3.5 star review

Review + Giveaway – Winter Secrets by M. Limoges

Winter Secrets

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.

Patience is a virtue…a lesson Stephen Dorsett has learned over the years, wooing his mate. He loves the prickly woman with all his heart, but he’s keeping a secret from her—one that will soon change the entire dynamic of their relationship.

Kate Matthews has a secret of her own, but she’s reluctant to share her surprise with Stephen. With her mate spending too many long hours and late nights at work recently, Kate begins to second-guess Stephen’s commitment to her.

One simple misunderstanding, fueled by insecurities and doubts, is all it takes to throw Kate and Stephen off course. Will they allow their secrets to pull them apart, or make their love stronger?

I picked this up because it sounded cute and holiday. And then I looked at the backlist…good googly moogly, there are 33 books in this series. Granted, they are by a handful of different authors, but still, I am picking up book 33 here. Ok, so no matter how I love reading an entire series before reading and reviewing a current book, that just wasn’t possible here, so I went back and picked up number 8, Taming His Mate, which is when these two crazy kids got together.


Excerpt

Kate Matthews gaped at the small, plastic stick she clutched with a death grip. The frantic drum of her heart beat against her ribcage while her stomach churned in discord. A swift influx of panic, elation, disbelief, and fear bombarded her all at once, dragging the air from her lungs in a noisy whoosh.

Pregnant.

“Oh, shit.”

Reeling from the revelation, she stumbled backward to drop onto the toilet lid before her weak knees buckled. Unfortunately, she miscalculated the distance and fell in between the sink and toilet with a surprised squeal, landing in a squished heap and banging her head on the wall in the process. Temporarily rendered stupid, she simply sat there, wedged in the tiny space, gawking at the little strip of plastic glaring the truth at her.

“You all right in there?” her mate, Stephen, called from the other side of the door. No doubt he’d scented her distress.

Alarm whipped through her bloodstream, and the pregnancy test flew from Kate’s trembling hand to clatter on the floor in front of her. When he twisted the doorknob, she bolted from the floor and snatched the small stick from the bathroom tiles.

“I’m fine,” she exclaimed. “There was a spider.”

He twisted the knob again, and she sent up a quick prayer of thanks she’d had the foresight to turn the latch.

“Why’d you lock the door?” A mix of irritation and concern tinged his deep voice.

Frantic, she stashed the plastic strip in a box of tampons in the cabinet under the sink, certain he’d never look there, and then darted for the entrance. Once she fumbled with the lock, she tugged the door open and came face to chest with Stephen.

“I must’ve locked it by accident when I came in.” The excuse sounded weak to her own ears. Surely, he would think the same. They never locked the bathroom door, if she could get him to close the damn thing at all.

A frown creased his golden features. He watched her through narrowed blue eyes—attempting to decipher the obvious lie and cow her with his probing stare at the same time.

Drop it. Drop it. Please, for the love of God, drop it.


These are short stories or novellas (I seriously struggle with the distinction) and while I am sure there is a certain continuity throughout the series, these can definitely be read as standalones. In fact, if you aren’t already fans of the series, I don’t know that I suggest reading these two back to back as I have. With as many as 25 different stories between these two, I bet the impact would be different.

Because dear lord do these two need to learn to talk to each other. For two people who have known each other almost their entire lives I just don’t get the secrets, I sincerely don’t.

But, the writing is well done, the characters are engaging, and while the tropes used don’t usually work well in a longer story, they are very effective here with the shorter format. We have fated mates, brother’s best friend, Big Secret, and Big Mis. Which makes it sound like it is trope salad, but it isn’t. Because I genuinely liked the characters (even when they were pissing me off) and cared about their stories.

What the Black Hills Wolves seems like to me, is a supernatural soap opera in book form. Each episode has it’s own conclusion, but the threads are ongoing, and within each story are threads of other episodes. SO this series seems ideal for both the binge reader (seriously, so much binge), or the reader who likes to pick through story threads and just follow the ones that interest them.

And much like soap operas, I think this stuff could be addictive. There are a few story lines I really feel the need to go back and read, and the foreshadowed one that might be next in the series is truly tempting. I struggled with the rating on this, because I really did like it, and I am very likely to go on (or go back) and read more, but I don’t think I will ever go back and re-read this, so I am sticking with 3.5 stars. But I am definitely recommending this for reader who like the short, sexy, and soap opera-esque.

About the Author

Melissa Limoges lives along the Gulf Coast with her OCD cat, Mr. Tibbs. Tax assessor by day, romance writer by night, she enjoys anything coffee related, traveling, and reading happily ever afters.

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Taming his Mate (Black Hills Wolves, #8)

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4 star review

Review – Fangs for the Memories by Molly Harper

Fangs for the Memories

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.

4.5 in Harper’s Half-Moon Hollow series had literally no description, to tell you how much I generally enjoy them, let me just say I snapped it up with absolutely no clue what it would be about. But Because I did not know what it was about, and apparently wasn’t paying enough attention for when the blurb finally came out, I decided to hold off on reading this until I had read Single Undead Mom’s Club. which I really didn’t need to do it turns out.

“Molly Harper writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews), but how did Andrea and Dick Cheney fall in love? Join Half-Moon Hollow’s favorite couple for a trip down memory lane—to a time when Mr. Wainwright was newly dead, Jane Jameson was a newbie vampire, and a budding paranormal romance was not yet uncorked…

Half-Moon Hollow’s supernatural social event of the season—Zeb’s Titanic-themed werewolf wedding—is coming up, and Dick Cheney (not that Dick Cheney!) needs a date. But Andrea’s had enough of clever, handsome, and rakish to last a lifetime, and Dick Cheney is certainly not the sort of man you bring home to mom (not that Andrea’s deadist parents are speaking to her ever since she dropped out of college and became a blood surrogate.) Shameless, relentless, roguish, with a Stetson-worthy swagger, a naughty sparkle in his eyes, and a constant smirk—oh, and fangs—no, Dick is the last person (er…vampire) Andrea wants to date.

But the infuriatingly irresistible man who lives quietly on the edge of a criminal underworld knows exactly what he wants, and once he surprises Andrea with a thrilling hot and dirty kiss behind the paranormal bookshop, she knows what she wants too: Dick. All it takes to ignite their unconventional courtship is a near-undeath experience that confronts Dick with a choice between turning Andrea, losing her forever, or tapping into his countless shady resources in this hilarious and heartwarming enovella that revisits the early days of Molly Harper’s Nice Girls series—one that “makes me laugh and laugh”

Yep, we finally get Dick and Andrea’s story. It isn’t a full fleshed one really, I would consider this a tidbit. It is an important tidbit because it shows where Dick and Andrea’s relationship shifted, but I would say this absolutely is  not a short story for new readers, or to entice new readers. (Come on new readers, why do you need to be enticed, this series rocks and you should just start it already.) This is the sort of thing you throw slavering fans to keep them appeased and off your back for just a little longer.

Molly Harper, we are appeased, for about a month or two I’d say. It may even be enough to keep us only mildly rabid until the next book, Where the Wild Things Bite, which is coming July 2016. I mean I knew I liked Dick, he was too funny and like the awful older brother you don’t exactly want your friends to know about. But I never expected to fall in love with him myself. “Totes adorbs” as my students like to say. Plus, much like Andrea I have a soft sort for the actually redeemable shady character. No, not the so-called redeemable Bad Boy, but the Shady Character who isn’t precisely good, but definitely isn’t bad. Dick is a winner, and while we got to see that in the end, it was super sweet to see how Andrea saw enough of that to start something with this raunchy, irreverent, shady character.

It is fun stuff and I seriously recommend this series, and this is an absolute must read if you are already a fan of the series, but it isn’t remotely the place to start for new readers.

Fangs for the Memories (Half-Moon Hollow, #4.5)

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4 star review

Review – Dragon On Top by G.A. Aiken

Dragon on Top

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.

This is actually a re-release. But I loved it and figured it was a good reason to highlight it here. As I said before, there are two ways to read this series, as published, or by timeline.

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…

Previously published in Supernatural.

I can never quite decide if I think it better to read all the novellas first, or to read them in the author’s suggested order. But, since the novels have an overriding story arc, I do highly suggest reading those in order. And for this particular novella, you really do need to read Aiken/Laurenston’s Can’t Get Enough. You can find that one in Supernatural, which is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I adore this author’s heroines. One and all they are strong, and aggressive, and dominant. And often very, very warlike. It is interesting, and I’ve never figured out how she does it, but her female characters tend to exhibit mostly traits that alpha males are given, and yet they never feel like men that she’s slapped female names on. And they can say things like this that don’t even make you blink an eye.

Kyna caught Ghleanna’s forearm, made her look at her. “And there’s no shame in who you are, who you kin are, or who you want to be.”

“And don’t let anybody convinve you different,” Kennis finished. “You are special, Ghleanna. And some blokes-they can never handle that. While others…”

“While others what?’

While others were born to be the sheathe to your sword-you just need to find that one lass. Like we did.”

Ghleanna has been wallowing over a mistake in her personal and professional life, in a way no dragon warrior ever should. So naturally her no nonsense family members have decided to give her a job, and a quick kick in the rear to get her going.

And Bram, poor Bram the Merciful, he has never been the type of dragon Ghleanna has gravitated toward. He’s a peacemaker, not a warrior or a fighter like the Cadwaladrs. But he has pined for her all these years that she has just never seen him.

And it was freaking adorable to see the whole family, normally a rather oblivious family, try their hand at matchmaking. They were rather terrible at it, but that is OK, because this couple was pretty perfect for each other and all it needed was for Ghleanna to change her perspective a bit.

There’s adventuring and warmongering, and politics and family, and two lonely people get to find out that opposites don’t just attract, sometimes they complete each other.

What’s a a warrior to do with a peacemaker? Same thing an innocent did with a slag, make him yours.

4 stars and I highly recommend the entire series.

Dragon on Top (Dragon Kin, #0.4)

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4 star review

Review – A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandals by Kelly Bowen

Ladys Guide to Skirting Scandals

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.

Lady Viola Hextall is bored – of the sea, her chaperones, and the woeful lack of available dukes on the ocean voyage from London to New York. Scrambling for any diversion short of jumping overboard, Viola strikes up a conversation with the ship’s rough-hewn, blue-eyed surgeon – and discovers an immediate cure for what ails her…

To Nathaniel Shaw, Viola has the bearing of a lady and the spirit of an adventurer – an unlikely combination that he finds utterly irresistible. So he’s hoping to convince Viola to leave the stifling ballrooms of London high society behind because there is a big, wide world just waiting for them to explore – together.

I’ve kind of gone about this series all backwards, the first book I read in this series was You’re the Earl That I Want, which is the third book in the series. I enjoyed it and felt it worked well as a stand alone, so now I am working my way backwards I guess. I suppose I could have slipped this review in before publishing the other, but since that wasn’t the way I read them, it isn’t the way I’m going to present it. (Does that sound snarky? I swear I heard neener-neener-neener in my head as I wrote it.) Apparently my beleaguered brain finds posting reviews of a series out of the order I read them an even more abhorrent thing to do than actually reading a series out-of-order.

This I suppose could be considered a New Adult, but I would consider it significantly more successful than my last foray. While Viola is a bit of a twit at the start, she’s also sort of charming and funny. And in this case, I kind of think having read these out-of-order was a good thing. Since this is a short story, there wasn’t a ton of room to flesh out backgrounds and characterizations, so already knowing a lot more about the Hexall family, I think let me understand and appreciate Viola more. She is so clearly a young woman on the brink of adulthood, trying to figure herself out. I am sure I have read historicals with heroines as young before, but they always seemed more adult-like, or maybe just reading this directly after thinking about New Adult stories and themes just made me aware of her young age more.

But I especially enjoyed Nate, he was so earnest about being the best surgeon he could be, that I found him absolutely adorable. And he was so passionate about the perils of basing society on the assumed merits of the aristocracy, and I do so enjoy historicals where everyone isn’t an aristocrat.

As for the plotline, yes Viola was young, but Nate always treated her as an autonomous thinking adult woman. In fact he treated her like more of a sentient being than she seemed to think of herself. And much like the other Bowen book I read, this took a hefty dose of willful suspension of belief, especially pertaining to how quickly they bonded and started being intimate, but neither of them seemed like cardboard cutouts of characters, they felt very real.

All in all, I found this short story fairly delightful and would recommend it to anyone who might enjoy a fairly ridiculous historical with two very endearing, if not entirely believable, characters.

A Lady's Guide to Skirting Scandal: A short story (The Lords of Worth)

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5 star review

Review – Luminous by AE Ash

Luminous

I received a copy of this book from a contest at Smexy Books, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review. I had been eyeing it because Science Fiction has been hitting just right for me of late, and because I enjoy my adults a little adultier. Also, there is just something about eyes being a defining feature in a science fiction cover that makes me want to grab it up (look at that gorgeous cover), just like Lex Talionis or Dark Horse. Something about the eyes just captures my gaze and keeps me from looking away.

It is hard to know what to say about this story, it is very short, more than worth the time one needs to invest in reading. There is joy in watching the unfolding of introspection, in getting to know Jyothi, even when she is sad and lonely. And nine years is a very long time to be alone and lonely, even for a woman who had been invisible to everyone, including herself, for years before.

The premise and the world building is almost surreal, almost fantasy rather than strict science fiction. And while I was reading, all I could do was experience it. Now, having finished it, it makes me think. I could easily have read a much, much longer book (that too seems to be a theme with the science fiction I have read lately). I would have loved to see it all from the beginning, Jyothi’s life before the exploration, the time when she knew she was going to be alone, and definitely more time with her star. I would have loved that book too, but what we got was so wonderful that I can not regret the story it is, in favor of that other imaginary story. My one regret was how suddenly the story ended, but it was altogether lovely and I was satisfied that this was truly happily ever after.

Luminous

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2 star review

Review-Doctor-Patient Confidentiality (book 1) by Eme Strife

***ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review***

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

By Eme Strife

Eme Strife, author of this series, reached out and asked if I would be interested in reading and writing a review for the first installment in her series “Patient Confidentiality”. After reading the prologue, I was hooked. It had just enough steamy romance/sexiness to reel me in.

I should have known it was too good to be true. After the prologue, I was tossed into the mundane ramblings of a college-aged woman who had an affinity for the f-word. A goodly portion of the first…second…maybe even third chapters was dedicated to her trek across campus to get to class. I waited and waited for things to pick up and get sexy but that never came through. The hot and heavy scenes from the prologue were no where to be seen in the book. I was so confused by this I actually downloaded the file again to ensure I had a full copy.

In short (and based on the length of this booklet that’s all I can give), if you are looking for a bait and switch, or something to pass the time in the bathroom, this may be a piece for you. It had 117 pages, and when read on my Kindle; the last 20% was dedicated to advertisements for other books written by Strife. If I had known, prior to reading, that this was essentially a small portion of a larger book, I would have skipped the review. I am not a fan of serial booklets, which could have been presented as a single standard length book.

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4 star review

Knight of my Dreams re-release

Knight of my Dreams
by Lynsay Sands

This was originally release in the anthology A Mother’s Way.

I am uncertain how I missed this when I was running through all the Lynsay Sands books once I discovered her, but it might be due to the truly atrocious cover on the original anthology.

This is a very short story perfect for a lunch time reading, just enough length to give you the story but not so long you couldn’t finish it during your lunch and/or breaks. Like most of Lynsay Sand’s heroines Lady Alice is intelligent and she is willing to speak her mind. Jonathan is our stubborn and contrary hero. He seems like a nice enough guy, but what really makes this story is his mother. She is so hilarious and endearing, I wouldn’t likely want her as MY mother in law, but for this short story she is what pushes the story to hilarity rather than merely amusement.

This is a must read!

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