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Book Review: Vow of Protection by Brittany Cournoyer

Vow of Protection (Personal Protectors #1)Vow of Protection by Brittany Cournoyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First time reading this author and I liked the book!

Privileged Walker Cardwell had the world at his feet - at least on the outside. His family was wealthy, his father running for reelection as governor and he worked as his dad's campaign manager. He had everything money could buy. Except he'd caught his girlfriend cheating on him with his best friend in HIS bed, his father was a verbally abusive, domineering asshole, his mother lived her world through the haze of medication and he had his own demons. But the girlfriend and his former best thing had been the straw that broke the proverbial back.

Needing to blow off steam and not able to go to the trendy, elite clubs he normally went to because, damn, his so called friends were the biggest gossips and backstabbers out there, so he ended up at a dilapidated bar called Rusty's with a bouncer who didn't know who he was and didn't care, which only added to his ire. A bunch shots of tequila later, Walker was feeling no pain and wanting to try his luck a line dancing. Luck was not on his side - he accidentally groped the girlfriend of the leader of the local biker gang and got himself beaten into oblivion.

The bouncer - Beckett - was forced to break up the fight, and take the unconscious and badly damaged governor's son to the hospital. Nephew of the bar's owner, the ubiquitous Rusty, Beckett had seen more than his share of action in his life. Ex-military, he was working for his uncle while he tried to figure out what he would do now after a medical discharge because of PTSD. But he couldn't not take care of the little twerp of a governor's son, because no one deserved the kind of beat down he'd just gotten. Meeting the twerps a-hole father made him realize that maybe the life of privilege wasn't so privileged after all.

Waking up in the hospital the next day Walker realized he may have bitten off more than he could chew with getting on the bad side of the gang and that he probably needed to hire a bodyguard - and oddly enough the bouncer from last night was his first choice. And he managed to convince Beckett to work for him just in time. A series of events made Walker realize someone really was out to get him.

Beckett and Walker strike sparks off of each other like oil and a match and when they ignite - the flames will either destroy them or make them stronger. Combined with the mystery of why Walker is being targeted by a stalker and the two have the odds stacked against them.

The book was an enjoyable read. There were some typos, a few things missed in editing, and the plot a little obvious at points; but on the whole I liked it.

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Book Review: Winter Rising by Richard Amos

Winter Rising (Coldharbour Chronicles #1)Winter Rising by Richard Amos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was weirdly wonderful and I can't wait for Book 2!

Jake Winter is a man who has lost everything; his husband had been murdered and the killer had gotten away. The only 'good' thing that came from it was that Jake got clean, kicked his heroin addiction, stopped smoking and drinking, and started getting into shape. He had a killer to kill and a husband to avenge. On the one year anniversary of his husband's death Jake confronted the 'white eyed' bastard who'd destroyed his life. And had his entire existence turned upside down and inside out.

A deadly game of Cat and Mouse (with Jake the unwitting mouse) leads our hero to Coldharbour, a town shrouded from the rest of the world by magic, sealed by a curse and supposedly inaccessible. And yet the White-Eyed bastard had led him straight into the town through a crack in the magic, and then saved his life. Why would he do then when he'd robbed Jake of everything precious to him? And why the hell was he calling Jake a 'gift' and a 'weapon'?

Coldharbour is a place where evil entities known as 'beast' have broken through from their own realm. It is a town of goblins, trolls, werewolves, vampires, witches and fae (or half fae). It is a place where Jake can tip the balance and save the world from Beast if he can learn how to harness the power within him. Along with his four chosen guardians, Jake battles the Beast on the streets of Coldharbour, hoping to end the war before it bleeds into the rest of the world. Oh yeah, and in between all that Jake really needs to figure out why he turns into a complete idiot around his hot, half-fae guardian.

But what does the White-Eyed bastard want with him and why does he keep saving Jake?

This book was a spine tingler from start to finish. I admit, I was a little leery at first, it was a bit hodge podge and didn't really make sense until a few chapters in. I'm probably dating myself here but it reminded me of that animated fantasy movie, Heavy Metal, the one that jumped from scene to scene with no discernible connection - at first. But by the end you were like 'aha! I get it, I see the connection!' The writing was slick and sharp and full of vibrancy. I found myself sucked into the story, not wanting to put the book down even when I knew I should. The world building Richard does is impressive and seamless. He sets up his reality and makes it plausible. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel!.

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Book Review - Elemental Magick by Jacki James

Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven)Elemental Magick by Jacki James

This is my first time reading this author and this book is an interesting start to a new paranormal m/m series. 
The main character, Aaron, loves his nice staid, _safe_ life as the owner of an Antique (slash used stuff) Store in small town America, a store he inherited from his grandmother along with his house. Aaron's greatest ambition as a child was to be a cashier at Walmart, that's the kind of safe and secure he wants. He haunts Estate sales to find things to sell in his store and an estate sale of the belongings of a local 'witch' is too good an opportunity to pass up so Aaron drags his friend Russ to the sale and comes away with a weird book, among other things, a book he didn't even want but one that Russ insisted he buy. Well it was interesting, at least, not that he believed in witches or the occult. Wicca, sure, it was a religion, but real spells and stuff? Hah!

And then the book does weird things like open only for him, manifest energy, and make things shake but... witchcraft was NOT real, and Aaron would prove it by doing one of the spells in the book... and almost summoned forth a demon. Well crap!

Enter Malakai Donovan, of the Donovan Clan of Kilkenny Ireland, witch and super hottie. He's been looking for the fabled Coughlin Grimoire for years, this particular Book of Shadows the most powerful of it's kind. And someone - Aaron - not only found it, but opened it _and_ cast a spell from it. And now all sorts of magick users are crawling out of the woodwork to get their hands on it - from bad witches to warlocks to vamps and shifters. Kai has his work cut out for him, protecting both the book and the gorgeous little witchling the book has bonded too. Piece of cake, right? Oh and then there's the little matter of them being soul twins and Aaron being freaking adorable and firing _all_ of Kai's protective instincts.

The book was a nice, light read. Some of the plot points were a little rushed, speeding the story along a little faster than believable. There were a few places where the reader had to really suspend disbelief and just go with the flow but on the whole it was an enjoyable little book and the series shows promise.

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Book Review - Craft Brew, Trouble Brewing Book 2, by Layla Reyne

Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing, #2)Craft Brew by Layla Reyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love me a good Craft Brew, I won't lie, and this particular drink was delish!

In a continuation of Imperial Stout, this book takes up shortly after the end of the last book. And Dominic Price is running... although he says he's not, all the way to San Diego. It's an opportunity to try out the top chair as US Attorney while trying to figure a way out of the mess his father has made. But he didn't expect to miss Cameron Byrne like he would his own breath.

Meanwhile back in San Fran Cam is determined to get Dom to move in with him as well as stand by his man and get the bad guy gunning for him. He just has to get through the next six weeks of lonely nights and then convince Dom he's right - piece of cake.

But Vaughn isn't done with his threats and Dom is barely back in the door of his apartment when fire in the apartment directly above him forces him out and into Cam's place. A fire that was determined to be arson. Cam is thrilled by the chance to have Dom live with him except he gets a call from his brother that summons him home to Boston. Waiting for him is a decades old personal tragedy that has barely begun to heal and a request that rips the wounds completely open again.

Now Cam is racing against the clock to solve the mystery that tore his family apart, help rescue a missing daughter of a South end Boston cop, and still find time to help Dom solve his own problems. Except he's falling apart at the seams and this time it's Dom that needs to save Cam - and keep him afloat.

This book was a high octane rush from start to finish. I loved the tension that Layla builds from her very first word, and she keeps the tension up throughout. I was especially impressed with how she combined Cam's past with his present and wove it throughout the story. The whole book let us get to know him so much better than we have up until now.

And we finally get to know more of Dominic's story too. We learn why he's so afraid of losing someone he loves, why he keeps himself apart from his new family, why he's been keeping Cam at arm's length. And we see them both realize that they're stronger together than apart.

This book, and series, is fast becoming my favorite of Layla's. It takes the best parts and people from Agents Irish and Whiskey and infuses them into this masterful series. All our most loved characters make an appearance and weave throughout Dom and Cam's story beautifully.

This is a must read book, and series. And Layla Reyne is definitely in my top 10 authors to read and watch!

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Book Review: His Instant Family by Rheland Richmond

His Instant FamilyHis Instant Family by Rheland Richmond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a sweet, contemporary May-December romance.

This is the first book I've read by Rheland Richmond and I enjoyed it. The characters were believable and fun to read. The plot was a little predictable but that didn't take away from the charm of the story. There were a few instances of extra information that wasn't really needed to set the scene, which slowed down the story for me, and a few tropes common to this genre. I admit I had to suspend my disbelief a little at quickly a man who'd never had sex with another male was able to do some of the things the character could do right out of the gate. That being said, I still thought the book was sweet and a lovely light read.

The book starts out with Teo Wright, a slightly absent minded but brilliant author and illustrator of children's books running late to his sister's obgyn appointment. Teo's brother in law traveled a lot so family oriented Teo didn't mind in the least acting as his sister's stand in birthing partner. Already flustered at being late, Teo becomes even more so when he comes face to face with his sister's doctor the gorgeous silver fox Dr. Michael Ashworth, who instantly gets nicknamed 'Dr. Do-me.'

Michael Ashworth is a widower of three children aged seven to mid teens. He's a talented doctor who lost his wife in a tragic (if slightly unexplained) set of circumstances that have left him guilty for not being home as much as feels he should have been despite building his career and practice. He's had a few affairs with women since his wife's passing but has resigned himself to being a widower. And then he meets his patient's partner and feels an instant pull despite the fact that Teo is a 'married' man. And Teo, seeing pictures of a wife and children behind the good doctor, also has to deal with his straight crush.

It turns out both men were wrong about the other's status and at an event for one of Teo's books the two men discover that they are both single and interested. Sparks immediately fly and they start dating. However, a monkey wrench is thrown into the works when Michael's oldest, his son Lucas, lashes out at the idea of Michael dating Teo, 'the young boy toy after his money'. Even when he's corrected and told that Teo is independently wealthy, it doesn't matter. Why can't dad marry Aunt Ashley, his mom's sister? This sets the scene for some family strife. Add to the mix that his deceased wife's family are nasty bigots and there's a whole lot of family drama.

The book does end in a happily ever after with Lucas realizing he was being manipulated by his aunt and finally accepting Michael and Teo's relationship, allowing the two men to finally be together. There is also a tease for book 3 and a tie in to book 1 in the book, providing some nice continuity.

On the whole this was a nice, light read, and one I enjoyed.

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Book Review - Change for You by Crystal Lacy

Change for You (Oahu Lovers, #2)Change for You by Crystal Lacy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hot, sweet, romantic, curmudgeonly and sexy as all get out!

OMG I loved this book. It was a lovely relationship book. There were no car chases, no explosions, no murders or mysteries to solve. What there was was two beautiful souls, one still full of hope and light, the other battle scarred and hiding behind snark, falling in love. A May-December romance in an accounting office. In Honolulu, Hawaii. And it was perfect.

Mr. December, Stephen Webb, is bitter, wounded and has had his ego and his belief in love and happily ever afters trampled by life. He's an accountant, and a damned good one, because it's a safe and secure job; two things that Stephen needs given his rough start at life. His boss is a nasty, cranky douche canoe who won't make him partner even though he deserves it. It's making him become grouchy, sarcastic and a workaholic to the point it cost Stephen his last relationship.

And then intern Minoru 'call me Max' Kamigawa walks into his life and not only makes himself indispensable during the busy tax season when Stephen's department is understaffed thanks to douche canoe, but he brings light and laughter and music back into Stephen's life. Not to mention Max is sexy as all get out and Stephen can't keep his eyes off of him.

But Max's first love is music, not accounting; he's taken the internship out of a need to help his mother and his grandmother and to be practical about life. Music doesn't pay the bills, doing other peoples taxes does. And then there's the fact that Max can't keep his eyes off of the grumpy silver fox either.

What starts as a drunken hook-up becomes so much more. Max falls head over heels for and Stephen despite being warned not to, and Stephen is trying to make partner so becoming involved with his 20 years younger intern is anything but smart. But the heart wants what the heart wants and ultimately Stephen is forced to decide if Max is worth risking his shot at partnership, his job security and changing his curmudgeonly ways for a chance at love. Real love. And maybe even forever.

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Boo Review - Heartache & Hoofbeats by Maz Maddox

Heartache & Hoofbeats (Stallion Ridge #1)Heartache & Hoofbeats by Maz Maddox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book surprised me. Really surprised me.

Don't get me wrong, I love shifter stories, paranormal stories and m/m stories but the idea of an alt paranormal Wild West with Centaurs? I admit it threw me for a bit. Maybe it was the idea of centaur 'size' vs. human size, maybe it's because it was set in the Wild West and I've never really gotten into historical romances. Whatever, I walked away thoroughly hooked and loving this series.

The premise is an interesting a twist on a Wild West love story. Instead of school marm and the bad guy with the heart of gold, it was a train robber who really did have have good intentions falling hard and fast for an honorable, stalwart sheriff. Throw in some serious sexual tension, snark, sass, really nasty bad guys and a bull-headed Minotaur... hehehe, bull-headed Minotaur... and it was an explosive group.

Off to read book 2.

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Book Review - Sadistic Sherlock by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot

Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security, #4)Sadistic Sherlock by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Indubitably Jocelynn and Rinda have done it again.

The fourth installment of Ward Security on that happy go lucky red head - no, not Rowe - I'm talking about the always laughing Dominic Walsh, the guy who got injured helping Sven get Geoffrey back, who got tricked into taking elephant strength laxatives while protecting Royce's main squeeze, Marc - that redhead.

This time we learn more about Dominic Walsh than we ever thought we would as he pursues a relationship with silver Fox Abraham Stephens, Shane's dad. The Shane who is in love with and living with Quinn Lake, Ward's hacker nerd extraordinaire. Maybe Ward Security _is_ a dating service :) But Dominic has romance handled - he's been chasing Abe Stephens for eight months and he's finally got him... and then all hell breaks loose.

Ten years ago Dom faked his death to get away from a dark past. Dominic Walsh isn't even his real name. But his dark past comes knocking and Abe is thrown in the middle of it. Will Dom lose Abe? Will he lose his own life as he past demons come back to haunt him. Will he remember that Ward Security is a family and that his family has his back? If he doesn't they'll remind him, preferably with explosions and heroic entrances.

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Book Review - Hailey Turner's A Ferry of Bones & Gold - Soulbound #1

A Ferry of Bones & Gold (Soulbound #1)A Ferry of Bones & Gold by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG Hailey Turner has done it again!

This is another absolutely phenomenal book by this newbie author. Reading this book there is no way to tell it's only her 4th published work! Hailey's attention to detail is impressive; she has the ability to build a world that sinks it's claws into you and hold on tight. Not only has she done that in this book, she has also incorporated - and twisted - myth for her own purposes in this new series. This time Hailey is taking on the ancient Gods - the Greek Pantheon, the Norse Mythos, African deities, you name it she's playing with it.

In the introductory book to her new Soulbound series Hailey takes the Gods and throws them into a world full of magic, were creatures, fae and vampires that is still gritty, modern and urban. Okay, I'm gushing a bit, but this book hit _all_ the things I grew up loving and sets them on their head. I cut my reading teeth on Greek myths, transitioned into fantasy and, when I was a moody teen, I dove head first into the paranormal, so check and check and check!

The plot premise - Red headed mage Patrick Collins is a man with some serious attitude issues and a healthy dose of disrespect for authority - despite working for the Supernatural Operations Agency, aka SOA (the paranormal version of the FBI). He's a former military mage who was left scarred and broken after the 30 Day War, an attempt by the Dominion Sect, to bring Hell to Earth and to strip the power of a God and give it to a human. He's damaged goods _but_ he's also 'owned' by the Gods. When he was 10 years old the Gods saved him from death and exacted a promise out of him, turning him into their weapon. Sometimes Patrick wishes they'd just let him die instead, but a soul debt is now owed, his scarred and damaged soul no longer belongs to him.

Which is why Patrick finds himself in New York City. A God has gone missing, there have been ritual murders with signs of demon infestation and the NYC SOA department stinks to high heavens of corruption. The local Paranormal cops don't trust anyone from NYC's SOA and so Patrick is called in. And is thrust right back into the hell he thought he'd walked away from when he left the military behind him - the Dominion Sect is trying to raise hell again.

Patrick's soul debt is called in (though not forgiven) and he finds himself protecting a seer who has a direct line to the Norse Gods and a werewolf that the _actual_ Fates have deigned to throw directly in his path. Time is running out as Patrick, Jono the werewolf, Marek the Seer and a motley handful of allies made up of civilians, people who actually want to kill Patrick but can't because of a promise, and an old military buddy are racing against the clock to prevent a God from being sacrificed to the Dominion Sect's insane plot for world domination - all of which happens on the Summer Solstice. Of course.

Patrick's life is FUBAR.

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Book Review: Lock and Key by Z. Allora

Lock and KeyLock and Key by Z. Allora
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A somewhat straightforward BDSM romance. Sort of May-December in that one of the main protagonists is 18 when the novel starts but 21 by the time the relationship actually starts.

18 year old Zack Davis knew the minute he met 26 year old Andrew (Drew) Nikeman that he wanting nothing more than to belong to the older man. The problem was that Zack's older brother Dusty was dating Drew's younger brother, Justin, which made it kind of weird. But as the friendship between the two men grew, so did Zack's feelings for Drew, until one day he made a play for the older man.... and was rejected.

Reeling from the devastation of being turned down for 'being too young' and 'family', Zack went to a low scale BDSM club to get what he truly needed from Drew but was denied - to say the encounter went badly was an understatement. Drew's rejection and the one bad encounter he had with subbing made Zack turn to being a Dominant. If he couldn't get what he truly needed and craved he'd make sure other submissives got what he'd been denied - a truly attentive Dom who looked out for their best interest, took care of them and gave them what they needed.

But denying his true nature was slowly destroying Zack inside. He hadn't been truly intimate with anyone since that fateful night 2 years ago. His soul still cried out for Andrew - as he forced himself to call the man he desperately craved to call Master. No longer Drew, Andrew was someone he had no choice but to associate with because of their brothers' relationship and because Sir Andrew belonged to the same exclusive BDSM club that Zack did.

Zack grew more into himself, avoided family get togethers when he could and made himself scared when he couldn't, all to protect his shattered heart.

Except Andrew finally realized he'd made a monumental mistake turning Zack down, that he craved and needed Zack as much as Zack had needed Drew. But was it too late? Had he denied the both of them a happy ever after because of his excuses that he was protecting his little brother's relationship?

A chance contest at their club, a night where a few Doms put themselves on the charity auction block to become subs for a weekend gave Drew the opportunity to show Zack that the younger man belonged with him - kneeling at Drew's feet as his submissive. But was it too little too late?

Read the book and find out!

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Book Review: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Robby Riverton: Mail Order BrideRobby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew being on the run from cut throat killers out to get him would be so much fun?

Rising star of the New York stage, Robby Riverton is poised for his big break. Except he has hideously bad luck. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessed a notorious New York crime boss commit a murder. And they got a good look at his face. So now his career is over and he's on the run. It's 1860, so what's a man to do? Go West young man.

Hopping the first wagon train to Santa Fe, the mob boss's men tracking his every move, Robby puts his acting skills to the ultimate test - Robby Riverton, actor, becomes Rowena Fairchild, mail-order bride! But Robby's bad luck holds out and the bad guys catch up to him in Santa Fe - except 'Rowena' is accosted by the killers on the street right in front of Trace Crabtree - Sherriff of Flat Bottom and older brother to Rowena's intended, Clovis Crabtree. So much for slipping away into the night! Now Robby must act the role of his life, convincing the Crabtree's he's Rowena while falling hard for Trace. Trace, who figured out Rowena was Robby, is determined to protect the actor, his family and make sure he doesn't give in to Robby's charms all while waiting for the US Marshall's to come and take Robby's statement.

Things don't go according to Trace's plans... or Robby's, but maybe they'll find out exactly where they're meant to be and who they're meant to be with along the way.

I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, sweet, spicy, and kept my interest. Definitely impressed by this book.

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Book Review - All or Nothing: The Chosen One: Book 1 by Macy Blake

All or Nothing: The Chosen: Book 1All or Nothing: The Chosen: Book 1 by Macy Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dragons, griffins and vampires, oh my!

The book centers around a young man, Sawyer Smith, and his eccentric and slightly germaphobic friend Draco. Sawyer is eight days away from completing his Masters and starting his post student life. It doesn't hurt he has a gorgeous best friend who happens to be independently wealthy and hot as hell in his corner. And now the new neighbors are moving in to the McMansion across the street. And the new neighbors are SINFULLY good looking. It's a win-win scenario for a gay boy ready for some adventure...

Except Draco has a secret, and the new neighbors are much more than they appear. And then there's this pesky prophecy and suddenly Sawyer's normal world becomes fantastical and fraught with danger. The neighbors? A griffin, a vampire and a mage. His bfff slash object of lust and love? a dragon. And as for Sawyer? Move over Harry Potter because Sawyer may be a 'muggle' in the world he'd stumbled upon, but he was ready to throw down with the rest of them. After all, Sawyer did want adventure - which he now has in spades; and he wanted Draco too - and now he has Draco and three other men all dedicated to loving and protecting him. With four more on the way. Life is about to get VERY interesting.

All or Nothing: The Chosen (book 1) is the first novel by Macy Blake and I was pleasantly impressed. The plot was interesting and the author kept the book moving. The writing was done well. I'm definitely looking forward to book 2.

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Book Review: Badlands by Morgan Brice

BadlandsBadlands by Morgan Brice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Supernaturally sexy!

This is the 2nd book by Morgan Brice in an interconnected yet stand-alone series of books. It's a spooky, fast-paced, action-filled, steamy romance set in the holiday town of Myrtle Beach. The writing kept me on the edge of my seat, turning each page anxiously, unable to put the book down until I'd read it all. It was a laaaate night, but so worth it.

Simon Kincaide, PhD. is a folklorist, writer, entrepreneur and.... he can talk to dead people. Technically he's a Medium and a clairvoyant with some rusty spell working ability. but he still talks to dead people. And Myrtle Beach is teeming with them thanks to it's rich history and tourist town nature. People come to Myrtle Beach to have fun in the sun, reinvent themselves, or to disappear. Simon came to Myrtle Beach first as a place to lick his wounds but he stayed to be true to himself. Simon had been a professor at a university in an area not known for it's liberal thinking. One wealthy parent thought his folklore course was thinly disguised witchcraft and basically bought Simon out of his job, his home and his fiancee. The university let him resign and his fiancee was more interested in securing tenure than keeping his relationship. So Simon fled.

No longer hiding his clairvoyance, Simon runs a shop on the boardwalk and he runs ghost tours, holds seances and sells his books to tourists and locals alike. He even does private psychic readings. He lives true to himself, and, if he is sometimes lonely it's a small price to pay for all that he's gained. Except someone may be trying to take it all away from him _because_ of who he can talk to.

Enter Detective Vic D'Amato, homicide. Formerly of Pittsburgh but now a reluctant transplant to Myrtle Beach. In Pittsburgh Vic witnessed something supernatural and as a result of him being honest about what it happened he became a pariah for being a bit 'crazy'. It cost him his job, his lover, and the city where generations of his family had been cops. Trouble was, he and his partner were working a serial killer case and there were too many coincidences to what had happened in his old city that he couldn't overlook the possibility of the serial killer being into some of that woo-woo stuff.

Acting on a hunch, Vic goes to talk to the local clairvoyant on the strip, and the attraction between him and Simon is instantaneous. But Vic's been burned by the supernatural once and Simon wasn't about to deny what he was and bury his gift for anyone, so it led them to a lust filled impasse. Except the body count was going up exponentially as the serial killer accelerated. And Simon's abilities had painted a target on the clairvoyant's back. Because the serial killer was hunting those with 'gifts'.

Simon's in a race against time to solve the murders, save his friends and possibly himself, and keep himself from becoming Suspect #1, all the while he is falling head over heels for the gruff, disbelieving detective. But how can Simon be true to himself and be in love with someone who thinks he's a fraud? Can Vic let go of the bitterness and fear and embrace what he knows to be real? Will the serial killer find Simon before Simon figures it out?

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Book Review: Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing #1) by Layla Reyne

Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing, #1)Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all - Beer themed book titles, what could be wrong with that? Second of all, Layla Reyne has done it again with the continuation of the world she created in Agents Irish and Whiskey.

We met AUSA Dominic Price in Cask Strength when Aidan Talley was dating him in an effort to keep his feelings for Jamie "Whiskey" Walker in check. The man didn't take too kindly to being used as a distraction, but in the end he not only forgave Aidan, but he came to his aid when things came to a head in book 3. Agent Cameron Byrne is Jamie's oldest friend and the best kidnapping and rescue specialist the FBI has. Aidan had worked with him in the past and when he's promoted to Special Agent in Charge after Mel's resignation, Cam is the first person Aidan thinks of to be his ASAC.

The attraction between the two men began in Barrel Proof, book 3, and ignited in Blended Whiskey, the novella about the marriage of Aidan and Jamie. A slightly inebriated kiss in an elevator and Cam is seriously thinking of breaking all his set in stone rules for the AUSA, including the no fraternizing with co workers, even though they aren't technically co-workers. Working together to bring down a ring of thieves trying to steal Serbian artifacts, the two are thrown closer together while dealing with a US Attorney with an agenda and a grudge, a botched take down, new players in the game, an informant who may or may not be playing both sides, and to top it all off - someone is gunning for Dominic Price - literally.

Nic's past rears it's ugly head while Cam tries desperately to keep his firmly buried, but neither man gets his wish to leave the past in the past and all they can do hold on tight and cling to the life line the other represents. Oh - and all the usual suspects do make an appearance or two, reminding us all of how important family is to the Talley clan, and how Cam and Nic are Talley's now, by bonds of friendship and fire, if not through blood.

This was an amazingly good set up book for the next two in the series. The players have been introduced, the supporting cast is in place and the plot has been revealed. Layla's writing is sharp, crisp and clean. Her attention to detail is excellent. Her continuity is above par as she interweaves this new spin off series with her original one, leaving the connections strong but allowing each new character to speak for themselves and hold the spotlight when it's their time.

This series is definitely gonna be some 'Trouble Brewing' for sure. Can't wait for the roller coaster to start picking up speed! Let the chaos commence.

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Book Review - The Cross of Sins by Geoffrey Knight

The Cross of Sins (Fathom's Five, #1)The Cross of Sins by Geoffrey Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Queer League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Indiana Jones and searches for the DaVinci Code!

OMG I LOVED this book! It was an action adventure movie for my mind. As I read this I could almost hear the strains of a rather familiar adventuring music. It goes a little like Dun-dun-DUN-dun. Dun-dun-dun.... sing it with me.

The book opens with our 'Indy' character, Jake Stone on a tropical island, hurtling luge-like down lava tubes just ahead of the lava flow from an erupting volcano as he clutches a diamond encrusted statue only to have the nefarious French villain snatch it from him and harpoon his side and leave him for dead in the water. Sharks, doncha know? But fate has other plans for Mr. Stone and he is rescued by a handsome Brazilian doctor by the name of Eden Santiago who has come to collect him for 'the Professor.' Professor Fathom, a wealthy, blind archaeologist with a belief that the ancient treasures of the world need to belong to the world, not hidden away in the art collections of unscrupulous French Villains or hunted down by fanatical religious orders because the art piece is considered an 'abomination' in the eyes of God. Pfft, not on Professor Fathom's watch.

Also joining Stone and Santiago on their quest is the stunningly beautiful Luca da Roma, art expert, Italian model and foundling in search of his past; Shane Houston, a Texan cowboy, ma'am, horse whisperer and cartographer extraordinaire and finally young Will Hunter, rich boy college student with a passion for archaeology, Professor Fathom's top student (not _that_, mind out of the gutter people!) What's at stake? A lost religious relic, The Naked Christ, otherwise known as the Cross of Sins. The church thought the work so abhorrent they sent their secretive group of fanatical nutjobs after him. The order - The Crimson Crown - didn't just kill it's maker, they cut out his eyes, hacked off his hands and gutted him in the town square for all to see what happens to those who defy the church by making Christ, well, _naked_.

This book is a history lover's wet dream - we jaunt from Ankara, Turkey, to Italy, to Vienna, to the USA and all exotic points of the world in between. There are sarcophagi, secret cults, brutal killers and religious zealots, shoot outs, camels chasing BMW's and, yes, there is even some - well _alot_ - of sex. But sex aside, this book is fast paced, engaging and thoroughly enthralling. And there are sequels... at least 4 of them.

To quote the book blurb "Together, they are Fathom's Five, traveling the world, solving ancient mysteries, uncovering priceless treasures, and getting into hot, sticky and sexy situations, while thwarting danger at every turn!"

Definitely worth a read!


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Book Review: The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes

The Necromancer's Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, #3)The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Newton's Third Law states: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Lord Acton, the British historian, was the first to say: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What do these two famous quotes have in common? Angelus Salvatore, sorcerer, teacher, leanan of First Elder Simeon of the Boston Bloodclan, and perhaps the most powerful Necromancer to have ever lived. Add to that, Angel's unquestionable ability to attract trouble of all forms, his smart mouth and his ability to hold a grudge... well some days it just doesn't pay to wake up early.

For as long as he can remember, Angel has been the only necromancer in all the Northeast. He is unarguably one of the most powerful, battle-hardened sorcerers in generations. He and his brother, Isaac, are the last remaining Salvatores in North America, the last two Salvatores standing in the aftermath of the the Blood Wars; and it was Angel's death magic that had ended it. So to say he was powerful and fearsome would be an understatement. And then he went and fell in love with, and became mate to, Simeon, first Elder of Boston's only bloodclan, second only to Constantine Batiste, Master of the city. Ancient and powerful - and an unending ocean of death magic for Angel to access.

And now the High Council of Sorcery has taken notice, and returned to Boston. And they want Angel. The High magister arrives with (not so) trumped up charges of violating practioner laws and using proscribed magics. She is willing to use everything within her power to get her hands on Angel, setting her sights on his apprentice, Daniel, as the weakest chink in Angel's armor. Isaac is fighting his own demons of guilt and addiction and is vulnerable but is protected so long as he stays in the magical rehab facility. Simeon is vowing death to anyone who tries to take Angel from him and Bridgerton is being an ass.

But the bloodclan towers, while sovereign soil and the only place where Daniel isn't vulnerable to the magister's ire, isn't a safe haven for the young apprentice. The events that led him to becoming Angel's apprentice have left him traumatized and not even Constantine, the vampire master can keep the horrors of Daniel's past from reemerging... although a certain wee beastie has a few tricks up his wing to keep the last free Macavoy safe, as well as a few unexpected allies.

And if that isn't enough on Angel and Simeon's plate, there's the matter of a missing ghost, a group of graverobbers, and creatures of unimaginable horror to deal with. Oh, and another necromancer decides to crash to the party. Angel and Simeon have their hands full, fighting for their freedom, future and their very existence in this amazing wrap-up to their story. Everyone has a part, no mystery is left unmentioned, and, best of all, there's another Salvatore waiting in the wings with a story of his own.

This book was so well worth the wait. It was smart, sassy, full of action, adventure and romance. And S.J. Himes threw in a couple life lessons that everyone needs to remember. Be polite, ask for pronouns when you're unsure, treat everyone with respect - unless they've proven they don't deserve it. And never assume a wee beastie is, well, wee!

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