Sunday, August 28, 2016

ARC Review: A Promise of Fire

A Promise of Fire
Amanda Bouchet
Romantic Fantasy
Sourcebooks Casablanca/August 2, 2016
The Kingmaker Chronicles/Book 1

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice… 

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

The cover grabbed my attention right off. It's beautiful! I love the colors, the shading and the intense look on Cat's face. It gives the reader an idea of how vivid the action will be. It is action packed but it's also political with different royal families of power. And family plays an important role on both the traditional family represented by Griffin's and the rather non-traditional represented by Cat's circus family.

Cat is an anti-heroine and she is wonderful! She made me laugh so many times I lost count. She does not want anything to do with heroics. She's a real smartass in the best possible way. In fact, she almost seems to enjoy threatening people who piss her off. But when she truly needs to, she comes through for those she cares about. Even at the point of risking her life to save others. She is a heroine, whether she likes it or not.

This is a fantasy wrapped in political intrigue with noble families of both Magoi (magical) and Hoi Polloi(non-magical). Cat is from a powerful Magoi family which she keeps to herself for fear she will be found by her more-evil-than-Satan mother. But Cat is incredibly powerful and it is Griffin's luck and perseverance which places Cat in his arms.

Griffin and his merry band of men are soldiers searching for Cat and when they find her, they kidnap her. Not the best start to a romance but eventually Cat comes around once she gets to know Griffin and his men. They are placed in some epic battles, often with little hope of survival. But Cat is willing to use her considerable powers to save her new friends. I loved the battle scenes and how Griffin, his men and Cat all worked together to defeat overwhelming odds. The times between battles is when Cat learns more about Griffin and what his family hopes to accomplish now that they have won the war for Sinta. Although, they still have more wars to fight.

The powers Cat and others have are magical, gifts of the Gods. There are numerous references to various gods and Cat even talks to them and they seem to reply back, just not in the usual form. Think more of god-like reply with thunder and lightning. I liked this aspect of the story but also found it a little confusing between keeping up with who's who of the Magoi, Hoi Polloi, the armies, magical creatures and the gods.

This world Ms. Bouchet has created is complex and entertaining. I look forward to January's release of Breath of Fire and seeing what happens next in the lives of Cat, Griffin, their families and friends. Definitely a strong start to this new series.

Rating: B+

The Kingmaker Chronicles ~

A Promise of Fire
Breath of Fire (January 3, 2017)
Heart on Fire (Fall 2017)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: Signs of Attraction ~ Laura Brown

Signs of Attraction
Laura Brown
Contemporary Romance
Avon Impulse/June 14, 2016

Do you know what hearing loss sounds like? I do.

All my life I've tried to be like you. I've failed.

So I keep it hidden.

But on the day my world crashed down around me, Reed was there.

He showed me just how loud and vibrant silence can be, even when I struggled to understand.

He's unlike anyone I've ever known. His soulful eyes and strong hands pulled me in before I knew what was happening. 

And as I saw those hands sign, felt them sparking on me, I knew: imperfect could be perfect. 

Reed makes me feel things I've never felt. It's exciting... and terrifying. 

Because he sees me like no one else has, and I'm afraid of what he'll find if he looks too closely.

I'm so utterly happy for whatever fate lead me to this book! It's a romance about two people who are able to communicate through different means than those of us who can hear well. I wasn't sure what to expect but as I always do, I was hoping for a good story. I wasn't disappointed!

The heroine, Carli, is hearing disabled. She can hear some but also has some hearing loss as well as horrible headaches. She has always tried to hide her hearing loss, never asking or expecting special treatment. This can make things difficult as Carli is a college student so the noise in classrooms can make learning a challenge. I found it interesting to see how Carli compensates for her hearing loss in the college environment. Over the years she has developed coping mechanisms and you can't help but feel for her and what she's had to endure. So it is a wonderful moment when Reed comes into her life. He opens up a new world for her.

Reed is not a college student. In fact, he is a teacher and he is such a perfect fit for Carli.  He has the patience of a teacher but he's still a guy who notices Carli's beauty and makes her realize she is worth the attention he shows her. Reed is also deaf. While this fact plays a vital role Reed doesn't let his deafness define him. Reed is a hero who shows us that his deafness doesn't make him any less a man. In fact, I think it made him more of a hero for how he doesn't let it hold him back from doing what he loves and loving Carli.

The romance was sometimes sweet, often hot both physical and emotional. There are tough situations both Reed and Carli have not only come through but are still dealing with. The author does well in depicting how Reed and Carli, as well as their families, deal with the emotionally trying situations. The look into their lives and how hearing loss affected not only Carli and Reed but the people around them is emotional and gives a reader who is unfamiliar with this a good idea of what it is like to not hear this world that can be so loud at times.

Rating: A

Monday, August 22, 2016

This Week's New Releases

It's that time again. This summer is flying past and I continue to find new additions to the TBR pile. Do you know that next month we'll start seeing holiday releases? Speaking of holidays, I'm already seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations and candy in the stores! I resisted the temptation of candy corn purely on principle. I can't think about Halloween when people are still wearing swimsuits!



First up is the latest from a long time favorite author. Susan Elizabeth Phillips aka SEP, is back to her fan favorite Chicago Stars series with the eighth installment. I'm hoping I like it more than her last release, Heroes Are My Weakness. Confession time: I couldn't finish Heroes. The heroine having conversations with her puppets? It didn't work for me at all.

First Star I See Tonight
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary Romance
Chicago Stars Series/Book 8

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.




Next is a release containing four new novellas, not previously published, by Nalini Singh. These four stories take place in her Psy-Changeling world. I've gotten a little behind on this series but I do remember Dorian. Curious to read his story.

Wild Embrace
Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance
Psy-Changeling Series/Book 15.5

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander...

Dorian

A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play...

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries...




This blurb had me hooked! The time period is uncommon, add in the alternate world politics and magic and this could be a favorite!

Breath of Earth
Beth Cato
Fantasy/Historical
Breath of Earth Series/Book 1

After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.


The next is the second in the series. No, have not read the first, but... you know. I have it on the TBR pile. :)  I am surprised at the Kindle price of $10.99 but hardcover and paperback are less? Odd.

Abbi Glines
Under the Lights
Contemporary Romance/Young Adult
Field Party Series/Book 2

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.




This last one is young adult and could prove to be a good read but also a hard one to read given the heroine's diagnosis. This is not something I've ever seen portrayed in fictional writing. I can only imagine that it will be sad, like "Fault in Our Stars" sad but hopefully still good.

100 Days
Nicole McInnes
Young Adult/Contemporary

Agnes doesn't know it, but she only has one hundred days left to live. When she was just a baby, she was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare disease that causes her body to age at roughly ten times the normal rate. Now nearly sixteen years old, Agnes has already exceeded her life expectancy. 

Moira has been Agnes's best friend and protector since they were in elementary school. Due to her disorder, Agnes is still physically small, but Moira is big. Too big for her own liking. So big that people call her names. With her goth makeup and all-black clothes, Moira acts like she doesn't care. But she does. 

Boone was friends with both girls in the past, but that was a long time ago—before he did the thing that turned Agnes and Moira against him, before his dad died, before his mom got too sad to leave the house.

An unexpected event brings Agnes and Moira back together with Boone, but when romantic feelings start to develop, the trio’s friendship is put to the test.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This Week's New Releases

This week there is a nice variety of new releases. Contemporaries, of course, but also a World War 1 set fantasy, a futuristic young adult, and a romantic suspense.

What new releases are you looking forward to this week?



I love the sound of this! Digital stunt girls? Yeah, this is new. Can't wait to read this one.

Vicarious
Paula Stokes
Futuristic/Young Adult

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.



I'm fascinated with the Arctic Circle because it is so different from what I'm used to. I hope to someday see the Northern Lights in person. Until then, I'll look at pictures, watch videos and read books about it.

In the Barren Ground
Loreth Anne White
Suspense/Romance

In the Barrens, a vast wilderness in northern Canada bordering the Arctic Circle, night consumes every hour of the winter. Humans are scarce; ferocious predators roam freely. Locals say spirits do, too. Rookie cop Tana Larsson doesn’t mind the dark and quiet. Five months pregnant and hoping to escape the mistakes of her past, she takes a post in Twin Rivers, population 320. Maybe here she can find peace and community for her child.

But with her superior out of commission, Tana becomes the sole police officer in 17,500 square miles. One bitter night, she gets a call about the fatal wolf mauling of two students, and the only way to reach the remote scene is to enlist the help of the arrogant, irritatingly handsome Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran, a local bush pilot with a shady reputation for smuggling and a past cloaked in shadow.

When the macabre scene they uncover suggests violence much more sinister than animal, Tana must trust Crash if she wants to protect the town—and herself—from the evil that lurks in the frozen dark.



This next one is unique. It is rare to see a fantasy set in World War 1. Side Note: This author also wrote a short story - Evil Robot Monkey. This title makes me laugh and also piqued my curiosity.

Ghost Talkers
Mary Robinette Kowal
Historical/Fantasy

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she's just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…


Yes, this is the third book in the series but... I have books 1 & 2. I have not read them yet but I have them! I'll get to them but until I do, I'll also have this one waiting on my Kindle for me. I like the premise, which is unusual for me because I've never been into mafia romances.

Ravage
Tillie Cole
Contemporary Romance
Scarred Souls/Book 3

Taken by the Jakhua Clan as a teen, 194 was stripped of his name, his identity, and his freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless, soulless killing machine, trained solely to spill blood and stop hearts. This is a role he resents with every fiber of his being, but one he embraces to gain back the precious leverage the Georgians wield as their weapon of control: his younger sister, 152.

Mzia Kostava is in shock. After fleeing her mafia family's massacre in Georgia as a child, Mzia lives in secret, hiding from her enemies in the dark shadows of Manhattan. At age twenty-five, believing all her family is dead, word reaches Mzia that her brother Zaal is very much alive... and living with their family's greatest enemy: the Volkov Bratva in Brooklyn.

Yearning to be reunited with her beloved Zaal, Mzia risks her safety and anonymity for the brother she had mourned since childhood. But just as she reaches Zaal's apartment, Mzia is seized and taken captive by a strange man, who is strong, dark, and brutal... Unyielding, he demands her utter obedience as he locks her away in darkness. He is highly skilled in torture and inflicting pain, and demands to know everything about her brother Zaal and everything about her. He is a man that'll do anything to get what he wants.

Sometimes love requires the sacrifice and betrayal of those held most dear. But is finding one's true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?


This is the second book in the series, continuing the story that ended in a cliffhanger in the first book. I've got the first book but have yet to read it. Anyone read Sugar Daddy yet? I'm waiting until the third and final installment is released in October before starting this series since this one ends on a cliffhanger too.

Sugar Rush
Sawyer Bennett
Contemporary Romance
Sugar Bowl/Book 2

After posing as an escort for the Sugar Bowl online dating service, Sela Halstead is looking for one thing: payback. She's closing in on the site's heartless founder, Jonathon Townsend, and she needs Beckett North, Townsend's business partner and her lover, by her side. She'd thought that their intimate nights together had forged an unbreakable bond, but after a shocking betrayal, Sela begins to doubt the brilliant bad boy. When push comes to shove, can she trust Beck to do the right thing?

Now that he understands the truth, Beck will stop at nothing to secure the reckoning Sela deserves. But between his desire for her and his disgust for JT, Beck doesn't exactly have a lot of control over his emotional state. Left with no other choice, he must summon all his discipline to maintain JT's trust and pretend that they're still friends. But how far will Beck go to prove his loyalty to Sela? He nearly lost her once. To keep her, Beck might have to kill for her.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kindle in Motion

Has anyone seen this? Or maybe I should say experienced this? I had no idea about it until I looked up a Kindle book and got a big shock. This guy was looking at me! I'm probably late to the party but now I know to be on the lookout. And really, it felt a little creepy.

Here's Amazon's description ~


This book can be read on any device, including Kindle E-readers. Kindle in Motion books include art, animation, or video features that can be viewed on certain Fire tablets and the free Kindle app for iOS and Android. You can switch features on or off at any time.



video


Click here for the link if the video doesn't work.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Girl With All The Gifts

I read the book, now I want to see the movie. Here's the trailer.





The book is one that sticks with you long after you've finished. It is fantastically creepy and still has this wonderful story inside the creepiness. It's the story of the relationship between Melanie, the little girl and her teacher, Ms. Justineau. There were plenty of scenes that had my heart racing! I only wish I had reviewed it. I believe it's classified as horror, which I usually don't read but it came recommended so I decided to try it. So glad I did! It is tough reading at times as you might expect if you watched the trailer. Kids feature prominently in the plot and they are not always treated well.

Here's a brilliant review Hils wrote. It makes me want to re-read The Girl With All the Gifts. Even if you don't like horror, think of this as an often terrifying survivalist story and give it a try.

Scheduled release - September 23, 2016.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This Weeks New Releases

Running a little late this week. No clue how it got to be Wednesday already. I think I might have slept through a couple of days. Sorry about that. I'm sure you've all been waiting for this post before buying any books this week.  :)  We have some good looking releases - and not all are contemporary romances! As always, if you have any recs, please leave a comment.


A new series! It's cause for celebration since I seem to keep finding series that have already started. I like the siblings seeking vengeance theme. This sounds like a good start to romantic suspense series.

Ruthless
Lexi Blake
Contemporary Romance/Suspense

The Lawless siblings are bound by vengeance. Riley, Drew, Brandon, and Mia believe the CEO of StratCast orchestrated their parents’ murder twenty years ago to steal their father’s software program. And there’s only one way Riley can find some solid evidence...

Heir to the StratCast legacy, Ellie Stratton hires a new attorney to handle a delicate business matter—and she’s shocked by her attraction to him. Over the course of a few weeks, Riley becomes her lover, her friend, her everything. But when her life is threatened, Ellie discovers that Riley is more obsessed with settling an old score than in the love she thought they were building. And Riley must choose between a revenge he’s prepared for all his life and the woman he’s sure he can’t live without...



Susan Wiggs is an old favorite of mine. I've enjoyed some of her historical romance as well as her contemporary romances. This sounds like a heartbreaker with a happy ending. I hope!

Family Tree
Susan Wiggs
Contemporary Romance
or Women's Fiction

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.

Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Manhattan home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child.

But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a year-long coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she's lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned ex-cop. And with the discovery if a cookbook her grandmother wrote int he distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

Family Tree is the story of one woman's triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with the her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.


I've listened to the first book in this series. It's different from the usual romance. I still have the next book and will get this one too!


Burn Down the Night
M. O'Keefe aka Molly O'Keefe
Contemporary Romance
Everything I Left Unsaid/Book 3

The only thing that matters to me is rescuing my sister from the drug-cooking cult that once enslaved us both. I’ve run cons my whole life, and I’ll use my body to get whatever I need. Max Daniels is the last connection I have to that world, the one person reckless enough to get involved. Besides, now that his brothers have turned on him, he needs me too.

The deal was supposed to be simple: a place to hide in exchange for rescuing my sister. Now he’s my prisoner. Totally at my mercy. But I’m the one captivated. Enthralled. Doing everything he asks of me until I’m not sure who’s in control.

We both crave the heat. The more it hurts, the better. But what if Max wants a different life now, to leave the game . . . to love me? I thought I knew better than to get burned. Now I’m in too deep to pull away. And the crazy thing is . . . I don’t want to.



This debut from author Sally Thorne caught my attention with this humorous blurb. It's an office romance and who doesn't like those?

The Hating Game
Sally Thorne (link to Ms. Thorne's Facebook, could not find her website.)
Contemporary Romance

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.



This looks like a good murder mystery! Never read this author but want to give this one a try.

The Widower's Wife
Cate Holahan
Mystery

Ana Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters, but did she take her secrets with her? Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten million dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems to be substantiated.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall. 

Cate Holahan looks at the dark underbelly of a marriage from the perspectives of the detective and the victim in her tense and enthralling page-turner, The Widower's Wife.


China MiĆ©ville - Yes Please! It sounds kind of crazy but who doesn't like to go crazy sometimes?

China MiƩville
The Last Days of New Paris
Historical Fantasy

THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists.

One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: Don't Tempt Me ~ Lori Foster

Don't Tempt Me
Lori Foster
Contemporary Romance
Guthrie Brothers/Book 1
Harlequin/July 26, 2016

Love comes along when it's least wanted.

Jason Guthrie has no time for entanglements—between helping out his widowed brother and teenage nephew and getting his hometown back on its feet, his days are spoken for. But his nights are another story… And when his lovely new neighbor, Honor Brown, reluctantly accepts his help in remodeling her house, Jason finds himself wishing his handyman skills could knock down the defenses she keeps building around herself.

Martial arts teacher Sullivan Dean knows real danger when he sees it—even when it takes the form of the gorgeous blonde helping her friend move in across the street. After putting his wayward past behind him to focus on teaching control to troubled kids, Sullivan has learned to avoid party girls like Lexie Perkins. But Sullivan can't seem to keep his hands off the real woman behind that flirty charm—or keep his heart from landing at her feet…

Honor Brown takes particular pleasure in making her new home all her own. She doesn't shy away from the hard work and what she doesn't know, she tries to learn. Honor is a likable heroine, if a bit closed off. She only has one close friend so when she moves into her new house, she is a little shy around her new neighbors. It seems as though Honor is the lone female on the street of ruggedly handsome bachelors. But it's Jason Guthrie who catches Honor's attention.

Jason lives next to Honor and is quick to offer to help her move in. Along with Jason is his brother Hogan and Hogan's son Colt. The three of them swiftly welcome Honor to the neighborhood. All three Guthrie males are not only easy on the eyes but genuine nice guys. I liked how Jason was protective of Honor but understands her need to improve her house by herself. Jason is a custom builder and can fix just about anything so he proves to be the perfect teacher for Honor.

There is a secondary romance of Honor's best friends Lexie and Sullivan Dean, one of those handsome bachelors. Lexie is a whirlwind who speaks her mind without apologizing. She is Honor's opposite but they are as close as sister. It turns out there is more to Lexie than meets the eye. Seeing Sullivan find out that she's more than just a party girl was a pleasure to watch. I liked how their romance unfolded and hope we see them again in the next book.

Honor and Jason try to spend time together but Honor has secrets and she's not ready to share. When Honor's secrets are revealed they bring her and Jason closer and his protectiveness is in full force. If I had any problems with the story it was the slow pacing of Honor and Jason's romance. There were points when it felt like the plot was lagging.

The sense of not only family but community is strong throughout the story. Between Honor's love for her grandfather and Lexie and Jason's support of his brother and nephew, family is shown to be the strength that gets us through the rough patches.

Don't Tempt Me is a tender romance with some lighter moments as well as a couple of somber ones. I look forward to reading Hogan's story and see how he and his son find their own happiness.

Rating: B

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me ~ Mariana Zapata

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Mariana Zapata
Contemporary Romance
February 29, 2016

Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

I just finished listening to the audio book, narrated by the talented Callie Dalton. I'm in shock at how much I loved this romance! It's a long book; 16 hours in audio format, 673 per Amazon listing. But it was so good I didn't want it to end! But it did end and left me utterly happy, complete with a smile on my face. : )

Vanessa has a dream that she is determined to follow. That dream does not include working as an all-around assistant for the demanding Aiden Graves. So when she leaves to follow that dream, Aiden has his own plans. As much as Vanessa wants to say no to Aiden, he makes a compelling argument and convinces her to say yes to his plans. The story is told from Vanessa's POV and her internal dialogue is both honest and amusing. She is a smart and witty heroine and I found her thoroughly enjoyable.

This is not a typical romance. The romance is subtle. It has a slow build-up with Vanessa and Aiden's relationship moving from boss/employee to friends to lovers. You see what both Vanessa and Aiden do for each other rather than saying words filled with hearts and flowers. They take their time about admitting their feelings first to themselves, then to each other and neither seem to be in a hurry to take that final step. There is also some miscommunication on both Vanessa and Aiden parts. Vanessa admits to herself her feelings for Aiden, unfortunately we don't get Aiden's POV so his feels are not as well know until he admits them out loud. Although Aiden is so closed-mouth that he knew how he felt about Vanessa long before he told her. Vanessa, while physically attracted to Aiden, because she has a pulse, talks herself out of thinking there could be anything more because he just annoys the heck out of her!

This is a funny, sweet romance even though Aiden does not seem overly romantic. When he does something that seems out of character to Vanessa, you can see it's really his way of showing her how much he cares for her. Vanessa too notices but thinks it's rather odd behavior since it conflicts with her previous experiences with him. Aiden is extremely driven when it comes to his career. He is so incredibly focused on being the best football player that he can come off as self-centered and egotistical. When in fact he is being honest but sometimes to the point of coming off rude at times. Aiden has no use for wasting time being tactful. He simply says what he thinks needs to be said. He also expects this from others which I liked. If he were a real person and asked if he thought he was a hero, I think he'd say no. And most likely think it a ridiculous question. And yes, he would tell you so!

The interactions between Vanessa and Aiden continued to take me by surprise. Just when I thought Aiden would start wooing Vanessa in a more traditional way... he didn't. But that would have been out of character and he didn't need to change because he was perfect for her just the way he was. I also liked that Vanessa didn't change who she was. Her actions towards Aiden changed as she began to have more romantic feels about him but her core values didn't change. And she didn't need to either. They completed each other.

Rating: A-

Monday, August 1, 2016

This Week's New Releases

What the heck! How did it become August??? It's still incredibly hot here but my kids go back to school on Wednesday. Yes, this Wednesday, August 3rd. Crazy right?

Do you make to-do lists? I making book lists. Books to buy. Books to read. Books to review. Books I'm wishing for. I make other to-do lists too but those are work not fun.

Here are some books to add to your list!



Julie Cross made me a fan with her novel Letters to Nowhere. I have yet to read anything by Mark Perini so this should be interesting to see how they collaborate.

You Before Anyone Else
Julie Cross/Mark Perini
Young Adult/Contemporary

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her "good girl" persona, so she'll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the "good girl" stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He's shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie's bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.



Lorelei James has written some sexy cowboy romances. She switches to a more urban setting with this series about the Lund siblings.


Just What I Needed
Lorelei James
Need You Series/Book 2
Contemporary Romance

Trinity Carlson might be having the worst day ever. And that was before she started drinking in a dive bar, right across from her ex and his new girlfriend. So when she finally decides enough is enough, she grabs hold of a hot, blond stranger and gives him the kiss of his life.

Walker Lund never expected that a chance at love would hit him right on the mouth. Since the moment his brother decided to settle down, Walker has been dodging his family’s hopes that he’ll do the same.  He’s never been interested in following in anyone’s footsteps. 

But when he discovers his sexy assailant has given him a fake name and number he suddenly finds himself in the mood for a little hot pursuit...



Colleen Hoover. Have I read anything by her I didn't like? Don't think so. :)

It Ends With Us
Colleen Hoover
Contemporary Romance

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.




Book #26 in the series and I'm still enjoying it. There are similarity with the heroes and the snarky banter is always present but the series is still entertaining and the extensive character descriptions on Kenyon's website help immensely!

Dragonmark
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dark-Hunter Series/Book 26
Paranormal Romance

Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn...




I'm reading this right now and have been caught up in the story from the beginning. Watch for the review shortly.

A Promise of Fire
Amanda Bouchet
The Kingmaker Chronicles/Book 1
Fantasy

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her... even if that means falling in love with her.