Book Review + Excerpt: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

Book Review + Excerpt: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

I received this book for free from NetGalley, Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Excerpt: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo PutneyOnce a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #1
Published by Zebra on June 28, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
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five-stars
As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her.

Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match.

Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel’s enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they’d dared imagine. . .

While I haven’t read books by this author in several years, Mary Jo Putney was one of the authors who introduced me to what I like to think of as modern Regency romance—the ones in which women take back their own despite the constraints of society and are rewarded for daring to step out of the cage convention weaves around them, and the heroes belong to the rare breed of men who can stave off stubborn machismo and appreciate and admire a woman’s independence of thought and action and sheer gumption. So I welcomed Putney’s Once a Soldier like an old friend. Except that instead of being comfortable, it blew my socks off! Read More »

Book Review: Defender by Diana Palmer

I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Defender by Diana PalmerDefender by Diana Palmer
Series: Long Tall Texans
Published by HQN on June 28, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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two-stars
The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.

When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling’s life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father’s lowly employee. Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel’s case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.

Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can’t forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won’t hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can’t trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?

When you’ve read an author’s books for a couple of decades, you start to see patterns in their work, in their stories and language. Often it’s like each new book is an old friend. Unfortunately for me, reading Diana Palmer’s Defender, which releases tomorrow with HQN Books, was a bit like showing up to a friend’s house when that friend has woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I didn’t actively dislike the book, but I’ll have to confess to a mild disappointment. Read More »

Cover Reveal: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

“Hot” and “angels” might not have been a thing until recently, but I’ve been a believer for years, ever since I picked up a copy of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, featuring a guild of mercenaries on hire to play vampire police and bounty hunters in a world ruled by archangels. I was ecstatic when I learned Archangel’s Heart, book 9, was coming out on November 1 this year, and that it would be a book featuring one of my fave butt-kicking couples, Rafael and Elena. Keep reading to learn more about the book and get a peek at the cover, which promises an action-packed read! Read More »

New Release + Q&A: The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan

New Release + Q&A: The Woman in the Photo by Mary HoganThe Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
Published by William Morrow on June 14, 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
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In this compulsively-readable historical novel, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of two young women—one in America’s Gilded Age, one in scrappy modern-day California—whose lives are linked by a single tragic afternoon in history.

1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.

Present day: On her eighteenth birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th Century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?

I’m a big fan of historical romance, but thanks to books like Hamilton: The Revolution and Pope Joan and my love of documentaries, I also have a healthy respect for less romantic takes on history, whether factual or fictional. If you’re the type who likes reads more on the historical side than the romantic side, you may want to give Mary Hogan’s The Woman in the Photo a try. I’ve recently learned about this book, and the feedback I’ve been reading has been decidedly positive. Check out the Q&A with the author below, and keep reading to learn more about this book.

 

Question and Answer with Mary Hogan,
Author of The Woman in the Photo

 

What’s the story behind The Woman in the Photo?  How did the book come to be?

I first had the idea for this book 24 years ago! I’m not kidding. In 1992, my husband, actor Robert Hogan, was in an off-Broadway play called On the Bum, also starring Cynthia Nixon and Campbell Scott. The play was set in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, several years after the epic flood. The characters talked about a “lake in the sky” which piqued my curiosity. A few days later, I went to the library to read about such strange geography. That’s when I readthe real story of the Johnstown disaster. Wow. I was blown away. What a great story! I held my breath for 24 years worrying that someone would write my book before I got a chance to. There are other books out there about the flood, but nothing like mine. Read More »

Playlist + Freebie Alert: Forbidden Rose by Vivian Winslow

Playlist + Freebie Alert: Forbidden Rose by Vivian WinslowForbidden Rose by Vivian Winslow
Series: Wildflowers #2
Published by the author on February 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Rosa Cruz, the fiery and ultra-sexy heiress of the Mama Linda Latin foods empire, is determined to create something on her own and not rely solely on her family's name and legacy.

For her new upscale restaurant in the trendy Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, she enlists the help of her childhood friend, the hot, young Cuban-American chef, Eliseo Perez, who's already made a name for himself on the New York culinary scene.

Despite Rosa's reservations about a forbidden workplace romance with her new employee, not to mention longtime friend, the chemistry between them is undeniable.

When the cooking starts, things quickly heat up in the kitchen and the bedroom. But with Eliseo's troubled past coming back to haunt him, can Rosa and Eliseo hold onto love and keep the restaurant from going up in flames?

A while back I shared a new release announcement and excerpt for Vivian Winslow’s Forbidden Rose; if you didn’t get to pick up a copy then, well now’s your chance. The author is celebrating the imminent release of the next book in the series, Uncovering Camila, by offering up this book for free until Friday, June 24!

 

forbidden-rose-teaser

Read More »

Book Review: The Champion of Baresh by Susan Grant

Book Review: The Champion of Baresh by Susan Grant

I received this book for free from Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: The Champion of Baresh by Susan GrantThe Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant
Series: Star World Frontier #1
Published by the author on May 26, 2016
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Science Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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five-stars
RITA-winner Susan Grant is back with an all-new, stand-alone tale of two improbable lovers, their daring secret, and the gamble destined to alter the course of their worlds forever!

She was playing with fire...

Jemm Aves battles to keep her dreams alive on a dead-end world. Working for the mines by day, she’s a successful bajha player at night, disguised as a male to be allowed to compete in the colony’s dangerous underworld where club owners will go to extremes to retain the best players. Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal: saving enough to escape Barésh with her family. When a nobleman from one of the galaxy’s elite families recruits her to be a star player for his team, it's because he doesn't know her secret. Her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at risk.

Prince Charming he was not...

Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan, a family as famous for its wealth and power as it is for being a bastion of male-dominated tradition. If his bajha team can win the galactic title it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished. He travels to Barésh to track down an amateur who’s risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha, offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime: a way off that reeking space rock for good. But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down. He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heart.

While I’ve heard of Susan Grant and her intergalactic romances before, I have never had the chance to read any of her work until just recently, with The Champion of Barésh, the first in her Star World Frontier series. And she lived up to the hype I’d heard and then some! Read More »

Cover Reveal: Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cover Reveal: Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Former co-blogger Marian has been rhapsodizing about Jennifer L. Armentrout for ages, but I have yet to read a novel of hers. I found myself intrigued by her Wicked Saga, whose second novel, Torn, releases next month. Keep reading to see the cover for the second installment, plus learn about the sale on book 1 of the series, Wicked.

Read More »

Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far

This year has been a year for great books, and with more books by authors like Seanan Maguire, Nalini Singh, J.D. Robb, MaryJanice Davidson, Ilona Andrews, Mercedes Lackey, Laurell K. Hamilton and more planned for the coming months, I have no doubt 2016 will be a knockout.

top-10-2016-releases-as-of-june

But I don’t want to discount the books that have been released in the past few months that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Some were by authors I’ve been fangirling over for years, while others were by ones I’d never read before (which just gives me more to anticipate, plus a backlist to go through while I’m waiting for new reads). One fueled an obsession so thorough I decided to add a new genre to the list of genres WRFF features. Keep reading for my Top 10 Tuesday list of favorite book releases since the beginning of 2016.

Read More »

Event: #HeistClub book launch on June 25

A little fictional murder and mayhem is good for the soul—or so I’ve always believed. Turns out, I’m not alone in this, given that 16 local authors have banded together to publish crime stories that run the gamut from kidnapping to fraud to murder to conspiracy. #HeistClub was a crime writing class run by Mina V. Esguerra in the latter part of 2015, and this month, the “graduates” have banded together to throw a celebratory shindig to launch the three book bundles they’ve put together.

heistclub-bundles-fb-share

Read More »

Freebie Alert: No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista open for wishing on NetGalley

Freebie Alert: No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista open for wishing on NetGalleyNo Holding Back by Kate Evangelista
Series: Dodge Cove #2
Published by Swoon Reads on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Romance, Young Adult
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in this highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista.

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?

If you enjoyed Kate Evangelista’s YA contemporary romance novel, No Love Allowed, which was the first book in her Dodge Cove series published by Macmillan imprint Swoon Reads, then you’ll be pleased to know that book 2, No Holding Back, is set for release in October this year. And if you can’t wait that long to read Nathan and Preston’s story, well, Kate has some good news for her fans! Read More »

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June Reviews

Book Review + Excerpt: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo PutneyBook Review: Defender by Diana PalmerBook Review: The Champion of Baresh by Susan GrantBook Review: Bittersweet by Sarina BowenBook Review: Reining Him In by Rachael SlateBook Review: Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire HumphreyBook Review: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarterBook Review + Excerpt: Stirring Attraction by Sara Jane StoneBook Review: To Love a Libertine by Liana LeFeyBook Review: Chasing the Heiress by Rachael MilesBook Review: Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews

Books Reviewed This Year

We have reviewed 72/150 books so far this year.

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