Until You’re Mine (Fighting For Her #1) by Cindi Madsen-a review

UNTIL YOU’RE MINE (Fighting For Her #1) by Cindi Madsen-a review

Until You're Mine

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 22, 2018

You might’ve heard of me, Shane Knox, the guy who rose quickly through the MMA fighter ranks, only to crash just as fast. No one cares about personal reasons when it comes to losing fights and money. I’m determined to get back to where I was. For you to hear my name again. I’ve finally convinced the owner of Team Domination to take a chance and get me back in fighting—and winning—shape. What I didn’t bargain for is the guy’s spitfire of a daughter. Factor in her two professional-fighter brothers who are acting as my coaches and the fact that my career hangs in the balance, and Brooklyn’s the last girl I should be fantasizing about.

The closer we get, the more I want Brooklyn. The stakes are high, and I know there’s a big chance of both of us getting hurt, but I won’t stop until she’s mine.

•••••••••

REVIEW: UNTIL YOU’RE MINE is the first instalment in Cindi Madsen’s contemporary, adult FIGHTING FOR HER romantic, MMA series focusing the Roth family: Finn, Liam and Brooklyn Roth who, along with their father Blake, own and operate the Team Domination professional MMA Club. This is artist and only daughter Brooklyn Roth, and MMA fighter Shane Knox’s story line.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Shane and Brooklyn) UNTIL YOU’RE MINE follows the forbidden relationship between Team Domination’s newest acquisition, MMA fighter and champion Shane Knox, and Brooklyn Roth, a struggling artist and the only daughter of Team Domination owner Blake Roth. With the finances and paperwork a mess, artist and painter Brooklyn Roth is called home to San Diego to clean up the mistakes of the previous bookkeeper and accountant. From their first meeting, Shane and Brooklyn’s reaction to one another is palpable; their sexual attraction to one another is sizzling and hot, and does not go unnoticed by the men in charge but Brooklyn is in a committed relationship, a relationship that will suffer as Brooklyn is pulled into the whirlwind that is Shane Knox. What ensues is the building relationship between Brooklyn and Shane, and the potential fallout as their time together comes to an end with Shane’s approaching championship fight.

Brooklyn Roth is no stranger to heartache; a previous relationship with an MMA fighter ended badly, and too many memories of her parents’ disastrous marriage leave our heroine struggling between head and heart as it pertains to our story line hero. Shane Knox had it all once and needs a championship fight to bring back the glory of what once was. Partnering with Team Domination meant Shane had another chance at the top prize including a shot at a happily ever after with the woman he loved.

The relationship between Shane and Brooklyn is one of forbidden love: Brooklyn is the boss’s daughter, in a committed relationship (or so she claims) but Shane is persistent and struggles to accept the boundaries Brooklyn has drawn between our leading couple. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. Addressing the elephant in the room, there is no cheating per say but the emotional affair between Shane and Brooklyn, and Shane’s pursuit of Brooklyn, and his persistent flirting and sexy banter will be the death of her current relationship back home. The early one on one banter is rife with nasty innuendo and cut downs that felt more like two siblings fighting to get the upper hand.

We are introduced to Team Domination and the Roth family of MMA fighters: father and patriarch Blake Roth, and his sons Liam and Finn; Shane’s mother Tammy Oliver, his best friend Hector; and Brooklyn’s boyfriend Trey, and her ex (MMA fighter) Conrad ‘Croc’ Rochenski. Liam and Chelsea’s story line is next in UNTIL WE’RE MORE.

The world building looks at the battle to be number one, and the fractured dynamics of one family pulled apart and pushed together by the world of the MMA.

UNTIL YOU’RE MINE is an energetic story line. The premise is exciting and realistic; the romance is sensual and passionate; the characters are spirited and colorful.

Copy supplied by the publisher for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Dangerous Mating by Milly Taiden – a Review

Dangerous Mating by Milly Taiden – a Review

 

Dangerous MatingAmazon / B&N / Kobo / iTunes

Description:
An undercover mission exposes hidden longings in the irresistible paranormal romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Mating Needs.

The Alpha League Federal Agency’s sworn duty is to protect humanity from the worst of the paranormal universe. Wolf-shifter Agent Bryon Day has been deep undercover for more than a year, investigating a human trafficking ring, when he goes MIA. Since A.L.FA. never leaves an agent behind, a team is sent to save him—or bring his body home.

FBI agent and ace cryptographer Kari Tomlin is selected for the rescue task force. Under the ruse of a ditsy tourist, she searches an ancient European city for Agent Day. When she learns he’s locked up in the palace’s dungeon, she plans a covert jailbreak. Together they risk the dangerous, booby-trapped tunnels below the city for freedom…and a chance to discover if this really is a mate bond growing between them.


Review:

Dangerous Mating by Milly Taiden is the 3rd book in her A.L.F.A. series. Though each book revolves around an A.L.F.A. agent and finding his mate, these do read very well as standalones. 

Kari Tomlin, our heroine, is an FBI agent, specializing in breaking codes (cryptographer) and when she is asked to join an undercover assignment for A.L.F.A, she is thrilled.  Supposedly this is an easy assignment, pretending to be a tourist and girlfriend of an agent, when they go to a small country in Europe to try and find a missing agent. Kari is bored, and this is a chance to travel have some fun.  Of course, this is going to be everything but fun.

Bryon Day, a wolf shifter agent and our hero, is presently a prisoner being tortured, because the Prince of the country thinks he is a shifter, something Bryon is trying to hide. After another torturous session, he opens his eyes to see and smell something beautiful….his mate.  Bryon sees Kari and tries to understand what she is doing in the dungeon of the castle.  Seems while doing tourist activity, Kari stumbles on the castle trying to find a bathroom (yeah it is funny), and instead lands in the mansion with  the evil Prince and Bryon.  What follows is an exciting adventure, where Kari will help Bryon escape through the maze of the hidden tunnels in the castle.  Every step of the way the find themselves in dangerous and death defying situations, as they help each other, the mate bonding between them gets stronger and hotter.   In all Milly Taiden stories, you come to expect things to get wild and crazy, as well as being very steamy; this is no different in Dangerous Mating.  I did think some of things Kari got into were a bit farfetched, but in those tense moments, the silly fun was a release.

Dangerous Mating was an exciting, fun, action packed story line, with Taiden’s trade mark humor throughout.  Kari and Bryon did make a great couple.  If you enjoy paranormal romances, with humor and suspense, as well as a hot sexy read, then you should be reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Beautiful Killer (Lawless Kings #3) by Sherilee Gray-a review

BEAUTIFUL KILLER (Lawless Kings #3) by Sherilee Gray-a review

Beautiful Killer

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About the book: Release Date January 9, 2018

She’s wanted a big family ever since her distant father and cold stepfamily isolated her from affection. He’s an ex-SEAL sniper with PTSD.

Too bad she’s been told she can never have children, never have a family of her own.

Too bad he’s shut off his heart from love.

What do you do when one secret could bring you ultimate happiness…or destroy everything you hold close?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: BEAUTIFUL KILLER is the third instalment in Sherilee Gray’s contemporary, adult LAWLESS KINGS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for King Agency doing personal protection and security, private investigation (corporate and domestic) and high-risk fugitive recovery, missing persons and kidnapping investigations. This is King Security PI, sniper and ex Navy SEAL Zeke Stanton, and jewelry designer Sunny’s story line. BEAUTIFUL KILLER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Sunny and Zeke) BEAUTIFUL KILLER follows the unconventional relationship between PI and sniper Zeke Stanton, and jewelry designer Sunny. When her blind date was a no-show Sunny propositioned the stranger at the bar, a man so intense and dark, she couldn’t help but be attracted like a moth to a flame. Enter Zeke Stanton, broken and embattled ex-Navy SEAL whose demons continue to ride him hard. What ensues is the sex only arrangement between our leading couple that grows into something following an attack on our heroine by an unknown assailant. Left alone, and with no where to turn Sunny approaches the security specialists at King Agency only to come face to face with the man with whom she was falling in love.

Zeke Stanton is a broken man, an ex-Navy SEAL who suffers nightmares, PTSD and survivors remorse following the last mission that went all to h*ll. Working for high school friend and fellow Navy SEAL Van King, Zeke continues to place himself in dangerous situations while on assignment, with the possibility of never coming home alive. Meeting the beautiful and talented Sunny begins to melt the ice around our hero’s heart but Zeke wants nothing to do with family or relationships forcing a stricken Sunny to move forward, alone.

The relationship between Sunny and Zeke begins as a one-night stand that turns into something more. Zeke wants nothing to do with a forever kind of love but he finds himself unable to walk away from the woman that calls to his heart. Days, weeks and months of emotionless $ex begin to push at our story line couple until news of a different sort finds Sunny at a crossroads towards the future. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

All of the previous story line couples play secondary and supporting characters including Hunter King and Lulu Frost (Shattered King #1), and Neco Malik and Ruby Styles (Broken Rebel #2), and co-owner of the King Agency Van King. We are introduced to Sunny’s step-sister Julia and her husband Bobby Grant, as well as Zeke’s parents Ron and Jane Stanton.

BEAUTIFUL KILLER is an emotional story line of one man who is unable to move on from the past, and one woman whose history of rejection continues to push her forward-alone. The premise is heart breaking and impassioned; the characters are charismatic but damaged; the romance is seductive and fierce.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Shattered King
Broken Rebel
Beautiful Killer

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Mikhail by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

Mikhail by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

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DESCRIPTION

A dragon never leaves his hoard unguarded. His heart is another matter. 

The second eldest in an ancient line of Russian dragon shifters, Mikhail Barinov had one job: protect one of the family hoard of jewels. Distracted by the English virgin queen Elizabeth, who was as dazzling as she was devious; he lost everything. Five centuries of exile later, news that a construction crew has unearthed a massive trove of gold and jewels sends him racing to London, determined to steal back his family’s treasure…and his honor. 

Professional gemologist Piper Linwood can’t wait to bury herself in her newest project, evaluating a hoard of Elizabethan-era treasure. But both her life and career are threatened when a mysterious, brooding man with a dangerous smile—and an even more dangerous kiss—snatches the lot. 

Unwillingly swept along for the ride, Piper discovers Mikhail is no mere thief. And the dragon on his back is more than a tattoo. It’s a living, breathing extension of a bad boy she’s finding harder and harder to resist. But his heart is a treasure she can never own…because to save her career, she’ll have to betray his trust.

 

 

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Dragons and dragons and dragons .. OH MY!  Love me some yummy dragon shifters and boy did this dragon shifter ever turn up the heat! 🙂

Mikhail by Lauren Smith (love it when book titles come with just a name) is the second book in her “Brothers of Ash and Fire” series and I have to say this one delivered as well as the first one did.  This series is based on a family of dragon men who are guarding their “precious” and finding their mates.  Obviously a paranormal romance but it’s the dash of history that really nailed it for me.  You will get some adventure, intensity, a good myth story line and some hot yummy dragons who journey towards their eternal happiness .. and the sexy is a super bonus.

Mikhail Barinov is a dragon shifter who had been responsible for guarding precious gems for his family but was betrayed by none other than Queen Elizabeth I and had those gems stolen from him.  What made it worse was that the Queen was his mate and inflicted serious pain and humiliation his way.  Now hundreds of years later, Mikhail learns that those gems have been uncovered and he does all he can to make sure he gets them back to save face.  Mikhail is dark but not so that he is annoying.  He is loyal and losing his gems really hit him hard, so he became focused quite intensely on recovering them.  This led to him being broody and a little stand offish.  When he meets another woman who can potentially ruin his chance of turning things around he take extreme actions to ensure she won’t.  This includes sweeping her away and showing her his world.  Little did he realize that there is possibility of another mate being found, but this dragon isn’t sure he can trust second chances.

Piper Linwood is a gemologist and is excited about the find that makes all her hard worth it.  Piper is spunky and sweet and knows she has literally struck gold when gems from 500 years ago come across her path.  She comes to realize that there is another as interested in these gems and she finds herself strangely drawn to him.  NOTHING will distract her from her job though .. until it kinda does, and she finds herself swept away to a place that only exists in books and stories.  When broody dragon shows his scales, she realizes that she is in a world of danger, and her losing her heart may be the mot dangerous thing she has done yet.

I LOVED these two together.  What a perfect match they were.  They each took chances on the other and boy can you ever appreciate Lauren’s writing when it comes to the passion.  You will find yourself totally rooting for these two.  Once again I was swept away in a world that Lauren created and I am eager for more.  Always writing with a natural flow and ease, I never once fell bored during the story.  I will say the historical twist was epic as I am a huge Tudor lover, so having two genres merged the way this is was a real treat.  

This is not a long read and I do recommend that you read the first book of this series before this one.  Mikhail is introduced there and you can appreciate his character far more by understanding what other around him feel.  Trust me on this one.

Another grand slam Lauren Smith .. please keep them coming!

HAPPY READING!

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review

 

 

Giveaway-Green/Gold

Lauren is graciously offering a  signed paper copy of a book of your choice from Lauren’s backlist to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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8. Giveaway runs from January 10 – 15, 2018

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Come Home With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #2) by Susan Fox-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Come Home With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #2) by Susan Fox-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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COME HOME WITH ME
Blue Moon Harbor #2
by Susan Fox
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Come Home With Me

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About the book: Release Date December 26, 2017

It may be a dot in the Pacific Northwest, but tiny Blue Moon Harbor always has room for love . . .

Miranda Gabriel has finally hit rock-bottom. As a high-school drop-out, she fled Blue Moon Harbor and her shattered family life, and chased after love in all the wrong places. But now, as a single mom, her priority is her two-year-old daughter. Her only choice is to swallow her pride and return to the island she’s always hated. At least between working and studying, she’ll be too busy for romance–especially when the prospect is a nice guy, exactly the kind she knows she doesn’t deserve…

The island veterinarian, Luke Chandler is a widower raising four-year-old twin boys. In high school, he found bad girl Miranda fascinating–and though life has changed them both, he’s still intrigued. Luke has known true love, and something about Miranda makes him long to experience it again. Yet he’s wary of opening himself, and his boys, to hurt. But his heart may not give him a choice. And together, maybe he and Miranda can give each other the courage to believe in themselves, and to embrace a promising new future . . .

••••••••••••

Review: Come Home with Me begins with Miranda trying to find her place in the world, and on Destiny Island. She along with her daughter, Ariana, had no choice but to come back to the island and accept the help that her brother offered. Miranda had always tried to make it on her own, but it became harder once she became a single mom. Although she and her brother, Aaron, have always been close, she can’t help but feel a little jealous at how his life had turned out. Newly engaged to Eden, Miranda couldn’t help but worry about her place in Aaron’s life. It had always been Miranda and Aaron against the world, and she just didn’t know if she would ever fit into the family that he was building. Determined to get an education and make a better life for herself and Ariana, dating was the last thing she was interested in….

Luke Chandler had tragically lost his wife four years earlier. Raising twin boys and his vet practice had always been his priority, but a chance encounter with Miranda at a store in which she worked left him intrigued. Luke and Miranda had gone to school together, but were never really friends. She seemed nothing like she’d been in high school, but he decided that maybe, just maybe, it was time to test the dating waters. Even though Miranda initially resisted, they decided to hang out with their kids as friends.

Miranda wants to take things slow. She’s never been lucky in the dating world, having made one bad choice after another, but she finds herself drawn to Luke, which gives her something she’s never really felt before…..hope. As she and Luke navigate a budding relationship, doubt gets in the way for them both.

Come Home with Me is a great addition to the Blue Moon Harbor series. Miranda, whom we meet in the first book of the series, is a nicely written character. She’s so defeated when she arrives on the island. Her life has never been easy and she has trouble accepting help from her brother, let alone all of the extended family opening their hearts and homes to her. Luke is great character as well. His sense of loyalty and honor leaps off the page as you read his story. His devotion to his family will endear him to you as he tries to bring Miranda into the fold. I also loved that the two of them had to work on their relationship and figure out exactly what they wanted from each other. The secondary characters are nicely written as well. This series, at least for me, is an emotional one. It’s a story filled with real life feelings and situations. Come Home with Me is ultimately a story of redemption and realizations that yes, you are good enough to be happy. Well done, Susan Fox! Very well done!

Reading Order and Previous review
Fly Away With Me
Come Home With Me

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest post

Characters We Care About

Hi there, Reading Café readers! Thanks for sharing time with me today.

I was just listening to an award-winning author being interviewed on the radio. She was asked why readers feel so passionate about her books. She said it’s because they have empathy for the characters. They care about them, even if those characters aren’t perfect.

And I thought, yes! That’s exactly it for me, too. It’s about being drawn in deeply, emotionally, getting personally invested in a character’s life, so you care about what happens to her or him.

I’m sure each author has her/his own process for creating that kind of character. Some authors want to know pretty much everything about their heroine and hero before they start to write. Not me. I’m an organic writer, which means the story and characters develop as I write. It’s not particularly efficient, because it means a lot of going back and revising, but there’s a wonderful sense of discovery that keeps me enthusiastic about writing.

Some authors do detailed character profiles, including things like what they eat for breakfast and who taught them in first grade. Nope, not me. Not unless those details are important to the story. For me, what’s key is this: Who is this person today, and what experiences went into making her/him that way?

Character development, or maybe the better word is evolution, works a bit differently for me with each book. For example, if it’s the first in a series, I’m creating characters from scratch. But in the case of Come Home With Me, I already knew some things about the heroine, Miranda Gabriel, because she was a secondary character in my first Blue Moon Harbor book, Fly Away With Me. She’s the hero Aaron’s younger half-sister, a single mom with a two-year-old daughter. I knew about her and Aaron’s dysfunctional childhood, and how it had damaged them. I knew Miranda was fiercely proud, but that she hit rock bottom (in Fly Away With Me) and, for the sake of her daughter, was forced to accept her brother’s offer of assistance. That meant returning to Destiny Island, a place she hated.

So I had a good start on Miranda, and knew she’d evolve further as I wrote the book. As for the hero, Luke Chandler, I knew only a little. He was the widowed father of twin boys, and he was a veterinarian. I had a lot more “evolving” to do with Luke, as I wrote!

But for me, that’s the fun of it. As I work on a book, I think about family background, love lives, careers, friendships, community, all the things that make for a three-dimensional character, one whose thoughts and feelings ring true for the reader. One the reader can root for.

Luke turned out to be more “perfect” than Miranda, but perfect is boring so of course he needed some hangups. One was whether his love for his deceased wife would prevent him from moving forward. And then, at least three-quarters of the way through the first draft, I had one of those “aha” moments when a deeper level of his character revealed itself to me and I discovered another hangup.

Miranda was definitely not perfect. Luke refers to her as a “rosebud with thorns,” and yes, she’s plenty prickly. But her prickles are rooted in a very troubled past. As I wrote, I learned the details of that past, and the full significance of her dragon tattoo and the secret it hides.

I have a degree in psychology, and sometimes it seems to me that, with my characters, I almost play the role of counsellor as much as that of author. I listen to what they say and don’t say, I ask them questions, I reflect on how they’ve been influenced by the past, I come to know their values and philosophy of life. I learn what they fear most, as well as their secret dreams. Writing is a process of creation, but also a process of revelation. Sometimes I’m in charge, analyzing personality traits and doing research, and sometimes my characters are in charge, guiding my fingers as I type.

For me, writing is an intellectual process and it’s also an instinctive, intuitive one. And did I mention, it’s fun? As well as challenging, sometimes frustrating, and often stressful. But it’s worth every minute, when my characters come alive to me and to readers. When they’re as multi-dimensional as real live people. When their joys and sorrows tug at our heartstrings because we’re so invested in their personal journeys.

Yes, for me it’s all about character. It’s all about emotion.

How about for you, as a reader? What makes for a book that resonates with you, one that stays in your heart and your mind?

about the author

Susan FoxFollow Susan: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Pinterest / Amazon / BookBub

International bestselling author Susan Fox, who also writes as Susan Lyons and Savanna Fox, “knows what women want in contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). Her books have won numerous awards and Love Somebody Like You: A Caribou Crossing Romance was a RITA® finalist. Her latest series is Blue Moon Harbor, from Kensington Zebra. A resident of both Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Susan has degrees in law and psychology, but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world. Visit her at susanlyons.ca (where you can subscribe to her newsletter) and on Facebook.com/SusanLyonsFox.

Giveaway

Susan Fox is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of COME FLY WITH ME to ONE (1) commenter at The Reading Cafe. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

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The Highlander’s Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses #3) by Vanessa Kelly-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Highlander’s Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses #3) by Vanessa Kelly-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE
The Improper Princesses #3
by Vanessa Kelly
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romancer
Release Date: October 31, 2017

The Highlander's Princess Bride

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 31, 2017

In Vanessa Kelly’s enchanting series, three young women descended from royalty overcome their scandalous beginnings to win the hearts of the ton’s most eligible men . . .

The illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent might be expected to pursue various dubious professions. Actress, perhaps, or artist’s model. Even courtesan. Victoria Knight, however, has become a governess—a respectable choice, until she travels to Scotland to meet her new charges. The younger brothers of Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior, aren’t children at all. They’re brawny, wild Highland men. As for the Earl, he’s handsome, guarded, and far too compelling . . . especially for a woman hiding a dark secret.

Nick needs a proper teacher to transform his unmarriageable brothers—and a sensible,
straight-laced wife for himself. Miss Knight seems to fit the bill on both counts. But he soon discovers there is more to Victoria than he thought. It’s not just her notorious origins, or the danger that’s followed her all the way to Scotland. It’s the fiery loyalty beneath that sedate façade. This, the real Victoria, is the woman Nick is starting to desire so desperately. And what an earl wants, he’ll use every seductive means to get . . .

•••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH MY WORD! Love it when big bad highlanders get a little proper English and make it their own! I absolutely loved this book and I am so hoping that another series comes out of this one. I can see where it would!

The Highlander’s Princess Bride is the third book in Vanessa Kelly “The Improper Princesses” and you do not need to read the first two to appreciate this book but please pick them up and immerse yourself into this world Vanessa creates. This series is also a spin off the another series called “The Renegade Royals”. A historical romance set in the regency era, it certainly takes us out of the ballrooms and gives us a fantastic dose of highlander and all they entice in us romantic readers.

Victoria Knight is the illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent and a barmaid, and while she is the shame of her mother’s family, she has made an executive decision to not be anything like her mother and her free ways. Through hard work and determination, Victoria works hard and becomes a respectable governess that is considered to be strict but fair. She is disciplined, has a good head on her shoulders, has a knack for dealing with humourous pranksters, and an uncanny ability to sneak into the sternness of hearts. She makes one bad decision however and finds herself in very hot water. Having to flee her secret, she finds employment in the Highlands by becoming the governess of several grown Highlander men and a jackass grandfather who all need a swift kick in their ignorant ways. Victoria is about to get a real lesson herself though, when she finds herself slowly coming to adore these pains in her butt, and fall in love with the man who hired her on.

Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior is my ideal book boyfriend. He is the head of his unruly family and fed up with the nonsense they create. He is handsome, strong willed and holds a few secrets close to his chest. When he hires Victoria he is taken aback at her methods to tame his brothers and a deep seated respect and loyalty begin to set in. He falls in love with her, but he also knows she is guarding secrets close to her heart, and wants her to trust him enough to let him help and protect her. Even if that needs to occur at her pace.

I ADORED the laughter I experienced reading this book. So very well matched, these two leads had quite the journey to get their HEA, but what a journey that was. I love how fierce and protective the men became of Victoria (especially when trouble comes knocking) and I love that she became protective of them. She truely blended into this family despite the harsh start they all had. I even didn’t mind the Grandpa Dearest who was a douche for a good chunk of the book, but I will admit there were times I was thinking “Enough already jerkface!” LOL

A very strong historical romance from Vanessa and I am going to make an effort to check out her previous books because I really enjoyed her writing that much. If you are looking for a chuckle this holiday season, love your Highlanders err.. difficult but so irresistible, and a woman who is not afraid to put them in their place then by all means do check this book out. I for one am really hoping that these brothers are another spin off series.

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy Supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

hpb- excerpt

EXCERPT 1: Lord Arnprior explains what he expects from his new governess, Victoria Knight.
“What I wish you to do is remind my brothers what those standards are. They were raised as gentlemen, but certain events have caused them to forget themselves. A refresher course is required.”
“And what would such a course entail?” She cast a disapproving glance at his brothers. “Beyond the obvious.”
Nick shrugged. “The usual one—how to engage in polite conversation with young ladies, how to conduct oneself appropriately at a dinner party, how to dance—”
“They already know how to dance,” barked Angus.
“Just reels, Grandda,” Grant said. “Oh, and the sword dance. But I don’t think many girls know that one.”
Alec choked, trying not to laugh. When Nick shot him a glare, his friend simply gave him a bland smile.
“And it would be fun to learn how to waltz,” Graeme said, suggestively waggling his eyebrows at Miss Knight.
“Ye wish to be caperin’ about like dandies?” Angus growled.
Miss Knight seemed to shake herself free of some sort of mental paralysis. “I am not a dancing teacher, my lord. I’m an educator.”
“For God’s sake, Arnprior,” Alec said. “Why don’t you simply hire a dancing master? Surely he could help the lads with those other”—he waved a vague hand—“social things.”
“I tried that. It didn’t work.” The horrific experiment of a few months ago remained vivid in his memory. The dancing master had barely survived the week.
“Bloody caper merchant,” Angus muttered.
“Let me see if I understand you correctly, my lord,” Miss Knight said. “You wish me to tutor your youngest brother. As well, I am to train your older brothers to be accomplished, well-mannered gentlemen for the purpose of putting them out on the marriage mart. And I am to do that without the help of other instructors who specialize in such matters.”
Nick met her irate gaze with an approving smile. “That sums it up nicely, I think.”
“Would you also like me to teach them fencing and boxing?” she asked sarcastically.
“Oh, we already know how to do those,” Grant piped up.
“Good God,” Royal said, shaking his head. “This is a complete joke.”
“I am forced to agree with your brother, Lord Arnprior,” Miss Knight said. “This must surely be a joke.”
“It surely is not,” Nick said. “And I never joke.”
“That’s actually true,” Graeme said.


 

hpb- about the author

Vanessa Kelly Named by Booklist as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance,” USA Today bestselling author 

Vanessa Kelly’s books have been nominated for awards in a number of contests. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Medallion for historical romance. With a Master’s Degree in English Literature, Vanessa is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers. You can visit her on the web at 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

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Sweet Life (Sugar Rush #5) by Nina Lane-Review & Excerpt Tour

SWEET LIFE (Sugar Rush #5) by Nina Lane-Review and Excerpt Tour

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SWEET LIFE
Sugar Rush #5
by Nina Lane
Release Date: December 12, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Sweet Life

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / iBooks /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 12, 2017

He knows if she’s been bad or good.

Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she’s having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she’s ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.

Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for thirteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.

When Warren decides Julia is all he wants for Christmas, will she risk their longtime friendship for the gift of love?

••••••••••

REVIEW: SWEET LIFE is the fifth instalment in Nina Lane’s contemporary, adult SUGAR RUSH erotic romance series focusing on the Stone family and the Sugar Rush Candy company. This is patriarch and Sugar Rush president Warren Stone, and fashion stylist Julie Bennett’s story line. SWEET LIFE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Warren and Julia) SWEET LIFE focuses on the friends to lovers relationship between fifty-four year old widower, father of seven, and President of the Sugar Rush Candy Company Warren Stone, and his forty-nine year old, sister in-law Julia Bennett. Fourteen years earlier Warren lost his beloved wife Rebecca to a tragic accident that also saw our heroine lose the sister she would never forget. Throughout the years Julia has been the family’s rock, helping to take care of her sister’s seven children but in the ensuing time our heroine’s personal life took a backseat to the fulfilment of her career, and the support of her extended family. Fast forward to present day wherein Julia’s attraction to Warren is met with an equally aggressive reaction by her late sister’s husband-a man she has lusted over for close to thirty-five years. What ensues is the building romance between Julia and Warren, and the potential fall out as their secret romance becomes fodder for the family, and Julia is unable to let go of the past.

Throughout the story line the ghost of Warren’s late wife Rebecca is a major stumbling block for our story line couple. Unable to get past the breakdown of her relationship with Rebecca, prior to the death of the sister she loved, Julia struggles with the memories of what happened, and the revelations about her feelings for the man she would grow to love. As Warren prepares for retirement, the family must come to terms with their father’s decision, and the change in direction for the Sugar Rush company.

The relationship between Julia and Warren is a friends to lovers, older couple romance; a brother in law / sister in law attraction that has continued to flourish, building towards something more than friendship and mutual loss. Secrets are revealed that could potentially destroy Julia’s relationship with the family she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense-it is wonderful to see an ‘older couple’ enjoying an active sex life not deferring to questionable age-related ability.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting cast including many of the previous story line characters: Luke and Polly (Sweet Dreams #1), Evan (Sweet Escape #2), Tyler (Sweet Surrender #3), Gavin an Mia (Sweet Time #4) Adam, Spencer, and Hailey Stone; Julia’s assistants Anisa and Marco, as well as several local residents of Indigo Bay, California who are participating in the local Christmas pageant.

The world building focuses on family; on Warren’s upcoming retirement plans; and Julia’s inability to love and be loved. The premise is captivating and inspiring; the romance is passionate and seductive; the characters are charismatic, energetic and lively. Nina Lane is a go –to author for me for her ability to pull me in, suck me under, make me cry, and never let go.

Reading Order and previous reviews
Sweet Dreams
Sweet Escape
Sweet Surrender
Sweet Time
Sweet Life

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

“Now step into my office.”
Julia blinked at his hard tone, her gaze shifting to his closed office door. “I beg your pardon?”
Warren opened the door. “In. Now.”
Her features tightened with resistance just as the elevator doors opened and several employees emerged, their voices rising in chatter. Julia crossed the hallway in front of them, her shoulders rigid. He caught a whiff of Chanel No. 5 as she passed him.
He entered the office behind her and closed the door, flicking the lock shut.
“You are not to take out personal crap on my employees,” he said. “That’s not how I run this company.”
Julia’s lips compressed. “Odd that you’ve never before questioned my treatment of your employees. And it wasn’t personal. She needed to know she’d screwed up.”
“Announcing the holiday party early is not screwing up,” Warren replied evenly. “You’re pissed off because you’ve had a shitty week, you have too much on your plate, an old bucket list has thrown you off your game, and you don’t know what to do with the fact that we fucked the other night.”
Two spots of color appeared on her cheeks. “I seem to recall that what I did with that fact was tell you it wasn’t going to happen again. After which you informed me in excellent caveman style that I was wrong. You seem to forget I’m never wrong.”
About this, you are.
He bit back the words. He hadn’t become the president of Sugar Rush by throwing his weight around. He knew how to bide his time, work his way into getting what he wanted. And damned if he didn’t want her more with every passing second.
“Well?” Julia put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Are we done here?”
Under her make-up, purplish smudges shadowed her eyes. Brackets of tension lined her mouth. His jaw tightened.
“You had a migraine yesterday,” he said.
“What the fuck do you care?” Julia snapped.
Warren’s hands flexed. He was used to her quick-fire cursing, all the more effective when delivered by a woman who looked like royalty, but he didn’t like being the recipient of her wrath.
“I’m putting Mia Donovan in charge of the Sugar Rush holiday party,” he said.
“You’re firing me?” Julia stared at him, her eyes widening. “Are you serious?”
“Yes.” He steeled himself against her shock and the knowledge that he was hurting her. “You’ve planned it for the past ten years, and it’s time to hand it over to someone else.”
“You don’t get to decide that.”
“Yes, I do. Sugar Rush is my company. This is also the event where I’ll be announcing my retirement. You’re not going to plan it.”
“Because I have too much on my plate?” Julia stopped in front of the windows, her arms crossed and her fiery gaze fixed on him. “Thanks for your concern, Daddy, but I assure you I can handle everything I take on.”
“That’s why you’re such a success. It’s also why your headaches are getting worse.”
“You are not my fucking doctor.”
“Stop swearing.”
She barked out a laugh. “You need to rethink this retirement thing, Warren. It’s making you soft.”
Given the state of his dick, he was anything but soft.
“If you won’t delegate your projects, I will,” he said.
“Because you can’t stop being the boss, even if you think otherwise.” Julia paced angrily to the desk, her eyes flaring with blue ice. “Why are you retiring, Warren? Everyone knows you’re the power behind the throne, much as you’ve let the boys take all the glory. Three months—hell, one month from now when you have nothing to do and no one to order around, you’re going to wonder why you made such a bad decision.”
Warren’s jaw clenched. He was sick of getting pushback from all sides. “I’ve been in business my entire life. I know what I’m doing.”
“So do I, dammit,” Julia retorted. “I don’t need you looking out for me.”
“I will always look out for you.”
She came to a halt, her whole body stilling. By contrast, Warren’s heartbeat kicked up, sudden heat flooding his veins. Their gazes met across the room, a crackling electric current firing through the air.
Julia took a breath, her breasts heaving beneath her jacket.
“Goddamn you, Warren Stone,” she whispered.
“I told you to stop swearing.” He advanced, his own breath increasing, his hands fisting and unfisting at his sides.
Rebellion tightened her features. “And if I don’t?”
“You sure you want to find out?”
He closed the distance between them, his lust flaring like a match to dry leaves.
What the fuck was going on with them?
The question flared like a comet through his mind and died just as fast—because he didn’t care about the answer. His mind was consumed with the thought of tasting her red lips again, sweet like cherries, spicy like peppers. Her mouth could deliver an insult as sharp and searing as a blade, but he knew—had always known, even if he’d smothered the knowledge—that the sounds issuing from Julia Bennett’s mouth could also be smooth, hot murmurs of lust that rushed straight to his blood. Weakening him of all thought, all control, inciting him with the urge to—
He grabbed her shoulders, hauling her soft, slender body against him. He’d always loved the contrast of Julia, the sharp-tongued, acidic queen and the relentlessly devoted aunt. The rigorous boss who shot orders like arrows, and the loyal friend who bought Hailey’s favorite peanut butter, sent care packages to Gavin Knight when he was deployed in Iraq, spent hours on end with Evan at the hospital.
He stared down at her fine features, pale skin, and wide blue eyes that he’d seen almost every day of his life for the past thirteen years—and suddenly now it felt as if he were looking at her for the first time. Had he never noticed that tiny birthmark right beneath her left eye? Or the silver flecks in her irises, like falling snow? Or the perfect curve in her upper lip, tempting him to put his tongue there and—
Oh, he’d noticed all right. He’d just tried to pretend he hadn’t.
“What the hell am I going to do with you, Julia?” he muttered.
“Fire me, apparently.” Her tone was bitter, her eyes blue fire.
Her gaze flickered involuntarily to his mouth, her lips parting. He slipped his hand beneath her chin, lifting her face to his. His heart jackhammered. Her breath brushed against his mouth, the familiar scent of her—Chanel No. 5, lavender soap, pure Julia—suddenly exotic and tantalizing.
“I’m going to let you go,” he said slowly, “and take two steps back. I want you to reach under your skirt and take your underwear off… if you’re wearing any.”

About The Author

Nina LaneNew York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. 

Connect with Nina: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest
Newsletter: http://ninalane.com/newsletter

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Kiss Kiss Bang (Iron Clad Security 3) by Sidney Halston-Review & Excerpt

KISS KISS BANG (Iron Clad Security #3) by Sidney Halston-Review & Excerpt

Kiss Kiss Bang

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 5, 2017

Six-foot-two and ripped…with superior computer skills, Josef “Joey” Clad is not your typical ex-Marine. The co-owner of Iron-Clad securities is 100% Alpha male, but under his muscular physique, he’s the best hacker in Miami who specializes in running Iron-Clad’s cyber ops. The perfect skill set for their new client who is getting threatening emails, a client who he definitely wants to get to know better. Much better.

Single mom, widow, Olivia Monroe has exceptional dreams that she refuses to let go of. Fifteen years ago, she left her broken home in New York City and never looked back. Now a dark horse candidate for Florida governor, she’s not looking for a relationship. Even with the hot guy who sweeps in and saves her computer the night before a big speech. Her hero has trouble written all over him. Joey is too handsome, too funny, too confident, and way too hard to resist.

Too bad he’s now her bodyguard.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: KISS KISS BANG is the third and final instalment in Sidney Halston’s contemporary, adult IRON CLAD SECURITY romantic, suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for Iron Clad Security (ICS). This is thirty-seven year old, former Marine and ICS co-owner Josef ‘Joey’ Clad, and thirty-five year old, single mom, widow and candidate for Florida governor Olivia Monroe’s story line. KISS KISS BANG can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Joey and Olivia) KISS KISS BANG follows the building relationship between candidate for Florida governor Olivia Monroe, a single mother of a five year old daughter, and Iron Clad Security co-owner Joey Clad. Hours before a televised debate Olivia Monroe’s lap-top computer died. In desperate need of repair, Olivia accepts a complete stranger’s offer, to help in her endeavour to acquire a new device. Enter Joey Clad, security specialist, hacker and the man with whom Olivia will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance between our leading couple, and struggles to stay one step ahead of the person(s) trying to sabotage Olivia’s gubernatorial race, and the potential fall out when Olivia’s past comes seeking retribution and revenge.

Olivia’s husband was killed in a car accident shortly after the birth of their daughter. In the ensuing years our heroine has struggled to raise her precocious daughter but with the ineptitude of the current governor and his lackluster stand on pollution and industrial emissions, Olivia faces a new battle in her bid to run for the governor’s position when threats are made, and physical violence ensues. Running a platform based on family values and single motherhood, Joey’s appearance in her life forces Olivia to reconsider her involvement with our story line hero. Joey Clad knows that the frazzled woman at the computer store is the woman that calls to his heart but threats against Olivia means that our hero must become both lover and protector in order to keep safe the woman with whom he is falling love.

KISS KISS BANG is a story of betrayal and revenge; political interference; falling in love and letting go of the past. The premise is intriguing and engaging; the romance is quick to build without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

The rush to the finish was a bit of a disappointment. There was no epilogue or revisiting of previous couples in so much as this particular story line is the final instalment in the ICS series. And I had a difficult time with a perceived lack of palpable, sexual energy between our leading couple- it felt like everyone was going through the motions without a true emotional involvement. I think if there was more conflict between the leading characters I would have felt more of the pull of attraction.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Kiss Marry Kill
Last First Kiss
Kiss Kiss Bang

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

Excerpt supplied courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

 

It was five in the afternoon and all Olivia had done was bathe and shave. She wasn’t dressed, her hair was still wet, and she hadn’t even texted Joey to let him know she was un-canceling their date.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
I can’t . . .
Her doorbell rang.
Open the door, darlin, Joey texted her as the bell rang again.
Oh damn! She was in a robe, her hair wet, as she jogged to the front door and looked into the peephole.
“I can hear you, Livie. Open the door.”
“It’s not seven yet.”
“You canceled, so the time’s irrelevant.”
She exhaled and her shoulders sagged. Damn it. There was no way of getting around this. She opened the door. “I canceled.”
With a sly smile he placed his hand on her belly, gently pushed her back, and then walked right in as if he owned the place, closing the door behind him. “I’m not great at following instructions.”
“And you don’t eat vegetables. I’m sensing you have a lot in common with my daughter.”
God, he looked good. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt with an old rock band’s logo on it. His mostly shaved hair was a little longer than when she’d met him three days before, and he had a bit of scruff on his face.
“Sit. We need to talk,” he said, his mood changing enough to give her goose bumps. He couldn’t be breaking up with her—they weren’t even dating.
“I know,” she said, putting him out of his misery. “You saw the photos. They look bad, but . . .” She shrugged and then, needing to do something with her hands, she found one of the twenty fidget spinners she had around the house. You’re a good kisser, and yes, I’ll admit it had been a long time since I’d kissed anyone, and yes, “maybe I lost control. But I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. I’m not desperate. You’re not that good.” She was babbling nervously. She knew she made no sense but she needed to say something before he did, or else it would be awkward.
Or maybe she’d made it worse . . .
“How long?” he asked, and when her brows furrowed he continued. “Since you’d kissed anyone. How long had it been?” He reached forward and snatched the spinner from her hand and softly placed it on the table.
“Since Neil. Five years. But the clawing . . . I’ll have you know I have plenty of men coming on to me. You just . . . you confused me, and then the elevator got stuck. I’m a woman. Women have needs too. It’s not because you’re a great kisser.” She poured herself a glass of water and then drank it all in one single gulp as he watched her, amused.
“Great,” he said with a smirk that befuddled her.
She placed her glass down a little too forcefully and wiped her mouth with the back of her hands. “What?”
“You said I was great. You didn’t say good. You said great.”
“That’s not the point, the point is . . .”
He took a step closer and her heart rate—her stupid heart rate—spiked.
“The point is . . .”
“The point is?” He smirked again.
What were they talking about? God, he smelled good. Why did he always have to smell that good? And those baby-blue eyes, they were so clear and mesmerizing.
“Uh . . . what were we talking about?”
He chuckled. “Do you think I’m here to discuss the way you kiss?”
“No. More like to discuss the way I was all over you in that picture.”
“I was one of the two people in that picture, if I remember correctly.”
“Well . . . yes. And?”
“And?” He reached forward, cupped the back of her neck and pulled her forward. “And, my cock was pressed against you. I know you felt it. My tongue was in your mouth. I almost got on my knees to taste you. You were desperate? No, sweetheart, I was fucking frantic. But now that I know that you haven’t had a man in five years, I’m glad we didn’t go any further.”
“You were? You are?”
“Yes, you deserve better than a quickie in an elevator. And don’t doubt, not ever, that I want you as much as you want me. Hell, I’m sure I want you more. Any man would be lucky to have you. Don’t second-guess that. Not ever.” Then his lips came to hers, but this time it wasn’t the crazed open-mouthed kiss from the elevator. This was soft and reverent but just as erotic because now she knew it wasn’t just the heat of the moment drawing them together. There was something else . . . some mutual attraction that maybe needed to be explored.
He kissed her one last time before lacing his hands around hers and pulling her to her couch as if he’d been in her house a dozen times.

 

 

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