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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weekly Winners

Below is a list of all of the winners from the last week.

Kimberly
Sierra
Melanie
No Ordinary Mistress

Sue
Marcy
The Gentleman Jewel Thief by Jessica Peterson

Lindsey V.
The Highlander's Bride by Mary Wine

Cathy P.
Shelter Me by Catherine Mann

MrsMac19
Personal Target by Kay Thomas


All winners have been notified via email. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

Guest Post with Author Deanna Roy and Giveaway

Meet Deanna Roy, author of Forever Sheltered.

Deanna Roy is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous works of romance, women's, and children's fiction.

Her first novel was Baby Dust, a story about a pregnancy loss support group. Her romance series that begins with Forever Innocent, about a couple who reunites four years after the death of their premature baby, became a runaway success. It was followed with Forever Loved, and Forever Sheltered will come out August 2014.

Find Deanna at:

Feature and Giveaway: Upside Down by Lia Riley


If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

ARC Review: Forever Sheltered by Deanna Roy


Forever Sheltered is the third book in Deanna Roy's Forever series, but this book can be read as a standalone. I was a little worried going into this book after having read Forever Loved. I really enjoyed Forever Innocent but had been disappointed in Forever Loved, and honestly we didn't get to see much of Darion in Forever Loved but the little we did wasn't the best. I am so glad that read this story though, and I really liked both Darion and Tina. I had been looking forward to Tina's story since her character was first introduced and I am so glad to say that I thought her story was so interesting and I really liked how everything turned out for her.

Tina doesn't date men. She does one and done, and that is good enough for her. Losing her baby after he was born prematurely and only lived for three hours was the hardest thing she ever went through and she was in a bad spot for awhile after that. Putting herself through college, she made money by speaking out against suicide and helping others like herself that had thought there was no other way. But when she gets a job through her friend Corabelle at a hospital working with patients through art therapy, she finds a new purpose. She is glad to help others of all ages use art as a way to cope with everything they are going through. When Dr. Darion Marks asks her for help with a patient, she is not too happy to help him after he blew her off with no explanation the last time he asked for her help. Darion knows that he has a reputation for being cold and stoic, but he has a secret that he must protect at all costs including not allowing himself to interact more than necessary with those around him. Things get complicated when he asks for Tina's help with a special patient though. As Tina and Darion get to know each other better, they can't fight the attraction between them and soon are seeing each other. But with Darion and Tina both having secrets and a ton of baggage, can they learn to let each other in and move toward a future together?

I really liked Darion as the story progressed even though I started off thinking he was pretty cold and unfeeling. He was kind of mean right off and I thought that he had a bad attitude. But once we learned about everything going on in his life, it made a lot more sense. He was doing everything that he could to manage what he needed to, and I really admired the lengths he was willing to go to for his family. He cared so much, and I really liked that he was such a great person underneath the facade. He was really adorable with Cynthia, and I loved getting to see that side of him. I really thought that Darion and Tina worked well together despite all their differences. Tina was completely opposite of Darion, and yet she was kind and caring and would do whatever she could to help her patients. I thought that she was the perfect balance for Darion, and she really helped to loosen him up a bit. They were really supportive of one another, and I liked that they both shared a passion for art. Tina was able to move forward with her life and really heal with her friends and patient's help, but I also saw how much Darion was a part of her progress. These two had great chemistry together, but they also just had a natural ease to their relationship. They were able to relate to one another and see things that others didn't and I loved watching them fall for one another.

Overall, I enjoyed Forever Sheltered a lot. I thought that Tina and Darion were really interesting as a couple, but honestly the secondary characters made this story. I loved Cynthia and Albert, and it was fun to see them interact with Darion and Tina and see how they really had a huge impact on these characters. I thought that this story was really sweet and emotional. Tina and Darion were both struggling with things, and this book was really a journey for them as individuals as much as for them as a couple. Despite the heavy issues in this story, I really felt like this book was one about hope and love and was actually really light-hearted. I look forward to reading more from Deanna Roy in the future, and can't wait to see which character's story is next for this series. I am really hoping that we get more on Mario which is a friend of Gavin's. I can't wait to see him fall hard!

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | The Book Depository |





Friday, August 8, 2014

ARC Review: Owning Her Innocence by Alexa Riley


Owning Her Innocence is Alexa Riley's debut novella. This is short and sexy, and is a subject that some will not be comfortable. This story will be considered taboo by most, and if you have a problem with age-play or Dominant Daddy/Little Girl (DD/LG) I would suggest that you don't read this one. I think if you are looking for a sexy way to kill a few hours though and can read this for the kink it is that you should give this one a shot.

When Hayley turns eighteen, her father throws her a party and things quickly turn bad. She is rescued by her father's best friend who has always been like a second daddy to her. She has always been drawn to him and been close to William, but the last few years he has pushed her away and avoided her as much as possible. When she wakes up the day after her party tied to his bed, she knows that things are about to change. Hayley quickly finds out that William is just as drawn to her and has stayed away until he could let her know his true feelings. Now that she is finally old enough, William intends to have Hayley in his bed and at his side. He wants to take care of her and introduce her to everything being an adult means.

I liked William and Hayley, but I did have a few issues with their characters. I thought that William while sweet and caring at times, also had moments where he didn't think about Hayley as much as himself. He made promises to Hayley and her father, and yet he could have been more gently with Hayley her first time. He seemed to be pretty harsh about it and I didn't really like that. Hayley had moments where she was so naive and seemed to have no idea about sex at all. I found that a bit ridiculous and unlikely considering she was eighteen. I mean being a virgin is understandable, but not knowing what some of the words he said meant (kitty) or knowing what was "poking" her just seemed too unbelievable. She had moments where she acted so young it was a bit irritating. However I did like them and thought that they were super hot together. They had a ton of chemistry but also had a strong emotional connection. Yes that is where the taboo comes in, but they knew each other so well and had such a strong bond that it was clear what they meant to one another.

I thought that this story was really hot though. This one had a ton of heat and was sexy right from the start. I did think that this one could have been longer, but it was very good despite the short length. I think that the story was written well and was interesting and different. Alexa Riley did a great job of taking such a taboo story line and allowing the reader to get into the story while also pushing them past their comfort zone. I know this one won't be for a lot of people, but I think that those that are open-minded and take it for the story that it is will find this one to be sexy and hot. If you are looking for a deep and emotional story, this probably isn't what you are looking for. But I think that fans of Erotica and different steamy and kinky stories will probably enjoy this one. I look forward to seeing more from Alexa Riley, and I will definitely be interested to see what she comes up with next.

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon |





ARC Review: Upside Down by Lia Riley


When you start this book be prepared to not want to put it down. At least I didn’t want to. I was drawn into it immediately. Talia and her story drew me right in and Bran also adds a lot to the story. Not to mention it takes place in Australia and I love a good book set in another country.

Talia’s life has been turned upside down with the death of her sister. She is barely keeping her head above water. Her Mom has left for Hawaii and her Dad is a shell of himself. And she can’t tell her parents the biggest secret of all, that she won’t be graduating in May. So on her supposed last semester of college she takes a semester transfer to a college in Australia. Maybe getting away from it all will help her deal with everything better, she can become someone else for awhile. Of course “fun Talia” meets a guy after being there a short time, and while she enjoys being with him, he just doesn’t catch her eye or really make a mark on her. However when she meets his friend Bran for the first time she can’t get him out of her mind. Bran is different and he has secrets of his own. Their attraction begins to grow and the book really takes off. But can both of them fight their demons and find love together, or will they both be stubborn and hard-headed and go their separate ways?

I liked Talia from the start. I know she has issues and it was interesting to learn about them little by little. And wow at one point you really understand why she has issues. Bran was also great. He’s different, he’s caring, but he’s not sure he’s ready to open his heart. Again you have to learn about him a little at a time. The buildup for both characters is well-paced and kept me reading just to find out more about them. I would say that while the romance is important in this book, I think the characters are more important. Learning about them, seeing them grow and change is really what this book is about. I have a feeling more of the romance will be explored in the second book.

The romance is important. They fight it at times while they try to decide what they both want and need. As the reader you know they need each other and they are well-suited to each other, but they have to figure it out themselves. I thought the book was well paced and the romance was interesting. I definitely could not wait to see how it turned out and the plot had me in knots at times. It’s definitely a book that will put your emotions through the wringer, but in a good way.

Upside Down was to me, simply amazing. It was a book I did not want to put down and now that it is over I cannot wait until the next book. It’s ending does bring a conclusion to this part of the series, so you aren’t left hanging, but there is more to come and I can’t wait to read it in Sideswiped which comes out in October. If you enjoy complex characters and New Adult Romance then run, don’t walk and get Upside Down when it comes out!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |




Interview with Author Jennifer Ryan and Giveaway


JENNIFER RYAN, author of The Hunted Series, writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

Please visit her website at www.jennifer-ryan.com for information about upcoming releases.

Find Jennifer at:

Feature and Giveaway: Upside Down by Lia Riley


If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

ARC Review: Deep Surrendering: Episode 5 by Chelsea M. Cameron


Deep Surrendering Episode 5 picks up where Chelsea M. Cameron last left us with Fin and Marisol separated for the first time. With thousands of miles between them, and weeks left before they will be together they are both struggling with the distance. Fin and Marisol try to talk as often as possible, but with the time differences and everything going on in their lives they only get brief moments of time in which they actually connect. Marisol copes the best she can by spending time with her friends, working, and occasionally using the key that Fin gave her to spend time in his apartment. Fin is busy working, and as each day goes by Marisol fears that he is not sleeping or eating well. Marisol tries to convince Fin to be healthier and to take care of himself in her absence. But Fin is also struggling with his feelings for Marisol and he doesn't know how to handle things between them.

Fin and Marisol really have their toughest battles yet ahead of them, but for the first time in their relationship things are completely uncertain. With them being so far apart things are a lot harder and they are left in unfamiliar territory. Fin has never felt these kinds of feelings for someone before, and we know at this point that he doesn't usually have sex with the women he dates. Marisol has really changed so much about how he operates that he is still trying to figure out how to proceed. It doesn't help that Fin still feels like Marisol shouldn't be with him and that his darkness is too much for her. He doesn't want her to care for him and yet he also craves her. It was hard to see him struggle so much in this one, and you could really feel the depth of his insecurities. Marisol was also struggling with missing Fin and knowing that she couldn't be with him to help him and comfort him. It was hard for her to see the changes in him as the dark circles under his eyes took over. He was clearly exhausted and she couldn't do anything about it. Marisol really has her work cut out for her in the future because of Fin's attitude towards her caring about him. He almost refuses to acknowledge her feelings and doesn't even want her to say them to him. The chemistry and sex is great between them, and they are really starting to form an emotional connection as well. But there are so many secrets and obstacles that they have to deal with yet, and I just know that although it will be worth it in the end it will be so much worse before it starts to get better. I hope that they can both hold on and learn to lean on each other rather than try to go it alone.

I am really loving this story, and Fin and Marisol are so much different than any other characters I have read. They have changed and grown so much over these last 5 episodes, and I know that there is still so much ahead of them. I love how Chelsea M. Cameron is really giving us the evolution of not only their relationship but of each of the characters as well. I loved that Fin was a bit more vulnerable in this one and that for the first time we really get to see this strong and tough man that is used to control really having to deal with his insecurities and feelings. I thought it was great how he was making an effort with Marisol and would send her pictures and try to include her in what he was doing. I honestly think that each episode of this story just gets better and better, and I can't wait to get more. It kills me having to wait, but each one I read just proves to me how worth it they are. I am a fan of Chelsea M. Cameron's after having read several of her books at this point, but I think that Fin and Marisol's story is probably my favorite of everything she has done. If you aren't reading these, you are seriously missing out. Chelsea's writing style is fantastic, and her characters are always unique. I highly recommend her books, and I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in Fin and Marisol's story.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |






Thursday, August 7, 2014

ARC Review: Crave the Night by Lara Adrian


As a longtime fan of the fabulous Lara Adrian, I still love how I always manage to fall in love with every story she tells. I have been reading about the Breed since the beginning, and Crave the Night does not disappoint! We have two main characters known as Nathan and Jordana, but as always there are appearances by the Breed males who originally stole our hearts. Of course, I could barely contain how excited I was to read about Nathan. I wanted to experience Nathan’s POV as a hero since I first met him in Deeper than Midnight. At that point, Nathan was just 13 and had been through unbelievable mental and physical abuse.

Whether you’re new to the series or not, it becomes clear that Nathan had an awful upbringing filled with horrific experiences. Furthermore, as a Hunter (a Gen One assassin created for dealing out death and destruction), he was taught to be calculating, unfeeling, and logical without a conscience. This is why one cannot possibly put down this story once begun; there is constant conflict. Of course, the conflict Nathan feels personally is nothing compared to how the story heats up as enemies begin to surface with more destructive, menacing intentions than before. After First Dawn (when humankind discovered the existence of the alien vampires), there was already many changes occurring, then Lara gives us more of the ruthless newer enemy: the Atlantean’s.

In this story, the Atlantean’s are stepping up their game and causing trouble. They are in search of something very special to their Queen and the results are jaw-dropping. Lara smoothly added crazy twists that surprised the hell out of me. There were curveballs I could not have possibly seen coming, which made the shocking aspects of the book fabulous. What’s more is that a lot of the eye-popping (holy crap, did I just read that?!) moments had to do with our hero and heroine. Not only do we get to find out just how damaged Nathan is and why, but there are secrets to unfold about Jordana as well.

Oh, Jordana. I loved her; she became a sex kitten. She likes the kink, but loves Nathan’s sensitive side too and the two of them heat the page up so beautifully. On a more serious note though….Jordana really was a joy to read! She grew in different ways than Nathan by simply coming into her own as an independent woman, which was lovely. I smiled when she began the story as innocent, afraid, and trying to figure out how to grasp what she wants. Jordana needed Nathan to push her; to show her how capable she was; how strong she was. Then, she bloomed into this character that became sexy, in control, and sure of herself; the transformation was perfect.

Additionally, Lara did wonderfully at making it easy to empathize with Nathan. It was as if I were experiencing his pain, confusion, and enduring his personal growth alongside him. The changes to his character were very well written and I delighted in how she brought Nathan’s potential full circle. Well, he is more than amazing actually. He is sinfully dark, dominant, aggressive, and true to his nature. Even better, he is passionate about his duties and his feelings for Jordana. I could not help but love these two! Truly, I am surprised the eroticism of their encounters didn’t set the pages aflame!

As for the other characters of the book, I enjoyed Carys (Sterling Chase’s daughter) as Jordana’s best friend. She was very open and honest with Jordana and she has a heart of gold when it comes to her loved ones. I also cannot wait to read more about the other members: Rafe, Jax, and Eli. Furthermore, it makes me happy seeing all of the original members together in a room, knowing they’re happy (Dante anyone?). However, I must admit that I liked that most of the story completely centered on Nathan and Jordana. There wasn’t too much interference from other characters; this truly was their story.

Moreover, I cannot wait to read the next installment and see the Atlantean’s continuing their fight. I’m excited for more Jordana, as it is clear by the ending that she may be a necessary piece of the puzzle for the coming battle. Not to mention, I am curious about how the sassy, sweet, all-too-trusting Carys comes out of her relationship with the playboy cage-fighting Breed male known as Rune. I could never get enough of this series! Well, here is to Lara, and a much anticipated thirteenth book in the Midnight Breed Series!

**ARC provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |



Audiobook Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire, Narrated by Phoebe Strole


I have to confess Jamie McGuire is my guilty pleasure. I read “Beautiful Disaster” and liked it. I always add my disclaimer about Young Adult books. I am always hesitant to read this genre because I personally think that the message they send to young women is not the best… Having said that, I enjoy a good romance and McGuire definitely knows how to write characters that are addicting and storylines that I can’t help become emotionally involved in. In my opinion, almost all YA books are based on her characters (just my opinion).

Beautiful Oblivion is about Trent Maddox, the famous Travis Maddox’s brother. Trent is just as attractive as Travis. Just like Travis women thrown themselves at him. Unlike Travis, Trent is very sweet and caring. He was a genuinely nice guy and he really cared for Cam. He accepts her for who she is and really just wants to be in her life.

Camille "Cami" Camlin was a tough heroine. I didn’t really like her… She was very mean, cold and nonchalant about almost everything. Yes, I’ll say it, she was so bitchy. It seemed that everything and anything she was involved in was overly dramatic and over the top. Although she was portrayed as very mature and confident she seemed the exact opposite. Because Cam is involved in a long distance relationship she doesn’t respond to Trent but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to form a “platonic” relationship with her.

Cam’s roommate and friend Raegan was a big focus of this book which I did not expect. The author introduced Raegan/Kody/Jason Hoopla love triangle. At one point they became the main focus of the story. Although this part was cute I wasn’t overly interested in their love triangle.

One part, which was unexpected was Travis’ part in the story. Apparently this takes place before Beautiful Disaster. The big reveal at the end was ok. I was surprised but now impressed. So, my one big gripe about the YA genre is the overly dramatic, over the top characters storylines and the overly clingy can’t-live without desperation that these characters always feel. So why the three stars? Honestly, I couldn’t stop listening to the story. The narrator, Phoebe Strole, was fantastic. She knew just when to add a dramatic feel and when to narrate neutral feelings. Aside from my YA gripes, I think that McGuire creates characters that you can’t help develop feelings for! You can hate or love them but there will always be some type of emotion. Having said all this, I will continue to read/hear her stories and I will continue to want to know how she evolves the Maddox family! I recommend and enjoyed this audiobook.

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Audiobook | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |






Interview with Author Jodi Ellen Malpas and Giveaway


New York Times bestselling author Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northhapton, UK, where she still lives with her family. Working for the family construction business fulltime and with the prospect of taking it over once her father retired, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing a novel until it became impossible. She finally found the time and courage to release her creative streak and in October 2012 self-published This Man as an e-book. Since then, Forever has released the This Man Trilogy in both trade paperback and ebook formats. For more information please visit Jodi online: www.jodiellenmalpas.co.uk; www.facebook.com/JodiEllenMalpas; and www.twitter.com/JodiEllenMalpas. One Night: Promised is Jodi’s fourth novel.

Find Jodi at:

Feature and Giveaway: So I Married a Werewolf by Kristin Miller


Carter Griffin, enforcing officer for the Seattle Wolf Pack, has a problem. He’s been offered the promotion of his dreams…if he can find a wife to prove he’s over his playboy ways. But Carter’s already walked the matrimonial road and bought the stinkin’ T-shirt. Besides, a werewolf only gets one fated mate. Been there, done that.

All werewolf dog trainer Faith Hamilton wants to do is earn enough green stuff to put her younger brother through college. Okay, okay, so she also totally wants Carter, her sexy next-door neighbor, to look at her as more than a friend. It’s too bad size 12 and plain isn’t his type. At all.

The two friends strike a deal to help one another out. They must face a variety of challenges from a psycho ex-girlfriend to a Yorkie with a shoe fetish...and that pesky problem of only having one-fated mate in a lifetime. Will a relationship ruin their friendship…or spark a love neither anticipated?

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

ARC Review: One Night: Promised by Jodi Ellen Malpas


Promised is the first book in the One Night Trilogy by Jodi Ellen Malpas, and I could not wait to start this one after reading the blurb. One Night Promised was so good, and I loved every bit of it. The prologue drew me in right away, and I absolutely could not put it down. This book is a must read and I cannot wait to get the next two books in the series.

Livy doesn't date no matter how many times she gets asked out or her best friend Gregory and her Nan try to talk her into it. She isn't interested at all until she sees him for the first time. She is instantly drawn to the sexy and mysterious stranger that comes into the Bistro where she works. He leaves her a note on a napkin signed only with an M. When Livy continues to run into him, the connection between them only seems to grow stronger. He only wants one night with her though, in which he promises to worship her and give her pleasure unlike she has ever known. Livy decides to take him up on his deal of one night, and they share a passion unlike any than either of them have ever felt before. But things don't go as planned and before long Livy is convinced that she will end up heartbroken. Soon Livy and M find themselves both wanting and fearing more than one night together. With both of them having secrets and vowing to keep things only physical rather than personal, can they explore the passion between them without one or both of them ending up with a broken heart?

I loved M. He was such a unique character. He was vulnerable and was used to only showing a mask to the world. He didn't let others in, and honestly even after finishing this book I feel like we have still only scratched the surface of his character. But he was sexy and mysterious and I know there is so much more to the man beneath the facade. He was arrogant and rude at times, but he was impossible not to fall for. I loved how he wasn't able to keep himself from Livy, and he let her in so much more than he was able to do with anyone else. I also really loved that he wasn't the typical hero. He had his quirks, and that just made him even more endearing. Livy while interesting took a bit for me to warm up to. She had her moments when I wanted to absolutely shake her and I definitely questioned some of her actions. But I really ended up liking her. She took M and accepted him for who he was and despite his inability to really share much about himself. She pushed when she needed to and was patient at times she knew M needed that. I really felt like Livy and M were perfect for each other, and they really seemed to get each other through everything. They had a great connection and you could really see that their feelings for each other were growing. But they also connected on a physical level as well and were really hot together.

Overall, this first installment to the One Night trilogy was absolutely fantastic! I could really see that M and Livy were falling for one another and their relationship was so real to me. They were clearly struggling with how they felt, and they weren't used to being with anyone like they wanted to be with each other. Besides the emotional struggles with M and Livy, I also felt like the twists in this book were great. I never knew exactly what was going on with M or Livy and I was always wondering about their pasts. I will admit that I had some of it worked out, but there was so much that I never expected! I really need the next book and I need to know more. There are so many questions that I need answered and I just can't wait for more M and Livy. This book was written so well, and I was instantly hooked on these characters. I loved Jodi's writing style and am anxiously awaiting the next installment. I highly recommend this series, and I think romance fans looking for something different will really love this book.

**ARC Provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | The Book Depository |





Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ARC Review: Her Special Forces by Sophia Roslyn


I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me authors to add to my growing list of must-reads, and as a huge fan of military romantic suspense, erotic romance author Sophia Roslyn’s HER SPECIAL FORCES caught my eye with its retired Marine heroine, former Navy SEAL hero, kidnapped kid, and promise for scorching sexytimes. Whilst it possesses all the attributes I look for in a military or RS novel and is an emotionally challenging read with its raw, no-holds-barred take on the emotional and psychological aftermath of war—uniquely dealing with how PTSD affects women in combat—I wasn’t particularly blown away by it. The protagonists are (for the most part) well developed, with a compelling emotional arc, and the love scenes are frequent, hot, and poignant, but the plot feels like an afterthought rather than a driver to complement and ratchet up the emotional tension and the writing is a bit disjointed. Probably just the growing pains of an author on only her sophomore novel, but they turned what could’ve been a great read into simply an average one for me.

Heroine Kacey O’Donnell, U.S. Marine Corps Viper attack helicopter pilot (now retired), is back in her idyllic small New Hampshire hometown after a bitch of a last deployment in Afghanistan drove her to take a leave from the Marines: an off-base night of passion with sexy Navy SEAL Captain Nathan Weatherly immediately followed by an incident during a mission that downs her helicopter and kills her co-pilot/gunner and the news of her parents’ deaths stateside. At a crossroads in her life and with Nathan and his team having gone wheels up the moment they were back on base, there’s naught for Kacey to do but return to Winterpine alone and try to adjust to civilian life. But the memories won’t leave her alone and she’s neither eating nor sleeping and is merely going through the motions of existing rather than living. A textbook case of PTSD, but she’s unwilling to admit it or seek help and instead tries to push everyone away—especially former lover Nathan, who follows her to Winterpine after putting in his 20 years with the Navy. Kacey’s struggles are emotionally draining (in a good way) for the reader, and it’s refreshing to see this heartbreaking issue from a woman’s perspective, but her behaviour—especially toward Nathan—makes it challenging to like her. For the bulk of the novel, we know she has issues and witness her conscious attempts to sabotage her chance at happiness, but we don’t know why. It’s not until the very end that she finally opens up to Nathan and we learn the whole story and can finally genuinely empathize with and understand her and the strength she truly possesses.

Nathan is also a mixed bag of a character. For the most part, he’s the typical super sexy Navy SEAL alpha male with a badass edge, mile-wide protective streak, and unwavering sense of honour. His conviction that Kacey loves him as much as he does her—despite ditching him in Afghanistan and doing her best to shut him out and reduce their relationship to nothing but sex—and his commitment to helping her come to terms with, and get through, her PTSD is heartwarming. He’s the type of bloke you’d take home to meet mum, and I genuinely liked him… but half the time his speech made him seem like an anachronism. There’s simply no way a forty-something retired Navy SEAL speaks like that (to his woman; his banter with his SEAL mates was typical bromance), and it was definitely a bit jarring. The chemistry between him and Kacey sizzles and the love scenes are super hot, and the fact that they don’t have an easy go of it had me rooting for their HEA.

The plot is where it all falls rather flat. A Senator’s 11-year-old daughter kidnapped from her bed, an elite FBI six-man CARD team taken out during the attempted rescue, a hastily-cobbled-together backup team of former SEALs plus a Marine helicopter pilot… it has all the makings of an action-packed, white-knuckle thrill ride of a plot but doesn’t really deliver. The focus is primarily on Kacey and Nathan and the plot feels like a backdrop for them to have something to do in addition to being mired in relationship angst. The kidnapped girl, Gemma, is completely unrealistic—an 11-year-old who can drive, fly, speak a bit of Russian, and doesn’t completely freak out after being kidnapped and rescued? Come on!—but if you suspend all disbelief, she’s great fun and brings out a side of Kacey and Nathan that we wouldn’t otherwise see. I guessed the identity of the villain pretty early on (but I read a LOT of suspense!), but Ms. Roslyn throws in enough twists to keep it interesting… I just wish she’d devoted a bit more time to fleshing out the story to give it more substance.

HER SPECIAL FORCES was an enjoyable enough read for me—nothing to write home about, but not something I actively disliked either. It’s an intensely emotional read with a lot of heart cloaked in a thin suspense plot and a good choice for readers who like erotic romances with a good amount of angst and a hint of action.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Dark Sacrifice by Angie Sandro


Book 2 of Angie Sandro’s Dark Paradise series picks up right where we left off with Dark Paradise. Mala is still in the Looney bin and Landry is still in prison. This one is just as good if not better than the first. Mala and Landry must face the aftermath of the atrocities his family brought on to Mala’s. Not to mention all the flirting and teasing between the two pays off with a sweet, sexy and romantic scene.

Mala has learned some control over her abilities, not a lot just enough to ignore all the ghost haunting the mental ward of the hospital and convince her doctor she is not insane. Her nightly out of body experiences always take her to check up on Landry in prison, the last one she witness Landry’s cell mate trying to murder him. Mala wakes up screaming thinking Landry has died. The day before she is scheduled to leave her former boss comes to her and admits a big secret *no spoilers* that totally throws her for a loop that shines George, her first crush, in a whole new light. Landry just barely survived the attack, he did die and he came back but he didn’t come back alone. When Mala is released she visits him in the hospital and they both find out he now shares Mala’s special ability of seeing the dead.

With nowhere else to go and the whole town blaming Landry for the sins of his parents Mala invites him to live with her. It’s just the beginning when they are attacked by ghosts because of revenge and the mystery of where Landry’s father is hiding and the other two people who helped murder Mala’s mother. On top of all that Auntie Magnolia is back and she wants to be repaid for her crossroads bargain. Not to mention the relationship between Mala and Landry has the typical ups and downs.

Again the story ends with a mini cliffhanger like the first it ends but it leaves a little bit hanging to tantalize you into reading the next one Dark Redemption out in September. I loved this book I read through this in one day I couldn’t put it down. It is recommended that you read Dark Paradise first only because all the character development happened in that book and the actions in it are continued in this book.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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