Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Cornerstone Run Trilogy #3)

Black Rook by Kelly MeadeAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Penguin InterMix

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

She never saw this coming… Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

Black Rook is a new trilogy featuring wolves, packs, magic and vampires all the elements to make a great paranormal romance. The world building and character creation are amazing and I look forward to reading more of this series.

Brynn Atwood is a second daughter of a powerful Prime Magus. A disappointment to all her people, she has visions but they are uncontrolled and her father Archimedes Atwood, a powerful practitioner of elemental magic, does not trust her seer ability. Her most recent vision has her traveling to the town of Cornerstone, a community, or Run of loup garou.

Rook McQueen is the third son of Thomas McQueen the Alpha of the Run, he is hard on Rook because of his status in the Run, Rook is a Black wolf, usually a future Alpha but since he is the third born he will have to work harder than others. His two brothers also have important roles within the Run, Bishop a Gray wolf and first born is also Alpha material and Knight, a White wolf keeps harmony in the Run.

Bishop realizes right away that Brynn is not your ordinary visitor to Cornerstone, she seems to be looking for someone and she does not have the usually human smell. When they question Brynn they come to a startling realization that there is something very different about her. When a massacre happens at a neighboring Run, things spiral out of control, there are unknown hybred species attacking with threats to other Runs including Cornerstone and specifically pointed at the brothers, and Brynn seems to be the center to all that is happening.

I have enjoyed several other series from this author so when I found this book was up for review I jumped at it. Her characters are always interesting and the plot and premises’ are usually heart thumping as we go on a roller coaster ride until the end.

I like Brynn she is intelligent and strong with a vulnerable side to her. I did not realize how strong she is at first because her confidence has been beaten down so much during her life, she was always told she was the inferior daughter and would never amount to anything, basically a disappointment to her race, so when she steps up on several occasions to match wits with others I was happily surprised. She can hold her with anyone and I like her personality yet she still seems to be a bit timid around the Alpha of Cornerstone and does not question when he makes her stay in town.

Rook is a Black wolf, true Alpha material yet born as the third son, you can see traces of both his heritage and his birth order in his personality. He is a true protector yet is willing to step aside and let his brother be the Alpha someday. He also struggles with some confidence as he wants his father to believe in him but is annoyed when his father questions him or second guesses him. However his father is just trying to figure out who will become the next Alpha.

The world building is intriguing and I like that each species knows about each other, some tolerate those in existence while others do not and the conflicts will continue to grow. I like Brynn and Rook together, there is an attraction right away but so much is going on that the continued danger keeps their attraction on hold until close to the end. The secondary characters all play pivotal roles and there were several that stood out, such as Thomas (Alpha) the two brothers who will get their own books, Bishop and Knight and several of those that live both in Cornerstone or other Runs, I really enjoy how Ms. Meade portrays the interconnection between all the species, and she creates some truly evil characters. This is the first in a trilogy and while the main plot is concluded in this book there is an overall story arc that continues into the next books.

The plot progression is fast and furious as there is a lot of action and it kept me turning the pages as I wanted to know how all the pieces and parts fit together; there are several surprises with enough twists and turns to keep you enthralled. Overall I really enjoyed this book, love the premise and the promise of spending more time in this world of wolves.

I give Black Rook by Kelly Meade 4 stars!

Dare To Surrender by Carly Phillips (Dare To Love #3)

Dare To Surrender by Carly PhillipsAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.

Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.

A woman who needs to run her own life. A man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his erotic demands without losing her sense of self once more?

 

Another winning erotic romance from the incredibly talented Carly Phillips! In my review of book two, Dare To Desire I noted how hot these books were progressively getting and Phillips definitely delivered the goods this time around!

Isabelle just wants to stand on her own two feet after leaving her domineering ex-boyfriend behind. Needing to prove to herself and everyone else that she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. Yet from the moment she sees acquaintance Gabe while sitting in the police station on a trumped up charge, her body and her mind yearn to be possessed by him. Convincing herself she can take the help he offers, if only on a temporary basis, she agrees to go home with him.

From the first moment he saw her several years ago he knew he wanted her. When Gabe sees her sitting in a police station he sees his chance to finally tell her how he feels and to take her home and worship her body. When he realizes how much she needs to realize her own potential before she can be his he reluctantly lets her go…again. But reunions are coming on the island of Eden and he’s intent on proving to his independent woman that she can have it all and still be her own person.

What a fantastic, emotional roller coaster! I adored Iz and her fierce need to feel independent. To often heroines in romances rely on the hero to feel whole and Isabelle was the exact opposite. After living in a possessive relationship for years she needed to make it on her own, even if she craved Gabe like nothing she’d ever felt before. Her self esteem wasn’t all that great but her growth throughout the book had her learning that she was perfect the way she was and her confidence soon rebounded.

Gabriel Dare has got to be one of the hottest heroes of Phillips to date! His willingness to let Isabelle go in order for her to grow and understand her worthiness was incredibly heartwarming and reaffirmed my love for him as a character. Though he felt some guilt over past relationships, his determination to overcome them in order to be the best man for Isabelle was forefront in his mind. Giving her both an epic opportunity in her job and a chance to re-connect on a lush tropical island gave him the best of both worlds for his Iz. I did wish he had beat the crap out of her ex on several occasions, but true to his character he instead dealt the man the hard blows professionally, which I suppose is just as good, if not a bit disappointing that his face wasn’t pounded in.

Dare To Surrender is a must read for Phillips fans as well as erotic romance fans alike! This can be read as a stand alone if you must but I highly recommend reading the prior two as well because each one is incredible! The Dare family has been through a lot together and their willingness to remain close and envelop new additions just reaffirms their familial bonds. This is a fantastic series and a must read!

 

I give Dare To Surrender by Carly Phillips 5 stars!

Cover Reveal: Tempting The Player by Kat Latham

Tempting The Player by Kat Latham - 300 px wide

Book Blurb and Buy Links

Book three of the London Legends

Best friends make the best lovers.

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They’ve known each other for ages. They act as each other’s plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there’s always been a little spark between them, so what? It’s never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.

Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that’s not the only thing he’s fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he’s struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby’s looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt’s certainly not that man.

But just because they don’t have a future together doesn’t mean they can’t have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It’s the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mLF6k1 
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About Kat

Kat Latham - 350px

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s traveled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to meet heroic people helping their communities survive disasters. Find out more on her website: katlatham.com.

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A Matter of Sin by Jess Micheals (The Ladies Book of Pleasures #1)

A Matter Of Sin by Jess MichealsAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Samhain

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

The widowed Lady Isabel Avenbury has one remaining younger sister to shepherd into an advantageous marriage, and then she will be free. Free to take a lover to fill her lonely nights—the only option left for a woman on the delicate edge of a certain age.

Except when she chaperones her sister to a country house party, she is taken aback by her sudden, undeniable attraction to the host. And deliciously scandalized when she finds a copy of the notorious, much-gossiped-about Ladies Book of Pleasures in his library.

When Seth Rowland, Marquis Lyndham, notices his book is missing, his interest is piqued as to which of the potential young brides at his party has absconded with it—and he’s shocked to discover it’s Isabel. Though older than the women he’d planned to court, the powerful beauty exudes a sensuality he cannot ignore.

The book inspires them to begin a desperate, passionate affair. But their time together is running out and they must choose. Follow society’s rules, or take a chance at love.

Oh my. This book = swoon. I know that’s an old-fashioned term, but given that this is a historical romance, I think I can be forgiven. It has been a long, long time since a book kept me awake until the wee hours reading – only to wish I could ignore work, chores, even my family, so I could finish it. I loved this book. I loved Jess Michael’s writing. This was my first book by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. I loved Seth, and I adored Seth and Isobel together.

Seth Rowland, the Marquis of Lyndham, and Lady Isabel Avenbury have known each other for a long time. They travel in the same social circles, and there has always been a certain awareness between them. Seth first admired her when they met a long time ago, but he was too young to consider marriage then. Isabel has spent the years since the beginning of their acquaintance married to a much older man and raising her two half-sisters. While she shared a mutual affection with her now-deceased husband, it was not a love match, and her marriage of convenience was shadowed by disappointment because she was unable to produce an heir.

Now that her sister Marjorie is happy and settled in marriage, Isabel intends to do the same for her other sister before finally doing something for herself. After giving Serena a Season and hopefully finding her a suitable match, Isabel plans to have an affair. She knows the idea is scandalous and she’s not quite sure how to pull it off, but despite being barren and too old to be considered an acceptable bride, she longs for romance and passion in her life. What she doesn’t plan on is her attraction to Seth, a man she is completely unsuitable for.

Lord Lyndham needs a bride. Ever since his title was passed on to him upon his older brother’s death, he has had the weight of carrying on the family line on his shoulders. To do that, he needs a bride who will give him an heir. It is during a house party held at his country estate with the purpose of “showing off” several eligible young ladies that he once again comes into contact with Isabel. She is there acting as a chaperone for her sister Serena, one of the eligible young ladies his mother invited. From the instant he sees Lady Avenbury again, Seth is captivated. He can barely tolerate going through the social niceties with all of the silly young women in attendance. All he can think about is Isabel. When he discovers that she ‘borrowed’ a scandalous book from his library, he is intrigued and aroused. He wants the shy, almost innocent widow with a desperation that shocks him.

The fact that Isabel is completely wrong for him only seems to add fuel to the fire of their mutual attraction. They are drawn to each other like moths to a flame. I could feel how much they wanted each other. I could feel how desperate they were to be together, even though they knew nothing could come of it. Seth needed a young, fertile bride. Instead he falls for the mature, passionate, caring woman who can never give him the son his family needs.

Seth was a wonderful hero. I almost had one instant where I didn’t like him for not following his friend’s advice, but his actions only proved how desperately he wanted Isabel and that made it all the more real. I loved that Isabel gave in to her own desires despite knowing she had no future with him. She was helpless to resist Seth and came alive with his touch. I think the secondary characters were written perfectly, from Seth’s mother and his best friend to Isabel’s friends and sisters. The scandalous book aspect only added a little more eroticism to an already steamy book.

I’m somewhat of a picky reader. For me to love a book, the author’s writing style has to ‘click’ with me. The characters’ dialogue has to be real. I need to fall in love with the hero, while at the same time hoping against hope that he falls in love with the heroine. Their chemistry has to jump off of the pages, and I want to feel the romance. This book delivered on all of those counts. The forbidden lovers storyline may not be new, but the way Jess Michael’s delivers it, I’m having a hard time remembering reading anything similar.

I give A Matter of Sin by Jess Micheals 4.75 stars!

Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane (The Associates #1)

Against The Dark by Carolyn CraneAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Romantic Suspense 

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

SHE’S AN EX-SAFECRACKER FORCED INTO ONE LAST HEIST

Angel Ramirez left the safecracking game five years ago, and she’s worked hard to make amends and build an honest life. But when a beloved aunt is kidnapped, she must reunite with her girl gang to acquire the unique ransom: Walter Borgola’s prized diamonds. It’s a simple job that turns into a nightmare, thanks to a surprisingly clever—and searingly sexy—security guard named Cole Hawkins.

HE’S AN UNDERCOVER AGENT WITH BIG PLANS FOR HIS GORGEOUS THIEF

Cole is one of the Association’s most brilliant agents, under deep cover investigating a ruthless killer. He’s also running out of time: hundreds will die if he doesn’t stop the plan Borgola’s set into motion. Catching Angel is the break he needed–he promises not to turn her in if she poses as his lover and uses her unique talents to unlock the sociopath’s dungeon vaults.

But as pretend passions turn real, Cole regrets drawing Angel into his deadly game…and danger is closer than either of them could ever imagine.

 

Forced back into a game she’s been trying to leave behind for several years Angel is the only one able to crack a killer’s safe. When she gets caught red handed and blackmailed into busting into yet another safe she feels cornered and maneuvered. Yet the man moving the puppet strings is also pulling at her heartstrings. He’s secretive and sexy and wants Angel even though she feels completely unworthy. But her sexy undercover operative isn’t playing for keeps. He may not even be playing for temporary.

Cole will use the pretty safecracker and he’ll even throw her under the bus if he needs to. The end game is more important than a single player. At least that’s what he tells himself as he’s stealing kisses as sure as his safecracker is stealing his heart. As the danger closes in on them both will Cole break his cardinal rule and put this woman in front of his mission?

Why did I not read this book sooner?! Why?! Against The Dark is uniquely original and fresh in a sea of romantic suspense! I loved it from beginning to end! Carolyn Crane is giving readers something you don’t see very often in the romance world. Nerdy men. Sure, sure, Cole is smoking hot…but he’s also a math whiz who relies on his ability to form equations to get into people’s heads and figure out the master plans of some very vicious killers. I loved how big his…..brain was. :) In addition to his big, er, brain his brawniness was sexually appealing in a way that you don’t find that often because Cole seriously was the best of both worlds.

Can’t get better than a nerdy sexy hero right? Wrong. Angel. She’s practical, smart and a safecracker in a group of thieving women. I mean, how cool is that?! Cole is immediately drawn to her even while she’s in character for the job her friends have drug her into. Her inner beauty and confidence shine through even while she tries to stifle it.  Cole recognizes her skill and her beauty and before long he’s wishing he hadn’t brought the fiery woman back into the house of horrors he’s been trying to crack. While her safecracking skills are unrivaled she hates that part of herself and has tried to make amends since quitting the business several years prior. She sees herself as ugly and craves acceptance for her true self, something she lets Cole see against her better judgement.

Against The Dark is breathtakingly erotic as Cole seduces the one woman he should want nothing to do with. He becomes protective even though it’s obvious Angel is capable of slipping in and out of the shadows like a pro and watching him break his own stringently set rules was simply good reading. Full of action from beginning to end, this one will keep you on your toes. I loved everything about it and can’t wait to pick up book two, Off The Edge featuring the mysterious English linguist, Macmillan.

I give Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane 4 stars! 

Gilded Lily by Delphine Dryden (Steam and Seduction #3)

Gilded Lily by Delphine DrydenAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical (Steampunk) Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

HIDDEN IDENTITIES, SCANDALOUS SECRETS… DEADLY ATTRACTION. Frederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise.

Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze. But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart…

Steam and Seduction is such a great series, I have devoured each book, as the world and the characters all add up to intriguing and delightful stories that have enough action and heat to satisfy any historical and Steampunk fans.

Barnabas has been hired to watch over Frederique (Freddie) Murcheson, the daughter of Rutherford Murcheson, this works to his advantage as he has been searching for his brother for several years and his last employer was Murcheson. Barnabas even entered the American Dominion Sky and Steam Rally (last book) to follow a lead in California only to get sick before the race ended. His friend Eliza saw Phineas at the conclusion of the race but was unable to contact him before he disappeared. Now he has been spotted in London and Barnabas is on the hunt.

Freddie has been working secretly as a makesmith or tinker, disguised as a man, her two friends Dan and Sophia help her to avoid her father. She is from a wealthy family and was popular her first season but she does not pretend to be something she is not, which keeps the suitors at bay. When she meets Barnabas, she wonders how to get rid of him so she can go about her life, but as they spend time together they realize their missions are not that different and they work together to find out what her father is up to, who is moving opium using submersibles and where Phineas is located.

Gilded Lily is another wonderful addition to this series, the story picks up from the previous book as there was some unfinished business with minor characters and I can definitely say that the conclusion was all I had hoped.

Freddie is perfectly created for this world, she is intelligent, a bit geeky and her pure curiosity is what motivates her in everything she does. I love how she just jumps in with both feet and the men in her life just follow along hoping she does not get in too much trouble. Dan is her friend that usually accompanies her when she is off either working as a tinker or investigating something, but Barnabas takes his place when he is hired by her father and fireworks ensue.

Barnabas is an interesting character, also a bit on the geeky side with a very beta hero personality. I cracked up when Freddie was able to get information out of him within five minutes of being together. He berates himself saying that he can’t even pull off being a spy to a novice like Freddie, how is he supposed to find his brother and I like how honest he is about himself and his abilities. He was cute when he fell asleep while Freddie and Dan were driving through town and when he awoke he was clutching a wrench for protection only to find he forgot about the gun he had, all typical of someone who is a bit quirky yet intriguing. I like the romance in this one, there is initial attraction and it grows throughout the story gaining momentum until they are finally able to be together, they make a great pair. I adored Phineas, he is interesting with just enough mystery to gain my attention, the author gives us a peak of what he has been up to, including his relationship with Sophia, and I would love to read his story.

I thought the pace of the book worked well, there is action from beginning to end as they try to find out about Phineas as well as the opium trafficking that seems to be invading London. I thought the book did change directions from what I thought was the main objection to where it ended, we had several different items that they were looking into, Phinieas’ whereabouts, the opium trafficking and the whole mystery about the submersibles and Cephalopod’s which at time seemed to change importance to the characters. However it is very enjoyable and I liked the conclusion. This is the third in the series and does have some carry over from the second book, but the author brings the reader in seamlessly so you can read this as a standalone. I am not sure if there are more books in the series but I for one am a fan and would love to read more.

I give Gilded Lily by Delphine Dryden 4 stars!

Splendor by Janet Nissenson (Inevitable #2)

Splendor by Janet NissensonAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.

Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss.

Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.

Whenever I’m going to read (and maybe review) a book, I always go online to read some reviews. Not that I want spoilers, but I want to know what to expect – did other people think it was worth their time, what did they love about it, what didn’t they like, etc. The first “review” I read of Splendor was actually a post from the author on Goodreads. She wanted to give a little description of the book and her thought processes that went into the writing of it. One of the things she mentioned was that this was first and foremost a love story, and if I had to sum it up in one sentence, that’s what I would say, too.

At first I was a little put off by their romance. Even though it clearly states there is no cheating, Tessa is married to someone else when she and Ian first meet. Her marriage is not what you would consider a grand love story, and its demise is plausible and helped me get over my issue with Ian falling for a married woman. Another thing that disappointed me was the “woe is me” factor with Tessa. The author made a point of making the reader as sympathetic as possible toward Tessa. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say her past is sadder than sad, and I would have preferred to have her be less emotionally scarred going in to her relationship with Ian. If there was a cliché about a poor, downtrodden, vulnerable young woman’s past that wasn’t used here, I couldn’t name it. The same goes for Tessa’s husband. I suppose the author wanted to make it clear how dysfunctional their lives were and explain why their marriage didn’t work.

With Tessa having such a depressing life thus far, it makes this sort of a Cinderella or even a Pretty Woman type of story, and that part of it I really liked. I didn’t dislike Tessa, and I definitely wanted her to have a happy ever after, so the story picked up for me once she was free and clear of her marriage. Ian was the consummate hero. He was brilliant, charming, handsome, powerful and successful. He had alpha tendencies but was also very reserved, so it was never over the top (except in bed, which I liked). For him, it was love at first sight when he met Tessa, and he was completely disheartened when he learned she was married. Given the way he felt about her, he couldn’t imagine she wasn’t free to be his.

Upon learning she was finally available (two years…two years he waited for her!), Ian’s pursuit of Tessa was immediate and dogged. What I loved most was that while he wanted her physically, he wanted even more to make life better for her. He couldn’t wait to spoil her and ease her way in life in ways she hadn’t experienced before. There was a fifteen year age difference between them, which I also liked. I’m a bit of a sucker for older men/younger women romances.

Ian and Tessa fell so deeply in love with each other, and I liked that the author didn’t put a whole lot of strife or angst into their story. Aside from people who had issues with the differences in their ages and social/financial status, and Tessa’s insecurities about not being worthy of someone like Ian, this book focuses solely on the two lovers finding their way with each other. Their emotions ran true and deep, and their sexual attraction sizzled. I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would when I started it.

I give Splendor by Janet Nissenson 3.75 stars!