Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss by Maya Banks

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss is the third book in Maya Banks’ Pregnancy and Passion series, and another great story. Like the other books in the series, the plot isn’t terribly unique, but Ms. Banks has taken what would have been predictable, fleshed it out, tweaked it and made it into something distinctively hers.
About the book: Devon Carter is all about business. He’s smart, determined and power hungry, and will do whatever he has to do to continue climbing the ladder of success... even if that means marrying William Copeland’s daughter in order to secure a business merger between Tricorp and Copeland Hotels. Marrying Ashley certainly wouldn’t be a hardship; she’s beautiful, loving, and easily managed, so the way Devon sees it, it’s a win-win situation.

Ashley Copeland has been sheltered and pampered her entire life. She’s vivacious and impulsive and madly in love with Devon Carter. When Devon asks her to marry him, she’s the happiest woman in the world until, on their honeymoon, she learns that their marriage was the stipulation of a business agreement between her father and Devon. She feels betrayed, and yet, she still loves Devon, so rather than run out, she decides to stay and become the kind of woman Devon needs, even if it means losing herself.
I’m a big fan of “heroes who pull their heads out of their asses and finally see the light” stories, and this one definitely fits into that category. There is so much emotional depth to this story that I found myself holding my breath at times, waiting to see what was going to happen next, and how Devon could possibly atone for his actions. It was heartbreaking watching Ashley try to become someone she wasn’t, while at the same time seeing Devon realize that he was in love with the woman Ashley had been all along, not the woman she was becoming. Ashley started out a bit on the weak side as far as heroines go, but really did hold her own by the end of the story.

The bottom line: Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss is a story for those times when you need a little more emotional angst and something a little deeper to read. The characters are people you can believe in, care for, and cheer for as they work towards their happily ever after, and breathing a contented sigh when they finally reach it.

This book was provided by in behalf of Harlequin Desire.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ember by Kristen Callihan

Ember is labeled as the prequel to Firelight, the first book in the Darkest London series, but as many others have said, it doesn’t read like a prequel. For me it’s more of a companion to Firelight, because most of this novella takes place after Archer and Miranda have already met. What Ember does is fill in the gaps, answers questions about what both were doing before the events that brought them together again in Firelight.

This is one of the better novellas I’ve read, and had me wanting to go back and do a re-read of Firelight, but I don’t feel like I learned anything all that important or insightful. That said, it was entertaining and I’m even more excited to read the next book in the series, Moonglow.

3.5/5 stars

My thanks to for providing me with a copy of this ebook in behalf of Forever, an Imprint of Grand Central Publishing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster

A Perfect Storm is the fourth book in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series and, if you’ve read the first three books, you know the nightmare that Arizona Storm survived. Well, she’s back with a vengeance and she’s going to make sure that no one else has to live through the hell that she did.

Spencer Lark knows what Arizona suffered at the hands of the human traffickers, and so despite his attraction to her, he keeps her at arm’s length… until she shows up at his place looking for help taking down a local trafficking operation. Spencer doesn’t have much of a choice because, with or without him, she’s going in, and he’s not about to let her go in alone.

With A Perfect Storm, Lori Foster tackled a difficult subject and did so with the compassion and respect women who have suffered as Arizona did are so deserving of. While we didn’t get a lot of the details about what happened during her captivity, we were given a close look into Arizona’s heart and soul, and saw how deeply she was affected by it. And though she has every right to be frightened or timid, she’s anything but! Her actions, her fears, her demeanor… who's to say how a woman in her shoes should or should not act? But wow, her strength, her integrity… her refusal to allow herself to remain a victim, made this not merely an emotional read, but an inspiring one.

And the men… those hot, sexy, alpha males. Spencer, Dare, Trace, and Jackson… I thought they were great before, but now? I absolutely, without a doubt, adore them... and not just for the men they are, but for the woman they accepted and encouraged Arizona to be; herself.

The bottom line – This isn’t your typical romantic suspense. Oh, it’s an action packed, passionate, sexy read, but more than that, A Perfect Storm is powerful, heartbreaking, hopeful… an emotional rollercoaster… but in the end, one of the most beautiful romances I’ve ever read. It’s not sweetly poetic or all sunshine and happiness, but sometimes, for some people, real life doesn’t give them that. So why is this love story special? Because Spencer and Arizona earned it. Through their blood, their tears, their honesty and faith… without even realizing they were doing it, they fought for a chance at love with everything they had in them – and that is what makes their happily ever after so beautiful.

My sincerest thanks to and Harlequin HQN for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

And most importantly, thank you, Ms. Foster, for writing this book because for some women, this isn't fiction, and they deserve to have stories... 
happily ever afters that they can believe in... that they can hope for, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guarded Hearts by M.J. Fredrick

Guarded Hearts is an exciting, fast paced story that has all the elements I look for in romantic suspense – romance and suspense, of course, but there’s also some great sexual chemistry and tension between the characters, as well as a story that caught my attention and held on right through to the end.

Congresswoman McKenna Jones’ world is perfect. She has a dream career, a man in her life who understands the demands of her job, and she’s about to present a bill on children’s health care that she’s spent weeks writing, one that would help parents afford the outrageous costs of their children’s medical needs. These families are counting on McKenna to get this bill passed, and she’s devoted every waking moment to gaining the support and votes she needs, doing everything she can to not let them, or their children, down.

Ethan Riggins is a former Army Ranger whose wife couldn’t cope with the demands of his job, so he left the military to try and save his marriage, but it was just too little, too late. These days Ethan works for John Klein doing the kinds of jobs that require his … unique brand of training, so when he gets a call from John telling him that McKenna is in trouble, Ethan doesn’t hesitate taking on the assignment of protecting his boss’s daughter.

The attraction between Ethan and McKenna is obvious from their first encounter, and the way they fight that attraction, but not toooo hard, made for some very sexy reading right from the start. The story itself is well written and flows easily from one scene to the next, and kept me guessing as to exactly who the target was, and why.

The bottom line: Guarded Hearts is one of those stories that has it all, and I couldn’t put it down. The author delivered on every level, and while this book is written as a stand-alone, I’d love to read more about the men of Klein Security, especially if they're anything like Ethan. We didn’t get to see them or hear much about them, but we know they’re out there. So, how ‘bout it, Ms. Fredrick, think you could give us more of John Klein’s world and the men who work for him?

My thanks to the author who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Sinner by Margaret Mallory

The Sinner is the second book in Margaret Mallory’s Return of the Highlanders series. Set in 16th century Scotland, the turmoil of clan feuding, alliances by marriage and political unrest of the times makes this an exciting, funny, and sexy story.

Alex MacDonald is the Highland’s version of a rake, and proudly so, because if there was one thing he had learned from his parent’s marriage is was to avoid one of his own at all cost. He sees nothing wrong with taking many a lass to his bed because, as his father told him, “men like us needed women like we need the sea—and that one woman would never do for us.” But as often happens to these blissfully bedded men, it’s become apparent that he may have no choice when it comes to matrimony. The only problem is, the woman he’s set his sights on, Glynis McNeil, wants no part of Alex or marriage.

Glynis escaped one abusive husband and isn’t about to give marriage a second try, regardless of how much a good union would benefit her clan. Her reputation as an untamable, knife wielding woman has embarrassed her family, and she knows she should marry again, if for no other reason than to remove some of the shame, but she just can’t do it. Not even the handsome, charming, verra sexy Alex MacDonald can tempt her… Okay, okay, she’s tempted by him alright, but marriage has nothing to do with it!

I'll mention this for those who might be wondering; I have not read the first book in the series, The Guardian, but had no problem following this story whatsoever. It works very well as a stand alone novel, and that’s saying a lot coming from me, one who suffers from a chronic case of MR.BIOs – Must Read Books In Order syndrome.

The bottom line - The Sinner is a fast paced, entertaining tale that had me laughing, sighing and fanning myself. I love the historical elements used as a backdrop, the blending of fact and fiction. I've read a few book by Margaret Mallory and I've truly enjoyed each and every one because she knows how to write stories and characters I can’t help but love. I’m very much looking forward to reading more in this series.

This book was provided by in behalf of Forever, an Imprint of Grand Central Publishing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

There are already many excellent reviews of this book, so I’m going to keep mine short -

I kept seeing Kristen Ashley’s name show up on my Goodreads friends’ status and review updates, so I had to see for myself what all the hoopla was about! Well, to be honest, I can't quite put my finger on it, but whatever it is about this book and this author, I’m sold! The writing isn’t flawless and it took me a bit to get used to the author’s style, but once I did it was easy to read and I couldn't put it down. The characters are often times annoying as hell, especially Max who is, hands down, one of the most obnoxious, domineering men I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. The story itself is all over the place and yet easy to follow and a joy to read.

The bottom line - Sometimes heartwarming, sometimes tragic, The Gamble is a funny, romantic, hot story, one I truly, truly enjoyed!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

When a Texan Gambles by Jodi Thomas

When a Texan Gambles is the second book in Jodi Thomas’ Wife Lottery series, and another winner! Delightful, heartwarming, joyous and funny. Tragic, heart-wrenching, thoughtful and somber. This book had me running the gamut of emotions, and I couldn’t put it down or turn the pages fast enough.

When it comes to these Texan men, Ms. Thomas has found the perfect combination of alpha and clueless and made them totally endearing even when they’re being stubborn and unreasonable, and I wouldn’t have them any other way!! I’m so looking forward to continuing this series!

The bottom line – If you haven’t already begun this series, drop everything! Stop what you’re doing, find these books and start reading! You won’t regret it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne

What do you get when you take a gorgeous, sexy, Oscar winning actor, add in screaming, breast flashing, psychotic fans, dangerous, hunky bodyguards, stalkers, and an eccentric, obsessively protective agent? You get a typical day in the life of playboy movie star, Nic “The Lover” Lamoureux. But when you toss widowed mom, Lauren James, and her adorable son, Jason, into the mix you get Deadly Obsession, a romantic, exciting, and very hot story.

Deadly Obsession is the first book in Kristine Cayne's Deadly Vices series and my first taste of this author's writing. While there are some predictable events and a couple of moments when I had wished things were moving a little quicker - because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, overall the story is easy to follow, the writing flowing at a comfortable pace. Our hero and heroine are, despite Nic’s over the top stardom, down to earth people who want the same thing we all want out of life – happiness. They have their flaws, that's for sure, but it was important enough to them to work around each other’s imperfections so they could be together, and that was fun to watch. Kaden, RĂ©mi, Jake and Rachel made a great supporting cast of characters, all worthy of their own story – and I hope they get them because I'm truly looking forward to reading more in this series.

The bottom line – I laughed, I cried, I sighed and was left wanting to read more. If you're looking for a new voice in romantic suspense, and a story with something a little different, I'd recommend picking up Deadly Obsession and giving this author a try. I'm sure you'll be pleased that you did. 

4 of 5 stars!!

My thanks to Kristine Cayne for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time Out by Jill Shalvis

 It’s official! Jill Shalvis can write nothing wrong.

Well, official as far as I’m concerned, anyway.

Coach Mark Diego is in the midst of a public relations nightmare when two of his NHL Mammoths team members are involved, on camera, in a brawl against two rival Anaheim Ducks team members. As penance, and hoping to show the teams in a better light, Mark and the other coach agree that the guilty parties will be required to spend their off season providing community service to areas in need. Mark chooses his burned out hometown of Santa Rey, California, where during the day his players will help construction crews rebuild homes devastated by wildfires, and they’ll spend their evenings and weekends coaching the community’s recreation center youth baseball team. And of course, just as he had expected, given the choice between community service or suspension, the Mammoths team members are on board the plan, too. But what he didn’t expect was his powerful attraction to the recreation center’s coordinator, Rainey Saunders.

Once upon a time, during her jailbait years, Rainey Saunders had a major crush on Mark Diego, her brother’s best friend. She crushed so hard, in fact, that in her attempt to get him to notice her as more than just a kid, she not only embarrassed herself, but in the end, ruined her’s and Mark’s friendship. It wasn’t that Mark was being a jerk, not at all - he was trying to avoid being a felon, and even though her mind knows it, her heart can’t get on board with it at all. She would have thought that the years and time apart would have lessened her humiliation, but when Mark shows up to do the volunteer work, and he’s reporting to her, the only thing more embarrassing than what happened all those years ago is how badly she still wants him, now.

Time Out is everything I’ve come to expect from Jill Shalvis, and then some! Romantic, funny, heartwarming, poignant… and holy hell!!! She more than provided the “blaze” in this Harlequin Blaze novel!

I fell, absolutely, unequivocally, madly, passionately in love with Mark Diego, not in spite of his flaws but because of them. He’s an amazing, honorable, sexy man and one of my favorite heroes, ever! Rainey Saunders is a strong, passionate, savvy, force to be reckoned with, the perfect woman to have by his side. Apart they are wonderful, together they are amazing!

The bottom line – I seem to say this a lot about stories by Jill Shalvis, but here goes again; Buy this book. Stop thinking about it and just do it. You won’t regret it.

This book was provided by in behalf of Harlequin Blaze, in exchange for an honest review.

Kiss Me, I'm Irish - an Anthology

1. The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Clair: 4 stars - This was such a great story! Romantic, heartwarming, sensual and sexy… it had all the things I love in a short story. Seamus “Deuce” Monroe is funny, famous, successful, and all kinds of sexy. He knows how to charm women, in bed and out, but when a reckless move on his part ends his Major League Baseball career, he finds himself back home, and completely out of his element. Kendra is a strong, no-nonsense woman who’s had more than her fair share of heartache, but with her feet on the ground a steady plan for the future, she sees at least some of her dreams coming true. That is, until she runs into Deuce, the one man in the world who can bring her dreams to a screeching halt, and has every intention of doing so.

2. Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis: 4 stars - Now this… this was an emotional story, one that had me in tears. I just adored ‘Ty Patrick O’Grady of Dublin’ and Dr. Nicole Mann, and their story was so touching. Sweet, romantic, heartbreaking, incredibly hot… this one, in true Jill Shalvis style, had it all, and I loved every minute of it! Two people, both so lonely, and not even realizing it until they each see it in the other, but will they be able to set aside their stubborn determination to remain single long enough to see the chance for true love standing right in front of them? You’ll have to read it yourself and find out.

3. Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child: 3.5 stars - I really enjoyed this story! It’s hot, funny, and had me giggling out loud. Connor Reilly is a handsome, healthy, sexually active Marine, one of the brothers in a set of identical triplets. But a $10,000 wager has the brothers abstaining from sex for 90 days, the money to be divided between the winners, or winner take all if just one makes it to the end. If they all three lose, their older brother, Father Liam Reilly, will get the money and use it for a badly needed roof job for his church. Connor wants to win the bet, not only for the money but to prove he can hold out, so he does everything he can to avoid temptation; staying away from bars or anywhere else trouble in the shape of a woman might find him. Unfortunately for Connor, one not-too-bright comment to his “pal” Emma has her doing everything in her power to make sure he doesn’t win, and let me tell you… this made for some fun reading!

The bottom line – I was already a fan of Jill Shalvis and Roxanne St. Claire, and now I can add Maureen Child to the list, too! If you’re looking for some fun, sexy short stories, stories with heart and soul, give this anthology a try. You won’t be disappointed!

This anthology was provided by in behalf of Harlequin/HQN