Monday, September 26, 2016

The Irish Warrior by Ashley York

Title: The Irish Warrior (The Norman Conquest #2.5)
Author: Ashley York
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Length:186 printed pages
Publisher: Indie
Release Date: September 30,2015
Source: Review Request
Rating: 3 ½
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Vashti  

Outcast and alone, Thomasina MacDonell is hell bent on finding her brother, the only person who can thwart their father's latest scheme to offer her as payment for his gambling debts. Disguised as a lad, she defiantly sets off on foot to locate him—never expecting to find a handsome, Irish warrior riding her beloved horse. The warrior's offer of help and unsolicited advice on how to be manlier sparks an intimate desire to reveal her more feminine side.

Rejected by the love of his life, Sean O'Cisoghe wants simply to return home and heal his broken heart. When a young "lad" steals the horse out from under him, he discerns the spirited woman may be in way over her head against her ruthless father. Finding her brother while keeping her would-be betrothed at bay, Sean must confront the fact that Thomasina has stolen his heart. Will Norman soldiers out for his blood and shifting clan alliances cut short their growing passion?                   

This is my third book by Ashley York, and third in her Norman Conquest Series. However The Irish Warrior is completely fine as a standalone read.

But like many others I suffer from that crippling disease  MRBI. So if you too must read books in order than "The Irish Knight" is all the more enjoyable.

Sean O'Cisoghe is an Irish Warrior that we are first introduced to in "The Gentle Knight".  Feeling dejected, bitter and broken hearted he is trying to make his way back home to Eire, when he crosses paths with Tommy aka Thomasina.

Tommy aka Thomasina came across as childish to me at first,  but I guess you can't blame her given the fact she is in disguise as a young lad.  There  is one scene in the Tavern Inn that completely displays not only her childish behavior but says maybe she is a bit off in the head. Thomasina does something so ridiculous that  I'm like What??  Has her dilemma completely robbed her of all sanity?  Read the book to find out what I'm talking about.  I guess this is just another classic case of silly girls doing really stupid things.  She put not only herself in extreme danger but Sean as well.  Enough of my rant over the tavern scene. Yeah it really did annoy me.   Thomasina  does redeem herself and by the end of the book I'm actually pulling for her and feel really sorry for her.  When we meet her scumbag of a dad, who was just an A-1 first-class crap hole, we see why the girl was so screwed up.

I liked  Sean very much.  He was a strong, no-nonsense warrior, even though he was nursing some wounds to his heart and pride. He saw straight through Thomasina's  disguise and trickery, and he didn't let her get away with it.  By the end of the book Sean got a little mushy with his feelings when he began to acknowledge them for what they really were, but he was still first and foremost a warrior till the end.

This was a fast-paced, quick read with plenty of action.   I don't know if Ashley York writes scenes with humor in mind but I find that certain scenes in all of her books quite literally crack me up.  The Irish Warrior is no exception,  the scenes between Sean and Tommy the "lad" are simply hilarious.

We do see previous characters from The Gentle Knight, some a pleasant surprise, such as the three Scottish Highlanders, others not so much.  Ivan the Lecher is back and he finally gets his just reward.

Miss York's knowledge of medieval history, as I've said before, is fantastic. The historical knowledge she adds to her novels is an underlying element that is not in your face but adds sense of realism.  I asked Mrs. York about the differences in Accents in this novel in particular, and she explained that in order to be  true to the period  Sean's accent  was not more distinctly Irish as we recognize it now. That's another great thing about reading her books, you may learn something about medieval history that perhaps you didn't know before, which is always a bonus (IMO).  I recommend The Irish Warrior to anyone who is a lover of medieval history, filled with action and one sexy hero.

Check out Ashley Yorks website for some truly beautiful scenery that will transport you to another time.

The Norman Conquest

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review The Gentle Knight(The Norman Conquest #2) by Ashley York

Title: The Gentile Knight (The Norman Conquest #2)
Author: Ashley York 
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval 
Length: 246 printed pages
Publisher: Indie 
Release Date: March 21, 2015 
Source: Review Request 
Rating: 3 ½ 
Heat Rating: 
Reviewed by: Vashti

Brighit MacNaughton is an obedient daughter following her father's death bed decree that she take her vows and become the virginal bride of Christ. The hired men seeing her to the Priory at Tanshelf are more interested in the building resentment against the English king than her safety. But when the handsome Norman knight offers his protection against the lecherous mercenaries, he sparks her passion with his gentle touch and smoldering looks of desire, reminding her of dreams best forgotten. Can one night with him quench the intense need in her or will it cause the fire to burn out of control?

Peter of Normandy is a trusted knight of King William, sent north to subdue the unrest and rumblings of revolt at York. Giving aid to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he is quickly overcome with the need to possess her. With a body meant for a man's pleasure and an unrelenting stubbornness to follow her father's wishes, he struggles against giving her what she wants if it can only be for one night. Will one night of passion prove to be enough or will it unleash an insatiable need that makes him never want to let her go? 

Ashley York has managed to bring forth another tale rife with danger, intrigues, false assumptions, heartache, love yearned for and love fulfilled.

The story initially had a slow start for me, and it took me a few chapters before I could really get connected with the many new and returning characters as well as the twists and turns of the plot. However, the story does pick up when Peter and Brighit meet.

While this can certainly be read as a stand-alone novel, I advise reading book one, in which we are first introduced to Peter.  Other characters are also brought into this book and knowing the history and background will certainly help the reader understand the character connections and relationships in this book.

I was quite excited to read Peter's story.  He ended up being my favorite character by the end of "the Saxon Bride" and he is still my favorite character at the end of "The Gentile Knight"

This "Gentle Knight" can certainly hold his own.  Peter is a seasoned warrior, loyal, a protector, and above all a manly man! Which we certainly love.  Yet Peter hasn't had a lot of happiness in his own life.  He's been living with rejection, hurt and guilt over situations that he had no control over and couldn't have changed the outcome if he wanted to. Yet he believes he is cursed because of the mistreatment and abuse he has suffered at the hands of his father.

Brighit is obedient to a fault and it was frustrating at times to listen to her rationale, justifying her determination to keep her father's death bed decree that she become a nun.  Although I don't know what kind of nun she would have been.  She had quite the vivid imagination for one to be so innocent (apparently she'd been watching the sheep mating back on the farm in Eire)

Brighit's early interactions with Peter had me cringing and  saying WTFudge was she thinking?  I really do hate to give away spoilers, but Brighit's hand collides with Peter's face in what we would call a slap.  Yes, she smacked the crap out of Peter's face, I won't say why, but then she attempts to do it a second time.  Really Brig? Yet she is too afraid to stand up for herself against that jerk Ivan, she's like one of the sheep being led to the slaughter, just as dumb and quiet as you please. Not very realistic that she finally gets the nerve to stand up to this Giant Warrior but she doesn't open her mouth when little bald Ivan is grabbing her ass every chance he gets.

Aside from Brighit's temporary insanity, I like the interaction and relationship of our H and H.  Peter is proud to claim what he wants and what is his!

Mort is another character that we first meet in "The Saxon Bride ". We see a lot more of his real character and nature.  He is almost a completely different person altogether than from book one of the series. While he is still somewhat of a pansy and kind of foppish, we get to know that he too is a skilled  knight who can hold his own. He even has a wife he adores and kids, who knew. I like the scenes that Mort was in.  He was quite funny and made me laugh, but we see that he is also a caring and attentive man.

Some things that I wasn't overly fond of about the book was the ending, it ended rather abruptly, and I felt like I was left hanging.  Secondly, the question is never answered or even a reference made to whether or not Brighit was molested while she slept by Ivan and the mercenaries?  The idea and suggestion were so strongly implicated that this deserved to be cleared up.

In summary, I loved Peter, and I simply do not know how Mrs. York is going to top him but I look forward to finding out in the 3rd installment "The Irish Warrior"

The Norman Conquest

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: After the Fall by Carissa Lusk

Title: After the Fall
Author: Carissa Lusk
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: BookBaby
Release Date: July 8, 2016
Source: Review Request
Rating: 4
Heat Rating: 1
Reviewed by: Vashti

Amity cries out into the darkness that surrounds her, hoping for a solitary voice to provide direction; she hears two.

Amity knows she loves Alexander, yet the loneliness brought on by the miles that separate them can only be curbed by the cryptic affection of Marcus Riley. She can’t understand the strange familiarity she finds in the wild blue of Marcus’s eyes, but she will soon learn his secret.

Plagued with dreams and memories of lives beyond her own, a tragic fate will emerge from the ashes of a love scorned. Eventually, she will discover the dark truth that will leave her running for her life, and she will learn who sacrificed everything to save it.

New author, Carissa Lusk, has written an outstanding debut NA Paranormal novel.  I was hesitant at first to review this book because I'm not a big fan of YA so I was thinking how is New Adult any different? Is this going to be along the lines of Twilight? But then I remembered I freakin' loved Twilight.  I actually read the entire series in one week. So here we go!

Amity Day is a college student who meets the love of her life, Alex, at her high school senior prom. There is an immediate magnetic pull and a very believable intense love bond after the first date. Forward several years later, Alex and Amity are separated by 400 miles while she's in her junior year of college and Alex is in law school. Amity is not very sociable, she excludes herself from extra curricular activities (even though she is a sorority sister). She is consumed by an emptiness since Alex is no longer around and it's almost like she can't operate or breathe, and only lives for her nightly calls from Alex.  What's a girl to do, how is she to combat the loneliness?

In walks Marcus Riley and he's here to save the girl, and get this love triangle train moving.

Amity finds herself in a sweet little situation that I think many women would die for. She's got two gorgeous men vying for her affection, both of them like loyal lapdogs without ever giving other women so much as a Wham Bam Thank You Mam!

Miss Lusk does a good job of setting up the scene and she gives a short description of each character as they are introduced.  The paranormal aspect is hinted at early on in the book but  it really isn't in the forefront until the middle and the ending of the book. What was really cleverly done were the literary clues scattered throughout the book. References were given to "A Pair of Blue Eyes" by Thomas Hardy, which if you've read more than one book by Thomas Hardy you know what usually happens to his heroines, Othello, Romeo  & Juliette, Somewhere I Never Traveled, "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali(which is actually a painting). These scattered references were like finding clues to solve a murder mystery.  I found myself wondering if the author was a literary major. You gain insight into the characters based on the literary references, but they by no means give away the outcome of the book.

My favorite character was Marcus, once he entered the picture I honestly could not put the book down. I read till 3:00 am.  I simply had to finish this story I was that drawn in. Marcus is extremely quick-witted and most of the funny dialogue in the book, and there was quite a bit, was between Marcus and Amity.  They joked around, teased and laughed a lot.  There was an ease and flow in their conversation. There is also a really strong, intense, enigmatic chemistry, and romanticism between the two of them that Amity can't explain nor dismiss. And unlike Alex,  Marcus is not afraid to act on his passions. The book is written in 1st person, which I don't mind at all, but I would have loved to get in Marcus's head and understand where he was coming from and what motivated his actions at times.

Miss Lusk has done a brilliant job of creating genuine feelings between each character, yet it seemed at times that Amity's feelings were based on whoever she was with at the moment.

Throughout the entire book, I kept wondering how is the paranormal tied in? I won't say how; you'll have to read the book yourself.  This was a paranormal genre that I have never read before but it was quite interesting and I am looking forward to the coming prequel.

Miss Lusk has quite brilliantly created a story in which you genuinely feel the heartache and joys with each character. You find yourself pulling for one or rooting for the other. Some of the romantic build-up and  tension was so intense that I felt it in my gut, but I will forewarn you that's where it stops! This is COMPLETELY  PG without the 13.  So if you're looking for anything beyond that, you will be sorely disappointed. However, the emotions of the characters and mystery were enough to keep you interested and reading to see where all of this was going to culminate. This was quite a nice break from the many Historical Romance, Highlander or Vampire books that I usually review.

I highly recommend this book to readers of any genre of Paranormal,  Romance, NA,  Love Triangles and just a  Clean Romantic Read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Mating Season by Laurie Horowitz, James Patterson

Title: The Mating Season
Author: Laurie Horowitz, James Patterson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 160 pages
Publisher: BookSparks
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Review Request
Rating: 5
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

More than just the birds and the bees....

Self-proclaimed "bird nerd" Sophie Castle has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: her own documentary about her fine-feathered friends. But her cameraman, Rigg Greensman, is unmotivated... and drop dead gorgeous. Can they work together to convince the public to love birds-without falling in love themselves?
We need more ornothologists - or "bird nerds" in romance. Sophie was amazing and Horiwitz did an excellent job showing me her passion and knowledge for her birds - without turning it into a bore. Adding a dose of humor, some great research was done to describe the birds in amazing detail and some of the names ("tits" and "boobies") made me giggle like a teenage girl again.

Rigg is a hot shot camera man - or so he thinks. But Sophie shows him a side of himself that he desperately needed to find. A side that shlows down and enjoys life, taking him a step back from the drive for professional success at all costs, and pushing him forward into finding what really makes him happy. They are a great couple together.

But of course there is a problem, and it's represended by an ex-girlfriend. She's more than just that though. She symbolizes his past dreams, goals, and life. Rigg will have to make a decision.

The scenery and people surrounding Sophie and Rigg really bring the story together. They are great personalities and beautiful places.  They helped me fall into the story and never want to leave.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bonnie Sass by Erika Masten

Title: Bonnie Sass (Sassy Ever After Kindle World)

Author: Erika Masten
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 69 pages
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Even the sexiest Highland wolf lord with the deepest, darkest brogue is no match for curves and sass in the high-stakes game of love.

Angie Maddox might make her living as a VIP host seeing to the whims of high rollers at the Shifter Access Unlimited Hotel in Vegas, but her private life is about no one’s needs but her own. She has taken her share of hard knocks learning that people pass in and out of Las Vegas—and her life—all too easily to let herself get attached. No man or shifter has enough money or magnetism to make her swoon ever again.

Lord Calum Ferguson is no playboy gambler, though, and no stranger to the voluptuous Miss Maddox or the passionate spirit walled up behind her defenses. He’s determined to be more than a one-off London fling from her carefree college days. When an international summit of wolf packs brings the Scottish alpha to Las Vegas and within range of his curvy prey, he knows he has waited long enough for Angie to come back to him; it’s time for the Highland wolf to go hunting.

But his lordship is going to have to put all his wolfish wiles and Highland charm to work if he’s going to get his “sassy ever after” with his bonnie American lass. Between royal pack politics, a kidnapping gone wrong, and the clandestine alliance of a rogue wolf with a seductively dangerous vampire, Calum might lose his chance—and Angie’s life in the process.
A hotel in Vegas just for shifters, Angie is in charge of keeping the VIP's happy. She loves her job, even if she isn't always fond of her penguin shifter boss (I really loved this detail). But she doesn't expect to run into the man who broke her heart many years ago. And she definitely doesn't want to have him staying as a VIP in "her" hotel.

Calum, on the other hand, is thrilled to find his Angie again after all these years. But Angie won't let him get too close to her heart again. When Calum's little sister jumps in to help them hoop up, as  Calum is busy with his werewolf summit, the two finad themselves thrown together at every turn.

This werewolf summit is vry important, as it seems that vampires and wolves in Europe are just about set for war. Imagine the reponse when Calum's sister and Angie are taken by rogue wolves...and there may be vampires involved.

All this plays out as Angie and Calum are trying to figure out what went wrong in their past and if they have a chance at a future. There was definite chemistry, but was there more, or was that enough?

Even for a shifter romance things in this story just went too fast. Not just the romance, but even the drama and resolution in the background. It seemed like everything happened and wrapped up with no real substance in between.

Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Fang in the Sass by Milly Taiden

Title: A Fang in the Sass (Sassy Mates #6)

Author: Milly Taiden
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 212 pages
Publisher: Latin Goddess Press
Release Date: September 1, 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Aria Valderi is a day walker, a vampire that can walk in the sun. Being a descendant of the original queen of the vampires has its perks, but finding out her mate is a wolf shifter isn't one of them. He's insufferable, bossy, and too damn sexy for his own good.

Trevan Stone knows Aria is his. Unfortunately, his tough little vamp has been wreaking all kinds of havoc and now too many people want her dead. It's going to take more than Trevan can do as a shifter to protect his woman.

Trevan has a secret. One that could put an end to their future together, but it’s not nearly as big as the one her people have, which could end the future of the entire clan. If he can save her from the vampire council that wants her destroyed, there might be a chance for them to work through their issues. But saving her means giving up the reason for his existence, the drive that has pushed him for the last eighty years.
This is actually the first in the Sassy Mates series that I've read. I would recommend starting from the beginning, there were a few things I had to catch up on that I assume happened in previous books (I bet they're fantastic). That being said, this was still an amazing romance story that was exciting and hard to put down.

Aria and Trevan have met in a previous story, but they are both experiencing some denial when it comes to their attraction to each other. Partly because they are different species and neither one of them seem to really like the other. But fate has other ideas, because their worlds are about to collide in a spectacular way. And even their past seems to be drawing the together in a strange twisted way.

Aria is wrapped in defending herself to the vampire council for killing a human blood slave trader. But treachery from within her clan has the council believing it to be murder. As she tries to put together the proof to show her actions justified, the whole things keeps getting bigger and bigger. The trade is larger than she ever knew.

There's a few epic fight scenes - which are hard to find in a romance - and they are done just right. Aria is a strong woman, but also realizes that it's OK to rely on friends and allies to help her out, that she can't do it all by herself. This was a very beautiful love story with forgiveness, trust, and respect becoming the backbone of their future.

Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cover Reveal Sin by Torrie Robles

Sin by Torrie Robles
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 17th, 2016
Cover Models: Johnny Kane
Photographer: Eric Battershell
Cover Design: Torrie Robles

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A middle child born into Devil’s Fury MC. Sin never felt that he fit into the club. He didn’t see his life as anything other than the son of the president. Wanting a life away from the MC, he joined the military after high school, becoming nothing more than a grunt in the Marines. Military life was hard, and war was something he didn’t expect. People called him a hero for defending his country, but he felt more like a coward. A hero wouldn’t have shrapnel scars on their back, proving they were running away from
the fight instead of facing it.
She was raised by her working class family in the midst of oil country, Texas. Catching the eye of an older man, the son of oil royalty, she thought she found love. But she was wrong. He wanted her on his arm, to make him look good, just as a woman should. Savannah wanted to be heard, her opinion to matter. She wanted to be valued. The first strike of his hand across her face should have been evidence enough that her life wasn’t turning out as she had hoped. Getting smacked around became the norm. Fearing him became her life.
Sin & Savannah
Two people broken.
Two people living a life they didn’t want.
Two people thrown together
To keep each other safe;
One from their past, and one from their own misery.
Can he rectify a past tragedy?
Can she be his salvation?

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Torrie Robles was born and raised in the Central Valley of California.  She currently lives a short distance from her hometown of Clovis.  She is married and has three children, two boys and one girl.  She has her Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration.

Writing has always been a passion of Torrie's.  She published her first book, Accidentally Perfect in 2015.  She writes contemporary romance and plans to branch out as her career takes off.  She is currently working on several different manuscripts. She hopes to have them all finished and published over the next couple of years.   

When she isn't working a full-time job, writing, raising her children, or just taking care of life Torrie's biggest hobby is getting lost in books. Her passion for reading and the authors she looks up to has allowed her to make her dreams come true.  Her fellow authors have truly been her inspiration.   


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A Witchingly Sassy Seduction by Mychal Daniels

Title: A Witchingly Sassy Seduction (Sassy Ever After Kindle World)

Author: Mychal Daniels
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 93 pages
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

New comer to town, Celia Thomas, has some big things in her life—a big mouth and an even bigger problem.

Said mouth has managed to get her into some serious trouble with a vicious coven, she's just so happened to have pissed off.

Celia’s a young, latent witch with no powers, trying to hide out in a powerful wolf shifter community, until she meets a man who won't let her hide--from him. Try as she might, she can’t hide from the mysterious lone wolf shifter, Owain Colfer. He’s just too damn hard to shake in more ways than one.

When she realizes he won't be easily ditched, she must come to terms with what she can and can’t do with this sexy wolf. What happens next is fun, sexy and oh so exciting.
Celia is on the run from trouble at home - curses and hexes from a pissed off witch are nothing to stick around for. She finds herself wandering through the woods during a scenting ceremony (I love this idea) where she meets Owain, a long wolf shifter.

Celia is determined not to stick around, but when a threat from Owain's past targets here, she isn't given much of a choice. I really enjoyed this excitement and danger added to the story, It kept me guessing and was played out very well.

In fact, there wasn't much I'd really want to change here. Owain and Celia were great together, the world is exciting, but... Some things happen for Celia and the trouble she's running from that I just didn't think worked. It wrapped up in a way that I think needed to be very different. Especially Celia's reaction - far too calm and exciting for what occurred. It was a bit of a let down.

Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wise Sass Mates by Tasha Black

Title: Wise Sass Mates (Sassy Ever After Kindle World)

Author: Tasha Black
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 114 pages
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

What happens when you grow up and move on, but your crush on your teacher doesn’t?

Bianca Silver is back in her hometown, researching shifter culture with her two best friends. An unexpected encounter in the woods with the teacher she’s dreamed about since she was a teenager sends her quiet new life into a tailspin, putting Bianca in grave danger and offering her a depth of longing and pleasure she never imagined was possible.

Ian Anderson has spent the last ten years trying to repress the violent lust and protectiveness he feels toward honor student, Bianca Silver. When he reunites with grown-up Bianca in the woods the night of a Scenting Ceremony his control over his instincts is lost. But loving Bianca isn’t as easy as he thought it would be. Between her stubborn streak and the efforts of the person who seems to want her out of the picture, it’s going to take their combined wisdom for these fated mates to begin their new life.

Wise Sass Mates is a very steamy standalone story in the world of Milly Taiden’s Sassy Mates.
This was a twist on the student/teacher romance that I could enjoy. It's been years since Bianca fell in love with teacher Ian Anderson. I normally find student/teacher romance a little icky, but since years have passed, it's closer to a traditional paranormal romance instead.

Bianca's initial resistance to Ian's interest was actually refreshing. Her reasons were a little iffy, but they fit her character well. Ian was very determined though, especially when it becomes obvious that Bianca has become the target of an attacker several times.

This attacker was a brilliantly done character, He had the right motives and super creepy crazy personality to make really work. One of the best villains I've seen in a long time.

Again, the shifter romance is a bit face once it starts, but that is what happens when you know your mate by first sight/smell. Their romance is quite sweet, but still hot. A great, quick read in the Sassy Ever After world.

Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Heart of Fire by Camryn Rhys

Title: Heart of Fire (Witches of Whitewood #1)

Author: Camryn Rhys
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 202 pages
Publisher: Moonbound Books
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Review Request
Rating: 3
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

The Banfield family ranch is short a chef, and the first trail ride of the summer starts on Monday.... Mattie Banfield is going to take the future into her own hands. Or, rather, the hands of Fate.

When her spell brings newly-divorced Kyle Harris to the Colorado wilderness, nothing seems to go right. A little revenge, a little romance, and a big heartbreak. But magick has a will of its own...
I am in love with Somewhere, TX and Moonbound series, so when I saw a chance to find more about the witches that are mentioned but never really seen, I just had to read it. And it was pretty good!

You won't see the familiar faces, which was a little disappointing, but the world is still great. The Banfield family is a bit complicated and I wish I had understood more of the family dynamics at the beginning of the story. There were a few confusing parts when it came to who knew about magic and was able to actually do magic. I had lots of questions until I found out more near the end.

Kyle and Jamie are an unlikely but fun pair. I'm a sucker for a chef hero, and he is one heck of a chef. Jamie is a great character as well, although the whole hiding their (sort of) relationship was a little strange. They are both just didn't completely understand the reasons, and the one given didn't quite fill out the way it should have.

The story is a lot of fun and a good introduction to this part of the world, I'm hoping since we have a bit of it all built up the next book can really take off.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

Title: Only Beloved (The Survivors' Club #7)
Author: Mary Balogh
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 381  Pages Paperback
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Source: Purchase
Rating: 3 ½
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Vashti

From the legendary New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kiss and Only a Promise comes the final book in the rapturous Survivor’s Club series—as the future of one man lies within the heart of a lost but never-forgotten love...                                                        
For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?
Only Beloved, the seventh and final book in Mary Balogh’s Survivors series about a group of people – six men and one woman – who have all suffered injuries and trauma, both physical and mental, directly and indirectly as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.

In true classic Mary Balogh form, she brings to conclusion another wonderful, complex, emotional and even sometimes sad series ending.  Yet she manages to wrap everything up quite elegantly and leaves no question unanswered and no mystery left unsolved.  Each and every Survivor has their HEA and the wounds have begun to heal.  I started this book knowing I would be asking myself the question, "What do I do now that the series is over"?

I have been in anticipating  George's story since he was first introduced in  book one of the series "The Proposal". I was glad Mrs. Balogh saved his HEA as the conclusion to this series.

Having read the entire series I must say I  really thought that George and Imogen, from book six  "Only a Kiss" would end up together, but I also didn't want them to because that would have been the story of two of the Survivors and no 7th book. I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye!

At 48 years of age, George Crabbe, The Duke of Stanbrook, has seen all of his fellow Survivors happily married and continuing their lives with their growing families.  He finally feels that maybe he too can find some comfort in his middle age years.  Not looking for any youthful passions, he wants someone that he can spend his days with, to fill the loneliness that he has experienced. He has been a widower for 12 years and, as we come to find out in the book, a "pretty" wife does not equal a happy life, in regards to his first wife and marriage.

Dora Debbins, we first meet in "Only Enchanting" is a music teacher and older sister to Agnes, who is married to George's fellow Survivor Flavian Arnott, Viscount  Ponsonby. Dora has convinced herself that she is content with the life she has built for herself, independence, a little cottage, her modest savings, and is at peace with the fact that she will never have her happily ever after marriage or children of her own.  It is no wonder that Dora is left a bit speechless and stunned when the Duke of Stanbrook, George, therefore shows up at her door one afternoon, bungling a proposal by asking out of the blue "If she would do him the great honor of marrying him".

Only Beloved is not a  rushed love story, and at times moves a bit slow, but it is a heartfelt romance that develops between two people who realize they have both been lonely and agree to marry on the basis of mutual friendship, respect, and intimacy. They both soon discover however, that romance, passion, and  genuine love is no respecter of age.

George has been carrying very deep wounds, hurts, and deception for the past 20 or so years, that he has never shared with anyone and has no intention of sharing with Dora.   As a result of his life experiences he has the uncanny ability to care for, listen, love and soothe others as no one has ever done for him.   Dora brings to George a peace and tranquility that he didn't even realize his soul craved, and even begins to heal the old wounds.  Even though he has several properties and houses, George has finally has found his home with Dora.

As George soon discovers though, secrets harbored  always have a way of coming to light.  As we near the end of the book the mystery of those secrets is finally revealed, which I have to say I had already figured out, having read so many other of Mary Balogh's books, she does not shy away from taboo subjects.

As is always nice to read in an epilogue, we see a recap of all the Survivors introduced in previous books and it was very sweet to see how all the Survivors were now budding and thriving with their spouses and children, despite their previous wounds and emotional scars.  Perhaps a sneak peek of my favorite scene from the Epilogue sums it up best, as George states to the survivors as they walk the portrait gallery of his home:

“Something has occurred to me,” he said. “We have not had any of our late-night sessions this year, the seven of us. Other years we have scarcely missed a night, though we did miss several last year, I seem to recall.”

Those informal meetings, from which the spouses had always absented themselves though they had never been asked to, had characterized their reunions. It was during the late evenings, George had explained to Dora, that they discussed their progress—physical, mental, and emotional—their setbacks, their triumphs, all that was deep inside themselves and needed to be shared. It was really quite startling to realize that they had not met privately even once yet this year. She had not even noticed until now.

“Has anyone missed our meetings?” George asked.

“Perhaps,” Hugo said, “we do not need them any longer.”

“I believe you are right, Hugo,” Imogen said. “Perhaps all we need now when we are together is to celebrate friendship and love.”

“And life,” Ralph added.

“And memories.” George’s arm tightened about Dora’s waist. “We must never forget any of the people and events and emotions that have made us who we are today. Not that it is likely we ever will.”

I have to say, with the exception of The Huxtable Quintet, this was probably my favorite series by Mary Balogh thus far.   The characters, to some extent, in each story have more depth and more real problems (PTSD, blindness) that someone in the 21st century can relate to.  As opposed to someone who may be forced to marry in order to keep their estate or heaven forbid, they have to marry because they have compromised a women by dancing two sets with her back to back (exaggeration of course)

This could have been a stand alone book, but I would advise against it because the readers will be left questioning some of the character development as well as not having a true sense of relationship as the other survivors are brought into this story.

I will miss all of the Survivors very much, but I look forward to the new series.  An eight-part series, based on  the Westcott family

The Trouble With Ghosts by A.L. Kessler - Cover Reveal

A.L. Kessler presents
The Trouble with Ghosts (Here Witchy Witchy Book Three)
Cover reveal
September 13th, 2016
Release day: November 7th, 2016

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Poltergeists, severed thumbs, and lies… 

PIB agents Abigail Collins and Nick Averin are rattled when a handful of severed thumbs are found at an abandoned house, but neither of them expected it to link to a decades old murder with strange ties to the paranormal world. When Abby’s greatest enemy seems to be helping her from afar, it’s clear that there’s more to this case than the duo first believed. 

Past cases come back to life… 

Levi is avoiding questions and being even more vague than normal when a new vampire comes to town claiming to be on the case involving blood starved vampires. It’s a fight against time and lies for the two agents. 

Pre-Order: Amazon

No More Black Magic: Free on Kindle Unlimited

Explosions, body parts, and black magic are all part of Abby Collins’ typical day. As the top Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent, she only gets the best cases, but when the Cult of Ra comes to play she might be in over her head. Finding a murderer while up against a hex, an overprotective coven, and a stubborn werewolf reminds her that nothing in the paranormal world is easy. As the death toll rises and a decades old crime, linked to Abby, is uncovered, disturbing information is brought to light. Abby must unlock an ancient language steeped in black magic to uncover the truth before the murderer comes for her.

Deathly Magic: Free on Kindle Unlimited

Zombies... When Abigail Collins heard Nick’s theory on their current case, she knew he had to be crazy, but when a zombie shows up in her apartment she has no choice but to believe him. A renegade necromancer bent on manipulating witches and murdering innocent people runs amok in town and Abby and Nick have to stop them before more bodies pile up. Further complicating matters two PIB agents step onto the scene, claiming a link between their case and Abby’s. To top it all off, blood starved vampires are causing chaos in the city. It’s just another day for PIB Agent Abigail Collins, full of blood, monsters, and explosions.

A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and urban fantasy author known for her best selling Here Witchy Witchy Series. She’s a member of the Pikes Peak Writers and Midnight Writer’s in Colorado Springs, CO. Her most recent work is the fifth book in her Dark War Chronicles, the Edge of Darkness and plans on releasing the third book of the Here Witchy Witchy book in November 2016. Her addictions to coffee and chocolate keep her fueled through her busy life of being a mom, author, student and wife. You can learn more about her on her website

Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: The Baron's Quest (Barons of the Cinque Ports #1) by Elizabeth Rose

Title: The Baron's Quest (Barons of the Cinque Ports #1)
Author: Elizabeth Rose
Genre: Medieval romance
Length: 256 paperback
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing
Release Date: August 9, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 2
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Vashti                                                                                           
Nicholas Vaughn is Lord of New Romney and also a Baron of the Cinque Ports. He directs a fleet of ships that service the king 15 days a year in exchange for special privileges.

When Muriel Draper causes havoc on his wharf, he realizes she is a spinster—a woman who spins wool for a living—from the town. Her late father has angered the Clothmaker's Guild and now Muriel and her brother have been excommunicated from the guild and also left with a debt to the baron that he insists Muriel repays.

She can either give the baron her deceased mother's wedding ring—the only memory of her parents she has left—or she can live with him at his manor house and be his Personal Clothier to pay back the debt.

Can a merchant's daughter and a Baron of the Cinque Ports find a safe harbor with the passion for each other that burns between them, or will title and status sink that ship before it's even sailed? 

England 1285
Muriel Draper is left alone to raise her younger brother after the murder of their father. She is broke and destitute and cannot pay her rent.  Her father was a member of the merchant Guild but since he died owing them money, they have come and taken everything of value from her and banned her from the guild.

Nicholas of Vaughn, Lord of New Romney, and also Baron of the Cinque ports, happens to also be Muriel's landlord and she is late in paying rent.

Nicholas makes Muriel an offer to pay off the debt that she owes, which she reluctantly accepts. The story revolves around Nicholas and Muriel's budding relationship and feelings for one another as well the "mystery" surrounding the death of her father.  As to the mystery itself, well there was no clenching of the stomach, biting nails, or skipping a few pages ahead to find out "who did it". My dog solved the mystery before I could take my next sip of tea!  Now as to the love story (love being very loosely used here), I was almost halfway through the kindle edition, with only a kiss here and there, no declarations of any kind even mentioned yet.

Muriel is a merchant's daughter, having no dowry, with the exception of her mother's ruby ring, which she understandably can not part with. Nicholas is a baron, who's father and brother expect him to marry according to his station.  At one point Muriel is told by her best friend that it is an "honor" just to have the Baron consider her as a mistress (the medieval thinking never ceases to amaze me).

Nicholas is at war with his feelings; he wants Muriel and feels she is a true lady, yet he is embarrassed to acknowledge his feelings. He seems at times a bit shallow.  He has to have the finest clothes and materials and he is shamed by the fact he does not have a "real" castle like his friends do.

Muriel is desperate to provide for her and her brother, which I understand. However, once she had secured a position within Nicholas' household she still does foolish, impetuous, childish things. Muriel not only endangers herself, but those that she claims to care about, putting them in jeopardy with her foolish behavior, and it is those friends that have to suffer the consequences of her actions.

I did not warm up to Muriel's character, and I could never completely fall for a "hero"  who is embarrassed to publicly admit his feelings for me.  I want an alpha male in every sense of the word!

One redeeming quality of this book was that I learned something that I did not know before.  I enjoyed learning the history of the Cinque ports much more than the actual story.  I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about medieval history, but if you're looking for a good passionate romantic story with lots of chemistry. continue looking.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bite My Sass by V. Vaughn

Title: Bite My Sass (Sassy Ever After Kindle World)

Author: V. Vaughn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 66 pages
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

When werewolf Juliet goes on a camping trip with her human girlfriends the last thing she wants to run into is a group of male wolves on the prowl for mates. She’s been acclimating herself into the human world just to avoid the cocky-as-all-get-out type of men who break her heart. But when she meets Roman her life without a true mate is about to change. Roman is the alpha of his pack, and with pressure from all sides he’s in search of a mate who can handle the challenge of a strong leader. When he finds her in Juliet, he discovers the very woman who can steal his heart and help lead a pack is also the kind who will challenge him in ways that could cost one or both of them their lives.
Bite My Sass is a fun and quick shifter romance that I breezed through and really enjoyed. I loved the play on Romeo and Juliet, there were just enough elements of the play to make it memorable, but it didn't follow the actual storyline of the original at all. Just a few hints and really great fortune teller.

Juliet's camping trip starts off great, but it takes a surprising turn when she finds out there's a Scenting Ceremony nearby and one of her friends runs into a wolf on the prowl. But Juliet isn't interested in what the wolf might be offering, and when the pack starts to draw her friends into their midst, she quickly goes on the defensive.

While this was a quick and easy romance, it was a lot of fun. A great afternoon, one-sitting read, that didn't feel rushed at all.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2)

Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Audiobook
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage's protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage's intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves...
I really like Rhage. He stood out from the rest of the Brotherhood in book one, and I was excited to see his story come so soon in the series. He's a cursed vampire - cursed with an uncontrollable beast that is triggered by extreme emotions (paid, anger, lust). And once the beast is released, he only goes away after destroying (and eating - ew) everything around it.

As a human, Mary is a bit shocked when she is dragged into the vampire world through a young man that she meets when he calls the Suicide Hotline she volunteers at. This boy is something special, and I have some strong suspicions he's a result of something from the first book, but I didn't find out and I think I may be waiting awhile for his story. But he plays a fairly prominent role in Lover Eternal and makes a great character. Anyway, Mary, she's an interesting study in opposites. She's a strong woman, but her illness makes her weak. She's incredibly intelligent, but she finds herself immersed in a world where she has everything to learn.

Her and Rhage have an interesting start to their relationship as he is ordered to erase himself from her mind. But there is something about the way she speaks that Rhage needs to have. I love that something so simple as the sound of her voice is what initially draws him to her, not her looks, or having to rescue her, it was a great way to make their start different than what I usually see out there.

We get to see a lot of the Brotherhood and a few of the characters from book one still pop up and I love being able to see the whole group in both books. The Lessers are still on the hunt and looking for a fight and we are introduced to a new civilian, Bella, that a friend of Mary's that seems to have more of her story to tell.

A great second book, but I feel the Mary and Rhage's solution was a little contrived. It felt like Ward had written herself into a corner and used the "but then the rules changed" option instead of playing within what she had already written.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives

Title: Wicked Little Secrets (Wicked Little Secrets #1)

Author: Susanna Ives
Genre: Historical Romance,
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Source: Purchased
Rating: 2
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

It's Not Easy Being Good...

Vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won her family's approval by getting engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. But when threatened by a vicious blackmail scheme, it is to her childhood friend that Vivienne turns; the deliciously wicked Viscount Dashiell.

When Being Wicked is so Much More Exciting...

Lord Dashiell promised himself long ago that his friendship with Vivienne would be the one relationship with a woman that he wouldn't ruin. He agrees to help her just to keep the little hothead safe, but soon finds that Vivienne has grown up to be very, very dangerous to all of Dash's best intentions.
This one really didn't do it for me. It went too far with an overly independent woman, crazy aunt, roguish hero, and jerky "right choice" man. Everything needed to be reigned in a bit because all three characters were over the top, and together it was just way too much.

Vivienne wants to be an explorer - awesome. I love an adventurous heroine. But she so snubs the way things should be that she would have been ruined and her prim and proper fiance would have jilted her long ago - I'm not sure he would have proposed to begin with. From wandering London along, to being caught coming out of a well-known rake's house unaccompanied - it just would never have been accepted.

Even the scenery was working against the story for me. The secret panels and the things that are found inside them were just way too over the top. I was engaged just enough to want to see how this could possibly end well. There's a good twist at one point that was a great aspect, but overall I was disappointed, especially after having enjoyed the second book in the series so much.

Wicked Little Secrets
Wicked Little Secrets #1
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