Beast of All

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Andy McNeilly’s life has become a living nightmare. Two months ago she was kidnapped by the SRD and pumped full of drugs. Those drugs have made her lose contact with her feras, thus leaving her without the ability to shift. She has even lost touch with the beast within her. The only thing she can think of is to escape and seek revenge on everyone she considers the enemy.

Now all Andy has to do is heal, get back her feras and recover her strength. All before the many bad guys take her out of the picture. And now days she isn’t even sure who she should consider a friend, so who can she turn to for help?

BEAST OF ALL is fantastic!! I have heard many people say, and even said it myself, that I couldn’t put a book down … well this one was IMPOSSIBLE to put down. I have read all of the Carus books by J.C. McKenzie and though I will miss this series BEAST OF ALL was a perfect ending to an amazing series. It gives Andy closure in many area, including that of the heart, which I can’t go into as I do not do spoilers. She also gets to clean up some areas that needed badly to be cleaned up and kicks some righteous butt in the process. Something she is very good at by the way. All the Carus books are in my to-read-again shelf and I can’t wait to see what else Ms. McKenzie brings her readers.

Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

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Published August 30th 2016 by Zebra    ISBN13: 9781420141108

Series:  The Improper Princesses #1         Rating:  5*

In spite of  being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is pretty much ignorant of all social graces after being allowed to grow up wild and free in Italy.  Unfortunately, Gillian has gone too far in seeking revenge for the death of her beloved step-father.   In order to protect her,  Gillian has been ordered home to England to settle down and find a suitable husband. Thankfully, Gillian’s grandmother is a lady whose intimate circle of friends includes Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton.  Now if Charles were to take Gillian on as his protege and introduce her to the ton as well as transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante – maybe Gillian just might land herself a husband.  That is if he can keep her from punching earls, shooting folks with guns, or throwing one of the many knives she carried on her person.

My gosh this was an absolutely delightful read from beginning to end.  Gillian was such a delightful hoydenish heroine and Charles was such a stick in the mud all proper and polite.   Alas – one had to know this was going to be a match made in heaven!    Yes, a little slow on recognition of both to see they were made for one another and would bring balance to each other’s life.  Overall a simply perfect pairing as long as Charles could keep Gillian from running back to Italy where her life was in danger.

Bottom line: This was a hoot with a slow and steady romance and some really fun scenarios as Gillian set the ton on it’s ear!  I loved it!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: My Seductive Highlander by Maeve Greyson

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Publisher: Loveswept (October 11, 2016)    Publication Date: October 11, 2016

Sold by: Random House LLC  ASIN: B01AQO16Q6     Rating:   5*

As the last of the time -traveling sisters, Lilia Sinclair is planted solidly in the 21st century in Edinburgh while her grandmother and sisters are living their lives with their Scottish heroes back in the 13th century.  Lilia is blessed (or cursed) with prophetic visions knowing of the troubling events of the Scottish Highlands, she is too frightened to return and has surrounded herself with an icy emotional wall to keep from being hurt.   No problem!  Her wily grandmother is planning to send a Scottish hero, albeit for his own good to the 21st century in order to save her granddaughter – ever knowing that Lilia will never live in ancient Scotland.

Grahm MacTavis is trouble with a capital “T”.  After living 300 years as a cursed dragon bound to Loch Ness once the curse was broken he has been living in the fast lane and nothing in a skirt is safe from him, including wives of Highland Chieftains who want to hang him high.   To keep the peace, and prevent a clan war granny has sent Graham to the future with the knowledge that Lilia is his true mate.

The one thing granny did not inform Graham of was just how stubborn his bride-to-be would be and she also never let him now that she just might be his equal wielding a sword or hitting targets with a bow and arrow!

Oh my, each and every book in this series was phenomenal and to say which one I liked the best is impossible because as far as I can tell each stood completely on it’s own and was fabulous!  There was definitely a good bit of humor in MY SEDUCTIVE HIGHLANDER especially where Angus and Graham were discovering the mystery of flushing a toilet – wonder of wonders for a 13th century highlander.   What was even better was the sweet and believable romance between Lilia and Graham.  Not to say there wasn’t some suspense and dramatic moments with Lilia’s lifelong friend Eliza growing older and frailer.

Bottom Line: 

This was such a wonderful time travel tale!   It was so good and I’m sorry if this is the end because I would love to see it continue for many more books in order to continue this family of remarkable time-runners.  Simply a great book to curl up with any time – day or night.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: MacLean’s Passion by Sharon Cullen

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ebook, 295 pages         Published June 28th 2016       by Loveswept

ISBN:   9781101964897     Series    Highland Pride #2

Rating: 4-1/2*

Colin MacLean has never felt like he was of any worth.  Hell, even during the Battle of Culloden he couldn’t even save either of his two older brothers.   The only thing he ever excelled at was smuggling and even that had gone wrong seeing as how he was now sitting in a very squalid English jail where he is a day away from meeting the hangman’s noose.  Out of the blue he is rescued by an unlikely acquaintance and feeling a bit sorry for a raggedy quiet lad he’d shared his cell with he decided to let him come with him. Unfortunately, he discovered later that the lad he’d thought to save was actually a lass.

Maggie Sinclair was raised by her brothers and and could drink a pint in no time and could outfight and outmaneuver many men with dexterity and cunning with her knives.   Because of her notable talents and because of her gender, men tended to exclude her and women rather shunned her.  Needle work and women’s work were not accomplishments she had ever been taught never mind excelled in.  But if you are running from the English – then you’s have no better person to guard your back then Maggie.  Something Colin became aware of very quickly – that and of course a growing attraction.

***  Ah, tell me what’s not to like about a sexy highlander in need of some tender loving care?  After their harrowing escape from jail, Colin who was sick to begin with with numerous beatings delivered by the hands of the English was deathly sick.  Maggie, didn’t know much about healing but did the best she could even so far as trying to cook bannocks and oatmeal cakes which ended up being very crisp and blackened.   But she did bring Colin water and did her best to make him comfortable.

What was really fun was the descriptions of how Maggie was determined to keep him alive and Colin’s attempt to bring her home to the Sinclair family before he ventured off to find his smuggling cohorts or debated whether or not he should go back to his clan seeing how he was now, with the death of his two elder brothers, the clan chieftain.

Great writing, lovely romance and a fast read. Loved it!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Saving Jake by Sharon Sala

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Jake Lorde is headed home to heal after a long hospitalization from an IED blast ends his time in the military. His neighbor, Laurel Payne, has already seen the damage war can do to a man, having lost her husband to suicide. Laurel has no intention of falling in love with another man, especially not another soldier, but Jake’s steady presence and their instant attraction has her rethinking things. Can Laurel and Jake exorcise the demons from their pasts and find a lasting love?

Sharon Sala has a gift for crafting characters who pull at your heartstrings. Laurel’s pluckiness is admirable and I couldn’t help but cheer for her as she stood up to various family members. Some of the scenes are nothing short of heart-wrenching. I have to admit, however, that it is Laurel’s daughter, Bonnie, who steals my heart in SAVING JAKE.

Sharon Sala doesn’t shy away from addressing real world issues in her books and SAVING JAKE is no exception. The family dynamics after a suicide can be catastrophic. Sharon Sala addresses these issues (as well as other issues) in a sensitive but realistic manner. In fact, it’s part of the reason I return to Sharon Sala’s books time and time again, despite the fact that her books are outside my typical reading genre.

SAVING JAKE is the third book in Sharon Sala’s Blessings, Georgia series, but can easily be read as a standalone. However, once you get a taste of the town of Blessings, as well as Sharon Sala’s heartfelt writing, you’re going to want to dive in and read each and every book in the series- and then follow up with devouring every book Sharon Sala has ever written. Highly recommended!

*Review copy provided through NetGalley*

Ablaze

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Do you like hot firefighters? How about sweet romance? OK then do you want to add a bit of mystery into the mix? Then ABLAZE is the perfect book for you.

Paramedic Lexi Fletcher has transferred to Station 58 and she is thrilled for a couple of reasons. One is her commute is shorter the other is Dane Chandler. He’s a firefighter who sets her on fire. Just when things manage to warm up for the couple strange things start to happen. Some of the patients she has brought to the hospital are turning up dead even though they were in stable if not good condition when she left them. Something is not right and the only one who believes her is Dane. Are these just freaky coincidences or is someone out there killing people.

ABLAZE is to put it simply … a great read. Between the couple, the atmosphere of the fire fighter world and an interesting mystery you will find yourself unable to put this book down. The characters are believable and interesting with varied personalities that you will allow you to enjoy the camaraderie of the heroes. Add sometimes funny moments to the story line. The romance moves at a good pace (might have gone faster if some “friends” would stop dropping by at just the wrong time). The touch of mystery was just right and as I am one who tries to solve the crime before I get to the reveal, I must admit I was not looking at the right “bad guy.” The station is filled with fascinating men and women and I can’t wait to see who is next.

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

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Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord, are making wedding preparations, starting with who will officiate their ceremony. Unfortunately, Saiman has been kidnapped and Kate can’t allow the challenge from her father to go unnoticed. Worse yet, a Witch Oracle sees a vision that the end of the world- or at least Atlanta- will occur if they follow through with the wedding. Can Kate change the future and keep the man she loves by her side?

MAGIC BINDS is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series and I highly suggest reading this series in order. The world building and character development have been building over the course of the series. MAGIC BINDS continues the story arc involving Roland’s encroachment on Atlanta and thus is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole. Besides, the Kate Daniels series is one of the best urban fantasy series out there so missing out on reading even one book is just sad!

Kate is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. I love her feisty attitude, even when odds seem firmly against her. MAGIC BINDS shows Kate with a new challenge- she has to fight her own urges to rule as her father does. Curran’s love for Kate and his willingness to help her through the moments when she’s not quite so human make me love him even more.

And oh… how could I talk about MAGIC BINDS without at least mentioning Christopher and Roman. Roman may be my new favorite character in the series (second to Kate, of course). I love his snarky comments and hope we get to see at least a short story featuring him. As for Christopher, I won’t reveal spoilers but oh my! The revelations we get about Christopher alone would have made MAGIC BINDS a hit!

If you haven’t read a book by Ilona Andrews, stop what you are doing now and read the Kate Daniels series. You won’t regret it. Ilona Andrews is one of THE best urban fantasy authors out there and the Kate Daniels series is proof. Highly recommended!

Review: Killing Thyme by Leslie Budewitz

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Pepper Reece’s hands are full, as she’s busy making her Spice Shop profitable. Pike Place Market offers lots of opportunities for collaboration and inspiration, but a recent newcomer to the Market is causing some division. Bonnie Clay’s pottery is exceptional, but what is her tie to Pepper’s mother? Pepper’s mother, Lena, won’t divulge her secrets, but did those secrets lead to murder?

KILLING THYME is the third book in Leslie Budewitz’s Spice Shop Mystery series, and each new book is just as charming as the prior books! KILLING THYME can easily be read as a standalone story, particularly since Leslie Budewitz provides us with a helpful “Market Roll Call” of all the various characters in her story. The first two books in the series focused more on Pepper’s immediate issues (both with her store and her love life) while KILLING THYME digs deeper into Pepper’s past.

I love the setting of KILLING THYME, as we see Pepper experimenting with various scrumptious sounding blends. Leslie Budewitz offers readers tantalizing recipes, even as Pepper samples other delightful wares in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. In fact, a large part of the appeal of the Spice Shop Mystery series is the delightful atmosphere Leslie Budewitz crafts for the readers. Her world is one I want to visit time and time again.

KILLING THYME is yet another fun installment in the Spice Shop Mystery series. Pepper’s feisty personality coupled with phenomenal world building make KILLING THYME and the rest of the Spice Shop Mystery series a definite hit. Easily recommended!

*Copy received from the author*

Review: The Confectioners Tale by Laura Madeline

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Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (September 20, 2016)

Publication Date: September 20, 2016       Sold by: Macmillan

ASIN: B01CCWKXEG    Rating 4*

Petra Stevenson absolutely adored her grandfather, Jim. They were as close could be and Petra believed that she knew everything about him. Attending a class Petra was enraged when a guest speaker at the college named Hall, begins a campaign to besmirch her grandfather’s memory.  Then to top off a pretty rotten day, Petra found an old photograph among her grandfather’s things that showed a much younger Jim and a man and woman she could not recognize. Written on the back of the photo in Jim’s handwriting were the words, “Forgive me.”

Petra is determined to access the rest of her grandfather’s journals and personal papers, but gets stonewalled by the biographer Hall, and by her estranged father. Hall claims to have scandalous information about Jim that will make the biography he is writing a bestseller; he just needs a little bit more of the back history. Furious with her father who will not budge when it comes to preventing Hall from accessing anything he wants Petra needs the information Hall has to discover what Jim’s secret shame and pain is all about and steals back the information Hall stole from HER.  Thus begins Petra’s journey to uncover her grandfather’s shame.

I will say up front that this was a good read but with author Laura Madaleine going back and forth, and between present day with Petra and back in 1800s France where “Jim’s shame” is uncovered through the two star-crossed lovers story of Gui and Jeanne.  I got very confused, well not so much confused but for me the back and forth was not a comforting way to read.   The end did leave me somewhat choked up but the style of writing was simply not my cuppa.

Marilyn Rondeau