31 October 2013

Five tree-top stars for Sarah Morgains Sleigh Bells in the Snow.

From the moment I started reading the first book in Sarah Morgan's new series, the O'Neill Brothers, I was hooked. Sleigh Bells in the Snow is a wonderful holiday romance featuring a transplanted citified, workaholic Brit based in Manhattan, Kayla Green, and a businessman/Yankee/champion skier, who's also a hunk, Jackson O'Neil.

When Jackson hires public relations expert Kayla to restore his families Vermont resort to solvency, Morgan makes sure we know there is a mutual attraction between the two of them - even if both of them try to resist it. I adored Kayla's cluelessness as to dress for a Vermont winter, however found it almost too clueless. Could anyone not realize you don't wear 4-inch heel boots to a country resort? I guess city folks are different and Kayla only seems to know London and Manhattan (she's the type that I don't think has visited any of the other boroughs of New York City).

What's also apparent about Kayla is her absolute intolerance of all things Christmas. Once she arrive at the Snow Crystal resort though, it's hard to remain distant when Jackson's family first seem to berate her - and then embrace her. I loved the addition of the little miniature poodle Maple - and her backstory - as well as the hints about possible loves in Jackson's two brothers lives (books to come). And in full disclosure, I'll admit to a gregat deal of empathy for a public relations maven (Kayla), who seemed to never be able to disconnect from her clients - even on dates.

Morgan is an author who always delivers and I found her writing about a quintessential U.S. setting as convincing as her books set in Europe and Britain. She is able to really make you care about her characters and the outcome of their lives. I found this book actually to be in many ways inspirational and perfect for the holiday season. Suddenly Last Summer, the next book in the series about French chef Élise and Jackson's twin brother Sean, will be published in June 2014 and can be pre-ordered now.

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From the Publisher



The O'Neill Brothers Book One
Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin HQN
ISBN 9780373778553
Price $7.99

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan heats up the season with the O'Neil brothers in a brand-new holiday series!

Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

Denise Grover Swank's The Curse Keepers earns three stars for originality

When I read the description of Denise Grover Swank's new book The Curse Keepers, to be published 19 November 2013, I was immediately intrigued as I've always been fascinated with the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. However, I want to be absolutely frank, once I began reading the book I had a pretty hard time of it.

Swank's two main characters - Ellie Lancaster and Collin Dailey - are the Curse Keepers, the first in their families in 400 years to meet and trigger an ancient curse. One of the problems was that I found I could not relate (nor really like) either character. I understood that both had heavy loads to carry (Ellie's father's Alzheimer's and Collin's care of his family from a young age), however their introductory actions (Ellie's with her boyfriend and Collin's every time he argues with her), just did not engage me at all. In fact their constant arguing made me start to want to skip pages, which I never do. When there finally is romance, I found it almost anti-climatic, and had lost interest in both of them by that point in the story.

I really wanted to like it more than I did, but found the Native American gods uninteresting, the slaughter of the birds horrific, and all in all, just didn't ever feel the story draw me in. I'm probably in the minority with this opinion, and I hope I am, as I admire Swank's previous books. From the set-up of the concluding chapter, I would guess she has a second Curse Keepers book planned. Perhaps that will fill in some of the blanks and the characters will evolve in a more likable way. For now though, I'm going to give The Curse Keepers three stars for originality and creating a story around one of America's great mysteries.
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From the Publlsher


The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank
Amazon Publishing
47North
ISBN 9781477808627
Pub Date Nov 19 2013

The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years. It’s about to come crashing down.

Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.

Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.

The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.

Four stars for Keri Arthur's Kiss the Night Goodbye, reissued recently by Dell

I've enjoyed a few of Keri Arthur's books, but in all honesty have yet to read her two most popular series - Riley Jensen or its successor Dark Angels. I was quite happy to see that Dell is republishing her earlier series and that the publisher shared book four, Kiss the Night Goodbye, in Arthur's Nikki and Michael series with me for review.

As you know, I do like to read series in order, however I wasn't able to do so with the Nikki and Michael, but I did get a sense of the characters from the first chapters. I'll be frank though, it would be much better I think to read these sequentially, so I'd recommend purchasing the entire series (Dancing With the Devil, Hearts in Darkness, Chasing the Shadows, Kiss the Night Goodbye).

As the book opens we find out that Nikki is a kick-ass psychic private eye and her partner (and soon-to-be husband) Michael is a very old vampire. Michael is an operative with a psychic/paranormal organization called the Damask Circle and Nikki wants to join him. Thus in the first chapter she's undergoing a series of physical tests (actually attacks she has to ward off) and we learn that in earlier books she's gained the use of fire as a weapon and is strongly psychically linked with Michael.

When they're called out on a job after finding out that a traitor tried to use the test to kill Nikki, all of a sudden Michael is kidnapped. Nikki can track him and is sent rescue him from his captor, the brother of the murderer of his former love interest 100 years ago. I won't go into details, but found the action fairly fast-paced and interesting. I was sorry not to know more background from the earlier stories, which I feel would have informed the read.

I enjoyed the story and found its premise intriguing, but wasn't as strongly connected with it as the other books I read by Arthur (Ripple Creek Werewolves: Beneath a Rising Moon and Beneath a Darkening Moon; Myth & Magick: Destiny Kills and Destiny Burns). I do look forward to the first two Damask Circle books of the trilogy that I received recently to review as they should provide some background for Kiss the Night Goodbye (which I then may re-read).

If I were Dell and Arthur, I think I would have tried to republish the books in order (i.e. Damask Circle first and then Nikki and Michael), but you can and should invest in digital copies of these books as Arthur is a first class paranormal writer and set the stage for many who followed with her inventive tales.

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From the Publisher



Nikki and Michael Book 4
Kiss the Night Goodbye by Keri Arthur
Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell
Dell
ISBN 9780440246541
Price $7.99

THE PRICE OF LOVE

Nikki James is just an ordinary, risk-taking, psychically inclined private eye until she hooks up with Michael Kelly. Now she is something more: one of the few, the chosen, the magic-wielding undercover operatives of the Damask Circle, an organization protecting humanity from a rising tide of evil. She wants nothing more than to pass the Circle’s strict entry exams so she can get on with the business of planning her wedding to Michael. But she quickly realizes that buying a wedding dress is the least of her worries.

One hundred years ago, Michael Kelly hunted down and killed the sorcerer responsible for murdering his lover. Now the brother of that man is out for revenge, and he intends to destroy all that Michael holds dear in the process. When Michael is kidnapped, the trail leads Nikki to a dusty ghost town surrounded by a potent magical barrier, leaving her to battle a madman alone with only her wits, strength, and the one psychic gift she cannot fully control. And to make matters even worse, Michael no longer seems to remember who she is.

Marie Treanor's paranormal romance series Serafina's is a sexy, fun, suspenseful, and HOT five star read

What is the perfect Halloween read? Marie Treanor's Serafina's series without a doubt. Set in modern day Scotland and populated by psychics, witches, vampires, zombies, faeries, leprechauns, ghosts, ghosts, rockers (some of the scariest of the bunch), and more, this a fabulous series that is filled with a bit of mystery, suspense, the supernatural, humor, and a lot of hot, sexy romance. In fact, this is the perfect read for any paranormal romance fan, and I'd extend that to romance fans with a thing for sexy hunks in Scottish kilts and lovers of Scottish brogues.

The first book of the series, Serafina and the Silent Vampire, introduces us to psychic and medium Serafina, and her assistants Jilly and Jack. Her agency, Serafina's (for which the series is named), investigates the paranormal, sometimes exposing fraud, sometimes helping move spirits on, and sometimes, well, let's just say you shouldn't try to fool Sera as she might just take you for a ride.

While at a party in an upperclass Edinburgh home, we first encounter Sera, Jilly, and Jack hanging garlic and trying to protect against vampires that they don't believe in, but their client thinks may be stalking him. Soon Sera finds herself encountering a real-life vampire who is sucking a little life-blood from an associate and bodyguard, Tank. No one but Sera seems to hear the amazingly handsome, sexy Blair, dressed only in a tartan - with a very sexy bare chest.

Soon it becomes apparent that in Treanor's world vampires descended from the "Old One" are silent for reasons revealed in this book. As Sera can communicate with the dead and is a strong psychic perhaps that's the link between her and Blair. But there's a little more and their romance scenes are HOT.

When you begin this book, be prepared for a fast-paced and amazing ride as Treanor throws plot twists and characters in fast and furiously, making this a fascinating story. I loved it and fell a bit in love with Blair myself. Who could resist? Tall, dark, handsome, brooding, and ... silent… Sera is fabulous too - smart, inventive, sassy, with a heart of gold under a hard shell, and a powerful faith in good that's tested time and again. The only thing I wished for was to learn more about her associates and my wishes were granted in the next two books in the series.

Book two of the series, Serafina and the Virtual Man, focuses on Jilly, Sera's best friend and an extraordinary computer hacker. With romance in the air she wishes to find a little of her own, but seems to always strike out until she and Sera visit a Edinburgh McMansion, owned by a computer gaming maven. He and his wife seem to have recently acquired a poltergeist and they've called in Serafina's to help rid them of this annoying spirit.

While there, Jilly discovers a hidden room filled with computers and inhabited by an amazingly handsome and interesting man, Adam. Soon she is finding a new spirit in her computer - and not one by Steve Jobs - and discovers that Adam might be the ghost and former business partner of their client and not a real man. What's a geek girl to do? Is he real or only virtual reality?

In order to get rid of the poltergeist, Sera, Jilly, Jack, and Blair must investigate what happened to Adam. While doing so, Jilly finds herself drawn more and more into Adam's world - and I was too. He's quite the alpha geek hunky hero.

I love how Treanor wove their romance through the story as well as continuing to keep us up-to-date with Blair and Sera's. I was as engrossed in this book as the first one and couldn't bear to put it down until the last page was flipped.

Luckily for me the third book in the series, Serafina and the Leprechaun's Shoe, was just released on 29 October so I didn't have to way to find out what was next for the folks at Serafina's. This time Roxy, Genesis Adam's rocker ex-girlfriend, is in trouble as her mother disappeared during a black mass led by some hard rockers who were her slightly less than welcome house guests.

This time Jack is called upon to be the primary liaison with Roxy as he's heading home to his family's stately pile in the country, just 20 minutes from Roxy's home. Jack sees this assignment as a god send as he doesn't want to face the decision that he thinks his father may force upon him - to go into the family business and leave Serafina's for good.

Well there was more than a black mass at work and Jack's talent for research leads them to think the disappearance of Roxy's mother may be involve the Tuatha Dé Danann (also known as faeries or possibly leprechauns). For reasons of balance, known only to the Tuatha, they leave a new, unworn, and unfinished shoe if they take a human into their world. All that was left in the room after her mother disappeared when Mike, the leader of the black sabbath, lead singer of the Grimm Reapers, and Roxy's former lover conducted the satanic ritual, was a chalk drawn pentagram, some blood, and the shoe.

Once Jack begins his research it soon it is apparent that there is more than a little chemistry between Roxy and Jack, but will they act on it, or will Jack see any action on his part as a conflict of interest with a client? Will Serafina, Jilly, Melanie (their witch friend), Blair, and Jack be able to help find and return Roxy's mother? And what about those zombies?

This was actually the perfect read for this Halloween day - as I sat with a cup of tea in hand, flipping pages frantically in my Kindle to keep up with the fast-paced action. While no trick or treaters have stopped by on this cold and rainy night, I've had my treat for the week with Marie Treanor's series. I look forward to the next book in the series that will focus on Blair's friend, and fellow vampire, Phil.

You too should have a treat and read this five star series; order your e-books today from your favorite retailer. You'll fall in love with the gang from Serafina's as well as the hunky and oh, so sexy, heroes too. Hot romance, fabulous plots, humor, and great paranormal elements make this a series not to be missed.
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From the Publisher



Serafina's Book One
Serafina and the Silent Vampire by Marie Treanor
ISBN 9780957301634
Price $2.99

Silence has never been so sinful…

Welcome to Edinburgh's unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina's.

Serafina MacBride is psychic - but not strictly honest. While staging a hilarious vampire attack at a client's party, Sera is stunned to encounter a real vampire - annoying, gorgeous and inaudible to everyone but her. When her client's son is found dead with puncture wounds in his neck, she tracks the silent vampire to his lair.

But the amoral and seductive Blair is also on a mission - to find and kill a nest of young vampires who've invaded his territory. Soon Sera is drawn into the bizarre world of the undead, where danger lurks in the shadows along with forbidden sensual delights - and a murderous conspiracy to flood the world with financially astute vampires who talk.

Supported and hindered by Blair's eccentric, undead friends, and by her own motley crew from Serafina's, Sera and Blair uncover surprising truths about each other and about the mysterious Founder from whom all vampires are descended.

In the end, Sera draws on powers she never knew she had in a frantic fight to defeat the forces of evil and preserve the strange, complicated being she's trying so hard not to love.



Serafina's Book 2
Serafina and the Virtual Man by Marie Treanor
ISBN 9780957676138
Price $2.99

Real man versus dead man - no contest!

Dale Ewan, the wealthy owner of Genesis Gaming, has a serious poltergeist problem. In desperation, he calls on Edinburgh's unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina's.

But Sera and her hacker friend, the beautiful and aggressive Jilly, find more than one spirit haunting the ugly country house. While Sera fights the poltergeist, Jilly encounters what appears to be the ghost of Dale's brilliant ex-partner, Genesis Adam, trapped in his own new virtual reality system.

Jilly delves headlong into Adam's mystery. How did he get there? Why is he more exciting and attractive than any of the real men in her life? How are Jilly's own criminal brothers involved in his death? And what are Dale and his wife Petra hiding? Apart from the body buried in their garden...

While Jilly falls in love with the sexy, virtual ghost, Sera has problems of her own, not least the shadowy presence of the undead Founder that seems to threaten Sera, her vampire lover Blair, and all her friends.



Serafina's Book Three
Serafina and the Leprechaun's Shoe by Marie Treanor
ISBN 9780957676169
Price$2.99

Delicious, deadly distraction...
Jack Urquhart, over-qualified and underpaid researcher for Serafina's Psychic Investigations, has a big decision to make: stay in his fun, dead-end job, or grow up and join the family firm. On his way to give the family his decision, he's delighted to be side-tracked into the case of a rock singer's mother who vanished into thin air before several admittedly wasted witnesses, leaving behind only a half-made shoe.



But Sinead's disappearance isn't the only weird happening at Roxy's housewarming party in the Scottish Highlands. There's satanic rock band, Grimm and the Reapers, plus ghosts, banging walls, a zombie dog, and, very probably, migrating leprechauns. Most worrying of all to Roxy, quiet, clever Jack excites her muse and all her senses as no other man ever has. Meanwhile, hedonistic rock star Mike Grimm is determined to get Roxy back in his bed by any means.



It takes the combined might of Serafina's to defeat the forces haunting Roxy's house and find Sinead. And it takes the sexy, wise, turbulent Roxy to get under Jack's skin and make growing up and risking his heart not only necessary but fun.




About the Author

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy. Marie has published more than twenty e-books with small presses (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL. Visit her website at http://www.marietreanor.com/.

29 October 2013

Five stars for Danica Winters' sexy, suspenseful, and absolutely enthralling Nymph series

I hate to admit that I became lost in a series, but I did. I really did. I received a copy from the publisher of Danica Winters' Winter Swans, the third book in her Nymph series, and just had a feeling that I should read the first two books as well. Ms. Winters was gracious and kind enough to share the first two books with me and then I became lost as I began to read…

The first book in the Nymph series, The Nymph's Labyrinth, is set in Crete as in Winters story the nymphs were at home there near the Palace of Knossos until Zeus went looking for some extra-marital time with the nymph leader. Disaster followed her refusal of the god and Knossos and knowledge of the nymphs vanished.

Fast forward to the present day and we find out that nymphs still inhabit Crete and have some very special gifts. They can seduce men - really any man - and shape shift into snakes. What is a nymph to do when Beau, an archaeologist, wants to dig where a relic of the nymphs is buried. Can she stop him? And what about the curse that Zeus delivered to the nymphs that if a mortal falls in love with them the mortal will die?

Wow! As someone who's always been fascinated by the history of Knossos, the labyrinth, Theseus and Ariadne (who just happens to be the nymph/heroine of this novel) - I was in seventh heaven. Winters delivers a fresh new take on a ancient story in a paranormal romance that I didn't want to put down. Visions of bull dancers, minotaurs, and angry gods filled my dreams. I won't give away the plot, but would advise that you start reading the series with this book.

The second book in the series, Montana Mustangs, takes us as far from Crete as could be as the chapter opens in the wild country of Montana. This time the nymph is Aura, a U.S.-based nymph who takes the form of a wild horse instead of a snake, but still has the quality of seduction of any and all males.

Dane, a very sexy cowboy/policeman interrogates her upon her discovery of a severed hand in a lake. Trouble seems to follow her as she confronts a ranch owner over the mistreatment of a horse (she can speak to animals as her special gift) and also finds some dead bodies of fellow nymphs. Soon she and the sexy detective are heating up the pages as she continues to search for her missing sister as well as trying to discover who's targeting her fellow nymphs and why.

Along the way they have to deal with some mean ranchers, a jealous detective, and find a way to conquer the curse of the nymphs. I was flipping those pages like crazy to find out what would transpire.

The third book in the series, Winter Swans, opens with a funeral of one of the nymphs found murdered in Montana. Harper, the deceased nymph's sister, is beseeched over the coffin by a fellow swan shifter nymph to find a man in a photograph. Harper sees him on her television set in an ad for a poker game, searches him out, and soon they are heating up my Kindle too.

Chance finds himself to be a father of a half-nymph daughter that he didn't know existed for 17 years and soon, both he and Harper are involved in searching out the murderer of his ex-wife. Along the way they have to deal with teenage and nymph issues of his daughter, irate loan sharks, some gambles that might not pay off, and pharmaceuticals that may or may not be legal.

This series by Winters is highly inventive and she has created a very believable paranormal world of nymphs, demigods, and other shifters. I highly, highly recommend that you purchase all three books to read. Although you could read them as stand-alone novels it's just more interesting if you are informed by what has transpired in the previous books as recurring characters are woven in throughout the series.

I'm now looking forward to the next book in the series, which I hope will follow Chance's daughter as she searches for answers to questions raised by her mother's death and her need for pharmaceutical help.

Do read this series, but make sure you plan to do so over a weekend or when you can be assured you have plenty of time set aside as you're not going to want to put these books down once you start.

From the Publisher



The Nymph Series Book One
The Nymph's Labyrinth by Danica Winters
F&W Media
Crimson Romance
ISBN 9781440562235
Price: $4.99

A world shrouded in mystery and intrigue, the Sisterhood of Epione must not be exposed.

Shape-shifting nymph Ariadne Papadakis is tasked with keeping the truth of the group’s existence and their ancient mysteries far out of reach of the American archeologist, Beau Morris and his troublemaking son, Kaden. When forgotten and forbidden passions are awakened, Ariadne is forced make a choice - fall in line and continue to be overrun and pushed down by the sisterhood, or follow her heart and put Beau and Kaden’s lives in danger.

Can she have the man she loves or will the pressure and secrets of her past keep her from her heart’s desire?



The Nymph Series Book Two
Montana Mustangs by Danica Winters
F&W Media
Crimson Romance
ISBN 9781440565465
Price: $4.99

A nymph: a woman with the ability to seduce at will, shift to protect, but cursed with the fate to have the man she falls in love with die a tragic death. As one of these ill-fated nymphs, Aura Montgarten has spent her lifetime drifting from one place to another hiding from love. Until she meets Dane.

When a body washes up on the shore of a rural Montana lake, police officer Dane Burke is faced with the task of finding the killer - even if it means he will be forced to put his life and heart at risk by working with a drifter. As the truth of Aura’s Mustang-shifting nymph ways are revealed, Dane learns exactly the amount of danger he and Aura are in, but can’t force himself to leave a case unsolved when the truth is just outside his grasp.

When the killer decides he needs to take another victim - Dane - Aura must choose between their forbidden love and her immortal life. Can there be life without love or is death her only choice?



The Nymph Series Book Three
Winter Swans by Danica Winters
F&W Media
Crimson Romance
ISBN 9781440565489
Price: $4.99

A curse that forbids her to love . . . A child that he must keep secret…An attack on the culture she holds dear…And a battle that could get them killed . . .

Single dad and professional poker player, Chance Landon, hates the world after his ex-wife is found dead in a cheap apartment in rural Idaho. On a lone-wolf crusade to find the killer, he instead learns that he is the father of a strange little girl who carries secrets that only a woman like his ex-wife can answer.

When his ex-wife’s killer learns about his daughter’s abilities and decides to come after the young girl, Chance enlists the help of the beautiful and deadly swan-shifting nymph, Harper Cygnini, who helps to teach him the truth of his daughter’s condition. Chance soon realizes that he alone can’t save his daughter from the sadistic killer and he finds himself in a battle between his head and his heart. Will Chance gamble on a future that involves falling in love - which may well cost him his life - or is that one bet his is unwilling to take?

Five magickal stars for Dark Witch, the first book in Nora Roberts' The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy

Curling up with a Nora Roberts' novel has the same effect on me as nibbling on a chocolate bar: I go into a state of bliss. This summer I read through all of her series titles and fell in love with her writing once again. Now Ms. Roberts has released the first book, Dark Witch, in a new series, The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, and I feel like someone just gave me a bar of fabulous and sinfully rich French dark chocolate. (Actually a friend did give me Dark Witch and I am absolutely overjoyed and thankful.)

Dark Witch hits the trifecta of Roberts' favorite themes: horses, magick, and Ireland. I didn't mention romance, but that goes without saying doesn't it? This series follows Irish-American Iona Sheehan back to her Irish roots, where she discovers the magic she embodies, her two cousins, and their circle of friends.

The book opens with the story of the Dark Witch and her persecutor back in the Middle Ages of Ireland. I was drawn into it immediately and when the time shifted to the present almost had whiplash. Roberts ability to weave magic into her prose is unrivaled and is why so many of us adore her.

Needless to say, the three cousins band and teach Iona to use her magick. She also has a talent to speak with animals, primarily horses, and we see that in full bloom too. Her love interest, the co-stable owner is hunky and brooding. Of course it won't be all smooth sailing on either the romance or magick front (where would the suspense be then), but the description of the Irish village, the fun friends engage in, the descriptions of the historical monuments and scenery all engage the reader.

So, I can't wait till the next two books in this trilogy are published: Shadow Spell (pub date: 6 May 2014) and Blood Magick, where will find out more about Branna and Connor O'Dwyer. Five magickal stars for this wonderful entry into Nora Roberts' series collection.

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From the Publisher



Dark Witch: Book One of The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts
Penguin Group LLC
ISBN 9780425259856
Price: $7.99

First in the all-new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love…

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

Don’t miss the next two books in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy: Shadow Spell and Blood Magick.

Cinque estrellas (five stars) for Serena Bell's sexy, romantic, and powerful new novel, Yours to Keep

After reading the holiday collection, Heating Up the Holidays from Loveswept, I wanted to read more titles by each of the three authors. Luckily for me, Serena Bell has a new book coming out on November 11, Yours to Keep, and her publisher shared it with me.

I don't care where you fall on the topic of immigration issues, but whatever lines in the sand you may have drawn, read Yours to Keep and your world view may shift dramatically. I had a great deal of experience at navigating some of these issues through an educational institution I used to work at , which had a blind immigration status admission policy. Unfortunately not all institutions or organizations have an option like my former one and Yours to Keep is a window into the world of someone who came to this country with all the right documentation then through tragedy and mis-chance became "undocumented" and whose daily life is filled with fear of discovery.

I love this book on so many levels. First of all it's a beautifully written contemporary romance. Secondly the characters are just perfect and I so enjoyed the teenagers - and their rebellions - who added so much to this story. Third, it's a story that needs to be told. We need to see the "who" behind the issues. And finally, I loved the description of the ESL classes as having taught a few knew that these were spot on, and hilarious.

Serena Bell is an amazingly talented writer and I do hope that you will join me in reading both this book and her story in Heating Up the Holidays. Yours to Keep could also be added to a list of holiday-themed books as some of the action occurs over Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it's a real love story and you'll fall in love too with Ana, Ethan (Dr. Handsome), and his son Theo. Five stars and the only thing that would have made this better is if there had been a recipe included for habichuelas, the Dominican red beans & rice dish that Ana prepares.

From the Publisher



Yours to Keep by Serena Bell
A Loveswept Contemporary Romance
Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept
ISBN 9780345549730
Price $2.99

Serena Bell makes her Loveswept debut with the captivating story of a woman living on the edge—and the man who’s destined to love her.

Ana Travares has been looking over her shoulder her whole life. Her U.S. visa expired when she was a young girl, and if her secret is discovered, she’ll be forced to return to the Dominican Republic. Ana allowed herself to get close to someone once before—and after he broke her heart, she swore never to make the same mistake again. But when a handsome doctor asks for her assistance, she fantasizes about breaking all her rules.

Even though pediatrician Ethan Hansen is a natural when it comes to little kids, as the single father of a teenage son he just can’t seem to get it right . . . except for the Spanish tutor he’s hired for his son, Theo. Ana has managed to crack Theo’s shell—and he isn’t the only one taken with her. The sexy tutor has fired up Ethan with a potent mix of lust and protectiveness. But as he starts to envision a future with Ana, Ethan is devastated to learn the truth about her citizenship. Somehow he’s got to find a way to help her—and hold on to the woman he’s falling hopelessly in love with.

Five tree-top stars for Cindy Gerard's The Way Home, a sexy, suspenseful, and heart-rending story

I have to confess to having devoured Cindy Gerard's Black Ops and Bodyguard series and to doing a happy dance when she released the first of her One Eyed Jacks books that continued to tell the story of the characters I had fallen in friendship (if not love/lust with). Her alpha heroes, kick-ass heroines, and super suspenseful stories are real favorites of mine.

When I received her newest book, The Way Home, the second in her One Eyed Jacks series, I was prepared for something a little different having read some of the Goodreads' reviews. Yes, there is an alpha hero (actually two), a kick-ass heroine (actually two), and that actually tells it all. Because here Gerard is telling a story that was for me, difficult to read. Of a woman who loses her husband to war, finds true love, then something wonderful and at the same time heart wrenching occurs a world away.

Pull out the Kleenex box because along with action and love scenes that will smoke your e-reader, you'll be crying along with Jess as she finds love again ... and again.

At first I found it hard to understand why this was a book themed for the holiday season, but as I read through it, it was evident that once again an author was disclosing the real meaning of the holidays. True love. Love beyond self.

So, pick up your copy of The Way Home for a beautiful, five tissue (or more) novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat as well as inspiring a warm glow in your heart.

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From the Publisher



One Eyed Jacks Book Two
The Way Home by Cindy Gerard
Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Gallery Books
ISBN 9781476735207
Price $19.99

Killed in Action – the most dreaded words imaginable for a soldier’s wife. Jess Albert has been living with them for four years, since the death of her husband in Afghanistan. Finding blessed numbness in routine, she doesn’t dare to look ahead, any more than she can bear to look back. Then Tyler Brown, a former special-ops warrior, shows up at her small general store in Minnesota North Woods, jarring her back to life. Jess knows better than to fall in love with another man who places duty to his country before love of his wife- but there’s no denying the longing and the hope for a future that Ty makes her feel.

A world away, a man ravaged by years of captivity and torture, a man with no memories, finally escapes- clinging to life and sanity in a hostile land. In his darkest hour, he awakes in a lantern-lit cave to find a woman at his side. Dark-haired and dark-eyes, her touch is caring, despite the resentment he hears in her voice and sees on her face. Rabia is bound by honor to save the lost American soldier in her keeping, this broken warrior from a war that has brought so much devastation to her land. But is it honor igniting her compassion for her enemy, or is it something more?

While a Black Ops team plans a daring rescue mission to bring the solider home, two women on opposite sides of the world walk a dangerous path between betrayal and honor, and must find for themselves where to draw the lines between duty and love.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cindy Gerard’s latest novel is a heartwarming, richly emotional, action-packed story about homecomings- just in time for the holidays.

Enter to win a copy of Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's Accidentally in Love with . . . A God?

This week you could win one of two paperback copies* of Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's fabulously fun ACCIDENTALLY IN LOVE WITH ... A GOD? 
(This sexy hunk could really be the treat in Halloween, so make sure you enter - and enter often.)

Just click on the book cover or the link to the Rafflecopter entry form (below) and see the many options of how you can enter to receive this book that I absolutely LOVE (see the review here).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can't wait till 5 November to know if you're one of the two winners, you can purchase your copy now on Amazon: http://bit.ly/mjp-ailwag

On Monday, November 4, from 6:00-7:00PT/9:00-10:00EST, join Mimi for a live chat on Facebook. You know it will be the best evening ever as she answers ALL your questions!

*Print copies are for US winners only, 
but if you are an international winner you'll receive a digital copy instead.

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Here's a letter from Mimi that explains what's new about this paperback version - and why you should have a copy:

Votan, God of Death and War Gets a Makeover
by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

That’s right. The God of Death and War is getting a sexy makeover. Why does he need one? Good question. He doesn’t! But what if you had the chance to waive a magic wand and make your dream man just a smidgeon dreamier, a tad more sizzling, and a hair more alpha-manlier?  Would you do it?  Why the hell not! That would be like saying no to those chocolate sprinkles on that sundae.
And hey, and let’s be honest, Votan was my first creation in the Accidentally Yours series. He’s original awesomeness—overbearing, hotter than an apple pie fresh from the oven, and nearly indestructible at seven feet. He’s super concentrated divine masculinity. But he did have one small handicap: me!  

ACCIDENTALLY IN LOVE WITH…A GOD? was only the second novel I’d ever written (and my first if you count that the story is an adaptation of that initial stab at writing). Since its Indie debut in Jan. 2012, I’ve written several more, taking feedback from readers and writers along the way to improve. These final installments of the series (under Grand Central Publishing) had the added benefit of a fabulous editor, Latoya Smith. (Mimi! Get to the point!)  

Getting there!

Point is, you’re never too old to change!  After about 100K e-copies sold, it was time for Votan (and Emma) to get a little professional makeover! (Insert applause for Latoya here.)

Yes, it’s still the same, quirky, crazy story, but I hope the readers will find Votan and Emma a little bit steamier. (I added an extra yummy scene!) Emma also got a tiny makeover (just as snarky as before, but less whiny). And Tommaso, well, he’s still the same sexy bad boy who confuses us.

I hope everyone enjoys that New & Improved, Mass Market paperback. My 1stever!!! (Insert image of Mimi disco dancing wildly next to Cimil here.)  For those who’ve got the ebook, I understand you’ll have the opportunity to also enjoy this revised edition.
HAPPY READING ALL!

Mimi
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And as a special treat for you, Mimi's sharing an excerpt from the new (and improved) Accidentally in Love with ... A God? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (P.s. It's one of my favorite scenes in the book.)

With his golden face beaming, the man smiled as he stroked my sopping wet hair and cradled me against his warm, smooth chest. “I love this dream,” I said with a breathy voice, then stretched my arms above my head, gazing happily into the most striking set of luminescent, turquoise green eyes I’d ever seen.

To boot, they belonged to a breathtaking, masculine face, a face one would expect to see on the cover of a magazine named something like, I’m Way Too Hot To Be Your Man, or In Your Dreams, Honey.

Oh, yeah. Without a doubt, I’d topped myself this time. Sculpted cheekbones, thick dark lashes, chiseled jaw, and lips so full they had to be meant for kissing or eating something really juicy. He was way hotter than the specimen of perfection from my last dream, and bonus, he didn’t have that scary vibe. I reached up and ran my fingertip along the ridge of his hard-lined warrior nose.

“Emma, what in the name of the gods’ creation are you doing?” he scorned. “We really don’t have time for your immature little fantasies. We’re in the middle of a crisis. Do you not remember?”

I blinked and slowly moved my eyes from side to side.

Jungle? I was in the jungle. And my clothes were wet. Come to think of it, for a dream, I didn’t feel so hot. My lungs burned, my body felt like it’d been chewed up, and my head was throbbing. So aside from the perfect man with long, damp, wavy black hair holding me in his arms, none of this felt like a dream. It felt—

“Holy Mother!” I pushed myself away and rolled into the dirt, pointing in disbelief. “Wha—you—you—?”

“Ah…so eloquent as always, my sweet. It is astounding—you actually have a college degree, yet cannot find better words.” He pushed himself up off the ground.

As he rose, my heart stopped, started, and then went into overdrive. His legs and spine straightened into a towering mass of unforgiving muscles. With shoulders like a lumberjack and thick, powerful thighs, I didn’t know if I wanted to run away or climb him like a tree. He was utterly enormous. Jolly Green Giant enormous. Except, obviously, not green. More golden brown. He was a gorgeous, towering mass of golden brown perfection.

No. Definitely not a cave-dwelling, wart-infested troll. Great. Just great. Now I knew I wasn’t crazy—

Guy was definitely real—but now I also knew I was in way over my head. He was gorgeous.

I stood in awe, my mouth gaping as my eyes attempted to register every rope of muscle, every capacious curve packed with power. Christ, he had to be at least seven feet tall.

“Six nine, actually,” he said, guessing my thoughts.

“This can’t be possible,” I whispered, my eyes continuing to dart up and down the length of his body, stopping right on dark trail of hair that started just below his navel and continued down, down, down to his enormous beast of a—“Oh! You’re naked.” I turned sharply, but only to stop myself from reaching out to touch it. No man could be that…that…endowed. Wow. “This can’t be happening.” I covered my face.

“Emma,” he moved behind me, placing his powerful hands on my shoulders. A jolt shivered its way through my body.

I was wrong about the vibe. Way wrong. This man, or whatever he was, radiated hazard. He should come equipped with a set of blinking lights or flares. He was—“Bad. Very, very, bad,” I mumbled, pinching the bridge of my nose.

And pathetically, after everything that had happened, all I could think about was this naked, hard-bodied, glorious “man” who’d just permanently seared his image inside the storage compartments of my female DNA. All men, from this day forward, would have to survive a mental side-by-side comparison against him. They’d all lose.

Then a part of my brain, which was now marinating in a pool of whatever hormonal overload he’d triggered, was trying to tell me something important. It wasn’t ready to capitulate and hand over the keys to the Emma kingdom.

Ah…there it is. “Don’t touch me!” I swiveled sharply, pushing his hands from my body, pointing one angry finger in his face. “I asked you for one simple thing! One!”

The corners of his delicious lips curled as he arrogantly flipped his dark, wet hair over his bronzed shoulder. “Exactly. You asked.” He took one bold step forward, well within my personal-space bubble. 

Clearly, he was trying to intimidate me with his endless ripples and naked body. How sad. It was totally working, which made me even madder.

He bent down to meet my glare, his nose inches from mine. “But I didn’t agree. Did I? In fact, my exact words were, ‘I. Will. Not. Promise.’ Sharp emphasis given on the not, little girl.”

He so had this coming. I lifted my knee, thrusting squarely in his groin. The almost-seven-foot brawny male fell to his knees cupping himself.

“I am not a little girl. Emphasis on the not…

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About Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Before taking up a permanent residence in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mimi spent time living near NYC (became a shopaholic), in Mexico City (developed a taste for very spicy food), and Arizona (now hates jumping chollas, but pines for sherbet sunsets). Her love of pre-Hispanic culture, big cities, and romance inspires her to write when she's not busy with kids, hubby, work, and life...or getting sucked into a juicy novel. 

She hopes that someday leather pants for men will make a big comeback and that her writing might make you laugh when you need it most. Visit her webpage here: http://www.mimijean.net/.

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