For those who might not know Sydney Croft is the alter-ego of a writing team made up of Larissa Ione (Demonica Series) and Stephanie Tyler (Hard To Hold series, Harlequin Blaze and upcoming Shadow Force series).
I got turned onto the ACRO series a couple of years ago when I bought Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, Book 1)based on a recommendation from Amazon. I then sent an email to Larissa Ione to let her know how much I loved the book and was really surprised when she answered my email in an hour. She gave me information on her upcoming books and said that I might like the Acro series that she co-writes under the Sydney Croft name. I bought the first book and was instantly smitten and haven't missed a book in this series since. In honor of the release of the 5th book in the series I am doing a contest.
EXTREME HEAT. EXTREME HUNGER. A JUNGLE EDEN ABLAZE WITH TEMPTATION..
Shockwaves shoot through the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO) when horrific video surfaces from the Brazilian rain forest. A team of Navy SEALs has been nearly wiped out by something sinister and superhuman. Now ACRO agents Sela Kahne and Marlena West head to the world’s most unforgiving jungle in pursuit of a mythical monstrosity with a taste for human blood. And the only path that will take them to the creature runs through two men, each hiding his own dark secret.
Sela is an expert on cryptozoology with a sideline skill that could prove invaluable: when she makes love to a man, she engulfs his innermost thoughts. Teamed with Marlena, Sela makes contact with the lone SEAL survivor, Chance McCormack. Meanwhile Logan Mills, the man who rescued Chance, leads his private company on a hunt that has nothing to do with saving lives. Soon, Sela will put her supernatural charms to work on Logan, determined to extract information about the creature they are seeking. But in this sweat-drenched realm of danger and deception, Logan is more than just a passive target. He has the power to lead a highly-trained seducer into a jungle without any rules, without any limits—and no end to the heat.
Title: Savannah Heat Author: Carol North Publisher: Class Act Books Genre: Mainstream Romance/Mystery-Suspense Print ISBN: 978-19350486952 eBook ISBN: 978-1935048695 Publication Date: June 15, 2010 Length: 249 Pages Format: eBook(pdf) Purchase: Class Act Books
Miss Bisque's deceased husband, Johnny Bob Wiley, was a man with secrets so he set up his will and trust accounts to prevent anyone learning of his clandestine activities. Bisque Fayette Wiley is a Southern belle raised to have a man take care of her. After Johnny Bob died she had to make a choice: live a hand-to-mouth existence or toughen up and take care of herself.
Her journey takes her to the door of the "Casanova of Savannah," a Savannah, Georgia art gallery owner, Colonel Parker Hill. The colonel lost a leg in Desert Storm. He owes his life to a female soldier who died taking fire meant for him. Consequently, he loves women. Perhaps, he loves too many women. The colonel, Southern gentleman that he is, becomes Miss Bisque's mentor and protector.
When Miss Bisque is accused of murder, she may need more help than even the colonel can provide.
I loved this charming and delightful book by Ms. North; it was a combination of women’s fiction, romance and a little bit of mystery/suspense. The characters were sharply written and there was quite of bit of tongue in cheek humor. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I intend to read more.
Bisque Fayette Wiley finds herself a widow and suddenly living hand to mouth at the age of 47. She lives in a large southern home and has fine furniture, however her husband’s estate is written in such a way that she is on an extremely tight budget and can’t even afford to get a new coat without begging the trustees for more money. This is quite a shock to a woman who was raised to be a “southern belle” and who took special care in running her husband’s home and in raising their daughter. She is embarrassed by her situation and realizes that she had allowed her husband and her parents to keep her in the dark in regards to finances and providing for herself. She finds herself involved in somewhat adversarial conversations with her mother, brother and married daughter, as she realizes that they only think of themselves and what they want and not what is best for her.
Bisque had put aside everything she had desired in her youth in order to make her deceased husband happy. While trying to come up with a solution to her financial situation a friend suggested that she sell her “paintings”. Bisque had been an artist while in college and had done some very good paintings, she realizes that her friend has given her good advice and starts to look for a gallery to display her paintings for sale. Throughout this book Bisque grows as a person and as a woman. She realizes that she has self worth and can be in charge of her own life. Bisque has a running dialogue with her deceased husband throughout the book and the conversations are both poignant and comedic.
Colonel Parker Hill owns the Wilhelmina Gallery in town after viewing Bisque’s paintings he offers to display them and to give her half of whatever he sells the painting for. He is a middle aged man who has never married and who is considered “the Casanova of Savannah” due to the fact that he typically dates younger women and is seen in the company of many different women. He is a former soldier who had been wounded in battle and saved by a female soldier which has given him a unique perspective on life. The Colonel is the first person that encourages Bisque to consider herself an equal to a man. He’s a shrewd businessman and realizes that Bisque has true artistic talent and pushes her to grow as an artist and to create new paintings in order to put on a complete show at the gallery.
The more time that Bisque and the Colonel spend together, the more they genuinely like each other and the more Bisque’s understanding of self-worth grows. When Bisque discovers some unsavory facts about her marriage and her deceased husband, she is able to handle them because she is able to conquer her fear and put what she needs first. When she is faced with adversity, which happens quite often in this story, she is able to face it head on and succeed. The romance between the Colonel and Bisque moves at a somewhat moderate pace and while there are some sensual scenes they are done in a classy manner and don’t overpower the romance. There is one scene with some violence towards Bisque but she is able to defend herself and the whole scene is done in such a manner that no one should be upset or annoyed. How all of the issues that come up for Bisque are handled at the end is superb and provided a true sense of justice. I hope that we can see these characters again, perhaps in a follow up story by Ms. North.
My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The eBook was provided by the author for review purposes.
Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.
Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer—everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs—someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just chasing perfect.
This is the first book in the Fools Gold Miniseries that Ms. Mallery has written around the fictional town of Fool's Gold, California. It is a light and fun book to read and again re-enforced why I like to read the romance genre. The goal of all romance novels should be to satisfy three goals, first tell a love story where the characters fall in love and work to make the relationship work, second it should provide the reader with an emotionally satisfactory ending and third it should leave the reader with the feeling of optimism. I feel that Ms. Mallery really accomplished that goal.
Charity Jones is a bright young woman who has never had a stable home and is desperate to connect. She had an unconventional childhood and in fact feels as if she never really had a childhood since she had to assume responsibilities at a young age that are usually reserved for adults. She gets an opportunity to move to Fools Gold, California to become their city planner and she jumps at the chance to move to a small town with hopes of settling down and eventually having a family. She wants to have what she missed as a child and she immediately falls in love with this town. She likes the people and loves the feeling of community. The only problem that she can see at first is that she is attracted to Josh Golden, a retired professional cyclist, who has a reputation as a womanizer. She is surprised to discover that she's been hired to bring businesses into town that will attract men, it seems that men don't stay in Fools Gold and that the town's demography is lopsided.
Josh Golden is an incredibly good looking man who is in the prime of his life and should still be on the professional circuit and training for the Tour de France. Unfortunately he has a small problem, he retired because he is suffering from feelings of guilt over a bike crash that took a riders life and now he panics in the company of other riders. The crash was not his fault but he had been the senior member on the cycling team and had taken responsibility to train the other riders. He finds himself seriously attracted to Charity but at first refuses to act on his attraction.
Fate does not allow Charity and Josh to ignore each other and instead constantly throws them together. They must decide if they will act on their attraction and work on having a real relationship as they both have character traits that the other is in need of. The town of Fools Gold is the perfect backdrop for their romance and is almost a character in itself.
Without giving away plot points or story details I will say that the ending was very well done and that there is quite a bit that takes place in this story besides the romance from state money that goes missing to the mayor's secret that gets revealed. I look forward to reading the next book in this series that was just released last month, Almost Perfect (Hqn)
This a very slow week for new print releases as there are only 10 print books being released by the major publishers. I have included links for each release below. I will probably look at some of the mystery books this week as they look the most promising to me.
This looks promising to me- although I would have to get the first book in the series first.
This book looks somewhat promising to me
This author is very popular in the mystery genre.
The last book doesn't have a cover for some reason but I have provided a link:
Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy-dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisers. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of a catastrophic mental fracture…
Sophia Russo is a Justice-Psy, cursed with the ability to retrieve memories from men and women so twisted even veteran cops keep their distance. Appointed as Max’s liaison with the Psy, she finds herself fascinated by this human, her frozen heart threatening to thaw with forbidden emotion. But, her mind filled with other people’s nightmares, other people’s evil, she’s standing on the border between sanity and a silken darkness that urges her to take justice into her own hands, to become judge, jury…and executioner…
This is another spectacular segment in the Psy-Changeling series by Ms. Singh. I absolutely loved the interaction between the characters and the plot moved along at a very good pace. The heroine was a new character for the series and one that I'm sure we will see again in the future.
The hero is Max Shannon, a cop from New York that was introduced in Mine to Possess (Psy-Changelings, Book 4). He's a human but strangely has natural shields that make it difficult for the Psy to influence him, this makes him ideal as a cop but since the Psy have added control of "Enforcement" to their purview, it makes it difficult for his career to progress. Max was somewhat abused by his mother but has an innate sense of right and wrong and has spent his whole adult life making sure that justice is served. He also has a personal tragedy in that his younger brother ran away from home during his young teen years and Max doesn't know if he is alive or dead. Max is surprised when councilor Nikita Duncan requests his aid in the San Francisco area, her associates/employees are being targeted for assassination and she knows that it is an inside job and doesn't know who to trust.
Sophia Russo is a J-Psy, which basically means that she works for the justice department and uses her Psy ability of Telepathy to basically scan the memories of accused criminals and provide testimony as to what the criminals have actually done. This is a rare talent and one that is a dead end - and I mean that literally. All justice Psy are killed when their shields break and they always break after being used for such a dreadful task. Sophia is also surprised when Councilor Nikita Duncan requests for her assistance from the J-Psy division, but she is like all Psy she is conditioned to follow orders and joins Max Shannon in the investigation.
Max and Sophia are both attracted to each other, however, any romantic relationship between Psy and human is not encouraged and there are some physical/mental barriers to their relationship. Plus, Sophia is scared that her shields will soon be deteriorated to the extent where she will get killed by the Psy council. There are a lot of clues that are provided to Max and Sophia and they proceed to narrow down their list of suspects to 4-5 of Councilor Duncan's assistants. There is also an added case that Max and Sophia are working on, a serial killer that has a slight obsession with Sophia.
I don't want to give away plot points or give away spoilers except to say that we get to know a little bit more about Councilor Duncan and perhaps she is not quite the cold person that she has been encouraging others to believe. Since the story is taking place in San Francisco there is plenty of interaction with the DarkRiver Leopard pack, plus since Sasha Duncan is Nikita's daughter she plays a small part in the story.
I truly liked this story and can't wait for the next book in this series to be released which will be in November of this year, Play of Passion (Psy/Changeling).
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The book reviewed was purchased for review.
Well, it's another New Release Tuesday. This is a slower week as according to the schedule that I have only 12 books are being released today in print from the major publishers. I don't have any ordered from today's list as of yet. I'm going to post a link for all that release today. Have fun browsing.
Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete…until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might yet prove the enemy’s most insidious weapon.
Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor, and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity itself. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die…
I loved this book by Ms. Singh. I will admit to a little fear that I would not like this book as much as the other books in the series because the hero of this book had been introduced in book 4, Mine to Possess (Psy-Changelings, Book 4), and I had not been overly impressed with his personality. I have certainly changed my opinion after reading this book.
Kayta Haas is a Psy scientist that the world believes is dead. She had been helping AshayaAleine, the heroine of book 5 (Hostage to Pleasure (Psy-Changelings, Book 5), with the Psy children that had were being experimented on, and after the explosion that destroyed the lab, she was assumed dead. The reality is that she was alive and had been captured and tortured by Psy council member Ming LeBon. At the beginning of this book she is unconscious when she is dropped off in front of Devraj Santos door at the Shine Foundation building. She has been manipulated and her mind has been reconditioned turning her into a mole and assassin. Katya soon starts to get her memories back and realizes what has been done to her and she's decided that she is not going down without a fight and has absolutely no intention of following through with council member Ming's plan. Kayta is a fantastic heroine in that she's mentally much stronger than she gives herself credit for and is also a Psy that is full of personal integrity and an amazing amount of humanity towards others. She is not as emotionally devoid as the average Psy and actually becomes quite adept at handling emotion.
The hero of this book, Devraj Santos, is a complete Alpha male. He's used to having to make very difficult decisions and does not shirk from his duties at Shine. As the descendant of Psy grandparents, he has some Psy abilities but they are kept hidden from society. He is part of "The Forgotten", the Psy who managed to escape the conditioning adapted by the Psy known as "Silence". Through Dev's family journals we are provided with a large amount of back story and with a historical timeline on what occurred with the Psy society approximately 100 years prior. I didn't think that I would like Dev, but he grew on me as the book progressed and by the end - I was totally in his corner. He was incredibly sexy on a level that only 2 other characters in this series have reached (Lucas the Leopard Changeling Pack leader and Hawke the Wolf Changeling Pack Leader). Dev is very dominant personality both in and out of the bedroom.
The interaction between Katya and Dev was fantastic. Both are strong personalities yet both did bend when it was necessary to the other. There was a very satisfactory ending and I was happy to see that even though this book dealt mostly with the Psy element on this alternate earth, that some of my favorite characters did make guest appearances. The book has a Happy Ever After type ending and did answer a lot of questions for me as to how the Psy society could make the choices that they did. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Bonds of Justice (Psy/Changeling), which just released this past week.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The book reviewed was purchased by the reviewer.
Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.
But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…
First I want to say that I have a bit of a girl crush on Ms. Singh, I started reading her Psy-Changeling series several years ago and usually devour them the second that the new book is released, however, when I was finishing up my latest degree - I fell behind. Since I want to read the newest book that just came out - I've been reading like a mad fiend to catch up so that everything flows and makes sense to me. So far I have never been disappointed in a book written by Ms. Singh, and I seriously doubt that I will be as the books seem to improve as the series progresses.
I absolutely loved Mercy, the heroine of this book, a sentinel or leutenant in the DarkRiver Leopard Pack. She is both physically and emotionally strong and realizes that there are many men who will have issues with her strength. She wants a mate and a family but is realistic about her chances and is trying to handle whatever fate hands her. Mercy also has a fantastic sense of who she is and what she wants in life and is more than willing to put forth the effort to get both what she wants and what she needs. She's fiercely loyal to her leopard pack and to changeling society in general and understands that in order for her pack to continue to grow in strength that they must get along with the wolves in the bordering bordering territory. She's also aware that she's becoming more and more attracted to Riley, a wolf changeling that she works with as a liason between both groups but doesn't think that she can seriously consider him "mate" material since he is not from her leopard pack.
Riley is a lieutenant in the Snowdancer Wolf pack and is highly attracted to Mercy. He's physically very strong and is very dominant. He's also very protective of both his family and his pack and is dealing with some slight feelings of having failed his family from when his sister had been kidnapped by a crazy Psy scientist. Riley realizes that if he starts the mating dance with Mercy that it could have some serious repercussions for both groups but he can't deny his attraction and is willing to take the risk. It's a risk for Riley because ultimately the female changeling decides if the mating bond will stick or not- no matter how dominant the male is the female has to make a final acceptance.
Added to the mating situation is the continuing saga of the political struggle going on in their society between the Psy, the Changelings and Humans. A militant group of humans, known as the Human Alliance, have decided that now is the time to strike and remind both the Psy and the Changelings that they are not the only two races that live on the planet. The Human Alliance is determined to make their point and they don't care who they hurt or kill in the process.
The romance between Mercy and Riley was spicy and very well done. The continuing struggle between the three groups of people on this planet is extreemly engaging. There is a happy ending to this story and also more than enough open issues that can be addressed in the next book in this series, Blaze of Memory (Psy-Changelings, Book 7). I really can't stress how wonderful this series is to read.
Title: Playing With Fire Author: Amy Knupp Publisher: Harlequin Genre: Contemporary Romance Length: 256 Pages Print ISBN: 978-0373716463 eBook ISBN: 978-1426860652 Format: Print Purchase : AmazoneHarlequin
Book Blurb: Macey Locke is not backing down. That means Derek Severson—the man she's been attracted to for years—is just going to have to deal. She hasn't come all the way to this South Texas beach bar for a tan. She's here to help her best friend get back to being what he loves—a firefighter.
But Derek is more stubborn than she thought. He won't tolerate her cajoling, and he's definitely not hearing any confessions of love and affection.
Well, too bad. This time, tough guy, you've met your match.
I liked this book by Ms. Knupp, it was a perfect summer afternoon read and is the first book in her new series for Harlequin. The story moved at a fairly good pace and there was plenty of back story on the two main characters so that you could understand what they felt and why they felt the way that they did.
I really liked Macey as the heroine, she was smart, generous and persistent. She's been secretly in love with Derek "Dare" Severson since she was 5 years old. When he starts to date someone that she knows and she doesn't feel like she can take watching it on a daily basis, she volunteers for the peace corps and spends 2 years out of the country. While she is gone she does a lot of growing up and feels like she is ready to go on with her life plans. When she comes back home she discovers that tragedy struck while she was gone and that the young woman "Dare" had been dating has died in a fire. After the funeral "Dare" leaves town and Macey waits for 6 months and then decides that it is time to go help "Dare" move on with his life.
Derek "Dare" Severson is a man who is very fragile when the book begins. He's walked away from the career that he loves because he feels personally responsible for not being able to save the woman he had intended to marry. He's also walked away from his family and friends and has isolated himself in Southern Texas taking care of the bar that his uncle owns. He is in denial of the fact that he needs help, he can't sleep for long periods of time without nightmares and is slowly working himself to death.
I loved when Macey and "Dare" interacted because you could feel the real emotion behind their words. Macey is the ideal woman for "Dare" because she understands what drove him to be a fireman and in a way her peace corps work was a very similar experience. These are two people who feel a need to give back to others and to share in the human experience. When "Dare" finally realizes the real emotions that he has towards Macey, it is very rewarding.
The next book in this series A Little Consequence (Harlequin Superromance) will be released in August and I've already pre-ordered it. I'm looking forward to seeing what Ms. Knupp does with the additional firefighters that she introduced us to in this book.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The reviewer purchased this book for review.