Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: SEAL Wolf in Too Deep

SEAL Wolf in Too Deep (Heart of the Wolf - Book 18) by Terry Spear

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 352
ISBN-101492621838
ISBN-13978-1492621836

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Terry Spear on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Heart of the Wolf

1. Heart of the Wolf
2. Destiny of the Wolf
3. To Tempt the Wolf
4. Legend of the White Wolf
5. Seduced by the Wolf
6. Wolf Fever
7. Heart of the Highland Wolf
8. Dreaming of the Wolf
9. A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing
10. A Howl for a Highlander
11. A Highland Werewolf Wedding
12. A SEAL Wolf Christmas
13. Silence of the Wolf
14. Hero of a Highland Wolf
15. A Highland Wolf Christmas
16. SEAL Wolf Hunting
17. A Silver Wolf Christmas
18. SEAL Wolf In Too Deep


Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from SEAL Wolf in Too Deep, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

Synopsis:


Love spells danger for an alpha SEAL wolf and the woman who steals his heart in this steamy shifter romance from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear
His love is dangerous
As a Navy SEAL and police diver, alpha wolf shifter Allan Rappaport knows how to handle tough situations, but the arrival of a human diving partner-especially one as attractive as Debbie Renaud-is a whole new challenge. Getting involved is dangerous, but Debbie's offers are hard to resist. As the heat between them rises and a murder plot thickens, Allan is on the brink of exposing his biggest secret.
But she's diving in headfirst
For Debbie, working with another top-notch diver like Allan is too good to be true, and their mutual attraction is hotter than she could have dreamed. Debbie suspects he's hiding something, though, and she's set on figuring it out-one off-duty rendezvous at a time. But when Debbie gets between a werewolf hunter and his intended victim, suddenly she is plunged straight into the heart of Allan's world-a world she never knew existed.

Thoughts:

Terry Spear continues her highly successful Heart of the Wolf series with the eighteenth book, SEAL Wolf in too deep. Readers who have followed this ever-evolving series will find this book refreshing. It is a new beginning for a pack that has been practically decimated in the past. Family and pack mean everything and finding an outsider and human for a mate isn't in the plans. Spear brings readers a tale about love and duty and following your heart even when everyone else thinks you are not doing the right thing. A great new book from a trusted author!

What I liked:

Terry Spear is an author that I connected with early on my adventure with this blog. Some of her books were among the very first books I reviewed and also some of the first paranormal romance books I had ever read. To say I fell in love with this series and Terry's writing is probably an understatement. Not to sound too trite, but reading the Heart of the Wolf series changed my perspective on what I enjoyed reading in a profound way. I love romance and I love mysteries and Spear's books always have that in spades. Her attention to detail in both human and wolf behavior sets her writing apart from the 'pack'. I cannot recommend this author and series enough. 

SEAL Wolf in Too Deep was a book I was really looking forward to for a lot of reasons. I wanted to see Paul and Lori's pack start to grow again and build on the relationships that Spear started out with all the way back in book 9. The interesting part about this particular pack is that their population is made up of a whole lot of females, which is rare, and that essentially sets up the book. Allan is a single male wolf shifter and the pack needs him. It is expected that he will mate with one of the females and continue the line of the pack. But as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants. When he falls for his human partner, the sparks fly in more ways than one. 

Spear is so great at describing pack dynamics and making her wolf shifters adhere to how a real wolf pack might structure themselves and how they might deal with adversity. Allan wants to do the right thing by the pack but he also can't fight his attraction to Debbie, his human female dive partner. She knows there is something special about him but she doesn't know what. But she likes it. Spear does such a great job of showing the conflict between what Allan's mind wants to do and what his heart wants to do. A lot of great romantic angst. 

There is also a killer on the loose. And this one is after werewolves. The mystery aspect of the story provided something else for the reader to focus on as well. This book is about romance, but it's also has some great action filled moments that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Allan and Debbie are both cops that specialize in diving. Allan of course, has a Navy SEAL background. This isn't a police procedural but that part of the book was very interesting and added a lot to the overall story.

One of my favorite series is the way Spear is able to take books about SEAL's, books about Highlanders and books about the original Silver pack and make them all coexist with each other so well. She can shift back and forth between the packs, write books that have crossover characters and write a ton of them and each on seems new and different, yet interconnected with all the others. That's a lot of versatility in one author.

What I didn't like:

Being the 18th book in the series, some readers might be waning on the popularity of the series. Not me! But there are those out there that may think Spear couldn't possibly be giving us something new with this book, but they'd be wrong. There just wasn't anything I didn't like about this one!

Bottom Line:

This is a great book and it's part of a phenomenal paranormal romance series. If you haven't taken that leap and tried something out of your comfort zone yet, I encourage you to read this series. Each book can be read as a stand alone including SEAL Wolf in Too Deep. Spear has a knack for writing detailed stories that get the reader in the heart. Good stuff!

SEAL Wolf in Too Deep is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





About the Author:


USA TODAY bestselling, and award-winning author and creator of award-winning teddy bears who have found homes all over the world including Australia, Switzerland, China, and Russia, and a retired officer of the US Army Reserves, I love to plant trees and flowers and if I could, I'd turn all the deserts green. Time travels are my favorite read, although I love to read most anything, and the Bourne series, Romancing the Stone, Sixth Sense, Legend, The Princess Bride, Stardust, Inkheart, LOTR, and tons of other movies are my favorites.

I love to research, to make urban fantasy worlds real, to bring a little of the paranormal into our world. Even in "Winning the Highlander's Heart" the heroine feels she is cursed and she has second sight. But I try to do it in a way that feels real, and not fantasized. :) Currently, I'm working on book 2 of the new jaguar shifter series, but still am working on wolf book number 12 and 13! So more hunky wolves to come! A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing has just released.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Blood in Her Veins

Blood in Her Veins (A Jane Yellowrock Book) by Faith Hunter

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 560
ISBN-100451475755
ISBN-13978-0451475756

(Received for an honest review from Roc)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Faith Hunter on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Jane Yellowrock

1. Signatures of the Dead (in Strange Brew)
1. Skinwalker
2. Blood Cross
3. Mercy Blade
3.5. Cat Tales
4. Raven Cursed
4.5. Have Stakes Will Travel
5. Death's Rival
6. Blood Trade
7. Black Arts
7.5. Off the Grid (aka Black Water)
8. Broken Soul
9. Dark Heir
10. Shadow Rites
Easy Pickings
Jane Yellowrock World Companion
Blood In Her Veins


Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from Blood in Her Veins, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter presents a comprehensive collection of stories starring everyone’s favorite “smart, sexy, and ruthless”* shapeshifting skinwalker...
 
In this must-have collection of stories, experience nineteen thrilling adventures from the world of vampire-hunter Jane Yellowrock, including many fan favorites and two all-new novellas. Read about the first time Jane put the pedal to the metal in “The Early Years,” and the last thing a werewolf will ever see as Jane delivers justice in “Beneath a Bloody Moon.” Get a searing look into the pasts of some of the series’ best-loved characters: Beast in “WeSa and the Lumber King,” Rick LaFleur in “Cat Tats,” and Molly Everhart Trueblood in “Haints.” 
 
In the brand-new “Cat Fight,” the witches and vampires of Bayou, Oiseau, are at war over a magical talisman—and Jane must figure out how to keep the mysterious artifact out of the covetous hands of the Master of New Orleans. And in the never-before-published “Bound No More,” Jane welcomes a visit from Molly and her daughter, Angie, who is about to prove she’s the most powerful witch in Everhart history....
 
From the Big Easy to the bad bayou, from the open road to a vampire’s lair—with Jane Yellowrock, it’s always a given: have stakes, will travel.


Thoughts:

Faith Hunter returns to the world of Jane Yellowrock in this collection of nineteen stories that will leave readers wanting to re-read the entire series. Jane Yellowrock is fantastic Urban Fantasy heroine and readers who are looking for a good introduction to the genre will love this series. This new book has only two new stories about Jane but the other seventeen will take the reader back in time and introduce them to parts of Jane they may not have seen before. A must read for fans of the Jane Yellowrock series!

What I liked:

There are so many things I could talk about here. The Jane Yellowrock series is one my favorite Urban Fantasy reads ever. Jane is a skinwalker. If you know anything about Native American folklore you have heard of skinwalkers before. Basically, Jane is a shape-shifter and she can communicate with her other form, which she has named, Beast. Did I mention that Jane is a vampire-hunter? There is that.This series has interactions with many different paranormal characters from witches to vampires, skinwalkers to werewolves. You get a little bit of everything here and it is soooo worth the read.

Blood In Her Veins is not a book I would recommend reading as a stand alone unless you have read all the other books in this series. These nineteen stories happen all throughout the series and I feel like the reader would miss so much if they haven't read the surrounding stories. There are two new stories as well that will broaden the readers idea of Jane and her world. I liked having all of the shorter novellas in one place and in order. That made it easy for me as a big fan of the series to keep everything in perspective.

I liked the fact that Hunter gives us stories not only from Jane's point of view but from those of her friends as well. I love Molly and Angie and I'll have admit to having a love/hate relationship with Rick. I didn't like him to start with but he grew on me. Bruiser is pretty awesome and loved reading more about him as well.

What I didn't like:

This one is close to 600 pages. If you are not into chunky books this one might not be for you. It's a bit lengthy but if you are a fan of the series you will fall right back into the addiction that is Jane when you start reading it and the time and pages will fly. Over too soon in my opinion.

Bottom Line:

If you haven't read this series, you really have to give it a try. Hunter's writing is fantastic and you won't regret the read. This collection of stories from Jane's world was a big hit for me, but it might leave you scratching your head if you aren't caught up on the series. I loved it!

Blood in Her Veins is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag.





About the Author:


Faith Hunter, urban fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Hunter fell in love with reading in fifth grade, and best loved SciFi, fantasy, and gothic mystery. She decided to become a writer in high school, when a teacher told her she had talent. Now, she writes full-time (about 60 hours a week) tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their dogs to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast. 

The dark urban fantasy Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, is a New York Times bestselling series with multiple books and compilations. Jane Yellowrock is a Cherokee skinwalker who tracks, hunts, and kills rogue-vampires for a living -- that is, until she takes a gig working for Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans. The series is set in an alternate reality, modern-day world, one inhabited by humans, vamps, and other things that go bump in the night.

Her Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy series, feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality, urban fantasy world. These novels are the basis for the Rogue Mage World Book and Role Playing Game, which contains lots of fiction for the readers!

The upcoming Soulwood series features Nell Nicholson Ingram, and is a spinoff from the Skinwalker series. Nell is an escapee from a cult, a solitary woman with magic of her own. In book one, Blood of The Earth, she is hired to help PsyLED (a division of Homeland Security) find a missing child.

Under her pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. 

As Faith and Gwen, she has more than 33 books in print in 29 countries. 

Along with other published writers, Faith participates in an online writing community geared to helping fantasy writers with tips and publishing advice called www.MagicalWords.net 

Join the fans at the official Faith Hunter Facebook fan page now located at 
https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter or follow her on Twitter @HunterFaith 
For more, including a list of her books, freebies, & upcoming events see www.FaithHunter.net and www.GwenHunter.com.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review and Giveaway: A Disguise to Die For

A Disguise to Die For (Costume Shop Mystery - Book 1) by Diane Vallere

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10042527828X
ISBN-13978-0425278284

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Diane Vallere on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from A Disguise to Die For, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.
 
No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz. 
 
For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.


Thoughts:

Diane Vallere brings readers the first book in a new series. The Costume Shop mystery series begins with A Disguise to Die For. The author gives readers a unique setting and a fun twist on the cozy genre. Vallere makes being in costume seem the norm instead of the weird. The Nevada setting is exotic, yet Proper still has that small town feel to it. It's not Vegas but it provides a great backdrop for some very eclectic characters. Readers looking for something new in a cozy will find this one irresistible.

What I liked:

I love cozy mysteries. It's a fact. But when you read about 15 a month you see a lot of repetition. Whether it be in the type of characters, the setting or the daytime job of the hero or heroine some things get old. I've read tons of books about cats, about food, about books. But Diane Vallere's new book is the first cozy I have read that has a costume shop theme. It's unique and different. It provides a completely uncommon feel to the book. Great atmosphere and characters that are a bit quirky but certainly fit the profile. Vallere excels here.

Margo Tamblyn is the heroine of this series. She's a magicians assistant that returns home to Proper, Nevada to help out her ailing father. That's a plus for her right off the bat. She cares about family, a good trait for someone you want to connect with when you read. She's smart and she's sassy. I like that in a character and in a person. I liked the fact that she was eccentric in her own way, wearing costumes gleaned from the shop everyday and not being afraid to make waves as she investigates the murder of a local big shot. Definitely, a character I want to keep an eye on.

The murder itself was interesting. Blitz Manners is having a birthday party, a costume detective party it seems and Deguise DeLimit, Margo's shop is to provide the costumes. A friend of Margo's, Ebony ones a party planning business and she's providing the food. Unfortunately, when Blitz ends up dead, Ebony also provides the cops with a prime suspect. There was motive galore here. Plenty of people had it in for this guy. Vallere gives reads a mystery that is clouded in intrigue and the whole costume theme of the town just adds to the magic. Such a great idea. I didn't figure this one out until the big reveal at the end. It was well thought out and had plenty of red herrings to through the reader off. 

What I didn't like:

Some readers will find this one a little too over the top. You have a lot of mystery purists out there that think every single book should be completely believable. These are not your readers of paranormal cozies or cozies with talking cats. They want every aspect of the book to be something that would happen in the real world. I think they might have issues with a costume wearing amateur detective, and the whole affluent wealthy town whose inhabitants live for costume events. Hmmm sounds like Hollywood... LOL!

Bottom Line:

You gotta try this one. It's a rare thing to find a good cozy series with a unique theme and premise. This one hit the spot for me. I read to escape and lately I've needed more escape than usual and this book provided that. It's a well written mystery that will keep readers guessing. You don't want to miss it. It's a book 1, a great place to start.

A Disguise to Die For is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:

I'm a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I'm writing four series: the Style & Error, Madison Night, Material Witness, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, "Just Kidding," tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK, THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, "Midnight Ice," can be found in OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE. 

And the Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series, will be out in October 2016, just in time for Halloween. 

I love to hear from readers! You can connect with me on twitter (@dianevallere) or say hi on Facebook. Telepathy works, too. Sometimes.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Disguise to Die For by Diane Vallere.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 23rd.

1. Please leave a comment describing your best costume ever.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Unforgiven

Unforgiven (Soulkeepers - Book 3) by Lori Adams

Publication Date: 04/21/2015
Publisher: Random House
Imprint: Flirt
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B00K4C4I8Y

(Received for an honest review from Flirt)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, itunes, Kobo

Lori Adams on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Soulkeepers

1. Forbidden
2. Awaken
3. Unforgiven

Coverart




Synopsis:

Otherworldly desire and paranormal action reach new heights in the final installment of The Soulkeepers. As Sophia St. James moves Heaven and Hell to claim her destiny, questions are answered, secrets are revealed—and immortal love is tested.

After finally becoming a powerful Spirit Walker, Sophia St. James is shocked to discover that her conjured identical twin, Ka—along with her soul—have been dragged down to Hell by the relentless Demon Knight Dante. Sophia tries to hide the crisis, but there is little hope of keeping any secrets from her red-hot Guardian Angel. Growing suspicious, Michael has been making plans of his own that will bind him and Sophia together forever.

But Sophia is plagued with evil visions through Ka’s experiences in Hell. She is terrified that Dante will discover he has taken the wrong Sophia. Desperate to return to her original state before she withers away and dies, she risks everything to go where Michael can’t follow. To bring back Ka and save her own soul, Sophia must now enter the gates of Hell.


Thoughts:

Lori Adams brings readers the final book in the Soulkeepers series, Unforgiven. Sophia is back at Haven Hurst and in some deep trouble as she tries to figure out how to keep the others from finding out they have a Spirit Walker who's soul is currently residing in Hell with her split personality. Yep... it's a little complicated. Fans of the series will love the final book because it answers all the questions left from the previous books and gives a satisfying outcome to Sophia's love life. Michael or Dante? It's time to choose!

What I liked:

This isn't your typical angel vs. demon story. The Soulkeepers series has been really interesting. The mythology that Adams has created for this series is very detailed and plausible. I liked the fact that Michael as a guardian angel was still able to fall in love with Sophia. I liked the fact that Dante as a demon knight still loves Sophia. Now I'm not necessarily a fan of reincarnation but Dante and Sophia's love from the past was fun to read about and contemplate. The splitting of Sophia's soul and how her twin Ka came into existence took a lot of imagination. These are all details that come out in the first two books of the series, but they lead up to a very chaotic final book in Unforgiven. 

There were a lot of questions to be answered before this series could wrap up in a meaningful way. I thought Adams did a great job of resolving all of those nagging little threads that were still hanging out there. Is this really a story about good vs evil? Heaven vs. Hell? I don't think so. I think at it's very core this is a story about true love overcoming any obstacle including demon knights and angel warriors. I think Adams wanted to turn the whole idea of angels and demons on it's head and she did that in spades. 

Unforgiven sends Sophia into the pits of hell in order to retrieve her twin and her soul. Now that's an interesting premise. In the mean time she is having this secret romance with Michael, which she shouldn't be having because he's an angel. And on top of that she is now going somewhere he can't follow her, and he can't protect her. I was on pins and needles just trying to work through all of the ways this could really, really right or really, really wrong. Dante is a formidable force whether in or out of Hell and I had to wonder if Sophia was up to that challenge. Adams had me going with this one... it was a real roller-coaster ride that ended in a great way. I wasn't sure but she pulled it out!

What I didn't like:

I'm one of those people that loves attention to detail. I like to know every little nook and cranny about what's going on and where it is happening and what it looks like and smells like and all that. I never would have believed I would have detail overload...lol! But that's what happens with this one. Too much about Hell... yep, I said, Hell. I was sitting their scratching my head. Has she been there or what? lol Too much of a good thing I guess.

Bottom Line:

This is a good book. I liked it by itself and as part of the series. It could be read as a stand alone but I don't recommend it. You need the background on this series to make it good. There is so much going on here that might be hard to understand without knowing what has gone on before. Great characters and a great storyline. Loved the mythology created here and the end was quite satisfying. The ultimate good boy vs. bad boy choice. This is a good one. 

Unforgiven is available NOW from your favorite bookseller. 

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!


About the Author:


Penguin Random House author Lori Adams is originally from Oklahoma and lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of the Young Adult/New Adult paranormal romance trilogy, THE SOULKEEPERS: FORBIDDEN, AWAKEN, UNFORGIVEN.

Updates are posted on her website LoriAdamsbooks.com or here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSoulkeepersSeries

All books are available wherever eBooks are sold.


Review and Giveaway: Carolina Dreaming

Carolina Dreaming (Dare Island - Book 5) by Virginia Kantra

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
ISBN-100425269701
ISBN-13978-0425269701

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Virginia Kantra on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Dare Island

1. Carolina Home
2. Carolina Girl
3. Carolina Man
4. Carolina Blues
5. Carolina Dreaming

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from Carolina Dreaming, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

When it comes to love, anything can happen on Dare Island—especially in this latest novel fromNew York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.   

After escaping a disastrous marriage, bakery owner Jane Clark has convinced herself that she has everything she needs—her precious son, a thriving business, and a roof over her head. But the arrival of a handsome stranger on the island shows her exactly what she’s been missing...   

The only home Gabe Murphy ever had was the Marine Corps. He's working hard to rebuild his life. It will take a special place, and a special woman, to make him want to stay.   

Now Gabe is determined to prove that he's worthy of Jane’s trust—and her love. But when her past reappears, that trust will be tested, and Jane and Gabe will have to fight hard to hold onto their love and make their dreams a reality..


Thoughts:

Virginia Kantra takes readers back to Dare Island for another small town romance that will delight the heart. Carolina Dreaming focuses on a couple who both have some issues to overcome. The past can sometimes hold you back from the future. Kantra does a wonderful job delivering characters who are both realistic and easy to identify with. This is a sweet romance that readers will find satisfying in many ways. A great new book, from a seasoned author!

What I liked:

Virginia Kantra has a way with words. Her style is a lot like the setting of her books. Island living is often at a much slower pace, more simplistic and full of poignant moments and that's certainly what readers get with Kantra's writing. Her words flow effortlessly. The story seems to unfold in a very realistic manner. There is no insta-love here and no I can't live without you symbolism. It's about making real connections and finding your place in the world. Kantra never disappoints and her latest book is just as good as the others in this series.

Carolina Dreaming may be book five in the series but it can be read as a stand alone. I guarantee you will quickly want to go back and read the rest though. The hero in this one, Gabe, is a former Marine who has had some trouble adjusting to life outside the core. His childhood was no picnic and he has some issues with self-confidence and feeling worthy of finding love. He isn't a tortured soul, he is just a man looking for a new start and he finds it in the hometown of a former buddy, Luke, who is the hero of one of the other books in the series. 

Jane is a sweet lady trying to rebuild her life. She's a single mom who had a bad first relationship that has tainted her idea of love. She has some trust issues and who could blame her. She has found success with her business and her son means everything to her, but when she meets Gabe she realizes there is still a missing part. On the outside Gabe looks a lot like the bad boy from her past. But once she takes a deeper look, she sees beyond his past, to the man he really is. This is just such a sweet relationship that goes from friendship to love in a normal easy pace.

Kantra makes the reader fall in love with these two characters both separately and together. I loved Jane's relationship with her father and the wonderful friendship that starts between her son Aidan and Gabe. There were some upheaval's of course. You can't have a truly good romance without some conflict and a lot of soul searching, but this one really hit the spot. A very good read!

What I didn't like:

This is a romance so the reader knows up front that the hero and the heroine will most likely end up together unless it's a Nicholas Sparks novel... lol. Because of that the author has to do something within the novel to draw the reader in, to give them something else to keep their attention. There wasn't a lot of that in this one. But the romance was poignant enough that it was not a big deal. Certainly not a deal breaker. 

Bottom Line:

If you looking for a sweet romance about two people finding themselves and love, this is the one for you. There is a good secondary romance and the relationship between a boy who needs a man in his life and a man who needs a family is definitely emotionally pleasing. Jane and Gabe have a lot to overcome before they can be together and it was nice to watch their love bloom. The setting as usual was amazing and small town coastal life is for me... LOL! A very good offering from Virginia Kantra.

Carolina Dreaming is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





About the Author:


New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra has written over twenty-five books of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Her deeply emotional stories have won numerous writing awards, including Romance Writers of America's RITA Award and two National Readers' Choice Awards. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three kids, she is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love. 

Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.




Giveaway Details

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.

~ The deadline to enter this giveaway isMidnight EST, February 22nd.

1. Please leave a comment describing why you think women have a thing for bad boys.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Update!

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to give you a little update on how things are going. 

Many of you know that I haven't been blogging since last September for several reasons. I posted about that not too long ago. I just wanted to thank-you for your heart felt messages and emails. They meant the world to me. 

Things here are still a bit chaotic and hard to sort out, but slowly I am starting to see a pattern to things again, including blogging. I have been posting one review a day for the last week and I plan to continue that through February. There will be a few giveaways. Certainly not my usual bunch, but a few. I hope that next month I will be able to offer you more. There are so many wonderful books being published right now. Reading is most definitely my happy place and I need that right now.

I will also be posting some reviews that I had drafted from a long time ago. These are books or galleys that I received, read and planned to post but other things got in the way. They are still amazing titles that you need to go back and take a look at. I hope you like these... gives me something else to think about, as well.

Again... thank-you from the bottom of my heart. And I will get back to a normal blog schedule eventually. In the mean time, hang in there with me... I'm still finding my way.

Love you all... 

Deb

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: The Hunter

The Hunter (Victorian Rebel - Book 2) by Kerrigan Byrne

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Imprint: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 432
ISBN-101250076064
ISBN-13978-1250076069

(Received for an honest review from St. Martin's Paperbacks)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Kerrigan Byrne on the WEB: Website , Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Victorian Rebel

1. The Highwayman
2. The Hunter 


Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from The Hunter, courtesy of MacMillan Publishers

Synopsis:

They're rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards--dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster...

A scandalous proposal...

Christopher Argent lives in the shadows as the empire's most elite assassin. Emotion is something he tossed away years ago, making him one of the most clear-eyed, cold-hearted, wealthiest, and therefore untouchable men in London. But when his latest target turns out to be London's own darling, Millicent LeCour, Christopher's whole world is turned upside down. Overwhelmed by her stunning combination of seduction and innocence, Christopher cannot complete the mission. She has made him feel again. Now, he will do anything to save her life, even if it means risking his own...

A perilous passion...

When Millie learns what Christopher was hired to do, she is torn between the fear in her heart and the fire in her soul. Putting herself in this notorious hunter's arms may be her only path to safety--even if doing so could be the deadliest mistake she's ever made. But how can she resist him? As the heat between her and Christopher burns out of control, danger lurks in the shadows. Is their desire worth the risk? Only the enemy knows what fate has in store...


Thoughts:

Kerrigan Byrne returns with the second book in the Victorian Rebel's series, The Hunter. After receiving many accolades for the first book in the series, some might wonder if the second book can compete. The Hunter is just as action filled and romantic as the The Highwayman. There are many contrasts in the two books that readers will appreciate. This isn't the same story, rehashed or changed a little. It's a completely different tale of love and danger, murder and and redemption. A great new story from and up and coming author!

What I liked:

Oh, where to start! As a reviewer, I read a lot of different books, historical romance to paranormal fantasy and I see a lot of author's who are very talented and others that are so-so. Kerrigan Byrne is one of those exceptions to the rule. One of those authors that throws all of your expectations and ideas of what makes a good romance out the window and makes you redefine what you believe about the genre. 

Byrne's latest book, The Hunter is a novel that will make readers stand up and take notice. They will enjoy her lyrical prose and revel in her attention to detail. The Victorian era will come alive for them. But, there is something more here. Something that will make the reader think, ponder and mull over what makes a man or a woman, evil? Can evil ever be changed to good or at least something better? Is there hope for one who could be considered the villain in more ways than one? This one was thought provoking, eloquent and an enormously satisfying novel. I can already tell you, this will be one of my favorites of the year. 

The hero is a dark one. Christopher is an assassin. He isn't a good guy masquerading as a bad guy, he is the real thing. Cold, calculating, appearing to have no conscience. He doesn't kill for the good of the realm he kills for money. He isn't a white knight and if he bargains with you, it will cost you dearly. Byrne does a fantastic job with this character. She makes you believe in the hero's pain and desperation. But she also makes you believe he can be saved. That love can change even the cruel of people. That it can heal long festered scars and pain. What a great character!

Millie is an actress, a beauty, an independent woman and a mother. How did she become the target of an assassin? It's a long story! Needless to say when she is faced with a man like Christopher Argent, she may be no match for his force and strength,but in every other way she is a worthy counterpart. I liked her passion and fiery nature. When faced with a choice she makes the best decision for herself and her son. I thought she had spunk and determination in spades. Another great heroine!

What I didn't like:

This isn't really something I didn't like. It's just something to keep in mind. In order for Byrne to establish the credibility of Christopher as both an assassin and an all around villainous person, she had to make the reader see his depravity. In doing that, the first chapter of this book is not for the faint of heart. It's graphic. It's vile and painful and it's necessary to the story. I wouldn't have bought Christopher as the hero any other way. I wouldn't have been nearly as invested in him were it written any other way. Well done, but not everyone's cup of tea. Just be apprised of this and don't let it decide the tone of the book for you, because there is sooo much more.

Bottom Line:

If you are a historical romance fan and do not read this book, I would have to say you are crazy. It's just that good. It's intense and passionate and full of surprises. If you haven't tried the genre and this is your first book, it might ruin you for life... LOL! It's just that good. Read it, think about it and fall in love with... I dare ya!

The Hunter is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:

Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she's finally able to have the career she'd decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to "grow up to be a romance novelist." Whether she's writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story. 

Her Newest release, THE HUNTER, has been named the one of Amazon's best books of the Month for 2016!

She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. 

Kerrigan loves to hear from her readers!