Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spider Game (GhostWalkers #12) by Christine Feehan

Blurb...

The Cajun dive in the middle of the godforsaken swamps wasn’t exactly Trap Dawkins’ idea of fun. But the GhostWalker wasn’t there for a good time. He was looking for her. Cayenne. It’s where she found her victims. Poor suckers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to leave a place like this with a woman like her?

It’s not Cayenne’s fault. Locked up, experimented on and never knowing kindness, she was bred this way—with a heart of pure venom. Trap understands her. He survived his own dark past and he shares her desire for getting even. But now Trap’s greatest danger is Cayenne herself. Because what’s inside her is hard to control—especially when it’s aroused by a lover as reckless as Trap.


I absolutely love the direction Ms. Feehan is taking the GhostWalkers series. The world is scary intense and, truth be told, just a little bit freaky! Cayenne’s enhanced DNA being that of a Black Widow spider was more than a little unsettling for me because I’ve been bitten by one of those bitches and it hurts. Like, mad pain! To imagine an adult woman with those traits... **shudder**

Anyway…

As I shared in my review of Viper Game, it’s true the stories are changing from the way they were in the beginning, but they're changing in ways I would expect them to, given Peter Whitney's evil (and totally twisted) desperation to create the perfect soldiers. The experiments are more and more extreme, and more and more heartbreaking. And, as with Viper Game, I found Spider Game to be more exciting, more captivating, and more intriguing than the last several books in the series.

But…

I understand the GhostWalkers are alpha and demanding, but too often Trap's comments directed at Cayenne were demeaning – so much so that I found them offensive. There came a point when his apologies meant nothing to me. Cayenne is insecure around other people, and understandably so, but because she put up with so much of Trap's garbage she came across as a needy woman who suffered from the "Anyone Is Better Than No One" syndrome. Trap seemed oblivious to her discomfort and acted out in completely unacceptable ways. In fact, I’m not sure any amount of remorse or groveling could have redeemed him in my eyes – and most importantly, in my heart.

The bottom line…

I think longtime fans of the series will love this installment – if you can overlook Trap’s appalling behavior toward Cayenne. I was thrilled to see so many familiar GhostWalker faces and, especially with Violet Smythe back, I expect there to be more crazy twists and turns in upcoming stories! What a wild ride this has become!

Book information:

Print Length: 446 pages
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Group

Click here to purchase Spider Game from Amazon

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Sword for His Lady (Courtly Love #1) by Mary Wine

Blurb...

He'd defend her keep...

After proving himself on the field of battle, Ramon de Segrave is appointed to the Council of Barons by Richard the Lionheart. But instead of taking his most formidable warrior on his latest Crusade, the king assigns Ramon an even more dangerous task—woo and win the Lady of Thistle Keep.

If only she'd yield her heart...

Isabel of Camoys is a capable widow with no intention of surrendering her valuable estate. She's fought long and hard for her independence, and if the price is loneliness, then so be it. She will not yield... even if she does find the powerful knight's heated embrace impossible to ignore.

But when her land is threatened, Isabel reluctantly agrees to allow Ramon and his army to defend the keep—knowing that the price may very well be her heart.

Mary Wine has long been one of my favorite historical romance authors. It's hard to put into words why that is, other than to say she just brings a little something extra to her stories. More detail, but not so much that it's boring. The characters feel right, like they truly do belong in the time she's placed them. These are the things that make her standout as one of the best in the genre, and why I always look forward to her books.

Even though this story isn't completely unique, Ms. Wine created characters who more than make up for it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the strong, feisty, determined Isabel! She's been widowed long enough to know she doesn't need a husband to make sure the people and the lands are prosperous. But when King Richard heads off to the Crusades again and tasks his Baron, Ramon de Segrave with marrying Isabel so that her lands will be protected, she finds herself torn between what her mind tells her she needs, and what her body won't be denied.

Ramon is stubborn, arrogant, and determined to marry Isabel, as his King demands. But before long he finds himself in a battle of wits and wills with one of the most formidable opponents he's ever faced! And it's a woman!

This really is an entertaining story. There's humor, intrigue, danger...and plenty of passion. I'm excited to read more in the Courtly Love series, especially Ambrose's story. I'm looking forward to Ramon giving him a taste of his own taunting when he meets the woman who will be his match!

Click here to purchase A Sword for His Lady from Amazon

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Groom Wore Plaid (Highland Weddings #2) by Gayle Callen


Blurb...

Maggie McCallum's dreams about her new fiancé aren't the romantic sort. It's not just that she was bartered to Owen Duff like a piece of property to end a clan feud. She's also haunted by premonitions of his death on their upcoming wedding day. Yet the exasperating Highlander won't let her call it off, even though his life and his clan are both in jeopardy.

Owen has wanted Maggie in his bed since he first glimpsed her years ago. If their union restores peace between their clans, so much the better. But while lusting after another chief's sister had its risks, growing to trust Maggie is far more dangerous. Owen is falling deeply in love with the one woman he cannot hope to claim . . . and survive.



This is the 2nd installment in Gayle Callen’s Highland Weddings series. Like the 1st book, The Wrong Bride, The Groom Wore Plaid is a fun story. The witty banter between Maggie and Owen made me chuckle more than a few times. Their passion - though it didn’t happen until later in the story, made this a steamy read! There’s also a mystery, a little poignancy, and overall The Groom Wore Plaid is an entertaining tale and a great addition to the series.

There are definitely characters I’d like to know more about, and I’m looking forward to what Ms. Callen offers up next in the series.

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I’m giving them an honest review.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie by Dean Koontz, Narrated by Christopher Lane

Blurb…

In a profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion, bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment. Whether chasing a tennis ball or protecting those she loved, Trixie gave all she had to everything she did, inspiring Dean and Gerda to trust their instincts and recapture a sense of wonder that will remain with them always. Trixie lived fewer than twelve years; in this wide world, she was a little thing. But in every way that mattered, she lived a big life.


I literally just finished listening to Christopher Lane’s brilliant performance of Dean Koontz’s poignant A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie, stopping only long enough to blow my nose and wipe the tears from my eyes before writing this review.

I can’t find the words to use to tell you how amazing this memoir is. It’s not just a story about a man and a woman and their dog, it’s what I can say is one of the most life enriching stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading or listening to. I was so impressed and moved by Mr. Koontz's openly candid thoughts and recollections of how Trixie changed his life, and in my opinion, in many ways, saved it. There are so many quotes I wanted to share, but being on audio and being a complete blubbering ninny while listening to the most profound of the quotes I wasn’t able to catch them.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a depressing story. Sure, there were moments I sobbed so deeply I was sure I'd never recover, but in fact it’s one of the most uplifting, hopeful, insightful books I can remember experiencing, and I will listen to it again and again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Leaving Yesterday (Laurel Falls #1) by Zoe Dawson

Blurb...

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

Leaving Yesterday is the first book in Zoe Dawson's new Laurel Falls series, and it's everything I love about small town contemporary romance. The people of Laurel Falls are down-to-earth, hard working, and loyal. They've got hopes and dreams, trials and triumphs and, no matter what, they will always have your back! All this makes them people I can't help but cheer for and care about.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the story - and there are many things to enjoy - is Trace's unshakable devotion to his family, especially his youngest brother, Harley, who suffers with PTSD, the result of his time in the Marines and a mission gone very wrong. Trace feels the guilt of of Harley's illness, blaming himself because Harley was following in Trace's footsteps when he enlisted, wanting to be like his big brother. There's a lot of poignancy throughout the book, but this... this really tugged at my heart.

Another person to love is Rafferty. Sure, she's a product of her upbringing, but she is - without a doubt - her own person. This becomes crystal clear when she sets aside her 'assignment' and opens her eyes to the beauty of the people and the town she found herself stranded in. She might be a wealthy, big city girl, but she's not ostentatious, nor is she foolish enough to let a good thing pass her by!

The bottom line... Leaving Yesterday is a wonderful start to this series, which promises to be an amazing one. If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, you won't want to miss out on the romantic, passionate, captivating world and people of Laurel Falls.

An ARC was generously provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.

About the book:

Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Click here to purchase Leaving Yesterday: A Laurel Falls Novel, from Amazon

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts #1) by Kele Moon


Blurb...

When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: violence.

I'm keeping this short because there are already so many awesome reviews out there.

Defying the Odds is the first book in the Battered Hearts series and a very, very sweet story. In fact, it's uncommonly sweet given that it's also an extremely hot tale, and readers used to edgier erotica might miss that in this story.

I adored Clay and Melody and loved watching their relationship grow. Wyatt and Jules are also great, in an annoying family members kind of way.

Click here to purchase Defying the Odds from Amazon

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Star Crossed (Battered Hearts #2) by Kele Moon


Blurb...

Heavyweight MMA fighter, Romeo Wellings comes from the hard streets of New York where his family ties to the mafia cause him nothing but pain. His life takes a surprising detour when he crosses paths with the twin sister of his long time enemy. After a steamy one-night stand, he faces the fight of his life, but it’s not in the cage. The secret relationship that blooms between Romeo and his real life Juliet has him battling his family and a dark past rather than let her go. 



The only lawyer in her hometown of Garnet, Jules Conner is also a volunteer Sheriff’s deputy and co-owner of a successful MMA training center. Strong and dependable, Jules is always there for those who need her. Until one forbidden night in Las Vegas with Romeo leaves her feeling so alive she can’t stop reaching out to the sexy, bad boy of MMA, even knowing the forbidden love affair could jeopardize everything.



As the tide rises against them and the people they love work at keeping them apart, Romeo and Jules hold onto a dream for a better life together and vow to go down fighting rather than accept a tragic ending.


Quickly...

*sigh*

I'm so in love with the men of Garnet - and New York! The main characters are great and the supporting cast is just as great. Exciting, poignant, and burn up the pages sexy, Star Crossed is one hell of a read!

I can't wait to read Wyatt's story next!!

Click here to purchase Star-Crossed from Amazon