Review: Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Travis Family, Book 4
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance Brown-Eyed Girl Cover
ISBN: 9780312605377
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Lisa Kleypas Reading Order

Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn't believe in love-at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can't resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening.

After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can't afford distractions. She's been hired to plan the wedding of the year-a make-or-break event.

But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he's not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget.

The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything-including her well-guarded heart-will she find out what matters most.

Whether you’re being swept off to a house party in nineteenth century England or find yourself being rescued from a scorpion at a modern-day Texas wedding, there’s simply nothing like diving into a Lisa Kleypas novel. Brown-Eyed Girl is the latest of Ms. Kleypas’s stories to make me fall in love with her writing. The effervescent charm of Brown-Eyed Girl and its endearing characters make the fourth Travis Family novel a truly addictive read.

Ms. Kleypas writes some of the best heroes in romance and Joe Travis is no exception. He’s smart, caring, sexy-as-sin, funny, and patient to boot. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Joe, for he’s full of charm, sensuality, and innate goodness, and somehow Ms. Kleypas manages to make him the perfect hero without him ever seeming like a cardboard Prince Charming. When he sets his sights on Avery… Man, what I wouldn’t give to be her. But Avery doesn’t make things easy on Joe. She’s his match in every way, a hardworking, intelligent businesswoman with a lot of love to give. But Avery was hurt and humiliated in the past, first by her father and then by the man she had planned to marry. Though she’s undeniably strong, Avery is also deeply vulnerable and fears putting herself out there, making the walls she has put up around her heart a mile high and three miles deep. I adored Avery, and Ms. Kleypas does a great job of showing why she’s reticent to get involved with Joe in spite of – or perhaps because of – the fact that he’s nearly perfect. Joe isn’t a saint and his patience isn’t infinite, but his determination to win Avery over is enough to create some cracks in her emotional armor. It isn’t easy for Avery to overcome the ghosts of her past, but her burgeoning relationship with Joe is worth the fight. When the two of them share the page, sparks fly and there is an underlying sweetness to their romance that made me happily sigh.

A cast of lively secondary characters makes Brown-Eyed Girl even more fun to read. Though this book can be read as a standalone, readers who fell in love with Joe’s siblings and in-laws in Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil, and Smooth Talking Stranger will be pleased to know that the Travis family members plays strong supporting roles in Joe and Avery’s story. Watching Avery and Joe interact with their loved ones is almost as much fun as watching their love story unfold.

There’s a lot to love about Brown-Eyed Girl and fans old and new of the Travis Family series are in for a treat. Joe and Avery’s romance is sweet, sensual, and just plain fun. I had a blast reading Brown-Eyed Girl and I hope Ms. Kleypas returns to the Travis family at least once more, for there’s a certain cousin of Joe’s whose story I am simply dying to read.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Love is Murder anthology

Monday, July 27, 2015

Love is Murder by Roxanne St. Claire, Carla Neggers, Beverly Barton, Robert Browne, Andrea Kane, William Simon, Laura Griffin, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, Patricia Rosemoor, Jon Land, Jeff Ayers, Heather Graham, Mariah Stewart, D.P. Lyle, Cindy Gerard, J.T. Ellison, Bill Floyd, William Bernhardt, Brenda Novak, Vicki Hinze, Julie Kenner, James Macomber, Alexandra Sokoloff, Pamela Callow, Debra Webb, Toni McGee Causey, Lori Armstrong, Allison Brennan, and Lee Child
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Romantic Suspense Love is Murder Cover
ISBN: 9780778313441
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Sherrilyn Kenyon Reading Order

DIAMOND DROP by Roxanne St. Claire
A mysterious woman in leather and heels. A diamond drop worth two million dollars. An unknown threat in a European rail station… It’s all in a day’s work for Bullet Catcher Donovan Rush. Donovan’s got an assignment to impress a new Bullet Catcher client and not even a siren in killer platforms can stop him.

DIAMOND DROP kicks off the LOVE IS MURDER anthology with a bang! Author Roxanne St. Claire has written a sexy, stunning story that drew me in from the start. DIAMOND DROP reminds me of the silver screen suspense films in that it’s energetic, edgy and just plain fun. I absolutely loved the vibrancy of DIAMOND DROP — this is a story I won’t forget.

DIAMOND DROP is part of Ms. St. Claire’s BULLET CATCHERS series, but since I haven’t read any BULLET CATCHERS books, I can safely say DIAMOND DROP stands on its own. That being said, I’ll definitely be checking out the BULLET CATCHERS novels now!

B.A.D. MISSION by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Former B.A.D. agent Sam Garrett is being called back into the field, and this time it’s personal. The only woman he’s ever loved is being accused of selling a weapon to terrorists and Sam has to figure out if she’s guilty or is an innocent who’s in over her head.

I absolutely adore Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love’s B.A.D. AGENCY series, so I admit to being biased in favor of B.A.D. MISSION. In Sam and Danielle’s story Ms. Kenyon has penned a fast and furious defeat-the-terrorists plot that’s mixed in with a sensual reunion romance. The sparks that flew between Sam and Danielle were my favorite part of the story, but that doesn’t mean the suspense plot isn’t engaging as well. Fans of the B.A.D. AGENCY series will undoubtedly be pleased with B.A.D. MISSION and readers who haven’t read any of the books will get a glimpse into B.A.D.’s fight against the Fratelli de il Sovrano, a terrorist group that’s the overarching enemy of the series.

Belador warrior Devon Fortier has caught wind of some Noirre majik-wielding mercenary trolls and it’s up to him to bring them in to face justice. There’s just one problem: bounty hunter and thorn in Devon’s side Joleen Mac is after the same target. If he wants to bring down the bad guys — or trolls, as it were — Devon will have to make a bargain with his own personal devil.

Svart trolls and leprechauns and bounty hunters, oh my! Set in the world of Dianna Love and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s BELADOR series, DEADLY FIXATION is an exciting paranormal romantic suspense that will have you avidly turning the pages. The sexual tension between Devon and Jo is to-die-for and I thought the honorable Belador warrior and the kick-ass assassin with a secret were a great match. If you haven’t read the BELADOR series, DEADLY FIXATION provides a small sample of what the world of the books is like. I’m desperately hoping Jo and Devon show up again in the series because Ms. Love left me wanting more of these two!

AFTER HOURS by William Bernhardt
When Major Mike Morelli and his partner, Lieutenant Kate Baxter, are called to a homicide scene, they have no idea that this isn’t a straightforward murder. A beautiful woman’s been killed, and the clues to her killer lie in the fact that neither the victim nor her grieving boyfriend are what they appear to be.

Author William Bernhardt takes readers through a homicide case with plenty of unexpected twists in AFTER HOURS. Mr. Bernhardt’s writing drew me into the story from the start and I found the case itself fascinating. A dash of romance and a message about finding happiness rounds out AFTER HOURS, making it an all-around wonderful read.

LOVE IS MURDER is a fantastic anthology with twenty-nine very different tales of romantic suspense. Editor Sandra Brown outdid herself with this collection. As with any mega anthology, there will be some stories readers like more than others. I highlighted four of my favorites, but there are a few other notable tales I’d feel awful if I didn’t mention. Heather Graham delivers a spine-tingling thriller with GRAVE DANGER. A wedding and a honeymoon take a potentially deadly turn in Andrea Kane’s LOCKDOWN. A dangerous stalker threatens two people who have nowhere to turn in VACATION INTERRUPTED. A rescue mission turns into something more in Laura Griffin’s NIGHT HEAT. Julie Kenner does the unexpected in THE HONEYMOON. And there’s something incredibly haunting about Lee Child’s one paragraph tale, I HEARD A ROMANTIC STORY. All in all, I recommend reading LOVE IS MURDER. With thirty incredibly talented authors delivering twenty-nine unique stories, LOVE IS MURDER is one anthology fans of romantic suspense won’t want to miss.

Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Harmonized by Mary Behre

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Harmonized by Mary Behre
Series: Tidewater, Book 2.5
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Romantic Suspense with Paranormal Elements Harmonized Cover
ISBN: 9780698197992
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

After nearly dying on assignment, Tidewater police officer Zig Harmon has been awarded the Silver Star and desk duty. But handling every case that walks through the door while his entire department is out hunting a serial killer is nothing compared to dealing with his former flame, Karma De La Cruz.

As much as she hates it, Karma knows that her best chance of finding the kidnapped baby haunting her visions is the man she once left behind. Forced to work together, Karma and Zig start to realize that they may have let go of something incredible. But now, time is running out, both for the missing infant and for their chance to start again…

A frantic search for a missing baby reunites two lovers in Harmonized. Zig and Karma’s story is fast-paced and addictive, so much so that I hated it whenever I had to put down my Kindle.

Zig was in love with Karma back when they were in college, and when she left him without a word it broke his heart. Eight years later, she’s back in his life and desperate for his help. Everyone thinks Karma’s friend killed her child in a botched suicide attempt, but Karma can see auras and knows the baby is alive. With the mother in a coma and all supernatural signs pointing to the baby running out of time, Karma turns to Zig, a cop who knows the truth of her gift and is willing to do everything he can to help her. Author Mary Behre has a deft hand with the paranormal, and I was fascinated by Karma’s abilities and how they added another facet to the suspense storyline. The mystery/suspense plot could have benefited from being fleshed out in a slightly longer format, but as it stands it definitely kept the book hopping.

Karma and Zig’s romance weaves perfectly with the suspense plotline. It’s clear the two of them never fell out of love, despite their years apart. Though there are hurt feelings and trust issues that must be overcome, it’s easy to see that Karma and Zig are meant to be. While I enjoyed their love story, I did feel it was a bit rushed. Perhaps with more page time, the romance could have been better fleshed out. Even taking this into account, I was rooting for Karma and Zig to make it and the two of them did make me smile.

Harmonized is a novella set in Ms. Behre’s Tidewater series, but it can be read as a standalone. There are some spoilers for the first book, Spirited, where Zig was a supporting character. I haven’t yet read Spirited, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing its hero and heroine after their happily ever after in this story. More importantly, Ms. Behre drops some hints as to what might be coming for the next Tidewater book and that has me excited. The Tidewater series is an excellent blend of paranormal and suspense and Harmonized is the perfect story to tide (no pun intended) readers over until the next novel, Energized, is released.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal by Kelly Bowen

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal by Kelly Bowen
Series: The Lords of Worth, Book 2.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Historical Romance A Ladys Guide to Skirting Scandal Cover
ISBN: 9781455592630
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Lady Viola Hextall is bored - of the sea, her chaperones, and the woeful lack of available dukes on the ocean voyage from London to New York. Scrambling for any diversion short of jumping overboard, Viola strikes up a conversation with the ship's rough-hewn, blue-eyed surgeon - and discovers an immediate cure for what ails her...

To Nathaniel Shaw, Viola has the bearing of a lady and the spirit of an adventurer - an unlikely combination that he finds utterly irresistible. So he's hoping to convince Viola to leave the stifling ballrooms of London high society behind because there is a big, wide world just waiting for them to explore - together.

A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal is a delightful, effervescent read featuring an irrepressible heroine and the straightforward surgeon who captures her heart.

After her machinations land her in trouble, Lady Viola Hextall is packed up by her brother and sent off to New York to do her penance. Viola hasn’t even arrived in America and she’s already counting the days until her return to London where she can snare a duke. Though a social climbing heroine may not sound appealing, author Kelly Bowen makes it easy to see why Viola is so class-conscious. It’s equally clear that Viola has allowed London society’s opinion to turn her into something she’s not. On the ship heading for New York Viola comes face-to-face with a man who cares nothing for titles, riches, or style, but seeks substance instead. Nathaniel Shaw makes Viola question everything she is striving to become. Unlike the assorted aristocratic men Viola knows, the handsome, adventurous surgeon is interested in her brains and spirit. What makes A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal fun is that Nate challenges Viola, dares her to become the person she truly is. Their mutual physical attraction and genuine intellectual interest in one another makes their romance interesting. And though their falling in love happens incredibly fast, it’s easy to get swept up in their tale.

A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal is part of Ms. Bowen’s Lords of Worth series, but not having read any of the full-length novels, I can safely say that Viola and Nate’s story can be read as a standalone. By the end of A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal I found myself to be thoroughly charmed by Viola and Nate, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Bowen’s work.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Waiting on Wednesday: HIM by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I LOVE all of Elle Kennedy's work, so it's a guarantee I'm going to be excited for anything she has coming out. That being said, I'd jump on HIM even if I knew nothing about the authors. A sexy m/m hockey romance? Count me in :)

HIM Cover Title: HIM
Authors: Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen
Genre: M/M New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

Book Description (from Elle Kennedy's website):

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinny-dipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Waiting on Wednesday: Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

If you've visited Wit and Sin at all regularly then you know I'm a HUGE fan of J.D. Robb's In Death series. Devoted in Death is the 41st full length book in the series and I'm still on the edge of my seat, insanely excited to read this book. There is no sign of this series slowing down and Ms. Robb never disappoints - how many series that have run this long can say that?

Devoted in Death Cover Title: Devoted in Death
Series: In Death, Book 41
Author: J.D. Robb
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: September 15, 2015
J.D. Robb Reading Order

Book Description (from Amazon):

Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.

When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve...

Monday in Review

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy July! I hope everyone is staying cool this summer and enjoying their beach/poolside/air conditioned room reads :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written for Wit and Sin, Joyfully Reviewed, and Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Ask Me Why by Jodi Thomas, Marie Force, Virginia Kantra, and Shirley Jump (available 7/7/15)
- Ink and Bone (The Great Library, Book 1) by Rachel Caine (available 7/7/15)

All other new reviews:
- The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key, Book 1) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- The Undying Legion (Crown & Key, Book 2) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Wicked Charms (Lizzy and Diesel, Book 3) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
- Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
- Simply Irresistible (House of Pleasure, Book 2.5) by Kate Pearce
- Second Chance Summer (Cedar Ridge, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis
- Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling, Book 14) by Nalini Singh
- Courtship of the Cake (Much “I Do” About Nothing, Book 2) by Jessica Topper

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Down the Rabbit Hole by J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, and R.C. Ryan
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoƫ Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- Air Bound (Sea Haven, Book 3) by Christine Feehan
- Earth Bound (Sea Haven, Book 4) by Christine Feehan
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke’s Men, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If the Viscount Falls (The Duke’s Men, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- There You Stand (Between Breaths, Book 5) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Yours All Along (Loving on the Edge, Book 6.5) by Roni Loren
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, Book 2) by C.S. Pacat
- Begging for It by Lilah Pace
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter, Book 7) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Enigma (Guild Hunter, Book 8) by Nalini Singh
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, Book 1) by J.R. Ward
- Takeover by Anna Zabo
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