Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Guest Review: Ice Wolf by Jane Godman

Posted March 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Ice Wolf by Jane GodmanReviewer: Tracy
Ice Wolf by Jane Godman
Series: Arctic Brotherhood #1
Published by Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Norse Mythology
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three-stars

They are the Arctic Brotherhood.

They are deadly fighters, fierce protectors and loyal mates.

Elliott Wilder is a mild mannered Alaskan college professor. Wilder craves the things most people find boring. Seclusion. Monotony. Anonymity. But what Wilder craves most of all is the thing he can’t have… memory loss. Four hundred years ago, Wilder and the other members of the Arctic Brotherhood were captured and tortured by the leader of the Siberian werewolves. Wilder is still haunted by memories of that night, when he wasn’t able to protect his leader.

Now the Siberian wolf is on the loose and seeking revenge. Not only must Wilder lead the brotherhood, he must fight the attraction he feels toward its newest recruit, Jenny Piper. Jenny offers Wilder a glimpse of the life he can’t have. As the brotherhood races against time to save humanity from the horror their enemies unleashed on the world, Wilder must reach inside himself to find the leader the brotherhood needs and the mate Jenny craves.

Elliott is an Arctic werewolf.  He was part of the Brotherhood of the Midnight Sun 400 years ago but since that time he’s been by himself.  He is currently working at a university and is shocked when he meets a woman, Jenny Piper, who is an Arctic werewolf as well.  He’s attracted to her but he wants nothing to do with any werewolves or pack so tries to separate himself.  That lasts less than 24 hours as the leader of the Brotherhood, Gunnar, shows up to let him know that the evil Siberian wolf they had put in jail 400 years earlier has escaped and wants revenge.  Elliott wants to ignore it all but he can’t when the previously imprisoned wolf attacks not only him but also Jenny.

Soon Jenny, Elliott and Gunnar are off to fight the battle between good and evil but the evil runs much deeper than any of them believed and it might take a miracle for the Brotherhood to win this battle.

Ice Wolf is the first book in the Arctic Brotherhood series.  The story was fast-paced and pretty action packed from the start of the book.

I liked Elliott despite the fact that he was pretty grumpy at the beginning of the book.  He soon took his place as leader of the Brotherhood and it was just what he needed in order to deal with his PTSD resulting from being tortured 400 years before.  He was a good leader and I felt he did a good job.

Jenny was a fighter and I really liked her.  She had a sunny disposition despite her childhood horrors and I liked her positivity and strength.  She got herself into a bit of a bind during the course of the book but didn’t end up needing the hero to rescue her – she did that herself.  Go Jenny!

The story was a good one, no doubt.  I wish that we could have gotten to know the other members of the Brotherhood a little better.  I think I would be more interested in reading their stories if I had a bit more knowledge of who they are.  Yes the Brotherhood worked together in this book but it was really focused on Elliott and Jenny.  If you like Norse mythology this would be a good one to pick up.  These definitely aren’t your average werewolves, that’s for sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5 

three-stars

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Guest Review: Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole

Posted March 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole
Series: Preload #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?

Jordan’s early life was hell.  He experienced horrible abuse and abandonment but survived and grew up to become a rock star – literally.  He and his “brothers,” the boys from the group home he lived in, created Preload, a heavy metal band that hit it big.  From the outside Jordan looks like he has everything that anyone could want but inside he’s constantly in turmoil.  He doesn’t believe that he is someone that can be loved and he certainly doesn’t know how to do romantic love.  When out walking one night Jordan sees Aleksandra rehearsing and he becomes completely enthralled.

Aleksandra aka Lexi is also someone that looks like she’s got it made – from the outside.  She has done very well for herself in the National Ballet of Canada but it’s never enough for her father who was once a dancer himself. He’s constantly telling her that she’s fat or not good enough and pushes her to her limits.  She would love to dance in some of the contemporary pieces the company does but her father will only let her do the classics.  She feels she owes him because of the sacrifices he’s made but his verbal abuse hurts.

When Jordan and Lexi meet it’s scary for both of them but each pushes through their issues in order to be together.  The question is, will their issues push their way to the front and eventually pull them apart?

I was so excited when I saw that Scarlett Cole had started a series that told us the stories of the men of Preload. While reading the Second Circle series I was completely intrigued by these men and their strength.  Jordan’s book was a great start to hopefully what will be a wonderful series.

Jordan is an amazing man.  He survived his horrible childhood and has worked through a lot of his issues over the years.  The one that he can’t deal with is his brothers leaving him.  He knows that they all live together because of him but he can’t find it in him to care until he meets Lexi. He finally starts to realize that he can’t continue living as he has in the past because he needs to be strong for not only himself and his brothers but for Lexi as well.  I loved how he worked things out in his own brain, with his brothers and with Lexi.  He was smart enough to know that he couldn’t do the same things and expect a different outcome.  Yes, sometimes he was overwhelmed but for the most part he had the strength to push through so that they could be together.

Lexi had a decent childhood but what she saw as her father’s discipline amounted to physical and verbal abuse.  She was 26 years-old, had a wonderful job, owned her own home and paid her own bills but she was still under the thumb of her father.  It took a lot to break free from him and Jordan helped her with that.  I hated that it had to be such a caustic break with her father, and I wish that we could have gotten more closure with that issue, but it was still well done.  Her father was a complete bastard so I was just happy she was away from him.

Of course we got to catch up with Dred and Pixie in this book, and Dred’s daughter, Petal. (The Purest Hook) I loved seeing where they were in their lives (approx..) 9 months after their story took place.  We didn’t get too too much info about the other guys in the band except for Elliot who is a bit of a pyro from what I understand.  His book should definitely be interesting.

Overall I enjoyed the book tremendously.  Despite all the issues that the H/h had, and some of the darker things they spoke about, there really wasn’t too much angst between them.  Yes, they had to work through stuff but hey, that’s what I call a normal relationship.  I loved that they communicated in order to make things right.  The book was a great and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

Posted December 12, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrick
Series: The Scottish Relic Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Much Ado About Highlanders, Taming the Highlander
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish, Magic
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four-stars

Miranda MacDonnell is on the run. When she inherited a mysterious relic from her mother, she had no idea the dangers it would bring. Now hunted by a relentless foe who will stop at nothing to find her, she has one choice: stow away on the ship of the notorious privateer, Black Hawk.

Rob Hawkins, the half-English privateer known as Black Hawk, has a mission from the Tudor king to find and kill the rogue commander, Sir Ralph Evers. To complete his quest, Hawk must find Miranda, a young woman Evers is pursuing. Caught in a tempest, he is shipwrecked with a "boy" who demonstrates an uncanny ability for saving him. Cast away on the mysterious Isle of the Dead, Hawk realizes that the "boy" traveling with him is actually Miranda MacDonnell and having her means that Evers will come to him. What begins as a ploy —using her as bait—soon changes, however, as he falls in love with her.

Ancient forces are at work, drawing the four possessors of the relic’s power to the Isle of the Dead in the Outer Hebrides for a final battle where good must overcome the forces of evil in this spectacular finale to the Scottish Relic Trilogy.

Miranda MacDonnell is on the run. When she inherited a mysterious relic from her mother, she had no idea the dangers it would bring. Now hunted by a relentless foe who will stop at nothing to find her, she has one choice: stow away on the ship of the notorious privateer, Black Hawk.

Rob Hawkins, the half-English privateer known as Black Hawk, has a mission from the Tudor king to find and kill the rogue commander, Sir Ralph Evers. To complete his quest, Hawk must find Miranda, a young woman Evers is pursuing. Caught in a tempest, he is shipwrecked with a “boy” who demonstrates an uncanny ability for saving him. Cast away on the mysterious Isle of the Dead, Hawk realizes that the “boy” traveling with him is actually Miranda MacDonnell and having her means that Evers will come to him. What begins as a ploy —using her as bait—soon changes, however, as he falls in love with her.

Ancient forces are at work, drawing the four possessors of the relic’s power to the Isle of the Dead in the Outer Hebrides for a final battle where good must overcome the forces of evil in this spectacular finale to the Scottish Relic Trilogy.

Miranda has the gift of sight.  She inherited this from her mother via an ancient relic that gives her this power.  She’s on the run from a man who wants her dead so that he can have the power of the stone.  She knows from a vision that her mother had before she died that Rob Hawkins – knowns a Black Hawk, is entwined with her future.  She stows away on his ship but when a storm sends him overboard Miranda jumps in to save his life.

The pair end up on an island and for a time Rob still believes that Miranda is a boy named Gavin.  When he figures out she’s a woman he’s stunned but it doesn’t change the fact that he admires her greatly for her strength and perseverance.  They are plagued on the island by one disaster after another which causes the two to become closer and eventually fall in love.  Unfortunately the man who wants the power of all four stones has found them on the island and will stop at nothing to get the stone from Miranda as well as two other women who hold stones of their own.

This was a much more exciting story than I expected.  I knew it was the culmination of everything that had gone on in the two previous stories but it was more fraught with danger than I anticipated.  Miranda, thankfully, saved Rob’s life a time or two and he saved hers as well – without the help of sight.  I loved that their shared circumstances brought them together.  They were perfect for each other and I loved seeing their feelings for each other grow by the day.

The parts of the story that involved the power of the stone and Sir Ralph Evers who wanted it all for himself was blended so well into the story.  I didn’t feel like there was any disconnect between the romance and the stones.  It was very fantastical and magical but done very well.  A great end to a wonderful trilogy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison

Posted November 23, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
One Less Problem without You by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
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two-half-stars

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It's a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can't let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison's One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together.

When I see books by Beth Harbison the first thing I think of is chick-lit. I am not saying this as a bad thing at all, but that is just what most of her books are, in my humble opinion. I was spending an early weekend morning checking out the new books at the local library. I found One Less Problem Without You and of course I read the blurb on the back of the cover, and thought “hmm, this is a little out of the norm for this author”, but then I figured that maybe it was just the way I was interpreting it so I plopped it in the old trusty book bag and foraged on through the rest of the rows.

When I got home later, I grabbed the book and started reading. After a few chapters, I noticed this book was nothing like what I had expected. It was a more “weighty” (is that even a word??) type of story that I didn’t really expect from Beth Harbison. But then, maybe that is exactly the point. Perhaps the author wanted to shake her readers up a bit. I really couldn’t say. But this book was a little hard for me to get through and I actually kept laying it down. I did a load of laundry, I wiped down the kitchen counters….you know the drill. There just seemed to be a lot going on with a lot of different characters. At one point I got pretty lost in all the back and forth. I totally get wanting to give some background and explain some things, but I think it was a little overdone at times.

I guess from the cover of the book AND the fact that the author is Beth Harbison, I expected a light-hearted, borderline cutesy kinda read. And yes, I DID read the synopsis, but I figured if anyone could make it all better it would be Beth. The abusive scenes in the book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting rape to be part of it.. I also could not stand the main male character and I was annoyed with his wife and all the crap she kept putting up with. I personally do not have any knowledge about abusive relationships, but I can honestly say that my butt would’ve been gone a LONG time before she finally decided to do something about it.

So there you have it. One Less Problem Without You will not be one that I brag about or tell my friends they need to read. I struggled with this one and even considered not finishing. But hey……I’m NOT a quitter! Okay, I am sometimes, but I saw this one to the end.

Now just because I wasn’t thrilled with this one doesn’t mean that you won’t be. I absolutely HATED 50 Shades of Grey and look how popular that was! Just remember that this one is not all sweet and wrapped it a bow. It deals with some pretty heavy things at times. There are tons of people that rated it highly, so read some other reviews, or just go to the library like I did. You won’t be losing anything either way, and you might just like it.

two-half-stars

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Guest Review: Big Package by Opal Carew

Posted November 21, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Big Package by Opal CarewReviewer: Tracy
Big Package by Opal Carew
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Baby it’s cold outside…but things are about to heat up.

I missed the last bus to my sister’s for Christmas, and now I'm stranded in a bus station—in the middle of a blizzard—with a giant package covered in naughty wrapping paper.

Then he shows up: Kalen Welles, the football star from my high school fantasies—and offers me a ride.

Just when the car is getting cozy, the roads get shut down due to snow.
Luckily there’s a nearby cabin where we can hole up for the night.

A warm fireplace, cozy blankets, pent-up longing we both spent years ignoring… maybe I’ll be able to unwrap Kalen's big package before Christmas morning.

But when the snow clears and the ice melts, will the former football star and the shy nerd finally get a happy ending?

Holly broke up with her boyfriend a week before she’s supposed to go to her sister’s house for Christmas.  She thinks he’s being nice when he offers to drop her off at the bus station but then gets her there late and leaves her with a big Christmas package.  The bus driver won’t let her on and won’t stow it because there’s only 1 bag allowed.  She can’t leave it cuz the jerkwad told her that her grandmother’s necklace was inside.  She’s sitting there contemplating her options when a gorgeous man notices her.

Kalen’s on his way to Ottawa too and strangely enough she knows him from high school.  She was heavy in high school but had always had a crush on him.  They head off to Ottawa but the snow storm gets worse and the road gets closed.  Luckily her sister’s cabin isn’t far and they head there to spend the night.  One thing leads to another and soon they’re in bed together and Kalen has really big package for her. She’s intimidated but ready to roll.

Holly has some self-esteem issues so when Kalen says he’s always liked her but never asked her out she doubts him.  He wants to keep seeing her but there might be other obstacles in their way that keeps them apart.

This was a cute story that was pretty sexy.  I liked Kalen – he seemed like a good guy for the most part.  Holly was so very insecure it almost ruined the relationship a couple of times but she came through in the end.

The whole thing with the big Christmas package was funny.  Holly’s ex was a total ass and when she found out the contents of the box it was funny – not for her but for the reader.  Now, Kalen’s big package?  I didn’t care for that as much. I mean, he’s got a 12-inch penis that’s got a head like a billiard ball.  I know it’s supposed to be the whole play on words but it just got a little…old.  Maybe it was me but I didn’t find it erotic – just kind of annoying.

Anyway, in the end I found this to be a cute erotic Christmas novella.

Rating; 3 out of 5

three-stars

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