Killer Instincts Series 1-3 by Elle Kennedy -a review

Killer Instincts Series 1-3 by Elle Kennedy-a review

Killer Instincts 1 to 3


(Killer Instincts #1)
by Elle Kennedy
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense / / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 1, 2012

Dangerous. Ruthless. Savage. And she’s the good guy.

Abby Sinclair had a desperate childhood until she was rescued and adopted by a retired army ranger who molded her into a master of self-defense. Now, she’s a cunning and fearless assassin thrust into assignment after dangerous assignment, using everything she has-nerve, resilience, strength, sex-to come out on top. Her only rule: trust no one.

Abby’s latest assignment is in Columbia: go undercover and snuff out a dangerous arms dealer active in the underground sex trade. But when Abby purposely blows her cover in a last-ditch attempt to free the helpless victims, deadly mercenary Kane Woodland is recruited as back-up. His mission: get Abby out of that hell hole.

The last thing Kane expects is to feel a primal attraction for Abby. But when she convinces him to join her on her perilous mission, their newfound passion could put the lives of their whole team at risk.


REVIEW: MIDNIGHT RESCUE is the first installment in Elle Kennedy’s adult, contemporary Killer Instincts military, romantic suspense series focusing on a group of highly trained men and women who go deep undercover to get the job done. This is assassin specialist Abby Sinclair and mercenary Kane Woodland’s storyline.

Told from several third person perspectives MIDNIGHT RESCUE focuses on the rescue of Abby Sinclair and a group of adolescent teen girls about to be auctioned off as sexual slaves. Abby is an alpha female; a warrior whose cold façade is as cold as her heart, and she isn’t afraid to use her body to get what she wants. Hoping to find the location of the young girls, Abby reveals her undercover operation to the Columbian in charge, and finds herself the victim of torture and abuse. Enter Kane Woodland, and his fellow team members who make it their business to rescue Abby, not only from her captors but from herself.

The storyline follows Abby’s rescue and recovery, the plans to extricate the young girls, and the building relationship between Abby and Kane Woodland. The only problem-Abby doesn’t do nice; doesn’t do relationships; and doesn’t do love. Everything about Abby is emotionally distant, and in this she is willing to sacrifice herself to save the others. Abby’s past is mired in physical and sexual abuse, and herein lies the crux of the heroine’s personality.

The secondary and supporting characters are engaging, colorful and control a good portion of the storyline. We are introduced to all of Kane’s fellow team members who, like Kane, are specially trained mercenaries skilled in combat and rescue but it is apparent that each alpha male has a dark and tormented past; Abby’s mentor and superior Noelle, as well as Isabel Roma who goes under cover with Kane’s broken and guilt ridden teammate Trevor Callaghan. Isabel and Trevor’s storyline will be told in book three-Midnight Games.

MIDNIGHT RESCUE is a well written, graphically violent storyline with rape, torture, child sex trade, suicide and murder. Elle Kennedy goes for the jugular with her no nonsense story where nothing is off limits including the emotional violation of the human psyche. I am not sure if the author is going for shock value or sensationalism but Kennedy’s characters have not had an easy life.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley


(Killer Instincts #2)
by Elle Kennedy
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense / / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 5, 2014

She’s smart, seductive, and in way over her head.
He’s her only way out.

An undercover DEA agent has gone off the radar. Suspecting an internal mole, the government needs Luke Dubois and his elite team of operatives to recover their man, and the New Orleans native thinks he’s found his way inside the dark underbelly of Manhattan: Olivia Taylor, the girlfriend of a mob boss and the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on. His new mission objective? Get past Olivia’s defenses and convince her to take a chance—on him.

All Olivia wanted was to finish law school and live a normal life, but that dream was shattered when one dangerous night put her deeply in a mobster’s debt. Now Luke and his team will help her escape—in exchange for intel on the missing agent. But Olivia doesn’t anticipate her intense attraction to the reckless Louisiana charmer or that she’ll be forced to risk everything—including her heart.


REVIEW: MIDNIGHT ALIAS is the second installment in Elle Kennedy’s contemporary, adult Killer Instincts romantic, suspense series focusing on an elite group of highly trained men and women who are called into action when no one else can get the job done. This is New Orleans’s native/former Navy SEAL Luke Dubois and Olivia Taylor’s storyline. MIDNIGHT ALIAS can be read as a stand alone; some of the previous storyline information is revealed where necessary.

Told from several third person points of view MIDNIGHT ALIAS fast forwards the series six months and follows the search for a missing DEA agent whose last know whereabouts placed him at a strip club fronting for a drug smuggling operation. Luke and his fellow team members have not been able to locate the missing agent but Luke finds himself attracted to a beautiful stripper whose role and character are out of place at the club. What ensues is a building relationship between our leading couple, one Luke hopes to use in ferreting out some information about what goes on behind the scenes at the club.

The relationship between Luke and Olivia is slow to build. Luke’s attraction to Olivia is immediate but Olivia is in no position to fall into Luke’s embrace. Our heroine has found herself in debt to the local mob and her mother’s health is dependent upon Olivia’s continued work. Luke and his team will find themselves pulled deeper into an undercover operation where not only do they discover the whereabouts of the DEA agent but put a plan into motion to take down the local drug cartel. There is some definite sexual tension between Olivia and Luke.

MIDNIGHT ALIAS is a suspense filled storyline with an ensemble cast of characters whose own stories are building throughout the series. Luke’s team of fellow mercenaries, headed by ex Ranger Jim Morgan, have set up shop in Mexico waiting for their next assignment that will place each man and woman on the frontline of potential danger and death. Derek or D as he is called is battling some personal demons and in this his character is about to self destruct or implode. Noelle’s team of female assassins is virtually invisible but Isabel does play a much larger role throughout the story. Unlike the previous storyline MIDNIGHT ALIAS is not as graphically or sexually violent. There are scenes of violence and abuse but the details are limited and mostly in the background; the destructive nature of drugs, drug smuggling and the sex trade does make for some interesting scenarios. Isabel and Trevor’s storyline continues to build and the epilogue points to a dangerous assignment for our female assassin.

MIDNIGHT ALIAS is another well written, intriguing and engaging storyline of suspense and romance. The majority of the action takes place in the final pages of the story as the mercenaries try to uncover the truth about the missing DEA agent. Elle Kennedy has caught my attention with her amazing characters and stories.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.


(Killer Instincts #3)
by Elle Kennedy
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense / / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

About the book: Release Date August 6, 2013

She wears a thousand deadly identities. He sees through them all.

A master of disguise, Isabel Roma spends her life pretending to be other women. Normally, her emotions are reined in tight—but sexy mercenary Trevor Callaghan has a knack for getting under her skin. The elite operative’s quiet strength and raw magnetism affect her in ways she’s never felt before, a distraction that can quickly turn deadly in their dangerous line of work.

After putting his tragic past behind him, Trevor is ready to focus on his future—and he damn well intends for Isabel to be in it. When their entire operation is thrown into chaos, Trevor enlists Isabel’s talent for deception. And as they attempt to save their team in a world where the stakes are high and the danger is grave, Trevor must convince Isabel that the woman beneath all the disguises is the one worth having.


REVIEW: MIDNIGHT GAMES is the third installment of Elle Kennedy’s contemporary, adult Killer Instincts romantic suspense series focusing on an elite group of highly trained men and women-mercenaries for hire. This is Trevor Callaghan and Isabel Roma’s storyline-one that has been building since book one. MIDNIGHT GAMES can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and character history I suggest reading the series in order.

Told from several third person points of view MIDNIGHT GAMES, advancing the series approximately six month, finds ex Ranger and head of the mercenary team Jim Morgan missing. Left in charge, Trevor sets into motion a plan, with the help of Noelle’s collection of female assassins including the woman who has stolen his heart, to locate their missing leader. The team will soon find themselves on the receiving end of a vicious and deadly attack leaving several dead, a grieving widower, and Trevor and Isabel fighting their attraction to one another. Going into hiding isn’t possible, when the team must search for the man in charge.

The relationship and attraction between Trevor and Isabel began in book one MIDNIGHT RESCUE wherein a grieving Trevor is unable to come to grips with the death of his fiancée. Guilt finds Trevor taking on suicide missions where he hopes to be on the receiving end of a sniper’s bullet. Time and thoughts of Isabel Roma have Trevor looking towards the future but Isabel is determined to keep away. Their latest assignment will find Isabel on the prowl with a mysterious casino owner, and Trevor fighting the urge to jump in and save the day.

Once again, like the previous two storylines, MIDNIGHT GAMES is an ensemble story that not only focuses on the current premise but sets into motion upcoming storylines. There is a definite history between Noelle and Jim, and Derek aka D is not the man we believe him to be. We are also introduced to Juliet and Paige-two of Isabel’s teammates, as well as all the introduction of a potential new team of mercenaries-currently known as Team B.

The world building continues to focus on the mercenary –for-hire premise as Jim Morgan’s team of retired SEALS, Rangers, Marines and soldiers take on the dirty jobs where crossing the line is all in a day’s work. From drug lords to human trafficking; murder for hire and undercover operations, nothing is off limits in the Killer Instincts series. There is violence and murder; kidnappings and threats but the graphic details are limited and mostly implied.

The reader is pulled into an action packed, suspense filled story where the past meets the present but not before travelling a road of twists and turns. Elle Kennedy teases with her slow reveal of character development, background histories, and everyone’s connection to everyone else. There is plenty of tension you can cut with a knife.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviews by Sandy


At the Spy’s Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle – a Review

At the Spy’s Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle – a Review


At the Spy's PleasureAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Every gentleman has his secrets…

London 1821

After years of marriage to a selfish man who preferred gambling to his young bride, Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell, now seeks what she was long denied-a satisfying lover. Naturally, a lady needs a list of eligible candidates, which doesn’t include the dangerously handsome (if far too arrogant) Gareth Ramsey…until he steals a sinful kiss from Jane’s all-too-willing lips.

Reputed as an arrogant barrister, Gareth’s real occupation is as a spy in the service of His Majesty, and his suspect is on Jane’s list of possible lovers. With her life in danger, there’s no safer place for Jane than with him-and in his bed. But Jane is as distracting as she is infuriating, and keeping her by his side while he pursues his mission might just endanger them both…


Tina Gabrielle has done it again. At the Spy’s Pleasure is book 2 of her In the Crown’s Secret Service series and is just as intriguing a read as her first book A Spy Unmasked. I’m really enjoying this series by Tina for the way she writes, creates her characters, builds a world filled with mystery, intrigue, danger, suspense, and keeps me turning page after page waiting to see what’s going to happen next.

We first met both Jane and Gareth in the first book, but they played the roles of secondary characters and had little interaction with each other. However, even though their interaction was brief, you could feel something brewing between. What was brewing between Jane and Gareth in the first book carries over into At the Spy’s Pleasure and goes from brewing, to percolating, to smoldering. Ms. Gabrielle writes a very steamy and passionate romance for these two would be lovers and I adored every minute. Jane and Gareth are not only passionate, but fun and playful with each other and also understand one another very well. They are very well matched, but both refuse to see just how perfect they are together until it’s almost too late. Watching their relationship grow and seeing their feelings change for one another as Gareth continues his mission, makes the reader wonder what will happen should Jane find out the truth. Like any well written romantic story, the lady love always finds out the truth and then the fun really begins.

I quite enjoyed both Gareth and Jane. Each are well written, developed characters who were able to carry the story all on their own. However, we do have a supporting cast who aid the reader in learning more about our couple. Gareth had my toes curling and me swooning from his first scene. He’s the type of character that has that commanding presence that makes one stand up and take notice. He’s handsome, intelligent, well versed, charming, knows how to treat a lady, and has a dangerous and mysterious job. Who wouldn’t fall for a man like that. Plus, on top of all that, as I read this story, Gareth’s voice to me was that deep sexy baritone range that had me sighing every time he spoke to Jane. His voice reminded me of someone in a tv show or movie but for the life of me I can’t place which male actor it is. I shall keep thinking and get back to you when it comes to me.

As for Jane, she’s a treat of a character for an historical romance. I like that she’s not our typical lady of the times, but instead has decided to take command of her own life and do with it as she pleases and not what society dictates she should do. Deciding she wants to take on lovers after what she endured first from her husband and then after his suicide is fun to watch. I enjoyed the scene where she’s at a ball and scoping out possible lovers. It reminded me of my younger days going to the bars and scoping out the guys. The scene had me LOL as she talked about her possibilities with her friend. Oh the things we do when in come’s to the opposite sex. 😉

I’d say Tina Gabrielle has another hit on her hands. At the Spy’s Pleasure is a fun, passionate and very steamy read. Gareth and Jane pull the reader into their story, and keep your interest to the very end. The cast of secondary characters helps to add another layer to their story and give us more insight into our hero and heroine. Ms. Gabrielle seems to have a knack for the historical romance genre and proves it to us once again. She manages to always make me feel as though I’m a part of the cast playing the part of voyeur who is privy to secretive information, and is just waiting to see when the others will find out what I already know. I can’t wait for Tina to continue with this series, fingers crossed that she will.

Until then, happy reading everyone.

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Publisher


Rebel Ink (Wicked Ink Chronicles 3) by Laura Wright-a review

REBEL INK (Wicked Ink Chronicle #3) by Laura Wright-a review

Rebel Ink / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 26, 2015


Hot chicks and cool ink have been my life, my everything, for the past five years. But with one phone call that bliss is totally shot to shit. Don’t want to hear it. Don’t want to deal with it. But oh yeah, it’s coming for me. The motherfucking past. And who’s along for the ride? You’re never gonna believe it. That’s right, another blast from my past. The one and only rejection. Blondie. Hey…maybe it’s not all bad. Maybe I can finally get her – legs up and back to the mattress, that is.


Yes, I’m getting married. And yes, it’s to ‘Buttons.’ I’m not embarrassed and I don’t think it’s a failure. Unfortunately, my bestie doesn’t agree. In fact, she thinks she has to rescue me. But ladies and gents, I’m beyond help. I’m cooked. I just want to fade into the Santa Barbara’s overly polished woodwork. If only a gorgeous tatted, foul-mouthed problem from my past would stop showing up and showing off what I’m never going to allow myself to have.


REVIEW: REBEL INK is the third novella in Laura Wright’s new adult, contemporary Wicked Ink Chronicles romance series. This is tattoo artist Vincent and Lisa’s storyline. Vincent and Lisa were first revealed to the reader in Rush and Addie’s introductory story First Ink. Lisa is Addie’s best friend: Vincent works for Rush at Wicked Ink. REBEL INK can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual first person points of view (Lisa and Vincent) as well as a couple of chapters from Vincent’s anonymous one-night stands, REBEL INK focuses on Lisa and Vincent’s second chance, of sorts, for two people who one year earlier spent an awkward night together. Fast forward where Lisa is now engaged to a man she does not love; and Vincent has never forgotten the one who got away.

Five days before her marriage to ‘Buttons’ Lisa finds herself in Vegas, with her bestie Addie, and what happens in Vegas apparently ends up in Minnesota. A night of drinking finds Lisa on a private plane to nowhere with Vincent- for his parent’s anniversary celebration- a celebration that Vincent is reluctant to attend.

Vincent is a man-whore; he buries his demons with anonymous sex, one night stands and in this Lisa sees below the surface. Vincent is damaged; someone or something has destroyed Vincent’s soul, and Lisa is the woman who is willing to take the chance on a man who can’t see beyond his dark and dangerous past.

REBEL INK is a storyline with graphic language; Vincent pulls no punches when it comes to telling it like it is and in this, there are some cringe worthy comments from a man who hides his pain with sex, emotional withdrawal and a bad attitude. Lisa was a bit of a doormat before her latest adventure with Vincent, and in this, Lisa is the perfect match and other half to Vincent’s healing soul.

Laura Wright pulls the reader into a heartbreaking, revealing and hopeful storyline about two people whose lives could not have been any different but so much the same. REBEL INK is a character driven novella where the past is revealed through reflection, thoughts and first hand accounts. The world building continues to focus on the people of Wicked Ink-their lives, their loves, and their possible futures. REBEL INK is an intense, provocative and passionate storyline that ends with a happily ever after for now-there is more Lisa and Vincent to be told.

Copy supplied by Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

First Ink
Wicked Ink Chronicles #1
by Laura Wright
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: September 2013

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of FIRST INK

First Ink.99cents special: / /

NOTE: First Ink is also available in the WICKED FIRSTS anthology / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO

ABOUT THE BOOK: Released September 2013


Women in his bed, celebs and rockers in his chair and a killer bank account at his disposal, life is pretty freaking swell. Then she walks back into it again. With her mismatched eyes, perfect pink mouth and a laugh that still haunts him, she gave him nothing but marvelous misery. Now she wants his hands on her again. Not for pleasure, but for pain. For Ink. A bleeding heart to match the one she left him with five years ago.


She can’t forget him. No matter how hard she’s tried. The pain she caused him in the past eats at her daily, and she can’t move on with her life. But she has a plan, a hope for redemption – a way for him to take his revenge out on her flesh. But it’ll only work if he lets her inside his exclusive world, under his famous artist’s needle and into his bed—and heart-once again.

*First Ink can also be found in the Wicked Firsts Anthology released August 19, 2013.*


Shattered Ink
Wicked Ink Chronicles #2
by Laura Wright
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: October 15, 2013

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of SHATTERED INK

Shattered Ink.99cents at these e-retailers: / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 15, 2013

She is totally and utterly in love. She can’t focus, can’t sleep. She doesn’t want to hang out with friends, doesn’t even care if she graduates from college in a week. All she wants is Rush, and her obsession for him is scaring her. Unable to handle the fear that brings up ugly memories of being abandoned as a child, Addison withdraws to protect herself. But that may backfire when an old flame of Rush’s reappears in his life.

Addison is the only woman he wants in his bed. Hell, he’s inked her name into his skin, and he plans on asking her to move in with him. Problem is, she’s acting like she doesn’t feel the same way about him. It’s like something’s changed between them. And when an old girlfriend comes back into the picture – stirring up memories and fears about his past – Rush knows that if he and Addison are ever going to have a chance at happiness, it’s time to shatter the walls between them once and for all.


Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss by Jennifer Hayward – a Review

Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss by Jennifer Hayward – a Review


tempted by her billionaire bossAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Francesca Masseria is mortified. On her first day working for renowned tycoon Harrison Grant, she accidentally hits the panic button and watches in horror as security puts her boss in handcuffs! Normally poised and efficient, Harrison’s enigmatic presence leaves Francesca flustered. 

Harrison is furious. He can’t afford any distractions with a high-stakes deal on the table, and his new assistant is as diverting for her beauty as her incompetence! He should fire her, but she’s determined to make up for their disastrous meeting by anticipating his every need. Except, what Harrison’s beginning to want from Francesca isn’t part of her job description!




Tempted by her Billionaire Boss by Jennifer Hayward begins just as the blurb states…..with her mortified. Once the first crisis is averted, she and Harrison decide to start anew the next morning. Francesca (Frankie) can’t believe that her boss, Coburn who is Harrison’s brother, has sent her over to work for Harrison. He has a reputation as being a very demanding boss, as well as a bit of a playboy, although the latter will not be an issue. She can’t wait to finish her tenure with Harrison and return to work for Coburn….if she lasts that long.

Harrison is furious with his brother and can’t believe that he has taken it upon himself to assign Frankie as his new assistant. Even though they’re brothers, they have not been close for years since the death of their father, who committed suicide. Coburn assures Harrison that she is more than capable, and even though Harrison is not convinced, he decides to take Frankie with him on a very important overseas trip to see if she can earn her keep. He has a plan in place to buy up certain companies and then cut the man off at the knees that he blames for his father’s death. To say he is hell bent on revenge is a slight understatement.

Once Harrison and Frankie arrive overseas, it doesn’t take him long to see what an asset she is, as well see that she is a distraction for him. Of course, they share a night of passion that makes things awkward and they both vow it’ll never happen again. Riiiiight. However, Frankie is determined to make Harrison see that he is a good man and when he assures her that she’s wrong, he ends up pushing her away and breaking her heart. Frankie is not a quitter though. She continues to do her job, counting down the days until she is back working for Coburn. And when things are set in motion for Harrison to finally see his revenge through to fruition, why is Frankie all he can think about? Will he finally dole out his revenge? Or, was Frankie right all along……………..

Jennifer Hayward has once again written a wonderful story that begins with the first word and leaves you turning the pages faster and faster. Tempted by her Billionaire Boss is written in a way that leaves you clamoring for more. Hayward doesn’t waste time or words in the stories she writes. Her world building is superb and you feel as you actually get to know her characters. I loved Frankie! She is determined and very independent. And, who couldn’t love Sebastian? He’s driven and has a great big heart, even though it takes a minute for us to see it. Tempted by her Billionaire Boss is ultimately a story about understanding and coming to terms with ghosts of the past in order to have the future that you deserve. I have to tell y’all that I’d read a phonebook written by Jennifer Hayward. I absolutely adore her books. Well done, Jennifer Hayward! Very well done!!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Author


Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh Promotion & Giveaway

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh Promotion & Giveaway


Slave to Sensation new cover

Amazon US  / Amazon UK:  /  B&N  / Kobo


Next week Shards of Hope, Nalini Singh‘s 14th book in her fantastic Psy-Changeling series will be released.  You have heard us rave about this series, and now you if you have not started this series, below is a chance to win a copy of the first book, Slave to Sensation, which has a brand new cover.


Slave to Sensation promo


In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


Review (reprint from 3/12)

Slave to Sensation is the first book in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series.  I have to say I was a late comer to this series.  I have read other books by Nalini, and I had this series on my huge TBR list.  After reading Slave to Sensation, which I will review shortly, I am totally hooked, and will place this on the top of my list.  What a start for a series.  Anyone who can hook me in immediately, as well as this being her first book in the series, belongs at the top of the list of authors I must read….*pencils in Nalini Singh to the top of the list* 

Slave to Sensation takes place in a future world, consisting of Psy’s, Changelings, and Humans.  Singh tells us early on that the Psy’s are the dominant species, as they have various mind control abilities, as well as being totally emotionless and arrogant.  They are an authoritarian race, that methodically governs Earth.  The Changelings, who are shape shifters, who have similar emotions as humans, and share a common bond of hating the Psy’s.  They all co exist together, though times are now changing. 

Lucas Hunter, who is the alpha leader of the DarkRiver Leopard Pack, is out to avenge the brutal murder of one of his pack members.  He sets about to offer a real estate business arrangement with one of the top and most dangerous  Psy’s, Nikita Duncan , who brings her daughter, Sascha into the meetings.  Lucas intends to try and in filter the PsyNet by using  Sascha to get information on finding the serial killer, before all Changelings will declare war on the Psy’s. 

Sascha Duncan isn’t like the other Psy’s.  She has lived all her life in fear, that she would be discovered as a broken Psy.  Though she is a Cardinal Psy, which is one of the strongest mentally, she was told early on that she had no special psychic ability, and has fought to hide that she has emotional reactions.   Sascha knows that if she is discovered to be flawed, she will be sent to rehabilitation, where they would reprogram her to become mindless.  But her mental shields that she has used to hide her flaws, has become more difficult to control. 

Lucas and Sascha work together on the business arrangement, and Lucas quickly begins to sense that Sascha is not the normal Psy.  Something about her is different.  His panther changeling senses it too.   Sascha finds herself feeling emotions she has never had, an attraction to Lucas.  She fights to control these feelings, and everynight when she goes home, she needs to build up her defenses again, to face her mother, as well as other Psy, who question her about the changelings.  Sascha starts having realistic dreams at night of Lucas, which turn very sexual, and what she doesn’t know is Lucas sees her in the same dream, and they both find themselves drawn to each other, despite the differences.  During the day, Sascha hides her dreams from Lucas, who unbeknownst to her, is totally aware of them. 

What I loved the most was watching Sascha change from a cold business woman, who has never experienced love, sex, sensations into a wonderful caring person.  Just watching the change in her was so well done.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this, even had fun with Sascha playing with the young cubs.  Cute.    Lucas who hates Psy’s as do all Changelings, knows that she is different, and has fallen in love with her, knowing that she is his mate, despite everything.   His pack, at first finds it difficult to deal with Sascha, but when she unknowingly helps some of them with their own deep emotions, they too begin to see that she is different.  It is one of these encounters that open Sascha eyes as to why the Psy’s are so hated, and learns more about the serial killer, whom the changelings feel the Psy’s are hiding.  As her feelings continue to grow, and become more apparent to herself, and the changelings, Sascha agrees to help them find the killer.   DarkRiver makes an alliance with SnowDancer, a Wolf changeling pack to work with them to help Sascha trap the killer. 

It was a great exciting ending, with Sascha’s life at risk, possible war on the horizon, and surprises and twists along the way.  I loved this book, it reached out to me from the start, and never let go.  I could not put it down.  I enjoyed the characters that Singh introduces us to, especially the changelings from both packs.  I loved Lucas and Sascha together, as their romance sizzled, especially as she discovered all the sensations she missed all of her life.  I can’t wait to continue this series, and find out which characters will be in the forthcoming books.  Thank you, Nalini Singh, for this wonderful series.

Reviewed by Barb


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Let It Ride/Rocky Ride by Vivian Arend-reviews

Let It Ride / Rocky Ride by Vivian Arend-reviews

Thompson and Sons

(Thompson and Sons #3/Rocky Mountain House #10)
by Vivian Arend
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Let It RideABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 10, 2015 / / B&N / KOBO /

He’s her rock in the midst of the storm

When Maggie Ward’s world is torn apart by sudden tragedy, the only thing that makes her days bearable is Clay Thompson’s unwavering presence. He’s protective, caring, and everything she could ask for in a friend. But when she finds herself longing for more than friendship, it will take a little seduction to convince the stubborn mechanic she’s ready to start living again.

She’s his heart, whether he knows it or not

Clay Thompson’s got the taking-care-of-others business down pat, only he’s never faced this particular challenge before—the one woman he’s always wanted is unexpectedly his to care for. Suddenly it’s not just responsibility driving him, but a wild desire to make Maggie truly his. But following his heart might mean sacrificing the family he’s held together for years.


REVIEW:  LET IT RIDE is the fourth installment in Vivian Arend’s adult, contemporary Thompson and Sons erotic romance series focusing on the Thompson family of Alberta Canada. This is mechanic Clay Thompson, and Maggie Ward’s storyline-a friends to lovers story where two people are brought together through grief and loss.

Told from third person point of view LET IT RIDE focuses on the building relationship between Clay and Maggie following the death of Maggie’s husband Cameron. Cameron was one of Clay’s best friends, and Clay has been attracted to Maggie since the first time they met. What ensues is a mutual friendship between two people whose lives were affected by the death of someone they loved. But small town minds and small town gossip find our couple facing an uncertain future when guilt follows them wherever they go. While Maggie focuses on the present, Clay focuses on the gossip and judgmental eyes-including those of his widowed father.

The relationship between Clay and Maggie is one of friends to lovers. With the holidays approaching Clay and his family want to ensure that Maggie is never alone. As the storyline builds, so too does the relationship pushing Maggie and Clay into another realm of their relationship. The $ex scenes are intimate and romantic but felt a little bit tame in comparison to the other storylines as Clay and Maggie’s relationship was handled with care in light of her husband’s death. It is impossible to put a timeline on grief and sorrow. Everyone struggles differently; everyone moves forward at a different rate and in this there are a few townsfolk who try to make life uncomfortable for Clay and Maggie’s new found love.

LET IT RIDE is a fast paced, romantic storyline with an ensemble cast of characters including all of the previous storyline couples and the Thompson family of siblings and mates. The storyline advances the series approximately nine to ten months wherein we are witness to two weddings and a look to the future for another couple. The youngest brother Troy Thompson’s life is in a bit of an uproar-his story will be told in A WILD RIDE-release date late 2015.

Vivian Arend blends loss and sorrow; friendship and love; letting go and moving forward. LET IT RIDE is sweet storyline without all of the angst and anxiety of walking away or second guessing what it is someone wants. Clay and Maggie are two mature adults who walk into their relationship knowing that life will not be easy, but losing someone you love, is much more difficult than falling in love.

Reading Order

1. Rocky Ride
1.5 Baby Be Mine
2. One Sexy Ride
3. Let It Ride
4. A Wild Ride

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


(Thompson and Sons #1/Rocky Mountain House #7)
by Vivian Arend
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Rocky RideABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 1, 2014

FREE ebook: / / B&N / KOBO /

He’s got a touch that’s hotter than hot

It took a hell of a lot of fast-talking and more than a few speeding tickets before Mitch Thompson convinced Constable Anna Coleman to take him for a ride. Only now that she’s loosened off her stiff RCMP uniform, it’s not nearly enough. Their secret sexual escapades are mind-blowing, but Mitch wants more than her body—he wants her heart.

Her world could go up in flames

It’s a dangerous road to walk, and Anna doesn’t know how far she can safely tread. Bad boy Mitch may have lured her wild side out to play, but giving in to their increasingly passionate desires could endanger her very civilized career. Somewhere between yearning and obsession there has to be a balance point.

Or they’re both going to get burned.


REVIEW: ROCKY RIDE is the first installment in Vivian Arend’s adult, contemporary Thompson and Sons erotic romance series-a spin off from her Rocky Mountain House Series (Six Pack Ranch). This is RCMP officer Anna Coleman, and tattooed auto mechanic Mitch Thompson’s storyline. The Thompson and Sons series will focus on the Thompson Family.

Told from third person point of view ROCKY RIDE follows the ‘friends with benefits’ building relationship between Mitch and Anna-a story that finds Anna in direct conflict with a couple of her fellow officers. Mitch is the local mechanic; a good boy who looks bad-tattooed, pierced and all alpha male. Anna and Mitch’s relationship had remained secret; behind closed doors but Mitch wanted more. Mitch wanted to take their relationship public but in doing so caught the attention of the RCMP. ROCKY RIDE is a story about preconceived notions; judging someone based on appearances; and a betrayal that Anna will seek revenge in the coldest of ways. Small town life never looked so spiteful.

The relationship between our leading couple is erotic, seductive, provocative and intense. Their sexual energy is palpable; their attraction to one another off the charts; their need for one another finds our couple straddling the line of public displays. Mitch and Anna like to play games both in and out of the bedroom; and Mitch adds a little kink into their sexual fun with a little bit of bondage and discipline. A slight warning: there is one scene of voyeurism that does not quite lead to ménage, but for all intents and purposes, this particular part of the storyline felt disconnected and unnecessary. The application and intent was lost on this reader. Perhaps it was used to provoke a reaction or reader shock value.

The ensemble storyline includes many of the original series-ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE-characters and couples. ROCKY RIDE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous series and storylines is revealed where necessary. Vivian Arend’s series focuses on the majestic Rocky Mountains of Canada-a perfect backdrop for any romance series.

ROCKY RIDE is an enjoyable read with a little bit of kinky sex, romance, friendship and love. There are moments of betrayal and revenge; heartbreak and sorrow. Mitch and Anna will get their happily ever after but the road to happiness is not without some difficult times.

Reviewed by Sandy


Shadows (Black Raven #1) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Shadows (Black Raven #1) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Shadows Banner

Black Raven Series #1
by Stella Barcelona
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic suspense
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Shadows / / B&N / The Book Depository


Cataclysm. Now. Run.

A cryptic, urgent text message turns the peaceful life Skye Barrows has created for herself and her sister into chaos. She must follow her father’s instructions to the letter, but Sebastian Connelly is blocking her way. Telling Sebastian what she must do is not an option.

What He Doesn’t Know Will Get Them All Killed

When a prison break in the midst of a security system upgrade threatens to destroy the reputation of Sebastian’s company, Black Raven Private Security Contractors, he goes on the hunt for escaped prisoner Richard Barrows – a delusional and paranoid computer software genius. Sebastian’s mission: find Richard Barrows and return him to prison, but stonewalled by Skye, who refuses to give him answers, and with the added complication of her special needs sister, Sebastian finds himself always a step or two behind vicious killers.

Nothing About This Case is Normal

For Sebastian, it should be simple, but this case will test him in ways he never imagined. As probing interrogation becomes urgent protection, the search for Barrows forces Sebastian and Skye into a murky world of shadows and illusions.


Shadows begins with Skye Barrows receiving a text message that she’d hoped down to her very soul that she would never receive. Once her father had gone to prison, she had created a new life for herself and her special needs sister, Spring. One where they had assumed names and had ceased to exist as the world knew them: daughters of the famous, or infamous depending on your take, Richard Barrows. When Skye receives the text, she knows she has 24 hours to get to their safe house to await further instructions from her father. But, as she and her sister stop by the coffee house that they owned to allow Spring to stick to the schedule that she thrived on, she had no idea the turn their lives would take that fateful day. Spring’s dog, Candy, ran into the street and was almost hit. And, when a stranger scooped Candy into his arms to deliver her back to her owners, Skye somehow knew that things may not be as they appeared.

Spring insists that the nice stranger come into their coffee shop for some coffee and samples of some new treats they were working on, so he obliges. Sebastian soon approaches Skye and reveals that he knows who she is and that he needs information in order to locate her father. She refuses to cooperate, of course, and Sebastian issues an ultimatum and leaves. However, when Sebastian and one of his agents drive by the girls’ home, he very soon realizes that they are not the only ones after Skye and her sister. As they arrive back at the coffee shop, things have gone to hell……and quick. Strangers are in the process of abducting the girls, and it takes some quick thinking on Sebastian’s part to take the bad guys down. Once he has gotten the girls out of danger, he immediately gets on the phone with Black Ravens headquarters and things start happening. Fast. He knows that he has his work cut out for him with Skye, as she is NOT forthcoming with any helpful information, and Spring is so fragile that she can’t offer any information either.

When a safe house is arranged by the U.S. Marshals, Sebastian is ready to hand the girls over, only to head straight into an ambush. As he flees with Skye and her sister, Skye has no idea who she can trust and Sebastian is bound and determined that she will trust him. As mayhem ensues, Skye will have to make the ultimate decision: trust no one as her father has always told her, or trust in the one man who seems to truly have their best interest at heart. Oh, what a hard decision it is.

Shadows is an awesome story with so many twists and turns, so much mystery and intrigue, that I found myself questioning everyone at one point or another. Skye is an endearing heroine, although a little naïve about the amount of danger she and her sister are in. Spring is number one on her list and she will risk everything to keep her safe. Sebastian, whom we met in Barcelona’s first novel, Deceived, is your typical alpha male who at first is just doing a job, that ultimately turns into a wonderful game of cat and mouse with not only the bad buys, but with his feelings about Skye. I really enjoyed their chemistry, but I have to tell you, that I can NOT wait to read more about the secondary characters. The interaction between Sebastian and his team was awesome and Barcelona did a great job building the world in which they operate. However, if I’m being honest, it was a little overwhelming at times with all of the technical jargon that we are privy to as the information is gone over numerous times and I found myself glazing over at certain points. But, I digress. If you are looking for a series full of mystery, intrigue, crooked politicians and hot special agents, this is definitely a series you’ll want to read. I am so so so looking forward to the next installment. Very well done, Stella Barcelona!!!

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Series Spotlight

by Stella Barcelona
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Genre: adult, suspense, / / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository


ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 1, 2014

Their destinies have been set in motion by their ancestors.

Taylor Marlowe Bartholomew carries three of the most notable names in New Orleans society. She hoped to forge her own path in the world as an Assistant District Attorney, but that dream is dying as obligations pull her into the family shipbuilding business. In Taylor’s final days in the DA’s office, she receives a murder assignment that could unravel her perception of reality.

Ghosts of the past shadow every step they take.

Brandon Morrissey is haunted by demons that force him to keep his life simple and detached. He pours all of his energy into his thriving legal practice, until, overnight, he becomes the single father of an infant. For the sake of his son’s future, Brandon searches for a killer and faces the truth about his family’s unfortunate past.

Together they have to find the truth…before it’s too late.

Someone is willing to kill to use the past for their own ends. Thrust together, Brandon and Taylor have different views of their families’ intersecting histories. As they confront a sea of uncertainty, one thing is sure…no one is safe until they discover where the truth lies.


Guest Post

“Keeping the Storyline Real – When Writing Escapism”

I truly love all the different aspects of writing my romantic thrillers – Deceived (2014), Shadows (2015), and my work in progress, Jigsaw. When writing, I try to keep the storyline real, while still writing escapism-a story that will take readers on a colorful and fast-paced journey where they are able to forget real life. I try to accomplish this goal by incorporating just enough research to make the premise—which becomes the backdrop for the romance—unique, but also readily identifiable.

I spend countless hours doing research for my writing, yet very little of my research material makes it to the page. Why? Because details slow the pace and take away from the real stars of the show–characters and plot. I put in only enough research so that the story has verisimilitude, or the quality of seeming real. An example from television is “Person of Interest.” The premise of the show is that an advanced surveillance machine exists that identifies people at risk for violent crimes. In real life, we know techno-surveillance is pervasive, so the premise is readily identifiable. The show doesn’t focus on how the machine works, and I don’t care about those details. The show works, for me, because of the unique premise, the well-developed characters, and the high-stakes action.

My books also have readily identifiable themes. Deceived is a present-day mystery that is loosely based upon World War II history in New Orleans. Shadows has a technology driven mystery. Deceived required historic research, while Shadows involved analyzing current headlines and issues involving cyber data collection and assimilation. For both stories, research helped to formulate plot and breathe real life into the story structure. However, Deceived isn’t about World War II and Shadows isn’t about the intricacies of data assimilation technology. Deceived is about Taylor Bartholomew and Brandon Morrissey–and how they’re caught in a web of lies told by their ancestors. Shadows is about Sebastian Connelly and Skye Barrows–and how they’re at odds with each other as Sebastian hunts for Skye’s father, a cyber genius who has escaped from prison.

My stories offer escapism, with a touch of reality. I hope you enjoy them!

About The author

stella barcelonaFollow Stella:  Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Stella Barcelona, author of romantic suspense novels, has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. From her early days of reading, when she first escaped reality through the pages of a well-written novel, she knew that her daydreams needed an outlet, and she knew that her outlet would be writing.

In day to day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. Currently, Stella lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of sixteen years and two adorable papillons who believe that they are princesses. Stella loves to hear from readers on her Facebook page and can also be contacted through her website,, where there’s information on appearances, her next release, and exciting contests that you won’t want to miss! While she doesn’t have a lot of free time with her legal and writing careers battling for her every minute, she does enjoy any chance she and her husband get to go out on their boat. In addition, she attends conferences, workshops, and retreats for writers. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.


Stella is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of SHADOWS and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Stella Barcelona on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please FOLLOW us on TSU for an additional entry.

8. Giveaway open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from May 29 to June 2, 2015


The Likelihood of Lucy by Jenny Holiday – a Review

The Likelihood of Lucy by Jenny Holiday – a Review


The Likelihood of LucyAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

She would never bow to any man…

London, 1815

Trevor Bailey is on the cusp of opening the greatest hotel in London. His days as a gutter snipe are behind him, as he enjoys a life of wealth, society, and clandestine assignments as a spy in the service of the Crown. Until one tumultuous night churns up the past he’d long left behind…

Turned out by her employer for her radical beliefs, Lucy Greenleaf reaches out to the man who was once her most beloved friend. She never expected that the once-mischievous Trevor would be so handsome and gentleman-like and neither can deny the instant attraction.

But Lucy’s reformer ways pose a threat to the hotel’s future and his duties as a spy. Now Trevor must choose between his new life and the woman he’s always loved…



Thick as thieves to veritable strangers. Familiar yet not. Although cut from the same pilfering cloth (“a pair of Robin Hoods”), individual success was earned from hard work; nothing untoward. Then why are Trevor and Lucy so edgy around each other? This was no longer “thirteen-year-old Trevor, the one who sent her away”. No, with maturity came awareness. Oh, Ms. Holiday, how you make me swoon! I adored the Miss Mirren Mission (review available here) and jumped at The Likelihood of Lucy when Barb offered it to me. Jenny Holiday is a brilliant discovery. Her writing is fresh, humorous and simply impressive.

A governess position lost, her reformer ways clashing with her regency England employer, Lucy turns to long lost, but never forgotten, Trevor. He, the irreverent, loyal friend/partner of the Earl of Blackstone from book 1, is floored by Lucy’s presence and resumes responsibility for her well being like a second skin. Despite the zinging sensations running through her body, Lucy tamps down any romantic interest, convinced that she must remain independent to have any self-respect. My dear girl will learn that while love requires sacrifice, it doesn’t strip you of your essential self. A magnificent discovery awaits Lucy. Swoons I tell you. A love that was always meant to be story!

But our couple refuses the undeniable attraction. They throw themselves into a business relationship at The Jade, Trevor’s dream hotel. Proximity only makes things terribly tempting. A kiss (and a half, but yikes was it lip-biting exciting!) proves life-altering…to the extreme. Trevor’s feelings are so tumultuous, he overdoes it in the protection department.

“…it was what had gotten Lucy out of Seven Dials, and into a better life. He had done it before, and he could do it again.”

Don’t go jumping all over my man just yet! Perhaps he should have asked if Lucy required any saving (yeah, that would have gone over fabulously!) Nothing is good enough for Lucy, not even himself apparently, so Trevor tries to maintain distance for their own good. I for one did not appreciate the arm’s length, lol. You can only imagine Lucy’s distress when Trevor pulls back. He showed her stars (I saw them myself!)…and now he’s confusing her to no end. Trevor’s in so over his head, he’s doing all the wrong things for the right reasons.

I’ve expressed my utter joy for the love story, but Ms. Holiday layers her book with intriguing subplots of the murdering, spy-by-night, variety. Lucy’s proposition to Trevor…their closet scene…a proposition posed to Lucy…it’s all just so wonderful! Reformer issues are still at the heart and it’s inspiring to see Lucy embrace her intellectualism with supportive partners. Camaraderie enriches the depth of this book.

It’s no easy feat to write a second book. To be as well received is a triumph. Ms. Holiday has talent in spades – I loved The Likelihood of Lucy! Had I not had to participate in family dinners, I’d have devoured this non-stop. Good news is that there appears to be a book 3 in July! Neither title nor cover was revealed, I haven’t a clue as to who will be featured, but it’ll fit right in during my vacation. Kids won’t need me then, ha!

“A rogue female with reform on her mind. This way lies ruin, my friend.”

He should be so lucky. Read this series!

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher