RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie MoningBeyond the Highland Mist by Karen marie Moning
Series: Highlander #1
Published by Dell November 4, 2009
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 375
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .

An alluring laird...

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart—until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length—but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A prisoner in time...

She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . .

After reading the Fever Series, I was curious as to what Karen Marie Moning’s other novels had to offer. Once again, KMM did not disappoint! The novel heavily relies on time travel and fantasy elements to drive the story. And what a fun and delicious story it was!

Beyond the Highland Mist starts off in the Fae Island of Morar where Fairie Queen Aoibheal, speaks praises about a mortal man named Hawk to her King and Court Fool. Hawk is known throughout his kingdom as a legendary warrior and lover to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of women. She tells of stories about his manhood, that at half-mast would make a stallion envious and at full-mast steals a woman’s mind from her body (yup…already got me gulping). Feeling sick to his stomach with the thought of his Queen lusting after a mere mortal, the Faerie King in a fit of jealousy orders the Court Fool Adam Black to find a way to punish Hawk. Adam muses that the best punishment for Hawk was to bring to upon him a woman who not only would resist his perfect countenance, but also his sexual prowess.

Enter Adrienne de Simone, a twentieth-century woman scorned by an ex-fiancé, who has vowed never to be made a fool of my beautiful men. On one eerie night, she is plucked from her present-time Seattle home, and dropped onto the lap of a sixteenth-century Scottish Laird, Red Comyn. Thinking that Adrienne has been some sort of miracle dropped from the sky, Red Comyn coerces Adrienne to pose as his recently dead daughter, Janet, and marry Sidheach “Hawk” James Lyon Douglas, Laird of Dalkeith Upon-the-Sea, in order to fill an order by King James.

Neither party is keen to the arranged marriage. Hawk even sends his best friend, Grimm, as a proxy to his wedding (I nearly fell out of my seat laughing at the ridiculousness of sending another man to stand in place of the groom). Of course Hawk and Adrienne are instantly attracted to each other (once they finally meet each other), but neither is eager or willing to admit it at the beginning. Immediately after the wedding, someone continually tries to take Adrienne’s life. To make matters worse, Adam Black has decided to place himself in the equation and tries to lure Adrienne from Hawk. The sudden love-triangle elevates Hawk’s bit of jealousy and we are succumbed to Adam and Hawk’s pissing contest throughout the duration of the book.

Beyond the Highland Mist is a wonderful blend of magic, humor, otherworldly things and time travel all wrapped inside a medieval romance. The Faerie world that Moning has created leaves the reader thinking that they are a genuine race who’s magic and allure exceeds every ones expectations. The protagonists are truly multi-dimensional. Hawk is an example of a true alpha-male.He’s handsome, strong, masculine in every way, but has a past that makes him vulnerable. Of course his ways of wooing our heroine was egotistical and barbaric, but then I had to remind myself that, that’s just how things were during the medieval times. Adrienne is beautiful, strong and independent. A woman scorned during her present life, she found it difficult to let her guards down while living in the past. There were times where I found her a little shrewd and too blind of her own feelings, but as a woman I could understand her predicament.

Overall, Beyond the Highland Mist has all the elements of a good romance novel without all the cheesy and greasy aspects of other romance series. It had a great mix of enchantment, sexual tension and good ol’ romance PLUS an endearing and lovely mother-in-law. So if you’re into beautiful men clad kilts, romance and sexual tension then I suggest you pick this book up.

 

 

About Karen marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964, the daughter of Anthony R. and Janet L. Moning. The family moved to a self-sustaining farm in Indiana when she was six years old, where she spent her youth raising cows, horses, tobacco, corn and other crops with her sisters and brother.

An alum of the Immaculate Conception Academy, at seventeen she attended Purdue University where she completed a BA in Society & Law, with minors in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Theatre, while working full time as a bartender and computer consultant. She intended to go to law school but after an internship with a firm of Criminal Attorneys, decided against it. For the next decade, she worked in insurance, where she wrote intercompany arbitrations and directed commercial litigation. At the age of thirty, she decided it was time to get serious and do what she’d always wanted to do: write fiction novels.

Beyond the Highland Mist was published in 1999 and nominated for two RITA awards. She then published six more novels in her award-winning HIGHLANDER series, and received the RITA Award in 2001 for The Highlander’s Touch.

In 2004, she began writing the #1 New York Times bestselling FEVER series. The books have been optioned twice for potential franchise development by Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Studios, but the rights are currently held by Moning who has expressed a desire to one day see it as a television series. Her novels have been published in over thirty countries. She divides her time between Ohio and Florida and is working on two future projects for Random House Publishing.


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Review: Hook by Elisabeth Grace

Review: Hook by Elisabeth GraceHOOK April 23, 2016
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Format: ARC

Women loathed me without even knowing my name. Men coveted the very idea of me.

Escort. Call girl. Prostitute. Hooker. Whore.

I'd heard it all. Done it all.

Over the years I'd felt a lot of things about my occupation...but not regret--never regret. I had my reasons for doing what I did and nothing and no one had ever made me question them.

UNTIL MARCO VALENTI.

He'd changed me and I'd naively fed into the fairy tale.

But Marco wasn't my Prince Charming. He had secrets of his own. Secrets that would eventually rip away everything I held dear.

You know who was overdue for an Italian leading male… This girl!

I started Hook by Elisabeth Grace and before I knew it, it was over! Although it sure did pack a punch I mean a hooker and insanely alpha Italian who wouldn’t finish this book in a matter of minutes.

Think Pretty Woman meets Italian, meets fucked up situations, meets a need for revenge an oh there will be revenge!

Then there was “Brandi” and she surprised me in a few ways as she is not your typical hooker but a high end escort who probably makes my rent for three months in a single night, but besides from  selling her body she lives a seemingly total normal life in suburbia.  Her reasons that led her to begin hooking completely broke my heart and I will leave that reason out as not to spoil it for anyone. In comes Marco and he is mysterious and speaks Italian and OMG I fell in love… BUT and I use all caps because he can’t possibly be as perfect as he seems or is he?

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When Marco meets Brandi for the first time they don’t even have sex or not even the second time but when it did happen… oh my! His filthy mouth really did a number on me.  Enough of that but how can I not mention his dirty mouth. Lol. Moving on, so his and Brandi’s relationship progresses and he requests or more like demands while he is in town and paying for her services she is to see no other men, fair enough when he’s dropping thousands like its nothing.

Their time spent together gives Brandi glimpses into Marco’s life giving away to traits that make up this man but at the sametime she is still completely clueless to who he really is and what his involvement in a grander scheme may be that she has suddenly become a pawn in. While out on one of her paid outings with Marco they visit a private art showing and a notorious Vito arrives setting her on alert, although once they leave her cautions she had dissipated and she easily forgets all about him, but remember his name.

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Why yes Brandi your life is about to turn to HELL a very literal hell. Something arises and Marco is destined to keep his new love interest safe so he takes the measures he sees fit and bam he just inherited a new live in hooker.  This was one of my more desired parts of the book as the intensity picked up and the build up to the “OMG moment” really was an OMFG moment, well played Elisabeth Grace!

While I was reading I realized about 78% that it was a duet and then I was like oh fuck me! No! No! But the second part to the duet is already scheduled to be out in July and the preorder is up now on Amazon so I can live with that.

I must say the only thing that made me side eye a little was the inconsistency of Brandi and her relationship with her Madam and I wish I had a bit more in-between and dialogue between Brandi and Marco. It had turned to weeks later and I would of enjoyed a little more danger in those weeks.

All in all I adored this book and Marco in a speedo!


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Review: Hush by E.K. Blair

Review: Hush by E.K. BlairHush by E.K. Blair
Series: Black Lotus #3
April 12, 2016
Genres: Dark Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Echo
Also by this author: Echo
Amazon US | B&N
Goodreads

I've come to learn there is no escaping your past.

It doesn't matter what you do, it will follow like a phantom--haunting you--reminding you.

While Hush is my least favorite book of the Black Lotus series, I have to bow down a little to the big balls over there on E.K. Blair. She threw something into this finale that I don’t think many romance authors would have the moxie to pull off.

That’s a plus. A huge plus. I think “that thing that won’t be mentioned because I refuse to spoil this book for anyone” was the most fitting thing to happen in this final book.

The desperation and loneliness that Hush evoked was definitely another plus.  Sometimes you can be surrounded by people but still feel absolutely alone in your pain and misery.  This is the case for both Elizabeth and the man in her life.  I’ll be vague there for anyone who has yet to read Echo, book two.  I felt Elizabeth’s depression and her rage at the belief that no single soul ever loved her enough to just stay with her.  That’s a testament to Blair’s writing, to have my heart stutter step at several parts of this book because I can’t imagine the pain someone in her situation would be feeling.

BUT, there were some minuses too.

First off, sometimes, the thesaurus is not your BFF.  I’m all for people with big vocabularies. However, at times, it’s just too distracting. If I have to keep pausing in my read to look up a word that I think is a damn plant but is actually a color or some shit AND then I have to process what exactly is being said with that sentence…I fall out of the book’s world.  I lose the feel. I can handle that a couple of times in a book, but it happened too often in Hush for my liking. Call me simple minded, I’m okay with that. Also keep in mind though, Elizabeth only has a 9th grade education. I’m not a firm believer that reading text books later in life makes you as scholarly as she sounded at times.

Two, I really did not enjoy the epilogue. It was too child like, it threw the feel of the book off for me. Just not my thing.

Three, there were a couple of things that seemed too contrived or too easy.  The utility bill, for one.  Also, Elizabeth’s hate for certain “new characters” really, REALLY, bothered me.  Maybe that’s because of my own personal life and feelings on the subject.  Regardless, I didn’t like it. 

Sidenote: WRITING ABSOLUTELY SPOILER FREE REVIEWS IS SO DAMN HARD

If you read both Bang and Echo, you know they each have a different feel to them.  Hush is not different in that respect. It’s not as raw, not a violent, not as dark.  It focuses more on healing and moving on.  Some readers may find that strange, I found it to be a proper feel for the final book.

Reading back through the above, it kind of sounds like I disliked this one more than I liked it. That isn’t the case though.  Overall, I really enjoyed it. Didn’t love it, but really enjoyed it.  Perhaps most of my love for this book is because of that big ball move that Blair made.  It was so, so fitting and really beautiful in a totally fucked up way and I loved that she did ‘it’.  You know, that thing that I can’t mention?!?!

 

About E.K. Blair

New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling author, E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her books. A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody and has been noted as ‘The Queen of Dark and Twisted’. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.


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Review: Dirtiest Secrets by J. Kenner

Review: Dirtiest Secrets by J. KennerDirtiest Secrets by J. Kenner
Series: S.I.N. #1
Published by Bantam April 19, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Hottest Mess
Also by this author: Say My Name
Amazon US
Goodreads

It was wrong for us to be together, but it was even harder to be apart.

The memory of Dallas Sykes burns inside of me.

Everyone knows him as a notorious playboy, a man for whom women and money are no object. But to me, he’s still the one man I desperately crave—yet the one I can never have.

Dallas knows me better than anyone else. We bear the same scars, the same darkness in our past. I thought I could move on by staying away, but now that we’re drawn together once more, I can’t fight the force of our attraction or the temptation to make him mine.

We’ve tried to maintain control, not letting ourselves give in to desire. And for so long we’ve told ourselves no—but now it’s finally time to say yes.

Dirtiest Secret is intended for mature audiences.

Dirtiest Secrets surprised the hell out of me. In the best of ways. Based off the synopsis, I was expecting a forbidden romance and I absolutely got that.  But in no way did I see it being forbidden for the reasons it is.

Vague much? Well, yeah…only because I don’t want to spoil anything about this book.  I want you to be able to experience the same thrills I did. Go in blind people, you won’t regret it!

I can say this much, though.

Kenner wrote Dallas in such a way that you are enthralled with his character from the first page he graces. He’s sexy and extremely controlling but not quite what you think he is. While the story begins with a very steamy scene, don’t take that as the overall theme of this one. It is sexy, it is not erotica.

When Jane enters, the story immediately becomes so much more.  It’s complex, it’s heartbreaking, it’s exciting, it’s multi-faceted.  Kenner gives well placed flash backs into Jane and Dallas’ past, giving insight into their strangled relationship, yet it never overpowers the current day tale.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense but like it steamy as well, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with Dirtiest Secrets.  There is a great balance between the characters, the intrigue and the romance. I’m very excited for more!

About J. Kenner

J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters.


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RERUN Reviews: Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde

RERUN Reviews: Reaper’s Property by Joanna WyldeReaper's Property by Joanna Wylde
Series: Reapers MC
January 9, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads

Marie doesn’t need a complication like Horse. The massive, tattooed, badass biker who shows up at her brother’s house one afternoon doesn’t agree. He wants Marie on his bike and in his bed. Now.

But Marie just left her abusive jerk of an ex-husband and she’s not looking for a new man. Especially one like Horse—she doesn’t know his real name or where he lives, she’s ninety percent certain he’s a criminal and that the “business” he talks with her brother isn’t website design. She needs him out of her life, which would be a snap if he’d just stop giving her mind-blowing orgasms.

Horse is part of the Reapers Motorcycle Club, and when he wants something, he takes it. What he wants is Marie, but she’s not interested in becoming “property of”.

Then her brother steals from the club. Marie can save him by giving Horse what he wants—at home, in public, on his bike… If she’s a very, very good girl, she’ll get lots more of those orgasms only he can offer, and he’ll let her brother live.
Maybe.

I love reading sexy romances. I especially love sexy romances with hot badass bikers. Kristen Ashley and Madeline Sheehan fan over here. So, when I first heard about Reaper’s Property I knew that it was something that I needed to add to my TBR. To say that I liked the book would be an understatement. I freaking LOVED this book! After reading this book I wanted to kick my own ass for not reading it sooner.

Reaper’s Property begins with Marie, walking in to the trailer home she shares with her brother, Jeff, and sees him beaten, bloodied, and surrounded by some terrifying bikers from the Reaper’s Motorcycle Club. The MC has paid Jeff a visit to collect the money (plus interest) he had stolen from the club. But since Jeff has been preoccupied with getting high and gambling, the MC has decided the only way to even the debt is by putting him to the ground. Not wanting to see her brother get killed, Marie tries to bargain by telling them she will do whatever to save his life. The only solution the club comes up with is for Marie to become “property of” Horse, a club member who wants nothing but Marie on the back of his back, in his house and in his bed.

“Someday I’m going to own all of you, Marie. You’re all mine, babe. Knew it the first time I saw you. Couldn’t give it up if I tried.”

Weeks prior to seeing her brother almost killed by the Reaper’s, Marie had recently just moved back in to her childhood home after leaving her cheating and abusive husband. As she’s trying to put her life back together, Marie meets the Reaper’s when they stop by to visit Jeff, who was doing some computer work for the club. Sparks immediately fly when Marie and Horse meet and over the next few weeks the sexual tension builds to epic proportions and they end up having a few sexual encounters that set the pages on fire. But things come to an immediate halt after Marie rejects Horse’s proposal for her to be his old lady.

The story then picks back up from where the prologue left off and we see Marie keeping her word and goes with the Reapers to Idaho. Obviously, Marie isn’t all too excited to be Horse’s “property” but can’t help herself from getting excited thinking about getting intimate with Horse again. Now some of you might be raising your eyebrows over the fact that Marie is Horse’s property. In Horse’s world, the word property means a whole different thing from what Marie perceives. Although Marie is his, Horse always gives Marie a choice and reminds her that she can leave at any time she wants. He provides for her, shelters her, protects her and most importantly, cares and loves her. Marie struggles throughout the whole book to comprehend the MC lifestyle but as she gets in deeper and deeper with Horse and the rest of his club, she slowly begins to understand that being his property means a whole different thing from what she originally thought. And I’m sure all the orgasms the man gave her helped her love his lifestyle.

“I want you to be my old lady, babe. That’s all I have to offer. I’m a Reaper, and this is my world. You wear my patch, you be my woman and I’ll be your man. We take the good times together and fight the bad times. No games.”

As with a lot of the romances I read, I am always more of a fan of the hero than the heroine. Horse makes no apologies for his actions and once he sets his eyes on something (or someone), then nothing comes in his way. He’s arrogant, chauvinistic, bossy and dominant. He’s pretty much an asshole but a sexy asshole that will get your loins quivering. His old fashioned thinking might be a turnoff for most women but his intentions are in the right place and he loves and lust for his woman like crazy and that is what’s most important to me. And if you’re wondering why Horse is called Horse it’s because he’s hung like a ……

Aside from the sexy bikers and the sexy times between Marie and Horse, what really made me enjoy this book was that it takes place in an area of Washington that I’m very familiar with. The place where Marie and her brother live is about an hour away from where I live so, when Wylde describes their surroundings I had a more vivid picture of it than what most readers probably imagined. Knowing the area in Washington and even Idaho made my whole reading experience so much more awesome and it gave me tingles just thinking about sexy bikers living around these parts. Although, I haven’t come across any bikers that would have me quivering like Horse. LOL.

Reaper’s Property was my first Joanna Wylde book and it definitely won’t be my last. Wylde made me laugh, cry, and set my skin on fire with the sexy romance between Horse and Marie. If you’re a fan of sexy badass bikers that’ll take you on a wild ride on his bike and in his bedroom, then you definitely need to read Reaper’s Property. Definitely cannot wait to read more from Wylde and this series.

 

* Review Originally Published September 2013

 

 


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