Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling, Book 13
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance Shield of Winter Cover
ISBN: 9780425264010
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

Shield of Winter is a mind-blowing, utterly brilliant book – exactly what you’d expect from powerhouse paranormal romance author Nalini Singh. This is not a book you want to start late at night, for Shield of Winter is richly compelling and there’s no way you’ll want to put it down.

Vasic is an Arrow and a Tk-V Psy whose abilities make him a valuable commodity to many. Precious few see him as more than a weapon, which just about broke my heart. He’s got blood on his hands and the weight of what he was made to do in the past is crushing him, though he believes he cannot feel. It takes Ivy Jane – a powerful empath – to reach him. Ivy’s a strong soul with a giving heart, but she was almost broken as a child thanks to the Silence Protocol. Her will to survive and her need to help others made her a truly excellent heroine, and the way she and Vasic connected was simply lovely. Their alternatingly romantic, sexy, heartbreaking, and joyful slide into love made me melt, and I was rooting for them to find a way to be together forever. Because while falling in love may be surprisingly easy, staying alive isn’t. Not only does Vasic have an experimental implant that’s slowly killing him, the world is in chaos with the fall of Silence.

Though Silence has slowly been fracturing throughout the Net over the course of the Psy-Changeling series, in the previous book, Heart of Obsidian, we see the official end of the Silence Protocol. The consequences of that decision have ripple effects all throughout the Net and in Shield of Winter we see the fallout. In addition, the Net is diseased and the only hope for saving the Psy race lies with the empaths, a designation most Psy have never even heard of. There’s blood, chaos, and danger aplenty in Shield of Winter, and Ms. Singh definitely keeps you guessing as to how things will work out. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling the book, so suffice it to say that readers are in for one hell of a ride.

Shield of Winter is the thirteenth full-length Psy-Changeling book, and though Ms. Singh does provide the necessary background information needed to enjoy the story, I don’t think it would be as impressive as it truly is if read as a standalone. The Psy-Changeling world is complex, and the foundation for the explosive change of events in Heart of Obsidian and Shield of Winter were layered in all throughout the first eleven books. Vasic and Ivy’s emotional, sensual romance aside, fans of the series should go wild for this book. Between the phenomenal worldbuilding and the strong supporting roles played by the Psy-Changeling “power players” (as I think of them) – Sasha, Lucas, Judd, Hawke, Kaleb, Sahara, and Aden – this is don’t miss for anyone who loves the series.

In a series filled with standout books, Shield of Winter shines. Nalini Singh never misses a beat and I loved every single page of this tightly-written, romantic adventure. The next Psy-Changeling book can’t come soon enough!

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

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

If you've been here before, you probably know I'm a huge Nora Roberts fan. I'm pretty much guaranteed to be on the edge of my seat for her next book, but in the case of Blood Magick I'm even more eager than normal to read it. Branna and Fin have stolen the show since the first book of this trilogy, and it's about time these two get their happily ever after :)

Blood Magick Cover Title: Blood Magick
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Book Description (from Amazon):

County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch.

Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…

She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.

Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Author Interview: Roxanne St. Claire

I fell head over heels in love with Roxanne St. Claire's world of Barefoot Bay a few books ago, which is one of the reasons I'm SO excited I was able to interview her here on Wit and Sin! Ms. St. Claire's latest release is Barefoot in White, the first book in her Barefoot Bay Brides trilogy. You can read my review of Barefoot in White here, but I can tell you right now that this is already one of my favorite books of the year :)

Now onto the good stuff - Q&A time with Roxanne St. Claire!

Q: What inspired you to write the Barefoot Brides series? Barefoot in White Cover
A: When I looked for pictures to help me imagine the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa that grew from nothing to a jewel on the gulf in the first four books, I kept finding images of destination weddings on the beach. The idea just grew organically -- of course they’d have on-site wedding planners, and who doesn’t love a bride book? I introduced them in that fourth book as secondary characters visiting the property, and couldn’t wait to dive into their stories.

Q: The Barefoot Brides trilogy marks your third series set in Barefoot Bay. Was it always your intention to return to Barefoot Bay after the initial quartet, or is there something about Barefoot Bay that keeps drawing you back?
A: I knew I couldn’t leave Barefoot Bay! I had only planned four books in the original series, but regret set in when I started writing BAREFOOT BY THE SEA, the last of the quartet. I don’t really remember the light bulb moment, but as the resort setting grew, it seemed like a natural thing to have weddings there...and that led to the idea of wedding planners as heroines of their own trilogy! I had those billionaires on the brain, though, so I released them first. And now there’s a minor league baseball team moving to the island.... I guess there is something magical about Barefoot Bay. I like to joke that there’s been more water sex, proposals, and now weddings on that beach than anywhere else in the world!

Barefoot in White Cover Q: Do you have any favorites of the characters you’ve written?
A: Of course some of the earliest characters are close to my heart. I seem to find a role for Lacey Walker, the heroine of the very first book and lead owner of the resort, in every story. I also have a soft spot for her daughter, who might have to get her own book some day. I still love Ian from the last Barefoot Bay book and I just wrote a scene with Charity, the obnoxious owner of the Super Min convenience store. I love ‘em all!

Q: What's one thing about being an author you wish someone had told you before you were first published?
A: IT’S SO HARD IT HURTS. And it doesn’t get easier. In fact, each book is more challenging than the one before. I’m sorry, but this isn’t a fun job -- it’s an incredible amount of blood, sweat, and tears but after every book is finished, the work is incredibly satisfying.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
A:There are so many aspects to the job that are “not writing,” sometimes it feels like I’m never not working! But when I escape, I love to spend time with my family and dogs, I read a lot, and since I live on the water, I get to kayak and enjoy the Florida sunshine. I volunteer at my church (in the nursery -- so much fun for a baby lover like me) and I kind of like to shop a little too much. Wait, is there such a thing?

Thanks for having me! If you or your readers have any other questions, fire away!

About Barefoot in White:
Barefoot in White Cover Destination wedding consultant Willow Ambrose has fought a battle with the scale for much of her life, but she has finally won the war. By putting her past behind her and cutting off all contact with anyone who knew her before and, of course, controlling everything she can, Willow has carved out a new body and a new life. But when she comes face to face with someone who left an indelible mark on her heart years before, all that threatens to crumble.

Navy SEAL Nick Hershey is on medical leave, doing a friend a favor as a stand in “man of honor” at a beach wedding. He might not be that interested in the nuptials, but the wedding planner catches his eye the minute they meet. When he realizes Willow is really a girl he knew in college — and a girl he unintentionally hurt to the core — he knows he has some making up to do.

Willow has learned how to beat every temptation...but Nick’s sweet as candy kisses just might be the one thing she can't resist. But the closer they get, the more the past threatens to tear them apart. Can overcome their history in order to have a forever future?

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

About Roxanne St. Claire:
Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels of suspense and romance, including three popular series (The Bullet Catchers, The Guardian Angelinos, and Barefoot Bay) and multiple stand alone books.

In addition to being a six-time nominee and one-time winner of the RITA Award, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense three times, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, the Award of Excellence, and many others. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: The Professional: Part 1 by Kresley Cole

The Professional: Part 1 by Kresley Cole
Series: The Game Maker, Book 1, Part 1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Erotica The Professional Part One Cover
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Audible | iTunes

He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken…
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true...

As a fan of Kresley Cole’s paranormal Immortals After Dark series, I was eager to see this talented author tackle contemporary erotica. The Professional: Part 1 shows promise, though ultimately it’s not as imaginative or sexy as I’d hoped given the author (to clarify: the scenes are more explicit, but to this reader they were less sexy than what can be found in other books of Ms. Cole’s). The beginning of The Professional: Part 1 falls victim to post-Fifty Shades of Grey erotica commonalities: the post-grad virgin BDSM novice, the suited, wealthy, mysterious Dom, the push-pull relationship because “he’s not for her,” and more. That being said, the story picked up about halfway through and stays strong until its abrupt end (it’s not really a cliffhanger so much as a chopping point for this serial).

What worked for me in The Professional: Part 1 was Natalie and Sevastyan’s developing chemistry. Natalie is a sass-master who gets under Sevastyan’s skin, but giving in to their desire for one another isn’t a simple matter given Sevastyan’s role in Natalie’s father’s organization. How Natalie and Sevastyan will handle this is something that remains to be seen, but I’m intrigued. A bigger question mark is Sevastyan himself. Much of what we learn about his personality is dependent on what Natalie overhears him muttering, so I hope more layers are peeled back as we go on.

On its own, The Professional: Part 1 is a bit of hit and miss for me. I’ve come to expect a certain degree of originality from Ms. Cole which wasn’t really there in this book. However, as this is only the first part of The Professional, I’ll keep reading in the hopes that the story continues to improve.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780373778751
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family's chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty.

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet’s fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet’s not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she’s ever tasted…

Teri Wilson blends old and new with a deft hand in this fabulous reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. I devoured Unmasking Juliet like one would a truffle created by either of the story’s chocolatier protagonists. From beginning to end this modern day story of chocolate wars and star-crossed lovers captivated and delighted me, and I cannot wait to re-read it.

As one might expect given the book’s inspiration, Juliet and Leo are a couple whose instant attraction occurs before they learn one another’s names. Their families have been feuding for decades, and like Romeo and Juliet, Leo and Juliet are torn between family loyalty and their own desires. Unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, however, Ms. Wilson’s hero and heroine are adults, ones who have both more freedom and less – they are fully capable of standing up for themselves, but can they do so knowing they could harm their families’ livelihoods?

I admit I was skeptical about a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet for adults, but Ms. Wilson made it work, thanks in large part to the likeability of her main characters. Juliet and Leo are utterly endearing characters who put their heart and soul into all that they do. Their romance is fun, sensual, and makes the pages of Unmasking Juliet fly by. Though old rivalries and an unexpected twist or two threaten to derail their journey to happily ever after, Leo and Juliet’s love story had just the right amount of sweetness to make Unmasking Juliet satisfying.

Romance, chocolate, wine, and lovely visuals of Napa Valley and Rome make Unmasking Juliet a decadent read. I adored Leo and Juliet’s book and I cannot wait to see what reimagined classic Teri Wilson delivers next!

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Show Me, Baby by Cherise Sinclair

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

I love Cherise Sinclair's books and the Masters of the Shadowlands series is a particular favorite of mine. I was SO excited when I saw that Rainie was getting a book. Like all of Ms. Sinclair's books, I expect Show Me, Baby to be incredibly hot and wickedly entertaining.

Show Me Baby Cover Title: Show Me, Baby
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 9
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Genre: BDSM Romance
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Cherise Sinclair Reading Order and Reviews

Book Description (from Goodreads):

After his last lover chose her career over him, Jake knows he wants a woman who will put him at the top of her priorities—as he would with her. One of the trainees, Rainie, has caught his attention. Lush body, a gift for living life to the fullest, always laughing or smiling. Yeah. She trips all his switches. But she’s never given him a second look and that’s damned annoying.

Rainie has been burned enough times that she’s not going to get serious about any man. Sure, the BDSM club trainees are supposed to be looking for a permanent Dom, but no harm, no foul—they don’t need to know she lied. Trainees get to be involved in everything—and with everyone. But there’s one she avoids. Master Jake is always frowning at her. No matter how gorgeous he is, she doesn’t need any disapproving Dom up in her business.

Unfortunately, her best friends are having a double wedding. Little hearts are floating in the air. Every breath is filled with romance. Rainie is doomed.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Barefoot in White by Roxanne St. Claire

Barefoot in White by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Barefoot Bay Brides, Book 1
Publisher: South Street Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Barefoot in White Cover
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Destination wedding consultant Willow Ambrose has fought a battle with the scale for much of her life, but she has finally won the war. By putting her past behind her and cutting off all contact with anyone who knew her before and, of course, controlling everything she can, Willow has carved out a new body and a new life. But when she comes face to face with someone who left an indelible mark on her heart years before, all that threatens to crumble.

Navy SEAL Nick Hershey is on medical leave, doing a friend a favor as a stand in “man of honor” at a beach wedding. He might not be that interested in the nuptials, but the wedding planner catches his eye the minute they meet. When he realizes Willow is really a girl he knew in college — and a girl he unintentionally hurt to the core — he knows he has some making up to do.

Willow has learned how to beat every temptation...but Nick’s sweet as candy kisses just might be the one thing she can't resist. But the closer they get, the more the past threatens to tear them apart. Can overcome their history in order to have a forever future?

Barefoot in White is a gorgeous, emotional story of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings. Roxanne St. Claire has written many wonderful books, but Nick and Willow’s is my absolute favorite of hers to date.

Willow is now on my list of all-time favorite heroines. She’s fought hard to shed not just weight but the identity she held for the first twenty-six years of her life. Willow is a strong, successful woman but that doesn’t mean she’s invulnerable. Her past haunts her whether she wants to acknowledge it or not, and my heart absolutely broke for her. I loved Willow, plain and simple, and I wanted her to find happiness both with herself and with Nick. Nick Hershey is as sweet as his name suggests. In college, he unwittingly hurt Willow, but there’s no doubt that he deserves a second chance with her. Nick’s sexy as hell, but it’s his good heart and his own scars that really drew me to him. He and Willow have amazing chemistry and their story had me avidly turning the (digital) pages of Barefoot in White. However, Ms. St. Claire doesn’t make things easy for them. Neither acknowledges it at first, but both Nick and Willow have some healing to do over the course of the story, and it was a wonderful process to watch, ups and downs and all.

Barefoot in White is the first book in the Barefoot Bay Brides trilogy, which is set in the larger world of Ms. St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay. A couple of past favorite Barefoot Bay characters have cameos, but aside from our hero and heroine the supporting cast is made up of mostly new faces. The standouts are, of course, Willow’s friends and partners, Gussie and Ari. The two of them cracked me up and I can’t wait for these candy-betting wedding planners to get books of their own.

It’s hard for me to be objective when reviewing Barefoot in White because so many things about this story touched me. I laughed, I teared up, and I smiled when Willow and Nick got the happily ever after they so deserved. I absolutely loved Barefoot in White and I cannot wait to read the next Barefoot Bay Brides story, Barefoot in Lace!

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Author Interview: Macy Beckett

I became an instant fan of Macy Beckett's after reading her first Dumont Bachelors book, Make You Mine. I'm so thrilled I got to interview Ms. Beckett and talk about this fantastic series. Make You Mine released yesterday, May 6th, and you can check out my review of it here.

If you want to skip to the cool stuff, scroll down to see my Q&A with Macy Beckett, learn a bit more about her newest release, and enter for a chance to win a copy of Make You Mine provided by Ms. Beckett's publisher, Signet! The giveaway is for U.S. readers, and to enter, simply comment on this post with your name and email address (so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win) by 11:59PM PST Friday, May 9th.

Make You Mine CoverQ: What inspired you to write the Dumont Bachelors series?
A: Years ago, my agent suggested that I set a new series in New Orleans, and when I flew down there for research, I fell in love with the area—especially the bayou. I knew when I returned home that the series would need to include at least three things: voodoo, riverboats, and really good food!

Q: There’s a dash of good old fashioned voodoo in MAKE YOU MINE. Will we be seeing more magic in the series?
A: Oh, absolutely. Devyn and Beau’s story is next in MAKE YOU REMEMBER (November 2014). Even though Devyn is a believer in the curse, that won’t make it any easier for her to break.

Q: How many books do you have planned for the Dumont Bachelors series? (I admit, this question may be a roundabout way of asking if Alex and Ella-Claire will get a book :)).
A: Haha! You don’t have to be sneaky about it. Feel free to ask me anything.

The future of the Dumont Bachelors series is somewhat dependent on sales. After all, publishing is a business, and I have to spend my (very limited) time writing the projects that are likely to generate the most income. But if there is another book, it will be Alex and Ella-Claire’s.

Macy BeckettQ: Do you have any favorites of the characters you've written?
A: I really love Allie Mauvais, the heroine in MAKE YOU MINE. She’s got such a big heart, and that shows through her interactions with others.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
A: Of course I’m a big reader, but on nights when I’m too mentally exhausted for a book, I enjoy watching Netflix in bed. There are so many great shows I’ve recently discovered, like “Orange is the New Black” and the “Roswell” series from the 90’s.

Make You Mine CoverAbout Make You Mine:
A girl like her comes around once a century…

For ninety-nine years, every man in the Dumont family has remained a perpetual bachelor. Residents of Cedar Bayou, Louisiana, whisper about a voodoo hex cast upon the family, sabotaging each man’s chance at marriage. In truth, the Dumont men have their own player personalities to blame, and Marc is no exception. As captain of his family’s riverboat, he’s broken hearts up and down the Mississippi. That is, until his high school crush strolls onboard...

Allie Mauvais rocks the boat when she fills in as pastry chef. She hasn’t seen Marc since senior year, when rumors flew that her great-great-grandmother was the one who cursed the Dumonts. After two weeks on the water, neither can deny the attraction that still burns between them. But to truly reach Marc’s heart, Allie must show him that the hex is all in his head and it’ll take more than her mouthwatering sweets to prove it. Will Allie’s love be enough to finally make Marc hers?

My Review | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

About Macy Beckett:
Macy BeckettInstead of a compulsive overeater, I call myself a compulsive over-reader, because my appetite for books is insatiable. While I enjoy all genres of fiction, I’m always drawn to romantic plots. There’s no substitute for a happy ending, and let’s face it: I’m in love with love!

A former military brat, I like to say I grew up everywhere. I graduated from high school in Munich (Go Mustangs!) and went on to earn a BA in English from Texas State University and a teaching license from East Carolina University. I taught middle school for nine years before “retiring” to write romance, and after residing in eleven different states, I finally abandoned my nomadic lifestyle.

Now I live in the heart of Ohio with my very patient husband—who kindly tolerates my neglect while I’m penning a new book—and our three spirited children, who aren’t so easily placated. My work is represented by the fabulous Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency.

Don't forget about the giveaway hosted by Signet! Simply leave a comment on this post (with your email address) before 11:59PM PST Friday, May 9th and you could win a copy of Make You Mine (U.S. readers only, sorry)!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review: Don't Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee

Don't Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee
Series: Sons of Kane, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled Covet
Genre: Paranormal Romance Don't Blackmail the Vampire Cover
ISBN: 9781622665624
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Rachel Davis will do anything to get her sister out of a bad relationship with her fiancé. Even if it involves a few fibs, a little breaking-and-entering, and blackmailing the fiancé’s potential boss, Charles, for his help. So what if the handsome Charles happens to be a vampire?

Charles Wright has found the perfect way to trap the man threatening his brother’s wife: cozy up to him, get invited along on the skiing trip, and then search for incriminating evidence. How much better that audacious but gorgeous Rachel is just as eager to nail the bastard. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing wrong with a little blackmail between two consenting adults. Especially when it’s time for Rachel to pay up.

Don’t Blackmail the Vampire is sexy good fun. I adored Tiffany Allee’s first Sons of Kane book, Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid, and I’m thrilled that the second story in the series lives up to the promise of the first.

Rachel is a woman on a mission. Her sister is engaged to the worst sort of man and refuses to see it. Trying to blackmail a vampire into helping her probably isn’t the wisest idea, but Rachel’s love for her sister makes her take risks, which I could appreciate. It’s impossible not to like Rachel, for she’s caring, loyal, and has a vulnerable side that makes her wary of trusting her heart to anyone. Luckily, Charles isn’t just any man. He’s a sexy-as-sin vampire with an easy charm and a deep-seated need to protect his family. He’s amused by Rachel’s blackmail attempt, but goes along with it in order to help her out while protecting his “sister,” Alice. As a couple, Rachel and Charles have the kind of sizzling chemistry that makes Don’t Blackmail the Vampire an engaging read.

As I previously mentioned, Don’t Blackmail the Vampire is the second Sons of Kane book. While it can be read as a standalone, this story is a true sequel to Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid. Rachel’s no-good-not-quite-brother-in-law is Alice’s ex and her sister is the woman Brent cheated on Alice with. Brent is the reason Charles meets Rachel, as someone seems to be threatening Alice and Brent is the chief suspect Charles is looking into. The good news for fans of Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid is that Noah and Alice appear and we get a very satisfying look into their lives now that they’ve gotten their happily ever after.

Don’t Blackmail the Vampire is funny, charming, and wholly entertaining. I adored Charles and Rachel and I can’t wait to read more Sons of Kane stories!

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Risky Game by Tracy Solheim

Risky Game by Tracy Solheim
Series: Out of Bounds, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance Risky Game Cover
ISBN: 9780425266656
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Baltimore Blaze tight end Brody Janik is a natural-born football star. At twenty-seven, his record-breaking athletic performance and his cover-boy good looks have turned him into a household name. But Brody’s hiding a major secret behind his charming public persona: a health condition that may cut his career short.

PhD candidate Shannon “Shay” Everett works multiple jobs to put herself through school—including an unpaid internship with the Blaze training department. Strapped for cash, Shay answers the call of an NFL gossip blogger to uncover personal details about the Blaze players. Sneaking into the locker room one night, she gets entangled in Brody’s secret...and swept up by his charm.

Brody isn’t sure what to make of the gawky girl with the whiskey eyes, especially when he discovers she was snooping. His first instinct is to turn her in as a snitch, but she could destroy him by sharing his secret. Instead, he decides to keep her close…perhaps closer than either of them originally intended...

Tracy Solheim proves that opposites attracting can be a whole lot of fun in Risky Game. Shay Everett and Brody Janik come from two different worlds, but when circumstances (aided by a bit of blackmail) force them to come together, things heat up. Shay is a hardworking heroine if you’ve ever seen one. She’s got a sharp mind and uses it to push herself to the limits trying to get her PhD while holding down multiple jobs so she can help out her family. When she learns Brody’s secret, she doesn’t turn on him for cash, but rather uses her education and training in order to help him. What she doesn’t expect is to fall for the privileged football star, but he’s oh-so hard to resist.

Ah, Brody. The handsome tight end charmed me with his easygoing nature in the previous Out of Bounds novel, Foolish Games. Some of the shine wears off of him in his own story (particularly when he lets his “inner caveman” out), but the good-natured golden boy I first adored is still there. In Risky Game he’s stressed and working hard to keep his medical condition a secret. Doing so is reckless, but Brody really doesn’t know who he is outside of football, and he doesn’t want to find out. Trusting Shay is something he doesn’t want to do – he’s been burned by women selling him out in the past – but he doesn’t have much of an option. His attraction to her makes things even more complicated, but Brody’s not one to back down from a challenge. A few over the top moments aside, their sometimes tumultuous romance was engaging and kept Risky Game moving at a quick clip.

Risky Game is the third Out of Bounds novel, but it can be read as a standalone. Shane, Carly, Will, and Julianne (of Game On and Foolish Games) do have significant supporting roles, which will surely please fans of the series. Ms. Solheim also introduces readers to Brody’s sister Bridgett, an endearing, tough-as-nails lawyer who hopefully has a story coming soon. There are some loose ends left dangling at the end of Risky Game, and I hope they’ll be tied up in future books.

Sports romances are becoming more plentiful, making it hard to stand out from the crowd, but Ms. Solheim shines in this area. Her knowledge of the game makes Risky Game a true sports romance, one where the action on and off the field comes alive and adds depth to the story. So please, Ms. Solheim, keep those Out of Bounds books coming!

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

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday in Review

Happy Star Wars Day - it’s update time again :)

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

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Make You Mine (Dumont Bachelors, Book 1) by Macy Beckett (available 5/6/14)
- It Happened One Wedding (FBI/US Attorney, Book 5) by Julie James (available 5/6/14)
- A Reason to Love (Snowberry Creek, Book 3) by Alexis Morgan (available 5/6/14)
- The Heir of the Castle by Scarlet Wilson (available 5/6/14)

All other new reviews:
- All Fired Up (DreamMakers, Book 1) by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy
- Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses, Book 7) by Eloisa James
- Thrown for a Curve (Perfect Fit, Book 2) by Sugar Jamison
- Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers, Book 3 / Paradise, Book 5) by Nicole Jordan
- Double Take by Leslie Kelly
- The Collector by Nora Roberts
- Seduction on the Sand (Billionaires of Barefoot Bay, Book 2) by Roxanne St. Claire
- Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson

Upcoming reviews:
- Rise of the Gryphon (Belador, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
- Don’t Blackmail the Vampire (Sons of Kane, Book 2) by Tiffany Allee
- Dangerous Seduction (Nemesis, Unlimited, Book 2) by Zoë Archer
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, Book 5) by Jennifer Ashley
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- Bolted (Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 2) by Meg Benjamin
- Straddling the Line (Play-by-Play, Book 8 ) by Jaci Burton
- The Professional: Part 1 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- Cowboy Waltz by Cameron Dane
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Scarlet Devices (Steam and Seduction, Book 2) by Delphine Dryden
- Gilded Lily (Steam and Seduction, Book 3) by Delphine Dryden
- 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
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- Beauty Bites (Biting Love, Book 6) by Mary Hughes
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe by Lauren Jameson
- Over Exposed (Salon Games, Book 3) by Stephanie Julian
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Since You’ve Been Gone (Welcome to Paradise, Book 4) by Elle Kennedy
- All of You (Between Breaths, Book 1) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- All Fired Up (Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2) by Kate Meader
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- Dare to Love (Dare to Love, Book 1) by Carly Phillips
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts
- Shadow Spell (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 2) by Nora Roberts
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott
- Then Came You (Animal Magnetism, Book 5) by Jill Shalvis
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, Book 12) by Nalini Singh
- Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, Book 13) by Nalini Singh
- Sully’s Sweet Salvation by Sierra Summers
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber
- Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: A Reason to Love by Alexis Morgan

A Reason to Love by Alexis Morgan
Series: Snowberry Creek, Book 3
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance A Reason to Love Cover
ISBN: 9780451417732
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

All roads lead home in Snowberry Creek...

After a devastating tour in Afghanistan, all Spencer Lang wants is for life to return to normal. But when he rides into his hometown on his Harley, he learns that his friends and family have tried to move past their heartbreak since he was reported killed-in-action—and the woman he loved is about to marry his best friend. Now, all he can do is pick up the pieces of his life.

Years ago Melanie Wolfe left town, with no intention of ever coming back. But when her father dies, she reluctantly returns home to salvage the family business. Reuniting with Spencer, her high school crush, complicates the already thorny situation, especially when she begins losing her heart to him all over again.

As Spencer and Melanie work to restore order to her family’s company, two damaged hearts face an unexpected new future that is filled with possibilities...and love.

A Reason to Love is a great mix of heartbreak and hope. Alexis Morgan has woven a tale of two people finding love and home after devastating losses in this third Snowberry Creek novel.

Melanie’s family has long been a major employer in Snowberry Creek, but she herself wanted to break free of the restraints her last name put on her. Now that her father has died, she finds herself back at home, trying to save the family business from ruin. I adored Melanie – she has a good heart and works herself to the bone to help others. Romance aside, I really liked that she found someone she could lean on in Spence. He’s a former soldier and POW who returns home only to find everyone thought he was dead. Spence has to cope with PTSD in addition to the hit that the life he had mapped out for himself no longer exists. His friends and comrades are now living in the house that was once his and his sergeant is marrying the woman Spence once planned to wed. It’s a lot to handle, and I appreciated that Ms. Morgan didn’t let Spence cope perfectly. He makes mistakes, hurts those who love him, and it grounds the story in reality, making Spence’s character arc that much more satisfying. Melanie is key to Spence wanting to start the healing process, and the way they fall in love as they work together is simply lovely. Both Melanie and Spence struggle to find their place in their new lives, but they do so and it was a joy to see them find what it is they wanted and needed in Snowberry Creek and with each other.

A Reason to Love is the third full-length book in the Snowberry Creek series, and having not read A Time for Home and More Than a Touch I can safely say new readers will have no problem enjoying Spence and Melanie’s story. In fact, not having an emotional attachment to Spence’s friends probably helped me see Spence’s side of things easier. That being said, I’ll definitely read Nick and Leif’s books and I’m hoping the Snowberry Creek series continues even though the three former soldiers have found happiness (cue my adoration of Liam the bartender ;)). All in all, I thought A Reason to Love was an enjoyable, heartwarming story and I’m looking forward to spending more time in Ms. Morgan’s Snowberry Creek.

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