Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bear Claw Lawman by Jessica Andersen (Harlequin Intrigue #1363)

Bear Claw Lawman (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1363)

Publisher's Blurb:  When DEA agent Nick Lang came to town, even the toughest cases got closed. But his latest had become way too personal. He'd thought CSI Jennifer Prynne was just another no-strings fling, until a serial killer's attack left her battered, bruised and struggling to remember her past. Now, as the key to the entire case they'd been investigating for months, Jenn's safety became Nick's responsibility. He knew the murderer's identity was buried deep in Jenn's mind, but releasing it was dangerous—yet necessary. The old Nick was an expert at getting answers and moving on. But his heart told him this was one case he couldn't walk away from.…

Review:  Well, this book got off to a good, solid start and for the most part I really enjoyed it.  I liked Jenn - she is trying to pull her life back together and prove herself professionally after a tragic/embarrassing combination of losing her husband and then finding out he was a crooked cop (her last name is Prynne - get it?)  Then Nick, a rock star DEA agent arrives in town and within 12 days they have supposedly had 4 dates and Nick moved in so they could continue the incredibly hot sex.  Rather unbelievable but a fun read, even when the required obstacle-to-true-love occurs and Nick dumps her, terrified of his feelings for her.  Shortly afterward Jenn is attacked by the Investor, a homicidal criminal mastermind, and Nick is assigned as Jenn's bodyguard.  And this is about where I started getting annoyed.  First, Jenn and Nick are having all kinds of intense, personal conversations and tiffs in the Police Department.  It was hard to believe they would be so unprofessional, and harder to believe that those around them did not have a problem with it.  Second, and the larger problem for me, we learn that Nick has two sons who live with his ex-wife and her new husband who has adopted them.    Nick sees them a few times a year and is more like the Cool Uncle than their father.  But I cou1d not get past the fact that Nick has effectively abandoned his children.  Doesn't a parent have to give up his/her legal rights for another adult to adopt their children?  And Nick is so casual about it, in an I'm-a-complicated-role-playing-tough-guy-cop-who-is-not-father-material kind of way.  And I'm reading this otherwise fun book, and my fun has come to a screeching halt as I'm thinking that Nick is a spineless, whiny, douchebag, who chose to father two children and then bailed when fatherhood got too hard.  Which ended the whole sexy hero image for me, right there and then, so of course the romance is now tainted - TAINTED!   And it simultaneously pissed me off because I was really enjoying this book and I like the author's style enough to read another book. The ending was the standard HEA, although the Bear Claw PD is looking pretty incompetent when the Investor waltzes in and grabs Jenn.  I felt like the author's writing style was superior to the character-deprived hero and quickie ending.

For more information visit the author's website at  I also reviewed Lord of the Wolfyn on this blog .

Lord of the Wolfyn (Harlequin Nocturne #123) Storm Kissed (Final Prophecy Series #6) Blood Spells (Final Prophecy Series #5) Bear Claw Bodyguard (Harlequin Intrigue #1322) Bear Claw Conspiracy

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Prophet by Amanda Stevens (Graveyard Queen Series)

The Prophet

Publisher's Blurb:
My name is Amelia Gray.
I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I've broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.
In order to protect myself, I've vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.
Now I'm faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

Love this series!  It's darkly original and creepy, with twists and turns that kept me reading late into the night holding my breath.  In Amelia Gray's world, ghosts are parasitic energy-suckers, haunting the living by leeching their warmth and energy until they are shells of their former selves.  Amelia has spent her whole life following her father's rules for avoiding contact, but falling in love with a haunted police detective has exposed her to the ghosts of his sad daughter and vengeful wife, and his murdered former partner, all of whom want something from Amelia.  As she investigates his death, she uncovers the dangerous subculture of Charleston involving a zombie-making poweder called gray dust and a powerful sorceror recently returned to town who had close ties with John Devlin's wife.
This series is notable for it's unique take on ghosts, and the fabulously original Amelia Gray, a complicated woman with a special talent that has gifted her with a life of loneliness and isolation.  Each book has a well-written mystery with nail-biting suspense and jump-at-any-sound surprises.  As Amelia slowly begins to break her beloved father's rules, she exposes herself to more danger but also learns more about ghosts and the Gray, the world they inhabit.  It is is scary, lonely, fascinating and compelling.  The atmosphere in these books is almost another character - it is like a living mist, floating around the reader and slowly enveloping her until the dark and mysterious world of twilight and Amelia Gray seems more real than anything else.  Powerfully magical, like Amelia's beloved white garden in her backyard, these books will haunt you long after the last page has been turned.

For more information check out the author's website at

The Abandoned The Restorer The Kingdom The DollmakerJust Past Midnight

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bloodline by James Rollins (Sigma Force Series #8)

Bloodline (Sigma Force Series)

Publisher's Blurb: 
Immortality is not just within our reach—it is already here.
Galilee, 1025. A Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure, a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that promises to change humankind forever.
A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman. Commander Gray Pierce is enlisted for a covert rescue mission. Suspicious that the kidnapping masks a more nefarious plot, Gray must confront a shadowy cabal that has manipulated events throughout history.
And the danger is only beginning . . .
Halfway around the world, a firebombing at a fertility clinic in South Carolina exposes a diabolical conspiracy that goes back centuries . . . a scheme that lies within our genetic code. With time against them, SIGMA must race to save an innocent unborn baby whose very existence raises questions about the nature of mankind:
Could you live forever? Would you live forever?


Another great ride by James Rollins, this Sigma book is notable for introducing two new characters and for making women the focus.  Rollins has always written great female characters, strong, capable and smart, complicated and full of depth.  But this is the first book that places Kat and Lisa as the action-drivers while Painter is busy researching and Monk is home watching his young daughters.  Kat and Lisa are trying to infiltrate a fertility clinic with links to the President's family and his kidnapped daughter, when the operation goes horribly wrong.  Meanwhile, Gray is globe-trotting with Kowalski and Seichan, who has a much-expanded role as we learn a lot more about her background and see more of the person she is beneath her smooth-as-glass exterior. While the women have a different style of running an operation, they are just as fierce and action-oriented as their men, and it was a lot of fun to watch their brains and ass-kicking take center stage.  The fact that Lisa was wearing St. John while doing so was a really fun detail, one that I got a kick out of but it doesn't take away from the non-stop action/adventure/freaky science that is
Rollins' trademark style.
The new characters are Tucker Wayne, a former Army officer, and his war dog Kane, both of whom bring a rare set of skills.  There are several passages narrated from Kane's point of view, which was really unique and eye-opening.  It made me look at my dogs differently, giving me some insight into their worldview.
As the search for the President's pregnant daughter begins to overlap with the Guild and the mysterious family at the center of its powerful core referred to as the Bloodline, Painter begins to realize just how close Sigma is to unmasking the puppetmasters behind the Guild.
Kowalski is there for comic relief, Gray's interest in Seichan deepens, and although there are a lot of questions answered, the story takes a different turn at the end, leaving me both satisfied at the resolutions and curious about the new directions.
Good stuff!!

Read this 99 cent short story first for an introduction to Tucker and Kane.

Tracker: A Short Story Exclusive+-*

For more information about James Rollins, check out his website at

The Doomsday Key and The Last Oracle with Bonus Excerpts (Sigma Force Series) The Devil Colony (Sigma Force Series) Excavation Deep Fathom Ice Hunt

Monday, July 9, 2012

Author Debra Kayn and a Great Giveaway!

Check out author Debra Kayn's fun giveaway - who wouldn't love a pair of cowgirl boots?!  The following is from her blog at

Contest! If Rodeo Rebel makes it to the top 100, I’ll be giving away cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat to one lucky winner!

Contest time!
For the next month, I’ll be running a contest. I want to get my book, Rodeo Rebel, to the top 100 at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
If Rodeo Rebel hits the top 100, I’m giving away a kickass pair of cowgirl boots PLUS a cowgirl hat to one lucky winner…delivered to your front door. (Red Corral Picasso Cowgirl boots valued at $209.99 + Bullhide Winston Straw Cowgirl hat valued at $39.99 for a total prize worth $249.98)
How do you enter?
It’s easy!
All you have to do is tweet the contest, blog about the contest, Facebook the contest, or buy Rodeo Rebel. No purchase is necessary. If you’d like to tweet every day, you can still earn 25 points a day into the contest. If you want to copy and paste this contest on your own blog, you’ll earn 25 points. You can even like me on Facebook for 10 points. There’s lots of different ways to get your name entered. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below on all the ways to earn points, and go spread some love for Rodeo Rebel.
That’s not all!

If I make it into the top 25 in category romance on Amazon, I’ll also give away a cowgirl hat to one lucky winner. (Bullhide Winston Straw Cowgirl hat valued at $39.99) Florentine McDougal, my heroine in Rodeo Rebel, wears a lucky cowgirl hat when she rides. Wouldn’t you like one too?
Here’s the catch. You’ll have to get the word out about Rodeo Rebel. If I don’t get into the top 100, I’ll be giving away a $25 dollar gift certificate to a store of your choice as a consolation prize. So, it’s important to spread the word if you want a chance to deck yourself out in new boots and new hat. The more friends you get involved, the higher Rodeo Rebel will climb on the charts.
Here’s an example tweet!
If #RodeoRebel hits the top 100, @DebraKayn is giving away cowgirl boots + hat! @EntangledPub Please RT!

Check out Rodeo Rebel at Amazon

Check out Rodeo Rebel at Barnes & Noble
You’ll find all the ways you can earn points in the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest ends 8/8/2012

Val's Rancher Where There's Smoke Ride Free: The Chromes and Wheels Gang, Book 2 Chantilly's Cowboy Margot's Lawman

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon (Miss Fortune Series #1)

Louisiana Longshot

Publisher's Blurb:  It was a hell of a longshot...

CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever - in Sinful, Louisiana.

With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world's largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she's determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.

Unfortunately, she hasn't even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she's not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.

Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it's too late.

Review:  OUT-FREAKING-STANDING!  I can't believe how much I loved this book.  When I finished it I was really annoyed because I love Fortune and the nutty world of Sinful, Louisiana so much I didn't want to leave them.
Fortune is a CIA assassin whose cover has been blown, so her boss sends her to lay low in the tiny bayou town of Sinful, posing as his beauty-queen/librarian niece who has just inherited a house from her deceased aunt.  Fortune has spent her entire life - including her childhood - training for her career as CIA spook/assassin, and she only understands tactics, weapons and missions.  The idea of spending months in hiding in a small town terrifies her almost more than the price on her head.  Immediately after arriving, though, her life is anything but quiet.  She meets two old ladies who are full of surprises, and before she knows it she's teamed up with them to locate their missing friend Marie, whose abusive, jackass husband disappeared years ago.  But one of his bones has just washed up on Fortune's back yard, and Marie is nowhere to be found.  Everyone assumes Marie murdered the jerk, and her friends want to find her and simultaneously find another suspect to give Marie a chance at beating a murder charge.  Pretty soon Fortune is up to her eyeballs in the wacky shenanigans of her two new friends Ida Belle and Gertie, who do not act like little old ladies.  They are shockingly prepared for anything, well-armed, running the town, and think nothing of bending the law a bit.  And every time Fortune ends up in a compromising position, usually dressed in a towel, or a trash bag and ski mask (yes, you read that right), she is caught by the town Deputy, a hunky, exasperated man trying his best to find Marie also.
Fortune is a great character - she is paranoid,smart and capable, comfortably killing anyone who needs killing, but her solitary live has left her ill-prepared for her budding friendship with Ida Belle and Gertie, and the emotional aspects of friendship.  Plus, they seem to be hiding something - a lot of things, and Fortune is never sure just how much they know before they rope her into their next hare-brained scheme.  From outrunning alligators on an island that smells like dung,  shooting raccoons in her own attic, racing old ladies for banana pudding, or stripping naked to ride in Ida Belle's car, the craziness never ends and it all makes perfect sense.
DeLeon is really funny - I was laughing out loud so many times.  Her writing is confident and self-assured, allowing the pace to move along at a fast clip.  As crazy as the characters seem, and as nutty as their adventures are, they still seem so real  and believable.  I really cared about them and hope this is the start to a very long series.

For more information check out the author's website at

Mischief in Mudbug (Ghost-in-Law Series)  Trouble in Mudbug (Ghost-in-Law Series) The Lost Girls of Johnson's Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1331) Bayou Bodyguard The Secret of Cypriere Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue #1265)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Spy Wore Spurs by Dana Marton (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1364)

The Spy Wore Spurs (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1364)

Publisher's Blurb:  Top secret commando soldier Ryder McKay is shot and left for dead in South Texas. But when he comes to in a bedroom on Grace Cordero's remote ranch, he realizes the beautiful former army medic did more than save his life. She risked her own. Not that he can tell her the whole truth about his mission. Ryder is sure dangerous thugs are using Grace's vast property to smuggle drugs, weapons—and people—across the border. But to prove it without blowing his cover, he has to let her ride shotgun on the investigation. And keeping his heart guarded against sexy, off-limits Grace will be the hardest part of all.
Released July 2012.

Review:  This the latest book by one of my favorite authors, Dana Marton.  She writes the best suspenseful romantic mysteries, full of danger, intrigue and fast-paced action.  I've reviewed several of her books and they're all really enjoyable, hard-to-put-down reads.  She is one of a handful of authors who I consider to be "must-reads". 
Her latest, The Spy Wore Spurs, is no exception.  It begins with Grace returning to her family ranch to scatter her brother's ashes.  Grace has been away for several years, and is almost finished with her veterinarian training.  She is also a former Army medic suffering from PTSD, trying desperately to hold herself together.  But her first night home brings anything but a sense of peace, as the sound of gunshots leads her to the near-dead Ryder, shot by smugglers on Grace's land.  Luckily for Ryder, Grace is as brave as she is tough, and she manages to stop the bleeding, get him into her truck in a torrential rainstorm, deal with a flashback, and sew him up with her vet medical kit.  AND, she takes in a desperate, frightened woman who has just crossed the border illegally in a search for her missing children.  Ryder is on a secret mission to locate a terrorist  trying to cross the border, and once he learns that Grace is a well-liked local girl, with friends throughout the community, he decides to use her as a consultant to help him get information.  As Grace and Ryder spend the next several days looking for clues to the terrorist/smuggling operation, and Grace tries to track down information about the woman's missing family, they learn the woman's husband has been murdered, her children are missing, and Grace's ranch is being used for something illegal.
There are several opportunities for Ryder to learn that Grace does not take orders and is every bit his equal when it comes to investigating and taking care of herself.  Grace knows how to defend herself and can handle herself with weapons, animals and bad guys, which is a good thing because she gets captured more than once. Their attraction grows along with their respect as they get to know each other.
I loved the characters of Grace and Ryder.  In a refreshing change from stereotypes, Grace is completely against marriage, and considers herself broken from her PTSD.  She is prickly, strong, defensive, and courageous.  Ryder has decided it's time for him to settle down, and he has the perfect candidate in mind - a petite blond who is both maternal and a warrior/partner.  Grace does not match his delusion, er, I mean vision, and he is soon squashing all thoughts of attraction to her, even though his respect and admiration for her is growing.  Ryder is a great hero - he's all alpha male, former soldier/black ops, rugged manly man.  He is surprised to find himself so attracted to Grace at first, thinking that she is simply pretty and capable.  But when he sees the steely strength in her, he is completely turned on.  Grace is one of the best heroines I have read in a very long time.  She is struggling to stay strong as she completes vet school, grieves for her brother and the loneliness of having no family, debates whether to stay on her ranch, and helps a woman find her missing children while spending time with Ryder, who aggravates her no end.  She is flawed and fabulous.  I liked and admired her, and wanted to be her. 
The setting for this is south Texas, along the border, and the scenery comes alive from the beginning.  Marton's descriptions of the landscape are vivid, colorful and came alive in my mind as I read.
The ending sets up the story for a series (I hope!) and had a moment that made me actually cry.  Great book!

For more information visit the author's website at

Spy Hard (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1358) Shadow Soldier The Black Sheep Sheik Last Spy Standing (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1328) The Third Scroll