Monday, October 21, 2013

SPY IN THE SADDLE by Dana Marton

Spy in the Saddle (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1459)(I work for the author.)

Two agents must work together without letting a tense past—and a sizzling new attraction—disrupt their most important mission in Dana Marton's HQ: Texas miniseries
It's been ten years since soldier Shep Lewis laid eyes on delinquent-turned-FBI agent Lilly Tanner, and this time they have an even bigger problem than each other: terrorists. In the center of a smuggling operation, Shep and Lilly must partner up and protect each other.
Not even their undercover identities can mask the mounting attraction between the pair as they struggle to survive in the merciless Texas borderlands. Can they put the past behind them and focus on the mission at hand? Or will their partnership reignite the flames of their untapped passions?

SPY IN THE SADDLE is the very satisfying conclusion to Dana Marton's SDDU (Special Designation Defense Unit) trilogy that takes place in south Texas along the border.  In this installment it's Shep's turn to fall hard in love, and boy does he ever.  Ten years previously, Shep was a parole officer, and Lilly was the case that ended his career, as he broke rules trying to help her. Although Lilly had a serious crush on her back then, Shep merely thought of her as a troubled girl he wanted to help turn her life around.  In return for his assistance, she stole his car, burned his house, and caused him to get fired from his job.
When FBI Agent Lilly Tanner shows up at the SDDU as their new liaison, Shep can't believe his eyes...and bad luck.  And the other guys can't believe their good luck, because Lilly has not only turned her life around, but grown into a beautiful woman at the same time.  She's thrilled but nervous to be working with the man she never forgot, but Shep is annoyed at his attraction to her.  Pretty soon their attraction takes a mild physical turn as part of their undercover identities, and the simple kiss is enough to wake them both up to what's between them.  I found Lilly to be a fascinating character - not only is she trying to resolve her teenage crush with her feelings for Shep now that she's a grown woman, but she's also trying to prove to Shep that she's not the delinquent he remembers.  He's a reminder of the past she's overcome, and watching both of them acknowledge how much they've grown in ten years really added to their believability as people.
Dana Marton never disappoints - she writes some of the sexiest military/law enforcement alpha male heroes around, and her heroines are consistently smart, strong and capable.  Add to that a finely crafted mystery, moments of truly intense action and danger, and SPY IN THE SADDLE qualifies as yet another wonderful romantic suspense literary escape.

Goodreads Link 
Join Dana Marton on Facebook.

Most Eligible Spy (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1448)  My Spy / Last Spy Standing (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1453)  The Spy Wore Spurs (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1364)  Agents Under Fire (novella trilogy) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

SWAMP SNIPER (Miss Fortune Series #3) by Jana DeLeon

Swamp Sniper

(I bought this book.)

When only a crack shot will do…

In the two weeks CIA assassin Fortune Redding has been hiding in Sinful, Louisiana, she’s been harassed, poisoned, and shot at…and that was the easy part. But now, she’s about to face her biggest challenge since setting foot in the tiny bayou town.

When mayoral candidate Ted Williams is murdered, everyone is surprised. Ted was a blowhole and a Yankee, but those usually weren’t good reasons to kill someone. When Sinful Ladies Society leader Ida Belle becomes the lead suspect in the crime, Fortune knows she’s got to solve a murder and save one of the only friends she’s ever had.

But as the investigation begins, more and more secrets surface, and Fortune realizes that sometimes nothing is as it seems.

REVIEW:   My happy place is hanging out with Fortune, Gerti and Ida Belle in Sinful, Louisiana. Those three attract trouble, murder and mayhem like peanut butter attracts raccoons, and I can't get enough.  Fortune is a hoot, as she tries to maintain her cover as a beauty-contest-winning librarian, when in reality she's a wanted CIA assassin in hiding.  Fortune was raised by a legendary CIA agent father who may have been a sociopath as well, and she has no clue how to be "normal".  Her whole life has been about training and missions.  Trying to adjust to friendships, her attraction to the hunky local sheriff, and living a normal civilian life is almost too much for her.  But luckily she's hiding out in Sinful, so the definition of a "normal" life is pretty flexible, and usually involves firearms.
Ida Belle and Gerti are perfect friends and companions for Fortune.  As former Vietnam-era government operatives, both ladies "get" her and this fabulous trio treat every event and social opportunity like a potentially deadly mission.
This third installment of the series finds Ida Belle framed for the murder of a mayoral candidate.  It's up to Gerti and Fortune to clear Ida Belle's name by discovering the real murderer, all while avoiding Carter.  In the process of running their own investigation, Fortune gets her foot trapped in the sheriff's toilet, shoots out her own windows, Gerti has more tree mishaps, Marie joins the gang as a provisional member (she's too nervous to make a full-fledged agent) and Fortune acknowledges her fledgling emotions.  Par for the course for this group.

If you need an escape, a distraction, a laugh (or ten), then read this series!

And find my other reviews of Jana DeLeon's books by clicking on her label to the right of this screen - I am such a fan of her writing.
The author's website is at

Lethal Bayou Beauty (Miss Fortune Mystery Series #2)  Louisiana Longshot  Resurrection in Mudbug  The Reunion / The Secret of Cypriere Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1452)  Rumble on the Bayou

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

THE DEVIL'S GRIN by Annelie Wendeberg

The Devil's Grin

(I got this for free during a recent promotion.)

In Victorian London's cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murders remains undiscovered until a cholera victim is found floating in the city's drinking water supply. Dr Anton Kronberg, England's best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg's secret - a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine - a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper's deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness. 

If you love blends of historical fact and fiction, The Devil's Grin is for you.  It's a fascinating and compelling story of a woman forced to live as a man in order to study medicine in London at the end of the 19th century.  Although she is one of the most brilliant minds of her day, she would be humiliated and ignored if her colleagues discovered her true identity.  In order to maintain her sanity and her sense of self, she maintains an elaborate and time-consuming daily system of changing from man to woman and back again, spending her days as the renowned and respected Dr. Anton Kronberg, and her nights as Anna Kronberg, living in one of the worst slums of London.
When Dr. Anton Kronberg is called in to consult on a cholera death, she meets Sherlock Holmes, who immediately realizes her disguise.  Rather than "out" her, he quickly realizes her incredibly adept and agile intellect is a match for his own, and treats her as a peer in his investigation.  As they dig deeper into the suspicious aspects of the victim's death, both are placed in great danger, even as a discreet and unspoken attraction grows between them.
This fascinating mystery unfolds against a backdrop of London in 1895 and the inherent dangers of the city. 
Anna is a fascinating creature.  Encouraged by her poor father in her academic studies, she somehow has the intestinal fortitude to live as a man in order to go to medical school, and then to practice as a professor and scientist.  She's in constant danger as a woman living in the slums, and also as her male alter ego, because if she's discovered she risks jail.  Her unflagging mental vigilance, combined with her complicated twice daily gender switches is exhausting, and yet she has such a strong moral compass that she is able to stay the course.
I loved this book, and can't wait to read the next one.

Author's website HERE.
Check out the author's Goodreads page HERE.

The Fall   The Moon was Watching

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Coveted Novels by Shawntelle Madison

Bitter Disenchantment: A Coveted Novella Collected: A Coveted Novella Coveted Kept: A Coveted Novel 

(I purchased these books.)

Bitter Disenchantment (Prequel Novella #0.4)
Collected (Prequel Novella #0.5)
Coveted (Book #1)
Kept (Book #2)

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.

BITTER DISENCHANTMENT (Prequel Novella - 158 pages):
Werewolf Natalya Stravinsky's outspoken sidekick, Aggie McClure, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Agatha set foot in South Toms River, New Jersey, she had the fight of her life to face. Destined to be the alpha female over her Manhattan pack, Aggie was fully prepared to take on her role until her father arranges a marriage without her consent. She wants out-but the only way is with money-something her new controlling husband won't give her to escape. But such odds never kept a wolf like Aggie down. To sever the twisted tie, she finds herself pitted against raging wood nymphs and backstabbing brownies in an underground supernatural fighting ring. With every victory, the sweet taste of freedom is closer, but her husband isn't willing to let her go that easily. Until the very end, Aggie must fight for the one thing she's never had: a choice. 

Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from Coveted, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Thorn Grantham returned to South Toms River, New Jersey, Natalya lived alone with her stash of holiday trinkets. Her life takes an interesting turn when she faces a difficult challenge: to find a stolen figurine she'd recently won from a magical creatures auction website. It should be simple, just demand for it back from the pesky thief. But a set of events occurs that puts not only her life at risk, but her family's as well.

Love, love, love these urban fantasy books.  They remind me of Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, or  Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Underworld series.   The strong, flawed female character, her complicated family background, and the incredibly realistic word-building combine to create a seamless reading experience.  When a book causes me to lose awareness of my surroundings, I know I've found something special.
Natalya is a fascinating woman -  she's had some OCD issues in the past, and by the time we meet her in Coveted, they're full blown and she's in collector/hoarder mode.  Which would be bad enough for a human, but Nat is a werewolf.  In the world of the pack her mental illness can be scented and weak wolves need to be removed for the safety of the pack.  Nat has become a rogue, working in her hometown but rarely seeing her family and is not a part of the local pack.  As the story unfolds, we learn WHY Nat started collecting holiday ornaments, and the meaning they hold for her, and this brought tears to my eyes.  Her sense of loss, and the hole she has in her heart and her life is described in such a visceral and realistic manner that all her other actions make complete sense and I was completely engaged.  As strong and as stubborn as Nat is, her control over her mental illness has always been tenuous, and when her lover and then her family abandons her, she is lost.  The descriptions of her triggers, and her resulting impulses, is a fascinating development to add to the werewolf myth.  While most werewolves are torn between human and wolf instincts, Nat has a third and stronger pull - her mental illness.

When ex-lover Thorn returns to town after five years destined to be the alpha and mated to another, Nat's carefully constructed and fairly miserable existence is thrown into an emotional tailspin.  However, her childhood friend Aggie has also just blown into town and moves in with Nat.  Further stabilizing Nat is her therapy group, which includes a hunky wizard who has the hots for her.  Coming out of her comfort zone is the best thing for Nat and it starts to distract her from her impulses.
Watching Nat come into her own, and begin to piece together a family of friends and reunite with her real family, was fascinating, compelling and an all-around great read.

In Kept, Natalya has reunited with her family and proven herself in battle.  But she still has to pass a grueling test to rejoin the pack, and she is still struggling to overcome her mental illness.  At the same time she's trying to put Thorn out of her mind, knowing he is supposed to be mated to another.  When Nat gets into trouble trying to save her father and repay his moon debt, she ends up calling on the wizard Nick.  He shows up with Heidi the mermaid and Abby the muse, and a road trip from hell begins as this nutty group of super friends tries to make it to the required destination in Maine.  They battle imps, fairies, and a pack of werewolves.  Along the way Nat's inherent goodness and sense of honor make her allies and friends in unlikely quarters, and after all this adventure, Nat still has to get home to try and pass the pack test.  The unexpected ending was extremely gritty and satisfying.

Collected, a novella taking place a few months before Coveted begins, is a fun/scary/sad romp with Nat's younger brother Alex and a childhood friend.  The scary is from some seriously nasty supernatural creatures, and the sad is from Nat's uncontrollable impulses to collect, which results in a dangerous adventure for all of them.   And the fun is because this is a short trip into a magical and mundane world of amazing creatures who are as flawed and petty as any human being.  (I'm talking to you, Zmee!)

I have not yet read Bitter Disenchantment.

Shawntelle Madison's Goodreads Page

Author's Website

Coming in 2014 is
COMPELLED   (BOOK #3)                                           Also available:
Compelled                             Bitten By Deceit

Friday, October 4, 2013



(I work for the author.)

For today only, DEATHTRAP is free on Amazon, so get it while you can!  This highly rated romantic suspense (4.6 stars) is a full-length novel, and part of the best-selling Broslin Creek series, but is easily read and enjoyed as a standalone novel.

She'd been "the sick girl" for most of her life. She refused to go straight to "the weird girl". Heart-transplant recipient Sophie Curtis has been in her own antiseptic bubble for so long, she just might not be able to venture out into the real world again. Her spooky body memories are scary enough, but then she finds herself in the cross hairs of a killer.

"Love was blind, people said. But lust was blind, deaf and reckless." Ethan Bing hadn't been a great romantic before he became a cop. Whatever shred of optimism he had left after becoming Broslin Chief of Police had been seared out of him by the unsolved murder of his wife two years before. A new case brings the killer within reach just as Sophie pops into his life. She gets through his defenses like no other before, but soon it becomes clear that she's been selected as the killer's next victim.

Goodreads Link 

Join Dana Marton on Facebook

Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.
She would love to hear from her readers.
 Deathwatch     Deathscape Deathtrap  The Third Scroll (mass Market Paperback)  Agents Under Fire (novella trilogy)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THE REUNION - Mystere Parish: Family Inheritance Trilogy #3 (Harlequin Intrigue #1452) by Jana DeLeon

The Reunion / The Secret of Cypriere Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1452)
(I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.)

An heiress comes home to terror in New York Times bestselling author Jana DeLeon's Mystere Parish: Family Inheritance miniseries.
Bodyguard to an heiress is Tyler Duhan's idea of hell. The steely, sexy ex-marine has heard—and dismissed—the gossip about the haunted old LeBeau mansion and its "cursed" heiresses. Now the middle sibling—headstrong Joelle—has arrived to comply with her mother's will and reunite with her long-lost sisters.
But no sooner does she move into the house, than Joelle falls prey to terrifying threats and mysterious visions. Tyler, though he's sworn off femme fatales, can't deny his feelings for the Creole beauty. Nor can he let passion distract him. Because falling for Joelle could be a fatal mistake—for them both.

What a satisfying end to this trilogy!  Jana has described her romantic suspense stories as Gothic-lite and it's the perfect description.  The Reunion is deliciously creepy and spooky, with an air of menace that nicely complements the sexy and intense attraction between Joelle and Tyler.  Tyler is the perfect addition as the third hero in the series for the middle LeBeau sister.  He's a hometown boy who's been away for years, and has returned a strong, scarred man to help is father.  But he never anticipated being asked to bodyguard the beautiful Joelle, and she doesn't need or want a prickly stranger near her 24/7 - even one as hunky as Tyler.
The ending had a surprise twist, especially after events of the first two books, but it was handled nicely and created a satisfying resolution.
If you love romantic suspense with a touch of the paranormal then pick up this trilogy - it's the perfect thing to read on a cool October night while safely tucked into bed!

Click to read my reviews The Accused and  The Betrayed , the first two books in the series.

Check out my reviews of Jana's Mystere Parish series The Reckoning, The Vanishing and The Awakening.
And find my other reviews of Jana DeLeon's book by clicking on her label to the right of this screen - I am such a fan of her writing.
The author's website is at
Find The Reunion on Goodreads.
The Accused (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1441)  The Betrayed (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1447)  The Secret of Cypriere Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue #1265)  The Lost Girls of Johnson's Bayou (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1331)  Resurrection in Mudbug  Rumble on the Bayou  Trouble in Mudbug (Ghost-in-Law Series)

DEATH BY A HONEYBEE (Josiah Reynolds #1) by Abigail Keam


(I downloaded this book for free during a promotion.)

Josiah Reynolds is a beekeeper trying to stay financially afloat by selling honey at the Farmers' Market. She finds her world turned upside down when a man is found dead in her beeyard, only to discover that the victim is her nemesis.

The police are calling the brutal death murder and Josiah is the number one suspect! Josiah makes the rounds of quirky characters that can only be found in the lush Bluegrass horse country. Fighting an unknown enemy in the glamorous world of Thoroughbreds, oak-cured bourbon and antebellum mansions, Josiah struggles to uncover the truth in a land that keeps its secrets well.

This was a charming little cozy-style murder mystery with something special - a 50 year old heroine. It was SO refreshing to read a book about someone in my age range.  That being said, it was quite annoying that Josiah kept referring to herself as old.  She speaks and acts like a geriatric woman ready for a nursing home. She took a VERY early retirement from her university professor position, and is now a cash-poor beekeeper living in a multimillion dollar home filled with valuable artwork, on over a hundred acres of prime property.  She lives on the verge of poverty, refusing to move forward after a painful event, contentedly wallowing in her painful past.
Also intriguing was the fact that Josiah is a very petty, mean, self-absorbed woman, in addition to her many worthy characteristics.  When her husband left her for a younger woman she refused to give him a divorce unless he gave her everything.  Three years later, the husband and the younger woman are still together and pregnant, when he has a heart attack and lands in the hospital.  Josiah is still legally his wife, and she refuses his dying request to see the other woman.  Remember, it's been three years since they separated.  Talk about holding a grudge, refusing the deathbed request from the father of your child!

So why on earth do I love this book?  Two reasons - the mystery was really well-developed, and Josiah is so real to me I'm still mad at her behavior!  When Josiah is framed for the murder of a bee-charmer on her property, she's forced to come out of her self-created exile and deal with reality.  Josiah has spent the last few years absorbed in her passion for bee-keeping, selling her honey at the weekend farmer's market, and not fully dealing with reality. 
I really loved Josiah - she was complicated, petty, brave, self-absorbed, generous, kind and has a lot of love to give.  Her best friend/companion is a gorgeous gay man half her age, and he and his partner, together with the shark-lawyer hybrid sent by her daughter, end up creating a family for Josiah.  They rally around her prickly self, and are able to see through that to her soft, squishy center. Sprinkled throughout the story are mysterious references to Josiah's adult daughter and at the very end we meet her, albeit briefly.  I can't wait to read the second story just to learn more about her as well.
I enjoyed this book so much I bought the 2nd one in the series.

Read about the book on Goodreads.
Check out the author's website HERE.

drowing  bridle  bourbon  lotto  chocolate