Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon - Includes Audio Book Review

Maddy, Christine, and Amy find that an old college roommate has written about them in her new self-help book-and they're furious that she's used them as examples of how women screw up their lives. And the worst part is, it's sort of true. Together they make a pact: they'll face down their fears-and maybe show Miss Perfect a thing or two!

Maddy rejected her high school sweetheart's marriage proposal for art school years ago. Now her friends challenge her to rediscover her lost passion for arts. In doing so, she crosses paths with her old flame, Joe, at an art camp. Perhaps it's about time that Maddy reignites another old passion.

This is a review of both the Audible and the Kindle versions.

I haven't enjoyed a new-to-me author this much in a long time and it just goes to prove the old adage about never judging a book by its cover - but in this case, its 'never judge a book by its price.' See, I've had Almost Perfect sitting on my Kindle forever! Seriously, at least couple years, I'm sure. But I had this idea that because it had been free, it probably wasn't all that good, so I was in no hurry to get to it. Yeeaaah, no! I was totally wrong about that and I'm kicking myself for having waited so long to read this story!

My review...

There are a few things that stand out in my mind as to what makes this such an entertaining story. Most definitely Christine and Amy and their friendship with Maddy - true friends who tell you what you need to hear, even when it's not what you want to hear. Their relationship added a bit of a chick-lit feel, but not too much. This truly is a romance driven novel. And a steamy one, at that!

Another thing I loved is the theme of never giving up on your dreams. In fact, that's the jumping off point and the foundation of the story. And while the friendship is the catalyst for Maddie reaching for her dreams, Joe is also there, cheering her on.

But for me, best of all, I loved this second chance romance that, against almost impossible odds, was truly wonderful. No hurried forgiveness, no lame excuses that are acceptable just to move things along...the whole story, start to finish, drew me in and kept me totally invested in these very real, totally normal, compelling flawed people. (And an FYI to those I know will be wondering - there was no cheating involved when the relationship ended the first time.)

The audio...

Jane Cramer did a great job of giving each character a distinctive voice and personality. Her own voice is smooth, pleasant, and so, so easy to listen to!

I'm excited to read more by this talented author/narrator team!

My thanks to the Ortolons for providing me with a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review. It was such a pleasure!

At the time of this posting, book 1, Almost Perfect, is a Kindle Freebie. Use the link below to order:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Avon Books Happy Release Day - January 28!

Check out these great new releases by Avon Romance authors! 
(Click on cover or link to buy from Amazon)

Beautiful but deadly, Rayna Dugan is a force to be reckoned with--even in heels.

But when her plans for the evening suddenly involve defending her life against a criminal empire, Rayna knows she needs backup. The choice she made to leave Ty and her old mercenary team in Montana starts to seem like a bad call. She's been running from her feelings for the tough, rugged man, but Rayna needs Ty now more than ever. Yet when Ty becomes the new target, his help could mean his death ...

Ex-cop Ty Whitlock has spent the last six years waiting for his past to catch up with him. When it finally does, he isn't expecting the woman he loves--the one who walked out on him--to be caught in its web. He knows she's moved on, but he can't help wanting another chance with the petite beauty. Ty's got only one choice: find Rayna and keep her safe. But that's the easy part. Once he finds her, can he convince her to stay?

Welcome to Valentine Valley, where the cowboys have many talents and love is waiting around every corner . . .

Ever since a heated late-night kiss—that absolutely should not have happened—cowboy Josh Thalberg makes former Hollywood bad girl Whitney Winslow's pulse beat faster. But when she decides to use his gorgeous leatherwork in her new upscale lingerie shop, Leather & Lace, she's determined to keep their relationship strictly professional . . . even if she wants so much more.

Josh has never met a challenge he isn't up for. Which is probably why he allowed Whitney to persuade him to take the sexy publicity photo that went viral—and now has every woman in America knocking down his door . . . every woman except the one he can't get out of his head.

But how to convince a reformed bad girl that some rules are worth breaking?

#3.5 in Finding It (Losing It)

Jackson Hunt gets his turn in this Finding It prequel novella …
Jackson Hunt hasn't been out of the military for long, but he needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he is going to keep his demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.
Becoming bodyguard (and babysitter) to spoiled rich girl Kelsey Summers isn't exactly what he had in mind, but it's a chance to travel, to get away. The catch: Kelsey's father doesn't want her to know she's being followed.
She's vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When Jackson sees her falling into the same patterns he suffered years ago, he decides it's time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know Kelsey is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her, the more he wants her.

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde
Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks
offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and... Heh.

Now Izzy's given up yearning for romance.
She'll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over
for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who's never even been

This one.

#7 in the Night Huntress Series

The Grave Ends Here.

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones.  They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war...

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights.  Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death...because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences.  And if they fail, their lives--and those of everyone they hold dear-- will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

Final novel in the Night Huntress series.

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with a delicious new series, The Brides of Wishmore

What happens when a bride says no?

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.

What happens when the heart says yes?

He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.

And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love? 

They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release . . .

The most enigmatic and tortured of the Feral Warriors, Wulfe is haunted by the quiet beauty of a human woman who no longer remembers him. Once a captive of both the Mage and the Ferals, Natalie stole a piece of his heart before he took her memories and sent her safely back to her fiancé. But now the Mage are threatening her again, and Wulfe will risk anything to protect her.

Natalie Cash is stunned when she's saved by a wolf who shifts suddenly into a splendidly built, if badly scarred, man, a man with the kindest eyes. Swept into a world of intrigue and danger beyond her comprehension, she turns to the powerful Wulfe, finding a passion she'd only dreamed of. But when time runs out, they must trust one another and surrender to a wild, untamed love.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright, Narrated by Jill Redfield

Despite having been besotted with Dante Garcea since she was a child, wolf shifter Jaime Farrow figures that it’s time to move past the crush. If he wanted her, he wouldn’t have ignored her flirtatious behavior, right? Hiding her intense attraction to him isn’t easy – especially now that they're part of the same pack again – but with bigger issues to worry about and with the submissive wolf act to maintain, Jaime is resolute on moving forward. Now if only the workaholic control-freak would let her…

As the pack Beta, Dante doesn't have the space or time in his life for a relationship. As such, he ignores his intense hunger for the willful – and sometimes crazy – Jaime. Yet when her flirtations abruptly end, Dante finds that he doesn’t like losing her attention. He finds something else too – Jaime's hiding something. Determined to uncover her secret, he sets out to break through her defenses, even though being around her intensifies his cravings for her. What he finds is a problem that Jaime is convinced not even a powerful Beta can solve.


Witty, exciting, and very sexy!!

Wow! Just… WOW! I have to say, I enjoyed the first book, Feral Sins, a lot, but Wicked Cravings is even better! I was pulled into the story from the get-go and fell hard for our Beta hero, Dante, and his kick-ass heroine, Jaime!

My review…

I’m not sure what I loved most about this story – the plot or the dialogs. I can’t tell you how many times I groaned in a giggling “oh, that was cheesy” kind of way! There are so many tongue-in-cheek one-liners that had me laughing at Dante and the rest of the Pack, even as they continue the arduous task of establishing themselves as a Pack to be reckoned with amongst the others in the area.

I wasn’t too impressed Jill Redfield’s audio book narration of Feral Sins, but I sure enjoyed her this time. She really hit the mark with her performance and I’m looking forward to listening to more of her narrations!

The bottom line…

In my mind, Wicked Cravings has proven Suzanne Wright's genius as an author in the world of paranormal shifters, because anyone can write the genre, but not everyone does it this well. And with Ms. Redfield’s talented voice further bringing the story to life The Phoenix Pack series is a must read for fans of the Paranormal Romance/Shifter genre!

The audio book was reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Monday, January 20, 2014

Flirting With Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Description: In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.

Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.


My Quickie Review: Funny, charming, romantic, sexy... Ruthie Knox is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors in contemporary romance! I absolutely love Sean. So smart. So sexy. So solid. And yet, soooo vulnerable. Yep, I adore him! And Katie is a great match for Sean. She gives him the drive to step up and take charge and I love it! Apart they're awesome, together they're perfect!

Great characters, great story. Poignant in some places, witty in others. Such a wonderful, feel good read!

ARC provided by the publisher, Loveswept, via Netgalley.

Chance of Rain by Amber Lin

The only things Natalie Bouchard wants to change are the weekly specials in her Gram's diner. So when her high school sweetheart strolls back into Dearling, Texas, she allows herself to indulge in a little flirtation, but that's as far as it goes.

Navy SEAL Sawyer Nolan has returned to sell his father's land and get the hell out, no matter how enticing he still finds Natalie. Until a storm rolls over the Texas hills, stranding them together at the farm…and the memories of their steamy past lead to a reunion filled with hot days and long nights.

Soon Natalie's so far under Sawyer's skin he can't imagine being without her. But he has a lot of history in Dearling he'd like to leave behind, and Natalie is practically married to this town. If Sawyer wants to be more than just another person who leaves Natalie, he'll have to give his hometown—and himself—one more chance.


4.5 poignant, charming, sexy stars!!

Amber Lin is an author who knows how to write darkly emotional, deeply sensual stories. I read – and loved – her Lost Girls series, though I have to be in the mood for a story that will rip my heart out, chew it up, then put it back together again, each and every time. I look forward to these stories because sometimes they’re exactly what I need.

When I saw Chance of Rain at Netgalley, I knew I had to read it, but honestly, I was expecting a darker story, similar to those found in Lost Girls, so I didn’t dive in right away. (Those of you who know me and follow my posts will remember that the past six months of my real life has been full of emotional loss. My son went off to Uganda to serve a Christian Mission. My 11 year old dog had to be put to sleep, and lastly, my mom passed away in November. To say I had not been in the mood for a dark story at the time, is to say the last.)

Yesterday, while browsing my “Currently Reading” shelf which is more like a “Don’t Forget These Books” shelf, I saw this one sitting there and decided to read a few pages to get a feel for it. Those few pages turned into a few chapters, then a few chapters more, and before I knew it, it was 3:30am and I had finished it.

And loved it.

My review…

Chance of Rain is not at all the story I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful story, but there wasn’t the level of angst and drama found in Lost Girls. This is a contemporary romance with a “you can go home again” and “second chance romance” plot. It’s sweet, very sexy, and the characters are real people with real lives, real hopes, and real dreams. And while it’s not dark, it’s still a poignant, romantic, inspiring story about letting go of the past in order to have a future filled with happiness, love, and a happily ever after you never imagined could be yours. You only have to reach for it, work for it, and never let it go.

The bottom line…

I’m so glad I saw this on my shelf and took a chance. It’s exactly what I needed and I hope there will be more such stories from this truly amazing author. Brava, Amber Lin! I’d love to see what you can do with Historical Romance… no doubt it’d be brilliant!

My thanks to Carina Press for providing a copy of this story in exchange for my honest thoughts. What a great story this is!

(And for the record, everything has a positive side if you just look for it. Yes, my son's in Uganda, but he's serving God's children there and our temporary loss is their much needed gain. My Honey dog, while we miss her terribly, lived a long, happy, pampered life. And my mom... that's the hardest loss of all, but she's no longer in pain and that alone makes our loss bearable.

Thank you to everyone whose thoughts and prayers carried me through these tough times. You're all proof that angels do not have wings!)

Purchase Chance of Rain at Amazon and other ebook retailers!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blue By You by Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson, the New York Times bestselling author of Crazy On You and Rescue Me, once again shows that there's nothing quite like a man in uniform!

They say you never forget your first time, but there's nothing Blue Butler and Kasper Pennington would rather forget than their brief but fiery teenage love affair. Yeah, it was hot while it lasted, but then he went off to join the Marines, leaving Blue in New Orleans. She's tried to block him from her mind for good, but nothing can really erase the feeling she had when she was with him.

And now he's got the nerve to return—leaner, meaner, and strong enough to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. Blue's a successful businesswoman now, with no time to figure out what went wrong all those years ago. But Kasper knows she's the one woman for him … and now he's got to prove it to her all over again.

My Quickie (Review)

Blue By You is a second chance romance, and wonderful story with so much passion packed into just 144 pages. It's my first experience with Rachel Gibson's writing, and it most certainly will not be my last!

ARC provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review.     

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kaleidoscope - A Colorado Mountain Novel by Kristen Ashley

When old friends become new lovers...anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?

It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him . . .


It's not often a book keeps me up all night because I'm so caught up in the story I just can't put it down, but Kaleidoscope has done that. I'm not lying when I say I was a weeeeeeeeeeeeee bit worried this would fall short of capturing my attention and my alphaman-love, but it surpassed my expectations in a big way! It's an awesome story, and I loved the re-visit with some of romance's greatest alpha heroes and their women. And true, this, Deck and Emme's happily ever after is hard fought, well deserved, and a thing of beauty!

And hot? Ho-leeeheeehee hell!!

Thank you, Kristen Ashley, for giving us this story, and keeping me up all night basking in it!

ARC received from the publisher in return for an honest review. What a pleasure!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack Series Book 1) by Suzanne Wright

When female wolf shifter Taryn Warner first encounters Trey Coleman, an alpha male wolf shifter with a dangerous reputation, she’s determined to resist his charms. After all, Trey—who was only fourteen when he defeated his own father in a duel, winning the right to be alpha of his pack—can’t have anything to offer the talented healer besides trouble, or so she thinks.

Taryn finds herself drawn in by Trey’s forceful demeanor and arctic-blue eyes, and she eventually agrees to enter an uneasy alliance with him. If the two succeed in convincing their respective packs that they’ve chosen each other as mates, Trey will win valuable political allies, while Taryn will escape an odious arranged mating.

But there are a lot of potential pitfalls to this plan—including the very real possibility that the wolf shifters, overwhelmed by their growing attraction to each other, will be unable to maintain the clear heads needed to pull off the deception.


Feral Sins is the first book in The Phoenix Pack series, and Suzanne Wright has created a very interesting, exciting, primal, and yes, feral, world. And I love it because, in my opinion, nothing sets the stage for erotic romance better than the paranormal genre. There are no holds barred, everything is fair game, things we might not accept or be comfortable with in the human world are somehow more acceptable, somehow more comfortable, in the paranormal world. I think this otherworldly setting allows us to let go of some of our inhibitions and just enjoy the ride… and what a ride this is!

I really enjoyed reading this story, but while listening I felt the narration left something to be desired. The narrator is talented enough, but there were times I felt almost awkward listening to her depiction of conversations, the way certain things were said felt forced... over dramatized. Not the way a conversation between two people - or even a group of people - would go. But when I would turn off the audio and just read, everything sounded much better in my head than it did to my ears.

That said, I think The Phoenix Pack world is a great one. Along with our hero and heroine, the secondary characters are intriguing, quirky people/wolves who I adore and want to know more about. Sometimes the animosity amongst the pack members was a bit much, but all-in-all, Feral Sins is an entertaining, sexy story, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with The Phoenix Pack, because Dante Garcea’s story is up next, and I can’t wait to see him brought to heel!

Breaking it down:

Kindle Version: 4 stars

Audio Version: 3 stars

Overall: 3.5 stars

Audio reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Available at Amazon: Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack Series)