Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wild Heat (Hot Shots: Men of Fire #1) by Bella Andre

Maya Jackson doesn't sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she's ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face to face with him again. Gorgeous, grinning Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number-one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires.

Risking his life on a daily basis is what gets Logan up in the morning. As leader of the elite Tahoe Pines Hotshot Crew, he won't back down from a blaze-or from beautiful, lethal Maya Jackson. She may have seduced him with her tears and her passion, but it'll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. Until Maya's life is threatened. With his natural-born hero instincts kicking in, Logan vows to protect the woman sworn to bring him down. And as desire reignites, nothing-not the killer fire or the killer hot on their trail-can douse the flames....

Wild Heat is the first book in Bella Andre's Hot Shots: Men of Fire series, set in gorgeous Lake Tahoe. If you've ever been there you know just how tranquil it can be on the lake. It can also be a fierce and terrifying place when you hit the Tahoe National Forest during fire season, but toss in an arsonist with revenge in mind and those men and women firefighters are standing on the threshold of hell.

To be honest, I went in to this thinking it'd be one of those books with a thin plot, nothing more than a backdrop for sex. You know the type - 6 pages devoted to sex, then a page devoted to plot, rinse and repeat. That's what I expected...

I was so very wrong!

This is an exciting, poignant, sexy romance with a fast-paced, intense mystery plot. From chapter to chapter I was trying to figure out who the arsonist was and what their motives could be, and just when I was sure it was suspect #1, another person of interest would come along and then I'd be sure it was suspect #2! Or #3... I was never positive who it could be until it was proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The bottom line - Wild Heat is my kind of book and if you're like me and want a solid story with your romance and steam, and love you some hot, sexy firefighters...then stop what you're doing and listen-up - you must read this book! And if you enjoy listening to audio books, this is a great one. Eva Kaminsky's voice is clear, sultry, and a pleasure to listen to!

Purchase Wild Heat at Amazon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sweet Surprise (Sweet, Texas #4) by Candis Terry

Playing naughty or nice...

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That's another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse.

Can lead to heartbreak...

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He's put his demons behind him, and if there's one line he won't cross, it's getting involved with his best friend's ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames?

Or a sweet surprise!

Welcome to Sweet, Texas, where neighbors are friends, friends are family, and family is everything!

Sweet Surprise is the fourth installment in Candis Terry's Sweet, Texas series, a series I absolutely adore. Each book is fun, romantic, and sexy, and gives me exactly what I look for in escapism reading.

In this book we finally get Fiona's story, and what a story it is! I have to honest, I'm not sure I really bought her being 100% happy with her ex husband, Jackson, finding his happily ever after with another woman, but after reading Sweet Surprise... well, there's no doubt in my mind that she is definitely that kind of awesome. She and Jackson, both. They care for each other, so much, in fact, that when it became clear to them both that they married for the wrong reasons, they divorced but remained close friends. That's a tough storyline to pull off, but Candis Terry does it with flying colors!

As I said, I adore this series. Ms. Terry never fails to deliver characters we can't help but fall in love with, whether they're the leads or the supporting cast. Mike and Fiona are great people with pasts they're trying to leave behind. And even though both have their demons, they're not needy. They are strong, intelligent, hard working people who want the same things we all want; health and happiness and love. And it's their normalcy that makes them people I believe in and relate to and cheer for and, truth be told, wanted to smack when they were being too dense to realize and admit the depth of their feelings for one another.

The bottom line...

If you're like me and enjoy the close knit feel of small town romances that come with fun, quirky small town folks and just the right amount of passion and steam, then you absolutely need to read this book! I do recommend reading in order so you get get the whole back-story, but trust me, once you read Sweet Surprise, you'll want to go back and read them all, anyway. So save yourself the trouble and start from beginning. You won't regret it!

Purchase Sweet Surprise at Amazon

Friday, November 27, 2015

Viper Game (GhostWalkers #11) by Christine Feehan

GhostWalker Wyatt Fontenot knows the price he paid for the secret military experiments that gave him his special catlike abilities. After all, he left his bayou home a healer and came back a killer. While Wyatt and his GhostWalker brother Gator may have known exactly the sort of game they were getting into, Wyatt never anticipated where it would lead—or to whom.

The swamps hold many mysteries, but few are as sinuously seductive as Le Poivre de Cayenne. The woman the locals call Pepper is every bit as enigmatic as the three little girls she’s desperately trying to protect. From what, Wyatt is soon to discover. Right now Pepper needs a man like Wyatt. Passionately. But her secrets are about to take them both deeper into the bayou than either imagined—where desire is the deadliest poison of all.

Christine Feehan's GhostWalkers is one of my favorite romantic suspense/paranormal series so I was really excited when I saw this book, only to become concerned when I saw the mixed reviews. And, in truth, I can see where everyone is coming from, even those I don't see eye-to-eye with.

It's true the stories are changing from the way they were in the beginning, but they're changing in ways I would expect them to, given Dr. Peter Whitney's diabolical plan and desperation to create the perfect soldiers. The experiments are more and more extreme, and more and more heartbreaking. The truth is, I found Viper Game to be more exciting, more captivating, and more intriguing than the last several books in the series. Yes, Wyatt was often a jerk, but considering Pepper's "enhancements" and her inability to control them, it's a wonder to me that Wyatt allowed any of the men on his team to live beyond the first few chapters!!

Bottom line - run, don't walk, to whatever store you purchase your books at and pick up this book. You won't regret it!!

Purchase at Amazon: Viper Game (Ghostwalker)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Match of the Century (Marrying the Duke #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London's most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict.

Already exasperated at being yanked from the military to meet "family obligations," now Ben must suffer watching his arrogant sibling squire the only woman he has ever loved. Joining the army saved Ben from sinking into bitterness, but seeing Elin again takes him back to the day they surrendered to their intoxicating desire.

As the wedding draws near, Elin tries to push Ben far from her thoughts. When danger brings them together, there is no denying their feelings. But can Elin choose love over duty?

The Match of the Century has intrigue, adventure, passion, and humor. There were things I loved, things I liked, and things I wish had been included, but all-in-all it's a great start to Cathy Maxwell's new historical romance series, Marrying the Duke.

Gavin's story is next and I'm excited to see him get his much deserved and long past due happily ever after!

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review!

Purchase at Amazon:  The Match of the Century: Marrying the Duke

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wild Heat (Northern Fire #1) by Lucy Monroe

Sometimes old flames are the hottest of all . . .

In the quaint little town of Cailkirn, Alaska, it's impossible to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as the unexpected return of Kitty Grant. Tack MacKinnon remembers her wild red curls and even wilder spirit-and still feels the sting from when she shattered his heart in college. But there's a pain in Kitty's gorgeous eyes that guts him to the core and Tack is determined to do whatever it takes to see the woman he still loves smile again-even if it means taking on her demons as his own.

After fleeing an abusive ex-husband, Kitty decides that the best way to heal her broken heart is to come back home. But she gets a whole new shock when she sees how undeniably sexy Tack has become. More handsome, more muscular, more charming-more everything-he's impossible to resist. Before she knows it, they're reigniting sparks that could set the whole state of Alaska on fire. Yet trust doesn't come easy to Kitty anymore, and as things heat up between her and Tack, she can't help but wonder if one of them is going to get burned . . .

Wild Heat is the first book in Lucy Monroe's very sexy Northern Fire series, set in the small Alaskan peninsula town of Cailkirn, where most of the 2,000-ish residents are Scottish, Inuit, or both.

This story has the many of the elements that often go hand in hand with friends-to-lovers and second-chance romances; misunderstandings, hurt feelings, people growing apart, the struggle to forgive...but that's just a small part of the story. The author also tackled the sensitive subject of eating disorders and did so openly, honestly, and with a level of compassion that was truly moving.

That said, (incoming minor spoilers) I struggled with the idea that Caitlin's family and friends were in a righteous dither over the way her ex manipulated her out of their lives, but then Tack turns around and uses sex to manipulate her into eating. In my opinion, his motivations were only slightly less self serving than her ex's, even if it was done for her benefit. I get it, I do. He cares for her and wants to help her get better, but addressing the underlying cause of a person's eating disorder can be difficult, and Tack's approach did nothing to endear him to me. (spoiling over)

Wild Heat starts out intriguing as, bit by bit, Caitlin Grant's and Taqukaq "Tack" MacKinnon's stories unfold. By about the half-way mark, I have to admit, it felt sluggish and I found myself skimming a bit. But then it picked back up again and left me with a smile on my face and looking forward to the next book, Hot Night, Rock Jepsom's story.  

Purchase at Amazon

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas (I-Team 7.5) by Pamela Clare


Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narco-terrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…

Dead by Midnight.

Pamela Clare writes Romantic Suspense the way I wish all authors could and would, which is why she continues to be my favorite in the genre, hands down. But on that note, another Romantic Suspense author I adore is Kaylea Cross, and when I learned that her FBI Hostage Rescue Team badass hotties would be teaming up with the I-Team's equally badass hotties, I found myself deep in the throes of a bookgasm!

The title, Dead by Midnight, might not sound like your typical holiday story, but that's fitting because it isn't your typical holiday story. It's gritty, terrifying, poignant, romantic, and sexy. Honest to God, start to finish this is edge of your seat, nail biting action and 'where the hell is BOB when I need him?’ passion! There isn't a second of ‘filler’, not one word we could do without, not a single scene that isn't needed. It doesn't get better than this because Dead by Midnight, my friends, is storytelling perfection!

Purchase at Amazon: Dead By Midnight: An I-Team Christmas (I-Team After Hours)


If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group on Goodreads!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas Narrated by David Brakke

I’m always intrigued by the origins of things; language, cultures, traditions... which is why I love listening to The Great Courses’ historical (especially ancient histories) lectures. Though I struggled through the first 20% or so of this lecture because it wasn’t at all what I expected, it was still fascinating and eye-opening, to say the least.

Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas is ‘narrated by Professor David Brakke who did a fabulous job explaining the differences and divisions, no matter how intricate, between the many early ‘religions’ and how they related to, or differed from, Christianity.

From the website:
This course takes on these provocative questions and more, in a narrative that unfolds as an enthralling religious detective story—penetrating the mysteries of a stigmatized yet profoundly important legacy of religious thought. Among many intriguing features of the story, you’ll learn that:

• What we call “Gnosticism” comprises a number of related religious ideologies and movements, all of which sought “gnosis,” or immediate, direct, and intimate knowledge of God;

• Gnostic groups reinterpreted and often rewrote Jewish and Christian scriptures, creating religious mythologies that struck deep chords in contemporary seekers;

• Gnostic thought and practice reveal to us the precursors of the mystical tradition within Christianity.
Many of the teachings of the early churches read like Greek or Roman mythology, which was, as I said, not at all what I had expected. Once I wrapped my head around what I was listening to, I simply couldn’t turn it off.

I highly recommend this 12ish hour lecture to anyone interested, as I am, in the ancient origins of theologies.

For more information check out The Great Courses: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas