Born of Vengeance by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

Born of Vengeance by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

 

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Description:
A fate worse than death . . .

Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.

Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman— the very sister of the woman who testified against him.

Major Ember Wyldestarrin joined the outlaw Tavali the day Kirovar fell into the hands of a tyrant, and she and her sister-team were left on an outpost to die under the barrage of enemy fire. The last thing she wants is to be involved in politics again. But the one thing she wants more than anything is revenge on the tyrant who murdered her parents and forced her and her sisters into exile. Carrying a secret she knows Bastien will annihilate her over, she must find some way to trust her former wingman before he catches on and kills her. Even so, treachery doesn’t come easy to a woman who took a loyalty oath to protect her homeworld and comrades-in-arms, especially when Bastien is much more to her than just a former wingman.

Yet as she tries to do right for her family, she learns that Bastien doesn’t just hold the key to the fate of Kirovar, he is vital to The Sentella-League war, and to The Tavali. If she doesn’t ensure he survives this mission, three nations fall, and time for all of them is quickly running out.

 

 

Review;

I’m going to start off by saying that Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my all time favourite authors and I have enjoyed all her stories to date. However, I seem to have mixed feelings over Born of Vengeance.  After reading Born of Legend I was hyped and ready for the next installment as I become quite intrigued by Bastien, and the position we found him in, in previous books.  Now after reading Bastien’s story I can’t help but feel a little cheated.  I was expecting more present day situation/events surrounding Bastien and Ember, but I felt like we got more back tracking and repetitive scenes/history from Hauk and Jullien(Dagger)’s books.  When we do finally get up to speed and join the present everything happens so fast that before I knew it I had the book read.  I was like, ‘that’s it, it can’t be, I want more, there needs to be more’.  Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the book, just wish there was more present day events.

Bastien is everything I hoped he would be and then some.  He’s a warrior who’s been to hell and back but somehow managed to hold onto his soul and humanity thanks to the love he still holds for Ember.  It’s that love that sustains him through his years as a Ravin, a criminal placed on the run by the League to be hunted and killed.  Bastien winds up seeking refuge on the planet Oksana where it plays havoc with communication and transmission devices.  He’s planned to hide out and wait out his Ravin sentence so that he can return to his planet Kirovar and seek revenge on Uncle Barnie as he likes to call him, and ex-wife Alura(Ember’s sister) over everything that’s happened to him.  Mind you, through all the back tracking/history of Bastien’s time on Oksana we do learn more about him; how he becomes friendly with the Sentella and is offered a position with them should he ever want one, we see more of his relationship with Jullien and his family, as well as how he becomes friends with Thraix and Trejan.  In hindsight I guess you can say the back tracking wasn’t all that bad, and did serve a purpose for when we reach present day.

Once we do reach present day and Bastien is gunning for revenge, events from here on in do move fast.  Bastien and Ember are reunited and have a common goal, Bastien learns he has a son with Ember, Florian, whom he loves instantly upon meeting the boy.  Absolutely loved this scene, it was perfectly written and the interaction between Bastien and his son is priceless.  In this scene we see the true Bastien come to the forefront, the man with a heart of gold, who will die before he sees any harm done to those he loves and holds dear. He may be a warrior honed in the fires of hell, but underneath it all, he’s just a cuddly teddy bear.  We also see this side of Bastien whenever he’s with Ember.  He loves her so deeply that there is no Bastien without Ember.  His love for her, and Ember’s love for Bastien flows off the pages and makes you root for them to finally get their HEA.  Bastien and Ember are solid characters who match each other in everyway which makes them perfect for one another.  Even her sisters adore him and welcome him back with open arms, which was another cute scene that makes you want Bastien to succeed all the more.  Another fun scene is when Bastien meets Trajen once he’s finally rid of his Ravin tracking device. Upon introduction via  Jullien he uses Bastien’s royal title, to which Bastien quickly lets him know ‘it’s just Bastien, or Bas, asshole if you must’.  Trajen’s response is priceless; “Aw god, there are two of you in this universe.” As he shakes his head and walks away muttering under his breath.  I was LOL, at poor Trajen at this point. 

Of course it wouldn’t be a Kenyon book without her rag tag band of unique characters.  It was nice to see many of our old and current favourites return, along with some newbies to help Bastien, Ember and her sisters out.  The interactions between these characters is ROTFL’ing moments where you can’t help but think ‘my goodness how have they survived this long’.  Their antics and actions are off the wall and completely insane at the best of times.  It’s no wonder they all get along and have formed friendships, they’re all a little kooky.  It’s one of the reasons I love Kenyon’s books, her characters crack me up. 

Another highlight of the book was the little bonus story/chapter after Born of Vengeance.  It centers on Nyk and Jullien so we get to see how they’ve may in roads to being more brotherly with each other.  Nyk is entrusting his eldest daughter to Jullien to be trained in the Tavali ways.  Loved the interactions between these two and then watching Jullien with Nyk’s kids is simply adorable.  It’s a lovely written chapter, one that leaves you wanting more from these two brothers.  Here’s hoping we get more of these bonus chapters, or maybe, hopefully Thia’s story being told in the near future, with more brotherly interactions. 

After writing up this review I’ve come to the conclusion that yes I did indeed enjoy Born of Vengeance, even though I had some issues with the back tracking/history lessons.  It was full of the ingredients I’ve come to find in a Kenyon book and has me wanting more as I wait for the next installment.  Guess that’s why she’s the author and not me 😉  For any Kenyon fan this is a good addition to the series, now bring  on Mack and Ryn!!

Until next time my fellow Menyons, happy reading!! 

Reviewed by Marcie

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Silver Edge by Ciara Knight – a Review

Silver Edge by Ciara Knight – a Review

 

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Description:
All I’ve ever wanted is to fit in.

But no one can ever see past how weird I am. Bright lights? Can’t stand them. Loud noises? Definitely sends me over the edge. And touching? Forget about it.

At least, until I met Drake.

From the moment I walked into that nightclub, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. And when Drake touched me, it didn’t send me into a tailspin of sensations that I couldn’t stand. It actually felt…nice. Like something I could get used to. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s probably the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.

But now someone wants to close the club down. And since I promised Drake that I’d help him keep it open, I’m going to have to find a way to tap into whatever that inner strength thing is that everyone always talks about. And fast. But what happens if I can’t? 

Review:

Silver Edge by Ciara Knight is the start of her new Straight Edge series.

Scarlet hates to be touched, can’t look at anyone in the eye for too long, finds comfort in music and maths. After the death of her mother, she lived in foster homes, but none could see past her problems. 

Her drug and sex addiction makes her a prime candidate for an early death, but someone sees past that and throws her a lifeline in the shape of “the community” the guy (called Ton) who runs the community has a job for Scarlet, but she doesn’t last long, and she feels that she has let Ton down, so she runs away and looks for her own job and life.

Drake owns a nightclub, he didn’t want to run one, but it seems he owes his brother a wish. But It’s not doing very well and Drake is on the verge of closing it down. Scarlet points out a few things, the bouncer not doing his job properly, the barman skimming off the profits, and the math mistakes he made in the books. 

They decide to work on saving the bar, by promoting a “battle of the bands ” style competition. Their attraction to each other is hindered by Scarlett’s aversion to touch and her past, but she really likes him, and although she made a promise to herself not to sleep around, she’s finding it harder to listen to that inner voice. 

The other characters in the book bring it all together, some you like and some you’ll loath. It was interesting reading about people who don’t fit into “normal society” How scarlet uses her music to ground herself, and how she tries to live a normal a life as possible. 

I’m hoping that we get to read more about the characters, and maybe visit with Drake and Scarlet again. 

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham – Review, Giveaway and Exclusive Cover Reveal

Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham – Review, Giveaway and Cover Reveal

 

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Kings of the Empire

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Description:
The Empire is rising to face the enemy. They are not alone, for their allies and neighbors have come to help; some have even come to fight despite the judgment of their own rulers. No one knows the extent of what they will be facing.

The Drazon is free, the Demon Hordes are on the march, and their numbers are staggering. Will the Empire survive this challenge? Or will their enemies prevail? The stakes are high, for in failing to win the upcoming battles, the lives of every Elf in the Empire are in jeopardy.

As the Elves prepare for the fight, the Drazon attacks at will. He challenges the might of the Dragons. He feels invincible. Omnipotent. Immortal. He will show the world who is in charge and the meaning of fear. His hatred knows no boundary.

While King Lothrariel fights to hold his Empire and, the lives of his people together, he is besieged by problems. He turns to Gabriel, to handle the greatest tasks, and to resume his place as Commander in Chief of the Combined Elven Armies of the Empire. Lothrariel answers his Life Mate’s call, and soon finds there is more to her summons than their bond. As an Oracle, she holds the answers in the back of her mind, although she cannot speak them, she can only guide

 

 

Review:

Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham is the final book in her wonderful Elven Chronicles series.  I have followed this series and M.A. Abraham from the very beginning, where it all began.   After reading Kings of the Empire, I was sad that this was the end, and at the same time happy with the wonderful conclusion to this series.  M.A. Abraham blows us away with a wild, non-stop, thrilling, exciting finale that wows us with her seamless flow, especially with the many characters, both new and those who have been with us from the start.  This will be a difficult review, as so much happens throughout the book that cannot be described unless you read it.  I will give a brief synopsis and tell you my over all thoughts. 

Almost everyone who has been part of this series makes an appearance.  When we last left off in the last book, we knew war was upon us.   The Drazon is now free to wreak havoc on the Elven empire, and the number of demon hordes is astronomical.  All the Kings come together to fight the Demons, but things are not looking good, as they are sorely outnumbered.   But never underestimate our elves, who have much magical power behind them to fight for their lives, but it will be at cost.  Constantly, throughout the book, and this is a big book, the battles rage all across the kingdoms.  Gabriel, Lothariel, Daroth, the other Kings, all our heroines,  and warriors, both and men and woman; new and old; come together to fight the odds.  The powerful Dragons will also come to try to stop the Drazon. As the casualties build up, on both sides, we are on the edge of our seats worrying who we will lose.

I loved seeing all of our favorites and there was sadness on those we lost. I was totally blown away on how M.A. Abraham was able to continue the flow of the battles, with so many characters.  An amazing feat.   I will say that all those characters, especially some new ones I hardly remember (that is me, not M.A.), became somewhat confusing.  But it did not stop me from understanding and knowing what was happening.  Nearer to the end of the book, I did become nervous about losing one of my favorites. I will not tell too much more, other than to say if you have read this series, you are in for fantastic adventure that had a great conclusion to a wonderful series.   We will miss our Elves.  Thank you M.A. Abraham for bringing us into your world of Elves, and your wonderful characters we have come to love.  Bravo!   Once again, if you have not read the Elven Chronicles series, I suggest you do so.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

cover reveal

To celebrate our Anniversary, M.A. Abraham has given us an EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL for her new series. Coming in February, 2018,  The Goddess – Book 1 of The Guardians of the Empire Series.

The Goddess

Chania is an Elven Princess in hiding, and content to stay that way.  She has lived most of her life in seclusion. She was placed amongst the humans that had once come to the aid of her ancestors, many millenniums before. She kept secreted by the head priestess, and revered as a Goddess by the people. She knows she is not what they think she is.  She also knows there is war looming in the future for these people, and it is time for her people to return, so they can keep their word.

Daeron is an Elven/Dragon shapeshifter, who has served as second in command of the Guardians of the Elven Empire for a long time. He comes from a long line of Kings, and has proven himself worthy of his position of life. He is a proud, noble, Golden Dragon, when he is not an Elf. He is not so pleased with the sudden match making ambitions of his leader, he is not about to give in without a fight. He will not be used in this manner, not by anyone.

Captured by her father’s guardians and forced to his side, Chania, is no happier about her father’s idea than Daeron. They recognize the Life Bond they share, but under the circumstances, they refuse to allow it to dictate their future. Can they fight an attraction that no Elf has ever been able to deny?

 

 

giveaway

In celebrating the end of the Elven Chronicles series,  M.A. is graciuosly offering a paper copy of First Contact, Integration, and Hunter’s Challenge to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe, plus a paper copy of Kings of the Empire to Two (2) lucky commenters.

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Kings of the Empire

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.

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9. Giveaway runs February 17 – 20, 2017

 

 

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The Rakehell Seduction by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

The Rakehell Seduction by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

 

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The Rakehell Seduction
Seduction series – Book #2
by Lauren Smith
Release Date: February 6, 2017

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DESCRIPTION
HE’S MADE A DANGEROUS WAGER

Ambrose Worthing is no gentleman. He’s a proud cold-hearted rake who’s determined to stay a bachelor forever. He enjoys bedding a different woman every night without the risk of falling in love. When he hears about a wager over the seduction and ruination of the daughter of his father’s best friend, he knows he must intervene. Committing himself to the bet, he agrees to seduce Lady Alexandra Rockford—for her own good. He never expected the lady in question to be a beautiful, fiery creature who has passions of her own that call to his guarded heart.

SHE’S VOWED NEVER TO FALL IN LOVE AGAIN

Alexandra Rockford has sworn off men, her heart still broken from the false promises of a childhood sweetheart who left her to marry an heiress. When she stumbles into Ambrose outside of a country ball, she knows the rake his trouble. His smile, his touch, his forbidden kiss are all too tempting but being with him would ruin her. Determined to enjoy herself without falling in love, Alex can’t help but let her defenses down with the too charming rake. But when she discovers Ambrose is seducing her to win a bet, it will take everything Ambrose has to prove to her that he is worthy to love her.
 

 

REVIEW

 
4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!
 
Nothing like a good read about a bad boy doing the right thing for the right reason and coming out on top.  Predictable maybe, but there is something insanely satisfying about a rake getting his heart handed to him on a platter of “I didn’t see that coming for me”!  LOL
 
The Rakehell’s Seduction by Lauren Smith is her second book in her historical romance “Seduction” series.  You do not have to read the first one to appreciate this book, but as I always state in my reviews on series, why not go back and read the first one so that you get that little extra something in the book when you revisit characters you have already gotten to know.  One of the best things to experience in a series as far as I am concerned!
 
Ambrose is a straight up rake.  He is one of the guys who goes about life basking in nothing but pleasure, bets and ruination of young ladies.  He is selfish but believes that task he is about to under take is noble.  His father’s friend has a daughter that is named as a lady to pursue amongst his rake friends.  There is a plan to seduce and ruin her.  While Ambrose recently has already met such a striking lady (rarely does a lady turn his head), what an annoyance to have to be the hero and seduce his father’s friend’s daughter first.  I mean, better him than one of his friends.  At least this way there is some control right?  Ambrose then realizes that the lady who recently intrigued him just so happens to be the lady he is here to “save”!  Game ON! 🙂
 
Alexandra “Alex” is still nursing somewhat of a broken heart.  She is strong and intelligent and has made a pact to never let a man in again.  Until she meets a man at her father’s home who is staying for a while and who is charming, sincere, kind .. YA RIGHT!  She is having none of that.  Until her defences come down bit by bit and Ambrose manages to sneak into her heart.  The thing is, Alex has snuck into Ambrose’s heart as well.  How could a relationship possibly exist when it began on nothing but lies?  Do these two even have a fighting chance when all the cards are laid out on the table?
 
I love Lauren Smith‘s writing style.  If I had any complaint it would be that the story to a little slow to get going, but once it got going I was all in and completely invested.  She truely has a gift for writing a visual, and emotional scene.  The love she gave these two was genuine and so endearing.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not all sunshine and rainbows, as the bad was bad.  The push and pull we got from Ambrose and Alex made me really root for them in the end.
 
If you are a historical romance lover than I highly recommend this book/series.  You will be transported back to a whole different time where cat and mouse games are played .. but you never really who know who is playing who!  LOL
 
HAPPY READING! 🙂
 
Reviewed by Rachel
 
Copy supplied for review

 

About The author
Lauren_Smith_2014

Born and raised in Tulsa, I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school I attended Oklahoma State University where I earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, I satisfied my fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.

Over the years, my studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, I have discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever I go. After completing college, I moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.  Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, I returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.

Since third grade when my English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, I have been hooked on writing. My first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to me that writing was my true passion.

Learn more about Lauren at the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

 

 giveaway

Lauren is graciously offering a $25.00 Gift Card 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 Lauren Smith 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. Giveaway open Internationally

8. Giveaway runs from February 14 – 17, 2017

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Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

 

Echoes in Death
In Death series – Book #44
by J.D. Robb
Release Date: February 7, 2017

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Description:
As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

 

Review:

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb is the 44th book in her fantastic In Death series.  I am an In-Death fanatic, having read every single book and novella in this series.  I have never been disappointed, each and everytime; which proves what a great author J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) is that she can keep us anxiously waiting for our next Eve Dallas fix.  As I have said before, Eve and Roarke are the best couple in the literary world and Robb/Roberts does this amazingly so well, without all the erotic sexual scenes, which seems to become the norm in romance.   The story is always on the forefront, and we still get our romance and deep love from this wonderful couple.  Ok, I guess I need to stop gushing.  Let’s discuss Echoes in Death.

Echoes in Death starts at 2am with Eve & Roarke on their way home from attending another gala that Eve so hates and she can’t wait to take off her shoes. But fate steps in, as it usually does with Eve, when they see a naked woman walking in front of their car on the icy streets; the woman is in shock, and is bloodied.  They rush her to the hospital, and when Eve tries to talk to her, the woman, Daphne Strazza, mutters about being attacked by the devil.  The doctors tell Eve that Daphne has been brutally beaten, raped multiple times, and is now totally traumatized.

Eve goes to the Strazza home with Roarke to look for Daphne’s husband, Doctor Anthony Strazza, whom they find dead.  The house was in shambles, with blood everywhere.  Once the house is secured, Peabody and McNab are called to help with the  investigation at the murder scene.  Eve surmises early on that with Daphne’s constant muttering of the Devil, it means that someone was dressed to look like that.

At the headquarters, the team will investigate any like types of crimes, and discover similarities in recent cases  that matched the same type of home invasion crimes of a  husband and wife, with various getups such as Dracula or a Ghoul.  This was the start of a fantastic story that will also hit close to home for Eve, as further investigation shows that Dr. Strazza abused his wife, bringing forward her own memories from her father’s abuse as a child. 

When the team begins to put pieces together to find a pattern, another murder of a husband and wife occurs, showing that the murderer is upping his game.  What follows is an exciting, tense race to find the killer before he strikes again.

Make no mistake, when you read an In- Death book the murders and murderer (‘s) are very violent. Our Eve is a hard as nails, tough murder cop, who will do anything it takes to bring the murderer to justice.  In between the tension of the case, there are always so many things that release the tension and make you love this series even more.   The secondary characters in this series are the best anywhere; such as Peabody, Mira, McNab, Summerset, Galahad, Baxter, Trueheart, and the entire police team that have become part of each new book.  Of course, Eve and Roarke are the main characters, but the others working with them make this a joy to read each and every time.  I love the banter between them, especially Peabody or Roarke with Eve.  I also adore her cat Galahad.  Over the years, this has become a wonderful ensemble to support Eve, and we didn’t even see Nadine or Mavis in this book. To tell too much more would be spoilers.

J.D. Robb once again gives us another fantastic edge of your seat thriller that was non-stop action, from start to finish.  The last quarter of the book, as Eve sets a trap for the murderer was sensational, and there were also some surprises.  I tried to read this book a little slower so that I can savior every moment, but I find it hard to do, since I want to know what happens.  So I end up the next day, going back and rereading a large majority of it. I will never have enough of this series; Eve and Roarke; and the entire In-Death team.   

Reviewed by Barb

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Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh – a Review

Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh – a Review

 

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Description:
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…

With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.

An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…

 

 

Review:

Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh is the 2nd book in her Westcott series. In the first book of this series, Camille Westcott lost her inheritance because her deceased father was a bigamist, having been found to have been married before. Our than heroine, Anna Snow, who grew up in an orphanage, was the rightful heir and assumed the family fortune.  Anna always wanted a family, but the mother, two sisters and brother refused to acknowledge Anna, even if she wanted to share the fortune.  Personally, I did not like Camille at all in the first book.  But, in Someone to Hold, we get to see Camille living with her grandmother, in a nice comfortable house, not too far from the Orphanage that Anna used to live in. Camille always presented herself as a lady, to be perfect in every way, and feelings did not count for anything.  Whereas, her sister Abby was happy, Camille was miserable.  She was betrothed to a man of wealth, until he dumped her after she lost everything.

Camille trys to rediscover herself; she decides to get a job working as a teacher at the same Orphanage.  Along the way she meets, Anna’s best friend, Joel Cunningham, who is an artist, and also teaches art a few days a week to the students.  Joel has disliked Camille, since he did not like how she treats Anna, but slowly he will begin to see a different side hidden under her severe & abrasive appearance.  Joel watches with amazement how Camille steps in and without any experience, does wonders with the children. Joel begins to talk more to Camille, to help give her more confidence and in time they will find their company enjoyable.  Camille puts herself in Anna’s shoes, how she lived all her life growing up and eventually working at the orphanage.  This will help her understand Anna’s situation, as well as slowly begin to open her cold heart, as she starts to have feelings for some of the children, especially young Sarah.  Camille has never known how to love, only to be the perfect lady, which was expected of her in as a Westcott heir.

As Joel and Camille start spending more time together, each of them discover their feelings change to more romantic, which will gradually become love.  But both of them believe there is no future, as they are both very stubborn.  Joel was a great hero, very nice and sweet to Camille; but he doesn’t see himself ever marrying.  His life later in the book, will also take a turn, similar to Anna’s in the last book. Will this help bring Camille and Joel together?

What I really enjoyed about this story was watching Camille slowly begin to learn all about love; learn her own value, rediscover life and hope.  It was great to see Anna and Avery again, as well as the other family members that played a big part in the first book.  It was very enjoyable to watch Camille rise up from losing everything to change, falling for Joel, and to accept her new sister.  Mary Balogh did an outstanding job giving us a heartwarming story that also teaches us the little things in life that we take for granted.  Well done.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Hard to Handle by Christine Warren – a Review

Hard to Handle by Christine Warren – a Review

 

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Description:
A SEDUCTION STRONGER THAN STONE

The only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. His Dublin pub, the Skin & Bones, is his refuge, a reassuringly masculine retreat. Until a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil…and an explosive dose of desire.

The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces. But her arrival on Earth is more confusing than she expected: her bone-deep instinct to do battle is matched only by her untamed attraction to stubborn, stalwart Drum. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time?

 

Review:

Hard to Handle by Christine Warren is the 5th book in her Gargoyles series.  This is the first book I am reading in this series, and it did read very well as a standalone, as Warren does give us information on the some of the other characters from the previous books.  In the first 4 books, the hero is a male gargoyle , who is a restored from stone, when the threat of demons and hell become real.  They are considered Guardians to protect humans from the darkness. For each Gargoyle, there is a Warden, who helps them.  

In Dublin, Ireland, Michael Drum (Drum)mond is pulled away from the pub he runs, becuase his sister, Maeve, has a vision of extreme danger from monsters.  On the way home, the earth quakes and it is not an earthquake.  What they perceive is a monster with wings, is actually a Guardian being summoned to life, as a terrible darkness is about to endanger all their lives.  Ash, our heroine in this story, is the first female Guardian, and she enlists the aid of both Maeve and Michael to find the warden who requires her help.  Wheras, Maeve, who has the sight and sees visions of the future, is more than ready to help Ash; but Drum wants nothing to do with monsters, demons and wants to head back to his pub.  But then they are attacked, and Ash is able to save them.  Ash is able to take a form of human female, when not being the Gargoyle.  In a short time, she will discover that Drum, who treats her rudely, is in fact the Warden she has been looking for. I thought that early on, Drum was easy to dislike, and even though he is being pulled into something he knows nothing about, I did feel he went overboard in his distaste for Ash, or her quest.

What follows is a very exciting action packed adventure, where Ash and Drum must try to find and kill the demons, and along the way they both begin to have feelings for each other.  When the danger escalates, Maeve will find information on the other Guardians/Wardens, and some will come from America to Ireland to help with the war. I loved meeting two of the previous heroes, and it was fun to watch them learn about each other.  The last third of the book was intense, with lots of action and dangerous situations, which had you sitting on the edge of your seat.  

Hard to Handle has a nice ending, but the war has just begun.  Drum and Ash’s romance heats up with a happy conclusion. The Demons are still around, and all the Guardians and Wardens will find themselves together at some point in future books.  Excellent suspenseful adventure, written very well by Christine Warren.  One day I need to go back and read the earlier books.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

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Healing a Heart
Cattle Creek series – Book #2
by Amy Lillard
Release Date: February 7, 2017

Healing a HeartAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it’s easy to mend a fence. Mending a broken heart, however, takes time…
 
Rancher Jake Langston prides himself on being the sensible type. But five years after the loss of his wife left him to raise their daughter alone, he indulges in a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. He thought he’d never see the woman again. Four months later, though, she’s standing in his drive with a big surprise.
 
Bryn Talbot wants nothing from the hunky cowboy who got her pregnant, but her Southern nature demands she at least tell him about it. When Jake’s family persuades her to stay for a while, she’s soon won over by their charms—and by Jake. But with the losses the two of them have suffered in the past, neither is sure if they’re ready to take the leap to forever…

 

 

Review:

Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard is the 2nd book in her Cattle Creek series. This is a romantic story revolving around two people who each have their own heartbreaking issues, and their one night stand that changes their lives.

Bryn Talbot arrives in Cattle Creek, Texas to visit Jake Langston and make him aware that she is pregnant from their one night stand months ago.  She wants nothing from Jake, only to give him the courtesy to make him aware that she is having a child.  Jake at first was very rude and told her to have an abortion.  He lost his wife 5 years ago, and lives on his ranch with his mother, grandmother and adorable little girl, Wesley.  It will take some convincing from the mother and grandmother to get Bryn to stay a few weeks and get to know the Langston family.  Jake, who blames himself for his wife’s death during childbirth, slowly regrets his treatment to Bryn.  He will do everything to try and make her see she should marry him and bring the children up in Texas.  Bryn begins to enjoy being surrounded by a wonderful family, especially young Wesley, who is a treasure; but she fears becoming too close to members of a family, after the death of her younger sister.

In a short time, both Bryn and Jake being to have feelings for each other, but their stubbornness at times were annoying.  Bryn was determined not to stay in Texas, due to her fears, despite Jake giving her the promise of a wonderful life.  Jake was really nice after the early start, but along the way, when he couldn’t convince Bryn to marry him, he makes a decision that would destroy all trust between them.

What follows was a sweet story of family, love and romance.  Wesley was such an adorable child, and she is the catalyst that will eventually bring Bryn and Jake together.  Bryn sees the good in Jake, and that he meant well in his earlier decision, and she decides to stay and marry him, knowing it is the best thing for all of them.  Within a short period, both Jake and Bryn will put the past behind them, and their romance will blossom into full blown true love.  I loved the Langston family, and there is so much more to come from the other siblings.  Healing a Heart was a wonderful touching romantic story, with some great family dynamics, and great characters.  I suggest you read the Cattle Creek series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Guest Post

Cowboy Wisdom; Cowboy Wise

When I first started this post, my thought was to share some cowboy wisdom with you. But as I started collecting idioms and other nuggets of insight, one name kept popping up again and again, Will Rogers. Will Rogers who died in a plane crash in 1935. Will Rogers who was one of the greatest political sages this country has ever known. Will Rogers who was born just up the road from where I live now.

Here are some of his more colorful sayings:

There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

Yes, he said these things back in the 1920s, and yet I can hear my contemporary cowboy heroes saying these very same things today. I guess that’s one reason why I love cowboys so much. Some might call their theories and practices outdated and trite, while the rest of us appreciate their pure honesty and truth. I’m sure that’s why cowboy romances are so popular these days. Lord knows, I love them!

And Jake Langston is as cowboy as they come. Jake, the hero from Healing a Heart, is the second oldest Langston son, but the one who has been designated to run the family ranch, the Diamond Duvall. Jake is a single dad, a widower, and recently he was voted as the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in Texas. (A fact his grandmother is sure will lead to another marriage and more grandchildren.) Jake has no intentions to marry again, until a one-night-stand turns into an unplanned pregnancy. What’s a cowboy to do, but propose?

Except jewelry designer Bryn Talbot isn’t sure she wants to be tied into a loveless marriage with a stranger. She’s a Georgia girl and doesn’t belong in the dusty wilds of West Texas–even if she has finally started designing again. Her muse seemed to dry up when her young sister died and she hasn’t been able to reclaim it. Now she’s drawing again, staying with Jake’s family to get to know them before the baby is born, and wondering how long before she’ll return to her empty Georgia home.

Want to know more about Healing a Heart? You can check out my website for a complete story over-view and an excerpt. https://amywritesromance.com/books-2/texas-contemporaries/cattle-creek-series/healing-a-heart/
And I’d love to hear from you! Have a favorite cowboy saying? Or perhaps you’d rather share the reason why you love western romance. Whatever it is, just leave a comment. Everyone who does will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Healing a Heart.

Thanks for reading!

Amy

Healing a Heart is the second book in the Cattle Creek Series. The books standalone well, but Healing a Heart does contain spoilers from book 1, Loving a Lawman.

 

MintgreenGiveaway

Amy’s publisher is offering a paper copy of HEALING A HEART 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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8. Giveaway open to USA only

9.. Giveaway runs from February 9 – 13, 2017

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