Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Weeks In December (Twisted & Tied #1) by Blue Kincaid


Five Weeks In December 
Twisted & Tied #1
by Blue Kincaid 

Two years ago tragedy took Harry Everett's confidence as a man and as a Dom. And while he's managed to continue to live his life, what he hasn't been able to do is venture back into the lifestyle that used to be as much a part of him as breathing. The trust he once had in his instincts is broken and for the first time in his life, this alpha man is lost and without answers. So when a friend suggests perhaps a professional submissive could help him, Harry's reluctantly willing to try. He doesn't hold out much hope, though. Until she shows up on his doorstep and turns everything upside down.

A professional submissive for the past seven years, December doesn't belong to any one master. And she likes it that way. But when her best friend’s Dom asks December to help his friend, she can't resist the chance to really do some good. Here's a man who doesn't just want someone to flog - he needs what she can provide and December is determined to help. She's prepared for this to be tough, but what she's not prepared for is how Harry makes her feel. It’s obvious from the beginning that he’s not like any other client and this is not just a job – for either of them.

She’s got five weeks to help him heal.

He’s got five weeks to learn how to keep her… or how to let her go.

Wow!!! This is the first book in the Twisted and Tied series by Blue Kincaid. I've looked, but can't find, any other books by this author. This reads like she's been writing for years. It's that good. Yes, it's erotica...but it's also romance. It's sweet. It's hot. It made me smile. It made me want to smack some people (their exes). And then...back to sweet.

Can an erotic book be charming? This one certainly is. Harry was hurt. His Dom side took a hard hit two years previously. He needs to find his confidence. He hires a professional sub at the behest of one of (hot) friends). December takes on the job because she likes to help people. And she knows he does need some TLC, in a perfectly sub sort of way, of course. 

Both of these characters need some healing. Lucky for us they find it with each other...oh, and with Raphe at one point. 

Yes, this is not for the under 18 crowd. There's some kink here. But this isn't smut, at least not to my mind. I'm not fond of "smut for smut's sake." Thankfully, Ms. Kincaid doesn't go that route. 

I liked December's "bratty" mouth as she pushed Harry's buttons. And Harry liked it, too. There's a line that sums this relationship:

“Because any Dom knows that the submissive is the one in control. He might wield the crop or the candle wax or the rope, but she holds the reins. Nothing happens without her consent.”

So while she's the sub...she's still in charge, and they both know it. 

Yes, I'm impressed, and now anxiously awaiting the next book, Taming Drew. The writing was that good. I need more.

*Thank you, NetGalley and Blue Kincaid, for the opportunity to read FWiD

Connect with Blue Kincaid
Twitter @BlueKincaid

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Kiss of Lies (The Disgraced Lords #1) by Bronwen Evans

A Kiss of Lies
The Disgraced Lords #1

by Bronwen Evans

In Bronwen Evans’s Loveswept debut, a pair of damaged souls ignite each other’s deepest passions—even as they tempt fate by deceiving the world.

Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, the man who, long ago, she fantasized about marrying. Despite the battle scars that mar his face, Sarah finds being near Christian rekindles her infatuation. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and as she accompanies Christian on his voyage home, Sarah must resist her intense desires—or risk revealing her dangerous secrets.

One of the renowned Libertine Scholars, Christian Trent once enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. But that was before the horrors of Waterloo, his wrongful conviction of a hideous crime, and his forcible removal from England. Far from home and the resources he once had, Christian believes the life he knew—and any chance of happiness—is over . . . until his ward’s governess sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be. Now Christian is determined to return to England, regain his honor, and win the heart of the woman he has come to love.

This is the first in a series by Bronwyn Evans. The series will feature the lovely alpha males of the Libertine Scholars. They were brilliant at school, and are equally brilliant in their pursuit of women. 

This could be listed as a "Beauty and the Beast" story. Christian was horribly burned during the war and his confidence where women are concerned is nil. He feels the only way to have female companionship is to pay for it. Unfortunately when he has done so one evening, he's caught at sword point by a raving father and brother. Their daughter and sister has been raped, and she's saying Christian did it. While he can't believe he's done such a thing, his memory of the night is missing and he is thrown onto a ship and sent to Canada. 

Finally, his memory returns and he decides he must face his accusers. But he is now the guardian of a young girl and needs a governess for her. 

Enter Sarah Cooper, a woman who he's immediately attracted to. She has her own secrets and we all know that nothing good can come of this. They are attracted to each other and agree to be "close" for the length of the voyage back to England.

Of course, we all know they aren't going to be able to stay away from each other. Add in the mystery of who framed Christian and when will Sarah's ghosts come back to haunt her, and we have some tense scenes.

I liked the them of this, the Beauty and the Best theme...I like the fact that we are going to see more of the Libertine Scholars. What I didn't like was the repetition throughout the book. I think a reader understands when the first time they read that the guy has paid for "services." Or when the girl is worried about "........." But there was so much repeating here of what each of them worried about, that I just kept skimming and thinking: I read that already!

Skimming, not what an author wants a reader to do. Sometimes I wonder if authors write their books during NaNoWriMo and they are looking to pad their word count. Harsh? Maybe. But readers don't need to have the same thoughts pounded into their kindles over and over. 

I dropped the rating down a whole mark for that, in addition to the fact that I thought some scenes were skipped. I kept looking back to see if I had missed something. Some scenes just skipped forward. Of course, this is an ARC and some of that might be fixed in the final edits.

After saying all of this, I do want to say that I did mostly enjoy it. The Libertine Scholars are a varied group of alpha men and I look forward to seeing more of them.

*Thank you, NetGalley and Loveswept, for the opportunity to read A Kiss of Lies

If you are intrigued, please add A Kiss of Lies to your Goodreads' Shelves:
A Kiss of Lies (The Disgraced Lords, #1)

The second book in The Disgraced Lords Series, A Promise of More, comes out on 4/15/2015.

Connect with Bronwyn Evans:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grave Possession by Angel Lawson

isn't it great?

Grave Possession
the final book in the Wraith Series

By Angel Lawson

These aren’t the words Jane expected to use to describe herself, but in the years since she first began seeing ghosts things have changed. A lot. Jane has spent the last two years losing one person after the other. Both dead and alive. But this year things will be different. She’s entering her freshman year of art school, rooming with her best friend Ava and has a new boyfriend. Oh, and she’s no longer afraid that she’s Shadow Bound with a direct connection to ghosts. In fact, she’s learned to use her abilities for her benefit.

Jane soon discovers she can’t walk away from her past. The wounds from her battle with Charlotte are deep and no matter what she tells herself, the break up with Connor weighs heavy on her heart. Balancing these emotions prove to be a weakness for her and Jane finds herself in a fight against the most dangerous spirits she’s encountered yet. 

Grave Possession will debut in late February 2014

Angel Lawson lives with her family in Atlanta and has a lifelong obsession with creating fiction from reality, either with paint or words. On a typical day you can find her writing, reading, plotting her escape from the zombie apocalypse and trying to get the glitter out from under her nails.

She is the author of five books, including the Wraith Series, Serial Summer, FanGirl, and Vigilant. She is the co-author of the New Adult Paranormal book, Odin's Murder with Kira Gold. She has one other New Adult title, No Regrets, under the pen name Lila Atkinson.

Heart of Stone by by Christine Warren

Heart of Stone 
by Christine Warren

From bestselling author Christine Warren comes a thrilling new series about a young woman caught between a rock and a hard place—between gargoyles and demons…

Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum's terrace suddenly comes to life?

Heart of Stone

Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn't a vision; he's a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn't carved in stone…yet.

I really enjoyed this first book in a new series about gargoyles. Although Ella thinks Kees (rhymes with peace) is more of a grotesque than a gargoyle. Still he's beautiful and I loved getting to know him.

There was lots of world-building here. But it was interesting world-building. There are seven slivers of Darkness and seven Guardians to fight it. The Guardians fight the Darkness into submission, then sleep until they are needed next. Although sleep isn't quite the right word. They are aware and keep abreast of what is happening in the world. So when Kees morphs into his human form, he's wearing jeans and a t-shirt, as opposed to a kilt or something from earlier years. That was rather cool.

There are bad guys here. And they really need to be dealt with. Kees is just the guy to do it. And Ella has some unique powers of her own. She never knew it was real magic that was flowing through her; Kees had to inform her that she wasn't crazy, she was actually quite powerful. 

As their romance develops, with Kees digging his heels in every step of the way, we get lots of background about why he shouldn't have feelings for her. Guardians just don't! Well, until they do. That was fun.

While I know the world-building had to happen, I found a bit of it to be repetitive. Readers get it the first time or two that they read it. I don't want to skim paragraphs that I've seen earlier in my reading. 

I do love the idea that since there are seven Guardians, we are hopefully going to see seven books in this Gargoyle series from Ms. Warren. We've already been introduced to the next woman who gets to wake a Guardian, and I'm looking forward to seeing what her tall, tailed, winged guy is going to be like.

*Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martins, for the opportunity to read Heart of Stone

Please add Heart of Stone to your Goodreads' Shelves:
Heart of Stone (Gargoyles, #1)

Connect with Christine Warren:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant

Happy Release Day!

A February Bride 
A Year of Weddings Novella 

In A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant, history repeats itself when this bride runs out of the church on her wedding day---in the same dress that had been passed down for generations and worn by her mom, grandma and great-grandmother who also ran out of their weddings. The heroine struggles to break destructive cycles of the past. Can this bride shuck expectation and discover who SHE is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she finally walks down the aisle, what dress will she be wearing? Readers will enjoy this novel of redemption centered on a winter wedding.

This is another in the "A Year of Weddings" series published by Zondervan - Fiction. Each of these novellas focus on a wedding and the trials and tribulations leading up to the event. These are nicely clean, but have some UST for our reading enjoyment. Kisses can be FUN! They are also inspirational, but they don't beat you over the head about it. Again, nicely done.

Ah, Allie...she hasn't had the best mentors as she stands in the church on her wedding day. She's wearing THE DRESS that the women in her family always wear to be married in. Each and every time they marry. They enjoy saying they are cursed. That they leave (or push out) the men that they love...before their own hearts can be broken. They've all been married over and over again. And now it's time for Allie to enjoy her own FIRST marriage.

Allie loves Marcus. Loves him to distraction. While I don't agree with her method (leaving him standing at the altar) I can see why she does it. A tear in the sleeve of THE DRESS seems like a sign to her...and she sprints away, to save Marcus from the torment of a broken marriage later on.

It's four months later and Hannah, Marcus' sister and Allie's best friend makes a huge request. She wants Allie to be her Maid of Honor in her own wedding, slated for Valentine's Day. 

My issue here is that Allie and Marcus haven't run into each other in FOUR MONTHS. This is a very small town. Very small. And once the initial meeting goes awkwardly by, they keep running into each other. And the sparks are still there. Oh, Allie admits to herself that she loves him, and probably always will. But she just doesn't want to hurt him any further. 

This book has alternating POV and Ms. St. Amant does it well. We get to read Marcus' confusion, and about his continuing love for Allie, and she does this very well. 

Just when Allie thinks maybe she can break the curse, and get back together with Marcus and they can live HEA, her mom calls. She needs THE DRESS back. She's getting married for the umpteenth time. 

I really enjoyed the VOICE OF REASON when she came to Allie. And I enjoyed the sweet ending. This was a fun way to spend a few hours.

*Thank you, NetGalley and Zondervan, for the opportunity to read A February Bride.

Please add A February Bride to your Goodreads shelf:

A February Bride (A Year of Weddings, #3)

Connect with Betsy St. Amant:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Éire's Viking by Sandi Layne

Welcome to 
Éire's Viking's Blog Tour Stop

Éire's Viking

by Sandi Layne

This is Book Two of the Éire's Viking Trilogy.

Beginning ten years after the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, this is the story of how Agnarr Halvardson returns to Éire with the intention of settling there, marrying, and siring sons.

It is also the story of Aislinn, who was a child in Ragor when the Northmen raided eleven summers prior but is now a working physician in her own right. She spent a year in Bangor Monastery and became a Christian before Cowan and Charis returned to take the children to Cowan’s village in the kingdom of Dál Fiatach and returns there a decade later to finish learning all she can from the monks about their healing practices.

When Cowan brings her a patient, injured and temporarily unable to speak, she can’t help but find the strong, tall man attractive, even if such feelings unsettle her.

Although sparks fly immediately, Agnarr’s idea of wedding Aislinn—the physician who heals him when he is injured—is hampered by many factors, including language and cultural differences. There is also the matter that he is the man who kidnapped and enslaved Charis years before.

Believing strongly that God gave Agnarr to her as a patient, though, Aislinn does her best. Her knowledge of who he is wars with her unwilling attraction to him. That he makes his interest in her clear doesn’t help, as he goes so far as to seek her father’s permission to wed her. Can she forgive him for what he did to her village? Can she love him if she does? And will she be willing to accept a life at Agnarr’s side even if he does not love her?

Meanwhile, other raiders from the North come to Éire’s green coasts. Pledging his loyalty to the new king, Muiredach of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home.

Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Kathie's Review:

The first book in this series, Éire's Captive Moon, is one of my all time favorite reads. I anxiously awaited this sequel. I wondered how Ms. Layne was going to make Agnarr a "good guy," a "hero." I wasn't worried, just very much anticipating the read. I was not disappointed. While one doesn't have to read ECM before this one, you really should, it's that good. This one can stand on it's own, as Ms. Layne shares just enough from the previous book so one is all "caught up."

Charis is one of my favorite characters, and the book opens with her thoughts about her life now, ten years after the first book. Change is coming. She feels it. Charis is different. Some say she may be part fae. I always get that feeling about her. She's intriguing and a bit snarky. I like that, too!

She and Cowan (her husband and the man who was enslaved when she was and who returned to Éire with her) adopted one of the children from the rath that was destroyed in the first book. Aislinn is now a healer in her own right, taught by Charis, and they send her off to the monastery for a year to learn what they can teach her about healing. She believes in the One True God and feels being with the monks won't be a hardship

It's now early summer and the Vikings are on the prowl. Life is hard in the north and the Green Isle looks to be easy pickings. Agnarr has never forgotten the green, lush land...or the healer who he once stole. He's back and looking to make his life amid the Irish. He feels it's his wyrd (his fate) to bring the knowledge of Thor and Odin to this green land. 

Well, until an unfortunate accident takes his voice away and leaves a huge lump on his head. Cowan, knowing who he is, takes him to his daughter for healing. But he doesn't say who he is. Aislinn, for her part, has hated Agnarr, even while she has never seen him, for his part in the loss of her home and family. And for stealing Charis away. Her nightly prayers made me laugh, just a little.

She heals him; she's attracted to him; she might want to kiss him. Then she finds out who he is.

Ah, let the games begin! This was such fun. Ms. Layne teaches us history without making it boring. She shows us how life was lived in AD 834 and she makes it incredibly interesting. One can tell that she's done her research and she incorporates the facts in her story in a way that is immensely readable. 

This story has adventure, it has tension, there's that hint of the paranormal...and there's romance. Agnarr is going to have to work to earn his lady, his land, and the family that his heart seeks. 

It's also inspirational. Cowan and Aislinn are true believers in God. They don't pound it into Agnarr's face. They just live their lives believing. I enjoyed the conversations they had with him about their faith. Ms. Layne doesn't make this "preachy" at all. Very nicely done. 

This is a book to read over and over, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

*Thank you, NetGalley and TWCS, for the opportunity to read Éire's Viking

Sandi Layne...There are many profiles that detail the author’s lifelong dream of authorship being realized with the publication of their first novel or short story.  This is not one of those profiles.
To make an exceedingly odd story moreso, Sandi Layne had no wish to be a writer, but went through a storyline bootcamp in the form of strange dreams for a month and took careful notes.  Fifteen years later, she’s still writing stories that veer slightly off the beaten path, both in Christian and historical fiction.
Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends.  Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research.  With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.  She invites you to visit her online space at Bring coffee.
Connect with Sandi Layne on 
Other books by Sandi Layne

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thank you, Felicity Heaton!

I just received a package in the mail. It was full of goodies and a paperback of UNLEASH from Felicity Heaton!

Just look at all the lovely goodies:

A powerful vampire lost deep in his bloodlust, Snow is a savage animal, mindless with rage and a thirst for violence, and trapped with no hope of awakening from an endless nightmare… until a song draws him up from the abyss, restoring his sanity but leaving him haunted by the sweet feminine scent of lilies and snow, and fragmented familiar lyrics.

When the mysterious and beautiful songstress reappears in Snow’s room at Vampirerotique, she awakens a fierce protective streak and stirs dark desires that drive him to claim her as his female, even when he knows his touch will destroy her innocence. 

A single forbidden taste is all it takes to unleash emotions in Aurora that she shouldn’t possess, tearing her between duty and desire, and luring her into surrendering to her wildfire passion and embracing hungers that burn so hotly they threaten to consume them both.

One act of kindness can lead to one thousand acts of sin though, each a black mark against the bearer’s soul and another grain of sand that slips through an hourglass. The clock is ticking and time is almost up. Can beauty save the beast?

Thank you, Ms. Heaton!

See? It pays off to enter contests!

Connect with Felicity Heaton:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fix You COVER REVEAL by Carrie Elks

Welcome to the 
Cover Reveal
Fix You 
by Carrie Elks

"Richard, we had a baby."

31st December 1999. Seventeen year old Brit, Hanna Vincent, meets nineteen year old Richard Larsen; a Columbia student and step-son of scion Leon Maxwell. Divided by money, distance and a common language, an unlikely friendship grows between the two.

From London to New York, from 1999 to 2012, Fix You follows the story of quirky, music-loving Hanna and handsome, driven Richard as they fall in love and are torn apart. Their tempestuous relationship leads to the explosive revelation that threatens to destroy them both.

Emotional and touching, this is a story of second chances. Can love endure even when circumstances shatters it into pieces?

May 12th 2012
       Richard had filled out nicely since she had last seen him. The thin cotton of his shirt clung to his biceps, skimming his taut abdomen as it tucked into his dress pants. His hips were still lean and tight, and she closed her eyes as she tried not to remember how they had felt between her thighs, as he had moved inside her, breathing softly in her ear, as she had moaned and whimpered and—
She shook her head. She wasn't standing in his large, oak-paneled office just to take a trip down memory lane, as pleasant as that might be. She had flown here, over three thousand miles, to tell him what he deserved to know.
Inappropriate laughter bubbled up in her throat as she considered the ridiculous melodrama of the situation. Her 17-year-old self would be rolling her eyes, wondering how this 29-year-old woman had managed to turn a seemingly promising life into a soap opera.
She glanced up at his face, looking at his lips, which had turned down into a deep scowl. His eyes had narrowed beneath his brows, and his straight, patrician, nose was slightly crinkled in response to her presence.
The contempt he felt toward her was radiating from him.
Hanna tried to keep her breathing steady, reminding herself that although she was in his office, on the penthouse floor of his building, this was her show.
She was in control.
If he viewed her with contempt now, God only knew how he would feel once he'd heard what she had to say. He had been an integral part of her life for so long—as a friend, a confidante, even a lover—but never before did he have the power to break her.
"As nice as it is to see you," he drawled, the tone of his voice making it patently clear that her being in his office was anything but nice, "I have a meeting in five minutes. Exactly what is it that you want?"
He had no idea, but this was it. Time to open her mouth and tell him what he needed to hear. Her arms suddenly felt heavy, and her fingers trembled; a physical manifestation of her nervousness. Her laughter was replaced by something more unsettling, as she tried to take in a deep breath and form the words that she had travelled all this way to say.
Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. She watched his gaze move down to her mouth, staring at it with dark eyes, as her teeth drew in her bottom lip.
"Richard." Her voice was surprisingly strong. She could do this. She could tell him the truth, and then get the hell out of here.
Back on a plane.
Back home.
Back to him.
"Richard, we had a baby."

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK.

An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.