Monday in Review

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!!!!

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here and on Romance Junkies. It's a short update, but there are a lot of reviews to come. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

New reviews:
- Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, Book 4.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Captain Gravenor's Airship Equinox (Steampunk Smugglers, Book 3) by Heather Hiestand
- Trouble in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas, Book 4) by Katie Lane
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield

Upcoming reviews:
- Hex Appeal anthology
- Love is Murder anthology
- Getting Lucky (Marine, Book 2) by Susan Andersen
- Legacy (The League of Illusion, Book 1) by Vivi Anna
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- Wickedly Good by Anya Breton
- Winterblaze (Darkest London, Book 3) by Kristin Callihan
- A Younger Man (Cabin Fever, Book 3) by Cameron Dane
- By Mutual Desire by Dalton Diaz
- 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
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book 1) by Robin LaFevers
- Come Fly With Me (Alaskan Nights, Book 2) by Addison Fox
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, Book 2) by Lia Habel
- The Reluctant Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 1) by Sandy James
- The Impetuous Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 2) by Sandy James
- Midnight Alias (Killer Instincts, Book 2) by Elle Kennedy
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 2) by Sarah MacLean
- Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse, Book 1) by Cathy Maxwell
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Crazy Thing Called Love (Crooked Creek Ranch, Book 3) by Molly O’Keefe
- Educating Elizabeth by Kate Pearce
- Redeeming Jack by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Simply Scandalous (House of Pleasure, Book 9) by Kate Pearce
- Fated (Serendipity, Book 1.75) by Carly Phillips
- Perfect Fit (Serendipity’s Finest, Book 1) by Carly Phillips
- Alien Sex 102 by Allie Ritch
- Calculated in Death (In Death, Book 36) by J.D. Robb
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Jake (Wyoming Sky, Book 3) by R.C. Ryan
- Daniel’s Surrender (Corporate Affairs, Book 3) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber

Review: Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield

Friday, December 21, 2012

Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Male/Male Historical Romance Secret Light Cover
ISBN: 9781611186888
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

It’s 1955 and life isn’t always easy for an Austrian immigrant, but Rafe Colman makes it work. He’s a successful real estate agent, has a lovely home, an adoring dog, the ladies love him and he has casual friendships with his coworkers. On the surface, everything’s going Rafe’s way. Only Rafe knows that his perfect life has come at a cost: hiding who he truly his. Rafe — born Rolf Kohn — keeps his religion and his sexuality a secret from everyone. At least, he does until his home is vandalized and he’s thrown into the path of Officer Ben Morgan. What starts out as a friendship becomes something much more. But Rafe’s seen firsthand the true evil of prejudice and he fears his growing attachment to Ben could destroy them both. Ben’s confident that he and Rafe can make their secret relationship work, but Rafe’s dire predictions might prove right when Ben’s partner threatens to ruin everything.

There’s plenty of beauty and sorrow to be found in SECRET LIGHT. Author Z.A. Maxfield takes on the challenge of delivering a powerful romance between two men set in a time where homophobia and anti-Semitism were commonplace even in Los Angeles. Rafe’s story broke my heart many times and it’s easy to see why he chooses to bury himself under layers of the persona he’s adapted. It takes meeting Ben for Rafe’s inner spark to ignite and it was pure joy to see Ben bring the true Rafe to light over the course of the story. Ben’s sweetness and, well, pure goodness are like a beacon even in the darkest moments of SECRET LIGHT. Ms. Maxfield made it easy for me to become invested in not only Rafe and Ben as individuals, but as a couple. I wanted to see them beat the odds and find happiness.

Ms. Maxfield perfectly balances the darker aspects with moments of joy in SECRET LIGHT. She also does an exceptional job of transporting the reader to post-World War II Los Angeles. If I had one wish it would be for the ending to be a bit more fleshed out; things did feel a bit rushed. That being said, I thought SECRET LIGHT was a lovely, well-written romance that will warm your heart.


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

Riley Shane Book Order

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Click on series title to jump to a particular reading order:

Emerald Valley
Seattle Marauders
Realm of Nine
International Relations
Magick Series
Standalones


Emerald Valley

Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance

1. Bed, Breakfast & Bondage
Devlin Levi and Anaya Bancroft

1.5. Decadence
Devlin Levi and Anaya Bancroft


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Seattle Marauders

Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance

1. Two-Man Advantage
Kyle Harper and Nathan Troy

2. In the Penalty Box
Gregory Samson and Landon Quinn

2.5. Hat Trick (release date unknown)
Kyle Harper and Nathan Troy

3. Breakaway (release date unknown)
Nick Foster and Allyson Hale

4. Exhibition Game (release date unknown)
Debra Quinn


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Realm of Nine

Genre: Paranormal Romance

1. Blood Rose
Grayson van Court and Rosaline Carrison

2. Blood Kiss (release date unknown)
Cáel van Court


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International Relations

Genre: Male/Male Contemporary Romance

1. International Relations
Delaney Carmichael and Connor Marino

2. Winter Wonderland
Delaney Carmichael and Connor Marino

3. Unexpected Gifts (release date unknown)
Delaney Carmichael and Connor Marino

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Magick Series

Genre: Male/Male Paranormal Romance

1. The Taste of Magick
Jason Prescott and Travis Byrne


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Standalones


Chasing Alex
Chase Larkspur and Alex Dawson
Genre: Male/Male Contemporary Romance

"Feast for the Senses" (in The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories anthology)

"On the Wings of Lir" (in the Cross Bones anthology)
Captain Patrick Kelly and Hugh Edwards
Genre: Male/Male Steampunk Romance

Victorian Valentine
Lord Christopher Norcutt and Jack Ashton
Genre: Male/Male Historical Romance


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Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information books that have not yet been included to this list.

http://www.rileyshane.com/

Review: Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift by Jennifer Ashley

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Highland Pleasures, Book 4.5
Publisher: JA / AG Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords
Jennifer Ashley reading order: here

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration--the first of Hart and Eleanor’s married life--one of Ian’s Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the hour Eleanor’s baby will arrive, to whether Mac’s former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears that the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.

The Perfect Gift CoverTake a heartwarming journey to the Highlands this holiday season with Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift. Author Jennifer Ashley has truly outdone herself with this festive, fun, emotional Mackenzie family story.

It takes a deft hand to write a story teeming with characters, all of whom have their own backstories. Many authors would easily fall into the trap of overwhelming readers with information or slowing the pace of the book. It’s a good thing Ms. Ashley is a master at her craft because she takes the multitude of Mackenzies (along with wives, in-laws, friends, and servants) and delivers a smooth, fast-paced story where all the characters are original and fleshed out and their interwoven storylines flow like a dream. I felt like I was at Kilmorgan Castle with the Mackenzies and their extended family.

It’s impossible to detail all that goes on in The Perfect Gift without writing a review that’s almost as long as the book itself. Suffice it to say that every single character and plot thread in The Perfect Gift drew me in. I could not put the book down until I had finished. That being said, I have to highlight one particular storyline that touched my heart. Ian and Beth — whose gorgeously penned romance began the Highland Pleasure series and started my love affair with Ms. Ashley’s writing — face what might be their first significant misunderstanding since The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. When Beth accidentally breaks a unique Ming bowl Ian had wanted, she fears Ian will give into the darkness or despair that had once frequently plagued him. She desperately wants to replace the bowl, but Ian has no interest in similar antiques, nor does he claim to be upset over a loss that only a few years before would have sent him into uncontrollable fits of despair. Misunderstandings in romances often come off as an overused trope, but not in The Perfect Gift. Because Ian has Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) in a time long before anyone knows what Asperger’s is, in this situation it’s difficult for Beth or Ian’s brothers to effectively communicate with Ian and vice versa. I won’t spoil the reason Ian wanted that particular bowl or the resolution to the misunderstanding, but I will say that Ms. Ashley managed to bring tears to my eyes more than once. In Ms. Ashley’s books the simplest of actions and a few well-spoken words can bring forth a wealth of emotion.

The Perfect Gift takes place between the last chapter and the epilogue of the fourth Highland Pleasures book, The Duke’s Perfect Wife. While you don’t have to have read the first four Highland Pleasure books (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, and The Duke’s Perfect Wife) in order to follow along, I highly recommend doing so, for part of the enjoyment of The Perfect Gift stems from having a prior attachment to almost all the characters. Even though I focused on Beth and Ian earlier, rest assured that Hart, Eleanor, Cam, Ainsley, Mac, and Isabella get equal page time. Ms. Ashley also whets the appetite for future Highland Pleasure books. I don’t know which Mackenzie or McBride I’m most eager to read about next!

The Perfect Gift is an amazing story that touches the heart. Ms. Ashley made me feel like I was part of the Mackenzie family in The Perfect Gift. I felt all the characters’ joys, sorrows, fears, and hopes as if they were my own. I loved Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift and I cannot wait for the next Highland Pleasures novel!

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


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

I'm 3/4 of the way through the first His Fair Assassin book, Grave Mercy, and I'm LOVING it. Dark Triumph comes out on my birthday next year -- I'm definitely pre-ordering it so I can celebrate with a good book ;)

Dark Triumph Cover Title: Dark Triumph
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Author: Robin LaFevers
Genre: YA Historical
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Review: Captain Gravenor's Airship Equinox by Heather Hiestand

Captain Gravenor's Airship Equinox by Heather Hiestand
Series: Steampunk Smugglers, Book 3
Publisher: Coffee on Sundays
Genre: Steampunk Romance Captain Gravenors Airship Equinox Cover
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

All Philadelphia Hardcastle wanted to do was invent machines to make her family’s farm operation more profitable. After learning that her brother sold her inventions to the British Air Enforcement — who then manipulated and turned her technology onto people — Philadelphia feels there’s no better penance for what she’s done than taking her own life.

When smuggler and airship builder Brecon Gravenor rescues a woman from the edge of a cliff, he has no idea he’s just saved the infamous “Dr. Castle.” Even after he learns the truth, it’s clear to him that Philadelphia’s no monster. But the smugglers Brecon works with don’t see it that way. They’re determined to have Philadelphia make inventions for their own purposes.

Philadelphia is eager to help undo the damage the BAE has done, but she’s not happy being thrown in a jail cell with Brecon and commanded to work. Philadelphia will have to work with her unlikely rescuer if she ever hopes to escape. What she doesn’t expect is to find love with her handsome cellmate.

As one might expect in a story with two inventors for protagonists, the true uniqueness of CAPTAIN GRAVENOR’S AIRSHIP EQUINOX comes from the inventions. Author Heather Hiestand develops fascinating steampunk technology in CAPTAIN GRAVENOR’S AIRSHIP EQUINOX and I admit that my interest in the world building outweighed my interest in the romance in this third STEAMPUNK SMUGGLERS tale. That being said, Brecon and Philadelphia are by no means bad characters. They’re survivors with intelligence, kindness and general likeability which make it easy to hope that they beat the odds and find happiness. Yet, while I liked Brecon and Philadelphia, I was never really invested in either the romance aspect or the twists and turns of the danger plotline in CAPTAIN GRAVENOR’S AIRSHIP EQUINOX. When compared to Ms. Hiestand’s previous STEAMPUNK SMUGGLERS tale, CAPTAIN FENNA’S DIRIGIBLE VALENTINE, I felt there was something almost inexplicable missing in Philadelphia and Brecon’s story.

CAPTAIN GRAVENOR’S AIRSHIP EQUINOX is the third STEAMPUNK SMUGGLERS story, but it can be read as a standalone. Fans of the series will undoubtedly be delighted by mentions of characters from the first two tales, CAPTAIN ANDREW’S FLYING CHRISTMAS and CAPTAIN FENNA’S DIRIGIBLE VALENTINE. While CAPTAIN GRAVENOR’S AIRSHIP EQUINOX wasn’t my favorite story in the STEAMPUNK SMUGGLERS series, it is an inventive tale and I did enjoy reading it.


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

Review: Trouble in Texas by Katie Lane

Friday, December 7, 2012

Trouble in Texas by Katie Lane
Series: Deep in the Heart of Texas, Book 4
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Trouble in Texas Cover
Release Date: December 18, 2012
ISBN: 9781455515714
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Prim and proper Elizabeth Murphy is the spinster of Bramble, Texas. But what Bramble’s townsfolk don’t know is that their librarian has just inherited a house of ill repute! Elizabeth wants to sell the legendary Miss Hattie’s Henhouse, but its elderly residents aren’t about to let Elizabeth sell the place without a fight. The “hens,” as they call themselves, want to restore and reopen Miss Hattie’s and they want Elizabeth to take part in their legacy. If that wasn’t enough to give Elizabeth a headache, the drugged, bound, handsome man the hens have taken captive will definitely do it.

Branston Cates has come to Miss Hattie’s for answers. He wants to break the curse on his family before he loses someone else he cares about. Instead he finds himself in a bed with the most intriguing woman he’s ever met. Brant knows there’s more to Elizabeth than meets the eye, and he’s willing to use every seduction technique he has to find out what’s beneath her oh-so-proper façade.

With a little help from the hens, Brant and Elizabeth will discover that there’s magic to be found in the walls of Miss Hattie’s Henhouse. The kind of magic that’ll help Elizabeth and Brant find not only their purpose in life, but love.

Trouble in Texas is a difficult book for me to review. I really wanted to love it, but I had some issues with the story. My biggest problems with the book were (1) the story felt slightly sexist at times (which was annoying) and (2) I couldn’t connect with either Elizabeth or Brant (which was disappointing). The two of them felt a bit flat and I was saddened that author Katie Lane simply tells readers Elizabeth and Brant fall in love rather than showing why we’re supposed to believe in the love story. As for the characters themselves, Brant was a fine hero, but largely unmemorable. Elizabeth, however, stands out in my memory for all the wrong reasons. I understand and liked that she’s supposed to be rather sheltered, but Ms. Lane takes Elizabeth’s “innocence” a bit too far and instead makes her come across as improbably ignorant (virgin or no, in a contemporary romance I don’t expect to see a thirty-seven-year-old woman believing her hero’s “attributes” are too big). What I believe was an attempt at comedy just struck me as ridiculous. So goes a lot of the humor in Trouble in Texas.

Enough with the bad. The bright spots of Trouble in Texas are Brant’s irrepressibly good humored brother, Beau, and the over-the-top hens of Miss Hattie’s Henhouse. Beau, Minnie, Baby, and Sunshine brought life and laughter to Trouble in Texas and it’s because of these four that I didn’t put down the book indefinitely. The twists and turns involving the reopening of Miss Hattie’s and the mystery of Brant’s family curse were interesting as well, though I won’t spoil the book for readers by saying anything about these plotlines.

Trouble in Texas is the fourth book in the Deep in the Heart of Texas series and I think it’s possible my enjoyment of Brant and Elizabeth’s story was lessened by my not having read Going Cowboy Crazy, Make Mine a Bad Boy, and Catch Me a Cowboy. Perhaps had I read those books I would have been able to connect with the townsfolk of Bramble and the cameos from past heroes and heroines would have meant something to me. At the moment, I’m not quite inspired to give the first three books in the series a try. However, I was intrigued by Beau Cates and I want to read his book, Flirting With Texas. While Trouble in Texas wasn’t the book for me, perhaps I’ll enjoy Flirting With Texas more.

Review: Unleashing the Receptionist by Juniper Bell

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Unleashing the Receptionist by Juniper Bell
Series: ...the Receptionist, Book 3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Unleashing the Receptionist Cover
ISBN: 9781619212572
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Dana Arthur couldn’t be happier with her two bosses, Simon Dirk and Ethan Cowell. Both in work and play, her lovers make sure she’s…well, fulfilled. Still, there’s a little part of Dana that’s unsatisfied. Ethan and Simon are close-lipped about their past and until they open up to her, their three-way relationship can’t be equitable.

But Dana’s concerns about her love life will have to be put on hold for a moment. A vengeful former partner is targeting Ethan and Simon’s firm, and with a tax auditor watching their every move, all three members of Cowell & Dirk will have to be on their best behavior. Dana’s not about to stand idly by while the men and business she loves are under attack. Ethan and Simon’s enemy doesn’t know what she’s unleashed when this receptionist goes on the offensive.

UNLEASHING THE RECEPTIONIST zings with red-hot eroticism. Author Juniper Bell mixes tantalizing sex scenes with genuine romantic warmth in the third book in …THE RECEPTIONIST series.

As I have not (yet) read the first two …THE RECEPTIONIST stories, I didn’t have any expectations regarding Dana, Ethan, Simon or their relationship. What I found was a genuinely loving, equal partnership with plenty of kink and a lot of heart. Ms. Bell gave me a great sense of who Dana was right from the start of the book, and the sassy receptionist immediately endeared herself to me. Like Dana, I wanted to know more about Simon and Ethan’s shared past so that the threesome’s already stable relationship would be rock solid. Happily, Ms. Bell peeled back the layers of the dominant Ethan and roguish Simon over the course of UNLEASHING THE RECEPTIONIST, allowing both Dana and the readers to become even more attached to Dana’s two sexy bosses.

UNLEASHING THE RECEPTIONIST was a deliciously naughty read and I greatly enjoyed it. Dana, Simon and Ethan are all characters I quickly grew to care about, which is why it was so easy for me to become invested in their story. I will definitely be reading the first two …THE RECEPTIONIST stories, TRAINING THE RECEPTIONIST and RESTRAINING THE RECEPTIONIST, as well as the short story THANKING THE RECEPTIONIST.


Note 1: UNLEASHING THE RECEPTIONIST features light BDSM and a few scenes of F/F eroticism.

Note 2: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

Waiting on Wednesday: Simply Scandalous by Kate Pearce

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


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

I love the House of Pleasure series and I'm sorry to see it end. That being said, I'm really looking forward to the final book, Simply Scandalous.

Simply Scandalous Cover Title: Simply Scandalous
Series: House of Pleasure, Book 9
Author: Kate Pearce
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Publisher: Aphrodisia
Release Date: December 24, 2012
Kate Pearce Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

After years of fighting on the continent, Richard Ross has finally returned to London to make peace with his father, and the erotic delights of his stepmother’s Pleasure House provide a welcome distraction for his war-weary heart. But he is shocked to encounter someone there whose resemblance to his lost love leaves him both tempted and tormented...

As a former spy, Violet LeNy has mastered the art of deception. But there is no disguising the heated passion that still burns between her and Richard, the man she once betrayed but who now is her only hope of survival. Soon she plans a scandalous game of seduction where sensual surrender is the ultimate pleasure...

Monday in Review

Monday, December 3, 2012

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here and on Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Under the Mistletoe (Lucky Harbor, Book 6.5) by Jill Shalvis (available 12/4/12)

All other new reviews:
- Unleashing the Receptionist (…the Receptionist, Book 3) by Juniper Bell
- Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane
- The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux

Upcoming reviews:
- Hex Appeal anthology
- Love is Murder anthology
- Legacy (The League of Illusion, Book 1) by Vivi Anna
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- Wickedly Good by Anya Breton
- A Younger Man (Cabin Fever, Book 3) by Cameron Dane
- 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
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book 1) by Robin LaFevers
- Come Fly With Me (Alaskan Nights, Book 2) by Addison Fox
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, Book 2) by Lia Habel
- Captain Gravenor’s Airship Equinox (Steampunk Smugglers, Book 3) by Heather Hiestand
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Trouble in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas, Book 4) by Katie Lane
- One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 2) by Sarah MacLean
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse, Book 1) by Cathy Maxwell
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Crazy Thing Called Love (Crooked Creek Ranch, Book 3) by Molly O’Keefe
- Educating Elizabeth by Kate Pearce
- Redeeming Jack by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Simply Scandalous (House of Pleasure, Book 9) by Kate Pearce
- Alien Sex 102 by Allie Ritch
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Daniel’s Surrender (Corporate Affairs, Book 3) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber

Review: Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane

Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Hunk for the Holidays Cover
ISBN: 978-1455522361
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Since her father’s heart attack, Cassie McPherson has been working harder than ever for her family’s construction business. Being a workaholic, she doesn’t exactly have time to scare up a date for her family’s holiday party. Rather than showing up to the party alone and being subjected to countless matchmaking attempts, Cassie hires an escort. But James isn’t like any escort Cassie’s hired before. James is charming, sexy, and puts Cassie’s libido into overdrive. There’s just one problem…

James isn’t an escort — he’s her family’s biggest competitor! A case of mistaken identity lands him as Cassie’s date for an evening, but by the time he falls into bed with the raven-haired beauty, James is already tumbling headlong into love. James knows he needs to tell Cassie who he really is, but will he be able to convince her to give their burgeoning relationship a chance once she learns the truth?

Sex, secrets, and holiday cheer are at the heart of Hunk for the Holidays. Author Katie Lane delivers a fast-paced, sprightly romance that’s ideal for anyone looking for a sensual, fun Christmastime read.

James is a hardworking contractor who is pretty much the perfect hero. Yes, he doesn’t tell Cassie the truth immediately upon figuring out she’s mistaken him for an escort, but to be fair to him, she doesn’t seem to want to listen when he does try to explain. James is handsome, patient, and a bit lonely, making it easy for me to want him to find love. Cassie, in turn, is a bit harder to root for. I wanted to adore her. In the beginning of Hunk for the Holidays, Cassie’s presented as a smart, capable woman who’s not ashamed of being a tomboy, and I liked her for it. But as the story goes on, she (1) has no interest in listening to James when he’s trying to tell her important information and (2) has so many “TSTL” moments (example: dragging a half-dead tree across luminarias [candles in paper bags] and then acting surprised when the tree catches on fire) I grew irritated with her. Cassie’s increasingly frustrating behavior and the multiple big misunderstandings in Hunk for the Holidays dragged down what otherwise would have been an utterly delightful romance.

I can’t write about Hunk for the Holidays without talking about Cassie’s family. Where Ms. Lane truly made me smile was in scenes involving the McPherson clan. Cassie’s brothers all charmed me in their own way and her aunt Wheezie was a pip. The McPherson family brings humor and warmth to Hunk for the Holidays, keeping me invested in the story when I might have otherwise put the book down. Out of all the McPhersons, I was most enraptured with Rory. Ms. Lane has a subplot involving Rory and the woman he’s loved for years, Cassie’s best friend, Amy. Rory and Amy’s romance just might be my favorite plotline of Hunk for the Holidays; it’s simple, heartwarming, and truly lovely.

Hunk for the Holidays has some ups and downs, but overall it's an entertaining story. I enjoyed the McPhersons enough that I’m hoping Ms. Lane has plans to write a sequel to Hunk for the Holidays, for Cassie’s two unmarried brothers have all the makings of excellent heroes.

Review: Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Friday, November 30, 2012

Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 6.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Under the Mistletoe Cover
Release Date: December 4, 2012
ISBN: 9781455544905
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Mia’s plan for a bright and joyful Christmas comes screeching to a halt when her boyfriend, Nick, refuses to come to Lucky Harbor and meet her family. Heartbroken, Mia travels to Lucky Harbor to lick her wounds and celebrate her aunt’s wedding. What she doesn’t expect is Nick to follow hot on her heels, begging for forgiveness.

Like Mia, Nick was given up for adoption at birth. Unlike Mia, he wasn’t adopted by loving parents and never connected with equally loving birth parents. Family, acceptance, and love are foreign to him, but he learns they’re things he wants. Now he just has to convince Mia to give him a second chance. Because for this Christmas and every holiday after, her heart, her love, is the only gift he’ll ever need.

Everyone deserves a second chance, and Nick gets his in this sweet, romantic Lucky Harbor story. Mia and Nick are young, smart, likeable protagonists who fit each other like lock and key. The similar issues they have because of their pasts might have been what initially drew them together, but Jill Shalvis clearly shows it’s not the sole reason they make such a powerful couple. Whenever Nick and Mia share a scene the chemistry between them is easy to see. I loved them together, and because I did I practically devoured Under the Mistletoe.

Under the Mistletoe can be read as a standalone, but for maximum enjoyment I recommend reading the first three Lucky Harbor books. Mia’s birth parents, aunts, and uncles are the heroines and heroes of Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing, and Head Over Heels and they all play strong supporting roles in Under the Mistletoe. In addition, fans of The Sweetest Thing will recognize Carlos, Mia’s first love, as a supporting character and Ms. Shalvis gives a brief update on his love life that made me smile and want to know a bit more about the woman who captured his heart.

The only niggle I had when reading Under the Mistletoe was Mia’s wish to be “picked.” I understood her desire to be picked by someone instead of her always doing the chasing and choosing, but given that this need stems from her being given up for adoption, it bothered me a bit that she never addressed the fact that she was picked, by her adoptive parents, who clearly love her. Given that Under the Mistletoe is a Lucky Harbor story, I understand the focus on Mia’s birth family. I just wish there had been a bit more acknowledgment for Mia’s adoptive parents.

Overall, Under the Mistletoe was a delightful read that made me smile and fall in love with some of my favorite Lucky Harbor characters all over again. Under the Mistletoe is the perfect story to curl up with this winter, for Mia and Nick’s romance is simply lovely.

Review: The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Elements The Gravediggers Brawl Cover
eBook ISBN: 9781937551636
Print ISBN: 9781937551537
Buy it here: Riptide Publishing

Dr. Wyatt Case is more in his element putting together a new museum exhibit than hanging out at a bar, but when his best friend needs a wingman, Wyatt can’t say no. As it turns out, Gravedigger’s Tavern isn’t your average bar. And it isn’t the history of the gaslight-style pub that captures Wyatt’s attention, but Gravedigger’s bartender, Ash Lucroix. With his easy smile and phenomenal collection of tongue rings, Ash isn’t the kind of man Wyatt would normally go for. But there’s an undeniable pull of attraction between the quirky, sociable Ash and the quieter Wyatt.

Before Ash and Wyatt’s newfound relationship has a chance to really begin, strange things begin happening at Gravedigger’s. Spooky noises, faulty wiring, and a ghostly presence begin to make Ash feel like he’s losing his mind. Is he imagining things? Or is there an evil presence haunting him? It’s up to Ash, Wyatt, and their friends to find out the truth before the haunted happenings cost them everything they hold dear.

Out of all the paranormal entities in literature, the ones I least enjoy reading about are ghosts. However, I’d heard many good things about Abigail Roux’s writing and I was so intrigued by the blurb for The Gravedigger’s Brawl that I had to pick it up.

I’m so glad I did.

The Gravedigger’s Brawl is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year! It’s charming, sensual, evocative, and wildly addictive; immediately upon finishing I wanted to read it again. Ash and Wyatt are two wonderfully developed heroes who quickly found their way into my heart. Wyatt is shy and uncertain of himself outside an academic setting at times. Ms. Roux made him human rather than cardboard perfect, and Wyatt comes with all the foibles a real person would have. He makes mistakes and hurts Ash, but not out of cruelty or carelessness. What’s more, he owns up to his mistakes and is truly the perfect man for Ash. Ash, in turn, is a hero with flair, and I’m not just talking about his bartending skills. He’s got an aura of likeability about him, one that Ms. Roux somehow manages to make transcend the page. Like Wyatt, Ash is interesting, which is probably the best thing I can say about a character. I love it when I’m fascinated by a character because of their personality, rather than a special skill or superhuman ability.

As individuals, Ash and Wyatt are great characters. As a pair? I find myself at a loss for words; just thinking about their love story makes me smile. The dynamic between Ash and Wyatt creates sparks and when they hit the bedroom The Gravedigger’s Brawl just explodes with heat.

Rounding out the main cast of The Gravedigger’s Brawl are Ash’s friends and fellow Gravediggers, Caleb, Ryan, and Delilah, along with Wyatt’s best friend, Noah. The secondary love story between Caleb and Noah is surprisingly sweet and every bit as romantic as Ash and Wyatt’s. The friendship between all the characters was as vital to the story of The Gravedigger’s Brawl as the romances. There’s life, humor, and wit in the byplay between the main characters, and even the simplest of scenes shine because of this. Ms. Roux made me care about everyone in the story and because I cared, I was invested in the book and could not put it down.

Twining through the romance of The Gravedigger’s Brawl is a spooky mystery that, I admit, had me startling at sounds I heard in the dead of night. I won’t say too much about the non-romance aspects of The Gravedigger’s Brawl, for that’ll ruin some of the fun for readers. I will say that Ms. Roux doesn’t cross the line into horror (a relief to someone as chicken about ghosts as I am), so the spectral sightings are often atmospheric. The paranormal elements are woven in brilliantly with both factual and fictional history, giving the spookier elements of The Gravedigger’s Brawl grounding in an imagined reality.

There are many reasons I adored The Gravedigger’s Brawl, but I fear this review would be far too long if I listed them all. Before The Gravedigger’s Brawl I hadn’t read any of Ms. Roux’s work, but consider me a new fan! With its hauntings, humor, and a happily ever after worth sighing over, The Gravedigger’s Brawl has it all. So what are you waiting for? Pick up The Gravedigger’s Brawl today!

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


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

Pretty much everyone knows I'm a huge fan of the In Death series, which means it should come as no surprise that I'm incredibly excited for Eve Dallas's next case in Calculated in Death. I'd say this one sounds fantastic, but I say that about all of them (and I'm almost always right) ;)

Calculated in Death Cover Title: Calculated in Death
Series: In Death, Book 36
Author: J.D. Robb
Genre: Futuristic Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: February 26, 2013
J.D. Robb Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

On Manhattan's Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.

A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn't seem the type to be on anyone's hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta's murder was the work of a killer who's trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

But when someone steals the files out of Marta's office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke's world of big business to figure out who's cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer's violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait...

Review: Touch Me and Tango by Alicia Street and Roy Street

Touch Me and Tango by Alicia Street and Roy Street
Series: Dance 'n' Love, Book 2
Publisher: Alicia Street and Roy Street
Genre: Contemporary Romance  Touch Me and Tango Cover
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

When her mother breaks her leg and needs help, professional ballroom dancer Tanya Gentilliano packs up her dancing shoes and heads to her hometown, only to find that things are far worse than she could have imagined. Her mother’s on the verge of losing the house and insists that there’s a fortune in diamonds belonging to their family buried on an island close to home. To make matters worse, Tanya’s mother has enlisted the help of Parker Richardson, Tanya’s ex-boyfriend, in the search for the diamonds. It’s been more than a decade since Tanya broke Parker’s heart and left him behind to pursue her dreams, but old wounds — and desire — create sparks whenever Tanya and Parker are around one another. Will Tanya be able to convince Parker to give her a second chance? She may not find out, for the search for the diamonds takes a deadly turn that endangers all that Tanya and Parker hold dear.

I love a good reunion romance, and TOUCH ME AND TANGO is definitely that. Tanya and Parker have true chemistry that brings them together and real problems that have to be dealt with if they want to overcome their shared past. Tanya hurt Parker deeply, but she isn’t a bad person. She’s searching for what she wants out of life and watching her character develop over the course of TOUCH ME AND TANGO was a delight. Whether the scenes take place in the ballroom or in the bedroom, authors Alicia and Roy Street make TOUCH ME AND TANGO sizzle. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving dance, as Mr. and Ms. Street make the world of ballroom dance come to life fabulously. Unfortunately, what dragged the book down a bit for me was the inclusion of a suspense subplot three-quarters of the way through the story. I won’t spoil the story by providing details, but I will say that this plot thread was hard to believe, unnecessary and took the fast-paced energy of the book down a few notches. Still, I thought TOUCH ME AND TANGO was an enjoyable story overall, and I look forward to reading more DANCE ‘N’ LOVE books.


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

Review: Wight Mischief by J.L. Merrow

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wight Mischief by J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Male/Male Contemporary Romance Wight Mischief Cover
ISBN: 9781609285500
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Will Golding loved visiting the Isle of Wight as a child, and he’s even more excited to return as an adult. He’s on a beachside camping trip with his best friend, Baz, whom Will desires but can never truly have. Baz is researching a book on the Isle of Wight ghosts, but it’s a not-so-ghostly encounter that captivates Will; a beautiful, naked man in the sea.

Novelist Marcus Devereux is used to people staring at him, but he’s not used to wanting to stare back. The tall, muscular image of Will haunts him, but when he meets Will again – this time with Baz – Marcus shies away from the object of his attraction. It’s not just Marcus’s looks that make him a recluse; it’s the story of his parents’ murders that makes him wary of people like Baz and, by extension, Will. Yet the attraction between Marcus and Will is too tempting to resist and the two men tentatively start something. But Marcus’s secrets may doom their relationship before it has a chance to start. With Baz digging around Marcus’s past, both his and Will’s lives are in jeopardy.

Mystery, murder and ghosts – oh my! Author J.L. Merrow has delivered an original, engaging book with WIGHT MISCHIEF. On the surface, Marcus and Will couldn’t be more different. Marcus is isolated, self-conscious about his albinism and suspicious of all strangers because of his guardian’s warnings. Will, on the other hand, is affable and athletic but is often mistaken for being dumb by those who don’t know him. Each man sees the other for who they truly are and that goes beyond looks…though lust is definitely present in WIGHT MISCHIEF. It was easy to get lost in WIGHT MISCHIEF because J.L. Merrow made me care about Will and Marcus. The ghost stories – and the threat of Baz and Will becoming ghosts themselves – adds dimension to WIGHT MISCHIEF and keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace. With romance, danger and ghost stories in the mix, there’s no going wrong with WIGHT MISCHIEF.


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

Waiting on Wednesday: Midnight Alias by Elle Kennedy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


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

I've been a huge fan of Elle Kennedy's for well over four years, so it's no surprise that I'm always eagerly awaiting her next book. Midnight Rescue, Ms. Kennedy's first Killer Instincts novel, was a gritty romantic suspense that I adored and I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, Midnight Alias!

Midnight Alias Cover Title: Midnight Alias
Series: Killer Instincts, Book 2
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

She’s smart, seductive, and in way over her head.
He’s her only way out.


An undercover DEA agent has gone off the radar. Suspecting an internal mole, the government needs Luke Dubois and his elite team of operatives to recover their man, and the New Orleans native thinks he’s found his way inside the dark underbelly of Manhattan: Olivia Taylor, the girlfriend of a mob boss and the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on. His new mission objective? Get past Olivia’s defenses and convince her to take a chance—on him.

All Olivia wanted was to finish law school and live a normal life, but that dream was shattered when one dangerous night put her deeply in a mobster’s debt. Now Luke and his team will help her escape—in exchange for intel on the missing agent. But Olivia doesn’t anticipate her intense attraction to the reckless Louisiana charmer or that she’ll be forced to risk everything—including her heart.

Review: Alterant by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Friday, November 16, 2012

Alterant by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Series: Belador, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Urban Fantasy Alterant Cover
ISBN: 9781439195246
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Sherrilyn Kenyon Reading Order

Evalle Kincaid has always been loyal to her fellow Beladors, even though many of them see her as a threat waiting to happen. She’s an Alterant – half Belador, half something unknown. Even though she recently saved humanity, she’s still looked on with suspicion. And when three Alterants escape their prison, Evalle is blamed for it.

To clear her name and keep her freedom, Evalle has to hunt her own kind. But finding the escaped Alterants isn’t easy, particularly when the only person who can help her sees her as a traitor. Not to mention the fact that the Beladors’ enemies are also hunting Alterants – and Evalle in particular. The clock’s ticking for Evalle, and the future of her race depends on her succeeding when the odds are stacked for her to fail.

Enter the fantastic urban fantasy world of the Beladors with ALTERANT. In the second BELADOR book, powerhouse authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love have built on the complex, engaging world they introduced readers to in BLOOD TRINITY. ALTERANT is even better than its predecessor, with its twists and turns, complicated loyalties, star-crossed lovers and action-packed plot.

At the center of ALTERANT is Evalle. She’s a kick-ass heroine that readers are sure to enjoy, but it’s her giving heart and hidden vulnerabilities which have me invested in her journey. Mses. Kenyon and Love have made me care about Evalle, and I desperately want to know more about her history, and that of all the Alterants.

There’s also a wealth of secondary characters in ALTERANT that I am fascinated by. I fell in love with Evalle’s best friends, Tzader and Quinn, in BLOOD TRINITY, and with what happened to these two in ALTERANT, I definitely want to see more of them – Tzader, in particular, because Mses. Kenyon and Love broke my heart with his forced separation from the woman he loves. Then there are Storm and Isak, two potential love interests for Evalle – though in ALTERANT it’s clear that Storm has an edge in that area. Both men have depths the authors have only begun to touch on, and oh boy, am I hooked on both of them. I could go on, but I’ll only add one more; Feenix. I don’t know anyone who can resist Evalle’s too-cute-for-words pet gargoyle whose impact on Evalle brings about some surprisingly emotional moments in ALTERANT.

ALTERANT is the second BELADOR book, and readers new to the series really should start with the first book, BLOOD TRINITY. If ALTERANT is any indication, the exciting BELADOR series is just going to get better and better. There are SO many things in this series that I want to learn more about; there’s no way I could list them all. Mses. Kenyon and Love have me on tenterhooks waiting for the third BELADOR book. As Evalle would say, “Bring it on.”


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

Waiting on Wednesday: Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2 by Gail Carriger

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


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

I adore Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, and though I don't generally like manga I loved the first volume of the Soulless manga. Next week Volume 2 comes out and this volume covers the second Parasol Protectorate book, Changeless. The manga volumes can't replace the books, but they're fantastic companions to the series.

Soulless the Manga Vol 2 Cover Title: Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2
Series: The Parasol Protectorate Manga, Vol. 2
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk, Manga
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: November 20, 2012

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria. But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

Teaser Tuesday: Bed, Breakfast and Bondage by Riley Shane

Monday, November 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Like last week, the book I'm putting up a teaser from this week is one I'm dropping everything to read: Riley Shane's Bed, Breakfast and Bondage, an erotic contemporary holiday romance that just released tonight at Loose Id. The first few paragraphs are a bit too hot to post, but to give some context for the teaser, the book starts with an erotic dream that you don't know is a dream until it's crashed by Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers ;)

Teaser:
"A flashing light signaling a missed call on my cell phone gave me a clue as to how my erotic dream had turned into a creepy Comic-Con-gone-wrong scenario. I squinted at the phone. It was one in the morning, and only Leah had “The Imperial March” as her ringtone. Sure enough, before I could return the call, Darth Vader’s entrance music blasted at me again. With a groan, I answered, positive I was not going to like whatever my best friend had to say."
*Bed, Breakfast and Bondage by Riley Shane, pages 2-3.


Book Description:
Bed Breakfast and Bondage CoverMost women wouldn't mind waking up to find six feet of perfectly-defined male muscle cooking for them. Then again, Anaya Bancroft isn't most women. She's the innkeeper and co-owner of Emerald Valley Bed & Breakfast and it's only pure desperation -- and a complete lack of ability in the kitchen -- that have her turning to her ex for help with the B&B's biggest event of the year. Devlin Levi may be a famous chef, but he broke Naya's heart once and she's not about to let him do it again. Devlin is welcome in her kitchen, but that's it.

At least, that was the plan.

Devlin has a plan of his own, one that could change everything. He wants Naya to give him eight nights. Eight nights of unbridled passion, eight sexual fantasies explored and fulfilled, eight chances to prove they're made for each other. If, at the end of their time together, Naya still believes they can't make a relationship work, the two of them will part -- for good. It's a bargain Naya can't resist, even though she fears it will end in heartbreak.

Then again, a lot can happen in eight nights...

Review: Spells & Stitches by Barbara Bretton

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spells & Stitches by Barbara Bretton
Series: Sugar Maple, Book 4
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Paranormal Spells and Stitches Cover
ISBN: 9780425241059
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

For Chloe Hobbs, life couldn’t get any better. She’s in love with the gorgeous Luke MacKenzie, her knitting shop, Sticks & Strings, is thriving, and her magical hometown of Sugar Maple is doing well after narrowly missing a disaster a few months back. Best of all, Chloe and Luke are expecting a new addition to their family. But being a pregnant sorceress isn’t easy. Chloe’s little sorceress-to-be is making her powers go haywire and on top of that, Chloe and Luke are stuck with a cantankerous troll who’s intent on guarding Chloe until the baby’s born. If that wasn’t enough, Luke’s very human family has discovered that Chloe’s expecting, and the soon-to-be-parents have to figure out how to mask Chloe’s magical outbursts. It’s almost too much for Chloe and Luke to handle…and that’s before a dark force intercedes, threatening Chloe, Luke and their baby.

Magic and mayhem are part and parcel of the SUGAR MAPLE series, and author Barbara Bretton makes no exception with SPELLS & STITCHES. I love this zany series and in SPELLS & STITCHES, Ms. Bretton ups the stakes for Chloe, Luke and the readers when it comes to the dark magic in this book. There are few things more frightening than a child in danger, and Ms. Bretton definitely tugs on readers’ emotions when Luke and Chloe’s baby is threatened. I could not put down SPELLS & STITCHES until I was sure the entire Hobbs-MacKenzie family would be all right.

Though the ominous presence in SPELLS & STITCHES kept me enthralled, the book itself isn’t all darkness and danger. As she has in her previous SUGAR MAPLE books, Ms. Bretton keeps the overall tone of the story light. SPELLS & STITCHES feels joyful most of the time, and it really was a delight to revisit the oddball town of SUGAR MAPLE.

SPELLS & STITCHES is the fourth book in the SUGAR MAPLE series, and Ms. Bretton provides enough information that readers new to the series can read this book as a standalone. I will say, however, that my emotional investment in SPELLS & STITCHES stems from reading this book’s three predecessors, CASTING SPELLS, LACED WITH MAGIC and SPUN BY SORCERY. I fell in love with Luke and Chloe in those books, and my attachment to them and their growing family only strengthens with SPELLS & STITCHES.

As far as buoyant paranormals go, Ms. Bretton writes the best. I absolutely adored SPELLS & STITCHES, and I hope Ms. Bretton has more adventures planned for Chloe, Luke and baby Laria.

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

Waiting on Wednesday: Bed, Breakfast, and Bondage by Riley Shane

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


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

I love Riley Shane's work, so it's no surprise I'm super excited for the new Emerald Valley series. According to the author's blog, Bed, Breakfast, and Bondage takes place during Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, so it's the perfect story for this time of year :)

Bed Breakfast and Bondage Cover Title: Bed, Breakfast, and Bondage
Series: Emerald Valley
Author: Riley Shane
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Can an erotic holiday bargain bring together two long-separated lovers?

Most women wouldn’t mind waking up to find six feet of perfectly-defined male muscle cooking for them. Then again, Anaya Bancroft isn’t most women. She’s the innkeeper and co-owner of Emerald Valley Bed & Breakfast and it’s only pure desperation — and a complete lack of ability in the kitchen — that have her turning to her ex for help with the B&B’s biggest event of the year. Devlin Levi may be a famous chef, but he broke Naya’s heart once and she’s not about to let him do it again. Devlin is welcome in her kitchen, but that’s it.

At least, that was the plan.

Devlin has a plan of his own, one that could change everything. He wants Naya to give him eight nights. Eight nights of unbridled passion, eight sexual fantasies explored and fulfilled, eight chances to prove they’re made for each other. If, at the end of their time together, Naya still believes they can’t make a relationship work, the two of them will part — for good. It’s a bargain Naya can’t resist, even though she fears it will end in heartbreak.

Then again, a lot can happen in eight nights...

Teaser Tuesday: The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I'm a huge Nora Roberts fan, but it goes without saying that you generally love some series more than others. The Inn BoonsBoro trilogy? One of my favorites. I've re-read book 1 (The Next Always) three times this year and book 2 (The Last Boyfriend) twice. Since the final book, The Perfect Hope came out today and I pre-ordered it on my Kindle, I'm about to fall on it like my cat falls on catnip.

Teaser:
"With a few groans and sighs, the old building settled down for the night. Under the star-washed sky its stone walls glowed, rising up over Boonsboro's Square as they had for more than two centuries."
*The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts, first two sentences.


Book Description:
Dearly Beloved CoverRyder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro...

As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.

While the Inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...

Review: What the Mistress Did by Anya Delvay

Friday, November 2, 2012

What the Mistress Did by Anya Delvay
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: GLBT Historical Erotica What the Mistress Did Cover
ISBN: 9781609286811
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Lady Marianne Gillingham is both irritated and amused when the virginal Miss Annabelle Fraiser demands that Marianne break off her affair with David, Lord Harrington. Marianne cedes the field but warns the soon-to-be Lady Harrington that her experience in the marriage bed will surely be unsatisfying, for David will never do to her what he has done with Marianne.

It’s not long after Annabelle and David wed that the new Lady Harrington is back – and furious with Marianne for awakening her to the deficiencies in her marriage. She asks Marianne to resume her relationship with David but with a twist; Annabelle will secretly watch and learn what she needs to know to please David. The sensual journey that Marianne and Annabelle soon embark on is nothing like either expects. But soon emotions and passion tangle, and Marianne wonders if it will be possible for any of them to leave this arrangement unscathed.

WHAT THE MISTRESS DID is erotica at its best; sensual, alluring and inventive. Author Anya Delvay takes readers on two journeys; Annabelle’s and Marianne’s. Under Marianne’s hands-on tutelage Anabelle’s sexual awakening carries WHAT THE MISTRESS DID through its darker moments. There’s joy in Annabelle learning what pleases her, and the caring friendship that develops between her and Marianne was wonderful to read. Marianne’s plot – and the overarching plot of the book – is tinged with sadness. She’s in love with David but clearly recognizes that she missed her opportunity to claim the whole of him. What made WHAT THE MISTRESS DID fascinating was watching Marianne essentially grow up over the course of the story.

It’s nearly impossible to write about WHAT THE MISTRESS DID without mentioning the sex scenes. Ms. Delvay writes vast and varied erotic encounters, some between David and Marianne and even more between Annabelle and Marianne. I love that no one holds back in WHAT THE MISTRESS DID.

WHAT THE MISTRESS DID isn’t a “happy” book, but it’s ultimately a satisfying read nonetheless. If you’re in the mood for historical erotica, then WHAT THE MISTRESS DID is for you.

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

Sarah MacLean Book Order

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Click on series title to jump to a particular reading order:

The Rules of Scoundrels
Love By Numbers
YA Books


The Rules of Scoundrels

Genre: Historical Romance

1. A Rogue by Any Other Name
Michael, Marquess of Bourne and Lady Penelope Marbury
My Review

2. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (available 1/29/13)
Cross and Lady Philippa Marbury
My Review

3. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (available 8/27/13)
Temple and Mara Lowe


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Love By Numbers

Genre: Historical Romance

1. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston and Lady Calpurnia Hartwell
My Review

2. Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord
Lord Nicholas St. John and Lady Isabel Townsend
My Review

3. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart
Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton and Juliana Fiori
My Review


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YA Books


The Season
Genre: Historical


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Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information books that have not yet been included to this list.

http://macleanspace.com/

Waiting on Wednesday: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


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

I love Sarah MacLean's work and if book 1 in the The Rules for Scoundrels series (A Rogue by Any Other Name) is anything to go by, this series is going to be particularly fun.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover Cover Title: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 2
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Sarah MacLean Reading Order

Book Description (from Sarah MacLean's website):

Lady Philippa Marbury is...odd.

The brilliant, bespectacled daughter of a double marquess cares more for books than balls, for science than the season, and for laboratories than love. She’s looking forward to marrying her simple fiancé and living out her days quietly with her dogs and her scientific experiments. But before that, Pippa has two weeks to experience all the rest–fourteen days to research the exciting parts of life. It’s not much time, and to do it right she needs a guide familiar with London’s darker corners.

She needs...a Scoundrel.

She needs Cross, the clever, controlled partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, with a carefully crafted reputation for wickedness. But reputations often hide the darkest secrets, and when the unconventional Pippa boldly propositions him, seeking science without emotion, she threatens all he works to protect. He is tempted to give Pippa precisely what she wants…but the scoundrel is more than he seems, and it will take every ounce of willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.

Teaser Tuesday: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Monday, October 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I'm reading a couple of books at the moment, but one of the ones capturing my attention is Lia Habel's YA steampunk novel Dearly, Beloved (no small surprise since I adored its predecessor, Dearly, Departed). The teaser I picked is from the point of view of Laura, a very unusual zombie.

Teaser:
"Claudia always destroyed whatever I grew, and so now I kept my plants close to me, let them root themselves inside my very body. Mytrle at my wrists, ivy at my hips, roses at my waist, and soon, calendula on my shoulders.""
*Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel, page 85.


Book Description:
Dearly Beloved CoverCan the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Monday in Review

It’s update time again :)

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

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- 'Twas the Night After Christmas (Hellions of Halstead Hall, Book 6) by Sabrina Jeffries (available 10/30/12)
- Seducing Mr. Knightly (Writing Girls, Book 4) by Maya Rodale (available 10/30/12)
- Getting Hotter (Out of Uniform, Book 8) by Elle Kennedy (available 11/20/12)
- The Lady Most Willing… : A Novel in Three Parts by Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, and Eloisa James (available 12/26/12)

All other new reviews:
- The Curse (Belador, Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
- Three Schemes and a Scandal (Writing Girls, Book 3.5) by Maya Rodale

Upcoming reviews:
- Hex Appeal anthology
- Love is Murder anthology
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- A Younger Man (Cabin Fever, Book 3) by Cameron Dane
- 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
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book 1) by Robin LaFevers
- Come Fly With Me (Alaskan Nights, Book 2) by Addison Fox
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, Book 2) by Lia Habel
- Captain Gravenor’s Airship Equinox (Steampunk Smugglers, Book 3) by Heather Hiestand
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Trouble in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas, Book 4) by Katie Lane
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse, Book 1) by Cathy Maxwell
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Alien Sex 102 by Allie Ritch
- Daniel’s Surrender (Corporate Affairs, Book 3) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler

Review: The Curse by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Curse by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Series: Belador, Book 3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy The Curse Cover
ISBN: 9781451671988
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Sherrilyn Kenyon Reading Order

With the fate of her race resting on her shoulders, the last thing Belador warrior Evalle Kincaid needs to deal with is the troll gang violence that will distract her from her mission to provide protection for all Alterants. But the demonic Svart Trolls invading Atlanta are only the beginning of Evalle’s problems. The Beladors’ enemies are more determined than ever to take out all those Evalle holds dear. And they want to use Evalle to do it. The clock’s ticking and with evil always a step ahead, Evalle might have to sacrifice everything — even her freedom — to save the Beladors.

The world of the Beladors gets a lot more complex in THE CURSE. Authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love take readers on a fantastic journey filled with twists, turns and non-stop action.

At the heart of THE CURSE is Evalle, the tough-as-nails heroine I absolutely adore. Mses. Kenyon and Love couldn’t have created a better heroine to center the series around for Evalle is undeniably strong, but also deeply wounded and incredibly caring. The softer side of her comes out more in THE CURSE than it has in the previous BELADOR books, as a shadow is cast over her relationships with those she loves most in the world.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to talk about THE CURSE without spoiling some of the excitement of a reader’s journey. Mses. Kenyon and Love reveal more of the history of the Beladors, Alterants, Medb and individual characters. There’s so much going on in THE CURSE that almost every page reveals new information. Because of this, I highly recommend reading the first two BELADOR books, BLOOD TRINITY and ALTERANT, before reading THE CURSE.

THE CURSE is an engaging story, but it’s definitely what I would label a “bridge book.” A lot of necessary information is conveyed and the setup for bigger battles occurs, but there isn’t much in the way of resolution. In all honesty, this didn’t bother me. It did, however, leave me very eager to read the next BELADOR book. I cannot wait to see what Mses. Kenyon and Love have in store for Evalle and her friends!

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

Waiting on Wedneday: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


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

I love steampunk and I absolutely adore Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, so it should come as no surprise that I'm eager for her Finishing School series, which takes place 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate series (but is in the same universe).

Etiquette and Espionage Cover Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Series: Finishing School, Book 1
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: YA Steampunk
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Gail Carriger Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Review: Devil’s Kiss by Zoë Archer

Monday, October 22, 2012

Devil's Kiss by Zoë Archer
Series: Hellraisers, Book 1
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance Devils Kiss Cover
ISBN: 9781420122275
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Zoë Archer Reading Order

James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, loves to gamble. The risk, the thrill, the ability to beat the odds…there is nothing better. He and his four equally scandalous friends are known as the Hellraisers. Nothing is ever exciting enough for them. That is, until one of their adventures takes a dark turn. The Hellraisers release the devil himself and in return each is given a power to make their deepest desires come true.

What Whit doesn’t realize is that the devil’s gifts aren’t all they appear to be. It will take the help of Zora Grey – a Romani woman who tempts Whit more than the devil ever could – to save Whit’s soul before it’s too late.

Author Zoë Archer brings the decadence of Georgian England to life in the sensual, dark and engaging DEVIL’S KISS. The first HELLRAISERS book is filled with twists, turns and plenty of action, all the while keeping the focus on Whit and Zora. These two strong protagonists carry the book, and I give high marks to Ms. Archer for creating yet another unusual historical romance heroine in Zora. She’s a Romani who doesn’t believe in the supernatural – at least, not until confronted with the devil – and she isn’t content to sit quietly on the sidelines while Whit faces the must cunning of evils. I respected her, and I held no small amount of affection for Whit, whose lust for adventure comes back to bite him in the worst way. Ms. Archer made it easy for me to like Zora and Whit, making their race to outwit the devil and free Whit of his pact all the more compelling.

It’s impossible to say too much about DEVIL’S KISS without ruining some of the fun of reading the book. I will say that there are a number of richly drawn characters and settings in DEVIL’S KISS which enrich the plot of the book, making DEVIL’S KISS a ‘full’ book. While DEVIL’S KISS is a satisfying read in its own right, I am on edge wanting to know what will happen next in the overarching storyline of the five Hellraisers’ pacts with the devil. Bring on the next HELLRAISERS book, DEMON’S BRIDE!

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