#Review: The Billionaire Biker by Jackie Ashenden (#bookreview)

The Billionaire Biker (Billionaire’s Club)

Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date of Publication: April 15, 2014
Description:

Biker

 

The Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep.

Wild and reckless, and more at ease with his biker gang than his business partners, Sean Morrow has always longed for Abigail Prescott, whose life he ruined when an innocent friendship turned into a night of red-hot passion back when they were in high school. Now that his brother, Jax, has decided to hire Abby to work for the Morrows, Sean can no longer ignore his old demons—or his desire.

It took Abby time to get over Sean Morrow…and then he walked back into her life. And even though she can’t forget the pain, she can’t stop fantasizing about their one erotic encounter…and she still craves his touch. What she feels for Sean is deeper than need. It’s pure, blind lust—and the feeling is mutual…

My Thoughts:

This book, while enjoyable, was definitely not my favorite of this trilogy.

I enjoyed Abby – she didn’t let the fact that Sean disappeared right they had a night together ruin her life, even when it left her pregnant. She lost that baby but it didn’t turn her bitter, just determined to build a good life for herself. The Morrow family (at least Donovan) helped her do that. Now she’s ready to branch out into a new job and company, but before she does that, she’s got one final assignment for Morrow: polish up Sean, who was finally found, but is now quite rough and tumble, having traveled with a biker gang for quite some time as their enforcer.

Sean wants nothing to do with his Morrow family because their father was, let’s face it, a bit of a jerk. Okay, a lot of a jerk. But he’s reeled back in and has to face the woman he ran away from many years ago. The heat’s still there though and it doesn’t take him, or her, long to give into it.

There’s really not much I can say about this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t find it memorable the way I did the other two books in the series. However, it’s definitely worth reading, at least in my opinion, if for no other reason than to get the last of the Morrow brother yumminess.

Thanks, NetGalley, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Ms. Ashenden.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Release Day Blast – Entangled Brazen

If you like your heroes hot, the sex hotter, and a swoon-worthy romance to swoop in and save your happily ever after, Brazen has the story for you. Sinfully sexy soldiers. Alpha cops who demand control. Sweet guys with a naughty side in the bedroom. At Brazen, they’ve got the hero destined to melt your… heart. Visit the Entangled website, the Brazen Blog, follow them on Twitter, Like their Facebook page, and follow them on Pinterest.

Introducing Brazen’s April 28th releases:

          
She’s a challenge
he can’t resist.
    



Find out more!     


Special $0.99 Introductory Price!     


Giveaway     


He’s always wanted her.
Now’s his chance to claim
what’s his.


Find out more!


Only 99 cents!


Giveaway


Plus don’t miss the re-issue of Playing Doctor by Jan Meredith! It released it on the retired Flaunt imprint back in 2013, but now it has a new cover and has joined the Brazen family.

One night with a sexy stranger
is just what the doctor ordered…


Only 99 cents!

Tory’s Friday Ramblings (4/25/14) #writing #moving

Happy Friday everyone! I’ll get right to it.

The House

I am a homeowner! There was no post last week ’cause I was getting ready for the big closing. And to my amazement, it went off smoothly, without a hitch. I can’t say enough good things about our builder and their affiliated companies (the title company, the mortgage company – all in one service).

The closing itself had one amusing minute. The shrimp was playing Plants vs. Zombies. Anyone who knows me, knows my mind can jump off the tracks and turn almost anything dirty. Well, he suddenly hollers out “Screw Zombie, screw!” You can guess where my mind went with that. I dissolved into giggles. Hubby was not amused. And I tried to control it, but had to really fight against the giggles for the entire rest of the closing session because I just kept hearing the words. Totally innocent, I know, but…man, my mind took it somewhere it didn’t need to go.

Check out these pictures (hehe, I was soooo excited to finally see the inside) last week.

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I love love LOVE my house. I’m not living there, but I will starting tomorrow (that’s when we move the furniture over). We moved some of our “stuff” this week (bulk of our clothes, books, pantry, dishes, etc.), but tomorrow’s the big move-in date.

On Writing

The book from hell (aka Carved in Stone) has finally moved and is nearing completion. In the past eight days, I’ve written close to 15k and I didn’t write at all on Friday-Sunday. I’m sitting at close to 54k with an intended goal of 65k.

Stay tuned for my announcement on Locked. It will come some day. Soon, I hope.

Miscellaneous stuff

I actually did a blog post for BTS eMag (the post will be live at 6a this morning, so if you’re reading this post before then, the link’s not active yet). My favorite topic, sex in romance. Heh. Please, if you’ve read the post, go ahead and comment below. Comments are closed over at the BTS site.

Girls are starting to have better language skills. They actually will come out with actual sentences without being prompted (“I have new shirt”), though Jackie’s still obsessed with boo-boos. Hubby says she falls down simply so she can have a boo-boo to worry about and over. I can actually believe that.

The boy hurt his ankle somehow yesterday. Poor thing. He’s definitely limping around a bit, but at bedtime he really milked it. It was hilarious. Being good parents though, we held back our giggles until after he was in bed.

In Conclusion

Well, I guess that’s pretty much it. I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of the flock of children from Easter egg hunt. We have the “Easter Zombie” and then sweet little innocents chowing down on candy.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

#Review: Navy SEAL Surrender by Angi Morgan (#bookreview)

Navy SEAL Surrender (Texas Family Reckoning #2)

Author: Angi Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Date of Publication: April 15, 2014
Description:

Navy SEAL John Sloane thought he’d come home to Texas to save the family ranch and reconnect with his estranged twin brother. He never expected to reunite with the girl whose heart he broke. But when Alicia Adams’s daughter is kidnapped, the fearless SEAL jumps into action.;

However, the off-book op poses unfamiliar dangers to John, none more risky than his feelings for Alicia. To regain her trust and protect her from the kidnappers, he’ll risk his career and even his life. It all hinges on one daring scheme that could prove he’s the hero she needs or break her heart all over again.

My Thoughts:

This was an exciting read, though I felt it sort of stretched the lines of believability in a non-paranormal book in some of what John and Alicia did to rescue the little girl. I also had doubts about the validity of the ultimate villain in the book. But that’s just me. There were too many (to my mind) unanswered questions at the end of the book. I am, however, looking forward the the second book in this little mini-series from Ms. Morgan which will feature John’s twin brother which will answer one big lingering question – who set the fire John and his twin were blamed for back in high school (not considering that a spoiler).

John – your pretty typical SEAL, though I admit I liked his reason for going into the Navy. I did however have issues with the fact that he and his twin didn’t TALK about the fire until a good portion of the book was done, and for crying out loud, that was more than ten years later! They’re twins…they should talk! ARGH. Buuut, hey, if they had, well, a good portion of this book might not have happened.

Alicia – wow. She certainly got the short end of the stick when it came to in-laws. Kudos to her for being strong and determined not only to raise her daughter (with or without the trust fund that was left by her dead husband), but doing whatever it took to get the little girl back.

I enjoyed this book in many places, just with a few misgivings about things. But that’s me and I know other people might not see the same things I do. I’m glad I read it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

3.5 stars!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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#Review: Resisting the Rancher by Roxanne Snopek (#bookreview)

Resisting the Rancher (3 River Ranch #4)

Author: Roxanne Snopek
Publisher: Entangled/Bliss
Date of Publication: April 14, 2014
Description:

ResistingCountry veterinarian Celia Gamble is in trouble. A misunderstanding from her past is rearing its ugly head and the only person she can turn to is Jonah Clarke—her family’s lawyer and, as it turns out, her brother’s best friend and her childhood crush. She always wanted Jonah to see her as a bona fide woman, but as a woman who’s being blackmailed for seducing a married man? Not on her life.

Jonah is happy to help Little CeeCee Gamble, if only she’d come clean about why she’s being blackmailed. But with his best friend Zach’s wedding on the horizon, and Zach’s fashionista fiancée Desiree giving CeeCee a makeover, the little duckling Jonah remembers is turning into a definite swan. And the unwritten law on sisters is clear—hands off. Jonah must resist or lose the only true family he’s ever known.

My Thoughts:

Some time back, I read the third book in this series and I remember I wasn’t overly excited about it although I wanted to read more if I got the opportunity. I’m so glad that (a) I remembered that, and (b) I got the opportunity to. Whatever I felt was lacking in the third book (I still haven’t read #1 and #2 in this series), was definitely made up for in this book.

I was utterly charmed by Celia. She’s made a mistake, and it’s likely to cause problems, but she’s not automatically turning to everyone and begging for help. She gives honest effort to trying to figure out a solution before involving anyone else. And then, when she does need help, she turns to an old friend who she long ago had a crush on.

Mmm, I liked Jonah, and his paralegal was freakin’ hillarious! Matchmaker and gossipy busybody all in one…and add in a bit of mother-hen, and you’ve got his older female paralegal (the name escapes me right now). Jonah wants to help, but as anyone familiar with practicing law (which I am, since I work in a law office in my evil day job), you know you can only help as much as the client lets you help and confides the truth to you. Celia didn’t want to ‘fess up as to what she’d done.

And in truth, what Celia did really was nothing that bad. In the end, she hadn’t done what the blackmailer was accusing her of, but it got close enough that she was uncomfortable with it coming to light.

The course of this story really involves Celia and her relationships with everyone back in her home town. No one has ever let her really grow up in their minds, they just think of her as “little CeeCee” or in some cases “The Raisin” (a high school nickname because she didn’t exactly have much in the way of a chest back then). It also has Celia coming to terms with the loss of her brother and how she deals with life now that she is an adult and a practicing vet.

Jonah doesn’t quite have the same developmental arc, but I was okay with that. He didn’t have much polishing to do, just the right woman to encourage him so that he could fall in love. As Celia develops in this book, he finds that “right woman”.

Don’t miss your opportunity and read this book. It’s another great release from Entangled/Bliss!

Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

#Review: Betting the Billionaire by Avery Flynn

Betting the Billionaire

Author: Avery Flynn
Publisher: Entangled/Indulgence
Date of Publication: April 14, 2014
Description:

BettingIf that man calls her one more time… So what if Gabe Campos is a model-dating billionaire who gets Keisha Jacobs hotter than a Ferrari’s engine on the straightaway? He keeps pushing her to sell her family’s furniture business, but she’ll never give in—not unless she wants to give her father a second heart attack.

All Gabe should be thinking about is how he’ll finally get revenge on the man who killed his father. But when he meets the man’s daughter, Keisha, instead of focusing on destroying Jacobs Fine Furnishings, he can’t get her warm-whisky voice out of his mind.

Forced by a snow storm to spend the night together, their passion ignites. The next day, however, it’s back to business. The only way Keisha can save her family is to win a bet with the billionaire. But neither realized their hearts are part of the bargain…

My Thoughts:

I’m giving this book a 3-star and a very very short review. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t particularly care for this book, but I think I just never connected with the characters.

Part of it was definitely Gabe. I really didn’t care for his condemnatory attitude and jump-to-conclusions way of thinking. He seriously should have taken more time rather than throwing everything he had into ruining someone’s business. I think Keisha’s a bit of a fool for moving beyond that as quickly as she did.

However, my reservations notwithstanding, I didn’t hate the book or swear off never reading another one by Ms. Flynn (there are authors I can think of that I’ve done that with). It’s a decent, short read, and smooth flowing on the writing style.

So, I admit this is a purely subjective POV and is probably not in agreement with others’ views. Reviews can be very subjective and in this case, the book just didn’t click and provide me with an enjoyable experience, just an okay one. It happens.

Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

#Review: Circle of Desire by Keri Arthur (#bookreview)

Circle of Desire (Damask Circle #3)

Author: Keri Arthur
Publisher: Dell
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Description:

DesireTwo children have been found dead, their souls torn from their bodies. Two more are missing, and Ethan Morgan’s niece is one of them. A dedicated cop, Ethan has every intention not only of bringing her back alive but of catching the monster behind these kidnappings. And he will use anyone and everyone to achieve those aims—even a crazy woman who claims to be a witch. But time is ticking. The victims rarely stay alive for more than seven days. Four of those days have already passed.

In ten years of working for the Damask Circle, shapeshifter Katherine Tanner has never come across anything that goes after kids the way this monster does. The last thing Kat needs is interference from a cop who has no idea what he’s up against. But the greatest threat to Kat may come not from the forces of darkness, but from the man she is beginning to love. Because Ethan is a werewolf… and the full moon is rising.

My Thoughts:

Good lord, I love this series. It’s a republished set (as I’ve said in prior reviews, I believe), but I didn’t read it back then. Once again, Ms. Arthur strikes a fantastic tone with her hero/heroine combination (werewolf and an empath/raven shifter).

Ethan was an interesting hero IMO. He was a born werewolf but reviled that side of himself, seeing it as a nuisance and because a bimbo he trusted with the truth had been totally freaked out, had sworn off ever being with a woman permanently, much less having children. Over the course of the book, Kat helps him come to understand and accept himself. I like seeing the heroine be the one helping the hero heal, rather than “big man help little woman heal” stuff you get so often in paranormals.

And there’s another thing I really liked about this book. The heroine ALSO was a paranormal creature, fully in control of her gifts and very comfortable with who and what she is. For her there was absolutely no issue about being afraid or needing the big man to protect/shelter her from the crazy new world she’s been dropped into. Again, it was more along the lines of she helped HIM adjust.

The story was great, with the hunt to find Ethan’s niece a true race against time with a non-standard paranormal critter (too hard to really explain what she was) as the villain. Yes, there were evil vampires and zombies, but they were secondary villains, not the primary.

I’m so glad I read this book and hope there are more Damask Circle novels in the planning. 5 stars!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#Review: Jewel of the East by Victoria Vane (#bookreview)

Jewel of the East (The Devil DeVere #5)

Author: Victoria Vane
Publisher: Vane Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: January 18, 2014
Description:

JewelMaimed by misfortune… healed by love…
His wounds run deep… Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from war a shambles of a man. Although free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.

Her scars are well-hidden… Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, she fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from one who once saved her life, she accepts a proposition to become a companion to his war-scarred friend.

But love is the eternal cure… When circumstance brings these two damaged souls together, fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights. (mature content warning).

My Thoughts:

Short review again as I continue to remain desperately behind on reviews.

I’ve read a couple of the other Devil DeVere books and while I liked them okay, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic either. This book was very different than others in the series, and I attribute that solely to the heroine Saline. I loved her backstory and how the “exotic” middle east mixed and clashed with the England and British society.

I enjoyed Saline as a person and her acceptance of who and what she is and was raised to be. she makes no apologies nor does she have regrets. She simply is a courtesan and has no problems with that. It’s that background, along with her long period in the Middle East that finally allows her to help heal Simon, who was held in a prison ship for several years during the American Revolution and at the beginning of the book can abide no physical touch and has trouble even being in the same room with anyone.

Devil DeVere is the one who puts these two souls together and kudos to him for realizing what Simon needs to get better.

I loved the exotic flavor and history Ms. Vane works into her story with Saline. I might personally disagree with some of her writing over what is acceptable and done in a Muslim household based on what I know about Islam, but also acknowledge I don’t know this period in Middle Eastern history well enough to know for certain about how Islamic law played into sultanates and the harem and how much is the culture moreso than the religion.

In the end, I totally give this book 4 stars and hope to read more of Ms. Vane’s works.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#Review: Enchanting the Beast by Kathryne Kennedy (#bookreview)

Enchanting the Beast (Relics of Merlin)

Author: Kathryne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Description:

BeastBe careful who you surrender your heart to

Werewolf Sir Nicodemus Wulfson is haunted by memories of murder-and ghosts. Determined to solve at least one of his problems, he heads to London to find a ghost-hunter. He never expected to find the love of his life in the form of spiritualist Lady Philomena Radcliff, nor did he expect her to take up his offer to leave London and venture out to his haunted castle. But now that he has her, he’s determined never to let her go.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been sort of waffly on the Merlin series. I really liked the concept, but didn’t necessarily connect with the books. Until now. This book I absolutely LOVED! Magic, historical, and ghosts. What’s not to love?

Philomena – a titled character thanks to her gift for contacting the dead, she’s older (40ish I believe), who’s pretty much written off ever having a love of her own. She’s not innocent though, thanks to living in a house which used to be a brothel and the ghosts thoroughly enjoy showing her some of their former acts. I found it amusing when she used some of that knowledge once she and Nicodemus got intimate.

Nico – I really really REALLY liked Nico. Being a shifter, he’s not affected by magic but that doesn’t mean he’s blind to Philo’s gift. He’s initially skeptical, but contacts her to hopefully help his brother out – he expects it simply to be a psychological fix and it turns out he comes to believe in Phil’s gifts because he sees physical evidence that the ghosts really are there (one of the ghosts kisses her and he sees the indentation on her cheek at the kiss, among other things).

The best part of this book for me was the bigger mystery as they tracked down the relic of Merlin that was involved. The ghosts we meet because of the relic were appropriately spooky, and in places scary. I didn’t see coming who the villain really was and I always appreciate that. Although, maybe I’m just slipping because I keep getting surprised, and I used to think I was good at figuring these things out.

The final climactic battle scene was fantastic and eerie and just…awesome.

Add in the romance, an older woman/younger man dynamic which isn’t done that much, and it was pretty close to a perfect read for me. I definitely enjoyed my time in this world, and am eager for the next trip to England with Ms. Kennedy.

Thank you so much Sourcebooks and Ms. Kennedy!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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#Review: Defending the Eyewitness by Rachel Lee (#bookreview)

Defending the Eyewitness (Conard County)

Author: Rachel Lee
Publisher: Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Description:

DefendingThe note wasn’t a threat, exactly. But for Corey Donahue, who’d witnessed her mother’s murder as a child, it felt very menacing. Surprisingly, the one person she trusted to show the note to was a man merely renting a room from her—Austin Mendez. Traumatized since childhood, Corey had never trusted men…until Austin moved in.

Six years undercover had caused Austin to shut everyone out…until Corey. The vulnerability she hid from others made him yearn to break down the walls she’d erected around her heart. And with a killer closing in, two lost souls were discovering the trust they’d lost—and much more—in each other’s arms.

My Thoughts:

Still playing catch-up so another brief review.

Corey – man, gotta feel for a woman who actually witnessed the murder of her mother while still just a child. I can’t blame her for being extremely nervous around men in general after that since the killer was never found. She’s understandably uncomfortable when she rents the room to Austin, though she does it because one of the few men she does trust asks her to.

Austin – wow, trying to reintegrate into normal society after years undercover in Mexico trying to infiltrate a gun cartel where literally the wrong word could get him killed. He needed the time he spent with Corey in the small town.

These two souls needed a lot of healing and I was glad to see they got it over the course of the book.

I only gave this 3.5 stars. SPOILER ALERT sort of. Here’s why: the killer. As far as I could tell, there was no actual hints built in, no red herrings, no nothing, which could have helped anyone figure out who he was (maybe I overlooked them, but I don’t remember the character ever being introduced in the book, and they were so careful there was no DNA on any of the notes sent. I dunno – I guess I was hoping for some sort of way that they could have hunted him down, if only they’d known, or that the reader could have figured out who the killer was ahead of the reveal at the end. Maybe I missed something though. It’s entirely possible.

The issue of the killer aside, I really liked the time I spent with Corey and Austin. This was an easy read and a comfortable one too.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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