ARC Review: The Rising

THE RISING-final cover

The Rising (The Painted Maidens Trilogy, #1) by Terra Harmony
Pages: 271
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Review Source: Publisher
Release Date: Nov 7 2013
My Rating:
4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read about mermaids and werewolves, but this is a wonderfully unique story. I don’t really read a lot of young adult books and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Rising. I’m now waiting for the next book to come out. This doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but you know the story will continue and I’m looking forward to the next book. The underwater world of the Undine (mermaids) is truly brought to life. Look at the cover for just a touch of the beauty in Serena’s world. I loved the way the Undine could manipulate their scales according to their needs or protocol. The connection between the Undine and Werewolves really made the story interesting and gave that added bit of mystery that I like.

Serena is an orphan that would much rather be alone than in the thick political and social world of her people. She isn’t scared to go to dry land and does so even though it gets her into some serious trouble. Serena is basically an outcast, not liked much by anyone. I’m not really sure why that is and wish it had been addressed more fully. She has one person she considers her best friend, but since he left the orphanage before her and took his place in society they don’t see much of each other. Having no one to truly count on but herself her whole life Serena is an independent and strong young woman who will do what needs to be done. Her growth from being in the classroom to accepting and thriving in her role as Werewolf Liaison isn’t without pain, feelings of isolation and rejection; especially when she is betrayed by one who is supposed to be looking out and caring for her. Serena also finds love and feelings of desire for the first time as she faces the difficulties that have been forced upon her.

The secondary characters are pleasantly detailed and come to life. I really ended up liking Kia, although I wasn’t sure about him at first. Liam is still a bit of a mystery, but has promise of being a strong and possibly likable character as we see how he deals with recent events and learns of his place ( or not?) in Serena’s life. I thought I had it figured out and then the direction changed just a bit; I like to be surprised and was glad I liked the new direction.

There’s really not much else I can tell you without spoiling something and I feel one little spoiler may reveal too much as you read. I recommend this if you enjoy mermaids or werewolves with some great action, mystery and a bit of romance.

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ARC Review: Miracle Road

Miracle RoadMiracle Road (Eternity Springs #7) by Emily March
Pages: 352
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: November 5, 2013
My Rating: 4.5

Description:

Perfect for fans of Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling author Emily March’s seventh book in the Eternity Springs series is a heartwarming story that celebrates the miracle and joy of love during the holidays.

After tragedy strikes his team, college basketball coach Lucca Romano arrives in the haven of Eternity Springs to reassess his life. Even a winning record and big offers can’t dent the wall of guilt that Lucca has built around himself. Nothing can—except maybe a vibrant new neighbor who won’t give up on him.

Schoolteacher Hope Montgomery believes in miracles. She has to believe—because giving up would mean crumbling under the greatest loss a parent can endure. Hope understands Lucca’s suffering; she lives it herself every day. However, the high school team needs his coaching expertise, so she sets out to draw him from his cold, solitary shell and into the warmth of life in their small Rocky Mountain town. But when a weak moment leads to consequences that shake Hope’s faith, it’s up to Lucca to put aside his heartache and show the teacher that here in Eternity Springs broken hearts can heal—just in time for Christmas.

My Thoughts:

WOW! What an emotionally gripping story. My favorite Eternity Springs novel hands down.  This is a very sweet romance from beginning to end. There was very little angst. It’s a well written and paced story that kept me up all night to finish it. I’m going to give you as much as I can without spoiling the story.

Hope is a kind, loving, tender and wounded woman. She has a big traumatic event from five years ago that she has to deal with in order to move forward. Hope will never get over this; she can learn to live with/through it. I admire her strength and tenacity. I haven’t read about a  stronger heroine in a while. When Hope first meets Lucca she thinks he’s one of the biggest jerks. Then she learns of his past and by just being there for him and being herself she helps him heal. It doesn’t hurt that she will tell him exactly what she thinks of him, his attitude and behavior.

Lucca’s life went off the rails about a year ago and he’s in Eternity Springs to help his mother with her B&B. Lucca shoulders the responsibility for the accident and lives with this burden on him every day. He has no intention of confronting his demons until Hope reads him the riot act one day and forces him to really look at himself. Lucca starts healing and is added in this as he helps Hope deal with her devastating loss. I fell a little bit in Love with Lucca. His character is very believable. He isn’t perfect and has flaws just like the rest of us.

Miracle Road is the seventh book in this series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. Characters from previous books are present throughout the book, but I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything. The earlier characters are brought into this story with just enough background that I felt as if I knew them; but it wasn’t so much that it felt repetitive . I plan on going back to read the books I haven’t read from the series.

Miracle Road on Amazon

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Adult Review: Sera’s Gift

DarkerReview/adults/over18

Sera's GiftSera’s Gift (Destiny’s Trinity #3) by Tracy Cooper-Posey
Publisher: Tracy Cooper-Posey
Review Source: NetGalley
Release Date: Oct. 18, 2013
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

Letting go is sometimes the only gift love has left to give.

Sera arrives in New York to help Lindál, but a vampeen attack brings her face to face with two men and changes her life forever.

Diego Savage lives up to his name.  Cynical, rebellious and a womanizer, he doesn’t believe in the trinities at all. Only a handful of people know the truth about his scarred heart and terrible past, and it would take a miracle for him to change.  A miracle, or someone like Sera with her special gift.

Blake Harvey, dedicated NYC police lieutenant, takes one look at the tall, supple woman with the crystal blue eyes and glowing skin and knows his life is about to change in ways he can’t even define, but his body is already responding to with a power that is hard to deny.

The bonding has begun…

Warning:  This story features two super hot alpha heroes, multiple sex scenes, including anal sex, MM sexual play, and MMF sex.  Do not read this book if frank sexual language and sex scenes offend you.
No non-humans were harmed except for large numbers of Grimoré, who died with satisfactory squeals…

My Thoughts:

WOW! This one starts off with some serious steam, sweat and scorching M/M/F sex.  Once again I didn’t put it down until I was done. Sera’s Gift may be the hottest, sexiest, and most heartwarming of the series. I thoroughly enjoyed that the Trinities from the first two books played a big part in this one. The story flowed really well from the first book to the last I got to reconnect with Beth, Mia and their guys and fall in love with Sera, Blake, and Diego.

Sera is “called” to Earth to help her brother and she does. What no one but she and Lindál knew was that by using her abilities to save him Sera would be exiled to Earth. She never understood why her brother loved it here, but she was about to learn. Her first night she meets Diego and Blake in a very tense situation. Sera learns to love and live fully through Diego and Blake.

I learned so much about Diego, in the first two books he comes across as a player and self-centered. He was but there was a very good reason for it and that reason just plain broke my heart. Once he gives himself to something he does it all the way. That’s exactly what he did with Sera and Blake, due to that love and surrender he was hurt the most when Blake made the decision he did.

Blake is the typical cop, but accepts the situation as best as he can. He gives his best shot until he blames his partners for the price he had to pay. It was difficult to work through the issues with him, Sera and Diego, but I loved that they worked it out on their own and came together.

I was very happy and satisfied with the ending. I do wish there was going to be more in this series.

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Review: Begin Again

Begin AgainBegin Again by Christy Newton
Pages: 111
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Pub. Date: August 5th 2013
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis

What if one night changed your life forever?

Maisie Scott lost not only her husband and unborn child in a tornado two years ago, she lost her will to live. Keeping busy is the only way she can get by. This small town waitress won’t let herself get attached to anyone … until Ryan, the new veterinarian for exotic animals, starts making regular trips to her diner. As hard as she tries not to feel anything, Ryan ignites a spark in her broken heart.

Ryan Tucker craves a happy family of his own more than his Momma’s apple pie. Getting over his fiancée leaving him six months ago, he moves to Pleasant Valley for a fresh start. When he meets Maisie and notices the sadness in her eyes, he is determined to put a smile on her pretty face.

When another dangerous storm hits, Ryan stays by Maisie’s side. She fills the missing piece in his heart, but will Ryan share his secret? Can Maisie move on from the past and learn to begin again?

My Thoughts:

Wow! What a sweet heartwarming story. I didn’t put it down until I was done. It was well written and the pace was perfect for the subject. It never felt drawn out or rushed. This is an emotional read with the intimate scenes behind closed doors.

Maisie is a young woman still suffering from the loss of her husband and child after two years. It isn’t until Ryan comes into the diner a few times that she starts to come alive again. It was hard for her to face falling for someone again. The fact that Maisie didn’t feel she deserved it and the feelings of guilt all mixed up with hope and budding love came through loud and clear. As a mother and wife her pain was palpable and believable.

What can I say about Ryan? I love Ryan! Did I mention he went to the diner everyday just to see Maisie? He is the most patient man. Willing to wait for Maisie to not only be ready for a relationship but for her to tell him what happened to her. Ryan was there for her every step of the way. Ryan had to deal with his own past but his came back with a nasty vengeance. He dealt with it the best he could and with a firm hand.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet romance that will leave you smiling.

 Begin Again on Amazon

ARC Review: First Bite

First Bite

First Bite (Dark Wolf #1) by Dani Harper
Pages: 282
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2013
My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

Geneva “Neva” Ross doesn’t want to die. But now that she’s been turned into a werewolf against her will, she’ll do anything to protect her family and friends…even if that means taking her own life.

After witnessing Neva’s leap from a high ledge, Travis Williamson—a Changeling with a dark past—uses his powers to save her life. He feels a connection to the strong-willed woman whose eyes flash that familiar Changeling green. While Neva is hospitalized, Travis risks everything to kidnap her, knowing the approaching full moon will put everyone in jeopardy.

Bickering constantly to hide their growing attraction, Travis and Neva run from the authorities…and from Neva’s sinister sire, Meredith de la Ronde. Meredith delights in creating new shape-shifters and compelling them to do her dark bidding; now Neva must join Meredith’s murderous wolf pack…or die.

My Thoughts:

This is a good start to a new series. I loved The Changeling series and this one has the potential to be just as good.

What I liked about this one is the fact that Neva has to take time to adjust to and accept being a Changeling. That probably has a lot to do with how she was changed. She doesn’t understand what she is and is terrified, for good reason. The person who changed Neva wanted to have her under complete control. The fact that both Neva and Travis had some issues to face in order to move forward was well done.

I liked Travis. At first he did take a while to understand what his wolf was trying to tell him and it made it feel as if his wolf had its own thoughts and opinions. It was a nice addition to the werewolf mythology.

Neva and Travis are fairly quickly attracted to each other, resist that attraction and still end up bonded. Not that they are complaining. I really enjoyed that last hot and steamy scene at the end.

It did take me a bit to get into this one, it wasn’t until about the 4th chapter I got to the point I didn’t want to put it down. I was a bit confused with the party scene in the beginning. It felt like it came out of nowhere. It wasn’t until after I was through reading it that I realized it was a flash back.

Overall this is a well written story that has action, mystery, magic and shifters. Would I recommend this to my friends and people I know like PNR? Yes. This does not end with a cliffhanger it’s a HFN and it sounds as if Travis and Neva’s story will continue in the next book.

First Bite on Amazon

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Spotlight/Review & GiveAway: Hell Without You

About the book 

Hell Without YouHell Without You by Ranae Rose
Pages: 243
Publisher: Ranae Rose
Review Source: Author/NetGalley
Pub. Date: Sept. 5, 2013

Synopsis:

 Time changes everything, except what’s meant to be.

Seven years is a long time – long enough to transform Clementine from a small-town teenager with a broken heart into a woman ready to take on the world, but not long enough to make her forget about the man she was never supposed to see again. A temporary return to tiny Willow Heights thrusts her back into Donovan’s life and home, unearthing heartbreak and obsession that have stood the test of time.

He left seven years ago too, for war and other things Clementine can only imagine. Coming back to the town where he grew up in the shadow of poverty and drug addiction makes no sense, and neither do Clementine’s feelings for him. He could never forgive her for leaving, could he? Even if she had no choice.

Now, she has the freedom to choose … and so does he. Every day in Willow Heights makes it clearer: all he ever really wanted was her, and nothing will change that. Not even a taste of the hell that drove them apart in the first place.

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book. I usually do more “research”, but I didn’t with this one and was pleasantly surprised. It’s going to be difficult for me to review without spoiling too much, but I’ll give it my best.

Young love torn apart by a traumatic event made even worse by those who are supposed to care for and believe Clementine. She returns seven years after being forced to leave Donovan looking for work. They are thrown together again when Donovan comes to her rescue. Back together and in love they have to fight to stay together and Clementine fights to keep Donovan free. I liked Clementine’s strength and loved Donovan; he’s hot, sweet and will protect his love with all he’s got.

Overall this is a good read and kept me turning the pages. If you’re looking for a steamy second chance love story that has just enough angst/tension, mystery, and a satisfactory HEA then I recommend this one.

Hell Without You on Amazon/ Barnes & Noble | AllRomance | Kobo

About the author

Ranae-Rose Ranae Rose is the best-selling author of over a dozen adult romances and counting. She calls the US East Coast home, and resides there with her husband, child, German Shepherd dogs and overflowing bookshelves. Writing and reading are lifelong passions that consume most of her time, and she’s always working on bringing her latest love story idea to life for readers.

 Contact or follow Renea Mason
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Review: Single Dad’s Christmas Miracle

Single Dad's Christmas Miracle

Single Dad’s Christmas Miracle by Susan Meier
Pages: 256
Publisher: Harlequin Romance
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: Oct. 1, 2013
My Rating: 3.5  3.5

Synopsis:

He needs a helping hand…

Having recently lost his wife, Clark Beaumont is trying to make it through the holidays for the sake of his kids. But with his son failing at school and his little girl talking only in whispers, he needs nothing short of a miracle….

…when one arrives on his doorstep!

Althea Johnson is only meant to tutor Clark’s son. But with her help the Beaumont family begins to come alive again, and against the odds Althea hopes that when Christmas morning arrives there will be four stockings hanging over the fireplace…

My Thoughts:

This is a sweet and tender love story at heart. The issues that Clark and Althea had to deal with were difficult and unfortunately common ones. They were handled well and realistically.  The characters were believable and fully developed.

Clark lost his wife three years ago and learned the devastating secret she was keeping; a secret that destroyed his trust in women. His son Jack, who I loved, is having trouble with his schooling. What Clark doesn’t see is the other emotional trouble his son is in. Teagan his three year old daughter is also having issues that Clark dismisses as shyness. Little did he know that hiring Althea would turn his life and family around? Making him deal with a difficult issue that he has ignored and has caused him to act in a manner that he didn’t realize actually hurt his children.

Althea has been dealing with the severe abuse and its affects all her life. Having moved back to her home state to be near her sister she takes the tutoring job. As someone who knows the signs of a child suffering she can see what is really going on with Clark and his children. The fact that Clark truly loves and wants to protect his family is what keeps her there. Clark is inadvertently hurting himself and his kids, dealing with the aftermath of his wife’s death as best he can. Althea is a naturally caring and nurturing person; she works her magic on the family and helps them heal. In the process she falls for Clark and opens up to him, which takes her closer to her own healing. Watching Althea work through her past, deal with her insecurities, and grab the future she wants was both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

Overall this a good holiday read. Its focus is on family and healing. If you are looking for an uplifting sweat romance with a very satisfactory ending this is for you.

Single Dad’s Christmas Miracle on Amazon