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Otherwise Engaged

Otherwise Engaged
by Amanda Quick

The first thing to know about this book is that despite how many lists have it as part of the Lantern Street series, this is a standalone with absolutely no paranormal element. And it was nice to go back a more traditional historical story.

Amity Doncaster is a globe trotting adventuress who is writing a lady’s travel book and has learned a variety of useful skills. During her time on one island she finds a man shot in an alley. He asks her a favor of getting a letter to his Uncle in London. While she does take the letter, she also takes Mr. Benedict Stanbridge and manages to save his life.

He levered himself partway up on one elbow. Pain tightened the corners of his eyes. “Do not tell anyone else about the letter-not any of the passengers or any members of the crew. It is vitally important that you not trust anyone who is on board now or who may come aboard between here and New York. Is that clear?”

“Quite clear.” She gripped the doorknob. “I must say, you are certainly a man of mystery, Mr. Stanbridge.”

He sank wearily back onto the pillow. “Not at all Miss Doncaster. I’m an engineer.”

Unfortunately for Amity, saving Benedict doesn’t come without some risk, namely a lot of gossip of an illicit nature, which brings her to the attention of a serial killer, the Bridegroom. Fortunately, Amity is intrepid and skilled so the bridegroom seriously underestimates her and manages to escape.

I love how Krentz’s books are so intricate and this one is no exception. There are several well crafted sub plots and a cast of secondary characters that are portrayed realistically and have their own relationships and lives separate from the hero and heroine. I also love how researched Krentz’s novels tend to be, she usually slips in some interesting tidbit or historical fact. In this case what seems to be an anachronistic bit of whimsy is actually a historic fact. Photovoltaic cells and solar power were around for the 1800’s. Granted, Krentz has written so many books at this point and her writing style is so very distinctive that it is hard to stop comparing her current books to previous ones, but in my opinion this one holds up on its own merits and was a fun historical romp with hilarious characters.

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Inn at Last Chance

Inn at Last Chance
by Hope Ramsey

This is the 7th full length book in the last chance series.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Jenny Carpenter, pie baker extraordinaire and spinster, purchased Jonquil House to set up a bed and breakfast when she realized her dreams of a husband and family were not going to happen. Gabriel Raintree is the former owner of Jonquil House and a famous writer. He’s currently suffering from writer’s block and heartache from a past he can’t quite remember. When he decides that his former home is the best place to hide out from his editor and rabid fans he finds that a spinster can be a heck of a lot more stubborn than he’d thought.

This is an odd book. The prose is florid, and the dialogue is stilted. There’s also a ton of internal monologue. It takes telling instead of showing to an extreme. It’s also odd in that it has heavy Christian themes of the typical inspirational type, but it’s also got a supernatural element in the form of a ghost, and there is premarital sex. There’s also a fairly nice plot twist but due to the heavy foreshadowing some readers may find it easy to see ahead of time.

While I can’t say that this is my particular cup of tea, it’s oddly readable for all that the story is very slow until about the last 50 pages.

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Six Pack Ranch Series

Six Pack Ranch (6 books)

by Vivian Arend

“The Coleman family has ranched in the Rocky Mountain House area of Alberta for generations. These modern day contemporary cowboy romance stories follow the extended family as they find both their place in the community and a happy-ever-after.”

These are published through Samhain so you can expect a bit more kink than your average contemporary provides. But overall the heroes are pretty sweet so it also isn’t what I would consider a traditional Samhain either.

I will be reviewing the entire series here so there may be mild spoilers for the previous books if you read all the reviews.

Rocky Mountain Heat (Six Pack Ranch, #1)

Blake Coleman is the oldest of the Coleman’s and as such tends to be the more sober and proper of the siblings. Jaxi is almost a decade younger and of course she has always loved him. When we first meet her, she is dating Blake’s younger brother Travis, and there are obviously secrets involved there. Overall I was not especially fond of Jaxi, she pulls a few rather childish stunts that I felt rather proved the Blake’s concerns.

This is the first entry to this series and this family. So we meet probably all the characters and get quite a bit of background and plot involving them. This story seems to be less about Blake and Jaxi and more about setting up for the rest of the series. And that’s ok, because I don’t think Blake and Jaxi were interesting enough, or compelling enough to be the main attraction. I didn’t dislike the story, but those two didn’t draw me in. More of the focus and interest, in my opinion, was on Travis, Matt, and Gabe. This is a light, mildly entertaining read with no real punch, but read it anyway to get the background you will need for the rest of the series.

Rocky Mountain Haven (Six Pack Ranch, #2)

Beth Danube is a recent widow with two boys. Her husband was emotionally abusive so she has some hang ups about herself and sexuality. Daniel Coleman has recently had some very hard knocks in life but he’s doing his best to take it in stride and to build a new future.

When they meet Beth is looking for no strings and Daniel has happily ever after written all over him, so it is a nice reverse. It was really very enjoyable to watch this couple’s relationship unfold and change. Additionally the way we see them try to fit her kids into the relationship and the way boundaries were established and changed felt very realistic.

Plus we get to see quite a bit more of how Matt’s life is changing.

Rocky Mountain Desire (Six Pack Ranch, #3)

Matt Coleman (as seen in the previous novel) has had his heart stepped on and his pride ripped to shreds. Hope Meridian is struggling to stay afloat after her sister abandons the business and the apartment they had been planning on, leaving her with all the responsibility.

This is a really sweet and sexy friends-to-lovers story with the additional baggage that Hope’s sister is the one who screwed them both over and of course, the one who causes the most drama between them. There’s actually a relationship between Matt and Hope, and it progresses in a logical manner. And the ending is over the top romantic and sweet.

Rocky Mountain Angel (Six Pack Ranch, #4)

Gabe Coleman (a cousin to the six main Coleman brothers) played a big part in previous books and was probably one of the more interesting characters. He has an acrimonious relationship with his father, and his father is a complete hateful ass. Gabe is struggling to get around his father and save the ranch. Allison is looking for an excuse to move back to her home town without alerting her mother to her real reasons. So she offers Gabe a deal, if he’ll pretend to be her fiancé she’ll help him do what needs to be done to make the ranch profitable again.

This is another friends to lovers story but there is a lot of sadness and grief to go along with the heat that creates a truly enjoyable three dimensional tale.

Rocky Mountain Rebel (Six Pack Ranch, #5)

Vicki Hansol is known as one of the town “bad girls” due to the actions of her family members. The only thing bad about her is her temper, but based on the actions of the rest of the town, she’s completely justified at that. Joel Coleman is trying to change his own reputation and step away from the antics of his twin brother Jesse. In order for Vicki to be able to take a job that gets her out of town, she needs to get over her fear of horses, so she turns to Joel who it looks like is the only person to have been nice to her in a long while.

This story gave me a completely different perspective of the town and the Coleman family. It made them all seem more human. And Vicki and Joel were really good together with both of them having things to teach the other. Fair warning, this story is more of a happily for now rather than a happily ever after, but considering their ages and their integration into the fabric of the community, it feels completely appropriate instead of a letdown like most happily for now stories.

Rocky Mountain Freedom (Six Pack Ranch, #6)

Travis Coleman was probably the most mysterious of the Coleman brother’s we have seen snippets of his character throughout this series, so I was highly anticipating his story, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is an M/M/F ménage relationship with a lot of heart and some pretty serious kink. Cassidy was Travis’s best friend (we met him in Rocky Mountain Angel) but he left because he could not deal with some of his own hang ups and feared repercussions with Travis. Ashley Sims left because she felt like she wasn’t enough for Travis and she has some of her own trauma and drama to deal with, but she returned to set down roots and to return to Travis.

This is an equal triad relationship (which is my favorite type of ménage) and there were no big misunderstandings. There were issues and some miscommunications, but they were all very believable and relatable in the context of their society and their individual backgrounds. This is one of my favorites in the series so far.

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The Collector

The Collector by Nora Roberts

Lila Emerson is a people watcher, a “Peeping Tammy”. She’s a writer of tween novels to pay the bills and a house sitter for the adventure. One night she sees a woman pushed out the window of her apartment and this sets forth a chain reaction with an extraordinary number of coincidences and intersections to the main characters’ lives. The event brings her to Ashton Archer, a painter of some renown with a large extended modern day family. This is one of Nora’s typical 3 part novels with more than one couple involved. I won’t tell you about the other couple because that would ruin the surprise and the serendipity, but they are just as interesting as the main hero and heroine. Although there isn’t really as much page time as I think there could have been.

There is of course mystery involved, but it doesn’t stay much of a mystery to the reader for long. Mostly the reader is along for the ride as they figure out things we already know and develop their relationships with each other.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but I think it missed the mark and could have been a much better mystery/suspense story if the reader wasn’t let so much into the mind and actions of one of the villains.

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Justiss Alliance Series

Justiss Alliance series by Tina Wainscott

“When five Navy SEALs take the fall for a covert mission gone wrong, the brotherhood of bad-asses join The Justiss Alliance, a private agency that exacts justice outside the law.”

I received ARCs of these books from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for honest reviews.

Wild Hearts (Justiss Alliance, #0.5)

This novella introduces us to the main characters of the series, how they became a rogue SEAL team, and how they met Justiss. Rahthmusen “Rath” Blackwood comes from a Tennessee family that just doesn’t seem to be making much of their lives. He’s the hold out from the Justiss team and the one dedicated to finding out how the “defuckle” happened. Saxby “Sooch” Cole comes from a long line of cheating men down in Louisiana. He has a brother who lost both of his legs from a bomb while serving in the military. Julian “Salsa” Cuevas comes from a criminal family in Orlando, Florida who immigrated to the US from Puerto Rico. Knox Logan grew up on a ranch in Montana and is currently in the middle of a divorce from his high school sweet heart. He’s emotionally closed off due to tragic past events. Rick “Risk” Yarbrough is a base jumping adrenaline junkie who used the adrenaline to deal with his childhood. He’s the first to sign on to the Justiss team. Chase Justiss is the mystery man who started the company after events that sound similar to what happened to these men.

I enjoyed this brief intro into the insights of men we’ll be seeing a lot more of. It’s nice to get a peek into their heads and thought processes and to see their relationships with each other.

It’s $0.99 plus tax for all the formats I checked but honestly I keep waffling over whether or not it is worth it. It is interesting and kind of fun, but it doesn’t seem to be required for understanding the rest of the series.

Wild on You (Justiss Alliance, #1)

Rick Yarbrough is a bit upset that his first Justiss assignment is babysitting an “animal hugger”. Addie Wunder is an adrenaline junkie, animal hugging, lacto-ova vegetarian, lesbian according to her father. They have an instant attraction and there is some violence, mayhem and mystery to keep this story running. But the main focus is on the emotions as these two strong willed characters learn about each other. I was expecting a woman in danger protected by over domineering jerk of a bad boy. Instead this is at its core a lighthearted romantic fluffy book and the hero was a bit more inept than I would have expected. It isn’t bad by any means, though there are a few pacing issues, but it certainly isn’t as tense or intense as I was expecting.

For the $0.99 plus tax this is currently listed for, it is definitely worth it.

Wild Ways (Justiss Alliance, #2)

Julian Cuevas is confident, sexy and supremely competent. He also has a bit of white knight syndrome. Mollie Reagan is fierce in her search for her sister Di, who disappeared into an outlaw bike club. In all other areas of her life though, she is a bit of a mess. So of course when Julian encounters Mollie in a dangerous situation he intervenes and saves her. THIS book was more what I was expecting in this series. There’s excitement, and danger, and drama and romance. The pacing was much better than in the first book. And I connected much better with these two characters. Unlike the first book, this made me much more interested in how the overall plot arc would play out, and what would happen to the other characters, particularly Rath.

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3 star review

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance
by Jennifer Ashley, Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak, Caris Roane

Dark & Deadly

I already have Bodyguard by Jennifer Ashley, but I’ll pay $1.07 for a look at the rest of the stories.

BODYGUARD (Shifters Unbound #2.5) by Jennifer Ashley

Elizabeth Chapman is a store owner with a past she is hiding from and Ronan is just a big old teddy bear of a shifter who fosters a bunch of bear kids. When Ronan saves Elizabeth sparks fly and he gets embroiled in her life and danger. These two are cute together as well as being sexy, and I can easily see how they will fit into each other’s lives. This is one of my favorite entries into the Shifter’s Unbound series.

ALEJANDRO’S SORCERESS by Alyssa Day

The story starts with Alejandro in a training exam at the FBI Paranormal Operations Division HQ and he seems to be a little more than the average training recruit. Rose Cardinal is a garden witch with a bit of extra insight into a person’s deepest desires…and a bit of a problem with authority. This story is very humorous so it doesn’t quite fit the Dark and Deadly theme here, but it is a really enjoyable entry anyway, and definitely makes me curious about the other series.

BEWITCH by Felicity Heaton

This is book 5 in the Vampire Erotic Theatre series. “Enter the dark, sinful and seductive world of the four vampire owners of London’s premier vampire erotic theatre, Vampirerotique, and discover how these powerful vampires will be brought to their knees by the women who claim their hearts–a mortal, a werewolf, a vampire, and an angel.”

Payne is a part incubus vampire on a mission to help a friend. He’s dark and brooding and quite frankly maddening. Elissa is a witch living in an underground fae city and she seems to have a problem with the local coven. There are some pretty significant BDSM scenes in this story that not all readers will be comfortable with. There is of course a lot of drama and the ubiquitous happy ending but overall it shows a slice of an interesting paranormal world. While this is part of a series, it stands on it’s on fairly well, though I think some of the very beginning and very end would have made a bit more sense had I read the rest of the series.

DARKNESS FALLS by Erin Kellison

There is an immediate urgency here. You are dropped into this story with no background or real frame of reference. It is all nerves and intrigue. There isn’t really anything to be said about the characters without spoiling the story. I will be watching avidly for more stories in this series.

ROGUE’S PASSION by Laurie London

Could not get into this. If I get a copy of the first book in this series, I may come back to this one. I think I might be missing vital information.

THE FORBIDDEN LIFE OF ALEX MOORE by Erin Quinn

What makes a human, human? What makes a human special, what makes them more? And why are potentially evil puppies so damned adorable? This appears to be a spinoff of Quinn’s Beyond series and it was a pretty intriguing story.

THE MATING HEAT by Bonnie Vanak

I suspect this author does not actually know what the term overweight actually means. Other than that, this is a nice little PNR. It’s an ooey gooey friends to lovers with a werewolf twist.

TRAPPED by Caris Roane

This is a Blood Rose Tale which is a short story set in the The Blood Rose series. These Blood Rose Tales are better served by reading the rest of the series because it looks like a pretty interesting world but you just get teased with it in these Tales. Beyond that this is a story about how two very different people are able to start seeing a problem from each other’s perspectives.

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Sweetest Surrender

Sweetest Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City #3)
by Katie Reus

This is the 3rd book in the The Serafina: Sin City which is a spin off from the Red Stone Security series.

Angel is a fairly interesting character with quite a story behind her. She is a sweetie and really only has one twit like moment. Vadim though, he is freaking adorable. He’s slightly shy and awkward but still really hot. There was enough mystery and plot twists to keep this fun to read, and the ending is just too cute.

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