ARC Review: Beguiled Again by Patricia Burroughs

The Particulars: Contemporary Romance, Book View Cafe, available as e-book and in print
The Source: e-ARC from the Author
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:

Jeff shook off Cecilia and her high school crush seventeen years ago, and he’s made an orderly, boring, safe, successful life for himself as an accountant. Just the way he wants things.
Cecilia’s taste for driven, orderly men has left her divorced with three kids and two half-incomes. But nobody’s looking over her shoulder, criticizing her for being messy and disorganized. Life is never boring, is always filled with laughter and energy. Just the way she wants things.
From the moment she sucks him into her sticky, single-mom universe, Jeff can’t keep it together anymore. Her checkbook is a nightmare, her oldest kid hates him, and she’s lush and messy, mouth-watering and independent and annoyingly unforgettable. And he can’t stay away.
Cecilia is a fighter. She doesn’t need Jeff turning up again, making her feel like she’s still fourteen years, treating her like she can’t manage her life without his assistance. Why, why, why does he keep trying to help? To make matters worse, Jeff is hotter than ever, and a single mom can’t afford a sex life.
Plus, his parrot hates her.
In this battle between order and chaos, between hostile kids and cranky parrots, between romance and responsibility, is heartbreak inevitable?
Or this time, can love win?

The Review:

I have wanted to read this ever since I saw the blurb and cover on Patricia Burroughs blog. So when she contacted me, wondering if I would be interested in an ARC, I said yes.
And, I had a blast reading it. Cecilia’s and Jeff’s romance was a case of opposites attract. Jeff’s life were ordered, Cecilia’s were chaotic. It was intresting to see how they fought against their attraction, yet they couldn’t stay away from each other. I really appreciated was that the obstacles were believable. From Cecilia’s children, to Jeff’s busy schedule, to Cecilia’s scars after her divorce.
But,it was also intresting to see how their lives changed during the story. Cecilia slowly started to realise that she didn’t have to fit the mold, that her occupation was perfect for her. Jeff started to realise that he needed Cecilia’s chaos in his life, and that Cecilia needed his calm. One thing I especially liked was how Cecilia’s children treated Jeff. From the wariness at the beginning, to the grudging acceptance at the end of the book.
All in all, this was an enjoyable romance. I just wish that it was longer. I wanted to stay with Cecilia and Jeff, and see how they together dealt with all the chaos created by a household full of children.

ARC Review:The Wicked by Thea Harrison

The Particulars: Paranormal Romance, Samhain Publishing, available as e-book
The Source: Review copy from the author
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
A Novella of the Elder Races

For a librarian with a focus on rare magic books, Olivia’s new job is a dream come true. She has been hired as part of a team to help manage the safe transportation of the collection of books owned by the Vampyre sorceress Carling Severan. The fact that the library is located on a mysterious island in an Other land only heightens the adventure.

Head of security for the expedition, Sebastian Hale is tired of his rootless life of adventure and finds himself attracted to the calm, beautiful librarian. But he is living a personal nightmare. He has been hit with a curse that is slowly taking away his sight, and he doesn’t know if he will survive the results.

But the powerful feelings growing between them, along with Sebastian’s inner turmoil, take a backseat when they learn there is a traitor lurking among their expedition team. With Elder Races politics and a priceless library on the line, they’ll have to rely on each other to survive the experience.

The Review:
When Thea Harrison asked on Twitter for reviewers, I jumped on the chance. And I am glad I did. This was an excellent addition to the Elder Races Universe.
The story takes place on Carling’s Island, located in an Otherworld. It was intresting to follow the preparations for their trip there. It also felt right that it wasn’t easy to get to the Island, and the fact that part of the journey was the most dangerous one.
I really enjoyed Olivia’s and Sam’s romance. It felt nuanced. There was a sexual attraction between them , but they also talked with each other. I also loved the supporting characters, from Phaedra ( and I am having my fingers crossed that she will get her own story) to Bailey.
The plot wasn’t unique, but it was well crafted. I enjoyed the romance, with a dash of mystery tossed in. It was intresting to watch Sam struggle with his curse, and the despair he felt over it.
The biggest problem I had, was that I felt that the story should have been longer. For example, the part of the book that focused on Olivia, and her work to pack up the library felt… shallow. As a result, I didn’t feel the impact when the disaster finally struck. It was more ” Oh, the villain finally acted.”

ARC Review: Diana’s Hound by Moira Rogers

The Particulars: Steampunk romance, Samhain, available as e-book
The Source: ARC from the author
The Grade: C+
The blurb:
Nate Powell lived one full life as a world-class inventor before a disaster born of magic and science returned him to his prime—and turned him into a half-vampire, half-bloodhound abomination.
He’s finally stopped yearning for death, but he’s a long way from being excited about life—even if his newly virile body is very excited by the latest arrival to Iron Creek.
Diana is another creature that shouldn’t exist—a female bloodhound. While the males of Iron Creek accept her as a fellow warrior, Nate seems torn between a desire to study her and a need to protect her. Diana’s urges are a lot more carnal.
When they learn that a rogue hound is selling women across the border, Diana and Nate are chosen to infiltrate the vampires’ capital city. But before long their inner bloodhounds feel the mating pull—and a hound never outlives their mate for long. In a fight to keep each other alive, they could both end up worse than dead.
The Review:
I have been looking forward to reading Nate’s story ever since I read Wilder’s Mate. And I am glad I requested this ARC.
The world of the blood hounds are a harsh world, filled with dangers. This book gave another dimension to the vampires. It was intresting to see how polite the vampires in Eternity was, compared to how they normally were described.
Eternity might be home to vampires, but it was also a flaunting of power. In fact, I couldn’t help wondering how the life in both Deadlands and at the Border would have been if Eternity hadn’t existed.
I liked Diana and Nate. They are both oddities among the Bloodhounds. Diana because she is female, the only female hound, infact. Nate because he is part blood hound, part vampire. But.. they fit each other. Diana were a fighter, and Nate primarily a inventor.
Their search for the rogue hound that created Diana was fast paced, and filled with unexpected twists. The fact that they were headed to Eternity, a town filled with vampires added to the tension. As did the sexual tension between them. The sexual tension, combined with the protective urges added another layer to the story.
The plot wrapped up the story arc, but it had a whopper of a twist that made me itch to read the next book.
Despite all the things I loved with this book, it took a long time before it fully hooked me. Which is partially because I am tired of books with paranormal elements.

ARC review: Trouble with Air and Magic by Patricia Rice

The Particulars: Paranormal Romance, Book View Cafe, available as e-book
The Source: ARC from the author
The Grade: C+
The Blurb:

Romance and Danger are in the Air
Dorothea Franklin’s life is sliding toward disaster just as surely as her house is crumbling into the Pacific. Her unusual talent for feng shui can’t bring harmony to her invalid father or prevent her brother from dying in an experimental helicopter crash. Or has he?
She turns to computer genius Conan Oswin, whose brother also reportedly died that day. When Dorothea informs Conan that she didn’t feel the vibrations of her brother’s death, he wants to dismiss her illogic… but his instinct for trouble is already on full alert. His attraction to her is almost as distracting as her nonsense about chi and harmony — nonsense that plants doubts about the deadly crash. If only she would quit twisting his head with temptation, he might be able to save their brothers and her life.

The Review:
I love Patricia Rice Malcolm books, so when she offered the opportunity for reviewers to request ARCs, I requested it on the spot.   And overall,  I am glad I did.

At first, I had a bit problem with the fact that it was set in California, since I associate it with Georgian England. But once that passed, I enjoyed exploring California with Dorrie and Conan.  The settings felt believable. From Conan’s beach house to their trip to the Mojave desert.  One thing I appreciated was that Ms Rice clearly showed that  California is a geologically active state, and let that affect both Dorrie’s and Conan’s lives.

I enjoyed following Dorrie’s and Conan’s search for their brothers.  At first glance, they look like they have nothing in common.  Dorrie is  Irish-Chinese, and believes in the paranormal. Conan is a bit more sceptical about the paranormal, and wants solid facts.  But as the story developed, they gradually realised that  they complemented each other.  I loved watching Dorrie reclaiming her life with Conan at her side.

The search for their brothers were fast paced, and I loved how both Dorrie and Conan were a part of it ( Nothing frustrates me more than when the heroine is just waiting on the sidelines).

The biggest problem I had with this story was connecting with the characters, but that might be because I read it in December, but forgot to review it. So I had to re-read it a month later or so, and I still remembered what happened.

Book Lover’s Giveaway hop: Scandalous by Patricia Burroughs

In a lucky coincidence, tomorrow happens to be the release day of Scandalous by Patricia Burroughs. And since I had the fortune of reading an ARC, I want to spread the word of this book. So I am giving away 3 e-book copies. Just leave your e-mail address, so I can gift it through Amazon.

 Why live in the boring present when you have a century’s worth of vintage couture to live up to? Why be ordinary with centuries of Vandermeir scandals to shape your destiny?

Paisley Vandermeir was born on a hippie commune in the 60s, transplanted to high society Manhattan in the 70s and mentored by her wild Aunt Izzy, whose Roaring 20s exploits still tarnish the family name. Paisley is the very definition of “Vandermeir scandal.” It’s simply a matter of what and when. Following in the steps of her forbears, she intends to create her own scandal, then walk away from family and Society and find her own future.

Enter Christopher Quincy Maitland, the blond and gorgeous Rock of Gibraltar who carries the weight of his family’s fortune on his shoulders–safe, dependable, scandal proof. Or is he?

When irresistible force meets immovable object, what happens next is SCANDALOUS.