Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ARC Review: The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken

Series:     Bachelors of Arizona #3
Pub. Date:Nov 28, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:336 pages

This was my first read from Rachel Van Dyken, and I have heard good things about her books. Unfortunately this one just didn't work for me. But I'm not giving up yet, I will try another one and see if it's a better fit.

I should mention that this is the third book in the Bachelors of Arizona series, and I have not read the earlier books. I didn't feel like I was lost or missing too much information, but after reading some other reviews I understand that this story may have been playing out in earlier books. Regardless, I didn't feel like I was missing anything vital.

Brant and Nikki married very young without a blessing from either of their families and they attempted to make a go of it on their own. Unfortunately a horrible tragedy struck the couple and they were just too young and naive to deal with it. We meet them again four years living apart and tortured by the past. Brant has become an alcoholic asshole, and Nikki is blind and struggling through life as a masseuse. Determined to drag Brant out of his misery, his family orchestrates a situation where the two won't be able to avoid one another.

Monday, November 27, 2017

ARC Review: Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill

Series:     Cajun #1
Pub. Date:Nov 28, 2017
Length:384 pages

Having just moved away from New Orleans, I thought Cajun Crazy would be a good read to test my homesickness for Louisiana. Nola to Arizona was a big move for me, so I am still adjusting to the differences of living outside the South. I have not read the 10 preceding Cajun books, but I tripped along just fine and didn't feel like I was missing vital information or backstory.

Simone LeDeux is an independent heroine who has been unlucky in love, a fact she attributes to her weakness for Cajun men. After another failed romance and her mother's knee surgery, Simone leaves the police force in Chicago and returns home to the bayou in Louisiana. Though this time she won't be returning to law enforcement, and will instead being opening a private investigation and legal services firm with her gal pal, Helene. Simone's disastrous love life resonated with me, even despite me not having the long list of failed marriages. I totally understood her being attracted to the wrong guys and being utterly disappointed when they showed their true colors. I also commended her for stepping out on the ledge to take a chance on a new career - which I was comparing to my own move across the country. It's all about new adventures and fearless females. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Ice Planet Barbarians #1
Pub. Date:Nov. 21, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Hollie Jackson
Mason Lloy
Length:5 hrs 51 min

So I'm not a huge reader of science fiction - I just had not found the stories that were that good mix of fun, romance and implausibility to hold my interest. But I have been hearing about the Ice Planet Barbarians for months and months now, and I wanted to give them a shot. However, between the move and work, I just haven't been able to fit the print books into my reading schedule. So I am super excited that Tantor Audio has picked up this series in audio so I can listen to a little alien action while I'm working around the house on the weekend. These big blue barbarians sure made my day of meal prep more interesting! And I am definitely a fan of this series, and it has made me more willing to consider other science fiction reads in the future. (Bonus - as of the date of this review, the ebooks are available on Kindle Unlimited.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ARC Review: Tempted & Taken by Rhenna Morgan

Series:     Men of Haven #4
Pub. Date:Nov. 20, 2017
Publisher:Carina Press
Length:432 pages

I have been thoroughly enamored by Rhenna Morgan's Men of Haven this year, and I will be very impatient about having to wait until next year to get my next Haven alpha fix.  This series is premised on a group of testosterone-laden men, some with tragic pasts, who have made their own family of in a sort of alpha brotherhood. While each makes his own independent living, the brothers stick together when the going gets tough or when there is fun to be had.

Knox Torren is somewhat of an alpha geek, one that you often behind a computer screen writing code or hacking secure systems. He is also a serial ladies man, a love 'em and leave 'em (screaming after an orgasm) type. Though Knox doesn't set out to hurt the women he sleeps with, and is honest with them from the start that he doesn't do relationships, he can't quite keep them from getting emotionally involved. And who can blame them with the way Knox takes care of business? So why doesn't Knox do relationships, well that's a story for his tragic past that is better discovered by the reader. I liked Knox, but not quite as much as I went gaga for the previous heroes in the series. He was a bit more aloof and bullheaded about the "no relationships" aspect, and I felt like the bit about his past was a tad overblown. But that is me injecting my own sensibilities onto a fictional character. He definitely had talent, no doubt perfected by the repeated practice with women all over town. But once Knox fell... he fell hard and went after his woman with a single-minded determination.

Monday, November 20, 2017

ARC Review: It's Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale

Series:     Cavendishes #4
Pub. Date:Nov. 28, 2017
Length:384 pages

Take a look at this beautiful cover. I just love the jewel tones, and the model they used to portray our hero is absolutely spot on. This is the fourth (and possibly final) book in the Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series. The stories of the series all take place concurrently, so if you want to read them out of order, I don't think you would have much trouble. 

The hero and main character of this installment is James Cavendish, who has arrived in England from America as the new duke, with his three headstrong sisters in tow. In America, James is a farmer and raises horses, and has no idea how to navigate the bon ton of London. Nor does he really want to. In this story, we see James struggle with duty and desire. The desire for a woman who is unsuitable and the desire to run back home to America continuously tips the scales with James' new duties to the estate, his tenants, and society in general. I liked James' character. I felt that he was honorable and responsible, and I admired him for always putting others before himself. I also cheered for James to do something for his own happiness for a change, instead of being afraid of how his actions may affect his sisters or tenants or the gossips among the ton.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Fire in His Blood by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Fireblood Dragon #1
Pub. Date:June 20, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Narrators:Noelle Bridges
Jeremy York
Length:11 hrs 27 min

Ruby Dixon is a new-to-me author but one that I have been hearing about quite often, usually in reference to her Ice Planet Barbarians series. So I was looking forward to a little dragony alpha action, and this hero did not disappoint.

I liked the world-building for this series. We are operating in a post-apocalyptic Dallas, but not too far past the catastrophic event. About seven years ago, a big whole ripped in the sky and dragons came through. Most of them went crazy and started scorching the earth and killing off humanity. So now those who are left are eking out a meager existence behind makeshift forts with militia men and dictatorial mayors. The populace either has to obey the rules, or risk their safety on the outside. Neither is a good option.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ARC Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #12.5
Pub. Date:Nov. 14, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:100 pages

I feel somewhat grateful that I am behind on this series, because I know that I have more goodness to look forward to. Because I am really sad that this one is ending. I have enjoyed all of the books I have read thus far, and Once Upon a Maiden Lane is no exception.

Our heroine is Mary Whitsun, whom we met as a ward of the orphanage in one of the earlier books. She is now a grown woman and living in the home of Lady Caire as a nursemaid. Things seem to be going well for Mary, despite being relegated to the serving class. She has a good home and a good position, though she must scrimp and save to purchase one of her beloved books. She has a distrust for aristocratic men, and I'm not sure what that stemmed from. Perhaps its in one of the books that I haven't read. I liked that she had wit and personality, and wasn't afraid to show it to Henry from the get go. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

ARC Review: Nauti Angel by Lora Leigh

Series:     Nauti #9
Pub. Date:   Nov. 7, 2017
Length:349 pages

I was a big fan of the early Nauti books, but it has been a long time since I read them. I thought I would try to jump back into the series with the latest installment, Nauti Angel, and I ended up having a hard time with it. I couldn't remember quite what happened in those earlier books, and I have obviously missed what has been happening with the Mackays over the last few books of this spinoff series. 

Our heroine is a rough and tumble kickass mercenary chick, at only 23 years old. She has been taught to fight and survive since she was 3 years old, and she can allegedly remember everything back to her first birthday and first steps. While I like a good kickass heroine, that memory thing was a bit of a stretch for me. Nevertheless, Angel (f/k/a Beth) was a good heroine. She was tough, but caring. Capable and sure of her self, but that surety often came across in humorous ways. She also had a lot of vulnerability from her past that she tried to hide and stuff down so no one would see it. So overall I found her to be relatable and engaging, and I was glad our hero was around to break down her walls.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

ARC Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell

Series:     7 Brides/7 Scots #1
Pub. Date:Sept. 26, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Justine Eyre
Length:8 hrs 35 min

Can we take a minute to appreciate this beautiful cover? It really caught my attention and had me wanting to read about this family of seven strong Scots, the MacEnroy men. I wasn't quite expecting to get a Scottish Western... but our characters have resettled in the American West so make sure you are in that mindset when you embark upon this adventure.

Iain MacEnroy is the eldest of the MacEnroy brothers, and sees himself as caretaker of the family, and most any other unfortunate soul who comes into his orbit. After being burnt out of their home in Scotland, the family is trying to make a new life in Arkansas. Though they are learning that the West is not without its own troubles and dangers, particularly when none of them can read or write, and they have sufficient honor to aid those in need. That's not to say that Iain does not have a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the aristocracy, and his rescue of a beautiful damsel will challenge his prejudice in that regard. I found Iain to be a stoic and somewhat silent hero, and there was nothing overly Scottish about him from what I remember. I was sympathetic to his tragic past, and was glad that Emily provided for something that he could focus on besides his family and fortress home.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ARC Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcott #3
Pub. Date:Nov. 6, 2017
Length:384 pages

I have been so pleasantly surprised by this series. I don't know why I've been surprised, Mary Balogh is an excellent writer. But I feel like each book has caught me off guard with how much I enjoyed it. I think this one caught me off guard with a sort of reverse Beauty and the Beast theme, with a beautiful hero and a tortured heroine. It was quite refreshing.

I urge you to read the earlier books so you have the complete back story, but if you have not, there are enough tidbits in this story to give you the gist of what has happened in the past. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

ARC Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Series:     Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 31, 2017
Length:416 pages

Woohoo! A new series by Eloisa James! I really enjoyed the Wilde family and am so looking forward to the family saga as the series continues.

We start off the series with the duke's second son, Lord Alaric Wilde. For the last five years, Alaric has been adventuring around the globe and writing about his travels. Unbeknownst to him, he has returned home to England a celebrity with female fans from hither to yon. Alaric found the whole thing ridiculous, until it interfered with him getting what (or who) he wanted... and then all the twittering females became more of an obstacle than an annoyance. I found Alaric to be great fun. His embarrassment at the female attention and teasing from his siblings was endearing. But I also loved his single-minded pursuit of our heroine, and his fabulously flirty banter.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Blog on Hiatus! I like to move it move it!

Hiya readers!
Please excuse my absence and slacking on the bloggity lately. There are big things happening in Casa Bambi... involving an impromptu move across the country! Watch out Arizona - here we come! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be moving to the land of Kristen Ashley and Diana Gabaldon. I am gonna fan girl all over the freaking place! So for the next couple months, I am not going to be posting much. I'm trying to pack up the house for me and the pups, and I have to head back out west to find a house. The move itself will be taking place mid-October, so my time in New Orleans is winding down. Things are super duper crazy and hectic. I am not getting much reading time for print books - but I am rocking the audiobooks. I am currently enjoying a Rock Chick audio marathon, and should be posting a series review soon.