Saturday, December 20, 2014

Seducing the Dragon part 3 by Jessie Donovan

Title:  Seducing the Dragon part 3
Series:  Stonefire Dragons #7
Author:  Jessie Donovan
Published:  December 15/14
Length:  67pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

While Evie attempts to behave in the manner of a clan leader's mate during the special dinner in Finn's honor, news of another attack ruins the evening. Now Bram and Evie must work together to not only stop the dragon hunters from hurting anyone else, but to also control Bram's dragon. Without his leadership, the clan will be doomed.

My Review:

I have loved the serials in this series up until now, but this instalment blows them all out of the water. Donovan combines larger than life descriptions with an unforgettable storyline to create something that you won’t be able to put down. The world that Donovan has been creating for us is really come together in this one. The different elements of the story and of this fantastically magical world are really starting to combine into an intricate whole. This action packed instalment kept me on the edge of my seat.

I love the contrast between Bram’s human and dragon halves. It brings what being a dragon means out into the forefront of the story. His fight with himself and the assorted approaches that we see not only develops him as an individual or dragon-shifters as a group, but it also adds greatly to the plot. I also felt for Evie in this instalment. She’s walking such a fine line, especially now that emotions are on the line, as well as lives. I enjoyed how these two have come together as a cohesive couple, working towards the same goal, even if they have a few snafus along the way.

This story may be short, but it definitely packs a punch. It is something that all lovers of paranormal romance need to read. That said, the series does need to be read in order, & if you don’t like cliffhangers, I’d suggest waiting for part 4 to be released before starting. I know I can’t wait for it after that remarkable ending.


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His Mistletoe Bride by Cara Colter

Title:  His Mistletoe Bride
Author:  Cara Colter
Published:  December 1/08 by Harlequin
Length:  182pgs
Format:   paperback
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  bought
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Police officer Brody Taggert has his reasons for hating Christmas. But Lila Grainger's arrival in Snow Mountain tilts his carefully balanced world sideways.When they are snowbound in a log cabin, beautiful and vibrant Lila begins to break down the armor around Brody's heart...but the glimmer of sadness in her eyes makes Brody want to rescue her right back.

As Lila and Brody help heal each other's hearts, they realize they don't ever want to leave their snowbound shelter....

My Review:

This novel is festive and buoyant, packed full of the holiday spirit. She nails both the interior and exterior charms of the season. It’s also emotionally hard hitting yet still a fun and quick read. The author makes you laugh, as well as making you cry the good sort of tears. Colter’s picturesque descriptions bring her novel to life in a realistic manner.

I love the way that Colter develops her characters. She doesn’t pull any punches at all, simply letting them be themselves. I really enjoyed getting to know both of the main characters. Their histories are quite revealing, and who they are today is just remarkable.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, light Christmas novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a quick yet very enjoyable holiday read.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Drive Me Sane by Dena Rogers

Title:  Drive Me Sane
Author:  Dena Rogers
Published:  July 28/14 by Crimson Romance
Length:  178pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Unable to perform her duties in the army after a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan that leaves her with scars no one can see, Sera Cavins returns to her hometown hoping that some time alone will help her find her way back to being the girl everyone once knew. That is, until she finds herself sharing a house with the man who left her heartbroken merely weeks before her deployment.

Tyler Creech made it to Nashville and even earned a number one hit, but being a rising country music artist isn’t as easy as he thought. He’s back in Cobb City, Kentucky, looking for something to ease the stress of his next release. He discovers it standing on his mom’s and stepdad’s lawn when Sera, the girl he once planned to marry, shows up.

They’d been perfect for each other, until the strain of Sera’s deployment and pressure of Tyler’s career drove them apart. Now with neither of their lives going the way they anticipated, both are fighting different yet similar demons.

But change is good, and sometimes going a little crazy is too. Sometimes it’s what keeps you sane.


About the author:

Dena grew up in Central Texas, but has lived in the foothills of Kentucky, with her husband and two sons, long enough to consider it home. She enjoys taking road trips with her family and watching her husband race at one of the local dirt tracks. When she's not doing one of those things, you can find her with her nose in a book (and 2 or 3 in her purse). She loves writing small-town stories of happily ever after and has an affinity for all genres of music, but is partial to her southern roots.

Facebook ~ Twitter: @DenaRogers_ ~ Blog ~ Goodreads

My Review:

This novel, like any good relationship, it’s the little details that matter. They’re the ones that tug at your heart. Rogers portrays them and transmits them to her readers beautifully. You’ll be reading a very touching scene, and a little something that catches your attention will make it that much better. I found myself picturing the surroundings that Rogers creates without realising that she’d stopped to describe them. I was also completely enmeshed in the unique and stunningly captivating storyline. I couldn’t wait to get to the end of this one, yet at the same time I never wanted it to end.

The main characters in this novel were explosive together. I absolutely loved it. It was impossible to ignore the chemistry and love between them. I felt like I was on the same emotional rollercoaster as these two. I also got to know them quite well as individuals. As they rehashed their past, to come to an understanding readers get to learn what makes these two tick. The interactions between these two were fantastically realistic. I appreciated the subtle role reversals from the norm of the genre, giving it that extra hit of originality.

This novel definitely left me with happy tears at the end. It is full of hope and promise. It was fantastic.


And now....
Be sure to enter this fantastic giveaway with Dena Rogers & Drive Me Sane!

Grand prize:
1 signed, print copy of Drive Me Sane by Dena Rogers

Runner up:
1 digital copy of Drive Me Sane by Dena Rogers


Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm Dec 31/14.
Winners will be drawn Jan 1/15 & will be our first winners of the New Year.
Winners will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.
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Holiday Wedding by Robyn Neeley

Title:  Holiday Wedding
Author:  Robyn Neeley
Published:  December 8/14 by Crimson Romance
Length:  204pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Going home for Christmas this winter just might turn Drew Cannon into a real Grinch. When his college sweetheart, Lauren Kincaid, broke off their engagement a year ago, Drew retreated to Tokyo to run the Asia-Pacific division of the family’s toy company and lick his wounds. If that weren’t enough, his attempt at a high-profile holiday doll for the company was a bust. Now he’s headed back to New York City to spend the holidays with his lovestruck dad, his pissed-off twin brother, and the ex who broke his heart.

Lauren isn’t exactly keen to spend Christmas with her former flame, either. But as JDL Toys’s marketing director, she’s forced to deal with their doll problem, holiday or not. Things take a turn for the worse when she and Drew are tasked with planning surprise nuptials for his brother.

With all their focus on happily ever after, Lauren and Drew soon discover things might not be so settled between them after all. Can a holiday wedding offer them a second chance at forever?

My Review:

This novel had the most absolutely ridiculous premise ever. At the same time, she made everything completely believable and utterly unforgettable. I absolutely loved it! I devoured this one in a single sitting. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout. At the same time, Neeley also made me cry, once for sadness, and once, for a perfectly happy ending. Her vivid descriptions bring this Christmas town to life, allowing readers to enter the story as participants rather than simply spectators.

The characters in this novel were fantastic. The creative manner in which Neeley developed them, both who they are today and the events that made them those people, captured my attention. I felt like I really and truly got to know and understand them as individuals. The intrinsic elements that make them who they are also made this story what it was. Surrounded by this fantastic and well developed supporting cast of friends and family, I felt like I was part of this extended family.

This was definitely a fantastic comedic romance that will put anyone into the spirit of Christmas. I’d highly recommend it to one and all. I’m also counting down the days until Christmas next year when I’ll be reading it again.

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Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

Title:  Goldfinger
Series:  James Bond Original Series #7
Author:  Ian Fleming
Published:  October 10/06 by Blackstone Audio Inc (1st published 1959)
Length:  264pgs
Format:   audio book
Genre:  suspense
Shelf:  borrowed
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

James Bond is challenged by a maniacal superfiend: the world's cleverest, cruelest criminal.

Complications abound. A beautiful golden girl turns up dead, and a friendly game of two-handed canasta turns into a deadly game of survival with ever-rising stakes: 15 billion dollars worth of U.S. government bullion. But 007 knows that Auric Goldfinger's rules remain brutally simple: heads I win, tails you die.

Shaken? Stirred? Check out 007's other assignments.

My Review:

I appreciated that this is a story from a time when being a secret agent wasn’t all about blowing things up. Because of this the novel was much more interesting and thought provoking. Fleming does not heedlessly race from scene to scene demolishing everything in his wake, but rather develops his scenes meticulously, both in the foreground and in the background. By giving us the hows and whys of everything Fleming drew me deeper and deeper into this world.

Fleming’s meticulous development is seen in his characters as well. We go into the story with the assumption that we’ve met Bond before (and in this day in age, who hasn’t, even if just from the movies). That said, Fleming ensures that we get to know him quite well in this novel. His mannerisms are so unique and well done that you could pick him out of a crowd anywhere just from a description. I also appreciated the way that the rest of the cast was presented and developed. Everything was done gradually, allowing readers the time to get acquainted with the individuals.

I will admit, this is my first foray into the world of 007 (in literary form anyways). It most definitely will not be my last. This is a series that should be read in order, but I thoroughly enjoyed this as a standalone none the less.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Bonus Chapter ~ Slowly Unwrapped by Victoria Vane

SLOWLY UNWRAPPED By Victoria Vane

Decatur Georgia, Christmas Day

Nikki yanked the handle of the shopping buggy. It stuck. She cursed and gave it another jerk but it remained jammed.

“Use your foot,” Shelby instructed. “Like this.” With one solid kick, Shelby wedged the buggy free. “I still don’t understand why you’re going through all this stress and aggravation, Nik. The man just gave you a ring. Are you really sure you want to risk cooking for him?”

Nikki grimaced. “Thanks a lot, Shel.”

“I’m just sayin’ he has to know by now that you’re no domestic goddess.”

“But I still want to do this for him,” Nikki insisted. “He’s come all this way from Montana. The least we can do is show him some Southern holiday cheer.”

“But didn’t you tell me his mother’s a Texan?” Shelby remarked.

“She is,” Nikki replied. “But Texas isn’t Georgia, Shel. I’d argue that Texas is even part of the south. They eat tamales on Christmas. We don’t do that.”

“Yeah, well they don’t exactly sell turkey and dressing at Walgreens either.”

“But there was no place else open. What am I even going to feed him?” Nikki lamented, nearly at the point of despair. “I thought it was only going to be us and you don’t eat meat so I didn’t even buy anything for a real Christmas meal.”

“Don’t worry about me. I already have plans with that hot guy from Home Depot who delivered our Christmas tree. You could always just go out to eat,” Shelby suggested.

“Where? Everything is closed on Christmas Day.”

“There’s the China Buffet on North Decatur,” Shelby said. “You could do the Peking duck like they ate in A Christmas Story. Or there’s always Waffle House. They never close for anything.”

“I can’t believe you just suggested Waffle House for Christmas Dinner.” Nikki sounded an exasperated huff. “It just wouldn’t feel right. Christmas is meant to be spent at home.”

“All right. Have it your way. Let’s try the frozen food case.”

Nikki chewed her lip as they scanned the contents of the freezer. The first two cases held nothing but Lean Cuisine and frozen pizzas. The third held more promise.

“Lookie here, Nik,” Shelby exclaimed. “I think we hit the jackpot.” She tossed two boxes of Stouffers frozen mac and cheese into the cart with a grin. “A Southern holiday staple.”

“Great! What else is there?” Nikki asked.

“I think I even got you covered on the turkey.” Shelby tossed two Marie Callender’s turkey pot pies into the cart. Wheeling down the snack aisles, they added a big bag of pecans.

“What am I going to do about dessert?” Nikki asked.

Shelby paused at the breakfast foods. “If he likes cherries we’ve got desert covered.”

“I don’t know about cherries but he certainly has a thing for peaches.” Nikki recalled a certain night in a mountain cabin with a sudden frisson of desire.

Shelby tossed a box of cherry Pop Tarts into the cart.

Nikki snorted. “Pop Tarts?”

“Why not? A tart’s the same as a pie right?”

They proceeded down the aisle to the canned goods where Nikki picked up cans of jellied cranberries, French cut green beans, and cream of mushroom soup. She was reaching for a carton of French’s fried onions when Shelby grabbed her hand. “Don’t! I beg you! No one ever eats that disgusting green bean casserole.”

“But it’s a Southern tradition,” Nikki protested.

“One that needs to end here and now,” Shelby insisted. “Here. Skip the veggie.” She grabbed a can of fruit cocktail and some flaked coconut. “Make ambrosia instead.”

“But I need whipped cream for that.”

“Then I’ll go to dairy and see if they have Cool Whip.” Shelby returned a moment later with a can of Reddi-Wip. She dropped in in the cart with a shrug. “It’s all they had.”

Nikki took a dismal inventory of her cart. Tears blurred her eyes as they wheeled it to check out. “It’s times like this that I truly miss Mee-Maw. She made every holiday special. And no one made a better fried turkey and cornbread dressing. I even miss sitting at the kitchen table with her stringing popcorn and making Magnolia wreaths.”

“Then why haven’t you continued the tradition?”

“For who? It’s usually just been you and me at Christmas and you’ve never been into any of that Southern Living kinda stuff.” Nikki palmed her eyes with a sniff.

“Don’t cry, Nik.” Shelby wrapped her arms around her sister. “He doesn’t expect anything. You didn’t even know he was coming.”

“Doesn’t matter.” She hiccupped. “It’s our very first Christmas and it’s going to be his lamest one ever. The worst part of this is that he gave me the best present I ever got and I don’t even have anything for him to unwrap!”

“You do now!” Shelby snatched a sparkly pink Santa hat from a clearance end cap and plopped it on Nikki’s head. “Just put this on, add a matching bow, and let him unwrap you.”


***


Hours later, with a wink at her sister, Shelby made an excuse to go out, leaving Wade and Nikki stretched out on the couch watching It’s a Wonderful Life.

“I’m so sorry about dinner, Wade.” Try as she might, Nikki couldn’t suppress the quiver from her voice or the burning sensation behind her eyes.

Wade’s warm strong arms tightened around her. She loved having his arms around her, being cloaked in his body, in his scent.

“Why’s that sweetheart?” he asked.

“Because everything was just awful.”

“What makes you think I’m so hard to please? For the record, one of the best meals I ever had was fried Spam and a can of cling peaches up in that mountain cabin with you.”

That was their first time together and he’d made it a night she’d never forgotten either.

“I don’t think it was the meal that you remember so fondly.”

He grinned. “Probably not. But I sure liked the dessert.”

“Stop humoring me, Wade.” She gave him a playful swat. “You aren’t helping a bit. Can’t you see I’m trying really hard to be miserable? I don’t even have a gift for you. I mean I do, but it’s not anything you can unwrap.”

“What is it then?” he asked.

“I was hoping we could go away together. You’ve worked so hard for so long, I thought that now with things settled down a bit with your brother, maybe I could entice you into taking some time off. Since Dirk has Janice helping him out at the ranch, I was hoping maybe you and I could take that trip to Mexico we’d once talked about.”

“I think that’s a mighty fine idea indeed. In fact, why don’t we plan to make it a honeymoon trip?”

“Really?” She instantly brightened. “I’m so glad you like the idea.” Then her smile faded again. “But that still doesn’t make up for this lousy Christmas. I wanted so badly to show you how we do it Southern style.”

He laughed, a deep throaty rumble. “If that’s all that’s eating you, sweetheart, you can make it up to me real easy.”

“How?” she asked.

He tipped her face up to his, his eyes gleaming with humor and something else that made her insides quiver. “Why don’t you just grab that can of Reddi-Wip, put on that little pink Santa hat, and do me cowgirl style?”

~THE END~


Wade and Nikki’s full story is told in SLOW HAND

Slow Hand By Victoria Vane
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 9781492601128
$7.99/£5.99 Mass-Market Paperback

Summary

In rural Montana…

Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots…

Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds—until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can't resist a cowboy with a slow hand…

Amazon | Apple | B&N |

Author Bio

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty reviewer awards and nominations including the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.


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Seducing the Marine by Kate Hoffmann

Title:  Seducing the Marine
Series:  Uniformly Hot!
Author:  Kate Hoffmann
Published:  December 16/14 by Harlequin
Length:  224pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Subject: Marine Will MacIntyre

Current Status: Medical leave

One day a year Will MacIntyre lets himself remember the woman who left him after he enlisted. But seven years later, on the anniversary of that fateful day, Will is defusing a bomb in Afghanistan—and it explodes.

Dr. Oliva Eklund can barely find the boy she loved inside the hard, chiseled body of the man Will is now—a Marine who knows just how to tempt her, just how to seduce her. Olivia is well aware that Will plans to return to his unit after he recovers, but she can't resist trying to heal him. Even if it means sending him back into a war zone. And breaking them apart forever.

My Review:

This is an emotionally raw story. Amidst the heated romance of the story Hoffmann makes you really stop and think about the lives of those in the military, and the lives of their families. The reality of the characters’ situations shine through in an unmistakable way. The romantic tension between them is palpable throughout. Not only is the story well told, but Hoffmann allows the beauty of winter to shine through.

The main characters in this novel are fantastically well developed. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them as individuals. Their combined histories were revealing and also allows readers to understand the context of the story itself. I appreciated how they were both determined to be true to themselves but in the end, willing to compromise. The supporting cast in this novel wasn’t overly developed, but they all suited their roles in the story.

As a whole, this was a shockingly raw & real novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely recommend it to others, and will be reading more of this author’s work in the future.

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