Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Promise (The 'Burg #5) by Kristen Ashley - Blog Tour

Description... Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.

Benny has decided differently.

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.

Before I share my review...

I have to thank my fellow escapism reading friends on Goodreads who introduced me to the world of Kristen Ashley’s stories. If I could hug you, I would, and some of you I have. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! From the bottom of my heart... I can't imagine not having the beauty of Kristen Ashley's stories in my life.

My review...

If you’re like me and live love to read, and you wake up in the morning looking forward to the stolen moments throughout the day you’ll be able to get lost in a story, you know exactly what I mean when I say that when you’re in a reading slump, it’s almost painful to get out of bed some days.

Do. Not. Judge me - yes, I said painful – and sadly, that’s where I’ve often found myself lately. So when I heard my iPad ‘ding’ with a ‘you’ve got mail’ notification and I saw that my blog had been approved for an ARC of The Promise, I nearly wept with joy because reading a Kristen Ashley story is one of the most exciting, comforting, beautiful things I can think of.

And The Promise has given me exactly that. Excitement, comfort, and beauty. Start to finish, first word to the last, I fell in love with Frankie and Benny. They are people I can relate to, people I can cheer for, and yeah... people I can fall in love with.

An added benefit, as if any Kristen Ashley book needs something more to make it shine, spending time with Joe, Vi, and the girls... the icing on top of the icing on this already scrumptious cake!

Blithely Bookish Reviews was given an eARC of The Promise, and in return I'm giving the author an honest review... honestly, it is wonderful!


Friday, June 27, 2014

The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005AJY8RC?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B005AJY8RC&linkCode=shr&tag=blitbookrevi-20&linkId=PKOXJNYW66LN6FOD&sr=&qid=

He is a duke in search of a perfect bride.

She is a lady—but a long way from perfect.


Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can't he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.

Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Quin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.

To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul…

Unless it's already too late.
*****
The Duke is Mine is the third in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series, re-tellings of the classic fairy tales we grew up with. I absolutely adore this series and am sorry I waited so long to read this “Princess and the Pea” installment.

Eloisa James is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors. Her stories are always clever, funny, romantic, passionate, and sometimes they’re even poignant. This is one of those times. There were moments I was nearly brought to tears, though explaining why would give away too much.

And again, I can’t go into it too deeply, but there were things I wish had happened differently, things that would have made this a 5 star read for me. I know that given the times, the attitudes and expectations of London’s aristocracy, certain things would have happened and been acceptable. Certain circumstances, certain words, certain… well… events. To be honest, there were a couple of things that didn’t set well with me. But could they have been written differently, in a less heartbreaking way? The truth is, I don’t know. I’m just not creative enough to be able to lay it all out in a plot that wouldn’t have broken my heart the way parts of this story did.

The bottom line…

I truly do enjoy Ms. James’ writing and, when it’s all said and done, I fell hard for Olivia and Quin and their happily ever after. I hope there will be many more stories to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished - Rule of Scoundrels #3 by Sarah MacLean

Description…
A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
*****

Sarah MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series are some of my very favorite stories ever. I’ve loved each and every one, and am always left dying for more! This third installment, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, is Temple’s story, one I’ve been waiting for for what seems like forever! I knew it’d be awesome, and I was right.

As to the plot of the story I’ll only say this; I’m someone who thinks the world would be a much lovelier place if people would just accept responsibility for their actions and not make ridiculous excuses for why they had to steal that car or why they had to tell that lie or why they had to blow up that building… you get the idea… and because I feel this way I love how this story played out. Where I might normally have been unable to forgive certain people for their actions, for the choices they made, I came to adore them because not only did they accept the selfishness of their poorly thought out plans, they set about making restitution – even when it meant losing all they held dear.

The bottom line…

Sarah MacLean is a gifted author and though there were a few spots where the story seemed to drag, I truly enjoyed this tale of restitution, redemption, and a love so strong it was to forgive past wrongs. It's tragic and hopeful and passionate and poignant and romantic … it's Ms. MacLean’s brand of storytelling, her beautiful way of bringing her characters to life and making us fall in love. 



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Slave to Sensation - Psy-Changling #1 - by Nalini Singh

Description…
Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…
***********

4.5 Holy Hot Shifters stars!

Slave to Sensation is the first book in Nalini Singh’s wildly popular Psy-Changling series. This world she’s created is exciting, passionate, poignant… it’s like none I’ve ever read before. I’ll start by saying that I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for years, but never felt the pull to read it. My awesome Goodreads friend, Kristen, and I were chatting on the phone and she started raving about the audio version so, me being a recent convert to audio books, decided to give it a listen.

Sweet Mary! Am I ever glad I did!!

There are so many awesome reviews already written, but even though everything that needs to be said has already been said, I want to share my thoughts, too. Like I mentioned above; it’s an exciting, passionate, poignant world, and it’s so unique that if you asked me to compare it to some other series, or another author’s writing, I wouldn’t be able to do it. PNR and Fantasy are what lay the foundation for this world, and even though I am not a fan of the Fantasy genre, this worked for me, no doubt about it. A big part of why it worked is that the characters are people whose lives make this a very emotionally charged, poignant read, and those characters are people whose stories demand to be told.

Angela Dawe is the narrator and she did a fantastic job of showing the emotions these people feel; frustration, helplessness, pain… and yet hope, strength and joy.

I hear these stories just get better and better and I cannot wait to find out for myself!

Thanks for the not so gentle nudge to listen, Kristen! YOU ROCK!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All I Want Is You by Toni Blake

5 'Sometimes you have to create your own destiny' stars!

Description..
Christy Knight grew up in Destiny, Ohio, but lately she feels that her future lies elsewhere. Her parents are gone and the beautiful jewelry she creates doesn't pay the bills. Maybe it's time for Christy to grow up and find a guy who's smart, sexy, and solvent. Her rugged handyman neighbor fits the first two categories, but he's all wrong for her. If only he didn't have such captivating blue eyes.

Wary of trusting others, Jack DuVall hasn't been entirely honest with Christy. He's not really a handyman. He's not really broke. And sharing the long drive to visit her beloved grandpa isn't just about gallantry—he finds gorgeous, feisty Christy completely irresistible.

When secrets are exposed, Jack and Christy struggle to find their way back to one another, but the quirky seaside town of Coral Cove could prove the perfect place to find a red-hot destiny of their own.
My quickie review...

I was pretty disappointed to learn that the Destiny, Ohio series had come to an end, but I am thrilled that Toni Blake will continue to bring us the stories she's so well known for; stories filled with passion, romance, hope... stories about amazing people who will make us dream, make us laugh, and make us fall in love, over and over again!

An eARC of All I Want Is You was generously provided by Avon Books, and in return I'm giving them an honest review.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Perils of Pursuing a Prince (Audio) by Julia London and Anne Flosnik


Description...
Lady Greer Fairchild hopes to avoid guardian Lord Downey's plan of marriage to the first bidder by seeking her distant inheritance, controlled by Rhodrick Glendower, Earl of Radnor, Prince of Powys. Overly helpful Mr Percy reinforces rumor that the prince is rough, ruthless -- even a murderer. But Greer never imagines the brute would refuse to let her leave his remote Welsh castle until she has proven her identity. Or that she would be powerfully attracted to the passionately virile man whose gruff demeanor belies a proud and sensual nature. Greer falls under his spell, determined to unravel the secrets of her Welsh heritage and the mystery surrounding the dark prince who dares her to become his wife and princess.
4 solid 'Beauty and the Beast' stars

The Perils of Pursuing a Prince is the second book in the Desperate Debutantes Trilogy and a fun, romantic, sexy tale. It was my first taste of Julia London's writing as well as my first listen of Anne Flosnik's narrating, and I enjoyed both very much.

My Quickie Review...

Like several others whose reviews I read, it took me awhile to warm up to Greer and Rhodrick, but the story itself was intriguing and is what kept me reading. Eventually, though, we learn that all the things that make them hard to connect with are, once understood, the same things that make them endearing people. I really did come to adore them, their complicated,. emotional story, and their happily ever after!

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine www.affairedecoeur.com





Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Gunslinger by Lorraine Heath




No one writes Western Historical Romance like Lorraine Heath!

I had no idea this novella existed as part of a print anthology, and when I saw that it's being re-released in digital format, I was thrilled! Lorraine Heath writes three of my very favorite books, The Texas Trilogy, a Western Historical Romance trilogy that introduced me to the genre and had me clamoring for more just like it.

Description...
A hired gun falls for the one woman who's completely wrong for him in this Western romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lorraine Heath.

Chance Wilder never wanted to be a hero. A road-weary gunslinger with a ruthless reputation, he focuses only on his next target—and his next payday. That is, until a young boy offers Chance everything he owns—a piece of string, a harmonica, and a bent penny—if he'll save his sister from a couple of thugs. Chance agrees, only to discover that the beautiful, fierce young woman in need of rescue is actually the very person he's been hunting: his next mark.

But after he saves her, Lillian Madison awakens in him long-buried dreams and possibilities. Facing the demons of his past, Chance is forced to question his next move. Dare he risk everything by following his heart … and trust that the road to redemption begins with Lillian?
My short review...

The Gunslinger isn't part of the Texas Trilogy - that I can recall, but even if it is, this works very well as a stand alone. It's a sweet novella with some shoot-outs, romance, and steam, and it gives me two things - One; the Lorraine Heath Western HR fix I was in need of, and most importantly, two; the hope that since Avon chose to re-release it, I have hope that we Texas Trilogy fangirls will finally get Rawley's much needed story. I can't think of anyone more deserving of a happily ever after than that boy.

Note... A version of this work originally appeared in the print anthology To Tame a Texan, under the title Long Stretch of Lonesome.

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this story. In exchange, I'm giving them an honest review.