Mad for the Plaid by Karen Hawkins

51pY7NsPvPL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_The humor and air of mystery in the latest Oxenburg Princes story keeps enjoyment from ever waning. Karen Hawkins always manages to sneak unexpected amusement into every one of her compelling books, and the laughs only increase as this story progresses. There are also plenty of mysterious happenings the latest novel about a prince who has trouble trusting most anyone. When he meets up with a strong-willed Scottish lass, sparks fly as opinions clash, while a strong sexual pull only adds to the building tension between these two. Several delightful hours of escape are promised while reading MAD FOR THE PLAID.

When the grandmother of Nikolai Romanovin went to visit a friend in Scotland, he was elated because sometimes the elderly woman can be rather demanding. Though the royal prince of Oxenburg dearly loves the Grand Duchess, he would welcome a short reprieve. But when Tata Natasha goes mysteriously missing, he rushes to the castle where she was staying. To keep anyone from realizing there is a problem, Nik will pretend to be a servant and will hopefully find his grandmother before her disappearance becomes widely known. Sadly, things do not go as he wishes when his scheme is discovered by the woman in charge of Castle Leod.

Since the laird of the Mackenzie clan left his daughter Ailsa to take care of everything while he was gone, she is the one that must make certain the kidnapped guest is located. When men arrive from Oxenburg with questions, she closely watches the groom for their horses as his conduct is not quite right. Upon exposing his identity, there is a heated discussion on how to best rescue his relative as Nik and Ailsa have differing views. Though arguments continue, they do agree that getting the Grand Duchess back safely is the most important factor. Yet as their journey to rescue his grandmother proceeds, unanticipated threats arise.

After completing the last book in the Oxenburg Princes series, I kept smiling when certain humorous moments were recalled. Several scenes where Tata Natasha stated her opinion in her usual manner were particularly comical. Her approach to getting what she wants is often very amusing, and I always like seeing the type of response she will get. Nik and Ailsa are such a wonderful couple to watch together, as neither gives in easily when they think their judgment is correct. Many of their conversations leave them hot and bothered, but it is frequently sexual frustration that causes the predicament and not just the disagreement. Passionate individuals, Nik and Ailsa certainly know how to express their feelings when the time is right. The reason he has become so suspicious of other people’s motives had me understanding about his current life, and I ached for him to eventually be truly happy. Though Ailsa thinks she is contented, I hoped this spirited woman would not end up alone.

With so many unknowns in the story, I never knew what was going to happen on the next page. Just when I thought one of the author’s subtle clues had told me something important, another piece of evidence had me questioning the direction of my theory. Karen Hawkins has surprises in store for the reader, which causes even more captivation. Now that this series has ended, I am glad to see more connected books are coming in the future. MAD FOR THE PLAID is an enchanting historical romance filled with lots of entertaining adventures plus intriguing mysteries.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Oxenburg Princes

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  August 30, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/guy62ws

Genre:  Historical

Author website:  http://www.karenhawkins.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Dead in a Flash by Brynn Bonner

51xmfydE3mL._SY346_For the fourth book in the Family History Mystery series, two simultaneous undertakings by genealogists double the secrets and suspects. Brynn Bonner cleverly interweaves looking into past lives with current events, and the result is an enthralling story packed with unknowns. I became caught up in the many often shocking revelations that came to light throughout the story, as each new disclosure had my mind frantically trying to work out what these new facts meant. But just when I thought my deductions were going in the right direction, another clue about what was actually going on was uncovered, changing my assumptions once again. DEAD IN A FLASH intrigues with countless mysteries.

Since the most recent project Sophreena McClure has taken on is going so well, the genealogist thinks everything will easily be done on time. Working alongside her business partner and good friend Esme Sabatier, they collect information desired by a client and then compile their findings in a scrapbook. If their latest assignment can make a previous senator from North Carolina happy, then hopefully word will spread and more folks will be hiring them. With only one additional interview left, Soph and Esme will soon be finishing up scrapbooks on the senator’s career and his personal family.

Although most of what the two women have found out about the likable older gentleman concerns good times, there was one huge tragedy in his past. When the house where he grew up caught fire, his younger brother was killed. While most everyone thought it was an accident, his parents were certain the incident was deliberate in order to hide the abduction of the infant. When old rumors resurface, their client wants the genealogists to look for clues into what really happened that fateful day. As Soph and Esme begin investigating, they get another task to complete very quickly, yet feel confident it can be finished on time. When someone whom they know is murdered, questions about possible motives keep growing.

When I read a cozy mystery, I want the characters to be just as believable as the storyline and Brynn Bonner always complies. In the Family History Mystery series, I have repeatedly found the two main characters, Soph and Esme to be not only appealing individuals but also very realistic. Even the small touch of supernatural associated with Esme is convincing and can make a situation even more fascinating. The profession of these two distinctive individuals is truly attention-grabbing, as I like learning about any relatives who came before me. It is enjoyable watching them work and make choices about the best way to unearth the background of someone.

There are so many uncertainties in DEAD IN A FLASH, and each worry gets plenty of attention. With Soph and Esme working on two projects at the same time, they encounter lots of issues which need answers before they can hand over the scrapbooks. A murder puts a damper on their investigating, and they are constantly challenged by what they find. But these two dedicated and compassionate genealogists give it their best effort to locate any info. There is a long list of characters in this story, but thankfully their names are different enough that I could keep them all straight. Several people who are special in the lives of Soph and Esme are featured, and I always enjoyed their interactions. I am really eager for another book about the study of family history and unexpected murder. DEAD IN A FLASH captivates with a riveting whodunit.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Family History Mystery – Book 4

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  August 30, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/ju9eb4s

Genre:  Mystery

Author website:  http://brendawitchger.wordpress.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

51xwMaW-ncL._SY346_It seems there is never a shortage when it comes to the list of people trying to end the life of Gin Blanco. The woman known as the Spider may look like an average female at first glance, but regularly concealed underneath the black clothes she often wears are numerous weapons because she is a skilled assassin. In the fifteenth book of the Elemental Assassin series, Gin and those with whom she closely associates must fight for their lives in the unusual setting of a theme park. Jennifer Estep takes her beloved characters on a risky venture packed with danger and lots of unexpected humor. I would be laughing one moment at one of Gin’s sarcastic thoughts, and then shortly become breathless because of unforeseen peril that could end her life in an instant. While I always enjoy every book in the series, I must say this story is particularly rewarding. UNRAVELED is a memorable adventure that will be fondly recalled again and again.

After recently being told about a group known as the Circle and how it masterminds all the criminal activities in her town, Gin Blanco is diligently looking for any information related to the organization. She was under the impression her demands ruled the Ashland underworld, but hearing she is not the one in control makes her determined to gather facts and stop those who seem to be exceedingly influential plus confident about not getting caught. Yet every time Gin gets a possible clue which might tell her about the mysterious group, nothing helpful is actually found.

Since she feels completely frustrated because there are no leads and does not know what to do next, Gin agrees to accompany her foster brother Finnegan Lane to the amusement park that he just inherited. Bullet Pointe has rides and a swanky hotel, all geared toward an Old West theme. So Gin and Finn along with her boyfriend Owen plus her sister Bria will be spending a relaxing weekend away from her problems in Ashland. But instead of a peaceful couple of days, the four individuals find themselves once again in the middle of threatening situations.

Gun fights, secrets and family issues are some of the concerns troubling the Spider in the latest Elemental Assassin story. After all the complications caused by Finn’s relative in the previous story, Gin had hoped for at least a short reprieve before she found herself confronting bad guys again. But there will be no rest for her when a new group that may be her most dangerous enemy yet is exposed. Not much is known about the Circle and its members, so information needs to be quickly learned or more lives may be at risk. Gin and three others may appear to be on a vacation, but uncovering crucial facts is always on their minds.

While Gin does have to battle some individuals who are not quite human, where she has to prove who is the most cunning, there are numerous scenes scattered throughout the story dealing with subjects that are very personal to her. How her mother died and why has affected her for a long time. Since a shocking detail about her mother was revealed in the last book, she also wants proof of its accuracy by discovering the truth soon. There is more amusement in the story than usual, and I was certainly delighted by all the comical thoughts and comments having to do with the western theme. Gin dressing up as a saloon girl is especially hilarious. Jennifer Estep makes UNRAVELED entertaining with enthralling developments and plenty of surprises.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  Elemental Assassin – Book 15

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  August 30, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jen98ax

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Author website:  http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

51yTBgxTkaL._SY346_Much laughter can be found in the second book of The Wedding Belles series. Humorous comments and comical situations caused lots of loud chuckles, and some of the more inventive phrases certainly made the incidents even more amusing to me. Yet scattered amongst all the good times is an underlying reminder of what can happen in real life, and how one event can greatly affect a person from that day onward. Lauren Layne tackles an emotional issue, and the resulting love story is truly rewarding. FOR BETTER OR WORSE entertains with particularly appealing characters plus an enchanting premise.

Although Heather Fowler grew up in Michigan, she had a huge desire to one day live in New York City. It has not always been the easiest of journeys, but all her hard work appears it might be about to pay off. Hopefully, she will be the newest wedding planner at Wedding Belles, where arranging details for this special occasion is renowned. When Heather gets the opportunity to prove she is actually worthy of receiving the position, she will let nothing stop her from being an outstanding planner. But doing her best is not always without challenges, especially when the man in a nearby apartment likes practicing with his band at night, thus keeping her from getting much needed rest after running about Manhattan carrying out the wishes of a demanding bride.

A life-altering illness caused Josh Tanner to become a much different person. Gone are the days of working in the financial district, as his time is now devoted to his band and just enjoying an active social life. When he first meets the woman who moved in next door, Heather comes across as snappy and lacks a sense of humor. Since Josh is feeling kind of restless at the moment, her quick-witted banter brings some joy into his life. Though he is insistent about not ever settling down with one woman, Heather starts wondering if there is any way to change his firm conviction.

By the time FOR BETTER OR WORSE was completed, I felt as though I had been subjected to a multitude of emotions. From all the laughing I did, Lauren Layne definitely wrote plenty of hilarious episodes for her characters to experience. While Heather had her own sharp mind and could reply with some original retorts, it is several of the very unique quips made by Josh that I will long remember. He could make up such clever remarks in an instant, and each one was perfect for that moment. But there is also much heartbreak in his past, and how he lets it influence his current reactions is very realistic. Anyone ever touched in some way by cancer knows what an impact it can have on so many lives, and the author excellently handles all aspects dealing with this illness.

Since Heather had been met in the previous books of the series, I already knew what a delightful person she was at all times. In FOR BETTER OR WORSE, I really got some insight into her winning personality. She tries to make the best of any situation that comes along, and I liked her positive attitude. As for Josh, he seems to be a care-free individual, yet hides his worrisome side from everyone. These two make a fabulous couple, and their passionate natures lead to steamy and very enthusiastic sex. Many secondary characters are once again likable from beginning to end. FOR BETTER OR WORSE causes an abundance of grins along with some heartfelt compassion, and possibly a few tears.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  The Wedding Belles – Book 2

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  August 30, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/h2b8ct4

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://laurenlayne.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Cold Case Recruit by Jennifer Morey

51ohkhXFcdL._SY346_Danger is ever-present in the latest Cold Case Detectives novel, where deadly threats can happen when least expected. The Alaskan setting Jennifer Morey has chosen for the story adds to the risks challenging the main couple, and when emotions are tossed into the mix, the situations become even more troublesome. I definitely never knew what was going to occur from one minute to the next, and several incidents caught me off guard. Ms. Morey did not make things easy for her hero and heroine, as there are plenty of unknowns for them to figure out along with issues which left them feeling conflicted. COLD CASE RECRUIT keeps your interest until every mystery is revealed.

Though Brycen Cage decided to not be a homicide detective any longer, his life still revolves around murder. But now his career focuses on prior cases that he worked on, as he is a host on a television show about how these killings played out. Recently, the owner of Dark Alley Investigations talked Brycen into reexamining a cold case in Alaska, where a state trooper was mysteriously gunned down for no apparent reason. While he does want to find the murderer, he also dreads going back to an area which brought much stress into his life.

After her husband was killed, Drury Decoteau has continued to support herself as a bush pilot, often taking clients to remote places in Alaska. She has never given up the hope of seeing whoever was responsible for making her a single parent brought to justice, and she desperately wants the detective coming to work the case to be successful where others have failed. When Drury meets Brycen, questions are asked and he is immediately ready to start searching for any new evidence. Then a surprising connection between them develops when threats against her keep escalating, and these unanticipated feelings have Brycen reevaluating his beliefs about relationships.

There are lots of uncertainties in the story, and I enjoyed seeing how Brycen’s mind worked in trying to solve each hidden truth. While he has moved on from his career as a homicide detective, he has certainly not forgotten all the skills he gained over the years. Though he is confident when it comes to catching murderers, he would much rather avoid anything having to do with exclusively dating one woman or family matters. But from the moment he comes in contact with Drury who has long been deeply affected by the death of her husband, Brycen is never the same afterward. It was fun watching this confirmed bachelor get drawn into matters only found when a situation concerns a child, and the author makes these moments realistic. As for Drury, I could easily understand why she would want answers to the unresolved details associated with the senseless killing of her spouse. She is personally involved in much of the investigation, and I liked how she was willing to participate. A few scenes with her son are particularly moving, as reactions are genuine.

COLD CASE RECRUIT intrigues with numerous suspicions. The murder case has only a few leads, and I kept wondering if any new information learned was actually connected to what occurred or unrelated. Jennifer Morey had me guessing the incentive with carefully placed clues, thus making the story more suspenseful. Cold cases are especially difficult on those who loved the victim as well as the cops determinedly trying to find the killer, and this miniseries gives insight into the motivations of both.

Copy received from author

Series:  Cold Case Detectives

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  September 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gwwt9tw

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.jenniferamorey.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

 

My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

51vDw1HjPhL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_The Improper Princesses series by Vanessa Kelly is set in the same time period as The Renegade Royals stories, and my reading enjoyment continues when one women whose father is a prince does not acknowledge her as his daughter. Being born out of wedlock in England during the early 1800’s often resulted in the person not being accepted by those considered an equal, and Ms. Kelly has definitely given her wonderful heroine much to overcome. When paired with a man who detests any type of scandal, confrontations regularly occur while sexual longing unexpectedly heightens. With lots of humor yet also much emotion, I was instantly captivated by the first Improper Princesses novel. MY FAIR PRINCESS entertains with one amusing escapade after another and a memorable romantic couple.

Though the father of Gillian Dryden is an English prince, she was not raised in his household because her parents never married. Living in Italy for her whole life, she often gets into situations that no respectable woman should. When one incident proves just how reckless she can be at times, Gillian ends up being sent to England where she will hopefully be married one day soon. But before a ceremony can take place, she must learn to behave appropriately for someone of her age and social status. In order to achieve this feat, she must begin following a growing number of guidelines.

When Charles Valentine Penley is chosen to instruct a woman with unsuitable manners on how she must start conducting herself when out in society, he knew the task would be rather difficult, especially after their first meeting. The Duke of Leverton is unlike any man Gillian has ever met, as he does not let her sassy comments deter him from coming right back with a perfect retort. As Charles tries to make her someone a man would be proud to call his wife, there are times when he is actually fascinated by her responses, and this causes him much bewilderment.

With her spitfire attitude, my love of Gillian grew with each new cleverly expressed remark. When matched against the desirable Charles, the comebacks are swift plus intelligently worded. I laughed loudly on several occasions, as they each came up with a reply that was even more cutting than the one before. One thing I really liked about the couple was their ability to eventually talk things out when their tempers had cooled, and to not hold on to bitterness for way too long. Though she has no desire to socialize with the English aristocrats, her family thinks she needs to at least give it a try. What happens when Gillian attempts to become someone she is not is often hilarious but sometimes emotionally moving. I could be chuckling one moment at a witty answer to a question, then find myself truly touched because of what she was leaving unspoken.

Any time Gillian and Charles are together, I fully anticipated lively conversations and animated reactions, and Vanessa Kelly did not disappoint. MY FAIR PRINCESS is always engaging and truly unforgettable. Whether this couple was involved in bantering back and forth, or displaying emotions because of how they felt, every moment is absolutely realistic. The passionate side of their relationship is certainly steamy when their feelings gain control, and Charles demonstrates he is not as straitlaced as most people think. There is a large group of secondary characters who have appealing personalities, and it was great getting to visit once again with Griffin Steele who has long been a favorite. The hero of the next book was met briefly, and he seems like a charmer that I really want to know better.

Received copy from NetGalley

Series:  Improper Princesses

Publisher:  Zebra

Releases:  August 30, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/z9gg6aw

Genre:  Historical

Author website:  http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Furious Rush by S. C. Stephens

51FicbxfPhLAlthough motorcycle racing is a sport that I do not follow, S. C. Stephens made me want to know more about this exciting activity. With colorful descriptions and factual accounts, I got an excellent idea of what the characters were experiencing while preparations are made for upcoming races. I also sensed the joy of doing laps against a competitor, where hearts beat faster because adrenaline is pumping. While what occurs on the track is interesting, the numerous issues between contenders are just as thrilling. When hearts become involved in these matters, I never knew if the result would be agonizing or joyful.  Emotional conflicts keep escalating in FURIOUS RUSH, where nothing is guaranteed until the last moment.

Motorcycle racing has always been a part of Mackenzie Cox’s life because her father raced professionally. Now she finally has the chance to demonstrate that her abilities might be even better than many men in the sport. Though most would more than likely say she will never be an unbeatable racer, Kenzie plans to prove all the skeptics are wrong by making certain Cox Racing wins another championship. Unfortunately, a new opponent on a rival team believes she will never beat him on any track.

As a previous street racer, Hayden Hayes knows countless tricks that have led to a number of victories. With him now being hired to be a professional rider, he will be using all his skills to continue his winning streak. Kenzie is equally determined to finish at the top, especially when her dad’s team really needs to have more money coming in. Any time Hayden and her interact, their conversations end up as a verbal battle. While a powerful sexual vibe can always be felt when they are together, there is no way Kenzie will act on it. She just has to keep reminding herself that someone working for the other team is absolutely off limits. Yet to eventually win races, she may wind up agreeing to something forbidden.

By the time I completed FURIOUS RUSH, I certainly knew much about racing a motorcycle on a track or even secretively at night. Just like any sport where speed is a major factor, danger could happen at any time. But with little to protect the riders, this type of racing is very risky, and the author had me feeling worried on different occasions. When engines accelerate in FURIOUS RUSH, my heart rate also steadily increased. There is always much competition amongst the various teams, but an ongoing vendetta causes the clashes with one opponent to be more combative than normal.

With Kenzie and Hayden caught in the middle of this dispute, they must face some very difficult situations plus make tough choices. I really felt for Hayden, as no one seems to trust him. But I gradually came to realize what his cocky attitude was hiding. Kenzie repeatedly feels the need to show she is a good rider, as not many think she can actually come close to winning against all men. This sometimes made her appear brash. S. C. Stephens makes a lasting relationship for Hayden and Kenzie definitely challenging. With their competitive natures, neither likes loosing, whether it relates to motorcycles or their personal lives. They are passionate individuals, and sex is often explosively heated. Lots of family dynamics goes on in the story, and it had me not very fond of a few individuals. The ending left me wondering if there is more to come about these characters, as I would like more information about several crucial topics concerning the future of Hayden and Kenzie.

Copy received from NetGalley

Publisher:  Forever

Releases:  August 23, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/hh5p559

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://authorscstephens.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Painted Trillium: A novel of the Civil War by Robert Brandt

51dELHBM7wLPAINTED TRILLIUM is a deeply affecting story about tragedy and hope. Set during the Civil War, the novel exposes the struggles individuals faced on a daily basis, regardless of whether they sided with the North or South. I have always been fascinated with this emotionally chaotic period in American history, as I have ancestors whose lives were shaped by this war. Robert Brandt skillfully interweaves historical facts with his own fictional imaginings to create an extremely believable story of endurance. With each new scene, I became more connected to the main characters and what they had to live through. By the end of the book, I felt as though every occurrence just had to be true.

When the Confederate army retreats from Murfreesboro, TN in January 1863, it leaves the town and its residents vulnerable to the Yankees. Carrie Blaylock has already suffered much loss because of the war, as her brother is now gone along with the young man whom she would have eventually wed. There are many unknowns in her life now, and she worries about what the future will bring since so much has changed in just two years. With her future husband dead, Carrie cannot help but wonder if she could possibly live on her own some day and become a teacher, thus helping young girls get a needed education. But for now, the war rages on and her hometown is in constant turmoil.

A meeting with Union soldier Captain John Lockridge takes place because he wishes to discuss a problem with Carrie. They are cordial to one another, even though he fights for the North. With his army remaining in the area for months, the two start seeing each other occasionally to discuss books and enjoy some friendly conversation. Since he could move to another location without much notice, the two make the most of what time they have together, talking about their families and goals. But what could happen because of the war is never far from either of their minds.

It did not take long for me to feel totally connected to the many likable characters in PAINTED TRILLIUM. I admired Carrie for her determination to be independent, and John’s steadfast honorable behavior had me respecting him. It was definitely easy to love these two wonderful individuals who had such intriguing personalities. There are also numerous other people whose appearances contributed much to the storyline. All throughout the book, I could clearly recognize how loyalty to one side or the other altered how a person saw someone else. It is very difficult to conceive how drastically lives were forever changed during the Civil War, as friends and even relatives might have different views. The way in which the author conveys the feelings of his characters let me better comprehend what ordinary folks went through during this time in history.

The book focuses on how the Civil War influenced Americans from various walks of life, and all details come across as remarkably realistic. There was never a time when I did not think a situation really happened as described, because Robert Brandt’s attention to every aspect of the story is so thoroughly researched. Historical figures and battles that took place are factually portrayed, while correctly used terms of the period add to the realism. PAINTED TRILLIUM touches the heart while engaging the mind. The story will long be remembered.

Received copy from publisher

Publisher:  Wandering in the Words Press

Releases:  May 28, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/h726r4k

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  5 Stars

Wolf’s Mate by Chantal Fernando

51Iy4RPAw0LThe fifth book in the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club series has plenty of emotional incidents that frequently tug at the heart. Whether it involves the appealing main couple and their current lives, or focuses on what has happened in their past, I always felt what they experienced during these often trying times. Chantal Fernando has created a truly mesmerizing world for her sexy bikers and the strong-willed women who love them, and I am just glad to have been along for the whole journey. WOLF’S MATE has engaging characters, lots of heartfelt emotions and lusty sexual encounters.

Although Vinnie is a member of the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club, he still plans to keep his vow of doing a favor for the president of another club. While he will never fully trust the guy, not fulfilling a promise goes against his principles. So Vinnie will be spending a week doing the bidding of someone whom he does not see as a “brother.” When he hears the task given to him will be watching over Shayla, the cousin of the other club’s leader, he is skeptical at first because his duties sound too easy. Learning her imprisoned father was a crooked accountant makes the assignment more dangerous, but Vinnie is not worried. His biggest problem will more than likely be annoyance since Shayla is supposed to be self-centered.

At the first meeting between Vinnie and Shayla, she does come across as bratty. He also quickly recognizes some changes need to be made in order to keep her safer, and thankfully she does not disagree. As Vinnie spends more time with Shayla, he comes to realize the prior comments he heard about her are not actually true. Before his time of guarding her is completed, he feels a link with her that makes turning her over to another man almost impossible.

Brotherhood between the Wind Dragons is once again apparent throughout the story, where loyalty between these men and their supportive women is shown in different ways. Sometimes commitment is depicted when situations turn threatening, while other instances such as a birthday party are more lighthearted. I laughed at the playfulness of these very alpha males and their mates, yet nervously waited to see how a dangerous episode in which they participated would turn out. Some suspense does occur from time to time because of danger to Shayla, but much more of the story is emotional and pertains to her unexpected relationship with a motorcycle club member. Events in their lives are repeatedly made captivating by Chantal Fernando.

When Vinnie is given an unpleasant task, he only wants to complete the obligation connected to Shayla and return to his own club. But interacting with her causes emotional issues that he never anticipated, especially since he has never been a “one woman man.” When paired with Shayla who is totally opposite from him, there are many scenes where sharp-witted remarks are made and caused me to laugh. I really enjoyed seeing the teasing side of this intimidating biker, as I have liked him from his first appearance. Some of the discussions these two have with other club members are also hilarious, particularly when Faye is included. The powerful longing Vinnie has for Shayla leads to numerous situations of gratifying sex, where strong feelings for each other are clearly obvious. I am glad there is another book planned in this intriguing series. WOLF’S MATE entertains with fascinating predicaments.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club

Publisher:  Gallery

Releases:  August 16, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/zl7lhbc

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://www.authorchantalfernando.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Bayou Shadow Protector by Debbie Herbert

51b3+v8gCoLAs more is revealed about the unique characters featured in the Bayou Magic miniseries, I become further captivated by their abilities plus behavior. Anyone who is a shadow hunter faces danger on a regular basis, where these brave persons put the safely of others before their own time and again. The heroine in the second book may be very different from this group that fights spirits with evil intentions, but she is also courageous and does not easily back down when threatened. Cruel beings definitely hide in the Alabama bayou, and two individuals may be all that stands in the way of them becoming powerful and causing much havoc. Debbie Herbert imaginatively brings her Bayou Magic miniseries to life, and BAYOU SHADOW PROTECTOR is original and extremely emotional.

Since the Fae know malicious spirits are threatening their survival, April Meadows has been sent to the human world in order to get help from Native American shadow hunters. Chulah Rivers is one of the warriors that watches over Bayou La Siryna, and finding a lone woman in the woods near his home is very unusual yet not alarming. But April has a specific mission to complete along with a personal task of her own, and she is determined to get Chulah’s cooperation as a shadow hunter while also gaining his trust. Perhaps using feminine wiles will work for her, as she does not want to use any Fae abilities.

To get the needed information to Chulah about the dangerous spirits that must be eliminated, April will get close to the man she has long admired. She already knows much about him, as she has watched this particular male for years. Though the Fae just want to use the gifted hunter so their enemy is finally gone, she dreams of him actually caring for her as she does him. Although April had thought her plan would be easy, getting Chulah to agree will take more cunning endeavors than she first thought.

When Debbie Herbert comes up with a concept for her paranormal books, the premise is always original and certainly entertaining. The Bayou Magic miniseries cleverly blends Native American folklore into a present-day problem, resulting in a story filled with innovative ideas and plenty of distinct characters. Chulah is a loner, and his preference to take care of things himself may have made him tougher but has also taken away his ability to feel some emotions. A past event has caused much guilt over the years, and not being able to fully trust April just adds to his personal troubles. She does make some decisions based on what she secretly saw, but knowledge does not always lead to success. There were situations where I ached for her as she so desperately wanted Chulah to like her. Though there is a real connection between the couple, sometimes even an electrifying one, a relationship needs more than desire so they experience lots of challenges.

The peril in the story is very real and goes along with the mythology. Debbie Herbert made me want to believe in the carefully played out incidents depicted with colorful details. I fretted over what choices either Chulah or April would eventually choose, as many lives could be affected if they decided incorrectly. Though the first book in the miniseries would not have to be read first, what caused the current troubles in the Alabama bayou would be known beforehand. BAYOU SHADOW PROTECTOR is inventively creative.

Copy received from author

Series:  Bayou Magic

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  September 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/goku22l

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://www.debbieherbert.com/

Rating:  5 Stars