Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ARC Review: Blood Knot

Blood Knot
Tracy Cooper-Posey
Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance (M/M/F)
Stories Rule Productions/March 7, 2011

From Goodreads ~

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?

Blood Knot starts off quickly, from Nathanial (Nial) and Winter's first explosive encounter to their mutual attraction. Their connection to Sebastian is what brings them together and finding him gives them a common goal. Once the three of them are together, old feelings surface taking them in a new direction.

Winter is a retired thief, or so she thought. Then Nial comes into her life and turns it upside down. First off, love Winter's ability. So unique. She's a strong heroine with equally strong opinions about who and what she is. She doesn't want to get pulled back into the dangerous life of a thief but at the same time, the excitement tugs at her. Then there's her love for Sebastian and the possibility to see him again. But Nial and her attraction to him complicates things. She wants them both and doesn't want to choose.

Nial is under a lot of pressure and needs Winter and Sebastian's help. He's an intriguing character who uses his abilities to manipulate people and situations to his liking. I couldn't blame him for using those abilities and he's honest about his abilities when dealing with Winter. He's also honest in his feeling for her and for Sebastian. That worked well in getting Winter and Sebastian to open up about their feelings.

Sebastian has shut himself off from Winter and Nial. He doesn't want to join in with them on the mission. He has a painful history with both of them and doesn't want to suffer a repeat. But with conflicted feelings, he agrees to help. You would think Sebastian was the weak link but I think he was the strongest - he was what pulled and held the three together.

A ménage that is more than just sex, that involves feeling of love from all three participants isn't easy to make believable. This is true with Winter, Nial and Sebastian. Sometimes it felt like Winter should be with Nial since Sebastian acted like he wanted nothing to do with her. Then other times it felt like Winter loved Sebastian but only lusted for Nial. Either separate or together, these three deliver some emotional and erotic scenes. But in the end, I'm not sure I fully believed that all three held equal parts in the the relationship.

The political aspect of the story is focused on the vampires and their ability to remain hidden from humans. Nial is caught in the thick of it and pulls Winter and Sebastian in with him. They are up against some serious enemies and when they do decide to join forces, they make for a formidable team. The action scenes were interesting with the three working out the details of their mission and using each others' assets to get the job done. It did feel

Overall, an appealing story with three very different characters who, with their imperfections and their strengths, overcome past hurts and learn to rely on each other and love each other.

Rating: B

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: One Was A Soldier

One Was A Soldier
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne/Book 7
Thomas Dunne/April 12, 2011

*Spoilers for previous books*

From the inside cover ~

On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. Wht they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die.

Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare's bond has been tried torn,and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran's death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.

As the days cool and the nights grow longer, they will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny town to the upper ranks of the U.S. Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.

Julia Spencer-Fleming's series about a small town police chief and a Episcopal priest took me by surprise. I certainly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I do. It's not a traditional romance, in fact, the romance was muted up until the previous book. A married, older hero and a mid-thirties former army helo pilot turned Reverend does not sound like the makings of a romance. And yet, Spencer-Fleming makes it work. I think part of that is due to the fact that the romance isn't the main focus. Russ and Clare have some romantic moments but their relationship is based in reality not some fantasy realm of super sexy heroes and beautiful, alluring heroines. These are real people with very real problems that are not always resolved neatly and tied with a bow. Maybe that's why I enjoy this series so much - for the realness of the characters.

It's been eighteen months since Clare left for Iraq. Long months for Russ, left at home in Millers Kill, waiting for Clare's return so they can get on with their lives. But for now, their lives have been put on hold. Now the light at the tunnel is getting brighter with Clare's homecoming nearly here. Often we get the homecoming perspective from the woman's POV but this time it's from Russ, a combat veteran who is a nervous wreck.

He thrust the roses toward her. Two more ragged petals fell to the concrete floor. The bouquest looked as if a goat had been chewing on it. She bit her lip, just barely keeping a smile from breaking out. "Why, thank you, Chief Van Alstyne." She took the flowers in both hands and buried her face in what remained of them. She had tiny lines etched along the outsides of her eyes that hadn't been there when she left.

Russ isn't the only one who's nervous. Neither Clare nor Russ are quite sure what to do. They know what they want to do but are still unaccustomed to being able to display any affection in public.

He stepped toward her just as she bent to reshoulder her rucksack. She let go, opening her arms in time for him to nearly knock her over as he ducked to grab the duffel for her.

"Screw this." He kicked the canvas sack to one side and took her by the shoulders. "C'mere." She folded inside his embrace as if she had always been there, and he kept his arms hard around her, his cheek resting on her too light, too short hair. Letting the reality of her, the warmth and weight and solidity of her, sink into his bones.

"Holding on," she said against his chest.
"Not letting go."
page 13

I love this scene and how once they let their feeling out, they are truly home. Another thing I like about their relationship is the sexual tension. Their ages don't hold them back one bit and I find it refreshing.

The romance between Clare and Russ has been progressing along nicely but it isn't the whole focus of the story. This is still very much a mystery with Russ and Clare in the middle of it. Russ may be the chief of police and the true detective of the series but Clare's smart and nosy. She likes getting into the middle of things, even when those things are the cases Russ and his police force are working on. Clare is naturally inquisitive and at heart a caregiver. She needs to help people. Sometimes she goes a little too far and I can see why Russ becomes frustrated and angry with her. But he understands her and while they do argue, the strong love and respect they feel for each other holds them together.

The mystery is complex in that it has a number of different avenues that the police and the reader must explore before everything is tied together. And it's not just the Millers Kill PD that is involved but the Army as well. I liked the way the Army is tied into this small town, with the soldiers home but still bringing their military experiences with them. The impact of what they went through doesn't stop when they hit American soil. It's now a part of them and they must learn to adjust to their new self.

It was good to catch up with the residents of Millers Kill. I especially like the secondary plot between Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn. Seeing all these characters again felt like coming home. Spencer-Fleming makes them each unique and real, no one is perfect, they all have their flaws. They are not only easy to relate to but easy to believe.

As the story progresses Russ and Clare both have to deal with the direction their relationship is taking. Clare has a tendency of taking on other peoples problems in order to ignore her own. Russ is busy investigating the veteran's death and the Army's involvement. I like how they each have their own interests, they're not dependent on each other to fill their time.

The story has a number of sub-plots going, getting everyone into the action at some point. While I liked the various story lines, at times it felt like there was a little too much going on. In the end, most were either resolved or given a temporary reprieve. There is still much to look forward to, with a little cliffhanger to keep us anxious for the next book.

Rating: A-

Books in this series ~

In the Bleak Midwinter
A Fountain Filled with Blood
Out of the Deep I Cry
To Darkness and to Death
All Mortal Flesh
I Shall Not Want
One Was A Soldier

Sunday, May 29, 2011

ARC Review: Dragon Bound

Dragon Bound
Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
Elder Races/Book 1
Berkley/May 3, 2011

From Goodreads ~

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

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

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave - although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.

Well, this one has gotten a lot of buzz. It seemed like, for a while at least, everywhere I turned I was hearing about this book. I was lucky enough to win an ARC on Goodreads. I enjoyed getting to know Pia, Dragos and let's not forget the Wyr sentinels who make up Dragos' inner court.

Pia Giovanni is caught between a rock and a very pissed off dragon. She's on the run after stealing one measly little coin. It's not the value of the coin that's got her running but the being she stole it from. She's now being hunted by one of the oldest and most powerful of the Wyr. Pia is smart but she also knows she's in a lot of trouble. She doesn't just run blindly but tries to work out a plan to evade Dragos. Even with her strategy, you just know he's going to get her. Pia can be a smart ass and her sense of humor comes out when she's nervous. It's clear Dragos makes her nervous and they had some of the funniest conversation. Those were some of my favorite parts.

Dragos is certainly a throwback to the days of cavemen, or cave dragons in his case. I didn't care for his over-the-top caveman attitude. It got old, along with him telling Pia to shut up one too many times. Not cool. He does have his moments of showing tenderness towards Pia without being such an ass. I did like his relationships with his sentinels. You see not only Dragos' power but his intelligence and leadership qualities.

Pia and Dragos end up together despite their tumulus beginning. He's intrigued by her and alters his plan of killing her when he decides he's attracted to the unusual thief. I got the instant attraction but going from the physical to the emotional connection was a little harder to get.

The world building is complex with the Elder Races and the Fae dominant in power and the humans sometimes caught in the middle. Harrison does well explaining the various factions and the politics of the Elders and the Fae. It's an interesting world with some noteworthy secondary characters.

So, not so crazy about Dragos but I did like Pia, the world building and am interested to read about some of the secondary characters. I think as far as first books in a series, Dragon Bound set the stage and left me wanting more of this world.

Rating: B/B+

Books in this series ~

Dragon Bound
Storm's Heart (August 2, 2011)
Serpent's Kiss (October 4, 2011)

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Nora Roberts Trilogy

Nora Roberts has a new trilogy coming out this fall. What I find really interesting it that it was inspired by her inn. The Next Always is the first book of the new Inn BoonsBoro trilogy. I already like the sound of it.

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it's getting a major face lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett's social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen...

The Next Always releases in trade paperback on November 1.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: A Reason to Believe

A Reason to Believe
Maureen McKade
Historical Western Romance
Forrester Brothers/Book 2
Berkley/August 7, 2007

From the back cover ~

How do you pick up the pieces of a shattered life?

To escape her angry father, Dulcie McDaniel got pregnant - but lost her husband in a fatal accident. Penniless, she returned home with her little girl - only to have her world shattered once again. Lonely and filled with regrets, Dulcie struggles to provide a decent life for her daughter. Then a handsome stranger arrives...

Dulcie, usually shunned by proper folks, is suspicious of Rye Forrester, a drifter offering to work for his keep. But after he helps harvest the crops, her feelings toward the handsome stranger turn in to a consuming mutual passion. Although Rye wears the brand of an army deserter, Dulcie is thrilled to be with such a good man. But Rye has his own secrets. He can't understand why his late friend cheated on such a beautiful wife - or how he can now ask Dulcie's forgiveness for his part in her husband's death. Love is one thing - acceptance and forgiveness another. When their tragic pasts catch up with them, these two wounded souls must fight for the love that will keep them together for a lifetime...

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Reason to Live, and finally got around to reading Rye Forrester's story. Unfortunately, it wasn't as engaging as Creede's story. The writing was still good but the plot moved too slowly and I didn't feel that "click" of connection with the hero and the heroine.

Dulcie McDaniel is a young mother with little prospects for a happy life. Her one ray of hope is her four year old daughter, Madeline. Her father has just been buried and with her husband having been dead for months, all responsibility for the family farm falls to Dulcie. She has so much weight on her shoulders it's a wonder she could stand up. She has to get her crop in if she and her daughter have a chance of surviving the winter. I don't know what she would have done if Rye hadn't shown up and offered to help. Realistically, there was no way she could have done it by herself and there wasn't anyone else offering to help.

Rye Forrester carries a load of guilt. He's on a mission to make amends and hopefully relieve some of that guilt. On the surface he's a decent man but he has his share of ghosts. He hasn't had an easy life, growing up in an orphanage, then joining the army. I didn't get any sense of who he really was. He called himself a drifter and that's pretty much what he was. He didn't look towards the future and much of the time acted like he didn't really care what the future held for him. He was a hard worker and while he did come to care for Dulcie I couldn't help but wonder how much of that lay in the guilt he felt regarding her husband's death.

Together, Dulcie and Rye have many obstacles to overcome. In a town where most of the townfolks shun Dulcie, some thinking she little better than a whore, it's no wonder she keeps to herself. The bright spot in Dulcie's life also becomes a bright spot in Rye's life. I liked how the relationship of Rye and Dulcie also included Madeline. There was no way she could not be included and still have their love story work. Along with Madeline is another child that Rye helps. An orphan boy who was taken in by a local family out of obligation rather than compassion. Seeing how these four develop into a family was one of the better part of the book.

The difficulties continue to mount, life in rural Texas if tough but it felt like Rye and Dulcie would never get a break. Just for a second, when things are going well, BAM, they're hit with another crisis. I wish they would have had more happiness but instead it all came at the end when everything is resolved as best it could be and Rye and Dulcie create a new family. The ending came too quick and too neat after all the turmoil that preceded it.

So, I do have the next book on the tbr pile and I do want to read it, if only to see what happened to the remaining Forrester brother. I just don't think I'll be reading it anytime soon.

Rating: C+

Books in this trilogy ~

A Reason to Live
A Reason to Believe
A Reason to Sin

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: The Greyfriar

The Greyfriar
Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Steampunk/Urban Fantasy
Vampire Empire Trilogy/Book 1
Pyr/November 18, 2010

From the back cover ~

In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.


Princess Adele is heir to the Empire Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires form the deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read this amazing book?! The story started off a little slow but once I got into it, I didn't want to stop. I was sucked in to this fascinating world of vampires and princesses, airships and sword fights. The world building blew me away. It's beautiful in it's intensity. I don't have much experience with steampunk but if this is any example, I will certainty be searching for more.

Princess Adele is on journey before she settles into wedded bliss or at the least, a mutual respect of her intended. When we first meet Adele, you can tell she is intelligent and curious, with a great sense of family and duty. She also has a darker side that comes out when vampires attack. She is not one to sit on the sidelines and hope to be rescued. In this world, you need to know how to defend yourself.

It's during one of these attacks that Adele meets the infamous Greyfriar. He is part legend and part mystery with a dash of elegance thrown in. He's also wicked quick with swords and guns. Adele is left with no choice but to take the help Greyfriar offers. They are an unlikely pair who have more in common than they think. The two are written in such a way as to play off each other. With Adele not fully trusting Greyfriar but coming to rely on him. She still uses her wits and her fighting skills whenever she needs to. I liked that she kept her royal bearing but didn't deny her survival instincts.

Greyfriar is a fascinating character. His reasons for helping Adele and fighting the vampires are complex. He is pulled in two different directions, walking a very fine line while trying to stay alive in this harsh world. The war is coming and he knows it. I found the contrast between his secret life as Greyfriar and his real identity highly intriguing.

The land where the vampires rule is stark, brutal and depressing. Humans are cattle to be used and discarded when they're no longer useful. The vampires have few morals and even less honor. They want to dominate the world and bring the humans to heel. The humans have little chance of defeating the vampires without a lot of firepower. Even then, the odds are not good. If you're going to make vampires the antagonists then make then cruel, make them evil, make the reader feel fear when those vampires come on the page. These are the vampires of nightmares and I loved it!

There are a number of important players in this world. Aside from Adele and Greyfriar there is Adele's intended, Senator Clark, an American. He is brash, obnoxious and a complete ass. He is also very good when fighting the vampires. His interactions with the formality of the Equatorian court were as amusing as they were telling of the vast differences in the two countries. Court politics and intrigue play a role in who and how the humans will fight the vampires. Alliances must be made. We see this clearly with the Americans and the Equatorians.

This first book in the Vampire Empire trilogy left me wanting more. I loved how we saw the pageantry of the court and the brutality of the fight. The characters are well developed with depth and emotions that pull at you, making you want to cheer them on. There are secondary characters that I want to know more about. I want to know what will happen with Adele and Greyfriar. And I want to know if the vampires will be defeated. Hopefully, some of these answers will be in The Rift Walker, book 2, coming out this September.

Rating: A

Books in this trilogy ~

The Greyfriar
The Rift Walker (September 20, 2011)
Book 3

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Invincible

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Chronicles of Nick/Book 2
St. Martins/March 22, 2011

*Spoilers for Book 1*

From Goodreads ~

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse...

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

It's the day after the big zombie fest from Infinity (book 1) and Nick finds himself at Kyrian Hunter's home, safe and sound. As I was reading this, I realize I'm not reading it so much for the actual story as for the back story of Nick and company and how it relates to the current Dark Hunter/Were Hunter world of the adult series. So if I had never read Kenyon's adult series, this YA series would make me pick it up and I would most likely spend time read it rather than this one.

Nick has been, I wouldn't say a favorite character but one I've been interested to see where Kenyon would take him in the Dark Hunter series. So reading how he can to be in the world of Kyrian, Acheron and the Peltiers of Sanctuary is interesting enough to keep me reading this series. Nick is very much a teen with an attitude. He's had a hard life but he does have a mom who loves him more than words. She is the most important person in his world and it's never more evident than in his teen years.

We also see Nick developing relationships with his classmates, some of whom happen to be demons. Yeah, it's a weird world that Nick lives in but Kenyon does manage to make it all mesh together. Nick does seem surprised at every new revelation of supernatural beings. You would think he would be used to it, considering his boss is a Dark Hunter and he's friends with Acheron, who is 11,000 years old. Add in everything he's learned about and fought against in recent days, nothing should surprise him but it does.

Nick once again finds himself in trouble and not sure who he can trust. I did like the character of Death or Grim as he's also known as. He added a wicked sense of humor to the story. It's a good thing I'm not reading this series for the plot line because it didn't keep me entertained. It was easy to figure out where the story was headed and I was far more interested in how these characters fit into the Dark Hunter world. Good thing I got this from the library, not worth the hardcover price, IMO.

Rating: C+

Books in this series ~

Infamous (2012)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: The Ranger

The Ranger
Monica McCarty
Historical Romance (Scotland/1308)
Highland Guard/Book 3
Ballantine/December 28, 2010

From Goodreads ~

Embedded deep behind enemy lines, Arthur “Ranger” Campbell is Bruce’s secret weapon as he wages his final assault on the enemies who stand against him. Recruited to join the Bruce’s secret elite fighting force for his prized scouting skills, Arthur’s razor sharp senses and ability to blend into the shadows make him the perfect spy. But when this shadow warrior must infiltrate the clan of the chieftain who murdered his father, his heart is locked on revenge. Inside he faces unexpected resistance from the sweetest of obstacles—a honey-haired siren who is his enemy’s daughter. But the vivacious, enchanting Anna MacDougall is a woman whose skill at uncovering deception rivals his own.

Intrigued by this ruggedly handsome newcomer to her father’s forces, Anna accepts the challenge his determined indifference to her arouses. Though anxious for the war to end and yearning for a quiet life with a good man to love, Anna is drawn to this mysterious knight whose eyes devour her but whose words push her away. But as danger, treachery, and the threat of looming war draw them closer into each other’s passions and secrets, a warrior made of steel must make a choice from the heart: love or revenge.

The third book in McCarty wonderful Highland Guard series is about Arthur Campbell who must play a game of cat and mouse with the enemy within their very ranks. I've been curious about Arthur or Ranger as he's known in the Guard. He's very loyal to Robert Bruce which makes his task of posing as a supporter of Edward beyond difficult.

Arthur Campbell's mission is a test of his abilities. Then he is additionally tested when he meets Anna MacDougall. She is the daughter of his greatest enemy, one that Arthur has swore revenge upon. Of course they fall in love but Arthur knows they have no future. I loved how conflicted Arthur is. On the one hand he has his mission which is critical to the cause he believes so strongly in. On the other hand he is falling fast for Anna and sees no way it can end well. He was continually walking a tightrope creating a tense and suspenseful situation.

Anna MacDougall is an unconventional woman of her time. She is well educated, with even her father asking her opinion. She adores her father and enjoys helping him fight Robert Bruce aka King Hood, any way she can. I love when authors give us intelligent heroines, especially in historicals. I think we expect contemporary heroines to possess intelligence but given the constraints regarding education placed on women throughout history, it's always refreshing to have a historical heroine with the brains to challenge the hero.

The love story is filled with numerous obstacles, the obvious being Anna and Arthur on different sides of the war. It wasn't an easy road to HEA, which made it all the more priceless when they got there. It didn't help that Anna was blinded to her father's faults. She practically worshiped him and even with evidence to his brutality, for an intelligent woman, she took far too long to realize his loyalty wasn't with her. The action and suspense run high through much of the story. McCarty does well keeping the balance of political intrigue and romance in place. And while the politics were certainly present, I never felt they overshadowed the romance.

I wanted to add one minor problem I have with this series. The covers. I really wish publishers would move away from the man-titty covers and give us covers that better reflect what's inside. Yes, the heroes are all well muscled but this is such an intelligent and well written series that there is far more than man-titty between the pages. I would direct pubs to the lush and beautiful covers of historical fiction. They are not only gorgeous but give a feel for the time period. JMHO

I'm really enjoying this series. It has everything I like about historical romances. In a way, it's more like a historical romantic suspense than strictly a historical romance. However you label it, this series is not to be missed if you're looking for something different than your regency and Victorian romances.

Rating: A-

Books in this series ~

The Chief
The Hawk
The Ranger
The Viper (October 25, 2011)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Touched by an Alien

Touched by an Alien
Gini Koch
Science Fiction Romance
Kitty Katt/Book 1
DAW/April 6, 2010

From Goodreads ~

How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet-using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n' roll?


She's Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

It took me a few stops and starts before I could get into this book. But I keep going back to it because Nath liked it so much and while we don't agree on every book, I trust her judgement. :) And she was right! Once I got past the initial world building, with the info coming a little too fast, then the story became more character and action driven and worked for me.

Kitty is an average woman. She's doesn't come across as anyone out of the ordinary, until she defeats a monster and is whisked away into a secret world of sexy aliens, monster aliens and some really cool toys! Kitty took the news of aliens on planet Earth pretty well. Sometimes almost too well. No major meltdowns or freak outs. Maybe because all of the alien dudes are GQ super sexy. Which is one of the clues that makes Kitty think these guys are not your regular government agents. While I didn't always feel Kitty's reactions were realistic, I did like how she didn't let anyone push her around.

Jeff Martini and his alien buddies are not only cover model good looking, but they have some wicked cool abilities. Jeff's most obvious is his smooth talking way with women and he goes full throttle with the charm when Kitty shows up. It was over the top at times but that's just Martini. He can be annoyingly cute. He also has his serious side and I liked how Koch balanced that with his playful, flirty side.

There is a lot to take in with all the data on the aliens and their background. It does lay a solid foundation for the rest of the series but got to be a little overwhelming. The monsters or super-beings as they are called are ingenious in their creation. They're like something from the mind of mad scientist on drugs. It's these beings that Kitty is recruited to fight along with Martini and company. Those were the scenes I enjoyed the most. The fight scenes are fast and brutal, with Kitty and her alien pals using anything at their disposal to fight the big bad nasties that keep coming at them.

The romance is there but sometimes Martini and his confidence in his ability to win Kitty over bordered on stalker. He came on way too strong and left me annoyed more often than not. I did like when we saw his vulnerabilities. It was at those times when he seemed almost human.

Overall, a decent start to a new, unique series. I've got Alien Tango on the TBR pile waiting for me. I have a feel it won't take more than one try for me to get into it.

Rating: B

Books in this series ~

Touched by an Alien
Alien Tango
Alien in the Family

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review: Edge of Sight

Edge of Sight
Roxanne St. Claire
Romantic Suspense
Guardian Angelinos/Book 1
Grand Central/November 1, 2010

From the back cover ~

The killer she can't escape . . .
The heartbreak she can't forget . . .
The one man who can stop them both.

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant where she works, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won't provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother, Zach, to protect Samantha. A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he's equally fearless and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a lusty interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they crack a conspiracy that leads to Boston's darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot...

Roxanne St. Claire's newest series is a spin-off of her popular Bullet Catchers series. I've read the first four books in the Bullet series and enjoyed them. Still need to catch up but I was in the mood for something new and Edge of Sight fit the bill. Edge of Sight is a stand-alone so no worries about reading the previous series.

The story begins in the restaurant where Sam works. Right off you can tell Sam have goals and is driven towards those goals. She recently was accepted to Harvard Law school and has a plan for her life. I liked that Sam is smart and doesn't downplay her intelligence. She has a few major insecurities but those played in well with her background. Add in the fact the she and Zach have a history and it makes for high tension.

Zach Angelino is a hero but he doesn't feel like one. He feels so far from hero status it's not even a spot on the horizon. Man, I dare any reader not to feel for this guy. Sure, he can be stubborn beyond reason but he's had such a hard time. As a kid and an adult. He has had some bright spots and one of them was the short time he spent with Sam. You can read the free short prequel at the author's site. It's about Sam and Zach's time together. But now Zach is sort of drifting. He's crashing at his sister's apartment with no real direction in his life. Then Sam is there and Zach has to do some serious thinking about what he wants to do. I loved seeing Zach begin to live again and have a purpose in his life. St. Claire did a great job showing the emotions this very stoict man was going through.

Sam and Zach together were smoking hot! The sexual tension was high from the moment they were together. I loved how they fought and made up. They're road to HEA wasn't easy since Sam's running for her life and Zach trying to protect her while trying desperately to keep from getting involved with her again. Yeah, that didn't last long - silly man! And thankfully no stupid "hey, lets have sex while the bullets are flying" scenarios.

The action and suspense fly high with not only Sam and Zach but Vivi, Zach's twin sister getting involved. There are a lot of twists and I found myself like Sam, wondering who to trust. There were a couple of times when things got a little too out there but then reality came back and I was sucked into the story again.

Then you have the Rossi family. They are Zach and Vivi's family of Aunt, Uncle and cousins. And I can't forget Great Uncle Nino. He was a hoot! I loved the close knit, strength of family portrayed throughout the story. It's the foundation of the series and it came through in spades. Edge of Sight left me in need of the next book, Shiver of Fear. Good thing it's sitting on the top of my TBR pile. :)

Rating: A-

Books in this series ~

Taken to the Edge (free prequel)
Edge of Sight
Shiver of Fear
Face of Danger (April 2011)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Access Romance Day ...

So late getting this up but I was happy just to get the post up over at the Access Romance Readers Gab. Luckily, I had most of it written last week. I'm over there talking about why I read YA. Come on over and let us know if you read YA and if so why.

It's been a really long week. I've got a bunch of reviews to write for some really good books but I'm only online for short periods. I got sick this past Saturday and end up in the ER with pneumonia. Spent a few days in the hospital (not fun) and now I'm home resting and trying to get rid of this before going to Denver next month. The transplant was put off until next month because my brother still had signs of cancer so he's going through another round of chemo. Right now I'm looking forward to July. My goal for July is a nice, calm, stress-free month. Please.

So, what have you all been up to? Read any good books lately?

Lori - I hope your mom is doing better. :)

Nath - Did your vertigo go away? Hope so. :)

Miss you guys!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Revelations

Janice Kay Johnson
Contemporary Romance
Count on a Cop/Book 23
Harlequin/Super #1228/September 1, 2004

From Amazon ~

Ann Caldwell doesn't know who she is. She doesn't really know what she is, either.

Growing up, she wanted just one thing—her father's approval. But she never got it. When she was little she was too much girl and later she wasn't enough woman. She even became a cop to please him. Now he's gone and she realizes how empty her life has become. She'd like to fall in love but doesn't know the first thing about getting a man. Even worse, the one man she wants is her partner, Juan Diaz — who has never looked at her twice.

As Ann struggles to find her way, she discovers a bigger task — figuring out who has begun killing cops. She and Diaz must solve the case before anyone else dies. Is on the job the only place they're destined to be together?

This is a follow up story to Johnson's Mommy Said Goodbye. You can read my review here. The heroine of Revelations, Ann Caldwell, is a cop just like her father. In MSG, Ann followed in her father's footsteps when it came to hounding Craig Lofgren, hero of MSG. Now Ann has realized her father wasn't the cop she thought he was. She's moved on but still trying to come to terms with the father she thought she knew.

Juan Diaz is an older, more experienced cop who finds himself partnered with Ann Caldwell, a newly minted detective. He's intrigued by her. She tries to dress to hide the fact that she's a woman but Diaz can't help but notice that his partner is a woman. Diaz has already lost one marriage to his job and he doesn't see his kids as much as he would like. We hear how divorce rate is high among cops so I'm glad Diaz had that baggage of a divorce, made it far more realistic. His kids were well done - having enough page time to establish his relationship with them but not too much since he didn't see them that much.

Ann Caldwell is a grown woman yet she hasn't had many of the experiences that most women have had. She doesn't date much and her work has her primarily around men all day. What she really needed was some confidence in her femininity. I do think that Diaz helped bring that out in Ann. You could tell she wanted to change and become who she wanted to be and not who she thought her father had wanted her to be. She just needed a catalyst to make that change.

The suspense plot I found somewhat boring at times. Maybe if it had been more graphic or I had felt Ann or Diaz were in greater danger, then the tension would have been higher. As it was, the villain was fairly easy to identify and I much preferred time spent with Ann and Diaz getting to know each other. I liked seeing Ann come out of her shell, shedding her nervousness and gaining confidence in her power as a woman.

I liked Ann and Diaz, seeing them take their professional relationship and turn it into a close friendship and eventually a romantic couple. The mystery/crime solving was simply okay. I do like Johnson writing style, she does well in the short format. Fortunately, she has a long back list and continues to publish with Harlequin.

Rating: B

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Silent Scream

Silent Scream
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Book 11 in Loosely Connected Series
Grand Central/May 25, 2010

From the back cover ~

He Knows Your Secrets.

When a teenage girl dies in a suspicious fire, Detective Olivia Sutherland is assigned to track down the arsonist. Then she discovers something more sinister: a vicious blackmailer who preys on young people and murders without hesitation. Making her work even harder is sexy firefighter David Hunter. He's not only sharing the case but sparking memories of their long-ago night of passion, when feelings were left unspoken and hearts were broken.

He Hears Your Pain.

David has his own ghosts, and a million regrets. But while he and Olivia try to face the wall of pain between them, a diabolical puppet master is pulling strings to make a group of twenty-somethings do his bidding. Soon Olivia and David are scouring the city for a calculating criminal who seems tantalizingly close—and is moving in for the kill.

Finally caught up on this loosely connected series. If you haven't started reading Karen Rose and you're looking for well written characters and story line, definitely give her a try. In Silent Scream the hero and heroine have appeared as secondary characters in previous books. I do think plenty of background information is given on them that this can be read as a stand-alone but I would still recommend reading the previous books.

There is no doubt Olivia Sutherland is a good cop and a strong heroine. She does have some weaknesses but she doesn't let them interfere with her job. One of her weaknesses is David Hunter. David and Olivia have a history, they have a connection through their families and through a night over two years ago. Olivia has tried to forget David but I never got the sense that she really did. When she finds out he's not only moved to Minneapolis but is connect with her latest case, she has mixed feelings about seeing him again. I'm glad Rose didn't have Olivia fawning over David and his killer good looks. She tries to keep things on a professional level but... that doesn't quite work out.

David Hunter has some serious ghosts and guilt riding his conscience. He also has no memory of what happened the night he hooked up with Olivia Sutherland. Oops! Just one more thing for this sexy firefighter to feel guilty about. We first met David in Don't Tell, book 1, so his story has been brewing for some time. I do think he has matured since then and is trying to have a better outlook on life - letting go of some of that anger and guilt. It was nice to see him evolve instead of remaining stagnant.

The suspense and mystery were well developed. I liked how Rose had the blackmailer behind the scenes, manipulating the action. Rose allows the story to point to a few potential characters as the blackmailer, keeping the tension and suspense high. There is a lot of police procedure in this story, with the detectives trying to follow the dots and connect the various crimes together. Sometimes it was a bit too heavy but then Rose would lead us back to Olivia and David, keeping a decent balance between the romance and the suspense.

Olivia and David made a good, believable couple once they got past their rocky start. They did have a lot to discuss and both had baggage that got in the way. I did like how Olivia was the "leader" in the suspense aspect of the story but David made plenty of contributions towards finding the blackmailer. He had a couple of slip ups and should have shared information quicker with Olivia but when he did, she didn't brush him off because he wasn't a cop. They worked well together.

Silent Scream is another entertaining addition to Rose's loosely connected romantic suspense series. Next up, Rose heads to Baltimore and some new characters in You Belong to Me. Release date of June 7.

Rating: A-

Saturday, May 7, 2011

April Reads...

*So sweet. Holding paws while sleeping*

April was one of those months that I'd rather not repeat. I usually associate April with happiness and warmth but this year all I can think of is stress and worry. I don't even want to think of what I would have done without books to escape into. So here's hoping May proves to be a better month all around.

Reading wise, I'm surprised at the number, mostly because much of the time it felt like everything was in a holding pattern. Waiting for this and hoping for that, it didn't feel like I read much at all. But apparently I did manage to keep up my usual pace.

Audio Books

1. This Side of the Grave/Jeaniene Frost/UF/
2. Silent on the Moor/Deanna Raybourn/Mystery/B-
3. Mercy Kill/Lori Armstrong/Mystery/B+

My audio books list is short for the month because I seem to have the patience of a 5 year old. There should be two other books on the list but listening was going too slow for me. At one point I was even reading along while listening to Karen Rose's Silent Scream, trying not to read ahead but couldn't help myself. (Seriously, who does this if not a 5 year old?) I finally gave up, turned on some music and read the darn book! The other book I tried to listen to but ended up reading was Rose's I Can See You. Clearly, mysteries and Bones' accent are what held my attention when it came to audio books. :)

Print/Electronic Books

1. The Sweetest Thing/Jill Shalvis/Contemporary/A
2. I Can See You/Karen Rose/Romantic Suspense/A
3. Demon from the Dark/Kresley Cole/PNR/A
4. Absolutely, Positively/Heather Webber/Romantic Mystery/A-
5. The Vampire Dimitri/Colleen Gleason/Historical PNR/A-
6. Silent Scream/Karen Rose/Romantic Suspense/A- (review to follow)
7. The Perfect Play/Jaci Burton/Contemporary/B+
8. Pleasure of a Dark Prince/Kresley Cole/PNR/B+
9. Mommy Said Goodbye/Janice Kay Johnson/Contemporary/B+
10. Mustang Wild/Stacey Kayne/Historical Western/B
11. Backstage Pass/Olivia Cunning/Erotic Romance/B (review to follow)
12. Blood Knot/Tracy Cooper-Posey/Erotic Romance/B (review to follow)
13. Revelations/Janice Kay Johnson/Contemporary/B (review to follow)

The Numbers

Contemporary ~ 4
Erotic Romance ~2
Historical ~ 2
Mystery ~ 1
Romantic Suspense ~ 2
PNR ~ 2


Print ~ 8
E-book ~ 5

Not bad, certainly more than I expected. And no stinkers in the bunch! That's always a good sign of some excellent recommendations from all of you. So thank you! Now I just need to catch up on the reviews!

So how did April treat you? Any books that Wowed you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: I Can See You

I Can See You
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Book 10 in Loosely Connected Series
Grand Central Publishing/August 5, 2009 (HC)

From the inside cover ~

Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student, moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead of apparent suicide, Eve doesn't know where to turn.

Homicide detective Noah Webster is one of the few people who believe the victims are connected murders. Eve becomes Noah's online guide and realizes that the handsome detective may have secret scars as painful as her own. As Eve and Noah chase a killer who is always one step ahead of them, together they try to overcome the tragedies of their pasts and learn to trust again, but soon discover that danger is much closer than they think.

We first met Eve in Rose's first book, Don't Tell where she was a teenage runaway caught in a dangerous situation. Then we met her again in Nothing to Fear where she has another run in with a dangerous psycho. It's been six years since that first book, now it time for Eve's story.

Eve Wilson has been damage, both physically and psychologically. But she is nothing if not a survivor. Eve's courage and determination, along with her kindness, have made her a favorite character of many fans. Ms. Rose doesn't disappoint in telling Eve and Noah's story. Eve has moved from Chicago to Minneapolis where she is a student, working on her master's degree and bartending to support herself. I liked that Eve didn't play the victim, but decided to do something to help people by becoming a therapist. She does keep to herself, having a few close friends but mainly spending her time studying and working. I think it would have been out of character had she become a party girl or social butterfly since she wasn't either of those previously. She does have a particular interest in Detective Noah Webster but it's not something she's willing to share with anyone, especially not Noah.

Noah Webster is a good cop who's fighting his own ghosts while doing a job he loves. His childhood wasn't a happy one but he has known happiness and he's also known great loss. I think he was a good fit for Eve because of knowing the degree of loss that he did. He understood her wariness and her unease at trusting easily. They both had a lot of baggage which I think made them more compassionate. Noah doesn't rush Eve, giving her time to sort out her feeling and accept their relationship. Had he rushed her, it would have been completely in her character to shut him down or run. Good thing Noah is a smart man.

The suspense runs high, as Rose is good at keeping the reader on the edge of the seat. There are twists and turns, surprises for both the reader and the characters. I thought the use of the online world of Shadowland clever and found it fascinating how it was populated with the variety of people from every walk of life. It wasn't surprising that Eve got into the play - it gave her a place where no one knew her background or could see her scars. It's not all fun and games and Eve quickly learns that her research might be connected to Noah's cases, bring them together after they've both tried keep their distance. This wove the romance right in with the suspense, giving the story a perfect balance of both.

One thing I often look forward to when reading this loosely connected series are catching up with characters from previous books. There are two such characters that stand out for me this time around. David Hunter and his nephew by marriage, Tom Hunter. David and Tom both knew Eve from Chicago and are part of her extended family. They are a perfect example of a family made from choice not necessarily from blood. Both Hunters are very protective of Eve, with David more than willing to go up against Noah if he thinks Noah won't treat Eve right. Love that tight, family bond so many of Rose's character have. It helps to balance the darkness of her villains.

I Can See You is easily one of my favorites of Karen Rose and that's saying something since so many of her novels have proven to be such exceptional reads. It was easy to pick up the next book, Silent Scream, which just so happened to be David Hunter's story. And it also turned out to be a favorite too. Is it any wonder I adore Karen Rose's writing? Her next release, You Belong to Me releases on June 7 here in the states. It was released in the UK back in January and has received wonderful reviews.

Rating: A

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Demon from the Dark

Demon from the Dark
Kresley Cole
Paranormal Romance
Immortals After Dark/Book 10
Pocket/August 31, 2010

*Spoilers for Previous Books*

From the back cover ~

A Dangerous Demon She Can't Resist...

Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he's pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.

A Maddening Witch He Aches To Claim...

Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.

Trapped Together In A Savage Prison...

In order for Malkom and Carrow to survive, he must unleash both the demon and the vampire inside him. When Malkom becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?

After the cliff hanger ending of Pleasures of a Dark Prince, I had to start Demon from the Dark. And boy am I glad I did! Malkom Slaine has got to be one of my favorite heroes. Add in the wickedly smart Carrow and you have a couple who create a heroic team.

Carrow Graie is a powerful witch but like any witch, she gets her power from a specific source. Being imprisoned by a sadistic bastard isn't her idea of fun. She's desperate to get out and with little hope of escape for herself or her friends, she takes the one opportunity offered her. It's not much of a choice - it's either take the job or torture and death will follow, and not necessarily for just her. The story starts in a dark place, picking up where Pleasure of a Dark Prince left off. It's dark for both Carrow and Malkom but for different reasons. As I mentioned, Carrow is a witch and usually, I have little interest in witches but I liked Carrow a lot. She is a practical witch who deals in commerce and survival. She's also a modern witch and while she can be a little too self-absorbed at times, she is loyal to her coven. She's not perfect and makes some mistakes but her determination leaves you cheering for her.

Malkom Slaine - oh, lordy how I loved this tortured, wounded, fucked-up hero! Malkom has been through hell and back and still makes the occasional trip there. He is both demon and vampire but hates his vampire side, trying to suppress it as best he can. When he and Carrow first meet, they have trouble communicating because Malkom has forgotten how to speak the Vampire language aka English. Carrow's Demonish is rusty but they stumble along with Malkom giving orders and Carrow not always following them. Their interactions are humorous, with Carrow making fun of Malkom and Malkom being a typical male and not understanding Carrow, no matter the language! Malkom decides Carrow is his and he protects what is his. I loved how he was careful with her, wanting to take care of her while learning to trust her. He had been alone for so very long, it was difficult for him to trust.

Carrow and Malkom have a rocky start to their romance but they do get a romance. It's sweet and funny and sexy which is odd when they spend quite a bit of the time battling one enemy after another. And these battles are messy and bloody giving Carrow and Malkom all the more reason to enjoy getting clean. But Malkom hates the water so Carrow must gentle him to it. There is a scene where he goes into the water for her even though he has horrible memories of water. That for me, shows how much he is willing to do for her. But Cole makes these two work very hard for the HEA. Even though Malkom had decided early on that Carrow was his and you could certainly say he had a "mine" moment, it isn't that easy. They end up working together to survive and getting to know each other, making that mine moment believable. One minor irritant - Malkom biting off his claws so he could touch Carrow intimately. All I could visualize were jagged, broken fingers nails. Not something you want touching you intimately! I'm guessing he has strong, sharp teeth that worked more like heavy duty nail clippers but still, could get the imagine out of my mind. LOL

The plot and story arc move along at a decent pace. I never felt like there was too much action or too much down time. Cole does a great job at pacing the story, blending just he right amount of action and romance. I'm fascinated with the Order and want to know more about them - no doubt they will feature prominently as the Accession draws nearer.

There are many secondary characters and quite a few shouting out for their story to be told. Apparently Regin was shouting the loudest (hard to believe *snort*). Her story is next and while I like her, I'm not so sure about her hero. Dreams of a Dark Warrior is out now with Lothaire's book due out next year. Lots to look forward to, Nix - soon I hope! Demon from the Dark will be a hard one to top!

Rating: A

Books in the series ~

The Warlord Wants Forever (Novella in Playing Easy to Get)
A Hunger Like No Other
No Rest for the Wicked
Wicked Deeds on a Winters Night
Dark Needs at Night's Edge
Kiss of a Demon King
Untouchable (Novel in duology, Deep Kiss of Winter)
Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Demon from the Dark
Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Lothaire (January 10, 2012)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Upcoming Western Releases & A Freebie...

I love a good western, be it a book or a movie. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. So here are a variety of upcoming western romance releases and a reprint to add the the list.

Bloodlands is the first book in Post-apocalyptic western urban fantasy trilogy. Christine Cody is the author who also goes by the name of Chris Marie Green, author of the Vampire Babylon series. I like the sound of this new series and the look of the covers. No man titty in sight and yet, he's still sexy. Imagine that!

It was called the New Badlands, home to the survivors of a cataclysm that altered the entire nation. Then the vampires arrived, an admit was rechristened the Bloodlands. Not because of the vampire, but because of the gun-for-hire who'd decided to slay every monster in the country by any and every means necessary.

The cover reminds me of Russel Crowe in The Quick and the Dead. Loved that movie!

The second book in the series is Blood Rules.

In the Bloodlands, sometimes the monsters don't even know themselves...

After the man named Gabriel came to the Bloodlands, Mariah Lyander was forced to face her true nature, and the horrible things she had done. To redeem herself, she embarks on a quest to find a rumored cure for were-creatures hoping to recover her own humanity - and Gabriel's love.

Book 3 - In Blood We Trust is set for release on September 27, no cover or blurb yet.

For fans of Jo Goodman's Reidsville series that started with Never Love a Lawman, followed by Marry Me, now have something to look forward to. Kissing Comfort is another historical western romance due for release on September 6. You can go here to read an excerpt. The excerpt takes place in the Sierra Nevada's so I'm not sure if it's part of the Reidsville series. My guess would be no, but I've been wrong a time or two. :) Does anyone remember Bode or Bram from the other two books?

Bode DeLong knows that his playboy brother Bram isn't really in love with Miss Comfort Kennedy, even though it's clear that she's enamored with him. With Bram's motives for the engagement suspect, Bode figures the safest place for Comfort to be is in his arms. Now, Bode just needs to convince Comfort that the childhood fancy she has for his brother is no match for the incredible desire that sparks between them every time they touch.

I've loved Jodi Thomas' historicals for years and The Tender Texan is one of my favorites! Originally released in 1991, it will be reprinted with a new cover and due for release on November 1.

Anna Meyer offers one hundred dollars to the Texas cattleman who can help her forge a frontier homestead. Chance Wyatt agrees to settle down and build a home with a lovely stranger. The boy in him never considered the possibility of love. But the man in him can't deny the passion that Anna brings out in him. they vowed to live together for only a year, but as the challenges of the savage land bring them closer together, neither can resist the aching desire that inflames their hearts - and touches their souls.

I haven't started this series yet but I will get to it! I love Lorelei James' Rough Riders series so it's a given that I'll read this one too. Wrangled and Tangled is the third book in her Blacktop Cowboys series. I swear she gets the best covers! Release date, November 1.

Janie Fitzhugh and Abe Lawson have long been divorced and living apart. Now she's back in town, a changed woman - making cattleman Abe want to wrangle an invitation to her bed...

To get his dream ranch, Renner Jackson has partnered with spoiled daddy's girl Tierney Pratt. She thinks she can handle this cowboy, but Renner won't make it easy. Little do they know they will be entangled in ways neither dreamed possible.

Another Lorelei James upcoming release is Chasing Eight, due for e-book release on June 28. The hero is Chase McKay, no word on who the heroine is yet. This is book 11 in James' wildly addictive Rough Riders series. And in case you haven't tried this series yet, you're in luck. Long Hard Ride, the first book in the series is free in e-book format for the entire month of May. You can get it here for the Kindle™ or here for the nook™. This is a great way to try this thoroughly enjoyable series. Who can resist sexy cowboys?

What books are on your upcoming must-be-read list? Any westerns you want to recommend?