Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Unbroken

Unbroken (Silver Creek - Book 3) by Maisey Yates

Publication Date: 08/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425273695
ISBN-13: 978-0425273692

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Maisey Yates on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Silver Creek

1. Unexpected
2. Untouched
3. Unbroken

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




Excerpt from, Unbroken, courtesy of the author's website (half way down the page)

Synopsis:

In the latest Silver Creek romance from USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates, former rodeo star Cade Mitchell may never ride again, but there are still a few things he can do—like care for the woman he loves.
 
Amber Jameson has always thought of her best friend Cade as an older brother. A really hot older brother. But growing up in foster care, she learned to rely only on herself. As much as she likes stealing glances at Cade’s chiseled jaw and painted-on jeans, she resents the way he swoops in like a superhero to fix things for her.
 
When former rodeo rival Jim Davis starts harassing Amber to sell her grandfather’s failing ranch, Cade swoops in once again. To send Jim on his way, Cade pretends to be Amber’s boyfriend, moving in to help fix the place up. With her grandfather behind the idea, Amber and Cade have to keep the charade going—whether she likes it or not.
 
But as their make-believe romance starts to heat up, maybe Cade and Amber will learn to admit that they both could use a little saving…


Thoughts:

Author Maisey Yates continues her Silver Creek series, with her latest book, Unbroken. Readers continue to be enthralled by the Mitchell family, a family of ranchers and modern day cowboys and cowgirls. Yates uses the age-old theme of best friends becoming lovers to drive Cade's story and fans of the series will be captivated by his relationship with Amber. With Amber's grandfather's ranch and stake, as well as, Cade's self-respect, Unbroken is a story of love and redemption that readers won't soon forget.

What I liked:

This was my first experience with author Maisey Yates and I will have to say that I was surprised at how much I liked her writing style, her humor and her ability to get inside the heads of her characters. She took a well used theme and injected it with new life. The best friends to lovers theme is always a challenging one, because it has been done so many times before, but Yates was able to add a refreshing originality to the plot of Unbroken that was unexpected.

Yates uses a lot of humor and general banter to endear her readers to her characters and I found myself wanting to know more and more about them. She lets readers see a glimpse inside both Amber and Cade through their inner-dialogue and their interactions with each other. I loved the parts of the book where it was just the two of them talking, because it was light and fun and the reader will easily believe these two had been friends for years. There was a comfort and smoothness in how they related to each other.

This was a relationship that grew out of adversity. Both Amber and Cade have had some tough experiences in their past, from foster homes, to infidelity. From rodeo injuries to atoning for past mistakes. There was a lot of depth to their relationship and I liked the way Yates developed it. I think most readers can relate to having feelings for someone who you thought was in the friend zone. It was believable and beautiful to read. There was an underlying theme of redemption that ran throughout the story. Cade feeling guilt over his past mistakes and Amber trying to show that she had changed from a wild undisciplined youth to a young woman capable to taking care of grandfather. Overall it was a very gratifying read, as well as, a steamy one.

The romance was hot heavy once it got going and I think readers will be able to see just how much these two characters are feeling for each other. They not only respect each other and care for each other as friends, but the passion they share has a depth that comes from truly understanding the other person. That doesn't happen in too many of the fly by night romance books out there. Very nice!

What I didn't like:

Since I had not read the other books in the series, I was a little taken aback by Cade's relationship with his family. It appeared that the Mitchell's were this great ranching family, with lots of love and tradition, but the way Cade was treated didn't seem to fit into that mold. I guess there is always a black sheep in the family and Cade must have been it. 

Bottom Line:

I truly enjoyed this book. Yates was able to create a romance that didn't fall into the typical rut. It was different, it was engaging, it was funny and just down right romantic. I loved Cade and Amber and thought they made a great couple. I do think readers would benefit by reading the series in order, because I felt like I didn't get all nuances and relationships down as well as I could have.

Unbroken is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Maisey Yates is a USA Today bestselling author who divides her time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth, and light, sexy contemporary romances set practically in her backyard. She has written many romances for Harlequin, including The Couple Who Fooled the World, as well as the Silver Creek Romances (Unbuttoned, UnexpectedUntouched and Rekindled) for InterMix. She lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Unbroken by Maisey Yates.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST,
September 4th
.


1. Please leave a comment about what you think draws riders to the rodeo, what is the lure?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim

The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim (Cats In Trouble - Book 6) by Leann Sweeney

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0451415426
ISBN-13: 978-0451415424

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Leann Sweeney on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Cats In Trouble

1. The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse
2. The Cat, the Professor and the Poison 
3. The Cat, the Lady and the Liar
4. The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon
5. The Cat, the Mill and the Murder
6. The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim

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




Excerpt from, The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

Synopsis:

Heir of the cat...

When Clyde the cat travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.

But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an eldery man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned to his home again—and he’s found another body. When the motive behind these murders is finally revealed, Jillian understands Clyde is in danger of becoming the next victim, and she must help find the killer before the claws really come out.…


Thoughts:

Mystery lovers and cat enthusiasts a like will fall in love with Leann Sweeney's latest Cats in Trouble book, The Cat, The Vagabond and the Victim. Bodies abound, as readers are introduced to a cat that likes to travel and a family that likes to fight. Sweeney's brand of quirky characters and felines sets this one apart and gives readers a one of a kind reading experience!

What I liked: 

Leann Sweeney must own cats. There is no other way she could get the interactions between the cats in her Cats in Trouble series, and her human characters down so perfectly. I always enjoy seeing how she is going to use a cat in each of her books in the series. In The Cat, The Vagabond and the Victim, readers meet, Clyde, a lovable feline that wants nothing more than to return to his owner, Mr. Jeffers. Unfortunately, Mr. Jeffers is over 200 miles away and dead. Clyde was certainly the star of the show. He reminded of those animals you see on TV that somehow manage to find their way home despite desperate circumstances. It was a great idea and it really worked in this book. Readers can't help but love Clyde and wonder exactly how he factors into the murders.

Another of Sweeney's many writing talents, is her ability to write her human characters to be just as endearing has her feline characters. The more I learn about Jillian, the more I like her. She is quick when it comes to figuring things out and following the clues that she has been given. She has a presence about her that makes her believable. I like her process, as well. Most cozy heroines go about solving their mysteries in a similar manner in each book. Not, Jillian! She is varied and full of surprises. 

While the mystery is obviously the reason most readers start reading a cozy mystery, there is a lot more going on in most of them. I was glad to see that Jillian and Tom's relationship is still going strong and that we not only get to meet new characters in this book, but we still get to keep up with the other characters from previous stories. I don't need to know their life story in each book, but a nod now and then makes the series seem more cohesive and enjoyable to read. 

What I didn't like:

I didn't like it that I couldn't figure this one out! LOL... It was carefully plotted and Sweeney knew exactly what she was doing. I thought I was following all along, but the surprise at the end was completely opposite of what I thought was going to happen. "Foiled, again!"

Bottom Line:

This is a great mystery for both cozy and cat fans. Clyde is lovable and very loyal. The suspects and family of Mr. Jeffers were a lot of fun to read about and Jillian's life continues to be just as interesting as each mystery Sweeney writes about her. Engaging characters, awesome feline interaction and a well thought out mystery, make this one a must read!

The Cat, The Vagabond and The Victim is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Leann Sweeney was born and raised in Niagara Falls and educated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Lemoyne College in Syracuse, New York. She also has a degree in behavioral science from the University of Houston. A retired registered nurse, she has been writing in the mystery genre for many years and also writes the Yellow Rose Mystery series.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim by Leann Sweeney.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 3rd.

1. Please leave a comment about cool cat names you've used or heard.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Guarded

Guarded (Tidewater - Book 2) by Mary Behre

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425268624
ISBN-13: 978-0425268629

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Mary Behre on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Tidewater

1. Spirited
2. Guarded

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




Excerpt from, Guarded, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

Synopsis:

She’s given up on finding love…

Veterinarian Shelley Morgan has always preferred animals to humans, and not simply because she can communicate with them psychically. Unlike most people she’s known, animals have never broken her heart. But after six months in her new town, some of her favorite four-legged companions begin disappearing from the local zoo. Determined to track down the animals and their thief, the telepathic vet decides to investigate, unknowingly delving into a deadly mystery…

He’s ready to make her heart go wild…

Although his bear-like physique has been an advantage in the Tidewater Police Department, Dev Jones’s size often intimidates people. Only Shelley has seen past his massive build to the intelligent man inside, but that was years ago. So when she contacts him requesting his help to solve a series of animal kidnappings, he’s eager to reconnect with her. But the thefts escalate to murder and all the evidence points to Shelley as the killer, and Dev faces a devastating choice: forsake his career or risk losing the woman he’s grown to love…


Thoughts:

Guarded is the second book in the Tidewater series by Mary Behre. This series focuses on three sisters separated after the death of their parents. Each girl with a special supernatural gift/curse. Behre combines the paranormal with romantic suspense and a touch of humor to give readers a unique reading experience. With fast paced action and plenty of passion in and out of the bedroom, Guarded is an excellent addition to the series. 

What I liked:

After reading Spirited, the first book in the Tidewater series, I was excited when Guarded came along. In Spirited readers got their first taste of three sisters that drive the series. Jules coined the phrase 'crift' when describing her supernatural give/curse of being able to communicate with the dead. Now in Guarded readers get to learn about another one of the lost sisters, Shelley, who is a veterinarian with the ability to communicate with animals. One of the things that I find intriguing about this series, is the originality of the idea behind it. Readers who have been reading paranormal books for awhile have probably seen 'ghost' and 'animal' whisperers before, but not quite in this manner. Having three separated sisters who are trying to find each other, and who can combine their gifts and use them together is something new and different. I think Behre is really on to something here. 

I actually liked several things about Guarded a little more than I did Spirited. I liked the idea of the heroine being able to talk and understand the animals around her. I am an advocate for animal rights and fair treatment and I felt that Behre actually used this story as a platform for causes dealing with animals, whether she meant to or not. Shelley had such a great heart for the animals she worked with and it made her a believable and endearing character.

Dev was a great hero. I enjoyed reading about him a lot. He just seemed like such a good guy. Big hearted and built like a bear. He had connected with Shelley in the past and wanted to help re-unite her with her sister, as well as, solve the mystery surrounding the theft of the zoo animals. The more the clues pointed toward Shelley, the more I felt like he was determined to see the good in her and knew that she could not be the culprit. I loved his faith in her and his romantic and loving way of dealing with her.

There is quite a bit of romance in this book and some hot love scenes, for sure. But Behre really knows how to write suspense. The action starts out slow and starts to build until it is almost at a frenzied pace at the end and readers will find it hard to put down even to eat or sleep. It has some very intense scenes, tempered with moments of levity, like the meeting of the two sisters after so long. It was a good balance, but did lean a little toward the suspenseful side to drive the story.

What I didn't like:

Toward the end, as the mystery started to wind up, things got a bit chaotic. I understood the need to wrap things up, but it seemed like there was an inordinate amount of changing directions and dead ends, and backtracking and all of that. It got a little confusing right before the big reveal at the end. I also has a few issues with Shelley's inability to let the people around into her heart. I was glad when she finally started to drop the walls, it just should have been a little sooner.

Bottom Line:

Guarded is a great addition to the Tidewater series. I can't wait to read Hannah, the final lost sisters, story. I think Behre did a great job of writing a book that incorporated the paranormal and romantic suspense into it seamlessly. The story was tilted toward the suspenseful side, but that didn't seem to take anything away from my enjoyment of it. Shelley was a good heroine, with a great 'crift' and readers are sure to love her.

Guarded is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Mary Behre, author of Spirited, is the lone female in a house full of males and the undisputed queen of her domain. She even has the glittery tiara to prove it. She loves stories with humor, ghosts, mysteries, and above all else, a good romance. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gluten-free baking, and spending time at the ocean with her family.

Daily, she can be found in her office. With her Pomeranian at her feet and her hands on the keyboard, she spends her time plotting new ways to torture her characters before they find their happily ever afters.



Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Guarded by Mary Behre.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 2nd.

1. Please leave a comment about whether or not you think it's possible that animals really understand us?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Death by Devil's Breath

Death by Devil's Breath (Chili Cook-Off -Book 2) by Kylie Logan

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425262421
ISBN-13: 978-0425262429

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Kylie Logan on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Chili Cook-Off Mystery series

1. Chili Con Carnage
2. Death by Devil's Breath

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




Excerpt from, Death by Devil's Breath, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

Synopsis:

Cold-blooded murder can be hot as hell…

In Las Vegas, the stakes are high—and so is the Scoville scale. Maxie Pierce and the Chili Showdown are in town for a very heated contest devoted to judging the legendary and notorious-for-being-self-combustible Devil’s Breath chili. The guest judges are casino performers with a taste for chili and an eye for publicity.

Maxie is already going mad organizing the event, dealing with her snide half sister, Sylvia, and trying to figure out her hothead of security, Nick. But when a local hack comedian drops dead in the middle of the Showdown, it isn’t the spicy dish—it’s poison. And Maxie is going to have to shuffle through a full deck of suspects to pick out the culprit.


Thoughts:

Death by Devil's Breath is the second book in Kylie Logan's Chili Cook-Off mystery series featuring Maxie Pierce. This heroine has just about as much spice as her award winning chili seasonings. Logan captivates readers with the lure of the cook-off circuit and the antics that go on behind the scenes, while giving them a good solid mystery and tons of humor. A great addition to this series which is sure to be a winner!

What I liked:

Who doesn't love a good bowl of hearty, meaty chili? It's one of my favorite meals on a cold day or even on a sunny one, if the mood strikes. Kylie Logan has really stumbled onto a great idea with the Chili Cook-Off mystery series. Cook-off circuits tend to be filled with over the top characters and outrageous personalities, but most of all these people are serious about their food and their reputations. A breeding ground for a good mystery? I think so...

In the first book in the series, Maxie Pierce joins her sister Sylvia in running the Hot-Cha Chili Seasoning Palace. She hired Nick as her head of security and a cast of comical characters was born. Kylie Logan's use of humor is one of the best parts of this series. Not only does she give her heroine a 'spicy' personality, but she puts her in all sorts of situations that showcase her unusual sense of humor and view of life. She is a lot of fun to read and readers will find themselves laughing their way through this book.

That's not to say that murder is a laughing matter, but comic relief lightens the mood of the book. Local comedian, Dickie Dunkin ends up dead in his bowl of Devil's Breath Chili. There is a cast of performers and tons of other suspects. It's Vegas and anything can happen. The mystery aspects of the story were solid. The clues were strategically placed throughout the story. It was a toss up as to who I thought the killer might be. Funny thing was... it wasn't either of the ones I had picked out. The mark of a good mystery writer!

What I didn't like:

Maxie's relationship with her sister, Sylvia is typical of siblings, but sometimes it gets a little monotonous. I wanted to grab them both and give them a good shake a time or two, but I think that might be part of the charm of the series. I also wanted to know more about the mystery surrounding their father, and I didn't think we got too much further on that front in this book. 

Bottom Line: 

Readers who are looking for a comical mystery will love this one. Tons of humor, a cast of characters that are loyal even if they don't always get along. And a mystery thread that runs throughout the series. That means I'm looking forward to the next one and that I think you'd be missing a real treat if you pass this one up. 

Death by Devil's Breath is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




Check out the quote from Debbie's Book Bag on the first page inside the cover!

About the Author:


Kylie Logan is the author of the Button Box and League of Literary Ladies series, as well as the first Chili Cookoff Mystery, Chili Con Carnage.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Death by Devil's Breath by Kylie Logan.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 1st.

1. Please leave a comment about your special ingredient for fantastic chili.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Review and Giveaway: My Beautiful Enemy

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425268896
ISBN-13: 978-0425268896

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Sherry Thomas on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, My Beautiful Enemy, courtesy of the author's website

Synopsis:

In this spellbinding romance by the acclaimed author of The Luckiest Lady in London, a beautiful and cunning woman meets her match in a man just as dangerous and seductive as she is, putting both her heart and her future at risk…
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…


Thoughts:

Author Sherry Thomas brings readers the first book in a new series, My Beautiful Enemy. A tale about long lost love, with an exotic locale. Thomas is arguably one of the best authors in the historical romance genre and readers need only look to her engaging and memorable characters to see why. This book combines romance with strong historical detail and a touch of mystery that will have readers glued to their seats. A nice way to start a new series!

What I liked:

Sherry Thomas is one of those authors that will have readers enthralled from the first page of her books. Her books resonate with readers. She has an innate ability to write what historical romance readers want to read. There is something about her writing that makes it seem so much more than the typical writing of this genre. I haven't decided exactly what it is, but I think it has a lot to do with characterization. 

In My Beautiful Enemy readers meet two characters who share a past. Catherine and Leighton, met and fell in love, a long time ago, in a far off land. As is the case in a lot of historical romances, things went awry and they were separated by fate, misunderstanding and circumstances beyond their immediate control. When they meet again, the sparks still fly. What I liked about how Thomas writes these two characters would fill up a whole review by itself. 

Catherine is intriguing from the git-go. She is an operative working for her step-father. She is no-nonsense, strong, and understands the  meaning of loyalty. Her background was so interesting and unusual. Leighton was a spy when they first met and to say things got a bit out of hand with his mission is an understatement. I loved his fierce sense of justice and his ability to forgive, even the face of suspected betrayal. But it was really something in how Thomas writes their emotions and feelings that made this one so memorable. Both are great characters that actually start out in the prequel to this book called, The Hidden Blade.

I loved the setting for this one. Though the action in the story in the here and now takes place in London, readers are treated to flashbacks from Cathrine and Leighton's past that took place in China. That is a not a setting that I often see in historical romance and it was very intriguing. I would definitely like to see more romances set in places other than London. Thomas sets a great example of how to make a setting take on so much significance that it becomes a character in itself.

What I didn't like:

I love this author for a lot of reasons. Her stories are complex and interesting. Her characters are not soon forgotten and her plots have a sophistication that is sometimes missing in the genre. She has a great knack for writing the historical details of her books and for using elements of mystery and intrigue to add to the mix. Unfortunately, I think she had a little too much going on in this novel. She not only had a ton of historical detail in her setting but she also added a mystery to this one and in so doing, a little bit of the romance got lost in the details. Her characterizations were strong and I loved Catherine and Leighton together, but there just wasn't as much passion or romantic moments as I would have liked. Too much emphasis on the background took something away from the main part of the story, the love between the two main characters. 

Bottom Line:

This book has a lot going for it. Though it may not be my favorite from this author, because the romance took a backseat to everything else, it is definitely worth the read. Sherry Thomas is a wonderful author who even on an off day, or an off book, can still outshine many others in the genre. Great characters and setting, but too much other stuff.

My Beautiful Enemy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable "Best of the Year" lists, including those of Publishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsLibrary JournalDear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, August 29th.

1. Please leave a comment about what you enjoy about reading historical romance.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Bound to Danger

Bound To Danger (Deadly Ops - Book 2) by Katie Reus

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 0451419227
ISBN-13: 978-0451419224

(Received for an honest review from Signet Eclipse)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Katie Reus on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Deadly Ops

1. Targeted
2. Bound To Danger

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




Excerpt from, Bound To Danger, courtesy of the author's website (half way down the page)

Synopsis:

At a benefit dinner, community activist Maria Cervantes overhears two men plotting a terrorist attack that could rock Miami to its core. But before she can alert authorities, she’s almost killed in a massive explosion—and wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened. As the sole survivor of the attack, she is now a person of interest to the NSA—and especially to Agent Cade O’Reilly. Because Maria is the one woman Cade has never been able to forget.
 
Years ago, they were closer than either was willing to admit—until Cade disappeared when Maria needed him most. Now he’s sticking by her, whether she likes it or not. Because the memories locked inside her mind could hold vital clues to the next attack. Because terrorists want her dead—and because he never wants to let her go again.


Thoughts:

Katie Reus brings readers the second book in her romantic suspense, Deadly Ops series, Bound To Danger. A benefit, a humanitarian and terrorist plot to bomb Miami takes the action to new limits in this novel. Living with a former soldier and current Swat team sniper, gives Reus a lot of credibility when it comes writing about this subject. She has her own in-house source and that makes all the difference. The romance is hot, the suspense is riveting. Reus gives readers a face paced, action filled story, that they won't be able to put down for a second!

What I liked:

I have recently been reading more romantic suspense than I have in the past. I find that I like the fast pace, the extreme circumstances and the passionate characters. When I'm reading a book like this I look for several things. Is there a good balance between the romance and the suspense aspects of the book? Do the scenarios depicted seem authentic or contrived? Are the explanations and actions informative enough for the reader to understand? Do the hero and heroine live up to the story line? There really is a lot to writing about this kind of subject and Katie Reus gives reader all that and more in Bound To Danger.

The romantic aspects of the book take a slight backseat to all the suspense, in this particular book, but that's not a bad thing. I think Reus' series is a little lighter on the romance in general given the seriousness of the story lines and that works for me. Readers get to learn a lot about Maria and Cade and their past relationship, through e-mails they sent to each other when Cade was deployed in Afghanistan. I thought that was a great touch for the digital age we live in and it added so much to their back story. The love scenes are hot and spicy which is what one would expect with two very passionate lead characters.

The suspense aspects were written so well that I found myself completely immersed in the world these characters were living in. Is is conceivable that terrorist could bomb Miami? Absolutely! Would the NSA take this seriously? Given 911, I would say so. I thought Reus planned each part the action brilliantly. We live in a different world than we used to whether we want to admit it or not. The action was very realistic. I loved the insight into the leader of the terrorist plot. Reus was able to make him real. She gives the reader a glimpse into his mind and motivations. You can't really sympathize with him, but the reader will definitely understand his actions. Extremely, well done!

When it comes to books about special operations and that sort of thing, there is a certain amount of jargon and wording that most people are not exposed to everyday. One of the little perks that Reus adds to this book is a definition of necessary terms and words at the beginning of each chapter. Who knew that 'wet work' meant a murder involving spilled blood. Sounds like common sense, but not until after you hear the definition. Do you know what a 'soft target' is? You will after you read this book. Very good at letting the reader know what they were dealing with here.

The main characters definitely lived up to the hype here. You have a wealthy philanthropist, in Maria. A woman of compassion and dignity. In Cade you have a man who served his country and remains in it's service despite, PTSD and serious issues with guilt. I thought Reus did a great job with them. Made them believable, passionate and unpredictable. 

What I didn't like:

Most of plot lines were carefully laid out and believable. But there was one thing that was just to coincidental for me. Cade was the lone survivor of an attack in Afghanistan, which left him withe serious survivor guilt. Maria becomes the lone survivor in the terrorist bombing. I suppose that idea fostered some understanding between them, but I don't think it was very likely. 

Bottom Line:

I really like this one. The characters stuck out to me. The romance was there but not overpowering. The suspense was fantastic and there were several little things that made me enjoy it even more, the e-mail flashbacks, the definitions at the beginning of the chapters. It's all in the details. A great addition to the series!

Bound To Danger is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Katie Reus is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has a degree in psychology. She lives near Biloxi, Mississippi, with her husband, who was a Marine scout/sniper and currently works as a police officer and SWAT team sniper.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Bound To Danger by Katie Reus.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, August 28th.

1. Please leave a comment about what you think the state of terrorism is like in the US today. Better than after 911 or worse?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Hillbilly Rockstar

Hillbilly Rockstar (Blacktop Cowboys - Book 6) by Lorelei James

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Pages: 400
ISBN-10: 0451413970
ISBN-13: 978-0451413970

(Received for an honest review from Signet Eclipse)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Lorelei James on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Blacktop Cowboys

1. Corralled
2. Saddled and Spurred
3. Wrangled and Tangled
4. One Night Rodeo
5. Turn and Burn
6. Hillbilly Rockstar

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




Excerpt from, Hillbilly Rockstar, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

WARNING: This book is inappropriate for readers under the age of 18 years!

Synopsis:

She’s protecting his body and guarding her heart....
 
Country music star Devin McClain understands there’s a downside to life in the public eye, but the laidback Wyoming cowboy has never imagined he’d attract crazed fans who would do anything to garner his attention. When veiled threats become real, he agrees to hire a discreet security detail. But Devin is shocked when that bodyguard is a hard-bodied woman. He’s even more stunned to be attracted to the steely-eyed stunner.
 
Former soldier Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life has been fraught with challenges until she lands a job with a prestigious security firm. But when she agrees to provide personal protection during a cross-country tour, she doesn’t realize she has signed up to masquerade as the playboy star’s girlfriend. Though she’s more comfortable in combat boots than high heels, she has no choice but to appear to be the sexy groupie Devin prefers.

Living in close quarters causes the chemistry between them to ignite, and Devin realizes he wants to turn their charade of a romance into reality. Although Liberty surrenders to his every whim behind closed doors, she fears the sexy country star doesn’t see the real her; and Devin can’t help but worry when the tour ends that there might not be enough between them to build something that won’t fade away....


Thoughts:

Author Lorelei James returns to her Blacktop Cowboys erotic romance series with the sixth installment, Hillbilly Rockstar. Fans of the series will find this one a bit of change from the hunky ranchers and cowboys that James usually writes about, but she doesn't stray too far. Country music and cowboys seem to go hand in hand with this story about a musician, his female bodyguard and the relentless price of fame. Readers looking for a steamy read, that tugs at the heartstrings, need look no further.

What I liked:

I have read several of Lorelei James' books, but never one from the Blacktop Cowboys series. Hillbilly Rockstar wasn't exactly what I expected but in this case that certainly wasn't an issue. James once again provides a book that has all the passion and heart needed in a great romance, while also giving readers a look into the behind scenes life of both a country music star and a security specialist. That's a lot on the plate for one book, but James pulls it off like a walk i the park, balancing all the different aspects of the story well and keeping the reader engaged and present throughout.

I am a country music fan. Yep, I said it. I like all that twangy, gritty, music about loving, lying and good ol' boys. But when it comes to reading I don't always like a story line that features a celebrity falling in love with a person off the street. But this one was a little different. Country star Devin McClain finds himself in a bit of a bind when his crew and record label decide he needs a bodyguard. What he doesn't expect is an ex-military, hard nosed woman like, Liberty to show up in his life. I can totally see where a bodyguard and a star could get together because they have to spend an inordinate amount of time together and the stakes are pretty high. So the plot was totally believable for me and gave me great look into both the perils of the rockstar lifestyle and the grit and tenacity of the typical bodyguard. 

I loved the behind the scenes look at the Devin's tour and felt like I could understand his tension and the backbreaking pace at which his life was traveling. Being a musician at that level has it's perks for sure, but everything comes at a cost. The cost of his freedom, his peace and almost his life. I don't think I realized the demands put on a star to such an extent before. It rang true and I am sure readers will feel the authenticity that James gives the story. 

Liberty's life as an ex-military woman, trying to reenter society and find a place for herself was no less entertaining. Seeing her change and adapt to each situation she was faced with, showed her resilience and fortitude. She wasn't an easy lady to understand and that made it all the more engaging to read about her. Both of these characters was amazing. James does a great job of showing all the reasons they shouldn't be together and all the reasons that they should. 

The romance was hot and steamy and these two were definitely a case of opposites attracting. Liberty is used to being in complete control of most situations but Devin is an alpha male in his own way and takes over in the bedroom, giving Liberty a chance to let go and experience love making from a whole new perspective. I thought this part of the book was passionate and sensual and had all the right elements. 

What I didn't like:

Liberty's stubbornness did get in the way a little bit, but I felt like that was an essential part of her character. She is portrayed as a tough as nails woman. Had she given in and turned over that control early on in the novel, I don't think it would have been as good. But at times it felt like she was trying to hard to appear tough. Sometimes I want a lead character who isn't afraid to let go.

Bottom Line:

As far as cowboy romances go, this one was top notch. James gives readers two totally opposite characters and makes a way for them to be together, proving that true love always finds a way. The behind the scenes look at both the music and security industries was entertaining and interesting. It showed the hard line and hard work it takes to be in the spotlight and the sacrifices it takes for fame. An awesome erotic read!

Hillbilly Rockstar is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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




About the Author:


Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary erotic romances set in the modern-day Wild West. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota with her family...and a whole closetful of cowgirl boots. Her latest novels in the Blacktop Cowboys series are Turn and BurnOne Night Rodeo, and Corralled. 


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, August 27th.

1. Please leave a comment about what you think of country music. Who are your favorites, etc.

2. Please fill out the FORM.