4 star review

Review- Moon Shine Book 4 Takhini Wolves

Moon Shine
by Vivian Arend

This is book 4 of the Takhini Wolves series. Preceding entries have been relatively light fluffy reads that are long in romance and sex but somewhat light on plot and character development, though they have shifted to slightly more serious toned as things have progressed.

In Diamond Dust Alpha Evan Stone sniffed out his mate and naturally dropped his long-term lover Caroline, which was great because that freed her up for her own mate, bear shifter Tyler Harrison. Unfortunately by the time Moon Shine rolls around not only hasn’t Evan found his elusive mate, someone is seriously sabotaging his business. Enter Samantha Amy Ryda. She’s the incognito Alpha of the Miles Canyon wolves and she has a serious beef with Evan.

I’ll admit, based on the current Goodreads reviews I wasn’t expecting much because generally Amy hasn’t been considered a very attractive or sympathetic heroine. So, I guess it is fair to say I had low expectations, but Ms. Arend blew it out of the water for me. Amy was smart, strong and devious, and I really liked that about her, especially the devious part. And while I am not saying all of the conflict is completely Evan’s fault, a good chunk is because of both his failure to communicate AND his failure to recognize Amy as an Alpha in her own right. The whole story is intricate and action packed with a healthy helping of psychology and I really enjoyed how Evan changed and grew, but while I know I am in the minority here, Amy was what made this story work for me. Yes, she may have made some less than stellar choices based and a lack of information, but it certainly wasn’t her fault she didn’t have the needed information. I enjoyed seeing a heroine who usually used her brain to get things done but wasn’t afraid to get physical either. This quote at the end summed it up best for me:

“But the brightest part was having a pair of strong arms slip around his waist as Amy cuddled in tight. She was the absolutely perfect cherry on the top.”

He didn’t see her as soft, or sweet, or comforting, or sexy or any of the other insipid descriptions you usually have alpha heroes thinking of their mates as, he thought of her as strong and that makes this story rock for me.

4 star review

Review- Lex Talonis

Lex Talonis
by R.S.A. Garcia

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

What made me request this book, was the eyes of the cover model. I suppose it is a rather generic sort of cover but it caught my attention. The blurb didn’t repel or terribly entice me, but every time I saw that cover on Netgalley I just kept clicking it.

This book opens up with some political information about the Roulon sponsoring Earth into DiploCore so as “…not to become a pawn between more powerful civilizations…”.
Next we find a wounded Michael trying to escape through air vents from some undescribed enemy. We then meet Desmond Obuki a businessman and a former soldier. He rescues a woman being beaten to death by an Elutheran, an alien describes as having a muscular proboscis and a short sharp beak. He takes her to Colin, the doctor who fails to save her. When she dies in the medbay a hairless green biped alien (accompanied by another alien, Andraju) raises her from the dead. Andraju is taking care of the biped for a man named Chris, but it freaks him out, so he leaves the little alien with the doctor. So starts a fairly exciting sci-fi novel.
Lex has between brutally beaten, raped, and stabbed. She awakens in the hospital with no memories. She chooses her name as the one thing on her mind, though she doesn’t know the meaning.
There’s political intrigue, genetic tampering, and betrayal. Heart stopping betrayal. I cried when she realized the betrayal dealt to her, even as she didn’t realize the true depths of the betrayal. This is an incredibly intricate story that weaves its way through morality, ethics, forgiveness, and personal growth.
I had a few issues with this story. One is that there were entirely too many different types of aliens and characters introduced. They are all well written, but they are all written as if they should be noted as integral to the plotline, and unless there is a sequel, for some of these characters that doesn’t seem to be the case. One of the other things I found so frustrating with this book is the over utilization of italics, it sometimes seemed awkward or misplaced, or inconsistently used. I also found the use of Roman numerals (I think to denote changes in sections) a bit bothersome.
Other than those few things, the story was entirely compelling, I couldn’t put it down and when it came to the end, I read and re-read the last chapters wishing it weren’t over and trying to eek every last nuance out of it. I’ll be sorely disappointed if there’s no sequel to this. I have to know where Lex’s story goes from here. This book doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, the current story is resolved satisfactorily enough, but there’s still so much to do and explore.
4 star review

Review- Air Bound

Air Bound
by Christine Feehan

This is book three in the Sisters of the Heart Series, which is a spinoff from the Drake Sisters series. While it is titled after the women, and they do all live together as “sisters of the heart”, really, if you are following the series, this series is about the women who will be matched up with the six remaining Prakenskii brothers. The Prakenskii family is like the male version of the Drake family in that they have magical powers and the seventh child will have seven children to pass on the magical legacy. The first book in this spinoff featured a heroine who has autism and a hero with amnesia and I adored that book, but the second book just really fell flat for me.

Ariana grew up a child prodigy and genius. She was in a government-sponsored think tank/school when her mother was tortured and murdered which caused her to quit doing the work. The government finally released her when she was 20 at which time she met the other “sisters” in group therapy. Maxim Prakenskii who seems to be closest (if you can in any way consider the Prakenskii brothers “close”) to Gavril, kidnaps Ariana as a way to protect her from other people who are trying to kidnap her to use her for her incredible mind and talents. This plan naturally backfires in a big way.

The first 50 pages or so are full of awkward info dumping about the series as it has been portrayed so far and about the main characters. Stick it out though, because from there it is pretty much a nonstop action packed ride. While this particular book did not quite reach the enjoyment level of Water Bound (for me anyway, YMMV) it is head and shoulders above Spirit Bound. I really enjoyed the chemistry between these two characters. Maxim is such an adorably befuddled alpha male. He’s way more caring and intuitive than he thinks. And unlike Stefan/Thomas from Spirit Bound, he actually treats his mate like a human being with thoughts and capabilities rather than like a witless child or a pet. They argue, they compromise and it is really very sweet to see. I also enjoyed the way their relationship progressed, they didn’t immediately decide they would become a couple (though it was still a standard Christine Feehan destined mate thing) and they didn’t immediately hop into bed together. And when they finally did get physical, it wasn’t perfect and magical and real life awkwardness ensued, at least the first time, which was rather refreshing to see.

This story also really furthered the series story arc with their own super villain and how the Prakenskii brothers are being drawn in to Sea Haven and how they are and will be integrated into the family and the community as a whole. This story also marks the turning point for how the Prakenskii’s are going to be integrated into the Drake family. Jackson and Elle will be coming home soon, so hopefully that conflict will be fairly quickly resolved, though honestly I can imagine that their biggest problem may not be Jackson, but Joley, despite her marriage to another Prakenskii, she isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

I think what I prefer about the Sisters of the Heart series is that these women seem a lot stronger, a lot fiercer and willing to get their hands dirty than the Drake sisters. And the way they interact with each other and how much more of a “match” their mates are makes it feel more balanced to me. The relationships just feel more connected in this series. So, while I was somewhat apprehensive about this series, this book is more than enough to keep me on board, and frankly, I was worried about that after Spirit Bound. A solid 4 stars from me.


OpenLibrary Review- A Soldier’s Heart

A Soldier’s Heart
by Kathleen Korbel

Blurb from Goodreads:

Over twenty years earlier, an unnamed nurse had struggled to pull Tony Riordan away from the brink of death. And now, Tony could see the confusion in Claire Henderson’s eyes, could see her struggle with the same nightmare images that had haunted him for years. Claire Henderson had saved his life, and it was time to return the favor.

This book caught my attention when I saw the Dear Author Classic Review because it’s not often you see a book with a female protagonist with PTSD from war. It was originally published in 1995, so may be one of the first, if not the actual first romance novels to tackle PTSD in women. This book is available to check out from OpenLibrary. As always with OpenLibrary, use Adobe Digital Editions to download the PDF version because it is a scanned copy of a physical book.

Tony Riorden gets the boulder moving when after 20 years, he finally seeks out Claire, the nurse who saved his life during Vietnam. Of course, that boulder was already tipping from the stress of her job as a supervisory nurse, trying to open her own bed and breakfast, and the fact that she has a 17-year-old son who is wild to join the military to become a fighter pilot all happening during the UN intervention in Somalia.

When Tony sees that he’s caused harm by his visit, he decides to stick around to see if he can help. So of course, they fall in love.

The romance part of this book is fairly light because most of the emphasis, and rightly so, is on how Claire is handling or in some of the cases, not handling, her life. The intimate scenes are pretty meager as well and for all of the interest they added, should have just been completely fade to blacks.

What worked for this book for me were the cast of secondary characters and the experience of PTSD that rang true based on what I know of the people in my life. What also worked for me was the way Tony tried to help without being a macho overbearing alpha male and then when Claire finally did decide she needed help he gave her the information she was seeking and then stepped back to allow her to heal on her own. Naturally, this made him a bit of a Mary Sue; you can’t win for losing with me.

Solid 4 stars for the story and the mustache 😉

Freebie- Darkness Falls.

Darkness Falls
by Erin Kellison

I originally reviewed this novella in Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance bundle and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Its currently free for Kindle


(As aside, I really hate posting from the blogger app.)


Freebie- Mine to Take

Mine to Take
by Cynthia Eden

Cynthia Eden is an auto-buy for me. There aren’t an real groundbreaking things in her works, but she writes an engaging story with interesting characters.

Mine to Take is a second chance romance with mystery and suspense and Goodreads gives it an average rating of 3.77. AND most importantly it is currently free from the following vendors:





So if you are a fan of romantic suspense and need some Memorial weekend reading material, this is the deal for you. 

4 star review

Review- A Dangerous Madness

A Dangerous Madness
by Michelle Diener

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

The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…
He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.
Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…
All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.
And now the killers have set their sights on her…
The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

When a heroine in the 1800’s is jilted and all she feels is relief, despite the prospect of social ruin, you know you have the start for an interesting heroine. Phoebe and James both start their relationship as a bit of a chess game, each testing the others defenses and neither wanting to give too much away too soon until the danger Phoebe is in draws them both closer together.

Historically, the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval by John Bellingham actually did occur, as did a few of the other tidbits about him and other characters scattered throughout. However, a large dose of literary license was taken for this story, as is the case for many of the “historical” accounts since so little is truly know about Mr. Bellingham.

I really enjoyed how Ms. Diener weaved history with historical romantic suspense and mystery, but make no mistake this is more historical fiction than it is historical romance. In addition, at the end of the book, Diener provides a fascinating peek into the realities of the history and what she used and why, to provide the framework for her fiction. This was no easily guessed mystery and the reader was left to figure out the clues along with the hero and heroine rather than gaining extra insight from the minds and actions of the villains. I also enjoyed how the understanding of the characters and the romance slowly unfolded through the story. Their relationship didn’t really take center stage until about halfway through the story and it felt natural and gradual. The mentions of the other characters and couples was also very natural so it didn’t just hit you over the head with the fact that there are previous books to this series. There are in fact two previous books in Diener’s Regency London series, but their mentions in this story merely enticed one to go back and read the previous books rather than leaving one lost in the current plot, so A Dangerous Madness works very well as a standalone.

The romantic part, despite the unusual nature of their connection and Phoebe’s blatant disregard for the social conventions of the time, was refreshingly restrained. Except for the violence, you could almost rate the book G if you were comparing to movie ratings.

This is very different from most of the books I’ve read recently, but in a good way. I am rating this 4 stars and will be looking to pick up the next books in the series.


Freebie- Turning up the Heat

Turning up the Heat
by Laura Florand

After eleven years of marriage, Léa Laurier knew her husband. Knew how he could take on responsibility for a world-famous restaurant, a wife, and her two teenage siblings at nineteen years old and never falter, never tire. Knew his drive and his ambition, that took him to the stars. Knew how briliant his gray eyes looked when they met hers for just one moment across a host of cameras. She didn’t know why she was so tired. She didn’t know why she needed to just get away. For a while. Maybe a week or two. A month. She’d be back.
After eleven years of marriage, international superstar chef Daniel Laurier knew his wife. Knew how she could lavish caring on everyone, her siblings, his staff, and most especially him. Knew the way her face lit up when he won yet another television contest, and the way she hugged him for it. Knew how her hair smelled when he sank into bed exhausted at one in the morning. He didn’t know what to do when he came home from a consulting trip to find she’d disappeared to remote South Pacific island: I just needed to get away for a little while. A week or two. I’ll call you.
As the whole solid world under his feet turned into a sandcastle in the tide, Daniel knew only one thing: whatever was wrong with his marriage or his wife, he wasn’t losing her. So as a top chef, he did the one thing he always knew how to do: turn up the heat.

This is a novella about how lack of communication can ruin relationships and how time together is the most important thing in a relationship.

It’s currently available for free on Kobo and iTunes.
4 star review

Review- The Cowboy and the Vampire: Blood and Whiskey

The Cowboy and the Vampire: Blood and Whiskey
by Clark Hays & Kathleen McFalls

I did not receive an ARC of this book, but liked the first book well enough, and am anal enough to read a series in order (I received ARC’s of the first and third books), so I picked this up at amazon.

This book jumps right in after The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance. (IF you haven’t read the first book you are going to want to stop right here and go back-major spoilers ahead)

We have Lizzie Vaughn the reluctant vampire queen and her erstwhile cowboy lover Tucker. Following the epic and tragic conclusion of the first book, they have returned to Lonepine, Wyoming to settle down with their impending family. Lizzie is still struggling with her new nature, including the fact that she will have to drink blood and kill. And Tucker is still struggling over basically everything, impending fatherhood, Lizzie’s new nature, and his own mortality in comparison to Lizzie’s immortality. Right when things seemed to be settling down, chaos ensues. Lennie needs a favor, finding his missing niece who has been kidnapped. And just when they are headed out, Rurik, a mysterious and powerful vampire pops up out of the woodwork to enlighten Lizzie on just how precarious the vampire situation is; if she can’t turn more vampires, the whole balance of the world will be destroyed. Events are a whole lot more complicated than any of them were expecting challenging love, friendships, and loyalty.

This story maintained it’s dark humor but showed us a whole more politically savvy side to Lizzie. The writing seemed a lot smoother and more polished than the first book, or maybe I just got used to it, but I didn’t struggle as much to determine whose POV I was looking through. What worked for me was the snarky dialogue, Marion (Dad), Lennie, Elita, and the love and devotion between Lizzie and Tucker. I also enjoy how this series blends evolution, morality, ethics, and politics. What didn’t work for me was the set up for a love triangle with Rurik coming between the two, I am just not a fan of this trope and I can see potential for this to be truly miserable.

Lizzie proved herself to the vampire nation in a most surprising way, heartbreak ensues for all the characters, and Lizzie and Tucker’s relationship ends on a solid high point.

Another solid 4 stars for this unlikely duo.

4 star review

Review- That Camden Summer

That Camden Summer
by LaVyrle Spencer

I remember reading this first on one of those rare breaks during college where I could not stand to write another paper but felt like I had too much to do and couldn’t go home. So, I found myself on the second floor of the library where the scanty fiction section was. I wasn’t expecting much because this wasn’t an author that had ever interested me, but I was instantly captivated and re-read this book several times over the next several years, naturally I was pleased to find a copy of this on OpenLibrary. As with most books you can check out through open library, because they are scanned your best bet is to use Read Now or download PDF using Adobe Digital Editions.

In 1916, Roberta Hewitt returned to her former hometown newly divorced from her philandering and gambling husband, with her three daughters and a job as a nurse and a tendency for independence. The residents of the town are dismissive and critical, even her own family, and her brother in law is worse. Gabriel Farley is the town’s handyman and jack-of-all-trades ACS he works on her house. Initially he is as crude as her brother-in-law, but over time they develop a friendship that sets tongues wagging.

So first things first on this. There’s a trigger warning. There’s a moderately graphic rape scene. It isn’t gratuitous and is integral to characterization and plot for several reasons, but may be distressing to some readers.

Now on to the more pleasant things. I loved how much information we got about cars of that time period, the way they were run and serviced and the way people felt about women owning and operating them. It’s a big part of the story, and while I was fascinated, and in the end, it actually did turn out to be integral to the plot, I can see why some people might get bored or frustrated. However, what I loved most was the characterizations and how the people changed throughout the story, or how our perceptions of them changed. Rarely have I loved and hated characters in such equal measure throughout a story while still feeling they were believable characters and not merely caricatures. Roberta was no Mary Sue; she was a strong and determined woman who even by her own admission was overly stubborn. She wasn’t always as tidy, reserved or circumspect as women of her era were expected to be, but she was joyous and true to herself. Gabriel wasn’t perfect either. He was just as crass and crude towards a divorcée as one might expect from men of that era, and he wasn’t a perfect father either, being more reserved than a motherless daughter might need. But it didn’t take long for Gabriel to open his eyes and take another accounting of the situation. And it was so lovely watching these two very different individuals first learn to be friends then to integrate their lives, and finally for Roberta to learn to lean and Gabriel to open up his emotions and play. And while Elfred, her brother-in-law was ultimately unredeemable, it was clearly his own choice. I despised him unreservedly. Myra, Roberta’s mother, on the other hand, while I certainly couldn’t like her, I did learn to understand, just as Roberta did.

So, I’ll rate this as 4 stars for a touching and realistic journey into love the second time around.