Review: Dark Fates (A Paranormal Anthology) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Title:  Dark Fates

Authors:  Carrie Ann Ryan, Marie Harte, Rebecca Royce, Lia Davis, Ann Mayburn & Heather Long

Series:  Redwood Pack #7.7, Ludos Deorum #2, Fallen Alpha #1.5, Ashwood Falls #4.5, N/A, Watchers #1

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Publication Date: August 12, 2014

Published byFated Desires Publishing

Sweet or Spicy Romance: Spicy

Page Count: 396

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/ARe

Synopsis:

Dark Fates: An All New Paranormal Romance Boxed Set
Six brand new, hot paranormal romance stories from USA Today and bestselling authors. Alpha heroes and heroines with dark pasts and the need to find their own happy ever after will draw you in and make you turn to the next page.

THE HUNTED HEART (A Redwood Pack Novella) by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan
Emeline might have been alive hundreds of years, but she’s never really lived. Noah has known Emeline was his mate since he first saw her, only he doesn’t know if she feels the same. When he finally takes that final step, he’ll have to pray she finds the connection and overcomes the past she thought she’d lost years ago.

JACKAL’S MEASURE (A Ludos Deorum Novella) by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Marie Harte
Tortured by the god of chaos for centuries, Tariq knows only duty to numb the pain. When he’s sent to collect Eden, a sexy human accused of interfering in the Games of the Gods, his missing heart beats again. But love may not be enough to save them.

ALPHA’S SACRIFICE (A Fallen Alpha Novella) by Rebecca Royce
Hayden Chaucer is determined to make the best life possible for his pack and is ill-prepared to discover his true mate waiting for him in his home. Worse, his mate, Chelsea, has fled the True Believers, and her ability to see the future may cost them their present.

TOUCH OF DESIRE (An Ashwood Falls Novella) by Lia Davis
A submissive wolf who lost it all finds herself in a mating dance with the very dominant senior enforcer who will stop at nothing to claim her.

SANGUE FEVER by Ann Mayburn
Drifting without a purpose, vampire Lisabetta finds herself yearning for something more. She finds it while hunting for her next donor. Things are not quite as they seem when she seduces an older mortal man and finds herself in danger of falling in love for the first time in centuries.

FORBIDDEN RESCUE (A Watchers Novella) by Heather Long
All Jubilee Spector wants is to save her brother. The last thing she expects is to stumble into a dark world and another’s war. But Fox Arada is so much more than a man, and her secret threatens to change the Watchers’ world forever.

 

Review:

One of my favorite reasons to pick up an anthology is the opportunity to try out a new series or in this case a couple of new authors.  I’m humbled to say that I’ve still not read all of Carrie Ann Ryan’s Redwood Pack but I’m going to be doing a major catch up for the entire series and have something special for you too in February.  So make sure you stay tuned.

But The Hunted Heart can easily be read as a stand alone.  Emeline is one of the elders for the Redwood Pack and has seen death, destruction and suffered the heartache of lost love.  She is struggling to hold onto a reason to stay alive.  Noah however is new to the pack, 28 year old and the current pack doctor, who isn’t adverse to a home visit.

The poignancy and heart which this story is told captures the true emotions of a woman at the end of her resistance and a man with the patience to wait for her to catch up to his emotions.  There are moments where you could see Noah’s determination to give Emeline exactly what she needed but never give her up entirely.

Their struggle to discover a cure for North’s blindness binds them together, gives them a common goal and provides Noah with another chance to get closer to Emeline at every opportunity.  This is a great addition and first book to lead off with in this anthology.

Marie Harte’s Jackal’s Measure tells the story of one of Anubis’ soldiers, Tariq, who has been brutally tortured by Seti, the God of Chaos for centuries, in order to use Tariq as a weapon to win the Games of the Gods.  Never able to tell Anubis of his torture he struggles to maintain his sanity even after his heart has been stolen.  And if that isn’t enough the Game of the Gods is occurring in Portland Oregon and a female wonders into the middle of a move by Anubis and Are’s pawns.  Eden Dixon made a wrong turn and landed in the middle of the games but Set has been using Eden as well to produce a vial.  But Eden is a strong woman and refuses to hand it over.

This story has twists, turns and surprises that I was not anticipating and was a true delight to read.  I look forward to more from this series in the future.

Alpha’s Sacrifice is a unique twist on the concept of amnesia effecting one of the main characters.  The reason behind the lapses in Chelsea’s memory made me feel part of this story since I’m new to this series and the author.  Hayden’s unease as the alpha made for an interesting dichotomy between the ease in which he lead his pack and his unease at being the leader.  The story was well told and I enjoyed it from the beginning to end.  I will definitely check out more work by Rebecca Royce in the future.

I’m an avid fan of Ms. Lia Davis’ Ashwood Falls series and Touch of Desire continues that streak of fandom.  Cora River & Torin Fisher’s story is as well told as I had hoped.  There is just something about these two that I craved a happily ever after for them both.  The fact that they find it together makes it all the sweeter.  Cora has been struggling and withdrawing from her life, her wolf and her pack.  But Torin and others refuse to let her worry, doubt and fear consume her and push her back into living by making her part of protecting the pack and, in the end, a purpose she desperately needed.  This story can be read as a stand alone but I strongly recommend sitting down to an Ashwood Falls marathon.  You can thank me later.

Ann Mayburn’s Sangue Fever was one of the books I was most interested to read out of this anthology because I primarily know Ms. Mayburn’s contemporary work or sci-fi books and wondered what sort of madness she would imploy in a vampire story.  And she blew my mind yet again.  I don’t want to ruin this wonderful story especially since it appears to me to be the only true stand alone in this book but let me just say that I am thrilled that her cowboy hero is not in his twenties but a man in his early forties.  Here is her description of this scrumptiousness:

“He had close-cropped dark hair with thick shocks of silver streaking through it.  A black cowboy hat sat on the table before him, and she had a sudden vivid mental image of riding him wearing just his hat.  He was sexy, so damn sexy it made her teeth ache to taste him.  His tanned face had faint lines, and she could see the solid, muscular build of his broad chest and shoulders beneath his plaid shirt.  Something about him radiated power and control, but it wasn’t in the way of immortals.  No, this man was one hundred percent human and utterly delicious.  All thought of anyone’s gaze except for the powerful man before her vanished as pure primal need filled her.”

This paragraph alone makes me want to re-read this portion of the book.

Lastly is Heather Long’s Forbidden Rescue.  I’m torn on this story.  Not sure exactly but there just seemed to be something missing to place it at the same level as the other stories of this anthology.  The narrative was good, the characters were interesting but the back story was missing development.  The emotional connection just didn’t resonate at the same level.  The reason for the “rescue” of Jubilee and her transformation just didn’t seem to be completely fleshed out.  For me sadly this was the story that just left me feeling a bit blah and is the only book in this anthology that I put the book down for a few days during my review process.  The idea behind this book/series is a great one and I look forward to seeing where it heads into the future but this was a lack luster start unfortunately.

Final Thoughts:  If you haven’t delved into the world of paranormal romance and are looking for a taste of a few worlds then this is a great book to pick.  You will be exposed to numerous authors and their series which I hope will drive you to look into one or more of them in the future.

 

Fated Desires Publishing provided me with a copy of Dark Fates but nothing else was exchanged for my honest review.

 

Convention and Cancer

Breast Cancer.JPGLast weekend was Authors After Dark aka AAD in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I was thrilled to get the opportunity to attend after making the decision last minute while I was sitting at a table with some amazing authors and their assistants in Denver, Co while at RomCon.  So my joke was that I got conned into going to AAD but truthfully I just needed an excuse and way to save some money to attend.  Once that was sorted I was totally on board with getting in my little car and driving the 9 hours in order to go.

AAD was a series of panels during the daytime and then a larger function during the evening ranging from the opening night where we had a mechanical bull that some brave souls dared to conquer to the Sinners and Virtues Ball on the last night of the convention.  Then there were blocks of time where meals were had with authors and readers or a chance for bloggers to meet and greet some of the authors.  And don’t forget the 3 hour long signing with all the authors from the event.  Walking into that room was WOW!  And I got to meet the Master of Ceremonies, Alexandra Ivy and get signatures on my convention bags.  Plus I met the one and only Joey W. Hill in a hallway.  Still blown away.

This convention was a favorite among the four I have attended this year and I look forward to attending next year when it will be closer to home for me in Atlanta.  There were prizes given out at every event I attended.  They ranged from swag from the author to books to breakfast with authors and books for three readers.  I was lucky enough to win something quite often including a breakfast with Carrie Ann Ryan, Ann Mayburn and Kennedy Layne with 2 friends.  To say I was stunned was a complete understatement especially since I wasn’t paying attention when Carrie Ann called my name.  And if you were at the event then yes, I’m the roommate. *smiles*  Since I had attended the event on my own, I posted on Facebook that the first 2 people to comment would get to go with us to breakfast.  I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to share with two other readers my love of books and these three authors.  What is even more thrilling is that by the time we had sat down Bianca d’Arc, another amazing author, was also joining our little entourage.  I learned and heard stories that were sheer joy and stomach heaving hilariousness that it still makes me smile as I sit down and remember.

My return home was quite uneventful for which I’m extremely thankful.  And then my world imploded.  A close family member has been diagnosed with stage 1 Breast Cancer.  To say I’m still in a state of shock is the understatement of the decade.  I’ve plowed through my work week at the day job just to make it to the weekend so I can have time to gather my thoughts and figure out a strategy.

So please be patient with me if you requested a review or are expecting one because I’m a little lost right now and sitting down to even write this post has me up at 3 am because I’m struggling.  I promise to have thing back on an even keel shortly but as we all know sometimes life intrudes on hobbies or passions and we struggle to pick up the pieces in order for us to start creating again.

Thank you all for your continued support this year for me and this blog.  I continue to be blown away.  Things will be back to normal very shortly but I thank you for your patience as I struggle with the curve ball my family has been dealt.

Why Outlander Matters

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After watching the first episode of Starz Outlander entitled Sassenach I have been struck by a number of reasons why this series matters.  And thought I would share a few of them with you all.

  1. This story is more than a love story.  It is a journey of self discovery for Claire but also for each of the readers and viewers.  The entire journey reminds us all of what is important such as things like love, family, our place in the greater scheme of things and what and how we can impact those around us.  This is something that many of us have lost sight of in our rush to use electronic devices every moment of the day or checking into social media constantly and forgetting that we have one shot at this life and we need to savor it.
  2. Great story telling can be found in all sorts of media.  The fact that this story started its life as a book with nearly 900 pages, 7 sections and 41 chapters and only skims the surface of the story of Claire and Jamie.  This first episode encapsulates the first portion of the book and had me on the verge of my seat the entire time.  Hoping that there would be more but knowing that the credits were about to roll any minute and I was not ready for them yet.
  3. I’m hopeful that like HBO’s Game of Thrones there will be a loyal and growing audience of women and men that may not be as entrenched in the romance world as you or I but just love a great story.  This growing audience will then seek out other amazing stories beyond what they typically read or view.
  4. This story may even take significant steps towards demonstrating to the populace on a grander scale why Romance books are so beloved.
    • They give the reader a chance to see a brighter future and often this helps them through a difficult time in their own life.
    • Longing for more can be just the push someone needs to start moving forward in their life.
    • Romance can just be about a couple falling in love but a GREAT Romance looks at life sees the challenges in the characters and causes readers to reconsider and re-imagine their own life as a result.
  5. Lastly, that the passion and joy of reading will be renewed again for men and woman all around the globe because they want to experience Jamie and Claire’s story first hand themselves by reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

So what are your thought?  Have you seen Sassenach yet, which is available online at Starz.com for those living in the USA, or are you waiting for it to be released in your home country?  Will you continue to watch this series?  My answer is I will continue to watch this show and can’t wait to add the series and soundtrack to my collection.  So don’t mind me because I’m going to watch it again now.

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Review: Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

Author:  Shannon Leigh

Series:  N/A

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Publication Date: July 28, 2014

Published byEntangled Publishing

Sweet or Spicy Romance: Spicy

Page Count: 243

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/ARe

Synopsis:

Jule Casale is the perfect daughter. Obedient. Trustworthy. Loyal.  With her high profile Italian family, her public image must be impeccable. And now to gain the respect and position she’s desired in the academic world, she hopes to discover the unknown artist behind a masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Rom Montgomery seeks the unobtainable: forgiveness. Those who could grant him relief are dead. Instead, he wanders across continents and through time searching for salvation and the means to right an ancient wrong. But when Jule comes knocking on his door, it’s the closest he’s ever come to finally finding redemption.

The closer Rom draws to correcting his past mistakes, the more his secrets threaten to destroy the woman who might hold the key to his future.

 

Review:

There comes a time in every middle or high school student’s life when you read the classics.  Everything from Catcher in the Rye to The Scarlet Letter to The Crucible and many other outstanding pieces of literature are required reading.  But what I always looked forward to were the Romantic classics like anything by Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre or William Shakespeare.  Yes I’m one of the students who actually read Hamlet with out being asked and could actually understand the verse.  And dare I say it, loved it!

Forbidden Kiss expands upon a story we all know so well.  The timeless love story of Romeo and Juliet is the base and then amazing and wonderful things happen.  The story is set in modern day Chicago where we are introduced to Jule Casale who is on the hunt to discover the origins of a mysterious painting by an anonymous artist.  In her hunt she seeks out Rom Montgomery who is an avid collector and connoisseur of ancient swords.  Meanwhile Rom has been struggling through lifetimes trying to break a curse which has led to him being immortal for centuries.

This sort of twist on a classic is just the type of thing that I would imagine when I didn’t get the ending I wanted.  The fact that the story is interwoven with so many details from the original play is what I find the most charming.  In fact it reminded me of how much I loved the hours I would sit and read these plays and just let my imagination take me to that time and place.

There are one or two minor things that pulled me out of the story such as the turn around time for Jule to believe that there was more to the story.  Especially after her initial trepidation and fear following a vision she has concerning a sword in Rom’s possession.  In addition the fact that there is one portion of the story that I felt there was a leap in time that wasn’t explained effectively but I found the over reaching plot one that engrossed and captured my attention.

Now I’m sure you are wondering about the chemistry between Rom and Jule, Ms. Leigh uses both character’s maturity effectively to remind readers that these are characters we are all so familiar with.  However there is true depth to not only the connection but communication and relatability that you will not see in high school lovers.  This added to the over reaching thought of a love beyond time which was evocative and poignant.

Final Thoughts:  This is a great twist on a classic and a wonderful romance all on its own but if you are an avid Shakespeare fan like myself then I truly believe you will find something to remind you of the joy of the classics.  And if you have recently read Romeo & Juliet this is a perfect book to read right after because I demand a happily ever after for these two amazing characters.  Don’t You?

 

Entangled Publishing provided me with a copy of Forbidden Kiss but nothing else was exchanged for my honest review.

 

Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer/Blogger-August

mqywpT0The Value of  “No”

Blogging for me is so much more than just an opportunity to share my thoughts on a specific book, series or even an author.  It is a chance to stretch my writing skills, challenge myself to read books that may never have made my radar but it is also a gift of expression and time.  And since we have some how made it already to August, time has been up most in my thoughts lately.  So here are 5 reasons why I’m going to be more pro-active about using one of the most powerful words in the English Language, No.

1.  I have a limited number of hours in which to read, blog, relax, work, take care of my puppy and a zillion other things I have going on.  My time is very precious and as such I’m going to refuse to be guilty about saying No when something doesn’t fit into the time I have available.

2.  This is my blog.  If I don’t want to read or review  or promote an author it is my right to say No.  And to quote Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  For every time I say Yes, I’m saying No to something else in my life and right now I have a number of projects that are demanding my attention so saying No is the only way I will be a functioning human.

3.  Some stories just don’t grip me.  I refuse to suffer from guilt or worry because of something I’m doing as a hobby.  That defeats the whole purpose of this blog.  I need and want the experience for you and me to be one of encouragement and joy.

4.  Working with some people in the industry can be interesting.  I’ve been truly blessed by the contacts I have made along the way but there have been a few hiccups along the way and as a result there will be times I’ll just say No.

5.  When I have options, amazing things happen.  One of the greatest joys is having someone ask you to participate in something and not feeling stretched too thin or being forced to say No then.  I want to have the option and availability to say Yes to things I love and adore.

So what about you?  Are you struggling with too many books on your e-reader?  Is saying No going to make you break out in hives?  Or are you aware of your time and value it the way we all should?  I would love to hear how and why you say No to things.  Please feel free to contact me via Twitter, Goodreads or through the contact form below if you have questions.

My other posts for a Year in the Life of a Romance Review can be found at the following places:

January- My 5 stars books from 2012

February- How I came to be a review in the first place

March- 5 tips I use to write reviews

April- 5 lessons I’ve learned as a review/blogger

May- Time to check out Audiobooks

June- 5 top reasons to attend a book convention

July-5 things to do following convention or signing

Review: Meeting His Match by Katee Robert

Author:  Katee Robert

Series:  Match Me #1

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

Publication Date: July 21, 2014

Published byEntangled Publishing

Sweet or Spicy Romance: Spicy

Page Count: 200

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/ARe

Synopsis:

When New York matchmaker Addison St. Claire is tasked with matching her best friend’s new brother-in-law, she almost refuses. But the sexy southern CEO turns out to be a challenge she can’t resist, because if anyone needs to meet his soul mate, it’s this man. And if matching him with someone else removes the temptation of being near him? Even better.

The last thing Caine McNeill needs is a matchmaker—especially a gorgeous redhead who spouts nonsense about soul mates, critiques what he drives and how he dresses, buys him a dog, and pesters him about a million little things he couldn’t care less about. It’s a crying shame he has to keep his hands off because chemistry like what’s flaring between them ought to be explored. Thoroughly.

And so the battle begins. Addison is determined to stick to her plan of setting him up on dates with other women, and Caine is equally determined to ignore these women and seduce her.

 

Review:

The quality of romance books available and being released astounds and amuses me.  Every time I pick up a new book I live in a state of hopeful anticipation that I will yet again be transported to a magical world of an alpha hero and a heroine capable of getting herself and the hero out of difficult situations and look amazing while doing it.  True I am occasionally left wanting and disappointed but Ms. Katee Robert has a true gift of words and her characters are some I’d love to take out to lunch or to their favorite BDSM club for a drink.

Addison St. Claire is a skilled and highly sought after matchmaker in New York but she goes home to an empty home because of a belief that you get one shot at a soul mate and she had hers.  Meanwhile Caine McNeill is managing a family business and never gets to step into his palatial home because of the hours he is working.  Enter the best friend of Addison and now Caine’s sister-in-law Regan Wakefield throwing these two people together because she “know(s) a man in desperate need of a matchmaker, and you’re the best there is.”

Yes this is a trope we have seen a thousand times but Dang if Ms. Roberts doesn’t just take everything and throw it on its head, dance and then giggle at all of us as we are perplexed, amused and finally giggling along with her as these two characters throw everything at each other in an attempt to not let the obvious chemistry blow up in a blaze of glorious love.

Not to mention we have two competing cultures with New York and Tennessee and that is just the accents.  You add how each of them views the world, their history and baggage and you have a romance that will keep you glued to your chair until you realize you are late back to work.  Ooops!

And if all of the above hasn’t got you clicking on one of the links above to buy this book right away then what about this fact.  Caine is a Southern Gentleman.  And I do love a Southern Gentleman.

And I don’t know about you but whenever an author can include animals and make you laugh out loud at just the names and a few scenes they are in.  Especially if they can steal the lime light for those scenes then you know you are in for one heck of a ride.  And no I’m not going to tell you the names because they are just too adorable they are making me grin and laugh as I write this!

Final Thoughts:  If you haven’t read a book by Katee Robert, you need to ASAP and this is a perfect one to pick up.  The humor is heart warming.  The romance and chemistry is panty-melting.  The story can be nothing but a 5 star and the first Ms. Roberts book added to my Best of 2014 list.  Well deserved.  And I can’t wait for the next in this series.

 

Entangled Publishing provided me with a copy of Meeting His Match but nothing else was exchanged for my honest review.

 

Cover Reveal: Artemis’s Hunt by Lia Davis

ArtemisHunt72

Artemis’s Hunt

~Sons of War novella 2.5~

By Lia Davis

Deception broke her heart. The truth fuels her hunt.

Release Day:

September 2, 2014

Artemis, goddess of the hunt, has lived with heartache for the last fifteen hundred years, believing her only love is dead. That’s what her father—Zeus, king of the gods—told her. After recent events brought the truth to light, Artemis must gather the courage to face her lost love again.

Evangelos, former god of messengers, was content living in the mortal world until he discovered he has a daughter and her mother is Artemis. When the goddess shows up at his place of employment with tales of renewing his god status, he’s skeptical. Zeus wouldn’t reverse the curse out of the goodness of his heart. There is always a catch. The god king wants something in return.

When Artemis explains she has to hunt down her stepmother, Hera, in order to get Evan back into Zeus’s good graces, Evan demands to accompany her. However, the journey turns out to be a test that could bring them closer together or tear them apart forever.

 

Two day reveal giveaway:

Lia will be giving away FIVE eCopies of book one of the series, War’s Passion.  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

Lia Davis is the author of the bestselling shifter series, Ashwood Falls, a mother to two young adults and three kitties, a wife to her soul mate, and co-owner to Fated Desires Publishing, LLC. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers. But it’s her home and she loves it!

An accounting major, Lia has always been a dreamer with a very active imagination. The wheels in her head never stop. She ventured into the world of writing and publishing in 2008 and loves it more than she imagined. Writing is stress reliever that allows her to go off in her corner of the house and enter into another world that she created, leaving real life where it belongs.

Her favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties.

Author’s website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumbler | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | About.Me | eBook signed at Authorgraph

Other books by Lia Davis:

Sons of War:

#1 ~ War’s Passion
#2 ~ Ashes of War
#2.5 ~ Artemis’s Hunt
#3 ~ Chaotic War (Coming soon)

Ashwood Falls Pack:

#.5 ~ Winter Eve
#1 ~ A Tiger’s Claim
#2 ~ A Mating Dance
Ashwood Falls Volume 1 Book 0.5, 1 & 2
#3 ~ Surrendering to the Alpha
#3.5 ~ A Rebel’s Heart
Ever After Book 3.5
#4 ~ Divided Loyalties
#5 ~ A Leopard’s Path (Coming Soon)

Pleasures of the Heart:

#1 ~ Business Pleasures

The Divinities:

#1 ~ Forgotten Visions
#2 ~ Death’s Storm
#3 ~ The Dark Divine (Coming in 2015)

Stand Alones

Ravished Before Sunrise

Review: Exquisite Trouble by Ann Mayburn

Author:  Ann Mayburn

Series:  Iron Horse MC #1

Genre:  Motorcycle Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Published byFated Desires Publishing

Sweet or Spicy Romance: Spicy

Page Count: 324

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/ARe

Synopsis:

Before I met Smoke I’d never been kissed, really kissed, by a man, let alone a biker sex god bent on taking my virginity and my heart.

I got dragged into the deadly world of the Iron Horse MC by my crazy twin sister who is engaged to the club’s President and even crazier mom who only cares about herself. Smoke has been assigned by the club to keep me safe even though he’s everything that I should be afraid of. He’s the kind of man who lives by his own rules and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, but he treats me like I’m something rare and precious, not a socially dysfunctional basket case who has no idea how to love, but needs him more than her next breath.

Not that my feelings matter, because if we don’t find my mother soon, the only thing I’ll have to be worried about is who is going to kill me first.

NOTE- This is Part One of a Two Part book with a ‘Happy for Now’ ending. Book Two, Exquisite Danger'(the final book in Swan and Smoke’s story) will be out this fall. :)

 

Review:

Confession time from yours truly.  I didn’t get what all the hoopla was about regarding motorcycle heroes.  I could see a glimmer of the appeal but I just didn’t get it.  Then I read Exquisite Trouble.  I now get it entirely.

If you are looking for an uber Alpha male with one heck of a dirty mouth and loyalty to anything he considers his then Smoke aka Miguel is the hero for you.  This character was so well layered it was like an onion.  Every time I thought I’d gotten to the last layer there was yet another one that I uncovered.  Smoke just gripped me from the very first paragraph and wouldn’t let go.  And what a ride it was.

Now Swan or Sue Wanda Anderson is such an intriguing heroine.  She has so many character quirks and yet they are all believable and add weight to her behavior through out the entire story.  The fact that she can’t be touched without feeling like her skin is crawling with insects was an interesting way of clearly demonstrating her growing trust in individuals that appear through out this story.  Her reactions to being kidnapped by singing Britney Spears poorly is such an odd ball thing to do but easily demonstrates that she prefers to face challenges head on rather than sit and be rescued.

There are so many different stories being told in this book that there were moments I was lost in Ms. Mayburns’ world so deeply that I was startled out of it abruptly when a motorcycle roared in my neighborhood.   But I longed to know more not just about Smoke and Swan but a number of the other characters from the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club.  I’m hopeful we shall see additional stories regarding Hustler or Vance eventually.

Suspense is a key ingredient in this story and Ms. Mayburn wields it like a true master.  Weaving just enough action through out the story to keep the blood pumping but never enough to make me put the book down in order to calm down.  Every thing from experiences Swan lived through as a child to current events surrounding her birth mother and sister play a staring role in the amazing back story to this unique character.

I am pleased beyond belief that we will be on the receiving end of more of this story in the fall because I was a smidge stunned when I turned the final page and realized that there was no more story.  This is Part One of a Two Part book but you will get what Ms. Mayburn describes as a “Happy for Now” ending which is very true but I just wanted more.

Now some of you may not enjoy a BDSM romance book, so please be aware that there are definitely elements of that in this book but it truly adds dimension and realness to the entire story.  Plus the addition makes this book a perfect book to read with a  great glass of wine or while you are relaxing on a much deserved holiday.  I would be very cautious if you try to read this one during your lunch hour.  You might not want to go back to work.  You have been warned. *grins*

Final Thoughts:  I recently said on social media that Katy Evan’s Remy changed my mind about Fighters making amazing heroes and Smoke has made me a believer in motorcycle heroes too.  Plus if you have tried out other work by Ms. Mayburn, you know she has a real gift of storytelling and this is a great example of her work.  This is a great addition to some other amazing books out this year.  Well worth the 5 stars I’m giving it.

 

Fated Desires Publishing provided me with a copy of Exquisite Trouble but nothing else was exchanged for my honest review.

 

Jenna Jacob’s Embracing My Submission Tour

Jenna Jacob’s
Embracing My Submission
is on SALE
Haunted for years by dreams of a savage, amber eyed Dominant with lips so enticing my soul ached in frustration and lust. None of the Dominants at Genesis, my local BDSM club ever stirred me in such blistering ways. While I tried to fill my submissive desires vicariously through interactions at the club, I attempted to convince myself it was enough. But it wasn’t. My dream Dom made certain I hungered for more. 

Forced beyond what I could bear, my passion and frustration exploded. I threw in the towel, determined to stop chasing a dream and gave up completely on finding submissive surrender. But fate intervened when two gunshots split the night. Forced to confront my desires and insecurities, I was shocked to realize that my dreams may have held a deeper meaning. Were they compelling me to finally embrace my submission?


Embracing My Submission

Book 1 is ON SALE for $0.99

LIMITED TIME ONLY

 

About the Author:

Jenna Jacob is married and lives in Kansas. A lover of music, cooking, camping, and riding Harleys on the open country roads. When she was thirteen she began writing–and not on a stone tablet, as her youngest son often teases. There is always a plot bubbling inside her head that has to be written.

With four grown children, she finally has time to paint the pictures of her twisted mind with words. Outgoing with a sassy sense of humor, she’s never once been accused of being shy. With nearly twenty years of experience in the dynamics of the BDSM lifestyle, she strives to portray Dominance and submission with a passionate and comprehensive voice.Author Links:

Author’s website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author

 

Review: Whiskey Prince by Toni Aleo

Author:  Toni Aleo

Series:  N/A

Genre:  Contemporary New Adult

Rating: 5 Stars

Publication Date: July 14, 2014

Published by:  Toni Aleo

Sweet or Spicy Romance: Spicy

Page Count: 255

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads

Synopsis:

Take a risk.
Do something drastic.
Fall in love.

When Amberlyn Reilly loses her mother, her whole world comes crashing down. Having been caretaker to her for most of her teenage years, Amberlyn is inexperienced in many aspects of life. She hasn’t had time to live, have fun, or enjoy even the little things. It’s only when a letter from her mother, asking her to fulfill three things, sends her off to Ireland to live a life she never thought possible that she begins to heal.

Declan O’Callaghan was born and raised in Ireland and has his family’s legendary whiskey in his veins. He’s shy and not a fan of the pressure and spotlight that comes with his family name, or the title he was given at birth—the Whiskey Prince. Declan knows just what he wants and that is to take over the family dynasty, but when his father gives him an ultimatum, everything he’s worked for could come undone in the blink of an eye.

With six months to get married, the reclusive Declan spots Amberlyn across a lake and instantly feels the need to know her. Soon, the two find themselves traveling down a path neither expected. However, like any road, there are bumps and side streets to derail them. Can Declan help find the pieces that will make Amberlyn whole again? And will Amberlyn stay or run when she learns of Declan’s deadline of marriage?

 

Review:

 

If you are looking to find a book that is a prime example of New Adult fiction done right then Whiskey Prince by Toni Aleo is the book. Ms. Aleo’s world is full of everything from leaving home for the first time, career choices, new relationships and even the angst with a dose of heart break to leave you losing yourself in this world and only coming up for air when you must.

The cover is a great example of how simple and yet heartfelt this book is from cover to cover. Make sure you really take a look because you might miss some of the things that are pivotal to the entire book. And if you love book covers like I do this is one that may very well become the new trend in book covers like the single items that are on most of Sylvia Day’s books.

So hopefully you did take a minute to really look at the cover but what you want to know is what about the story? This is a book I will definitely return to over and over. There are so many layers and subtle story telling devices used that I am still in awe over this story. The over arching plot revolves around Amberlyn Reilly making a huge life altering move after the loss of her mother. The depth and scope of the grief that Ms. Aleo packs into Amberlyn still resounds with me and I’m sure with anyone who has lost a loved one will also feel this impact very strongly.

Meanwhile Declan O’Callaghan is born and raised in Ireland with the expectation of taking over the family whiskey business once he comes of age and marries. The exchanges between Declan and his family are told with care. We see a family struggling with tradition but a resolve to see it carried onto the next generation but a desire to ensure that all the key ingredients are included like a marriage for love and not one of convenience or position.

And if you missed it, the majority of this book is set in Ireland and that means amazing accents. In fact I’m hopeful that this book will be converted into an Audiobook and have a male narrator that embodies the Irish accent. Here is hoping!

The secondary characters include Declan’s best friend, Kane, and Amberlyn’s cousin, Fiona, really encourage the story along and help to fuel and fix some of the roadblocks that come between Declan and Amberlyn.

But I’m sure you are wondering about the chemistry between our main characters: a page turner. The first kiss between these two was stellar. The entire sequence had me completely riveted and I forgot that I had to wash laundry and cook dinner. Well done, Ms. Aleo.

Now I’m hoping you will go out and grab a copy of this book ASAP but I do have one minor caveat, this book is in 3rd person and switches from Declan to Amberlyn and back through out the book. And I know that some people don’t like that style of writing but I was never once lost and loved that I got a look at both of their reactions to events through out the entire book.

Final Thoughts: Buy this book immediately. This is the 1st New Adult book to make my Best of 2014 list and I’m thrilled to include it. I’m hopeful that there will be additional books in this world, Ms. Aleo. Not to mention, can we have this on audio pretty please with cherries on top?

Toni Aleo provided me with a copy of Whiskey Prince but nothing else was exchanged for my honest review.