Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Wrap-Up (It's a doozy!)

Ever since I came back from vacation, I've been feeling like I'm behind in my reading. I don't know why, I just feel off. I did get some great reads in though:

1. Alpha - Rachel Vincent (5 stars!) - will be posting this review soon :)
2. Awakened by a Kiss - Lila DiPasqua (3.5 stars)
3. White Heat - Brenda Novak (3 stars)
4. Georgia's Kitchen - Jenny Nelson (3 stars)
5. Bring on the Night - Jeri Smith-Ready (5 stars!)
6. Deceived by Desire - Larissa Lyons (3 stars)
7. Comfort Food - Kitty Thomas (5 stars!)
8. Ecstasy Unveiled - Larissa Ione (4 stars)
9. Sin Undone - Larissa Ione (5 stars!)
10. Dangerous Desires - Dee Davis (4 stars)
11. Seduced by a Highlander (4 stars)
12. The Satin Sash - Red Garnier (2 1/2 stars)
13. Never a Bride - Ava Grey ( 2 1/2 stars)

I'd say I had a pretty eclectic month!


I had a personal milestone this month - my baby started Big Girl School: Pre-K 4, next year is Kindergarten. She's been so excited all summer to start school where her big sister goes. Another milestone, my oldest is a senior in high school this year (he didn't want his picture taken). Here's the Littlest Book Addict in her school uniform:


August 29 marks the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As much as I don't want to think about it, it seeps into my mind this time of year. I couldn't figure out why I was thinking so much about it recently and then I looked at a calendar and realized why. I wasn't going to write a post about Katrina this year, I want to forget. I purposely did not write about it on my personal blog either. But I started thinking, and couldn't stop. If you're interested - here's my post about my survivor's guilt.


This weekend is the Writers for New Orleans author event and multi-author book signing - a few of us are getting together Sat night for drinks and Sunday for brunch at The Court of Two Sisters for brunch before the signing. If you think you'd be interested in either, contact me at bookaddictpatti at cox dot net - we'd love to meet you!!!


And, totally random but I love it so much I have to show it off - my new purse and wallet:

I did buy it in August so technically it can go with this post :) I love Mexican sugar skull and Dia de los Muertos art, so when I saw this in a shop in the French Quarter I had to have it. It's a small messenger bag - holds my kindle or a book (not both), wallet, checkbook and sunglasses - not too big at all...


Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Seduced by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

From the author's website:
Book#2 in the Children of the Mist series
His kiss is her undoing...

Tristan MacGregor is famed throughout the Highlands as a silver-tongued seducer and an unrepentant rogue. Bold and charming, he’s dallied with many women, yet none as beguiling and mysterious as the lass he steals a kiss from at the king’s court. Little does he know this beauty is one of his clan’s greatest enemies. br>

Isobel Fergusson has despised the bloodthirsty MacGregors ever since they murdered her father. When she learns the handsome stranger who melted her resistance is a MacGregor, she vows to forget him. But Tristan means to possess her at any cost and Isobel’s body turns traitor at his touch. Can a man she’s sworn to hate be the only one she can ever love?


I had not read Ms. Quinn's first book in this series, Ravished by a Highlander, but when the opportunity arose to read the 2nd book in the series, Seduced by a Highlander, I jumped on it!

10 years ago, young Tristan MacGregor got into a fight with young Alex Fegusson. It spiraled out of control and when the dust cleared, Tristan's favorite uncle was dead, and Alex's widowed father was dead too - leaving his older brother Patrick as leader of the Fergusson clan. Patrick and Isobel were still children themselves, and had to take care of their 5 younger brothers, leaving them susceptable to raids from stronger clans nearby. The bitterness between the MacGregors and Fergussons was deep and strong.

I am a sucker for handsome, rogue-ish Highlanders. The kilts, the speech, the stubborn perseverance...I love it all. I liked Tristan, very much. He was a sympathetic hero - I don't know if you could call him a Beta hero or not - he knew how to fight and was good at it, but he preferred to convince you to see his way of things instead of beating you until you give in. His father and brothers were more prone to get their way by fighting, Tristan was more like his dead uncle.

Isobel was a terrific heroine - spunky, opinionated, fiercely loyal to her family. She was a hard worker and cared for her brothers very much.

I was captured from Isobel and Tristan's first meeting. The back-and-forth between them was lively and engaging. When Tristan goes to Isobel's home to try to set things right - hilarity ensues. Isobel's brothers were very funny, as was Tristan's reaction to them. I've said before I don't like kids in my romance stories but these kids were funny.

I really, really enjoyed this book - the end was a bit abrubt, I would have liked a bit more detail, but other than that it was a sweet story.

My rating:

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Winner: Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson

Many thanks to all who entered the giveaway, and to Simon and Schuster for providing the book! The winner of Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson is:

Congratulations! Please send me an e-mail at bookaddictpatti at cox dot net with your mailing info and I will get this book right out to you!
To everyone else:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Sin Undone by Larissa Ione

As the only female Seminus demon ever born, master assassin Sinead Donnelly is used to being treated like an outcast. She spent decades enslaved, and now vows she’ll die before she’ll relinquish her freedom again. Then Sin’s innate ability to kill her enemies goes awry: She creates a lethal new werewolf virus that sparks a firestorm of panic and violence.

Half-werewolf, half-vampire Conall Dearghul is charged with bringing in Sin to face punishment for the plague. And she’s no stranger: He’s bound to her by blood, and the one sexual encounter they shared has left him hungering for her raw sensuality. Worse, Sin is the underworld’s most wanted and Con soon learns he’s the only one who can help her . . . and that saving her life might mean sacrificing his own


OMG - Larissa Ione is the Queen of Romantic Tension! This book was so freakin' good! Definitely my favorite book of the series!

Sin is a wonderful heroine - tough-talking and definitely able to cash the checks her mouth writes - she is one kick-ass heroine. I liked her in the previous book, Ecstasy Unveiled, and was excited that she was getting her own book.

And Con, *swoons*, oh, Con is completely sigh-worthy! The perfect blend of bad boy Alpha-type male with a tender heart on the inside (of course, he has to go through trial by fire to find that tender heart, but when he does....*swoons again*). And plenty of biting *winks* - very nice!

Ms. Ione kept me on the edge of my seat throughout this book. First of all, there's the plague that Sin accidentally started in Ecstasy Unveiled. It's growing out of control and they can't seem to find a cure. I really, really felt bad for Sin. Soon she's being hunted by the Wargs, the Turneds, the Assassins, and a weird guy on horseback.

And when Sin and Con got thrown together to try to find a cure - oh, the tension really sizzled. It went from "will they or won't they" to "more, more, more please!!!" Then, we learn about the dangers of a blood addiction for Con and it seems an insurmountable obstacle for them. Throw in his Clan's requirement that he join in for the mating season, and I just didn't see how these two were going to get their HEA. I think there were about four different points in this book where I thought to myself, "You've written yourself into a corner Ms. Ione, how are you going to fix this?" and wow, she really did!!!

There was a secondary story with Con's co-worker, Luc, and another werewolf, Kar. At first I was a bit thrown off until I realized who they were; their story was sweet and tied in nicely with the main storyline. We also got to see quite a bit of Sin's four brothers, Eidolon, Shade, Wraith, and Lore, and their mates and children. It was good to see how everyone was doing and I enjoyed how protective they all were of Sin and each other.

I loved this book! I heard this is the last book in the series, and if it is, what a way to go! A tip of the hat to you, Ms. Ione - bravo!

My rating:

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Dangerous Desires by Dee Davis

From the author's website:
As the extractions expert for A-Tac, an elite CIA black ops unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college, Drake Flynn knows how to survive behind enemy lines. But he’s about to meet one adversary he can’t subdue . . . or resist.

Stranded in the Colombian jungle after a mission goes bad, Drake has only one objective: evade the mercenaries hot on his trail and deliver “the package” to U.S. officials. But “the package” has a mind of her own, and she has no intention of trading one set of captors for another. Madeline Reynard is beautiful, headstrong, and hell-bent on escape after years as a crime lord’s pawn. She’ll risk everything for freedom, even if it means deceiving the dark, handsome soldier who now holds her life in his hands.

Drake has been burned too many times to let a woman manipulate him, especially a secretive one like Madeline. Even so, they cannot deny the attraction between them. Now as enemy forces close in, Drake and Madeline must trust each other with their lives—or face certain death.


When I read the first book in this series, Dark Deceptions, I was trying something new, as "special ops"-type books are not usually my thing. I was pleasantly surprised, and have been looking forward to Dangerous Desires, the 2nd book in the A-Tac series.

Dangerous Desires did not disappoint! Drake was a great moody Alpha male. Burned at love and trust by another agent, he want's nothing to do with Madeline - he' sure she's untrustworthy from the get-go. I really, really liked Drake.

Madeline's story ripped my heart out... her attempt to help her drug-addicted sister lands her in a Colombian prison. She is released to a drug lord (her sister's source) and forced to do various jobs for him to pay off her sister's debts. Then she learns her sister is dead, and she knows she has to get out. Her attempt to contact the US Embassy ends in her contact's gristly death, and Madeline is ready to give up hope. Then, Drake Flynn comes charging into her room at the drug lord's compound....

The action in Dangerous Desires was high - the jungle adventures and fighting off the bad guys kept me turning the pages. Watching Drake and Madeline get to know each other while fighting for their lives was riveting and their physical relationship progressed at a satisfying pace. I liked them both and was rooting for their HEA. There was also a bonus HEA for them that was super sweet :)

There is still someone sabotaging the Unit's missions. My suspicion from the first book is still my suspicion in this book, and I'm ready to jump into the next book, Desparate Deeds, to hopefully find out who it is. Desparate Deeds takes a little turn from the first two books in the series, as the main character is a female member of the Unit. Based on the excerpt it's going to be good!

My rating:

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

From Amazon.com:
Emily Vargas has been taken captive. As part of his conditioning methods, her captor refuses to speak to her, knowing how much she craves human contact. He's far too beautiful to be a monster. Combined with his lack of violence toward her, this has her walking a fine line at the edge of sanity. Told in the first person from Emily's perspective, Comfort Food explores what happens when all expectations of pleasure and pain are turned upside down, as whips become comfort and chicken soup becomes punishment.

This is not a story about consensual BDSM. This is a story about “actual” slavery. If reading an erotic story without safewords makes you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you. This is a work of fiction, and the author does not endorse or condone any behavior done to another human being without their consent.


I was first made aware of Comfort Food when Cecile reviewed it, then did an interview with Kitty Thomas. Cecile -thank you.

I don't know where to begin....All I can say is, "Wow." I read this book in one sitting, I was sucked in from the first page and couldn't put it down.

Comfort Food is the story of a true Master/slave relationship, not a fetish, but an actual way of life. Emily is kidnapped, held hostage, and manipulated emotionally until she is a willing slave.

Ms. Thomas says in her interview at Cecile's place: "Any readers who are expecting a lot of physical violence or some type of brutal rape ... that doesn't happen here."

She's absolutely right - it's all psychological, and both horrifying and fascinating at the same time. I didn't find it a dark read, more....almost clinical, if you will, and I think that was due to the descriptive quality of Ms. Thomas' writing. The "cell" was light, the other rooms were bright - I never got the impression she was ever left in darkness.

The "relationship" that developed between them was so fucked up I just couldn't look away:

"....I came to trust him more than I'd ever trusted anyone. Because even if he was a monster, he followed his own rules. And he was my monster."

I didn't miss the irony of Emily being semi-famous for writing self-help novels, and that she had a degree in psychology. She knew what was going on and was still helpless to stop it. I was very interested in Master and the reasons behind his actions. I wanted to hate him, I knew I should hate him, but I was fascinated with his motivations. I was thrilled when Ms. Thomas gave us a peek into Master's journal.

"If I have this dark need to have compete power over her, she has an equal almost pathalogical need to give it to me."

Although I thought the fact that Master was rich made things a bit too easy, it didn't bother me for long. I just couldn't put the book down, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished reading it.

We never do learn Master's name, and I can't stop wondering if Emily ever does either.

My rating:

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered.
This is a pretty cool prize pack:

~Tote bag~
~3D viewer bookmark~
~White Heat lip gloss – made especially for the book!~
~A copy of White Heat~

Congratulations to
Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews!!

Please contact me at bookaddictpatti@cox.net with your name and mailing address!

Many thanks to Mira and Big Honcho Media for offering this great prize pack!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Matched by Ally Condie

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I'm waiting on Matched by Ally Condie:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423648
ISBN-13: 978-0525423645
(Description from

I don't know why I've become borderline obsessed with this book, but I have! (Possibly it's the fact that I'm a sucker for a good love triangle?) Hurry up November 30!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How my book addiction broke my bed....

Fiction Vixen did a guest post over at My Overstuffed Bookshelf today that made me think about my bookshelves and how they broke my bed....

This is my TBR bookshelf. Each shelf is two rows thick. I've got it organized (sort of) by historical, paranormal, contemporary, and YA. This little shelf used to be next to my bed, between the bed and the wall. At the time, I had all my "keeper" books on the shelves and the TBR was piled on top. As you can imagine, it was a teetering, towering mess.

So, I went out and bought another cheapie shelf, moved this one to it's present location, and proceeded to move the big "keeper" shelf into the spot between my bed and the wall:

(don't laugh at my pig)

(Yes, it leans, and yes, that is my Edward doll standing on a rock my sister-in-law brought me from LaPush)

Well, unbeknownst to me, the big shelf was not only taller, but wider... If you look at the picture above my bed - that used to be centered over the headboard(and yes, that's only two of my three children, it's true what they say about the third child never having any pictures).

Anyhoo, I pushed over the bed to make room for the shelves. That's what anyone would have done, right? Well, apparently, this bed has three support bars underneath that hold the frame up, and when I pushed the bed over the support bars bent at an angle....Now, hubs and I are not petite, so when we "jumped" into bed - BAM!! Down that mattress went! Talk about scare the crap out of me (and hubs!)!

Luckily, hubs was able to fix it, and now has carte blanche to tease me about making room for more books...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: Bring on the Night by Jeri Smith-Ready

From the author's website:
What's Blood Got to Do With It?
Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all. A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic but eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks as if she might actually finish her bachelor's degree!

But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps?

Ciara's suspicions are confirmed when she's assigned to a special-ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control's oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers. To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious, fatal virus spreads through Sherwood—and corpses begin to rise from their graves—Ciara will not only get a crash course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith, and her life itself, in the hands of magic.


I've been waiting for Bring on the Night since I read the last page of Bad to the Bone. This is a great series and Bring on the Night did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, I think it' my favorite of the three books in the series so far. If you haven't read this series before, the (very) basic premise is that the radio DJs at this station are all vampires. Each is from a different era, and in this world vampires are "stuck" in the era they died in, they have a lot of trouble with change (and OCD). Ciara is an employee of the radio station, and dates one of the DJs, sexy Shane (he's stuck in the 80s). Needless to say, each book has a great soundtrack!

There is a lot going on in this book but Ms. Smith-Ready makes it flow smoothly:

  • Ciara's started her service with the Control, and she's been assigned to the super-secret division, which she's not happy about.
  • There is a mysterious illness spreading around the town that is killing residents, including some who are very close to Ciara.
  • There are zombies - I'm not gonna lie, there is one particular scene were the zombies cracked me up, I could just imagine the looks on the faces of the characters in the book while they watched what was going on!
  • One of the vampire DJs goes missing.
  • Shane and Ciara's relationship takes some pretty major turns, and they are both forced into serious soul searching.
You know how sometimes you read a book and you really like it but there are parts you kinda skim *cough~lessers~cough*? I didn't do that here at all. Ms. Smith-Ready weaves such a good story I had no need nor want to skim. Now, honestly, I kind of guessed some of the plot, but I didn't know how Ms. Smith-Ready was going to take me there; the journey was completely enjoyable. (I can't go into specifics without giving away spoilers, but her attention to the nuances of the vampire OCD habits is always fascinating.) I read this book everywhere: at work, at home, the grocery store, waiting at the shuttle stop near my job... I had four pages until the end of the book when I got off the shuttle and had to wait about three hours until I could pick the book backup again and finish. It was totally worth the wait; I loved the ending!!!

My rating:

This book was provided to me by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest post and giveaway with Jenny Nelson, author of Georgia's Kitchen

Yesterday, the day I’ve been awaiting for months arrived: My debut novel, Georgia’s Kitchen, was published! After years of writing, revising, pitching, and polishing, Georgia’s Kitchen is now on sale at bookstores everywhere. I’m still pinching myself (and obsessively checking Amazon and B&N, of course)!

Release day started out like any other – with my dog, Clarabelle, leaping up on my belly and licking me until I threw back the covers and roused myself out of bed. After waffles with my daughters, followed by a few rounds of ring around the rosie (“we all fall down” became “Mama’s book is out!” – much better, in my opinion), my husband and I dropped the girls at camp then made our way to New York for my book launch party. Funnily enough, though I’d planned to spend the day “bookstore stalking” (which is exactly what it sounds like), I didn’t go to even one store. Instead, I treated myself to a mani/pedi (nails gotta look good when signing books!) and a Wildberry yogurt (to make up for the all the eating and drinking I knew I’d be doing later), before meeting up with my mom, who flew in from Canada, and my sis, who arrived from L.A. By the time we finished getting ready, we had to hightail it down to Kenmare, the fabulous and stylish restaurant – think funky Santorini lounge, complete with disco ball and giant mosaic snake on the ceiling – hosting my party.

Now, I’m not big on the spotlight, and throwing parties for myself is not something I normally do. However, if I were to, I’d want them all to be like this one: Great friends, family from everywhere, delicious food and wine (thank you, Joe Bastianich, for donating your amazing wines!) and a happy, upbeat vibe. I felt so lucky to be surrounded by people who knew just how hard and how long I’ve worked on Georgia’s Kitchen, and who wanted nothing more than to celebrate that effort. We topped off the evening with a fantastic dinner at Bar Pitti, an authentic Tuscan restaurant we’ve been enjoying for over ten years, and the perfect place to raise one last glass to Georgia. On the cab ride home, I got my final and favorite treat: my daughters singing the “congratulations” song (hint: it sounds a lot like Happy Birthday) on a message. I’ll keep it forever.

Jenny's website



And now for the giveaway:
Thanks to Simon & Schuster, I have one copy of Georgia's Kitchen
to give away. Leave a comment telling me you'd like to read this book - ends August 26. Must be a follower, US addresses only.
Please check back to see if you've won.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson

From the author's website:
Getting burned—in and out of the kitchen—might be the best thing that ever happened to Georgia Gray.

At 33, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan’s best restaurants, a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down, and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia’s overbearing mother can’t wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.

Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most importantly, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy’s delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni, an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can’t she say yes?

An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia’s heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she’ll need to stir up more than just courage if she’s to realize her dreams and find her way home.


The author blurb prett much nailed the story, so I'm just going to go straigh into my thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. For as much as I hate to cook, I apparenty like stories about cooks - go figure. It sort of reminded me (very loosely) of the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun...(yes, I know it's a book and no, I never read it *gasp!*)

Georgia is the type of character that starts off thinking she knows what she wants, but what she's got isn't it. Then, she loses her job and her fiance on the same day - and realizes she has a perfect opportunity to start over. Her dream job turns out not to be her dream job, but she makes a conscious decision to learn from it, making new friends and using the lessons she learns in Italy as the foundation to pursue her dream of opening her own restaurant.

I like how she was honest with herself that she wanted to be in a relationship; she missed the sharing and intimacy (and sex) that goes along with all that being a couple entails. For whatever reason, while her girlfriends were sympathetic, I didn't really care for their characters - they felt materialistic and shallow.

I did like the fact that Georgia's business partner was her friend and not a lover. It seems that frequently a female heroine has to rely on the romantic interest in all aspects of her life; that was not the case in Georgia's Kitchen. The way the partnership came around felt full circle to me - a relationship built on respect for each other's talents.

The ending is not what I would call a typical HEA, more like an open-ended HEA if you will. Don't get me wrong, it was good and I as the reader was happy - I'd love to see Georgia again in a small cameo in a future book, you know, just to check in and see how she's doing :)

My rating:

Jenny on twitter

Jenny's facebook

Come back tomorrow for a guest post by Jenny Nelson and a chance to win a copy of Georgia's Kitchen!

This book was provided to me free of charge by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trying some thing new: Teaser Tuesdays

I saw this over at Dana's place and thought it would be fun to try:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 for others!).
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I'm reading Bring on the Night by Jeri Smith-Ready:

"I whimpered and tried one last time to fight. Too late. It hadn't worked. I'd be dead by morning." ~page 164

I just started reading this book this morning so I'm only on chapter 2. I wonder what's going on on page 164!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review and Giveaway: White Heat by Brenda Novak

From the author's website:
White Heat is the first book in Brenda Novak’s new Department 6 Hired Guns trilogy.

Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop are operatives for Department 6, a private security company, and they’re going undercover to expose a new and dangerous cult.

This group has taken up residence in the Arizona desert, in a ghost town called Paradise. Members worship at the feet—and in the bed--of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff. On his orders, they tried to stone a woman to death. And they’re implicated in the disappearance of a teenage girl.

To expose the Church of the Covenant, with its arcane rituals and debauched practices, Nate and Rachel must pretend to be married. That’s the only way they can get in—but being Nate’s “wife” is the last thing Rachel wants. She and Nate have a one-night history that’s just an embarrassment to her now. But they don’t have a choice. Wycliff has to be stopped.


My thoughts:
The storyline of White Heat caught and kept my attention: Private investigators infiltrating a religous cult (the "Covenanteers") to find missing women and bring the cult down if indeed there are shenanigans afoot (and you just know there are!). The investigators who are playing husband/wife, Nate and Rachel, have a weird history both apart and together. I'm not sure how to go into it without spoilers but here goes:

Rachel's father was a religious zealot/cult leader and she left when she was 17. She eventually would up woking for Deartment 6 after a stint in the police force. Nate had a previous relationship that went badly at the end and therefore refuses to get emotionally close to another woman. Approximately six months before the events in this story, Rachel "surprised" Nate by being naked in his bed when he got home from work; their differing reactions the next day have left both Rachel and Nate embarassed and distant. Because of this, they're both uncomfortable about posing as husband and wife in the deserted town the Covenenteers call home.

The Covenenteers were all I knew they'd be: Crazy leader, subjugation of women, bizarre sexual practices, weapon stockpiling, "blind" followers. Ethan, the cult's leader, was so good as a bad guy...and he was a bad guy, no matter how he tried to spin it. His assistant, Bart was equally creepy. I followed the cult storyline to the end, watching it play out to the final showown. (The only weird thing was that the author stressed that Bart was impotent, which I thought was weird in a cult that centered around sexual practices as rituals.)

The Rachel/Nate storyline was not as strong. It was hot and cold and for me didn't make a lot of sense - Rachel and Nate were attracted to each other but because of their previous "incident" didn't act on it. Except that when Nate did try to act on it, I kept thinking why now? I didn't see where it was imperitave to their investigation. Rachel's actions in response to his romantic attempts were not consistent, in my opinion. By the end of the story I think their actions were a bit more believable, but it was a strange journey to get there.

This was my first read by Brenda Novak and therefore I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I had a few little niggles about this book, overall I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next two books in the series: Body Heat (September 2010) and Killer Heat (October 2010).

WHITE HEAT Book Trailer:

My Rating:


And now for the giveaway:
One lucky commenter will win a White Heat prize pack including:
~Tote bag~
~3D viewer bookmark~
~White Heat lip gloss – made especially for the book!~
~A copy of White Heat~

To enter, leave a comment telling me you'd like to win this prize pack. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses and is sponsored by MIRA Books. Contest ends Saturday, August 21. Please check back to see if you've won.

Also from the author's website: If you'd like a pair of Brenda Novak 3D glasses (which double as a bookmark), send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Brenda Novak P.O. Box 3781 Citrus Heights, CA 95611

About Brenda Novak:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer - WHITE HEAT, BODY HEAT & KILLER HEAT. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $1,072,000. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: Naked by Megan Hart

From the author's website:

No strings. No regrets. And no going back.

I didn’t think he wanted me. And I wasn’t about to get involved with him, not after what I’d heard. Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I’ve been burned before. Maybe it was stupid of me to offer but he needed a place to crash and I needed to pay the rent, but now he’s my tenant…with benefits. And now that we’ve crossed that line, I can’t seem to find my way back.

But I can’t give my heart to a man who’s so…unconventional. His last sexual relationship was with a married couple. It’s enough that my ex-fiancĂ© preferred men, I won’t take that chance again no matter how much my body thrives on Alex’s touch. I can’t risk it, but I can’t resist it, either.

Alex can be very convincing when he wants something.

And he wants me.


First off, let me say I'm totally in love with this cover - they really nailed it! I hate it when a cover doesn't have anything to do with the story inside; this cover is perfect!

Some authors you're comfortable with because you know what to expect. Megan Hart is not one of those authors - she always surprises me. I never know where she's going to take me with each book she writes. The thing is, I'm not sure where she took me with Naked.

I liked it, don't get me wrong. It's just that I felt like I didn't get a lot of the unsaid portions of the story.

Olivia is a black woman who was raised by a white family. Her father is Catholic, her mother Jewish. As a child, neither parent was particularly religious, but once they divorced, each parent became devout in their respective religion, each encouraging Olivia to "choose" their side.

Olivia is single, having been engaged once when she was in college to Patrick, who she learned was gay two weeks before the wedding. She is still in love with Patrick, even all these years later. She's at one of Patrick's parties when she meets Alex, one of his many gay friends. Olivia is immediately attracted to Alex, although she knows he's gay. She ends up renting him her downstairs apartment, and a relationship ensues. Here's the thing, she spends a lot of time questioning internally - his past, his lovers, his intentions. But she never really voices those questions. She learns things about him almost by accident, but still doesn't say anything. They get engaged, but by the end of the book there's still no date set or discussion of date to be set. How come she couldn't find a Comex account for him online even though his best friend's wife said they talk on Comex all the time? I think that for me, this is the most open-ended book by Ms. Hart I've read to date (Full disclosure, there are a few books on her backlist I own but haven't read yet.). The way the book ended gave the reader the impression there was a HEA; I felt like there were still too many unanswered questions, but I WANT to believe.

I have to address Olivia's camera: It was almost it's own character - a subconscious shield, if you will, to separate her from real life when she needed to disconnect, but also to remember and create. It was her livelihood and her hobby, and a trusted friend. And Olivia needed a trusted friend - her mother was judgemental towards a choice Olivia had made earlier in life; her ex-fiance was not as good a friend as she thought; and Alex's past had unpleasant surprises for her to accept or not.

This book is very sensual, the sexytime is plentiful and beautifully written. The characters are complex and the storyline was interesting, if a bit frustrating to this reader. Ms. Hart always digs deep underneath the surface of her story and this book was no exception.

My rating:

E-book received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Review: Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua

From the Author's website:
Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist…

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her..


The premise of this book sounded very interesting - erotic fairy tales? They were not exactly what I'd expected but I did find the book enjoyable.

In Sleeping Beau, Adrien is the newly legitimate son of the king. He's at a house party where all the ton is there, when he spies a stunning woman - a woman he'd had an unbelieveable encounter with five years previously. She'd come to his bed, had amazingly erotic sex, and then left him without a backward glance. He'd not forgotten her since. Catherine has her reasons for the events of that evening, and when she arrives at her friend's home and sees Lord Adrien she is upset. He eventually corners her and she slowly reveals her reasons for their encounter. He convinces her to agree to a daliance while they are staying on the estate, until her betrothed comes to claim her; he doesn't mention his sister is her betrothed's mistress...

This story was very erotic. Catherine had a history that made me want an HEA for her. Adrien was a good as hero, the reformed rake, smitten by the "mystery woman" who tamed his heart. The events at the end of the story came as a surprise, and tied neatly in with the original fairy tale.


In Little Red Writing, Nicholas nickname The Wolf) is a Musketeer, searching his estranged grandmother's home for evidence of an author penning illegal books. He's narrowed it down to the three sisters living in his grandmother's home, but doesn't know which one it is. Anne and her sisters write the stories, aiding women who have no one else to turn to - airing their grievances while at the same time exposing the male aristocracy for the insults committed against those who are helpless in society (ie, women). As cold-hearted Nicholas begins his investigation, he is taken by the beauty of Anne, and after bedding her, begins to fall in love.
Anne's past had shaped her into a bitter woman, focusing only on the injustices in life, until Nicholas showed her passion. By the time Nicholas acknowledged his feelings for Anne, it was too late - the King demanded an audience. At first I wasn't too fond of Nicholas, but by the end of the story he surprised me and won me over! (And it wasn't just the desk sex!!)


Bewitching in Boots has two of my favorite storylines: Enemies to Lovers, and Women in Historical Novels Who Wear Men's Clothing (I don't know why I like that but I do!). I think this was my favorite of the three stories - Elizabeth, favored daughter of the King, arrives at the home of Tristan, the King's former chief guard, planning to seduce him into her bed and into marriage, which will be difficult to do as he hates her. Elizabeth knows the king is planning to marry her off again and this time she wants to choose her husband. This was a nice story and I liked both the hero and heroine. There was some light bondage (yay!) and the ending made me happy.

I think sometimes with short stories, the authors have to jump right into the "good stuff" so they can occasionally feel a bit abrubt. These stories were an entertaining take on traditional fairy tales, every now and then I'd catch something and think "yes, from the original fairy tale", which made it fun.

My rating:

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post at Smokinhotbooks

I'm over at Smokinhotbooks today, talking about my favorite book so far this year (can you guess what it is?) Stop by and say hi!!!