Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

Reviewed by Jen

You can never go wrong with an Ilona Andrews book! I loved the initial trilogy in the Hidden Legacy series for a ton of reasons, but mostly because of the main couple, Rogan and Nevada. Sadly, their primary story is over, but the series lives on, switching focus to Nevada’s younger sister, Catalina. And this story serves as a changing of the guards, beginning first in Nevada’s POV, then switching to Catalina’s, and I’m happy to say I have no doubt the middle Baylor sister will deliver as a lead.

The story surrounds Rogan and Nevada’s wedding. Let me just say how much I loved his mom. Mrs. Rogan was an unexpected treat, with a cool backstory and a will of steel. She decides she wants a wedding that includes her entire family, which is no small feat. Half of them are money grubbers, nursing a serious sense of entitlement. We switch to Catalina’s perspective when one of them steals the family wedding tiara and she needs to figure out who did it before her sister walks down the aisle. [Read more…]

Joint Review: First Earl I See Tonight

Reviewed by Jen & Sara

Jen: This is my first book by Anna Bennett and though I had a few small issues, I found it an easy, pleasant read that I enjoyed overall.

The heroine, Fiona, is being blackmailed. Apparently, someone knows the truth of her sister’s parentage and will expose the secret unless Fiona pays him off. Before I get too far, I’ll say that my problems began here. I felt like it strained credibility that a wealthy family would raise a baby left on their doorstep and it took way too long to establish the particulars of the family dynamic. A) That they raised this orphan as their own. (I thought maybe she was the father’s bastard at first.) And B) the Mama in the story is actually Fiona’s step-mother and not even the woman who took the sister in.

Anyway, Fiona loves her sister so much that she is determined to pay the blackmailer, but the only way she can do it is by getting married and using part of her marriage portion. So she proposes to David Gray, the Earl of Ravenport. Gray is an impoverished nobleman who showed her kindness once. But he is skeptical about marriage since his betrothed dumped him. The woman took one look at his ramshackle estate and threw him over. He is determined to bring the property back to greatness, though, for the sake of his grandmother. [Read more…]

Review: Barbarous by Minerva Spencer

Reviewed by Jen

I will start by saying this book has really really good reviews on Goodreads. And I didn’t dislike it, but the sheer number of five star ratings has me wondering if I read the same book as everyone else.

I was excited about picking this up, despite the title which reminded me of a 1980’s bodice ripper. After all, the hero was scarred, with a delicious piratical eyepatch. I love a scarred hero. But Hugh wasn’t what I expected. This man was enslaved, tortured, and disfigured, but there was virtually no angst to be found.

As the story begins, Daphne is fighting off the lecherous advances of the man who raped her years ago. Her elderly husband is dead and there is no one to protect her now that Malcolm is after her fortune. And if she isn’t willing to cooperate, he’ll tell the world he’s the father of her children. It’s just as she fights back that her late husband’s nephew shows up. Everyone thought Hugh was dead, and he’s only returned due to a threat on Daphne’s life. [Read more…]

Review: The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

Reviewed by Jen

This new story from Vanessa Kelly is the first in her Clan Kendrick series, but it reads like it’s part of something bigger. I did a little bit of digging and discovered that the Kendrick family and the couple who led it were the main characters in The Highlander’s Princess Bride, the last in Kelly’s Improper Princesses trilogy. Obviously, I didn’t read that book and I enjoyed this one anyway. But it was very clear that there was a lot of story before this that came in another book, not just with the other couple but with the main hero and heroine here. So if that sort of thing bothers you, be warned. It niggled me a bit to have their past referenced, but the author does a good enough job of filling in the blanks so at least I wasn’t lost.

As the story begins, the hero is already half in love with Lady Ainsley. Royal was injured at Waterloo and has been kind of checked out on his life ever since. But with Ainsley, he feels alive again. Unfortunately, she is engaged to another man. Fast forward a year or so and you skip the course of events that transpired between them in the other book. Apparently, Royal had tried to kidnap Ainsley because he thought she would rather marry him. It did not go well. Now she is living with an aunt, too ruined by his kidnapping to get married. And he has no idea whether she considers him a friend or foe. But she wrote him a letter, so he takes a chance and goes to visit her. [Read more…]

Review: Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Reviewed by Jen

Ho-lee cow. This book takes the Guild Hunter series in a bold new direction. Everything up until this point has been about building up Elena, Raphael, and their band of allies. Building their relationships… their power. But in this book, Elena is no longer becoming stronger. She is growing weaker, and it’s threatening to upend everything she’s worked for. Every day, she is regressing further and further into her humanity and Raphael grows in danger of losing what little humanity he’s gained through her love.

The Cascade is showing no signs of abating. This is the same cosmic event that has gifted Raphael with angelfire and filled him with new power. The same event that brought forth the Legion. The one that is threatening to turn Bluebell into an archangel before his time. Now it seems to have awoken the consciousness of an ancient who has been long asleep. She becomes a harbinger of the death looming over Elena’s shoulder. And our favorite hunter-born angel wants nothing to do with her prophecies. The only thing she is interested in –is protecting her family. [Read more…]

Review: Sin and Ink by Naima Simone

Reviewed by Sara

Sin and Ink is a Contemporary Romance that follows the story of Knox, a former MMA fighter and now proprietor of Chicago tattoo shop, and Eden, Knox’s office manager and his late brother Connor’s widow. Eden’s was widowed two years before the book begins when her husband, also an MMA fighter, was knocked out and a previously undetected aneurysm bursts. She’s just now starting to crawl out from under her crushing grief and gain her independence. She is also in love with Knox.

Luckily for Eden, Knox has been secretly in love with her since the first time he saw her, before her marriage to his brother. He never would have said anything or done anything, but his mother saw and when Connor died, Knox’s mother confronted him in a state of hysteria accusing him of Connor’s death and making him promise never to touch Eden. Knox tries to bury his feelings in meaningless sex and by treating Eden as if she were a sister. One chance encounter ruins all Knox’s best laid plans and the two discover their feelings for each other and give in to the chemistry they create. The question is, will it last? Can Eden become independent and begin her life again, this time with Knox by her side and will Knox allow the secrets of his past and the accusations of his mother destroy his chance at love? [Read more…]

Review: Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Reviewed by Sara

There are plenty of books about nannies. Usually they’re women seduced by the attractive billionaire, mysterious Greek tycoon or the rakish duke.

*yawn*  So, when I saw author Rebekah Weatherspoon tweet about a ginger, bearded and tattooed, motorcycle riding nanny helping a successful and smart single-mom, I was in.

Dr. Sloan Copeland is a young cardiac surgeon in L.A. with two adorable twin 6 year olds. A former child prodigy with an obnoxious ex-husband trying to win her back, she’s left in the lurch when her nanny up and leaves mid-shift. Luckily, she’s got good friends who recommend Rafe Whitcomb. Sloan’s immediately attracted to Rafe, but isn’t sure about how the hot, tattooed white guy will be with her girls. Thankfully Rafe quickly demonstrates a well of limitless compassion and excellent child-tending skills. These and Rafe’s excellent references help Sloan decide to bring Rafe into her family. [Read more…]

Review: Duchess By Design by Maya Rodale

Reviewed by Jen

If you’re looking for a historical with a somewhat different flair, look no further. Duchess by Design features the requisite duke the title suggests, but it takes us out of Regency England to New York’s Gilded Age, while he searches for his bride. It’s fresh and fun, and it’s filled with the kind of feminism and empowerment that made me want to cheer out loud.

Brandon is the stereotypical impoverished duke, in need of an heiress to help fill the coffers of his estate. The well of women who fit the bill in London is running dry, so he travels to America to take advantage of the surfeit families with new money. It’s when he first arrives that he lays eyes on Adeline. Since she is well dressed and appears to be staying in his high-class hotel, he believes her to be the kind of lady he’s searching for. But that would be too easy. Adeline is actually a seamstress visiting a client at the establishment. [Read more…]

Review: Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter

Reviewed by Sara

Several years ago I was a pretty huge fan of Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld (LOTU) series. I eventually fell away from the series and haven’t read anything from Showalter since. When I saw that she was beginning a new series unrelated to LOTU, I was excited to see what she was writing and how it would differ from her previous work.

Shadow and Ice, the debut novel in Showalter’s Gods of War series follows the adventures of Knox and Vale. On a disastrous trip abroad, Vale and her sister Nola come across what looks like a group of otherworldly warriors frozen in blocks of ice. Little do they know that the immortal warriors have been frozen for centuries and are part of an interstellar, winner takes all battle for the ownership of Earth. Believing that they’ve come across a movie set, they’re surprised when the warriors burst into life. Things soon spiral out of control and Vale is taken by Knox and Nola by the warrior Zion. Fearful for her sister who suffers from debilitating fibromyalgia, Vale makes a deal with Knox to help him in exchange for assistance getting her sister back. [Read more…]

Review: Lionheart by Thea Harrison

Reviewed by Jen

I can always count on Thea Harrison to satisfy my PNR itch. Lionheart is the third in her Moonshadow trilogy based on the world of the Elder Races. This story features Dr. Kathryn Shaw, trauma surgeon to Dragos Caluebre and his sentinels. Her hero is none other than Oberon, king of the dark fae.

Oberon has been in something like a magical coma for the past 15. Isabeau, Queen of the Light Court, orchestrated an attempt on his life along time ago and she used Morgan La Fae to do it. Oberon tried many things to slow down the effects of the poison that was used, but eventually he had to put himself in stasis to keep from dying. Unfortunately, his power is leaking out and wreaking havoc on his lands. His cousin, Annwyn, reaches out to Kathyrn, knowing if he is not healed, he may have to die to save everything he holds dear. [Read more…]