Friday Giveaway – Jaded by Anne Calhoun

This giveway winner was:   Angela C.

Jaded (Walkers Ford, #2)

After life as a cop in Denver leaves him burned-out, Lucas Ridgeway returns to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He’s hoping to start over with a clean slate and avoid any emotional entanglements—even after his next-door neighbor kisses him senseless. Alana is passionate, dedicated, and most importantly leaving town soon. So why not have some fun?

Alana Wentworth comes from a larger-than-life political family, yet all she wanted was to be a librarian. Then after an embarrassing marriage proposal from Mr. Not-For-Her, she jumps at the chance to live her dream for a few months. She wasn’t supposed to get involved with the community—or sexy, troubled Lucas. But when the time comes for Alana to put Walkers Ford behind her, she’s not ready. And Lucas may not be ready for her to go….


Board Stiff by Annelise Ryan

Board Stiff


ORDER A COPY: Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: March 4, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Sorenson, Wisconsin’s deputy coroner Mattie Winston is back on the job. . .in a nursing home examining the body of Bernie Chase–the now former president of the Twilight Home’s board of directors–who is covered in a powder used to turn liquids to solids. The home’s residents are certain Bernie was offing the patients who cost him too much. . .and the patient that found him can’t remember a thing.


Mattie Winston has returned to her job as the Deputy coroner. Mattie had quit to fan the flames of a relationship with her investigative partner, Det. Steve Hurley a few months ago, but after they finally got to create a bonfire, the flames were doused when Hurley’s ex-wife—wife—soon-to-be ex-wife…whatever, showed up with a fifteen-year-old kid which she claimed was Hurley’s. Thankfully, Mattie’s replacement at the coroner’s office turned out to be allergic to formaldehyde allowing Mattie to return to work while Hurley figures out how to handle his new fatherhood.

But returning to the job means, Mattie is available to be dragged by Irene Keller over to the Twilight Retirement Home to check out the suddenly dead body of the owner, Bernard Chase. Nothing about the body screams accidental death and Mattie has a whole building full of suspects. Rumor has it that Bernie was killing off the bedridden clients once their care started becoming too costly so none of the residents are too sad to see Bernie kick off.

As if the list of those wanting to see Bernie go bye-bye isn’t long enough, there is a soon to be ex-wife and a secret mistress, as well as an unknown silent partner to find and add to the list of suspects.

Meanwhile, Mattie is getting dragged into her sister’s marital problems when her inappropriate and annoying brother-in-law is tossed out of the house after he made bad investments and lost all the family’s money without mentioning it to Mattie’s sister. So he pleads with Mattie to help get his family back, all without making one boob reference. He must be desperate.

Hurley and Mattie might have cooled things off for now “officially” due to Mattie returning as Hurley’s partner, but it seems no one informed their hormones and they find themselves squeezing in quickies whenever an opportunity or two or three presents itself.

Mattie needs to catch the killer while not getting caught with her pants down by her boss and friend, Izzy, or she’ll risk losing her job permanently this time.

THOUGHTS (w/ spoilers of previous books):
I like the humor mixed with the mystery which is presented in these Mattie Winston stories. You can’t help by like Mattie who is your average, everyday woman. She needs to get to the gym and lose weight but her addiction to all things calorically challenged gets in her way. Although she is not perfect, Hurley still very much in love/lust with Mattie.

The first few books teased about the sexual tension between Mattie and Hurley and an almost adolescent Mattie is constantly give us the “does he or doesn’t he like me.” At the end of book 4, Mattie gives up her job and finally jumps in bed with the very happy Hurley. Except, once the deed was done, there is a knock on the door and Steve’s wife (who he thought was his ex-wife but she never filed the papers) shows up with a daughter who she claimed was Steve’s and told him they had no place to live and could they stay with him for now. At that point I despaired that the next book would be all back and forth with Hurley and what to do about the wife, and Mattie and what to do about her job, anything to keep the two apart, and ending with Hurley ready to commit just as Mattie gets her job back. I was pleasantly surprised that Annelise Ryan didn’t torment us with such a bad plotline.

In Board Stiff, Mattie has just returned to her job while Steve sorts out his life. This is her first case back and she hasn’t seen Steve for a few months. She keeps indicating to Hurley that they need to keep their relationship professionally — although she keeps doing this while putting her clothes back on. So between quickies which are keeping us all entertained, we get an interesting investigation into the murder at the retirement home.

The Mattie Winston Mysteries are fun, lighthearted and not overly complicated murder plots, but they will keep you guessing and investigating. There are more changes in the future for Mattie and Hurley at the end of this story, and it will be interesting to see where they go in the next story.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

I venture over toward the group and ask Hurley if I can speak to him a moment. This earns me several looks of contempt, and one of the women goes so far as to voice her objection.

“Hey, wait your turn, missy!” she says. The woman is well built and attractive for her age with carefully coiffed, snow-white hair, hooker-red fingernails, and a carefully made up face. She is dressed in tight black slacks, a low-cut red blouse, and shiny red pumps, which strike me as inappropriate for a women her age until I see that she is sitting in a motorized wheelchair. Hell, the woman could wear six-inch stilettos if she wanted to because she doesn’t have to walk anywhere in them.

“I’ll give him back to you,” I say. “We work together and I just need to speak to him for a minute.”

Clearly she is not satisfied with my answer because she motors toward me, grabs my arm, and pulls me aside. “You need to make it quick, darling, because I’m working my best magic on this guy and right now he’s the only man in this facility who looks like he’s capable of sustaining a stiffy for any length of time. Hell, half these guys can’t even get a stiff, much less maintain one. I once tried to talk Bernie Chase into salting the food with Viagra, arguing that it would help with is safety record because it would keep some of these old fools from rolling out of bed. But he wouldn’t go for it and now I’m stuck with a bunch of limp noodles. Don’t let this wheelchair fool you. I’m not dead in that part of my body yet, and while I’m not saying it’s been a longtime since I last had sex, I do vaguely recall seeing a T-Rex thunder by during my post-coital haze, so I’m in need here, understand?”

“And you think you can score with the detective?” I say, barely suppressing a smile.

She then does something so shocking it makes me back up a step. First, she turns her wheelchair away from the others so that only I can see her face. She contorts her lips and pops both an upper and lower denture loose, letting them stick part way out of her mouth for a second before she sucks them back in. Then she leans in closer to me and wiggles her carefully drawn eyebrows. “Play a skin flute once without the teeth and you got ‘em for life,” she whispers.

It takes a lot to shock me. If you work as a nurse in an ER for any length of time you see and hear things that would mortify most people. Despite that, Snow White’s comment makes me gasp and clamp a hand over my mouth.

Hurley hears it and looks over at us. “Did Gwen just confess?” he asks with half a grin.

“Not to murder,” I say.

Gwen gives me a smug smile and motors back over to Hurley. “I’ll share everything I know with you,” she says, stroking his arm. “You come back and find me when you’re done talking to the big-boned blonde.”

I see Hurley’s mouth twitch and know he’s trying to suppress a smile.

100 Posts with Heroes and Heartbreakers

100th - big

Today I am celebrating a momumental achievement (for me :) ). I have published 100 posts over at HeroesandHeartbreakers.com.  I am still amazed that they haven’t contacted lawyers and serve a Cease and Desist Order on me each time I submit a suggestion or an article to them.

To celebrate the fact that they have actually accepted and published 100 First Looks and articles from me, I will be giving away a $10.00 gift certificate from your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Nobles.


Our giveaway winner was Mary Jo. Congratulations and thank you all for your support.


For those who pop over on my sidelink to H&H, thank you for your support!

H&H

Midnight Pursuits by Elle Kennedy

Midnight Pursuits (Killer Instincts, #4)


ORDER A COPY: Midnight Pursuits: A Killer Instincts Novel

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: April 1, 2014
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Soldier-for-hire Ethan Hayes is the youngest member of an elite mercenary team. While he may be affectionately nicknamed the rookie, the skills Ethan honed as a Marine make him seriously dangerous. But when a sudden distress call puts him in close quarters with a rival, he finds more than his field skills being put to the test.

Juliet Mason stands out as the master thief in a covert group of assassins and spies. Her latest mission is personal—and it’s gone horribly wrong. Juliet may prefer to work alone, but when the rookie comes to her aid in snowy Eastern Europe, she can’t deny they make a good team. But even up against a powerful enemy, their most challenging task yet may be fighting the passion between them.


Ethan was just starting his mandatory down time, when he intercepted a phone call on Isabel’s phone. Isabel had left it behind as she left for her honeymoon, and even though he saw from the caller I.D. that it was Juliet Mason, he knew he needed to answer. Ethan met Juliet (one of Noelle’s thief/assassins) last year when she helped out Ethan’s team, but he isn’t sure what makes him more angry, her sarcastic tongue and merciless teasing or the fact that he can’t get thoughts of her dark eyes and perfect body out of his head. It is one thing to be teased about his age by his teammates, as they call him the rookie, but having the beautiful and dangerous Juliet mocking him was frustrating.

Ethan can tell when he answers that Juliet is hurt, badly. With Isabel on her honeymoon and the rest of his team on assignment, Ethan knows that even half a world away, he is the only hope that Juliet has and he has to act fast or he may be too late.

After patching up a bullet hole in Juliet’s side and sitting on her until she begins to recover, Ethan finally forces out of her what happened. Juliet’s brother is shot when he returned home early to take care of his sick girlfriend. What Henry manages to tell Juliet confirms that Zoya was killed by a very expensive contract killer, the Siberian Wolf. Henry works for the Red Cross and Zoya is a school teacher. Who would hire a high priced assassin to kill off a school teacher?

Juliet manages to get–or torture–the information out of the Wolf before she kills him and she won’t stop until she kills the man who hired the hit. She also learned that Zoya wasn’t the only target on his list and there are still three living targets. Ethan won’t leave Juliet to face such a dangerous man by herself, especially wounded, but he wants to bring in some of his team to protect the other targets.

Juliet likes to work alone, but if she is going to be followed around by Morgan’s rookie and give in to his boy scout good deeds, she will only agree to protect the others as long as Ethan doesn’t get in her way of extracting her revenge.

THOUGHTS:
If you like Maya Bank’s KGI series like I do, you will really enjoy this story. This is my first of the series (I didn’t realize it was the 4th book) and when I mentioned how much I was enjoying Ethan and Juliet, I was gifted with copies of the first three books in the series. (Thank you, Penguin!)

I don’t know about the other books yet, but if you were going to start a book in the middle of the series, you can’t help but love Juliet and Ethan. You do meet some others in the series, but I didn’t feel lost for not knowing everyone’s deep background. They worked together when it was needed even though this series includes the two separate teams belonging to Morgan and Noelle, who both have different purposes and styles.

Juliet is a tough-as-nails heroine. Juliet is dangerous and she knows it. Her one weakness is her feeling for Henry. She was a orphan who went from one bad foster family to another and her “brother” Henry was another foster kid and they took care of each other. When she loses Henry, she loses the only person who truly loves her and who would cared if she died.  Herein we see the soft heart of the dangerous assassin that she tries to keep hidden from the others.

Although Juliet considers herself a bad person since she does kill people for a living, you see her giving in to not only her attraction to the younger Ethan, but also softening up to his Captain America view of the world. He wants to protect the other people because that’s how he is wired, and you see how the jaded Juliet wants to be better and worthy in his eyes.

This was a thrilling action story and a moving love story as well. I am going to see what I can do to squeeze in the first three. There is some deep history between Morgan and Noelle (the leaders of the two separate teams) and you get a tiny glimpse through their arguing that once they were deeply in love but they both appear to feel betrayed by the other. So there is going to be one explosive book when those two get thrown back together.

This will definitely make my ‘I’m gonna follow the series’ list. But if you just want to give this a try, it can work as a stand alone as well.

Bonus – Elle Kennedy has a breakdown of the characters of the Killer Instinct Series on her website

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“She was the best mother in the world, but she wasn’t always sweet.” A laugh sprang to his lips. “This one time, she got into a fistfight at one of my hockey games.”

Juliet burst out laughing. “Seriously? Why?”

“One of the other moms was trash-talking a kid, a player on the opposing team. She was being really nasty, booing the poor kid, yelling at the ref to toss him out of the game when he body checked her son.” Ethan grinned. “My mother asked her very politely to stop, which led to the woman turning her nastiness on Mom, and, well, nobody gets away with talking to Debbie Hayes like that. All us kids were on the ice–the game was stopped so the refs could deal with the fight in the bleachers–and we were just standing there, gaping at them.”

“What happened afterward?” Juliet asked curiously.

“They were both ordered to leave the arena and never return. So for the rest of the season, my dad was the only one allowed to come to my games.”

She snorted. “Sounds like my kind of woman.”

Ethan swallowed the lump obstructing his throat. “I think you would’ve like her.” He paused. “And she definitely would’ve like you.”

“I highly doubt that. She would have taken one look at me and told me I was completely unsuitable for her son.”

He was about to argue, but she didn’t give him the opportunity. She abruptly rose from the bench, and indefinable expression on her face. “I’ll be back. I just want to check something out.”

She was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving Ethan sitting there in frustration. He was tempted to hurry after her, but he didn’t want to draw any attention to himself, and sprinting down the sidewalk in pursuit of Juliet was guaranteed to do just that.

What the hell had he said to send her running like that? It wasn’t like he’d asked her to come with him to meet his folks; both his parents were gone.

So what? Did the idea that his dead mother might have approved of her terrify Juliet that much?

He gritted his teeth, impatience coursing through him as he waited for her to return. It was always one step forward, two steps back with the woman, and he was getting damn tired of it. Just once he wanted her to admit that she enjoyed spending time with him. That she cared about him. But it seemed like she was determined to keep her distance, no matter how hard he tried to bridge it.

She was gone for nearly forty minutes, and as each minute ticked by, Ethan grew more and more tense. He was about to abandon his post and go looking for her when he spotted her dark hair in the crowd of pedestrians. His shoulders relaxed but his features remained hard, even when Juliet settled next to him on the bench again.

“What the hell was that?” he demanded.

She shrugged, and he noticed that her cheeks were redder than before, as if she’d just finished doing something strenuous. “I told you, I had to check something out.”

He scowled at her. “Are you going to elaborate?”

Sighing, Juliet reached into the inner pocket of her coat and pulled out a rumpled brown bag. “Before, when we were cruising the area, I noticed a little bakery a few blocks east of here.” Her face burned brighter. “I popped in to see if they had any chocolate-chip cookies.”

He jaw fell open, and he had to wonder if he’d misheard her. “Chocolate-chip cookies,” he echoed.

“But the bakery was closed,” she hurried on, “so I had to break in and–”

“Wait. What?”

“I broke in,” she repeated. “Don’t worry. Nobody saw me. Anyway…” She held out the paper bag, embarrassment filled her gaze. “The bastards didn’t have chocolate chip, so you’ll have to be satisfied with good old gingerbread.”

Dumbfounded, Ethan stared at the bag before meeting her dark eyes. “You broke into a bakery to steal cookies for me?”

She shifted awkwardly on the bench. “Yeah. You know, ’cause what you said about your mother, and the hot chocolate and…” She trailed off, then shoved the bag into his lap, a defensive edge creeping into her voice. “Let me guess, you’re pissed off that I compromised our surveillance.”

He just gaped at her.

“Fuck, fine. It was a stupid idea, I guess. Toss the bag in the trash if you–”

He cut her off with a kiss. A firm, fleeting kiss, over before it even began, but it conveyed all the emotion he couldn’t seem to put into words.

“Thank you,” he said gruffly. “That was really nice of you, sweetheart.”

He saw her pulse jump in her throat. “You’re welcome,” she said after a beat.

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

Shadow Spell (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #2)


ORDER A COPY: Shadow Spell: Book Two of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy

Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 4 stars


With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…

A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.

Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.

Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves.


When we finished Dark Witch, the three O’Dwyer cousins, Branna, Connor and Iona along with their friends, Meara, Boyle and Fin, had cause the evil Cabhan a great deal of pain, but they were not successful in killing him.

A few months have past and Cabhan is back and wielding a shadow spell which keeps him lurking and protected in the shadows and where he has started making sneak attacks on our witches in an attempt to destroy their circle. When he almost succeeds in dealing a death blow to Connor, Meara and Connor realized that they have stronger feelings toward each other which have been lurking beneath the surface for some time. As Connor’s interest in Meara grows, Cabhan takes more a notice of her as both a weaker target of attack (since Meara has no magic) and also as a way to destroy Connor.

After several attacks are directed at Meara, the group decide that they need to stop waiting around to defend against Cabhan’s attacks and prepare their own offensive. After they manage to wound Cabhan in one of his shadow attacks, they have his blood to use against him in a spell of their own. But will it finally be enough to destroy the evil which gives Cabhan his power?

THOUGHTS:
This was of course my favorite type of story – friends to lovers. Can’t help it. Love them! There no shocker that since this is book 2 of a trilogy, we will not defeat Cabhan in this book, and although I am interested to see how they defeat him (and I believe there is a strong hint how they will ultimately succeed), what I am really, really dying to find out the story behind Branna and Fin.

We have had hints that they fell in love as teenagers and many hints that they still hold strong feelings for each other (especially poor Fin) but that once Branna learned that Fin was a blood descendant of Cabhan, she turned him away. She is still resentful of the fact that they became lovers before Fin allowed her to see the mark on his body showing his was Cabhan’s descendant. So she felt deceived and she has been slightly untrusting of him and allowing him to participate in their circle. I think Fin was just hoping that if Branna loved him enough, she wouldn’t turn on him once he told her, but it didn’t work out for poor Fin. Personally, I can’t wait to see the sparks fly between them in Book 3.

If you are reading this series, come back when you are done and we’ll talk about the possibilities of how to defeat Cabhan.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“And what are you going to do about Alice?”

“Hmmm?”

“Alice Keenan, who’s signaling her churning lust across the pub like one of those flag people.” She waved her arms to demonstrate.

“A pretty face, for certain. But not for me.”

Meara put on a look of amazement, sent it around the table. “Are you hearing that? Connor O’Dwyer saying a pretty face isn’t for him.”

“Wants a ring on her finger, does she then?” Finn asked, amused.

“That she does, and as that’s more than I can give, she’s not for me to play with. But it is a pretty face.”

He leaned toward Meara. “Now, if you were to snuggle up here, and give me a kiss, she’d think, ah, well he’s taken, and stop pining for me.”

“She’ll have to pine, as other foolish women do.” She scooped up more chicken. “My mouth’s occupied at the moment.”

“You put it on mine once.”

“Really?” Iona pushed her plate aside, leaned in. “Tell all.”

“I was but twelve.”

“Just shy of thirteen.”

“Just shy of thirteen is twelve.” she feigned stabbing him with her fork. “And I was curious.”

“It was nice.”

“How could I tell?” Meara countered. “It was my first kiss.”

“Aw.” Iona drew in a sighing breath. “You never forget your first.”

“It wasn’t his.”

Connor laughed, gave Meara’s braid a tug. “It wasn’t, no, but I haven’t forgotten it, have I?”

“I was eleven. Precocious,” Iona claimed. “His name was Jessie Lattimer. It was sweet. I decided we’d get married one day, live on a farm, and I’d ride horses all day.”

“And what happened to this Jessie Lattimer?” Boyle wanted to know.

“He kissed someone else, broke my heart. Then his family moved to Tuscon, or Toledo. Something with a T. Now I’m going to marry an Irishman.” She angled over, kissed Boyle. “And ride horses all day.”

Her eyes sparkled when Boyle linked his fingers with hers.

“Who as your first, Branna?”

The minute the words were out, the sparkle changed to regret. She knew. Of course she knew even before Branna flicked a glance a Fin.

“I was twelve as well. I couldn’t let my best friend get ahead of me, could I? And like Connor for Meara, Fin was handy.”

“That he was,” Connor agreed cheerfully, “for he made sure he was where you were ever possible waking minute.”

“Not every, because it wasn’t wasn’t his first kiss.”

“I practiced a bit.” Fin tipped back in his chair with his pint. “As I wanted your first to be memorable. In the shadows of the woods,” he murmured, “on a soft summer day. With the air smelling of the rain and the river. And of you.”

She didn’t look at him now, nor he at her. “Then the lightning struck, a bolt from the sky straight into the ground.” She remembered. Oh, she remembered. “The air shook with it, and the thunder that followed. We should have known.”

“We were children”

“Not for long.”

Friday Giveaway – Giving In by Maya Banks

Congratulations to our giveaway winner – Joanne B.

Giving In (Surrender Trilogy, #2)

Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?

Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit—fully to him—will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.

Rather than waiting for me to get around to reading and reviewing from my giant list of books, I will start giving away a new book or ARC each Friday off of my review pile. Some will be upcoming releases and some will be past releases. Whoo hoo!

Spirited by Mary Behre

Spirited (Tidewater, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Spirited (A Tidewater Novel)

Publisher: Berkley
Publishing Date: March 4, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 2 stars


All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life—preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s talent for communicating with the dead has brought her nothing but trouble. Despite her best efforts, needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, she may need to entrust her secrets to the person least likely to believe her.…

Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding—no matter how impossible the truth may be….


Jules sees dead people. All her life she has been seeing ghosts and try as she might, she hasn’t been able to block them or even avoid them. Those ghosts caused the end of her marriage and her new philosophy is to ignore them and just maybe they’ll go away.

Except once again she is being haunted by a woman who was murdered and who is insisting that Jules help her. Of course, the hot guy in the next apartment is a cop and not just any cop, he’s the head investigator on the murder, but there would be no way that he’ll believe that Jules is getting information from a ghost. Just like her ex-husband, he’ll accuse her of being involved in the crime.

As Jules gets drawn into the middle of Seth’s case, the sparks fly between them. But the past has taught Jules that not everyone believes of the supernatural, and opening up to Seth might just turn him against her.

THOUGHTS:
I didn’t enjoy this story.  I just wasn’t drawn in by the characters or the storyline. Seth was distrusting since his ex-wife was on drugs and went bat-shit crazy and somehow that boiled down to his almost losing his job and definitely losing his standing in the department and being passed over by younger guys. This makes him come off as desperate to solve this investigation so his captain will let him can take the sergeants exam. Yet, I still didn’t feel that I understood how her being crazy destroyed his career except he didn’t see that his wife had a problem with prescription meds.  His paranoia goes so far that when Jules drops a packet of oregano in his apartment, he flushes it down the toilet and accuses her of planting marijuana in his apartment.

Jules, on the other hand, has been seeing ghosts all her life, but she didn’t seem to have a handle on either really getting real information from them or totally blocking them.  You would think by now she would have chosen one or the other and worked on that.   She really didn’t get too much information out of the ghost that helped solve the crime aside from getting headaches and vomiting from interacting with them. She seemed always frazzled and I could never feel any real connection between her and Seth.

Some story plots were thrown in to add depth and interest, but didn’t go anywhere.  Seth’s family owned the local Greek restaurant and he and Jules went there to eat and discuss the case. The only family member you meet briefly is Seth’s daughter so I don’t understand the need to discuss the family run business except to introduce that he has a close knit family, while Jules was an orphan tossed from one foster family to another. Or why it mattered that the couple who finally adopted her were only slightly older than her.

As far as the case, you could have done completely without the ghost aspect as Jules’s life intersected with the victim before her death or she could have removed with intersection with the victim and just used the ghost aspect.

So most of the story I felt it to be just meh. What did get me crazy was that the whole time Jules didn’t want to tell Seth about her gift and that she was getting information from the victim’s ghost because her ex-husband (also a police officer) arrested her on a crime because she got information on a kidnapping from a ghost (but not really useful information so again I am not understanding what’s so great about her gift). So the whole time she is worried that Seth wouldn’t believe her and that he would believe she knew things because she was involved. When she finally tells him, he accuses her of trying to destroy his career (like his ex-wife) and he calls her a crazy liar and tries to arrest her for the crime. Shocking!  Maybe you should have told him when someone who knows you can talk to ghosts could have backed you up!   Even after he tells her he loves her, he is still thinking “too bad she’s fucking crazy.” So why, why, why would she forgive this jackass so quickly since he betrayed her exactly like she feared he would.

I am sorry to say that I would not recommend this story due to both characters and storyline. :(

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Passionately Yours (Hellions of High Street, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Passionately Yours

Publisher: Forever Romance
Publishing Date: March 4, 2014
ebook: 264 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor.

Preferably one with both a title and a fortune.

So, the headstrong, opinionated Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret.

Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .


Caroline Sloane is vacationing in Bath with her mother and spending some time with old friends and making some new ones. Caro misses the companionship of her newly married sisters feels and she has found a kindred spirit in Isobel Urquehart. It wasn’t until after Caro and Isobel are attacked while walking back from an excursion, that Caro learns that Isobel’s brother is none other than Alec McClellan, Lord Strathcona.

Caroline hasn’t seen Alec since the incident at Dunbar Castle in Scotland when Caro and her sister, Anna and her now husband, Devlin, helped Alec defeat some Scottish nationalists who decided that violence was needed to further their cause.

Caro knows that Alec sees her and her sisters as the Hellions of High Street that they are known to be, and he doesn’t approve of her being involved in trying to find out who was behind their attack. But her father raised them in the most unladylike way, allowing Caro to think for herself and how a young woman can protect herself from danger.

Due to Caro’s Hellion upbringing, she is more than up to the task of helping Alec figure out who is trying to hurt him and his sister.

THOUGHTS:
I really like Cara’s heroines. They have an inner strength and a sharp wit. These Hellions even more than the rest since they were raised by a father with a love for adventure who dragged his girls along. He made sure they could protect themselves in some of the more dangerous areas of the world and taught them interesting activities like lock picking.

Like most of us, Caro compares herself to her old sisters and their accomplishments and finds them lacking. They are all writers but one older sister writes thrilling novels of adventure and the other writes political essays (both under an assumed male name, of course). Caro find her own poetry attempts lack a passion and she is looking for adventure and excitement.

Alec is a little gruff around the edges, but still a very likeable hero.

My only complaint here is that there seemed to be a noticeable lack of foreplay in their sexual adventures. I am still a bit confused why a panic attack makes her feel the need to start stripping and how quickly she undressed herself from all the layers and corset and then redressed herself quickly as well afterwards when she was embarrassed. These ladies usually require a maid or two to help them dress in the morning, but Cara made it sound like Caro tossed her clothes back on and ran out when Alec probably could have had a cigarette in the time it should have taken her.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Relief flooded through him, but quickly gave way to another fear. Given her fiercely adventurous spirit and utter disregard for danger, Caro Sloane was all to likely to stray into trouble. “Then what the devil are you doing, wandering around all on your own?”

Caro’s brows pinched together in a frown. “I wished to explore how the dead ends are designed.” Her mouth thinned as well. “Not, I might add, that it should be any concern of yours.”

She turned away, making a show of studying the tightly twined yew branches. “Really sir, I don’t understand why you always feel compelled to snap and snarl at me. Granted, I have many faults, but taking a simple stroll in a maze ought not elicit your ire.”

He shuffled his feet, shifting his position just a fraction. Dear God–was that a glint of tears flickering through her downcast lashes?

“My apologies,” he said gruffly. “I did not mean to snap. Or snarl. I saw the two of you enter alone and I was…concerned.”

She lifted her head, and the shadow of her bonnet brim made it impossible to see her eyes. “To my knowledge, there are no lurking dragons hidden in the shrubbery, waiting to devour unwary patrons.” A dappling of sunlight caught the curl of a wry smile. “The management would likely charge extra for experiencing the thrill of such a danger.”

The sight of her lovely mouth caused a clenching low in his belly…well, to be honest, it was a little lower than his belly, but Alec tried to ignore his baser instincts.

“Let us not jest about dangers,” he replied. “I am sorry if I am, as Isobel terms it, acting like a mother hen. But I suppose recent events have made me feel overprotective.”

“Such sentiment does you credit, sir,” said Caro softly. “She may tease you, but be assured that any sister would be happy to have such a thoughtful brother take on the role of her knight in shining armor.”

Alex moved a step closer. “I, um…” How ridiculous to be standing there stammering like a pulling schoolboy. He pulled himself together. “That is, I am of course concerned for your safety as well.”

“That is very kind of you.” Caro withdrew a little father into the shadows. “However, that’s really not necessary.” She exaggerated a flex of her fists. “I can take care of myself.”

Without thinking, he covered the distance between them. “You shouldn’t have to.”

“I’m not your responsibility, Lord Strathcona.”

“No, but you are my friend.”

At that her head jerked up, a look of surprise deepened by an undertone of something else.

Blast–he wished he could fathom what it was.

Are we friends?” she asked tentatively. “At times, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.”

Alex reached out to tuck an errant curl behind her ear.

Don’t The warning voice in his head was in fine fettle this afternoon–clear, loud, insistent. He ought to listen.

But he didn’t.

His fingers grazed the delicate shell-pink curve, the merest gossamer touch of flesh against flesh. Yet it sent a jolt of awareness thrumming through his entire body.

She must have sensed it too, for her muscles tensed and the tiny pulse point just above the ruffle of her neckline began to quicken.

“Unlike many men, I don’t have the gift of making myself pleasing to ladies.” His voice sounded a little rough, which only proved his point. “My tongue is unable to put a silvery shine on my words. But that said, Miss Caro, yes, I do consider us friends.”

Their gazes locked, and for a long, drawn-out moment, she seemed to be searching to see something.

God only knew what. Whatever the mysterious quality was, it must be lacking, or else…

No, he had vowed not to think of the past.

“Your words don’t need artificial glitter and gleam, sir,” said Caro softly. “Not every lady wishes to hear conversation so highly polished that all hint of individuality has been rubbed off it.”

Alec hardly dared breath. The breeze had stirred her scent and its softly sweet spice was making him feel a little woozy.

“Well, if you are looking for roughness,” he rasped, “You have certainly found it.”

She touched a fingertip to his jaw and traced a line to the tip of his chin. “Rough and smooth,” she murmured. “You are a man of very interesting textures, Lord Strathcona.”

Interesting?

At that, he flashed a rueful smile. “I would have thought you would choose a very different sort of adjective. ‘Prickly’ or ‘bristly’ are the first that come to mind.”

Her laugh–a sound that defied description–was almost lost in the ruffling of the emerald green needles.

“You forgot ‘thorny.’ Anyone who tries to touch you risks getting badly scratched.” Her hand, however, remained hovering in the air, keeping them physically joined.

By some strange alchemy, the current between them suddenly seemed to draw him closer.

Closer

Her lips parted ever so slightly and he was lost.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)


ORDER A COPY: Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: March 11, 2014
Hardcover: 352 pages

Rating:  5 stars


An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.


Mercy has fought vampires, grey lords, demon-vampires, river devils, fae queens, government mercenaries, but this time she might be facing the one enemy she has no power to fight – Adam’s ex-wife.

Adam receives a call from his ex-wife, Christy. Her new lover has turned out to be a psychotic stalker and she thinks he killed a man she had dated. She needs Adam’s help and protection and she wants to come ‘home.’

Not all of Adam’s pack has welcomed Mercy with open arms and now the line is drawn between those who support Mercy and those who would rather see Adam take Christy back. Christy is demanding and manipulative. She knows when to use tears to get the protective wolves in her corner, and if Mercy fights back, she will come off as jealous and petty. Mercy might be losing the pack to Christy’s half-truths and gourmet cooking, but she’ll be damned if she’ll let Christy try to take Adam back. Christy walked away and now Adam is Mercy’s, for better or for worse.

When Christy’s stalker can’t get to her, he arrives at Mercy’s shop ready to take away Adam’s love since Adam is responsible for keeping him from his. In a fight for her life, Mercy learns that there is nothing human about Christy’s stalker and there just might be nothing that Adam and the pack can do to protect either Mercy or Christy.

THOUGHTS:
I have spent the last few weeks immersed in the world of Mercy Thompson-Hauptman and I am heartbroken that I have caught up with the series. It will be a year before I will be back again with Mercy, Adam, Stefan and the gang. *sob*

Here Mercy have to deal with Adam’s ex-wife (Jesse’s mom) who comes racing back to Adam for protection, a man she divorced because she couldn’t deal with his being a werewolf.   Now that werewolves are out in the open, Christy is happy to shout that she was the ex-wife of pack Alpha, Adam Hauptman, and even without the stalker, she might come back so she could share the spotlight with Adam since he has become such a familiar face.   Poor Mercy is avoiding her own home because can’t stand Christy and she can’t even hit her with the walking stick.   Speaking of the walking stick (who is making an appearance on this cover), the fae have come looking for the walking stick that Mercy gifted to coyote after  it seemed to be getting a little blood thirsty.  Opps…now she has a week to try and find coyote to get it back.

In this story Mercy finds out she has a half-brother, another one of coyote’s children, and Gary Laughingdog is no fan of coyote. In fact, he tells Mercy not to do anything interesting which will catch coyote’s attention and she might just be able to live a long and healthy life. Since trouble always finds Mercy, we know that’s not going to happen. Like Mercy, Gary turns into a coyote and sees ghosts, but he also is cursed with ‘seeing’ and foresees what is coming for the pack.

The fae are still on lock down and the reservation is still ‘missing’ after the fae confrontation with the government, so Mercy can’t get any help from Zee or Uncle Mike.

Mercy once again escapes death, but as the only non-immortal in the group, she takes a hell of a beating. Since she has had one in every book, there soon won’t be a bone she hasn’t broken. We do learn that half-brother Gary is much, much older than he looks so Mercy can look forward to a long and happy life with Adam if she can stop getting her ass handed to her by more powerful preternatural creatures.

We do learn for certain that Stefan has been hiding the fact that he still has a bond with Mercy, which we find out from creepy vampire-boy, Wulfe, who wants just a taste of Mercy’s blood in exchange for some information that the pack needs.

I do have several questions about the series, but I haven’t been able to finagle an interview with Patricia Briggs. One of those questions would be ‘How the hell did Adam ever wind up married to Christy?’ That pair just doesn’t go. She is manipulative and maybe before she realized Adam was a werewolf, his looks and money were enough of a draw.  She hates that he is werewolf and I haven’t figured at what point in their relationship she found this out.  And how did an alpha werewolf have a wife who wasn’t his mate? Questions, questions, questions, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story.

I still think Olivia Wilde would make an incredible Mercy, but I haven’t been able to pin down the perfect Adam.  If anyone reads this series can think of a perfect Adam, let me know. :)

We will have to wait another year to find out what else Patricia Briggs has planned for Mercy and the gang.

This is a definite must read series for the paranormal lovers out there.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Christy went right for Adam as if none of the rest of us were there.

“This is your fault,” she said viciously. “I felt so horrible, bringing my troubles here, and it was your fault.”

“Careful,” I murmured, but she didn’t pay any attention to me–which was foolish of her.

“I should have known when Troy was killed.” It took me a second to figure out who Troy was, I’d never heard the name of her boyfriend who’d been killed. “The only time bodies start appearing around me is when there are werewolves involved,” she continued.

“Juan Flores isn’t a werewolf,” I said, but again I spoke quietly, and she didn’t appear to have heard me.

Adam didn’t say anything. He took a deep breath and just–accepted what she said. It was the first time I’d ever seen a real fight between them. Watching him as she spewed guilt all over him, I realized that he enjoyed our fights almost as much as I did. When we fought, he roared and stalked and fought back. He didn’t let his face go blank and wait to be hit again. Being willing to accept responsibility for the well-being of others was part of being Alpha, part of who Adam was, and she was very, very good at using that against him.

Tears leaked artfully down her face. “I tried. I tried, then I had to run. But I can’t get away from you, can’t get away from the monsters. They follow me wherever I go, and it is your fault.”

Adam wasn’t going to defend himself. Honey wrapped her arms around her stomach and turned away. Honey believe herself to be one of the monsters, too, and so Christy’s venom spread over Honey as well.

Enough.

“Adam didn’t make you go sleep with some complete stranger because he was handsome and rich,” I said coolly, but this time at full volume. There wasn’t a wolf in the house who hand’t heard Christy, so they could listen to me, too.

“Stay out of this,” she snapped at me, wiping futilely at her cheeks. “This isn’t your business.”

“When you blame Adam, whose only fault that I can see is that he has poor taste in wives, you made it my business,” I told her.

Honey cleared her throat. “You do know you are one of his wives, right?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Happily, he doesn’t know how bad off he is with me–and I intend that he never will.”

Life came back into Adam’s eyes with a wicked glint, and I saw a hint of his dimple. Better, I thought, better.

Christy knew she’d lost control of the scene. Her eyes narrowed at me, and she lost the tears. “Juan came after me because of Adam.”

“You slept with a complete stranger,” I said. “Not Adam’s fault you”–Jesse had come down the stairs, with Ben and Darryl trailing behind her, so I didn’t call Christy a slut–”made a poor choice.”

“He was a friend of my best friend,” she said. “Rich, charming, and handsome, he wasn’t a ‘complete stranger.’ I had no way to tell that he was monster.”

“You didn’t know enough about him for Warren to find him. You didn’t know where he lived, what country he was from. I bet you didn’t even check to see if he was married or not before you chased after him. How long did you know him before you hoped into bed with him? An hour?”

It probably wasn’t fair to use what Jesse had told em about her mother’s dating habits against Christy, but she hadn’t been playing fair, either. The tears had been cheating, and when she’d realized just how many of the pack had started to filter into the kitchen behind her, she would doubtless use them again.

“He approached me,” she said defensively–not to mention falsely.

“Are you stupid? How long did you live with the wolves?” I asked her incredulously. “You do know that most of the people in this room can tell that you are lying, right?”

Stupid. She wasn’t stupid, just self-absorbed and unwise. She didn’t like people thinking badly of her, so she lied.

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)


ORDER A COPY: Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: March 5, 2013
Paperback: 340 pages

Rating:  5 stars


Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman – the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack – has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more. After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam – or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted. Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.


Mercy would rather face down a vampire seethe than take Jesse Black Friday shopping, but she’s trying to be a good stepmother after Jesse’s mother told her she wouldn’t be around for Thanksgiving. If they stayed home, they wouldn’t be trying to get into the congested mall. If they had stayed home, they wouldn’t have gotten into a car accident. If they stayed home, they would have been captured with the rest of the pack when the government mercenaries came storming in the door.

In Frost Burned, the death of Mercy’s beloved VW Rabbit is the least of her problems. After the accident, she can’t reach any of the pack to pick them up. Someone has taken the pack and all she can feel through her mating bonds is Adam’s rage and pain.

Ben makes it out of the house, and on orders from Adam, he is sent to find Mercy and Jesse and keep them safe. Mercy needs more than just an injured wolf if she is going to locate the pack but she can’t get any help from Zee or the fae. The fae and the government are at war and all of the fae have been ordered back to the reservations which have ‘disappeared’ due to glamour and magic.

They found the pack through the phones, even the ones who weren’t ‘out,’ so she can’t even get Bran’s help without sending someone to Montana.

Mercy needs to go hunting but first she has to get Jesse somewhere safe. Then she has to find out if any other members of the pack or their families are in trouble.

Someone is trying to take out the pack so they can take over the Tri-Cities. Mercy was shocked by the attack on the pack, but what is more surprising is who really is behind it. Mercy will have to fight to keep the Tri-Cities from falling into the wrong preternatural hands.

THOUGHTS:
This was the first book that changes POV between Mercy and Adam so that we can see what is happening to the pack which was an interesting twist. Also interesting was the war between the fae and the U.S. government. Mercy has earned many new enemies, but also a number of important fae owed Mercy a favor. Now that she could have used help, the only people she could look to were Stefan (who Mercy helped over his depression) and Zee’s son Tad, who is half-fae and not required to return to the reservation.

There was a reference in the jacket to the big surprise of who helps free the pack. What I found more surprising was why the pack was taken in the first place.

Mercy is also hit by more fae magic which affects her personality. I am quite surprised that she hasn’t turned into a fae artifact destroying machine. Vampire magic doesn’t affect her, but fae magic is kicking her butt.

Mercy begins to suspect that her bond with Stefan wasn’t destroyed after bonding with the pack and she isn’t sure how happy she is to find out that she has more than just Adam and the pack in her head.


Favorite Scene:

We went on like that. Him touching a cut, a bruise, a bump, and I’d tell him what happened.

When he was finished, he put his forehead on my shoulder and pulled me hard against him. “You’ll be the death of me,” he told me. “I could wish you less bold, less brave–less driven by right and wrong.”

“Too bad for you,” I commiserated. “I know it’s rough. My husband tried to kill himself to save the pack, you know. And earlier today, he faced down a fae he knew nothing about–and some of the fae are forces of nature.”

“My wife was going to fight him,” explained Adam. “I had to protect him from that.”

I laughed.

“You know what Jesse’s mother would have done if the feds came and took the pack while she was my wife?” he asked.

“File for divorce,” I hypothesized.

It was his turn to laugh. “Point to you. And then she would go to everyone she knew and tell them how awful her life was, how people expected too much of her. Do you know what my second wife did?”

“Got beaten up and ran in circles mostly while you rescued yourself,” I told him.

“She cared for the pack that was left,” he said. “She got my child to safety. She got word to Bran–who sent help. She stepped between my child and those who would harm her.”

I snorted. “Sounds like a paragon.”

“She saved my life and gave me strength to save the rest of the pack.” He heaved a sigh and pulled back so he could look at me. “And I have this urge to turn you over my knee and bruise your butt so that you do exactly what my first wife did.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “You ever lay a hand on me and you better never go to sleep again.”

He laughed, sat down on the carpeted floor more as though he just couldn’t stand up anymore than as if he’d actually made the decision to sit, and laughed some more. He was very, very tired–but he had just threatened to spank me, so he got no sympathy from me. I folded my arms.

He wiped his eyes with his thumb and looked up at me. His laughter had died altogether. “You don’t know how fragile you are, Mercy. The last time we got into trouble, you spend months in a wheelchair. You fight as long and as hard as any werewolf, without any of the weapons we’ve been given. You are smart. You are careful. And you’ve been very, very lucky. And that scares me more than any springgand carrying one of Zee’s swords or a Cantrip zealot armed with silver. Luck runs out.”

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