Publisher: Self-Published

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3), Clean Sweep, Sweep of the Blade
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 10, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 140
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A charming, short novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles, from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ilona Andrews.

Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

Sweep with Me is a novella set in Gertrude Hunt, a magical intergalactic Inn, featuring Sean and Dina. It takes place a very short time after the events of One Fell Sweep.

After Dina almost died trying to protect Gertrude Hunt, she and Sean are in desperate need of some down time. Unfortunately for them, this is the one time of year they’re unable to refuse a guest at the Inn. Now they have angry intellectual space-chickens debating the meaning of life, a soulless killer on a pilgrimage and the leader of an off-planet world with murky intentions requesting the Inn set up a meeting with a ruthless business man. Sean and Dina do their best to keep their guests safe from harm and from each other.

I love the Innkeeper Chronicles. I was very happy to visit Dina and Sean at Gertrude Hunt. This novella was a lot of fun. This world is so well drawn I feel like I’m there with them every time I open a book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Posted April 1, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Heartland by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Heartland by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #7
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks, Heartland
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 329
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

I really, really wanted to love this book. I love this series. Dylan was never really on my radar as a character that I wanted to read about. He just seemed too young. I really ended up liking him. Chasity, not so much. I wanted to like her, but I just felt meh about her.

Dylan and Chasity are best friends. Dylan treats her like a little sister, much to Chasity’s chagrin. She’s loved Dylan since she first laid eyes on him and that hasn’t changed. Now they’re attending the same college. Dylan is her math tutor and Chasity enjoys even single second of his time. Too bad he will never look at her like anything other than a little sister.

Soon, Chasity and Dylan start a business making candy. I have no idea why this was in the book. It felt like page filler to me. I did understand that Chasity needed to find herself as someone other than a cult survivor, but making candy? That didn’t really work for me.

I’m also not a fan of unrequited love. Chasity loved Dylan to distraction, but Dylan was a man whore. The man could literally not keep it in his pants. Although he feels attraction toward Chasity, he would never do anything to ruin their friendship or their family dynamic.

I think the most annoying person in the entire book was Griff. That guy is such an asshole. He was so sweet in his book, but he’s gotten worse in each subsequent book. I just don’t like him anymore.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

True North

three-half-stars


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Review: Knight Awakening by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted March 18, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Knight Awakening by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Knight Awakening by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Scorpius Syndrome #6
Also in this series: Mercury Striking, Shadow Falling, Justice Ascending, Storm Gathering, Winter Igniting
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

“Sexy, tough, and deftly sprinkled with dark humor.” -- New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione
The Line Between Obsession and Love has Disappeared
The world has changed. Any rules that might’ve been in place before the Scorpius bacterium ripped through civilization and decreased its population are no longer in place. Obsession and survival are the new reality. So, Marcus Knight, after a hellish time in captivity that stole most of his memory and all of his soul, has one focus, and that’s keeping Dr. Penelope Kim safe in the aftermath. She’d risked her life to save him once, and she’s all that matters. For months, he’s kept his distance, protecting her from afar, because he knows that one touch—one sigh—one kiss—from her will never be enough.
Passion is a Dangerous and Deadly Temptation
Penny Kim is one of the few doctors still living, and she alone holds the key to ensuring the human race continues. Several of her friends are pregnant, and the clock is ticking down on their survival. Her days are filled with experiments and hope, while her nights are consumed with visions and dreams of the hard-bodied and powerful soldier who’s made her safety his one and only mission. She should be wary of him; she should be terrified of him. Yet all she feels is an unreal craving for his touch that gets stronger every day. Life is short, and she’s unwilling to wait, unaware of the danger already hunting them both. Some risks are worth it, even in this new and dangerous world.
“Thrilling, post-apocalyptic romance at its dark, sizzling best!” --New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian

RZ brings us back to the world of Scorpius. Scorpius has been a global killer with only a small majority of the population surviving having the virus. It was actually a little eerie reading this book considering our current circumstances (i.e. COVID-19). Creepy.

This series is set in a post-apocalypse Los Angeles. Jax Mercury is the leader of Vanguard-Merc, a ragtag group of 600 survivors of the life as they knew it. While trying to live their lives they have to deal with a crazy President, a street gang, rationing food, and a lack of water. Which is only the tip of the iceberg.

Penelope Kim was fresh out of medical school when the virus hit. Forget an internship or a residency. She was thrown from the frying pan into the fire. She took it like a champ, wanting to help as many people as she could. When she first lays eyes on Marcus Knight, she has no idea who he is. She only knows that he’s being held captive against his will and experimented on. Penelope vows to help Marcus escape before she leaves the bunker. She has no idea the shit that is about to go down.

So when Vanguard-Merc shows up at the bunker where Marcus is being held, Penelope panics. In the midst of the chaos, Penelope is infected. She survives (obviously), but Marcus still blames himself. See, Marcus had the virus and one of the side effects of surviving it is that you may become a little obsessive. Obsessed with Penny’s safety. He won’t let anything or anyone get between himself and Penny. Not even his brother. Yes, his brother is none other than Jax Mercury, the leader of Vanguard-Merc. Only problem is that Marcus doesn’t remember anything. He barely remembers his time at the bunker and his torture. Penny is in the forefront of his mind; her safety is all that matters to him.

Penelope is aware that she has her very own guard dog. But she doesn’t want a guard dog. She wants to be a partner with Marcus. Any feelings of waiting for things to happen flew out the window with Scorpius. Penelope isn’t waiting for Marcus to come to her. She goes to him. Marcus wants to take what Penny is offering badly, but he is terrified of hurting her. His obsession about protecting her hasn’t gone away. When they start their relationship it actually becomes worse.

Last night when I finished this book, I gave it a strong 4.5/5. This morning, after thinking about the book, I can’t give it that high of a grade. Based on the ending, it seems as if that is the last book of the series. I always admire an author that can bring a series to a close. Anyway, the ending was so rushed that I really felt let down. After the buildup of what was going on with the President, it was just wrapped up too neatly. That’s my only complaint about the book. I really loved it other than that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Scorpius Syndrome

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Love Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted March 15, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 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 have been waiting for this book for ages now. I’m so stoked to finally be getting a Samoan romance. A sexy Samoan rugby player? Yes, please! Jake and Juliet sound like all kinds of fun so I’m all in. We’re pretty stoked to be sharing an excerpt from Love Hard so check it out!

Sunday Spotlight: Love Hard by Nalini SinghLove Hard by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #3
Also in this series: Cherish Hard, Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1), Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1), Rebel Hard (Hard Play, #2), Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you the next sizzling story in her Hard Play contemporary romance series…

Jacob Esera, star rugby player and young single father, has worked hard to create a joyous life for his six-year-old daughter. After the death of his childhood sweetheart soon after their daughter’s birth, all Jake wants is safety and stability. No risks. No wild chances. And especially no Juliet Nelisi, former classmate, scandal magnet, and a woman who is a thorn in his side.

As a lonely teenager, Juliet embraced her bad-girl reputation as a shield against loneliness and rejection. Years later, having kicked a cheating sports-star ex to the curb, she has a prestigious job and loyal friends—and wants nothing to do with sportsmen. The last thing she expects is the fire that ignites between her and the stuffed-shirt golden boy who once loved her best friend.

Straitlaced Jacob Esera versus wild-at-heart Juliet Nelisi? Place your bets.

Excerpt

Jake checked on Esme—who was having a grand old time running wild with the other children—then went hunting Jules.

He was starting to think she’d ditched the reception when he finally saw her seated in a hidden alcove with a giant slice of wedding cake on a saucer. She cut into it with a fork as he watched, slipped the tines into her mouth. Her lashes drifted shut, her lips pursed; he could almost hear her moan of pleasure.

His cock twitched.

No, no, no. He couldn’t twitch for Juliet.

Yet he haphazardly grabbed a slice of cake for himself before going over to join her in the alcove.

She glared at him. “This is my spot. Go. Away.”

“I don’t see your name on it,” he said and took a seat. The alcove wasn’t that big, and his shoulder brushed hers, his hip pressing into a lush feminine curve. He was crowding her on purpose. Because the thing was… he wanted to fight with Juliet. Dangerous as it was, he hadn’t felt this alive in a long, long time.

Her eyes flashed. Then she elbowed him under the guise of getting comfortable.

“Oof.” He rubbed his ribs.

“Oh, did that hurt?” She pointed her fork in his direction. “So, so sorry.”

Jake was grinning when his father appeared nearby.

“Son,” he said. “Sorry to interrupt, but Uncle Tama wants to get home and his car isn’t starting.”

“I’ll have a look.” Jake took the keys his father held out… before he turned to Juliet and said, “It’s dark out. Mind coming and holding the torch for me?”

Joseph Esera broke in. “Oh, I can do that.”

“No, Mr. Esera.” Juliet’s smile was warm and generous. “It’s your son’s wedding. Stay, enjoy. I’m sure it won’t take Jake long to fix things.” She kept up that smile as Joseph patted her on the shoulder and told her she was a good girl before he walked away to tug Alison into a dance.

At which point Jake got the death glare magnified.

Driven to antagonize her by a madness he couldn’t shake, he took a bite of cake before rising to put his plate down on the alcove seat. “Cake’s gonna have to wait, Jules.”

“Where’s the damn torch?” She put down her own cake and stood.

“In my car,” Jake said automatically before realizing they’d come here in a limo. “On second thought—we’ll have to use our phones.”

Juliet took his phone when he handed it to her, then swung by the head table to pick up hers too. They’d just stepped outside when his phone flashed with light, a message popping onto the front screen.

Shuddering, Juliet handed it over. “I think it’s one of your groupies. Take it before I gag.”

The text was from a Trixi Kitten. “For your information,” he muttered after quickly scanning it, “that’s the name of my great-aunt’s cat.”

Juliet stared at him. “Do I look like I was born yesterday?”

“Read the message.” He held it out.

Folding her arms, she tilted her head to the side, just daring him to continue.

He held it up right in front of her face so she couldn’t miss the message: Jake, dear, are you checking your uncle’s car? Can you come look at Great-auntie’s in the next week? It’s making a strange noise and it scares me. Meow – Trixi Pussy

A kind of strangled sound erupting in her throat, Juliet nudged aside his phone. “Does she always…”

“Write messages as if it’s her cat?” He nodded. “She’s a perfectly sane human otherwise. Last week she beat everyone in her local pub quiz so she could win a nodding-cat thing.”

“The whole… er… pussy thing?”

“She’s eighty-nine. As far as she’s concerned, it means cat.” Jake rubbed his face. “She stood next to me while I was inputting her number and kept asking me why I didn’t list her as Trixi Pussy.”

Juliet’s laughter sounded like it was torn out of her. And the cock twitching got worse.

That didn’t make sense. Why was her laughter turning him on? Or maybe it was the way she looked when she laughed, so open and warm and… as if she’d make him that way. Not this staid, solid stranger he sometimes felt he’d become.

Shaking off the thought because his solid and staid nature was what made him a good dad, he pointed to a pale blue VW Bug. “That’s it.”

The two of them walked across the parking lot, which was empty of all other signs of life. Just rows of cars—some bedecked with flowers and streamers in honor of the wedding—and a few standing lamps that cast just enough light so people could find their vehicles.

Useless, however, for looking at an engine.

The land sloped down on the other side of the car, the old theater surrounded by manicured grounds that often hosted outdoor plays. Maybe he’d bring Esme to one of those, he thought absently as he unlocked his uncle’s car, then tried to start it to see what sounds it made, if any.

Juliet stood outside, tapping her toe on the tarmac and looking like a fantasy straight out of the midnight hours, times when Jake’s brain went its own merry way. Sex dreams weren’t exactly a surprise for a single male who had a sex drive he hadn’t been feeding, but the dreams had always been amorphous and erotic. No faces, nothing but sensations that led to frustrated arousal.

He had a feeling that was about to change.

When the hell had Juliet grown those curves?

Wishing he hadn’t left his jacket in the event space, he popped the hood before getting out of the driver’s seat; hopefully the dim lighting would conceal the interest in his pants.

“Here.” He handed her his phone. “I think I know the problem,” he said, propping the hood open.

The scent of Juliet washed over him as she stepped close enough to shine the torchlight from both phones into the engine.

“Tell me where you want it,” she said, and his brain decided to put those words in a totally different—and dirty —context.

Gritting his teeth, Jake said, “Where you have it is good.”

*

Not responding to Jake’s comment because she’d become fascinated by the way his muscles moved under the fine white fabric of his formal shirt as he bent over the engine, Juliet told herself to breathe. She also reminded herself that she’d already had this conversation with herself and decided the physical attraction was pure nonsense.

But jeez, did the universe have to make him so gorgeous?

There, fine, she’d admitted it. The gearhead jock had grown up into a panty-melting adult who adored his daughter, loved his family, and was kind to his elders. Even a great-aunt who liked to text using her cat alter ego. He might have a stick up his butt, but Juliet would still like to see that butt.

Juliet Nelisi, you stop checking out Jake’s butt. STOP.

But the man was muscled everywhere. It was hard not to eat up the eye candy when it was right in front of her. Also, since a visual was all it would ever be, she might as well enjoy… except, this wasn’t just a random hot guy.

This was Jake.

Hard Play

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: March 2020

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: Husband by Penelope Sky

Posted March 11, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Husband by Penelope SkyReviewer: Casee
Husband by Penelope Sky
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo, Lia Langola
Series: Betrothed #2
Also in this series: Betrothed (Betrothed #1), Wife
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 10, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 314
Length: 7 hours and 27 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Two years of bitter loneliness have passed. The woman I love is now the woman I hate. I lose myself in beautiful women every night and tell myself that fortune reading was nothing but a scam. But then her mother asks me to marry her. I say yes. Now this woman will be mine forever. Maybe the prophecy really is true. I'm committing to a woman that will never love me in return. But it was better to be her husband than allow someone else to take my place. It was better to conquer her body every night than be lonely with someone else. Much better.

Husband picks up right where Wife left off. At the end of Wife, Sophia finds out that her mother has arranged a marriage to none other than Hades Lombardi. It has been four years since they split in a very non amicable way. It was clear that Hades hates her so she can’t imagine why he would want to marry her of all people.

When it becomes clear that Sophia needs a protector, Hades steps in. His hatred for how she treated him doesn’t surpass his need to have her. Plus, he’s not going to let anyone else have her. It’s clear that she’s against the marriage, but eventually she caves. While Hades knows that Sophia doesn’t love him, they develop a partnership that they both start to count on. Hades decides that he can accept nothing less than Sophia’s love. So he goes back to the fortune teller that told him his fortune all those years ago.

Unfortunately he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear. The old woman tells him that he can break his curse by righting the most wrong thing he has done. Hades knows the sky may as well be purple. That’s what would have to happen for Hades to get his brother to forgive him for murdering their father. Alas, he has to try.

I really liked seeing Hades and Sophia’s relationship evolve. It’s clear Sophia loves him, but she doesn’t know it. Then the unthinkable happens. Sophia is kidnapped by Hades enemy. Hades goes berserk trying to find her to no avail. Which ends this book and leads into the next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Betrothed


four-stars


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