Fresh Face Friday: The Vampire and the Vixen by Debra St. John

I know I am very late today.  Sorry for that but as most of you know with the holidays it is hectic.  So today is my last Fresh Face Friday of the year.  It’s a good one too.  This is a short novel.  Vampire and the Vixen is a wonderful romance.  Kelsey and Rafe share some steamy kisses that just might have your e-reader steaming up.

18361106Book Blurb:

Kelsey Adams is determined to get ahead without the influence of a famous father or by getting special favors from her boss. So it was a big mistake to kiss Rafe Alexander on the balcony at a library fundraiser.

Rafe is mysterious, charming, and sexy. And he’s Kelsey’s new boss. He wants people to accept him for what he is. Which could be difficult because Kelsey has more than a sneaking suspicion he’s a vampire.

Can Kelsey look beyond that and trust him with her heart to have the future she wants? And will he still be there when the sun comes up?

Review:

When Kelsey sees the handsome vampire walk through the door its like all the romances you hear about.  The room grows silent and all there is her and him.  Soon she meets this Vampire out on a balcony and share some very steamy kisses and even a love bite.  After being interrupted Kelsey rushes back in and awaits the speech of her boss.  When her boss announces and introduces everyone to the new director of the library at their Halloween party she sees her new boss is the same vampire that gave her the love bite.  How will she work with her new boss knowing what they did and wanting to do more of it?  Also, he is being awfully suspicious and secretive that leads Kelsey to suspect her boss may be an actual vampire.  Can Kelsey really fall for her boss, who may be a vampire or worse?

This was a really cute romance.  It moved very swiftly and the story was well written.  I did feel there could have been more to this story and Rafe’s big secret was kind of blah ending to a good book.  When reading it I anticipated something a bit more exciting than what in reality it was.  The story itself is an excellent one and very enjoyable.  It doesn’t take long and the pace is well done.  Overall, it is a good book, but the ending may disappoint some.  If you are looking for a good in between read between heavy or long books then this is definitely a good one to refresh your palate with.

 

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Promo: The Ever Trilogy by Jasinda Wilder

Today’s treat is a promo for Jasinda Wilder’s newest series.  The first two books of the Ever trilogy, Forever & Always and After Forever,  will be out on Friday.  Today you are lucky enough to have an excerpt of the first chapter.  Enjoy this preview because like me you will want to run out and get these books as soon as they come out!

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 Forever & Always  and After Forever

(The Ever Trilogy)

Jasinda Wilder

Expected Release: Dec. 20th, 2013

Hosted by: The Book Avenue

Join the Release Party Here

both

Synopsis

Ever,

These letters are often all that get me through week to week. Even if it’s just random

stuff, nothing important, they’re important to me. Gramps is great, and I love

working on the ranch. But…I’m lonely. I feel disconnected, like I’m no one, like I

don’t belong anywhere. Like I’m just here until something else happens. I don’t even

know what I want with my future. But your letters, they make me feel connected to

something, to someone. I had a crush on you, when we first met. I thought you were

beautiful. So beautiful. It was hard to think of anything else. Then camp ended and

we never got together, and now all I have of you is these letters. S**t. I just told you I

have a crush on you. HAD. Had a crush. Not sure what is anymore. A letter-crush? A

literary love? That’s stupid. Sorry. I just have this rule with myself that I never throw

away what I write and I always send it, so hopefully this doesn’t weird you out too

much. I had a dream about you too. Same kind of thing. Us, in the darkness, together.

Just us. And it was like you said, a memory turned into a dream, but a memory of

something that’s never happened, but in the dream it felt so real, and it was more,

I don’t even know, more RIGHT than anything I’ve ever felt, in life or in dreams. I

wonder what it means that we both had the same dream about each other. Maybe

nothing, maybe everything. You tell me.

Cade

~ ~ ~ ~

Cade,

We’re pen pals. Maybe that’s all we’ll ever be. I don’t know. If we met IRL (in real

life, in case you’re not familiar with the term) what would happen? And just FYI,

the term you used, a literary love? It was beautiful. So beautiful. That term means

something, between us now. We are literary loves. Lovers? I do love you, in some

strange way. Knowing about you, in these letters, knowing your hurt and your joys,

it means something so important to me, that I just can’t describe. I need your art,

and your letters, and your literary love. If we never have anything else between us,

I need this. I do. Maybe this letter will only complicate things, but like you I have

a rule that I never erase or throw away what I’ve written and I always send it, no

matter what I write in the letter.

Your literary love,

Ever

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE 

 

SOMEWHERE OUT THERE

 

~ CADEN ~

It’s always the hands that mess me up. I can never get the fingers right, somehow.

It’s something about the proportions between the knuckles, and the way the

fingers are supposed to curve when at rest. I had an entire sketchbook full of failed

attempts.

Even at that moment, in the passenger seat of Dad’s F-350, I was sketching out

another attempt. My tenth so far, and we weren’t even to Grayling yet. This one was

the best yet, but the middle knuckles of the last two fingers looked awkward, like

they’d been broken.

Which gave me idea. I glanced over at Dad, who was driving with his left hand,

the right resting on his thigh, fingers tapping to Montgomery Gentry on the

radio.

“Dad?” A sideways glance and a raised eyebrow were the only acknowledgement I

got. “You ever broke your fingers?”

“Yeah, broke most of my left hand, matter of fact.” Dad took the wheel with his

right and showed me his left hand. The knuckles were bulbous, the fingers crooked.

“Didn’t get ’em set right, so they’ve always been kinda fucked up.”

“How’d you break ’em?”

The fingers in question scratched at a shaved scalp, the stubble of a receding

hairline whisking under his nails. “Me and your Uncle Gerry were out in the back

forty, riding the fence line, checking for breaks. My horse got spooked by a snake.

He threw me, ‘cept my hand was tangled in the reins. Dislocated most of my fingers.

Then, when I hit the ground, his hoof landed on the same hand, broke the middle

two pretty good. Your Gramps is a hardass, and I knew he’d wallop me good if I

came back without the job done. So I set the broke fingers best I could. There was a

busted fence post, see, way out at the far corner, and Dad’s prize Thoroughbred kept

getting out. Gerry and I fixed the break and went home. I never told Dad about my

fingers, just had my mom wrap ’em for me. Never really healed right, and even now

when the weather’s shitty my hand aches.”

I’d heard the stories of my father’s childhood growing up on the Wyoming horse

ranch that had been in the Monroe family for several generations. Every summer

of my entire life had been spent on that ranch, riding and roping and tagging and

birthing and breaking. Gramps didn’t accept excuses and didn’t tolerate weakness

or mistakes, and I could only begin to imagine what it had been like growing up with

Connor Monroe as a father.

Gramps was a tall, silver-haired, iron-hard man. He’d served in both Korea and

Vietnam before returning to work the ranch. Even as his grandson, I was expected

to pull my weight or go home. That meant up before dawn, to bed past sunset, the

entire day spent out in the field or in the stables, rarely even sitting for lunch. At

fourteen, I was tanned, muscled, and, I knew, hardened to the point of looking older

than I really was.

Dad had been the first Monroe son to pursue a career away from the ranch, which

had caused a decades-long rift between him and Gramps, leaving Uncle Gerry to take

over running the ranch as Gramps got older. Dad left Wyoming after high school,

moving to Detroit on his own to become an engineer. He’d started on the floor of a

Ford plant, assembling truck frames and attending night school until he’d completed

his degree, and eventually he’d been promoted to the engineering department,

where he’d worked for the last twenty years. Despite his decades as an engineer,

Dad had never really lost the wild-edged intensity of his upbringing.

“Why the questions about my fingers?” he asked.

I shrugged, tilted the drawing into his line of sight. “I can’t get these damn fingers to

look right. The last two look messed up, and I can’t fix it. So I thought I’d make ’em

look broken, on purpose.”

Dad glanced at the drawing and then nodded. “Good plan. The relationship between

your angles and curves is off, is your problem. I’m more of a draftsman than an

artist, but that’s my two cents.”

I made a surreptitious study of Dad’s broken fingers again, adjusted the knuckles on

the pencil-rendered hand, making them look misshapen and lumpy, then worked on

the tips of the last two fingers, curving them slightly to the left, zigzagging the fourth

finger to resemble Dad’s. When I was done, I held up the drawing to show him.

Dad cut his eyes to the drawing and back to road several times, examining critically.

“Good. Best one yet. The index finger still looks a little goofy, but otherwise good.”

He punched a button on the truck’s radio, bypassing the commercial that was airing

in favor of a classic rock station. He turned it up when Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”

came on. “I think this summer art camp will be good for you. Interlochen is one of

the best art schools in the country.”

I shrugged, bobbing my head to the beat, mumbling along with the lyrics. “It’s weird

to not be going to the ranch.”

“Gramps’ll miss your help this summer, that’s for sure.”

“Will he be mad at me for not going?”

Dad shrugged. “He’s Gramps. He’s always mad about something or at somebody.

Somethin’ to stew on gives him reason to get up in the morning, I think. He’ll get

over it.”

“He didn’t get over you moving to Detroit,” I said, spinning my pencil between his

fingers.

“True. But that’s different. Every Monroe boy since before the Civil War has lived

and died on the ranch. I broke a family tradition going back a hundred and fifty

years.”

Conversation faded after that, and I watched the road and the corn fields and the

blue sky spotted by puffs of white, listening to Jimi Hendrix singing “Purple Haze”

and twist the guitar strings into shrieking banshees. I-75 eventually was replaced

by M-72, and I felt myself nodding off. A while later, I blinked awake and Grand

Traverse Bay sparkled off to the left, a dozen sails flashing white in the distance.

“Thought we were going to Interlochen?” I asked, rubbing my eyes. The bay was

farther north.

“No rush. Thought we’d grab some lunch before I drop you off. Ain’t gonna see you

for a while, you know.”

We ate at Don’s Drive-In, a retro burgers-fries-and-milkshakes kind of place, small

and cramped, red plastic-leather booths, chrome table edges, and black-and-white

checkered tiles on the walls. We didn’t talk much, but then we rarely did. Dad was

a reserved man, and I’m a lot like him. I was content to eat my burger and sip my

shake, worrying internally about spending an entire summer around a bunch of

artsy kids I didn’t know. I’d grown up around silent, hard-bitten cowboys, men who

chewed tobacco and swore and could—and often did—go days without much more

than a grunt or two. I knew I was a talented artist, as capable with pens and pencils

as with paint. What I wasn’t good with was people.

“Don’t be nervous, son,” Dad said, apparently reading my mind. “Folks are folks, and

they’ll either cotton to you or they won’t. That was my mom’s advice to me when

I left for Detroit. Just be you. Don’t try to impress anyone. Let your work stand for

itself.”

“This isn’t like school,” I said, dragging a fry through ketchup. “I know where I fit

there: alone in the corner, with my notebook. I know where I belong on Gramps’s

ranch. I know where I belong at home. I don’t know where I belong at an arts

camp.”

“Wherever you are is where you belong. You’re a Monroe, Caden. That may not

mean shit to anyone else, but it should mean something to you.”

“It does.”

“Well, there you go.” Dad wiped his fingers with a napkin and sat back. “Look, I get it.

I grew up surrounded by thousands of acres of open land, all hills and horses, rarely

seeing anyone but Mom and Dad, Gerry, and the other hands. Even school was the

same kids from kindergarten to graduation. I knew everybody in my world, and they

knew me. When I moved to Detroit it was scary as hell. Suddenly I was surrounded

by all these buildings and thousands of people who didn’t know me or give a shit

about whether I made it or not.”

“People confuse me.”

“That’s cause most people don’t make a damn lick of sense, if you ask me. Women

especially. Trick with women is to not try and figure them out. You won’t. Just

accept ’em as they are, and try to go with the flow. Good advice for life in general,

really.”

“Do you understand Mom?”

Dad let out a rare laugh, but I didn’t miss the way the corners of his eyes tightened.

Things had been strange and tense around the house lately, but neither Mom nor

Dad was the type to talk about what was bugging them. “I’ve known your mother

for twenty-five years,” he said, “and been married to her for twenty-two. And no, I

still don’t understand her. I know her, I get her, but I don’t always understand the

way her mind works, how she comes up with ideas or arrives at her conclusions or

why she changes her mind so goddamn much. Makes my head spin, but that’s how

women are and that’s how she is and I love her for it.”

All too soon, Dad was paying the bill and the truck doors were slamming and we

were hauling down US-31 toward Interlochen. The ride was quick, and then Dad

was parking and unstrapping my duffel bag from the bed of the truck and handing it

to me. We stood toe to toe, neither of us speaking or moving.

Dad pointed to the rows of tiny wooden cabins. “That’s the cabins. You know which

one you’re in? ”

“Yeah, number twenty.”

“Alright then. Well, guess I’ll be going. Gonna be a long drive without you snoring in

the passenger seat.”

“You’re just turning right back around and driving home?” I asked, then immediately

hated how childish and whiny that had sounded.

Dad lifted an eyebrow in reproach. “You’re here for three weeks, Cade. You expect

me to sit on the beach and twiddle my thumbs for a month? Your mom needs me

home, and I’ve got projects to finish at work.”

I felt the question bubbling up, coming out, and couldn’t stop it from emerging. “Is—

is everything okay? With you and mom?”

Dad closed his eyes briefly, breathed in slowly and let it out, then met my eyes.

“We’ll talk when you get home. Nothing for you to worry about right now.”

That sounded oddly like an evasion, which was entirely out of character for my

gruff, straight-talking father. “I just feel like things are—”

“It’s fine, Caden. Just focus on having fun, meeting new people, and learning. Keep

in mind that this is three weeks out of your entire life, and you don’t ever have to

see these people again.” Dad stuck his left hand into his hip pocket and wrapped his

right arm awkwardly around my shoulders. “I love you, son. Have a good time. Don’t

forget to call at least once, or your mom’ll have a hairy conniption.”

I returned the embrace with one arm. “Love you too. Drive safe.”

Dad nodded and turned back toward his truck, then stopped and dug into his back

pocket. He pulled out a folded square of $20 bills and handed them to me. “Just in

case.”

“I’ve been saving my allowance,” I said. Dad always expected me to earn money,

never gave it for free.

“It’s…just take it.”

I stuffed the money into my hip pocket and shifted my weight. “Thanks.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.” I waved once, and watched Dad drive away.

I’d spent months at a time away from my parents, lived on Gramps’s ranch for

months at a time. Goodbye was nothing new. So why did this one feel so unsettling?

Follow the

Promo Tour tomorrow to read Ever’s POV 

 

Author Profile

Jasinda Picture

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasinda

Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men

and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably shopping, baking, or

reading.

​Some of her favorite authors include Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon,

Liliana Hart and Bella Andre.

She loves to travel and some of her favorite vacations spots are Las Vegas, New York

City and Toledo, Ohio.

You can often find Jasinda drinking sweet red wine with frozen berries and eating a

cupcake.

Jasinda is represented by Kristin

Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.

Author Links

 

Coffee and a Review with Ribbons of Steel by Carol Henry

images3Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I know mine was busy so I definitely need my coffee today.  Today’s review is a brilliant historical fiction about a time of train travel and unions.  Carol Henry crafts a wonderful story with significant historical points interwoven throughout the story.  For my full review be sure to keep reading after the book blurb. Many of you don’t know but this will be the final Coffee and Review of the Year.   I will see you guys again with great books and reviews starting in January.  Be sure to stay tuned this week for a fun promo I will be doing and my final Fresh Face Friday.  Have a great start to your week.

18904447Book Blurb:

Charley Carmichael’s loyalty may be with the Pennsylvania Rail Road’s main man, Mason Aderley, but his heart lies with the men who work the rails. With the railroads cutting wages, a major strike is imminent. Caught up in the riots and bloodshed sweeping the continent, Charley’s friends are threatened; workers are dying. Charley’s life turns tragic when his wife is diagnosed with consumption.

Emily, forced to leave her family due to her health, travels to her cousin’s home in the California Territory.  A damaged trestle prevents her train from crossing a ravine, stranding the passengers with nowhere to hide when an Indian hunting party causes a deadly buffalo stampede. Fearing for her life, Emily worries she will never see her children again.  Who will care for them should her husband not survive the railroad strike?

Set between a farming lifestyle in the rolling hills of south central New York and the gritty railroad realities of Philadelphia, this is one family’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Review:

Charley Carmichael is working the rails in Philadelphia when news of an impending wage cut hits the railway works.  Words of strike and union begin to be thrown around.  Deep down Charley is for the strike but due to his family situation he is playing middle man between railway workers and management.  Meanwhile, Charley’s wife Emily has been ill for some time.  She is diagnosed with consumption and must go out west for her cousin to care for her.  This leaves her children in the care of her eldest son, Seth and eldest daughter Catherine.  Though the children manage to take care of each other the trials that the entire family feels is universally connected with the railroad.  Everything from Charley’s involvement with railway riots, Emily’s train ride west or the threat of the family farm being unable to sell to the city due to a possible railway shut down.  The months apart for this family makes for a wonderful three-tiered story that in the end will still leave you guessing about the family.

This was a fantastic historical journey.  I loved the layered story and how it was all connected through the railroad.  In most stories you wonder how families left to the background are supposedly coping.  Carol Henry makes them as important as Charley and Emily.  In fact I found myself drawn much more toward the life of the children on the farm than any of the other pieces.  It did disappoint me that we didn’t have closure with what happens with Seth and the rest of the Carmichael children once everything is settled.  I hope that there is a sequel in the works because this inquiring mind wants to know.  It wasn’t just the story or the historical threads that kept this story going.  The characters grew and developed through the story as if this were a true story of a family in 1877 during the railway disputes.  Overall, this was a wonderful book and I would definitely recommend it to any history buffs.

Release Day Blitz and Review: Fighting to Stay by Kasey Milstead

Today we are celebrating a great author and the release of her new book.  Kasey Milstead’s Fighting to Stay is an awesome contemporary romance.  Its got a wonderful story, strong characters and hot bikers.  What more could a girl want on a cold winter’s day.  For my whole review be sure to check it out after the Synopsis.  Be sure to also hit up the giveaway at the end of the post.  I hope you all have a great Sunday and remember only 10 days left til Christmas.

Ebook CoverSynopsis:

“Never stay, Lacey. Promise me. Promise right now, that whenever things go bad in life, you will run. Never, ever stay.”

Lacey Monroe was used to running. When things got bad, when things got dangerous, when there was a chance that she would get hurt – physically or emotionally – she did what her momma said. She ran. She kept running, until she landed in Salt Rock, Alabama. She meets Roam Cooper, the Vice President of the Mayhem Motorcycle Club and for the first time in her life, Lacey considers staying…and then, right before her eyes, her world falls apart. And she runs again.

“No more runnin’, Lacey. ‘Bout time you started fighting to stay.” – Roam.

**This is a stand-alone, full length novel with a happy ever after**

Review:

Ever since Lacey’s Mom killed her Dad than herself Lacey has been moving.  If she got into a relationship that was not good or had even one challenge she would run again.  Never staying in one place got to be tiring after a while and she decided to move closer to where she started and live with her best friend.  As Lacey became settled in her new environment she meets her best friend’s boyfriend and his friends who just so happen to be part of the Mayhem Motorcycle Club.  She gets her first glimpse of Roam when he goes to the bar.  She finds herself looking at him or for him the rest of the night.  After a frenzied sexual encounter, Lacey doesn’t expect anything more from Roam.  The problem is Roam wants more and won’t give up til Lacey relents.  As Roam and Lacey become closer and closer Lacey is settled and happy and doesn’t even realize it.  That is until an unexpected wrench is thrown into the mix and triggers her to run from Roam and her happiness.  It takes years for Roam to find Lacey again, but can he convince her that he and their love is worth fighting for or will Lacey keep running?

I adored this book.  Totally fell in love with Roam.  The story was wonderful.  It flowed so well you don’t realize you are coming to the end until it ends.  Roam and Lacey’s love story though heavy with sex is intensely emotional and gives you a whole new prospective of what bikers could be like.  Roam’s instant protective need toward Lacey is something every woman wants.  This is definitely a read more than once kind of book.  At times it is so emotionally overwhelming that you will need a box of tissues.  I found myself tearing up multiple times.  Kasey Milstead does a fantastic job with this book.  Though it is a standalone book I think she could make this into a wonderful series with the guys in the bike club.  If you love a story with love, sex, hot men and lots of emotion then you will love Kasey Milstead’s Fighting to Stay.  Be sure to go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other book retailers to pick up your copy today.

Author PicAuthor Bio:

Kasey Millstead lives a quiet life in country New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and their four young children. She enjoys baking, singing (ridiculously out of tune) & spending time with friends and family. Kasey has always harboured a deep love for reading and writing, and she is now lucky enough to be living her dream of being an Author.

GOODREADS LINK:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18692169-fighting-to-stay

AUTHOR LINKS

Website:   http://www.authorkaseymillstead.com/

Facebook:   http://facebook.com/authorkaseymillstead

Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/kaseymillstead

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/u/1/117283846257020445790/posts

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7011930.Kasey_Millstead

 

GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd34

Teaser 2

Fresh Face Friday: Santorini Sunset by Claire Croxton

Happy Friday!  Today I’m spotlighting yet another awesome read and author.  Claire Croxton’s Santorini Sunset has you falling in love with the characters and Santorini.  Not only is it a great love story it is a wonderfully emotional tale that illustrates the intricacies and complications that come with family.  Not to mention there is a super hot guy that should be on everyone woman’s Christmas list.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.  Have  great weekend and be sure to stay tuned I have some cool promo’s coming up in the next week.

13551416Book Blurb:

Caroline Clayton’s sister, Gabriella, is getting married . . . to Caroline’s former fiancé, Albert. Instead of drowning her sorrows in a vat of ice cream, Caroline recruits her sultry co-worker, Raul Sobrevilla, to be her wedding date. Showing up with Mr. Hotter Better Sexier has the desired effect. Both Gabriella and Albert are jealous and Caroline’s mother is speechless for the first time in history. Even Caroline’s dad is happy with that result.

Raul Sobrevilla hired on at Synergy so he could work with the best, Caroline. When she asks him to attend the wedding in Santorini, Greece, he sees it as an opportunity to prove to her that he’s her perfect partner both at the office and in the bedroom.

Review:

When we first meet Caroline she is a complete rock star in her field of work.  Unfortunately this doesn’t translate over to her personal life.  Ever since her sister has asked her to be her maid of honor in her wedding she has been forced to create a boyfriend.  Unfortunately, that boyfriend is her colleague.  Raul Sobrevilla is an extremely attractive and seems out of Caroline’s league.  That is why she chose him as her imaginary boyfriend.  All was going smoothly until her mother surprises her at work and forces her to come clean with Raul and ask him to be her fake boyfriend for her sister’s wedding.  Raul is hesitant at first until he learns that her sister is marrying Caroline’s ex-fiance and then Raul is on board for this fake relationship.  Very quickly the fake is dropped from their relationship and they become closer.  Caroline and Raul learn the delicacies of how each was raised through their interactions with their families.  Raul grew up with a warm loving family.  Caroline is used to being something akin to a whipping boy for her mother and sister’s pleasure.  After the pain he ex-fiance caused her Caroline is unsure if she will ever be ready to let love in.  Raul’s new job will be to convince Caroline that he is the man for her to open up and fall in love with.

This book was so hard to put down.  I adored every minute even though some of it was torturous.  Caroline and Raul’s relationship, though forced at first, becomes natural and all-consuming that Caroline finds herself losing her focus that its fake.  She tries desperately to protect her heart when its being attacked on all sides.  Some of the things her sister and mother say and do to her are horrendous.  Raul’s character really became a soothing balm for her wounds.  This story really had a Cinderella vibe to it.  Her mother and sister really fit the roles of evil mother and sister.  Raul was definitely prince charming.  Though I really liked Caroline I got very frustrated with her character.  She was so smart yet so dumb when it came to Raul.  I really echoed her friends sentiments when they tried to shake some sense into her.  Overall, Santorini Sunset will make you swoon, cringe and sigh throughout the whole book.  If you’re looking for a great romance you have found it here with Claire Croxton’s Santorini Sunset.

Author Bio:

smcanonpro020

After spending over a decade as a technical writer in Northern Alaska, Claire Croxton chucked aside her mukluks, loaded up her cats and south to pursue a career in writing fiction. Claire has

written several short stories that have been published in anthologies.  Her novels, which she refers to as soul-searching snark, are filled with unique characters—strong, bold women and knock-your-bloomers-off hot men.  Sure they’re flawed, but who cares? Have you seen

their abs?

When she’s not writing, she’s gardening, baking or thinking about making another quilt.

Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Today I have a treat for all of you.  I was lucky enough to get my greedy little hands on a copy of Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews.  I consider Ilona Andrews an author(s) whom are amongst my favorite.  Their Kate Daniels series is one of my favorites.  So, to be given a copy of their newest to review is a gigantic pleasure for me.  This is actually a serial that they were posting on their blog but have now turned into a book.  For that I am extremely thankful.  If you are a fan of Ilona Andrews then you definitely won’t be disappointed with Clean Sweep.  Be sure to read my whole review after the book blurb.

19090384Book Blurb:

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Review:

Dina is an Innkeeper.  In our world an Innkeeper is just someone who runs a bed and breakfast but in Dina’s world of magic, werewolves and vampires she is a sort of middle ground peacekeeper.  She is expected as an Innkeeper to provide a room to anyone who needs it and protect them the entire time they are under her roof.  She understands all of the intricacies and rules since she grew up a child of Innkeepers.  Just because she knows the rules doesn’t mean when danger is near she will sit back behind the walls of her Inn and watch her neighbors be threatened.  With the help of a very hot werewolf they hunt those who are threatening her neighborhood.  Once she discovers the danger that is lurking in the bushes Dina realizes it isn’t going to be as simple as she hoped.  Not to mention the vampires who are hunting exactly what she is hunting.  The handsome vampire Arland strolls in to try to take over but she refuses to allow her neighbors in the hands of one lone vampire and an unpredictable werewolf.  Dina must get rid of the danger to her Inn, her guests and her neighbors all without letting anyone know what is going on around them.  Can Dina pull this off or will end up risking all for nothing?

This as predicted was a wonderful story.  I adored Dina and of course the hot vampire and werewolf were nice too.  The story is typical for Ilona Andrews.  There is a lot of action, magic and yet it is very believable.  You are drawn in by their wonderful storytelling ability.  Dina reminds me a bit of Kate Daniels.  This is probably why I liked her so much.  She is strong-willed and resilient.  Her independent streak and loyalty to those around her drive this story.  I love the worlds that are described.  When they describe the market it feels as if you are walking down the street yourself see all the strange goods that are being bartered.  Another fun aspect of this story is the budding love triangle between Arland, Dina and Sean.  If I were Dina I sure wouldn’t want to have to choose.  This is a great first book in a series (I hope) ***hint, hint to Ilona Andrews***  I guarantee that if you are a fan of Ilona Andrews or authors that are similar you will love this story and will be like me and itching for a sequel.   Overall, a wonderful read and a great beginning that I hope continues with more Arland, Dina, Sean and many more from Clean Sweep.

Coffee and a Review with A Family Affair by Jennifer Wenn

imagesI know today’s post is late today, but I figure you can have your coffee with dessert tonight.  Today’s review is a wonderful historical romance by Jennifer Wenn, A Family Affair.  The characters are enchanting and the story is well-developed.  I truly can’t wait for the next one from Jennifer Wenn.  With this review I hope you all have a great week ahead.  Be sure to see my full review after the book blurb.

17879786Book Blurb:

Lady Francesca Darling has been in love with Devlin Ross, the Duke of Hereford, since she was five years old. When they meet again at her debutante ball she finds her feelings remain the same, and to her joy he is mesmerized by her. To the gossipy matrons of the ton it’s the perfect match—the richest heiress and the most eligible bachelor.

But can their budding love survive her interfering family and the deep scars from his father’s abuse? Enchanted as he is with the delightful woman Fanny has become, Devlin intends never to repeat that abuse, vowing not to live with his wife and children.

Fanny is a determined young lady — she wants Devlin and a true marriage. Is her love strong enough to tear down all his walls?

Review:

Fanny or Lady Francesca Darling as she is known to the ton has loved Devlin Ross since she was five.  Having figured she was already passed this she doesn’t expect to run into him at her coming out ball.  Let alone run into him on a darkened balcony.  Fanny immediately recognizes the newly returned Devlin.  She treats him as she as always treated him, like part of the family.  Devlin doesn’t recognize Fanny until her Uncle Rake catches them in a possibly compromising position.  Once he realizes who it is he can’t keep his mind or his heart away from Fanny.  But, his upbringing gives him much to pause about.  He refuses to be like his father so he devises a plan to ensure his children aren’t influenced by the evil that influenced his growing up.  So through Fanny’s family’s interfering and over protective ways, Fanny and Devlin find their way together.  But, when Fanny throws Devlin a curve ball he is forced to go through with his crazy plan.  Fanny refuses to let him get away that easily.  Can Fanny and Devlin find their way or will they both end up broken-hearted.

I adored Fanny and Devlin.  Though Fanny is like a lovesick puppy at times she is also fearless and very admirable.  Devlin on the other hand is one that changes from the beginning to the end.  It isn’t just Fanny and Devlin who make this story so memorable.  Her family is an intrigal part of the story and of her life.  They are an entity unto themselves and are very entertaining.  I can see Rake and Penny’s story coming and I can’t wait.  I think Jennifer Wenn has a really good thing going with these characters and prospective storylines.  If you’re looking for your next good historical love story I definitely suggest picking up Fanny and Devlin’s story.  You will fall in love with them along with all the other characters in Jennifer Wenn’s A Family Affair.

Fresh Face Friday: Forgotten in Darkness by Zoe Forward

Happy Friday!  Yet another Friday closer to Christmas for those of you who celebrate.  We get to enjoy the festivities and the stress that comes along with it.  So, today my goal is to ease that stress by giving a good read.  Zoe Forward’s Forgotten in Darkness is a wonderful paranormal romance.  This is the second book in her Scimitar Magi series.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read the first book.  That is definitely something I am going to remedy soon.  This series is one I am glad I have been introduced to.  I can’t wait to read more from Zoe Forward.  Be sure to read my review after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights.

perf5.000x8.000.inddBook Blurb:

After an unjustified two-century stint in purgatory, Scimitar Magus Dakar returns to the human realm, renewing his eons-old curse. Either he or the woman he loves must murder the other within days of meeting in each new lifetime. To break the vicious cycle, he must kill her before she strikes her deathblow, something he’s never done in the past.

Archaeology grad student Shay McGinnis suffers a near-death attack in pursuit of a piece of Scimitar Magi lore. But did the magnificent warrior who pinned her to the wall injure her or the daemon he fought? In her search for answers, she draws the attention of both an ancient evil sorcerer and the warrior Dakar. The attraction between her and Dakar is instant, and for Shay confusing. She wants to be with him, but intuition equates him with death. Not random death. Hers.

Will this be the lifetime they break the curse before they are murdered by an age-old enemy or worse kill each other yet again?

Review:

Shay finds herself attacked and wounded while hunting for Scimitar Magi relics.   Her memory is shady at best but what she does remember is of a gorgeous man threatening her then being attacked by what she can only describe as a daemon.  Her memory despite her injuries is quite accurate and the gorgeous man is the man she is meant to kill and has killed time and time again through a curse that has connected them for ages. Dakar is back from being held in the Middle Realm, a sort of purgatory.  He immediately runs into his mate (Shay) and knows what will be happening soon.  Though Shay does not remember all of her past lives with Dakar she knows she has an insatiable attraction to him.  Dakar meets up with the other reincarnated Magi and reluctantly takes his place among them.  While getting back in the swing of things with the other Magi, Shay is finding herself in loads of trouble from a daemon connected to both her and Dakar.  In the end will the curse be the only thing binding them or will they be able to be free without either one dying?

This was a great paranormal romance.  It had the right amount of paranormal and romance with just a touch of suspense.  You are really drawn into this new world and learn more about these descendents of Egyptian Gods.  This was definitely a unique book.  I have read my share of the group of hot guys who go out saving the world.  But, this back story with the reincarnation was excellent.  Zoe Forward is a great storyteller and I can’t wait to go back and read the first book.  I hope she continues on with this series.  It definitely one that those of you who love paranormal romance serials will want to snap up.  Overall, an enthralling story with lots of love, adventure and Egyptian Gods.

Author Bio:

6591244Zoe Forward writes action-adventure paranormal romances. She has a special love of archaeology, especially anything Egyptian. Although a deep part of her wishes she had pursued a career that would have her at a dig site in a hot, sandy country, she’s a small animal veterinarian, caring for everything from chinchillas to dogs…and even one hermit crab in there.

Coffee and a Review with Healer’s Fate by Beth Caudill

coffee-love-you-are-viewing-high-resolution-306977I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I know we are getting into the thick of things with Christmas season so to divert your attention today I have a short paranormal romance I would recommend checking out.  You can’t beat a diversion that contains a hot Alpha wolf.  For my full review check it out after the book blurb:

6975543Book Blurb:

Corliss Rumdone hides behind her status as Healer to avoid the normal wolf pack hierarchical challenges. A forced mating changes the course of her life. Instead of Raymond, the beta wolf selected for her, she mates with Liam—her best friend and heir to the Alpha pair.

Liam whisks them away to a shifter retreat so they can allow the mating bond to settle in private. But interference from those seeking power and two terminal children arouse past hurts and challenge their new relationship. Even their home is not the haven it should be as Liam must watch Corliss fight for the right to remain his mate. For one healer, death becomes a weapon to balance life.

Review:

Corliss is being forced into a marriage she desperately does not want.  When her intended doesn’t show the Alpha’s son, Liam, takes his place.  Corliss is shocked because Liam is her best friend and long time crush.  She can’t imagine how this will be permitted when she is so low in the pack hierarchy and he is the Alpha’s son.  Liam has a plan.  He takes Corliss away so that they can finish the mating bond without being bothered by any of the pack.  Corliss at first thinks Liam is doing this a some sort of joke until he realizes that she is who he has always wanted and couldn’t stand her being forced to marry anyone else.  While they are on their hideaway a few challenges come up.  She must try to heal two children and a sorcerer tries to take her powers.  Not to mention the moment they return, Corliss is challenged to the death to be Liam’s mate.  Can the challenges these two meet strengthen their bond or will it tear them apart?

This was a really enjoyable read.  I liked the love story that was mixed so well in with the paranormal.  This is definitely a relatable story to any woman who has ever loved someone and hoped that one day they would say they loved them too.  The depth of Corliss’s character and the growth of Liam’s was done so well you could almost see how the mating effected them both.  This is a fairly quick and easy ready but it’s so well done you really hope that Beth Caudill does more.  I know I’d love to see more of Corliss and Liam along with their friends.  Overall, it is a good read that any PR fan will enjoy.

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Favorite Book Series

Eternal Guardians by Elisabeth Naughton Dark-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter Lords of Deliverance by Larissa Ione discovery of witches love at stake
The Fallen Angels by J.R. Ward Fairy Tales by Eloisa James Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost Fever by Karen Marie Moning Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
Mercedes Thompson by Patricia Briggs Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian The Hollows by Kim Harrison Witch by Carolyn MacCullough westfield wolves
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