Sunday, October 19, 2014

Outsourced by Eric J. Gates

Title:  Outsourced
Author:  Eric J. Gates
Published:  September 18/14 by Amazon
Length:  302pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  thriller
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What's the most dangerous gift a fan could send to an author?

And if that fan was a professional assassin?

New York-based writer Nic Stiles receives a strange package in the mail. It's not long before he realises what it represents will change his life... with deadly consequences. Others want the package's contents too, including a high-tech Intelligence agency who will stop at nothing to obtain it.
...and the sender wants it back!

The new fast-paced SUSPENSE THRILLER from Eric J. Gates will make YOU question your Destiny!

My Review:

As we’ve come to expect from Gates’ work, this story is complex and multifaceted. Readers are taken on an intricate journey through this one of a kind plot without ever looking back. Gates brings the world that he creates to life in vivid clarity, allowing readers to picture each aspect of the tale without curbing their imagination. The unique concepts not only catch your attention but are fully developed, allowing you to join in with the characters in their plight. The suspense carries through the tale, keeping you on your toes to the very last chapter. He had me guessing throughout, but was always a step ahead of me.

Gates’ in depth characters will leave you breathless. Not only do you get to know them well, but you can identify with them. I found myself firmly placed by the side of the main character, racing through this tale. There was, of course, individuals that I didn’t personally like as people, but Gates set up the characters in such a way that I could always see where they were coming from and how their past and present affected who they are.

This isn’t a light, easy read. It will definitely take more than one sitting, but you’ll be thinking about it throughout. That’s one of the things I like best about Gates’ writing. His story is intense and thought provoking, taking storytelling to another level.

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Caressed by Night by Amanda J. Greene

Title:  Caressed by Night
Series:  Rulers of Darkness #2
Author:  Amanda J. Greene
Published:  February 29/12
Length:  337pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Dimitri Arsov, the last remaining pure vampire, was thought to be dead for the past four hundreds years. Now, he is back and has a score to settle with the traitor that had tried to kill him centuries ago. But as he waits for his prey to blindly step into his carefully laid trap, his overwhelming hunger for blood is triggered when he saves a beautiful art historian.

Kerstyn Ingmar’s life was normal and straight up boring until the night she is rescued by the dangerously sexy, powerfully mesmerizing, Dimitri. Unable to resist his diamond blue eyes and intense kisses, she is drawn into his world of darkness and closer to her impending doom.

While their desire consumes them, Dimitri is haunted by images of a bloody and deadly future. As his enemies draw near, he must find a way to save his mate from her destiny before fate destroys them both.

My Review:

I loved how Greene layered the emotional component of the story on top of the paranormal and romantic ones. This is a complex tale that will engage you in many ways. At the same time it’s still fast paced and fun. The author’s exquisitely vivid descriptions bring this story to life in a big way. It is positively sinful! Greene also continues to develop her unique concept of the vampire world without shattering our preconceived notion. It all rolls up into an unforgettable story.

And don’t even get me started on the characters. What a fantastic cast we have here. I loved the main couple. They were such diverse individuals, yet they came together giving to each other, and completing one another. The art history aspect of the tale adds an extra layer to the story that I found to be quite intriguing. The fact that the main character had actually achieved her PhD made her that much more admirable. The supporting cast was also breathtaking. I loved getting to know everyone and appreciated how involved in the story they all were.

This novel is fun, funny, sexy, and exciting all rolled into one. If you want a paranormal romance with a dash of spice and a frosting of originality this is the one for you.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Secrets by Lynn Crandall

Title:  Secrets
Author:  Lynn Crandall
Published:  October 6/14 by Crimson Romance
Length:  223pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  paranormal romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

With her penchant for premonitions, Michelle Slade has always had trouble connecting with other people, and a horrific attack five years ago only made her isolation worse. But working to help defenseless animals with her rescue organization, Cats Alive, has given her new purpose and joy in life. When several homeless cats start vanishing into thin air, she’s determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Casey Mitchell has always kept his private identity as a were-lynx secret. But he’s drawn to Michelle, and when he begins to help investigate the odd circumstances surrounding the cats’ disappearance, he uncovers a powerful businessman’s diabolic designs on the unassuming woman.

Now both he and Michelle are in grave danger, and their survival depends on trusting each other with secrets better left unspoken. Will these two lonely souls triumph and find true love … or lose everything?

My Review:

What a fantastically one of a kind read. I devoured it in a single sitting.

This novel is obviously part of a series, referring to previous events and characters, but can easily be read as a standalone. Crandall develops everything so fully, but without slowing down the storyline, that you can’t help but get caught up in the whirlwind of activity. I love how multifaceted this story is. Not only do you get the main storyline, but you get to know what all the characters are doing outside of this as well, and how it all interconnects. Crandall carefully builds the were-lynxes so that readers ton only understand them but can also visualise them. This complexity & clarity adds an extra layer to the story, making it even more unforgettable. The author’s descriptions also make everything vividly real in your mind’s eye.

The characters in this novel were off the charts. I love how each of them were just a little quirky, but in their own way. The uniqueness and understanding that they all possessed made me really want to get to know them. The main couple in this novel were absolutely priceless. Each had a secret that they were keeping from the other for safety’s sake. Their trust and understanding in each other was very heartening. And the individuals that they were on their own were the type of people that I could see myself becoming friends with. Surrounded by this fantastic supporting cast Crandall has created the perfect individuals to carry her story forward.

Crandall brings characters and readers together in this world full of romance, suspense, and a healthy dash of the unknown. It was a fantastic read, and although it was my first novel by this author I can guarantee you it won’t be my last.

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Mistletoe Wedding by Melissa McClone

Title:  Mistletoe Wedding
Series:  Montana Born Christmas #2
Author:  Melissa McClone
Published:  October 16/14 by Tule Publishing Group
Length:  126pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Event planner at the Bar V5 Dude Ranch, Meg Redstone is dreaming of a white Christmas with twinkling lights, sparkly decorations and strategically placed mistletoe. She loves making dreams come true for others, whether planning a holiday wedding or giving her young daughter the best Christmas ever.

Ranch foreman Tyler Murphy loves the holidays, but his newest employee has taken over his barn with her over-the-top decorations. He admires Meg’s desire to give her daughter the perfect Christmas while planning a winter wonderland wedding, but he wants to show her that a Montana Christmas is more than glitter and lights.

After raising his younger sister, an instant family is not on Ty's Christmas wish list. But he finds himself falling hard for the single mom and her little girl. Meg, however, is not interested in a romance with a cowboy like Ty, or any man. Getting her under the mistletoe is going to take a Christmas miracle . . . or a little help from Santa.

My Review:

Well, if I hadn’t been in love with Marietta & the Bar V5 before, I certainly am now! McClone brings us back to Montana in a big way that will leave you primed for Christmas and smiling at the romance she dangles before you. I enjoyed the romance that wasn’t sappy, and the upbeat outlook on life that this town gives you, even if it isn’t always a bed of roses. This is all wrapped up in McClone’s fantastically illustrative writing and breathtaking narrative.

I love how McClone incorporates both past characters and new ones into this novel. Getting to know them even better as everyone comes back together for Christmas and a wedding gives readers a very unique outlook on who they are and what they stand for. The main couple in this story was fantastic as well. McClone brings them to live in a very real way. I was amazed at just how well we got to know them without going into information overload. Who these two are and how they perceive life directly affects the story as a whole.

This is a real, heart-warming, feel good Christmas story. McClone had me hooked from start to finish with this fast paced, quick read.

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Heart of a Warrior by Johanna Lindsey

Title:  Heart of a Warrior
Series:  Ly-San-Ter #3
Author:  Johanna Lindsey
Published:  September 11/09 by Brilliance Audio (1st published April 2001)
Length:  416pgs
Format:   audio book
Genre:  SciFi romance
Shelf:  borrowed
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Brittany Callaghan thinks she's dreaming when a blond, nearly seven-feet-tall Nordic god shows up on her doorstep in her tiny California town. He claims to be a barbarian warrior in need of her help.

Though a stunning, statuesque beauty herself, intelligent and independent Brittany has struggled hard to earn respect in a man's world. She is taken aback when Dalden, a spectacular Viking who is a long way from home, needs her help - and is willing to pay for it. He's had Brittany's blood running red-hot since she first saw him, and warrior or not, she agrees to help him.

As bold and brash as she is beautiful, Brittany isn't going to be subservient to any man, even one who is everything she ever wanted in a lover, and whose very touch sets her senses afire. Dalden is a warrior to the depths of his soul - proud, powerful and brave - a man who will fight fearlessly and relentlessly for what he wants. And now, what he wants most of all is Brittany...

My Review:

Lindsey combines the best of romance with the best of SciFi in this novel. The multiple, well developed worlds presented in this novel, as well as their interactions, were quite intriguing. I was completely enchanted. Because I haven’t read the 1st two books in the series it took me a bit to catch up on the background but then I was hooked. That said, I’ll definitely be reading (and re-reading) the entire series. Lindsey’s eloquent writing alongside the picturesque descriptions brings everything to light in a very brilliant manner.

Readers get to spend some time with absolutely unforgettable characters in this novel. The main characters are so honest and heartfelt that you can’t help but love them. I also found myself laughing at the situations they found themselves in. You can’t help but wonder just how everything will work out for them. Surrounded by the multicultural group of secondary character, you get a taste of what life must be like for everyone. It was absolutely breathtaking.

My final thoughts? He may not be perfect, but I definitely need a warrior life mate of my own.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Title:  The Christmas Wedding Ring
Series:  Triple Trouble
Author:  Susan Mallery
Published:  October 7/14 by Harlequin HQN
Length:  336pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Re-issue of Wedding Ring Promise - Originally published 1998.

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery returns with a classic story of destiny, desire and a little holiday magic!

In her youth, Molly Anderson couldn't help crushing on gorgeous bad-boy Dylan Black?even though he only had eyes for her older sister. When things didn't work out between them, he said goodbye to Molly as well, vowing they'd have a great adventure when she grew up. Years later, dumped by her fianc? just before Christmas, she's finally ready to take Dylan up on his promise.

A guarded Dylan always had a weakness for Molly, and when she waltzes back into his life?grown-up and gorgeous?he's stunned. So why not whisk her away for some no-strings-attached fun?

Laughter-filled days and late-night kisses are changing Molly's life, for good. The only gift she truly wants now is Dylan's love, but when he discovers the secret she's been keeping, she may lose him again?this time forever.

My Review:

What a complex and captivating novel. Mallery had me hooked throughout. Her easy flowing writing takes you through this intense tale that touches on so many aspects of life. Although this story is very realistic and extremely plausible, Mallery’s imagination and gift as a storyteller had me hooked. The premise behind this story is not only unique but extremely brave and intriguing. I was completely invested in this story by the end. At times this novel is physically and emotionally frightening – it could happen to any of us – yet it is also emotionally fulfilling. 

This story is very focussed on the two main characters, but it works exceedingly well for the story at hand. They are both very well developed individuals that you meet not only in the present, but also in the past. Seeing the female lead battle against her own sense of self-worth was quite empowering. There are so many of us who see ourselves in that light that it makes it very easy to identify with her. Her strength of character is quite admirable, and tempered with her doubts and fears. The multifaceted male lead is the perfect counter point for this story. He is equally well developed and very easy to fall in love with, providing an all too real rock for the female lead to lean on.

This novel is big on adventure, romance, emotion, and self-discovery. It’s a fantastic, must have for those of us who love a romance over the holidays.

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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Title:  The Tragedy Paper
Author:  Elizabeth LaBan
Published:  January 8/13 by Knopf Books For Young Readers
Length:  312pgs
Format:   hard cover
Genre:  YA
Shelf:  giveaway
Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their love.

My Review:

This novel was something of an anomaly for me. LaBan drew me in with her unique and well thought out storyline, but lost me with her characters (more on this in a moment). Her well-developed yet subtle descriptions allow this world to unfold before you. The intertwining storylines definitely give you something to think about. Also, the sense of suspense and mystery really drew me to this story. It kept drawing me back, needing to know what started it all. It was like the silence after a snowstorm.

I personally would have enjoyed more characters development in this novel. LaBan gets off to a good start, but once we know the basics about the characters we find out little else. This is the type of story that needs well developed 3D characters to carry it forwards. Without that, the sense of tragedy becomes somewhat light.

As a whole, this novel was enjoyable but I just couldn`t quite connect with the characters.

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Find out more about one of my favorite authors Kris Austen Radcliffe & her Fate~Fire~Shifter~Dragon series.  

The Quidell Brothers

If you're looking for some heat & romance take a look at Kris Austen Radcliffe's Quidell Brothers series.

Ashley Stoyanoff

Ashley Stoyanoff is the author of The Soul's Mark and the Deadly Trilogy.

Eva Pohler

Eva Pohler is the author of The Gatekeeper's Saga, The Mystery Box series, The Purgatorium series, as well as an upcoming vampire series.
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