Publisher: Penguin

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Posted February 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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four-half-stars

Previous edition for this ISBN found here

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This review was originally posted on February 23, 2021.

Julie James has written another contemporary romance novel that I thought was fantastic. This book follows Special Agent Nick McCall and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes as they go undercover as a couple to try to bring down more of Roberto Martino’s minions who are trafficking his drug money through legit businesses and the guy that they’re targeting and going after is Xander Eckhart, a business friend of Jordan.

How did they get Jordan to take part? They offered her a deal that she couldn’t and wouldn’t walk away from.

Once again, James has written a heroine who is both strong, smart, and totally capable and I adored her. I thought Jordan was a great part of this book, her character might have been totally loaded but I connected with her dilemma and I connected with her as a person. Watching her fall in love with Nick was a delight to read about and she was a fun person to get to know.

Then there’s Nick. I’m a sucker for the name Nick. If you want me to love your hero, you’ll get off to a great start by naming him Nick because there’s something about that name that totally gets me. Nick McCall was a sexy beast that I enjoyed getting to know. I loved his manly man attitude and while some might find him a little over the edge (because of his refusal to drink anything pink, haha), I adored him. I loved his overt manliness and I adored that he called Jordan, Rhodes. The way that he said Rhodes, got me each and every single time.

Julie James does such a great job of making the reader feel like they’re apart of the stories she writes and this book was no exception. When everything is going down, I can see it all coming together like I’m apart of the action and I appreciated that. I loved that I could feel Jordan and Nick falling for each other. I was right there, anxious and nervous when Nick and Jordan arrived at Xander’s party. My heart was pounding when the shit hit the fan and I was annoyed as all get out Lisa came back into the picture.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story was the inclusion of Jack and Cameron. They were a part of the story but they didn’t take over the story and I liked that. It was so good to see them again and see how they’re doing so I loved that James included them.

I’m a blood-thirsty bitch and I wanted something to happen to Lisa. I wanted to see Nick tell her where to shove her love for him and I wanted to see Nick with his Mom. It would have been nice to see Nick with his family but aside from wanting those things, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and am sure that fans of Julie James will not be disappointed with this new book. Julie James wrote another winner for me and it was such a fast read that I’m already anxious for more from Julie and I cannot freaking wait for Kyle’s book. Holy goodness, I was so excited to see that Kyle’s story is next. Woo hoo!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorney

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted February 14, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 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. 🙂

Like most of you, I adore Nalini Singh. I’ll read anything she writes. Including thrillers.

Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Format: Hardcover
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 384
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In this gripping thriller set in New Zealand, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes you into the twisted world of an exclusive cul-de-sac located on the edge of a sprawling forest.

My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she's back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance...but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren't allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.

Excerpt

My hands tightened on the steering wheel as my father got into the passenger seat.

We didn’t speak, my eyes on the unmarked police vehicle up ahead. Driven by Constable Neri, it led us out of the leafy gilded surrounds of the Cul-de-Sac and onto a long and winding road bordered by the dense forests of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with only small hamlets of habitation along the way—and glimpses of breathtaking vistas where the foliage opened up.

Scenic Drive lived up to its name. But only if you weren’t expecting pretty and safe.

All that rich green turned parts of the road claustrophobic. It was never searing hot here, not in the cool darkness of the shadows cast by the forest giants. This was a quiet place, a place that whispered that humanity was an intrusion that would be swiftly forgotten once we were gone.

An unexpected flash of white, a large sign at the entrance to a trail, warning that the area was under a rāhui because of kauri dieback disease. No one was permitted to go on those trails, because the disease spread through the forest on the soles of human shoes, bringing a slow death to trees meant to grow far older than my mother would ever be.

I followed the police car knowing that if it stopped anywhere on this road, it’d be a spot I’d driven past hundreds of times.

Passing my mother’s grave over and over again.

The unmarked car slowed as it turned a corner and when I followed, I saw flashing lights, road cones, and an orange-vested officer waiting to direct traffic through what had become a single narrow lane.

One of the darkest sections of the road and of the forest.

The land dropped off precipitously to my right, but not into emptiness. Into bush dense and thick and impenetrable to the human eye. Ancient kauri trees, nīkau palms, huge tree ferns, this landscape was theirs.

Constable Neri brought the police vehicle to a stop behind a van and I pulled in behind her. Everyone waited while I got my crutches from the backseat, no one speaking. Armpits snugged into the tops of the walking aids, I nodded, and the cops led us to a part of the road that had no safety barrier against the fall into the green. I couldn’t remember if it ever had.

“The car was found at the foot of this incline,” Regan told us. “Nose down.”

That fit my father’s theory of it sliding off the road and down the steep slope into the devouring forest. I wanted to dispute the idea of my mother driving off the road on a rainy night, such a neat and tidy end to everything, but she had drunk too much as long as I could remember, and she could be a reckless driver.

Of course, if I were the one writing this story, I’d use those very things to cover up a murder.

Cover up a scream.

Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Review: Reckless Road by Christine Feehan

Posted February 10, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Reckless Road by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Reckless Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #5
Also in this series: Judgment Road , Judgment Road, Vengeance Road, Vendetta Road, Desolation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Refuel your passion with a new installment of the Torpedo Ink series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

While Gedeon "Player" Lazaroff is one of Torpedo Ink motorcycle club's roughest members, he's also one of the calmest. Little rattles Player, except for the times his gift gets the better of him. When that happens, he has to just lie down in the dark and hope for the best. But on a night when he's on the verge of losing it, he meets a woman who manages to soothe his fractured mind.

Zyah is a striking, ethereal beauty who seduces him with every word and move. Their night together is one of pure, exquisite bliss. But when Player gets confused and thinks their intimate encounter was nothing more than a dream, his careless dismissal leaves her humiliated and angry.

Now, Player will have to devote his every breath to convincing Zyah to give him a second chance. Because she might be the only one who can save him from himself....

I think I’m done with this series. Actually, I’m not going to lie to myself. I’ve been dying to read Savage’s book since the beginning of this series. I had a very hard time reading Desolation Road, which I was really excited about. I wasn’t really expecting much from Reckless Road and I’m glad I didn’t because I could hardly stand reading it.

Player has always been the upbeat member of Torpedo Ink. He’s able to cast illusions and did so to give himself and the other kids in the prison hope. Then his psychic power started to morph into something else; something far more dangerous. Not only could Player cast illusions, but his illusions could turn into an alternate reality. When he’s in an alternate reality, it changes what happens in the real world, which is dangerous for everyone in the actual world.

Zyah was actually a very likable heroine. I enjoyed her immensely. That doesn’t mean I liked the book. See, Zyah can literally feel the earth under her feet. The day she meets Player, she knows he’s the one for her. Unfortunately he treats her like a piece of ass and Zyah wants nothing more to do with him.

Player realizes that he messed up the next morning. He remembers how he sent the woman away, but he thought it was all a dream. He had never had anything so beautiful come into his life and he wrecked it. It doesn’t matter what Zyah thinks of him, he will protect her and her grandmother at all costs when a group of roaming thieves start targeting the elderly in Caspar. Caspar is protected by Torpedo Ink and that means its residents are protected too.

I did enjoy the romance between Player and Zyah, but there were so many big misunderstandings that it was like reading a Judith McNaught book. Sweet baby Jesus, just get on the same page. I still have this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that Christine Feehan has turned her writing over to a ghost writer or someone is assisting her in writing. The writing just isn’t the same. I realize that writing may change over the course of an author’s career, but this much? I’m a sceptic.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Torpedo Ink

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Rafael by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted February 7, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 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: Rafael by Laurell K. HamiltonRafael by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #28
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Killing Dance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 272
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Rafael, king of the wererats, must fight to the death to defend his crown. He wants Anita Blake, one of his closest allies, with him as he faces an opponent unlike any he’s faced before. He will ask Anita to risk everything to be at his side.…

But some of the wererats fear that Rafael depends too much on Anita and her ties to the vampires. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and Rafael will turn them into nothing more than food for the bloodsuckers.

Among his enemies, a new challenger has arisen who is younger, hungrier, and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Rafael will go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all or die trying.

Excerpt

Excerpt from RAFAEL by Laurell K. Hamilton.

I’d killed the Mother of All Darkness by absorbing her essence while she tried to take over my body and use it for herself. It had been sort of the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force, and most people had been betting on her. She had been the very first vampire, maybe, so old that her original body had been lost and the last body she’d had had been one that she’d successfully possessed. That body had been blown up by a group of mercenaries hired to assassinate her, but all they’d done was destroy the body that had been trapped for a thousand years. They had freed her from her prison to wander like a nightmare to try and find a new body. She’d wanted mine.

Rafael stroked my hair and murmured, “She is dead and gone, Anita. You do not need to fear her.”

I moved out of the circle of his arms. “You never had her try to take over your dreams, or your body.”

“You are quite right,” he said; his face was closed down, reasonable, and blank, hiding what he was feeling and thinking.

“I feel like I should apologize to you, but I don’t know what for,” I said.

He gave a very small smile, but it left his eyes sad. “If I were truly a gentleman we would shower separately and I would prepare for tonight’s battle, but I want to be with you too much to play such games.”

“I want you, too, Rafael,” I said, because that’s what you’re supposed to say when someone declares that kind of attraction. It’s like when someone says I love you; you’re supposed to say it back if it’s even remotely true, unless you’re willing to have that most awkward of modern dating talks, the one where you try to explain that it’s not about love.

“I can only take your words at face value, search your face to see if it matches them, because I cannot read your mind, feel your emotions.”

“You can smell my emotions on my skin, all shapeshifters can,” I said.

“In this moment I know you are not feeling lust, because you are right, I would smell it on you.”

I fought not to look embarrassed or even uncomfortable. I looked at the floor and then forced myself to look up and meet his gaze. “I can’t smell your emotions, but I can read your face and you’re not feeling very lustful either.”

“I cannot disagree, and if this were any other day I would let you go to shower in the room where you shower with your other men, or perhaps that huge bathtub that Jean-Claude has in his rooms, but it is not any other day. I want you as a man wants a woman, but I also want you to feed the ardeur on me.”

“Won’t that weaken you for the fight tonight?”

“If you fed off only me, perhaps, but you will feed off the strength of all who call me king. If it is to be the last time, I want you to take as much power from us as possible for Jean-Claude to share among your people.”

I touched his arm, studying his face trying to read him. “I asked if you thought you would win tonight, and you said yes. Am I missing something? Am I not asking the right questions?”

“He is me thirty years ago, Anita. He has less to lose and more to gain. I have far more to lose and nothing to gain except his death, which I do not want. I think he believes that you will enslave us all, you and Jean-Claude. He is righteous in his goal to tear me from the throne. I am defending what is mine and I am decades too late for that righteous surety of youth.”

“I don’t understand what that means.”

He smiled down at me, putting his bigger hand along the side of my face so that I could rub my face in against the weight and warmth of his hand. “Of course, you don’t, you still have that righteous surety.”

I moved away from his hand, frowning. “Not as much as I used to have.”

“You are starting to grow into the next stage of your life, Anita. Your job as a vampire executioner and now as a marshal has aged your attitude faster. Hector knows nothing but his clan. He has risen as high as he can within the local clan, so he sets his sight on the highest seat among my kind.”

“You said he’s you thirty years ago.”

“Very much so.”

“So how old is he?”

“Are you asking how old I am?”

I stared up at his raven-black hair, the unlined face. If I hadn’t looked into the wisdom and patience in his eyes, I’d have put him at no more than thirty, but his eyes gave it away almost like some of the vampires did. They were ageless, but their eyes could show an echo of the great weight of all those years, as if there were ways to grow old that had nothing to do with the body.

From RAFAEL published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).


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Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Posted February 3, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Roommate by Rosie DananReviewer: Rowena
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

House Rules:

Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

The Roommate is Rosie Danan’s debut contemporary romance release from last year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it so I was looking forward to reading it but the massive reading slump of 2020 got to me so I haven’t gotten around to it until now. I was really engaged from beginning to end in what was going on with both Clara and Josh. Sure, there were times when I wanted to smack them both upside their stubborn heads but overall, they were great characters with great chemistry and I was rooting for them.

So this book follows Clara Wheaton, a socialite from Connecticut who leaves her life of privilege, responsibility, and expectations for the freedom of living on her own clear across the country. She ran away from the responsibilities of being a Wheaton to figure some things out while she rooms with the love of her life and best friend, Everett. But when she shows up in Los Angeles, determined to make Everett fall in love with her, he delivers some bad news. His band got asked to do a last-minute multiple-city tour and he’s leaving…right now. But she’s not to worry because he rented his room to someone else so she won’t be alone and she can still have her summer of adventure. She just had to do it all without him.

Clara meets her new roommate, Josh Connors, when she gets home and while she had no intention of getting to know him, they talk and he convinces her to stick it out and find out what she’s all about. Before Clara knows what’s what, she’s reunited with her estranged Aunt, she’s got a job and she’s developed a strictly platonic friendship with her roommate that she really enjoys. Everything was going pretty great until she finds out that her new friend and roommate, Josh Connors, is actually Josh Darling, a sexy porn star and the exact opposite of what her parents would approve of.

Josh is used to people not approving of his job and in extension, approving of him. He enjoys his work, he’s free of strings and is living his life the way that he wants to but when he befriends his new roommate, Clara Wheaton, her opinion of him starts to matter, and then before he knows what is what, he’s got a giant crush on her that can only end with his heart being shattered because he just knows she doesn’t feel the same way. When they go into business together, things really heat up between the two of them but it doesn’t come without its fair share of complications.

Seeing these two battle their attraction to each other while trying to figure out their own individual issues made for a great romance. Rosie Danan’s writing style flowed well and was easy to follow along with and I thought she told a really engaging story with a charming cast of characters. I’m glad that I read this book and I’m looking forward to jumping into her next book that I have for review.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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