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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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Blaze by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott - Book Review

Blaze (Unbreakable Bonds, #5)Blaze by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never knew how much I needed this book until I turned the last page. This was... perfection. This book lifts the veil to the past and lets you really see, know, and understand where Lucas Vallois and Ashton Frost (aka Snow) came from as well as the events that shaped their earliest lives and drove them to be the men they are today. And it wouldn't be a Jocelynn and Rinda book without mystery, attempted murder, high speed chases, and MASSIVE explosions. So yeah, perfection.

The book opens with Lucas Vallois and Andrei Hadeon mere days from walking down the aisle. The love story that started in Shiver has finally reached it's happily ever after. The two men burn hotter and brighter for each other than ever before. But the course of true love never runs smooth, everyone who reads romance novels knows this. And with these particular men... enter Hurricane Taylor. Lucas's niece. A teenaged girl, daughter of Lucas's sister Nicole, independent, smart as hell, and with a penchant for finding the worst sort of trouble - the kind that involves murder. Sound familiar?

Lucas and his lifelong best friend, Snow, had both left Collinsville, Oklahoma, in their past decades ago. But both men were still haunted by their childhood in very different ways. Had it been any other family member than the niece he'd never known about, Lucas would have told them to go bleep themselves and never look back. But his niece was innocent of the events that shaped his and Snow's past and she was in a world of trouble.

So, with just days before the wedding, Lucas and Snow return to the place where their brotherhood started; to confront their demons and save a young woman's life. But will _they_ survive the small town that had made their growing years a living nightmare? Will Snow get Lucas to the church on time? And who told Rowe and Noah what they were up to?

I adore the writing partnership of Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott. Their style is so perfectly in tune with one another that I can't tell where one left off writing and the other picked up. They flow seamlessly together to create a series that has become one of my go-to's whenever I want the comfort of an old literary friend. I have read their series... a fair few times... from start to finish and this book was the absolutely _the best_ way to close the circle on Lucas and Andrei. It had all the elements of a classic Drake & Elliott story - mystery, murder, HUGE explosions, fast cars, and smoking hot love scenes.

Now ladies... about Snow. Can we talk?

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Book Review - Witchbane by Morgan Brice

WitchbaneWitchbane by Morgan Brice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Supernatural mystery and murder meet M/M romance!

This was an exciting read from start to finish. The premise of this book could be ripped from the script pages of a long standing TV show about the Supernatural.

This book starts on All Hallows Eve (aka Halloween) with brothers Seth and Jesse about to embark on a bros camping trip to debunk a local 'hellgate' legend that they grew up listening too. Younger brother Jesse is a partial believer while older brother Seth, an ex-military man looking for a little stress relief and to reconnect with his younger brother after his return to civilian life. But sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real and the legend of the local hellgate takes a supernaturally fueled murderous twist that leaves younger brother Jesse dead, his body mutilated, and Seth scarred and changed for life. He has become a believer.

Fast forward two years later and Seth has become a hunter of those things that go bump in the night, has developed a network of teachers, researchers and other hunters doing the same sort of thing, and has pieced together the real reason why his brother was killed. It had been a mistake, he should have been the one dead as the first born male of his family. And there was a pattern to these grisly supernatural murders that affected not just his family but eleven others, now it was just a few days to Halloween and another first born son is about to die. Problem is, he's gone to ground and if Seth can't find him he won't be able to protect him and stop the supernatural cycle of murders, getting justice for his brother at last.

Sonny is a bartender at a popular local Richmond Virginia bar called Tredegar's, or Treddy's as it was known. He's a bit of a loner, a bit of a geek and he's got a past he's on the run from. A stalker ex-boyfriend, a religious family who was anti-gay to the point where they were going to send him to conversion therapy when he ran far and fast, changing names and identities until he landed in Richmond. Was finally safe, or so he thought. And then Seth walks into his bar. Hot, nice, and just his type. Sonny finds himself doing what he _never_ does, taking Seth home the night after meeting him. Their connection was immediate, the sex was smoking hot, and taking Seth home actually saved his life. Because Sonny - Evan - was one of the first born sons and the next victim of the occultists.

Trouble is Evan doesn't believe in all that mumbo jumbo, even when he's shown real magic, comes face to face with ghosts and grims. His past plays into the hands of those hunting him and Seth is made out to be another crazy stalker like the last boyfriend. So Evan bolts right into the hands of those who Seth has been trying to keep him safe from.

Will Seth save him in time?

Read the book and find out!

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Book Review: Romancing the Prince by Felix Books and Andrea Dalling

Romancing the Prince (Poor Little Billionaires #2)Romancing the Prince by Felix Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting take on boy meets prince!

We start this book meeting Lucas Burson, youngest son of a Texas senator, who thinks he's in love for the first time in his life. Lucas is gay and deep in the closet he chose to live in because he didn't want to hamper his father's political ambitions in conservative Texas. Unfortunately the person Lucas thinks he fell for was an unscrupulous so and so and made a video of them having sex in order to blackmail Lucas's father from running for state senator again.

Skip forward one year, Lucas' father has been appointed ambassador to the small Mediterranean island nation of Kalyphos. Lucas has been pulled from school in order to spend the next two years with his parents in Kalyphos, a fate he considers punishment for his indiscretion. He is blind to the beauty of the island nation until he meets Prince Nicolo of Kalyphos, youngest son of King Felipe, at a reception the palace holds in honor of the new American ambassador. The sparks are instantaneous.

Nico has spent his entire life hiding his own sexuality for fear of bringing down the constitutional monarchy. He's cultivated an image of a playboy prince by being seen with one supermodel after another, never mind that each model had to sign a non disclosure agreement saying they wouldn't talk about their time with Nico - time which was spent as friends only. Meeting Lucas at the reception held for the American's ambassador father strikes a spark in Nico, and the two connect on multiple levels.

Friendship soon become romance, passion turns to love and the two begin a secret affair. But Lucas's sex tape is still out there and Kalyphos doesn't acknowledge same sex unions. The odds are not in their favor, but Lucas and Nico have to decide if their love is worth fighting for despite things being stacked against them.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was fun, light read, a cinderfella type romance that was equal parts sweet and hot. The plot was a little jumpy and contrived at times and the 'turn for the worse' was rather obvious but other than that it was well written. I'm probably going to look up the other books in this series because it makes for a feel good read.

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Book Review - In the Requiem by Hailey Turner

In the Requiem (Metahuman Files, #5)In the Requiem by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh MFG!!! This book. THIS BOOK!

Where do I begin? How about with Hailey Turner is an evil genius. This book, the last full book for Alpha Team (that she says, but come onnnn Hailey, we need to see weddings and things like that, plus one got away! - nope, not telling, that would be a spoiler) and she KILLED it! It still baffles me that she's a pretty much a newbie writer, that this series is her first, because she writes like a seasoned pro.

So for those of you who've become a stalkerish fan (like me) you've probably followed the series from the beginning. Alpha team has been pitted for the past two years against a Russian precog , Stanislav Pavluhkin, bent on owning the world through manipulation of the wealthiest families in the world. His ultimate target - the Callahan family which means Captain Jamie Callahan, code name Apollo and team leader of the MDF's premier heavy hitting metahuman team, is directly in his sights, along with the rest of Alpha team. And then there's Declan Wolcott; in a previous story Apollo had stopped Declan's wife, Victoria Wolcott, from detonating a Splice bomb with a bullet. Declan wants revenge for his wife's death. And to make matters even more complicated, a top CIA official has ties to the Pavluhkin crime family and Declan Wolcott and has been waging a secret war to discredit the Callahan presidential campaign. Oh yeah, Jamie's father is running for the Republican party leadership.

Jamie has been torn between duty to country and his military family and his father's ambitions and his father's for Jamie to come out from behind his secret identity of Apollo. In in the Requiem everything comes to a head in a full out urban guerrilla battle for nothing less than the safety of the entire country. At stake? Jamie's very soul. The price? one that may be too steep for him to pay.

This book was a full on scorcher with the hottest sex scenes, the most action packed sequences fraught with tension and a plot that left me a sobbing wreck but what a way to go out. I can't wait to see what Hailey does next. One of my go to authors from now on.

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Book Review - The Hotshot by Myra Scott

The Hotshot (Vegas Heat, #1)The Hotshot by Myra Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Myra Scott is a new to me author. This is the first book of her new series, Vegas Heat, which is a spin off of another series I hadn't read called Sin City Sentries. The book revolves around the characters Luke and Casey. Luke works for the guys from Sin City Sentries as head of marketing for the Sentry Casino, Casey is a small town firefighter from just outside of Vegas. Both are workaholics but Casey's work ethic comes with baggage from his father and an injury on the job that has left him scarred as well as scared to get involved for fear of being judged by his scar.

Put on a mandatory 2 week leave by his fire chief, Casey ends up hooking up with Luke in an extremely hot interlude in the back of an SUV. The little taste Luke has of Casey leaves him intrigued as well as gives Casey a new outlook on life. Luke tracks Casey down through a dating app and the two set about building a relationship even as Luke is working on the marketing deal of his life. There is some intrigue, some drama and a happily ever after to this book.

The author's style is a bit rough around the edges for me and I found myself noticing a few inconsistencies in both dialogue and voice. There were a few minor plot holes that I noticed and I also found the drama plot of the book a little obvious and contrived - but that may be because I love to read thrillers so I've seen a lot of plots. The author's use of characters from previous books was well explained so I wasn't left scratching my head when they were introduced. But the author does bring the heat with some pretty steamy scenes and I enjoyed how the book ended.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable read. It's a definitely worth a read.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy.

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Book Review - His to Cherish (Tea and Empathy #2)

His to Cherish (Tea and Empathy, #2)His to Cherish by Jessie Pinkham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished reading the 2nd installment of the Tea and Empathy series.

This was a sweet and gentle book and an easy read. If you enjoy books with little drama or suspense but love sweet relationship building this is the book for you. In this book we meet a character who was only touched on the previous book in this series, Cole's friend Gabe. In the last book we learn Gabe Thorne is from one of the rich and powerful families of Tusnua, the planet on which these books take place. Gabe's sister was in the middle of 'buying' an empath, something which disgusted Gabe to no end. Of course it was presented as a dowry to the empath's family, but she was in essence buying someone.

This book opens with Gabe finding out his sister was dead, killed in a freak accident, and Gabe's father expecting him to deal with the empath. Gabe goes to meet the family and is immediately disgusted by the parents who are more interested in getting the rest of the money than what is in the best interest of their son, Ignacio, a 19 year old empath. Gabe immediately goes into 'hero mode' and agrees to complete the contract and take Ignacio, or Nacio as he likes to be called, as his empath and be his anchor. He pays off Gabe's parents and sends them on their way.

The rest of the story is about Nacio growing into his own, from the idea he was 'compensation' to his mother and step-father, someone who was supposed to bend to the will of his anchor, to an independent but still gentle man who is very much in love with his anchor.

From start to finish this was a sweet, gentle story and I enjoyed it very much.

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Book Review - All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals #1) by Mary Calmes

All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals, #1)All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I admit to being on the slow side getting around to jumping on this bandwagon but boy am I on it now. Wow. This was a phenomenal read!

So where do I begin this review? I know, I'll start with the comparison I made to the bff to get her to try the series - This book is like the original Lethal Weapon movie with all the crazy, none of the suicidal and some HAWT m/m loving. Deputy US Marshals Miro Jones and Ian Doyle have been partners for the last three years. When newly minted Marshal Jones joined the Chicago branch of the US Marshals office he was the envy of the branch - he'd been partnered with 'Captain America' himself, Ian Doyle, former (still in the reserves) Green Beret. Doyle was bad _ass_. Soon, however, people stopped being jealous and started wincing at the number of injuries that Miro was collecting as Doyle's partner - because Doyle did nothing by the book and was a little - well - crazy.

Not that Miro minded in the least, because he trusted Ian with his life. Trouble was, somewhere along the line Miro's partner had gone and wormed his way into M's heart - he was gonzo for his super straight, dating a really great woman until they busted her brother and she broke up with Ian, partner. So Miro consigned himself to being the awesome bestie that he was as well as the guy who always had Ian's back - except when Ian got the call to deploy.

It was during one such deployment that everything went fubar and everything changed. Oddly enough it wasn't Ian who'd been hurt - Miro ended up shot twice and in hospital due to blood loss while Ian came home without injury but not unscathed. Hearing that Miro had been seriously injured while he wasn't around to protect his partner shook something loose in Ian and Miro finally saw the other man's behavior for what it was. Want. Desire. And most of all, need, need to be reassured, to give up control, to know that Miro was there, always there, part of him.

Now they just had to deal with people constantly trying to kill them because -hello, marshals - and figure out how to balance their personal and work live and then everything would be perfect. Oh yeah, did I mention the seriously crazy creepy 'Prince Charming serial killer' sociopath who was obsessed with Miro? All in a day's work for the US Marshals. Unh hunh.

I loved this book from start to finish. Miro was a thoroughly likeable and _fun_ character. Ian was sexy and taciturn with a heart that belongs to Miro. Miro and Ian's coworkers are fully formed and you became invested in their friendships. If I had one complaint, it was Miro's coven - his 4 female besties - were super women and just a little too perfect, but hey, maybe I'm just jelly ;-) The writing is clean, it conveyed the story perfectly with no excess verbiage and unnecessary exposition. The story was fast paced and kept interest. The partnership and then relationship between Miro and Ian was thought out, logical in it's progression, and lovely to read.

I'm already 85% through book 2 and books 3 and 4 are purchased and waiting for me. Good job Mary Calmes. Good effing job.

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Book Review of Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Deadly Dorian (Ward Security, #3)Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG where do I begin with this book? Other than Guhhhhhhhh, that is!

This book is definitely going to be one of my 'read over and over and over again' books. I've enjoyed the entire Unbreakable Bonds/Ward Security books from writers Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot, some more than others. This may be one of my all time favorites. The only book to beat this is Shattered coz I love me some Snow! But Royce Karras.... oh my GAWD, Royce Karras! That man does _things_ to me! Naughty things.

In Deadly Dorian someone is trying to kill art gallery owner Mark Foster. He was 'accidentally' given peanuts in a meal his housekeeper prepared for him at home and all his epi pens had mysteriously disappeared, his heart medication had been swapped out for placebos and now someone had cut the brakes on his baby - his brand new porsche. Yup someone definitely wanted him dead and the prime suspects were related to him. His life officially sucked. To add insult to injury he had to ask Lucas Vallois for help. He and Vallois had a past and their relationship could be described as 'frenemies', but he needed help and Ward Security was the best in the biz, so that meant swallowing his pride and asking them to protect him.

Enter Royce (sigh) Karras, Ward Security bodyguard, inked bad boy with a rough past and a mangled heart that he protects more fiercely than his clients. But Royce has a type and Marc is it. which works for the protection scheme they come up with. Royce will pose as Marc's live-in boyfriend while Ward Security tries to figure out who's trying to kill the man. Neither expects the heat between them, neither can fight it. But Royce's past is darker and more deadly than Marc knows and soon he's targeted by Royce's criminal family because of his connection to Royce and the fact that he's a wealthy art dealer. So now the men have to fight for their lives on two fronts while they try and figure out if the heat between them will become an eternal flame or leave them in a pile of smoldering ashes.

This book grabbed me from the opening line. And held my attention to the point where I finally looked up at 2:46 am and went 'crap, gotta go to work in 5 hours!' then went back to finish the last few pages because I really couldn't put it down.

Drake & Elliott have a way with words that sucks you in, sinks claws into you, and doesn't let go until you find out how it all ends. The action is fast paced and fraught with tension, the love scenes are high-octane combustion that leaves you panting, the writing style is clean, crisp and makes sure you have all the description and prose you need with as little verbiage as possible. There's a reason why I one-click their books without thought, because I'm always in for a good time when I do and am left with an emotional catharsis as well as the warm fuzzies of a happily ever after.

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Shield by Max Hawthorn - Book Review

Shield (Men of Hidden Creek)Shield by Max Hawthorn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Max Hawthorn has delivered a Five-alarm read!!!

We start the story in Aleppo Syria - okay my interest was piqued right there - a CIA intelligence nerd (read their best hacker) named Fox Walker sent to a war zone to retrieve intel and so very obviously in the DEEP end and out of his comfort zone. He's described as a lithe, lanky redhead, and so very obviously out of place in the desert. Enter Spec Ops Captain Axel Ford, yes that IS his real name, the Green Beret in charge of making sure Fox gets in, gets his info, and gets out alive. Extra smoking HOT Captain Ford, the kind of guy that makes Fox sit up and bark! Except he's military, Fox is CIA and Fox is there to do a job. Things go squirrelly, as things are wont to do, and Fox finds himself getting shot at and blown up but he does get out of there alive, thanks to sexy Captain 'Probably Straight' Ford. But not without some battle scars in the form of unacknowledged PTSD.

Eight years later Fox is still the CIA's best hacker and he's currently in a little town outside of Houston, Texas, called Hidden Creek, trying to track down yet another terrorist - this one of the variety that likes to make things go BOOM - through his data trails. Hot in pursuit of his bad guy who does Fox run into but Captain Axel Ford - now Special Agent in Charge of the local FBI office. And don't the sparks just fly? or was it the building exploding? Turns out they're both after the same guy, Axel's domestic terrorist is Fox's international terrorist.

Axel and Fox find themselves working together yet again, and the heat from the desert country of Syria flares even hotter in good old Texas - everything is bigger there, after all. But they're also working to stop a man with an agenda and a link to Fox's past before he hurts more people. How many more lives are on the line? How many more buildings will he blow up before they find him? And when they do, will they be forced to lay it all on the line, lay their lives down, to stop him just as they're discovering what they have is worth living for.

I thoroughly enjoyed Max Hawthorn's no nonsense writing style. I felt like I was in that tent in Syria, the burning building in Hidden Creek, the speeding car as it was being shot at, in the bedroom when things _really_ combust. Their action sequences were exciting and fun, their writing crisp and clean. Definitely going to read more by this author as it comes out!

Book series blurb:

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town!

It's a collection of shared world novels with authors Ed Davis, HJ Welch, Avery Ford, Max Hawthorn, and Ian Lewis. The books are stand alones with HEA that don't have to be read in any particular order.

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Book Review - Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura

Zero Day Exploit (The Robin Hood Job, #1)Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

White hats, bodyguards and grifters, oh my!

I really enjoyed this book! REALLY enjoyed it. Asher Hunt, aka The Hunter is a white hat hacker with a grey past, but he's trying to stick to the straight and narrow now. Being busted by the FBI and coping a deal made Asher reevaluate his priorities and a broken heart made him reevaluate his loyalties so now he takes legit IT jobs where he hacks a client's security to find the holes in their system. Totally legit right? There's nothing shady about being set up in a mobile hacking center in an RV in the middle of no where with a bodyguard babysitter, is there? Mortgage companies are completely above board right? And Asher isn't noticing that the bodyguard, Connar James is totally drool worthy and just his type. Nope, he's here to do a job - a white hat job; except that it really isn't and their 'boss' is setting Asher and Connar up to take the fall for his shill game.

But Asher's past is closer to his present then he might like and his old friends from The Den, a network of hackers who live in the grey/black zone, might be the only ones who can help him clear his and Connar's names, give back the stolen money, and get justice against the man who tried to play them all.

And where does Connar fit in to all of this? He's a soldier without a mission, a man who lived for war even though he'd left the war behind him. He's a man who played fast and loose with the protection jobs he' taken, skirting the line of legality. So why was a bruiser hired to babysit a hacker? Why were they both being set up? And why was he feeling white hot lust for an annoying geek with horrible taste in music and a scary love of cheap Asian food?

Asher's past and his present collide with a man who could be his future. Now all he has to do is rob from the rich and corrupt, give back to the poor and maybe get what his heart desires in the process.

Tami Veldura's writing is fast, sharp and full of tension. Sie leaves you on the edge of your seat in the fast paced sections and hir attention to detail is phenomenal. Sie can convince you that you're sitting in the room full of hackers and computer geeks or in a boxing ring watching two ex-military men beat each other good naturedly. Very Impressed. Looking forward to the sequel.

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