Publisher: Penguin

Joint Review: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

Posted July 26, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Wild Sign by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it's too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It's as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they've consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

Anna and Charles have worked with the FBI in the past, and they have a tentative truce between them, but not the kind where they’re prepared for the FBI to show up on their doorstep. They’re requesting assistance to help locate a missing mountain community. Anna and Charles agree to investigate, and they set off into the Northern California mountains.

Holly: I love Charles and Anna. They’re so great together. I really liked seeing them at home in the beginning of this novel. We learn a lot more about Leah in this book, and I am here for it. What did you think?

Rowena: I really love Charles and Anna too. It’s amazing that after all of these books, their chemistry is still just as great as when we first met them. They’re an amazing team that I love to go on adventures with.

Holly: You’re right about their chemistry. I love how solid they are now, and yet how they are still figuring some things out. They’re a real true-to-life couple.

Rowena: So many couples that I’ve read and watched on TV become so boring after they finally get together but that’s not the case with Charles and Anna. I love how strong their bond is and how strong and confident Anna is these days. Briggs does a really good job of keeping her characters interesting but still true to the characters that we’ve come to love over the course of this series.

Holly: That’s the thing about Briggs, she makes these characters interesting even after all these books (same with Mercy and Adam). I am always left wanting more.

Rowena: I haven’t been the biggest fan of Leah’s ever since we met her but I agree, I’m here for getting more of Leah’s story. getting to know her in this book and seeing the pain of her past made my heart hurt so yeah, I want more.

Holly: I haven’t always liked Leah, but I’ve come around to her the last few years. Plus, I’m always here for a redemption arc.

Rowena: Leah’s redemption arc was a solid one. Once I finally dived into this book, I was all in and Leah was a big part of the reason why. I’m glad that we got her back story and everything about her relationship with Bran makes so much sense. I don’t think I would have survived a life like Leah’s so my admiration for her shot right through the roof while reading this.

Holly: I hope we get to see more of Leah in the future, and that maybe things change with her and Bran. I don’t know that she’ll ever be my favorite, but I’m definitely here to learn more about her.

Rowena: Overall, I enjoyed the story. The mystery of the town, wondering where everyone and everything went had me turning the pages real fast. I’m mighty curious about where our Alpha & Omega crew goes from here though. That was a big bomb that Samuel threw Charles and Anna but I loved how swift their decision-making was. There was no haggling, no hesitation, just straight up, yes. Whatever you need, I’m here for you because you’re family. This is definitely a good one. I’m giving this one 4.25 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: I, too, enjoyed the mystery. I also liked how things between Charles and Anna played out. That bombshell at the end got me super excited! I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5 as well. Bring on the next book!

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Alpha & Omega

four-stars


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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Posted July 19, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Last Guard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Canto Merchant & Payal Rao are both A-Psy. As anchors for the PsyNet, it isn’t just their job to keep the PsyNet from failing. It’s a compulsion for them. They can’t not do anything & everything to save the Psy race.

When Canto contacts Payal about being the voice for the anchors, he has no idea how intertwined their histories are. Since the time he was old enough, he has been searching for the girl that saved his life in the “rehabilitation” school they were both at. They didn’t know each other’s names. All they knew was the numbers that were assigned by the school. For Canto, 3K is a girl that was his salvation. Searching for her has become his obsession in life though he has never had so much as a lead on his 3K. His search for her has to be put on the back burner because the PsyNet is failing. Payal is a hub anchor, much like himself. The only difference as far as he can see is that Payal is Silent whereas Canto never was fully Silent. Then he sees her.

Payal walks a very fine line in her life. She’s the CEO of the Rao family holdings. She has a brother that would like nothing more than to murder her in her sleep, a sister she has to hide from her father & brother, and she’s a hub anchor. When Canto Merchant contacts her, Payal knows she can’t say no. If the anchors don’t get involved, the PsyNet will fall. Already the Ruling Coalition is discussing breaking the PsyNet into pieces. Both Payal & Canto know that doing that will not work. So she agrees to meet Canto. And gets the shock of her life.

Canto & Payal were thrown away when they were children because they hadn’t initialized as A’s. Payal couldn’t control her emotions. Canto couldn’t use his legs. It hurt to read how they were treated. Then it made me smile to read about how Canto looked after Payal & Payal protected Canto.

“Payal, you don’t have to hide me from them.” It came out hard, a near-snarl.
“Yes, I do. A solemn statement that cut him to the bone. “Because you’re my person. The only one I have. I need to protect you.”

This isn’t just about two children that formed a bond that nothing could destroy. It’s about children that were forgotten, children that weren’t protected, and children that died. All because they were A’s. It’s about the journey two A children took to find their way back to each other.

I could honestly go on and on about this book. I was barely able to put it down. I’m so excited to see where the series goes from here. I’m starting to think I’m getting a glimmer of what the end of the series will look like. Maybe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Last Guard by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted July 18, 2021 by Casee in Features | 5 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. 🙂

I’m always THRILLED when Nalini Singh releases a book. It doesn’t matter what she publishes, I will read it. I’m really excited to learn more about the Merchants in Last Guard.

Sunday Spotlight: Last Guard by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night, Last Guard
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 13 hours
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Excerpt

Beyond its limited but well-maintained grounds, Vara was surrounded by smaller buildings of a similar vintage, and looked out over a mishmash of more ancient structures and rickety new buildings that appeared held together by not much more than hope and the odd nail.

Gleaming Psy skyscrapers rose in the distance in stark contrast.

Yet even that clinical intrusion into the heart of this ancient city hadn’t been able to tame the controlled disorder of Delhi. Her city had its own soul and wasn’t about to bow to the whims of any civilization.

Every now and then, she still spotted monkeys scrambling up into the fruit trees on the grounds, and the pigeons had no respect for any of the bird deterrents trialed by the maintenance staff.
Through it all, Vara stood, solid and enduring.

Her father had once considered bulldozing her and rebuilding out of steel and glass, then decided the mahal was an important symbol of their long-term power. “The Raos were here long before others who might think to defeat our hold on this city,” he’d said as they stood at Vara’s highest viewpoint, the rooftop garden hidden from below by the decorative crenellations. “And we’ll be here long after they’re dead and buried.”

It was silent and cool in her third-floor office, but she knew that should she step out onto the stone balcony, she’d be hit with a tumult of horns and cries and scorching heat—the monsoon winds hadn’t yet arrived, bringing with them a humidity that was a wet pressure on the skin.

Payal would then wait for the rains to come, wash away the muggy air.

Her office was situated at the front of Vara, only meters from the street. She could see motorcycles zipping through traffic with apparent insouciance, while multiple auto rickshaws stood lined up in front of Vara hoping for a passenger.

A Psy in San Francisco or Monaco might turn up their nose at that mode of transport, but Psy in Delhi knew that the small and nimble vehicles were far more adept at navigating the city’s heavy traffic than bigger town cars. The more intrepid drivers even dared take on Old Delhi’s narrow lanes—but it was far smarter to travel via motorcycle in those mixed pedestrian/vehicle zones.
The traffic chaos was an accident of history. Delhi had grown too fast at a time when it had more pressing issues to address, and now there was simply no room to expand the roading or underground rail. The rickshaws were here to stay.

Even Payal was known to hail one on occasion despite the fact she was a teleport-capable telekinetic. It helped her keep a finger on the pulse of the city. She’d seen too many powerful Psy fall because they had no idea what was happening beyond their insulated bubble.

Nikita Duncan was the perfect example—the ex-Councilor held considerable financial and political sway, but she’d lost her once-tight grip on her home base. The DarkRiver leopard pack had grown exponentially in power right under her nose. San Francisco would never again be Nikita’s city.

Payal kept an eye on multiple small groups like DarkRiver that wielded more power than they should—she watched and she learned. Always.

After spending several minutes focused on the patterns of movement out on the street, she glanced down at the signature at the bottom of the unexpected e-mail: Canto Mercant, Mercant Corp.
Mercant.

Talk about a small group that held an excessive amount of power. Though the rumored scion of the family was now one of the most famous faces in the world, the Mercants didn’t generally seek fame or overt political power. Rather, they were the primary shadow players in the PsyNet, with a network of spies so skilled they were said to have something on everyone.

Payal knew the latter to be an overstatement for the simple reason that they had nothing on her. The fact she was an anchor wasn’t any kind of a smoking gun or threat. No doubt she was on a list of As somewhere in the Ruling Coalition’s archives. But she didn’t exactly advertise her status. Not when the most well-known telekinetic anchor of recent years had ended up a serial killer.

So how had Canto Mercant worked out her root designation?

Anchor minds weren’t visibly different on the PsyNet, couldn’t be pinpointed that way. And because A was an “inert” designation during early childhood, when Psy were sorted into various designations for the necessary specialized training, it would’ve appeared nowhere on her early records.

In point of fact, all her public-facing records listed her as a Tk.

Canto Mercant shouldn’t have the data on her true status. She certainly hadn’t known the Mercants had an anchor in their midst. Not only an anchor but a hub, born to merge into the fabric of the PsyNet. Chances were Canto Mercant was a cardinal.

Non-cardinal hub-anchors were rare inside an already rare designation.

Setting aside her organizer on her desk, she used her intercom to contact her assistant: Ruhi, bring me our files on the Mercants.

From LAST GUARD published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh.

Psy-Changeling Trinity

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: July 2021

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 Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson

Posted July 7, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Come to Me RecklesslySeries: Closer to You #3
Also in this series: Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 445
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

His heart was turned off…

Until she turned him on…

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he's convinced everyone that he's satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she's deluded herself into believing she's content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher's sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on a collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.

After reading Come to Me Quietly & Come to Me Softly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the last book in this series. The first two books packed quite the emotional punch. I almost took a break, but I just had to read Christopher’s story. He was such an ass in the first two books. Other than his obvious love for his sister, there seemed to be very few redeeming qualities about him. I usually don’t like being wrong, but in this case it really worked out. This book is my favorite in the trilogy.

Christopher & Samantha fell in love when they were teenagers. Like a full-blown, forever type of love. It should have been weird, but it wasn’t. Sometimes you just know. Christopher knew that Samantha was the one for him. Neither his parents nor her parents could keep them apart. Then Zack’s mom dies and it all goes to hell. Samantha feels Christopher pulling away from her. She tries to be there for him, but he’s going through something that she can’t touch. Then she finds him cheating on her and that’s it for her.

Fast forward…Samantha is living right down the street from Aly & Zack. Aly & Samantha run into each other and the subject of Christopher comes up. The wound is still raw for Samantha, no matter how much time has gone by. She’s determined to stay away from Christopher and Christopher seems just as determined to stay away from her. Samantha doesn’t know why Christopher has a problem with her. He was the one that cheated on her. He left her, not the other way around.

I really like the reunited lovers troupe. There’s always some big emotional reason that the couple has separated which means that it’s a big emotional reunion. That’s how it was for Christopher and Samantha. They were meant to be together and nothing, not even time can keep them apart.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Closer to You

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall

Posted June 24, 2021 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCallReviewer: Judith
The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall
Series: FBI #5
Also in this series: Be A Good Girl (FBI, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rae Blissfield became the world’s most buttoned-up accountant to escape childhood hell: growing up in a traveling Renaissance faire, thanks to her hippy-dippy parents. And now they’re begging her to help (babysit) one of their colleagues. Trouble is, the beyond-hunky Connor Larkin needs more than babysitting; he needs a bodyguard! Unbeknownst to everyone, Connor is an undercover FBI agent posing as a blacksmith. But after being attacked, Connor has lost his memory and thinks he actually is a medieval armorist.

Unfortunately, Connor’s amnesia hasn’t stopped the bad guys’ pursuit. Now Bliss and Connor are running for their lives, he’s falling in love, and he’s starting to remember things he doesn’t want to: dangerous things – things about Bliss even she doesn’t know. And for Connor, protecting Rae from the truth is all that matters, even if it kills him.

This review was originally published March 24, 2010

Rae Blissfield is not so different from many who have sought education in order to escape a childhood that has grown into a life that can no longer be tolerated. Such was the experience of this beautiful but “closed off” woman who just wants to be in the same place longer than two weeks, who is tired of the tirades of her hippy parents, and who is willing to live alone in order to be mistress of her own fate. She makes a very good living and while her life is often dull and boring – doing taxes really doesn’t make anyone’s blood sing – she is content to be “settled.”

A call from her parents who are vendors at the local Renaissance Faire brings her back into this world she wants so desperately to leave behind. She sees her parents annually when they come to Michigan, but beyond that she is not ever intending to be a part of their life again. Now they are presenting her with a dilemma that will ultimately be life-changing in more ways than she could ever anticipate. Asked to provide a sort of “sanctuary” for the colleague who has been assaulted and who has lost his memory. Rae’s parents are convinced that Connor Larkin’s well-being is at risk and are asking her to give him a home away from the Faire for a week.

Wow!! What a week! The attraction between Rae and Connor was immediate and he has openly courted her further attention. The tension between these two really doesn’t abate throughout the entire book. It is a romance that is sizzling and funny, intriguing with interesting repartee. However, the insistent pursuit of these two takes them way out of their comfort zones, especially Rae, who has so carefully built her stable life and who must now figure out a way to fulfill her parents’ concern and save her job at the same time, all the while trying to find a way to navigate her way through her feelings and her attraction to Connor that just seems to keep on keeping on.

This is a true suspense novel and as such doesn’t come up with easy answers. Rae makes some discoveries about her family that throw her for a really big loop. Connor’s growing attachment to her and her discovery of her feelings for him are complications that distract from their mutual desire to find those who are putting their lives and the lives of Rae’s family in danger. To find those people is to also find the criminal mind who has involved the Renaissance Faire and its people in criminal enterprise for many months. Lovers of suspense and mystery will love this book – it is a very good read. The plot twists and turns, and the ending was quite unexpected. Through it all sizzles the attraction between Rae and Connor, and that simply makes a good suspense novel even better.

I enjoyed this book and while I have not read other Penny McCall novels, I think I will be doing so in the near future.

I give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5.

FBI

four-half-stars


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