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Monday, October 31, 2016

REVIEW: Electric Series (1-4) by E.L. Todd

In book 1, readers meet Volt, a pretty decent and smokin' hot young professional in NYC ready to propose to the girl of his dreams.  When she breaks his heart, he swears off relationships and becomes the ultimate player.

Two years pass. Enter Taylor, a new teacher eager to mold young minds at an exclusive NYC private high school.  By chance she meets Volt and the chemistry is certainly there, but she's convinced that his wondering eye and promiscuity mean he isn't dating material.  What happens is what neither were expecting--the development of a profound friendship which remains charged with electric chemistry.

Throughout the remainder of the series: Spark, Burn, Combust these two characters experience a roller coaster of emotions and relationship starts and stops.

Will they or won't they?

If the do, will it last or will too much drive them apart?

Overall, I liked the series but after a while both Volt and Taylor started to drive me batty. His escalating jealousy is too much to handle despite readers knowing his past and trigger points.  Too bad Taylor isn't clued in.  These two fall into the typical NA trap of not really being good for each other but not being able to live without each other either.

I continue to see improvement in Todd's writing over the course of this series as well as her earlier works.  What I want to see continue to evolve is her sense of nuance and inserting plot devices that might not be as obvious.  Readers can guess from the beginning what the big reveal will most likely be but its a bit to blatant. Who would be friends for so long and not realize a connection between last names or even see a picture of a BFF?  Seriously!

Final rating: 3.75/5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_L_Todd

Buy the books here.

#Electric #ELTodd #romance #review

REVIEW: Honor (The Breaking Point #1) by Jay Crownover

Nassir is another of Crownover's Point badboys that is oh so bad, but oh so good.  He doesn't make excuses for his past, present or future. With an upbringing forged in Hell on Earth, the Point is the perfect place for him to build an empire with a beautiful, worthy woman by his side.

“I probably have never done it right, but I have always loved you, Keelyn Foster.” 

He's has wanted "Honor", Keeyln Foster since the moment he laid eyes on her; however, he waited perhaps too long since she skipped town.  He's determined to find her, bring her back and convince her to be a part of his business and his life.

Keeyln is on the run from her past life until her beautiful devil finds her, sparking a desire not just to return home to the Point but to embrace her past, present and future as the one and only woman in Nassir's life.  It is a tough rough and equally challenging for her to admit her feelings but once they do it is so hot that Hell just might have a new zip code.

“He would always be something sharp and deadly on the inside, something that could be used to destroy, but every blade needs a sheath and every gun needs a holster to protect it. I had no problem offering myself up as the thing that kept this particular weapon secure.” 

I've been waiting ages for this book and Crownover certainly didn't disappoint.  It's dark, seedy, sexy and violent but at the center of it all are two people forged in fire and pretty much perfect for each other.  I love that neither character has to apologize for what they want and who they are.

The audiobook read by Youssif Kamall and Sloane Carson is just phenomenal.  I slayed this book (a whole 10+ hours of audio) in barely a day, staying up until the wee hours to listen to 'just one more chapter.'  I adored the little Marked Men series nod by the subtle addition of Royal and a few other fan favs.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @JayCrownover

#Honor #LOVENASSIR #NASSIR #TheBreakingPoint #romance #suspense #erotic #audiobook

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NEW RELEASE: Honor by Jay Crownover

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover returns with her most complicated hero yet, in the first book in the romantic suspense series The Breaking Point. 

Don’t be fooled.
Don’t make excuses for me.
I am not a good man.
I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She's disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise... I’m the one standing front and center.



I was in the Point for less than a day when I got word that the man that ran the streets wanted to see me. I like to lay low. I liked to blend in, but here it didn’t see like that was an option. Instead of desert sand, the battleground here was asphalt and concrete, and as soon as my presence was known, it was as if this place recognized the fight lying dormant inside of me. This city called to it. I don’t know why I instantly felt like I fit, but I did. So I went to see the man in charge, fully expecting to offer him the last of my cash in order to gain a foothold in the desolate kingdom. I was a survivor. I could do without money for a little bit. No man was more resourceful than I was.

I walked into a disgustingly gaudy strip club, offended by its crass ugliness. I was expecting to meet the ruler of the land, state my intentions, and let him know I would bow to no man here or anywhere else ever again. I was expecting a shakedown and maybe some strong-arming since I was obviously foreign and undocumented. I was technically legal since my mother had been an American citizen before she fell in love with an extremist, but I hadn’t really existed on paper since she handed me over to killers and radicals when I was just a kid. Mossad didn’t want me to be anything other than their trained attack dog, so they hadn’t offered up any proof of identity for me during my time at the end of their string. What I wasn’t expecting was that my cause, my reason, my purpose for living, and my something to believe in would be dancing nearly naked on a horrifically ugly stage, looking like she was going to cry at any second. She was so much more than freedom.

She was Honor.

She was beautiful, young, innocent, and so obviously resigned to her fate. It pulled at a heart I was stunned to find I still had buried somewhere deep underneath the brutal history that filled up the inside of me. It was the first time I felt it beat, and the pulse of its yearning scared and electrified me in equal measure.

I started to move toward her like all those invisible gods I spent my life killing for were leading me directly to her when suddenly a man twice her age and triple her size leaped from his seat next to the stage and hurled himself up onto the platform directly at the girl. In the blink of an eye he was on top of her, rough hands all over her naked flesh. I heard her scream. I saw her long limbs flail and thrash under him. A red haze filled my vision and I forgot all about staying quiet and laying low. I forgot all about being a ghost, and realized that I could channel the fight that had been forged into my very soul, the fight that was slumbering restlessly inside me at that moment, into protecting something so innocent. She woke the fight up and she kept it alive.

Order HONOR in ebook or paperback, releasing 10/18/16
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Read All The Things: Reading Recap Vol 3

After this post I really will be all caught up with reviews. Honestly, I will ;)

The Purloined Poodle is a novella from the brilliant mind of Kevin Hearne.  The story is a hilarious mystery adventure told from the POV of the beloved Oberon, Atticus' wolf hound in the bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles. Upon discovering that a prizewinning poodle has been dogknapped, Oberon feels it is his duty to nab the culprit and save the day. What transpires is a fantastically orchestrated tale of mystery with classic Hearne attention to detail, characterization and humor.

I really enjoyed the story but the best part is the audio by Luke Daniels.  His portrayal of Oberon makes my world just a bit more magical.  I'd love it if he'd come meet my dog and then record an inner dialogue of her musings.

If you haven't read the Iron Druid Chronicles--SERIOUSLY! What are you waiting for?! This story is amazingly amusing and a real treat for fans of the series plus a whole lot of fun for a reader not familiar with the other titles.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ivy Morgan is back for this second part of the Wicked trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Wicked ended with the discovery that Ivy is in fact the halfling Fae the Ancients seek.  It's prophesied that she'll conceive an 'apocalypse baby' that will bring about the destruction of the world.  One bonus is that the union has to be consensual  and Ivy is determined that won't ever happen. However, the Fae are powerful and full of tricks. Ivy world is turned upside down while she struggles with who to tell the truth and just how much she might be willing to sacrifice to save Ren and herself.

I enjoyed this second book. Ivy continues to grow as a character. There were plenty of surprises with just a tad bit of predictability. Overall, good pacing, dialogue and steamy relationship building.  I like Ivy and Ren and especially Tink. I wish the villain had a bit more dimension; however, we'll see what happens in the final book.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Years ago I discovered the Noble Dead series by Barb & J.C. Hendee.  Once I got into those, I devoured the six book, loving the mix of Lord of the Rings meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  While that adventure came to an end, In Shade and Shadow marks the beginning of a spin-off series with Wynn, the young sage from the previous books.  Having left Magiere and Leesil, she's returned home with text written by ancient vampires; however, these and her personal are whisked away by the elders and Wynn's tales are dismissed as nothing but delusional fantasies.

The texts are far from dismissed as the elders have been sending them out in secret to be copied.  However, a dark force begins to wreak havoc on Sagecraft with the desire to claim these scrolls for itself.  Wynn becomes convinces that the Nobel Dead are responsible for the killings and embarks on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth while also finding a few unexpected allies along the way.

I loved this tale and can't wait to finish out the trilogy.  Wynn is a loveable character and her progression throughout the series is fascinating.  Chane is another complicated character since caring about Wynn is in conflict with his vampire nature.  I look forward to the development of this relationship and what might be in store.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Death and Wren are back in Death and the Brewmaster's Widow, the second in the Auction Block Mysteries by Loretta Ross. It becomes apparent that the death of Death's (DEETH) firefighter brother is shrouded in mystery. Determined to find answers, the couple return to St. Louis. What they find is more questions and the dubious connection to the Einstadt Brewery where Death's brother met his end.  Sleuthing reveals some pretty shocking news and a nefarious plot to keep some expensive secrets.

This second book was fun and a great mystery romp.  It was maybe a tad more predictable for me as a mystery reader but I found it engaging. I like Wren and Death as a couple and appreciate that each has their vulnerabilities but they work better as a unit.

Amanda Ronconi as audio narrative gives another stellar performance.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I've been working to catch up on Lorelei James' Blacktop Cowboys series.  Roped In is a novella in the 1001 Dark Nights releases featuring Sutton, a rodeo bulldogger and London, a sassy, gifted horse trainer.  Their paths have crossed before; however, when a life threatening injuring changes his career path, Sutton calls upon London to help train his horse since no longer can. London needs Sutton to make her ex jealous and get vindication at being dumped via text

The outcome is what readers expect from James--fireworks fly with these two from the beginning.  While they agree to work together and give in to temptation it turns out that both are what each other need to feel whole. It is super hot and sexy but charming, funny, and well written.

Wrapped and Strapped is book 7 in the series.  Harlow Pratt is known for her hippy, do-gooder ways; but there is more than meets the eye with this young woman so damaged by a rough upbringing and a past abusive relationship that she finds it difficult to trust. Ranch foreman Hugh Pritchett has past relationship demons of his own with a failed marriage. When they initially meet, the fire is there and they eventually give into temptation but old fears pull them apart.  The ill heath of Harlow's father put forces them to face their feelings and decide if what they have is something to fight for.

I enjoyed this book.  Great characters, angst and pacing with plenty of sexy time.

Final ratings: 4 out of 5 stars

Another series to catch up on is Jennifer L.Armentrout's Wait for You series. The novella Dream of You features hot detective Colton Anders and Abby Erikson.  They knew each other years ago in high school but when Abby witnesses a horrific crime and seems to become a target herself, Colton is determined to catch the criminal and protect Abby at all costs.  Attraction builds and past crushes are revealed. Colton just might be what Abby needs to move on after the death of her husband; however, her own insecurities might derail their romance before it has a chance.

Trust in Me is the alternative POV to book 1, Wait for You. We get to see the relationship from Cam's eyes rather than Avery's.  He's a good guy who although he isn't perfect, it darn well close. He owns his mistakes, atoned for them and became a better person--the perfect person to help Avery come to grips with her past so that they could build a future. I loved it and have a better appreciation for Cam as a character.

Final ratings: 4 out of 5 stars

REVIEW: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Crimson Death is the 25th book in Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Blake continues her job as a Federal Marshal and vampire executioner.  She's called by friend and fellow executioner, Edward to consult on a series of grisly vampire related crimes in Dublin--a unique land of its own regarding its history with magic, vampires and She Who Shall Not Be named AKA Damian's former vampire mistress.

This is very much a Damian centric book.  He hasn't been too involved in much of Anita's life even though he's part of her Triumvirate with Nathaniel.  All this changes based on Damian's apparent connection to the situation in Ireland and the role the trio needs to play in each other's lives.

Overall, I enjoyed the book far more than last year's Dead Ice; however, the narrative dragged quite a bit.  It is the same format as the past number of series entries-- introduce crime, then deal with WAY too much relationship and power struggle antics, then finally get on with the crime solving only to have the end action happen too quickly and wrap things up in far too few pages.

What I liked...

The actual Jean Claude interactions, that Damian was back and had a role, that Nathaniel is maturing and stepping up for what he wants. I always like when Edward shows up but he needed to be around more and this government tie-in that is probably going to become important in future books is interesting.

What I didn't like...

The pacing. There's just too much of the same relationship and political woes.  Poor Asher. Poor Anita. Poor Nathaniel. Etc...Etc...Etc. When we finally get into the 'meat of the crime, all the action happens way too quickly and then there isn't a lot of time for readers to process the outcome of character deaths and new metaphysical powers.

Anita spends far too much time justifying her lifestyle choices. It is time to move on and stop being repetitive.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

#CrimsonDeath #AnitaBlake #vampires #horror #erotica #netgalley #review