Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not Quite A Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Title:  Not Quite A Wife
Series:  Lost Lords #6
Author:  Mary Jo Putney
Published:  Aug 26/14 by Kensington Zebra
Length:  352pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads

Marry in haste, repent at leisure. James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent. . .except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.

Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl--until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest.

Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love. . ..

My Review:

This was a rather enchanting tale. Putney developed her unique and well put together storyline in a captivating manner. Readers are drawn to both the romance and the suspense of this novel. She paints a brilliant picture of London and Bristol in the 1800s, transporting readers back to that time.

Putney’s early character development is admirable. She brings them to life in a natural yet complete manner that allows you to really know them. The mix of past and present in the story also allows Putney to develop them in a very open fashion. I appreciated seeing the main characters take ownership for their actions. It was refreshing to see individuals admit where they’d failed, while attempting to be a better person. The supporting cast was also admirable. I quite the way that they brought the whole story together into the picture of complete lives, rather than simply a snapshot of a relationship.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was my first foray into Putney’s work but won’t be my last. I also appreciated the fact that it can be read as a standalone, even though it is well into the series.

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The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

Title:  The Homecoming
Series:  Thunder Point #6
Author:  Robyn Carr
Published:  August 26/14 by Harlequin Mira
Length:  400pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live ...

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

My Review:

Welcome back to Thunder Point. After reading this, I swear I’m moving here.

Carr brings this fantastic world to life in the most complete way. One can easily picture Thunder Point and its surroundings through her intricate yet natural descriptions. The storyline was captivating. Carr combines past heartbreak with present healing to take you on a very emotional ride. Throw in a dash of heat and some unexpected trouble and you have a winner. Carr also tackles some very difficult and touchy subjects that most of us try not to think about in our everyday lives. She does so with tact, but definitely packs a punch.

The history between the characters was heartbreaking. Seeing them go from what was & what might have been to what is was profoundly enriching. I could easily put myself in both the main characters’ shoes. Carr develops them in such a manner that you not only get to know them but can also identify with them. It brings this story to a whole new emotional level.

This is one of those novels that could be read as a standalone or as part of the series. Carr gives you all of the background on the main characters and tells their complete story in this novel. That said, for a deeper context and a more well-rounded view of Thunder Point and its inhabitants, I would suggest reading the series in order.

This is a heart-warming, heartbreaking, healing story. It’s the perfect tale to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and enjoy. I definitely did.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Kiss Me Dead by Dale Ibitz

Title:  Kiss Me Dead
Author:  Dale Ibitz
Published:  May 28/14 by Soul Mate Publishing
Length:  247pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  YA Paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One curse…
Christian, a nineteen-year-old reaper-human hybrid enslaved to the Other World to harvest souls, earns his freedom by making a bargain with the Goddess of Death. As part of the bargain, he’s been cursed with the kiss of death.

One kiss…
The only way Christian can break his curse is for an angel to kiss him. Willingly. He finds Brooke, an nineteen-year-old descendant of a Naphil whose destiny is to hunt rogue reapers. But she’s hiding, suffocating in a semi-agoraphobic cocoon since witnessing a reaper steal her brother’s soul.

Two destinies…
Christian has found the angel who can break his curse, and the seduction begins. To break her phobia’s hold, Brooke embraces her angelic role and makes it her mission to kill rogue reapers, trying to avenge her brother’s murder. Christian can break his curse by kissing Brooke dead ... but will she figure out his game and kill him first?

My Review:

This is a well written and entirely unique novel that had me coming back for more. It is exciting, imaginative, and emotional. Ibitz develops more than just her story and her characters. She develops the entire world around them until you can’t help but picture it. I found myself dreaming about this wildly captivating and extremely vivid world. By flipping between the past and the present Ibitz presents a rather complex yet very enjoyable read to her audience. Seeing the two parts of the story come together was very enlightening and a little chilling.

I found the history of watchers to be very intriguing. It not only added an element of mythology to the tale, but also helped to explain the scenarios that the main character had to deal with. Watching her try and balance what she sees, feels, and believes really lets you get to know her. Watching her come into her own and accept who she is was even more powerful.

This story was enchanting. I could barely put it down. I’d recommend it to those who enjoy something
different in the world of fantasy, that’s fun for all ages.

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And now, enter to win 1 of 5 ecopies of Kiss Me Dead by Dale Ibitz.
This giveaway is open internationally.
Individuals can enter online anytime between now and 11:59pm EST Sept 9/14.
Winners will have 72h to claim their prize or another will be drawn.


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Expose Me by Kate Hewitt

Title:  Expose Me
Series:  Fifth Avenue #3
Author:  Kate Hewitt
Published:  July 29/14 by Harlequin
Length:  272pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  netgalley
Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The third and final step to revenge in the fifth avenue trilogy. Alex has the power…

TEN YEARS AGO ONE DEVASTATING NIGHT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR AUSTIN, HUNTER AND ALEX. NOW THEY MUST EACH PLAY THEIR PART IN THE REVENGE AGAINST THE ONE MAN WHO RUINED IT ALL.

With ruthless determination, Alex Diaz has risen up from his deprived roots to become the head of a global media empire. But he has one last thing to achieve…avenge his friend by destroying the man responsible for her death, Jason Treffen. With stunning talk-show host Chelsea Maxwell about to interview Treffen live on TV, this is Alex’s chance.
He’ll use her show to exact a very public revenge—and seducing Chelsea, if needed, would certainly be no hardship. But he underestimates Chelsea and the attraction between them, and as their relationship deepens, Alex realizes that to annihilate Treffen could also shatter the life that Chelsea has built to protect herself….

My Review:

Hewitt develops the world surrounding her characters in exquisite detail. She does assume that readers have read the past instalments in the series but it is also a complete story in and of itself. When this series started it was fantastic, but now I’m finding it to be rather formulaic. Don’t get me wrong, this was an enjoyable read but very little new happens. I found that the overall plot of this series got lost in this novel. It did, however, reappear with a vengeance right at the end.

The main character is way too worried about what he wants while the female lead is obsessed with what she should and shouldn’t do. The male lead was rather aggravating at times. He seemed to think the world should just bend for him. Yes, he’s there for those that matter to him but sometimes he just made me want to ram my head into the wall. The secrecy is astounding.

As a whole this was a fluffy, enjoyable read with just enough to keep you on your toes. It did leave me wondering what happens to Treffen, but I’m sure we’ll find out eventually.

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Free Book Blitz ~*~ The Frost of Springtime by Rachel L. Demeter

FREE EBOOK PROMO BLITZ
Historical Romance
Date Published: February 14, 2014
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing, LLC

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To rescue her was to rescue his own soul.

On a cold Parisian night, Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre forges an everlasting bond with a broken girl during her darkest hour, rescuing her from a life of abuse and misery. Tormented by his own demons, he finds his first bit of solace in sheltering little Sofia Rose.

But when Aleksender is drawn away by the Franco-Prussian war, the seasons pass. And in that long year, Sofia matures into a stunning young woman—a dancer with an understanding of devotion and redemption far surpassing her age.
Alongside his closest friend, Aleksender returns home to find that “home” is gone, replaced by revolution, bloodshed, betrayal—and a love always out of reach. Scarred inside and out, he’s thrust into a world of sensuality and violence—a world in which all his hours have now grown dark, and where only Sofia might bring an end to the winter in his heart.

Inspired by the 1871 Paris Commune, The Frost of Springtime is a poignant tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love.



Excerpt:

Bête Noire’s walls shook as a gust of wind moaned in the distance. Soft and shameful sobs accompanied the ambiance with haunting precision. The child sank to the crutch of her knees—defeated, starved for food and warmth—as if she might escape the world in that way.

Moved by her humiliation far more than he dared admit, the dark stranger removed his bowler hat and crouched to her level. He replaced the hat after running an unsteady hand through his hairline. His chest lurched as the child adjusted the torn tatters of her clothing. Swishing off his frock coat, he draped the material over her body like it was a security blanket.

She grasped the wool with her good hand, plummeted onto her bottom, and pulled both legs against her chest. Her face sank from eye-line as she hid below a fortress of upright knees. Tiny and perfectly helpless, the abundance of thick folds seemed to devour her whole.


“Cold night,” he whispered.

“Thank you, m-monsieur.”

The man softened at the tragic sight that lay before him; icicles, which had too long clung to his chest, deftly thawed and melted away. He felt an incredible pain, a sincere compassion and aching sympathy, which he’d believed he no longer possessed. Despite his better judgment and a lifetime of indifference, his heart broke.

Damnation. He longed to turn his cheek in apathy and disgust. He yearned to feel numb to the girl’s pain and loneliness. He wanted to hate the child—to despise the child—for having invaded his sole sliver of peace: darkness.

Tucked within a foreign part of his heart, only emptiness had ever existed. A terrible and twisted emptiness. And for seventeen of his twenty-seven years, he’d filled that internal void with darkness.



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About the Author

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of ten years. She enjoys writing dark, edgy romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and examine the redeeming power of love.

Imagining stories and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mom would jot them down for her. She has a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether sculpting the protagonist or antagonist, she always ensures that every character is given a soul.

Rachel strives to intricately blend elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some common themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.


Buy Links
THE FROST OF SPRINGTIME KINDLE EDITION IS FREE ON AMAZON AUGUST 25-29!! 

GIVEAWAY
$5 Amazon Gift Card
5 signed “The Frost of Springtime” bookmarks
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Double Up by Vanessa North

Title:   Double Up
Author:  Vanessa North
Published:  Aug 25/14 by Riptide Publishing
Length:  139pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  m/m contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating:  
★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

My Review:

I absolutely love the way that this novel is written. North’s voice, tone, and style draw you completely in to the story. For a non-boarder like myself North approaches the topic perfectly. She gives me enough information that I can understand what’s going on, without it overshadowing the story at hand. It’s an exciting story that tackles life at its best and families at its worst.

The characters in this novel are perfectly priceless. Everyone is true to who they are, yet also understand how they are perceived by others. Getting to know them in this intimate and adventurous manner allows you to become part of their lives, and them part of yours. I appreciate how real they are, and how they’re dealing with real life issues, even if their lives seem perfect on the surface.

Overall, this was a brilliant novel that I couldn’t put down for a second. I’ll be rereading this (multiple times) in the future & would recommend it to others. This may have been my introduction to this author’s work, but I’ll definitely be looking for more in the future.

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Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayres

Title:  Irresistible Force
Series:  K-9 Rescue #1
Author:  D.D. Ayres
Published:  Aug 26/14 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Length:  320pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire…

For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.

Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?

My Review:

Ayres kept me on the edge of my seat through this one. The intensity of the story and of the characters’ emotions are at a high from the first chapter to the last. Ayres works a sense of urgency throughout, weaving all parts together into a seamlessly unforgettable whole. I thoroughly enjoyed the intricate yet exciting storyline laid bare for the audience.

The characters in this story were one of a kind. The male lead, a steamy alpha cop with a dog, was priceless. He didn’t necessarily have everything right, but he worked to get it that way. His loyalty to those he cared about was admirable without being over the top. I both admire and feel for the female lead. She’s had so many things go wrong for her, but no one believes her. Her sense of self preservation and her strength of character are defining, both to her character and the story as a whole. I love that Bogart is an actual character in this story. He’s not just a pet who causes trouble or gives comfort. He is an honest to goodness player in the story. Ayres also highlights the many strengths of working K-9s. It not only draws you to Bogart, but helps develop the story as a whole.

This novel has it all. It’s exciting, suspenseful, hot as sin (without being crass), and even romantic. I couldn’t put it down!

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