Julie James

Review: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James


Title: It Happened One Wedding (FBI / US Attorney #5)
Author: Julie James
Date of publication: 6 May 2014
Genre/themes: Romance, FBI

Author's links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
Purchase Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

My rating: 4 stars



After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown in to close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…


Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without

It's the fifth book in Ms James' contemporary romance series, FBI / US Attorney and it's another winner. This time the story revolves around an upcoming wedding and not professional assignments. The hero in this books is Special FBI Agent Vaughn Roberts whom we met in the previous book, Love Irresistibly. He meets the heroine, Sindey Sinclair by chance but gets rejected by her but they are forced to interact much more than either of them expected since it turns they are the brother and sister respectively to the happy couple to marry, Simon and Isabelle.

It's a very real romance which starts with a blunt rejection, followed a few casual hook-ups and ends with love snucking up both Vaughn and Sidney. She is loving for a long term relationship and he is commitment phobic, but their relationship blossoms despite their differences and initial reluctance to get involved. 

Ms James a fantastic job portraying  the present-day 30-something men and women with successful and demanding careers, trying to sort out their personal lives. She makes them sound authentic and easy to relate to. There is no excessive drama or tragedies involving the characters. It's the just a story about ordinary human relationships in all their complexity.

Vaughn was the his witty, confident self we already met in Cade's book. I liked how honest he was about his feelings. There was no big secret behind his unwillingness to commit, it turned out it was just  a matter of meeting the right woman.

Sindey was a wonderful heroine - confident, smart (a true master of sarcasm and snarky remarks), successful, and at the same time she has this softer side. She cares for and loves her family, she is deeply hurt by the betrayal of her ex-fiance and feels insecure and frustrated at having to go back to the dating scene. being a single woman going on dates again. She felt real and easy to relate. 

I liked how their relationship developed from not-strings-attached sex to sharing more and more about each other and feeling comfortable being together. She was the first to realize that things between them had changed and her reactiowas to back off. He needed more time and some brotherly advice to see the truth and finally act.

The supporting characters, Vaughn's friends, Cade and Huxley, his brother and and parents, Sindey's sister and her father, they all added texture to the story and put the main romance in perspective.

The story had the expected happy-end, but I just wished there was more of it or some kind of an epilogue. 

Overall, this is must-read for fans of the series and I can recommend it to all fans of conteporary romances with strong characters, witty banter and hot sexy times.

Read my review of Love Irresistibly


Teaser Tuesday 57


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:
• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

My teaser this week comes from The Kraken King Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster by Meljean Brook. It's a steampunk romance in a serial form of 8 parts. Though I'm not a big fan of serial books, I'm enjoying this one very much. I'll be reviewing the first two parts later this week.

...If he said that she was running and hiding, he knew pride would force her to stay. But his heart was iron. His will was steel. So Ariq held himself silent and watched her go.

The Kraken King Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster
Meljean Brook


A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes. But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

Book Blitz

Book Blitz for Blind Love by M.S. Brannon


Book Details:

Title: Blind Love (Sulfur Heights #3)
Author: M.S. Brannon
Publication date: January 27th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Add on Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N


“She is magnetic to me. Every emotion she feels pulls me that much closer to her charm and energy. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I want her to know what she means to me.” ~Jake Evans

For Jake Evans, life was as it should be. No responsibilities. He was the master at embracing his reckless lifestyle whenever it presented itself. Surviving on his ability to expertly hustle, fight and womanize, Jake could do it all; lived it all.

Raised in a rundown city, filled with crime and drugs, he had survived the death of an abusive mother and a life with an absent father while only having his brothers to depend on. His lifestyle became fast and Jake had lived it the only way he knew how, until the day he met Delilah.

Delilah St. James was the epitome of flawless. Brought up in an affluent southern household, Delilah’s life had been planned from the moment she was born. She was raised to be the perfect socialite and daughter, and groomed to be the ideal wife. When a school internship moved her to Sulfur Heights for the summer, Delilah collided with the bitter reality of life outside her comfortable gated community when Jake Evans upset her perfect world.

Over the next two years, Jake and Delilah became best friends, embracing a friendship neither one was prepared to have, although they soon found it to be a relationship that neither one of them were willing to sacrifice.

A tragic turn of events brings Jake and Delilah together once again. Only this time, the feelings are different. Lines within their friendship are blurred. Everything they vowed never to do, becomes the very thing they cannot deny. Will Jake and Delilah’s relationship withstand the changes surrounding them? Or will the emotions sever the two year friendship they’d fought so hard to keep?

Author Bio and Links

M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.


As part of the Book Blitz you can enter a Raffelopter giveaway for 1 ebook copy of Blind Love. The giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh


Title: Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling # 3)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 4 Sept 2007
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Ibooks /Kobo

My rating: 5 Stars


As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins - cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna . . .

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted - and had her mind violated - by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives...


This story of the Psy-Changeling series features a Psy male, Judd and a changeling female from the wolf pack ShadowDance, Brenna. But their background stories are even more complicated. He is one of the Lauren family who defected from the PsyNet and found refuge with the wolfs and she is the only victim of Enrique Santino who survived his torture and was saved by the united efforts of the wolf and leopard changelings (with the help of Sascha) in book 1. 

It was an intense and deeply emotional story. Both main characters were fighting inner dark and deadly demons - she was struggling with the consequences and scars of unspeakable torture she endured in the  a powerful sadistic psy. He was a former Psy elite warrior (The Arrows) who found refuge with the wolves and worked with other rebels to undermine the Psy dominance.

Add to the mix a killer who has set his sights on Brenna, two older over-protecive brothers and Judd deadly abilities kept in control because of Silence and things get really intense. It was a struggle for Judd and Brenna to come together but truly a captivating one.

I loved the both the romance and the mystery/thriller element in this story. The author has achieved a perfect balance between the two, keeping you on your toes till the end and at the same time melting your heart with tender and passionate romance. 

The romance between Judd and Brenna was overwhelming but they both had to overcome so much to be together. Both Sascha and Faith (the Psy from the previous two books who fell for changelings) had great difficulties breaking free from their conditioning and learning to embrace emotion and touch. Yet, things were even more difficult for Judd. He was already outside the system, but he was an assassin with a deadly gift and his struggles with himself and his true nature (physical and physic) to be good enough for the woman he loved were touching and heart-breaking.

The writing is just superb - complex world building, addition of new details to this paranormal world of Psy, Changelings and Humans with each new book. Old familiar characters were revisited  and new ones were introduced. I really liked Brenna's brothers and can't wait for their stories. I'm more of a fan of cats in general but the pack of wolfs did win me over with its fierce loyalty to and care for one another. 

Overall, it is another great addition to a series that is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. 


Review: Roman Holiday by Ruthie Knox


Title: Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure
Author: Ruthie Knox
Date of publication: 25 March 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo

My rating: 4 stars


Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all with the hope of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he does have a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the eastern seaboard to do it.

Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across the country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.


I'm a big fan of Ms Knox contemporary romances and this one didn't disappoint. Her Camelot series is one the my favourite reads of the past year.

This is a standalone book which was initially released as a serial with 10 parts. This review covers the complete story. Ms Knox tells an amazing roller-coaster romance between two very interesting and unusual characters. One the main strengths of Ms Knox's writing is her character depiction - she creates these complex, unique people who feel very real and easy to relate to.

It's enemies-to-lovers story between Ashley, who grieving the loss of her grandmother and the hotel which she had sold to Roman, the hero, who is this mysterious Cuban entrepreneur. They are complete opposites, at least so it seems, but as the story unfolds and they open up more and more with each other, we see that they are rather similar - both are lost, both strive to gain other people's love and appreciation. They just reacted to the pain in their lives in completely opposite ways - she had thrown herself into anything, desperately trying fit in and to please everyone, to be what they needed her to be. He, on the other hand, had chosen to lock himself tight and not to care about anybody but himself.

Ms Knox told their journey to one another with compassion and understanding. The gradual change of the characters was cnvincingly presented. Their relationship grew slowly despite Ashley's reluctance to give in to her desire for Roman, and even more, Roman's strong, almost painful resistance to allow himself to feel anything for her.

The road-trip as a journey of self-discovery and true love is an often used trope and I can say it worked well here. Being on the road, dealing with more than one stressful situation and unexpected obstacle, meeting friends and strangers, it all help Roman and Ashley re-evaluate their lives. 

There is a secondary romantic plot - between Noah, Roman's best friend and Carmen, Roman's ex-girlfriend. It was not very well developed and though it was nice and I was not really engaged in it and I found it distracting me from the main story. 

There is a cameo appearance of characters from the Camelot series, Nana with her grand-daughter Carly, her husband Jamie and baby Dora from Along Came Trouble joined Ashley and Roman on their road trip and I really enjoyed their short but sweet visit. 

My main complaint is that the book was too long, some details were unnecessary, at times the inner monologues of the main characters, Ashley in particular became repetitive and boring. The last 15 % despite the action of them and the resolutions of some of the conflicts in the story, seemed to focus too much on the same inner musings of Ashley and Roman. Their hopes and dreams, their fear and insecurities were presented in detail over and over again. In a way this reflects who pre-occupied they were wit this issues, but still it was overdone at times, and I found it annoying. 

The story has the expeted happy-end and a lovely epilogue. If you have read more of my reviews, you've probably noticed how much I love a good epilogue and this one made me a very, very happy reader.

This is definitely a recommended read for fans of Ms Knox' writing and to all the fans of contemporary romance who love a good story with interesting characters told with a touch of humour and. Did I mentioned  that it also was hot? :)


Teaser Tuesday 56


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:
• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

My teaser this week comes from Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber. It's a companion novel to Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) and it releases on May 6. I was lucky to get an ARC and just finished it. It's an emotional NA story which complements book 1 in the best possible way. 

But I wasn't fine. I was anything but fine. That night had shattered me. I'd walled myself in to keep from breaking further, but no defense will protect you from every possible pain. I was just as breakable as everyone else - the girl in my arms included. But I could hope. I could love. And maybe, I could heal. 


He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

Book Blitz

Book Blitz for Love, in English by Karina Halle


Title: Love, In English
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2014

Add to: Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo / Smashwords



He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English. 

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada. 

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos. 

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. 

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything. 

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth. 


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more. 

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time. 

Something that can never, ever be. 

Or so she thinks.



Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”

“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”


“You are sleeping with Mateo, no?”



“No!” I exclaimed, appalled. “Why does everyone keep thinking that?”

“Because you are always together,” she said simply. She took a sip of wine. “The attraction is very obvious. So, I figured you must be sleeping together.”

“He’s married!”

“Yes, but you are not.”

I shook my head adamantly. “It’s wrong. I don’t want to be the other woman. I’ve seen my dad go for the other woman, and I can’t put Mateo’s daughter through that,” I said. “Or his wife,” I quickly added.

“That doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings for anyone else.”

“Yes, it does mean that.”

“Maybe you are meant to be together.”

“We’re not! There isn’t even a together. We’re just friends. I haven’t done anything about it, and so far my feelings are totally one-sided.”

Claudia got up off the couch and brought a pack of cigarettes out of her front jean pocket. “If you think it is on the one side, you have not seen the way he looks at you.”

She walked over to her small patio table and pulled out a chair. I got up and stormed after her, my nerves dancing excitedly.

“What do you mean, the way he looks at me?” I asked, lowering my voice in case there were people around listening. I felt like bouncing off the walls.

She slid the ashtray toward her as I sat down. “You do not see it. But I do. I think everyone does. He looks at you like…like you’re his favorite food.”

“Favorite food?”

She lit her cigarette. “Yes. You’re like his favorite food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about you all the time, craves you. But he cannot have you for one reason or another. Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste, but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

I sat there, stunned, as some of her smoke blew in my face. That’s how Mateo looked at me? Like he wanted to eat me? I was pretty sure that’s how I looked at him. Just last night I was contemplating nibbling on his earlobes.

“And yes,” she said, leaning closer to me, a small smile on her lips, “that is also how you look at him.” Great, a mind reader. “But you are more subtle about it. You try not to let everyone know. But, we know.”

“There is nothing to know,” I reminded her, poking the table with my finger for emphasis. “We are not sleeping together. He is married. I have a crush. That is it. The end of the story.”

“A crush?” she questioned. “Vera, I think you’re in love with him.”

No fucking way. Not love. That did not happen with me, not ever and not now.

“You can’t fall in love in a week,” I told her heatedly.

“You can fall in love in a second,” she said with a snap of her fingers. “The heart has no regard for time.”

With that sobering thought, Claudia told me about her ex-boyfriend and how they fell in love at first sight then took the conversation back to Ricardo and their exploits. I envied her so badly right then and there. She could fawn over Ricardo, kiss him, fuck him, and no one would ever bat an eye. It was okay for them to be together. It wasn’t forbidden.

I gulped the rest of the wine and left her apartment, heading back to reception to meet Cristina for my next one-on-one, my mind and heart and hormones all over the place. Lo and behold, Mateo was walking up the path toward me.

He was on the phone, smiling.

His shirt was off and slung over his shoulder, exposing his bare chest, abs, and arms.

Holy fuck.

For a moment, I was sure that time had stopped. Or maybe ever single nerve, cell, vein, bone, muscle in my body just slowed as I took him all in.

From his thick-veined forearms to his sculpted shoulders and broad chest peppered with neatly-trimmed chest hair, to his six-pack abs, he had, by far, the best body I’d ever seen on a man. He kept himself in fine-ass shape, looking more like a young athlete than anything else. He and David Beckham had more in common than I thought, although David’s skin tone wasn’t as mesmerizing. Mateo’s color was amazing, just beautiful, this dark, golden bronze that covered him everywhere. I wanted so badly to just touch him, to lick the sheen of sweat off his skin. I bet he tasted like victory.

And to think this was the man that Claudia said wanted to taste me.

I really, really wanted to believe her.

Meanwhile, I was just standing there like I was melting into a puddle of myself. I clamped my mouth shut as he walked past and I heard him say into the phone, “No, mi tesorito, it was easy, I didn’t injure myself.” He was beaming, talking about the game, to his wife. To his tesorito. And he called their relationship complicated? This was complicated.

He winked at me in acknowledgement, his smile becoming broader. I tried to smile back but it wouldn’t come. I just stared at him, feeling stupid, foolish, and strangely rejected. In a perfect world I may have been his favorite food, but it still wasn’t what he got served every day. I turned around and walked down the hill, my heart feeling like a pincushion.

“Vera!” I heard him call out from behind. I stopped and nervously glanced over my shoulder. He was holding the phone’s receiver to his chest, grinning at me. “I need to ask you your question.”

“What?” I asked, hoping it was quick.

“Who is your favorite Spaniard here?”


And yet I couldn’t lie to him.

“You,” I said, more to myself than to him. Then I turned around and walked away as quickly as I could.

About the Author

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.

BTSPRprofile-1 Logo2 (1) 

I've read some of Karina Halle's other books and I can say I'm a big fan of her writing. I'm excited to read and review this new standalone title and in the meantime you can check my reviews of the Artist Trilogy and the Devils by Ms Halle.


Review: Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner


Title: Tall, Tatted and Tempting (The Reed Brothers #1)
Author: Tammy Falkner
Date of publication: 17 June 2013
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Disabilities
Author's links: Website / Facebook / Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords
Free at the time of publication, except at B&N

My rating: 3 Stars


She’s locked up tight. But he might be the key.

Logan Reed is tall, tatted and tempting.
Kit’s a woman with a mean right hook and a secret.

Kit wants a tattoo, but Logan sees more than she intends to share in the drawing of the tat she wants. He sees her in ways no one ever has.

Logan’s not disabled; but he hasn’t spoken in eight years. He hasn’t needed to.
Until he meets Kit.

Logan doesn’t know everything about Kit. Kit doesn’t know anything about herself, until she has to sacrifice all she ever wanted to save what’s most important to him.


This book features a hero which disability (he can't hear and hasn't spoken for 8 years), and I'm always curious about such stories. Furthermore, the book was free on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try.  

I expected more focus on hero's disability and how he copes with life and love despite it, but what I got is a nice, albeit fairly typical NA romantic story.

I enjoyed the writing and all the characters were quite likable as well. Still, I felt the story lacked depth. Early on we learn that the heroine, Kit (Emily) also has learning issues - she is dyslexic and it's a big impediment for her. It seems a bit unrealistic to me how her parents being, so rich and successful, just thought she was stupid and didn't really help her deal better with her learning disability.

The hero, Logan, was just swoony - a tortured and sexy tattoo artist. He is deaf but he is not speaking by his own choice. Soon after he meets Kit, though, he opens up to her and starts talking but only to her. Part of the reason was how difficult it was for her to read his notes, yet he kept his silence around everybody else, including his four brothers and it didn't feel right to me. They all had learned sign language for him, yet he didn't make the slightest effort to talk with them.

The story follows the romance between Logan and Kit while the disabilities of the characters were played down. This said, I really enjoyed the interaction between them, how they communicated with one another. Logan's brothers were great supporting characters. Their own stories and their active role in Logan and Kit's lives added richness to the story. 

Matt's illness and the decision of Kit to help him was admirable and an act only a strong, compassion person could do. It set in motion the events leading to the resolution of the main conflict in the story.

The ending was a bit rushed and the conflict between Kit and her parents was far too easily resolved. The book has a happy end, though the story of Logan and Kit continues in the next book of the series, Smart, Sexy and Secretive.

Overall, it's a nice, NA romance - with some angst, some sexy times and a generally feel-good vibe.


Teaser Tuesday 55


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

I'm currently reading the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, trying to catch up with the action before the release of book 12, Shield of Winter on June 3. This paranormal romance series is quickly becoming one of my favourites. I am on book 5, Hostage to Pleasure, now and here is my teaser from it:

...With him, she spoke only the truth. But, as she had learned in the twenty-six years of her life, truth was a tool. It should never simply be said. No, it had to be bent, twisted, colored, until it became a weapon.


Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy--cool, calm, emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.

DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...


Review: Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh


Title: Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 6 March 2007
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Ibooks 

My rating: 5 stars


Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous - aching need...exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D'Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar's instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith's sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced - and keep her from Vaughn.


I liked this book even more than the first one in the series. Faith and Vaughn were great characters on their own and they were perfect together. 

Ms Singh continues to build the world of the Psy and the Changelings. The Changeling men are just yummy, though it's to be expected since they have all the positive features of their animals - strength and agility, heightened sexuality. They love to touch, to pet and to cuddle and at the same time they are loyal, possessive and protective of Pack and their mate.  How can a girl not love them :)

I also love the idea of the mating - forever type of love, no cheating, no breaking of the bond, mutual love and respect. In terms of romance, it's as perfect as it can get. All this is couple of scorching hot sexual chemistry.

Vaughn was all animal changeling and more since he is jaguar in the Pack of panthers. He is a bit of an outsider and that makes him just extra special. His animal is stronger than in most of the other changelings and his connection with a Psy like Faith who literally can't stand to be touched was really intriguing. 

This said, it's the Psy that are unique and they make this shapeshifters series really amazing. Ms Singh creates a multifaceted Psy world and she keep adding details to it with every new book in the series. The Psy we have met so far are all different and I find them really interesting - from the members of the Psy Council to Sascha and Faith, even Faith's father - they are all very well developed as characters and have their own strong presence in the series. The different combination of abilities every Psy possesses make them unique and intriguing characters. 

I absolutely loved Vaughn but Faith was more even more amazing. She changed so much in this book, her journey form someone who can't bear to be touch to being mated to a highly sensual jaguar was truly remarkable. 

Their romance was great - slow-building, even tender (as much as Vaughn can be gentle) and at the same time passionate and all-encompassing. It was the focus of the story but it also worked well with  mystery/suspense plot. 

I strongly recommend this series to all lovers of paranormal romance. I can't wait to continue with the next book in the series, Caressed by Ice, where we move to the other changeling pack - the wolfs of ShadowDance.

My review of Slave to Sensation

Cara McKenna

Review: Hard Time by Cara McKenna


Title: Hard Time
Author: Cara McKenna
Date of publication: 15 April 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica 

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Tumblr / Goodreads

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iTunesKobo

My rating: 4 Stars


In this all-new novel from the author of Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect...

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.


This is my third book by Cara McKenna and to describe it I'm borrowing the definition given to her books by another reviewer - smart erotica, adding romance, since this one was all about romance plus great sexual chemistry.

It's easy to turn the main premise of this story of a love affair between a librarian and prisoner into a cliched version of a shy, sexually repressed woman and a bold, domineering, aggressive prisoner. I'm glad to say that it's nothing like this.

It's a complex story of love, lust and what it means to be with someone, to accept them for who they are and to share freely all your dreams and desires.

Ms McKenna creates a beautiful love story, a passionate romance, a realistic novel exploring issues such as abuse, violence and possibility of change.

I'm not a big fan of stories told via letters, but the love/lust letters between Annie and Eric were something else - so passionate, so open and honest, they reveal how two strangers can get to know more about each other than anyone else knows about them all through the exchange of words on paper without any physical contact.

The unique positions of Annie and Eric make their romance a curious mix of impossible love and unrequited passion allowing them both to be completely uninhibited and to indulge in their deepest secrets and fantasies.

Around the middle of the story reality came crashing in and things changed dramatically. Annie and Eric were given a chance too act on their attraction but at the same time they were faced with a whole new set of issues. After one abusive relationship year ago, Annie had great difficulties accepting the violence in Eric. He was always gentle and caring with her, responsive to her wishes, yet his repentance about the violent act that led him to jail and his determination to resort to violence again if necessary put a strain on their relationship.

This is where my issues with the plot come out. I feel like they went in circles in their disputes, Annie was appalled at the violence Eric was capable of, he was adamant in not sharing the reasons behind his behaviour. They went on and on without anyone of them changing their position.

I didn't particularly like the plotline with Eric's family. The issue with his sister was far too easily resolved. I also felt the ending was lacking. I would have also loved to see her family's reaction to him. It would have been nice to see Annie and Eric actually trying to work things out as a couple - they have so many obstacles to overcome.

The love scenes were hot, hot, hot. They completely unraveled me with their honesty, openness. He was adoringly shy, always trying to please her, deriving his pleasure from hers, in a way he was the perfect lover. Annie was adventurous, excited to explore, to try new things, rediscovering passion and pleasure.

Ms McKenna has created amazing characters - he was a delightful combination of shy and considerate, a perfect gentleman, yet ready to do violence for the person he loves/cares about - he had a strong sense of loyalty, justice. His writing disability, his care for his plants came in sharp contrast with his readiness to resort to violence for his loved ones. 

Annie was quite interesting, as well - she was strong enough to get away from an abusive relationship, strong enough to cope with the prisoners, she trusted Eric despite her fear of violence, she was willing to face his family, her family, to stand by him. 

Overall this book explores some complex issues in the lives of realistic characters involved in a true romance with great sexual chemistry. Despite some issues I had with the plot, it's another winner for Ms McKenna which I can recommend.My reviews of some of other books by Cara McKenna:


Mini Review: Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh


Title: Whisper of Sin (Psy-Changeling # 0.6)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 25 Feb 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters, Novella

Author's links: 

My rating: 4 Stars


San Francisco is under threat from a violent gang…a gang that has no idea who they’re challenging. The DarkRiver pack of leopard changelings has already claimed the city as their territory, and they will fight with wild fury to protect its residents. Emmett, a lethally trained leopard soldier, isn’t about to let outsiders muscle in on his home ground—especially when they target a human named Ria.

Emmett has one word for the smart stranger with her curvy body and tough spirit: mine.

Possessive, dominant, unyielding in his demands and desires, Emmett is unlike anyone Ria has ever before met. But while the sexy leopard changeling makes her body ignite, his kisses molten and his touch addicting, she’s no pushover and she has a few demands of her own. This leopard has met his match


I loved this little novella on Ria (Lucas' human assistant) and Emmett (a leopard changeling). I've only read the first two novels in the Psy-Changeling series so far and I was greatly impressed. 

The focus in this book is on the humans (Ria and her family) and we get to see just glimpses of the changeling world (Emmett's parents, Lucas, Dorian, Nate and Tamsyn all make an appearance). I do miss the Psy in this novella, since I find their race fascinating and they are only briefly mentioned as part of the general world building. 

Both Ria and Emmett are wonderful characters. She seems fragile on the outside, but in reality she has a quiet strength that holds her family together. Emmett is the typical strong, possessive, protective changeling, yet he respects Ria's strength and loves her for it. Their relationship develops really fast but since it's a paranormal romance I don't mind the instalust/love. 

Chronologically, this book comes before book 1, Slave to Sensation (my review), so it's a suitable read even for readers who still haven't started this series. As for the fans of the series, I'm sure they will love Ria and Emmett's story. It has all the brilliance of Ms Singh's writing - well-developed characters, intriguing plot and detailed world building.


Teaser Tuesday 54


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
• Be careful not the include spoilers!

My teaser this week comes from the book I'm currently reading, Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure by Ruthie Knox. Ms Knox is one my favourite writers when it comes to contemporary romance and I'm enjoying this one very much. It's a enemies-to-lovers story which features one very impulsive, chaotic heroine and one disciplined, invincible hero going on a road trip of sorts.

He needed to recalibrate his expectations, somehow. It shouldn't be possible for her to keep knocking him off balance, and so easily. The deeper she disturbed the stillness he'd spent so many years cultivating, the happier she seemed to be. 


Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all with the hope of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he does have a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the eastern seaboard to do it.

Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across the country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.
 Purhcase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo


Top Ten Tuesday 22


Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme hosted The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new topic for each week and the participating bloggers are invited to post their Top Ten lists on it.

Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Read 

These are some of the books that struck me as unique when I read them. Some were first for me in the (sub)genre, others impressed me with the story itself or the what it was written.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins– It was my first YA Dystopian series and it just blew away my mind

Unravel by Calia Read – It's a psychological thriller/mystery told from the point of view of the heroine while she is mental hospital. When the big secret is revealed (I guessed some of it early on but other parts of remained a mystery till the end) I wanted to go back and re-read the whole book to see how things fit with this new knowledge. (my review)

Songs of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin – a great epic fantasy where my favouite characters keep dying on me, yet I can’t wait for the next book to come out

Tangled by Emma Chase – the male equivalent of chick-lit, funny, sexy, unfiltered male opinions on life, love and sex, I had great fun with it.

Girl with Cat Tattoo (my reviewand Geek with Cat Tattoo (my reviewby Theresa Weir - these are cute, fluffy romance which include a unique cat's POV.

Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh - amazing paranormal romance series. I love everything about this books - the romance, the mystery/crime plot and the world building. Slave to Sensation (my review)

Devils series by Karina Halle - It's a curious mixture of rockstar romance, horror and paranormal story. I haven't read anything quite like it. The Devil's Metal (my review) and The Devil's Reprise (my review)

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - It's a wonderful YA/Adult story with a double plotline alternating between the present and the past

What book made it into your TTT list this week? Leave me a comment and I'll stop by your blog to check it out.


Mini Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarry


Title: Red at Night
Author: Katie McGarry
Date of publication: 01 April 2014
Genre/Themes: Young adult, Romance, Realistic fiction, Novella

Author's links: Facebook / Website / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase links: It's free - Amazon / B&N / Kobo

My rating: 4 Stars


In Red at Night, Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She's the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He's a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella's favorite refuge…the local cemetery.

Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah's friends. Once he's sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won't have time for her anymore. Too bad she's already fallen for him.

It's a cute realistic YA romance written in the superb style of Ms McGarry's books. It's a tender story of first love between two teenagers facing difficult circumstances in life. They have to make a choice that will turn them into the people who they want to be.

Mini Review

The character development is rich and detailed. With just a few words Ms McGarry creates memorable and very likable heroes and heroines. Jonah and Stella have unique voices and their life situations are engagingly and convincingly presented. The story is told from a dual POV focusing on the inner struggles of the characters who are trying to find their place in life.

I liked how Jonah was not this super villain who turned into a good guy overnight. He kept silent in the face of injustice and that made him guilty, yet he was a basically just an ordinary teenager, unwilling to go against the his group of friends, afraid to disrupt his nice, peaceful life. He was a good guy who just needed a push to show his goodness to the world. An unfortunate accident served as this push which led him to Stella. It was their friendship-turned-to-love that brought the change in him to fruition.

Stella was a great character - really unique, enduring a tough family situation. She struggled between hope and dreams on the one hand, and the harsh reality of being on your on with no family to support you. I liked how strong and confident she was, yet at the same time, vulnerable and scared.

Both Jonah and Stella felt very real and easy to relate to. Ms McGarry is a master at creating realistic and intriguing characters with just a few words and making the reader care deeply about them. Despite the short length of the book I felt involved in Jonah and Stella's story and wanted for them to overcome all the difficulties life threw at them.

I just have one minor quibble with the story and it has to do with the volunteering episode. Jonah suddenly realized that there were many poor children and that Stella was one of them and he was outraged by that fact. His reaction didn't feel natural to me, the message against poverty came off as forced. 

It's a recommended read for fans of Ms McGarry's books and for anyone who likes a realistic YA story with good plot and great characters.

Note: This novella is part of Harlequin More Than Words and it celebrates the work of Goodie Two Shoes Foundation. You can check the harlequin site for similar novella offered for free. 

My reviews of other books by Katie McGarry:

Flickr Images