Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Posted September 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #5
Also in this series: Lord Dashwood Missed Out
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 272
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four-stars

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Tessa Dare delivers another fabulous historical romance that had me captivated from the very first page. She writes such wonderful romances that really grab at readers and she did it with ease here. Every word moved the story along and I felt every emotion that both main characters felt throughout the course of this book. So good!

Charlotte Highwood is the youngest Highwood sister and she had plans. Plans that did not include getting caught with Lord Granville and being forced into a marriage neither of them wanted. She just wanted to talk to Lord Granville, let him know that she had no plans to trap him into marriage and to also warn him about her Mother and how he was to stay far away from her. She’s pissed to high heaven that her plans went up in flames by a scandal that wasn’t even hers. Well, wasn’t entirely hers. She’s not going to give in without a fight and if she can just figure out who was getting down in that room, she can clear her and Piers name and they won’t have to get married. She can save him from being forced to marry her and she can save herself to find and fall in love with the man she was meant to marry.

Charlotte was just as awesome as I was hoping she’d be. I’ve always like her from the early Spindle Cove books and was super excited when I found out she was finally old enough to get her own book. She was so nosy and yet so funny and she was all that and then some in Do You Want to Start a Scandal. Her personality shined so brightly and honestly, she was everything in this book. She made me happy, she made me sad but oh man in the end, I felt like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.

Piers was great too. I loved watching him fall in love with Charlotte, completely confused while it was all happening. When he said:

“What are you doing to me?” he murmured.

He was so confused about her and everything he was feeling about her. I loved it all. I loved seeing him crumble to pieces toward her. I loved how deeply and how fast he fell for her. I mean, sure he pissed me off a bit when he tried to manage her, manipulate her into seeing things his way but he more than made up for that when all was said and done. His love for Charlotte was as deep and her love for him was. The epilogue made me happy sigh because gah. I loved these two.

Tessa Dare always serves up great characters and witty dialogue with spicy scenes that I love each and every single time. She doesn’t disappoint with this latest book in the Spindle Cove series. This was a good one. I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 22, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure, Contemporary
Pages: 352
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four-half-stars

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...   Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.   Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?   *Library Journal
From the Hardcover edition.

When last we left Mercy and Adam, his ex-wife, Christy, had spent several weeks making Mercy’s life hell, they’d fought a volcano god and Mercy brought a Tibicena (a mythical dog that guarded the volcano god) into the pack.

I was fairly frustrated with Adam and Mercy both by the time I finished Night Broken, the previous entry in this series, so I started Fire Touched with caution. I’m happy to report all my concerns were addressed well before the halfway mark. This entry brings new trouble to the Pack, but also clears up some lingering issues from previous books.

Mercy gets a call from her human cop friend Tony asking for help with a “huge monster” that’s perched on a bridge, eating cars and people. The pack races over there and discovers it’s a Troll. After battling it and sustaining heavy injuries to many pack members, Mercy claims the city as pack territory and vows to defend it. As the Fae are still trying to prove their power to the humans who refused to see them as anything more than meek pushovers, this causes major issues. Especially after Mercy grants sanctuary to a child the Fae desperately want, as he’s been living in Underhill for years and seems to be accepted their in a way they no longer are.

Mercy has settled into the pack now, and people are beginning to look toward them more for support and protection. Claiming the Tri-Cities as pack territory was the right move, but she gets a lot of flak for it from the pack, since they weren’t consulted (and neither was Adam) before she made her declaration. I really enjoyed seeing Mercy take on more leadership in the pack. Not that she wasn’t hands-off before, but her place in the pack seemed more secure, as did her role as Adam’s mate and Alpha.

The plot featuring the Aiden, the Fire Touched boy was especially intriguing. The twists and turns of the plot made for an engaging read.

One thing did make me very sad, however.

View Spoiler »

Aside from that, there was quite a bit of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading, especially in the beginning.

Fire Touched was a fascinating, thrilling tale from start to finish.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

Posted August 15, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #15.5
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Tangle of Need, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 23rd 2016
Genres: Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 400
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four-stars

The “alpha author of paranormal romance”* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible...

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander...

Dorian
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play...

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries...
*Booklist, starred review

Echo of Silence:

I love any Psy/Changeling or Psy/Human book. I just love how the Psy have to adjust to being Silent to having to embrace feelings. It was no different for Stefan and Tazia. Stefan is Tazia’s commander at Alaris, a deep sea station, a Psy that is immersed so deeply in Silence that Tazia has to wonder how anything affects him. A powerful Tk, Stefan is there for multiple reasons, one of them being an emergency escape for all those aboard the station. Tazia has little doubt that Stefan is completely Silent.

When the time comes for some of the crew, including Tazia to go topside for a month, she’s not thrilled. On the outs with her family, she has nothing to do but kill time for a month before she can go back to Alaris. She is beyond surprised when Stefan invites her to a Search and Rescue mission, telling her that her engineering skills would be quite useful. Nothing about her sad situation, of course. Just that her skills would be useful. That’s the Psy for you.

Over the course of the next month, Stefan and Tazia become close in their efforts to rescue and help as many people as they can. Stefan shares part of his childhood with Tazia and how his Silence became fractured at such an early age. In turn, Tazia tells him how she became estranged from her parents. This was a sweet love story between two people that know what it’s like to have lost.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Dorian:

Dorian’s story continues (or begins) in this short story that shows how difficult it was for him to be latent from childhood. His leopard has always clawed to be let out, but Dorian has always been helpless to let his cat out. From the start, he made sure he was just as fast, strong, and powerful as any DarkRiver sentinel. There were a few parts of this story that I really liked. One was when the original DarkRiver alpha, Lachlan, took Dorian aside and told him exactly how hard it would be for him, but that he couldn’t let that hold him back. The second was when Dorian was a leopard and Lucas and all the other sentinel’s didn’t treat him any different than if he had been a leopard all his life. It was a great look into what life is like being a sentinel in DarkRiver.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Partners in Persuasion:

Felix is SnowDancer’s head horticulturalist. He has a way with plants and botany that few of the SnowDancers do. After the fight with PurePsy wiped out a portion of their land, Felix and his team are responsible for planting and beginning the process of making it what it once was. Felix ultimately draws the attention of Desiree, who is a soldier for DarkRiver. The attention is not wanted. Felix is a submissive and extremely shy. He’s had his own run in with a dominant and it was nothing that he wants to repeat. Yet he can’t seem to stay away from Dezi, someone that isn’t just a dominant wolf, but also a woman.

Dezi’s wolf is fascinated by Felix. Submissiveness aside, Felix has a way about him that calms her cat and makes her want more. The only problem is that Felix has a problem with dominants more than a normal submissive might. They like each other enough to get past it and get past it they do.

As they get to know each other, Felix continues to respect Dezi’s dominance, but he’s not cowed by it. If he was, Dezi’s cat would not respect him, nor would she accept him. Because I don’t read novella’s, I’ve never read a male submissive/female dominant story before and I found it fascinating. Felix was all male and submissive, but that didn’t take away the fact that he could be in charge, he could have Dezi’s back and that was something that Dezi’s cat needed as did Dezi herself. I found this story to be delightful.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Flirtation of Fate:

Kenji and Garnet have known each other since childhood. Garnet always thought that they were made to mate until Kenji broke her heart on her 21st birthday. Now, they are lieutenants of their own SnowDancer dens, equals and each powerful in their own right.

When Kenji journeys to Garnet’s den for a pack meeting, he knows that he has to do everything he can to hide his true feelings for her and the secret that will lay him bare before her. For Garnet, she has to pretend that it’s business as usual. All that goes to the wayside when there is a murder in her den. Now they are working side by side to figure out who would want to kill on of their packmates. It seems like an open-and-shut case, but it doesn’t take either of them long to realize that there’s more there than meets the eye.

It’s plain to see from the beginning that Kenji and Garnet belong together. It’s a not-so-simple misunderstanding that has been going on for seven years. Kenji has been protecting Garnet from something, by being a total ass, sleeping around and generally making her hate him. But we can’t help but love Kenji with his wild hair and attitude to go along with it.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-stars

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Review: White Tiger by Jennifer Ashley

Posted August 11, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: White Tiger by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Holly
White Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #8
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Pages: 335
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four-half-stars

A woman is lured into the shadows of a dangerous manhunt...Wanted and on the run...   For twenty years, Kendrick, a white tiger Shifter, has been the Guardian of un-Collared Shifters who spend their lives living in secret—and in fear of being shunted into Shiftertowns. When Kendrick’s group is discovered and forced to flee, Kendrick is more desperate than ever to protect them His only salvation was in a beautiful stranger.   In a diner in the middle of nowhere, lonely waitress Addison Price has seen a lot of unusual drifters come and go, but none has ever captivated—and intimidated—her like the imposing fugitive who wields a broadsword with incredible skill. But when he risks all to protect her, Addison’s fear turns to empathy—and empathy to desire as she learns more about her savior. Soon she’s more than willing to help the crushingly sensual white tiger and his cubs in a passionate bid for freedom. Whatever the cost.

White Tiger was an entertaining and intriguing read. I’ve been anxious for Kendrick’s story for ages. He’s a white tiger who, for twenty years, led a band of Shifters without collars in a secret compound. He’s been on the run since the compound was raided, and now his Shifters are turning against him, which put his cubs in jeopardy. He knows he needs a safe place to leave them while he eliminates the current threat, so he enlists the help of Addy, his favorite local waitress.

Addy hasn’t had a lot of contact with Shifters and she isn’t too pleased when her first encounter with one includes a drive-by shooting and an execution. She agrees to keep watch over Kendrick’s kids because she can’t stand the thought of them being hurt. When he tries to send her on her way, however, she finds she isn’t ready to walk away from them. She wants to help keep his kids safe..and she wants to get to know him better. Kendrick wants to send Addy away for her own safety, but the truth is it doesn’t take much to convince him to keep her around since he’s pretty sure she’s his mate.

I love the freshness of this series. The premise is interesting and makes for lovely intrigues. I enjoyed the tale and both main characters. Especially Addy. She was hilarious and wonderfully loyal. In the beginning, her easy acceptance of the situation she’s thrown into bothered me, but as the novel progressed I realized that’s just the type of person Addy is. Which was just what Kendrick needed – someone who was fully there for him and stuck when things got rough. I really enjoyed how they pulled their ragtag band around them and created a family.

Ashley’s world-building is clever and detailed, which makes for a very immersive reading experience. I didn’t want the story to end.

4.25 out of 5

 

four-half-stars

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Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Posted August 10, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #1
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Keepsake
Published by Rennie Road Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Western
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars

 
Farmers make the earth move.
The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago. 
At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price. 
Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way. 
They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some. 
Warning: Contains sexual situations, gourmet yumminess, a steamy outdoor shower and proof that farmers don't mind getting dirty.
Keywords: Vermont, sexy romance, lumbersexuals, not cowboys, hard cider, good times, steamy kisses and homemade ice cream.

Bittersweet was such a sweet read. I fell in love with Griffin Shipley, his farm and his family.

Griffin Shipley and Audrey Kidder hooked up a couple times in college. Griff wanted more, but Audrey never returned his calls. Although he was drafted out of college to play professional football, when his father died Griff chose to come home to work the family farm. Five years later, he’s in charge of the whole operation, which leaves little time for anything – or anyone – else. Which is why Audrey showing up out of the blue is both a gift and a nightmare. He would love nothing more than to strip her naked, but he doesn’t need the distraction – or the trouble she brings in the form of her employer.

Audrey struggled to find herself after high school. After failing out of two colleges, she went to culinary school and loved it. Now she’s interning at a major food company in hopes of winning  a major showcase they’re hosting. Winner gets a brand new restaurant. She’s determined to win the showcase, but she has to maintain the status quo until then – which means convincing Grumpy Griff the farmer to sell her apples.

Griff was such a great hero. Gruff, sexy and no-nonsense. I loved his approach to life and farming. Audrey wasn’t as focused as Griff, but she really worked in her own way. She’d been told her whole life she wasn’t good enough, but she didn’t let that stop her from finding her place and pursuing her dream. I really loved Griff’s family and the workers on his farm. Though I loved Griff and enjoyed his romance with Audrey, they made the book for me. Jude, Zach and his siblings and mother were really the showstoppers.

I did struggle a bit with how lost Audrey seemed in the beginning. She was determined to get her own restaurant by winning the showcase, but there wasn’t a lot of focus on her as a chef. What we did see of her at work made her seem incompetent. It isn’t that I thought she couldn’t do it period, but I felt like she needed more experience first. I also struggled with her relationship with her mom. I would have liked to see that explored a bit more.

Despite that, this was a solid read. I fell into this book right away and didn’t come up for air until it was finished. Funny, sexy, sweet…Definitely another winner from Bowen.

3.75/5

four-half-stars

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