Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Energized by Mary Behre

Energized by Mary Behre
Series: Tidewater, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romantic Suspense with Paranormal Elements Energized Cover
ISBN: 9780425282007
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

She’s searching for a sign…
Hannah Halloran has always believed in her gift. The things she sees through her psychic touch have never led her wrong before. Not when they led her to an unforgettable night with a sexy marine at a bar. Not when she felt a need to leave her home and find the sisters she barely knows. And not now, when she is an unwilling witness to a brutal murder…

He’s ready to show her…
All Niall Graham wants is some peace. He’s recovering from the horrors of war, struggling to save his family’s restaurant, and desperate to forget Hannah, the beautiful woman who left him with memories of a mind-blowing night together and a bogus phone number. But a quiet life is hard to manage—especially when Hannah strides back into his restaurant with the news that a serial killer is on the loose and lurking closer than anyone could have guessed…

Energized is a deliciously addictive romantic suspense that will have Tidewater fans old and new reading late into the night. Hannah and Niall’s story is fast-paced and exciting, thanks to Mary Behre’s gift for blending heart-pounding action with a sweet, yet steamy romance.

In Energized, the youngest “crifted” Scott sister finds her way home to Tidewater. After the death of their mother, the three Scott sisters were separated. The youngest, Hannah, grew up with two loving adoptive parents, but she wants to connect with her sisters who she hasn’t seen since she was three. However, it isn’t her sisters Hannah runs into upon reaching Tidewater, but former Marine Niall Graham, the one-night stand Hannah hasn’t been able to get out of her mind. Sparks once again fly between the two, but Niall is determined to keep his emotional distance from Hannah, especially since she doesn’t plan to remain in Tidewater for long. Fate has other plans for the two, and when Hannah has a psychometric vision of a serial killer on the loose, Niall is drawn to protect her. In Energized, the sexual tension is palpable and it was pure pleasure to watch Niall and Hannah’s chemistry practically explode off the page. Though there’s quite a bit of push-pull in their burgeoning relationship, you can’t help but be drawn into the romance. Niall is gruff and not one to let his guard down, but he’s also got a good heart and a protective soul. Hannah brings light into his world, and her innate charm and spirit make her a compelling heroine. Separately and together, Niall and Hannah are fascinating and that’s what makes Energized such an appealing read.

Threading through Energized is the serial killer plot, and Ms. Behre keeps this storyline hopping. I loved watching the dark and twisted puzzle pieces fall into place, and the additional paranormal element of Hannah’s “crift” only served to make the suspense more compelling. Add in multiple family connections and entwining relationships with secondary characters and Energized is a truly “full” book, but one that also manages to be light on its feet.

Energized is the third full-length book in the Tidewater series, but it can be read as a standalone. Past Tidewater heroes and heroines play strong supporting roles, which was a treat, but I must admit the characters who intrigued me the most were the as-yet unmatched security specialists, Ryan and Ian. Here’s hoping Ms. Behre has books in store for them, for I’d love to return to Tidewater. While I wait, I’ll definitely be re-reading Energized, for Hannah and Niall are a compelling pair I’m excited to revisit.

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, July 29, 2015

Review: Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Love is Murder anthology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Harmonized by Mary Behre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: HIM by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

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

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

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

Book Description (from Elle Kennedy's website):

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

Book Description (from Amazon):

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday in Review

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library, Book 1
Publisher: NAL
Genre: YA Fantasy/Futuristic Ink and Bone Cover
ISBN: 9780451472397
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Ink and Bone is an exhilarating, brilliantly crafted read that will grab you by the throat and not let go. The world of Rachel Caine’s Great Library is both beautiful and sinister, a place where knowledge seems free but costs the ultimate price, where the shining example of mankind’s greatest achievements hides a rot that has spread for millennia.

In the world of Ink and Bone, the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. It now operates as its own powerful entity, separate and above nations, with a Serapeum in every major city. People are free to download books instantly, but they can never own them. The Library controls the dissemination of knowledge, stifling progress through deadly forms of censorship. Few truly see the rot within, but those who do are considered terrorists who must be eliminated.

Jess Brightwell comes from a family of black market book dealers. He loves learning, loves books, and when he’s sent to train to be in service to the library, he’s thrilled. Even knowing he’s meant to be a spy to help the family business doesn’t do much to derail his excitement. But from the first moment of his training, Jess can see that all is not right in Alexandria. I absolutely loved uncovering the secrets of the Library alongside Jess. A world where libraries are everywhere and knowledge is easily accessible sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But what if those in power from the start decided that humanity had to be guided, to be told what to learn. What if innovation was carefully monitored and things we take for granted – like the printing press – were destroyed before they could be shown to the world? Ms. Caine asks all these questions and more. Each step of Jess’s journey has surprises, and each new facet of the Library uncovered is intriguing. I hesitate to say too much about the plot of Ink and Bone because so much of what I loved about the story was watching the twists and turns of the book unfold. Suffice it to say that Ink and Bone never lacks for intense action coupled with emotional punches that will resonate with readers.

Though Ms. Caine’s gorgeous worldbuilding would make Ink and Bone well worth the read on its own, it’s the characters who are the heart of the story, the ones who take the tale from excellent to exceptional. Jess is a smart, cautious teenager who ages before his time right before our very eyes. His intelligence, inner strength, and caring make him a compelling hero, one who is easy to root for. Jess is our eyes and ears in the Library, but his fellow postulants are just as engaging. Ink and Bone is a culturally diverse novel, which adds richness and depth to the world and makes the characters all the more interesting and unique. Khalila’s incredible brilliance, Morgan’s quiet bravery, Thomas’s inventiveness, Glain’s straightforwardness, Guillame’s secrets, and even Dario’s tempestuousness drew me to them, keeping me on the edge of my seat as each of them faces danger alongside Jess. It’d be remiss of me not to mention the two adults who play the biggest roles in their lives. Niccolo Santi, a High Garda commander, is as loyal as they come and will risk anything for those he cares about. And then there’s Scholar Christopher Wolfe, the postulants’ teacher, a mysterious man who seems cold and calculating, but is no two-dimensional authority figure. Wolfe just might be my favorite character in the book; the more I learned about him, the more compelling the story became. The intertwining relationships of all these characters makes Ink and Bone shine. Where the Library is cold, hard reason, they are life, emotion, and hope.

Love, friendship, and tested loyalties complement the action in Ink and Bone, making it a truly well-rounded story. The only problem I had with the book is that I finished it wanting to know what happens next. The Library must change, but will Jess and his friends live long enough to see that happen? I can only hope so, for Ms. Caine definitely keeps you guessing. I absolutely loved Ink and Bone and I cannot wait to see where Ms. Caine takes our beloved heroes 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.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: Ask Me Why by Jodi Thomas, Marie Force, Virginia Kantra, and Shirley Jump

Ask Me Why by Jodi Thomas, Marie Force, Virginia Kantra, and Shirley Jump
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary Romance Ask Me Why Cover
ISBN: 9780515155389
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

From four contemporary romance stars, stories filled with first kisses, first dances, and happily-ever-afters…

Midnight Bet by Jodi Thomas: When cousins Rick and Lizzie Matheson of Harmony, Texas, wind up on the wrong side of an attempted shooting, they know they’re in deep. Still, the biggest danger is losing their hearts—Rick to an old flame and Lizzy to an old friend she’d never noticed before…

You’ll Be Mine by Marie Force: Will Abbott and Cameron Murphy are finally ready to tie the knot—as long as family, friends and a love-struck moose don’t get in the way.

Wrapped Around Your Finger by Shirley Jump: Maggie McBride is just one of the guys in the hard-knocks world of construction. Until she’s dared to ask Nick Patterson to a wedding, enticing her to knock down some walls—and risk falling in love.

Carolina Heart by Virginia Kantra: Determined to leave her wild past behind, Cynthie Lodge is forging a new life for herself and her daughters—one that’s man-free and drama-free. But when her high school crush shows up on Dare Island, he’s determined to make her break her rules…

“Midnight Bet” (Harmony, Book 8.5) by Jodi Thomas
When Cousins Rick and Lizzie Matheson are shot at on the way home from a family party, it’s only the beginning of the action. With two love stories, a series of attempted murders, and characters with some heavy issues, there’s a lot to unpack in “Midnight Bet.” Unfortunately, this is a story that would have been far better served as a novel. As a novella, each character only gets the surface treatment because there are simply too many players and too much happening for the format. I loved Lizzie, absolutely loved her. She’s the black sheep of the Matheson clan, and no one truly sees how much she has to give. No one but her mysterious neighbor, the local veterinarian. Doc McCall is a great match for Lizzie, but we didn’t get to see too much of his character; a pity, since author Jodi Thomas hinted at some interesting parts of his character that were never explored. As for Rick, his romance with Trace left something to be desired. Though they apparently are in love, we never learn much about her beyond her name. Add in a subplot about one of the Mathesons being targeted and you get a story that has a lot going on on the surface but not much depth. “Midnight Bet” was an interesting story, but one that was not nearly what it could have been had it been fleshed out as a novel.

“You’ll Be Mine” (Green Mountain, Book 4.5) by Marie Force
Return to All You Need is Love’s Cam and Will as the two try to wrangle their family and even a local animal or two. It’s Cam and Will’s wedding weekend, and even a reader (such as I) who has not read any Green Mountain books will get swept away by the romance and good cheer of “You’ll Be Mine.” Cam, Will, and their loved ones have sparkling personalities and are easy to adore. Add in some steamy love scenes, matrimonial sentiment, and a lovesick moose, and you’ve got a story that’ll charm the socks off of anyone. I haven’t yet read All You Need is Love, but after feeling like a guest at Cam and Will’s wedding, I’ll definitely go back and read about how they fell in love.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” (Southern Belle Book Club, Book 0.5) by Shirley Jump
Construction worker Maggie McBride is always seen as one of the guys, and she’s perfectly happy that way. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t wish for Nick Patterson to see her as more than just a coworker and friend. The gorgeous tomboy gets her wish when she takes a dare and asks Nick to be her date for a wedding. Little does she know that Nick has seen her as more than a friend for some time, only he wants to prove he’s not the playboy she believes him to be.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” is sweet and sparkling, just like it’s protagonists. Though the story appears to be a prequel to the Southern Belle Book Club series, I first read about Maggie and Nick in Shirley Jump’s The Sweetheart Secret and have been hoping they’d get a story of their own ever since. Nick and Maggie’s chemistry is electric and I love that Maggie and Nick saw the whole of each other. That being said, Ms. Jump doesn’t make things easy on them. Insecurities and fear are powerful obstacles on Maggie and Nick’s road to happily ever after, but I was rooting for them every step of the way.

“Carolina Heart” (Dare Island, Book 4.5) by Virginia Kantra
With a sexy geek determined to win over the girl of his dreams and a single mom working to make a better life for her daughters as the hero and heroine, it’s no surprise that “Carolina Heart” is a wonderful read. Cynthie and Max are endearing characters who are wonderfully human and possess a quiet strength you have to respect. Cynthie has heard all her life that she’s not smart, that she doesn’t have it in her to be successful. She’s been told this so often that she believes it, but with two growing daughters to care for, she’s doing her best to make something of herself. What readers – and Max – can easily see is that Cynthie is far more than she believes herself to be. What I loved best about “Carolina Heart” was watching Cynthie come into her own. However, that doesn’t mean the romance is lacking – Cynthie and Max are a couple you can root for. Their romance was simply lovely to watch unfold and seeing Max become part of Cynthie’s family was fantastic. This is the first Dare Island book I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be circling back to the beginning of the series.

Ask Me Why is a lovely collection of heartwarming romances. Though each story is part of a series, they all can be read as standalones. I loved getting tastes of Mses. Thomas, Force, Jump, and Kantra’s series and in every case I want to explore the worlds further. Ask Me Why is an excellent small town romance sampler with charming stories sure to make you smile.

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.