Friday, July 31, 2015


Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death… 

Release Date: July 28, 2015
Elemental Assassin #13
Pocket Books
Review copy provided by publisher

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Estep and especially love her Elemental Assassin series. I count down to the release day between each installment in the series and read each new book as quickly as possible. Spider's Trap was an excellent addition to the Elemental Assassin series.

I'm really enjoying watching Gin learn to be the Queen of the Underworld. She is the least likely person in the series to have the political aspirations of the roll, yet with the help of her assistant Silvo, she is learning to handle the situation. The fact that everyone in the underworld is still after Gin, keeps her on her toes and still in the game.

Gin has always put the protection of her friends and family at the top of her list. However, in the last few books, she has started allowing them to help with her plans and I really love watching the gang all work together to battle the bad guys. Yes Gin does most of the heavy fighting, but with Owen, Finn, Bria, and all her other friends in her corner, she always has all the help she needs.

There seems to always be parts of Gin's past come into play in each book, and this book was no exception. Lorelei was from Gin's past and while Lorelei remembered everything about Gin, it took reading some of Fletcher's files and Gin's dreams for her to remember all that had gone on all those years ago. Seriously as many people as Gin has killed and protected over the years, I totally understood that Gin didn't really remember Lorelei right away. 

I really enjoyed Spider's Trap and felt like it was an awesome addition to the series. I really like that 13 books in I still feel like the stories are fresh each time and there is character growth with all the main characters. I'm super excited for Bitter Bite, book 14 in the series to come out next year. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Release Date: July 28, 2015
Penguin Publishing Group
The Bourbon Kings #1

Liza’s Review:

I really tried to like The Bourbon Kings. I’ve liked some of Ward’s other contemporary books, so figured I’d enjoy her new series. Sadly, The Bourbon Kings was a DNF (Did Not Finish) read for me. I loved the 80’s primetime soap operas, but felt The Bourbon Kings was just a little too over the top for me. Honestly the only main character I even liked was Lizzie and she basically was a servant to the Bradford family, or at least treated like one. I wasn’t a fan of Tulane “Lane” at all and couldn’t understand why Lizzie would have waited around for him. I actually gave up at about 30% so I can’t say for sure that the story didn’t get better. While The Bourbon Kings didn’t work for me, I believe it will work for other fans of contemporary books. I do plan on giving the next book in the series a try, and plan to read it with an open mind.

Even without finishing The Bourbon Kings, there was no way I was going to miss out on a Ward Q&A session. Luckily, Ward was in Nashville for release day.

Q&A at Salon@615 in Nashville, TN at the Nashville Public Library

JR Ward started out talking about her new series.  The Bourbon Kings takes place in the South, and Ward stated the South is a character in itself. Ward moved to the South 10 years ago from the Boston area and said it was a bit of a culture shock for her. When asked it she had trouble moving from writing paranormal books to contemporary books, she said it wasn’t an issue as she basically has the same process for all her writing.  I have to say she totally cracked me up trying not to cuss during the entire Q&A, but have to say she wasn’t successful and soon the f-bombs and s-bombs were flying. J

Once the audience was allowed to ask questions, the Q&A pretty much turned into a BDB Q&A session, though The Bourbon King series had a few questions mixed in as well.

Ward currently has 6 books planned out for the BDB.

She does currently have 3 books under contract for The Bourbon Kings and totally admitted it was very much like Dynasty/Falcon Crest/Knots Landing from the 80’s. She totally wants to be Alexis Carrington Colby. Ward said The Bourbon Kings books have good conflict, romantic relationships and offers multiple POVs. She wants people to be invested enough to come back for book after book.

Unlike in the BDB series, Ward actually based some of the characters in The Bourbon Kings books on real people. She named Lizzie, Greta and a few other characters.

Her writing process is the same no matter what she is writing. She says she actually sees pictures of the stories in her head and writes down what she is seeing.

Ward did say The Bourbon Kings has an element of mystery in the book, and she totally said who died in the book…one of the first f-bombs that was dropped.

Ward was asked if she drank bourbon and she said no, that she doesn’t drink. Actually said “could you imagine this shit drunk?”

Lassiter will be in Blood Kissed and he wears the funniest outfit in the history of outfits.

Devina will be back at some point in the BDB books.

Asked if she would write any other paranormal books and she said maybe…tried to say more, but had to leave it as maybe.

Asked if iAm and The Queen would appear in future books or have more stories and she said they were pretty much done.

People asked about the pronunciations of the characters changing on the audiobooks. Ward said they had never asked how to pronounce the names in the beginning, and no one ever thought to give them out. They changed the pronunciations for The Shadows.

No one will ever find out John Matthew is actually Darius. She did say Xhex does have an idea that JM is something more because of the shadows she sees around him, but doesn’t know why.

There is currently a TV option for The Bourbon Kings and while Ward can’t talk about it in detail, she did say she feels the right team of people hare working on it.

She keeps no notes or drawings about the house or the characters.

Blood Kiss will only have 4 POVs. Butch, Marissa, Craeg, and Paradise.

Layla & Xcor will have page time in The Beast…she really acted like she wanted to say more, but they shut her down.

Muhrder will be back. Ward thought he would appear in The Shadows. We might see him in The Beast. JM has to get into the Brotherhood first. Plus big issues with Xhex and Muhrder and their past as we know so little about Xhex’s past after leaving the Symphath colony.

I really feel like she will say more about everything at the Louisville, KY signing and Q&A on Saturday. As the Nashville event started at 6:15 at night, I think her Q&A session was shorter than normal.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Ranger Proud, Ranger Strong...

Texas Rangers swear to uphold the law to the letter. But Captain Ross Sinclair isn't about to play by the rules to destroy a major human trafficking cartel—especially now that the only chance to break this case just strode into his life with attitude as long as her gorgeous legs. Heiress Emm Rothschild is taking names and raising hell as she searches for her abducted sister and niece. And the evidence this wild-child turns up sets off a lethal chain of events—challenging Ross to keep her reckless determination and seductive daring up close and dangerously personal.

Now a blindsiding betrayal has Emm heading straight into harm's way. And Ross will have to put his badge and career on the line to get justice—and prove to the woman he loves that a Ranger's word is a forever bond.

Release Date: July 21, 2015
Texas Rangers book 2
Lyrical Press
Review copy provided by the publisher

Nikki's Review: 

I was initially attracted to this book by the cover because it’s yummy. Hot and svelte guy…yes please! The blurb sealed the deal for me. I love romantic suspense. It’s easily one of my favourite sub genres. This is where my love for this book ended. I don’t take this lightly and I absolutely hate doing it, but this was a DNF (did not finish). I even hate typing that. When I start a book, I need to see it through to the end. I need to know where the characters end up and how they got there. So when a DNF happens, it kinda makes me sad.

I couldn’t connect with either of the characters in this book. Emm and Ross had zero connection. I managed to make it 30% into the book and they were still completely irritated with each other, with a glimmer of physical attraction. Ross didn’t have the time of day for Emm, and she was polite to him in a condescending way. Now, of course this could have changed, but since I couldn’t finish the book, I’ll never know.

Emm is looking for her kidnapped sister and niece…at least I think she was. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I was searching for my beloved family members that have been taken by a human trafficking cartel, I’d probably be pretty focused on that. Emm seemed more passionate about the historical buildings that she was trying to preserve. So not only did I not sense any connection between the hero and heroine, but I couldn’t sense Emm’s connection to her family or her worry for them.

I swear my eyes were glazing over at times. This book is very wordy. I like detail, I need detail, but there was so much going on in every sentence. And it wasn’t interesting stuff. I found myself playing around with the sentences after I read them to see if I could shorten them. Most of the time I could!

This review is short because I didn’t finish the book. I figure reading 30% of a book is enough to decide if I want to devote my precious reading time to it. This one didn’t make the cut. And I feel horrible about that. 

Friday, July 24, 2015


Will Franconi has a dark past that he's kept a closely guarded secret―very few people have ever heard his real story and he plans to keep it that way. After surviving a hellish childhood, he's now living the dream life where everything he touches turns to gold. But something's missing. He doesn't quite know what until a simple letter from a teenage boy brings Harper Newman into his life. A woman who just might fill up the empty places inside him.if only he could ever be worthy of her love.

When a man has more money than he could possibly spend in five lifetimes, Harper has to ask herself what Will Franconi could possibly want from a woman like her? She's learned the hard way that rich men always get what they want no matter the cost. If it was just herself she had to worry about, Harper would manage, but she's guardian to her younger brother who depends on her for everything. After nearly losing his life in a car crash, she's vowed never to let anyone hurt him ever again.

Still, sometimes Harper can't help but long to change her story from one of an always-cautious woman to an adventurous tale of a heroine who's wild and free.especially when Will's kisses and caresses make her utterly breathless. And as he begins to reveal his story to her, she discovers that he's so much more than just another wealthy, privileged man. He's kind and giving, and he fills up all the spaces inside of her heart that have been empty for so long. Together, can they rewrite their stories into a happily-ever-after that neither of them had previously thought was possible?

Release Date: June 10, 2015
Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully
Publisher Maverick Oak Press, LLC
The Maverick Billionaires #1
Purchased copy of book

Nikki's Review:

I have been a long time, huge fan of Bella Andre. I gobble up anything that she writes and it never ceases to amaze me that I fall head over heels for each book! I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about this book. The synopsis sounded great, and the cover is gorgeous. What was making me a little hesitant was that it was co-wriiten with another author, Jennifer Skully. Now, I don’t have anything against Ms. Skully. I had never read anything by her. I was worried that Bella’s “voice” would be lost. I’m happy to say that I was terribly wrong! I could still “hear” Bella, but I could also appreciate the new style that Jennifer contributed as well! These two ladies wrote something so very special together!

Harper Newman lives a very controlled and predictable life. She takes care of her brother Jeremy, who has special needs that are the result of an accident when he was a child. She doesn’t have time for romance, especially the kind that pulls her away from her brother. When she meets billionaire car enthusiast, Will Franconi, she is completely blown away. And that alone is terrifying to her! Will is enamoured with the beautiful and uptight Harper. She intrigues him. She isn’t interested in his money or what he can do for her. And she loves her brother fiercely, which just makes him want her more. But Will is sure that he isn’t good enough for her, despite his enormous wealth. He has a past that he can’t move on from. 

I loved Harper’s protective nature. She devotes her life to her teenage brother who is much more like a young child. Her unconditional love is staggering. I respected that she wasn’t willing to put her own needs for companionship over Jeremy’s need for love and guardianship. But it also saddened me because, here was a woman who has such a beautiful heart and she deserved a piece of happiness for herself. Slowly but surely, Will starts to chip away at the shield around her heart and insinuate himself into Jeremy and Harpers lives. Will has this vulnerability about him that was so honest. He has all the money in the world, endless opportunities, and people clamouring to do his bidding, and yet he doesn’t feel worthy of Harpers love. My heart kinda broke for him. He had redeemed himself from his past so many times over and it wasn’t enough to wash away the stain on his mind and soul. 

I found myself cheering this couple on! I wanted them together so badly and each baby step was so realistically slow, and needed, that I was frustrated. But it wouldn’t have worked if Harper just gave in. That wouldn’t have been true to her nature, to how she learned to trust. The moment Harper decided to take what Will was so blatantly offering, my heart skipped a beat! And holy freakin’ hell…The hood of his car! Yup, sex on the hood of his sexy sports car. My mouth dried up and I was lost. But I didn’t want to be found. The sex scenes were beautifully written. Just the right amount of sexy and yumminess. Have I mentioned how much I would love to be seduced by the kisses that Will is oh so good at? Sigh…he’s a really great kisser!

This is a story of redemption as much as it’s about love. Will had to learn how to forgive his juvenile mistakes from years before, before he could fully be what Harper needed. She needed to learn to trust that Will wanted her and that included her brother. She needed to let go and listen to heart a little bit. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Harper. It drove me nuts that she was so reluctant to just take a chance. Ya, I know, she needed to be cautious but I just wanted her to dive in and be carefree. The surrender is beautiful. When that moment came, I got a little misty eyed. It was raw. Will was wrecked, he thought he was going to lose her, but she humbled herself in front of this wonderful man. Together they were able to find the love, trust and peace that both so desperately wanted and needed.

Breathless in Love is a great start to what promises to be an awesome series! Wills friends, the other Mavericks, promise to knock me off of my feet and make my heart melt. Is there anything better? I mentioned already that I love anything that Bella writes. Now I am going to have a peek at what else Jennifer Skully has out!