Sunday, July 5, 2015

Romancing the Alpha; An Action-Adventure Romance Boxed Set by Zoe York, Ruby Lionsdarke, Zara Keane, Anna Hackett, Ember Casey, Anna Lowe Sadie Haller and Lyn Brittan


From Goodreads:

HOT NEW adventure romance super bundle. Spice up your summer with 10 never-before-published action-adventure romance stories by bestselling authors. Kick butt and fall in love with sexy Navy SEALs, treasure hunters, mercenaries, and more. Let the adrenaline flow!

Zoe York — FALL BACK
When Navy SEAL Cade Duncan partners up with Mel Vincent for an endurance race, he doesn’t expect to tumble into a romantic fling in paradise—or to be so pissed with the beautiful woman when he finds out she’s been keeping secrets.

When firefighter and mercenary Marat Azarov rescues a beautiful slave woman from a life of certain torment, he gets more than he bargained for.

When underwater photographer Katy Ryan embarks on a secret mission to salvage priceless jewels from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania, she’s pissed as hell to be be pitted against Dex Fitzgerald, her super sexy treasure hunter ex.

When astro-archeologist Lexa Carter discovers a map to an old Earth treasure, she’s thrilled about a treasure hunt to a dangerous, desert planet—but not about being saddled with head of security, Damon Malik. She thinks he’s arrogant. He thinks she’s a trouble magnet. But when the hunt turns deadly, they’ll have to trust each other just to survive.

Charlotte knows she’s in trouble the moment Jackson North shows up at her door in the middle of the night. She always suspected her ex had secrets, but she never thought those secrets would lead her on a wild treasure hunt through Croatia’s islands—or throw her back into the arms of the dangerous man who once broke her heart.

The last thing archaeologist Julie Steffens needs is a gang of armed mercenaries after her for a crime she didn’t commit. And the last rescuer she wants is Seth Cooper, the sizzling vacation fling who disappeared from her bedside two months before. But right now, she needs a way out — and Seth’s sailboat is it.

Sadie Haller — TAINTED PEARL
The last person Biddy expects to greet her at the start of her secret four-week eco-activism island adventure is a red-blooded alpha male, and the irresistible camera operator proves to be a big, bad complication she's unable to resist.

When treasure hunter Kent Avery ends up partnered with Swedish military officer Elena Haaland in search of a stolen Russian artifact, he’s not expecting love. Guns? Sure. Fist fights? No problem. But love? Well that’s the one danger he’s just not prepared for.

A bad breakup sent Nola Bailey to Vietnam. Instead of cold cocktails and sandy beaches, she finds the irresistible Duarte Cruz and trouble. Cruz thinks she's up to no good, but if she convinces him she’s not—and dodges the flying bullets—her ultimate escape could end with love.

Leigh James — COVER ME
Matthew Riley is determined to leave his dangerous mercenary lifestyle behind. But when he takes what's supposed to be a relaxing vacation to the Yucutan Peninsula with his wife Meredith and their friends, he discovers that he can't afford to leave his job behind, in more ways than one... 

I love Science Fiction Romance and picked this set up when I saw new stories by two of my favorite SFR authors.  I was not disappointed in either Ruby Lionsgate or Anna Hackett’s stories.  Ruby took me back with one of my favorite groups – The Mandrake Company and Anna’s story gave me a peak at the young Dathan Phoenix before he was the hero in At Star’s End.

Both stories are very well written with interesting plots and enough action, romance and danger to satisfy.  The Pirate Captain’s Daughter features Striker as a secondary character.  He is one of my favorites.  I just know he has a story and I keep waiting for it to be written.

The other stories introduced me to some new authors.  I enjoyed their characters and their writing styles.  All of the stories are new and I highly recommend them to any romance fan.

Beaverston Press published Romancing the Alpha in 2015.

I received an ARC of Romancing the Alpha from Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Iron & Blood by Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin


From Goodreads:

A Steampunk novel set in the fictional city of New Pittsburgh.

New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as 'hell with the lid off.'

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique 'Nikki' LeClerque. Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. But when hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nikki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake's courage, every bit of Rick's cunning, every scintilla of Nikki's bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.

Iron and Blood is an action driven story filled with magic, great inventions, ghosts, vampires and witches (most who are male).  While the action does drive the story there are a whole cast of characters who are part of the action.

Rick Brand and Jake Desmet are a big part of the story line and the action.  For everything to work there has to be world building and back-story.  The story line helps with the world building.  The back story is worked into the dialogue.  There is often mention of past actions taken by the characters that highlights the fact that each has seen danger and action in the past.

While Rick and Jake are main characters this is not an all male crew.  Nikki, a cousin of Jake’s takes a major role in the story and she is joined by several very capable female friends who are part of the action.

Big parts of the fun in the book are the inventions.  As the story progresses the danger requires more unusual weapons and accessories.  There is a great character who lives to invent and comes up with what is needed each time.

Iron & Blood is the first book in a new series and while the big problem is solved there is a big loose end that will be around for the next book.  Look for the curse at the end.  I think you will find it to be very familiar and one that means that the characters will have many more adventures.

This is the first time that both Gail and Larry Martin have officially co-authored a book.   Gail says in the notes that they have often worked together on previous books and the time just seemed right for both names to appear on the cover.

Solaris published Iron & Blood by Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin in 2015.

I received an ARC of Iron & Blood from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"This would have been simpler if we'd done it my way." The slender woman lifted her chin defiantly."
(I love this beginning. Caught me right away.)

The 56:

Nicki had her derringer, Cady had a Colt Peacemaker tucked into her large purse, and Renate's protection were of an entirely different and magical sort." 64% on my Kindle

From Iron and Blood, A Jake Dremet Adventure by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin. This is a new steampunk series by the husband and wife team. First time for them to write together. It comes out on July 7th. So far it is a very interesting tale.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Undying Legion (Crown & Key #2) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Steampunk/Urban Fantasy

From Goodreads:

A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.

With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?

When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim’s heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.

But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.

Book two and the danger is still rolling along.  Charlotte, the werewolf who helped them in the last book, joins Simon, Kate, Malcolm, and Penny in the new fight.  Once again the forces of magic are loose in London and the human sacrifices are just the start of the evil.

The danger is different this time.  Powerful people who have been locked up for centuries are loose and trying to take back both power and control.  Malcolm makes a terrible discovery and goes to Simon, Kate and Penney for help.  Along the way they find some answers and many more questions.  Faced with some difficult choices the group moves to stop the evil they see coming into London.  As the story progresses they become more of a team.  Their decisions place them in danger but they each use their strengths to help win the fight.

Charlotte is a real problem for Malcolm as he feels that the only good werewolf is a dead werewolf and Kate has taken Charlotte under her protection.  One of the fun things in the book is watching how his interaction with Charlotte changes as the story progresses.

Watch for mysteries to be solved, some danger stopped and some magic to disappear.  There is tension, danger and adventure in The Undying Legion.  Everything is set up for the next book in the series, The Conquering Dark.

Del Rey published The Undying Legion by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffity in 2015.

I received an ARC of The Undying Legion from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Brothers in Valor (Man o War #3) by H. Paul Honsinger

Military Science Fiction

From Goodreads:

It is the year 2315, the 33rd year of the Krag Wars. The tide has been running against humankind and its allies. One small destroyer, the USS Cumberland, under the command of its young Cajun skipper, Max Robichaux, fights along with the rest of the Union and Allied navies to preserve the very existence of the human race.

Having delivered the Union's response to the Krag ultimatum, the USS Cumberland is ambushed on its way home by an overwhelmingly powerful enemy task force. Max, with the brilliant Dr. Ibrahim Sahin at his side as ship's surgeon, adviser, and friend, must use all his skill to defeat the enemy, only to find that Admiral Hornmeyer has an even more challenging mission for the destroyer and her intrepid crew.

The Cumberland must slip deep into enemy held space and attack a key fuel and supply depot that the Krag must have to defeat an upcoming Union and allied offensive. And, if Max and his crew survive that, they must then hunt down a brilliant and elusive Krag commander, code named "Admiral Birch" to prevent him from masterminding the Krag defense to the impending attack.

Oh, and one more thing, not only is Admiral Birch hopping from star system to star system in an armed convoy, there is a very good chance that the whole mission is an elaborate trap designed to destroy the Cumberland and kill its promising new commander.

"Brothers in Valor" is the third volume of the "Man of War" military science fiction trilogy. It concludes the first phase of the continuing story of Captain Max Robichaux and Dr. Ibrahim Sahin during the Krag Wars, and sets up the next cycle of the story--the "Brothers of the Black Sky" trilogy, the first volume of which, "To Stations My Lads" is due out in late 2015.

I started reading this series with For Honor We Stand went on To Honor You Call Us and have been waiting for Brothers in Valor.  For me this is what a military science fiction series should be.  The writing is good and the plot is interesting.  The Krag are descended from a species that we have always disliked making them a natural enemy.

Max Robichaux is the perfect star ship captain.  He takes care of both his ship and under his leadership the crew now functions as a well-oiled machine.  The supporting characters are interesting allowing Max the support and sounding board he needs.

This time I found the action less intense.  There was more time for getting to know more about both Max and the crew.  They are on two different missions and small spoiler – they succeed in both.  While the last one is a success we leave Max and crew in major trouble. 

While Brothers in Valor could stand alone you should start this series at the beginnings for maximum enjoyment.

47 North published Brothers in Valor by H.Paul Honsinger in 2015.

I received an ARC of Brothers in Valor from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Else I Read in June of 2015


The Major's Faux Fiancee by Erica Ridley - The Major’s Faux Fiancee uses the false engagement as the main plot point.  The story develops from there.  It turns out that Daphane and Bartholomew both have things they need to learn about themselves.  Ridley does a great job developing the plot that leads up to each making the discovery they each need to live life to the fullest.  It makes for an interesting journey for both.

What does not take long is each discovering that they want the engagement to be real.  Of course neither will tell the other keeping the tension high and the romance at a simmer.  It was nice to meet the characters from the previous stories.  This is part of The Dukes of War series but will stand-alone.  For more fun pick up the other books if you have not already read them.

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh - While this is Aden and Zira’s story it also sets the political stage for future books.  There are some new characters and a new leopard pack.  RainFire shows up early in the book and Remi the alpha looks like a great new main character.  Look for JoJo who steals the show from everyone else.  There are also many new and unexpected changes for the Arrows.  This is book 14 in the series and it looks like there could be that many more. 

Knight's Shadow by Sebastian De Castell - I loved Traitor’s Blade book one in the Greatcoat’s series.  Knight’s Shadow did not disappoint.  Just like book one Knight’s Shadow was full of surprises.  This is an action driven series and the action is non-stop.  So are the surprises.

There is the same cast of characters lead by Falcio Val Mond and the acition revolves around each.  Some are what they seem but some provide some of the surprises in the plot.  About the plot – some things have been revelaled but there is much that is left for future books.  The danger is not over and the tension is still building.  This is a four book series so there is more to come for Falcio and the Greatcoats.

Forget Me Not by Erika Marks - What happens when your writing career is not what everyone expected? Mallory Reynolds has just found out. It puts her back in the same town as Josh Loveless, the one she left behind. Or was it the one who did not fight for her. A nice sweet romance about second chances. Some sex but not too much. More about how you feel about decisions you made years ago.

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery What happens when you mix someone who tries to save everyone with someone who really needs saving.  Well if you put them on a ranch, mix in tourists and a cattle drive you get romance.  Zane Nicholson was mentioned in the previous Fools Gold book and Phoebe Kitzke is a new character.  They should not be a mix.  Zane is a down to earth rancher and Phoebe talks to the animals.  She does admit that they do not talk back.  They are both great characters and it turns out that they are a perfect mix.  Since the setting is a cattle drive on a ranch there are not that many previous Fools Gold characters but there are several set ups for more stories.

Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis - This is the third Whisper Creek book I have read and this time it is Jessalyn Alcott’s time to find romance.  I loved both Jessalyn and Cole Driscoll.  Jessalyn has a secret.  In fact she has several and we get to see them in flashbacks.  Cole has always been a player but for some time he has been ready to settle  down.  He realizes that Jess has something in her past that scares her and he is taking it very slow.  This is a very good story about how the past can affect the future.  It also speaks to the kind of abuse that some women suffer.  A great addition to the series and all the characters at Whisper Creek.

The Silver Ships by Scott Jucha - This is the authors first published story and it shows great promise.  The story starts with a familiar theme. From there it develops into its own original movement.  I could see the planning.  The plot is very well developed and the characters are interesting.  It is a tension filled and character driven.  This is the start of a series and while there is the start to a solution to the danger there is much more to be done.  The book ends on a tease. I am waiting for the next books to see how the adventure will continue.

The Silver Ships is self-published.  There were places where I felt it needed additional editing.  Some things needed more attention and some things could have been cut.  Even so I enjoyed reading it.

Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti – I loved the Sin Brother series by Zanetti and when I saw she was starting a new series I had to give it a try.  What I didn’t know was that this is a spin-off from another series.  Once again there is a strong alpha male and a very strong female who strike sparks and lust when they meet.  The plot centers around a new drug on the street, a drug that is killing people. The two main characters are Alexandra and Kellach and both are trying to find the source of the drug.  However they are often working at cross purposes.  While this is book one in Realm Enforcers the back story and world building was done in a previous series.  Zanette does a good job of filling in the blanks but there were times I knew I was missing something.  Wicked Ride does stand alone but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the previous series.

Audio Books:

Twelve Days By Alex Berenson – John Wells has 12 days to stop a war.  This is book #9 in the series and the first one I have listened to or read.  This is a true series where one book follows the next with a cliffhanger ending.  Set in the present there is a lot that could really happen.  Expect non-stop action and lot of tension and some interesting characters.  The book just ends without letting the reader guess what will happen next.  I will find out in the next book which is not out yet.

Dirty Magic (Prospero’s War #1)  by Jaye Wells – A great start to a new series.  The world building works right into the plot, the characters are developed and interesting and everything builds on back-story and previous relationships.  The danger and tension build as the story progresses.  Some things are solved and some things are left for the next books. 

I loved the characters and their interactions.  This is trilogy so I will get to see more of them and more action and danger.

Teaser Tuesday - June 30, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhyme 
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:"
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book. 

The Tease:

"You're going to make a pet of that?"
"Why not?"
"Because it is the ugliest little brute I've ever seen."
Page 59

From The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie, the third book in the Chance Sisters Romance series.  Just started it and it looks to be a very good one.