June 20, 2023 04:44 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of May, I read three full-length novels, a novella, two short stories, and a children’s middle-grade novel. All but one of the short stories were good reads, but there was only one full-length novel that received five stars from me. It’s the second in an epic fantasy romance series that thus far has been incredibly impressive. For simple woodcarver’s daughter Ellysetta Baristani, it was like something out of a fairy tale when Rainier vel'En Daris, the Feyreisen, King of the Fading Lands, and the one and only Tairen Soul swooped down from the skies and claimed her as his truemate. Their courtship has been a whirlwind of activities as they prepare for their upcoming wedding, and during this time, Ellie has also been coming into a greater knowledge of her magical powers. Up until now, they’ve been something she’s feared because of her mother’s belief that all magic is evil, but Rain has been encouraging her to embrace them as a part of herself. Unfortunately she has little control over them, and at a royal banquet, she unintentionally sent everyone into paroxysms of lusty desire. While some attendees were merely amused, others were embarrassed, and still others are now using it as a pretext for no longer trusting the Fey. This presents a problem for Rain who is trying to court the votes of the Celierian nobles who will decide whether the borders will be opened between Celieria and Eld. Knowing that the Elden Mages have once again arisen and present a very real danger to them all, this is something that Rain cannot allow to happen. As Rain and Ellie continue their courtship and a political battle of wills plays out in the halls of Celieria’s government, the High Mage of Eld has been channeling his apprentice who has mage-marked several Celierians to use for his nefarious purposes. Meanwhile as Ellie’s magical powers seem to grow, there are those who begin to question the source of those powers, and when her origins are finally revealed it may drive a wedge between her and Rain just as an Elden plot to abduct Ellie on her wedding day begins to unfold.
Tags: C. L. Wilson
May 20, 2023 03:52 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of April, I read three full-length novels, two novellas, a short story and a children’s book. Nearly all of them were good, but there was only one that received five stars from me and it happened to be the children’s books. It’s a non-fiction picture book that teaches kids all about sea horses. They’ll learn things like where sea horses live and how they can hide in the coral by camouflaging themselves to their surroundings, what they eat, who their predators are, and how they swim. It also discusses how these tiny sea creatures mate for life and how they reproduce. After seeing this book pop up a number of times on recent lists of books being banned in schools and libraries, I had to find out what all the fuss was about. IMHO, it’s nothing but that: just a manufactured fuss over nothing. Sure the book talks about how sea horses mate and reproduce, but it’s done so in a gentle, completely age-appropriate and non-offensive way. There’s nothing explicit. It just relates factual information about these wondrous creatures. I thought the book was adorable and the gently flowing narrative soothing. It’s sweet that sea horses mate for life and their courtship dance is cute. I had no idea that it’s the males who gestate and give birth to their young. The illustrations are a lovely compliment to the text, done in shades of bluish-green, to mimic the ocean, with splashes of browns and reds to give it some extra color. I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet book that definitely doesn’t deserve the bad rap that some people are trying to give it. I highly recommended it for early elementary age kids who are interested in animals or sea life. That’s why I’m naming Chris Butterworth’s Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea as my April Book of the Month. If you enjoy books that teach little ones about nature, then you should definitely give this book a try.
Tags: Chris Butterworth
April 18, 2023 12:42 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of March, I read four full-length books, a children’s book, and a short story. All but two of them received four stars and above from me, but there was only one full-length romance that received the necessary five stars from me to become my Book of the Month. It’s the second book in a very popular romantic suspense series by an author that I’ve never featured before. John “Nils” Nilsson and Meg Moore met three years earlier when John was on a mission with his SEAL team to rescue a CIA operative inside Kazbekistan. The team took refuge in the American embassy, and during those days, a friendship formed between John and Meg who was there with her husband, the ambassador, working as a translator. Meg’s marriage was on the rocks due to her husband’s infidelity, and in a moment of weakness before he left, John stole a kiss that neither has forgotten. The two met up again about six months later, when John was in Washington, D.C. to testify at a hearing about the operation and Meg, now separated from her husband, had moved there. The two spent several magical days together deepening their friendship and almost taking it further, but ultimately Meg decided to try to save her marriage. Now Meg is widowed, and her grandmother and ten-year-old daughter have been kidnapped by Kazbekistani terrorists who’ve threatened to kill them if she doesn’t either abduct or kill a Kazbekistani from a rival terrorist group for them. At a party at the Kazbekistani embassy, Meg takes the man hostage and barricades herself inside the men’s room, telling the hostage negotiator that the only person she’ll deal with is John Nilsson. John and his SEAL team rush to D.C. to help, but once they successfully extract Meg and her hostage from the embassy, she tricks them and goes on the run with the man, thinking that the only chance she has to save her daughter and grandmother is to follow the terrorists’ demands precisely. However, she didn’t count on John following her or his stubborn insistence upon helping her. Along the way, the couple reignite their feelings for one another, but will they be able to save Meg’s loved ones without losing their own lives in the process?
Tags: Suzanne Brockmann
March 27, 2023 04:48 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of February, I read four full-length books, a novella, and two short stories. All but two of them received four stars and above from me, but there was one romance that stood out above all the others. It’s the third book in a relatively new favorite series of mine that I’ve featured before. In this one, we have Cameron, the second-oldest Mackenzie brother. Just like his siblings, Cam is a tortured hero. Years ago, his wife went mad and attempted to kill their infant son, Daniel. When he tried to stop her, she slashed his face with a knife and then took her own life. Since they were alone in the room together, rumors have abounded ever since that he killed her. Cam has been living a colorless life ever since, with one of his few pleasures being the training of horses, something he’s extremely good at. One night, while in attendance at his brother’s house party, he discovers Ainsley hiding in his bedroom. She’d been there searching for a letter that another woman is using to blackmail the queen, and as one of the queen’s trusted ladies-in-waiting, Ainsley was tasked with recovering it. Cam recalls another occasion six years earlier, when he found Ainsley in his room and very nearly had his way with her until she backed out of their passionate encounter. He’s never really stopped thinking of her since, so he offers to help her recover the missives. As they work together, passion flares between them again, but after his disastrous marriage, he thinks that all he can offer Ainsley is a position as his mistress. Ainsley is sorely tempted by his offer, and eventually accepts, only to find Cam offering marriage after all to protect her from scandal. But even though they share a sensual fire, Ainsley will have her work cut out for her, convincing Cam to fully trust her with his heart.
Tags: Jennifer Ashley
February 19, 2023 04:21 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of January, I read four full-length books, and two children’s book. A couple of them didn’t pass muster, but the majority I very much enjoyed. However, there was only one romance that came out with five stars. It’s a book by a favorite author in a favorite series of mine that I’ve featured before and the author has done it again, giving me a book I loved. It pairs SnowDancer alpha Hawke with powerful X-Psy Sienna. Hawke gave refuge to Sienna and her family a few years earlier when they defected from the PsyNet, and in the time since, they’ve all become valued members of the wolf pack. There’s been an attraction between Hawke and Sienna almost from the beginning, but because of her youth, Hawke has put a strict lid on any feelings he might be having for her. He also lost his mate years ago, and doesn’t believe he has anything to offer her beyond a physical relationship. Lucky for him, Sienna is mature beyond her years and just as stubborn as he is, challenging him in ways no one else would dare stand up to the alpha of their pack, which intrigues both man and wolf. But despite her managing to get under his skin, Sienna’s time on Earth may be limited. No X-Psy has ever been known to live to full adulthood, and she’s already nineteen. Her power is building at an exponential rate, and she’s having an increasingly difficult time controlling it. If she reaches the critical point, she could set off the equivalent of a nuclear blast that would obliterate everyone and everything she loves for miles around. Hawke is determined not to let that happen, but he may not have a say if they can’t find the information they need to stop it. Elsewhere, the Pure Psy faction is prepping for all-out war and have, not only the SnowDancer den, but also DarkRiver and San Francisco in their sights, leaving the lives of all their citizens hanging in the balance.
Tags: Nalini Singh
January 23, 2023 04:21 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of December, I read four full-length novels, one children’s book, and three novellas, most of which had a Christmas theme. Overall, it was a good month, with nearly all of them being enjoyable. However, the romance that came out on top with a five-star rating happened to be one of only two non-holiday themed books I read. It’s by a newer favorite author of mine, from one of my now top-favorite, small-town romance series. In this one we have Grant, the second-oldest McCarthy sibling, paired with Stephanie, the young woman his parents hired to run their Beachcomber restaurant during the summer season. As an award-winning screenwriter, Grant had been in Los Angeles, but he returned home for his sister’s wedding with intentions of wooing back Abby, the woman he’s always believed to be the love of his life. However, Abby is now engaged to someone else, and when Grant meets Stephanie, sparks fly. At the end of the previous book, these two were headed toward a one-night stand, and this book opens in the awkward aftermath of their steamy night together. Overnight a powerful Nor’easter blows in, leaving the residents of the island cut off from the mainland and in the dark, without power, for several days. Grant and Stephanie thought it would only be the one night, but with everything closed down and not much else to do, they get to know each other better, leading to many more passionate encounters that rock both their worlds. Grant learns of Stephanie’s plight with regards to her imprisoned stepfather and decides he wants to help in any way he can. He also comes to the realization that Abby wasn’t the woman for him after all, and that he feels more strongly for Stephanie in just a few days than he ever did for Abby over years. But convincing Steph of his sincerity could be a challenge especially when he’s offered a new, potentially lucrative screenwriting deal that requires him to be back in L.A. in a few short days.
Tags: Marie Force
December 18, 2022 04:51 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of November, I read four full-length novels, a novelette, and a children’s book. It was a mixed month with only half of them receiving four to five stars from me, and the other half being pretty meh. Only one full-length book received the full five stars from me to be featured here. It’s the third book in a popular erotic romance series that has only somewhat recently become a favorite of mine as well. In this one, we have Beth who was deeply scarred both inside and out by her sadistic husband and now she’s on the run from him. The submissive in her craves a Master’s touch, but her fears won’t allow her to trust enough to genuinely let anyone in. As a consequence, she’s been picking all the wrong Doms to top her. After watching yet another painful scene between Beth and her latest Dom, Master Z, the owner of the BDSM club where she plays, has had enough and gives her an ultimatum: Accept Master Nolan, the Dom, he’s chosen for her or lose her club membership. Unable to contemplate the idea of not coming back, Beth reluctantly agrees. She’s fearful of the big Dom, but surprised by the gentleness of his touch. Master Nolan can see the scars all over her body and knows that someone abused her. He also realizes it will be a challenge to get the little sub to let him in, but he’s more than up for it. However, after dealing with a cheating ex, the one thing Nolan can’t abide is lying. When he finds out that Beth hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with him about her past will he be able to forgive the dishonesty? And when her bastard ex finally tracks her down, will Nolan be around to prevent him from killing her?
Tags: Cherise Sinclair
November 20, 2022 07:50 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of October, I read four full-length novels, a novelette, and two short stories. The majority of them were very good, some receiving five stars from me, but only one full-length book did. It’s from a relatively new favorite author of mine and it’s the fourth book in a serialized romance series that follows the same couple throughout as they navigate Brianna finding healing for the horrific abuse and human trafficking she was subjected to with the help of Stephan, the Dom who saved her from that life. This book opens about two months after the events of the previous book in which Stephan was placed under investigation by the FBI for buying Brianna’s freedom from the man who enslaved her, which led to Brianna selflessly leaving him to help protect him. Ever since, she’s been living with her childhood friend, Cal, and his girlfriend, Jade. Right from the opening pages, it’s obvious that both Brianna and Stephan are miserable without the other, but they have no choice but to remain apart until Stephan is no longer under FBI scrutiny and the media frenzy has died down. After making a deal with Cal, Brianna finally agrees to see a therapist, which in Stephan’s absence, helps her to continue to make progress in putting her life back together. Although terrified of facing her abuser in court, she’s willing to do so if it will help clear Stephan’s name and keep him out of jail. It’s not until about a quarter of the way into the book that Stephan and Brianna are able to finally see each other in person again, but not long after, a misunderstanding about Stephan’s ex staying with him stirs up a bit of trouble. Eventually, though, all is forgiven and circumstances change, making it possible for them to reunite for real. However, after spending time with family and friends over the holidays, the specter of her abuser’s trial hangs heavy over Brianna’s head, when it looks like she’ll have no choice but to testify or possibly see him walk.
Tags: Sherri Hayes
October 16, 2022 03:52 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of September, I read four full-length novels, two novellas, and three short stories. Nearly all of them were good reads with a few receiving five stars from me. But the one I’m choosing to feature, and the one that nosed out the others, is a side novella in one of my favorite paranormal romance worlds. Raze is a Seminus demon medic who works at Underworld General Hospital, but he also moonlights at the vampire night club, Thirst. Seminus biology is such that they need sex to survive and can only climax with females, but Raze is gay, which leaves him in a pickle. He’s had a longstanding arrangement with Fayle, a female succubus who services his bodily needs, but nothing more, which has left him deeply lonely. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Fayle is keeping secrets from him. Slake works for a demon law firm that has sent him to find and capture Fayle. In the course of his investigation, he spots Raze at Thirst and is very attracted to him. When he discovers that Raze has ties to Fayle, it seems like everything is coming together, but after spending one night with Raze and getting to know him better, Slake knows he can’t betray Raze by taking away the female who’s been keeping him alive. If Slake doesn’t bring Fayle to his employer, though, his soul will be forfeit. However, if Slake comes clean with Raze about his true mission and his background, Raze may never forgive him, and even if he does, they might not have a future together if they can’t find a way around Raze’s biological imperative.
Tags: Larissa Ione
September 18, 2022 05:24 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of August, I only read one full-length novel and two short stories. I’m a slow reader, so when I pick up a thick, doorstop book like the one I’m featuring, it takes me the better part of a month to get through it. That’s not because it wasn’t good, because it definitely was. It’s the latest entry in my all-time favorite book series and one that’s wildly popular. When Jamie and Claire sent their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their two children back through the stones to the future, they’d resigned themselves to never seeing them again. But they unexpectedly returned, leaving Jamie and Claire rejoicing over having their family back together again. However, despite making their home in the back country of North Carolina, the Revolutionary War has been creeping ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. The loyalties of Jamie’s tenants are split between those who are faithful to the British crown and those who pledge fidelity to Jamie and the rebel cause. As things gradually heat up to the boiling point, Jamie makes the decision to gather together a militia of those men he can trust to protect the ridge and its interests. He also knows they’ll need to fight in an upcoming battle that will take place close to the ridge, and the outcome of that battle may leave his life hanging in the balance.
Tags: Diana Gabaldon