Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dream Man by Kristen Ashley: Series Review + Giveaway


Mystery Man is a mystery no more and he is definitely a superhero!! I’m at a loss for words, other than Kristen Ashley blew me away AGAIN! Just when you think to yourself that she can’t out-do the possessive male jerk from the last book you read…WRONG…let me introduce you to Cabe “Hawk” Delgado. Even his name makes me swoon! Gwen is the object of his fascination and he was the object of mine. She is the consummate fashion plate, funny and as enamored with Cabe as he is with her. These two slipped between the sheets every chance they got, and once again, major seat squirming on my part. Somehow when I read a KA book I find that I can’t sit still!!

Gwen has a mind of her own, even if it that mind doesn’t think things through and it leads her straight to trouble. When she sets her sights on something there is no stopping her, and of course she does it in style, right down to her shoes. The girl is shoe-ho!

I started out highlighting key parts to keep track of quotes and scenes that I liked; well that didn’t work out to well, because I damn near highlighted the whole book. I LOVED it ALL. At times I was laughing so hard that I thought I was going to choke. Warning, read this book in the privacy of your own home and not in public, or you might be at the receiving end of the Heimlich maneuver!

Kristen Ashley writes such, that you read yourself right into the book. Her books are spot on when it comes to feelings, emotions, and circumstances. She always throws in that curve ball of unexpected, when revealing what came to pass in the history of her characters, this book being no exception.


There was a whole troupe of secondary characters that I would love to see featured in future books. I don’t even feel right calling them secondary, it’s as if I do them a disservice, because they are front and center in the plot, shining stars in their own right.

Have a box of Kleenex ready for the epilogue, another thing that KA does so well. It’s as if she herself needs this closure and she gifts it to her readers knowing we need it too. I had to read it twice, the first time it was blurred and after I wiped the wet away I read it again. I had a hard time putting this one away.





This book was not at all what I expected, but it had Kristen Ashley’s stamp all over it. Was that a bad thing? No way, because this was a GREAT read! There was little suspense, a rocky start to the relationship, the usual unveiling of the character’s history, and then on to the heart of the story and this one had a HUGE heart and lots of lovin’, lots and lots of lovin’! It came it many different forms, family love, friendship love and the love between Tess and Brock, two irresistible characters that were a dynamite couple!
They never wavered from their relationship; once they were together, they believed in each other, no questions, no doubt, they were ROCK SOLID. Oh, they had the normal hurdles to work through, but unlike other books where the couples might separate, question if they belong together, these two built on what they had. Tess had to overcome a tragic past, work on her self-esteem, and Brock did everything in his power to make her see her full worth and beauty. Of course being a KA man, that meant getting physical, and laying some wet ones on her every chance he got. Wet kisses that is, I was salivating so bad I needed a bib, the kind with the scoop on the bottom to catch the drool!

"Then his head dipped and he gave me a sweet, delicious, long, deep cupcake kiss.”

Brock also liked cake, Tess baked cakes, he got to have his cake and eat it too…uh… not just cake…he was…uh…let’s just say the man could get down and dirty…VERY HOT! Brock was badass and protective when it came to Tess and his family, but she was no slacker. She had her man’s back, and when her hackles came up and she defended Brock…WATCH OUT!! Quiet, but deadly…the girl could kick some major ass, verbally and physically. 

The KA trademarks were all here, the descriptive writing, attention to detail, secondary characters that take front and center, and in this book, it was the kids.
They were delicious! I could picture every one of them. I also like the way she propels the story forward. She doesn’t continue from the point where it left off at the last chapter when you get to the next chapter. You think you missed out, and then she takes you back to divulge what took place to bring you to that point. I find it to be very enjoyable, because it adds an extra level of anticipation.
 
Another satisfying epilogue rounded out this warm and beautiful love story!!
"Son of law" is up next...yes the alluring MITCH, another yummy dream man!






Giveaway:
Because we at Swept Away By Romance are huge fans of Kristen Ashley and her Dream Man Series, we want to give away all 3 books to one lucky winner. Yes, you read right. All 3 books! The winner will receive Mystery Man and Wild Man right away. Law Man, the third book in the series, comes out in February and will be sent to you automatically on its release day. For a little taste, you can download the first six chapters of Law Man on Kristen's website here.
To enter you have to:
  • be a follower or sign up to be one
  • leave a comment with a valid email address
  • let us know why you are interested in this series (maybe you've already read Kristen Ashley or have heard of her...anything goes)

The books are only available in ebook format. We'll get you the format of your choice!
This Giveaway is International and ends on February 2nd.
Good Luck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The winner of the Marie Force Giveaway is...

Denise



Congratulations Denise and thank you for entering the Giveaway. You won the first three books in the Fatal Series by Marie Force + the wedding novella.







 Have fun with the books, Denise. Happy reading!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ARC: Fatal Flaw by Marie Force and Series Giveaway

Nick and Sam have just come back from their honeymoon on Bora Bora. Now that they’re back home, they know that they are going to be busy again but they definitely didn’t expect to come back to a serial murder case or the personal threats they both receive. On top of all that, Sam’s father faces serious health issues and they are trying to adopt the boy that has grown to be like a son to them.

I have loved every single book in the series so far and after that amazing wedding novella, Nick and Sam feel like close friends that I love to visit with. There is a lot going on in this book but Marie Force ties it all together beautifully. Sam and Nick remain the central characters but we also get more glimpses into the lives of her detectives and family. Freddie, Jeannie, Gonzo, Terry O’Connor and Lindsay McNamara, the medical examiner, are all part of the ride and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of them. This group of characters makes the series so real and lively. At the same time they never distract from Nick and Sam or the current investigation. Marie Force found the perfect balance between suspense and love in all forms, romance, family and friendship.  While this is a fast-paced book, the reader gets some down time from the stress of Sam’s job and can relax at one of the many cute, funny and romantic scenes with the married couple. I cannot say often enough how much I adored this book. Every time I read a book in this series I think it can’t possibly get better than this. Marie Force seems to top herself over and over again and keeps things interesting and fresh.

I absolutely did not want this book to end. I hope there will be a fifth installment and we get to know more about Freddie and Elin, Jeannie and her boyfriend and of course I want to know what happens to Scotty. I loved every single page and devoured every single word of this book. Fatal Flaw comes with high recommendation from Swept Away by Romance. If you enjoy a funny, cute and sexy romance with a well-developed suspense plot and many loveable characters, this is the book for you.






ARC kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley




Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Fatal Flaw on February 6th, we are giving away the first three books in the series: Fatal Affair, Fatal Justice and Fatal Consequences. We’ll throw in the wedding novella Fatal Destiny, too.

The books are released in ebook format only. If you don’t have a kindle or another reading device, you can download an ebook reader for free onto your computer.

Anyone can enter. Just make sure you:

-          Are a follower or sign up to be one

-          leave a comment with a valid email address


-          let us know why you want to read the Fatal Series (maybe you already know Marie Force or you love romantic-suspense….)



The Giveaway closes on January 25th. Good Luck everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guarding Suzannah by Norah Wilson

Suzannah Phelps is a high profile and very successful criminal defense attorney in Fredericton, Canada. She’s made many enemies and the cops down at the precinct call her the Ice Queen, among other things.

For a while now she has been getting strange massages and little gifts left on her doorstep. Her stalker is very determined but Suzannah tries to ignore the obvious. The police don’t take her seriously, anyway. When Detective John Quiggley gets wind of Suzannah’s situation, his yearlong attraction to her comes back in a rush and he cannot stay away from her. He wants to protect her at all cost.
That Suzannah refuses to alert the police to her situation had me rolling my eyes here and there but her reasons were understandable. I really loved John. He is very persistent and I loved that he stands up to Suzannah while being very gentle and caring with her. I realize that the stalker-scenario has been done numerous times but I enjoyed the plot very much, especially the little twist in the end.

I read Needing Nita (novella) by Norah Wilson a while back without realizing that it was part of a series. When I found out, I decided to get started on the first book of the Serve and Protect Series, which is Guarding Suzannah. I quite enjoy Norah Wilson’s style of writing, even though the book could have used some more editing.  Either way, I’m definitely going to continue with the series. The next book is Saving Grace. Ray and Grace Morgan are introduced in Guarding Suzannah as John’s good friends and I’m very anxious about their story.




Norah Wilson: homepage,blog



Steffi


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

A fabulous book with great characters but I have to say it was also incredibly exhausting.

Nina Sheridan has to take a time-out from her fiancé and wants to spend two weeks in a cabin in the Colorado Mountains. When she arrives from England after countless hours of traveling, she finds out that the cabin has been double-booked and the owner is currently staying there. Max makes a very bad first impression on Nina and she leaves to find a hotel in town. As if that wasn’t bad enough her car breaks down on her way into town and she has to spend the night freezing, in the backseat. One good thing does come out of it however. Max comes to Nina’s rescue and nurses her back to health after she falls ill.

It turns out that Max isn’t as bad as Nina initially thought. Sure, he can be a bit overbearing and domineering but also sweet, funny, caring and definitely hot hot hot!! Best of all: He wants Nina for life.

Nina comes to realize that maybe her idea of a quiet, uneventful life with her British fiancé might not be right for the passionate woman after all. The mountain man owner of her holiday cabin starts to look mighty appealing but Max seems so secretive and Nina starts doubting herself.

Max is amazing and made me sweat a time or three. I also loved the secondary characters. There is a lot going on in the Colorado small town and I loved every minute of it. You might wonder why I am not rating this as a 5-star read. Well, my biggest problem was Nina. She came on too strong sometimes and I never connected to her. Secondly, and most importantly, the book is way too long for my taste. Kristen Ashley should have saved the very detailed descriptions of every single meal and every single outfit or the way Nina does her hair. Now I know how Nina would dress for a natural look, for a date look, for a hike….. that just got frustrating after a while. I had the feeling that these were just page-fillers that were really not needed. The book would have benefited from fewer pages.

This is definitely not the book for you if you want a quick sexy, romantic pick-me-up but it’s still worth checking out. The Gamble feels like a marathon but you also get the biggest thrill and kick out of it when you arrive at the finish line. You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful epilogue and maybe Max will whisper some dirty little secret in your ear. He seems to like doing that a lot!


Kristen Ashley: homepage, blog
Buy at: amazon, Barnes&Noble


Steffi

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Loved it! Classic Virgin River, and not only to we get a few new fantastic characters, we had plenty of our old favorites, most notably…Jack! I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between Connor and Leslie.  They had similar history with exes and therefore they related to each other very well. Leslie was funny, determined and wicked with a fire extinguisher, had no fear taking matters into her own hands. Connor had it for her bad and he heated up the sheets with her pretty quickly. He was a protective brother, uncle, and I found him to be very humble and oh so sweet!
As always Jack’s bar is the hub of the community and it’s always fun to visit and hear what he’s got to say. He doesn’t always give the best advice, but I love hearing the boy talk. Of course where there’s Jack, Preacher’s not far behind, always true to character, quiet yet lethal. I can’t get enough of them. Brie was Connor’s contact while he was awaiting trial, so it was nice to catch up with her and Mike too.
I was disappointed with anticlimactic conclusion to the story. There was so much build-up leading to the trial that I thought that we might see a heroic ending involving Connor and the VR alphas, but it didn’t play out that way. I love a good man hunt!
Katie, Connor’s sister, and Nora, a character who’s fallen under hard times and was introduced in Bring Me Home for Christmas, will be featured in the next two books.  I’m looking forward to coming back to VR again, and watching these women hook alphas of their own.




Robyn Carr: homepage



Karla

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Books We Loved in 2011 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations  To   ……. Maria (Chilosa 2004)



Thank you all for entering and your lovely comments. We will host another big giveaway in February around Valentine’s Day and it’s going to be amazing. In the meantime, stay tuned for more reviews and news from the romance community.



***Winner was chosen using Random.org***



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Books We Loved in 2011 Giveaway

We thought it would be nice to to look back at the year 2011 and think about all those books we've read and loved. It was so hard to keep this list to 15 books. So, this is just a sample but we've tried to choose those books that will be re-read time and time again and will stay with us forever. You will find the Giveaway directions at the end of this post. We wish all of you a wonderful year 2012. May all your wishes and hopes come true. Now let's get started:


    
1. Hard Evidence (I-Team #2) by Pamela Clare
 (ROMANTIC SUSPENSE)
Steffi: Tessa Novak is an investigative reporter who witnesses the murder of a young girl and believes Julian is the murderer. Julian Darcangelo is an undercover FBI agent on the trail of a ring of human traffickers.While Tessa's reporting skills help Julian with his case, they also put them both in grave danger.

Pamela Clare's books always make for a sleepless night. Once started you can't possibly put them down. She makes the words on a page come to life. With all of her books I feel like she is taking me on a journey which is thrilling and suspenseful but also very engaging and requires me to actually think and do some work myself. Julian is one of the hottest heroes ever but together with Tessa he is pure dynamite. The whole I-Team series comes with high recommendations but it doesn't have to be read in order.






2. Dragon Bound (Elder Series #1) by Thea Harrison
(PARANORMAL ROMANCE)

Karla:
A half-human, half-Wyr, Pia, is forced into stealing from a powerful leader of the Wyrkind, Dragos. He wants revenge, but at the same time he can’t deny the attraction he has for her.
This was one of the most unique paranormal books I read this year and a great start to this series. It’s filled with wonderful characters, a fantastic new world, funny dialogue, action, and DRAGOS!! Enough said…



3. Letters to A Secret Lover by Toni Blake 
 (CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE)
Karla:
A scorned woman finds love in a most unlikely place with the town’s most eligible bachelor.
Fantastic! Funny, sexy, heartwarming, with two endearing and charming characters, the perfect mix for a contemporary romance. Long after I put this book down I kept thinking about these characters, especially Mr. Sexy Flannel! A definite keeper!



4. Fallen from Grace by Laura Leone
(CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE)   
Karla: well-written emotional book, about what drives people to succumb to desperate measures to survive, and if they can change their ways once they meet “the one”.

Steffi: Fallen from Grace is a very special book that is close to my heart. It shows how great the power of love really is and no one should miss this!




5. Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance #2) by Larissa Ione
(PARANORMAL ROMANCE)

Steffi: Immortal Rider is the second book in the Lords of Deliverance series and tells the story of Horsewoman Limos and Arik Wagner. As a Horseman of the Apocalypse, Limos has to save the world from eternal chaos and destruction. Is Arik her very own downfall?
Larissa Ione is the queen of Paranormal Romance. This is a very edgy, fast, thrilling but funny book in an amazing world of demons, vampires and all kinds of strange creatures. This series is loosely connected to the Demonica series.



 
6. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Parks
(YA ROMANCE)

Karla:
After her housing falls through, a college student stays with a quirky host family. She is welcomed with open arms and forms an online friendship with the oldest son, who is away from home experiencing the world.
Reading this book was mind blowing and it left me emotionally drained. You will love Julie and the unusual Watkins family. Not all is as it seems, and as you journey to discover what drives this family’s behavior you won’t be able to stop reading. Wonderful!



7. Dancing on Coals by Ellen O'Connell
(HISTORICAL ROMANCE)
Steffi: I don't know shoe she does it but Ellen O'Connell creates the most special books. When I finished this book I felt as if I had taken a vacation in the American West of 1881. Katherine Grant is on her way home to New York after traveling when the stagecouch is attacked by armed robbers. She is saved by an Apache warrior but his brother is the one who really intrigues her. Ellen O'Connell tells this epic love story while not forgetting about the politics of this time. A perfect blend of culture and one of the grandest love stories in romance novels. Dancing on Coals is a must read!





8. A Lot Like Love by Julie James
(CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE)

Steffi: Julie James guarantees a good time. All her books are witty and funny. A Lot Like Love is no exception. A billionaire's daughter with a brother in prison is attracted to FBI agent, Nick McCall. They throw over all personal rules and barriers to be together and take you on a thrilling and fun ride.
Karla: An engaging, smart, witty, sexy, fun book with a strong female character and one of the finest alpha males!



9. The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor #2) by Jill Shalvis
(CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE)

Karla: Wonderful family dynamic in this book. I love the re-kindled romance between Ford and Tara and discovering what tore them apart. Great series.

 Steffi: Jill Shalvis is a master of her craft. Tara and Ford's story is funny, quirky, sweet and sexy and my favorite of the Lucky Harbor Series. Jill Shalvis is my absolute favorite author and I believe I could read her grocery list and get a kick out of it. The whole Lucky Harbor Series is a definite must read!



10. Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone
(HISTORICAL ROMANCE)

Karla:
Matthew Wallingford is a tortured soul who finds love with a woman who is unlike anyone he’s ever been with.
Matthew is one of my all time favorite heroes. His true self is slowly revealed with each turn of the page.  He is so much more than the brash, womanizing, rake he appears to be! You can’t help but fall in love with him, I did!
*Note* I would recommend reading the first book in this series, Addicted, to get a true feel for Matthew Wallingford. It will make this book that much more enjoyable. The epilogue for Sinful is a free read that is posted on the author’s website. It’s a must read.




 
11. The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton
(BDSM/EROTICA)
Karla:
A touching, loving story about a dying man’s quest to insure his wife’s well being after his impending death.
I loved the relationship that was formed between the three main characters. This is a very emotional book, but filled with so much trust and love, guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.  Not to worry though, it has a unique and satisfying HEA!

 

12. Sweet Justice by Christy Reece
(ROMANTIC SUSPENSE)

Steffi: Honor Stone is a new agent at Last Chance Rescue. When she is asked to work a rescue with her ex-lover Seth Cavanaugh, all the hurt long-buried comes up again. Seth and Honor were lovers when she was still working for the FBI and he as an undercover cop. After five years they meet again because Seth's niece has gone missing.

The suspense in this book is off the charts. Christy Reece creates such a vicious, cruel and twisted villain, I'm getting goose-bumps just thinking about him. At the same time, the romance between Honor and Seth is sweet, beautiful and very sensual. The perfect mix!

*Note* This book can be read as a stand alone. The whole series is highly recommended, though!



13. Open Country (Blood Rose Trilogy #2) by Kaki Warner
(HISTORICAL ROMANCE)

Steffi: This is the second book in the Blood Rose Trilogy and I believe even better than the first one, Pieces of Sky. In this book the second Wilkins brother , Hank, gets his own love story with the fiery Molly, who has to protect her niece and nephew from their cruel, fanatical step-father.
Kaki Warner paints a vivid picture of the American West around 1870. I would even dare to say that she is in one league with the very talented Catherine Anderson. Easily one of the best historicals of the American West I have read. This is a beautiful book about love, family and life in the open country.



14. Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden
(ROMANTIC SUSPENSE)

Steffi: I'm a big fan of romantic suspense and this is definitely one of my all-time favorites. A sister is fighting for her brother's life and simultaneously has to reconcile her loyalty to her brother with her love for the cop who arrested him. Very passionate and thrilling book!
Karla:
…suspenseful, thrilling and a unique take on second chances, not just for love, but for life.  



15. Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune
(CONTEMPORARY M-M ROMANCE)

Karla:
Hands down the best book I read this year. Steffi recommended it to me, and she was spot on when she urged me to read it and told me I would love it.  An emotional story about self-discovery, family and friendship.
Steffi: As Karla already said, the best book of 2011. It was such a surprise, too. I just happened upon this book quite by mistake and feel so lucky to have discovered it. I always recommend it to anyone who listens and can only say again how wonderful this book is. TJ Klune is an artist. His writing is exceptional and a true joy.


 
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Giveaway: We are giving away 2 books from our Books We Loved in 2011 list to one lucky winner.

To enter you have to

  • be a follower or sign up to be one
  • leave a comment with your email address and the 2 books of your choice
  • all 15 books are available in paperback and e-book format, so tell us your preference

Giveaway is International and ends on January 6th! Good Luck