Saturday, January 31, 2015

Review: When Summer Comes by Brenda Novak

ebook400 pages
Published January 29th 2013 
by Harlequin MIRA 
(first published January 1st 2013)
Series: Whiskey Creek, #3
My Rating: 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

One day, Callie Vanetta receives devastating news

She needs a liver transplant. But her doctors warn that, in her case, the chances of finding a compatible donor aren't good.

Determined to spend whatever time she has left on her own terms, she keeps the diagnosis to herself and moves out to her late grandparents' farm. She's always wanted to live there. But the farm hasn't been worked in years and she begins to fear it's too much, she'll have to return to town.

One night, a stranger comes knocking at her door...
He's an attractive and mysterious drifter by the name of Levi McCloud who offers to trade work for a few nights' shelter. Callie figures she doesn't have anything to lose. He needs a place to stay until he can fix his motorcycle; she needs an extra pair of hands. The arrangement seems ideal until what was supposed to be temporary starts to look more and more permanent. Then she realizes she does have something to lose — her heart. And, although he doesn't yet know it, Levi stands to lose even more.

I enjoyed this book even though Callie wasn't a character I had been really curious about in the first two Whiskey Creek novels. Her storyline wasn't as sad as I expected, but it was certianly touching in spots. 

Callie knows she won't survive the summer. So she's starting to wrap up her life in some ways--take more artistic photos, sending time at the farm she's always loved. And her imending death allows her to be far more generous than she might otherwise have been. She now sees life as something to live to the fullest and she decides to help a total stranger because it seems not only like the right thing to do, but a way to ease the life of another. I admired her for that. 

Levi has some skeletons in his closet, and although he's afraid to get too close to Callie, he can't help but want her. I really do wish the author had expanded on Levi's past and experiences in Afghanistan, I think it would have helped me connect with Levi more deeply, but he was a likable enough character. 

You know what I didn't like? Callie's interfering friends. I had the same issue with this group of friends in Cheyenne's book. It's like they simply can't keep their noses out of their friends lives, and opinions to themselves. I was really annoyed when they staged an intervention to get Callie to talk about whatever was bothering her. I think friends ought honour each other's privacy and this group doesn't do that, nor do they voice their concerns appropriately. That's my pet peeve so far with this series anyway.

Overall, this was a well written story with a few steamier scenes and a happily ever after that was sweet and miraculous. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: In Seconds by Brenda Novak

ebook448 pages
Published September 1st 2011 
by Mira Books 
(first published January 1st 2011)
Series: Bulletproof, #2
My Rating:      
Genre: Romantic Suspense

They're back..."Laurel Hodges has changed her identity twice. She's been on the run for the past four years, trying to outdistance the gang members who blame her for the death of one of their own. She's finally found peace and stability in the small town of Pineview, Montana. But just when Laurel thinks she and her children are safe...the nightmare starts all over again.

The Crew, a ruthless prison gang with ties to Laurel's brother, will never forget and they'll never forgive. And now that they've finally tracked her down, they'll stop at nothing.

Sheriff Myles King, who happens to live next door with his thirteen-year-old daughter, appoints himself Laurel's personal guardian. His growing attraction to her could change his life--Myles is beginning to picture marriage and family. But it could also "end" his life. If he can't save her, everything he's built, everything he wants, could be destroyed. In seconds...

I really loved the second novel in this series. I was a little disappointed with the first one, but I'm glad I persevered and continued with the series. I had a feeling it could only get better, and I was right. Yay!! 

This second book is about Laurel, which I was glad to see. I was surprised she wasn't paired with Rex, but I've heard he gets a HEA too, in another wonderful series by this author (that I am reading) so I'm cool. All is well in Romancelandia for me

Anyway, this novel had it all. Simmering romance, a story line where the suspense was well built, and wonderful character development. Laurel was so vulnerable in this story, and considering everything she had been through, it was no wonder. And yet, she was so strong too! Take about grace in the face of adversity. She really held her shit together, and yet she took some huge risks too. Not only with her circumstances, which were frightening, but with Myles. 

Myles. Here is a character that is such a perfect match for Laurel. He's suffered too. He's lost too. But he also faces the world with a smile every day, and strives to make the world a better place. I am not surprised that these two are drawn to one another. And he certainly knew how to steam up the pages with her. 

I hated seeing Ink back, but I'm glad to say he got his just desserts. He was every bit as chilling--no, actually, he was even more scary than he was in the first novel of this series. The man was born without a soul, and I'm glad we're seeing the last of him. 

A well told romance that was built on a solid foundation, a gripping story and characters that make you melt at the knees, In Seconds was told with style and had me turning the pages as fast as I could. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Lori Wilde

Mass Market Paperback
Published March 27th 2012 
by Avon
Series: Jubilee, Texas, #1
My Rating:     
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ex-champion bull rider-turned-cutting-horse cowboy Joe Daniels isn't quite sure how he ended up sleeping in a horse trough wearing nothing but his Stetson and cowboy boots. But now he's wide-awake, and a citified woman is glaring down at him. His goal? Get rid of her ASAP. The obstacle? Fighting the attraction he feels toward the blond-haired filly with the big, vulnerable eyes.

When out-of-work wedding planner Mariah Callahan learns that her estranged father has left her a rundown ranch in Jubilee, she has no choice but to accept it. Her goal? Redeem her career by planning local weddings. The obstacle? One emotionally wounded, hard-living cowboy who stirs her guilt, her heartstrings, and her long-burned cowgirl roots...

I really enjoyed this contemporary romance. It starts off with something of a quirky beginning--naked cowboy in a gold horse trough??--but it quickly builds into a well told romance that made me smile.

Mariah has insecurity issues. Big time. And they stem from the fact that her father abandoned her and her mother when she was young. The insecurity is also compounded by the fact that Mariah was raised in rich people's houses, as the maid's daughter, but never led that life and wasn't really apart of the groups of teens at school because she wasn't rich. So, many of her actions in this story made sense to me. The romance between her and Joe was very back and forth, both of them not trusting their feelings, both of them doubting they could ever build together, both of them not wanting to get hurt. But I got where Mariah was coming from. She didn't want to play second fiddle to Joe's dead wife because she felt that her whole life she'd been that second fiddle. 

Joe. Joe, Joe, Joe. What can I say, I found him utterly likable and I honestly felt for him. He loved with every fiber of his being, and the loss of his wife and unborn child was a huge blow for him. In walks Mariah, and he suddenly sparks back to life. But she's too much to take a chance on, seeing as she keeps talking about leaving town. He doesn't want to chance that kind of pain again. I honestly admired him for calling her out on her BS at the end. And for the way that he went after her even though he'd been the one to call things off--in a movie moment kinda way. 

PS dear readers, I listened to this on audio! It's my second audio read and I really did like it. At first I wasn't sure about the narrator, C.J Critt, as she sounded a bit countrified, but I did end up enjoying her narration style, I thought she did the different characters well, and I loved the dry humor she inserted into some of the lines. 

Overall, this is a series I'm invested in and I look forward to reading more of Lori Wilde.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Mass Market Paperback
Published January 26th 2010 
by Pocket Books 
(first published January 4th 2010)
Series: Elemental Assassin, #1
My Rating:     
Genre: Urban Fantasy 

My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.
Urban fantasy is still a fairly new genre to me, but it's one I'm seriously loving. Spider's Bite is a wonderful blend of suspense and fantasy set in a world that is modern and yet, magical. I loved the author's straight forward style and immediately fell into this gripping story. 

Gin is a character that is soo compelling. Despite the fact that she's an assassin, she's easy to relate to, and anything but cold or calculating, as you might expect an assassin to be. She has heart. I genuinely felt for her loss, and never for one moment did I question that she is a good character. 

She is also kick ass, which is always refreshing to see, and intelligent in her field of expertise--everything she does, she's given thought to, and that intelligence keeps her and Finn alive. But this isn't the way Gin wants to carry on with in life. She's ready to retire, and this first book really sets Gin up for change. I'm totally excited to see what changes loom her future, and what role her elemental powers might play now that Gin has discovered exactly how powerful she is. 

There is a bit of a romance simmer in this story as well, which is perfect. It doesn't overpower the story, but it makes you wonder what Donovan and Gin mean to each other, and how any relationship between the two of them might play out. I can't wait to see. 

This was a gripping page turner and I loved every minute of this story. It's fast paced, yet the development of characters is key to the plot and beautifully woven into the action. Book two, here I come! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Guest Review: Twisted by Elisabeth Naughton

NickLeader of the half-breeds and the last true hero. He’s spent his life fighting a dark pull toward the gods. A pull he now knows is linked to his father Kr√≥nos and the Titan’s plan to escape from the Underworld.

But Nick’s hidden powers are coveted by more than just his father. Imprisoned by Hades, Nick battles every form of torture imaginable as the sadistic god schemes to break him. Only one thing is keeping him sane. One woman who gives him the strength to fight the relentless darkness. She has a dangerous plan of her own, though, and as Nick’s powers grow stronger, even she might not be enough to alter his destiny.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, Nick’s allegiances are tested. And no one knows whether he will choose to fight for good or succumb to the sinister lure of evil. Not even him.


If you have had the pleasure of reading this series from the beginning, you will understand why this book is so satisfying. The author continues to enhance the complex world of the Argonauts.  Through each successive book, Elisabeth Naughton has added complicated and satisfying layers.  This is one of her best. 

Nick is the quintessential anti-hero with a heart of gold. His presence in book one, Marked, is both menacing and protective. As an other, (as in non-human), he extends himself to the Misos, the half breeds of humans and Argonauts.  Nick has had a presence in each book and FINALLY we get his story. 

Cynna is his perfect counterpart.  Of course, she is strong, but she is also courageous and she is a little dark. He finds the woman who can understand his dark, twisted side.  With that connection, they help keep their darkness in check.  It is a pleasure to watch them interact. This couple is not Superman and Wonderwoman. They are Batman and Catwoman.

This is a great addition to the series. I've always loved Nick and I'm thrilled at where Elisabeth Naughton took this story. Yeah for the anti-hero!

Thank you to the author, publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Originally posted at Love Affair With An e-Reader Thank you to Sunny for sharing her review here with us today at My Devastating Reads.
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