Sunday, November 30, 2014


In Love with a Warrior by Kara Griffin

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (12/1/2014)
Series: Gunn Guardsman, book 4
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley
Buy it from Amazon || Goodreads

My Rating: ★1/2

Besotted by the Princess 

James Gunn knew his heart would forever be hers when she bested him in combat. Never had he met a formidable foe such as Emlyn. Mayhap it was the way her body felt above his when she pinned him and he had no choice to submit to her… 

A love coveted but forbidden 

Princess Emlyn would allow no man to victor over her on the field, especially the arrogant, sexy highlander. It would do well for him to know she wouldn’t fall at his feet and worship him. Aye, he was God-like in his appearance, strong, capable, and a protector: all the things she said she didn’t want in a man. 

All it took was one kiss 

Neither could deny their attraction. When Emlyn is betrothed to her clan’s enemy to save her people from being besieged, she beseeches James for help. The only way she can escape her ill-fated destiny and have the man of her dreams is to wage war and triumph. Not so easy a feat for a warrior such as her.

- - -

With this book I learned that while I like most historicals.... I have a much easier time reading those set in the 17-1800s... This one is more medieval and was harder to follow the English (Scottish-English, at that) at times.

But once I got past that (as much as I was able to), I was sucked into the story.

Princess Emlyn was to be married, but he was killed. Princess Emlyn is a bit of an anomaly -- while she is a princess, she's a tomboy -- well, whatever a tomboy would be called in the 1200s. She prefers a tunic and bottoms, to gowns; would much rather wield a sword than keep after a man's house. 

And all of this is to her mother's deepest chagrin.

Her father allows her to train in sword fighting -- Emlyn thinks that she'll go to war for her father. She wants to be a soldier. Beyond that, she's not exactly 'pure' in the way a lady should be -- no man is going to want her, regardless of her inability to be a true lady.

When she meets James, a guardsman who is to bring her to Marshall, of whom she is being betrothed to, she falls for him -- but he could never accept her. She knows that when she gets to Marshall, she'll likely be killed -- as Marshall and her father are at war. When her father gives her the ok to find a way out of this arrangement, she decides James will do -- for if she's going to lay with a man, may as well be one that she wants to be with.

They both go on this journey with a secret -- she goes with James as a way out of Marshall's hands and with the idea she'll return home and fight for her father's army; James is taking her with a handsome bride price, so long as she agrees to marry him. James, as much as he's enthralled with Emlyn and her ability with a sword... he's of the mind that women do not belong on the war field. He takes her weapons, and when she realizes that as much as she wants James, he'll never want her for her... she leaves him.

Half of the book was leading up to the climax of the story, and the second half of the book was them fighting their ways back to the other -- a bit different than most stories. Most stories take 75% to get to the big fight, and 25% is groveling. 

I had a hard time choosing what would be good excerpts for this, but bottom line:

I like Emlyn. I love her fierceness. I love her mind. I love her ability to play people.

I like James. I love his loyalty to his beliefs and as much as he doesn't want his faerie fighting... he recognizes her fighter spirit.

I hate Emlyn's mother.

Yes. Hate her.

And even though it took me a great minute to figure out how to wrap my mind around the dialogue...

I'm pretty hopeful to read Griffen's book -- he's a good brother and I'd like to see where this betrothal of his and Anne's goes, because surely something happened during their two-day ride...


Right?? Maybe...?

We'll see!

review || BLAMED

My system for NetGalley books is rather easy -- sort them by publish date and read in that order. However, the books I've received from authors or directly from publishers? My system needs help.
I requested BLAMED weeks ago.... And while it sat in my carousel, it kept getting pushed further and further back until bam -- Edie posted it was release day.

Oh no...!

So I put aside the book I was reading (FOR HIS PROTECTION -- which I don't know ever got it's blog review finished...) and dove into BLAMED -- while the review wouldn't be out by publication date, it would be darn close (or so I naively thought).

This helped me realize, though, that I need to truly perfect my system as a whole. My next Erin Condren life planner will be further utilized -- I will make a point to write every book, every pub date, every tour date, and so forth.

However... I don't think I've done too bad this first few months. It's been a learning process, by I'm getting there :)

Blamed by Edie Harris

Publisher: Carina Press (11/3/2014)
Series: Blood Money, book 1
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Source: Author
Buy it from Amazon | BN || Goodreads

My Rating: 

Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She's worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.

But someone, somewhere, hasn't forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies-MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she's ever loved. And the one she thought she'd killed in the desert.

- - -

This book starts out intense -- great descriptions, makes you want to read more. I mean, how could you not when you read:
The blood in her mouth tasted like hot pennies.
 Flinching as a secondary arterial spray lashed her face, she kept her fingers clenched in her tormentor's hair, holding his head aloft for the slice of the blade she'd stolen from his tool kit when his back was turned.
The mistake had just cost him his life.
Her stomach lurched, and she shoved the dead man away, wishing he'd deafened her when he boxed her ears on the second--third?--day, so she couldn't hear the back of his skull hit the concrete floor with a sickening thwack. Her hand shook, the knife threatening to slip from her mangled fingers, but once it fell, she knew she wouldn't be able to pick it back up, and she couldn't afford to be weaponless. Injured knuckles white around the slick rubber grip, she staggered back until her shoulders hit the far wall of her prison.
Her torture chamber.
The sounds of footsteps, heavy and booted, broke through the encroaching deafness, and then there he stood in front of her, limned in the faint glow of the bunker lights, a tall man with ice for eyes and a nasty-looking gun.
I mean, c'mon... How can you read that and not want to read more??

I like when movies take the epilogue and put it in the prologue -- keeps the viewer on their toes and whatnot. And for the most part, I appreciated it with this book. However, you know me and my need to know the end... so it irked me a bit because I wanted needed to know more.

It also irked me, just a tad, that the entire book goes from present to tense, to memory, to present tense -- present tense, of course, being before that prologue scene.

I really enjoyed how Edie wrote Beth -- she's a former spy who can't quite get past her fears. She has a system to coming home, to as far as taking off her shoes. She has her little alarm systems, not to mention the big alarm systems her family installed, and knows if and when someone's been messing with her.

You don't become a trained killer as a teen and think the world of big bad men will leave you alone once you retire.

Beth is a bit estranged from her family. Not quite, but most definitely from her brother, Tobias. And their little heart-to-heart? Oh my, I rather loved it.

Then there's the man across the street.

Turns out, the man across the street is the man she's been in love with for years, another spy who's a chameleon to the extreme. And when he lets her in on that little secret (because he has more), she's ecstatic (not so much with some of the other little secrets).

The book goes through Vick and Beth finding their way as a monster is out to take Beth down. Beth is a strong heroine, has to be with her past, and Vick is a man who has a mission that is tearing him in two.

I enjoyed the book. It's a 4-star for reasons such as the back-and-forth, and there were parts I couldn't connect with/wanted to skim, but regardless, I really enjoyed this family. And because of earlier-stated-heart-to-heart... I'm pretty excited to read Tobias's book. I find him to be extremely interesting, and super hard on himself... and I'm only too happy to watch him fall.


Sometimes I open up a book and smile a happy smile when I see its a novella. Sometimes you just need a quick read. And that is what this book was for me -- a quick reprieve from the lengthy novels I'd be completely submerging myself in.

That and it was a Christmas novella, and tis the season and all that jazz.

The Kidnapped Christmas Bride by Jane Porter

Publisher: Tule Publishing Group  (11/25/2014)
Series: Taming the Sheenans, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: NetGalley
Buy it for your Kindle || Goodreads

My Rating: ★★★★★

All he wants is a Christmas memory...

Trey Sheenan has cultivated his reputation as Marietta’s resident bad boy, until one day he lets things go too far and he loses everything---his freedom, his fiance McKenna Douglas, and his infant son.

McKenna has loved Trey since they were kids, but she’s had enough. When Trey is sent away for five years, McKenna is determined to do what’s right for her and baby TJ, which means putting her mistakes—namely Trey—behind her, and move on.

When Trey is released early, he returns to Marietta determined to beg McKenna’s forgiveness and become the father TJ needs him to be, only to discover that he’s too late. McKenna’s marrying local insurance agent Lawrence Joplin in a candlelight Christmas wedding. 

Or is she?

Once again, Trey risks everything, but this time it’s for love....and the memory of one perfect Christmas together as a family.
- - -

This was one of my favorite Christmas novellas this year. Yes, it was quick (aren't they all?) -- but again, like I stated in JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS in the SOUTHERN BORN reviews, because of the history, it made the quickness ok. Well, more than ok in the case of this book.

Trey was incarcerated. And as much as everyone has labeled him the 'bad boy' -- it's not like he was thrown in jail for a terrible crime. Yes, what he did undoubtedly would have repercussions, but it wasn't like his actions weren't just.

McKenna and Trey had been dating on and off for years, and finally were on a good 'on' stretch. They were engaged to be married, they had a baby... all really was looking up for them before the incident.  And even after he was put in jail, McKenna stood by his side.

But slowly, as opinions weighed in on her, she realized visiting him in jail wasn't what she wanted for herself, nor was what she wanted for TJ, their son, so slowly the visits dwindled to nothing.

Neither did she respond to his letters.

Trey wasn't a fool. He knew she was letting go.

So when he gets out early on good behavior, he wants to find his family -- even if McKenna doesn't consider them family anymore, she and TJ will always be his family. But then his brother drops the ultimate bomb on him --

She's getting married.

McKenna is marrying a man that she doesn't necessarily love, but he can provide for her and be a good father figure for TJ -- he's a good citizen, a good man... nothing like Trey. Quite the opposite.

However even she isn't dense enough to notice that her son doesn't like him (as much as a five year old can rebel, any way), and her fiance is hardly tolerable as him. Regardless, this is what she wants.

And when Trey shows up at the wedding, simply to talk, he says... well, she puts up a pretty good fit but allows him to talk to her.
"Daddy!" TJ's voice rose higher. "Wait! Wait for me!"
Trey had just put the keys in the ignition but now he froze, shoulders hunching.
Wait for me.
But that was all Trey had done, the past four years. Wait, and wait, and wait.
The pain roared through him, hot, blistering. This was hell... pure hell...
And then suddenly TJ was there, climbing into the truck, his arms wrapping around Trey's neck.
"Don't go," TJ begged, voice trembling, "not without me."
Prison was bad, Trey though, heart on fire, but this was so much worse.
This... there were no words for this... 
...and then he 'kidnaps' her and TJ, shortly after which he realizes will put him back in jail, but he doesn't care -- he wants one good Christmas memory of him and his family.
He'd thought he'd finally grown up. He'd thought he'd changed. He was wrong.
He was still stupid and impulsive, and what he was doing now, heading north on 89 with TJ and McKenna, was illegal. McKenna was right. This was kidnapping. He'd only been out of jail one day and he'd already broken the conditions of his parole. 
"...It’s not a question of if I’m going back to prison, it’s just a matter of when. So, since I’m going back behind bars for another couple of years, I want a Christmas to remember. A Christmas when we were almost a happy family.”
“I understand you don’t love me. I won’t ask you to love me. But I will ask you to let me be my son’s dad for a few days. That’s all I want.”
She looked at him for a long minute, taking in his hard beautiful profile, a profile that glowed in the light of the dash.
He was bad.... he was trouble... and yet whenever she’d needed him, he’d been there. When she’d been terrified of the dark, scared of the bad buys, scared that she’d be attacked and murdered, he’d held her and protected her, vowing to keep her safe. 
This story moves throughout the week following the kidnapping, through both Trey and McKenna realizing their own shortcomings in their relationship. McKenna realizes no one could ever be TJ's father better than Trey (not that she was going to replace Trey, just wanted a positive role model) -- Trey, for all his wrongs, really is a decent man. He just goes about his good ways in unconventional manners.

One of my favorite scenes (and if you have read my reviews, you know I like these types of scenes) was the 'fight' scene, approximately 80% through the book (joyous Kindle app, without page numbers). I love a good fight scene, and raised voices, and pointing out what one person sees as flaws, but the other finds admirable...

"...You're not this great guy. You're not selfless and you're not altruistic and your love is demanding and fierce and you do want me. You still want me, you bastard, and don't ever say you don't!"
Ok, so that's not really the best chunk of her argument, but I can't very well just give you the end of the book, can I?

In the end, if you're looking for a quick read, and cute Christmas novella while the weather is cold and maybe it's snowing by you... maybe you've got your tree up and the fire going..

This is definitely one you should read. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

-- they're coming { i promise!! }

I have so much to back-blog about...

Herein lies the problem --

I don't have the internet. When one works two jobs, about 60 hours a week, and is home on average for approximately 8 hours a day (see: sleep), well, internet and cable are a waste.

So, because my "fun" job is as a Starbucks shift supervisor, if I don't have to sleep to prepare for my grown-up night shift job, I will hop on the internet after my shift. I can usually make this work 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I get reviews up, too, during my breaks at the hospital at night, but pretty much I bank on the few hours I can hop on at Starbucks.

Today was supposed to be that day. Unfortunately.... I can't get the wireless to work -- on my phone, my laptop, or the store laptop.

And because of formatting, I refuse to do reviews from my phone -- that and I tend to have many more typos...

I have drafts up and being worked on for:
•VIP (ROCK AND RELEASE vol 1) (Riley Edgewood)
•ALL FOR YOU (Jessica Scott)
•CAN'T GET ENOUGH (Molly McLain)
•BLAMED (Edie Harris)
•WORTH THE FALL (Caitie Quinn)
•SEALS OF WINTER (anthology)
•AS YOU TURN AWAY (Molli Moran)
•MINE TO HAVE (Cynthia Eden)
•BADLANDS (Jill Sorenson)
•RETRACE (Sigal Erhlich)
•HARD AS YOU CAN (Laura Kaye)
•HARD TO HOLD ON TO (Laura Kaye)
•FULL BLAZE (ML Buchman)

Some of those have been read for weeks... Some just days. BADLANDS is actually a back-blog paperback because I want to get that series up and reviewed so as I read new ones in the series, I can have a back-point for you to reference.

Additionally, the first week or two of December has a number of books waiting to be read and a few blog tours to publish. More than that... Once we get to that "one month prior to publication" point, I have reviews for Sawyer Bennet's GARRETT, Mira Lyn Kelly's TOUCH & GO, and Claudia Connor's WORTH THE RISK that I'm super, beyond-duper pumped to share with you. Oh, and to reread so they're 100% fresh in my mind, because let's be honest, letting those 3 sit in my "to be read" pile was so not happening. The moment the ARCs were released, I was all over them bad-boys...

So that's what you can expect.

I can't promise ALL those reviews up tomorrow (so long as the wireless is working, of course) because they take me a good 30, 45 minutes a review, but I'm hopeful for a decent chunk.

Until next time!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Sometimes, when I'm relentlessly scouring NetGalley for new ARCs that I'm just dying to read, I stumble across posts that I never... ever... finished.
Such as this one.
You see, the next book in the NIGHT STALKERS series is ready to be reviewed, so I moseyed on over here to be sure that this review was up and finished and it. was. NOT.
It said coming soon. ...on 8/14/14.
Oy, vey, Mignon... You realize it has been three months?!
This was obviously put up during my not-so-organized months. Not that's I'm 100% great at the organization aspect, but I have gotten 100x better.
But anywho.
Better late than never, yes?
Light Up the Night by M.L. Buchman

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca (9/2/2014)
Series: Night Stalkers
Genre: Military Romance
Source: NetGalley
My Rating:
Name: Trisha O'Malley
Rank: Second Lieutenant and AH-6M "Little Bird" Pilot
Mission : Take down Somali pirates, and deny her past

Name: William Bruce
Rank: Navy SEAL Lieutenant
Mission : Rescue hostages, and protect his past-against all comers

They both have something to hide
When hotshot SOAR helicopter pilot Trisha O'Malley rescues Navy SEAL Bill Bruce from his undercover mission in Somalia, it ignites his fury. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety's edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion's fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia's pirate lords.

- - -
connect with M.L. Buchman || amazon author page | website | twitter | facebook
- - -

As a previous fan of M.L. Buchman's, I thoroughly enjoyed this newest addition to his Nightstalker series. It had been a few years since I've read any of these books; while my gripes I had with the first 2-3 books were still a bit evident in this book, I was more thoroughly engaged in Trish and Billy's story than I had been in any of the others!
What I love about M.L. Buchman, which fellow blogger Sonya Heaney points out in a review on the same book, is this:
I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that one of the romance genre’s strongest feminists is a male author. I don’t know what it says about other authors, but I love what M. L. Buchman has done with his heroines, and I love the respect he has for military romance and what he believes a woman is capable of doing.
Is she not right? The romance field is so, so heavily driven by female authors. Yes, there's Nicholas Sparks (huge fan here), but M.L. Buchman writes military romance in a way that reminds me of all my other favorite military romance writers. And for his female leads to be so strong and well-thought out? He must know of some pretty stellar ladies in his life. 

Any way... This book.

William doesn't trust NightStalkers -- they failed him. And when William meets Trisha... well, it's because she rescues him.
Trisha let him rant while she shut down the May. 03:46:10, right on mission schedule, ten seconds late this time. She made a point of chatting with Roland for a moment before she peeled of her helmet and turned to face the raging idiot.
The red deck lights for night operations were bright enough that he'd be able to see her clearly. That usually stopped guys cold.
"Oh fine. A woman. Now I'm probably going to have my ass reamed for yelling at a woman." Then he continued right along, chewing her out without further pause, which was pretty funny. 
I'm not entirely sure why I like that passage so much... perhaps because it shows that William really doesn't give two hoots that she's a woman -- he was rescued, by a team he didn't trust, nonetheless, for one, but also because it shows his ability to... talk, for lack of a better word.

And words are something he won't ever lack around Trisha. He immediately relates it to her being Irish and him being a pure-blood Scot.

One scene that particularly stands out in my head is when Trisha and William (who she jokingly, 'lovingly' calls "Billy the SEAL") are sitting outside her bird, talking about their pasts and her being shot at (which she keeps the bullet). It's one of the first true times you see a deep connection between these two people, who are attracted to one another but neither wants to be.
She was holding herself together by sheer force of will. The woman was so damn strong it was amazing. It would almost be easier to deal with her if she'd just cry. Not that he was any good with a weeping woman. But she was wound so tight.
If he did touch her, she wouldn't break, she'd shatter. And for reasons he wasn't going to think about right now, he cared a great deal that she didn't.
They spend a long time out there, sitting beside her bird, not talking. I think that that's a true testament of their impending relationship -- he spoke of some deep,  personal things, yet they still sat in a comfortable silence with one another.

I enjoyed these two's comfort with one another. I liked that he learned to trust Trisha's ability to fly, and she trusted his ability to lead.

I remember reading THE NIGHT IS MINE on a family trip (we carpool) up north for Christmas. I remember liking it, and then being impressed it was written by a man. I know that I had every intention of continuing the series, and I may have skim-read I OWN THE DAWN (...I may even own it...), but I wasn't as connected as I was with THE NIGHT IS MINE, and the series fell to the wayside. But when LIGHT UP THE NIGHT popped up on my radar, I knew that I wanted to come back to this series and am so glad I did.

Billy and Trisha's story is an A in my book, and I will be revisiting this one sooner than I did the first book!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE JOURNEY HOME { release day launch }


Fate has a way of stepping in and righting itself when we least expect it.
Maddison Powers has been regretting the biggest mistake of her life when she walked away from the only man who has ever sparked something deep inside her. After comparing every guy she dates to Cale Blackwood, she finally gives up all hope of ever finding him.
One dare by Maddison throws Cale back into her life...and into the arms of her best friend.
Cale Blackwood thought he had found the woman of his dreams, until she walked away from him one night and didn't look back. Attempting to find love again, Cale finds himself in a relationship built on one lie after another. Forced to take on the biggest challenge of his life, Cale must seek help from the woman who walked away from him and broke his heart.
Sometimes it takes more than one journey in life to truly be home.

Maddie's POV
“Cale, you need to go home.” He closed his eyes and shook his head. “You’re doing it again. You’re pushing me away. I’m tired of it, Maddie. I’m so tired of it.” I swallowed hard and turned to find my phone. I needed Jack to come pick up Cale. I was about to dial my phone when Cale grabbed me. He turned me around and backed me up until I hit the living room wall. His eyes were filled with lust. That look had my panties soaked in seconds. He lifted up my dress and, in one quick movement, he ripped my panties from my body. I wanted to cry out yes. I wanted to let him take me, but I couldn’t. “Cale,” I said. “Don’t do this.” He kissed my neck and I started to give in. When his hand touched my inner thigh, I startled. His lips moved to mine and I moaned, desperately, into his mouth as he lifted my leg. “Oh God,” I whispered. I tried to come to my senses. “Cale, please don’t do this. We can’t do this.” He moved his lips to my jaw line as he kissed around to my ear. “Are you turned on by me? Or by him?” The moment he asked, I felt like a whore. I dropped my leg and pushed him back. I wiped the tears from my eyes. “Jesus. I didn’t mean that Maddie. I just—” “Get out,” I said. “Get out of my house and don’t you dare set foot near me again. I hate you, Cale.”
Copyright 2014 The Journey Home Kelly Elliott

Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.
One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.


Brought To You by:

Monday, November 24, 2014

week of { THANKS }

This year has been a whirlwind of a year for me.

Without getting into all the nitty-gritty of it... let's just say, there's been some growth; equally, though, I feel that there's been a lot of hamster-wheeling (you know, going around and around and around, and no where fast).

The year is coming to an end -- just a little over a month is left! 

November has always been the time people reflect on what they're thankful for.

As always, I'm thankful for my family and friends. My parents and their spouses have been there for me and have helped me through some particularly rough patches this year. My little (big, bad Marine of a) brother, who I'm incredibly close to, went and got married, and I had some qualms about it (no worries, said qualms are said and gone). With those qualms, I had friends allowing me to vent and cry and understand me

Sometimes you just need someone to do just that.

On this (blog/review) level...

I'm not entirely sure how I found NetGalley, but I did. And the broke book lover has been super thankful for it. Not only have I been given the ability to read new books, I've had the opportunity to find new authors -- Emmy Curtis, Tina Ness, Ella Sheridan... 

Cristin Harber I found somehow through Facebook (SAVAGE SECRETS popped up somewhere); Claudia Conner I found through NetGalley and Cristin; JB Salsbury I found through Cristin and InkSlinger, who I connected with through NetGalley.

So while it's not a lot (you can get anywhere from 9 books, to 1 book, depending on your avenue...) I want to give back to YOU for helping me go through this journey. I would like to give one winner at $10 e-gift certificate to BN or Amazon to fulfill her (his?) book obsession. 

review || FULL THROTTLE { blog tour }

This... this is me to a capital T --»

Many moons ago... well, I suppose there were a few moons, but really, many months ago, I was grocery shopping and was skim reading the books in the Woodman's collection. I was looking at a Julie Ann Walker's HELL FOR LEATHER and I essentially skim read that badboy, front to back. Well, I never skim read front to back, which you may have learned in my review of J.B. Salsbury's FIGHTING THE FALL (not that I skimmed that book. I just read that book in all sorts'a orders, because I was on a severe need to know for that one) -- I read the last four paragraphs, then the entire epilogue, sometimes I then read the last few paragraphs of the last chapter and the epilogue again, read the first chapter, thumb to the middle and read a little bit there...

...don't ask me why, it's something I've always done. I will always read a book (I'm interested in) completely, but I like to take tastes from here and there.

However, while I read HELL FOR LEATHER front, back, middle, and all over, I ended up buying Maya's AFTER THE STORM. Now, my problem with those Kelly boys is I have to own a paperback copy of the books. It doesn't matter that I'd owned AFTER THE STORM on my Nook since midnight-oh-one the day it came out. Didn't matter that I'd read the book numerous times. It simply mattered that I had enough money in my grocery budget for one book, and I'd put off the paperback purchase of AFTER THE STORM for three or so grocery trips. It was simply Donovan's turn to be bought...

...but I never did go back to pick up Delilah and Mac's book.

... ...and now that I've read FULL THROTTLE, I'm a bit sad I haven't made Ms. Walker one of my go-to-authors, because FULL THROTTLE is right up my alley. It fits right into the genre I absolutely, 100%-ly love to read.

... ... ...however, on the flipside, I have a bad feeling that had I picked up a paperback copy of HELL FOR LEATHER, BKI would be yet another series that I'd have to own in paperback in it's entirety. I can only afford so many books in more than one format...

Besides, there's no time like the present, so Julie Ann Walker... my sincerest apologies for not giving you a chance sooner. I'm kicking myself, as this is most certainly a series that I'll be salivating over while the next books are released.

Full Throttle by Julie Ann Walker

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca (12/2/2014)
Series: Black Knights Inc, book 7
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Buy It For Your Kindle | Amazon | iTunes | BN/Nook || Goodreads
My Rating: 

click here to jump to { mm:r's } review

She Needs a Hero... 

Abby Thompson didn't sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she's content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father's policy of "not negotiating with terrorists" means she'll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there's one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he's the only man who can save her...

Black Knights, Inc. to the Rescue... 

Carlos "Steady" Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he's tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved-who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he's got. Plus there's the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him... for the second time?

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So far, so good…
The hum of the Ducati was reassuring, as was Abby’s tightened grip around Steady’s waist. They were riding down the devil’s own washed--out, rutted, rock--filled hell of a rubber tree logging road, and for the first ten minutes of the harrowing journey, while she’d still been suffering the lingering effects of the sedative, it was just as difficult to keep her on the bike as it was to navigate the frackin’ jungle track.
But now they were clipping along at a steady, if decidedly slow, pace. No JI goons could be seen in his rearview mirrors—-though it was hard to tell exactly, given the fact that the forest encroached from both sides and above. And if his calculations were correct, a half hour or so more should see them entering the lovely kingdom of Thailand.
See, he wished he could call and tell Dan, sometimes it’s better to Lone Wolf McQuade things…
Abby squirmed against his back, interrupting his thoughts and alerting him to the feel of her supple thighs pressed against the outsides of his hips and legs. Which, in turn, immediately focused his attention on her soft breasts—-and distended nipples?—-grazing his back.
Okay, so who was he kidding? Like he hadn’t been keenly aware of each of those things since the first moment. Even while worming his way through the dense undergrowth of ferns and vines after escaping the encampment and hiking back to the Ducati, he’d been hard--pressed to concentrate on anything other than the feel of Abby squeezed all nice and tight against him. Abby’s soft skin touching his. Abby’s sweet smell—-even sweaty and bedraggled, she still emanated a soft cloud of dryer sheets and cocoa butter lotion—-filling his nose and making his head spin.
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About the Author
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

connect with Julie Ann Walker || website | goodreads | facebook | twitter

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{ review } .

Sounds good, right?! It really, really is.

I always enjoy a story where the characters have history, and Abby and Steady? They have history.

Abby has been a little bit in love with Carlos since she was assigned to his sister at school, being her 'little sister' on campus. Carlos, too, has been a little bit in love with Abby, but she's too young for him, so he manages to keep it in his pants.
She’s too young for you, he remembered the scolding tone in Rosa’s voice. And even if she isn’t, she’s too far out of your league. You think her father wants her dating a maldito bori when he’s got a national election to win?
He’d winced at the slur while at the same time knowing his sister was right.
Carlos and Abby have an easy relationship. They both are extremely good at hiding their attraction, of course, but their friendship is easy and comfortable. They bickered as kids and shoved at one another. One would nudge the other, the other would shove; then the back and forth 'stop/no you stop' would happen. It wasn't annoying... it just was and it was Carlos and Abby.

One of my favorite, ironic as it was, conversations between Carlos and Rosa in college was when Carlos told Rosa he'd never make a good mentor -- he had no patience for long-winded explanations. What's ironic about this?

Well, Abby talks a mile a minute. Carlos, though, has patience for her. He chuckles and interrupts some of her rants, knowing that they could go on and on for days, but he has patience for it because it's Abby.

The easiness, though... it was at least easy when they were younger: before the accident that took his sister and for all intents and purposes, took Abby from him too.

And any illusions he’d had that Abby didn’t care about such things {age gap} was stripped from him the day of Rosa’s funeral.

He’d gone to her thinking maybe she would be his hand to hold, his shoulder to cry on. He’d gone to her thinking they were friends… maybe more than friends, though she had still been far too young for him. He’d needed her so badly that day he’d been willing to ignore the gap in their ages, the impropriety of his making a move, because his remorse, his grief, his need to comfort and be comforted had outweighed anything else. But he’d been wrong to think she might consider him worthy of her affection. She’d made it obvious that Rosa, and Rosa’s position as her academic mentor, had been the only glue holding the three of them together.
Their lives are thrown apart.

But when Abby's father, the President of the United States, starts to receive threats, Abby gets a security detail. Granted, everyone, and I do mean everyone, thinks that the threat is to her sister. 

And that security detail? Well it includes none other than her long-time crush, Carlos Soto. Even though Carlos is oblivious to it, Abby has had her father keeping eyes on him -- she can't be with him, but she feels immense guilt for Rosa's death and as such, is terrified of the decisions he's chosen and wants to be sure he, too, doesn't die. So while her father holds on to her secret, he still manages to put Carlos on her six.

Carlos can't help but feel the attraction to Abby. The years were certainly kind to her. And even though there were all those years in there, they pick up on their easy banter, the nudging, the stop/no you stops. And it's cute.

When they find out that the threat is against Abby... well, they learn that bit just a tad too late, and to read Carlos's frustration and fear... It's as if all the years that were lost just disappeared. All of their feelings were solid between them, and he was losing a vital piece of himself -- again.

Julie does a fantastic job of writing with just enough description. She doesn't cut anything too short, but she also doesn't describe things so much that it becomes a bore to the reader. One of my favorite examples of such descriptive writing is when Carlos digs in, literally, and stops the flow of a severed artery in Ozzie's leg.

...and while I'm not a side-story kind of person...

I also really enjoyed Penni and Dan's little bit in the book.