Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet On Texas Blog Tour Giveaway, Excerpt and Author's Top 5 list

About the Author:
Christie Craig

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig grew up in Alabama where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs and mostly wears shoes, but focuses on rescuing mammals and hasn't kissed a frog in years. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog--who has a bad habit of eating furniture--a son, and a prince of a husband who swears he's not, and never was a frog.

If Christie isn't writing, she's reading or just enjoying laughter with her friends and family. As a freelance writer, Christie also writes nonfiction books, including the humorous self-help/book Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You're in a Romance Novel, as well as paranormal young adult romances under the pen name C.C. Hunter.

About the book:

The last thing veterinarian Leah Reece needs is a man in her life. They're nothing but trouble-and not even the fun kind. But when her apartment is broken into and Leah suspects Rafael, her dangerous half-brother, of foul play, she can't deny she could use a little help. She just never expected that help would come with twinkling blue eyes and a sexy smile... 

All PI Austin Brook wants is to nail Rafael DeLuna, the man who framed him for murder. He'll do anything for information-even lie about his identity to charm Leah, DeLuna's half-sister. But her sweet dimples and fiery spirit soon make her more than just his only lead. Leah becomes his every desire. As Austin closes in on DeLuna, it's clear he won't go down without a fight. Now the only way Austin can protect Leah is to reveal all of his secrets and risk losing her for good.


     Austin heard the expletive and leaned a bit closer.
     “Leah? It’s me, Austin,” he said, even though he’d seen the peephole go dark and knew she’d peered out.
     “I’m not home.” It was little more than a murmur, but the words still traveled through the cheap- ass apartment door.
     “You know I can hear you, right?”
    “Shit!” Her voice carried again, and he grinned trying to imagine her expression when flustered. Did her soft brown eyes get a little darker? Did those pouty lips get a little poutier?
     “I come bearing gifts,” he said, his mind envisioning her mouth.
     “I don’t want any gifts.” Her tone sounded extra- defiant.
     “I don’t like gifts.”
     “Why wouldn’t you like gifts?” He leaned his hip against the door frame, genuinely curious. Every woman he’d dated loved gifts. At the beginning of every relationship, he always brought them gifts.
     When she didn’t answer, he replied, “They really aren’t gifts. They’re . . . replacements. For the groceries I turned into roadkill. Please open the door.”
     She opened the door, but not enough to be an invitation to come inside. “You didn’t have to do that.”
     “Yes, I did,” he said. How else are you going to trust me enough to tell me what I need to know?  The thought brought tension in his shoulders. Or was the tension from feeling the punch of attraction again?
     She’d changed out of her wine- soaked clothes. She wore a light blue T-shirt and a pair of gray sweats. Both fit her very well and showcased a body that was all curves.
     “I was careful to get all the same items.” He held out the bag in his hand.
     She stepped out a few inches, eyeing the bags. Her hair hung loose and locks of it kept shifting over her breasts.
     “My frozen mushroom pizza?” Hunger flashed in her eyes. Her tongue dipped out and swiped across her bottom lip.
     “Got it.” His gaze stayed glued to her mouth when she leaned forward and glanced inside the bag.
     She looked up and smiled. “Wow. You must have felt really bad.”
     “Because I got your mushroom pizza?”
     “No”— she pointed inside the bag—“because you bought me tampons.” Her dimples deepened in her cheeks. “Never met a man who’d do that.”
     “There’s always a first time. And a last.” Damn she was pretty. And in a refreshing way. Not made up, or artificial. Half the women he dated used clothes and makeup as a mask. This petite little feminine package before him wore no mask; there was nothing counterfeit or artificial about her.
     She rolled her eyes. “You really didn’t have to do this. I didn’t blame you.”
     He didn’t blame her, either. The realization hit. He’d thought he’d instantly dislike her. He thought every time he looked at her, he would think of the scumbag who’d framed him and cheated him out of sixteen months of his life.
     But, nope. Right now he knew that she couldn’t help who her brother was, any more than he could help who his mother was. Or his father for that matter.
     But that didn’t change anything.
     If she knew where DeLuna was, he intended to find out. Just because he didn’t hold a grudge against her didn’t mean he didn’t hold one against her brother.
     “The only thing I gave you an upgrade on was the wine.” He set the bag on the floor and pulled out the bottle of Cabernet from the other.
     Temptation flashed in her eyes.
     He couldn’t help wondering what else tempted her. “I have a couple of glasses in my apartment.”
     She jerked her eyes up. The longing and humor vanished.
     Glancing at the bag at his feet, she said, “I tell you what. I’ll take everything but the wine.”
     “No. I mean . . .” He wasn’t accustomed to being turned down. “You sharing the wine with me wasn’t a condition. I just thought . . . since we’re neighbors . . .” He motioned to the door to his left.
     “You live . . . there?” Her expression looked as if she’d just sniffed sour milk.
     “Don’t worry, I’m a good neighbor. No loud music, no wild parties.” And as soon as I get the info
I need, I’ll never bother you again.  His gut tightened. “I’m just new in town and thought . . .”
     “I’m not interested in . . .” She paused.
      “Conversation?” he finished for her. “Because that’s all I was asking for.”
     She bit down on the edge of her bottom lip and studied him. “Gay?”
     “What?” he asked, certain he’d misunderstood.
     “Are you gay?”
     “No! Hell, no. Not even a little bit. I meant . . . I wasn’t looking . . . I just wanted . . .”
     She leaned closer. “Keep your eye out for the woman who lives in two-oh-six and the one in two hundred. Both blondes, they have guys come and go all the time, so I know they are open to”— she shrugged—“conversation.”
     “You’re difficult,” he said, not even meaning to state it out loud.
     “And you’re pushy,” she said, pursing her lips into a tight bow. 
     He frowned. “Because I asked you to share a glass of wine with me?”
     “No. Because I refused your offer and you can’t accept it.”
     “I can accept it.” He just didn’t like it.
     “Good. Then enjoy the wine.” She nodded at the bottle and reached for the other bag.
     “No,” he said, getting more agitated, “the wine stays with the pizza.” He leaned down and snatched up the other bag before she did, and placed the bottle inside. Then he handed both bags off to her. “Take it.”
She did but didn’t look happy. “See, you’re pushy.”
     “And you’re still difficult,” he answered back. But then he spotted the grin flashing in her eyes and couldn’t stop himself from laughing. The sound of her laugh followed his and had her dimples winking at him. He got the oddest desire to touch her cheek. Since when had he enjoyed arguing with a woman?
     “Okay,” she said, her smile still on her lips. “I’ll be the bigger person and say thank you.”
     He quirked  another brow at her. “But you still won’t share it?”
     “Nope.” She didn’t even hesitate. “But I’m still the bigger person.” 

Christie's Top 5 Things that Transform a Hero from Good to Great

My husband has gotten upset with me lately because I don’t like a lot of the new shows or movies that he wants to watch. But my reason is because I’m picky about my heroes/protagonists. Basically, they have to be . . . well, heroes. No, they don’t have to be perfect, in fact, I don’t want them to be perfect. But I need to be able to respect them. Here are a few traits of heroes in my books: 

1. Cares about animals, kids, and the elderly–You will see this in most all my heroes. Even Austin, who is Ailurophobic—a person with an irrational fear of cats—can’t mistreat the heroine’s feline babies.

2. Isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong. It may be hard for them, let’s face it men have their pride, and may even be a tad macho,but ultimately, a good man knows when to throw in the towel.

3. A great pair of shoulders. What woman doesn’t need a special spot to lean on when life turns crappy?

4. Puts up with your crazy family. I come from crazy, and one of the things I love about my husband is that he has learned to accept my unique and zany family. And this pops up in all my books. I mean doesn’t everyone have a crazy family member?

5. Loves to laugh, even at his own mistakes. Nothing makes a man sexier than a sense of humor. And nothing warms my heart more than a man who makes me laugh.

About the author:
Laura Drake

Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she's always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100. 

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She's an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals.

About the book:

A Love as Wild as the West...

Aubrey Madison is starting over. Leaving Los Angeles and everything behind except the scars of her ruined past, Bree sets out for cowboy country. Now she has a new home, a new job—and a new worry: the ruggedly sexy rancher who makes her long for things she shouldn't...

Rough and tumble cattleman Max Jameson has broken wild stallions and faced angry bulls. Yet the redheaded city cupcake who turned up at the High Heather Ranch might be his undoing. Bree has a plan to rescue the ranch from foreclosure that's just crazy enough to work. But will Max gamble his future on a beautiful stranger?


     Ducking his head to hide his grin, he tugged the passenger door handle. It didn’t budge. Damn, he’d forgotten. Last week, a bull had mistook the truck for competition and charged it. The dent was just one more in the ranch truck’s collection, but now the passenger door wouldn’t open.
     “You’ll have to slide in from the other side.” She gave him a dubious stare but followed as he walked to the driver’s door and jerked it open. She looked at the truck, then at him. “What?”
     “Where do you propose I sit?”
     He squinted into the shadowed interior and felt his ears heat. Reaching in, he pushed tools, receipts, soda cans, and bits of baling wire to the floorboard with a brush of his arm. “Well, excuse me, princess. I wasn’t expecting royalty or I’d have brought ’round the Bentley.”
     It was her turn to redden, and he enjoyed the view as she flounced into the cab and scooted to the far door. He climbed in, pulled off his hat, and hung it on the shotgun rack in the back window.
     She moved as far away as possible, cranked down the window, and rested her arm on the sill. The engine fired with only a prolonged crank. They rolled down the dirt drive, and when the truck hit the asphalt, she dropped her chin on her arm and closed her eyes.
      The scattered freckles on her cheeks stood out against her translucent skin. The dark circles beneath her eyes attested to the kind of tired that comes from long nights that don’t have much to do with sleep.
     “I’m sorry about your dad.” She sounded sincere.
      His knuckles on the steering wheel whitened. “Thanks.”
      “You must miss him. Were you and he close?”
     “What was he like?”
      He spit the toothpick out the window. “He was a Western cattleman. Out here, that means stubborn, hardworking, and an eternal optimist.”
     “Wyatt says you’re a lot like him, but he doesn’t say it like it’s a good thing.”
     Max kept his eyes on the road. “He was a hard man. The gene pool got watered down by the time it got to me.”
     A snort from his right. “Was he a good dad?”
     “To me he was.” Her hair swirled in the wind, bringing him the smell of lemons.
      “Is your dad the reason Wyatt left?”
     He reached in front of her. She started and scrabbled back in the seat. When he tore the duct tape that held the glove box, it flopped open, spilling receipts to swirl onto the floorboard. He jerked out a hank of twine and handed it to her. “How about reining in that mop? Your hair is going to be all over my truck.”
     Bree perused the trash on the floor and raised an eyebrow. “Well. If it’s gonna wreck your truck, by all means . . .”
     He resisted the urge to watch. “As long as we’re getting cozy in each other’s business, where did you come from?”
     “California.” The tight in her voice drew his eyes from the road.
     Small but perky breasts strained the fabric as she raised her arms to tie hair the color of fresh- cut cedar. He shifted to ease the sudden tightness in his jeans. He’d always been a sucker for red hair. Bree’s was thick and curly, not like Jo’s straight tresses. “Now, that fact does not come as a shock. What did you do for work?”
     “Nothing special.”
      Out the corner of his eye, he saw her fingers trace the angry weal at her neck. “Where’d you get the scar?”
     She cut him a cold glance. “I heard from John Wayne movies there was a rule in the West that people don’t ask where you came from.”
      If the edge on her words were real, he’d be bleeding.
      “Fair enough.” He held his hands up in surrender, then put one back on the wheel. “Then how about we play a little quid pro quo? You tell me what you’re comfortable with, and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
     “I suppose we could try that,” she said in a careful hostage-negotiator tone.
     “Wyatt and my dad didn’t click almost from the time Wyatt started talking. Wyatt was a good kid and couldn’t understand why Dad shied from him. Not sure my dad did either, at least at first.”
     “Did your dad know that Wyatt was gay?”
      He thought a moment. “Satchmo said, ‘I don’t let my mouth say nothin’ my head can't stand.’ It was like that. Your turn.”
      She hesitated, seeming to weigh her words. “After I was born, my mom brought me home from the hospital. My dad was gone, with his stuff and anything of hers he could hock. All she had was an empty apartment, an envelope full of bills, and me. Growing up, she told me a watered- down ‘You and me against the world’ story. But now I understand the terror she must have felt.”
      And from the looks of you, you’ve been bunking with that terror for a while now.
      “A retired neighbor lady kept me during the day, and Mom went out and got a job waitressing at The    Eighteen Wh— at a local truck stop.”
     “Your momma sounds like a stand-up gal.”
     “She is.”
     They reached the outskirts of town. He’d save the next round of interrogation for later.

Laura's Top 5 Things that Transform a Hero from Good to Great

1. He sees below what a woman wants to give her what she needs.

2. When the going gets tough, he gets sticky – staying till the end.

3. He’s willing to face what he fears for a woman

4. He does small things to lighten a woman’s burden, rather than bring flowers or in showy displays

5. An endearing habit: spouting quotes or talking to dogs, or sneaking cheater glasses because he’s too vain to be seen in them.

~ Giveaway ~
One person will win ONE copy of Texas Hold 'Em by Christie Craig and ONE copy Nothing Sweeter by Laura Drake

Rules of Eligibility: 
- Only residents of the US who are 18 years of age or older are eligible.
- Please leave your email address so I may get in contact with you to get your mailing address. **No P.O. Boxes, please**.
- Become a follower of my blog, if you aren't already. (Required)

Winner will be randomly chosen. Only one prize pack per person and per address. Giveaway ends on January 30th, midnight Eastern time. Winner will be posted on my blog and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Prize will be distributed by publisher. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Early Review of Texas Hold 'Em (Hotter In Texas #3) by Christie Craig

    Title: Texas Hold 'Em (Hotter in Texas)
    Series: Hotter in Texas (Book 3)
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Format: Paperback; 480 pages
    Publisher: Forever (January 28, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0446582824
    ISBN-13: 978-0446582827 
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher. 

    For the past several years Austin Brook has been counting down the days until he could finally catch the man who had framed him and his partners for murder. Cops at the time, they'd been convicted and spent eighteen months in prison before evidence had surfaced which proved someone else had pulled the trigger. Still some believe they'd gotten away with murder, and Austin wants there to be no doubt of their innocence. The wrongful conviction had cost Austin and his friends their jobs, the respect and confidence of their fellow cops, and eighteen months of their lives which they'd never get back. As Rafael DeLuna, the man who'd orchestrated the frame up, knew each of their faces, the group had hired Roberto, a professional informant, to dig up dirt on the man. With no solid leads in the past six months, however, Austin has lost his patience and has decided to do a little investigating on his own. He's convinced DeLuna's half sister, Leah Reece, holds the key to finding the man. His sights are set, and he's prepared to do whatever is necessary to take DeLuna down. Turning on the charm for the man's sister and seducing the information out of her is the least he can do. After all, what could be easier? 

This was another great book in the Hotter In Texas series. Ms. Craig has a way of taking a serious plot and embedding it with humor, romance and handsome hunks creating a delightfully heady combination. Once again the boys of the Only in Texas PI agency are on a case. This one, however, is a little more personal in nature--finding enough dirt on Rafael DeLuna, the man who sent them to prison for a crime they didn't commit, to lock him away and leave no doubt as to who truly committed the murders for which they'd been accused. 

Leah Reece is a specialty veterinarian whose area of expertise is felines. Austin Brook, ironically, suffers from ailurophobia, a fear of cats. Posing as a neighbor, Austin will need to pretend to like cats to get into Leah's good graces as she is the proud owner of three. As one can imagine, this makes for some very fun moments. Additionally, Leah is still suffering the ill effects of a marriage gone wrong and has sworn off men. Austin will have his work cut out to get through Leah's defenses.

Austin is a determined individual with a lot of baggage in his past. He's looking for nothing more than the information that Leah can provide him. Leah, however, is nothing like what he'd imagined and he soon realizes she wishes to have no ties with the estranged half brother she despises. As things unfold the two start to grow close and Leah begins to trust him. While he'd been intent on seducing her, he soon finds himself starting to fall for her. The one thing that could get in his way are the lies he's woven to situate himself into her life.

Why is the book titled Texas Hold 'Em? Well, truth be told, I'm not entirely sure, but as I was reading the book, the lyrics to The Gambler, a song sung by Kenny Rogers, was dancing in my head. The lyrics, 
"You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run?"
seem  appropriate for this story. When hunting down a killer all those things are equally important so you don't end up getting yourself killed. Team that up with the fact the series takes place in Texas, and I think you get an idea of how the title may have come about.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I felt the story was well thought out, contained a nice combination of drama, humor and action while maintaining a fast pace. Plus, Ms. Craig added an equally delightful secondary romance between Roberto and Sara, Leah's veterinarian assistant and good friend.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got 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 highly entertaining read that I'd definitely recommend.

Order of the series:

Early Review of Nothing Sweeter (Sweet on a Cowboy #2) by Laura Drake

Title: Nothing Sweeter (Sweet on a Cowboy)
Series: Sweet on a Cowboy (Book 2)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: Forever (January 28, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1455521973
ISBN-13: 978-1455521975
Author's website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher.

WANTED: Full time stable hand. Room & Board included. Apply to High Heather Ranch.

Aubrey 'Bree' Tanner is looking for a fresh start. She wants to leave her troubled past behind and reinvent herself. She wants to begin anew in a place where no one knows her name or her story. She has to come to terms that what happened can't be changed and allow herself some time to heal. She needs to give herself time to decide what she wants to do with her life and figure out how to make it happen. After aimlessly traveling from town to town, she stumbles across a Help Wanted ad for a horse groomer and decides to apply. While the job sounds perfect for her, she has no clue just how perfect a decision that will be, but will her past come back to haunt her?

Max Jameson is the part owner of a failing cattle ranch. His father has just died and left the ranch's finances in a lurch. The last thing he wants is to hire a woman who looks more like a Friday-night buckle bunny than a person who can handle a horse. At his brother's Wyatt's insistence that no one else in the area's willing to take on the job, he reluctantly hires the woman. She'll prove that his first impression was utterly wrong as she devises a way to save the ranch.

This was a charming romance about two emotionally scarred individuals who have more reason than most to distrust others. Ms. Drake breaths life into her characters as she spins a tale with raw emotions and touching scenes woven into its seams. Some stories have a tendency to stay with you well after you've finished reading them, and this is one of them.

Aubree Tanner has been through the wringer. She looks like a red headed version of the girl next door with the exception of the recently acquired scar that runs from her ear to her collarbone. She's spent the last eight months in jail and is attempting to enjoy her new found freedom while trying to bury her past. When she was younger she'd worked four years as a groom at an English riding stable and had loved it. She hopes working with horses will bring some much needed peace to her life. It's a far cry from her former profession and that is a bonus in her book. As the story unfolds, the author slowly, but surely, lets Bree's heart wrenching tale unravel.

Max Jameson is said to be ruggedly handsome version of the Marlboro Man. He's a cowboy through and through and loves the ranch he grew up on. In the past year he's suffered the loss of the woman he loves to another man, his father's death, and is attempting to hold on to the ranch which his father left him and his brother. Wyatt, who has little interest in the ranch, has been lending Max his help and support, but is worried about him. He's put his life on hold to help his brother, but can see no way out of their financial situation. While the idea of  converting their home into a dude-ranch is promising, it offers no immediate financial relief. When Bree hears of the brother's troubles she sees it as an opportunity to make an investment. She comes up with a plan and then does what she does best--crunches numbers to see if the idea is viable and presents her proposal to the brothers.  

It was fun watching Bree and Austin initially fight their feelings for each other. I enjoyed seeing them face their inner demons and work through their issues. I especially loved the role Wyatt played in getting these to together. He was a great secondary character and had some heart tugging issues of his own to deal with.

My favorite lines (and they'll have to be checked against the final publication) are:
- "Look into my eyes; I'm the only mirror you'll ever need."
- "People might not want to laugh at the at little guy's pink flank rope. I think it ticks him off."

Favorite logo (of course):

Why is the book titled Nothing Sweeter? Well, I believe it's because of a scene at the beginning of the book where Bree has just gotten free from jail. In it she thinks, "Nothing was sweeter than freedom."

Overall, I loved the book and gave it 5 out of 5 stars. A wonderful story packed with plenty of heart touching moments, romance and drama which blended together to make a delightfully seductive read. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got 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 book I HIGHLY recommend.

    Order of the series:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Early Review of Wulfe Untamed (Feral Warriors #8) by Pamela Palmer

    Title: Wulfe Untamed: A Feral Warriors Novel
    Series: Feral Warriors
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Format: Paperback; 384 pages
    Publisher: Avon (January 28, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062107550
    ISBN-13: 978-0062107558
    Author's Website:
      Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher and am a member of Pamela's "street team". In other words, I love her books so much that I've volunteered to help her get out the word about upcoming releases. 

Six weeks ago a group of friends decided to take a day-trip to Harpers Ferry, a National Historical Park, and go hiking. Of the six who started out, only three survived, one of whom was declared missing. A week of Natalie Cash's life was lost and she remembers virtually nothing of that period in time except how it started out pleasantly enough and ended when she woke up a week later wondering what horrific event had caused three of her friends to lose their lives. Her brother, Xavier, who had accompanied her for the trip has not been seen or heard from since and is feared dead. Something Natalie refuses to believe or accept. 

Six weeks ago six humans unwittingly ended up in the middle of a battle between wraith Daemons and Feral Warriors. The Ferals managed to kill the Daemons but only after three of the humans had parished. Of the three who survived, two were held for a week and observed before having their memories erased and being released. The third, Xavier, was blind and his memories could not be taken as memories are stolen through the eyes. To keep their supernatural existence a secret they couldn't allow him to leave.

Wulfe appointed himself Natalie's protector and, in the weeks that followed, has periodically been checking up on her in his wolf form. When he observes an unnatural glow about her, he realizes she may not have escaped unscathed after all. When Inir, the Mage who is trying to free the rest of the wraith Daemons and their leader from their prison appears, Natalie will once again become the unwitting pawn in a game which, if lost, could unleash an evil not seen in five thousand years upon the earth.


Another great book in the Feral Warriors series. Unfortunately, it's also the eighth and final book. If you haven't read the previous books in the series, I encourage you to do so. Each book builds up to this final showdown and you won't want to miss a thing. 

Slowly, but surely, the Feral Warriors are losing their links to their animal spirits. The Curse that Inir cast upon the group is starting to take hold. When a Feral Warrior loses its connection to its animal spirit they can no longer shift; and their immortality, a gift attached to their animals spirit, is no more. They become as mortal as anyone else and begin to age normally once again. In a race against time, they must decide whether to strike immediately or wait till they are stronger, if that's even possible. 

Natalie is an optometrist and chose that field because of her brother Xavier's handicap. She's struggling to deal with the events that happened mere weeks ago and her relationship with her fiance is on shaky ground. She's having dreams that feel more like memories, but make no sense. What she dreams just isn't possible--men shifting into animal forms and a monster attacking her. While her fiance is supportive, he just can't seem to understand why she's not like the Natalie he'd come to know. He just doesn't get why she's changed.

Wulfe, even though he won't act upon it, is attracted to Natalie. She's a kind and loving individual and he grew fond of her during the week they'd kept her to make sure there were no ill affects from the Daeomon attack. His mate, Beatrice, died nine months ago and when one of a mated pair dies, the mating bond of the individual left behind becomes damaged occasionally killing them. Wulfe realizes a mating with another woman is probably impossible so he keeps his feelings to himself. Plus, he'd never come between her and her fiance. 

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 our or 5 roses. There is enough action, drama and twists to keep the reader glued to the book. Wulfe was a wonderful character with a lot of issues to work through, and I loved how Natalie helped him to deal with them. The attraction between Wulfe and Natalie was undeniable. It was fun to watch as Wulfe tried to deny his feelings thereby protecting Natalie. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got 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.

Order of the series

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Madaris Bride for Christmas (Madaris Family & Friends #19) by Brenda Jackson

    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Contemporary Romance/Christmas
    Format: Paperback; 320 pages
    Publisher: Harlequin Kimani Arabesque (October 29, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 0373091435
    ISBN-13: 978-0373091430
    Author's Website:
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher.

Just days before Carly Briggs was to move to Las Vegas she witnessed a murder, or rather, she overheard one. After reporting what she'd overheard to a tip line and seeing nothing in the paper nor having found any trace of foul play in the alley where the murder went down, she'd decided perhaps her coworkers were right and instead of fainting she'd just fallen asleep and dreamed it all. As time went on, she thought less about that night, but she's about to learn what happens in Vegas may stay there, but what happens outside of Vegas seldom does...

Lee Madaris loves his Great-Grandmother whom he fondly refers to as Mama Laverne, but he's not about to let her pick out his wife. The scheming old matchmaker has an uncanny knack for pairing couples together and Lee is not the type to let anyone have a say in his destiny but himself. He's determine to thwart her by finding his own match. When he sees Carly dancing by herself on a balcony of the Grand MD Vegas Hotel, he's instantly attracted to her. Upon meeting her and introducing himself, he's even more so. That's when a plan begins to form. He decides to make Carly a proposal. Will she say yes when he lays his cards on the table? She, like Lee, isn't the type to settle. She wants it all or nothing, but some would say love is a gamble-- a high stakes game of chance. Will she fold, let it ride or raise the stakes? One things for sure, in Vegas anything can happen.

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This is the nineteenth book in the Madaris Family & Friends series. I had not read any of the previous books, but I didn't feel lost and was drawn right into the story. Mama Laverne is such a fun background character and I will have to read some of the earlier books to find out more about her. I love meddlesome mothers and grandmothers who have nothing but the best interest of their sons or grandsons at heart. Mama Laverne, however, with her uncanny knack for matchmaking made me smile and made an already enchanting story even more so.

Ms. Jackson immediately hooks us right into the story from the very first page. Carly witnesses a murder and we know it has to have some significance later. As the story unfolds, I kept wondering how and when the murder would come into play. I enjoyed how the author threw us breadcrumbs along the way so we'd get an idea of  what was going on and how things would come together.

Carly was very likable. She knows her self worth and won't settle for less than she deserves. She hasn't had a life filled with rainbows and butterflies, but hasn't let the hard knocks keep her down. When Lee first comes across her dancing by herself on a balcony images of  Sleeping Beauty singing and dancing to the tune of Once Upon a Dream danced through my head. I loved how even though the proposal Lee offered her was tempting, she stuck to her principles and didn't just jump at the chance to marry the good looking rich man who seemed to be all a woman could want. I liked that she wanted to make sure they'd make a good match before she decided anything.

Lee Madaris is the kind of man who sets out after something and proceeds to get it. He's part owner of a successful chain of hotels, The Grand MD (short for Madaris-Di Meglio), and has put off having a serious relationship while he put his heart and soul into creating a solid business. When he sees Carly and then meets her, he's enchanted and can't seem to get her off his mind. She seems like the perfect woman for him and just like he approaches any of his business ventures, he approaches Carly about a merger of an intimate nature--marriage. Not the most romantic of proposals, but it sure makes for a fun story.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was fun lighthearted read with a little drama thrown into the mix. There were several layers to the story and it kept a nice pace. I loved all the secondary friends and family members who came to the aid of Lee and Carly when they needed them. We should all be so lucky. 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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Early Review of When the Rogue Returns (The Duke's Men, #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

Title: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke's Men)
Series: The Duke's Men
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (January 21, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1451693486
ISBN-13: 978-1451693485
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher and am a member of Pamela's street team. In other words, I love her books so much that I've volunteered to help her get out the word about upcoming releases.

Ten years ago after a week of marriage Isabella was abandoned by her husband.
Ten years ago Victor was betrayed by his wife.
Ten years ago the jewel heist of the century took place and a web of lies was weaved ensnaring a pair of unwitting victims.
Ten years ago the lives of two individuals were thrown off course and irrevocably changed.
After ten years, the truth is about to set them free...


Isabella 'Isa' is a smart and strong woman. Ten years ago Isabella found herself alone and pregnant. After escaping from her sister and brother-in-law, she managed to find a job with a jeweler who specialized in the manufacturing of imitation jewelry. Her sister and brother-in-law had orchestrated a jewelry heist from Isa's former employer using the fake jewelry she'd crafted. She'd wanted no part in the heist, but once the imitations had been created there was no stopping it. Isa had tried, but she'd been out maneuvered by the pair.  After waiting four months for her husband to appear, she'd come to the realization he'd taken his portion of the proceeds and abandoned her.  Desperate to make sure she wouldn't be involved in any future heists, she'd left all but her belongings behind in an attempt to start anew. A gutsy move for a pregnant eighteen year old woman.

Victor is a kind, loyal, honest and trustworthy individual. Ten years ago his wife betrayed him and left him behind to clean up the mess she'd made. He'd had to face the police and the knowledge his wife had set him up to be the scapegoat. At first he refused to believe she'd played any role in the heist, but as weeks turned to months he realized just how wrong he'd been about her. Over the years, he's looked for her, but it was like she'd disappeared into thin air. Now, while working on a case for Manton's Investigations, he's been asked to check into the background of a woman.  A woman who with each new bit of information, sounds more and more like his wife, who played him for a fool. Could he have finally found her? Will retribution finally be his?

This was both a charming and heartbreaking tale that I just adored. I loved both Victor and Isabella from the very beginning. It was fun seeing these two jockey for position at the beginning while trying to fight the feelings each still had for the other. It was heart wrenching to see them uncover what happened all those years ago and come to the realization of what had been done to them and what had been lost. I absolutely adored how they had to build up their trust for one another and attempt to figure out where they as a couple stood. I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. A total and utter book seduction for me. This one is going on my keeper.  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.

Order of the series:

Monday Musings - The Misunderstood Sparkly Vampires of Twilight

People go off on the sparkly vampire of Twilight because I think they don't get what Meyers was trying to portray. She referred to the twinkly vamps as the "Cold Ones". When Bella first touches Edward she describes his touch as being cold and he acknowledged he loved that her touch was warm. Now visualize something that's been in the freezer for a while. It usually gets a thin coat of ice on it. I thought it was an interesting way to think of how the vampires wouldn't decay. They were freeze dried. Now, I could totally be wrong, but when they showed Edward out in the sun during that first movie, that's what I thought of. He's not sparkly so much as frozen--frozen at a certain time in his life to be forever and eternally young. With that thought in mind, check out the sparkly look again. Doesn't he look frost covered?

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Now granted, I wouldn't deny anyone their laugh at the thought of the most predatory of beings in literature being sparkly. The contrast is a bit much, and maybe Meyers should have used a different adjective to describe the sparkle, as a friend of mine Sara suggested, but I for one rather like the idea that the reflection of light off their skin is comparable to how light glistens off a blanket of freshly laid snow.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Avon Romance Events: January – February

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Avon Romance Events: January – February


Sunday, January 12, 2014


2:00 PM

Book Event w/ Lori Wilde & Cara Connelly


Writers Live!

3650 Summit BLVD, West Palm Beach, FL 33406

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Monday, January 13, 2014


2:00 PM

Friends of the Library Event w/ Lori Wilde & Cara Connelly


21100 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero, FL 33928

Jeaniene Frost (UP FROM THE GRAVE) 
Pamela Palmer (WULFE UNTAMED)

Thursday, January 30, 2014


7:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


760 SE Maynard, Cary, NC 27511

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Friday, January 31, 2014


6:30 PM

Book Event & Signing


387 Perkins Extended

Memphis , TN 38117, Macon Wilson


Friday, January 31, 2014


7:30 PM



2810 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Jeaniene Frost (UP FROM THE GRAVE)
 Pamela Palmer (WULFE UNTAMED)

Saturday, February 01, 2014


7:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, KY 40503

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Sunday, February 02, 2014


2:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


4453 Walnut ST, Dayton, OH 45440

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014


7:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


100 W Bridge ST, Homestead, PA 15120

J. Lynn (BE WITH ME)
 Cora Carmack (FINDING IT)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


6:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


2922 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014


7:00 PM

Book Event & Signing


123 Newark Ave., Jersey City

Jeaniene Frost (UP FROM THE GRAVE)
 Pamela Palmer (WULFE UNTAMED)

Saturday, February 15, 2014


12:00 PM

Multi-Author Signing ft. Pamela Palmer, Sylvia Day & Jeaniene Frost


Bookstore Cafe

18 N. Main St., Boonsboro, MD 21713

Cora Carmack (FINDING IT)
Sophie Jordan (FOREPLAY)

Sunday, February 16, 2014


4:00 - 6:00 PM

Book Discussion and Signing


2450 Fry Road, Houston, TX 77084

Eloisa James (ONCE UPON A TOWER) 
Cathy Maxwell (THE BRIDE SAYS NO)
Laura Kaye (HARD AS IT GETS)

Friday, February 21, 2014


Big Book Club Event- Exclusive Friday Night Panel


1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Montville, CT 06382

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Saturday, February 22, 2014


Big Book Club Event


1 Mohegan Sun Blvd

Montville, CT 06382

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Release Day Review of The Descent (The Taker Trilogy #3) by Alma Katsu

    Title: The Descent: Book Three of the Taker Trilogy
    Series: The Taker Trilogy
    Classification:  Adult Fiction
    Genre:  Paranormal Romance
    Format: Paperback; 352 pages
    Publisher: Gallery Books (January 7, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 1451651821
    ISBN-13: 978-1451651829
Author's Website:
 Notes: I received an ARC from the author in return for an honest review.

Lanore has been four years free of Adair, and in that time, a lot has happened. She and Luke had lived happily together until illness struck, and Lanore, once again, lost someone she loved. On the heels of her loss, she's been having disturbing dreams about Jonathan being sadistically tortured in the Underworld. Convinced the dreams, which are so vivid and lifelike, are Jonathan's way of contacting her for help, she seeks out the one man who can help her help Jonathan--Adair. But his help comes at a cost, as it always does, and Lanore is about to do the unthinkable--travel to hell and back or so she hopes.


I must confess, I loved the first two books of this trilogy and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. As I started to read, however, I felt I'd picked up some other book. Adair, once again, did not appear to be the Adair we were first introduced to in 'The Taker'. The man I'd come to love to hate wasn't the evil villain we first met. He was a pale comparison to that man. While I believe love can change one, I do not believe it can change the true nature of an individual. It would take something much more powerful. Now, some might argue that locking an individual in a self confined prison for over a hundred years might do the trick, as happened to Adair between 'The Taker' and 'The Reckoning', but Adair emerged from his prison with one thing on his mind--revenge. It didn't appear he'd gotten over his big bad self. He wanted Lanore to pay for what she dared do to him. Then somehow during 'The Reckoning' he came to admire her for being the only person to ever get the upper hand on him. So perhaps he realized upon reflection that he needed someone who could challenge him, but I have a hard time believing Lanore could ever forgive him for all he'd done to her in punishment for disobeying him in 'The Taker'.

Additionally, with what we come to know about Adair in 'The Descent', I can't help but wonder how likely that lengthy confinement would truly be? Then again, Ms. Katsu created the perfect place for Adair's powers to be amplified as we discover that the island he's chosen as home is located at a powerful point in the world where the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. A place where power appears to be deep rooted within and throughout just waiting to be tapped. I am truly at odds with myself as to what rating to give the book. One of the things I truly wanted to see was Adair do something totally selfless to prove himself and his love for Lanore. Something unexpected that would speak volumes and make me forgive him. Giving up something one never wanted in the first place just did not cut it for me

What I loved about this book was the feeling of it being a combination of Persophone's descent into the Underworld and Alice's journey into Wonderland. I liked how she was able to find out the outcomes of those individuals who were important to her but whose fates she never knew. I kept hoping that Lanore's journey from one place to the next would have some significance later on in the book. That it would give her the key to something or her freedom, but alas it was just a walk down memory lane.

While I liked and enjoyed the story, that magical dark edge which I so adored in the first book was somehow lost. For me the book was a little too anticlimactic and didn't seem to measure up to the first book. I did, however, enjoy learning about Adair's true past--a past I  never would have guessed. I really wanted to love 'The Descent', but alas, I'm giving it 3 out of 5 roses. Still a good read, but it had the potential to be more. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating scale, this one scored a SMILE rating--a lady always tries to be polite so a smile should suffice (ie no heat whatsoever).  Lanore and Adair spent very little time together in this book and I didn't feel the love I'd hoped I would nor did I get the grand gesture which could have validated the ending.

Order of the Trilogy:

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