Monday, May 27, 2013

SEAL of Honor by Tonya Burrows

SEAL of Honor is the first book in Tonya Burrows' HORNET series, and romantic suspense lovers, you do not want to miss this story!

Gabe Bristow’s life as a Navy SEAL comes to a screeching halt – not because of terrorists or IEDs or any of the usual things associated with badass military men and their career ending injuries, but because of a car accident. He was lucky he didn’t lose his leg, but being left with a foot so badly messed up he’s forced to leave the teams, Gabe is struggling to accept the possibility of life behind a desk which, for man like Gabe, is the worst thing that could happen.

But then he’s made an offer too good to refuse: Head a private hostage rescue team to rescue a wealthy American businessman from Colombian rebels looking to make a bundle on ransom. Gabe recognizes this as a chance to continue doing what he loves most and thought he’d never be able to do again, so he reluctantly accepts. Everything is finally looking up until he meets his new team: “a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses.” Then toss in the determined, impulsive, and far too sexy Audrey Van Amee, sister of the kidnapped man who wants to be in on the rescue, and Gabe finds he got more than he bargained for.

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres, but it’s hard to find an author who can do the genre justice. To make me a happy reader, there has to be a solid, gripping story, characters I can care about, the right amount of action – both in bed and out, and a happily ever after that leaves me with a contented smile on my face. That’s a lot to ask for, but Tonya Burrows pulled it off beautifully, and I’ll definitely be reading more by this very talented author.

My thanks to J.J. Bonds and Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure!

Friday, May 24, 2013

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

This review discusses the audio book qualities, as well as the actual story.

On the Cover: Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.


First Grave on the Right is the first book in Darynda Jones’s Charley Davidson series, and the world Ms. Jones has created is intriguing, exciting, and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed Lorelei King’s narration and her ability to give such distinctive voices to the many characters. She brings them to life with humor, passion, and a deeply profound poignancy that completely took me by surprise.

I’m a huge fan of paranormal romance, but lately I’ve not found much in the genre that grabs hold, keeps hold, and has me coming back for more. There’s just too much of the same old stuff out there, but that’s not the case here. I love the fact that Charley Davidson isn’t just a full time Grim Reaper, but she’s also a part-time PI who uses her “other-side” connections to help her solve cases. Of course there’s a lot of humor involved because no one else can see or hear the people and the voices that Charley can, but I was also blown away by the depth of emotion at points in the story.

And those who know me well know I wouldn’t have even given this book a second thought had there not been a love interest of some kind. And while I can’t call this a happily ever after romance – yet – there’s definitely something developing between Charley and the very hot, very tormented, otherworldly male named Reyes Farrow.

The bottom line: I’m absolutely thrilled with this story, and whether you read the book or listen to the audio version, I highly recommend it to fans of paranormal romance. It’s not too light, not too dark, and definitely sexy. And while there's no cliffhanger, it left me dying to find out what's going to happen next with Charley and Reyes!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Growing Up Humming by Mike Spinak

Fans of David Attenborough will enjoy experiencing the wonders of nature through Mike Spinak's pictures and words.

Imagine witnessing hummingbird chicks being raised on the nest from front row seats, with every step shown as it unfolds, accompanied by fundamental explanations of the "whys" behind what you're seeing. In Mike Spinak's "Growing Up Humming", you'll see hummingbirds as you've never seen them before.

The elder chick has flown from the nest, and now follows her mother while learning how to live like an adult. The younger chick hasn't yet fledged, and life will be easier for her mother when both are flying. What happens when a mother hummingbird wants her chick to leave the nest, but the chick isn't ready? This fact-filled, true story, photo book shows the answers in a heartwarming tale the entire family can enjoy.

Growing Up Humming is an absolutely lovely book, chronicling life inside an Anna's Hummingbird nest. Each gorgeous photo is captioned with interesting information, written so anyone, young and old alike, can enjoy this little family's journey from chicks to adults.

It's hard to imagine possible, but a hummingbird egg is about the size of a pea, and the nest built by this Mother sits atop a seed pod!

As you can see from the photos above and below, it doesn't take long for a nest to become cramped quarters.

This charming book is informative and beautiful, and took no time at all to read. Through pictures and journaling the growth of these chicks, Mr. Spinak makes Growing Up Humming a fun learning experience!

And on a side note, when Mr. Spinak contacted me about reviewing this book, he noted that it "It does not have a romantic element, in line with your general interests." Well, while this isn't technically a romance, it spoke to my excitement and adoration for hummingbirds, so in the end, it really is all about love.

All photos used with author/photographer permission

My thanks to Mike Spinak for providing me with a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sweet Revenge by Zoë Archer

When Jack Dalton escapes from Dunmoor Prison, he has only one thing in mind—finding the nobleman who murdered his sister and making him pay. But when he reaches the inn where the Lord Rockley is rumored to be staying, three well-dressed strangers are there to meet him instead. And the pretty blonde is aiming a pistol right at his head …

Joining Nemesis, Unlimited has made Eva Warrick much more than the well-mannered lady she appears to be—one who can shoot, fight, and outsmart any man in the quest to right the injustices so often suffered by the innocent. She’s not afraid of the burly escaped convict, but she is startled by their shared attraction. She and her partners need Jack’s help to get to Rockley, but Eva finds she wants Jack for scandalous reasons all her own…


Sweet Revenge is the first book in Zoë Archer’s Nemesis, Unlimited series. It’s a Victorian romance, but unlike any Victorian romance I’ve read before and, first page to the last, I loved it!

This is one of those rare “first in a series” books that doesn’t feel like a first. The world is interesting, exciting, and complex, but not so complex that you need a glossary of terms or pedigree chart at the end to understand what’s happening. Instead of seasons, balls, the ton, peerage and all the other mundane happenings associated with the men and women of the era, this is a gritty world where murder, rape, and thievery go unpunished if you have the right title. And, should you attempt to rectify the wrongs against the innocents, you’re likely to become a target yourself.

Enter Nemesis, Unlimited! I love these Robin Hoods of Justice! Their ideals and their dedication to each other and to making the world a better, safer place for everyone, make them men and women to not only respect and admire, but to fear.

I absolutely adore Jack Dalton! From the very first page he commands attention, not just due to his size and brutish strength, but in his determination to right the wrong against his sister. He makes no excuses for her part in what happened, but will stop at nothing to see her killer brought to justice, as quickly, painfully and permanently - in other words, dead - as possible. As we learn more about Jack and his past, my heart ached for him. I wanted nothing more than to see him get the vengeance he so desperately needed in order to move on with his life.

Eva Warrick is a great heroine, and I was quickly on her side, cheering her on as she stopped at nothing to get Jack to join them. They too sought out Lord Rockley for yet another of his wrongs against women, and knew that Jack was their secret weapon in bringing him down. She’s a no nonsense kind of woman who has dedicated her life to her work with Nemesis, Unlimited. Jack wasn’t easily convinced to join them, but Eva’s refusal to take no for an answer, and Jack’s growing attraction and admiration for her, make it hard for him to walk away. Apart, Jack and Eva are great people, but together they are amazing. They're both aware of their sexuality chemistry - it's undeniable, after all - but it’s a slow burn that they take their time acting on, and that just makes the wait that much more seductive.

The bottom line: Zoë Archer is a talented author with a gift for getting right to the heart of her characters, making their stories compelling and their happily ever afters well deserved. Sweet Revenge is a great start to this series, and I’m so looking forward to reading Dangerous Seduction, Simon Addison-Shawe and Alyce Carr’s story.

My thanks to Zoë Archer and St. Martin’s Paperbacks for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Devil's Heart by Cathy Maxwell

On the Cover: They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry. The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers' lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.

Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then, a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England, arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.

But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.


"Love well, love fully, love completely. Because in life, love is all that truly matters."

Exciting, thrilling, passionate, and romantic, this final book is a brilliant, fitting end to Cathy Maxwell’s The Chattan Curse trilogy!
I’m not normally a fan of fantasy novels, but this trilogy really worked for me. The writing is excellent, the characters compelling, the world complex… it’s everything I could ask for, and more.

If you’ve been following these books then all you need to know about this installment, other than what we're given in the book blurb, is that Margaret and Heath are the last hope of breaking the curse that was cast upon Charles Chattan and his descendants almost 200 years earlier. And if you haven’t been following this story but are interested in doing so, I strongly urge you to start at the beginning and read in order. The world building and character development is critical early on, and to miss those books would be to miss watching two beautiful love stories unfold. These happily ever afters are just too good to pass up.

The bottom line: The Devil’s Heart is a truly well told story with a great cast of characters and plenty of twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how they could possibly succeed in time. Until this trilogy I hadn't read anything by Cathy Maxwell, but you can bet I'll be reading more by this very gifted writer.

My thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of The Devil's Heart in exchange for an honest review. It's been a pleasure!

To purchase the books in this series:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Scottish Witch by Cathy Maxwell

This second book in Cathy Maxwell’s The Chattan Curse series – or is it a trilogy? – is more than just a romance novel, it's a wonderful love story that, once I started, I couldn't put down.
From the Cover:

Every woman has her dreams

Portia Maclean believes she is beyond love and marriage. Then one moonlit night, while attempting a daring masquerade in a desperate bid to protect her family, she finds herself swept off her feet by a powerful stranger. His very touch makes her long for much more. But what will he do once he discovers she has betrayed him?

Every man has his demons

Harry Chattan is fighting for his family-their honor and their lives. For two hundred years the Chattan men have been destroyed by love and now he's come to Scotland on the hunt for a witch who can break the legend's curse. Instead he finds himself bewitched by the tantalizing Portia. Determined to right legendary wrongs, Harry has vowed to fight the demons that torture him.

But will that battle destroy her as well?
Oh, how I loved this book! Given what we learned of Harry in Lyon’s Bride, I was pretty sure his story would be amazing, and I was right! That said, I had also worried that it would be dark – darker than I like to read – but thankfully, it wasn’t! Harry overcame most of his demons early on, and then resolved the things that were within his power to resolve, and left the rest in Fate's hands.

My favorite thing about these books is the profound message of love being the most important thing, for without it, nothing else matters. One by one this generation of Chattans are failing victim to the Chattan Curse, but refuse to give up, refuse to turn their backs on true love, no matter the cost. And. I. LOVE. That!!!!!

Up next is Margaret’s story. She’s Neal and Harry’s sister, and will not stand by while a bitter old witch destroys her family. She’s the Chattan’s last hope to break the curse, and I can’t wait to read all about how she does it in The Devil's Heart!!

The bottom line: The Scottish Witch is such a feel good story. Filled with hope, inspiration, romance and steamy goodness, it was everything I had hoped for, and more! Harry and Portia are amazing together, perfect for one another, and I love their happily ever after!

My thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase the books in this series:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lyon's Bride by Cathy Maxwell

Lyon’s Bride is the first book in Cathy Maxwell’s historical romance series, The Chattan Curse. These books center around a curse cast upon Charles Chattan in 1632 when he broke the handfast to Scottish lass, Rose Macnachtan, to return to England and marry a Sassenach. Rose was so in love with Charles that she believed he’d return to her, and even kept watch for him on his wedding day. When Charlie didn’t return, so great was her grief that Rose ended her life. And thus, so great was her mother’s grief, that she placed a curse on all Chattan males:
Watchers of the threshold, Watchers of the gate,
open hell and seal Chattan’s Fate.
When a Chattan male falls in love,
strike his heart with fire from Above.
Crush his heart, destroy his line;
Only then will justice be mine.”
The curse has held true through the generations, and death has, without fail, found each male of the line who falls in love. The curse is well known within the family, and no matter what they've tried, it has not been broken. This brings us now to London, 1814, and the story of Neal Chattan and Thea Martin.
They call him Lord Lyon, proud, determined-- and cursed. He is in need of a bride, but if he falls in love, he dies. His fervent hope is that by marrying-- and having a son--without love, perhaps he can break the curse's chains forever.

Enter beautiful Thea Martin--a duke's headstrong, errant daughter and society's most brilliant matchmaker. Years ago, she and Lyon were inseparable, until he disappeared from her life without a word. Now she is charged with finding Lyon's bride--a woman he cannot love for a man Thea could love too well.
This is my first taste of Cathy Maxwell's writing, and I quite enjoyed it! This world she's created is definitely intriguing, and Lyon's Bride is sweet, it's poignant, it's sexy, and nicely sets the stage for the stories to come!

Up next is Harry's story. He'll travel to Scotland in hopes that the witch who cursed his family so long ago is still alive and willing to set his family free. After meeting him in this first book, I have to say, I'm thrilled that I have his story in my hot little hands and can dive right in!

3.5 stars

My thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase the books in this series:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Love at First Sight by Lori Wilde

From the author of the Twilight, Texas books comes the first in a dazzling new Cupid, Texas series. Lori Wilde welcomes us to Cupid, where every wish for love comes true...

Natalie McCleary couldn't believe her eyes-a lean-muscled, darkly tanned, nearly-naked man stood in her path…and then it hit her: love. Everyone always told her it'd hit like a thunderbolt, and she never believed them. But now she knew: practical, sensible Natalie was head over heels in love-with a stranger.

But ex-Navy SEAL Dade Vega wasn't about to be a stranger for long. He'd ridden into Cupid on his motorcycle, vowing to keep a promise he'd made to a military buddy. But a single glimpse at Natalie-soaking wet and unexpectedly tempting-changed his life forever.

But how can he offer her is love, when he can't even promise to stay in one place for longer than a week?


 Love at First Sight is the first book in Lori Wilde’s new Cupid, Texas series. It’s a fun story that kept me turning the pages, loving every moment of “Cupid” working his magic in this small Texas town. Lori Wilde is a name I’ve seen around Goodreads, but surprisingly, not often, and I say “surprisingly” because if her other books are anything like this one, I’m not sure why more people aren’t reading her stories!

Cupid, Texas is a quaint, quirky town filled with quaint, quirky people. It’s a close knit community of friends and family, and would be such a fun place to live.

I enjoyed getting to know Natalie and Dade. Natalie opens the story with the tragic loss of her parents in a plane crash when she was just a child. Sad as it is, it gives us a poignant glimpse into what made Nat the woman she was, and how she got the strength to become the woman she now is. Dade had a difficult, heartbreaking childhood as well, and it made it difficult for him to trust Nat and open himself by telling her the truth. But all his hurt, his brutal past, just made Natalie – and myself – love him all the more.

The bottom line: While there were times when things seemed to drag a bit, but all-in-all, this is such a sweet story! Passionate,sexy, exciting, fun… Lori Wilde has created a truly great world in Cupid, Texas, and I can’t wait to visit again, soon.

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of Love at First Sight in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace

At the stroke of midnight, the heat begins...

On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.


Midnight Secrets is the first book in Ella Grace’s Wildefire series, and opens with a tragic scene that absolutely broke my heart. Right from the start I was completely invested in the Wilde family, and desperate to know the truth of what happened that horrible night.
I really enjoy ‘second chance’ romances, especially when they’re written the way Midnight Secrets is. What I mean is that instead of just being told about the past through character reflection or dialog, we actually watch it unfold. We see the ‘murder-suicide’ as it takes place, and even though it was heartbreaking to watch, I was glad those details were given to us because it saved me a lot of anxiety throughout the rest of story. Then years later - but not yet in the present - we get an up close and personal glimpse at Savannah and Zach’s relationship, how it begins and how it ends too soon. I loved that it was written this way because, as I said, it pulled me in and I became connected to the family, invested in them and the learning the truth. And as much as I loved those parts, the present day story is just as good, just as compelling. This is such a well written mystery/romance, with wonderful characters and a storyline loaded with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing right to the very end.

Interestingly enough, I’ve been meaning to read Christy Reece’s writing ever since Pamela Clare – a truly amazing romantic suspense author – recommended her to me, but there’s always been one thing or another cropping up, and I just never got around to it. When I decided to read and review Midnight Secrets, I had no idea that Ella Grace is Christy Reece, but knowing it now, you can bet I’ll be picking up Ms. Reece’s Last Chance Rescue books, very soon.

The bottom line: Fast paced, intriguing, and sexy, romantic and fun, Midnight Secrets is an exciting story that no romantic suspense fan should miss! Savannah and Zach are fantastic together, and now I’m anxiously awaiting Samantha’s and Sabrina’s stories.

My thanks to Ballatine Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James


Once upon a time…

A duke fell in love

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.

With a lady

Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene—had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics.

And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends.

In a tower.

But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower—locking Gowan out.

Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge. Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower…

When she already has the keys to his heart?


I’m a huge fan of Eloisa James’s Fairy Tales series, each book a delightful, sexy, poignant retelling of a time honored classic fairy tale. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea… all wonderful stories revisited, their happily ever afters given a lively, fresh twist. And now it’s ‘Rapunzel’s’ turn to be freed from the tower she’s locked herself away in, but can her Prince Not-So-Charming convince her to let him in, before it’s too late?

Truly, I’ve enjoyed every single story in this somewhat-related-but-not-quite-connected series. Humor, passion, romance, lessons to be learned… all woven together to create not just romance novels, but beautiful love stories. Book after book I find myself laughing, sighing, fanning myself, and sometimes even crying... and when the story is through, I find myself wanting more.

I fell head over heels in love with Gowan! What an amazing, sexy, Highlander! To say I adore him is putting it mildly, though there were moments I wished I could reach through the pages and smack him right upside his gorgeous head! Stubborn, yes - clueless, definitely! But when a man's heart is on the line - especially a man afraid of repeating his parent's horrible mistakes - there are bound to be issues. But what I love most about Gowan is that he thinks things through, works things out, and does whatever he must to make all things right.

Edie is a fun heroine! Innocent but not naive, clueless but not stupid, in her upcoming marriage she wants to avoid the mistakes that her own parents made. But when your role model is a step mother who thinks flirting with men and smoking cheroots is the way to get your husband's attention, things are bound to get sticky. I truly did love both Edie and her step mother Layla, but I wanted to throttle Edie for turning to Layla for advice, given Layla's unorthodox and ineffective methods for wooing a man.

Despite those moments when I wanted to do bodily harm to Gowan and Edie, I adored them both! Once again, Eloisa James has breathed new life into a classic fairy tale, giving us a story to lose ourselves in with people to love, and they lived happily ever after!

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath

Lord Rafe Easton may be of noble blood, but survival taught him to rely only on himself and to love no one. Yet when he sets his eyes on Miss Evelyn Chambers, and earl's illegitimate daughter, he is determined to have her, if only as his mistress.

After her father's death, Evelyn Chambers never imagined she would be sold to the highest bidder, yet circumstances give her little choice except to accept the lord's indecent proposal. Rafe is wealthy, as well as ruthless. Yet his coldness belies deep passion and deeper secrets. If she must be his, Evelyn intends to lay bare everything the Lord of Pembrook is hiding. But dark discoveries threaten to destroy them both until unexpected love guides the last lost lord home.


 Lord of Wicked Intentions wraps up Lorraine Heath’s The Lost Lords of Pembrook trilogy with Rafe’s story, and what a poignant, romantic, passionate, beautifully told story is it!

I haven’t read the first two books – yet – but I can’t imagine either of Rafe’s brothers had a harder life than he did. The youngest of the three at the time, he was left at a workhouse while his brothers went off to do what they had to do in order to return to Pembrook one day and reclaim their inheritance. Workhouses were horrid places and my heart broke for Rafe as we learn some of what he had to endure, just to survive the years spent waiting for his brothers return.

I adore Rafe – the boy he was, and the man he became. And Evelyn – Evie – what a wonderful woman she is! Strong, loving, compassionate… the kind of woman I would want to be, living in her era. One of my favorite “quotes” comes from Evie, and speaks to her determination to not just survive, but to live.
He had revealed only bits and pieces of himself but she was beginning to gain a sense of the whole. Like her, he had been left with no one to see after him. But he had managed to make himself into a successful man. He had not relied on his heritage, but on himself. He was to be admired.

Perhaps someday she would meet a man who would respect her for doing what she had needed to in order to survive.
As I said, I did read this story first, and I can tell you it does work well on its own. That said, I’m so intrigued by Sebastian’s and Tristan’s stories, that I immediately purchased their books and will be reading them soon. If you haven’t yet purchased Lord of Wicked Intentions, or even if you have, grab She Tempts the Duke and Lord of Temptation too, so you can read them all in order. And don’t forget the charming Christmas novella, Deck the Halls With Love.

The bottom line: Lorraine Heath is a truly talented writer and one of my few go-to authors when I need a guaranteed feel good story. Her characters are always amazing people with such an incredible capacity for love, whether giving it or receiving it, whether deserved or not. Though, in the end, their happily ever afters are hard fought, and always deserved.

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.