Friday, April 20, 2018

Audiobook Review: Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Ice Planet Barbarians #2
Pub. Date:March 20, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Hollie Jackson
Mason Lloyd
Length:6 hrs 27 min

I just love these big blue freaky barbarians. The audiobooks simply can't come out fast enough for me, and its been really hard not to binge through the print copies on Kindle Unlimited. But the narrators do a good job with the story and they keep me entertained as I drive and clean the house, so I'm committed to waiting on the audio versions.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ARC Review: Loving the Secret Billionaire by Adriana Anders

Series:     Love at Last #1
Pub. Date:April 19, 2018
Length:113 pgs

Loving the Secret Billionaire is the first installment in Adriana Anders' Love at Last novella series. I am a fan of Anders' writing style and having been reading the Blank Canvas series, but I wasn't able to connect with this story. The writing style was fine - I just got caught up in the pitfalls of a novella and wanted more information.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ARC Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Series:     Spinster Heiresses #2
Pub. Date:April 17, 2018
Length:384 pgs

This is the second installment of Cathy Maxwell's Spinster Heiresses series featuring a group of three heroines with "new money" so to speak, and less-than-desirable family connections. Our spinsters, Leonie, Cassandra and Willa bonded over their struggle on the marriage mart, each with a father seeking to purchase a title with his daughter's life. Last season, when the newly-appointed Duke of Camberly appeared on the scene, our trio made a game of his attention.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Audiobook Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Pub. Date:March 19, 2014
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Rob Shapiro
Length:6 hrs 33 min
Source:Audible Romance

This is a book from my blogger shame pile that I got from NetGalley some time ago. I actually picked it up and put it down a couple times due to the age of the characters. I am not much of a young adult reader and I didn't realize that this was a young adult coming-of-age type novel. I generally like Amy Harmon, so I didn't want to write the story off so it has sat out there lingering for a while. But when I saw that it was available on Audible Romance, I decided to give it another shot. I'm glad I was listening while I was at home, as there was definitely some ugly crying and tissues needed for this one.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Audiobook and Movie Review: The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Series:     The Protector #1
Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:MacMillan Audio
Narrators:Jenna Lamia
Length:13 hrs 27 min

So this book is totally out of my wheelhouse for romances that I normally read, but I had heard of the movie and the sci-fi/fantasy aspect of the story intrigued me. Now that I have read the book, I decided to rent the movie to see how it compared. Stay tuned below for the movie review!

This story is told from multiple points of view, most of which I will touch on briefly below.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ARC Review: What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

Series:     School of Dukes #1
Pub. Date:March 27, 2018
Length:384 pgs

What a Difference a Duke Makes is the first installment of a new series by Lenora Bell, School for Dukes. This was a beguiling story inspired by Mary Poppins and I had such a good time reading it.

Miss Mari Perkins is our heroine, and  that's Mari-rhymes-with-starry, if you please. Mari was raised in an oppressive orphanage and has come to London to find work as a governess and find out more about her her parentage. When the proprietor of the employment agency refuses Mari a position, she takes it upon herself to present herself to a duke's residence and pose as a quality governess. Mari was a delightful heroine. She was courageous, compassionate and cheerful. I was really surprised at Mari's optimistic nature given her difficult childhood, but I appreciated it all the same. She was great with the children, and even better with the distracted duke. My only hang up with Mari's character was her name... the rhymes-with-starry bit just didn't work with my southern accent, so I called her Mary most of the time.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Audiobook Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Series:     ARES Security #2
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Publisher:Recorded Books
Narrator:Jim Frangione
Length:9 hrs 44 min

Kill Without Shame is the second book in the ARES Security series featuring five soldiers who were bound together in horror when they were taken prisoner by the Taliban. These protective alpha males have returned stateside and maintained their closeness to include starting a security firm together - ARES Security. Now each one will exercise those protective instincts to save a damsel and bring her into the fold.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Audiobook Review: Untouchable Darkness by Rachel Van Dyken

Series:     Dark Ones #2
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Chris Chambers
Hollie Jackson
Length:8 hrs 12 min

I tried really really hard with this book. I gave it 6.5 hours of my life - that's 80% of the audiobook. But I was really forcing it for most of the book. I think that this writing style just does not work for me. It's very abrupt and almost jarring at times. The transitions threw me out of the story... and I can honestly say that after listening to most of the book, I barely know what the storyline was. I felt like this was more of an outline of a story than an actual full story.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review: Dangerous Promise by Megan Hart

Series:     The Protector #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 2, 2018
Length:255 pgs
Source:3M Cloud Library

I've been a Megan Hart fan since the way back, loving the incredibly emotional erotic romances that she published. It seems she is branching out over the last few years and crossing genres into the realms of suspense and thrillers. With The Protector series, Megan offers a futuristic romance with an enhanced heroine and billionaire hero struggling through a contentious relationship.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan

Series:     Devil's Rock #4
Pub. Date:December 26, 2017
Narrator::Jill Tanner
Length:368 pgs

This is my first time reading a Sophie Jordan contemporary, and I don't know what took me so long. I am very intrigued by this series and I need to get to earlier books ASAP. While I haven't read the earlier books yet, I think they work well as standalones and I didn't feel overly lost of like I was missing information as I read. There appears to be a very small amount of character crossover, but nothing substantial enough to warrant the books being read in order.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Audiobook Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Series:     The Embraced #2
Pub. Date:August 29, 2017
Publisher:Recorded Books
Narrator::Jill Tanner
Length:16 hrs 6 min
Source:NetGalley / OverDrive

This is another book from my blogger shame pile, and it took me so long to get to it because, once I got behind, I really wanted to try this one in audio. So it took a while for me to come off the library wait list. The narrator, Jill Tanner, did a good job with the narration. Her character affectations were varied and it was easy to tell who was talking most of the time. My sole complaint was that her voice sounded fairly old for our young heroine.

This second installment of the Embraced series takes place about a year(ish) after the end of How to Tame a Beast in 10 Days. Luciana has married the Beast of Benwick and they are now King and Queen of Eberon. Luciana is expecting their first child and all her sisters are traveling from the Isle of Moon to see her and assist with the birth. However, as they are en route, their ship is overtaken by both the Tourin military fleet and the infamous pirate, Rupert.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Audiobook Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Series:     Mystic Bayou #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 23, 2018
Publisher:Audible Studios
Narrators:Amanda Ronconi
Jonathan Davis
Length:6 hrs 33 min
Source:Audible Romance

I thought this story was just as cute and fun as all get out, but that is kinda what I expect from Molly Harper. I can't wait for the next books in the Mystic Bayou series to see what the magi are getting up to down in the Lousiana swamp. 

This book is an Audible Original - so the print copy has yet to be released. But I encourage you to listen to the audiobook if you are able. The narrators did a great job... but I really really liked the female narrator Amanda Ronconi. She did a great (and believable) Cajun accent, probably the best I have heard in an audiobook. I wish she had narrated the whole book just to have continuity, but Jonathan Davis didn't do a bad job either.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

ARC Review: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Series:     The Embraced #3
Pub. Date:March 27, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:435 pgs

I'm a huge fan of fantasy romance, and there doesn't seem to be many traditionally published adult fantasy romances being published these days. So I'm always very excited when a new book comes out in this genre. This third book takes place about 3 years after the previous book, So I Married a Sorcerer

To recap for the series: In the fantastical realm of  Aerthlan, the Embraced are born on the night of the two moons eclipse. This special birth gives them special powers which, in the past, was seen as dangerous by the kings of the land. The Embraced were executed if found, so they must live in secret, and are sometimes sent to the Isle of Moon as infants to be raised in hiding. This is where we met our five heroines, girls who were raised in a convent on the Isle of Moon - Luciana, Brigitta, Gwennore, Sorcha, and Maeve. Having grown up together, these girls share a special bond and consider themselves sisters who will be together forever. Luciana and Brigitta met their fate, married and are each queens in their own right. As a result, things have been changing across Aerthlan and the Embraced are coming out of hiding.

Monday, March 26, 2018

ARC Review: Counting on a Countess by Eva Leigh

Series:     London Underground #2
Pub. Date:March 27, 2018
Length:389 pgs

Counting on a Countess is the second book in Eva Leigh's London Underground series, which features noble heroes who become entangled with less-than-lawful women of the commoner class.

Our hero in this second installment is Christopher "Kit" Ellingsworth, who has returned home a war hero and been awarded an earldom for his service in the fight against Napoleon. Kit has the reputation of being a spendthrift and womanizer, and his new title hasn't added a penny to his coffers.  But Kit's laissez faire lifestyle is really his way of coping with the horrors of war, and this vulnerability drew me into Kit's character and created a good emotional connection with his character. When Kit's mentor, Lord Somersby, dies and leaves him a fortune with some very unusual conditions, Kit's dreams are within reach if he can only find a willing and supportive wife. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken

Series:     The Dark Ones #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 30, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Chris Chambers
Hollie Jackson
Length:7 hrs 1 min

The Dark Ones is the first book in a series of the same name by Rachel Van Dyken that features a diverse cast of paranormal characters including vampires, werewolves, sirens and fallen angels. 

Our heroine is named Genesis, a human whose number has been called to go and serve immortal society. The way Genesis was raised has given her an inferiority complex, and you really wanted to shake the spit out of her hateful mother. But this results in Genesis arriving before the immortals wholly ignorant of her role and what is expected of her. She adapted fairly quickly and took things in stride without freaking out, which was commendable. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Audiobook Review: About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Series:     Heartbreaker Bay #5
Pub. Date:Jan. 23, 2018
Publisher:Avon / HarperAudio
Narrator::Karen White
Length:9 hrs 26 min

About That Kiss is the fifth book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, of which I have only read one book. While these may technically be read as standalones, I felt like I was missing info and wish I had read all the earlier books first. There is quite a bit of character crossover and references to their stories (particularly the fateful fountain) and, as I didn't know everyone, I felt like I was the clueless new kid on the block.

So this story is about a kiss (duh) that seems to have happened off-page... or maybe in a previous book? We start off the story two days after the kiss has happened. I wish that scene had been included in a prologue or something because I felt like I was coming into the story late. So the gist is that our heroine (Kylie) and hero (Joe) had a steamy, possibly drunken, kiss at a bar. Then he didn't call her, but comes into her reclaimed wood store a couple days after.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ARC Review: One Lucky Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Series:     Lucky #2
Re-Release. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:352 pages

I have been on the hunt lately for a good solid cowboy series that I could sink my teeth into... but so far I'm kinda striking out in this trope. I don't know if being a southern girl makes me overly picky when it comes to these stories, or if I just haven't found the right fit. But this one didn't work for me at all. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

ARC Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Series:     Dragon Kin #9
Pub. Date:Aug. 29, 2017
Length:416 pgs

This is another book from my blogger shame pile... another one that got caught up in my moving transition between New Orleans and Tucson. But I'm kinda glad that I waited on it now because it really helped lighten my mood this week while I've been trying to read and not die of the plague (thanks to all those germ harbingers of doom that you pick up on an airplane). 

It seems like its been a long time since I've read a Dragon Kin book. I had no problem remembering our heroine, Branwen the Awful, but I couldn't seem to place our hero, Aidan the Divine. That didn't really matter in the long run as Aidan is the typical egotistical dragon, he thinks he's the GOAT (greatest of all time) and its up to our heroine to bring him back down to earth. I like it when the pretty boy and/or intelligent dragons have been paired with the Cadwaladr females, who are big tough fighting machines. Branwen definitely takes after her mother, Ghleanna, and is a renowned warrior known in all the realms. I like the mix of ridiculous and relatable and felt like Branwen hit both of those marks. She and Aiden definitely kept me entertained.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Audiobook Review: Cowboy SEAL Homecoming by Nicole Helm

Series:     Navy SEAL Cowboys #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 2, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Romy Nordlinger
Length:10 hrs 24 min

Cowboy SEAL Homecoming is set on a horse and cattle ranch in a small town in Big Sky Country - Montana. Three wounded Navy SEALs have returned to the ranch with our hero to start an equine therapy center for wounded veterans, but must heal themselves in the process. 

Rebecca Denton is an extremely sheltered young woman who was left half of the ranch by her recently deceased stepfather. After having meningitis as a child, Rebecca was coddled and sheltered by her smother, who still treats Becca as if she is naive and incapable of caring for herself and knowing her own mind. As a result, Becca has made friends on the farm and has a wide array of furry companions like Ron Swanson (the goat) and Rasputin (the rooster), among others. Becca talks to the animals as if they were people, which gives you some insight into her life and loneliness. Deciding to open an equine therapy ranch for wounded veterans with her stepbrother and his comrades is a huge step for Becca, but one at which she is determined to succeed (and have her way). I liked watching Becca come out of her shell and start to stand up for herself, her wants and needs. She didn't back down from the military men, and she earned their respect in the process.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Audiobook Review: Dark in Death by JD Robb

Series:     In Death #46
Pub. Date:Jan. 30, 2018
Publisher:Brilliance Audio
Narrators:Susan Ericksen
Length:13 hrs 25 min

There is not much left that I can say about Eve Dallas and In Death that I haven't already said in the multitude of reviews that I have done for this series. It continues to be one of my favorite series, and one that I hope stays around for years to come. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

ARC Review: Guardian's Bond by Rhenna Morgan

Series:     Ancient Ink #1
Pub. Date:March 12, 2018
Publisher:Carina Press
Length:393 pages

I'm a big fan of Rhenna Morgan's Men of Haven series, but this is the first time I have read one of her paranormals (despite having her Eden series on my TBR forever). So I'm glad to be getting in on the Ancient Ink series at the outset, and this will spur me to get started on Eden

Ancient Ink centers around a race of magical people in a somewhat clannish society. Their various powers are tied to the Otherworld and they have a animal companion, which allows them to shapeshift into that form. They are a long-lived race integrated with human society, but don't seem to be "out" as far as their magical abilities go. The world setting is the modern United States, so not a ton of world building is needed and you instead will be focusing on the characters and their relationships.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Audiobook Review: The English Wife by Lauren Willig

Pub. Date:Jan. 9, 2018
Publisher:MacMillan Audio
Narrator:Barrie Kreinik
Length:14 hrs 52 min

The English Wife is a historical drama set during the Gilded Age in London and upstate New York. While it is not a romance, there are some romantic elements. However, your main focus is going to be on the drama and mystery that unfolds as you read or listen.

There is a split narration/POV of this story for the past and present. Half of the story is following Bayard and Annabelle Van Duyvil from their meeting to murder, and the other half follows Janie Van Duyvil as she attempts to find out the truth about the mysterious deaths. There are quite a number of distasteful secondary characters that meet and mingle through the Van Duyvil lives, and they gave the story a darker theme that really made this into a drama instead of a run-of-the-mill historical fiction.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ARC Review: One and Only by Jenny Holiday

Series:     Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1
Pub. Date:February 27, 2018
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:368 pages

This is my first read from Jenny Holiday, and I was excited to pick it up as I was in the mood for something light and fun. I'm not typically into the bridesmaid and wedding theme, but I an excerpt that was floating around for One and Only and the steamy selection piqued my smutty interest.

So Jane Denning is our responsible introvert of a bridesmaid - a nerdy girl author who writes fabulous young adult fantasy novels. After a failed relationship, Jane has stuck to the solo life for the last six years... something that definitely resonated with me. Sometimes its just easier to be in your own space than it is to think of inviting someone into your life and all your "stuff." But her long bout of celibacy and tendency to wrangle her girlfriends has earned Jane the reputation of being a responsible, boring, wet blanket. This was a bit harsh because there is nothing wrong with being responsible and not sleeping with half the town. We aren't supposed to slut shame... but how about we don't single shame either, okay ladies? And besides - Jane wasn't TOTALLY an adult. She lived in fantasy worlds and dressed up for Comicon! That's not boring! So I connected with Jane a little bit with her single life and nerdy girl introvert tendencies. I also didn't like Jane sometimes though, particularly when she was judgy and willing to believe the worst of people despite evidence to the contrary.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

ARC Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:William Morrow
Length:368 pages

This must be a week for new-to-me authors, as this is another new one for me. Though I have had Linda Howard on my TBR for a really long time, I just haven't found time to fit her in until now. And now I want to go back and read the whole back list! This was a great romantic suspense!

The premise revolves around GO Teams, a secret sect of the government sending highly specialized and trained teams out into dangerous situations to address whatever situation is needed. Unfortunately the teams, and their leader, Axel McNamara, have an enemy in Congress who wants to see them fail in the worst way. So there was suspense and danger at ever angle in this novel.

Monday, March 5, 2018

ARC Review: Bad Bachelor by Stefanie London

Series:     Bad Bachelors #1
Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablanca

This is my first read from Stefanie London, and I admittedly got sucked in by this cover and the very Tom Hardy looking cover model. This book also brought out my heroine hater tendencies and found me squarely in the corner of all the bad bachelors out there. Shocker!

The premise behind the story revolves around the Bad Bachelor app - an app along the lines of the former Don't Date Him Girl (DDHG) site that was around a handful of years ago. Touted as a way to empower and educate women, the Bad Bachelor app allows anonymous users to rate and hate on men, airing grievances and saying whatever their heart desires without any consequence whatsoever. As you can imagine, that can result in countless keyboard warriors being vile and vindictive and making my lip curl with their petty behavior.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Audiobook Review: Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison

Series:     Elder Races #3
Pub. Date:Oct. 6, 2011
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Sophie Eastlake
Length:13 hrs 14 min
Source:Audible Romance

My re-read for the Elder Races series continues, and I'm approaching the point where I got waylaid in the series before. So I'm making sure to take notes this time! I continue to enjoy Harrison's world building and unique paranormal characters, and I remember the next book, Oracle's Moon, being one of my favorites so I will be moving onto it very soon. That's not to say that Serpent's Kiss wasn't very good... it was.

The hero of this installment is Rune Ainissesthai, a gryphon and First Sentinel for Dragos Cuelebre (hero of Dragon Bound). In the last installment, Storm's Heart, Rune made a deal with a vampire to save Tiago's life... and now he has to go pay up the favor he owes her. Rune is a typical weir hero, a growly alpha male that is dominant and protective when it comes to his mate. Rune is also a being of the between places, as his gryphon nature demonstrates. He has an affinity for portals to other times, places and dimensions... and we see that working in interesting ways in this story.