5 star review

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway – Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston

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Wolf With Benefits_Cover

Blurb

 There’s nothing like a good ol’ boy wolf.  And ace security expert Ricky Lee Reed serves, protects and seduces with all the right moves…

Sure, Toni Jean-Louis Parker has to be the responsible oldest sister to a crazy-brilliant clan of jackal siblings. But now she’s cutting loose for some hot, sweaty, no-commitments fun—and the sexy, slow-talking, swift-moving predator assigned to keep her family safe is just the right thing to shapeshift her love life into overdrive. Trouble is, he’s starting to get all obsessive wolf on her every time he looks in her direction…

Getting serious about anyone isn’t in Ricky Lee Reed’s plans. Hell, even now he doesn’t really have a plan—outside of catching whoever is threatening this dangerously brilliant family. But the more he sees of Toni, the more he’s howling for her. And whatever it takes to convince her that what they have is everything, well, this wily wolf is down for the sizzling chase…

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/05/wolf-with-benefits-pride-8-by-shelly.html

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three (3) copies of WOLF WITH BENEFITS)

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NTIxYWM0YzhjYmFkNDc1MDkxYzA3ZDNmMjhhM2RjOjcxOA==/?

Review

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5 star review

Review – Dark Horse by Michelle Diener

Dark Horse

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I started looking at this because the blurb was intriguing, but I absolutely had to have it once I realized this was the same Michelle Diener who wrote A Dangerous Madness. I had to know how an author who wrote such a fabulous historical fiction with a dash of romance would pull off science fiction.

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

And the answer to how Michelle Diener pulled it off? Brilliantly! So far, this is one of my favorite books this year. Rose was such an interesting heroine. She’s empathetic, warm, loyal, and level headed and logical. Captain Dav Jallan is also an excellent hero, if slightly less fully fleshed out than Rose. And the star of the show was truly Sazo. An emergent Artificial Intelligence being, one so young and mistreated, he has a lot to learn. Yes, I think it is fair to say I liked the characters.

What really shines though is the world building and the suspense. Diener wasn’t heavy handed or beating one about the head screaming THIS IS SCIENCE FICTION, it was almost more a social commentary. The Grih are very like humans in many ways, but there are enough social and cultural differences to make them seem alien, and enough to make things more social communication difficulties than any Big-Mis. It made me think of a post I recently read on the book Local Customs. The effect was a bit more subtle than that, but the cultural differences were very real. So it was very interesting to see Rose interacting with all these different characters, and their perspectives of her and she them. And as far as world building goes, since Sazo is an AI he has access to a certain amount of information, so some of the world building was done through him explaining to Rose, but really, Rose and Sazo had a lot to learn and so we were all dropped into this situation where we had to learn quite a bit in a short time. It was well done with no real jarring info-dumps.

The other interesting thing about the book, is that I truly think the science fiction and mystery aspects could have survived without the romance, and the romance would be just as enjoyable if the alien factor was taken out and you plopped these two characters and their ideals into a romantic suspense. Don’t get me wrong, it blended seamlessly, but it made me give a head quirk and think that even hard boiled non-romantic science fiction readers would still enjoy it.

Overall, there were plenty of twists, some thought provoking questions about what it really means to be a sentience, a lovely romance that doesn’t crowd out the story line but also isn’t given short shrift, and characters I cared about. I really hope that we’ll get to learn more about the Class 5’s and Grih society, and that there will be at least a sequel. My only quibble is that the blurb’s use of “dark horse” seems a little hoky, but in the book it works very well. 5 stars

Dark Horse

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4.5 star review

OpenLibrary Review – Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood

Honors Splendour

Honor’s Splendour was probably the very last Julie Garwood historical I picked up. I think it must have been due to the blurb. Something about it didn’t appeal to me. But once I got into it, I rated it as highly as any of my other Garwood favorites. And then it fell off my re-reads radar for some reason. But once I started cleaning up my library for the switch to a Kindle Paperwhite, I just had to re-read it.

Honor’s Splendour is available at OpenLibrary, but since I read my personal copy I can’t verify the quality of the scan.

Now on to the review:

The first thing I want to note is that there is one gay character, and he is the villain and painted as a repugnant individual. I know that this (rightfully so) bothers many people, so I figured I would get that information out of the way first. However, it isn’t harped on, and his sexuality isn’t really the source or a component of his villainy, so I was able to get past that part.

The second is that a main character was raped. That isn’t precisely a staple of Garwood’s, in fact to my recollection this is the first and last time she’s used this plot. So I would rather readers not be surprised. It is not described and happened prior to the story’s beginning.

Ok, those notes out of the way, this is a really sweet story. The thing everyone harps on and sighs over, and rightfully so, is the opening scene. Madelyne steals everyone’s heart, including our erstwhile hero’s, when she risks her brother’s wrath to rescue him, and then warms his frozen feet on her bare stomach. It is one of the best opening chapters of any historical romance that I can recollect. In Duncan and Madelyne we have what should be Garwood stock characters. Duncan who is gruff and alpha but unwillingly kind. Madelyne who is beautiful, compassionate, smart, and brave, but thinks she isn’t. All the usual fare. And yet, these two are more than the sum of their parts. Duncan is so befuddled and sweet as he cares for Madelyne after an injury (and terribly adorable as he lies to himself about his own motives), and kind when he sets Madelyne to caring for his sister. And Madelyne has her own cute quirk, an obsession with Greek history and legend, in particular Odysseus.

There is mystery, intrigue, falling in love (times two in this case), and the villain gets his comeuppance. So if you can get through the hard parts, it is a really lovely tale, and well worth the read. 4.5 stars

Honor's Splendour

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4.5 star review

Review: Love Finds You in Calico California by Elizabeth Ludwig

Love Finds You in Calico California

By Elizabeth Ludwig

I have been living on the edge lately! I have started to browse different sections of my local library and came across a local authors shelf. That is where I discovered Elizabeth Ludwig’s Love Finds You in Calico, California. This is Ludwig’s first  full length novel and I say she did a fantastic job.The cover really caught my eye, with a pistol and bold red boots!  I decided that I had to give this western a chance. I am glad I did! While this is not something I would have usually gone for, I could appreciate the author’s work and style throughout the novel. I generally don’t read books with a strong religious presence, but in this storyline, it worked really well. If I had to describe this title in a single sentence, it would probably go something like this, “Ludwig captures the purity and innocence of budding romance, set against the backdrop of sorrow and mystery”.

Abigail Watts and her father Anson, made their way out West to reap the benefits of the booming silver mining business found in Calico, California. Without her mother’s guidance, Abigail relied heavily on her father, and he on her. However, when a tragic, albeit suspicious, accident claims the life of Anson, Abigail must fend for herself, alone, in the Wild West. With the help of Nathan Hawk, widower and father to a young daughter Lizzy, Abigail is determined to uncover the truth about her father’s demise. Together they will find truth, and maybe true love.

I really, really enjoyed this book. There weren’t any steamy romance scenes, or foul language, nothing that would make my Grandmother blush, and I don’t think adding any of that would have worked with this couple. They each needed simplicity, honesty and love; nothing more. If you were looking for a quick, heartwarming read, this would be a great choice. My only critique is that it was too short. I want to know what happens to this small town, and the book really offered a lot of opportunity to expand on that.

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5 star review

Review – Candle in the Window & Castles in the Air by Christina Dodd

Candle in the Window

Candle in the Window came to my attention after reading The Arrangement, which piqued my curiosity on how authors handle blind protagonists. I had a bit of trouble getting my hands on a digital copy of this book, but lo and behold, once I got logged in with my shiny new Houston Public library card, there it was! Continue reading

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News

The magic that is library cards!

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Seriously, if you live in Texas and you love to read, drop what you are doing and read on. This will be the best news you have heard all year.

The Houston Public Library has a provision where if you are a Texas resident then you can get a public library card from them for FREE.

http://houstonlibrary.org/find-it/my-link

You fill out their application and scan that and your ID and either mail or email it to them. It really is that simple, I have mine and have already been checking out ebooks from Overdrive. So for residents of Texas it is free. But what about non-residents? For you guys the charge is $40.00 per year. But look around, because chances are good that your state offers something like this too. And if anyone out there finds other options that are either free or available for a nominal fee, please respond in the comments. Surely someone out there has already started compiling these kinds of lists.

I’ll probably come back and make this post more asthetically pleasing, but for now here’s a link to additional cities that offer this.

http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2010/06/06/how-to-get-free-ebooks-from-libraries-using-overdrive/

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3 star review

ARC Review – Hoodoo Blue by Katalina Leon

Hoodoo Blue

I received an ARC of this book from the author, via HCBS; this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Book Blurb

Fredi is a passionate witch with a scorching hot secret. Every time she has a sexual thought, green fire blasts from her fingertips. Gus is a gorgeous lycan who scares women away with his wild wolf-shifts. Not the best way to find relationships.

Both have vowed not to date until they get themselves under control, but a witchy friend thinks differently. The pair get tricked into sharing a frosty pitcher of “Hoodoo Blue” and fall prey to a wayward love potion that has them blurting out every lustful thought. Worse, it won’t allow them to walk away from each other. They’re stuck together until dawn under the devilish effects of a time-released hoodoo that makes them do outrageous things. For everyone’s safety, Fredi is forced to take Gus home and tie him to her headboard and only some very witchy lovemaking can calm the storm.

Fredi and Gus might find themselves on the set-up date from hell, but even a hilarious cascade of disasters can’t keep a plus-sized blonde witch with attitude, and a hunky lumberjack of a lycan from seeing the other would be the perfect mate.

This is a fun, snappy little paranormal romance, but instead of a meet-cute, we have a meet-disaster. Neither Gus nor Fredi thinks they are in the right place to date, but a good-hearted friend with a penchant for mischief and spell casting gone awry thinks otherwise. And when the spell goes on, the brakes on the brain and the lips definitely goes off. There’s some rather fun repartee and some sizzling smexing, followed by a sweet happily every after. :Sigh: I just adored Gus, he’s too precious for words. The only reason I am not rating this higher is that some of the dialogue and the inner monologues were a touch clunky and in a few places, repetitive. But overall it is a fun read and I am rather interested in finding out what kind of hi-jinks Estele is going to get herself into when it is her own love life on the line.

Buy Links

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance | Goodreads

Excerpt

(Fredi and Gus just met in the Voodoo Hoodoo cocktail lounge. Sparks fly. Now they need to get away from each other ASAP)

…Sid stood in front of the booth blocking her retreat. “Leaving? Not so fast. Here’s your pitcher of Hoodoo Blue, mixed special for you. I know that rhymes.” He winked as he set a frosty pitcher filled with what looked like a turquoise slushy on the table and placed two heavy glasses paired with pink straws beside it. “Enjoy.”

“Thank—“ Fredi stopped herself and raised a palm in apology. “I won’t say it.”
Sid smirked and walked away.
Damn Fae. With his sly green eyes, he always looked like he was up to no good.

She stared at the frosty blue beverage with suspicion. There was a lot of drink there—more than enough to get several adults schnockered. No doubt sneaky Sid mixed it strong, too. “There’s no way we can finish all of that. I really shouldn’t stay.”

Gus reached out and stroked her hand with a whisper light touch that brought her to a halt. “One drink. We’ll talk a little and I promise I’ll let you go. I have no business hanging around either. I need to get home, or take a run in the hills….”

“Why run to the hills?”

He heaved a tense breath. “To get a little wiggle room between me, civilization, and full- blown Lycanthropy high jinx. You’re a witch. I’m sure you’re familiar with what I’m talking about.”

She shrugged. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what you mean. I didn’t grow up around many Lycan. I was raised in San Buena. Wolf boys usually aren’t part of the surf and shore scene. They head for the forests.”

“Wolf men,” he corrected her. “And you’re right Lycans prefer the woods to sandy beaches, but you must have heard something?” He settled his big frame uncomfortably on the vinyl seat.

“No.” She shook her head. “Nothing. I really don’t know much about the Lycan community.”

Gus’s expressive brows drooped. “You must have heard that during a full moon Lycans have a bad reputation for getting a little too aggressive, hairy, and—“

“Horny? Okay, I have heard that. I thought you might offer something a little more obscure, like you had to wear red shoes and skip through the hills searching for four-leaf clovers or something stupid like that.”

“Nope.” He looked terribly uneasy. “Nothing fancy. I have to stay away from the ladies. I don’t want to offend or bother anyone who’s not into Lycans, and it can be a challenge to control myself, especially around a woman like you.” His thick brows creased so strongly they almost met. “Strike that. I should not have said it.”

Author Info

Katalina Leon is an artist and author who can’t commit to a single genre. Her favorite playgrounds are historical, Sci-fi, contemporary, and most of all paranormal realms. Katalina brings a sense of adventure and a touch of the mystical to erotic romance. She believes there’s a daring heroine inside every woman who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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News

Two weeks with a Kindle Paperwhite.

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After my poor Nook Simple Touch Died, an early adopter who’d upgraded, saw my distress and very kindly donated her old Paperwhite to my cause. So, here are my thoughts.

1. I am really enjoying not having to go through the extra steps to side load things when I purchase from kindle.

2. The light is less noticeable than I suspected it would be, on the very lowest setting (you can’t turn it all the way off without hacks) there are just a few angles or positions where it is irksome.

3. It is also a benefit, because at night if I wander off and leave it somewhere, I can turn off all the lights and find it from the glow.

4. It is also way easier to check out books from Overdrive/library.

5. I still miss the side page turn buttons.

6. I’m struggling to get used to the menu set up and the fact that taping the middle of the screen doesn’t bring up said menus.

Now that I am in, I will probably never get out again, and unless Google comes out with an actual eink tablet (please do that Google, I’m ready to gorge until I die on a Scribd subscription), I will forevermore be a slave to the Kindle ecosystem.

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2 star review

Review – When an Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais

When an Alpha Purrs

I received a copy of When an Alpha Purrs in a contest from Book Loving Pixies. And I absolutely agree with Tracy, I read Eve Langlais for the humor, and was waiting to get this book until it fit my budget. So, I was completely thrilled to win a copy. Thanks Pixies!

A lion’s pride isn’t defined only by those he commands but also resides with his hair, so when a human dares to butcher Arik’s mane, he gets his revenge—and claims her as his mate.

A billionaire CEO and leader of the largest East Coast pride, Arik is a ladies man and a lion. Used to commanding others, and obedience, he can’t believe it when a hairdresser with tempting curves chops off a hunk of his precious mane.

But her biggest mistake is in running from him.

Run as fast as you can, little mouse, because this cat loves to chase—and pounce.

Oh, and he also likes to nibble on tender bits. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for a human woman, a woman who can make the impossible happen because everyone knows lions can’t purr…until now.

Now onto the review:

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