Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Who killed Michael Vanderhorst’s maker? It’s a darn good question. But when the trail brings Michael to hellishly sunny Phoenix, Arizona, his biggest problem soon becomes a cute little librarian he can’t seem to stay away from. He’s never met a bigger danger magnet! Even her book cart has it out for her. And is that the drug cartel following her around, too? “Dear God, woman! What have you gotten yourself into?”

Things go from bad to worse when local vampires won’t play nice.

Can this four-hundred-year-old vampire keep his librarian safe and himself out of hot water? Can he bring his maker’s killer to justice? Yesterday, he would’ve said yes. But yesterday, he didn’t have a strange connection with a librarian. Yesterday, people weren’t trying to kill her.
Series: The Librarian's Vampire Assistant #1 | Publisher: Mimi Boutique  |  Genre: Paranormal Mystery  | Source: Freebie | Rating: 3.5 Cups

It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff—and I’ve heard so many people rave about this series—so when I spotted that this one was a freebie, I decided to give it a go.
Here’s what’s going on. Arriving in Phoenix to collect his sire’s ashes and uncover what really happened to his sire, Michael finds himself transfixed by a klutzy librarian who seems to be attracting her own kind of trouble. When Miriam—the librarian—mistakenly thinks Michael’s there to apply for the assistants position, he goes along with it in order to keep her from harm. Although Michael arrived in Phoenix with one mystery, he now has the added mystery of finding out who wants to harm Miriam.
Knowing Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s style of writing I knew this was going to be snarky and unique and I wasn’t disappointed.  I did have fun with this one but it also had a few issues.
Michael’s a four-hundred year-old vampire (who looks barely legal) with a penchant for strong coffee and eggplant. While his dress, speech, and knowledge proves his age, he often acts like a college freshman and I would think that having lived for so long he would acted a bit more mature. I found Michael easy to like but I also found his actions occasionally annoying.
Miriam was such a klutz—even the book cart had it out for her—and she definitely knows how to throw out some snark. While I found her likable, she had a way of talking down to Michael because she thought he was much younger than he was and that started to get old fast.
There’s two mysteries in this one. The mystery of who killed Michael’s sire and why as well as who is after Miriam. Both mystery threads are handled nicely and evenly. While there were twists and turns, I was hoping there would be more investigating going on. 
While this is primarily a mystery, there’s a start of something between Michael and Miriam but, honestly, I wasn’t sold on their connection. I’m hoping that the next book will sell me on their relationship, otherwise it’s going to feel off kilter.
There’s a plethora of interesting secondary characters ranging from Lula—Michael’s assistant who I liked but had an odd moment—to  Mr. Nice—a scary vamp with an addiction to romance novels.
Overall, it was a read. There’s now four books in the series and I’m eager to see what happens next.

The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant Series
The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant #1
The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant #2
The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant #3
The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant #4

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tangles and Treason by Nancy Warren

In Elizabethan Oxford, Sir Rafe Crosyer is on a secret mission for the queen. He also wants to secure Constance's hand in marriage, not only for love but for her safety, for there are rumours afloat that Constance is a witch. But when he is attacked and left for dead, not only is his love in terrible danger, but also his queen. Unless he takes an unthinkable step...



Series: Vampire Knitting Club #0.5 | Publisher: Nancy Warren | Source: Newsletter Freebie from Author  | Rating: 4.5 Cups
I want to start by saying that this is only offered—at this time—as a bonus to those who subscribe to Nancy Warren’s newsletter. You can find her newsletter HERE.
When a secret mission to uncover who’s planning to assistant Queen Elizabeth goes awry, Constance knows there’s only one thing that can save Rafe. Now a vampire, Rafe must fight to save Constance, who is being tried as a witch.
I had a lot of questions about Rafe, his backstory, and his wife Constance. While this was indeed a short story, it answered all my questions and some I didn’t even know I had.
If, like me, you’re a fan of this series, I strongly suggest you check this one out.
Although there’s no mystery in this one, it was still a great book that made me love Rafe even more.
I hope Nancy Warren will eventually put out of the vampire’s backstories.  

Vampire Knitting Club Series
0.5-Tangles and Treason
1-The Vampire Knitting Club
2-Stitches and Witches
3-Crochet and Cauldrons
4-Stockings and Spells
5-Purls and Potions
6-Fair Isle and Fortunes
7-Lace and Lies
8-Bobbles and Broomsticks
9- Popcorn and Poltergeists
10-Garters and Gargoyles
Novella-Cat's Paws and Curses

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lucas by Sawyer Bennett

Lucas Fournier is only serious about one thing: hockey. The league’s fun-loving charmer, Luc is always up for a good prank or a great lay, and he has no intention of settling down. But being traded to the Carolina Cold Fury—and to play alongside his big brother, Max—is no joke. With another title in sight, the last thing Luc wants is to let his new teammates down. To succeed, Luc will need to keep his head in the game and the most . . . er, demanding member of his anatomy in check. But when temptation hits, Luc hits back harder.

Museum curator Stephanie Frazier has always put business before pleasure, which just about explains her nonexistent sex life. But when Stephanie meets Luc at a champagne-fueled gala, she finds herself flirting like crazy—and going home with the uninhibited athlete. For one night, she learns what passion is all about. She just never counted on the little surprise Luc leaves behind. And that’s when things really start to get . . . interesting.

Series: Cold Fury #8 | Publisher: Tantor Audio | Narrators: Cris Dukehart, Joe Arden  | Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins  | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 2 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Audiobook Challenge - Literary Pickers  Bed Sheets -Bad Boys of Romance
Can Luc have a better heroine, please? He deserves so much better than Stephanie… So much better…
The gist of this is one is that Luc and Stephanie meet at a charity event, wild and crazy monkey sex ensues, condom breaks, Stephanie’s up the duff, Luc is attempting to forge a relationship but Stephanie is wanting no part of it because she’s an emotionless ice queen who wasn’t loved by her parents (cue her woe-is-me rants).
I’m a little—okay, I’m a lot—growly about this one. Or rather, I should say that the heroine makes me growly with this one. I haven’t been this annoyed with a character since Stanton (ugh, don’t even get me started on him) from Overruled by Emma Chase.
So, Luc’s not a guy you’re going to put on a pedestal. He has his faults and he likes to play the field but, overall, he’s a guy who knows when it’s time to settle down and try to make things work. While he’s a playboy he’s also a man with family on his mind. He does act out towards the end but, if I’m being honest, fake boob Betty from the bar seemed like a better bet than being with ice queen Stephanie.
Stephanie’s the poor me type and never really changes. She just wallows in her self-pity and it got old fast. Yes, her parents neglected her when she was growing up and was content with throwing money at her rather than love but she was close to her nanny—who she admitted showered her with love—yet Stephanie still claimed she couldn’t/wouldn’t love anyone. Not only did she come off as an ice queen, she came off as a little unhinged. She also treated Luc’s friends and family the same way. There was nothing about her character that I could get behind.
While this is supposed to be a romance, I saw very little chemistry or connection between Luc and Stephanie. Honestly, this was like a sex-laden clusterf*ck. Luc was ready and willing to give a relationship a chance. Stephanie was constantly pushing him away then whinging when he actually did what she wanted and gave her space. And, heaven forbid, Luc try to do something nice for her because how dare he care when they were just friends with benefits.
To buy into any part of the relationship between Stephanie and Luc, I feel like I needed to see what happened once the baby came along and that never happened and, honestly, I just don’t see it happening.
Then there was a very valid issue that Luc brought up when he finally had enough, yet somehow Luc was made out to be villain while Stephanie’s sitting over there polishing up her crown of ice and getting all the praise of sympathy. Nope…so much nope.
Seriously, why did I torture myself by finishing this one? I should have DNF’d it about two hours in.
This one ends with an epilogue that’s actually from Van—Luc’s team mate/housemate who’s moody and secretive—and while it did make me interested in his story, I heard a snippet of it (a fellow bookclubber was listening to it) and, given what I heard, I have no intention of ever picking it up.
I’m a little conflicted about whether or not I’ll finish this series. My goal was to get through the ones I had in my Audible library (Zack, Ryker, Lucas, Reed, Marek) and the ones I had on my Kindle (Alex, Garrett, Max) then decide if I wanted to pick up the others (Hawke, Roman, Van). From the ones I read (I know, I read them out of order) it seems like the earlier books are better and had more story than the newer ones.
If anyone has read the later ones, please let me know if this series is worth continuing because I don’t want to waste anymore of my time.
This is the only book out of the series that Joe Arden narrates and I thought it worked out nicely. I’m generally pretty happy with his style. Cris Dukehart’s narration was okay. She occasionally came off as annoying but I’m pretty sure she was just channeling Stephanie.
Overall, I was rooting for Luc to run and find someone worthy of his love, time, and attention. As for Stephanie, I was rooting for her to take a long walk off a short pier. 

The Cold Fury Hockey Series

Alex #1
Garrett #2
Hawke #5
Max #6
Roman #7
Lucas #8
Van #9
Reed #10
Marek #11


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge by Debbie Mason

Title: Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge

Series: Highland Falls #1

Author:  Debbie Mason

Publisher: Forever

Release Date: May 26th

Why it’s my W.o.W: Debbie Mason’s books are like a cozy blanket for me. They’re my go to pick-me-up books and I’m excited to be visiting a new town and new characters


Welcome to Highland Falls, a small town where love is always in the air.


In just a few months Abby Everhart has gone from being a top LA media influencer to an unemployed divorcĂ©e living out of her car. So inheriting her great-aunt’s homestead comes at the perfect time. Abby heads to Highland Falls, North Carolina, to spruce up Honeysuckle Farm before putting it on the market for some much-needed cash. But instead of finding a charming getaway, she discovers a serious fixer-upper, complete with a leaky roof, overgrown yard, and a reclusive — albeit sexy — man living on the property.


Ex-Delta Force soldier Hunter MacKenzie has faced war and loss, but nothing has quite prepared him for an outgoing redhead who’s determined to turn his life upside down. Hunter doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, especially a city girl who plans to sell the only place he’s ever felt at home. But the sparks between them are undeniable. Spending time with Abby is easy. Convincing her to stay for good is another matter entirely.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Laird of the Black Isle by Paula Quinn

This Highlander will risk everything to find his daughter...

Lachlan MacKenzie has nothing left to lose since his wife and daughter were killed. But when a shadowy figure reveals his little girl might still be alive, Lachlan will do whatever it takes to find her—even abduct a lass from the MacGregor clan for an exchange. Being caught would mean certain death. But the laird of the Black Isle won't let anything—or anyone—interfere with his mission...not even his beautiful, stubborn captive.

Even his heart
 All Mailie MacGregor wants is to return home to her family. And the Highland beast who captured her can go to the devil. Her plan: to thwart him at any cost and win her freedom. But she never expected to be so drawn to the fierce warrior and the desire in his eyes

Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #7  | Publisher: Forever | Genre:  Historical Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 4.5 Cups
Challenges Read For:  -Bad Boys of Romance - Literary Pickers : Bookshelf  

It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a Scottish historical romance and I completely forgot just how much I love them. I received a review copy of this one a bit a go and, apparently, it fell behind my desk and I forgot about it. I found it when I was having the carpets cleaned and new I had to dive right into it. Lachlan and Mailie’s Beauty and the Beast type of romance was the perfect way to ease back into historical romance.
Here’s what’s going on. Since the death of his wife and daughter, Lachlan MacKenzie’s been known as the Dragon of the Black Isle and he doesn’t mind that moniker if it keeps the villagers away. When he’s approached by an unknown man claiming to have information that his daughter’s alive, Lachlan is willingly to do anything, including kidnapping a lass from the MacGregor clan. He knew capturing Mailie wouldn’t be easy but he never expected he end up losing his heart to the lass and the children she took in.
Mailie never imagined someone would be daft or daring enough to capture her right under the noses of her clan members. Although she’s starting to see her captor in a new light. The longer she and two orphaned children stay with Lachlan, the more she realizes she’s lost her heart to him. Now the only she has to do is get Lachlan to let them in.
I forgot how provoking Paula Quinn’s writing could be. She has a way of drawing me in from the start and not letting go until the last page. While I do like a good historical romance set in the Jacobite era, I’m normally not a fan of Highlanders who are loyalists to the English crown but Lachlan won me over right from the start.
Lachlan and Mailie were rather interesting. Both were headstrong and determined and it was a battle of wills from the start. Whenever Lachlan would pull away, Mailie was right there fighting her way back into his life. She was also ready and willing to fight for Will and Lily (the recently orphaned children from Lachlan’s village) to have a place in Lachlan’s heart.
The relationship between Lachlan and Mailie was a slow burn, which fit perfectly. It gave Lachlan time to heal and let go of the ghosts in his life and let Mailie in. While Lachlan tried to shut Mailie out, he didn’t fight it once he knew he Mailie was right for him.
One of my favorite aspects of this had to be Will and Lily. These poor children just lost their mother and now find themselves in the care of their reclusive laird and a stranger. Mailie opened her heart to the children as soon as she met them. Will fought for a friendship with Lachlan from the start of the book and it was nice to see Lachlan let him into his life and his heart. It took a little more time for Lachlan to warm to Lily because she reminded him of the daughter he lost.
While this is book 7 in an established series, it reads nicely as a standalone. Having only read one other in the series, I didn’t feel lost picking this one up.
Overall, a brilliant, Scottish take on one of my favorite tales (Beauty and the Beast). I could not put this one down.

The MacGregors: Highland Heirs Series
The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell #1
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd #2
The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan #3
The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor #4
The Taming of Malcolm Grant #5
A Highlander's Christmas Kiss #6
The Scot's Bride #7
Laird of the Black Isle #8
Highlander Ever After #9