Sunday, February 18, 2018

Minced, Marinated, and MurderedMinced, Marinated, and Murdered by Noël Balen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A travelogue, foodie blog and mystery all in one! I received Minced, Marinated, and Murdered through via the publisher, Le French Book, in exchange for an honest review. I had been narrowing down my yearly vacation for 2018 and had been researching parts of France. Then I was asked to read and review Minced, Marinated, and Murdered which not only had me picturing a part of France I had never thought to visit but also served as reminded me how much I enjoy reading mysteries set in what sounds like an amazing part of the world.

Laure is a managing editor of a culinary magazine and travels a great deal to other regions where she interviews chefs, tastes their specialties and learns how each of the chefs creates their dishes. This time Laure and her photographer are visiting Lyon where she has planned to visit specific bouchons, or Lyonnaise type of restaurant, and take a culinary tour of the city and write about her experiences. Most of the restaurants were ones she had already been very familiar with and the book gave the sense that she spent a lot of time in Lyon as Laure appeared to know a lot about the history of the food, dishes, and chefs of the region. During her visit, three of the chefs are murdered and it is a very sad and tense time for the city as everyone waits to see if anyone else is killed and Laure and Paco seem to fall into the trail of the killer.

Minced, Marinated, and Murdered is the beginning of a new culinary series. A Gourmet Crimes Mystery by Noël Balen and Vanessa Barrot. I do not know if all of the books will be based in France but, this is a great start to a great mystery which also will be of great interest to travel and great food enthusiasts. The main characters of the story, Laure and Paco are very well described. As the book started I had to bring up a map of Lyon and follow as the book described the streets that followed the river. It reads like something a traveler can follow like a travel guide as they go from one restaurant to another. The history of the chefs in the region fit nicely in the book and would be a real treat for travelers that are looking for great food. I look forward to seeing what comes next in this new gourmet mystery world.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Legal Seduction (Legal Lovers, #1)Legal Seduction by Lisa Childs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Legal seduction is part romance, part mystery and a great deal of what is likely the reason this book falls on the Harlequin Dare line. I received a copy through Barclay Publicity and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Four best friends that came up together living on the streets have made it big as attorneys in a top law firm called Street Law. Each has his own specialization. Simon specializes in contract law and like the others, women. Bette is his assistant. She is turning in her two-week notice right when the owners realize they have a mole who is releasing case information to their competitors in the courtroom.

Simon has been strongly attracted to Bette for the two years that she has been his employee. But, when she gives her notice right in the middle of his investigation into the leaks he has to question whether she is the mole. He will do what it takes to find out if she is the leak and get pretty much what he wants from her in the process. There are parts of the book that I struggled with given recent national news, but, I was willing to give the book a chance and I am glad to say that it does work out in the end as most HEA's do.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith



A too-young queen must learn to control her powers in order to save her empire, but can she trust the man who’s taught her to use her gift?

Grab your copy of WEB OF FROST and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at WEB OF FROST!



Title: Web of Frost
Author: Lindsay Smith
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Eventide Press
Series: The Saints of Russalka
Page Count: 402 pages
Format: Digitial
ASIN: B078X1K8VP
ISBN-13: 9781370549054



Synopsis:

The saints of Russalka work their blessings in mysterious ways, allowing the royal family to perform miracles for their people. But the young princess Katza fears her powers. She’s seen grave visions of her bloodied hands destroying her family’s empire. When her older brother succumbs to illness, leaving her next in line for the throne, Katza turns to a young rebellious prophet named Ravin who promises to teach her how to control her gift. As unrest grows in Russalka and a foreign monarchy threatens, Ravin understands Katza's fears and helps her find confidence in her gift, and her own heart. Under Ravin’s unorthodox training, Katza learns to hear the saints once more—until revolutionaries claim her father’s life.

Reeling and desperate, Katza draws upon darker and darker powers to stop the revolutionaries, the foreign invaders, and the members of her own court who would see her fail. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza questions whether he—and the saints—have her best interests at heart. She must choose between her love of Ravin and her love of Russalka itself—and decide whether her empire might not be better off without her.

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Web of Frost Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Lindsay Smith
She sank to her knees on the prayer cushion. Scanning the rows of icons, her gaze slid past Saint Marya and her bloody crown, and she searched, trying to settle on which saint to beseech. But none seemed to embody the nameless feeling inside her. Regret, but then again not. Hatred, maybe, of the world that had made such acts necessary. Of the agitators who threatened order, growing lies from seeds of truth.

Perhaps, as Ravin and his old order said, it was best sometimes to commune with Boj directly.

Is this the way to make Russalka safe, o Boj? Katza’s lips moved in time with her prayer. These shows of might. The fear that settles like frost on the streets. Is this what you want from me?

Dark whispers spun around Katza like smoke. She shivered, expecting a vision to wash over her. The hairs raised on the back of her neck and arms. But no proper vision coalesced. All she felt was a faint fluttering, like the visions were too afraid to approach her.

It felt like a warning. Like she was only just keeping her vision of bloodied hands at bay.

And then she saw the figure. Solid black, drinking up the light in the sanctuary doorway. The altar candles guttered, and briefly their light flickered over him, illuminating that elegant nose, sharp cheekbones, plush youthful lips.

Ravin.

Katza trembled, feeling tears threaten the corners of her eyes. His jaw tightened, as if he was nervous too, and he stepped toward her.

“You are afraid,” he said.

Katza swallowed. “I’m not certain what it is I feel.”

His tilted his head to one side.

Katza sank back onto her heels and tucked her hands into her lap. “I thought the blessings would help us spread order through the city, but instead it only seems to have brought fear. And then—then I believed I was showing strength, but perhaps it was merely cruelty.”

“Your father’s agents are rooting out the agitators,” Ravin said.

“I thought they were. But it sounds as if they’re only sweeping up children. Misguided commonfolk, desperate for change. This fear they feel—it isn’t any way to bring them around.”

“They chose to follow the agitators,” Ravin said. “And some of the agitators, too, have been stopped.”

Katza supposed that was true. But it did not forgive what she had done.

“You love your people,” Ravin said gently. “It’s why you strive to be more for them. Why you beseech the saints, though the priests would try to stop you. You know the blessings can be used for good.”

“But also for ill,” Katza said. “I didn’t mean to cause any harm.”

“And now you have learned. Haven’t you?” he asked.

Katza studied him for a moment, but her eyes were still adjusting to the dark. “I suppose so.”

“You must stay on course, tsarika.” Katza craned her neck up to look at him as he approached. “There is always a pain that comes with great change. It will chafe at you like uncut stone if you let it, but the pain will guide you onward. It will see you through the storm. And you will be all the better for it.”

Ravin paused before her. He wore simple black peasant’s boots and loose black trousers to match; his tunic was rough wool of dark gray, as was the sash at his waist. His hands clasped before him like crows at rest, ready to flutter away if startled. And that face, those dark eyes that pulled her into his void and refused to release her—

Katza swallowed and forced herself to look away.

“What are you?” she whispered. For he was no prophet—his order had cast him out. Temnost. The word lodged stubbornly in her throat. If he was forsaken, then surely she, in her desperation, was too.

Ravin let one of his hands hover over her shoulder—a question. Katza nodded and his palm pressed down. With a gasp, her heavy heart lifted. She felt cleansed. His touch was as cool as the clear mountain spring behind their summer palace in Zolotov.

“Change is painful but inevitable,” Ravin said. “Once you harness the saints’ blessings, truly master them, then you can return order to Russalka. You must endure this temporary discomfort, tsarika, for the good of your people.”

“Temporary,” Katza repeated.

He turned his palm upward and slid his hand beneath her chin. Her lips parted. The coolness of his touch soothed her, calmed her. “Yes. Temporary.”

Katza sank into his touch, relieved. He was right. She’d done no lasting harm. And if the protesters learned to respect the Silovs—if they learned to respect her—and she in turn learned the proper boundaries for her gifts—

He smiled at her. “Once you’ve realized your power,” Ravin said, “your work can truly begin.”


Other Books by Lindsay Smith

DREAM STRIDER  http://amzn.to/2EEox6y

Author Bio:
Lindsay is the author of the young adult novels SekretDreamstrider, and A Darkly Beating Heart, and is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box's The Witch Who Came In From the Cold. Her work has appeared on Tor.com and in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & Trouble, and she has written for Green Ronin Publishing's RPG properties. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and dog.

Follow Lindsay:
Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads 



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Italian Billionaire's Stubborn Lover (Romano Brothers, #1)Italian Billionaire's Stubborn Lover by Leslie North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Italian Billionaire's Stubborn Lover is the first installment of the Romano Brothers' series and follows Nicolo and Adeline's relationship. Adeline and Nicolo meet when he requests her as the realtor for his family's resort which has been closed for many years and has fallen into such a state that it needs major renovations to be operational or it will need to be completely destroyed. Nicolo and his brothers want to sell and Adeline wants it to be saved. The resort represents some of the happiest times in her life and some of the best memories of love that she remembers from her grandparents, something she strives to achieve for herself.

Nicolo leads a jet setter life going from one development job to the next and he has the biggest one on the line that will make his career. He thinks going to Sicily and putting the resort on the market will be a quick task until he meets Adeline who has a plan to stop him and hopefully save the resort as well as rebuild part of the economy for the area. It is a great romance, both between Adeline and Nicolo but also between the reader and Sicily. It reminds me how much I cannot wait to see it for the first time.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The BookwormThe Bookworm by Mitch Silver


The Bookworm was a great mystery, a bit of a political thriller and a bit of a literary, history fiction book. I received a free copy from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Lara is a history professor who spent part of her youth in the U.S. where she also went to university. She is brilliant and even was a chess prodigy when she was younger. She is approached by an unknown person with a bag of audio reels from the 1940's with some pretty damning evidence against the U.S. and its role in the fight against Hitler. She is asked to translate the six audio recordings from English to Russian and help the source of the recordings find a book that is the subject of the recordings.

Lara, who is very skeptical about the contents of the recording until something said in the recordings sparks a memory and she begins thinking that the recordings just might be authentic. What is not authentic are all of the people and groups trying to get into her good graces to obtain the book for their own purposes. The Bookworm hints at the two leaders at the center of what is now something that can cause a lot of trouble for both the Russian government and the U.S. government. As she investigates the contents of the recording it seems that a lot of things might be tied together as her twin brother Lev, who has been working in Alaska, stumbles upon another aspect of what just might be a conspiracy, against who is the big question. The Bookworm is a book that appeals to readers of multiple genres and definitely makes me want to investigate more by the author. View all my reviews
Friendship…Loyalty…And honor above all.
Follow the blast and enter to #win a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card





Title: Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Books 1-4)
Series: Lady Archer’s Creed
Author: Christina McKnight, Amanda Mariel
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency England
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Length: 755 Pages

A love of archery brings four young girls together to form The Lady Archer’s Creed. Through their mutual love of the sport, they solidify an unbreakable bond, and each woman has a unique quality that adds to their dynamic friendship: 

Theodora, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book One)
Lady Theodora with her sharp mind and love of academics becomes the perfect archery coach. Despite being the last to join their group, and the obvious outcast, she will risk her future for her friends. 

Georgina, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Two)
Lady Georgina makes the perfect financier. The forgotten daughter of a wealthy duke, she seeks to belong to something—or someone—by any means necessary. 

Adeline, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Three)
Miss Adeline is a natural leader. Having grown up in a large and often spirited family, she now allows no one to place her in the shadows. 

Josephine, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Four)
Lady Josephine, having a sweet and impressionable nature, strives to please everyone—and keep their bond intact, even after they return to London for the Season.

Adeline, Georgie, Theo, and Josie live each day by the Lady Archer’s Creed, which they developed during their school days at Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality. “Friendship, loyalty, and honor above all” is their mantra. Now, as they face the challenges that come with adulthood, the creed is more important than ever. 

Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks


Author Bio:
USA Today Bestselling Author Christina McKnight writes emotional and intricate Regency Romance with strong women and maverick heroes. 

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books...don't forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.
You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon



Have you Pre-ordered THE BASTARD’S BARGAIN YET?


Do it. Dmitri will be yours forever.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert delivers the final installment in her sizzling O'Malleys family series, hailed as "The Godfather meets Romeo & Juliet." In THE BASTARD’S BARGAIN Dmitri Romanov must use his legendary focus and control to stay one step ahead of everyone else in the ever-shifting power plays of New York City.

What readers are saying:

“The Bastard's Bargain presents a seductive escape and a fulfilling fantasy for that bad boy craving a girl can never outgrow.”—Isha at Book Likes

“Keira and Dmitri are everything. What develops between them is raw and carnal and wanton. The way they need each other and the way they connect is beyond sexy. It’s something deep and dark and heartbreakingly beautiful.”—Eva, Goodreads Reviewer

Meet Dmitri and Keira!

Pre-order THE BASTARD’S BARGAIN and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get a sneak peek excerpt and to enter the giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card and Dmitri Romanov scented candle!



Title: The Bastard’s Bargain
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central/Forever
Series: The O’Malleys
Format: Digitial and Print
ASIN: B071ZYWPL5

Synopsis:

Married to the enemy

When Keira O'Malley was a child, she used to picture her perfect wedding. The flowers. The dress. Her husband. But nothing could have prepared her for saying "I do" to Dmitri Romanov-cold, domineering, and always one step ahead of everyone else in the ever-shifting power plays of New York City. She agreed to his bargain to secure peace for her family, and she may want the bastard more than she'd ever admit, but she'll be damned if she'll make this marriage easy for him.

Dmitri knows better than to underestimate Keira for one second. Molten desire smolders between them, a dangerous addiction neither can resist. But his enemies are already on the move, and he needs every ounce of his legendary focus and control to keep them alive. Keira could just be his secret weapon-if she doesn't bring him to his knees first.

Pre-order at:


Enter to win a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and Dmitri Romanov scented candle!

Direct link: http://bit.ly/2FrceL7




The Bastard’s Bargain Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert
It wasn’t until the front door closed behind Ivan that the reality of her situation sank in. Dmitri was furious. He might have faked it for his friend, but he stood next to her, a pillar of stone with anger coming off him in waves. His grip on her elbow didn’t hurt, but if she’d tried to leave, he would have restrained her.
She should be afraid. She should be terrified.
Keira’s heartbeat picked up, adrenaline kicking in. She swung to face him with a fierce smile on her face. “You didn’t compliment me on my dress.” It was a work of fucking art. She smoothed her free hand over her hip and up her side. “Actually, you called me a high-class sex worker. Is that any way to speak to your beloved wife?”
His gray eyes followed the movement, a muscle ticking in his jaw when she cupped her breast. “I meant it when I said you’re playing with fire.”
That wasn’t just anger on his face now. No, it was rapidly being overtaken by sheer lust. An answering feeling sent a bolt straight to her core. She stepped back, and he released her instantly. A strange feeling coursed through her, straightening her spine and making her want to laugh out loud. Power. This is what power feels like.
He wanted her. He wanted her so badly, he had his hands clenched at his sides to keep from touching her again. But he wouldn’t until she gave the green light. Keira took another step back. “I have a hypothetical question.”
“Ask.” His voice was rough. The way he watched her made her feel like prey, and she liked it far more than she should—because she wasn’t prey. Keira had her own teeth and claws, and Dmitri would learn that as time went on.
“Hypothetical, if I said yes tonight…how do you imagine that would go?”
He stared at her a long moment. “Nyet. I’m not playing this game with you.” She blinked and he was on her, one hand snaking around to press against the exposed small of her back, the other tangling in her hair. “We are not children, moya koroleva. These games don’t become us.”
He kissed her. There was no cautious exploration or easing into it. Dmitri kissed her like a conquering warlord who was sure of his welcome because he owned everything in the room—including her. There was no fighting this. She didn’t even want to try. Keira slid her arms around his neck and pressed herself more firmly against him. His cock was a hard length with too many layers between them. She rolled her hips, an invitation she wasn’t sure she was ready to follow through on.
Dmitri slid his hand down to cup her ass, guiding her movements. Long slides up the length of his cock and back down again. The stupid goddamn dress kept her from spreading her legs wider, from getting him exactly where she needed him. Her nipples rubbed against his shirt, the silk incredibly decadent across her sensitized skin.
“Keira. Moya koroleva.” He kissed down her jawline, tilting her head back until she had to arch her spine to accommodate the position. “Did you enjoy their eyes on you? Ivan’s. The men who owe allegiance to me. Anyone who cared to look.”
It took her desire-drugged brain a beat to catch up, but by then he was already growling out more words against her skin. “Did it make you feel powerful to know they were imagining stroking the nipples you flash with such impunity?” He moved his hand from her ass to do exactly that, dragging a finger over her puckered nipple. “They wanted the body you so proudly put on display.” His voice roughened. “They wanted what’s mine.”
Say something. If you don’t say something right now, you’re going to give in tonight and then it will all be over.
He moved his hand to her back and bent her until she relied solely on his strength to keep her off the ground. And then Dmitri’s wicked, wicked mouth closed around her nipple. The weight of the beaded design seemed heavier with his tongue flicking the engorged bud, making his touch that much hotter. She couldn’t hold back a moan as he moved to her other breast.
Dmitri dragged his mouth up the center of her chest, the only part of her not caged in the dress, stopping at the thick collar. He flicked the hollow of her throat with his tongue. “This is my favorite part of the dress.” He ran his thumb over it. “This, more than anything else, marks you as mine.”
A collar for a kept pet.
It was as if he’d doused her in icy water. Keira went rigid and shoved Dmitri away. She almost fell when he released her, but she regained her balance at the last second. They stood mere feet apart, breathing hard and staring at each other. I am no one’s pet. She slashed her hand through the air. “I might be your wife, Russian, but I’m not yours. I’ll never be yours.”

Read all the books in The O’Malleys Series

THE BASTARD’S BARGAIN (Coming soon!)


About Katee Robert
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 
Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Instagram



Minced, Marinated, and Murdered by Noël Balen My rating: 5 of 5 stars A travelogue, foodie blog and mystery all in one! I received Minced...