Tag: Forever

Retro Review: The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted June 28, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

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

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

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on October 9, 2007.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 out of 5

five-stars

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & Corrupt

Posted May 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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dnf

Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I DNF’d my first Lauren Layne book and I’m still pretty surprised about it. If you know me then you know of my love of all things Lauren Layne. I adored her Oxford, Sex, Love & Stilettos and Wedding Belles series. I am enjoying her Love Unexpectedly series. There hasn’t been a book of hers that I absolutely hated (I have hated some character antics and thought processes but I haven’t hated any books) so imagine my surprise when I just couldn’t get into this book.

This book follows Luc Moretti, a New York Police Officer who is being praised for being a hero and Ava Sims, the reporter who is covering his story. Ava and Luc do not like each other and Ava’s attitude pissed me off too much for me to continue on. The way that she yelled at Luc, who was giving her a parking ticket because she was parked illegally on a public street pissed me off because she was yelling that he was violating her freedom of speech. WTF does that even mean? She was working so she’s above the law now? I’m sorry but…

Don’t even get me started when we get to the present time and she sees Luc again for the first time in three years. On top of Ava’s attitude, she’s a reporter and I have a love and hate relationship with reporter heroines so after some convincing from my besties, I stepped away from this one. I’m sure she got better as the book wore on but I just couldn’t do it so that was my first DNF.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Published by Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 361
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dnf

Jessica Darling's in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the uberhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she's assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years--and the summers in between--while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

I’ve been wanting to read Charmed Thirds since I finished Second Helpings…the only problem with that is that I read Second Helpings years ago and I don’t know if it’s my old age but Jessica Darling was exhausting to read about and I was disconnected from everyone (including Marcus and I loved him before) so after a while of not really caring what was going on and wanting Jessica to take a breath, I just stopped reading this. It just didn’t hold my interest so I moved on.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Corrupt (Devil's Night, #1) by Penelope Douglas, Jeremy York, Tatiana Sokolov
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: November 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 460
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Goodreads
dnf

Erika

I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael

Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.

Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

Corrupt was a book that was brought to my attention by well, everyone. I’ve been seeing such good things about this author and this book in particular that I bought it and prepared myself for an interesting read. There’s a darkness to this book and to the hero that I just could not get behind. I tried three different times to get past what the hero and his friends were doing, to get past what they blamed the heroine for and though I was told that not all is what it seems, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it and it was messing with my reading mojo so I stepped away from this one. Who knows if I’ll pick it back up later, I just know that I can’t do it now.

Have you DNF’d any books lately? Share your DNF stories with us. Which books should we steer clear from? Help a sister out!

dnf

Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted May 15, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Also in this series: Deadly Silence, Deadly Silence, Lethal Lies
Published by Forever
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . . Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.
Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.
With twists and turns that will take your breath away, LETHAL LIES is sexy, action-packed suspense at its very best from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti.

Anya Best wants revenge on the serial killer that killed her sister and she will do anything to get it. When Heath Jones comes into her life, she doesn’t know if she should trust him. Whether or not she can, she knows that he’s the man that can help her. She feels ultimately responsible for her sister’s death since Anya is the one the Copper Killer really wanted. Loretta wouldn’t even have been involved in the case if it wasn’t for Anya.

Heath wants Anya as far away from the Copper Killer as possible. He lets her think that she’s being used as bait when, in fact, she’s not. Heath has never felt a primal attraction to anyone like he does to Anya and it brings out instincts him that he hasn’t felt since he was a helpless boy in the Boys home that he and his brothers grew up in.

In addition to the Copper Killer case, Heath and his brothers are on the run. Isobel Madison wants them back for her lab. Sheriff Cobb wants to kill them because they killed his brother in self-defense all those years ago. The last thing that Heath wants to do is bring Anya into the middle of everything. When you add in the Copper Killer, the group has quite a plate full.

Anya was borderline TSTL. She refused to go away to a safe house while the Copper Killer was at large. This killer has been contacting her for years. Years. Yet she thinks that she can outsmart him. It was laughable. Still, the romance between these two kept the book going strong. It was visceral and intense and I didn’t want it to end. I’m looking forward to Denver’s book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

Sunday Spotlight: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted May 14, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 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

I glommed Rebecca Zanetti late last year. I really enjoyed her Sin Brother series which introduced the Blood Brothers. Her heroes are extremely alpha, while her heroines tend to be TSTL. Not in the Blood Brothers series. That makes me very happy. I really liked Anya for the most part, but it was Heath that really made me like this book.

Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers
Also in this Series: Deadly Silence
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Forever

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

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

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

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

She swallowed and met his gaze.

“All right. Let me get this straight. We’re going undercover to flush out a killer who’s obsessed with me, and you’re offering to play at being my man for real with no strings or future?” She hoisted the bag onto her shoulder. “That’s some ego. Are you that good in bed?”

“Yes.” And that was definite interest in her eyes.

She clicked her tongue. “I’ll keep your offer in mind.”

“You do that.” He maintained a low and calm voice. “While you’re considering, let’s look at the situation. You have publicly made me your fiancé in order to draw out a killer, which means I have to act as such. Any halfway intelligent law enforcement officer or private investigator would keep his redheaded fiancée very close after the stunt you just pulled. If you’re not with me, the killer is going to be very suspicious.”

She stilled, expressions crossing her face rapidly. “That’s a good point,” she said slowly.

Yeah. Sometimes reality helped him out a little. Plus, the killer had a hard-on for her, and he must already have plans to take her at some point. She’d just upped the timeline. “In addition, you need protection around the clock now, and I’m willing to provide that. So while you’re keeping my offer in mind, we’ll be staying in the same hotel room or same apartment.” He made sure he had her full attention. “While we plan the wedding, of course.”

Her challenging smile thrilled something inside him. “That’s fair.”

He stepped back to give her some space. “Good. Are you ready?”

“Yes.” She looked around the room. “I do have to ask. What if I didn’t agree with you about your keeping secrets from me? Considering people shoot at you, and I’m going to be at your side, it seems fair that you tell me who these people are.” She cocked her head to the side and focused back on him.

“I have more immediate concerns than being fair,” he said smoothly. “You brought me into this mess.”

A frown drew down her eyebrows. “Listen. I want an answer about you.”

“I just gave you one.” At her mulish expression, he searched for better words that wouldn’t end in an argument.

Suddenly, the door blew wide open and bounced loudly off the table. “Anya!” he yelled, jumping for her.

So what do you think? Doesn’t Heath sound yummy?

Blood Brothers


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About the Author

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Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

Release Day Blitz: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken

Posted April 11, 2017 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Forever Books held a super secret release day blitz for a book that nobody knew was coming out and we are pretty stoked to be participating in the blast. Rachel Van Dyken is a pretty popular author and she’s got a new book coming out that you won’t want to miss. Check it out!

The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona #2
Also in this Series: The Bachelor Auction
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Forever, Hachette
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again—her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love—nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

Order the Book

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Excerpt

“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?

“What what’s like?”

“A kiss. From a jackass.”

“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”

She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”

“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”

“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”

“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”
Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”

“Oh, so you want romance?”

“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.

“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.
Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.

Oh, this was bad.

So bad.

And very, very good at the same time.

Teasers

The Bachelor’s of Arizona

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About the Author

Rachel Van Dyken

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, Regency, and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!