Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sweet On You by Laura Drake

Title:  Sweet On You
Series:  Sweet On A Cowboy #3
Author:  Laura Drake
Published:  August 26/14 by Forever
Length:  384pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A Love as Bold as a Texas Sunset . . .

Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people's pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief—except Katya doesn't know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn't expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title—and he doesn't need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

My Review:

Talk about a clash of two worlds! PBR and Army combine in an absolutely stunning manner. I absolutely loved the outlook on rodeo from someone who’s never been there. It was priceless and endearing. I killed myself laughing at some of the spot on explanations. I love the way that the author wraps up this story. I won’t say much so I don’t ruin it, but this approach works a million times better than an epilogue.

The characters definitely made this novel. Getting to know each of them individually, knowing where they came from and what they believe gives you an inside peek at their relationship. The main characters were extremely well developed without going overboard. I was absolutely floored by some of the traumas that they’d lived through. As realistic and possible as they were, they aren’t everyday incidents. All aspects of their personas come together to create three-dimensional individuals to carry the story forward.

This was a fantastic novel. It’s an easy entry point into the series and the world created by this author as well as a fantastic addition to an already established series. A parting word of advice, however. Don’t read the last few chapters in public. Spontaneously gasping and bursting into tears will get you odd looks.

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Archer of the Lake by Kelly R. Michaels

Title:  Archer Of The Lake
Series:  The Ariang'ron Chronicles #1
Author:  Kelly R. Michaels
Published:  May 23/14 by Little Own Publishing
Length:  288pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  fantasy
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Caelfel Gyssedlues is a young she-elf at seventy-six years old, the youngest known elf in her woodland city. A highly skilled archer, she was picked to join a certain hunting party to defend their forest from goblins. All is well until she chances upon Feraan, the most hated elf of Honey Water. She breaks royal decree by saving his life and finds herself constantly at odds with her people and a dangerous tracker. She is often forced to defend herself and her family simply because of her decision.

Meanwhile, she finds herself becoming closer to Feraan, perhaps even falling in love, but the longer she knows him, the more apparent it becomes that Feraan's enemies reach beyond their elvenkind. Soon those enemies come searching for him too, putting Caelfel's life in even more danger.

My Review:

What an intriguing start to this new series! Michaels mixes magic with mythical beings to create a captivating whole that will spark your imaginations. She brings forth all of the ‘must have’ elements of a fantasy tale while creating something completely unique. The fast paced forward flow of the story draws you forward while the many intertwining elements keep you hooked.

I quite enjoyed getting to know the characters that Michaels sets forth. Not only were there a variety of individual personalities to get to know but there was also more than one race to discover. I enjoyed the way that everyone and everything intertwined, but did so in a natural manner. It really made the story that much more.

As a whole this was a brilliant introduction to the fantasy world that Michaels has created. I would recommend it to those interested in the genre and will definitely be looking into the sequel.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

One Last Letter by Pema Donyo

Title:  One Last Letter
Author:  Pema Donyo
Published:  August 18/14 by Crimson Romance
Length:  171pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A romantic hardened by reality… 
Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.

A cowboy returning to what he left behind…
After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again.

When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.

Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?

My Review:

What a sweet novella. Donyo had my emotions rolled up in a bunch throughout. The subtle turmoil felt throughout the story really draws you to the plight of the characters. Social norms and preconceived notions add to the problems faced by the characters. Donyo takes this all and places it in the very real world of ranch life before combines and tractors take over. True romance and broken hearts take centre stage amongst the mended fences.

The characters that Donyo builds her story around are perfect for their part. She develops them in such a manner that you not only see how they came together, but how and why they made their decisions. The intertwining history between the two, as well as their separate pasts are plainly laid out bit by bit throughout the story.

As a whole this was a very sweet novel that nearly had me in tears more than once. I’d highly recommend it to those who enjoy historical romances that are all about the story, rather than the bedroom.

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Cover Reveal ~*~ The Donor part 3 by Nikki Rae

Check out the trippy cover for the third installment in author Nikki Rae's The Donor serial.  I'm intrigued.  How about you?

About the book:  
Casey may have not known what was in store for her when she met Jonah Black on, but now that she’s with him, life has become even more unexpected. She's discovered someone else in the picture and now she cannot figure out how she fits into the puzzle.
Convinced that he doesn’t need her, Casey is torn between giving up and doing whatever it takes to help her family. But Jonah, it turns out, needs her more than she knows.

Time is something neither of them have.Can they hold each other together as the clock runs out?

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Watch for the release of The Donor, part 3  on Sept 30/14
& my review on Oct 6/14.
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Damascus by Jad Ziade

Title:  Damascus
Author:  Jad Ziade
Published:  May 10/14 by The New Radio
Length:  218pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  historical fantasy
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Damascus is in revolt. The king's agents move to silence dissidents raising arms against the monarchy. Legions of a faraway empire surround the city as diplomats and spies arrive to infiltrate the king’s court. Two boys are caught in the middle and flee to the snowy mountains west—for their lives and for the promise of ancient, buried gold. Rich with adventure and deceit, with sorcery and murder, DAMASCUS is the first book of The Syrian Revolution.

My Review:

Being the first novel in a fantasy series, it’s quite understandable that it takes a bit to get into, what with the build-up of the world and characters and such. At the same time, I found that the descriptions and narrative took a bit of getting used to. I felt like the first chunk of the novel was the history of the place. The writing was a bit dense at times making it difficult to fully immerse myself in for the long haul. It definitely wasn’t a one sitting read. At the same time, it was enjoyable and intensely thought provoking. History, mythology, magic, and fantasy all combine throughout to create a unique whole.

Ziade’s in depth characters are definitely in the forefront of the story. There were times when they overtook the storyline as we got to know them, but in general they added a great deal to what was going on around them. Although the dialogue takes a bit of getting used to, it was consistent throughout, adding realism to the characters.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, and an intriguing introduction to Ziade’s series. By the end I was very intrigued with his unique outlook in this fantasy world.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Robert's Soul by Kris Austen Radcliffe

Title:  Robert's Soul
Series:  Quidell Brothers #3
Author:  Kris Austen Radcliffe
Published:  Sept 16/14 by Six Love Erotic Romance
Length:  200pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  ARC Review
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Robert Quidell understands the side effects of his bad boy behavior: No bonds. No commitment. No connection. He gives his goddesses one night of wish fulfillment and supernova sex. But he always wakes up alone.

Isolde Wellington understands the life of a photographer: She’s outside. Always moving. Always documenting the world. She creates brilliant, soul-melting photos. But she, too, always wakes up alone.

Graduate school promises Rob the opportunity to shed his bad boy reputation. For Isa, the opportunity to crash in her brother’s apartment offers a moment of stability.
They never expected to find each other.

But connection means sacrifice. Commitment-free lives offer ease—but no touch. No brilliantly fulfilled wishes. Will Rob and Isa fall into their old ways again, or will they fight for their souls’ desires?

My Review:

Radcliffe somehow seamlessly merges sass with eloquence in her storytelling. The story is intrinsically artistic while remaining entertaining and exciting. The heat simmering below the surface throughout this novel erupts at the end, causing an epically unexpected ending to this brilliant tale. Radcliffe combines the difficulties caused by our individual pasts with all the possibilities of the future to create an unforgettable tale of love & acceptance.

This is an intelligent story, written for adults by adults. And the characters are grownups too. They talk and (usually) act like intelligent, educated individuals. Rob is developed perfectly to a T. He is absolutely priceless. You can’t help but love him, even if he is the world’s biggest dork at times. Radcliffe really makes her characters’ body language come to life. You get to know them so well by the way they silently read each other.

This may just be my favourite Quidell story yet. Radcliffe tells a story that is emotional yet exciting, hot yet sassy. It’s the best of all worlds.

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On The Way To Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman

Title:  On The Way to Everywhere
Author:  Kirsten B. Feldman
Published:  September 8/14 by KBFeldman Books
Length:  184pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  YA Contemporary
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Though she’s nicknamed for the magical Harry Potter, six-foot, dreadlocked Harry Kavanaugh doesn’t find any wonder in her daily life at an exclusive girls’ school outside of Washington, DC. In fact she wants nothing more than to chuck her lot and enter the wilds of public school—too bad she didn’t reckon on a trip to the hospital, a runaway, and a renegade or three, which just might show her a different path to everywhere.

My Review:

Feldman brings coming of age to light in a new and snarky manner with this in your face novel. Her writing style really allows you to get down and personal with the main character. You begin to think like she does, which makes this story that much more potent. She tactfully brings a great many issues to light in a way that forces you to think about them and how the characters deal with them. This story catches your attention on so many different levels that it’s hard not to appreciate it.

The characters definitely carry this story forward into another realm of writing. Without fail, Feldman’s characters come to life in a remarkably realistic manner. Feldman develops each with unfailing detail, but does so without detracting from the plot of the story. You can’t help but forming a connection with these unique individuals.

As a whole this is a novel that I would definitely recommend to others. Feldman combines social commentary with real life characters in such a manner that you can’t help but get caught up in it. Throw in a side of teenage snark and you’ve got it made.

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