Captivated By Love by Brenda Jackson (Romance)

This month has been a flurry of activity getting ready for some 2019 releases. And getting outside when the sun shines, which is happening less and less as Fall gets a firm hold on the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been doing some marvelous reading, including story I’m showcasing here by Brenda Jackson.

Brenda Jackson Captivated By Love

Here’s what I wrote in my review of this story:

I’m not sure how I missed Brenda Jackson before this, but this story made me a fan. Not only do I want to read her past stories, I need to check out the next ones in this world. Captivated by Love was an emotional, sensual journey through the lives of characters that felt real and well-defined to me. I completely bought into the love between Sheppard and Carson. I loved how they met, how their attraction was immediate an beyond their ability to ignore, yet fraught with insurmountable odds. The story brought together the lives of all the characters from the prior stories in this series and set up the next series so well, I HAVE to read them. So yep, I am officially a fan.

Here’s what the story is about (author blurb):

After being locked up for a crime he didn’t commit, Sheppard Granger is back to take over the reins as CEO of Granger Aeronautics. On top of that, he intends to totally romance his wife Carson and make up for the time they couldn’t share together. When their idyllic marriage is threatened by someone from Carson’s past, the Grangers unite and prove that when it comes to protecting those they love, they are more than prepared to meet trouble head on.

Click here for Brenda’s website.

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Caelan’s Captive by Faye Avalon (Sexy Romance/Otherworld)

My windows are open as I type this blog, but I feel like this may be the last opportunity I get for that. Rain is returning to the Pacific Northwest and the mornings now are quite a bit cooler. Life is insane with three writing projects going on at the same time. And tv is back. I can’t believe the fall schedule has started. That means my evenings are more relaxing, though, especially Tuesdays, when NCIS is on. I miss Abby, but I like her replacement. And, well, to be honest, I’ll watch anything with Mark Harmon in it. (Summer School, anyone?)

I read a romance a while back that really stayed with me. I think it was because the world was rich and unusual. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Faye Avalon Caelan's Captive

Here’s what I wrote in my review of this story:

I was captured from the beginning, when Lahna is adrift, then rescued by Caelan. Both have strong reasons to distrust, but their attraction for each other is impossible to resist. I love this richly described island world, it’s strong characters, and the story. In fact, I want more… Of the world, of the secondary characters, of everything. This story is emotional, sensual, and one of my personal favorites.

Here’s what the story is about (author blurb):

Escaping the king’s harem, Lahna finds herself at the mercy of a warrior prince who holds her captive and makes no secret of his desire to have her. Lahna hasn’t fled from one tyrant only to become the captive of another, and she certainly has no intention of warming the bed of the fearsome prince … even if he does make her body burn and her senses reel.

Caelan suspects his voluptuous captive may have been sent to spy on him and discover his plans to liberate his land from the tyrannical rule of the king. But her arrival provides him with the perfect opportunity to set those plans in motion. First, that means making her his, and in doing so he might just satisfy the craving for her that heats his blood and fires his loins.

But can Caelan really trust her? And can Lahna trust him to keep her safe when it matters most?

 

Click here for Faye’s website.

Exile (The Faarian Chronicles) by Karen Harris Tully (YA/SciFi)

Well, the season’s are changing in the Pacific Northwest. The nights are cooler, the rain has returned, and the sun sets earlier each day. I consider myself a transitional season lover. I enjoy Fall and Spring, the heralds of change. Okay, I like summer and winter, too. There’s just something about change, when rain turns to sunshine or vice versa, that makes me smile. I know. I’m very strange. Lol.

I’m also hard at work on both a romance story and my forthcoming fantasy series (coming in early 2019). So I’m in revisions and final edits and working on a first draft of the fantasy prequel. Which basically means I’m pulling my hair out. It will be worth it in the end, though.

In the meantime, here’s another story I really enjoyed. Series, actually, which I’m prone to reading. A YA/SciFi story that is rife with social and political conflict.

Karen Harris Tully Exile

This is the review I posted after reading book one:

I love fresh new ideas and this one was awesome. A whole new world for me to explore. It’s well-explained, well-rounded, and, well, I honestly loved it. Sunny is believable and real whether she’s teenager or ninja. The world is rife with conflict, as are the characters. I just picked up book two. Guess I’ll be reading more Faarian Chronicles tomorrow.

Since that review, I’ve read the entire series and the same thing I said in this first review still applies. The social and political structures are in depth and the characters full of complications. I loved their journeys and their resolutions both.

Here’s what the first story is about (author blurb):

Fifteen-year-old Sunny Price dreams of being an Olympic gymnast, but thanks to the worst custody agreement in the universe, she finds out she’s half-alien and is exiled to her absentee-mother’s home planet. She has to give up her friends and elite gymnastics career to live with a mother who only wants to give orders? This. Sucks.

When Sunny arrives on environmentally ravaged planet Macawi, her green, chlorophyll hair is the only thing keeping her alive as she tries to adapt in a huge clan of female warriors in the desert country of Afaar. Between her bullying Faarian cousins, water rationing, ravaging alien birds, and racial tensions with the nearest (but kind of cute) neighbors, Sunny just wants to get home to Earth. But when her unique DNA makes Sunny the target of blood-sucking kidnappers, her mother saves her and is arrested for murder. As much as she wants to go home, can Sunny just abandon her dictatorial mother, even if staying means risking her own life? Can Sunny accept who she really is in time to save her mother and herself?

Embrace the Alien Within.

Click here for Karen’s website.

Shark’s Instinct by Bethany Maines

August is almost gone. I can’t believe it. Wow. It’s been a tough month because of all the wildfire smoke. I’m not complaining, because those on the front lines of these fires have it much worse than we did, but it was weird to have no blue sky for two weeks, people wearing masks outdoors, and hazardous air quality readings.

That’s hopefully behind us now and a new month is almost upon us. I always think of turning over to a new month as new organizational opportunities. Lol. For me, it’s gearing up on the fantasy series I’m working on. Survival, the first book in my Guardian Druids: The Royan Legacy series is with the editor now. Covers will be next. I’m looking forward to it.

I thought I’d showcase a story…actually, two stories that I read recently. They aren’t YA, just so you know. But they are very entertaining.

Bethany Maines Sharks Instinct

My review:

I love being surprised and this book did exactly that. Who knew I liked mobster stories? And I loved this one. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be character, character, character. Each one is diverse and well-defined. Shark and Peri are two completely different peas in the same pod. Both strong, Both with their own agenda. Peri is her own person and has a lot of good moxie in her. But Shark? I fell for this guy. And he’s a mobster! I never expected to like him, but I definitely did.

There’s a solid story to go along with these characters. The author made me care about them (even the bodyguard.) So I will anxiously await more in this series.

FYI – I’ve now also read the second book in this series, Shark’s Bite. I read it in a weekend, I got so into it. The action is awesome, and so is the dialogue and characterization. Heck, I loved it all, especially Peri. Talk about kick-ass! We learn more about Shark and Peri in this story. And I’ll be waiting for the third one in this series.Bethany Maines Sharks Bite

Here’s what the first book, Shark’s Instinct, is all about:

Seventeen-year-old Peregrine Hays has a boyfriend, a 3.8 grade point average and a double life as her high-school’s resident “fixer.” From the creepy ex who won’t leave a girl alone to blackmail sexts, Peri can help. But when Peri finds herself facing down Tall Jimmy, the local drug dealer, her only solution leads straight to the gorgeous, deadly, and way out of her league, Shark Santoyo.

Twenty-something Shark has a prison-earned college degree, a rap sheet a mile long, and a job working as an enforcer for The Organization. But when Geier, his mob boss, sends him to the suburbs to find out who’s been skimming the take, Shark realizes he’s going to need more than his gun and an attitude to succeed. He’ll need Peri, the mysterious teen with the fast mouth and faster knife.

With the clock ticking, will Peri and Shark be able to walk the knife’s edge between instinct and attraction, to not only succeed, but to survive?

Click here for Bethany’s website.

Genesis by Anna Alexander

Well, August is half over and the air quality here is not great because of all the wildfires. That means staying indoors, which means I’m getting more work done. The first story of my fantasy series is off to the editor and I think I’ll have a firm release date in another month or two. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a review about a modern-day superheroes story I read. I liked it enough that I pre-ordered the second book. I’m definitely hooked on this series.

Anna Alexander Genesis

My review: This was a fun book to read, with action, attraction, and superpowers. The cover drew me in, the description made me want to read it, and it was right up my alley. Full of fantasy and attraction and action. I love the premise of super powers. And the tension between Max and Crystal is through the roof. This was a very entertaining and I loved Max learning there’s more to life than making his father pay. I also liked the secondary characters and got an inkling that some of them might be the focus of additional books in this world. I have to keep reading because I want Ripley’s story.

Here’s what the story is about:

People suck, at least according to reclusive inventor Max Madden—except for his friend and mentor, Anthony. But now Anthony is dead after uncovering evidence that an avaricious financier caused the current economic crisis and is out for world domination, a man Max knows has the money, resources, and charm to succeed—his own father. Now Max is out for vengeance and he doesn’t need a distraction like Crystal Evans tagging along.

The provocative psychic may have soft lips, curves like a Ferrari, and a scent like vanilla sugar, but she also has a thirst for redemption that will never be quenched. Max can’t help but admire her tenacity, and when she leads him to others who also have superhuman powers, he agrees to lead this team of crime-fighting supers if they all agree that he will be the one to take his father down.

But fate and circumstance has a way of bitch-slapping a man to awareness, and emotional hungers Max once detested have become what he now craves. When Crystal becomes the key to Madden Sr.’s downfall, Max must choose: Can he send the woman he’s come to love on the mission, a mission during which she has seen her death in a vision, or have his revenge?

NOTE: Since I wrote this review blog, I’ve read the second book, Instinct. I liked it as well or even better than the first.

Anna Alexander Instinct.jpg

Here’s what I said in my review of that story:

When I read Genesis, I know I wanted Ripley’s story, and it did not disappoint. I love it when the next story is as good or better that the last one. He’s got some powerful lessons to learn and Alisia is exactly the right person to teach them. These two are soul mates. The pull between them is strong and the reasons that tear them apart are larger-than-life and very emotional. I loved how this story started, how it progressed, and how it wrapped up. I’m definitely a fan.

(These are not Young Adult stories, by the way.) 🙂

Click here for Anna’s website.

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. I’m deep into edits on my fantasy series and a new romance story. Plus we decided to renovate. Just one room, but boy, does that list grow when you start a simple thing like painting the ceiling. But I did managed to find some time to pick up a book or two, and I thought I’d share one of my recent reads with you.the-great-alone-kristin-hannah

Kristin Hannah did it to me again. I always know I’m going to be up late and crying my eyes out when I pick up one of her books. The Great Alone didn’t stray from that pattern. Leni is a formidable kid tossed into a swirling vortex of survival from all different angles. Ms. Hannah shows us the gritty side of life on the Alaskan frontier, giving us an in depth look at life at it’s very basic: the need for food, heat, shelter.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t ready to stare the horror of PTSD in the face. Ernt is not a man I could like. But the resilience of the women kept me reading. Especially Leni, who at thirteen, is tossed into the wild, so to speak. She learns the hard way that the only person she can count on is herself. Well, maybe there’s one other person. 🙂

I cried for about the last 150 pages of this story. It was a cathartic cry, and I was so glad I kept reading all the way to the end. As with every single Kristin Hannah story I’ve read, it was worth it. So yes, this story is a highly recommend from me. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a fulfilling one.

Here’s what the story is all about:

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Click here for Kristin’s website.

 

 

A Herald of Spring

It’s been very cold here in the Pacific Northwest. Unusually cold. I hope you have all managed to survive your winters. We’ve had snow off and on for the past week or so. Now, I’m seeing sunshine mixing in with the clouds. As much as I love winter (and I do love hibernating) I’m ready to turn the corner into spring.

Even with the cold, our hardy daffodils have begun to bloom.

IMG_3955

So I see this as a sign that spring is near. Hopefully soon. Another awesome sign of changes to come is that my story, Survival, the lead story in my Guardian Druids: The Royan Legacy series, just won the SWFRW Joyce Henderson contest fantasy and paranormal genre!

SWFRW Paranormal Winner 2017

That’s a good omen as I search for representation for this series. It makes me hopeful. I want to thank you all again for supporting my stories. I wouldn’t be on this journey without any of you. I hope you all get to bask in some sunshine soon!

Laurie Ryan