Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I've been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries's work since high school and I'm always looking forward to her next book. That being said, I'm particularly excited about her new series, The Duke's Men. Dominick Manton was introduced in Ms. Jeffries's last Hellions of Halstead Hall book, 'Twas the Night After Christmas, and though Manton isn't the hero of What the Duke Desire, he's part of this series which is reason enough for me to be on the edge of my seat waiting.

What the Duke Desires Cover Title: What the Duke Desires
Series: The Duke's Men, Book 1
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

Book Description (from Sabrina Jeffries's Website):

Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has also mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims them to be?

Fearful that the powerful duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance Wicked as She Wants Cover
ISBN: 9781451657906
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Delilah S. Dawson Reading Order

Ahnastasia Feodor, Blud Princess of Freesia, is used to the finer things in life: palaces, stunning gowns, the fresh blood of Pinky servants, and the like. Which is why she’s at a loss when she wakes up in London, in a suitcase, and nearly drained of blud. To her shock, Ahna learns that she’s been missing for four years and most of her family has been murdered by the gypsy sorceress Ravenna. Weakened in a strange land far from home is no way for her to reclaim her crown. As much as it galls her, Ahna needs help, and it comes from an unlikely source.

Casper Sterling was once the most celebrated musician in Sangland. But the Stranger from another world has lost his way…and is rapidly losing his humanity. His only connection to his home world is a fellow Stranger, a scrappy teenager named Keen. Neither he nor Keen fully trust Ahna, but nevertheless Casper agrees to help the princess on her quest and Keen tags along.

On their journey from Sangland to Freesia, Casper and Ahna will have to face pirates, assassins, dangerous beasts, and more. But more threatening than any foreign danger is the attraction they feel toward each other. Ahna’s used to getting anything she desires, but this time what she wants may be out of her reach. For even a princess cannot command the heart of the Stranger who has stolen hers.

Return to the world of the Bludmen in Wicked as She Wants. Delilah S. Dawson’s paranormal spin on the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia is both creative and fascinating.

Ahna’s a princess and her upbringing makes her more than a bit spoiled. Though she starts out Wicked as She Wants a bit of a brat, to have her be otherwise would make no sense. I loved seeing the growth in her character over the course of the story. Ahna goes from being a selfish young woman to the mature ruler she needs to be. Her transformation would not have been possible without her time with Casper and Keen. The two of them help her to see the world beyond the one Ahna has always known. Casper in particular brings out the softer side of Ahna. Readers who enjoyed the first Blud book, Wicked as They Come, will remember Casper as the charming musician from our world who didn’t get the girl. In Wicked as She Wants, Casper isn’t the same man he once was. He’s changing, though into what I won’t spoil. Casper’s personality is less lively for most of Wicked as She Wants, which was a pity. I missed the energy of the Casper I first met and I was relieved that by the end of the book Ms. Dawson brought forth the “true” Casper, a hero I could adore.

Wicked as She Wants is undeniably clever, but it was a bit of an uneven read for me. The first half of the book was a bit slow and it lacked the energy of Wicked as They Come. Though it wasn’t bad — not by a long shot — the biggest spark of life in the first half of the story came from a cameo made by Criminy and Tish. That being said, the second half of Wicked as She Wants was fascinating. As Ahna and Casper became more of who they’re meant to be, the story picks up, gaining momentum until it hits the final, tension-filled third act. The latter half of Wicked as She Wants was everything I hoped the book would be. There’s a lot of buildup to Ahna’s battle against the Rasputin-like Ravenna, and though I won’t spoil what happens, I will say that Ms. Dawson “brings it” when it comes to the climax of this plotline.

The world of the Blud series is bloodthirsty, exciting, and incredibly unique. I finished Casper and Ahna’s story a well-satisfied reader and my only complaint is that I now have to wait (im)patiently until the next Blud book comes out. Bring on Wicked After Midnight!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday in Review

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here and on Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Barefoot in the Sun (Barefoot Bay, Book 3) by Roxanne St. Claire (available 4/30/13)
- Honey Pie (Cupcake Club, Book 4) by Donna Kauffman (available 4/30/13)
- Ten Reasons to Stay (School for Heiresses, Book 2.5) by Sabrina Jeffries (e-book reissue available 5/6/13)
- Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown (available 5/7/13)

All other new reviews:
- Love Is Murder anthology
- Prophecy (The League of Illusion, Book 2) by Vivi Anna
- A Younger Man (Cabin Fever, Book 3) by Cameron Dane
- Wicked as They Come (Blud, Book 1) by Delilah S. Dawson
- The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance (Blud, Book 1.75) by Delilah S. Dawson
- Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, Book 2) by Lia Habel
- Killer Librarian (Karen Nash, Book 1) by Mary Lou Kirwin

Upcoming reviews:
- Legacy (The League of Illusion, Book 1) by Vivi Anna
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, Book 5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Mystery Man (Dream Man, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- Flirting with Rescue by Sidney Bristol
- Nerds Are Freaks Too by Koko Brown
- Lover Unexpected by Brindle Chase
- Ninja Cupcakes by T.A. Chase
- Wicked as She Wants (Blud, Book 2) by Delilah S. Dawson
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Merger to Marriage (Boardrooms & Billionaires) by Addison Fox
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Hotter Than Ever (Out of Uniform, Book 9) by Elle Kennedy
- The Devil’s Heart (The Chattan Curse, Book 3) by Cathy Maxwell
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Educating Elizabeth by Kate Pearce
- Redeeming Jack by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- Blind Her with Bliss (Tilling Passions, Book 1) by Nina Pierce
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Elemental Heat by Cristal Ryder
- Rock-Hard Heat by Cristal Ryder
- Finn’s Redemption by Sierra Summers
- Trust in Me (Rancho Del Cielo, Book 5) by Dee Tenorio
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Honey Pie by Donna Kauffman

Honey Pie by Donna Kauffman
Series: Cupcake Club, Book 4
Publisher: Brava
Genre: Contemporary Romance Honey Pie Cover
ISBN: 9780758280534
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Honey D’Amourvell is looking for a fresh start. When her aunt dies, leaving Honey her shop on Sugarberry Island, Honey picks up and moves across the country in the hopes of opening her own shop, becoming a part of the island’s community, and maybe, just maybe, finding the sense of belonging she’s always wanted.

Unfortunately, Honey’s first day in Sugarberry is anything but sweet. Her car dies just as she gets onto the island and, what’s worse, she discovers that her aunt’s store has been leased to the owners of Babycakes and has been turned into a cupcake shop. Part of Honey wants to turn tail and run back to where she came from, but at the moment she’s trapped. Her luck begins to change when sexy mechanic Dylan Ross takes it upon himself to help her. As Honey begins to venture out of her self-induced isolation she finds that maybe she can have it all; a home, friends, a store, and even the love of one gorgeous, kindhearted mechanic.

Small town charm combined with endearing protagonists and a pitch-perfect romance makes Honey Pie an irresistible read. Donna Kauffman made me want to pick up and move to Sugarberry Island… But only if there’s a hero like Dylan waiting for me at the end of the journey ;)

Honey just about broke my heart. She’s a lovely person with a lot to offer, but she has a psychic gift which makes it nearly impossible for her to get close to people. She desperately wants to make friends and be a part of Sugarberry’s community and I wanted that for her. Though Dylan helps her with this in part, it’s Honey’s determination to emerge from her shell that gets her what she wants. And speaking of Dylan… Wow! He’s pretty much the perfect hero — generous, kind, and so sexy he’ll make you melt faster than chocolate on a hot summer’s day. There’s nothing not to love about Dylan. As a couple, he and Honey are fantastic and their love story makes me smile just thinking about it.

Honey Pie is the fourth book in the Cupcake Club series but it can easily be read as a standalone. The heroines from the first three books play at least a small role in Honey Pie, something that should please readers who’ve already enjoyed Sugar Rush, Sweet Stuff, and Babycakes. I started the Cupcake Club series with Honey Pie, but by the time I finished the book I was adding the rest of the series to my wish list. Honey Pie is an engaging, sweet story and I hope Ms. Kauffman has plans to write more Cupcake Club books.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance by Delilah S. Dawson

The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance by Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud, Book 1.75
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance Cover
ISBN: 9781476715414
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Delilah S. Dawson Reading Order

In the grim and often bloody world of Sang, real pets are a rarity. Pet shop owner Frannie Pleasance is used to taking in strays, but famed musician Casper Sterling is a far different breed from her usual kittens and puppies. But taking Casper on as a lodger might be more trouble than Frannie anticipated. Upon his arrival strange and dangerous things start happening. When someone sets Frannie’s room on fire, she’s rescued by Scottish firefighter Thom Maccallan, a man whose kind heart and quiet strength draw Frannie out of her shell. Yet if Frannie hopes to have a future with Thom, the two of them must first discover who is trying to kill her and why. The answer may lie with Frannie’s inconvenient houseguest…

Despite danger lurking in the shadows, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance is as warm and inviting as Frannie’s shop. In Frannie and Thom, Delilah S. Dawson has created two loveable, hardworking protagonists who are impossible to resist. Frannie’s been badly hurt in the past, but in The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance she begins to start truly living again, and she does so without losing her innate kindness. Thom too has suffered loss and it’s the scars of his past which drive him to be protective of others. I love how patient and giving Thom is. He and Frannie are a truly wonderful pair and thus it’s easy to be swept away by their romance.

Casper Sterling — everyone’s favorite sexy musician from the first Blud book, Wicked as They Come — is an important secondary character in The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance. Once again Casper is looking for love in the wrong place, and as much as I like him, I’m glad Ms. Dawson didn’t add a love triangle to this story. The fact that the rather colorful Casper doesn’t manage to upstage the quieter Frannie and Thom is a testament to Ms. Dawson’s writing. That being said, I did finish The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance wanting to dive right into Casper’s book, Wicked as She Wants, for reasons I won’t spoil.

The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance is a charming story I simply adored. If you haven’t read Ms. Dawson’s first Blud novel, Wicked as They Come, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance provides a taste of the world that is satisfying as a standalone but will have you craving more of the fantastic world that is Sang.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Just In Time by Addison Fox


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I love Addison Fox's Alaskan Nights series. There's just something about reading these books that makes me happy. The third book, Just In Time, comes out in August and I'm eager to see what Ms. Fox has in store for Avery and Roman, a couple she's been building up to since book 1. If you like contemporary romance, I definitely recommend reading the first two Alaskan Nights books, Baby It's Cold Outside and Come Fly With Me.

Just In Time Cover Title: Just In Time
Series: Alaskan Nights, Book 3
Author: Addison Fox
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Book Description (from Addison Fox's website):

Sometimes your past is the only link to your future.

After a rejuvenating trip to Ireland, Avery Marks can’t help her frustration with the pace of her life in Alaska. Back in the small town of Indigo—where everyone knows everyone else’s business—Avery dreams of a bigger life. But with her ex-boyfriend back in town, it’s hard to get the past out of her head.

Drafted by the NHL right out of high school, Roman Forsyth left behind the love of his life to follow his pro career. With an injury sidelining him, Roman isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be at the top of his game. He is sure that he wants Avery just as much as he ever did.

While Roman wants a chance to make things right, Avery isn’t sure she can just forgive and forget. But when their long-buried passion sizzles back to life, they need to escape the watchful eyes of the rest of the town long enough to figure out if it’s any harder to stay together than it’s been to stay apart...

Review: Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Self-Help
ISBN: 9781455516902
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can’t act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown’s popular blog, ADULTING makes the scary, confusing “real world” approachable, manageable-and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood so that you may find safe harbor in Not Running Out of Toilet Paper Bay, and along the way you will learn:

• What to check for when renting a new apartment-Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things.
• When a busy person can find time to learn more about the world- It involves the intersection of NPR and hair-straightening.
• How to avoid hooking up with anyone in your office -- Imagine your coworkers having plastic, featureless doll crotches. It helps.
• The secret to finding a mechanic you love-Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind.

From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

Adulting CoverAdulting is a must-read for anyone in their twenties! Author Kelly Williams Brown has penned an incredibly helpful how-to geared toward twenty-somethings who may be grown up but don’t always feel like it.

We all have gaps in our knowledge (I freely admit to being a dunce when it comes to car maintenance) and Adulting helps fill in the most necessary ones in 468 simply-stated steps. It’s an incredibly useful resource, and I’m positive I’ll be re-reading the areas I need to focus on many times. But what I enjoyed best about Adulting wasn’t the tips themselves (though that is why I recommend the book), but rather Ms. Williams Brown’s writing style. Adulting is incredibly funny and a pure joy to read.

Adulting is a brilliant, helpful book that I’m glad I own. If you’re a twenty-something who doesn’t have adulthood all figured out (and face it, most of us don’t), then I highly recommend spending an afternoon reading Adulting.


Note: In addition to reading Adulting, I highly recommend checking out Kelly Williams Brown’s Adulting blog.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Prophecy by Vivi Anna

Prophecy by Vivi Anna
Series: The League of Illusion, Book 2
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Steampunk Romance Prophecy Cover
ISBN: 9781426895159
Buy it here: Carina Press

Time is running out for master illusionist Rhys Davenport. He must find his missing brother, Sebastian, before the power-mad Darin Hawthorne takes over as head of the League of Illusion. The only clue Rhys has as to Sebastian’s whereabouts is half of a mystical map. The other half of the map just happens to be in the hands of Corina Stratton, a beautiful psychic who has her own reasons for wanting the map. With Hawthorne and religious fanatic elves hot on their trail, Rhys searches for a portal that could lead him to Sebastian while Corina must choose between helping the man she’s falling in love with or stealing from him the one thing that could lead him to his brother.

Prophecy is a fast-paced, entertaining romantic adventure. Rhys is the type of hero who hides a wealth of emotion beneath his mask of control and I just loved peeling back the layers of his character. Corina, in turn, is a likeable heroine — the kind of person you’d want to have for a friend, were she real. While the romance in Prophecy is understated, I adored Corina and Rhys together. That being said, love takes a backseat to the main plotline of the series: finding Sebastian. The search for a portal to locate the missing Davenport brother takes readers further into the world of the League of Illusion. To me, this is where Prophecy shines. I love the universe author Vivi Anna has created and I felt like the steampunk elements of the first book, Legacy, have been streamlined and improved upon in Prophecy.

In many ways Prophecy is a bridge book, but to her credit, Ms. Anna never makes it feel like one. The story never drags and though I did have a few minor niggles about the way the story ended — the final encounter with the story’s villain was anticlimactic and I wish the plotline involving Corina’s need for the map had been more thoroughly explored — overall I greatly enjoyed Prophecy. I’m very much looking forward to the final League of Illusion book. I’m intrigued by what Ms. Anna has shown of Sebastian and I can’t wait to see how the trilogy concludes!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson

Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance Wicked As They Come Cover
ISBN: 9781451657883
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Delilah S. Dawson Reading Order

When Tish Everett opens a locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that it’s enchanted… At least, she doesn’t until she wakes up in a strange world. Sang is unlike anything Tish has ever imagined; a strange steampunk-like world where vampiric Bludmen and human Pinkies coexist in an oftentimes tense state. At the center of Tish’s journey is the man who brought her to Sang: roguish Bludman Criminy Stain. Criminy is a magician and the leader of a most unusual travelling circus. But the wonders of Criminy’s caravan are nothing compared to the attraction Tish feels toward the Bludman who would make her his.

Yet before Tish can even fully find her footing in this strange new world, her locket is stolen, taking with it the chance for her to return home. The search to recover the locket leads Tish and Criminy on an adventure more dangerous than either could have imagined. Soon it’s not just Tish’s future in jeopardy, but those of the Bludmen. Tish will have to risk everything if she wants to take a chance on a future with the Bludman who has captured her heart.

Wicked as They Come is the first book in Delilah S. Dawson’s wildly original Blud series. I cannot even begin to describe all that happens in Wicked as They Come, nor would I want to, for the fun of reading is in Tish’s journey. I will say that Sang is a unique, fascinating place that I would love to explore. That’s saying something when you consider all the dangers there are — Blud-hating magistrates, Coppers, monsters, ghosts, and bludrats (think ROUSes on steroids) to name a few. Ms. Dawson’s worldbuilding is top-notch in Wicked as They Come, and I cannot wait to see more of Sang.

At the heart of Wicked as They Come are Tish and Criminy, two characters I absolutely loved. Tish is a hardworking, caring woman who yearns to be free. She finds that freedom with Criminy, a man who definitely has a spot on my favorite heroes list. Criminy is charmingly different from the other heroes I’ve read about of late. He’s crafty, bold, roguish, a showman to the core, and surprisingly sweet. He and Tish are a dynamic pair and I hope to see more of them in the Blud series, for I liked them too much to leave them behind.

A couple of fascinating secondary characters would have had me eager to read more Blud books even if I hadn’t adored Tish and Criminy. Of the supporting characters, I’m most eager to read more about Casper, the man who almost manages to win Tish away from Criminy. Though I generally hate love triangles, the minor love triangle in Wicked as They Come was so well done that I didn’t mind at all. It’s easy to see why Tish is drawn to Casper, and it’s not just because of his looks. Though Casper didn’t win the girl this time, I’m looking forward to his book, Wicked as She Wants.

Wicked as They Come was captivating from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys steampunk or paranormal romance. Ms. Dawson is a fresh new voice in the romance genre and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Delilah S. Dawson Book Order

Click on series title to jump to a particular reading order:

Blud
Stand Alones


Blud

Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance

0.5. The Three Lives of Lydia (in the Carniepunk anthology, available 7/23/13)
My Review

1. Wicked As They Come
Criminy Stain and Tish Everett
My Review

1.5. The Mysterious Madam Morpho
Mr. Murdoch and Madam Morpho

1.75. The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance
Thom Maccallan and Frannie Pleasance
My Review

2. Wicked As She Wants
Casper Sterling and Ahnastasia Feodor
My Review

2.5. The Damsel and the Daggerman
Marco Taresque and Jacinda Harville

3. Wicked After Midnight
Vale Hildebrand and Demi Ward


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Stand Alones


Servants of the Storm (available 8/5/14)
Genre: YA Paranormal


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Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information books that have not yet been included to this list.

http://www.whimsydark.com/

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Ten Reasons to Stay by Sabrina Jeffries

Ten Reasons to Stay by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: School for Heiresses, Book 2.5
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Historical Romance Ten Reasons to Stay Cover
ISBN: 9781476731612
Release Date: May 6, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

Eliza Crenshawe loves gothic novels, but she never imagined she’d be living in one! Just like one of her favorite heroines, Eliza is forced to flee her home in the middle of the night in order to escape her guardian and his plans to marry her off against her will. Eliza’s attempt to “borrow” a horse from a neighboring estate lands her in more hot water, for her thievery is halted by Colin Hunt, the Earl of Monteith. If she has any hope of avoiding her uncle’s machinations, Eliza has to convince Colin to help her. What she doesn’t count on is her attraction to the new earl making her want to stay with him…forever.

There are more than ten reasons to love Ten Reasons to Stay. Eliza and Colin are such wonderful, endearing protagonists that you’re sure to be swept away by their story. The fact that neither Eliza nor Colin has ever truly felt like they belonged tugged at my heartstrings. Colin’s an earl trying to find his footing — and some peace — a world away from his native India, while Eliza is an impulsive heiress who manages to find trouble even when she’s not looking for it. The chemistry between them is palpable, making their whirlwind romance believable, which is not an easy feat. It takes an author like Sabrina Jeffries to create a memorable love story that takes place in the span of one day.

Ten Reasons to Stay is part of Ms. Jeffries’s School for Heiresses series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Colin and Eliza’s story was also first published in 2006 as part of The School for Heiresses anthology. It’s been nearly six and a half years since I first read Ten Reasons to Stay and I can honestly say that the story is still as entertaining as it was the first time I read it. If you’re looking for a sweet, sensual, sparkling romance, look no further than Ten Reasons to Stay!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire

Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Barefoot Bay, Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Barefoot in the Sun Cover
ISBN: 9781455508259
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Zoe Tamarin has been on the run since childhood and she’s never regretted it…except once. Now temporarily living in Barefoot Bay near her three best friends, Zoe is faced with a frightening development: her Aunt Pasha, the woman who saved her all those years ago, has cancer. Pasha can’t get treatment, lest she find herself in jail, which leaves Zoe with only one person to turn to. Nine years ago she broke Dr. Oliver Bradbury’s heart but now she needs to face the renowned oncologist again if she hopes to give Pasha a chance at surviving. Even if she can convince Oliver to help her aunt, Zoe is worried that she won’t be able to resist Oliver. He’s the only man she’s ever loved, the only man who has made her want to stay in one place. Will Zoe be able to make a life for herself in Barefoot Bay, or will the temptation to run be impossible to resist?

True love gets a second chance in Barefoot in the Sun. Zoe and Oliver make a great pair, but secrets, misunderstandings, and ingrained behavioral patterns threaten to keep them apart. I liked both Oliver and Zoe, but I had a bit of trouble connecting with them, Zoe in particular. Roxanne St. Claire did a great job of making me understand Zoe’s character and why she kept pushing Oliver away, but even with said understanding I grew a bit frustrated with her. When a cold case involving Pasha was added in, the amount of drama in Barefoot in the Sun slowed the momentum of the story and detracted from the main characters and the romance.

The shining stars of the story were, for me, Oliver’s son, Evan, and Zoe’s best friends. Evan’s a bright, endearing child who won me over from the first and I longed to see him get the love and attention he deserved. As for Zoe’s friends, Lacey and Jocelyn are previous Barefoot Bay heroines whom readers of the series will undoubtedly be thrilled to revisit. The love Lacey, Jocelyn, and Tess have for each other and Zoe made the quartet’s scenes in Barefoot in the Sun warm and inviting. While I haven’t read the first two Barefoot Bay stories, after meeting Lacey and Jocelyn I’m interested in reading Barefoot in the Sand and Barefoot in the Rain. And after finishing Barefoot in the Sun, I’m definitely eager to get my hands on the final Barefoot Bay book, Barefoot by the Sea. I can’t wait to see what Ms. St. Claire has in store for Tess!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Brazen Amazon by Sandy James


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I'm really enjoying Sandy James's Alliance of the Amazons series and I can't wait for Gina's story. If you haven't read the sereis and are interested in doing so, I definitely recommend reading it in order. The first two books are The Reluctant Amazon and The Impetuous Amazon.

The Brazen Amazon Cover Title: The Brazen Amazon
Series: Alliance of the Amazons, Book 3
Author: Sandy James
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: May 6, 2013
Sandy James Reading Order

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Zach Hanson is a tech wizard, capable of creating and improving gadgets--including remote nuclear warhead launchers. But he's always known that he's destined for something more, something greater, something...supernatural.

Powerful Air Amazon Gina Himmel is one of four sisters called to protect the world from those who would do it harm. Demigods in league with an Ancient have been taking over the bodies of leaders in the military and technological sectors, and Gina is sent to San Francisco to watch over Zach.

Under Gina's protection, Zach is introduced to a world of ancient deities, rogue gods and the bold, brazen Amazons who keep humanity safe. Amidst the whirlwind of battle, Zach and Gina discover a love that could give them the power to save the world—or destroy it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: A Younger Man by Cameron Dane

A Younger Man by Cameron Dane
Series: Cabin Fever, Book 3
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Male/Male Erotic Contemporary Romance A Younger Man Cover
ISBN: 9781595789525
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Cameron Dane Reading Order

Noah Maitland considers himself an average Joe. He has two teenage sons, a successful business as a plumber/handyman and he’s recently divorced. Now that he’s out of the closet as well, Noah’s looking for a suitable man to call his own.

Zane Halliday is anything but suitable — he’s much too young for Noah, he’s guardian to his brother and sister and, most importantly, he isn’t gay. The younger man does, however, need Noah’s help. And when Noah gives Zane a place to stay and a part-time job, close quarters and a blossoming friendship draw the two men together. Despite common sense telling him otherwise, Noah wants Zane. Noah is determined to deny his attraction to the younger man, but how can he when he learns that Zane wants him as well?

Friendship becomes something much more in A YOUNGER MAN. Noah and Zane are the latest pair of memorable heroes from the incredibly talented Cameron Dane. I loved these two men and their families; Ms. Dane brought all the Maitlands and Hallidays to life in such a way that I felt like I was one of the group. While the book is titled A YOUNGER MAN, Zane wasn’t your average twenty-four-year-old. Circumstances have placed a heavy load of responsibility on Zane, making him much more mature than his years might suggest. He’s every bit equal partner material for forty-two-year-old Noah. The chemistry between the two of them is fantastic, and though the sex scenes overtook the second half of the book a bit more than I would have liked — to me they overpowered some important plot points — I was rooting for Zane and Noah to find that “happily ever after” they so deserved.

A YOUNGER MAN is the third book in Ms. Dane’s CABIN FEVER series, but you don’t have to have read THE SWEETEST TATTOO or GREY’S AWAKENING in order to follow along. That being said, fans of the series should be pleased to revisit Grey and Sirus. I definitely loved seeing those two again, but in the interest of full disclosure I’ll say that GREY’S AWAKENING is one of my favorite books by Ms. Dane. All in all, I thought A YOUNGER MAN was an entertaining addition to the CABIN FEVER series and I’m hoping Ms. Dane has a book planned for Ramsay, for I’m not ready to let go of this fantastic series just yet.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I love all of Ilona Andrews's work, but the Kate Daniels series has a special place in my heart. I can't wait for the sixth book, Magic Rises.

If you like urban fantasy and haven't tried the Kate Daniels books, go grab Magic Bites - you won't regret it.

Magic Rises Cover Title: Magic Rises
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 6
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Ilona Andrews Reading Order

Book Description (from Ilona Andrews's website):

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday in Review

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here, on Joyfully Reviewed, and Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Sinner’s Heart (Hellraisers, Book 3) by Zoë Archer (available 4/2/13)
- The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn (available 4/2/13)

All other new reviews:
- Hex Appeal by Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod, Simon R. Green, Lori Handeland, Erica Hayes, and Carrie Vaughn
- Come Fly With Me (Alaskan Nights, Book 2) by Addison Fox
- Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, Book 4) by Lisa Kleypas
- Fifty Shades of Mr. Darcy by William Codpiece Thwackery

Upcoming reviews:
- Love is Murder anthology
- Legacy (The League of Illusion, Book 1) by Vivi Anna
- Prophecy (The League of Illusion, Book 2) by Vivi Anna
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, Book 5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Mystery Man (Dream Man, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Ninja Cupcakes by T.A. Chase
- A Younger Man (Cabin Fever, Book 3) by Cameron Dane
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration, Book 2) by Lia Habel
- Ten Reasons to Stay (School for Heiresses, Book 2.5) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Honey Pie (Cupcake Club, Book 4) by Donna Kauffman
- Hotter Than Ever (Out of Uniform, Book 9) by Elle Kennedy
- Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin
- The Devil’s Heart (The Chattan Curse, Book 3) by Cathy Maxwell
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Educating Elizabeth by Kate Pearce
- Redeeming Jack by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber

Review: Sinner's Heart by Zoë Archer

Sinner's Heart by Zoë Archer
Series: Hellraisers, Book 3
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance Sinners Heart Cover
ISBN: 9781420122299
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Zoë Archer Reading Order

Once, Abraham Stirling and his closest friends reveled in being known as the Hellraisers. However, that was before the five of them managed to sell their souls to the devil in exchange for power. Haunted by his time as a soldier, Bram doesn’t want to give up his ability to persuade women to fall at his feet. Yet he can’t ignore the fact that London is literally going to hell around him. Especially since his unwanted companion won’t let him forget it.

Valeria Livia Corva was a Roman priestess who knows firsthand the cost of bargaining with the devil. Now a ghost intent on righting the wrongs she and the Hellraisers have done, Livia knows that she must convince Bram to pick up the mantle of warrior again, lest the devil take the world to hell with him. What Livia doesn’t count on is the sinful lord, who she’s bound to, awakening desires in her that makes her yearn to be human once again.

There are no saints, only sinners in SINNER’S HEART. The final battle between good and evil in the HELLRAISERS series is filled with danger, sensuality and romance, making for an exciting read.

I tend to shy away from stories with ghosts as heroes or heroines, but Livia is such a great character that her incorporeal state didn’t bother me in the slightest, though it’s definitely an obstacle for her and Bram. Livia is cunning, sensual and wholly engaging. The chemistry between her and Bram is fantastic, both in bed and out. Bram, in turn, is so much more than the rake that society sees him as. There’s honor in him, though the wounds of his past made him ignore that part of himself long before he began to be influenced by the devil. That being said, you can’t ignore Bram’s erotic talents — SINNER’S HEART features one of the sexiest scenes I’ve read in a while.

The battles the Hellraisers must fight — for their souls, for their loved ones, against the devil and even against each other — fill SINNER’S HEART with the most delicious tension. I hesitate to talk too much about the non-romance aspects of the book because much of the joy of reading is in the discovery. Suffice it to say author Zoë Archer makes the road to redemption an interesting one for Bram and Livia.

SINNER’S HEART is the third book in the HELLRAISERS series and I definitely recommend reading DEVIL’S KISS and DEMON’S BRIDE before picking up Bram and Livia’s story. While you can probably follow along without having read books one and two, the overarching series plot is so completely interwoven with the romance that you’d be missing out if you don’t read the HELLRAISERS books in order.

Zoë Archer is an auto-buy author for me, and with books like SINNER’S HEART it’s easy to see why. SINNER’S HEART is a wonderful addition to a truly excellent series.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.