Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Stolen Justice

Title: Stolen Justice
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: DJ Gross
Pub: 2011 by Amazon Digital Services

He's a thief
JT Flynn stole high end art from the world's worst criminals until he lost a member of his team. When a beautiful stranger threatens to expose his thefts unless he steals a Van Gogh, he calls his team together for one last job.

She's a liar
Computer hacker Laura Danvers has many secrets and one goal: to destroy Rob Autrey's money laundering operation at any cost. She needs JT's team of thieves to divert Autrey's attention so she can get the job done.

They’ve got trouble
Forced to work together, Laura and JT come to a grudging mutual respect which heats to a combustible attraction they work to ignore. Passion can’t get in the way of pulling off the high risk heist.

Then a feud between Autrey and one of his clients makes the job even more dangerous. Now the cost of stealing justice may be their lives.

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

Wow! Loved this book from start to finish. For anyone who enjoys Romantic Suspense - this is a must read and for .99 on Amazon, you'd be crazy not to read it.

Sometimes the best books are the ones you have no expectations about, don’t even know anything about and discover quite by accident. I was trolling through Amazon, checking out .99 books and noticed Stolen Justice had quite a few good 5 star reviews. I’ve never heard of this author, but the blurb sounded good and since romantic suspense if my favourite genre, for .99 even if it stunk - no big deal.

Stolen Justice is like a little gem I discovered and it is as far from a stinker as you can get. I loved it!

A sure sign for me about how much I like a book is when I want to read it to the exclusion of doing all else. I was sitting in the dentist office on Friday afternoon and all I could think about was "hurry up so I can get out of this chair so I can finish reading Stolen Justice. I also knew before I was ½ way finished reading that I would be giving it 5 stars.

Laura Danvers is a nerdy geek, Bill Gates smart computer chick and she’s got a plan to bring down a scumbag. To execute her plan she’s going to need JT Flynn and his “crew” to make that happen.

This book was non-stop action with an Ocean’s 11/12 or Mission Impossible feel to it. The plan to bring down Ibank CEO and humanitarian Rob Autrey who is also the scum of the earth running a secret underground website that launders money and is involved in the sex trade (again the “IT” topic of a lot of books I’ve read this year) was complicated, elaborate and dangerous.Laura had the necessary goods on JT and his team to gain his compliance (what’s a little blackmail between friends?) and although JT was pissed at being blackmailed, he felt he had no choice but to agree to help Laura even if it meant risking his team.

JT runs the heist of a famous Van Gogh painting in Rob’s possession like a precise military operation. Every member of his team has a job and he runs a tight ship as the leader of his pack. In reality Laura is the brains behind the operation and she may just have kept a few pertinent details from JT...ohhh boy did she! The twists and turns and secrets revealed as the story progressed kept me on edge and kept me riveted to my IPOD and swiping the pages. Lots of things I didn’t see coming.

The planning and heist take place over only a couple of days and the pace and action is frantic. I loved JT and Laura, the secondary characters in the crew were compelling and the entire story was one of the best RS I’ve read in a while. I scoured the interwebz to see if I could find out if DJ Gross had another book but no luck - I couldn’t even find a webpage for her. I hope she releases another book soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: With This Fling

Title: With This Fling
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Kelly Hunter
Pub: June 7, 2011 by Harlequin

Successful archaeologist Charlotte Greenstone has no time for men, so invents a convenient one—who bears a highly inconvenient resemblance to sexy stranger Greyson Tyler! To protect her mortifying white lie, Charlotte begs Grey to act as her temporary fiancé….

One glimpse of Charlotte's killer curves, and Grey can't resist making his own outrageous proposition—he'll pretend to be her fiancé… if they can enjoy all the benefits of being a couple! Smoking-hot Grey is definitely fling material, but Charlotte knows that's all it can ever be…. Isn't it?

Making the Grade: B

For My Thoughts

As soon as I started reading this book I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to another book I had recently read.

A young woman makes up a story about a fake fiancé to appease the worries of her dying godmother. Insert Grandma worrying, but not dying about her granddaughter and you’ve got the same set-up as Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey.

Only in With This Fling you get a more cerebrally matched duo in Associate Professor of Archaeology Charlotte Greenstone and Dr. Greyson Tyler, botanist.

It started out innocently enough and with the best of intentions when Charlotte Greenstone manufactured her imaginary fiancé Thaddeus Jeremiah Gilbert Tyler. Whoaaa that's a mouthful! Her Godmother Aurora was dying and the stories of Gil (as Charlotte called him), eased Aurora’s worries in her final day. And after Aurora passed peacefully...Charlotte killed off Gil as well. No harm, no foul.

Except Charlotte’s co-workers found out about her “fiancé” and before Charlotte knows how to stop the run-away train, her non-existent fiancé arrives in Sydney the form of Dr. Greyson Tyler.

Greyson Tyler’s come to claim his belongings inadvertently sent to the esteemed Dr. Greenstone and really he’s quite understanding as he discovers the part he’s played as Charlotte’s imaginary fiancé. Not one to pass up an opportunity, Greyson decides to take advantage of the situation since it seems he finds himself in need of his own fake fiancée for a family function. Who better to play the part of that loving fiancée than Charlotte herself.

Grey and Charlotte are good together and with all cards on the table they agree to engage in an equally and mutually beneficial relationship with no strings attached. Beside Grey’s a traveller, always on the move for his job and Charlotte’s been there and done that and she’s not interested in doing it again. In the long term they could never have a “real” relationship. Well maybe they could especially with the unexpected surprise they are about to get in say...nine months time.

No they’ve got a whole new set of problems to deal with if they are going to become a real family. It’s going to require compromise, sacrifice and big adjustments to make their relationship work...if it’s even possible.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Yours to Keep

Title: Yours to Keep
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Shannon Stacey
Pub: June 6, 2011 by Carina Press

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

I marked this one as one of my favorites for the year before I was even half-way finished.

Let me get this out of the way first - I loved this book so much that I started writing my review on sticky notes. Naaa I’m just kidding, but the sticky notes played such a cute, make me smile part in Yours to Keep, I had to mention them right off the top.

The pretend, fake fiancé storyline is certainly not a new concept and in Yours to Keep it could have been cheesy and cliché but Shannon Stacey tells a fun, sexy, heartfelt story with real and likeable characters in Sean and Emma and let's us revisit with all the old Kowalski favorites.

Emma is strong, independent and she’s not afraid of hard work or getting her hands a little dirty...which is a good thing since she owns her own landscaping business. She loves her grandmother to bits and wants her to be happy in her retirement to Florida but Grandma Cat worries about Emma managing her business and living in the big family home with all the responsibility all alone. So who’s gonna be hurt by a little white lie of a fiancé if it helps Grandma sleep easier at night and not worry about Emma? It was a good plan...until Grandma Cat decided she was coming home for a month to visit and meet “the man” her grandbaby was going to marry. Oooops!

Sean Kowalski’s at loose ends for the next month after just serving in the Army for the past 12 years. He’s gonna rest, relax and chill, maybe pound a few nails and eats lots of Aunt Mary’s lasagna. Ahhhh the best laid plans...until...who’s that knocking at his door? That’s exactly what Sean’s asking himself when he discovers it’s his fake fiancée come a-calling to break the news of their engagement. She’s hot, tall and just a little batshit crazy. 2 outta 3 ain’t bad - right? Emma seemed perfectly sane, were his Kowalski cousins setting him up? Where were the hidden cameras?

I believed the set-up. I believed in Emma’s motivation for engaging in such an elaborate scam to convince her Grandma she was engaged and why Sean finally agreed to play his part. Now to convince the rest of the Kowalski’s to play along because family loyalty will only get you so far.

The Kowalski siblings, their respective wives and children were up to their old tricks again...making bets, holding their tournaments of Doom and razzing the crap out of their cousin Sean. They are one of the most enjoyable families to read about. Shannon Stacey brings them to life on the page and makes them seem like one big happy family anyone would be lucky to be a part of. I wouldn’t mind a piece of Aunt Mary’s lasagna, but keep the wooden spoon outta her reach!

*posts pink sticky note* I heart Kowalski’s.

Sean was a real trooper. Funny, charming, loyal and sexy. Emma and Sean had supposedly been living together for a year when in fact they barely knew each other which only added to the drama and laughs as they tried to pull the wool over Grandma Cat’s eyes. Sean choking down the broccoli during dinner when he detested the green vegetable was LOL funny and showed just how far he was prepared to go to play his part.

And now for the sticky notes. I loved how Sean used them to communicate his likes and dislikes on the bathroom mirror. And the final pink sticky note - broke my heart, got that lump in the back of my throat growing and made my eyes well up.

Yours to Keep…it’s wicked good!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Lying Eyes

Title: Lying Eyes
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Amy Atwell
Pub: Oct 15, 2010 by Carina Press

No-nonsense jewelry designer Iris Fortune yearns for a normal life. But life as Vegas magician Cosmo Fortune’s daughter is anything but normal, especially since dear old Dad is also a scam artist. When Cosmo’s latest scheme goes awry and he pulls a real-life disappearing act, Iris is left holding the bag.
Now Iris must be a master of illusion—play the poised partner to her politician fiancé while trying to save her father and stay out of reach of Mickey Kincaid, the sexy thief who claims he's only after her jewels.
Detective Kincaid is deep undercover and seeks Iris out because of her connection to Cosmo—he never expected to be so drawn to her. While working with Iris to find the elusive con man, Mickey learns a killer has Iris in his sights, and he must do everything he can to save her, without blowing his cover.

Mickey's put his life on the line before, but never his heart—and now he’s not sure which is more dangerous....

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

Lying Eyes...They’re watching You.

Lying Eyes was like reading a madcap, action-adventure story featuring the Fortunes of Las Vegas led by the slippery and elusive magician, master of disguise and patriarch Cosmo Fortune. He was at the epicentre of all things good and bad happening in this book.

Iris Fortune, jewellery designer by trade, is the calm, cool and collected eldest daughter of Cosmo Fortune. But she's kinda written off dear ole dad, who’s never really been a part of her life...until he turns up missing. Next thing you know she‘s got a hot, petty jewel thief sticking to her like glue, two previously unknown young women who turn out to be her new half sisters and 10 million dollars in missing gems. Now bad people are after Cosmo and the gems he‘s supposed to have in his possession and if they have to go through Iris and her new found sisters to get to him - well then that’s what they’ll do. Ohh Daddy Dearest this latest escapade you’re embroiled in could get somebody a hurry!

Lying Eyes had a humorous, light, fun feel to it. Even though it’s a romantic suspense and lives were threatened numerous times, I never felt anyone was ever really in danger. I know you’re not supposed to like the bad guys, but the bumbling, buffoon henchman Jock and Pebbles provided a lot of comic relief (they reminded me of the bad guys in Home Alone getting bested by Macaulay Culkin). And who names a goon Pebbles? He was nothing but a big ole simpleton oaf with a soft spot for animals - especially the magician’s 20 lb white rabbit Edgar who always seemed to have his little twitching nose right in the thick of things. Try pulling that rabbit out of your hat O-O!

What I liked best about Lying Eyes was the love story between Iris and her scruffy, petty thief with the swashbuckling grin she can’t stop thinking about...ohhhh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey! Hey Mickey! We all know he’s not really a thief out to kill her dad or steal the jewels, but it takes Iris a lot longer to figure him out and unmask the undercover agent.

Mickey’s great at playing the part of a thief, but his feelings for Iris are real and true. Their relationship is cute, fun, flirty and sexy and for most of the book - she has no idea who he really is. At one point when things were looking pretty grim for Mickey and Iris he comes out with this line:

“Who’s joking?” He lifted his face, his gaze roaming over her. “If this is my last night on this Earth, I sure as hell want to spend it with you.” Ohhhh Mickey *heart melts*.

If you want a fast-paced, madcap, sexy romp then you can’t go wrong with Lying Eyes. I really enjoyed it - Fortune family drama, Russian royalty, missing gems, rabbit and all!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: Money Shot

Title: Money Shot
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Susan Sey
Pub: June 7, 2011 by Berkley Sensation

Secret Service Agent Maria "Goose" di Guzman knows something about penance. A tragic mistake forced her to replace the dangerous, impulsive girl she'd been with someone better, smarter. Someone sexy, cool and utterly controlled. But one crack in her perfect facade lands Goose on tiny Mishkwa Island, investigating naked hippies, frisky moose,and a red hot park ranger who sees straight through her.

When Rush Guthrie traded in an elite military career to police his tiny island home town, he got a pretty good deal: a park ranger's badge, a resurrected conscience, and signed of life from his MIA sense of humor. A guy couldn't want anything more. But when Goose turns up--all sexy curves, sad eyes, and thorny questions--Rush realizes he can want more. A lot more

While Goose pursues the island's deepest secrets, Rush pursues the brave, funny woman inside all that careful perfection. But the truths they uncover put everything on the line--life, death and true love. And they'll only get one shot at all of it.

Making the Grade: B

For My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this one!

I was on page 36 and totally in love with the sexual chemistry and sarcastic banter between Goose and Rush. Sure they’d just met, he was a suspect she was investigating, and she sure didn’t like the way he was making her feel...all hot and bothered under the collar. And she may not have been 100% professional or acting appropriately when she coped a feel but I loved it. And I loved even more that Rush shut her down and his reasons why. Most men think and act with the little head but there would be no rushing into any situations for this man named Rush. He’s got the patience of Job. He’s an ex-Navy SEAL sniper - he’s used to waiting for what he wants. And above all else he wants honesty from Goose and won’t accept anything less. Rush goes to great lengths to expose the “real” Maria di Guzman with the curly, unruly hair and imperfections because Goose with the poker straight perfect hair and the plastic, fake personality she displays to the world - is not the woman he wants.

Actually the more involved I got in Money Shot it became evident that Rush and Goose were complicated, baggage-carrying, scarred characters. They were actually much more similar than they realized. Both were working out issues from their past including why Rush left his job as a high-ranking sniper for the SEALS and the immense guilt Goose feels over the death of her twin sister when they were teen-agers. Emotional, soul searching stuff.

Add in some woo hoo witchy-poo black magic led by tea-shop owner Aunt Lila, paganpaloosa, a surly, smart-aleck, rebellious 16 year old teenager Yarrow and the charming, looking-out-for-#1 cousin Einar and there’s lots going on in Money Shot.

Ohh and I mustn’t forget to mention Sir Humpsalot - he's a randy moose on the loose dontcha know.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone who’s passing the Korean super notes in Money’s a small, marginally inhabited island - the prospects are few. For me Money Shot was all about Goose and Rush and their developing relationship and personal growth.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Negligee Behavior

Title: Negligee Behavior
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Shelli Stevens
Pub: May 23, 2011 by Carina Press

When lingerie heiress Brandy Summer gets cold feet and runs out on her Vegas wedding, she has nowhere to turn—so she hijacks a hunky biker waiting for a red light and begs him for help. What she doesn’t know is that her instincts are right: the groom has a hidden agenda. He needs her money to pay off his gambling debts and she’s his ticket to the good life.

Marco Vargas isn’t sure what he’s getting himself into when he rescues Brandy, but figures he’ll do the chivalrous thing. He offers her a job in his bar and the chance to sort out her feelings. But it seems that keeping Brandy hidden is easier than keeping his hands off her—and what will happen when Brandy discovers that Marco has secrets of his own?

Making the Grade: B-

For My Thoughts

Brandy Summers heir to the Sugar and Spice Lingerie company owned by her parents doesn’t want to be labelled like “those other famous heiresses” so she kinda takes it to the extreme and goes in the complete Brandy Summers heir to the Sugar and Spice Lingerie company owned by her parents doesn’t want to be labelled like “those other famous heiresses” so she kinda takes it to the extreme and goes in the complete opposite direction. The private school choir teacher doesn’t like to bring any attention to herself including staying out of the limelight and downplaying her physical attributes.

I know Brandy’s got a bit of a self-esteem problem, but I sure didn’t get how she dated her reality show, dentist boyfriend Gordon for a year and yet let herself get bamboozled into agreeing to marry a man she obviously didn’t love after spending three hours in Vegas with him. Yet here she is in a cheesy Las Vegas Wedding chapel, having a quickie ceremony, in a second-hand dress with “more ruffles than a bag of chips” performed by a greasy Elvis impersonator.

Before the “I Do’s” are dun dun dun, she exits stage left and hops on the back of a hot, tattooed motorcycle Mr. Took some balls for Brandy to hang on for dear life and vanish with this stranger into the night on his crotch rocket but the ride of her life is just getting started.

Maaarco Poooolo...oops I mean Vargas is not quite sure what to make of the brazen hussy who hi-jacked him and his bike and before he even knows what’s hit him, she’s living in his house, sleeping in his bed and working as a waitress at the bar he co-owns with Sebastian the Brit (loved him!).

I enjoyed the time Brandy with Marco, Sebastian and Val in the bar setting. Loved Val and how she worked her magic to transform Brandy from an innocent little choir teacher to a va-va-va-voom barmaid. She made Brandy ditch...errr burn her puffy cat shirt and trade in her floor length skirt for a tank top and short leather mini. You could just see Brandy’s confidence grow and blossom both mentally and physically the more time she spent with her new friends...and the best part was they had no idea who she really was.

I can understand why Brandy wanted to keep her true identity a secret. It was important for people to like and respect her for who she was and not who her parents were or how much they were worth. Marco the macho man wasn’t too happy about Brandy keeping secrets about her true identity but Pot? Meet Kettle because Marco was keeping a few secrets of his own about his past. Turns out the bad-ass bar owner was a relatively new persona for Marco. I’m glad we got to see Marco interact and mend fences with his younger sister and dad.

I really did not enjoy the whole evil fiancé, skeezie Gordon *twirls his Snidely Whiplash moustache* and his dastardly plan to marry the lingerie heiress, gain control of her money (or her parents money) to get himself out of hot water with his bookies. This dude was so out of touch with reality because no way, no how was Brandy ever gonna make another trip down the isle with him.

Did I mention the smooth talkin’ Brit Sebastian? Well I really liked him and I am so glad Ms. Stevens is giving him his own story and his own HEA. Can’t wait mate!

Light and fun. Great summer time read.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

JuneTBR Challenge Review: Explosive

Title: Explosive
Genre: Erotic/Suspense
Author: Beth Kery
Pub: Dec 7, 2010 Berkley HEAT

Dr. Sophie Gable didn't expect her peaceful getaway to be shattered by the arrival of the half-dazed, dead-sexy Thomas Nicasio, an ex-Navy explosives specialist. Even though he's traumatized, Thomas can't resist the urge to overtake Sophie-and her willing submission makes him want her all the more. But danger is lurking close by, and if he can't face the demons of his past, he and Sophie could be the next victims in a pattern of meaningless violence.

Making the Grade: B

For My Thoughts

One thing that really struck me about Explosive was how aptly named this book was because everything about it was...Explosive.

Thomas Nicasio was an explosives expert in the Navy, there’s a big explosion in the storyline and Thomas and Sophie’s relationship exploded off the pages...again and again, lots of times...they both experienced multiple...errr explosions. Getting the picture? This book was explosively good.

Dr. Sophie Gable is so looking forward to a month of rest and relaxation at her secluded lake house. Nothing to do but decompress, swim, read and relax. AHHHHH sounds like heaven! So nothing could prepare her for the shock of finding an acquaintance from work Thomas Nicasio on her dock the first night of her vacation. What?

Sophie and Thomas know each other in a “Hi. How you doing” polite greeting kind of way since they both worked in the same office building and the are “aware” of each other. Sophie knows immediately that Thomas is out of sorts and is acting very strange indeed but she doesn‘t want to make a wrong move or push too hard. So she's pretty surprised by what happens next since it’s so totally out of character for her when they fall into bed together and have mind-blowing sex. And I guess it really did blow Thomas’ mind since he can’t remember it the next day. That’s got to be a little hard on a girl’s ego?

Sophie’s right. Thomas isn’t acting normal. In fact he’s suffering from traumatic amnesia after several events in a row have sent him over the deep end - the death of his adopted brother and nephew, his adopted father is being accused of being a mob boss - something Thomas absolutely refuses to believe and it’s all just too much. He’s a mess the night he shows up at Sophie’s lake house but one thing’s for sure - he’s got a powerful, inexplicable sexual hunger for Dr Sophie Gable - Explosive!

It almost seemed like Sophie was Thomas’ lifeline, his only salvation to keep whatever memories he was repressing so he didn't completely splinter apart. He was like a live wire, on edge, ready to crack at any moment. Sex with Sophie seemed to be the only way to keep him marginally sane. So they have lots and lots of sex. Ms. Kery knows how to write steamy, erotic romance, explosive sexual encounters, but even I may have thought there was too much focus on the sex. The story was good enough and Sophie was a professional woman, I felt she was above just being used by Thomas for sex for whatever was wrong with him especially when their actions took a turn that I felt was totally out of character for Sophie.

I don’t think there was any mystery where this story was headed, but I was hooked wondering what would happen when Thomas regained his memory and how he would deal with the fallout and what it would mean for his and Sophie’s relationship.

The suspense story in Explosive was actually pretty interesting and when Thomas finally does regain his memories - well it was explosive!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Beg For Mercy

Title: Beg For Mercy
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Jami Alden
Pub: June 1, 2011 by Forever

Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn't just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother - the only family she has left - for a murder she knows he couldn't have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother's life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO.

Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can't stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city's elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

Beg for Mercy is the book anyone who enjoys the suspense and spine-tingling story-telling a la Karen Rose or Laura Griffin. When I choose to read a RS - I want a couple of things. A suspenseful, plausible story to keep me guessing and a good conflict between the hero and heroine. I love to feel the romantic tension when the characters just love to hate one another. I like to see the journey the author takes them on from being on the outs to somehow overcoming their differences and getting it on.

One day everything seems perfect in Megan Flynn’s life. She’s getting all cozy with the new man in her life Seattle Detective Cole Williams and they‘re just about to do the horizontal mambo when Cole gets a phone call that turns Megan’s life on it’s ear and their fledgling relationship on its head.

Megan Flynn loves her older brother Sean without a doubt. When a young woman is found murdered in Sean’s home and he is sentenced to death row - from that point forward Megan spends every waking minute of every day trying to find proof that somehow, someway her brother did not commit the heinous crime he of which he’s been accused.

As the arresting officer, Cole Williams is a by the book, just the facts ma’am dedicated to his job detective. And all the facts point with a big, fat arrow straight at Sean Flynn as the murderer of a young woman he was supposedly stalking from a popular club.

Warning: Conflict ahead. Megan and Cole’s relationship flushes right down the toilet. From simmering hot to ice age cold in the blink of an eye. So much for happily ever after. As long as Sean’s in prison, Megan will never rest until she proves her brother’s innocence. And as long as Cole believes her brother is guilty they will never see eye to eye. Phewww how are they ever going to get past those roadblocks to happiness?

Fast forward three years and a new case of a woman brutally murdered brings Cole and Megan face to face just as the date of Sean’s execution is fast approaching.

Megan and Cole even three years later still had unresolved feeling for one another. Cole’s always felt guilty about how his relationship with Megan ended badly, but he was just doing his job. Now with this new rash of murdered women, Megan‘s persistence that the cases are somehow related to her brother‘s case and Cole‘s latent guilt, he reluctantly agrees to help her.

The villain in Beg for Mercy was particularly dark and the killing and torture scenes graphic and grizzly. This is not the type of book to read before bed unless you want a few nightmares. I didn’t know for sure who the killer was. Ms. Alden set the stage and offered up a few possible suspects and I liked that she keep me guessing.

The ending of Beg For Mercy was intense, suspenseful and edge of your seat reading.

Next up is Sean’s story in Hide From Evil. If I thought Cole and Megan had a conflict, well then I don’t think I’ve seen anything yet. Sean and his prosecuting attorney? He spent three years in jail because of her? Man how’s that gonna play out? Me? I can’t wait to find out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Fallen From Grace

Title: Fallen From Grace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Laura Leone
Pub: June 2004 by Five Star Trade

When Ryan meets Sara, his new next-door neighbor in a rickety old San Francisco apartment building, both are in a state of emotional turmoil. Ryan, a high-priced prostitute, is trying to break free of his old life, but his handler, Catherine, won't let him. Sara's medieval mystery series has just been terminated by her publisher, and she is now trying to write a historical thriller. Sara doesn't dare make the first move toward deepening their relationship because she is older than Ryan, not as physically attractive, and halfway convinced he is gay and that if she pushes him she will lose his friendship, which she values. In this realistically gritty, sometimes violent, and gripping tale, Leone reveals the seamier side of society's maneuvering while she spins an unconventional romance between two unhappy people who find that love, like respect, can grow out of friendship and shared experiences and that new beginnings are indeed possible for those with the determination and courage to pursue them.

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

Fallen From Grace is the perfect example of how looks can be deceiving.

Ryan seems to have it all. He’s gorgeous, a "model", sweet, generous, caring, lovable, a perfect gentleman and Sarah’s new perfect neighbor...he’s also the perfect tortured hero. The reality is Ryan is living a lie and hiding a deep dark secret that will just make your heart break for him as mine did several times while I was reading it.

In a seemingly unbearable and what Ryan sees as an inescapable situation, he is forced to prostitute himself daily, in a high-class manor if that makes any difference to a clientele of wealthy woman. Ryan sees himself as beholden to a woman Catherine who saves his life when he was a troubled, desperate teen and now basically Katharine controls Ryan’s life.

But one thing Catherine can’t control is Ryan’s growing attraction for his new neighbor Sarah.

Saran’s a women whose life is in flux. I loved that she was a writer whose career had taken a bit of a downturn when she’s dropped by her current publisher. So she decides to sell her condo, move to a much smaller apartment and continue to write. Maybe not the best decision and not one her family supported, especially her sister, but I liked that she took the risk and believed in herself. Not sure I could have been so brave given the same circumstances. On the plus side she did meet Ryan.

As Ryan and Sarah spend more time together and their friendship grows, Ryan won’t let himself pursue Sarah because of the secrets he is keeping from her - he just doesn‘t feel worthy of her *sniffle*. And although Sarah is captivated by her new younger neighbor, she’s convinced he would never give her the time of day or a second glance. Not that Sarah is anywhere near old - mid thirties, but Ryan’s younger, a major sticking point for Sarah and he’s a model for goodness sake with women throwing themselves at him daily or so Sarah thinks. Ha! If only she knew the truth.

Ryan’s a saviour and a survivor. I think because he figured there was no hope for him to save his own soul, he turned his attention to saving a variety of two and four-legged animals. Like the crazy parrot he adopted when the previous owner left it behind, the big oaf of a dog Macy who can’t even make up two flights of stairs without being carried and then there’s shy Cat. Ryan’s love of his animals is just one more reason he’s perfect!

Fallen From Grace was a beautiful love story that developed from a solid friendship between two people fighting their own issues. It was filled with many poignant moments and I wasn’t only routing for Ryan to conquer his demons and escape from beneath Catherine’s financial thumb, but I cheered all the way to the end for Ryan and Sarah’s HEA.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cut Me Some Slack

If you’re a reader, then like me you have a list of auto-buy Authors. Authors whose books you would buy no matter what. Whether you enjoy historical, contemporary, romantic suspense or paranormal if you’re like me when you find out about the newest release from one of your favorite authors, see the new cover, read the cover blur you get all giddy and happy inside and maybe even let out a little squeeeeee. As a fan girl I would probably read a book written by one of my auto-buy authors - even if it was the phonebook or the periodic table.

Anticipation can be euphoric but sometimes reality misses the mark. Let’s face it not every book written by an author can hit it out of the park. Maybe something in the story tested believability, didn’t make 100% sense and all the facts didn‘t add up, the heroine had a TSTL moment or two and the hero was a complete a$$hole a time or two. Let's face it...they're men, but they usually come around.

What happens when you finally crack the spine on your eagerly anticipated book (or in this digital age - open the latest release on your e-reader) only to discover that it’s not all that and a bag of chips?

Personally I think I am more lenient and more forgiving in my review for one of my favourite author’s books as long as the book isn’t a total miscue. Since they are my favorite authors for a reason, chances are they aren’t going to write a complete dud but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best thing since sliced bread either.

So here’s my question: Do you cut your favorite author any slack when reviewing their book if it didn’t quite live up to your expectations?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review: Dragon Bound

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

In my best Dragos impersonation:

“Even if you don’t normally read books about spells and witches or elves, fairies and fae or heaven forbid dragons, YOU MUST READ DRAGON BOUND NOW...please!” Or as I like to refer to it: How Pia Trained her Dragon!

I’ll admit it. I caved to the Tweer pressure of my peeps and all the accolades Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison was receiving on Goodreads. I had high hopes for this book based on all the hype and I can say I was not disappointed and that’s coming from someone who is not a huge paranormal junkie. I gobbled up this book like a ravenous dragon dining on a human feast...or maybe like a dragon who used to eat humans eons ago before he gave up eating creatures who could talk.

Dragos Cuelebre. He’s big, he’s badass and he’s older than dirt as one of the Elder races. He’s a multi-millionaire businessman with thousands of people working for him, at his beck and call and who cower in his presence. In his human form he is formidable at almost seven feet tall and three hundred pounds of pure hard-bodied masculine muscle. And when he unleashes the beast - he’s as big as an eight-seater Cessna jet. And yes he will hunt you down and rend you limb from limb if you steal from him...even if it is just a penny...after all it’s the principle of the thing.

Dragos doesn’t forgive or forget - he exacts his revenge and he’s hot on the trail with a steely determination unlike any he has ever before experience in his time on earth of the little thief who stole from him.

Important lessons learned about dragons: They don’t like twizzlers or cherry Coke slurpees from 7-11 and whatever you do...Don’t piss off the dragon or you really will get burned - just ask those stanky, little goblins how it turned out for them - if you can find one still alive.

Pia “I’m not special I just look like Greta Garbo” Giovanni knew her days were numbered the day she had no choice but to steal from the most powerful man in New York City Dragos Cuelebre.

Pia’s a mystery. Even Pia doesn’t really know what Pia is or is capable of. All her life she’s heeded her mother’s dire warnings about keeping her abilities a secret and uses a dampening spell to conceal herself in human form. She’s one of the few people who has messed with the dragon and lived to tell the tale.

Dragos is amused and entertained by Pia. She gets all up in his face, pokes her finger in his chest, pushes his buttons, makes him laugh and feel things he has never before felt for another creature. But more importantly she’s the first person he has ever forgiven.

Dragos and Pia have a great, fun, flirty, feisty and playful relationship. I loved how she stood up to the big guy and told him repeatedly “You are not the boss of me!”

Dragon Bound is fast-pasted as Dragos and Pia’s relationship develops quickly over a few short days. They are in life threatening danger on more than one occasion as other dark forces are at work to kill the all mighty Dragos and capture Pia.

Did I mention how HAWT Dragons are? And I don’t mean in an I’mma gonna roar and spew fire kinda way. Dragos knew how to wield his long “reptilian tail” and put it to good use behind closed doors.

My only one little niggle? I wish Ms. Harrison had provided us with even a teeny tiny epilogue...say maybe a few or nine months down the road. Just a little glimpse into how Pia and Dragos where adjusting to their new circumstances. I hope we see more of them in the next or future books.

Next book in the series: Trick’s are for kids...oooops I mean Storm’s Heart.

Do yourself a favor and read this book NOW...please!

From The Author's Website

Read an Excerpt here

A Fiery Temper is Not Easily Extinguished

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful–and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in one another

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Any Man of Mine

Making the Grade: C+

For My Thoughts

I am a long time Rachel Gibson fan. I’ve read every one of her books and for me this wasn’t a typical Rachel Gibson book - light, funny with witty banter between the characters. It’s hard to pull that off when the H/h can’t stand each other for the majority of the book. I think it’s a tough road to hoe as an author when the characters hate each other and not in that playful he loves me, he loves me not kinda way.

Before I started Any Man of Mine I noticed Sam was getting a lot of negative press in the reviews and I was kind of apprehensive before starting, but I tried to keep an open mind.

Sam is a super rich, super self-absorbed, shallow athlete, jock hockey player. But Sam’s also the father of a cute young son Connor. Sam didn’t have the best relationship with his own dad so I wasn’t surprised he didn’t know how to relate to his own son. You live what you know from what you learn growing up - I am a firm believer of that philosophy. He did try to be a father in the only way he knew how, but he wasn’t going to win any father of the year awards. And you could see that Sam came to the realization that he was really missing out on a lot by being a part-time father to Connor.

Autumn and Sam? It’s hard to get invested in and care for characters when they don’t even care for each other. My biggest problem was that I didn’t care if they got together or not.

Their relationship started off after a very brief couple of days six years ago in Vegas. They definitely had chemistry and lusted after one another. After a quickie wedding Sam up and left his new bride and cold-heartedly contacted her via his lawyer for a divorce. In this case what happens in Vegas - doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Hello bouncing baby boy nine months later.

Autumn had so much bitterness and hatred towards Sam, I didn’t see how Rachel Gibson could redeem him enough in time for Autumn to forgive him. Over 2/3 of the way through the book and Autumn and Sam were still on the outs. I kept on thinking Autumn’s been busting his balls this whole book - how are they ever going to get together? It’s going to feel forced and rushed and probably not believable.

Sam did grow and mature as a hero. I think at the age of 35 he came to realize that blowing off his son to party, sleep around, and hanging out with his guy friends paled in comparison to what he could have had with Autumn and his son.

Sam did his moments (even if they were few and far between). The Cher tickets were a sweet, generous touch. Probably my favorite scene of the whole book was when Sam caught Autumn wearing rival Sydney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins hockey jersey. It was a funny, light playful scene - one I would expect from Gibson.

This wasn’t my favorite RG book, but she’s still an auto-buy for me. You can’t score a winning goal on every shot. Sometimes the puck just misses the mark.

From the Author's Website:

Read an Excerpt

What happens in Vegas . . . doesn't always stay there.

Autumn Haven's Las Vegas "to-do" list said to catch a show and play the slots—not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam LeClaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her to run. And she did—right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality, and before she could say "pass the coffee," Sam was gone.

Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn hasn't clapped eyes on the heartbreaking hockey superstar for over two years . . . until she organizes his teammate's "Special Day," where Sam makes a big play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Face of Danger

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

Vivi Angelino may look like a Sk8ter girl but sometimes looks can be deceiving and sometimes they can land you the gig of a lifetime. Vivi’s the brains behind the Guardian Angelinos Protection and Security business she runs with her extended family and she‘s very proud of the company she‘s built from the ground up. She wants nothing more than for the Guardian Angelinos to be the best in the business evah! And she's willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

This is the 3rd book in Roxanne St. Clair’s Guardian Angelino series and if you’ve read the other books, then you already know that Vivi and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colton Lang are in the flirty-dance stage of their budding relationship. Vivi takes great joy in butchering the good agent's title every chance she gets and it's a running joke throughout the book.

Cautious Colton Lang's a preppy, buttoned up, Izod polo shirt and khaki pants wearing by the book Feebee while Vivi...she's a sk8ter girl in her baggy cargo's, t-shirt, spiky hair and nose ring, her skateboard close at hand and the attitude to carry off the look...she said see you l8ter boy. They are total polar opposites, but that's what makes their relationship soooooooo interesting as it develops.

Vivi’s newest case for the Guardian Angelinos could potentially put her life in grave danger, but if she can successfully pull it off...well she can‘t buy that kind of notoriety for the company or make a million dollar pay check at the same time.

Luckily for Vivi, she bears a striking resemblance to Oscar award winning actress Cara Ferrari who may be in danger from The Red Carpet Killer who has killed the two previous female Oscar winners. Vivi agrees to impersonate Cara in public for one month in order to bag the killer. The catch is she can’t reveal the terms of the agreement or reveal to anyone who she really is. That includes the FBI agents who will be protecting her and it’s gonna be awfully hard pulling the wool over a certain Special Agent in Charge.

I mentioned Vivi going to great lengths to do her job and that included a smoking’ hot little scene on an airplane that left cautious Colton Lang in no doubt the “lengths” to which Ms. Angelino aka Cara Ferrari was prepared to go to maintain her “deep” cover. It was one of the most memorable scenes in the book for me.

With the scenic island of Nantucket as the backdrop, Vivi and Colton hide-out, make-out and try and figure out who’s trying to kill the real Cara and in the process puts Vivi right in the killer's crosshairs.

The relationship between Vivi and Colton rocks in Face of Danger, but Ms. St. Clair also does a great job of keeping the tension and suspense of the story evolving and the killer‘s identity concealed right to the end.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series. No idea whose story it will be, but Ms. St. Clair has lots of options. Personally I’m betting on the elusive cousin, Gabe Rossi.

From The Author's Website

Read an Excerpt here:

Private investigator Vivi Angelino has never met a risk she wouldn't take-and her latest client, a starlet with a madman on her heels, gives Vivi the perfect opportunity to walk on the wild side. That is, as long as she can make sure a certain overprotective, overly gorgeous FBI agent stays out of her way-and out of her fantasies.
Special Agent in Charge Colt Lang is not about to stand back and watch Vivi dangle herself as bait for a serial killer. Yet trying to rein her in means throwing his well-worn rulebook-and his iron self-control-to the wind . . . and taking the chance that his heart will become collateral damage in an already perilous case. Because a woman who can't stop searching for the truth is impossible to resist-even when every discovery she makes brings them closer to a calculating murderer with nothing to lose.

Review: Breaking Point

Sometimes even heroes need help

Making the Grade: A+

For My Thoughts

Pamela Clare couldn’t have asked for better press before the release of her latest novel Breaking Point about a former Navy SEAL. It was a marketing dream come true that the biggest news story of the decade…the death of Osama Bin Laden by the elusive Team SEAL Six occurred the day before Breaking Point released.

THIS book is why I read romantic suspense and LOVE it. I’ve read every book in Pamela Clare’s I-Team series and she has yet to disappoint. Breaking Point may just be the best one yet and that includes Naked Edge which was one of my top picks for 2010 and made me cry at the emotional and gripping end.

Two voices connect in the darkness. Two strangers each in their own version of hell in a dank, dark prison cell…knowing it’s only a matter of time. Two strangers thrust together in the most desperate and dangerous circumstances two people can find themselves in. Two strangers who are forced to trust and make hard decisions in order to survive…or die.

Natalie Benoit may be a journalist by day, but more importantly she was a survivor…of an attempted murder; of Hurricane Katrina; of the great personal loss of her fiancé and her parents as they were racing to be by her side on that fateful day of Hurricane Katrina‘s destruction six years ago. For six years she‘s been unable to move on.

But Natalie is one tough cookie - brave, courageous and gutsy in the most extreme of circumstances and she‘s smart. No wimpy or TSTL moments for this heroine. Many times during their imprisonment Zach could only marvel at Natalie’s strength and courage. He’d never met a woman as strong as Natalie….or as soft and pretty and sweet.

Zach...just feast your eyes on the cover people (yes it’s yummy Jed Hill in real life), swoon-worthy Zach “Black” McBride. Former Navy SEAL, currently employed by the US Marshall Service and presently a shackled and blindfolded “guest” of the drug cartel Los Zetas in a hell-hole beyond compare.

Zach couldn't make it in the “real” world after his honourable discharge from the military, suffering from PTSD and survivor’s guilt when his entire SEAL team was killed in Afghanistan. He needs the rush of adrenaline; the thrill of kill or be killed mentality that being a US Marshall, walking the line along the US-Mexico border can give him.

Zach. His body may be bruised and battered, his shrill cries from being tortured unlike anything Natalie has ever experienced before...but he's not broken. It's just sometimes even heroes need help.

Can I just state for the record that I hate electrical torture scenes. I always hated it when Jack Bauer from the TV show 24 was tortured with it and it’s just as bad reading about it as it was watching it on least then I could hide my eyes.

In survival mode for the first part of this story Zach and Natalie are pushed to the limit. Two strangers who have simply been existing, going through the motions of life and through their shared experience learn to live and love again.

As an added bonus in Breaking Point we were treated to cameos from all the previous I-Team men and their significant others in varying degrees. Clare writes this group of men like no other. She shows us what it means for a group of Alpha men to have a real bromance.

Memorable Quote that made me LOL. Marc to Gabe:

“You weren’t in desert combat. You were a park ranger. I’m not dissing that. It’s an important job. Someone has to keep the chipmunks in line. I’ve watched Chip and Dale. I know how sneaky those little bastards can be.”

All kidding aside you can feel and see the mutual respect, admiration and love - yes I said love that these men feel for one another. They would each take a bullet for the other one without hesitation.

There is sooooooo much goodness in this story! And the S.E.X….. Muy Caliente!

How many ways can you extol the virtues of why you love a book? Sometimes words just aren’t good enough. I was so immersed in the storytelling in Breaking Point that I thought I was right there along side the characters. Seriously the action does not let up from start to finish. I love it when I read a book and the author keeps you right on the edge, a tingle of apprehension skating down your spine, waiting for what she’s planning next for the characters good and bad.

If I were a movie producer - Breaking Point would make one action-packed, kick-ass, worthy of gracing the big screen, box-office blockbuster with something for the alpha’s and romantics alike. Someone get on that would you? Jerry Bruckheimer? Harvey Weinstein? Ridley Scott? Someone please!

Well done Ms. Clare. I bow down to your amazing storytelling. Now when’s the next book out?

From The Author's Website:

Read An Excerpt Here

Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman.

Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach's battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: Shiver of Fear

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

The latest case outsourced to the Guardian Angelinos by the FBI is to find Devyn Sterling in Belfast and convince her by whatever means necessary to leave the country immediately. No real details are revealed as to why the FBI wants her gone, but for former FBI agent and newest consultant for the Angelinos Marc Rossi - it should be a piece of cake.

Devyn Sterling is a complicated heroine. To understand some of her less than stellar decisions, it’s important to understand her motivation. Devyn’s recently discovered she was adopted and since then she’s been of a single mind to find her birth mother and father. She’s convinced that her “bad gene” pool has shaped the woman she has become. She discovered her father Finn is a known Irish Mobster and now it seems her scientist mother Dr. Sharon Greenburg may not quite be on the up and up either. Two strikes and as far as Devyn is concerned...she’s out.

Devyn’s obsession with her mother almost borders on stalkerish behaviour and a number of decisions Devyn makes whether you agree with them or not - are done with the soul purpose of finding, meeting and bonding with her mom. There are factions out there who are very aware of Devyn’s desire to make the acquaintance of her mom and use that knowledge to lead Devyn around like a puppet on a string. Did she make some bad moves? Yes. Did she get herself and Marc into unnecessary danger? Yes on more than one occasion. It seemed like Devyn had nine lives since in very other chapter she was being threatened, attacked, almost knifed and shot at because she was asking too many questions and getting too close to the answers.

Here’s a quote from Devyn about what drives her to make a connection with her mom:

“You’ve never known what it’s like to belong to no one, to have no real reason for being on this earth, no connection to anyone, anywhere. “ I want a relationship with her. I want to...I want to love her. And have her love me. Is that so wrong?” That’s some pretty heavy emotion.

Marc Rossi desperately wants to keep her Devyn safe, follow orders and not jeopardize his job with the Guardian Angelinos biggest client the FBI - don’t wanna be pissing those boys off. It doesn’t take long for Marc to realize that there’s a lot more going on in Northern Ireland than meets the eye and he’s going to have to stick close to Devyn because with or without him she’s on a quest. For Marc, trying to derail Devyn from her mission was like trying to corral a run-away train.

Both Marc and Devyn are wary of their developing feelings for each other. Marc’s been burned once before by a woman he was involved with and he is gun shy about getting close to another woman with an agenda. But being in such proximity, their chemistry undeniable, it’s only a matter of time before their emotions burn out of control.

Here’s a little taste of Marc and Devyn:

“That wasn’t sex,” she whispered, the words out before she even realized it.
He still couldn’t breathe but managed to lift his head and look at her with a rueful gleam in his eye. “Can’t wait to hear what you call it.”
She was still floating, high on the sensations, numb to reality, all the pain deep inside her just...gone.
“It was like that aloe I put on you, “ she whispered, no control over the words. “Soothing and healing, taking away the wound. Such a touching scene.

Shiver of Fear is fraught with danger and suspense, bio-terrorism, biological warfare - issues relevant today, all manner of secret agent alphabet agencies involved and seriously I really couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad. Especially Dr. Sharon Greenburg - is she or isn’t ? Good or evil? St. Claire did a great job of keeping you guessing on whose side all he players were really working for right to the very end.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reivew: Doms of Dark Haven

Dom de Dom Dom

Making the Grade: Overall C+

For My Thoughts

Cherise Sinclair's story get 4 1/2 stars, the other 2 stories get 3 stars.

I admit I only purchased this book because I needed another Cherise Sinclair fix. I am addicted to her Doms from Club Shadowlands and since I’m caught up on that series, I was on the hunt for a new Dom to love. I know it’s only a short story but it’s better than nothing and Ms. Sinclair knows how to write great stories.

All three stories in this anthology occur on the same night at Dark Haven during a Victorian era themed night.

It may have been third in the book (saving the best for last?) but I’m getting right to my main attraction.

Simon Says: Mine by Cherise Sinclair
While Dark Haven is no Club Shadowlands (*cries*) there were many similarities. Master Simon has all the same qualities as the Doms at Shadowlands.

I immediately liked Rona. Older, mature, recently divorced, grown kids, a nurse and looking to cross a few items off her to-do list. And like a lot of Sinclair’s heroine’s, she doesn’t think she’s young enough, thin enough or pretty enough. Thankfully Sinclair's Doms don’t seem to mind at all and in fact prefer this type of most of us.

A few quick impressions of Master Simon from Rona’s point of view (just to get you in the mood):

“Of course he’s dangerous - he has a flogger, and he knows how to use it“.
God, he was so gorgeous, like a blade, but not a bland kitchen knife - more like a medieval dagger. Elegant and deadly, but the look in his eyes was so caring. Almost loving.

Cue the shivers and chills!

Every time I read one of these books, Sinclair introduces a new aspect of this lifestyle she hasn’t used before. I feel like I’m getting an education right along with the heroine.

Suctions cups? WTF? Holy these things really go on? I felt like the suctions cups should have come with a warning: Objects may appear larger than they actually are...only in this case - THEY grew/became/stayed larger - ohhhhhh my!

Things move fast in a short story. Simon is another seemingly perfect, understanding, caring, totally in tune Dom who’s number 1 priority is his sub. I liked that while Rona expressed an interest in the lifestyle - she wasn’t really looking to “tie” herself to one man. Simon took all her misgivings and through them right out the window. SMOKIN’ HOT! 4 ½ Starts

Met Her Match: Sierra Cartwright
How can 2 operatives work together and have to trust each other and have a Dom/S relationship?

Torin Carter didn’t want to cross the bounds with his partner Mia Araceli but she was determined to force his hand (or another male appendage) so when he’s forced to stake his claim on Mira at Dark Haven and publicly punish her - it changes the rules in their relationship.

Mira likes Torin‘s “heavy hand”. She’s been after him for awhile to show her the Dom/s ropes. Showing up nekkid on his bed with his belt in her mouth - well if that isn’t a clear message...??

I liked the dynamic between Torin/Mira and was wondering how they would be able to handle the Dom/s relationship and then transition to an equal footing on a partnership - work relationship.
Needless to say they worked things out to everyone’s satisfaction.

Another hot short story 3 stars

The final story Educating Evangeline was my least favorite of the three.

Evangeline's a lone wolf who needs the help of alpha Werewolf Dom Harte Sommers and his pack when she’s being hunted and stumbles into Dark Haven one night . She agrees to his terms and conditions and agrees to submit and learn from Harte in exchange for his protection.

This story was ok but just didn't pack the punch when compared to the "master" Sinclair.

3 Stars

From Goodreads:

Met Her Match (A Hawkeye Story) by Sierra Cartwright
Series: Hawkeye; Previous Book: Bend Me Over

Highly trained Mira Araceli can hold her own in the toughest parts of the world, but not, it seems, against her secret crush, Torin Carter. She'd fallen for her Hawkeye instructor years before, and to him, she'd been just another recruit; fresh, green, idealistic.

Torin, with his dark Irish good looks and fierce temper, doesn't want a partner, any partner, and especially not Mira. But assignments are assignments, and he takes his responsibilities seriously. So when the beautifully submissive Mira crawls into his bedroom, a leather belt between her teeth, he calls on all his resolve to send her away.

Unsatisfied, Mira ups the stakes and finds another dom to play with at Dark Haven. Beyond furious, Torin storms into Master Xavier's club and claims his rights to dominate Mira. For the first time in her life, she's met her match.

Educating Evangeline by Belinda McBride

This isn't what she came here for!

Pursued by a group of mysterious hunters, Evangeline Jones was desperate for sanctuary when she ducked into the doorway of Dark Haven. Instead of safety, she discovers a decadent, sensual world that challenges her very outlook on life.

Harte Sommers is charmed by the little wolf with the pink streak in her ebony hair. As alpha of the Napa pack, he sometimes feels that he's alone at the top. When he meets Eva, he knows he might not be able to keep his wild little wolf at his side, but his heart tells him that his lonely days might be at an end.

Simon Says: Mine by Cherise Sinclair

Related Title: Master of the Mountain

With an empty nest and divorce in hand, Rona decides it's time to explore the fantasies that nourished her through a long, tedious marriage to a man whose idea of outrageous sex was leaving the lights on. At the top of her fantasy list is touring Dark Haven, the BDSM club, but she isn't prepared for the effect of a powerful Dom. When Master Simon takes control and introduces her to toys and sensations she's never felt before, she realizes he could fulfil every fantasy on her list all by himself. But she's vowed to never get trapped in a relationship again.

One of the most popular Doms in Dark Haven, Master Simon has had his fill of eager, shallow, young subs. Rona is older, intelligent, independent...and sweetly submissive. After an evening of intense pleasure and despite her obvious attraction, she refuses to see him again. He needs a way to change her mind. She's not the first sub he's taken on a journey of exploration, but he's beginning to think she might be the last.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and elements to include exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Flash Point


Making the Grade: B-

For My Thoughts

After reading the first two books in this series I was eager to see how Shelli Stevens was going to pull off a story with the sweet, innocent cupcake making queen Katie and the local town hottie, bad boy firefighter Todd Wyatt.

Kate’s had a major crush on the youngest Wyatt for a number of years and while she isn’t exactly the type to sleep around (ummm try like never), that’s all Todd does...plays musical beds like it’s an Olympic sport. Not exactly something to be proud of, yet it’s Todd’s claim to fame in Wyattville.

I’m generally not a fan of the girl whose been hiding her feelings for the boy for years stories. I like the girl to at least play a little hard to get and make him work for it. I was hoping I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

Todd’s like a fixture at Kate’s little shop, hanging around trying to mooch free chocolate cupcakes and a refill of coffee but he’s never really noticed Kate as a sexual being. That is until he sees another man taking an interest in her and Kate shows him a different side when he crashes a bridal shower for Ellie (from book 1 Going Down and my favorite book of the series).

Kate is darn tired of her virginity hanging over her head and she’s determined to lose it to I’m not boyfriend material, if there was an Olympic Gold Metal in meaningless boning it would go to none other that Todd Wyatt.

Ohhh Katie - is this such a good idea?

Kate with Ellie’s prodding devises a plan to force Todd’s hand...errr or another manly appendage.

The New Year’s Eve costume party complete with Todd in a Tarzan costume...briefs and a loincloth had me LOLing. I mean really - just take a moment and picture it. Ripped body, little briefs and a loincloth covering the package. Only Todd would be confident enough to pull that outfit off.

Kate’s skimpy, sexy little Red Riding Hood outfit had Tarzan beating on his...chest and ahhhhhhh ahahaahhhhh (insert the real Tarzan yell here) and well you get the picture.

All is not smooth sailing between Todd and Kate - especially once he finds out about her “secret”. He’s madder than a wet hen but after thinking it over, decides to tutor Kate so she can benefit from his vast experience of pleasing the ladies.

To add to the drama, throw in someone in town threatening Kate and her livelihood and as an added bonus she gets to live out every girl’s fantasy of being rescued by a sexy firefighter.

Kiss Me Kate! I was waiting the entire story for Todd to utter those famous words to Kate. Did he or didn’t he? I’m not telling.

Overall I enjoyed Kate and Todd’s story and Flash Point was a good solid read.

From The Author's Website
Holding Out for a Hero, Book 3

One taste of her lips, and friendship is off the menu

Kate has always been everybody’s friend and the de-facto little sister to the Wyatt brothers. But her feelings for Todd Wyatt, the town’s hottest firefighter, run far beyond the sibling variety. Not that he’s ever noticed.

After years of nursing her crush, Kate decides it’s time to take action. Except she has one awkward little secret: she’s still a virgin. She hopes she can seduce Todd without him realizing just how inexperienced she is.

In Todd’s mind, Kate’s the sweet girl he teases and hits up for free cupcakes. One surprise kiss over the summer, though, and suddenly she’s jumped from the platonic side of his brain to the want-her-in-my-bed side. Even though the last thing he wants is to lose her friendship, his resistance to her determined seduction is slipping. Fast.

When malicious attacks on her bakery escalate, it soon becomes clear that for all Kate’s friends, she’s made at least one big enemy. And if they don’t figure it out soon, things could take a deadly turn.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Command and Control

Making the Grade: C+

For My Thoughts

What goes together better than peanut butter and jam? It’s a classic match made in heaven and that’s exactly what Trevor Wyatt and Megan Asher are. And just in case PB and J doesn’t do it for you...there’s always “marshmallow” close by if things get out of hand (read the book - you’ll get the reference).

Command and Control by Shelli Stevens was a good second chance at love story for the oldest Wyatt brother Trevor. I love it when the hero is just a little bit bent and broken and needs to be healed by the love of a good woman. Trevor Wyatt is a man truly haunted by his nightmares of the war and he’s going to have to fight himself right along side his demons before he has any hope of getting a second shot at love with his former fiancée Megan Asher. Maybe thinking she’s got his replacement picked out and getting ready to tie the knot is just the kick in the pants he needs to get his head out of them and get his girl back...if she’ll have him.

Stevens does a good job of portraying the oldest Wyatt suffering through his survivor’s guilt and his feelings of inadequacy where Megan is concerned. He felt she deserved better than him, but couldn’t stand the thought of seeing her with another guy. It was the classic I don’t want you, but don’t want anyone else to have you either syndrome.

Megan loves Wyatt. Megan's always loved Wyatt. Megan wants another chance with Wyatt if she can break through his barriers and finally get him to open up about all the feelings he’s kept buried deep inside. So she offers up a tempting proposition to Trevor when she volunteers to give up command and control in the bedroom in exchange for his promise to finally confide in her. Let’s just say that Trevor would be a fool to turn down her plan and his Mama never raised no fool.

So in an exchange of power, things get very heated, very fast in the hallway, the bedroom, the shower and everywhere and anywhere in between. I may have been a tad disappointed in Megan that she thought the only way to get through to Trevor was by bargaining with sex, I thought she was better than that. But in the end, the plan worked and you can't argue with results.

Finally I find something very sexy about a woman who calls her military man Soldier: “You swear too much soldier“; “I’d prefer you sleep in my bed soldier“; “Hold it right there soldier”, and then his responding "Yes Ma‘am". Very hot!

Good second instalment to the series, but not as good as the first for me.

From The Author's Website

Holding Out for a Hero, Book 2

He’s afraid of losing his grip. She’s about to untie his last knot…

Megan Asher has a thriving career, looks, self-confidence to spare. It all means little without the love of her life. Trevor has returned from deployment in Afghanistan a haunted man, emotionally distant and unwilling to connect—except in bed. Then even that fragile thread snaps. Brokenhearted, she is forced to call off their wedding and, after a few months’ separation, try to move on.

With every aspect of his life spinning out of his once-legendary control, Trevor Wyatt convinces himself that Megan is better off—and safer—as far away from his demons as possible. Until he comes back to town for his brother’s wedding, and discovers Megan is dating.

Suddenly realizing what he’s thrown away, he vows to breach the fortress she’s built around her heart. They come together in a cataclysm of rekindled passion that unleashes the very demons he never wanted her to witness.

Back to square one, Megan realizes she must take the ultimate risk to slip past Trevor’s defenses. Give him control in the one place she can. The bedroom. The seductive move is one she prays will be the first step in helping heal him and their love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The Edge of Night

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

Reading The Edge of Night by Jill Sorenson for me was like getting two great stories in one. In my opinion there was very little to differentiate between the impact of the main and secondary characters. Both were strong couples whose storylines were interwoven and equally compelling.

April Ortiz is a hard working single mother trying to make the best of the cards she’s been dealt. She’s working as a waitress, taking college courses, lives in a rough neighborhood over run with gang violence and is forced to resort to drastic measures to cut ties with her mom when she lets April down big time. I’m not gonna lie - April’s actions towards her mom shocked me but after thinking about it, I guess she really had no choice and couldn‘t allow her five year old daughter‘s life to be endangered. Add in April’s close ties to the gang life - little Jenny’s father Raul is himself a gang-banger, albeit incarcerated and I had to give April full marks for trying to lead as normal a life as possible and give her daughter the very best she could given her circumstances.

Noah Young is a regular, normal guy...and when I say that - it’s as a compliment. It was refreshing that Sorenson wrote his character as a hard working, dedicated beat cop, not the boss, not a know-it-all experienced investigator - just a great guy. He was relatively new to the Chula Vista police force but had a real passion and interest in working for the gang division and he wanted to make a difference. To him being a police officer meant something - it wasn‘t just a job. He didn’t met April under the best of circumstances when he and his partner were send to Club Sauve where she worked to investigate the death of a fellow waitress who was murdered.

April and Noah are drawn to one another instantly, but if two people should stay away from each other - it’s these two. Cops and women with deep connections to the local gang are a disaster waiting to happen.

Now we get to my favorite character in The Edge of Night...Eric Hernandez - Uncle Eric. He was the glue that held all the players together. For me, he was the most interesting and emotion evoking character in this story. Eric was a great “brother-in-law” to April, a terrific Uncle to Jenny, a caring grandson to an invalid grandmother he was caring for and his story took an unexpected turn when we discovered he was a sweet and caring boyfriend to Meghan who ironically enough was Noah Young’s sister.


Eric was someone you couldn’t help but root for. Sure he ran with the wrong crowd, walked on the wrong side of the law, but we got to see that he was forced into a life he simply didn’t know how to escape. People relied on him to provide for them and so he found himself doing distasteful things because he couldn’t see another way out and he didn’t want to let the people in his life down. Ms. Sorenson did show us just a glimpse of how the future could have been different for Eric - if he hadn’t been born into a long time gang family. Eric’s hidden talents could have changed his life if he’d been allowed to develop them.

In addition to all the human drama unfolding, there’s still a killer on the loose targeting young Latina women. It’s up to Officer Young to discover the truth, juggle his responsibilities as a police officer and try not to blur the lines between right and wrong too often for the women in his life who mean the most to him.

I really enjoy Ms. Sorenson’s writing and I hope she revisits Eric’s story - because he truly does deserve his own HEA.

From The Author's Website
Bantam Dell
April 2011
ISBN 978-0-553-59263-4

Read an Excerpt here

In a sultry California city on the Mexican border, a brutal crime pushes a struggling young mother and an idealistic cop to the edge of passion—and beyond.

To support her small daughter, April Ortiz does what she has to do—which means waiting tables in a skimpy outfit at a popular nightclub in a gang-infested area of Chula Vista. When one of her co-workers is raped and murdered, April does what she knows she shouldn’t—she defies the neighborhood code by giving the police a hardcore gang member’s name.

Clean-cut cop Noah Young wants a shot at breaking this case more than anything in the world—that is, until he meets the unforgettable April Ortiz. When April gives Noah the tip, a spark ignites. As the fire between them threatens to blaze out of control, the two are dragged down further into the dark mysteries of the graffiti-lined streets, taunted by a crazed killer who could strike again at any time.