Review: A SEAL Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf, Book 12) by Terry Spear

seal wolf christmasReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Bjornolf Jorgenson is in the Amazon jungle singing “Jingle Bells” – that makes for an interesting picture. He’s there — along with Anna Johnson — to help rescue a family. She’s a woman that knows how to take care of herself as well as help lead her group through the jungle. Bjornolf and Anna are a very interesting couple. Once the job in the Amazon is complete, they are given a very interesting job.

If you consider yourself a romantic, you’ll love the job they have been given. It comes at the perfect time since Christmas is almost upon them. One thing I love about Terry’s wolf series is the sense of community and family amongst the packs – and what better time than around this special holiday.

You will find that our author doesn’t shortchange her readers once the main characters start getting hot and heavy. You’ll need to open the window to let the cool air in or at the very least turn the air conditioning on – as my mother used to say “Hubba, Hubba, Hubba!” And it doesn’t take away from the main purpose of their job.

With all the paranormal/fantasy shows on TV this year, it would be really nice to see this as a television series. The only thing is, I would hope that they stay true to what was written in order to do the books justice. I would hope that they not put it on one of the movie channels just because not everyone subscribes to all of the paid channels.

Besides the music, you can tell that this is a Christmas story because of the snow, the Christmas tree, and all the trappings. What a great way to get you into the holiday mood and a hunky SEAL ain’t bad either – I wouldn’t mind if he was under my tree this year. If you decide to wait and read this around the holiday, why not put on some of your favorite holiday music – while you cuddle up by a fire (if you have a fireplace), with your favorite blanket, and your favorite hot drink.

But if you don’t want to wait, that’s ok because this is a book that I feel that can be read at any time of the year. Yes, it’s about the spirit of the holiday but I feel that it’s more about their shifter ability and the job they must complete. Terry leaves you wishing that you had some shifter ability. But would we use or abuse what most others would be jealous about? Since there’s no way that I will ever be able to switch from human to wolf, I’ll just have to keep reading The Heart of the Wolf series. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of her other wolf books yet, this can be read as a stand-alone. But I would hope that it would also leave you wanting to read the other 11 books that have come before.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: SEAL Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf)

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Review: Savage Hunger (Heart of the Jaguar, Book 2) by Terry Spear

savage hungerReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book picks up where book one left off. This is Maya Anderson’s story. She goes into a club where she comes across two real bad boys. David and Wade Patterson are on assignment at the same club. Then Maya seems to be causing something of a stir.

During the altercation, you will find that you just have to chuckle. I’m sure it’s not the most appropriate thing to do but you just won’t be able to help yourself. It also leaves you with a sense of anticipation. Terry always creates her shifters to be very sensual. But she also leaves you feeling that shifters may actually live amongst us.

And then Terry turns up the heat. Our author gives us just the right amount of romance, intrigue and sex. Plus she includes some great settings – in this case it is the country of Belize. Today (July 3) I found it interesting that she chose Belize – I watched two programs that made me think of this jaguar series.

I started my morning watching Good Morning America. They had Jack Hanna on and he had some wild babies with him. One in particular caught my attention since it was a 4-month old black jaguar. It puts Terry’s characters into perspective – the baby had such large paws and very sharp claws. The second show was on Animal Planet titled North America and the narrator was talking about an online poll where viewers (originally aired on Discovery Channel) got a chance to vote on destinations. Number 5 destination was none other than Belize.

Between the book and the series on Animal Planet it has left me wanting to go there for a visit. Plus I want to see if I could find any of those wild shifters lurking about. If you ever get a chance to visit there, what a great book to pack in your suitcase.

This was definitely another action packed page-turner. It also brought home how illegal trafficking of wild animals is something that needs to be stopped. I’m one of those people that hates to see anything caged. Wild animals need to be in there own environment roaming free. Animal Planet has another show titled Big Cat Diaries that I’ve been watching in repeats. I just love watching the cheetahs lounging in the trees. When I read about Terry’s jaguars, I can picture them doing the same thing.

I’m afraid that all I can tell you is that there will be another book in this series title Jaguar Heat. The bad news is that it’s not scheduled to come out until August of next year. In the meantime, it gives you plenty of time to get this book read and if you haven’t read book one you can get that one done too. Also, you may want to mark your calendar so that you remember a year from now that book three should be hitting shelves at your local bookstore.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Savage Hunger (Shifter)

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What Is A Huaca Anyway?

HuacaGuest blog by Marcia Mickelson, author of The Huaca

My YA novel, The Huaca, comes out May 14. Many people have asked me how the word is pronounced and what it means. Huaca is pronounced wak’a.

In Quechua, a Native American language of South America, a huaca is an object that represents something revered. In my novel, it takes on a different meaning. I have used its broad meaning and changed it for my own purposes.

Part of what I love about being an author is that you can take something real and change it to meet your own needs. This is what I have done with the word huaca. While in most cases, a huaca refers to a sacred monument, I have changed its meaning to refer to a wooden artifact, hand-crafted by Incan natives. It’s still something revered—it’s a sacred object used by the Incan people to communicate with their loved ones who have passed on.

In The Huaca, Gabe de la Cruz is in possession of a huaca; it has been handed down from his great-grandfather, a full-blooded Incan. Here is a description of my book:

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything, and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret . . .

Buy: The Huaca


Review: The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio

The Scent of Jade Dee DeTarsioReviewed by Karin of Savvy Thinker

I had high hopes for this book, but it didn’t pan out quite the way I expected. Let’s just say I did no like the man she ends up with on the final page. I think it was the wrong choice, and that spoiled the book for me.

Julie Fraser is in a less than perfect marriage. She doesn’t have much guts, and her husband is jetting around the world on business. She decides to surprise him in Costa Rica – and she gets a surprise, finding him in the midst of sex with a beautiful woman. Without thinking, she snatches a jade relic – and ends up on the run herself.

It has been compared to Romancing the Stone, and the similarities – reluctant heroine traipsing through the jungle – was too similar to me, although other aspects of the story were different.

I did like that she became more gutsy and feisty along the way.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Scent of Jade

Review: A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan

Another winning story by Sarah Morgan!

The Hero: Nathaniel Wolfe is Hollywood’s golden bad boy, a contradiction on the surface, yes, but one that makes sense as you read. He’s acted all his life and has turned his job into a mask to hide behind. Who is the real Nathaniel Wolfe? Is he the suave celebrity icon or the man afraid to confront the demons of his past?

The Heroine: Drab gray/brown Katie Field has a multi-step ladder she’s looking to climb to make it in the world of costume design. When Nathaniel cancels the play she was working on opening night her ladder extends by a few feet. On set, he’s only ever referred to her as Wardrobe, which fits her low-key profile (how’s she ever to compare to her model sister?) That’s why she’s confused when he picks her to get him out of the theater and away from the press.

Review: The pacing of this story was perfect; no part of the action or conflict dragged or was cut off except the side conflict with the sister model. It didn’t go far enough in terms of explanation but it’s a minor hiccup. I love plots where one character can see through the mask of another to the real person beneath and both hero and heroine were able to do that. My favorite scenes include Nathaniel teaching another troubled boy to act, and the almost nookie that occurs when he sees her for the first time in very few clothes. Hot.

Sarah Morgan is an author you can rely on to deliver. She writes beautifully condensed categories that leave you with a smile.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: A Night of Scandal (Harlequin Presents), A Night of Scandal (UK)

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Review: His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley


His Wicked Kiss is the seventh installment of Foley’s Knight Miscellany series. The novel was quite exceptional from the steamy romance scenes, the tender moments, and the insecurities that flared between Eden and Jack. His Wicked Kiss flirts with the tried and true plot of what you thought you wanted and what you get.

Dr. Victor Farraday, botantist, scientist, and certified loon resides in the jungle of the Amazon with his daughter, a small contingent of locals, and Connor their hunter and protector. Connor has had his eye on Eden Farraday since she was sixteen, but Eden does not feel the same way about him. She dreams of London and the sparkle of society and balls and handsome town dandies that will court her and dance with her. So when Victor tells her that they’re moving deeper into the jungles, toward certain death, Eden is desperate to make an escape.

Eden meets Jack as he is sailing down the river with a small crew to meet up with his ship, the Winds of Fortune, off the coast out of the Spaniards reach. Jack thinks the creature sitting up in the trees snipping orchids is beguiling and gorgeous with red flaming hair. Her offer of tea is not resisted, but he is bitterly disappointed to learn that she wants him to take her back to England with him.

Successful entrepreneur and black sheep of the family, Jack Knight is the second son of a duke and is more than used to people wanting things from him. He had hoped Eden would be different, but even if he wanted to, Jack could not take Eden along with him due to the nature of his mission helping the rebels. He would not put her life in danger. That doesn’t stop her from putting herself in danger though-Eden sneaks onboard his vessel.

Jack captures his little stowaway and so begins their romance. Being second has shaped Jack and how he approaches business. As his past is revealed Eden and the reader are drawn closer to him. The more trusting Eden is with Jack, the more she slips past his heart’s defenses. Soon Eden is all he can think about.

The one flaw with this novel is that Eden and Jack change from the fabulous characters we get to know while on his ship for most of the duration in England. Luckily, they both find themselves and each other again before they’ve lost each other for good.

Rating: ★★★★½

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Review: The Girl at Goldenhawk by Violet Winspear


I would never pick this book up in a secondhand bookstore because the title is strange and the cover is weirder. No wonder Harlequin puts the money and effort into consumer research. It’s all about pretty covers and catchy titles!

The romance takes place in Brazil with references to England and Portugal. Goldenhawk is the name of the hero’s best estate.

The heroine is a very plain girl. Her name is Jaine, appropriate for the phrase plain Jane. Quite often in the novel she is mistaken as a boy. I wanted to jump into the novel and tell her to grow her hair longer and wear less concealing clothes because it’s obvious she’s plain only so much as her aunt and cousin made her so.

Jaine is basically an indentured servant to her cousin and aunt. She’s an orphan and poor relation. Jaine is sent off to take the wrath of the hero as her cousin and aunt depart days before the cousin’s wedding to Pedro de Ros Zanto, a very wealthy landowner and a Duque.

Pedro is amused and determined to hire Jaine out from under her aunt. He promises a life outside of the colorless drab world she’s in and enough money to make it lucrative. Jaine accepts and becomes his son’s companion and caretaker. The son, quite frankly, reads as an excuse for her presence because even with his disability the boy never really makes a big splash or seems to have purpose.

The story is very chaste. We never see anything beyond some passionate kisses. It ends in a bittersweet way similar to Sound of Music. They’re together, but they’re leaving a lot behind in their effort to make it to safety.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Girl At Goldenhawk

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Review: Bride in a Gilded Cage by Abby Green

When Rafael Romero was 18 he found himself engaged to an 8 year old. The idea of being trapped in an arranged marriage suffocated him and in rebellion he cut through the ladies always having one on his arm and in his bed. Once he even got engaged on his own terms only to have it end badly. Then on the night of his future bride’s eighteenth birthday he met her for the first time. A kiss forever changed him…

And her as well… but Isobel Miller wasn’t about to admit it. Rafael represents everything she hates about the Buenos Aires aristocracy. He’s a cutthroat tycoon and an amoral creep who suddenly decides he wants this arranged marriage to happen because he sees the merits of a trophy wife. So she runs to Paris and hides out there hoping to be forgotten by the time she turns twenty-one.

I thought it was pretty good. I had some trouble with Isobel’s inner monologue because she was building herself into a tizzy, concentrating on all the negative aspects to the point of making herself nauseous, and feeling sorry for herself. I did like her firebrand behavior though and while it didn’t balance out the inner monologue it made her more palatable.

I liked Rafael. He’s a pretty typical Harlequin billionaire with his playboy past and controlling ways. He’s also considerate and willing to make apologies that cost him nothing and also when they cost something too. As the reader you can easily see where he starts to fall in love with the heroine… if only she had our point of view!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Bride in a Gilded Cage (Harlequin Presents)

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