TBR Mountain Range

TBR Mountain Range

A long, long, time ago…in a land not so far away, a book lover was lost with only one unread book. After years as a reviewer, her ever-growing pile of books became the TBR Mountain Range.

Review
5 Stars
REVIEW: Death, and the Girl He Loves by Darynda Jones
Death and the Girl He Loves  - Darynda Jones

The enthralling final book of the DARKLIGHT trilogy is as surprising as it is wonderfully choreographed. A recommended read for young adults who love a great paranormal suspense, as well as for adults who are young at heart!

Review Courtesy of Romance Junkies and reposted at TBR Mountain Range.

Unfortunately, I didn't read books one and two, so I apologize in advance if I spoil either one of those for you in this review of book three in the DARKLIGHT trilogy. Just due to what is revealed in this final book, I won't know for sure if talking about the first three chapters of DEATH AND THE GIRL HE LOVES will spoil the first two books for you. But, that's all I'll concentrate on, the first three chapters, so you'll get the full effect of the end of the trilogy on your own when you read it.

Lorelei "Lor" McAlister finds herself abandoned at the Bedford Fields Academy, a private boarding school for children of the wealthy. Her grandparents aren't wealthy, but she earned a scholarship so she was removed from the only home she knew in New Mexico, given a new name of Lorraine Pratt with a background story of being from Arizona, all to protect her from something. Lor is suspicious of the scholarship and wants nothing more than to go home. Especially since she's having visions of impending doom for everyone she accidentally touches or bumps into. She can see their deaths and the storm that takes place the day they die, most of her visions are so horrifying that Lor can't stand the thought of touching another human being with a prediction to tell. And now, she's getting death threats slipped into her pockets. Somehow, some way, she's going to escape this place.

Lorelei makes a few new friends at Bedford Fields Academy, who add to the mystery of why she's there and who is trying to kill her. She had been brought to the school by members of the "Order," a group of believers who know she is the last prophet and who believe she will save the world. But, her travels to this new place have been so secret. None of her friends in New Mexico know where she is and Lor is not allowed to tell them for fear of their safety as well as hers. Her only contact with her past is through a new cell phone number for her grandparents who have raised her since the disappearance of her parents when she was six-years-old. Lor's new friends, Crystal, Kenya and Wade add to Lor's confusion and anxiety, in addition to some humor, while she struggles to find a way home before something really bad happens.

For those who have read the first two books, many of the previous characters such as Brook, Cameron, Glitch and the so very irresistible Angel of Death, also known as Jared, are back to support Lorelei in her quest.

Although there's a great amount of action and mystery to kick off this final book in the DARKLIGHT trilogy, it's the characters who truly shine. Lorelei is a fun heroine. She's sassy, inquisitive and not completely convinced she's the answer to anything. She doesn't want the responsibility of saving the world, yet it has been thrust upon her by her predetermined destiny as a prophet. She hasn't grown up with this knowledge, even though she knows she's different, but has had the facts handed to her in the last few months. For centuries the women in her family have been prophets and she's the last one. Crystal, who is Lor's roommate at the boarding school, is especially comical. She definitely adds the comic relief to Kenya's danger and Wade's darkness. I could so easily picture each one of them and laughed at their antics, as well as fretted when I was sure Lor wouldn't survive what came next. When Jared is introduced, I fell hard and he continued to enthrall me to the very end.

The DARKLIGHT trilogy is definitely one that you should read in order. I understood most of book three without reading the first two books, but once I got to the end and realized how fabulous it would be for someone who had read all three books, I was disappointed that I didn't get that same experience since I had received just the third book for review. I loved the ending because it's surprising and clever, so I highly recommend that you read this series of books in order to get the full impact of a very good finale.

The series order is…
Book 1: Death and the Girl Next Door (released October 2, 2012)
Book 2: Death, Doom and Detention (released March 5, 2013)
Book 3: Death and the Girl He Loves (released October 8, 2013)

A fabulous conclusion which will move you to tears—DEATH AND THE GIRL HE LOVES is the perfect book for young adults, as well as adults, who love a new twist in a world facing an apocalypse. Filled with camaraderie, great friends who have your back, love, family, laugh-out-loud moments and a destiny of unparalleled mystique, DEATH AND THE GIRL HE LOVES will rock your emotions, twist them up and send them crashing back at you before it's done. Bravo, author Darynda Jones—you made me laugh, you made me cry and you completely surprised me with this unique story—a recommended read!

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/paranormal/Death_and_the_Girl_He_Loves.shtml
Review
3.5 Stars
REVIEW: Safe Harbor by Hope White
Safe Harbor - Hope White

This inspirational novel explores how faith can renew confidence after a traumatic experience, giving hope that a normal life is earned once you've forgiven yourself.

Rated 3.5 Stars, review courtesy of the TBR Mountain Range.

Nicole Harris has recurring episodes of fear related to her father's abuse of her and her two siblings. When her boss is threatened and consequently murdered, it's not unexpected that her repressed fear forces her into a closet, acting on impulse. It's what saves her life this time but she's in danger as the only witness to a crime. Nicole didn't see the killer but is sure she can recognize his voice, if she's brave enough to fight her demons of past and present.

Alex Donovan is a good detective but meeting Nicole Harris makes him think of more than protection and crime solving. Alex hopes that he can protect Nicole from whoever killed her boss because Alex is much more attracted to her than he should be which inevitably means his attention will be divided. When the FBI threatens to take over the case as well as take Nicole into protective custody, Alex does everything he can to keep Nicole within his jurisdiction. But will his efforts be enough when the killer seems determined to remove all evidence of his crime?

Nicole's childhood abuse added an interesting twist to how she reacted as a murder witness. Her reflexes to hide from a threat put her in a closet when she could have been killed right along with her boss. Alex helps Nicole gain confidence by teaching her how to defend herself, but does that give her too much confidence? As Nicole becomes more determined to help Alex track down the killer, will she put herself in harm's way?

Even though Alex wants to help Nicole, he can't stop his past from interfering with his focus. He still blames himself for a tragedy in his past and that may be too much for either of them to overcome.

Although SAFE HARBOR is labeled inspirational suspense, it's not overly religious. Instead, the story centers on the suspense and the growing attraction between the characters, while they gain confidence with their renewal of faith as the catalyst to their strength. SAFE HARBOR will satisfy those who prefer a sweet romance.

Book pulled from my Print TBR Mountain Range, purchased by me.

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://www.tbrmountainrange.com/2013/10/31/review-safe-harbor-by-hope-white
Review
3.5 Stars
REVIEW: Born in Chains by Caris Roane
Born in Chains - Caris Roane

A new series that explores the erotic relationship between a bonded human and vampire, while they hunt for a weapon that will purportedly wipe out the entire vampire race. This world isn't just split between the humans and the vampires, but the factions within each society as well. Can either side learn to live in peace?

Rated 3.5 Blue Ribbons courtesy of Romance Junkies. Posted at TBR Mountain Range amongst other books I've read this year.

In the beginning of BORN IN CHAINS, Adrien and his two half-brothers are incarcerated in a Himalayan cavern prison. All three vampires have spent years policing their world, fighting against the seedy nature of it. They are imprisoned by Daniel Briggs, an Ancestral vampire who is obsessed with power. For a whole year they have suffered under Daniel's torture, deprived of blood and so close to madness because of it.

Human Lily Haven lost her entire family in a terrible vampire rampage two years ago. Or so she thought, until human Harris Kiernan claims that he will return her son, if she binds herself to a vampire in order to find the extinction weapon he seeks. Not to just any vampire, but Ancestral worthy Adrien who is currently imprisoned. Kiernan gives her a blood-bond chain created with Adrien's blood. Lily is known as a locator and is told that their connection will create a blood tracking bond of great abilities.

After a year of torture, as well as considering his hatred of humans, how is Lily supposed to control this very powerful vampire? If either of them breaks the blood bond after it's made, they will both die. After two years of thinking that her son is dead, Lily will do anything, including becoming the lifeblood and sexual partner of a vampire she hates.

Lily and Adrien feel a connection, even before they are bonded by the blood chain. After they're bound by the chains, they become more in tune with each other's thoughts, feelings and abilities, eventually able to speak telepathically.

Lily and Adrien's attraction for one another is fueled by hate and need in the beginning. Since they're controlled by the chains that bind them, they cannot ever really be sure how much of what they feel for each other is real and what is enhanced by the chains. Will they die in a fight for their lives and their individual race, without ever knowing what they really mean to each other?

Adrien is very alpha and animalistic at first. As he is soothed by Lily's more nurturing nature, he becomes more sensitive. In all parts of the novel, he is consistently protective of Lily, even when he isn't sure if he likes her. Adrien isn't necessarily likeable as he can be quite cruel, until he grows into the man he's meant to be.

I don't feel as if I know Lily, other than who she was when she was with Adrien. She had strength, but I wasn't sure if that is something she gained out of desperation, or if she always had it. I was left wondering what her life had been like with her family before tragedy struck. Was she a stay-at-home mom or a professional outside the home? Did she have hopes and dreams? When the reader is first introduced to Lily, we meet her two years after her family's tragedy and she seems hardened by it all and yet, still very sad. I also wondered what it was in her past that helped her transition to what she experiences with Adrien. She seemed to waver between subservient and dominate yet, always a determined survivor. Maybe we'll find out more in book two.

For me, the characters didn't always behave in the way I expected. Sometimes Adrien was a bit too understanding when I expected his rage. Other times, Lily was more aggressive when I expected her to be more passive. I liked both characters and the plot, which kept me reading, but I just didn't always understand their motivations.

BORN IN CHAINS, book one of the MEN IN CHAINS series, is erotically charged, incorporating BDSM elements and sex clubs. BDSM is part of the plot, but I didn't feel it was done to increase the kink because it had a believable reason behind it. With so many books incorporating the BDSM element, it can often be off-putting to readers, but I don't feel that its inclusion should hold you back on this one. This is a very adult book without the language being too overt, but the visualization is often very graphic due to the violent nature of the villains. If you enjoy a book that's driven by the characters' sexual need, aided by the plot's use of an attraction neither character wants but cannot deny, then BORN IN CHAINS may just be the unique blend that you're looking for. The MEN IN CHAINS series has potential and I'm curious about the fate of both sides of this entwined world when we meet them again in book two.

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/paranormal/Born_in_Chains.shtml
Review
5 Stars
Review: Lady in Red by Maire Claremont
Lady in Red - Maire Claremont

The epitome of an amazing dark romance, this novel will surprise you more than once before the satisfying end.

Review Courtesy of Romance Junkies and reposted at TBR Mountain Range.

Sometimes I wonder how I happen upon such superb novels to review. I never intend for it to happen even though I hope. I choose books blindly, with only my instincts to guide me and so, I am always surprised when I read a book this amazing. LADY IN RED will forever change me with its message. It is dark—treacherous like a thief-ridden alleyway, wary until the end, where hope is finally realized. So beautiful that it leaves you gasping for more.

Lady Mary escapes the asylum where she had been imprisoned, barely alive, addicted to the drugs they forced her to take. Upon her escape, she presses forward with a sheer will to live, toward the only woman her mother ever trusted, Madame Yvonne. Madame Yvonne will do anything for her dear departed friend's daughter, even if it means danger for herself.

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, visits Madame Yvonne's establishment in order to forget his past. A past that's demon-laid with regret and shame. One that no amount of his strength can ever leave behind, forgotten. He seeks Madame Yvonne's council in that only a woman like her could fathom his pain and not question his need for oblivion. That's where he meets his Calypso for the very first time, the Goddess of his heart, bathing in Yvonne's room. Her instant terror and fierce reserve in finding herself alone in a room with the enemy, a man, solidifies his determination to help his Calypso to heal from her wounds.

Mary had been brutalized in the worst ways imaginable at the hands of her cruel "keepers" within the walls of an insane asylum. Her own father had signed for her torture when he, as her guardian, imprisoned her within those walls. That she escaped and helped another to do so at the same time was nothing short of miraculous. She has nowhere else to go and no one she can trust other than Madame Yvonne, her mother's dearest friend. It is that trust that she believes in when they realize that her father will find her, knowing that Yvonne's is the one place she would certainly seek as a refuge when she left the mad house.

Edward offers to take Mary as his mistress in order to keep her safe as her protector. Mary agrees as long as it is on her terms. Yvonne assures her that she has no choice and that Edward is a kind man. Edward promises Mary that he will allow her the time she needs to accept their agreement. Neither has any intention of giving their heart.

So begins their dance of Edward waiting to heal Mary, with Mary always wary and ready to run away. When Edward introduces Mary to his best friend Viscount Powers to help her learn to defend herself, will his lessons go beyond what any of them desire? Their triangle of friendship is as wanton as it is steadfast and increased my enjoyment of this novel exponentially. Viscount Powers adds a dark humor that suits this book so well.

LADY IN RED is layer upon layer of intrigue formed by the characters' determination to survive their inner demons at all costs. I've never read anything quite like it. It is as devilishly sweet as it is evil personified, all while balancing the thin line between good and evil. For those who love the intense thrall of a dark novel, you will be captivated. A fascinating recommended read!

I cannot wait for book three, a novel of MAD PASSIONS, THE DARK AFFAIR, which stars Viscount Powers whom I fell for completely in LADY IN RED. I didn't even notice that I was missing anything from the first book because I was so entranced with book two. I won't hesitate to go backwards to read book one, THE DARK LADY, which is about Mary's friend from the asylum. For those who have read book one, I'm sure you will enjoy the update about those characters. I am spellbound by author Máire Claremont who has passionate and seductive depth enraptured with a touch of evil in her pen.

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/historical/Lady_in_Red.shtml
Review
5 Stars
Review: Christmas in Snowflake Canyon by RaeAnne Thayne
Christmas in Snowflake Canyon (Hqn) - Raeanne Thayne

Such hilarious real-to-life situations between a couple that are laugh-out-loud funny. An injured war veteran and a former high school cheerleader start a bar fight over Christmas songs. Things go from wrong to worse and they end up doing community service over the holidays. "Bah humbug" is a love-match in the small town of Hope's Crossing.

 

Review Courtesy of Romance Junkies and reposted at TBR Mountain Range.

As a fan of the Hope's Crossing series, I have been anticipating Dylan Caine's story since getting to know him in WILLOWLEAF LANE. I had such a great time reading this heartrending and often hilarious romance about a wounded war veteran who finds himself jailed with his partner in crime, former head cheerleader Genevieve Beaumont. Destined to become a holiday favorite, CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON explores love between two people with a bad case of "bah humbug".

Dylan Caine moved back to his hometown of Hope's Crossing after spending time in rehab for his injuries sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan. He's been keeping to himself at his cabin, sulking about the loss of his arm and an eye, as well as dealing with the flashbacks of war and his sense of failure. In the meantime, he is making his family crazy enough to try anything to get him to socialize. While waiting for his brother to meet him at a local bar, Dylan gets into a bar fight when he tries to protect Genevieve "Gen" Beaumont, the mayor's daughter. Gen has been forced home from Paris by her parents who are tired of paying her way. Determined to get Gen to make something of herself, her father cuts off her money and gives her an ultimatum to fix up her grandmother's house in order to sell it, which will fund her future interior design business in Paris.

Gen isn't happy about being back in Hope's Crossing since her complete humiliation by a cheating fiancé who got another girl pregnant right before their wedding day is still the talk of the town. Listening to the same Christmas carols over and over in the bar, where she's drowning her sorrows about being without her friends during the holidays, sends her right over the edge. Confronting the woman responsible for Gen's music misery, Gen pops her one in the nose when she won't stay away from the jukebox. Dylan comes to Gen's aid when the woman's associate steps in and the altercation leads to a bar fight, then consequently, Gen and Dylan's arrest.

Apparently, punching a District Attorney in the nose, even one with a bad taste in music, isn't the smartest thing the mayor's daughter has done, but Dylan doesn't regret defending Gen. His brother finagles an agreement for one hundred hours of community service to keep them both from serving time and having a record. Neither of them is thrilled about the arrangement but they must spend the holiday season helping out at the newly formed program, A Warrior's Hope.

I really can't say enough good things about this book. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments between Gen and Dylan, not to mention their families who add in more comedic situations. For those who love the Hope's Crossing series, you'll be thrilled to read more about the many characters from previous books that we've come to love, plus some new ones at A Warrior's Hope. The program designed to help veterans adds to the emotional pull of this story.

After reading WILLOWLEAF LANE, I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather read more about than Dylan Caine. He's rough around the edges but you can't help but hope that there is a perfect woman for him. Believe it or not, Gen is exactly that. Gen is also hilariously funny in her own right. She says the darnedest things without thinking and gets herself and anyone else around her into one fix after another. Their growing affection for one another is endearing and once you know Gen for who she really is, instead of the bratty little rich girl we all think she was, then I think you'll agree that their romance is quite precious to witness.

I'm really going to miss this series when it ends. RaeAnne Thayne knows how to tie her readers to her characters with laughter and heartache before gifting them with another happy-ever-after. Just when I think I've read my favorite book by Ms. Thayne, I find another one that claims that spot. Although it's not necessary to read the prior books to this one in order to enjoy CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON, you'll have a better sense of what this couple has been through prior to coming together in this novel. That backstory makes the enjoyment all the sweeter.

Kaleidoscopic emotion, CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON is a guaranteed joyride through some uneven and unexpected holiday terrain, celebrating the season with heartwarming and heartrending moments where laughter, tears and love collide. A Romance Junkies Recommended Read!

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/contemporary/Christmas_in_Snowflake_Canyon.shtml
Review
4.5 Stars
One Night with the Laird by Nicola Cornick
One Night with the Laird - Nicola Cornick

Can a rake be seduced, then forgotten?  Lady Mairi tries but the disreputable rascal just won't leave her alone until she agrees to be his mistress.  Will their resistance to one another prove that they're not in love once it's no longer necessary to protect Lady Mairi?

Review Courtesy of Romance Junkies and reposted at TBR Mountain Range.

Beginning in Scotland in 1815, Jack and Mairi's relationship is precarious from the start.  Having met Jack at a masked ball, Mairi unknowingly picks the one man she despises the most for a sexual interlude.  Their passionate evening, spent masked in the dark, reveals only their fervor for one another, dangerous and seductive, as well as unforgettable.  Once Mairi awakens and realizes who her lover is, she's determined that he not find out who seduced him.  Can she continue to keep her identity hidden from Jack even though they are bound to be in the same place sometime in the future?

Jack Rutherford wakes up after the most amazing sexual experience of his life to find the woman gone from the bed they shared.  No amount of questioning, or threats, forces her identity from her staff.  He cannot even find out who owns this hidden place of their clandestine coupling.  Later, Jack discusses his frustration with his cousin Robert but can't seem to find a way to track his mysterious lover down.  

As a special favor, Robert asks Jack to escort Lady Mairi to an upcoming celebration, for her safety.  Jack and Lady Mairi are well acquainted since Mairi's sister married Jack's cousin.  That doesn't mean that they like one another.  Quite the opposite.  It doesn't take Jack long to realize, when he calls on Mairi, that she is the masked seductress he has been hunting.  Even more frustrating is that Mairi doesn't deny that it was her, but refuses his escort and any future dalliance.

Jack can't believe that his seductress is Mairi, whom he has despised for her haughty treatment of his previous suggestions that they become much better acquainted.  To think that she had wanted him all along and hid her identity when she seduced him intrigues him even more.  It's just like Jack to think that Mairi secretly pined for his attention and knowingly seduced him.  Lady Mairi is determined to set him straight and never make that mistake again.

Can Mairi outwit Jack in the game of seduction which earned him his undeniably rakish reputation?  Can Jack keep Mairi safe from gossip and those who find her wealth irresistible without falling in love with her?

ONE NIGHT WITH THE LAIRD is book two in Nicola Cornick's SCOTTISH BRIDES series.  For those who enjoyed book one, you can look forward to being reacquainted with many of the characters.  Book two continues at a house party where family and friends gather with Robert and Lucy from book one.  If you're like me and haven't read book one, you won't be lost by reading book two first, but you'll be curious enough to want to read THE LADY AND THE LAIRD next.  Dulcibella is a piece of work and she definitely has me curious about her actions in book one, as several laugh-out-loud moments in book two were because of her behavior.

Mairi and Jack are combustible together.  The best part is watching Mairi dupe Jack at the seductive game he seems to think he controls.  There is some suspense to this storyline but Jack and Mairi's spark are what kept me reading.  Neither one of them wants a relationship but they're not able to ignore what draws them together.

I've always loved author Nicola Cornick's books and especially when they involve a house party.  Ms. Cornick has a flare for making her characters' interactions come alive, combined with laugh-out-loud moments in their bantering with one another.  I can so easily picture them at a table conversing amongst the food and laughter, or playing games, trying to best one another.  The simple pleasures of life, that are so well portrayed, bring Nicola Cornick's historical time periods to realistic fruition.  There is also plenty of action and daring, but the love found within the pages is always heartfelt.  You really can't go wrong reading any of Nicola Cornick's books—just pick one and lose yourself within a well-drawn historical world.  I'm betting it will begin your addiction to Ms. Cornick's style, too.  What I love best is that I can prolong my connection with the books by visiting Nicola Cornick's website.  I spend a lot of time there viewing maps, photos and reading the background on books or series.  That's how I love exploring Historical Romance—you get the full package with Ms. Cornick's eye for detail.

Sensual, seductive, charismatic and a surprisingly naughty rake, with his lady ready to play along, ONE NIGHT WITH A LAIRD is passionate historical reading you won't soon forget.

 

More reviews by Dorine and contests at TBR Mountain Range.

Source: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/historical/One_Night_with_the_Laird.shtml