Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest Author Post & Giveaway: Tracy Cooper-Posey

Claddagh Rings And Older Symbols

Irish Claddagh rings are simple in design but are endowed with a wealth of meaning. They look romantic and have been adopted by more than just the Irish as wedding and engagement rings.

The heart in the ring is a symbol of love, the hands symbolizes friendship and the crown signifies loyalty. The combination of the elements means the ring can be used to indicate friendship, eternity, engagement or marriage, depending on how the ring is worn.

  • When the ring is worn on the right hand, with the heart pointing to the fingertip, it means the wearer is not romantically involved with anyone.

  • If the ring is turned around, the wearer is involved.

  • Worn on the left hand, with the heart pointed toward the finger, means the wearer is engaged.

  • Worn on the left hand, with the heart pointing upwards, means the wearer is married, or in a committed relationship.

There are variations in the meaning of the wearing of the ring. It can change from location to location and country to country, as Claddagh rings are worn all over the world now. How the ring is worn and what it means has become a personal interpretation, although generally everyone agrees that the heart pointing toward the wearer, on the left hand, means that the wearer is in a committed relationship.

Surprisingly, Claddagh rings of this distinct design haven't been around all that long. The earliest references that historians can find for them is around the 1700's in Galway, but the name "Claddagh" has only been in use since the 1840's.

No one knows who designed the Claddagh ring. Its origins are a mystery. Wikipedia reports that:

"There are many legends about the origins of the ring, particularly those connected with the Joyce Family of Galway. Richard Joyce was a silversmith working around 1700. His initials are on one of the earliest surviving Claddagh rings with a maker's mark, but there are three others also made around the time, with the mark of goldsmith Thomas Meade. Suggestions that Joyce originated the design are "extremely unlikely" according to Delamer."

Whoever did design the ring, they were probably borrowing from an idea that the Romans had been using for centuries. "Fede Rings" were rings used in medieval and Renaissance Europe as love and marriage rings. The name "fede" comes from the Italian phrase mani in fede ("hand joined in faith" or "hands joined in loyalty"). The rings dated from Roman times, when the gesture of clasped hands was a symbol of pledging vows. Fede rings were cast in the form of two clasped hands, symbolizing faith, trust or "plighted troth."

In Blood Knot, I took liberal poetic license, and suggested that Sebastian's unknown father was the designer of the Claddagh rings. Nial, a Roman, would instinctively understand the symbolism of the Claddagh rings, which is why one particular ring in the story ends up having incredible emotional importance throughout the novel. It's also why you find it on the cover.

After thirty-five novels with various publishers, under various pen names, and after nearly ten years with Ellora's Cave primarily writing in romantic suspense and paranormal romance, I have finally taken a deep breath and self-published Blood Knot, an erotic urban fantasy romance (MMF, Contemporary, Vampires, Paranormal), and my 36th novel overall. It was released on March 9, 2011 and is available at Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99 in all the common e-book formats, and will soon be available in print.

I've won a number of awards, including Australia's Emma Darcy Award (the equivalent of the Gold Heart) and was most recently nominated for the CAPA's Best Erotic Paranormal and Favourite Author categories. You can find out more about me and my books here.

Synopsis: Winter, a professional thief who can manipulate others’ biologies by touch, accidentally “healed” her former partner—and former vampire—Sebastian, whom she secretly loves. Her healing created a symbiotic pairing between them that neither of them wants.

Nathanial, a sexy thousand-year-old vampire and Sebastian’s ex-lover, talks Sebastian and Winter into stealing evidence that will expose all vampires to the world. But Nathanial is a puppet-master who doesn’t believe in falling in love with humans, leaving Winter unsure of his real feelings for her once he seduces her, or how he feels about Sebastian, the former vampire-now-human whose life he has turned upside down once more.

But the evidence they steal is hot property. The future of all vampires is on the line and others will stop at nothing to get it, leaving Sebastian, Winter and Nathanial with no allies but each other. They must trust each other to survive. Only...can they?


An Excerpt From: BLOOD KNOT
Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2011
All Rights Reserved.

[For readers who are following my blog tour, these excerpts are consecutive -- each excerpt follows the last one. Check on my blog for details of previous excerpts, and subscribe to my blog to learn about future blog tour posts and the excerpts that go with them.]

Winter stood up. “I’m hungry. Do you mind if I eat?”

“Not at all. Do you mind if I follow you into your kitchen and keep talking?”

She sighed. “I suppose.”

He laughed. “You will not put me aside with so simple a human habit as eating, Winter. I’ve been watching humans eat for hundreds of years. It doesn’t bother me anymore.”

“Sebastian said it did,” Winter told him as she climbed the stairs to the main floor.

He followed her, his steps quieter than hers, but didn’t speak until they were both in her big country kitchen with its copper pots hanging overhead and gleaming black granite counters. The wood blinds that ran the width of kitchen were all thrown open to the morning sun and the mountain view.

Nathanial was frowning. “The facts that Sebastian has chosen to give you about me seem to be all negatives.”

“Yes,” Winter agreed, pulling out a Kaiser roll, ham, cheese and fixings for a hearty sandwich. She looked up when Nathanial remind silent. “You’re not going to ask why?”

His smile was sour. “I’m not a stupid man.”

Winter felt a spurt of guilt spear her. She had been willing to believe everything Sebastian had warned her about Nathanial, without waiting to see for herself if it was true. Had Sebastian manipulated her, instead of Nathanial as Sebastian had tried to warn her Nathanial might do?

She bit her lip, hesitating. Then she decided to err on the side of truth. Just this once. “He still loves you, you know. He would not be so bitter if he did not.”

Nathanial’s clear eyed gaze was direct and unwavering. “And thus I search him out when he patently has no wish to see me. I am…concerned.”

“Concerned?” Winter just stared at him.

He blew out a breath. “Worried, Winter. Does that satisfy you?”

She nodded and bit into her sandwich, suddenly ravenous.

“At least sit down while you eat,” Nathanial pleaded. “It is uncivilized, standing so.”

She grinned at him. “I was lucky to eat at all when I was a teenager, let alone at a table.” But she put the sandwich on a plate and carried it over to the table and sat down, anyway.

Nathanial surprised her by sitting opposite her at the table. He threaded his fingers together again.

“You made Sebastian human again,” he said.

She swallowed her mouthful, taking her time. Nathanial just watched her.

When she could put off speaking no longer, she said carefully, “He has spoken to you at least once since Singapore. He didn’t tell you that himself?”

“As you might expect, communications between Sebastian and I have been somewhat strained for the last few years. We deal with necessary subjects only and that is all. A matter like that he would not deal with on the phone. I believe he was going to tell me about it when we met this week. He hinted that there was something large he wanted to talk about.” He unlinked his fingers and threaded them again. It was an impatient movement. “You remade him. You took away his vampirism. Returned him to his human state.”

She put down her sandwich. “He never told me he was a vampire.” Suddenly her rage was there. Huge and towering. She pushed back her chair and shot to her feet. “Two fucking years, Nathanial! Two whole damn years and he never said a word! Not one! We were virtually joined at the hip, working jobs almost two a week at times. Through some of the tightest places, the toughest spots, the hairiest scrapes. And he didn’t say anything.” She thumped her hip with her fist. “Damn him!”

“Some say we’re already damned,” Nathanial replied coolly, sitting back in his chair. “So you’re too late to send him to Hell.”

She hissed impatiently. “Of course I made him human,” she shot back, answering his earlier question. “I didn’t know what was wrong with him! He had a bloody great stake in his heart and he was dying. So I dived in and fixed everything. How was I to know that the dark stuff, the dead part of him…that it was supposed to be like that? He didn’t tell me!”

Nathanial leaned forward. “And in the two years you and Sebastian worked together did you ever tell Sebastian you can control other people’s biologies just by touching them, Winter? That your miracle serum is a fake? That you cover up your talent with razzamatazz and misdirection, just like a good con man does?”

Winter’s anger chilled. She stared at Nathanial. Then, with a sigh, she slid back onto her chair. “Sebastian found out in Singapore. And I told you, just now.”

“So that would be ‘no’.” Nathanial spread his hands flat on the table. “If you’ve never told a soul, not even Sebastian, why did you tell me?”

“I don’t know.” She frowned. “Sebastian warned me you could be like this.”

A tiny line appeared between his brows. “Like what?”

She bit her lip. “Squeeze information out of people they desperately don’t want to let go of.”

The line between his brow deepened. “He exaggerates. I had a small natural ability to charm people that I honed over the years and apply now and again when I need to. But I haven’t attempted to draw anything from you since I stepped inside that edifice of yours and found you there.”

Winter gave a small, dry laugh. “Of course you haven’t.”

Nathanial smiled. “I could if I wanted too, of course. Especially now I have you keyed. As a rule, though, I don’t do that with people unless it’s for a job.”

“Right,” she said flatly. She believed that like she believed in the Tooth Fairy.

Nathanial didn’t move. “You don’t believe me. Sebastian will have indoctrinated you, of course. Perhaps that will work in my favor for a moment.”

She stared at him. “You’ve lost me,” she confessed. “What are you talking about?”

He studied her. “A demonstration. I will show you how I go about drawing something out of you if I was really interested in taking information from you against your will, just to prove that I am not working my wiles against you right now. Would that relax you and let down your guard?”

“Doesn’t telling me what you’re about to do work against you? If I know what you’re going to do, I can see it coming and be prepared.”

“It doesn’t matter if you know or not,” Nathanial said indifferently. “I have you registered now. I know your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.”

She shivered. “So whether I put up a fight or not, you can get past my resistance and open me up? Jesus…” She licked her lips. “Well, your arrogance is top notch, even if you aren’t.”

“I’ve never failed a contract,” Nathanial said.

Winter swallowed. Her heart was beginning to race, so she evened it out and slowed it down, flooding her system with endorphins. She calmed, relaxed. Then she smiled at Nathanial. “I’ve never lost a contract, either,” she told him.

Nathanial’s smile equaled hers. “Is that a challenge?” He rose to his feet in a light, sinuous movement.

“Yes. I mean no,” Winter said quickly. Her pulse jumped. “Sit down,” she snapped, smoothing out her pulse again.

He sat, keep his gaze on her face. He smiled. “Your gaze keeps turning inwards. Are you using your talent on yourself, Winter? Calming yourself, perhaps?”

She drew in a long, slow breath. “None of your business.”

He inclined his head. “I’ll take that as a yes, then.” The long fingers threaded together. “Your eyes…do you know how exactly they match Sebastian’s?”

Winter couldn’t keep looking at him. She found herself studying the wood grain of the tabletop.

“The same changeable green. The same astonishing light and beauty,” Nathanial continued, as if she were still looking at him. He paused. “It isn’t a coincidence, is it?”

She still couldn’t bring herself to look at him. It killed her to simply shake her head.

“When you healed the staking and made him human…your eyes changed then, didn’t they?” Nathanial said softly. “You took on part of him. His eyes, a need for his blood.”

Winter poured calming chemicals into her system, struggling for peace. Nathanial was stirring hard memories and panic in her. The stew of biological waste she was producing as a result was making her almost sick in reaction.

His hand curled under her arm, lifting her from the chair and Winter gasped. She had been so focused on her internal systems, she hadn’t noticed Nathanial move to her side. He tugged her gently to her feet. “Shhh…” he said as she opened her mouth to protest. “I just want to look at your eyes in the better light.” He led her closer to the windows with their glowing polished wood blinds and turned her so the light fell upon her face.

At five foot nine, she was tall for a woman, but Nathanial was much taller. He tilted her chin up so he could study her eyes and she tried not to look away.

He brought a hand up to her temple and his fingertips ran through a lock from roots to ends, all two feet of it. “Glorious red. And not from a salon. Sebastian did tell me you were a brunette. More of your talent, Winter?”

She nodded fractionally. “The black didn’t…well it didn’t go with my eyes anymore. And I wanted to…” She drew in a breath.

“You had changed profoundly on the inside, so you marked the change on the outside,” Nathanial said.

She licked her lips. That was it exactly. “The old me was gone,” she said.

But Nathanial was still stroking her hair, his gaze on her face. Abruptly, she was aware of just how close he was standing to her. There was barely a hand span of space between them.

She wanted to step back, but almost like he read her mind, his other hand slid over the back of her hip, holding her there.

“I never could resist eyes like yours,” Nathanial said softly.

A ripple passed through her. It seemed to switch on all her nerves, making her body hypersensitive. “What the hell—”

He touched a finger to her lips and it stopped her protest as completely as if he had clapped a hand over her mouth. She sucked in a breath and it shuddered on the way down.

“Stop analyzing yourself, Winter,” Nathanial told her. His voice seemed to reverberate in her mind. “Stop looking inside you. Just feel instead, like a normal human.”

She shook her head.

He leaned closer to her, his lips almost brushing her cheekbone. “You’ve been responding to me since you saw me. But you’ve been denying it. Ignoring the signals. All because Sebastian has convinced you I’m such an evil man.”

“You’re not a man,” Winter breathed.

His lips brushed over her skin. “I am man enough I can bring a scream to your lips, sweat to your brow and have you trembling in my arms, begging for a release in a voice you will not recognize as your own. Do you doubt that, Winter?” His hand on her hip moved in a restless little movement against her ass, stroking her through her jeans.

Her heart was pounding, hard enough to echo in her temple. Under her tee-shirt, her breasts were aching for his touch, but Winter struggled to admit that.

“Sebastian was human once and now you’ve made him a man again. He has his weaknesses, just as we all do,” Nathanial told her. His lips hovered over her pounding temple. “I’m one of those weaknesses. He has seen me only as a negative in his life for years now. That is the picture he painted for you.” His lips slipped down to her mouth, brushing over her skin in barely-there caresses, to hover over her lips in an achingly-close not-quite-kiss. All Winter had to do was lift her chin the tiniest fraction of an inch and she could take the kiss for herself. She found she was holding her breath. Waiting. Hoping.

“You want me,” Nathanial said. It wasn’t a question.

But Winter found herself answering anyway and replying with the truth. Her “Yes,” emerged breathless from her lips to his.

His lips pressed against hers with the softest of touches. It was barely a kiss, and Winter strained for more intimate contact. He lifted his lips from her, just far enough to look into her eyes once more. “You wanted Sebastian, all the time you were together. Instead you watched him bed all those men and women and let jealousy be your bed partner. You hungered for him, didn’t you, Winter? Wanted him as you have wanted no man in your life before.” His tongue stroked her upper lip. “Tell me.”

“Yes,” she breathed, her body trembling at his touch.

He kissed her, his tongue thrusting into her mouth, making her moan. Then he stepped away from her, his hands falling to his sides.

“Thank you,” he said. “Is that enough of a demonstration, Winter?”

For a blank moment Winter’s mind tottered. Then fury swept through her. “You were conning me?”

“You agreed to the demonstration,” he reminded her. “You were warned about what I was doing. That is more than the average mark is told. And yet I still got the information I wanted.” He shrugged. It was a small, elegant lift of his shoulders and seemed almost apologetic. “I did warn you,” he repeated.

She closed her eyes, humiliation and cold sense at war inside her. This was what her marks felt like if ever they found out they’d been had.

“If it is of any comfort, Winter, I always hew close to the truth. There are consequences for both sides when I play a mark.”

She opened her eyes to look at him. Nathanial glanced down at the front of his trousers, drawing her gaze to the swollen erect mass there.

Winter could feel her cheeks burning, even though she was hardly a blushing virgin type.

“One of my weaknesses is redheads,” Nathanial added. “Especially stubborn, intelligent, independent, feisty redheads.”

Thank you Tracy for visiting the blog today. Congratulations on the release of Blood Knot. In celebration of her first self-published novel, Tracy has generously offered an e-copy of her previous release, Kiss Across Swords to one commenter. Kiss Across Swords is a sexy, erotic urban fantasy time-travel romance. You can read my review of it here.

Taylor Yates never dreamed growing up she would end up happily living with two drop-dead sexy vampires and time-hopping through their thousand years of personal history. Her life is complete…or is it?

When she finds herself at the siege of Jerusalem during the first crusade, Veris doesn’t know her at all and doesn’t want to. Worst of all, he and Brody are total strangers, and Taylor drives a wedge in deep between them by trying to seduce Veris at their first meeting—not something a lady of the day does if she wants to keep her head.

Taylor and Brody must woo Veris using the customs of medieval England, win his heart and his full commitment before Jerusalem falls in four days time—or when they return to their own time, their lives as they know them will be gone…

You can read more about Kiss Across Swords here.

Everyone who comments here by by midnight, Thursday, April 7, will have a chance to win the e-copy of Kiss Across Swords. I'll post the winner on Friday, April 8.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: My Soul to Steal

My Soul to Steal
Rachel Vincent
Young Adult/Fantasy
Soul Screamers/Book 4
Harlequin Teen/January 1, 2011

From the author's website ~


Trying to work things out with Nash — her maybe boyfriend — is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever — and whoever — she wants.


Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series is one of my favorite young adult series to date. Vincent's style of writing captures the demeanor of the teens - coming across as genuine, with that teen angst and logic that can defy reason.

Kaylee has had a lot of hard choices to make in recent months. One of the hardest was to distance herself from her boyfriend Nash when he made some seriously bad decisions that not only affected him but her as well. With Kaylee spending little time with Nash, this give Sabine the perfect opportunity to spend time with Nash in her attempt to get him back. But thankfully, Kaylee isn't a complete pushover. She fights back, letting Sabine know that she won't give up Nash without a fight. I've always liked Kaylee and that hasn't changed. I do think she should have started spending time with Nash once Sabine showed up and not have continued to keep such a distance from him. It's hard to fight for your boyfriend when you're not there but the competition is.

Nash - oh, brother. By the middle of the book, Nash was really getting on my last nerve. He tells Kaylee how he needs a friend right now and that's all Sabine is, a friend. Yeah, someone needs to tell Sabine that and then get her believe it! He spends time alone with Sabine, in his bedroom, knowing that her agenda includes getting him back as her boyfriend. He continues to tell Kaylee that nothing has happened or will happen with Sabine because he still loves Kaylee and wants her back. I do think Nash's heart was in the right place. He's trying to help Sabine, still considers her a good friend, but he trusted her a little too much to not hurt Kaylee in the process. I wish Nash had gotten tough with Sabine a lot sooner than he did and stopped making excuses for her actions.

What can I say about Sabine that is nice? Oh - she was honest about her feeling for Nash and that she would do anything to get him back. I do have to give her credit for that. She was also a bitch and a half when it came to Kaylee and how she rubbed Kaylee's face in the fact that she was Nash's first and they had a history that Kaylee and Nash didn't. Then Sabine asks Kaylee to help her when Nash finally decides to stop seeing Sabine. WTH!!! Yes, Sabine had the guts to ask Kaylee for help in getting Nash to talk to her again. All the while telling Kaylee that she still had every intention of trying to get Nash back as her boyfriend. She also told Kaylee to lay off Nash so she would have a chance with him. Seriously, this girl's logic was dangerously skewed. The odd part is, by the end of the book, she didn't bother me as much. I can't go so far to say that I liked her but. . . my dislike for her wasn't as intense.

The drama with Sabine isn't the only thing Kaylee has to contend with. Something very bad is going on at school. Plus, Kaylee is having some painfully bad dreams, Freddy Krueger's got nothing on these. Kaylee thinks Sabine is behind the dreams and the deaths but can't prove Sabine had anything to do with the deaths. Nash denies Sabine would have anything to do with it, no surprise there. Kaylee does ask Tod for help and while I've always liked Tod, I did have to question his motives when giving Kaylee advice about Sabine and Nash. Strange alliances are formed both here and in the Netherworld. The showdown between good and evil was filled tension, high emotions and possibly the ultimate sacrifice.

My Soul to Steal once again shows why I love this series so much! There were a lot of intense emotions, danger and mystery. It was all woven together to form an addictive story line. The next book, If I Die is due out this fall and I can not wait to find out what these characters are up to next!

Rating: A-

Books in this series ~

My Soul to Lose (prequel novella)
MY Soul to Take
My Soul to Save
My Soul to Keep
Reaper (MStS prequel novella)
My Soul to Steal

Monday, March 28, 2011

ARC Review: Rock Hard

Rock Hard
Olivia Cunning
Erotic Romance
Sinners on Tour/Book 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca/April 1, 2011

From Goodreads ~

An ultimatum can break your heart....

Every night lead singer, Sed Lionheart whips thousands of women into a frenzy with his voice alone. But the stage is the only place Sed feels any passion since he lost Jessica...

If you’re not willing to break all the rules...

It shattered her heart, but law student Jessica broke off her engagement to Sed, determined to be successful on her own terms. But no other man can ever hold a candle to Sed...

Then a chance meeting and tortuously close quarters lead to uncontrollable flares of passion and rediscovery of their unique penchant for public encounters. Now, in addition to the risk of mutual heartbreak every time they get together, they’re in danger of truly scandalous public exposure...

Who doesn't love a rock star? I love music and rock stars, and yeah - they are the basis of many fantasies. In Olivia Cunning's second book in her rock star based series, the readers get a closer look at Sed Lionheart, lead singer and uber sexy groupie magnet. Sed starts off as an ass - I was not impressed. I knew this guy would need to put in some serious redemption time if I was to give a damn about him. Sed got off to a rocky start, but the reality is, bad boys are hot. Jerks, not so much. Good thing for Sed, and me, he went from a jerk to a bad boy and I actually gave a damn about him.

The life a rock star is a hard one. The endless days and nights on the road, the cramped quarters of a tour bus, constant adoration of the fans, the groupies offering up everything from a BJ to multi-partner sex. Yep, definitely a hard lifestyle. It's a lifestyle that Sedric Lionheart has embraced. As the lead singer for the band, Sinners, Sed is the band's sexy front man and extremely popular with the groupies. He can pick and choose who and how many he wants. While Sed was trying to fill his need with empty sexcapades, his ex was trying to fulfill her dream of law school. Both of these characters have some serious flaws, showing up in their very turbulent relationship. Sed's big fault is that he is very protective and has a habit of making decisions for everyone that he cares about, regardless of what they want. While his intentions are good, the execution can leave something to be desired.

Jessica is madly in love with Sed, until he goes too far and she walks. Two years later, things are not going as well as Jessica had hoped. Her problem - her looks. She is a sexy, beautiful woman. Men want her and women are jealous of her, making it hard for anyone to take her seriously in law school. Jessica finds herself working as a stripper in a Vegas club when Sed crashes back into her life. He still has his protective streak as well as his asshatness. A chain reaction is set off and Jessica finds herself back on the road with the band. They continue to clash, both hurt from their previous breakup but both still very attracted to the other. When Jessica decides that only she will be warming Sed's bed, her motives don't come from the heart. I had expected Jessica to act more mature when dealing with Sed. She knew how he was and for her to turn angry and jealous, declaring him off-limits from the groupies, wasn't an example of someone who didn't want Sed back.

Sed and Jessica together are burning up the sheets. Or not, because they get turned on by having sex in public without getting caught. There were times when they seemed like this happy, loving couple, then they would argue and Jessica was back to saying she hated Sed. It's as if she was bi-polar. The sex scenes are sizzling with both Jessica and Sed letting going, not holding back. I don't think they knew how to hold back! And they're not shy around the other band members. The tour bus has one bedroom along with individual bunks so they guys take turns using the bedroom. It's like calling shotgun. LOL It wasn't uncommon for one or more of the band members to be on the tour bus with a groupie(s) or in the case of lead guitarist Brian, his wife. Lots of sexing going on here.

The behind the scenes of the band were fascinating and I loved reading about the choreography of the shows. How each member of the band plays off the others. How they get so juiced from the audience. How they look out for each other, taking up any slack in the playing. It's an alluring world of excess, talent, addiction and temptation with the closeness that make these characters a family. That closeness plays an important role when one of the band members needs the support of his band mates. I really loved seeing the bond these guys had played out on the page.

They really are a family. Cunning does a terrific job showing how the five men who make up the band are as close as brothers - with the arguing, teasing and love they have for each other. I think they are the strongest element of the story. Cunning has written each of them as very unique individuals, all with their own distinct personalities. The romance of Sed and Jessica, while not as strong as I would have liked, was still a compelling look at the complications of having a relationship when one of the members is famous.

Rock Hard proved to be a seductive look at the life of a rock star and the woman who took a chance on loving him. Rock Hard left me wanting more of this world of Rock 'n Roll. I can't wait to get my next Sinners fix. All five band members get their own books and I'm undecided whose I'm looking forward to the most.

Rating: B+

Books in this series ~

Backstage Pass
Rock Hard
Hot Ticket
Double Time

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Coin Operated

Coin Operated
Ginny Glass
Contemporary Erotic/BDSM Romance
Carina Press/June 7, 2010

From the publisher's website ~

Elijah Elliot and Beatrix London's fledgling ad agency is under siege. Not from outside competition but by Eli and Bea's unspoken lust for each other. As their unsatisfied cravings to dominate and submit bloom into vivid daydreams, the office becomes a minefield of frustrated needs and dangerous desires. Now something's gotta give or their partnership is going to self-destruct.

When Bea unveils a racy new light bondage ad campaign for their key client, she pushes Eli to cross the line he's drawn between them—the one that keeps him from doing all the hot, sinful things she imagines he's capable of...

A quick, sexy story about two business partners that finally start to really communicate. Glass was able to put a lot of emotion into this novella. There are also some smoking hot scenes when Eli and Bea start communicating in a different way.

Bea and Eli both want the same things. They want their business to grow and they want each other. It's that last part that they really need to work on. They both fantasize about each other and when they finally succumb to the fantasy they each get more than what they expected. I liked how Bea and Eli tried to keep their relationship professional, fighting the attraction that neither knew the other had for them. It's fighting and need to keep things professional that racked up the sexual tension.

Once Bea and Eli take their relationship beyond the office they find they are an excellent match in both need and want. I liked how they made the progression from business partners to lovers but would have liked to see more depth to that transition. They had a couple of stumbles but worked things out. Eli likes things a little rough in the bedroom and he's concerned that Bea will turn away from him when she finds out. Instead, they discover some things about each other that brings them both pleasure beyond their wildest dreams.

Coin Operated is a short, erotic story filled with passion and some very inventive and steamy scenes. Add in the emotional punch and you have an enjoyable story. I do wish it had been longer, giving more time to develop the characters and their relationship.

Rating: B

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Treachery In Death @Breezing Through

Today I have the pleasure of doing a buddy review with Nath from Books, Books and More Books. We are both fans of the In Death series so when Nath asked me to do a buddy review with her of course I said yes! I do want to confess, Nath does all the work. I do some babbling and she puts it all together so it makes sense. :)

Head on over to Breezing Through and find out what we thought of the latest installment of the In Death series.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love
Julie James
Contemporary Romance
Berkley/March 1, 2011

From the author's website ~

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more. . .

The cover has to get a mention - that dress - Wow! Nick's reaction to the dress was even more priceless. And Nick, well if the placement of his right hand is any indication, he's staked his claim!

I lost track of how many times I laughed, chuckled and no doubt sat there with a grin on my face while reading Julie James' latest romance. What a pleasure to read! Usually, when I like both the hero and heroine, I like one a little bit more than the other but in the case of Jordan and Nick - I loved them both. They come across as opposites, not having much in common, but James makes them fit so very well. This is one couple you will cheer for!

Jordan Rhodes has worked hard for her place as the owner of a well known, and well run wine store. First off, I liked that Jordan wasn't a winy (hehe) spoiled rich girl but can appreciated life's finer things without loosing sight of how hard you have to work for them. A lot of that had to do with her upbringing and the morals her parents instilled in her. She's close with her twin brother Kyle, whose book is next, YEAH! Jordan is a strong heroine while still maintaining her girly side. She's a girlfriend you could picture yourself hanging out with. Whenever I read a character that I can imagine hanging out with, you know the author has done an exceptional job at bringing that character to life. And then there's Nick - who wouldn't want to hang out with him? ;)

Nick McCall just came off a six month undercover op and he's ready for a trip home to New York. Fate has other plans for him. Nick is about to get a crash course in wine tasting from a woman who doesn't easily succumb to his charms. And Nick can be very charming. He is a guy's guy but still manages to pull off the "Tall, Dark and Smoldering" which women love. Nick has this sense of humor that got to me. He had me cracking up with his uniquely Nick observations. Not only what he said but what he thought. His previous undercover work didn't include rubbing elbows with wine connoisseurs. It was amusing to see Nick try new experiences with Jordan leading the way.

Jordan and Nick have chemistry but it's subtle at first. As the story progress, we get to see how that chemistry grows, making the romance that much more believable. Along with the sexual chemistry there is this teasing banter that they fall into. This is a modern Hepburn and Tracy, with the quick wit and easy comebacks that had me eagerly anticipating their next volley of words. Add to that, they are evenly matched with Nick needing Jordan just as much as she needs him. He may try to boss her around but she's no pushover and can hold her own with Nick.

There is a suspense plot running alongside the romance. It's what brings Nick and Jordan together and why they find themselves spending time together with Nick posing as Jordan's boyfriend. The way the suspense is blended with the romance makes for a wonderful balance of anticipation for both. There is also Jordan's great knowledge and appreciation of wine woven into the story. I loved learning all about wine, right along with Nick.

Jack Pallas and Cameron Lynde, the hero and heroine from Something About You make appearances, Jack also works at the same FBI office as Nick and there's some good natured rivalry going on with these two. You don't need to read Something About You before A Lot Like Love but I would certainly recommend it.

If you want a smart, delightful romance with a hero and heroine who will having you laughing one moment and sighing the next, then you'll want to read A Lot Like Love.

Rating: A

Monday, March 21, 2011

Access Romance Day ...

Today I'm at Access Romance Readers Gab talking about the giant, massively overwhelming TBR Pile and what to do about it. Come on over and share your advice on what to do when books take over your home.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: River Marked

River Marked
Patricia Briggs
Urban Fantasy
Mercy Thompson/Book 6
Berkley/March 1, 2011

*Spoilers for previous books*

From the inside cover ~

Coyote shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn't go as planned. Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it. But the trip - and the pimped-out trailer they're using - is courtesy of the fae. And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached...

Being a different breed of shapeshifter - a walker - Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River - and their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil...

Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series, heck, one of my favorite series period. I love the world that Briggs has created. It's such a full, rich world with the primary and secondary characters multi-dimensional with all their own quirks, flaws and strengths.

Mercy is staying busy with her work and her wedding coming up. She's also worried about her vampire friend Stefan. We get to see how Mercy, Stefan, Warren and Kyle spend movie night. This is an example of what makes this series so wonderful. Those moments of normal interspersed with scenes of fighting monsters bring it all together to make the unbelievable, believable. Even though she's marrying a werewolf, her friend is a vampire and Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, when you get down to it, she still faces many of the same problems any of us might have - minus the claws and fangs.

There is a lot of Mercy and Adam time and I loved it! We get to see them in this very domestic setting away from the pack. I will admit that I missed the pack - Samuel, Warren, Darryl, Auriele, even Ben, who is growing on me. Along with Julie, Kyle and most definitely Stefan. We do get to see them at the beginning, at Mercy and Adam's wedding. The pack may be close but not close enough to join Adam and Mercy on their honeymoon. Since it is their honeymoon, along with searching out and finding the monster, there are some sweet and sexy scenes with Mercy and Adam. I love seeing them tease each other, still learning their way around each other. They've known each other for 10 years and yet they still have things to discover about one another.

River Marked starts as a road trip story. It's a short road trip but it does put Mercy and Adam in new surroundings. Along with those new surroundings are quite a few new characters. It took a little work for me to keep everyone and their relationships straight. These characters help Mercy learn more about her Native American heritage. It's this information that leads Mercy and Adam to discover what the creature in the river is and what it wants. In reading about Mercy's heritage, watching her uncover more information about her father and sharing that with Adam we get to know Mercy better. She knew some of her heritage but still had much to learn. Adam is right there with Mercy, supporting her while still trying to give her room. His trust in Mercy's safety is tested but he continues to seek that balance of overprotective alpha and 21st century forward thinking husband.

The are moments in River Marked that are so profoundly sad. It has it's lighter moments but there are some very dark, very scary beings in Mercy's world. There were scenes when I knew bad things were going to happen, that there wouldn't be a happy ending to what was playing out before me. And I got why it had to happen that way but that didn't stop me from wishing someone or something would swoop in and save the day. I think the way Briggs has created Mercy's world reminds us that for humans and supernatural beings, life can be fleeting, unfair and justice is not always swift. So appreciate what and who you have in your life.

River Marked goes down as another exceptional addition to the outstanding series that is Mercy Thompson.

Rating: A-

Books in this series ~

Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TBR Challenge Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Carrie Vaughn
Urban Fantasy
Kitty Norville/Book 1
Warner/November 1, 2005

From the back cover ~


Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station--and a werewolf in the closet. Sick of lame song requests, she accidentally starts "The Midnight Hour," a late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged.

After desperate vampires, werewolves, and witches across the country begin calling in to share their woes, her new show is a raging success. But it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew…

No clue how long this, and a few others from this series, have been sitting on the TBR pile. If I had to guess I'd say a few years. I haven't read anything of Vaughn's before so this fits in nicely with this month's theme of New To Me Author. It also fits nicely with time constraints I found myself in, coming in at just under 260 pages. I didn't start reading until Monday night which I'll blame on playing with my new cell phone - ie. learning how to use the darn thing.

The premise is an interesting one. Kitty Norville is getting by with her night time radio gig when a call and a threat changes everything. She's a werewolf and now everyone knows. Here's where I had the first problem. Kitty's radio show not only outs werewolves but vampires as well. Kitty's alpha, Asshat Carl, tells her to stop doing the show, she doesn't, and... nothing. He threatens her but nothing comes of it. Then there's Arturo, the local Master vampire. He didn't like Kitty before the show and now likes her even less. He wants her to stop the show too. She doesn't, Arturo threatens, actually follows through. Pack politics also affect Kitty's life, threatening her and her venture into talk radio semi-stardom, leaving Kitty wondering who to trust.

The pack dynamics are pretty much what you would expect with an alpha ruling and a hierarchy that puts Kitty near the bottom. She starts out very submissive, really kind of wimpy for a werewolf but we do see her slowly evolve and begin to stand up for herself. That I did like. She wasn't this kick-ass chick, telling all the alphas off but she did stop hanging her head so often. One thing I didn't like about the pack was Carl. What a total ass! He has a mate but one of the perks of being an alpha is having sex with whomever he want - that included Kitty whether she wanted to or not. Was it rape? Yes and no. We get both Kitty and her Wolf's reaction to Carl with Kitty wanting to run and Wolf wanting to please Carl and be loved by Carl. Then both Kitty and her Wolf wanting to be loved and taken care of by Carl. However you read it, that aspect didn't appeal to me at all.

Kitty's life continues with more turmoil and mayhem. Not all of this is from outside sources. Kitty doesn't always apply common sense and gets herself into some of the less than favorable situations. She disregards advice from friends, packmates and even her lawyer. She may be growing more of a backbone but she's not there yet which is why it's so frustrating when she continues to put herself into these situations.

None of the male characters stood out for me. There's TJ, Kitty's packmate and close friend. He's okay but too much of a follower of Carl, whom I detested. Then there's Cormac the bounty hunter. We don't learn much about him which made it hard to connect with him. There's Carl - I've pretty much made my feelings known about him. The little bit we saw of Arturo was kind of interesting. I'd say vampire Rick was the most interesting. The feeling is that he's a powerful vampire but doesn't like to show off. He's sort of a friend of Kitty's, maybe ally is a better term. I could see him becoming a more vital part of the series.

In the end, I'm left with some curiosity for Kitty and her world and will most likely read the next installment, if only to get it off the TBR pile.

Rating: C

Books in this series ~

Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Kitty Goes to Washington
Kitty Takes a Holiday
Kitty and the Silver Bullet
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Kitty Raises Hell
Kitty's House of Horrors
Kitty Goes to War
Kitty's Big Trouble

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: Tyler

C. H. Admirand
Contemporary Western Romance
Secret Life of Cowboys/Book 1
Sourcebooks/March 1, 2011

From the author's website ~

When Tyler Garahan said he'd do anything to save his family's ranch, he never thought that would include taking a job as a stripper at a local ladies' club. But the club's fiery redheaded bookkeeper captures Tyler's attention, and for her he'll swallow his pride...

Emily Langley feels for the gorgeous cowboy. It's obvious that he's the real deal and wouldn't be caught dead at a ladies' revue if he wasn't in big trouble. And when he looks at her like that, she'll do anything to help.

Working days on the ranch and nights at the ladies' club, Tyler would be plumb exhausted if he didn't suddenly discover that the club is in the same boat as his ranch, and his beautiful boss needs him as much as he needs her...

A new series about cowboys - real cowboys, not guys who wear flashy cowboy boots but wouldn't know a steer from a milking cow. Unfortunately for cowboy Tyler Garahan, he has to find work off the ranch so he and his brothers don't loose their ranch. Much of the action takes place at The Lucky Star, where Tyler must shed his clothes along with some of his pride.

Tyler is the eldest of three brothers who inherited the family ranch and run it together. As the eldest, Tyler felt it was up to him to find work to get the ranch out of the red. As it is they are barely hanging on but the money Tyler makes from stripper will go a long way in paying off the bills. He's embarrassed and doesn't tell his brothers what he really does at his night job. It's cute because he knows they will tease him to no end. Tyler is not a complicated man. He's a rancher and that's all he's ever wanted to do. I liked how he stayed steady throughout the book. He didn't suddenly become this smooth talking ladies man because of all the attention from the women he stripped for. He was still uncomfortable with his new job and happy to get off that stage when the show was over.

Emily Langley and her cousin Jolene are as close as sisters. They've come to Pleasure, Texas to run a strip club for women. Things haven't been easy for the cousins and some of the townsfolk are trying to make the women to get rid of the strippers. Em and Jolene are not about to give up. Jolene is the manager and Em is the bookkeeper plus doing anything else that needs doing. Em is a strong, independent woman who isn't afraid to go after what she wants. I was a little surprised that she was so possessive so quickly with Tyler. It was a bit over the top with how she reacted to the women wanting the hot cowboy stripping for them. I don't know what else she could have expected - Tyler was hot, all the women thought so.

Lust at first sight. That's what happens when Tyler and Em first meet. They couldn't keep their eyes off each other. It doesn't take long for them to act on that lust and for that lust to turn to something more. They fell so fast that at first it came across as unbelievable because neither seemed the one-night-stand/casual sex type. When they were out of bed the author does show Em and Tyler getting to know each other, developing more than just a physical relationship. It just felt like it was backwards with them knowing very little about each other before jumping into bed. In bed, things get hot very quickly with both Em and Tyler showing a great deal of enthusiasms for making the time they have together count!

There are outside forces at work against Em and Tyler and the club. Tyler's ex makes an appearance and stirs up trouble. It was surprising the number of barroom brawls that occurred, both with the men and women! Those Texas women do not like sharing their men! The problems with the Preservation Society also continue with attempts at shutting down any business they don't approve of, including The Lucky Star. Em and Jolene didn't take the threats very seriously, I didn't understand how they could be almost casual about threats to their business. They had sunk all of their money into the club and were barely getting by. They do band together with other business women in the town, agreeing not to back down from the threats to their livelihoods.

Tyler turned out to be a playful, sexy story about modern day cowboys and the women who are strong enough and stubborn enough to tame them. Tyler's brothers Dylan and Jesse both look like they will be heroes in upcoming releases. I didn't get much of a feel for either brother enough to know what to expect from them. It should be entertaining to see what kind of trouble they get into.

Rating: B

Books in this series ~

Dylan (Fall 2011)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ARC Review: The Vampire Voss

The Vampire Voss
Colleen Gleason
Paranormal Romance/Historical
Harlequin/March 29, 2011

From the author's website ~

Regency London – a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men.

But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own.

Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member the Dracule – a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls – the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral ... until Angelica.

Angelica Woodmore possess the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger – for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him – to protect her.

Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica ... but this vampire never backs down from a fight.

When I heard Colleen Gleason had a new series featuring vampires in regency London I was intrigued. These vampires are gentlemen of the ton. Lords living in mansions, attending balls and soirees. Then feeding off the ladies they danced with a few hours ago. Right off, Gleason pulls the reader into the world of the ton as of the vampires are relaxing in their private rooms at White's. They are like any other gentlemen of the ton, gambling and drinking, except their drinks don't always come from a bottle.

Voss, Viscount Dewhurst, seems to relish his vampiric abilities. He enjoys the power he commands but holds himself separate from the other members of the Dracule. I didn't like him at first but I don't think we're necessarily meant to like him. He's very self centered, only wanting to offer assistance when there is a benefit to himself. And yet he fascinated me. I wondered how Gleason would make him into someone worthy of the title of hero. Does he really need to change to be a hero or can he continue to be self-centered but include his heroine in that circle? I was hoping he wouldn't change too much but instead stay true to his nature.

At times Voss came across as an immature frat boy out for a good time and damn the consequences. He enjoys playing games, manipulating people to do as he chooses. You don't get the feeling that he looks too far ahead. Meeting and falling for Angelica doesn't suddenly change him so much as make him more aware of what he has been doing and how he has been living.

Angelica Woodmore isn't a vampire but a lady with the special talent of seeing a person's death. She touches an object belonging to that person and can see their death. Which is pretty creepy since people will approach her at balls and ask her to use her Sight for them. She may be more inclined to believe in the supernatural but the only thing she knows of vampires are the stories her grandmother told her. Angelica, despite her young age of 19, is a fairly responsible woman. She's very aware of her place in society, with her older sister Maia there to remind her. I liked the dynamics of the two sisters. They are less than a year apart with Maia taking charge and acting in place of the parent.

The sisters find themselves under the guardianship of Dimitri, the Earl of Corvindale who is also a vampire. He has an odd working friendship with the Woodmore sisters' brother Chas, who just happens to be a vampire hunter. Dimitri agreed to watch over the sisters if Chas ever needed him to. Of course he didn't expect that to happen. The one thing they all have in common is an enemy. It's that enemy that brings Angelica and Voss together.

Voss and Angelica come from two very different worlds with Voss indulging in the pleasures of the world around him and Angelica trying not to give in to her secret desires. I would have liked more time spent with them. There are a number of secondary characters who get page time, most notably Dimitri, Maia, Chas and Narcise, a female vampire. I liked these characters but they took too much time away from the romance.

The world building is enthralling with the beauty of the London high society mixed with the darkness of the Dracule. Gleason shows the Dracule living with valets, butlers and house servants just like any other member of the ton. They slept a great part of the day and stayed up late into the night but so did their human counterparts. There is a more sinister aspect to the Dracule, they did make a bargain with the devil after all. Some try not to kill their food source while others care little for the welfare of humans, reveling in their superior power.

The Vampire Voss proved to be a satisfying read with secondary characters ready and waiting for their stories to be told. Good thing they don't have long to wait. The second and third books in the series will be released in April and May. I liked Angelica and Voss and I can't wait for Dimitri's book.

Rating: B+

Books in this series ~

The Vampire Voss
The Vampire Dimitri (April 19, 2011)
The Vampire Narcise (May 24, 2011)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Undertow

Cherry Adair
Romantic Suspense
Cutter Cay/Book 1
St. Martins/January 1, 2011

From the back cover ~


Teal Williams is content with her career as a ship’s master mechanic—until Zane Cutter, the “Casanova of the Caribbean,” makes her an offer she can’t refuse: to climb on board with him for a real-life treasure hunt. Teal must help him dredge up a shipwrecked vessel containing an abundance of gold, silver, and emeralds—and she’ll claim part of the prize.


Zane needs a mechanic — not a lover — and Teal, who can also dive, is perfect for the job. So it suits him just fine that Teal is completely immune to his charms…or so he tells himself. But with a deadly enemy in their midst—one who’s silently edging closer—Zane and Teal sink into troubled waters. Trapped in the middle of a perilous sea, they have no one to turn to but each other as they face down a danger that runs unfathomably deep—and a passion that runs even deeper…

Loved the premise in the fascinating world of diving for treasure. The atmosphere of the ocean, both beautiful and deadly gave the story a unique backdrop for the suspense and the romance. Unfortunately, the characters and the plot didn't live up to the fascinating world they inhabited.

Teal Williams has been hiding from the men in her life. Her abusive ex-husband, her estranged father and the man she's been in love with since she was a child. To get as far away from her ex, she takes a job for the same brothers her father works for. She's also hoping to get closer to her father and have some kind of relationship with him. She's not happy about having to spend a month on a boat with Zane Cutter but doesn't have much choice - she needs the job. Teal is shy and keeps to herself. She'd rather spend time in the engine room than socializing with the other crew members.

Did I like Teal? Not exactly but I didn't exactly dislike her either which is just as bad. I found her actions towards Zane annoying. She's attracted to him but she continues to give out these mixed signals. Glaring at him when he's dancing with a bare breasted woman at a party. He sees Teal glaring and goes after her, things get a little hot and heavy but then she pushes him away. This seemed to be a reoccurring theme with Teal. I had the Katy Perry song "Hot N Cold" running through my head a lot.

Zane Cutter is the youngest of the three Cutter brothers. He's the "Casanova of the Caribbean". Yep, that's one of his nicknames. He doesn't hide the fact that he loves women. Which is why I didn't understand him getting mad when Teal threw his rep in his face. He had parties on the boat, inviting lots of bikini clad women, and the bare breasted one previously mentioned. He flirted with them, pissing Teal off. He says he did it to make her jealous and admitted that it was a bad idea. He got that right.

I still don't understand why the parties? They're diving Zane's dream find so you would think they would have plenty of work when they're not diving. There are a lot of boats in the area, watching to see what Zane's team brings up. A one mile radius rule is in effect for the other boats, to discourage thieves, so why not enforce that rule and keep the others away? Zane knows things are being stolen from the dive site but doesn't know who is doing it. I'm not familiar with diving operations but the way this one worked, it didn't make sense to me.

The romance was confusing. Zane thinks Teal isn't his type. Then he gets a look at her legs - he's a leg man. He starts falling for her fast. Teal is already half in love with Zane and doesn't like it one bit! As I mentioned, there is a lot of pulling forward, pushing back on Teal's part. It just left Zane confused. When they do get together Teal's insecurities about her looks, due in part to her ex's mental abuse, surface. Zane does say all the right things, helping Teal believe that he really does find her very attractive. I did like those scenes. Zane showed that he's not an insensitive ass but really cares about Teal.

There is action, aside from the diving. The thieves resurface, causing more problems and danger for Zane and his crew. Then the Men in Black show up complicating things even more for Zane and Teal. Their diving services are required which puts a crimp on the salvaging. Much drama and suspense ensues with both Teal and Zane showing they are very resourceful when fighting the bad guys. There is even an underwater shootout. Seriously, why would you use a gun underwater? You can fire a gun underwater but the aim will suck unless you are practically on top of the target.

My first Adair book and while it didn't wow me, I find myself curious about Zane's brothers Logan and Nick. And Adair's website is impressive in it layout, easy of navigation and details about her books. Definitely fun to check out.

Rating: C

Books in this series ~

(August 30, 2011)
Vortex (February 2012)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: Unspeakable

Laura Griffin
Romantic Suspense
Tracers/Book 2
Pocket/June 29, 2010

From the author's website ~



Elaina McCord’s dream of being an FBI profiler is in danger with her first case—investigating a string of murders near a Texas beach resort. The victims, all young women, were drugged and brutally murdered, their bodies abandoned in desolate marshland. Elaina’s hunch—met with disbelief by local police—is that these are only the latest offerings from a serial killer who has been perfecting his art for years, growing bolder and more cunning with each strike.

True-crime writer Troy Stockton has a reputation as an irresistible playboy who gets his story at any cost. He’s the last person Elaina should trust, let alone be attracted to. But right now Troy, along with the elite team of forensics experts known as the Tracers, are her only allies in a case that’s turning dangerously personal. A killer is reaching out to Elaina, taunting her, letting her know how ruthless he is and how close he’s getting. Now it’s not just her career that’s in danger—it’s her life. . . .

The second book in the Tracer series focuses on the murders of young women in and around the popular beach community of Lito Island, Texas. Griffin does a good job describing the area, the beaches, the marshes, the rivers and the night life. You get a feel not only for the region but also for the social climate. Lots of young, college age people out to party and have a good time. The local police are not prepared for what could be a serial killer. In comes the FBI.

Elaina McCord didn't choose to be an FBI profiler, in a way, it choose her. Her father is a well known profiler who Elaina has been trying to please for most of her life. When she was sent to the Brownsville, Texas office instead of her first choice of Washington, DC, she sucked it up and did her job. She not a complainer and I liked that about her. But there is a difference between complaining and standing up for yourself. The problem I did have was she didn't stick up for herself. She feels like she's not part of the investigation team, and she has good reason to feel this. She's the only woman on the team and both the local police chief and the FBI agent in charge don't take her seriously. But Elaina keeps herself separate from them and that was part of the problem. She was more likely to go off and work by herself than to join the team efforts. I think she worked with Troy more than she did with her team.

Troy Stockton is a famous author and a local of Lito Island. His home is there and he has a personal interest in the murders that are currently happening. He wrote a book years ago about a convicted murder but now it looks like some of his facts may be wrong. He's not attracted to Elaina at first, he's more interested in using her to get information. But he soon falls in lust and can't keep away from her. Troy is rich, famous and sexy as hell. Elaina doesn't come across as his type and it took a while before I could figure out why he wanted her when she made it clear she didn't want to get involved with him. She's attractive but Troy could have his pick of women if all he wants is something casual which is the impression that's given. I didn't really feeling a connection to this couple. It was more a mutual using of each other to find the killer with the sex as a way to relieve the stress. No much in the way of romance.

There is a developing secondary romance running throughout the book. It's between a homicide detective working a cold case and a woman who is an expert in DNA. They get pulled into the serial killer case because of a potential connection between the cold case and the latest murders. I didn't feel any sexual tension between these two, they found each other attractive but in a abstract way. They are both overworked and it felt like they didn't have time for much else. Their book is next in the series so I'm hoping for more in the way of tension between them.

The murder mystery was all over the place with Elaina and Troy spending a lot of time hunting down leads and clues. They try to connect the various killings, looking for a commonality between the victims. In doing this, there is even more separation of Elaina and the investigating team. I did like how the victims and the killer were connected and how the killer was able to get to the victims. It was creative and something that I had never heard of.

The suspense is the more dominate feature with the romance coming in a distant second. The end of the book left unanswered questions. The motivation of the killer was never fully explained. Why were the women murdered? Why did the killer fixate on Elaina? Why was she treated so harshly by some of the men in the investigation? I did find the scenes at the Delphi Center, a highly sophisticated forensics lab that Troy works with, interesting and look forward to reading more about it in the next book.

Rating: B-

Books in this series ~


Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: Strong, Silent Type

Strong, Silent Type
Lorelei James
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Rough Riders/Book 6.5 (novella)
Samhain/May 5, 2009

From the author's website ~

...Tough. Taciturn. And a fool for letting her go…

Wyoming rancher Quinn McKay thought he’d only have to bide time until his levelheaded wife came to her senses and called a halt to this “trial separation". He never believed the marital rough patch would drag on for a coon’s age.

Libby McKay knew when she married the gruff, laid-back cowboy that he wasn’t prone to blathering about his feelings. But three months have passed and her stubborn-as-a-mule husband is still living by himself in the horse trailer. It seems he’d rather hold onto his pride than hold onto her.

Quinn realizes Libby is determined to move on if he doesn’t loosen his tongue and he’ll lose the only woman he’s ever loved. In a last-ditch effort to keep her in his life, he offers her one weekend of uninterrupted sexual decadence.

Reigniting the passion is easy. The hard part comes after the sheets have cooled and they find out if what remains is strong enough to survive past mistakes.

Warning: Old-fashioned groveling leads to smokin' hot sexual encounters steamin'-up the truck windows, rockin' the horse trailer-proving even an old married dog can learn naughty new tricks.

Lorelei James' Rough Riders series is such a treat to read. It has that small town, close family feel while still delivering sexy, emotional relationships.

Strong, Silent Type is about an established couple, Quinn and Libby McKay. They grew up together and fell in love in their teens. It's 14 years later and they've been married for 9, but Quinn and Libby have come to a low point in their marriage. They've been going through some rough times and have drifted apart. Libby decides to shake things up by changing her looks but when asked what he thinks, Quinn tells her he liked the old Libby. Oh, boy. Wrong answer Quinn! Libby reaches the breaking point and kicks him out.

Libby is a librarian at the local school. She's likable in a sweet girl-next-door way. Libby decides to change what she considers her frumpy looks for a new, updated style. She hopes it will get some response from Quinn and possibly rejuvenate their marriage. Libby is desperate when she kicks Quinn out. It's a move she hopes will help Quinn see that their marriage is in need of help.

Quinn thinks Libby kicking him out is temporary and she'll come to her senses in a few days. Three months later... Quinn is at his wits end and finally stops waiting around for Libby to "come to her senses". Such an irritating phrase! But Quinn redeems himself in very creative way. I loved seeing him woo, romance and just down right sweep Libby off her feet. They have issues to work through but there is no doubt they are still deeply in love.

One of the differences between this story and the previous books, besides having an established couple, is that Quinn is not like his McKay cousins. He doesn't have a rep for being a hound dog with the women. In fact, Libby is the only woman he's ever been with. Which I thought was a nice change and so sweet. Libby and Quinn do find their way out of the downward spiral their marriage had taken. Even though this was a novella, they did talk about their problems while recreating the intimate bond they use to have. It would have been hard to believe they resolved anything had they simply had wild, crazy sex all weekend. Nice but still...

I do hope we see more of Libby and Quinn in future books. I enjoyed seeing what happens after the Happily Ever After. The reality that it's not always hearts and roses but relationships take work to keep them going.

Rating: B+

Books in this series ~

Long Hard Ride
Rode Hard, Put Up Wet
Cowgirl Up and Ride
Tied Up, Tied Down
Rough, Raw and Ready
Branded as Trouble
Strong, Silent Type
Shoulda Been a Cowboy
All Jacked Up
Raising Kane
Slow Ride (Free Novella)
Cowgirls Don't Cry

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February Reads...

February flew by - why is it that 2 to 3 less days make it seem so much shorter? This past weekend I was hoping to have a little reading marathon and finish a couple of books I had started earlier in the month. That didn't happen. Instead, Saturday was spent at Matsuri, a Japanese festival with lots of music, food and shopping. And I can't forget all the people decked out in costumes. WOW! Surprisingly, I even recognized a few! LOL Most are from video games, manga and Japanese music videos. Still, it's fun to see how much detail the cosplayers put into their costumes even when I don't know who they are. :)

On to the reading...

Audio Books

1. In The Bleak Midwinter/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/A-
2. A Fountain Filled with Blood/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/B+
3. Out of the Deep I Cry/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/B
4. To Darkness and To Death/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/B
5. All Mortal Flesh/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/B-
6. I Shall Not Want/Julia Spencer-Fleming/Mystery/A-
7. Destined for an Early Grave/Jeaniene Frost/Urban Fantasy/B+

As you can see, once I got going on Julia Spencer-Fleming's Reverend Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne series there was no stopping me! It's filled with fascinating characters in a setting that Spencer-Fleming really brings to life. The narrator, Suzanne Toren, does a wonderful job, giving each character a very distinct voice. Now I have to wait, along with everyone else, until April for the next book.

And just when I thought I'd caught up with Jeaniene Frost's Cat & Bones series, the next book comes out. This Side of the Grave was released on the 22nd so I will most likely read it instead of listening, although I do so love hearing Bones' cockney accent. :)

The Numbers

Mystery ~ 6
Urban Fantasy ~ 1

A- ~ 2
B+ ~ 2
B ~ 2
B- ~ 1

Print/Electronic Books

1. What She Needs/Anne Calhoun/Erotic Romance/A
2. Notorious Pleasures/Elizabeth Hoyt/Historical Romance/A
3. Whisper of Warning/Laura Griffin/Romantic Suspense/A-
4. Deeply, Desperately/Heather Webber/Mystery/A-
5. Animal Magnetism/Jill Shalvis/Contemporary Romance/B+
6. Nick All Night/Cheryl St. John/Contemporary Romance/B+
7. Master of the Mountain/Cherise Sinclair/Erotic Romance/B+
8. Chasing the Sun/Kaki Warner/Historical Western Romance/B+
9. Truly, Madly/Heather Webber/Mystery/B+
10. The Heat is On/Jill Shalvis/Contemporary Romance/B
11. Shadowfever/Karen Marie Moning/Urban Fantasy/C+
12. Master of the Abyss/Cherise Sinclair/Erotic Romance/C+
13. The Vampire Voss/Colleen Gleason/Historical Paranormal Romance/Review to come

The Numbers

Contemporary ~ 3
Erotic Romance ~ 3
Historical ~ 2
Mystery ~ 2
Historical Paranormal Romance ~ 1
Romantic Suspense ~ 1
Urban Fantasy ~ 1

A ~ 2
A- ~ 2
B+ ~ 5
B ~ 1
C+ ~ 2


Print ~ 9
E-book ~ 4

Another good month. I kept switch the Heather Webber books back and forth between Romantic Suspense and Mystery. Whatever they're labeled - they're very good. The Anne Calhoun was a quick read (28 pages) and while I don't plan to review it, I would highly recommend it. Excellent writing with steamy, emotional scenes.

The number read was a bit lower than I'd hoped but the grades were pretty good so that evens it out right? LOL So far March is off to a good start and with some highly anticipated releases this month, it should prove to be another good one!

So how was your reading month? Anything you read that you absolutely loved and think everyone should read?

*Pictures are of the stage were the Cosplay competition took place and the winners. It was very crowded and unfortunately, I didn't get that many good shots. There were about 30 people total on stage in costumes and for most I had to ask the teen who everyone was. :)