Publisher: Berkley

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa DayReviewer: Tracy
Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #7
Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 311
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon's warriors has proven to be the fiercest-Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire's oath crosses paths with a maiden's quest, and an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn.

Ready to face the dawn and die after 11,000 years as a vampire, Daniel walks into the Reflecting Pool on the Washington Mall and ends up in Atlantis, at the mercy of Serai, a long-dead warrior princess he could never forget.

Yet Serai is not dead. Centuries earlier she and several others had been magically put into suspended animation to ensure the continuation of the Atlanteans. But the magical jewel that keeps them safe has been stolen, and, now awake, Serai must find it to save the other sleeping women.

Together, Daniel and Serai search for the stone and renew their relationship, stalked by an evil that isn't about to let them succeed.

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

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

Daniel was just a blacksmith’s apprentice in Atlantis when he met the beautiful Serai. It was love at first sight and they longed to be together. Unfortunately many things happened to keep them apart. Atlantis was attacked, Daniel turned into a vampire, Atlantis submerged into the ocean and Serai put into stasis to one day be awoken to marry High Prince Conlan.

Eleven thousand years have passed since that time. Daniel is ready to face the dawn and end it all when he finds himself not only alive but in Atlantis and facing the women he thought long dead. He is mesmerized once again and eager to help her with whatever she needs.

Serai broke out of the stasis but she doesn’t want to be put in and knows she must get out of Atlantis immediately. She was told that Daniel died all those years ago and when he appears before her she’s shocked. They fight together to find a gem from Poseidon’s trident, the Emporer, and try to save the other women in stasis.

This is book 7 in this series and my least favorite of the bunch. While it was an interesting story to a point and continued the overall story arc that will be concluded in future books, it just lacked that extra something that made it captivating. The story was good but I found myself kind of well, bored at points.

I really liked Daniel and of course Serai was a strong female character but they were a bit melodramatic for me. Yes, I know that they’d been apart and thought the other dead – I would probably be very vocal about my feelings too if that happened…but it just didn’t have a truly realistic feel to me.

While the story was good and had a bit of an extra romance with the vampire Nicholas and the witch Ivy it unfortunately just fell a bit short from the other books in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen

Posted August 11, 2019 by Holly 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. 🙂

Michelle Hazen is a new-to-me author, but I’m crazy excited for Unbreak Me. The early reviews have been great and the blurb makes me think this is my kind of jam.

Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle HazenUnbreak Me by Michelle Hazen
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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A contemporary romance about a New Orleans cowboy battling systemic racism post-Hurricane Katrina and a woman recovering from a public trial following a sexual assault.

What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything.

Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky.

LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions.

Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.

Excerpt

She leaned against the refrigerator where it stuck out from the counter, and closed her eyes. She was not imagining the double meaning to his every word. Nobody’s mind was lower in the gutter than LJ’s. He was flirting with her, had probably always been flirting with her, according to her father. It was just a different brand of flirting than she knew what to do with. All possibility, no pressure. And he was certainly doing it on purpose. The man missed nothing. Not the tiniest flick of a horse’s ears, not the morning he brought her coffee because her belt had missed one loop on her jeans and he figured that meant she’d been in a rush that day.

What bothered her was how easy it was. He’d invited himself into her kitchen and her life from virtually his first day on the ranch.

“You took this job for the horses, right?” Her voice came out a little faint, and she opened her eyes to see him frown at her.

“I certainly didn’t take it for the pension plan.”

She bit her lip, hesitating. Watching her, his expression changed.

“Ah.” He laughed. “Don’t flatter yourself, darlin’. You were something else, riding that fancy stallion like you both belonged in the Olympics. But it was Taz who ran away with my heart that first day. That and all this.” He nodded toward the window. “Big sky full of second chances.”

Her stomach twisted, uncertain whether she was relieved or offended he hadn’t taken the job because he wanted to pursue her. Then the second part of his statement caught her, and her eyes narrowed.

“Do you need a second chance?” she asked slowly.

“Doesn’t everybody?” He flicked off both burners and stepped close to her all in one smooth movement. One hand landed on the refrigerator, above her head; one on the counter, next to her hip. He was near enough to let her feel his body heat, but not caging her in. She could step out from under his arm easily, and with a surge of her pulse, she almost wished she couldn’t. LJ stood so close his body was her entire world. Cozy but thrilling. She wanted him pressed against her so she could drown in that bizarre reaction, breathe it in and glory in it.

He ducked his head, his drawl a lower pitch than usual. “What’s on your mind, beautiful?”

She could only blink, as if steam were effervescing out of the air between them and she couldn’t quite see.

“You keep asking all these questions.” He licked his bottom lip, a quick slick of tongue over that mouth of his. “Why don’t you ask me what you’re really wanting to know?”

“The cooking lessons.” Her mouth was so dry she had to swallow before she could continue. “Was that flirting? Is that why you offered in the first place?”

His hand dropped, the inside of his wrist warming her shoulder as he opened the fridge. Taking her other shoulder, he spun her around. “See that?”

She stared, puzzled. Milk, orange juice. Cheese and eggs and containers of leftovers and some lettuce that was starting to go off.

“That’s what a fridge is supposed to look like.” He let the door fall closed. “I like you.”

She didn’t move. He was right behind her, the closed fridge giving them no excuse to keep looking in its direction. They were too close for anything except hugging, her bottom so near the front of his jeans that she couldn’t even shift her weight without touching him. This was the point where she should pull away.
He tapped one finger against the fridge door. “I would have done that much even for somebody I didn’t like. As for the rest?” His knuckles skimmed down the back of her arm so lightly that the rough yarn of her sweater woke up her entire body, her skin rippling with goose bumps. “Now that might be flirting.”

“Might be?” she asked breathlessly.

His breath stirred her hair, as if he’d bent a little closer. “Depends on if you want it to be.”

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Michelle Hazen

Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. She found her voice with the support of the online fanfiction community, and once she started typing, she never looked back.

She has written most of her books in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, an off-the-grid cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains, a golf cart in a sandstorm, a rental car during a heat wave in the Mohave Desert and a beach in Honduras. Even when she’s climbing rocks, riding horses, or getting lost someplace wild and beautiful, there are stories spooling out inside her head, until she finally heeds their call and returns to her laptop and solar panels.


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Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Posted July 25, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #3
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us on a new adventure in this next novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series…

The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.

This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.

Wolf Rain is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity and we’re back in the SnowDancer’s Den as this story features Hawke’s Lieutenant Alexei and the E Psy that he saves from captivity, Memory. Memory was kidnapped when she was just 8 years old and when she was rescued by Alexei, she was 23. That’s a long time to be held a prisoner in a tiny bunker hidden on SnowDancer land.

Once she’s rescued, Alexei and Memory become close as they try to run down Memory’s kidnapper and while Alexei and his pack are running leads down, Memory is taken to the compound where she joins a bunch of E Psy’s like her that need training on how to use their powers. Sascha comes in to help Memory with her mind shields so that if she never runs across her kidnapper, she’d be better equipped at fighting him on an even battlefield. All the while, these two are fighting an attraction that is fast overwhelming both of them. Alexei comes from a family of rogue wolves and he won’t put his pack, or anyone else in danger by taking a mate. I really enjoyed seeing the way that Nalini Singh tackles all of Alexei’s and Memory’s problems. She kind of just pulls all these strings together until the characters figure their shit out and I thought this story was well written.

One of the things that I loved about this book, and this series, really, is that we see so many of our favorite characters from the previous books play active roles in these newer ones. I loved that Memory had to work with Kaleb Krychek and Ivy Jane, along with Sascha and the other E’s to take down the bad guys. I also liked seeing our SnowDancer and DarkRiver friends. The entire time that I was reading this book, it felt like a warm hug from friends that you haven’t seen in a long time but are so happy to see again.

The romance between Alexei and Memory was a lot of fun. I loved seeing Memory come into her own. I loved seeing her fight to get back on her feet after so many years in captivity. I really loved seeing her and Alexei butt heads, fall in love and then figure out a way to be together. I loved that Mercy was hellbent on fighting for Alexei and when all was said and done, Alexei felt the exact same way about Memory. Memory’s fashion sense made me pause because homegirl loved wearing all of the colors in one outfit but other than that, I adored her. My heart hurt for Alexei’s situation and I was so happy when they worked together on trying to figure out if he’d go rogue just like his family did.

This is another great paranormal romance with characters that will light up your world so if you’re in the mood for action, steamy romance and lots of fun characters, this is the book for you.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-stars


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Guest Review: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Posted July 24, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Tightrope by Amanda QuickReviewer: Jen
Tightrope by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #3
Also in this series: The Other Lady Vanishes (Burning Cove #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 309
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a machine that could change the world.

Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.

In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.

Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.

This book brings us back to Burning Cove, California, a vacation getaway for the rich and famous in 1930s Hollywood. Amalie Vaughn is a former trapeze artist who left her career under tragic and inauspicious circumstances. She has moved to Burning Cove to start a new life and open a bed and breakfast. When her first guest is unfortunately murdered, she gets tangled up in something nefarious. Matthias Jones is investigating in Burning Cove as well. At first he sticks close to Amalie because he is searching for information, but quickly he starts sticking close to her for more personal reasons. 

I recognize that this series is nothing ground breaking, but for me it is lots of fun. I really enjoy the world Quick has painted, and I enjoy revisiting Burning Cove in each book. This one in particular felt like a good old fashioned mystery. The murdered guest is a self proclaimed inventor of robots, and that added a fun flavor to the intrigue. Similarly, Amalie’s background as a trapeze artist is glamorous and unique, and I loved that she’s able to use some of her past skills to save herself in the end. 

Matthias and Amalie make a nice couple, although Mathias isn’t particularly interesting to me as a character. No one knows quite what he does, though the rumor is that he’s mixed up with criminals. It was all a little silly. I did like that he appreciates Amalie and her abilities, and like the other heroes in the series he respects and values the heroine’s independence. There’s also a whiff of the supernatural in his backstory, though it’s never really identified as such as nothing much comes of it. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a slight callback to Quick’s Arcane Society series or not, but I didn’t really think it added anything to the story.

This series has become a kind of comforting world for me to visit. It never knocks my socks off, but it’s romantic, unique, and interesting, and I like the characters Quick has created.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Burning Cove

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Star Bright by Catherine Anderson

Posted July 18, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Star Bright by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Casee
Star Bright by Catherine Anderson
Series: Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan #9
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 6, 2009
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 438
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Anderson presents an emotionally compelling story about the hard as nails, fiercely loyal Harrigan family...

Faking her own death to escape her murderous husband, Rainie Hall takes refuge in the rural community of Crystal Falls, Oregon, where she starts work as a bookkeeper on a horse ranch run by rugged, dangerously good-looking Parker Harrigan.   Parker's word is his honor, and he can't tolerate liars. When he realizes that Rainie hasn't been truthful with him, he's furious, then concerned. Clearly she's a woman in trouble and if she'll trust him, he'll do right by her. But as their attraction blossoms into a deep and thrilling passion, Rainie fears that her mere presence could jeopardize everything the Harrigan family holds dear...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***
This review was originally posted on Mar 17, 2009.

I’ve always enjoyed Catherine Anderson’s books. They are always family oriented stories that just bring me a happy feelin’. This book starts off with Rainie Hall fakin’ her own death, so it basically grabs you from the beginnin’. Rainie knows that her husband plans on killin’ her on the cruise that he’s disguised as a vacation for the two of them, so she makes her own plans to disappear.

Landin’ in Crystal Falls, Oregon, Lainie finds a job as Parker Harrigan’s ranch workin’ as a bookkeeper. She sees right away that her boss is someone that values the truth more than anythin’ and is terrified of what will happen when he finds out that she’s not who he thinks she is. Her fears turn out to be well founded. Parker does not accept her lies very well. When he realizes that she has left an abusive relationship, he can’t get rid of her like he planned to. In fact, with each passin’ day, he finds himself more and more attractive to the elusive Rainie.

Rainie doesn’t find it easy to trust, especially a man. Yet she finds that she’s slowly beginnin’ to trust him as the days go by and Parker befriends her without expectin’ anything else. Still, she’s scared that she’ll make as bad of a choice as she did marryin’ her husband, Peter. Not to mention that she knows that he’s lookin’ for her and won’t give up until he finds her.

The best part of this book was seein’ Rainie discover herself again. It took a long time for her to accept that she wasn’t at fault for her disastrous marriage. It takes time, but she realizes that Parker isn’t anythin’ like Peter. Not only will he never hurt her, but he helps her take her self-confidence back, somethin’ that she thought could never happen. The romance unfolded slowly between these two, which worked. I think the book was more about Rainie findin’ her self-confidence and gettin’ her self-worth back than it was about romance. In order to get in a relationship with Parker, she had to get past her demons and learn to trust a man.

There was one thing in this book that drove me bat-shit crazy. Parker drops his “g’s”. It was so annoying and would take me out of the book which made me insane. It’s not that he was an uneducated hick, he just embraces his roots more than most. Still, I couldn’t effing stand it.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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