Monday, July 24, 2017

Early Review of Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1) by Alisha Rai

Title: Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Forbidden Hearts (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (July 25, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062566733
ISBN-13: 978-0062566737
Author's Website: http://www.alisharai.com/
Notes:  I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler were high-school sweethearts when tragedy struck. Her father and his mother both died in a car accident. Neither parent was where they were supposed to be and the rumor mill had it that the two were having an affair. While the truth may never be revealed, Nicholas' father did take advantage of Livvy's mother's grief when he offered to buy her portion of their families' joint owned company, C&O, paying only a fraction of what the shares were worth. Then came the break-up, with Livvy shortly thereafter moving away. There was a catch, however, Nicholas and Livvy agreed to hook up once a year, in secret, on Livvy's birthday until they'd worked each other out of their systems. They'd done this for the past nine years, but last year Livvy never texted a location and the hook up never happened. Now Nicholas has heard Livvy's back in town and he wants answers. The question is will he like what he hears?
First, let me just clarify this review by saying I'm not a huge fan of erotica. It's just not my type of romance. so this book will get a lower rating than if if was one of my go-to romance sub genres. I hate doing this, but it is what it is, and erotica is just not my cup of tea. That being said, the highest rating this one could get is a 4. Is the story hot and steamy? Yes. Are these two going at it like rabbits? Uh-huh. Now, the big question--Is there any depth to the actual story? Surprisingly, there is. Unfortunately, I hadn't a clue about this until the big reveal close to the end when all my questions were finally answered. For the majority of the book I felt like asking these two characters to take a seat on a chaise lounge while I put on a pair of wired rimmed spectacles, got out my pen and notebook, and psychoanalyzed these two. I kept thinking, "What the heck? This relationship is truly messed up." It was obvious the two really liked each other and I just couldn't figure out how they'd ended up in such an unhealthy and potentially damaging relationship--and it wasn't just them. Both their family dynamics were messed up at well.

I'm giving this one 3 out 5 roses. I kept finding myself putting the book down, reading something else, and then returning to it. The characters were multidimensional and had more depth then I first imagined. The ending is what made the book because prior to that I didn't think these two had any chance of coming out of things as a couple. The story turned out to be more emotionally complex and a heavy than it initially appeared. While I didn't like the initial dynamics of the relationship, the lower rating is more a reflection of me and my tastes than of the author's writing. Had the writing not been any good I would have simply never picked the book up again and been done with it. On the Lisarenee Romance rating scale, this one earned a  STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Early Review of Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Wildfire: A Hidden Legacy Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Hidden Legacy (Book 3)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 25, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062697447
ISBN-13: 978-0062697448
Author's Website:  http://www.ilona-andrews.com/
Notes:  I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
A century and a half ago, the Osiris serum was discovered by scientists which unlocked a person's magical abilities. The serum was given to soldiers so that wars could be won, but scientists didn't comprehend what they'd truly done until much later and by then it was too late. The serum was locked away, but the damage had been done because it was soon found that magical talents could be passed from parent to child. The world as we knew it was changed forever as a restructuring of power occurred. Money no longer guaranteed power, influence, and prestige in this magically oriented new world, rather, one's magical abilities did. For from the power of magic, one could acquire the rest.

Talents varied among people, but each person showed potential toward one specific type of magic. Among the varying types of magics, ranges of talent were soon noted and magic users were categorized into five different ranks: Minor, Average, Notable, Significant, and Prime. The highest and strongest being Prime. Soon magical dynasties, as the most powerful of magical families came to be called, were broken into houses and attempted to manipulate and enhance their family's magical potential by arranging marriages which would bring about the most gifted and talented of offspring.

Nevada Baylor is a private eye working for the family business--Baylor Investigative Agency. The firm specializes in small-time investigations. She's just been asked by Rynda Charles to investigate the disappearance of her husband, Brian. Three days ago Rynda's husband went to work and never made it home, and isn't answering his phone. He's a Prime of  House Sherwood, but his House is convinced he's taking a break from his marriage and refuses to look for him.

Grandma Frida is against Nevada taking the case stating Rynda Charles is a "man magnet." She's young, rich, beautiful, helpless, and looking for someone to save her--all things men eat up. If that isn't bad enough she's also Rogan's ex-fiance. Nevada argues that if Rynda can steal Rogan's attentions away with a few tears then the relationship never stood a chance to begin with, and its better to find out now. Additionally, Nevada, who has a talent for knowing when someone is telling the truth, argues Rynda is not lying about her husband's disappearance. While she too questions the motives of the daughter of the woman Nevada recently killed, she finds she can't refuse her plea for help. Only time will tell if she made the right decision in taking the case.

This is the third book of the Hidden Legacy series, and I can't seem to get enough. The books build upon each other so I highly recommend you read them in order and from the beginning. They contain a whole lot of magic, a mesmerizing collection of powers and abilities all neatly wrapped in drama galore with a steamy romance unraveling smack dab in the middle of it all. If you're looking for your next urban fantasy fix, you really ought to consider checking this series out. It will totally leave you wanting more. Luckily, there are presently three books out in the series.

Nevada is a surprising individual. With all that's happened to her and her family you'd expect her to be much more hardened by life, but somehow she's managed to keep her humanity. She has a supportive family which I believe is the key that keeps this tougher-than-nails detective grounded and kindhearted. She's smart, loyal, and oh so talented both magically and otherwise.

At first glance, Rogan seems the very opposite of Nevada. With monikers like Mad Rogan, the Butcher of Merida, and Huracan he is most known for using his magical skills to single handedly kill thousands in the war against Mexico which helped bring about a favorable end to the fighting. No one knows the extent of his powers, but the overall consensus is the man is scary as hell and not someone you want to mess with. At second glance, you start to see there is much more to him than meets the eye, and its society (the very people whom he helped save) whose made him into the villain. He is the way he is because he needs to be, but Nevada helps him to remember who he really is because she sees him for who he truly is--not a monster but a man--someone who is not all that different from herself. He's a misunderstood hero with some dangerously scary mad skills. In case you haven't caught on ladies, this guy is seriously swoon worthy. *sigh* You've been warned. lol

I truly can't say enough about this series and all of it is good. I couldn't help but give this one 5 out 5 roses. It's got action, romance, suspense, drama, magic, and a whole lot of other goodies just waiting for you to uncover. I'd say more but I wouldn't want to enter into spoiler territory. One thing I can say is Nevada's paternal grandmother makes a huge splash in this one, and Nevada and her family need to decide how to handle the situation. They either need to petition to become a House or find another way to keep their grandmother at bay. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I highly recommend this book and series. Its definitely going on my keeper shelf.

Order of the Hidden Legacy series:


Monday, July 17, 2017

Early Review of The Library of Light and Shadow (Daughters of La Lune #3) by M.J. Rose

Title: The Library of Light and Shadow
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Series: Daughters of La Lune
Format: Hardcover; 368 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (July 18, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1476778124
ISBN-13: 978-1476778129
Author's Website: https://www.mjrose.com/content/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.



The La Lune sisters are descended from witches. Each is said to have only once change at love. Each possesses a magical power that can be considered either a gift or a curse. Each has their own mantra said to encapsulate their power.

Delphine possesses the ability to see into the shadow's of one's soul and glimpse the dirty little secrets that reside therein. Some are innocent, though most are not. She studies her subjects for mere minutes then, blindfolded, paints them on canvas. Some of her "shadow portraits" are met with delight while others she's asked to destroy. One will reveal something that will ruin lives, ultimately leading to her leaving New York and returning to her home in France. It's there she'll be commissioned to paint not a portrait of a person, but of a house in the hopes of finding the Library of Light and Shadow said to hold an ancient text containing the secret to eternal life...
This was a beautifully written book containing magic, mystery, and a dash of romance. It's the third installment of the Daughters of La Lune series, and while I wish I'd read the two previous books prior to this one, I didn't feel lost. The book starts off with Delphine living in New York, and we slowly get a feel for the type of person she is and a front row view of what her life is like. She's a sweet, emotionally charged, and haunted individual. She's at a crossroads in her life where she's trying to escape fate by bending it to her will and it's not working out all that well.

In the book, Delphine needs to comes to terms with her power and life. She can see an individual's deepest, darkest, most hidden secrets--mainly events of the past but occasionally of the future--with her gift. Her mother has warned her never to do a portrait of herself or attempt to look into her own future (for a canvas isn't always necessary for what she does) on the off chance she'll misinterpret the meaning of what she sees. She's held fast to that rule, but sometimes the secrets of those in her life and her own can be intermingled, and once something is seen it can't be unseen. This creates quite the conundrum and complicates her life beyond reason.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. This was a fun, magical, and engaging read. The beginning immediately sucked me in, but somewhere in the middle the pace slowed as did the action. Once we got to the castle, however, things quickly picked up, got interesting, and never slowed down. I enjoyed how the author infused the story with historical characters and events. The characters were three dimensional and easy to relate to. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a BLUSH--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred. I look forward to reading the first two books in the series. I enjoyed this one.

Order of the Daughters of La Lune series:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Early Review of Mister Hockey (Hellions Angels #1) by Lia Riley


Title: Mister Hockey: Hellions Angels
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hellions Angels (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 240 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (August 22, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062662473
ISBN-13: 978-0062662477
Author's Website: http://www.liariley.com/
Notes:  All quotes need to be checked against final copy as they are subject to change. I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Briana "Breezy" Angel is a huge hockey fan. All the women in her family are. Her mother and sister are former figure skaters, but Breezy didn't inherit the knack for skating. Instead, her superpower is reading and her job at the library is perfect for her. When the local celebrity she booked for the library's story hour can't make it, her sister finds her an even better replacement...

Jed West is Mister Hockey. He's the captain of the Denver Hellions and one of the hottest players on ice. He eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey. Now he's come to a crossroads. He's been having unexplained spurts of double vision and is afraid it may be a career changer. When he agrees to help the local library with their children's program, he never expected it would distract him from his woes. When he meets Breezy, however, he finds he likes everything about the young curvy librarian who wears a cape and reads to children.
This was an oh so cute and sexy little romp of a romance. I enjoyed watching these two fall for one another. Breezy was fun character who reminded me of a cross between Lucille Ball and Bridget Jones. Many of the situations she found herself in left me grinning from ear to ear. She's Jed West's biggest fan but doesn't dare tell him--afraid the calendar, coffee mug, and life sized cut out of him might frighten him away.

Jed is an honest-to-god nice guy who hasn't found his Mrs. Right. Truth be told, he hasn't really been looking. He's been too busy with his career. With his latest injury he's started reevaluating his life and contemplating what he'll do if he has to quit hockey. That's when he meets Breezy and he finds himself thinking more about the woman then his own worries.

My favorite lines:

- "A bra is a modern gal's Swiss army knife."

- "A Yawn is a Silent Scream for Coffee."

- "I want to be the one who makes you believe in fairy tales."

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I liked Breezy and could relate to her love of books and aspirations of owning her own bookstore. While these two fell for each other pretty fast, there were some issues that needed to be resolved and hurdles which had to be overcome. It was a cute, funny, adorable, and sexy read that left me smiling. Additionally, I liked how Ms. Riley managed to squeeze in some information about CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a condition commonly found in athletes with repetitive brain trauma. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. A very fun and charming romance. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Early Review of The Pirate and I (Devil's Duke, #2.5) by Katharine Ashe

Title: The Pirate and I: A Novella (Devil's Duke)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Devil's Duke
Format: Paperback; 192 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (August 22, 2017)
ISBN-10: 006264176X
ISBN-13: 978-0062641762
Author's Website: http://katharineashe.com/
Notes:  I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Once upon a time a boy liked a girl and a girl liked a boy, but neither of them let their feelings be known. Then one day the boy disappeared and as days turned into months followed by years it was feared he'd met with foul play and had died. Now, years later, while on a trip to Scotland for a once-in-a-decade international event--the meeting of the Society of Perfumers. Esme Astell finds herself in the middle of a police chase. When asked which way the man being sought went, she makes a split second decision and lies. When the young scoundrel whom they were chasing thanks her with a kiss, she realizes it's Charles Brittle, the boy--now a man--she'd held a tendre for all those years ago. He's in trouble and needs her help.
This was a very fun and sweet novella that I wish had been longer. As is the fate of many a novella, things get resolved much too easily and quickly. I would have liked a little more conflict and the romance to have been drawn out a little longer, but what can an author do? There are page/time constraints on novellas.

Esme and Charles are an unconventional couple. She has aspirations of becoming a world-renowned master perfumer and Charlie? Well, let's just say his life took a bad turn and he's now trying to get himself out of the situation he finds himself in--beholden to a pirate. He'll need Esme's help to do it.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I loved watching these two come together and fall in love. I adored Charlie and admired Esme. By the end, I got the feeling there wasn't much this duo couldn't achieve. I laughed, I grinned, and shook my head a great deal while reading. This is a great story to indulge in if you're looking for something sweet, funny, and quick to read. On the Lisarenee Romance Reading Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I very much enjoyed this one.


Order of the Devil's Duke series:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Come Helen High Water: A River Road Mystery (River Road #4) by Susan McBride

Title: Come Helen High Water: A River Road Mystery
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: River Road Mystery
Format: Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (July 25, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062427970
ISBN-13: 978-0062427977
Author's Website: http://susanmcbride.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
In the small little town of River Bend, Illinois, the water is rising and so is the mystery of what happened to Luann Dupree, At first most everyone thought the text messages Luann sent explained things--she'd run off with a beau she met over the internet. As time passes, however, and the only form of communication from her continues to be done only by text messages, it starts to look like Sarah Biddle's ( Luann's best friend) fears may be founded. Sarah thinks something happened to Luann and suspects Luann's internet date dubbed 'Mister Maybe" is to blame. When Sarah gets no help from her husband, the sheriff of River Bend, she turns to Helen Evan for help and together they'll get to the bottom of what's going on.
While this is the fourth book of the series, it didn't seem to build on any of the other books, and could be read as standalone. I suspect, however, by reading the previous books, you'd get more intimate view of the characters. This is definitely what you'd expect in a "cozy" mystery. The town of River Bend is a close knit community with an predominately aging population. For years Luann has all but been married to her career, and is ripe for romance when she starts conversing with a gentleman on the internet who is her age. Luann has shared tidbits of her personal life with her friend, Sarah, over the years, but she has been rather secretive about "Mr. Maybe."

Sarah  hounds both her husband and Helen until they look into things. They quickly find that some things just don't add up. Connections start being made which lead to discoveries that get both Helen and Frank, the sheriff, wondering if a murder has been committed.

Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was a fun and entertaining light read with a steady pace and some twists and turns. Additionally, there was a secondary mystery that needed to be solved before everything was said and done. It managed to capture the charm of a small town, but where usually everyone knows everyone else's business, Helen surprisingly managed to uncover a skeleton or two still in their closets. I'm forgoing my Romance Rating of this one as there really was no romance involved.

Order of the River Road series:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Release Day Review of Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown

Title: Friend (With Benefits) Zone
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (August 8, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062495615
ISBN-13: 978-0062495617
Author's Website: https://laurabrownauthor.com/
Notes:  I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Jas and Dev have been best friends since they were young. In Jas' crazy messed up world, Dev's been her one constant, her rock. When she gets evicted from her apartment, he comes to her rescue. He offers her a place to stay and, as they've done since they were kids, she crashes in his bed. The thing is they aren't kids anymore, and this time something starts to stir between them. Dare they give in to it? Is the risk of what could be lost worth the price of what could be gained?
This was a sweet romance that dealt with family issues, the changing dynamics of a friendship, and fear. Fear is a powerful thing. It can keep us from reaching our potential, keep us from doing what we're meant to do, or keep us from finding the love of our life. The latter is the dilemma that both Jas and Dev face, but of the two, if things don't work out, Jas is the one with more to lose. While Dev has family to fall back on, he's been Jas' rock when times got rough. Jas' fear is real and while she's not alone in it, she, as her friend Nikki points out, is the one with the baggage that needs to be dealt with for the relationship to have a chance.

Dev and Jas are both deaf, but Dev still has some hearing and uses hearing aides. He's about to graduate from college and is supposed to go work for his dad's accounting firm, something he doesn't wish to do. He'd rather go into social work. Jas, on the other hand, works as a waitress and is saving her money so she can open her own bar. It's what her father had done and she's inherited his passion for running such a place. Unfortunately, her father passed away years ago and the bar he'd once run has since been sold, but she's saved his recipes in the hope that some day she'll follow in his footsteps.

The song that was playing in my head as I read this one was 'Say You Won't Let Go' by
James Arthur:

'Then you smiled over your shoulder
For a minute, I was stone-cold sober
I pulled you closer to my chest
And you asked me to stay over
I said, I already told ya
I think that you should get some rest

I knew I loved you then
But you'd never know
'Cause I played it cool when I was scared of letting go
I know I needed you
But I never showed
But I wanna stay with you until we're grey and old
Just say you won't let go
Just say you won't let go'

I really enjoyed this romance and gave it 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I loved the relationship between these two, and the way Dev knew how to handle Jas, and, ultimately, put her fears to rest. I could totally relate to Jas because when you lose one parent, for me it was through divorce, and the other is dealing with their own pain and grief sometimes the kids get the short end of the stick. I had other family to fall back on, but Jas had none. What she hasn't yet come to realize is that Dev already is her family. They just haven't made it official. I enjoyed every step of Jas' journey in making that discovery. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one get a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.    


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