Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dark Wolf Rising review

I didn't start off loving Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd - Eric and Chelsea were both less than loveable characters at the start of the book. I'm glad I stuck with it though as it ended up being a great book. Both characters grew on me as the book progressed and while I wasn't happy with some of their actions and attitudes, I understood those actions and attitudes better as the book progressed and learned more about the pasts of each character.

Eric is a "dark wolf", a lycan with a very pure bloodline that makes him almost royalty in the lycan world, but that also makes him more dangerous than a regular lycan because he is more powerful. Unfortunately, that bloodline doesn't protect him from stupid people and his pack is full of very stupid people :)

Chelsea is human and is searching for her missing sister. When Eric shows up during her search and attempts to protect her in his own Alpha way, Chelsea forges her own path - and finds herself in a lot of trouble. Eric is a quintessential hero though so he insists on helping Chelsea find her sister. As with most things, this turns out not to be as simple as you'd think and the action and drama that ensue make for an engrossing read.

Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd was published in December 2012 by Harlequin.


Eric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females-preferring to mate only within his pack. That is, until he encounters Chelsea Smart snooping around Silvercrest pack land in search of her missing sister. Secretly, Chelsea thinks Eric is the sexiest man she's ever seen, though she is wary of his potent Alpha energy. Then it's discovered that Chelsea's sister is being held by a pack of vicious Lycans, and Eric heroically leaps into action. Now, Chelsea will risk everything-her body and soul-to surrender to the passion that will mark her as Eric's woman for all eternity...if they survive.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Hob review

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Hob by Dana Marie Bell* ever since I read the first of the Gray Court series books. It was finally released on January 22 by Samhain Publishing.

I LOVED this book - not that I doubted I would - but I seriously devoured it in one sitting. Robin has been my favorite character of Bell's since I first read about him. In fact, I loved The Hob story and Robin's character so much that I struggled to write this review because there is so much to say!

Let's start with Robin himself. He's sexy, he's funny, he's protective of and loyal to those he considers his own, but he's a little wounded, a little lonely, and little jealous of the bonded relationships he sees among his makeshift family. How could I NOT root for the guy to find his perfect match?

Then there is Michaela - oh, boy! She's human but gives Robin such a run for his money that I almost fell over laughing several times. Michaela has a sort of sixth sense for if someone has bad intentions toward her or not. She's caring, dedicated, fun loving, and totally accepting of those who are "good". Her ability to gain the loyalty of those that Robin considers dangerous is both endearing and entertaining.

No Gray Court book would be complete without appearances by the Dunne/Joloun/Blackthorn family members. Additionally, we see more of Oberon than we had in the past and learn more about him and his future mate - an intriguing story that I'm eagerly anticipating. And the introduction of Raven MacSweeney is one of those great twists that Bell is so good at and that leaves me hoping fervently that he'll get his own book in the not too distant future.

All in all, if you haven't read the Gray Court series, you seriously need to go get it RIGHT NOW! It will suck you in from the first book and you won't be able to stop until you finish The Hob, book 4 in the series, and it will leave you wanting more in this fun and adventurous world!

*As noted in a previous review, I know Dana Marie Bell and find her to be a great person and author.


Robin Goodfellow has met his match.

The Gray Court Book 4

When the Black Queen kidnaps one of the White Queen's nephews, Robin Goodfellow is sent to ensure that the young prince safely returns to the bosom of his family. True to his role as Oberon’s Hobgoblin, he is ready for anything…except meeting his truebond, the very delicious, very human Michaela Exton.

Michaela has dreamed about a flame-haired rogue named Robin Goodfellow since she was a little girl, but everyone knows Puck doesn’t really exist. In real life, it’s a dark-eyed man named Ringo who makes her heart beat faster.

She is closer to her dream man than she thinks, and nobody knows it better than Robin, who wears the guise of Ringo. But there’s competition for her love in the form of Lord Raven, who holds a secret that will rock the foundation of Robin’s world. As a Black Court delegate does the unthinkable, leaving an enraged, grief-stricken Robin hanging onto his humanity by a thread, only Michaela has the power to bring him back from the killing edge—if she survives.

Product Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, Robin Goodfellow and... Really. Do I need to say any more?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keeper of the Night review

I had read The Gatekeeper by Heather Graham, a free Kindle novella, and was hooked on the idea behind it. The first full length novel of the series, Keeper of the Night also by Heather Graham, was equally engrossing. I don't believe you need to read The Gatekeeper before reading Keeper of the Night.

Rhiannon Gryffald's life is turned upside down when she is called to LA to take over as Keeper of the Vampires from her father - a destiny she knew was waiting but that everyone thought was decades away. Rhiannon isn't happy about the sudden change but she knows her duty and is willing to do it. Not everyone in LA is willing to give her the chance, however.

Elven LA Detective Brodie McKay is investigating the deaths by exsanguination of several people who were all in some way connected a play about vampires. Technically, the investigation is Rhiannon's job but Brodie goes undercover and only gives her a cryptic clue in order to get her involved. Brodie, like everyone else in LA, underestimates Rhiannon at first but he quickly realizes his mistake.

Rhiannon is infuriated by Brodie for not coming to her immediately and fully explaining the situation - but she can't deny her attraction to him. As the case heats up, so does the chemistry between Rhiannon and Brodie. Chasing a killer and circling each other, Rhiannon and Brodie take readers on a great ride.

Graham does a great job of world building and her characters are well-rounded and easy to root for while the plot sucks you in and the action keeps you glued to the page. 

With the addition of Rhiannon's cousins, Sailor and Barrie - the other two new Keepers in LA - as well as a magician ghost, powerful Hollywood vampires, werewolves, and Elves, this series promises to be a fantastic ride.

Keeper of the Night by Heather Graham was published in December 2012 by Harlequin. The next book in the series, Keeper of the Moon by Harley Jane Kozak, will be published on March 5th and the third book, Keeper of the Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff, will be published on May 7th.


In their new Keeper roles, these extraordinary women must balance the fate of the world with their desires…

New Keeper Rhiannon Gryffald has her peacekeeping duties cut out for her—because in Hollywood, it’s hard to tell the actors from the werewolves, bloodsuckers and shape-shifters. Then Rhiannon hears about a string of murders that bear all the hallmarks of a vampire serial killer, and she must confront her greatest challenge yet. Together with Elven detective Brodie McKay, they head to Laurel Canyon, epicenter of the danger, where they uncover a plot that may forever alter the face of human-paranormal relations.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Undercover Wolf review

I received an ARC of Undercover Wolf from Harlequin. I had read a previous Alpha Force series book, Alpha Wolf by Linda O. Johnston, but didn't realize it was connected to Undercover Wolf until I was reading it. I can't say I liked Undercover Wolf any better than I did Alpha Wolf.

Quinn and Kristine fell completely flat for me as a characters. Quinn wasn't much of a hero - he's so busy doubting his decision to sign up for the military and teasing Kristine that he seems unable to do anything else. Kristine is supposed to be a smart and capable member of the military but she makes stupid decision after stupid decision. Also, she repeatedly talks about how much she likes Alpha Force and how protective she is of the shifters but then isn't willing to get close to one because of the differences between them - it doesn't make sense.

In fact, the entire story line is a little nonsensical. Perhaps it's my proximity to the Pentagon and Congress, but I always have trouble with books about "super secret government or military branches" that no one, or only a couple of people, know anything about. I can suspend disbelief and enjoy books about shifters, vampires, etc. but everyone has a line, that when reached forces the suspension of disbelief to fall - for me that line is apparently these kinds of secret agencies and units.

Undercover Wolf did have a lot of action and there was obvious and well-written chemistry between Quinn and Kristine. So if you are cool with the whole secret government agency idea and don't mind characters who aren't completely consistent, this may be a good read for you. I, however, will be skipping future Alpha Force books.

Undercover Wolf will be available as an ebook on February 1st and in paperback on February 5th.


Danger and desire collide in a race against timeP.I. Quinn Parran's mission is simple: to join Alpha Force, a unique military team of shape-shifters, and use their new elixir to enhance his shape-shifting abilities. With the aid of Sergeant Kristine Norwood, each shifting experiment sparks something more volatile than any challenge he's ever encountered: a primal passion. And when Quinn's brother vanishes on his honeymoon and is suspected of murder, Quinn must join forces with Kristine to investigate.

With no choice but to go deep undercover as newlyweds, Kristine finds herself enjoying the charade a little too much. She is attracted to Quinn, but isn't about to get involved with a shape-shifter. Until their quest becomes more dangerous, and Kristine must put aside her doubts and put her full trust in Quinn….

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mark of the Witch review

Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne is the first book in the Portal trilogy and was published in September 2012 by Harlequin MIRA.

I enjoyed Mark of the Witch for the most part. The writing flowed well, there was enough action to keep the story moving, and a push-pull type connection between Indira and Tomas that made me want to keep reading to see if they would take the leap. However, Tomas had a tendency to push aside important issues "to think about later" but he never did so. Also, he seemed rather blind to the faults of his "mentor" to the extent that sometimes he seemed less intelligent than he was.

Indira had trust issues which were somewhat understandable but also an attitude of entitlement that grated at times. She was a witch and had power but because that power didn't deliver what she wanted as fast as she wanted it, she walked away. It seemed childish and selfish.

The rest of the cast of characters were quite interesting. The "ghosts" of the other two witches from the past, the priestess Rayne was equal parts helpful and mysterious, and Father Dom was over the top awful. All in all, the supporting cast of characters elevated the story perfectly.

Mark of the Witch is preceded by a prequel, Legacy of the Witch, that I have not read and is succeeded by Daughter of the Spellcaster, released in November 2012 and Blood of the Sorceress which is being released tomorrow. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.


From New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne comes the first novel in her thrilling new trilogy, THE PORTAL She was born to save what he is sworn to destroy...

A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn't believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she's forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira's sacred calling. Yet there's something even Tomas doesn't know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he's come to love-and saving the world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained review

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained by Doranna Durgin is the fifth book in the Sentinels series and was published in November 2012 by Harlequin.

I had a mixed reaction to this book. It was written well - good characters, lots of action, lots of drama - but it was seriously confusing because it was book five in the series and none of the stuff about Sentinels or Core or any of the history between the two was ever explained, not even briefly. If you haven't read all the books, it is frustrating and irritating because there isn't even a token attempt to fill in the back story in the book.

The shifters in Sentinels: Kodiak Chained seemed to be closer to their animals than in other shifter books I've read and it comes across in their personalities. Mariska is all about going after what she wants just like her black bear - to the detriment of her relationships with people. Ruger is very stubborn and unwilling to back down much like a real Kodiak bear in the wild would not back down from a challenge. This puts the two at odds more often than not and yet they are still part human and half to deal with their emotions in a human way as well.

I enjoyed the action elements of this book and the back and forth between the characters but found the ending to be slightly rushed and not fully fleshed out. I think I would have enjoyed it much more had I read the whole series in order and would recommend that anyone interested in Sentinels: Kodiak Chained start at the beginning of the series and read all five books. The first book in the series is Jaguar Night.


One mission. One night. One costly misstep…. Don't miss this scintillating romance from Doranna Durgin!A mighty Kodiak shifter, Ruger is more than a Sentinel warrior. As a Healer, he willingly risks everything defending the sick and helpless. But after an ambush nearly kills him, he can do only so much—until a sensual lady black bear shifter arrives to provide him backup….

In human form, she is called Mariska. Feisty and self-assured, she has finagled her present assignment helping Ruger chase down a rising new threat. The moment Mariska scents the heroic, battle-scarred grizzly she knows he will be her only weakness…and greatest desire.

Mariska will do anything to aid Ruger—even if confronting the enemy puts everything she holds dear in jeopardy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Children of Henry VIII review

As I noted in my very first post to this blog, my reading selections can be rather eclectic. While I primarily read romance and mystery novels, I also enjoy well written history and biography books. Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors of British monarchy biographical works. I've read several of her books and The Children of Henry VIII is the latest to make it to the top of my reading pile.

The title and the preface of this book is a bit disingenuous. Weir states in the preface, "This book is not a a history of England during the troubled reigns of Edward VI, Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I, but a chronicle of the personal lives of four English sovereigns, and the relationships between them, during the period 1547 to 1558." While it is true that the book does not include a comprehensive history of England during this time, it is less about the personal lives of these four historical figures than some readers may be hoping.

It is impossible to write about Tudor monarchs without focusing on the religious, political, and policy decisions of said monarchs, there is less material about the specific personalities and personal areas of their lives than about the policies and the people around them who shaped their reigns. While I enjoyed reading this, readers who are seeking more personal information rather than political agendas may be disappointed. Unfortunately, the documentation that remains from this period is mostly political and economic in nature and the personal information contained in letters and such can be highly suspect so it is difficult to get a truly personal picture of the monarchs in this time period.

All that said, if you are looking for an interesting, well written book on the reign on Edward VI and Mary I, with some sprinkling of information about Jane Grey and the interaction between Henry VIII's three surviving children, The Children of Henry VIII is a good one to pick up.


At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Elizabeth's ascension to the throne--one of the most spectacularly successful reigns in English history.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Angel in Chains review

Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden is the third book in the Fallen series and was published in November 2012 by Kensington Brava. This is Az's story and one I've wanted to read since Angel of Darkness.

Az is a tortured hero - unlike Sam and Keenan he didn't even realize he was breaking the rules and heading for the Fall. So deep down he's good, and yet his motives appear completely selfish and self-serving. Only Az has a dark side, a side that has a prophecy of destruction attached if it ever breaks free, and he doesn't really know how to handle the emotions set free when he became a Fallen. Jade is a human who is all too aware of the supernatural in the world thanks to the psycho ex from hell and just wants to stop running and living in fear. Her draw to Az is both a need for protection and their super hot chemistry.

Joined once again by Sam and Seline, the witch-demon Mateo, and various Others, including some new Angels of Death, Az and Jade must stop a pack of panther shifters without Jade dying. Bastien, an Angel of Death who was second in command before Az Fell, is one to watch as the series moves forward. The angels don't seem able to learn from history or perhaps they just aren't self-aware enough to see what path they are headed down - I'm not sure which it is. As always, Eden writes secondary characters that are as compelling and captivating as her main characters and leaves this reader wanting more. 

The next book in the Fallen series, Avenging Angel, will be released in May.


As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death. 

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She's spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Angel Betrayed review

Angel Betrayed by Cynthia Eden is the second book in her Fallen series and was published in June 2012 by Kensington Brava. It follows Angel of Darkness which I reviewed here yesterday.

Angel Betrayed features Sam, the not sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy character, who we met in Angel of Darkness and he's still as frustratingly unable to pin down as he was in the first book. Sam is alternately maddeningly detached from and sweetly protective of Seline. But he's also on a mission for a little vengeance against his brother and is determined not to let a woman or his emotions get in his way. Seline has secrets - lots of secrets - and a completely understandable difficulty with trust and the truth. She may hate what she is but that doesn't make her stupid enough to ignore what power she does have and she uses it to her advantage whenever she can. Seline is pretty kickass even while she fights her attachment to our hero. The relationship that develops is fascinating to read as both characters fight against it for as long as possible even while the chemistry between them is undeniable - to both the reader and the characters.

The reappearance of Azrael and the introduction of Rogziel, an Angel of Punishment, makes for a lot of action and keeps the reader guessing as to who the true bad guy is for a large portion of the book. Unlike in Angel of Darkness, the majority of the Others in Angel Betrayed are helping Sam and Seline mostly because Sam is the ultimate deal maker. The addition of hellhounds was a good twist and the outcome of their introduction is a much needed moment of levity in an action and danger packed book.

All in all, Angel Betrayed is a fantastic continuation of the Fallen series and made this reader want to continue devouring this series and recommend it to other paranormal romance readers who like a little bit of bad in their good guys :)


Sammael--call him Sam--was an angel once. An angel of death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn't working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what's making his life difficult is a bad girl...

Seline O'Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she's not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam's virtue is questionable, but he's smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she's getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Angel of Darkness review

Angel of Darkness by Cynthia Eden sets up her series The Fallen and was published in November 2011 by Kensington Brava. As a series beginning, Eden hits it out of the park and makes you crave the next story. In fact, as soon as I finished Angel of Darkness, I started reading Angel Betrayed, the second book in the series - and tomorrow's review :)

In Angel of Darkness, Eden gives us an unforgettable set of characters and solid action throughout. Keenan, a Fallen Angel of Death, is the perfect hero - not too perfect so that you are intimidated or looking for flaws - but perfect in the sense that he's hot, strong, smart, protective, sweet, and yet doesn't know what to do with his emotions or recognize some of his emotions for what they are. Keenan screws up and stumbles but his overarching intentions are good. Nicole gets the raw end of every freaking deal and yet, she keeps fighting, refuses to give up. When her human life ends, Nicole doesn't become an evil vampire or give up on her humanity. Instead, despite overwhelming odds and obstacles, she fights - she fights those that come after her and her own thirst. When Keenan and Nicole come together, it is with explosive chemistry but massive distrust. Both have to overcome their pasts and secrets in order to trust each other - something they both have difficulty doing but with the enemies increasing their lives depend on it.

The rest of the cast of characters is equally interesting. Sam is the "bad guy" that keeps you guessing the whole book whether he is helping or setting up our couple. Azrael is fairly obviously being set up through the whole book but it's fun to read his downfall even as he keeps you on the edge of your seat with his plans. The Others, as the supernatural creatures in the series are called, are either understandably seeking vengeance for past wrongs or just flat out evil psycopaths but are all well written and engaging.

The world Eden begins building with Angel of Darkness is interesting but also familiar in the sense that it adds to the existing human world as we know it rather than creating a whole new existence in the vein of Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters series world.

Anyone who enjoys angels in their paranormal romances will likely enjoy Angel of Darkness and I would definitely recommend it.


As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.

Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Monday, January 14, 2013

All For You review

All For You by Dana Marie Bell* is the first book in the paranormal romance series The Nephilim. It was published in December 2012 by Carina Press in ebook format.

I've read several of Bell's series and tend to LOVE her writing - she packs in great characters, lots of action and drama, and perfect moments of levity to keep the books from getting too "heavy" and - of course - tons of hot romance!

All For You gives us Seth, a Nephilim with wings and the power of flight and invisibility, and Abby, a scarred human who is trying to learn to trust men again after a brutal attack by her ex. Seth has a day job as an architect but his real job is tracking and killing the Shemyaza for the Archangel Gabriel. He has known Abby and her family since childhood and now finds himself very attracted to her. Abby has a life she is comfortable with but still finds it difficult to trust or get close to any men even though she is incredibly attracted to Seth. When Abby's past comes back with a vengeance, Seth steps in as protector and sparks fly.

I liked Abby - I thought she came across as strong and determined but had a tendency to act without thinking the consequences all the way through. She always tried to protect those around her without regard to her own safety and was a little too forgiving of the often overbearing Seth. Seth was hot, smart, and protective - a little too protective at times and frankly, I'd have kicked his ass a couple of times but that's why Abby is perfect for him and I'm not :) The rest of the characters were fascinating and I really want to read more on Dante, Damien, Rafael, and the rest of Seth's "brothers" and more on Abby's group of girlfriends especially Andi, Beth, and Grace.

While I enjoyed All For You a great deal and will definitely read the next book in the series when it comes out, it seemed to have fewer of those comedic moments that epitomize Bell's writing than some of her other books. Don't get me wrong, there were some of those moments, like the scene in Piotr's study, but not as many as I would have expected given the serious creepy drama happening in the book.

Overall, All For You is a solid start to an interesting and engaging new series that I look forward to reading.

*I should note that I know Dana Marie Bell and find her to be a great person and author. Consider that my full disclosure :)


He will keep her safe, no matter what it takes.

Someone—or something—is stalking Abby Marcheson. Luckily, she as her brother’s hunky friend Seth to keep her safe. Abby falls easily into her protected life, with Seth constantly by her side, and when he asks her out on a date, she’s eager to accept.

But Seth is much more than he seems. A Nephilim, a son of Angels with wings of his own, Seth is bound to spend his life hunting the Shemyaza, evil descendants of Angels. He’s kept his wings hidden from Abby in order not to frighten her, but as her stalker becomes bolder, Seth begins to suspect that a Shem has Abby in its sights…

As their flirtation escalates into full-blown passion, Seth is torn. Should he reveal his true nature to the beautiful, trusting Abby? Will she accept him, wings and all, or will Abby flee her guardian angel and fall prey to the sinister force that wishes her harm?

Warning: This book contains explicit sex and graphic language.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Upcoming Releases On My Must Read List

January and February are pretty solid release months for authors I read, apparently. I've decided to post the upcoming releases I'm looking forward to and see what you guys think I'm missing :)

In order of release:

The Hob by Dana Marie Bell (ebook)
Heatseeker by Lucy Monroe (trade paperback)
Broken Flight by Elle J. Rossi (ebook)
Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter (mass market paperback)
Calculated in Death by JD Robb (hardcover)

So I know that I've got to be missing some great books that are being released in the next several weeks. Let me know what books you are most looking forward to in January and February!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Highlander's Heart review

"The Highlander's Heart" by Amanda Forester is a historical romance and Amanda Forester is a new author to me. I must say that I'll definitely be picking up more of Forester's work in the future.

"The Highlander's Heart" is quite a comedy of errors running through the romance. All of the characters, including the "bad" ones, are very strongly written but without being cliche or formulaic. The plot is good but I felt it bogged down in a couple of places and the several story lines got a little convoluted at times.

Isabelle is a strong female lead even if at times she seems a little scatterbrained. Given the situation she finds herself in with her husband, it is not hard to understand why she has such a problem trusting Campbell especially when every time she trusts anyone else, she ends up being betrayed. Campbell is quintessentially good - he always does the right thing even if it's not what he wants or what would be of the most benefit to him personally. He is strong, brave, handsome, and moral - the perfect hero - but he doesn't come across as a saint, stuffy, or as being too good to be true.

The rest of the Campbell clan is equally varied and entertaining. It's hard not to fall a little in love with some of them or to feel a great deal of sympathy for the McNab clan - even as you are wondering what in the world some of them are thinking!

All in all, "The Highlander's Heart" has a solid romance, a lot of plot twists, a decent amount of action, and characters that make you want to be part of their world. If you enjoy historical romance, I highly recommend "The Highlander's Heart".


Fleeing into the wilderness to escape an abusive marriage, Lady Isabelle Tynsdale would sooner face down a wild boar than spend another night with her wretched husband. Battered by the elements, desperate to elude a band of attackers, and defending herself against, as fate would have it, a wild boar she is rescued by the handsome Laird David Campbell.

Campbell knows holding Isabelle captive for ransom is his best chance to temper the storm threatening to destroy his clan. The ransom of an English countess should be more than enough to pay off his debts to England and save him from an unwanted marriage. But Isabelle didn't escape her husband just to become another man's captive and Laird Campbell is seriously misguided if he thinks she's going to go quietly.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sexy As Hell: A More Than Men Novella review

Sexy As Hell: A More Than Men novella by Andrea Laurence was published in October 2012 and is the first book I've ready by Laurence. It is a short novella - 56 pages - and is the first in her planned More Than Men series though I could find no information on when the next book in the series would be released.

Sexy As Hell is an apt title as this is a short but super sexy and hot story! Seth is an immortal warrior and he's easy to love. His attraction to his human neighbor, Camille, is what puts her in danger. But even with being brand new to the world of demons, Camille is strong enough to handle whatever is thrown at her, including having a succubus take over her body. Both characters were interesting to read about and easy to empathize with - even while wanting uber-sexy Seth for myself :)


Strong, sexy and powerful... the kind of man every woman wants in her life and in her bed. But these men are more. Oh, so much more.

Seth gave up everything to circumvent death, including his freedom. Now he's an immortal warrior serving the Archangel Michael. But Seth has been compromised and he may finally earn his life back. He's just got to send one sexy, stubborn succubus back to hell.

Camille always thought her neighbor was mysterious and handsome, but she never imagined what kind of work really kept him up so late. The succubus Isra has targeted Seth and she has taken Camille as her host as a surefire way to get to him. Isra has twenty-four hours to seduce Seth and steal his immortal life-force.

The clock is ticking...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Her Sky Cowboy review - updated

Her Sky Cowboy by Beth Ciotta* is a steampunk romance action adventure novel that hits all the high notes - fun characters, a solid plot, lots of action, and a villain you love to hate. It's received a lot of attention and great press since its release in November 2012 but there's no such thing as too many reviews or too much publicity, right? :) It is the first book in the Glorious Victorious Darcy series.

Her Sky Cowboy is a brilliantly original book crossing steampunk Victorian England and the counterculture 1960s along with pirates who roam the skies and partially mechanical animals. Tucker Gentry is a quintessential hero who is fighting for his life and reputation after being framed for murder and theft in America. He roams the skies in Europe as a not completely above board air transport captain with a crew of misfits who are as loyal as they are suspicious. Amelia Darcy is a stymied adventuress who only wants to revive her family's reputation and meet her hero - Tucker Gentry. When the two collide, sparks fly between Tucker and Amelia even as each fights against it for their own reasons.

The emotion between the two characters is powerfully written and Ciotta does a fantastic job of painting characters and interplay that immerses a reader, pulling them into the world she has created so fully that I found myself startled to see my own apartment when I looked up from the book. I cannot wait for the second book in the series.

The second book, His Clockwork Canary, will be published in June and an ebook novella, His Broken Angel, will be published in July May.

*I should note that I know Beth Ciotta and find her to be a wonderful person and author. Consider that my full disclosure :)


Amelia Darcy has no interest in marrying well. Her heart belongs to the sky and the dirigibles of brass and steel that swoop over Victorian England. But when her father, an eccentric inventor, dies, the Darcy siblings are left with scrap metal—and not a penny to their names. Their only hope to save the family reputation and fortune is to embark on a quest to discover an invention of historical importance in honor of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

Armed with only her father's stories of a forgotten da Vinci workshop, a mechanically enhanced falcon, and an Italian cook, Amelia takes flight for Florence, Italy. But her quest is altered when her kitecycle crashes into the airship of ex-Air Marshal—and scandalous dime novel hero—Tucker Gentry.

Tuck agrees to escort Amelia to her destination, but the two are challenged by political unrest, a devious sky pirate, and their own sizzling attraction. Soon the pair is dragged into an international conspiracy that could change the course of history… again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Angels' Dance review

Angels' Dance by Nalini Singh is the novella that tells Galen and Jessamy's beginning. It technically takes place before any of the other novels and novellas in the Guild Hunter series though it was only published in 2012 - first in the print anthology Angels' Flight in February and as a standalone ebook in December.

Those readers who have read the Guild Hunter series will have met Galen and Jessamy in the second book, Archangel's Kiss, and I for one am happy to have read how they met. In addition to the Galen and Jessamy background, Angels' Dance also gives a glimpse of the early years of Raphael's archangel rule and the formation of his Seven.

Angels' Dance is an intriguing look into the past of many of the characters that I've grown to love in the Guild Hunter series, filling in details of some history while only revealing tantalizing pieces of others.

All in all, another solid entry into the growing Guild Hunter novellas that leaves this reader craving the next book in the series.


The gentle teacher of angelic young, and the keeper of her people's histories, Jessamy is respected and admired by everyone who knows her. Yet, born unable to soar into flight, she has spent thousands of years trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge, her heart encased in painful loneliness...until the arrival of Galen, warrior angel from a martial court.

Rough-edged and blunt, Galen is a weapons-master at home with violence, a stranger to the sweet words it takes to woo a woman--but he is also a man determined to claim Jessamy for his own, to dance with her through the skies denied her for so very long...even if their exhilarating passion proves as dangerous as the landscape of war and unrest that lies before them.

Angels' Dance previously appeared in the anthology, Angels' Flight.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Luminary review - updated

Since I am blaming (or thanking, depending on your point of view) Elle for putting this blog in my head, it seemed only fair to have one of the first reviews be on her first full length novel The Luminary. It's been on my to read pile since it was published in September 2012 and I feel bad that I didn't move it to the top of the list earlier.

Meera is a fantastic main character that, despite being a powerful witch, was really easy to relate to. Ghanem was equal parts sexy protector and irritating male making Meera (and me!) alternately want to jump his bones and smack him upside the head. The chemistry between the two characters practically lit the words up in flames while the tension created by their pasts and secrets kept the relationship, and the reader, on the edge.

The character of Carrine irritated me so much it was ridiculous! I really wanted to hit her almost the entire story but she was necessary and not loving every character makes for a more interesting and "real" story in my opinion. I loved the other Guardians especially the smartass Stefan. The other witches, Bevva and Calliope, were also interesting but were more of a mystery since very little was revealed about them in this book - just enough to make you want to read a book about each one!

The Luminary is the first in the Brennan Coven Trilogy and it is a fantastic beginning. It is now available in both e-book and print.

The Soother, the second book in the trilogy featuring Calliope, will be released in March 2013!


A witch running from death. A warrior seeking redemption. Only one can win a battle that may very well cost them their hearts and strip them of their souls.

When Meera Brennan learns she’s a Luminary, one of the most powerful witches in existence, it rocks her already fragile world. The revelation explains the disturbing episodes that made her question her sanity, but does little to soothe the sting of discovering her life is now at risk. To save herself and keep peace within the veiled community, Meera will have to hone her powers and brave an ancient realm to destroy the slayer’s magickal source. She alone must dispel chaos and ensure the balance of good and evil for all mankind.

Banished and stripped of his guardian powers because of a witch, Ghanem Adamo, former prince of the Saharren realm, receives a chance at redemption when his estranged father reveals an immortal battle destined to alter all realms. In order to protect the innocent, regain his title and reunite with his family, Ghanem must destroy the slayers’ source of power and bring down their terrorizing leader.

Her life . . .

Or his throne . . .

When the war against the slayers force Meera and Ghanem to work together, more than magickal sparks fly. Challenged by fate, can love survive a nefarious battle that can result in only one prize?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Wolf Within review

The Wolf Within by Cynthia Eden was a little different from the other Cynthia Eden werewolf/vampire books I've read. I enjoyed it but not as much as some of her others. The plot was a little convoluted - I'm still not entirely sure if Pate is a good guy or a bad guy - but the writing flowed pretty well (despite several editing issues) and the characters are interesting and engaging.

Duncan and Holly, the romantic leads, are likeable and easy to empathize with and their chemistry is believable. Duncan is a quintessential white knight trying to protect humanity from the supernatural until he is bitten and begins the change into an alpha werewolf. He has hidden his attraction to Holly from the moment they meant, seeing her as fragile and sheltered. Holly, however, has a very big secret of her own and when Duncan starts to become one of the supernatural, she steps in to protect and help him. It's a believable love story with a great deal of action and a few twists and turns that kept me reading impatiently.

The Wolf Within is the first book in the Purgatory series and I am likely to pick up the next book to see what happens with Pate, Conner, and the rest of the characters.

Synopsis from the Author 

FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire spends his days--and his nights--tracking real-life monsters. Most humans aren't aware of the vampires and werewolves that walk among them. They don't realize the danger that they face, but Duncan knows about the horror that waits in the darkness. He hunts the monsters, and he protects the innocent. Duncan just never expects to become a monster. But after a brutal werewolf attack, Duncan begins to change...and soon he will be one of the very beasts that he has hunted.

Dr. Holly Young is supposed to help Duncan during his transition. It's her job to keep him sane so that Duncan can continue working with the FBI's Para Unit. But as Duncan's beast grows stronger, the passion that she and Duncan have held carefully in check pushes to the surface. The desire that is raging between them could be a very dangerous thing...because Holly isn't exactly human, not any longer.

As the monsters circle in, determined to take out all of the agents working at the Para Unit, Holly and Duncan will have to use their own supernatural strengths in order to survive. But as they give up more of their humanity and embrace the beasts within them both, they realize that the passion between them isn't safe, it isn't controllable, and their dark need may just be an obsession that could destroy them both.

Author's Note: THE WOLF WITHIN is an adult paranormal romance. It contains werewolves, vampires, adult language, sexy times, and lots of danger. Please consider yourself warned. THE WOLF WITHIN contains approximately 60,000 words.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Inaugural Post

I am completely blaming Elle J. Rossi for this blog! She planted the seed in my brain and it grew until I could no longer ignore it. So, with the dawn of a new year, I am launching the Just a Reader blog.

As stated on the About page, this will be mostly book reviews with occasional posts about publishing industry and book business news items. If there is interest, I will also have guest posts and interviews with authors and other folks in the book world.

I can unequivocally say it will NOT get updated every day but my hope is to update the blog with new posts at least three times a week.

Please bear with me as I attempt to work out the kinks of starting a new blog and let me know if you see anything wrong, out of place, or in anyway off on the site.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the future posts here at Just a Reader!