Tag: Requested Review

Review: Don’t Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee

Posted May 29, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Don’t Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany AlleeReviewer: Tracy
Don't Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee
Series: Sons of Kane #2
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: April 28th 2014
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rachel Davis will do anything to get her sister out of a bad relationship with her fiancé. Even if it involves a few fibs, a little breaking-and-entering, and blackmailing the fiancé's potential boss, Charles, for his help. So what if the handsome Charles happens to be a vampire?

Charles Wright has found the perfect way to trap the man threatening his brother's wife: cozy up to him, get invited along on the skiing trip, and then search for incriminating evidence. How much better that audacious but gorgeous Rachel is just as eager to nail the bastard. As far as he's concerned, there's nothing wrong with a little blackmail between two consenting adults. Especially when it's time for Rachel to pay up.

Rachel and her sister, Kristen, are on a ski trip in Colorado. Along with them is Brent who is Kristen’s fiancé and the man that Rachel wants her sister to kick to the curb. Rachel dislikes Brent intensely and wants nothing more than to get her sister away from the big slime ball. Unfortunately Kristen is being pretty stubborn and Rachel’s pretty much at her wits end and isn’t sure what to do next to accomplish her goal.

Charles is investigating Brent to see if he’s the man who has been threatening his sister-in-law. He’s in Colorado and with Brent’s group of friends under the guise of a possible employer for Brent. He doesn’t expect to get distracted by anyone or anything but he does, and in a big way, by Rachel. Not only does she find out he’s a vampire immediately but she then tries to blackmail him into helping her with Brent. Charles can’t be blackmailed, really, but he plays along with Rachel because he thinks this might help his cause. She’s strangely resistant to his mind control but he deep down he knows she won’t betray his secret. Of course he doesn’t tell her why he’s really there but he only feels a little bad about this.

While Charles and Rachel are working together they spend quite a bit of time together and they eventually can’t deny their attraction to each other – both physically and emotionally. They end up in bed but Rachel, who is completely distrustful of men, isn’t willing to give Charles the chance he wants to see if the relationship can work after the ski trip is over. Can he talk her into believing that he’s a good guy, ok vampire, and not someone who’s going to break her heart?

This was a cute story that not only had to do with romance but also with family love and loyalty. I enjoyed seeing the lengths that both Charles and Rachel would go for their siblings.

The romance between Charles and Rachel was slow moving but rather intense. Charles continually tried to keep his hands to himself as he just didn’t want a woman for the long term (yeah, right) and Rachel had such deep seeded trust issues she kept telling herself that it was just sex. Between the two of them it was an interesting push/pull that went on a tad too long for my liking. I honestly thought that Rachel held out for too long but when I mentioned deep seeded trust issues I meant DEEP SEEDED. Dang, that girl’s dad messed her up but good when he walked out on the family.

For all the talk between Charles and Rachel to plan for getting Kristen to see Brent for the ass that he was, not a whole lot got accomplished. I think they talked more than they acted and this slowed the book down some, imho, but gave them the chance to have sex so there is that. 🙂 I didn’t feel that we got to know our characters too well either – it was all pretty much in the moment and I definitely wanted to know more about both MC’s.

Overall it was an entertaining book that was a good combination of serious, funny and sexy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tiffany Allee

three-half-stars


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Review: He Belongs to Me by Theresa Rizzo

Posted June 13, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother’s determination to recover what belongs to her.

Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she’ll do anything to regain custody of her son–even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son’s twin.

All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama. 

When the book begins Catherine is graduating from Stanford and is so excited that her son, Drew, who is 5 or 6 is going to come live with her permanently. Her parents show up for the graduation with Drew but when Catherine asks why Drew only brought one suitcase with him the parents drop their bomb – Drew will continue to live with them as they are his legal guardians. What? Sarah and Eric, the parents, produce a document that Catherine signed that shows she gave made them Drew’s legal guardians. What Catherine thought she was signing was a document that just gave them permission to get Drew medical care, etc. while she was in school. Needless to say Catherine is distraught as all she wants is to be a family with her son. 

Catherine decides that she needs to contact her estranged husband, Thomas. She believes that if they show they are reconciled (even if they truly aren’t) that her parents will give Drew back in a heart beat. After they get their son back they’ll then go their separate ways. Thomas is wary of the plan. He doesn’t believe that it will work and even states that if it doesn’t and they have to end up suing for custody he wants nothing to do with it. Well the plan doesn’t only not work but the parents (who are such conniving, backstabbing, manipulative people) try to get a restraining order against Catherine and Thomas and tell them that they are suing to get their parental rights revoked. 

What ensues is a court battle that’s ridiculously enlightening for all parties involved and some horrible truths come out as the mudslinging begins. But will the judge decide in the favor of Catherine and Thomas or Drew’s grandparents.

Let me give you a little background info:

When Catherine is just 18 and Thomas 20 years old they get married. Soon after Catherine has twin baby boys Bobby and Drew. Because they are so young they are living in a wing of Catherine’s very wealthy parents’ house. Bobby ends up dying and Catherine’s mother ends up accusing Thomas of killing little Bobby and a trial ensues in which he’s acquitted. After he leaves jail he ends up going back to school in Michigan after some harsh words were spoken from Catherine. Catherine takes care of Drew but her parents bully her into going to Stanford and leaving Drew with them. See…manipulative. Getting Catherine to sign that paper when she’s just suffered the death of her child and the imprisonment of her husband and the poor thing’s only about 20 years old by that time. 

When Catherine and Thomas get back together I had a feeling that it just wasn’t going to work. I really liked Catherine and her strength, although I really wish she would have really gotten mad at her parents at one point. She was mad but she was always contained and I wanted her to let loose. Thomas was a completely self-involved man. I honestly believed that he loved Catherine and Drew but loving someone and having them virtually change and take over your bachelor life are two very different things. I think he loved Catherine but I honestly didn’t feel this love and felt it was more about sex than love. He did stick with it all even when it got really rough so I have to give him points but it was almost too late in the book to redeem him by that time.

I really liked the writing style of this author and will look for things written by her in the future. She definitely made me feel the tension and emotion in the book, that’s for sure – maybe just not as much on the romance part, imho. Definitely readable but make sure you’re not looking for a light fluffy read when you pick this one up.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

Theresa Rizzo


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Review: Saving Grace by Sandy James

Posted June 6, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Grace Riley is on the run—from her past and from her fears. The victim of a violent rape at the hands of a rich politician’s son, she must “disappear” to escape his constant attempts to recapture her. Moving from cattle drive to cattle drive as a cook, she avoids her tormentor for nearly twenty years. When she discovers that the brother she gave up for adoption after their mother died in childbirth was orphaned at an early age, she is frantic to verify that he’s safe. She tracks him to a cattle ranch in Montana.

Widower Adam Morgan owns the Twin Springs ranch, but finds himself falling into a life of loneliness. Although he enjoys spending time with his grown daughter and the two men he rescued when they were living on the streets, he longs to meet a woman he can love. Living in the Montana territory where men greatly outnumber women makes finding a new wife difficult. Weary of working cattle, he is ready to make some changes in his life.

Grace falls ill on her journey, but she manages to make it to the Twin Springs ranch where her brother is supposed to be living. Adam takes her in, concerned for her health and the reason she’s searching for one of his adopted sons. Their chemistry is immediate and intense, but can Grace heal from her past of pain and fear? When her secrets are finally revealed, can Adam forgive her deceptions and learn to love again?

Grace has been running her whole life. She was raped when she was just a few months past her 14th birthday and pursued by that same man for the past 20 or so years. Seeking the son that came of that rape she finally breaks down and asks for help from her attacker, Stephen Shay. When they meet face to face once again he tries to attack her once again and she shoots him. Think Stephen is dead she heads to Montana from San Francisco to find her son, Jake (Stephen doesn’t know he exists). When she arrives in Montana at the home Jake is supposedly living in she’s incredibly ill and collapses on the porch. The owner of the home, Adam Morgan, gets Grace into his home and nurses her back to health with the help of his adult daughter, Victoria.

Adam is a kind man and takes his duties as nurse for Grace, very seriously. While she is recuperating Adam falls in love with Grace and she with him. Unfortunately Grace is determined to meet Jake and then leave so that she doesn’t bring the law down on Adam and his family now that she’s a murderess. Adam is having none of it and wants to keep Grace safe, especially when he discovers that she’s not safe at all.

While this is happening Matthew, Grace’s brother, is falling in love with Adam’s daughter, Victoria. They are both stubborn and they argue constantly but they each feel the pull of the other. Matthew wants Victoria but feels he’s not good enough for this woman who was raised with wealth while he has nothing, not even a home.

Jake, who is told by Grace that he is her brother, had recently married and is expecting his first child. He’s not exactly happy to have Grace and Matthew in his life and feels that he was the discarded brother. Grace has a hard time breaking through his hard outer shell to get to the softer inside.

While western historical romance is not my go-to genre, I really enjoyed Saving Grace. There were a lot of things to like about this book and the author did a great job in showing the different facets of all of the characters personalities.

Grace was amazing and she really was a person that I admired. After living through the horrible rape she knew that she wasn’t safe from Stephen, or her father for that matter. She immediately took Matthew, who was only 8 at the time and left home. She had virtually no money and nowhere to go but she cared for Matthew and survived. She didn’t feel amazing, which is obvious in the book, but she truly was a fighter.

Adam was a great guy. He had found Jake living in Denver and eating out of garbage cans (part of Jake’s back story that I won’t share right now) and took him in, along with another boy and raised him as his own son. Though life was different back then I don’t know many who would be so generous and so trusting of two ruffians. He loved his family and friends and was kind, loyal and protective of them. This included Grace and Matthew eventually.

Adam fell in love with Grace during her recuperation. We were told of how they spent their days together and played chess or he read to her, etc. but we weren’t shown that part of the friendship/budding romance and I think that had an effect on my appreciation of their romance. I loved the couple and wanted them together but as we didn’t get to see it happening it almost felt like it happened too fast when in fact it didn’t, at least not for the time period. We did get to see the interactions between Victoria and Matthew and I enjoyed those scenes immensely – watching them verbally spar was great

Overall I thought this was a good read with likable characters. A good story and an interesting conflict I thought it was realistic to the time period. I like James’s writing style so I look forward to seeing what this series brings to us next.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sandy James 


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Review: The Brazen Amazon by Sandy James

Posted May 9, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Zach Hanson is a tech wizard, capable of creating and improving gadgets–including remote nuclear warhead launchers. But he’s always known that he’s destined for something more, something greater, something…supernatural.

Powerful Air Amazon Gina Himmel is one of four sisters called to protect the world from those who would do it harm. Demigods in league with an Ancient have been taking over the bodies of leaders in the military and technological sectors, and Gina is sent to San Francisco to watch over Zach.

Under Gina’s protection, Zach is introduced to a world of ancient deities, rogue gods and the bold, brazen Amazons who keep humanity safe. Amidst the whirlwind of battle, Zach and Gina discover a love that could give them the power to save the world—or destroy it.

Sekhmet, the daughter of Ra, is an ancient Egyptian with amazing powers. She was born to be the Destructor but had been imprisoned for years to save the world. She has escaped and now she’s on a mission to destroy all mankind and rebuild. She is after the most brilliant techno-wizards with the thought that she can make Earth’s inhabitants kill themselves off and she’ll sit back and watch.

The Amazons are obviously not happy about this and are sent to watch over the men who Sekhmet might be after. Gina, the Air Amazon, was sent to watch Zach Hanson. After observing him for days she approaches him to offer her services, telling him that she works for Amazon Security. Zach takes Gina up on it but when Zach’s life starts to be endangered they end up back in Avalon, home to the Amazon’s.

Zach is more than a bit floored with all he learns about Amazons, Ancients, Goddesses and all the other beings and creatures that he thought were just myth are actually real. He takes it well though because realizing Gina is an actual Amazon doesn’t change his feelings for her. He falls in love with her and knows that he doesn’t want to be parted from her.

Gina, a tough fighting machine, was thought by others to be unwomanly and was called a dyke on more than one occasion. She also realized growing up that anyone she loved eventually left her. Because of these past emotional scars Gina is more than leery to open herself up to Zach – especially as she knows that once Sekhmet is taken down that Zach will have to go back to his life in San Francisco. She loves him but doesn’t want to see him hurt and that makes the decision to let him go very difficult.

The third book in the Alliance of the Amazons series and it was a good one. We see that the Amazon’s past successes haven’t made them rest on their laurels – they are out there fighting daily. Not only do we get to see Gina in action on almost every page we get to see Rebecca and Artair as well as Johann and Megan and their families. I loved seeing these couples from books 1 and 2 and their happiness.

With Gina I definitely think that the crux of her problems was fear. She loved Zach but feared that he would just get bored and leave her as everyone else in her life had, except the Amazons. They had been the only thing in her life that she had truly been able to rely on and the fear of losing Zach was too much to handle. She feared her own abilities as well as she would get so distracted by the man but when push came to shove she was on the ball and ready for action.

Zach seemed to be a lovely man who was open to new ideas (good thing since his world got turned upside down) and all of their possibilities. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to come out and tell Gina that he loved her and exactly how he felt about her – oh if only more men were like that! lol He did have a lot of guilt because of the fact that Sekhmet was using his own devices and creations for her evil plot but I think he assuaged that in the end as he did have a hand in taking her down.

Overall it was a great addition to the series and I can’t wait to see what happens with Amazon #4, Sarita. She’s just 5 feet tall and it seems she has a bit of a self-esteem issue so that will be interesting.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sandy James


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Review: Dojo Boys: The Italian Connection by Alex A. Akira

Posted February 8, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Volume I finds Philip settling in Connecticut in disguise as he doesn’t want to draw too much attention to his true line of work. Despite his caution, he meets and befriends a local rock musician Tommy Sear, who despairs of ever having his band make it.

Quickly smitten by the dark haired, shy Asian male that is Philip, Tommy seeks to make the young man his, but Philip doesn’t believe in love, besides he has a very real problem, he can’t seem to get the victim of his last burglary, green eyed, virile Italian male… out of his mind. 

With Philip’s encouragement, Tommy renews his efforts to get his band Sear a record deal. He makes a demo and shortly after a scout contacts him, from Italy no less.

The Italian scout is coming to America hear them play in the hopes of signing Sear to the much sought after label Romano Studios. But Tommy has a secret and he’s afraid that without Philip’s help, they may not get the deal.

Our book opens with a thief sneaking into a house with the sole purpose of, well, doing what thieves do – steal stuff. The thief is shocked to find a beautiful man asleep on a couch in the room where the house safe is because he was told that the occupants were away. The thief takes time to admire the sleeping man and wishes that they had met at another time. Unfortunately for the thief the sleeping man awakes and there is a tense bit where we think that it’s all over for the thief. Instead the thief, who Sleeping Man thinks is a woman, (which he’s NEVER been attracted to) kisses Sleeping Man and knocks his socks off – especially when Sleeping Man feels the erection pressing into his leg.

Sleeping Man turns out to be Julian Romano. He’s been in Europe for the past 7 months trying to recover from a broken relationship – one that had lasted four years and one he thought would last a lifetime. The ex, Justin, was a cheater and when Julian finally saw Justin for who he really was, they slip. Julian was in a tailspin but since the thief kissed him he’s not been interested in anyone else, even going so far as to try to track the thief down. Julian decided to concentrate on the music business that he and his twin, Gregori, run and in doing so finds the band, Sear. Julian heads home to Connecticut to see Sear in person.

Philip is the thief. Philip is a platinum-haired blue-eyed man who’s half French and half Japanese. He’s had mega troubles in the past and is currently working for a dance company that is really an espionage organization. In a strange twist Philip ends up renting Julian’s carriage house without knowing it belongs to him. Even when Julian returns to America they never meet even though they live on the same property. Philip befriends a guy who works at a local coffee shop, Tommy, who also has a band, Sear. You can see where this is going, right? In a strange twist of events Philip and Julian meet again when Julian is scouting Sear but it seems that everything stands in their way, can they be together the way they both want or will they have to part?

Where to start in my review…? I guess I’ll start with the story which I liked, to a point. There are some parts I really liked and others…not so much. I didn’t realize when I agreed to review the book that it was part 1 of 2 and the 2 parts made up a full novel. That was a bit frustrating as there was so much that was left unfinished by the end of part one. I very much enjoyed the way Akira was slowly bringing our two main characters together. It was definitely in a roundabout way but I enjoyed the journey. Now that being said there were parts that I was confused about. Like…why there was a scene with Philip’s “bosses” in the story that led us to believe that their computers were being hacked? Besides the pseudo love scene between the men I couldn’t figure out why that was put in there. What purpose did it serve? There was also information about both Philip’s and Julian’s ex’s that we were told about but never got more information on. I realize, again, that this is book one but at least some explanation would have been appreciated. The story was also told in large part by memories and flashbacks and as it jumped to and fro I found myself frustrated.

Julian and Philip were, to me, polar opposites. Julian was confident and smooth – a man who had it together. Philip could be smooth and confident but I’m pretty sure that was an act. Part of the book Philip was shy but that too was an act. When Philip was honest about his past with Julian I believe we saw more of the true Philip than we had before. I think in order to truly “see” the man I’ll have to read part 2. My biggest issue with Julian and Philip was Julian. For him it was love at first sight and none other would do. He wasn’t afraid to come out and tell Philip this either and though Julian had known OF Philip he truly didn’t know him. After the heart ache that Justin provided for Julian I would have expected him to be more discerning.

In the end I thought it was a fun read. While frustrating at times I found it held my interest and I do find myself wondering what happens in the next portion of the book. If you plan on reading this then I recommend having part 2 handy so you can continue with the story.

Rating: 3 out of 5 

Alex A. Akira


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