Monday, April 25, 2016

Primal Force by D.D. Ayres

Primal Force


23723773  Passion is always worth fighting for…

Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans. Four years ago, she was wrongly convicted of a crime—thanks to her no-good ex-fiancĂ©. Now she just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it’s hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail—and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and


Lauray "Law" Batisse is a Military Police veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Haunted by the loss of his K-9 partner in combat, he’s reluctant to accept a service dog named Samantha into his life. But once he meets her trainer—the gorgeous Jori Garrison—he can’t fight his primal instincts. And neither can Jori. This sexy alpha male might be the only man strong enough to unleash her desires. And when unseen enemies start hunting them down, he and his new K-9 partner might be her only hope… to survive.

I just love this series.  Each one is so well-written and researched, with interesting characters who are very believable.

The author obviously does a lot of research and it shows when she writes about training dogs or military/law enforcement K-9 work.  It has the effect of drawing the reader even more into the story.  The dogs themselves are complex characters.  Sam even gets her own scenes in this book!

There aren't many books out there with characters who have PTSD, and even less have characters with disabilities.  D.D. Ayres doesn't shy away from having a character with not only PTSD but also an amputated leg.  His character is written with compassion and respect.  He is strong and capable, and I wish more characters were written like him.  Ok, so he is a bit of an asshole in the beginning, but he has his reasons. 

This series is amazing and I wish more people knew about it.  I'd recommend it to anyone who likes romantic suspense with hot military men, and also for those who love dogs.  

I received a free ebook copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

A History of Glitter and Blood


17831753Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.
But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

Oh friends...There are so many mixed reviews of this book!  It seems as though everyone either loved it or hated it.  They either understood it or ended up lost in a cloud of confusion.  I suppose that's to be expected.  It is a Hannah Moskowitz book, after all. 

One of the main grievances I've read is that some people think the author forgot to edit out notes written to herself about what she was writing.  That is, in fact, not true.  The story is told from the point of view of a character who is writing a story about a girl, a group of friends, and the events that happened to them during the war between the gnomes and the tightropers.  It is the first draft of the character's narrative so there are some notes to himself and mistakes that he points out.  Still odd, but completely intentional and it will make sense toward the end. 

Hannah Moskowitz writes with a lyrical style that may be very different to most readers.  It can be confusing if you dwell on it too much.  My advice is to relax and not try to force the meaning to come.  When you get down to it, it's pretty simple.  It's a story about war, unrequited love, and above all, friendship.  It is about the sacrifices we make for those we love.

The main character is sixteen but I honestly don't think that this should be classified as YA.  Do most YA novels nowadays deal with prostitution and cannibalism?  Gosh, I hope not. (Ok, who am I kidding?  I'd totally read those)

Everything about this book was great, from the unreliable narrator to the lyrical writing and the dark subject matter.

I'd recommend it to those who don't mind having their mind stretched a bit.

I received a free ebook copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Vampires Never Cry Wolf by Sara Humphreys

Vampires Never Cry Wolf


Sadie Pemberton is the DJ at the hottest vampire club in New York City, and she loves her freedom almost as much as she hates werewolves. She has no desire to tie herself to anyone for eternity—even the deliciously sexy Killian Bane—werewolf prince and heir apparent who has been sent to patrol the city.

But Sadie bears the mark of the moon—the mark that Killian has been looking for, the mark that's meant to reveal his perfect mate. How can the fates be so cruel? Even more importantly, how is he ever going to change her mind?

This is the first book I've read by Sara Humphreys and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed.  The writing style was great and I loved the humor/snark that the characters exhibited.  The pacing kept me on my toes and I never felt as though the story lagged. 
Vampires and werewolves are very mistrustful of each other and that is something our main characters had to struggle with throughout the book.   No one ever said love was easy! 

This is a great book for lovers of paranormal romance and anyone who likes vampires and werewolves. 

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for sending me a copy to review

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory

The House of the Four Winds


The tiny nation of Swansgaard is a lovely place with abundant natural resources, including the royal family, which has been blessed with twelve daughters and a son. As this boisterous baker's dozen approaches adulthood, the king and queen lovingly tell their daughters, "You must make your own fortune, for we cannot enrich you without impoverishing our people or leaving our lands defenseless, and that we will not do."

Happily, the princesses of Swansgaard are eager to meet this challenge, for they yearn for adventures both near and far from home.

Clarice, an expert swordswoman, is the first to depart. Disguising herself as Clarence, she signs on for a voyage to the New World. The captain is vile and blackhearted, and the crew soon mutinies. Clarice becomes first mate - and finds her heart captured by the new captain, Dominick, who is, to his own surprise, increasingly attracted to Clarence.

Now outlaws, Dominick and his crew turn to piracy - though their hearts are not entirely in it. They soon run afoul of the Pirate Council, who orders them to retrieve the Heart of Light. All who have searched for this great treasure have vanished, with neither ships nor crews ever seen again and no sign of their fates ever discovered.

But none before have carried with them the sorceress Shamal, who stakes a claim of her own on Dominick's heart.

Adventure, romance, magic, swashbuckling and pirates....this book has it all!  I am a huge Mercedes Lackey fan and have been since I was an awkward, friendless teen who spent all of my free time with a nose in a book.  Mercedes Lackey has never let me down. 

The House Of The Four Winds begins like a traditional fairy tale but turns aside to become a pure adventure story.  Clarice is an intelligent woman who uses her wits and her skill to make her way in the world.  She ends up as a passenger on a ship where nothing is as it seems and it's hard to know who to trust.  
Like most of Mercedes Lackey's books, there are many interesting characters and they are all very likeable.  Well...the ones who are meant to be! 
I have always loved the trope of a woman disguising herself as a man to gain the same opportunities and respect that men have.  Something about it gets my imagination going.  I thought that it was very well-written and believable in this case.  This is the beginning of a new series that I am very excited to continue.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and kick-ass heroines. 

I was sent a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

On His Watch


27430562In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he's the first in line to bring them home-even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.

Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it's too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face...

This novella was a great introduction to Katie Ruggle's Search And Rescue series. 

It begins with a show-and-tell type presentation to a crowd of school children and progresses quickly from there.  I just loved Derek's character.  He is hilarious and sweet and so in love with Artemis, his childhood sweetheart.  

Two things kept me from rating it higher.  One, I didn't believe that two characters who are actively searching for two little girls during a snowstorm would spend so much time thinking about sexing each other up (at least I hope not!).  And two, it was very short and I had hoped for more.
The sneak peek at the back of the book has me very interested in the next book in the series.  I am looking forward to reading more from Mrs. Ruggle.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a free copy for review.

Eden's Fire by Samantha Holt

Eden's Fire


21449085A god. A mortal. A treacherous journey that will bind their hearts forever.

Lonely and cast out of society, Eden gets a visit from Tyondric, God of Fire, in answer to a prayer. Gods can only appear once in a person's lifetime, so when he returns a second and third time, she knows her life will never be the same. When the beautiful god reveals Eden is The Pure Soul--the only one who can close the gate to the heavens and prevent the evil in Ananthuria from spreading--their relationship gets complicated.

Ty is willing to break every rule to save the world. And to save Eden.

As they set out on their dangerous journey to the gate Eden is kissed by the god. It's then she realizes Ty holds the power to break through every wall she's erected around herself and force his way into her heart. But what will happen when they close the gate and the world returns to normal? Can a mortal and a god ever be together? And with an evil lord on their trail, will they even succeed?

CONTENT WARNING: Contains sensually erotic scenes, a snarky heroine and a gorgeous god.

I just couldn't finish this one.  Even after reading the first page I suspected I wouldn't like it, and by the end of the first chapter I was sure I didn't. 
The writing wasn't what I normally like and I couldn't find anything interesting about the characters. 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a free review copy. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It


We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming.

Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

I don't remember what led me to request this book from Netgalley.  Maybe it had something to do with the ESP?  Or maybe I just wanted a quick read I didn't have to put much effort into reading?  I don't know.  Sometimes my Netgalley requests astound even me.  

This book is exactly what you would expect it to be: a book about teenagers being teenagers.  Even with the ESP they had catfights, worried about being the best in the class, wondered if their best friend secretly liked them, and used said ESP to get a date.  And found out everyone's secrets, of course.   

There wasn't much depth to the story and I found it irritating at times because of the very immature narrators.  There was only one character that I can say I truly liked. 
If you don't mind YA with a lot of fighting and boy-crazy teens (or if you're a high school student yourself) then you just might like this one.
For everyone else, maybe get a sample before buying.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a free copy for review.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret by Ella Quinn

Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret


22090692William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he's bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can't resist such a beguiling distraction. . .

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family's livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss EugĂ©nie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities. . .

There are times when I like a domineering hero in romance.  Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, and Celeste Bradley are very good at writing the "asshole turned nice guy" type of character.  I never feel like I want to chew them up and spit them out.  William, on the other hand, is the kind of character I'd dearly love to give a hard kick in the balls.  He is a cad and treats women, especially Eugenie, like crap.  I hated him.  Even after the turning point I never fully liked him or believed that he could so easily change his behavior. 

The plot meandered along at a slow pace and there were times when I had no idea why a certain scene was included in the book because it had no importance to the storyline.  I got very bored with it.

Because I had a hard time keeping interested in this book, I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  It just wasn't for me and I'd think twice about picking up any other books from this series.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a free copy for review.

The Diary by R.M. Jane

The Diary


John Bridly has been enamored with Paul Duvant, son a of a rich American merchant, since the moment he laid eyes on him. But though the love proves mutual, John is a marquess, second son of a duke, and as such has a duty to his family.

When Paul has to return to his homeland, John’s duty forbids him from following Paul, and the lovers part ways. One year later, John finds a mysterious diary, dated from the last century…

This is one of those books that I wouldn't recommend to anyone, I'm sorry to say.  It didn't have enough historical detail to make the setting interesting, and the romance itself was unbelievable and felt forced.  I didn't care much about the characters, to be honest.
The story jumps forward in time quite often so I felt robbed of the interaction between the characters.  I feel like somewhere, in one of those time jumps, was the moment when the characters fell in love.  I really wish we got to read about it. 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the free review copy.

Friday, April 15, 2016

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge


23209927After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war.

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants.

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

I have been a big fan of Sara Gruen since I read Water For Elephants several years ago.  Her writing style sucked me in and I read her other books as soon as I could.  When I saw that At The Water's Edge was coming out I requested it from Netgalley immediately.  After reading a few reviews, I was prepared to be disappointed.  To anyone wondering if they should give it a chance I'll say this: Give it a few chapters.

The first few chapters were a chore to get through, not because of bad writing or boredom, but because the three main characters were so selfish and thoughtless that I despaired of ever liking them.  Things quickly picked up.  Maddie wasn't who I thought she was and I began to understand her better.  I liked Maddie a lot.  She was brave, intelligent, and long as her husband wasn't around. 
The characters are all very interesting and fleshed-out.

One thing Sarah Gruen does extremely well is atmosphere.  Scotland and the war were so well-written that I could envision every scene very clearly. 

This book had everything: romance, adventure, was a wonderful historical novel with a touch of magic and wonder.  I highly recommend it.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review.