A life long love.............

The Tiger's Daughter
Their Bright Ascendency #1
K. Arsenault Rivera
MacMillan-Tor/Forge, Scheduled release date Oct 3, 2017
ebook, 512 pages
Genre(s) Fantasy, Romance F/F
Source Author's Rep (NetGalley)

Other books in this series: Unknown


Synopsis:  
The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

A crack in the wall heralds the end…two goddesses arm themselves…K Arsenault Rivera's The Tiger’s Daughter is an adventure for the ages.


About the Author:  
Puerto Rico born and New York raised, K is a lifelong fan of all things nerdy. She drew on her love of tabletop gaming for her debut novel, THE TIGER'S DAUGHTER. An out and proud lesbian, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and roommate.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representatives, NetGalley and MacMillan-Tor/Forge. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✰✰✰✰✰
I wanted to really wallow in this book, but I had a deadline for it so I had to push myself and keep going. It is so awesome and I know I'll have to go back and read it again just to have that wallow that I wanted the first read through.

The book is written in a letter form from one woman to another. It covers the story of their growing up from the age of three when their mothers introduced them until they were grown women. Their mothers were best friends through their lives and ensured that their daughters would be as well. 

The young women were more than friends. They were the closest of confidants. They became lovers and the only one each other trusted in their embattled lives. 

The whole book is closely based on Asian cultures. Mostly Japanese and Mongol, I think. The name changes are slight and the cultural identifiers are strong, but Ms. Rivera has made this a matriarchal society and allowed women to be strong and speak out. She has also allowed same gender relationships, which is what we have with our two main characters, O-Shizuka and Barsalayaa Shefali.

With over 500 pages to do it in, the characters are well developed and their interactions are outstanding. The storytelling is amazing and you feel as if you are right there sometimes. It is written mostly from the point of view of Shefali, who is totally in awe of the fact that Shizuka loves her and of Shizuka herself in some ways. She is a goddess after all. And Shefali is so humble in so many ways, so down to earth and practical. Their journey brings them full circle and back together finally at the close of the letter. It is a wonderful story and one worth at least one reading, if not more. I plan a second reading very soon. I hope you plan to read this at least once as soon as it's released in October. I highly recommend it.

This is a debut novel and shows amazing talent. I definitely want to read whatever Ms. Rivera writes next. I loved this first book and it was a nice long read with lots of details to keep me busy and interested. I'd say she has a long, successful career ahead of her as long as she has lots of stories stored up in her head. Release date for this first book is October 3, 2017.

Kindred
Kindred, Book #1
Nicola Claire
Self-pub, May 2012
ebook, 475 pages, also in paperback
Genre(s) paranormal romance thriller
Source Author

Other books in this series: Blood Life Seeker, Forbidden Drink, Giver of Light, Dancing Dragon, Shadow's Light, Entwined with the Dark, Kiss of the Dragon, Dreaming of a Blood Red Christmas


Synopsis:  
“You may not be aware, ma douce, but not all vampyre have a kindred, some will live out their existence without such beauty in their lives. I have waited five hundred years for you."

Vampires, shapeshifters, ghouls, and magic-users abound in a world where the Norms, (those humans without paranormal abilities), are ignorant of the creatures of the night and the supernatural species that live alongside them.

Lucinda Monk is a bank teller by day and a vampire hunter by night, but she wasn’t always a part of this world. Thrown into a heady mix of powerful people and sensual beings, she’s had to find her way practically blindfolded in amongst the creatures of the night.

Lucinda, though, is a capable and realistic kind of girl. Her motto: Never Show Fear.

But there's something different about Luce. Something those creatures she hunts want. So, in order to stay one step ahead of the enemy, she has to let the enemy in. In all his compelling, seductive and delicious ways.

Sleeping with the enemy has never meant so much before. But can she trust him?

From the urban streets of the city to the dark alleys and sinful bars that promise a wickedness a girl from the farm has never before been exposed to, Lucinda gets drawn irreversibly into the dark side of life.

And if the Master of the City has his way, she will always be his. For eternity.


About the Author:  
Nicola Claire lives in beautiful Taupo, New Zealand with her husband and two young boys.

She has a passion for all things suspenseful, spiced up with a good dollop of romance, as long as they include strong characters - alpha males and capable females - and worlds which although make-believe is really quite believable in the end.

Creating rich stories with dynamic characters and unexpected twists that shock and awe has been pure bliss for this author. And just as well, because there's a lot more story yet to tell...

You can get Nicola's Starter Library - three popular full-length first-in-series romantic suspense novels, with hundreds of positive reviews between them - by signing up for her mailing list at www.nicolaclairebooks.com.


My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by joining the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
It's been awhile since I've read a book just about vampires and vampire hunters, so this was a change of pace for me. It turned out to be a fun one, too. It's not a new book, it's been around since 2012. But it's a prolific author's series (10 books) with a related series, Mixed Blessings Mystery series.

The world and magic were well-done. It takes place in Aukland, New Zealand and Michel Durand is the Master of Aukland City. He was formerly in Paris. He came to New Zealand looking for someone special.

Lucinda Monk is that someone special. She's an orphan raised by her aunt and uncle, so she doesn't really know anything about her heritage as a vampire hunter. She has no training and no information. She has no connections other than a small group she's found online. They really haven't been very helpful.

But Lucinda is about to turn 25 years old and that's a significant birthday for a hunter. She's feeling some strange changes in herself and Michel is telling her things she almost can't believe about her "coming into her power". Suddenly, there's another master vampire, Maximilian, trying to grab Lucinda and it's turning into a war. Michel has his allies in Jock, Enrique, and Alessandra. Three more master vamps. Luce maneuvers him into an accord with the ghouls to help. And the Taniwhas, shapeshifters, add their support for Lucinda from an old alliance.

Sometimes it felt like Michel was totally on Lucinda's side and being honest with her. At other times, it seemed like she really shouldn't be trusting him at all. All the way to the end he seems to shift back and forth with his trustworthiness. He loves her. He gets a whole lot of power from her. He won't abuse the power. He has plans for the power. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to see how things go now that their power has expanded so much and they both have other allies.

If you like vampires, do check this one out. I recommend it!

A murder during Mardi Gras...

Keepsake Crimes
A Scrapbooking Mystery #1
Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime, May 2003
Nook ed., 256 pages
Genre(s) Cozy mystery
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series: Photo Finished, Bound for Murder, Motif for Murder, Frill Kill, Death Swatch, Tragic Magic, Fiber and Brimstone, Skeleton Letters, Postcards from the Dead, Gilt Trip, Gossamer Ghost, Parchment and Old Lace, Crepe Factor


Synopsis:  
New Orleans scrapbooking shop owner Carmela Bertrand delights her customers with the sophisticated looks she achieves with their scrapbooks. But among her client's keepsakes, she finds a tip of her own-about a murder...

About the Author:  
Laura Childs is a pseudonym for Gerry Schmitt and she is the best-selling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbook Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries.

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life, she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various nonprofits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She's also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn't rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries - a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans' spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe's undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.


My Disclaimer:  

I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✰✰✰✰
This book has been around for quite awhile, but I just have never had a chance to read this series, so I decided this summer was the time to do it. I read several reviews on it and they tended to say that it was light on mystery, so I read it with that in mind. Well, the mystery happens in the beginning. At least the murder does. The accusations began right away, too.

There are twenty-eight chapters in the book and the first seventeen are setting the stage for our heroine, Carmela, to get fired up enough to try to solve the case. I think this is why so many people say it's light on mystery. For one thing, the only cop involved is one that you can tell is dirty from the first sight of him. For another, there's a lot of partying and gossiping about it, but not much really happening about the actual murder. It seems frivolous even into chapter 18 when Carmela actually does something to try to find some information about people who might be involved.

But Carmela has been written to be a stand-up, spunky character and she holds up under the accusations against her possibly soon-to-be ex-husband that she can't locate. She also can't decide if she still loves him or if she despises him for deserting her six months ago with no explanation other than he needs to work on his photography and have some space of his own.

She convinces her sister-in-law, who is a VP at the family bank to let her look at her husband's office at the bank to see if there might be some clue to why he has disappeared and whether or not he could possibly be involved in this mystery. Her sister-in-law grudgingly goes along with it. Carmela finds a file that doesn't seem quite right to her and she tucks it into her handbag. From that file, she decides who might be involved and she starts poking around. She's got good instincts, but she's not quite on the right track. It's like she's sniffing up the right tree, just not the right branch.

While taking some photos for a project, she's attacked and ends up in the hospital with her errant husband at her side, who ties up all the loose ends that she hasn't already figured out. But I call "foul play" when an author holds the cards so close to her chest that there's no way you can figure out the mystery with what she's given you. There was too much missing from the story for us to figure it out. Some good guessing brought me close to one part, but the other part was too concealed. A puzzle with missing pieces is frustrating. It won't stop me from reading the next book in this series to see what the series as a whole is like. I recommend this book to cozy readers, especially if you enjoy scrapbooking as I do. If you have more insight into this series, please share it with me. Laura Childs is a prolific author keeping all three of her series current.

The Trouble Magnet draws the wrong man!

Bombshell
FBI Series #17
Catherine Coulter
Penguin Books, 2013
Nook ed., 342 pages
Genre(s) Mystery, Contemporary Romance
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series: The Cove, The Maze, The Target, The Edge, Riptide, Hemlock Bay, Eleventh Hour, Blind Side, Blowout, Point Blank, Double Take, Tail Spin, Knock Out, Whiplash, Split Second, Back Fire, Power Play, Nemesis, Insidious, Enigma


Related Series: A Brit in the FBI

Synopsis:  
FBI Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith, last seen in Backfire, has been recruited by Dillon Savich to join his unit in Washington, D.C. Savich sees something special in Hammersmith, an almost preternatural instinct for tracking criminals.

While on his way to D.C., Hammersmith plans to visit his sister, Delsey, a student at Stanislaus School of Music in Maestro, Virginia. Before he arrives, he gets a phone call that Delsey was found naked, unconscious, and covered with blood after a wild party. The blood isn't hers—so who does it belong to?

Meanwhile, back in D.C., Savich and Sherlock have their hands full when the grandson of former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank is found murdered, every bone in his body broken, and frozen at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.

Was Savich right—is Griffin gifted with a unique ability to "see" how criminals think? And will he figure out who was behind the attempt on Delsey's life—before it's too late?
About the Author:  

Catherine Coulter is the author of 80 novels, including 75 New York Times bestsellers, occasionally, after exhaustive prayers, hitting #1. She earned her reputation writing historical romances to pass the time while aboard the ark. She added suspense thrillers to her repertoire – with great success. The Cove, the first book in her bestselling “FBI Suspense Thriller Series” spent nine weeks on the New York Times list and has to date sold well over 3 million copies. Since then she’s written 20 more bestselling thrillers in the series, including The Maze, The Target, The Edge, Riptide, Hemlock Bay, Eleventh Hour, Blindside, Blowout, Point Blank, Double Take, Tailspin, Knockout, Whiplash, Split Second, Backfire, Bombshell, Power Play, Nemesis ,and Insidious. Her 21st FBI thriller Enigma will be out in all formats in September 2017. Coulter is also writing a new suspense thriller series – A Brit in the FBI – co-writing with bestselling author JT Ellison. The 4th book in this action-packed series, The Devil’s Triangle, will be out in paperback August 29, 2017.

For Coulter's first novel, The Autumn Countess, she chose a Regency setting for her debut because, says Coulter, "as any published author will tell you, it's best to limit the unknowns in a first book, and not only had I grown up reading Georgette Heyer, whom I worship, but I earned my M.A. degree in early 19th century European History and could fight in Napoleon's army, or join the Allies and beat his butt with Wellington."

Following The Autumn Countess, Coulter wrote six more Regency romances. She then turned to long historicals and eventually interspersed them with contemporary suspense 

novels, beginning with False Pretenses in 1988, her very first hardcover.

Coulter grew up on a horse ranch in Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas, receiving her graduate degree from Boston College. She became a speechwriter on Wall Street, then, to her joy, she was able to quit her day job and become a full-time writer.

She lives with her physician husband and three cats in Marin County, California, right over the Golden Gate Bridge. She loves to travel, loves to kamikaze down the ski slopes, and reads voraciously while recuperating. She likes to laugh, loves a good joke, and believes the publishing business is too crazy to take seriously.

If you read just one of Coulter's FBI thrillers, she's got you, so prepare for eye strain and jumping at things that go bump in the night.
My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:✭✭✭✭⭑
It's been quite a while since I last read one of Catherine Coulter's FBI thrillers. I couldn't wait to get time to fit it into my reading schedule! Finally! I had them all when I read paperbacks, but hadn't replaced them when I switched to ebooks and for some reason haven't kept up with them. Now there are three more after this one and a related series to read!

And Ms. Coulter didn't let me down. Savich and Sherlock are still on the job. They have invited Griffin Hammersmith to join their Washington, D.C. team after working with him on another case. He's on his way to join them and stops to visit his sister, Delsey, at the music school she attends only to find the "Trouble Magnet" has held true to her name and gotten into more trouble. He finds Delsey recovering in the hospital after an attack and a very attractive friend, Anna, stopping by to check on her.

This sets up the local case and romance which gets a bit crazy and out of hand, and not only the bad guys get hurt. But Griffin has some time to romance Delsey's attractive friend, Anna, and discover her secrets.

Meanwhile, in D.C. Savich and Sherlock have their hands full even before Delsey is sent to stay with them. They end up with three bodies and a political mess before it's all tied up. And even Sean, their little boy, gets close to the action this time.

The pacing is excellent and there's even time for some romance. Two mysteries to solve with lots of detail and depth on both. Lots of action on both, too. The characters are great. It helps, I'm sure, to already know Savich and Sherlock and Sean. The new characters are very interesting and work in well, as usual. It's a nice balance of serious and fun times. And there's no hidden info for the author to pull the solution out of her hat at the end. It's all there for you to find right along with the characters.

Well, I'm back on track with the series and you'll be seeing the reviews on the rest of it sooner or later, plus the related series. I hope you'll check out this series and the related one if you haven't. Or if you're a lapsed reader as I was, get back on track. Catherine Coulter always puts out a great product and there are lots to choose from. Always highly recommended.

When is a name not a name?

The MacKinnon's Bride
The Highland Brides #1
Tanya Anne Crosby
Oliver-Heber Books
Nook 20th Anniversary edition, original 1992 by Avon Books
Genre(s) Historical Romance
Source Author's Rep

Other books in this series: Lyon's Gift #2, On Bended Knee #3, Lion's Heart #4, Highland Song #5, MacKinnon's Hope #6


Related Series: Guardians of the Stone

Synopsis:
Descended of the legendary sons of MacAlpin, Iain MacKinnon refuses to bow to the English. When his young son is captured by a minion of the English king, the fierce Scottish chieftain vows to stop at nothing to secure the lad's return. Retaliating in kind, he captures the daughter of his enemy, planning to bargain with the devil.

FitzSimon's daughter has lived her entire life in the shadow of the man she called father--yet never would she have imagined he would forsake his only daughter. Even as Page blames her captor for welching on a contract with her father, she suspects the truth. But the shadows hold secrets ... now only the love of her reluctant champion can save the MacKinnon's Bride.

About the Author:  
Put a menu in front of me and I immediately don't know what I want. Fried green tomatoes with grits? Yep, OK. Fish? Sounds good, too. OK, so what are you having? I'll do that too. When it comes to shoes--forget it. I end up buying nothing because I can't make up my mind. Thank God I have a husband who has great tastes, or my closet might be empty. I'm one of those people who suffer from acute ambivalence given too many choices, but when it comes to what I wanted to do with my life, I've known that decidedly since the age of 12--and probably long before that. It all began once upon a time after a tonsillectomy when the doc advised mom and dad they should reward me with anything I wanted (the keyword here being anything). All I wanted was dad's typewriter. I got it, of course--a black, sporty Olympia I immediately set out to wear the letters off the keys. So here I am all these years later, with sixteen books under my belt and a new one on the way ... still wearing the letters off keyboards ... and loving every minute.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
This was a really good read. A typical historical romance with the handsome hero and the spitfire damsel who doesn't think she's much good to anyone, especially the one whose love she really wants. That's her father. So once the Highlanders kidnap Page, she spends all her time plotting how to get free and return to her father. And tries several times, causing all sorts of havoc and mayhem. Never mind the disrespect to the corpse!

Meanwhile, The MacKinnon, who's heard her father's opinion of her and understands what her name implies, feels sorry for her and wants to give her a new start with his people. Besides, she's one bonny lass in his eyes, which he can't seem to keep off of her.

As in all romances, the couple never really talk to each other about the important things, so they don't understand each other's true intents. These two are no exception. Add in Iain's son, Malcolm and his two cents worth. Plus the traitor in their midsts who darkens the edges of the whole story. If it weren't for people dying and such, it would be really hilarious. It's still funny watching the couple watch each other and want each other and being watched by everyone else.

Tanya Anne Crosby wrote this book quite awhile ago, and I got the 20th Anniversary Edition from Nook. The original was published by Avon Books in 1992. This series has been around for awhile and has stood the test of time. There is a related series, the Guardians of the Stone, which was started in 2014. Ms. Crosby is a rather prolific author who really enjoys writing and does it rather well. If you haven't read anything by her, The MacKinnon's Bride is a pretty good place to start. The primary characters are well-developed, the secondary ones not as well, but not flat either. The settings are well-done and the history is worked in accurately. Highly recommended for all historical romance readers, especially if you like your men in kilts.

Giveaway Link Attached!

The Best American Poetry 2017
David Lehman, Series Editor
Natasha Trethewey, Guest Editor
Simon & Schuster, Sep 5, 2017
ebook, 256 pages
Genre(s) Poetry, Anthology
Source Author's Rep (NetGalley)

Other books in this series: This series began in 1988 and has published an anthology every year since.


Synopsis:
Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winner and nineteenth US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, The Best American Poetry 2017 brings together the most notable poems of the year in the series that offers “a vivid snapshot of what a distinguished poet finds exciting, fresh, and memorable” (Robert Pinsky).

Librarian of Congress James Billington says Natasha Trethewey “consistently and dramatically expanded the power” of the role of US Poet Laureate, holding office hours to the public, traveling the country, and reaching millions through her innovative PBS NewsHour segment “Where Poetry Lives.” Marilyn Nelson says “the wide scope of Trethewey’s interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.” With her selections and introductory essay for The Best American Poetry 2017, Trethewey will be highlighting even more “elegant and necessary” poems and poets, adding to the national conversation of verse and its role in our culture.

The Best American Poetry is not just another anthology; it serves as a guide to who’s who and what’s happening in American poetry and is an eagerly awaited publishing event each year. With Trethewey’s insightful touch and genius for plumbing the depths of history and personal experience to shape striking verse, The Best American Poetry 2017 is another brilliant addition to the series.
  

About the Editor:
David Lehman is a poet and the series editor for The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School in New York City.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative, NetGalley. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✭✭✭✭⭑
This is a powerful and moving collection of poems that speak of the condition of life in our country and in our homes and families. Some were sad. Some were painful. Some were elegant and wonderful. And some were just so much gibberish. Remember this is my opinion. Poetry is a personal experience and needs to speak to the reader.

There are 75 poems in this collection. I chose 24% of the collection, that's 18 poems that really spoke to me personally and had particular meaning to me for one reason or another. I read the bios and comments on those poets and really enjoyed them. They made the poems even more meaningful to me and connected me to the poets more personally. I'm very glad this section was done the way it was with the comments from the poets on their state of mind when they wrote these particular poems. I haven't read any of the previous collections in this series, so I don't know if this is the standard format, but I really liked this inclusion.

I fully intend to seek out previous years' collections and read some of them. The quality of the poetry is impressive. It also struck a chord within me to continue my own pursuit of poetry, as I too enjoy writing in the free-form style. I entered the giveaway, but if I don't win, I fully intend to buy a print copy of this book to keep on my shelf and enjoy.
I can't recommend this highly enough to those of you who enjoy poetry. And to those of you who aren't that familiar with it, give this book a try. You may find that this will appeal to you and speak to you as it is really about our lives today as we live it and see it played out on the nightly news and in the papers. Kudos, to Natasha Trethewey for her efforts.


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  • Best American Poetry 2017 by David Lehman
    Best American Poetry 2017
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    Release date: Sep 05, 2017
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  • Secrets don't stay secrets for too long...

    One Wish
    Thunder Point #7
    Robyn Carr
    MIRA, Feb 2015
    Nook ed., 377 pages
    Genre(s) Contemporary romance
    Source Author's rep

    Other books in this series: The Wanderer #1, The Newcomer#2, The Hero #3, The Chance #4, The Promise #5, The Homecoming #6, New Hope #8, Wildest Dreams #9


    Synopsis:
    Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement.

    In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other.

    But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.

    About the Author:  
    A RITA award-winning author of 25 novels, Robyn Carr has found a whole new following with her stories about the independent women and former marines of Virgin River."

    RT's Career Achievement Best Author Award winner (2010) for Contemporary Romance.

    RWA's Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient 2016


    My Disclaimer:  
    I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
    ~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

    My Review:  ✭✭✭✭✭  
    I have already read books 1 through 6 and 8. So here's book #7 in the Thunder Point series. Robyn Carr is one of my favorite romance authors and this series is almost as good as her Virgin River series.

    Grace Dillon is trying to make a new life for herself. She's walked away from fame and fortune and is arranging flowers in her own flower shop, Pretty Petals. She loves her new life and all the new friends she has. But how long can she keep her secret?

    Troy Headly is a high school teacher and is quite taken with the attractive florist. Is he up to dealing with the reality once the secret is revealed?

    Ms. Carr did a great job of creating the characters for this story. Grace is a really friendly person with a background she doesn't want to discuss. She's got a way of keeping the conversation away from things she doesn't want to talk about without hurting anyone's feelings. Ms. Carr does a really good job of making her a little different in her speech and thoughts since she had such a strong Russian influence from her coach for so many years.

    Then there's Grace's mother and her crisis. Her mother is a large part of the story, though she isn't present until close to the end. Winnie is well-written. I felt great compassion for the woman dealing with her health issues and just trying to do what she felt was the right thing before it was too late. I thought Grace and Winnie interacted well, though I almost expected more fireworks from them. Their relationship was obviously based on love but terribly strained by the profession and finances.

    Robyn Carr has a great series here and I strongly recommend it to any romance reader who hasn't already discovered her talent with words.

    When BFFs become more...

    Always My Girl
    Shaughnessy Brothers #3
    Samantha Chase
    Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 2016
    Nook ed., 352 pages
    Genre(s) Contemporary hometown romance
    Source Author's rep

    Other books in this series: Made for Us (Aidan & Zoe), Love Walks In (Hugh & Aubrey), This is Our Song (Riley & Savannah), A Sky Full of Stars (Owen & Brooke), Holiday Spice (Darcy & Benjamin)


    Synopsis:
    Falling in love with your best friend? Easy.
    Telling them how you really feel? Impossible.

    Quinn Shaughnessy believes there's a lot more to life than romance, and he always thought his best friend Anna agreed. But now she's coming out of her shell and dating...and Quinn starts seeing her in a very different light.

    Anna can tell Quinn anything, except the big secret she's been hiding for years-that she's fallen in love with him. Now Anna is determined to make a life for herself that doesn't include hopeless pining. But just as she's ready to move on, Quinn seems determined not to let go and the way he's looking at her might be enough to finally change them from best friends to best everything.

    About the Author:  
    New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

    When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.


    My Disclaimer:  
    I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
    ~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

    My Review:  ✭✭✭✭⭑
    I'm so used to reading books written from the gal's point of view, that when I first started reading this one, I forgot that it's the Shaughnessy Brother's series. I was mostly focused on Anna, so my reading of it was a bit different than it might have been had I been thinking straight. But it made it even more interesting later on when Quinn felt put-upon.

    Quinn and Anna grew up together. Quinn was all action and speed, and Anna was the tomboy next door. They went and did everything together. They even told each other everything because they were BFFs. As in, Quinn talked to Anna about his girlfriends. A bit much maybe?

    Everybody said that Quinn took advantage of Anna's easy-going nature. She loved to take care of him, so if he called late at night and wanted cookies, she'd bake him cookies and take them to him. Working hard on an engine and can't stop for lunch? She'd take him a sandwich. She didn't seem to mind. Would you? Hhmmm.

    Their relationship was really cute, but it was sad as well. You could see it had to fall apart before it could get fixed. Anna's not such a tomboy 25 years later. She's all dressed up and selling real estate. Guys are hitting on her. And she's smiling right back at them. Even Quinn notices. But now her big secret that she thought no one knew is about to be revealed. One Quinn isn't sure how to handle. Will he still see her as his BFF or finally open his eyes and see the woman she's become? Does he keep on denying it or thank his lucky stars it's him she's in love with? Some men need to be hit over the head with things, and others need a talk with their fathers. Guess which way this one went.

    Samantha Chase does her usual great job of creating characters that are perfect for each other and letting life stir them up a bit. I even like the cover. It suits the characters to a T. If the rest of this series is anything like Always My Girl, there are a few more books on my TBR list! Highly recommend this book and the rest of the series or anything by this author.

    A Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews Books 1-3


    Burn for Me
    A Hidden Legacy Book #1
    Ilona Andrews
    Avon, Oct 2014
    Nook ed., 400 pages, also in paperback, audio CD & audible
    Genre(s) dystopian fantasy romance
    Source Author's newsletter

    Other books in this series: White Hot #2, Wildfire #3


    Synopsis:
    #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launched (in 2014) a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .

    Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

    Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

    Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.


    About the Authors:  
    “Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

    Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

    They have co-authored several NYT and USAT bestselling series. They are currently working on the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, the paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and their independently published series, Innkeeper Chronicles.

    You can read more about their work on their website: http://www.ilona-andrews.com


    My Disclaimer:  
    I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
    ~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

    My Review:  ✭✭✭✭⭑
    I've had this book for awhile, and I'm pretty sure I read it several years ago in paperback. But I no longer have paperbacks around, so I can't check that. And I didn't enter it in my GoodReads list, so I can't check it there. But, I have read some of the Kate Daniels series and I'm pretty sure I read this when it came out. But I read it again. Reading anything by this author is never a waste of time. It's always going to be a good read.

    I was not disappointed. The world they built for this trilogy is amazing! It's a dystopian world based in Houston, TX. The magic system is quite wide ranging as far as what people are capable of doing. And people can have more than one type of magic. It seems like there are an awful lot of not very nice people around in these days.

    Nevada Baylor and her assorted family members are quite quirky. Her grandmother modifies large vehicles, like armored trucks and tanks. Her mother is an army veteran, a sniper who spends a lot of time trying to keep her various children from causing trouble. Nevada has two teenaged sisters who just need to survive being teenagers and let their magic settle to be human. She has two cousins living with her as well. One whose magic keeps him busy with their computers and one who doesn't seem to think he has any magic. They live in a warehouse and run the private investigations business out of there as well.

    Connor Rogan is one heck of a power. The army made him into the perfect weapon with no off switch. Now he's home from war and on his own as head of his house. He chooses his own battles. He's decided Nevada would make a good weapon in his latest battle, so he tries to acquire her in his forthright way. Or would that be forceful way? And Nevada doesn't respond to force very well.

    But she looks into his eyes and sees what others have missed. She looks at him and sees things she likes and decides to be acquired in her own way. She finds his off switch and they leave most of Houston still standing. Once she and Rogan start working together towards the same goal, things get fun. They shoot sparks and steam and all sort of things. Everyone loves to stand around and watch it happen, too. So read this book and then you'll do the same thing I did. You will immediately need book two, White Hot.

    Keep reading... 



    White Hot
    Book #2
    Ilona Andrews
    Avon, May 2017
    Nook ed., 389 pages, also in paperback, audio CD & audible
    Genre(s) dystopian fantasy romance
    Source purchased for full price


    Synopsis:  
    The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

    Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

    Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …


    My Disclaimer:  
    I purchased this book for full price at BN.com. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
    ~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


    My Review:  ✭✭✭✭  
    I couldn't resist buying the second book, and it was worth every penny I spent on it. The first book stopped at a place that just begged for the next one. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but pretty darn close. So, since book 2 came out in May, I was able to buy it and get busy reading.

    In this one, Nevada hasn't heard from Rogan since the ending of the last case when they first met. She has a new client. Cornelius wants Nevada to find out who killed his wife. He knows he's been lied to about what happened and he wants the truth. 

    Rogan, of course, gets involved as Nevada stumbles through the intricate society that makes up their magic world. She's too new to the social swirl to know when she has or is about to make a mistake. Rogan and her new client try to help her pick her way through the dance that seems to be the rules of their high society, but Nevada isn't afraid to get her hands dirty, especially in a fight. She goes to one high society event in a lovely dress with brutal markings around her neck showing where someone tried to kill her. She always makes an impression. 

    The relationship is gaining momentum in this book and getting steamier. They are both aware of their feelings for each other and open about them. People close around them definitely see them as a couple and their society is becoming aware of them as a pair as well. Some are delighted and some are ready to kill them. Literally. There seems to be a conspiracy afoot and Rogan and Nevada seem to keep getting in its way of starting a New Rome and putting their own Ceasar at its head. 

    For a bonus from this case, Nevada gets a large blue cat-like creature and a non-aggressive Grizzly bear, named Teddy to add to her family. She also gets her first non-family employee and House support. Other than House Rogan, that is.

    And I needed the third book when I was done with this one, of course. You will, too.

    So, keep reading...




    Wildfire
    Book #3
    Ilona Andrews
    Avon, Jul 2017
    Nook ed., 391 pages, also in paperback, audio CD & audible
    Genre(s) dystopian fantasy romance
    Source bought for full price


    Synopsis:  
    From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

    Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

    Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke? 

    My Disclaimer:  

    I purchased this book for full price at BN.com. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

    ~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

    My Review:  ✭✭✭✭✭
    This was the best of the three books! So varied and so many things going on all coming together here. Is this the end of a trilogy or the breather before all hell breaks loose?

    This is when Nevada's sisters' magic is really useful. This is when people recognize the danger and take sides. She meets her other grandmother, Victoria Tremaine, in this book. The one that's sort of been a bogey man up until now. Nevada finds out the whole truth about her lineage and even Rogan is startled by it.

    The four children, Nevada, her two sisters, and her cousin, test before the Council to see if they will become a House. Of remain a family. It's here that she has to announce publicly any affiliations or ties to other Houses. And she surprises them all.

    In this book, the couple solidifies their relationship and looks ahead. Nevada finally gets to meet Rogan's mother. They build a big house. And I would have thought that would be the end if not for the last bit. 

    The last conversation of Victoria Tremaine as she walks among the roses talking with someone who says that it's not over. That New Rome will come and there will be a Ceasar. Is there more to come or not? After waiting three years for the second and third books, and getting them within months of each other, what does this mean? I am not sure. Read these three books and tell me what you think it means.