Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer


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

I absolutely adore fairytales, so the cover of this book immediately caught my eye. The synopsis sounded fun, so even though I don't normally have children's books as my WOW picks, The Land of Stories is a delightful exception :)

The Land of Stories Cover Title: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Author: Chris Colfer, Brandon Dorman (Illustrator)
Genre: Children's Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 17, 2012

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairytales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jill Shalvis Book Order

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

Lucky Harbor
Heartbreaker Bay
Wildstone
Cedar Ridge
Animal Magnetism
Wilder
Pacific Heat
Sky High Air
American Heroes
Firefighter
South Village Singles
Stand Alones


Lucky Harbor

1. Simply Irresistible
Jax Cullen and Maddie Moore
My Review

2. The Sweetest Thing
Ford Walker and Tara Daniels
My Review

* Heating Up the Kitchen: Recipes with Love from Lucky Harbor

* Christmas in Lucky Harbor (Omnibus of books 1 and 2)
My Review

2.5. “Kissing Santa Claus” (in the Small Town Christmas anthology and in Christmas in Lucky Harbor)
Logan Perrish and Sandy Jansen
My Review

3. Head Over Heels
Sawyer Thompson and Chloe Traeger
My Review

4. Lucky in Love
Ty Garrison and Mallory Quinn
My Review

5. At Last
Matt Bowers and Amy Michaels
My Review

6. Forever and a Day
Josh Scott and Grace Brooks
My Review

* Lucky Harbor (Omnibus of books 4, 5, and 6)

6.5. Under the Mistletoe (available as a standalone and in Christmas in Lucky Harbor)
Nick and Mia
My Review

7. It Had to Be You
Luke Hanover and Ali Winters
My Review

8. Always On My Mind
Jack Harper and Leah Sullivan
My Review

9. Once In a Lifetime
Ben McDaniels and Aubrey Wellington
My Review

10. It's In His Kiss
Sam Brody and Becca Thorpe
My Review

11. He's So Fine
Cole Donovan and Olivia Bentley
My Review

12. One In a Million
Tanner Riggs and Callie Sharpe
My Review

12.5. Merry Christmas, Baby
Sawyer Thompson and Chloe Thompson
My Review

top



Heartbreaker Bay

1. Sweet Little Lies
Finn O’Riley and Pru Harris
My Review

2. The Trouble With Mistletoe
Keane Winters and Willa Davis
My Review

2.5. One Snowy Night
Max Stranton and Rory Andrews

3. Accidentally on Purpose
Archer Hunt and Elle Wheaten

4. Chasing Christmas Eve (available 9/26/17)
Spencer Baldwin and Colbie Albright

4.5 Holiday Wishes (available 11/7/17)

5. About That Kiss (available 1/30/18)

top



Wildstone

1. Lost and Found Sisters (available 6/20/17)
My Review

2. Rainy Day Friends (est. release June 2018)

top



Cedar Ridge

1. Second Chance Summer
Aidan Kincaid and Lily Danville
My Review

2. My Kind of Wonderful
Hudson Kincaid and Bailey Moore
My Review

3. Nobody But You
Jacob Kincaid and Sophie Marren
My Review

top



Animal Magnetism

1. Animal Magnetism
Brady Miller and Lilah Young

2. Animal Attraction
Dell Connelly and Jade Bennett

3. Rescue My Heart
Adam Connelly and Holly Reid

4. Rumor Has It
Griffin Reid and Kate Evans
My Review

5. Then Came You
Wyatt Stone and Emily Stevens
My Review

6. Still the One
AJ Colten and Darcy Stone
My Review

7. All I Want
Parker James and Zoe Stone
My Review

top



Wilder

1. Instant Attraction
Cameron Wilder and Katie Kramer
My Review

2. Instant Gratification
Stone Wilder and Emma Sinclair
My Review

3. Instant Temptation
T.J. Wilder and Harley Stephens


top



Pacific Heat

1. Double Play
Pace Martin and Holly Hutchins

2. Slow Heat
Wade O’Riley and Samantha McNead


top



Sky High Air

1. Smart and Sexy
Noah Fisher and Bailey Sinclair

2. Strong and Sexy
Shayne Mahoney and Dani Peterson

3. Superb and Sexy
Brody West and Maddie Stone


top



American Heroes

1. Flashpoint
Zach Thomas and Brooke O'Brian

2. Flashback
Aidan Donnelly and Mackenzie Stafford


top



Firefighter

1. White Heat
Griffin Moore and Lyndie Anderson

2. Blue Flame
Jake Rawlins and Callie Hayes

3. Seeing Red
Joe Walker and Summer Abrams
My Review


top



South Village Singles

1. Roughing It With Ryan
Ryan Alondo and Suzanne Carter

2. Tangling With Ty (reissued in Kiss Me, I’m Irish)
Ty O'Grady and Nicole Mann
My Review

3. Messing With Mac
Thomas “Mac” Mackenzie and Taylor Wellington


top



Stand Alones


Her Sexiest Mistake
My Review

Time Out
My Review

The Trouble With Paradise

The Heat Is On

Born on the 4th of July

“Bah Handsome!” (in the Kissing Santa Claus anthology)

Storm Watch

Aussie Rules

“All He Wants for Christmas” (in the Heating Up the Holidays) anthology)

“Finding Mr. Right” (in the Too All a Good Night anthology)

Get a Clue

Shadow Hawk

“Together Again?” (in the Jinxed! anthology)

“Ms. Humbug” (in The Night Before Christmas anthology)

Out Of This World

Just Try Me

“Fall From Grace” (in the Bad Boys Southern Style anthology)

Room Service

Velvet, Leather & Lace anthology

“Captivated” (in the Beach Blanket Bad Boys anthology)

“Nothing to Lose” (in the Dare Me anthology)

Free Fall

“Perilous Waters” (in the Men of Courage II anthology)

“Stranded!” (in the Men of Courage anthology)

Seduce Me

“The Road Home” (in the Mother, Please! anthology)

Come Fly With Me

Bared

Back in the Bedroom

Hero for Hire

“The Bachelor’s Bed” (in the In Name Only anthology)

Natural Blond Instincts

The Street Where She Lives

Trade Secrets

For the Love of Nick

Luke

“Love is In the Air” (in the Paris or Bust! anthology)

Serving Up Trouble

Naughty But Nice

A Royal Mess/Her Night to Remember

Her Perfect Stranger

A Prince of a Guy

Aftershock

Blind Date Disasters/Eat Your Heart Out

Chance of Counter

Kiss Me, Katie!/Hug Me, Holly!

Out of the Blue

The Detective’s Undoing

New and…Improved?

Yours 2 Keep

Who’s the Boss?

The Rancher’s Surrender

Long-Lost Mom

Lean on Me

Hiding Out at the Circle C

Lover Come Back

The Harder They Fall

Show Me the Way

Ultimate Surrender

Tell Me No Lies

Charmed & Dangerous

Forgotten (written as Jill Sheldon)

Revenge is Sweet (written as Jill Sheldon)

Time to Trust (written as Jill Sheldon)

Summer of Fire (written as Jill Sheldon)


top



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://jillshalvis.com/

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 3
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Head Over Heels Cover
ISBN: 9780446571630
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Of the three Traeger sisters, Chloe has always been known as the “wild child.” Trouble just seems to follow Chloe wherever she goes, but now that she lives in Lucky Harbor, every little mistake she makes lands her in the path of Sheriff Sawyer Thompson. Sawyer should be far too straight-laced to appeal to Chloe, but everything about the oh-so-sexy sheriff makes her want to wind up cuffed — to his bed, anyway. Has the wild child finally met her match?

Opposites attract in the energetic, charming Head Over Heels. Jill Shalvis set the bar high with her first two Lucky Harbor books, Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing, but Chloe’s story is every bit as good as her sisters’ books. I absolutely loved the free-spirited Chloe. She grew up constantly on the move and has a somewhat different take on life, love, and what it means to live than her sisters do. Almost nothing can slow her down (except for her asthma), but people tend to take Chloe at face value and not look any deeper, which made my heart break for her. It was a joy to watch Chloe come into her own in Head Over Heels — it was almost as fun as watching her fall for Sawyer. The sparks that fly between these two are red-hot and entertaining to boot. How could they not be, with as sexy a hero as Sawyer? The man may seem serious on the surface, but boy, oh boy, do still waters run deep. Sawyer is caring, considerate, and he truly sees Chloe. He’s almost too good to be true, but Ms. Shalvis never lets him enter into what I call “cardboard hero territory.” Sawyer’s got real flaws and has made plenty of mistakes, but his virtues outshine all that. He and Chloe fit like lock and key, which is one of the things I love about Head Over Heels. In fact, pretty much everything about Head Over Heels is delightful. It’s (at the risk of borrowing a different book’s title) simply irresistible.

Head Over Heels is the third book in Ms. Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series, but it can be read as a standalone. However, I dare readers who haven’t read Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing to read Head Over Heels and not rush to read the first two books. In the Lucky Harbor series, the world Ms. Shalvis has created is so bright, so full of joy, laughter, and zaniness that it’s impossible to resist. I’m head over heels in love with the Lucky Harbor series and I can’t wait for the next book!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn


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

I love Julia Quinn's books and since reading book 1 of Smythe-Smith quartet, Just Like Heaven, I've been waiting for book 2, A Night Like This.

And if you like historical romance and haven't read Julia Quinn, definitely give her Bridgerton series a try!

A Night Like This Cover Title: A Night Like This
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book 2
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Julia Quinn Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Three years ago, Daniel Smythe-Smith shot a man in a duel and was forced to flee the country. He used to be a devil-may-care charmer, but after three years of being quite literally hunted, he is wary and on edge. Now he's back in London and, on the night of his arrival, attends the annual Smythe-Smith musicale, where he notices that the young woman at the piano is definitely not his cousin. Anne Shawcross made a terrible mistake at the age of sixteen. Ruined by the son of the most important family in the district, she changed her last name and left home, eventually becoming the governess to the Earl of Pleinsworth's three daughters. When Sarah Pleinsworth takes ill the night of the musicale, Anne is asked to step in. Could Sarah be the woman to save Daniel and his wounded heart?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

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 in the middle of a couple of books at the moment, but the two I'm switching back and forth between tonight are Zoë Archer's sci-fi romance, Collision Course, and the classic murder mystery, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.

"Ambient light from the restless, lurid city filtered into the room. It traced the curves of her body, the angles on her face, finding a kind of poetry." - Collision Course by Zoë Archer, 53% on Kindle


"A startled look came into Tom's small eyes. Spade moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue and asked: 'Is that the hot tip that brought you here at this ungodly time of night?'" - The Maltese Falcion by Dashiell Hammett, page

Review: A Clockwork Christmas by Stacy Gail, PG Forte, Jenny Schwartz, and JK Coi

A Clockwork Christmas Cover A Clockwork Christmas by Stacy Gail, PG Forte, Jenny Schwartz, and JK Coi
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Steampunk Romance
ISBN: 9781426892752
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link




Crime Wave in a Corset Cover CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET by Stacy Gail

Cornelia Peabody is the consummate thief. But after stealing a Fabergé egg from Roderick Coddington’s house, Cornelia finds herself in a world of trouble. She has seven days to retrieve the egg or she’ll die. The threat of death doesn’t rattle the professional thief, but the fact that Roderick may steal her heart most definitely does.

Author Stacy Gail brings a dark edge to the Christmas holiday in CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET. Roderick may toe the line close to villain territory at the beginning of the story – threatening the instantly likeable Cornelia with death isn’t the most endearing of introductions for a hero – but Ms. Gail slowly brought me around as I learned more about the clever professor. Cornelia and her inventions do tend to steal the show though, which is perhaps appropriate with a thief for a heroine. A healthy dose of sensuality rounds out the enemies-turned-lovers plot, making CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET a sexy seasonal story.


This Winter Heart Cover THIS WINTER HEART by PG Forte

Eight years ago, Ophelia’s husband Dario sent her back to her father after discovering that she wasn’t entirely human. Now that her father has died, Ophelia has no choice but to turn to Dario for aid. Dario’s anger at her return intensifies when he learns that Ophelia has a seven-year-old son she never told him about – one he doesn’t believe can be his. Ophelia knows that Dario once loved her…before he found out about her mechanical parts and started viewing her as a machine incapable of returning his love rather than a woman. Can she convince him that she’s far more human than he believes?

Estranged spouses and secret babies may be tried-and-true romance plots, but author PG Forte gives them her own dazzling, unique twist in THIS WINTER HEART. Ophelia wound her way around my heart almost immediately; and I found myself emotionally invested in her story, wanting Ophelia to find happiness. Dario, in turn, is a bit harder to like since he thinks of – or tries to think of – Ophelia as a thing, rather than a person, but Ms. Forte was able to make me follow his logic, even if I didn’t agree with it. I enjoyed watching Dario become the man worthy of Ophelia’s love, and ultimately I found THIS WINTER HEART to be a satisfying, original tale.


Wanted One Scoundrel Cover WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL by Jenny Schwartz

Australian heiress and suffragette Esme Smith needs a man. And not just any man, but a respectable scoundrel she can hire to represent her political party, the Women’s Advancement League. American inventor Jedediah Reeve seems to fit the bill perfectly. But as the political intrigue that Esme and Jed are involved in heats up, so does their connection. Will Esme fall for her scoundrel who may or may not be all that he seems?

WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL is light on both steam and steampunk devices, but it’s an interesting tale. Esme is a smart woman with a spine of steel, ready to go after what she wants. She doesn’t seem to want to depend on anyone, but thankfully, she’s not the type of heroine who turns away help just to make a point. Esme and Jed fit each other well on a number of levels, and the dynamic between them keeps WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL afloat when the plot slows down in a couple of places. I enjoyed the Australian setting; it was a nice change of pace since almost all of the steampunk stories I’ve read have taken place in England or America. All in all, WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL was an entertaining story.


Far From Broken Cover FAR FROM BROKEN by JK Coi

Colonel Jasper Carlisle fell fast and hard for prima ballerina Callie and courted her until she agreed to be his wife. Their happiness comes crashing to a halt when Jasper’s enemies kidnap and torture Callie. By the time Jasper is able to find her, only a number of experimental surgeries can save her. But the surgeries leave Callie with a mechanical eye, hand and legs, making her feel like a stranger in her own body. Her anger at Jasper and his guilt at leaving her unprotected threaten to tear them apart. However, Jasper’s not about to give up on Callie or their marriage. He’ll prove to his wife that his love hasn’t changed, and he’ll regain her trust. But Jasper has to move quickly – his old enemies are back, and they’re determined to finish what they once started.

FAR FROM BROKEN is a heartbreaking story about two people finding each other once again. Callie has been through an unbelievable trauma that has left her physically and emotionally injured. Both Jasper and Callie’s true strength shows in how they come to connect with each other and the world around them. Though author JK Coi almost made me cry while reading FAR FROM BROKEN, I absolutely loved the story. The romance, character building, danger and steampunk elements all worked together flawlessly to create one fabulous story. I could go on, but suffice it to say that readers looking for a different kind of romance – one rich in both joy and tragedy – should read FAR FROM BROKEN.


A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS contains a quartet of unique steampunk romances. Each story is very different from the others, and I liked not knowing what to expect from one story to the next. The Christmas holiday isn’t really a big element in any of the stories in A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS, so readers are sure to enjoy this anthology all year long. Stacy Gail, PG Forte, Jenny Schwartz and JK Coi are all talented authors, and I look forward to reading more of their work.
Note: All the stories in A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS are also for sale as individual ebooks.

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

Review: Slaves of Love by Opal Carew

Slaves of Love by Opal Carew
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Erotic Sci-Fi Romance Slaves of Love Cover
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Having finally returned to his home planet, Keern didn’t expect to find a naked woman swimming in a pond on his land as a homecoming. Shena was almost too perfect to be real, and Keern found himself falling in love with her from the start.

And then she betrayed him.

Now Shena is being sold as a sex slave, and Keern has the perfect opportunity for revenge. He’ll buy her, use her and rid himself of his desire for her. But from the moment he sees her again, nothing goes according to plan. Keern finds that he can’t harm Shena, no matter what she’s done. Yet how can he trust the woman whose lies wrecked his family? Perhaps there’s more to Shena’s story than Keern knows...

Lust, betrayal, heartbreak and second chances are at the forefront of the erotic adventure, SLAVES OF LOVE. Shena and Keern are two people who are clearly made for each other, but the treachery of others threatens to ruin them both. While SLAVES OF LOVE is clearly a romance, author Opal Carew definitely had me guessing as to how things would work out for Keern and Shena.

In SLAVES OF LOVE, Ms. Carew isn’t afraid to go dark – something I appreciated given the gravity of Shena’s situation. Shena’s been victimized her entire life, but it never breaks her spirit and in showing part of what she has to deal with, Ms. Carew only increases my respect for Shena. Keern, in turn, could have easily entered villain territory. Yet, at his core he’s a good person, and I was able to trust that his character and his love for Shena would pull him away from the darkness.

Ms. Carew’s signature sensuality heats up SLAVES OF LOVE, which should make the story a delight for fans of erotic romance. Aside from one scene which seemed out of place, I enjoyed the sizzling encounters in SLAVES OF LOVE. But most of all, what drew me to SLAVES OF LOVE were Shena and Keern. I adored these two together, and their love story made SLAVES OF LOVE a genuinely satisfying read.


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

Monday in Review

Just a few reviews this week :)

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:
- How to Dance With a Duke (Ugly Ducklings, Book 1) by Manda Collins (available 1/31/12)
- Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas (available 2/28/12)

Other new review:
- Beck and Call by Nicole Morgan

Upcoming reviews:
- Kiss Me, I’m Irish by Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Shalvis, and Maureen Child
- Dear Miss Darcy by Laura Briggs and Sarah Burgess
- When a Scot Loves a Lady (Falcon Club, Book 1) by Katharine Ashe
- White Knight (Scandals, Book 2) by Mari Carr
- I Want Candy by Susan Donovan
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Screw Santa (Who Needs Christmas?, Book 1) by Joyee Flynn
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
- Bachelor Number Four by Megan Hart
- Intimate Beings (The Being Trilogy, Book 2) by Jessica Inclan
- A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, Book 5) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Blame It On Bath (The Truth About a Duke, Book 2) by Caroline Linden
- A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean
- Girl Next Door by Lyra Marlowe
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- The Saint (Highland Guard, Book 5) by Monica McCarty
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Alien Sex 101 by Allie Ritch
- Celebrity in Death (In Death, Book 34) by J.D. Robb (coming February 1st)
- The Tattooed Duke (Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale
- Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor, Book 3) by Jill Shalvis
- Time Out by Jill Shalvis
- Carrie’s Answer (Corporate Affairs, Book 1) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- Meredith’s Awakening (Corporate Affairs, Book 2) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- A Little Wild by Kate St. James
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Friday Harbor, Book 2
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Romance (with paranormal elements) Rainshadow Road Cover
Release Date: February 28, 2012
ISBN: 9780312605889
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Lisa Kleypas Reading Order

Glass artist Lucy Marinn has the two things in life she’s always wanted: the ability to do what she loves for a living and the love of a trustworthy man. Then her boyfriend gives her the worst sort of surprise: he’s been cheating on Lucy with her sister, Alice, and he wants Lucy out of their house so Alice can move in. Stunned and burned by betrayal, the last thing Lucy wants is to jump into another relationship. However, fate isn’t content to let Lucy hide herself away with her glass and Lucy soon crosses paths with vineyard owner Sam Nolan. Sam’s sexy as hell, but commitment shy — not the best prospect for someone like Lucy. But the longer Lucy and Sam are around one another, the fewer reasons they can think of to be apart. Can two people scarred by their pasts bring themselves to take a chance on love?

Starting a Lisa Kleypas book is like been greeted by an old friend; it’s both comforting and joyful. In Rainshadow Road, Ms. Kleypas returns to the world of Friday Harbor that she introduced to readers in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. The life Ms. Kleypas imbues her novels with comes through in the details about Friday Harbor, Sam’s vineyard, and Lucy’s glasswork. I felt like I was walking alongside Sam and Lucy all throughout Rainshadow Road.

Lucy and Sam are undoubtedly the heart of Rainshadow Road. Lucy has gotten the short end of the stick her entire life and her boyfriend’s betrayal is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. My heart broke for Lucy, who is such a likeable, intelligent heroine that you can’t help but adore her. She deserved to find happiness, and it’s no surprise that she does so with Sam. For all that he’s a ladies’ man, what’s truly appealing about Sam is not his sex appeal, but his caring heart and utter geekiness. The further into the story I got, the more layers I discovered Sam had, which was wonderful. As a pair, he and Lucy are fantastic and it was easy to cheer for them to get together.

Rainshadow Road is the second Friday Harbor book, but you don’t have to have read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to enjoy Lucy and Sam’s book. However, fans of the first book will be delighted to see how Mark, Maggie, and little Holly have grown and changed over the past year. In Rainshadow Road, Ms. Kleypas also delves further into the character of Alex Nolan — whose story I am dying for — and introduces two new wonderful characters, Zoë and Justine, who I can’t wait to read more about.

There were only two things that kept Rainshadow Road from being a perfect read for me, and I feel they’re important enough to be mentioned. First is Alice, Lucy’s sister. Though I won’t provide spoilers, I was disappointed that at one point, Ms. Kleypas seemed to be making excuses for the woman’s poor behavior, when all along Lucy had been frustrated by the fact that everyone made excuses for Alice’s actions. The second factor was the slight paranormal element to Rainshadow Road — it didn’t work for me. Ms. Kleypas has included paranormal elements in her books before, but they’ve always felt organic. In Rainshadow Road, the paranormal scenes felt forced and slightly awkward, which was very disappointing. Yet, even taking these two points into account, Rainshadow Road was a great story and I could not put it down.

Lisa Kleypas is a master storyteller and the fantastic characters she has created will keep me coming back to Rainshadow Road again and again. I love the Friday Harbor series and I cannot wait to read Dream Lake!




Note: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

18 & Over Book Blogger Follow



18 & Over Book Blogger Follow is a weekly feature that begins on Fridays and runs through the weekend, hosted by Crystal from Reading Between the Wines and Kelly at Secrets of a Book Lover.

This is a Friday blog hop with the objective to find and visit other book blogs that share the same interest as you, namely books geared towards the 18 & over crowd, and make new friends!

Question of the Week: Do you prefer your romance heroes inked, pierced, neither or maybe even both?

It depends on the hero. Generally, I lean toward neither, but a well-placed bit of ink can be incredibly sexy. And if it fits the character, piercings and ink can definitely work. I love Thanatos's ink in Larissa Ione's Lords of the Underworld. And John's tattoo in The Sweetest Tattoo by Cameron Dane just made me melt. And then the Dark Hunter tattoos in Kenyon's DH series are sometimes deliciously placed. So basically......it depends. But I go for ink more than piercings.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear


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

I'm kind of picky about YA books (nothing against them, I just tend to lean toward adult novels), but there are a few 2012 YA releases that have caught my eye. The newest one to capture my interest - and perhaps the one I'm most excited to read - is the YA steampunk/dark fairytale Innocent Darkness.

Innocent Darkness Cover Title: Innocent Darkness
Series: The Aether Chronicles, Book 1
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Genre: YA Steampunk
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: August 8, 2012

Book Description (from Suzanne Lazear's website):

Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

In a Steampunk version of Los Angeles, Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the
Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed. If Noli doesn't die, an entire civilization will.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

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 started Kieran Kramer's fourth Impossible Bachelors book today (though I haven't read books 1-3). So far, it's not quite what I'd hoped for (it's a bit on the silly side), but I'm crossing my fingers it picks up.

"Daisy couldn't help being a bit scornful of her stepsister's attempt at rendering the mushy feelings she felt toward Mr. King into something poetic.

But Charlie's the king of your heart, Daisy, a ridiculous voice inside her head told her." - If You Give a Girl a Viscount by Kieran Kramer, page 191

Review: Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina Dodd

Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina Dodd
Series: Scarlet Deception, Book 1
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Romantic Suspense Secrets of Bella Terra Cover
ISBN: 9780451413093
Blue Ribbon Rating: 5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Christina Dodd Reading Order

Of the three Di Luca brothers, Rafe is the one who doesn’t want to stay put in their hometown in California’s wine country. But when his grandmother is attacked, security expert Rafe rushes home, intent on discovering her assailant’s identity. What he finds is that the attack was just the tip of the iceberg. A long-held secret in his family’s past has brought about new threats…and not just to the Di Luca family.

Brooke Petersson has been close to the Di Luca family ever since moving to Bella Valley as a teenager. But it was Rafe, in particular, who stole her heart all those years ago – and then broke it. Now she has to work with him to uncover the secrets lurking in Bella Terra, but being in constant contact with Rafe is hell on her nerves. The passion between them burns as hot as ever, yet even as she gives into the temptation that is Rafe, Brooke vows she’ll never again give her heart to him. Rafe seems equally determined to win her over, but with a dangerous enemy out to destroy everything the Di Lucas have built, Brooke and Rafe may not have a chance to find out if they’ll have a second shot at love.

Secrets and seduction make for a sinfully good read in SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA. The first book in Christina Dodd’s SCARLET DECEPTION series sizzles with passion, and Ms. Dodd keeps that hot blood pumping fast with a healthy dose of intrigue.

It was easy for me to become invested in Brooke and Rafe’s romance. Love has clearly never been a problem for them, but though they gave their hearts to one another at a young age, it’s clear they weren’t wholly ready for a forever kind of relationship until now. That doesn’t mean that Brooke simply falls into Rafe’s arms, no matter how fast the sparks between them fly. There’s a lot of past hurt to be dealt with as well as learning about the people they are now that has to occur. Ms. Dodd gives their relationship a wonderful sense of realism, which makes SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA even more engaging.

With the exception of the danger that the mystery of the SCARLET DECEPTION series brings about, the world of Bella Terra is lush and inviting; Ms. Dodd had me wanting to vacation at the Di Lucas’ resort. And speaking of the Di Lucas, the rest of the family was every bit as interesting as Brooke and Rafe. I adored Sarah, Rafe’s grandmother, sighed a bit over Noah, and holy mackerel, did the cliffhanger in SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA make me want Eli’s book! The only thing that disappointed me when I read SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA was that I finished it feeling upset that I did not have REVENGE AT BELLA TERRA on hand so I could keep reading.

I’ve loved Ms. Dodd’s books for over ten years and no matter what genre she writes in, Ms. Dodd wows me. SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA is an incredibly entertaining story that I’ll be re-reading many times over. In fact, I may just start a re-read right now. ;)

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

Review: Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and K.A. Mitchell

Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and K.A. Mitchell
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance Men Under the Mistletoe Cover
ISBN: 9781426892745
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Josh Lanyon Reading Order

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME by Ava March
Four years ago at Christmastime, Thomas broke Alexander’s heart when he fled what was supposed to be their first night together and never returned. Now Thomas has come back to London, determined to win back his beloved. But Alexander is not the happy young man Thomas once knew. Will he be able to thaw the wall of ice Alexander has constructed around his heart?

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME is a heartbreaking and heartwarming historical romance. Author Ava March shows Alexander and Thomas in love at nineteen and makes it understandable why Thomas ran away and why Alexander is bitter about it. Both men captured my heart, and I could not stop reading their story because I felt like these two deserved to be happy. The only thing I could wish for to make MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME the perfect story was a bit more information at the end. Given the historical setting, I did want to know how Alexander and Thomas would manage to make a life together work. Still, I loved this romance.


WINTER KNIGHTS by Harper Fox
Gavin is thrilled at the prospect of a holiday trip to Northumberland. He’ll be able to collect evidence that proves the fabled Arthur and Lancelot of Camelot are real. Even better than his research, though, is that this trip will be his first romantic vacation with his boyfriend, Piers. But when the devoutly Catholic Piers calls, saying that he can’t come to Northumberland and he can’t come out to his family, Gavin is devastated. Heartbroken, Gavin puts his energy into his work and goes out at night to find Hallowed Hill. A fall during a snowstorm sends two handsome rescue men Gavin’s way. The mysterious Art and Lance not only save Gavin, they’re prepared to introduce him to erotic delights that Gavin can teach Piers…if his boyfriend will give him a second chance.

Author Harper Fox adds a dash of the paranormal to the very sexy WINTER KNIGHTS. The twists and turns WINTER KNIGHTS takes are clever and sometimes, perhaps, a bit tongue-in-cheek. I enjoyed getting to know Gavin; he isn’t as blameless as he thinks he is when it comes to why he and Piers have broken up. Gavin has a lot to learn about love and patience, and his sexy rescuers teach him that…and so much more. A touch of sadness brings depth to WINTER KNIGHTS, making it a well-rounded story. Ms. Fox always delivers a well-written tale, and WINTER KNIGHTS is no exception.


LONE STAR by Josh Lanyon
Mitchell Evans always wanted to leave his home in Texas behind and become a famous ballet dancer. He’s achieved his goal, but a bad breakup and losing a coveted role sends Mitch back home to deal with his father’s estate that he’s been ignoring for six months. Driving into his home town, Mitch swerves to avoid a reindeer in the road. He’s rescued by the man who crushed Mitch’s heart twelve years ago. Texas Ranger Web Eisley is as handsome as ever, and the attraction between them still burns bright and hot. But it’ll take a Christmas miracle for Mitch and Web to get a second chance at a relationship.

LONE STAR features many of the romance tropes I enjoy and, as always, I can count on author Josh Lanyon to give the tried and true plot points of reunion romances his own spin. Mitch and Web are both likeable heroes who are clearly meant to be with one another. That being said, it surprised me that LONE STAR lacked the charm that Mr. Lanyon can usually be counted on to infuse his stories with. LONE STAR is by no means a bad story, but it wasn’t quite what I’ve come to expect from Mr. Lanyon. There was also an added element concerning a reindeer only Mitch saw. I’m not sure if it was a paranormal element, a hallucination or simply a tie-in to a Christmas gift from Web later in the story. Still, LONE STAR is a satisfying read overall.


THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION by K.A. Mitchell
Mel doesn’t HATE Christmas, but after six years of running his family’s Christmas tree farm, he doesn’t exactly love the holiday either. Mel works constantly and sometimes, he has to wonder what life would be like if he’d run off with Bryce when the man had asked. When Bryce returns to town for business and a wedding, the holiday season heats up. The pair can’t keep their hands off of one another, but Mel knows their reunion won’t last long. Strange things start to happen, though, and it almost seems like Bryce is trying to win Mel over. Is Bryce looking for more than a simple holiday fling?

Author K.A. Mitchell steams up the pages in THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION. Misunderstandings and perhaps even a lack of maturity kept Mel and Bryce apart in the past. I enjoyed watching Mel and Bryce stumble as they learned to be a couple outside of the bedroom. Their flaws made them more real to me than their virtues. THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION is a sexy, enjoyable tale and is the most Christmassy of all the stories in the MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE anthology.


MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE is a wonderful collection of reunion romances that will charm readers all year long. Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon and K.A. Mitchell are all incredibly talented authors whose stories I always look forward to reading, so it’s no surprise that I snapped up MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE. I’m also a sucker for reunion romances, which, perhaps, makes me an easy sell. If you’re looking for Christmas stories, it’s worth noting that that the holiday is more in the background than it would be in most Christmas-themed anthologies. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Carina Press is selling each story found in MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE separately as well as in an anthology.

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

Review: Best Man, Worst Man by Stacy Gail

Best Man, Worst Man by Stacy Gail
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Best Man Worst Man Cover
ISBN: 9781609285425
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Wedding planner Claire Pomeroy thought she’d seen it all. Then she met her clients’ best man, Ryder Price. Ryder is determined to convince the groom, Matt, to call off the wedding. Not because he thinks that Matt and his bride, Rachel, should split, but because he doesn’t believe in marriage. Ryder claims he’s only watching out for his best friend, but Claire can tell there’s more to the story than that. As she tries to prove to this “worst man” that marriage doesn’t have to end in disaster, Claire finds herself falling for the one man who stands against what she believes in.

I’m a sucker for a wedding-themed story, so it was with great excitement that I started BEST MAN, WORST MAN. I adored Claire and watching her handle the craziness involved with wedding planning was a lot of fun. Ryder, in turn, required a lot of patience. Claire, Matt and Rachel have their work cut out for them when it comes to convincing Ryder that Matt and Rachel’s wedding should go forth. I didn’t envy them that job, but I had faith they’d help Ryder overcome his bias. Author Stacy Gail does a really good job making sure Ryder wasn’t unlikeable, so it was fun watching him fall for Claire. BEST MAN, WORST MAN may start out as a bride’s nightmare, but it ends as a satisfying romance reader’s dream.

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

Review: Stark Naked by Desiree Holt

Stark Naked by Desiree Holt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Stark Naked Cover
ISBN: 9781609285562
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Reenie Davenport has had it with men; she’s ready for a clean slate when she moves to Texas. And after relocating, Reenie looks forward to reconnecting with Amy Stark, a friend from college. Then, while visiting her friend, Reenie encounters Amy’s very drunk, very naked brother, Matt. Amy is mortified, but Reenie is turned on by Matt, so she makes a break for it. But before she can regain her equilibrium, Matt shows up on her doorstep, wanting to apologize, and Reenie’s defenses begin to crumble. It soon becomes apparent that Matt wants more than to apologize. Can Reenie trust him with her heart as well as her body?

Author Desiree Holt sure knows how to write one sexy cowboy! STARK NAKED is a rip-roaring, sheet-tangling erotic romance that’ll make you smile. I absolutely loved the chemistry between Reenie and Matt. Matt’s determination to win Reenie’s heart – a heart that was bruised by another man – endeared him to me. It’s not an easy task for him to persuade Reenie that they belong together, but whether he’s stark naked or fully clothed, Matt’s more than up to the task.

Reenie’s reticence to get into a relationship with Matt is logical. At the same time, it’s equally understandable how he’s able to get under her skin so quickly. Reenie and Matt are a great match, and the sparks between them carried STARK NAKED. All in all, I enjoyed STARK NAKED, and I really hope Ms. Holt writes a book for the incredibly likeable Amy Stark.

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

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Musing Monday

Musings Monday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week’s musing asks…

What devices –if any– do you read books on? Do you find it enjoyable, or still somewhat bothersome? Or: If you only read the print books, why haven’t you chosen to read on any devices?

I have a Kindle, which I absolutely love for a number of reasons. Since I read a lot of books that are e-book only, my Kindle doesn't hurt my eyes like reading on the computer does. Plus it's a huge space saver - I have four double-stacked, packed bookcases and 16 boxes of books (not counting my college and law school texts) and things are still overflowing. Plus there's the instant gratification factor. Want to buy a book? One-click ordering.

That being said, I prefer reading print books. Nothing beats curling up with an actual paperback. I don't get the same feeling reading on my Kindle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review: This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon

This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon
Series: A Shot in the Dark, Book 1
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Historical Male/Male Romantic Suspense This Rough Magic Cover
ISBN: 9781611184020
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Josh Lanyon Reading Order

When a priceless folio of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST is stolen from the home of San Francisco socialite Brett Sheridan’s fiancée, Brett knows that he needs to be the one to halt the ensuing scandal…especially if – as he suspects – his sister is involved in the theft. His future father-in-law has given Brett three days to recover the folio before he goes to the police, and Brett can’t afford to anger the man whose pocketbook will save Brett’s own family’s fortune. The need for a private investigator sends Brett to the office of Neil Patrick Rafferty. But the case soon leads Rafferty and Brett on a merry chase; one that includes twists and turns that neither saw coming. The biggest twist being the undeniable attraction between the pair. Brett’s future depends on him going through with his marriage, and his illicit desire for another man means he could lose everything. The clock’s ticking, and it won’t be long before Brett has to make a choice that’ll change his life.

Author Josh Lanyon’s writing sparkles as he takes readers for a spin in the Thirties-style crime fiction, THIS ROUGH MAGIC. Mr. Lanyon has said that THIS ROUGH MAGIC is a riff on THE THIN MAN, but while THIS ROUGH MAGIC takes place in the Thirties and shades of Hammett’s famous novel color the book, don’t expect Rafferty and Brett to be Nick and Nora – or even Nick and Nick. Rafferty and Brett are wholly unique characters, and they’re heroes I fell hard and fast for. Rafferty looks the part of a hardened PI, but he’s surprisingly – and even adorably – sweet. I worried Brett would break his heart, and Mr. Lanyon kept me guessing as to how things would work out for the pair. Brett’s determined to marry heiress Juliet Lennox, but his reasons for doing so stem from a single-minded effort to keep his head-in-the-clouds family afloat. Brett and Rafferty are sympathetic characters and being that this is a historical, Brett’s engagement is actually the smallest of the obstacles their burgeoning relationship faces.

A cast of idiosyncratic secondary characters bring flashiness to THIS ROUGH MAGIC, contrasting perfectly with the more grounded Rafferty and Brett. The mystery of who stole the folio isn’t hard to figure out, but it’s Brett and Rafferty’s journey that the case is a catalyst for which gives THIS ROUGH MAGIC its life. By turns tender, witty and charming, THIS ROUGH MAGIC was a delight to read, and I can’t wait to see Rafferty and Brett’s story continue in the next SHOT IN THE DARK book.


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

Review: Three Ways to Wicked by Melinda Barron

Three Ways to Wicked by Melinda Barron
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Genre: Erotic Fantasy Ménage Three Ways to Wicked Cover
ISBN: 9781607352921
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Melinda Barron Reading Order

When Krisily Carmichael’s rat of an ex publishes naked pictures of her, the voluptuous author decides to hightail it out of town and away from the nasty letters filling her mailbox. The advertisement for a rental cottage in England seems to be a godsend. But there’s something unusual about the picturesque cottage; namely, the four people trapped in the garden.

In the sixteenth century, a sorcerer named Uriel and his two cousins, alchemists Bythos and Acolius, were imprisoned in their own garden by an evil witch. By pure accident, Krisily manages to free Uriel and then later his cousins. But the men are each missing one of their senses, thanks to the witch’s magic. And communication problems between three sixteenth century magical men and a modern day woman are the least of the foursome’s problems. The witch is still in the garden, and she’s gaining power. Krisily, Uriel, Bythos and Acolius will have to use their newfound connection to defeat the witch, or their burgeoning relationship isn’t the only thing at risk.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be Krisily, jerk of an ex, evil witch and all. There’s a veritable feast for the senses waiting for her in the idyllic English cottage in the form of the hunky Bythos, Acolius and Uriel. The three cousins work well as a team, and not just when it comes to magic.

Author Melinda Barron is a master at delivering sexy, fun reads, and THREE WAYS TO WICKED is no exception. I loved watching Krisily try to bring her men up-to-date on how the world works – there were some laugh out loud moments there. More importantly, when it came to defeating the witch I was cheering the foursome on. Ms. Barron makes it easy to become invested in her characters, and I definitely adored each of her protagonists...though I admit to having a particular soft spot for Uriel. All in all, THREE WAYS TO WICKED was a fast-paced, entertaining read that I plan on enjoying over and over and over again.


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

Review: Psychic Moon by M.D. Grimm

Psychic Moon by M.D. Grimm
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Paranormal Male/Male Romance Psychic Moon Cover
ISBN: 9781613721162
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Derek Williams hates most humans. Given that he’s a wolf shifter working as a humane officer, his distaste doesn’t come as a surprise. There is, however, one human who is constantly at the center of Derek’s thoughts; Brian O’Donogue. Derek’s been lusting after the sexy veterinarian for two years, not knowing that the desire is mutual. But not long after Derek finally makes his move, a rogue wolf shifter attacks Brian. Is there hope for a wolf shifter who wants a human mate? Derek and Brian may not have a chance to find out if the rogue shifter has his way.

PSYCHIC MOON will both break your heart and make you smile. The romance between Derek and Brian is lighthearted and pleasing, giving PSYCHIC MOON buoyancy. Added in were the realistic descriptions of the conditions that humane officers often find animals in. Author M.D. Grimm managed to devastate me – though she never went overboard or entered Public Service Announcement territory – but this aspect of the book added depth and a sense of realism to PSYCHIC MOON. The combination of realism and the fantastic, sadness and hope, danger and joy made PSYCHIC MOON feel like a full story. The world Ms. Grimm created in PSYCHIC MOON was so interesting that I hope she pens more stories in the same setting. I greatly enjoyed PSYCHIC MOON, and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Grimm’s work.


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

Review: Come Back to me by J.S. Nichols

Come Back to Me by J.S. Nichols
Publisher: Sapphire Blue Publishing
Genre: Romantic Suspense Come Back to Me Cover
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link

Erin Brady is ready to put her failed engagement behind her. That’s why she trades her honeymoon cruise tickets for a singles cruise. Unfortunately, it’s not long after Erin sets foot on board that she spies her ex entering a cabin a few doors down from her – with another woman! Erin is NOT ready to face her ex, especially since she has a secret she isn’t ready to tell him.

Ryan McKinnon is undercover, acting as a bodyguard to a spoiled heiress. But that’s not his only mission; Ryan is determined to win Erin back, and he’ll do anything to convince her they’re made for each other. But Ryan’s not the only one who has eyes for Erin. Ryan learns that women have gone missing on this cruise line before, and the kidnapper just might have his sights set on Erin.

COME BACK TO ME is filled to the brim with secrets, intrigue and lust. Author J.S. Nichols’ first novel has all the twists and turns that readers of romantic suspense will love. I liked that Ms. Nichols wasn’t afraid to make her villains truly evil, as it made it easy to become engaged in Ryan’s investigation. And speaking of Ryan…wow. Ms. Nichols had me sighing over him for sure. I felt so bad for Ryan; he’s a great guy with a good heart, and he desperately wants to win Erin over. I was rooting for him all the way through COME BACK TO ME.

To the best of my knowledge, COME BACK TO ME is a standalone novel. However, there’s quite a bit of history to Erin and Ryan’s story that had me wondering if perhaps Ms. Nichols has a prequel written that hasn’t been published yet. I hope so, for the glimpses of the past and of a romance involving Erin’s best friend are truly intriguing.

Overall, COME BACK TO ME is a fast-paced, entertaining book. There are a few points where readers will have to suspend disbelief and a dash of religion that surprised me, but neither of these points significantly detracted from the story. I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Nichols’ books in the future.


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

Friday, January 13, 2012

18 & Over Book Blogger Follow



18 & Over Book Blogger Follow is a weekly feature that begins on Fridays and runs through the weekend, hosted by Crystal from Reading Between the Wines and Kelly at Secrets of a Book Lover.

This is a Friday blog hop with the objective to find and visit other book blogs that share the same interest as you, namely books geared towards the 18 & over crowd, and make new friends!

Question of the Week: What is, or was, your most anticipated release this month (Jan.)?

There's actually only one book I'm super excited for this month - A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries, out January 24th. It's the fifth and final book in her Hellions of Halstead Hall series. Not only am I excited for the Celia/Jackson pairing, but I'm looking forward to finding out what really happened to Celia's parents (the ongoing mystery of the series)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: How to Dance With a Duke by Manda Collins

How to Dance With a Duke by Manda Collins
Series: Ugly Ducklings, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical Romance How to Dance With a Duke Cover
ISBN: 9780312549244
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Pre-order it here: Amazon | B&N

Cecily Hurston has long been wary of marriage, as she has no desire to wed a man like her father – one who would try and curtail her studies of ancient Egypt. But a disaster on one of her father’s expeditions has Cecily hearing wedding bells, for there is no way she can gain entrance into the Egyptian Club and find the proof to clear her father’s name unless she marries a member of the club. Though Cecily and her cousins are known as the “Ugly Ducklings,” Cecily must learn how to become a swan in order snare a husband. There’s just one unexpected complication…

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is determined to find out what happened to his brother, Will. Will went missing during Lord Hurston’s last expedition and the gossips are whispering that Hurston may have killed Will. Hurston’s daughter is Lucas’s best chance of learning what happened to Will, and he won’t let the opportunity slip him by. Cecily’s plan to gain entrance into the Egyptian Club through marriage may make sense to her, but Lucas cannot bear to see the beautiful bluestocking wed one of the nodcocks now dancing attendance on her. Cecily needs someone who will not only aid her in her quest to uncover what happened on Huston and Will’s last trip to Egypt, but will also appreciate and adore her for who she is. Though Cecily doesn’t see it, she needs someone like him.

An “ugly duckling” comes into her own in Manda Collins’s debut novel, How to Dance With a Duke. I was delighted by the premise of How to Dance With a Duke — it reminded me of the vintage Amanda Quick books. Yet while I think Ms. Collins has a promising future in historical romance, How to Dance With a Duke fell a bit short of my expectations. The elements of a good story were there: bluestocking heroine, considerate hero, mystery, murder, and romance. However, the story was weighed down with repetition, slow pacing, and a bunch of overused historical romance tropes. It took a long time for anything to actually happen in How to Dance With a Duke and Cecily seemed to reiterate the same information ad nauseam. I understand this was meant to highlight information that would come into play later on in the book, but it became a case of beating a dead horse very early on.

For the most part, Lucas and Cecily were likeable protagonists and it was easy to be charmed by their love story. Cecily is prone to pushing Lucas away as a defense mechanism, but at a certain point it got to be annoying. Lucas, in turn, is patient, kind, and all things wonderful, which made him a bit flat at times, but I could overlook it. What did pull me out of the story a bit in How to Dance With a Duke was that — when talking amongst themselves — Lucas and the men Ms. Collins sets up to be potential future heroes tended to talk like women rather than men.

Overall, How to Dance With a Duke was a decent read. Its flaws shone brighter than its strengths, but I could see the author’s potential nonetheless. While I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting How to Dance With a Duke, I am interested in reading Ms. Collins’s next Ugly Duckling book, How to Romance a Rake.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Wedding Magic by Patricia Coughlin

Wedding Magic by Patricia Coughlin
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Contemporary Romance (with paranormal elements) Wedding Magic Cover
ISBN: 9780425241233
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Sophia Bennett is fairly content to create wedding magic from behind the scenes at Seasons, the wedding and event-planning business her stepmother founded. But when an important client’s daughter decides she wants to have her wedding at the “Princess House,” a private estate in Newport, Sophie finds herself on a mission to convince the owner to open up his home for a dream wedding.

Scarred by tragedy and locked away from the world, Owen Winters doesn’t want anyone traipsing around his estate, never mind an entire wedding’s worth of people. Yet something about Sophie calls to him, and Owen can’t ignore the fact that she’s the only other person who seems to notice the ghost residing in his home. Agreeing to the wedding is the only way he can arrange to spend more time with Sophie, so he does. However, the wedding is the last thing the ghost in his house wants, and she’ll do anything to stop it. As Owen and Sophie work together to handle the ghost, their mutual attraction becomes too much to deny. But Sophie’s a hopeless romantic and Owen gave up dreams of happily-ever-after long ago. Is there any hope for such a pairing?

Patricia Coughlin dazzles with this bright and airy tale of love, hope and, yes, a little wedding magic. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Sophie and Owen. Sophie is an intelligent, hardworking woman who tends to fade into the background. She deserves the spotlight, and it’s easy to become invested in WEDDING MAGIC from the very first page because you want to see Sophie get her day in the sun. She’s a practical woman who is also a dreamer and a romantic, yet she’s never had the happily-ever-after she longs for. Owen gives her what she needs. She’s front and center in his mind, which charmed the heck out of me long before he himself did. Owen isn’t exactly a cuddly hero. He’s almost hostile to outsiders and wants nothing more than to be left alone to work. The why of it, I won’t reveal, save that it’s utterly heartbreaking. He has such a great capacity to love that my heart melted. As a pair, Sophie and Owen are phenomenal.

The plot of WEDDING MAGIC centers not only around the wedding that Sophie is planning, but also on the ghost of a bride who wants to call the celebration to a halt. To say much about the ghost would spoil the fun of WEDDING MAGIC, so I’ll leave it by saying that she is every bit as important to WEDDING MAGIC as Sophie and Owen are, and she’s also as fully fleshed out as her living counterparts.

WEDDING MAGIC is pure delight to read from beginning to end. Ms. Coughlin has delivered a fast-paced, engaging story that was impossible for me to put down. WEDDING MAGIC is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Coughlin but it definitely won’t be the last.

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

Review: Welcome to Paradise by Elle Kennedy

Welcome to Paradise by Elle Kennedy
Series: Welcome to Paradise, Book 1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Welcome to Paradise Cover
ISBN: 9781609285050
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

Fifteen years ago, Charlotte Hill lost her virginity to Nate Bishop…who promptly broke her heart. Even though she’s now a famous singer, Nate’s cruel words have haunted her. When she receives an invitation to her high school reunion, Charlotte decides she needs some closure and, perhaps, a little retribution. This time she’ll seduce Nate and break HIS heart.

Nate can’t believe Charlotte is returning to their hometown of Paradise. Fifteen years ago, he deliberately stomped on her heart so that she wouldn’t give up her dream of attending Julliard to stay with him in Paradise, where everyone looked down on her because of her mother’s actions. When Nate sees her again, he knows for sure that his love for her has never died. Things heat up quickly, but what will happen when Nate learns Charlotte’s reasons for returning to Paradise?

True love gets a second chance in the passionate WELCOME TO PARADISE. Nate and Charlotte are two people who are clearly in love with one another but have a lot of obstacles to overcome before they can reach “happily ever after.” Many of their trials are of their own making, but Elle Kennedy makes their mistakes understandable. Nate and Charlotte are honestly good people, but pain and miscommunication have a way of throwing even the best people off their stride. Ms. Kennedy had me caring about these two, which made WELCOME TO PARADISE impossible to put down.

WELCOME TO PARADISE is the first story in a series by the same title, and I can definitely say Ms. Kennedy has me impatient for more books. While the focus of WELCOME TO PARADISE is undoubtedly on Nate and Charlotte, Ms. Kennedy nevertheless brings the town of Paradise to life and introduces many characters that I am dying to know more about. I’m hoping Ms. Kennedy plans for this to be a long series because there are a plethora of men and women in Paradise that seem to be begging for a story.

Elle Kennedy’s stories are wildly addictive, and WELCOME TO PARADISE is no exception. It’s sexy, romantic, emotional and, ultimately, heartwarming. I adored WELCOME TO PARADISE, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT!


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

Review: Wanna Do Bad Things With You by Shelley Munro

Wanna Do Bad Things With You by Shelley Munro
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Male/Male Romance Wanna Do Bad Things With You Cover
ISBN: 9781419934704
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Ty Hamlin has been raised to do one thing; play rugby. Ty has got the talent to make it all the way to New Zealand’s national rugby team. Lately though, Ty’s lost his drive. And when openly gay rugby player Darcy Nichols joins the team, Ty begins to fear the ever-present eyes of the press. Because Ty has a secret, one not even his family or girlfriend knows – he’s gay, and he wants his new roommate with a passion that could cause him to lose focus and ruin his chances at moving up the ranks.

I admit, I snatched up WANNA DO BAD THINGS WITH YOU solely because I knew it involved rugby. To my absolute delight, Shelley Munro clearly knows the sport and brings the game to life in a way that will engage both rugby fans and those unfamiliar with the game. Rugby romances are a rarity, but I’ll forgo my excitement over that part of the story and focus instead on the two sexy heroes at the forefront of WANNA DO BAD THINGS WITH YOU. Ty and Darcy are dedicated rugby players who work their butts off and don’t ever expect to be handed anything. I admired their hard working natures and pragmatic attitude. What’s more, I respected Darcy, an openly gay player, for how he handles ignorance and homophobia. And while Ty may be the closeted one of the pair, he always stands up for Darcy. Of the two men, Ty is the one who changes the most over the course of the book, as he comes into his own. Watching his transformation was a true pleasure, and I cheered for him and Darcy to take their relationship from friends to lovers to something more permanent.

WANNA DO BAD THINGS WITH YOU is seduction, sex and sports all rolled into one entertaining story. I adored Ty and Darcy’s story, and I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Munro’s work.


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

Review: Jared by Cat Johnson

Jared by Cat Johnson
Series: Red, Hot & Blue, Book 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Jared Cover
ISBN: 9781609284510
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Jared Gordon likes his laid-back life in the small Southern town of Pigeon Hollow. Producer Mandy Morris is a threat to that. It seems the L.A. lady thinks that Pigeon Hollow is the perfect site for her new reality show, and she wants Jared to be a part of it. There’s no way Jared will put up with a camera zeroed in on his face – or any other portion of his anatomy. Yet, while Jared has no interest in learning about reality TV, he does want to get to know Mandy. Mandy doesn’t seem to want to mix business with pleasure, but Jared is sure his own brand of cowboy charm can convince her otherwise...

Sparks fly in the sizzling fourth installment of Cat Johnson’s RED, HOT & BLUE series. JARED is a wickedly entertaining story that will keep readers’ fans on high this summer. Jared and Mandy are both inherently likeable characters whose main obstacle is that they’re on opposite sides of the proverbial line in the sand regarding Mandy’s proposed reality show. But disagreements can’t stop the sexual tension that simmers between them. And when things heat up in JARED, they really heat up. Ms. Johnson sets the page ablaze when Mandy and Jared hit the sheets.

Even though JARED is the fourth story in the RED, HOT & BLUE series, it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first three stories – TREY, JACK and JIMMY – but Ms. Johnson has me intrigued enough that I want to give them a try. In addition, there’s a sexy-as-hell deputy sheriff in JARED that makes me hope Ms. Johnson has another RED, HOT & BLUE book coming soon.


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

Wednesday 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:
- Princess Charming (Legendary Lovers, Book 1) by Nicole Jordan (available 1/31/12)

All other new reviews:
- Hitched (Faerily Imperfect, Book 5) by Mia Watts and Katie Blu
- Kissing Sherlock Holmes by T. D. McKinney and Terry Wylis
- Through Traitor’s Gate by Melinda Barron
- Pride & Passion (The Brethren Guardians, Book 2) by Charlotte Featherstone
- Prior Sins by DJ Gross
- Vengeance Paid with Blood (The Drone Vampire Chronicles, Book 13) by Stephani Hecht
- Because of You by Cathy Maxwell
- Slow Ride (Fast Track, Book 5) by Erin McCarthy
- Blue Moon by Mackenzie McKade
- Mark of the Rose (The Tudor Vampire Chronicles, Book 3) by Kate Pearce
- No Shirts, No Shoes, No Spells (Mystic Café, Book 1) by Rose Pressey
- Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
- Velvet Memories (Club Velvet Ice, Book 4) by Violet Summers

Upcoming reviews:
- Dear Miss Darcy by Laura Briggs and Sarah Burgess
- Miracle of the Bellskis by Astrid Amara
- When a Scot Loves a Lady (Falcon Club, Book 1) by Katharine Ashe
- White Knight (Scandals, Book 2) by Mari Carr
- How to Dance with a Duke (Ugly Ducklings, Book 1) by Manda Collins
- I Want Candy by Susan Donovan
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Screw Santa (Who Needs Christmas?, Book 1) by Joyee Flynn
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
- Bachelor Number Four by Megan Hart
- Intimate Beings (The Being Trilogy, Book 2) by Jessica Inclan
- Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Blame It On Bath (The Truth About a Duke, Book 2) by Caroline Linden
- A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean
- Girl Next Door by Lyra Marlowe
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- The Saint (Highland Guard, Book 5) by Monica McCarty
- Beck and Call by Nicole Morgan
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Alien Sex 101 by Allie Ritch
- Celebrity in Death (In Death, Book 34) by J.D. Robb (coming February 1st)
- The Tattooed Duke (Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale
- Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor, Book 3) by Jill Shalvis
- A Little Wild by Kate St. James
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione


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

Last year I fell head over heels in love with the first two books in Larissa Ione's Lords of Deliverance series (Eternal Rider and Immortal Rider). The last book left me on the edge of my seat for Lethal Rider and I can't believe I still have months to wait O_O

Note: There are MAJOR plot spoilers in the book description below, so if you haven't yet read Immortal Rider (and you plan on reading it), I recommend NOT reading the book description for Lethal Rider.

Lethal Rider Cover Title: Lethal Rider
Series: Lords of Deliverance, Book 3
Author: Larissa Ione
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Larissa Ione Reading Order can be found here on Wit and Sin.

Book Description (from Larissa Ione's website):

They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Thanatos, the most deadly Horseman of the Apocalypse, has endured thousands of years of celibacy to prevent the end of days. But just one night with the wickedly sexy Aegis Guardian, Regan Cooper, shatters centuries of resolve. Yet their passion comes with a price. And Thanatos must face a truth more terrifying than an apocalypse - he's about to become a father.

Demon-slayer Regan Cooper never imagined herself the maternal type, but with the fate of the world hanging in the balance she had no choice but to seduce Thanatos and bear his child. Now, as the final battle draws closer and his rage at being betrayed is overshadowed by an undeniable passion for the mother of his child, Thanatos has a life-shattering realization: To save the world, he must sacrifice the only thing he's ever wanted - a family.

Review: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, Book 33
Publisher: Putnam
Genre: Futuristic/Mystery/Suspense New York to Dallas Cover
ISBN: 9780399157783
Blue Ribbon Rating: 5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
J.D. Robb Reading Order

In the mid-twenty-first century, NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is facing possibly her worst nemesis yet: paperwork. Just as Eve finds herself wishing for a murder that would spring her from paperwork hell, something worse comes along.

Isaac McQueen – a violent pedophile Eve took down not long after she became a police officer – has escaped prison. McQueen seems more than eager to get back to raping and torturing young girls, but he’s added an additional target to his list: Eve. McQueen’s sick cat-and-mouse game will take Eve and her husband Roarke from New York to Dallas, where the demons of Eve’s past will collide with the terrifying danger that taking down McQueen presents.

Enter the explosively exciting world of Eve and Roarke in NEW YORK TO DALLAS. Author J.D. Robb brings the full gamut of emotions to the table in NEW YORK TO DALLAS and readers are sure to experience every one. I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I smiled, I relaxed and curled up with the book, then I tensed and sat up straight as I eagerly turned the pages.

As one might expect from the lack of “In Death” in the title, J.D. Robb shakes things up in NEW YORK TO DALLAS. Taking Eve out of New York doesn’t just equal a location change. She’s in unfamiliar territory, doesn’t have her partner, her squad, her commander or the familiar resources she’s used to. It was interesting, for me, to see Eve in such a situation. What’s more, Dallas isn’t just any location. As fans of the series know, Dallas is where Eve’s life was irrevocably changed. I won’t provide any spoilers, but it should come as no surprise that the ghosts of Eve’s past – a past she’s thought she’d mostly come to terms with – are added to the strain of trying to capture McQueen. I loved the character growth this aspect of the story brought to Eve, even as it broke my heart. And it wasn’t only my heart breaking. Roarke, Eve’s husband, is with her every step of the way. Not only do we see more of his character development come about – and I won’t say why or how – but the progression their marriage makes in NEW YORK TO DALLAS is simply beautiful to watch. In many ways, Eve and Roarke make a unique couple. But one of the things I love most about them as husband and wife is the fact that they have the “everyday” little problems couples have, not just big ones; they have to cope with both in this book.

A host of new characters are seamlessly introduced in NEW YORK TO DALLAS. I grew to love them almost as much as I do Eve and Roarke’s friends. Two of McQueen’s victims, in particular, grabbed my attention – and Eve’s – and it’s not just their courage which captivated me, but what they show about Eve that makes me hope I’ll see them again.

There’s a reason Ms. Robb’s dynamic IN DEATH series is still wildly popular more than forty books and novellas in. The books may be set in the future, but the themes of love, friendship, loss, pain, survival, courage, hope, despair, good and evil are universal. Too, the strengths, flaws and quirks of Eve, Roarke and their friends makes the characters not only loveable, but relatable.

NEW YORK TO DALLAS is the thirty-third full-length novel in the IN DEATH series, but Ms. Robb weaves in enough background for readers new to the world of Eve and Roarke to follow along. Fans of the series will, however, be in for a special treat, as there are so many moments in NEW YORK TO DALLAS that show just how far Eve and Roarke have come.

Ms. Robb brings her A-game to NEW YORK TO DALLAS. Love, intelligence, hard work and twisted-as-hell evil are a brilliant combination in the hands of someone like Ms. Robb. She has the ability to make even a predictable surprise plot twist feel like a sucker punch to the gut. That ability to bring forth such strong emotions is why I’ve been a fan of J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts for more than half my lifetime and why I continue to look forward to each new book of hers. NEW YORK TO DALLAS is captivating from beginning to end, and I finished it eager to see where Ms. Robb takes Eve and Roarke next!


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