Tag: Self Pub

Twofer Review: Pia Saves the Day and Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison

Posted July 10, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Twofer Review: Pia Saves the Day and Peanut Goes to School by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Tracy
Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison

Publication Date: June 21st 2014
Format: eARC
Genres: Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In the latest story of the Elder Races, two mates face their deadliest challenge yet—each other…

Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn't enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.

Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.

Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.

It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this…

PIA SAVES THE DAY is part of a three-story series about Pia, Dragos, and Peanut. Each story stands alone, but fans might want to read all three: DRAGOS TAKES A HOLIDAY, PIA SAVES THE DAY, and PEANUT GOES TO SCHOOL.

Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.

Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.

It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this…

Pia and Dragos are in their new home in upstate New York and are undertaking a building project. Unfortunately when Dragos gets too close to some blasting he is injured and loses his memory. Pia sends their son, Liam, off with the sentinels and goes after her husband. It doesn’t matter what needs to be done, she will get her husband and mate back.

This was an unexpected novella for the fact that I wasn’t expecting something so drastic and possibly fatal to befall this wonderful couple. Obviously in the Elder Races world tragedy and harm can befall them as well.

The story was a great view into the love and respect that Pia and Dragos have for each other. Pia was obviously scared that she wasn’t going to get her husband back but she was determined to go after him and do what she could. She wasn’t planning on stopping until she’d reached her goal and it showed such strength. Dragos wasn’t exactly himself so he wasn’t the kind Wyr we’ve all gotten to know and love. I thought that Harrison did a wonderful job showing us this “other” Dragos and making the story realistic. Dragos didn’t suddenly see Pia and say, “Oh yeah, there’s my mate. Gee wiz, guess I lost my memory for a moment or two.” No, uh-uh, it was much more involved than that and had me holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next.

This was a really great novella. If you love the Elder Races series then this is one you won’t want to miss.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Peanut Goes to School

Dragos Cuelebre is no longer the only dragon.

Dragos’s son Liam Cuelebre (a.k.a. Peanut) is springing into existence, reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races who were born at the beginning of the world. At just six months of age, he has already grown to the size of a large five-year-old boy. He can read, write in complete sentences, and his math skills are off the chart.

A white dragon in his Wyr form, Liam also holds more Power than almost anyone else. In an effort to give him a taste of normality, no matter how fleeting, his parents Pia and Dragos enroll him in first grade.

They hope school will help teach Liam how to relate to others, a vital skill that will help him control his growing Power. But school has a surprising number of pitfalls, and relating to others can be a tricky business.

When a classmate is threatened, Liam must quickly learn self-control, how to rein in his instincts, and govern his temper, because there’s no doubt about it—he is fast becoming one of the most dangerous creatures in all of the Elder Races.

This book starts up very shortly after the previous book but this story focuses on Dragos and Pia’s son, Liam aka Peanut. He had been growing at an astounding rate from day one but when Dragos is hurt in the previous novella Liam has a growth spurt that’s unbelievable.

Now Peanut is going to school even though he’s only 6 months old. He’s taller than most kindergartners and more intelligent than they are as well – more intelligent than the teacher, even. The socialization, however, is what Pia and Dragos would like him to experience.

Our little Peanut has an exciting and sometimes frustrating first day of school. He makes friends, makes some enemies, protects the weak, and stands up for what he believes in. He is a great kid I just wanted to crawl into my ereader and hug the little tyke.

Hi, my name is Cuelebre, Liam Cuelebre. My code name is Double Oh Peanut, but you can call me Rock Star for short.

Such a good story! I loved reading from Liam’s POV as he has such a loving and caring personality. He loves his parents to death and that comes shining through in this story. I loved Liam’s interactions with Dragos, and the talk they had near the end was heart-warming and wonderful.

I highly recommend this story be read and enjoyed. I certainly hope we’ll get more from Peanut in the future cuz he is a Rock Star.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

Thea Harrison

four-stars


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Review: Olivia’s Choice by Taylor Grace

Posted March 23, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Olivia’s Choice by Taylor GraceReviewer: Tracy
Olivia's Choice by Taylor Grace
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 4th 2013
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

When her boss asks her to complete a project that takes her back to the annax city, Olivia’s lifelong avoidance of the race comes to an abrupt end. The last thing she needs is the arrogant son of the annax leader as a co-worker. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets. To make matters worse, the pesky tionnax, sworn annax enemies, decide to butt in and capture Olivia. They hurt her so badly that Baphrem can only save her by turning her into what she fears most, an annax. Now, Olivia has to decide: can she love the man who made her worst nightmare come true?

Olivia Penny is a teacher who hates teaching. She gets up in front of class full of kids and freezes – why this is, we don’t know. Because of this she brought the idea up of doing an exchange program and heading up the organizing, etc. She’s very excited when the proposal is approved until she hears that she’s not going somewhere exciting like…China. No she’s going to Viddion – a city where one of the Forest Races live, and a place she ran away from years before.

Olivia swore that she’d never return to Viddion but it’s either return or lose her job. She chooses to keep her job and makes the trek through the forest to get to the city. Along the way she’s greeted by the Viddion guards and when she refuses to tell them why she’s there the head guard chucks her into the freezing river. She manages to make it to the city and not only gets into it with the head guard again (who she finds out is the leader’s son, Baphrem) but she also is reunited with her father and brother once again.

Olivia wants nothing more than to put the exchange proposal into place and leave Viddion but she’s working with Baphrem and they rub each other the wrong way. Olivia (who was born Teil) wants nothing to do with the strong and sexy Baphrem and is sure to emphasize her independence at every turn. Baphrem knows that this stubborn woman is the one for him and enjoys seeing the fiery side of her.

After one argument Olivia goes for a run and Baphrem’s enemies end up capturing and torturing her. The only way to save her is by turning her annax – something that Olivia’s always feared. Now she has to deal with Baphrem’s betrayal and seeing if she can face her fears head on.

Olivia’s Choice is a fantasy read from start to finish. The annex people – along with the other Forest Races that Ms. Grace has created – were well done. I’m not normally a fantasy reader but this one looked worth reading. I Thought when I first started that it would be very similar to Avatar but it really wasn’t anything like that and I was very happy about that.

I really liked all of the characters in this story…except Olivia/Teil. She started to grow on me after she stopped being such a stubborn woman but by that time most of the book was over. She called herself independent and Baphrem called her fiery. I called her rude, mouthy, bad-mannered, inconsiderate, self-centered and obnoxious. Now she wasn’t that way with everyone so I didn’t put the book down when her mouth started flying, but I did consider it. I’m happy I didn’t because it ended up being an entertaining story. Baphrem and the other characters in the book made up for Olivia’s lack.

Besides my dislike of Olivia, the story, imho, needed some serious editing. There were discrepancies, punctuation issues, spelling issues, words left out and words added in. I have to say that it put a damper on my total enjoyment and I was sad about that. I think had the book been edited more thoroughly it would have made it a stronger story. Ms. Grace has a very creative mind and I give her kudos for creating a good first book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Taylor Grace

three-half-stars


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Review: Redeemed by Sandy James

Posted February 12, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Sold into prostitution, Sara Fuller robs a client and flees to her brother in White Pines, Montana.

Anxiously awaiting his mail order bride, rancher Caleb Young is delighted when a beautiful woman steps off the stagecoach. A series of misassumptions soon finds the two taking their marriage vows.

When Sara discovers she isn’t Caleb’s intended bride, she hides her scandalous past and sets out to prove she can be a good wife. Caleb adores Sara but suspects her of hiding something very important. Despite Sara’s secrets, their love grows and a child is conceived.

When Caleb’s real bride arrives, their troubles begin, only to be compounded by the appearance of the man Sara robbed. Now the two lovers must discover whether their love is strong enough to survive the forces threatening to tear them apart.

Sara works as a whore at The Palace but she hates the life and the men and wants nothing more to do with any of it. She finally manages to get away but only because she steals one of her customers payroll – and that of all of his employees.

Sara heads off to White Pines where her brother Ty is living with his new wife Cassie. He had found her at The Palace not long before but hadn’t had the money to buy her from the Madame – Crazy Kate. Caleb is waiting at the train station for his mail order bride. A minister from St. Louis had been in White Pines and he had told Caleb that there were many women in St. Louis who would be willing to get married. Caleb had received word that the minister was sending a bride for him so when Sara steps off the stagecoach, and after they both have some serious misunderstandings, Caleb believes that Sara is his bride. They get married almost immediately and soon settle in to a life together.

Sara, at first, is torn about her decision not to tell Caleb about her past. She just wants to forget it and move on. Neither her brother, Ty, nor Caleb’s brother, Gideon, are happy about the marriage but they eventually come to love Sara. When Sara finds out she’s pregnant she’s shocked (as she believed she couldn’t get pregnant) but so happy that she’s with a wonderful man and that they can raise their child in loving home that they now share. When the man that Sara stole the bankroll from shows up and not only names her as a thief and a whore but also mentions that he might well be the father of Sara’s baby all hell breaks loose and the love that Sara shared with Caleb might not be strong enough to keep the couple together.

This third book in the Safe Havens series is a keeper. When I picked up the book I knew it would be good but the time just flew by as I was sucked into the life of Sara Fuller and Caleb Young. I wanted so badly for Sara and Caleb to find the love they deserved.

James has written a story that’s emotional and sometimes downright heartbreaking. It was sexy as well as Caleb was one big hunk of a hero. He certainly was an ass at times, I’ll give you that, but he was the kind of man that learned from his mistakes and didn’t get mired down in his own pity party.

I absolutely loved Sara and the constant strength she showed throughout the story. Yes, I would have liked to have had her come clean about her past right from the start but understood why she was hesitant to do so. I’m not sure Caleb would have given her the chance she deserved and obviously she got that sense as well. The life she had led before heading to White Pines was shocking and horrifying and I was so happy to see she escaped it all. She was one tough cookie and I very much enjoyed reading about her story.

Overall a really great book and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sandy James


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Review: The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

Posted December 31, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn’t have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex’s company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec’s new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

Alec is devastated when his long time boyfriend and business partner breaks up with him.  He just doesn’t know what went wrong and he’s not sure how to handle the overload of emotions that are coursing through his system.  Alec needs a distraction the day he finds out that Tyler, his ex, now has a new boyfriend, just 56 days after the breakup. He decides to buy a motorcycle but he really doesn’t know a whole hell lot about them in the practical sense.  He can tell you when it was made, by whom and that kind of thing but he has no idea what a wrench is and how to use it on his new ride.
He seeks help from Dylan who is a mechanic that another friend recommended.  Despite Dylan’s busy schedule he agrees to help Alec with his bike and to teach him how to ride properly. The two men end up becoming friends and have a great time together. At one point Tyler comes by Alec’s house with his new man and Dylan is there.  Dylan hates the way that Tyler treats Alec and gets protective of him, eventually spewing the fact that he and Alec are having sex.  Tyler’s a bit blown away but accepts it.
During a party where Tyler is in attendance with his new squeeze Alec doesn’t handle things well and Dylan, as the fake boyfriend, tries once again to protect Alec.  Dylan ends up kissing him but instead of hating it her thinks it just wasn’t long enough.  Alec, in his drunken state ends up making his move and their sexual relationship heats up from there.  
Unfortunately Dylan isn’t interested in anything more than sex with Alec and Alec is really a long term kind of guy.  
This was such a great book.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t read this author before but she really delivered.
Alec and Dylan’s relationship was so captivating.  I loved the many layers to both men and the way they discovered them in each other throughout the book.  
Dylan had had such a horribly rough life and had made himself into something.  I had to admire his strength and work ethic.  He really was a great guy, he was truly confused about who he was and what he wanted out of a friendship/relationship with Alec.
Alec was also a likable guy.  He made my heart hurt with the emotions that he wore out on his sleeve.  He tried to hide them but they were so out there.  I just wanted to give the guy a great big hug. I adored how they finally worked it all out and was more than happy with the ending. :0)
The book was fun, funny, heart wrenching, sexy and wonderful.  I can’t say enough good things about it and highly recommend it. 
4.5 out of 5


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Review: On A Highland Hill by Kara Griffin

Posted December 12, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

They were destined to meet, but they never expected to fall in love…

His tormented soul

Kenneth McInnish, guardsman for the powerful Gunn Clan, is not prepared for the tender devotion from the lass his clan steals from the king. Tricked into marrying her, he decides to make the best of it. But it’s her kisses that win him over to the fact that he just might enjoy being wedded. Beneath Kenneth’s wounded heart lies a protector. But Elisa is more than capable of taking care of herself. The only place he’s sure of himself with her is at night when he shares the most passionate experiences of his life.

Her giving nature

Elisa always thought she’d wed the ruthless warrior who abducted her. When she finds out the truth behind her abduction and is mercifully rescued, she is forced to wed for her protection. She chooses the warrior whose soul needs saving the most. Everything she does to aid him goes awry and puts him in a worse position. Faced with the possibility of endangering his clan, she risks her own safety to save him.

Their dangerous encounter

When Kenneth learns of the trickery which caused him to marry her, and forces him to confront his demons, he’s not sure how to handle it or her. She’s everything he never knew he could have. As they aid all those around them, can they save each other and find the love they both need and desire?

In the year 1210 Elisa Macquarrie’s family was slaughtered and she was taken by a man looking to save his own skin from both the King of Norway and the King of Scotland. Domhnall at first thought that he had kidnapped Elisa’s twin, Mauri, who was betrothed to Alexander, the heir to the Scottish throne.  He was wrong but even after finding out who she really was he kept her captive.

Five years go by and Alexander is now King. He seeks out Grey Gunn, Laird of the Gunn clan to go to Domhnall’s keep and retrieve Elisa for him. Grey protests but eventually heads out with his guardsmen to find the woman. They find her and kidnap her. Grey realizes that the only way to keep Elisa safe from both Domhnall and the King is to have the protection of his clan, therefore she must marry one of them immediately. She declines but is overruled and is soon married to Kenneth McInnish who is actually the Laird of the McInnish clan but doesn’t want the job.

When the Gunn’s find out that Domhnall is on his way to their keep he talks Kenneth into going home to McInnish keep and taking his rightful place as Laird. Kenneth protests and blames Elisa for his troubles. He isn’t exactly welcomed home by his people but is determined to make the best of a bad situation. The people love Elisa but Kenneth wants her to just stay cooped up and not help in any way. She loves him but feels like she’s nothing to him. He forgets she’s there, doesn’t miss her when she’s gone, and certainly doesn’t need her assistance with anything. She soon figures out how she can help Kenneth, the Gunn clan, the King and Domhnall all from breaking out into war over her and a simple piece of parchment, but to do that she must distance herself from not only Kenneth but the clan she’s grown to love.

I love a good medieval romance every once in a while and this one delivered everything a good medieval should. A great romance, a wonderful and hot hero, men in kilts, a well done story, men in kilts, a strong heroine, and…did I mention men in kilts?

When the book started off I have to admit that I was a bit leery of continuing. The first couple of chapters are very information heavy and there are a lot of characters to keep straight. I did continue though and was so happy I did. Kenneth had some serious emotional issues, I must admit. He carried guilt over the death of his brother, his father had treated him so very badly, he hadn’t taken up the Lairdship when his brother Greer had died, and then he went and married Elisa and she seemed to be causing him anguish as well. He kind of needed to get over himself and deal with things but it took him quite a while for that to come about. He wasn’t the best husband as, as he said, he just didn’t know how to be a good one. He loved the bed sport but other than that he kind of sucked until he truly pulled his head out of his ass and got his brain working. Lol

Elisa had really been through hell. She knew she was betrothed to someone so when Domhnall took her and told her that he was her betrothed she believed him. She wondered why she had never heard from her family but just thought they had washed their hands of her. She had absolutely no knowledge that they had been slaughtered by Domhnall’s hand. She is smart in resisting Grey’s command to get married but even she could see the benefits of protection. She wanted to be a good wife to Kenneth and she had such a kind heart – always thinking of others before herself – that she continued to see the good in Kenneth until he hurt her feelings time and time again. He was a big brute but had never had to deal with a wife. That was no excuse but hey, he was a medieval guardsmen, they’re definitely not known for their cooth! Elisa made some, imho, bad choices during the book but it all ended well, which was wonderful.

The story was well written and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Kara Griffin


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