Source: Author

Throwback Thursday Review: Sanctuary Unbound by Moira Rogers

Posted May 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Sanctuary Unbound by Moira RogersReviewer: Holly
Sanctuary Unbound by Moira Rogers
Series: Red Rock Pass #4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New England is ideal for vampire Adam Dubois. His cozy home in the Great North Woods reminds him of a happier time when werewolves and witches were stuff of legends, and he was a simple lumberjack.

Hiding from past failures has worked for over eighty years, but a life debt owed to the Red Rock alpha has forced him to leave his retreat--and come face to face with a woman who challenges and tempts him on every level.

Hiding secrets is a lonely business, and Cindy Shepherd is lonely with a capital L. Red Rock isn't exactly crawling with available men, but her interest in the mystery-shrouded new vampire in town seems mutual. After all, it's only sex--there's no danger he'll dig deep enough to unleash the demons of her past.

Casual flirtation turns deadly serious when Adam discovers that the vampire plaguing Red Rock is using his mistakes as a road map. When it comes to his life, he knows Cindy has his back. But in order to secure the future, they both must trust each other with more--even if it means sacrificing themselves to save everything they hold dear.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 31, 2010.

I’m not a fan of vampires. I can’t say there’s one particular reason why, it’s more of a collection of odd things here and there. I think for the most part I hate how stereotypical most of them are (I’ll have to ponder that for a post at a later date). So I tend to avoid vampire stories. There are, as always, exceptions, but mostly if I see a novel featuring a vampire I skip right by it.

I have to be honest and say I probably would have skipped this one, too, if I hadn’t read the one that comes before it and been intrigued by Adam. I’m adult enough to admit I would have missed out on a really great story if I’d done that.

Adam was strong and caring. For years he’s been living in regret and shame, the things of his past eating away at him. He prefers the solitude of his isolated cabin the woods and though he’s drawn to strong women, he tends to avoid strong attachments of any kind. To see him open himself up to Cindy was wonderful, especially since I knew the depth of his hurt from the past.

Cindy had dealt with her own pain and suffering. She was strong and capable, but soft enough to want someone to share her life with. She didn’t necessarily offer her trust easily, but she wasn’t closed to all relationships as she had every right to be. I liked that though she wanted to push Adam away, she didn’t.

Cindy and Adam were fabulous together. I loved the way they balanced each other – the  Lumberjack Vampire and the Werewolf Doctor. Each had scars from things in their past, and each really helped the other overcome some of the lingering pain and grief. I especially liked that both were strong despite having suffered so much in the past. Neither of them need to be rescued, only healed.

I also liked that the overall story arc of the series is moving forward. Sam and Gavin are starting to let go and Keith and Abby are stepping up. As much as I love Sam and Gavin, it isn’t realistic that they’d hang on forever. I’m glad Rogers recognizes that.  While I think this can be read as a stand-alone, there are references to things that have happened in the past, most recently in Sanctuary’s Price, so you may want to read that one first.

4.25 out of 5

Red Rock Pass

This book is available from Samhain. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Posted May 7, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Masked by Moonlight by Nancy GideonReviewer: Casee
Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon
Series: By Moonlight #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 375
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

IN THIS STUNNING FIRST BOOK FROM NANCY GIDEON’S SIZZLING NEW SERIES, A TENACIOUS COP AND HER SHAPE-SHIFTING ENEMY SACRIFICE EVERYTHING FOR FORBIDDEN DESIRE.

ALL SHE WANTS IS REVENGE.

New Orleans homicide detective Charlotte Caissie is dedicated to bringing down the crime boss responsible for her father’s murder. Using Jimmy Legere’s mysterious and irresistible right-hand man is a dangerous gamble, and not only due to his reputation as more monster than man. Because her feelings for Max Savoie are . . . complicated.

THEN HE RISKS HIS LIFE TO SAVE HERS.

Rescued from the swamps as a child, Max exists silently in Legere’s shadow, heeding only his voice—until Charlotte Caissie awakens his emotions and tests his loyalties. Stepping outside his cautious rules threatens more than just his heart. He could expose his darkest secret.

NOW THEY’RE BOTH IN OVER THEIR HEADS. Testing boundaries they weren’t meant to cross means facing the truth about who and what they are—and what they need from each other. If Max is the murderer she seeks, Charlotte could be his next victim. She can’t afford to trust any man. Good thing Max isn’t one.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2010.

This is the first book in Nancy Gideon’s new series. It caught my attention for two reasons; New Orleans and shapeshifter.

Charlotte Caissie is a detective with the New Orleans Police Department. For years she has been trying to bring down Jimmy Legere, the man responsible for her father’s murder. For years, Legere has evaded her. A particularly gruesome homicide brings Charlotte to Legere’s door and face-to-face with Max Savoie. No one is more loyal to Jimmy Legere than Max which is why Charlotte should feel nothing but disgust for Max. The opposite is true.

Max was brought into Jimmy Legere’s home when he was six years old. After his mother was brutally murdered, Jimmy rescued him and gave him a place to belong. Jimmy accepted Max for what he was, even if neither of them knew exactly what that was. For that alone, Max will do anything for Jimmy even if it means protecting him from Charlotte Caissie.

The dynamic of the relationships in this book are fascinating. Max and Charlotte have a connection that goes back to childhood. Charlotte doesn’t remember everything and has no idea that Max has been silently protecting her for years. Max has no expectations when it comes to Charlotte. He doesn’t believe that he can be loved for himself, especially by Charlotte.

If there was someone in this book that will break your heart, it’s Max. His loyalty to Jimmy is understandable if not admirable. Yet it is clear that he hasn’t become his own person. He is feared by most people because it is known exactly what he does for Jimmy. Max and Charlotte’s paths were destined to cross again and so they do. Charlotte is still going to bring Legere down, even if she takes Max down with him.

When Charlotte starts getting to know Max, she starts questioning everything. Why does Max work for Jimmy Legere? What is he hiding from her? Can she use him to get into Legere’s organization to bring it down? Charlotte is nothing if not honest with herself. At first, there is nothing she wants more than to kill Legere. Then there is nothing more she wants than to protect Max.

The book has an interesting ending that puts Max and Charlotte directly at odds with each other. Max is part of a criminal organization and Charlotte puts away criminals. How can they have a relationship when their lives are so different? There is something compelling about both Max and Charlotte. They are both such raw characters and it is clear that each one needs the other. I’m really looking forward to the second book.

4 out of 5.

This book is available from Pocket. You can buy it here.

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: (im)Perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris

Posted April 26, 2020 by Rowena in Features | 2 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. 🙂

Sharina Harris contacted us a couple of months ago and brought her book to my attention. After reading through her email and then checking out her book, I knew that I was going to read it. I’m a big fan of books that feature a strong set of female friendships and (im)Perfectly Happy looks like it fit the bill. This book comes out on Tuesday so you don’t have a long wait but check out an excerpt from the book.

Sunday Spotlight: (im)Perfectly Happy by Sharina HarrisImperfectly Happy by Sharina Harris
Publisher: Davina
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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When four college friends formed the Brown Sugarettes Mastermind Group, they had very different goals--but matched each other in ambition. Yet ten years later they can't help wondering what happened to the hopeful, confident, driven women they used to be--and how to get them back . . .

Radio personality Raina, known as "the black Delilah," hates the wholesome persona that's made her a success. Doling out syrupy versions of her grandma's wisdom feels worlds away from the sarcastic, tell-it-like-it-is woman Raina really is.

Kara Jones was sure she'd be a master sommelier by thirty. Life and loss interfered with that plan. Now she has one more chance--but it's taking a toll on her self-esteem and her marriage.

Nikki Grayson hardly recognizes the stay-at-home mom she's become. When her band signed a record deal, she swapped the limelight for a minivan and a sensible 'do. Now she's wishing she had followed her heart. Instead, she's drowning her regret in alcohol.

Public defender Sienna Njeri willingly put her city council aspirations aside to support her fiance's bid for office--and now she's wondering if her loyalty is misplaced.
Longing for the support, advice, and tough love they once shared, all four resolve to start meeting up again. After all, their dreams may still be within reach. But are they worth the price they'll pay to achieve them?

Excerpt

What in the hell have I gotten myself into? My palms were a soupy mess, I wiped them on my shorts, while my heart pounded against my chest. The screechy squawks of packing tape being ripped off cardboard and the sound of occasional grunts coming from Cameron, who was unpacking boxes and shifting furniture, forced tendrils of guilt down my spine.

He was grinding away getting things done while I sat motionless, alternating between Disney Princess happy and trembling like a frightened kitten. My phone buzzed, and I grabbed it from the pocket of my cutoffs. Nikki’s name flashed across the screen. I pressed the answer button, but before I could greet her, she said, “How’s your scary ass doing?”

“I’m good. Just getting things organized.” I lied easily to my best friend from college. And like all best friends, she knew I was full of shit.

“You’re a damn lie.”

“What’s up, Nik?” My annoyance was clear in my tone. “You know I’m busy.”

“The girls and I were talking . . . and anyway, I volunteered as tribute.” The girls she was referring to were my two other best friends from college, Sienna and Kara. We were always up in each other’s business, so I wasn’t surprised they’d gotten together to discuss God knows what.

“Volunteered for what?”

“Volunteered to talk some sense into you. We know you have cold feet about moving in with Cam.”

What did they think I would do—run away from home? I squelched down the flare of irritation that prickled my skin. My friends meant well, but I wasn’t in the mood for the all men aren’t like your daddy lecture. I knew that already. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing a bunch of domestic shit like buying mulch and analyzing a dozen gray paint samples with stupid names like Mole’s Breath. A roll of sweat trickled from my neck onto my chest. I used my hand as a fan. I was pretty sure the sweat was from the heat, not anxiety.

“Hellooooo, Raina? You still there?”

“Yes.” I modulated my tone to my late-night radio personality I used for my job. “I’m perfectly fine.”

“Sure you aren’t. And don’t take on that bougie-ass radio therapist tone with me. You’re talking to a friend, not a caller from your show.” She smacked her lips. “Anyway, can you talk?”

I looked at my guy, who was whistling as he drilled studs above the fireplace to mount our big screen TV. “Not right now,” I whispered.

“Good. You can just listen. Cam is a great guy, and this is a good step. You’ve been together for six years, and he’s been more than patient with your crazy ass. Who else would propose three times, get rejected, and then buy a house with you?”

“First of all—” I stopped myself when I caught Cameron’s attention. His eyebrows crinkled, and his eyes scanned me. I knew he was checking to see if everything was good. I gave him a smile and thumbs-up. “It’s Nikki. She’s just wishing us good luck.”

“No, I’m not. I’m convincing your crazy-ass girlfriend to calm down,” Nikki yelled over the phone line.

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: April 2020

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 Sharina Harris

Sharina Harris earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University. After college, she pursued a career in digital marketing and public relations. Although her profession required writing, she decided to pursue a career in writing in 2012.

Sharina’s contemporary romance series under the pen name, Rina Gray, was named Book Riot’s 100 Must‑Read Romantic Comedies. When Sharina’s not writing, she can be found with her head stuck in a book, rooting for her favorite NBA teams, and spending time with friends and family.

Sharina resides in Atlanta with her husband and son. Visit her at SharinaHarris.com.


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Review: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Posted February 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heartland by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Heartland by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #7
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks, Heartland
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 329
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.But I know better than to confess.Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

Heartland is the seventh book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series and she just keeps bringing on the happy sighs and cute romances, doesn’t she? I really enjoyed this one and am keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll keep getting books for this series for a long time to come. I’m pretty anxious for Daphne’s story.

So Heartland follows Dylan Shipley and Chastity Campbell to college. They’re both going through different things. Dylan is going through a frustrating phase with his growly older brother and Chastity is still trying to catch up to the rest of the world after spending years living in a cult. To add to Chass’s plate, she’s got an unrequited crush on Dylan Shipley and he has no clue. It sucks for her though because she’s around to see him work his charm on every girl on campus, every girl, but her. Right now, he worked his charm right into her awful roommates pants and it’s become a thing. A thing she hates to witness because she knows Dylan. She knows that he’s a kind-hearted person and so she doesn’t understand why he has such bad taste in women. Things start to get really interesting when Chass brings up making some money together. Their new business adventure features the leftover goat milk from Dylan’s family farm that Dylan needs to move. Making caramel together brings them a lot closer and feelings spring forth, feelings that they don’t know what to do with.

Dylan was exactly the lovable nerdy hero that I hoped he would be when we first met him, as a young high schooler in Bittersweet. I thought he was super sweet to Chastity and when he finally gets his head out of his ass about Kaitlyn, I was glad. I wanted to smack some damn sense into him a time or two while reading this book but overall, I loved him. He was a good person who loved his family and struggled with trying to figure out his place in his family, in their family business and in his future. I loved seeing him grow into the man that he was in the end. It wasn’t easy for him but when he finally stood up for himself, I was so relieved because he needed to get all of that shit out so that he can figure out where to go from here. I loved seeing him work through his feelings about his future and his feelings about Chass.

Chass was a great heroine on her own but she was also a perfect match for Dylan. She was kind, she was strong and she was super smart even though she had trouble with her classes in school. I really felt for her when she was stuck seeing Dylan, the object of her affections, with everyone but her and seeing her find her way at school, at home and everywhere in between was a lot of fun for me. She really comes into her own and I was rooting for her from the very beginning. I loved seeing her make friends outside of Dylan at school and even when she was trying to move on from Dylan, and hurting Dylan’s feelings in the process, I just loved it.

Sarina Bowen writes light moments in angsty romances and I just adore her writing style. I will read whatever she writes because she writes the kind of books that I want to read. Heartland was another fabulous addition to this series and if you’re a fan of the other books, I’m confident that you guys will be fans of this book. Dylan and Chastity have what it takes to carry a romance on their own and I have every confidence that you guys will enjoy this one. Do yourself a favor and read this one! 🙂

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

True North

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie Paxson

Posted December 23, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie PaxsonReviewer: Tracy
The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie Paxson
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 260
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

7 Reasons to Never Do a Favor for Your Best Friend:

1. It’s an ugly sweater party
2. The party is full of handsy executives
3. It’s an ugly sweater party
4. It’s an open bar and you need lots of alcohol to get through the party
5. It’s an ugly sweater party
6. Your friend leaves you to humiliate yourself in front of a sexy suit
7. It’s an ugly sweater party

Being a good friend means attending a corporate Christmas party with the ugliest sweater your friend could find. Cierra is a very good friend. However, coping with the party with the open bar lends her to humiliating herself with the sexiest guy there.

Justin knows the girl who threw up on his shoes at his company’s Christmas party, if only he could remember where. Between her drunken slurs and unfiltered conversation, she was the most fascinating woman he’d ever met.

Christmas is the season filled with love and cheer. Can a woman with no filter and a billionaire CEO find a way to survive the season, fall in love, and save an animal shelter in the process?

Cierra reluctantly says yes when one of her best friends asks her to attend her company Christmas party with her.  When she finds out it’s an ugly Christmas sweater party she’s even less thrilled.  She attends but decides to get completely drunk so she can drown out the fact that she’s there.  She doesn’t expect to meet a gorgeous man and do some dirty dancing.  She manages this, but by the time she met the man, she was already 3 sheets.  She ends up throwing up on him and then in the ladies room with the man holding her hair. 

Cierra is mortified the next day when she realizes what an ass she made of herself the night before.  When it turns out that the gorgeous guy she puked on is the one she’s been drooling over at the coffee shop, she’s mortified. (She was really drunk.  Drunk enough she didn’t even recognize the guy.) That doesn’t stop the man, Justin, from asking her out.  Cierra agrees and is thrilled when she has a great time. 

Cierra and Justin soon become an item, but there are issues to deal with.  Cierra is now working as an event planner at the company where Justin is the CEO.  He’s extremely wealthy, she’s not.  She’s got a smart mouth, he’s pretty tame.  His mother wants him to marry someone else and hates Cierra.  Yeah, issues. 

Justin’s mother was a complete bitch for 95% of the book.  Even though she was only on page about 3 times she made a BIG impression.  I disliked her a lot.  She was grieving the recent loss of her husband but that didn’t give her the right to treat Cierra like she was worse than pond scum. 

There was a “sort of” side story that had to do with an animal rescue that Cierra and Justin were trying to save that was cute.  I liked it, but it seemed a strange roundabout excuse to have Cierra and Justin work together when they were already working together – you know what I mean?  Not my choice, but I didn’t write the book.

Nothing bowled me over in this story, and I got annoyed at Cierra a couple of times because of her attitude towards things, but in the end it I thought it was just a cute Christmas book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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