took to a clinic to get the baby aborted and she ran.  She’d been living the last 9 years thinking that Jeremy betrayed their love but that wasn’t the case at all.  Once Rayne and Jeremy are together again things fall into place and all is good.  Except for her old boss that’s threatening her.  I was a little confused about the boss, quite frankly.  He was at first after her because of the things she knew about him but then it turned to the fact that he didn’t want her dead he wanted to keep her and tame her sexually – ew.  It was more than a little creepy, to say the least and kind of a weird, expected twist.  Then Jeremy’s grandfather got involved and it was a bit too much.

Of course NES gets involved as that’s what they do but it all seemed a little too easy.  IDK, there was just some aspect of the story that was missing that made this a good book, but not great.  The elements were there but there was something in the execution that was lacking, imho.  The characters were good, the story was a decent one but I definitely didn’t end the book thinking, “Wow, that was really good!”

So in the end a decent read but it wasn’t something that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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