Publisher: NAL

DARK EMBERS by Tessa Adams

FTC Disclosure: The publisher, author, book tour company has provided me with a copy of this book for review or I have purchased it with my own funds. The opinions I share are mine and not influenced by the publisher, author, or book tour company if received for review.

DARK EMBERS by Tessa AdamsDark Embers by Tessa Adams
Series: Dragon's Heat
Published by NAL Genres: Paranormal
Source: Publisher
ReviewedbyJo

Several things are weighing on Dylan MacLeod’s mind right now. First is his inability after five hundred years to find his dragonmate (I did mention that he is a dragon right?). Second, he’s the King of his race, the Dragonstars, and something is killing his people. Nothing Dylan or his scientist’s have done has had any affect in slowing or stopping this disease. After a death that hits really hard, Dylan makes a choice that shocks his advisers and guards – he is going to the humans to find a scientist who can find the answers.

Bio-chemist Phoebe Quillum has spent her entire adult life finding cures for incurable diseases. Just when she might be on to something, Phoebe gets the worst news possible – her grant money is being discontinued. The timing could not be worse and her time in the lab is now on a countdown. That is until a dark stranger walks in and makes Phoebe an offer that blows her socks off.  Money for her research, a fully stocked lab and help in the research, all for finding a cure to an incurable disease.  Phoebe knows there has to be a catch, but what is it?

They might not get off on the right foot, but Phoebe decides to take the leap after Dylan convinces her there is more out there than humans. Traveling together proves to both Dylan and Phoebe that the instantaneous attraction between them is more than a passing thing. Phoebe gets firsthand knowledge of how fast and horrible the disease is as Dylan loses yet another family member. Determined to find the cause and cure, Phoebe wants to get right to work but the flames between herself and Dylan keep butting in. Phoebe spends her time between lab research and passionate encounters, while Dylan learns that an old enemy is back in the picture. Danger and mistrust spikes just as Phoebe discovers the truth about the problem. When she is kidnapped, Dylan doesn’t care she is a human – Phoebe is his mate and he is willing to destroy a clan to get her back.

Science and myths can make strange but strong bedfellows. Dark Embers brings Dylan and Phoebe together under less than great circumstances only for them to discover they always belonged together. Phoebe’s childhood made her become a biochemist with a reputation of never stopping the hunt. Dylan was never supposed to lead his clan, but a strange and mysterious disease made him a king and is now destroying his clan.  The first meeting between Phoebe and Dylan had me in tears almost I was laughing so hard. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot. The intensity that sprang up immediately between Dylan and Phoebe drew me in fast and would not let go. I honestly did not want to put their story down. The mixture of science and mythical dragon clans in the middle of the desert created a world that was intriguing. The way Dylan and Phoebe struggled with their passion while working together to solve the medical mystery was just one of the threads that wove an incredible story together. Even as Dylan flew to the rescue, it was the real rescue that showed me there was still a lot to this world I had not discovered yet. Dark Embers is just one of those books you need to get comfy before opening as you won’t want to put it down. The erotic passion and dangerous situations holds you first and when you sprinkle in the medical mystery, it equals into an instant favorite. 

I can’t wait until the next peek into Dragon Heat world to see which dragon is next to find his mate. And if they’ve found the cure.

THE BOURBON KINGS by J. R. Ward

FTC Disclosure: The publisher, author, book tour company has provided me with a copy of this book for review or I have purchased it with my own funds. The opinions I share are mine and not influenced by the publisher, author, or book tour company if received for review.

THE BOURBON KINGS by J. R. WardBourbon Kings by J. R. Ward
Series: Bourbon Kings #1
Published by NAL Genres: Contemporary
Source: Publisher
ReviewedbyShayna

The Bradford family is Kentucky royalty, as famous for their top-of-the-line bourbon as they are for the glamour of their estate, Easterly.  But behind the glittering façade lies a poison that threatens to taint the entire Bradford-Baldwine clan.

 

Lizzie King, the Easterly’s horticulturist, makes sure the grounds are a masterpiece.  But after having been burned by Lane Baldwine two years ago, she does her best to avoid the family she works for.  Then Lane returns home, bringing with him all the hurt, longing, and love Lizzie would like to forget.

 

After two years of living in New York, Lane is back at Easterly and can no longer hide from his problems.  Both the wife he hates and the woman he loves are still there, and if that wasn’t bad enough, his siblings are a mess and his evil father is up to something.  Lane has always been the playboy, never wanting to take responsibility for anything.  But if he hopes to free himself of his dangerously manipulative wife, convince Lizzie that she’s the only one for him, and stop his family from crumbling, Lane will have to step up and become the man he was always meant to be.

 

J.R. Ward brings the DRAMA in The Bourbon Kings.  The first book in The Bourbon Kings series is a lush Southern soap opera with a cast of characters who are as compelling as they are over-the-top.  Even after finishing the book and thinking on it for a while, I can’t say if this is a story I liked, but damn if Ms. Ward’s writing didn’t keep me turning the pages.

 

The Baldwine siblings are an interesting lot.  Lane, the hero of the story, is generally a good person but has never wanted to step up and claim responsibility and is now forced to.  His eldest brother, Edward, was the best of the lot but is now a scarred, alcoholic, broken version of himself.  Max, the other brother, is off somewhere doing heaven knows what.  And Gin, the youngest, is one of my favorite characters in the book.  She’s not likeable – not by a long shot – but she’s a complex, interesting character.  She plays games, is shallow, and looks out for her own best interests.  She’s also deeply hurt, guarded, and is trapped in a toxic push-pull relationship with the man she loves.  Even though I have a feeling things are only going to get worse, Gin alone could keep me reading the Bourbon Kings series because I find her so intriguing.  All the siblings have grown up in a life of luxury, but that life may come to a crashing halt when secrets are uncovered.  Each of them deal with the impending destruction of their family in different ways, and Ms. Ward keeps the twists and turns coming all throughout the story.

 

The Bourbon Kings is a family saga with a hint of mystery, but there is an element of romance to the tale.  Lizzie and Lane fell in love two years before the start of the story, but that all came crashing down when he had to leave Lizzie to marry his former lover, who was pregnant with (supposedly) his child.  It isn’t easy for Lane to win Lizzie back, especially since his horrible wife is determined not to lose her place.  It should be a simple matter to root for Lizzie and Lane, especially since Lizzie is one of the few likeable people in the book (though she’s sadly underdeveloped as a character and is overshadowed by the story’s more dominant personalities).  But for me, the romance fell flat and felt underdeveloped.  We’re told Lane is in love with Lizzie, and I believed him because Ms. Ward said it was so.  Yet I never felt the passion and emotion between them.  Their love for one another was built on a foundation that readers only get a bare glimpse of.  To believe they could reunite so quickly, putting aside all that hurt and longing, I need something more.  Perhaps if we were shown more of their shared past, I would have been more satisfied by the romance.

 

The Bourbon Kings is a mix of melodrama, mystery, abuse, love, loyalty, and Southern roots.  Endearing and likeable characters are few and far between, but there’s something about the entire cast that gives even the horrible characters a reality television level of appeal.  It’s set in a world where tradition reigns supreme, appearances are everything, and casual sexism and traditional gender roles are a way of life.  It’s a world more alien to me than the vampire and lesser-filled world of Ms. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  At the end of the day, I still can’t decide if I actually like the book or not.  I definitely loved Lane’s smart, funny best friend, Jeff, along with Sutton, who is kind, sharp, and hopelessly in love with Edward.  I was also caught up in the drama between Gin and Samuel T, and am desperately hoping those two find their way to one another.  I didn’t love the world, a number of the characters, the fact that it took me a while to get into the story, and I’m not sure how long my patience will last with either the many push-pull relationships or the general toxicity of the Bradford-Baldwine family.  But even with my mixed feelings, I cannot deny that Ms. Ward writes a memorable book.  By the end of The Bourbon Kings, I wanted to know what would happen next, so I’ll definitely be picking up the next book, The Angels’ Share.

MOONLIGHT ON NIGHTINGALE WAY by Samantha Young

MOONLIGHT ON NIGHTINGALE WAY by Samantha Young

FTC Disclosure: The publisher, author, book tour company has provided me with a copy of this book for review or I have purchased it with my own funds. The opinions I share are mine and not influenced by the publisher, author, or book tour company if received for review.

MOONLIGHT ON NIGHTINGALE WAY by Samantha YoungMoonlight On Nightingale Way by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street
Published by NAL Genres: Contemporary
Source: Publisher
ReviewedbyMelissa

Grace couldn’t believe what she had to put up with in regards to her sexy new neighbor. Noisy sex all night and inconsiderate drunken women throwing up in front of her door. Logan spent two years in prison for beating up the man who assaulted his sister. Now the only thing on his mind is getting on with his life. He never expected Grace to come barreling into it. He also never expected the teenage daughter that unexpectedly showed up at his door. Now with Grace’s help he’s learning how to be a father and finds himself growing closer and closer to Grace as a consequence. Logan’s not sure he is good for Grace and tries to distance himself. Only once he does he realizes that she’s the one for him. Can he earn a second chance with Grace?

 

Moonlight on Nightingale Way is the first story of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street that I’ve had the pleasure to read but I’m adding the other titles to my reading pile ASAP! Logan and Grace were both injured by their pasts and had a hard time accepting a future that included a happy ending. Waiting on them to figure out what we all knew, they were perfect together, kept me anxiously turning pages. Moonlight on Nightingale Way hooked me from the first chapter and wouldn’t let me go until the last word!

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