Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Heart of Venom

Heart of Venom is the latest release in the Elemental Assassin series from author Jennifer Estep. The publisher is Pocket Books and the release date is August 27, 2013. From the back cover.~

When I say you’re a dead man, take that literally.

To me, killing people is like a day at the salon: cut and dry. Well, more like rinse and repeat when you moonlight as the assassin the Spider. But my last spa day ended redder than my freshly painted nails after a twisted Fire elemental and his goons kidnapped my close friend Sophia Deveraux and nearly killed her sister Jo-Jo in the process. 

Up Ashland’s most dangerous mountains, and deep into the heart of its blackest woods—I’ll track these thugs no matter where they take Sophia. It doesn’t matter what kinds of elemental magic they try to throw at me, my Ice and Stone powers can take the heat and then some. I will get Sophia back, over their dead bodies. 

Because anybody that hurts Gin Blanco’s family becomes a body.

I'm a huge fan of the Elemental Assassin series from Jennifer Estep and I was super excited to be approved for a review copy thanks to the publisher through Edelweiss. Heart of Venom was a wild ride from start to finish and absolutely restored my faith in one of the characters I had begun to doubt over the last couple of books.

I love Gin Blanco and all of her friends and family. Gin loves to show her family and friends how much she cares for them by feeding them and protecting them. When Sophia Deveraux is kidnapped by her tormentor from years ago, and Jo-Jo is nearly killed, Gin decides to do what she does best. Rescue Sophia and kill the bad guy. Luckily she has Bria, Finn, Warren Fox, and Owen in her corner. I won't lie, I've been mad at Owen for the last 2 books. I could tell he knew he was messing up, but kept at it and in the process hurt Gin. He was going to have to do some pretty amazing begging to get back into my good book. Luckily for all of Gin Blanco's fans, Owen figured out what really matters in this book and finally stepped up and became the man we knew he was from the beginning.

Harley Grimes is pure evil. Not only is he evil, his sister is too and gets off on hurting people, and not in a good way. Gin has her work cut out for her in her latest rescue mission and I loved how her friends worked with her to make it work. Not that everything ever goes as planned with Gin and her crew. Sometimes their re-grouped plan seems to be the best plan of all.

I have to say one of my favorite parts of this book was learning more about Sophia. I've always wanted to know more about her and why she helps Gin now and Fletcher before her get rid of bodies. I found myself loving Sophia more with each reveal of her past and will admit I got choked up a few times as well.

I'm already counting down to the release of The Spider, which will be the next book in the series. I can't wait to learn even more about how Gin became the infamous Spider.

Amazon buy links: Print or Kindle

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slow Summer Burn

Slow Summer Burn is the 4th and final book in the Star Harbor series from Elisabeth Barrett. The publisher is Loveswept and the release date was August 12, 2013. From the back cover.~

As the sizzling Star Harbor series concludes, the fourth sexy Grayson brother, a dedicated DEA agent, shows a high-society beauty the true meaning of love.

Cameron Stahl has everything, so why does she feel like her life is incomplete? A beautiful Boston socialite and a successful entrepreneur, she’s just opened her second boutique in Star Harbor and business is booming. But one searing look from Val Grayson sends fire through her body and shows her exactly what’s missing from her life: a real man who doesn’t play games and who makes her feel like the most desired woman on earth.

DEA agent Val Grayson has always looked after his brothers. Now it’s his turn to find love—though Cam is the last sort of woman he ever dreamed he’d fall for. When courageous Cam realizes she has the insider connections to help Val take down a major drug player within Boston’s political elite, he can’t stop her from putting herself in danger. But as the drug bust of his career looms, all Val cares about is saving the woman he loves before it’s too late.

I have to say those Grayson brothers just get better with each book. Just when I've picked my favorite, we get the next brother's story. Truthfully, I've wanted Val's story for a very long time and totally think he was more than worth the wait.

I totally understand Val and his need to make sure everything is great with the brothers he helped raise after their parents passed away. I was so happy to see him finally take some time for himself and couldn't have picked a better heroine than Cam. She is just as strong as Val, as well as strong-willed. Even coming from completely different backgrounds, I knew they were perfect for one another the very first time they touched. I loved how connected they were from the very beginning, and the chemistry between them was totally off the charts. Cam and Val have some of the sexiest love scenes I've read in this series, and that says something as all the Grayson brothers are sexy.

The drug-ring arc has been a part of the entire series and I have to say Ms. Barrett was masterful in how she kept the leader a secret until the end. I had my suspicions that differed from Val's and was happy to see I was right, but I really didn't feel like the clues were very obvious to point to a different ringleader.

I will miss more time with the Grayson brothers and the town of Star Harbor, but think the series was wrapped up well with Slow Summer Burn. I’m already looking forward to more books from Ms. Barrett in the future.

Buy link for Amazon

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fiancé by Friday Blog Tour & Giveaway

The Weekday Bride Series, Book Three
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
August 13, 2013, First Edition
Paperback and Kindle

The beautiful high-born daughter of an English duke came to America to take over her sister-in-law’s matchmaking business. But just because she’s the boss doesn’t mean she can’t fantasize about making her own perfect match with bodyguard Neil MacBain. Will the enigmatic man who haunts her dreams cost her more than she bargained for?

The retired Marine can’t deny the effect blue-blooded Gwen has on his troubled soul or his battle-hardened body. But as a client, Gwen is off-limits—until a threat from Neil’s past returns… and Gwen is caught in the crossfire. Now to keep her safe he will risk it all: his career, his life… and his heart.

My Review:

I don't usually read books in a series out of order. I like knowing how other couples mentioned in a series met and found their HEA. I made an exception with Finace by Friday to be a part of the blog tour and because I was needed to know what happened between Gwen and Neil just from reading the back cover blurb. Thanks to the publisher, I was approved for a review copy through NetGalley.

Even though this is the third book in the Weekday Brides series, I personally think it stand alone very well. I will go back and read the first two books, so I can see their HEAs, but if you have just discovered this series, you will be fine starting with this book.

Let me just say I loved Gwen from the very beginning. She is a super strong character and I loved how she gave Neil so much flack all the time. Even as Neil tries to fight his attraction to Gwen, it is so obvious to all those around them how much they want each other...you know, except for her brother.

I like romantic suspense books and really felt this one was well done. I did figure out who was behind part of the threat from Neil's past well before Neil did, but not all the reasons why. I loved how much Gwen trusted Neil to keep her safe while they were trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guy. I also loved that Neil finally was able to drop some of his shields to be with Gwen. They had great chemistry between them from the very beginning. Each time they made love, I could see them each falling harder for the other.

I'm already counting down to the next book in this series. I've also already gone back and bought the first 2 books in the series so I could own the entire series.


“The hero and heroine come to life with each flip of the page
 and will linger  long after readers cross the finish line.

“Bybee takes an elegant titled lady, a dark emotionally guarded hero, a menacing stalker,
and a cast of distinctive characters mixing it all up into an unusual courtship tale
full of danger an sexual tension.”

“The hottest love on mainstream paper…
Ms. Bybee does not disappoint.”

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Fiance-Friday-Weekday-Brides-Series/dp/1611099528/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1358488597&sr=1-1

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fiance-by-friday-catherine-bybee/1114069556?ean=9781611099522&itm=1&usri=fiance+by+friday

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Fiance-Friday/Catherine-Bybee/9781611099522?id=5446257643332

BOOK DEPOSITORY:  http://www.bookdepository.com/Fiance-by-Friday-Catherine-Bybee/9781611099522

Eliza flagged down a waitress and ordered a martini. “I see not a lot has changed,” she said after the waitress left.

“What do you mean?” Gwen asked.

“We’re sitting in a bar and your giant shadow is lurking in the back of the building.” Eliza tossed a peanut in her mouth.

“My shadow?”

Eliza looked o the right of the bar. “Yeah. The man who acts like you’re a job but can’t seem to leave you alone. If it was anyone other than Neil I’d be afraid he was a stalker.”

Gwen twisted around in her chair. Sure enough, perched at the edge of a seat on the far side of the bar, sat Neil.

“What’s he doing here?”

His eyes found hers for a brief moment before she looked away.

“I think that’s obvious.”

Her back teeth started to grind. “I don’t’ need a babysitter.”

“I don’t know, Gwen. The last time we sat in a bar I remember a certain someone getting drunk and a couple of other someones getting into a fight.”

She’d never live that down. Gwen and Eliza went to blow off steam in a Texas bar. The cowboys ewre full of “yes, ma’am” and “howdy, darlin’.” They danced and carried on…and yes, she drank a little too much. When one of the cowboys mistakenly took her smile as an invitation for intimacy, Neil erupted form the bar to teach the cowboy the meaning of the word no.

It was the first time Neil had defended her honor, and though she hated to admit it, she got a kick out of how ticked off he became when another man looked at her. “That was last year.”

“What’s changed since then?”

Nothing! It didn’t matter how much she flirted with the man, or how obvious she was about her attraction Neil didn’t bite.

“Everything.” Gwen stood, ready to put Neil I his place. “If you’ll both excuse me for a minute.”

She pushed her way through the crowd as if on a collision course with Neil. He kept his lips in a thin line as she approached and gripped the longneck bottle at his side. Slipping between the woman on the stool next to him and Neil’s massive frame, Gwen slapped a hand on her hip and growled. “What are you doing here?”

He blinked, once and picked up his beer. “Having a drink.”

She wanted to scream. “Having a drink,” she repeated.

He tilted the bottle back, took a swig.

“I know what you’re doing, Neil. And I don’t like it. I don’t want or need a bodyguard.”

“That’s debatable.”

If stomping her foot would knock some sense into him, she’d stomp better than a farm girl in a vineyard.

Poking a finger into his chest, she moved closer. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to have a love life with a tow-hundred-thirty-pound bodybuilder standing in my way?”

A muscle in his jaw tightened. “Two hundred and fifty.”

“Ahhh!” She did scream now.

He lifted his beer again, but before he could take a swig, Gwen grabbed it from his fingers and tilted it back herself.

In a move that would make Eliza and Karen proud, she pushed the empty beer bottle back into his hand and slid between his thighs.

His jaw twitched again.

The strong musky scent that was pure Neil invaded her senses. She dropped one hand to his thigh and left it there. “This is how I see it, Neil. You have two choices. Either back off or step up.”

Gwen squeezed his thigh before vacating his personal space and marching back to the girls. A satisfied smile stretched over her face.


New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned novels Wife by Wednesday, Married by Monday, and Not Quite Dating. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.  


a Rafflecoptergiveaway