Tag: Berkley

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

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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Guest Review: Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh

Posted August 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Someone to Honor by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott series #6
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Abigail Westcott's dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she's grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He's come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn't take lightly to being condescended to - secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honor means, and how only with it can one find love.

Gil is an army man who helps his weak and injured friend, Harry Wescott, home he needs Abby Westcott, Harry’ sister, but isn’t really interested in Abby – he’s more focused on getting his daughter back.

While Gil was in the war, his wife had a baby. He then finds out that she had taken the child to her parents and left her there. The child’s mother then went off flitting from house party to house party and eventually her reckless attitude gets her killed. Gil wants nothing more than to get his daughter back, but the grandparents believe a bunch of lies that Gil’s wife had told about him, and they’ll do anything to keep the child from him.

Gil was born illegitimate. His mother was a washerwoman and his father was a noble. While they didn’t have a much, she always provided for Gil. His father wasn’t in the picture and Gil resents the man for making him and his mother live in poverty. Of course, as the book goes on, we find out that sometimes all is not as it seems.

Gil and Abby come together to get Gil’s daughter back but other than that I felt no real romance between the two of them. Gil was surly and contrary, and Abby was just kind of blah. I was actually bored through most of this book, which was a bit of a surprise since I’ve liked the previous Wescott books so much.

I was interested in the whole daughter issue, (it’s what kept me reading) but it ended up being anti-climactic. There was a lot of stress thinking how it was going to work out and it kind of had me on the edge of my seat. Then, of course, when they actually got to that point it was a bit of a letdown. I don’t know if I was expecting this big fight, or what, but it just wasn’t very exciting.

Balogh is a good author, but I think she really missed the mark on this one. I’m not sure if she wasn’t into the characters as much as previous books, or maybe she was trying to knock it out quickly, but it just didn’t work for me

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-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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Throwback Thursday Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

Posted August 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha YoungReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #5
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Fall from India Place , Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Down London Road
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street comes a seductive story of forgiving the past and making up for lost time.…
Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude to win her heart.As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.…

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

This review was originally posted on Oct 15, 2014.

I fell in love with Cole in Down London Road. I’m so glad he got his own book. He was everything I expected. I wasn’t sure what to make of his heroine at first, but she ended up being his perfect match.

Shannon moves to Edinburgh to start over. She’s had a pretty rough go of things lately and she needs a change of scenery. She applies for several jobs but the only interview she gets is at the tattoo shop INKarnate. When the owner offers her the position she’s thrilled to have found something so quickly. But she’s also terrified of accepting. Tattoo shops are bad boy hangouts and she’s a bad boy magnet..and not the good, sexy kind of bad boy, either. The lie, cheat, steal and beat on you kind.

When she meets Cole, the shop manager, she’s dismayed to feel an instant attraction to him. He doesn’t help things by coming on to her pretty strong. The last thing she needs in her life is another player like Cole. She wants to avoid him as much as possible, but when she moves in with another tattoo artist from the shop and gets pulled into their friend circle, it’s really hard. Cole won’t let up until she eventually slaps him down, hard. Then she realizes she made a mistake. Cole isn’t a player like all her exes. He’s actually a pretty great guy. And while she isn’t looking for a relationship – she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust a guy again – she knows she has to make things right with him. Except once she does, once she lays out her secrets to him, Cole becomes even more determined to have her. Keeping him at bay isn’t easy, but she knows she has to. Because the alternative is opening her heart, and she just can’t do that.

This isn’t what I expected from Cole’s book. First, I thought it would be from his point-of-view. Second, I thought there would be more angst on his side of things. At first I was disappointed in the direction Young went with the story, but as the novel progressed I realized it was played just right. Though Cole had some drama growing up, he had strong role models in his sister, her husband and their circle of friends. He was firmly grounded. Had Young made up some kind of angsty drama for him, I would have been disappointed. His pursuit of Shannon early in the book was almost uncomfortable to read about, since we saw it from her perspective and she wasn’t exactly charmed (or, more to the point, didn’t want to be). Once she bares her soul to him, though, I thought he treated her exactly right.

“Delicate, beautiful, fragile. I want to protect you while at the same time I want to shatter you,” he murmured against my lips, “but only in the best way possible.”

The way he acted toward the end frustrated me, but knowing where he came from (based on the way he was raised in Down London Road) made his actions tolerable. Shannon had a great amount of inner strength. Despite her family turning their backs on her and mistreatment by former boyfriends, she was determined to get back the girl she used to be.

Tears stung my eyes, and my mouth trembled as I glared out at the city. If it was the last thing I did, I would buy those acrylics and use them . . . and somehow, hopefully, along the way I was going to find the girl I’d lost because of him.

I had a lot of admiration for her. Especially as her relationship with Cole developed and she owned her behavior. She had the occasional setback, but she was quick to admit when she was wrong.  That isn’t to say she didn’t frustrate me at times, because she did. I wanted her to see how great Cole was sooner, and then to give in to the inevitable between them immediately. That wouldn’t have been realistic based on her past, however.

Shannon’s friendship with her roommate (a tattoo artist at INKarnate), Rae, as well as the relationships she develops with her other co-workers was great. It was good to see her spreading her wings and getting back out there. I always love it when the heroine has friends outside her relationship. Speaking of Rae, I really loved her. She was bold and brash, yet compassionate and caring when she needed to be. That didn’t stop me from being seriously pissed at the way she acted toward Shannon during the main part of the conflict. I’m not going to go into a huge rant here about it, but..I expected better from her. There’s a surprising amount of humor laced throughout. Shannon has a great sense of humor. There were times, especially when dealing with Cole’s family, that I was literally laughing out loud.

“Jo, sheathe the mother- bear claws.” He said it in such an authoritative tone I wasn’t surprised when she snapped her mouth shut. Cole’s fingers tightened their hold on my waist. “Shannon is my business, not yours.”

“And you’re my business,” she argued, glowering at me.

Awkward. ” Everyone stopped talking and looked at me.

I blanched.

“Did I say that out loud?” Cole nodded, shaking with amusement. Joss, Hannah, and Liv burst into laughter and even Jo’s scowl cleared as her lips twitched.

Speaking of Cole’s family, it was really great to see his interactions with Hannah and the rest. His relationship with Hannah had come under fire in the past, so I wondered how Shannon would deal with it. Her quick acceptance of their friendship was great, as were Cole and Hannah’s reactions to it.

I couldn’t imagine anyone being mean to Hannah. She was so lovely. “Why would she start on Hannah?”

Cole grinned. “You like Hannah, don’t you?”

“Eh, yeah. She’s a pregnant superwoman. She’s a teacher, she’s a mum, she’s a stepmum, she’s a wife, and she’s smart and organized and caring and somehow manages to be all those things while looking absolutely amazing. I kind of want to be Hannah.”

All-in-all, this was a great addition to the series. Cole was everything I expected him to be, and Shannon’s personal growth, as well as their developing relationship, really pulled me in. This book is emotionally charged, funny, sweet and full of depth. I couldn’t put it down.

4.25 out of 5

On Dublin Street

four-half-stars


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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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