Sunday, January 22, 2017

DIRTY MONEY by Jessica Clare

Roughneck Billionaires #1
InterMix Books, January 2017
Obtained via:  publisher
Contemporary Romance
** 1/2

The debut novel in Jessica Clare’s Roughneck Billionaires series, DIRTY MONEY is the story of two people who both want to rise above their station in life and still manage to find love together.

Boone Price and his brothers are oil riggers that have hit it big.  Real big.  Billionaire big.  Suddenly beyond rich, Boone starts to develop a taste for the finer things in life and more than anything wants to be respected.  In order for that to happen, Boone thinks he needs to find himself a woman of class and breeding.  Simply from one look at a local realtor’s brochure, Boone sets his eye on realtor Ivy Smithfield and he sets out to buy her affection.  The chink in his plan is that Ivy is as dirt poor as Boone used to be.  Her appearance is carefully constructed to promote her professional career.  Ivy is making next to nothing, selling bone marrow for money to support her sister while she attends college and keep a roof over their heads (even if that roof is attached to a trailer).  But what happens when Boone finally realizes Ivy comes from the same humble beginnings that he did?

Jessica Clare’s DIRTY MONEY really didn’t work for this reader.  Boone comes off as crude, rude, pompous, sexist and determined to seek revenge on those he thinks have slighted him because of his filthy looks and ways.  While he had his moments, this reader simply could not find much to like about him and had a really difficult time imagining Ivy falling in love with him.  Ivy is kind, sexy, determined to give her sister a better life and instantly sees dollar signs when she realizes Boone is a billionaire, if she can just keep her three bosses from stealing him out from under her.

While the story was entertaining and at times funny, the fact that Boone thinks he should be respected simply because he now has money was ridiculous.  Everyone but Boone and this author seem to know respect is earned and you can’t buy class.  And every time Boone feels someone has failed to give him the respect he thinks he deserves, he reacts is a way over the top manner, purchasing and burning businesses to the ground for spite.  And yet, still Ivy is enamored.  This reader was not.  Still, if you are able to overlook Boone’s bad manners, sloppy dress and sexist attitude, the story itself is well written and moves along at a constant pace and even includes some very funny scenes (that this reader imagines could never really happen in real life – see comment about burning down perfectly good businesses).

Fans of contemporary romance will probably still enjoy this story.  In fact, this reader would bet that you will either really love this story and or really agree with this review.  For me, DIRTY MONEY was like the characters, a little rough around the edges.

Reviewed by T. Barringer

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book

Friday, January 20, 2017

A PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet

The Kingmaker Chronicles Book 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca
August 2nd, 2016
Paranormal Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Gift
4.5 Hearts

Catalia ‘Cat’ Fisa is in hiding from her homicidal mother and a prophecy that scares her to the bones. Hiding within a carnival as a soothsayer, she never anticipates being found out by a hunky if at times hard headed warlord named Griffin, who is determined to use Cat’s power as a kingmaker in his newly conquered kingdom. But Cat is not all that she seems and as she fights her destiny and Griffin, she finds that his fairness, loyalty and smoldering advances turn her inside out and are hard to resist. But can she trust Griffin to keep her safe when she knows just what her mother is capable of and that she is destined for something more than the happiness she longs for in Griffin’s arms?

OH.MY.GOD. Debut author Amanda Bouchet delivers a pulse pounding ride from start to finish with her new book, A PROMISE OF FIRE, and delivers a story that is full of magic, gods and simmering passion that will steal your heart even as you flip the pages to see what happens next. The story is amazing and I just could not put this one down. After all the press about his one, I just had to try it out and I am so glad I did.

Ms. Bouchet delivers complex characters that are life-like, complex and have vulnerabilities that slowly show themselves to the reader within the pages of this first book in the Kingmaker Chronicles. I absolutely adore Cat. She is tough yet vulnerable, mysterious and full of hidden depths that tease the reader to set out to find out about them. Her scenes with Griffin are pure heat, so much so I swore the book was going to go up in flames with all those sparks flying around. Her interactions with some of the royal family was amusing and was a perfect foil to the darkness that followed Cat and the destiny she didn’t want to have. The author does an amazing job in capturing the characters so perfectly amid the pages of the book. Cat was feisty, charming and so much fun, Griffin was ambitious yet tender with Cat, strong and fearless but gets him around his family and he turns to mush. The secondary characters were just as entertaining and enjoyable. I loved them all.

A PROMISE OF FIRE is the first book in this brand new series and one I was enthralled with until the very end. After the climatic ending which left some major questions about who Cat really is and the destiny she still hasn’t told Griffin about left me wanting more. I was thrilled to see book two, A Breath of Fire, coming out in a few days after I finished this one. I am eager to see where the author leads Cat, Griffin and the team next. If you enjoy a highly entertaining fantasy series then I highly recommend A PROMISE OF FIRE and settle in for some hours of reading pleasure.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate by R. Cooper

Publisher Date published ISBN Genre Book format (E-book? Mass Market
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date published: October 20, 2016
Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Audio book
Reviewed by Gabrielle (

Obtained via publisher
Rating: 4 Hearts


When Zeki returns to his hometown he never guessed what he was walking into.  Always the odd human out Zeki does not recall his high school days fondly. The only thing from high school that he cares to remember is Theo: the wolf he had a crush on. Upon his return he finds out the Theo’s mate rejected him and since than Theo has led a lonely life. Zeki is determined to help Theo and even if he is just passing through. The years away have not diminished Zeki’s attraction to Theo and Zeki is about to find out just what truly happened all those years ago in high school. Will the truth come out and will it finally fix what went wrong or is there no going back for these two?

I really enjoyed this book. Robert Nieman does a wonderful job of narrating Theo and Zeki’s story. Their adventure is full of emotions. Zeki is a human and even though he grew up in a werewolf town he still has no clue about all the rules surrounding mates and dating. It was nice to see Zeki and Theo work through it all. Theo never blames Zeki and is more than willing to try again. I loved both Zeki and Theo. The feelings that they have for each other are evident in all that they do and say. Especially as they defend each other to other people even before they come together. The two make a great couple. Each one is always ready to understand and give the other what he needs. I cannot wait to see what more comes from these two once everything is all settled.

Their story moves at a nice pace and pulls you in right from the start. Not only was I engaged in Zeki and Theo’s story but I also found myself wanting to know about many of the other inhabitants of the town. The narrative brought this story to life for me and I enjoyed this visit and am excited to return again.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ISLAND OF GLASS by Nora Roberts

The Guardians Trilogy Book 3
Berkley Publishing
December 6th, 2016
Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Publisher
4 Hearts

The first two stars have been found and as the six guardians search for the final star, they have to face off with Nerezza and her minions. This time they are lead to Ireland and where the immortal, Doyle must face his past. Three centuries before he closed his heart off but he never anticipated finding a bad of five other people to search for the stars of fortune. Drawn to the wild, he finds himself drawn to Riley, a werewolf who is also an archeologist.

For Riley, her sudden attraction to Doyle leads her to suggest a fling between her and Doyle. But when the lust between them changes into something more, can Riley and Doyle trust their hearts and open them to a love that will transcend the stars themselves? Nerezza is determined to destroy t he guardians and find the stars and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Will the guardians succeed when the stakes are even higher than ever?

OH MY GOD! What a great final book in the Guardians Trilogy. It has action and adventure, romance and a baddie that just makes you root for the heroes to vanquish. I love when Ms. Roberts does these sorts of stories as she delivers some amazing characters and storylines for the readers to enjoy. I really enjoyed how the characters just melded together so well. They are well written, highly enjoyable and complex, I almost expected them to pop up in my house for a chat or two. The baddie, Nerezza is one ticked off goddess and her search for the stars of fortune leads her to the guardians. I really enjoyed seeing how the author created this interesting and diabolic character. The evilness just oozed from her even as she tried to battle the guardians or toss her minions at them.

What really thrilled me was how the author was able to capture the characters strength and weaknesses just perfectly. Individually they all had something they brought to the table in the search for the stars but are leery of trusting others. It took a lot of courage to form a team that eventually transcends into a family. As I read the final book in the trilogy, I found myself spellbound as I flipped the pages to see what would happen next, even as I tried to guess where the final star might be.  Nora Roberts is phenomenal writer who knows how to weave a spell around her readers with her books and storytelling. If you enjoy a wild, passionate story about goddesses, a mysterious island, three stars and more then I highly recommend you start this trilogy today. Start at the beginning with the Stars of Fortune and get ready to go on a wild ride. The final book, ISLAND OF GLASS is the climatic and thrilling story in the series and will leave you breathless after the last page is read.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Publisher:    Berkley

Published:   October 18, 2016
ISBN:        978-0425281406
Genre:       Mystery
Format:     Ebook
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Charlotte Holmes has never quite fit in with the demands and expectations of society.  Deciding she simply is not going to conform she engages in some rather risqué acts—all of which do not please her mother.  When three people known to the Holmes family are found dead, suspicion is quickly placed on her sister and father. With the real Sherlock Holmes out of touch, Charlotte takes on his identity to find the real killer.

When I saw Sherry Thomas’s A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN and its different take on Sherlock Holmes, I couldn’t resist picking it up.  I set my expectations too high.  I hadn’t read Thomas before, but had heard what a fabulous writer of romance she is. 

I found the writing in A STUDY IN SCARLET to be unemotional and not a clever Holmes style story.  I was bored from almost the beginning, but kept on plugging on in the hopes the spark I’d heard Thomas has would show.  For me it never did. 

She does write young adult and this book is a good choice for a pre-teen introduction to the Holmes milieu and mystery.  For me, the story just didn’t work.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date published:  October 10,2016
Contemporary, M/M romance
Audio book
Reviewed by Gabrielle

Obtained via publisher
Rating: 4 Hearts

After a horrible accident Raven must find a new way to support himself. His past as a porn star ended with his accident. He may not be ashamed of his past but he does not share it quickly. When he meets Caleb while acting as a date at a high school reunion the sparks fly. Can Raven trust Caleb enough to explain his past and his new situation or is their attraction just a flash in the pan?

I loved listening to Raven and Caleb's story. Raven is a good man with what some would call a bad past. He has done what he needed to survive and is not ashamed but is always judged for it. When he meets Caleb he longs for something more.  Caleb is sweet and just the man that Raven needs but when an unforgiving fan comes into the picture their new relationship is put to the test.  The two men seem to be made for each other. Both know just how to support the other but pain is caused and the two men may not be able to get over it.  Raven and Caleb's journey is an engaging one that pulled me in right from the start and had my heart invested in them. The narrator does a good job of bringing their story to life. Love is hard to find and these two men find out the hard way just what it takes to keep it. Not only did I enjoy Caleb and Raven but Caleb's cousin definitely made his presence known.  He is as much a part of this story as the main characters and he is a strong gay man that shows true loyalty and emotions.

 TARTAN CANDY is a beautiful story of finding love and acceptance when you least expect it and I hope that this is not the last that we see of this world. I would love to see Caleb's cousin Jamie gets his own story.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Thomas Nelson
December 6th, 2016
Christian Fiction
Paperback ARC
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Publisher
2.5 Hearts


For Lauren and Sam, ministering to the people of Nepal is a dream comes true for their family. But as time goes by, Sam increasingly goes off, weeks at a time, into the Himalayas and finding passion as well as a purpose with his work with the needy people there. But for Lauren and their son, Ryan, being alone for weeks at times is hard and increasingly getting more difficult as time moves on. The reality of their life as missionaries turns that dream into a reality that is not living up to what they thought it would be. When an old friend reenters Lauren’s life, she struggles with the reality of loneliness in her present life with a past life that remerges in her memories. But for Ryan, his parents disinterest has far reaching consequences that will shake up their entire family.


OF STILLNESS AND STORM is an interesting if at times complicated book in a genre that I normally do not read. I had a hard time putting aside my own emotions to read about the struggles of this family and the events that transpired between them. The characters were interesting yet I just could not connect to them in any way. Maybe it was my mood or that it was in a genre that I never cared to read before but in the end I struggled to finish the book after repeatedly putting it down to read something else. Sam especially just doesn’t appeal to me for the most part because he decides that to answer his call to god, they should all be missionaries. To myself, that felt a bit selfish and yet also brave. To go to another country to minister to the people there is a huge undertaking yet in this book, it comes across as a dream for one that becomes a forced reality to the other two. The characters feel like they are forced to play parts in a play yet the author does a good job in capturing their different ways to cope with a dream that at turns may turn out to be a dud to someone else.


OF STILLNESS AND STORM is an emotional tale of a family where dreams and realities don’t mesh together. It’s a story that will either leave you aching for the family or wondering just what the heck is going on as it was in my case. If you enjoy reading this sort of genre then you might enjoy OF STILLNESS AND STORM. I just could not get into it.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement




Sunday, January 8, 2017

THE DOLL MAKER by Mary Burton

The Forgotten Files Book 2
Montlake Romance
November 15th, 2016
Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Publisher
4 Hearts

For Dr. Tess McGowan, returning to Richmond, Virginia was fraught with memories and a man who turns her inside out. But in her job as a forensic pathologist, she finds her latest case file to be the most gruesome. Mutilated bodies are being found telling a macabre tale of a sadistic killer who is kidnapping women and turning them into life-like dolls. It’s her job to aid the leading agent on the case, Dakota Sharp, except working together with her estranged husband will cause them both to face their pasts.

Twelve years before, Dakota Sharp’s world was destroyed in a tragedy that caused him to focus on hunting down killers and neglecting his marriage to Tess. When he finds out that Tess is back in town and working in the medical examiner’s office, Dakota is determined to be professional even as he is drawn to this determined woman. But this killer is smart, determined and as they get closer to the deranged psychopath, the killer sets his sights on Tess. Can Dakota and Tess figure out the clues and solve the case before Tess becomes the next victim of THE DOLL MAKER?

Wow, Mary Burton delivers a fast paced story that will chill you to the core even as you flip the pages to see what happens next. Ms. Burton delivers a story that is at times fraught with twists and turns that the reader doesn’t see coming and a secondary story of two people reconnecting and trying to work out their differences. This book is like a puzzle the reader has to figure out. It has a devious and diabolical killer that just chills you to the soul, a mystery that pulls you in and characters that you can’t help but enjoy.  The story moves quickly, keeps the reader glued to the pages and entertained till the very end.

Meet Tess and Dakota. Two headstrong people who are made a mess of their marriage but finally figure out they are meant for one another. I got to admit when I first met Dakota Sharp, he was a bit rough around the edges for my taste, quite focused to point of ignoring everything and everyone around him. That is until Tess comes back into his life. Then my lord, the sparks flew between them. Tess needed that time away from Dakota to see what she needed and wanted while doing work over seas. These two characters are quite entertaining, enjoyable and made me root for them to succeed as a couple even as I tried to figure out the clues left by the killer alongside them. They had substance and were written so life-like I half expected them to pop up in my living room at times while reading THE DOLL MAKER. The killer is just creepy and the author does a fine job in getting into the mind of them to show the reader just how diabolical they can be. The secondary characters are just as well written as our main players and keep the story moving along nicely.

THE DOLL MAKER is a wonderful story that will thrill and chill you this winter’s night as it keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you enjoy a romantic suspense story that is full of twists and turns, a killer that will give you nightmares and a mystery to solve then you will enjoy Ms. Burton’s latest installment in the Forgotten Files series. You don’t have to read book one, The Shark, in order to read this installment. The books stand alone and I know I am eager to see where the third book, The Hangman, goes next.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement