Jun 21, 2017

Book Review: Playing with Trouble







Recently divorced, Laura Baughman is taking her life back. After a decade away, she’s returning to Yachats, Oregon—the small town she couldn’t wait to leave after graduation—to take over her late mother’s beloved flower shop. Yet once she arrives, Laura discovers the store has been neglected and her father has partnered in construction with Jake Lock. The once-scrawny high school band geek is now successful—and irresistibly sexy—and set to inherit her family’s business. That is, unless Laura can prove in the next thirty days that she has what it takes to run the company.

Despite the heat between Jake and Laura, romance is out of the question. After her last disastrous relationship, Laura has sworn off men—especially one bent on crushing her dreams. That’s just fine with Jake, who thinks the gorgeous blonde is a pain in the neck…though admittedly one he’d like to put his lips all over.

Jake has a proposal to mix business with pleasure. But when a deal goes south, Laura is ready to pack up and skip town all over again. Does he have what it takes to convince her to stay?


* * * * *

I do have a tendency to avoid books with a lot of explicit sex because all too often I have found that as more sex that is added plot is removed.  I am so happy to say that this wasn't the case with PLAYING WITH TROUBLE.  It has a solid story line that will keep the reader interested along with some sex scenes which really heat up the pages.

I really enjoyed the characters especially some of the secondary ones such as Roberta, Laura's father's girlfriend.  She's a down to earth, big hearted woman with good advice who just happens to run a lingerie shop and a dirty book club.  I would also like to see a book about Hannah who is Laura's best friend.

All in all, I would give this book a thumbs up because it has a solid plot line, good pacing, great characters and witty dialogue.  I think that any of my readers who enjoy contemporary romance with some heat would enjoy this book.  There are some graphic scenes though so perhaps not appropriate for the younger generation.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Jun 20, 2017

Book Review: Take Me Back




Hallie Cavanaugh’s late father just left her millions of reasons to stay away from Jim Lawson, deputy sheriff of Paradise, Idaho, and the man who broke her heart fourteen years ago. Hallie has worked hard for independence, but she can’t dismiss a massive inheritance, even if she has to follow her father’s manipulative terms to get it. How hard can it be to spend six months back in Paradise—and not sleep with her old flame?

Former Army Ranger Jim just wants to do his job, raise his daughter…and resist the gorgeous, redheaded reminder of his bad-boy past. Their one unforgettably hot night together had major consequences, and now there’s a fortune and a family legacy at stake. But when Hallie is threatened amid a storm of uncovered secrets and conflicted loyalties, protecting her becomes more than a duty: it’s a deeply personal fight Jim’s heart won’t let him lose.


* * * * *

I really liked the characters in this book.  They are all so realistic with their faults and strengths that they almost jump right off the pages.  Hallie is a really good person which is a testament to her strength of will since her mother was absent even when she was right there and her father was a real piece of work.  Jim has grown into a wonderful man who is open to learn from his experiences.

The unfortunate part is that someone is determined to see that Hallie doesn't meet the requirements of her father's will and won't stop at anything to ensure her failure.  It made for a great story to see how Hallie, Jim and their friends work together to ensure her safety and to ensure that she is able to inherit the money her father left to her.

I really enjoyed this book.  The villain in this story really worked behind the scenes up until the very end which made for a surprising finish.  I think that my readers who enjoy a contemporary romance with a bit of danger tossed in would really like this book.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Jun 13, 2017

Book Review: The Fallen Kingdom




The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer's story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.

* * * * * 

While I really enjoyed the first two books, THE FALLEN KINGDOM swept me away.  I became so invested in the world and in the characters that when a death occurred, I was in tears.  Now I don't know about you but very few books cause me to cry.  

This entire book was very emotional.  You have fantastic characters that are all too easy to relate too in a great setting.  There is the love between Aileana (Kam) and Kiaran, the friendships between Kam, Derrick, Charlotte and Aithinne,  Sorcha's hatred and jealousy.  Oh and let's not forget the dialogue.  It will have you laughing at times and ready to sniffle at others.

This is seriously a wonderful book and I recommend that anyone who enjoys fantasy rush out and get this series!  It goes among the top three or four that I have ever read.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
Jun 9, 2017

Book Review: A Deeper Grave





When the hunter becomes the hunted…

Serial-killer hunter Nick Shade built his legendary career chasing monsters—sadistic criminals with a gruesome thirst for death. When he rescued Montgomery detective Bobbie Gentry from horrific captivity and helped her reclaim her life, he didn't intend to be a hero. Or a target. But now a copycat murderer haunts him, and reuniting with Bobbie is his best chance at neutralizing the threat.

Bobbie can't forget the nightmares of her trauma—or the man who saved her. Working with Nick to outmaneuver the person behind a deadly vendetta feeds her hope that there's more to her world than ghosts and destruction. Maybe joining Nick's search for a killer is about gratitude. Maybe it's nothing more than cold revenge. But the only way they can protect themselves is to trust each other.


* * * * *

I do have to say that I have found a new favorite author.  Ms. Webb does an excellent job of drawing the reader right into the story to the point that you can almost smell the blood.  

This story is gritty with a kick ass heroine, Bobby Gentry, who doesn't know how to quit once she is on the trail.  She is assisted by the mysterious Nick Shade who goal in life was to hunt serial killers.  That was until he meet Bobby who has managed to work her way under his skin so now he has another goal which is to try to keep her safe.

A DEEPER GRAVE is the second book in this series and I do have to say that they just keep getting better and better.  I would recommend this book and this series to any of my readers who enjoy gritty thrillers with a touch of romance.  I do want to give my readers a heads up that this book does portray graphic violence  so be forewarned.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
Jun 7, 2017

Book Review: Restrained Under His Duty




An uninhibited politician’s daughter falls for her loyal bodyguard behind closed doors in this scandalous novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Bound Beneath His Pain and Tied to His Betrayal.

As the chief of security for a prominent senator, Ryder Blackwood is stunned when an anonymous source sends him a compromising photo of his boss’s twenty-five-year-old daughter getting down and dirty in an underground sex club. If it gets out, the media firestorm could ruin her father. More troubling for Ryder is how arousing he finds the whole situation. He’s known Hadley Winters since she was a kid. And now she’s the woman in all his most private fantasies.

Wild behavior helps Hadley get through those painful, lonely nights, but she’s been waiting a long time for a man like Ryder to protect her from herself. Ryder is raw. He’s real. And he makes her feel safe. Now that they’ve both become pawns in a blackmailer’s dangerous game, there’s more at stake than her father’s political career. As the intimate threats tear apart a tender new love, Hadley is forced to trust Ryder with her life—and her heart.


* * * * *

RESTRAINED UNDER HIS DUTY is actually the third book in this series but you won't feel lost if you haven't had the chance to read the first two.  Now if you have been following the series however you are in for a treat as you will get the opportunity to check in with the rest of the Dominant Council.

I very enjoyed reading this book as the plot flowed nicely and I have already really like Ryder.  There are also some really hot sex scenes involving bondage.  I didn't really care for Hadley though.  I found that a lot of the issues could be laid directly in her lap for not thinking things through.  Even so, this was a fun book to read.

I think that my readers that enjoy really steamy books with a good plot will enjoy this book.  I do want to put out a gentle warning however that this book does have very explicit sex scenes.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Jun 5, 2017

Ramblings and Updates




I really haven't forgotten everyone that reads my blog.  I just been horrible about keeping people up to date about the happenings in my world.  So this might be a longer post.

  • As everyone knows, my beloved Boo was having liver issues.  We thought that we had won that battle as she was back up to weight and had gotten her snarkiness back.  I should have knocked on wood because Boo refused her meds on Friday May 26th and she died laying by side on Saturday May 27th.  She will be forever missed and I plan on having some of her ashes made into a bead.
  • On the brighter side of things, we are getting new carpet installed on July 3rd. This is long overdue as the existing carpet has grease stains from before we bought the house.  And then it went through issues with Kharma forgetting to go out to do his business. 
  • Conal, my stepson, loves to paint so we are getting the place painted before the new carpet arrives.

  • We have a new puppy!  One of my favorite breeds and one that I have always wanted is an  Akita.  She looks like she is going to be Saje's dog which is good since he is the one spending the most time with her.  

  • She is a moose weighing in at 35 pounds and just over 3 months.  And she is a rather smart puppy which is making her a handful to teach manners too.  She doesn't give me much time to miss Boo.

  • We have our garden started.  This house is situated in such a fashion that I won't ever be able to have a traditional garden because of the fact I don't get enough sun anywhere but on my front porch.
Jun 2, 2017

Book Review: Wildfire





Her power-hungry husband takes pleasure in her pain, but she’s done playing the victim.

Three years ago, ex-operative Sophie Jordan made the mistake of falling in love—and marrying—her target. Now she’s paying for it tenfold. Her husband might be one of the sexiest men alive, but he’s also a psychopath. She’s been a virtual prisoner, and the time has come for retribution—and escape.

Undercover agent Malcolm Gunnison has his orders: get intel from Sophie’s arms-dealer husband, then kill him. He plans to get rid of her, too, if she gets in his way, but he’s unprepared when she gets under his skin instead. Whose side is she on? And what is she hiding behind those mesmerizing eyes?

Sophie vowed to never fall for another man again, but this sexy undercover agent is different. With danger mounting, can Malcolm and Sophie trust each other—and their growing passion—enough to get out of this operation alive?


* * * * *

I really enjoyed checking back in on the folks from the Organization.  I am still in lust with Reme.  Somehow I managed to miss the second book but each book is complete in itself so I wasn't lost or felt like I was missing something vital.  

Sophie is one of the strongest people that I have ever seen.  I know that I would have gone insane dealing with her husband but she just spends her time preparing to escape from him.  Mal is burnt out and not too sure just what he thinks about Sophie.  She could be either a help or a hindrance to his mission.   

I do think that my readers who enjoy romantic suspense will enjoy  WILDFIRE.  The plot is fast paced, the characters are interesting and the tension is thick enough to cut with a knife. You can read this book as a stand alone but I would recommend picking up the entire series.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own. 
May 31, 2017

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale






At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


* * * * *

Oh my goodness.  This book is incredible!  It's based on a Russian fairytale and Ms. Arden did a wonderful job of bringing it to life.  

It's rare when I run across a book nowadays that totally sweeps me away.  There were even times when I was even shivering from the cold of the winter in Rus and the temps here have been in the 70s.   There were other times when the tale brought me to tears.

Ms. Arden has a deft touch with her characters.  They all were so detailed and three dimensional that they became real to me.  I fell in love with Vasilisa and her strength.  She had a touch of the Sight and refused to be put in the box that women typically resided in.  The only thing that really reined her in was her love for her family and her people.  

I enjoy fairy tales but this is the first time that I have had the chance to read one that absolutely took me away from my every day life.  I highly recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy fantasy or fairy tales.  You won't be disappointed.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 24, 2017

Book Review: The Cutaway




When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.


* * * * *

Usually when you run across a book about untangling a murder,  it is written from the viewpoint of a private investigator or a police officer.  THE CUTAWAY is rather unusual in that it is written from the perspective of a reporter.  That difference flavors the entire book and make it unique.  

I really loved the character of Virginia Knightly who will do whatever it takes to get her story and to protect her sources even if that means facing her own fears.  She draws strong men to her because of her own strength of will.  I also really enjoyed seeing the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes of a big story.  

I am actually crossing my fingers that this book was only the start of a series as I don't want to tell Virginia goodby.  I highly recommend THE CUTAWAY to any of my readers who enjoy a good mystery or suspense.  The pacing is spot on, the characters have a lot of depth and the dialogue is witty.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

May 22, 2017

Book Review: Firestorm





SCORCHED BY DESIRE

Dimitri lives to protect the secret of the Dragon Kings from the human race. Bound by a bond stronger than blood to the Kings, Dimitri uses his strength and prowess to defend a thousand-year-old secret. But when an oh-so-sexy, slightly absent-minded archaeologist wanders into his midst, Dimitri will have to give up his rules, and give in to desire...

When Dr. Faith Reynold stumbles upon an ancient skeleton that appears it comes from a dragon, she’s completely taken aback. A woman of science, there’s no way in her mind that this mythological creature can exist. But when a devilishly handsome man named Dimitri intercepts her path to uncovering the truth, Faith’s curiosity turns into all-consuming passion. She’s never felt this way about any man before. But when Dimitri reveals his biggest secret, can she learn to love the man—as well as the dragon within.


* * * * *

Wow!  It's been a while since I have stumbled across a paranormal romance with a story arc that spans several books.  Especially one that I so enjoyed that I have to go track down the back list for this series.

What really made this series for me is that I really liked the characters.  Even the villain is likeable, he just happens to have a different view on how humans should be treated.  I just loved Faith who was very much a woman of science but is willing to believe her own eyes even if it happens go against what science currently feels to be true.  

I would recommend FIRESTORM to any of my readers who enjoy dragons and paranormal romances.  Actually I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series but FIRESTORM does a wonderful job of standing on its own.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Book Review: Falling Darkness




At the mercy of a treacherous sea...

Claire Britten's training never prepared her for this--the forensic psychology curriculum didn't cover plane crashes. Or how to help fellow survivors cope, seven frightened people huddled in two small rafts awaiting a rescue that may never come. Especially when three of them are your ex-husband, your young daughter--and the man you love, Nick Markwood, whose pursuit by a criminal mastermind forced you all to run in the first place.

When the bedraggled crew finally reaches dry land, they are still far from safe. Nick tries to secure transport to their witness-protection placement, urging everyone to stick to the identities laid out for them. They don't need any complications. But when danger follows them to their supposed safe haven, Claire and Nick no longer know who is helping or harming them. Racked by doubt and mistrust, still hunted, they must band together--or fall.


* * * * *

FALLING DARKNESS is the third book in the South Shores series but I have to admit that I was rather impressed by how well it stands on its own.   I had the opportunity to read the first book but somehow skipped over the second.  Even so, I didn't feel lost and immediately became engrossed in the book.

Ms. Harper has done a wonderful job with the characters.  They are all ones I found easy to emphasize with enough that I was holding my breath during some of the tense scenes.  I am especially impressed by Claire who is such a strong woman even with all of her rather unique medical issues.  I also feel bad for Jace, Claire's ex-husband, because what could be worse then being stuck with your ex-wife who you are still in love with and her new husband?

The plot also flows at a nice pace and will keep you turning the pages just to find out who did what.  The dialogue is witty and amusing in places. I also found the ending to be rather satisfying.  

I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy romantic suspense.  I do want to issue a warning though  that there is some violent scenes in this book so perhaps not appropriate  for younger readers.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

May 13, 2017

Book Review: Watching You





A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda's socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn't convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman - even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.


* * * * *

I admit it.  Detective Kerri Blasci is one of my favorite heroines.  She's a homicide cop that has learned to pay attention to her instincts or her 'hunches'.  They might not play out to be completely accurate all of the time but they are often enough to save lives.

WATCHING YOU is actually the third book in this series following Detective Blasco. I was lucky enough to stumble across HER LAST BREATH and was immediately hooked.  This is one series that is definitely on my radar and should be on yours.

Ms. Schneider does a wonderful job of blending terror and suspense caused by this murders with the warmth and caring of Kerri, her boyfriend Alex and the people that she meets at the homeless shelter.  It's the perfect mix that will keep you glued to the screen, or pages as the case may be.  

I highly recommend WATCHING YOU to any of my readers who enjoy thrillers with kick ass heroines and surprising conclusions.  I do want to offer a gentle warning that there is some descriptions of graphic violence and there is an attempted rape,  There are no sex scenes however for the folks that worry about that.  

*** I received this book at no charge from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

May 12, 2017

Book Review: Diadem of Death




Nefertari “Terry” Hughes is looking forward to spending the school break with her boyfriend, but when her archaeologist father announces he’s working on a project that will take him to Egypt, all hopes of having a romantic summer are buried.

Terry accompanies her father to Alexandria where she’s reunited with her first crush, Awad—all grown up and an expert in translating hieroglyphics. He confides that the team is in a race to find Cleopatra’s lost tomb before a secret band of rebels steals Egypt’s last Pharaoh and her diadem.

But sabotage and a deadly accident put everyone on high alert, and Terry isn’t sure whom to trust. As the line between ally and enemy begins to blur, Terry has to keep her wits about her and figure out who wants the diadem badly enough to kill.


* * * * *

I have fallen in love with Terry and her friends!  Terry might have increased speed and agility because of her asp but she hasn't forgotten that for her to improve herself, she needs to empower her friends.  Quite the lesson to learn while still a teenager.  I remember that when I was that age, it was all about me.  

I do have to say that my favorite character is one of the secondary ones.  Maude is smart and always has an upbeat attitude. She knows almost instinctively that they are stronger as a group then alone.  Her boyfriend Frasier is also a kick.  Zach didn't make as much of an appearance in this book as I would have liked though. I am hoping that he will have a stronger presence in the next one.  

DIADEM OF DEATH is fast paced, young adult thriller that will keep people of any age glued to the page.  It's set in Egypt so you have exotic locations but this book is more about friendship and trusting in your friends.

I do think that anyone who enjoys the young adult genre will love this book.  It is the second in the series so be sure to check out ASP of Ascension which is the start of this enjoyable series.   

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
May 10, 2017

Book Review: ASP of Ascension





Nefertari “Terry” Hughes has three rules for surviving high school:
#1 Don’t attract attention.
#2 Don’t get involved.
#3 Don’t make trouble.

A year after the accident that left her crippled and took her mother’s life, sixteen-year-old Terry just wants to keep her head down and survive her new high school. When she catches the eye of cute basketball star Zach—who happens to be the boyfriend of mean girl Allison—all hopes of flying under the radar are gone.

She is thrust even further in the spotlight when Fraser, the editor of the school newspaper, learns Mr. Hughes is the renowned archaeologist overseeing the new Egyptian display at the museum, which is rumoured to include Cleopatra’s sarcophagus. Fraser’s research leads to the fifty-year-old mystery of a girl who vanished while on a school trip to to the museum along with an artefact that may be Cleopatra’s asp.

When Mr. Hughes falls into a coma and his co-worker claims it’s the curse of Cleopatra, the stakes become too high for Terry to ignore. Terry must work with Fraser and her new candy loving friend Maude to find out what happened fifty years ago in hopes of saving her father before time runs out.

Rated T - Teen 13 and up: May contain violence, crude humour, suggestive themes and/or strong language.


* * * * * 

I am an adult who happens to enjoy the Young Adult genre.  It's refreshing to read a book that isn't overloaded with sex so instead it has to rely on a good plot.

The ASP OF ASCENSION reminds me in a way of my time in high school.  I wasn't dealing with disappearances and all that but I did change schools often and my rules were quite similar to Terry's. I enjoyed watching as Terry starts to work her way through the grief at the loss of her mother and begins to make friends.

The secondary characters are well portrayed and add much to the story from Maude's optimism to Fraser's cluelessness.   Some of their circumstances were worth a chuckle, other's made me rather annoyed at the cruelty of people.  

I would recommend  ASP OF ASCENSION to any reader who enjoys young adult and mysteries.  And it is rated T for a reason.  There are violent scenes along with some risque dialogue.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

 
May 9, 2017

Book Review: Kiss Marry Kill






He's been chasing a memory . . .
It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn't the man he used to be... but Megan isn't the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she's in trouble.

...but now they're on the run.
Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he'll do anything to protect what's his.

                                                                   * * * * * 

I think that what really grabbed my attention was the title of this book.  KISS MARRY KILL definitely sounds like it would be on a sociopath's check list for romance.  So of course, I had to read the book.

This is definitely a character driven romantic suspense complete with characters so detailed that they almost step off of the pages.  Megan seems to be the most well balanced of the bunch even though she is being stalked and she is a lead singer for a popular pop group.  Jax is the man that opened her eyes to possibilities years ago but the war messed him up.

I really enjoyed this book.  All the characters are ones that I would enjoy getting to know even better.  The plot was fast paced and kept me glued to the page.  The dialogue was quick, witty and down right amusing at times.

KISS MARRY KILL is a great book to introduce a new series Iron Clad Security.  I do recommend my readers who enjoy romantic suspense to pick up a copy and get to know these wonderful characters.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 8, 2017

Book Review: Gauntlet




Kali Ling isn’t afraid of dying. She’s been killed hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. And she knows there are things much more terrifying than death…

There’s a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world’s most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there’s a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move.

As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions.

If Kali’s Team Defiance is to survive, they’ll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters…


* * * * * 

I enjoy reading the occasional science fiction as long as it concentrates more on the people then the science itself.   And GAUNTLET does just that and wonderfully.

Kali really shook up the gaming industry when she brought out fact that industry feels that the gamers themselves are expendable.  Because of her revelations,  a new type of VR pod has been designed which is supposed to be safer for the gamer.  And there is a tournament to welcome the new pod.

GAUNTLET focuses on Kali but we also get the chance to really know her team as they work through the challenges thrown their way.  They all have hidden strengths and fears that are brought into the limelight during the tournament.

I really think that any of my readers who enjoy character driven sci-fi would love this book and in fact, this series.  There is a lot of violence within the game so be forewarned.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


May 7, 2017

Review: For the love of Tea!





Now as everyone probably already knows, I am a tea addict.  I always have either a mug of hot tea or a tumbler of iced tea  at hand.  In fact, right now I am drinking a delightful Milk Oolong from Adagio Teas.

Recently I was asked to review some tea from Adagio Teas and I jumped at the chance since I have had a long on and off relationship with them.  They were actually the first online tea company that I found and boy was I in heaven then.  You see, previous to that my experience with tea consisted of Lipton and bagged English Breakfast teas.  Boy have we both come a long way since then.

Now warmer days are coming (I hope) and I had begun my quest for some tasty teas to keep iced.  Adagio Teas just happens to have a really nice variety of iced teas all the way from herbal to black to chai blends.  After pondering and reading about the different options I had, I decided to try a black and a chai blend.  Can't survive without the caffeine.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/mango_iced_tea.html


My first choice was a the black Mango Iced Tea.  And an excellent choice it was!  I tend to add a bit of sugar to my iced teas and this sweetness combined with the flavors of the mango made for a refreshing beverage.  The flavor of the tea leaves also comes shines through with a hint of a bit and a lingering dryness.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/mango_iced_tea.html


The tea bag itself is a thing of beauty.  Large enough to give the tea room to breathe and fine enough that I can see the tea and the mango slices.  No skimping there.



I have to say that I love this tea!  And I have the proof.  I have already refreshed my supply.  I was also generous enough to share this delightful tea with friends and everyone has really loved it.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/masala_chai_iced_tea.html


Now I adore chai tea but I hadn't tried an iced version that didn't require milk and come as a syrup so this was my chance.  I ordered the Masala Chai Iced Tea pouches.



Again an excellent choice.  The warming spices of cinnamon and cardamon come through strongly and are surprisingly refreshing iced.  The bite of the ginger lingers pleasantly on the tongue after each sip.  Delightful!

I also picked up the delicious Milk Oolong that I mentioned earlier but it was gone before I took a picture of it.  This makes up a wonderful mug of hot tea.  The flavor is delicate, slightly floral and  very creamy.  It has a smooth, almost buttery, mouth feel with a lingering sweet aftertaste.  This tea also had staying power.  I was able to resteep it three times before the flavor started to give out.

I really think that my affair with Adagio Teas back on again.  The quality of their teas have definitely improved since the last time we flirted so it might turn into a long term relationship.  I really want to check out  their Masters Teas and try out the Yunnan Golden Curls tea.

Seriously folks I would check out Adagio Teas.  They also offer some gorgeous teawares, samplers, gift packs and even let you design your own blends of tea.

In order to be transparent, I do want to disclose that Adagio Teas did send me a gift certificate to order some teas to sample.  This fact didn't influence my opinion in any way however.  I flat out enjoyed these teas and have already ordered more. 
May 5, 2017

Book Review: The Highland Duke




She'll put her life on the line for him . . .
When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name. 


Yet she can never learn his true identity.
Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .


* * * * *
 
When you are in the mood for historical romance, nothing scratches that itch quite like a Highlander in a kilt. And Geordie is definitely that.  Now if only I didn't have to read his thoughts on how gorgeous Akira is.  It's almost like he is stuck in a grove.  I mean there are so many times that I can read about the color of her eyes without wanting to throw the book across the room.
 
Akira is almost as bad but I did enjoy her character more. She's from tinker stock which means that almost everyone checks their belongings after she is invited in to save a life.   It has hardened her but being a healer, she cares a lot about others.  

The setting is gorgeous!  And Ms. Jarecki has a way of painting the scenery with her words.  I just wish that the pacing had moved along at a faster clip.  I did find it difficult to finish because my mind kept wandering away from the story.

THE HIGHLANDER DUKE was an okay read but not one that I would recommend to my readers.  It's too wordy and the pacing needed a shot of adrenaline.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 3, 2017

Book Review: Break Me




Just a few weeks ago, computer prodigy China Mack’s typical night in involved Endor Star Wars pajamas and a sensible bedtime. Now she’s dating gorgeous tech guru Jackson Cooper—one of Forbes’s Top Ten Eligible Billionaires—much to the Twitterverse’s delight.

Turns out, going from socially inept hermit to poster girl for geek chic has its challenges. China’s relationship gets even more complicated because her role heading the top-secret Vigilance program—where she’s partnered with Superman clone Clark Slattery—makes her a target. And when ruthless businessman Simon Lu plans to co-opt Vigilance software to blackmail government and military employees, he’ll need China’s cooperation—willing or otherwise.

But not every enemy is so easily identified. Some hide in plain sight, in very high places, and mistaking foe for friend could be the last mistake China ever makes…


* * * * *

I really like China Mack.  Her intelligence is off the scales but she has NO social skills.  Thank goodness that she has a good heart and is loyal to her friends, her boyfriend and her country.  

Her boyfriend Jackson is just as smart as she is but he has learned to play the game and has social skills.  I really enjoyed watching China frustrate him when he tries to take their relationship forward based on feelings while she didn't feel that they hadn't logically been dating long enough.  

There is a lot of action, some politics along with some comedy caused by China's not understanding social cues.  I do recommend BREAK ME to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense  with a touch of the quirky.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 1, 2017

Book Review: No Darker Place



Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie's painand her desire for vengeance. He's on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice. Will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she's forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.

* * * * *

I am very much on the fence about this book.  I ended up absolutely loving it but the first two chapters I was totally lost.  If I hadn't been reading it for a review, I would have given up at that point since one doesn't expect to be lost when you start reading the first book in a series.  I discovered at the end of the book that there was a prequel but I don't feel that those should be required reading before you start a series.

Once you get past the first two chapters, you are given a chance to really get to know and care about the characters. At that point, NO DARKER PLACE turned into a really good thriller.  Nick Shade fascinated me and I will definitely pick up more of the series. 

So when it comes down to it, I would recommend NO DARKER PLACE but be prepared for the first couple chapters to be a waste of time. It really does get better after that. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 
Apr 28, 2017

Book Review: The Night Mark




She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there's something worth dying for in the past…

From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away by the tides who awakens to find herself in 1921, reunited with the husband she's been mourning for four years. Fans of Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon will fall in love with the mystery, romance and beauty of an isolated South Carolina lighthouse, where a power greater than love works its magic.


* * * * *

Faye made a big mistake after her husband was killed by marrying his best friend.  She corrected that mistake is and starting to claw her way out of her depression by taking on a new photo commission.  She becomes fascinated by the derelict lighthouse on Bride Island but the last thing that she expects is to be pulled through time to meet the lighthouse keeper who is the image of her late husband. 

THE NIGHT MARK  has to be one of the better time travel romances that I have had the pleasure to read.  The characters are all to easy to relate too and the circumstances are ones that anyone who has lost a loved one would wish for.  Especially since the story is all too believable.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who believes in the power of love and how it can work in mysterious ways.  There is a couple sex scenes but nothing to graphic so this is a book that anyone can read and enjoy.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 27, 2017

Art Bead Scene's April Challenge

Matamoe or Landscape with Peacocks
Paul Gauguin
1892
Oil On Canvas

One of my goals for this year has been to complete and post every one of Art Bead Scene's monthly challenges.  I have been finishing these up later then I would like but so far I am on track with this goal.

This month's inspiration really spoke to me with all the glorious colors and well the peacocks.  I know that real peacocks can be obnoxious birds but they are so regal and gorgeous.  So I am sure that it is no surprise that I decided to concentrate on them for my piece.



I have been hoarding this glorious peacock bead from Sandra Walton of Painted By Hand.  Sandra takes wooden beads and paints them to come up with beautiful mini works of art.   They are lightweight and every bead is so unique.



I am still on a tassel kick so I added a tassel to the bottom of my peacock focal which made for a rather long focal indeed.  To support this length, I wirewrapped some druzy beads & gunmetal chain to add some pizazz.



To find out more about these monthly challenges be sure to check out Art Bead Scene!  They not only have some fun challenges but a lot of great posts ranging from techniques to new styles.
Apr 25, 2017

Book Review: Guarding Mr. Fine




As an agent with the CIA’s special activities division, Seth Lang lives for risk—and yet he’s stuck playing bodyguard to the U.S. consul general in Munich. Although Seth’s last assignment nearly killed him, babysitting some desk jockey in a suit sounds way too easy. But when he lays eyes on the new top man, tactical expert Rick Fine, Seth’s thrilled to see just how hard this job is going to get. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Quiet has a body worth guarding—and he requires hands-on attention day and night.

Dispatched to a German consulate to expose the murder of his predecessor, Rick finds himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He needs a man like Seth—in so many ways. This mission will inevitably plunge them both into jeopardy, but each new threat only brings them closer. Rick just hopes that he can keep his deepest, darkest secret hidden—or else risk imperiling a relationship they’re both fighting for their lives to protect.


* * * * *

GUARDING MR. FINE has it all.  Hot men, danger, intrigue, a well written story line and even hotter sex.   Those are enough for an enjoyable book but this book goes beyond by trying to correct some misconceptions that heterosexual people have about bisexuals such as they are unable to commit to a monogamous relationship or that dating a person of the opposite sex will suddenly cause them to become 'straight'.  Kudos to Ms. Dimon for bringing those up.

I really enjoyed the book.  Both Seth and Rick are men that I would be happy to call friends and I cheered them on as their relationship developed.  I think that my readers who enjoy romances about gay and bisexual men will really enjoy this book.  I do want to put out a gentle warning that there are some extremely hot sex scenes between two men so avoid this book if that makes you uncomfortable.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Apr 19, 2017

Book Review: Sin For Me






For Dante Bishop, music died the night he found his father’s body next to a syringe of lithium. Ditching Atlanta, Dante jumped on his Harley and left the family business to his sister. She became the heart and soul of Devil’s Music—until the board, including Dante’s ex, masterminded a takeover. Years later, Dante’s doing something he never thought he’d do: returning to Georgia to put his songwriting skills to good use. Reuniting with Chelsea Coin only sweetens the deal.

As the perfectionist COO of Devil’s Music, Chelsea doesn’t dwell on the past. If she did, she’d never forgive herself for betraying the Bishops in a corporate power grab. Now Chelsea needs help to save the company, and Dante’s a nonnegotiable part of the arrangement. Still brooding and hot as hell, Dante wastes no time stirring up unfinished business—and carnal memories Chelsea would rather keep buried. She’s come too far to risk everything on a man. But for desire this intense, she might just enjoy the sexiest mistake of her life.


* * * * *

SIN FOR ME is well written with some seriously hot sex scenes.  However it wasn't a book that I enjoyed.  There wasn't a single character that I liked and I kept thinking that if there was a huge fire and they all died, it wouldn't be a loss.  With the exception of Dante's love for his sister, there wasn't a redeeming quality in the lot of them.

I do think that people that enjoy the hip hop or rap scene would enjoy this book.  It just wasn't for me. But your mileage may vary.    

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 17, 2017

Book Review: On Second Thought






Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

Kate’s always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow—in the space of four months overwhelms her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to confide in Ainsley, especially when she learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.

Despite the murky blended-family dynamic that’s always separated them, Ainsley's and Kate’s heartaches bind their summer together when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

                                                                      * * * * *

ON SECOND THOUGHT really spoke to me because at its base it is about sisters and ones that aren't close.  That sums me and my sister up to a tee.  It caused me to question why I am not closer to my family and how alone I would be if I became a widow. 

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are well fleshed out, the dialogue is fitting and at times funny and the plot flowed. This isn't a book that will take you away from your troubles but will instead cause you to question your life.

I highly recommend ON SECOND THOUGHT to any of my readers who enjoy women's fiction. It even has a hot firefighter to sweeten the pot.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Apr 14, 2017

Book Review: The Trouble With Dukes





THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER...

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he'll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn't the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she's fighting battles of her own. For her, he'll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.


* * * * *

I do like my historical romance especially when the heroine is a strong, feisty woman.  One thing that I have noticed however is that all the women are beautiful and perfect.  I always wondered what happened to those women who weren't.  Did they not find love?  Well in THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES I have had my question answered.

Megan is a beautiful red head but her eyes are not that good.  In fact, she wears glasses which really endeared her to me as I was one of those kids that were teased for wearing glasses.   She is beautiful, smart but was unfortunately rather naive when she was younger which has her a bit of a pickle now.  

Hamish is a true gentleman who had no intention of ever being stuck with an English title.  He doesn't have a lot of use for the English especially with their games and gossip but he will do almost anything to make his sisters happy.

I really enjoyed this book and I just loved Hamish and Megan.  The secondary characters are also well done with a lot of depth to them and they add a lot to the story.  Their story flows with great pacing and witty dialogue.  I think that any of my readers who enjoy historical romance should pick up this book especially since it is the beginning of  a new series.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Apr 13, 2017

Allegory Gallery Forest Journey Challenge





I just adore the kits that Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery puts together.  They are always a bit of this and a bit of that along with a surprise focal that Andrew makes.



These challenges are always based around a theme and this time it was a forest journey.  I pictured a hero's journey where our hero who is a simple woman who lives in the forests to help protect them and the animals who reside there. However due to circumstances outside their control, they are called upon to be a hero, or heroine in this case.



I just loved the artisan polymer focal that Andrew made for this challenge.  Protecting that well is one of our heroine's charges.



This challenge is also part of a contest so be sure to stop by the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges group to vote on your favorite.
Apr 12, 2017

Book Review: Jack of Hearts





Alex Gentry doesn’t scare easily. Working as an undercover FBI agent in the biker bar he and his brothers co-own, he hangs with deadly criminals in order to gather information. Danger is just part of the family business. But one thing has him terrified: his attraction to Madison Parker.

Madison is the cousin of Ramon Alonzo, son and second in command to a notorious drug lord Alex is trying to bust. Alex has befriended Ramon as part of his cover, and Madison has unknowingly become his informant. Falling for her could risk this case—and both their lives.

All Madison wants is to get her new bookstore business off the ground, and for her creepy cousin Ramon—to whom she’s unfortunately indebted—to leave her alone. If she could only stop fantasizing about his mysterious new friend, Alex…

As the Alonzo cartel investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But will the secrets they’re keeping tear them apart—or get them both killed?
                                                                  * * * * *

JACK OF HEARTS starts out with a bang, or a crash, and doesn't seem to slow down from there.  A lot of intrigue with the occasional fight thrown in for good measure.  What really kept me glued to the pages were the Gentry brothers.  I can't wait to read Nate and Court's story.

Alex does a great job of playing a biker bar owner who is willing to do whatever is needed to make some cash.  Too bad he can't introduce Madison to the real Alex Gentry while he is setting up her uncle and cousin to go down for drugs.

Madison doesn't seem to fit with her family.  She radiates an air of innocence that is almost a direct contradiction to her cousin who is a slimeball.   She lost her father a year ago and now she is trying to get her new bookstore on its feet while trying to take care of her mother.  I really enjoyed watching her come alive as she gets to know Alex.

I enjoyed this book as rather than a lot of shooting and action, we got a chance to watch Alex maneuver undercover.  There was a lot of tension to keep me turning pages and the dialogue is witty and had me laughing at times.  Ms. Owens is a new author to me but she has written several books in the past that I plan on checking out.  If you are interested in checking those out, just click here to head to her website.

I do think that my readers would enjoy this book if they like romantic suspense that is heavy on both the suspense and the romance.  There were some sex scenes but nothing extremely graphic.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.