Sunday, September 29, 2013

Review: Cursed by S. J. Harper

Cursed by S. J. Harper
Series: Fallen Siren, Book 1
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy Cursed Cover
Release Date: October 1, 2013
ISBN: 9780425263297
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Emma Monroe is cursed – literally. Centuries ago, she was stripped of her wings and bound to Earth for her failure in rescuing Persephone from Hades. Any man she falls in love with is doomed to die at the hands of the goddess Demeter. Now Emma’s an agent for the FBI, hiding her true nature as a siren while working toward redemption by finding missing persons. Her latest case involves a missing artist who may be more than she seems, but that isn’t what’s throwing Emma for a loop.

Emma’s new partner, Zack Armstrong, is an agent with supernatural secrets of his own. Zack’s a werewolf whose past has him searching for salvation as well. The pull between he and Emma is undeniably strong…not to mention dangerous. When their case takes an unexpected turn, both Zack and Emma are left vulnerable by their growing connection. And to save the victims and each other, both werewolf and siren might have to sacrifice the unimaginable.

Cursed cursed is a paranormal adventure worthy of the name. With Cursed, S. J. Harper has delivered a dynamite beginning to the Fallen Siren series.

Zack and Emma have the kind of chemistry that can’t be beat. Though Cursed is written entirely from Emma’s point of view, she and Zack are equally strong leads and I can’t wait to delve deeper into their characters in future books. Their easy working relationship contrasts perfectly with the troubles of their burgeoning romantic relationship. Regarding the latter, S. J. Harper throws some surprising curveballs in their path, one of which literally had my jaw dropping.

Relationships aside, the world building of Cursed should delight any Urban Fantasy fan. The twist on the sirens of Greek mythology, combined with the intriguing glimpses into this world’s vampire and werewolf mythos, have me begging for more Fallen Siren novels. Though I won’t spoil what I learned (that would ruin much of the fun of the novel), suffice it to say that S. J. Harper does a fantastic job of introducing a marvelous world without going overboard and slowing down the story.

An intriguing mystery and a host of fascinating secondary characters round out Cursed, making the book impossible to put down. I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with the ending of this story. There’s a punch-you-in-the-gut cliffhanger for anyone attached to Emma and Zack, but it’s organic to the story and ensures that I’ll definitely be picking up the next Fallen Siren book.

Cursed is a wickedly sirenic story that will have you reading late into the night. Authors Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein (the writing team that is S. J. Harper) have created something wonderful with the Fallen Siren series and I can’t wait to see where they take readers next!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Always on My Mind Blog Tour

I'm a huge fan of Jill Shalvis's and Lucky Harbor is my favorite series of hers, so it's no surprise that I was practically jumping up and down when Forever invited me to ask Ms. Shalvis some questions and participate in the Always on My Mind blog tour. If you've never read the Lucky Harbor books (see the list here), you're missing out!

Check out my review to see what I thought of the eighth Lucky Harbor book (spoiler alert: I loved it ;)) and then scroll on down to see some Q&As with Ms. Shalvis, read an excerpt from Always on My Mind, and enter to win some fabulous prizes from Ms. Shalvis's publisher, Forever!


Q&As with Jill Shalvis

1. I utterly and completely love the Lucky Harbor series and I hope Once in a Lifetime doesn't mark the end of the series. Are you planning on writing more Lucky Harbor stories for characters we've already met? Jill Shalvis
I'm actually writing the next trilogy right now! I don't have too many spoilers, yet, other than I have to say these three heroes are ... YUM. :) We've got Sam, Cole, and Tanner, three guys running Lucky Harbor Charters (after seven years on an oil rig together).

2. Do you have any favorites of the characters you've written?
Sexy firefighter Jack Harper from ALWAYS ON MY MIND is one of my favorite heroes ever. And after Sheriff Sawyer Thompson (from HEAD OVER HEELS) and Dr. Josh Scott (from FOREVER AND A DAY), that is really saying something. But from the beginning, Jack just grabbed onto my heart and wouldn’t let go. He’s a jokester, one of those guys who uses humor to deflect attention from himself.

3. What’s one thing about being an author you wish someone had told you before you were first published?
Ha! That when you tell people you're a romance author, ninety-nine out of a hundred people will get ask if "you write those Fifty Shade-like stories?" :).

Where to find Jill Shalvis on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Excerpt from Always on My Mind

Always on My Mind Cover
He stared at her. “That’s quite a list of shortcomings,” he eventually said. “Is that all?”

“No.” She shoved her wet hair from her face, though she managed to keep her regal stance, nose firmly in the air at nose-bleed height. “I held back because I didn’t want to be overly rude.”

He laughed softly. “Don’t hold back, Leah. Let’s hear all of it.”

“Well, your truck has more sporting goods than a store, you never say you’re sorry, and your girlfriends look like supermodels. I mean, what is that? There’s nothing wrong with real boobs, you know!”

“I fail to see the problem.”

She snorted again, and he was starting to feel greatly insulted. “You’re not exactly a walk in the park, Leah.”

“No?”

“No. You’re flighty, you live for your every whim, you downplay any real emotion you feel.”

She hugged herself tight. “Good thing this is all pretend then, isn’t it,” she said softly.

“Yeah.”

She was freezing. And hauntingly gorgeous, so damn gorgeous standing there wet and silvery by the moon’s glow, like a goddess. It’s Leah, he had to keep reminding himself. Leah, who’d once beaten him in a marshmallow-eating contest, only to puke all over him. Leah, whose dark-green eyes had a way of telling the world to bite her. Leah, who’d run off on him and left him heartbroken. He took a step into her—for what exactly, he had no idea—and she poked a finger into his chest.

“God,” she said. “You’re so…” Words apparently failed her, but she let out a sound that managed to perfectly convey how annoying he was.

“Ditto,” he said, and then grabbed the finger drilling a hole between his pecs and tugged her hard enough that she lost her balance and fell against him.

He wrapped an arm around her waist, entangling a hand in her wet hair.

She went still as stone and stared into his eyes. And then lowered her gaze to his mouth.

Yeah, they were in sync there. Suddenly he couldn’t breathe. Hers caught audibly in her throat, a good sign, he decided. Maybe she wouldn’t knee him in the balls. Testing the waters, he grazed her jawline with his teeth.

She shivered.

Then he slid his mouth to the very corner of hers and was rewarded by the clutch of her hands on his shirt. Having her hold on to him like this, like he was her only anchor, sent a bolt of lust straight through him. “Leah,” he murmured, hearing the surprise in his own voice, feeling the heat course through him as he finally—God, finally—covered her mouth with his.

Her lips parted for him eagerly, and he groaned, drowning in the erotic collision of her hot tongue and chilled, wet body.

Serious trouble. He was in serious trouble.

Purchase Always on My Mind here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


Giveaway

$100 giftcard from a book e-tailer (i.e. Amazon, B&N, etc.)
or
Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor backlist (3 winners)

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis


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

I absolutely love Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series and the ninth book, Once in a Lifetime promises to be excellent. Aubrey's a different sort of heroine - a little bit nice and a little bit bitchy. She intrigues me and the chemistry she had in the last book (Always on My Mind) with Ben makes me more eager than I would even normally be to read Once in a Lifetime.

If you're a fan of Jill Shalvis - or even if you've never heard of her and are intrigued - come back at midnight PST on 9/25. I've interviewed Ms. Shalvis as part of Forever's Always on My Mind Blog Tour and there'll be a giveaway :)

Once in a Lifetime Cover Title: Once in a Lifetime
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 9
Author: Jill Shalvis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Jill Shalvis Reading Order and Reviews

Book Description (from Goodreads):

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniels tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben …even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done…

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday 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:
- Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampires, Book 1) by Larissa Ione (available 9/24/13)
- Always on My Mind (Lucky Harbor, Book 8) by Jill Shalvis (available 9/24/13)
- Drawn Together (Brown Family, Book 6) by Lauren Dane (available 10/1/13)

All other new reviews:
- The Bridesmaid’s Best Man by Susanna Carr
- Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes (Geek Girls, Book 2) by Gina Lamm
- Thankless in Death (In Death, Book 37) by J.D. Robb

Upcoming reviews:
- Christmas on Main Street by JoAnn Ross, Susan Donovan, LuAnn McLane, and Alexis Morgan
- Rise of the Gryphon (Belador, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
- The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, and Kimberly Kincaid
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoƫ 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
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- Bolted (Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 2) by Meg Benjamin
- Cowboy Waltz by Cameron Dane
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Gossamer Wing (Steam and Seduction, Book 1) by Delphine Dryden
- 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
- 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
- Cursed (Fallen Siren, Book 1) by S.J. Harper
- Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, Book 6) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Beauty Bites (Biting Love, Book 6) by Mary Hughes
- Reaver (Demonica, Book 6 / Lords of Deliverance, Book 5) by Larissa Ione
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Since You’ve Been Gone (Welcome to Paradise, Book 4) by Elle Kennedy
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Moonlight Kiss (Cricket Creek, Book 5) by LuAnn McLane
- 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
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Rumor Has It (Animal Magnetism, Book 4) by Jill Shalvis
- This Is Who I Am (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 7) by Cherise Sinclair
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, Book 12) by Nalini Singh
- Sully’s Sweet Salvation by Sierra Summers
- The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- His Lordship Possessed (Disenchanted & Co., Book 2) by Lynn Viehl
- Easy by Tammara Webber

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 8
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Always on My Mind Cover
Release Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 9781455521104
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Leah Sullivan and Jack Harper have always been best friends and each other’s favorite nemesis. But when things started to change between them, Leah took off, breaking Jack’s heart and her own in the process. Now Leah’s back in Lucky Harbor to help her grandmother run her bakery, and she can’t help but fantasize about the blazingly hot firefighter who was always there for her. But Leah finds herself in over her head when she tells a little white lie to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother. No one – especially not Jack – was supposed to find out that Leah said she and him were an item. Only you can’t keep secrets in Lucky Harbor, which means it’s not long before Leah and Jack are stuck playing pretend for the whole town. Except it doesn’t feel like pretend to either, which means that Leah has to decide if she’s willing to face the ghosts of her past and stay put in Lucky Harbor with Jack.

Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor books are always filled with humor and heart, and Always on My Mind is no exception. Ms. Shalvis takes the classic friends-to-lovers trope and turns it into something fresh and exciting.

Leah is a talented pastry chef whose father has done a number on her self-esteem. As such, she tends to not finish things and doesn’t like to stay put in one spot. Leah’s someone I’d love to have as a friend, were she real, and it was a joy to watch her fully come into herself over the course of Always on My Mind. As for Jack…well, Ms. Shalvis knows how to write one heck of a swoon-worthy hero. Jack’s charming nature keeps others from seeing the pain he hides. Having grown up in the shadow of his firefighter father who was killed in the line of duty, Jack has developed into someone who is constantly pushing himself to be something he’s not. Like Leah, Jack comes into his own in Always on My Mind. Character development aside, what truly delighted me about this book was the chemistry between Jack and Leah. The two of them make a great pair and it’s clear (though possibly not to them) that they were made for each other. It was easy for me to fall into this book because I liked Jack and Leah so much, both as individuals and as a couple. The road to happily ever after isn’t a smooth one for them, but Ms. Shalvis makes the journey worth it.

Always on My Mind is the eighth book in the Lucky Harbor series, but if you haven’t read any or all of the previous Lucky Harbor books, this one can be read as a standalone. Lucky Harbor fans will undoubtedly enjoy series favorites appearing, including Sheriff Sawyer Thompson of Head Over Heels, town gossip and Facebook-loving Lucille, and At Last supporting character (and hopefully future heroine) Riley. Leah and Jack’s best friends, Ali and Luke (of It Had to Be You), are strong supporting characters, and after seeing Aubrey and Ben, Always on My Mind left me more eager than ever to read the next Lucky Harbor story, Once in a Lifetime. And speaking of supporting characters, it’d be remiss of me to write about Jack and Leah’s story without mentioning Jack’s dog, Kevin, who steals every scene he’s in and is responsible for a good amount of the hilarity in Always on My Mind.

Always on My Mind is filled with love, friendship, sensuality, and fun. I absolutely adored Jack and Leah and I look forward to re-reading their story many, many times. Bring on Once in a Lifetime, because I can’t get enough of Lucky Harbor!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Drawn Together by Lauren Dane

Drawn Together by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family, Book 6
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance with Light D/s Drawn Together Cover
Release Date: October 1, 2013
ISBN: 9780425256091
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Tattoo artist Raven Smith is rough, blunt, and somewhat broken. Her past has made it incredibly difficult for her to get close to people, and she certainly has no plans to risk her heart in a monogamous relationship. Then she meets Jonah Warner and her world is turned upside down. Jonah’s a hot-as-sin attorney who falls hard and fast for Raven and doesn’t let her hide from him. He wants everything from her, and that makes Raven want to run scared. But if she gives the whole of herself to Jonah, he just might be the one to help her heal.

Drawn Together is a sexy, emotional read. I found it easy to like Raven; she’s straightforward and takes no sh*t, but there’s a vulnerability to her that breaks your heart. She’s been through the wringer more than once, and as a result, she’s emotionally damaged and has a hard time trusting or giving all of herself. I really enjoyed watching Raven start to heal over the course of Drawn Together. Jonah is the catalyst for her change. I loved that he doesn’t back down from what he wants from Raven, but he also doesn’t push her too far. Jonah’s the perfect mix of alpha male and caring partner. Their relationship is beautifully drawn by author Lauren Dane, who doesn’t stint on eroticism even as Raven and Jonah deal with heavy issues.

Drawn Together is the sixth book in the Brown Family series, but as I have not yet read the previous five stories, I can safely say that Raven and Jonah’s book can be read as a standalone. Most of the previous Brown Family heroes and heroines (plus some of their children) play strong supporting roles in Drawn Together, which is sure to delight fans of the series. Raven’s best friend, Erin (of Laid Bare and Laid Open), does tend to overtake the scenes she’s in, which possibly drew me out of the story a touch since I haven’t read Erin’s books and thus have no real connection to her. Even with that minor niggle, I adored Drawn Together and I’m looking forward to reading more Brown Family novels!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione
Series: MoonBound Clan Vampires, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance Bound by Night Cover
Release Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 9781476700175
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Larissa Ione Reading Order

At eight years old, Nicole Martin’s world changed forever when her family’s vampire servants rose up in rebellion, slaughtering her loved ones and leaving Nicole with a condition that’s slowly killing her. Twenty years later, Nicole is the head of her family’s empire and she’s focused her energy on studying vampire physiology in order to advance human medicine. Nicole’s nightmare of being at the mercy of a vampire comes true when she’s taken by the enemy. Only the enemy is nothing like she’d ever imagined he would be…

Having lost his mate to the Martin family, MoonBound Clan vampire Riker has more reason to hate Nicole than most. Yet his desire for vengeance is tempered by the undeniable attraction he feels toward her. And when the fate of the MoonBound Clan rests on the rescue of a vampire kidnapped by the Martin family company, Riker must turn to Nicole for help. As he grows closer to Nicole, Riker realizes that she could prove to be his salvation…or the destructor of all he holds dear.

Larissa Ione has done it again! Bound by Night is an exciting, intelligently written, beautifully crafted book that draws you in from the first and doesn’t let go. I loved this first installment of the MoonBound Clan Vampires series and I’m already craving the next novel.

Nicole is a survivor, a fighter, and an overall excellent heroine. I admired her brilliance and determination to do what’s right, more so because her view of who is right and who is wrong shifts over the course of the book and she’s not afraid to admit her wrongdoings. Riker, in turn, is a former soldier turned vampire who learns that the world isn’t as black and white as he’d like to believe. I enjoyed watching he and Nicole overcome their prejudices against each other’s species and learn to deal with the respective ghosts of their pasts. The chemistry between them is undeniably hot, adding extreme sizzle to an already compelling romance.

The world of the MoonBound Clan is utterly fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more. My love of Riker and Nicole’s romance was matched only by my love of the detail of Ms. Ione’s world building. Since Nicole’s specialty is vampire physiology, readers get to delve into the world of science and the details concerning biology, hematology, and physiology were supremely interesting. In addition, Ms. Ione uses Native American mythology as the basis for her vampire mythology, which makes Bound by Night stand out from the norm.

Bound by Night is an incredible start to what promises to be an amazing series. There are a host of vampires in the MoonBound Clan I can’t wait to see more of and the story takes twists and turns that leave me wanting more. Ms. Ione excels at creating diverse characters with unique voices, which adds a richness to the worlds she creates that just can’t be beat. Given the way Bound by Night ends, I’ve got my fingers crossed in the hopes that book two, Chained by Night, is about MoonBound chief Hunter and the vampire I hope is his heroine.

Larissa Ione is a phenomenal writer whose stories are utterly addictive. Riker, Nicole, and the entire MoonBound Clan are sure to work their way into readers’ hearts. Bound by Night should appeal to fans of J.R. Ward and Nalini Singh. Don’t miss out on this sexy, engaging tale!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, Book 37
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Genre: Futuristic/Mystery/Suspense Thankless in Death Cover
ISBN: 9780399164422
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
J.D. Robb Reading Order

Thanksgiving is a time for family and togetherness. Even Lieutenant Eve Dallas is reluctantly getting into the spirit as she prepares for a visit from her husband’s family. But not everyone is in the holiday spirit. Jerry Reinhold has just murdered his parents, stunning everyone who knew him. Knowing who the killer is doesn’t help Eve; pure luck has Jerry one step ahead of her. What’s worse, Jerry has developed a taste for killing and he’s out to target anyone he ever had an issue with. The clock’s ticking and it’s up to Eve and her team to narrow down a seemingly endless list of potential targets before Jerry strikes next.

THANKLESS IN DEATH is an excellent – albeit disturbing – addition to the incredible IN DEATH series. Author J.D. Robb has outdone herself in creating a villain so arrogant, so petulant and so vividly-drawn that I actively hated him. In this story we spend almost as much time with Jerry and his victims as we do with Eve and Roarke, and I found myself becoming attached to some of Jerry’s victims, which drew me into the story. I could feel Eve’s frustration mounting as Jerry managed to elude her, and I give Ms. Robb high marks for making THANKLESS IN DEATH one of the tensest reads in the series.

Murderers aside, what I truly loved about THANKLESS IN DEATH was seeing Eve’s professional development. Eve hits the highest point in her career to date, and she’s presented with an offer that many will likely believe has been a long time coming. This book also features a few great moments between Eve and some minor characters in the series, including Nixie Swisher from SURVIVOR IN DEATH and Nixie’s adoptive parents, Richard and Elizabeth DeBlass from NAKED IN DEATH. I really enjoyed getting to see the impact Eve has had on the lives of others. What’s more, I loved that Eve herself got to see the difference she’s made in the lives of those she’s helped.

Because it is so well written, THANKLESS IN DEATH is a hard book to read at times. I found myself gripping the pages of the book tightly more than once, hoping against hope that Eve and her team would manage to take down Jerry. Whether this kind of case is to your taste or not, Eve and Roarke fans will surely be delighted to catch up with these dynamic leads and their loved ones.


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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: The Bridesmaid’s Best Man by Susanna Carr

The Bridesmaid’s Best Man by Susanna Carr
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Genre: Contemporary Romance The Bridesmaids Best Man Cover
Release Date: September 17, 2013
ISBN: 978-0373797738
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When her best friend gets engaged, Angie Lawson finds herself in wedding hell. Between a diva bride, two backstabbing bridesmaids, a controlling assistant, and more events than you could shake a stick at, Angie’s one step away from stabbing herself with Bridezilla’s stilettos. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Angie’s ex-boyfriend shows up at the bachelorette party…as a stripper.

Breaking up with Angie was the hardest thing Cole Foster has ever done, but he knows she deserves better than him. But when he goes undercover in a strip club for a case, he finds himself in the path — and in the lap — of the woman he can’t stop thinking about. And when someone knocks out the maid of honor, Cole is forced to ask Angie for help with his case. He needs to get close to the bridal party and she’s his only hope of doing so.

Though Angie doesn’t want to get her heart broken again, she can’t say no to Cole. But the longer they’re around one another, the less either is able to deny the sizzling chemistry between them…

It may take a strip club, an insane bridal party, and some smoking-hot sex, but true love gets a second chance in The Bridesmaid’s Best Man. Angie and Cole’s story is fast-paced and fun, thanks to Susanna Carr’s superb storytelling.

Angie is an outstanding heroine. She’s more comfortable in track pants and playing basketball than she is wearing stilettos and hitting the spa. It broke my heart that people constantly wear down her self-esteem by suggesting that she’s unfeminine. Her breakup with Cole is the last straw in this area (she mistakenly believes her dominant attitude in the bedroom drove him away) and one of my favorite things about The Bridesmaid’s Best Man was watching Angie find her confidence again. Cole, in turn, is a former cop with a scarred heart and a sexy swagger. What’s most appealing about him is that he finds Angie hot-as-hell just as she is and he doesn’t try to change her. Though the two of them fit great together, it’s not an easy road to happily ever after. Cole’s childhood has left him feeling unlovable and because of this, he pushes Angie away, even though he cares for her. I do wish Ms. Carr had shown some parts of their first romance in flashbacks, but even with just staying in the present, I really enjoyed watching Angie and Cole find their way back to one another.

Wedding drama and a bit of mystery involving someone trying to bump off bridesmaids adds further spark to The Bridesmaid’s Best Man. Even though I cringed along with Angie in some parts, I liked this plotline just as much as I did the romance. I wouldn’t wish that wedding on anyone, but it sure made for one heck of a story.

The Bridesmaid’s Best Man is a sensual, engaging story with a heroine and hero who are sure to capture your heart. If you like second chance romances, Angie and Cole’s book is for you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Charming by Elliott James


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

I came across this book a few months ago (on someone else's WOW, in fact) and I really want to read it. If only my wallet was as big as my TBB list. LOL.

Charming Cover Title: Charming
Series: Pax Arcana, Book 1
Author: Elliott James
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Book Description (from Goodreads):

John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley


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

I LOVE Jennifer Ashley's Highland Pleasure series, so I'm always eager to see what's going to happen next for the delightful Mackenzies. Even if I weren't in love with the series, the groundwork Ms. Ashley's been laying for Fellows and Louisa's story has had me salivating for The Untamed Mackenzie!

The Untamed Mackenzie Cover Title: The Untamed Mackenzie
Series: Highland Pleasures, Book 5.5
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Jennifer Ashley Reading Order and Reviews

Book Description (from Goodreads):

A woman of breeding meets a man of no standing...

To redeem her family’s disgraced name, Lady Louisa Scranton has decided to acquire a proper husband. He needs to be a man of fortune and highly respectable in order to restore both her family's lost wealth and reputation. She enters the Marriage Mart with all flags flying, determined to find the right bachelor.

But Louisa’s hopes are dashed when the Bishop of Hargate drops dead at her feet—and she is shockingly accused of murder! Soon, Louisa’s so-called friends begin shunning her, because the company of a suspected killer is never desirable in polite society.

The problem comes to the ears of Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, by-blow of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family and an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has shared two passionate kisses with Lady Louisa–and vows to clear her name. For not only does he know she’s innocent, he recognizes he’s falling for the lovely lady.

Fellows is Louisa's only hope of restoring her family's honor—and it is he alone who intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder...

Review: Take Me Home Tonight by Elle Kennedy

Take Me Home Tonight by Elle Kennedy
Series: Welcome to Paradise, Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Take Me Home Tonight Cover
ISBN: 9781609286231
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
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For three long years Maddie Wilson has waited for her boss, Owen Bishop, to see her as more than his tomboy best friend. With a little help from some new friends, Maddie gets a makeover that knocks Owen off his feet.

Whether she’s dressed up, dressed down or not dressed at all, Maddie leaves Owen breathless. But having grown up with a father who constantly cheated on his mother, Owen’s paranoid that he’s inherited the tendency to stray. There’s no way he’d ever hurt Maddie like that, so he tries to keep his distance…and fails. Maddie believes he’s the one for her, but Owen has to learn to trust himself before he can embark on any kind of relationship with the woman he’s crazy about.

Return to author Elle Kennedy’s delightful town of Paradise in TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT. Maddie is a heroine who is so incredibly likeable, she’s sure to charm any readers’ socks off. Owen, in turn, is a good man who is so convinced he’ll hurt Maddie that he manages to do just that by trying to avoid hurting her. Ms. Kennedy makes it hard to stay mad at Owen, though the man definitely needed a few kicks in the behind. And he gets those from Maddie. She may be blindly in love with him, but she’s no doormat. Even when Owen inadvertently damages her self esteem, Maddie picks herself back up and – in a way that sure as heck surprised me – regains and even strengthens her confidence. Though I won’t spoil what she does, Ms. Kennedy definitely had me saying “Go Maddie!”

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is the second story in Ms. Kennedy’s WELCOME TO PARADISE series, but it can be read as a standalone. Nate and Charlotte, the hero and heroine from the first book, WELCOME TO PARADISE, do play supporting roles, but it’s two other supporting characters that threaten to steal the show from Maddie and Owen. The ongoing series subplot involving Nate and Charlotte’s friend Lexie and Maddie’s friend Cooper have me ready to beg Ms. Kennedy for their story. Cooper actually manages to out-sexy Owen in TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, and it’s not an easy feat to be more drool-worthy than a book’s hero.

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is Ms. Kennedy’s fresh take on the classic friends-to-lovers storyline. I enjoyed Maddie and Owen’s story, and I absolutely cannot wait for more WELCOME TO PARADISE stories!


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