Review: No Hero by Mallory Kane

no hero mallory kaneReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: The no hero of the title here is actually the detective , Dev Gautier who strolls the streets of New Orleans in search of the woman, Rhegan Connor who he would rather not talk to at the moment as she has previously told the whole world about his shady past, putting him at odds with his superiors in the force. He is a mentor for teenagers and tries to do his best to help them have a better life than they did when they were much younger, but when they start to be killed one by one, he has to find the murderer, and the only one who can help him is the woman who spurned him.

Review: The whole point of this novel is that all the way through, Dev tries to make out he is no hero, but that just isn’t true. He’s a hero in the truest sense of the word. He helps out teens who stay at the Thibaud Johnson Centre for HomelessTeens who otherwise would have no chance at a decent life. These range from kids who have no parents to those who have a mother who has a father who beats them and generally treats them bad. Rhegan thinks she knows who the murderer is, but she will have to go a long way to proving it.

From the moment you start reading the first chapter, you realise this isn’t a run of the mill romance story at all, but more of a serious mystery written by someone who always wanted to write solely about mystery fiction. The start takes you through a grisly murder scene where a young teenager is followed by a mystery man only to have his throat slit. Once you see things from Rhegan’s and Dev’s point of view, you start very early on to see all the clues that lead to a rather cruel and ruthless murderer who bears a personal grudge against Dev. Dev and Rhegan have to work together to get some serious proof on the killer they already know is still at large.

Interesting bits: The beginning of the story, Rhegan’s constant teasing him while they are trying to work together, the DVD that is as valuable as gold dust, and how truly evil the antagonist in this novel really is.

Was it any good: Certainly, it has a solid story, and it’s romance with a serious mystery overtone to it that brings the reader into the story and takes over. I would recommend this for anyone who likes their romance crossed with another genre.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: No Hero

Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

Guest post by Amelia Grey, author of A Little Mischief

Good morning! I’m happy to be at Love, Romance, Passion. I always enjoy spending the day with you when I have a new book coming out. Thank you for having me.

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you found a young woman standing over a dead body in your back garden? This is what happened to my heroine in my latest book, A Little Mischief. You would call 911 and the police would be there within minutes, right? But what if you lived during the Regency? I hear some of you saying, “I’d rush to get someone from Scotland Yard to come over.” But guess what, there was no Scotland Yard. That organization wasn’t created until eighteen twenty-nine and the Regency time period ended in eighteen twenty-one.

But, London wasn’t completely left without any policing. There was a group of men called thief-takers who would try to solve petty crimes for Londoners for a fee. They had no authority to arrest anyone. These men were more like our modern day private investigators and private detectives, and according to some accounts, a great number of these men had questionable reputations themselves.

London also had a group of men called the Bow Street Runners which is considered by some historians as London’s first professional police force. These men worked for and were paid by the magistrate’s office to seek out and apprehend criminals. They could travel nationwide to search for their suspects, but they differ from our police force today because they didn’t patrol of the streets. The majority of these men were former constables and magistrates who were discharged because of term limits.

In my current re-release, A Little Mischief, it’s not to the Bow Street Runners or the thief-takers that Miss Isabella Winslowe runs to when she finds a young lady standing over a dead body with a stone cupid in her hands. Isabella takes the girl to her brother who just happens to be the recently titled Earl of Colebrooke. Here’s a short synopsis of the story.

A Little Mischief

Isabella Winslowe is finally flourishing. She is gaining respectable notoriety for her ‘Wallflower Society’ until the unthinkable happens. She finds the darkly handsome Earl of Colebrooke’s sister in the back garden with a stone cupid in her hand and a dead man at her feet. The newly titled earl is formidable in looks, personality, and reputation.  He’s not a man Isabella wants to tangle with over such a delicate situation.

Daniel Colebrooke, is juggling all that he can handle when the most alluring young lady he has ever met arrives at his door and tells him his sister never intended to kill London’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel is certain he has a beautiful madwoman in front of him.  Highly suspicious of Miss Winslowe’s story, he goes with her to the garden and finds it empty. She insists someone has stolen the body.

Daniel decides to keep an eye on Miss Winslowe to see what kind of mischief is she up to? She might tell someone else her outrageous story about his sister. If something like that got out, Gretchen’s reputation would be ruined beyond repair. But what Daniel finds is that Isabella sets his heart to racing like no woman ever has. She’s engaging and exciting in a quiet and captivating way. But Daniel can’t give into his desire for Isabella…there’s a supposedly missing dead body standing them.

GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win a copy of A Little Mischief tell me, if you had been writing this story, would you have sent your heroine to the Bow Street Runners or would you have done what I did, and let the heroine go straight to the brother and let him handle it? Last day to enter: August 10, 2012

A Little Mischief won the Booksellers Best and Aspen Gold Awards when it was first published in 2003 and you can find it at your favorite online or local bookstore.

Buy: A Little Mischief

I love to hear from readers! Please email me at ameliagrey@comcast.net, follow me at Facebook.com/ameliagreybooks, or visit my website at ameliagrey.com

Buy: A Little Mischief

Review: Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VII

blazing bedtime storiesThe Steadfast Hot Soldier by Rhonda Nelson

Army Ranger Tucker “Bear” Midwinter is back in town to help his mother repair her ballet studio/flat so the new owner can move in as soon as possible. He thinks it might mean some long overdue bonding time, but his mother has other plans and is heading to Paris just as he arrives. Figures. It’s always been about her and how he’s ruined her life.

The new owner is Veda Hayes, an old student of his mother’s, aka Tiny Dancer. When he left for college she hadn’t been grown, but now she’s grown up in all the right places. She does things to Bear’s emotions he’s never experienced before and reminds him why petite women and dancers should be off limits.

My Take: This is one very sexy short story and adorable too at turns. My favorite scenes were when the two swam in the creek, when Bear had dinner at her parents house, and when/where he proposes. Bear is totally sexy. May I have an army ranger too? Pretty please? :)

Wild Thing by Tawny Weber

Percy loses his cool when the girl of his dreams walks out after an earth shattering night together. He tries to tell himself the way he remembers is better than it was, but who is he kidding? It’s better. To win her and keep her, he’s going to have to figure out what made her ran the first time.

Then the ugliest dog in the world has been kidnapped and it’s up to the dog groomer and her detective to rescue the pampered Chinese Crested. If they don’t Percy Graham will miss his payday (something he needs to get over his losing streak) and miss his flight for a well deserved vacation; Andrea Tanner will lose Fur’sace to a rival business owner.

If they figure out who is behind the dognapping they will be able to prevent any future attempts on the canine. Is it Gregory Day, the man who hired Percy to pick the dog up from the groomer’s, Gregory’s ex-wife, or Andrea’s business rival?

My Take: Totally yummy! Andrea is a kicking heroine who is smart enough to watch her back and take precautions, but has a tender streak and a tender heart. Percy is the typical playboy who doesn’t know what to do with himself when the girl doesn’t return his interest. So he proposes a way back into her bed while getting the little dog too. Percy is a very enjoyable hero. I like his inner monologue a lot.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VII: The Steadfast Hot Soldier\Wild Thing: 7 (Harlequin Blaze)

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Review: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite, Book 2) by Stacey Kennedy

DemonicallyTemptedReviewed by Susan S.

A riveting story that’s freaky-creepy good! I haven’t rooted this much for star-crossed lovers since reading Romeo and Juliet’s sonnets. Let’s hope that Kipp and Tess circumnavigate tragedy and defy all odds…soon!

Summary: Frostbite Series, Book Two Tess Jennings (heroine) is working with Memphis police detectives on a decade old cold case. Because of her “special” gifts, she’s an invaluable member of the police department. Tess can see and communicate with ghosts. Discarnates popping in on her may be a constant annoyance occurrence, but at least it’s an expected one. Now a malevolent demon? That, that’s completely unexpected!

Yes. There’s a great deal on her plate. Her ghost lover (Kipp) is missing, she needs to banish a demon, and let’s not forget- locate a girl who’s been dead for 10 years. Can Tess do all of the above? But can she do it without being…demonically possessed?

Review: I’m going to begin at the end. Those of us, who’ve read Supernaturally Kissed, are going to have a jaw-dropping reaction to book two’s ending. Talk about leading me down that garden path. Clever! Very clever. I can’t wait to see how the author plans to tie up that loose end, or if she ever will. We can only hope!

Demonically Tempted may be darker than book one, but no less wonderful. Stacey Kennedy gives me that soap opera feeling. I liked what happened this time, but oh my gosh! What’s going to happen next?

Recommendations: This novel will attract readers who loved the supernatural TV drama Medium and the show Paranormal State. It’ll call to those who walk the darker streets of paranormal romances. And if you ever saw the movie Constantine and loved it-then you really must read this novel. It includes suspense, mystery, and it’s sure to give you plenty of fear-inducing piloerections.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Others in the Series:

Supernaturally Kissed (Frostbite, Book One)

What’s Next?

Mystically Bound- Book Three (Fall 2012)

Book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXL2rueMVpg

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite)

Self published, Copyright 2012, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, eBook, 167 Pages, ASIN# B007TB5ZF8, ISBN# 978-1-4763-4187-3.

Review: Dangerous Desire by Diane Escalera

by Carla F., guest reviewer

When Sienna Diaz’s beloved Beagle Zola is taken from her home, she turns to a detective agency for missing pets called Top Dawg.  The owner Cruz Santino is an ex-cop whose investigation reveals that Zola was grabbed to use in a dog-fighting ring. Even though Sienna is devastated by Zola’s abduction, she can’t help but be attracted to Top Dawg’s very hot owner. In turn, Cruz is instantly smitten with Sienna. He wants to get Zola back not only because it is his job, but he also wants to get to know Sienna a lot better.

Likes:

  1. Cruz. How can you not love a smexy guy who finds missing pets for a living?
  2. Sienna was an “older” woman with a daughter in college.
  3. How Cruz and his dog Roman work so well together.

Dislikes:

  1. As torn up as Sienna was about Zola, it was difficult to believe that she would be interested in sex at all let alone would just hop into bed with Cruz after knowing him for only a day or two.
  2. Sienna’s best friend Tori was just a little bit over the top for me.
  3. Even though I knew that the book was about a dog-fighting ring and that there would be an HEA, it was difficult to read the parts of the book describing the conditions of the dogs. Fortunately, Escalera never gets into too much detail.

Overall:

A different kind of damsel in distress story with a hot pet detective. If you really love animals, you might feel a little tension in the dog-fighting parts. Just remember that there is a HEA out there.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Dangerous Desire, Dangerous Desire (UK)

Review: Sierra Bride by Jenna Kernan

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Kate Wells marries at the tender age of 16 immediately upon her mother’s death to the charming Luke Wells. He was wealthy, worldly, wise. He was also a sham. The face he showed the world was not the real Luke Wells. Kate suffered emotional and sexual abuse at his hands. He kept her sister “locked away” to ensure her “cooperation” both in bed and while he was swindling men from their money. His death frees her and 17 year old Kate vows never to enter marriage again.

Kernan does a pretty darn good job of bringing Kate through the emotional hell of trusting and loving again. It’s pretty much the only reason I kept going. I’m not a fan of the damaged heroine especially when it comes to rape—matrimonial or not. I skimmed over the passages when Kate was reflecting on her late husband.

Sam Pickett nearly gets murdered at the beginning of the novel. He’s saved from death by Kate’s good aim and fearless behavior. A shared kiss knocks the rest of Sam’s marbles out of his head and the next day he’s determined to find Kate and win her… as his mistress. Kate is forced to accept to keep the roof over her sister and her aunt’s head. It’s only as the two come together that their wounds begin to heal. Their reactions to each other really make the novel for me.

The end had a weird flip-flop in facts. I had to read it three times just to be sure I read it right. First I certain it was a typo as I thought Cole, Sam’s friend was mostly neutral/positive when it came to Kate. I was certain the name in the paragraphs was supposed to be Crawford the detective, who has been fairly nasty about Kate’s probable involvement in setting Sam up in the alley. Then a few pages later Cole is raking Kate over the coals. In the end I had to figure I missed something when it came to Cole and left it alone.

The happy ending was everything I could hope for and then some. Kernan even wraps up Sam’s childhood loose end. Why? I’m not certain, unless it was assumed readers would think she forgot. The childhood loose end didn’t really play a role in the novel except be a catalyst to send Sam out West in the first place. The HEA would have been fine without it and read a little less cutesy-perfect with baby, reunions, new home, new school, etc.

Overall, this was a pleasant and satisfying Western romance.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sierra Bride

Buy eHarlequin: Sierra Bride

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Review: Guarding Suzannah by Norah Wilson

by Karin of Savvy Thinker, guest reviewer

I assume since you are reading this, that you, like me, are a reader. I regret not having more time to read now, but when I do, I want something entertaining and a bit fun. I don’t want heavy duty reading when I want to relax. How about you?

I suspect you are somewhat like me, because romance books enter into the fantasy realm – super rich, good-looking, great lover, happy ending – who doesn’t want all these things! It sure takes your mind off the news.

Guarding Suzannah was an enjoyable read. If I had known how well I would like it, I would have read it sooner! I received assurances before I agreed to read it, that it wasn’t a thriller, but that it is true romantic suspense. When it’s not a Kindle book, I often read the ending and skip sections that are too difficult to read because of the scare-meter. It’s less easy to do with a Kindle, but not impossible. Nevertheless, I really don’t want to read some things – it is too hard to get it out of my mind. I prefer heavier on the romance than the suspense, and this book was just perfect in that department.

The story
Suzannah is a defense attorney who has won more than a few cases, while antagonizing the police, because she likely has won some cases where the defendant was guilty.

The book opens with Detective John (Quigg) Quigley watching her shred the latest police officer on the witness stand, winning her case. And before he knows it, his life is turned upside down, as is hers, while he attempts to keep her safe from an increasingly dangerous unknown stalker.

There are enough twists and turns to satisfy anyone. I didn’t see the ending (and I didn’t cheat and read it first.) It is satisfying, both in how it is set up within the book – and that you don’t see it coming.

Of course, Suzannah and John (Quigg) fall in love. How could they not, with such close proximity. In a way, they each save the other from the life they were leading. Suzannah has never had a satisfying physical relationship and fears she is incapable of it. Quigg is just the lover she should have had.

Have you read this book or any of the others in this series?
I thought the book was well written. I love it when other friendships come into play, as they do here. I want to read the others in this series.

I like military/police/romantic suspense, and this is definitely the best of the best. The villain is villainous. I don’t want to say more to give it away. And his crime is distasteful, though we only hear of it. We don’t witness it. There are some scary moments, but you know Quigg will come through in the end – at least you hope so.

Need more convincing? See my other review of this book.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Guarding Suzannah (Serve and Protect Series)

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Review: Magnate’s Make Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson

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When Cristo Verón, owner of a vastly successful private plane company, heard that his soon to be brother-in-law might have gotten some maid pregnant in Australia, he hops on the soonest flight out to check the woman and her claim out. He expects to find a pretty face and not much else, instead he finds that Isabelle Brown. She is not what he expects and pretty soon Cristo is determined to have this little housekeeper as his mistress. Will he figure out he wants her all to himself or will he lose the only thing money can’t buy?

Magnate’s Make Believe Mistress is a quick read. There were some inconsistencies that I wondered about as I read. For instance, why did he check out the woman’s claim instead of the potential father? Why not hire a detective to sniff her out? It is an interesting spin on the “secret-baby” plot though, so I give Bronwyn Jameson credit for that.

I was there was more meat to this romance. I kept waiting for something big to happen. There really wasn’t a whole lot of conflict to the story once the hero figured out the heroine wasn’t pregnant, but her sister. No angsty blow-up that either party had to overcome. I was expecting Cristo to fume like most romance novels heroes, but he didn’t. It would have been refreshing if it didn’t seem so odd considering his character.

The story was decent, but not something I’d reread again.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

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