Monday, March 26, 2012

Defiant by Pamela Clare

Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as arrogant and contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.

Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier—or for the attraction she feels toward Connor as he guides her first through the consummation of their forced union and then through the dangers of the wilderness. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him.

But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.


 My own foreword:

I first want to say thank you, Pamela, for giving me the opportunity… the excitement and honor… of reading this book, chapter by chapter, as it was being written, then again once it was completed. I’m not in the least embarrassed to say that even after that, I read it again, twice more in its entirety, and still knowing what was coming, what to expect, I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I was angry, my hands shook, my heart raced… you name the emotion and while reading this book, I felt it, again and again. Such an incredible experience! So yeah, thank you, Pamela, truly.

Now, let's move on to the reason you’re all here…

Defiant is the third book in the MacKinnon’s Rangers series and one of the most beautiful, amazing, heartbreaking, joyous, poignant, exciting, perfectly wonderful romance novels I’ve ever read. No, I take it back, that's not what it is... calling it a romance novel doesn’t do it justice. What it is, is a true love story, in every possible way. I adored Iain and Annie’s story, and Morgan and Amalie’s, but Connor and Sarah… my absolute favorite of the three. It's such an adventure! An incredible journey from letting go of the past to embracing the here and now, and the future. Connor and Sarah have so many things to overcome, and I don’t just mean Indians, murder, kidnapping, pissy, asshat relatives and gossip and rumors… I mean, yeah, those things are there, but nothing compared to what they had to overcome within themselves… their own personal demons… anger, betrayal, hopelessness, a need for revenge so consuming it can destroy one’s soul… such a powerful story.

Okay, some things you need to know. Before you begin this book, stock up on the following:

1. Snacks and beverages that don’t require refrigeration. You’ll be needing plenty of these because you’re going to want to lock yourself away somewhere nice and quiet, and once there, you will not want to leave in search of sustenance. Trust me on this.

2. Tissues. Boxes and boxes of tissues. Don't skimp, you’ll need them.

3. And girls, ‘cuz I love you and I got your backs, this is critical… make sure you’ve got your significant other on standby, or a stockpile of batteries. Just sayin’…

Some final thoughts…

There are so many things to love about the MacKinnon brothers. Their passion, their sense of humor, their honor and need to always do what’s right, the way they take care of their women… and this quote from the book sums it up so, so well:
Joseph speaking to Sarah: “You are new here, so I will explain. In this land, nobility comes not from one’s fathers or a title or from the land one owns, but from one’s actions.” His voice was hard-edged, and his words seemed harsh to her. “The MacKinnon brothers are the highest nobility to those who live on the frontier—true warriors, men who know how to fight and survive, men who put the lives of others before their own. Your family’s wealth, your title, your virtue—they mean nothing out here. They won’t fill your belly, and they won’t keep you alive. What matters most right now is your survival.”
And one of the most beautiful, romantic lines I've ever read, and when you read this story you'll understand why it had me in tears:
Och, Sarah, how shall I call augh’ beautiful again unless it be the sight of you?
Yeah, not just in tears, sobbing so hard my chest hurt.

But this wouldn't be a MacKinnon's Rangers story without those laugh out loud scenes we've come to expect, those moments that bring some light to the darkness… and this exchange is one of them: Joseph and Connor:
Joseph stood, his gaze traveling over Connor’s clean-shaven face and hairless chest, his lips curving in a grin. “What’s this? The cub is not so furry.”

“That devil woman’s granddaughters waylaid me, took me to her lodge, insisting they had to prepare me for the ceremony. They bathed and oiled me, shaved my face, then plucked every hair out of my chest and belly. God’s blood, it was torture!”

Connor’s skin still smarted.

Joseph chuckled. “You look good—just like a human being should look. Only animals have hairy faces and bodies.”

This was a familiar disagreeance, one they’d debated many times afore.

“Real men have hair on their chests,” Connor fired back. “You look like a lass wi’ smooth paps.”

But this only made Joseph laugh harder.

Connor’s temper snapped. “Dinnae be laughin’ at me. They went for my cods, so they did! I had to thrust them away, else they’d have plucked me bare there, too. I willna submit my bollocks to such abuse.”

Joseph bit his lip, clearly trying to rein in his mirth. “So you prefer to make women search the bush to find the snake?”

“My snake is no’ so small that the lasses must search for it.” 
So yeah... I could go on and on and on, sharing quotes and telling you how much I love every single word of this book, but I won't do that, I won't deprive you the pleasure of experiencing the story for yourself and discovering all the amazing little gems that make Defiant one of my very favorite historical love stories ever.

Harm's Hunger by Patrice Michelle

In order to meet her Great Aunt Sally's will's stipulation to 'handle the sale personally,' Jena Hudson visits Texas to finalize the sale of her aunt's ranch to her neighbor, Harmon Steele. What Jena didn't expect was to fall for the rugged, sexy cowboy.

Harm might find Jena to be the most sensual creature he's ever met, but he won't let her sultry body be more than a satisfying distraction. He learned a long time ago, happy-ever-afters are best left for childhood fantasies.

So, what's a girl to do when she finds out the man of her fantasies doesn't believe in a happy ending? Given the right set of circumstances, she'll create one for him. 


Harm’s Hunger is the first book in Patrice Michelle’s Bad in Boots series, and it’s a fun, romantic, very hot story. I enjoyed the characters, Jena Hudson and Harmon Steele, who, with their sometimes witty, sometimes sarcastic banter and their powerful sexual chemistry, kept the story moving right along.  Though not without some minor flaws, Harm’s Hunger is an entertaining read, and if it’s any indication of what's to come, I’ll definitely be reading more of this sexy series!

Note: This is an 18,000 word novella.

This ebook was provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Haevyn by Darcy Abriel

Duty and honor demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Haevyn is the second installment in Darcy Abriel’s Humanotica series and one of the best, most exciting dystopianesque stories I’ve read to date. There are so many great things to say about this book, but for me the most stand-out aspect is the unique, complex society created by the author. Using words instead of a brush, Ms. Abriel paints a vivid landscape of a sometimes harsh, sometimes beautiful world that I can’t help but want to explore and be part of.

And it wasn't just the world that grabbed my attention and didn't let go! Haevyn, Grisha, and Entreus are complex characters who drew me in and gave me no choice but to become invested in them and their story. Even though I didn’t read the first book (which I plan to remedy soon) I had no problem following this story and connecting to the people who make up the very erotic Humanotica world.

The bottom line – If you don’t already get that I really enjoyed this book, then I’ll spell it out… I. Really. Enjoyed. This. Book! It isn’t without some flaws, and generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of Sci-Fi or futuristic stories, but overall, this enticingly sensual tale is one to savor and the series is one I’m looking forward to continuing.

Sexual Content Advisory: This book contains m/m, m/f, f/f/f, menage, and can not be considered light erotica.

From the book blurb: Warning: Watch out for oiled-up, naked trinespined warriors battling for top position, feisty tracer females that fit oh-so-snugly in between, and sexy nights that segue into complex relationships. Beware of tebitcheckers wielding those nasty little contulators at illegal, testosterone-drenched cage confrontations.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: Haevyn
Series: Humanotica
Author: Darcy Abriel
Publisher: Samhain
ISBN: 9781609288631
Rating: 4/5 stars

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bloodright by Karin Tabke

Their shared blood will destroy them in hatred–or unite them in passion…

After years of waiting, Lycan Alpha Lucien Mondragon is poised to take revenge on his brother, Rafael, by killing Rafael’s life mate, the Lycan/Slayer half-breed Falon—but he cannot complete the kill. Instead of ending her life, Lucien defiantly marks Falon as his own.

Though terrified by the savage Lucien, Falon finds herself drawn to him. Torn between the love she has for Rafael and the hunger she holds for Lucien, the will of Falon’s heart will lead her to her destined life mate–but it may also doom the brothers and the Lycan race to extinction…


Bloodright, the second book in the Blood Moon Rising trilogy, is fast paced, edgy, very - and I do mean very sexy… so sexy, in fact, that it borders on taboo. This book begins where Blood Law left off and right from the start it grabbed hold, and seriously, didn't let go! I can’t wait for the third and final book of the trilogy, Blood Vow, due out in December, 2012.

Reviewed for the April issue of Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Karin Tabke
Berkley Heat
Trade Paperback
4 Stars

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

The Bro-Magnet is a laugh out loud story about life and love, told in the first person POV from a man’s perspective. If you’re married or have spent any length of time in a relationship with a guy, you know how clueless they can be when it comes to their feelings and the ways of the world… the real world, that is. Well, in this book we get to spend years inside Johnny’s head and while I still don’t think I’ll ever understand the way men think, at least I got a lot of great laughs from reading about it.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, something light and easy to read, you really should pick up The Bro-Magnet and settle yourself in for, entertaining story.

This book was provided by and author, Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Tryst With Trouble by Alyssa Everett

Happy "It's About Bloody Time" Release Day!!

A Tryst with Trouble is finally being published! Seems Ms. Everett is another author who fell victim to the mess that is/was Dorchester Publishing and her book release was in, it didn't happen. But I'm thrilled to share that Carina Press was smart enough to see it for the gem it is and now you all have the opportunity to do the same!

I'm wishing Ms. Everett much LONG OVERDUE success with this wonderful story.

My Review:

A Tryst With Trouble is a charming, funny, somewhat steamy Regency romance by debut author Alyssa Everett. The witty dialog and hilarious insights into the characters’ thoughts has made this one of the most delightful novels I’ve read in a long time.

The Marquess of Beningbrough, known as Ben to his friends and family, does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps… in fact, he wants to be as far removed from those footsteps as possible. The reason? Because of the gossip surrounding his father’s supposed homosexuality and Ben’s concern that others might think that his apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Ben’s solution? To become the ultimate man’s man so there can be no question about his own sexuality!

Lady Barbara Jeffords is the oldest daughter, and though she is not, by any stretch of the imagination ugly, she’s been passed over time and time again by suitors who favor her younger sister, Helen. Because of this, Barbara has decided that all men are shallow, arrogant and boorish, and that being single is a blessing rather than a curse.

Helen is betrothed to Teddy, Ben’s cousin, but rumor has it that Helen’s been trysting with the neighbor’s footman, and even though Teddy is ready to break off the engagement, when said footman turns up dead and it looks like Helen might be the culprit, Teddy jumps in to claim that he’s the killer in order to protect Helen.

With gossip, blackmail and murder threatening to see someone swinging from the hangman’s rope, Ben and Barbara, who are both certain that neither Teddy or Helen are guilty of the crime, work together to find out who did it and why, and this made for some great times!

Normally I have trouble with stories written in the first person, and when I realized that this was written in the first person, from two different points of view, I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out. The author did a great job of moving the story along, and even though we get both Barbara and Ben’s POV of a scene, it never felt repetitive or overdone. In fact, the POV changes gave us some of the funniest moments in the book.

The bottom line - Whew! Okay, as I said, A Tryst With Trouble is a simply delightful story filled with enough twists and turns to keep it light and highly entertaining. The most enjoyable parts of the story were those spent inside Ben and Barbara’s minds, and with their often self deprecating, laugh out loud funny banter! I’m so looking forward to reading more by this very talented author!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fatal Flaw by Marie Force

When it comes to romantic suspense, Marie Force always delivers exciting, believable stories, and Fatal Flaw, the fourth book in the Fatal series is no different.

Senator Nick Cappuano and D.C. Police Lieutenant Samantha Holland are home from their two week, romantic honeymoon on Bora Bora. Literally, just minutes past midnight on her official ‘first day back,’ Sam gets called to work, and it begins. With investigations, campaigning, cold cases, threats, cheating husbands, missing people and murder, Sam and Nick find themselves thrust back into life as they’ve come to know it; busy, bloody, and dangerous!
“My name is Terry, and I’m an alcoholic.”
Fatal Flaw is a great addition to the series, and while I was happy to see so many things finally start to come together, what I was most impressed by was the way Ms. Force handled the issue of Terry O’Connor’s alcoholism. Openly, no sugar coating, Terry laid it all out and accepted responsibility for his actions. This was handled with honesty and compassion and without exploiting alcoholism or making it all about the drama.
“I told you—we’ll keep trying until we get it right. However long it takes. I’m not going anywhere, Jeannie. No matter what.”
Another thing that I was so pleased to see was how Jeannie McBride was beginning to heal from her kidnapping and rape, with the help of her boyfriend, Michael. I adore him for his dedication and devotion to Jeannie, and I adore her for not giving up.

Okay, I need to get this off my chest... Something that really bugged me was Sam's repeated derogatory thoughts about Stahl's weight, not just in this book, but throughout the entire series. I mean, seriously... every time the man was on the page, Sam noted his "jiggling" or "wiggling" jowls, his sweating, his turning purple... Sure, the guy is repulsive, but he'd be repulsive even if he didn't have an ounce of fat on him, and so with each passing scene it started to feel as though Sam's revulsion towards him was as much about his weight as it was about him being an asswipe. And, as I am a woman who carries some extra weight and have been known to jiggle from time to time myself, it started to become a bit much. Just sayin'....

This final quote, a quick exchange between Sam and Nick, pretty much sums up their life:
“Holy shit.” His voice was unsteady, and she could feel a slight tremor in his muscles. “Holy freaking shit.”

“Look at it this way—never a dull moment.”

That drew a reluctant chuckle from her husband. “Dull is boring and overrated.”

“I’d love the opportunity to find out.”

Tipping her chin up to receive his kiss, he said, “Not gonna happen in this lifetime, babe.”
The bottom line - While this book isn't without flaws, once again Marie Force has written a romantic, passionate, heartwarming, thrilling story that kept me guessing as to who the bad guy was and what the motives were. I enjoyed seeing how tight Sam and Nick's relationship has become... the honesty, the love, devotion... great stuff, that.

This book was provided by in behalf of Carina Press.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Viking's Sacrifice by Julia Knight

They know but unsurely who sit within, what manner of man is
come.~ Hávamál: 133

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing. ~ Proverbs 18:22

Julia Knight's The Viking’s Sacrifice is one of those stories that you don’t come across often, but will stay with you for a long time. It takes place during one of my favorite periods, pre-tenth century, with the Anglo-Saxon and Viking battles, the back and forth invasions, vying for riches, land and power. Part of what makes this time period so interesting to me is how the growth of Christianity changed the influence of pagan gods and the lives of those who worshiped them. But while I enjoyed the story for the historical aspect alone, I loved it because of Einar and Wilda, whose struggles for justice and freedom made The Viking’s Sacrifice an emotional read.

From the cover:
Viking raiders destroyed Wilda’s home. She witnessed the murder of her mother and would have been killed herself if it weren’t for the Viking boy Einar, who saved her from his ruthless brother. The blood and murder left Wilda cold and shorn of feeling.

Eight years later, the heathens return for Wilda. As a captive in the Viking village, she finds protection and silent comfort in the man who once gallantly saved her.

Einar has been cursed to silence by his brother. With the dark net of his brother’s power cast over their village, silence is a small price to pay for his family’s safety. But Einar is immediately drawn to Wilda, and the need to protect her from his brother awakens his Viking courage. Can Einar break his brother’s curse in time to save the village and the woman he loves?
Each chapter begins with a passage from either the Bible or the Hávamál - Words of Odin, the High One - and gives us a glimpse into what’s to come. For some, those passages might seem a bit preachy, but remember that during this time, and this story specifically, "religion" of whatever kind is a huge part of their lives, and if you keep that in mind, you’ll understand that the passages are more insightful than preachy.

The bottom line: This is a hard book to review because it doesn’t fit snugly into a single genre. It’s historical fiction for sure, but also historical romance, historical romantic suspense, mild Christian fiction, pagan beliefs … but in the end, for me, the labels don’t matter. What does matter is that this is such a poignant story. Heartbreaking, yet inspiring, and much more than a romance, The Viking’s Sacrifice is a wonderful love story. Wilda and Einar had to fight, not just to live, but to love, and so their happily ever after is a truly beautiful thing.

3.5/5 stars

My thanks to providing me with a copy of this ebook in behalf of Carina Press.