maandag 29 juni 2015

Vivian Arend – Rocky Mountain Heat

The first book in the Six Pack Ranch series, published November 15, 2011.
Genre: hot contemporary romance
Cover: warm

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He's the one who taught her to ride. Now all he wants is to ride her.
Blake Coleman is old enough to know that acting on impulse causes nothing but a heap of trouble. But when trouble's a western-hat-wearing blonde with slim legs that go on forever, what's a man to do? Wanting the sweet girl next door is just wrong. The responsible thing to do is keep his hands off.
Jaxi has other plans for Blake's hands, and his heart. She may have once considered him a big brother, but that was a long time ago. She's all grown up now and ready to convince him that she's perfect for him. Except he can't seem to see past the big "don't touch" sign that's apparently still hanging around her neck.
When Jaxi ends up living right under Blake's nose, the heat between them slides off simmer and leaps up to barn-burning levels. However, a few of the younger six-pack Colemans have decided Jaxi's brand of trouble is worth risking a few busted bones.
That is, if Blake's finally ready to let go the reins and fight for what he wants...

Warning: Sexy cowboys seducing and being seduced in trucks, pool halls and barns. Droolworthy country charm, a little double-teaming, a few secrets and a whole lot of brothers to look forward to. Anyone wanna go for a ride?


I have been warned that this book was too hot for my taste, but I finally read it anyway. And I loved it. Sure, the love scenes are scorching hot, especially that first one in the pool hall, but the romance itself was sweet and good and I loved the story.
Blake’s mother has fallen from a ladder while picking apples, and now she needs help around the house. Cooking and cleaning for 7 healthy big men is not an easy job. But Jaxi is up for it. She has been working towards becoming a family member ever since she was a little girl and found a second home at the Coleman’s ranch. And she has her sights set firmly on Blake, even though some of his brothers sure want to change her mind about that. She has gone to college with one idea in her mind: to become the perfect wife for a modern day hard working rancher. She has done some eclectic schooling, and of course some classes just for fun. She has lots of friends, but her heart is set on Blake.

And now that she is living under the same roof, she is going after him with everything she gets. And that sure was fun to witness. His parents know of course, and approve of it, and most of his brothers are rooting for her as well. They are a naughty bunch, at least the twins are, and the one who pretended to be her boyfriend a few years ago, just to make Blake jealous (which did not seem to work).

It takes a while, but when Blake’s eyes finally open, and he can see past their age difference, he lets loose completely. Until he decides he needs to romance and woo Jaxi first, and puts an end to their sexual encounters…


Yes, I enjoyed this book very much, even the sex scenes, and I do look forward to reading more books by Vivian Arend. I loved the characters, and I am quite intrigued by some of the other brothers.

8 stars.



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zaterdag 27 juni 2015

Duffy Brown – Demise in Denim

The fifth book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series, published April 7, 2015.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: fun, beautiful, inviting.

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It's springtime in Savannah, Georgia, in the newest Consignment Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Pearls and Poison. The azaleas and magnolias are in bloom - and Walker Boone is on the run. . .

When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she'd be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.
Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement - and who has been getting under her skin ever since - in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity - and Walker's freedom - they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .


This book seamlessly goes on where the novella Dead Man Walker ended (it really are the first few chapters of this book).
Walker is hiding from the police and those who want to turn him in, while Reagan is trying to find out who really killed Conway Adkins, Walker’s father. And there are suspects enough. Like Walker’s half brother Tucker, who has resented Walker being hold up against him for years (while Walker did not even know about him, or his father), and the fact that Walker has inherited some sizeable moneyworth old buildings. The police want to arrest Walker as they think it is the perfect motive, killing for money. And of course, there are enough people happy that Walker is out of the picture.
Or is it really because some one wants to obtain Mercedes’ services as a housekeeper and as the lady in the funeral parlor who made you look really good in your last moments, or really bad.

With the help of her crazy aunt Kiki, her mama the judge, and her friends, Reagon is determined to find out the truth, (and get her hands on some of Conway Adkins’ furniture that he promised to consign to her shop). Getting in more scrapes than usual, and doing some serious damage to Walker’s beloved car, and even ending up in jail.


I love this series so much. The Southern setting is gorgeous, the characters are hilarious, and Reagon is just a young woman trying to make a living. With her dog Bruce Willis who loves hot dogs, and her consignment shop in her beloved fixer-upper-house. They seem to be always eating something fried or baked that would kill a westerner in a week, and I can just picture myself living there. Duffy Brown has a vivid writing style, that takes the reader into the page, and makes the characters so very lifelike. I love her sense of humor, and the ridiculous but never too over the top situations she puts Reagan in.

The mystery was a good one, I did not figure it all out before Reagan did, and that is of course a good thing. The end sure has a hint of romance coming, so I can’t wait for the next book! Bless your heart! (I just love that sentence and the real meaning of it).

9 stars.



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donderdag 25 juni 2015

Recommendations from Karin for June 2015.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.

Karin:

This month I have hit the jackpot so to speak. I’ve read so many good books that I would have a hard time to choose only three of them to recommend to you. So I have decided to name some of my favourite writers and recommend one or two of their books.
To continue the post of last month I once again would mention

Nalini Singh and her new book “Shards of Hope”

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Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know that they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn't welcome outsiders.
And they must survive. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows that she's too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, to protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what. But this time, even Aden's passionate determination may not be enough - because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken . . . like Zaira.


I don’t know how she does that but this book is up to the high standards that I have set for Nalini Singh. Of course I wanted to know more about Aden as he was one of the important supporting characters in the last few books and what can I say? – I loved him, I enjoyed his heroine, I was so invested in the beginning of the new story arc that I’m on pins and needles to know what and whom the next book will be about. (And it’s a year until the next book hopefully will be published!!)
In this book we meet most of the characters of the previous books in short scenes, it’s a thrill ride to find out what else the “ordinary field medic” can really do – in short: I highly recommend this book to readers of the series. I don’t however recommend it for newbies – you could read it as a stand alone but I don’t think you would enjoy it as much as you’d do when you know all the background.

Then I would like to mention

Thea Harrison and her new book “Midnight’s Kiss”

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Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them - and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances....
Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won't be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine's captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?


I love the Elder Races series, I enjoyed meeting Thea Harrison in Berlin at the LLC, she is such a lovely person. I guess this book could be read as a stand alone but once again you will enjoy it more if you know about the background.
I especially enjoyed this book because aside from all the roller coaster ride of how Julian and Melly save each other – and how I enjoy a heroine who isn’t a simpering miss waiting to be rescued – there is character development in this book. The main characters have bad history between them but they don’t cling to it with teeth and claws. Of course it is part of the conflict but they talk about it (eventually, but what are a few years for immortals?), they come to compromises and they have one of the sweetest happy endings I’ve read in a long time – I just want to mention chocolate cake!

I don’t want to bore you with writing too much but there is another writer I would like to mention:

Mary Balogh and her “Survivor’s Club”- series and especially the book “Only Enchanting”

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A New York Times Bestselling AuthorThe Survivors? Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery in Cornwall. Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancĂ©e’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back ? and all are eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.


This is the opposite end of what I’ve been describing before. It’s historical romance but not your run of the mill topics. You could start reading with any of the books in the series but of course it is always wise to start at the beginning. Sometimes I still wonder why I like this series so much because there’s not really a lot happening on the outside. Of course there are some conflicts between the hero and the heroine but mostly there are internal dialogues. You get to know what the people think, the conclusions they draw and this does not make for a fast, fluffy reading. Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to be patient and continue orderly but it’s always worth the effort.

To conclude this long post I would like to recommend to you an author I have never mentioned before (or so I believe). It’s

Sarah Mayberry and her book “Anticipation”

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Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira - charm and sex personified - was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she's ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?
Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he's more intense and singularly devoted...to her. With all this sexy attention, it's hard to stay within the boundaries she's scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he's offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he's ruined her forever, as well as the friendship that is so important to her....



This is another leap in my reading habits. She writes contemporary romance sometimes with an edge. One or both of the main characters bring a lot of baggage to the story. In this case it’s the heroine. I was truly fascinated with how Blue and Eddy made the journey to their happily ever after – and it was a long and bumpy one.
I’m not always comfortable with how Mayberry deals with sex as the first and main attraction in some of her books. In truth this something I almost despise – instant attraction, let’s burn up the sheets, and then we’ll see how things develop. I don’t know why but I cannot only live with that plot, I really want to know how they can find something more than “only” joy in bed.

This is such a long post that I had better stop now or you could be bored. I wish you all happy reading with lots of good books!

Karin photo Karin 2_zps9oybhsee.png

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I haven’t read the new Nalini Singh book yet, but hope to get to it soon. And the rest sure sound interesting. Anyone familiar with the lesser known authors on this list?



© 2015 Reviews by Aurian


dinsdag 23 juni 2015

Faith Hunter – Dark Heir

The ninth book in the Jane Yellowrock series, published April 7, 2015.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong

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Shape-shifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock is the best in the business when it comes to slaying vampires. But her latest fanged foe may be above her pay grade.
For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it's definitely personal.
Jane is tasked with tracking him down. With the help of a tech wiz and an ex-Army ranger, her partners in Yellowrock Securities, she'll have to put everything on the line, and hope it's enough. Things are about to get real hard in the Big Easy.


This book sure starts with a bang. The prisoner Leo, the Master of the City, has kept in his “basement” has escaped with the help of some traitors. The original Son of Darkness is unstoppable now that he can feed on a whole town of people, and he is coming after them. The European Vampires want him back, and Leo wants him imprisoned again. Jane wants him dead though, he has already slaughtered over 50 people, and if they are not careful, humans will rise up against the vampires and they will have a war on their hands. And just when the vampires are getting into a treaty with the witches.
Jane will have to do her whatever she can to stop Joseph before he is unstoppable. When he hurt her with his bloodmagic, he also hurt Beast and she is frantic that something is really wrong when she can’t reach her anymore.
Jane gets seriously hurt a few times, and even the white werewolf Brute helps in their fight. It takes all they have to bring Joseph Santana down.


I don’t want to spoil anything, as always I loved this book. It is chockfull of action and weapons. Jane has to protect her friend from herself and her new dead magic, she has to hunt down and fight one of the oldest vampires on earth, and she has to deal with her private life as well. And of course she wants to finally kill Adriana, but Leo keeps protecting her for some reason, even though she betrayed him again.

I love this series, it is one of my favourites. Jane is an awesome heroine, she is still learning about herself, but she is kick ass, and doesn’t hesitate to put herself in danger to protect others. I love her “sidekicks” Eli and Alex, but am still not sure about Bruiser. And Leo needs a lesson …

10 stars.



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zondag 21 juni 2015

Ellery Adams – Lemon Pies and Little White Lies

The fourth book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series, published April 7, 2014.
Genre: paranormal cozy mystery, with recipes
Cover: beautiful

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Ella Mae LeFaye's Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, providing the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia, with spellbinding desserts and magical pies. Her personal life is also heating up as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that handsome Hugh Dylan won't return her calls...
Still, when Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put romantic longings aside - especially when she realizes that the mystical symbols left at each crime scene are dangerously personal. Now she will have to whip up all her supernatural skills to uncover a killer out to settle an ancient score - before the murderer devastates everything Ella Mae is determined to protect...


The fourth and I am afraid the last book in this series certainly had all my emotions going strong. Hugh broke Ella Mae’s heart and mine, when he choose something and someone else, but Ella Mae refused to deal with her heart break, as she had so much work to do for the greater good of all of her people.
She is the long awaited clover queen, but someone else wants that title, and is creating havoc, destroying sacred ash groves in a bid for power. And now she is coming to Havenwood … to confront Ella Mae and destroy everything and everyone she loves.
An unwilling accomplice is already killing people, creating unrest and grief, but Ella Mae has more friends and allies than she knows. And with the baking contest she is organizing, witches from all over the world are coming to Havenwood. But her arch nemesis Lorelei is still blaming Ella Mae for her fathers imprisonment, even though he tried to kill her, and she might just tip the scales in the wrong direction…


If you like paranormal cozy mysteries, and you haven’t tried this series yet, what are you waiting for? It is absolutely original and awesome, and I love it so very much. Based on the myths of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, dealing with curses, good and bad witches and elementals. Ella Mae’s magic is a gentle one, but strong. She can bake emotions into her delicious pies, making people happy, forgetting their sorrows, even wanting to adopt a pet when she thinks about how much she loves Chewy, her own little dog.
Her mother and aunts and her waitress/bodyguard Reba are amazing secondary characters.

I love Ella Mae, and her finding herself in her magic, and growing as a person, while enduring heartbreak. She is amazing, and does whatever she has to, and is capable of, to safe other people.

I can’t find any information on Ellery’s website if this really is the last book in the series, but reading the end (two times) I am afraid it is. Yes, it is a very good ending, but I would also love many more books in this setting. Still, she is writing more series that I love, so I won’t be without her books.

10 stars.



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vrijdag 19 juni 2015

Kelly Hunter – The Trouble with Valentines

A stand alone novel, published January 4, 2013.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: fun

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This Valentine's, falling in love could be murder... Hallie Bennett loves flirting with danger.
So when a man with trouble written all over him, walks into her shoe shop, she finds him impossible to refuse.
Nick needs a 'wife' for a week to seal a Hong Kong business deal, Hallie needs $ 5.000,00.
It might not be the most traditional Valentine's Day proposal, but she's hardly a traditional girl...
Two beautiful (and borrowed) Tiffany rings later, and Hallie's on her way to live the high life. But the trip comes with a deadly twist. Will Hallie survive the week with her body - and her heart - intact?

Hallie is an Australian girl, living and working in London. She is working on her Sotheby’s diploman in East Indian Art, and she needs £ 10,000 for that. So when a gorgeous man walks into the expensive shoe store she is working at, together with his mother, and proposes to her, she is sorely tempted. To play his wife for a week in Hong Kong, and receive that much money? As well as a suitable wardrobe to play his rich wife?
No surprise she is on that plane the next day. She is not comfortable with deceiving people, but if it is so safe him from his host’s daughter who tried to seduce him last time, she will do it. But Hallie doesn’t count on the daughter in question being a very sheltered and genteel girl, and not the brazen hussy he made her out to be. And so they become fast friends, with Hallie trying to get the girl some more freedom to maker her own choices and live her own life.

Nick is falling more and more under Hallie’s spell, he likes her joy in live, the fresh look she gives him, and how crazy in lust she makes him as well. But someone is trying to kill him, and he has no idea why …


I loved this book, it was delicious and fun and fun and romantic and fun. I laughed a lot, I love Hallie, who has four very protective big brothers with dangerous jobs, and Nick fits right in with them. Hallie is determined to make it on her own, even though all her brothers want to protect her and pay for her education. She is living with one brother in London, but he is an undercover cop, working for Interpol, and away on missions most of the time. So she can leave for Hong Kong with Nick without him knowing about it and trying to stop her.

I loved the setting of Hong Kong as a background, and the places they went. To just shop and sightsee, or the see the real Chinese way of life with their rich host.

But most of all, this was fun and I absolutely want to read more from Kelly Hunter. I am developing a real liking for Australian authors lately. I am glad I met Kelly last year at the Love Letter Convention in Berlin, or I would never have discovered her books.

9 stars.



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woensdag 17 juni 2015

Kelly Hunter - Wish

A stand-alone novel, published August 16, 2012.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: sweet

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All single mother Billie Temple wants is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home. When she finds a small country pub in need of some TLC she thinks she's found the perfect solution. Until she meets her new landlord.
Meanwhile, all cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to leave town. Adam and Billie are on an inevitable collision course, but will love prove the perfect solution? The obstacles seem insurmountable. Adam doubts his ability to protect and love, after failing to prevent a family tragedy a few years earlier. Billie can't trust anyone but herself.– and she's done a damn good job at looking after her son without help. Who needs a man? Then, things take an unsettling and faintly sinister turn with several strange incidents, all apparently aimed at hurting Billie.
Wish is a wonderful, sexy romance that will keep you guessing until the very end. It's a brilliant collision between two headstrong people, and filled with moments of tenderness that will touch your heart. Keep the tissues on hand.


The blurb says it all. A young single mother wants to raise her young son away from the dangers of the big city and ends up in a very small town in the country. Her new landlord though she was a man, and he really wants her to leave right away. It is not safe out there for a woman alone, who has no idea of the dangers of the local wildlife. How is this pretty tiny woman ever going to run the local pub?
But Billie manages, and then she and Adam grow closer and become lovers. But can Adam really love her, when his heart is still broken with the deaths of his wife and son?


I loved this book. There is no whining, no whishing for things other than they are, things she can’t change. Billie is such a strong and capable character; she is a good mother, and she works hard to make the local pub a success. The owner has given her carte blanche, but when she turns his pub into a place where whole families feel welcome he is not so sure that is what he wants. Billie even starts serving some food and pies made by a local woman. And there is another romance in the works.
Billie is in love with Adam, and she enjoys being his lover, but if he can’t love her back and commit to her, she will walk away from him as she deserves more. I absolutely admire her for that.

I totally recommend this book if you want something nice to escape with.

9 stars.



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