Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Series A Month January Edition: Sin Brothers by Rebecca Zanetti

A Series A Month January Edition: Sin Brothers by Rebecca Zanetti

This month I decided to read the Sin Brothers series by Rebecca Zanetti.  This series of four books (for now at least...the fourth book hinted that there might be a way for more books--or maybe a related series--to happen).  I must say I absolutely loved all four books and just when I would decide that one was my favorite, the next book would somehow top it.  The heros were all swoon-worthy and the heroines were straight up wonderful!  I loved every single book in the series.  For more info, feel free to read my reviews: Forgotten Sins, Sweet Revenge, Blind Faith, and Total Surrender.  

Finish the Series January Update

Finishing the Series January Update

Well, January was a great month for me series-wise...I started several new to me series, continued some that I already had started, and even finished a couple (or at least got up-to-date by reading all that are published up to this point).  Here is what happened this month: 

Series Started
  1. Until Him by Aurora Rose Renolds (Until Jax)
  2. SWAT by Paige Tyler (In the Company of Wolves, Hungry Like the Wolf, Wolf Trouble)
  3. Entity by Cat Devin (Sleeping with the Entity)
  4. Delta Force by ML Buchman  (Target Engaged)
  5. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young (On Dublin Street)
  6. Night Stalkers by ML Buchman (The Night is Mine)
  7. Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian (Kiss of Midnight, Kiss of Crimson, Midnight Awakening)
  8. Halle Shifters by Dana Marie Bell (Bear Necessities)
  9. Deadly Ops by Katie Reus (Edge of Danger)
  10. Until by Aurora Rose Reynolds (Until November)
  11. Virgin River by Robyn Carr (Virgin River)
  12. X-Ops by Paige Tyler (Her Perfect Mate)
  13. Galactic Conspiracies by Rob Colton (The Degan Incident, The Cassini Mission)
Series Continued
  1. Shifters Unbound by Jennifer Ashley (Primal Bonds)
  2. A Lion's Pride by Eve Langlais (A Tiger's Bride)
  3. Dark by Christine Feehan (Dark Lycan)
Series Completed/Up-to-Date
  1. Sin Brothers by Rebecca Zanetti (Forgotten Sins, Sweet Revenge, Blind Faith, Total Surrender)
  2. Firsts and Forevers by Alexa Land (Belonging, Coming Home, All I Believe, Hitman's Holiday)
  3. Biker's Pup by Sean Michael (Biker's Dom)
  4. Mannies, Incorporated by Sean Michael (Three to Get Ready)

The Cassini Mission by Rob Colton

The Cassini Mission by Rob Colton

The adventure continues in the action-packed follow up to The Degan Incident!

Dr. Aron Adler is ordered to take part in a rescue mission to a research colony located on an uninhabited planet in the outer rim.  He is to immediately report to the U.S.C. Cassini, which will take Aron, two other scientists, and a unit of Union Marines to the colony.  Once there, they are to assess the situation and retrieve any data or specimens.

Formerly a scientist in the Union Army, Aron was dishonorably discharged following a court-martial for failing to obey orders.  Stepping foot on the Cassini brings up old feelings he would rather forget.  Shunned by the crew of the Cassini, Aron finds comfort in the arms--and bed--of Marine corporal Kane Robertson.

Upon reaching the colony, it becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems.  Once again, Aron is faced with a difficult decision: follow orders or follow his heart.

While quite a bit shorter than The Degan Incident, this book was just as good and contained just as many emotionally wrenching scenes.  Aron is very abruptly reinstated to the Navy in order to be part of a mission to fly to a research facility located way, way out on the edges of normal exploration for reasons that no one will tell him.  When he shows up at the ship, he is pleasantly surprised to see his friend Kenji, and not so pleasantly surprised to see a former Navy member, Bradley.  A marine unit consisting of GEM (Genetically Enhanced Military Units) Marines also joins the group as does the skeleton crew of the USC Cassini which is described more than once as an out-of-date, rust-bucket of a space ship.  

It is quickly clear that this mission is a cluster in more ways than one, rather than teach the scientists (Aron, Kenji, and Bradley) combat skills, the Marines use that time to beat up on the scientists to showcase who is top dog.  Several of the marines also make sexually suggestive remarks (and more) causing Aron and Kenji to be rather uncomfortable at times.  Bradley gladly hooks up with one of the Marines, causing even more dissent among the team.  The only exception to this horrible trip is a Marine named Kane Robertson who actually does try to teach the scientists survival tactics and who helps Aron learn some combat skills.  Kane makes his interest in Aron clear, but before they act on it too much they (and the others aboard the Cassini) have to enter a six week cryo-sleep (something like a coma).  

When they wake up they are close to the research facility and are given the sketchiest of details of what their mission is: to recover the data being worked on.  When they get to the facility, things go from bad to worse in the form of cyborgs who quickly wreck havoc upon the team.  It is at this point that tensions ratchet up ten-fold as it quickly becomes clear that not everyone in the group has been honest and there are at least two agendas going on...getting out of this situation alive will be tricky...stopping the horrors that have been happening in the lab will be even harder.  Aron and Kane have to decide who among them they can trust and how they are going to both stay alive and retain their sense of right and justice. 

This book was fantastic but there were several passages that were difficult to read as the violence ramps up in the last third.  Overall I felt it did a great job of connecting to the first book and setting the reader up for the third--which I can't wait to read!  

Literary Pickers January Update

Literary Pickers January Update

A Delighted Reader is hosting the 2016 Literary Pickers Challenge.  Remember, only one item per novel/novella!  Here is what I have found so far: 


  1. Portrait: Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian
  2. Pumpkin: Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian
  3. Dead Bolt: Primal Bonds by Jennifer Ashley
  4. Grandfather Clock: The Night is Mine by ML Buchman
  5. Window Blinds: Edge of Danger by Katie Reus
  6. Microwave: Sleeping with the Entity by Cat Devon
  7. Nail Polish: Until Jax by Aurora Rose Reynolds
  8. E-Reader: Until November by Aurora Rose Reynolds
  9. Window Shutters: Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
  10. Sink: Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell
  11. Lawn Mower: Belonging by Alexa Land
  12. Tile Floor: Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti
  13. Earrings: Blind Faith by Rebecca Zanetti
  14. Flip Flops: Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler
  15. Motorcycle Boots: Biker's Dom by Sean Michael
  16. Tattoo: Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler
  17. Cuff Links: Virgin River by Robyn Carr
  18. Military Uniform: The Cassini Mission by Rob Colton
  19. Ugly Sweater: Hitman's Holiday by Alexa Land
  20. Business Card: Coming Home by Alexa Land
  21. Tool Box: Unto Us the Time Has Come by Sean Michael
  22. Briefcase: Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
  23. File Folder: Target Engaged by ML Buchman
  24. Cash Register: Three to Get Ready by Sean Michael
  25. Microscope: Fret by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
  26. Sports Equipment: Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti
  27. Lock Picks: My Summer of Wes by Missy Welsh 
  28. Safe: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler
  29. Photocopier: Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti
  30. Sailboat: All I Believe by Alexa Land
  31. Alien/Human: The Degan Incident by Rob Colton
  32. M/M: Jinxed by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
  33. Fated Mate: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan
  34. Older/Younger: On Dublins Street by Samantha Young

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hitman's Holiday by Alexa Land

Hitman's Holiday by Alexa Land

It's Christmas Eve at Nana Dombruso's house, and a wild party is in full swing.  Gangsters, strippers and Nana's gay homosexuals are certainly bringing the holiday cheer.  But all I can think about is what will happen when I see Constantino Dombruso again.

Connie and I have a very long, very complicated history.  The last time I saw him, he'd tracked me down because someone hired him to carry out a hit on my brother Luca and me.  He didn't go through with it, but the tension between us is through the roof.

His life has been on a troubling trajectory over the last decade.  But the fact is, Connie got under my skin a long time ago, and despite everything, the attraction between us has always been electric.

When we see each other tonight at the party, there could be fireworks or gunfire.  It could go either way.

This novella takes place after Andreo's brother Luca and Connie's brother Nico hook up in All I Believe.  Connie showed up in Tahiti and threatened to put a bullet in Luca's brain after he took the hit from his cousin Jerry who took over the Dombruso family affairs when Dante retired.  We find out that Connie only took the hit so no one else would but he had no plans to actually carry it out.  He has too many feelings for Andreo and killing his brother wouldn't be the way to move their crazy relationship forward.

The story of Connie and Andreo's relationship is told through a series of flashbacks spanning from 2005-2013 before ending up back in the present day.  Connie has a bad habit of running away and leaving Dreo after their passionate nights and Dreo lives for the times he will see Connie again.  When the two finally make it to the same place in the present, Nana's holiday bash, we get to see the culmination of all of their one-night-stands which for both of them have reached more deeply into their hearts than they would normally be comfortable with.  They both know that because of Connie's past as a hitman they will have to constantly be on the move to avoid those wanting revenge, but Dreo knows that being with Connie is far better than being without him, even if they have to live on the run. 

This book is odd in that way more of it takes place in the past than the present leaving me unsure if they really have a solid future ahead of them...I worry that Connie will try to protect Dreo by taking off on him again.  I don't know that this needed to be a full-length book (although I wouldn't have minded that at all!!) but another chapter or two of them in the present would have been nice to anchor the HEA a little more solidly.  I am really hoping that we will see more of these two in future books so that I can be reassured that they are making it work and are still happy together.  If you have read the Firsts and Forevers series, I would highly recommend this...if you are new to it, I wouldn't start here.  I would at least read All I Believe first as that is where both of these characters are originally introduced.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan

Tatijana of the Dragonseekers spent centuries encased in ice with her sister, trapped in limbo between life and death, never speaking to a soul other than those who tormented her.  Now, she has been freed from her frozen prison by an unknown descendant.  Awakened in human form, Tatijana yearns to explore the modern world in which she now lives--a world with more mysteries than she is prepared for.   

Fenris Dalka has returned to the Carpathian Mountains after a long absence to be with his brother.  He is scarred by centuries of battle, and every hard-won victory.  But the real reason for his return home could prove deadly if discovered by the wrong man--or woman.  Upon his arrival, he is compelled by a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who carries the scent of fresh earth, of forest, of the night itself.

In time Tatijana and Fenris will discover all that unites them--their secrets and pasts, their predators, and the hot flush of passion that stirs their souls.  Yet just as surely, seduced into the silver darkness of a full-moon night, they'll also discover everything ancient and evil that exists to destroy them.

Why, oh why did it take me so long to get back into this series?  This was the question I asked myself over and over throughout the first chapter as I was sucked back into Christine's lush descriptive writing that completely immersed me back into the Carpathian Mountains and its paranormal inhabitants.  By chapter two I was no longer questioning my delay only because I was too deeply entrenched in the world and had no time to do anything except read as fast as my eyeballs could suck in the words.  

Tatijana and Fenris.  These two may be one of my favorite couples of the series.  Tatijana is determined to experience the world despite the many fears she has about the world.  It would be so much easier to stay in the healing arms of Mother Earth, but Tatijana didn't escape her ice cave prison only to waste her opportunities to actually experience her freedom.  Fenris is captivated with Tatijana from the first time he sees her and has a definite idea that she might be his lifemate.  However, he is in no hurry to find out as he is all too aware that he has turned into a creature that would be considered an abomination by the Lycans and which would put a death threat out on him.  Fate will not be thwarted and soon Tatijana and Fenris are merging two very different backgrounds into one incredible (and incredibly dangerous) future.  

There is a LOT going on in this book with Lycans being added to the cavalcade of characters, a new threat (threats?) that make some of the former enemies look tame, and one heck of a tease with the Dimitri and Skylar storyline which is featured prominently at times as they will be the center of the next book.  With all of that, I never felt that the romance between Tatijana and Fenris was short-shifted.  I loved the interactions between the two but there was no lack of external action either.  And, whoo-boy.  The introduction of quite a few possible male future leads also made for one happy reader as well!  I don't want this series to end too soon as I feel it is just now really hitting its stride with all of the high-stakes decisions that will soon have to be made between the Carpathians and the Lycans.  

If you have read this book you know I am skimming over 98% of what happens in this book.  If you haven't read it, I don't want to give anything away because I feel that this book is best experienced first hand.  Now I am off to find Dark Wolf as I must know what is going on with Dimitri and Skylar!! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler

Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler

When Special Forces Captain Landon Donovan is pulled from an op in Afghanistan, he is surprised to discover he's been hand-picked for a special assignment with the Department of Covert Operations (DCO), a secret division he's never heard of.  Terrorists are kidnapping biologists and he and his partner have to stop them.  But his new partner is a beautiful, sexy woman who looks like she couldn't hurt a fly--never mind take down a terrorist.

Ivy Halliwell is no kitten.  She's a feline shifter, and more dangerous than she looks.  She's worked with a string of hotheaded military guys who've underestimated her special skills in the past.  But when she's partnered with special agent Donovan, a man sexy enough to make any girl purr, things begin to heat up...

Another winner from Paige Tyler.  She has quickly added herself to my auto-read list of authors!  In this first installment of the X-OPS series, we meet Landon Donovan, a man who is not happy to be pulled out of Afghanistan just as his team has laid eyes on the tango they have been asked to target.  Being told he is to head back to the states, without his team, to be reassigned does not make him happier.  Nor does the twenty-four hours of flights he endures before being shown into a mysterious office located in the parking garage of the EPA.  When he is told that he is now one member of a two member team and that his primary role is to make sure he kills his partner if they are ever captured he doesn't get much happier.  For a man whose core principals mean that you do everything to bring your men back alive, this is not something he is willing to do. 

When he meets his new partner, his confidence does not increase.  Ivy looks like the girl next door, until they start sparring and she proves almost impossible to put down.  Once he finally does, after a lot more effort and trickery than he would have thought necessary, he realizes that perhaps his new partnership won't be quite so bad.  The more he gets to know Ivy, the more he is sure that this new chapter of his life has some great upsides.  He still misses his old team, but the resentment is no longer there for having to leave them.

Ivy is not looking forward to another muscle-bound military guy who will go out of there way to make sure she knows she is inferior.  She has had two previous partners and neither worked out well (serious understatement there!) so this new special forces guy is not getting much benefit of the doubt on Ivy's part.  Ivy finds herself pleasantly surprised by Landon's willingness to put his trust in her skills during team building exercises and when she reveals her shifter side to him, he handles it maturely and respectfully--a first for Ivy when it comes to her partners.  

When a weasel in the DCO who wants the shifter program to fail puts Ivy and Landon's new partnership to the test with an op in Venezuela not everything goes smoothly.  How Ivy and Landon handle it were once again wonderfully mature.  I have come to rely on Paige Tyler's consistency in not allowing festering emotions or misunderstandings to develop between characters when simple, open communication can by deployed to allow the characters to deal with issues and move on stronger than before.  This is a breath of fresh air that is oh so appreciated.

Things really heat up as Ivy and Landon begin to develop feelings for each other that go beyond what team partners require.  With the DCO having a strict non-fraternization policy, this makes things complicated.  When they act on their feelings, there is no regret, just an honest knowledge that if word gets out they will need to resign their positions to find other jobs.  On top of this, they are sent on a new mission to find out what is happening to missing biologists--and when they discover the answer things only continue to get more complicated.  The action ramps up for the last quarter of the book leaving this reader flipping pages as fast as possible to see how it would all play out.  While issues were resolved, enough loose strings remain to have me chomping at the bit to read the next book in the series.  The male lead of that book was rather an arse in this book, so I am interested to see how Tyler redeems his character.    

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred.  Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers.  Rent-free cabin included.  

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to re-energize the nursing career she loves.  But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her.  Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.  

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans...and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

I have wanted to read the Virgin River series for a while now after reading about them on so many other blogs.  I was always a bit hesitant due to the size of the series but decided that the only thing to do was to dive right in and not worry about anything else.  It turned out to be the right choice as I enjoyed this first entry quite a bit.  

Melinda is ready for a complete change but when she gets to Virgin River she wonders if she has bitten off more than she can chew...especially when she sees the tumble down cabin with the falling down porch she is expected to live in.  Meeting the taciturn doctor she is supposed to be working with who obviously doesn't want her presence around is another huge clue that not everything is as it was advertised.  The only good thing that happens on her first night in Virgin River is the delicious dinner she eats at Jack's bar and cafe.  

When Melinda decides she has made a huge mistake and goes to leave, she sees a newborn infant, only hours old, in a box outside the doc's house.  She takes it in, checks it out, and decides to stay in Virgin River until social services can find a home for the baby.  While she is waiting, she is slowly but surely pulled into the lives of Virgin River's citizens and she begins to make herself a place in their community.  She delivers the babies of a few women, makes friendships with a small group of doctors and nurses in a nearby town, watches a soap opera every afternoon with two women who have been best friends their entire lives, and most evenings ends her day with a beer at Jack's.  

Jack is a former marine who takes care of the people of Virgin River in a variety of ways from offering great food at low prices, lending a hand when and where it is needed, helping raise a teenage boy whose parents died when he was young, and helping out one of his former marines under his command by giving him a job and a place to stay.  When he sees Mel, this forty year old man who has always made it a point not to commit to a woman, decides she's it for him and begins to make decisions in his life that will give him the best chance at a relationship with Mel, even before he knows she is interested.  Jack was probably my favorite character in this book, although there is definitely a large ensemble cast as this book really does an amazing job of making the reader feel as if they are also a part of Virgin River.  

While there is a strong romance thread in the book, it shares the spotlight with lots of other story lines which is not always my favorite but in this instance it worked for me.  I am wondering if future installments will continue to have lots of time away from the main romance or if this book is an anomaly because of the world building that is happening.  Because of all these different story lines, there is a lot that happens in this book and I really liked reading about almost all of them and just like any place where different people are living in close(ish) proximity to each other, some people were easier to like than others with a few being downright unpleasant.  I wouldn't mind reading more about some of the people if there were to mosey into books later on in the series.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge: The Degan Incident by Rob Colton

Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge: The Degan Incident by Rob Colton

Lonely spaceport worker Devin McSmith meets Bastian Drago, an exotic and beastly alien from the planet Dega, and begins an adventure that takes him to the stars and beyond.

Devin and Bastian get to know each other and their relationship quickly heats up.  Just as they begin to fall in love, Bastian disappears without a trace.

When Devin's encounter with Bastian triggers a startling change in his body, he is taken captive and held in a top-secret research facility.

Will Bastian find Devin before it's too late?

I have had this sitting on my Kindle for a couple of years and now that I have read it, I am kicking myself for waiting so long to dive into this very fun, interstellar adventure.  Devin is one of my favorite types of characters in M/M romances: sweet, caring, hard-working, and a great friend.  He is smaller (which I also love) and quickly falls for the much larger Degan that he meets while working at the Spaceport.  Devin loves seeing all the new types of aliens that visit Earth now that it is part of a planetary union.  

Bastian is the first Degan that Devin has ever seen and he is fascinated by his large size, the two horns on his head, the lower canines that stick out over his lip, and the golden-brown hair that covers his body.  When Bastian inquires about a place to stay and advice on where to eat, Devin is happy to help.  He recommends a diner that is a personal favorite and is delighted to see Bastian there when Devin stops in for breakfast the next day.  It isn't long before Bastian and Devin are hooking up and even less time until they are falling in love.  It seems that both of their dreams are coming true when it is discovered that Devin is Bastian's truebond or destined mate.  Devin is thrilled to finally belong to someone after growing up in an orphanage and only ever having one really close friend.  Bastian is delighted to be able to have a beloved mate as he grew up in a close-knit family filled with love and wants what he has always seen his parents share.

Unfortunately, the next morning Bastian goes to check out of his hotel but then just disappears.  He never returns to Devin's apartment as planned.  And then when Devin begins to get sick and sees the doctor, the diagnosis blindsides him.  As if that weren't enough, on a follow-up visit to the doctor, Devin is grabbed by Union officials (think military personnel) and is soon locked up in a cell, taken out only to be poked, prodded, and examined.  Devin cannot believe that he went from the happiest he had ever been to worried about ever being freed again.  

I don't want to go too much further into the plot as it is best read for yourself but I will say that this book played into a lot of my favorite M/M tropes...and that I am planning to immediately dig into book two in the series to see if the fun continues.  I very much enjoyed reading about Bastian and Devin and look forward to seeing where the series goes next.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

Piper Oliver knows she can't trust him.  They warned her that the tall, dark, and sexy black-ops soldier Jory Dean would try to win her over with his steel-gray eyes and deadly charm, but she won't be conned by this man they call a traitor.  All she has to do is figure out the science necessary to save his life, and she's done.  Something isn't adding up, though, and she won't rest until she uncovers the truth--even it it's buried in his deep, dangerous kiss.

Jory will do anything to reunite with and save his brothers--even kidnap the gorgeous woman who's working to deactivate the deadly chip in their spines.  But the forces determined to destroy his family won't let them go so easily.  Keeping Piper alive is more than he bargained for--and so is his burning desire to keep her.  But with every second bringing him closer to certain death, can he afford to lose himself in her hot and willing embrace?

This book was everything I could have hoped for--sexy, smart, action-packed, fun and there was more than one scene I read with tears puddled in my eyes.  I loved it from start to finish...

Piper is excited to finally meet her father and to be working for him on important national security issues.  She is excellent with computers and is working to save an important asset. She is spunky and smart, but also intrigued by a man she meets through her job...she has been told that he is a traitor but something about him draws her like a moth to a flame.  

Jory is working to get his body and mind in peak performance condition...after spending two years in a coma, he has been working for three months to figure out a plan to escape from the Commander's compound in Utah.  He has always had special abilities, but since the coma his abilities have grown even more sensitive.  He knows he has a matter of days before the chip embedded by his spine detonates, but he also knows it was damaged by one of the bullets that entered his body so chances are slim he can be saved.  His brothers are another story--he will do everything he can to ensure they live out their lives.

Watching these two people with very different agendas come together was a hoot--it was not a smooth or easy path.  There were some great secondary characters and all of the past brothers and their partners were back and the scenes between the brothers were once again some of my favorites.  I don't want to give any of the twists and turns of this book away, so I'll end my review here with one last statement: it is hard to find a series where every entry is as strong as all of the books in the Sin Brothers have been.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Until November by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Until November by Aurora Rose Reynolds

November is looking forward to getting to know her father and the safety of a small town.  After leaving the Big Apple and her bad memories for Tennessee, November starts working for her dad at his strip club doing the books.  The one time she's allowed there during club hours she runs into Asher Mayson.  He's perfect until he opens his mouth and makes assumptions.  November wants nothing to do with Asher but too bad for November, fate has other plans.

Asher Mayson has never had a problem getting a woman, that is until November.  Now all he can think about is making November his and keeping her safe.

Why did I wait so long to read another book by Aurora Rose Reynolds??  I read Until Jax, loved it and promptly checked out Until November so I could start from the beginning.  And then it sat on my coffee table...and sat there...mocked me...sat there...until one evening I picked it up hoping it would come close to living up to my remembered enjoyment of Until Jax.  And it didn' surpassed my hopes by far.  I absolutely loved this entire book from start to finish.  

We meet November as she is booking a hotel room, beat up but not beaten down, her Great Dane, Beast, at her side.  She was attacked in New York, the catalyst for finally moving to be near her dad who she was estranged from until the age of 18.  We learn that November's mother is a candidate for Worst Mother of the Century (seriously, some of the things we learn about her are absolutely over the top unbelievable but I didn't even care because the book was so darn entertaining) so thank goodness her father turns out to be amazingly supportive and kind.  

Asher has one of the best families I have read about in a long time; I think I loved them almost as much as November who is reveling in her first taste of what it is like to have a supportive, loving family.  Asher is bossy, rude, and perfect for November...he has heard from his father and grandfather about the Mayson family "curse" when they will lay eyes on the woman they know is "The One."  Unfortunately for Asher, he blows his first meeting with November.  And the second as well...however, Asher is also stubborn and sneaky.  Before long, November is spending time at his house (just read the book, it all makes sense) and before long Asher has swept her up in a serious relationship.  

There were so many times I laughed out loud and others where I seriously swooned.  Asher has some of the most romantic lines I have read in a very long time and I relished them all.  I also loved Asher's brothers and am so happy they all have stories of their own so I can have more time with them.  There is a plot line about someone harassing November by breaking into her apartment, leaving flowers, etc. and the eventual uncovering of who did it and why was a bit far-fetched or silly-feeling to me, but by that point I didn't even care because this whole book was like candy--I couldn't gobble it up fast enough!  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

With a dagger in her hand and vengeance on her mind, Darkhaven beauty Elise Chase prowls Boston's streets in search of retribution against the Rogue vampires who took from her everything she cherished.  Using an extraordinary psychic gift, she tracks her prey, well aware that the power she possesses is destroying her.  She must learn to harness this gift, and for that she can turn t only one man--the deadliest of the Breed warriors, Tegan.

No stranger to loss, Tegan knows Elise's pain.  He knows fury, but when he slays his enemies it is with ice in his veins. He is perfect in his self control, until Elise seeks his aid in her personal war.  An unholy alliance is forged--a bond that will link them by blood and vow--and plunge them into a tempest of danger, desire, and the darkest passions of the heart...I

I knew I was right to stick with this series! Finally, a book that was good from start to finish with no actions on the parts of the main characters that make me shake my head in disappointment, in fact Tess from book two redeemed herself in my eyes, so bonus points!

Elise, who was portrayed as rather weak in book two, has taken a vow of vengeance.  She might not be strong enough to fight Rogues, but as a human who can go about in daylight, Minions (human slaves to vampires) are fair game.  Her psychic gift, which she views as more of a curse, allows her to hear the vilest of human thoughts which coincidentally leads her straight to Minions as they are often violent in their zeal to do their Master's bidding.  It is in the slaying of one such Minion that Elise is caught too close to dusk and the blood on her clothes leads a group of Rogues to her.  It also leads Tegan to her location and he is able to help her out of the dangerous situation.  He follows her home, surprised to see she is no longer living in a Darkhaven, but is rather in a rather squalid apartment.  When he learns she has been killing Minions he is livid.

Elise is both drawn to and repelled by Tegan in the beginning...he is a threat to her activities which is the only thing that brings her some solace.  It also brings debilitating migraines in the aftermath of her psychic usage, but she has developed some mechanisms that allow her to cope...barely.  Elise knows that the Minion she killed was trying to retrieve a package for his master and she determines to get it first.  While she is successful, it puts her fully on the radar of the evil vampire leading the Rogues causing Tegan to take her to the Breed warrior's compound for her safety.  The contents of the package lead them to Germany and from there things get rather crazy...

I loved the interactions between Elise and Tegan.  He was so hardened at that beginning and watching the slow two-steps-forward-one-giant-leap-back process of Elise working her way under his skin and into his heart was delightful.  Seeing Elise begin to take more confidence in herself and her abilities was also heartwarming.  When Tegan pushed her into a corner, she came out fighting and took him by surprise, something that hasn't happened to him often.  Their road to true love wasn't smooth, but it consistently moved forward which was appreciated--and not at TSTL moment in sight.  The overall story arc of the entire series also took an unexpected left turn that has left me wanting to know more right now!  I have downloaded book four from my library which features Rio who is a tortured character if there ever was one.  Fingers crossed it is as good as this one.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: All I Believe by Alexa Land

Reading Assignment Challenge: All I Believe by Alexa Land

Nico Dombruso has learned to keep the world at arm's length after being badly burned by his last relationship.  Even so, he decides to let himself enjoy a summer fling while on vacation in Italy.  It's just sex after all, so what's the harm?

He gets so much more than he bargained for when he meets gorgeous, mysterious, art dealer Luca Caruso.  The
connection between them is undeniable, and for the first time in years, Nico starts to consider the possibility of trusting his tattered heart to someone again.

But when a secret is revealed that shakes him to his core and threatens to tear his family apart, Nico runs so far and so fast that no one, not even the man who was making him believe he could love again, might ever be able to reach him.

This book has one of the hands-down best beginnings to a book I have ever read...from Nana in the airport playing keep away with the vegan bacon lube (the majority of which Nico ends up wearing) to the stripper outfits she gets him to wear when his luggage is lost to the dogs who literally tear Nico's pants off on his first day in Italy...all of it kept me in stitches.  And then Luca shows up with his sexy suits and incredibly caring ways and my heart melted.  Learning about Nico's first kiss by the fountain and then discovering the amazing connection to his current situation, all of it was beautiful.  And that was just the first chapter or two...

Watching Nico, who has been horribly burned by a previous lover, slowly trusting Luca who clearly is keeping something secret kept me on the edge of my seat.  Spending time with them on their own as well as together with Nana, Jessie, and the Italian branch of the Dombruso family allows me to see so many different facets of themselves and both Nico and Luca were able to escape the self-imposed restrictions they had placed on themselves for various reasons.  There were times when they had to be apart but those only allowed us to dig deeper into Nico's psyche and watch him as he played caretaker to those he cared about--which is a rather large circle of people.  When he and Luca reconnect, their bone-deep relief at not being alone anymore, at finally being with the one person truly meant to be their own, was powerful, but in Alexa Land's hands it never crossed the line into maudlin--she can walk the tightrope of just enough without ever tipping over into too much better than any other author I know.  

And then a rather large bombshell is dropped and as bombs tend to do, it obliterated what was there and caused a lot of damage--the process of putting things to rights again had some very far-reaching consequences--things actually went quite a bit further than I expected them to do with ripples that might have quite an impact of future books.  Getting Nico and Luca back together required quite a bit of fancy footwork and a lot of people had to work together to pull it off, but luckily there were plenty of people willing to do whatever it took to see these two get their happy-ever-after.  I also loved that Nana meets someone perfect for her as well--after all the love she has showered on her loved ones, it was beautiful (and hilarious) to see her getting to join in the love-fest.

All in all, another amazing entry in the Firsts and Forevers series.  Having read three of these books this month I have gotten rather spoiled with the hilarity that is Nana and her clan, as well as the romantic wonderfulness involved when two men who are utterly perfect for each other come together.  I am lucky enough to still have Hitman's Holiday to read but then I will have to wait until Jesse's story to come out and I am not sure how I will be able to do so...His character has been quietly burrowing into my heart over the course of the last several books and while I absolutely trust that Alexa Land will write the perfect book and the perfect partner for him, I am not ashamed to admit that the wait might very seriously kill me.    

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Edge of Danger by Katie Reus

Edge of Danger by Katie Reus

When an assassin tries to kill undercover DEA agent Tucker Pankov the same week his boss is taken out, Tucker has good reason to be paranoid.  And when other members of his elite team are targeted and stripped of their top secret security clearance, Tucker has one shot at discovering who wants them dead--and why.  So he kidnaps the only woman he things can save them.

Brilliant NSA analyst Karen Stafford doesn't like being forced into anything, especially by someone she doesn't trust.  Yet after a hijacked US-owned drone starts attacking government installations, resulting in mass casualties, Karen has to take Tucker's side.  Now two unlikely allies must unite to prevent an escalating and unthinkable terrorist plot.  But as Tucker and Karen grow intimate, they realize the conspiracy runs deep, and their enemies are closer than anyone realized.

Another new to me author that I really enjoyed!  What a great start to 2016 I am having--I can only hope that the rest of the year is this lucky reading-wise...

Tucker is caught completely off guard when he learns that his boss, the director of the DEA, has been murdered; especially since he hears it on the news rather than getting a call from the DEA itself.  When he calls his teammates, they are just as gobsmacked.  Then an intruder in his home tries to murder him causing him to make the executive decision of calling his team back to one of their off the grid safe houses.  After learning that they are being blamed for their boss's death, they create a plan.  It is a plan they all hate but options are severely limited by the national news declaring them traitors and persons of immediate interest to a dozen or more alphabet soup agencies.  The plan: kidnap an NSA analyst to help them get a meeting with her boss, one of the few people they believe they can trust. 

Karen is out for a jog when four men kidnap her.  After one aborted escape attempt, she goes along with their directions while she waits for another opportunity.  Before one comes along, she is given information on all the men and hears another news story about two of the men allegedly placing and detonating bombs at a botanical garden.  Seeing as the men were with her when this was supposed to happen, it is another powerful piece of the puzzle that is increasingly pointing to their innocence.  When she arranges a meet with her boss, Tucker alone goes in case it is a trap.  However, things do not go as planned and Karen and Tucker need to find a place to hide out for awhile.  By this time, Karen knows that Tucker has been framed and she throws her support and knowledge of tracking information through computers behind his cause. 

From the very beginning, this book caught my interest and never let up.  The pacing and tension were perfect and I flipped through the pages knowing there would be an HEA but so happy to go along for the ride to see how it would come about.  This is one of those stories where the reader is told who the villains are from the very beginning and we get to watch the main characters piece together the clues to take them down.  There was a lot going on in this book but I always felt that I was given enough info to understand but there were no awkward info-dumps or slow passages devoted to explanations.  It was just one seamless, wild ride of a story that I am happy to have experienced.   

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

TBR Challenge: The Job by Sean Michael

TBR Challenge: A Taste of Midnight by Keira Andrews

Alex Ito has worked undercover for eight months--the longest stretch he's ever done.  He's inhabited Nicky "Little Boy" Kimoto's life for long enough now that it's over, he's not sure about going home to husband Bruce Armadine.  What if he's still more Nicky than Alex?

Walking along the street where they live, Alex sees a sexy, leather-clad, guyliner-eyed man coming out of their home and is taken aback.  The shock doesn't get any easier when he realizes this sexy, ready-for-play man is Bruce.  Running on instinct, he follows Bruce to Chains, a BDSM club where it turns out Bruce is tending bar.

Already unsure of his welcome home, Alex feels even more distanced from Bruce and flees the club before Bruce even knows he's there, retreating to a bad motel and the bottle, just like his undercover identity would.

When the two men finally come face to face, will Bruce be able to find Alex beneath his Nicky Kimoto skin or has this job sucked Alex into the underworld for good?

How can Sean Michael pack so much emotion into so few pages???  I loved this story, even when it was painful.  The blurb does a great job of setting up the story so I'll begin my review with the day after Alex wakes up in the nasty motel wondering what Bruce has been doing while Alex was stuck undercover...

Alex has always had trouble shedding his undercover identity, but after eight months in hell as posing as a meth-addict, eating one meal every couple of days, spending sixteen hours getting tattoos he hates as part of a gang initiation...well, he's understandably confused when the stable husband he can't wait to get home to all of a sudden seems like someone else.  He calls Bruce the morning after following him to Chains and the two agree to meet up for breakfast.

Bruce can't believe his husband is finally home...and he doesn't understand why he wants to meet for breakfast...why isn't he just coming on home?  When he sees Alex, skeletal-thin and covered in hair and a beard, he knows it will take time for Alex to feel himself again.  But Bruce knows that the man he loves more than anything is still there, he has only to look in Alex's eyes to know that.  He gets Alex home and begins to pamper him and to bring his lover to the forefront.  

Watching Alex and Bruce reconnect was beautiful and at times a bit painful as Alex is so lost.  Bruce is so amazing; I don't know how you could stay as strong as he did when your spouse is undercover in dangerous situations that you can't control.  He has enjoyed his job as a bartender at Chains--he was both intrigued by BDSM and needed a place with people so the long evenings with Alex didn't feel so lonely.  As soon as Alex was home for good, Bruce was ready to quit his job, but he didn't want to quit going to Chains altogether.  He has made friends there and believes that BDSM may be a way to get Alex out of his head and to let him forget about what happens to him while undercover.  Beyond one sexual experience in a backroom at Chains, BDSM doesn't really play a part in The Job, but it definitely seems that Bruce would like to take himself  and Alex in that direction.  This book is the first in a series but I don't know if future books will revisit Bruce and Alex or other characters.  

Overall, I enjoyed this one quite a bit, but that is not a surprise.  I have long been a huge Sean Michael fan--he can pull huge emotions out of me with just a few words.  I'm very glad I finally read this one, it has been sitting on my Kindle since it came out last October.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blind Faith by Rebecca Zanetti

Blind Faith by Rebecca Zanetti

For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word.  As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date.  They were loyal only to one another...until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart.  Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake.  But as time runs out, there's only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he'd never trust again.

The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe.  He's just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there's an edge to him now that's as irresistible as it is dangerous.  When he asks for her help, Audrey can't refuse.  But she has secrets of her own--secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives...

Another great entry in the Sin Brothers series!  I was super excited to read this book because Nate has intrigued me since book one and I wanted to meet the woman that he had let behind his emotional walls.  I was also nervous that Nate's pain from loving Audrey would cause him to lash out at her creating a lot of angsty-drama.  I needn't have was handled perfectly in my opinion.

Audrey is fighting to take down the Commander by working with a senator who will help her cause by making public what the Commander has been doing.  She is at a political event when she sees Nate.  He is everything she remembered and the pain of the memories is deep as she gave him up to protect him.  Nate has just learned that Audrey was pregnant five years ago, and while he has always planned to find her again, that news put greater urgency to his plans.  He isn't sure how much he can trust her, but he knows that he never forgot everything she meant to him.  

When Nate learns that Audrey not only miscarried, but was actually injured in the explosions he set at one of the Commander's facilities, he is devastated.  He, more than any of the brothers, has yearned to part of a family and knowing that his child was never born is a hard blow (the miscarriage was NOT caused by the explosion or the injuries Audrey received from hit--Nate is just upset that Audrey was hurt when he tried so carefully to make sure she wasn't there before he blew the place up).  Learning that Audrey didn't want to leave him makes him more determined than ever to take her away somewhere safe, but Audrey is in a key position to help him find information on the codes that will 

Along with Audrey working with her Senator friend and Nate being undercover to be near her, there are strange doings with people being murdered who have brands on their backs.  Is there another secret program competing with the Commander?  Why are so many of the deaths tying back to Audrey?  With lots of characters with their own personal agendas, figuring out who is trustworthy and who isn't was pretty tough at times.  I was surprised a couple of times by characters when their real motivations were explained but more often than not the bad guys got their booties handed to them by Nate which was always fun to read.  

I loved Nate so much in this book and felt that Audrey really is the perfect match for him--she is sweet and loving but wants to protect Nate as much as he protects her.  This is new for Nate and it soothes some of the jagged edges left over from his childhood.  The hunt for information on Jory continues in this book as well with some interesting revelations--and since Audrey is Dr. Madison's daughter, we got to see more of her character as well.  I found her to be really fascinating but oh man, is she an iceberg--super cold but you know there is so much more than what you see on the surface, although you are pretty sure whatever you aren't seeing is pretty deadly.

As with the first two books, it comes a time when Matt, Shane, and Nate must work together and as always, it was one of the best parts of the book.  These brothers who have created a family for themselves against all odds are amazing...I cannot wait to read book 4 but I am also sad that this wonderful series will then be over.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

He comes to her more dead than alive, a towering black-clad stranger riddled with bullets and rapidly losing blood.  As she struggles to save him, veterinarian Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling himself Dante is no man at all, but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle.  In a single erotically charged moment Tess is plunged into his world--a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swath of terror.

Haunted by visions of a dark future, Dante lives and fights like there is no tomorrow.  Tess is a complication he does not need--but now, with his brethren under attack, he must shield Tess from a growing threat that includes Dante himself.  For with one reckless, irresistible kiss, she has become an inextricable part of his underworld realm...and his touch awakens her to hidden gifts, desires, and hungers she never knew she possessed.  Bonded by blood, Dante and Tess must work together to thwart deadly enemies, even as they discover a passion that transcends the boundaries of life itself...

I liked this second entry in the Midnight Breeds series much more than the first.  However, once again something happened towards the end of the book that I really didn't care and it effected my overall feelings for the book.

This book starts off with a pow, almost literally, with Dante being injured and finding himself in Tess's vet clinic.  She helps him but overcome with pain and needing to heal, he takes her blood.  Only after does he realize she carries the birthmark that proves her to be a potential Breedmate and he has begun their bonding process.  He scrubs her memories and leaves...however, he is unable to stay away from her and he finds himself near her on and off over the next few days.  During this time, he is also tasked with finding out about Crimson, a new drug which turns young vampires into Rogues overcome by Bloodlust.

Tess is dealing with an ex who still loves her although she only wants to be friends.  She is also being cleverly courted by a tall, dark, handsome man who makes her feel very strongly--something she has tried to keep herself from doing--Tess much prefers to keep strong emotions tucked away after a horrible event in her past.  Every time she sees Dante she feels a pull but just as often finds herself running away from him and the emotions he brings out of her.

The overall story arc of a Gen One vampire trying to create a Rogue army large enough to take over the world is still going strong and Crimson is his current tool to turn vampires more quickly than the Breed warriors can kill them.  Too many young vampires are disappearing and if the warriors want to get ahead, they will have to find the creator and distributor of Crimson and cut it off at the source.  Without giving too much away, the creator of Crimson is closer to Tess than Dante is comfortable with but he finds himself getting close to her in order to find out what she knows.  He continues getting close to her because he can't help himself.  

This book's pacing was much quicker than the first and I found the pages flying by.  However, towards the end Tess runs away from Dante (yet again--at this point he should have just said good riddance) and he goes after her.  He is injured in the process.  Tess has the ability to heal others and yet she allows Dante, in great pain from his injuries to endure a long car ride back to the compound, a torturous walk down to the infirmary and the Breed warriors trying to help him before she mentions that, oh yeah, by the way, I can probably help with that and then quickly does so.  She allowed him to be IN PAIN after he SAVED HER LIFE.  What a b&@%$!!  Oh, and she knows there is another injured warrior who is also suffering but does she ever offer to help him?  NO!  Stupid idiot.  Up to this point, I really liked Tess and then I really, really didn't anymore.  Dante needs to kick her out and wait for someone less selfish.  

The next book features Elise (who I don't like so far--she was written as way too needy and weak) and Tegan (who I really want to know more about).  If the third book all of a sudden dives off a cliff at the end like the first two I will have to say sayonara to the series, but I am really hoping that it will be a case of third book's the charm.

Edited to add: In book three it is mentioned several times that Tess has been working with Rio to aid his healing.  I was much relieved and she rose in my estimation quite a bit!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way.  The elite pack of alpha-male wolf shifters is no place for a woman.  But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door, attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do.  Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert.  When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

This was another fantastic entry in the SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team series.  In the Company of Wolves is still my favorite but this one is a very close second!  I was worried going in that Xander would be an ass just to be an ass and that the other wolves would side with him against Khaki and there would be a bunch of unnecessary drama created out of misunderstandings and asshatery.  I could not be more delighted to report that I had absolutely no reasons to worry.  All of the adults in this book act like grown ups, pulling up their big boy and big girl panties to do what is best for the Pack first and for themselves second.  It was so refreshing to read about such likable characters in this type of situation!

The book opens up with the incident that awakens Khaki's werewolf nature--she responds to a suspicious call only to be almost killed on the job when her backup is delayed.  Turns out a manipulative ex-lover who is also a colleague has blackballed her at the police station where she works and this is only one of many dangerous incidents she must learn to deal with.  When Gage is told that he must add a woman to his SWAT team to create a more diverse team he is appalled at the list of possible candidates he is given--NOT because they are women but because their backgrounds would in no way prepare them for the life-threatening situations they would be expected to handle.  He agrees to a woman but asks for the leeway to select his own candidate.  He has read about Khaki and has an idea that she is the perfect cop, and werewolf, for his team.  

When Khaki jumps at the opportunity to get away from her ex and her colleagues who have turned their backs on her, she is shocked, but excited to learn that she is a werewolf and will be working with a pack of others who can teach her about her new nature.  Meeting Xander and overhearing he does not want her on his team is a setback but when the rest of the guys on Xander's team make it clear they don't share his reticence, Khaki believes she has made the right choice after all.  And she has.  Watching her become part of the team is a hoot--if I hadn't already read Becker's story I would be chomping at the bit to read his book next.  As it is, I am so thankful that Cooper's book is coming soon.  Khaki and Xander soon realize they each have a thing for each other (it takes a bit longer for them to realize they each reciprocate the other's interest) but they handle it like adults.  They put it aside when needed so they can each be at 100% on the job and deal with it in the best way they know how on their own time.  

When Khaki and Xander finally get together, fireworks ensue.  They create such a functional, albeit secret, relationship that once again does not affect their performance on the job.  Khaki, by nature of being on the SWAT team has to go into highly dangerous situations and Xander doesn't stop her.  He just makes sure she has the training and support needed to give her the highest likelihood of survival.  We get to see a few dangerous missions which really allowed all of the team members to shine.  Not only is this book about Xander and Khaki's relationship, but the relationships among all of the member's of Xander's SWAT team which I loved to read about.  I am hoping that we will get all of their stories before the author starts on Mike's team.  Fingers crossed!! I am very much enjoying this author's writing and since it will be awhile for Cooper's story to be out, I will be turning my attentions to another Tyler series: X-Ops.  I am sure it will be another winner!