Sunday, September 29, 2013

Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis Blog Tour, Giveaway and Sneak Peak

Jill Shalvis
Check out her website:
Follow Jill on Twitter:!/JillShalvis/
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over four dozen romance novels, including her upcoming sexy contemporary novel It Had to Be You, book one in the Lucky Harbor series. The 4-time Rita nominee and 3-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe. Her first four novels were published under the name Jill Sheldon then switched to Jill Shalvis. To see a complete list of all her books Click Here

~ The Lucky Harbor Series ~

If you check out Jill's website, she talks about how she came up with The Lucky Harbor Series. She states, 
"When I began brainstorming the sexy contemporary romance series about three estranged sisters who get stuck together running a dilapidated beach resort, I decided I was out of my mind. I don’t have sisters. I have a brother, and we like each other just fine. Then at the dinner table one very night, my three teenage heathens started bickering and fighting, and I just stared at them in awe and wonder.

I had my fodder! “Keep fighting,” I told them — much to their utter shock, since I’ve spent the past fifteen years begging them to get along.

After that night, it was a piece of cake to write the sisters — Maddie, Tara, and Chloe — their claws barely sheathed, with resentment and affection vying for space, stuck together in the small Washington State beach town of Lucky Harbor.

So then all that I had left to do was find the three sexy guys who could handle them. I’m a big romance reader as well an author, and for me, it’s always about the hero. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, or what he does for a living, or even who his family and friends are — it’s about his heart.
It just so happened that at the same time, my neighbor was having an addition put on her house. For six glorious weeks, there were a bunch of guys hanging off the roof and the walls, in perfect line of sight of my office.

Which is really my deck. It’s a wonder I got any work done at all. I sat in the sun and wrote while in the background cute, young, sweaty guys hammered, and sawed, and in general, made my day.
And on some days, they even took off their shirts. Those were my favorite days of all."

The above excerpt from Jill's blog is not a "full" discloser. There is much more (and there are pictures of some story inspiring guys - sigh). To read more on how Jill came up with The Lucky Harbor Series Click Here.

Description of Simply Irresistible:

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.
Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor. To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of  The Sweetest Thing:

Two men are one too many...

Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.

But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered . . . and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can't control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she's lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor. To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of Head Over Heels:

Breaking rules and breaking hearts 

Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life running their family's newly renovated inn. But soon her love of trouble--and trouble with love-draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who'd like nothing better than to tame her wild ways.

Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe's colorful past keep her from a love that lasts . . . and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor? To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of Lucky in Love:

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . . 

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor. To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of  At Last:


Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she’s looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she’s tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won’t make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.

A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn’t let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can’t deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it’s up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.  To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of Forever and a Day:


Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad…

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family-until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good bedside manner.” Josh and Grace don’t know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day… To read an excerpt Click Here

Description of It Had to Be You:  

Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern....

After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

Description of Always On My Mind:

After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack's ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib - that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine - perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their "just friends" rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?To read an excerpt Click Here

Sneak Peek courtesy of Grand Central Publishing of
Always on My Mind:

     It wasn’t all that difficult to find Leah, once Jack set his mind to it.  Since the beginning of time, when she’d been troubled, she’d been drawn to two things.
          And the ocean.
          She hadn’t come to him.  That was new.  There’d been a time when she’d have come to him no matter what was troubling her. 
          Except, of course, at the moment he was the source of her trouble, even though it was of her own making.  The last time that had been the case, she’d left Lucky Harbor. 
          But he knew she couldn’t leave now.  She was here for her grandma, and though Leah had plenty of faults, her grandma meant too much to her.  Unlike himself…  He tried not to resent that, but there was no getting around the fact – he did resent it.  He was pissed off that she had no idea what she meant to him, back then.
          Or now.
          His heart squeezed a little, making room for a few other emotions besides his temper.  Empathy.  Maybe even reluctant affection.  He could’ve gotten into the water with her, but it was after midnight and Christ, he was tired. 
          Nothing good ever happens after midnight
          His mom had always said so, and in this case, he was willing to bet it was true.  So he sat on the sand, positioned halfway between her car and the water, giving her no easy escape.  And waited.
          And brooded. Because he was having lots of odd and unexpected urges as it pertained to Leah, and he didn’t know what to do about them.  Once upon a time, she’d been the only highlight in his day, the only one to make him smile.  She was still that person, but there was something new between them, and he wasn’t sure if it was good.  In fact, he was pretty sure he should be running like hell.
          Finally, she swam in, and then she was standing up in the water, and he nearly swallowed his tongue.  It’d been a damn long time since he’d seen her in a bathing suit.  Maybe since high school, when she’d been a head taller than all the other girls and skinny as hell.
          She was still tall but she’d filled out in all the right places and then some.  She wore a black bikini, nothing but a few straps low on her hips and two triangles over her breasts, and as a wave knocked her around a little, everything jiggled enticingly.
          And suddenly he went from slightly chilled to very overheated.  Good Christ, she was … beautiful.  It should’ve assuaged his simmering temper just looking at her, but instead it stoked it, making him tense as hell. 
          Leah, on the other hand, was looking pretty carefree as she lifted her arms and shoved back her hair. 
          At the sight, his brain utterly clicked off.
          She saw him then.  He could tell because, from one blink of an eye to the next, she froze every single muscle.  It’d have been fascinating to watch, except for the fact that she was freezing up over him.  She’d never reacted this way before.  He didn’t like it.  And besides, he was the wronged party here.  He was the one who got to be pissy.
          “You’re still here,” she said flatly. “You scared me.”
          “You need to be more aware of your surroundings.”
          Dripping water everywhere, she crossed her arms over herself.  “It’s Lucky Harbor.”
          He rose to his feet.  “Bad shit can happen anywhere.”
          She met his gaze for one brief beat and then looked away.  “What are you doing here, Jack?”
          “I figured as your ‘almost fiancé,’ I should see how you’re doing.”
          She winced but didn’t respond.
          “What the hell is this all about, Leah?”
          “You know it's about your mom's cancer,” she said, hugging herself a little tighter.
          She always got defensive when she screwed up, and since she’d screwed up a lot, she had a lot of practice. 
          “My mom has enough going on,” he said.  “She doesn’t need to be lied to.”
          “Maybe not.  But she does need to be happy to heal.  And this made her happy.  All week she’s been glowing.”
          He knew it was true, and a stab of guilt hit him that he hadn’t been able to make her happy without help. 
          Leah didn’t say anything more but she didn’t have to.  Yeah, she’d gotten them into this mess, but he knew damn well it’d been out of the goodness of her heart.  Jack knew that she thought she owed him for all those years ago, when he’d done his best to protect her, the chivalry having been deeply ingrained by his dad.
          But they were even.
          In the dark, Leah shivered, and that chivalry had him torn between enjoying the sight of her cold and wanting to wrap her up in his arms.  “Where’s your towel?”
          “In the car.”
          He pulled off his sweatshirt and tugged it over her head. 
          “I’ll get it wet,” she said.
          “It’ll dry.”
          “Just wear the damn sweatshirt, Leah.”
          There was an awkward silence while they stared at each other as behind her the water pounded the shore.
          “I realize that this is really hard for you,” she finally said, pulling on his sweatshirt.  “Having everyone think you like me that way.  You’ll just have to pretend.”
          He narrowed his eyes.  Had that been sarcasm?  Or…
          Hurt?  “There was a time when I wouldn’t have had to pretend anything,” he said.  “But you flaked out, remember?  You pretended, and then you left.”
          She grimaced, swallowed hard, and looked away.  “We were just kids.”
          Was that how it played in her head?  Seriously?  “Does it make you feel better?” he asked quietly.  “To downplay what we were to each other?”
          She closed her eyes.  “We were friends, Jack.  Friends who’d made a quick, knee-jerk, stupid decision to become naked friends and sleep together.”
          “Yeah.  And then one of the friends didn’t show,” he said, much more mildly than he felt.
          “It was a bad idea.  I was leaving.”
          “Which you forgot to mention.”
          She dropped her head back and stared up at the sky.  “I couldn’t stay, Jack.”
          He took in her expression, filled with memories, and nodded.  “I know.  But you should have told me you were going.”
          “You had another girl in your bed by the following weekend.”
          Had he?  Hell, probably.  But she wouldn’t have meant anything to him.  Not like Leah had.  His chest tightened at the memory of the hole she’d left in his life.  He didn’t want to go through that again.  “I missed you.”
          She said nothing, and he shook his head.  Fuck it.  He started to walk away, and then she spoke.
          “Brandi Metcalf.”
          He stopped.  “What?”
          “Brandi Metcalf was the one in your bed by the next weekend.”  She turned her head and glared at him.  “Pretty blonde Brandi with the perfect boobs.”  She emphasized this by cupping her hands out in front of her own breasts.  “So don’t even try to tell me you missed me.”
          He shook his head.  Apparently he wasn’t the only pissed-off one tonight.  “Okay,” he said.  “Let’s have it.”
          “Let’s have what?”
          “Well, I know why
I’m pissed.  Why the hell are you pissed?”
          “It’s not like it’s going to be a walk in the park for me either,” she said, giving him a little shot to the chest.  “Pretending to like you.”
          “Me?” he asked, flabbergasted.  “What the hell is there not to like about me?”
          The sound she made assured him that she had volumes on the subject.  “Don’t get me started.”
          “I want to know,” he said.
          “Fine.  You watch that stupid ice fishing show like it’s a religion, you’re a horrible backseat driver, you drink out of the milk carton – and fyi, so does Ben – you don’t put the cap on your toothpaste, or put the lid down on the toilet, and you shush me when you’re watching sports.”
          He stared at her.  “That’s quite a list of shortcomings,” he eventually said.  “Is that all?”
          “No.”  She shoved her wet hair from her face, though she managed to keep her regal stance, nose firmly in the air at nose-bleed heights.  “I held back because I didn’t want to be overly rude.”
          He laughed softly.  “Don’t hold back, Leah.  Let’s hear all of it.”
          “Well, your truck has more sporting goods than a store, you never say you’re sorry, and your girlfriends look like super models.  I mean what is that?  There’s nothing wrong with real boobs, you know!”
          He took it all in and had to admit that he couldn’t say she was wrong, about any of it.  “And yet you call me The Picker.”
          She ignored this.  “And your mom told me that you need knee surgery again.  You’re just too stubborn to get it done.  So you can add ornery to the list.”
          He blew out a slow breath.  “It’s not ice fishing,” he said.  “It’s crabbing.  And sometimes I lose the cap on the toothpaste, or my dog eats it.  And I don’t need knee surgery, I’m fine.”
          Leah snorted.  “You’re always ‘fine’.  Your knee could be falling off and you’d say you were fine.”
          “I fail to see the problem.”
          She snorted again, and he was starting to feel greatly insulted.  “You’re not exactly a walk in the park, Leah.”
          “No.  You’re flighty, you live for your every whim, you downplay any real emotion you feel.” 
          She hugged herself tight.  “Good thing this is all pretend then, isn’t it,” she said softly.
          She was freezing.  And hauntingly gorgeous, so damn gorgeous standing there wet and silvery by the moon’s glow, like a goddess.  It’s Leah, he had to keep reminding himself.  Leah, who’d once beaten him in a marshmallow eating contest only to puke all over him.  Leah, whose dark green eyes had a way of telling the world to bite her.  Leah, who’d run off on him and left him heartbroken.  He took a step into her – for what exactly, he had no idea-- and she poked a finger into his chest. 
          “God,” she said.  “You’re so …”  Words apparently failed her, but she let out a sound that managed to perfectly convey how annoying he was.
          “Ditto,” he said, and then grabbed the finger drilling a hole between his pecs and tugged her hard enough that she lost her balance and fell against him.
          He wrapped an arm around her waist, entangling a hand in her wet hair.
          She went still as stone and stared into his eyes.  And then lowered her gaze to his mouth.
          Yeah, they were in sync there.  Suddenly he couldn’t breathe.  Hers caught audibly in her throat, a good sign he decided.  Maybe she wouldn’t knee him in the balls.  Testing the waters, he grazed her jawline with his teeth.
          She shivered.
          Then he slid his mouth to the very corner of hers and was rewarded by the clutch of her hands on his shirt.  Having her hold on to him like this, like he was her only anchor, sent a bolt of lust straight through him.  “Leah,” he murmured, hearing the surprise in his own voice, feeling the heat course through him as he finally, God finally, covered her mouth with his.
          Her lips parted for him eagerly, and he groaned, drowning in the erotic collision of her hot tongue and chilled, wet body.
          Serious trouble.  He was in serious trouble.
          Because he had a taste of her now, a damn good taste, and it was better than he could have imagined, making him want the rest of her.  With his fingers still in her hair, he pulled her in tighter, slanting his mouth across hers for more.  She moved with him, into him, making the connection all the sweeter.
          No.  Sweet wasn’t the right word.
          Hot.  She was so hot she was turning him inside out.  And then she made another of those soft, surrendering sighs deep in her throat, the sound slaying him.  She still had a death grip on his shirt and had managed to catch a few chest hairs while she was at it.  He didn’t care.  Sliding a hand beneath his sweatshirt, he cupped her ass over her wet bikini bottoms, rocking into her. 
          She had to feel what this was doing to him.  And given that she was breathing like she was running out of air, and still holding onto him tight enough to bruise, she also had to know where this was going.
          Jack kissed Leah some more, sinking deeper into her taste, her softness, her scent, all while wondering how the hell she could drive him crazy and made him ache at the same time.  It was a feat that totally wrecked his equilibrium.  Maybe it was just the kiss.  Because holy shit, the kiss.  He still had a handful of her sweet ass, and he squeezed, wanting more.  But they were outside and the night’s temp was quickly dropping.  She was wet, trembling with the chill, and there was absolutely nowhere to go with this.  Not here, not now.  He’d had no business kissing her like he had an end game, and knowing it, he regretfully pulled back.
          She blinked as if waking up from a dream.  “What—"  She cleared her throat.  “What was that?” 
          “Insanity.  It’s going around.”
 (Excerpt used with permission from the Publisher.)

~ Giveaway ~

(Giveaway sponsored by and prizes distributed by the publisher)

: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Always On My Mind (Lucky Harbor #8) by Jill Shalvis

Title: Always on My Mind (A Lucky Harbor Novel)  
Series: A Lucky Harbor Novel (Book 8)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1455521108
ISBN-13: 978-1455521104
Author's Website:
Notes: Received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Have you ever said something that once it popped out of your mouth you wished you could immediately take it back? Leah Sullivan knows all about that, and has really no good answer as to why the words just bubbled up and out of her mouth. She and Jack have been friends for years and when his mother, who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and doing poorly, voiced her concern that her son would never settle down and that she believed it to be her fault, the words just came out almost of their own accord.

Who would believe one little white lie, wrapped in three little words, could hold so much power? One little fib that could change everything--ruin everything or make it better...

"We're together."


This was such a fun and lighthearted read. In this, the eighth of Lucky Harbor novels, Ms. Shalvis combines one part hot fireman with one part sweet pastry chef. Mixes them together (shaken not stirred) and cooks up one irresistibly delicious love story. If I had to sum the book up in one word it would be Sweet. ;)

Leah Sullivan has come home to Lucky Harbor to help her grandmother and lay low while the reality TV series, Sweet Wars, she starred on goes through round after round of its baking competition. While being under contract not reveal who the winner is, everyone is trying to pry out of her whether or not the town's favorite pastry chef won the competition. What a fun and wonderful backdrop to the whole love story.

Jack Harper is one of Lucky Harbor's most sought after bachelors. He, as his mom suspects, has no plans of ever settling down. Recently retired from being a hotshot, the firefighters who jump out of an airplane to fight fires of a large scale, he's trying to adjust to being a regular firefighter without his normal dose of adrenaline rush. While things are normally tame around Lucky Harbor, a string of fires indicates an arsonist is afoot and needs to be stopped.

The fun part of the story, however, is the part where Leah tells Jack's mom, Dee, that she and Jack are a couple without his knowledge. The consequences were hilarious, and I utterly enjoyed watching the ripple effect of her words. Like most small towns, Lucky Harbor is not a place that one's secrets can be harbored and kept under wraps for very long. Word has a way of spreading as quick as a wildfire and blazing out of control. While Leah hoped to keep the pretend relationships under wraps, I chuckled to myself and knew that was never going to happen.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. A wonderful tale of love, laughter, friendship and romance all wrapped up within a small town setting that makes one smile. I adored the chemistry between Jack and Leah. I loved the story of how the two became friends. I loved the dance these two did before each reached down deep and dealt with the issues they kept locked up inside them that prevented them from making a commitment to another person. Plus, the drama added by both the fires and reality show made the whole story feel a touch more fully developed than quite a few of the stories I've read lately. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets 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.

Notes to keep you in the know:
I always have to look it up just to verify it, but most contractions technically are two words. It is slightly confusing given that a contraction is usually two words being combined, but according to Cambridge English:

"Contracted words count as the number of words they would be if they were not contracted. For example, isn't, didn't, I'm, I'll are counted as two words (replacing is not, did not, I am, I will). Where the contraction replaces one word (e.g. can't for cannot ), it is counted as one word." Source:

Order of the series:


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Release Day Review of One Lucky Vampire (Argeneau, #19) by Lynsay Sands

    Series: Argeneau
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Format: Paperback; 384 pages
    Publisher: Avon (September 24, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 0062078143
    ISBN-13: 978-0062078148
Author's Website:
Notes: Received an eARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Stephano Jacob 'Jake' Colson Notte never wished to be a vampire. When asked by his mother and stepfather on his eighteenth birthday whether he'd like to become an immortal, he'd firmly refused. After having suffered a fatal wound one night while doing his job years later his boss, Vincent Argeneau, an immortal, had turned him. He hadn't known of Jake's wishes and had converted him in order to save his life. Jake hadn't taken it so well and had run off to Ottawa to deal with everything on his own. Now Marguerite has come to town to ask him for a favor. A friend's daughter, Nicole Phillips, is going through a messy divorce and it appears her soon to be ex-husband is trying to squeeze every last dime out of her. Several questionable incidents suggest he might be willing to go so far as to kill her for it. Marguerite wants Jake to be Nicole's body guard, but the soon to be divorced young woman is in denial and so Jake will have to pretend to be her cook/housekeeper. When he realizes he can't read her thoughts and that she is most probably his life mate, he'll not only try to protect her, but steal her heart her heart as well.


Ms. Sands Argeneau books are always fun and entertaining. This is the 19th book of the series. If you haven't read any of the previous books in the series, this one gives you a pretty good idea of how the Argeneaus and Nottes became immortals so you won't feel lost.You could easily pick of this book and immediately sink your teeth into it.

Jake Colson, as he's decided to be called, is still struggling with his transformation. He has separated himself from his family and isolated himself from everyone he knew. Now he finds his life mate and she is on the tail end of a divorce and is most likely not ready to jump into a committed relationship. It seems he's doomed with bad luck, or is he? From what he's heard about life mates vampires can go for centuries and never find theirs. The question is will Nicole be able to handle what he is when he himself cannot? When he himself is still trying to come to terms with it?

Nicole Phillips is a smart and talented artist who married the wrong man, but is not convinced he or anyone else is trying to kill her. While she admits that her soon to be ex is a smuck, she's convinced he's not the type to commit murder. Is she in denial or could all that has happened just be a series of mean spirited pranks her husband pulled to annoy her? As more and more mishaps occur, it seems very likely she's a target of someone. One thing is for sure, after all the drama that's been stirred up by the divorce, she's not in the mindset to start a new relationship, but her new cook/housekeeper, however, does give her cause to wonder.

Overall, I gave this one a 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. I thought it was a nice lighthearted read that kept me in its thrall. One of my favorite parts was all the advice being doled out by Tomasso and Dante. It made me smile. When it comes to the Nottes and Argeneaus, you don't just inherit immortality, you inherit a huge family and I just love that about this series. On the Lisarenee 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.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Early Review of How to Tame a Wild Fireman (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel, #4) by Jennifer Bernard

Title:How to Tame a Wild Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novel
Series: Bachelor Firemen
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062273655
ISBN-13: 978-0062273659
Author's Website:
Notes: Received and eARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Sometimes in order to find yourself, you have to go home...

Patrick 'Psycho' Callahan's life was sent off coarse ten years ago when he and his brother were involved in a life threatening accident. At the time, he'd been enrolled at Princeton with a career in Law or politics in his foreseeable future. But one tragic night changed everything. His father blamed him for his younger brother's near death and cast him out of the family. After finding himself banned from the hospital his brother was recovering at, he finally took the hint and left, never to return. Secretly, he blamed himself too.

While Patrick may have found his calling--to be a firefighter--that night, he lost a part of himself that has never been restored. While usually well hidden and not blatantly obvious, it subtly could be seen in the way he took chances, risking his own life at times, when others would not. While Captain Brody may not have clearly seen it, he could sense something, and so when Patrick did something really stupid--getting drunk and stealing a construction company's equipment in an attempt to dig a swimming pool/hot tub in the firehouses back yard--he sent him to Nevada where a wildfire was raging out of control near Patrick's hometown of Loveless, Nevada.

When Lara Nelson left Loveless, Nevada years ago she did so with a smile. After her parents deaths, she'd come to live with her aunt who was the equivalent to Dr. Ruth with, at one time, her own radio show called 'Ask the Sex Guru'. Her aunt also owned and ran a center called the Haven for Sexual and Spiritual Healing. Because of her aunt's unorthodox profession, Lara, as you can imagine, was the butt of constant jokes, smirks, snide remarks and speculation. She'd had a best friend who helped her get through it all, but upon graduation she'd left and never looked back. She'd become a respected doctor and loved her job. Now upon her aunt's death, she's inherited the Haven for Sexual and Spiritual Healing and has come back to Loveless to decide what to do with the facility.

Before either Lara and Patrick had left Loveless, they'd known each other fairly well because Patrick's younger brother, Liam, was Lara's best friend. While sparks of attraction had been lit before the night that had changed everything, neither had ever acknowledged or acted upon them. Now seeing each other in the midst of one of the area's worst wildfires, those sparks will be rekindled and ignite into something to rival the fire raging around them.

Can I just say I simply adore Ms. Bernards books? They're fresh, smart, funny, and I love them all. This is the fourth book in The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series and I truly enjoyed  it. If you haven't read the previous books in the series, don't worry, they can be read as standalones. Each book focuses on a different couple, so you won't feel lost. The common thread that binds them all together are the firemen and firewomen from the San Gabriel firehouse and the supposed curse that is believed to plagues them all--"According to firehouse legend, Virgil Rush, a volunteer fireman from the 1850's, had been heartbroken when Constancia B. Sidwell, his mail order bride, had run off with a robber on her way West. The other firemen, always quick to tease, tormented him so much he laid a curse on the town vowing that the firemen of San Gabriel would have as much trouble finding love as he had. Ever since then, the firehouse had possessed an unusually high number of bachelors."

I just love the background Ms. Bernard created for Lara. Just try to picture in your mind, if you will, being the niece of Dr. Ruth, the famous sex therapist, because Lara's aunt essentially does the same thing. I can only imagine all the jokes and what not that would come along with the territory. People getting the wrong idea about you. People giving you a hard time not to mention all the advice your aunt would probably try to feed you. The fact that Lara lived with her aunt at a facility named the Haven for Sexual and Spiritual Healing could only have made matters worse. Not to mention that she moved in with her aunt during those awkward preteen years of middle school and continued to live with her during high school when most people are just trying to find and define themselves. She's smart, strong, loyal and a bit of a spitfire and I'm sure part of that can be attributed to what she went through in school. 

Patrick is the type of guy girls swoon over. He's never been serious about any woman, but seeing Lara again seems to wake something inside him. There is something about her that he responds to. He finds her opinion of him matters more than just about anyone else's, but the fact she is his brother's best friend makes him hesitate to make a move. I love that this gorgeous hunk of a man is unsure of himself around her, but can't help teasing and provoking her because, unlike most woman, he feels at ease with her and eventually can't help himself.  

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. A wonderful combination of humor, romance, and family healing which gave the book a rather well-rounded feel. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets 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. If you haven't yet tried this series, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. Reading Ms. Bernard's books always put me in a good mood.

Order of the series:

Early Review of Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampires, #1) by Larissa Ione

Title: Bound by Night (The Moonbound Clan Vampires)
Series: The Moonbound Clan Vampires
Classification:  Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476700176
ISBN-13: 978-1476700175

Eighty years ago humans found out that vampires existed. It took them twenty years to enslave them. Even though they are powerful, their numbers were so small that they could not compete against so many humans. While some escaped capture, they were far and few between. Treated no better than animals, it was no great surprise they would rebel. Twenty years ago, there was a great uprising for which many vampires escaped and gained their freedom and many humans were slain. Nicole Martin was eight years old at the time and her family was among the victims. She too had been left for dead. Feasted upon and left to die on the ground like an animal, but by some means she survived. The scar on her neck where the family cook had torn her neck to drink is a constant reminder of that day, as are the medical issues which arose from her coming in contact with the vampiridae virus which caused vampirism. While she'd been immunized against the virus which kept her from becoming a vampire, it hadn't stopped the virus from attacking her body. Eventually the illness will kill her causing her organs to shut down.

Now, twenty years later she's inherited her father's company, Daedalus. She's the newly inducted CEO with barely a clue as to what she's doing or what the company does, as she's still learning the ropes. When a important female vampire is kidnapped, everything points to Daedalus as being responsible. Nicole is now the target of vampires once again and is kidnapped from the company's headquarters. Will she be as lucky this time around or will she finally meet her final fate?


I truly enjoyed this twist on an old genre. Now it seems pretty incredible that vampires could be slaves to humans, but a little bit of how it may have been accomplished was explained or at least hinted at. There is talk of vampires' canines, the teeth they feed through, being extracted. Likewise, there is talk that the company responsible for revolutionizing the slavery was involved in vampire testing. That suggests some sort of drug might have been involved. I'd love for Ms. Ione  to go a little more in depth into how the enslavement was accomplished. I certainly can't imagine sleeping well at night if my household had several vampires drifting about.*shudder* Hopefully we'll learn more about their enslavement in future books.

What I liked about the romance aspect of the book was that Nicole and Ricker did not have an instant love connection. If anything the two despised each other. Nicole believing Ricker had killed her nanny, Terese (who had been his mate), years ago, and Ricker believing Nicole was just another human who hated vampires and mistreated them. Each started out with preconceived notions about the other that they needed to work through and sort out.

Additionally, I enjoyed the mystery as to what truly was going on at Nicole's family company. Ricker insisted they illegally kidnapped a vampire, and Nicole insisting the company wouldn't do that despite it being known to do testing on vampires. Being as she's only taken the reigns of her family business two months ago, the question becomes how well does she truly know the ins and outs of what goes on? If she's wrong, is there any chance of her coming out of this one alive? If she's right, is there any chance they'll let her go?

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I was instantly hooked and remained that way throughout the book. I liked the folklore Ms. Ione created about the creation of vampires and look forward to seeing where the next book will lead. I was left with a lot of questions about how Nicole will be effected by all that happened as we still don't have a good grasp on how everything works in this new world. As this is the first book in the series, however, I'm not overly concerned. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating (bordering on SHOWER)--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, September 22, 2013

Early Review of Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Steelheart
Classification: Young Adult (12 and up)
Genre: Science Fiction / Superhero Fiction
Format: Hardcover; 400 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0385743564
ISBN-13: 978-0385743563
Author's Website: 
Notes: Received an ARC at BEA. Any quotes used were verified against the free chapter sampler Amazon is allowing sneak peeks of.

“Where there are villains, there will be heroes,” my father said. “Just wait. They will come."

Those were some of David's father's last words before an Epic, Steelheart, killed him.

"I know, better than anyone else, that there are no heroes coming to save us. There are no good Epics. None of them protect us. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts."

It's been ten years since his father's death. Eleven since the first Epics were transformed from mere mortals. David has been patiently waiting, watching, studying, and readying for the chance to wreak vengeance on the man, if you can call him that, who murdered his father in cold blood. A group called the Reckoners have been assassinating Epics all over the world and David wants nothing more than to join and help them. He's taken notes on the powers Epics have and has created strategies based on their weaknesses on how to eliminate them. While to some fighting may seem futile, David knows better...

"If there’s one fact we can hold on to, it’s this: every Epic has a weakness. Something that invalidates their powers, something that turns them back into an ordinary person, if only for a moment. Steelheart is no exception; the events on that day in the bank prove it. 
 My mind holds a clue to how Steelheart might be killed. Something about the bank, the situation, the gun, or my father himself was able to counteract Steelheart’s invulnerability. Many of you probably know about that scar on Steelheart’s cheek. Well, as far as I can determine, I’m the only living person who knows how he got it.
I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. 

And I will see him bleed again."


So I've never been much of a fangirl, but this book may have just converted me. lol Okay, so maybe I'm not quite that obsessed, but I absolutely loved the book. While superheroes and Super Villains are nothing new, I truly enjoyed this tale and it seemed to be a more mature and sophisticated rendition of those ever popular comic book series that have seemingly been around forever. I will admit to owning several copies of comic books while growing up, and being a tad bit addicted to the super friends Saturday morning cartoon shows. Wonder Woman was who I longed to be. Heck, I had the dark hair and blue eyes, but unfortunately the darn bullet defying bracelets just never worked for me. *disappointed sigh* I guess some things are never meant to be. *giggle*

From the very first sentence, "I have seen Steelheart bleed." Brandon Sanderson catches our attention. We know immediately something significant is about to be told and we want to know what. The world has been transformed. Calamity, as it came to be known, was a light which appeared in the night sky a year before people started sporadically changing into Epics. No one knew for certain if the Epic change was a direct result of Calamity or some lab experiment which went drastically wrong, but many believe it was due to the celestial event. Regular people were normal one day and transformed into Epics the next. No rhyme nor reason as to why some were transformed while others were not--even within a single household.

In the eleven years since the Epics made their presence known, the government has been over taken. As no one could find a way to defeat the powerful super humans it was inevitable. With the ability to predict a persons responses, point at a person and have them die, repel bullets, and many more, what chance did normal humans have of fighting them?

When Epics took over, normal people became subservient. Some Epics were more powerful than others. Those who possessed more powerful and dangerous talents tended to lead those with less. Steelheart is one of the more powerful Epics and he declared Chicago his own and it was renamed Newcago. While other cities have suffered similar fates, Newcago is one of the few profitable and self sufficient. While still not as ideal as the cities of yesteryear, it is seen as a haven by many. If David and the Reckoners succeed in taking down Steelheart and his cohorts, will things get better or will they make things worse? Will they be seen as heroes or villains?

Overall, I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 roses. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the sequel. If you grew up liking superheroes and still have a soft spot for them, then I HIGHLY recommend this book. It had a good pace, lots of action, suspense and plenty of twists and turns. I liked the fact that this story started out with a lot of super villains instead of superheroes. I can't wait to see where the author takes the series and look forward to jumping once again into the wonderful world Sanderson has created.

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