Monday, December 7, 2015

A Kindled Winter Book Review

Title:  A Kindled Winter
Author:  Rachel L. Demeter
Publisher:  Black Lyon Publishing
Release Date:  Nov. 1, 2015
Available free on Kindle Unlimited Amazon

My Rating:  4 Soul Touching 's

First Thoughts:  Sometimes, when all hope is lost, fate steps in.  If you're willing to open your heart and take a chance, the light can shine again.

*Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book for review.


“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” — Dale Evans

A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.

Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts …

Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.

My Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect when I was asked to read and review this book by the author, but I loved the cover at first sight and the synopsis enticed me so I said Yes.  I'm glad I did.  My Kindled Winter is a heart-touching story that really embodies the holiday spirit as two lost souls meet and dare to reach out to one another.  Jeseca Reed and Dr. David Drake both bear the crushing weight of past tragedies in their lives.  When Jeseca crashes her car near David's house during a torrential rainstorm and collapses on his porch, their worlds collide.

 David wears his grief and guilt like armor as he hides, locked away from the world in his house in the mountains.  For the first time in years, his safe world is invaded by a woman that stirs his emotions, both sexually and emotionally.  While he fights to keep his distance, Jeseca's beautiful spirit invades his body, heart, and soul.  But he doesn't believe he deserves her, doesn't believe he has the right to happiness so he hides behind his scars, both inside and out.

Jeseca is traveling to her mother's, her childhood home, for the holidays when she crashes her car and stumbles upon David's house.  She wasn't expecting to be drawn to this stranger, wasn't expecting to feel a soulful connection to him but she does.  She recognizes his pain, his loss, because she knows what it feels like.  But how does she get him to open his heart?

As the days before Christmas wind down, two lost souls connect, fate steps in, and love is kindled from a spark into a flame.  A Kindled Winter is a beautiful story of what can happen if you're willing to open your heart and let the love and light shine in, if you're willing to take a second chance at happiness, if you're willing to forgive yourself.  Perfect story for the holidays!  A Must Read!

My Rating:  4 Soul-Touching 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Brazen Release Day Blitz!!

Looking for some naughty reads that are oh-so-nice? Welcome the newest Brazen releases to your ereader today!

Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey

Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She's the fuel for every song he's ever written—each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that this “kid” turned into every inch the man she's always needed...

Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey…until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks—or rather storms—into Jasmine's life. Sarge's return shouldn't affect her this way. He's her best friend's much younger kid brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.

But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it...     

My Review of Crashed Out

Find your copy of Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Entangled | Goodreads


His to Take by Katee Robert

Erin Robinson is having an epically bad year. Her blossoming career on Broadway tanked, forcing her to crawl back to home to Wellington. The icing on her failure cake? Her former on-again, off-again fling is in town, and the sexy Marine is taking up way too much space.

Warren Davis always knew Erin was special, which is exactly why he can’t have her. A girl like her deserves something permanent—something neither of them wants. But now that they’re both back in town and she’s right there in front of him, a challenge in her eyes he’s never been able to resist, he’s questioning everything.

That challenge quickly escalates into an epic game of Truth or Dare. Erin’s sure she’s got him on lock, but as the night progresses, Warren’s dares intensify, drowning her in lust. But with the past still breathing down their necks, there’s no way either of them can win…

Find your copy of His to Take by Katee Robert: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Entangled | Goodreads

My Review of His To Take

Say You're Mine by Diane Alberts

Navy SEAL Steven Thomas has only ever been able to count on three things: waking up in the morning, going to sleep sometime during the night, and Lauren Brixton. She’s been his best friend since grade school, and what they have is the only relationship he’s managed not to ruin.

Until one drunken night puts that all in jeopardy.

Lauren’s watched Steven flit from one-night stand to one-night stand, seemingly not interested in something more. So when the long-ignored attraction between the two of them blows up in their faces, she does the only thing she can—she pretends she doesn’t want him. But all’s fair in love and war, and Steven’s not about to lose the only person in his life who matters…
Find your copy of Say You're Mine by Diane Alberts: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Entangled | Goodreads

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Unseen Book Review

Title:  Unseen
Series:  Will Trent #7
Author:  Karin Slaughter
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Release Date:  May 29, 2013
My Rating:  5 Intensely Riveting 's

First Thoughts:  They say the truth will set you free.  But sometimes, there's nothing more dangerous than the truth.  What happens when you're forced to face your own dark truths?


Karin Slaughter’s novels featuring detective Will Trent are utterly riveting and masterfully drawn. Her latest thriller, Unseen, pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.

Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.

My Review:

As usual, Slaughter wastes no time diving right into the deep end - and dragging me with her! The chaos begins right away in Chapter one - my heart is already breaking, racing out of my chest. Stepping inside one of these books is like stepping on to the train tracks, with the train racing straight at you. It's insanely intense, graphic, and yet totally mesmerizing, hypnotic. Even with the train running you down, you can not look away or get out of the way.

Since the synopsis gives a great overview of the story, I'll just share a few of my thoughts. Will, Sara, Faith, Amanda, Lena, as well as some other familiar and also new characters are all caught up in a Perfect Storm - the kind that surrounds you on all sides and pounds you over & over, on and on, leaving devastation and destruction in its wake. All hell breaks loose. Lives are irrevocably changed, family members are buried and still no one can figure out who's running the show. There's so many layers to this story - just when you think you might have a handle on it, something changes and another piece of the puzzle drops into place.

Unseen is shocking & intense, as revelations explode, one after the other. There are some strange moments of kindness between some odd bedfellows, and there are moments of unforgivable betrayals and unbelievable cruelty delved out at the hands of a monster. Who is Mr. Whitey? What kind of cruel game is he playing? Who brought this horrible devastation down on them? Who will survive it?!

In my opinion, some of the best, life altering scenes of the series occur in Unseen: Lena & Sara - OMG! It's been a long time coming! Will & Sara - Wow...left me speechless & hurt my heart while other times made me smile - nothing comes easy for this couple! Lena & Jared - heartbreaking, what in the world happened? Before I finished this story, a few characters really stepped up to surprise me - a few hatchets are buried, a little forgiveness is offered, and some declarations of love are made.

The only thing I could find wrong with this book is that now I have to wait for the next release in the series. Unseen goes on my Favorites shelf. A Page Burner. A Must Read. This series ranks in my top 5 series of all time. It touches me in so many different ways.

My Rating:  5 Intensely Riveting 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Saturday, December 5, 2015

His To Take Book Review

Title:  His To Take
Series:  Out Of Uniform #3.5
Author:  Katee Robert
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Release Date:  Dec. 7, 2015
My Rating:  3.5 Sizzlin' 's

My First Thoughts:  Sometimes, our perfect life plans work out and sometimes, they don't.  Sometimes, fate has other ideas.  Sometimes, life hands us lemons.  It's our choice what we do with them.


Truth or dare...

Erin Robinson is having an epically bad year. Her blossoming career on Broadway tanked, forcing her to crawl back to home to Wellington. The icing on her failure cake? Her former on-again, off-again fling is in town, and the sexy Marine is taking up way too much space.

Warren Davis always knew Erin was special, which is exactly why he can't have her. A girl like her deserves something permanent--something neither of them wants. But now that they're both back in town and she's right there in front of him, a challenge in her eyes he's never been able to resist, he's questioning everything.

That challenge quickly escalates into an epic game of Truth or Dare. Erin's sure she's got him on lock, but as the night progresses, Warren's dares intensify, drowning her in lust. But with the past still breathing down their necks, there's no way either of them can win…

My Review:

The snow is falling  and Christmas bells are ringing as Erin finds herself back in the small town where she grew up.  It's not just a brief visit this time as she's out of luck and out of a job.  Her lifelong dream of making it big on Broadway came crashing down when she was fired from what was to be a starring role.  She's back in town to lick her wounds, recoup, and decide what to do next.  Warren Davis is also back in town - for good this time.  The ex-marine's injuries will keep him from going back to Afghanistan.  He has some decisions of his own to make, and he's decided to make Erin part of his permanent future.  Now all he has to do is convince her that it's what she wants too.

Crashed Out takes place mostly over one evening & day as Erin and Warren reconnect.  They've been friends with benefits for several years, meeting up when they both happen to be in town and then going their own separate ways.  Warren is ready for more - he knows he has one shot at convincing Erin that they are right for each other, that they should take a chance at a permanent relationship.  And so, he proposes a game of Truth or Dare that Erin can't refuse.  As they spend the night sparring back and forth, traveling around the snowy town, playing out their game, the sparks fly.  Who will win this game of Truth or Dare?  At what cost?

Crashed Out is a short read but it's jam-packed with great scenes - intense, hot, erotic, sweet, funny . . . it's got it all.  I couldn't help but get swept up in Warren's game to win Erin's heart.  The longer they played, the hotter it got as he knew exactly what buttons to push. Before their game ended, they both learned that sometimes, life hands you lemons.  It's your choice what you do with them.  Sometimes, you just have to play the hand fate deals you.  If you trust enough, love enough, and are willing to take a chance, you just might find what you're looking for.  A Must Read!

My Rating:  3.5 Sizzlin' 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Friday, December 4, 2015

Crashed Out Book Review

Title:  Crashed Out
Series:  Made In Jersey #1
Author:  Tessa Bailey
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Release Date:  December 7, 2015
Heat-O-Meter:  Scorching Hot - 10!
My Rating:  5 Flaming 's

First Thoughts:  When it comes to love, you have a choice to either play or fold, take a chance or live with regrets.  If you desire it enough to take a chance, if you're willing to lay it all on the line and go for broke, if you care more about the other person than you do what others think, you have a shot at true happiness, real love.  

*Many thanks to Entangled Publishing for this ARC via Netgally.


His inspiration. His torment. And his temptation...

Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She's the fuel for every song he's ever written-each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that this "kid" turned into every inch the man she's always needed...

Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey...until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks-or rather storms-into Jasmine's life. Sarge's return shouldn't affect her this way. He's her best friend's much younger kid brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.

But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it...

My Review:

Holy Moly!!  This is one erotic, flaming hot read!  The pages of this book almost literally burst into flames as Sarge and Jasmine dance around each other, and I love that some of that hotness occurs before they ever have sex.  The air surrounding them is electrically charged every time they're in the same room as desire and lust rolls off their bodies in waves.  Tessa Bailey has certainly mastered the art of writing seduction.  I challenge anyone to read this and say they don't need a cold shower - or their very own Sarge!  I simply fell in love with this couple and their journey.

The hottest thing I've read/seen this year is Sarge Purcell laying it all on the line - going after the girl of his dreams, the girl that once "babysat" him, the girl he has fantasized and written songs about since he was fourteen years old.  News Flash:  Sarge isn't fourteen anymore.  He's a very sexy, very hungry, very lustful twenty-three year old sex-on-a-stick rock god!  His mission is to convince Jasmine, the "older" woman (soon to turn 30) that he's been in love with most of his life, to accept him as an equal, as her man, not the younger brother of her best friend.  Sarge knows it's going to be an uphill battle, but this dirty talking, rough around the edges, walking, talking, sex dream knows he's the man for the job. He just has to make Jasmine believe it.  His plan is to tear down her fences one by one, peel away her layers of defense, and strip her of her inhibitions.  Sarge plans to introduce Jasmine to the man he is now and show her just how good he can make her feel, how much she needs him.  He doesn't plan to leave town without owning her.

Jasmine's life sucks . . . she's stuck working on an assembly line in a factory in the small Jersey town where she grew up.  Her dreams of writing songs and singing professionally have been dashed by rejection after rejection.  She's resigned to her life, if not satisfied by it, and has given up on daring to dream for more.  But fate isn't finished with her yet. Jasmine Taveras is shocked when she sees her best friend's little brother all grown up and looking too hot to handle after he steps in to rescue her from her drunk date one night in a bar. Shock quickly turns to pure, unadulterated sexual desire . . . this isn't the boy she remembers. Standing before her is a sinfully sexy, wicked temptation that she has to keep reminding herself over and over is not for her.  But when Sarge ends up staying at her place and presses her to step up and play, she's sorely tempted.  Somehow, she knows if she does, she won't be able to walk away from him unscathed.  Does she dare take a chance?  

Crashed Out is the steamiest romance I've read this year, and I read a lot of romance!  It's intense, erotic, seductive  - a true romance that tugged at my heartstrings as these two characters dance back & forth, around & round, desiring each other more than their next breath.  I loved the plot line as it's unique and well-written - not your typical rock star story, and I loved getting inside both character's heads - discovering just how deeply each felt, wanted, needed.  The pages are filled with so much desire, lust, angst, but also with hope, truth, love - a reminder that we all have a choice - either play or fold, take a chance or live with regrets.  Sarge & Jasmine's story is a Page Burner, a Must Read!  Great first book in this new series!

My Rating:  5 Flaming 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG: Exercising the Mind, Body, Soul . . . & Writing Muscle!

Once again, it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for our Insecure Writer's Support Group postings.  I'm excited to be a co-host in December and am looking forward to visiting with many of you.  

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers who love to share ideas and encourage others.  It's a great place to express doubts and concerns as well as offer and receive tribulations and guidance from other writers. IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month.  I think you'll find it to be a great writer's resource that's well worth your time.  Be sure to stop by and visit with some of the other IWSG writers/bloggers at IWSG Members.

Please thank your other awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG! 
Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell! 

Exercise Those Muscles!

As we reach the end of another year and start looking ahead to the next, our thoughts often turn to those pesky Resolutions - things like lose weight, get organized, finish that book, exercise more!  While these will all certainly be on my goal list for 2016, the one that has consumed my thoughts the most lately is Exercise.  

The benefits of exercise to the body and mind are well documented - lower blood pressure & blood sugar levels, lower stress, greater fitness level, a feeling of well-being, and so on & on.  I strive to get my 10k steps daily (note I said strive), wearing my trusty FitBit for documentation and motivation.  I find that getting in a good, brisk walk not only helps me maintain a level of body fitness, but more importantly, it helps clear my mind and aids me in releasing stress.  It also frees my mind to wander and collect new book ideas.  I have a notebook filled with possibilities that I garnished from daily walks.  Having said that, the type of exercise I want to talk about today involves the writing muscle.  

One thing I continue to struggle with is the habit of daily writing.  I recently read a quote by Jane Yolen that set off bells in my head as it rings so true.

The Art of Writing is another thing that greatly benefits from daily exercise.  Just like exercising the body muscles, the act of writing needs to become a daily habit - practice makes perfect and all that jazz.  It's true.  As Jane Yolen said:  Writers are like dancers, like athletes.  Without that exercise, the muscles seize up!  The more you write, the better you become, the easier the words flow, the more productive you will be as a writer.  

Exercise those writing muscles!  Make sure you're writing something every day, even if it's just notes, character sketches, plot points, etc.  You'll keep that old writing muscle loose, warmed up, and ready to go each time you sit down to work on your story.  Definitely a goal for me in 2016!  How about you?  Do you exercise your muscles, both body & writing, daily?  How do you keep your writing muscles warmed up?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Waking Hearts ~ Cambio Springs Series #3 ~ Book Review

Title:  Waking Hearts
Series:  Cambio Springs #3
Author:  Elizabeth Hunter
Release Date:  November 24, 2015 as a Kindle Exclusive & Paperback (Other formats: On or around Feb. 22, 2016)
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Order Link:   Amazon
My Rating:   4.5 Potent 's
First Thoughts:  When life deals you a bum hand over and over, it's hard not to fold, not to break beyond repair.  If you're offered one more shot at the prize, the one you've always wanted . . . will you have the courage to grab the brass ring or will you let it pass by yet again? 

*Many thanks to the author for an ARC of this book.  It is my pleasure to review it.


When everything you’ve longed for is standing right in front of you, would you find the courage to chase it when you’ve given up on dreams?

Fox shifter Alison Smith gave up on happy endings when her ex-husband walked out, but that didn’t mean she was allowed to give up on happiness. With four growing kids, Allie is determined to look on the bright side and carry on, even when life seems to keep kicking the girl who’s fallen down.

Four kids, two jobs, and a pile of debt left over from her ex seem overwhelming most days. Luckily, Allie has the best friends a girl could ask for. Especially a certain quiet bear who’s always been her rock.

Patient. Oliver Campbell knows what it means to be patient. But twenty years of wanting one unavailable woman may have pushed him to the edge. With Allie working every night at his bar, their friendship has begun to fracture.

Then old ghosts offer one more kick to the little family that’s already down, and patience is a virtue Ollie can no longer afford. Allie’s ex-husband may be gone, but his actions are haunting his family. With danger licking the borders of Cambio Springs, the bear and the fox will have to work together. And twenty years of unspoken truths may finally come to light.

My Review:

When I was offered an ARC of Waking Hearts, I had yet to start this series.  I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Hunter's Irin Chronicles and knew I couldn't go wrong with any book written by her, so I said Yes and then immediately purchased the previous short stories & books in the Cambio Springs series . . . and binge read my way through them.  What an awesome and unique PNR series!  I was hooked right away with the intriguing and touching short story, Long Ride Home, and fell in love with the special characters and desert town in Shifting Dreams.  Now, after catching up in the series and finishing Waking Hearts, I am left eagerly anticipating the release of the next book.

Waking Hearts is the story of Allie Smith, a 34-year-old fox shifter with 4 kids, 2 jobs, and a mountain of debt left by her husband who walked out on her one night as she was serving her special meatloaf dinner, and Ollie Campbell, a grizzly bear shifter who has loved Allie from afar for 20 years but missed his chance to claim her because he waited too long to speak up. With her husband out of the picture (much more to that story), the sexual chemistry ignites, fueled by Ollie & Allie living and fighting side by side and by the coming full moon which sends a shifter's libido raging out of control.  Allie is afraid to risk their friendship on a relationship that might end with another man walking away from her.  Ollie worries about stepping over a line as he assumes the role of family protector and cares for Allie & her children.  

Normally, a very patient, kind, quiet grizzly, Ollie is now edgy, grumpy, out of patience, and out of time.  The bearded giant of a man/bear with his tattoos & gorgeous hard body has become very possessive, protective, and proprietary over Allie & her family.  When ghosts from her husband's past bring predators to her door, Ollie roars in and shows just how badass an enraged grizzly bear can be.  It's now or never.  This powerful, potent, prime bear is ready to make his move.

Allie is a proud, spunky, and surprisingly strong-willed woman/fox who is tired of depending on others.  It takes everything she has left in her to feed, clothe, and care for her children and keep a roof over their heads. She knows what it feels like to be left holding the bag (or meatloaf!) and resolves to never put her heart or the hearts of her children on the line again. Even so, Allie struggles to fight her attraction to a certain gorgeous bear, thinking herself ridiculous in entertaining the thought that Ollie would give her a second glance.  She's seen the women he's attracted to and knows she doesn't fit the bill. But when danger threatens Allie & her kids, Ollie steps up in a big way.  Will Allie find the courage to take a chance with this magnificent creature and  claim him as her own?

The suspense ramps up as a deadly danger comes crawling into Cambio Springs. Ollie, Allie, and their shifter friends and family clans must unite to fight off a dominant enemy with powers that equal or exceed their own.  The mystery of who/what/when builds anticipation and anxiety as this story plays out.  Someone knows their secrets, someone can get through their defenses, someone can destroy the town and everyone in it.  The extent and depth of this plot line blew me away as this story builds layer upon layer all the way to the explosive, blockbuster climax.  

Waking Hearts is an intriguing, suspenseful, beautiful read.  Hunter's special way of writing love scenes, while certainly hot & erotic, honors the once in a lifetime kind of love.  I like that we get to experience these two characters getting to know each other as more than friends, dancing back and forth, exploring deeper feelings. The slow burn makes the rewards so much sweeter in the end!  While Waking Hearts  is certainly different than other books/series I've read by Hunter, it's every bit as captivating, enthralling, and bewitching in its own unique way.  I was swept away by the intensity of both the character relationships and the plot line.  Beautifully written, Waking Hearts is a Page Burner!  A Must Read!  One for my Favorites Shelf!

My Rating:  4.5 Captivating 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Check out these series by Elizabeth Hunter

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Last Hope (Hitman #4) Book Review

Title:  Last Hope
Series:  Hitman #4
Author:  Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick
Publisher:  Berkley
Main Characters:  Rafe Mendoza & Ava
Book Cover:  So Sexy & Intriguing!
My Rating:  3 Monster 's

First Thoughts:  I'm speechless.


In the explosive new Hitman novel from the bestselling authors of Last Kiss and Last Hit a jungle mercenary and a female target find love on the run...

Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.

Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is.

My Review:

The Hitman series is a favorite of mine because of its uniqueness, anti-heroes, and non-traditional story lines.  I have loved each of the previous books with their dark, suspenseful plot lines, tortured anti-social heroes, and quirky yet determined  heroines.  Thus far, the books have been connected by a similar theme with a loosely connected story arc and often time, characters toting some serious baggage.  The books are well-written with witty dialogue, lustful romance, and dangerous missions.  The vivid imaginations and writing skills of these authors are evident in each book.  And so, I began Last Hope with great anticipation and high expectations.

The story starts very similar to previous books - by jumping right into the heart of a mission. Rafe Mendoza is a mercenary carrying out surveillance on Ava who is working as a mule for a dangerous group holding her best friend captive.  Rafe needs access to the information that Ava is carrying in order to free a friend and teammate, while Ava must complete her directive in order to save her friend's life.  After weeks of observing her, Rafe finds himself extremely attracted to Ava - almost to the point of blowing his mission.  And so, he risks an arranged accidental meeting with her.

Through a comedy of errors, the pair not only meet, they find themselves stranded in the Amazon rain forest, having survived a plane crash.  The suspense is revving up as this pair joins forces to battle some dangerous foes, both human & animal, and also the weather in an effort to escape the jungle and save their friend's lives.  And here is where things run a little too far off course to remain believable for me.  The story's focus switches from the mission and typical dark violence to rest almost completely on the very considerable "asset" in Rafe's pants . . . yes, Rafe is very well endowed - beyond any porn movie star's dreams well endowed.  That's hot, but . . . he's afraid to use it, even when Ava repeatedly begs for it. Once she discovers what Rafe is packing, her mission becomes to see it, feel it, touch it, and have it.  This would be hot and seductive if it wasn't hounded into the ground - over and over and over!   Unfortunately, way too much of the story is taken up with this back and forth plot line about Godzilla (Ava's words, not mine).  The whole issue turned into a frivolous, almost silly thing between two adults with a strong attraction to one another.  What could have been a romantic, lustful, sex scene is relegated to cartoon status.

Having said that, I still enjoyed Last Hope (though not nearly as much as previous books) as the talent of these authors is evident.  I do realize there was a reason for the focus on this particular asset of Rafe's (hidden in his backstory), but in this case, I feel like it was carried too far - to the point of distracting me from the quirky, unique characters and the dark, violent suspense that is normally prevalent in this series.  I will, however, continue reading this series as new books are released.  The series as a whole is a Must Read!

My Rating:  3 Monster 's . . . And that's the truth!  (Yes, it was also described as "Monster")

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shifter Planet Book Review

Title:  Shifter Planet
Author:  D.B. Reynolds
Release Date:  Oct. 26, 2015
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Main Characters:  Amanda Sumner (Earthling) & Rhodry de Mendoza (Shifter)
My Rating:  4 Shifting 's 

First Thoughts:  Sometimes, the only difference between success or failure is the ability and willingness to adapt. 

Book Cover:  To-die-for sinfully delicious!

Available at Amazon and other retailers.

*Many thanks to Entangled Publishing & Netgally for providing this ARC.


Specialist Amanda Sumner is one of the first to make contact on the Earth-like planet Harp and discovers she's the only Earthling, who can hear the trees sing in the strange forest. Determined to remain and learn more of the planet’s secrets, Amanda sets out to become part of the elite Guild there...

But there is a secret involving some Guild members–one that could get her killed.

Shifter Rhodry de Mendoza wants the Earthlings off his planet before they destroy it—even if that means denying what he feels for the fierce and lovely Amanda. The pair is thrown together in what becomes a fight for their lives. And they might just lose everything–including each other–in their battle for the right to live in peace.

My Review:

I love the Vampire In America series by D.B. Reynolds and couldn't wait to start her new venture, Shifter Planet.  Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to read and review it when offered the ARC although I worried a little that it couldn't possibly hold a candle to the VIA books. I'm so happy to say that Shifter Planet meets the high standards set by this author. It's unique, intriguing, and feels very real which seems odd as the book is not only set in the future but on another planet.  

Shifter Planet takes place in the year 4668 on the planet of Harp.  Amanda is part of the First Contact Team that lands on this earth-like planet after picking up an ancient distress signal.  The team discovers that the people living on Harp are human colonists who'd made a critical landing there after a system failure on their ship and had had no contact with Earth in 485 years.  When Amanda's spaceship prepares to leave, Amanda remains behind with a scientific team to study the people and planet and quickly discovers that there are secrets there that some will do anything to protect.  She soon becomes frustrated and irritated at the society ruled exclusively by men - men with a chauvinistic attitude of male seniority.  Of course, Amanda decides to challenge that.

Leading his clan is shifter Rhodry Devlin de Mendoza, a member of the elite Guild - a society of male Shifters who are charged with the task of protecting the people & planet of Harp.  Amanda and Rhodry butt heads often in spite of the chemistry sparking between them.  Curious to learn more about the Guild, Amanda decides to apply and attempt to pass their trial test.  But, it seems, not only is she the only female to ever do so, she is also the only Norm (non-shifter) to do so.  And she quickly learns that there are some who will do anything, even kill, to stop her.  And so the trials and tribulations begin.

Amanda is a spunky, determined, kickass heroine with a lot to prove.  She has lived her entire life isolated on a spaceship.  And yet, right away, she feels at home on the planet of Harp. She is mesmerized by the forest of green trees and can hear them singing/talking to her, even as she realizes that she is the only one of her team that can hear them.  She refuses to heed warnings to stay out of the forest and often ventures out alone.  I loved this character for refusing to follow the status quo and for charging full speed ahead, blazing new trails. One of her strongest traits is her ability to adapt to her surroundings and rise up to meet each challenge thrown before her.  This is not your ordinary, swooning, weak female in need of protection.

Rhodry is a strong, protective, gorgeous cat shifter/alpha with golden eyes who fights his attraction to Amanda while doing everything he can to protect her, his planet, and its secrets.  He realizes that Amanda is different from other norms and that the trees speak to her.  Rhodry believes Amanda is insane for attempting to past the necessary tests for joining their elite Guild . . . after all, women don't belong out fighting.  Shouldn't they be home cooking, cleaning, raising kids?  And yet, when Rhodry's enemies, under the disguise of friendship, rise up against him and leave him for dead, it's the crazy female Amanda who fights to save him, standing beside him to battle back.  Rhodry is forced to reexamine his thoughts and feelings about this female who drives him insane.  Both the physical and emotional battle that ensues make this book worth the read!

Shifting Planet takes an unique approach to the world of shifters.  While it takes place in the future, it doesn't have too much of a sci-fi feel about it.  I found myself so absorbed, so lost in the story that I actually forgot about the time period at times.  I enjoyed the developing relationship between Amanda & Rhodry and liked that the author moves it forward in a slow, realistic manner.  While the chemistry is there from the moment they meet, Reynolds depicts a relationship that evolves slowly - one that overcomes a lot of mistrust, adaptation to each other's worlds, and oh yeah . . . a battle for their lives.  Shifter Planet delves into political arenas, deals with society issues, and portrays different worlds colliding in a magnificent manner.  It's a Must Read!

My Rating:   4 Shifting 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Leap Into The Knight Book Review

Title:  Leap Into The Knight
Series:  Romantic Knights Trilogy #1
Author:  M.J. Schiller
Genre:  Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date:  Nov. 1, 2014
Publisher:  Kissmet Publishing
My Rating:  3.5 Heroic 's

My First Thoughts:  Sometimes the greatest battles ever fought are those brewing within one's self.

*Available at Amazon & other retailers

*Many thanks to the author for this review request.


Sir Darius Lee is a Knight of the High Order.

But when Darius discovers a stranger in his room in the middle of the night, and the intruder turns out to be a beautiful woman, he begins to question how he is meant to live his life.

Princess Megan of Bethyea is being held captive.

But when two knights help her to escape and bring her back to her home planet, she finds the home she knew no longer exists.

When The Council of Twelve questions Darius about his relationship with Maggie, she tries to flee from The Academy of the High Order to prevent him from losing his knighthood.

Will Darius and Orion find Maggie before she leaves Albion? And if they do, how can they face the decision of The Council? And what about the feelings Orion has developed for the princess?

My Review:

Heroic knights yielding swords, a beautiful damsel/princess in distress over a forced marriage, two friends infatuated by the same woman . . . sounds like a historic fairy tale, right?  Wrong.  Instead of charging in on a big white horse, this magnificent knight wields a laser sword and swoops in for the rescue in his spaceship!   Sir Darius Lee, a knight with The Academy of The High Order, and his novice Orion Quinn are on a mission to investigate the abduction of Princess Megan "Maggie" of Bethyea.  A chance meeting in the middle of the night leads to a chase and a capture that sets the stage for a rocky road and relationship between Darius and Maggie. 

Sir Darius is a heroic knight - brave, protective, gorgeous, and unavailable -  having pledged his allegiance to the High Order, he is fully committed to their rules and regulations.  Darius is sworn to a single loyalty, The High Order, and as such may have no personal relationships as they make a knight vulnerable to his enemies.  But his attraction with the princess is immediate, intense, and undeniable.  Thus, even as Darius battles for their freedom and lives, he also fights his desire to claim Maggie as his own.  There are severe consequences for breaking the rules of The Order.  Darius must decide if Maggie is worth giving up everything.

Princess Megan was taken from her home planet when her parents and siblings were killed in a takeover.  The evil Justin Filithy is determined to make her his bride.  While Maggie may play the part of a damsel in distress, you won't find this girl swooning and fainting at the first sign of trouble.  She is a spunky, gritty woman with some serious moves of her own.  When she joins forces with Darius and Orion, they become a force to be reckoned with.

The novice Orion is the wild card in this game.  He is completely dedicated to Sir Darius and battles willingly by his side.  However, Orion is entranced by Princess Megan and battles a dose of the green-eyed monster while witnessing the personal relationship growing between Darius & Maggie.  Orion is suddenly faced with divided loyalties and a big decision about what's the right or wrong thing to do.  Does he uphold the rules of The Order by reporting what he knows or turn his head the other way honoring the loyalty of friendship?  Will a woman be the weapon that finally breaks a friendship that has withstood the test of time?

Leap Into The Knight is an action packed story that delves into affairs of the heart, steps into a political arena, and manipulates the age old battle of right vs. wrong.  While I enjoyed the fast pace of the story, I felt like the characters needed a little more depth, a little more developing to reach their full potential and fully earn my empathy.  I found myself standing outside looking in rather than fully immersed in their adventure.  Having said that, I was intrigued by the plot line and applaud the author's skill in developing it as well as creating this unique world.  While this book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, the stage is certainly set for the next book.  I look forward to more from this talented author. One more note - I LOVE the cover!  Mysterious, intriguing, beautiful!  Love it! 

My Rating:  3.5 Heroic 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . .xxx