Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Books of 2014

With 2015 fast approaching (Can you believe it?), it’s time to take a look back and pick out the best of the best. 2014 was a bit of an uneven year for me in terms of reading. I read 159 books, some of them fabulous…and some not so much. I rediscovered my love of contemporary romance, the subgenre that first hooked me on romance novels in general. I also tried 33 new (to me) authors, and found some new favorites (Jenn Bennett and Macy Beckett are among my new autobuy authors). And finally, I participated in my fifth A to Z Reading Challenge, a challenge I always enjoy.

I read a number of excellent books this year, but I did manage to narrow the list down so I could spotlight the best of the best that I read in 2014:

Wit and Sin Best Books of 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014
Top Re-Reads of 2014
Honorable Mentions

My Top Ten Books of 2014

Note: Not necessarily all published in 2014, but all were new-to-me reads
Also note: The books are alphabetized by title as I love them all equally

Barefoot in White Cover 1. Barefoot in White (Barefoot Bay Brides, Book 1) by Roxanne St. Claire
My Review | Buy Link

Bitter Spirits Cover 2. Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, Book 1) by Jenn Bennett
My Review | Buy Link

Etiquette and Espionage Cover 3. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, Book 1) by Gail Carriger
Buy Link

Festive in Death Cover 4. Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link

High Noon Cover 5. High Noon by Nora Roberts
Buy Link

 Hyperbole and a Half Cover 6. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
My Review | Buy Link

Make You Mine Cover 7. Make You Mine (Dumont Bachelors, Book 1) by Macy Beckett
My Review | Buy Link

A Marriage Most Convenient Cover 8. A Marriage Most Convenient by C.C. Galloway
My Review Coming Soon | Buy Link

Shield of Winter Cover 9. Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, Book 13) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link

Sin Undone Cover 10. Sin Undone (Demonica, Book 5) by Larissa Ione
Buy Link

My Top Re-Reads of 2014

Decadence Cover 1. Decadence (Emerald Valley, Book 1.5) by Riley Shane
Buy Link

Judgment in Death Cover 3. Judgment in Death (In Death, Book 11) by J.D. Robb
Buy Link

A Very Personal Trainer Cover 4. A Very Personal Trainer by Justine Elyot
My Review | Buy Link

Victorian Valentine Cover 7. Victorian Valentine by Riley Shane
Buy Link

Honorable Mentions

These books were also new-to-me reads in 2014 and they barely missed making my top ten list.

Alpha and Omega Cover 1. Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, Book 0.5) by Patricia Briggs
Buy Link

Azagoth Cover 2. Azagoth (Demonica, Book 10.5 / Lords of Deliverance, Book 5.5) by Larissa Ione
Buy Link

Midnight Action Cover 3. Midnight Action (Killer Instincts, Book 5) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link

Once in a Lifetime Cover 4. Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor, Book 9) by Jill Shalvis
My Review | Buy Link

One in a Million Cover 5. One in a Million (Lucky Harbor, Book 12) by Jill Shalvis
My Review | Buy Link

Rules for a Proper Governess Cover 6. Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley
My Review | Buy Link

Show Me Baby Cover 7. Show Me, Baby (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 9) by Cherise Sinclair
Buy Link

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances Cover 8. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
Buy Link

This is Who I Am Cover 9. This Is Who I Am (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 7) by Cherise Sinclair
My Review | Buy Link

Unleashing Mr Darcy Cover 10. Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
My Review | Buy Link

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: Destiny by Vivi Anna

Destiny by Vivi Anna
Series: The League of Illusion, Book 3
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Steampunk Romance Destiny Cover
ISBN: 9781426895593
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Carina Press

Five years ago, Sebastian Davenport tried to go back in time to reverse a fatal mistake, but found himself trapped in another reality. Unaware of the jeopardy facing his family and the League of Illusion, he gave up his magic for a quiet life as a blacksmith. Quiet, until a monstrous three-headed goddess of war called the morrigan comes to town...

Seeing Sebastian poised to charge the goddess, healer Drea Blairwood has no choice but to hit him over the head to stop him. Nursing the mysterious outsider back to health afterward is just an added benefit. She knows he's hiding something about his past, but has no idea what kind of adventure awaits them both.

Sebastian has no desire to risk the life of anyone else, let alone someone as enticing as Drea. But after militant elves kidnap Drea, Sebastian needs to find a way to reclaim his magic. The fate of the League--and the world--hangs in the balance.

Get ready for nonstop action in the final League of Illusion story! Destiny is an exciting, fast-paced read and a must for readers who enjoyed the first two League of Illusion books, Legacy and Prophecy.

Sebastian is a man who has been burdened by guilt for too long. He has essentially been stagnant since going through a portal five years ago. He’s a stranger in a strange land, working as a blacksmith and attempting not to use his magic. But with his brothers on the way and his family’s enemy hot on their trail, Sebastian needs to pull himself together and become the man he’s destined to be. Though necessity likely would have been the kick in the pants he needed, it’s Drea who is the catalyst for Sebastian’s change. Drea’s a healer with a big heart and a longing for something more. She’s wanted Sebastian for years, but it’s only now that their desire for one another comes to the fore. They swiftly fall in love even as danger and seemingly insurmountable obstacles threaten to tear them apart. While I adored Drea and Sebastian and thought they made a great couple, their romance felt rushed and a bit underdeveloped. With more time, this likeable couple could have been great, but they fell short of their potential.

The action is where Vivi Anna’s writing is at its best. The steampunk and fantasy elements introduced in the first two League of Illusion books are further streamlined in this story. There’s so much going on in Destiny that I wish I had more time to explore the world, for the magical beings and their beliefs Ms. Anna introduces had a lot of potential. One issue I did have with the story and world building was that the characters did sound a bit too modern a lot of the time, which pulled me out of the story. Still, Destiny is a solid conclusion to an imaginative trilogy. Sebastian and Drea’s story moves at a furious pace, sweeping readers away for a wonderful adventure.

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

Review: Sweet Harmony by LuAnne McLane

Sweet Harmony by LuAnn McLane
Series: Cricket Creek, Book 7
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance Sweet Harmony Cover
ISBN: 9780451470485
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When Cat Carson drops her record label and signs with an independent label based in Cricket Creek, it’s a huge upset in the music world. But the residents of Cricket Creek are thrilled to have a real country music star in their midst. Everyone except Jeff Greenfield, that is—a local rising star himself, who’s been asked to record a duet with the stunning beauty.

Jeff grew up on a farm, but his smooth, soulful country style is starting to get him noticed outside Cricket Creek. And while a duet with Cat Carson could send his career skyrocketing, he doesn’t want to lose touch with his roots—or lose his head. Because sparks are flying every time he and Cat hit the studio. And it’s more than a little distracting…

Sweet Harmony is a fresh, fun romance that’ll leave you smiling. Author LuAnn McLane’s seventh Cricket Creek novel is a refreshingly honest, joyful read.

Cat is bright, cheeky, and talented. You almost want to hate her because she’s so fabulous, but she’s just so nice that you can’t. I love heroes and heroines that make you wish they were real so you could have them as a friend, and Cat definitely fits the bill. She’s funny and klutzy and altogether endearing. She’s made it to the top as a pop country star, but now she wants to take her career in a different direction. There are those in the business who don’t think Cat’s music is “real country,” and Jeff is one of them. He’s a rising country music star in his own right, and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his integrity by going along with his label’s suggestion that he do a duet with Cat. I loved the push-pull between these two as Jeff learned to respect Cat’s talent and overcome his bias. Both musically and romantically, these two fit one another. It’s not a smooth road to happily ever after, as one might expect when business mixes with pleasure, but of course every bump in the road is worth it in the end. I will admit that I had a bit of trouble with some things near the end that I fear I can’t write about without spoiling the book. Suffice it to say that Cat makes some decisions that seemingly come out of nowhere and I would have liked it if there had been a bit more development toward the end instead of it feeling rushed.

All of the Cricket Creek books I’ve read have had a secondary romance in them, and Sweet Harmony is no exception. I absolutely love reunion romances and the one between separated spouses Pete and Maria was truly stunning. I adore all the secondary romances in the Cricket Creek series, but Pete and Maria’s may just be my favorite. Their love story added even more depth to the overarching plot.

I’m a fan of both modern and classic country, so the music industry plotline was every bit as interesting to me as the romances. That being said, even if you’re not into country music this book should delight. Simply put, Ms. McLane’s Cricket Creek series is lovely to read and Sweet Harmony is no exception. I adored Cat, Jeff, and their friends and I can’t wait to journey back to this sweet Southern town!

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

Review: Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis

Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Her Sexiest Mistake Cover
ISBN: 9781455529636
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Mia Appleby finally has the life she always wanted. She's escaped her trailer trash childhood and built a nice life for herself with a marketing job and a cute, little condo. But no matter how much baggage she's ditched from her past, she still hasn't managed to shake her greatest weakness-men. So when her new neighbor turns out to be single and oh-so-sexy, Mia's worried she's playing with fire . . .

Kevin McKnight can't get enough of his gorgeous neighbor, but after one amazing night, she's already showing him the door. Something tells him this is the way she handles most men. But Kevin is far from your average guy-and he's ready to prove it to Mia. When a blast from her past shakes up Mia's life in a major way, will she stick with her self-sufficient solo act . . . or take a chance leaning on Kevin's strong shoulders?

Her Sexiest Mistake is a story of flawed people with big hearts finding their way. Author Jill Shalvis never fails to entertain, and I devoured this sexy, heartwarming book in one sitting.

I absolutely adored Mia. She’s smart, relatable, and does her best even when she’s in over her head both at work and in her personal life. She makes mistakes, quite a few of them, in her quest to separate herself from her past. I appreciated her reasoning even when I knew she was heading in the wrong direction. And to be perfectly honest, I loved that she was flawed. It was wonderful watching her successful but empty life fill with joy over the course of Her Sexiest Mistake as Mia opens her heart not just to Kevin, but to her niece, Hope. And speaking of Kevin…man, he is definitely not a mistake. He is, however, sexy as hell, along with patient and kind. He’s not perfect, but he’s pretty close. Kevin’s most endearing quality – giving all of himself to help others – is also what threatens to break his heart. Both Mia and Kevin’s brother, Mike, try his patience over the course of the story, but both plotlines are ultimately rewarding. Falling in love definitely isn’t easy on either Mia or Kevin, but Ms. Shalvis makes every obstacle worth it in the end.

Her Sexiest Mistake is different from many of Ms. Shalvis’s newer books in a way I can’t quite explain. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace from one of my favorite authors. Mia, Kevin, and their loved ones are characters who will stay with you, and I can’t wait to read Her Sexiest Mistake again!

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.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Lust on the Rocks by Dianne Venetta

Lust on the Rocks by Dianne Venetta
Series: Gables Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: BloominThyme Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance Lust on the Rocks Cover
ISBN: 9780983246435
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Attorney Samantha Rawlings knows that winning her current case will be the thing that gets her the coveted promotion to partner. But when her boss asks that she bring hotshot young lawyer Victor Marin in on the case, Sam is thrown for a loop. Vic is distracting…in more ways than one. His sex appeal sends Sam reeling, and his almost single-minded focus on their current case makes Sam question his motives. It looks like Vic has a personal vendetta against the defendant. What will happen when Sam finds out that – when it comes to this case – appearances aren’t deceiving?

A sensual, career-minded lawyer meets her match in her sexy, vengeance-driven co-worker in the aptly-titled LUST ON THE ROCKS. Author Dianne Venetta wasn’t afraid to let her hero and heroine butt heads – on more than one front – and the sparks that flew as a result brought life to LUST ON THE ROCKS. I enjoyed watching Sam and Vic argue and compromise, push and defend, give and take. They’re so similar and yet so different in character that I felt I got to know them as they worked out their differences. I liked that Ms. Venetta really let me get to know Sam and Vic, both their strengths and their flaws; that stayed with me even more than the spicy love scenes of LUST ON THE ROCKS.

Though Sam, Vic and their current case is at the center of LUST ON THE ROCKS, there is a significant subplot involving Sam’s pregnant college-aged sister. Again, I appreciated the fact that Ms. Venetta had her characters examine all sides of a problem, but in the pro-choice, pro-life debate contained in LUST ON THE ROCKS, the pro-life language used got a bit heavy-handed for my personal comfort. Given that this is a sensitive subject for many readers, I felt like this needed to be mentioned.

LUST ON THE ROCKS has all the sultriness of its Florida setting. Readers looking for a sensual read with strong-willed, three-dimensional characters will undoubtedly enjoy LUST ON THE ROCKS.

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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: Revenant by Larissa Ione

Revenant Blog Tour

I love, love, LOVE Larissa Ione's Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. Every book is dark, sexy, and action-packed. What's not to love? Revenant is no exception - Rev and Blaspheme were fantastic characters, and the supporting cast was out-of-this-world awesome (I might have even jumped up and down a bit whenever my favorite character of the series, Harvester, showed up ;)).

You can read my review of Revenant here, then scroll down on this page for an excerpt from Revenant and a giveaway from Ms. Ione's publisher, Forever!

About Revenant:

Revenant CoverHELL HATH NO FURY…
For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme-a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation…or destruction.

Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her…

My Review | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo | BAM

Excerpt from Revenant

Since the moment Revenant bumped into Blaspheme at the hospital a few weeks ago, he’d been obsessed, and now, as her long legs ate up the asphalt as she walked toward him, he imagined them wrapped around his waist as he pounded into her. The closer she came, the harder his body got.

“Blaspheme.” He stepped out from between two black ambulances, blocking her path.

She jumped, a startled gasp escaping full crimson lips made to propel a male to ecstasy. “Revenant.” Her gaze darted to the hospital doors, and he got the impression she was plotting her escape route. How cute that she thought she could get away from him. “What are you doing lurking in the parking lot?”

Lurking? Well, some might call it that, he supposed. “I was on my way to see you.”

She smiled sweetly. “Well, you’ve seen me. Buh-bye.” Pivoting, her blond ponytail bouncing, she headed in the opposite direction.

“Come home with me.”

“Wow.” She turned and crossed her arms over her chest, which only drew his attention to her rack. Niiice. “You get right to the point.”

He shrugged. “Saves time.”

“Were you planning to wine and dine me at least? You know, before the sex.”

“No. Just sex.” Lots and lots of sex.

He could already imagine her husky voice deepening in the throes of passion.

“Oh,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “You’re charming, aren’t you?”

Not once in his five thousand years had anyone ever called him charming. But even uttered with sarcasm, it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to him.

“Don’t do that,” he growled.

“Do what?” She stared at him like he was a loon.

“Never mind.” Dying to touch her, he held out his hand. “You’ll love my play room.”

She wheeled away like he was offering her the plague instead of his hand. “Go to hell, asshole. I don’t date fallen angels.”

“Good news, then, because it’s not a date.” And he wasn’t a fallen angel.

“Right. Well, I don’t fuck fallen angels either.” She made a shooing motion with her hand. “Go away.”

She was rejecting him? No one rejected him. No one.

She started to take off again, and he blinked, confused. This wasn’t right. He had his sights set on her, and she was supposed to surrender. This was something new. Something…titillating.

He moved in slowly, matching her step for step as she backed up.

“What are you doing?” She swallowed as she bumped up against a massive support beam.

“I’m going to show you why you need to come home with me.” He planted both palms on the beam on either side of her head and leaned in until his lips brushed the tender skin of her ear. “You won’t regret it.”

“I already told you. I don’t fuck fallen angels.”

“So you said,” he murmured. “Do you kiss them?”

“Ah…no, I—“

He didn’t give her the chance to finish her sentence. Strawberry gloss coated his lips as he kissed her, and he swore he’d never liked fruit as much as he did right now.

Her hands came up to grip his biceps, tugging him closer as she deepened the kiss. “You’re good,” she whispered against his mouth.

“I know,” he whispered back.

About Larissa Ione:

Larissa IoneA former meteorologist and EMT, Air Force veteran Larissa Ione now gets her daily dose of excitement from vampires, werewolves, demons, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She lives in wintery Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat, and her hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Where to find Larissa Ione on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Enter here to win copies of the Lords of Deliverance series (Eternal Rider, Immortal Rider, Lethal Rider, Rogue Rider, Reaver, and Revenant)!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday in Review

It’s update time again :)

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

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Revenant (Demonica, Book 11/Lords of Deliverance, Book 6) by Larissa Ione (available 12/16/14)

All other new reviews:
- Scandal and the Duchess (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Merry Christmas, Baby (Lucky Harbor, Book 12.5) by Jill Shalvis

Upcoming reviews:
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, Book 7) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Beauty Bites (Biting Love, Book 6) by Mary Hughes
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke’s Men, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If the Viscount Falls (The Duke’s Men, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
- The Sweetheart Secret (Sweetheart Sisters, Book 3) by Shirley Jump
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Sweet Harmony (Cricket Creek, Book 7) by LuAnn McLane
- 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
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott
- Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter, Book 7) by Nalini Singh
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Revenant by Larissa Ione

Revenant by Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica, Book 11/Lords of Deliverance, Book 6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance Revenant Cover
Release Date: December 16, 2014
ISBN: 9781455526987
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Larissa Ione Reading Order

For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme-a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation…or destruction.

Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her…

Revenant is dark, sexy, and utterly thrilling. The nonstop action keeps you on the edge of your seat while the love story is one that will ultimately make you sigh. Best of all, author Larissa Ione keeps you guessing as to what Revenant, Blaspheme, their enemies, and their allies will do next. If there’s one thing I love, it’s that feeling of not knowing how in the heck our protagonists will manage to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles while at the same time trusting that the author will provide a fantastic payoff. Revenant was so engrossing that only the knowledge that I truly had to be mentally present at work the next day allowed me to put the book down.

Revenant is a Shadow Angel, one of the most powerful beings in Heaven or Hell. He’s also extremely angry and bitter, having spent years upon years being tortured and forced to do Satan’s bidding, while his twin, Reaver, was raised in Heaven and given every opportunity to fix his mistakes. Those who know Reaver’s story are aware that things aren’t that black and white – not by a long shot – but Ms. Ione makes Rev’s viewpoint easy to understand, something that’s important since he does lash out a lot at beloved characters. There’s something fascinating about Rev; he’s badass to the extreme and can be pushy as hell, but there’s true goodness in him as well. I loved peeling back the layers to his character. As for Blaspheme, she’s a healer and a truly lovable character who is easy to become attached to. She’s always looking over her shoulder, afraid to trust anyone, but in Revenant we see her open up and the results are fantastic. On the surface, Blas and Rev seem like an odd pairing, but they fit one another like lock and key, and it was highly entertaining watching them spar and then fall in love.

The romance between Blaspheme and Rev is woven seamlessly into the bigger picture, namely Satan’s plan to destroy Heaven. This is where the book’s heart-pounding action takes place, and man, I loved every second of it. There’s not much I can say about this aspect of this book without spoiling the story, so I’ll leave it by saying this is what readers have been waiting to delve into. I will say that the wrap-up felt a bit rushed toward the end, but I still loved the story from first page to last.

Revenant is the eleventh full-length book in the combined Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and you should definitely be familiar with the world in order to fully enjoy this story. I highly recommend making sure you’ve read Reaver before starting Revenant, as events in this book have their beginnings in the previous one. Almost all the major players in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series are back, some just for cameos that’ll make you smile, while others are major secondary characters. Fans of the series are in for a real treat whenever their favorite angels and demons share the page with Blas and Rev.

Larissa Ione excels at bringing dark and dangerous worlds to life. Her books are always wildly addictive and wonderfully unique, and Revenant is no exception. Don’t miss this one!

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, December 7, 2014

Review: Scandal and the Duchess by Jennifer Ashley

Scandal and the Duchess by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6.5
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Historical Romance Scandal and the Duchess Cover
ISBN: 9781101615935
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jennifer Ashley Reading Order

Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It's never her fault, but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow's portion, now contested by his son, who kicks Rose out of the estate's dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.

Rose does not need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her son-in-law more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride--a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. He comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists, but Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

Scandal and the Duchess is bright and bubbly like good champagne. Jennifer Ashley has delivered a fast-paced tale that is wonderfully entertaining, thanks to her two irresistibly charming protagonists, Rose and Steven.

Steven is a soldier with an easy smile that hides regret. Rose is a kind-hearted young widow who’s down on her luck thanks to a bitter, grasping stepson. Pursued by reporters and with no place to go, Rose is definitely in need of a hero. A chance meeting has Steven practically falling into her lap, and the handsome Scotsman is eager to jump into the role of knight in slightly tarnished armor. Their whirlwind love story requires a touch of suspending disbelief, but both of them are so genuinely good and exactly the kind of people you’d love to be friends with that there’s no way you could not root for their romance. Though the obstacles they face are overcome fairly easily thanks to Steven’s family (and beloved series scene-stealer Ian Mackenzie in particular), I was still glued to my seat as I read Scandal and the Duchess.

Ms. Ashley’s Mackenzies & McBrides stories never fail to entertain, and Scandal and the Duchess is no exception. Rose and Steven’s story is sure to sweep you away for a few hours and I dare you not to smile as these two endearing characters find happily ever after.

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, December 3, 2014

Review: Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox

Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox
Series: Alaskan Nights, Book 1
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance Baby Its Cold Outside Cover
ISBN: 9780451235213
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Addison Fox Reading Order

When an inheritance mess leaves her best friend, Grier, stressed out and frantic, Sloan McKinley does what any best friend would do; she hops on a plane to Alaska to help Grier out. As soon as she arrives, Sloan can see that Grier needs all the help she can get to win the townspeople of Indigo over. Luckily for Grier, Sloan knows how to turn on the charm.

But it’s Sloan herself who finds herself enchanted, with the people of Indigo…and sexy lawyer Walker Montgomery. What’s more, Sloan happens to have arrived right before an annual contest hosted by three of the town’s matriarchs; an event where bachelorettes from out of state compete for the town’s eligible bachelors. The grandmothers are determined to get their grandsons married off – and one of those grandsons is Walker. Sloan’s entertained by the idea of the competition, but the longer she stays in Indigo, the more she begins to wonder if a certain bachelor might just be worth fighting for. The question is, does Walker want to be caught?

Love is in the air in the sprightly BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE. Author Addison Fox charmed the heck out of me with her first ALASKAN NIGHTS novel.

Any woman who’s faced familial hints/pressure about marriage is sure to identify with Sloan. She’s tired, exasperated and yes, lonely. Sloan’s also got a heart as big as Alaska, so when her best friend calls, needing her support, there’s no question that Sloan will drop everything and fly to Alaska. Sloan’s loyalty, generosity and friendliness made her an incredibly appealing heroine. It would take an equally appealing hero to please this reader, and Ms. Fox definitely delivered with Walker. Walker’s a hero who clearly has a lot of love to give – he just doesn’t quite see it. Watching his parents’ marriage dissolve left its mark on him, and Walker’s cynical about commitment. Ms. Fox did a great job of making Walker sympathetic, which is a blessing, as there are times I – and those that love him – definitely wanted to shake him for not seeing the possibilities for him and Sloan.

While Sloan and Walker are at the center of BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the heart of the book is the town – and townspeople – of Indigo itself. Readers are treated to multiple points of view, though the narrative never feels crowded. I felt like I was in Indigo, getting to know the people who mean so much to Walker and who come to mean the world to Sloan. The only downside of this is that I finished BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE wanting the next ALASKAN NIGHTS novel. Ms. Fox has left plenty of teasers for future books; and I cannot wait to return to the wonderful town of Indigo, Alaska.

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

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