Thursday, August 30, 2012

Copy That by HelenKay Dimon

 
Returning from his latest Border Patrol assignment, Jeremy Hill seeks sanctuary in his twin brother's home. The last thing he expects to find is an armed man already inside, or Meredith Samms, a gorgeous tenant caught in the cross fire. Then he discovers that the gunman's attack is meant for his twin brother, who is nowhere in sight, and Jeremy must take matters into his own hands. Searching for his brother while trying to protect this girl next door, Jeremy finds himself caught up in the danger he'd become all too familiar with. In his world, everyone's a target and anyone can be a suspect, so Jeremy has no room for emotions. But what Meredith stirs within him may complicate this unexpected mission to the point of no return.
 
*******
 
I was first introduced to HelenKay Dimon’s writing through her contribution to SEAL of My Dreams, an anthology that contained 18 short stories centering around SEALs and their significant others. I enjoyed her writing and the ease in which she took us straight to the heart and soul of her characters and their relationships, and with Copy That I got more of the same. It’s a fast paced, action packed installment of the Harlequin Intrigue collection and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my first experience with this line. Bad guys that were good guys and good guys that were bad kept me guessing right up to the end who it was that really should be feared.

I’ve said this a lot recently, but it’s worth repeating: Today’s Harlequin books are not the same cheesy, melodramatic books they've long been labeled. The stories are well written, and as in this case, exciting tales that draw you in and keep you coming back for more, and it’s authors like Ms. Dimon who have made Harlequin the publishing force to be reckoned with that it is today.

The bottom line: I’ll definitely be reading more by this author and more in the Harlequin Intrigue line of stories.


Overall Rating: 4 stars

Characters: 4 stars
Story: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars

For those interested I’d rate this a Steam Level: 3 of 5. Passion, but no detailed sex scenes.

My thanks to Novel Sidekick for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.    

Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Do No Evil by Carey Baldwin



                  One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.

First Do No Evil is the first book in Carey Baldwin’s Blood Secrets series. It’s an action packed, romantic, medical thriller that took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. At times I was riveted to the story and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen next, while at other times I was reading with one eye squeezed tightly shut, afraid of what might happen next.
Blurb: There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That's why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother's life, it can't save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.

When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky's life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?

Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that's coming next…
About her recipe for a great book, Ms. Baldwin says: “A dollop of romance + a dash of medicine + a cup of crazy. Fold into a story. Bake until it rises, and voila, you've cooked up a delicious thriller!” Well, I'm here to tell you that’s exactly what she served up with this story. While there were a few things that didn’t work well for me, there were plenty of things that did. Great characters, exciting storyline, passion and romance… this book has it all, and I’m looking forward to reading more by this very talented author.

3.5/5 stars

My thanks to Ms. Baldwin for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Devil's Match by Victoria Vane


Once burned twice shy… but when old flames come together…passion reignites...

The Devil’s Match
is the fourth and final book in Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series and such a fitting end to Vic and Diana’s story. It's true what they say about "opposites attract" because never have two people been so poorly suited, and yet, so perfectly matched!
When burned once…

Arriving in London as her goddaughter's chaperone, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley wants to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs. Once nearly consumed by passion, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.

By an old flame...

A world-weary master of seduction, Ludovic "The Devil" DeVere is bored with his chosen life of debauchery. When Diana's charge disappears, she is forced to seek help from the devil's lair, and their mutual desire reignites with undeniable ferocity.

Fire is best fought with fire…

While DeVere is hell-bent to have her back for keeps, Diana is equally determined to bring him to his knees…by acquiring some sensual secrets of her own.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this story! Vic and Diana are fabulous together, their banter, the sexual tension… loved it! And it was such a treat to spend time with Ned and Phoebe, and Hew and Vesta, while getting even deeper into the very hearts and minds of Vic and Diana.

One of the things I most love about these stories is that Victoria Vane provides just enough period detail to make her readers feel like we’re actually there, not merely reading a story, but living it. A part of it. Many authors write historical romance, but not many do it as well as this author does. And can I just mention, this book has one of the steamiest, most sensual and sexually intimate scenes I’ve read. Beautiful and very, very hot.

The bottom line: Over the course of the series I’ve come to adore Vic and Diana, though at times I wasn’t sure how that could possibly happen. Silly me, I should have never doubted Ms. Vane’s ability to weave a tale sure to draw me in and hold on tight, right to the very end. The Devil’s Match is a funny, heartwarming, passionate ‘end’ to Vic and Diana’s story, and though I was left with a smile on my face, I’m also a bit sad that their tale is complete!

4.5/5 stars

My thanks to Breathless Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 17, 2012

In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker


Rebel with a Cause

Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.

Man with a Mission

Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.

**********

In Rides Trouble is the second book in Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights, Inc. series and another fun, sexy read. This story picks up right where the first ended, continuing the emotional standoff between Frank “Boss” Knight and Rebecca “Rebel” Reichart.

Frank is a man tormented by memories of a less than ideal childhood, raised – sort of – by a less than ideal man in a less than ideal environment. Afraid of being the apple that doesn’t fall far from the tree of infidelity, Frank avoids relationships that don’t meet his exacting standards, which means when it comes to Becky Reichart, he runs, doesn’t walk, the other way. In his mind, he’s doing the right thing by keeping her at arm’s length, but like it or not, he’s drawn to her like he’s never been drawn to a woman before and doesn’t know what to do about it. Adding to the madness defining his attraction to Becky is that she’s also nagging to be a member of his elite team of covert operatives which is something that, as far as he’s concerned, will never happen.

Becky is enjoying some time away from ‘the shop.’ Okay, truth be told, she’s not really ‘enjoying’ herself at all. In actuality she’s just off licking her wounds, wounds caused by her annoying, fantasy fueling business partner, Frank “Boss” Knight. It drives Becky crazy that he can’t seem to accept that she’s is a grown-up woman, capable of making grown-up woman decisions, and taking care of her grown-up woman self. Pushed too hard and too far, Becky decides some time away from the hot, sexy thorn in her side is exactly what she needs, until she finds herself the hostage of Somali pirates, and starts wishing she’d never left the safely of her Chicago motorcycle shop.

There are many things that made this an entertaining story! Revisiting some of the players from the first book and having a closer look at the way the team operates is just a couple of them. Finally getting to the meat of Frank’s issues and watching he and Becky work through them is another. Though, honestly, there were times I wanted to scream at Frank to just get over it and move on because their relationship development had started to drag, which made other parts of the story feel sluggish as well. And while this is one of those times when the “deep, dark secret” wasn’t really that deep and dark, all in all, In Rides Trouble is an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to more in the series!

4 of 5 stars

My thanks to netgalley.com and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.     

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Cinderella Blues by Obren Bokich



The Cinderella Blues (Thuh Sin'-dur-rel'-uh Bluze)
n.
1. The phenomena whereby otherwise intelligent, capable, successful professional women are convinced they need rescuing by a prince.

*****

The Cinderella Blues is a delightful, witty, modern-day fairytale that, from the first page to the last, had me laughing out loud, sighing, and unable to put it down.

Kat Young has just turned thirty years old and is quite content with her life. She’s a successful woman in a dog-eat-dog business, deep in the heart of Los Angeles. She’s got two great friends, a boyfriend she’s been with for eight years, and she’s just inherited her beloved Aunt Ruth’s house. Kat has it all, or so she thinks. As one thing leads to another, Kat, along with her vivid imagination, wicked baking skills and Aunt Ruth’s guidance from beyond, learns to do more than just follow her dreams; she learns to reach for them, embrace them and enjoy the sometimes crazy ride as she finds happiness - and true love - along the way.

Words cannot express what a charming, romantic, feel good novel this is. Kat isn’t affluent, but her world is so rich and so full that you find yourself wishing it were yours, and her friendships are the kinds we all wish we had. Truthfully, she’s a woman who’s so comfortable with herself that you can’t help but love her!

In writing The Cinderella Blues, Obren Bokich has given us something very special. It's the kind of book you’ll reach for, time and time again, when you’re looking for a heartwarming, uplifting tale. It’s perfect for a day at the beach, a long plane ride, or just sitting at home with your feet propped up and a snack and drink beside you. There’s not a lot of drama, no steamy sexy, just a romantic, come-away-with-a-smile-on-your-face story, and you can't ask for more than that.

My sincerest thanks to West Hills Publishing for providing me with a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.   

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No Holds Barred by Jaydyn Chelcee


Rimrock—Home of the Montana men and the women who tame them.

Professional horse trainer Kaycee Spencer decides to relocate when she becomes the target of an insane stalker. She chooses remote Rimrock, Montana where no one can find her.

Jace Remington, co-owner of the Dancing Star Ranch, refuses to allow women around his thoroughbreds—females are nothing but trouble with a capital ‘T’—that is, until he meets Kaycee Spencer, a woman who crashes into his peaceful life with trouble close on her heels.

Set against the backdrop of the rugged mountains of Montana, Kaycee and Jace discover that if they are going to survive the vicious serial killer stalking Kaycee, they will have to learn to trust each other.

No Holds Barred, a roller-coaster ride of murder, romance, and the discovery that love just might conquer all.

*************

No Holds Barred is the second book in Jaydyn Chelcee’s Montana Men series and a chilling tale that is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a story with not just a sweet romance but murder, deception and intrigue, and a race to stop a serial killer before he strikes again.

Jace Remington didn't believe in love-at-first-sight until he set eyes on Kaycee Spencer and fell hard for the spirited woman, but Kaycee has too much responsibility and too many secrets to allow herself to fall for any man, even the very sexy cowboy who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. But Jace’s sweet, seductive persuasion and Kaycee’s need to be free of her past bring the two together in a way neither expected, and they might just have a chance at love if they can overcome jealousy, mistrust and a madman out to make Kaycee his own.

I’ve recently found myself seeking out newer authors or those whose works I haven’t yet tried. When I was offered this book to read for review I decided to give it a shot, having no idea what to expect, yet hoping for something different than the usual romantic suspense offerings. Well, I certainly got that, and then some.

Grisly and horrific are two words to describe the scenes spent with the serial killer as he went about his ‘business.’ Please be warned, these scenes were explicit and gruesome, and the time spent in his mind was chilling. I read things I will not soon forget, things that kept me awake, unable to stop thinking about the horror his victim had to endure.

Jace and Kaycee's romance is a troubled one, filled with one obstacle after another, but it's also sweet and very sexy. That said, Kaycee's on-again/off-again feelings for Jace started to wear on me, but in the end I was left cheering for them and and truly hoping that everything will work out for them.

We also spend a significant amount of time with secondary characters and family members, all who play an important part in this story. The relationship dynamics are complex and at times frustrating, but I became as invested in them as I did Jace and Kaycee, and I'm looking forward to reading more about their lives and loves.

The bottom line: No Holds Barred is a dark, riveting story but not always an easy story to read. Aside from its disturbing nature, the writing isn't without some flaws, and some of the dialogs a bit cheesy. From time to time I was a tad confused as to the sequence of events discussed, and whether some of those things actually happened or not. But the biggest issue I have is in regards to marital infidelity which seems to run rampant in Rimrock, Montana. (Not involving Jace or Kaycee.)

All that said, once I got into the story I couldn't put it down. There were parts I loved, parts I hated, and parts I loved that I hated and hated that I loved! I felt a sense of morbid curiosity in regards to the killer, but most importantly, I wanted to see Jace and Kaycee work things out and find the happily ever after they are so deserving of. I'm definitely hoping to read more of this series, soon!

For those who are wondering, this is an ongoing series and the books are linked by storyline. Although I did read this book first and wasn't completely lost, there's enough relationship and plot carryover from the first book, In the Arms of Danger, that I'd recommend reading them in order.

3.5/5 stars         

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Devil You Know by Victoria Vane



Who can find a virtuous woman…

Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Lady Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley has long resigned herself to her decade-long loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband…until his gambling pushes them to the brink of financial ruin.

Sometimes the devil is in disguise…as a gentleman...

Viscount Ludovic, "The Devil DeVere", is a man accustomed to taking what he wants according to his whim and heedless of the cost…until he encounters a woman who won't be had at any price.

When dealing with the devil, it's easy to be burned…

When Diana discovers a secret that shatters the carefully built fa├žade concealing her private pain, she seeks aid and comfort from the most unlikely place…the devil's arms. But will a single night of heavenly passion damn them both forever?    

******

The Devil You Know is the third book in Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series, and once again we’re returned to Georgian England where the wealthy enjoy lives of power, privilege, and sexual indulgence. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the series, A Wild Night's Bride and The Virgin Huntress, but oh, how I loved this story!!!

In The Devil You Know we go back in time, and get a front row seat, as Viscount Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere is first introduced to the very respectable, very married, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley. DeVere however, is not respectable and Diana’s wedded status doesn’t stop him from pressing his… ‘interest’… when the opportunity arises.

From his very first words in A Wild Night's Bride I’ve quite enjoyed Vic. His wit and devil-may-care attitude toward life made him rakish and charming while his title and wealth made him the bachelor to land. However, I've had nothing more than luke warm feelings about Diana, but after reading this book, I can now say, without hesitation, that that has changed. Not only do I no longer merely “quite enjoy” Vic, I adore him! And Diana... well, she has become a heroine I’m wholeheartedly cheering for! I love their sexual tension, their heated banter, and all the other ways they heat up the pages, too, and I’m soooo looking forward to the next book, The Devil's Match!

5 of 5 stars!

My thanks to Breathless Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest eview.