Review: Striking a Chord (Backstage Pass, Book 3) by Dani Wade

Striking a ChordReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Sean changed his life for the better after ignoring his friend’s father who said he shouldn’t decide to make his mark as a musician – as he has got this far as a US rock star, he only needs to find the woman of his dreams, but Meghan is the sort of woman he can’t ever have – or can he?

Review: The tattooed lover boy on the front says it all – a career in music is all sex, drugs and rock and roll, but the fact that it looks like she’s two steps away from giving him full fellatio tells us all we need to know. Meghan is a stunner, even if he has only spent months on the phone with her that have ended with him getting a hard-on, he’s yet to meet her and he’s anticipating seeing her. Whether it’s good or bad, he doesn’t know, but his need to see her, to bed her comes before anything else. Sean only knows a few facts about her, she’s mid-twenties, divorced and has an upper level degree in education, but this is as much as he knows. Meghan has issues about whether he will like the look of her once they meet, and whether she will be the rock chick he is used to seeing everywhere he goes. She isn’t the size 8 that she might have wanted to be, but that doesn’t matter to Sean as she has a hourglass figure he’d like to get his hands on. Hearing her on the phone every night for three months seems like a form of harsh, teasing foreplay for Sean, and once he meets her, he wants her no matter what.

As his assistant, Meghan is used to opening Sean’s mail and when one letter is from Sean’s brother Kieran, she has to bring him to see Sean as there is something he needs to know – his father is dying of liver disease and wants his family around him before he meets his maker. When he sees Kieran, all his childhood memories flood back. He was hoping for the time of his life – he would be finally meeting the woman of his dreams, the woman who made him wet just from talking to her, but to bring his brother along too is a taboo even he didn’t think she would make. It doesn’t take her long to find out that Sean has a dark past and a dark secret his brother knows, and she realises she might have made a mistake coming to see him.

Good Bits:

  • The cover – it rocks!
  • I wonder why she’s called Meghan the Mouth?
  • Sean’s brother Kieran

Summary: Dani Wade is the author of several novels, Finding Her Rhythm (Backstage Pass #1), His by Design, Snow Bound, Maximo Placer and A Bride’s Tangled Vows and knows what her readers want to discover. One of the first things I will say about this is that l liked it being about a plus size woman rather than the usual slender maiden in contemporary romance novels. Meghan is a big girl and once she has got with her new boss, Sean and he loves it. So much so he can’t resist spanking that desirable behind of hers – especially when she’s been very naughty and I would say bringing over his brother was naughty, wouldn’t you? Her bringing over Kieran is the conflict in the story we are looking for and if she is as irresistible as he thought, then he could be in for a very interesting relationship. The characters from the first two in the Backstage Pass series are connected while this one takes an intriguing turn as different and being set in Ireland. Judging by this one alone, I would like to read more from Dani Wade. Who knows who her characters will be spanking next!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Striking A Chord: Backstage Pass Book 3

Review: Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Iced by Karen Marie MoningReviewed by Sharon S.

I was a little apprehensive about reading this story. I loved (in an unnatural way) the Fever series, but I never really cared for the character Dani and the thought of a trilogy about her wasn’t appealing. I knew I would read it because I love Moning’s emotional first person POV writing style and the Fever world and all its characters. You don’t have to read the Fever series to enjoy this book. Moning does a good job of giving the reader any extra information needed, but you are totally missing out on one of the best series out there if you don’t.

I love that we experience things through many different characters POVs. Dani’s POV got on my nerves in the beginning. In part, because Moning was very repetitive with Dani’s thoughts. I don’t know if this was on purpose since Dani is such a chaotic character or if Moning just went overboard. By the end of the book I found Dani to be tolerable. Her growth over the trilogy is a what this story is about so I think I will eventually I will like her. Most of the book is from her POV and we learn some interesting information about her past. She is only 14 at this point and she would act mature beyond her years one moment and then like a teenager the next. It was interesting to watch her and the other characters struggle with this.

Mac and Barrons are mentioned though out the book, but we never have any interaction with them until the very end. Based on the ending of ICED we will see more of them in book two. There are three possible love interests for Dani at this point! I know, right?

Dancer is Dani’s post-apocolyptic buddy. He is a human and a genius. He obviously has feelings for Dani, but she is just too focused on herself to notice. He is just a little too perfect though. Like all the characters, he isn’t all that he seems and I can’t wait to find out.

Ryodan is one of Barrons’ men and he has been watching Dani since she was 9 when he found out about what she calls her “superpowers”. They are very much like Ryodans. He is sort of “the law” in Dublin now that the walls have fallen. He is like Barrons, but he wants to have power and is willing to do anything to achieve it. We don’t know why yet, or how Dani figures into his plans, but he sees something in her and is waiting for it. You really can’t tell his interest is romantic or just power driven yet. Moning is definitely setting up a love hate relationship between them.

Then there is Christian. I think he is the most complex and interesting character. You have to read the Fever series to understand what happened to him, but he is turning into the fourth Unseelie Prince. It is heart breaking to watch him struggle to hold onto his human side. Moning is creating a lot of sympathy for him even though his Unseelie side is very dark and twisted. He also sees something in Dani he calls a “light” and he is in love with her and plans to make her his Unseelie princess.

There are many character threads and they are all just starting to be woven together. I am very excited to find out what Moning has in store for us. I don’t know how she will get us there, but it will be on hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel (Fever Series)

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Review: Celtic Storms (Celtic Steel, Book 1) by Delaney Rhodes

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Darina O’Malley is distraught at the knowledge that her cousin, Kyra is to be betrothed to a man she does not know – he might as well be a stranger as far as she is concerned. She knows there are secrets about her clan that could undo them, but she is far more interested in the Laird Kyra is to be married to.

A lot is mentioned about the scenery and surroundings of O’Malley Castle as well as the scenery inside it. It is a convincing story, and setting, and the characters are written to play their parts well enough. Instead of appointing her as clan Laird, even though she was adept in battle, her family instead decide to marry her off to another clan’s Laird, and in doing so want to forge an alliance. Not many girls would be up for marrying an older man-not even nowadays, so it is easy to understand what Kyra would be going through.

There are certain sections of the story that can leave you baffled though, as to why Ruarc would send Kyra, a woman on horseback dressed like a man to send a message. If the men don’t respect her as a warrior, they are risking a lot using her as a messenger-she could get caught and anything could happen. I can see from Rhodes’s point of view that she is trying to prove that Kyra is just as good at espionage as any man, though.

Rather than this novel just being a steamy romance, it is easy to tell that a lot of research has gone into the history of Ireland for the story. Rhodes has shared the past of two main characters that make up a good part of it. The warning at the beginning helps readers to notice what the subject matter will be in the novel, so in a way it prepares the reader for what to expect. In this novel’s case it is the occult, and a great deal of erotic scenes that some, if they like erotic romance novels as much as I do won’t get offended by.

If you like romance novels to be historical and erotic with a nice touch of political Irish court intrigue, then this will be as hot as you want it, and you will be as desiring to get hold of a copy.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Celtic Storms (Celtic Steel Series, Book 1)

The Uncrowned Kings of Ireland

Nell Jeanette Baker

Guest Blog by Jeanette Baker, author of Nell

My novel, NELL, is the story of the Geraldines or, more familiarly, the Fitzgeralds of Munster, “a family so wealthy and powerful they were called the uncrowned kings of Ireland. Their lands encompassed Desmond and South Munster and nearly all the counties of Kildare, Meath, Dublin and Carlow. Fitzgerald Castles stretched beyond Strangford Lough on the coast of Down to Adare, and the Fitzgerald fleet patrolled the Irish seas,” …and so the story begins.

NELL is also the tale of a family, all five heirs, taken down in one fell swoop, hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn by order of Henry Tudor, a king desperate to establish a dynasty, a man afraid of the might of his cousins, the Geraldines. What Henry passed over, disregarded, refused to consider, was that a kingdom might be ruled by a woman, Elizabeth, and a family saved by another, Eleanor…Nell.

After the execution of all five family heirs, only Gerald, a boy of 12, is spared. He is hidden away in a remote castle, cared for by his sister, Nell, the betrothed of an Irish chieftain from the West. Through the forests and bogs of Ireland, at the court of the king who killed her family, Nell, aided by a strange vision from the future, struggles to keep the only remaining Fitzgerald heir alive.

We writers who attempt to create characters and a world sympathetic and realistic to our readers frequently are caught up in the lives of the people we create. Imagine my excitement when I came upon the site of the beheading of the last Fitzgerald heir, the Earl of Desmond, the boy, Gerald, from my story, now a man who, in the end, lost his fight against the English. When I learned that his body was interred in the ruins of a small church attached to a tiny cemetery, I was determined to find it, with Tommy, my fiance, an incredibly good sport, in tow.

Our first stop was the tourist office in Tralee. The friendly ladies manning the office knew nothing about the burial spot, but they were game to try. Success came no more than 20 minutes later. The Earl was buried in 1593 near the tiny village of Cordal in a place called Ardnagragh. The ruins of the Desmond chapel were in a burial ground with an unpronounceable name, Kilnananima.

Finding the spot was difficult. There are no markers or signposts on the tiniest of Ireland’s roads and this was one of them. Tommy stopped at a small post office in Cordal to ask directions. In true Irish fashion, a woman posting a letter offered to take us there.  Minutes later, we were climbing over the fence and peering at the graves, all Fitzgerald, in the overgrown grass. It was remote, it was lovely, it was historically fascinating, but the grave I’d come to find wasn’t there.

Then, Tommy noticed the foundations of a ruin and began pulling away decades of lichen, ivy, undergrowth, uncovering an enormous slab. Climbing through the thick flora, he began scraping away the mud. Letters appeared. Excited and hopeful, I climbed in, too, and continued to scrape while he left to find the bucket of rainwater he’d noticed earlier. We scraped and poured until the name and date were evident, Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Desmond, 1583. I could only stare, not speaking, at this evidence of a man to whom I’d given conversation and personality. He’d lived, walked the earth and died a horrible death. And here I am, 500 years later, intrigued enough with his story to resurrect him for my readers.

Buy: NELL