Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ARC REVIEW Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

Cape Charade #1, The spin-off series of Virtue Falls. I requested this off NetGalley with no expectations of actually getting to read it and was ecstatic when I was approved, so thank you very much HQN. It's been about a decade since I've read Christina Dodd, I enjoyed her historical romances and then she started writing the PNR and I couldn't get into them and missed Virtue Falls but if they are anything like this book I will go back and read them. Dead Girl Running is so chock full of stuff and has so many things going on, the book was addictive. The main character Kellan has a past and it's doozy of a past. She's missing a full year of her life, has a scar from a gunshot high on her forehead, she served in the military but was medically discharged and something so traumatic happen in her early adulthood that it changed who she was. After being discharged from the military Kellan was looking for some place to call home, a sanctuary where she could but her demons behind her and the luxury  resort in the middle of nowhere Pacific Northwest seemed like the perfect place. 

Because this is the first book of a new series and because Kellan has such an immense past especially since one year is missing from her memory there are flashbacks, quite a bit of them, but they are necessary not just for the story but as character development. As things unfold with the main plot Kellan is reminded of her past and she starts to look at it differently. Not to mention just about everything from her past is coming to slap her in the face and she has no choice but to face them head on. It all starts with the body of a mutilated girl being found on the resort premises, even more discouraging when it is discovered to be a former worker at the resort. Kellan left alone for the first time to manage the resort on her own is left trying to figure out everything. The elderly owners who are on vacation take pity on her and send their great nephew to help out with security, but Kellan finds something about oddly familiar about Max Di Luca.

The romance is secondary to the main plot but is essential to Kellan and her character development. The secondary characters are quirky and fun ranging between a silver screen actor, a stern and almost unlikable guest relations manager, and a handful of veterans Kellan served with in the military. Overall, the main plot was great it kept me guessing and had a few red herrings to lead you astray but the overall book with all the distractions and Kellan not knowing who to trust any more adds to the frustrations of getting to the bottom of the problem. This was a great book and I look forward to reading more from this series.  

ARC REVIEW Total Bravery by Piper J. Drake

True Heroes #4, I was so excited when I found out Piper J. Drake was coming out with a brand new True Heroes novel, and even more excited when I found out it was Raul. I took the opportunity to read the first two books and reread the third one, it is not one of those series in fact you can start with Total Bravery because it's an all new cast of characters, the guys in the first three books are barely even mentioned. It's a new location, new characters to fall in love with, and all new working dogs to awwww over. We first met Raul Sá in Absolute Trust when he went to Hope's Crossing Kennels to get a working dog for his new job at the Search and Protection Corporation. He found Taz, a German Shepherd Dog, and after helping out in the last book Raul and Taz are in Hawaii for their new job. It's not even his first day and already he's going to be late because he gets a call from his best friends sister in desperate need of help. Mali Siri was doing field research with a bunch of others when men in suits came at them they scattered and Mali has no idea who escaped or if everyone else was captured. Mali managed to get away and when she tried calling her sister, Arin, she got Raul instead with no hesitation Raul tells her where to wait for him. Mali is relieved when Raul finally finds her; with Raul and his dog Mali finally feels safe.  

For Raul it was practically love at first sight, he instantly knew he would protect her at any cost even it that means facing of with an angry Arin. Mali isn't one to back down and let someone else handle it and she refuses to be left behind and insists to be part of the team. Mali is attracted to Raul but with everything up in the air and the fate of her colleagues unknown she doesn't have time to think about the depth of her feeling and his for her. Raul is a bit of a damaged hero he has things in his past he's not proud of and he doesn't feel like he deserves anything good in his life. Mali just wants to make sure these feelings aren't fleeting. Whatever their feelings are they have to put them on hold until they can rescue Mali's colleagues from the white slavery ring they were investigating. 

Drake as usual is awesome with the action and suspense it is well written and well paced. I liked the secondary characters too, Arin was great, I love women snipers, and I can't wait for her story and especially Zu, the boss, he has future book boyfriend written all over him. And talking about all those Hawaiian foods *Drool* seriously between the musubi and the mochi made me so hungry. One question is it pronounced Ma-lie or Ma-lee?     

Friday, April 20, 2018

ARC REVIEW Shifters of SoHo box set by J.S. Striker

Shifters of SoHo box set vol 1, Brand new series set in a new universe where our Earth sets parallel with other more magical worlds. One the home of the shifters, another is home to the Elfkind, another for Fae, and one for the evil demons. Some of these magical beings have the ability to open portals and travel between worlds the central hub being a marketplace, which is the connecting point to all the worlds. Striker once again creates a world full of magic and mystery with strong alphas and even stronger women they inevitably fall in love with. Each book has a common theme between them but they can be read as a stand alone if needed.  
Book 1: Jack Jillian loves living in SoHo and her job at an art gallery, but a difference of opinion with the bosses new fiancee and she may lose it all. Luckily she finds another job in now time and she meets someone. Jack had one job retrieve the painting he never counted one being attracted to Jillian and with his feelings clouding his judgment. Jillian unfortunately gets sweeped up into a world she knows nothing about and running for her life with the man who seduced her for her painting. Along the way she befriends a one winged fae, Yeri, and along with Jack's friend Kasper they have to keep the demons from getting that painting.

Jack and Jillian's is a nice start to the series. it a nice gradual introduction to this new universe of characters. Jillian is slow to trust Jack even though the attraction is there and even more so after she learns of his deception. The romance is constantly building throughout the story.

Book 2: Kasper We met Yeri and Kasper in the last book. Yeri loved the sights, sounds, and food of SoHo so much she stayed but she's growing bored again. She wants to feel something new something she's only read about in those books Jillian lent her but to no success. Kasper was fine living his live in the marketplace working at his bar and occasionally longing for home but Yeri comes bouncing back into his life with a mission from Dean and Kasper is supposed to help out. It was just supposed to be a simple retrieval, some of her own kind has been spotted and all they have to do is return them. But when Kasper and Yeri find them they learn a collector has stolen their wings; the mission just became more complicated especially when a teenage human becomes involved. 

The attraction between Yeri and Kasper sneaks up on them. Yeri discovers that the feeling she been longing to feel she feels with Kasper and Kasper has been attracted to her but the truth of his feelings pretty much hits him over the head like a 2x4. 

Book 3: Xian Cassidy knew the moment she discovered the magical world of fae and shifter her life would never be the same any more, to the point she has devoted the last three years of her life working for Dean and the shifter Elders just to keep her memories. Xian is prepared to do anything to protect his tribe. The crocodile shifters were banished centuries ago to an offshoot realm that has slowly begun to die. Cassidy was just supposed to deliver the stone but just before the exchange Xian and Cassidy are ambushed by bounty hunters. Because of Cassidy they are able to escape but she also gets more involved than she planned when Xian marks her in a way she owes him three favors. Xian has to work to save his tribe or is it too late?

This is probably the most emotional tear jerking one of the three, and not just because of what happens between Xian and Cassidy but everything. Their relationship starts of rocky but everything about Cassidy calls to Xian's beast. Cassidy feels the pull to Xian as well but she loves him enough she won't make him pick between his tribe and her. This is a very emotional and action packed story definitely my favorite of the three.        

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ARC REVIEW X-Ops Exposed by Paige Tyler

X-Ops #8, Tanner and Zarina FINALLY!!!!!! Even though Tanner and Zarina are established characters and have been part of the series for a while now because this is the start of a new story arc this one can be read as a stand alone. Most of their backstory is explained. Tanner and Zarina story has been one I've been waiting for, Tanner was the first hybrid DCO came across that could control his animal but in the last book he lost control and almost killed one of the good guys. Scared that he would lose control again and maybe this time hurt Zarina he leaves DCO and goes back to where it all started Washington State and goes off grid to live in the woods. Zarina not having any of that, she gives him some time but as soon as she is able she takes a leave of absence and goes after him and after a scary encounter with a bear she finds him. She makes it pretty clear to him that she is not leaving without him especially since she finally developed a hybrid reversal that would revert his DNA back to what it was before, but for his own reasons Tanner refuses the cure. As much as Tanner loves her he can't stand the thought of ever hurting her and Zarina keeps arguing that he would never hurt her.  Before Tanner could make her do anything some friends of his who live off grid in a self sustaining preppers camp keep getting attacked  by unknown assailants who are taking people. Tanner promises to get to the bottom of it. But in doing so bring him back into contact with his family. Throughout all this Tanner begins to realize who he is now and finally starts to accept his past is the past and Zarina is his future but before they can have their HEA they must get down to the bottom of who has been kidnapping the preppers who live in the woods.

The side story is Tate trying to track down the evil sadistic Dr. Mashood before the people he was working for find him first and deal with the still rogue coyote shifter, Ashley, daughter of the congresswoman now in charge of DCO, Rebecca Brannon, the same woman who let Dr. Mashood experiment on her own daughter. Tate is forced to work with a local cop who quickly becomes involved in the whole mess and is brought into the fold. Working together they not only manage to track down Mashood but they discover a whole lot of information about Rebecca. 

Overall, I loved it. The attraction for Tanner and Zarina has been pretty apparent before now but in this we get to see them build the relationship and really get to know one another; the love is there but this just solidifies the connection between the two of them. I love Tyler's writing she is so great with being able to engulf you in the entire story, if given the opportunity I pretty sure I could have read this in one sitting. I kind of guessed where it was going so that wasn't a surprise for me, but still the story was so good. Enough heartache and stubborn males to balance out the romance and plenty of action to go around. I was white knuckling my tablet at the end it was pretty intense.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ARC REVIEW Fallen Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs #1, New spin-off series this time following the cousins of the original Montgomery family, we start off with Adrienne. Shep is back in Colorado and has opened Montgomery Ink Too, MIT for  short, with his sister Adrienne. Adrienne of course hires her best friend and fellow tattoo artist, Mace Knight. I love that the dynamic between the two, Mace and Adrienne, shifts so dramatically and even though they are still friends they become more in the matter of seconds, and how they deal with it afterwards is the best. There are two other plots going on the same time Adrienne and Mace are trying to figure out their relationship and one of those is Mace's daughter, Daisy so freakin' cute. Mace has to suddenly switch gears from a part-time Dad to a full time dad when his baby's momma chooses her career over her daughter. The other sub plot being someone in town does not want the Montgomery's there and keeps trying to get them closed down. That ends rather abruptly...or does it? I don't know, I'm speculating at this point but I can see that as a continuing theme throughout this series. 
   Overall, Adrienne and Mace their romance is a little smoother than some of the other relatives but them trying to figure out where they stand with each other now especially with Daisy in the picture is such a great story complete with humor, some heartache and a beautiful HEA. Carrie Ann Ryan does it again with a fantastic story, beautiful characters inside and out; it was a good start to this series.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ARC REVIEW Forever Home by Allyson Charles

Forever Friends #1, First time author for me, Allyson Charles, writes an adorable Rom-Com about a driven Real Estate agent/Mom who finds an abandoned dog and her litter of puppies and how her life is forever changed after that. Isabelle Lopez is a hard working mom trying to support her daughter and save enough money for Anna's college education. Izzy works so hard she often feels guilty about choosing work over her daughter especially when the Mom Mafia aka PTA president guilt trips her. (The whole Mom Mafia thing reminded me of the movie Bad Mom.) Brad is a fun loving guy who runs an animal shelter/rescue and lives paycheck, or in this case fundraiser to fundraiser kind of guy; he's content where he is and doesn't worry about the future. The romance was a fun opposites attract kind of thing, Izzy and Brad balance each other out well. Because Brad is the way he is I kept thinking he was a lot younger than he was he acts like he doesn't have a care in the world and that made him seem really immature to me as opposed to Izzy who life is nothing but stress.

Izzy's newest client is curious about selling his property, but wants to know if anyone is interested in buying it before listing it. Izzy is out scouting the property when she hears an animal whining from inside an abandoned apartment complex. After breaking in she finds a mother dog and her six pups starving; Izzy never owned a dog or even considered herself a dog person but she knew she couldn't just leave these poor guys to fend for themselves. After getting them in her car she drives down the street to the animal rescue place, but worried about the fact that she broke into the apartment and she was just going to drop the dogs off in the back. Bradley Cohen catches Izzy before she can leave and after explaining what she did Brad sees a great chance to bring in some extra money for the shelter. Brad wants to honor Izzy with an award but she's against the idea. Brad gets her boss in on it and her boss, Liz, sees free advertising for the real estate agency. 

Izzy's daughter Anna flips when she finds out about the dogs and as much as Izzy keeps saying she's not going to adopt one; she ends up adopting two, the mother and one of the babies. Brad likes Izzy from the start but getting her to go on a date is even harder than getting her to agree to accept the award. Izzy is attracted to Brad but she doesn't think she has time for a relationship on top of everything else, not to mention she doesn't trust men very much. After one very steamy kiss Izzy agrees to a date. Everything seems to be going well except for that one looming secret that Izzy knows but can't tell Brad and when he does find out Izzy left to pick up the pieces of her heart. Unless Brad gets his head and his heart on the same page.

Overall, it is an adorable read, between Anna and all the dogs, the amusing side characters, and the easy romance between Izzy and Brad this was a very enjoyable read. Being a new author to me  Allyson Charles definitely made an impression, her writing style is easy to follow and easy to get sucked into. I will definitely go out of my way to read the next books in the series; especially if it's Gabe.          

Monday, April 9, 2018

ARC REVIEW The Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries

Sinful Suitors #5, Leave it to me to find a series where I keep missing books, which in all honesty is fine it can be read as a standalone; there was only one part at the beginning where all the previous characters were stand around talking that I felt like I was missing out on something but it was a short scene. This was a fun book to read and Jeffries is always reliable for witty repartee and a great romance. The banter between Fulkham and Monique, especially the first time they meet, is so great it had me giggling and it only got better. The story does focus more on the relationship and them working out their feelings than the mystery of who is trying to kill the Princess but it worked for me. Fulkham is a spymaster and has made it his life's work to know everyone's secrets. Monique is the daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a princess who was disowned when she ran away and married the man she loved an actor.
Fulkham is doing business in Dieppe and at the insistence of his brother's friend Hart they go to see a play. Hart guaranteed the lead actress a worth it, Fulkham is a bit peeved not only because Hart was right the lead actress is stunning and he can't seem to take his eyes off of her. But when Hart manages to get them backstage to meet her Fulkham is antagonistic and starts an argument with her; Monique hates the facts that she is attracted to him a pompous pig headed man who prefers tragedies over comedies. Three years later Fulkham and Monique meet again only this time she is Princess Anne of Chaney who is the running of becoming the new ruler of Belgium. Monique was approached by her Uncle to stand in for her cousin Princess Anne until she recovers from her illness in return Monique and her Grandmother who is suffering from dementia will be welcomed back home to the castle in Chaney. Fulkham keeps trying to trick Monique into revealing who he knows her to be but Monique is good. Fulkham is determined to find out why but when there is an attempt on Monique's life Fulkham switches gears to figure out who would want the Princess dead. 

Fulkham and Monique have great chemistry, they are quite the pair. When the two meet again Monique is scared of what Fulkham can do, he has the power to out her as an imposter and ruin Anne's chance at ruling Belgium. She wants nothing more than to avoid him at all cost but Fulkham plays a very important role in the London Conference and Monique must play nice. The more time she spends with him the more she likes him and when he is determined to save her life rather than letting the charades go on she realizes just how much she loves him. But with so much still standing in the way of their happiness Monique must learn to trust Fulkham.           

Overall, I did enjoy this one. You can always count on Sabrina Jeffries for a well written historical romance. The intrigue was well done and the literary license with the London Conference of 1830 was a nice touch. It happened but there was no Princess Anne in the running for ruler of Belgium.